Deep Breath

Screen Shot 2018-08-20 at 11.54.45 PMIt’s been a crazy month.

Seattle is now just pulling out of about two weeks of suffocating wildfire smoke storms. It’s déjà vu from last August. Last year it was a first. Having been born and raised here, we have never had days on end of toxic air that kept people trapped at home with doors and windows closed — and during a heat wave, no less. Misery. Keep in mind, the majority of Seattleites do not have air conditioning in their homes. Normally we don’t need it.

Well, it happened again. Can’t help but bring up climate change. This is not normal. We are surrounded by wildfires in British Columbia and central/eastern Washington, and some in Cali. If we don’t get onshore air flow, we get submerged under clouds that aren’t clouds, red suns and moons, disappearing ocean and mountains, and air you can see. One should not be able to see air that looks like fog, but is not fog.

It’s been rough.

But, finally, the winds changed and we have relief today. It is much cooler and we have real water clouds coming in with actual rain which we’ve only had a day or two this summer. Seattle…the place where everyone thinks it’s always raining. Our summers are usually 75-90 degrees, mostly sunny, with an occasional bout of rain. Not the last couple summers.

It’s been days of miserably sticky hot smokey days, forced inside, having to wear masks to go anywhere, running the air filter, but can’t open doors. So at night after a 90 degree day, sleep is uncomfortable, air feels like syrup, and skin feels like vaseline.

It sucks that in a place like the PNW where rain is persistent for 9-10 months of the year, we cherish and hold our 2-3 months of glorious summer, and now, if this is the new trend, we are losing 1 month to smoke. Yeah, I’ll say it, it’s not fair. Especially to those in the direct line of fire, and the brave firefighters on the front line.

Bigger than that, it’s a small glimpse of how our earth is changing and how the policies torn down to protect it by the current administration are accelerating its disease and demise.

Vote wisely this November.

I have been absent from WP due to all of this, and just hanging on by the skin of my teeth this summer, mostly for good reasons. It’s been a non-stop whirlwind.  It has definitely pushed my vestibular disorder boundaries. I will need to return to my own self-care and rehab as fall sets in.

I have also been paying close attention to the whirlwind political climate and bombshells that seem to be a daily occurrence. I am catching up on reading, watching, and balancing all the craziness with rest and recovery.

I miss writing, but will not force it when it’s not coming. Silence means paying attention and participating in the world — good things for providing more inspiration for when I do want to crank out with more frequency.

Meanwhile, I send my loyal poetry friends my best and wishes for a good end of summer.

Do turn off the computer, get out there and take advantage of it.

Hopefully, in smoke-free air.

~ Em C.

8..23.18

My photography, minus the obvious ones.


There is supposed to be an ocean and a huge mountain range there. And those are not water clouds, they are smoke clouds.


Ash on my car.


They even had to close the airport due to poor visibility.

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What Newness

every layer starts the same–

bark curling skin
shavings fall in mahogany
rolls of old soul

raw new virgin flesh
revealed just in time
for autumn’s bitter cold
a turning world’s welcome

every layer ends the same–

unwasted
hulls of once-was,

dropped to fruit the fertile earth
with its aged patina of weathered time,

only free now
because it then lived

through the seasons
birthed by the light
seasoned by the dark
shed by the oncoming
growth of unrevealed
tomorrows,

mille-feuille memories
reduced to compost
recycled for the next
seeds to sprout.

one wonders?

what newness we hide

we fear

we need…

~ Em C. 8.18.18

Ripe Summer

ripe summer night
and far cooling stars have lost themselves in stories

forgotten by my dormant mind
as it slumbers months on endless end

pausing to make room, soaking in season’s rich soliloquies
spoken by crows perched on cobweb power lines

each morning pontificating in my open window
about today, golden in its new rebirth, can’t you see…

i’ve been walking far away with eyes open
through a sedated world

i, awakened by life
words silenced
so to hear

mind quiet
so to see

~ Em C. 8.17.18

Pearl Jam Days

After two shitty summers where my health was not cooperating, I finally have had a better one – not where I want to be, but better enough that I could participate in life.

The high point has been this last crazy beautiful week in Seattle, finally getting my chance to see Pearl Jam perform live in their and my hometown for The Home Shows!

It’s been a whirlwind of events this week, with the Wednesday night Home Show, the opera Thursday night, a day at Easy Street Friday, and the SubPop 30th Anniversary birthday party at Alki Beach featuring several of their rockstar label signees, including MUDHONEY — whom I never got a chance to see during the grunge heydays, just like Pearl Jam. I am making up for lost opportunity and time. I feel complete.

I also feel every aching bone and muscle in my body after being on my feet in crowds all week. I am not 14 years old anymore. My vestibular disorder has been challenged in this week of stimulation, so this next couple weeks is all about recovery, self care, and getting back on my vestibular rehab exercises which have been neglected in all the hoopla. I was determined not to let these special moments escape me, even if it meant paying for it.

I think come fall, I will have plenty of writing fuel, but for now I am living my summer like I should — in real life.

My favorite moment of the concert was when Eddie Vedder was gradually introducing band mates, he got to the story of how Randy Johnson’s favorite band was Soundgarden. The camera focused in on Matt Cameron’s face on the big screen and the crowd gave the most tender, passionate, and persistently lingering applause that wouldn’t end. He was visibly moved, and for the crowd, a very emotional moment. Longest applause of the night…we knew that moment was for Chris Cornell. Sometimes the most powerful tributes are the subtle ones.

It was all for a great cause as well, to help fight the homelessness crisis in Seattle. As the city’s boom continues to lead to greater prosperity, it has also created a greater divide between the haves and the have nots. Pearl Jam donated almost $12 MILLION to the cause through multiple efforts throughout the city. The whole city was abuzz with the marketing, and the tourists who traveled all over the world to experience PJ in the hometown.

In addition to the homelessness, we are also trying to fight the destruction of historic Seattle buildings that are its identity, and being torn down for more generic condo high rises to house the influx of Amazonian employees.

If you’ve been to Seattle, you know about the music venue The Showbox. It’s next on the chopping block. Seattle musicians are banding together to stop its demolition with a petition to the City Council to designate it as part of the Pike Place Historic District. The Showbox has been a part of Seattle’s music history for decades with the likes of Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Nirvana, and so many many more having played there over the years. You can visit HistoricSeattle.org for more information.

Enjoy looking through the photos! I hope all of your summers are going well.

~ Em 8.13.18

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Shade

i sit with this silence
alone with sleeping wind’s breath

the shade has grown long
slowly covering day’s nodding head

wrapped in vines’ creeping tendrils
i dreamed of night time

cradled by bees’ beating wings
nestled in blossoming thyme

sun-kissed melancholy
summer’s height reached

the savoring of a slipping moment
toes tickling tile as floor creaked

alone is not always lonely
sometimes it’s beautifully free

as a hummingbird dips and zips
sipping sugar water empty

my friends the crow, the woodpecker
the dragonfly — they know me

as humans come, promise, go
i prefer to be let be

here in the shade of night
alone with sunset’s last sigh

i sit with this silence
i close my eyes

~ Em C. 8.5.18

The Bringer

black sand sunset
shimmers with the glittering stars of eroded time
speckling in a terrarium on my kitchen table
its sun a distant searchlight peeking coyly
out from mid-summer clouds
parting just enough to light
a mini world infinitely big

when I spy it

all I can see are my feet feeling
tenderly through epochs
traveling to worlds not yet created

— not until this one implodes
melts down its constituent parts
into one roiling sphere
obliterated by its own helium god
whom we worshipped, believers or not

as the bringer
of all,
and end.

~ Em C. 8.3.18