fear of / no longer fearing

Sometimes we need to say yes in order to remember that we can. That fear is just a stamp we can remove because perhaps the postage has expired. Perhaps fear is just a word now, with all the meaning thinned out and ghostly.

How long have you been haunted by STOP signs and hiding places.

On a sunday in june, you put on your rain boots to walk in the tall grass, which hides tiny mites which crawl beneath skin. Yesterday, this fear would have kept you inside.

On this sunday in june, you walk with a group of artists into an open field where somebody one day built a ladder going to nowhere, rooted into the ground with concrete and soil. And on this sunday, you slowly ascend with eyes gazing forward. With each climb, you think of yoko ono. Her curled staircase twisted and trembled. But even then, on that thursday in may, you traveled. Up and past fear.

Also, on this sunday in june, you swing from a carved unicorn hanging from a barn, floating without ground. High up, you swing. Thin, pointed horn made of wood between your legs, which you stroke and remember.

On this sunday, you say yes and forget about what frightens you. You take off all your clothes and rub your scars into nebraska. You kiss the wind with your toes. You remember how to be alive. Like this.



My father reminds me to remain. When his mileage grows further than my eyes can reach, I press yellow post-it notes to borrowed walls to remind myself what to do.

Exist. Write. Nourish. Be kind. Be patient. Be present. BE.

When I ask my students why they write, a list of words unravel off their tongues reminding me how necessary it is to even question this process of documentation.

I write because it keeps me here.

My father is a novelist. I can say this now because he spent many years curving his back toward various computers, writing words down. Amidst the stress(es) of life, he found time to accumulate over 70,000 words into organized chapters and plot twists. A writer writes.

Each time we speak, he asks me how my writing is going. Am I sending work out? Am I broadening my audience? This check-in reminds me my purpose.

I remind my father that he keeps me here too. As a writer, I have grown accustomed to being so enclosed within my thoughts, it has created a distance inside me. I can reveal all my secrets on stage, but that is because they have already been written down. In person, I am zipped-up; this can be a lonely existence.

My father reminds me how I used to be. Before ______. And before _______.

When I was younger and my hair was yellow and soft, we used to listen to old radio shows, barter at garage sales and hoard other people’s junk. My body was less creased, less angry; there were far less stockpiles of scars on my skin. It’s difficult for me to recall that human that once was me.

My father reminds me that there is still happy in me; I just need to be open to rummaging a little.

I remind my father that there is still peace in him; he just needs to be open to some rummaging as well.

how to remember how to breathe.

I have been reminded several times in my life to breathe.

Yoga teacher in blueish-green bandana wrapped around head, pushes on my back to ease me further into a pose and whispers, breathe. It is not until this moment that I realize my lungs are stunned into a pause. As I shift into various positions, I am thinking about every part of my body, yet forget all about my lungs.

A lover fills in my cracks with their skin. With hips like chisels, I am led deeper into the earth. I shake against the harmony of metaphors and suddenly, I hear them whisper: are you breathing, still?

It can be difficult to remember the impact of bones and how they bend without break while stretching muscles into various alphabets and twisting fingertips into smoldering birdsongs. And. Still. Breathe.

My body is a tree turned sideways, sometimes upside down. Seasons change, and I dress or undress accordingly. There is so much swelter, teasing the skin into beads of thunderstorms. I have been breathing for so many years, when is the moment where it just happens without thought. Without memory of how to.

I collapse exhales over the one who feeds me oxygen. We inhale poses of yesterday and postures of tomorrow. Sometimes it is necessary to forget how to breathe to remember how magnetic it feels once you do.


tell me again how to breathe.

“Love was a country we couldn’t defend.”  (G.A.I.)
All of this is just to say: pause. 

In this room called east, your oxygen will be guided from your nose. When ready, let it out through mouth. Stop. Remember the city behind your ribs. Breathe from there as well.

Channel the comma. There is balance as it tips its weight upwards. There is curvature; you can even address it as top-heavy. Give yourself room to interrupt the spaces that haunt you.

In this room called Brooklyn, you may run into panic. Channel the bicycle spokes that secretly live beneath your skin. Roll away. Climb mountains even when the land you walk over is flat. Pick flowers even in the Winter and instead of photographing, hand this stem of green and face of yellow to the first human you see. Breathe in the breaths they offer to you like invisible bouquets of carbon dioxide.

Now, this may not be as easy, but. Remain in this room called love. It is hardest to get out of and often includes a cover charge too intense to dig out of wallet. But you do. Because it is so deeply aromatic. Inhale that sandalwood. And ylang ylang. Press your tired, nervous thighs against this other. Stretch out numerics and reveal one thing that makes you bleed, one thing that guts the salt out of you and choose an adventure with this one, barefoot.

It is impossible to run very far when the calluses on your feet slow you down. So, slow down.

In this room called lonely, exist long enough to take a ticket. Rip it. Scoop up its entrails and throw away. Choose to be in love this time than surrounding its periphery.

But before all that or while, keep breathing. Walk in and out and in these rooms and inhale and exit and exhale. And remain. (You often forget that part.)

where to find your breath

First, remove city clothes. Jacket. Scarf. Jeans. Shirts. Socks. Breathe.

Look at clock. It is early. You are early. Aren’t you always early. Grab borrowed mat and walk back downstairs. Choose position. Toward back and to the left. You always tend to take this spot. Fold knees and stretch bones a little. Breathe.

The people start arriving. Teacher introduces himself to you. He is a he. Tall and soft. You notice the others. Older and younger. Curved and skinny. You are surrounded. A cocoon of stretchers. Breathe.

The music begins and it’s not moans or harmonium hums. You notice this track from the radio. When class begins, the pop songs twist into something more traditional and the elongation of body / mind has begun. Breathe.

He tells you to hold this position and look in front of you. You notice. You notice the woman right in front of you with sheer leggings and thong and you feel dirty and like an impostor and everyone else is in the moment of their bodies and you…you are mesmerized by the body of this other. You don’t belong here. Breathe.

You are a warrior amidst the dirty thoughts swirling in your mind and there is no room for a hard-on in yoga class. Cut it out. Twist to the other side. Blur your eyes. Do not look. Practice mindfulness. Practice restraint. Breathe.

You are getting warmer. From inside the sweat, find anguish, wrung out. Find sadness. The grey. The longing. The mourn. Downward dog into plank pose and you are hardening. That is called strength. That is called resilience. This is the time you often get weepy. Allow whatever surfaces to color your thoughts. You are yellow. You are burnt orange. You are lime-green. You are charcoal. Breathe.

The lights are going to sleep now and it is darker. He instructs you to lay your body down, slowly. With intention. Palms up to the sun that waits for you outside behind night sky. Let bones rest into the earth beneath the concrete and brick and subways and filth. The soil exists beneath all of this. You are soil. You are of this earth. Breathe.

You want to cry now because you have slowed down your day enough to do this. To take your body out, remove its layers, be vulnerable amidst other mindful humans. You’ve let go of worrying about being one of them. You are not wearing the same costume as them, but beneath the cotton you are all the same. Just skin. Skeleton. Construction of bones. The woman in front of you is flat on her back and her exposed panties are hidden. You forgive yourself for your dirty thoughts, stained only by your own self-judgement. He instructs you to slowly move to your right side and then lift your body up into a sitting pose. Palms up once again. Eyes remain closed, watching the darkness within yourself. The rooms. The memories. The flashes of time clocked inside your limbs. You chant and notice the extra room in your lungs. You bow to the earth, to him, to the woman, to the others who shared this space with you. You bow to your body that is weakened but holding on to strength in this moment. You bow to this space. You let go. Breathe.