I have always gone
looking for poetry;
I have, right now,
windows full of backyards
full of trees and I am
in love (still), I am doing
everything exactly (maybe)
as a twenty-something in
2013 is supposed to --
going to my stupid job,
chasing cheap food,
chasing poetry. Yesterday
I realized I had gone
Once there was a life,
and in that life was a night,
in which there was loneliness,
a bicycle, stars, fear,
a playground. There was a sister.
And once there was morning,
with breakfast and
a book of poetry.
1. Peace Begins Here: Palestinians and Israelis Listening to Each Other, by Thich Nhat Hanh
2. Letters to a Young Poet, by Rainer Maria Rilke, trans. M.D. Herter Norton
*Titles link to the pertinent Goodreads page — feel free to add me as a friend.
I moved to San Francisco as soon as I turned eighteen.
I feel like our generation is the generation of SF fuck-ups. Like, the generation born between 1985 and 1989, well, 1990, I know some twenty-year-olds who are pretty crazy, but our generation, we're all so fucked up, but we have such a good time.
I need to raise $600 today [or I won't have enough from commission] to make rent. I might starve for a couple days.
Canvassers are confident almost to a fault. You have to get told "no" again and again for five hours a day.
I rode down from Seattle on my bike...I have a storage unit there and four panniers of stuff with me. I'm camping in Marin for now and coming over the bridge every day. I'm going to be here for a month to earn some money, then I'll be riding again. Working my way down to San Diego.
I mean, she and her wife are literally living in poverty, and if she loses this job, it's all they have.
It's kind of a thing for me, everything that's important to me, I always have with me in my backpack.
• trees full of blossoms
• spring air (I know it's only February, but this is the Bay Area)
• reading Letters to a Young Poet, and how comforting it is when I am lonely
• breathing and thinking
• the yummiest mocha and blueberry cornbread at brunch this morning
• having an old favorite toy camera back in my possession
• yoga twice this week (I usually go once a month max)
• connecting better with a new coworker I didn't think I'd like
• biking under the full moon with my dear one
• the gift of a rainbow votive candle
• my roommate's rants and monologues and listening ear
• a feline houseguest
I went to a secondhand store
today looking for a pair of
jeans. The rules
for staying sane are gentle
and have not changed:
When the body grows
(smaller or larger),
keep feeding it what
it wants, keep moving how
it wants, find clothes
that in all ways feel good;
what knowledge (pounds,
calories, and the like)
is not valuable to you.
The project of the past few
years is listening instead
to the wordless shifting
that pass beneath and across
my skin. To the wise
if sometimes frightening
wants and body-thoughts,
the certainties and
contentments of this animal self,
as well as to the spaces where
I can hear
nothing yet, where long-learned silence
is not yet unlearned
I will have
only this, that
nothing the body does
do is wrong,
nothing the body
does is wrong,
in my terror and longing
and unbelief, I am reciting
to myself: how
nothing this body
does is wrong
November 2013, Northern California. I tagged along with a new friend and her girlfriend on a three-hour drive north, to a small rural lesbian community that has been in existence since the '70s. It was deeply quiet there — one of those places where I notice how noisy my ordinary life is because all of a sudden that noise is just gone.
The pond was too cold even for just my feet, but if I'd wanted to go swimming, I could have. No swimsuit, but I could have just taken off my clothes and jumped in. Maybe come summer. Doors remain unlocked, and you can fall asleep alone in the grass without worrying about your safety or possessions.
My friend had to point that out to me when I said I was sleepy; it didn't occur to me. I was reminded of what Sylvia Plath, nineteen years old, wrote in her diary about the "awful tragedy...[of being born a woman]":
...all is spoiled by the fact that I am a girl, a female always in danger of assault and battery....I want to be able to sleep in an open field, to travel west, to walk freely at night...That awareness of the constant potential for danger that comes with being a woman in a violent patriarchal world, that is a kind of psychic noise too. And again, it's easy not to notice how it wears on you until you feel what an afternoon is like without that. And that quiet is almost bewildering...
I am carrying that afternoon with me. That taste of freedom, and the conviction that by rights I should have that freedom anywhere.
I am trying to imagine who I would be if my safety and privacy were always so inviolate.
Some bought in Perth, some bought in San Francisco, and one taken from home where it had been a childhood plaything. I carry one in each fist sometimes, my fists resting deep in my pockets as I walk. To anchor me to the earth by my fists, with their weight. To remind me that I know what I want, which to me is nearly as magical and determinative as believing that they can give me what I want.
I ride my bike to the train station at 7:45 in the morning. On the street with the grassy median, pigeons circle in flight. Mild magic: the swirling patterns they make, the flash and vanish of the white undersides of fifty sets of wings.
Currently receiving aesthetic nourishment by Agnes Obel's latest album Aventine. I love these "glimpses" she released before the album came out:
Sometimes this happens with film: I have no memory of taking this photo, and no idea what this place is.