Thursday, November 24, 2011


the color of the inside of my house is yellow. in every photograph, and in every memory, the color is yellow. it's the warmest feeling i have. it's the home of my mother. and my father. brother and me. i can listen to the way the stairs creek as someone is coming down the steps and know who they are. my father is fast. my brother is solid. my mother is light and slow. that is the sound of my family walking down our steps. we've yelled too. and cried and screamed. we've gone on cooking strikes, we've stormed away, we've all left the dinner table angry. on the wonder years, kevin says that some battles are fought for love.

my dad gives me advice on our walk. he suggests we walk past the house on north euclid that we lived in until i was four. we complain about the sound of the 71A driving past our duplex. we find the window of my old bedroom. my dad retells the story of the time there was a cicada bug stuck outside of my window and it made me so scared i couldn't sleep the whole summer.

my brother and i make fun of ourselves for not being married, or having kids, or having real jobs.

at dinner, i whisper to my mother, out of everyone i know - you are the only person who i'd want to be my mom.
she whispers in my ear, darling, out of everyone i know - you are the only person i know who i'd want to be my daughter.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

soft and warm continuining, tapping on my roofs and walls

last night the taxi driver told us the secret to life. and for just a few hours we believed him. winter is coming. i know it. so i hang on every last minute of sunshine and warmth. drinking it up. trying to catch it, hold it, soak it up. i feel mighty. powerful. like i could ignite the whole world on fire with my touch.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

never would have hitchhiked to birmingham if it hadn't been for love

the sun was blindingly bright. i walked with my eyes half open, or half closed, depending on how you look at it. i thought about mr. fred who used to always say, it is what it is. his big black leather jacket, his black cap cocked to the side, his always fresh timberlands, and his southern accent that he brought with him when he got on the bus from missouri to pittsburgh. i remembered the winter coat he'd bought me from the goodwill when i was starting a new job. i thought that even if all of these dreams disperse into nothing but energy and beauty that waking up on a saturday morning could be the greatest thing i've ever done.

Monday, November 7, 2011

show me how to love in the darkest dark

the jars soaked up the sunlight. soaked up the warm fall day. i thought maybe if winter is hard, i could open the jars up.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

little waves, our bodies break

i was dreaming of hallways. twisted between sheets and tangled in my dreams, my body changes positions. my eyes open. i look out of my bedroom windows, my eyes are starting to focus and i see the brightest blue sky outside waiting for me. as i rise from my bed, the sun through colored glass bottles shines on my white skin. i wash my face, brush my teeth, and get dressed. i open the door, and walk down a small dark alley, to the street. i step out from the darkness of the walkway, and the sun hits my face and eyes like a force stronger than any man, and hits me with warmth and life. i feel like a warrior. or a hunter. in the jungle of concrete and brick, there is beauty here too. a red tree is really quite magical. i stand at the bottom of the tree. my feet are cushioned by the earth. soon the tree's veins start to flow through my body. the red blood of the tree pumps inside of me. the woman of the tree becomes the woman inside of me. i am like this tree. i am not like man. but like nature. that's the life of a woman. my mom says "don't say the word blessing." she prefers to call today a gift.

Monday, October 24, 2011

ode to paul thek, 3

to be called best friend by a small child, praise the lord
to watch your friends grow, praise the lord
to see downtown from my desk window, praise the lord
to find belonging, praise the lord
to wake up and see sunshine, praise the lord
to get paid to take a nap, praise the lord
to call my dad when i have cars troubles, praise the lord
to feel more and more like my mother every day, praise the lord
to no longer fight with my brother, praise the lord
to laugh at your failures and rejections with close friends, praise the lord
to take a walk, praise the lord
to do pushups, praise the lord
to be loved, praise the lord

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

there is a trail that winds 'round the river

photographs taken in guacetepec where i learned to make tortillas,
walk in mud, and how to love again.

i'd wake up early to the sound of roosters. readjusting myself in my hammock, i would lay waiting for the sun to seep through the windows of the church i was sleeping in. breathing in the smell of early morning fires drenched in the wetness of the night's rain, i'd soak up the stillness of the time before the sun rose. while everyone else lay sleeping around me - i was tiptoeing, quietly through my mind, my dreams and desires and memories and my longings. the sun would start to sneak into the darkness, and like a summoning, it would call to me, and i would rise.

the first day, i just stood there. the kitchen was dark, filled with women standing around the fire flipping the tortillas as the smoke filled the air. the light would shine through the cracks of the wood beams of the shack and the light would make their skin shine like gold. they were quiet at first - shy. when i watched them, they would giggle - covering their faces to hide their embarrassment. the women hardly spoke spanish and so we were unable to talk to one another. inspired by the absence of words, i would just stand, silently, enjoying the simple act of being.

i noticed mariann first because her hair was curly. she stood to the side, usually looking at me, and then looking away - like she was flirting with me. her husband, isidro, told me that she loved my hair. that she would go home and talk to him about it all night long. and so i asked her to do my hair like hers. i remember how gentle she was with my hair. and i remember how she touched my nose like i was her child.

by the second day, i was hiding behind the kitchen with the women while they dressed me in their clothes. we were all giggling, together. their bashfulness vanished, and what emerged were these incredibly silly, wild, and playful women who began to treat me as if i belonged to them. they paraded me around to their husbands, they invited me to each of their meals, they taught me how to make tortillas, they gave me jobs to do - and even invited me to kill the chickens and clean them. and even the foods that i knew would make me sick, i couldn't refuse.

if you were able to see inside of my chest before leaving for mexico, i imagine that you wouldn't have been able to recognize my heart. it'd become so brittle, hard, and dead. as the women welcomed me, i could feel their hands touching and healing parts of me that had become so dark. it was only my second week there - and it was only the beginning of a journey - and i could already feel myself changing. i came to them weak, begging for something - and they had no idea that i had come to them in order to learn how to live again.

on the last day in guacetepec, i sat between pastor antonio and his wife at the lunch table. as we passed around communion to one another, these tears started streaming down my face. for i was hungry, and they gave me something to eat. and i was thirsty, and they offered me something to drink. i was a stranger and they took me in. even if we spoke the same language, there still would have been no words, and so instead our tears ran together down our cheeks and chests. they ran together into the release of the joy and hope that the women from the village and i had given each other. and as i stood on the truck, keeping my eyes fixed on them until the road turned and i couldn't see them anymore, i finally found the words and whispered to them, thank you, thank you, thank you.