Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Group Story, 12/23/09

Written by the combined forces of Paul Adolphsen, Brenda Buchanan and Laura Grafham

L: Belinda was agitated beyond reason. The meeting with her grandfather had not gone as planned, and her birthday dress--the one with the white flounce--had been dirtied by her dog Jackie. Yes, a damper had been put upon the day.
B: What a quandary to find oneself in. The matter at hand was of utmost importance to her, but as to how to approach her grandfather in a way that would garnish positive results, she had no idea. Every time an opportune moment came she took it, but always ended up being brushed away with a slighting wave of the hand.
P: If only her dear mother were still alive--her mother whose hands were always soft. Belinda walked from her grandfather's room and haughtily slumped on the setee in her family's drawing room. Biting her lip and tapping her toe she thought about what to do next...
L: She hated when other people pouted, yet it was the only thing she could think to do next. So pout she did. Looking out the window at the landscape--the sweeping cityscape of Boston would soon give way to the pastoral fences and fjords of Maine. She didn't know why the Penberly School for Girls had chosen to expel her; the mystery remained unsolved. Nevertheless, she was being sent away against her will. There was nothing she could do about it now.
B: She was afraid of grandfather. Not in the sort of way that one is afraid of the dark or of the sea, but she was afraid of his disapproval. Belinda craved her grandfather's approval; she always tried to be an object of pride to him and the thought of his disapproval was enough to keep her in her chair. She pouted because it was unfair, unfair that she was expelled. She was tense because she was frozen with anticipation, awaiting her grandfather's sentence to come down with distressing finality.

P: "Fire!" The frantic screams of Belinda's grandfather jolted her from her deep sleep. She sat up in bed, startled. Jackie, who usually slept with her, was nowhere to be seen. It was a feeling of absolute terror that she became aware of before she smelled the smoke and felt the oppressive heat rising from downstairs. Coughing, she leapt from her bed and stumbled into the smoke-filled hallway. She peered down the stairs and saw the hunched and shadowy silhouette of her grandfather making its way up the stairs.

Renting Rooms.

They rose to the sky
wooden mountains confined
to square footage.
Two stories high.
Yards that fit snugly
into my back pocket.
We walked,
one panting
and tied to a string
and one wishing
to be free from everything.

This dog,
Someone else's drooling canine,
not mine--
leads and pulls me
to places
where I can hope to
pay the bills.
Where I can make bread
and wait for the yeast
to rise.
Where you can afford
a pair of red wool socks
to replace the hole-y ones
your mother made for you
in college.

Turn up the heat;
the temperature of our house
should reflect
the temperature of our hearts.

Drywalled beams and nails
and happy slapping dog tails
while the house is dark
save the spark
from something in your eyes
that has never known sleep
but does its burning
amidst churning shadows
and still air
and peaceful breathing.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Hit and Run.

I may have murdered
made a hit-and-run
encountering a seagull
wandering mid-road

Birds could just as well be people,
climbing the air like stairs
and steeples
of air currents.

I saw
and tried to
death impend
but I'm afraid it was too late.
And from my mirror rear view
the bird's head spun around
cocked to the side
in gruesome twist.

Tendons, veins, yes.
Feathers of course.
Blood, always.
And as its little body lurched to live
with its flea-ridden
seagull head snapped
by a well-made Swedish sedan
weighing over a ton
I ruefully drove on
thinking of how many other beings
I would wound unintentionally during my lifetime.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Written really late.

He speaks in toothpicks.
Spells the T R U T H as he
whittles the wood
till it forms the curves of individual letters
bending the linear to fit personal ideals.
His own sprouting human.
He can level you with his eyes
and with a whisper
fell the largest strongest tree in the forest
but he doesn't know it yet.
He has made me feel the guilt of ten thousand felonies
with the best of intentions.
My brother is made of magic.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Magic God.

There was a man named Francis who had no teeth. Every day he would put in his dentures and ride the bus. All day, every day. Every day except Sunday. On Sundays he would drink cold coffee made the day before and feed the pigeons outside of Saint James Cathedral downtown. He would then take the 74 bus home and crash on the orange hide-a-bed in his studio apartment.
One day, Francis got on the bus to find his usual seat occupied by an elderly man in a pork pie hat and blazer.
"Pardon me," the man said, "I seem to be taking your seat. Would you care to sit?" The frustration Francis had felt melted away with the man's words; they were quaint and old world. "That's alright," Francis replied, his shoulders loosening. He grabbed hold of the overhead bar. I quite like standing."
The man smiled. "Suit yourself," he replied, as he tipped his hat. Suddenly, without warning, the bus lurched forward and Francis was thrown to the floor. The bus driver yelled at the car that had pulled in front of her. "Damn drivers taking up the entire bloody road! Look where you're going!" Francis picked up his false teeth--fallen on the floor--and put them back in his mouth. He turned to the seat of the elderly gentleman and asked, "you alright?" But he realized that the old man was nowhere to be seen.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


you in the loo,

your body throbs and your muscles quake and you are twenty, barely shy of twenty one. Your face is paile and you kannot sea wear ewe goh. Fever en sues. Wat iz diss iey stumble to dee bahthrume. The inhilations do not come and go with ease. Blood fights its way to your fingertips with rapiers, arguing through arteries ohh noh. Not thaat. pleas kno.

Cigarette poisoning. Carbon monoxide asphyxiation. Eventual death. Fetus complications. Lack of circulation. The surgeon general does not recommend my stupidity.

As I bow to the porcelain god I begin to understand.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Eccentric Chai for Concentric Times.

Out of a desire to eventually make my own brew for a self-made local coffee shop, I made the best batch of home brewed chai today. It will get tweaked many more times before it is finished, yet here it is.

Around 12 cups of water
1/4 cup cardamom seeds, crushed
2 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
2 tbsp whole cloves
3 sticks of cinnamon
10 fresh ginger shavings
1 tsp peppercorns, freshly ground
4 black tea bags of good quality tea (I use PG Tips or a loose leaf assam)
Sweetener to taste (honey or brown sugar tend to be ideal flavors)

-Boil ingredients and 2 of the tea bags in water until the spices and tea have been at a rolling boil for a good ten minutes.
-Reduce heat to a low simmer for at least 3 hours (increase the amount of time for a stronger brew).
-When your desired strength is reached, add sweetener and the other two tea bags. Bring to a boil once more.

Either serve or store refrigerated.

Friday, November 20, 2009

My, How Edifying!

There's this girl she's
how can I say
a little bit odd if not
more than that by
a million; she hates babies
and flowers but
brown is her
couleur favorit. neat
but the color is shit smear brown
you can nit pick spit in spite of it
without a purpose
or a porpoise full of doubt if you have
never seen a porpoise doubt you've
doubtfully never tried to see much of anything
as we all descend from porpoises

Our preachers professors and teachers
become speecheaters wanting the lingua franca
to be preserved like the french clause cause
ce n'est pas "un e-mèl" mais un courrier électronique, enfin these
frog eaters and shirt steamers stair climbers train prend-ers these
Keep us from writing with ease our thèse-issssshhhhhh
you may not know what you are talking about it
I do not misuse abbrevs what are you talking about?
If we read the chaucerdonneshakespearedickensdickinsonwoolfejoyceliot of the world
can the renovation take place-//summinor altrashuns hear an their.
Nuthin u cant handle.
But ill save that 4l8r.

The situation is this. The time is now. The location of the occurence exists everywhere but happens to find itself here, says Quantum Mechanics. So now that your attention may have been grabbed after such a dichotomy of linguistic shifts, might I now propose that this language experiment has meant entirely


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Body Parts Continued.

The world is on fire but
it is cooled by the deep breaths
and inhalations of its people.
Inhale, exhale
till the rapid firing of neurons
heat up my cranial insides once more.
Hacksaw and peer inside.
Something is hiding but can
no longer and is on
It doesn't want to play,
but it se cache behind
my frontal cortex
kicking the gray matter until
it behaves again.

I name body parts
so I treat them better.
Oh behave, Charlie,
Sally and Donna.
Don't be children.
Line up in a queue
like you're supposed to
you hear? There...
Names personalize objects and people
in a way that makes it frightening
the point when you realize
we are all fragility in a frame
walking around
hoping not to knock too hard
into furniture and sharp edges.
Internal bleeding is more
damaging than bleeding externally
and it's much much harder to diagnose.

My hearing hasn't been what it once was lately.
I can't hear the wind that would come to tea
every Wednesday
and would knock on my window.
I would let him in
and we'd have a chat.
How are you doing and how's your mother
and he'd go his merry way to the neighbor's house next door.
But they weren't as polite to him as I was, so he'd always stay longer at my house.

There are people who hate their hands
because they are too knobby or skinny or fat
people who chew their nails out
of nervousness or habit.
Nuns aren't supposed to have any bad
habits yet they wear one
on their head every day.
I wonder if nuns wear lacy underwear
or if not, if they have ever wanted to.
Nuns are people, too.

I take a dear deep breath
cherishing the air that
relaxes the tight muscles
and rigidity knots
that govern and hold
where they aren't wanted.
It is possible to asphyxiate oneself
and I have almost done so
but on accident.
I have to remind myself to breathe.
Here goes.
In and out
Up down
diaphragm lift
veiny currents shift and change and how
beautiful I feel them run
their course
coursing through arterial paths
and veins
and heart.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pretty Saro.

I have, through my friend Mary, been introduced to Appalachian Folk Songs. The modern day singer Feist in fact, takes an Appalachian ballad and uses it in her song "Sea Lion Woman" reality, the song is called "See-Line Woman". Listen to the original, it's gorgeous.

Looking more and more into it, artists like Jerry Garcia and Bob Dylan have covered a bunch of the songs. "Handsome Molly" and "Dreadful Wind and Rain" are a couple of them, making me more and more curious about the influence this group of people have on our culture now. What is lost, and what have we kept? From the mid to late 1910's, British folklorist Cecil Sharp collected about 200 songs, but it's impossible that everything has been saved.

Ballads tell a story, generally a love story. This tradition has been passed down through years of immigration from Europe--primarily the British Isles. Some of the people of Appalachia intermarried with the Cherokee and other Native tribes. No doubt this affected the music as well, perhaps creates the interesting keys these songs are sung in. The music is weird, warped and beautiful.

Listen to "Pretty Saro" on YouTube. This performance of Iris DeMent gives me chills every time.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Day When My Words Are Few.

Here's for today, when I'm all worded out, and what I want to say will fail to be said eloquently. Billy Collins, U.S. Poet Laureate from 2001 to 2003--says it as I wish I could.


If ever there were a spring day so perfect,
so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze

that it made you want to throw
open all the windows in the house

and unlatch the door to the canary's cage,
indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,

a day when the cool brick paths
and the garden bursting with peonies

seemed so etched in sunlight
that you felt like taking

a hammer to the glass paperweight
on the living room end table,

releasing the inhabitants
from their snow-covered cottage

so they could walk out,
holding hands and squinting

into this larger dome of blue and white,
well, today is just that kind of day.

-Billy Collins

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I Know! More Brooding Poetry.

I was going through my notes cramming for a midterm tomorrow, and I found this poem. I figured I could blog it. This was written in a class of 60+ college girls:

So many of you.
Lips in a row waiting to be picked.
Hearts waiting to be pricked
waiting for fire and candles
like a late night vigil
or a Christmas Eve service.

Someone has died and
been reborn--
Been torn
from their mother's chest
and thrown onto the grave
chest of another's.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Random and Company.

Last rainy Thursday night I met a man named Random in front of a coffee shop at an Open Mike Night. He and I shared a conversation, and I got a business card from him. I learned that Random is homeless. He wears a gorgeous gray-white afro and a smiling mouth half-full of teeth.

Every man that walked by, he saluted them and said "good evening, Mr. President"...then he leaned over to me and said, "there's lots of unknown presidents wandering around."

His friend named Bob sat down on the bench parallel to me. He wore a highlighter green suit jacket and a purple button-up. Reaching into his bag, Bob pulls out a Barbie doll and a stuffed blue crayon. "Part of my act sometimes," he mumbled. Seconds later he held up a red tie, also hidden in his bag. "Too much?" he asks, leaning over to me, wondering if he should wear it. "Never," I said. "You're wearing that beautiful jacket, so anything after that is a home run." He nodded and fumbled the tie into submission around his neck.

More should be written about these people. I don't quite know what yet. But until then, I should finish my actual paper that is due tomorrow.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

"Before, we had time and no watches. Now we have watches, but no time."


Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Nile.

The day the earth stood still
I saw death from the top of a hill
in shadowy form it swept above
the rumpled bed of my love
my lover, my love
my river of life
in the dirty dry desert.
I have no need for commitment or wife
yet from the top of the hill
I see you, my lover of life.
The oasis of palm fronds
and figs hanging in clusters from branches.
When the earth stands still
the river no longer will flow
and the roots that we planted
have ceased to grow and
to green,
to steam the air within the soil
within the piles of compost and tinfoil and trash.

My Cat Has a Tapeworm.

My cat, Oscar of the Wild, has a tapeworm. He is very cute, but has had a difficult life thus far. He was born in a badger hole in Baker City, Oregon, kicked out by his mom, and taken in by me--who gave him a traumatic plane ride to Seattle. He now lives quite happily. Even more so after the worm is kicked out of his intestine.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Cave of Winter.

There's this nagging melancholy that infects me around this time of year. It's difficult to pass it on to you in words, unless our gene makeup is similar or there was incest way back in our family line. Our brains can then link and understand one another. It's the "let's drive a car to Joshua Tree and Yellowstone, listen to Talking Heads, climb mountains and hang out at bars and play pool with wrinkly 60 year old men" bug. You know? Maybe not.

A warm, hollow place opens up in my chest, right in between both shoulder blades and lodges itself there. It hibernates till spring, when it finally has a chance to stretch its cramped legs and emerge from its cave. It craves a sort of warmth, one fed by rays of sun and people who feel like home. Home. I try phoning home like E.T., but the connection must not be working.

Was this summer better than I experienced it to be? And where do I belong? This city is great. I love it. But I miss my tent and the stately trees and hitching rides to town. And picking 2 gallons of blackberries in one day. I miss Gorgonzola and eating chard for every meal. Even the Douglas Fir squirrel brothers above me, who were my alarm clock at 7 every morning. What was so bad about all that?

Nothing. But it is easier to idealize that which is no longer the present, especially if it is cut off from you in distance and emotion. It's far easier for memory's sake to remember the good and leave out the bad. Yet if you or I keep dwelling in future or past, the "home" that exists now begins to feel left out. Inevitably, we begin to miss out. I better not let that happen.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Renditions of My Grandma.

Dear Reader:

The few memories I have of my grandparents stand out like lampposts. My Grandpa Lindsey singing the names of the vitamins he was taking with his orange juice made from the tacky $1.00 can. His wife, my grandma, recited a ton of poems to me when I was a little kid, as well as play carpet tennis with me, which consisted of two Barbie tennis racquets and a pea-sized ball that we'd bat back and forth on the carpet of her rambler. I would sit with my back up against the record player and its albums with titles like "Charlie is My Darling" and "A Closer Walk to Thee". Yes, they were very Scottish and very Protestant. Anyhow, I was reading a short story by Kerouac that quoted the Edgar A. Poe poem "Annabel Lee" [read "Famine for the Heart" in his book Atop an Underwood].

My grandma would always cry whenever I read this poem to her, usually around the second stanza. She would mouth the words, whisper them under her breath, feeling it along with my reading. It was her deceased father's favorite. Like my mother (and myself, probably) she was and is a walking ball of emotions and memories. She was also a schoolteacher for many years. At random, she would also bust out into the children's poem, "'Come into my parlour,' said the spider to the fly. 'It is the prettiest little parlour that you ever did spy.'" And so on.

I'm rambling/writing today. Apologies. However, this is what I came up with.

"May I come into your parlor?"
asked the spider of the fly.
"I have always wished to do so
ever since I was a child.
Nature forbids it
so I was afraid to ask
but hating one another
has become a tiring task."
"Dear friend," fly said,
"Wonder not of my reply.
For if you dwell upon it
you may never dare to try."

I thought this was a more upbeat take on the poem. Less bloodthirsty.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Children of Boom

What do you want to write, the professors ask me.

Do you want to tell me about your childhood

and the way you dug up worms

named them one by one

and buried them back again?

Worms were friends.

So were potato bugs

and bees and ants.

In your swimsuit and young distended belly,

did you wade in mud holes

wondering what was to become of you?

Yes. Of course you did.

We are the children of boomers

born from concrete cul-de-sacs

and wombs

and houses too big for us.

With tricycle wheels

as big as our eyes

spinning our poor heads around,

we are only now

managing to screw our heads on straight.

Our identity is not lost

as the existentialists claim.


They want to sound intelligent.

Abyss? No.

There’s not even space

left for an abyss

in this world.

Instead, I fancy us

a giant ant farm

digging tunnels

deeper and deeper

till we hit rock bottom.

Only to go up again.

Monday, July 27, 2009


The blind Chieftess of hymn
Fanny Crosby
knows all too well
what I am.
Me, the vile offender.
Fanny J. called me out in church
the other day
through the gray woman behind me
belting all off keys
out of her mouth
and into me.
The earth heard her voice.

Grandma Fanny's ghost tingled up
and down my spine
choked me up
and made me feel wretchedly good.
Like I always am.
Organ gusts sat me down again:
-You may be seated.
-Why, thank you. Now, just a minute.
I am not who you think I am, this pew-sitter.
We are not this good-looking, at least, not
most of the time. So why do you overestimate
what I am capable of?
-I don't understand. Why do you underestimate yourself?

You lived on a rock,
lived like a rock
for a long time.
95 years gone strong
lived in bloomers and blindness.
Doubt it-damn it-do it-finish it--
but don't tell me you died alone
because I might die hearing it.
Know that us writer women need
good sisters and men kisses
love followed by making it.
hazy images of the silhouette of your mother
in a sweater waking you up.
And pen pals.
There is more to life than the tangible
but dear Fanny please tell me you had some
to hold.
Give me some assurance.

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Story Start.

“I have something I need to tell you,” she said.

Oh no. Not one of these conversations, he thought. There was something slightly rumpled-looking about her today, and this was unlike her. I should have known.

This here was the woman who cut the crusts off sandwiches, followed by cutting them in diagonals. She liked making food with right angles in it. She liked A-seam skirts rummaged about for in the 1980s clothing piles found in basements and at estate sales. He had never even been to an estate sale. There was something so straight and so upright about her. So to have the same woman appear before him, flushed red in the face, hair done up in a ponytail stuck straight on top of her head—he didn’t know what to do with her. She even looked sweaty, wearing an oversized sweatshirt and black leggings..

I really want to bat at her ponytail, he secretly wished. It was the kind of ponytail that belongs to a two-year old girl with thin hair, scraped up by her hopeful mother and put in a scrunchie. The rest of the body did not belong to a little girl, Janie with her curvy figure standing barely below his height. But Peter decided that now would not be the time to joke around with Janie, or play with her hair. Instead he began to do the dishes; scrub, rinse, dry. Repeat.

In between the time when a bomb is dropped, there is a grand pause. There is a breath that is taken, sucked in, and held. Blood vessels begin to pulse and ears ring. Because it was far easier to feel nothing at all, Peter coped with the bombs that Janie dropped on him by keeping his thoughts to himself. He preferred a surprise attack. That way, when it came time for war, he couldn’t feel the anticipatory stress that came along with it. Janie was hot or cold, black or white, sobbing or ecstatic. And because of this, Peter remained an ever-constant, ever-steady lukewarm human being.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Anne Lamott says to set aside a time for writing every day. What comes out of that time might be shit, and it might be useful. Nevertheless, something comes of training the brain to write even when it's painful. Hopefully, it will turn on without force after practice.

I have experienced the hardest times and the best times. I went to Seattle a couple days ago, and think I must have lost my medication on the way. I realize now how much can be attributed to body chemistry...Since then, it's a bit of a gradual blurry perspective. But I've been very proud of how I've handled it all. I've had some boss run-ins and was forward but respectful. Dude. Long. Day.

Yesterday, I went raspberry picking at Orcas Farms, where farmer George lives and employs a Doe Bay Cafe chef, Megan and her boyfriend Tristan. Some of the Doe Bay garden workers and I volunteered hands, simply cause it's free fallen berries, George needs help, and it's a fucking beautiful garden. George sells his fruits and veggies at the Saturday market, so Friday is always the day to go give him a hand, pet his calico cat, and barter work for a bulb of garlic or two. George showed us his newest experimentation--compost tea--animal turdage, food scraps and bat guano aerated in water with a fish tank fan. During the hour of picking, George harvests with us, imparts life advice and pulls the nettles out of our way.

George is an attractive man who has to be in his late 50s. His head is mostly bald, he has a thick goatee of grey, and weathered tan skin, all shaded by his leather hat. He wears long, cutoff shorts and speaks softly. When he says something important, he never commands attention. George is the kind of guy you ask to repeat himself, because he's interesting and humble. Yesterday, something I took away from him went something like this: say what you want out loud; it will manifest itself because of both cosmic and psychological reasons. Something happens when you say what you want out loud. Angie, a garder worker then stated, "Emily, I need you to move to the left." Emily moved to the left, to which George smiled and said, "See, it works."

I washed out the dreadlock. It just wasn't me.

Right now there is a wedding ceremony on the balcony in front of me. A traditional Jewish wedding ceremony, full of shots of hard liquor, foot stomping, l'chaim, babies, gender segregation, and unusual and beautiful thing. I think I'll finish my Session and leave them be.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

What Us Humans Want in Life.

Life on the island is plugging along, quickly, steadily. I am calm and quiet, balancing work and friends.

The weirdest and most normal thing has happened recently. I want someone. I don't have any idea as to who or when. I know that it can't be forced. But it's good to voice and acknowledge something that exists.

This is some of what I've been thinking about.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Hitch in my Get-along.

Today I am getting a dreadlock, courtesy of Joanna. Thanks, buddy. Moving on:

Hitchhiking between Eastsound and Doe Bay has provided some of the most amiable conversations I've had in awhile. Going into town today on my day off, I caught 4 rides to get where I needed to go. One ride into town, two handcrafted french truffles and an americano later, I was sitting in Darvill's bookstore and ran into a woman I had waited on yesterday. The two of us struck up a conversation, and she offered me a ride back to Obstruction Road at around 4 with her family and daughter-in-law-to-be. She introduced herself as Coralee.

An hour into reading Cat's Crade by Vonnegut--recommended by Miss Wise--I realized that I didn't want to wait for 3 hours, plus I had dairy product groceries in my backpack. I started walking in the sprinkling rain and was, three cars later, picked up. It took three rides total to get back to my digs, but the small periods of walking were, lush, and damp. The last woman who picked me up, Judy, was a Mrs. Claus-like woman who had, in her life before retirement, ran a campground in Wisconsin. We got to talking about the history of Doe Bay Resort and the many owners and managers it has turned over.

Apparently, before it was owned, it was called "Solidarity" and was a commune where people gave up all earthly possessions. The followers would surround islanders' cars, convince them to come to dinner with them, and tell them the message of "Solidarity". Funny, huh?

I would love to write a book on hitchhiking conversations, I decided.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Last Night.

Last night I went to a party.
Last night I went to a party and smoked till my lungs told me to stop.
Last night I ate the best food I've had in awhile, including grilled oysters.
Last night my boss flirted with his girlfriend on the stoner couch in front of me.
Last night I drank Session.

Last night I watched people. I'm still watching them, and I don't know when I'll stop. There's this point I get to where I watch people so much that I forget that we're no longer the little kid who closes his eyes to make the world disappear. We're "adults"...almost.
On the whale watching cruise I took last afternoon, I was with three other co-workers, and we sat in the back of the boat, huddled up in blankets to ward off the ocean spray. I was sitting on the edge, with the head gardener, Heather, next to me. "You talk way too much," she told me.
Earlier in the trip, I had put sweat pants over my jean shorts and forgotten to tie them. When I stood up to see the whales, the sweats fell to my ankles...they all thought it was hysterical. And it was :) Whoops.
But it made me realize just how fascinating people are to me and how I really do love to check out what they do to each other, with each other, without each other. People need people. There was a family on the boat cruise who were one of the most touchy-feely families I've seen. The grandma sat the youngest girl with cornrows on her lap next to the mom. An uncle had his arm around his niece. The teenage boy even put his head on his mom's shoulder.
Did this family drink the Kool-Aid, or are we all missing out on something?
Individually we all have different ways of appreciating each other, but I thought that seeing this family so publicly enjoying each other's company was pretty cool.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

For What It's Worth.

I am no rock

I am more like water that changes

with the pull of the moon

becoming currents of hot and cold

rivers rippling through the open ocean.

Where do you make your home?

Do you avoid becoming the foreigner

because it makes you squirm


shifting in your skin,

in your mind the center of attention

but for all the wrong reasons?

I am a stranger at home in a strange land.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Just a Thought.

I sometimes wonder whether or not I have anything to add to the conversation of everything. As in, "God and universe, you keep right on doing your thing. I'm cool just watching, you seem to have everything under control."

But then why does everything seem to be so out of control? And why are there times where I want to scream "DO something, somebody!" instead of sit back and twiddle my thumbs? The more I'm in an environment where people stoutly disbelieve in God, the more convinced I believe there has to be one. And the more I'm around narrow-minded believers, the more I am turned off.

I'm angry that people aren't more loving of each other, they don't stand up for themselves, I don't stand up for myself, I don't value other people enough and they don't value me enough, dammit. Why do we do this to each other?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Good Hard Rain.

I got myself a cup of coffee and I'm sitting in the Otter Lodge before I go hitchhike into town with Alicia. It's pouring down rain and the tide is out. Brad the Doe Bay handyman is wearing his red Steve Zissou hat and is drilling away at some project upstairs in the cafe.
The dark mountains are enveloped in a greyish fog that make them ghostlike against the equally grey sky. Everything feels spongy. Like it has the possibility to burst into flowers or mold or tadpoles.
A damp and fluffy golden dog named Ollie strolled into the Lodge with his owners, shook himself out, and began to lick my hand. Jill, our on-staff yoga instructor, kombucha-drinking and never-disappointing high-maintenance chick looks at me, plugs her nose and tells its owners that they are in a no-pet zone.
"Can't you smell that?" she quietly asks me.
"Smell what?" I say.
"Wet. Dog."
Poor Ollie gets tied up outside in the cold. Doe Bay is quiet today.

I finished The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho yesterday, after taking a two hour nap on the point that overlooks Rosario Strait. Brenda has recommended it to me forever (hyperbole), and I finally had the opportunity to read it. Coelho's ability to name what every human feels--our hunches, intuitions, emotions--was most interesting to me. He uses terms like "Soul of the world", "omens" and "personal legends" to explain what a lot of religions avoid identifying. I really appreciated how he didn't avoid using terms he felt fit simply because of his Catholic religion. There is a connection between listening to God and listening to yourself that I hadn't heard written before. I loved it. Written similarly to St. Exupery's The Little Prince, this book wrote about people, their resiliency, and the courage we can find within ourselves if we ask of it from Higher powers. Thanks, Brendabulous.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Lifestyle of the poor and the waitress.

Sitting down to write about what happened the past 4 days, 35 hours of work, I realize that I've erased all memory of the past work week.

On my walks to work I see deer, the Doe Bay cat, Gorgonzola, fish jumping-if the tide is in-and great blue herons flying low to catch them. I brain-deadedly swipe my timecard and walk up the steps to serve the tourists vegan, organic breakfasts. I am on my feet from 6:45am to 4pm 5 days a week. But I have my first month's rent in a four day period of's worth it, I think.

The Doe Bay staff--about 12 of us--live in what we call "Tent City" about a 1/10 mile away from the waterfront, cafe and tubs. It is home, and I am growing to like it. Quite a bit, in fact.

Last night in the tubs, I met a really cool woman, probably in her late 40s. As I looked at the ocean I noticed a gorgeous rainbow arching over the peninsula of land jutting into the water. "This place is just magical," she responded.

We got to talking, about where she was from, what she does, the past times she's visited here, what I'm doing here, how old I am (her response: "Oh, you're still a baby. You have lots of time left to play."). She's a writer who does freelance. She had worked writing Starbucks training manuals and other corporate gigs. "Hate to break it to you, but there's no money in travel writing." She was telling me the beauty of waitressing and how it can get you around the world, especially if you're willing to tent it. It had gotten her and her tent to New Zealand, Australia, and Asia. Then, after us being naked in the tubs the night before with a crowd of overweight raucous gamers wearing bindhis, I served her--and the 30 year old gamers--the following morning at breakfast. Ain't life grand?

I think I'll like it here.

I will write more on my boss a bit later. Perhaps once I have more material. I have a baby story idea for a man named Lance Boils as well.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I'm on a boat.

At least I will be, tomorrow morning, en route to my new home for the summer. I plan on writing a lot more--hopefully--than I have the past year. We'll see if that dream comes true.

Dear Readers: 

the shock from moving from the city to suburbia will be taken one step further, only to stick me in the middle of an island. There I will wait tables, meet new people, read, play my guitar, smoke my pipe, make beans and rice and climb Mt. Constitution. 

I'll keep you posted.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Check, please.

I went to the doctor
I went to the mountains
I looked to the children
I drank from the fountains

There's more than one answer
to these questions
pointing me in a crooked line
And the less I seek my source
for some definitive,
the closer I am to fine.

-Closer to Fine, Indigo Girls

Friday, May 22, 2009

Title Unknown.

My body’s been everywhere I have—

when I ate worms when I was 8

My body witnessed it, shouted NO DON’T DO IT!

Last summer brother John and I cleared the yard of its dead weeds

My spine bent over the dirt and shovel.

We radiated heat and red—

we were dry sponges.


These cracked lips need water.

The shriveling process has started

inside I’ve become an old woman

as my skin tries to catch up with its

aging organs

lungs and liver blackening

skin shrinking to surround my heart and eye sockets.

They are most tender.

But I am not old yet.


When we are golden old

I will make us scrambled eggs

and thick black coffee

that makes our chest hair grow.

I will listen to public radio

Dancing in the fresh cut grass

catching fireflies

till my skin falls from my frame. 

Thursday, May 21, 2009


As of late, I have been detoxifying my dead brain by indulging in poetry of the late 40's through to the 60's. Basically, the beatniks. Beat Generation poetry led the way into the hippie era, but attempted to do it at a more hedonistic, intellectual level...infused with LSD. Beautiful but self-aware work. I can't judge. 

Gary Snyder, one of the beats and friends of Kerouac and Ginsberg, is coming to Seattle to speak at Benaroya this coming week. Kerouac based Japhy Rider, the main character of The Dharma Bums off Snyder. I've been checking out some of his poetry:

Smokey the Bear Sutra

Once in the Jurassic about 150 million years ago,
the Great Sun Buddha in this corner of the Infinite
Void gave a Discourse to all the assembled elements
and energies: to the standing beings, the walking beings,
the flying beings, and the sitting beings -- even grasses,
to the number of thirteen billion, each one born from a
seed, assembled there: a Discourse concerning
Enlightenment on the planet Earth. 

"In some future time, there will be a continent called
America. It will have great centers of power called
such as Pyramid Lake, Walden Pond, Mt. Rainier, Big Sur,
Everglades, and so forth; and powerful nerves and channels
such as Columbia River, Mississippi River, and Grand Canyon
The human race in that era will get into troubles all over
its head, and practically wreck everything in spite of
its own strong intelligent Buddha-nature." 

"The twisting strata of the great mountains and the pulsings
of volcanoes are my love burning deep in the earth.
My obstinate compassion is schist and basalt and
granite, to be mountains, to bring down the rain. In that
future American Era I shall enter a new form; to cure
the world of loveless knowledge that seeks with blind hunger:
and mindless rage eating food that will not fill it." 

And he showed himself in his true form of


  • A handsome smokey-colored brown bear standing on his hind legs, showing that he is aroused and

  • Bearing in his right paw the Shovel that digs to the truth beneath appearances; cuts the roots of useless
    attachments, and flings damp sand on the fires of greed and war;

  • His left paw in the Mudra of Comradely Display -- indicating that all creatures have the full right to live to their limits and that deer, rabbits, chipmunks, snakes, dandelions, and lizards all grow in the realm of the Dharma;

  • Wearing the blue work overalls symbolic of slaves and laborers, the countless men oppressed by a
    civilization that claims to save but often destroys;

  • Wearing the broad-brimmed hat of the West, symbolic of the forces that guard the Wilderness, which is the Natural State of the Dharma and the True Path of man on earth: all true paths lead through mountains --

  • With a halo of smoke and flame behind, the forest fires of the kali-yuga, fires caused by the stupidity of
    those who think things can be gained and lost whereas in truth all is contained vast and free in the Blue Sky and Green Earth of One Mind;

  • Round-bellied to show his kind nature and that the great earth has food enough for everyone who loves her and trusts her;

  • Trampling underfoot wasteful freeways and needless suburbs; smashing the worms of capitalism and

  • Indicating the Task: his followers, becoming free of cars, houses, canned foods, universities, and shoes;
    master the Three Mysteries of their own Body, Speech, and Mind; and fearlessly chop down the rotten
    trees and prune out the sick limbs of this country America and then burn the leftover trash.

Wrathful but Calm. Austere but Comic. Smokey the Bear will
Illuminate those who would help him; but for those who would hinder or
slander him,


Thus his great Mantra:

Namah samanta vajranam chanda maharoshana
Sphataya hum traka ham nam


And he will protect those who love woods and rivers,
Gods and animals, hobos and madmen, prisoners and sick
people, musicians, playful women, and hopeful children: 

And if anyone is threatened by advertising, air pollution, television,
or the police, they should chant SMOKEY THE BEAR'S WAR SPELL:


And SMOKEY THE BEAR will surely appear to put the enemy out
with his vajra-shovel.

  • Now those who recite this Sutra and then try to put it in practice will accumulate merit as countless as the sands of Arizona and Nevada.

  • Will help save the planet Earth from total oil slick.

  • Will enter the age of harmony of man and nature.

  • Will win the tender love and caresses of men, women, and beasts.

  • Will always have ripe blackberries to eat and a sunny spot under a pine tree to sit at.


    thus have we heard. 

    (may be reproduced free forever)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

REM Line.

We grasp at vagueries and wisps of color and faces.
And what was once so real
now is a hazy fog.
Nothing but hazy fog.
I was a mother.
I was a night terror.
I was a demon.
I traveled round the room
frightening children.
But it wasn't real.

In this other world
We were a family in a silent film
hiking up mountains
an orchestra speaking our words.
Charlie Chaplain was my father
who smelled a bear
that galloped down the hillside and
danced with me
a dance of death.
Round the trees we go.
Hide and seek.

Stabbing the bear
I keep my dream
going onward perilous onward yes
the dream train traveling on the REM line
through the forest till morning.
I've lit my house on fire,
seen death and chase scenes.
I speak French
and Hindi.
I feel warm blood.
a mermaid--
a pirate--
a gypsy--
don't. wake. me. up.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Bus 13.

Today I took the 13 with a friend, which never fails to surprise me with its encounters. There was a man reeking of booze at the bus stop. My friend and I were sharing his bag of licorice between the two of us. Rain came down on the clear awning, the wind swirling over his feet and sweeping up my jackets around me.

"Can I have a piece of that?" The man pointed slowly with his tan, weathered hand, the other one holding a paper sack and a bottle of soda. "Sure," was my friend's response, offering the licorice out to him. "But it's pretty stale, just to warn you." 

He took a piece of licorice as he replied, "aw, it doesn't matter." He chewed on the very stale red licorice till finally it gave in and broke. "Yeahhh," he drawled, laying his head back against the wall, closing his eyes. "This is good." 

Communism occasionally appeals to me...ironically this means me using things they are alright with me borrowing. Fancy that. But then this was a situation where a stranger man enjoyed a stale and chewy perfect piece of rope that my friend gave to him. He gave it more appreciation than most would. He wasn't jaded.

I like it when people allow something small to be appreciated over their whole body. That's all I have to say about that. 

Monday, April 27, 2009

Stuff White People Hate.

Being reminded of their whiteness.

Not Moleskine.

Contemporary Country Music.

Burnt drip coffee.

Being wrong.

The idea of Guilt.


The idea of Money.

Pro-abstinence sex-ed classes.

BIG Gulps.

The idea of Structure.

The idea of Rednecks.


Rural People.


Lipton Tea.


Cowboy boots worn for a purpose.



Poor Education Systems.

Pit Bulls.

Popular Places.

Going to Mexico for Spring Break.

People who tan.

Fur coats.

Clueless baristas.

Sarah Palin.

George Bush.



American-made cars.




Friday, April 24, 2009


I have an extraordinary professor for whom words were needed to be written.

Ice queen of my tribe
Like a dream
you float around the room
say oppression
say apartheid
care so cooped up
exploding from your pores
in concerned gasps of laughter.
There's little else you can do.
We don't know where you've been
what you've seen or
what you've done
outside of what you've shared.
It must be grand and large
and abominable
for there is no disputing the fact that
you are the grandest of them all.
You are free
like the white flounce shirt you wear
that has seen sandstorms.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I went to hear Anne Lamott speak last Friday night.

She told me everything I didn't want to hear. But it needed to be said.

Practice radical inefficiency.
Take a pen everywhere.
Fail at something you like to do. Don't worry about perfection.
Ask for help.
God's not looking for anything big; you could give someone a glass of water. That's enough.

Below the surface of everything I want to be (funky, calm, intelligent, yogi-like, dreadlocked) was this woman with a core just as shaky as the rest of us. The way she voices doubt just sounds better than the average jane.

Read Bird by Bird.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


I'm going away for awhile. With coffee, polaroids, and friends. But the importance isn't ever in that order.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Yesterday was the last day of my British literature survey classes. Final having finished, my friend and I hopped a bus and headed to Pike Place Market.

Everything changes when you take that first step on a bus. Wheels get you places. Wheels can change your scenery. They did for me yesterday.

A 50-year-old couple argued while the flustered, pudgy wife wrote out their budget on a piece of newspaper. The husband's face was scarred with white pieces of bandage attached. "Roy!", she raised her voice at him. A man who looked like a combination of an ancient Samurai and Hawaiian wrestler made his way onto the bus at Lower Queen Anne, and silently sat himself and his handlebar mustache down. Getting off the bus, we were badgered by a man handing out tracts proclaiming the "good news". My friend took one as a courtesy, throwing it out once we reached the other side of the street.

I do not need to ask the question: The world around me is so wildly different from the college I attend. Asking "why" would be ridiculous. Once I get out of this bubble I feel less paranoid, feel less self-righteous, feel like everyone is in the same boat as me. We are all confused and don't claim to have the answers.

I had a really excellent conversation with another friend of mine on a walk not too long ago, and I want to say thank you. Thank you to people who are not afraid of being at a loss for words. For people who take the leap off the edge, even though they are terrified. Here's to us all being scared shitless at the not-knowing-times while we try to figure out why we're here in the first place.

Thank you.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Check It.

The New York Times (left), Going West (right). Few things I like more than art. I've been getting a museum craving lately, so I thought I'd share a couple of my favorites: Jacob Lawrence, Dorothea Lange, and Diego Rivera. The top two are by Jacob Lawrence, and the mural is by Diego Rivera. In the West it seems to me that there is less of an appreciation for public art. For a large part of Rivera's life, all he did were murals, and he took them damn seriously. Why do the great painters of America want their pieces behind closed doors or framed on walls? I hope someone finds an example where I can be refuted.
It is crazy to me how images can be created by nothing but colors.

Friday, February 27, 2009


*See the Oxford Ethereal Dictionary for definition.
Today I visited the best second-hand bookstore in the world. Powell's is a close second. But Powell's don't have no cats. Anyways, there was this ridiculously fantastic book that had historically important cat lovers compared to dog lovers, advice on beard cultivation (very important to me as a female), and hobo written symbols.

For example, a diagonal line (bottom left to top right) with three vertical lines through it means "people here won't like you and will tell you to go to hell". Three small circles in a horizontal row means "hobo coin taken here". Just in case you need to communicate with the hobos.

People Digits.

There are hands
and empty.
My mother's have always been harsh with water and soap
cleaning grease from our family pots and pans.
But it's not her fault.
I write words nothing like iambs.
I'm not like that.
One day
i will write you songs
perfect, ordered, green and growing.
But this is life
and it is not
perfect as I hoped it to be.
I weave stories and imposters
waiting for them to unravel later.
They waited till hatching season came
to procreate.
There are hands
carrying weight
and tired.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Falling Through the Cracks.

I take my bra off at you, throw it in your face, you who came and went without respect.

There is this empty space that is waiting for someone but hasn't found what it is looking for. We all want a home. What happens when we can't find it? My home is rarely made up of concrete or beams, but by the people that build me up or tear me down. People appear to hold you in place. But even at age 20 I have learned, perhaps early, that they don't. Something more has to hold me strong.

My reason for not placing my faith in people? The faces they all share with me when they are disappointed in someone. Hurt felt, hurt returned. By someONE.

The very boy that can make me feel as though I'm high as a kite during the summer can make my kite crash down the very next day when fall arrives. This is why I appear to be a ball-buster. I only wish the men I feel contempt for had the vulnerability that would do them good.

But this is my hope for the future...

I dream on. To days spent
days where you and I, we wake up on a boat
shaken up gently
with the rocking motion.
yawn, with seagulls yelling at us to get up
scramble an egg or two
and start the coffee
We'd share a smoke
and I would tell you the dream I had the night before
We would race to shore
jumping in the cold water with no hesitation
beatnik and beatnik-ess
there is food and work and fire
and books and trees and
I dream because I dare
and hope that they do not let me down.

Monday, February 9, 2009


Lately: I have been feeling helpless. I went to read Madame Bovary for a class. I found I was yelling at the protagonist--a wife and mother cheating on her husband with two separate lovers--for being so weak, stupid, needy...

...and after a time I began to feel like I was yelling at myself. She and I need people. Need men. Need to feel cared about, need excitement in life. This book, scarily, hit home. I wish it didn't.

Will be there when I need it...or the next...or the next? Does this mean that I've let other people down as well? Statistics would say yes. Definitely. Oh. no.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


I am a fighter
and friend.
I grow.
What I don't know won't kill me
but it won't help me.

Spears and feathers
of the modern stone age
we fight the nemesis
in the closets
under the rugs
and behind the shower curtains.
Our hidden enemies.

Place a crown on my head
dub me a knight of your court
or a court jester.
But I still don't know how to juggle.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sea Soup.

Mist and murk flows
through the air.
Smell it
keeping the unshaven
from coming into harbor.

The captain gripes and lights his pipe:
Curse the pirates and the fog
keeping me from sea.
I'm bound for Egypt
and South Africa
but Somalians are after me.

Captain John has been long gone
For weeks at a time
His ship's been on
the salty brine
near the cape of hope.

Sing a tune for luck
Sing a tune for me
I've got a plan to sail away
and fly free.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Generation Apathy.

There is but one thing that I know be true

Right for me may not be right for you

That does not mean I’m all for apathy

But please don’t be a lemming just for me.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Seeing as it's a new year, I am going to write out what everyone seems to do these days...get out a piece of paper and make a list.

But rather than New Year's RESolutions, I've decided to call mine New Year's REVolutions. Nice ring to it, eh? Yet I'm not attempting to do all of this in one year, mind you. It's more of a benchmark for the rest of life. I'm not that much of an overachiever.

-See a meteor shower (another one)
-Jump off a bridge or cliff(and live)
-Be in a band
-Wait tables
-Watch a sunrise and sunset in one sitting
-Own a cat
-See a volcano
-Take a train that's crowded and smelly
-Sail a sailboat
-Go to Africa
-Live on a sailboat
-Backpack for two weeks straight
-Learn mandolin or fiddle
-Be a bartender
-Go to a Japanese tea ceremony
-Own a record player
-Go to a protest
-Shoot a gun
-Hitchhike somewheres
-Crash a party
-Rope swing into freezing water
-Be a writer
-Read a bunch
-Build a treehouse
-Plant a vegetable garden
-Do an eskimo roll
-Climb a legit mountain

This list will be revised in the future, I'm sure. Posterity, this is for you.

I have so much anticipation for life, and college can be really frustrating because in a way, it's a frozen state of being. As my eloquent roommate puts it, we're living in a glorified day camp where people make meals for us, we live in bunk beds, and we "play" with our friends at night.

Eventually we're thrown up into the real world, our eventual reality. Fresh and clean. But there's nothing I can do about it now, making the future even more anticipatory and alluring. So I'm sitting here on my hands, trying with everything I have to make the most of this final sheltered period of life.

And drinking me some rooibos tea.