“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan


the outskirts of women and would be badasses

the sidewalk was less hot in the shade
and there was the shadow of a heart dangling over my feet.  

it's almost august and though the past weekend was hot, early afternoon wednesday we were barely in the 80s. a gift we happily take. i pondered whether it was too-cool-for-lake weather, wondered if the sun would keep the water comfortable, decided it didn't matter. summer is about melting into whatever the day brings. letting the sun or shadows or water cover you and float. continuing the movement. closing your eyes. becoming.

it had been a hard few days. my arms ached from punches not thrown and words not typed. from gripping the steering wheel too tightly even though i'd vowed i would stop that. from driving night roads when i should have been sleeping. what else can you do when you can do nothing? when what power you once thought you had falls from your hands when you're not looking and disappears? it gone. i watched from a distance, wanting to stay out there in that spot, but the world moves you forward sun to moon and suddenly the distance is behind you, and there you stand. you cannot give up. leave that to the others.


i hate the words badass, warrior, goddess, wild-woman, all those words we give ourselves for no other reason than to think we are. hate not the words really, but the way we use them. we label ourselves and believe the labels make us so. but late yesterday, i was all of the above. i cannot tell you the story - it is someone else's to tell, but i can tell you this.

from my facebook page:
i hate the words badass, goddess, outlaw, wild woman, yada, yada, yada, but tonight? tonight i AM a BADASS GODDESS WARRIOR OUTLAW, because when others gave up, lost hope, had no faith, I kept going, and friends, pass around the collection plate, because I performed a miracle called not giving up. I am mosquito bit humid happy. if i could give you the details I would, but the miracle belonged to someone else, someone i had to holler out of his house to come and take it - it had his name on it. he can sleep tonight with sweet dreams.

by yesterday evening, by late afternoon, never minding that i couldn't see or even feel my lost power, driving on faith and gasoline, i was into my jeep once again, looking once again for that lost something, retracing old roads and driving new ones. and there it was. waiting for me to find it. i could feel sparks coming off my skin, and a happiness i haven't felt in years. a joy beyond contentment. i was full of cell deep laughter. come night, i couldn't sleep. i'd thought i would, but i was up late, refusing to fight the continued joy inside. i was jumping around punching the air. take that, world, take that!  i thought of the word tribe. another word i hated, i was sure. on facebook, i posted a quote by steven pressfield about tribes, via polaroids and thoughts, then took it down.

The amateur dreads becoming who she really is because she fears that this new person will be judged by others as “different.” The tribe will declare us “weird” or “queer” or “crazy.” The tribe will reject us. Here’s the truth: the tribe doesn’t give a shit. There is no tribe. That gang or posse that we imagine is sustaining us by the bonds we share is in fact a conglomeration of individuals who are just as fucked up as we are and just as terrified. Each individual is so caught up in his own bullshit that he doesn’t have two seconds to worry about yours or mine, or to reject or diminish us because of it. When we truly understand that the tribe doesn’t give a damn, we’re free. There is no tribe, and there never was. Our lives are entirely up to us. 

i removed that quote because i have cherokee ancestors at my back, but i don't totally disagree. what i know is that tribes come free and it takes a lifetime to build them. i am not in the tribe of writers. i am not in the tribe of women.

i flutter on
the outskirts of women,
more moth than butterfly.
born in silk
night flying, wings wide open
called by small lights and the moon.


this morning is rain and the air still cool.
my toes are cold and i am goosebumpy. 
and my tribe?

the tribe of truthtellers.
poets with guns and namaste hands, grasshopper,
seeing the truth at 60' 6", shaking away the catcher's signs;
we discuss it with my glove over my mouth,
the truth being a dangerous thing.
always and only this tribe only.
when people say speak we know they don't mean it . 



you just slip out the back, jack

sometimes in the mornings, there are black moths waiting in a row across the top of my white bathroom curtains, settled next to each other close to the new day's sun, caught indoors the night before when i closed the doors and closed the windows and shushed the lights.  i open the window and they are gone.  disappeared before my very eyes.

the art of leaving.



sunday girly sunday

my grandmother's trunk and an old sheet tossed over a small stack of blankets.
the cat likes to sleep there.

today is jeans with a faded tshirt, fingernails broken, toenails painted.  no mascara, no eyeliner, but yes to a bit of lipgloss.  more gray and silver in my hair and even a bit of white now mixed into the brown.  pearls around my wrist.  mexican food with my brother and his family for lunch; he noticed the table next to us, a one dollar tip left by two women.  perhaps the waitress deserved no more, perhaps the women had no more to leave.  but it was sunday lunchtime busy and i had a couple of bucks in my pocket.  i tossed them over to the table before the waitress returned. sunday, i said. tithing. and we all laughed.

out of church tithing was an accidental lesson my mother taught me.
it's the small things that stay with you. 



july song

a quarter past eight, 90 degrees.  cooler than yesterday.  the sun has dropped behind the trees on the hill, striping my living room with the softness of day's last light.  the cicadas start their summertime song, a goodbye to the day, a welcome to the night, never mind that true night is still an hour or so away. it is coming, and that is good enough for a song.

i have had the door open all day, ignoring the air conditioning bill that will come.
closed doors are for wintertime.



four days

a moment of rain and deliberate unfocusness.

awakened by thunder, blue skies overhead, gray skies off thataway, and rain like christmas tree icicles, falling strings of silver lit by morning sunlight.  and then, just like that, gone, replaced by the sounds of birds and distant sirens.  july 3.

fireworks, cicadas, but also mosquitoes.  i'd chased a crow through my dreams that morning, through a storm of gray and green, shallow depth of field, the crow in focus, but little else. it stood on the limbs of trees bent by hard winds, watching me follow, leading me on, knowing i wouldn't escape the storm without saving it.  knowing i couldn't, knowing i needn't try.  i'd tossed the cat into a car from my childhood, and pushed my mother behind the steering wheel, but i couldn't go back to them empty handed. the crow was my compass. i was frantic, crying, led on by the bird's arrogance, and then the thunder woke me.  i don't think it means anything.


i've been reading still, rolling my eyes at the author who complained it took her a whole month to recuperate from teaching nine months, complaining that that only left her with two months of vacation. she should know better than to say things like that out loud. in fact, it stopped my reading of her book, though only temporarily - i'll be back, but i needed a bit of summer fiction after that.

i've been writing also, slogging through words as if they really matter. it is messy hard work; some days all i do is wipe the mud off my feet before coming in, leaving all the words outside, to skitter away back from whence they came - i see their tracks across the next morning's concrete, back into the wild.  escape.  how fabulous that must feel.


friday was movies - all day and all of the night.  yesterday, the lake.  a new pink swimsuit.  chips, salsa, boats.  cuban music, the same two songs over and over in the jeep on the way home.  today, clementines.  lord of the rings.  one orange day lily perfectly centered against the hackberry tree. sunshine. the cat asleep in my tshirt drawer. open doors and a bed with freshly laundered sheets.

no vacation in years and years, but there are all those things.
all of them.