I can draw your face

I can summon the smell of you in the frigid night,
sniffing the air like a winter wolf; cedar, snow, and smoke, and the smell of your skin.
I can hear your voice in silence, the words I can’t understand singing at my ears.
I can draw your face with my eyes closed. I can taste your skin.
I can send protective love on crow’s wing,
whether you think you deserve it
or not.

at the market

At the market the bike lane advocates have
       set up a booth to encourage urban cycling and
       they're giving away silver bells (I got one).
The marketplace din is punctuated 
       by the bright ding ding of bike bells.
Strawberries are in season!
       And the egg lady is smiling and 
       the fair trade coffee in my travel mug
       is finally the perfect temperature.
Sipping the coffee I absorb the colours and sounds
       in small doses. Or try to.
       I never got the hang of microdosing.
Fuck it! Suck it all in, breathe every scent, sweet and foul
       trip on the greens of kale, berries red, golden honey!
Every human here is shining and beautiful
       and I love them all it almost hurts but
       I keep loving them even that one stealing 
       a ripe strawberry and yes even that one
       scowling at the child with the bike bell.

I was going to write about the gloves…

Two days ago I was leaving the hostel and I could see my breath! I hadn’t thought it was that cold: I went back up for my gloves. Putting them on I thought, “Oh! These are the gloves Mom gave me two Christmases ago! I’ll have to call her and… oh. Right.” And it’s a good thing it was raining because I started crying. Which is good, I haven’t cried yet much. I cried when I was clearing out her room after her death, and one other time. Otherwise, I’ve been so burned out by the five years of her illness that her death was more like a break. Now that I’m recharged I can actually grieve.

But I can’t grieve with those gloves because they were stolen today. I was at a wonderful event, Mitote Dia de Muertos. Artisans and musicians and an altar to pay respects for your dead and tacos and it was in this tobacco factory building that’s been taken over by artists. And there was a swing band and the local Lindy community was there. When I was going to have a dance, the lead said I could put my things with theirs, in this big pile of coats and bags. So I did, and I kept my eye on it most of the time. And I danced so much. The dancing was so much fun and chatting with the dancers – it was just like being at a Spanish Hepcats dance might be. When things were wrapping up I went to get a drink of water from my bag and of course, my bag was gone. But just mine. Everyone else’s stuff was safe.

We looked all over but it was no use. Luckily, my phone and cash and one credit card were in my coat. The Lindy fella who said I could put my stuff there, Jorge, walked me to the police station and translated so I could fill in a report. They won’t do anything but he said I might need it if I file any insurance claims.

The worst loss is my journal was in the bag. If I’ve had reason to write about you since the end of August, I’m sorry but some criminal in Madrid has those thoughts. They might not be able to read them mind you because it’s English and I’ve got awful handwriting. If they can read it they can read two months of poems and stories and story ideas and play ideas and travel experiences and thoughts on my mom’s death. They can try to figure out the character sheet Morgan recreated in the journal for me. They can try to decipher my ongoing budget and wonder if I ever finished the to do list of what to do in Europe. If they read it, I hope they’re rooting for me to get into the MA program.

They also have my iPad which they can sell but not access as I used the lost ipad locking feature, thank you Apple.

They have my credit cards and debit cards and drivers license and health card. That sucks. But, it just sucks, it’s not the biggest deal in the world.

They have all the things I carry (and I was going to be out for 12 hours so I was carrying a bunch) to be less crappy to the Earth – water flask, cutlery, reusable food bag, beeswax wrap, handkerchief.

They have my glasses. I have these dollar store cheaters but I don’t have benefits anymore and those were prescription. They have a collection of pharmaceuticals like Advil and paracetamol and allergy pills. I have more of each I think. There was probably some Ativan in there too but given how generally chill I feel about this, I think possibly my Ativan days are mostly gone.

They have some cheap bluetooth earphones that I liked because they match my phone case but I do have better earphones here in the room. They have the power storage I borrowed off Cat. I think they might have the second one too because I can’t find it here though I never carry both so maybe I need to look harder. But if they do, they do.

They have the cardigan I’ve been wearing everywhere and that works really well with this jacket. And the gloves that were the last gift from my Mother, and of course the bag itself. That I need to replace because I need the carry on capacity.

I’m working on getting over the loss of the journal. I started writing down just every thought. But they were my thoughts, they came from me, I’ll have more thoughts. They were some pretty fodder for future writing that will now never happen. Who knows, maybe they’ll mail it to me.

When I got the police report, Jorge joked, “Your souvenir from Madrid!” He felt awful – this never usually happens. That’s why I think I was targeted as a tourist. It’s unnerving to think though that someone was watching me, watching me, watching me. Waiting for an opportunity to steal from me. That’s going to be the hardest part to get over. And I’ll carry less, so much less, almost nothing from now on. Though – I’ve been incredibly careful. This could have played out exactly the same way dancing at Bluesfest.

When we were leaving the police station, Jorge noticed four officers speaking to two young men and the young men were trying to reply in French. So Jorge stopped and translated for them, too. They claimed to be 16 and 17 years old, and to be refugees from Guinea. They looked a bit older. Jorge and his friend who had accompanied us said refugees claim to be minors because they are treated better and cannot be required to leave. They turn themselves in with no ID and the state takes care of them.

Kind of puts an itemized list of lost belongings into perspective.

Things scrawled on the edges

That one month (it was September)

our hearts looked squarely at each other

Mine cried out Yes! and clapped its hands

And yours tried to think of a kind way

to excuse itself.


This little rabbit

Has a terrible habit

Of picking his nose and flinging it.

This little heron

Was never preparing

Preferring instead on winging it.


Yesterday I compared you to the Sea and you protested

but the Sea is moody with turbulent depths fed by drowned sorrows.

I sit staring at the Sea, trying and trying to love it enough.


Today I sat by the Sea and wrote a poem about your smile –

how it leaps unexpectedly to your face, radiating an innocent joy

and how, when it appears through something I’ve said or done,

I’m humbled, and feel weak.


I never want to settle. I want to live a tidal life, giving in to the push and pull, slowly waxing and waning, always transitioning from one state of beauty to the next.