Monthly Archives: September 2009

You think I’ve forgotten you, but

You think I’ve forgotten you, but
I haven’t. If I was honest

With my feelings I’d probably move
Somewhere in the desert, say,

Utah. No one would know why
I lived with the sparrows, because

If I was honest with my feelings I’d love
Too many people at once—men, women,

It wouldn’t matter, I’d convince the sky
To marry me. They’d call me insane,

lock me away, give me Klonopin.
I’d see things: stars, Chopin’s symphony

floating madly. These things I’d want
to possess: your braids, every autumn

leaf stuck to your sweater, the lampposts.
You think I’ve forgotten what it feels like

to love one person faithfully, on a railway,
in the desert. I just want to hear the earth

call me insane. You think I’ve forgotten
you. No one knows but the sparrows

how many times I’ve written I want nothing but
every god-blessed you.


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Great Love: Finding the Other Between Brahms and Quantum Mechanics

“We shall be changed. For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality.” – 1Corinthians 15:52-3

There are moments when you know that a voice or language from a distant source– be that an author or memory of a past-self–comes, shattering glasses, with the purpose to lift and nudge you to hope-free joy, for to hope is not to live, but to predict, and the voices outlast all anxiety found in hope, that unstill ground. In these moments–glimpses of Great Love.

As I stood between myself and the window, I had a feeling an Other was perceiving what I soon would unwrap.

Call it opening up, call it madness, but sometimes, one feels waves when the ground is steady, feels love when all corners are dark.

These moments strike only when the mind is ready, when perhaps a broken-down-ness has occurred. And, the very moment we feel the whole world is stagnant, in the cracks of an alleyway, burst gardens! And why not? Sporadically, the Other dances in tune with our neurons. If not sporadically, we might not notice it when it does occur.

I said I stood between the window and myself while sitting down. At that second, I did not know that state of being-in-between, but looking back, as satellites look to stars, catching unseen tails in their lenses, I move toward a realization that I could, and did, stand between former despair and future unknowing, suspended.

What stands between is not really me, but the Other, singing in a tongue of unknowing.

Despair has the capacity to lull our bodies into the dance, too, but only occasionally, and with caution. For, after we begin to see ourselves as the Other, a clearing in a wood is put to flames, or, more physically, a neuronal pathway, used, shakes off.

One experience cancels the next, and to build, we remember ghosts, only ghosts.

Why can’t gardens grow out of every despair then? So what if our minds give up the clearing in the wood, brushed back with flames of the Other, destroyed, neurologically clipped?

Because, alongside the unknowing that comes with the dance, the moment when the voices come in, there must be undergrowth and new associations, though they are painful. Not to withstand the undergrowth and pain, but to understand, know.

Once, I succumbed to another sort of dance. Not the relief of the Other, but anchoring despair. Weighted, I thought to cry out, lift me up! But something wanted my attention. To know this undergrowth, to keep my life from being always “in the clouds,” a gift was being presented and I was to unwrap it. So I cried. Full and belly-shifting. But I want revelation, I thought, not this!

But why, asked the former-me, the voices, the Other. How is this any different from joy? Unwrap it, slowly, sing into the suffering. Be still in it.

From this stillness, something happens like what happened today near the window. The Other stands and allows me to be in-between former despair and future unknowing. And, in that moment, glimpses of Great Love.

It is the body where the weight of my crying rested. My body that understood something the mind was rejecting. So, when we are crying out, wanting relief, not accepting the gift, how can a duality happen? How can we have a feeling of beginning-to-know something we have yet to know?

A single electron can take two different paths within our circuits. It can, in essence, interfere with itself while trying to get from place to place, split between two places at once. And so, too, ions, which carry all our potential actions and thoughts across the brain—it is through ions that our neurons communicate.

So, as with Schrödinger’s wave equation that computes all the possibilities of one particle’s behavior, left alone, the particle has no specific location. Two places at once, five? In a wave or still? To observe is to un-know.

Just as I was walking down the stairs for a cup of tea, a person downstairs began playing Brahms. Though they had been playing for some time, I was only just aware. A thought scurried across just as I felt sadness. So this is the language of the moment. So this is two places at once. My listening and Brahms’ calling into the world, the darkness that once housed his despair. And, possibly, the person playing Brahms began in order to relieve their own sort of sadness and weight. Lifted, we are all together singing!

I remember a friend who called to me as I was running into the West Texas sunset. He was a sort of perceived knowing that the Other danced into me today. I had the feeling of beginning-to-know something. And sure enough, my despair back then led me to write about water, and in that water surfaced a stranger who saw his own face in it. Hannah! He cried, and so I was then named Hannah in his mind. And perhaps the particles in my brain split open to be that for him. Communion, between our sadness and joy, is possible, even with those we have never known.

And when I succumbed to the weighted, full crying, I sang into my arm and began to unwrap the gift. What makes me hold, I thought, to one branch any longer than another? And so each experience is its own unwrapping.

If electrons are subject to the counter-intuitiveness of quantum mechanics, perhaps so are our states-of-mind, our emotions. And how, in brief seconds, we may lift up, out of despair or unknowing, and glimpse Great Love.
See below Bernstein and Glenn Gould together perform Brahms. How can a joy-canary not be hidden in this? Even on the saddest days?


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Blackberry, Bear Witness, Send

I loved your last email and have a response, but right now

my feet are touching long island sound and this weight

in my chest is trying to decide what it’s name is: roots

of despair or beautiful-burst-children. There’s a distant-me,

8 years old, trying to find herself, and the earth

already tastes of God and my bones. How

to decipher one pull from the next; how

have I not spun myself to death?

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London Announcement & a bit of Photography

Anyone in London, go to Marylebone, Bakerloo Line, Platform 2, Southbound! My photography will be on display there for two weeks starting this week. I wish I could go see it myself, but alas, trans-Atlantic airfare is something I cannot afford at the moment.

Meanwhile, I have the wonderful opportunity to intern with Ron Terner at Focal Point Gallery in City Island, NY. Here are a couple shots I took while spending last weekend around his studio. City Island was having their Arts Festival. I just love the island. The community reminds me of small town life where I am from. As my dad said while visiting “Well, Shannon, dang! You wouldn’t think you’re in the Bronx around here!” No, indeed you would not.










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Knots Might be in Maine and a New Audio-Wordling

Before beginning this entry, I would like to direct your attention to my new little audio-wordling. I recently uploaded a new track-song-poem to my Mysapce music page. It’s called “Case Study: Girl Thinks She’s a Sparrow” check it out HERE

Knots have been away, resting their bodies against a sea rock, I suppose, perhaps in Maine. I don’t blame them. Wander the lights, I think, lean against the glass, eyes pressed to an ocean dress.

One of them wanted to come back to me tonight. The herd stamped that idea out of its mind immediately.

It’s not time! knot 34252 said, untangling seaweed into the shape of a helix.

But the one who wanted to come back looked for Jupiter in the sky, drew an equation in the sand for the distance between.

Between listening, the carpet has names for my breath. Another language that perhaps the knots could translate.

Something beams inside me, whispers,

don’t you know, in the listening one composes things, hangs lines of beauty in the air,

As grass keeps growing, though the roots know nothing of it.

Pressed, I think I see knots,

in Maine, or where my thoughts

and You, settle.


when the knots come back, beauty

will reveal She’s been sitting in my corridor,

all along, handing me things like: Your intentions,

the sun caught in a toads throat, forgiveness

open cotton-field-wide under

my feet and You. I will tuck under my bed

the sandpiper who stands one-sided, drunk

from whatever it was my words bloomed in the other life.

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dear hospital, I love your breathing machines and, Pine & I talk after discharge

There are little creatures in my lungs and they just don’t wanna leave. I know, I know, close to my heart, dear ones, but please leave; there are other planes out there with wider expanses than my modest alveoli.

Sickness lifts the tops off of cans and leaves me staring into the sky thinking there might be something I am missing on all of the other days, in other states-of-being. Something about the fighting within matching some spirit of fighting on the outside. My senses lean back and place their feet on the vein-ways, take breather. Swaying daisies, what else can we do but go with it, have our way with how the Universe pulls on the tops of our heads?

The chest breathes without notice most of the time, then, suddenly, an ache or tightness. Other senses take over. The brain maps take a nose-dive and rearrange their streets.

What? The chest hurts? Rewire smell, touch, hearing, because breathing maps have less property to go about.

Walking out of the hospital, the green of September deepened, as did the blue above.

Are your lungs about to collapse? I asked the pine.

Just wait, said the pine. Any moment now, your memories will scatter like soon my leaves.

A strange tingling from the nebulizer rest on my hands. Dots against dot-strangers.

Pine, I said, does your heartwood break down, your lignin gasp and take it on themselves to collapse? Why are you following me in dreams?

Nothing stays that settles on the frontal lobe, and you’re about to remember something that hasn’t laid its hands on you in a while.

Your smell does that to me, I said. Tell me more. What will I remember that stays settled in the occipital lobe? My hands, see, bugs of sort going over them.

Later, I read a magazine article about the last days of Patrick Swayze’s life. “He wanted to die at his ranch in New Mexico, but Dr’s wanted him to stay in California.”

Once, I held the stump of a great pine as a girl. So tight. Remember this land, I thought.

I wrote, frantically in a notebook, 12 years old, about the land was a heaven. A heaven. I didn’t want to leave.

Some chord in a water-trough spun out and licked at my ankle. The river running through the ranch property spoke in thousands of tongues, more tongues than rainbow trout.

See that line, my dad said, it’s got one, a big one in a fight. Pull!

I leaned the whole weight of my frame against the rock-banks, tossed blonde into the wind. Dad had a grip on my belt-loops. The thrill of almost falling into the ice-current, coming straight from the mountain’s tips, rushed spotted-blood bugs to my ears.

HA! I gasped. As a lighting leapt, and something gaped next to me, as though a birth from rapids.

Breathe, I thought! But the eye of the trout shocked open in surprise, stayed on the sky.

Can I throw him back, I asked dad.

Take him like this, he said.

His hands, thicker, demonstrated.

Walking back to the ranch-house, I squeezed where the scales dug in, watched the blood out, in, out, in, like the mouth of another being, wanting to breathe.

Years later, at twelve years: This is where I first learned to ride a bike, I wrote, frantically, next to the pine stump, and caught my first fish, I added. Leaned into the ring-stained footstool again. And now, we have to sell the ranch, I ended the entry, crying, grabbing hold of the amputated tree and root system as though I could keep a part of myself here, forever.

I try to catch my breath between a sudden remembering. The bronchitis holds me down. Against the pharmacy floor, I read the magazine article, wondering if the tree stump was still there. How many trout did he catch in the same river? A river I thought, “mine.”

…as though I could keep a part of myself here, forever.

“He wanted to die at his ranch in New Mexico.”

There’s a journal to my grandmother in my room somewhere, from when I was 12.

“Dear Fredda,

I went to the roof and watched the sun go down. You know we sold the ranch. I guess it’s about perspective, mom says. But I just ache. It feels like I was really happiest there. I’ll miss Jenny and the horses and climbing Hermit’s Peak. I’ll miss the smell of rain on the mountain and how you can see so many stars because everything is cleaner. Your father’s spirit. I learned how to fish and ride a bike and shoot a gun there. I guess it’s almost more like home. Maybe where I was most a kid, too.”

Hardwick: your prescription are ready.

Help me to breathe, I say to the bags and bottles.

The pine outside said, you will remember the thing you don’t remember, soon. See, the sky and I wave daily, but how often do you look up?

And I asked again, does your heartwood ever collapse, your lignin turn in on its own weight? Air, air, air!

I hugged a stump of your sibling once, in New Mexico. I wanted to hold on to the land, as though anyone could own it.

Go back, said the pine.

I did, do. And I bet so does he, now. I said, while the buzz still crawled on my hands.

From time to time, alveoli find it difficult to move air. Tissue tires. One day, nothing will move. Still. There are dot next to stranger-dots on my hand. Breathe. The land inside.


Picture of Hermit’s Peak from the porch of the house. Swayze filmed Red Dawn in and around the area, which is how he fell in love with the land and, when my family had to sell the ranch, he was the one to buy it.

5860_599010161854_18302918_35312970_4954478_n my father took this picture of me, at the Ranch. Eating a turkey sandwich made by my mother.

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Knots Exist in Internet Chat Options, Too


I told the knots to only watch silly zombie movies or porn and report back to me IF they had something interesting to say, but not to bother me anymore with “where does the sea end” and “what if field theory exists but it’s actually more a garden” type thoughts. Next, I’ll tell them to write you letters, expelling evil and doom and other creatures from your brain chemicals.

– S

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