Unpublished drafts


Poetry under my umbrella, as I walk

As I am pacing my bedroom floor late at night
As I am waking slowly on a Friday morning (hello, unemployment!)
In the sun on our hammock


When my older sister was my age, she was already married and pregnant with her first child.

When my mom was my age, she was assaulted on the street and almost died from the injury.

I have traveled some and worked a little and I have a bachelor's degree, but I don't have much to show for the last five years of my life other than the fact that I am alive and even in relatively good mental health.

I'm still terrified of job applications. I'm still living at my parents' house. And this is my life for the time being, which is to say, for now, which is to say, this is my life — I


days made of beautiful small things and beautiful big thoughts.


on the inside of my forehead aches
a wide empty horizon named
afraid (I am) alone and sorrowing


What this year is about for me: Doing things my way. Wanting. Testing the limits of apparent mutual exclusivity.  Growing roots and making myself at home.

It's been raining all morning.


Goodness knows California could use it, though.

And I am in bed, taking care of my sick self instead of earning money, which makes me a little nervous, but given that I'm not in dire need, in this regard I am not one of those people who's good at ignoring their own body.

Lately I have been luxuriating in this album from U.S. Girls, and rediscovering Writer's Block.

"Winter," by Bella Akhmadulina

This same poet wrote one of my favorite autumn poems, which I have posted here twice before. I discovered this poem just a few weeks ago, and it continues to hold me in thrall.

Winter became my season during my years in the Chicago area — the sensory sparseness and the deep cold lent themselves perfectly somehow to the different moods and struggles of each year, and my memories of what was so striking to see, feel, and hear hold the emotional memories tightly. I mostly look forward to it now as a time to turn inward, read closely, turn big ideas over and let my thoughts steep without hurry. This coming winter will also bring the time to celebrate a year spent with my love.

The feeling of these memories has accumulated, though; I feel them lying layered and translucent against each other. And I read and love this poem because of how well it evokes (and invokes) some of my winter selves.


Winter's gesture to me is
chilly and persistent.
Winter has something
mildly medicinal.

Why else does
my unsuspecting sickness
stretch its hands toward it suddenly
out of darkness and pain?

My love,
practice witchcraft.
Let your icy ringlet's tonic kiss
brush my forehead.

The temptation continually grows
to meet deception with belief,
to look dogs in the eye,
to press myself against trees,

to forgive — playfully —
to run and turn,
and when done,
forgive again.

To equal the winter afternoon's
empty oval,
its nuances,
and always be aware of it.

To reduce my self to nothing,
so from behind the wall I can shout
not to my shadow, but to the light
not blocked by me.

– Bella Akhmadulina
trans. Mary Maddock

Ghosts and nostalgia / black-and-white Yallingup

The black-and-white 35mm version of this day.
Western Australia, November 2012.

Ghosts and nostalgia / dancing and panic

After a hot shower, which is the best thing one one has a head cold, as my hair was drying, I lay on my bed in my underwear and listened to "Two" by The Antlers several times through, wanting to catch that part where he sings, Two ways to tell the story, because I needed to hear that part today.

I have always loved watching the play of afternoon light across my ceiling, no matter where my bedroom was. And there is something very soothing about the exercise of beginning a sentence with that phrase, "I have always loved..." or "I have always liked..." Something to say, I am here, I am all of me here, all twenty-three-and-a-half years, I have not been made new and thrown away every year — if I have been inconstant and filled with fear over the years about the ways in which I seem to leave myself behind, tear myself away, the days when I feel like someone has sent my body off walking without me and sent it back with unfamiliar clothes, a haircut I do not recognize — well, even then it has not been quite as terrible as I thought, not so terrible as to keep me from being able to remember and describe myself, my constancy, in some ways.

When I am confused in those ways about what I have done, the ways I fear I have flown off away from myself or whether I have, I practice telling the story in different ways, in stages, a different version for each friend, a different version to mull over each day. Was this what happened? and each time, hesitantly, some statement of truth about myself to try on.

I was full of love and hate. Hate, and I loved it. I did exactly what I wanted. I wanted everything.

Just some fun. Just a laugh.

I feel myself floating away under the memory of strange hands. Empty flesh. Bold and stupid. Throwaway girl.


November 24, 2012, 4:49p

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