18 April 2009

old friend, old friend.

back here in the middle
of the night searching
for my wayward voice, where have I been.
hid down slim in the crevaces, listening
for some old train whistle wisdom to call me home.

my new home, city view
down the street.
crickets and quiet and my girls
asleep, stacked in bunkbeds in the next room.
stuffed animals and all the blankets they need
dragged from two houses
into this one.


I don't know.

flowers blooming beautiful
all around my yard in yellow deception.
spring vision.
still,i can't see.
they have no scent and their beauty
comes and goes and leaves those wilted miracles
rotten in the grass.

And I don't know.

Why we think
one new spring is as ever as fresh as the last,
the circle we follow looking for what wasn't.
bright. our memory,
reworked colors we retouch.

outside, the backyard now
smoke my smokes between the cement and the midnight sky.
let the taste go stale in my mouth and wonder
to the constellations
where i went.

that old bathroom window and
the street lights long and yellow across the trees.
shadows on the lawn.

and i don't know.

my words and the April daffodils all wilted down together.

30 May 2008


No person, real or fictional, no monster, goblin or republican president has ever terrified me like the Wicked Witch of the West. All my fears come through that green skin. Her cackling face in Dorothy's crystal ball.

I don't even have to see her. Just the thought, just a snip of Judy Garland singing over the rainbow, a flash of any part of that film sends a feeling down my back. Like something close behind crouching down to get me. I'm not making this up. At six, Amelia still hasn't seen the movie. I won't let her.

Wicked - the book that gave the witch a name, Elphaba; and a story, the misunderstood, altruistic green girl who slowly goes crazy fighting the good fight and believes she's a witch - was the cheapest, quickest, most effective therapy I've ever had. I get her now.

The book starts before Elphaba's birth and ends with a different perspective of the movie. It details Ozian politics and twists things around until you can see evil isn't evil and good isn't good. We are all both. She's not who you think she is.

Wicked, the musical, blurs it even more, in a gorgeous watered-down, Broadway, kind of way. In the end Elphaba, the wicked witch of the west, the only person who's ever scared me more than me, sings my song.

Fly on, girl!

29 April 2008


The clock said 3:33 and it made me move. Half of something. Too late or too early, I don't know. Too much of everything undone around me, but I knew I wasn't going to get anything done. Not any kind of work. Not at this hour anymore. It's not in me right now.

That middle of the night kind of urgency isn't in me now. A passing something. But I got up anyway, told myself I had two hours, three hours to write something, anything, for work I could call done.

But, I didn't. It's the same something I didn't write last week and maybe won't write this week and maybe won't write at all, until I'm eating dog food. Or until I can't afford kibble. Anyway, I can't stomach the smell of dog food, smells like dog food.

Now it's 5:07. My left shoulder's tight. My eye's burn a little at the inside corners and the birds are chirping. But just one. One bird is singing her early morning song and there's a quiet surrounding the notes. Long train whistle blowing hollow, far off to somewhere. A car door and the wind wake of passing traffic.

It's too early to go back to bed, too late to smoke a bowl. Almost daybreak. I'm just sitting here doing the best I can.

The path to abundance. Acceptance. Because slow and erratic, inconsistent, that's just how I am. My head. I'm doing the best I can. It comes and goes. Like it's always come and gone.

Girls are sleep in the bedroom, whole nights through these days. Me, too. Mostly. But now it's 5:15 A.M. That lone bird is calling softer.

Wonder if she's thinking about crawling back into the nest, for just another hour of quiet before the day comes.

24 April 2008

good morning gratitude

Yesterday at the ACME gym-mart I was working sweat to the surface on the elliptical and trying to focus on one of the 437 TVs suspended from the ceiling. My eyes go nuts in that room with all the machines and mirrors and people in motion competing for my attention, but finally I settled on CNN, plugged in the head phones and steadied myself on election news.

Put all my focus on Obama. Tried to block out the smell one machine over, like halatosis all over his body. I ran harder, CNN shifted stories. The high price of gas and skyrocketing grocery bills. How it's not just fuel, but commodity traders I can thank for dropping $78 on two bags at Trader Joes. And, oh poor me, because I can't pay my bills and I can barely afford food and how can I feel abundant when buying pillow cases for J & A's school plays triggers panic? Blah, blah, blah, blaghty, blah.

Then my old friend gratitude came home.

And, I remembered.

To be thankful.

Because, guess what.

I'm working out for free. My friend Adam GAVE me two remaining years on his three year gym membership because he wasn't using it. Didn't want it to go to waste. Thanks, Adam.

I've been freaking out over how to pay for Amelia's vision therapy, thousands I don't have and insurance says fuck you about. My brother and his partner offered to cover all of it. Thanks Lou and Tom, just typing that brings tears.

I'm driving a car my friend because my friends Karin and Ben GAVE me one. Thanks, Karin and Ben.

When I moved into this apartment, my friend Heidi did up A & J's beds with matching sheets and blankets. Then she took me shopping to set up my kitchen. Thanks, Heidi.

My cousins in Phoenix have been giving me $50 round trip flight vouchers for years so I can get down to the desert and see my family. Thanks, cousins.

My parents pay for the vouchers and contribute $100 a month toward A & J's tuition, and much to much more to list. Thanks, Mom and Dad.

In the past year my family and friends have a contributed a combined thousands in cash money to keep me going, most of it unsolicited and some of it from people I'd never met or barely knew. You know who you are, thank you!

My eyes get overwhelmed with images, sometimes they forget to see there's a whole big wide open sky above me and solid ground here just beneath my feet.

photo: Joy Dutta

04 March 2008

Lookie here. I have a blog. Huh? I'm sorry, brain fog. I'm supposed to do what with this thing, write stuff. Hmm. Got no stuff to write. Got no words. Got nothin.

Got a few quarters in a glass pyrex bowl on the table, stiff in my neck and hurt in my head.

Got flowers dead in the vase and laundry on the floor.

Got snores from the bedroom and burn in my eyes.

Got my bare feet propped on the file case. Prop.

Got cat walk bridge dreams hanging on by a cloth. Got unopened bills and unopened thoughts.

Got dishes in the sink and play-doh on the wall.

Got two asleep.

Got to.

Got to got to got to got to got.

Got to keep on.


*Image courtesy of: http://www.nrl.navy.mil/NewsRoom/images/clem.jpg

29 January 2008

story of my day

Josie comes out of the bathroom, blond curls looking like Einstein on a bad hair day. Can't really even call what was happening on her head curls.

One hand is palm to the ceiling, the other a tight little fist trailing toilet paper.

Her purple flowered pants are at her ankles, yellow and white stripped skivies sticking out above the band. She comes foot and foot into the living, walking shackled like she's on the chain gain.

Looks her blue eyes at me and says, no orders, she orders.

"Mom. Wipe my butt."

26 January 2008

I see patterns, too

I meant to blog part two of I See Patterns the day after part one was posted. But I got busy, and my girls got sick and then I got sick, so here we are now a couple weeks later and I’m just getting to it.

Usually when my car is stolen the recovery time is three to five days. By recovery I mean, found by Portland’s finest and towed to an impound lot from which it costs me about $150 to claim.

Usually during those three to five days, I schlep my kids back and forth to school on the bus, buses, while I await word on how much it will cost to bail my car out of lock down. Then I look up and thank the gods I live in a democratic society that taxes crime victims for being robbed. My country tis of thee.

But, like I said before, usually I find the empty space and this time, this time nothing went the way it usually does.

Scott discovered the empty space, drove street by street in some valiant needle-in-a-haystack search for the car, checked the places it's been abandoned before, didn’t find it. We drove the girls to school, I took him to a bus stop and he left me with his car for the day.

Lunchtime I pick Josie up, meet Prema and River at Cup and Saucer. Two little girls playing horses on the table, under the table, across the table. Prema and me breaking it down.

I tell her the last two times my car has been stolen I’ve had the exact same thought the night before. Thought my life is getting too easy, too comfortable. I don’t think I really want chaos all the time, but when my life gets easy, when I’m not right there on the edge, my writing isn’t nearly as good. All my best stuff comes from the intensity of struggle and I’m afraid if my life settles down I won’t be able to write anything worthwhile.

I think that and Bam. There goes my car. And, you know what, it does take me out to a place where the writing soars. Only problem is It’s not practical to sustain struggle. It wears me thin, makes me crazy.

She says yeah, the work is how to stay that present without being driven to the edge.

I don’t need it. I tell this to the universe, really I don’t want all animosity all the time.

The girls are more under the table than at it when we decide it’s time to remove them.

I just drive. Josie sleeps. Turn and zag and straight-away without thought, let the car take a route without pre-meditation. See if it will lead to my car.

Portland gray, all around raining and I just go until I’m raining too. Tears down my cheeks, little splatters on my hands, on the wheel.

Pull into parallel in front of my apartment. Not enough time to wake Josie and take her inside before heading back out to get Amelia, not enough left in me to drive aimless looking. I just sit. Head on my hands, on the wheel. Tears on everything.
Really, truly, I say, I don’t want more chaos. I can learn to be present in balance.

When the phone rings, I know who it is. Just know before opening to the call.

The voice says she’s found my car. 76th and Morrison. Can I come get it?

And I can’t. I have to be at Amelia’s school.

She can have it towed for me if I want?

NO. Please. NO.

"I can clear it out of the system and leave it for you, but then it won’t be listed as stolen and it could be taken again."

Its OK, I say, It will be there.

It always comes back to me.