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To walk the same ground. Different shoes. Different paces. Different people throughout time to walk beside. But, same ground- for too long? Those years’ll oftentimes revolt- real threats to start rubbing together. Melting, one into the next- funneling memories heads into memories asses, making an undecipherable, lumpy chain. Or maybe the times’ll chafe. Summer thighs. Hot without room to give. Furthering from comfort. Friction. Pillaging an Eagle Scout’s deep pocket to find flint and steel.
A spark.
Approaching the apex, to ignite embers to a great flame. After all that time- dreaming of the big burn. The big burn, after all that time- made manifest.

To use these flames to propel forward motion. Call to action. Impetus to blast off.
Mobilizing 4 tires to black-top. Passing  marbled fields, flecked with still cattle. Passing beneath dragged out cotton-candy clouds becoming moon-washed-white before soft, passive eyes. Intercepting lines of human lives of some with thumbs stuck out in the air, shadows growing tall against the dawn, and an eased pull of the wheel and a slowed roll to the right shoulder for a gambled rider. Obliterating stranger danger. Or being plum in the muck of it. Forms and figures.
In forms of different lovers in different beds in different counties, across state-lines, in different ways they call me baby, and hold my face, in different love lusts. Different starchy, faded flower print sheets to tangle in. Different bed springs poking my neck.
In forms of country-side, moment-determined-marvels rewarded only to few witnesses. In forms of passing pickups- brimming with hay bundles, stinkin’ onions, dirty coal, unknowns unnamed, shit-splattered damned livestock, pink weeping lumber, fresh watermelons threatening to tumble out and create ruckus. Imagine losing your life to a melon flying out at your windshield. (Six million ways to die.) Someone somewhere must’ve been this victim. Did you hear about old Josephine..

Highways: full of location-specific vices. Distinctly pertinent to mile pile upon mile of mostly smoothed concrete, stretching out like uncoiling arms in the longest known gravely hug, releasing. Warmth evaporating, forming snake like, peripheral heat dances, fuzzing sights of road sides with the forward world zooming bye. Tumble weed. Abandoned cars, restless, unseen, tadpole filled ponds, far off trailers, ghost stories, squats of tin, the feel of someone’s stare, dust dust dust. Nothing to see, everything to see. Don’t bother time with your has-been-metaphors, we’re here now. Just stay awake with frequent stops to fill up with the kind of coffee that sits snugly between quotation marks, stuffed in scolded-vanilla field flavors- strangled and spanked in hydrogenated ingredients. Settling right into the paunch. Yes, vices. Or glory holes in $4 truck stop showers, good glory leave it be, but entertain curiosity if you must. Life is art.

To travel is the judicious way to live for the writer. For the story teller. For the profane or profound seeker. To be sleepy while at it: the bi-product; the battle; the menace.
To give way and sleep roadside, pitching tents in quarries, behind lean-to’s, forgotten, untended structures, or weedy, wildflower meadows. Or geothermal magic pools.
To wake to the smell of uva ursi, wet earth, and piñon wood-fed-fire’s sourceless smoke. To light the Coleman burner and have tea time surrounded by cricket song and new rays of sun in splendor. To hitch a hammock between the Ponderosas and rub cheek to bark, waking up the nose to the knowledge of consistent presence of that phenomenal albite  subtle scent of root beer. My goodness. Or the desert plants that smell of rain a long while of time away from watering. The peace of morning; the cool bite of it. No other life can know the cumulative sense of freedom. Can’t I show you what my heart has known? I’ve hitchhiked across the divide before.

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Pea soup on the stove
stinking up the place.

If someone were to pop in right now
I’d say “I’m making pea-soup” to explain the smell
Save from embarrassment.

I’d invite them to stay and eat
I always make too much soup.
Who makes just enough?
Is there such a thing?

If they came over they’d notice the piles of papers.
I’d apologize.
I’d say “I’m normally cleaner”. And mean it. Because that’s how I see myself.

How do people maintain their paper piles?
Does anyone? Are there small files that the rest of people hide in another room?

The papers sit next to the boxes to be considered for recycling.
They get walked out incrementally. There’s no rush aside from the guilt
So much tree-waste.
I bought reusable cloths dipped in beeswax to use in lieu of foil.
My tupperware collection is nothing to sneeze at.
This throw-away culture is shame.

If a tree came over right now
I’d extend my sincerest condolences and I’d blush and admonish my own self
I’d say “I try”, though I’ve heard there is no trying.

There’s doing
and there’s not doing.

Once I had a teacher who pulled a tissue from the box.
He told us to try to pick it up, as he let it fall from his hand.
We scrambled for it.
I don’t remember who picked it up, but it was safe and upon the return to his hand
he said “See? There is no trying. You do or you don’t do”.

The tissue was used only for a lesson.
If that tissue walked through my door right now
I would refrain from rubbing my nose on him.
I’d fear him absorbing too much pea soup, so I don’t think I’d extend the offer.
Plus I need to slumber peacefully
without perplexing dreams about animate tissues eating my home cooking.
Though I’d say something like “I’m sorry for your purposeless life and that you must go
hungry
dry
and used in nothing but a questionable metaphoric lesson”.

If someone came over at the same time as the tissue and tree came
I’d have a lot of explaining to do.
And I’d have to do it, according to law, as there is no try.

Maybe I could blame it on the pea soup.
Distract them with health food.
Apologize to it later.

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You sun-spot you
you bright-but-tempered
you worn soul.
You don’t hug your path, do you know
you cling to the gutters?
In one place?
You need more butter. To slide you along.

Can an aura be sideways?
Because you radiate different.
Your colors interupted
by the cover you wear.
You deny your brilliance to the people
by coloring yourself with dull, dollar-store crayons
with a Prisma-set just beside you.

You sun-spot you
more deflected than refracted,
pierced and pocked
It’s all beneath your shell
That hides your bed sores.
That’s very heavy.
You are a frightful site
You make a terrible crustacean.

With just one life
When will you be ready to bask in your own light?

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Is anyone out there known to have learned skills of building just so that they could destroy, to start anew? If these walls could talk. If they could absorb.
Would they swell, well, wail?
With grief of past renters? Laden with uncomfortable memories of someone’s poor sitcom taste? Or  spooked by the inability to comprehend an old tenants’ idolatry? Or find humor in and joy of private dancing with the likes of us they contain?
Are they pleased with the blush-colored tiles that coat their kitchen parts?
Do they revel in the bed banging against them ferocious, and ache for more as well?
Because if everything has energy, then there stands a chance at a secret life that we know as much of as to think that birds just migrate without communication, but magnetism and instinct? Greedy, narrow, humankind.
So then, am I their favorite thus far?
Should I lean up against them and divine their favorite music? It must be Nina- the album with her in front of a pond in Central Park…
The walls. Inert and unable to grow, only wither in time. Unable to self-fortify. But- able to hear? God ears? You are probably not alone.
Turn off your halogens. Be true be true! If someone or something is always the witness, could you really be you?
You can find a hammer and smash till you’re blue. Or bang out a window to let the air through.
If these walls could listen. If they’ve been listening all along- how would you do? IMG_8144 (2).jpg

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There are 2 places to write from/ 2 ways to write.

The 1st: when one is writing, journal quality- where feelings are expressed in reporting fashion.
It is often sourced from the raw heart, but the other side of the heart. The side where the flowers don’t grow or pepper the in-between-places of words. Visual description is scant, exchanged for survival mode.
The side that is blood-swollen and rugged tender raw. Like half an hour to an hour into a wasp sting.
It’s to the point.
An aggregate of hurt, observation, and questions on the factory line at the beginning of processing.
It’s fresh and harmed. Or fresh and ruby red. Or fresh and perplexed. It’s still warm and may be beating.

The 2nd is once the thoughts have entered the bloodstream. Once the thoughts have become brain food, or maybe even the body has digested all the possible health or false nourishment and excreted the rest. Or maybe it’s sights upon describing the excrement. Or sights on love. Or sights on love that was. Or a safer place in reprieve of conditioning. All in all- it’s a place where art lives. Where words form tunnels that no one’s ever taken that lead to pieces of sky no one has ever seen. And the culmination of comfort, acceptance, and understanding leads to an ability to play with descriptors and bend them now to explain what was once impossible to catch in 2 hands/ to hold in one’s mind.

The same person will write in these two fashions. It is chew then swallow. It is egg then omlette. It is crawl then walk.

The brain intakes, assimilates, activates.

Reading a memoir of an author is likely to be the opposite of their flower writing. If you want to learn about a recommended writer, learn their work before grasping at their version of themselves. It is sleep then dream. But more so learn then understand.

 

*formerly titled “How To Read About Authors (for Dummies)”

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Eves-dropping on neighboring cloud watchers across the isle:

–Young girl- maybe age 7- speaking in absolutes: “I see a hand.”
–Man beside her- maybe mother’s boyfriend: “I see it.”
Pause. Watch. Stillness. “I see some mashed potatoes.”
–Girl -calm: “Oh yeah. Yeah.”
“I see a coyote without legs. Do you see it?
Planes are huge. Almost bigger than the world. We’re almost to space. Did you know that?”
–Man attempts an explanation about atmosphere, stratosphere… starts out strong. Flounders. Reverts to talking about library books on the subject.

Girl turns her head from the window of Largest Views. She finds a heated shaft of sunlight taken to sitting on the top of her hand from the other side of the plane. My side.
Reflection projection.
Steady she holds it; her sun-hand. Her free hand whirling small fingers atop its partner’s radiance. Spinning a small dance above orphic golden. She wants to show her mother who sleeps;
Looking back and forth from mother to glow, mother to glow, mother to glow.
She is a kind child. I can tell. Her mother rests on, while dutifully with providence, she hosts the light.
Girl sees me looking and offers a soft-kid smile my way. It’s too late to look away. I’ve been indulgent in my dreamy observing.
Down she puts the sun.

Back to cloud-watch; the line between boredom and the ease of nothing else to do, giving call to the deciphering of true existences.
High game, low stakes.
Infinite interpretive possibility.
A pooh-bah baby; she tells what’s what. The crown in passing light.
In a flash I’m brought back too.
Times no linear thing when you’re suspended in the air and have exhausted your ink pad and reading resources and suddenly… I’m young again, head-scratching, squinting wonder, looking for what’s really out there.
By and by eking out that dolphin pattern of automatic coordination involving focus, locus and vergence.
If I’d stare hard enough… If she’d stare hard enough…

Now the mother’s eyes are opened and the three talk of sun. I hang on their words like heavy warm suds sky bath; well intentioned interloper that I am.
They share curiosities over cardinal directions; the great Atlantic acting to anchor the origin. Wondering just what they’re flying over. Wondering where the man’s house might be very right now.

In an instant the plane tilts- revealing a ground covered in snow. A secret held from us by the simple act of sheltering our eyes. Covered in snow, dotted in trees. All small far down. Snow inside of snow.

The clouds have begun to thread, actively uniting, they soon mimic the land below as a blanket and a few levels higher measured by hundreds of feet, or thousands if you’re good at guessing jelly-bean-jar-quantities; filtering sun, laying across us fly-ers, dressing us in riches of watermelon and orange juice two hues.

Girl, Man, Mother are quiet. My mind quite quiet. And the clouds- speak silence full into the figures we see of them. Wipe away to white. Begin again if you please.

stard

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Trees; an affront to imposed rigidity and structural predictability,
contrasting the angles raised of long blocks that contain them,
(parks- a slight, conceding effort;)
defying street boundaries;
interrupting, inconvenienced by countless collections of 90 degrees;
spreading roots with great effort, nonetheless.

oa
To be well and free against the opposing absolute and certainty of man-made resolve, in an immediate world of molds and intended order.
In a time where plans are steadfast; where chance is made scant;
lessened; unappreciated, threatened by homogeneity.
I will sing the songs that rise up from beneath my feet, that the pavement has not permeated. I will sing the songs that are not mine to keep.
I will sing what comes forth, be I know not from where.
Songs to soften, with hopes of bringing broader breath to asphyxiated systems surrounded in soil.
Songs to ease the rattle of drilling for more more more when all is what we’ve already, collectively got.
Songs to hug at the earth burdened by those who appreciate her not, yet tug tug and tug relentless at her spine, yes.
Everyday. Back breaking acts in detached formation. Embroiled in entitled ideals.

When did people learn that nature was to be conquered and what happened to their songs?
With trees so tall to walk beside, how can they not feel a hum?

oaaoaaa

 

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There is a well of surface-scraped-depth within me.

I know.

And maybe you too.

I need to know what gems lay deep, bound by body basalt; encased in black rock; kidney crystal. Clinging to crags. Affixed & sturdy.

Formations of luster; robust & ripe; uncomprehended in fullness.

And it worries me.

How to mine myself for precious bounty?

Am I made of softer stone? Might I chip?

What earthly instrument would act as chisel?

How much wonder, precision & intent is required for self-extraction.

To mother words.

Arrange them & categorize.

The placement in a great pantry of order, positioning strategic visions; moving over pink salt, second hand plates, glass jars, almond flour, the old orange juice press, wayward spices- to arrange enigmatic & even alien feelings that can use the generosity of air-time to dry upon the lacquered, shaded kitchen shelves still shieldable from light with manageable doors.

That can benefit from this. To breathe & to steady.

The place my private mind has kept sacred & mysterious, precisely where X marks the spot, though barely tended to- not having intended to gloss over them or feed the deterring, fleeting, faux shiny distracting forces; shielding fears of my own discoveries & the responsibility that comes from choking- one day- upon an throat full of undigested diamonds.

How do you do bounty?

We are each equipped with inherent, ancient farming techniques.

How to learn treasure.

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The heat pushing through the piping of the long house in one steady breath, promising falsely to fog up the windows and appease the chill down to the bones that we all felt; coaxing blood back up to the surface; releasing the tight shoulders in the room, squeezing in desperation to retain the remnant warmth.

Me and you. We are cold together in spite of talk of Tahiti. In spite of flirting with ideas of occupying the shower. In spite of number 70 on the thermostat.

Cold with worn hearts. Wimpy, floppy, sore- from news that came in pin-cushion packages with the pricking points turned outwards.
Packages delivering information that both whispered and yelled at once, as for no one to mistake anything on any auditory level, that the beast had returned; and in it’s believed absence- gained volume and momentum and peculiar support.
An inconceivable menace that was as real as the boogie man, and just as easy to doubt.
And now, in shocking, lurching fashion, a manifestation has come forth onto the eyes of the public- thin with disbelief- banging chest, fragmenting citizens, hissing for allegiance, disregarding all in it’s path of unparalleled ethos.

Ice. A stairway in December with no salt.
Sub zero in some cut off jeans.
Windchill with newspaper blankets.
We begin our struggle to blind ourselves in counter action, to stare in solace at the sun.
To rid the big freeze from our bodies, and find a way to raise a renaissance life of egalitarian existence where chatter won’t break our collective teeth.

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lightening house

Forty years.
Forty frosty, colorless years where which the silence had built, grown, & settled upon them like a heavy, deep-season blanket.
Forty years.
Forty of them; where the walls observed no good morning, hello, how was your day, did you hear about this, did you hear about that.
No congenial exchanges muttered.
The couple passed each other in the hallway, or might occasionally find themselves waiting for the frying pan, the television, or shower to be ready for their own use, impatiently. Wordlessly.
The beginning of the descent into the static, mute, existence resulted from no particular fight, but more of a long, blue-hot-burning that built, seemingly to the point of no return, & a terrible, despairing feeling of being stuck together in the house of pulled, private shades & blackened, hollow photos.
The house with the yard where the neighborhood children wouldn’t fetch their balls from. The house of anger. And the house of dashed dreams.
Throughout the time of the Big Freeze, one had taken up quilting. The other had become an origami savant of sorts. One had developed a fancy for cherry everything: pies, ice cream, liquors, preserves… The other: a determined reader intent on hungrily devouring all on the topic of the Ottoman Empire & it’s collapse.
Still- no sound uttered.
Their love for music had once untied them. United them.
Like sun slathered honey, smelling of dewy mornings, feeling like cut-back-fresh wisteria vines pointing & sun bound, they’d  listened with their then-warm-hearts & looked with soft-watery-eyes to the other half play. Nimble fingers. Fluid attachment to sound, to manipulation of keys, breezy build ups, unpredictable yet so-good-wow-crescendos.
Life times had come. Gone. Come. Gone.
There they were, embroiled in a semi-coexistence where none was to share any thought; the icey quiet had crept into all the pockets of possible return, all too long ago.
But. If. Ever.
And never with a nod or a pre plan- they were ever to find themselves on the porch at the same time…
The music. The sound generated. Together by the dueling keys. The compliment of their knowing hands crashing down upon the ivory.
Creating the wildest, sensible cacophony of exquisite sounds, speaking leagues through keys into the sky; could’ve convinced the ethers to rain. They would. They wanted.
Would have the porch sitters abandoning stoops.
Would stymie the squirrels in their gathering.
The birds would settle in. And watch. And absorb. And the music was goddamn living.
All the lives that were tampered down & tucked in & brutalized with nothingness through out the years.
There & then.
Life.
And then.
Without nod, or gesticulation, the songs would conclude.
And the door would creak open.
The floor boards would give their predictable sighs.
The television would roll on in careless fashion.
But those: the only sounds that remained.

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