July 17, 2009

today i am 33.  it is hard to wrap my head around this number.  32 was easy, it felt like double 16: twice as giddy, twice as silly, twice as wide-eyed and optimistic, but 33 feels like i am moving farther away from youth which, i suppose, i am.  i just hope i can always hang on to the sense of wonder that has been my close companion for the past 33 years.  i love looking at the world and being amazed, stopped in my tracks, by how beautiful it can be, by how simply perfect moments as random as a thrushing breeze in the treetops can be.  i will try.  and i have to say how blessed i am on this birthday to have the most incredible friends.  great writers have written of communities of people where a sense of family exists despite differences, despite distance, and i have that.  i am the luckiest girl alive.

33–smashing pumpkins

speak to me in a language i can hear humour me
before i have to go
deep in thought i forgive everyone
as the cluttered streets greet me once again
i know i can’t be late, supper’s waiting on the table
tomorrow’s just an excuse away
so I pull my collar up and face the cold, on my own
the earth laughs beneath my heavy feet
at the blasphemy in my old jangly walk
steeple guide me to my heart and home
the sun is out and up and down again
i know i’ll make it, love can last forever
graceful swans of never topple to the earth
and you can make it last, forever you
you can make it last, forever you
and for a moment i lose myself
wrapped up in the pleasures of the world
i’ve journeyed here and there and back again

but in the same old haunts i still find my friends
mysteries not ready to reveal
sympathies i’m ready to return
i’ll make the effort, love can last forever
graceful swans of never topple to the earth
tomorrow’s just an excuse
and you can make it last, forever you
you can make it last, forever you


her kind

July 3, 2009

'her kind,' anne sexton
i have gone out, a possessed witch,
haunting the black air, braver at night;
dreaming evil, I have done my hitch
over the plain houses, light by light:
lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.
A woman like that is not a woman, quite.
I have been her kind.

I have found the warm caves in the woods,
filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves,
closets, silks, innumerable goods;
fixed the suppers for the worms and the elves:
whining, rearranging the disaligned.
A woman like that is misunderstood.
I have been her kind.

I have ridden in your cart, driver,
waved my nude arms at villages going by,
learning the last bright routes, survivor
where your flames still bite my thigh
and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.
A woman like that is not ashamed to die.
I have been her kind.

people i am missing

June 29, 2009

there are a lot of you, but these are the big kahunas of the day:

jason.  even though i talked to you on the phone today while i was at the swimming beach, even though i could go a year without seeing you and it would be like no time has passed, even though we will probably have lunch together this week and talk in great detail about everything and nothing, i am missing just being around you all the time.  i kind of wish we were neighbors because you are just that much a part of my life.

carrie.  you win.  every memory i have with you has a moment of either supreme hilarity (all flight deck moments, in particular) or supreme common understanding (what was the name of the book we were going to write?) attached to it.  and it will be fall before i see you again because you are a bad ass jet-setting mamma jamma who just doesn’t make it to these parts often.  and i hate that.  but i heart you.

jamie.  jamie.  jamie.  thank god you are moving to lawrence.  i am not kidding when i say that your proximity to me will save the monkey-fighting day.  you are one of the friends i have made as an adult that i truly cannot believe wasn’t my friend when we were kids.  you listen, laugh, and love as hard and as strong as any other person on earth, maybe even harder.  perhaps you are what my street slang student had in mind when he referenced things that ‘go hard.’  jamie, you go hard.  and i love you for it.  hurry back to ks.

erin and ben.  if you don’t know i miss you by now you will never never never know it, ooh ooh ooh ooh.  you will be in lawrence in eight days and i will be at your house every morning, ready to play in the pool, hear stories about china, pet jbj, make you coffee, just watch you both sleep…wait, that was creepy.  seriously, though, alex and i love you guys so much, and we miss you dearly.  we cannot wait to share our lives with you again.  and erin, i found the most killer consignment shop here: we are so buying you new ‘back from china’ clothes.

lisa.  please move next door to me.  the guy who lives in the other townhouse is planning to move this year, and you an john and lord and grey would love the place: it comes complete with kickass neighbors.  at least on this side.  some of the other houses have some ybor city worthy trash living in them, but i promise to distract you from them.  you are the best thing i got out of living in florida.  i miss you every day.

frank bascombe.  get your head out and be the man you were in ‘the sportswriter.’  i hate this version of you  in ‘independence day.’

june update

June 17, 2009

ok, so i made this huge list of books to read and then summer started and i got caught up in writing poetry and costuming annie, and hanging out with a and z, and the book reading has not been happening like i thought.  what i have read:

the sportswriter by richard ford.  run, don’t walk.  it is AMAZING.

delights and shadows, ted kooser’s pulitzer prize winning poetry collection.

strong is your hold, galway kinnell

re-reading a lot of sylvia plath and anne sexton

currently reading couples by john updike.  um, swinging couples in the 60s in new england.  sexy and scary in a how-does-anyone-ever-manage-to-stay-faithful kind of a way.

and i’m reading my way through the collected works of seamus heaney, elizabeth bishop, and emily dickinson. also reading ‘the way it is,’ a collection of william stafford’s, ‘say uncle,’ a 2000 collection from current poet laureate kay ryan, a collection of william carlos williams that i can’t remember the name of and the complete robert lowell.  so am i going to read 60 novels this summer?  no.  am i going to read some KICK ASS poetry all summer long?  hell yes.

zelda is recovering really well.  for those of you who don’t know, we had to take her to the vet last week for emergency surgery on thursday.  she had thrown up five times in our house and then, when they got her to the vet she kept throwing up.  they gave her barium which she couldn’t pass and then decided exploratory surgery was necessary.  this happened in the afternoon while our car was getting $1000 worth of work done.  awesome.  anyway, z used to eat rope toys and we took them away form her, but she still had some string in her stomach.  it got wrapped around some pieces of a frisbee she ate and then the strong tried to move through her intestine and completely obstructed her.  three hours and twelve stitches later, she was in recovery.  she spent 2 nights at the vet on an iv and then we brought her home on saturday.  she has been doing really well and will have her stitches out next week.

annie is going up tomorrow night!  i costumed 60+ little 4-8 graders and they look fantastic, if i do say so myself.  i can’t wait to see them pull out all the stops for their audiences this weekend, and then i get to assistant direct the rocking and rolling high schoolers in the summer youth theatre of the rent: school edition.  as much as i miss being at lovewell, i am so excited to be working with the amazing people at the lawrence arts center.

this sunday night at 8 pm tune into Kansas Public Radio (KPR) to hear the terrific Father’s Day show produced by Kaye Drahozal.  around the 8:30 mark you’ll hear me reading ‘My Father’s Diary’ by Sharon Olds.  it is a wonderful poem and i was thrilled to get to be a part of it.

a whole slew of new

June 9, 2009

trying out a new form..here are a couple of them.  


The Word Made Flesh


Some say it is a gospel truth that suddenly, there among the men,

was one who moved through both worlds.

He was the word made flesh, dear,

and for every mystical sentence we offer up into the din–

for every version of the boy and girl

we both attempt to be–it is clear


that the intervention of the divine has only two forms (at least

that is what I have been taught by some of the best minds

of my, and other, generations).

The first, of course, is beauty, chasing the beast

around the anterior rooms of the heart, trying to find

a cause for some small celebration


in the midst of a darkened dreaminess that is, at times, so empty.

The second is one of promises, compromise and work:

things that do not make us burn…a sad trick of the divine.

You see, for all we write, of lust and possibility, in the end we,

and our letters, are just the angels in the dirt, 

an illumination of the earlier design.



Common Folk


The man in the picture you sent, that iconic fellow of fable

and film–an eye for beauty, beatings, and bugs–

has gotten the itch to interview

the common folk.  Ignoring the complication of cable,

he’s chosen, instead, the unregulated highway the slugs

haven’t managed to circumvent or subdue.


From Arizona to Lauderdale, Fargo to the blue hills of Kentucky

–where everyone, it seems, is still crying– he chats up 

people with lives as intoxicating as good fiction:

old Tommy with his broken down van and four good teeth, is stuck, see,

court ordered to wait sixteen months until he can legally cup 

the breast of his murderous bitch in


the desert they’ll call home.  Tommy views her violence in the past tense, 

he says the other was after her with an axe so with fear in her voice

the spray of her machine gun feminine, floral, she made Tommy the winner. 

She had to kill her last man in self-defense,

Tommy helped her because they are soul mates, and they had no choice:

a fact as common as blue sky, green grass, a dying man’s dinner.



the gypsy palmist

June 3, 2009

i wrote this after reading ‘the sportswriter’ by richard ford, which i highly recommend.

“The Gypsy Palmist”



The gypsy palmist—

her scarves thick with the perfume 

of mystery—

reaches for his bare hand,

her own heavy with metal rings,

semi-precious stones,

and prediction.


Her grandmotherly

touch—incongruous in the 

rich red room—

warms his wrist as she turns it,

breathing a low ‘mmm hmm’

as she studies his fault lines

and failures.


A wizened nail

tickles and traces the lengths 

of his fingers

as she asks, ‘Where is the ring?’

her thumb resting on the indentation 

from years of wear

and worry.


He considers the truth—

the long talks, the giving of

everything back—

but does not answer,

holding her hand instead,

listening to the music ripple

and rush.



What can a woman 

tell a man of his future 

or his past?

Even if she is a gypsy:

he must want to believe.















wednesday poem

May 28, 2009


She says she cannot draw,
her fingers sticky with paint
and attempt.
‘All I want is a angel.’
Little girl hair matted sweaty
to her ever serious brow.

Not one for contradiction,
I do not tell her the
angel is apparent
already—sitting at her table—
blue smears and dabs of yellow
on the bright white page.

Together we draw them,
three triangles and the one
circle above it all.
‘I see her,’ she beams, ‘the angel is here.’
Light pouring from us both
as I, too, discover her.