The gibbous moon in the west cast a waxy luster, a lambent elfin light reflected and ricocheted through the vast dusty void of space. Stars and planets dazzled my eyes, some reflections, some generators and creators of their own glow. The air was clear and cold at three in the morning and I stepped outside into the cold stillness. I imagined I could see, not directly and not out of the corner of my eye but only out of the barest perimeter of my vision, the mountains to the west lit by the moon's refracted silver. We call it "west" as a means of taming direction and equating distance, while we're hurtling at an unimaginable speed through the dark. One tiny spinning ball of clay we call Earth, held together just by the centrifugal force of its own spin, and held in place in the universe by a star we call Sol. All bodies in motion.

I have been waking and wandering lately late at night. No light but the moon and distant streetlamp illuminate my prowls through the house and yard; I rise in the dark and tread softly in the dark. Floorboards creak and sigh and settle again. The screen door groans halfway throuh its swing as I open it, and above my head by the door frame I hear the ripping sound of spiderweb torn asunder.

Each night is the same; the spider builds in the evening and I rend in the night. I have seen the small black body dipping and rising, eight clever spindles twisting and drawing there in the space between the door and the screen, trailing the finest silk painstakingly and with serious intent. The shape of the web is a circular funnel of silver that reflects moonlight but looks dull grey in sunlight. Moths, mosquitoes, and mayflies attracted to the porch light in the evening end up as small grey shrouded husks discarded on the door jamb beyond the thresh-hold. Something about a spider hidden in the door's corner feels like good luck.

I stood on the porch until my bare feet tingled and my flesh felt chilled by the cool night air. The dogs patrolled the corners of the field, noses to the ground and tails flagging high as they trotted. The rain and clouds passed and the scent of damp earth, wet grass, dripping leaves, early spring fills my head, a sweet perfume.

The vastness of the heavens stuns me; the spider web's intricacies intrigue me; the common elements of design despite the size and distance and the space between remains incomprehensibly mysterious. Einstein said God is subtle.


The rain drifted in misty showers during my lunchtime walk up and back down the hill. I guess it's about a mile and a half, although my only measurements are my footsteps and breath and time passed. The trees are big Douglas firs and Red cedars, maples just budding out, massive Oregon oaks still bare from the winter's cold. From the top of the hill I can see the river winding like silver through the town and the swath of forest below in the grey rain. An osprey's huge jumble of a nest sits atop a big broken fir at the highest point of the butte. Narrow paths drop away from the main trail, steep muddy slippery downslopes into the underbrush that I long to follow. I have before and will again go bombing down the backside, limbs akimbo hair wild, but today my time is not my own.
And it is raining.

A woman called the office and requested to speak with my boss, the man in charge, the big guy. I took a message because I generally don't forward calls to him unless I know who it is and how long the call will take. He's a busy man, my boss.

The woman said she was calling from a Congressman's office, inviting my boss to an annual dinner with the President.

I wrote down her name and number and took the memo to my boss, who looked at it and giggled at me like he does. And then he blamed me for trying to pull an April Fool's trick on him. I assured him I was in earnest, and would do no such thing. He said he would call the woman back, certain it's a joke, because who, he said, would invite him to dinner with the double-u? He waggled his eyebrows high at me. He has a poster of a southwest canyon with an Edward Abbey quote on one wall. "The idea of wilderness needs no defense, only more defenders."

I smiled and shrugged. He said he wouldn't cross a street let alone pay for a dinner like that and giggled again and threw the memo on his pile of phone memos. I love working for my boss.

The window has legs and hips but you can only see them when it rains. The water curls around the shapes and creates facets in the patch of grey, treelimbs twisted and crooked, distorted. The wind shifts the shapes. It has been long since the last rain and the ground drinks deep.

Friday last I danced on a black splintered stage while a flute and harmonium and drum provided melody and rhythm for motion. I felt removed from myself, delightful and in some ways terrifying. Something in me stepped back for the duration of my dance, and it felt opposite from watching myself. It was myself watching. I recall feeling nervous at first, and then quickened and exhilirated. A dancer I much admire who also performed that evening sent me congratulations on a dance well done today, and said she loves to see me dance from my heart and soul. And I suppose that's what it is, at base.

The beginning class I teach starts up again on Saturday; eight new faces to make smile, eight new bellies to shape. It's a two hour class and we all leave sweaty. I start with half an hour of stretching and fifteen minutes of muscle-building stretches and exercises, which include leg lifts and sit ups. It doesn't matter the size and shape of the belly so long as it is strong.

The rain sounds like a drum and the hips and legs sway softly across the sky.


The universe hefted and shifted and sighed, settled back again, whistling a wee disjointed tune of laughter and light in a sprung rhythm, things slightly different but not so anyone notices except for bumblebees and little black wolf spiders sunning themselves on rocks.

Despite the sunny weather, March has still been March, that long drudgery and indicative verb, one foot in front of the other in slow procession, the dragging pointed tail-end of winter. With a slight flick it passes and I shudder with the release of a weight I didn't know was there.

The night sky at this longitude and latitude is a showy display. We have Venus in the west, Mercury beneath the evening moon in the Plaeides, Saturn high above in Gemini, and Jupiter hanging low in the east beneath the lion. The Greek word "planet" means "to wander" which the planets do, strolling among the fixed stars, bright with reflection of the sun.

I can see there is a lot I cannot see.


Goin a hundred miles an hour
With the door ajar


We all use handles here. Like bikers or truck drivers on c.b. radios. What's your lingo what's your travel what's your destination?

I thought of this in a drowsy half-sleep at four in the morning, the house all still and hushed, the rain rapping and pelting in rushes against the window. I walked with one eye closed to the bathroom, to the kitchen, to the front door to let the dogs out and then I stood on the porch watching the spattering rain leaving small dark freckles on the porch and steps. The streetlamp cast a yellow light on the dark quiet street, people slumbering in their houses. The house down the street always has a television's eerie toxic blue flicker, some kind of nightmare brought out into the world. The droplets made me blink.

I heard only the sound of the rain and the wind. Sometimes I can hear the industry and bustle and trains and the freeway, but last night I heard the wind alone, high in the trees, lifting my hair and dismantling me of sleepy bed warmth. I called the dogs and locked the door and climbed again beneath the blankets.

Where are we going, and what are we doing here? I thought about a radio show I heard in which a physicist was asked about travel and drafting and drag, and he said the most efficient mode of travel is a group single file. The leader sets the course and the pace, and the followers travel in the draft of air created. But it benefits everyone: at speed, air is pushed above and to the sides, but then it swirls and eddies in turbulence behind a travelling object, generating drag on the object, which slows the object.

If another traveller is immediately behind the leader, then this drag is smoothed out over a longer span of time and space, and adds to the momentum of both. He said the more travellers in a line, the sleeker the travel. And yes the leader works a little harder by forcing into the wind, but those drafting must contend with the slowing force of the drag. It reminded me of drafting off semi trucks, of riding bicycles, of hearing trains whistle through the night.
I thought I ought to remember this before I fell back asleep, three more hours before the alarm. Sometimes thoughts at four a.m. don't translate into daytime.

We are all travelling. Do we follow or do we lead? And it's not a question of pride or performance or ability or intelligence. It's a question of where are we going? What is our purpose and destination?


Can't think of what I was thinking when I thought of something else. Got derailed somewhere a little west of here when I went walking at lunch to the top of the butte and back down. Breezy and big trees and sunshine and I could have kept walking because walking feels good even if my right ankle feels dangerous today. It's sending quiet threats to falter if I step wrong and then laugh at me for stumbling. Must have slept crooked, the bones and ligaments slipped disjointed and misaligned. This doesn't happen often; my body usually cooperates with any request I make of it, and I usually feel good enough to skip and jump at any moment. It disturbs me when I feel frail. But walking feels good.

Fell asleep last night with S holding my hand and awoke with him asleep and dreaming he was opening a pickle jar or something because after I'd extricated my fingers from his grasp they throbbed so much I didn't think I'd get back to sleep. Little things kept me awake and waking dreams kept me asleep. Dreamt my friend cut off all her hair and smoked black cigarettes in a streetside cafe and looked at me unforgivingly for something I haven't done.

I went to court this morning and saw the wheels turning ponderous and immense with grinding giant iron wheels like those that cut ruts in the earth so deep the Romans built roads to avoid getting high-centered. I stifled yawns and leaned attentively forward since I sat right up front at the big glass-top carved mahogany table, attorneys and clients coming and going and there I sat, opposite the judge, recording my notes. It would be interesting if it weren't so boring and I had Wire's "I am the fly in the ointment" in my head the entire time.

When I pulled on my nylons this morning S gave me a quizzical look and said he doesn't understand why part of womens' business attire includes clothing that is made to look like there's no clothing. I'm only glad nylons are not something I wear every day, and as soon as I returned to the office I peeled them off inside out like a discarded snake skin and stuck them in my bag.

Maybe my thoughts will cycle back again to where they were and then I'll write what I meant.


We had far too much fun this weekend. Someone making pleasantries asked me, "What did you do this weekend?" and I can't even begin to list everything because the weekend really started Friday evening with JJ and Tebone drinking gin and tonics and eating burgers at High Street, which is this funky little house converted into a brew pub. We joked and laughed and later made our way to a seedy bar where Tebone and friends rocked the house singing paycheck to paycheck and cruisin in my momma's station wagon while people played pool in the dim green light.

I like walking with S through the darkened streets, the buzz of halogen lamps overhead making a doppler effect as our boot heels clock the space beneath them. We walked from the bar down Broadway hand in hand and he was tipsy and loquacious and found everything funny. He took spy camera photos of the last staggling tango dancers in their big glass studio, the lights were orange, the music schmaltzy, the women danced in high heels and the men were all fashionably thin. S grabbed me and said cha cha cha there on the street corner and I said wait till we get home.

Saturday I woke up feeling better than I had in months, and dove into household chores that get neglected during the week, like dishes and laundry. In the afternoon we went thrift store shopping and then to a musician friend's party. We celebrated the equinox and our party's hostess told me to dance, so I borrowed a long full skirt and shook it hard and twirled around the room while people played guitars and drums. S played high wild lovely stuff on his violin, a keen strong sweetness like the taste of oranges. And then we drank red wine.

Sunday involved walking and dancing and many smiles and sunshine. It would have been a lazy day if I hadn't been so busy.

I almost didn't come to work today. The blue sky and warm air and damp earth make the world as close to Paradise as I can imagine right now.

I love it when the morning smells like rain, it is the sweetest perfume in the world. My love rose early to mold and shape liquid rock. He whistles when he rises, a soft undercurrent, a melody to the fishtank burble in the darkened room. He dresses quickly and in the half-sleep when I float in dreams I hear him trying to be quiet in the kitchen. He has a job pouring concrete, shaping it, smoothing it, finishing it. He wears baggy old pants and a loose shirt, a floppy hat and big black rubber boots. I taste coffee on his lips when he kisses me quick 'bye see you later love you have a good day you too.

He'll come home with silvery gray cement chunks adhered to his hair, under his nails, streaked on his face, smudged on his clothes, spattered droplets of a liquid that quickly sets to solid. He'll shower, emerging well-scrubbed, shining all over from a hard day's work in the sunshine.


Yesterday when the sun turned the sky orange S made a big fire with mesquite and alder, and grilled pork chops and chicken galore for friends visiting. We talked after dinner about difficulties in living honestly and simply, about how it is necessary to pause and consider the ramifications of words or actions with the intent to benefit others and not only to gain personally. Self-importance keeps us alive on a day to day basis, and fighting the impulse to gain at the expense of others is a difficult task, not only because that basic ego spills over into everything we do, but also because our culture prides itself on the fastest hardest meanest shiniest biggest best.

Selflessness, and giving without expectations, and seeking peace and equanimity, these are the difficult things. For a long time I thought English was limited by having only one word for love, but now it makes sense to me. There should only be love as it should be. And love is as blind as justice when it is true.

Two days ago I squinted into the sky and saw mares tails chasing high and wispy across the blue, omens of incoming clouds. The wind blew chilly like a train whistle at the witching hour and my little black cat yowled at the door to be let inside. The dogs a whimper and frustration while unable to fall into slumber. An early bedtime does not guarantee a long sleep. Something breathed and exhaled in the western ocean, stretched tendrils of awareness awakeness and irritation. Venus sank gracefully again into the sea after her evening display.

Bare branches on the tree with limbs like dogs legs rattled high above the house, and the chimney flue howled. The gust ended as suddenly as it began and a thousand souls turned over, troubled in their dreams. Every sound, even those imagined, became a prickle on the skin, nerves jangled, eyes straining to see into the night.

The sandman did not find our house last night; no dreams conjured, no rest. We lay limbs entwined and counted the heartbeats between us in the dark stillness; the house creaked and sighed and settled as the earth rolled around again.


When I was in fourth grade I had about ten boyfriends. You know how it is in fourth grade, a "boyfriend" means you chase each other around on the playground and sometimes you get rubberbands shot at you, your hair gets pulled and you get little notes with initials and a heart on them and share already-been-chewed gum, and maybe if some boy is daring you get your butt grabbed but that only happened twice and the second time ended in a shoving match.

I was the fastest littlest thing nicknamed Twinkletoes and I could do more push ups and pull ups than any of the boys except Jubal who had the brightest orange hair in the world and his parents owned a farm produce store on the highway. I had freckles and I could climb trees like a cat. My short shock of blond hair Mom insisted on having permed because it kept it from getting tangled.

Mom always wore her Kiss Me I'm Irish button on St. Patty's Day even though she's double Dutch as the day is long. I coveted that button. I wore it that year in fourth grade when the weather was turning nice and warm, and Mark and Max and Dave and Jubal and Eddie and Sean and Nick and Joe and Jose and Neal all fought over who got to kiss me.

Fights in the classroom begin with a flirtation and jealousy and involve well-placed feet, spit wads, dirty looks, promises of punches. I can't claim total responsibility for the problems in that working class neighborhood schoolroom, although my Kiss Me button may have instigated the upheaval and power struggle of the puppy pile. It spilled out into recess.

The teacher had to call the janitor for help and I stood there in the middle of the field as the battle raged from the swings and slides, to the fence by the locust trees, to the baseball field, to the soccer goal post. Boys of every shape and size and color engaged in a cartoon-style running fight, pennies slung with deadly accuracy at knees, grappling hands and kicking feet, a bloody lip, messed hair, a black eye, grass stains.

It ended with five of them marching to Ms. Wilkin's office after recess and we didn't see any of them for the rest of the afternoon. They had to clean the bathroom in the kindergarten and by the time they were done they were all friends again.

Both Eddie and Max managed to kiss my cheeks. I turned just as Eddie tried and so he got a mouthful of hair. I pinched him on the arm because he wasn't wearing any green but then he showed me the grass stain on his pants and got to pinch me back.

I never wore that button again.

A beautiful tall brunette in a sassy red skirt bought me a second whiskey on the rocks last night. We went to this badass bar painted all red and black with a mirror ball that reflected skulls spinning around the room.

I could have stayed in the bathroom an hour there was so much cool wall art and graffiti, and about thirty people playing pool in the back part of the long narrow building, smoking dispite the ordinance so it added that reclusive dark eye-burning element often missing from bars, but even better than that was the punkabilly three man band playing hard and loud. No, loud. No, I mean really fuckin loud. Even louder than that. Turn it up so the windows buzz. Yeah right about there. Loud enough so I hear it in the morning. Loud to make teeth rattle, set up a vibration in the bones, shake the blood.

I inticed JJ to dance with me and she took off her boots and we twisted and shook and she whipped her long dark hair around. We laughed at the lyrics to lovesick Cell Phone and unrepentant Snidely Whiplash and the workin man's anthem PBR Vacation. Tebone laid out a stompin bassline and everyone was on tight and good. S got some cool photos, lights streaking around the frame, guitars and fingers and rockin with it.

We got home after midnight and fell into bed, ears buzzing.


Yesterday Caesar died. The Ides of March. And you, Brutus?

Do we pray for a new Caeser, a kindly emperor to solve all our problems? Since when is it unacceptable to question the competency of our elected officials? How many people are imprisoned incommunicado without charges against them? How many tears and how many bombs and how many land mines and how many soldiers will our "gentler foreign policy" generate? How many jobs sent overseas how much poverty how many poor uneducated sick hungry homeless people here right here right here? How much inequality between the rich fat and the working class, shush don't mention "class" you can pull yourself up by your bootstraps oh... but you don't have... boots? How many grizzled old streetcorner veterans with cardboard signs and benefits cut unable to find a hint of a world they fought for?

How did marriage ever become a focal point or a federal issue? Here's your federal identification, your federal taxes, your federal marriage permit. Dump that federal tea in the harbor. "Institution of marriage" be damned, let us marry for love, and kiss my ass anyone who thinks the "purpose" of marriage is to "produce" children. Rome fell.

The world was bright with pollen dust and drowsy bees yesterday. It was bustling with worry and conspiracy and shadows and connections. I pray for rain to knock some of the tangible sickly sweet blossom fragrance out of the air. It coats my eyelashes, my throat, makes me choke.


Eyes on Spain. Prayers for pain.

She speaks TRUE.


Some sparkly things caught my eye, the light a shimmer, clear facets of reflected sun. Light filters through tree leaves, a shifting and sensual making of shade, lit from above and turned a transluscent green. The shadows cast move with the breeze, adding to the ephemeral and mellifluous delight of light. The world's own glitter the falling cherry blossoms, light shining on and through the petals as each swirls to the ground.

The girl at the cafe had hot pink hair and hot pink fingernails and on each nail she had a tiny clear faceted bindi dot, like droplets of dew. I don't manicure my nails and I don't have pink hair but something in me wanted to watch those fingers as if they were my own as she wrote my order rang up my order took cash and made change for me. I couldn't tell you what she looked like other than those glossy sparkly ripe watermelon nails.

The light played with surface and subsurface and I let it dance in my eyes and hair and I could see it shine into me, just a little into the clear intricate qualities of skin. As a child with friends in a dark tent a flashlights hold endless fascination held under the jaw and open the mouth, or look I can see the bones in my hand with the light shining through the flesh and muscles. Teeth and nails and hair catch and shimmer and glow with the light, semi-transparent and hard like clear agate, chalcedony, citrine.

The first time I noticed that the quality of flesh and bone is similar to gemstones was with a friend in the sunshine, we had a small clear orange rubber ball we would bounce against the side of the building and it would return to us on our small patch of grass. We sat in our shorts and halter tops under the impossibly blue sky talking about boys and girls and she smiled into the sun while we laughed. And the light shone into her. Instead of looking at the contours of her face I looked instead at the depth of her skin and how I could almost see through her teeth, the sun was so bright. It seemed she did not have eyes, the sun's rays beamed into the white and iris so that her pupil was a tiny speck far back, the light shining on all the brilliant tawny colors of her golden brown eyes flecked with green.

Light shines deep into water, into diamonds.
The ocean is of water, as are we.
Diamonds are made of carbon, as are we.


Things come in threes.
Two people come together and create a third entity called love; a braid of spun gold, woven and intricate. A number of perfection and power and superstition.

We went running through the woods yesterday, hearts on fire with the sun and the whistling wind, bared teeth smiles revelling in the sensuality of the brand new season. Earth and air and water. Small delicate bell-shaped amethyst flowers peeked beneath fringed foliage and pale green leaves of Indian plum, and halfway up the hillside folded a blanket of bright white trillium.

Each trillium bulb produces three broad heart-shaped leaves at the base, a short flower stalk, and a single flower with three petals. The flower blooms for a week before dropping its petals like a discarded crown to set seeds in a three-sided pod.

We hinge our dreams with hope and desire and necessity. It folds triangular, the Sphinx' riddle, the shape of destiny.

What remains important?


Sky high wide and blue above and chilly air punctuated by the sweet scent and confetti of spent cherry blossoms. The river rolls like green bottle glass and the riverbank grass grows knee-high in three days.

Some hearts recover faster than others and spring makes salve for wounds. She spoke so flippantly today I checked myself with a scold and thought maybe she didn't think. Or maybe she's just a river that changed its course, unapologetic and unhesitating, a whole ecosystem in the shape of an oxbow left to dry and become something else.

I would die if my love did to me what she has done. I would walk down the riverbank and float away.

But the sky is blue, I hear birds singing, bums sit bare-chested in the fresh-mown grass happy to have survived the winter, and two years ago it snowed on this day but for now we have sun. I ate an orange with a cup of green tea and somewhere found an uncomplicated smile.


Overnight the magnolias bloomed, giant creamy frothy translucent teacups of unfurled petals welcoming the warmth and the light. Hummingbirds flit from one white satin saucer to the next.

I walked beneath the blushing blooming pale pink cherry trees lining the street, the heady fragrance filling the air, drifts of spent blossoms cascading to the ground making a welcome carpet for the spring amid the daffodils. My footprints made soft remarks between the fallen delicate flowers.

This has been a hard winter, one of sorrow and heartbreak, one of brittleness and bitterness. The delightful scent of the daphne permeates the sadness and regret with sweetness, and a promise of things to come.

The sunlight reflects on the river, on the window glass, on chrome, on the streets and I don't know when I've been so happy to see the change of seasons. Big cottony white grey-bellied clouds scud across the blue but their shadows lack the wintry dimness. Last night the world was still and quiet aside from the wee wooing song of frogs.

Spring settled gently her motherly weight on the blades of grass, the boughs of trees, the slumbering bare earth. The response is like a round of applause, an explosion of blossoms, a joyful awakening. Plants entice their winged partners with color and fragrance to dabble in the sweet intoxicating pollen dust, filling the air with a great droning hum of bees and the thrilling buzz of reproduction.

It is a time for taking stock, for checking the portions, for making repairs, for opening every window, for shaking out the dust and sorrow, for catching the light of the sun on my cheeks, kissing gentle lips, and breathing the fresh rebirth. Even the light has changed.


Of things past, passed, a moment of memory lost like a teardrop in the ocean.

This weekend the world buckled and churned and twisted and the foundation fell away from the dreams of a couple I love very much, a couple who have been together as far back as I can remember, a couple who built an ideal and a dream and had babies and raised strong happy boys.

The pain I feel for them feels like someone squeezing my heart. It reeks of abandonment and it feels like betrayal. It's like the center eroded and left just the brittle shell in pieces, something washed onto the beach that once was beautiful.

At first I wanted so desperately to know why, and the why is that for one of them the love dissipated and dried up and became insignificant and forgotten.

Their eyes so full of pain to look, unmatching, at one another unable to read the shadows of the words of the soul inside. The book slowly closed and is covered with dust.

The words he breathes have her in them. He said "we" all day yesterday, and I know he can't grasp the notion that she is gone.

It's not cruelty or sorrow, just the splintering apart, and a matter of letting the energy go.

She forgot his heart. Her dreams changed and she forgot to tell him. The fault lies in the forgetting. I can not make excuse for her but neither can I judge her. I only hope the pain for him ends soon, and does not turn to bitterness.

It figures on Saturday night I would forget safety pins. It figures the top I intended to wear has small black beads for buttons that pop open if I breathe heavy, which is unavoidable because I dance hard. No safety pin combined with a shoulder shimmy spells disaster, although I heard someone not even wearing a brassiere did an exposure on teevee. Luckily for me our generous host of the wild fiesta had a stapler, and S was able to strategically place a staple through the two layers of fabric to hold the delicate embroidered and beaded top closed. I drew black lines around my eyes, dabbed on lipstick, wrapped myself up in a gold and black veil, and went into the hallway to wait for a cue.

There were nearly fifty people crammed into the sprawling L-shaped living room, little dark-haired and wide-eyed children sitting in the front row, young Goth youths leaning nonchalant against the far wall, couples speaking Spanish piled against eachother on the couches, a sea of faces.

Someone dimmed the lights and someone else started the music and someone else "hushed" and I think I actually floated into the middle of the room because I don't know how else I got there.

The rhythm is the same as the beat of your heart, thrumming through the veins arteries capillaries, a quickening and a flush to the skin. Feel it, become it. I started the song with a slow buildup, pause, expectation, and then an explosion of motion. The costume I chose was discreet with very little exposure because I knew the audience would be all cultures and all ages: a loose cottony black top with long sleeves, a long dark purple skirt that flares wildly when I spin, and a heavy big gold coin belt that drapes between my hips and my mid-thighs. I brushed my hair straight and long down my back.

There are some parts of the dance I recall; throwing my veil to the host, the pause and the breathing and the slight undulation taking up space before the fast series of spins, the faces and wonderful energy source of at least ten children sitting at my feet, the loose high spin with the violin, and immediately following another spin I like to catch the strident drum beats boomboomboombadaboom with articulation on my right hip.

I felt loose and good and comfortable despite the size of the audience, and I danced one full song and half the next before turning a slow circle with hands out palms up, and then exited down the hallway. I know I left them wanting more, but even if I had wanted to do an encore I couldn't have escaped the throng of children who followed me down the hall and mugged me before I could get into the bedroom and change clothes.

They were curious and delightful and sweet, and they ran their sticky pizza-coverd little fingers all over the jangly coin belt, patted my stomach, felt the softness of my skirt, told me "You're the most beautiful!" and "I love you!" and "You picked the perfect music!" and asked my name and wanted me to do it all again. One of them started asking for my autograph in a scratchy warbly voice, and the rest followed suit. They exhausted the supply of scratch paper on the refrigerator and I obliged with dark-lipstick kisses, lacking a pen.

Immediately behind the children in the hall came the Gothy punks all in black with dark hair and pale faces, not much more than kids themselves, and the youngest said, "I just want you to know you're beautiful and an incredible dancer and that was awesome. You could totally come dance for our band?"
Smile and nod, oh sure sweetheart.
"We have some good songs. It's got a name a word very few people know. It's called 'Exegesis,' you know what that means?"
I smiled and said, "Shall I explain it to you?" and let it sink in before asking, "You guys play at clubs around here?"
"Uh, no. We only got a few songs."
Smile graciously and nod some more as the little girls hug my legs and pull my wrists and laugh and smile with me.

And I value the praise that came from the young man from Beirut, whose mother is having a birthday party next Saturday. He said it had been
years since he had seen any dancing worth seeing, and asked me to please come perform next weekend. In true formal manner he asked the party's host, who then asked my husband, who told me later he had shrugged and told them to speak with me about it. Sure, I could do that, I said. His whole family will be there. What have I gotten myself into?

But the praise I value most comes from my sweet man, whose lovely blue eyes shine when I catch them for a quick wink as I spin around the room.


I've had a stiff neck for three days now; think it's due to a combination of stress and practicing with a big heavy veil in preparation for Saturday night. It's a beautiful veil, bright white silver fading in gradations to indigo and black, and it's four yards of material. The trick with veil-work is to keep the fabric flowing and in motion constantly while acting as though it were easy. It's a wonderful prop, and provides an audience with something other than an exposed belly to watch.

The best veil-work is fluid and beautiful and heart-stirring, but it takes practice. Get a dry full-length bath towel and hold it up above your head and behind you like you've ready to dry your back and you'll see why my shoulders are sore. I sort of went overboard with practicing the other evening.

Yesterday I had a massage, which was nice enough but her hands never really warmed up. They weren't clammy or cold, but they weren't like the last massage therapist I saw who nearly melted me with her hot healing hands. Yesterday's therapist did some strange things, too, like "wagging" my limp arms and "snapping" the ends of each of my fingernails, and she put her fingers in my ears and then pulled on my earlobes. I just wanted her to work on my neck.

I hope I can work the remaining stiffness out before Saturday night. This weekend finds me dancing.


Everything will balance, like warm wind and cold water, like a dream of two bright sorrel horses running through a daisy field, like the birth of spring after the dead of winter.

A fistful of wet hair in the water and wet lips, wet eyelashes, passion mingled with ferocity, the water of the stream chilly in the late dark night. How tightly will teeth close against skin before pleasure turns to pain, and wherein lies the distinction? Fingertips seek purchase on slick smooth skin, each inch alive with the chill of the water and the fever of touch. The burn from the cold water balances the burn of fleshy desire. Moss grows thick and lush, tender and soft clinging to hard stone.

Stars float on the surface far below the spangling brilliant distant heavenly lights. The light comes only from the sky. No clouds, ephemeral formations of both air and water, mar the surfaces of either purity, but the steamed breath from two bodies rises and dissipates and the churned water where the surface is broken and swirling with bodies contains bubbles that rise and sigh at the surface. This is where the lines are drawn and the elements seek to balance once again in the dark's pregnant stillness.

The tingling prickled bumps of skin rub together abrasive. Tree frogs and bull frogs sing their intricate far and wee chorus in the reeds amid the rocks as the water slides soundlessly through the crease in the earth. Gravity from the earth's rotation pulls the water down from the hills to the valley, from the valley to the gorge, from the gorge to the delta, from the delta to the ocean, and there it is lifted again in great billowing clouds and dropped once more in the mountains.

Our heart beats, felt more than heard, loud through the rain against the window pane, keeping time with the rhythm of the moon.


We visited Jesi last evening as the clouds turned black to the east and the sun cast long dark shadows from the west, the air itself tinged with yellow and a rainbow pointing the way we travelled. A sharp breeze and some bicycles and a grey tabby cat ran across the narrow street that has ditches instead of sidewalks. Great puddles lurked in gravel patches covered with the detritus of the gigantic fir tree in her front yard.

She lives in a small building on the backside of the garage behind her mom's house; her rental is built a little like a hay loft, narrow stairs and a wide doorway. She was in bed when we arrived, blinking and stretching, I had awakened her ten minutes before with a phone call and I think she had fallen back asleep until we thumped up the hollow stairs. Potted plants, posters of rock bands, a life-size grainy black and white picture of Jimi Hendrix at the bottom of the stairs, piles of cloth on the floor and tossed casually on shelves, colorful veils and scraps of African batiq hanging from drawers, belts and chains arranged over the top of the mirror in the corner, steep-angled walls and a big window at either end made for a comfortable space.

She's usually quiet and reserved in the sweetest possible manner, but at five in the afternoon after napping four hours between two of her three part-time jobs she was talkative as the fluffy black cat that chirped and squaked and mewed as it followed us through the yard and up into her big room.

We joked and laughed and visited with her but she needed to go to work in less than an hour, so we headed for home. S cooked sausage with mushrooms and olives and tomatoes over pasta and two kinds of cheese. We had discovered some fine dry red Italian wine marked from $9 to $3 and delighted in our savvy purchase from the grocery store.

After dinner I played music and stretched in preparation to practice my dancing. Stretching my legs and torso often involves rolling around on the floor, and invariably leaves me at the mercy of two sweet loving dogs who require attention; and I think sometimes they're laughing at me.

I've been requested to dance at a big party at our Costa Rican friend's house this Saturday at ten o'clock. At his last party there were about 30 people. This year's party will be bigger, catered by a swank downtown restaurant, and a keg of microbrew lined up for our drinking pleasure. I joked with S about bellydancing at a keg party and he said it will be no such thing as a keg party. In fact, he said, our most ernest honest heavily-accented handsome and genuine host would be most offended if I were to suggest it's anything other than a fiesta. Very well then. I'm performing at a fiesta on the night of the full moon.


We had a nice Sunday despite the cold flat grey sky and the constant rain. In the morning we joined JJ and Tebone for breakfast (muchas gracias, JJ my dear) and went walking with them along the river. We looked at bright yellow daffodils and pale lavender crocus flowers, bright orange glimmers of saffron hidden between the curvaceous petals. We watched the geese and ducks at the riverside. It was cold and spitting rain on us. Our noses were all red.

In the afternoon I played with three other ladies, practicing traditional motions with silken veils the same bright colors as early spring flowers. We swooped and swirled, the motion hypnotic and a true delight to the eye, the silk veils moving like water through the air. When I left the dance studio the sun had nestled into the hills to the west.

S & I drove to our friends' home in the woods beside the lake; they're wilder and crazier people than most, they live modestly and honestly and live off the land as well as they can. Their home is like Wonderland; both are artists and work BIG. Sculptures, plywood cut-outs, junk turned to art, everything bright and colorful and funky, they've filled their yard and some of their acreage with monkeys in trees, giant chickens, ufo's, hands reaching out of the ground, the Cheshire cat, and a brightly painted gingerbread house that functions as the chicken coop.
Springtime is the time for baby chicks, and they happily showed their adorable little "peeps" to us, tiny bundles of fluff with yellow beaks and feet. Mrs B showed me her favorite little chick, which was the color of spun gold with a rusty iridescent brown stripe down its back. Around its eyes were black feathers in a curving shape like the traditional heiroglyphic Egyptian eye, like Cleopatra.

We had a sweet conversation as always, and talked much of friends and concerns about addictions and health and safety and the future. It is not easy to see loved ones falter and lose themselves. Hope is like a little bundle of fluff on wobbly legs.

Tiny little bundles of fluff are delicate.