Sunrise off of McDonald Road

February 23, 2021By Focal NomadPOETRY, SUNRISE SERIES

Photos taken + words written January 2019; Town of Onondaga, New York.

It’s negative one degree’s out.
I don’t know why I thought, even the few minutes I’d be out here,
I could handle this with kid gloves on.
My chest feels tight; I was holding my breath.
It’s hard to stay present when the temperature is killing you.

I read yesterday that all that is not “matter”
Is nothingness;  and in that nothingness
We can connect with the unmanifested.
That is to say, by paying attention to the 
Space between things, between walls, between us and them,
We can find our soul.
But an hour later I was in a sauna wondering,
“What about temperature? What about oxygen and carbon monoxide?” 
What about the very things that allow us to BE
In these bodies as manifested in solid matter?
Are these nothingness? We can’t see the space
Between these molecules, because we can’t see the molecules.
Therefore, if space is the portal into the unknown, 
and matter we can see represents the known
What about the known matter, that we cannot see?

I know I am sad and scared and nervous to get back to Los Angeles,
Yet I cannot see these emotions. Perhaps
They are just chemical: a physical
manifestation that my soul wanted to experience
Through the sensitivity of humanness.
I try to trust that this is what is supposed to happen.
That I signed some contract many lifetimes back
That would hex me against technology and lovers where I
Would in turn get so used to it that I would
Hex myself. So what I’m still trying to figure out is,
Am I meant to somehow fight against all this?
Claim that I deserve better,
It doesn’t have to be this way,
Break my back to overcome every obstacle
And actualize my life into one that my soul and ego were proud of?
Or do I surrender into what is? Surrender that 
Maybe I won’t ever get married or have a family
Maybe I will have to move back home
Maybe I’ve made my family’s life worse by being in it,
I keep seeing myself make mistake after mistake.
I try to do better, yet the resistance is powerful.
I try to overcome every self-destructive tendency
Until pleasure wants to take over and
Just run the show.

He was going through this same battle. 
He surrendered.
I was still fighting. I am
Still fighting.
But I no longer blame him
For breaking our contract. 

Sunrise Over Denver

February 16, 2021By Focal NomadPOETRY, SUNRISE SERIES

Photos taken and poem written in November 2018.

Thumping to a count of 10
My heart pitters then jumps
It’s often overwhelming
When I look outside in Denver.

The crisp of the air, not killing me,
But chilling me. Strengthening 
My ability to handle the changes.
For if I’m braced for winter, I can
Handle any weather.

If you don’t like what’s happening
Wait. It will change. It has to. I 
Used to relish this knowledge:
Knowing if I didn’t like where I was
I would never stay there.

What about now when I don’t want
To go anywhere? When the changes are
Rapid but I don’t want to go on tonight’s
Plane? What if I wanted to slow down
The pace of the day, so I could 
Spend more moments in pure
Gratitude?

Every day taken off, hand held, sacrifice,
Gas pump, Late-to-bed followed by
Early-to-rise… every time I said something 
Fear-based that was met with understanding.
Every little action that adds up to love
In action. I’m seeing it. I’m feeling it.
I’m trying to believe it and want it to stick
Around to see if it stays.

I don’t want to stray; I’m just scared of
What will happen in this city without
My influence. What will happen when
I’m in a position that requires faith?
My heart is thawing. I’m melting in
Wonder. I give myself over to the
Unknown. I give myself over and let go.

Sunrise Over Grassfish at Mendocino Magic

July 11, 2019By Focal NomadPOETRY, SUNRISE SERIES

Gravity.
Pulling my left then my right lids down.
I can’t vouch for my creativity when I can’t see the lines I’m writing between.
Feet out, lean back,
Wait.
The sun will crest over eventually. Let it be your alarm clock.
Nature had a different tone. When you get the call you have to go.
From bronze to gold to bright, bright green. It’s all relative and irrelevant.
When you plan to cheat,
Take the work, less healing
When the sun is further
In the sky.

These are extreme conditions.
Big love, four nights, one tent.
Seventy-five burners. I know no
One. Social stamina muscle
Is built, voice is broken.

It feels so good to listen,
Especially since everyone
Has had a wild ride
So far.

The Art of Not Giving a Fuck employed.
Grab that tambourine, feel the beat, or miss it, pick it back up again.
The point is to have fun trying.
To show people that you’re not afraid of your ego dying. Make a big mess of yourself now. No better time to let those fucks go. No one can do you like you can – and it’s needed here and hey – it’s needed everywhere.

The more you try to fit your gifts to what you think other people want, the further away you get from doing just that.
Yourself is what’s needed.
Sing a song and trail to a tangent then click away knowing that you can take the shifts and changes within and without you and it is always going to be needed, whatever your gifts so happen to be.

Sunrise at One Love Fest

February 9, 2019By Focal NomadPOETRY, SUNRISE SERIES

Shot/Written at One Love Fest, October 2017.

I wish I was a bird
Their mating rituals are so simple
And with my love song
I’d know damn well when
He was calling on another.

Love the people in these photos
But everyone wants a perfect time
Let’s stop teaching the myth of “ready”
And instead replace it,
With the reality of choice.

My necklace that contains
Sodalite for self-love
Rose quartz for unconditional love
And amethyst for healing
Went missing last night.
But my bet is my stones’ called on another
Cause for me they’d done all they could do.

I listened to myself.
My body, my need
For boundaries.
I’m not ready for a good time.
I’m ready for a real time, or a nap
Whichever comes first.
It’s been one real of a week.
I put sparkles on my cheeks and
Cat ears on my head.
To feel like my life
Was some time else.

Either in the past where
My trust was still
As low pressure
As my playa tires
Or the future where
I love myself so
Much, that I
Listen to myself
And give me what
I need against peace.

Sunrise at my Audition in the LES

October 26, 2018By Focal NomadPOETRY, SUNRISE SERIES

Written and shot on October 17th, 2017.

I didn’t get picked again.
He didn’t even touch my hair.
Doesn’t he know that it’s virgin hair??
Not picked, rejected, the idiots.
Idiots! Sounds familiar.

If he had only touched it he would have known.
I look at their choices and feel pity
for their stupidity that who they are
looking for is me. I am that girl.
I have that thick, luscious hair, with
High cheek bones, eyes that will
kill you with their stare; I am Medusa
Look at me and risk your life.
You don’t know what you want
You don’t know what you want
You don’t know what you want
Look at me: I will hold
you with my hair, I will encapsulate
Everything that thrills you and terrifies
you with one stare.

I’m every girl you ever wanted in one.
Why is it taking so long for someone
to figure this out? I can chill with you
on your couch, then fuck you in your car.
I look good on your arm and get your weird
humor. You can say weird shit like “I
want to chew up your eyeballs and spit them
out” and I will get it and love you for it.
Your desire for me scares you because it
has taken you over. You don’t know if there’s
room for anything else. You know I’m the
end. You know this is a mudslide.
You don’t want me to hold you because
you know once you succomb to me
your will is useless. It’s over. The rest
of your life is in my hands. Idiot!

I never gave myself that power only you.
You will hunt for the forbidden fruit
only to look back years from now, see that
I’ve hardly aged, I’m exceeding you in our
Careers and that I’m ridiculously happy
without you.
You will feel sorry; you will realize how stupid you
were. You were realize you were such a
goddamn idiot for not even trying,
not even touching my… hair. Not even
seeing what could be possible with this
beauty, this body, this mind, these eyes,
these arms, these hands, this heart, this smile.
Coward. Step out of your own way and stop looking.
I’m right here. Focus now, readjust that focal length.
You need a more shallow depth of field because I’m
RIGHT HERE. Stop looking. You’ve found it.
Don’t be an idiot.

Sunrise at Woodlawn Cemetery

October 9, 2018By Focal NomadBLOG, SUNRISE SERIES

Written and shot on October 12th, 2017.

I chickened out two mornings ago making the excuse about cloud coverage. I was really afraid of the legends that this place was haunted. Would my camera be blown away? Would I see a dark shadow that I could not erase from memory?

My grandmother always used to say “don’t be afraid of the dead, be afraid of the living.” So I pushed forward through the dark and deserted roads, that, I wasn’t even sure if I was supposed to be driving on. The office light was on but it was closed. I parked, and took my bridesmaid’s bouquet with me in case I stumbled upon her.

“Lucile?” I called out.

I walked up the east side, grateful that the nimbus had lifted just enough to see some orange. The wind blew me towards her; I knew I was close. My memory of what it was, was that it was flat, barren. I felt like she might like to be buried next to where the sun would rise. I thought about how maybe we were both looking at it together.

I moved on. I found Batman on top of one, “Live a little” on another: both too young to wonder whether it was worth it. I thought I heard bells ringing. I wondered who was buried that was waking from their slumber. Wind chimes. “Isn’t that a bit misleading?” I thought. I always believed that I wanted to be buried, not embalmed, with a bell – because I’m stubborn as hell and will always try to get the last word in.

The leaves lost their crunch in last nights rain. One was floating and I only assumed by an invisible web. I took in the autumn serenity as my toes began to freeze. The office would be open soon – and I could find her. Distracted in my thoughts I wandered in zigzags. With every hundred persons deceased I passed I learned something: everyone here was a hero to someone. Their tombstone gifts said it all. A firefighter, a coach, a mother, a solder. Some marked many generations after their existence. I could live with that reputation.

Two visitors, separate of each other, told me to go back to the east side because there was a whole family of foxes. I didn’t see a one. I saw some squirrels, and then I remembered that face that called me one, and that he was a fox, my fox. I then remembered my grandmother’s words again and realized I wasn’t afraid of dying. I was afraid of dying with out ever knowing true, lasting love.

Inside the office, I learned where she was buried – it was right where the wind was taking me, yet when I saw it, was completely different from last time. Bushes were planted, a mausoleum nearby, and a tall marker for her and now her husband, Edward. Once I saw her name I collapsed. “I love you.” I said. Memories of my mentor flooding through but mostly just her voice saying sweetly “Amanda, my Amanda.” I was angry with myself for not calling sooner, for not keeping up, for having the intention to organize her files as a gift to her but not having actually done so.

Six months before she passed she said she’d like me to call her anytime. She’d like to be a mentor to me. I was heartbroken then, too. “Find someone who loves you just a little more than you love him or her,” she would tell me. I have yet to find that. Lucille was my coach, she taught me how to feel fully. She made me realize how special I was when all the kids would just call me weird. I wanted for some words of wisdom to pass through the wind – in lieu of words I got heartache. Heartache at the loss, the loneliness and wishing someone could just tell me what to do.

Through the characters she helped me portray, advice, words I wrote, the bullies she helped me have compassion for, a word came to mind: resiliency. Do it. Don’t over think it. Love fully, love until your heart bursts. Follow-through. Life is too short to not try, to not feel, to not give, to not love. As I was pulling away I heard it. “I’ll always be here for you.” So maybe with that, I have found true love.

Sunrise from Flight 24

December 8, 2017By Focal NomadPOETRY, SUNRISE SERIES

 

I thought we weren’t going to see it.
I was sure the light would hit the pilots
Eyes and we would just get a magnificent
Casting of orange over the mountains of
Clouds. But sometimes when we think
We’re only being given a glimmer
The skies surprise us.

Facing just east enough to catch it in
The top left corner of my oval window
I feel a rush. Bright, neon orange crescent
Peaking over peaks and valleys of clouds.
I almost forgot to shoot this one, hence,
The iPhone. My smart device doesn’t really
Do it justice but I’m proud of myself for
Showing up. Most often, that’s what counts.

I’m exhausted and can’t figure out how to
Sleep. My heart is finally back in its chest again
Because it took getting up here to find it again
As for the past week I’ve been bathing in the
Sunsets I’ve shared and remembering them
In the reflection of these icey blue eyes
Eyes that sat above lips that were always primed
To be kissing mine. I found my heart –
And my head – again; back in these clouds.

I look forward to crimson and rusted leaves
Biting into tart and sweet Empire apples
Drinking cinnamon-spiced hot apple cider
Wrapping myself into a long navy blue dress
And standing there in the family dirt surrounded
By my favorite senses, alongside my whole family
to wish my sister and her husband a life as
full as my heart. The only other person in my
life to know what it’s like to pick the biggest
apple at the top, to have dad carrying 2 massive
bags down the hill, to not be able to have just
one fried apple fritter. To know that
some days the apples are too sour, sometimes
we can’t get to the top, sometimes it’s muddy
but we’ll always find each other connected by
our traditions, and our showing up for them,
and that, is love.

Sunrise from the Amtrak Starlight Line

December 1, 2017By Focal NomadPOETRY, SUNRISE SERIES

I didn’t want to wake her
This stranger, I cared enough
To let her sleep and let my art
Be shot at a sub-par level

The sun, for the first time
Since I started this
Actually burst over the horizon
I could see it’s rays peaking
For 20 full minutes, teasing me

I had to pee, I gently stepped over
Her, she awoke only for a moment
Smiling. She knew what I was
Doing. We had been laughing
As long-time friends just last night
About our travels, language
and the man I met in the dining car.

He was supposed to meet me in the lounge.
The view dark, blackened by the reading
Lights of the train. I had a thick copy
Of the Gonzo papers, which to him was an
Old Bible, a religion he used to worship.

We’d both been through some shit and
Sported the scars to prove it. Moving forward to
Get to our respective homes, optimistic
That although the bad seems to follow us
We seem to overcome each time.

I’ve been to the home he was headed to twice
Before. He had never been. He wanted to know
What he should do once he had gotten
There, and I told him about the deep house
Sunrises, using his instincts and mourning
His losses at the temple. Having noticed a
Bare left hand, I wanted to tell him more –
But we weren’t having dinner alone.
If I told him what I wanted to, our third
Dinner guest would have more to pray for
Than just his fight for his life.

He was supposed to meet me in the
Lounge, and I read our heroes words
as the pain in my head got stronger.
I went back to my seat, frustrated
giddy to my seatmate at this chance
encounter wishing I was going home
With him, not to LA.
Where I sleep, eat, and try to survive.

I went looking for him in Sacramento
But my train was about to leave, and
I had to honor my journey for this year.
Sometimes our journeys run parallel
With only very rare, very special
Moments to intersect, look at ourselves
In another to say “ah” there you are.
We will meet again, we just may not
Remember.

Sunrise at Pittock Mansion, Portland

November 18, 2017By Focal NomadPOETRY, SUNRISE SERIES

Maybe mint can
wake me up.
The most asleep
thing I ever did was
check in on him instead
of checking in with myself.
When there’s haze
and the beauty only
creeps in, I still
manage to shoot it,
but have I captured it?
There was a young
photographer from
Astoria in front of the
mansion – set on his
tripod, there in the
cold two hours before
the sun rose.
Using flimsy kit lenses
but using them all.
I promised myself
just one lens – but
left my tripod in the
car –
and didn’t bother to
go get it.
to me, I was just proud that I
didn’t go home with a
stranger last night in
favor of driving my ass
over here…
but I could have
woken earlier.
I could have checked
in on this checkin
to show up better
prepared.
But I wanted more
evidence to take home
as I continued my
loneliness patterns.
I cried during the
eclipse, and the relationship
to my camera bonded
stronger; but I
left the people out
in the foreground.
I haven’t lost my
motivation but it’s
like everything is going
in slow-motion.
I want to move
at full speed again,
or just be moved
to full speed ahead.

Sunrise over Oregon Eclipse Festival

October 5, 2017By Focal NomadBLOG, COVERAGE, SUNRISE SERIES

The music whistled above the soft bass as I watched the flies bounce above the lake perfectly in synch. The ducks had just taken their morning bath are now diving back in. I’m looking around me and all I can think about is how I wish I had risked my camera to the dust a lot sooner.

“Don’t loose your sense of wonder,” a voice said to me, here, a few nights ago.

Deep breath, try,
Writing something, by
Breath, lie about
Your job, your relationship
Status, your income…
I found myself
Puffing myself out like
A duck this weekend.
Who was I trying to
Impress, anyways?

There’s a lot of work to be done. If there’s anything this place has taught me: the craftsmanship, the music, the acting, the dedication to performance, to parenting, to yours and mines LSD trips… It took all of us to create this experience. It dawned on me here at dawn, that all I ever wanted is in the friends I tackle to the ground when I see them. The synchronicities and full circles shared from strangers turned friends. Festival magic is us.

I want to wake up to myself, get to my practice am grateful that I wasn’t distracted. It gets cold at night – but then the sun comes I’m grateful for my choices to stay awake. To say no to beautiful bodies that could risk my seeing a sunrise. The beautiful choice to spend all night in a tea lounge – learning about the subtleties of the varied leaves and the ritual of its steeping. Making “just-friends” with every addition to come to our table even when the candles were blown out. The choice to go back to a spot that I said I would and expand. The choice to be okay with the unknown ahead.

The choice to say fuck you to management and my job so they never kidnap me full time. The choice to be here, to not burn, to not know why I had to, and then the sky going dark and just knowing I had to – and why hasn’t my camera been out longer? What have I been resisting all this time?

She calls to me – Art
And I am hers, I choose these
Sunrises over any impassioned love
For this Earth is my home.
It’s only for that I should
take some time out of my
mornings to honor her majesty,
Her forgiveness
And her magic.