pretty much stuck with my heart sticking out.

I’ve been quiet lately, I know. I guess I’m going through another giant phase of taking it all in, the great big gulp of things before I exhale onto a page. The calm before the pen? Maybe something like that.

Being an adult is so weird–the elongation of one’s own history is disorienting. Not to mention how certain responsibilities find their orbit around you and just are, must be. Like paying the utility bill. Some days the world feels like a blood bubble between two rocks. Some days feel pivotal–from bus stop to playlist–everything right and moving, important and layered. I have been here a while. My hands are still the hands I’ve always had. Same as my shins, inner thighs or bottom lip. There are times when it is hard for me to believe this. Cells slough off and new ones form, but my limbs were always my limbs and why does this blow my mind? Maybe being an adult isn’t weird but amazing. I’m not sure. It’s hard to tell.

morning alone

Nightmares of car wrecks and old roads and close calls. I rise up from bed slick, a vertical dark mark of sweat on the front of my undershirt like a strange oblong continent. I stare at it while drying my hair. It fades by the time I fully wake up.

look to

During times of stress/indecision/etc, I gravitate to the words and image that I find inspiring. Sometimes they are simple, sometimes they are not. A favorite source of inspirational and grin-worthy images for me is Nikki Giovanni. Behold:

please let me always be this open/happy/free behind a microphone

music moving.

Went to see Blind Pilot on Wednesday night in Cincinnati. The last song they played was played down in front of the stage, completely unplugged with everyone in the audience sitting on the floor. It was wildly intimate, just one of those things (one of many things) involving music that I will never forget. This is the song they played:

This is the song that had the entire room dancing:

And the song that paralyzed my breathing. Oh heart. Watching with hands over my mouth:


I knew it was going to be a rough day today before it even really started–back when the alarm was just going off and I had to peel myself out from between the moutains of pillows I clung to for most of my slumber. I felt the need to throw up for the duration of the bike ride into work–the air smelled like thick car fumes, hot garbage, and the cigarettes of chainsmokers perched at the bus stops in increments along the road.

Once at work, I changed in the bathroom and cleaned myself up from sweaty mess to respectable worker. The elevator stopped running on floor 20, so I walked the remaining 11 flights to the office, reverting back into a sweaty mess in record time. The roofers are working on the building again, so the crazyharsh chemical smells are swirling around the air of our department again. So much for kicking this migraine.

This is day 3 of this migraine, brought on by a too-perfect storm of hormones and going too hard socially. Day three is usually where I start to get worn down from nonstop hurting and/or sleeping to rid myself of the pain, so I start to feel a little delirious. I get angry and all actions are bordered by this fuzziness I cannot rightly explain–it is just a fuzziness and it is there, on everything. Day three and still in pain means I don’t have a choice when I get home today. It means I’m going right to bed. I don’t really have time to mourn the losee of yet another day/evening–it is what it is. Being awake hurts.

I try to keep my head up about these things. After all, I’ve had these things for 23ish years–you would think that I could’ve established a bit of grace by now. But no. Every migraine attack turns me into a freaked out, kicking and crying baby, feeling isolated and rejected from normalcy in general. There’s simply no normal to be had in the throes of it–even now while typing this I am at my work desk leaning all the way down and back in my chair, right side of the head pressed to the cushion as if that’s going to solve anything. Two more hours to go. I worry about the bike ride home–what if one of these days I ride with a migraine and fall? Guess I’ll keep pushing my luck til it happens.

Sometimes all I want and need at a time like this is for someone to say it’s going to be okay. For someone to execute physical contact–to just touch the side of my head with a palm or to take my hand and say “it’s going to be okay.” To be taken care of a little bit. That’s all I’ve wanted today, all I’ve craved is some little bit of human contact, someone to hold my head, to brush my hair back from my forehead and say it’s going to be okay. Even if you feel like you are dying it’s going to be alright. And you’ll get through it, you’ll get through it all like a champ because that’s what you do. You push through, you press on. You survive.

briefly on rejection

I received 5 rejections today. Two at work and the other three as a surprise awaiting me post-soccer. 5 out of the 15 poems I’ve sent out this summer. It’s not great, it’s not terrible. I’m just getting started.

This is the other side of that thrill in sending the work out there in the first place. It’s all that letting go. That’s the bones of it. When you love the work, when the work is you, then you stand behind it. You trust it to breathe on its own and it will, and it’s okay.

The rejections are being taped on a wall in the writing room, a designated place of reminder and motivation. Kindling for the flame. Straw into gold. I’m gonna be godzilla. Rejections are gonna be my city.

by: Naomi Shihab Nye

The river is famous to the fish.

The loud voice is famous to silence,
which knew it would inherit the earth
before anybody said so.

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds
watching him from the birdhouse.

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.

The idea you carry close to your bosom
is famous to your bosom.

The boot is famous to the earth,
more famous than the dress shoe,
which is famous only to floors.

The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it
and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.

I want to be famous to shuffling men
who smile while crossing streets,
sticky children in grocery lines,
famous as the one who smiled back.

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,
but because it never forgot what it could do.


And I came home alone, heat lightning high in the clouds even at one a.m. I unlock the door alone and I lock it behind me alone, and the rain starts to fall, as if it held its breath for my arrival and exhaled finally safe. There is a comfort to the thunder and I’ve never been able to say that.

I came home and I listened to the one audio recording I have of my grandfather–3 minutes or so of a sermon and almost four minutes of a song, singing lead by him. Voice deep and familiar and cracking–I know that voice, I grew up under it, saw it echo between the church walls as aunts spoke in tongues and I sat in the front row feeling absolutely scared and absolutely safe at the same time–a feeling I can’t conjure back no matter how clear the mind or deep the focus.

Out with friends tonight religion came up and I mentioned the recording. The mentioning became listening and here I sit with the rain and my shoes still on and my head shaking along…it wasn’t always perfect or safe or ideal but I love my history. There is no present tense without it. And here I am making more of it–heart sore sometimes due to loneliness, moments clumped together due to routine and sameness. I hold onto my current with as much love as one can muster without splitting seams.

I am 31 years old and listening to him is like coming home, remembering and returning something that slipped away and buried itself under time, years, events. And here I am, back to where it all started, to earliest memories and feelings. It doesn’t matter where I go. My grandfather singing “Got a Mind to Shout Right” is home to me. If I ever question who I am or where I’ve been, I come back to this. And I have, in private, returned when I can’t see straight. When I feel certain that I am simply unmade for love, the opposite of what works, a fraction–I come back and listen to history.

It helps.

world dips pelvis
one side one time
towards you,
hands smeared with
ocean and pen,
room lit with
mating calls


Tonight I miss the crickets.
In the city you can get yourself a barbershop quartet here and there but nothing like the church choir you get out in the cut / surrounded by farmland, clumps of woods. Backyards that are also horizons. Thick grass and space. Back home it is like this, chorus of crickets night after night in the summer, storm rolling in to sway audience of corn getting taller.