The next time we meet, it will be at my funeral.
You should not be sad.
Say no eulogy.
I will have lived fully by then.
I will have loved generously.
I will have been fearless and kind.
I will have laughed unashamed and naked in the sun
and cried with the loneliest.
I will have fixed some broken things,
fed and sheltered, sowed and re-sowed, created and colored,
wrote some poems, and many times wandered
through rain soaked streets and forests
I will have been satisfied.
Don't even talk about the past. You will not know
Walk by my body silently, look at me.
Look at my hands and remember
how they touched your face,
caressed your body, held your head.
Look at my painted face and imagine
petals on my lips.
Remember the way I loved and let your heart swell
knowing you have partaken in it.
Drive with the others to the cemetery.
Throw bougainvillea down my grave.
Make sure flowers cover me
before the first fistful of dirt.
When all is gone, you stay.
By my grave, slowly and quietly tell me
stories of how you've loved
since I left.
And when the gravedigger comes back with his shovel,
you can go.
I am coming back to that place on the hill far from the city where my lovers lie, where I planted pieces of myself, like a garden bed it has since grown a different bush.
Songs in transit: en route to Oakland
In this circus country, truths
are whatever magic tricks you conjure and language is made
to jump hoops and juggle balls. You and I do not belong here. We prefer magic without tricks.
Songs in transit: Reading 100 Love Sonnets on the plane
“Love, what a long way, to arrive at a kiss, What loneliness-in-motion, toward your company.” This is the second love sonnet of a hundred Pablo Neruda wrote for his third wife. He wrote from another country, another time, but today, across grasslands and north to the Rockies, he speaks as if to say he hears me, and knows where I am going what I seek. Even if I do not know them, there have always
been fools like me--
we love with willful stubbornness
because we are its progeny. Songs in transit: this is a different body
So I come back to you-- not to the place where love happened and is gone, where now another woman goes--no I come back to you anew, a different body, through a different door, a different bed. In this new place, words stay. Touch imprints. Movements happen without noise. Bound and shelved above our heads, pleasure is broken down to its simplest sounds, slick and wet like waves. I come back to you thicker. Nimbler. My tongue quicker, I move slow. Time has made me a generous lover. For this you are both glad and afraid.
Songs in transit: panic
“There are many ways to carry the past with us.”
This I read at the bookstore
to stop the panic rising.
Songs in transit: leaving
I leave the key on the desk and close the door, It is not night time, but darkness lingers. Inside someone’s kitchen, a light is turned on. Perhaps an exchange of a sleepy morning kiss. Over on the next block, Bica's coffee is opening for
customers shuffling to get somewhere then later, to come back home. I pull my luggage past them in the rain. I would have gladly sat down on one of those chairs and never get up. But I have to catch the train back to the city where I was born and every day is dying.
At the Rockridge station I get on the 6:25AM train to the
It is crowded. No one talks. We are too sleepy, too sad, we don’t want to disrupt this kinetic energy lulling and moving our weights forward.
The train hums louder as it dives
into the dark underground beneath the waters of the bay,
the way my mother sang to us
when we were young and afraid of the dark-- I closed my eyes and traveled with the train back to my mother's womb-- wet and sleepy and content. But I have to exit soon, and the train knows. It cradles me for as long as it can, before I am expunged, forced to look at
daylight again— this is life. And love is no exception.
Songs in transit: when there is no return
Where love is born, it can also die—
this is the process. I know.
Because love is a constant
object in motion, it leaves in order to come back;
without return, it is lost.
The hills of Oakland know this. If each time we love a little shorter, a little less kind, give less of ourselves, touch not frequently, look not too long and don’t whisper with new awe each morning we get to
wake together— it won't come back.
Songs in transit: I arrived but not yet home
Last night I heard the hills cry.
They felt love wander and feared it lost. They swelled with sadness, soaked the
streets. This morning they refused to wake, Leaving rain to say goodbye.
Rain walked me to the train.
Rain stroked my hair. Rain wrapped its gusty arms to hug me; I breathed in its Patagonia mountain air, filled my lungs with abundant space--
keep my feet light.
I took it with me on the plane.
It sat next to me on the bus. It unlocked the door and walked inside. It saw me undress and covered me as I lie
down. Then it left me there, in the city where I was born and every day is dying.
My iphone memory is a time warp.
For example, it keeps remembering your name
even though I have deleted you
a thousand times,
as if it knows
there is only one thing I can remember
So I will need to delete again tomorrow
the balcony, my lips, your lips,
Oakland's sunset burning
centimeters from your fingertips.