Thursday, July 7, 2016


I can't write freely online anymore, not really. I shouldn't write here, but I am.

Death month has begun, officially. Read back today, to the anniversary post of year three. Year three - and it was still so fucking brutal. So unfair. So horrible. And what gets me now, what has me this morning, listening to warren zevon’s “keep me in your heart for awhile” is that it is no longer brutal. Matt is no longer - my hands stop, hovering over the keyboard. It is not one bit true that he is not in my heart anymore. He is. He still is. And - . And. And. I don’t know what “and.” That he is not my first thought, nor my second. That I have been in love - or circling close to it - twice now, since he’s been gone. Hell, twice now within a year and a half. I don’t think of him, but I always think of him. He is not real, and he is real. 

I look at that post, re-entering all of those days, the horror and the beauty and the right-here-with-me inside this that he used to be. All of everything. The retching. The endless, endless retching. Knowing it still lives in me. 

All of this - is so strange. How side by side, how not. I write this, I feel this, I’m in this. And yet. And also. Tomorrow I am going out with O and S, all three of us together. Next week, on death date weekend, I have plans with S on Friday, then with O on saturday, and on sunday, as year seven moves into year 8, I will wake up in his arms. Not yours. And I will kiss him, and be kissed, and have sex and be happy, and confused, and torn in two. And he will be kind and sweet and thoughtful. And I will be happy, and confused, and torn in two. 

I drove the car over to be worked on again. Walking back, in my short jean skirt, my cute hat, cold in the chilly early morning when I had already been up for four hours. Listening to warren zevon sing over and over again. Feeling it. Feeling it. I am walking, looking at the sky, the trees. I pick up a broken crow feather, knowing it is not mine, but I carry it anyway. I turn down a street when instructed by that inner whatever it is that tells me things sometimes. I come around the corner, asking you to show me something now. 

My eyes land on one perfect, beautiful yellow rose. And my eyes, my inner eyes light immediately on two images, one image, one sound, both image, both sound, of me, scattering roses on your death day, there at the river, yellow roses - no, I did not see THAT until just now, this moment. On the walk, I saw - the yellow rose I kept, kept back from that bouquet of 12 I bought at whole foods on my way to the river, not on the anniversary, but so soon after, so soon after you died. That one yellow rose atop the red formica table in that cold gray kitchen on danforth street. 

I see that rose, that one yellow rose, and I see-hear us, see-hear you, on the rocks at the lobster pound, telling me again, again and again, the story of the young woman who died there, running the rocks, who slipped and fell and hit her head while running the rocks. How her family scattered roses every year. You told me that story so many times, so many times, though each time, you thought it was the first. My mind lit on that single yellow rose, and you on the rocks, and now me, on that bridge, scattering yellow roses into the water. One on the bridge, then 10 more at the spot where you died. 

You died. And here, 7 years later, I come around the corner, catch the sight of one single yellow rose, and hear you say, plain and clear as day - I brought you to a place filled with roses. What more can you ask? You say this with that light in your eye, in your voice, teasing me. 

I remember scattering red roses, this time on the one year date, your ashes swirling around my ankles, as your mother one sister and your nephew stood along the shore. What the fuck life is this. What life is this. That as I write this, S sends me a hilarious text about our threesome date on saturday, and I can flirt back, yet continue to write about you, to write about roses and ashes and messages from you, when you - when you when you when you are of my life and not.  

And now, I am texting with my new love, not about you, but about me, about the me I was, and honestly, this me I was, the me I was in the water that day, the me who lived, it hurts to look at her. To keep one hand on her heart, with her heart. It hurts. I text that I am sending love letters back in time to myself, with this current book, to hold onto her as fiercely as I can, however I can, to help her survive. 

I should not have survived your death, Matt. I should not have survived what I lived. I went so dark, for so long. And maybe time travel can and does go both ways. That me I was, so broken, so destroyed, became the self that, as O said, “WOULD think to send love back, as an anchor.” Like, that self, that me, somewhere, somehow inside, knew to ask. Knew to believe. To wait.

Something survived. And I remember the line I wrote, so many years ago now, that light was not lit by you, and it is not maintained by you. I need those lines now, realizing I wrote that for me: with the weight of responsibility I feel for this book, to do this book well, to do for myself what I most needed, what I still need now: To save her. To help her survive. 

Holy fuck, it is true. What I said. What I said all those years ago. Something keeps us alive. Hidden and buried so far underground that the blast could not take us. (Rumi wrote: something keeps me joyful, but I do not know what.) I survived. The core, radiant, generous, kind, goofy self - survived. 

I should not have survived your death, Matt. You are here, and not here, and always, running under the surface of things, my reason for writing, my reason for love, one hand on my heart, the heart of the person I was, back then, in that water that day. On the bridge. One yellow rose on a red table. 

At the end of a podcast, the interviewer says to me - so you lived this. And as you’re sitting here now, you have this devilish glint in your eyes. You’re happy. How does that self survive? 

I said, I answered - I think I survived because I LET myself go dark. Because I stayed dark for so very long. Because I let myself. Not knowing I'd come back. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014


by day, today.
just about an hour ago.

reading back through my posts from each year, on this day, then the date.

there are places that haunt me.
there are blank spots and callouses.
there are tears that come out, sharp, unexpected

and I like those tears

I prefer it.

there is not enough time to miss you.
there are not enough ways to miss you.

can you make more of them, please?

by this time, today, 5 years ago,
I was lost in the woods
our dog knowing the way better than
I could or did.

this time, today, 5 years ago
I was lost in the woods

and you were already gone.

Please come find me, my love.
Find more ways to find me.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

the new house.


I do love words that mean more than one thing. I am in a new house, literally: I finally got to move in. I am starting to unfold, nest, settle in. Picking up the pieces of things that fell away over the last few months. And I am in a new house figuratively, too. My new website is up. Some of my favorite posts from here have been, and will be, reposted on the new site. Traffic will go from here to there, but not from there to here. There are things here that I want to keep mine, to keep ours. This space has been powerful for me, and necessary. I may come back here sometimes. A shift happens. And I feel a little melancholy for it, for the early words, for the kinship and connection I've had here. I made it through because of who I found here. Thank you.

You are all welcome to come over to the new house for its virtual house-warming: I would love to have you.

Thank you. I love you.



Thursday, October 3, 2013

in between



at the giant Asian market

I only missed you.

Instead of finding it all so cool
aisle after aisle of fascinating things,
instead of being amused and annoyed
at your narrow culinary skills
or how unmatched our palates are

I only missed you.
I only missed you.

Grief was comfortable
I missed it. I've missed it.
It hurts, and it clouded my joy,
but it brought you here to me
so close

When can I unpack you
what box are you in?
With the knives, with the baking trays
With my running shoes.
Not just the wooden box packed close with special things
You're inside all of it

when I can cook again
even foods you wouldn't eat
when I can cook in my own space again
you will unfold from hiding places
stretch out on the new blue couch

when there is room
you will well up beside me
while this new and different life begins


Friday, September 13, 2013

green river memorial


Day number 5 on the road. I'd hoped to be there by now. But the road has what the road will have.

Today, leaving western Nebraska, a late start. My planning mind was off a day, and what I'd thought was the short day was, in fact, not. But it's alright.

This land is beautiful. So clear, the geologic record: I always feel like I am in a submarine, a submersible, not an over-land car. I am driving in the ocean, driving under the ocean. Saw my first herd of pronghorn antelope just outside of Elk Mountain, Wyoming. I stopped at the same rest-stop we did back in 2006. It wasn't a hard day.

And then. And then, the soil began to change. From yellow and brown to streaks of red. The land changed from ocean bottom to sand cliffs. The mesas rose in the distance. I switched the stereo from dance music (to keep me awake) to Robbie Robertson, because it seemed appropriate. I am singing Ghost Dance, thinking of our trip, of how we talked about the history of this land, what it's seen, what happened out here. And then.

And then, before I realize I am this close, I am on top of Flaming Gorge. I am here, where we were, exactly where we were, and Robbie Robertson's "Golden Feather" comes on the stereo. I am crying. I hear. I hear the stones you picked up, all those years ago, the ones beside your box of ashes here on the passenger seat. I hear those stones begin to sing. They do. They sing to be so close to home.

I do not want to stop. I do not want to stop. But they are singing. I have to give them back. They want to go home, and I have to let them go. I pull off the exit, crying, resisting. I do not want to go. This is wrong. Wrong to be here. But I drive. Past the place where we got gas. Past the place where we ate Mexican food, grouchy from too long on the road. I pull over as I hear (yes, I hear) your ashes beside me begin to speak. Ask to be released here. The stones have kept on singing. Your ashes, what is left of you, an excited impulse. I open the passenger side door. The pot of my one houseplant falls out, cracks on the pavement. I remove the stones. I remove the small bag of your ashes, and shake you out into the palm of my hand. Shaking. Shaking. There are big pieces here, not dust.

The stones are singing. We have been here. This is where we turned off. Where we drove off down into the winding gorge, where we cried over slaughtered skinned coyotes, where you drove the car over too-steep embankments. Looking for a place to camp. Where you spent hours the next morning finding just the right stones, the two heavy, white stones we took home, another 4000 miles back, to sit on the bookshelf, holding words.

And now - they want to go back.

I scatter you. A small handful, here on the grass between road and sidewalk. I scatter. And then I place a stone. Oh.

Oh, I see now. This is a gravestone. A headstone, a marker you yourself picked out, painstakingly searched for, the last time we were here. It is right. It is right. To scatter you here beneath a stone you chose yourself.

The other stone - offers to stay. To stay with me. One with you, one for me. A pair of matched stones, broken, but connected.

As soon as the ashes are sent, the stone placed, I am fine again. Calm. I feel you. For the first time this trip, my love, I feel you. I know you here with me.

And I drive down through the mountains, as rain begins again, down a road we did not drive. A path we did not take. You are buried here, my love. And I continue on.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

light brigade


today is 4 years and 2 months (by day).

By this time tomorrow (insh'allah), I will be loading two big cats into the van, clipping Boris into his palatial middle-seat bed, filling the cooler, leaving behind more of a mess than I'd probably like. Maybe somewhere around Wyoming, I will start to believe this is true: that I'm free.

It still feels overwhelming, and it still is overwhelming. Talking about it only makes me mad - only getting the stuff done will get it done.

There isn't anything to say, and there is everything to say.

But here is this: if you are inclined, please join the light brigade. Any time between now and our projected arrival date (Sunday the 15th at the latest, Friday the 13th earliest) - please light a candle for our safe voyage, our excellent adventures of the good kind, smooth driving, safe roads, calm animals - whatever good wishes you have. If you pray or meditate, please pray and meditate for us. It's a whole big wave of love that carries us across; I am leaning in to that. U.S. east coast friends, release me, send us good winds. U.S. west coast friends, make that big ol' catcher's mitt of receiving - we are coming your way.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

same road, new road


I have just realized my driving route is the same route matt and I drove cross-country in 2006. After about 90% of the same roads, same rest-stops, same campgrounds, I veer north where we'd gone south. Instead of south to california, I drive up through the place that was tops on his "life list" to hike and explore - a place he didn't get to go. Seeing the name of that area on the map as the first place I veer off our route - this is going to be alright.