Wednesday, December 05, 2012

may it be so

tonight i was in some ungodly pose when sophie came over and said,
you are so strong and flexible, more than even three weeks ago.
mind you, my feet, not just a foot, or an area of the foot, but my entire two feet cramped up after a moon salutation tonight. i got cramps in my thighs and rib cage (didn't know rib cages could cramp, but mine did tonight), and i'm not sure what else was going on. needless to say, i was not at my most powerful. but i have been taking gentle yoga from sophie. two separate sessions of it. and while it is not physically taxing, it is helping me to slow down and connect with my breath. i have been wanting that, been needing that. and not always do i get it. but i'm moving at such a fast pace most of my regular life that when i get into yoga and i'm jumping and trying to keep up, it doesn't help me attain the proper form.
i think my form is okay, that is, it doesn't suck entirely, but now that i've been in gentle yoga, i've slowed down enough to settle into a pose. to feel it in my bones. i think i was just feeling it in my muscles before. and maybe that's what i needed. it must have been, because we get what we need.
but now. there is a quiet and calm that settles over me like a cloud when i enter the yoga room and sit on my mat. i am often one of the first ones in the room, so i lay out my mat and spread myself out. my mind still races, but at least i remember to breathe now.
i told sophie this about a year and a half ago.
breathing is hard!
i just couldn't get it. but now, i think, i've not got it completely, but i am closer to it than ever before.
i'm tired. i'm stretched out. i'm ready to rest.
thank you,
i said to sophie.
no, thank you,
she replied.

Thursday, November 08, 2012


i keep trying to keep the jersey shore and new york fresh in my mind, because it is so easy to get caught up in pettiness. i realize, i don't have half the problems most people in jersey have right now. i'm trying to keep that in perspective.
it's curious, the way we are so dependent on technology. that we can't really survive without it, it seems. and not just technology, but artificial environments. i guess that is the genius of the human brain, that we can inhabit uninhabitable places by piping water into deserts and having big air conditioners. also by owning big heaters and using tons of fuel to keep warm in really cold climates.
the dependence on infrastructure has me thinking. what would i do if we really had an emergency and i had to survive au naturale. how would i even begin to know how to build a fire and hunt my own food. let alone find something to wear or some place to call home. there has to be some balance, i think. there has to be some familiarity with nature and an ability to adapt to rustic living if and when there ever is a real emergency (in my area, let me qualify that statement right now). i understand many, MANY people are now forced into this real emergency situation, and i wonder how to even being to help. where to start.
some part of me just wanted to not contribute to the chaos that was beginning to unfold around me. people who had gas, waiting in eight hour gas lines, makes no sense. if everyone just holed up and rationed (a concept unfamiliar to americans) their gas, their food, their essentials, then perhaps those who really needed to be out and about and using the gas would have it. emergency workers, etc.
i understand we live in a day and age when we have a no work, no pay system. we all seem to suffer when these kinds of events take place and there isn't much that can change that, nor do i think it likely to change any time soon.
but we americans are also inclined toward excess, and while i am all for preparing for disaster, i don't think hoarding is the answer. whether that applies to gas, food, water, what have you. the scarcity mentality strikes me as odd because we are a rich (even the least wealthy in this country far surpass the impoverished of other countries) people. we just don't see it.
my preparedness, while it could be thought of as the lazy way, was to know we were going to eat and cook what i already had in my freezer and pantry. i have plenty in there. during the week we were home, i got creative and cooked up some things i'd been meaning to make. i knew we would be all right, even if our power went out, because we had so much in the pantry. if we didn't have an actual meal, that wouldn't kill us. it would inconvenience us. it would be different than we are used to, for sure. but it won't be the end of us.
i didn't acutally shop for groceries until the friday after sandy came to town. and didn't shop again until the next week because i'd run out of eggs and milk. i'm not entirely sure this is the best approach since people shop like armageddon is upon us even when they are not directly in the path of a storm.
what i wish, what i hope, is that from this sandy disaster, which is still very much affecting my loved ones, who continue almost two weeks now without power, i wish that the christmas spirit, the giving spirit, the brother's keeper spirit would start to kick in and that the hoarding would stop.
if we just shared a little, everyone would have enough. please check on your neighbors and friends. they may need you, even if they say no.

Saturday, November 03, 2012


i have always subscribed to the theory that those who love me, love my child. they are not in my life if they do not accept my child alongside me. this has always been the case. the tacit agreement being others are in my life to contribute a different color, fabric, or weft to my particular woof.
the hard part about this is, seeing patterns. patterns i, as the adult, had never believed possible. when my grams raised us, we obeyed. blindly in many cases, but with respect regardless. i understood this way of being. it was, and probably is, why i have such difficulty with authority and being an authority figure. it's a complicated bag for me baby.
on the one hand, i am not my grandmother. that is understood with much sadness, but much gratitude as well. i have had opportunity, education, experience far different than hers. i love and honor her way of being in the world and think she made castles out of crapcakes most of her life. hers was not an easy lot by any stretch.
the ease of someone's lot does not determine much, in my mind. we all have our own particular brand of burden. mine, may be far easier for you to carry, while yours may suit me just fine. which is why they are assigned to each her own. and by looking in on you and you looking in on me, we can
share the load,
as they say.
what perplexes me most, is perhaps the vast array of shit that can go wrong. i know about it. i understand it. i lived my teenage years in such a haze of confusion, i rejoice daily that my girl does not carry that particular burden. she has her own. which she handles, as you can imagine, differently.
so when i come to what i see as a crossroads. and i stand there, looking up one road and down another. baffled, i may be, but this i know. i have done my best. it has not been perfect, never could be. i have not been my grams, because i am not my grams. and curiously enough, i keep finding papertowels stuffed here and there, places i don't normally have papertowels. i am very utilitarian, and if something has a function, i use if for that amen. so the papertowel as tissue option is really not, for me. tissues are tissues. but today, when i drew a stowed papertowel from my coat pocket, i couldn't remember what had brought it there and said,
hi gramsy.
since i couldn't think of anything better. it had to be what it was. i don't tend to hang on to papertowels much past their designated service: wiping a counter, corralling mandarin rinds. yet, there it was. now as i lay here, contemplating everything parenting, gramsy, of course is the one that comes to mind. i want my child to turn out like she turned us out (though i know a lot of that is we turned out ourselves, but it's a nice thought). perhaps it's just wishful thinking. perhaps combined with some delusion. but these are the moments, in times past, when i would pick up the phone and call my gramsy. maybe, just maybe, she stashed the papertowel, so i would know she is still with me.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

we are safe

i keep reciting this to myself, a mantra of sorts. while we have no power, no water, no heat, and no phone service,
we are safe.
this is all that matters.
so when the complexities of relationship and life begin to rear their heads, i try to focus on that one simple phrase, and breathe.
we are safe.
i meant to be very productive. i always mean to be productive, but i had a plan for this time indoors. i was going to organize my life and make things happen. i did that, to some degree, but then, i just got tired of doing it. and i stopped. maybe that was my mistake. my forward momentum halted, i languished. i drove around town a bit, finding some roads blocked. some clogged. and all of this, while out of touch with my loved ones.
i reached a few of them, on the west coast, but found the conversations did not serve to assuage my ever rising angst. so here i sit, trying to shake it off. trying to remember,
we are safe.
and breathe.
i don't want to be this woefully connected to and by technology that i cannot make it through a day or two without it. i like to think better of my mental health than that. i am the one who opted to dumb down my smartphone, aren't i. so as i drove the town like a junky looking for a dealer, i realized, i didn't sever the connection only the outward appearance of connection. that isn't, and hasn't ever been, good enough.
i'm not entirely sure how to go from here. where to go from here. what to make of this place. only this i know,
we are safe.
that must be enough.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

same time this year

it seems we keep having this hurricane thing happening around halloween. meanwhile, my daughter is busily sewing the costume she may not be able to wear. such is life.
so much happens in a year, but there are still the same lines, the same concerns as last year. though i am hoping, with experience, we are better prepared. i don't have tv so i have no idea what the news is saying as i'm finding my web feeds unreliable at best, maybe i'm just looking in the wrong places, or not looking hard enough.
truth be told, last year i made sun tea and checked out movies. this year, i just made sun tea, didn't have time to get to the library for the movies. so i plan to pass the indoor time rearranging my summer/winter wardrobe.
today i worked at the deli and people were buying forty dollars worth of cupcakes to "weather the storm" and it just made me think how american we are. it is true, this is going to be a tough storm, but what can we really do. where can we go. just have to buckle down and ride it out. our water is already off, has been off since early this afternoon. who knows what will happen next, i'm hoping for the best.
i've been trying to force myself to stay awake as long as possible, but i'm really tired now, having worked all day and coming home and doing a (in hindsight) very wise, rush cleaning job. i couldn't have sandy visit without scrubbing my toilet, i mean, really!
truly though, i hope my loved ones, are safe. and that we fare this storm well. all of us. even those i don't know. i trust, in a pinch, we can band together. i trust it will be well.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

november reading in east harlem

i'm participating in a reading in el barrio (east harlem), ny on 11/3 from 3-5pm, the reading will be held at la casa azul bookstore. should be a good time :D

Monday, October 22, 2012

touch down

after spending a weekend with my love, it's hard to get back to my life. to being satisfied with it. i know this is just a phase, that people get used to one another, that life continues and things get done, they have to. but i don't want to lose this. any of it. it's not so much the highs, the very high highs, the highest highs i've ever felt, but the touchdown after the highs. it's like that moment after thanksgiving feasting is over and there's just a pile of dirty dishes to be done. or the gifts have all been unwrapped, the friends departed and there's just a lot of clean up to do. the parties are wonderful. the gatherings, the joy. all, amazing. but the living must get done, too. i wish it didn't require losing that euphoric bliss. but then, we wouldn't be human. and they say, if there weren't lows, there wouldn't be highs. the highs would normalize and feel like that day after christmas. though the value of a cold turkey and dressing, with cranberry sauce sandwich is not to be underrated.
so i'm tucked into my bed, not with my love, but with my books. having cancelled my day with a friend, i will just do gentle yoga with sophie today, then tuck myself back in. i need a rest. i guess because i gave up my last week's respite, i had to forge one out of today. and while i don't mean to be doing work in bed, it's better than being at work. i like to have a plan for where i'm leading the students. today is a good day to focus on that. it is my pile of thanksgiving dishes, and must be done.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

i cannot save you

you never asked me to, but i'm telling you now, i cannot save you. i cannot even throw you a lifeline, as i have none. i have always and only had this. myself to offer you. come as you are, stay as long as you'd like, and i trust it to be enough.
there are those people who call out the savior complex in me. those whom i want to rescue with all my heart and soul. but i cannot, i never could. only now i begin to understand it.
there was a time when all i wanted from life was to take care of you, but it was not welcome, not received, and i came to realize, not my job. so i accept that now. i come to you not bound, but as a friend. nothing to offer, in need of nothing, just willing to be with you, beside you, cheering you on.
i know you. you know me. that is the basis of friendship. i had not thought we had it, but i was wanting different things for us then, and now, i understand, this is enough. this is plenty. so be it.
i remember the last time i held you in my arms, i felt so strong. like a mighty oak. and you, my dear, quavered in my arms like a fragile leaf. i have never seen you that way. i do not see you that way. rise up and own your power. you are a strong, powerful woman. be who you are.
you have made it this far, swishing your tail and being your self. do not change that. you are lovely. i know i said things to the contrary once, but you have done me no wrong. i simply loosed my venom on you, and it was not right. i never meant to wound you that way. i am sorry. if i could retract the fangs, the venom, the moment, i would. but it is done. all i can do now, is trust that what needs to happen does. that there is some redemptive end to it all. there must be.
i have known you for a long time, dear soul. i will know you again. i will continue to know you. and in the meantime, you will find joy. you will find what you seek. you will find. i wish fulfillment for you, and all that you desire. but it was never my place to give you any of those things, and for that i'm sorry.
it gets confusing, sometimes, knowing what is required in a moment. what to give and what to hold back. i tried only to be open. to trust myself entirely to the moment. and i did.
what you have now, beloved, are sweet memories. bittersweet, but sweet. i hope in time they will bring you joy. comfort, even. but no more pain.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

more baby, more

perhaps it's that the more time i spend with my love, the more time i want to spend with my love that is so comforting. perhaps it's how we laugh. perhaps it's how i realize i've wasted, used up all the sappy lines before now and it all has to be reinvented, for this one. from the ground up. i can't just quote a line or cite a sonnet, because it's all been done. all been said. this is a new place for me. i have not felt this good with someone ever before. and i am grateful.
so as my students lament their comings and goings, admitting they'd like to fastforward through now to see if
it was worth it.
i remember that feeling. being there. not knowing. that i can only reply,
oh yes, it is.
is more proof that this is new.
i have spent many days wanting that someone who could meet me, completely. to be entirely present to me. mind, body, soul. i have spent so many days grappling with the desire for a conscious loving partner versus the present partner, that i am stunned by the two being one at this point in my life. i had not foreseen this. nor could i ever.
so what's there to say when it's all good. every bit of it is scrumptious. what is there to say. how to describe it. i am listening and watching, holding my heart open that words may find their way to this place. i have such a keen ability to capture loss, and grief. so much experience with pain, that i wonder, what will it be like when i can capture joy this way. the sheer beauty, magnificence of life, of love. what will that be like.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


i accidentally gave away my day off. before i knew what hit me, i was committing myself to a course of action that would deny me two yoga classes, not to mention the first one i have signed up for with sophie.
i am a woman of my word, if nothing else. so i will be there, but i do not understand why i did it. actually, i do. but i can't get into that here. it plays into the larger theme though, of how much am i really taking care of myself. how much do i prioritize myself. i had been told that the onset of migraines, in one such as me, is the result of not taking care of yourself. mind you, i don't buy every quack theory i hear. but when i see the correlation myself, it's hard to deny.
so saturday night as i lay in bed with an ice pack on my head, having given up my day of rest, i am reminded of this need to take care of myself. i'm not a lightweight, but why do i feel the need to prove it by working myself to a quivering mass of exhaustion. not entirely sure.
i keep wanting, trying, intending to change things. welcoming abundance. grateful for providence in my life. these seasons, ay, pathways i have navigated of late make me think i have come some distance. but perhaps i am, as i had dreamed recently, caught on the ascending staircase between two large hipped women whom i can neither pass nor see around. the way is blocked to me. on my own power, that is.
but i do make the journey, i do slog through in the end. marion woodman used to say when her analysands would ask her,
how am i doing,
she would reply,
i have no idea, i'm right there beside you in the thick of it.
if a seer, or guide, such as woodman has no idea, why would i.
so tomorrow, i will go with openness in my heart and trust there is some grander scheme playing out. that i am serving some purpose with my life, even when it doesn't make sense and i feel i've perhaps wronged myself by giving my word. i know in my heart, i can say no and often do. i trust, that when i blurt out a
it is for a reason. and a very good one, at that.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

saba tour

the good new is, i keep surpassing my upper limit for happiness. the bad news, i keep sabotaging myself back down to my comfort zone. with a little practice, and a willing partner, i hope to eradicate this problem, and just enjoy being happy. i want happiness, that's what i've wanted for so long.
and i'm not the kind of person to say,
it's all scripted. this is how it goes down.
because i believe, we make our own reality here. we decide. but in those moments when i'm flinging mud and running scared, it doesn't feel like i'm that in control. i'm just reverting to type. let me just say, i'm tired of my type. i want to do things differently.
maybe, through practice, i can stop hiding. i understand now, what a problem it is. and i have finally made a commitment to not hide. that's a huge first step. so, then, quivering in my skin, i seem to be finding other ways of hiding in plain sight. so squirrely this frame of dust. so elusive and unwilling to cooperate. but, gracious soul that i love, i get second chances. and thirds. and fourths. i also give them.
how then to stop the old programming. how then to start really trusting another soul with what sometimes feels like my most fragile self. i'm made of tougher stuff than i feel when i'm scared. when i'm scared, i feel like spun glass, or spun sugar. dissolvable. very, intensely, fragile. i don't like that feeling. but closeness brings it out.
and when i've spent a marvelous weekend with my partner and we bicker after we've parted, it frightens me to think i would risk my love for something petty. there is no thing else i want at this moment than to be where i am now. staying in this place of peace, of happiness, of utter joy is harder than i've ever dreamed possible. i never thought i'd flee the good, only knew how to flee the bad. and even then, i didn't flee fast enough.
to stay, to stay, to stay, in the place of peace and joy. that is what i wish. that is all i desire.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

what now

after we have done all we can do for our children, we turn them loose on the world and hope they choose aright. i feel this so poignantly at the moment, it's coursing through my body, my blood. my hopes that this child will become.
she has thought i wanted her to become some thing. some one. but i want only for her to become herself. to be unencumbered. i have tried to navigate a path to freedom. i live as simply and as honestly as possible, my child beside me all the way.
has she seen things she probably need not see. of course. have i exposed her to too much, too soon. possibly. but she is a fine creature. she has always been solid. grounded. when her youth gets the best of us, we deal with it. my age gets the best of me sometimes, and she has to deal, as do i, with whatever messes we make. and so we shall.
i understand everyone parents differently. that we are not all fashioned by the same hand or mind, thankfully. and that is what creates such fine diversity among minds and hearts. that, truly, is what gives me hope. that even my stab at parenting is enough. i never asked for perfection or demanded it of myself parentally. i knew it was beyond me. i just wanted to be enough. just what she needs, when she needs it.
am i always there, no. am i ever late, absolutely. do i let her down, of course. i can't help it. but this child has learned how to give and take. sometimes she takes more than she gives, but i attribute that to youth. that she will make right choices when they matter. and when she does choose aright, i am delighted. because she chose it herself. it wasn't me cajoling her, or scolding her, or damning her into behaving, it was her being her. that's all i've ever wanted.
she has, undoubtedly, undeniably, had an unconventional childhood. i have tried to curb my parental antics and be the best i could be for her. but also, i demand the best of her. though in things pertaining to who she is, i give her free reign. always there to remind her that there are consequences, and to show her my life of consequences, the child knows. oh does she know, the costs of living the artist's life. she lives this life alongside me. and as we share the joys of creativity. the highs of inspiration. we must navigate the mundane, together. sometimes, we trip each other up. sometimes, we help each other up. but always, always, we do the best we can.
i do not know how it all works out. if my parental experimentation will result in goodness, but i trust that my heart knows what is to be done. and regularly does it. i trust that her heart is wise, and have many times seen it to be far wiser than mine. so i trust her, i trust with her. and together, we face what comes next.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


sophie asked us to
embrace our imperfection.
as i stiffly bent into something vaguely resembling a reverse triangle, i saw the word in my mind. imperfect. break it down. i'm perfect. it made me smile. it's exactly what she was saying. we are perfect in our imperfection. just the kind of thing i love to hear. especially when i'm struggling through a class as i was tonight. it's not that i'm not flexible, it's just that i'm not practicing. the very sound of that makes me a bit queasy because i don't want to have a practice. i don't want to practice anything. but i find, i am finding, i need to. that i will have to let go of my reluctance and practice. something. anything. the thing that makes my heart sing. i even contemplated zazen this morning. did i do it, no, of course not. but i did think about it.
there was a season of my life when i had something of a push in that direction. meditation. yoga. the whole bit. i did do more yoga. i even meditated some. but i found the dogma, though it was beautiful dogma, was still just dogma to me. it made me angry that i had to conform to something like that. so i stopped. mind you, this was a time when i had said,
if i'm to do zazen, i will just wake up and do it.
i didn't want to do it for any one, or any particular reason. i just wanted to know if it was what i was supposed to be doing with my life. yes, i'm this tedious, always.
so wake up i did. sit. i did. 45 minutes each morning for about a week, but then i got really mad because i felt like i was conforming to something that was not sincerely mine. there is only rebellion in me sometimes. i can't help it. sometimes i will walk away from the very thing i need, just to prove i don't need it. to my own peril, of course. but i do it anyway.
i find myself in this position in my life where no one is demanding, cajoling, or even inviting me to do zazen. and i want to do it. that is what i needed. that is the key that i sought before. not that wants or needs are my guide, but i had to hear it from some deep in the belly place, and not just make that shit up. i couldn't tell if i was enthusiastic for company or for zazen itself. to me, it looked like just another thing i was willing to go along with.
today, in the absence of that kind of company. in the barren fruitfulness that is my life, i find myself searching for the thing that i need now. zazen.
and after sophie twisted us into knots, and we ended up legs folded into some semblance of lotus postion, arms resting at heart center, quiet at the end of class sophie reminds us,
this is what yoga is for. so we can meditate without pain. so we can sit without pain.
and i wished, i could have sat there longer. the desire in me to sit. to be still. to meditate is stirring. and i'm grateful. grateful that it is not some show. something to impress. something that anyone will actually even notice, but that i get to be quiet and still for just a moment and experience peace.


before i dash off to sophie's class, i thought i'd take a minute to think out loud, and hope i can learn to let myself celebrate this place in life i find myself.
as i awoke, slowly on monday, that is, after i ran my daughter to school at 7:30am, and tucked myself back into bed for a little lingering snooze, i decided to just let myself laze about. there was no one to wait on today. no breakfast to cook, no coffee to make, unless of course i wanted some. mind you, this gives me great pleasure, to feed those i love (especially when they don't complain). but it is also wonderful to not have to do anything for anyone.
i slept the morning away, then roused myself for a cup of coffee and a movie. i found young goerthe in love to be just what i needed. something about the power of poetry. something about believing in yourself when it seems a pipe dream. when the odds are against you. when you are your own hell. i have known these places. lived in them. and now i find myself realizing dreams i had not thought would come to me now. but i am so grateful they have.
as i lingered in bed, tending to little other than poetry, a friend and i write poems together and monday we wrote at least three poems and finished a couple others. it was a very productive day creatively. but i found myself having to say out loud,
it is time for you to rest. you deserve to relax and have a day off.
making my way to this place in my life was exhausting. i tell my students this often, i understand. i was there. i know how it can be one mindnumbing deadline after the other, punctuated by work and family. forget about a social life. everything must wait, but it never seems to want to.
i am learning now, that everything, indeed can and will wait. that i can be in a moment of leisure. that i can trust in the goodness of people. that i can believe in love. i am in fact deserving of all this beauty. i have only just come to understand that fact and embrace it.

Monday, September 24, 2012


remember not to instill your fears in your child.
this is something that comes to mind often. i have labored to raise a true artist. and as she draws ever closer to her field, her calling, i watch and hope she finds the road she will travel. the road that will bring her joy.
it is sometimes easier, i'm sure, to project your fears outward, than to stare them down. i try to own mine. to invite them in for tea. fears have purpose, i believe. they are some incarnation of what we want, what we've known, what we hope will not limit us. fears are just an amalgam of the stuff we want to scrape off our shoe, but can't.
mind you, i lean into the wind on this one. i pull my coat up tight around my neck and go forward. i appreciate those who push through their fears, too. and sometimes, along the way, i understand, briefly who i am. what i am to do. and the fears dissipate for that one hot second after a rain, when everything is washed clean and the steam filters up through the sunlit sky. and i understand it all.
so when fear comes calling, like my kitten turned cat, at five am, trying with all her messiahlike powers to get lazarusme out of bed, but there i lay, ignoring even her mighty power. i know that this is how it must be. she will wait, lurking outside the door until i emerge, and dust off my eyes. breaking through the veil and setting down her dry hardwon meal. she will pick at it and wander off, to pester another day.
i do not entirely think it is satiation she ever wants. or fear for that matter, it is not me crumpled in a heap that is the aim of fear, just a byproduct. what i'm coming to believe is that my powers of concentration and my ability to downright ignore that which is pestering me, fear and cats alike, is just the state of this life. the name and face may change. mine, fear's, the cat's. but it's the same story.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


sophie is from france. that is why all her words sound like they have rs and i have trouble sometimes making out what she's saying. but, i have come to regard her with the enthusiasm of a devotee following a guru. i realize this afresh after seeing her tonight for the first time in a couple months.
it's not that i want to like anyone that much, believe me. i'd rather be my own little island, at least in my mind. but when i find someone who exudes such calm, who seems to be the center of the universe, it is hard for me to miss any opportunity to experience that.
mind you, i'm not a hard core yoga person. i just do it because my back locks up like rusty old rotars if i don't. even tonight, before class, i could feel myself locking down into some semblance of vetebral gridlock. not good.
so, i arrive early, and am met with a sensory assault the likes of which i no longer subject myself to. the aerobics or boot camp guy has the overenthusiastic music cranked up to ear splitting level and is hollering over it at the attendees of his class. why these people don't just turn the tunes down and ratchet down their voices accordingly, i don't know. but i guess, some people need a good solid yelling at on a regular basis makes them feel motivated or something. personally, it drives me away.
of course i peeked in the class to see who the hell it was yelling so loud and making such a racket, mostly so i could avoid that class and instructor at all costs. but then i retreated to a window nearby and curled up to look out.
that is, until sophie walks in. tall and tan, freshly back from france. hesitant in her english, which, no one really cares if she can't come up with the word bellows on her own. it's just her presence that draws us, or at least me, i'm sure. she wanders in like some freshly emerged goddess and stands there smiling, making small talk with the group of women who have gathered.
of course, i'm going over to the group to hear what she has to say. something about her grandchildren. and i just stand there smiling. so good, so infinitely good to have her back, i cannot tell you.
the subs were decent. hell, one of them was maria. and i love maria. but maria ain't sophie. nobody is sophie. and while i was lamenting my schedule having changed so i will miss sophie's thursday morning class, she tells me tonight before i leave that she will be teaching two new classes both of which fall on days i'm available.
but you have to pay for them,
she says.
of course, i don't care about that. to have three hours of yoga a week with sophie is worth any price. truly. and while tonight i did struggle to figure out what poses she wanted us in, i left feeling refreshed, alive, grateful. and that is why i do yoga. that is why i attend whatever classes with sophie i can. she has this way of guiding me without even trying. some people have that about them. i've never been much of a follower. i'm not a good student in many ways, for many reasons. but sophie just leads, and i trust her. i want to see where she will take me next.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

where were you

it seems this season, this time of being is ripening into something magnificent. there is only one thing required, the one that that has always and only been required. presence.
only now i have found the one who can look back. and see me, clearly.
it is not without much surprise i embrace this part of the journey. it is not without many memories wafting by, and i breathe them in, one last time. as i exhale the good, the bad, what was, what i wanted, what will never be, i savor the sweetness of what is. what has come to me. and i am grateful.
grateful for this life. these moments of tenderness. this understanding.
they are, without a doubt, worth all that had to come before.
this unfamiliar eagerness to begin a journey hand in hand, replaces the desire for one to take my hand. and now walk with me. into the sunset, to linger with me in the predawn hours, and to laugh as often as we can.
it has been a long time coming.
i am glad it's here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


what is your dream and why do we have them.
is it some sick, twisted plot of an uncaring god, that we dream the unattainable. reach for the unreachable. and fail. always fail.
or do dreams serve a purpose.
i don't understand how it works. don't pretend to even know the inner reaches of my own mind. but i do know, i have dreams. big dreams. sometimes, they weigh on me, so heavily. i can hardly catch a breath.
sometimes i see the dreams of others, and the slumped shoulders of unfullfillment and wish, just wish i could make them all come true.
but i cannot.
if i stop there, hopeless in my singularity, there really is no point in waking up day after day. if i let the odds of my big dreams actually coming to fruition stop me, then i'd rather not be alive. for that is what fuels my heart. my soul.
the idea that my dreams, and yours, can come true. that is what i wake up each morning to see. do i have unclouded sight. do i get lost along the way. am i certain of the outcome at all times. no and yes as the case may be. i am fraught with humanity, just like you. i have only twenty four hours. i have only one heart to give. i have only one short span of years to live these dreams. or die trying.
i'm by nature, a feeling creature. i don't spend a lot of time on logic. i don't wrack my brain for outcomes. i just move forward by instinct, guided by some inner pull. turn here, look there. believe in this dream. and i do. to the best of my ability, i follow the whisper.
sometimes i find myself bloodied and bruised lying in a heap on the floor. other times, i can't contain my joy. and then there are days when i'm just trying to breathe in and breathe out. dreams aside, living must get done. bills paid. who knows how it works and why. i don't understand any of it. i really try not to bend my mind into philosophical pretzels.
what have i to show for this feeling sense. for this moving forward on a seemingly undirected path. on paper, not much. but i will tell you this, i have never known freedom like i know it now. i have never known myself, as i do now. i can be compassionate with myself and others, because i understand darkness, not because i have avoided it. i look into the abyss that is my soul at times, and i do not look away. it is part of me. i am grateful for it. the presence of darkness makes the presence of light so much more magnificent. i cannot apologize for it. nor do i try. i just keep trusting. that which needs to happen, does. i believe this. it is how i live my life. moving from trust to trust. following the whisper. believing the dream. i will see it come to pass in my lifetime. and my daughter, she will be free too, if i can help it.

disturb the waters

i have spent a great deal of time this summer immersed. whether at the beach, or in a river, i have kept myself in my element on a regular basis.
this sunday while tubing down the delaware, i decided to take off a shirt, since the clouds had disbursed and i was nice and toasty. i had been in and out of the water a lot by that point, my tube had no mesh seat, as it were. which was to my liking, i could just lift up my legs and arms and disappear into the murky waters.
mind you, this is where i belong, in the water, not on the water. i didn't ever think that anything bad would, or could, happen. so when my arms got stuck behind my back and i'm sitting in a tube floating, there is no option for me other than lifting my legs and dropping into the delaware.
of course, dear reader, i'm sure you know, what i discovered. one cannot swim with one's arms behind one's back. my bad. not only was the shirt behind my back but at some point in my descent into the depths, it covered my face completely. so when i emerged, i was looking through a shirt at the filtered light of day and kicking my feet lightly, with my arms behind my back. the shirt is now houdini's straight jacket, or might as well have been, and i am in the water.
a couple things crossed my mind at this point, as i see the tubes floating before me and i am trying to decide what to do. first, i realize, i just have to breathe. there is nothing impeding my breathing. just a shirt covering my head and binding my arms. my legs are free, i'm still kicking, as they say, so i just breathe. and in my typical stubborn way, refuse to die.
my options are pretty limited at this point, as you can imagine. honestly, i'm not sure how the shirt came off, i think i went back under the water to get out of the shirt, which was pretty tight on my face, but it was the only real option i had. when i did that, it gave a little slack on my arms which i was able to wriggle free in the water.
at this point, my tubing buddies are saying,
are you okay?
i am still wrestling in the water, but manage to fling the shirt up and off, and hook an arm around the tube. i think the first words i uttered were,
that was really dumb!
but here i am, still kicking. still planning on throwing myself in the atlantic tomorrow, provided it is not too cold yet. i hope it is not. i love the water. i need the water. the winter is tough for me. but i take to salted baths.
if you have never gone tubing down the delaware, it is the most luxuriously peaceful venture ever. i highly recommend it. be sure, if you're not a strong swimmer, you wear a life vest, some parts are deep, and if you're a dork like me and throw yourself in hampered, it might just save your life.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

dream of me

it's curious, this, learning to live happy. it's unfamiliar territory. how can joy, delight, wonder be so daunting. how can kindness be foreign. truly, did i only love those who could not love me. it saddens me to think that thought, so i let it go. i try to delight in who, what, is before me.
as i seek publication and go after that which my heart desires i find myself in a season unfamiliar. there is this part of me which does not understand joy. though i want to change that. more than i've wanted anything before. so i have stopped deadening my senses and sit, fully alive, awake, attentive to the highs and lows.
i trust that all that has happened to this point, has been for a reason. i do not seek explanation, nor do i even seek reconciliation. i have done my best to create goodness between myself and those i love. even those i have walked away from recently. i have done the best i can with the tools i have before me. and now, now it is time to delight. to be the object of delight. i have not experienced this before. not firsthand anyway. but how i've longed for it.
and so, i keep my heart open. i move forward in trust, and newfound joy. embracing the one i love.
and i will learn what it means to write happy. to find words to describe. to convey contentment. and peace.

Monday, August 13, 2012

compiling a manuscript

this morning i sat with my words, listening to them. feeling them run through me again. remembering their power. hearing their voices. and understood, it is time. there is another poetry manuscript class starting in october, and i vowed not to take the class unless i had a new manuscript to workshop. today i begin compiling that manuscript. it is what i do. who i am. my work deserves to be read.
i have been silent and still of pen and mind, for some time. i have spent a great deal of time in the river of late. feeling the current carry away from me all that i have had to let go. so many trials and tears, now gone. i am clean. set free. in this unclouded state of mind, i will begin to piece together the second aspect of the narrative my work is constructing. drawing some old, and weaving in some new, to continue this journey for readers.
i understand art is utterly subjective. saturday at the guggenheim, standing before canvi that left me scratching my head wondering what is artistic about THAT. i realized, it is all subjective. beauty is subjective. what resounds with me, will not resound with you. the most beautiful woman in the world to me, holds little appeal to others (that is not an entirely bad thing when it comes down to it). the same works the other way around, what one finds dynamic, fascinating, captivating about me, the world finds, lackluster, dull, tedious. again, so much the better.
it is not capturing all eyes. it is about getting your soul expression in the world and letting it live or die by its own merit. flaws, strengths, speaking for themselves. let the world decide. though their judgment is not the last word. the last word is the act of release. that your creation is not festering away like some untreated wound, but it has come the complete cycle and stands a chance to catch the eye of the one soul that would be lesser without having experienced it. that is what art is to me. soul expression. and when it resounds with one other, the result is more art, perhaps not fine art (by that i mean, traditional methods, paint, sculpture, word), but rather, more love, more light, more peace in the world. she may reach out and her soul expression may be stopping to help an old woman on the freeway change a flat tire. that is her poetry. that is her art.
sometimes literal meaning can be so limiting. she is creating fine art with every stroke of her hand.
yes, that is it. so this collection, come together, will be turned out into the world for it to rise or fall on its own merits. and i will be grateful for having been a part of the process.

Friday, August 03, 2012

pair bonding

my daughter finally convinced me it was time to launch out and get some new budgies. i've spent the day watching them adjust.
after a tumultuous yesterday, for all of us, they have finally begun settling into the idea of being together, with us. at least this is what i tell myself. i've positioned their cage in a large pane window in the front of my apartment, drew it out of the dark depths of my daughter's room where the budgies will have to sleep in the glow of a blue light, their cage shrouded against the teenager who stays up all night.
we went to one store and could not find anyone we could not live without. i knew of another store, just down the road, and we set off, unsure of what we would find.
i settled upon an azure blue budgie that looks like a storm clouded sky. she has a gentle blue neckband and grey flecks, as well as an azure blue back and white midsection, the rest of her, veiled in cloud and mystery is a delicate white. she seemed the bravest, most accepting of me, as i watched her through the enclosure.
my daughter's eye landed upon a budgie the color of an early morning sunrise. dangling upside down, it made my daughter smile that this one was so playful. the frosty delicate yellow of this budgie accents the cloudy sky of my girl.
my daughter named these budgies vanitis and marluxia respectively.
in the ongoing gag that is my public commentary, i signaled to a store employee (including hand gestures) that we wanted to
grab a couple budgies from the collection.
a young woman walked up, after some time, and proceeded to manhandle the birds. she leaned her body into the enclosure and amdist a flurry of tiny feathers and frantic cries, extracted first vanitis, then marluxia. it was quite horrific.
the budgies were stuffed, more gently than they were caught, into a box to be carried home. i could hear their little frantic footsteps inside the cardboard and proceeded to calm them with my best budgiespeak. after tweeting a bit and clicking my tongue, they calmed and stopped stirring in the box. they even seemed to be utterly still. i was holding the box in the flat of my palm and there was no more shifting as they ran aimlessly about. i was grateful for them and pleased to be able to soothe them.
off to the cages, my daughter decides on a lovely little scalloped topped cage and we proceed to grab food, toys, cuttlebones, and a swing. we're making out way out and still the budgies are calm, silent. awaiting what comes next, i guess.
after a brief pitstop, we arrive home. i had peeked in the box at our stop and the budgies were huddled together and seemingly calm. we also thought their wings clipped. i closed the box before we found out.
safely home then, we unload and i figure,
let's see these babies.
mine proceeds to rocket out of the box and i shout at nee,
hit the ceiling fan!
she goes for it and my budgie lands, ultimately, with me laboring through a teenager's room full of crap, behind her bed. my girl is snickering away in the background and telling me i have to get the bird out of there,
it's dusty.
she says. after that, i grab some millet and hold it in my hand, trying to gently lure the poor dear from beneath my daughter's bed, which i am sure was more frightful than the little box with holes. i pull the bedskirt up and hold the millet. nothing. so i walk away and out comes budgie baby like a bat out of hell. she flounders around on my daughter's vanity for a while, that was the worst possible place for her to land, then heads south. she fumbles around my daughter's closet, with me in a bumbling second, trying to move quickly without hurting myself or vanitis.
finally, my little cloudy sky lands in the dirty laundry basket and i'm able to extract her as she travels ever deeper, her cries growing ever more desperate and loud with each little footstep.
she doesn't come easily, mind you.
this little one defended herself the best way she could by latching onto the flesh of my thumb and biting down hard. fortunately she is young and it didn't hurt too much. meanwhile, marluxia is in the box, terrified i'm sure. i finally get vanitis back in the box, and we close it up. thankfully no one was hurt, yet.
my daughter laments that she cannot get the cage together, she is sprawled out in the center of the room with parts here and there. i try to help and in the process miss the cage i'm trying to hinge onto and nearly rip my thumbnail clear off. i saw stars. nearly passed out, but managed to secure a bandaid after pouring peroxide on the wound (the extent of my knowledge of first aid), my thumb throbbing ever more as the blood seemed to pump out from under my fingernail. i was trembling and almost unable to open the bandaid. the slight pressure from the bandaid on my newly partially detached fingernail was excruciating. i retreated from my daughter's room before i passed out and really hurt myself on all the crap littering the floor.
in the kitchen, i throw a hunk of cheese in my mouth, hands still trembling, as i know i am not to take ibuprofen on an empty stomach. i call for my daughter as i land on the bed, about to faint. she gives me ibuprofen, water, and an ice pack then goes back to budgie duty. i lay there reeling from the pain. my finger run through with what felt like a hot needle under the nailbed.
this morning, the budgies were still in the position they were in when i covered their cage late last night. marluxia aperch the swing, vanitis on top. it took hours for them to release those positions this morning. finally, they began to eat and drink, chirp, and move about at about one pm, almost a full day after their capturing ordeal (and mine!).
i now find them sitting side by side grooming each other. thrust into this union they did not foresee, with perhaps a partner, not of their choosing. they are together now. and i watch them become familiar with one another, and with me and my daughter. i find the whole process, delightful.

Monday, July 23, 2012

i have another blog, i often neglect it, but i'm going to try to change that, here is a link to the latest entry.
the thing about writing is this, you must go after what you want. believe in yourself, your processes, your style. don't give up. keep after it.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

check engine

as the woodchuck works his way through the patch of sunflowers, and momma cat eats from the dish beside my door, her last kitten (at least two years young now), basks outstretched in the sun. before my cruise the second of the the three kittens was dead on the side of the road, and i was on my way to the train so we could not even scoop her up and give her a decent burial like we did her brother. those were my two favorite kittens, but they had good life and are together now playing cat and mouse games in the hereafter. or is it, thereafter.
kitten number three is off to stalk some frolicking squirrels, which is good, she needs the practice. she was never much of a hunter and now, in the absence of her more agile, adept siblings, seems a bit lost.
so i was on my way to harlem yesterday, when the check engine light came on. never exactly sure if this means, disaster immanent, i drove a bit farther, then turned around. not wanting to break down in harlem, so far from my home. it pained me to miss a reading but as a mom, i can't be broke down with no help in some town far away. so i came home. i played it safe. i was able to call and tell the book fair that i had car trouble, but it saddens me to miss any gig. it is the first time it has happened. so my car is parked, and i'm not going to anything today either, until i get a clean bill of health from my mechanic, pony's staying parked.
i find myself in an entirely new phase of my life and i'm trying to set my intent and expect joy. i've long awaited joy in my life. i've spent much time with it. but i want, even in these moments when things don't go the way i have planned, that i can still be joyous about arriving home safely. about my daughter in bed and healthy. about so many reasons to delight in life.
when i got home from my cruise, i wanted flowers. so i planted the three whiskey barrels outside my front door with petunias, sun impatiens, and gerber daisies. i am stationed happily between them with bees flying by and i've seen a hummingbird pass through. i dusted the dirt with seeds of many varieties and didn't expect much, because i guess i had just lost my ability to see potential. i did this on monday, by thursday, the whiskey barrels were green with little sprouts. i planted so many, it looks like i will need to transplant at some point. i hadn't planted these flowers earlier in the season because i wasn't in the headspace to do it. i just kept dragging by, longing for beauty but not taking action. now that i have, i wonder, what kept me from it. the flowers were there to be had.
so have them,
i'm telling myself now. that is how it is in life right now, much beauty is everywhere to be had.
so have it,
that's my mantra. it's time.

Monday, July 16, 2012

turn down

before i forget, i am reading this saturday at harlem book fair, it's a young reader's reading, so i'll be keeping it pg, but it's a reading in harlem nonetheless. i go on at 4:30pm, at countee cullen library, young reader's pavillion.
friday night, i am presenting my writing process to the latino authors and writers society in nyc, also meeting in harlem, at la casa azul bookstore, 6:30pm.
okay, business aside,
i just returned from a seven day cruise. can i just say that seven days is far too long on a cruise. it was american overindulgence at its utmost. the sheer quantity of food, not to mention food wasted, was jaw dropping. we could feed a small country with the remainders from one cruise ship, of this i am sure. the alcohol was flowing, and there seemed to be no stopping it. oddly enough, i was dry the entire time. i drank lemon water, the occasional iced tea. but mostly just lemon water the entire trip. so i was stone cold sober watching this parade of excess waddle by.
perhaps the best thing, no, the best thing for me was turn down service. i've never been a frequenter of fancy hotels. never had anyone fluff my pillows and turn down my sheets while i'm at dinner. it was such a joy to come back to my cabin and snuggle into fresh clean beds, not made or washed by me. only a mom can appreciate this aspect of a cruise. i guess if i could be faulted for excess, this would have been the way. i did use towels only once (i confess), and i went through my share of beach towels poolside. but mostly, i was grateful to see the housekeeping staff smiling every time i encountered them in the hallway. i wore my jingly anklet and many of them would light up and smile when i jingled by. when i wouldn't wear it, they would mention it. so i wore it for them mostly, by the end of the week.
it was, the best part of the cruise for me, leaving my cabin a disaster (i was sharing with two teenage girls), and returning to order restored. and not being the one restoring or enforcing order. it was truly luxurious.
let me just savor that a bit longer.
i enjoyed having so much care put into looking after me. i would like to find the soul who will do that for me willingly, as i will do it in return.
that will be a great day, when i have that realization.
and i will savor it then, as i am savoring this memory now.
turn down service is simply divine.

Saturday, June 30, 2012


i've been scouring the ebook shelves for hours now, think i finally have enough loaded on my reader to keep me sated for a while. i have a stack of books to return and a few other loose ends to tie up before my journey, but it is all getting done.
today was a much needed day of rest. i went to yoga, and while maria was kind, her vinyasa usually kicks my ass, especially since it is fifteen minutes longer. fifteen minutes doesn't seem that long, but when you're jamming through vinyasa it feels like forever.
it has been weeks since i have done yoga because while i was at the poetry intensive earlier this month, i think i tore a ligament in my left pointer finger (that's all i can come up with, based on the best guesses of my friends). it wasn't so much painful as a pain in the arse. i had to massage and heat it then ice it. that i actually did those things is testament to how annoying it really was. and i gave myself a break from yoga to fully recover. seems i need to use blocks always, not just let my short little arms dangle.
so i'm standing there getting ready to launch into the next position when i have this thought
this is exhausting
and i continue the thought
it really isn't, i'm just here, in the moment. doing the best i can.
not entirely sure what that shifted in me, but i didn't feel behind or stressed or anything else, i was just calm and peaceful through the class. it was fun. being present is a beautiful thing. at one point, i'm in fish pose, which essentially lets you look at the person behind you, and i was watching a friend of mine in a shoulder stand interlace her legs and cross her arms while she was inverted (i was inverted too, but most of my body was on the ground, mind you. when she finally let her self down from the pose i said, head still upside down,
i don't know what i'm doing,
she replied.
impressing me, that's what you're doing.
and she laughed.
life is truly beautiful. and i'm grateful for everyone and everything in my life. even the trials. even the fun. today i sat out in the field under a tree and read. one of my cats came over and loved on me a bit, then slunk away in the grasses like a lioness stalking prey, until she came to what i imagine was a grasshopper which entertained her a bit, until she ate him. it was a beautiful day.
and if you've never watched the movie ghandi, so worth it!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

what have i done

there is a song in nightmare before christmas, jack sings it, a lament, a question, a triumph of a song. it is the song that comes to me so often. even today as i sat mystified before the unfolding wondering, what have i done.
i wonder, sometimes, if what has been set in motion, if the large snowball gaining momentum above me is what i need to be swept away in or by, never can tell, really how the sweeping away is actually coming about. all i know, all i pretend to know, is that which needs to happen, does. i believe this.
so i sit here now, staring into a past i hadn't thought about much at all. looking down corridors for strangers who used to look back and me, and whom i once profoundly loved. i have never liked being observed but not invited to commune. i need communion. i seek communion. that is where i've been of late, living my life. with real people.
though i find myself wanting to infuse my days with the familiar. though i've changed so much, everything has changed so much, and i wonder, what does familiarity mean. how does it look. when one is molting, caterpillars are no longer the company we keep. but where are the butterflies to be found. and how can i, in a chrysalis bound, reach those heights where the butterflies will find me. who knows.
i've only ever more questions.
so i've taken to living by my heart. going where i want to go. trying to determine what i desire. i'm still not the best at that, but i'm getting better. and when i meet someone who says,
sell off this part of your soul and come be my slave,
i run away. i say,
no more. not living that way.
and i walk away.
so now i await my equal.
though i'm not even entirely sure i've fully emerged. but when i do. oh, when i do. what a day that will be.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

letting go

it's never easy, the end of things. for me, it takes a long time. when the time comes, i'm just done. nothing left to do, nothing left to say. walking away is imminent.
i trust, in this moment, as i stand before the great unknown, that my heart will lead me to the right shore, to the right path, and that i will know to take it. these moments are huge for me. this one, especially, because it is a turning point. a place where i am choosing me.
and so, the gripped palm of familiarity gives way to the slack open hand of trust. i trust that which needs to happen does. that the timing of things is mystery only to those of us captive in these sheaves of dust. i am tired. i get grim when i'm tired. but i'm ready for goodness. for joy.
i want to wake up tomorrow with a lightness in my heart. i want to wake up tomorrow, having chosen aright.
what am i letting go of, really. expectations that were non existent. this first occasion of my being utterly present to someone without having to hedge my bets. i have enjoyed living this way. every day was exciting. i move forward with what i've learned. i move forward.
i have lived enough, and loved enough to know seasons change. that we are in each other's lives momentarily. being present in those moments is the utmost. i have been present. and now, that my heart is telling me to move on, i must be present to the coming moments, just as i have been present to these.
goodbye comfortable familiar. i have loved you. but i have outgrown you. it is time for me to molt, to become, to emerge from this place. and i must go naked and alone. that is how we all must go forward. they are birth canals. they are scary, you can't take anything with you. no baggage. no companion. no comfort. just you. your heart. your wisdom. your trust.
and then one day, the light breaks, you peal out a first cry because it is all so delightful, having been born again. experiencing afresh, the unknown. it is all potential. it is all good.
and that is why i must move on.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

not uncomplicated

blogger has changed an now i'm not sure how to format my posts, so they will be big paragraphy things until i can figure that out. :( tonight in yoga sophie said, the bhagavad gita says
to be happy, you must give away the fruit of your action.
this touched me, as i have many opportunities for misunderstandings of late. i would like very much to come across with pure intent at all times. that is not possible. not for anyone. so the best i can do is apologize when i blow it, forgive myself (that's the hard part, i so want myself to be flawless), and move on.
i'm busy writing a poem a day this month, and while i find it is not how i write, one poem each day. ultimately, the number count hits the right amount because i tend to write in spurts. i hate a forced poem. like so much ground meat extruded. blegh. let them come, in their own time, in their own way.
still in the research phase of my book, but making progress. school ends in just about two weeks. it's a relief. it's been a long semester. a good semester, but a long one. not uncomplicated by any means. i continue to find things that work and realize what i need to retool for next semester. i look foward to the two week break between now and summer session, because i will be hoppin during summer session.
but i can't wait. i love my job. i love my students. it's all good. even the unfun parts. i'd rather be doing this than anything else in the whole world.
(tee hee hee, artificial formatting gotta love it ;)

Monday, April 23, 2012

may readings

i just read at mass poetry festival, which was a blast, now i get word that one or two of my poems will be rendered in art. on may 12, 4-7pm, i am invited to read the poem(s) at the gallery opening. this is exciting. the event is called art inspired by poetry. on may 10, 7pm, i'll be reading with my thesis class at cave canem in brooklyn. this should be an excellent reading, no word yet on the details of how long, etc. can't wait. hope to see you there!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

one of those days

yesterday ended up being good, relaxing. though it had a rough patch, i navigated it through my lifesaver, poetry. currently i'm doing this poem a day thing for the month of april. so far, i've had to play catch up a couple times, but i'm on track. seventeen poems down (started a day early). so, that's the good news. the bad news is, i have to process a lot of junk. i need to though, it has to come out somehow.

so we booked our cruise and i'm excited. i haven't told my girl yet because i'm still trying to make my point about the grades. it seems there is no end of struggle there, but i trust it will be well. that which we need (to learn) will come to us. i understand that i don't have all the answers, i just wish she would accept my word on the answers i do have. but we all have to learn in our own time and our own way.

i've been entering first manuscript contests and i'm submitting my work regularly. i'm grateful and looking forward to the opportunity to read and teach. my next gig is massachusetts poetry festival this weekend in salem. so excited about this. then, i'm teaching my poetic alchemy class. no word yet on my contemplative writing, but i remain hopeful. the work will come. the blessings unfold. i'm excited about these things. i have also begun working on my book about my writing process. the research phase is fascinating, i'm reading a lot about the way the brain works. the actual function of our grey matter. i'm not entirely sure it is essential to my book, but i think it will help, ultimately.

today, chores. school this afternoon. my writers have another paper due signaling the official near end of the semester. i hope to get many papers today and that my students have learned something in this process.

i have two courses this summer in the first six week session. i'm gonna be hoppin'. we will have to cover a chapter every two days, write a paper every week and have a test every three weeks. i do not envy those students but i trust that those who enroll will eat, drink, sleep, and breathe college for those six weeks to get through. i am sure they can do it if they try. let's hope they try.

so grateful, for everything.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


so my girl brings home, arguably, the worst report card of her distinguished career. momma not happy. i promise you, she ain't happy now. i had thrown down the gauntlet some time ago, her last bad report card which was lifetimes better than this one. i told her,
if you get anything below a b, i will take your phone, too
(as i had already taken her computer, sending the child into withdrawals)

i am nothing if not true to my word. i am also a single mom. i cannot afford, in time or grey hair, having to deal with repeated misbehavior. my punishments have to be effective the first time around. i understand it was not effective last time, but this time, the child lost everything. phone, computer, gaming systems. all of it. her eyes were all puffy as she tried to tell me how it was the teacher's fault.


what do i do all day,
i asked.

she says.

i don't accept excuses from my students, and i'm sure as hell not going to accept them from my child. so i walked in, bad reportcard in hand, and demanded the battery to her phone, her power cords, and the handheld gaming things she uses. she seemed lost last night, just hours into the punishment.

fortunately, i found out there is a way to turn off all calls/texts for her phone so she can have her phone but can only talk to/text her dad and me plus other important adults. she will LOVE that.

the child must think i was born yesterday, because she tried so many numbers on me, but as i've said. i don't suffer excuses. if she would take responsibility and show maturity for blowing it, that is another story. i would look favorably upon that. but this shucking responsibility is unbecoming. completely unacceptable.

so my child has the rest of her spring break to enjoy, disconnected from the matrix. she will have to read, or, god forbid, go outside and play. i am unsympathetic and she has no valid excuse. i'm glad i can leave her phone with her now though, at least she will have it so i can check in on her.

Friday, April 06, 2012


the effort to believe continues to take all my energy and focus. sometimes i grow weary watching the horizon as i do, but i believe in truth, love, and joy. that all beings may find enlightenment. that i, someday, may realize how blessed i am and live each moment with that as my only thought. as i do not do it now, so i try to look around and appreciate. appreciate all that is. even the trials. the ache in my left ankle. the piping hot bath with oils and salts, the burning candle and jasmine incense. it is all so very good.

i got two summer classes, a boon, a blessing. i will teach my first integrated set and i'm so grateful. i will earn in one six week semester what i thought would take twelve weeks, and to celebrate my loves and i will enjoy a cruise. a real vacation. i haven't had a lay by the pool for a week vacation in ages. years and years. and i'm so thrilled. i've wanted to go on a cruise for as long as i can remember but when i asked my ex, he said
it is the time of my life when i am saying
an unequivocal unqualified
to whatever i desire.

this can be dangerous territory, i know. but it's been fun, and promises to be fun. some of what i most enjoyed from last year, the trips to the beach, the outings, i have found new companions to enjoy those journeys with. i will spend much time tubing down the delaware very soon, this delights me.

i'm grateful. for every moment, even the lonely, heartbreaking ones. for they have led me to today. to this blessed moment. and i am grateful for it all.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

dreams do come true

i have to learn how to write happy. i really am at a loss. so many things are happening it is at times a whirlwind. i have a list of objectives and constantly cross them off and the list keeps filling up. this is just the beginning though. i have pitched my writing process workshop to a community center and it is presently being considered. this is part of that dream come true. just being able to be writerly every day of my life, every moment of my day, there is nothing like it.

one thing i am feeling though is an urge to write. to that end, i am making my biannual pilgrimage to create with the poets i have been retreating with for the past six years. i have missed about three of those sessions in that time, but hopefully now, all is settling into some kind of routine. though, to see my schedule, it doesn't appear that way.

there are other things i'm applying for and trying to get in to, journals, writing intensives, master classes. all of them to help add the beneficial stresses and tensions which will help me create my next poetry manuscript. as we sat in the manuscript class a couple of saturdays ago, we were asked the question,
would you repeat this class.
of course enthusiastic hands shot up and i just sat there like a deer in headlights. but i would, definitely, do it again. i understand that these writerly trials are what makes our work better, what keeps the fire burning so to speak.

i need better screens in my apartment, it's too hot to keep the place sealed up tight, and a fan in the window has produced a small black cloud of interlopers. summer is returning. with that, my longing for the beach. thursday is supposed to be beautiful, and i may just have to make a run for it.

that is, if i can cross a few more things off my list.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

spaced out

i just finished revising, for what feels like, the zillionth time, a manuscript i thought i would never revise. though saying that, i knew it needed more work when i left my master's program manuscript in hand. that manuscript has fallen away and what remains is stronger, cleaner, and captures what i do. i will spend the next calendar year sending out this work for traditional publication. when that happens, i will rejoice. if it do not, i shall selfpublish it and move on to the next manuscript. publication has never been a big issue with me. traditional or not, it will be published by next year. amen.

the issues i finally resolved with this latest draft were my spacing issues. going through each space, poem by poem, and formatting them so they reflect the way i read the poems aloud. this took me every bit of three hours, possibly four this morning. it is a time consuming process. i'm glad it's done.

i had to deal with my use of Mdashes too, i found them to be redundant functions of the spaces, but i only realized that after the hours of dealing with spaces, so i have eliminated those too. of the punctuation that remains in my manuscript, only colons, an explanation mark, and apostrophes remain. save epigraphs, true punctuation is preserved as used by others.

it had been a long time i'd wanted to extract punctuation from my works. i have begun that process here, but there, there it is complete. now, we'll see how it plays out.

i look forward to the next manuscript, the next book, the major projects lining up on my horizon. this one has been years in the making and i'm ready for the next venture.

Friday, March 16, 2012


recently i found myself seeing familiar patterns in my life. seeing things recur that i wished would stop. i am tired of them. so i found my way to a group meeting which espouses steps. the first week i went merely to pass the time. i had hurt myself in yoga and was taking a two week break. the language of the program stated,
come to six consecutive meetings.
and so i decided to make that commitment.

four weeks into my obligation, i decide to do more intensive reading. the handouts and things i have received are lovely, but i like to delve into things. to explore,
since i'm here for six weeks, why not.
and so i did. i sat down at a coffee shop one morning, intent on working the program. then i read the language of the first step.

we admitted we were powerless...

whoa, wait, what?


i can't admit that. so i kept reading. the questions posed in the work book went on and on about how life has become unmanageable, how the person doing the work needs control. and there are not many things i profess to know, but that i don't need control (or even want control in most situations) is one of them. that my life is not unmanageable is another.

so i sat there and stared at the book. i couldn't even pretend to admit any of that.

i have struggled so long, for so many years to come to terms with my power. to own my power. back in the day, i remember watching a movie about writers (the name will come to me) and there was a quote that i jotted around the borders of the book i was reading. that book was women who run with the wolves. the power book. i remember when i first read that book, how i told the man who recommended it to me that
i felt like he had given me my femininity back.
i'm sure he had no idea why i would say such a thing, but he had been reading my poetry and knew the broader strokes of my story to that point.

i won't dig out the film version of the quote because i believe it is misattributed but was actually written by marianne williamson:
it is our light not our darkness that most frightens us. our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. it is our light not our darkness that most frightens us. we ask ourselves, who am i to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? actually, who are you not to be? you are a child of god. your playing small does not serve the world. there's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. we were born to make manifest the glory of god that is within us. it's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. as we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

the dread consequence of posting my thoughts and struggles here is that someone will see them and think less of me. i have no time for that now. i had no time for that then, that's why i do this. that's why i write. i know nothing if not confession cures the soul. and i may not know how to navigate the meetings i'm going to now that the language has become the greatest barrier, but i am trying.

so as i have said to many people i've spoken to about this.
i do not believe we are powerless. i do not believe even the most cracked out person who finds themselves in a program is powerless, it was their choice that brought them to the program. that is not powerlessness. i will admit to misapplying my power, even to giving it away at times. but never to being powerless. i cannot.

this is a struggle for me because words are power. words are intent calcified into character. that sentence bears more truth than even i realize at this moment. as i move forward in my life, i am learning to wield my power, not to laying it aside. this is a process that has just come full circle. before i might not even have stalled momentarily on step one. now, it is insurmountable. and i stand at the foot and say,
okay step one, we are going to have to reconcile this somehow.

but how.

as i am fond of saying, i do not know. i am willing to be enlightened. i am always willing to grow. to be shown the way. so, i look with eager eyes to the horizon, not knowing how this will play out, only that, indeed it shall.

Monday, March 12, 2012

life and loss

there have been so many losses, life is littered with them. we cannot avoid them. and today is no different. this time in the form of a cat i loved who was hit by a car. i won't play the melodrama card, but i will say this. the last time he was sitting in my apartment, i just looked him over with love, because he had this white triangle on his nose, white tipped paws, and a white chest, which made him look like he was wearing a vest. i know life is brief, but it was a good day yesterday. my neighbor didn't tell me she found him until today and i am grateful.

i was exhausted when i finally returned home, the day was packed with new friends. my girl and i were content and happy having had a full weekend. life seemed (and is) good. this afternoon, when my girl gets home from school i will tell her the sad news. the neighbor has the cat and we will take a moment to bury him. everyone deserves a burial. to have loved ones note their passing. i will note his, each morning when he doesn't turn up for a meal. each day when he doesn't greet me at my car when i arrive home. i will note his absence deeply. over the coming months, i will remember him. that's how it works.

i saw beautiful things yesterday. a cooper's hawk swooped over my car. a gorgeous waterfall. the kindness of friends.

death comes to us all, these reminders are timely, whenever they come. and i am grateful to have shared his love, his life. and now i will let him go. i understand how to let go. it is just a process of time.

Thursday, March 01, 2012


today is the first of my grams' three proclaimed birthdays. my daughter's falls between the days, on her one unclaimed birth day. then next week, mine and my sister's back to back. my girl will be fifteen, and i almost three times that. i love my age. i am enjoying my life every day.

the critique group loved what i did with my manuscript. it's curious to see the change, but it translated well, my hard work paid off, and for that i am grateful. i didn't give up, in fact i made the manuscript more my own than it was before. cleaning up bits of clutter. it was not that hard once i decided what to do, in fact, i enjoyed it. i just didn't know if they would get it, but they did.

are we the source of our reality. is what comes to us something we determine. are we creators or just stumbling along blindly on the path set before us. what part does fate and mercy play.

some manner of all these questions has been swirling around in my noodle for some time now. i cannot reconcile them, i just try to believe. that goodness prevails, that heartbreak doesn't last forever, that ultimately love triumphs. these are what have kept me going. there is joy to be had and i will have it.

last night i sat with a couple ladies and told them about my koala theory. they laughed. recap:
sometimes i get to wondering if i'm delusional. if relationships can actually be good. and yes, i believe they can. i still believe they can. i have never seen a functional relationship up close, but that doesn't mean i don't believe they exist. i've never seen a koala up close, but i believe they exist. this is no different.

i told them,
i will experience one, or both, before i die!
and they laughed.

it's good to laugh. to learn. to grow.

good things are coming my way, i can feel it. and i welcome them.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

facing demons

to the city then. it's part of the taking back my life regimen i have begun in earnest. today is windy and the trees are alive.

a student of mine asked me to journal, so i am, this may be ill advised, but here goes.

i'm going into the city today, to meet with a group of ten other poets for a poetry thesis critique group. my poetry thesis (or manuscript) is up for critique today. the last time i was at this group was during the fall semester. the critique was ruthless. i sat there while the group proceeded to tear into my work with things that i felt weren't necessarily on point. i likened the experience to me going for a moonlight swim and the group leader chumming the waters. i sat there, stoic, or trying to be, for about 45 minutes, then i began to cry. not bawl, just tears streaming down my face. i left as quickly as i could and haven't been back.

when i got home that day, i cried, and hoped i had never made a student feel this way. that their work, their words, were unappreciated. it hurt a lot. but i also looked long and hard at my manuscript, at the comments everyone made, and i revised the entire thing. today will be interesting because i don't know if they will value what i have done, or not. but it's not really up to them to decide what i do with my work. i am the poet. this is my manuscript. there is a fine line in the creative arts between creating by committee (taking everything everyone has to say and incorporating it--thereby watering down your work) or being so staunchly rigid about artistic integrity that you cannot hear the constructive bits of criticism.

ultimately i believe that there is some truth in everything that is said, no matter how hurtful. the key is, determining what is true and what is garbage. throw the garbage out and grow from the truthful bits. so as i revised my manuscript, i stayed true to my artistic vision. i held my line so to speak.

i'm getting ready now, and will be seated in that room, listening to the other poets speaking about my work. my aim is to remain open and vulnerable. to accept their words as their perspective on my work, not necessarily their judgment or mandate. i am still in control of my poetry manuscript. it is still my baby and i stand by it.

now, to face my peers.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

hiking today

i'm going to be trudging through the rocky new jersey mountains with a group of women today. i'm excited about it. it helps me to feel alive, getting out, getting active. yesterday, i walked over the hudson river, there is a walkover bridge in poughkeepsie that i had been to once before, and i went there yesterday to reclaim it. to see it afresh.

i found myself thinking about what has been, what will come, and making a choice. as i watched couples, old and young pass by, i could have envied their togetherness, but i did not. i smiled at them and wished them well. i'm at a different place in my life now. i am choosing to be single. i am choosing to own my own life, entirely. to take it back one step at a time.

there is much to do, much to be done, always. but i intend to enjoy it all. somehow, the goodness of my life turned to something other than that. and i want goodness. i want peace. i want to manifest abundance in my life, for myself and those around me.

reading a book that is wonderfully affirming. in it the authors write:
many problems can be eliminated by the following intention: i am willing to expand continuously in positive energy with totally positive consequences for myself and others. --gay and kathryn hendricks, conscious loving.

which follows closely on the heels of another quote i read:
often we take our partner for granted when we should be seeing them as a principle object of our compassion. the tibetan word for compassion is nyingje, which can be more directly translated as 'noble heart.' this is a helpful term when thinking about bringing compassion into our most intimate relationships: we need to fully offer those closest to us our noble heart. --lodro rinzler

sometimes i get to wondering if i'm delusional. if relationships can actually be good. and yes, i believe they can. i still believe they can. i have never seen a functional relationship up close, but that doesn't mean i don't believe they exist. i've never seen a koala up close, but i believe they exist. this is no different.

i was reading a book by elizabeth gilbert, committed, where she tells a story about porcupines. she had a particular name for it, but i forget what that is. the story goes, when porcupines get cold, they huddle together. when they get close enough to benefit from the warmth, they also feel the others' quills. this causes them to retreat from one another, though they get cold again and commend huddling up again. this dance continues endlessly for the dear porcupine.

i have been called a porcupine in the past. i have known it takes a certain kind of person to handle me. i understand relationships to be about what we can handle from one another. not that we look for flawed people, but, i have come to understand we are all flawed people. each and every one of us. so when you find that person who can tolerate your stuff, and i find that person who can tolerate my stuff (and not just tolerate, but truly love you for it and through it), that is gold baby. not to be taken lightly.

having been through so many ups and downs emotionally, relationally, i feel equipped to say this: love is the most powerful force there is. it can revolutionize lives. do i want to prove this to someone, fight them to believe this. absolutely not. i am out there to do what i do, i understand that i have a capacity to love my people. those poor dear souls who find their way into my presence. poor, you see because they too have to endure me.

i'm grateful for this opportunity to learn. to grow. to become. that is what it's all about.

Monday, February 13, 2012

untangle these

our waters ran freely today, it was as if two brooks converged as we tried to sort it out. to keep clear, for we had merged so freely for so long. it is time to untangle these waters. to separate streams then, or pools of our own. though waters never seem to be entirely free of each other. even the salt tears which poured from my eyes. how many of her waters i have known.

i am reminded of the river where she offered up her favorite red shoes.
take me to him,
she said to the river. she climbed in the boat, and the river took her there. to the castle of the ice queen where he was being held captive. the ice queen's gaze fell upon her. she knew it was her task, to liberate her captive boy. i leapt to the middle of the story, bad form. let me tell you how it goes. they were friends, the boy and girl. he ran her off. he was cruel. times changed and he fell out of favor with the community, so he wandered away into the forest, deep. where he met the ice queen. she beguiled him. he was there, captive in her castle, out of his mind with her tonics. his friend, the girl, still loved him, and remembered him. long after others had forgotten. and she went to seek him out. it was the river that made the finding possible. so that is how we find the three. she, endeavoring to free him by remaining free herself when the ice queen's gaze fell upon her.

the story ends rather abruptly. i guess it is up to the reader to interpret the end. fatal optimist that i am, believed in the girl and found the boy restored to her after she dispatched the queen straight away. how is that possible. i do not know. i do not need to know. but when trouble comes the way is clear.

i believe in the strength of one girl.

Friday, February 10, 2012


i got the sweetest note from a student today. i almost cried when i read it.

the most curious thing has happened in my classes, i am finding i am engaging the latent writers in my students. how am i doing this. by being their audience. today we embarked upon our second essay and i ran smack dab into a wall. you see, i draft an entire sample essay on the board from one word. any word that they provide. understand that i never know if this is actually going to work out. if there will actually be an essay at the end of the road. but i figure, if we are asking these students to generate essays on the spot, for midterms and finals, we damn well better show them how to do that. i demonstrate that activity no less than six complete times in my class, four times before the midterm, and twice before the final.

when we first started the semester i was excited, because at least i knew what was coming and the cadence of the class. i could venture away from the text a little bit further than i had in the past because i know what they need to know.

so today, essay number two.

they give me a topic, and off we go. i skip step number three. my bad. but when i got to step four, i stalled out, presumably because i skipped a step. i looked at them and said,
i've got nothing. so what do we do?

i've told them endlessly to go back a step or two if they get stuck. it had never actually happened as i am, dry erase marker in hand, standing before the class. but i'm glad it did. if i can get unstuck, they can too. and those students who generally snooze in the back of the room were the ones who were chiming in a lot today. it was nice.

so, unstuck we move on to step five. where i proceed to get bogged down in the details again. so we discuss how we can rearrange paragraphs and flesh out things out of order, that is, create an idea map and flesh out our ideas there.

i asked their opinions on what the topics should be for the essay coming up and they chimed in. so we have a couple topics, now i have to settle on angles.

it's not that my class is a democracy, far from it. i'm a tough teacher. i had a lot of surprised students today, in good and bad ways. but i accept revisions. and i told them,
i will read that essay again and again until you get a grade you are satisfied with.
it is not about me giving them any particular grade, it is about them learning how to correct their errors. revision is *gulp* part of that process. let me be clear. i have never revised, not anything in this manner, but i understand why others need to. they have been turned on to my writing process but it is not their writing process. i aim to teach those whose styles are different than mine as much as i want to teach those strange birds who are just like me.

i love my classes. i love my students. i'm grateful for every moment in their lives. i never imagined teaching could be so rewarding.

i am also offering a poetry class in april. i will be reading at massachusetts poetry festival. and i'm finishing up my thesis class in the city this semester, with the hopes of publishing in one way or another when i am done. oh, and i'm going back in the studio to record a second cd. i love doing that!

there will be more readings, more writing, more teaching.
and i couldn't be more pleased.