Well it’s times like these I feel so small and wild…
Canyon chill is a smile that comes in the place where there’s only room for secrets and strength, which is hope, just under the skin. I do not like cold but October Canyon chill isn’t the cold of dreary end it is the invigorating reminder that end is Begin! in disguise.
I am a spring equinox baby so I do best on the quarter moon. Wednesday was a day of life. Thursday I went to Sleepy’s to swim. Where I always find my joy again, sea-bliss shine. There is sage to be bundled and mugwort crushed for dream bags and tea. I picked it from the dear canyon here under the last moon of Summer. What a harvest. On Wednesday w my other wise womens Sepi and D, I will honor the peak-end of growth tide. Big ol fat ol full moon! Sacred Final Harvest. This is vision moon-tide, vision cycle of precious inner-outter alignment sight. Aligning–which is our choice bc with wisdom, comes responsibility. We choose to take pause, tend ourselves, align. With the potent pure potentiality energy, as it floods us through one last time.
There are such exciting things coming up! Wild Women Wisdom is undergoing some exciting evolution! I cannot wait to be what is yet to come (as I have already seen or sensed it, in the wild wisdom or poet-vision inside sacred space.) Officially, I start my collaboration with Eve of Magpie Life on October 23 in LA as a featured presenter for her life coaching Living Room series. Presenting on the power of Women’s Mysteries! Ahh so blessed is the soul who follows her own inner light, all the way through the tunneled darkness when it appears to have entirely lost its glow…
It is Friday which means Poetry Day. There is ceaseless Feminist Re-Visioning happening in the collective. Social Justice Action being made true and real manifest. I Poet-Activist. Since Youth. Always, Youth. I sat a long time this morning in my loft in quiet happy reflection. It is tidey up here and cool, not stuck with thuck-thuck hawt heat. What a difference, two weeks. Another reason I love fall. Be Good Tanyas played, and The Waifs. In my time I have seen ten thousand setting suns. And I made my bed where I laid my head and it never hurt no one.
The morning started with Jolie herself, though. Singing The Littlest Bird, which as soon as the chords hit I knew: as yes, poetry day for sure. Vision strong and pure.
Sonoma, February, 2012.
When I called Mike who is from where I’m from and is why I live here now. He’s been in the OC since 2002 I think. I was in a panic it was a rotten, drenched redwoods February afternoon. I was staying in Sonoma fifteen minutes from the coast. Unwittingly taking care of a grow. I had thought I’d stay there for good, until suddenly that changed and I knew: I have to go. In four days I had it all ordered, and back to living in my little car and on the road I went. I drove all the way from Russian River to Newport Beach. This is how I ended up here! It was grey the whole way down the 5. It was cold and I was full of washrag gut. Wringing. Fear. Closer I got to LA shorter my breath got til I was driving the awful updowns of Grapevine in the dark not knowing how to do what I was going to do. It was bolts of blank and muscle shock and nothing works when your last ditch is get me out of here and fuck even that has turned on you, too. I didn’t know where I was but know I do.
Anaheim and busy traffic and neon lights.
Jolie Holland came on. Suddenly and I remembered. Breathe. All you can do. I played and replayed her song, steady driving down the 5. Trained my breath to the words of her song. I sang, and sang. I sang along.
The GPS took me some way that I ended up on Beach. So I crossed the jetty into Newport in the dark and there at the bridge was an eery fog. But on Mike’s road it was warm and I felt the glow of soul. I went in and he was asleep on the couch. Dez on the other one, Tyler studying at the counter. It all started right then.
This morning, it was nice to once more hear that song. Reflections, you know? Under Strong Vision Time of Final Harvest Moon-Waxing Tide. Wisdom of making new out of the rich substance of what is old, what has gone before.
This is the cyclic work of soul…
The Littlest Bird
Well, I feel like an old hobo I’m sad, lonesome and blue I was fair as a summer’s day Now the summer days are through You pass through places And places pass through you But you carry them with you On the soles of your traveling shoes Well, I love you so dearly I love you so clearly I wake you up in the morning So early just to tell you I got the wandering blues I got the wandering blues And I’m going to quit these rambling ways One of these days soon
And I sing, the littlest birds sing the prettiest songs The littlest birds sing the prettiest songs The littlest birds sing the prettiest songs And the littlest birds sing the prettiest songs Well it’s times like these I feel so small and wild Like the rambling footsteps of a wandering child And I’m lonesome as a lonesome whippoorwill Singing these blues with a warble and a trill But I’m not too blue to fly No I’m not too blue to fly ‘Cause the littlest birds sing the prettiest songsThe littlest birds sing the prettiest songs The littlest birds sing the prettiest songs And the littlest birds sing the prettiest songs But I love you so dearly I love you so fearlessly I wake you up in the morning so early Just to tell you I’ve got the wandering blues I’ve got the wandering blues And I don’t want to leave you I love you through and through Well I left my baby on a pretty blue train And I sang my songs to the cold and the rain And I had the wandering blues And I sang those wandering blues And I’m gonna quit these rambling ways One of these days soon And I sing, the littlest birds sing the prettiest songsThe littlest birds sing the prettiest songs The littlest birds sing the prettiest songs The littlest birds sing the prettiest songs The littlest birds sing the prettiest songs And the littlest birds sing the prettiest songs Well I don’t care if the sun don’t shine And I don’t care if nothing is mine And I don’t care if I’m nervous with you I’ll do my loving in the wintertime
It’s September. The traffic slows. The traffic slows, the Tuesday after Labor Day I am on the street at 7pm. The street is closed, there are no open shops on the block. There are no other body’s on the block. Just me and Jaz, and the homeless lady wheeling her bike ahead of us.
In the canyon I think of the word holler–not like to yell. But like, hollow–down in southern Virginia, where the homes run two to a mountain pass and people still talk about living round the next holler. Where the water in late spring runs so hard it looks black. Black, with churned up cream. I don’t know why I think of this except of course I do: it’s September.
Jazz is 17. She is an artist. She is 17, an artist, raised without mom. She is 17, an artist here for art school in the canyon, raised with no mom. She is a new neighbor in the upstairs room. I take her for dinner. She tells me, you’re my first white friend! She throws her hand over her mouth right after she says this. I respond as a blonde valley girl.
One million roles.
Jazz laughs. Against the holler walls
her laughter rolls.
They shot that boy. They shot him. For three days on my knees: I Cried. Shot him down & under our unkept noses WEBECAMEAMILITARIZEDSTATE. NO ONE DID A FCKN THNG. HE WAS BROWN.
I am Privilege.
*Correction: The Ppl. The Ppl did it all. The revolution is Live.*
September in Images
These images aren’t September.
They are September medicine.
Virgil McFarland called me eighteen times in one night. The honey-tongued woman on the recording said nine of those times the same thing into my voice mail, “an inmate from the North County Penitentiary is trying to reach you, press one to accept this call, press the pound sign to deny.”
When you pressed one it took you to another prompt, in order so that you could enter money to a prepaid account. Calls from the penitentiary were a dollar a minute. I pressed one the first three times he called, but after that didn’t answer anymore. The prepaid prompt only took Visa or MasterCard, and all I had for money was my dad’s borrowed American Express.
I hadn’t seen Virgil since 2002, and that was eleven years ago. That night we’d been in the club where we both had hung out separately and at different times, never having seen one another there before then. It was the last time I saw him and the last time I ever saw Jim. Jim was Virgil’s best friend and someone I had loved for a long, long time. Jim told me they would be at the club but he was nodded out between two video games when I got there. It was sad, but nice to see Virgil and them. When we were friends years before that we had spent our time together in other places, not old enough to go to clubs. The edge of the ocean where the water meets the sand. On bikes with banana seats or hunched over ten-speeds with handle-bars like horns of a ram. The carny booth on the neon pier that Virg’s dad used to run. His house in Costa Rica under breathy jungle trees. My house on eighth street where I lived with Jim when we were eighteen, when Virgil was still in high school and would sleep on our couch, and where from the front porch you could see the part of the boardwalk that on some nights anchored kites to dance in the way up dark like electric stars.
I was thirteen years and one day sober and clean the night he called me from the penitentiary. I had been so sad because when he got locked up I never thought I’d hear from him again. I tried to find a way to get his information to write him letters and knew I could do so through some old friends on Facebook. Then one of those old friends, Rooster, found me. This was a beautiful coincidence because if you think about it, Virgil, Jim, and Rooster were the only three boys from the beach that I knew from age eleven on, back when we used to body-board all day until it was low tide and time to head up, salt-skinned and sun-tinged, to the snack bar for ice cream sandwiches or popsicles to take to the pool. Rooster introduced me to Jim and Virgil all the way back then. So for Rooster to call me for the first time in eighteen years on the day of my thirteenth anniversary being sober and clean, and to call me because he himself had just decided to go to AA and get better, too, and then to tell me that not only was Virgil still trying to stay clean in jail but that I could talk to him, too? Well, this really was a beautiful coincidence. Jim’s way of reaching out to tell us—life’s as aligned as meandering bows, floating in space on the tail of a kite, looking like connected stars.
Virgil was in jail for twenty-one kilos of cocaine which was a probation violation. He had been sober and clean himself for three months before he slipped. We had gotten back in touch when I moved to Southern California. Or had driven here, had arrived here on a whim answering the same kind of running in my blood that used to lead me barefoot through the alleys in the old beach town where I first knew those boys. I worked in a drug and alcohol rehab receiving clinical psychotherapeutic training when he first called. I can say with certainty that the disease of addiction often requires a person at least eighteen months of what we call pre-contemplation before they get to the stage of being capable of making lasting changes in recovery. That’s why I call it a slip, you slip in and out of recovery during those first eighteen months. Sometimes you slip in and out several times in just one day. The human mind is a funny place to end up trapped. For an addict especially it’s wired and set and always ready to be tripped.
Jim died in 2007. I was in the shower two days after I found out about it and sure as if he were standing right in front of me he came to me, same flat junked-out face same wide open O mouth, staring in to me with eyes black from where there used to be stars. He was just standing there, saying sorry. The sight of Jim standing there was for many years much easier for me to keep inside, in the sick place where the cyclone path had cleaved a black cracked facelessness down the center of who I was. Sealing off the black cracked place made me feel like someone let go of the string that attached my head. I could disconnect that way from somewhere below my neck and just feel my body cool and sort of floating there, numb.
Same time that Rooster found me then the recorded lady had called on behalf of Virg in prison I also had to be in therapy, too, also to be able to become a therapist. We talked about it. It made me sad for me, my body detached and head floating above me like that. It also gave me hot heart and wet eyes just to know they were alive. I once had a friend commit suicide instead of going to prison, so I’d spent many moments wondering if Virgil was alright. Sometimes I even prayed about him to Jim. But mostly I just hated Jim. I guess that’s because it’s just him, faceless up there, the expressionless looking down he does from all that sky. It’s funny that life will break and mend your heart using the same experience all at once. That’s the thing about coincidences, which is life’s way of making sure you understand that it’s making use of time despite you not realizing it. It steadily moves you along, and also keeps you strange and anchored to the same old place until you’re willing to look down and see where you’ve been tied.
So like, I had made this blog one time, like, to get over this guy
it was my reminder to me that i thought for myself and loved music
long before he had come along & made it all weepy for me
& so like, last night
i was feeling really self-indulgent & like
oh yea remember this.
I even useta do this thing called Rock n Roll Tuesday
which was inspired by Heart & Liz Phair
So liiike, it’s a good day for a throwback, right?
Poetry days come by surprise but often end the same way. How much do I want to spend, $5 to $20, the spots line both sides of PCH from North to South Laguna, half price plates and gourmet apps 3 to 6 sometimes late as 7. I wanted to go to Starfish and showered after reading and sketching- whimsy all day in the canyon in the sun. Somehow Kid Cudi is a shaman. I drank water and ate veggies and crimini mushrooms. And kasha with fried maple syrup bananas. Most the afternoon. I’m on a kick cooking for my self as much as I can and spending no money. Yoga on the sun deck in the morning when it’s still cold in the canyon. I skipped happy hour and stayed at home when at 3 the sun hovered to the right just above the humpback land on the horizon which looks dark brown in the winter and is when the cold comes back. Under my soft blankie feeling the outside on my skin still kept reading then a hot shower was what I wanted. I thought, it would be nice to get pretty and wear something wintery and yummy but that makes me feel the way poetry does and this is usually what happens after a poetry day, it’s why I often end them at dinner in my town. Because I am in a love affair with my town, this place, this funky little bohemian rich person’s town where I live on an internist’s paycheck supplemented by student loans. And in the summer more than once on a poetry day I would get to town only to run in to or hear from a man, and that used to be nice, how I had rhythm with the men I was dating. How the day would deposit us to the other after it had built and peaked then tilted forward and pressed us to each other after its momentum had passed. Especially the surfer, how naturally we fell into one another when least expected or looking for one another.
But tonight, just me and my town. Me and my town and the darling man with the kindess-eyes behind the counter at my favorite place for espresso, who remembers my name bc one day I stopped ordering it and switched instead to chocolate cake. We chatted about our new years. I stopped to wave and nod at the homeless woman in the wheelchair always out front. Laguna. Lagunaaaa. I admired the lines of the smooth trees like swaying seaweed caught against the sky. It is winter, I am finally unpacked and organized again from Maryland, work, school. I spent the day dancing, then still. Eating. Then dancing and more being still. Napped in the sun more than reading or writing or poems or whim.
This time, precious, near. This place that forced me to stop: stop running: STAY. I think about the card Erika made me at Christmas and about how important is the lake.
Which is talking about the Call, of course, the inner surge towards psyche or soul or poetry or whatever it is. The lake is the inner surge, the act of getting in is actually sitting down and doing it. Playing the game with the words. So here I am, with my chocolate cake and no espresso and no man to date, but back here to sit, and tend these waters where I swim.