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

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

Summer Sigh

through the open evening door,
a windy summer sigh
sent my mind
to places past

it wandered like a lost child
remembering forgotten facts
parked in places
unmarked

by time, only in the folds
of matter contained
by domed bone, unbroken
in truth and filed hope

visions in leaves tossed
in fading heat
once burning
pavement under feet

hopscotch diaries
road trip tomes
pockmarking memories
along highway zones

ditch-tossing breadcrumbs
just in case
we come back
someday

the pictures we took
remain like cacti, standing
frozen in the desert
blink and they fleet

like the fox
we watched jump
from hole to hole
only pausing long enough

to sense the next enemy
or prey
baking on ancient sandy land
that melted at sunset
into deceitful grey

uncolored by sinking sun
sucking red, orange
pink cotton down
out of sight

i sigh

~ Em C. 7.25.18

Country of Immigrants

Happy 4th of July, friends!

I have been laid up with a migraine for the last 8 days after tweaking a neck muscle. Life just has a way of continually throwing new challenges at you, doesn’t it. Just when you think you’ve made progress in one thing, another comes along. C’est la vie, I suppose. Toss that on top of many other demands occupying my energy, I have been unable to devote myself here as I would like. Hopefully, eventual respite will allow me to periodically this summer.

It’s a holiday today — a holiday celebrating waves of immigrants’ making a new home in a new land, one where they could determine their own constitution, laws, leaders, goals, away from tyrants imposing taxes without representation.

It was a tumultuous, bloody, uncertain period of time from 1776-1783, the period of the Revolutionary War. I took time today to watch documentaries and listen to podcasts detailing the battles, heroism, setbacks, lives lost and victories gained in the formation of our country. Of course, I love this stuff, being a Political Science and History major.

I will also spend time this week learning more about the part that slavery played, and the part that displacement of Native Americans played in our becoming The United States of America. I think it is natural to be proud of your country while simultaneously being dismayed at the atrocities that were imparted on those in our path. Ignoring ugly history is merely willful blindness to the truth that there can be no new country without the usurping of someone else’s life and habitat.

This 4th of July is bittersweet. This country of immigrants is being mauled by an administration of tyrants and their sycophants willing to forgo admonition of abominable acts by a lone madman for the sake of passing their ultra-right agenda bent on restricting human and civil rights and dismantling democracy while admiring the dictators around the world as mentors and “friends.”

What the people in power have done in a mere year and a half is utterly shameful. The  stench of hypocrisy runs through the capitol. The sheer lack of compassion, maturity, bipartisanship, the evil underhanded tactics to get their way, all smacks of a new kind of party — certainly not Republican. I do hope they find their way back, but it will take a new name, this one it ruined.

The soul of the country is ill, divided, and for all intents and purposes, has gone missing.  The Resistance is strong, vocal and will never relent, even if we do feel powerless in ways. The truth will come out, the investigation will be sure of that. Justice will prevail, even as darkness reigns more than not.

And when the truth comes out, as it has been — if anyone is paying attention, we can get ourselves into triage, bandage up the wounds and start to figure out how to recover from the trauma, and prevent this kind of atrocious attack on our Constitution from ever happening again.

That first July 4th after being free of this psychopathic band of fools will be a day to celebrate, for the United States, and the world.

In the meantime, I celebrate the framers who set up failsafes for exactly this situation. Now, if only the people elected to protect the citizens from tyranny would put country over party.

It seems simple, and it should be; the fact that it is obvious to so many and nothing gets done to halt the inside job means we have a LOT of work to do.

I think the framers would have hoped that 242 years into a future they could barely dream of, the current populace would be smart and evolved enough to handle attacks on the freedom and democracy that they literally spilled their blood for.

Let’s prove them correct.

~ Em C. 7.4.18