Whispered In The Wind

Whispered In The Wind
Just a fairy blowing in the wind, singing tales to the west wind

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Creamed Earl Grey

The room is filled with women, the women that I do not know the colours of. 
The room is heavy and we hold ourselves tightly, our eyes filled up with all that we do not understand, the wet hurts of the past and present. 
I want to take out needles and sew our hearts back up, remove our tear ducts and feed them to wolves.

I want to take everyone up in my arms, kiss the soft hairs we spend so much time washing and brushing and chopping and cutting.
I want to dress us all in silk in cashmere, drape pearls on our collarbones. 
I want to feed us books and warm soup and pizza that smears our fingers and linen napkins. 
I want to send us home with big books and decorated notebooks, leather engraved and rough paged paper.
I want to hide daggers in our skirts, letter openers and gold pistols.
I want to make sure we walk into any room feeling safe, that our bodies are always respected, we feel safe in satin and short dresses and music that vibrates through our feet and dry hands. 
I want to hold us all, hold the weight of our lopsided hearts and the shirts with buttons that pull at our chests. 
But I am so small, a soft stomach, arms covered in red bumps, my eyes are leaded. 
I hold a mug of creamed earl grey in my hands and my hands are already full. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Apples In A Wheat Field

She turns to me. “I remember some days, some days hot and sticky, so sweet like peach juice, hot sun, broke asphalt.”
“What do you mean?” I ask.
She has no answer.
She has no answer to so many of my questions, can she see the shape of this cloud? So soft like a lamb, baby breath, the scent of hay, soft coat with mud sticking to its small hooves.
I don’t ask her if she sees it because I know the answer.
We don’t talk about clouds anymore or the pairing of the apples in a field, how did they get there? We’ve never had an answer for the bright red apples in cartons, cartons, do they call them bushels when there are lots? 
Bushels of apples, that sounds strange.
She is staring out and I don’t know at where or what or who. She has never spoken all that much, but never this little either. 
I used to fill our voids with chatter but I’ve come to speak to the silence.
I hold conversations with nothing, no one.
How can you expect response from that which isn’t there?
There is an art to asking questions and not expecting answers.
I wonder if she appreciates that aspect of me?
She is wearing a purple dress, long, silk, it clings to her, to her stomach, her thighs.
She is sweating.
I can smell her soft scent; earth, lavender, perspiration.
I do not find it comforting,
simply normal, as if spending long hours together, bound by something invisible, something I’ve
come to doubt is real, no words shared, just statements and the occasional unanswered questions, is normal, roundabout, a procedure of the day.
Maybe it is.
I am still wondering about the painting, apples in a wheat field.
Maybe her thoughts have found her way to them too.
No, her thoughts are elsewhere.
But mine aren’t, mine have never been anywhere else but here.
Apples in a wheat field, the lamb shaped clouds, anywhere but here.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Keys To My Family's Cemetery

When we were young we took a tour of a cemetery in Washington. My little brother, all blond curls and scrunched face, refused to go in. But I never hesitated. I have never hesitated. No, not in cemeteries. I do not know what draws me to the cemeteries, I’d like to believe that it is more than the morbid. Old, overgrown cemeteries do not strike me as melancholy, simply quiet, peaceful. Unlike the rest of my waking life, cemeteries do not burst with stories, there are no loud voices shouting out snippets and questions. Here, voices are quiet, I only hear whispers. The dead have not lost their will to speak, they just do not believe in its necessity. 

June 26th, 2015
Rexingen, Germany 

On the way up, we stop at an ivy covered home, the very edges of windows and a door peaking out from its leafy cover. I walk out of the car and walk towards the door frame. They are yelling out directions to me, but I’m confused by this faery home and by all that is to happen and I struggle to make out words. An older man, protruding belly leans out the upper window and continues their directions in German. Then English “The door. The side of the door.” I turn and reach for the keys hanging there, old and metal, heavy in my hands. They are spindly and cold and I hold to them tightly. I hold to them as if they belong to me, I hold them because I believe they do belong to me. To my family, my people. We continue driving and I consider letting others hold them, but I do not act. For now, these are mine. These are the keys to the last home my people have here, in this little town in Germany.

The cemetery is marked by an arch and tall trees mark the way. I struggle to open the door, and when it does open there is a large creak. I am entering a grand place where the people do not speak but history looms heavy. “Do you want to see all your family?” They ask. We nod. They have maps and we weave through tombs, through headstones, placing rocks on each name. Here is your great grandmother. Here is your 4th great uncle. He was a butcher. She was a good mother. He was a brit malah. There lies the war hero. These names, a rock on each stone. We do not place flowers. My people do not place flowers on the tombs of those lost, it is too impermanent, too gaudy. What do these rocks mean? I have never really known. Are we people of rocks? Did we rise from the earth and to the earth we'll return? I find ones that fit my palm right, this journey has become one of holding. Nettles sting my feet and I find it ironic that even now, there is pain in this beauty.

The cemetery begins where my people end, the years on the stones seem to just stop. But walking further back, my family name reaches all the way to the 1600’s and I wonder at what point does blood stretch so far one can not claim relationship. These are still my ancestors, yet our lives could not be more different. Would they really claim me as kin?

I have so many questions about this plot of land, about these stones, these trees, the sun that swims lightly through this grass. But they are not many answers here. So I must content myself to walk slowly, to touch stones and breath deeply. There is peace here, as if the cemetery acknowledges but will not give in to the darkness that once stood. This is a museum, this is sacred ground. History can never fully tarnish what is holy. I pray to myself, to the One I believes hears me. But I don’t know what I’m praying or why. I just know that I am at a place that is somehow wrapped into my being, to one of the last homes of ancestors who have long since left this earth.


I do not know what draws me to cemeteries. But here there is a strange sense of home. Here I do not stay in melancholy. The grounds I walk ones do not burst with stories, there are no loud voices shouting out snippets and questions. Here, voices are quiet, I only hear whispers. My family have not lost their will to speak. But as I walk out, words are pointed out to me, Hebrew on a tree. It reads “We are leaving for Israel.” A message left by survivors, a message carved on their holy ground, on the one land that belongs to them alone. And only then do I understand that cemeteries are not quiet because here stories are laid to rest. Cemeteries are quiet because their  stories continue elsewhere. Because we are their stories. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Prayer Every Jew Should Know

My Jewish identity is
built of books spines
stolen from inside novels
found in the curve of a pen and stroke of a brush
I am not sure who I am
Or what it means to be
or how to find meaning in Hebrew
or hold my hands open to a heavy God
and say 
the prayers every jew should know
I do not know where to face when I pray
or who to face
I am not sure why I become silent in old synagogues
or hold onto my grandmother’s silver chain so tight
I cry sometimes when I hear the stories
feel my spine arch, my insides are weighted
I do not know why I am so drawn
to this side of me I barely know
this side I love with a fierceness I do not understand
I do not know why I find solace in shabbos candles and prayer shawls
I do not know why I hold onto my name so tightly
I do not know why I hold this word or idea or maybe religion
Jewish, Judaism, Jew
why I place these words on my tongue so reverently
so much gratitude, so much respect
that I am part of this something, this culture, this identity
that is spun around the wheel of history
that is weaved in ways I do not understand
I do not understand
who I am
or what it means
so I keep collecting
collecting my identity
through books
and paintings
and dust and stories and songs
through old bibles and old hands
constantly seeking instruction
looking for direction
Hoping to learn the way I must go
Hoping to understand the part of me
that cries out
at the sight of ancient psalms
and old scrolls
hoping to understand what parts of me belong in this gallery

what parts of me are hung on these walls 

                         By Janis Yerington (My Mother-from her Max's Bible exhibition)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

My Period Is Not A Spiritual Journey

I want periods to be beautiful, I really do. I want to be blissed out about diva cups and my menstrual cycle. I want to dare to wear long flowey white skirts and run down beaches amazed with the wonders of my body. I want to do ‘period yoga’ where I stretch out my cramps and marvel about motherhood. I want to write my body love letters, encouraging it to keep doing its thing and keeping me healthy. I want to wake up and drink chamomile tea while tenderly patting my pelvis and curling my toes.

I appreciate all the sweet feminist boys who say periods are beautiful. I appreciate the sweet feminist boys who try to get rid of the stigma surrounding women's bodies. I really do. I respect the women who paint canvases with their menstrual blood to make a statement. I respect the women who create new feminine product alternatives so that periods don’t keep young women from attending school. I really do.

And I really want periods to be beautiful, I really do. But let’s be honest. I’ve gotten period blood on my feet. On my feet. There is about nothing worse than waking up, standing up and feeling a waterfall gush down your legs. Pads are the grown up woman's equivalent of a diaper. When I’m on my period I consistently wonder if it possible to become addicted to ibuprofen. I spill little red pills all over my purse and swallow them as if they are magic. 

I’ve written slam poetry about periods. There is something really poetic about bleeding over the possibility of a child, of children for years before their potential arrival. My mother bled for me, for my brothers. And I bleed for the children I may never have. I bleed for possibility. I am thankful for my mother’s blood. But let’s be truthful, no child’s gratitude is ever going to cover waking up at 2 am, clutching your stomach. Is my child ever going to thank me for that? No. No one is ever going to say to me “Thank you so much for feeling like you might die once a month for me. That’s so nice of you.”

I cry when I have my period. It freakin’ hurts. It has always, really, really, hurt. I do not tend to be an envious person. But I envy all females whose periods do not feel like a small drummer is banging on the walls of their uterus. If your period does not hurt like heck, do not gloat. If you gloat, I will hate you. Though by the time you have mentioned it doesn’t hurt, I have probably already put serious thought into hating you. Give gratitude and have lots of compassion for your not as blessed sisters, here. Let me just tell you, I missed many days of middle school, with a stinky lavender compress against my pelvis, in bed, worry about how I would survive college without my mother checking on me and my cramps. However, I did just make it through a whole year of college without missing a day of school.

This year I bought a little pink diva cup in hopes I could learn to love my period. I don’t know how to use it and i hate seeing its little daisy bag. My period is not daisies. It is not a frolic through a little feminist field of body celebration. My period does not bring my closer to nature. It does not make me feel like an empowered women. I do not go on spiritual full moon journeys and bleed into the earth. Instead I fill my purse and pockets with tampons and curse he who created waist bands and tight clothes. I do not find this experience transcendent or spiritual.

And I’ve been trying. I have really been trying. I do have affection for my period. I think my body is neat. I’ve written my poetry, I’ve read my feminist literature, I’ve yelled at my brothers for thinking my period is gross. Here’s the deal, I don’t think my period is gross. But I also don’t find it beautiful. I find its rhetoric, its poetic potential, its symbolism beautiful. But this actual experience, this waking up to stained blood sheets and fear that sharks will eat me when I swim in the ocean, I’m not really digging this. I’m not digging stuffing bleached horrible things in my body. I am not digging reading articles about Toxic shock syndrome and that tampons are ten dollars a box. I am not appreciating that my government taxes feminine products because its run by a bunch of old white men who don’t care that I’m over here glaring at them all. I am not digging cute little acronyms like T.I.M. “Have you met T.I.M yet?” Yes, I have and I hate him. I am not digging any of this.

So in case you were wondering:
My period is not a spiritual journey.
It does not connect me to the moon, or God or whatever inner women goddess crap you’re selling me.
It has not caused me to transcend my human form.
It is not my body’s way of calling out to Mother Earth.
It does not want your red cupcakes and pink balloon parties.
It does not want your homeopathic remedies and krill oil.
It does not want to be your feminist art project.

I want periods to be beautiful.

But more than that, much more than that, My period and I just want to curl up with a bottle of ibuprofen, a pair of loose pants and a bowl of frozen cream puffs and wait this thing out. That is all we want.

That is all we have ever really wanted. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Young And Pretty

We are walking past the Ferry building, San Francisco. He tries to stop us, “Hello Ladies! I am only talking to stylish people today.”
We ignore him and she turns to me angrily. “What did he say?”
“I’m only talking to stylish people..”
A lady, wearing his same green shirt shouts out to us. “Was he bugging you ladies? I’m sorry! This will only take a minute of your time…”
“No thanks.”
Her face is still flared. “Maybe they should teach him not to hit on people he is trying to sell things to!”
“He’s not hitting on us. It’s a script.” I reply.
She is not buying it. 
“He was hitting on us. It may be a script. But he only said that to us because we are young and pretty.”
Young and pretty. Young and pretty.
I look at her. Yes, yes, her. But when I catch my own reflection in the dark glass of buildings along the Embarcadero, it’s harder for me to agree with that statement. I wish I had not worn this silly pinstripe romper. I reflectively pull my stomach in, try to stand straight. The view is not much improved.
At her home, I change in the bathroom after my shower, stare at my bra in the mirror. It seems too small to me. It leaves little claw marks across me. But I’m okay with this view. And I wish I was all body love and positive, but its always so much easier when its other people’s bodies were are talking about. You go sister, rock that crop top. I’ll just cut up this tee shirt too short and not wear it outside of these doors. I walked out the bathroom towards her room and lay on her bed, my body warm, my legs tired.
She walks in with a towel on and checks her phone. She is in no rush to get dressed. And when she does, she sheds her towel lightly and fully. I have seen her body many times. We are best friends, there is no strangeness in our changing together. But still, I am in aware of how completely and without hesitation, she is willing to stand in her own skin, completely comfortable. I try to emulate her, in shifts, but I am still too uncomfortable to be fully unclothed for seconds in front of any person but my own.
Young. And Pretty.
Another night. It is not warm here. I traveled by train to get here and we are walking across the wet grass. Our cheeks are flushed, our voices are raised the sort of octave produced by freedom and heady giggles. She is wearing a short skirt, maroon. The sort of skirt you shouldn’t bend in and watch your twirls, darling, we might catch sight of your underwear (The cotton and little lace sort, she never wears thongs. This is a point we agree on.) Not that she would mind too much. She is not easily embarrassed. 
The lights of the campus are warm. Our breath comes out in little clouds. We speak in the tones of our youth, feminist terms interspersed with the names of boys, literature, twinges of gossip. We compare our collected experiences and scribbled first semester notes. Names and people we do and don’t know bounce back and forth. I say “I mean, she’s just one of those people is pretty and knows it.”
She turns to me and speaks without missing a beat. “Well, I know I’m pretty. But I’m not obnoxious about it.”
I blink, I feel a kick inside me. Young and Pretty. Are we allowed to know we are pretty, much less claim it? Isn’t that against everything..what? I don’t know. I’ve never known. But isn’t one supposed to be in constant questioning about one’s body, one’s face? There should never be any answers, no real affirmation. That’s how they keep us tame.
“I know.
I know I’m young and pretty.”
It reminds of another time. Another time turning to another friend, the sort of friend you walk down the street with and boys stare. But you know its never at you. “You know you’re gorgeous, right?” I ask. I expect her to rebut this, to be shocked by such an accusation. But she isn’t. She isn’t at all. “I mean, I’m not stupid. I know I have a decent face.” How can you know this? How can you state this with such utter confidence?
Young and Pretty.
Back in her room now, she stands in a pink bra, lace like icing. “Isn’t it cute.” she squeals, half on jest, but in pride, the sort of pride only young women share between each other in relation to underwear and little skirts and sun hats. 
And it is. It is very, very cute. I look at her. Her body is soft and gentle. Her face is familiar, little freckles playing against the bride of her nose. Even from her, I recognize the scent of her hair, gently scented shampoo. 
“Aren’t I pretty”
“Yes, yes you are.”
And if only I could learn to see myself, through the eyes you see yourself through. 
If only I could learn to see myself through the eyes you see me through.
If only I could learn to see myself through the eyes I see you. 

Young and Pretty. Young and Pretty.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

A Writer's Prayer

May I find the words I seek. May I find companionship and solace in the stories I write. May I find a voice and give voice to those that are silenced. May my words be brave and courageous, may they stand against time. Dear Lord, I pray that my words bring healing, that they allow battle wounds to deal. They come in peace, they desire to build.. But they are not afraid to be bold, to speak that which is uncomfortable, that which may pain. They are not the stuff of simple fairytales, but of wildness and heady freedom. They are found in the tartness of summer’s first blackberries, caught between thorns and brambles. May I write words that hold their weight, but know when to wear white dresses and yellow flowers. Words that are nomadic and yet rooted. They take hold in hearts and swing themselves up into the wind. These words, my words, they are the vines up ancient trees, they are the newest of spring’s children. They are human and flawed. But they are sanctified, made holy through candlelight and prayer. They are the beats between music that cries and music that laughs. They are not the sort to be contained to the page, they are too untamed for such a notion. They crawl into hearts and sleep in the curves of the ear. These words, they are words that fight. These words, they are words that love. They are contradictions, they are parables. May these words be blessed. May the Lord, look upon this little church of words and bless its boughs. May She anoint these fingers, may She consecrate this ground. May each word here be kissed by angels, may each word be a balm to those that in need. May these words matter. May these words dance. 


my desk.

"I want warm summer nights, to lie in a hammock, staring at the stars, telling you stories. "

"I want warm summer nights, to lie in a hammock, staring at the stars, telling you stories. "
"When asked not to make waves, I just smiled and said, don't worry this is just a ripple"