jueves, junio 28, 2018

Lessons for my 40th year

Well it is less than two weeks into my 40s, and I thought I'd evaluate some lessons from four decades in the trenches. That is to say, lessons that I am still learning after 40 years on this rock-hurtling-through-space-in-a-highly-ordered-manner. It's a slow becoming.

Lesson 1. Less is more. Whatever you can't take with you, you probably don't need. And if you really need it, you can get it where you're going. And if you can't get it, most problems have a work-around, and there's no need to add weight to a situation. (Saying please and thank you when trying to solve the problem, however, is never out of style).

Lesson 2: Say "no" to what feels wrong, and "yes" to what feels right. How, you ask? Not quite as easy. Listen to your interior voice. (Damn it, listen, really listen. Be still. And slow. And deliberate.) Take opportunities to reset and find your voice, it's always there, but often hiding from the din of others and their urgencies.

Lesson 3: Exalt wonder in all its forms. Be gentler with your child, and/or your inner child. They are tender people, we all are really. Honor them, and cherish them, and don't get mad when they lose your shit, or forget something because they were busy imagining something wonderful. No momentary disappointment is worth the pain of their absence when they're gone.

Lesson 4: Love fails, but it is not your parachute. Love freely and fearlessly, and don't accept love that is too cowardly to open its doors fully. Don't claw at hermetic seals and don't nourish yourself with breadcrumbs, as you will be battered and malnourished and angry at yourself. Leap into vulnerability, if that is what you want from others, and if there is no one there to catch, you will LITERALLY not die. So live.

Lesson 5: It's not always about you. In fact, it almost never is. That is to say, everyone of us is in the middle of our own process, with our own emotional and intellectual metabolisms. It is easy to be angered, frustrated, or saddened when we don't get what we want from someone else, but people can only give as much as they have in excess of their needs, and that is determined by forces external to you. So don't add to your own pain by giving yourself more importance in the processes of others than is warranted.

Lesson 6: You don't owe the world beauty. Or thinness. Or athletic prowess. Or a smile. Or your time. Or neatly groomed hair, nails, cars, lawns, houses. You have enough within you and you are enough.

Lesson 7: Don't be a dick. Like seriously, don't go out of your way to mess with someone. Even if you think they deserve it. Even if they've done you wrong. (Remember, they are in their own process and navigating their own traumas.) Also, if you can easily make someone's day better with minimal effort, go for it. It's never the wrong choice.

domingo, marzo 25, 2018

Tu una y tu otra

Quiero ser tu una y tu otra
que me veas con ojos claros
como la luz de los faros
en la lejana costa
después del anochecer.
En tus brazos quiero hallarme
tu piel y la mía
confundidas en su cercanía.
Te quiero compañero
escalando montañas
recolectando historias como
semillas para plantar en tu jardín.
Que mi necesidad de recorrer
el mundo entero
bajo zapatos gastados
no te haga temer
porque te llevo conmigo siempre
aunque estés arraigado a 
tu tierra, tu labor, tu deber.
Quiero que tus palabras nutran
las mías y las mías se alberguen
en tu pecho, se conviertan en
el aliento que oxigene
tus vías sanguíneas

la oscuridad que llevas dentro.

lunes, febrero 19, 2018

Parting words

I see you there,
your arm casually slung around her shoulder,
as if this were the natural order of things,
as if this were the way your arm always is, always was.
Not ever wrapped around my shoulder,
tracing skin with skin,
fingers wrapping around my locks,
and tugging, gently.

She looks lovely, I think.
I don't need to hate her,
I simply can't know her.
Not for my pride's sake,
Lord knows I have none left,
but for me to hold,
as if frozen in a floating soap bubble,
the fantasy that you once loved me,
or might have in some alternate reality
in which her poised blonde head
did not form the perfect tête-a-tête with yours.

And I know now that you were protecting her,
not me,
and that it isn't her fault,
that the wind is knocked out of me
every time that you and I speak.
She didn't get the same memo,
signed carelessly,
the one in which you were "unavailable"
for a "relationship"
that you hope will never change.

And I want to stew in my own self-pity, too...
but I can't. There's too much to do,
too much teeming, insistent life clamoring at my door.
I wish I could unknow you,
and if such a thing seems unlikely,
that I could at least unlove you.
Gently pry out each and every tender root,
that your words have grown, variegated,
in my fecund soil.
Remove each tiny vessel that nourishes
my intellect, feeds my fantasies,
my melodious dreams.

You like to think of yourself as a good man.
A faithful man.
And you are, I suppose.
Like any responsible adult,
You only occasionally peek your head back in,
to check on the wild-eyed lupine lady,
who claims to see you,
to know you, beneath the mask.
To test that her certainty
your lives were meant to be intertwined,
earth and air, fire and water,
is still there.
Just in case,
maybe she's not crazy after all.

sábado, enero 06, 2018


My daughter turns and laughs,
"Oh, my mother, she’s a wild one."
She says so with admiration in her voice,
And the needle that jabs the tiniest of pinpricks,
To my soul is suspended, mid-stab.
"You know," says my sister, "it’s true."
She holds my hand as my voice wobbles,
Across centuries, and borders, and bodies of water
Enjoy it, while it lasts, you always do!
And I pause, pen to paper,
Epithets thick on my tongue.
Part of me knows he’s not wild enough.
Maybe nobody is or ever will be.
But it is so hard to walk away from the beautiful things
That life has given you, and you may not keep.
And in that sisterly comfort
Wild-haired and laughing through another
Scraped knee, we make fun of our own pain
Because there is nothing else to do
When you are a dandelion cycling through your stages:
Green and rooted, tenacious, sticky,
Then golden and glorious, face to the sun,
Then wispy and ethereal, milky, weeping,
Then floating on the wind, scattered to pieces
Only to be reborn, a weed in some other patch of
Crumbling earth, or hardened clay, or desert crust.
Always sneaking in roots. Always hopeful, always free.

domingo, diciembre 31, 2017

Week: A Toast for 2017

I salute a year that has taught me humility. To it, I raise glass to lips,
And burn…Gratitude, deep as the ocean floor, dense as a dying star:

To the lover who shared my home, but not my hopes.
To the woman who stopped answering my calls, stopped climbing mountains by my side.
To the couple whose fights make me ache with self-recognition.
To the woman whose friendship I thought I had lost, but returned.
To the man who had a wife, and then didn’t.
To the man who has a wife, still.
To the women who cackle, like witches, our voices carrying over the wind.
To the man I want to love, who is not yet ready to receive it.
To the woman who finally had the baby she so desperately desired.
To the man I met ages ago, who came back to rescue me from boredom.
To the woman who was so afraid he would leave her, that she ran away.
To the woman who lost her father, but never her laughter to share.
To the people I have wronged accidentally, or willfully, in my own pain.
To the family that has chosen me, and my girl, to love as if we were kin.
To my brother, whose politics I cannot comprehend.
To my father, whose voice-cracking holding back tears brings me to my knees.
To my mother, my hero, who holds her hand when I must leave.
And to my daughter, for whose breath I would give my own,
Whose heart is my heart,
Whose light did not but flicker, and yet burns.

Saludo a un año que me ha mostrado humildad. A él, levanto vidrio a labios, y quemo… gratitud, tan honda como el fondo del mar, tan densa como una estrella moribunda:

Al amante que compartió mi casa, pero no mis esperanzas.
A la mujer que dejó de recibir mis llamadas, dejó de escalar montañas a mi lado.
A la pareja cuyas peleas me duelen con auto-reconocimiento.
A la mujer cuya amistad creí haber perdido, que regresó.
Al hombre que tenía una mujer, y luego ya no.
Al hombre que tiene una mujer, aún.
A las mujeres que cacarean como brujas, nuestras voces flotando por encima del viento.
Al hombre que quiero amar, que no está listo para recibirlo.
A la mujer que por fin tuvo al hijo que tan desesperadamente deseaba.
Al hombre que conocí hace mucho, que volvió para rescatarme del aburrimiento.
A la mujer que tenía tanto miedo de que él la dejara, que se fugó.
A la mujer que perdió a su padre, pero jamás su risa para compartir.
A las personas a las que he dañado accidentalmente, o voluntariosamente, desde mi propio dolor.
A la familia que me ha escogido a mí y a mi hija como si tuviéramos parentesco.
A mi hermano, cuya política no puedo comprender.
A mi padre cuya voz quebrantada aguantando el llanto me abruma.
A mi madre, mi héroe, que la sostiene de la mano cuando debo salir.
Y a mi hija, por cuya respiración daría la mía,
Cuyo corazón es el mío,
Cuya luz sólo parpadeó, pero aún arde.

jueves, noviembre 30, 2017

Week: Am I really still pretending?

I lack constancy, consistency. We all know this is true, but if the plain truth be spoken, we also know that nobody else really cares about this. So, there is no "we" in we.

Glad "we" cleared that up.

I can always tell when things are particularly good in my life, or particularly bad, based on my ability to write.

Poetry: only when my heart feels like it is being ripped from its mortal home within my chest. With pain, or joy. It doesn't feel that different, after all.

Prose: If I am feeling contemplative. Or if there is an urgency. And sometimes, just sometimes, when things are going so well that there is space for alternate universes.

Autobiography: Always, never. Sometimes.

Fiction: There is no such thing as truth. 

Stories for no one to hear or know or listen to or give a shit about: Generally.

Stories that change other's lives: Once or twice in a blue moon.

Fucks to give: Zero. 

Tears left: Indeterminate.

Sleep deficit: Insurmountable.

Self-censorship: Wavering. 

I've said this before, and I'll say it again, life is hard. Some days the fantasy of your car flipping over the edge of a rail, the instants of freedom that it might offer, before crushing you in sudden and welcome death unveils itself before your eyes as you are driving, angry, sad, furious, exhausted, tapped out. 

It might be easier, you think, to just stop. 

And it might. But you know you won't end it all. That your role as caretaker isn't your only role, but it is an important one, and you don't get to walk away. You just need sleep. So you do that. And you drink the best coffee that you have ever tasted, brought to you from the source, with loving hands. And you keep on keepin' on because that's all you really know how to do anyway.

viernes, noviembre 10, 2017

Cactus Trees

El perro te pasea a ti hoy,
Lo dejas que te guíe,
Sin prisas, sin rumbo,
Los dos, a la deriva, siguiendo una lógica distinta a la habitual.

Te propones: haz lo que quieras hoy. Sólo hoy. 
Déjate al capricho del deseo que surja de tu centro. 
Pero no te sabes escuchar, no te entiendes, 
no te sueltas, ni del perro, 
que se empeña en husmear, con deleite, cada palo.

Basta de editarte, te dices,
no tengas miedo de que tus palabras sean tan peligrosas como para que te dejen de querer
por algo tan sencillo como
ser quién eres y cómo eres...
si fue por tus letras que te llegaron a querer. Tú.

¿Quién carajos eres, entonces?
¿Por qué el impulso de acorralarte, de hacerte más tragable, 
más amable, de contener tu exuberancia de hiedra,
de no desear lo que deseas?
¿Y qué deseas?

Volverte a casa... 
una casa desconocida o una casa del alma 
que siempre ha estado allí. 
¿Quién vive en esa casa? ¿Quién trabaja? 
¿Quién descansa? ¿Quién goza? 
¿Quién come? ¿Quién caga? ¿Quién coge? 

Y ¿qué diferencia hace si fue ayer que estuviste de rodillas,
en tu oficina con su verga en tu boca,
sus dedos enredados en tu cabellera,
o si fue hace 10 años sobre su escritorio,
tu falda ningún obstáculo a su urgente pulsión?
¿Y si él no es él sino es multitudinario?
¿Y si ya te cansaste de ser dadora de placer y dadora de vida? 
¿Y si no?

¿Qué importa que sea real o ficticio,
Que sus dedos encierren tu cuello,
Que sus palabras te hieren o te exciten 
o te inspiren desprecio? 
Que sean muchos dedos, entrelazados, 
que pertenezcan a quien(es) te cuide(n) y no te destroce(n), 
que se maraville(n) ante la luz que despides, 
al perderte dentro de ti, 
al volver a tus raíces melódicas.

¿Qué haces con la sensación de culpa por ser quien eres,
de querer de la forma en que quieres,
de ser voluble,
como el agua que se salta de su cauce,
que vuelve cambiada,
que sigue corriendo, siempre...?
De no poder pararte porque pararse implica la derrota.

El perro te voltea a ver. 
Huele un arbusto con singular entusiasmo.
Tus pulmones se llenan de aire, de humo blanco,
de verdor desértico, esperpéntico.

Los saguaros y los agaves son testigos silentes
de tu deseo difuso, heterodoxo, inasible.
De tu soledad y tu compañía, 
de tu rigor y tu pereza, 
de tu agudeza y tu temor, 
de tu confusión y tu amor.
El desierto no te pide permiso para desatar sus tormentas repentinas. 
El perro no te pide permiso para mear en esta esquina 
y en aquella no. 
Simplemente camina, hace, es.
El perro te pasea hoy, dividida como eres, 
entre el aquí y el allá, entre la plenitud y el vacío.