Friday, January 30, 2009

Losing Air

(prompted by sunday scribblings topic - regret. This is Parsippany's point of view. It's kind of a jump forward in the story that I have been writing so far. Check out the category of "freewriting" on this blog to read the other parts too.)

She regretted the necessity of dishonesty. How cruelly that need tormented her now – stuck on a failing ship in the wide, dark, open sea of space. If only they could have gone together. If only she had turned her back on the duty she had to protect them all to protect the one person that meant everything to her. But no, she couldn’t have done it. Even now, pressing the oxygen mask against her cheeks to suck the last breath out, she knew she couldn’t have ignored her responsibilities. And her lover, Cedar, was out there somewhere, searching for a brother long lost in the storm of civil war on a planet far away. Ah, that she couldn’t see Cedar’s face one last time before the end. That was the most piercing regret of all.

How had she let this happen?

Her vision began to break apart at the edges, her head becoming light with lack of good air. She barely recognized the sharp clang of the hatch and jolt of the ship when the sensors indicated that someone was about to board. And then she thought this must be the end, because beautiful and strong, the image of Cedar’s face kneeling over her was the last thing she saw as she lost consciousness.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Like the Ocean

I thought I would have to be patient
when I asked for joy.

I didn't know that it rushes in
like the ocean
once let loose.

I didn't know that it
fills all the cracks
and runs over the edges
of us
when we ask it to come.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

There Is

There is a sense of worship here
though sacred halls have long since lost their sway,
the gods renounced.

There is reverence here,
a remembered kind but
new in every breath.

There is revelation
and absolution,
a smooth movement of opening
that sets me free.

There is myself,
a reflection of the Universe.

There is you.

But truly, my love,
there is only us.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Find Me

Come find me
through the snow and ice
an my own selfish vice.

Make me yours
as I am already,
as you are mine,
waiting to be claimed
and sealed
and promised.
Come find me.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Mark Strand

The Coming of Light
by Mark Strand

Even this late it happens:
the coming of love, the coming of light.
You wake and the candles are lit as if by themselves,
stars gather, dreams pour into your pillows,
sending up warm bouquets of air.
Even this late the bones of the body shine
and tomorrow's dust flares into breath.

There are so many words and poems lately to which all I can say is "yes! yes! yes! Exactly!"
this is one of them.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Definitely Not That

(Sunday Scribbling: Pilgrimage.)

The apprentices were nervous. Curious, yes, as anyone would be on the first trip away from their home planet, but there was an undertone of anxiety in their actions and murmured comments that fell far wide of soothing. I hadn’t had much need to interact with novices while I had been living with Parsippany the last few years. She participated in their training as much as any of the other Healers did, I suppose, but I couldn’t remember ever having a conversation about it with her. If I hadn’t been so keyed up from running to catch the shuttle and leaving my lover behind, I might have found it amusing.

But I was keyed up and it wasn’t amusing. Not right now. They knew who I was and while relationships like mine with Parsippany weren’t commonplace, they happened just often enough to make it a topic of conversation. On the planet it was fine. You had the mitigating effect of repetition and daily exposure. But here on the ship, speeding out into the emptiness of space, everything was new and strange to them.

After we were underway, I lingered a bit in my cabin. It would be my only refuge for the next two weeks. It was small, utilitarian as all spaces were on a shuttle of this size, and it would soon enough be stifling and claustrophobic. In this moment, though, it was the separation I needed from the prying and hopeful eyes of the young Healers on board. The smell of the ship was soothing and I let the rattle of the engines work out the lingering anxiety while I sat and breathed deeply.

Only a few minutes had passed before I heard the irritating squawk of my door. When I opened it, there stood one of the crew. He was weathered and tall enough to make navigating the short walkways of the ship a burden. Quite good looking, too, if one was looking for that sort of thing.

“The captain would like a word,” he said succinctly. His voice had exactly the tenor of gruffness I had expected.

I nodded but followed without comment. When the captain asks for you, it’s not really a request. My curiosity was raging, though. Regardless of what he might have heard about my past, I was only a passenger on this flight. Surely he wouldn’t censure me before anything had even happened. The slight anxiety crawled back up my spine as we moved our way up the ladders and short passages of the hallways to the bridge. The crewman spared no glance in my direction to ascertain whether I followed him.

We entered the bridge with a more measured pace. I could sense the crewman take in the atmosphere of the room before he spoke.

“Captain. The passenger you requested.”

“Thank you, Giles.” Said the captain as he walked over to the doorway in which I was still standing. Protocol hadn’t abandoned me so much that I wasn’t aware of needing permission to step foot onto the bridge of a ship of which I wasn’t crew.

“Come,” he said and lifted a hand to gesture me forward. I walked towards him, both looking at him and trying to take in the faces of the other crew members as well. There was suspicion there, I saw, and worry. And a tinge of resignation. This wouldn’t be good. You didn’t want to see all of those on the faces of the people who were in charge of navigating you through space.

He looked closely at my clothes before he started speaking again. Looking for what, I wasn’t sure. “Please forgive the intrusion. I find I must ask a few questions to see if you might be able to help us.”

“Help you?” I asked, quizzical.

“Do you pilgrimage with the others on board?” his face was a little abashed as he asked. I could tell he wasn’t used to this sort of delicacy.

“Pilgrimage? “ I pondered. “No, I’m not….” I stuttered because I was so taken aback. Maybe because I assumed he should be able to tell that I was not part of their group. But what was he to think? I had embarked from their planet, on a shuttle that left from the colony site. Any Seekers would have taken one of the larger resort shuttles back to their own planets. And then I understood the appraisal of my clothes. He was confused.

“I’m not a Healer although I have lived on the planet for some time.” I explained. “I have. . . other reasons for traveling.” Because what I was on was definitely not a pilgrimage. Surely, there was a word somewhere in some lexicon that meant the opposite of pilgrimage. I was actually traveling half the speed of light through space away from everything I held holy and sacred – away from her.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Something of Magic

There is something of magic,
something of our old gods
that sparks in the space between hands
held closely together.
I am loathe to rein it in,
much more inclined to blast as a furnace
over the frame of you.
Delicacy takes refinement
and relinquishment of control -
a cool mind to
soothe the fires.

Charles Wright, Again

I am really loving his stuff. Thought I would share another snippet:

"There is a desperation for unknown things, a thirst
For endlessness that snakes through our bones..."

-Charles Wright, Scar Tissue

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


These are the things my soul knows:
the brush of the wind,
the sting of the rain,
the tenor of your voice,
and the whole truths of the Universe
that sing their songs for me.
I have somehow forgotten by coming here
and accepted small untruths as Word.
My true struggle lies only
in remembering.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


(Just a short freewrite for today)

I was running late and they didn't hold shuttles for latecomers. Dammit, all those goodbyes for nothing if I was going to be here for another day until the next shuttle. Her kisses still flamed on my lips but I pushed the thought to the back of my mind. I would think on it later. Later, when I had two weeks to spend trying not to go crazy on a crowded ship a few light years away from her.

My legs pounded out the steady beat of late travelers everywhere, hoping there had been some sort of delay that would save me. The dark clothes I wore made me stand out as I ducked through security and sprinted the last short way to the gantry. Wearing black wasn't forbidden on this planet, it was just . . . out of place. It was too jarring, too stark. It was the blackness of space and it didn't fit here where the very essence of life settled like warm orange clouds all around you. But where I was going - where I was going demanded some acquiescence and I wouldn't get far if I was dressed in clothes like Parsippany's.

I could see the crew's preparations for departure but the door was still open. Thank god, the door was still open! They let me pass with impatient looks and muttered curses but still, I got in. The goodbyes had been worth it.

Monday, January 12, 2009


(This piece of writing got launched from a sunday scribbling about "organic." I've used the same characters as my last freewriting exercise last week. They've started coming in more clearly so you might see more scenes with them as the weeks go on.)

The packing was automatic. Open case, insert shirt, fold, fold, tuck into the edge. There wasn’t much to put in the case but I packed with careful motions anyway, trying to draw out the action to last longer because I was unsure. I was unsure of leaving her. Our life on her planet seemed like a dream about to wink out of existence at the slightest pressure. But I had faced these feelings before. They were painful, sure, but not unmanageable. Just breathe through them. You’ve faced worse, I told myself again. Deep breath, fold, fold, tuck, next piece, breathe again.

Quiet steps. She came in to sit on the edge of the window with a small smile in place. Of course, she knew what I was feeling. Even if we had not been together for the last three years, she would have known. Damn Healers, I thought with a sense of resigned love. Why do they have to see everything? But she was quiet as I packed. She knew when to talk and when to listen (don’t they all?), she didn’t press for more. And how could I not love her for that alone? My dear Parsippany, not blinking an eye when I told her I had to follow the dream of the boy. Just to make sure, I had told her.

She had known the life of organic things. There was no forcing here. There might be gentle prodding, strong encouragement, or the kind of silence that brings the truth forward like a knife – but not force. Things grew or did not grow, you helped them be so or you did not. She knew my heart well enough by now to know I had to let it go where it would. And she trusted it would find its way back to her. One way or another, I knew it would.

“You must go?” she asked quietly, again. She would only ask this one time more.

“We’ve tried,” I said, a small note of weariness marking my words. “The other Healers can find nothing, either." Silence. Acceptance. "I have to make sure he is okay. Do you see any other way?” My question practically a plea.

“No,” she admitted. Her dress moved with the slightest sound as she moved to take my hand and put her cheek against mine.

And there she was, letting the moment be what it would be - which was the beginning of a goodbye. She let the force between us grow at its own pace, filling the room quickly.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Splitting Open

Do they know that I am
sitting in the next room
breaking wide open
and spilling all over the nice
beige carpet?
That my life is changing
in front of my eyes, that
things are shifting
and growing
and dying away
like pruned branches?
Do they realize
that even I do not know
who I will be when I wake again?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Losing Summer

Cold and stark
and stripped bare
but oddly full
of more essential means,
the necessary ways
to move through this soul.
And close to admitting
I may only be meant
for the smaller things.

So close to seeing
you may not exist at all.

Friday, January 9, 2009


(A 10-minute freewriting exercise)

I was lying on my back facing the ceiling and wishing the images would go away. They were too clear, too pressing, too real to move away as quickly as I wanted them too. And I couldn’t write the dream off to stray wanderings of my thoughts. He was not someone to come up in conversation or even a person I thought of every day. Why did he have to come tonight? Why did he come unbidden when he had hurt me enough in the past?

My thinking must have been too loud, my emotions too out of check for her to sleep silently anymore. She stirred next to me, her arm reaching out to push some invisible strand of energy away from my abdomen. How she knew these things was far beyond me, a mere human in her strange world. In her sleepy haze her fingers made strange circles only the width of a hair above my skin. And I felt like I always did when she moved me. I felt like stirred water, shimmering and swirling, the molecules unsettled and unsure. The dream moved silently around inside me again, I could see her feel around the edges of it to test its truth – a meter only she could see and hear.

And I sighed suddenly, letting the feeling of desperation have a sound at least, if it could not have a voice in this dark night. In my dream I had held my horror and grief in check. Could I do the same in this quiet room where she would accept it all? I wasn’t sure, I wasn’t sure. I didn’t know anything anymore except that I wanted to find the boy from the dream and demand assurances to which I had no right any longer.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Twice today I have been overwhelmed by the smell of you.
Strangers carried your scent on their backs like pollen,
germinating in me something of a remembered kind.
Memory is a fickle beast, offering so much that is hidden
in hands not meant to be gentle.

All Truths

All truths wait in all things,
They neither hasten their own delivery nor resist it,

-Walt Whitman

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Joy is always yellow to me,
scorching itself through
my solar plexus
to reach an end
at the edge of all aura
and touch a tentative finger
on the skin of you,
hoping to be gathered.


In the icy stillness of Qumran
how could we not freeze in recognition
that everything would change
for better and worse and all in between?
These discoveries,
they make up the whole -
but only parts seem to shine
in ways that catch the tenor
of whatever we own that we call soul.
And what will this mean for my
frozen self?
For I am still motionless
in indecision.
Because it may mean nothing at all.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

He's Barking

He's barking uselessly at the sky
as if it could change the meteors path
of burnt resin and pitch
burning bright against the night.

But I know how he feels.

When compared to the promise of you,
I know how he feels.

Arterial Light

Lift up that far corner of landscape,
there, toward the west.

Let some of the deep light in, the arterial kind.

-Charles Wright

Monday, January 5, 2009


There's a space I carry with me
in which lie the things of this
spiritual life,
strapped to my layers with
duct tape and old rope.
To look at them you'd think
me homeless and poor
but they are the treasures
of a fruitful life.
They are my way,
the blueprint for a place
I cannot see,
A map of hope that shows
a road without doubt.