27 November 2013

It's raining in the desert when we hit the runway. Whole trip bumpy from start to finish, or at least that's what the pilot says. He says expect turbulence the whole way and he cuts off drink service and no one gets up to use the bathroom, but really it doesn't feel much different than any flight I've ever taken. It's late when start. Past bedtime before we taxi. The girls read.  Lila nestles into my shoulders, buries her head in my lap for sleep.

It's a different kind of trip to Phoenix this time. Out on my parents back patio, the cool night air and the lights from the pool, traffic lulling off in the distance and the chlorine still stinking out my skin. My body holding all the heat from a long soak in the spa. Used to call these things hot tubs, but now they're spas I guess.

 Plane sounding over head but I can't see it. Can't see much out past these lights. Lone palm silhouette, but not even. Just a faint stripe of trunk lit up white from below and then nothing. No top, no bottom. And even that white stripe I can only see if I look hard enough. Find the right spot. Hot tub heat draining out of me. Chill night air taking over inside.

It's a different kind trip this time. Everything the same, but not the same at all. We are one less. There's no mistaking all the ways my dad's not here, but still forever seems like an impossible time to be gone. In the house everything as it always was. Except his chair is empty and the TVs not blasting me out of bed in the middle of the night and there's no snoring.


19 November 2013

Night Walking Part Two: Houses

(Note to self: no more two part posts. The is a blog for fuck sake, not an essay. Get it all out in one go or get what you can get and get out. Move on. New days.)

When my head gets quiet enough its just my feet hitting the pavement, soft wind, traffic in the distance and a far off train whistle blowing out my favorite sound. The lonesome possibility of motion.

It's the pull to keep going and the pull to turn home and every now and then a the little nudge of Daisy's nose against my leg. The blissful absence of direction against the realization I know exactly where my legs are leading me. Past the neighborhood houses and the big church and down the hill across Sandy and the downtown buildings all lit up against the sky, back through the brickers and manicured gardens of my old apartment complex. Circles of yellow light on the lawn. The place I landed the first time I left.

I've been doing this lately. Revisiting old places I've lived. Or driving near but not driving by. A few days ago I got half way down the block that dead ends into the first place Scott and I lived together  in Portland, a little wood heated two bedroom down in the trees beneath the Halsey bridge. Turned the car around though. I didn't need to see it again. But tonight I keep going, past the fountain with it's lion heads spiting a constant steady stream into the bowl below. Same fountain I circled, toddler at my knees, hot August day of a different lifetime. Tonight is Daisy at me knees, nose to the ground.

Sometimes when I'm walking it's totally confounding how all these people can have houses to put their lives in. It's such a simple thing. Houses and houses and houses. Still, in this moment its all so far from me, how they get them. But that's not the truth either. If your counting, I've lived 22 places since the day I left my parents house for college 25 years ago. That's only tracking places I stayed more than a month or paid rent or held a job. I know exactly how you get a place. I'm a fucking expert on rentals and house hunting and camping on beaches. Getting a place is not the issue. It's how you keep a home that blows me to pieces.

All the lights are on in my apartment tonight, shades down so I can't see in and I'm glad for that. In my head it still looks like mine inside. No time has passed. All the air tight in my chest. Every breath I feel it. The the big, old grandma oaks lined up along the side walk. This was my view. All the nights I smoked cigarettes out my bathroom window while the girls slept in the bedroom. I want to know what I knew when I lived here.

I don't want to leave amd I can't stay. I want to walk further into the night, but I have to turn home. It's getting colder and I have to pee and sometimes that's all life is. Meet the simple needs of our bodies and keep going.





17 November 2013

Night Walking (Part 1)

Really this should count as yesterday's writing. It was all in my HEAD last night but my day started at 4 a.m. and the walk was so sweet and the bath was so hot and the steam was so soothing my fingers couldn't overcome the call of my down comforter and my dog and my bed full of pillows - a trifecta screaming sleep, sleep (poppies will make them sleep - and NO, there were no actual poppies - I just like that line. And I like how my mind is free associating right now. Wake up brain it's time to get going.)

This morning, still in my bed, coming into the same grey blue half-light I walked out into last night, not enough light yet to define the clouds, just the promise of what will be.

Last night though, I guess it went the other way. Started under late clouds, smoky cloud laced patches of blue. Sunset time but no sun to see. Just me and my dog, leaves rain-pasted to the cement, one last fan-shaped leaf hanging off the a low branch of a naked little Ginko.

Fall isn't usually my favorite season. Truth is, I see the leaves falling and something in me drops with them. I've never understood how some folks feel all their possibilities surge when we're coming into winter. The time for slowing. Hibernation. Sleep. Nah, that's not the whole truth. I sort of get it. Something beautiful and infinite about striping naked and slipping into a long, slow dark. It's the new burst of life you get on the other side. Again and again. Dark to light. Dark to light. Dark to light. Usually I'm more a Spring kind of girl, picking up energy as the days stretch longer. This year, though, it's like I've never noticed autumn before now. I'm in love with colors and the changes and contrasts. Spring in reverse. These early dark no time hours.

I crave the wide open. My little house, the ceilings are high and the colors are easy - blues and greens and the perfect orange-yellow blend on the living room/dining room/kitchen walls - the kitchen is modern, the closets are big and the fakewood Pergo floor always hides the dirt, but this space doesn't let the outside in. Out every window it's fence or hedge or wall, little bits of sky above the neighbor's roof.  All I want is out.

We walk the dog's pace and she leads, slow and scent bound, stopping for leaf piles and tree trunks and I don't yank at her leash to pick up the pace. A promise I made to her putting on my boots. "You lead tonight," I said. Because I never, hardly ever, let the walk just be hers. And my boots aren't really boots, just a pair of rainproof Columbia hikers. They're not even mine. The boots are Roxie's, the green tie-dye socks are Lila's, the fleece came from a clothing swap my neighbor went to last spring, the rain shell from the lost and found at my (almost) ex-MIL's school, and the orange t-shirt with darker orange stripes is the last thing my dad bought for me a couple days before he died. The hat I bought myself.

I want to walk and walk and watch the night until my legs can't carry me, no hurry to get home. Cold wood smoked air on my face, full moon backlighting the clouds and we don't take the usual route down around the golf course, through the park, past the big houses on the ridge because I'm tired of going the same old way. We follow neighborhood streets away from the traffic on Sandy and Fremont to blocks without much light. Turn and turn until I lose track of where I am, a walking dream, not lost, but never sure of my exact coordinates.

It's where I am. Inside and out. A walking dream. Not lost, exactly, but not quite sure.

The dog stops for a sniff. I'm leaning toward a left turn but she goes straight on and I follow. As we walk, I make up rules for our route. Simple: walk as far as you can, do not drop in on friends to say hello, leave the phone in your pocket, when you find yourself headed somewhere familiar turn away, recalculate, keep walking.

Houses and houses all lit up, each it's own complete universe, self-contained and strung out across the galaxy of my neighborhood. I love looking in. Moms and pops and kids around the table, laid back on the couch and for a few seconds I watch the shows they're watching as I pass. I want what they have. Or what I think they have. We do this, idealize other lives, not because we can't empathize with their realities, that they too suffer. We do it because we want to believe in their happiness. Isn't it better that way? We see what we want them to have. We want them to be happy. If their lives are simple and easy, made only of joy, then lives like theirs could be ours, too, right? Attainable.

When my head gets quiet enough it's just my feet hitting pavement, soft wind, traffic in the distance and a far off train whistle blowing out my favorite sound. The lonesome possibility of motion.

(to be continued or more later)

16 November 2013

Because I said I would

I swore to Tracy I'd give this a go. One post a day, every day, for one week. Maybe didn't swear but I said I'll do it if you'll do it and I said it sounds like a good idea and I said if I write every day I won't be not writing anymore.

I hearby promise to stop writing about not writing. It doesn't actually count as writing anyway. It's like, well I can't tell you what it's like. I don't have a simile to insert here.

Straight to the points. Let's get this out of the way early. Here's where I am:

Already I'm a day late. I This week of posting was supposed to start yesterday, but I figure better late than never.

Melting into the couch, goose down comforter, close to letting my eyelids win. But that's not what I mean. I mean I'll just go ahead and say right here these last seven years have been like this: six houses (actually four houses, two apartments), five moves - twice the landlord needed to move back into my place, twice to leave my marriage and once to go back. And I'm not feeling eloquent these day. I'm happy with simple coherence.







13 November 2013

Got my favorite table in my favorite little writing coffee shop, back wall, full view of the room. It's been that kind of morning. My girls were out of bed fast and out the door on time. Teeth brushed, shoes on, breakfast in bellies, lunches in hand. Every light on the school commute was green. And I'm happy with my hair.

Sun through the high windows warm on my face, one beam straight to my table, coffee steaming. Buenas Dias.

12 November 2013

Sitting here in Case Study, Americano on the table, computer on my lap - make myself at home - the way I've always done. I'm literal like that. It's not called a table top, this little machine of mine. My BFF. And anyway, you don't get the cozywarm legs if the computer isn't on your body. Personal space heater to counter all that fall coming in through the open cafe door.

Me, I'm the woman in the big purple headphones without the first clue what to write. I'll tell you a secret: my head is packed with sounds and thoughts and ideas, but these days every time my fingers get within three feet of the keys it's all poof, gone, right of the rails. Empty. It's empty up there. I got the music beyond the edges of my headphones, come and go traffic, a broom across the floor and the barista chatting up a guy at the counter.

Devices all around.

Out past the window, toddler unsteady stepping the sidewalk in the rain jacket both my girls wore at her age. Purple hearts up both yellow sleeves and butterflies taking up the front panel real estate. Lila was in that jacket back when we lived in one of the brick apartments across the street, whole of our lives crammed into 720 square feet. I could spin sentences all through the night, put breakfast on the table in the morning, drop them at preschool and make newspaper stories until pickup.

Back before Facebook.

The leaves have dropped and budded and spread their colors and shed their colors, again and again and again. My girls have long legs to carry them steady now.

And I'm still here.

Got a story for you, but not the first fucking clue what it is.

Stick around. I swear, I'll find it.

11 August 2013

I offered up my goods to the devil or the gods or the universe
Whatever bigger than everything entity has the power to make such backroom bargains
I said tell you what
Give me 9 to 5 with bennies and a 401k
one thing I can hold onto
And, perhaps, a little something extra for a weekend at the beach 


Anything, I said, anything will do.
smite me to a cubicle life
of gray office damnation
I said you can have whatever you want,
you can have this. These,
all my words, take them
every letter, sound and syllable
yours for the low, low price of one eternity in stability
I said please.
Motherfucker, please.

They're yours all yours, I said
I don’t want them anymore,
pulled my fingers from the keys and waited.
Weighted
the leaves turned orange and gold and brown,
the rains painted their colors across the sidewalk,
and washed them into oblivion
days got shorter and the days got longer and the flowers opened and
fat red tomatoes split guts and seeds onto the garden floor
and nothing
Turns out the devil don't need writers neither