Cat Bones in the Flower Beds

this feels good

Bury My Heart

This fall, I dug into Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. It was hard for me to read. I didn’t finish it. Hardly started it. This is a reaction/intention/release that I wrote after reading a particularly difficult passage. I wanted to somehow prove, that the way we love and live presently, can somehow honor the past, undo a portion of the pain. I want to believe this is possible. These images came together last night.

Quiet Lightning

This November, I read with Quiet Lightning at Chez Poulet. Quiet Lightning is magical, check them out.

Here are some links to the performance, and their Sparkle and Blink publication.

Quiet Lightning is performing Monday, January 2nd at Club Deluxe in San Francisco. Check it out.

A Surprise Phone Call, on Day of the Dead

A Surprise Phone Call, on Day of the Dead

For Helen 

After the afternoon dishes,

Sara drove to the cemetery,

she was looking for you

but couldn’t find the stone,

sat down beneath a tree instead.

She wasn’t surprised

when the birds came.

Dozens of them,

appeared out of nowhere

and shot up

to the five-o’clock

east coast moon.

She picked up her phone.

The sky

is purple orange,

she said, and it’s dangling

like a dream catcher,

above all the dead bodies,

and all the living ones too.

Sweet New England

Headed east for a wedding last week. Just got back this morning. Reminded me of a poem I wrote a few years back, inspired by a Jonathon Richman tune. I wanted to write an opposite, and a truth. A coming to terms with the coast I was born to. An attempt to articulate everything I love and fear about it. I’m still learning how to best articulate this. Here are some images from my recent trip. I stalked the neighbor’s clothesline, thinking of this poem the whole time. The napkins and table cloths that were hung out to dry, had tiny crimson crosses stitched into them. It really was terrifying up close. Again, the sound is an issue. Press mute:) And imagine an old woman reading the text, or a young girl, or me. Imagine the text stitched into the linen. That would have been something.

The history of New England is full of the horrors

that have turned life into gloom, joy into despair,

naturalness into disease, honesty and truth into

hideous lies and hypocrisies.

Emma Goldman


Sweet New England

Look at you there

all stately,

ghost towned

all blueberried

all bare.

You built libraries

for us to sit in,

memorials for us to kiss.

You have bugs in the summer,

whales in the spring.

Your country stores,

thunderstorms,

your universities,

make us want to go driving.

We forget about

the women you’ve burned.

We turn our heads

to the stones you once threw.

Like this one here,

used to split and bruise

baby skin.

From you we learned guilt.

From you we learned lying.

Look at us watching

all cross legged

shoeless

all brave.

Tall and long necked

as an apple tree,

we wear a black dress.

We picture a light house,

an orchard, a steeple,

a mill.

You like it best

when we picture these things.

The Birth Projects

Last winter, I was contacted by the amazing musician and Choir Director, Mimi Jans. She was beginning to plan her spring program, and had an idea for a collaboration. Mimi asked me to write a poem about birth, that she would then compose a piece of music to, for her newly acquired high school choir. This was especially exciting for many reasons, one of which being, Mimi’s choir is located in Basel, Switzerland. The idea of a whole choir of Swiss adolescents, singing a strange and creepy song about birth, makes me so happy! I sent mimi a few poems to sift through, and luckily she picked the weirdest one!! Since I have never given birth, i tried to re-imagine what it was like being born. This is a recording from their 2011 Spring Concert.

A few months later, the incredible visual artist/performer/designer, Rachel Znerold, asked me to compose a piece of poetry for an installation she was making for a Womb themed show. Her piece,  Womb With a View, an interactive, Womb Tent, became the home for this sound piece.

A flood, and suddenly
you are meant to understand,
the slick patience of gravity.
There is a slideshow
of mother skin and air.
There is muscle.
The persistence of pushing.
The first sound is pink breath.
Release, cold, then everything
That is earth and not water,
Rushing in to meet the body.
This is not the mystery of home.
Where’s the nest of silk stones?
Where’s the warm and glow
To cling to?

Impossible Mechanisms

I am anxious and impatient, so i’ve decided to stop waiting for technology to arrive at my doorstop, and start making things. Dear technology santa, please send help. In the meantime, here is a video poem, minus the poem. I can’t figure out how to add the sound just yet. The two pieces came together a few moments ago. Or at least they tried. Their future is uncertain. I was asked to write a “love” poem for an amazing raven, marriage ceremony, that I’ve just gotten home from. When I sat down to write  last night, all I could think about was this conversation I had with Peter. We were talking about art, how we make it, why we do. Peter thinks we make art to create the impossible, to make up for nature’s limitations. We are mechanisms for the impossible he said! I loved that so much. The images are from the garden, and a trip I took to an old gold rush town.

Maybe turn the sound off, and read the text out loud:)

What Peter Losh Said

“We are mechanisms

of the impossible,” he said.

“We can make horses fly!

We can do whatever we want!”

Peter, I agree with you!

Nature has its miracles,

sure. But we are designed

to make Art! To take mineral,

sun, night, to take earth, hurricane,

home, and put this together

somehow, streamline it.

Look at us moving

our perfect hands in the morning.

We collect the day,

stir the parts that impress us

the most, into a ruby pot

called purpose.

Isn’t it wonderful to discover

what we’re here for?

To make Love,

make Art,

to honor the Sun

as she finds her way

home again,

through the thick and pull

of the night.

Intercourse Began in 1967

It started with handfuls of rain

and breast in October. It started in a doorway,

someone was 17, but most of us

weren’t born yet.

It made our mothers buy hair dye

and finger soft fruit at the market.

It made our fathers

our fathers.

Isn’t it something,

that here we are now

rubbing on each other’s

bellies and bottoms

slipping on and off

silk robes

of mother, lover, and father.

We fill each other’s mouths

with the pulse and promise

of art, music, and living the way

we always thought that we should.

What I’m saying is,

it all makes sense to me.

* text first published in Getting There, 2008

*Photograph found and coveted. My birth mother Regina, and father Kevin. Circa 1975, California.