Porches (excerpt)

Off the rocking chair- I am calling to my dog, who has not come home for over an hour- but it is a warm strange February night- and I attribute it to the volcano erupting on the horizon west of here.  Not directly in front of me, but its rich colors seem to be adding depth to the pink sunset rolling over this valley. I am not as worried about the lava hitting me, evacuating- but in noticing that it is there, I am worried all the same. This all has been brewing for quite some time.  Low rumblings that I have tried to ignore- but sometimes quietly asking another person if they sensed it too- but then- there it is- flowing out.

An opportunity to look out- as you can do from porches- of life going by.  Beyond the tree line there is someone waving to me. It is then I squint, even though I have my contacts in and it does not make it any clearer, this habit of mine.  But there is this person waving to me- are they beckoning to me? It is hard to tell the direction of their hand from this distance. I am called to walk over and talk, but for now, I want to look out and see the expanse of possibilities from the porch.

The front of my house: This is the place where I can go to rest but be seen and see what is before me.  I decide take my tea to the back porch- sipping as I walk. Here it is. A bucket of red paint, a half spiraled canvas red and golden still open and waiting for me. There is some uncut grass- grasping for light seeking water, unkempt, growing in all directions. And there- unbothered by the sight of the destruction, or the people calling to me, I feel at home.

Hold (for Jayna)

Out of the woods
We told each other
We’d tangle our story
And weave these swollen
Vessels and tresses
Into the folds of our love
And the blood of my
Mood pulses through
Your drowning days
Entwined as lovers
First out of the water
Entranced by the cold
Fire we created
Our child grown
Years between those
Promises still kept
And here we stand
At the face of the forest
Still holding your hand
Daring each other
To let go



Is this real this feeling

Familiar but one I thought

I’d leave

to my adolescence

Long ago

Her absence

is deafening

Her silence

A message of indifference

Her smile directed

Toward her horizon

I pretend to look away

While she fades

Out of existence

And I’m afraid

That she won’t stay

By my side we laid

Grand plans

For she met my gaze

As equals

Shared our painful

Histories and presents

So I thought

An inner circle

Was unspoken

As if sisters

But this feels like betrayal

Like some unknown expectation

Impossible to attain

While myself, I am feeble

I could ask to speak to her

And lay it on the table

But at this moment

As she flies away

I am not sure that I’m able

To let her go if I must

Know the truest mistake

I made when she tells me

I won’t know if there’s

Something missing

Or if it’s a story that blares

Mystery and paranoia

In place of asking

If our adventure ends now

Or if what she faces

Cannot be shared

With me or anyone

Demons that are not mine

That are no one else’s burden

But belonging to this

Friendship might show me

This loyalty is burning

And if I let my mind go


She might follow



This is what the instructor told me to do in some way. Go up to your room, open up a notebook, fresh and blank- take out the markers- the new set you just got, and make a list. First list all of the things you could do today. List even things you know you are not ever going to do, but they could be done. Then make a list of everyone you love and have ever loved and ever will love. Then make a list of all the things that make you happy- be sure to switch colors for each item on this list- so they stand out and you can use each color- which is something that makes you happy.  Then turn the page and draw a picture of the first thing you see. Then space out and doodle in the details, stick out your tongue a little bit, and don’t notice you are doing it. Lay down then on your stomach, for surely sitting on the floor all this time has made your lower back ache- a sign that you have been creating hard. Next cross your legs behind you and let them sway while you pause to draw something else in the corner of the paper- up at the top- something you have not drawn before but for sure plan to go back to. Then breathe for five minutes. Even though you have been breathing this whole time- probably a little too loudly for concentration, now just breathe, and let the out breath come first and then the in breath. Let go, then take in what you can. Let go, and then make room for the newness, and in this way- the rage downstairs becomes possible to bear.


In 1980 a boy

I will never forget

with a sneer of copied hate-

passed down from


the deceived and deprived

Depraved blamers

pointed his finger

at me

Did he have an audience?

A cheering section

Scared to not agree, no doubt

I was told

at recess I would be shot

For my ancestry

That may be my only


So stark from that year

Yesterday, my son

Same sweet age I was then

He is now

History repeats they say

And through the woods

They made a game

Of their escape




Poisoned voice

Called to exercise his right

To hate

Was this a call from my generation?

What happened to my first grade bully

Did he graduate or pull the alarm

Satisfied by the power?

He could create panic

To calm our youth with no answers

We learn the past to not forget

To teach forgiveness in the face

Of lessons we thought

We already learned

May my child and all the children

Remember no fear

That the path they walked

Down this year

Was only guiding them

To love


How could I
forget how April
Fog of the year-
the rest of it,
mixes my memory
before April
comes again and I
know I will remember
having once
reminded myself
Don’t forget April
Is the fragrance
so intoxicating that
I cannot remember
the breeze of
This time I won’t
forget April

In this dream

In this dream you ask for me
Instead of the other way around
I am staring in the mirror
Scraping at bits of misapplied
Make up
As if it’s the last mask
I knew but don’t remember
You call to talk to me
But I am picking at my face
That won’t come loose
I know what you want to say
I’m also tired of emerging
Impatience is sticky
Especially when what’s
Staring back I don’t
I may decide not to answer
But I know you will call again.

Write me a poem

Write me a poem,
She said, the kind
To see me through
Tell me how I feel
Right now with words
I want to tango to
The kind of poem
That screams experience
The pain, I want it all
Give me time to process
How your words
Won’t let me fall
Write me something
Dangerous as if
It will take away my breath
Bring me near the no return
Let me coax the hand
Of death
With your words
Your sorcery
Manifests my will
Write me something quickly
Now and read it until
I’m still.