Monday, September 28, 2009

some pictures instead of some moaning

I wrote this whole big thing about a lot of the complex internal shit going on in my head and heart and then I thought, "not now."

So, instead, below are some pictures from the last couple of weeks.


they love to be near us:

a lot:

my new paint job on the old porch and my kk's mums:

bicycle tires outside ypsi cycle:

the new adobe oven at the growing hope center:

driving along with my darling in a borrowed truck:

one wall to the mobile chicken run i've been building:

the gift of eggs from our lovely hens:

a break during the 62 mile ride of the tour de troit:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I think the zoloft is wearing off. Or maybe it is just that autumn has arrived (sort of it is still high 70s and humid, but) and my general winter malaise is setting in. Or maybe it is that I get really pissed about the asshole strangers that roam the streets of ypsi and create havoc through thieving, exploiting, pimping, shooting and threatening.

I'm having trouble mustering up my usual compassion for the human race. Actually, I am pretty much over most people. My therapist says it is normal to feel uneasy during these trying times that the world is facing, but I think I am more than uneasy. I am downright hostile. People make me furious. I give the most evil looks to drivers who pass me and then turn right in front of me and cut me off. If my eye sockets had the capability to shoot out metal, bullets would probably go flying during these rage times.

The other evening we came home to a really nasty note left on our car that was parked in front of our house. It said, "Nice job parking u stupid motherfucker next time it won't be just a note."

K and I both felt threatened by the nastiness and incredibly ill at ease. Right then, I envisioned harming the person who left the note--this is not like me--I am usually a peace loving person, but I am tired of animosity and violence and I am not quite sure that sitting back and doing nothing or even calling out the nastiness for what it is or offering up kindness in place of the nastiness is going to make one bit of difference.

Then today I was at a place when a wallet theft was discovered. I won't draw attention to the place where it happened, but just because a door in an office building is left unlocked for a couple of hours does not mean it is okay for some asshole to come in off the street and rip off someone's wallet and then start spending on the person's credit cards. The office was left open by accident... and just for a bit. So, I suspect that aforementioned asshole or multiple assholes consistently scope out the offices in this place and take willy nilly whatever he/she/they want to.

Also, in the last three weeks, I have heard gunshots at night in my neighborhood multiple times.

I'm constantly cautious in my own house and yard. Most of the time, I lock my bike to itself when I am running in the house for something; I lock my front door whenever I am in the backyard or basement; I keep our bicycles inside our house not in our garage cause my neighbors have had their garages broken into multiple times. I clean up streams of wrappers and liquor bottles--swiss rolls, slim jims, mini vodkas, cheese curls, condoms--from my front yard frequently.

This might seem like petty shit going on in my neighborhood and town, but really it is completely indicative of this larger culture of people just straight up disrespecting one another. Frankly, I do not think there is a cure for disrespect. Can we teach respect? maybe not. Can we model respect in our interactions with one another?? maybe; maybe not. What I do know is that if we cannot create respect between people and respect for this planet then nothing is ever going to change for the better.

Here I sit a prisoner rights activist; a prison abolition dreamer, and I feel so cynical that I can no longer come up with creative ideas for how we might create "safer" communities. You can only give so much...

In the Iceman Cometh, by Eugene O'Neill, Larry Slade states in response to why he has left the anarchist movement, "You ask me why I quit the movement I had a lot of good reasons. One was myself, and another was my comrades, and the last was the breed of swine called man in general."

I think I'll explore his 3 reasons in more detail over the next few days here on this blog. Why, because at least I can write about the ferocity of the lack of respect hovering around me and the rage that is boiling up under my skin and turning to cynicism instead of action.

Friday, September 18, 2009

filling the locket with bones

candles lit.
the transferring of burnt bones and skin and blood
to a locket.

tonight, we sat together and burned bees wax and sweet grass.
we filled an old, gold locket from 1874 with the smallest amount of k's mama's ashes.

for over seven years, her ashes have been locked in an urn on k's dad's fireplace. Finally, on Sunday he fumbled with a screwdriver and opened the urn. Amidst the scattered mail on the dining room table, he scooped with a worn, aluminum teaspoon the deep gray of his beloved's remains into zip lock bags. Then I cracked open the cheap, black, plastic container that held the recently cremated body of grandma s and k undid the twist tied plastic bag inside and then k's dad scooped the dust of grandma s's daughter into the bag. The two--one dead at 56; the other at 96--blended together.

He trembled. And kept saying that this day has been hanging over him for years.

He was so stirred that he could not screw the bottom of the urn back on, right then.

Then we drove to the graveyard and participated in the memorial for grandma s. I wrote and read the eulogy--to do so was an honor. It was her passing that finally compelled k's dad to open up his beloved's urn because she had wanted some of her ashes mixed with her mother's. For k, the opening and spreading about of her mother's ashes has been something she has wished to do for the last many years, but her father was not ready until now.

Tonight we stopped into our favorite antique store in downtown Ypsilanti. A few weeks back we had asked the owner to keep his eyes open for a locket for k to hold a picture of her mama and a bit of her ashes in. He had found a beautiful piece from 1874. He was so happy to have found it and we were so very thankful.

Upon returning home, k burned a candle and called on her ancestors to be near us. I popped the locket sides open and we picked through the dust of her mother. the bigger pieces of ash--the bony and caskety chunks--we pulled out and made a thin layer of gray particles across one side of the locket. Then k cut out a lovely picture of her mama, and I placed it in the other side.

It is so grounding to sieve through the dustiness of someone who once lived and walked and loved and talked and dreamed and gave birth and laughed here on this planet. It is like waking up while I am already wide awake. The sureness of my own mortality and the mortality of loved ones is held up raw in my face. It is heavy--thicker than cream, lighter than rock, more noisy than radio static. The brushing of ground bones across my pants to clean the tips of my fingers from the task that was at hand is like liquid thunder hovering over the edge of a cliff.

At the same time, it is so very usual and mundane and still so sure and sound.

Tonight the supple skin of k's cheek beneath my lips will matter all the more. Her hot breath around my face and pillow will hold me fixed with desire and true with longing for the now to be forever and the dust to keep its sights fixed somewhere else for longer than forty years. for longer than can really ever be.

Monday, September 14, 2009

for something different

have you ever woken at dawn and felt as though it is dusk--that dusk feeling--you know the one like the sadness of the day is falling into night but still hovering over your chest, following you to bed? but today it was morning and the dusk still settled softly over my bones and my dreams still teased me with vivid images; images not so lovely and not so terrible.

my perception of time is all mixed up, yet my affinity for the cycles of life taking place all around me is thriving.

the hens in the backyard know it is dawn. they do not get confused. they are walking and bouncing on specific patterns of time.

I am trying to sync with the goings on in my backyard and garden. I am trying to line my life up with these miraculous cycles. I am trying to eradicate this blurriness between dusk and dawn.

I think that is what I am here to do--to close the gap that has been created between humans and the living things all around us. that gap is responsible for the violence and harm we wage on one another as human beings, and more succinctly and profoundly the violence we wage on this beautiful earth.

If i could have my dream--if i could live more for that which is just, i would be working here at my home to raise my food and share it with my family and community. i would be involved in detaching more and more from the bullshit of desire for useless things. all in all, it is this desire for stuff that helps to create systems of perceived needs (which are really wants).

Of all of the people I have crossed paths with who are locked behind bars, none of them have been locked up there for stealing the basic necessities needed to live--stealing food, or clothes (well maybe retail fraud, but that is above and beyond stealing the clothes needed for warmth and protection from the elements), or squatting to keep a roof overhead.

But the ravages of isolation, addiction, desire for a constructed idea of comfort and belonging based on the accumulation of more objects, distrust, heartache, and violence (connected to our ultimate separation from one another and the other living creatures on this planet)--these are the culprits that lead to destruction and then in turn to our complicated system of punishment.

I really do not think any of it can be "fixed" within our current reality. Do you know how futile it makes me feel about my paid work--this work I have been doing for nearly 7 years for justice/for change/for something different? Not that anyone out there reading this really gives a flying fuck about these constant conflicts in my head and heart, but I had to vent and I had to introduce you to our new chickens--some days I wish I was a chicken or a bee then my dawn and dusk would be marked with no edges of confusion.

Monday, September 7, 2009

coop, insects, photos

soon chickens will be living in here

Right now my body is hurting with some deep muscle pain from hours of scraping and prepping our front porch for a new coat of paint, priming the clothesline poles and the porch rail, and helping to carry an enormous chicken coop over our fence and then screwing it together (at one point k and I almost literally appeared to be screwing the chicken ramp cause it landed between our legs while drilling up under the house).

Besides house improvements and mini-urban farming, I've also been riding plenty of mileage on my bicycle. I am up to 4,400 miles.

Lately, I have this obsession with insects and eugene o'neill. Below are some pictures I took on one of my bike rides down by the river i love.


many at work


alone at work