tell it like you remember

It was a Sunday, but it may have been a Thursday. It was cold enough to forget what sweating felt like or it may have been summer. There was a rainbow in the sky or printed on someone’s shirt. There were birds flying toward another patch of sky. Or it may have been empty.

There was a pile of letters on the ground as though a postal worker had fallen and all this paper represented the remains.

Someone sprayed graffiti on a building or fence and it read:   Never Fall. In Love.

You had just eaten a lunch of seventeen sandwiches or cold soup or it may have been breakfast time and all you ate were coffee grounds and haunts from sleep.

It was sometime after 8pm. Before midnight and nowhere near 11pm.

Everyone you passed smelled like buttercream and anise. Frosted black licorice. Your tongue was sore from licking itself.

You were not in love for the first time in over a decade.

Your teeth were like picket signs in your mouth in search of a cause to bite into.

Someone may have asked for your phone number. Or your order. Or if you could move aside because you were blocking an entrance.

Did I mention it was cold out?

It was definitely February. Probably March. It wasn’t October.

There was talk of poetry or philosophical medical jargon.

Someone was playing an instrument or it could have been the finely-tuned chorus of harmonized voices in your head.

Nope, definitely some strings.

You were wearing elbows and fingernails.

No one kissed you but you could taste the breath of another on your shoulders.

At some point, your wrist reminded you that time is never important. Numbers only exist for those who can add. Sometimes time is just about what your appetite and eyes call for.

There was a rainbow and it existed in three hundred and thirty-four shades of burgundy.

an ode to the united states postal service

I have recently acquired a sweater with the most beautiful emblem on it, representing all I believe in, celebrate and practice. This blue and white image is like the rainbow I secretly hope to appear in the sky after each warm rainstorm. It is the signifier of hope, patience and art of writing in this country.

It is……….the United States Postal Service mark of dedication.

Beyond writing letters (almost) each day, I find comfort when I spot a curvy, blue mailbox to slip my envelopes inside. It reminds me that I am not only being encouraged to write, but how dedicated these postal workers are, traveling all over to empty these boxes and bring them to the chosen addressee.

I have written 125 letters to one particular human for the past six months. When I mentioned recently to someone that we live nearby and often see each other, they asked: So, what do you write in your letters? What is left to say?

I mentioned that I never plan out my sentences. I write what I see. How I feel in that moment. I write about the pigeon hopping along on three feet with what looks like bed head, staring me down as I eat a pretzel. When I crumble a few bits of it and toss it onto the ground, I write about how it pecks at it, then walks away. Perhaps the pigeon expected it to have more flavor or bite. I write about the panic attack I have on the A train which follows me onto the 4 train. I write about the way in which I abruptly head above ground, toward a farmers market, breathing in the medicinal fume of local vegetables. I write about the man standing above me on a different commute and the envy I feel for his perfectly-fitting suit and how his tie looks crisper than mine. I write that I wish I could afford a tailored suit and how different fabric looks on a body, which it was measured just for.

My postal worker in Boulder, Colorado, where I lived for a few years, was named Rusty. I often greeted him, asking him about his day and thanking him for his dedication to his job.

It’s not easy delivering mail in rain, sleet, or snow. On the coldest days of the year or the hottest.

Postal workers are my heroes. They are thankless publishers, bringing handwriting and languages to worthy recipients.

Yes, they also deliver your bills and bad messages, but if you were to have a pen pal (or several), it makes the junk mail feel less lackluster.

Thank you to all those who go door-t0-door, filling up mailboxes across the world.

And find yourself a pen pal, if you haven’t already.

(I’ve always got room for one or two more!)


Letting go of Saturdays

We need to be writing more letters.

What do you mean you bank online?

Stick a stamp in the right hand corner and send out your electricity, cable, telephone bills.

People are tapping their fingers against plastic square letters far too much to notice that the United States Postal Service suffered a $15.9 billion loss within this last year. These humans who travel in blue over thick flakes of snow and cold drips of rain and even in the sunshine when they’d prefer to be bathing beneath the yellow gaze and even on their birthday except
if it falls on a Sunday.

I used to know the name of my postal worker. Knew exactly when he’d be removing rubber band from gathered letters and lifting them into my designated box.


And right before I moved, exchanging zip code from one city to another, I wrote him a letter (which I would have mailed had I known his address) telling him how much he’d be missed.

I used to know the exact time my mail would arrive; roommates and lovers have commented on my obsessive mail-checking activities.

I know the mail came already but perhaps today is the day more will arrive.

I send letters not necessarily to get mail back (though that is nice when it happens). I send letters because so often we forget how magical it can be when we receive something other than a bill or mindless magazine.

I love Sundays because for me it is an intentional day of slowness. Maybe I will go to a museum or wake up later or watch a movie in bed or write for hours while sitting in my rocking chair. It is also the day my favorite section arrives in the New York Times (which is the one exception to this non-mail day, since the newspaper is delivered!)

Hard working postal workers take this day off, but soon we may be looking at empty mailboxes on Saturday too.

In an effort to save $2 billion, the U.S. Postal Service may be cutting down mail deliveries on Saturday, with an exception of packages.

This could turn Mondays into the most exciting day of the week: three days worth of accumulated mail delivered!

(sometimes it is necessary to take a break from pessimism in order to see the brighter side)

We may have to let go of Saturdays. So let’s make Mondays the busiest mail day of the year—a gesture toward the U.S.P.S. that we haven’t forgotten their indispensable existence.

So… an effort to aid this problem, write more.

Gather up your goods that you think _________ would appreciate and mail it out.

In all the time it takes to flutter fingers against tiny keys through text message correspondance, press your language onto paper, get a forever stamp (so many to choose from) and an envelope, and make someone’s day better.

how to carry news

If you want to know who died, visit Facebook.

Apparently, news prefers socially networking sites to telephone lines or knocks on doors or even letters in the mail (which is becoming an extinct gesture).

At a reading of poetry and memorializing, I learn of someone’s recent death. Apparently, when you unplug from one outlet, a fire breaks out, burning the ability to hear about such things.

When I die, I do not not NOT want to be a Facebook post.

I want a pigeon to break into my home fly through the vacant space from an open window in my bedroom or kitchen. If I had time to prepare, perhaps there would be a plate of barley for it to feast on before finding me beneath a pile of language (poems). There may be blood or just invisible deflated breaths all around me. After gorging on grains, the pigeon will study me for awhile, make sure it understands my story, the summary of my final moments. It may even snip off a strand or two of my hair with its beak. Then, this pigeon will fly toward the ones who matter. The ones who called me just because it was a Tuesday not because it was my birthday or because it was their’s. The ones who loved me. The ones I poemed with. The ones who knew why I ran away so much.

You will not need internet access to hear of my news. You will not need to be on Facebook to find out about my death. Maybe it will be mentioned in a newspaper, but you don’t need to have a subscription or even be literate. Just wait and the pigeon will reach you.


Ways to connect to find out to deliver news in my lifetime have ranged from: pen pals to walkie talkies to tangled and coiled telephones connected to walls to cordless phones with extra channels to overhear nearby conversations to chat rooms to beepers to cell phones to skype’ing to gossip to computer screen stalking.

The thing is, I have this tiny book, which holds my stamps because I much prefer writing letters to seeing your six-packed torso stamped on computer screens. How can we bridge the gap from those who wish to unplug but still be aware of the life outside windows to the ones who’s bodies have become flesh-covered outlets never without a built-in personal assistant, GPS navigation, and high-speed Internet.

For now, I guess I will just be the last to know things. Or maybe I need to ask more questions or read more newspapers or just be around people more. Sometimes I do miss the photographs, the narcissistic boasting, the slices of poetry and analyzed political protests that are constantly fed to these social networks. But I can also walk outside and see this too. Out loud. Wearing lungs and sweaters, rather than (not so hidden) advertisements.

where to send a letter

There is a bench with two gold stiletto heeled shoes, abandoned. It is 10:14 am, but they arrived at 2:14 am. I’ve gone missing. Search closely for the clump of hair, 1/2 an earring, my skin cells, blood. I won’t be returning. You may forward all mail here.


My bench is the one with blue and white blanket. Would you believe I’ve had that since childhood? How old do I look? The seams are all ripped open, most of the stuffing is gone, replaced by dead mosquitoes, ants, bed bugs. Don’t take my pillow. Leave it for the next guy. Wanna send a letter? Hide it beneath the painted wood.


I am the seventh bench on Eastern Parkway. Starting from where? Starting from one. Catch me snoring from 3 am – 10. I got weapons hidden in my knees. My hair is contagious. I spit blood and mold. Don’t bother me.


I never pick the same one: benches, girls, apples, moods. I don’t need to be tracked. Not looking to be found. You can still send a letter though. I’m good at unearthing the lost.

what exists besides the night where sunsets swell

I’ve formulated a hypothesis on the elegance of dreadlocks, dandelions and mailboxes.

I arrive home to heavy wooden door where walls welcome me in yellow and framed art. Now, my mailbox is shaped as a tabletop, no flag or key hole or hollow box containing echoes and spiderwebs. A universal table for each tenant’s envelopes, packages, magazine subscriptions. Before heading up two flights of dark-tree-stained stairs, I search through pile of rectangles searching for you.

Remember the birds? The pea pod. The feathers and wood shavings. Remember the music stuffed deep into the pocket of business sized envelope because you lost all yours and I wanted to send you something more romantic than a sunset: music notes and harmony.

There is a swell of sky in my belly. I am engorged with change, repetition of worry, unclaimed body in need of a devour.


I may be having a *secret* love affair with Anne Sexton. I held her up to microphone Monday night. She was slightly heavier than expected. I watched as she crossed one leg over the other as though left knee was the right knee’s lover. And perhaps I should not admit this. Perhaps secrets are meant to climb so deep inside a whisper that sounds become a hissssss. But…..but…

All she could talk on was suicide. Emptiness in walls, which are just slumped trees pressed into poorly postured beams. Oh, Anne. I have loved you for decades. I gathered up enough dandelions to turn this planet blonde, neon lemon scented oceans with daffodil-hued horizons. I even grew my hair long to cover you when we run out of sweaters and sheets. I grew so distracted by your sorrow, though, that my red grew confused, tangled and dreadlocked.

Anne, your lean.

Anne, your clutch of cigarette.

Anne, your need to gargle pills and red lipstick and poems.

I’ve no mail today, nor yesterday but I believe in tomorrow.

I’ll keep you in my throat, Anne.
And I’ll keep that other woman against my sternum.
And I’ll poem my way toward another evening where sun disappears into star formations.