Thursday, May 30, 2019

Tradescantia (Wandering Jew Plant)

In the window you grow --
Are you searching for home
Or wandering for mystery

Purple queen dancing above
You have so many sides
You shine like silk, you draw in light
But oh how easily you die

You grow, you rise, you shed, you dry, you break, you root new life.
You grow, you rise, you shed, you dry, you break, you root new life.

Purple queen, you are my heart.
Your leaves are woven into me.
I grow and break alongside you.
I've been wandering my whole life too.

I lift upwards as the sky.
I draw in light as the sun.
I crumble as the earth.
I begin again as the seed.

I grow, I rise, I shed, I dry, I break, I root new life.
I grow, I rise, I shed, I dry, I break, I root new life.

But who is the tender?
And who is the plant?
Which roots are mine?
Which roots are yours?

For we are the forest let the deer rush through us.
We are the fish, swimming through the sea.
We are the sky, let the birds glide through us.
We are the flowers in a field.
We are the meadow, let the water pour through us.
We are the seed becoming more.
We are the earth holding the seed, we are the plant that has grown, we are the plant that has dried.

We grow, we rise, we shed, we dry, we break, we root new life.
We grow, we rise, we shed, we dry, we break, we root new life.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

something else

There is the driver that almost hits the biker, not because he wants to, but because he doesn’t see.

There are the people walking by the vagrant guy who is singing with so much soul,
not because they want to, but because they don’t hear.

There are the thoughts in my mind that keep asking me to look back instead of being here, right here.

And so many couples quarreling about very tiny things,
mostly because they have forgotten something very important.

My piano student who is fighting for his life, everyday,
and that beautiful woman I knew, who gave hers away.

The soil in my garden that is somehow rich and fertile after a long winter
and how everything -- every little seed always remembers where to go.

The friend from out of town that reminds me of the world. Somehow it’s all connected.

And my little mind that is partly in brooklyn, partly in the past, partly in the future, partly in fantasy.

I don’t want to be the same person you thought I was yesterday, and also, I want to be known.

There are the weeds that we pull that become mulch, protecting the seeds.

All this waste that could easily turn into soil, and then back into food.

A simple molecule that could be upcycled into something more complex
(at least that’s what my friend told me).

The blood that leaves my body. The blood, that could pour into the earth, nourishing new life.
It makes me dizzy, my mind fragmented. Today, I am less myself and more of something else.

The purple plant in my window which so often crumples and dries. I break it into pieces,
place the parts into water, watch new roots sprout, plant the new roots into soil.
Again and again. The crumpled leaf is the purple, shiny leaf. Its death exists within its life.

There is this moment. There is that one.

There is the feeling I had with my friend like my world was getting bigger and bigger
just by having him in my garden. I had forgotten about change, about hope.

I want to connect with everyone I know and I also want to hide.

I want to have intimacy, to touch, to feel --
and also I want to be alone in my bed, to feel the stillness, and to sleep.

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

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

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