April 7 2017

Friday should be for gratefulness, I think. Thank heaven it’s Friday, after a long week, sure, but also there are a lot of people in my life to thank.

Gratitudes day 38

For smiling listeners; for embracing friends;
for the fifth-grader who taught me Howard Shore;
for the salt that is more than salt and simply salt;
for the postcard signed love.

For the laughter without words,
as we imagine fugitive futures;
for the jam and the honest talk;
for the chance to be real.

Breaking Down

April 6 2017*

Today has been full of good stuff–I gave a talk that landed well; I got to go honor my 5th grade mentee for the amazing work she did on her research project; I had a chance to dig into big topics with thoughtful students.

But the bookending of the day has been … hard. This morning I read one of those brief, harrowing reports of the chemical attack in Syria:

Abdel Hameed is in very bad shape,” his cousin Alaa said. He’s being treated for exposure to the toxin. “But he’s especially broken down over his massive loss.”

Then, coming home this evening, I learned that the U.S. (Trump, without Congressional approval or oversight) decided to bomb Syria.

Breaking Down

Toxins invade my body; my skin crawls
and shreds in the wake of the incursion.

Blood splinters, liver fails, nerves fray:
my body breaks down but nothing

compares to the emptying
of my hands

the way they will never hold
my children again.


*I’ve missed a few days. I have good excuses for them… and it still bothers me.


March 14, 2017

I’m sitting in a cathedral in Lund, Sweden, listening to a group of choirs (there should be a more exciting plural for this happenstance) rehearse. Hearing choral music amplified and shaped by cathedral acoustics reminds me of how religion can work: beautiful harmonies, powerful chords, notes in crescendo vibrate through the air and our bodies. 


Their hum my ticket
i ride this train to glory
shivering with nerves raw
the church walls an organ
as voices swell until 

there is nothing
but song.


I’m tired and jetlaggy right now, but I spent a wonderful half day biking around Copenhagen. I’m not paying attention to US news..ok, I’m not paying much attention. Instead I’m basking in old buildings and bike traffic and unexpected newnesses. Cities are cities, but my favorite thing about visiting a new city–particularly in a country not my own–is that there are small ways in which it defies my expectations. I don’t mean linguistically, although that can play a role. It’s more that every city has its own way of organizing, of flowing, of thriving.


The church bells sound low
and the air smells of salt
while seagulls scream as they swoop

I’m biking in another language
and sometimes I miss the turn
but I keep my eye on the woman ahead of me

she knows what she’s doing
while I’m just playing tourist for a day
mapping out mustard yellows and brick reds
and the weight of bricked history on cobblestone streets.

Resistance- a quilt

March 8, 2017.

Happy International Women’s Day! Happy day without a woman! and as my super friend A says, shout out to all my amazing women, trans, and gender non-conforming friends! I hear by hearby  hereby declare this a great day!

I’m doing something a little different today, mainly because I went to a rally today at noon and, in addition to listening to some fierce, creative, beautiful people, I also got to read a poem that I wrote back in January.  I’m going to say that posting it here fulfills my Lenten promise, however, because I made a video. So there’s my risk-taking…putting the poem into a different medium. Although I need to be honest and admit that I feel this is poem works really well aurally, and I didn’t want it to lose that.

Follow this link, and you’ll hear me read my poem.



#Acwrimo check in

Boring post just to kneel in the confessional and say “here is why I fell off the #acwrimo wagon this last weekend”:

(1) Friday I was grading, grading, grading.
(2) Saturday I was having fun.
(3) Sunday was full of errands.

I feel the most guilty about Sunday. I could have/should have made some time for writing. Instead I took care of all sorts of email odds and ends. I paid bills. But I need to remember that there is no prize for doing  cabinet of curiosities work — well, except for a well-organized mail “box.”

Back to it today, and almost done with the essay from which I needed to cut 2000 words. Next on the docket: the revise and resubmit.

This coming weekend I’m going to take off again, but this time willfully, and intentionally, and, I think, necessarily. I’m looking forward to the pure vacation-ness of it all, and I refuse to feel guilty about it. It has been too long since I took a whole weekend to restore and recharge.