Monthly Archives: January 2011

Blue Door

When I hit reply, and finally so, after hours post-reading this the first time through, I felt a pain in my stomach that almost brought me to tears. Not dramatic as it was not thought-out. Not invited as I have been needlessly avoiding the door of “reply” for not only this letter, but my whole being today.

If there were doors, visible, which I could choose each day to walk through, and my inner-path was blocked by a blue door, I’d throw things at it–spoons, chairs, my hairbrush. This way, some outside object would touch it and I, a child, would not be responsible for its Unopening or its Opening. And other doors–lust, boredom, anxiety, would be rickety and lean-to’s and easy to blow down with wind or a thought. And those are the paths I take, mostly.

Your letter, your words, our correspondences, are blue doors. Much like when I enter my bathroom with a book in hand, yes, often Milosz, believe it or not, or Meister Eckhart, or Robert Bly–and I shake. It didn’t used to be this way. It goes in cycles, I suppose, the willingness and strength to go there. To open the trap door into the subconscious and feel through the garden of self.

Do you suppose that even a driving force of wanting to be afraid takes us there? Takes us to the trap door, the blue doors, because we aren’t worried about the snakes or scorpions hiding in that garden? Deep in the dark there must be nuggets of light and so we descend for them, but some healthy hand must be holding us back in the off-cycles, when we are content to just stare at snow falling and think only of the surface of things.

I think Milosz is right and yet wrong about the daemons and the good voices. I think we can’t ask for one and not the other.

But I felt the pain when I hit reply. I don’t know where this is going and I know it’s a blue door that I am leaning completely into, and not simply throwing hairbrushes or my shoe at the entrance.

My hands are sweating. I have been avoiding any sort of writing for a while and I feel it building up in me as though a frightened fig tree that hasn’t yet seen the sun but knows it will and when it does, a fire might start. Or perhaps the fire has started and the roots remain in damp and unknowing. A kind of rebirth about to take place.

If I was in a sepia-dream of snow, then your hand was pressing on my lower back and I was a child unwilling to see the silence for what it was.

The crunching beneath feet like a call to worship that means kneeling and my knees are bleeding and there is a trap door under the snow and twigs hide the way and I know you’re calling me forward and I trust you so I keep asking the same question again and again, Are you going with me?

Though I know that you cannot follow, but watch. And when it’s your turn to tumble, I will watch you.

And there is a blue jay near the entrance and he is a guide though we both laugh because it is the moment and in the moment, nothing miraculous happens, just this silence.

Did I tell you that I can feel outside my body in the strangest of places? I know you know this feeling though I don’t know how I know, only that we know everything once the blue door is opened.

I had a shovel in my hand this morning, digging my way down to the street. I didn’t think of snow, I thought of manure. I thought of sawdust and mucking stalls. I thought myself to be younger and shaking her head side to side and smelling the sweat of horse and man. I felt the spirit of the horse who read minds. I felt your response before I read it.

But for now I stare out the window and notice the falling of snow and ask that you please gently lead me to the trap door under the twigs and, when I fall, tell me you know I know how it ends. I know how it ends. I know the way the sky feels on our bellies after someone beats us into submission.

But at this time, I’m still on the edge of the door. There’s a joy and a terror that tastes like lemon and stone-bread, after it’s been in the sun and had every chance to record the way the sea sounds.

My body asks me to stop writing. My body asks me to tell you about the daemon behind the chest and the calling of your own heart against him. But there is a grace like a field in which we are both children and sacred and calling things by their true names.

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Radio Interview

Take a listen to the Dr. Andy Poetry & Technology Hour show from Jan 5th on KDVS radio out of UC Davis. He interviewed 3 poets, me included!

Click here!

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Before we met, while courting

Before we met, while courting
On the phone, you called, talked,
A boy excited about his toy
And I, stoned, wondered
If I could break through words,
Conversation couldn’t unfold–
You must have known my doubt,
Called back to tell me how you went out
For a cigarette in the back, and a doe,
Surprised, her body on the ice–
The rink you made earlier that day–
She stared through you and me
Both, into our spiritual, to say:

He noticed me. This is the one.
You are the blessed. Love
each other.

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Book of Gaigemon V

I found a better digging ground, says the boy with beaks
in his hand, a shovel—leftover bodies quiver beside
him—an alter of sorts for the dead, birds caught–
mouths open wide. See the earth, he says, it speaks
to me. All the living have gone. What am I doing here
then? I ask. The boy hums hymns of dirt for the ritual.
We mix their blood with loam, he says, help me. Feel
the warmth of their wings. I think I’m the way home.

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Old Entries, New Gate

I find it surprisingly comforting to look back on old journals and see that, even in the past when I thought I wasn’t a writing or wasn’t thinking or working enough, I was. In fact, I was flying! Recently, I wrote a journal entry about how this frustrated me at the moment. Because, back then, I didn’t even realize what a real dry spell was, I didn’t realize the exhaughstion that comes with 50 hours of work a week and being so drained that you can’t even think about how you can’t think. But the advantage is that now, I have faith that no matter what, it has not gone too far. I will write and sing and fly again. So, I wanted to write down and give the tired little journal entries a little sunshine and air that they deserve, from the past. I look back tenderly on a woman I guess I was, but is beautifully walking through my door today, singing hello and smiling and declaring that she is, in fact, the past-me.

17 June 2009

Work has been crazy, but I’m trying to train my brain to put it away when I’m not doing it. So many people streaming in and out, the voices pile up at the door, jammed.

Something about the flow of things — calling, wanting to embrace the grip along the sides of your shoes, your hand against my head at night while I sleep, whispering, The body is no more an agent than a star, no more a name than grass, or what it feels like to leap into things.

And I wake dusting older sails off the eyes, ones used to get somewhere closer to the center, without being aware—it is already the gift I circle around in 24 hours, like the joy of where we last spoke, the atoms before sunset, top up, guessing on your moods, guessing the chorus will keep singing.

And we sway, back and forth to the leaning bookshelves, heavy with the only things I have forgotten to write down.

Am I just gazing into a lake? So the voices pile up at the door, and

My heart aches. I try to open up to God. Where is my attention?

No, I try too hard to acquire something–do I need to prove myself each day? I should read more, try and take in what others say, is this correct?

Feel walls moving in. Like all I’d rather do is go somewhere and be silent. Still. I like sitting in my room, thinking. God is always waiting for us, pursuing us. What keeps me from encountering? I kept reading tonight in my neuroscience book about volition and attention. Loved when they quote William James. I need to read more of him. Other voices mirror what we would have thought but haven’t given enough attention to it yet.

I want to record another poem–I sang in my last recording. I liked letting whatever I want, come up. As though coals are always form ing, and it takes some third element, spiritual volition, to ignite the coal.

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Book of Gaigemon IV

Man, of grace it has ended

Above, the keeper suspended

In wait of waist to reborn a world

From boy to this—the trees in grief

For snakes unborn, its skin, a girl.

*

The boy, his mask, the alter

The boy, his mask, the charcoal

Rolled in stalk, want of girl

For talk of blessed the whirl

of corn, he comes

Carrying feed and a mouth

of world in want of girl.

*

I chanted, I want, into the belly of a frog

I chanted, I want, into the belly of a frog

I woke up his tongue, I woke up

I woke up alone, I woke up

Nothing I want, his tongue, his gut,

I killed I want, then flew.

*

It’s name, its skin, I chanted again

To mouth the killed into the living—

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Francine Hangs Lines of Trout Where There Should be Laundry

Francine eats plumbs on a park bench after counting tree branches. Her heart, a trout. I think its trying to get out, she writes, And I trust him. Francine believes the last letter he wrote. Though a voice is only a shadow, or a tool. And a garden is a body. And a staircase a body. And a river off course, of course, is a body. One man drives sixty miles to watch stars fall. I eat plumbs on a park bench, she writes, and collect sweet things. I steal packets of honey from other people’s dinner parties. And light is a body. Francine couldn’t eat trout. Too many trying to get out. And a river is a body. There are many, she writes, within me. Francine tastes of a river when she wakes. Her body round, the sunset, a fish. Which trout was meant for his body, she thought, And his?

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