I guess it's about staring the train wreck down, right down to the rail road ties, sifting through smoke, metal and memory. "Bravery is not for the beautiful."

Mostly you will find posts that contain poems, paragraphs or narrative non-fiction in process or my thoughts on my writing adventures and of course there may be the occasional rant.

I am currently doing "the grind". It's where one writer invites another to be apart of a group. For one month the group of you email new work every day. That means I am writing every day. I will be updating more often, trying to get a little bit more comfortable putting my work "out there".

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Some Times Poems Come as a Mismatched Set


There have been poems that keep slipping between my fingers, like pennies
I can never have enough
Save enough
For the right moment
I spend to much
On trivial shit
A moments pleasure
Like a $5 photo taken with an aging Llama
Or words cashed in
On lovers who never loved
Me
We
start again
With outstretched palms
And empty
Pockets.

*******
It's 9 pm
Time encrusted with
A perfect sunset
Your mountain is
Blushing
Warm pink
With lavender creases
I think even
The landscape misses
Your smile.

Jim & Michelle


We talked last night about the Champagne flutes
that we never could find
and the beer steins
serving as substitutes
that we found in a junk yard
An Oakland treasure
We called them ours
despite the names Jim and Michelle
etched into the side
an open secret
You called them dead
I called them divorced.

We stole a story
from Jim and Michele's trash
took it to our wedding
and had a toast
to humor
and forever
to live
and forget

These now empty glasses that weren't
what we wanted
have shifted in our landscape
bulky and heavy
with names that aren't ours-
metaphors
that will take our lives
to understand
We have built
    a story
      a house
        ourselves
on these two beer steins
that were not what we wanted-
That may or may not be in the attic.

On the sunrise
of our five years
with rings, tears, laughter
I can't help but see
the poem start to emerge
Singing to the bird who still has yet to land
and to the hermit sculpting stories in the dark
beauty is about perspective
and love is as large
as we both can imagine
some times it's not about what you want
but what you've got.

Jim & Michele
Forever.

The Anticipation of Loss


Whenever I come to visit there are many little moments that feel meaningful, but I never can seem to wrap my heart around them. They fall like sand between my outstretched fingers.

My grandmother asked me if I wanted coffee, but what she meant was--did I want coffee to take home? Apparently, there were several pounds left over that my father had sent from Puerto Rico and nobody would drink it. She took 8 lbs to the senior center and gave it away. I want to think of the coffee as the peace offering that my father would never offer. I want the moment that I drink this coffee to know that our souls, if not our hearts, are absolved. I want to think that I could live with only taking what he offered, even if it was not offered to me.
*****
We ate outside in the garden, even though there were only 13 of us. There are many things that my family does wrong but taking care of our elders is not among them. We are eating here instead of at one of the lake houses because this is where she is and she, even with her bitterness, is where our heart is.

My grandmother has aged severely in the last year, shrunk just a little more into herself and lost what ever was left of social inhibition. My sister has brought a boyfriend on this trip-- the boyfriend who will probably be her last. It's an important moment. The boyfriend gives my sister the last bite of my grandmothers famous rice and my grandmother looks at him and says "Don't let her get fat". We laughed. We laughed because it wasn't funny, we laughed because it's in our blood-- a natural response to an uncomfortable situation, we laughed because there was nothing left to do, this was not a battle anyone would choose to fight with Grandma. The boyfriend blinked repeatedly, and said ever so softly, "I used to be fat." No one heard him over the laughing.

*****

There is a sadness that hangs here and I have been trying to figure out exactly what it is hung on. I can't tell if only I can see it or if everyone see's it and laughs anyways. I like to look at all of the photos, not because I remember the moments or want to remember the people, I look because I have always looked, it's the searching that's familiar.

There are no photos in my house. My history lives here in neutral colors and white trim. This is the only place that smells like home though I have never lived here, this house and my memory reek of dial hand soap and sofrito.

I feel the loss coming like October rushing toward July, the change is riding the mid afternoon breeze.

She doesn't want to have surgery on her shoulders and tells me that her heart hurts and soon God will say, "Aida you have been a bad girl." This loss has been on it's way to arriving for the last 89 years. She is ready, I am not.

Noon


Trying to write at noon on a Tuesday, is like trying to drive my truck without gas. It just sits there in the bold sun, sweating. The words were all possibility two hours ago and now they have retreated like morning glories at sunset.

I want the words to come out before my family arrives, before the dogs come home, before the afternoon gets away from me, like water in a drain.

Seattle isn't suppose to be hot and still, we should be packed in by clouds and a west wind. We should be drinking drinking black coffee and brooding.

The windows are open and the curtains are doing a modified tango with the breeze and yet the words are not wandering in, the stories about my mother, a fourth of July gay bashing, group homes and California's fault lines, are not willing to sit with me today.

Writing at noon on a Tuesday calls for an iced tea and private conversation with Sherman Alexie out among the sunflowers. No notes, no pens, no keyboards. Just whispers stitched on to the underside of my heart out in the bold and rare sunshine.

Thoughts on Pride


As we zig zag though side streets, she turns and says "You know, I go to the Cuff to sort of make sense of it all". I suppose that's why we go to gay bars--whatever we are trying to make sense of. I think about the history of pride month, the various uprisings, lifetimes of an up hill battles, the gore mixed with glitter. It's three days before pride and you can feel it rising, the bigger smiles, bigger drinks, it's a little bit like the rise of rainbow feeling acid reflux. Our bodies are trying to digest our once a year gorge on the beauty of our experience, despite whatever it is we lost. We all have lost something/someone-- in battles there are always losses.

I grew up a little bit east of everywhere, where one small town bleeds to the next. Pride mattered, the internet was still stuttering and the winters were long. There was no corporate sponsorship. Just people, in park, on a summer day. I was 16, I didn't know about uprisings, I didn't know what love felt like but I knew that I belonged there some how, I didn't yet know what it would cost me to belong, or that I would end up on the outside anyways.


********

It isn't true you know.
That rainbows and glitter
some how make it better
it doesn't get better
it gets different
its like growing up
and looking
at that old bike with training wheels
and somehow
it looks smaller
and we forget
that we got bigger
I think a photographer
would say
It's about perspective
no one talks about the storms
that blow in the rainbows
or the glass that was shattered
to make the glitter
there's a story here
that we just can't seem to remember
but it's etched into our bones
buried in our veins
covered in cobwebs in our history
and we forget about the pain
because rainbows
are rare
and beautiful
but fading with
ever breath, step, march.

Bones


People talk about
the bones
like it matters
I always imagined
steel bolts and solid wood beams
a heart buried among
the sawdust and spiders
A soul crushed between
dry wall and latex paint
I thought character was about bones
and foundation
and there's a wall
laying haphazardly
in the back yard
chucked out a window
200 lbs of bones
melting away in the rain.
I asked about why we add
texture to walls
my guy tells me
to hide the imperfections-
industry standards.

It's the imperfections
that grab me,
the plaster that wasn't quite even
in my inexperience
and the nail hole that was missed
in the caulking
the slight chips of time,
it's the scars that make the character
not the bones

the bones are what the scars
cling to
in a summer storm.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Scars

You asked me to tell you about a scar. Instantly I thought about my chest, the bilateral scars that snake along the underside of my pecs. Then I moved lower running my thumb along the scars in my abdomen from my hysterectomy, following the path downward I settled on what I tend to imagine as the old man in my knee. The cadaver ligament I acquired last spring. But these scars get plenty of attention.

Two scars come to mind. One is not mine and the other not yet real.

The scar that is not mine belongs to my sister. The upper corner of her lip met a flaming marshmallow, just after sunset, the winter we were practically kidnapped. It was cold, we did most of the cooking on a grill outside the double wide trailer that rested among oak trees in central California. Some how she got bumped just as she went to blow the flame out on the marshmallow. I remember screaming before she even realized what had happened. My father grabbed a wet towel and put it over her mouth, trying to cover up her wailing more than ease the pain. Today she's 30, and the old triangular scar the size of a lucky charm is no longer visible, but bodies them selves hold memories, and they even sometimes hold memories that don't belong specifically to that body. I don't like roasting marshmallows, when I see them, I see her 8 year old face full of excitement catch fire. The image is burned in my memory like the California's landscape after a wildfire. Still smoldering, black and strikingly empty. I asked my sister about the scar, and she said, "What scar?"

The second scar is a currently a figment of my imagination. Sometimes in some cases this is how scars are born. I am still debating whether I want/need surgery on my ears again. This new scar will not be hidden like the others. It will rest on my temples as if my ears will forever be held at gun point. It could cause a whole host of problems, it could be the tombstone for my sense of taste or my ability to feel my face. It could also be a memorial to my time that was silent and now only sound will always exist. I will not be able to remove it and move through sound or silence at will. This theoretical scar will pin me down forever as one or the other. I have never been very good at one or the other.