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These hands that have always held you
I begin a new decade overcome with love. Everything keeps on happening. One thousand hugs and gorgeous evenings. Also some new work in the world.
Listen to me please, though what I have to say is very stupid.
I have struggled, recently, to receive the blessings of my life, I mean to really let them in. I need so much help to hold them. I need so much help to hold me together, to feel whole enough, to feel worthy of what my world’s been laying at my feet.
Six days ago I turned 40.
Three days before that I rode a big sweet mule called Bess through piñon and juniper forest, through open sky and mesa, Bess teaching me to talk to her in a language she would listen to, me learning, trailing happily behind a line of women I adore arranged regally atop large and lovely creatures, each possessed of its own personality, impossible to draw.
Emily brought one thousand balloons, Angelica baked cookies.
Regina was an entire ocean and Angel kissed my back.
Katrina painted me a forest.
Kris made a mound of japchae.
Lindsay looked excellent driving a Jeep.
Emmy made friends with every animal and Cady brought biscochitos.
I drank mushroom tea and came apart a bit.
These marvelous women let me.
I huddled under blankets and heard them in the other room, their laughter like singing. They sung me to sleep.
We woke up. We sat in hot water.
Caked ourselves with mud and baked ourselves in sunshine.
We soaked ourselves free.
We made the world our own and loving, for three days in the heart of heaven, along the side of a mountain in northern New Mexico.
I welcomed a new year like this: held, and heard, and cared for.
They told me they loved me and why, my friends, who came to me when I called for them. It was very hard at times to hear, the love and its reason. I fear sometimes, from time to time, I cannot possibly deserve it. Not because I haven't been loved well, but because I’ve so long busied myself to breakdown, trying to earn what I already have.
God grant me relief from this monkey mind.
I am trying to learn what's enough.
I write to you now from an airplane yesterday, making its way from Chicago, where I spent three days listening, learning and loving one thousand strangers. I got to stand on the stage at the Harris Theater and tell a room full of bright, imaginative and hungry souls what I think about work, what I think about design, how I want to able to connect to what I'm doing and why, who I'm working with and why, how it makes the work cooler and wiser and kinder, I think, when I have time and space to understand who and what I'm working with. That went pretty well.
It is good and it is right, I feel, when doing these kinds of things, to try to work in a little poetry and light communism. It is good and it's right for me.
I met a man called Diego and one called Pali and another one, yes, called Rapha. And then there was Tamraat and Shar and also Bryony, Maddy, Carmen like my tia, there was Eli and David. Pali loved to jaywalk. Cole showed me my own face. He drew it. I wore my brightest skirt and beads and maybe had a cigarette. Maybe I had six. It is not the best thing I've ever done, but I'll tell you I enjoyed it, walking along the river in a city I've loved so long, a city I left one season ago now to start another one in the desert.
While I was in the midwest, summer seeding to autumn, my friend who I married stayed home with our dog and I missed them every moment.
I want to be with everyone everywhere, all of the time.
I want to spread my cells across every place I've ever loved like ashes while I'm living, but it simply isn't possible. I try and I try and sometimes come apart.
It's so much love and awe and grief and aching, all this living, it's so much trying and striving and flailing and falling but look at what it's got me. All this blessing of being and staying alive, my god, I can hardly bear it.
Today Ben, a beautiful, brilliant world-bending poet, of a kind, but artist more accurately, released a marathon reading into the world. I have a poem that's part of it; I asked Jared to make it move. He made the music, held the camera, took my voice and words and made it new and more itself, this poem I wrote about water, about releasing into waves, all over everything, about the blessing that is breaking and allowing what is, which is miraculous.
I write to you now from an airplane yesterday. I am hurdling through time and space toward home, where my family is alive and loving me. They wait for me, they'll be there to bring me in. I will walk through the door and pick up a book that arrived while I was gone. The book has three of my poems in it. You can buy it if you want. It's not about ghosts, but spirits.
My spirits are high and with me now and I am flying with them home. What I want is to be known, even in this, my dumb fucking struggle to believe I deserve the beauty that wants me.
You deserve the beauty that wants you, awaits you, begs you to believe it, asks you to receive it. Allow it.
I am talking to you who is also me.
I am asking us to listen.
Let your life be love.
Ella me canta in murmurs, hymns that I alone could carry— Mijita, life exquisitely will happen si amas sin temor. Recuerda, si debes, debes llorar sin vergüenza. Your heart is yours to bear. Deja quemar el mundo en ti. A fist cannot carry ashes. Mi linda, we are blessed to drift through valleys como viento, como ecos contra paredes de montañas. You’ll never need a man to tell you your name. Nunca anclas, we are dust, my love… We rise— spread— vivimos en fuego My hummingbird, quick-hearted, flame a thousand miles from home, broke. She feeds the earth. Es la vida. We struggle because we must. Palomita, says my mother’s mother whose mouth I have forgotten, Do not, I beg, my love, forget these hands that have always held you.
published in Ghosts, Not Spirits III from Querencia Press
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