{ like a heartbeat drives you mad. }

There is little to distract me at the moment.

It's two am. And I am drinking bourbon.

Smoking cigarettes.

This is a recipe, and I am the Martha Stewart of ill-conceived notions.

A meticulously prepared undertaker of affection.

I could bake you ten cakes in twenty minutes filled with feelings of adulation.

But there's no one here to eat them. These temporal delicacies.

And I can smoke and drink all night long next to hoping,

My best fairweather friend.

Listening to Stevie Nicks spill her guts all over my frontal lobes,

Behind her, thoughts beckon, as to what I do in stead,

What I do after this. The proverbial “then what.”

I've probably felt more alone than this,

The reasons differ,

But not enough to matter.

Nothing about tonight feels especially successful.

This is an absolutely beautiful moment,

In which I have done nothing

Except feel:

My superpower, my kryptonite.

Always has been, always will be.

Since I was a kid and my dad told me to know better.

"Don't let those tears drag you all around town."

He says.

Daddy I am trying,

But sometimes life is so alone and I don't know what else to do.

There are babes I wish to kiss goodnight, that don't exist.

And if they did, they wouldn't know what to do either.

“Can the child within my heart rise above?”

She says.

Everything within me just wants to wait this out in the wake.

What's the point of sleeping through.

I crave something too great.

I want the ocean.

But all I have is this glass of whiskey.

And the sweet songs of a broken lady,

Like me,

And what does she know.


{ mama says I think too much. }

Every time I write, I am hoping to somehow forge my identity. I want to be figuring something out, in some capacity of life. Each time it's painful, like giving birth. But I imagine, when one gives birth, the resulting "product" is almost always "perfect" in the eyes of the mother. I have a hard time imagining a woman going through all the pains of labour, only to see her child and say, "Hmmm... eh." So either this is not at all like giving birth, or I am a terribly vain mother.

I am broken, I know. That thought is rarely far from my mind. And if that knowledge ever dissipates for a moment or two, the emotion I experience in its stead I can only ascribe to the Divine desiring that I would feel as I should indeed feel, instead of how I tell myself I should feel. The problem with me is that I am so often reticent to adhere to what the Divine says. I don't think any of us are, and therein lies the greatest struggle of life. I believe that.

I have always lived in story. For as long as I can remember dreaming through the waking hours, I have crafted a story for myself. The majority of this story lies in my head. But tonight as I was driving through the nighttime countryside, through the fields now devoid of corn and wheat, I tried to imagine myself in a story that wasn't written by me at all. In that story, I had just spent the evening with my dad, watching movies and playing with kittens, and was on my way back to my now deceased Grama's house, listening to Afro-Panamanian music from the 60's and 70's, smoking a cigarette, trekking over railroads and bridges in a Jeep Grand Cherokee. All the while, my mind was pulling so hard at placing me in some other setting. Some other place in time. And I wanted so much to be exactly where I was, knowing exactly where I had in fact been. This is one of my deepest struggles.

There is a constant discussion as to whether or not fate exists. Some of us call it predestination. Most people seem to hold to either extreme conclusion, it does or does not exist. I can't say I can know for sure in this life, but I can suppose that it falls somewhere in the middle. Rather, it is both. It does exist as an inevitable story that has already been written- what is going to happen is going to happen, absolutely. But what inevitably happens in the story that was already inevitable, is still the result of most of the decisions we very freely and intentionally make. Although I will say that in this life A does not always surely equal B, and B does not always surely equal C. This world is perpetually upside down in most ways. So perceiving life as some sort of mathematical equation will certainly disappoint.

For as unsure as I often am in this life, that last paragraph contained a great many words describing a sense of some absolute. But being unsure is one thing, understanding one's lack of control over most things is another. Maybe this is pointless to speculate about or delve into. It seems impossible to try to explain it, and I am beginning to fumble my thoughts. Although, I know I am on to something. A potentially arrogant remark. But saying that now, I believe I am. The fact still remains however, that trying to explain what I am actually thinking is near impossible. My brain just does not carry the words I need at present.

Anyway. What does any of this say about my identity? Not a damn thing. I don't know my ass from my elbow for the most part. And having to travel to Ohio was not something I asked for, although I accept it so warmly. I love that I could spend time with my Grama, live in her house and tend to her things for a time after her passing. It is good healing. And hopefully healing in other ways I can hardly perceive at this point. Life feels so often like Limbo. The whole mess of it, like a free-for-all waiting room. So deciding on what exactly I am going to do while I am waiting always eludes me. And maybe it's my perpetual inclination to feel like I have to decide something, which leads me astray. Heaven help me. This baby's got too many questions for her own good. But that being said, I think we are all crafted in a certain way, specific to a cause, and this is why community is such a gift. I overlook this often. For example, my roommate is a man very different from myself. I believe we share the same ideas of living, values and perceptions on the world, similar interests and hopes, all things to make for an excellent living situation. However, our internal wiring, our synapses, fire very differently, and coming to a place where I have an idea of why he does what he does, or his idea of why I do what I do has been almost difficult. I should say, his persona differs from mine to an extreme. But if it weren't for that difference, I would not have learned as much as I have from him. I can see, where in knowing him, some of the rough inner edges of my heart have been smoothed out. He was placed in my life. And for that I am very grateful. It almost makes me aim to seek others who are so seemingly unfamiliar in thought than myself. I'm not sure if that last sentence made sense. Regardless, it should be said that due to this, any sense I have of my specific identity is irrelevant. Along the road, that is both inevitable and free, I am forever changing. And if I were to decide on several things to define me, some rock solid attributes that I decided to forever follow my name, I would be doing myself a great disservice. Why would I ever want to be so solidly affiliated with anything, save the Divine, which at this point is all I can direct my hand towards when asked who I am. Saying that makes me uneasy. But I see truth in it, which is not to say I won't spend the rest of my life, however long that may be, hashing it out with God. I'm not generally one for religion, but I do wholeheartedly support relationship. Because all humanity was built for it. It's in everything we do. And THAT is something I am going to think about for the rest of the night. And you, dear reader, might want to do the same.

I had no idea what this baby would look like. For the most part, it was a relatively painless labour. At the end of it however, when I look at it, I can hardly see a resemblance between the two of us. I still think, "Hmmm... eh." And I wonder why this baby has so many damn questions. And why she won't shut up.


{ spider / wino. }

Giant spider on my bottle of wine. Get outta there.

My brother told me the story of how spiders came to be yesterday.

We were driving to the cigar and wine shop. He was clad in full military uniform, hat and all. He looked real nice. "You see," He said. "In Greek mythology, there was this lady named Arachne, who was an incomparable mortal weaver, and eventually began to boast that she was the best weaver ever, hands down. So. Athena, whose godly domain just happens to include weaving, caught wind of this and got mighty pissed and decided to do something about all this malarkey. So Athena, assuming the form of an old woman and goes to see Arachne and warm her not to miff the gods, because it never ends well. And Arachne is all like, 'PSH! If only there could be a contest, then we'd see who's best." Of course, Arachne doesn't realize this is actually Athena, who now drops the guise of hag, turns back into actual Athena and is obviously super pissed, and it's on, the "weave-off" begins. Athena weaves Poseidon's victory that leads to Athens being named after Athena. Cute. And Arachne, clever girl as she is, weaves the twenty-one infidelities of Zeus. Yeow. Zeus is totally Athena's dad, but Athena doesn't have a mom so it's a tender subject, blah blah blah, long story. Anyway, Athena is super pissed now, with a raging fury, because a.) Arachne's tapestry is in FACT better than hers and b.) because Arachne just knocked her dad twenty-one times. Malapropos like whoa. Athena gets so mad that she destroys Arachne's tapestry and kills her. But then feels bad and brings her back to life as a spider. There you have it. Spiders."

I really liked that story.

I just wrote my Grama's obituary with my Aunt Connie. I think it was most fitting.

Somehow another

day has come to a dark end

I just realized

it's almost midnight. Again.

I kind of feel like a wino today. These nights alone are wearing on me.

I always hear people say that the world lacks wonder, or at least people who wonder within it. I'm afraid I maybe wonder too much. It's important for me to write things down, because otherwise I would just be sitting, anxiously awake and wondering dreamy-like until I realized it was far too late to be doing so and should probably go to bed. I will say however, that I am glad to be here. I suppose instead of wondering about everything else it would serve me well to simply just sit, and be here. So that's what I'm gonna do now.


{ gush. }

Words don't seem like much without the music to back them
So I'll just do my best to make this sound real sweet
I don't have an instrument
But I got these fingers
And the nerve to practice
Until you hear the symphony of my heart strings


{ instrumental. }

I'm sitting on the front porch. Up to my eyeballs in daydreams and fuzzy thoughts. It was a simple day. I did simple things. Here is a list of them: dentist, sandwich, play with kittens, computer, made a bed, watch football, made a pizza. I am presently adding drink bourbon and smoke cigarette, and will polish off the night with clean kitchen and fall asleep. My sleep schedule is a disaster. And my dress is too tight and too short. I'm wearing a jacket, a coat, a stocking cap, and flip flops. I just read about astrology and then felt stupid. So here I am now. Listening to dogs bark in the distance, the evenings eternal cricket song, and the hum of traffic a long way off. I want to write about my Grama, but I can't do that right now. I want to be held, but that won't happen right now. I want to feel beautiful, but the point is mute. I want to see my friends, but they are all far away in some direction or another. I want someone to play me a song, or read me a story while I fall asleep. I want a lot of things that I can't quite put my finger on, and that cumulative sensation once again draws me back to that ever encroaching hope for eternity, which might not ever make a lick of sense until I die. But I don't want to die. Not yet. I feel the urge to drive around the country and drink coffee incessantly.

So, to follow course, here is a list of things I do have, which presently please me: Time with my family, a nice, stiff drink and a smoke, (albeit, gads, one of these days... nevermore.) a lovely sitting space, food in my belly, roof over head, hands, feet, eyes and ears, walks to the river, and a God who keeps tugging at my shirt tails, even though I have the tendency to be an obstinate shit. Lord have mercy, I am a selfish woman. Drawn by the caprices. Whimsy whimsy whimsy. Wondering if she will ever be satisfied.

The phrase that has been passing through my head for the past 34 hours has been "The man who tries to save his life will loose it, but that man who looses his life will save it." It's big, that thought, those words. They mean a lot, and I have been masticating their purpose in my life. My dad said that to me the other day, and I don't remember why. But he has a history of saying the right thing at the right time. 99% of the time.

I'm sorry for getting lonely and thinking too much. I'm sorry for always wanting to be alone and never quite realizing in that moment that it's usually an ill-conceived idea. I'm sorry for currently having a negative outlook.

If I'm honest with myself, all this is very exciting. There is much before me. A smorgasbord of good, good gravy. I can smell it. And it's chock full of drippings. Sit still little mind, and take a load off. Worry is a liar and a thief. And life is good. I'm sorry I forget that often. Such a child.

Part of all of this anxiety is my strong, unending desire to share my life with someone. I know a lot of people don't think this way, or pretend that they don't, but confound it, I sure would like to get married. That just sounds really nice. I have very rarely thought of what that might look like, in the material sense. You know, how girls dream of what their wedding might look like, I don't mean it like that. I just want to dish it out with someone, and fight and love and make chicken and drink water and pull stray hairs and take naps and get pissed and be sorry and tell someone how I'm feeling even though I know they might not get it and have someone shave my legs for me and brush my hair while we watch movies and miss someone and get drunk with someone and sing songs with someone and drive to stupid places and flirt and have them tell me what I'm bad at and bite my tongue and run my thumb across eyebrows and rub feet and kiss shoulders and own commitment and have some kids and be very very very naked in all ways possible. I want all that to play out until I'm all old and ugly, while I watch someone I love get all old and ugly, and love them for it.

My mom says she has some ideas. I told her to pray I don't marry a douche bag.

Sometimes I feel like a sucker. And sometimes I want to live in Mississippi again. Or at least the south. Man, do I like elements of the south, like any other place. But right now I miss Portland. And I have added listening to The Microphones, drink more bourbon and smoke more cigarettes to my list.


{ death may be a handsome man. }

These days creep away in slow motion. I feel they get the better of me sometimes.

So this is it. I'm trying to be in the moment. Which has forever proven itself to be difficult for me. It breeds too much intellectual planning and little result. I lay down for a nap next to Grama and the dog. I am so tired and wish to daydream along the edge of sleep. Like a walk on the beach. But that isn't where I am, I'm not on the beach. I'm in the bed I slept in as a child with my cousins. All four of us together, drawing straws to see who received the untimely fate of slumber on the edge of the bed, next to the closet we dredded. It brought us to tears, as it was full of bullfrogs and raccoons. They only came out at night.

I don't think I ever lost the draw, but I usually sacrificed, and took the edge.

Twenty years later I am lying in that same bed. Next to my Grama and her labored, curdled breathing. "I am here," my mind enters the present, and I take its hand along with my Grama's. And we rest for hours.

Upon wake, drowsy I stammer, "Grama... I dreamed I was in your orchard. We were all in your orchard. And there was a handsome man chopping wood. I didn't get to ask his name... But he was so handsome." She smiles and asks for water.

I don't know where this is headed. In some ways I do. Death is creeping. Before I fall into sleep I wonder if He is in the house. If the dog barks at Him. If He is kind and gentle. I look for Him as my eyes close. I am keeping watch.

I sit on my Grama's front porch and she rests inside, along with my mother and aunt. I am trying to move towards sleep. But lately, the laying down portion doesn't come so easily. I am in seven different worlds at once. Leaning on them all for support. And I don't know what I look like.

So let's stop thinking about all this for the night. Let's rest our eyes.

Give Grama her morphine at 2am.

Wake up at 8am.

Have a glass of milk.

Take some pills.

Get her dressed and bathed.

Read her the letters they are sending.

Feed her toast.

Walk to the river.

Read the Bible.

Say a prayer.

Do the laundry.

Empty the dishwasher.

Bake a pie.

Feed the Brothers.

Check the mail.

Take all of this, one day at a time.

Because that's all I've got.

That's all anyone has.


{ where we are from. }

"It's Saturday, right?" I ask my dad as we drive.

"'Fraid not. It's Sunday."

"Really? No way." It feels like Saturday, but then, come to think of it, I don't know what day it feels like.

"Oh it's Sunday alright." He chuckles as the corn streams past the truck like a sea of gold ripe for the plowing. Soon the combines will be out. I can already smell burning leaves in the evening. And the cicadas have all died, their simple songs hushed for another season. It's almost 11:00 am. We were supposed to leave at 10:00, but I took my sweet, sleepy time, still acclimating to the three hour difference. Ate the omelet my dad made, checked my email, took a shower, made some coffee.

The matriarch is dying. And I've come to the Midwest to take part in the reverent process of death. It has a rich feeling. So rich everyone is tired. She looks twice as tired as she did yesterday. Lying in her bed, doped up, adorning silk. The dog sits at her side, staring up at an unfamiliar master. I rub lotion on her cold legs, and she says how nice it feels.

"I've had this movie sticking to my mind..." she says.

"What movie?"

"I don't know.."

"Who's in it?"

"I don't know that either, it's just sticking in my mind. It's so lovely. That's the hardest part. Not being able to put the pieces all together. Not being able to connect the dots."

I rub lotion on her feet, and she falls asleep. I kiss her forehead and hold her hand.

"I love you." she says.

The house is thick with family and well-wishers, bringing pies and casseroles. I have known these people all my life. They enter the bedroom and kiss her forehead. They enter the room and say such lovely things about love without talking. The neighbor comes over, the one with cancer, redheaded and eighty-five, "I went to church today, for the first time in 10 weeks, and I prayed and prayed and prayed for help for us little old ladies... you know how much I love you." This love is hushing. It grabs your heart firmly and kisses it with warm and gentle lips. I feel my throat close and I stop breathing for fear of tears. Not yet, I say. Not yet. The grandkids are almost all here, looking at pictures, flooding the kitchen and eating the cookies. She would love it. She would be making us all tuna sandwiches if she could. She would say, "How the hell am I supposed to feed all of you?" and inwardly adore the preparation. That's how she is, absolutely snarky and all love. Don't you ever forget that.

I haven't smoked in a few days. This is my trial for a specific epoch, to quit smoking, to take care of my Grama. But tonight I drove around for an hour, five different gas stations, asking for a pack of American Spirit cigarettes. Driving down familiar back-roads. Everything is familiar and distant when you come home. So many lived and forgotten things. So much silt of memory accumulates and forms a bedrock behind my brain. And presently it is breaking through. Sometimes it seems like I remember everything at once, and I hit it with a pick axe. The scent and sediment of it flying forward so fast into my thoughts. I am struck with such a specific and peculiar sense of living one life. It wells up here, like a dream I know I lived. How much was on purpose, how much was on accident. And where is it going? In this time and place I haven't the slightest idea. I am still so freshly fallen from the world I was living two days ago. A home I enjoyed, a few friends I loved, a man, the music, the food, doldrums of work, too much whiskey and smoke. It feels good to be home. It feels good to have purpose. But it is so very hard to place a finger on life and say, "This is it. This is where we are going." At times that notion of inability makes me wonder heavily, at others, it causes me to stir with the greatest hope.