consuelacooks

cooking, poetry, and unapologetic intense moments in a life

Category: Spoken Word

Holy, Holy in the Magnolia Tree

I cannot act with prudence, or temperance,
Guileless innocence, forgetting the incidents
the compounding fractures of chapters growing backwards
cheek staining battleground pounds, the whitest noise
The whitest noise,

Illinois was the leap, so steep and such a snowy night
I saw three angels on the roof, they asked in earnest
WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM US?
WE CAN ONLY DO SO MUCH.
The snow was such a soft touch when I climbed the roof and flew
Next thing I knew, next thing I knew
There were two in blue, one on each arm,
That collar was stiff and warm
The lights were like crazy Thracian birds,
They whirred in my head, concussed
chattering how snow was too soft for the higher purpose
I failed at this ultimate act, the two in blue an accessory after the fact
I was so sad I couldn’t care less that Chicago was so damn pretty
That night. I thought of, was thinking of, the flashes of laps and
Pabst and old man laughs and currency for
love by commitees, they would come by committee.

by committees they came, in prides and
congregations they came, in murders they came,
in colonies, cultures, clouds,
braces and broods and bevies and beds
convocations, catches, skeins,
shoals, swarms, smacks and salts
feral parliament of manged dogs
into Florida house in the night

light fades, It faded, I was called for,
I floated in, above, and watched the swelling scene unfold
AND THERE I WAS! there I am
REALLY TAKING ONE FOR THE TEAM.
Or two. Or five. Stay alive, Stay alive. Just stay alive
Stay alive little one, or grow some teeth.

Sink beneath the flash and pomp.
Feel cool Saint Petersburg breeze,
the smell of the VW bus
the thrill of the sprinkler on July days
Count the pennies, but slowly, slowly.

Holy, holy in the poetry
Holy Holy in the wait
Holy Holy in Magnolia Tree
Holy Holy operate

this machine with caution, it’s a clever
cunning beast, It can float and flee
Weep and growl, squeal with glee, roar with love,
be silent as the grave, never caving, carving life from
tree husks with success, feeling in excess, but less apt
to be trapped than any other little girl.

Handle with care, she said.
Kid gloves and kid fears
are key.
I still see the grass wave in wind like you.
I  can taste the difference
between a peach on Tuesday and a peach on Sunday.
I know what’s up.

And the house of my childhood was made of glass,
each several window blown sugar,
each strand of sugar spider webs,
each web the finest dew line,
each dew line the stuff of Abbadonian dreams


I want to fly this place, but I can’t.
I’ve got beautiful babies coming to some class somewhere
To talk of witch trials or thundercats,
-which flavor of blow pop is superior
which Roman was right in killing Caesar

I want to fly this place but I can’t
I’ve got shit to do and a flock of friends
We head into battle with thin air for weapons
Doing some other sort of flight fight
And shaving peach fuzz off of Salem
Going into the woods with Tituba
Finding a snake and naming it McCarthy
And filling the theatres with men
Who could’ve sold our skin in gross, but wouldn’t dare.

I want to fly this place but I can’t,
so I’ll keep
donning the shoes and
Running I guess.
laughing when inappropriate.
And being absolute.

Sometimes it’s breath I hold
Sometimes you
Other things include music, pans, mail and soap
A skull in a graveyard
Or the bird that is made of glass
(I have to be very careful, you see)
And I don’t really understand where it ALL comes from- this courage
Some birth I guess – some haircut brainwash toothbrush
Some late night fit of artistic dune painting or
Maybe a ring around the posy, rosy, red, or finger
Maybe it’s the wail of fire trucks
the man I speak Hindi to, the sun through the trees
Perhaps the feel of my Step father’s hand as I rub out the pins and needles-
Those plague him after the surgeries.

Maybe it’s so simple that it won’t be named in any
chump piece of a poem-
Maybe it’s so secretive, we don’t have a file on it
Maybe this bravery is some DNA
floating in some thigh bone
deep in the center of me with all the women who came before-
The ones who fought the war and took back
The kingdom God gave us as a safehouse,
this lockdown, this red hold, inviolable,
this invulnerable fortress we were divinely bestowed
to provide the nectarous beating home
for our tender beloved babies to grow

You know,
Stay alive was the mantra,
stay alive,stay alive,
sweet girls just stay alive.
and count the pennies slow, slow.

Holy, holy in the Magnolia Tree.

 

Two years of a march (Portland, Pulse, Memphis, the Sun)

It was nine in the morning that first year
JJ and I had tied one on, dancing with beautiful women
Deep into coastal night
(only after walking into that curious little store with many rooms)
I walked the Mile, flowers in hair, colors of the rainbow.

I loved all of us. The sea. CALL JOE blazing on the time and temperature sign.
And it was there in the bed of a truck.
It was slick and shiny, blazing rainbows in all directions.
I was new, but you wouldn’t know it. We all had a job.

Just unraveling it took an hour. Hundreds helped.
It covered the whole square and then some.

It smelled of coffee, revolution.
late-night fits of artistic frenzy.
The AIDS epidemic. Harvey Milk.
Brandon Teena. Matthew Shepard.
Backstreet Cafe. Otherside. Upstairs.
Augusta. Montreal. West Virginia. Moscow.

By touch you could feel Dale McCormick, Gia, Nancy.
Baldwin, Polis, Frank. Michaud. Maloney.
You could feel the tangent of hatred interwoven, turned to deep blues.

You could taste Portland rigor. The sweat of activism.
The nerve, the nerve of this tiny town in the whitest of states.
The Oddysean journey for voice and a patch of land.
40 blizzards, a kiss, the grace given by old white men to marry.
A child was cradled there too. Surrounded by love, and the purest of songs.

We carried it, danced under it, wept into it.
Let go of it for another year.

The second year there were different names.
Stanley Almodovar III, age 23
Amanda Alvear, 25
Oscar A. Aracena-Montero, 26
Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33
Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21
Martin Benitez Torres, 33
Antonio D. Brown, 30
Darryl R. Burt II, 29
Jonathan A. Camuy Vega, 24
Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28
Simon A. Carrillo Fernandez, 31
Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25
Luis D. Conde, 39
Cory J. Connell, 21
Tevin E. Crosby, 25
Franky J. Dejesus Velazquez, 50
Deonka D. Drayton, 32
Mercedez M. Flores, 26
Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22
Juan R. Guerrero, 22
Paul T. Henry, 41
Frank Hernandez, 27
Miguel A. Honorato, 30
Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40
Jason B. Josaphat, 19
Eddie J. Justice, 30
Anthony L. Laureano Disla, 25
Christopher A. Leinonen, 32
Brenda L. Marquez McCool, 49
Jean C. Mendez Perez, 35
Akyra Monet Murray, 18
Kimberly Morris, 37
Jean C. Nieves Rodriguez, 27
Luis O. Ocasio-Capo, 20
Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25
Eric I. Ortiz-Rivera, 36
Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32
Enrique L. Rios Jr., 25
Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37
Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24
Christopher J. Sanfeliz, 24
Xavier E. Serrano Rosado, 35
Gilberto R. Silva Menendez, 25
Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34
Shane E. Tomlinson, 33
Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25
Luis S. Vielma, 22
Luis D. Wilson-Leon, 37
Jerald A. Wright, 31

We carried that flag amidst SWAT teams.
We were not afraid, but really, we still looked.
Over shoulder, behind.
The police did too. We all were reminded of how
the carrying of this, this symbol
this mantra, this, this multitude
is a blessing, a gift, and act of extreme love
it’s so threatening, really.
All those rainbows and hearts, all the beautiful people,
screaming with pride and adoration for their bodies,
their beats, their bravado, their babies.
More terrifying than bombs, it seems. Scarier than the rapture itself, it seems.
This love is infectious, liberal, whole.

Run for the hills, they are coming. And they are probably well dressed.

A year more, and in Memphis I sit calmly, not knowing my town.
feeling smaller than before. Feeling subdued.
Without the invincibility of Portland.
Without the ocean, stripped of the joyful nights of that town.
But I know what it is to rebuild, by God I do know that.
But I do think I want to feel it in my fingers again.
That gorgeous emblem. My friend’s hand in mine.
The awe and majesty of it all. The many tears wept in vigil.
The candle of protest dripping wax onto my palm.

Well, at least we know there are people available for impeachment.
they wave another flag, wear different hoods in secrecy.
There are injustices that still appall,
and poverties beyond imagining.
Right. Here.
Right in this 901 snatchy homeland of the blues.
So it’s time to get back to fucking work I guess,
and leave the pining for some other whiny freckled short girl.
Roll up the sleeves, and write some anthems.
No rest for the lonely, they say.
and for the wicked, it is only a matter of time.
There’s shit to do, and parks to clean.
Kids who don’t eat.
The action is all. It’s like molasses here,
but the guns are quick, the hunger quicker, the trafficking quickest,

the homicide meter running.

so, dignitaries, I’ll see you on the court.
make sure to bring a snack.

 

In no particular order, you are constructed.

I placed your thought next to me.
nestled it in tight
fed it fondness, gave it coffee
worried when it got the sniffles
mourned when it faded into vapor and left.

I played your rock and roll loud
All night, all day it played
(as not to wake the newly wed neighbors from the child making practices above I pumped it likewise into my ears with silky headphones of purpose whilst the ritual pounded on)
It didn’t conjure. You never appeared.

I traded in those tired headphones for a sweet bowl of slippery gelato
Hazelnut, Drizzled with caramel.
at nine exactly, as the prophecy decreed it slid through my delta
down the long throat. Resting deep in my belly, as foretold.
bringing the requisite goosebumps,
it tasted of Boats, firelight and sunburn
but I couldn’t find your smell. Couldn’t savor your palm.
couldn’t place the tang, recognizable, of you after a day in the garden.
There was only a shiver, slight, and the sticky sensation of want.

I went to the top of the precipice and stood,
Moxie on that temple floor
I brought you white peaches and peppery biscuits.
I peeled off my dress and made offering
covering the freckles in Tennessee dirt to show you

I. Just. Can’t. Go.
My hands were shaking, by God they were.
But I needed you to see. So I waited for the thunder.
It took three days and nights, but I heard a distant boom boom.
I had eaten your fruit, spread it on those biscuits
and buried myself a foot deep in the ground by then.

So I brushed off. Knowing the revelation was not far.
Not so far from now.
Hope has fucking feathers, and a bird in the hand can be a dirty choice
without proper equipment so
Let me bate from your wrist, let me wrap it up: your hope,
and send it to the multitudes
Count freckles, itemize, name each and wander to Afric. Egypt. Abyss.

Let us be quiet and count the inspirations.

Take a walk, tell secrets, and wish for rain.

 

Basil in the window

Shifting in molar, sliding shove ways
I see the day for what it is
What song are you?
How is it, world dwellers, that we human so well
And still eat the night so that it will in turn swallow us?

The dark, a cheval glass, spoke the volumes we needed
For intimate solitude and a resounding hand check
The silence made us stone deaf with want
The emergence of our renaissance
catechizing our throats in the heat

The trees burst like overripe oranges
Each breeze a torpedo, a lesson for the contented, rested, untroubled.

Metallic crunch no lunch close your door it’s dark and they are coming for your television.

Sigh in amorous eve, close to what we need
Pestle the tight spots, bruise the tradition
Take only the most tasteless of pictures

In the mind’s eye of the storm
There is a quiet, quiet clue
A hushed doctrine, spoken in some ancient tongue
It whispers of secrecy, nectarines, and the wind.

I closed my eyes so tight I saw stars.
Got so naked I felt the inside of the womb
Sweated so endearingly, I became a pillar of salt
Danced so hard I was ecstasy, Holy Ghost!
A lover zealot, a rain shaked parodist, a libidinous priest, torpid, hot, pious.

The score was populated with strings, crickets
sand castles
and the oldest religions.

I thought how nice it would be to kiss your eyes.

I would love to, OR, how we might behold.

III
a guitar pick and a romp for the black cat
3 bands later it was still moving and
I could feel the calm start to seep in
We can rest here

(and the drummer’s mouth is open because he’s pounding, the guitar player broke his third string, the microphone is just receiving screams because after so many songs what is there to do but scream)

I can’t hear anything
and planets surge forward
in this two-horse town of trees
and all those barren bodies look in frenzy for the tonight in the ones next to them, across from them, upstairs from them, down the bar…
but the pounding is still ferocious
and how can they ignore
oh the best
part
when all the drinks bought make the guys on stage a little reckless and
shit gets louder, even
and each word is a prayer said over
sinewy arms, ringed fingers, nicotine lips…

And that fateful moment
“Thank you, Goodnight”
the white light blast our eyes
making women wish waterproof was for real
making stagger a zip code
making cabs chariots
making the cold night a question mark for the leftover
the lonely
the lascivious

the cold slaps me
and on nights like last night
I start running fast into the black
into the cold
splitting it in two
with The Queen is Dead across my chest
just to feel the blood pound into my face

I know it’ll come again because
the Pour house is there, the Lincoln there
and so many to see
and so many nights to
welcome
this breakneck, lovely cold splitting Midnight.

(when we replace the thought of us with birds, and release us into clouds that eat us whole, spitting out the seeds)
There’s a novelty to breathing
Held fast tight fat pockets grasping inside hand reaching
Angelwhere.
I wished you would hold me
Just for seconds of course
I can’t stay the course
I gotta bang-bang all over my psyche and talk future like
Wanting for ambition to take hold
Waiting for the wings to melt
I gotta slam into dem bones I see
In my dreams, vain, glorious
Wanting for a darker knight, a darker fight
A false fevering fleshed out soldier
Wanting more of that light, six shooters bright
But it just gets colder
Those sheets just get colder,
that sunbeam where you were gets colder.
That hotel room, that coffee those moments
Like smoke, get colder
A double A
double offering, the sky,  sucked us right in.
Changeling children and
Madly doting lovers reminded me that I could laugh.
For extra comfort I held my own hand.
And the blue up high had a circling bird
Tethered to Jehovah and the angels it flew circle wise into darker
Tree ridden areas for rest.
And I got a letter from Jehovah today.
Those chain letters that
piece together all of the unknowns

II
Whether I be chicken, deviant, cartoon mug or frost
I am shrouded in hair, black
guarded by feet, convex
healed by the same means,
warmed and cooled by the same summer and wisher
I can’t help but think that those rocks in
Virginia’s pockets each had a weight of their own
One, four pounds, one twenty
Each girded in express melancholy

I
Feel ten degrees warmer thinking of you
Gentility in approach
Fingers on the underside of my chin
Hands grasping lower back for fear of slipping
Perspiration lining the runway of spine and hip
Each freckle accounted for
Triple Decker sunshine candy girl has five feet
Of surging words for apathetic ears
I miss that room where boys dance on heads,
girls shake words from a stone
Jesus freaks with crayons pattern stigmatic guitar rifts
And Queen of nightlife moves through the room like some silver
Beauty ghost with eyes that stop trains
And hands that can hold a child with no fear
So yeah, I’ll spout them, three and with heart
I’ve run out of what calms the race, so we’ll see if
Grass will grow on faster ground
On hands made of war, and breath composed of brown eyes, wandering
Consumption just doesn’t work, but I keep it up despite
Monster premonitions and tighter belts

Angel come, come and fit fever on your wing
Angel run your hand through my eyes and pull out the softer girl
With hair of silk
thighs of green

thoughts of pounding hooves.

Dreaming big, and dainty, winsome, poet-honey.

Sometimes its the sound of it. The way it drags across skin, sand and other deterrents
Sometimes its the perfect way it slides into spots, unaware
Sometimes its the way it shoves down into the horizon, plowing day into inky black
Sometimes its the way it slows me as a walk out Midtown door in morning time

Last night I dreamt of someone next to me
In t-shirt sheets whispering instructions
On how to get to Mexico. It wasn’t so very far.
Completely unlit we only shared territory and exhalation
Wilting blue covering head neck chin and so forth
We vaulted the window with unseen pinions,
Alighted in some desert place.
I could see who it was then.

I was surprised you followed me here.
My compromise for Mexico was justified and
the scorpion dancing the jig, told me
we didn’t have far to go
You picked a far off orange tree for rest
And my palm was traced by your forefinger, unique
“-comer de mi boca, comerme mi peligro.”

It was a subtle kiss when it landed. Thirty seconds or more
We were less than an inch lip to lip.
Then the distance closed,proximity was everything
It tasted of three things:
ice, lime and sweet honey.
You whispered a small prayer, there, over my eyes
some Latin ditty meant to seduce
( Your hands rested in chastity on my sunburned knees)
(My hands, aching, did not rest, but remain good at heart).
When my lids lifted back over my eyes, of course, you were gone.
Gone to some other dream, I suppose.
Ginger, freckled, Sandman.
And again I was in some foreign place filled with wet trees
And fog like fingers, alone.
The sun was makin his descent, and I heard some creature moan for moon

Call me back. I ‘m gonna be baptized
By that rain, hold it holy, like the Grotto, in my hands
and pray for economic mercy, digging in the dirt mercy,
medicinal mercy, theatrical mercy
I’m gonna burrow my black head into those metabolic fantasy trees
I’m gonna have to be sucked
sucked into that river again
where I have to swim for light
where I have to find my feet, lashes, breasts
again.
skin brown, freckles ablaze, muscles sore, time snarled
and tree after tree after mountain after hipster after hippie after sea to shining sea after California, Oregon, Mount Saint Helen’s, Memphis, Portland, Chicago oh

Oh, oh.
I’m with you
I’m with you
I’m with you in charred remains of great lands
I’m with you in bunk beds
campfires, estranged houses
under those crazy stars with the bugs that light in symphony for us
splash me in that rain, get me wet up to my hazel eyes in it
drown me in what is right in front of me,
teach me angel ways
Cataclysmic lovers, poets, carnal midnight madmen
I love you
(And god’s fingers are here
lipsticked in drag-queen red,
howling a sticky ballad
every celestial vein)
(And those crazy Thracians!
Philomel in her hut,
having those things done that he did
and then  all becoming those crazy birds)

Maybe we can do that
become those birds– when we get the nights back,
When the explosions stop.

Just so you know,
the house in our dream was made of glass,
each several window blown sugar,
each strand of sugar spider webs,
each web the finest dew line,
each dew line the stuff of dreams
I have the smell of it by my bedside,
It produced tributary tears in the getting of it,

To report an outage, call quickly.
And wait. Wait.
It will assemble. And things will be free of bands of paper, case, and cage.

But I knew it was you, Velour bottomed and cat cradled
vehicular comrade and cloud kissed
Street sweeper of The brave new world!
You spoke in tongues and the bribes were left unanswered
And the bush burned and tomorrow came
And I tasted hope metallic on Soft palette
It swam with so many other sweet things
The treble of your solitude suicide in my ear, your eager million dollar hands on my face, the halo of pursuit in the covers, the dim light of morning and
Beethoven only a whisper and a promise away.
This was the stuff that the cinema can’t even catch
It housed too much paint and long fire to be funnelled into in any dark room
It canvassed a field somewhere in some land sans gravity, eloquence, and
Free of heat and cold where rivers run pure plasma attacks and fish leap to the sky

And
Just
Keep
Going going was the night in the way of the bells and the grand ball
Where ladies dance and Gatsby he watches and documents from a balcony somewhere
And you and I took our time
We took it and woke up alone with possibility in our beds
hope on our porch
light, that blue light, los latidos del corazón,

the light of what you touch is what we have,
air we heave,
world we grab: mashed in dirty fingers, stuck in beards, lost in sheets
The here and the danger,the four days,the sound of a whisper
Etched here
in blues

on the palm

of my hand.

 

Even on my tallest day I still can’t reach the damn light bulb.

The lights in my kitchen in my ugly puppy of an apartment here in Memphis are slowly, one by one, going out. While I love the high ceilings in this quirky pad, I am, and will always be, 61 and three-quarters of an inch high. No amount of staring straight up will release these dead bulbs from their elusive sockets. No matter what surface in my apartment I put under me, I can’t reach. I cannot WILL them out. They will not be swayed by smart rhetoric. Even yelling has not worked. Ignoring them has no yield either. I’m just dumbfounded by the hilarious metaphor of it all screaming in caps,

“YOU NEED TO LET SOMEONE IN”.

A ladder would do the trick, or possibly scaling the stove to fridge and then a 3 foot reach… but seriously? If you know me, you know that both of these ideas are just nucking futs.

I’m easing in. Last night I welcomed new friends by means of games, fire, and loud music. Today I receive friends by reading at the Spartan City Poet’s May Day. Tonight I participate in some small way as an actor in a rehearsal. Tomorrow, more immersion, more opening, more tooling around exploring this city with new eyes that are reminding some of my new Memphian pals why they stayed here, and why it’s beautiful.

Mid forties are super weird. You kind of can’t make up excuses for your behavior anymore, lest you just fall into the category of the non-evolving. It’s exciting to REALLY love people in a deeply grounded way. It’s trailblazing to speak with a whiff of authority about your experience, particularly when you’ve made the maverick move of waiting to dive in with folks until you can see past the fog of craftily and attractively packed baggage you have accumulated over said forty plus years.

“So when you are sitting with a new tribe in a tiny lounge off of Madison,  the music is good, and the laughter is the whitest of noise, you can believe that none of this, not one part of it can be done alone, Carmen, so shut up and listen to me. Let someone come over and change the damn bulbs. Everyone is taller than you anyway.” – The Universe

IMG_20170520_105911463

Μου λείπεις

There is an art to missing people, I believe. It is quiet, it is active, and it is slow. The layering effect of it is staggering; the amount of energy a human has to love, and the expansive room humans have to invite more and more people into that space of nostalgia. Just when we believe we can’t do it again, we fall in love with people, we dote on moments, we make heroic even the most tempestuous of friendships in their absence. We expand and romanticize the briefest of possible flirtations. Each time we engage in hatred or discrimination we fight our most basic desire: to be home. To find resonance. To dwell in the familiar, whether it be tangible or no.

Two toddlers on a swing-set in a park don’t give a shit about Donald Trump. Or a hijab. Or a prayer. Or whiter teeth. Or even what they are named. They want to together feel that sensation in their bellies when they are suspended by the swing, inexplicably in the air, caught  by physics in a moment of shared ecstasy. That’s as real as it gets. Distilled. While all of these other things come into play later, this one moment is the fodder for remembrance.

So, I’ve been remembering. And doting. And breathing through it: the painful birth process of change. It’s baffling, swollen, pulsing, and pushing, and it’s going to happen whether I like it or not.

I’m happy to say, my life has been full of swing-sets.

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The running list of what I love about Memphis

Memphis is like no other place I’ve ever been. I won’t and can’t explain the feeling, as it would be diminished with language. It is lush, delicious. The days of alone time are very trying , but the moments of shared experience are unique and spirit-full. If there is a Holy Ghost, I swear he lives in Memphis.

The List:

IMG_20170507_082813190Midtown Laundry

You might say, “What the hell?”.

This place gives ample conversation, entertainment, the occasional prayer, and the inevitable communal belly laugh, and at 7 on a Sunday morning, I always see the same folks.

My favorite, my friend, 74, who lives on Spring, who always reminds me that if God lets her live another month she will be 75. She always touches me, invokes a short prayer, and gives me the updates on her health, her neighborhood gossip, and praises my moth tattoo. I’m pretty sure she is a deity of some sort.

Overton-Park-Master-Plan-88-p1-normal

Overton Park.

Dogs, picnicking lovers, families laughing, lush forests, art, and a formidable playground.

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Magnolias.

They’re from the Jurassic period.

Literally dinosaur flowers.

They smell of fear, lust, surprise, gentility, and fire to me. Also, my friend Marquis is on that list- he’s one of my favorite things too. This was his first magnolia.

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This little Hippo.

Her name is Winnie and she is a baby. She is at the Memphis Zoo. Her Mom’s name is Binti. Hippos are descended from whales, and can grow up to 7000 pounds. They can run up to 19 miles an hour on land, and can open their massive jaw a whopping 180 degrees and muster enough force in them (along with incredibly sharp teeth) to crush an alligator. Their name means ‘Horse of the River’. They cannot swim or float, but can trot on the river bed like a horse, and when they need to resurface (about every 8-9 minutes) they push themselves off of the bed. They are the deadliest animal in Africa. Number one. Superlative. It doesn’t get deadlier, unless you’re a mosquito, an elephant or a black mambo. I love hippos. Can’t explain it.

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Memphis Rain.

I love it. I missed it. Thunder is a lullaby. Also, Ella is the best, and I wish they were here a lot. And their partner Mark.

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Caritas Village.

The Mission: ‘To break down walls of hostility between the cultures, to build bridges of love and trust between the rich and those made poor & to provide a positive alternative to the street corners for the neighborhood children.’ It’s a miracle of a place. Smack dab in the middle of Binghampton. I met 4 of the warmest humans in Memphis in that place, and I can’t wait to return.

Burke'sbooks

Burke’s Books.

There is no better spot to sit, read, and think. It has survived depressions, prohibition, two world wars, a civil war, the turns of two centuries, hipsters, hippies, hip-cats, the Beats, surf rock, the British Invasion, baby boomers, Gen-Xers, Millennials, and 27 presidents of the United States of America. There is really no telling if any of us will survive the current leadership, so I’m not including his reign in this endorsement for a rock-solid staple of Memphian destinations.

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Company d

Company d of Memphis, Tennessee, is a nationally recognized dance company of young adults with Down syndrome under the artistic direction of choreographer Darlene Winters. I was able to spend some time there, talk about possibilities, and meet some of the dancers. They were stunning. I hope to spend a lot of time here.

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My falling-apart-leaky-noisy apartment.

I feel safe in this ugly puppy of a building, which is no small feat in this town which lives up to its dangerous reputation on a daily basis. I’ve never laid eyes on my landlord, I had to work for two hours with a knife and a hammer to pry open one window, I’ve had two shelves come crashing down in my kitchen, and there are so many haphazardly laid layers of paint on everything in the apartment that I’m sure each room has lost a square inch. I live below two 22-year-old newlyweds who are very energetic, emphatic walkers, and late-night vacuum-ers, and although there is a washer and dryer in the basement, I feel like I’m in a final scene out of the Blair Witch Project when I descend those stairs, so I seek other laundry facilities (see Midtown Laundry). Vito loves the wide open space, and I have had a number of opportunities to have folks over already. My Basil and Cilantro are growing. I am sleeping (Maybe too much sleeping). I love my job and the people who I work with each day. I BELIEVE in my leaders. I TRUST them.

 

I don’t have those pals that I can be quiet with yet, but I’m getting there. I’ve only developed two or three crushes. I’ve only scanned the animal shelter offerings twice. I’m slowly extracting melancholy and injecting in some hope.

 

Baby steps, people.

Sundays, you know

 

During the seventh day dawn

I aim, crave, I fancy–

During listless smudgy Sunday mornings

For your hands to

languidly, with some olympic purpose

let the riostat run high and sling some heart fodder

(petulant, posey, tigers and frost)

on my softer shoulder,

but only a little- as Sundays you know, go more slow

 

I have no big words for the want.

It’s a warmth somewhere between the lower back and the cliff

Sleepy boy clothes

Some ray, some sun-shot, some record scratch and a bottle top promise

to hold the ribs, teeth, and thighs with certainty

on Sundays

to with patience observe

the way we become

the way we are

(for historical and scientific purposes)

as we observe the learning of

the unfurling of

the dots we connect as

hands grasp the meatier parts

books slide in shelves

and gasps become language

in the watchful aurora glare.

 

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