The 20s: Looking Back

There will be one night when you stay up writing your novel in hopes of creating a best-seller to save you from your 9-5, and there will be one morning where you wake before the alarm and brave Monday with a can-do fierceness that does not question your current career.

There will be dreamy hours spent counting the miles and minutes between cities on digital (possibly fold out) maps, and the same amount of time will be spent in the corner of yours or someone else’s couch with a glass of wine thinking, This is such a great life I have right here.

Sometimes you will miss your long lost loves and other days you will bid them good riddance and laugh at how you could have ever wound up together, and some days you will feel both emotions in the span of morning-to-night. Other days, none of this steps foot into your mind.

On possessing youth: in the beginning of this decade it goes unquestioned, in the middle it is a question unnecessarily asked–you are still young but sense the approach of a certain age–and at the end it is only youth compared to those born before you. None of this is good or bad; your age is what you make of it as much as you can, and the rest is a set of societal norms that you don’t have time to change. Bow down before them; let them roll over your back in the way of diving under an ocean wave, coming up on the other side to find it much calmer the further out you get.

You will know yourself. And then you will change and not know, adapt, set your course, and change again. This is like sailing after moving islands. The winds will do their work on your vessel; keep tight hold of your sails and maneuver to avoid the storms as best you can. Brave the storms you must face. A crew member or two, not usually more than three, is useful in inclement weather.

Stay careful not to label changing your mind and quitting one path to pursue another avenue as “giving up” nor “failure.” Unavoidable failure is not the same as controlled failure if we have done what we can, and keep in mind that our best now is not what our best will be in 1, 5 and 10 years.

To retrospectively judge our younger selves is a disservice (unless you mean to learn from it, but it is important only to dwell long enough to learn and not dwell for the sake of regret). We have been naive and ignorant, but these are not sins we controlled nor will we ever completely master. We do our best with what we know at the time. We share similar mistakes just as we share this human experience, and this is a history that alone and together we can forgive and, more importantly, embrace and celebrate.

(first written August 14, 2014)


The Noiseless Spring

Atop the wooden bridge to the path below,
an observation on a gray day during
this final month of winter:

The sloping canyon takes sanctuary under new grass
dewy at mid-morning when I’d first left the house.
This time yearly each blade reaches tall as it will,
and what now? Summer is not yet here to dry us.
Do the fields know what they wait for?

On the hillsides, deeply pigmented, round leaves
posing as lily pads out of water, herded together
under dozing afternoon’s dull-white sky are waiting
until a time hundreds will bloom orange, red, alive.
I whisper to the nasturtiums, “not yet”

knowing once they are born, days are
limited. They will again lie dormant,
receding to safety of roots by summer,
hermetic the months between rains.
I mourn each loss of flowers, but

until these moments come to pass
it is this earliest promise of aliveness,
canyons that sit still as morning,
the noiseless coming of spring,
that I love most of all.


Air Being Sustenance

If an airplane carrying
one-hundred people
can fly on fumes
(I read this somewhere?)
and the desert
supports plants
that grow often on air alone
(although a bit of water is
needed from time to time)
Then I
– the one me here –
maybe I, too
can endure on the hope
that passes
breath to breath


First Photographs

There is no need to
remember anything, except
the way I looked at you in
the beginning;
overlapping palm fronds
were enough to call you
a jungle, or so it once felt,
as I’d not seen them before;
and the way water and opportunity
presented as plentiful, what with
coastline drawing near,
turning its edges over and under
its blue figure fused, somehow
and so many years still ready to
enter annually, bittersweetly
waving me in, saying
‘that one is gone, but
there will still be time.’

Time for travel
Time for adoration of each other
Time for two cups of tea before
the sun bleaches morning,
stripping what I have always viewed as
dawn’s quiet holiness from the air,
achieving this by way of my one
south-facing kitchen window.
Then it becomes time to face the day.

Later–not today–it will come time to ask
of adventures and lovers
‘is it all in the past?’
When the trees begin to look
more brittle, more browned
than once they appeared;
when ocean moves so repetitiously
we hardly notice what a gift
it is to see
and subtly
be pulled by the tides.
We will know the answer to this–
‘is it all in the past?’
–only at an end that does not
in so many cases
announce itself.
Best to believe, until that time, no.
Best to see signs even if
signs do not exist;
even if hope is only written
on the spine of a book,
tempting searching hands
to pull it from the shelf and
consider its contents potentially pleasurable,
possibly vivid
like the ocean has been,
whether I say so or not,
so long as it is still tumbling