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Category: poetry

The Invitation

I came back to watch
the glowing magenta lift off,
hungover with grief
and hungry to feel loved.

Not a cloud was in the sky,
just a rich haze hovering over the line.
Rainbows shimmered at my feet
as the muddy blue horizon gave way.

The geese, drifting silently,
took no notice.
The gulls, oblivious to this minor miracle,
laughed their way through yesterday’s celebrations.

I could be here, and I am.
But also I am not—
too caught up in a long-denied truth
and where it might take me.

The sun, now high and yellow and too-bright,
illuminated the edges of my pages
as the geese, now flapping above me,
honked out an invitation.

And I accepted.


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The Roller Coaster

In late June I started writing songs after a dry spell of many years. The melodies and the lyrics are just popping up and I am letting them, giving them a space to be alive and change and grow. I am tending to them as I would a poem or any writing, but the process is different—a fluid exchange between set ideas and improvisation. It often starts with a melody and a couplet or two, and then expands as the music takes shape, because the written words on the page don’t tell the whole story.

The Roller Coaster is the third “finished” song this month, the first recording I want to share. It all started out with four lines that didn’t make it to the finished work. Those (ultimately discarded) lines formed the framework of the melody, which gave birth to the first lines of the finished song (and the concept as a whole). It was written over the course of a week, and this recording (the third in the process) was made on July 31st.

Musically, I’m in a strange place. My ear is better than it’s ever been, and my vision for what I want to do is clear. But i’m out of practice, and it takes real work to get what I hear in my brain out onto the tape. When it happens successfully, It’s a true and absolute joy. One thing I’ve been surprised by is how much the skills i’ve learned over the past several years doing non-music projects have made me a better songwriter. Things like: working incrementally and iteratively, taking breaks when things aren’t working, putting time in when it feels right AND when it doesn’t, practicing, accepting where I’m at, Taking risks.

My goal is to release a record before the year is through, but right now I’m focused on shepherding these songs into the world. I have faith that they will all come together in a way that makes sense to me, and hope that I can form them into a work that resonates with others, too.

The scene of a hundred or more “rollercoaster” takes.

The Roller Coaster

I’ve been getting high again
just to come back down.
All the turns you took me in
turned me inside out.

As we fall, that’s all there is—
I can’t even see.
At the top I’m losing it,
I can barely breathe.

Feels like I am going to die
as I strap on in
to face the fear and feel what’s here,
not what might have been.

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Not now, but soon

Four nights ago I heard
the sweet call of fantastic vision.
Hope of a life well-lived and uniquely played.

And rest.

But sunrise brought a flaming terror,
and burned out the peace I had tended to
over so many previous dawns.
The pain of loss (not now, but soon)
drove me to pull what remained.

But I have begun to dig
in this new, hard ground.
Cultivating the seeds of an invasive peace
that thrives in the cracks between stones
and spreads beyond intention.

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The Pilgrimage and The Presence

A family of three skunks showed me
the way to the lake
and the shore where sailboats,
sparsely docked, stood swaying
under mountain ranges of cloud.

I waited and watched
as the sunrise persisted,
illuminating the foothills.

A window (rose with fiery peach linings)
opened above the dim red burn
and lightning splashed its fierce light,
revealing hidden crags and peaks.

All the while changing, changing.

Tiny, lapping waves watched
and whispered too.
This is not the only shore,
there is another sunrise.


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Giving beyond myself

The lump—that deep twist in my gut.
I am holding too tight, even as I let go.
Scooping out my melon of a belly,
emptying it of everything, including hunger.

She doesn’t care for watermelon
but I continue to present it, bowl after bowl.
An offering,
a show of just how far I am willing to go.

As unappealing as my misplaced entrails
and the hunger that is and isn’t.

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I take it as a sign that I am truly living

I take it as a sign that I am truly living, that all at once I am experiencing

terror and joyful excitement

acceptance and hopeful ambition

deep laughter and slow tears

pride and regret

I am standing at the top of a hill ready to roll down, and I am at the foot of another hill beginning to climb.

I take this as a sign that I am truly living.


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