“Women Who Rock” (article in Mountain Outlaw Magazine)

I wrote an article about a few female rock bands (interview with ThunderPussy) who are touring the Greater Yellowstone area this summer in the the Summer 2018 Issue of Mountain Outlaw 

mother-daughter-women story

This is our mother-daughter-women story. Ours is separate from the fiction of fertilization, womb, fetus, birth in a small Los Angeles hospital, you holding the infant-me against your chest like a beating heart, your body my body. Our story is one of careening through lifetimes like undestroyed blast particles, taking form as slaves, lovers, witches, nomads, reuniting this time around as opposing forces. 

And after years, here we were, barely looking at each other across a devastating crevasse. You, a ghost woman in your own home while your family selfishly disintegrated into themselves. Me, a ghost daughter desperate to please but bitter in my never-enoughness. I don’t know how we went on like that. But we did. We did.

Until we didn’t. In that glorious, passionate, stunning way, we resurrected. It took 35 years of barely balancing on the untenable strain of our bloodline until we could at last see one another. 

When my boyfriend died and I found his body and you told me about your gay brother’s suicide and how as a lonely chubby Jewish girl in Texas, you would lie in the grass and leave your body so you could be her own friend. How you followed a man to Los Angeles to join a cult and stayed for 10 years even though he refused to marry you. How you began a liberated woman who rode horses bareback and said “fuck” and skinny dipped while stoned and ended up a soccer mom in Denver suburbia driving car-pool and wearing pearls. How you hated the float- floating from one vapid expectation to the next without feeling alive, shriveling until the sight of everything pale and perfect made you scream a silent Stepford-wife death. How you struggled to balance your womanhood and your motherhood and your wifehood, and isn’t every woman born with the weight of that imbalance on her back? 

I wish I had seen you sooner.

I also was struggling to balance childhood and womanhood and daughterhood and maybe there was no capacity to look. 

But here you are, staring back with inexhaustible love. Our story is woven into the greater stories of faith, myth, religion and philosophy. One of careening through lifetimes like undestroyed blast particles; at last, into reunited forces, into woman form. 

To Grandmama (1929-2014)

A few evenings ago, somewhere in the Bridger Mountains of Montana:

A wind sweeps gently through the aspen leaves,
the sound soothing, the fluttering soft,
then suddenly crescendos into an almighty rush
as the air surges through untold leaves,
shimmering and dancing like flames.

Higher up the mountain, the rut calls of the elk herd echo
beneath the swaying lodgepole pines,
deep, resonant roars followed by high pitched bugling.
A blue jay perches on a wooden post nearby, alternately rattling and chirping
as two bobcats dart across the path a few hundred feet away.

It is breathtaking,
and I turn the warmth in my heart toward the sky.

Native American legend has it that in these majestic moments
when you’re filled with the wonder of something larger than yourself,
it’s your ancestors reassuring you that they are far from gone.

It could have been you and I hope that it was,

because I could feel the soft touch of your hands tickling my neck as a little girl,
and inhale the sweet scent of gardenia as you held me when I needed to remember what unconditional meant,
and hear the contagious trill of your giggle that sent us both into gasping, shrieking fits of laughter.

It could have been you, and I hope that it was,
because you would love these yawning hills,
the flux of autumn yellows spreading across the valleys,
murmuring streams mingling with the soft susurrus of sighing branches.

It’s peaceful, and the life-giving spiritual world about me
is reassurance that you are near,
in the joy for life I’ve inherited, in my memories, in my heart…
Until our paths cross again.

Grandmama

BOOMA art show – 1/17/2015

Last weekend in Livingston, Montana, I participated in a text/collaborative art show.

I was given a photograph, and then I wrote a poem based on that photo. Then I passed on my poem to two dancers, and they choreographed a dance which then played at the show. And so and so on.

 

Here is the photo by Bozeman based photographer Dan Armstrong:

 

A_Drop_In_The_Universe_DA

 

Here is the poem I wrote based on his photo:

 

Coordinates

              I intended to travel alone,
         but the mind is that clingy companion,
         impartial to longitudes and latitudes,
              unwilling to be left behind.
        So, it’s one foot in front of the other
                 down eroded alleyways,
               along picturesque trails,
                     squeezing you
                          out
              with a frenzy of new images

followed by warm exchanges with the passerby- we all insist on being perfectly present (not reflecting on what we said
and didn’t say, did and didn’t do).

But when the darkness takes over,
issuing stars into the night sky,
your absence seeps in like a carnivorous vapor:

seething particles consume my mouth, until smiling burns,
and my eyes,
until the tears come (and they do), even my ears!

until endless chatter aches as much as endless quiet,

devouring my skin so slowly and methodically until eventually,
I don’t recognize myself.

By ‘your absence’, I mean the way you come into my
world everyday
without...being...here.

 

And here is the dance that two ladies did based on my poem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R79d7F-vWPk&feature=youtu.be

yoga in LA, like, this one time

Dressing room in yoga…

Girl: I go to Thailand every year just to sit in a cave and pray.

Other girl: oh my god! That’s like “Eat, pray, love!” *sigh*

Girl: Well, yeah…except, like, I don’t eat. I just do a juice fast and get colonics every day. It’s so raw and REAL.

spare change

She asked me for spare change and I said no not today. She glared and said you get what you give and I looked at her angry eyes and agreed.

charmed in Missoula, MT

I jogged past an elderly man and waved because it was early on a Monday morning and we were both enjoying the fresh air. He yelled “WHORE!” Happy Monday.

young love

At the airport. A little girl about 4 years old walks up to a boy her height in line, and unzips her sweatshirt to reveal the SAME Batman t-shirt that he is wearing. They stare at each other, then alternately grin and scowl, until she finally runs away. He steps out of line, watches her for a moment, then screams, “COME BACK BATGIRL!”

Excerpts from the coffeehouse #1

A conservative looking older gentleman sits across from a 20-something gal. He reviews papers, removes his reading glasses and speaks to her, glancing back at the papers every so often. I’m guessing a job interview.

Her wavy brown hair weaves over the collar of a down vest, and fingers adorned with silver rings press into one another in her corduroyed lap. She is nodding and smiling, eyes trained on him, interested, engaged…nervous. DEFINITELY a job interview.

He stops talking, and she swallows, raises her eyebrows and then responds, gesticulating with rather muscular hands. She must be a mountain climber. He sits back and listens, his expression inscrutable, which always sucks. You want an encouraging nod here or there!

I feel a little queasy for her. If she had looked over at me, I’d have given her an enthusiastic thumbs up (luckily for all of us, she doesn’t). I recognize this friendly, hard-working gal as the cashier for the local co-op grocery. I wonder what job she’s interviewing for.

After some time, I head toward them to put my cup in the dirty bin. I am right next to them now. His voice is quiet and warm.

“Well…” he sighs. “I will tell you something, and I don’t say this lightly.” She waits. I wait. “You are a remarkable, intelligent young woman. We would be a better team for having you on board, and I look forward to working with you. The job is most definitely yours.”

She sits back, shaking slightly and gasping, and when I look at her, she’s a blur through the tears in my eyes.

Good things happening in the world, folks.

Coordinates

I intended to travel alone,
but the mind is that clingy companion,

impartial to longitudes and latitudes, 

unwilling to be left behind.
So, it’s one foot in front of the other 

down eroded alleyways, 

along picturesque trails, 

squeezing you 

out 

with a frenzy of new images.
But when the darkness takes over,

issuing stars into the night sky,

your absence seeps in like a carnivorous vapor, 
seething particles consume my mouth, until smiling burns, 

and my eyes, until the tears come (and they do),

even my ears! until endless chatter aches as much as endless quiet,

devouring my skin so slowly and methodically until eventually,

I don’t recognize myself.
By ‘your absence’, I mean the way you come into my world everyday
without…being…here.