Sunday, December 31, 2006

Fragile Wings

Don't say that I will depart tomorrow-
even today I am still arriving.
Look deeply: every second I am arriving
to be a bud on a Spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.
I still arrive,
in order to laugh and to cry,
to fear and to hope.
The rhythm of my heart
is the birth and death of all that is alive.

by Thich Nhat Hanh
(excerpt from "Please Call Me By My True Names")

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Monday, December 25, 2006

Happy Birthday Olaiya!

Happy Apple Day & Merry Christmas, too!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Wind-Blown Art Walkers!

Last night, despite horizontal sheets of rain and impressive gusts of wind, Walaka and I prepared for my very first art show as part of the Roosevelt Art Walk. We set up the wine and food, lit the candles, labeled the art, placed signs indoors and outside, and come 6:00, we waited. And, then the first guests arrived at 6:30.

While no art-walkers from the neighborhood stopped by, about 15 invited guests braved the weather and were able to make it. It was a very sweet night, and I thank all of you--whether you were able to make it or not--for your support. What once seemed like a scary prospect to me (putting myself and my art out there) now feels much more doable, comfortable, and exciting.

I will have another show in January or February, with many of the same collages and some new pieces as well. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate next time!

(Click on photographs above to see larger images.)

Sunday, December 03, 2006


I believe it was the poet Richard Hugo* who wrote that a poet writes the same poem over and over throughout her lifetime. In essence, he means that as artists, we often reckon with the same issue over and over in our creations. Each creation may look or sound very different, but there may be an undercurrent of the same question we seek to understand.

I resonate with this idea in my writing and visual art. The above piece is the cover of one of the artist books I created in college, almost 10 years ago. The idea/concept of silence and silencing is always present when I create. As I seek to understand it, I dig deeper and deeper into my work--and into myself. I wonder what my work will look like in 20 years; will I understand the silence that rests inside of me any more fully?

What themes/issues re-surface for you in your creations?

* From Richard Hugo’s book, The Triggering Town.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Dance of Sleep

You see,
I don't know how to clear that murky water
feel the difference between falling
asleep for a night
and falling asleep forever.
I count on your consistent breath
while I sleep like a bird
catching your dolphin breaths
in my beak.

--from my poem, "You Sleep"

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Save the Date!

I am excited to announce that I will be having my very first art show in December!

As part of the monthly Roosevelt neighborhood art walk, I will be opening Rising Bird Healing Arts to the public and showcasing my art.

Save the date: Thursday, December 14, 6-9PM.

Stay tuned for more details...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Flutter in my Chest

It has been exactly one year since my very first post on
Quiet Girl Gallery.

Happy Blogiversary to me!

Saturday, October 28, 2006


Any ideas for the title of this piece?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Chimera's Struggle

Bear-bird: "I didn't really enjoy beating someone else." / Fish: "Help"

Friday, October 13, 2006

Passing It On

The door opens and I enter a room with turpentine fumes, paint smears on paper plates, charcoaled finger prints on sketch paper, bees wax warming in an old electric skillet--and my brother welcoming me in to view his art. This does not happen often. Mostly, he closes the door, asks that I leave him alone. There are days like this where he urges to share his work, his process, and the final creations. I am lucky.

He collects art books of Cy Twombly, Picasso, Gauguin—these are his mentors. He does not know what I know. He does not know that he is the book that opens, the mentor passing along the secrets of the artist’s mind. He does not know that I watch each brush stroke and assemblage layer carefully, tracing each peacock feather, side-faced silhouette, bees wax coating, ochre yellow paint stroke across a body with my eye as if he were teaching me to drive, make out checks, speak French.

I learn that art is practical and necessary, as steady as bread, and know that if he does not do it, I will lose as much as he. So I ask him, ask him now, to keep the door open, to let me in before he forgets what it feels like for other eyes to meet the canvass skin, its body paint erratic and beautifully swept, its jewelry mounted or pierced in place as though he was the art piece itself, as though he wasn’t the artist at all.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Four Mothers and Me

(The crop below comes from this piece, here in its entirety.)

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Forgiveness / Unforgiveness


“I beg my bones to be good but / they keep clicking music and / I spin in the center of myself / a foolish frightful woman / moving my skin against the wind and / tap dancing for my life.” --Lucille Clifton, “the poet”

I wish I’d given you lessons.
instead, I praised the chromatic scale
you were no good at,
the steps ascending
b flat to c sharp you missed,
the off-key low tones folded
into long, knuckled sentences.

the brass of me attracted you,
and when I wore my silver suit,
and you pulled your 4C mouthpiece
from your coat pocket, I knew you’d
blow that hot, moist air through
me for practice, wearing down
my reveille.

it was jazz: Dizzy and Miles appeared
in my face and in the rhythm
of my keys clicking quickly like your poem
pages flipping.

perhaps if I had paid more attention to your
embouchure, I would have seen it was crooked,
the mouthpiece always pressed
to the left side of your lips, your staccato
slow and inarticulate, would have noticed
your notes illusive and contorted
the way a face appears in a bell of brass.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Leaving the Nest


An inchworm nestled in the glimmering head
of the romaine, his lime, segmented body
soft like fetal hair, his mouth aimed
for the center, the heart, where the leaves
are yellow, bitter. When I carried him outside
to the pear tree, I couldn’t help but think
of his life inside the lettuce, how safe
and secure he lived between the soft folds
of the leaves, and how soon I had to leave
the security too and enter a life outside
the protective leaves of books.
I set the little one directly on a fresh, ripe pear
as I would wish to be placed in a new environment—
where there is abundance and sweetness and
the juicy hint of possibility.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Striving for Truth

In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

No Angel

...with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us like the earth
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is

--from "Thanks," W.S. Merwin (1988)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Wheel of Fortune

And where it stops, nobody knows...

In Memoriam

Freya the Dog
1994 -2006

I was lucky to become quite close to Freya during the last few months of her life. I gave her Reiki treatments twice a month to soothe the symptoms of her bone cancer. She was a delight, always welcoming my touch, and she retained much of her puppy energy even in her old age. I very much miss her deep brown eyes and her strong spirit.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Thin Skin Disease

I pictured her wearing padded clothes, even on hot days. Her bedroom furniture covered with batting, pillows duct-taped to sharp edges. Her name was Jenny, a friend of my best friend, but to me Jenny was the story of a glass girl, a girl easily shattered. Once, dropping six inches from the monkey bars, Jenny broke both ankles. She had fractured many bones in her body—fingers, arms, feet, hips. How do you move knowing the weight of your own body may split you into pieces? How do you play with a glass girl?

It’s called osteogenesis imperfecta, brittle bone disease. At times I wanted to be Jenny so my encounters with the world would have physical consequences: a crack in my collar bone for the girl with the brain tumor; a fracture of my shin bone for the death of my dog; a break in my hip for boys who taunted my brother for being gay; a million hairline cracks in my fingers for everything else. If I crumbled, if I just crumbled into a heap of chipped bones, my sensitivity would be named, and in naming, legitimized. If it were only genetic, physical, medical. Osteogenesis imperfecta. What do you call thin skin disease? How do you name a glass girl?

--from my work-in-progress, "Bones"

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Filling the Cup

Something opens our wings.
Something makes boredom and hurt disappear.
Someone fills the cup in front of us:
We taste only sacredness.


Saturday, September 02, 2006

I Speak to the Owls

You Have to Be Careful

You have to be careful telling things.
Some ears are tunnels.
Your words will go in and get lost in the dark.
Some ears are flat pans like the miners used
looking for gold.
What you say will be washed out with the stones.

You look a long time till you find the right ears.
Till then, there are birds and lamps to be spoken to,
a patient cloth rubbing shine in circles,
and the slow, gradually growing possibility
that when you find such ears,
they already know.

--Naomi Shihab Nye, Words Under The Words

Monday, August 21, 2006

In Memoriam

Buddy the Cat

1988 - 2006

I was able to give Buddy Reiki two days before he died. When sitting with him, giving warm energy to his very cool body, I began to reflect upon the nature of dying. This is not new for me (I contemplated the nature of death at the age of four). But, this time Buddy's human companion and I were wondering why death is so often drawn out, and why we can't always slip away smoothly in the night, breaths getting slower and slower until they just stop. Why the hospitals and vets and tubes and medications and complications, we wondered. We knew there were no answers, but as we talked, questioning the human and animal ability to "hold on" to this life, we felt it important to tell Buddy that he could go anytime he wanted.

On Saturday, Buddy slipped out calmly and gracefully into the night.

Friday, August 18, 2006

No sense of time

My grandmother cannot remember what she had for lunch today, but she can remember that in the 1980s, when we came to her house to visit, we had hotdogs for lunch and mircrowaved
them for exactly 45 seconds.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Pecking Order

"A Harvard University study showed that up to two thirds of underweight 12-year-old girls considered themselves to be too fat. By 13, at least 50% of girls are significantly unhappy about their appearance. By 14, focused, specific dissatisfactions have intensified, particularly concerning hips and thighs. By 17, only 3 out of
10 girls have not been on a diet - up to 8 out of 10 will
be unhappy with what they see in the mirror."

taken from the Social Issues Research Center:

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Bird Period

...people will say, "This is her bird period. She is flitting about. She has the heartbeat of a hummingbird, holds the fear of the ground rushing up. She has been trying to fly all her life."

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Cow Girl or Girl Cow

Sections 4 & 5 from my poem "The Five Course Meal" (1998)

The great uncle complains
that his rack is not supple and pink--a taste
more vulnerable, closer to the kill.
“I like to see some blood,” he tells the group.
The rest cringe, chewing undecidedly, and then decidedly
face their fears:
tangled fish scales for my incontinence,
a swollen shank for my pneumonia as a kid,
severed ribs for the woman who would not marry me,
innards and entrails for my fear of heights,
matted feathers for my mastectomy.


It happens every year: on barren oval platters
lie sickled bones, marble-balled
tallow, blue elastic veins,
scraps of skin encrusted. Holding
their hands to their stomachs,
they recount time lost in fear,
you deserved it
you deserved it
you deserved it.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Her Life in the Shadows

The X-Ray

The vet lit the x-ray films
on the plexi-glass screen,
and there it was--
her endoskeleton glowing
electric white like a neon sign
against the black film background.
Posed as if in flight, wings expanded
up and out, her bones looked like tiny
matchsticks, bent perfectly
at each cartilage joint like boomerangs.
I squinted at the light of her bones.
She was a dinosaur skeleton,
and they had just excacated her,
dug her up from some heap of earth.
Her body was fused into rock,
the fossilized bones carved out carefully
with special tools until the white chipped bone
shone through like teeth. But as the vet
used her pencil to point out the liver,
explained how it was enlarged,
how it pushed up on the stomach
and crowded the lung sacs,
I finally saw her life in the shadows--
the gray orb of her organs frozen
in their beat and pulse,
the rush of blood and adrenaline
paused midstream in her veins,
her voice box caught
in one squaking moment of vibration.