Bright. Glad. Willingness.

By on Mar 29, 2015 in poetry

Today I walked on the beach and noted with deep appreciation the opal trailings of the sea burnished by the early morning light. Today I stood in sweltering heat – unbelievable heat for spring even in Los Angeles, if you ask me – talking to several men who are artists. We were convened near a tarped area meant for working. They live in a place made of tents and, I don’t know what you call them, but to me they are like shacks, and they live in them, and they make art. What lacks in their space for beauty, civility, clean silverware, privacy, they make up for in art supplies, hand tools, ingenuity, the persistence of the artist to create. Today I was in the bookstore, on a break from working and worrying about things, and held a book of poems in my hand. A new book of poems by Jane Hirshfield called The Beauty. The dust cover had a wonderfully subtly pebbled texture and...

the last bookstore

By on Mar 1, 2015 in los angeles, poetry

This weekend a semi-spontaneous excursion to a store called The Last Bookstore in downtown Los Angeles. I don’t know if it is the last bookstore but it might as well be. We got stuck in some traffic going there and I thought: This might be the last bookstore I ever visit because I might implode right here on the freeway while driving 2mph. But eventually we made it there. Me and two book loving teenagers whom I know through association. (It’s not true that no one reads books any more, and it’s encouraging to me to actually know young people who read and love books in the same way I did and that I do. This proves to me that there must indeed be a God.) It was night time and fairly sketchy walking downtown after 8pm. Not super sketchy, but a little bit sketchy. The bookstore is a huge building with two levels of books, some small art galleries, a labyrinth, an immense...

The Heaven of Dreams

By on Feb 26, 2015 in Poems

The Heaven of Dreams     You try and you try.   You try to birth something of beauty through the misfortunes of a difficult marriage you try to bloom into this beauty despite ferocious winds and high anxiety.   Who you are             in the essence.   This love in the wake of so much change. This deep well of desire and belonging. The blues greens opals of dreamtime. The aqueous pools of memory.   Who you are             in the essence.   You want to pull it through from the dream realm into time and space, through your crown and into your awakening body and wanting it seems to make it so and so you begin to move towards this this smooth opening, the soft warming of what you want just before it becomes real.   What you know is this.   Your only job is to be   is to be very clear.   2.   Though you pray for this continual soft...

Jane Eyre

By on Feb 26, 2015 in Poems

Jane Eyre   I blundered onto the moors with my coffee breath and my hands wrung blue with grief.  The air was four walls, a darkened room of mist, a grounded cloud that followed me, ghosted me. I was crazy with his name    his face    the longing for him the telepathic, tele-pathetic lifeline we shared, my heart all strung up and spun around him. I was dizzy with it, I was spinning. I wanted to go away from him but I had nowhere to go. I wanted to go to him but I did not know where to go. He perfumed and bewitched the gray air that cloaked me, spooned me. It was like this for a long time. After a while there was no time. I was small. I wanted to be even smaller. I do not know how to categorize what came next or what day it was but there was one moment that changed it all. I thought I saw the sizzle of a yellow bird flicker in the distance. I thought I saw it leap through a break...

Stars Sparked

By on Feb 23, 2015 in poetry, soulful gifts

Greeting cards loaded to the new shop, at last. Check them out here.

Stay the Course

By on Feb 20, 2015 in art, Authenticity

My only regret is that I wish I’d had more confidence in art and in my abilities, so that I wouldn’t have wasted so much time being scared that I couldn’t make a living, or that I couldn’t write or paint. I wasted too much time working at jobs just for money, and I wish I had been more creative in living. I spent much of my time being depressed, thinking that this is just the way life is – you have to get a useless job. I guess I’m talking about times when I felt lost in my art and I didn’t know that I could do what I really love, and the money and all that takes care of itself. I wasted time heading in the opposite direction from where I really wanted to go. The joyful thing would have been to do my writing, my painting, to spend time with what I really loved. That’s what we need to do instead of thinking what we ought to do, which is, ‘I ought to make a living,’ or ‘I ought to have a sensible job.’ I didn’t need to do that. I could have gotten right to it, right to doing what I truly love. That has to do with self-knowledge; we must discover what we love and what work we are meant to do. And we need to find out as early as possible, before the world is successful at confusing us with expectations about what our roles are, and what our jobs and duties should be.

Maxine Hong Kingston, interviewed in On Women Turning Forty by Cathleen Rountree

Her True Life

By on Feb 18, 2015 in art, Authenticity

A few weeks ago I gave an artist talk to a small troupe of boy scouts. They were between the ages of 9 and 11 and of various ethnic backgrounds. I learned the boy scout handshake and I cited the pledge of allegiance – surprised that I actually still remembered it! (But good thing we didn’t need to sing the national anthem, because then I might have been in trouble.) I was in awe of these boys and how inquisitive they were of the artistic process. I showed them some examples of my work and explained how I arrived at the collage through two avenues: photography and poetry. At some point we were talking about how I got started in art and why I did specifically what I was doing. One boy asked me why I chose poetry. This question blew my mind. I was thinking about these young people and hoping to encourage them in some small way to listen to this true thing inside them, that can...

A Book Should Be a Ball of Light

By on Feb 16, 2015 in books and publishing, poetry

Friday night I was at Barnes & Noble, waiting for a call from a friend I was to meet with later, and needing some time outside the house. This is Southern California. It’s February. The night air was almost balmy. I’d heard that Mercury retrograde had ended recently, a relief to those that subscribe to its edict that all things, especially electronic, shall malfunction under its effect. But it seems to me that Mercury is always retrograde – what is up with that? The moon was full, too, but I don’t recall seeing it that night. Up on the second floor of Barnes & Noble I was looking at the poetry books. A couple of times the floor trembled, I mean literally shook, and I was, for a second, afraid. At first I thought it was an earthquake and that we might fall through the center of the floor which seemed to be lacking the proper supports (well, in my mind, it...


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