Saturday, July 18, 2009

Nay Aug Park

I am in the park. Nay Aug Park. The ground is gravel and grass and there are cars parked sideways and next to each other under shady trees. Mom takes us here to play. There is so much to see and do. Scattered among the trees are amusement rides, old rusty ones, painted red and yellow. We can’t run from one ride to the next because we might fall and scrape our knees on the jagged grey stones. Each ride is like a magnet, shiny and bright, pulling me closer, begging to be ridden. The one that calls to me the most is the one that spins so fast that you stick to the walls and the ground falls out and you feel like you are flying in outer space. And I can ride it lots of times without getting sick, more times than my brother. And my favorite part is to watch the people across from me as they’re splattered to the sides like bugs in a cage and the girl with the long blond hair, her hair looks like its standing straight up, like electricity is shooting through her, like lightening has struck her but really its just the gravity or the lack of it that makes a wild design like fire around her face.

And there are other rides too. Kiddie rides and grown-up rides. And almost from the beginning, I go on the grown-up rides. I always feel grown-up even though I’m not. Beyond the rides, in the shady grass, there is a train. Not a whole train, just part of a train, a big piece, a link in the chain. And it’s complete, in and of itself and my brother and I, we climb on it, and kids are allowed to climb on the train pieces because it’s part of the park. And there are more trees and more kids and not too far away is a pool. A pool so big it could hold 1000 people. A cement pool. A long rectangular pool. And sometimes it’s empty and sometimes its full. And sometimes we swim in it. And there are so many people when we swim in it that I can barely see the water. And mom swims with me and she’s gorgeous. She wears a strapless bathing suit and she floats in the water near the side by the metal ladder that people use to climb in and out of the pool. And I just stare at her. I don’t really think about the swimming. I just watch her and I probably do lots of underwater flips and ask her to watch me, too.

And when we’re not in the water, we’re in the grass. And there are large gazebos in the grass with cement floors and pointy tops like the tops on the carousel. And I think the gazebos are for bands, for people to watch but there is no band today so I dance in the gazebo. No one is watching. No one is around. I just dance. I dance to my own music. I pretend there is an audience. I pretend the whole world is watching. And I throw my arms out to the sides and I spin until I am dizzy. And I spin until the trees are blurry and I spin until the light and the trees and the leaves and the shadows are spinning around like the ride that spins so fast that you stick to the walls and the ground falls out.

There is another park by my house. It’s much smaller, about the size of a shoebox. Me and my brother can walk to this park because it’s only a block away and there is a jungle gym made of wood and a tire swing and sand. And it’s boring compared to Nay Aug Park so we try to make it interesting by doing things we’re not supposed to do. The boys dare me to jump off the jungle gym. It’s way high over my head and it hurts my feet to jump off but I do it anyway. I do it because the boys are watching and because they dared me to do it. The boys keep a Playboy magazine hidden in the bushes at the park and sometimes they show it to me. The magazine makes my little brother nervous. I can tell. He’s worried he’s gonna get caught and makes me promise not to say anything. My brother is always trying to get more Playboy magazines. He thinks it’s funny. I don’t know what the big deal is.

I’ve seen mom naked and she looks just like the ladies in the Playboy magazine. One time, when we were swimming in the pool at Nay Aug Park, mom’s boobs popped out of her bathing suit. I pointed at her top and she looked down. She was so embarrassed and she quickly put her top back on. She looked a little nervous and sweaty for a while afterwards and she kept checking her bathing suit top over and over to make sure it was on right.

Mom warns us about the gorge behind Nay Aug Park. She warns us over and over again not to go in the woods behind the pool. Every year, some kids go into the woods and drink some beers and fall off the cliff and die. I worry about the gorge. It’s like a giant monster lurking in the bushes behind the pool eating up kids. I worry about the kids going into the woods and drinking some beers and falling off the cliff. I wonder why they do that. My brother isn’t scared of the woods or the gorge or the cliff. He wants to go exploring. He likes the adventure. But I won’t go exploring with him. No way. I like the rides and the spinning and the swimming and being in the pool with mom. That’s good enough for me.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Not My Words

What another would have done as well, do not do it.
What another would have said as well or written as well, do not say or write it.
Be faithful to that which exists nowhere but in yourself.
— AndrĂ© Gide

There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy… that is translated through you into action. And because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist…It is not your business to determine how good it is…It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly,to keep the channel open.
— Martha Graham

As we write, we are both describing and deciding the direction that our life is taking.
— Julia Cameron

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I am in the church.

I am in the church. Holy Rosary church. The air around me is thick with chanting, with music, with incense. In every direction I am far away from something. Far away from the doors, the walls, the ceiling, the altar. The only thing I can touch is the wooden pew, the prayer book, the kneeling step with the soft leather cushion that folds up and down at my feet. I feel ultimately alone in a big space with important people and a reverence that is palpable. I lean to my left, to look around the white column that is much too thick to wrap my arms around, bigger than a big tree, and I peer down the aisle, the aisle of weddings and funerals and processions, the aisle of my communion, my confirmation, my mother’s death. The aisle is so long that it becomes narrow at the end like a painting painted in perspective, and the long narrow tip points to the mighty priest in his robes with his candles and his magic. He is the grand sorcerer, the magic man that came long before the characters in Harry Potter. He turns bread and wine into flesh and blood and I believe him and we all eat like cannibals and I don’t understand but it is the ritual and I am in it. And I sing because others are singing and I know the words by heart and I don’t even have to look in the hymn book anymore.

Here I am Lord
It is I Lord
I have heard you calling in the night
I will go Lord
If you lead me
I will hold your people in my heart

And it must have been there in that moment that I discovered that all of God’s people belonged to me and they were all my responsibility and they were mine to protect, to care for, to save.

A withered bloody man stapled to wood hovers over me as if he is floating, as if he is connected to nothing, as if he is levitating by the magic power of the sorcerer.

Red blue yellow gold green frosty glass cut and carved into people, into stories on the gigantic windows, floor to ceiling along the walls from door to altar. There he is the withered man carrying a cross in the colorful cut glass. There he is the withered man being stalked and taunted by the people in the colorful cut glass. There he is the withered man being betrayed by his friends in the colorful cut class. There he is the withered man being hammered into a piece of wood in the colorful cut glass. There they are the people watching in the colorful cut glass. There we are the people kneeling before the colorful cut glass. He we are singing surrounded by the colorful cut glass.

There are letters. Latin I think. And numbers. Must be roman numerals. I try to read them. I try to count them but they are like hieroglyphics, an ancient language I don’t understand. He must know the secret to decoding the letters and numbers. There must be an explanation in his book of magic. He hovers over the book at the altar, raising his arms as he casts his spell on hundreds of us kneeling before him. He is blessing me. This is a blessing. I am being blessed. I am blessed. I eat. I drink. I kneel. I sing. I pray. I become one of them.

The pews are covered in a thick waxy coating. When we are standing, I scratch the coating off the pew in front of me with my fingernail. It makes lines like rivers, like veins in an autumn leaf. After the wax gathers under my fingernail, I scrape it out and start again. I don’t try to sign the pew with my initials like you would carve into a tree or draw a picture on the pew like you would draw with chalk on the sidewalk. I just scrape the waxy coating for no particular reason. I like the design n the wood, the lines and the circles and the life beneath the surface. I like the fact that I can touch the pew, feel the wax and feel the wood.

The space around me is so big, so thick with chanting, with music, with prayer. I know there are people around me but I don’t really see them. I’m not allowed to touch them or talk to them except for one brief moment mid-mass when the priest says:

Peace be with you. Now offer your brothers and sisters the sign of peace.

And we all turn and shake hands. And this terrifies me. I know when it’s coming. I know the whole mass by heart and I have to reach out and touch all the strangers around me and my palms are sweaty and I don’t know how I will shake everyone’s hand in the short time allotted to shake hands and there are some hands that I don’t want to shake but I shake them anyway because this is the prayer and this is the practice.

I feel a little bit warmer, a little bit more relaxed, and I settle back into myself and wait for the people around me to slowly fade away again, to drift away from me, leaving me alone in the empty pew, the big church, with nothing but my fingernail and the waxy coating that I scrape off the back of the pew.

It’s time to receive communion. We filter out of the pews and into the aisles. We walk quietly and orderly. The walking feels good. It makes me sleepy to sit so long. I follow slowly behind the people in front to me. I take my steps carefully because I don’t want to make a mistake. I count the people between me and the altar.


I am standing beneath him. He is tall. I am short. My hands are locked in the mudra I was taught, right hand cupped beneath the left hand. I raise my hands. He holds a circle of bread before me. We lock eyes and he says, “Body of Christ.” Everything seems to drop away. He is floating. I am floating. The bread slowly descends into my palm. I reach with my right hand into my left palm, take the bread and put it into my mouth. I am walking back to the pew, hands in prayer pose, but I can’t feel my hands, I can’t feel my feet, I can’t feel the walking. I can only feel the bread on my tongue and the way that it absorbs all the moisture in my mouth like a sponge, leaving my tongue dry and sticky. For a long time, I can feel nothing but my mouth and the bread dissolving on my tongue and I try to make it last as long as possible. It breaks into pieces and I savor each crumb until the last little bit has disappeared and even then I can still taste it as if it’s there, as if it never left my mouth.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I am a small girl lying on a very big bed.

I am a small girl lying on a very big bed. A bed too big for a small girl. The headboard is tall and high and it almost touches the ceiling. It is made of dark wood and it’s ornate. There are carvings and wooden pieces shaped like balls that come off in my hand. They are cold and soft and fit easily in place with a small peg that goes into a wooden hole. And there are thick ugly curtains that hang down around the bed. There are a dozen of them. They are red and white but they look pink if you squint your eyes. And if you look closely there are people drawn on the curtains. They are ugly people but I’m not sure why. They are dressed like Victorian people and they are pushing wheel barrels and fishing and the women are wearing big dresses and mostly they are outdoors, maybe they are farmers, maybe they are just rich and they don’t have anything important to do. I don’t know. I stare at them so much that they become empty like little ghosts all around me. I don’t like them. And I am tucked into another large heavy blanket with the same people – the curtain people – and my pillows are covered with the curtain people, too, and everything matches and I am wearing a white lacey nightgown and I am tucked into the big heavy tall wooden bed like a Victorian doll with the heavy blanket on me with the curtain people dancing on me and all around me.

And to the left of my bed is a night-table made of the same dark wood as the bed. It has a cold, white marble top. And from the window I can see the street and the trees and the slanted red roof. And if I open the window, I can climb out onto the roof. And I am not afraid. I would rather be on the roof or in the tree than in this stupid bed. And on the floor there is a thick scratchy wool carpet – pink and baby blue – and it is Persian in design and it is so big that it takes up the whole room and the room is big and I am small. And at the foot of the bed there is a foot-board – dark and wooden and ornate – and then a dark wooden trunk – and there is a dark wooden dresser across the room with a white marble top and a big mirror shaped like an hour-glass. And hanging in the center of the room is a brass and glass chandelier and I’m always afraid it’s going to break and I don’t like to touch it, especially when mom makes me clean it because it is dusty.

And there are more windows across the room and the room is shaped like a circle because there is a tower above me – on the third floor – and I’m in the room just below the tower. And under the thick scratchy carpet is a wooden floor. And the wooden floors are everywhere throughout the whole house and the house is big – 14 rooms and four floors – and I am small and it is way too much room for 4 people, sometimes 3. And I don’t think there should be this much space between people. And my brother’s room is next door to mine. His room is shaped like a square, not a circle. And his bed is shaped like a square and so is his headboard. And his headboard is small and simple. And his carpet is big, too, but not as scratchy as mine and the colors are dark blue and brown. My brother doesn’t have the heavy curtains or the bedspread. In fact, I don’t think he has curtains at all. His room is warm. Mine is cold. He doesn’t have a chandelier. He has a TV and video games. He has friends come over and play. I don’t really have friends. I write in my diary. When I finish one, I start another. I think I may have filled 12 of them by now.

I spend a lot of time in my bed. Mostly thinking and talking to God. Mom said that God can hear my thoughts so I don’t have to talk out loud. I can just think about what I want to say and he can hear me. I try to ask him about ‘forever.’ I want to know what it means to be somewhere forever. I can’t really understand forever. It’s kind of like a waterfall that never runs out. That doesn’t really make sense to me. It feels like forever since I’ve been in this bed and this room and I wonder if it will ever be any different. I wonder if I will be in this bed forever.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The first thing I do

The first thing I do every morning when I wake up is fill myself with garbage. I fill myself with emails and phone calls and tasks on the computer. I fill myself with ‘to-do’ lists and errands and planners and papers. It’s like eating ice cream for breakfast only it’s not tasty and it’s not sweet.

There is an emptiness now where the emails used to be. With them, my identity is gone, like socks from the dryer, to some unknown place. I need to stay in my room for days and wallow under the covers. I need to shut out the world and her screaming demands. I need to give myself permission to be silent and missing, like a phantom soldier not yet home from the war.

Lie to me and tell me you love me. Tell me you miss more than my efficiency and competency. What will become of me now that I’ve left you for a moment? Will I join the pictures on the wall of exiled ancestors that came before me? Will I become a legend or a rumor? Where do we go from here?

I’m so scared. I’m so new at this – staying with the emotion and feeling – not running away. I want to go to sleep and I want to sleep for days and I want to wake up when I don’t feel anything anymore. But you say this emotion is a gift. You say I am finding my voice, unleashing my power. I can feel the latent force within me. It’s been there for as long as I can remember. I have always tried to keep it at bay like a dog on a leash. It’s wild now. Its rabid, it’s raging. It’s tossing me in the white waters, throwing me up against jagged rocks. I’m soft like a fish, flopping my way down the stream toward some unknown destination. And I hate not knowing. I hate not knowing where I am going. I hate being scared and lost and not in control.

Squeezing the words out of my impacted brain is like trying to force oatmeal through a funnel. I have to push them out onto the page. I have to squeeze and contract my feeble brain until it produces one letter, one syllable, one meaningless phrase. And where is this going? This writing leads nowhere. I am a tortured artist on a horse with no name. What’s the point?

Salvation. I like the notion of salvation. I like the thought of someone saving me. Bring me joy. Bring me bliss. Then I don’t have to go out and search for it on my own. She said, ‘you don’t have to be good. You don’t have to crawl on your knees. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.’ How I wish that were true! How I wish I did not have to be good, did not have to crawl on my knees, did not have to do anything except love what I love.

Acceptance. There is a word that has taunted me for ten years. Accept the things you cannot change. You don’t have to like them, understand them or forgive them. You only have to accept them, without trying to change them.

Adapt. Everyone tells me I should adapt. Everyone tells me I should turn purple and blue and green like the chameleon just to ‘fit in.’ It’s not your problem, they say, stop making it your problem. Calm down. Let it go.

I wish I were a kite and you were the string and you were holding me lovingly while standing firmly on the sand and my ribbons, they would dance in the wind, my head bobbing and weaving like a brightly painted Chinese dragon, my colors brilliant, my body free.

I want to punch something. I want to take the force inside of me, channel all of it into my fist and punch something so hard that I break my arm. I want to break something. I feel so unfortunate to have all of this emotion and yet you say it is a gift. How could it possibly be???

What if I wrote for no reason? What if I locked myself up for 90 days and wrote for no reason? What if I didn’t write a book or a poem or a story? What if I just got up every day and wrote whatever was going to come out? Would it eventually lead to something? Would it be worthwhile even if it didn’t lead to anything?

I have a headache. It’s as if the opposing forces inside of me are waging louder and harder than before. It’s as if the quiet dispute is now a full-on war. I wish I could talk to you. I wish you were not avoiding me, hiding from me, running away from me. I wish you knew how to be my friend. But the irony is that you fill me like ice cream, too, leaving me fat and tired and lazy instead of allowing my wounds to bleed onto the page. The loneliness forces me to write. Otherwise there would only be meaningless talking and gossip and chit-chat and advice.

I think there are worlds within me. I think there are glass cities underwater and serial killers in the desert and weddings on the beach. I don’t know where they come from or where they’re going. I only know that I feel like they are there.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Over the Log and Through the Woods

Oh what a journey…over the log and through the woods…there is so much I want to remember…the girl with the gun in her mouth…the backyard with the LCD lights…the truth of what’s working on me…the flexibility I don’t think I have…I bet they’ll think my sun-kissed sun is evidence of my betrayal…there is no way to win with them…there is so much I want to say…how do I say it all?

Don’t mess with my writing, ok! Don’t mess with my wonder, my curiosity, my innocence, and my joy. Don’t try to take from me what isn’t yours because you don’t have it for yourself. Don’t try to bully me, control me, sit on me with your fat fear and your worry about what I might do…worry about what you’re doing right now! Worry about your arrogance, your emptiness, your ugliness and the way you have to control everyone and everything around you. You’re a hypocrite. You made me feel bad about myself. You made me wonder what I was doing wrong. You woke the big bad beast of shame that lives in the firey pit of my belly…he was sleeping, dammit! And now he’s throwing sloppy fire all over the place. Fuck!

I just want it to be easy…I want it to be easy and funny and happy…and carefree…I want it to be surfing and sunbathing and sharing stories…it makes me happy when you tell me stories…I love to hear your stories…I want to hear all the stories in the whole world.

I’m walking down a wooded path, thick with trees, with brush, with leaves, the branches cross overhead like the swords of soldiers making a procession for me…there is light in the distance, really bright, warm light. There is a cleaning and a beach and turquoise water and I am sitting on the beach and I am writing and it’s my fantasy and it calls to me and I wonder if he knows someone in Cabo that I can stay with? I wonder if I can move to Mexico and live on the beach and write my book? And I wonder if I can find the words if I’m far away and my only job is to find the words that say what I want to say? And I wonder if I’ll ever say what I want to say?...and why not? Because you bully me!You worry that I will run away…you worry that I will take something of yours with me…you worry that I want what you have but I don’t! I don’t want what’s yours…I only want what’s mine. I only want the spinning to stop so I can dive down deep and write the soulful things that need to be written.

Rambling…her book was like rambling, like listening to someone who can’t control what she’s thinking, can’t control what she’s writing…and where do the words come from?…they come so fast. I can’t keep up and my wrist starts to cramp. I don’t want to stop today. I don’t want to stop and be good and write something pretty so that everyone will say, ‘oh, you’re writing is so nice!’ I want to be stupid and irreverent and sloppy and I don’t want to live up to your expectations. I want to fail you…I want to let you down so the pressure is off and I don’t have to try anymore.

I want to get off the hook…I want to get off the big fat rusty sharp fish hook that’s tearing through the flesh in my cheek…I am not your catch! I don’t belong to you…you don’t own me and you can’t tell me what to do…I give to you because I love to give…I give to you because it makes me feel good but it doesn’t feel good anymore…it feels forced…it feels compromised…it feels sad and disappointing and draining…I want to feel good! I want you to love me…I want to shine and I want to glow and the more I fill up the room with light, the more I want you to smile and step back and say, ‘I’m so proud of you!’…and I don’t want to let you down – even though I say that I do.

Find me
At the edge of my path
Take my hand
Help me cross over
The invisible ground
Give me strength, please,
Give me wings

I’m so sorry all of the time I’m so sorry that I can’t do better I’m so sorry that I can’t do more and what a waste! What a waste it is to be sorry all the time…I just want to celebrate…I just want to see what other people see when they see me…I want to know my potential, my possibilities.

Ok, so there is this great story that I have to tell because it’s so great and it makes me smile and laugh at myself. There is this great book called ‘heart of the world’ where these young ambitious guys go exploring in the unexplored parts of Tibet to find magical waterfalls and traveling with them are a strange band of marauders…the most knowledgeable of which is a monk…and at one point in their journey they come across a log and its blocking their way and people are angry and frustrated and they keep throwing themselves at the log and they are trying to crawl over and they keep falling in the mud and they get more and more mad and then the monk tries…and they watch because he is always so happy and they are sure that this log will frustrate him as much as it frustrates them and they watch…as he approaches…he looks at the log, takes a few steps back, and then runs as fast as he can towards the log, trying to throw his lanky body over the top. He hits the log, flies backwards into the direction from which he came and bursts into a fit of laughter…the more he laughs, the more astonished his spectators become…and then he gets up, muddy from head to toe, takes a running start and throws himself at the log again…the log throws him back into the mud, back on his butt, and this time he laughs even harder and louder. After about 10 tries, he manages to flop himself across the this formidable obstacle and he rests for a moment before getting up and continuing on his path with a smile and unbending joy in his heart. His companions, mesmerized and speechless from the display, follow behind him with a newfound appreciation for just how easy it can be, if you let it be, to climb over a log and through the woods.


Raw like a broken tree branch, sap slipping out
Raw like a wide-open wound

And then...

And then a white trail of smoke slashes a diagonal line across the blue sky
And then the jagged brown mountains poke the delicate pink sky
And then the fingers massage the keys of the piano as he closes his eyes in ecstasy
And then he weeps because it burns when someone touches his neck
And then he shoots a needle into his neck to fill his body with artificial joy
And then I write because there is nothing else I can do to stay alive

We Can Be Happy

I think all people should do what they love because watching someone do what they love makes you feel the love and makes you want to do what you love – it’s contagious. And its necessary. And I don’t think anyone really likes to see another suffer. And I think we’d all much rather see someone be happy because it makes us believe that we can be happy too.


when the 'desire' for an answer started to dissolve there was room for it to be answered. i noticed that only when i forgot where i was did i find that i had arrived at the center of the labyrinth (question). i noticed that my emotions and fears can cloud my vision of who I really am. i noticed that only one step at a time can take me where i need to go. i found that the view from close-up seems totally chaotic but when viewed from a distance is a beautiful image. i realized that i was often repeating similar patterns but going deeper each time i followed that particular curve. the lines between what was path and what was 'not' path also began to blur. it was all path. i felt empowered at the center of the labyrinth (question) and walked a little taller, straighter and more confident on the way out then i did on the way in. someone asked me when i got to the center if i knew how to follow the path and i announced ' i followed it in and now i have to go back out.' how is my answer symbolic of my question? what does it mean?

Quotes from Writers

Writing is the only thing that…when I’m doing it,
I don’t feel that I should be doing something else.

~ Gloria Steinem

“Writing is like praying, because you stop all other activities, descend into silence, and listen patiently to the depths of our soul, waiting for the true words to come. When they do, you thank God because you know the words are a gift, and you write them down as honestly and as cleanly as you can.”

~Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

~ Mark Twain

Don't surrender your loneliness
So quickly.
Let it cut more deep.
Let it ferment and season you
As few human
Or even divine ingredients can.
Something missing in my heart tonight
Has made my eyes so soft,
My voice
So tender,
My need of God


I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair. Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets. Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all day I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps. I hunger for your sleek laugh, your hands the color of a savage harvest, hunger for the pale stones of your fingernails, I want to eat your skin like a whole almond. I want to eat the sunbeam flaring in your lovely body, the sovereign nose of your arrogant face, I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes, and I pace around hungry, sniffing the twilight, hunting for you, for your hot heart, Like a puma in the barrens of Quitratue.

~Pablo Neruda

"I will not die an unlived life. I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire. I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise. I choose to risk my significance; to live so that which comes to me as seed goes to the next as blossom and that which comes to me as blossom, goes on as fruit."

~Dawna Markova

"Anything is bearable as long as you can make a story out of it."

~N. Scott Momaday

A Girl is Easy to Be

A girl is easy to be.
It’s like playtime, make believe, dress up, fantasy.
Try on mom’s shoes and lipstick.
Discard them for a brother’s matchbox cars or video games.
Play with Barbies’ when the girls come over.
Climb trees with boys when the girls go home.
Ride bikes with anyone in the neighborhood streets until the sun goes down
And it’s time for bed.
Hide out in the tree house alone.
Solitude. Privacy. Simplicity.
Pitch a tent in the yard for a mini-vacation.
Crawl back into house into bed before the sun even comes up.

I drew for hours. And painted. And created things unique.
I jumped fences, and puddles, and roof to roof.
Collected stickers and bracelets.
Dug up worms and caught salamanders, too.
Caught a fish once. Hated it. Sent it back in tears.
Put beads on safety pins and pinned them to shoelaces.
Pretended I was a waitress, a teacher, a shopkeeper, a dancer.
Dozens of key-chains and no keys. Had nothing to lock.
Loved cats and squirrels and rabbits and toads.
Fifty animals on my bed, I once counted, all stuffed and smiling at me.
Silent friends. Confidants. Companions.
Never cared about messy or dirty or watching too much TV.
No limits or boundaries or inhibitions or fear.

But a woman, that’s different.
Every feature, a judgment. Every gesture, an indication.
Complexity. Irony. Self-Consciousness replace playtime.
Videos exchanged for video games. Real cars for toy cars.
Lipstick, a statement. No lipstick, a statement.
What will they think? What are they thinking? What do they see? Why can’t they see?
No tents in the yard. No worms in my hands.
Trees are not climbed. Fences not jumped.
Boots or high heels? Long hair or short? Skirt or pant suit? Padded bra or T-shirt?
A man in the bed instead of fifty old friends.
Beads and stickers and painting seem pointless.
Dozen keys, no key chains. Locks everywhere on everything.

There is an opposite of me somewhere I’m sure.
No tattoos, perhaps. Fake breasts or long hair to the floor.
Is she a virgin, a mother, a Buddhist Nun in Tibet?
Maybe Med school or Law school or the Peace Corps suits her.
She is me and I am her. All the choices I didn’t make.
With every moment, a thousand of me, all living, all multiplying.
A thousand directions. A thousand patterns. A thousand lives unlived.
It’s still like playtime, make believe, dress up, fantasy,
But they all think it’s real. All except me.
The art of being a woman is empty.
There is something greater in the girl it was so easy to be.

To Be Needed

To be needed
To be pushed and pulled
And tugged upon
To give your life
Your breath
You last drop of energy
To someone else
To lose yourself
In the sympathy
In the empathy
The pity really
Relentless and unforgiving
Because she can’t do it alone
Because he depends on you
Because you said you would
Because it’s my responsibility
To be responsible
To be afraid
Of letting someone down
Of being less than what they were
When I needed them
To be needed so much
You forget what you need
Forget who you are
Forget you made the choice
To be needed
In the first place

The Space Between

The space between my heart and yours
Gets out of the car and stands on the curb
Back to you as you drive away
It sits on the train watching walls go by
Eyes blurry with speed, blurry with tears
The space between my heart and yours
Taxis down the runway and thrusts into the sky
Stomach dropping from heights, dropping from heartache
It stretches miles from the landscape
Of your body and soul
Giving me hurt where your hands used to be
The space between my heart and yours
Demands to know when it will have you again
To taste and to touch and indulge in your love
It mocks me with memories of smiles and sweetness
That I left behind when I left your side
The space between my heart and yours
Is only as big as the biggest balloon
That threatens to burst if I am away too long
So let it be soon that I see you again
To erase this space between
My heart and yours.

Small Gift

i read your writing with anticipation
feeling your fumbling and your uninhibited honesty
your search to capture the real and unreal
as if i am inside you
and it makes me feel connected to you even in our
lack of relationship
if we lived in another place and time
i would want to write long letters to you with a quill pen
and wait impatiently for your response
to see what words you would entertain for me

and here is a small gift of words for you....

"only someone who is ready for everything, who excludes nothing, not even the most enigmatical, will live the relation to another as something alive and will himself draw exhaustively from his own existence."

Rainer Maria Rilke

I am No One

soul longing
soul hurting
i am no one
without someone
to relate to
under the earth
worms and dirt
my true feelings
are unearthing
slimey and crawling
creatures creeping
stomach contracting
i need someone
to make it better
stop the longing
stop the hurting
you are no one
without someone
to relate to

Fire in Me

There is a fire in me now
Red hot and wild
My hands are electric with the heat
Stepping up to the edge
Diving into the flames
I found newborn permission to be myself
Like a woman who knows her own strength
And isn’t afraid to use it
A woman who knows her own direction
And won’t let anything get in her way
Like the splendid serpent who renews herself continually
I am shedding my skin
Like the wolf that is fiercely daring and brave
I feel the power that is instinctively mine
Like the owl who guards the darkness
Fangs exposed, claws revealed, wings outspread
I am every creature that has embodied my name
Since the time before time
There is a fire in me now
I am unleashing it
In all its ravishing glory
I am a glowing light for all to see

Why I Travel

It’s as if I let myself go
It’s as if I am seeing everything for the first time
It’s as if everything is speaking directly to me
It’s as if I am outside the human condition
It’s as if I am detoxing my identity
It’s as if I settle into my own center of gravity
It’s as if I surrender to the big picture
It’s as if I stumble onto a path uniquely my own
It’s as if I am full of possibilities
It’s as if I can feel the environment move through me
It’s as if I become a verb instead of a noun
It’s as if I am living without limits
It’s as if I can’t get enough

I Give Up My Sins

I give up my sins
Discard my personal history
Perpetual grief is my lost cause
I am blind
So that Divine work can be seen
Laying down my flaws
Blessings in disguise
I need no forgiveness for who I am
Who I am is a magnet for Divine love
The measurement of my life
My vicinity to infinity
And obstacles overcome
My frequency forever moving
Faster higher faster
To reach the unchanging and changeless
Life space
Where flesh meets breath
And all becomes sacred
I lay down my greed, gossip and hypocrisy
To become something of worth
As I think so shall I be.


When I needed to cross water
The raft appeared
When I needed to climb mountains
The walking stick reached out to me
When I needed to rise from the ashes
Glorious wings sprouted from my back
And the wind carried me to new ground.
Behold. Synchronicity is everywhere.


Energy stirring
between my legs
up through my belly
into my heart
I smile to myself
knowing you are feeling the same
Waiting for me
Anticipating my touch

The first kiss
like honey and rose petals on my lips
I drink you in
with my eyes
my mouth
my breath
My smile is bigger now
Satisfied and satisfied
to be with you
In communion

Like new lovers
We embrace
Eager and overwhelmed
Seems like forever
Since the last time
Love brings us back
To the place where we left off

In a blur you’re inside me
I’m inside you
Sensations like a buffet of pleasure
so many feelings
so many colors
so many sights and sounds and tastes
Satisfied and satisfied
To be with you
In love

Climax giving way softly
To tenderness
To gratitude
And in the quiet
All is said and
Nothing unnecessarily exchanged
You are my healing that makes me whole

The lingering smell of you on my fingertips
I hold them to my face
The intoxicating scent still in my nose
The salty taste of you on my tongue
I suckle my own mouth
Energy stirring again
Between my legs
Up through my belly
Into my heart
I smile to myself
Knowing I must have you again


Like sand through my fingers
I know the feeling of you
as something moving and elusive
not sedentary like the stones
or heavy like the ocean
It is always inside me
and yet when I look for it
it turns from particle to wave
back to particle again
playing tricks on my mind
The only way to really hold you
is without hands
without thoughts
just sitting with the orange crab
as the sun dips down
behind the veil of golden water
When I let go of everything I know
I find you there
in the great space of Mystery
The place where all of us were made
where all of us will return
There is nothing I can do to contain it
and yet it all exists within these
four limbs
two eyes
and one heart
Like sand through my fingers
I know the feeling of you

My Lover

There is a hole inside of me
an emptiness that needs filling
a place that is hungry for soul food
I tried filling it with pop culture
with sex
with mindless human interaction
but it drained from the hole
like bathwater from the tub
and now its empty again
I need my muse
My mysterious lover
Who makes music instead of children
Who writes books about truth
Who teaches others about life
I dreamt about him last night
We danced into the cold ocean
We laid down in it and drank in the
desire of each other
my lips close to his ear
using my breath to seduce him
his resistance futile
and when I woke I knew I missed him
I need him
I am withering without him
like a rose cut from the vine
I am nothing but
empty ears
vacant eyes and
hollow heart without him
I must seek out my lover again to
feed me
fill me
with his starry starry night, his brass saxophone and
his wade in the water jamboree
He is the source of hope
of light
of life
the only one who fills the intimate place inside me
There is a hole inside of me
an emptiness that needs filling
a place that is hungry for my lover.

Dear Man

you come to me
begging with your body
hiding with your eyes
I feel your wanting
your insatiable need for me
your transparent deception
is no match for my intuition
maybe you are indifferent sometimes
bored or needing gratification
fueled only by your physicality
but mostly
there is a burning desire in you
for my softness
my wetness
my perfumed perspiration
a desire that cannot be quenched
by any other shape than me
my breast is your pacifier
my emptiness is your home
I am a warm place for you to rest
for you to find yourself
gone and forgotten
and rather than knowing myself as your object
I know myself as your safety
I am mother, sister, and friend
the place where you always return for comfort
when your job, your friends,
your attempt to conquer the world
doesn’t quiet the craving of your soul
inside me you are a real man
pure and perfect
merging with something unmistakably feminine and beautiful
I am that
I am her
only in your honesty and acceptance
will I stop being afraid
that you might rape me or betray me
that you might see
you are only afraid because you love me

if only

If only this embarrassment could be replaced by entitlement
that I might feel comfortable with my own neediness

If only my mind could shed the shackles of shame and self-judgment
and give me permission to be emotional

If only the past would stop chasing me and the future stop enticing me
long enough for me to be in the moment

If only doubt would stop banging on the door of my heart
that I might open it and let in some fresh air

If only I could stop trying to please him in every way
and support instead my own indecision

If only my depth made me more fun, more simple, easier to get along with
that I might stop living in isolation

If only running away really did get me somewhere
and falling in love didn’t stop me from going

If only he knew what it was like to be me
that I might stop trying so hard to be someone else

If only this were all a dream and I could wake up
like the Buddha
in the blink of an eye
that I might see the truth and the truth might set me free

if only

I Missed You

i missed you tonight at the club
i missed your eyes
your lips
the way you watch me always
protecting me
i missed your hand on the small of my back
your arm around my waist
your hand in mine
i missed your gossip in my ear
your quick mind dashing here and there
i missed the way you smell
when i get close
and the way you taste
when i steal kisses from you
i missed your smile
and your laugh
and the way you walk kinda funny
always in a hurry
always on the phone
i missed you
i miss you now
in our room
in our bed
in our home that's not a home
unless you're here

i wrote this for you...

Still trying to feel
The fullness of the light
Without feeling
The burning on my skin
Still trying to see
The thing that the light revels
Without being blinded
By the glare of the sun
Still trying to hold
The heaviness of love
In this broken container
I call my heart
Still trying to know
The sweetness of you
Without the bitterness
Of life on my tongue


Like putting on a pair of comfortable jeans
I slipped into my mind today
And with each foot
Stepped into my familiar emotions
Without a second thought
My voice told the same story of me
Covering my head and heart in the thick jacket
I have worn all my life
Then I went out to meet the sea
To sit in her rocking chair
And let the whooshing wash over me
To find some stability in her motion
And lose myself in her embrace
Before I could settle in
The wind gave me a blow to the head
The sea kicked mist into my eyes
In my blindness I saw my Self
Melt down like ice in the sun
And fill up again like a jar full of fireflies
And Choice
The invisible conductor of the chaos of light
Orchestrating my life
Making music of freedom
Silent to my ears
In her choppy water I caught my reflection
Saw what I had chose to wear that day
And wondered, for the first time,
If there wasn’t something more suitable for the occasion
Did my thoughts need to be replaced by ones less worn and torn?
Did my emotions, which always hurt like brand new shoes, need to be more comfortable?
Did the jacket of my personal history need to be quite so heavy?
Couldn’t I rearrange the molecules of myself
Inside and out
To look better and feel better than before?
If all the lip service subsided
Going through the motions ceased
And real transformation took root
I decided
I just might be able to shed my skin
Spread my wings
And grow into the luminescence
Of the fireflies
It was my choice, after all,
What to think.
How to feel.
Who to be.
It was my choice to be free.


waiting for the elevator
quiet stone building
high ceilings and marble floor
i love fine arts buildings
they remind me of my childhood
i used to dance in a building like that
twice a year for many years
in a grand performance which took
months of preparation
covered in glitter and make up
i would wait in nervous anticipation
in the belly of the building
in the electric dressing rooms with
dozens of little girls charged
with the same excitement
i would climb up and down the spiral staircase
peek onto the stage while other performed
butterflies turning over in my tummy
while others turned on the stage
i loved the wait
more than i loved to perform
once i got on the stage
time and space was lost
in a blur of color and lights
the dance danced me and
i was along for the ride
watching was better
watching was perfect
watching was waiting and
waiting was dreaming of love and applause
and colors and lights
dreaming was divine
maybe if i never got on the elevator
i never would have lost the dream
maybe i am still waiting for the elevator
to pick me up


I stepped into your eyes
Felt your body from the inside
Knew you intimately for a moment
Heard what I couldn’t hear before
A silent cry calling me closer, deeper
I understood your appreciation
Understood I was the only one
To hear your voice
Step into your heart and feel your desperation
I embrace you
Who you are now
Knowing you are perfection in disguise
Knowing you will wake up from this dream
A stronger more beautiful man
A man with a heart broken open from the struggle
From the suffering, from the pain
I feel all of you
I am grateful
I am humbled
I am in awe of the way I connected with you
With life, with mystery
I am still bathing in the sacred silence of this timeless moment
That is everything to me
My life, my purpose, my love
To give unconditionally
Only to receive it all again
Returned to me in abundance
How lucky I am to find myself in you
And hold your healing in my heart
Like a seed stored in a safe place
There is beauty here
I stepped into your eyes and felt it from the inside.

Broken Glass

Broken glass
Shattered pieces mirror the world
Sharp painful fragments
Scattered and hidden in dark places
Inviting a vulnerable foot to approach
To stab and bleed
To feel what it is to be broken

Brekke Poem

rise up from the belly
forbidden word
fire shooting from my lips
let me be free from the holding
permit me to be bold
to be bare
to show you who I really am
i want to ride the high wave of the of roller coaster
down into the silly screaming dip
hands waving in the air
palms open
ready to grasp the love I deserve
rise up from the belly
forbidden word
and let the world hear my sound

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Cloisters

Ah…the neverending story…the magic book that opens like big wooden doors to another world, a world of wonder and fantasy…a world beyond and below our world…a world like water, like dreaming, like unending possibilities. Open and full of possibility. Open and full of possibility. Open and full of possibility. Fragrant. Buoyant. Floating on the back of a soft white creature with big eyes, long lashes, whiskers and a smile. I remembered the Cloisters when you were talking. I remembered the cold soft marble, the boxy blocks of stone stacked in the forest in Harlem. I remembered the long winding road around the Cloisters. I remembered the gardens, the courtyards and the unicorn tapestries. I remembered the beam of light reaching up from the top of my head to the source above and I remembered the connection, the long narrow glass cylinder connecting me to you and I remembered warmth. The touch of a hand on my face, fitted in the curve, hand to check, concave and supporting. I remembered being held, head in hand, and the feeling I chase, so near, so here, in your hand.

I was thinking as I drove here, it’s the feeling I chase, not the person, the place or the aspiration. It’s the feeling I chase and I tried to remember the feeling of the feelings I had before the feeling I have now and I got so lost and so scared and I started to cry and I couldn’t stop and my head was heavy and my head hurt and all I could say was, I can’t remember. I can’t remember. And he asked me what was wrong and I couldn’t explain and I can never quite explain it because it is so beyond words, so beyond my grasp, so beyond the hammers, and nails and wood that I could use to build something real and tangible.

There is a dilapidated house nearby. It is black on the inside – not the color, but the feeling – and it needs to be gutted like the smooshed squirrel on Canoga Blvd. and it needs to be squeezed of its contents, purged of its insides, and it needs to be rebuilt and restored and re-imagined on the inside and it needs a new story. It needs a non-falling down, peeling off, bubbling up, crooked story. It needs a smooth hard-wood floor, stainless steel appliances, infinity pool story, and it needs dozens of flowers and flora and other botanical words that I would have to look up in a text book and I need the house, and I need the work and I need to put myself into the hammers and nails and wood and I need to build something and I need to write something and I need to bathe under the Tuscan sun like someone who needed that long before I did and I need to carry stone and I need to uncover fresco and I need to dig out an old bathtub and fill it by hand and slide into it and sink into it and bathe in it until I wrinkle.

My head is lighter now, it’s more open, my spine is taller now, it’s more straight, but my path is still winding and I still have that lost look in my eyes that you pointed out in the picture of me in the mango grove. Will you take my picture? Will you take my picture over and over again while I close my eyes, think blissful thoughts and smile to myself? Will you make me a beautiful floating Buddha in the colored water with garments like jellyfish arms around me? Will you make me famous? Will you immortalize me? Embalm me in some fragrant solution? Will you capture me and contain me like the flowers in the Cloister’s garden?

Underneath the bedrock is cold running water. And under the cold running water is stone. And on the stone is soft fluorescent green moss like pubic hair on the bone. And in the cold dark water, sultry seductive mermaids are swimming, waiting, infusing the water with lines of electricity that run down my legs and into my toes and give me the tingling feeling that I have when I stand on the edge of something tall and look down and I want you to catch me, And I want you to be there, and I want to melt into you like the serpent in the grass and I want our love to be biblical and I want it to be grandiose and I want it to be ridiculous like a Fellini movie. And I want to laugh and I want to cry and I want to throw myself in the dirt and roll around like a child but most of all, I want to give myself to you. I want to bend at the waist, arms outstretched, heart in my hands, eyes lowered and give myself to you, wanting nothing but your acceptance in return.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

At the very edge of the world

At the very edge of the world where the sunlight and the ocean and the horizon fuse into a blinding hot warm wall of light there is a curtain, a veil, and opening, and behind the big blue curtains there is impenetrable blackness, darkness, a void, an eternity, and….

when I am sailing I know God and there are dolphins around me and I scream when they leap like dancers out of the water and I clap as the ocean spray hits my face and I reach, unable to touch them and there is so much beauty, more than I could ever put into words and…

will I be forgiven? Will I be forgiven if I do not put it all into words? If its gone? If I don’t capture it? if I let it go and I do not put it into words, will I be able to forgive myself? Will the world love me if I don’t write about the dolphins and the ocean and the bright light and the way that everything in the world is just a reflection of something so perfect, so passionate, so beautiful beyond words?

I was walking through the forest and there was incense, the forest was incense, and the light broke through the canopy of trees and it was as if God himself was standing in a spotlight in the forest and I don’t deserve this. I don’t deserve to see so much beauty and know so much beauty and feel so much beauty and be so alone with it and my heart is breaking…

He falls through the sky with his parachute wide open, his life wide open, his love wide open and his mother calls me and she says its been so long and I haven’t received it. where is it? he doesn’t respond to me and I look for it. I call for it. I ask for it and I tell her I will find it because she deserves it because she’s lost him and he’s gone. And I’m broken and I’m broken and I’m broken…

and then the sun comes out again the sun comes out again and the birds speak to me and I remember them in the Celtic garden and I remember them on my sailboat and I remember the black crow that used to talk to me in college and the flowers – their smell like food, like sex, like wine, I love the smell of flowers and their colors! my God, their colors! God, the artist – I’m so jealous of him in the sky painting the world not a care in the world. My life, my art could never compare to him and I’m jealous….

I’m a jealous person and you don’t know me, don’t know the way I sit and stare. The way I wish I were somebody else and you don’t know regret and why does regret come after the fact, as youth wears off and you look back and you go, what was I thinking?! And how can I look at them, work with them, guide them, knowing that they won’t know until they know and I can’t really teach them because that’s just the way life goes…

Mandalay bay. The sun the sun the sun. I am only happy when I am moving. I am only happy in the sun. I am only happy forgetting who I am, and you said something. You said something during the meditation that stuck with me. Something that makes my hand shake and my soul rattle. You said, gather the parts that are disconnected and lost, disconnected and lost, disconnected and lost. You said gather the parts of you that are disconnected and lost, disconnected and lost, disconnected and lost. And that’s what I want….

I see a ghost in the window. I hear murmurs in the wind. I feel spirits around me. I want to gather the parts of me that are disconnected and lost. Lost, the TV show, what a concept, right? Does anyone really find themselves on the show? Life, what a concept, right? Does anyone really find themselves in life? Slow down. Breathe. Relax. Slow down. Breathe. Relax….

Ya know how I got through my dissertation? With endless relentless day and night, night and day, mantra. I had to draw pictures of myself getting through the dissertation and I had to dream myself through the dissertation and I had to kick and scream through the dissertation and now I face my story, my life story. What is the story I really want to tell? What is the truth in my story? What was lost and disconnected? Where did I find myself in the story? How did the wind and the birds and the boat and the flowers find me in my story?

Once upon a time there was the most beautiful little girl filled with light and love and laughter. She had golden locks and the brightest smile and danced every where she went and I can see her on her roller-skates in her pigtails holding sparklers and I can feel the little stabbing pinches, like bug bites, on my wrist as the fire jumps off the stick and lands on my arm and I can feel the vortex that the little stabbing pain opens in my mind and I can feel myself tumbling like Alice in wonderland down the pain tunnel to the very bottom where I am abandoned like a beached whale on the sand many years later and everything that happened in between is a mystery to me and I am still digging and I am still putting the pieces together and…

Am I supposed to spend the whole remaining length of my life trying to figure out the first 30 years of my life? What about living the life that I have now? When am I supposed to do that? And the inner critic has something to say: you suck at writing. You don’t know how to write. You’re stuck in your head. You don’t have a voice. You have nothing to say, and I listen and I wonder, who invited him here?

And the potted plants sit in turquoise boxes and the twig spins 360 on the spider web and the clouds play hide and seek with the sun and I turn another page and I am here with my reflection, hovering buzzing investigating, like the bee visiting the lilac and I wish writing were like painting because painting is easier and the one image, the last image that I would paint is the dandelion growing up through the crack in the bricks, laying side by side in the ground, growing crooked with her face towards the sun, not quite out of the shadows yet, but hoping to get there.