Wednesday, August 6, 2008

a tribute to Nadine Chapman

Dropping the Hands
What does it mean when a life is extinguished? One less candle, one less pair of hands melting the delicate wax, one less light in the dark sanctuary;
one less voice in the choir, one less face around the table, one less pair of boots carrying in mud from a good life.
Our hands never touched here but our souls did. So then, what does this dropping of the hands mean?
a little quietness, ten less fingers untying bows around the Christmas tree—the tree that meant death, that dies in our houses. The tree that means life—the life of the soul.
What is the soul without the body? You give me a better question—what is the body without the soul?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Afraid Again

Has anybody worked with lyrics before? This came to me in lyric form (but without a melody). I'm not sure what to do with it. I'd love input/help!

I was in the desert
and didn't feel the burning
until I asked for sleep
and my blistered feet
kept me awake.

You were breaking me
and I continued to bend,
only felt the hairline cracks
miles and months later
when I was afraid again.

I'm afraid again.

I thought I'd finally passed the test
but the teacher asked
me to forget, not sit
in his empty classroom.
The books are gone,
the blackboard's creak,
the morning sun, it's moving on.

Even the lessons/ even the loves/ even the heartaches/even the homes/ even the mountains/ even the seas/ the rocks of remembrance/ even the trees/

The clothes you found that finally fit/ the songs you repeated/ the fires you lit/ the voices on the train/ the voice of the rain/ the fish and the hooks/ the myth and magic and address books

The rope and ladder/ the billowed sail/ the videocamera/ and checking your mail/ the words of caution/ the hands of regret/ the glimpse in the rearview/ your reaching neck
they're fading like water/ like colors/ like sand/ the sea's receding/ I'm afraid again.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Be Still

Be Still

Here in the interlacing light upon the water
hear the water gurgle in the crevasse, in the
crack the cackle of pebbles clattering,
chattering and there still the light blinding
bright where the sun left its white streaked
as heat on the eye made shy.

Seek me out in the sea of sand along the
sea and pick me up again, an agate against
the breaking beach but not long lost along the
breach between the sand and sea and splash.

Tangle sight in tree’s roots unrooted at every
angle, bleached silver slivers reaching sunward, webbed
and warding angels in this window twined and twisted as
the cathedral all carved stone and shivers of shadows
waiting, praying wistful for the angels in the angles in
the glory-giving white.

Where the sun sets low the leap of flashing
fish sets dancing flipping spinning fins and flecks
flicked here, there and fish dancing and rocks singing
and light beaming, silver prancing on the sea and spinning
in the dance from depths and droplets drop and fling.

From the surface of the sea, a face a
seal surfaced, selkie silk and lace
sleek and smooth and swam a ways to
sooth the soul that seeks for selkies lost
without a trace and back forever pace the
place of lack and first lost lace.

Aside my side the sea tern hops and in his turn
a loon swoops to drift inside the swell and fall of
tide and rise and fade while in the shade the drops of
breath hang and hover over holiness and Hades for
to breathe from inside a breath is holiness and holds the
hand of Hades off, a vapor from first breath to drift and
fall and fade yet rise on hearth of heaven, in hope and holy
there with glory the lore from earth of hearth made home and
gone the drift of first and last, the swell and fall of fade.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

About a Boys First Look at the Stars

I wanted to write something about a kid, a little one, maybe twelve or so. He’d be sitting at the edge of a broken pier jutting out crookedly above the ocean gulf. It would be nighttime. The wind would blow his hair over his eyes and he would smell the low decay of crustacean and salt. Sand would grind warmly between his fingers and toes. The glow of houses would melt with those of the stars above and his eyes would water in wide-eyed splendor. He’d clasp a knee with locked fingers and arch his head back, observing the deep indigo. He’d notice the dogs barking from the houses behind, the car whisking through some late lot, but mostly the sound of the water breathing in the beach. He’d notice his own breathing. He’d time his inhalation with the rolling peaks of the water. He’d lay back. He’d soon fall asleep.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

In the Kitchen with God

Not sure about order of thoughts or having "you" only in the beginning . . .

In the Kitchen with God

I do not ram my hip into your jutting corner
anymore because I know the space I take, and yours.
And when I slice the peppers by the sink, orange and
green - and sometimes red because it is my favorite - I listen
to the bird calls and that is all. The sidestep across the
tile is not a delicate dance, but an unthought-out
brushing past in my rumpled apron. I do not bother
to speak now, or even sigh, for in the silence,
the cilantro and garlic are fresh.

Monday, June 16, 2008

just a bit of nonsense, really

Since finishing my last project some four weeks ago, I haven't written anything outside the odd journal entry. That there's dedication. I keep telling myself just write. Doesn't work so well. Today I decided instead of watching my fifth episode of "House" in as many hours, I would put my pen to the paper (or my fingers to the keys as the case happened to be). Rather than write anything of substance I decided to take Hemingway's advice "All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know." Okay, so I took some literary license and my one true sentence isn't even that true. But there are 7 Post It flags on the yellow drawer of my cardboard shelves :)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Seven red Post-It flags rapped against the spray-painted cardboard. The dirge continued even after I turned off the ceiling fan. As the sound persisted, I grasped the window ledge and firmly pulled the window closed. Now that the breeze could not infiltrate my sanctuary, I was certain the noise would stop.

For a moment, the plasticized paper stilled, and my heart calmed in relief. Then one rogue took up the verse, and invited his brothers to join on the chorus. Planting my hands over my ears, I suddenly found myself at the door. The motion came upon me so quickly that I only realized the change when I was no longer sitting at my desk. I looked back at my tormentors, and my upper lip curled toward my nose in satisfaction. Laying my hand ever-so gently on the door’s brass handle, I relished the feel of cold metal on my skin.

Slowly, so as not to disturb the air or give my enemies the chance to flutter to martyrs’ deaths, I eased the door back into its frame. With a final care to let the latch settle into the plated notch, I fixed my gaze on the flapping. It faded slowly. Even after I sat back down and the pen found its way back to my fingers, I found myself stealing furtive gazes at the renegades just above eye-level. Occasionally I thought I caught one wiggling, struggling against his binds, but that was just a trick of the eye. I was alone.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Thoughts While Riding Bus 25 North

I’ve taken to reading on the bus—in fact I rode the bus for much of the day today just so I could read my book.

At home, reading a book feels lazy. I tire, wander, do sit-ups, even walk down the street while reading. On the bus, I can live twice. With one body I’m in motion, travelling, passing sites, people around me. With my mind I am living in the universe of my book and can travel through Montana, North Dakota, Texas, and forget The Shadow Motel and Rite Aid flashing by.

I suppose it’s the anonymity I like. There’s a great deal of equality on the bus—the other riders don’t care about my life any more than I care about theirs. Neither one of us is trying to help the other.


In the suburbs the high rise fences keep my space from drippling into yours. On the bus the wide hips spill over the edge of the chairs. Most of the talk on the bus seems to be about romance. Women talk loudly of the men who want them to move in with them. It gives a person a feeling of value to say someone wants me.

This also does not change as you climb up the hills from the middle of Spokane.

I walked from the freeway once all the way up to the Northside. The poor live in the lowest elevations—the places you look over when you walk the tunnel of the Maple Street Bridge. As you walk North the city changes. The beautiful houses perch on the hill like seagulls with imperious eyes.

But the women on the hills claim men for themselves in the same need to be wanted. They guard their men—that’s what all the houses are for. They are guarding their sense of value. The women on the buses claim their loves too, but the bus being more mobile than the houses, they claim many men in a more lighthearted way.


I'm one of the only lone riders today. The man offering cold fries to the rest of the bus is scolded by the woman with him, "stop it, you're embarrassing me." The blond woman with the whiskey voice meets an old friend from Sandpoint and they catch up on love and children. The teenage girl finds a lap to sit on for the trip.

Our common denominator seems to be our need for each other--our uncategorical need to be peopled. The handicapped have helpers, the young have lovers, the outsiders have frineds.

I guess I'm feeling lonely sitting here, in the front of the bus.