When You Come Undone.

1 Mar

I had a lot of lovely chance encounters in the Bay. Hung out at Denise “Merry Sunshine” Jolly’s beautiful apartment, dinner with Mona and Denise when I first arrived in town, fresh-squeezed grapefruit drinks at Van Cleef’s, recorded tracks and ate a fabulous potluck dinner at Jamile’s place,

Jamile's potluck.

hit Mona’s elegant Ladies’ Night with Kim and Leigh Ann, drank and bullshitted with 2/3 Proletariat and Lauren, ate Bakesale Betty’s and hit the East Bay Depot with my old friend Diana,


walked around Lake Merritt with Chas, had a lovely conversation and a couple of glasses of wine with the marvelous Ekabhumi,


ran into Stephen at Whole Foods, ran into Eka and Felicia while playing pool in Berkeley, &c…

How can you NOT be good at pool when you're this tall?

I spent most of my time in the Bay with two duos, however, and I’d like to talk about them now – partly because I’m so grateful to them for their love and care, partly because I think they really illustrate the two crucial non-business friendship types essential to well-being on the road.


Kat & Jack flirting...

I stayed with Kat and Jack Thompson, to whom I affectionately refer as “Mom & Dad”. I’m their wayward daughter, which means I get my own key, and I try to let them know when I’ll be home ridiculously late, or not at all. These two don’t judge or try to control me, but they care about my well-being, who I’m with, and what’s going on in my life. They feed me sometimes. Notably, Kat fattened my ass up with BACON CHOCOLATE CHIP PANCAKES.


Kat and Jack also invite me to important shit, like their wedding, and Jack’s birthday dinner at his mom’s house.

Jack's birthday.

Our relationship is excellent and abiding, and though I met Kat through poetry, what we do together covers a lot of who I am that isn’t a poet. I watch anime with Jack and play his video games. I hang out in the kitchen when Kat cooks and go patracking with her. The Thompsons let me stay on their couch, like, forever, without demanding anything of me.

My road folks.

Why This Matters When You’re Touring

You need to be around people who will love you unconditionally. A lot of the affection you get on the road can feel very performance-based (literally), sometimes very artificial, so to stay grounded, it’s important to have great friends who are either uninvolved, or only peripherally involved, in the poetry scene. It’s also important to remember that, no matter how many hours you spend absorbed in your craft, you will always be more than a poet. You need this element, people, so you don’t take yourself too seriously, and so you can take your (often) small but inevitable professional failures in stride.



The other duo I spent most of my time with was Dre and Patrick.


I call these two my Holy Fools, because they pursue all kinds of mischief and paths that shouldn’t work out, but somehow do – they emerge from dangerous and bizarre situations without a scratch, and there’s an inexplicable rightness to their direction. The three of us composed a half-insane poem that somehow turned out magic, hit numerous taco trucks throughout the Bay, and generally got wild. On Dre’s urging, we wandered around an abandoned estate the night after my SF feature, talking about ghosts. On a whim, Patrick took me to an amazing soul food restaurant where I had the most luxurious meal of my tour.

o heavenly pork belly

Generally, strange and wonderful things happen when these guys are around.

Why This Matters When You’re Touring

It’s important to stay grounded, as I said, but it’s hugely important to take risks and see the unexpected as well. Hopefully every show where you perform involves some of that from you and others, but again, you must remember the world outside the stage. You need to stay in love with life, to stay excited and keep your mind moving. Traveling with guides like these is the best way to get back into your body, and back into the world.

I promised I’d talk about chaos again, and here we are. The Holy Fools invite this, and I must say they’ve helped me to embrace it. I’m kind of in love with it right now. The joys of flux, of not-knowing. Chaos keeps me honest. And it keeps my temperament sweeter, for real. When I expect to not-know, and I expect to not-control, a lot of anxiety dissolves from life on the regular. It also keeps me excited. Joyful. Anything can happen.

This is a good note on which to end my PNW/Bay Area tour blog, I think. Let me leave you with a Rumi poem I absolutely love. I’ll start blogging about the leg I’m on in soon. Thanks for reading, my loves. It means a lot to me. ❤

Zero Circle

Be helpless, dumbfounded,
Unable to say yes or no.
Then a stretcher will come from grace
to gather us up.
We are too dull-eyed to see that beauty.
If we say we can, we’re lying.
If we say No, we don’t see it,
That No will behead us
And shut tight our window onto spirit.

So let us rather not be sure of anything,
Beside ourselves, and only that, so
Miraculous beings come running to help.
Crazed, lying in a zero circle, mute,
We shall be saying finally,
With tremendous eloquence, Lead us.
When we have totally surrendered to that beauty,
We shall be a mighty kindness.


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