Riots

The London riots give me chills.

Back in 92, the LA riots exploded up the coast, over the farmlands and into Richmond, where I lived in a pale blue house on Yuba Street with my mother, father and two older brothers.  I remember some things.  I have forgotten others.  I don’t remember driving through the worst part of Richmond in our old red Toyota, but my mother says we stopped at a light, my father was driving and we kids were in the back, and a group of black men carrying bats came at us and my father ignored the lights and speed to our small house where we baraccaded ourselves inside, pensive and quiet, watching through a small t.v. what man was capable of.

I do remember going back to school.  I had a 6th grade science teacher that I didn’t like.  He made fun of religious people on a daily basis and said anyone who believed in heaven was stupid because what was so great about sitting on a cloud for the rest of eternity.  Then he rambled on about naked cherubs and harps.  I sat in the front row and thought he was talking directly to me, making fun of my family that went to church each Sunday and prayed for meals and did all the other “stupid” things he mentioned.  I fumed while he spoke.  He usually gave the “religion is worthless” speech as an intro to whatever Carl Sagen show we were going to watch.  He loved Carl Sagen. He loved talking about Carl Sagen.  Carl Sagen was his god.  During the riots a group of black teenagers jumped him and beat his skull in.  He didn’t come back and I felt guilty.  As though my inner fear and hatred were particles that escaped through my pours and mingled in the atmosphere with the fear and hatred of those black youth that kicked his skull into the sidewalk.

I don’t remember if we had days off of school, though I’m sure we did.  And I don’t remember if my parents went back to work, though I’m sure they had to.  I have the memory of waiting for them in the house.  Did we stay away from the windows?  Did my mother say that?  She would say something like that.  She probably had to work, because we had no money, but she probably worried herself sick if she did.  That’s what she does.  Still.  She worries and protects.  And my dad.  I remember feeling safe because my dad was there.  And I think of him now, how he was then — so skinny — what could he have done?  He must have weigh, I’ll guess,  130 pounds.  But my dad,  I can’t explain him, I like him more and more the older I get.  I don’t know how to explain the calm in him.  He flows.  Sometimes he fights the flow.  But mostly.  He gets in and he flows.  And all of us around him wrap our arms around his neck —  terrified.

I’m sure there are other stories from those few days.  I’m sure my brothers remember more.

London, you poor girl, with all your beauty.  All those ancient stories.  May God help us all.

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God.

Today I had a hard day and decided God had abandoned me because I wasn’t living my life right.  What a small, old thought.  But I feel that a lot lately.  Big, cosmic aloneness.  For no reason at all.  And a jealously or a disbelief when I hear someone else talk God talk.

But I don’t remember what God feels like.

I don’t remember what quiet feels like.  Or confidence.  Or reassuring joy.

I have a memory of lying alone on a big, green field and I am staring at the sky and I am quiet.  Two birds keep joining and separating and joining again and something about their search feels like a message from God to me.  I used to do that a lot – go out to fields and lie down and listen for God.

Maybe I’m afraid of what I’d hear.  Maybe I’m afraid of what I wouldn’t hear.

The world is big.  Green and blue and red inside, like us.  And bodies unite and life forms inside a woman’s core.  And there is music, and lyrics, and words, and the sound of a loved one’s voice.   There is the softness of skin, silk, satin.  There is uncontrolled laughter.  And the taste of sugar and the taste of salt.  And sleep.  There is water, and dirt, and black skies.  And the possibility of more universe, more to be known.  And there is forgiveness and communion and surrender.  And there is hope.

God is there.

I am small.  And when I reflect on my selfish actions, my hateful desires, my refusal to embrace joy — I know I am sinful.  Or whatever word works.  Broken.  In need of help.  And God is there in the sleep, in the skin, in the laughter, in the voices, and music, and water, and deep, red dirt.  And I am redeemed and healed again and again without even knowing.

Amen?  Amen.

Shame on you, Pat Buchanan

Here’s something I rarely tell people: I have two theological degrees.
Not just any theology: Judeo-Christian theology.
More specifically, Judeo-Christian, Evangelical Theology.
I am, technically, Mastered in that there Theology.

My education was a bit left of center, but still Jesus-centered. But not bible school! I didn’t go to Bible School and I’m a bit of a snob about that, i know. But, there’s Bible school — where the recipient learns one brand of Christianity and is fed answers to questions that most people arn’t even asking. Hmm, that may have been too harsh – but, I hate being grouped into that category. That type of education makes me really uncomfortable – it feels like it’s a process of creating clones, rather than thinkers. I didn’t have that education. I had a Christian theological education, which, in my opinion, was a scholarly, holistic exploration of the many facets, traditions, perspectives, and opinions that permeate the Christian and Jewish faith. A theological education, when done properly, in my lowly opinion, teaches people how to ask real questions and hopefully, instills a humility that allows the individual to admit, there may not be a knowable answer. That whole process of deconstructing ones tightly held belief system can be disillusioning to many a student, as it was for me, but it can also be freeing, as it became for me. God ceases to be a controlled substance that does exactly as your God-box allows, but instead becomes an infinite, untamed, engaging, mysterious entity that is present throughout the world, and in love with his WHOLE creation.

Why am I talking about this now? Well, I feel the need to introduce the notion that not all Christians think alike and that in reality, there are many streams that flow from the starting point of JESUS.

I’m thinking of this because of something Pat Buchanan said and because last week I read a few articles about a pastor in Seattle who tells his congregation and the world that the Jesus present in our society today is a feminized version and that the real Jesus was very male and masculine, and that women should still not have leadership roles in the church and that Reformed Theology is the real truth (some for hell, some for heaven). The article talked about this pastor’s church community, how they were all tatted up and the service was more like a U2 concert than anything else, and that thousands show up every Sunday to hear this guy, even though the theology is fairly conservative and there’s lots of talk about hell.  This is nothing new — this is why I stopped going to mainstream churches — you can dress it up as “hip” as you want — but it’s the same OLD, not-so-good news — God hates who he hates, many are going to hell and men are better.  Boring.

It just, it just doesn’t feel right to me. It’s so not how I’ve experienced the world, or God, or community, or women, or even good men. I hope the Kingdom of God is much more flexible, lovely, animated, diverse, eclectic, and womanly than some have conceived.  And I know a lot of good men that feel the same way.  It would seem, in the teachings I’ve read from Jesus and others in the OT, that God was a bit more concerned with how we treat each other, with the needs of the marginalized, with challenging greed, and with stirring up a revolution centered in self-sacrifice and humility — than he was about well, sex, sex, and sex.

But, back to the point, oh to be humble and self-sacrificial. If we took all that fervent Christian energy and funneled it into self-reflection, what would be become of the world? If we questioned every step with the wondering, “was I humble? Did I put the other before myself?” Would we need to be right? Would we need women to be weak? Would we fear change? Would we feel threatened by another’s opinions, beliefs, traditions, upbringing? OR, would we just SHUT UP and try and love our families, and our neighbors, and our friends, and our enemies?

I am no saint, ask anyone that really knows me. I am quick to stick my foot in my mouth, hot-headed, opinionated, impatient, and complain too much. I am not the loving, forgiving, non-judgmental, non-condemning Christian I would like to be. Not at all. And this post is merely a bunch of words and feelings and experiences streamed together into an opinion, an opinion that I carry deep in my heart- the opinion that, I wish a lot of Christian’s would shut up (myself included).

So, we arrive at Pat Buchanan.  I will address him personally now.  Pat, why, OH why, did you choose to say ANYTHING in regards to the mass slaying of 68 young, vibrant, hopeful teenagers in Norway this week besides, “I’m SO sorry this happened”?  Why? WHY would you think it OK to use this terrible tragedy to discuss the validity of an INSANE man’s ideology regarding Islam and multiculturalism? Why? SHAME ON YOU. Shame on you. I am horrified by your actions.

But, awful as this atrocity was, native-born and homegrown terrorism is not the macro-threat to the continent. That threat comes from a burgeoning Muslim presence in a Europe that has never known mass immigration, its failure to assimilate, its growing alienation, and its sometime sympathy for Islamic militants and terrorists. Europe faces today an authentic and historic crisis. With her native-born populations aging, shrinking and dying, Europe’s nations have not discovered how to maintain their prosperity without immigrants. Yet the immigrants who have come – from the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia – have been slow to learn the language and have failed to attain the educational and occupational levels of Europeans. And the welfare states of Europe are breaking under the burden.[…] As for a climactic conflict between a once-Christian West and an Islamic world that is growing in numbers and advancing inexorably into Europe for the third time in 14 centuries, on this one, Breivik may be right. – Buchanan

As Simon Maley said on Media Matters in regards to Pat’s blunder, “A good rule of thumb for political commentary – or life in general- is that terrorists are never right.  People who go on mass shooting sprees are never right. The man or woman who lights the fuse on a bomb that blows up a government building is never right. Their actions are wrong, and the ideas that motivated them are wrong.”

Amen.  Just shut up, Pat Buchanan.  Shut up.

I could say more about Jesus, and Christian theology, and American politics, and tollerism, and what COULD be.  But I’ll just take my own advice at this point and shut up.


The Most Beautiful Places I’ve Ever Been… Part One

I just woke from a nap, a sweaty one. This new house of mine doesn’t have air conditioning. It’s not quite unbearable yet — I keep my room dark and turn on a fan. The problem this afternoon was that I had ONE glass of champagne while at a baby shower in the valley. Champagne and baby showers, good idea, right? Right. I understand now why people talk bad about the “valley” all the time. HOT. It’s hot there. Well, I’m kind of an idiot when it comes to eating/drinking what I’m not supposed to. I’ve never been able to drink champagne without an instant, unbearable headache. Does that keep me from doing so? Not at all. So when I got home my head was beating with pain and my room was warm and I fell asleep and woke confused and drenched. But right before I really, fully woke, I had a flood of memories and the urge to write them here. Like an old fashion slide show, all these images shot through my mind of places I’ve been and loved. So, this is my first shot at listing the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, in no particular order.

1. Lake Tahoe. I lived here as a child. My father was born and raised on the South shore of the lake. Tahoe is innocence for me. Fourth of July, on the beach, Ray Charles, and Fireworks that look as though they may fall from the sky and land on your skin. You must go sometime. It’s so worth the effort. I don’t have a photo of my own for Tahoe on the 4th – but here’s one I took of Tahoe in December. This photo was recently published in the Honeyland Review (honeylandreview.com)

2. London. I absolutely loved London. I’ve been twice, and not for very long, but it stuck straight to my heart. Everything, every street, every building, every park, felt whimsical and romantic. Perhaps it was the fogginess, and the splashes of colors – doors and phone booths. Or the way each building could have been a castle. And the churches. I so love an old, gigantic church — ancient graves, stained glass, and cobblestone. I went to a service at Westminster Abbey and received communion right after I finished my four months in Sierra Leone. My chair sat directly on a missionary’s grave. Oh darn, what was his name — David Livingstone? Yes, that was it. Scottish missionary/explorer/abolitionist who worked in Africa. Although I think he spread British imperialism or something…but didn’t they all? Unfortunate.
I took this picture while on a walk. I have no idea where I was, but the photo sums up how I remember London.

3. Japan. In college I spent one month living in Japan and fell madly in love with Japanese culture. The quiet ceremonies, the kimonos, the intricate food, the children in matching school uniforms, the paper lanterns, the tea, the ancient architecture, the simple, uncluttered houses, the cherry blossoms in bloom. I wish I would have lived there for a year or so when I was younger and had the college loans to do so. Japan made me long for something — and I can’t name it — I don’t know how to say what it was, but I’ve longed for Japan ever since. I don’t have any of my photos on the computer — so you’ll have to use your imaginations, my darlings, until I find one for you. In the meantime, this:

I have my very own neon butterflies.

4. Juneau, Alaska. My friend, Jeremiah is an Alaskan native and the only friend I have that’s from Alaska. Years ago I got to visit Jer, and his wife, Jen (one of my closest and dearest friends) while they were on hiatus in Juneau. It was an insane treat. Alaska is pure. Downtown Juneau is like a photograph from a Swiss Mountain town. Jen and I, on a stupidly adventurous day, decided to hike out over an ice lake to get close to a glacier. It was one of those moments where you can’t help but feel undeniably small and frail — like staring at the open sky or an endless Ocean. The glacier, up close, was a color I’d never seen before, and standing before it I could hear every sound. Ever crack, every movement, every moan from the ice. It was terrifying and electric and filled me with a wildness. After a moment of frozen terror, Jen and I realized our stupidity and made a mad dash for land. I have the greatest memory of the two of us, stiff from layers of clothing, running awkwardly through the snow to escape death. (And that guy, remember that guy, Jen, that came by us on skis?) Here, a picture from that day (also featured in The Honeyland Review).

For another time, perhaps, because my eyes are growing tired: Sarajevo, Notre Dame at night, A roof in Tucson during the Monsoons, A Peruvian Church, a barely there beach house on the water outside of Freetown, the Cliff House in SF and Fireworks over the Golden Gate.

Why I haven’t been writing. A confession.

What is my excuse? Who shall I blame?

Facebook? Netflix? Illness? Boyfriend? Thieves?

Well, yes, the thieves started it. You see, a year or so ago, during a hot and heavy season of writing, thieves broke into my house, stole my computer, and took with them 2 years of writing. Damn broke my heart and I just could NOT mend.

Then I got sick. Real sick. Sick with a disease that inflames one of my internal organs. Internal organs aflame is no good. No good. So, sickness led me to bed, which led me to boredom, which led me to netflix streaming and facebook stalking.

The streaming took me into worlds I’d never known. Serial Killers with babies, Texas High School Football, 1950’s New York. It was fabulous. I made many friends and grew fatter with each passing day.

Then the facebook stalking. Stalking. Stalking. Stalking. No good, that stalking. Why, I ask, must all of my exes have babies? Why? Babies, and wives, and stupidly cute houses. Why? Would I know about their lives if there was no facebook? Perhaps, BUT, and i say BUT, would i have to SEEEEEE them? No, the answer is no. NO! I would not have to see their babies, or their houses, or their stupid holiday family greeting card. And, since we’re on this diatribe, what about all the stalking I’ve done on people I don’t even know, or barely know, or don’t want to know anymore!! Facebook envy is killing my soul.

I should move on, but really, I feel this next story truly drives the story home….

Facebook stalking put me in contact with my second grade crush. I believed we were made for each other. We sat next to each other in class each day, and when I developed that speech problem (some people, as in teachers, didn’t think it was all that cute that I couldn’t say the words: Girl, World, or Wolf) and was moved to a different class, as in, the bungalows in the back (p.s. why must the stupid kids be put in bungalows? It’s bad enough we’re stupid), my 2nd grade crush would stand atop a dirt mound and wait for me every recess. One night, years later, while drinking too much jack daniels in a dive bar, I told my date that there were only two men I’d ever loved — my high school sweetheart and my second grade crush. I know. Drunk girls are so stupid. Put them in the bungalows!

BUT, during one, long, drawn out period of men-less-ness, I decided to FIND that 2nd grade crush and tell him once and for all that I was the GIRL for his WORLD (see how I did that?). So, through a friend of a friend’s page, I found HIM. HIM. My first true love. My WOLF. His page was set to private, but I giddily asked to be his friend and he agreed! This was it! Finally! Love would be mine! We would have the best story EVER. EVER!

EXCEPT, he was gay. Yep, gay, gay, gay. GAY. FACEBOOK! GAY!
And to think, I could have dreamed of “US” forever. I could have always believed HE was out there, my lone WOLF, searching for me among a bunch of stupid, drunk sheep!

But NAY, Facebook ruined all that by forcing me to see him in leather vests on a cruise trips with the boys!

What was the point of this rant – ah, yes, why am I not writing?

Well, then, of course, I fell in love. Fell in love. What does that mean? like a fall– because it is unexpected, and surprising, and painful. You tumble into love. Tumbling and falling are never easy or without pain, yes? And love, I’m learning again, and again, the real kind that requires self-sacrifice, and vulnerability, and surrender, is indeed a painful tumbling. You bang against jagged rocks, rolling without control, experiencing simultaneously the weightlessness, the wind streaming through your fingers, the drop of your heart to your stomach and back again, and hopefully, in the end, you don’t land, but rather melt into an endless body of water.

But rewind, way before the pain, and I remember him, this man. The way he sat in his chair — always leaning back, one leg bent, with foot resting on the other knee, and a baseball cap, and new shoes, and black t-shirts, and that facial hair that he rubbed to think. I said of him, before he was part of me, that I hoped and dreamed that I could be with such a man one day. Such a man. I take two steps back and I see him. This man. I like to watch him read. A reading man. And if I ever start singing a song, he joins me. And in the morning, when we sit to watch the sun, he brings me coffee with cream and sugar, while his is black. This black coffee drinking man. An Irish man. A freckled man, with Green eyes, and Black hair. I remember him, how he made me laugh, and does still. Witty man. I wish that I could make it so he always felt light inside. I mean weightlessness. OR maybe the other as well. That his insides would always be illuminated, filled with radiance. Weightless radiance, please. Yes, I would like to bestow upon him, with my wishing powers, a weightless, radiant soul. Could that be my gift, please? Please. He deserves it. Both the Universe (big Universe, as in GOD) and I know. He deserves a deep, satisfying rest. A plunge into the great cold open waters. He deserves more than I’ll ever be able to say. That man.

So, I have many excuses to not write, but I hate myself for it. And I can’t make any lying promises that THIS IS IT, I WON”T EAT UNTIL I WRITE A BOOK. Because we all know how I feel about food and that I can be quit the quitter and so a promise like that would just be a disgrace to everyone involved.

Truth. I write tonight. I would like to write again. And I should. Because being here, with only my words, was a much better comfort to me, than facebook stalking former roommate’s sister-in-law’s baby cousin’s first birthday. Why do I need to envy people I’ve never even met? There’s so many people to envy that I HAVE met.

Goodnight, my lovelies.

New Year

It’s 2011.

I went to bed at 10:00p.m. on New Year’s Eve. I’ll need to make up for that next year.

The best New Year’s I ever had? Hmm. A few years back I went to San Francisco. I had dinner at my parents and then a group of random friends took a train to the city. We drank too much in a pub and then wandered, arm in arm, down to the water to watch fireworks over the Golden Gate Bridge. That was pretty good. The best? I don’t know.

I’d like to have a really romantic New Year’s — like the ones that happen in movies — Like when Harry Met Sally. How they meet up in that Hotel Ballroom and dance and isn’t that when he tells her he loves her and they kiss? I can’t remember. I think so.

When I was sixteen and in love with my high school sweetheart, I went to Disneyland with all my close friends and my boyfriend. A Youth Group trip. And after we ate everything, and went on every ride, and the time was almost midnight, we ran haphazardly to a meeting point where a big band was playing on a stage. There we danced under fireworks and streamers and I got a good, long kiss. Sixteen was good. Maybe the best, because, well, it was sixteen.

Last night Shawn and I drove through old town, post Rose Parade. The city looked like my bedroom looked at 8 or the side of an L.A. freeway. Trash everywhere (no Barbie heads like I had in my room at 8). At the stoplight I surveyed the trash to see what was left – coffee cups, crumpled napkins, half-eaten food. We marveled at how much it must cost the city to clean up and how disgusting people are when they’re gathered in masses. At another stoplight I saw a group of teenagers dressed in costumes eating together. They were illuminated by the yellow lights of the restaurant and they bounced from table to table, to the trash can, and to the soda dispenser. I was momentarily envious of them and the space in time they occupied — that time in youth when all you can see is RIGHT NOW and all you want is your friends and that guy to flirt with. So fun. No car payments, no job, no school loans, no supervisors, no rent, and no sense of reality. Sitting where they sit, they think they can be and do anything they want — and it’s true– they can — there life is teaming with options.

I sound mournful of MY right now. It sounds like I regret the decisions I made that got me here. I don’t think that’s right. I think I just miss THAT space. I still dream. I still wonder who I’ll be and what I’ll do with all the years I have left to live. But of course, there’s a weightiness now to the dreams, because I’m older. And friends. That’s the real ache of it all. Friends grow up, and fend for themselves, and often move away. And that energy and community that fuels your existence in that diner, or that coffee place, or in your backyard — it changes. I am still held together by a close group of friends – but they live everywhere – Alabama. Argentina. San Diego. Concord. Ohio. Peru. Sacramento. Oregon. In my dreams, I have them all right here, gathered with me over a cup of coffee. And we are just as young as when we first met, just as free, and wild, and dreamy. We live in the same building, or still across the street, or even in the same home. We stay up late and wonder about everything – who we will marry, what we’ll name or kids, and how we’ll take care of our parents when we finally make enough money. And we’re still committed to our big, stupid plan — to start a commune on a farm, where we raise chickens, and children, and bring in crazy, drug addict poor people to live with us. And I’m a writer. And we all play music together. And we share resources because we’re perfect socialists.

It could still happen.

Not that reality is that bad.
My reality.
I have to remind myself, when I get like this, all forlorgn and prone to romanticize the past, that my reality is actually pretty terrific. What I have now – isn’t maybe what I thought I’d have – but it’s solid, and it’s good, and it’s mine, and some of it I earned, and most of it is mearly the grace of God. I have a meaningful job that I believe helps the world be a little better. There’s a good man, that shows up, and would gladly dance with me under fireworks and he likes the way I dream. And there’s good friends that give me reasons to travel and places to go. I can’t yet provide for my parents, but I have them both, alive and close. I have the space to craft words on a page. I have endless amounts of music, everywhere, in everything. I really am lucky.

Just missing a space in time.

Growing

I have been thinking about growing.

I am less immature than I used to be…
and still…
the same wounds still find ways to surface.
and I don’t even see them coming,
’til suddenly I am angry,
unhappy,
undone.

Therein lies the glory of age.
The chance to do better.
To get better.
To be less reactive, less surprised by my shortcomings, calmer, wiser, surrendered.

What’s that poem by Dylan Thomas? No wait, I’m mixing my messages. I’m thinking of that poem he wrote about fighting off weakness, “Old age should burn and rage at close of day. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” Which is lovely – and I suppose it connects – I would like to be a person that rages against the dying of the light. Yes, yes, I like that.

Mary and Jesus and me.

Life is a cycle, I think, where truth revisits you in new forms, again and again, each time somehow surprising. “Ah, yes, I forgot. How true.”

Here is my truth today. I read a lot, and watch films, and t.v. and observe. And there’s all these people I think I’d like to meet because they’re doing things I’d like to do, or seeing what I’d like to see, or being what I’d like to be. Great romances, and victories, and discoveries. Endless amounts of beauty. At times, I exist in a perpetual restless stage, reading twitter feeds, and wikipedia profiles, fascinated by others I’ll never meet.

Then tonight I went to a funeral for someone I didn’t even know. I closed my eyes and listened to the women and men whisper their prayers to Mary and Jesus pleading for the redemption of all souls. “Let them come home.” And their words lifted and drifted through the open stained glass doors and into the cold L.A. night and up towards the moon. The full moon – that hung gently on the black night, silhouetted by white ribbon clouds.

Afterwards a friend and I, both raised different, he a male, and me a female – different religions, different cities, different life experiences – we talked about Mary. I pondered the idea of her holding God in her body. I mentioned to my friend the way Protestants protest the worship of her, but how there was to me something good about her elevation, considering how damning the church has been towards women all these years, and he, not a Christian, talked freely and generously about the ways in which Jesus was counter cultural towards women and how it’s a shame the church has lost site of that vision. He said more and it all struck me fresh because it was him – speaking from the outside. “Yes, that was what Jesus was doing, wasn’t it? He was quite radical… interesting...I forgot.”

Just a few hours. That’s all that passed. And so much goodness. No need to be restless, unsatisfied – it’s all there, right at my fingertips – everything I need – I am saturated with beauty, overwhelmed by good people, alive, breathing, kicking, feeling it all – life is so good and sometimes I can see all that goodness and I ache.

Aloneness

I wish someone would lock me away in a cabin with excellent books and no internet. Paper. And pens. I would need those. And yes, being the extrovert that I am, I would go slightly insane with all that alone time. Maybe I could have visitors, periodically – little spurts of human contact for sanity sake.

I am in love with Amy.

Recipe for Resurrection by Amy Gerstler

Bathe the body in quinine.
Then let his wrists
be braceleted with the stings
of tiny iridescent insects.
A group of ten restless boys
should encircle the sleeper
whose marrow is to be rekindled.
The boys must sneeze violently
without covering their mouths
till the body is wet.
A poultice of figs and licorice
smeared over the lips
has often proved useful.
Rub footsoles with prickly poppy
and buttermilk. Place a live
green treefrog over each nipple
and stroke the frogs tenderly
until they are calm. Cover the empty
genitals with white duck feathers.
Allow relatives to huff and puff
and blow the feathers away.
Under no circumstances should
anyone sweep them up or collect them.
They must float where they will.

Don’t let the sleeper stand up
too quickly. Giddy on arising,
he may declare there are swarms
of fireflies swooping through
the room. He’ll be hoarse,
prey for days to seaside
complaints, prone to whine
that everything smells of vinegar
(or another pickling solution),
and that sore all over, nothing
he lies down on is soft enough
anymore. He may try to bite you.
He might talk nonsense, and sob:
where is the silver forest,
the lapping glassy canal
unruffled by its boats,
the flock of noisy parrots
I was promised?
Resist the temptation
to fall to your knees
and beg his forgiveness. Instead,
armed with pinches and kisses,
fistfuls of pumpkin seeds
and biscuit crumbs, let him
be breathed on by the subtle
dusty gusts from a lily’s
golden-tonsiled throat.
Graciously welcome the truant
soul home as you stutter your love-
that thin tuneless exhaust
we exhale every day.