Take a walk. Breathe. Allow for sneezes.
Allow for phrases like gezundheit, salud, and even bless you.
And even god bless you.
Give god your best definition -- maybe it's here right now. Maybe it's paper.
This is what she was thinking as he yelled at her, as he screamed and she stood blinking, watching the white screen door rattle.
"No. I'm not going with you. Your screaming isn't making your argument fasten hooks on me any harder. I'm ready to leave you now."
That's what she would have thought, would have said, had his noise left any room for her to think, to speak.
His face coarse with stubble like grey and black pinpricks out to stab, his mouth toothless now. His words as foreign to her as his childhood Portuguese. She let the tears retreat into eye sockets as his words and violence threatened to vacuum them out, as he flung the lamp over as she retreated room to room through the haze of yelling. It had been a year of shouting by now, of shouting and selling and poverty and disaster. She was ready for a new ingredients list on how to live.
Walk with eyes open. Take long wandering strolls.
Write every day.
Eat enough to never go hungry but allow the pangs to come back now and then
to remind you what this castaway life was like with this abuser con artist you chose for a partner.
Live without judgment of others or yourself, as impossible as that may seem,
without apologies, as impossibler as that all sounds.
Call your mom once a week.
Buy a friend groceries sometimes just because, without expecting favors in return.
Go into the moonlight and just sit.
Cry in the bathtub now and then because you can.
Not like it saved you this year, but it emptied you out.
By then he backed her into the room she used for writing in that little triplex where they lived those last few months, pretending they could afford the rent. She was on the floor, fetal position, facing away from him, crying dry heaves into her silent chest as he bellowed and swore and left and slammed the door and motored away.
Only then did she let the tears fall, as she breathed through her knees and let her list keep building inside.
Oh breath Oh skin
The belly pomegranates out in a zillion cranberry fractals
Open one like a brain, spurt out power
The sweat of heels
Concern of families
Pressed pores tickling
I miss San Francisco
Dreams of elsewhere
Constricted community in my ribs
Befriend it yes but long for emergence
Break the seeds, burst flavor, pop in mouth
I growl a laugh a hiccup a burp
There is more to this here than work than money spent
Stop thinking and heal and remember
This is the hunger
We've lost the earth
Walking on floorboards
Bare feet bare arms bare elbows and pelvis in air
Float away, vibrations
Stuck in the crawlspace
The peeling off windows the bright
The world outside the snow I forgot to mention how ticklish
Everything before prepared me to love you
Sing to me
While we walk
Shoulders over wet palms
I miss us on our drive
Think of our winding roads creaking planks
Here the thirst the yawn the woman sleeps
It's okay we're hurting
It's okay we're rebuilding
There's lots for us to notice together
My toes draw spaces between cracks, wave hips at the sun
What a year. What a beginning to 2021...I hope you're safe, healthy and pressing on with all the sanity you can muster. All my best to you and yours right now.
With all the losses and challenges, I'm fortunate that I can look back on some highlights from 2020. Amidst everything, good things happened. Here are a few from my end.
I was about to list some of my losses, but looking back, most of these were related to travel, lost work and household income (aided by grants received), exciting projects put off and important personal events pushed back (like a wedding). I'm extremely fortunate to be healthy, that my family and partner are well and safe, to have a job and a home. I didn't lose close friends or family this year to illness (though it came close) or the violence that came to so many across this country and globe. I'm incredibly privileged, lucky and grateful.
Because most of my 2020/2021 goals were made less possible in COVID times, with hopeful optimism (and perhaps naïve delusion) I'm bringing a couple of them back for 2021 and 2022:
3 Big Goals for the Next Two Years:
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Process notes on a work in progress (me). This mostly contains raw rough content pulled out of practice notebooks. Occasional posts also invite you into the way I work, with intermittent notes on the hows and whys on the whats I make. Less often you may also find prompts and processes I've brought to workshops, as well as surveys that help me gather material for projects. Similar earlier posts from years ago can be found on: