Saturday, December 7, 2013

You Want to Be Free

Goodness is everywhere: under my pillow, in the far corner of my 'fridge, under the mixing bowl I haven't used since I baked that last batch of cookies, down the hall, under my fingernails, at the bottom of that bottle of wine. It's in that blues riff that always makes you want to die. Exchanging coupons at the Bed, Bath and Beyond, inside peanut shells, quietly typing in the morning all alone - these are places, too. What about the dust on your bookcase? And your split ends? Hardware stores, between aisles 3 and 6, and with country boys named Mark.

Remember that one time we were at that one bar and you played Willie Nelson? It was there, too. Walking near churches late at night in the rain. Crying until your young lungs are tender. Standing up with a sore back. Burdens tucked deep in the muscles somewhere between the scapula and spine. All of those places. There and everywhere.

Don't kid yourself, though, you know? Other things live there, too.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I Aint Nothing but Tired

Listen closely to me. One day I will die.

Let my brothers look through my books first. Even the ones I've borrowed and never returned. This is important.

I want you to touch my dead face. Just so you can take it with you that it's all real. Yes, her cheek is cold. Yes.

Someone tell the story of the first day I saw a loon dive.

If you have my secrets, please keep them. And one day when you're old, you can reminisce about this one time there was this one girl who died. How sad, you might think. And if you remember then, at that moment, tell the world. Until, put my words in a quiet box.

Put them in that quiet box with me.

Tuesday I Get a Little Sideways

Somedays this girl wakes up wanting wine, and maybe to die, but just a little bit. Instead, I make coffee. Some victories are palpable. Listening to that one song by Ray Charles that always makes me cry can't be an option on mornings like this, so on second thought, I'll listen to Brooks and Dunn. Sure, I'll think of my dad, but the good stuff.
"Jukebox plays on drink by drink."

My grocery list should be longer than it is; it reads: Peroxide, Cereal. I should add "booze", but we don't have money for that.

Before the morning is over, I'll make the bed. I'll put away the dishes and polish off this pot of coffee. I'm going to waste a few more hours daydreaming of running away. I might research New Mexico towns, look for jobs in Labelle, Florida, and apartment search in Sulphur Springs, Texas.
"I like my women wild."

I'm trying to make good decisions. That's why I'm listening to country music.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Sing Loud for the Sunshine

Our hands have dipped in the same mud. We have grown old together for a million years and this year is just one more. We have passed by and, since the sun warmed the earth, breathed the same breaths, maybe just a lifetime away. Ages ago, we built our house with our hands and tore the meat with our teeth. More recently, we let our sweat fall into the dirt, but with a spectacular spirituality that no one (I know) can even understand.

I know you.
My first morning I knew you - I've always known. Somehow.

Monday, November 4, 2013

a change is gonna come

A year is a long time.

One year ago, my Nena went blind. One year ago.

I counted out her pills once a week. I became familiar with over-reactions, under-reactions and depression from the only strength I've ever known. I learned words that no one should ever know. I laughed at inappropriate times and also cried. I fought with medical professionals. (Fought). Took pills that weren't prescribed to me. Stayed up late to do dishes and laundry that wasn't mine and prepared the Mr Coffee.

One year ago, I was one year younger.

Less wrinkles around these eyes. More elasticity. Less poems written, less life lived, less heartache, more rabies. Since then, I've nearly died 4x. Once for real, the other three times, just emotionally. I've been accepted into a MFA poetry program. I've had more wine than I can really understand, I've gained and lost 5 lbs pretty consistently and I've been through approximately 12 menstrual cycles.

What can ya' say, though, you know? Shit keeps on moving. Blind or not, sad or not, old or not.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Share My Bread and Wine

I am not surprised. I'm the kind of girl who gets rabies. And who breaks her foot before the race. I'm magnetic in all the wrong ways. I feel things too much in my bones. I fall in love with all vibrations. I feel that blue collar catastrophe, personally. I want a sharp hair line and the kind of collar bone that perfectly spills into shoulders. Maybe beer on the couch is best. Or red wine in the morning, in a coffee mug. And stars beaming through electronics. I'm that kind. The ruiner kind.

Things end.

That's how my book would start.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Heart Beat Runnin' Away

What can I say? I drink beer now. Any beer. I don't even care. I listen to pop hip hop/pop music. I don't care - I've turned into a stereotype that pretentious college-Erica would hate. But I have something that college-Erica doesn't have: first of all, I'm skinny. Take that! I'm skinny AND I'm just getting better looking!!! Second, people are people, you little bitch. Quit being so stark about rules and the rights and wrongs and all the bull shit that you get so wrapped up in, that's what i'd say. I don't even know what I'm saying.

I got a deep tissue massage today and it was all the things: good. bad. healing. sad. But whatever. Please, don't ask me about it.

I, also, researched Shore Birds of Indiana. 44 of them. More than 44 shores. I think.

Seriously, though, MAYBE I've had too much beer, but can you believe life? And, like, everything that goes along with it?
Don't answer that.

Also, do you know when I started liking the Violent Femmes? You don't know this, but let me tell you. 6th grade. Sixth GRADE. I hadn't even started my menses when I knew all the words to Gone Daddy Gone. Jealous? You should be.

Do jelly fish feel pain? No, seriously. Do they? Because, if not, what do I have to do to be a jellyfish? I drink too much Miller Lite. And wine.

I wrote a poem today and it sucked. I can't believe I"m going to poetry school; i guess i can't even believe poetry school is real.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Tell it like it is

Life, lately, is strange. Staggering, in both good and bad ways, I try to maintain. I think I'm succeeding, but if I'm not, don't tell me. (I need some kind of illusion.)

Anyway, sometimes I fall back to terra firma after a good poem or two (please, don't ever watch this procedure. It's embarrassing: lots of sobbing, lots of snot. The last time this happened, I was at Henry's. Alone. My poor server...)

Typically, I don't do cross-over here: this blog is what it is, my poetry blog is what IT is, but I need to tell you about these two poems. I NEED TO. So, I'm going to post them here. I am. Don't read them if you don't want to. But, believe me, you'd be missing out.

What I Learned from My Mother by Julia Kasdorf

I learned from my mother how to love
the living, to have plenty of vases on hand
in case you have to rush to the hospital
with peonies cut from the lawn, black ants
still stuck to the buds. I learned to save jars
large enough to hold fruit salad for a whole
grieving household, to cube home-canned pears
and peaches, to slice through maroon grape skins
and flick out the sexual seeds with a knife point.
I learned to attend viewings even if I didn't know
the deceased, to press the moist hands
of the living, to look in their eyes and offer
sympathy, as though I understood loss even then.
I learned that whatever we say means nothing,
what anyone will remember is that we came.
I learned to believe I had the power to ease
awful pains materially like an angel.
Like a doctor, I learned to create
from another's suffering my own usefulness, and once
you know how to do this, you can never refuse.
To every house you enter, you must offer
healing: a chocolate cake you baked yourself,
the blessing of your voice, your chaste touch.

What my mother taught me: by Shara McCallum

When God closes a door, there are no windows.
When the Big Bad Wolf knocks, he knows how to get in.
Be afraid of the dark.

Don't scream.
Don't run.
Don't make wishes you can't keep.

If you drag a horse to water enough, she will drink.
If you don't play with fire, it will find you and burn.
Even careful chickens get caught by the hawk.

Say it with me: HOLY FUCKING SHIT. Right? Goddamn this juxtaposition. My heart is still beating, y'all, but it's beating outside my body, bloody and on my desk. (It's a shame really, because I really like this desk).

And before I start sobbing (again), can you even believe words? Can you?
I can't.

Friday, October 4, 2013

'Cause I'm Moving Out

Probably this is going to alarm you. Don't let it. Know that it's coming from a spot where sincerity and honesty fester together. So, don't call my mom or anything. This is what I want to say:

If I haven't already told you, I care about you. And if anything should happen to me between now and the next time we talk, I want you to know it. I want you to know that thing we said to each other that one time was special. I'm serious. And you've probably been a person to save me, at least once. And a lot of the time, I write for you. I do.

As a follow up - when I was a teenager, I didn't think I'd ever be a grown up. I am one, though. Kind of. But now, I don't know what I'm doing. Is it weird to say I think I missed my chance to die? It is weird to say, but whatever. I'm throwing off the balance. And I'm paying retribution to whatever force I tricked into living.

Anyway, if I do not see you: Thank you.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

You Sat Alone

Don't let the sun even lay claim on that skin of yours. My hands have sprawled over the expanse of your back, and she can't begin to know what that means. I can't begin to know what that means.

I won't try.

But now, it isn't summer anymore. And everything is changing.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Only The Good Die Young

I want to tell you about poetry school. I want to be able to say, shyly, "Who woulda' thought, you know?" and you say, in sweetness, "I thought. I always thought" in the kind of way a dad would say. Except we would both know that you've been worried about my trajectory.

Teach me to change my oil, would ya? And while we're at it, can we conquer the country roads with a manual shift?

Let's sit on the porch and gossip about your neighbor lady, but the good gossip. The "can you believe how earnest she is about keeping strangers out of our yard?" gossip. And the "She's honestly still kicking" and "She never NOT talks about her surgery" gossip. We'd start every sentence with: "I mean, I'm not talking bad, but.." We'd finish (probably) a 12 pack of beer and feel fulled up with the meat of a good-goddamned autumn night.

Tell me the importance of measuring twice, cutting once. Tell me the mistakes you've made, that seemed big, but now are small.

Is everything permanent? If not, why does it seem like concrete has filled the little sacs in my lungs?

We should be crazy one night and buy expensive tickets to a rock and roll show. We can sit and eat up the night; poison it with sentiment. If you wanted, I'd let you tell me about when you fell in love with mom, what it was like in the 80s, the first time you heard Guns'N'Roses, why you stayed with mom, what it was like when your children were born... If you wanted, I'd listen all night, after the music died with the moon. Maybe we'd drink a little bourbon and I'd promise my first born would have your name. Girl or boy.

Maybe one day I'd call you and cry, but I'd call you because I just needed your voice to calm me, like it did when I was a tiny with an upturned nose. You'd say, "Did I ever tell you about that time we were in the abortion clinic - and I looked at your mom and your mom looked at me? Did I tell you what I said?" [Silence] "I said, 'I think we can do this,' and so we left." And that would appease me. That would reaffirm me that at least two people in the whole world, so big/so small, loved me before I even existed. And I'd stop crying. We'd probably make dinner plans. Afterwards, I'd help you weed the garden.

Anyway, I want to tell you about poetry school. But you're dead.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

If You Knew How Much I Loved You, Baby, Nothing Could Go Wrong With You

In a few minutes, I'm going to walk through the kitchen and down the hall to my bedroom, put on sunscreen, my swimsuit, pack up Ted Kooser and my journal then walk to the beach. I started a poem and finished a re-write yesterday while my family conquered gulf waves. I was breathing in sand and salt and good vibes; healing up these cuts in my soul. I collected no less than 45 shells, but not perfect shells, partial shells. Because if we're honest, who likes anything that's perfect?

I mean, besides my boobs.

and here's something else I want to say, I went swimming early this morning around 3:30 and Jupiter was hanging out with me. Venus and Jupiter in the same night. I'll take it.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

All the roads we have to walk are winding

What about this skin I have? What am I supposed to do with it once it's clean from a perfect September? And, while I'm asking questions, what does it mean to wash the shadows off? Where do we go?

But what about the unkind?

But also, the divine?

These questions are irrelevant.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

What Sunshine Do You Bring?

I'm writing this for you. Not actually, because knowing would be something completely different. But I think I'm writing this for you. You eat the day, tenderly, with just a tad bit of salt. And the way you brush your hair? I love it. That's why I'm writing this for you. Also, you walk like pop rocks, and I dig that. You talk to me, sunset colors in your voice. Oh, and the hushed sound of wings ripping through air.

Don't be confused. This isn't a love poem. I don't write those.

I just wanted you to know, that a few times a day, I write for you. In a way that's not actually writing, but in a way where I notice things (because that's what I do, I notice things) and think, I want to write that. I want to write that for you - always.

Here's what I want to say: mortal sins are sins but so are venial sins, but not in the same way.

Love is like that, too.

Love is like that, too. (but this isn't a love poem). It just isn't.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

This Old House Is Falling Down Around My Ears

I'm doing the most graceful pirouettes in this dizzying time of interim. A year from now seems blurry. A week from now is blurry. But right now, it feels good to pick up the fruits and eat them, to get red faced with whiskey, to pick apart the scales of the freshwater mermaid.

Life is myth. Or some lives are myth: superstition buried in the sand of Utah, love swirling around, tap dancing with the Tropic of Cancer, destruction with a fancy paper mask.

(Destruction with a fancy paper mask.)

Monday, August 5, 2013

you live, you learn

The water always works it's magic into my body. Early morning fog, heavy like grief - mayflies resting easily - the smell of slate rocks and dew. It's alchemy. It's medicinal. It's a balmy affair, sincere with understanding. There is never a trip to the lake that leaves me unsatisfied.

Can I say those things even if this trip was wrought with a dissonance so uncomfortable I had to shift my heart; stick my hand under my sternum and adjust that thing, slippery with pain? I think I can. The thing about magic is it's mysterious. And we can let it be.

Let me just tell you this: my cousin killed a snake. I begged him not to. Tried to reason with him. Please, you know? I said. I said, it doesn't make sense to kill for the sake of killing. That snake is hurting no one, that snake is just being a snake. Sitting in the water like we do. Sitting and resting like the mayflies. Sitting like this lake sits - peaceful and full of life and essential his surroundings.

My papa, with his wide brimmed hat to shade his nose from the sun, said he was an adult before he could give respect to life the way it deserves. He confided he used to kill birds. He used to kill birds with a gun to just kill birds with a gun. And, he continued, he wished he didn't. He has shame folded up and hidden in his back pocket. "We grow up," he reminded me.

He said he remembers when he used to hate gay people, too. More shame, more sadness. But we grow up, he said. We grow into love. We grow into understanding. Be gentle with him, he said. Be gentle with him, he'll grow.

The next morning, his friend at the dock died. Heart attack in his houseboat. His widow called my papa first - and we cried and cried. We sat with her while she shook and drank her coffee. My papa promised the dead man's wife that he will finish the eaves-trough on the starboard side - and he'll maintain the boat while she's away. We love you, he told her. We loved him, too. And together, drinking coffee in the quiet, sitting at a table that 4 hours before a dead man sat, we gave life the respect it deserves.

We grow up, you know? We grow into understanding and love. And, this now, I'm sure of.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

untitled: a little like my heart

Once, I read this thing in a newspaper. Seriously. In high school, I would read the newspaper. Anyway, I read this thing in a newspaper that said: "Just because someone doesn't love you the way you think they should, doesn't mean he/she doesn't love you." It's true, I suppose. But I'm selfish enough to look at that statement (that obviously made a huge impression) and say, right to it's eyes: Fuck you.

Fuck you.

I don't want to buy that. I don't want to acknowledge that someone may know how to NOT hurt me, and do it anyway. Doesn't seem fair. I offer everyone I know an advantage - because everything I am and everything I'm about is right out in the open.

My dad used to tell my grandmother that I was too vulnerable for my own good. That exposing my feelings the way I do would eventually be my downfall - that surely, it's a fault.

I'm beginning to agree.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

We Will Never Die

Few things are barely connected; most things are.

Two things fucked me up real bad today. If they happened to you, maybe it would have been a passing breeze. And if it happened to me yesterday or maybe if it even happened tomorrow, maybe it'd be just nothing, but today: today, these two things were everything. And somehow, I know they are interconnected by delicate strings.

Here they are:

I watched a beetle die today. Much to my protest, this beetle died. And his life ended in front of me. I watched it. Do you get it? I FUCKING WATCHED IT.

I saw a lonely man today with a lame arm.

goddamnit. both things made me want to die. but somehow afterwards, I felt more. Just.. more.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

It Feels Like Independence Day

[This one was hard to write. It may be hard to read]

Once, when I was smaller, I was terrified that my aunt and uncle were going to beat someone up in the big blue van they had. And when I say "terrified", I mean that. Memories of the nervous nausea that comes along with that kind of anxiety never leaves you. And I knew they were serious. A few years before, while we were camping at the Prairie Creek Reservoir, they captured a mole around 10am and stabbed it to death with a screwdriver. I begged them. I remember begging them until I threw up to just let it live. They didn't listen; I locked myself in our pop-up camper and cried until I was delirious.

So, I knew they'd do it. This time I didn't protest.

They lived near the rumored gay park in Muncie where, if you were driving through the park at night and someone tapped his brakes at you, it was invitation to get to know each other better. And this just didn't sit well with them. I still don't know the origin of the hate they had. Queer Bashing became an obsession in many conversations and it all became super aggravated after school one day. My cousin came home and said that a man tried to coerce him into his car. Which, I believe happened. Instead of praising my cousin for staying strong and getting away, and thanking their lucky stars nothing happened to their son, my aunt and uncle were furious. This was the night that someone was going to get it real bad, pay for these sins and get dumped near the White River, bloody and broken. They had a plan and I was this little tiny thing, petrified for another living soul.

Yesterday I was reminded of this memory while I was running. Running affords me a lot of time to myself - and yesterday... yesterday, I felt free. Absolutely and stunningly free. Somehow I got out of terrible situations in my formative years unscathed - save my gnawing anxieties. Somehow, even as a tiny, I knew killing a mole with a screwdriver was a disgusting display of brute and possibly the deepest sin I had experienced.

Somehow, even though I was inundated with the gospel that homosexuality was wrong and needed to be punished, I never believed it. I never believed it and I never understood it.

Yesterday I was reminded that sometimes there's a resiliency that needs to be praised.
I was reminded that even though some people hate, some people love. Some people love. Some people love.

And how lucky I am for a million reasons.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

You're Kind and You're Beautiful, Too

A stranger told me today that I have beautiful skin. I wish I could tell you about how deep this is. I can't, but if I could, you'd understand that when she said "beautiful" I broke apart in an ancient way. Beautiful? Here I am. Beautiful.

She said something about "no makeup" and "no wrinkles" and "glowing" - she looked right in my eyes. I loved her endlessly for a few pure moments. I felt bare-footed on the firstday. I felt like nothing had ever been over. I felt a little closer to whole. And, don't get me wrong, it's not because she thinks I'm pretty. Don't mistake what I'm saying for "pretty". Please. She wasn't seeing that.

She was seeing contentment. And a human who was brave enough to shed the anxieties that clouded a pink heart. She was seeing cotton candy. And deep breaths. She was seeing New Mexico, braided hair and dirty fingernails. She knew me for a moment.

She knew it all without even knowing.
I thanked her, and tried to express with skinny words how she made gravity a little less, but she didn't get it.

She didn't get it. But I get it, guys. I do.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

here come the tears (for Brett)

Sometimes even when we work really hard, shit crumbles. Don't we know that.

Sometimes, or rather, other times, we settle and shake and shift our lives down to fit perfectly in the space (and time) we have arranged around us. Those are lucky times. Good and favored and take-a-big-breath times. Those days end with sun in our hair. We rest in the easiness.

I want to say I'm sorry to you. This is not the way we all imagined it. Please forgive the universe for the unlucky.

Let your mouth sing praises, in hope.
I love you.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

like the warmth from the sun

Some days are days that last forever. Some days are days that last forever in the best way. In the way that you accidentally smell like sweat because playing in the sand with a bunch of kids is something not to be taken lightly. I mean, you have to start at the feet and end with the shoulders. Covering every inch of a 10 year old with Indiana sand at a swimming hole is harder than you think.

Then, you're not even finished. You have to bulldoze sand under their little necks so they can (comfortably) watch their friends in the water. Do you even get it? Today, it wasn't about the sand. Well, maybe it was about the sand for them. But today, it wasn't about the sand for me.

Little moments, right? Isn't that what it all kind of comes down to? Little moments and reminders and sand on your scalp and giggling kids and connecting in the sameness and falling asleep on the bus ride home and counting Jolly Ranchers. And living and loving and being happy? Right?

I know I'm right. I just know it.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My heart's learned to kill

The summer between my junior and senior year of high school, I had a boyfriend named Jon. In August, he went away to the Naval Academy where I visited him twice. It was nice. I was friends with his youngest sister. I called her MixMaster. That summer was slightly stressful - my stepdad had moved away to set up house in Arizona where he accepted a job with a huge pay bump. I had decided to stay in Indiana to finish up my senior year. I was approaching a year without my mother. Anyway, I had this boyfriend, before Arizona, before Annapolis.

He was a nice boy. Smart. He loved to make out in his Caprice Classic, he had a wonderful mother and dad. He liked me a lot. Once, in a moment of vulnerability, he sort of proposed to me. This, however, wasn't *before* Annapolis. This was during. Anyway, I had this boyfriend.

I was with him the night my dad died. He left about 3 hours before it happened. We didn't really talk that night, we did a lot of kissing on that green couch. Well, anyway, he was the 4th or 5th person to stand next to me the morning after my childhood home burned down. He was the one who waited on me while I told the firemen "exactly what happened as [I] remember[ed] it". He let me lose my shit.

He moved away weeks later. He accidentally proposed months later. And I cheated on him. Lots. I was a vacant human being. I know now I should have been nicer - fuck, I knew it then. But I couldn't.

Let's be honest: I couldn't do anything. School, and grief, and school, and grief, and blowjobs, and movie theaters and lots of Fazolis, and the loneliest, scariest nights of my life. That's what I had to hold on.

And the distinct memory of watching that green couch in flames as I escaped the house without my dad.

He died 13 years ago today. I was the last person to see him, the last person to talk to him. He didn't really like my boyfriend.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

It's been coming for sometime

Today I had a half day. My weeks will boast a few of those now -and anyway, today was one of them. As I was walking back to my car from the chinese restaurant, food in hand, I saw a friend who I used to work with at the library. It was nice, seeing her face in the sunshine and not under fluorescent bulbs - we hugged very near a busy intersection - we didn't care, really. It was warm to see her pretty face. And, here's the (second) best part of this story...

She said I looked good. Or happy. Or both. She couldn't decide which to land on.

And there you have it.

There are different reasons for it; I know it's not *just* job stuff, but let's not kid ourselves. Right? And yes, it's very early yet for both jobs. But I'm free. The moment I quit the library, something was let loose - something supernatural. I don't have to do things that make me unhappy. I don't have to make my decisions based on other people. I get to decide. I don't have to feel guilty.

I haven't let myself be. Just be. You know?

Other big reasons I'm happy? Well, I have bikes. And buds to ride with. And badminton. And summer.

And wine. Yes. I have these things.

Friday, May 31, 2013


I don't believe in fate. I haven't for a while. Probably since my dad got all burned up in a fire. After that, the people who didn't know how to say a simple "I'm sorry" would say something along the lines of: "everything happens for a reason". To which, I wanted to stab them in the face and, with a witty smile, ask them "what was the reason for that?"

I know it helps people to think that every tiny detail is organized by a supreme being who has everything in order. It doesn't help me. I've never really enjoyed being micromanaged. Not to mention, how unrealistic it all is.

Imagine with me for a moment that there IS an all good, all ruling, just being who has the ENTIRE world (or universe, you know, whatever) to be in charge of... and this entity is going to care about "blessing this food to my body" when millions of people are starving? It's going to care about my grieving heart after the death of one person when people all over are getting massacred? It's going to care about me landing the job I want when poverty is pulling people under down the street, across this nation, all over world? Can we be anymore selfish?

So, we've got my stance established.

But here's what I want to say: Just because I believe that fate is an ill-designed fantasy - that doesn't mean that when tiny, lucky moments present themselves, that I'm not excited by the fact of what can happen with them. Just because every detail wasn't written eons ago by god, that doesn't mean good things can't happen. Because good things can.

And good things will.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I'll Keep This World From Dragging Me Down

I keep making deals with myself.

"Pay this bill then clean the house, ok? Run to the library then clean the house. Listen: if you clean 2 rooms, you can watch a Star Gate. Write a blog post THEN clean the house. Clean the house then you can go on a bike ride. Clean a few rooms and read your library books. Start at 12n. Well, just start and be done by 3. Do this and get FroYo later." And so on.

Listen, I know I'm lazy. Also, irresponsible. And, while I'm at it, I'm messy.

But, I'm happy right now, so it's hard to wash the dishes and scrub the toilet when I just want to marinate in this feeling. It's familiar. It's waking up at my nena's house. It's excitedly anticipating. It's *just* buying Season 5 of The X-Files. It's Architecture In Helsinki with the windows down. It's right after my first rock and roll show. It's seeing a Common Loon dive for the first time. And so on. And so on.

So, I'll start cleaning the house after I have a tiny dance party in honor of how things are going. Okay? Deal?


Thursday, May 23, 2013

tell it to me slowly

Yesterday, a friend sent me a picture of a dead bird. "What is it?" the text message asked. I wanted to respond: "a goddamned tragedy", but instead "cedar waxwing" is what I said.

I know where I was when I saw one for the first time. I know where I was when I heard of one for the very first time. And then, there it was, right in front of my face - seeing one with a broken neck for the very first time.

There's something here about life and death. There's something everywhere about life and death.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I don't care: I love it

I had a revelation today. Basically, it goes like this: if I'm unhappy - it's on to the next one. I bet you want a little back story, huh?

Yesterday, I was offered another job. Like, she called me. She said, "The whole office voted," she said. She said, "We all want you." Well, anyway, this is troubling because I just accepted a position at that little, local winery right west on 24. The problem is: I want both. And I want school. And I want time to be a real life person. And I want to be able to eat this summer. But I also want to play backyard games and get stupid sweaty and really drunk with a shuttlecock in my hand, at least 2x a week, you know? Is that too much to ask? (probably.)

And let's face it, what a great problem to have. I totally recognize this, and please, don't hate me for stewing... but no worries, because me? Well..

I've made up my mind and it goes something like this: I can do whatever I want. And I damn well intend to.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

You Belong With Me

Can you even believe I learned how to water ski in a cove named Lick Run? And a few years later, my Papa taught me to slalom in a bight we call Paradise. My dad caught his last catfish in the green waters across from Message Beach. Kingfishers nest off of Hummingbird Hill and the most coveted arm of our lake, of course, is Cell Point.

The hills above Indian Creek were bought by an old man who cleared the trees, promptly died and now his estate is all for sale. Cedar Hill Marina sells the best deep fried pickles. Wolf River Cliffs tested my guts every year until someone banged his head and died. The Milky Way trail and meteor showers make my brain explode out in the middle of this lake.

This lake belongs to me like my gray shirt belongs to me. But also, like the universe belongs to me. The summer my dad died, we wondered if it'd be a place of grief. It was, but the water cleaned our wounds. We wondered, this winter, if this summer would be different because my nena's health - but we're anticipating the clear water to work it's magic. It will. We know it will.

The limb lines will hang after the fisherman chore the shore. The slate rocks will lay until we pick them up. Poison Ivy will eat up our flesh. The sun will bake us. And we will drink Grey Goose in our orange juice and Bailey's in our coffee and listen to Billy Joel loudly.

And even though it's just a summer place, Dale Hollow water pumps through all the Andersons' bodies. We know the lake like we know ourselves.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

I broke free on a Saturday morning

Do you remember how in a few days I am leaving my job at the library? Do you also remember that I'm so happy, but also so sad? It's this weird juxtaposition I don't know how to handle - I'm doing a lot of crying, but it's self-inflicted, so, please, don't feel bad. (Except, I'm sure you wouldn't anyway.)

Unlike everything in my life thus far, I'm going to allow this transition the grieving it deserves. It's a change. It's allowed to tear my heart into tiny bits of paper. It's also allowed to make me climb on my roof and scream the Hallelujah chorus. But, as I'm typing this non-linear thought-blog, let me just say: Can you even fucking believe life? I mean it. Can you?

Because I can't.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Meet me everywhere

In college, I took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Typical personality inventory, right? Except I had to take it twice because my E (for extrovert) was 99%. It gave me career choices like Social Worker, Teacher, Retail and Food Service. Got it. What it didn't tell me: You will most likely be a little... well, unbalanced.

On a very related note, my social wrap-up after nearly 30 years: Sometimes you're a part of stuff, other times not.
(I had to stop seeing my counselor. Can you tell?)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

I Said Things I Meant to Say

My papa tends to things in a way no-one else can.

He is making bat houses this spring. He raises worms. He feeds his birds. His flower garden is unparalleled. He adopts stray cats. He heals my heart whenever I'm anxiously sad. He makes sure his wife doesn't forget her evening pills. He is attentive when anyone is speaking. He loves to watch a good game of ping pong and always cheers for the winner. He might disagree, but it's always respectfully. He compliments servers. He sends me newspaper articles he thinks pertain to me. He lectures about life lessons (I listen).

He shares what he has - all the way from his worm-tea to bean dip to space on his houseboat in the summer, any summer. He fixes things, and paints things, and hangs things for my nena. He knows just when to hug me. He says the phrase, "grab and growl" before any meal. Sometimes, if we pray, he says: "So mote it be" at the end (which might be a freemason thing, but who knows? more importantly, who cares?) He listens to the Babs. He taught me to water-ski, to cry in public, to drive, to shoot free throws, to be kind and most importantly, to be happy no matter my circumstances.

I'm still really working on that last one. I suppose that's one that comes with age.

Have I told you lately that, basically, I'm the person I am because of him? I'm sure my dad was just like him - I never got a chance to know that. But if I'm anything, it's lucky. And loved.

Monday, April 22, 2013

I'll Be Up Up and Away

Here it is. Here it comes. I want to make this official unofficial announcement right here on this blog. Are you ready for it, because it's going to make you feel like standing on top of light poles and scream happy profanities into the air. It's going to make you want to high-five every stranger in a 3 mile radius. It's going to make you think, "yeah. Maybe." in the face of a terribly devastating personal conflict.. Are you ready?

I've made the decision to leave the library. I've accepted a position at Two-EE's Winery in Roanoke.

I'm disengaging from customer service from the public library and stepping into an atmosphere of service that revolves around wine. I can't explain how nervous I am. I mean, I can. I'm really-terribly-bite-all-my-nails-off nervous. It's less money, it's less hours - but it's a step up as far as my brain and soul are concerned.

Out my window: a vineyard. My bosses are fresh faced. I get to wear all black. (!!) You will come in, I will talk to you about wine. Ask about your family. Your hometown. Your favorite wine. And probably (hopefully) you won't yell at me for asking you to stay off your cell phone in the Early Learning Center. Probably (hopefully) you won't call me a racist because I ask your kids to follow the rules. Probably (hopefully) you'll walk out the doors and say, "isn't that place nice? Their wine is good. The staff is great. Amen." (you'll probably leave off the Amen, but who knows.)

I'm excited. I normally don't have enough courage to take such a big risk. But this time was different. My entire spirit has become fatigued in the daily crucifixion. I made a choice that involves lots of unknowns, but here's this thing: after May 10th I get to hang out with wine. And people who love wine.
For 30 hours a week.

Monday, April 8, 2013

i've already been here once, and now, again

I forget, you know?

I am, in the tiniest way, part of this earth. We are lucky bastards to breathe in tall grass and blue herons and sticky burrs. We get to drink down the wind and walk through may-flies all a tizzy and we get to know what it sounds like when 15 ducks fly off water together.

And sometimes I want to die. And sometimes I want to live forever. But I always want my naked feet to decompose in the mud.

We took serious pause yesterday when we saw a deer skeleton - laying disrobed and basic in definition only. We didn't pray, but we did. We felt vibrations and grief and hope. And without saying a word, we both knew - our future is with the dirt and the crows and every single hair that used to cover that doe. We live, we die, we live forever.


Friday, April 5, 2013

Whenever you call, baby, I'll roll up

I have a tiny family - two non-humans who are reliable only about a few things and one boy who is, to a fault, loyal.  So loyal and loving and devoted that most of the time, I just can't believe it.

Here's a tiny example: Last weekend, after an emotional trip and tired flight, when I landed in Fort Wayne 25 minutes earlier than my itinerary said we would, I turned on my phone quickly to text him and plead for him to hurry, a text pops up on my screen: "Don't worry. I'm here."

And I suppose, deep down, I was worried. That's where I live - in a perpetual haze of anxiety. But I shouldn't, not with him anyway.

The first time he and I interacted with one another, he saw me flip my top on this shit head in the lobby that connected the boy's dorm with the girl's dorm in college. I was a chubby freshman, short hair and bad skin. I remember what the fight was about, but trust me, it's not worth it. And from afar, I'm sure it seemed like my points were insane (they were) and that I was insane (I wasn't, just fat). Point is: he still gave me a chance, even after that.

Super late one night, I get a heavy phone call from my brother - he needed me and I was hours and hours away, newly married to a boy who was sleeping next to me and broke. I couldn't get to Wisconsin to save my life. I was a hopeless, sobbing mess - volatile and raw. I lost it -all recognition of sanity: made my throat bloody and broke my phone into one hundred pieces on our hard wood floors. He stayed put.

A few summers ago, I lost my job to Mitch Daniels, I lost weight because of stress and I sacrificed my mind to grief.

I drink too much. I gossip too much. I complain and overreact and get depressed with the ebbs and flows of life too much. I can't seem to settle down. I don't read novels, just comics and poetry. My favorite bird is the King Fisher (who has that as their favorite bird? For real, though).

I still cry about my dad. I talk too much, especially about Anakin Skywalker and Dean Winchester and Fox Mulder. I make terrible Iced Tea. I'm never happy with my job. I fall in love with fictional characters. When I cry, I don't just cry, I sob. I have terrible road rage - the likes of which you haven't seen...

But, here he stays. Next to me. I'm crazy, but he loves me anyhow.


Monday, April 1, 2013

you're all I got tonight

Let me just sit here while I catch my breath. Things are moving fast, probably typical behavior, but today everything seems to be blurry because of light-speed.

I'm in a dark bar - and here, things could make sense, maybe if I let them, you know? Talking people, clinking glasses, whiskey close at hand - let this by my hymn. It's holy, the interaction between me and low lighting. Between me and booze. Between me and slow, consistent heart-beats.

Last night, my homecoming was sweet, sweet sorrow. I spent the weekend with my mom in Wisconsin. It was an honest moment of serious thought and deep heart ache. And revisiting ancient pains. And celebrating a foundation worthy of complicated prose time and time again. Here's what I want to say: shit is messy and hard and far from static. Here's this other thing, too: Mostly, I have no idea. (But you knew that).

The weekend was good. And worthy of extra thought. I don't want to get too excited, but I wonder if this is what healing looks like.

or growing up.

We will see what my therapist says on Wednesday.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I wept in fear for things

I want to write a letter to my imaginary baby. You know, it'd start out saying something like "Dear Baby (if you ever exist)" and I'd follow it up with poignant pieces of life that I've gathered to be helpful. For example, "Life is fucking hard, lightening splitting the earth, and there's no two ways around it" - something like that. I might paraphrase. But, maybe not. My imaginary baby knows I have a mouth on me. I would then continue with apology after apology. For instance, "I'm sorry that you will always have dirt under your fingernails.", "I'm sorry I will be drunk, like garden parties and paper lanterns, more than I should be.", "I'm sorry that I will for sure lose my temper, a firecracker in closed hands." The best thing? Imaginary babies forgive. Real ones internalize. But, that's besides the letter I want to write.

I'd write about my dad. A workin' man with hands like dried sponges. And also, my mom, ol' knives for tongue. I'd write about me. And how, secretly, I always wanted the (imaginary) baby to look like an Anderson (aren't we glad he does!!). I'd write about writing. And how, the moment, right above the creek near Maxville on highway 32, when I saw a Belted Kingfisher for the first time, how that moment I knew that life was different than what was given me. Whatever that means.

I'm sure I'd write about love. But, probably in a way that's not appropriate for babies. Even really rough and tumble babies like my imaginary one. I might even tell that child about the times I snuck out of my house to meet older boys with magic hands. I'd use the word "magic" and make a footnote* (*ask me about this when you are older - babies can't read anyway.) I'd be pithy about love, because let's face it, does anyone ever listen anyway? (The answer is no. But you fucking knew that)

I would probably say it's okay to fight. Even with fists sometimes. Not always*. (*footnote: consult with me first. Please.)

I'd probably end with something like "Dear (imaginary) baby - just know that mostly, I'm gonna try real hard to be what you need, but probably, I'll let you down. Aint that the way?".

Sunday, March 24, 2013

These things, they go away

Some nights I have a quiet kitchen. On those nights, it's easy to chop lettuce and stack dirty dishes and think about the cat that's sleeping on the green blanket in front of my computer screen. It's easy to move on from lettuce to strawberries and daydream about the short bread you're going to make this week. You know, in honor of spring.
It's easy, on these nights, to remember your downfalls, but even easier to move past the ones of immediate concern. Even if just for a moment.

Also, we're almost out of dish soap.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Far more aware than I have been

Today it was mostly eating the small moments with a delicate fork and well poised knife. "The sun really showed up and is doing it's job" was a good salutation to a really weird morning - but it's true what he said. The sun had armies. They blew my face off.

With unsteady steps I walked up my stairs in someone else's purple sweatpants and fancy blue shoes, nearly my burial shroud, or so it felt. The only longing was for my empty bed- dried wine in the cuts on my lips. A bruise on my chin. Arms that smelled like vomit.

Let's get one thing straight, I don't ever mean to binge drink. I don't ever mean to nearly die in my friends' new home. I don't ever mean to make other people's husbands carry me to their homes. Last night, I fucked up. And I'm embarrassed. And I'm sorry. But, in a very serious way, I'm grateful.

And way scared.

I'm blood and carbon and magic. And these ribs and this heart - I've only been given this. And I'm sorry I'm not a better steward. And I'm sorry that I'm falling into a stereotype. And I'm so goddamned sorry that I have to keep saying sorry.

But like I said before, the sun showed up. Thank goodness. And the moments today, even the ones where I felt heavy with a coat of guilt, were welcomed. If I would have felt better, I would have thrown each minute today a fucking party. Hugged them like I'm picking them up at the airport.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

I'll show you my scars

My horoscope yesterday said "you're longing for the new, the different, the unique." That doesn't mean anything to you - and if we're honest, it doesn't mean anything to me, either. But for a moment, I stood up straight on this little mountain I've constructed mostly from cardboard and thought, "I do need anything but this" and the entire day I jotted down notes about my escape to the ocean.

And everything was affirmed about a trillion times before bedtime - yes, yes! the echoes bouncing off the church walls, crawling up the bricks on the outside of my house, coming in with the wind through the cracks in my floorboards. Yes! Move away, lady. Be something else. Pick up each grain of sand, tell them the secrets you have hidden in your sinews. Braid your hair until your fingers fall the fuck off your hands.


Because let's face it, sometimes a girl is alone. But not really alone - just lonely. And let down.

Monday, March 18, 2013

my heart feels unprotected

I do the things I need to do, you know, to function. Brush my hair, wear clean underwear, pet my cat, blow out the candles at the end of the night, drink wine, occasionally dust, wash out my cuts, eat some fruit, smile at strangers, text, sit criss cross applesauce, and work on my posture.

I wear a bra mostly, I cry alone mostly (except for Fat Tuesdays. On Fat Tuesdays, I cry to boys who let me), I shave my legs (sometimes) and listen to sad songs on lonely nights. I breathe heavy as I fall asleep. I remember nice things and feel nice. I try not to remember bad things, but, like everything, that's hard to do.

I fall in love. And out of love. But mostly, in, at least 3 times a day.

I participate in normal human activities. Sometimes, I even enjoy it.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

i've grown weary on my own.

I blame myself for not listening to my psychic.

She was probably spot on, but shame on me, I didn't take notes and I didn't take heed. I do remember it being something like, "now is the time to DO", but WHO doesn't she say that to, you know? Anyway, I was in my Saturn Return and I swear to god, I wish my Saturn Return would last forever, but it doesn't. The threshold isn't very wide. And I'll be goddamned if I took advantage of Saturn and her orbit. I didn't.

I stayed stagnant, and as a result, here I am.

What no one tells you is, being a grown up is hard and it takes courage. I don't have that.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

She could hear the highway breathing

Can you even believe all the opportunities available to us to just fall right the fuck in love? Make no mistake in these words, I'm mostly talking about non-humans and poignant moments in time that just look you in the eye and give you the what-for. They are, mainly, set apart by heart beats.

And I can't begin to explain the interrelation of the things and the moments, but I don't have to. If you know about the heart beats, you know about the union.

These little baby companions are there, you know, always.

I can be in a car, and the minute I tell someone about what vacant lots do for me, specifically about the loneliness and the beauty and the desire to stand for days (and maybe decompose), I become aware. There they are. Right there, making my blood move, my skin pulse and my nose a little ruddy button. Falling in love with vacant lots or blue mittens or being called a heifer, those are the moments - being intentional about these moments, that's the love.

It's all very circular. But I suppose, life is like that.

Aint that the way.

will someone please call a surgeon?

Don't let me alone with my own devices. And if I had any authority at all, I'd make it an order. (But I don't. So I won't.) But I suppose the only thing I can really say is, "don't let me hang out with a box of wine alone."

Also, today was a furniture shopping kind of day. Full of rain and carpet and salesmen who wanted to sleep with me.. It was just a tiny bit terrible and would have been worse if I didn't have some nice smooth Brandy (and an aunt who really gets it) to hang out with.

Life is sometimes one recliner after another. And honestly, that's just par for the course.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

it's too late to say you're sorry

Some things will never change, though. In my grandpa's top left-hand-drawer, there will always be containers of floss, super sharp finger nail clippers and hearing aid batteries. When I'm here, I will fill the coffee maker with appropriate amounts of finely ground coffee and water and hit the "delay brew" button. The dishwasher will depend on me. I will drink wine after everyone goes to bed and I will pine away under the orange glow of Main Street.

They haven't changed yet. Not here. This sanctuary, despite the shit storm this winter, has yet to be tainted by you fucks out there.

I don't know how to describe the calm that comes along with this place. A certain structure in knowing that no matter what the goddamn circumstances are, I'll have two insanely gorgeous people who love me like no other. And despite the thawing river and the inevitable, beautiful end - we have the moments we have.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

let's talk over mai-tais. waitress, top it off

Life shifts often. My skin comes off everyday and my hair falls out and my finger nails grow, get dirty and I bite them off, but here I am, the same human. Kind of.

The shifting. The death. The life. It's all too much at times. The standing up tall and watching everything change, that's something else, too. I barely can stand it.

All of this to say: I'm getting old. I can see it around my eyes and in my blood. And with the friendships I've cultivated for so long. The shifting. The slow transfer and melting away and putting our hands into the cold river that never stops - these things tell me, you know, nothing fucking stays the same.

And I mean it: nothing.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Come away with me on a bus

How can I tell you about a day off that is so perfect it doesn't have words? Not sure I can. It's impossible, because as I've already said, no. words. None. A rest. A day like oatmeal, but with sugar. Oatmeal with laundry. Does that make sense to you? Because I've had 3 whiskeys and one wine. But that doesn't take away from a good day off and a good evening with friends who are good at laughing and making me laugh.

I don't know. My blog is sometimes so pretentious, don't you think? It's all "feelings" and "sadness" and sometimes I feel like I segregate people.. and honestly, if we are serious, I'm so sorry that I do that. I just don't know how to separate myself from how I feel. But honestly, isn't that okay? Who fucking knows.

I don't know what I'm saying. I've had too much alcohol, I feel like it's a summer's night. But, let me assure you, it's not. I'm like, super cold. It's still winter, with a seriousness.

Life is a little bit nuts.

Life is like a never ending thing, except, if we are honest, it's the most temporary thing ever. And how beautiful. And how devastating. Do you get that art is so like that? and if we are all philosophical, if a+b=c and b+c=d then a=d, temporary is beautiful. That means life is. And if life is temporary, shouldn't I just quit the shit that makes me miserable? Who fucking cares? All this shit is so short term.

Which brings me to my next point... and be prepared. It's fucking serious:


Just: YOLO.

Monday, March 4, 2013

where will we go? what will we do?

I wrote a poem today, but it wasn't the poem that I wanted to write. I sometimes walk around with an idea in my blood for sometime before it finds it's way to paper. And, for once, I think that's normal. And please, if it isn't, mind your manners and keep it to yourself.

I like the things I said in On Showing Our Baby The Dead Cat, though I know with my whole heart that these things have been said already. But, it's fine to say some things again.
The story isn't mine, as you well guessed. But an amazing woman's who I call H.

H and I went on some kind of renewing retreat recently to Minnesota, some tiny town on the Root River with eagles and Oriole nests hanging like brown uvulas and snow and love. We were sitting around the fire talking about death, as you often do on Renewal Retreats and this story came up. I swear to you, I didn't do it justice - maybe I'll revisit it once my other poem surfaces.

But honestly, this temporary life we're given is fast. It's the thawing Root River. It's a passing sentiment. It's beautiful and so goddamned full of pain that I'm not sure I can decipher the difference.

And mostly, we all need to walk in the dark past a Post Office in a town with 63 people and hope to see owls. And hope to avoid death for a just a little while longer.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

every body likes to cha-cha-cha

This weekend was ridiculous. Somehow I was invited to perform twice. IN ONE WEEKEND. Holy god, guys. What a wonderful honor to be esteemed enough, and trusted enough, to entertain a varied group of strangers at an event that has been a working part of the coordinator's soul.

It's magic, really. Magic.

The first event was for a young, community centered church. (yep, you heard me right: church). But guys, they're doing things right. They turned a parking lot into a GARDEN. Where they grow veggies to share with the community. SHARE, COMMUNITY, FREE ORGANIC FOOD. In order to do this, they need a tad bit more money, a tad bit more awareness, so they threw a benefit. And asked local bands and local poets to perform. Local talent, local food, local love that could (depending on how you feel) transcend time and space. I agreed immediately. I agreed and I was honored. Deeply.

Next, we had The Bomb Shelter. Standup comedy for very very amateur comedians. Pye,Brown is the creative force behind many swanky events in Fort Wayne and this one (as well as the first Shelter), I was invited to participate. They landed a beautiful space, a legit filmmaker and 10 amazingly brave (and funny) people to tell jokes like we really knew what we were doing. Let me just tell you... the entire night was full of wine, laughter and lots of anxious embarrassment. The perfect combination. Pye,Brown is genuinely interested in Fort Wayne, inspired individuals and how the two can make each other better by being celebrated together. Locally and creatively togethering. And me. I got to be a part of the A-list line up. And, how can a girl complain?