8.21.09 About An Object

Pink. It is pink,
like everything she owns
is pink.

Tiny. It is tiny,
like everything she owns
except her ideas.

Thursday she played
with (pink) tissue paper the way
my cats gnaw on ribbon:

Free, colorful,
and un-dampened by
posture, awareness.

Starch-free spine,
she hugs, she bends, she wraps
herself around the world. It hugs back.

(If I was young
and I am young but
not young,

If I was young I hope
I could turn life into a chocolate milkshake
and be the straw,

the way she is, she does.
Safety. There is such safety
in not knowing you need safety.)

It catches her, or tries to.
It is a seat, a chair, a container
for the uncontainable,

a plastic reincarnation of
god’s palm, holder for wiggly
little lives.

It is a car-seat,
left behind in the back of my
2005 Honda civic.

Friday morning,
I took them to the airport.
Friday afternoon,

I was startled to find in my car a bright pink plastic
reminder they haven’t left me, reminder that
we all try to sit still, toddlers in the hand of

the universe.
Prayer, like a seatbelt,
keeps us in. Together.

--Ruth Baumann, Aug. 2009


Pungo, Virginia 1990

The nursery had a greenhouse south of Pungo almost to Carolina. There was an old low barn outside of it surrounded by oceans of tobacco. We'd spend a ten hour day running the machines, the smell homosote, dirt and thousands of azaleas. Or pansies, imagine the colors involved in a gymnasium sized room filled with pansies. We got sent down there as the mother and son team who ran the place got busted smoking pot all day and embezelling funds. I'd gotten muscles digging with the other landscapers, I'd spent the whole summer digging. At some point I discovered I could get laid. There was a black stray who hung around the place that someone named Buckwheat. He had been hit by a truck and had a crooked tail, crossed eyes and walked in wide looping arcs. I'd lay down on the cool slab after lunch and Buckwheat would crawl up on my chest and drool on me as I pet him. One day down there we finished up early. I got tired of bullshitting in the hot open room so I went and smoked out by the trucks and afterward climbed up the side of an open barndoor and scrabbled up a valley of the rusted-out standing seam roof. I scared a crow off of the peak, took his place and squatted there, looking out over tobacco waving and clouds and Pungo. In a month I'd be back at school. I had no idea what was going to happen next. I was nineteen and I didn't fucking care.


"Follow your strange creative cravings and you will be led into change a step at a time." - Julia Cameron.

Fig.4- Marianas Trench



Laura H.

When she called, I told her how it finally ended.
The only one to know the whole story, to have lived in it
For a while. I imagined her smoking out on her porch,
The twins sleeping inside, in a pseudo hippie skirt
Same harness boots as me, last of the big-trouble girls,
Up on her nighttime hillside in Charlottesville.
She is a good friend, wife to a good friend,
Brave foot soldiers in the war of the disease.
They are two of those who have come out the other side
Of long darkness wild and new and innocent.

I told her my dream of the war, how everyone we know
Will die, and that's all. But the disease is only the beginning,
There's money and sex in it and of course the children
And the only thing we can do is wake up each morning breathing
And fight as hard as we can in an endless struggle to live well.

I told her how when you lose someone you care about that much,
You have to focus all your rage against their memory in an
Attempt to kill whatever you carry of them in your heart.
She understood me. I told her everything.
I paced around the backyard in my own boots,
the streetlight in the alley shining above me against the cedar.

At the end she said, "I'm sorry Clay, that sounds terrible."
Which surprised me, because I never thought about
Any of it as being terrible, just events lined together
In the fabric of a story, but I heard for the first time,
Pure sympathy in that and I thought of her eyes and god bless
Or damn her one for somehow she remembers the exact date
Of every event, every conversation, the names
Of all the players, my therapist, the guys I work with.
She knows the Grove job and the shop in the basement
Where I break down every day. She holds, perfectly,
The whole of the story, and she said that to me.
Which is all anyone ever wants, really, which is
For someone to hear them, to understand, to say
"I'm sorry that happened. Everything is going to be okay."

--Oct. 22, 2008

Prayer 1

God watch over the hard-riders, the fast-movers
The ones with music loud in their ears. May they
Ever supernova upon heaven's blessed highways.
Keep us safe from fires of the mind, ever wary
Of our disease, the wounds we carry with us.
Keep careful watch over all of us, as we watch over
Each other, as we watch over ourselves.

--Nov. 21, 2008


Early one cold spring hangover in Tennessee I staggered out onto the side porch that faced the mountains and found the silver bowl we used to feed the strays with teeming with starlings. There was snow on the mountains. The eight or more of them burst from their knot in an explosion of black. I remember feeling suddenly terrified by the world.




It's just a matter of a single sentence to inspire me to keep doing what I'm doing.


Season in the Sky

All I've seen

walking through

the fire, the figures

in my dreams

run back on me

in a psychic scar

as I ride to the dawn


Monument Avenue


The Four Agreements

1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

2. Don't Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering.

3. Don't Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

4. Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstances, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

--Don Miguel Ruiz