Artist Statement

Artist Statement

Poetry isn’t what I was taught in middle school:
rules and stilted contained lines written by long-dead rich old white dudes?
Bleh.

(I am not my friend Knox who makes old white guys so sexy.)

Poetry is living your artist statement.

Whether that means
saying yes to the camera
paint brush and chalk
wood and stone and paper
canvas, soil, and fiber
mentoring, teaching, parenting
the movement of your body
the call of the stage

or those Goddamn lovely words
back again
stealing berries off your fruit-laden trees
like birds and naughty fairies.

My sister
paints in children
between softly tender moments
the bright fire of unrelenting toddler chaos
slowing down for illness
and her calling education.

Another emerging master here grows poems in the garden
free verse in rising bread
you feel iambic pentameter
touching the hand-laid brick walkways in her yard: the scales of her skin
strong witness to the painful emergence
of open, wounded, pure bad ass presence. Leaves me speechless.
Nobody told them they are dragons.
Who on earth possibly even could?
Language isn’t wild and wide and beautiful enough yet.

Mom dances in laughing kindness deep at the heart of loss.
Dad co-creates in matching laughter and detailed, precise care.
Eva dabbles in the frisbee. Joe in body puddles.
Each of Daniel’s photographs gives birth to new photographers.

So, yeah, Poetry–poetry–for me is just what life is:
food, fun, and beauty
air and water
presence, fire, and deep fucking sorrow
without purpose

and

remembering my precious self before and after Shoulds
to find my right+full place at last, here among the words

How to Make Magic Stay

How to Make Magic Stay

Like friendship, magic shows up when you invite her in. She sits to stay a spell when you take a deep breath and say “This is who I really am.” After that, to stay with magic becomes easier and harder. Easier, because now she’s an old friend. Harder, because old friends don’t let you get away with being less than real or less than true to yourself. We don’t make old friends stay. That’s not what friendship is about, and it’s not what magic is about. The best we can do is walk blindly into our old walls, bitch or laugh about those walls and selves together, and then haltingly, stumblingly, walk through the veils of our old selves, becoming more fun and aware versions of ourselves. If we’re serious about staying with magic—and I highly suggest we not be—then it is we who must get lost, fall down, look the fool, and receive help. It is we who must learn to move with magic wherever she takes us…

Intuition
makes all my decisions.

Dragons
live in the fog across the sea from me
I’ve visited them.

Trees
are my advisors
wind
my mentor
rabbits, eagles, dogs, and cats
my closest friends.

I write
for the pure joy of it.
I edit for joy, sure, sometimes,
and also to pay the bills.

At 45½, aka, today
I learned that I love
easy-listening country music
when I dropped my guard
and just let it help me
write poetry.
(My love didn’t have to leave me,
my car didn’t break down,
nor did my dog have to die.
Bye bye, silly old beliefs.)

Today I prefer the company
of poets, artists, musicians, and farmers
caregivers, scientists, and new parents
the wildly curious, the extremely vulnerable,
the very young, and the very old:
basically, all the people who won’t notice
let alone mind
that I wore these same socks and this same sweater, yesterday.

I don’t have the high adult walls that some other grownups seem to.
You might spot me in the front yard
laughing
to attract bumblebees,
crying
to hold friends or embrace demons:
doing both
apparently
uncontrollably.

But you know
surely you must know already
if only within your soul
or you wouldn’t still be here…

It takes extra-terrestrial freedom
to not have high adult walls today
to not fear some humans
in the world right now.

It takes extra-terrestrial control
to let unimportant things go
to go where your heart takes you
to go all-in
on what matters most.

It takes extra-terrestrial guts
to be kind in the now:
to offer the benefit of the doubt
while also bravely speaking your mind.
It takes wonder, awe, and magic
to have true courage, deep power, and trusted change.
This is my known.

For the longest time I forgot this.
I did what was asked of me.
Then I went to school after school.
Then I went to leaders, gurus, and, God help me, even to politicians.
I searched Google and Facebook, too:
went spelunking for all good ideas known to man and
still I came up empty on this.

So now I’m back to me.
I’m back to intuition and dragons.
Back to well-worn sweaters, cozy chairs.
Back to baby steps, random leaps, and deep love in all directions around me.
Back to writing poems, building sand castles, and paying bills.

Because it takes extra-terrestrial magic within
to breathe fully now.
It takes extra-terrestrial magic within
to answer the question:
Who am I, really?

Open space + invitation = finding that magic within.
Saying “This is the real me today.” is sitting with magic, old friend.
Then,
muster all the courage you have
or don’t.
Then get up and walk away
or stay.
Do whatever you’ve got to do
to leave your beloved old self and ideas behind
hit the road
again
and stay with magic.

Well Rested

Well Rested

I am tired
of this world

I’m tired of violence
rabid intolerance
greed rewarded
trodden humans
hidden, outright thwarted
young lives mangled, ended
weapons preferred to soft human flesh

I’m tired of being told what to think
how to think
why I’m wrong
every time I speak
I’m tired of politics. period.
I’m tired of extremes in memes
pointless contextless debate
distant argument and hate
short attention spans…

I’m going to clean this house
release the mouse
let go some old friends too
and start again with you…

I’m choosing artists and their art
kids helping parents re-find heart
I’m choosing nature walks
poets gathering in old schoolhouses
caregivers helping one another out 

I’m choosing animals
trees and perennials
bird migration routes
helping sisters out
solidarity
with butterflies and bees
quirky humans laughing
stretch selves, without crushing us
I’ve been thrown beneath my final bus
by these hands that forgot how to trust

I’m choosing garden plots
homemade neighbor gifts
shared with refugees
who feel like home to me
I’m choosing
books
that bend my mind
and those who let me play with it

I’m cleaning out my house
giving most away
loving those I’m with
helping exactly how I am

I’m filling all my time
showing up as gift
for those who need me as me
more deeply curious

And when I find myself
among the curious
among kind silly weird
among the generous
the unpredictable
the humbled, awed, and wow’d
the come and play with mes
the sit and stay a spells
Why don’t you rest with me?

then I will recognize
the home I’m longing for
is the space we’re sitting in
right now

we will find ourselves
at play on solid ground
soaring with dragon friends
among the clouds we make

at home
right here on earth

well rested

 

My world has blue dragons

My world has blue dragons

yard dragonsMy world
has blue dragons
in the north
orange sherbet-colored dragons
in the south
dragons with long eyelashes
that smell of rain
in the east
and dragons
with sparkling tails
and charming overbites
in the west

Only people
who’ve been here
a long time –
long enough to break open
love deeply –
can see them and
sometimes strangers
even lean
against them
thinking they are streetlamps
or hedges
or sit on them
thinking they are
bus stop benches

I learned
that there are also
tiny purple dragonettes
in the woods
on the island
we just moved to
I saw a picture of one
in a shop
and read their story
in happy hurry

I haven’t seen a dragonette
in person yet
we’ve only been here a month
so maybe they haven’t seen enough evidence
of deep love yet
I’m working on that
and when it gets warmer
I’m going to walk into the woods
sit in a sun beam
and recount our story
so they know
I’m not a stranger here
I lived here long ago
even before they came
and am just returning
so they can stop
disguising themselves
as robins now
if they’d like
stop getting chased
off the path
by our dog