Yes, You Can

Monday blues vs. DIY inspiration.

When the malaise of Mondays pounds at an unprecedented pitch, it can be helpful to bear witness to the fountain of human ingenuity available on DIY posts across cyberspace. A few keystrokes can renew the world-weary spirit with fresh perspective, not to mention a  wealth of insight on overcoming everyday challenges and turning ordinary items into upcycled treasures.

If your car is giving you trouble, don’t worry. You can convert your ten-speed to an e-bike by installing some easy-to-find hardware. While you’re saving money for the auto repair, you can tune up your table saw with a few simple steps, and while you’re at it, tune up your table saw skills by building this floating key organizer. 

Did you know that it is possible to avoid seeing yourself on video calls, even while keeping the camera on? No more forehead strain while trying to hold your face still. Not only that, but you can become a digital ghost, change the settings on your smart phone, and use time-tested strategies to claim decisive victory over Wordle. 

Want to show off your wild side? You can start a fire in the rain and make a fine side dish out of edible hemlock needles and sidewalk snails––locally sourced! And there’s no need to let another week go by without harnessing the life-changing power of cornstarch. While you’re basking in the glow of the best scrambled eggs you’ve ever tasted, possibilities abound. You might crochet a decorative hippopotamus, make a bucket swing from cutoff jeans and sturdy chain, and replace your normal eyeshadow routine with a festive leopard-print design. Me-ow!

Does the thought of having to take a shower and go to work get you down? It would probably be lots more fun if you had taken the time to up your hygiene game by infusing some soap eggs with plastic dinosaurs! It really pays to think ahead. Just don’t forget to submerge the figurines completely into the mold before it hardens. 

Yes, the world is your oyster. Not only that, but those leftover shells may be the secret to upping your domestic interior with some choice beach-themed home décor ideas. While the lighting fixture projects are recommended for the advanced craftsperson, anyone can make a compete set of oyster-shell Santa heads for next year’s tree, and who couldn’t use more of those? Onward!

Cold Crawling

Toasting the iceworm.

With snow falling

 too much 

in some regions 

and in others not enough, 

a question of what’s next 



from permafrost 


like a verdict 

not yet delivered,

also, certain doubts––related maybe, 

about what’s left 

to be exposed 

about the trajectory 

of history 

if that’s what 

we’re still calling it, 

so now seems like as good a time as any 

to pay 


to the iceworm

crawling through 

glacial snows 

and over ice, 

eating the red of

sun cups, and melting

when traces of winter

depart. These are not 

to be confused 

with the army project

of the Cold War, its launch 

sites under Greenland ice

not to be confused with the

great worms 

of legend heard 


beneath the northern

lights, near

the entry point 

to the land of the souls.


Inspired by news of the Cordova Iceworm Festival, which begins today.

The U.S. army project referenced above was nicknamed Project Iceworm.

Migration Patterns

Tracing lines of exile and return, from and to ourselves.

When we first moved into nature, we called it only looking, as with mirrors, but it’s one thing to know this and another to decide to be some deviation from the atmosphere. Ancient builders, considering the return of certain dreams, had sense enough to use the shadows cast by upright poles as tracing lines for temple architecture.

What made the created world less natural than, say, the beehive? On the one hand, maybe it was hubris, but it might have also been the practice of hoarding, to a degree not unlike the mythical cave dragons, those other anomalies.

The question lives in oscillation, tracing celestial lines of sight and we stand, sometimes still as solstices and just as briefly, before pulling back the orbital bodies of our dominion just when they seem to be slipping forever beyond our grasp, and the offerings that follow tend to synchronize with the rise and declination of the countless hidden orbs of shattered once-whole light that some say broke on arrival, leaving a legacy of singular purpose: find it––and this is shrouded, too.

Forms and Fallacies

Matters of perception.

Regarding certain questions of form and matter, an old, wise one observes, beyond earshot, there’s no joy in what doesn’t exist. Meaning certain illusions, such as righteous selves, but these are too busy saving to hear. Who else is saving? There’s a dragon somewhere in one of those caves, guarding what some would call fortune, but there’s another myth.

Imagination is another thing, a vital series of high-powered lenses for seeing what the naked eye, long dulled by resignation, will commonly miss, especially in moments read as ordinary time and especially in moments of crisis, where matters of life and death are prone to changes of direction before reaching orbital velocity.

I wanted to know more, so asked. The wise one said, it doesn’t matter, and then waited until we were both done laughing. Then said, Beware hallucinations of rote perception. Sight without surrender is only illusion.  Then we kept watch together until we were both done cracking up. Our eyes were wet when we parted, washed into a state of fleeting and magnificent clarity.


The observation, “There is no joy in what doesn’t exist” comes from Thomas Merton’s New Seeds of Contemplation

Birdsong Variations

The collaborative process of creative evolution.

I need a new form for this thing I am making. I haven’t found it yet, so here I am watching birds.

The songs of sparrows, apparently, vary broadly in the structure of their final notes, and some will introduce subtle variations with each performance. The songs evolve.

But researchers are quick to point out: it’s not like these bird-composers are free to evolve their songs willy-nilly, in any direction at any time. There are certain constraints, and the evolution of song works within these.

Consider how fledgling birds learn what song is, through imitation. Drift happens primarily during the initial stages of dialect formation, and during the colonization of an island. As songs evolve, so do birds’ preferences when it comes to how they perceive and learn.

I probably don’t need a new form. There is an array of viable traditions. There are possibilities for learning through imitation. But the early birds, before the songs are known and integrated, can’t help themselves. They throw their notes around in every direction. This is how they learn they have voices, and how they might use them. But a voice is not a song. Song is voice in motion, in choreographed patterns, learned in community. We are never as alone as we think we are in what we are making.  

So maybe I don’t need a new form, just more practice in call and response.

Beings of Theory

Contending with a shapeshifter.

Some qualities of some visible bodies

––form, size, weight––are supposed 

to belong to them even when they are

not sensed, by cultivated habits of

mind, creating certain illusions of

fixity. And yet

being has never been sensible––

or, for that matter, some thing,

and so many are terrified by 

its/ not its evasion of form.

An old sleight of hand: make

a thing of what is/not, in order

to pretend control over what

moves too well for naming.

Taking Heart

Fortitude is often misunderstood.

Only with courage can a body refuse any code designed to justify denial of dinner on pretension of purity. To refuse to embark on a scavenger hunt where the name of the game is seeking out the sin, to separate the convicted from the saved. To face conviction before submitting to these fiends of fracture, devils of division, forking tongues over plates of counterfeit communion, segregating what was once from what lives now and may yet be.

So great is the shock, the attendant illusions: what can a body do without a human enemy beyond the mirror?

Here’s the beginning of a story: someone meets a stranger on the road. What follows is all that matters.

Take heart.


Inspired by the writings of Richard Rohr.

Old Man at the Twilight Hour

For the artist.

Listen. The invisible harp plays

on the west side of the Isle of

the Dead

Eat. Here is a fried egg on a 

plate without the plate, served

at a coffee house scene in Madrid.

Wait. I knew I knew you when 

you cared to emphasize that 

honey is sweeter than blood.

Rest. Soft monster, rest.


On this day in 1989, Salvador Dali died. He was eighty-four. 

The Living, Remember

What we stash to save beyond selves.

This morning, I read that chickadees make it through the winter by eating through a stash of eighty-thousand seeds they hide during warmer months, and if I put my keys anywhere but on the ledge by the door I will be at a loss and probably late. 

There are different categories of memory, say cognitive ecologists, and this one is spatial. What is mine, then? It’s not spatial, nor is it numbers. I rarely have the right fact at the right time. Impressions, I have plenty. I remember the images, sounds, and sudden sensations that stopped me. The lilting laughs and mannerisms of departed loves, near-strangers included, the dimples in a former toddler’s chubby hand. I return to these only to be stopped again and again. From a lens of individual survival, this penchant toward becoming increasingly porous with each piercing recollection seems the opposite of useful.

It’s no effort at all to harvest cache upon cache of opportunities to grieve, to return to what is lost, and I’m hardly alone in this. Perhaps this is the best adaptation of our species, this enforced stoppage, this innate entanglement. 

We make music after death to sustain the living, our elegies like bridges reaching for the land of the dead, so that we are never fully in ourselves, but always reaching, from and to how many points? None of which seems essential for any one of us, and all of which complicate and tighten the weave of this larger forever netting, holding us, somewhere beyond the spatial Here to hear something else.

Because of this, any one of us can say to another, Remember This, and by this sacrament maintain some subtle evasion beyond death’s inevitable hand. It will get us each when the last winter comes, but not before we go around stashing parts of ourselves away in the living, remember.