Monday, August 31, 2009


i am in love with idaho. i am in love with the clear clear priest lake, the ponderosa pines, the moose, the stories of bears, the fast boat with no name, the slow boat named "doty," the sunken islands in the middle of the lake, the american kestrals diving for grasshoppers in the meadow, the meadow!, the mist over the meadow in the evening, the dark dark nights, the falls... the smell of the air which is sweet and warm.

we spent the last week splitting our time between priest lake, the ranch, and spirit lake. the boswells spoiled us rotten with amazing food, a rented boat, drinks, dinner at the elkins lodge. mr. boswell and his twin brother told stories all day, of their crazy youth, of the natural history of the ranch and priest lake. we spent the days on the water with the fish, the chevrons of geese. we went out to the local bar, millies, and danced cheek to cheek to country music. oh the glory of it all! these are wild places that i need to go to, to relocate the heart, the lungs, the breath, when they are taken away.

Friday, August 21, 2009


by Denise Levertov

After I had cut off my hands
and grown new ones

something my former hands had longed for
came and asked to be rocked.

After my plucked out eyes
had withered, and new ones grown

something my former eyes had wept for
came asking to be pitied.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

what's in my pocket? you never knew

wild nights, wild nights!

my sister came up to bellingham last night and of course jordan and i took her to casa for a potato burrito which i am sure she enjoyed because who doesn't like deep fried potatoes? tell me who! jake and pat and max and sade and bess showed up and we moved to a bigger table. we are in love with each other so we had a delightful time drinking 2.50 micros and laughing and trying to figure out how to separate the check while tipsy. i am glad andrea came up and went out with us and put her planner and raspberry blackberry whatever thing away for a while to just laugh a lot. next, we all squished into a booth at caps and drank more 2.50 micros, because it was monday. we trudged up the hill pretty early, jake groaning the entire way, and slept like babies. i woke early, put on the coffee and one of kori's 50's dresses. i felt like meryl streep in bridges of madison county while chopping potatoes barefoot. jordan made us a hash brown scramble. (i assured andrea that we eat more than fried potatoes, truly we do). he is so good to me. so silent and gentle and good. last night andrea said there is only room for one lunatic in a relationship. i am the lunatic here. the scrambling, babbling, giggling, neurotic, who says everything that comes to mind as thoughts skid fast. jordan grounds me. jordan brings me back to earth with a glance. when he speaks, he speaks like john wayne in an old western, every word careful and sure, while the rest of us try to catch ourselves from falling with our words.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

magnetic bird lover

click to see my first magnetic poem!

burnt toast and eggs

yesterday we went to some hot springs on mt baker. the directions said "short hike to hot springs from parking lot" so we took the nearest trail. we walked and walked. we kept seeing footprints in the mud and thinking they were fresh, the beer cans abandoned on the side of the trail were a sure sign that the hot springs were just around the corner. eventually we ended up at a campsite where nobody knew what we were talking about. we turned around, thinking it could be worse. we could have no legs and be crawling back, it could be raining, we could have hepatitis. it was a nice walk nonetheless. i saw four frogs and the scenery was greener than green, a bed of moss and sweet fresh air. eventually we ran into a couple who explained that the hot springs were just to the left past the parking lot. they had mosquito bites all over their necks. the trail ended up being only like 300 meters. after our four mile detour the water felt very swell. warm. don't tell anybody but i love the smell of sulfur. there was a friendly guy from nashville in the hot spring and many cedar waxwings above in the trees. pat talked a lot. pat talks a lot. jake laughed a lot. jake laughs a lot.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

i am livid today

i really do believe that what goes around comes around. if you live carelessly in this world the world will be ruthless back. there are things that we learned as children-- the little boy who called wolf: nothing good comes from a lie, the crow that sang "love, love, love is the answer and love is the reason we're hear," and of course, the golden fucking rule. someone didn't get the message. which leads me to this: the worst thing is to see the people you love cry and not be able to do anything to make it better except read them mary oliver poems and hope that she will save them the way she has saved you countless times.

In Blackwater Woods
Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars
of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,
the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders
of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is
nameless now.
Every year
I have ever learned
in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side
is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.
~ Mary Oliver ~


by Tony Hoagland

Windy today and I feel less than brilliant,
driving over the hills from work.
There are the dark parts on the road
when you pass through clumps of wood
and the bright spots where you have a view of the ocean,
but that doesn’t make the road an allegory.

I should call Marie and apologize
for being so boring at dinner last night,
but can I really promise not to be that way again?
And anyway, I’d rather watch the trees, tossing
in what certainly looks like sexual arousal.

Otherwise it’s spring, and everything looks frail;
the sky is baby blue, and the just-unfurling leaves
are full of infant chlorophyll,
the very tint of inexperience.

Last summer’s song is making a comeback on the radio,
and on the highway overpass,
the only metaphysical vandal in America has written
in big black spraypaint letters,

which makes us wonder if Time loves Memory back.

Last night I dreamed of X again.
She’s like a stain on my subconscious sheets.
Years ago she penetrated me
but though I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed,
I never got her out,
but now I’m glad.

What I thought was an end turned out to be a middle.
What I thought was a brick wall turned out to be a tunnel.
What I thought was an injustice
turned out to be a color of the sky.

Outside the youth center, between the liquor store
and the police station,
a little dogwood tree is losing its mind;

overflowing with blossomfoam,
like a sudsy mug of beer;
like a bride ripping off her clothes,

dropping snow white petals to the ground in clouds,

so Nature’s wastefulness seems quietly obscene.
It’s been doing that all week:
making beauty,
and throwing it away,
and making more.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

chick a dee dee dee

went to "nineties night" with kori and jake. so skeezy! but the music is so nostalgic that we had to try it out. we drank a lot of rainier tall boys and ran into the adorable and fun shannon, who i worked with at the flower shop. i miss seeing her every day. anyhow, the dj looked like a tall chas, so we called him tall chas all night and kori kept requesting songs which were already requested, like MIB and the lion king, and kept denying that he looked anything like chas. finally, tall chas played some TLC. then this guy came up and started trying to get skeezy on me and i was like, "hey, we went to high school together." and he didn't remember me. and then this other girl flung herself on him and they started bumping and grinding, much to my relief. anyway, we all decided we prefer 80's night at rumors.

prior to that i hiked up to fragrance lake with the boys. not much with birds other than a few winter wrens, a lot of black capped chickadees, and some wilson's warblers. the birds have quieted themselves. i no longer hear the swainson's thrush in the back yard. the broods are all growing up into robust young birds, the juvenile towhee jordan and i have been watching on the feeder is getting his color, and we saw four young flickers in the grass the other day, looking large and self suffcient. i already feel the season folding in on itself and it makes me a bit lonely.

jordan and i made fajitas. grilled on the barbeque and then seasoned with cumin, cayenne, chili powder and tabasco. homemade tortillas. we love to eat.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


by Carol Frost

The dogs eat hoof slivers and lie under the porch.
A strand of human hair hangs strangely from a fruit tree
like a cry in the throat. The sky is clay for the child who is past
being tired, who wanders in waist-deep
grasses. Gnats rise in a vapor,
in a long mounting whine around her forehead and ears.

The sun is an indistinct moon. Frail sticks
of grass poke her ankles,
and a wet froth of spiders touches her legs
like wet fingers. The musk and smell
of air are as hot as the savory
terrible exhales from a tired horse.

The parents are sleeping all afternoon,
and no one explains the long uneasy afternoons.
She hears their combined breathing and swallowing
salivas, and sees their sides rising and falling
like the sides of horses in the hot pasture.

At evening a breeze dries and crumbles
the sky and the clouds float like undershirts
and cotton dresses on a clothesline. Horses
rock to their feet and race or graze.
Parents open their shutters and call
the lonely, happy child home.
The child who hates silences talks and talks
of cicadas and the manes of horses.

Monday, August 10, 2009

remarkable things:

getting my hands on a copy of lorrie moore's new book before it is even on the market

jake showing up out of the green

matt damon in "all the pretty horses"

free food

what the rain has done for my radishes

jordan's eyes within ten percent of the same prescription as mine (to his luck after losing his glasses on the river last week)

running into sade this morning, at the least expected place and time

Saturday, August 8, 2009


the greatest gloster canary ever.

on another note

it really does feel like august. the grass is all crisp and honey colored and smells like the vacation my family took when i was thirteen, to this little cabin on a river in wenatchee. i brought my bike, and there was a field and it smelled so good, like dry grass. grass hoppers were everywhere and would fly out from underneath my tires as i rode through the field. there were horses down the rode and i had just gotten the notion that i should marry i cowboy, so i rode my bike down the road to watch the horses. i had never been on a horse before, but in the second and third grade i collected plastic horses and my father built me a miniature horse stable with a trough and hay. when i did finally sit on a horse, at summer camp a year later, i found it terrifying. i am afraid of heights and horses are tall. but still, i was in love with the horseback riding instructor: a tall, lean cowboy from oklahoma, whose camp name was swiffer (like the cleaning products and dusters). he made me swoon. he wore the same tight jeans, white tee shirt, and cowboy hat everyday. i still have a soft spot cowboys, but horses scare the shit out of me. funny that i should meet jordan, from the wyoming badlands (the state with the license plate with a bucking horse and cowboy!), and find in him a lovable man. one who is also a bit uncomfortable with horses and owns nothing comparable to a cowboy hat or a pair of wrangler jeans, or, as a matter of fact, any jeans at all. anyway, i know it's august when the smell of dried grass gets me thinking about wenatchee, and horses, and swiffer, and jordan's calloused hands that could easily resemble a cowboy's calloused hands.

i'd like to walk around in your mind some day

we went to the rose garden at cornwall park today and i really liked it. then i drove down to lake forest park on the shoreline and my dog, stevie, jumped all over me. she is very very big. i am starting to feel restless and all, with not having a job right now and all. this makes me feel useless. however, in three weeks i will start my americorps position and work 40 hours a week. then, i know, i will wish i had nothing to do. what a catch 22!! i am excited to start the position though! i get to work with kids and they are so funny and charming and dazzling in many different ways, not like adults who are only funny, charming, and dazzling in a few ways (unless you are in love with them, then they become a kaleidoscope of all these qualities) . and i think i am, overall, more productive when i am busy. i love to do lists. in the meantime, i am lounging around at my parent's house, eating their chips. tomorrow i will head back up to bellingham and twaddle my thumbs a bit, then i will contemplate writing, then i will contemplate reading, then i will go lay out in the hammock and stare at the bush tits in the alder tree. they are so nimble, those little gray birds. on another note: jake e. poo is supposed to come into town in the next few days. oh, how i miss him. sometimes i take myself too seriously and he keeps me in check. life is for dancing and having adventures, not thumb twaddling. we will drink and dance and madness will happen and we will have a lot of fun. because that is what makes his "stoke meter" go way up. i need to get a stoke meter, asap.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

my favorite stanley kunitz poem

touch me

by stanley kunitz

Summer is late, my heart.
Words plucked out of the air
some forty years ago
when I was wild with love
and torn almost in two
scatter like leaves this night
of whistling wind and rain.
It is my heart that’s late,
it is my song that’s flown.
Outdoors all afternoon
under a gunmetal sky
staking my garden down,
I kneeled to the crickets trilling
underfoot as if about
to burst from their crusty shells;
and like a child again
marveled to hear so clear
and brave a music pour
from such a small machine.
What makes the engine go?
Desire, desire, desire.
The longing for the dance
stirs in the buried life.
One season only,
and it’s done.
So let the battered old willow
thrash against the windowpanes
and the house timbers creak.
Darling, do you remember
the man you married? Touch me,
remind me who I am.

READ: The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

today's thrift store finds

kori and i went to the salvation army today. steals: western themed purse, rose print high waisted skirt, pretty fabric, horse tea cup (turned planter), and a sparrow and dickcissle portrait.

and one gnome for dad (not featured)

if you love me say i love you

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sunday, August 2, 2009


by Dorianne Laux

I loved him most
when he came home from work,
his fingers still curled from fitting pipe,
his denim shirt ringed with sweat,
smelling of salt, the drying weeds
of the ocean. I’d go to where he sat
on the edge of the bed, his forehead
anointed with grease, his cracked hands
jammed between his thighs, and unlace
the steel-toed boots, stroke his ankles
and calves, the pads and bones of his feet.
Then I’d open his clothes and take
the whole day inside me—the ship’s
gray sides, the miles of copper pipe,
the voice of the foreman clanging
off the hull’s silver ribs. Spark of lead
kissing metal. The clamp, the winch,
the white fire of the torch, the whistle,
and the long drive home.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

orange cat came home with a detached claw stuck to his head

jordan crawled into bed with me at 3 am last night-- a familiar face and body even in the dark heat of these nights. he and his brother drove the 1200 miles back from montrose, colorado in one streak. what gallantry! what persistence! how admirable! i am glad he is back. we made our favorite breakfast this morning: homemade hash browns, eggs, bacon, and feta, scrambled together and topped with tabasco. yesterday the girls and i went crabbing again, floated the cove in inner tubes, and napped. two kingfishers chased each other overhead. sade tried the kayak out and ended up tipping it over when the paddle slipped out from her hands while she was trying to remove her skirt. we heard her surprised cries all the way across the cove. apparently, some guys in a boat went by without helping, just laughing. she composed herself shortly afterward, on her own, indignant. later, she was pinched by one of the crabs while trying to pull out it's life line. "i am going to eat you!" she snapped, and later, "everything that could have happened today did happen." we had many crab legs and many friends to eat them with. we drank beers and laughed and danced and were grateful for the crabs. julia brought us another flat of grasses and euphorbia for the garden. we are determined to make our gardens bloom and spiral, to gush and glow green. however, the heat,and the recent watering ban, is making this extremely difficult: the zinnias have become crisp brown stalks and kori's fuchsia dropped all it's leaves. my peppers, however, are flourishing! in my fretting over our yard i completely spaced and did not water jordan's plants for him while he was gone. my negligence killed his sensitive plant (possibly the name was foreshadowing of this very sorry event). i am very sorry. i do not think clearly in the heat. mostly i do not think clearly or consistently at all. my mind is like the terrain of the country, in some places rugged and bounding with mountainous thoughts, and in others a flat plain of silence and calm. right now my mind is a nebraskan prairie (i will never get over my antonia)

by Lisa Olstein

I was on the porch pinching back the lobelia
like trimming a great blue head of hair.

We’d just planted the near field, the far one
the day before. I’d never seen it so clear,

so gusty, so overcast, so clear, so calm.
They say pearls must be worn or they lose their luster,

and that morning I happened to remember,
so I put them on for milking, finding some

sympathy, I guess, between the two.
Usually I don’t sit down until much later in the day.

The lobelia was curling in the sun. One by one
birds flew off, and that should have been a sign.

Trust is made and broken. I hardly sit down
at all. It was the time of year for luna moths,

but we hadn’t had any yet settling on the porch
or hovering above the garden I’d let the wild rose take.