Monday, December 15, 2008

everyone will talk about this snow.
we will all write it so that we can own it, so that it
exists through us and not without us.

when we cry it will be snowflakes and out of
our mouths will dribble these drifts, piles.

our shoulders will carry feet of it,
our noses inches.

it will be our white freedom and we
will all look the same in our coats,
our faces peeking out enough to laugh
and nod,
sigh and nod,
and hurry,
and sit.

next may we will recall it,
the winter that settled when our backs were turned
the places we’d walk and how everything
looked so different,
how glad we were to be together,
to be alone.

we will hold this snow in stories
in photographs
in analogies that tie us together into single memories
into the humans this happened to,
and while we remember it out loud, we will think to ourselves
“how strange, how strange it is to live.”

Monday, November 3, 2008

As soon as everyone left we started spinning. Not out of dizziness, but the slow-motion kind, where everything is so close to being wonderful and terrible at the same time, where you are so close to catching the wind at just the right angle to be lifted, to fall.

It was in that moment that I realized I could only be in love with you on porch swings, in the backs of cars, and other places where movement is only forward
and backward,
never together, never apart.

“a frozen symphony of relativity,” you laughed, and told me to stop taking things quite so seriously.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


I need winter to come and push me back into my skin.

I’ve been slipping out slowly,
melting into stained asphalt
into ambivalence.

it is easy to disappear in the summer,
to lie and find the heartbeat beneath your palms
in fistfuls of grass
in dried embers
in the last time you felt truly awake,
the last time anything was cold enough to knock the air from your lungs.

but in the winter being comes naturally.
we wrap ourselves, cradle bony arms against shivering stomachs,
layer ourselves so many times over that there is no question
of where One ends
and where Another begins.

our breath hovers,
as if attempting to prove that it came from not nowhere but Somewhere

we etch our separations into heated entryways,

and every time we are struck by an alienburningfreezing wind we
pull ourselves
and breathe

Thursday, August 14, 2008

well I can dance with you, honey

I am sitting in the lobby of our hotel in iguzu falls and all of mamma mia´s biggest hits have been playing for the last half hour. it´s pretty catchy.

I haven´t written in a few days so I´m going to try to catch up a bit. I had a wonderful time meeting all of my family, especially the cousins my age. Before I left sao paulo I went out to dinner with my cousin livia and a few of her friends. livia is the daughter of one of my dad´s closest cousins. it was so funny to hear the jokes the paulistas (people from sao paulo) made about cairocas (people from rio). there is this friendly rivalry between the two, where paulistas accuse cairocas of being lazy and dirty don´t speak well, and the only bad thing about rio, and cairocas say that paulistas are all work and no play and have sticks up their asses. the cities can sort of be compared to new york and los angeles, only angelinos dont really have much to say about anyone (which can be attributed to either our amazing ability to accept everyone or our amazing ability to be self centered, depending on your affinity for our city).

one thing that I am coming to LOVE about brazilians is how warm and friendly they are as a culture. they themselves say the only country they think can compare is italy. and it´s true that there are a lot of similarities. everyone you greet with at least one kiss, two if they are adults or from rio. Remember the ability you had as a child to make immediate friends with anyone in a second? In Brazil, that never fades away. all of this family business could easily get very awkward in the states, but here it doesn´t matter that we´ve never met before or that we may never meet again, we are best friends and family immediately. It probably helps that all of my cousins are so brilliant and attractive and successful and can make conversation about anything. I feel like I´ve been missing out on this huge network of family my whole life. it´s a sad feeling, to suddenly realize what I´ve been missing.

We arrived in Foz do Iguassu yesterday evening, and immediately ran to catch the last bus into the park and see the falls before dark. They are, literally, the most beautiful sight I have ever seen. It is basically at least a mile long worth of river cascading in tons of beautiful waterfalls. when you take the walk along the side, every view is more breathtaking than the last. Today we crossed the border into argentina to see their park. basically Brazil has the more panoramic view, and argentina gives you the opportunity to see the falls from up close. and I mean close. I now know what it is like to stand at the foot of a massive waterfall and feel the power of it all bearing down on you. Literally the moment we left a tropical rain storm began. I´d never seen rain drops so large! As long as the weather clears up, tomorrow we´ll go on a boat ride, wet rapelling, and on a zipline, and maybe see the aiary.

I am loving Brazil, but also feeling very ready to get back to school. This last week will be a whirlwind! On Saturday we´re heading to ouro preto, then monday night back to sao paulo, then wednesday back home to LA, then saturday back home to walla walla. It´s going to feel so good to collapse into my bed at school...

Saturday, August 9, 2008

sao paulo in the rain smells like portland in the rain

a mix of green and pavement and water molecules hanging suspended in the air. in the winter it falls lightly, gently and slowly smothering the city, for days without stop. it reminds me of the northwest. this city confuses me. it seems to familiar - like new york with more green, like vancouver with more poverty.

I had a realization that if I were raised in Brazil, the US would feel as distant to me as Brazil does now, because neither of my parents were raised there. it tells you how constructed and experiental (is that the right word?) nationality and identity are. I would be south american completely. not that brazil is like anywhere else in south america...

we´re going out for pizza in a few minutes with lots of family. my dad likes to joke that the brazilians steal bits of cultural identity from everywhere else in the world and improve upon it. so far this has proven true. we´ll see how they do with pizza.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

the most beautiful city in the world

I call this my "travel blog," although I normally use it to document more symbolic travels. Well, now I get to use it in the literal sense. I am in Rio!

My parents and I landed in Sao Paulo on Sunday night after a full 22 hours of travel, including a very surreal 5 hour layover in Miami. We found a hotel in the airport and rode the elevator to the top floor to have breakfast at 7 am est, and then slept of their wicker chairs. Once we arrived, my dad's cousin Tavino surprised us at the airport and swept us off to Tia Junia's house. She lives in a very large almost-mansion in some neighborhood in Sao Paulo. Turns out a lot of my family here is rich. Her husband, who passed away, was a famous civil engineer, who I guess designed the whole subway system for the city. I can't say much else about it because I barely had time to get an impression of the city before we left for Rio the next morning. Truthfully, the city's biggest impression on my was physical, in my lungs. I had to buy an inhaler yesterday for all the chest pains it left me with after one night. People who claim LA is polluted do not know the meaning of dirty air. My dad told me that all of his childhood he had asthma - now I know why.

Since we landed in Rio, I have been enchanted, non-stop. I cannot describe this city and do it justice. First of all, the lagos and inlets of the bay curve around and around, so there is waterfront literally everywhere. Brazilian culture permeates, but there is something European lingering also. And EVERYWHERE is beauty. My family described it to me as maybe a subtle reflection of the surroundings. Seriously, when you see the views this cuty has day in and day out, when you hear the birds and smell the clorophyll, you feel instantly inspired to live life the fullest. The food - oh lord. Brazilians know how to cook and they do not settle for halfway decent. We went to a sushi bar, and they have created this way of eating sushi in a cone shape that was some of the best sushi I've ever eaten. I ate the best pizza of my life at a bodega-style outdoor restaurant at night with a view of an entire lagoon, with a guy playing slow samba music on his classical guitar. It's the stuff of fairytales, but very common in Rio. The alcohol is the strongest I've ever tasted. it's the kind of stuff college students chug down to get drunk fast and not have to taste it. Caiparinas are basically a national drink made from cacasa, which is a liquor made from sugar. Sounds like it would be sweet and easy, right? Ha.

We are staying now with Lucia, who is another of my dad's cousins, in her - get this - penthouse apartment, which is the top two floors of a building. Behind it is a giant rock. seriously. also, a tree is growing out of it, which is pretty cool. It is two stories tall and when we went up to the second floor on our tour, it turned out she wasn't kidding when she said it was a party floor with a pool and a sauna. There is also a magnificent view of the lagoon and of cristo el redentor. she also has a live-in maid. The aunt we are staying with in sao paulo also has a maid and a driver. Brazil is a very divided country among class lines, so it is common here for the wealthier families to have full time help.

well I am just overflowing with information! I have tons more I could write about, and I'll probably get to it eventually, but I need to go get ready. We are having a lot of family over tonight for a dinner/party/get-together.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I had forgotten how suffocating summer can be, how it creeps up and over shoulders,
extending tendrils with feigned nonchalance
allowing us the choice of un-seeing.

she found me lying beneath a tree, twirling fingers in the air
half-heartedly mapping an escape route, losing the words as soon as they passed my lips.

of course I knew:
if I allowed summer to devour me whole there would be no more pretending that I wasn’t already disappearing
that I couldn’t feel myself pulled by the suction of your absence,
your maybe-never-being,
your bending of time and space and truth and truth and truth.

I’d rather let what was left of my frame, sinews, and bones descend.
a sadder, softer exit.

the epitaph would read
here she lies,
by the 7th of June.

the heat stole her
without much struggle.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

de nuevo

I’ve found that home
is wherever I can sleep
wherever I can release and seep into something below my skin, where
I can disappear under waves of

Sunday, May 4, 2008

It takes skill to lose yourself between a sentence and its punctuation.

This is a detour.

We were so young. We are so young. I love. I love. I love… I love the way you fight and breathe and I love the answers you don’t have. I love your mistakes. Was that what I was saying? I love. I love that I can not love you. That is what I must have meant.

We were so young and so old and now my memories are sepia toned, because that is the way that I learned memories to work. The past is colored an orangish-brown, and somewhere the hues in between had answers (I know they are there, in brownscale, in the lines between hair follicles, between blue skies and green leaves, between suns and clouds that tip to exactly the same point between light and dark. is this irony?) and yet the longer I stare the less I see faces and the more I see shapes, thoughts, a smell on my pillow, a January drive, a feeling so unreal it never existed and only lingers to remind me of what I’ll never have. This, this, this. I awake in new arms that hold my arms that hold my skin but can’t hold can’t see anything else. I am invisible.

Your first mistake was in believing me to be the sort of person who knew rather than just spoke, was in believing that sort of person exists at all. This


I do not love.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

as for march

The daffodils came early this year.

I watched them rising from the second floor window.
when I closed my eyes I could almost smell them and
reaching through the plate glass, they taunted me with
sideways comments and nudges and winks to dress
for 10 degrees warmer than the calendar instructed.

two days later at 5:23 in the afternoon I saw the first cloud.
It was one and a half hours before the hail came, ten hours before the snow, fifteen before you rose from my side too early to eat plain yogurt and watch from the window and twenty-two before the tipping winter rays left spotted streaks on the damp front sidewalk. I could make out the yellow freckles a bit farther away and underneath, considering a strategic withdrawal.

or maybe just a late lunch.

it was hard to tell.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

in search of

I close my eyes.

I want to understand this the way my father understands his hands
pushing and prodding the dark matter into the shapes he knows better than words
(his eyes glittering)
like orange juice spilled on lined paper,
staining a truth where there once was only possibility.

I want to find the universe
in a drawer labeled
as if it was made of atoms who were begging to be
connect and somehow be more than they were
connect and somehow be more than the empty space between his crumpled fingers, more than bits of your eyelashes and the distant star that exploded one Tuesday six billion years ago, before Wednesday knew it was coming with the rising sun.

It is this way each Sunday.
I watch him, raising fists with jilted manners,
sweeping impassioned words in foreign tongues into the cracks within my skin,

yet all I can think of is how I wish to know how a question becomes a question and not an answer, and how with a simple flick of his wrist he tells secrets he doesn’t know he’s keeping.