Monday, April 25, 2011


last august, i added a drummer and a bassist. this past january, i added a pedal steel player. three weeks ago, i added an accordionist AND a violinist. i went from being a one-gal band for five years to working with five other musicians in less than a year. i've worked really hard at understanding this transition and accepting the shifts and shapes my songs have taken with each new collaboration. last week, for the first time ever, i felt chills go through me during the build of a song. the sound of the violin aching, the accordion pumping, the bass pulsing, and the drums building, topped by the harmonies of three female stirred me to tears. i can't believe i have five talented musicians beside me, sharing a musical space with me, learning my music, and breathing their own unique life into each song. i imagined this possible in my head, but i never imagined hearing it outside of my head.

i visited my father's grave yesterday. it was the first time i visited it since he passed last month. i promised him that i would make him proud. with his guidance, and with my new-found focus, discipline, perseverance, faith, plus the company of the talented musicians who have graced my life...i have new hope for my music. i have hope that my music will do what music has done for me for decades.

i'm ready to move people. in bigger ways than ever.

i want to move my father, however possible it may be.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Notes for my Father

it's been a month, or four weeks, or 678 hours.
i'm sorting my words, memories, piles of laundry
like laid out l e tt e rs in scrabble.

a dear dead dad makes for a peculiar puzzle.

March 15th.
4:27 p.m.
just yesterday?
just a moment ago?

the doctor pronounced you dead at 4:40,
but your wife and children wore a different watch.
the tick-tock of our clock waited for your last breath
in. out.

no exit.
life is marked with our eyes, ears, and heart
not a stethoscope.

gas is up to $3.88,
which is almost forty cents more than a month ago.
i'm just giving you an idea of how much can change in a month.

you asked too many times if i was heading to California,
and i kept the truth tucked tight in my bra.
(i wonder if you're an angel and can see what else i tucked.)

do you see it wasn't me,
but the ocean,
who changed her mind.

love is a wet hurricane, dad.
some days i wish i could hold on like you.
arms wrapped around one tree,
whipped naked by the wind, by the rain,

the night before you died i studied your hand
holding mom's hand holding your hand.
i held on
to my chest
and prayed it wouldn't burst.

at 4:40 p.m. you were still warm.

Friday, April 1, 2011

holes in the air

dear doctor,

i am allergic to shellfish, dust, sulfa, cipro, and bad relationships.
i have chronic kidney disease.
i was born with only one kidney.
i have 20% renal function last time i checked.
i have been in love before. i think.
i lost fifteen pounds in the last year.
i dig the ache in Tom Waits' words and the voice of Dolly Parton.
i have skin that itches like it's crawling with lice.
i enjoy dark chocolate candy and peppermint tea.
i have zero appetite on most days.
i have been hospitalized five times too many for just the flu.
i got carded last night at the bar, and i'm actually thirty. plus four.
i have been on five antibiotics in the last four months.
i have a thing for lips. maybe it's an addiction.

side note: i was also diagnosed with two brain aneurysms.
but i asked for a miracle and i'm aneurysm free.
you can call it a medical mystery,
but i'll take the miracle, thank you.

no, i do not have diabetes.
no, i was not sexually abused as a child.
no, i do not have cancer.
no, i do not feel unsafe at home.
no, i am not a smoker, or drinker, or drug user.

yes, i try to exercise.
yes, i try to eat healthy.
yes, i'm sexually active.

do you want to hear something real?
it's pushing through the knots in my throat.

i am afraid.

i feel my body in decline,
from the moment i wake up until the moment i put my head down at night,
i am acutely aware of the death occurring within my body.

how do i like my coffee?

the question "when is your transplant?" is splintering,
so i punch holes in the air.
please. stop. asking. me. this. question.
because i do not know.

i got hope.
but it can't be purchased in bulk at Costco.
i work hard to find it at a reasonable price,
so i'll pass on the anti-depressants.

i am a very patient lady, doctor.
i can even wait to climax if asked.

i want you to know
i am doing my very best
waiting for you,
my donor
and my body
to all fall
in alignment.