Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Prayers and parkour: grounded wings

Last night, in a fit of insomnia I spent a few hours scanning the news when news hit the wire that a 15-year-old boy was discovered at 4 p.m. in Santa Rosa, CA, propped against the outer wall of a high school. He had sustained severe head trauma, cuts and abrasions to his arms and hands, significant loss of blood, and was unconscious. Thirty minutes prior he'd informed his parents he was going out for a walk.

Tonight, this boy, still unidentified because of his age, lies hospitalized in critical condition in a medically induced coma.

What happened? The answer isn't definite, but at this point in the investigation authorities believe his injuries were sustained in a parkour related accident, perhaps in a fall from the school's roof where the boy and his friends had previously practiced together.

I didn't sleep last night for a few reasons. This is one of the big ones. You've got to know I am hurting for this boy's family. Crying for them.

There are people asking two big questions. First—What is parkour? Second—How could his parents let him do something so dangerous?

I'm not this young man's mom, but I am a "parkour mother" and I have some answers.

What IS Parkour?

Parkour is not just a physical activity; it's an art. Developed by the French Navy, it incorporates the principles of negotiating one's environment as quickly and efficiently as possible by utilizing combined elements of logic, graceful acrobatics, cardiovascular endurance, and sheer athleticism. It is hard.

Parkour is considered non-competative because it is not performed "against" an opponent or opposing team. However, mastery is only achieved through rigorous discipline and pushing personal limitations. Your opponent is yourself.

Parkour is not counter-culture. Young men and women attracted to the art are generally disenchanted with the nature of competitive sports' rules and regulations. They come together to train and in effect become family, cheering on one another to do better, and encouraging adherence to healthy lifestyles that will promote physical excellence.

Law enforcement has no problem with Parkour; only trespassing.

Parkour teaches practical problem-solving skills. It trains the mind to quickly evaluate obstacles and to make accurate judgments. These skills fluidly transmit to school, work, and relationship settings.

Parkour grounds its participants in the present. It steadies focus. It defines situations within the boundaries of what can and can't yet be done.

Why do I encourage my son in his love of Parkour?

I don't agree with the mentality of competitive sports, which set boys and girls against each other and focuses on the "star" of the team. Social systems work best when we encourage each other and when we are rewarded equally for contributing our personal best. 

I believe that all people can practice and find enjoyment pushing themselves in parkour. This is not an exclusive art. 

I love the healthy, inclusive camaraderie of the parkour family. The philosophy behind the art requires respect of all people, of environments, of self.

I appreciate that men and women can train together. 

I believe in letting my children develop a sense of self-government and self-evaluation. They need to be in tune with themselves to understand their abilities and limitations. Parkour promotes this. It instills self-confidence in its practitioners. It empowers and stabilizes youth who may otherwise be affected by negative environmental factors. 

I've seen it work wonders in my son's life.

Is it dangerous?

Yes. It is physically and mentally challenging, and regularly tests physical stamina. There is inherent risk. BUT parkour training teaches young people to take responsibility and to progress at a safe rate so that they avoid accidents. Typical competitive sports teach youth to push through pain. Parkour teaches youth to listen to their senses and their bodies. Typical competitive sport also subjects young people to take hits, which cause far more injury than parkour, which teaches its participants how to avoid hazards. 

Do I approve of roof jumping?

This depends on two things: (1) Does my son have permission to be on the roof? (2) Does my son feel safe and confident in his skills to jump from those heights? Only he can be the judge of that. Who am I to keep my son from realizing his potential because I am afraid?

Of course, I worry. I watch the clock every time he goes out to do parkour in town rather than at the gym, and I feel much better about him training at the gym. I review the ground rules ad nauseum so that he knows I expect him to train with safety and intelligence. But I get that the time will come that my son will be of legal age and he won't need to clear permission to train. 

He plans to travel the world. He plans to film his parkour work. I won't be there to supervise. We have to let these children try their wings before they leave the nest for good. We have to show them that we believe in them, even when we worry about their safety. It's the best way I know to raise self-confident human beings.

My heart and prayers are with the family in Santa Rosa tonight, because they are part of the parkour family. When one set of wings goes down, we all feel it.


Monday, November 25, 2013

Topics

E— stayed up till 3 a.m. working on film edits and music. He didn't wake up at 8 a.m. when it was time to get ready for church. I was already showered and dressed. M— listened to me whine about not wanting to go, and then I drove her to her boyfriend's so she could attend with him before driving to my meetinghouse where I did Sacrament Meeting solo at 9 a.m. It wasn't too bad. The chapel didn't catch fire or anything. I chose to take the Sacrament. I feel good about that choice. Topic of speakers: gratitude and thankfulness—a no brainer. 

I listened and didn't get too upset when the story of the ten lepers wasn't interpreted exactly how I would do it. (Although I felt a renewed charge to learn ancient Greek.) There was even a great story about parenting without freaking out over kids' mistakes. The RS president did come over to visit, but I told her I intended to leave and thankfully she didn't press. That was enough for now. It even might have been what I'd describe as comforting. But really, no commitments. Like I told my home teacher a couple of months back, when I'm there I'll be there, when I'm not I need my time to work through all of this.

So I came home to think about God and Evil and a final paper outline I'm supposed to have drawn up by Tuesday. I have to decide...

Anne Conway and her concept of the feminine divine, the creation of Earth as mother, and the earth's contribution to the creation of bodies;

or

Malebranche and evil (privation/mental illness) as a creation of God?

I'm leaning toward Conway. We'll see.

I fell asleep and dreamed. I didn't wake until 2 p.m.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Cycle


I spent the day hanging with E— after M— went to her boyfriend's to hang.

So my son and I—we both had migraines in the last 48 hours, and spent most of the day eating when we weren't actually hungry. I don't know that either of us did anything productive besides share the apartment, talk, share stuff with each other on the interwebz, and eat.

Finally I said, "Man! I keep stuffing my face, even though I'm not hungry."

"No way!" he said. "Me too. We totally must be on the same cycle."

Yup, he meant it the way it sounds. I'm auntie flowing with my 15-year-old son.

And then he pulled one on me. I asked him what his plans were for tomorrow and he told me he's going to church. M— is going with her BF, so I asked him if he was planning to go with them.

"No, I'm going to our ward."

"Alone?"

"Aren't you going?"

"I haven't been in a couple of months. I'm cool with you going and all, but..."

"Why don't you wanna go?"

It's hard to answer this straight to your kids. I don't feel like it. I've got doubts that I'm not willing to doubt. I'm not sure what to do with the whole sacrament thing. It's socially awkward. I don't want to get pissed off and have to walk out so that I don't say something that will get me dragged into the bishop's office.

"Nevermind. I decided I don't want to go," he said.

I went to pick up M— after her date. I sat in the driveway of her BF's house and thought it over. I have absolutely no desire to go tomorrow. None. Zilch. Nada. Zero. But by the time I came home I caved.

"If I go tomorrow do you want to go too?"

"Yes!"

So mother/son date. Tomorrow at nine a.m. Actually, today at nine a.m. I dragged this kid to meetings for 15 years, trying to convince him it was where he was supposed to be. If I were still aiming at that goal in parenting I'd say I've done a good job.

*sigh*

I don't even WANT to want to go. But I'm going.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Learning to talk to your teenager

I struggle with translation
for years. It begins with deciphering
footnotes beneath ribs,

a contracted rounding
at the throat, and the long guttural
hollowing that announces

the birth of your language
connected to a long red cord, and then
lessons in how does one say:

bird, sky, moon, heavens,
hate, divorce, hurt, worry? You
shuffle through meanings for borders,

the colloquialisms for power
lines, and the enunciation of escape
in train tracks.

Together we defined all steps:
first, porch, dance. We struggle for fluency
for sixteen years and then

I discover Gilgamesh
etched in the original cuneiform
on your arms.

How to not drown

Met with M—'s therapist. M— created a safety plan. I'm at its center.

I'm dropping French—execution is taking some doing. Withdrawal deadline was the first week of October. However, there is no possible way for me to pass this class and also care for my family during the next month. Even without it I have 35 pages-worth of papers in CNF and philosophy to write, and I'm working on revision of my 10-page narrative for publication in Pie Tin's lit journal. I'm getting documentation of M—'s care, and I have to meet with financial aid and chair of Languages as well. My advisor promised me that it could be done, so I'm not going to worry about going to class.

M— is up and down. She hasn't cut in two weeks. Part of her safety plan is giving me her razors, but it's completely up to her and they aren't in my possession yet. I'm not kidding myself that she's not still in the thick of it.

Two poems—Bobby Driscoll and Heraclitus—are being published. So pleased. Journal staff didn't ask for any revisions. That's is a great feeling.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

In search of Solitude

When I was purchasing household items after my family moved into our present duplex, I found a very large framed print at Deseret Industries that I immediately fell in love with. It had no indicating demarkation of the artist, and for the last four months it has hung in anonymous splendor in M—'s room. Even though I got the print for myself, I decided to give it to my daughter because she's been through so much as my righthand dojo master, and the kid deserves nice things even if she feels guilty when I give them to her.


M—'s only problem with the gift? We didn't know the title or the artist, neither of which were enough for her to decline the print.


And so, when she's gone I sit on M—'s bed and study the folds of cloth draping this woman's shapely legs. I love that the attention to detail isn't on her face. If it were I think the painting would be emotionally overwhelming, and I wouldn't like it as much. Instead, the obscurity of her facial features lends me to know just how this woman feels, and I am moved to admire the linen's softness and the breathy quality it gives an otherwise somber work.


Last night I determined to answer the questions of origin. I've suspected that the artist might be Bouguereau for the quality of lighting, flesh and cloth; definitely neoclassicism at its finest. But the image didn't turn up in a Google search of the painter. So I searched "neoclassicism," then "artists like Bouguereau." Still nothing. I Googled "painting of woman sitting,"—nothing. So I considered whom the woman might be. I Googled "Persephone." It seemed reasonable. The clothing is styled after the ancient Greeks. She's alone in a cave. She doesn't seem happy with her current location. All I truly needed was a pomegranate in her hand to seal the deal. But it didn't take a fruit to get it right. 


This painting and it's accompanying studies are "Solitude" by Frederic Lord Leighton. His repertoire is filled with scenes of mythological characters, one that I've been fond of for years without knowing anything about the artist. And so like mother, like daughter; Demeter, and Persephone, we have ourselves a beloved painter in common.

And the season of pomegranates is upon us.


"May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground..."

Tonight I wrote a page, single spaced. I'm not going to reread it until tomorrow, and hopefully after I do a few minor edits I can move into writing a second. 

My kids are with their papa, heading to the North Country tomorrow to go to their cousin's LDS mission farewell before he leaves for Columbia. I never pegged this kid as missionary material, but hey, he's going. Hat's off. He's a good influence on my sons at the moment, because although I don't think there's anything particularly morally wrong with me, good missionary influence-wise I'm not. Anyway, they left at 3 p.m., and I immediately took off to the Salt Lake City area to have late lunch/early dinner with a friend from my Creative Non-Fiction class. She's a sweetheart and she's recovering from hell. Her mom took her own life in July. I don't know how she gets herself on the train to get to school every day. But I look up to her. I don't think she recognizes her own strength. This is the second time we've rendezvoused and we're already planning a third.

On my way back I spiked a craving for pinot and immediately started scheming how to go about getting it without bumping into anyone I know. The liquor store in Happy Towne had already closed. The only thing you can get at the grocery stores is beer. I bought a six-pack of lager, but I what I really wanted was the pinot. So I texted the one person I knew could give me insights into this county and where to get wine on a Saturday night—Empedocles. A few minutes later he'd texted back that there is a new liquor store near the freeway in the town just south of Happy Towne, and it stays open until 10 p.m. 

This is not recurrent alcoholism. I'm learning moderation. Really. I've had two glasses of pinot without ever feeling overly tipsy, wrote most of the time, and I'm slowly putting down one of the lagers. They take the edge off of anything that I need dulled. They loose my fingers, so that anxiety isn't keeping the words off the page. They make me forget that I'm in a house by myself and that I'm worried sick about my daughter whose own worry opens up flesh rather than bottles.

Gah!

I'm trying to get through this shiz—and even though I'm depressed as hell and nearly hopeless, I'm convinced that one way or another I'm going to survive.

You can hate these guys. I don't give a flying... This is for me.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Recoup, e.g. "Friday"

No makeup. No shower. 
14 hours of sleep. 
Aristotle's Categories.
Spaghetti for dinner. Sauce from a jar.
More time on Facebook than I should ever spend.
A late-night for L—.
M— on a date with her boyfriend.
E— slept most of the afternoon.
And cuddles and cuddles and cuddles with B—. 




Thursday, November 14, 2013

Managing the cuts

My professors are the best. I may have mentioned, I have two mommies. One is the magnificent poet, L. Hamblin, the other a phenomenal non-fiction guru, K. Andersen. Between the two of them I get the nurturing that I need, and in the case of the past week's revelations they are both supportive and kindly flexible in allowing me to take extensions to complete work I wasn't going to be able to complete in light of my family's need for my active presence. This doesn't mean I'm not invested even now in trying to catch up, but the breathing room is a new backbone. I was near collapse. My French professor is also being very kind. I missed her class all week, but I'm staying on top of online homework as much as possible.

I admit, I didn't even bring the matter up with my philosophy professors. There's something about admitting weakness there that I can't give myself to. Instead, I'm working with my fabulous Ancient Greek professor to try and arrange a first term course of Ancient Greek (language) in the Spring, and a second term course in the summer. I'm taking on a dead language and it feels so right, like disembodied voices telling me this is the way to go. Without planning it, I'm specializing in ancient comparative literature and philosophy. The other component of this directional swing is a class on the mysticism of Rumi and Kabbalah that I may also take in the Spring. Both of these along with Advanced Topics in Ancient Greek Philosophy. Officially, I am a nerd. Off the record, I always was.

As for my M—, I'm staying calm and supportive. She's wearing short-sleeved t-shirts around the house again, so she's obviously comfortable with me seeing her cuts and scars. Her therapist and I discussed the matter over the phone this morning. Largely, I'm doing everything right. The choice to self-harm is M—'s, and pressure from me to the contrary is only going to make matters worse. I'd asked if she felt she could give me her razors, but even though she's not actively cutting at the moment she wants to have them with her. They're empowerment, whether she cuts or not. I need to let her make the choice. Her therapist wants me more actively involved in counseling, which is a given for me. She also coached me in ways to genuinely praise M— for making the decision not to cut when she is anxious or depressed, and to help M— find constructive ways to cope that don't include self-harm. The trick is finding coping mechanisms that she likes. I believe one of the reasons she chose cutting is because it is a quickly fix for countering emotional distress. Things that take work are work.

We'll see how it goes. I've got to steady myself, though. Get the sleep I need and be present far more often than I am here at home. I've fallen into that cycle I saw my own mother embrace, using school to shut out what hurts and also what really matters. Unlike my mother, when my kids come to me in crisis, there's nothing wrong with them needing my attention. Hate is a very strong word, and therefore I try not to express my emotions as such unless they truly deserve the categorization. 

I HATE when people derogatorily refer to people calling out for help as "attention seekers." We're human. We have needs. If those needs aren't being met, by god, that person has every right to cry for help. If they call out repeatedly it's because we haven't found the fix. Cutting is a bad habit. I'll call it like I see it. But there is sexual recklessness, drug and alcohol use, and risk taking behavior that is potentially so much more dangerous. If I can help find the answer to my daughter's needs now, who's to say I won't be saving her from a lifetime of self-destructive, pain purging addictions. And if I can't, we'll deal with those when we get there.

For now, we're talking. That's a step.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Solid punch to the gut

M-- is cutting.
 
I found out last night, late, before she went to bed. L-- came to me and asked if I knew that there were lines up and down M--'s arms. Thank goodness for my little L--.
 
M-- is already in therapy. She's already on prozac. We're already aware of her struggle with anxiety and depression. I've dealt with high school kids I've known well who cut at least five times before. Still, this revelation is a swift punch in the gut. My kid? We are so tight. She talks to me about everything. Everything but the depth and unmanageability of her pain.
 
You know I'm feeling responsible, guilty, negligent, sad, overwhelmed, and pretty much a failure. How could I have let my own emotional crap, my own list of do-to's so out of control that I missed the moment she was crying out? Why didn't she cry out?
 
Her therapist already knows. Her boyfriends knows. She let a couple of photography students at her high school take pictures of her arms for a project. L-- knows. I'm seventh to know.
 
And she was so ashamed. What have I done wrong that my beautiful daughter would feel this sort of shame? I wasn't there for her. I wasn't there. I wasn't there.
 
I'm going to pick her up after school. She's coming with me to my CNF class. Then we're having dinner together. I've been focusing on all the wrong things.
 
I've got to right this. Now.

Philosopher Queen--a prose poem in the works

Before the Japanese perfected washi, wasps chewed wood to pulp and introduced an empire of communal origami one paper lantern at a time. Prophets stumble onto the forgotten manuscript lying on forest floors. They cradle pages, imagining Noah cupping a queen and the millennia ovum bidding in her heavy belly before he turned her loose with the task of adorning the ceiling of the ark in gopherwood bibles in forty days and forty nights. The prophets’ covetous fingers probe for discovery, forgetful of ghostly stings as layer by layer the dogma of abandoned records unhinge the stairs fixed in space within the structures that housed the childhood of our faith. Noah, our pages are haunted. We tuck away the remnants of timber etched by phantom fingers, imagining now how rain fell round the ark, and how its inhabitants bobbed in the memory of edits being erased by this baptism. The paper queen is somewhere high in the ark, gnawing around the nails that fix the roof in place. The cool Cyprus wood creaks against the storm without. The wasp writes book after book. Her diaries flood the rafters, rattling the framework from within. All she wants is a glimpse of the sky.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Short. Disjointed. Logic.

Why must men be such a complicated, befuddling species? I give up on the man I've named after Empedocles. Give up. Which means I'll still be working with him on revisions for the lit journal, but other than that I fold.

Greg confirmed today, my kids are like a chastity belt. Repellant to guys. I knew this, even though a man had never spoken in. Thanks to my bro, I know fo sho. 

I have so much to do in the next 72 hours I'm not sure where to start.

Mr. PNU added me on LinkedIn back in August. I just got around to checking my account tonight. It was quite the surprise. I think maybe I haven't understood. I'm not sure I do now.

I'm done with French. I'm going to learn Ancient Greek because there are so many Ancient Greeks around wanting conversation.

I'm stressed. I think I write short disjointed paragraphs when I'm stressed.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Empedocles is hot, then he's cold—wait, that's Heraclitus

This week was rough. I made it through, no longer aching, looking around at options, drowning myself in logic and lexicon and four glasses of wine on Friday night. I've been focusing on homework most of the weekend, and on Saturday ran into Empedocles at the Pie Tin library. Actually, he approached me to inform me he was researching and prepping for grad school applications (the first round of deadlines is December 1st). He said that's why he'd asked for alone time Friday night, so I tried to respect his needed berth. I texted later that night and offered dinner on Sunday, since I planned on a crockpot full of Moroccan Chicken and very few children at home. Today, just before I ate, I sent a text offering to drop a plate off at his place so as not to disturb his work or privacy. He didn't respond so I ate alone and kept working on my homework. An hour later Empedocles called. Dialed my number. Expected me to answer. I don't do telephones. I text because it spares me from talking and tripping over my tongue. But I did pick up. He asked me for a refresher on how to get to my house. I gave directions and he said he'd be right over. I was under the impression he was coming for a container of food, so I didn't clean, didn't put on makeup, didn't worry about much of anything. He arrived a few minutes later, chatted briefly, checked out my bookshelves, asked to use my bathroom, and then sat in my rocking chair and began to tell me his stories. 

My cousin shared a post on introverts this morning on Facebook. I'm not certain where I stand. I spend most of my time alone, and except for when I'm pining for affection and connection with one particular person (lately Empedocles) I'm fine with that solitude. Today, I think I may have wanted it even when he was here because I don't need another week like the last. But oddly enough, I think introverts are drawn to me. They open up. There are a number of introverted people whom I would consider wonderful, fulfilling friends. 

Empedocles is in every way an introvert. When we are in large groups he is often completely silent. Even with me it takes him time to warm up, but when he gets going two hours can easily pass that he elegantly supplies conversation and I attentively listen and make comment in counsel and encouragement alone. I'm not going to lie; giving one on one time to people in this manner is largely my social staple and I adore it. But I paid close attention today, to the fact that by the end of his banter I was exhausted. And I found myself frustrated to know where I stand with him. He thanked me when he left, not for the food, but for listening and being here for him. His hug today was warm, human, inviting. My concentration level hovered above zero for the rest of the evening.

There is a Katy Perry song that fits Empedocles.

I'm going to learn Greek. I've ordered the textbook.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Egotistical nerd for a day, philosophically speaking

Yesterday I spent nine hours at a philosophy conference here at the Pie Tin. Then I went to a party at my Ancient Greek professor's place for another four hours. It was one of the best days I can recall in recent memory. I like the non-contradiction, the delicate enormity of philosophical egos. I like how much goodness and feist is there. I like the honesty and earthinessm, the appetitive attunement. I like playing the fly on the wall, with the merlot in hand, taking it all in, enjoying the comfort of cranial resonance, feeling the challenge of following and contributing to conversation in a lexicon that leaves most in the dust, the smooth humanisn of being perfectly at home. Arrival. Ontological awareness. Even if my level of perception is slippery. Self.
 
I need funding for a second BA.
I need a nap.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Rational, spirited, appetitive

I've convinced myself that I'm depressed. I think it's good that it's been so long that I'd forgotten what it felt like, but all the same, it sucks.

I'm also working very hard at poems. The ideas are growing and I'm piecing work together. Completion is another matter. So I'm going to give myself a break if I miss a day or two or three. The point is, I'm working every day. 

Empedocles... Don't get me started. The man, the real philosophical Greek man, is going to be the foundation for my work for the rest of this semester and hopefully the next. The man who embodies the pseudonym. I think he's a lost cause. I think the heartbreak I'm going through is nasty and necessary. I think a quick fix would be nice and unlikely all at once.

I spent two hours trying to self-medicate with exercise tonight. Who should walk in but the Gym Rat? I'm telling you, he's beautiful. And I was half tempted to tell him as much tonight; waltz up to him and say, "You know, we're here at the same time often enough that I think you ought to know that you are one of the most physically beautiful men I've ever seen. And I want to thank you for coming here, on this particular night, because I have had a really shitty week and it is so nice just to look at you."

I had plenty of opportunities. He acts like he wants me to see him. Like standing in front of my stationary bike for a lengthy amount of time to "watch the game" on one of the screens in front of me. Like walking past me, with no real purpose, again and again. We're trading off glances. In fact, we came upon each other in passing and did one of those tangos trying to negotiate the space to get around each other. He's not pretty on the inside, I remind myself. He's not pretty on the inside, I remind myself.

Gah! He is aesthetically amazing.

I'm going to indulge in that since my aching heart can't take thoughts of my Empedocles. I desperately need a soul cleansing cry. I need to let the floodwaters rip through the dam in my chest and relieve this agony.

Caring for broken people breaks you in return.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The safest distance from everything

I ditched my Creative Non-Fiction class and drove to the Lake.
I'm not willing to accept that I'm depressed,
but I'm not well and the surest way to deal
with this form of unwellness is either isolation
or ativan. I'm not keen on drug dependence
although I brought my prescription bottle in my
backpack today, just in case. Emotional pain.
So much pain.


Greg gets all concerned today and tries
his version of "cheer up, it's going to get better."
I'm sorry, but he just doesn't get that right.
We're bros and all, but I had to get over a mild crush
to maintain the friendship. If one more eligible guy
comes whining to me about how he's been rejected
and it's sure to get better I will vomit on him.
Vomit. You have no clue what I've been through.
You have no clue how degrading it is to be turned 
down for a date for living through a series of hells imposed
on me and my children by complete selfish assholes.
You have no idea how lonely and hopeless and painful
the last ten years have been, and I've got ten more
ahead of me. And then what? Who's going to be there
at the end of the line when I suddenly don't have kids
needing me every few minutes?


It took a demon microburst to open this
portal I'd shut over all these collected vulnerabilities.
And now I'm just naked. And alone.
And feeling more for a person than I 
ever thought I would again.
If I could give him a blowtorch to thaw his own
icy self-preservation I would, but then what?
I'm so very tired.
Hope is a lie.
Stones in a housecoat.
Goodbye all! And a leap
into the dark waters.
Or just take photo after photo
hoping that something more will develop.



How a week can open your eyes

You asked me today what I'd learned about myself in writing this proposal. I answered as best I could at the time, and I answered honestly. But there is more and it terrifies me, and frankly I think I'm justified in being frightened. I'm pretty open and vulnerable at the moment.

First, I proposed a short-term arrangement, thinking I could divide myself from the reality of your imminent departure. I've told you I don't want to hold you back, and I don't. But I'm not looking forward to you leaving either. Why I was ever non-chalant about having you here one day and gone the next is beyond explanation. I miss you from weekend to weekend as it is. We are there in the same building for five days. I don't see you and I pine to the point that emails like last week's happen. So my assuming that the proposal was ever feasible for either of us... Yeah, I can't tell you why. Denial happens.

Second, I realized that you are not a passing fancy. I came to see that during the hours I waited for your response. Where did you come from, Empedocles? We climbed a couple of mountains together. We were friends. We are friends. And then that hike to Stewart Falls I crossed the river to be with you and found that ever since that's exactly where I want to be whenever possible. And as that crazy hiking party drove through the microburst and you called me... I walked into that Mexican restaurant and knew that meteorology had opened a portal to some other-worldly realm I'd thought was sealed off forever. Now I know that not only will you leave someday, I will also struggle to find a way to re-secure that door once you are gone.

Third, I've become acutely aware how much your friendship means to me and the prospect of losing it is entirely unsettling.

Fourth, if it weren't completely unlikely, and 100% selfish I would want you to stay and wait for me to finish my degree too, and then who knows. Even now, I want you to come back here in ten years when I'm less encumbered. And I will follow you to Nepal, or wherever we decide to go—Hawaii, the Uintas, the world. All I need is the ability to write, people to help, mountains to climb, a little music to dance to, and a fire to keep me warm. 

I realized in writing that email that if there were any possible way, I want to be your girl.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Enchilada Brunch with Empedocles


He always orders water with his meal,
like how I’ve come to understand his words—
I never leave him knowing what to feel.

We come together, fall apart—some wheel
of elemental lost and found is spurred.
He always orders water with his meal.

While I pretend to wait for food he fills
his absent days though they had not occurred.
I never leave him knowing what to feel.

For smiles and charm, I rarely beg appeal
the hour our ambiguity is blurred.
He always orders water with his meal.

But daylight burns. I quake unquenched. Real
to strife, to question friend or foe, reword:
I never leave him knowing what to feel.

He doesn’t ask for what my arms reveal.
That we will meet again: inferred.
He’ll always order water with his meal.
I’ll never leave him knowing what to feel.

Stuff—E's summer footage


Except that digital doesn't actually employ footage of film, so I'm not sure why we use that term anymore.

Why I've never written a suicide note

I met the prophet Ted Hughs,
ragged and perched in a cedar tree
feathered in charcoal and ink,

     beak salivating a teetering
     waltz across some silvery branch.
     See the precipice, Sylvia?

There are no ovens here, Ted,
and all I've ever had for paper
are the unravelings of wasps' nests.

     I gather up the flight in my fist
     praying with a stone on the
     tongue and wait, weighted, because

at certain elevation, rocks
have developed a technique
of altaring themselves, ready 

     for whatever sacrifice is offered.
     Ted Hughs pepples the sacred piles 
     of uplifted rubble and lichen.

If he turned his back I might pluck
a pin feather for writing, or 
perhaps for leaping as the crow flies.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Erasing the Vitruvian Man

He burrows into caves, hunkers in the
u-bends of veins in the crook of elbows,

crouches in the overhang of alveoli
and fleshy pockets lining cheeks,

takes cover in the plica fimbriata,
anywhere moist and teeming with life.

We tell each other stories and then fold
our words in half and savor the pulp

dissolving on garden buds enharmonically
wagering the taste of two fists of salt.

No, these numbers are not truth. But you are
happy with whatever you get and I'm on

the downward current to where it's belly up.
This body doesn't know enough corporeal

magic. I paint and unpaint in all the mortal
colors of a sticky ontology. My brush sees

the man without the cloth of sensation
and feels his everything, knows the birth

of stars, and shudders in the brilliance of all those
who've ever cast off and all those who ever will.