THM
TWENTY FIVE 

Heavy rain.
Fresh territory.
Southern inflections.
A woman slips me a one hundred dollar bill. 
“Pay it forward.”
And I’ll never see her again.

Asheville, North Carolina.

November
The orange grove smells sweet.

Remembering what you said.
“What’s next?”

We feed the birds.
We watch the afternoon rain.  
At night we play cards and eat popcorn.   
I remember this place all too well.  
Familiar faces.
A time to reflect. 

I am five.
I trace the walls with my fingertips.
I don’t know where it came from.
Or who gave it to me.
But I reach for his arms.
And I land in his lap.
And I give him the rose.

And He died that night. 
And wherever he went, the rose followed. 

Here in Asheville. 
Turn the key. 
Open the door.
My new home. 
And you’re nowhere to be found. 

1937
A sanitarium of the past. 
Young souls departed.  
And I can hear them breathing deep.
In the halls.
Around the corners. 
Free. 
Alive. 

I am underwater.
Inhaling. 
Exhaling.  

And I am here. 
Tiptoeing on creaky floorboards. 
Under crisp sheets.
Washing the residue of the day off of my hands. 
And the hills are effervescent with dew. 
And I like my three-dollar recliners.
And my quilts. 
And the letters that hang from magnets. 
Stained with markings of late night debauchery. 

A bouquet of fresh flowers.
Newspaper clippings and sticky notes.
On Mondays I shop for fruits.
And vegetables.
I wander the isles just to watch the world. 
There is a familiar scent when I open my closet door. 
I remember California.
And the garden. 
I work in the River Arts District.
Recollections. 
Through my mind.
As fast as the passing trains.  
I smile at lonely old ladies.
Mothers.
Toddlers.
Men dressed in suits.  
James Brown on the radio. 
And I daydream. 

At night, I find child’s pose. 
I practice near the window.
To soak up the outside light. 
Sometimes I catch the sun.
Right before it goes to bed. 
Pinks and purples.
Wondrous beauty. 
An angel in the sky.

I get home every night.
And rest.
My showers are hot.
I drink too much tea.
And I eat peanut butter.
On a spoon.
From the jar. 

I enjoy my time. 
Alone. 
And I’ve tried to share my bed.
But I suffocate on memories.
We slept well together.
You and I.
Your hands, light on my spine.
Silence would come out to play. 
Like clockwork, we’d reside to our corners.
And in the morning, we’d find each other again. 

And so it goes, choking on nostalgia. 

Asheville North Carolina.
And I am finding love within myself.
Happy here. 
For this moment. 
Excited to see what happens.
Content to leave it all behind. 

A state of temporary bliss.
Aware of pain.
Aware of pleasure.
Aware of change.

Remembering what you said. 

"Ride the wave."

I want to see new faces.
And old ones too. 
I want to feel the good.
And the bad.
I want to touch the cold water.
And dance in the warm breeze.
My hands.
Delicate.
Floating across the sea of open fields.  
I want to speak the truth.
I want to study my body.  
When I’m an old lady, wrinkled and wise, I’ll remember.
I want to examine human connection. 
I want to be involved. 
I want light in my mind.
And in my heart. 
I want to run barefoot.
And remember. 
And I want to sink my toes into the Earth. 
I want to feel numb after love.
I want a smile that hurts.
And so these are the things I want.
And these are the things I’ll get. 

I am underwater, and I am open.

TWENTY FIVE

Heavy rain.
Fresh territory.
Southern inflections.
A woman slips me a one hundred dollar bill.
“Pay it forward.”
And I’ll never see her again.

Asheville, North Carolina.

November
The orange grove smells sweet.

Remembering what you said.
“What’s next?”

We feed the birds.
We watch the afternoon rain.
At night we play cards and eat popcorn.
I remember this place all too well.
Familiar faces.
A time to reflect.

I am five.
I trace the walls with my fingertips.
I don’t know where it came from.
Or who gave it to me.
But I reach for his arms.
And I land in his lap.
And I give him the rose.

And He died that night.
And wherever he went, the rose followed.

Here in Asheville.
Turn the key.
Open the door.
My new home.
And you’re nowhere to be found.

1937
A sanitarium of the past.
Young souls departed.
And I can hear them breathing deep.
In the halls.
Around the corners.
Free.
Alive.

I am underwater.
Inhaling.
Exhaling.

And I am here.
Tiptoeing on creaky floorboards.
Under crisp sheets.
Washing the residue of the day off of my hands.
And the hills are effervescent with dew.
And I like my three-dollar recliners.
And my quilts.
And the letters that hang from magnets.
Stained with markings of late night debauchery.

A bouquet of fresh flowers.
Newspaper clippings and sticky notes.
On Mondays I shop for fruits.
And vegetables.
I wander the isles just to watch the world.
There is a familiar scent when I open my closet door.
I remember California.
And the garden.

I work in the River Arts District.
Recollections.
Through my mind.
As fast as the passing trains.
I smile at lonely old ladies.
Mothers.
Toddlers.
Men dressed in suits.
James Brown on the radio.
And I daydream.

At night, I find child’s pose.
I practice near the window.
To soak up the outside light.
Sometimes I catch the sun.
Right before it goes to bed.
Pinks and purples.
Wondrous beauty.
An angel in the sky.

I get home every night.
And rest.
My showers are hot.
I drink too much tea.
And I eat peanut butter.
On a spoon.
From the jar.

I enjoy my time.
Alone.
And I’ve tried to share my bed.
But I suffocate on memories.

We slept well together.
You and I.
Your hands, light on my spine.
Silence would come out to play.
Like clockwork, we’d reside to our corners.
And in the morning, we’d find each other again.

And so it goes, choking on nostalgia.

Asheville North Carolina.
And I am finding love within myself.
Happy here.
For this moment.
Excited to see what happens.
Content to leave it all behind.

A state of temporary bliss.
Aware of pain.
Aware of pleasure.
Aware of change.

Remembering what you said.

"Ride the wave."

I want to see new faces.
And old ones too.
I want to feel the good.
And the bad.
I want to touch the cold water.
And dance in the warm breeze.
My hands.
Delicate.
Floating across the sea of open fields.
I want to speak the truth.
I want to study my body.
When I’m an old lady, wrinkled and wise, I’ll remember.
I want to examine human connection.
I want to be involved.
I want light in my mind.
And in my heart.
I want to run barefoot.
And remember.
And I want to sink my toes into the Earth.
I want to feel numb after love.
I want a smile that hurts.

And so these are the things I want.
And these are the things I’ll get.

I am underwater, and I am open.

TWENTY FOUR


November.
Was I ever ready to go back? 
Was I ever ready to leave? 
San Francisco grabs ahold of me.
Memories of riding on busses.
Staying up too late.
Falling in love with fantasies.
And freedom.  

Earlier that day.
A picture of us.  
Heat traps itself within the pores of my skin.
For a moment I am lost in a dream.  
And I’ve been here before. 
And you were here, with me. 
In the orange tent. 

Our tent.
And hold me for the first time.
Our tent.
And hold me for the last time. 
I am here now.
And you are nowhere to be found.

Here with The Mama and The Baby.
A relationship, gentle and easy.
My mind plays with the idea.
One day I’ll find that connection.
One day in this life.  
Perhaps. 

Here with The Papa.
Head of the farm. 

And The Vagabonds.  
Here to capture the magic.
Found among the campfires.  
Here to listen to stories.  
We’ve all got those.
Full of places.
And people.
And adventures.  
Role Call.
The Girl From The North Country.
The Wanderer who climbs the rocks.
He daydreams about his pending adventures.  
The Immigrant.
The Teacher.
The Sapsucker From The East.
The Sapsucker From The West.
A Man From The Island. 
And then, there he is. 
James.   

Their faces towards the light.  
The rainbow around the sun. 
Rainbows suggest change. 
Always remember that. 
My mind drifts.
The moments of the season. 
The cold air.
Crippling my arms and legs.
Late at night.
And we work in the tent. 
The laughs.
The arguments.
The discussions.
The fingernails brown.
The palms, smooth with dirt. 
I am in the plants. 
Among the yellows.
And the greens.
Here among the garden. 
The sun smiles in between the shadows of the branches.
And the sweat drips down my brow. 
Hard work. 
Crisp mornings.
Cheap wine.
And an Irish wolfhound. 
September.  
I am in his room.
Under his sheets.
Staring out his window.
And these are his things.
His home.
His life.
Not mine.
I drive away with The Sapsucker From The West. 
I wave.
With the intention of returning.  
My hair moves with the wind. 
And I am free.

Driving away.
I close my eyes and remember him.
In this moment.
Perfect and beautiful. 
The first person I ever let hold me.
Without hesitation.  
The sun sets as we cross the border.  
Utah is painted pink and green.
Hints of purple play among the clouds.  
A magical landscape, that rests peacefully in my heart.  
We’ve dipped down in between the mountains.
We’ve explored the twists and turns of canyons.
It is dark.
Quiet. 
The stars are as alive as I am.
And for a moment, I catch his profile in the dim light.  
The Sapsucker has retired to his nest.  
It is you and I, James. 
We are here together.
And you are just as foreign as this terrain. 
August. 
You came to the farm.
It was a lazy afternoon.  
We took a drive in the Scout.
Our skin, and the sky, grew darker.  
Eye contact and conversation.
Deep into the night.

August.
Clear sky and cliffs.
Uncertainty before the obstacle.
My feet propel.
I am Underwater and jumping.
  .  
A lagoon. 
My legs dance.
Furiously.
Back and forth. 

We leave the next day. 
Reluctant to say goodbye. 
September.
I am on the back of his motorcycle. 
I am in his room. 
I am in Colorado.
I am in love again. 
When I look at those eyes, I am home.
But I am underwater, swimming, half-heartedly.    

November. 
San Francisco.
I take a hot shower.
Dress in black lace.  
The sun is setting.
And my mind is foggy from the harvest.  
I am in the real world again.
Exposed.  
We are celebrating.
And I always loved hotels. 
A knock at the door. 
And she is just the same as she has ever been. 
She is trust.
She is love.
I am belligerent with happiness. 
We are dancing down the street. 
Connections grow deep.
Like the roots in the garden. 
Open hearts. 
As open as the sky. 
This is fate. 
This is life. 

This is what happens when the air is just right.
And the wind carries a bond.
From the hills of Northern California.
To the foggy streets of San Francisco. 
We frolic among the strangers.
The empty cups and the smoky air.  
I look to him.
The honesty rests in his dimples.
And in his boyish innocence.
Remembering what you said.
“You don’t see it do you?” 

On the roof.
And the sky grows lighter.  
We retire to a crowded hotel room.
The taste of old feelings.
New memories.   

Saying goodbye to The Sapsuckers. 
It is early morning.
My heart feels heavy.  
We were once a family. 
Side by side. 
Under a tent.
Under a sky.
Under the assumption that it would never end.  
But sooner or later, we have to keep moving. 

Someone once told me, the only thing that stays the same, is change. 

And then there were five. 
We are here.

And we have been here.
In this tiny cafe.
Dancing.
Laughing.
Until we climb trees.
Outside the nightclub.
Until we meet each other’s eyes.
A crowd full of wandering souls.
Flashing lights.
Restless limbs.
Until we climb the stairs.
And fall asleep.   
Remembering what you said.

"You deserve to be treated nice." 

Six words. 
Five minutes. 
Four Steps. 
Three a.m. 
Two tickets. 
One destination.  
He is gone.
The Wanderer has since traveled through our hearts. 
Chase your dreams, dear friend.   

Flash. 
The light through the curtains. 
It is you and me.
My oldest friend. 
We walk down the street.
Behind the bar.
A familiar face from the opposite coast.  
In all of the places.
In all of the pubs.
Of all the people.
And there he is. 

Remembering what you said.

"What’s next?" 

I am underwater.
Looking for answers.

What’s next? 

I say goodbye. 
I close my eyes. 
I spit words. 
I excuse my behavior.  
I unpack and crawl into bed. 
Something to do with being on my own. 
Finding myself. 
Hiccups and scattered words. 
Tears that slither down to my lips. 
My eyes are closed.
And I dream.  
We are back in Colorado.
In that little room. 
I am sipping tea and making art.  
You are reading. 
We meet in bed.
Lights of passing cars dance on the walls. 
You’re close to me.
And I want to feel this way for a while. 
I want you close to me. 
Don’t leave me. 
Let’s take a walk along the tracks. 
We are among bare trees and empty nests.  
I always loved holding your hand.  
We are in your truck, taking a drive.
Listening to that song. 

I am underwater, right down the line. 

We are unraveling dark mysteries of the past. 
We are here for each other.  
My tears slide off your chest. 
I am weak. 
I am sad. 
And you try.
You always tried.  
Remembering what you said.

"It will all be okay."

And in the morning it is.
The back of my neck is for you. 
My favorite spot.

And before you know it we are swimming in the ocean. 

And I am underwater.
Wandering.
Wondering. 
I walk to the bakery.
You bike to the docks.  
We live with The Mermaids on Summer Street. 
Fleetwood Mac and beach towels. 
Sandy floors and lobster. 
I blame the current.
And the wind.
And the change of seasons.  

July.
I’m on top of a bridge.
Watching you from afar.   

I remember this moment.
The rooftops of Udaipur. 
The Land of The Midnight Sun. 
Love.
As it was.
With you. 

I was walking away then. 
And I am walking away now.

TWENTY FOUR


November.
Was I ever ready to go back?
Was I ever ready to leave?
San Francisco grabs ahold of me.
Memories of riding on busses.
Staying up too late.
Falling in love with fantasies.
And freedom.

Earlier that day.
A picture of us.
Heat traps itself within the pores of my skin.
For a moment I am lost in a dream.
And I’ve been here before.
And you were here, with me.
In the orange tent.

Our tent.
And hold me for the first time.
Our tent.
And hold me for the last time.
I am here now.
And you are nowhere to be found.

Here with The Mama and The Baby.
A relationship, gentle and easy.
My mind plays with the idea.
One day I’ll find that connection.
One day in this life.
Perhaps.

Here with The Papa.
Head of the farm.

And The Vagabonds.
Here to capture the magic.
Found among the campfires.
Here to listen to stories.
We’ve all got those.
Full of places.
And people.
And adventures.
Role Call.
The Girl From The North Country.
The Wanderer who climbs the rocks.
He daydreams about his pending adventures.
The Immigrant.
The Teacher.
The Sapsucker From The East.
The Sapsucker From The West.
A Man From The Island.
And then, there he is.
James.

Their faces towards the light.
The rainbow around the sun.
Rainbows suggest change.
Always remember that.
My mind drifts.
The moments of the season.
The cold air.
Crippling my arms and legs.
Late at night.
And we work in the tent.
The laughs.
The arguments.
The discussions.

The fingernails brown.
The palms, smooth with dirt.
I am in the plants.
Among the yellows.
And the greens.
Here among the garden.
The sun smiles in between the shadows of the branches.
And the sweat drips down my brow.
Hard work.
Crisp mornings.
Cheap wine.
And an Irish wolfhound.

September.
I am in his room.
Under his sheets.
Staring out his window.
And these are his things.
His home.
His life.
Not mine.
I drive away with The Sapsucker From The West.
I wave.
With the intention of returning.
My hair moves with the wind.
And I am free.

Driving away.
I close my eyes and remember him.
In this moment.
Perfect and beautiful.
The first person I ever let hold me.
Without hesitation.
The sun sets as we cross the border.
Utah is painted pink and green.
Hints of purple play among the clouds.
A magical landscape, that rests peacefully in my heart.
We’ve dipped down in between the mountains.
We’ve explored the twists and turns of canyons.
It is dark.
Quiet.
The stars are as alive as I am.
And for a moment, I catch his profile in the dim light.
The Sapsucker has retired to his nest.
It is you and I, James.
We are here together.
And you are just as foreign as this terrain.

August.
You came to the farm.
It was a lazy afternoon.
We took a drive in the Scout.
Our skin, and the sky, grew darker.
Eye contact and conversation.
Deep into the night.

August.
Clear sky and cliffs.
Uncertainty before the obstacle.
My feet propel.

I am Underwater and jumping.
.
A lagoon.
My legs dance.
Furiously.
Back and forth.

We leave the next day.
Reluctant to say goodbye.
September.
I am on the back of his motorcycle.
I am in his room.
I am in Colorado.
I am in love again.
When I look at those eyes, I am home.

But I am underwater, swimming, half-heartedly.

November.
San Francisco.
I take a hot shower.
Dress in black lace.
The sun is setting.
And my mind is foggy from the harvest.
I am in the real world again.
Exposed.
We are celebrating.
And I always loved hotels.
A knock at the door.
And she is just the same as she has ever been.
She is trust.
She is love.
I am belligerent with happiness.
We are dancing down the street.
Connections grow deep.
Like the roots in the garden.
Open hearts.
As open as the sky.
This is fate.
This is life.

This is what happens when the air is just right.
And the wind carries a bond.
From the hills of Northern California.
To the foggy streets of San Francisco.
We frolic among the strangers.
The empty cups and the smoky air.
I look to him.
The honesty rests in his dimples.
And in his boyish innocence.
Remembering what you said.

“You don’t see it do you?”

On the roof.
And the sky grows lighter.
We retire to a crowded hotel room.
The taste of old feelings.
New memories.

Saying goodbye to The Sapsuckers.
It is early morning.
My heart feels heavy.
We were once a family.
Side by side.
Under a tent.
Under a sky.
Under the assumption that it would never end.
But sooner or later, we have to keep moving.

Someone once told me, the only thing that stays the same, is change.

And then there were five.
We are here.

And we have been here.
In this tiny cafe.
Dancing.
Laughing.
Until we climb trees.
Outside the nightclub.
Until we meet each other’s eyes.
A crowd full of wandering souls.
Flashing lights.
Restless limbs.
Until we climb the stairs.
And fall asleep.
Remembering what you said.

"You deserve to be treated nice."

Six words.
Five minutes.
Four Steps.
Three a.m.
Two tickets.
One destination.
He is gone.

The Wanderer has since traveled through our hearts.
Chase your dreams, dear friend.

Flash.
The light through the curtains.
It is you and me.
My oldest friend.
We walk down the street.
Behind the bar.
A familiar face from the opposite coast.
In all of the places.
In all of the pubs.
Of all the people.
And there he is.

Remembering what you said.

"What’s next?"

I am underwater.
Looking for answers.

What’s next?

I say goodbye.
I close my eyes.
I spit words.
I excuse my behavior.
I unpack and crawl into bed.
Something to do with being on my own.
Finding myself.
Hiccups and scattered words.
Tears that slither down to my lips.
My eyes are closed.
And I dream.
We are back in Colorado.
In that little room.
I am sipping tea and making art.
You are reading.
We meet in bed.
Lights of passing cars dance on the walls.
You’re close to me.
And I want to feel this way for a while.
I want you close to me.
Don’t leave me.
Let’s take a walk along the tracks.
We are among bare trees and empty nests.
I always loved holding your hand.
We are in your truck, taking a drive.
Listening to that song.

I am underwater, right down the line.

We are unraveling dark mysteries of the past.
We are here for each other.
My tears slide off your chest.
I am weak.
I am sad.
And you try.
You always tried.
Remembering what you said.

"It will all be okay."

And in the morning it is.
The back of my neck is for you.
My favorite spot.

And before you know it we are swimming in the ocean.

And I am underwater.
Wandering.
Wondering.

I walk to the bakery.
You bike to the docks.
We live with The Mermaids on Summer Street.
Fleetwood Mac and beach towels.
Sandy floors and lobster.
I blame the current.
And the wind.
And the change of seasons.

July.
I’m on top of a bridge.
Watching you from afar.

I remember this moment.
The rooftops of Udaipur.
The Land of The Midnight Sun.
Love.
As it was.
With you.

I was walking away then.
And I am walking away now.

TWENTY THREEPART ONE

January. 
A Mermaid.
Behind the counter. 
She is slaying hot brew.
Smiling.
Remembering what you said. 

"Ride the wave."
The fog sits in the window.
Snow falls on my eyelashes. 

My studio no longer houses bare feet.
Honest souls and summer dwellers hide from the bitter winds.
It is winter.
And so it goes.
The gray mixing with the blues.
An angel in the sky. 
I choose Alaska. 
Or does Alaska choose me?

March. 
A Reading From The Guest Book:
I think love can be found through the exploration of unfamiliar places.  With that, acknowledging the things you leave behind, there’s this creation of longing.  And if we’re able to appreciate and accept that feeling, that’s something that’s beautiful, and complete. You can keep that person, or that ocean air, or that laugh, or that warmth from the sun…all of those memories can be stored in your heart. Always. And that, to me, is by far the most tangible love.

April.  
Packing with nostalgia at my side. 
Saying goodbye to Fred.
The happiest 85 year old I know. 
He teaches me to smile.
To rejoice. 
And I am rejoicing in every way possible. 
And I am breathing the ocean air. 
In and out. 
Filling up. 
Letting go. 

And when I feel scared, or alone, or sad, I will close my eyes.
And taste the sea on my skin.
And I’ll feel the salt between each toe.
And I’ll smell the seaweed lingering throughout my curls.

A night.
In the park. 
Feet in water. 
Heart lifted.
Shadows of dancing figurines.  
Enough love for a lifetime.
Knowing this is my home.
Knowing I will be back.
One day.  

Remembering what you said. 
“Maybe one day our paths will cross again.” 
She looks at me to say goodbye. 
But this is not the end. 
And I’ll remember you just as you were.
Come closer.
The patchouli.
The opium.
How the two mix together.
Let me feel the crisp edge of your collar.
Paint is smeared across your buttons.  
And I’ll remember you just as you were. 
I am the soul that understands you.  
And when I am gone, don’t forget me. 
Don’t forget.
You are an innocent creature on this planet.  
You are misunderstood.
Unravel it all, my sweet Mama.
Familiar faces arrive to say goodbye. 
Remembering what you said. 

”Fare thee well.”

TWENTY THREE
PART ONE

January.
A Mermaid.
Behind the counter.
She is slaying hot brew.
Smiling.
Remembering what you said.

"Ride the wave."

The fog sits in the window.
Snow falls on my eyelashes.

My studio no longer houses bare feet.
Honest souls and summer dwellers hide from the bitter winds.
It is winter.
And so it goes.
The gray mixing with the blues.
An angel in the sky.
I choose Alaska.
Or does Alaska choose me?

March.
A Reading From The Guest Book:
I think love can be found through the exploration of unfamiliar places. With that, acknowledging the things you leave behind, there’s this creation of longing. And if we’re able to appreciate and accept that feeling, that’s something that’s beautiful, and complete. You can keep that person, or that ocean air, or that laugh, or that warmth from the sun…all of those memories can be stored in your heart. Always. And that, to me, is by far the most tangible love.

April.
Packing with nostalgia at my side.
Saying goodbye to Fred.
The happiest 85 year old I know.
He teaches me to smile.
To rejoice.
And I am rejoicing in every way possible.
And I am breathing the ocean air.
In and out.
Filling up.
Letting go.

And when I feel scared, or alone, or sad, I will close my eyes.
And taste the sea on my skin.
And I’ll feel the salt between each toe.
And I’ll smell the seaweed lingering throughout my curls.

A night.
In the park.
Feet in water.
Heart lifted.
Shadows of dancing figurines.
Enough love for a lifetime.
Knowing this is my home.
Knowing I will be back.
One day.

Remembering what you said.
“Maybe one day our paths will cross again.”
She looks at me to say goodbye.
But this is not the end.
And I’ll remember you just as you were.
Come closer.
The patchouli.
The opium.
How the two mix together.
Let me feel the crisp edge of your collar.
Paint is smeared across your buttons.
And I’ll remember you just as you were.
I am the soul that understands you.
And when I am gone, don’t forget me.
Don’t forget.
You are an innocent creature on this planet.
You are misunderstood.
Unravel it all, my sweet Mama.
Familiar faces arrive to say goodbye.
Remembering what you said.

”Fare thee well.”

TWENTY THREE
PART TWO

"Waldosia n. [Brit. wallesia] A condition characterized by scanning faces in a crowd looking for a specific person who would have no reason to be there, which is your brain’s way of checking to see whether they’re still in your life, subconsciously patting its emotional pockets before it leaves for the day."

September.
And I am packing away my belongings.
Treasures from this chapter. 
And I am standing in my home.
The Northstar Camper.

The string of lights.
Illuminating photos of my past life. 
I close my eyes.
And remember home. 
The sound of my sandy feet. 
Pitter-pattering down the pier. 
The sea pushes against the wooden beams.
My skin is bare, on this warm summer evening. 
Remembering the company of my Mermaid. 
The smell of her living room satisfies my soul on the coldest of autumn nights.  
And the foghorn sings me to sleep.
And the winter wind wakes me.
It carries me down the quiet side streets.
And the snow crinkles under my boots. 
And the blossoming of spring flowers.
And the beginning of something beautiful. 
And it was spring when I landed here.  
A sleepless night under foreign sheets. 
The Quiet One From New Mexico was there. 
We rode an early morning train to Denali.  
The mountains were whispering to me along the way.
And with their snow peaks glistening in the afternoon light, they welcomed me home. 
Those mountains, and the lessons hidden between the crevices. Testing the hint of silence.
The stillness in the air.
The company of trees and birds and caribou and sheep.
It is more than enough. 
No conversation, no words, needed. 
I will always remember wanting to give up.
Taking the beauty for granted. 
I will always remember the soft earth under my feet. 
The Man of The Mountains ahead of me. 
He always took me to the best spots. 
And I can see my breath in the air. 
And I can feel the rain on my naked arms. 

And looking out to see those wondrous clouds moving in from the left, covering all but a single hole in the sky, which filtered a line of light through the air, connecting the universe, and the land, and my soul. 

I am underwater, running. 
Running up the last bit of the ridge.
I look out onto unfamiliar territory. 
Untouched land. 
Untouched beauty! 
We have made it! 
We are here among the silence and the unknown.
And I couldn’t have asked for anything else. 
Not that day. 
Not ever. 
September.
I smell the remnants of a fire. 
A fire that sparked the season of summer. 
I ran across the street to fix my hair.  
It didn’t matter. 
The snow was falling.
My curls were wet and they sat carelessly across my red cheeks. The sun came out, and the snow disappeared.   
A man played the banjo, and his lady sang to the crowd.  
And you were there. 
You were across the campfire.
And I wanted to reach for you.
But I didn’t. 
You disappeared.
Time passed. 
A day in June.
And you reached out for my hand.
And I caught your name.

And you built a home in my soul.  
September.
And the sun is hidden in my dreams.  
And it is Solstice. 
Where the Yanert meets the Nenana.
Down the river.
And we made our way to dry land.
I rested with my hands in the earth.
And my eyes on the sky.
The leaves dance.
The birch bark nestled between my shoulder blades. 
Time to hike. 
And I followed you. 
I wanted to reach for you.
But I didn’t.  
Questions asked.
Familiarizing.
Learning. 
Honest and untamed. 
The day melted into night.
Ten o’clock, and the light was perfect.
A dusk that lit the way on our unmarked trail. 
Onward, upward.  
We found a saddle in the Mountain.
Mount Fellows. 
Not another being anywhere in sight. 
Three in the morning.
And we reached the top. 
The sun dipped below the peaks.
It drifted among the early morning clouds.
And then made its swift return.
The Land of The Midnight Sun.
And it stayed long enough for us to share an apple. 
Long enough for you to sketch my profile. 
Long enough to set up the tent.

The orange tent.
The one that would house memories of mornings to come.
Where shadows of the outside world danced as we intertwined under sun kissed blankets.  

And, without hesitation, I reached for you that night. 

And I can smell the campfire. 
I can feel the river on my bare hands. 
I can sink my feet into the Earth, and grab for boulders. 
We left reality behind. 
Do you remember that?  
And in the morning we napped above the world. 
And in the end, when we made our way back to the rocks.
Back to the bear caves.
Back to the mosquitos.
And to the branches.
Back to that realm.
Back to the river. 
And I looked up towards the open sky.
And there, in the distance, was a rainbow. 

Rainbows suggest change.
Always remember that. 
September. 
And I want to go back. 
Take me back. 
Take me to your home.
The one that sits next to the lake. 
To the mornings in the yurt. 
To the nights with my thumb in the air.  
We were twenty five miles from each other. 
Can you believe that? 
Take me back to the road we stumbled on. 
The air is sticky and the mosquitoes are hungry and we are laughing.  
And we laugh some more. 
And I can feel your weight on me. 
And that was my favorite feeling in the world. 
I can see you walking towards me.
Towards my nook. 
The one that sits next to Morning Mountain.  
Take me.
Keep me. 
And I want to hold your hand.
Let’s go back to the lake. 
Let’s go back to that tiny town.
Let’s pretend we are the only ones between the river and the sun. 
Take me on a ride. 
Remember that? 
When I looked up and saw the crisp, blue sky. 
Natural monuments of rock and stone and beauty. 
And a picture of us, in the side mirror. 
I’d never forget that adventure. 
And I’ll never forget our adventure. 
September and I am saying goodbye again. 
To the guests from around the world.  
The Italians.
Remembering what you said.
“Take life slow, enjoy every bite.” 
To the man from Germany. 
You followed my footsteps along the trail.
And I remember your beautiful face.  
To the man from South America.
Who climbed to the top of Denali.
His humble kindness. 
To the couple from London.
Who told me of their adventures together.  
They were in love.
And they were funny.
And we hitched and climbed the side of a rocky mountain.
The one near Savage River. 
And we stayed up late.
The sun playing tricks on our internal clocks.  
To the seasonal folk, who kept their hearts protected.
For they knew we’d all be leaving one of these days.

To Mr. Lewis.    
To the nights at the pub.
Playing silly games.
Listening to locals strum their guitars.
Never ending bluegrass beats.
The beat of my heart.   
To the morning journey.
And I’d wink at our mountain.
Closing my eyes for a brief moment.
A place I fell in love.  
To Madsen.
A man from Montana.
A man, who, under the veil of a lonely soul, is a human with a heart of gold.  
To his Pup Dog.
For whom I remember was a prime example of loyalty.  
To The Girl From The North Country.
Whose passion for The Land of The Midnight Sun was almost as fiery as her spirit. 
And one day, we’d play in the garden.
In the hills of Northern California.
One night, I’d look to her.
And she’d hold hope in her eyes. 
To The Quiet One From New Mexico.
Whose playful heart came out to dance.
When the smoke reached towards the sky. 
And to The Man Of The Mountains.
I’d knock on his door.
He’d let me in on those cold evenings.
Rain would fall on the tin of his camper.  
We’d listen to cowboy songs, and drink beer.  
He’d tell me about his kids.
His life back in Oregon. 
He’d tell me about his days to come. 
His dreams of building his cabin in the woods.
We’d go fishing. 
He made me laugh.
He encouraged me to practice.
Practice joy.
Practice music.
Practice love.
And we collected heart rocks for each other.  
I gave him a moose tooth.
And yogurt covered pretzels. 
He hugged me when I cried.
On that morning in September.
And he’d take me for long drives.
And we held hands under festival skies. 

Goodbye to the night we danced under the Aurora. 
To the mountains who took care of me. 
To the strangers that picked me up on those hot mornings.
The woman running away.
The papa searching for his baby. 
The lonely musician.
The whimsical storyteller.
The dirty hippie and his beat up Volkswagen.  
To the nights around the campfire.
When the wet wind tested the flames. 
To the morning I left you at the airport.
Dumbfounded with abandonment.  
To the moments I counted my breath.
And I’ll always reach for higher ground.  
The sky was open.
My heart was open.   
September. 
And the leaves eventually change colors.
And so it goes.
The light disappears. 
And I look at the creek.
Watch the water sway.
And I find the rhythmic continuity upon the surface. 
How, no matter what, the water keeps moving.  
It reminded me of the inevitable truth in life.
The honesty of change.
And the indecent thought that things could always remain the same.
Someone once told me, the only thing that stays the same is change.
October. 
I watch the snowflakes land on the porch.
I think about where I’ve been.
And now I am here. 
I am home now.
And mama is making something that smells like home.
And the lights flicker home.
And my socks feel like home.
And everything is home.
To me.  
She is just as beautiful as she was.
In the spring, when I left her.  
And she doesn’t notice my smile.  
I am watching her as she focuses.
She is working her magic.  
A creative soul. 
And I’ve missed her.  
And I go and see my Mermaid.  
Billie Holiday plays.
Half of my belongings in boxes.
In the side room.
The side room where I once snuck away from him.   
She is playing guitar for me.
I am listening to her voice.
It takes me back to warm summer nights on the porch.  
Her hair drifts down her back.
Her curls bounce up and down.
We walk the familiar streets. 
The music and the lights grow louder.
Brighter.  
And an open door.
A crowd of smiles. 
It’s as if I never left.
It’s as if nothing has changed. 
Fragile.
Beautiful.
Familiar.
And I was overcome with a strange feeling. 

It was the grasp of home, and of the memories, pulsating in my heart and in my chest, and in my bones and in all of my body. It was a feeling that would remain for as long as I was away.
Weaving through the apple orchard.
Digging my hands into the cold, wet sand.
Kissing the New England sky.
Remembering what you said.
“Fare thee well.”

I am running down 42nd Street.
We are heading north.  
And there you are.
And I want to know where you’ve been. 
And I want to know where your scars come from.  
You’ve seen destruction. 
You’ve seen war. 
Unravel it all, my sweet brother. . 
Instead you make me laugh.
We pretend like you were never away. 
And I’m glad you’re back.
And don’t you ever leave again.
My head rests gently on the window.
Trees pass.
Just as quickly as the time.  
I remember this drive.
Upstate. 
Once upon a time you and I were in the backseat. 
Your tired eyes.
Your chin sliding off your palm.
Papa’s eyes in the rearview.
Van Morrison.
I’d tap my toes and wiggle in my seat. 
It was different back then.
Everyone under one roof. 
Snow falling. 
Enough food for days. 
Enough memories for this life. 

Someone once told me, the only thing that stays the same is change.

TWENTY THREE
PART TWO

"Waldosia n. [Brit. wallesia] A condition characterized by scanning faces in a crowd looking for a specific person who would have no reason to be there, which is your brain’s way of checking to see whether they’re still in your life, subconsciously patting its emotional pockets before it leaves for the day."

September.
And I am packing away my belongings.
Treasures from this chapter.
And I am standing in my home.
The Northstar Camper.

The string of lights.
Illuminating photos of my past life.
I close my eyes.
And remember home.
The sound of my sandy feet.
Pitter-pattering down the pier.
The sea pushes against the wooden beams.
My skin is bare, on this warm summer evening.
Remembering the company of my Mermaid.
The smell of her living room satisfies my soul on the coldest of autumn nights.
And the foghorn sings me to sleep.
And the winter wind wakes me.
It carries me down the quiet side streets.
And the snow crinkles under my boots.
And the blossoming of spring flowers.
And the beginning of something beautiful.
And it was spring when I landed here.
A sleepless night under foreign sheets.
The Quiet One From New Mexico was there.
We rode an early morning train to Denali.
The mountains were whispering to me along the way.
And with their snow peaks glistening in the afternoon light, they welcomed me home.
Those mountains, and the lessons hidden between the crevices. Testing the hint of silence.
The stillness in the air.
The company of trees and birds and caribou and sheep.
It is more than enough.
No conversation, no words, needed.
I will always remember wanting to give up.
Taking the beauty for granted.
I will always remember the soft earth under my feet.
The Man of The Mountains ahead of me.
He always took me to the best spots.
And I can see my breath in the air.
And I can feel the rain on my naked arms.

And looking out to see those wondrous clouds moving in from the left, covering all but a single hole in the sky, which filtered a line of light through the air, connecting the universe, and the land, and my soul.

I am underwater, running.
Running up the last bit of the ridge.
I look out onto unfamiliar territory.
Untouched land.
Untouched beauty!
We have made it!
We are here among the silence and the unknown.
And I couldn’t have asked for anything else.
Not that day.
Not ever.
September.
I smell the remnants of a fire.
A fire that sparked the season of summer.
I ran across the street to fix my hair.
It didn’t matter.
The snow was falling.
My curls were wet and they sat carelessly across my red cheeks. The sun came out, and the snow disappeared.
A man played the banjo, and his lady sang to the crowd.
And you were there.
You were across the campfire.
And I wanted to reach for you.
But I didn’t.
You disappeared.
Time passed.
A day in June.
And you reached out for my hand.
And I caught your name.

And you built a home in my soul.
September.
And the sun is hidden in my dreams.
And it is Solstice.
Where the Yanert meets the Nenana.
Down the river.
And we made our way to dry land.
I rested with my hands in the earth.
And my eyes on the sky.
The leaves dance.
The birch bark nestled between my shoulder blades.
Time to hike.
And I followed you.
I wanted to reach for you.
But I didn’t.
Questions asked.
Familiarizing.
Learning.
Honest and untamed.
The day melted into night.
Ten o’clock, and the light was perfect.
A dusk that lit the way on our unmarked trail.
Onward, upward.
We found a saddle in the Mountain.
Mount Fellows.
Not another being anywhere in sight.
Three in the morning.
And we reached the top.
The sun dipped below the peaks.
It drifted among the early morning clouds.
And then made its swift return.
The Land of The Midnight Sun.
And it stayed long enough for us to share an apple.
Long enough for you to sketch my profile.
Long enough to set up the tent.

The orange tent.
The one that would house memories of mornings to come.
Where shadows of the outside world danced as we intertwined under sun kissed blankets.

And, without hesitation, I reached for you that night.

And I can smell the campfire.
I can feel the river on my bare hands.
I can sink my feet into the Earth, and grab for boulders.
We left reality behind.
Do you remember that?
And in the morning we napped above the world.
And in the end, when we made our way back to the rocks.
Back to the bear caves.
Back to the mosquitos.
And to the branches.
Back to that realm.
Back to the river.
And I looked up towards the open sky.
And there, in the distance, was a rainbow.

Rainbows suggest change.
Always remember that.
September.
And I want to go back.
Take me back.
Take me to your home.
The one that sits next to the lake.
To the mornings in the yurt.
To the nights with my thumb in the air.
We were twenty five miles from each other.
Can you believe that?
Take me back to the road we stumbled on.
The air is sticky and the mosquitoes are hungry and we are laughing.
And we laugh some more.
And I can feel your weight on me.
And that was my favorite feeling in the world.
I can see you walking towards me.
Towards my nook.
The one that sits next to Morning Mountain.
Take me.
Keep me.
And I want to hold your hand.
Let’s go back to the lake.
Let’s go back to that tiny town.
Let’s pretend we are the only ones between the river and the sun.
Take me on a ride.
Remember that?
When I looked up and saw the crisp, blue sky.
Natural monuments of rock and stone and beauty.
And a picture of us, in the side mirror.
I’d never forget that adventure.
And I’ll never forget our adventure.
September and I am saying goodbye again.
To the guests from around the world.
The Italians.
Remembering what you said.
“Take life slow, enjoy every bite.”
To the man from Germany.
You followed my footsteps along the trail.
And I remember your beautiful face.
To the man from South America.
Who climbed to the top of Denali.
His humble kindness.
To the couple from London.
Who told me of their adventures together.
They were in love.
And they were funny.
And we hitched and climbed the side of a rocky mountain.
The one near Savage River.
And we stayed up late.
The sun playing tricks on our internal clocks.
To the seasonal folk, who kept their hearts protected.
For they knew we’d all be leaving one of these days.

To Mr. Lewis.
To the nights at the pub.
Playing silly games.
Listening to locals strum their guitars.
Never ending bluegrass beats.
The beat of my heart.
To the morning journey.
And I’d wink at our mountain.
Closing my eyes for a brief moment.
A place I fell in love.
To Madsen.
A man from Montana.
A man, who, under the veil of a lonely soul, is a human with a heart of gold.
To his Pup Dog.
For whom I remember was a prime example of loyalty.
To The Girl From The North Country.
Whose passion for The Land of The Midnight Sun was almost as fiery as her spirit.
And one day, we’d play in the garden.
In the hills of Northern California.
One night, I’d look to her.
And she’d hold hope in her eyes.
To The Quiet One From New Mexico.
Whose playful heart came out to dance.
When the smoke reached towards the sky.
And to The Man Of The Mountains.
I’d knock on his door.
He’d let me in on those cold evenings.
Rain would fall on the tin of his camper.
We’d listen to cowboy songs, and drink beer.
He’d tell me about his kids.
His life back in Oregon.
He’d tell me about his days to come.
His dreams of building his cabin in the woods.
We’d go fishing.
He made me laugh.
He encouraged me to practice.
Practice joy.
Practice music.
Practice love.
And we collected heart rocks for each other.
I gave him a moose tooth.
And yogurt covered pretzels.
He hugged me when I cried.
On that morning in September.
And he’d take me for long drives.
And we held hands under festival skies.

Goodbye to the night we danced under the Aurora.
To the mountains who took care of me.
To the strangers that picked me up on those hot mornings.
The woman running away.
The papa searching for his baby.
The lonely musician.
The whimsical storyteller.
The dirty hippie and his beat up Volkswagen.
To the nights around the campfire.
When the wet wind tested the flames.
To the morning I left you at the airport.
Dumbfounded with abandonment.
To the moments I counted my breath.
And I’ll always reach for higher ground.
The sky was open.
My heart was open.
September.
And the leaves eventually change colors.
And so it goes.
The light disappears.
And I look at the creek.
Watch the water sway.
And I find the rhythmic continuity upon the surface.
How, no matter what, the water keeps moving.
It reminded me of the inevitable truth in life.
The honesty of change.
And the indecent thought that things could always remain the same.
Someone once told me, the only thing that stays the same is change.
October.
I watch the snowflakes land on the porch.
I think about where I’ve been.
And now I am here.
I am home now.
And mama is making something that smells like home.
And the lights flicker home.
And my socks feel like home.
And everything is home.
To me.
She is just as beautiful as she was.
In the spring, when I left her.
And she doesn’t notice my smile.
I am watching her as she focuses.
She is working her magic.
A creative soul.
And I’ve missed her.
And I go and see my Mermaid.
Billie Holiday plays.
Half of my belongings in boxes.
In the side room.
The side room where I once snuck away from him.
She is playing guitar for me.
I am listening to her voice.
It takes me back to warm summer nights on the porch.
Her hair drifts down her back.
Her curls bounce up and down.
We walk the familiar streets.
The music and the lights grow louder.
Brighter.
And an open door.
A crowd of smiles.
It’s as if I never left.
It’s as if nothing has changed.
Fragile.
Beautiful.
Familiar.
And I was overcome with a strange feeling.

It was the grasp of home, and of the memories, pulsating in my heart and in my chest, and in my bones and in all of my body. It was a feeling that would remain for as long as I was away.
Weaving through the apple orchard.
Digging my hands into the cold, wet sand.
Kissing the New England sky.
Remembering what you said.
“Fare thee well.”

I am running down 42nd Street.
We are heading north.
And there you are.
And I want to know where you’ve been.
And I want to know where your scars come from.
You’ve seen destruction.
You’ve seen war.
Unravel it all, my sweet brother. .
Instead you make me laugh.
We pretend like you were never away.
And I’m glad you’re back.
And don’t you ever leave again.
My head rests gently on the window.
Trees pass.
Just as quickly as the time.
I remember this drive.
Upstate.
Once upon a time you and I were in the backseat.
Your tired eyes.
Your chin sliding off your palm.
Papa’s eyes in the rearview.
Van Morrison.
I’d tap my toes and wiggle in my seat.
It was different back then.
Everyone under one roof.
Snow falling.
Enough food for days.
Enough memories for this life.

Someone once told me, the only thing that stays the same is change.

TWENTY THREE
PART THREE

And so it goes.
I find myself waking up.
And it’s a different coast. 
We have found each other again.  
We make our way through Chinatown.
I always loved holding your hand.
I’ll never forget the morning in the park.  
The simple pleasure of watching the world.  
Our room is yellow, and the streets are loud. 
But under the layers, in the morning light, there is peace.
Steady ground where I land my fluttering heart.  
And there is truth in your eyes. 

And I was here once before, in this city.  
Four Wandering Sailors, and a Mermaid.
Our skin. 
Each pore filled with the bountiful rays of sunshine. 
With eyes closed, Joni Mitchell fills my head. 
We continue down the street. 
A vision of words, of knowledge, on the side of the church.
“Son, Observe the Time and Fly from Evil”.

Fast Forward.
It’s dark now. 
We’ve said goodbye to the beeping cars.
We’ve said goodbye to the sheets we rolled around in.
To that basement bar.
To that woman on the street corner.  
To the saxophone player downtown.
And to the mother and daughter that owned that cafe. 
Where the sun poured its love within each freckle of mine.  
We said goodbye, for now, to sweet San Francisco.

The gate opens, and I enter a new world. 
A world of scissors. 
And we camp under the clear sky.
The orange tarp, familiar and warm, housing our bodies. 
We wake among the hills of Northern California.  
The Mama and The Baby.
The Papa and The Vagabonds. 
And one day, I’ll be here again.
But things will have changed.
As they often do.  
Here for a moment in time.
I have forgotten our whimsical plan.
It’s too late to strategize.
Sometimes you have to dream. 
And I dream.
In a bunk bed.
In a hostel.
Under the misty clouds.
The foggy streets of London. 

And I wake to the chaos. 
Facing Mumbai close up.  
Four in the morning. 
And we ride on a bus.
For seventeen hours. 
And we are climbing mountains.
And I am remembering Alaska.  
And we are walking over rickety bridges.
And we are on the banks of the Ganges.
We watch from afar, as they burn the bodies of their loved ones. And we raft down the river.
We see legs floating in the water, stiff and lifeless. 
And this is one hell of a trip. 
And we are tracing the steps of musicians.
“All you need is LOVE.”
And we are walking through crowds.
They stare at our skin.
They play with your beard. 
And we find Amma, and we are among her followers. 
And we are making love under a mosquito net. 
And you are packing your things.
Because this is the end. 
Or is it? 
Don’t leave me, please. 
I am underwater, and I am swaying in the hammock. 
And we are resting in our hut by the sea. 
And we swim during the day.
And enjoy good company at night.  
Trains are filled with bodies.
One on top of the other. 
The pungent smell of spices and sandalwood. 
We ride a motorcycle through the countryside.
We befriend a litter of puppies.  
They are small and desperate.
And I won’t forget the day we left.  
A familiar feeling.  
Dumbfounded with abandonment. 
And one day in January.
We leave it all behind. 
India, the silent chaos.

TWENTY THREE
PART THREE

And so it goes.
I find myself waking up.
And it’s a different coast.
We have found each other again.
We make our way through Chinatown.
I always loved holding your hand.
I’ll never forget the morning in the park.
The simple pleasure of watching the world.
Our room is yellow, and the streets are loud.
But under the layers, in the morning light, there is peace.
Steady ground where I land my fluttering heart.
And there is truth in your eyes.

And I was here once before, in this city.
Four Wandering Sailors, and a Mermaid.
Our skin.
Each pore filled with the bountiful rays of sunshine.
With eyes closed, Joni Mitchell fills my head.
We continue down the street.
A vision of words, of knowledge, on the side of the church.
“Son, Observe the Time and Fly from Evil”.

Fast Forward.
It’s dark now.
We’ve said goodbye to the beeping cars.
We’ve said goodbye to the sheets we rolled around in.
To that basement bar.
To that woman on the street corner.
To the saxophone player downtown.
And to the mother and daughter that owned that cafe.
Where the sun poured its love within each freckle of mine.
We said goodbye, for now, to sweet San Francisco.

The gate opens, and I enter a new world.
A world of scissors.
And we camp under the clear sky.
The orange tarp, familiar and warm, housing our bodies.
We wake among the hills of Northern California.
The Mama and The Baby.
The Papa and The Vagabonds.
And one day, I’ll be here again.
But things will have changed.
As they often do.
Here for a moment in time.
I have forgotten our whimsical plan.
It’s too late to strategize.
Sometimes you have to dream.
And I dream.
In a bunk bed.
In a hostel.
Under the misty clouds.
The foggy streets of London.

And I wake to the chaos.
Facing Mumbai close up.
Four in the morning.
And we ride on a bus.
For seventeen hours.
And we are climbing mountains.
And I am remembering Alaska.
And we are walking over rickety bridges.
And we are on the banks of the Ganges.
We watch from afar, as they burn the bodies of their loved ones. And we raft down the river.
We see legs floating in the water, stiff and lifeless.
And this is one hell of a trip.
And we are tracing the steps of musicians.
“All you need is LOVE.”
And we are walking through crowds.
They stare at our skin.
They play with your beard.
And we find Amma, and we are among her followers.
And we are making love under a mosquito net.
And you are packing your things.
Because this is the end.
Or is it?
Don’t leave me, please.
I am underwater, and I am swaying in the hammock.
And we are resting in our hut by the sea.
And we swim during the day.
And enjoy good company at night.
Trains are filled with bodies.
One on top of the other.
The pungent smell of spices and sandalwood.
We ride a motorcycle through the countryside.
We befriend a litter of puppies.
They are small and desperate.
And I won’t forget the day we left.
A familiar feeling.
Dumbfounded with abandonment.
And one day in January.
We leave it all behind.
India, the silent chaos.

TWENTY TWO

I open the door and here I am. 
A studio off Broadway.
A place to call my own.  
I unpack and find space for my belongings.  
Cards I can’t throw away.
Books I have yet to read.
And the photos are traps.
Memories that have disappeared.
A visual reawakening. 

I ride my bike up the hill.  
The sweat dances down my spine.
The sun melts on my limbs.  
You are my neighbor.
You are my sister.
You are my Mermaid. 
One day we will dance under the Aurora together.  
But for now, we dance on your porch.
And in your living room.  
We play songs underneath our tree.
Near the library.   
And we share bottles of rose wine.  
We chase the full moon on our bikes.
You serve pizza and I play cards.  
We stay up late, and I fall in love.
In your side room.
Where I sneak away. 
And I’ll tell you all about it. 
We both know he is an artist. 
A young man.
Searching. 

And one afternoon, my Mermaid, we drive to the ocean.
We swim and no one else is there.  
This is our beach, for a moment in time.  
I am underwater, and I am reaching for more wine.
We are on the porch sharing glasses.
Sharing smoke.
Sharing laughs.
And opinions.  
And, in the early morning light, the sun illuminates the faces in this familiar crowd.   

These are the people of my neighborhood. 
The artist who draws on napkins and bikes in the rain.  
A man with a mustache who rides a unicycle.  
A British Vagrant who makes me laugh.  
The Mermaids and Goddesses that lift me up.  
The Wandering Sailors that teach me lessons. 
The musicians that spread light on the island.
Rhythmic waves of consciousness.  

We listen to Sam Cooke and sprawl on the carpet floor.  
I am held, on occasion, in my tiny bed.  
And when the rain dances on my porch, we drink Sailor Jerry.
We listen to the melody coming from outside my window.  
The sky opens, and the sun sparks silly vibrations within all of our bodies.
Sooner or later we are dancing on the beach.
We are swimming in the waves.
We are running through the grass.
Skipping down streets.
Late at night.  
My ears buzz.
My heart vibrates.
The music sinks into my body.
Hands and legs intertwined.  
We are a family.
Watching the fireworks from the field. 
Drinking whiskey and counting stars.  

A reading from The Guestbook:
“Almighty goofiness, tuned into the cosmic wonderment, surrendering to your true self.” 

A reading from The Guestbook:
“I love that it’s pouring rain, but I am basking in sunshine.”

A reading from The Guestbook:
“Because, because then we can always trudge through snowstorms in our minds; bundled in our minds’ red hats.

TWENTY TWO

I open the door and here I am.
A studio off Broadway.
A place to call my own.
I unpack and find space for my belongings.
Cards I can’t throw away.
Books I have yet to read.
And the photos are traps.
Memories that have disappeared.
A visual reawakening.

I ride my bike up the hill.
The sweat dances down my spine.
The sun melts on my limbs.
You are my neighbor.
You are my sister.
You are my Mermaid.
One day we will dance under the Aurora together.
But for now, we dance on your porch.
And in your living room.
We play songs underneath our tree.
Near the library.
And we share bottles of rose wine.
We chase the full moon on our bikes.
You serve pizza and I play cards.
We stay up late, and I fall in love.
In your side room.
Where I sneak away.
And I’ll tell you all about it.
We both know he is an artist.
A young man.
Searching.

And one afternoon, my Mermaid, we drive to the ocean.
We swim and no one else is there.
This is our beach, for a moment in time.
I am underwater, and I am reaching for more wine.
We are on the porch sharing glasses.
Sharing smoke.
Sharing laughs.
And opinions.
And, in the early morning light, the sun illuminates the faces in this familiar crowd.

These are the people of my neighborhood.
The artist who draws on napkins and bikes in the rain.
A man with a mustache who rides a unicycle.
A British Vagrant who makes me laugh.
The Mermaids and Goddesses that lift me up.
The Wandering Sailors that teach me lessons.
The musicians that spread light on the island.
Rhythmic waves of consciousness.

We listen to Sam Cooke and sprawl on the carpet floor.
I am held, on occasion, in my tiny bed.
And when the rain dances on my porch, we drink Sailor Jerry.
We listen to the melody coming from outside my window.
The sky opens, and the sun sparks silly vibrations within all of our bodies.
Sooner or later we are dancing on the beach.
We are swimming in the waves.
We are running through the grass.
Skipping down streets.
Late at night.
My ears buzz.
My heart vibrates.
The music sinks into my body.
Hands and legs intertwined.
We are a family.
Watching the fireworks from the field.
Drinking whiskey and counting stars.

A reading from The Guestbook:
“Almighty goofiness, tuned into the cosmic wonderment, surrendering to your true self.”

A reading from The Guestbook:
“I love that it’s pouring rain, but I am basking in sunshine.”

A reading from The Guestbook:
“Because, because then we can always trudge through snowstorms in our minds; bundled in our minds’ red hats.

TWENTY ONE

I find it. 
I breathe into it. 
It’s in me. 
I keep going. 
I don’t forget. 

Knowing that the strength I was born with is instilled in my veins and in my skin and between my muscles and in the broken bits of my heart. Under my fingernails, between my toes, running up and down my spine. 

Remembering what you said.
“A Real person, emerged. 
Stripped of her garments;
Renouncing the pigeonhole of society 
and speaking from her heart. 
And she has caused quite a stir. 
Let her FEMININE SCREAM!”

A light lies within all of us.
Comprised of strength.
And stamina.
And beauty.
And fearlessness.  

Arms stretching wide.
Cool air dancing across my bones. 
This is my home. 
And mama watches over me.
And I recover. 
And I rebuild.
And I am a souldier. 

That soul.
Deep in the hole.  

And I was stationary.
Hiding behind.
Hiding below.
Hiding. 
Soaked in anxious sweat.
The weight dragging heavy on my limbs.
And in my mind.  

Arms stretching wide.
The salt exfoliating.
The skin exposed. 
And I am underwater now.
Immersed.
Naked.
Calm.  
And I am searching for the light. 

Arms stretching wide. 
I am coming up for air. 
I am climbing out of the pit. 
There is light, and it shines through the strained glass window. 

Resume life. 
I am in Montreal.  
A room with a film reel.
A projection of life. 
A woman.
And she looks at me.
A faint smile. 
She is twirling in that space.
Overlooking a sprawling landscape.
Cypress trees and rosebushes. 
A cinematic experience.
A snapshot of innocence.
A moment of inspiration. 
And I am underwater, dancing. 

Arms stretching wide.
A stranger from the other side of the world.
And we are in a park.
And my mind wanders.
His sticky lips on my neck. 
I’ll remember his profile.
But not the entirety of his face.  
I’ll remember the fuzzy, mustard color of the morning light.
Filtering its way through that stained glass window. 

I rub my tired eyes with warm water.
Pack my belongings.  
I’ll remember saying goodbye.
Whispering to you as you remained still.
Eyes closed and bare boned.  

Life is for dancing. 
And for parks. 
Montreal, you are a figment of my imagination.   

And I am in Vermont. 
And the rain is a heavy blanket before me. 
It moves in waves, and the mountains are so green.
My soul is light.  

And I am running laps around the track.
Remembering. 
Memorizing.
Learning. 
“A period of great cultural change and achievement.”
And I head to class. 

And I remember. 
And I memorize. 
And I learn.
But I take time to look up. 
To run to the bus. 
And I promise myself. 
I promise to remember the landmarks along the way.  
I follow the rain down the window. 
The sun sets and we cross the bridge.
And I look out to the bay.  
The water is still, and this is home. 
And we’ve come so far. 
Mama is there.
Nestled with tea.
Breaths are visible on the Veranda.  
She is still.
Her body is healing.
And she has grown.  
And she finds love again.
In herself. 
And in him.  
And one afternoon they stand under The Angel Oak.
And they promise love. 

And I walk past the library.
And the cemetery.
I watch the waves.
I smell the snow.
I run down the roads. 
And into the arms of strangers.  

I am underwater, seeking new terrain. 

February. 
I wake up.
Stare out my window.
And there is freedom. 
And liberation.  
And a train ticket.
A solo trip across the country. 

Because life is for dancing in a stranger’s apartment.
Life is for taking walks with new friends.
Life is for losing your jacket.
And waking up in The District of Columbia.
And for discovering new places.
And listening to stories.  
The cowboy from Colorado.
Leroy, with his cooler of beer.
The man who carried a picture of Elvis. 

Donald Casey. 
World War II veteran.
Gentle.
And compassionate. 
He trembled while he slept. 
An Aquarius. 
And he was a stranger when we started our journey.
But trains have a way of bringing people together.

And some days, I close my eyes.
And remember the days and the nights. 
Harper’s Ferry, towards Chicago. 
Through the Rockies.
And up the coast.

New Mexico, and your morning sky.
You are a figment of my imagination.  

April. 
And I am back on the track.
Sweat slides down my legs.  
It is almost the end of the semester.
And I am ready for something new. 
And so I go. 

July.
New York City.
A Mermaid from The Lower East Side.
She is beautiful and she holds me close. 
And we are watching fireworks pop in the air.
On a rooftop.
And faces are fuzzy now. 
But I remember the lights.
As bright as the sky.
On a night.
In Manhattan. 

July. 
Here in Hawaii.
And she hugs me.
And I am remembering the days we spent together.
Tipton Lane.
The magic that slumbers in the cradle of our youth.  

September.
Here.
Home.
Leaves fall, and the rain gets colder.
I run, wet and frozen.  
And I am over the bridge.
The lights illuminate the houses. 
And I’ll never give up. 
And so it goes.
Imagination nestles in my mind.
Reality strikes.
And the seasons change.
As they sometimes do.  

I am underwater, growing.

TWENTY ONE

I find it.
I breathe into it.
It’s in me.
I keep going.
I don’t forget.

Knowing that the strength I was born with is instilled in my veins and in my skin and between my muscles and in the broken bits of my heart. Under my fingernails, between my toes, running up and down my spine.

Remembering what you said.
“A Real person, emerged.
Stripped of her garments;
Renouncing the pigeonhole of society
and speaking from her heart.
And she has caused quite a stir.
Let her FEMININE SCREAM!”

A light lies within all of us.
Comprised of strength.
And stamina.
And beauty.
And fearlessness.

Arms stretching wide.
Cool air dancing across my bones.
This is my home.
And mama watches over me.
And I recover.
And I rebuild.
And I am a souldier.

That soul.
Deep in the hole.

And I was stationary.
Hiding behind.
Hiding below.
Hiding.
Soaked in anxious sweat.
The weight dragging heavy on my limbs.
And in my mind.

Arms stretching wide.
The salt exfoliating.
The skin exposed.
And I am underwater now.
Immersed.
Naked.
Calm.
And I am searching for the light.

Arms stretching wide.
I am coming up for air.
I am climbing out of the pit.
There is light, and it shines through the strained glass window.

Resume life.
I am in Montreal.
A room with a film reel.
A projection of life.
A woman.
And she looks at me.
A faint smile.
She is twirling in that space.
Overlooking a sprawling landscape.
Cypress trees and rosebushes.
A cinematic experience.
A snapshot of innocence.
A moment of inspiration.

And I am underwater, dancing.

Arms stretching wide.
A stranger from the other side of the world.
And we are in a park.
And my mind wanders.
His sticky lips on my neck.
I’ll remember his profile.
But not the entirety of his face.
I’ll remember the fuzzy, mustard color of the morning light.
Filtering its way through that stained glass window.

I rub my tired eyes with warm water.
Pack my belongings.
I’ll remember saying goodbye.
Whispering to you as you remained still.
Eyes closed and bare boned.

Life is for dancing.
And for parks.
Montreal, you are a figment of my imagination.

And I am in Vermont.
And the rain is a heavy blanket before me.
It moves in waves, and the mountains are so green.
My soul is light.

And I am running laps around the track.
Remembering.
Memorizing.
Learning.
“A period of great cultural change and achievement.”
And I head to class.

And I remember.
And I memorize.
And I learn.
But I take time to look up.
To run to the bus.
And I promise myself.
I promise to remember the landmarks along the way.
I follow the rain down the window.
The sun sets and we cross the bridge.
And I look out to the bay.
The water is still, and this is home.
And we’ve come so far.
Mama is there.
Nestled with tea.
Breaths are visible on the Veranda.
She is still.
Her body is healing.
And she has grown.
And she finds love again.
In herself.
And in him.
And one afternoon they stand under The Angel Oak.
And they promise love.

And I walk past the library.
And the cemetery.
I watch the waves.
I smell the snow.
I run down the roads.
And into the arms of strangers.

I am underwater, seeking new terrain.

February.
I wake up.
Stare out my window.
And there is freedom.
And liberation.
And a train ticket.
A solo trip across the country.

Because life is for dancing in a stranger’s apartment.
Life is for taking walks with new friends.
Life is for losing your jacket.
And waking up in The District of Columbia.
And for discovering new places.
And listening to stories.
The cowboy from Colorado.
Leroy, with his cooler of beer.
The man who carried a picture of Elvis.

Donald Casey.
World War II veteran.
Gentle.
And compassionate.
He trembled while he slept.
An Aquarius.
And he was a stranger when we started our journey.
But trains have a way of bringing people together.

And some days, I close my eyes.
And remember the days and the nights.
Harper’s Ferry, towards Chicago.
Through the Rockies.
And up the coast.

New Mexico, and your morning sky.
You are a figment of my imagination.

April.
And I am back on the track.
Sweat slides down my legs.
It is almost the end of the semester.
And I am ready for something new.
And so I go.

July.
New York City.
A Mermaid from The Lower East Side.
She is beautiful and she holds me close.
And we are watching fireworks pop in the air.
On a rooftop.
And faces are fuzzy now.
But I remember the lights.
As bright as the sky.
On a night.
In Manhattan.

July.
Here in Hawaii.
And she hugs me.
And I am remembering the days we spent together.
Tipton Lane.
The magic that slumbers in the cradle of our youth.

September.
Here.
Home.
Leaves fall, and the rain gets colder.
I run, wet and frozen.
And I am over the bridge.
The lights illuminate the houses.
And I’ll never give up.
And so it goes.
Imagination nestles in my mind.
Reality strikes.
And the seasons change.
As they sometimes do.

I am underwater, growing.

TWENTY

I sit by myself.
Watch the boats move along the water. 
I sit with him.
And his tired eyes rest.

A day that lingers in my soul. 
His uniform on.  
And my hair is crunchy from the chlorine.
My summer skin is peeling off my shoulders.
Off my nose.  
I jump into his arms.  
He is much bigger than I am.
And I want to be little again. 

And we are here now. 
Space lingers between us. 
I wish I could grab his hand.
I’d tell him to stop getting old. 

I am underwater.  
Searching for him. 
As I always have.
As I always will. 

The sun hits my body. 
I am the only one on this beach.  
A fan of Joni Mitchell.  
Not a pill in months.  
I don’t need it.  
I am recovering just fine. 
I am beginning to feel the light.
I am beginning to catch the warmth in my heart. 
Finding out what it’s like.
To be my own person.  
To step away from the crowd.
To decide what is right for me.  

Open the door.  
A tiny room, on the fifth floor.
Brown Hall.
The girl’s dormitory.  
The cold wind presses against my window.  
I am wild and free.
And I fall asleep while you drive.  
You are half drunk, and I think I love you.  
But before I can decide, you are gone.
The old familiar feeling.
Dumbfounded with abandonment.   

And so I am wild and free.
And I fall asleep next to someone I once knew.
Someone I once searched for.
Underwater.
In the pool.
On those sticky summer days.  
We were young then, and I never stopped wondering.  
And then there you were. 
When I needed you. 
And so it goes, we held each other.  
And in the morning, I left.  

Later on down the line, we’ll meet again. 
I’ll be in California. 
I’ll sneak away.
I’ll take the first train.
You’ll pick me up. 
We’ll laugh.
And you’ll take me to your room.
But everything will be different. 
And I’ll take the last train.
And I’ll cry until I’m home.
Staring out my window.
In my tiny room.
On the fifth floor. 
Remembering innocence.
Those sticky summer days.  
Los Angeles, you are a figment of my imagination.

December.
I am in Matunuck.
With a stranger. 
He is older than me.
He has a beard.
And I am attracted to his quiet demeanor.  
He wants so much more than what he has.  
And I wonder if he’ll remember this daydream.

The ocean is calm.
The space is a vision.
Like a postcard.  
And it’s just us.
The jukebox plays.  
The smoke from my roll-up dances with the wind. 
You drive me around in your pickup.
You take me for a walk in the woods.  
You have holes in your flannel.
And you walk ahead of me.
You look back, and smile.
We reach the edge. 
A pond, still and humbling. 
We create a space for silence. 
For dreaming.
And it feels good. 
And we say goodbye. 

And, some days, I remember that daydream.

TWENTY

I sit by myself.
Watch the boats move along the water.
I sit with him.
And his tired eyes rest.

A day that lingers in my soul.
His uniform on.
And my hair is crunchy from the chlorine.
My summer skin is peeling off my shoulders.
Off my nose.
I jump into his arms.
He is much bigger than I am.
And I want to be little again.

And we are here now.
Space lingers between us.
I wish I could grab his hand.
I’d tell him to stop getting old.

I am underwater.
Searching for him.
As I always have.
As I always will.

The sun hits my body.
I am the only one on this beach.
A fan of Joni Mitchell.
Not a pill in months.
I don’t need it.
I am recovering just fine.
I am beginning to feel the light.
I am beginning to catch the warmth in my heart.
Finding out what it’s like.
To be my own person.
To step away from the crowd.
To decide what is right for me.

Open the door.
A tiny room, on the fifth floor.
Brown Hall.
The girl’s dormitory.
The cold wind presses against my window.
I am wild and free.
And I fall asleep while you drive.
You are half drunk, and I think I love you.
But before I can decide, you are gone.
The old familiar feeling.
Dumbfounded with abandonment.

And so I am wild and free.
And I fall asleep next to someone I once knew.
Someone I once searched for.
Underwater.
In the pool.
On those sticky summer days.
We were young then, and I never stopped wondering.
And then there you were.
When I needed you.
And so it goes, we held each other.
And in the morning, I left.

Later on down the line, we’ll meet again.
I’ll be in California.
I’ll sneak away.
I’ll take the first train.
You’ll pick me up.
We’ll laugh.
And you’ll take me to your room.
But everything will be different.
And I’ll take the last train.
And I’ll cry until I’m home.
Staring out my window.
In my tiny room.
On the fifth floor.
Remembering innocence.
Those sticky summer days.
Los Angeles, you are a figment of my imagination.

December.
I am in Matunuck.
With a stranger.
He is older than me.
He has a beard.
And I am attracted to his quiet demeanor.
He wants so much more than what he has.
And I wonder if he’ll remember this daydream.

The ocean is calm.
The space is a vision.
Like a postcard.
And it’s just us.
The jukebox plays.
The smoke from my roll-up dances with the wind.
You drive me around in your pickup.
You take me for a walk in the woods.
You have holes in your flannel.
And you walk ahead of me.
You look back, and smile.
We reach the edge.
A pond, still and humbling.
We create a space for silence.
For dreaming.
And it feels good.
And we say goodbye.

And, some days, I remember that daydream.

NINETEEN

Step One:
Remember the pain that squeezed knees to chest.
Remember waking up on the floor. 
Remember the threats and the bruises.
Remember the night I didn’t come home.
Remembering that old familiar feeling.
Dumbfounded with abandonment.  

Step Two: Let Go
Let go of pain. It causes anger.
Let go of anger. It threads sadness.
Let go of sadness. It creates confusion. 
A revolving door. 
That no longer spins.

Step Three: Live

NINETEEN

Step One:
Remember the pain that squeezed knees to chest.
Remember waking up on the floor.
Remember the threats and the bruises.
Remember the night I didn’t come home.
Remembering that old familiar feeling.
Dumbfounded with abandonment.

Step Two: Let Go
Let go of pain. It causes anger.
Let go of anger. It threads sadness.
Let go of sadness. It creates confusion.
A revolving door.
That no longer spins.

Step Three: Live

EIGHTEEN

Three Times Forgiveness. 

I forgive you. 
For pressing against my body. 
I could suffocate just thinking about it. 
I forgive you for taking advantage. 
I forgive you for making a mockery.
I forgive you for your unfiltered mouth.
The way you ordered me around.  
I forgive you for that blood on my face. 
I am underwater, and I’d like to pull you under. 
But I forgive you instead. 

I forgive you for playing dumb.
For pretending to be nice.
Pretending to be different than the rest.
For luring me up to that attic. 
And I can’t remember what happens next.
But I can forgive you.
I forgive you for leaving me.
Naked and alone. 
I forgive you for the uneasy thoughts.
For days.
For years.
I forgive you for the long nap.
For the blurry outlines and the dimmed lights. 
And I am underwater, and I’d like drag you to the bottom.
But I forgive you, instead. 

I forgive you, a person I thought I could trust.
I forgive you, for grazing my thigh with your ring.
And I didn’t ask for this.
Keep your hands to yourself.
And I thought it was my fault.
For years. 
And it haunted me.
I could crawl out of my skin just thinking about it.
And I am underwater.
And I want to see you drown.
But I forgive you instead.

EIGHTEEN

Three Times Forgiveness.

I forgive you.
For pressing against my body.
I could suffocate just thinking about it.
I forgive you for taking advantage.
I forgive you for making a mockery.
I forgive you for your unfiltered mouth.
The way you ordered me around.
I forgive you for that blood on my face.
I am underwater, and I’d like to pull you under.
But I forgive you instead.

I forgive you for playing dumb.
For pretending to be nice.
Pretending to be different than the rest.
For luring me up to that attic.
And I can’t remember what happens next.
But I can forgive you.
I forgive you for leaving me.
Naked and alone.
I forgive you for the uneasy thoughts.
For days.
For years.
I forgive you for the long nap.
For the blurry outlines and the dimmed lights.
And I am underwater, and I’d like drag you to the bottom.
But I forgive you, instead.

I forgive you, a person I thought I could trust.
I forgive you, for grazing my thigh with your ring.
And I didn’t ask for this.
Keep your hands to yourself.
And I thought it was my fault.
For years.
And it haunted me.
I could crawl out of my skin just thinking about it.
And I am underwater.
And I want to see you drown.
But I forgive you instead.