Category Archives: the body

No Longer Daphne

IMG_0722 The dream is the forest,

becoming Daphne-like, tattooed white skin that wishes it were a tawny self,

roots like a snorkel, breathing out the flowering bush,

snake spine, and a cap of grass.  The last to go will be the glasses,

at least they have become a mask.  Laurel leaves are another myth,

one that echoes, but no god has frozen me, condemning my spirit into a single tree.

I choose the entire forest, each color, the wind which makes the branches speak,

the whisper in the invisible syntax of meaning of light and leaves.

The forest dreams in my body as I lay on its sheet, declaring Apollo dead.

no longer my lover, reclaiming my wild virginity.

Holding On To Time

new voice 2I

I am the woman with fire legs and the feathered voice of  birds,

with Mercury’s wings suspended in flight, blessed by the waters of ocean and air,

born by decades of thoughts, cells bound by ancestress and daughter,

mother after mother, hearts beating the blood caught in mid-stride,

my lips pushed into invisible air, my body holding on to time



Search For the Authentic

IMG_1963 - Version 10This face seems like an oracle.  I felt I was making a flower.  A wavy vein of gold, a stem, grows up from the bottom of the page which was turned into a marsh or a lake by watercolors.  This is a mask, isn’t it?  If it weren’t a flower, it could be a sun.  Do you see anger?  Dormant power?  Something ancient and unruly?  Some power from the past that wants to speak?

IMG_1963 - Version 2 Gorilla Guy next to a tombstone that says “Loving.”  A young woman running towards him.  The red boots are so alive.  Husband… speaking up and free…Bill says I’m often not honest with him…. I often don’t know how I feel.   But we have had a “growth period” where I did feel angry…expressing it and opening one of those fields where you don’t know if you’ll survive the conversation…feeling words that could hurt or be my truth that could not find the words to reach his ears…but then we fell back into grace.  We are now at our best, and communication is good even though my husband and I speak different emotional languages.  Our experience of the world is so different.  Yet here we are…IMG_1963 - Version 3We’re held together by this stuff.  Stronger, faster, for the toughest job on Planet Earth.  When I pulled the picture, I didn’t think of Bill, only did so after it was in the collage.  The picture makes me feel bittersweet with awareness of impermanence.  Bill and I have more years behind us than we do in front of us.   I want to be and feel as authentic as I possibly can with him.

One thing that I realize…one of those personality things in yourself that’s like the sand in the oyster…that I am a people pleaser.  I’m really good at not being real.  Partly because I was taught to be polite, no matter what, and that the one of the worse things to do is to bring attention to yourself by “being rude.”  When I feel I have caused friction, I’m paralyzed.  And in disagreements, it is so easy to see the other’s person side and logic  …especially when they let you know what you have done (usually unconsciously) has been wrong personally to them, or just as a social faux pas.  Not speaking exclusively of husbands here.  So, I play it very safe, and in doing so, I know I sometimes come off as distant or a little too precious.

The red boots though…I look at this and think health and spontaneity.  Aliveness that I would love to have more often. (I also am a firm believer of a few days like the one I spent today.  Slow, reading in pjs).  I have been having huge issues with my legs.  Never a flexible person (that’s telling), my muscles are stiffening more and my pelvis is a bit out of kilter, stubborning so, so I have a form of sciatica…I HAVE to do yoga or Pilates, which I have been more faithful to the last few months than ever…but I want to look at this as a metaphor too, in the hopes that if I heal the “stuck” energy, my legs will heal.

IMG_1963 - Version 6

So… authenticity for me is to not be afraid to express myself!  Or at least in searching for the courage to do so, or asking for guidance in meditation and prayer to find ways that doors can open for me when I feel I can’t.  Or don’t have access to the words that need to be spoken.  I go mute.  That’s why Josephine Baker showed up!   Taking joy in expression and feeling free.  IMG_1963 - Version 8  I want to sing in my life.

And the blonde chick?  IMG_1963 - Version 4 It’s the same message.  Here is a woman who is the total opposite of how I feel about myself.  I’m so not a blonde, and her expression of femininity is in another universe than the one I live in.  Yes she’s idealized and probably air brushed…that’s not what I am talking about.  I love the fancifulness of the dress and shoes.  Authenticity and expression… I should honor the freak in me.

Below her are the bathers.  This was the first picture I tore.  Water is very healing for me, though I’m not a strong swimmer, I love to be in it if I feel safe.  Steamy baths.  Or by the water. Walks next to the ocean.  I feel a longing when I see this, especially the little girl in the red cap.  To be authentic is to be vulnerable?  I wonder where the boat might take her?

IMG_1963 - Version 7 I am working on contemplative practices, as well as those that require an active imagination.  I chose her… it might be Kwan Lin and the Buddha… because it reminded me of the Virgin and the Child (and the Smithsonian magazine said that its artist was influenced by Madonnas)  Authenticity equals finding silence and non-duality in consciousness down to the core of my being.  I love the bird…rising from the crown chakra like the Holy Spirit.

The background on which these images rest is very alive.  A pond with tules growing from it.  A wild garden, or wilderness full of color and light.  Engrossing rainbow, grounded in flight, becoming.

What light is coming through the cracks?  I need to allow for mystery to speak to me in its way so that the work goes beyond the funnel of thought and words, but my deepening my authenticity seems to reside on saying my truth and expressing it as I accept I won’t always fit in.

Seven Minutes: Painting is Better than Antidepressants

Siren 's Song draft

So, I think that the blonde girl’s parents (is that “blond girl” as blond is an adjective and not a noun?), better watch out. She’s looking a little too much like Lindsay Lohan. I am in the part of writing I HATE, but I recognize what is happening. I’m skirting around, flirting with a new opening for my Demons novel, and I know soon I will commit to a whole bunch of writing in the next year or so (or if I can get the story planned well enough, who knows, six months? Starved only took six months to write). I have been here, done this before, but it doesn’t make it any less uncomfortable It’s almost as though my writing self is holding off to let the story start to gel so I can access it. Writing is either like pulling teeth or like taking dictation, first draft writing at least. I can worry over a paragraph for days in the editing stage and am much more comfortable with that on a day-to-day basis. But then, the magic does happen and the story starts coming and I can’t wait to sit down and get to it each day. I KNOW it will happen again. In the meantime, painting is better than antidepressants and it doesn’t make me fat.

Gold, a poem


Seven minutes:

Silence is so deep,
words washed like the mother lode,
bereft of gold, all riches sluiced away.
Empty heart and hands. My pencil
is today’s device of torture,
graphite molecules in wastelands
of discarded ghost,  step-children of hope.
A rock sits, and I see all that it is,
made of molecules like my own.
Stars in passing, worn down
by  motions of time.
My words are shards eroded by the heavy rains
of the year, their death days washed to ocean.
Open your mouth, Watershed, and consume my body,
the body created by exclamations.

Tattoos: A Poem

Some wise woman wants me to see the pictures on your skin,

beautiful white azaleas in a copper dish.

The deepest of all tattoos inscribed there,

a compass rose showing my direction.


SW toward a form of death the dark man holds,

plying me with spirits, tonic water, evil weed.

He’s messed with datura, that white lily,

and has come back a changed man.


You stand happy above the ahnk

losing your baby vampire teeth.

Some wise woman told me your story,

beautiful tattoos that I’m supposed to see.



Seven Minutes: I Could Not Help But Cry

cave in quintero   Seven Minutes:

Surprise to find the opening.

Secret cove.  A world and a dream away.

I was insufficient in my southern adaptation

unable to make sounds into meaning.

I was drowning.  The ocean at my feet

so beautiful, so lonely.  I could not launch myself

into the world turned upside down.   Today I am nostalgic

for the foreign, for the music on the streets,

the dogs who roamed the avenues and barked

until the night was black and blue.

Such a small space we lived in.

Years later,

I can touch the sadness and loss,

the untethered part of me that floated

and could not find the words to make the world right.

I could not help but cry,  and I am sorry I stayed with feet

caught on the sharp stones.  I could not go through

the opening and find the wide ocean.

The Hidden Bone

There is a bone in the wilderness

Etched with my name

Small scratches on the underside

Hidden with mud and twigs


The rain has fallen there

In and out of seasons


The brilliant summer

Has baked it brittle and clean


A fire, a torrent, sweeps

Across from fir to pine

But the bone remains, a wrinkle

In the sunlight

Above Bear Valley

Above Bear Valley

 I feel I don’t inhabit the world, my body separate,

unreal.  I drive toward the canyon.  Rags of coyote body

drape fence post above the flowering fields,

above the orange poppy cups, and the cows stare

with sweet indifference to the arcs of the kingbird’s belly.


Farther on, the trees are drowned by reservoir.

Bodies submerged.  Top branches, stripped like the dead,

float above the water line.  Farther still, toward ruins

of Bartlett Springs, charred sticks scatter across

burned hills, legs and arms without flesh.


Clouds, gray as ash, press down, their damp breath

hovering over holocaust.  I reclaim tears.

The silence of cell and bone.  My skin becomes grass,

sweeping like wildfire over scars.


I reclaim my blood in the flush of redbud,

my bones in the spines of yellow lupine.  The road

climbs again, then drops toward the belly of the lake.

Spirit, supple as willow, as present as the buckeye

along the creek, tethers my flesh to earth.