Saturday, February 2, 2019

For Ellen (lyrics)

Where are you now?

is your laughter the rain
is your music the wind
is your smile the sunrise

is your sadness the sea
is your brightness a star
is your stillness the moon
is your song the birds' song

and did you know, did you know
you were loved

did you know, did you know
you were loved

did you know, did you know
you were loved

are you floating in flowers
are you flying above
are you sparkles of light
floating by in our eyes
are you sliding down rainbows
are you jumping in clouds

is heaven what you hoped it would be

and did you know, did you know
you were loved

and did you know, did you know
you were loved

can you feel, can you feel
all our love

can you feel, can you feel
all our love

dedicated to Ellen O'Meara

Saturday, January 12, 2019


there are the people you love, and see a lot.
there are the people you love, and see sometimes.
there are the people you love and never see.
except, when your eyes are closed.

Is there a way to fill up my life
so much
that I won't miss the people that used to be there.

I spend 9 hours in improv class
and now
I'm crying on the train.

I'm brimming with joy, but also, remembering and anticipating loss.

tears are in the echo of each laugh,
laughter comes through the broken sobs.

both make me gasp for breath.

I am here, singing with my mom.
We say goodbye.
I hug her tiny, fragile body, and wonder how I'll ever make it in this world someday
without her.
without her pictures of the turkeys, and the groundhog in her backyard.
without the stories of the homeless people she feeds.

It's always there waiting underneath,
the sharpness of the missing.

every moment is so full
and also hollow.

I am completely whole
and also,
a broken piece, aching for more.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Sea of Grief

Today I broke into a thousand pieces,
and also I became open.

Today the grief of the world poured through me
and also, I remembered how to sing.

Today I said goodbye
and also, I returned, to me.

Sea of peace, soften me
Sea of strength, pour through me
Sea of grief, open me
Sea of life, erase me
Sea of quiet, empty me
Sea of sound, fill me
Sea of infinity, expand me
Sea of now, make me small

I am the sea, I am a drop
I am the sea, I am a drop

let the grief pour through me
let the water pour through me

let the grief pour through me
let the water pour through me

I am the sea, I am a drop


listen to the song here

Thursday, December 20, 2018


Trying to be close to you is like trying to love someone who thinks their hand is on fire.

Your hand was on fire once.

But now, still, at any moment you run to extinguish the flame.

It’s like my cat Quintin. He meows outside my door all morning, he follows me around the house,
he is aching for my attention. He sits on my lap and purrs so loudly,
looks into my eyes with such sweetness, but all of a sudden, out of nowhere, he bites me.
I throw him off my lap, and he is dejected and hurt.
He doesn’t understand why I have such huge reactions.
He doesn’t even remember biting me, it was just a defensive reflex.
But now he wonders if he can trust me.

You think your hand is burning, that I burned your hand, and to notice your hand is fine,
you would have to sit still and look at it. You don’t remember how to pause.
This constant state of panic and fear is normal.
You don’t remember there was a time when your reactions were not so extreme.

You get angry at me often, for really strange things.
I suggested too many times you should get a plant for your apartment.
I was too silly during the herb group meeting.
I gave advice instead of just listening and reflecting like a therapist.

I try to be better. I try to be the perfect friend. I don’t want you to leave,
I’ll do anything just so you don’t leave. I ignore my needs. I ignore my frustrations.

I must always respect your boundaries, but I am not allowed to have any.
When I do, you push me away to show you are the one in control.

I am expected to always be available when you need me.
I grow more and more resentful that you aren’t available when I need you.
We only see eachother, when you need to see me.

It is always on your terms.

The fire is now covering your body, enveloping your vision, but still, you don’t seek help.
You are smothering in your flames of self-delusion.

Yet still,
you are sure,

it was me that lit the match.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

vignette #4: subway strangers

He entered the subway loudly, looking right at me, though I was looking straight at my book.
He asked -- had I seen any good halloween costumes?
I looked at him briefly, muttering, yeah, I saw some good ones, then turned away,
hoping he would leave me alone.
Clearly this person wasn’t well if he was so eager to initiate such a frantic conversation.
He was older, so there was something about that, that made me feel slightly less defensive.
He kept looking toward me and said -- I’ve been asking kids in costumes,
‘what does your costume sound like?’ It really gets them thinking.
I looked over briskly and nodded, oh that’s cool, hoping he would disengage,
still irritated that this stranger was intruding on my reading.
I hadn’t dressed up for halloween, hadn’t even been out and about to absorb the fun and silly energy.
I had forgotten that one of the joys of Halloween is that everyone is out of their own orbit, zipping around,
crossing new paths.

The stranger’s phrase echoed in my ear. I suddenly heard it,
without the muffling wall of my fear getting in the way.
He asks people what their costumes sound like.
I glanced over at him. Why was I refusing this opportunity for connection?
Was my book, my quiet time, this important?
This man was most certainly an artist, maybe even a wizard, some mystical being,
and here he was telling me about the depth of his sensory world,
his appreciation of the poetic artistry of this holiday. This is a gift that I could accept or reject.
I put my kindle down and looked his way. I asked him why he didn’t dress up.
He was on his way to yoga. He asked me what it’s like to read on a kindle, if I miss holding a book.
I did. And also, this was just easier to carry around.
But yes, there was something missing without the texture of the book, without the cover.
It’s like part of reading is also for the hands to feel the words, and instead I was just looking at a screen.
But this fits in my pocket.

He chuckled and showed me a funny cartoon in the New Yorker.
I told him I hadn’t dressed up for Halloween because I was on my way to my Improv Comedy class,
where I would get to dress up as something new every 3 minutes for a different scene.
It is the kind of creativity I enjoy the most -- bubbling up fun ideas,
but not having to actually sew the costume.
Dreaming up the set, but not having to actually paint it.
Creating an image, and then letting it go.
You enter an ethereal space together,
each person’s version with slightly different colors and nuances,
and then you both let the shared image dissipate back into the room around,
clearing space for the next one.
He told me about his piano lessons when he was younger and how he was intimidated by improvisation.
I laughed and said I try to let my music students think it’s easy and everyone can do it.

We were on the subway, but somehow had entered another universe,
one where it was easy to just be two beings reaching out towards eachother.
We were both strangers, and also, for one moment, perfectly known.

He got off for his class and waved goodbye,
a goodbye that felt warm and tender, like an old friend leaving.
I remember how I had almost not even said hello.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Thursday, October 11, 2018

mostly mist,

the sound of the waves, the only proof that the ocean was still there.

and then there was me,
floating in the clouds.

I watched as my hand turned into sky,
knowing any moment ...
I too,
could disappear. 

Blog Archive