moon

My sister recently experienced the pain of a miscarriage. It happened while in Mexico several destructive earthquakes shook the foundation of people’s lives. This is for her.

for Monica

in the trembling, the plates made new space
that wasn’t there before.
this movement, unexpected and harsh
left the living cradling in shock and then,
weeping in sorrow.
dreams and plans had once stood brick by brick
where the rubble heaps are large. branches that reached high sit broken below, in places they don’t belong.
and although the sun continues to rise, time stands painfully still.

but, the plates made new space
that wasn’t there before.
and amidst the chaos and panic, a small glimmer emerges.
sun beam and moonshine rests upon once darkened corners.
looking up, the sky seems to stretch long and wide.

in the absence, presence is elevated. 
a word, a touch, a smile takes on larger meaning.
the laughter of a child is a sound of hope.
kindness of strangers helps heal.
loss breaks us open and in that there is air, there is light.
yes, the vacuum feels brutally empty still, but some days the message comes in clearly: “create again.”

and so with courage, with humble conviction,
we blow away the dust to forget, pick up the pieces to remember,
and do just that.

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san-miguel-de-allende-wall

San Miguel de Allende came to us like a wish come true. For a bit over a year, David and I had felt the swell of population, the pressurization of inflated prices, the unsettling political demise. My four year return to life in the United States confirmed a lot of things for me:

  1. The Bay Area had lost a bit of charm for me.
  2. Life didn’t have to be this hard.
  3. I thrive seeing the world from new places.

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flash

“Flash” by J.T. Kade

Joining the rest of America a couple of days ago, I viewed the Access Hollywood video of heinous remarks about women further damning any trace of morality/humanity in someone holding the title of U.S. Presidential nominee.

I closed my laptop. I cried.

These were not tears of fear or sadness though. They were tears of rage.

This had been some time coming. The build up of so many months being force fed filth, stupidity, and degradation stoked a burning anger that could no longer be neglected or ignored. My coping mechanisms had lost their affect. I had tried to engross myself in work, to avoid the media as much as possible, to hope hard that this was all one awful prank.

I’m not proud of this. My responses were wrapped up in a smallness that give a false sense of escape. Beyond my tipping point, the physical reaction of a racing heart, sick stomach and tears told me I was duping myself. Ignorance is not bliss.

I admire those engaging in the uncomfortable conversations online and around the dinner table. I am inspired by people like my boyfriend who leap into the grossness of injustice, the ugliness of racism and sexism with a roar and bite. I seek to emulate folks with an activist spirit like journalist and writer, Courtney Martin, who credits an upbringing of creating importance around honorable rebellion. In a recent On Being interview, she shares:

“So one of the things I feel like my parents really entrusted me with was this idea that you should trust your own outrage. And sort of being able to honor that anger, to me, is one of the most important muscles of a rebel.”

Not everyone joins the rebellion in the same way; I know this and respect it.

But, for the sake of my four year old niece who is one of America’s next generation of empowered and respected women, for the millions of immigrants that continue to contribute greatly to a beautifully diverse culture and incredible work ethic, for the belief that my country is capable of modeling social progress, open-armed tolerance, and environmental responsibility, I will  trust my own outrage.

I will honor this anger.

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rosary-rear-view-mirrorthe rosary swaying on his review mirror was familiar to me in the way that growing up with religious objects are. i sank in the back seat, my small suitcase beside me, ready to be home.

polite exchanges revealed information i really didn’t ask for: he’s married, two years in the U.S., has a 7 month old, and apparently devout in his faith.

my smile and “how nice” response to his being a father prompted him to ask the double-punch question: do you have kids-are you married? a quick no-no is my usual reply, relieving both interviewer and me from emotional entanglement.

but this time, i offered more.

“no”…and, “actually, I’m going through a divorce.”

why I opened up like that, i don’t truly know. maybe it slipped. maybe it was in hopes for a sympathetic word. maybe it was the presence of the dangling cross turning the Chevvolet Cruze into a confessional.

“oh, i’m so sorry.”

there it was. sympathy.

this sincerity was followed by the question: did you marry out of love?

when affirmed, it was clear the driver had a mission, a message. in his culture, marriage is prearranged and love follows. it’s chosen and maintained. in his faith, marriage is sacred. divorce is not an option. in his view, i needed to be prayed for so that we could reconcile and remain married.

my eyes glazed over the freeway signs, the trees and buildings blurring. my heart became weighted with every word. my mind wondered: what is this?

as i closed the door to a “God bless”, my steps leading closer to the front door unlocked my grief. at the doorway, open, loving arms wrapped my sobbing self, until my spirit quieted.

with a propensity to read into most things as divine nudges, i thought more about my viceral reaction. what was it about this that upset me so much?

it was the rubbing of a healing wound. it was the overt crossing of personal boundaries. it was the religion+judgement combination that i’ve always struggled with. it was the failure story loop.

i truly believe my driver was operating from a definition of goodness and care; that he wished wellness and salvation for me.

but, the unexpected exchange left me raw and without desire to judge, rate, or allot stars to an uber evangelist.

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nayathe quirky way she laughs is a combination of borrowing observed behaviors and the pure joy she gets in repeating an exaggerated gesture: throwing back her head, a wide smile, eyes brilliant, an occasional hand at the mouth, and hearing the sound of her own voice tickle.

with an absurd rainbow-unicorn towel, she envelops herself in music and movement, uninhibited. here she loses the stifling self-consciousness that often comes with viewing eyes, the recording iphone. a hop here, a twirl there. this is raw experimentation and it’s beautiful.

moments in the backseat of the car, she weaves reality and fantasy in breathless story lines that prompt questioning for clarification. her listeners will never truly understand her three year old truth, one that shape shifts and forms organically without effort.

when asked occasionally if she wants to be four, she shakes her head no.
” I don’t want to be old. I want to be three.”

I wonder, then, where does it go? the rawness of life experience, the one I witness in being with my dear niece.

And then, I’m reminded, listening to poet Paul Muldoon explain simply the loss of our natural poets, children, as they grow:
“I’m afraid that, too often, it gets educated out of us.”

when did we learn so wrongly?

blackbird in copenhagenThe record player spins on a well worn mid century modern dresser, akin to the cafe’s chairs and orb chandeliers. It’s all intentionally unpretentious with framed Hendrix posters and bathroom graffiti. These are pieces from Danish homes, second hand finds found on every other block. The Beatles serenade this 8AM morning, perfect melodies suitable for the melancholic gray outside, the romantic candlelight inside.

This pure artistry of a place, this mingling of quiet conversations in a foreign language with background latte making, this cozy nook where I write…this will forever, I believe, spoil future cafe moments.

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