Prey / Presa

catch me
in the fish trap
i offer my flesh
for your feast

in this way
i become you
i knit my body
into your bones

in 1000 years
we will be together
still
in single grains of sand

*some hunting cultures suggest that prey voluntarily yields to the hunter as part of the circle of lifea rarely-recognized form of love



PREY / PRESA

pésqueme
en la trampa para peces
ofrezco mi carne
para saciar tu hambre

de este modo
me convierto en tí
tejo mi cuerpo
dentro de tus huesos

en mil años
estarémos juntos
todavía
en granitos de arena

*algunas culturas de caza sugieren que la presa cede por voluntad propia al cazador como parte del ciclo de la vida–una forma poco reconocido del amor

It’s Better to Ask For Forgiveness Than For Permission / Es Mejor Pedir Perdón Que Permiso

I was talking with a friend the other day. He hadn’t realized I’m a writer, disguised as I am as a surfer, and just discovered my blog. He knew Bill and Barbara, so that’s what brought him to my writing. Then he made a comment that caused me to cringe. It wasn’t a criticism; it was an observation.

“I see you’re now doing mostly poetry,” he said.

I did a mental facepalm because I know exactly how silent I’ve been for months on end, and said something noncommittal like, “Oh, well, yes… Sort of….”

It isn’t really true that I’ve only been writing poetry lately. I’ve been working on a book, but that’s not ready to share yet. Maybe someday, but not now.

And the things I’ve been talking to myself about–the “Musings?” I can’t blog about them. I as in I wouldn’t/won’t. I could write about politics and pandemics because I do think about those things a lot, but I’m not going there. Too polarized. I dislike shit storms enough to do almost anything to avoid them–including keeping quiet.

My personal life in the last months has been a dizzying combination of overly boring and overly interesting. I know you’re used to me throwing down my personal life like a true exhibitionist, but I’m not doing it right now. Time has a way of giving me heavy doses of truth serum that causes me to spill all, so we’ll see. I’ve filled up the better part of a college ruled five subject notebook in the last few months, so the material is there.

I just want to say this:

It’s better to ask for forgiveness than for permission.
Always dive off of the highest platform.
Take the call.
Say yes to suggestions.
Do your fucking homework and hand it in on time, for the love of God.
Don’t lie.
Stay awake.
Your gut instinct is the combination of the messages coming from your head and from your heart–listen to it.
Not all advice is the right advice.
Most advice is not the right advice.
Climb trees.
Drink the other beer.
You aren’t going to live forever but you’ve lived before and your cells know it–on a molecular level you’ve already been almost everything.
Don’t be afraid of the dark.
Don’t worry about making sense.
If you breathe out all your air you can lie on your belly on the bottom of the sea.
Get some sleep.
Drink some water.
Repeat.


Es Mejor Pedir Perdón Que Permiso

Hace unos días, yo conversaba con un amigo.  Él no se había dado cuenta de que soy escritora, disfrazada como soy de surfista, y acababa de descubrir mi blog.  Él conocía a Bill y a Barbara, y es esa historia que lo trajo a mi sitio y a mis obras.  Hizo una observación que me dio causa para pensar.  No fue una crítica; fue un comentario. 

“Veo que ahora escribes casi solo poesía,” me dijo.

Mentalmente, agache la cabeza porque yo se exactamente cuan silenciosa he sido últimamente, mes tras mes…  Dije algo evasivo como, “Ahh.  Bueno, sí…  Mas o menos.”

No es la verdad que he estado escribiendo solamente poesía.  He estado trabajando en un libro, pero todavía no está listo para compartir.  Quizás algún día, pero ahora no.

¿Y las cosas de que he estado hablando sola—los “Musings?”  No puedo escribir sobre estas cosas en un blog.  Es decir, no lo haría.  Podría escribir sobre la política y las pandemias porque sí pienso mucho en estas cosas, pero por allí no me meto yo.  Demasiado polarizado.  Tanto me disgustan los berrinches virtuales que yo haría cualquier cosa para evitarlos—incluso callarme.

Últimamente, mi vida personal ha sido una mezcla mareada de demasiado aburrido y demasiado interesante.  Yo sé que ustedes están acostumbrados a que yo revele todo como una exhibicionista verdadera, pero en este momento no.  El tiempo muchas veces me da una dosis del suero de la verdad que me da por contar todo, asi que vamos a ver.  En los últimos meses, he llenado casi todo un cuaderno de los universitarios de 200 páginas.  Así que, el material está.

Por ahora, solo esto quiero decir:

Es mejor pedir perdón que permiso.
Tírate siempre de la plataforma mas alta.
Acepta la llamada.
Di sí a las propuestas.
Haga tu maldita tarea y entrégala a tiempo por el amor de dios.
No miente.
Mantente despierto.
El instinto tus tripas es creado por la síntesis de los mensajes que vienen de tu cabeza y de tu corazón—escúchalo.
No todos los consejos son los consejos correctos.
La mayoría de los consejos no son los consejos correctos.
Trepa los árboles.
Toma la otra cerveza.
No vas a vivir para siempre pero has vivido antes y tus células lo saben—al nivel molecular tu ya has sido casi todo.
No tengas miedo de la oscuridad.
No te preocupes mucho por tener o no tener sentido.
Si exhalas todo tu aire puedes acostarte de panza al fondo del mar.
Duerme.
Toma agua.
Repite.



I’m Lying in my Hammock When I Hear the Phone

(poem #2 in a series in progress)

I’m lying in my hammock when
I hear the phone
make a cricket sound

it’s you
you found me
you want to be my friend

I’m lying in my hammock when
I hear the phone
make a cricket sound

it’s you
saying hola
and I answer
because I always do
because your hair is curly and
your eyes are blue and
I am lying in my hammock
with the cats

you tell me things that
are the answers to
questions I haven’t asked

I’m lying in my hammock when
I hear the phone
make a cricket sound

it’s you
you ask me questions that
have long answers so I
summarize

you say you like me
I tell you
you don’t know me
I say it because I’m scared
because I do know me, and
there are crickets in my phone
at night I dream of cats

you have only imagined me
you have no idea


The Country of Forbidden Words / La Tierra de Las Palabras Prohibidas

you have transported me to
the country of forbidden words.
when you see me
bite my lip
can you read them
in my eyes?
they swim like fish
inside my body
surfacing then diving

in this country of
forbidden words
all the road signs say
stop
other instruction
is forbidden

the sun rises on our silences
on what exists unspoken
on what twists inside
but must not be born



La Tierra de Las Palabras Prohibidas

me has transportado a
la tierra de las palabras prohibidas.
cuando me ves
morder el labio
las lees
en mis ojos?
nadan como peces
adentro de me cuerpo
entre la superficie y las profundidades

en esta tierra de
las palabras prohibidas
todas las señales de tránsito dicen
alto
otra instrucción 
es prohibida

el sol sube sobre mis silencios
sobre lo que existe sin pronunciarse
sobre lo que retuerce por dentro
pero no debe nacer

Follow Me

follow me
to the brackish places
where warm muck mixes
with ocean salt and
last week’s rain
this is where land crabs
make their burrows
little fish hatch between
rotting twigs and
baby crocodiles wait,
their eyes floating like
bubbles at the surface,
for the return of their
hunting mothers

 

Sígueme

sígueme
a los lugares salobres
donde el lodo caliente se mezcla
con la sal del mar y 
lluvias de la semana pasada
aquí es donde los cangrejos
hacen sus hoyos
pecesitos nacen entre
ramas podridas y
cocodrilos infantes esperan,
sus ojos flotando como
burbujas en la superficie,
sus madres que andan
de caza

Poems with Safe Places

let there be poems
with safe places
poems with doors that close
with cats on the bed
shade tress and
sunday mornings when
no one is
outside

let there be poems with
pillows
curtains
clocks that move slowly
and rain clouds to
cover the
blinding sky

 

Poemas con Lugares Seguros

que existan poemas
con lugares seguros
poemas con puertas que se cierran
con gatos en la cama
con arboles que den sombra y
las mañanas de domingo cuando
no hay nadie
afuera

que existan poemas con
almohadas
cortinas
relojes que caminan lentamente
y nubes de lluvia 
para cubrir 
el cielo cegador

Obedient to the Moon / Obediente a la Luna

watch the horizon
move toward it when
arching water beckons
expect the unexpected
expect to have to try

rain falls on the jungle
even when you are sleeping
even after you die
then slides through roots
to the ocean

watch water
study how it pushes through air
fierce and gentle
all of this
obedient to the moon

 

Obediente a la Luna

mira el horizonte
acércate a él cuando
el agua se arquea, llamando
espera lo inesperado
espera deber intentar

la lluvia cae sobre la jungla
aun cuando duermes
aun después de que mueras
luego se desliza a través de raíces
hacia mar

observa el agua
estudia cómo empuja contra el aire
feroz y delicado
todo esto
obediente a la luna

More of a Hum, Less of a Scream

HABLANDO SOLA

I’ve been thinking about something. I’ve been thinking about it while I surf, while I ride my bike, in the early mornings when I’m neither awake nor asleep.


JUNE

It’s June. I don’t know what that means to you, but it for me it dislodges something that lives deep in my bone marrow. It brings me flashes of unthinkable doctor visits, sudden plane tickets, a long morning run when I understood exactly what was happening even though I didn’t dare to say it, and the surreal sensation of packing suitcases for a trip that wasn’t a vacation.  A lot of those days turned into poems.

Probably, eventually, if I live long enough, June will just be June.  It will be different. Everything is always different, eventually. You can quote me on that if you want to. You can bet your life savings on it.

After June comes July. July reminds me of long walks, fruit and vegetable markets, chemotherapy appointments, and the ER. August follows, with more of the same. September is a hard month that takes me on a trip through the process of dying. Getting out of your body is as messy as getting into it.  And then there’s October with its interminable silence. Clocks tick 24 hours a day. The sunlight is sharp and cold.


THAT WAS 3 YEARS AGO

You wonder how many more times I’m going to tell you this story? I don’t know. Imagine how many times it tells itself to me. 

It’s a good story.  If today was the end of it, you could say it has a happy ending.  How’s that for optimism?


CELLS

I read once that every 7 years every cell in the human body is replaced by a new cell. Have I written about this before? I might have. I think it’s important.

I’m writing about it now, because I’ve been thinking about my body. Almost half of my body wasn’t even there, three years ago, when Pio and I took off for Milan. These hands are only sort of the hands that packed the suitcases. The feet that walked through pairs of shoes on the streets of Milan trying to make space for all this—those feet are only sort of my actual feet, today. Half the cells in my body—from my ankle bones to the synapses in my brain—never even knew Pio. Half of these eyes never saw him. Isn’t that crazy?

And this: half the cells that make up my brain where the stories are held aren’t even the original ones who recorded the stories. They do the job of remembering the stories they’re told, I guess, but they weren’t even there in my head on the airplane, or at the market trying to remember how to say “cauliflower” in Italian, or in front of the TV together splitting a beer and potato chips (because at that point, why not?), or in the hospital room holding hands when that was all that was left. Imagine. A few years more and not even one cell in my body will have been there.

We remember things experienced in other bodies.


HARD POETRY

I think that explains everything. It explains how we can go on living. Because with every hour and every day, our bodies turn into other bodies that haven’t even experienced our own stories. Our brain cells that remember them were told the stories by previous generations of brain cells. It’s more hard poetry than hard science, but what a perfect place for them to meet. The stories remain, but something about the sound they make is different. Something about the tone. The sound coming from my bones is there, but it’s more of a hum, less of a scream.

You can’t stop it. You can’t make it hurry up. If you just keep eating some food, drinking some water, sleeping at night, and staying out of the jaws of crocodiles, it happens on its own. It’s beautiful. It’s brutal. It doesn’t really matter what you call it.

 

EVENTUALLY

Do I sit around ruminating on this all the time?  I do not.  But it’s June.  Part of me commences a 4-month walk through The Valley of The Shadow of Death.

It’s alright. I fear no evil. 

Everything, eventually, is different.

Not Even a Flower

i would like to write something
so beautiful
it tears your heart out

but what is that thing?

i would like to write something
to make you fall in love with me
but i haven’t yet learned
the right language

i would like to
climb a tree and
cry until morning
between the stars

to explode open
into a red and purple bloom
all the colibris would kiss me

but i am not even a flower

this pen in my hand is
so small and thin

 

Ni Siquiera Una Flor

me gustaría escribir algo
tan hermoso
te arranque el corazón

pero cuál sería esa cosa

me gustaría escribir algo
que te haga enamorarte de mi
pero todavía no he aprendido
el idioma justo

me gustaría
subir un árbol y
llorar hasta la mañana
entre las estrellas

explotar como
un brote que abre en
una flor roja y morada
todos los colibrís me besarían

pero no soy ni siquiera una flor

esta pluma en mi mano es
tan diminuto y delgado

Afterlife

the world has ended
this is the afterlife

birds here
and  people
speak so many languages

the silence that
sits above
this thin layer of air
is infinite and
louder than wind

i expected angels
in the afterlife
cherubim
saraphim
or, if i’ve been wrong
lakes of fire

but no

the winged things here are
dragonflies
hummingbirds
parakeets
moths

and lakes lie like
broken pieces of sky

The Universe of This Is Not What I Signed Up For

I would like to say something meaningful at a time like this, with our world locked down and life suspended, but those are tall orders. What is meaningful? I could describe my daily experience to you, the peacefulness of my days and my nights. I am among the lucky ones, at this moment. I know that. Luck can change on a dime—I know that, too.

I am in familiar territory. I am the mapmaker of this place we are. I was exploring its contours before you all arrived.

There are ways in which what has happened in the rest of the world has thrown it, en mass, into my reality–the reality of grief. Not in every way, but in some ways. Now you have all had the rug yanked out from under you. Now your world has been shaken to pieces, too. Now you are discovering what I meant two years ago when I wrote about sitting and listening to silence, trying to take it all in. When I wrote about the vertigo of having no solid reference points. The waiting.

Welcome to the planet called Loss. Welcome to the solar system called I Did Everything Right But Everything Still Turned Out Wrong. Welcome to the galaxy called All You Can Do Is Wait. It’s in the universe of This Is Not What I Signed Up For. The tour will begin in 10 minutes.

What are we waiting for? We don’t know. Whatever comes next.
When will it get here? Someday. Some other day that is not today.
Are we going to like it? Maybe. Maybe not.
Do we get our old life back? I won’t. We’ll find out if you do.

Life, again, has proved right this belief of mine that no matter what it is that you think is going to happen, the thing that actually happens will be something else. Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Realize that what comes will not be what you expected or prepared for. Breathe. Wait. Learn to walk barefoot over rocks, bake bread, and sleep with the windows open. You wouldn’t believe how useful these things can be.

Meaningful? Perhaps not.

But, true.

On this planet, The Past and The Future are separate islands in a sea so vast you cannot see one from the other.