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.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

cook forest

i went to cook forest with my dad. i was wearing the hiking boots he bought me in high school.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

such a revelry

paul bought this picture from me. i saw it today on his wall. i stood in front of it, transfixed. transported. time is so strange. the past is so far, and then so close. i was just a child then. i was leaving arizona. i didn't mean to, it's just what i had chosen. dominic walked on ahead, his orange sweater against the pinks and sages of the desert made me able to see him no matter how far ahead he walked. i stayed back, sitting on the edge of the mountain of sand, with my feet dug deep into its coolness. i moved to arizona in search of myself - and i wanted to find her alone, disconnected, out of place, unrelated. a girl of trees, green hills, and grass living in a place of dry, empty, large open space. a girl made of relationships, memories and connections in a place where she was nameless and meaningless, taking on the likeness of the desert. i wanted the wind to blow hard on me, to disintegrate me into sand. to blow me to the east and west. pieces and particles of nothing.

this little light of mine

the leafs were on fire. which is what i feel like. blowing gently in the breeze, becoming transparent and allowing the light of the sun to shine through me. illuminating me. the shadows dark, and the light glowing so bright. you might think it's my haircut, but it's different. it's in my hips when i walk and dance.

i walk through frick park with ghosts and demons. ex-boyfriends, depression, shadows, insecurities, and the warmth of old friends. memories of first kisses, holding hands, and also the silence that grows between two people as they walk when they no longer have anything to talk about. getting lost in the park after dark and making out. feeling out of place growing up around so many rich people. the day that i quit my job downtown. the walk i took that first snowfall my senior year of high school at midnight and the moon shining on the snow turned the world into a fantasy. it's all buried there under the wet ground. and as i walk the path, my presence brings these things back to life to dance around me and tempt me - but when i am strong, i can face them - greet them, flirt with them, and then beat them back into the ground with each step on the path.

time has passed again. something is next. and the otis redding 45 is spinning around the record player in my living room - and he's singing a gospel song. and i feel resurrected. reborn. back from the dead. alive. it's in my hips, and my haircut, it's in the secrets i keep, in the incense burning. it's a silent and soulful amen.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

just thanking the lord for my fingers

we were driving in your car that weekend to new hampshire. you were moody when you picked me up at my house and i remember driving the first hours in silence. it was winter and the trees were bare. i was watching the landscape pass by the window from the passenger's seat. i fixed my eyes on the sun as it set behind the hills. i tried talking to you. but your responses grew shorter and shorter. it wasn't always like this between us - but sometimes it was. you wanted me to get mad or mean, but i never did - i never could. so i just got quiet.

i can get paralyzed in that quiet. when i was growing up, my brother would be in trouble - and in order to avoid making situations worse, i'd just become invisible. or he'd make me so upset at the dinner table, that the tears and gasps for breath would leave my voice lost and broken somewhere in the pit of my stomach.

i remember finally saying something to you - asking you, probably, why you were acting like that. i don't remember anything that was said after that.

the sun had set and we stopped in carlisle at a mexican restaurant for dinner. you sat on the same side of the booth as me. we drank margaritas. it felt good to be with you. we drove the rest of the night in a new kind of silence. playing otis redding's version of my girl on repeat. we were always doing that - falling in and out of love with the quiet of the space we left between us.