putting on a pot of coffee at eight. scraping dried glue from underneath my fingernails. making loops with my hair. starting a book together. reading robert bly and greek tragedy. getting epiphanies in the car for the play to be staged. 'two actors, facing forward...' giving things ordinary names. happy for christmas lights and funny shaped trees and thinking 'it was just spring and i was glad for the sun to be showing.'
come hither, again i'm painting now i'm stringing a web in my fingers i'm drinking coffee and sitting on the couch for hours i cut bangs in my hair i always wear a bun and large sweater i blow my nose i file my nails i'm staying up late and sleeping in dressing in black running around running my tongue along my coffee teeth i eat slices of bread run my fingers along the crusty edges of my eyelashes in the morning prop myself up with a pillow, saying good morn
climbing up one side of a gnarled, twisting tree just to get to the other side, a ribbon purple sky and waving hands out there of ones who were never told to cry. a flag in the air of one, a red rag grasped in the fingers for to scream of the rage. a scream of a whisper of a yelp of a plea not to screech but to inform of a voice not usually heard of a face not usually seen of a life not usually known or been to the other side. a flower turned inside out on the fancy table plate for the selected ones. looking through the bent back tulips and not only seeing how the other half lives but begging for it and how troublesome that is. being current measures of success are what we all dream for hope for scream and scream and scream for. leaning against the gnarled, twisting tree scratched bark on our backs and rain beginning to come only hoping to be safe under the bare arms of a dead tree that doesn't promise anything but whispering just to be. heels digging in the wet dirt, toes glittering with drops of dew, hands bracing the earth held up by the strong arms of a woman saying i will not apologize for the advances made by my people i will not apologize for demanding more i will not apologize for making anyone feel uncomfortable of my plight because measuring how far we've come is sweet and pure but it's not good enough anymore and asking questions why why why? why am i not paid as much as the man in my office doing the same job who just bought a new car? i have mouths to feed and trips to plan because i've been dreaming of the far away orient all my life why why why why do i not deserve that as much as the other? and why why why why am i crippled like the crippling dead twisting tree above me that i support my back upon? crippled for to make the bills each month each desire of mine getting further away because i'm sorry i can' pay. because i'm sorry honey, you're not strong enough. i'm sorry honey, it's a man's world. i'm sorry honey you're too pretty you're not pretty enough. well man, you gotta stop apologizing too because when did my looks and the beautiful folds of my vagina make me incompetent to handle what you do? when did my hips and my demeanor and the timber of my voice mean i am less? my daddy told me i deserve the best and these best aren't giving to the rest and rest can't rest because hell it's a man's world out there. but the ribbon purple sky doesn't care who i am it rains on everyone so let's take our lesson from the air and breathe deeply, sing loudly, thunder ravenously until every bone and every foot and every head has heard our voice, has felt our presence, has needed us to survive, has respected our product, who looks to us for omens and wisdom and guidance and strength and comfort. sing loudly into the open violent violet red rage sky until all is equal, until all has passed, until apologies are no longer needed and i beat on my chest with a thunderous cry we have overcome.
listening to led zeppelin and french music looking out of dark windows, wondering, big baggy shirts with large armholes perfume and gilded mirrors standing upright at the vanity. my black, shiny asian hair and my slippery long legs in my big bed swishing in sheets with books and clothes lying on top. wearing stripey things and forgetting to wash my face before bed. looking up at george harrison and thinking about gertrude stein. having long and drawn out detailed dreams about job interviews and waterparks and walking on city streets with no end. being solitary and obsessing over my next birthday and having the itch to leave. tickets to streetcar and new schedules and taking photos for christmas always thinking about church and eavesdropping on conversations in coffeeshops and thinking not much has changed around here. someone will still prescribe scripture to save my soul. a cup of joe to set my head straight again and a loving word from a friend and telling myself be happy be happy be happy be happy.
walking for blocks down K street, mounds of leaves under our feet, boots clacking, arm in arm, hat on head, green and red decorations with gold, a big band, cold air, drizzling rain. wooden sidewalks, saloons, a bright yellow bridge. snapping photos with the old canon. sittin' just four at the table with mom and pop's food. watching home videos, laughing at my dad's outfits. "fruka" - my word for music. waking up in my parent's bed, 7am, looking out at steel blue sky and crawling tree branches, bare. bouncing my nephew on my knee, knowing he's related to me. making no plans, sleeping on the couch, sleeping in my old room. my dad's showing me his jazz records, sipping beaujolais. this is where he usually sits, alone, reclined and closed eyes, soaking in the trumpets, the bass, the movement and woes, the swell, the speed, the slow romance of it all. now with company, talking of the iliad, the bronte sisters, harper lee, miles davis and the birth of cool. where he usually sits, alone.
we are feeling welcome, making jokes, telling old stories and kissing cheeks. 1944 photos of jean and charlie freeland at bimbo's lounge, san francisco, 1075 columbus avenue, roaming around north beach like us. being connected and calm.
we are feeling welcome, yes. with our own kin and our not. being autumnal of season, trying not to try too hard, walking for blocks, kissing cheeks, being calm and connected.
listenin' to soft music and stacking books in the corner. hosting foreigners on our couches and eating leftovers. keeping a lost and found and dead candles. craving change and change of scenery and staggering our joy and our blues with each other and saying "its ok hang in there." finding old friends again and laughing again hoping there's mending and healing and stars in the sky. cleaning and laundry and phone calls and meetings and packing up bags to go north. i am always going north. to the foothills, to the woods, to the cold place of north deep and far away from ocean and openness. dark and hidden and warm where there are people i know. and i will remember the photos of my grandmother, my seanmathair, whose ghost is around in my dreams.
cheyenne is nestling in the corner and dan is on the floor explaining scrabble. ai is a word. za is another. and two extra points for this. piles of blankets and candles and hot soups, computers, mackenzie is putting the cramps on the record player.
he put on his orange hat before he left, waved goodbye sayin see ya later.
we have de-flated balloons and rainbow flags and too many plastic bags and ali's grandma's doily sittin on our tv that doesn't work, we haven't even noticed. i'm lookin at the want ads askin when will it be my turn? its just around the corner, almost there, i'm the next big thing. we have pictures of langhorne slim and tegan and sara and all those really cool indie people all our musical obsessions congruent with our emotional torrent, our religious hang ups, the hurricane of events, the latest break up, the thing he last said, the unwelcome person, the person we are trying to be. sittin on the porch huddled in the cold spittin we got in a fight i don't know what to do. and i have a problem and i'm leavin the country soon, i'm scared. we've got books books on social work and paris and middle eastern politics and sex and theater movements and how to teach kids and how to speak english and some with only photographs. they be learnin' us good. all the time busy all the time just wanting to read our own books all the time just wanting to write our own books. about the places we've been and what we think about humans and the first time we fell in love and other less important things. all the time dancin' dancin' with skates and dancin' on our green carpet to old music dancin' with lovers hands on chests fingers on chins hair brushing past eyelashes singing lips parting feelin' good forgetting everything forgetting about no money for christmas gifts or rent or bills and forgetting about addictions and fights and break ups and sadness just bein'. just dancin'. just bein'.
when he's not here i curl up on the right side a the bed stead a the left in a c shape soft music playin' teddy bear comfyin' hair sprawlin' dark black eyelashes guardin' my dreams and erasing into nothingness i'm wonderin' - why is danielle back in the states? did he finish? what does tomorrow smell like? and oh i'd give anything for a soft real banjo to be playin' in the other room. i'm thinkin' my calf is sore. i'm thinkin' i wish i was in eureka. and then i promised never to start a sentence with i wish. i'm thinkin' 'bout the dirty dishes in the sink, his copper voice, the long day, what skin feels like. when he's not here. i'm thinkin' 'bout unemployment checks, the hopeless feeling and dinner with friends, potatoes and gravy and goin' home for the holidays. when he's not here i'm hopin' he's thinkin' 'bout me like i think about september and cities like we think about next year. curled up on the right side a my bed, holdin' my sheets whisperin' in my pillow things i'd tell him if he were here.
every time i see pictures of europe i want to push in my eyeballs, delete the image and vomit i crave i crave cobblestone and english skies and cold foreign strange air tiny streets bizarre accents different colours of people and scarves and new metro stops and maps and underground apartments turn my world inside out and communicating with my hands and seeing my breath and missing people and walking in boots wearing black funny phone number little cup of coffee and learning and writing my book because i have this memoir that's been in my head for a while for some reason the literary world is far more intimidating than the heinous hollywood which i freely delve myself into and simultaneously despise. i'm working on a short bio for an artist collective i belong to its coming along nicely they're gonna put it up with a picture and that's me. i'm swimming in articles about literary agents and copy editing and submissions and SASE and applications for school for masters for restaurants for the "real job" my mom wants me to get please i really would settle for salary and benefits its all so confusing because nothing is really ever good enough but it isn't good enough now anyways and i surprised myself today like why didn't i know this. i've known since i was a kid i'll be a starving artist til the day i die i wonder why i'm so surprised now that i can't pay the bills and this is how people do it this is how people end up at the bank working as a teller because they got married and got pregnant and then tell their baby daughter "you can be whatever you want to be." well i will, dammit. i'm gonna be whatever i want to be and today, its a starving artist i had toast for breakfast and then didn't eat until shawn bought me dinner but life is good he loves me and i love him. i wrote a new poem, i called for a casting, i contemplated shakespeare. i can't wait for the day when i tell my daughter she can be whatever she wants to be because i am whatever i wanted to be, we'll be talkin in english accents.
i was really busy and then i got really sick and there was even a time on monday when i felt the darkness coming in over my eyes like a sweep and a presence and there were lanes of cars on the road going faster and faster until we were speeding through subsequent tunnels, one after the other, brighter and brighter. no! i shouted pressing my eyelids to my face, i can't go yet. and i saw his face and he was touching mine saying "sweetie, you're gonna have to brave." they gave me shots and i can't remember the doctor's face he had a mask on and no one would really listen to me. i couldn't pick up the phone all the strength in my arm was gone. and i remember thinking "fuck you, sylvia. you cursed me with your hospitals and your writer's block and your hysteria." and now i've been in my bed for the last three days, where i drool at night because i can't swallow and one tonsil is taking over the rest of my throat and people say things like "i don't want to be near you." which i understand but it still hurts. the vicodin helps my pain and if it didn't make my tummy feel woosy i would enjoy it making my head feel woosy but it gets ruined when you feel you're gonna puke. i'll put them in a drawer. i just wish i'd been writing all this time, when i was busy but i think los angeles is changing me. i'm certain of it. it's a love and then it's a hate and most days i'm ready for the bay and the cold air and heady hills and walking to class in coats and being a regular at la trieste and being close to my family. i want the orange leaves in october and the lights of market street at christmas and long evening walks one arm hooked in the others cold red noses and happy quick paces talking about scripts and music and countries and philosophy. i'm ready i'm ready oh, i'm ready.
"young people, lord. do they still call it infatuation? that magic ax that chops away the world in one blow, leaving only the couple standing there trembling? whatever they call it, it leaps over anything, takes the biggest chair, the largest slice, rules the ground wherever it walks, from a mansion to a swamp, and its selfishness is its beauty. before i was reduced to singsong, i saw all kinds of mating. most are two-night stands trying to last a season. some, the riptide ones, claim exclusive right to the real name, even though everybody drowns in its wake. people with no imagination feed it with sex - the clown of love. they don't know the real kinds, the better kinds where losses are cut and everybody benefits. it takes a certain intelligence to love like that - softly, without props. but the world is such a showpiece, maybe that's why folks try to outdo it, put everything they feel onstage just to prove they can think up things too: handsome scary things like fights to the death, adultery, setting sheet afire. they fail, of course."
what if i could open up my mouth so wide that i could gulp up the world like in some children's book? like some shel silverstein impracticality?
i could take in trees and buildings - skyscrapers. i could take in parks, slides sliding down my throat. i'd swallow birds and giraffes and bridges and little grandma houses. i'd eat up schools and books, culture and ideas. fiestas and rosh hashanas, new york cities and banana cream pies. i'd chew up knowledge and adventure, sadness and true love. planes and clouds and fathers and kids and flowers and shakespeare and i'd gulp it all in, tasting every flavor.
then i'd spit it all out. but it will come in books and plays.
the pages would be filled with endless poetry of casbah's and festivals. of heartache and loss. of sailing around the world. of the joys of motherhood.
and the plays to be performed! of backstabbing friends, of quarrels, swordfights and one man shows. plays with props and plays with none. with moonshine and songs and dogs and clowns. plays of wistfulness, poignancy and hilarity.
when i spit my books out, if i ate the whole world. what if i could? really, what if i could?
people like sylvia plath are always talking to me all the time.
and e.e. cummings. it's so annoying.
he told her she was beautiful so i felt ugly afterwards and wondered why had i always been so soft?
then lydia came up to me and said something about painting a picture in your head and i said thanks then she walked away sweeping her bangs back.
there were all these people in our house and there were all these people at the cemetary too, the fog, we lied on wet blankets and listened to bon iver. who is also talking to me all the time.
i am so small and fragile and homely and i keep writing the same poem over and over again.
they say i lack confidence and it shows. it's always showing up all the time. and i'm always apologizing all the time. i'm sorry.
i'm apologizing for something misunderstood inside of me because i only make sense to me.
what people nowadays don't know is my adventurous side.
right now there are mason jars with half an inch of cheap wine making rings around the bottom. hollyn is eating potatoes. and jason is sketching imaginary portraits. brittany, sticky paper mache fingers. i'm looking up from my book thinking about how safe and literary everyone thinks i am. sylvia plath talking to me all the time.
but it was j.m. barrie when i was lying in the round, soft stones of the beach, my feet in the mediterranean.
and it was kerouac all talking to me when i showed up in oxford in the night, in the rain, alone, with just an address on a bit of paper.
and someone else entirely, maybe myself, when i caught malaria in west africa,
or when i hitchhiked in switzerland,
or in boston when i got drunk at an irish pub with my best friend coming home at 4am.
or when i slept in the brussels train station.
and i wonder why people think i'm not adventurous.
it's like painting a picture and sipping from mason jars and writing things down and being open. it's being dangerous and risky and happy and letting things happen and somewhere i put on the dress and crown of maternal things and locked doors and going to bed early which are things that matter but not all that matters to me.
because being hopeful and brave and happy are sometimes the hardest parts of my days and sometimes the hardest part is having sylvia plath always talking to me all the time.
"i can never read all the books i want; i can never be all the people i want and live all the lives i want. i can never train myself in all the skills i want. and why do i want? i want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in life. i am horribly limited."
as we drove in our car late saturday, circling around pasadena looking for trader joe's, mackenzie told us to ask the universe for safety and for the things we wanted. we said, "universe, please keep us safe and please give us hummus and please give us vegetables and bread and please pretty please, if it's possible, we'd like something sugary too."
we stood in dumpsters and gathered the wonderfully delicious and perfectly edible foods that trader joe's throws away every night. tightly wound in bags we received armfuls of fish, bread, salad, apples, and best of all, eight triple chocolate mini bunt cakes. yes.
on sunday i was reveling in our accomplishment. having only $0.53 in the bank and i realized, i went dumpster diving out of necessity last night. if we didn't have this food, i would have nothing to eat.
then i wailed to my roommates about unemployment and creative dissatisfaction. mackenzie said, "you need to ask the universe for those things." so i did. i talked to god, or the universe and asked for these things. i asked shawn to ask for them too.
and then i booked three days of shooting in one week. and additionally, the location for filming is nearby, i don't have to trek to a distant beach or a confusing north hollywood location. i continued to eat our free groceries every day. and my father decided to pay for a much needed subscription to backstage west, a tool for actors to receive audition notices. we're having a poetry reading at my house on saturday night and i couldn't be more thrilled. a night dedicated to nothing but the written word. and the invitation out to anyone. not just previously marked and prideful poets among our circle. all voices.
so i'll continue again. universe. mother nature. god. there is debt. and hopes of directing a play. and there is the writer's block, how desperately i've been waiting for something brilliant to come upon me. i'm applying for grad school and applying for artist residencies. i'm trying to pay off lots of debt. to my mother. to citibank and sallie mae. i want to go to europe. i want to help my friends.
unfolding on the stage of LA's historical 16th century spanish venue, el cid's, the SHIFT artists collective will be showing you the "work" of every artist from this last year. all of the collective's californian artists will be featured, starting at 9pm on sunday, september 13th.
(in order) johanna chase band mallory ortberg brother we, humanity the denouement harrison ford tin santos jamie criss robbie delong
we sat up late and talked about books "i read that one" "i didn't read that one" forgetting to turn out the light, growing lazy, eyes growing weighty, resting on shoulders until the conversation dissipated into moon light of bedroom on the wall. we woke up in 9:15 light through slanted blinds, a rattling window annoyance and dreamed about far away cities like dusseldorf and copenhagen and we wondered where things were like the david and the sistine chapel and van gogh's self portrait. we wondered if we could stay under the covers and hide. we wondered if we could buy a house in italy. and be happy, leaving everyone behind.
something wrong with me like i have to see a doctor maybe always feeling overwhelmed. one hundred people, too many people. eight people, too many people. i'm too tired to talk. making small talk.
hibernating in my room where it's safe always safe and cool and people don't have to ask me questions like "how is life?" and "how is your love life?" and "how is your job?" maybe its these questions.
i wish we could ask things like "what do you see in that cloud up there?" and "what are you working on these days?" and "can you play this game with me?" and "what impressions can you do? aha!"
i wish we could ask those things. instead.
things that makes my heart beat. and things that make my face want to explode in happiness where i can feel my eyes hurting and squeezing i just can't get the words out in time i feel i want to interrupt you i have so much to say so much i'm feeling.
i get on the edge of my seat and i'm bouncing, us outside on the porch talking just me and you and "i've read that book too" and "i like you" and "let's do something great" and we can help each other not feel like success is important anymore. it just isn't important.
the poem came hurdling down the hill towards me as i was working in the fields. i ran ran towards the house to grab a pen before it could get to me and swish swished past tall wheat and but then, as my feet hit the dirt the poem caught up to me, overtook my whole, shook and then ran on. hurling forward beyond myself for the next poet to catch it.
my first paper for doctor monica ganas. a critical research of john steinbeck. in her notes she said i had "the makings of a tremendous scholar." i found my treasured comparative list of pop culture verses high culture. my old book list. it felt really good to cross four of them off.
i found my journals. i opened a pretty coloured one. it said things like La Pagode 57 rue de Babylone. and Jeu de Paume 1 place de la Concorde. c'etait un autre epoque. 10 fevrier. and its filled with daydreams from my unhappy heart.
i like breakfast and sundresses. stripes, paint and elephants from stephanie. i like boxes and paper and a fan on the floor. i like our green carpet and happy birthday signs. i like markers. i like clouds and clouds by joni mitchell. i like joni mitchell. i like giant towels and tiny bits of glitter like when you make my insides feel like glitter. i like the way you make me feel. i like the hair on your lip tickle me when you kiss my neck. i like your freckles and your songs. i hate some of your itunes favorites and i hate feeling nervous (nervous sad), i hate when people say "aka," but i love when people refer to something as "the best deal in town." i like old pictures of mom and baby pictures of ryan. i used to like coloured pencils. i like having big wishes but i don't like when they don't come true. i like unexpected things that are good good good. i like bonnets on babies and backpacks on kids and feathers in her hair. i hate ikea and i hate humidity. i hate when you put words in my mouth or throw a tantrum. i like my boston shirt and cold sheets on freshly shaven legs. i like flying but i hate waiting to board. i like abbey road and our tall tall sunflowers. i like kensington gardens, i hate when candles don't fit in candlesticks. i like my dad's stories. i like frank zappa as a person but not his music. i like bringing you soup when you're sick. i like feeling smart (i like feeling smarter than other people). i like george harrison. i hate copycats and brittany's ugly lamp. i like roadtrips and i like when tobin and i notice the sky. i like the wombies and coffee and good sweet love. when you smile as you wake up. when you kiss my shoulder. when you listen to the beatles and when you touch my hair and when you laugh. i like it when you laugh.
i sat on the grass out front while the party raged on inside and disdainfully sighed "oh help," i said muggy summer, kool-aid afternoon i felt tears well up and jaw tighten and the orange glow of streetlamp blend with the blue of night and rays burst through my watery eyes "what is the point?" and "what am i doing here?" and "when will i be happy again?" and "why aren't i fun anymore?" (i have heavy boots - i thought) but really i feel weight in my shoulders - in my chest oh my heart and i thought of the word hope. "poppycock," i said. i hate it here.
the feminine mystique by betty friedan mama cass didn't choke on a ham sandwich polish Dell'Arte short story blueberry mojitos and tobin long sleeved shirts frank zappa italian love discipline laurel canyon brazilian roast braids red shoes cynthia
green and white. grey and blue. cool room and i need a desk. making signs for brittany's birthday. listening to leona naess and george harrison and important words spoken to me. leaving room in the glass and slinking into couch. hearing everyone talk about love and their opinions. ashtrays and petting our dog, cheyenne. you're on my mind. fill up boxes with memories and paper things. play the guitar with the missing string and watch a sad, sad movie. i'm trying not to be depressed, o.k.? i am reading the bluest eye, o.k.? you left your sunglasses behind, they are sitting on my bedside table. art box and supplies and lots of things to start. the broken videocamera, too. wanting for sweaters. thick ones, to pull over the head. van gogh, pronounced correctly. shopping for broccoli and salt and the colour of my bed. writing the same thing over and over again oh i wish my headaches would go away. i'm learning as i go.
oh, i feel like some ancient wiyot girl. as i crouch on a rock in the middle of the creek. i feel the grooves with my fingers and loose dirt underneath, then feeling the shape with my hands and holding it like a lover.
i am silent. i am listening to the voices of nature and what the earth might give me.
what does the shape of a leaf mean? how will i interpret the sky? what says the tallest tree? who will i become when i die?
where does the sand go? how many tunes does the bird know?
what is a flower? how many years has the fern been here? i can feel the earth. and i can feel wisdom in the sweet bark of sequoias.
oh, come wiyots i know your sad story. my skin is not brown. i am native, too. i am sorry the pages i write on come from your homes. i did not mean it. and i'm sorry about the boats.
i am brave like the good soul earth. and i am gentle as a child.
i am silent. i am listening to the voices of nature. what the earth might give me.
my old man, he's a singer in the park, he's a walker in the rain, he's a dancer in the dark we don't need no piece of paper from the city hall keeping us tied and true, my old man, keeping away my blues
he's my sunshine in the morning, he's my fireworks at the end of the day, he's the warmest chord I ever heard, play that warm chord
but when hes gone me and them lonesome blues collide the beds too big the frying pans too wide
i couldn't fall asleep, i was thinking about raging parties and scary things and things i couldn't change so instead i decided to daydream about childrens literature and the bookshelf in the bedroom with a pink glow of lampshade and a small one asleep in the bed. i thought about aunt mackenzie teaching to sew a button and aunt brittany tying shoes for school and telling uncle busse to watch his language. i thought about road trips to see large trees and wide rivers and gaping canyons. i thought about a big big house with crowded people in it and early morning garden watering and hose water on my barefeet on a brickwalk and tall sunflowers and corn against a fence. i thought of dark cozy drapes made from scraps, yarn in her braids and wrapping packages with grocery store paper bags, sending them someplace far away like chile or polska or maybe okinawa or london or out into the forest somewhere.
i thought about worn-out passports and seasons of life always changing and always coming back to the same place, where our hearts are, where home is. i thought about soft skin, and holding tight and rocking slowly and kissing goodnight. i thought about glasses of wine and lots of laughter and pretty music coming from the record player. i thought about red balloons at birthday parties and rachael's special cakes. i thought of messy faces, dirty knees, warm cornbread, painting eggs, lying in the grass making wishes. i thought about brothers and sisters and cousins and giving thanks, big smiles; the family we created.
i live in the north with watermelon coloured lips. an envelope from polska today came jeff handed it to me then handed me the keys. in it were little treasures like tea bags and postcards and pretty receipts and things. little scribbles and folds. i keep running my fingers along the sides of my face. i keep imagining some body weight at my back while i'm horizontal. i painted wood boards today. along the outdoor stage and took a deep breath in and thought about the different air in different cities, especially los angeles. and then i thought about the mary hill theatre and working on projects like making flats and painting ocean scenes and the apron and confetti machines and getting ready for opening night. i thought about soft red carpet and the sound of the saw, feet walking in the costume shop before it got moved.
and i thought about never feeling satisfied, but trying. and i thought about being jealous of people buying plane tickets to europe or anywhere. and i thought about home. i thought about my long days and my back aches and seeing the sign that says 101 san francisco, towards home. i thought about what is the measure of success? and what direction am i taking? and what's in store for me in the direction i don't take?
ALMA: I don't think I will be able to get through the summer.
JOHN: You'll get through, Miss Alma.
JOHN: One day will come after another and one night will come after another til sooner or later the summer will be all through with and then it will be fall, and you will be saying, I don't see how I'm going to get through the fall.
i'm in a cozy hotel room for the weekend. can't sleep. put in earphones listen to pretty goodnight music, for to rock me and drown out the sound of my mother's snoring.
i am thinking that i am hungry. and i am thinking that i will read some tennessee williams. and i am thinking that there are so many books to read and so little time. and i'm wondering if tobin has read on the road yet, i wish she would.
also i am thinking. that it feels so brave to be (here). and listening to pretty music shawn gave me that makes me so sad and strange. and it feels very brave.
every inch of my body hurts ouch. i feel like crying ouch. i feel like sinking into wine ouch. but really i just want to be held tightly. in familiarity and without all this pain. hear me ouch. hear me out there. hear me whispering and gently mocking and sobbing and scribbling. hear me squeezing and ripping and silently hitting and spitting. i am just hurting ouch in a swirling pool, in doubt, in blinding doubt and questions and revisions, oh, ouch.
and when they saw me rowin my sailin canoe across the lake of dreams in the lotus valley swamp, and arrested me for the size of my heart, t's' then i decided 'don't come back' they'll eat your heart alive every time. but there's more blood i shed outa my pumpin heart at teotihuacan and everywhere else including turban block, lookout, ork- i got more water pissed in the ocean as a sailor of the several seas than sallow's aphorism will allow
i've surrounded myself in books. mexico city blues. the little prince. tennessee williams. the bell jar. a portrait of the artist as a young man. pablo neruda. the beat reader. one flew over the cuckoos nest. so many pages. of paper. of words. of sentences. of ideas. and thoughts. of insanity. shelves in bookstores. top to bottom. bending back my neck, then crouching down low. a very small downtown street, alone. it is good to be alone. i am never alone. and remember what it was like in paris. all over europe, the solitary contemplative time, of roaming a strange city. it is a strange comfortable feeling.
james joyce. this book is dry. and i do not care so much about it except for the fact that i started it and now i must finish it. i also told myself i would finish the chapter on buddhism in my world religions book. i like crossing things off my list. whether it is countries or books or afi movies or poets or theatre movements.
i could read all day. please, give me permission to just read all day. o.k.?
After the Dell’Arte show we drove down the street to a bar, which curiously happened to be closed at 9:30 on a Saturday night. We drove back up the street and stopped in at a place called the Logger a half a block from the theatre. It had big saws and metal helmets and old pictures of logger men on the wall and one person in it, Brenda, the bartender. There was a pool table on the far side, so we started a pitiful game of it after we ordered our pitcher of local Tangerine wheat beer. I put a handful of quarters into the juke box and picked your typical classic rock bar songs that everyone knows. Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen. My Generation by the Who. Hard Day’s Night. There were eight of us, the only ones in the bar. Mieke, standing by the bartender, starts asking her questions in her friendly way. “How long you been here in Blue Lake?” “Too long.” “Oh yeah? How long’s that?” “Too long,” she says.
We raised our glasses to each other and said On with the night! Maybe we’d have a couple of drinks and head back. Saturday, but still on a tight schedule, I had to be up at 7:30 the next morning.
I stepped out for a cigarette or phone call, I can't remember, and four people were on the corner. They said hello, which I’m really not used to. I’m from LA and I’ve lived in Paris, spent a lot of time in San Francisco, I don’t talk to strangers much and they don’t talk to me. Unless in extraordinary circumstances and this was one of those. We happened to be in Blue Lake, California where there is, in fact, no lake at all; this was a small town. I recognized one of the girls from the concessions stands at the theatre. “You and your crew interested in skinny dipping?” she says. I pursed my lips in a sort of happy frown unsure way and kicked the door open shouting, “you guys wanna go skinny dipping?”
The Dell’Arte people joined us inside ordering their whiskey and what-nots and told us they were waiting for a few more. When their friends joined it was the actors from the show from a group called Under The Table from Brooklyn in the middle of their summer tour. We talked theater, what their process was for this show and how its always changing and always adding and subtracting and how much improv is involved. We tried earnestly to explain what the hell Cornerstone is doing in Eureka and what community engaged theatre is and the Institute program and what our show was and the fact that we have professional actors performing beside completely inexperienced community members. This is when I discovered how friendly actors are in general.
So off we went down the dark road surrounded by black as ink sequoias and a heavy mist over low mountains and the glow of the brewery shining on us. Over the bridge and down a steep dirt pathway to a field of soft, round river rocks to the edge of the river. There we were, fifteen strangers and stripping naked in the night, cloud cover showing us no stars or moon for light and trying to balance as we unsheathed. I leaned towards Liz and said, “did you ever think you’d be in Blue Lake, California doing this?” “I try not to rule things out,” she said with a laugh. Her very beautiful, distinctive laugh.
Peeling off layers and feeling more free with each tug of fabric we empty ourselves of inhibition and start running on rock over rolling rock. Dancing wildly like the Sigur Ros video of beautiful people with long hair galloping through the forest naked in some secluded Icelandic landscape and here we were, we could have been in Iceland, North Dakota, the Appalachians or anywhere with nothing to cover us but also nothing to expose us except ourselves and our choice of freedom and friendship. There's something friendly and vulnerable about getting a group of strangers together nude on their own accord in the spontaneous jump of Saturday night and summer.
We splashed and shrieked and were nostalgic for a while until it was the ready moment to head back. We dabbed dry with hand towels and nearly fell over trying to put underwear and jeans back on, then climbed the hill to the bridge and make our way back when we noticed that not one of us had a camera to snap maybe a single shot of the night, a small token of the evening which was a regrettable realization for most. But I think, maybe, I like it better this way.
"i saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story.
from the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. one fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was ee gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was europe and africa and south america, and another fig was constantin and socrates and attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs i couldn't quite make out.
i saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because i couldn't make up my mind which of the figs i would choose. i wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as i sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet."
a bottle of wine and smart people and ones who want to talk and talk it out. johnny cash a few alone moments. looking forward to heading to the blue ox mill today to see the printing press and get ideas for my poster. more to come because there's oh so much more to come. i love you.
planning a poetry night. package in the mail, smells of burberry. polaroids and (good love). of october. printing things out late at night. doodling for postcards & marketing. inviting community over for dinner. chocolate decadence cake gift. tie-dye. old stolen photo unknown. jeff. script readings. seven a.m. phone calls and catching up. sage. hidden wine bottle and waiting. breakfast meeting. eureka families. nearby trees not seen. playground. cold. the acsension of. hard-backed chairs. good conversation. feeling smart. a helping hand and doing dishes. dancing. mieke. alpha. bridges. theater. LA term. missing love. calender. claire iris schencke. carpet. reading. shawn.
getting used to waking up very early. drinking coffee again. and lots of water. cooking in the kitchen and setting out utensils. using markers and reading scripts. running around an old school in the skeleton of catholicism. not using the internet, except in tiny moments and starting to be o.k. with it. reading poetry and re-reading poetry in the very sleepy moments of an early bedtime and squeaky airmattress. my back hurts. i am tired and rejuvenated. by art and togetherness and jobs i have created for myself like quote of the day. and sneaking off at quick times to smoke around the corner or call someone very loved.
we are wearing lots of layers in the height of summer on the cold north coast surrounded by redwoods and grass and elves (i swear), and going without showers. creating lists. of errand run items. and fun excursions to do when i get home. and postcard people. and things i am obsessed with these days like the a ghost is born album and specifically, hummingbird; teaching andres everything beatles; crafting things with yarn for personal adornment; the anticipation of mail; menthols; hymmnn & song by allen ginsberg; the road by jackson browne; sweetnlow; learning; she belongs to me by bob dylan; dresses; patches; virtual kisses; being brave; or trying. to be brave.
leaving soon and i'm the vagabond gypsy queen. sometimes the itch to leave is just stronger than the desire to stay. (sometimes the desire to stay is stronger than the itch to leave)
but i was born this way and this is how it will always go. enormous parts of me are sad but there are parts of me that are happy too. and every time i get down i think of the february i took my backpack to
france; alone. and this time i want to bring my copy of tom sawyer and pretend i'm becky or tom and eat apples in the dirt among the redwoods. string up lights and put on a play. put leaves in my hair and thermals
underneath and put my feet in the water. and getting domestic with aprons and food. no matter where you are, you'll always miss something. because i miss steph and ryan and the boulangerie and esther at the clinic. and in eureka i will miss brit
and mack and all my loves and my love. and i'll miss the porch and large jugs'o'wine, and dixon and oh, how i'll miss your face, dear. i keep saying it all day long, i will be brave. for my lionheart is underneath all my
softness and raggedy ann face. brown tights, short dresses, long hair and a mailbox. the corner street, our bad neighborhood. smiles and distance. fences, europe, loneliness, weather, fragile, hugs and cigarettes. these are the things i think of.
copycat & paperwork letters james joyce yawning & packing & being lionhearted big girl bed making plans kitchen table masking tape photograph the sad one quality time don't copycat, please russian house playwright summer clothes
lying together, breathing the same. our chests rise and fall the same. rise and fall. no, it's my back. rise and fall. for i lie on my stomach, my arm across you in an untangled form of cuddle. and in the air is, i miss you, even though i'm not gone yet. but you don't say anything and neither do i. just touch foreheads, rest, and fall back to sleep.
beach hair with salt and raggedy. pictures drawn on wrists. catching up on the day out on the porch. the work day. philosophy and existensialism. idea and wine glasses. thinking about quotes for to tattoo and impermeate. what means more to you than anything? we are agnostic; or buddhist or catholic? we have chipped nail polish and dirty feet. texts books and laugh, for to see. unaware of the imminent sun, we go. sewing trinkets to each other and having music, as the playwright directs our character which way to go and how to say "this is life, today."
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)i am never without it(anywhere i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing,my darling) i fear no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true) and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide) and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i'm getting into this scared, very frightened feeling. and it is feeling afraid of myself and feeling sad and confused. and i look down at my fingernails which are pink and my hair that is cute and ready for work.
and it has nothing to do with me. i can feel the bottom- side of my eyes burning and my jaw tightening and my spine crunching. i'm afraid of things, i'm afraid of slamming the door i'm afraid of steam out my ears.
and of course its all very confusing because i just want life to be beautiful. and it is. and even today, maybe the sun will still rise. and someone will say i love you and someone will kiss my cheek and say it's o.k.
two kids. no where to go. tucson, arizona. scorched heat, sidewalks and brick wall street corners sitting. afternoon beers, no AC, lounge the day away and wonder where all the people are. tucson is a town with a lot of buildings i have no business in, he says. heart shaped sunglasses and getting lost. indian rings, dirty feet, parched mouth, cathedral. churches, banks, gyms. but where are all the people? tucson is a dumb city but now, i've been here. and i prolly won't come back. and that is o.k. either way.
_studying the avant garde and whistling in between steps of the cities, okay now? i want to pick up many books and there are many things to be done before i leave (on a grande adventure) that is north. i am always always going north. always. brecht and the small, tiny person. a young girl. she has braids and she is oh so very brave. (she doesn't even know it!) oh grande.
they are making a play on the river, okay? we shall go see it together. before i leave (on a grande adventure) that is north. and typefont printed on my body. over my heart. for i will be lionhearted when i go to the north (on a grande adventure).
like a student i study. dramaturgy. and history. and speaking on the breath. and my house is covered in owls and french lemonade.
janis joplin on the wall raises her bottle and i too. cheers. for there is much to be done (okay?) before i leave (on a grande adventure) that is north. that is north.
oh and i have been thinking about days lately. my favourite ones. and the macdougal street bar which keeps coming up and sprinting to market on new years and the words he spoke on the couch and hearing taylor that one night and holding allie on another. the german restaurant. the fireworks. and kiss. the moustache party. the womb. our porch. our friends. and to remember the greatest points in our lives.
yaoundé, cameroon bananas christmas lights prison corruption saving money subscriber benefits bangolan corn apu theatre bay of pigs the wall of love envelopes & stamps coughing little muhammed family dinner naked mucha tattoos brown couches mackenzie, the indian princess owl theme
i'm usually the one who is true to my word. i'm usually the one who does what she says and fulfills her promise. punctual. (oh, not today)
they drove away, and i, i had to stay here. and. i chose to stay here. and. it is killing me.
oh heavens, i thank ye recession. for doling out fine hits that burn the throat and the heart, too. throwing us into choices, and making us absent for the real, good, important places. people. hearts. oh,
how the weekends start to change, (some days) when you are getting older. and braver. because braver is not always braver like you think.
but brave can be staying here. when you want to leave.
brave can be writing a check. when you don't have the means.
brave can be responsibility. when you want to be free.
brave, to me, is lots of things. its hard, oh so hard to be brave.
i just think god is confusing. ("god! you are confusing!") i just think people are confusing god and me. on purpose. at work today, i stood behind the bar and said to myself "what if we got really busy today?" and then we did. on any old run of the mill tuesday. this was nice since i need extra money this month and went on vacation last week. but i don't know whether i prayed for a busy lunch shift or it was the power of the human mind..some determination and fate. an answered prayer? or the stars aligning? is there a god? yes. but not the god you and i think of. one outside something any human could wrap their mind around. oh now, i need to sit down, it's all too much.
in other news, heather busse's wordpress page is now available under "never yawn...". it's called evening pages. it's rather wonderful. she's a talented writer and is heading to london in the fall for grad school.
i just got back on sunday from a road trip with shawn and attending my brother's wedding. we hopped from big sur to the winchester mystery house to bar hopping in san francisco to lounging poolside at my parents house to a ceremony in the forest and getting in some really overdue quality time with my crazy family.
poetry and the sort has been running a little dry. its move in/move out time so my priorities are filing old papers, painting scribbles on my wall and working any extra job to come up with rent+deposit. the time will come soon enough for alone time and writing.