I don't think this one is done, and I'm experimenting with line breaks and punctuation. Lost What it is, is not lost. It lives in the quiet spaces between things where everything has already happened. It is never lost. We are here. You and I are here now. It is not lost only - - - changing has always been /changing/ we hold stardust of galaxies we hold oceans & rivers we hold colonies & villages we hold we hold we hold - - - millenia of love & knowledge in our bodies. Those that came before held it too. It changed in the passing. It will change again. When /our/ fingertips touch those to come when /our/ hands go to dust. tree songs 1 & 2 stand still feel the sun edges close wind is danger gather together brethren keep the ancestors fed descendents sheltered under sweeping branches cousins lost in orderly forests don't remember who they are connection is here roots reaching to touch *** small creatures crawling on my skin each footfall a caress stand, wait, accept there are many ways to be a lover
In the morning
the air is cold.
I light a fire and smoke
trembles from the woodstove
to greet me.
Last night I opened
the windows to share music &
sweet darkness with the
trees in the ravine,
and we passed an hour
in each other’s company-
as you would in wordless familiarity
with old friends.
But nightmares took me away on
screaming cacophonous wings &
though my body stayed,
I was gone.
In the soft newborn light I see
the trees are still there.
They never leave,
only wait with ancient patience
for my attention to return to them.
I slip out of crumpled nightdress
naked to them as they are to me-
skin wrinkled and scarred as
the bark on the cedars.
All of us equally bared to the ravages
of wind & time.
My bath is steaming and ready.
The air is warming from the fire.
Outside the trees
drink the rain
and a breeze blows through
from the south.
They all shudder and sigh and
lean in a little closer.
On Reading Anna Moschovakis
I am in the bath reading Anna Moschovakis,
and watching the candlelight reflection on the side of the tub.
I wonder how to bridge this gap
between my body and other bodies.
My jaw is aching again from clenching my teeth.
I think others must not have these problems-
of holding muscles so tight as to be absolutely still
I know that they do.
That doesn’t help.
I have the email of Anna Moschovakis.
Will I use it?
In mid-December I went to the Washington coast and stayed at the Sou’wester Lodge for 5 nights. They have an artist residency program- you apply with a short questionnaire and a sample of work and if accepted, pay a drastically reduced rate for a Sunday-Friday stay. I asked for a cabin with a bathtub and my wish was granted.
The Sou’wester is a lovely spot. An old mansion (built by a long-ago Portland mayor, I learned) was cut into four suites some time ago and small cabins were built around the property. More recently a fleet of vintage travel trailers were added, available to be rented for the night. They have a sauna, a small honor system store with books, art and snacks (and wine), a thrift store in a tiny airstream, a firepit, and a beautiful big open main room in the lodge with books and a fire and records to play. It is a 10 minute walk to the beach.
I went there to work on fiction, but knew that what I really needed to do was confront my fear and anxiety around creativity in general. It worked. I started jotting words on a napkin on the way there and they came exploding out of me, sometimes in the middle of the night, waking me up speaking. I allowed whatever wanted to come through to come through- some of it was the fiction I’d intended to work on but mostly poetry and musings. I took about 20 baths, read a lot, made some collages, walked on the beach, communed with the spirit of a whale whose bone hangs on the wall in my cabin (#10), and came out of there feeling like a different person or maybe more accurately the person I’ve been all along that I was desperately trying to stifle. Cheers to her, and the Sou’wester, and artists (and those who support them!) everywhere.
Some samplings of the week:
I sit at this table and read other people's poetry and worry I'll never write anything 'good' meanwhile the sun is shining the crystals of frost on the window translucent and a forest of ice trees appears on the glass if I could only stop thinking, I could step inside that other world and we could all start to dance
Be a raving lunatic for God. See poetry under fluorescent lights. Make love to trees. Let your eyes be burning globes. Take off your skin like a dress. Fire your heart black and incandescent as the spaces between the stars and the stars themselves. Sing spirals on street corners. Tear up the streets and plant wildflowers in their wake. Call the whales up from the depths of the sea and sleep in the cave of their ribs. See through wings glossy and bright to the delicate finger bones hidden underneath. Look into the hollowed holes of a seal pup to where life is leaking out without control, a fireworks of molecules and atoms exploding out into everything as if the cars driving by aren’t unaware. This is what desire is for. This is where we are all going. This is the burning altar on which all fear and all hunger is laid. This is destiny. This is homecoming. This is home.
III. A whalebone hangs on the wall of this house on the shore where I have come to learn to trust. A dead thing, to all appearances. Rilke says not to be bewildered by the surfaces of things; in the depths all becomes law. In the hushed deep of the night with only a rumble under my bare feet to tell of the nearness of the ocean I place my palms to arching rib-bone and for just a moment- the room is blue the wombpulse of the sea is all around the cries of my kin echo through the water calling me down to join them. IV. My own bones shine under the lifeblood of my flesh. The architects of my grace, my stalwart foundation, the generous bearers of the burdens of my engagement with the world. If I could slip off my skin like a dress and hang it next to the door I would walk bare-boned to the shore, clattering my nakedness through the dunes to offer myself up to sea and sky. I would join the lost leavings of the sea’s breathe so that in the morning the joggers would find me there amongst the stones and shells the place where my heart once beat no wider than the rib bone of a whale.
The dogs follow me around the house as if I am God.
Huey’s eyes are soft with trust and desire
when he looks at me.
I take his paw in my hand
and feel him melt into belonging.
I tell him
it is too much to ask of me.
I am flawed.
I am damaged.
I also long for a being bigger
and more knowing than myself
and if some creature appeared before me
seeming to hold all the answers
I too would lay down at her feet,
expose my soft underbelly
and give up all of this fear.