Friday, May 30, 2014

Waiting on My Bookshelf...

Currently reading or about to read:

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Details

The Details

Detailing means to clean between
the details Degunked and dusted

The soft gesture of the paleontologist as
she encourages away the dirt
with her paintbrush and chisel

Oof Just think of the ways a kiss
can mark

Magenta stain of lipstick on a cheek
Bruisey hickey blooming up
on a neck

mere millimeters away from some
never-will-be-touched skeleton

We express our earthliness by
pressing up
against damage’s caress

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Rich Interior Life

Rich Interior Life

In the life of the book
a face is the sun

a finger is light
and the text stirs

in its flowerbed

For a book one day
is measured in duration
of being looked at

A book can live one day
and slumber for many years
before the next day

Contained within the book there is a pool
of all that will happen

but it can wait

Monday, May 26, 2014

Might Give

Might Give

You have worn the coat of longing
and now you won’t be rid of it

You can be both pipsqueak and bully
who holds the pipsqueak away with a palm
against the head
goading, Hit me why don’t you

There is a doggie door
that will not open
but it feels like it just might give

If you beg
maybe everything will keep wearing their
mask of beauty

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Magnolia Speaks!

I love this sign. This poem is a true story. (Most poems are true stories, aren't they?)

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! What will you be enjoying? I'll be celebrating at the wedding of my beautiful sister, Mara (and her amazing husband-to-be, Brandon). 

Thursday, May 22, 2014



Not just a porch, not just an old porch,
but a beautiful old porch

Even the rotting-away pieces of it

Look at all there is which has not yet rotted

Every caretaker is a craftsman
contributing to the beautiful old something

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A House Is an Arrow Pointing Up

A House Is an Arrow Pointing Up

What is the word
for the people who lived in the house
before you

Not neighbor,
not benefactor

not even kin
though certainly a kind of kin

And those who get the house next
are also in that inheritance

You, who have slept here as I will soon sleep
You, who have been without clothes in these walls
every day a few times

You, standers at the sink and lookers out the window here
to see the bright purple clematis
resting its weight on the fence

You who will be here one day
loneliness is inaccurate

and yet we all will feel it

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Painter Makes a Room for Us to Stand In

The Painter Makes a Room for Us to Stand In

Purplish freeway burrowed in the green
of almost-summer Right on the cusp
of rain Any second the rain could arrive
The twinge that would fray the voice
if the voice were awake Meaningless
freeway with few other drivers Toppled
red clubhouse as if the grass were tugged
out from beneath it So little of the painting
I would make for this moment would be
about the road and weather

Monday, May 19, 2014

I Am a Flowering Magnolia

I Am a Flowering Magnolia

The feeble tree implores through
a feeble sign


A gardener speaks on behalf of the tree
which has no speech
because little by little, the humans
kill the tree 

with their cute gestures
Here, have a flower, honey

A gardener must protect the garden
from the desire that humans have
for one another

The garden breaks for us

Oh the alluring sweetness
of what will end

Friday, May 16, 2014

Bookmarks List/Bedside Table

Currently reading and enjoying...

  • Lots of nonfiction, it seems! Starting with this terrific piece by Ashley Ford, “The Year I Grew Wildly, While Men Looked On.” On the female body, and the complicated messages about power and lack of power that young girls are forced to receive. You’ll be infuriated by parts of this article (but it might also feel very familiar). A powerful snippet: “My body was doing what it was supposed to do, and I would catch up. I wished no one would have to watch this happen."
  • Richard Gilbert’s great memoir, Shepherd. Gilbert’s prose is patient, natural, and swept up in the landscape. More thoughts on the book (and comments from the author) in a profile piece here.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Break It To You Gently

Break It To You Gently

The old maple holds its own broken limbs
high above the yard as if to say
I’ve got it I’ve got it

But on the ground, two enormous branches
that had been up there

Maple, you don’t got it
Think of the squirrels you could crush

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Place After Place

Place After Place

Memory depends at least partially on technology
and surroundings For example the phone

How very many memories of conversations
in yellow kitchens and close enough to walls
The finger’s familiar map to those
we reached for often

Memories that contain the props we needed
the table, the receiver, the cord

And those memories
where the conversation sews itself
into the land

Place after place For you a series
of dunk tanks A new enclosure
Look around you This is where
you live now

The smallest shrapnel shapes you
Pollen or mosquitos or a stone you kick
while walking

Friday, May 9, 2014

Reading Notes: The Child that Books Built

Loving this book (thank you for the recommendation, Tessa!). My handwriting always leaves something to be desired, but it's nice to see things written by hand sometimes, isn't it?

Happy Friday, everyone! What are you reading/loving?

Thursday, May 8, 2014



Who is the joke for
The teller

or the told

I see a man belittling his garden
at the end of the block

Scolding each white flower with
his index finger

I catch his words as I pass but he doesn’t look up

You’re not paying rent, you gotta go
You’re not paying rent, you gotta go
You’re not paying rent, you gotta go


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

If the Cave Told the Story

If the Cave Told the Story

A place fell away
and from that space I rose
I had always been there but was freed

I became a place of shelter
an animal could come in

I became an inside

Humans dragged in fire
brought me burnable things then
burned them up

Tree pieces
plant pieces
bodies of animals

I would become heat for them

And hold them dry or cool
if that is what they asked with their bodies

From here I can see flowers

The gift I have been given
is this spilling water
from it I learn of the far perimeter

what it holds
I press back

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Morning Keeps Trying to Come Inside

The Morning Keeps Trying to Come Inside

It is morning
only until you have to go somewhere

This new grass
is the old grass, just sharpened
Its fragrance makes you hear the mower’s motor

Maybe the loud bird
feels brave

We should say Good for you

Friday, May 2, 2014

Memory and Place and the Dollmaker

Last week, I taught a writing workshop on places/spaces that hold meaning and memory for us as individuals. Place has always been an obsession of mine, but I struggle to define the exact aspect that I’m drawn to. It’s not so much writing about travel or a specific destination. I’m always attentive to how our surroundings shape us, and vice versa (as well as the complex, layered histories constantly evolving around us). Where does a sense of place come from, I always wonder. Why are some places (spaces that we define as an area--it could be the corner of a room, a portion of a field, a certain doorway or street) so charged for us?

My friend Cortney shared something with me last night that is lingering in my mind (thanks, Cortney!).


The short documentary (by Fritz Schumann) shows us a glimpse of the life of Ayano Tsukimi. Tsukimi lives in Nagoru, a small village in which fewer than forty people live; Tsukimi has populated the village with hundreds of human-size dolls that she has created.

While watching the video, I kept wondering what it would be like to live in a near-ghost town. Tsukimi seems invested in maintaining this place, and keeping the memories (or the memories of the memories?) of the town intact through the dolls. Her love for Nagoru is evident--I wish I could hear more about her devotion to (as well as the the thoughts of the other thirty-some inhabitants regarding) this place.
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