The Night I Met You (a Ghazal)

It was already summer, but only inside the rooms where I met you.

The suspicious night lulled so I could hear your name when I met you.

Guitar strings rang like the slowly-caving downstairs dancefloor

and that impossible hotel promised to collapse the night I met you.

Someone hung a white-collar shirt stained with reckless sweat.

It halved the cheap light of the fixture above the spot where I met you.

I felt wars the world over shudder still for almost a moment

when I opened my eyes at the end of the song and I met you.

The splattering of relentless spring outside the windows kept us there

until at last you sang ‘Goodnight, Irene’ on the night I met you.



move on

The days are suddenly abbreviated, as is my patience. I cannot sit still, I cannot shake the patter of retreating footsteps that lingers ever at the precipice of my waking mind. Pieces of my self are slowly peeling off and traipsing away and I cannot follow them all at once, so I am resigned to give them the head start on which they seem intent and am resigned to one day soon setting out to collect them all whence they wandered and hid.

After 6 months in planes, trains, cars, cabins, tents, hammocks, rivers, sunshine, dirt, pain, wind, rain….sitting still is impossible. Rather than settling into a routine to soothe the ache and exhaustion of stillness after movement, I find myself bracing feet and calloused hands against the slick mahogany rim of this box in which I refuse to lay down and die.

I want sunshine on my naked chest, and I want the arctic wind creeping in through the seams. I want to be in between as much as I’m anywhere else and big bowls of soup for breakfast. I want love that I can keep, love I can take with me. I want quiet outside so I can hear the songs in my head.

What time does the sun go down in Morocco? What would I be eating for breakfast if I was in Argentina? What’s Maui like in the middle of the might? How do I get there? Where do I start?

Day 137: Anchorage Airport (again)

Since I was here last, I’ve travelled roughly 17,000 miles. I’ve visited 7 states and over two dozen cities in planes, trains, cars, trucks, boats, and the occasional motorcycle.

I crammed this summer full of trips and projects and promises in hopes that I wouldn’t have time in between to be lonely. I planned to lose myself in transit, to become an inhabitant of each exact moment and abandon the expanse of worry and regret looming on either side. As is the nature if plans, my perfectly-premeditated distractions dissolved into genuine friendships ad beautiful New Mexico sunsets, endless cups of tea and open mics in strange cities, a real sense of belonging and an affection for both my past and myself that I would never have imagined could come so easy.

So, here I am 17,000 miles away from the very place I am sitting now. The world has shifted and I along with it, landing me right back on this airport bench with a ratty old backpack and a sleepy smile on my face because, hey, this trip is just beginning.

…but not yet.

I’ve been meaning to post something….it’s just that every time I open up and dig around for something you might be able to use, I get lost. I am so happy and so sad and so painfully aware of how infinitely alive I am, yet so made of skin and water and things that bruise and break. I’m not sure how to turn that into what you need to hear, or what I need to say. Everything’s all right, I’m just a little caught up in all this figuring it out as I go along. There will be songs and stories sometime soon, but not yet. For now, just know that I’m thinking of you. Take care of yourselves, and feel free to shoot me an e-mail if you ever wonder, or need someone to talk to, or have an idea, or can’t sleep.


All my love,


Big World, Little Victories

[Photo by Javier Caceres]


1. Got stuck in rush hour traffic on I-5 ~ NPR reviewed Natalie Merchant’s latest album, talked to “part time farmers” and explained a previously confounding front of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict in a way that I could process it. Also, the sun shone and the breeze breezed and people were nice.

2. Finally made myself sit down and make a budget for the next 8 months ~ realized I have enough to go back to school, go on a bit of an adventure, and more than adequately take care of both me and my dog’s health without starving.

3. Spent a sunny afternoon pressure-washing sister’s patio ~ discovered pressure-washing ton be on par with meditative walking, breaking ceramic plates, and petting kittens on the catharsis scale.

4. Had four hours to kill waiting for big sis to get done with her shift at the bar last night ~ made friends with two very different but equally fascinating people, one of whom stayed till close listening to my entire album with me beginning to end and discussing the role of music as both a tool and a vehicle for spiritual communication and creative expression in our lives. Also, I sort of understand experimental jazz now.

5. Addressed huge “To Do”/e-mail list ~ remembered I have a brand spankin’ new playlist from one of my most favorite people to jam out to while I’m sifting through all these numbers and words.

6. Freaking out about the cost of school ~ tuition waivers and scholarship come through within days of one another.

7. Freaking out about not having enough shows booked in the next month ~ get calls from two different people within 48 hours about good prospects on my already established travel route.

8. It’s 65 and sunny.

9. I woke up breathing this morning.

10. I’ve discovered a way to potentially make a living making music while also finishing my undergraduate degree/not losing my mind.

11. I am effectively de-constructing self-defeating mental patterns with habitual meditation, tea-drinking, long and meandering phone calls with people I adore, dog walks, new friends, new songs, big bowls of pho, long hugs, loud music, jet planes and sunshine.


Life is so blindingly beautiful today.


Checkin’ In

I’ve been really, truly enjoying the time I’ve had to myself the past few weeks. I find a sort of alone-ness when I’m travelling that is hard to find when my usual haunts are so readily within reach and I’ve relished it all the more as spring come rushing in. There’s is a nearly sinful deliciousness to a book, a cup of tea, a sleepy dog and a sunny lawn chair strewn about me in a sunny backyard.


Things that have happened during my blog-cation (more detailed posts to follow):

1. Presenting my original research project ‘Ethnomusicology of Appalachia’ at the Alaskan Anthropological Association’s Annual Meeting in Fairbanks, AK

2. Kundalini SuperHealth Professional Training at the Ashram de Guru ram Das in Espanola, NM accompanied by a whole heap of new friends and dancing my booty off in at least three different languages…

3. Holing up at my cousins’ wonderful, woodsy house for three weeks while I packed, got rid of (even more) stuff, took care of Sophie (still healing from knee surgery), suffered mild social unrest over common misunderstandings and post-adolescent melodrama, ate a lot of Annie’s macaroni and cheese, and had not enough but absolutely wonderful cousin time.

4. Sophie and I flew to Seattle with two backpacks, one roll-along suitcase, a guitar, a dog kennel and our badass attitudes. Much eating, singing, recording, dancing, walking by the river, friend-making and hugging ensued (and continues to for a couple more weeks).

5. I received a UA Foundation scholarship for next school year (yay! Thank you!), as well as a few tuition waivers, and registered for fall classes in my new BLA program.

6. I decided to forgoe posting the last several installations of my “National Poetry Month” pursuits. I did write them, but they because increasingly personal, and/or were songs you don’t get to hear until production is finished, and so you’ll just have to take it on faith that I didn’t completely bail on the project, but rather opted out of the immediate sharing. Always more poetry and music to come, though, no doubt.


I’ll post in more detail about all this craziness soon. Just wanted you to know that I hadn’t forgotten about you and I dearly appreciate every view, comment, and kind thought that comes my way these days.


Much love,




Day 10: Status Quo

…is secretly using a Netflix account that belongs to…

…spends 45 minutes carefully composing every text she sends to…

…is in a stale, comfortable stasis with…

…is gold-digging…

…can’t seem to stop drunk-dialing…

…wants to be on the same zombie-apocalypse survival team as…

…is writing excessive poetry about…

…consistently invites herself to parties at the home of…

…recreationally sabotages…

…will never, under any circumstances admit that she once made out with…

…is in significant monetary debt to…

…knows terrible secrets about…

…has occasional, mildly kinky dreams involving…

…is semi-hostile neighbors with…

…doesn’t want to start drama by deleting and so simply “hides” everything from…

…has a vestigial high school crush on…

…never knows quite what to say to…


Day 9: Dragons

I am here to tell the dragon’s story, inscribed in golden rings and tucked in bags of stolen groceries where we knew they would never think to look.

She’s been waiting for a love that can forgive her fangs and let her learn to breathe easy.

Raw strikes against the stone walls of a glittering tomb makes the mountain feel fragile, folding like forehead creases toward the hungry Earth only to suddenly rest in the valleys we’ve traced too many times to forget, even in this chaos. Even in the dark.

You and me, my dear, we are dragons. Do not expect the princess with a voice like a fire alarm, glaring down from her perch of soured privilege to understand that the burns on our bodies are not ticks in a concrete barricade counting down to a death sentence but the stripes of allegiance between one flaming soul and another in a world where it is always raining.

Day 8: “Losing Weight”

Shoes that don’t fit right – 1.7 lbs

High School math homework (all of it) – 37.4 lbs

Sense of responsibility for the adults in my life – 14 lbs

Books we bought together – 8.9 lbs

Split ends – 0.1 lbs

Liars and thieves – 689.2 lbs

Snow tires – 107 lbs

Dresses that won’t zip – 18.9 lbs

Terrible song lyrics I’ll never use 14.67 lbs

Chinese food leftovers 3.5 lbs

Your eyes on my back – 954.97 lbs

Our favorite record – 0.4 lbs

Key to a red door – 0.06 lbs

National Poetry Month Day 7: Clumsy

The truth is a badly mixed drink in my hand

On a night that I meant to stay in,

When this is as old as I’ve ever been it is suddenly old enough.


I want you in that hungry, aching way

Reserved for things I shouldn’t have,

So let them blame the echo when they don’t understand,

We are all clumsy bartenders

Shaking each other senseless,