the bit of you that I took

when our skulls collided

in the dark, too fast

both so desperately clumsy

happily awkward, but still

I saw your eye sockets hollow,

your zygomatic processes pronounced

over your stupid beard.

Time always got away from us, didn’t it?

I lost a contented five and a half hours, and left

always right. (stairsteps) You won everything

but me, I lost the peace of you.

argument

I wouldn’t mind sand and salt

in my hair, which I imagine long and unkempt

loose about my shoulders, sticking

bare skin cool in pools of gathering water about my limbs

the sunlight gleams on my ocean, always setting, always rising

your voice elevates in pitch and I turn

the foamy white waves turning with me,

hair billowing, suspended in watery space,

the anger I was trying to let go of

returns in full force. I don’t want to hate,

so I will focus it, damn this table between us.

and the switch clicks off again, I am

somewhere drowning and you are still talking rivers of words at me

gallery

weighted, wandering, I gaze at

each fleck of gold, caught in

the streaky colours that fill the walls,

carefully composed into chaos.

worries smile and crawl

out of my skin

curling up safe in a tiny triangle of green,

laying down in a perfectly shaped eye

grinning back at me.

They live there now, healed and happy

whenever i find this painting

I will also find them.

to my future kids.

There are a few things that I want my children to understand.

Now, I don’t have any children of my own. I don’t have any plans to have any in the foreseeable future. But kids have always been a significant part of my life, and I believe that one day I will have a house that is full of loud, crazy people and pets, since I have always gravitated towards such chaos. I really really want to raise children to love things that I have come to love – not force their interest or anything, just sometimes I get really excited when I think about the possibility that one day I could share these amazing pieces of my life with them.

I want these kids to understand why swimming in the river out back of Natedewai village is amazing. The river is not always there, since it’s dependent on the seasonal rainfall, but when it is it is full of mudfishes and bugs and sand. Swimming in it this past summer was unbelievable. Floating along in the current clinging to a capped jerrycan, with eddies of latte-coloured water twisting about my limbs, the thought struck me in an almost desperate way, as thoughts sometimes do when I’m afraid I’ll forget the meaning behind them: My children need to understand this.

I want my children to understand the feeling of free air, open windows, and why riding in the back of the pickup or motorcycle is the best place to be. In the western world, climate control always has freaked me out. You move from bubble to bubble, where everything is perfectly adjusted and culture whispers that you are the center of the universe. At home, my favourite place to be was always in the way back of the pickup, with my hands to the sun and my hair being thrashed about my face in the breeze – NOT perfectly straightened and sculpted to look a certain way, free to just be. They have a saying in Uganda: “be free”. Not just “feel free”, the way Americans say, BE free. That really makes me happy, for I think it says a lot about the place. I want my kids to be free within and without, to understand the love of warm and cold weather, and to value the untamed in nature and in themselves.

I want to teach my children the love of music. Not in an academic, theoretical way, necessarily, just the warm comfort that I now feel when I listen to my “parent’s music”. Now, it’s not the typical mom-and-dad kind of music. No cheesy love ballads or awkward annoying pop songs. Rich traditional Irish music that never ever ever grows old, that I listen to when I’m feeling sad. My parents taught me a real love for that music – even though I don’t understand it completely, I absolutely love listening to the dusky voices of Dick Gaughan and Paul Brady, the violins of Altan and Kevin Burke, and so on. There are some things that should never grow old, and this is one of them. Irish music is just a tiny facet of the world of art they introduced me to in a way that encouraged me to explore it for myself, though I am a paltry musician at best. I want my children to understand a love for the artistic creations of humankind – not in a fluffy pop sense, but a real deep love that will never leave them even if I do someday.

I want to love my children with the love of God. I want them to understand that love and be filled with it. I wish with all my heart that I could meet them now and just hang out and talk about life, but that’s not how the system works, so I will love them all the way from the beginning of our relationship to the end. I will pour the spirit over them in every way I can and work ceaselessly to build for them a foundation of family love that is rooted in the Lord first and foremost. For nothing is more important to me than this.

I cannot wait to meet them.

CCH 2013

as usual, we do not live eye-to-eye.

Everyone pulls out their technology and sits alone,

dicing, marring, rationalizing beauty into tiny pieces trying to Understand.

what you do not know: the quiet cloth is my dream

I glow with it, I grow in it, white-hot is the clarity in me.

Fear, the orangey-pink shapes that attacked me in the subway that night

were from your lips. And yet no one said anything.

Maybe that is why I have painted you all in vomit, for

we learned how to eat each other, but we could never

keep it down. All over the walls.

this time, we’re brushing to gold, raising spirit glasses

to our eyes and lips. To new beginnings.

OJ/initial reactions to europe.

well, this is new.

i am shuffled from room to street to hall to tram to stair to door

and so on, as we try to see everything for a moment,

always counting on time to carry us to the right place.

the colour. I am tucking away prejudices into

warm Breugels and shadowy Klimts,

picking up new scenes to store in my eyelids and eyelashes.

(One step closer to home, so many things remind me of where I will be in a few weeks.)

For now, I’ll silence the thought train and just climb on pure unconscious reaction

roaring, refusing to form critical thought or opinion,

we float on the current, forwards.

springing

this sun

has to be a joke, it is

so drizzly wet outside and we are dashing

from buildings, breathing deeply

but trying not to ruin our hair

(let me say that the deepest joy

is from looking down and remembering that I am rooted in

boots I’ve had since I was eleven.)

learning to lose

As I, the tiny baby, slowly drifts off to sleep

My wonderful watcher slowly pries these things from my fists – beautiful, lovely, blessings

To which I am clinging too tightly, harsh angry red all across my palms.

When I awake, grown up stronger from rest

I shall be able

to grasp the rungs with empty hands

and pull upwards.

Photos

I wrote a fairly long post about how I’m trying to figure out why I don’t particularly like getting my photo taken while hypothetically tying that to my childhood abroad, where I was constantly being pointed out and my time in India, where passersby would take my photo all the time. Then I realised it was probably one of the most self-indulgent, over-emphasized pieces I have ever written and deleted all of it.

 

I’m still working on being comfortable around cameras. Yes, maybe it’s because I really don’t like being singled out. But I’m working on getting over it, and hopefully sometime soon I will have honed my modelling skills to perfection. (Like that will ever happen.)

 

This post is a bit out of the norm, but since we’re covering everything under the sun, let’s end on a paradox:

This was taken by my favorite person in the whole world, in a hotel room, while I was texting someone I love, on an amazing weekend which happened to be one of the last times we were able to spend quality time together in Uganda. 

This documents love right here.