Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mermaid Song

I begin to swim upward. I let the kelp of self-denial, self-abnegation, untangle itself from my ankles as I rise toward the proverbial surface. I move through liquid, cool and tourmaline blue, bubbles sailing skyward, clouds lilting beyond the cellophane skin of this sea. I make my way upward and know finally that it is the act of swimming that must go on. Sans goal, sans direction--just the naked act of striving--propelling oneself through this vast expanse of iridescence. It is comprised of all things: human drama, hope, desire, suffering, love, fear. All of it combined at a molecular level, so much more complex than two hydrogens and an oxygen, but yielding yet the substance of our milieu. Ocean of us. If my head breaks the surface and sunlight spills over my face and hair, I know that it will be only for a moment, to take in more air: sustenance for another deep dive. So profound is the epiphany that my heart beat slows and I stop struggling against the fear of drowning. Mermaid-like I glide through the blue, soft heart, soft brow, dreaming and sleeping the peace of yes.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


I can only be the thing that I am. As I grow older, I become more generous. I become less impulsive, less easily agitated, but by no means less flawed. My greatest frustration is always with myself, and while I try to contain it, not let it spill itself onto the clothes and shoes of others, I don't always succeed. I can only appreciate my own intention, which is innocent, and try to live in a way  that translates into self-respect. I can try to express, as often and as profusely as I can, gratitude for all the ways my life is blessed. And I can embrace my humanity, which has in it as many spidery veins and fleshy bits as it does muscle and bone.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Heart of a Boy...

          ...for F.

What can be done for the heart of a boy? How to convince him that leaving does not mean un-love? How to explain the kind of sadness that rings in the body like a bell? How deepest love, mother love, can be sealed silently in the heart where it cannot speak to the head swirling with illusion and fear. How distortion becomes less than comfort. How one can reside in the most violent part of the darkest storm
and know that she does not know how to step into the shelter of arms or dreams. How she might know that she cannot love the sun as her own because its brightness shames her. No. The boy breaks under the weight of the inconceivability of it all. Moist eyes soften from sardonic to why? And we, for all our love, have no answer to offer but the whisper of our own shaken faith.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Ride...for Rakai and Taiaroa

            for Rakai and Taiaroa, my skateboarding boys

You see life as landscape:
features through which to maneuver,
slide, launch. Tensile body softens in air,
melts into its borders to express ease, a kind of
yes and please, eyes trained on ostensible landing.

Wood and wheels beneath feet, your choices are
art: each lift, glide, hurl of body and board
through air thick with concrete dust and
promise is a glimpse of your perfect intent.
You are this thing pressing—

hand against edge, foot against  wall—
a flourish rather than an aggression.
A fist, but beautiful: flesh and bone, moving
sculpture, acrobatic initiation into
full-color life. How we bloom outward into

a million star-shaped patterns, explosions
of organic light—to land, finally, roll into the
next exertion, perfect line of creative
expression. Animal blaze of self unraveling,
opening, revealing itself to the sky.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

After Saeglopur...

We don't know and we don't know and we don't know. That is the thing. In our arms we carry him and we wait, hold our own breath in expectation of that same breath taking hold of his fragile frame, water sliding gently from his hair, light glistening on his sun-brushed skin. He has been lifted from the depths, where (at least it seemed) he was pursued by every manner of aquatic assailant. We begin to hope that he was not afraid, that the water felt good as it enveloped his bird-boned body, slipped around his limbs as he moved through it in those last moments--innocence sublime. But we push these thoughts away, for they appear to us as the thoughts of the hopeless. The resigned. They are not. They are the thoughts of the eternally present. The serene. This grounded mother of all in her perfect peace. We hold in our arms the whole of our love, and it is the holding--the holding--that crushes us.

Friday, May 4, 2012


Today I read aloud to my sophomore students from the manuscript of my new novel Bend the Blue Sky.They are quiet, still, impenetrable as far as I can see. They do not stir as I read but seem to absorb my words in a way I would not have thought possible (except the one boy who softly snores near me, for I have invited them to put their heads down, close their eyes for "story time," as it were).

It is impossible to intuit what my story can mean to them, as it is impossible to anticipate how that same story will be received by the world, but what I understand as I hear myself offer it up is this: it is real, it is the song of my self, and sans "hook" or gimmick, it is simply the long poem that has lived in me all these years and which I have breathed into a story. Even if it is never heard or read by another soul in this lifetime, it is a thing of beauty.