But the world outside that cinderblock house never seemed much safer / Than the world inside. These days my brother watches lots of television / And smokes cigarettes on my couch until he falls asleep. He prefers / Action movies: Eastwood, Schwarzenegger, Bronson. To be a man / In this country, he says, you have to beat people up—break their bones, / Cause serious pain and suffering. Our father tried his best / To be a man.

Connie Hales, from “Reconstruction: The Failure of Memory” (via andlohespoke)

Some iPhone snippets from our Seattle trip. For extensive photographs, I posted them here!: amandamarievaldez


Some images from the protest at the County Prosecutor’s Office in Clayton, Missouri.

The ladies in the matching blue shirts came all the way from Nashville. The young man in the last image was going full ACAB and folks had to calm him down and inform him that it wasn’t the best time for such an attitude. It was a very peaceful, but very passionate gathering.

More talk about justice and equality, about institutionalized racism.

More silence from the police.


                                     After Richard Sikens “Seaside Improvisation”

I peel off the bed sheet and give it to you but you turn
           away from me, so I pull back the bigger part to wrap
my body like cocoon’s at dusk. An island in the middle
of your scent.

Tonight, I think you dream of cities, and the bridges
          inside that connect one exit to another and I
stare at you like a sliding glass door, opening a world
of dust and snow,

where we stand on the other side, against white oaks,
          counting lone starlings and ache. You’ve told me
you wanted happiness. This, we have tried, and the
nights continue crossing over

to our tired mouths; these tongues fixed as anchors.  
           But we expect the struggle; quiet holes in 
the boat. The fishing line unshaken in water. 
Take this cigarette,

burn a wheel of ash in the ground. Believe it is
             a door. Believe it is a passage and isn’t there 
another room waiting? A fresh course? A new woman’s 
eyes rouged and shut? 

Imagine it’s staircase and the light that leads to the 
             surface of a love like a stray dog sitting where
we first left it. But a tunnel means an out. A tunnel means
miles of old water

to tread. Our early mornings, our serious nights
               faded with the last of our courage 
down the unlit current. 

I have no idea what I’m doing. But, rather than cluttering my personal tumblr, here’s this: http://amandamarievaldez.tumblr.com/

Another year, another birthday trip. 24 years now and celebrated with hikes, beer, books, and puppy cards in SLO


"One of the magical things about theater is that it gathers a crowd of people in a quiet space, and each member of the audience gets to see how people respond differently to the different things being said on stage. The person next to you will laugh at something that you’d never think of laughing at, and you’ll get a glimpse into all the different ways of viewing the world. Unfortunately, so much theater today is less nuanced. It gives you a large dose of one way of thinking, in hopes of getting as many of the same type of people into the theater as possible."


My life with a gardener

The screen door firecrackers closed. 
I find her at the sundry drawer 
prowling for twine. I’m nothing 
she sees. There’s a tornado 
in her hair, her face is streaked 
with dirt like markings applied 
before the rituals of drums.
I’ve watched her shadow break free 
and tend the next row of corn. 
I understand this eagerness 
as fully as I can speak for the ocean. 
I say water is behind everything, 
a blue dictator, say waves 
are obsessed with their one word 
but have no idea what that word is. 
Her hands enter soil like needles 
making the promise of a dress 
from cloth. In December she begins 
smelling lilacs, by February 
she sees the holes 
peppers burn through snow. I see her, 
she’s the last green thing I need. 
When finally she’s pushed inside 
by the rude hands of dusk, 
I set down my life for her skin, 
taught all day how to smell 
like the sun, and the hundred 
directions of her hair, and eyes 
that look through me to flowers 
that only open their mouths 
to speak with the moon.

Bob Hicok


Frying Trout While Drunk

Mother is drinking to forget a man
who could fill the woods with invitations:   
come with me he whispered and she went   
in his Nash Rambler, its dash
where her knees turned green
in the radium dials of the 50’s.
When I drink it is always 1953,
bacon wilting in the pan on Cook Street   
and mother, wrist deep in red water,   
laying a trail from the sink
to a glass of gin and back.
She is a beautiful, unlucky woman
in love with a man of lechery so solid   
you could build a table on it
and when you did the blues would come to visit.   
I remember all of us awkwardly at dinner,   
the dark slung across the porch,
and then mother’s dress falling to the floor,   
buttons ticking like seeds spit on a plate.   
When I drink I am too much like her—   
the knife in one hand and the trout  
with a belly white as my wrist.   
I have loved you all my life
she told him and it was true
in the same way that all her life
she drank, dedicated to the act itself,   
she stood at this stove
and with the care of the very drunk   
handed him the plate.

Kearney Park. July 2014




A quick day trip to the beach was much needed.

Downtown photo adventures with Colby.
Arson, bikes, and a whole lot of that central valley sunlight

Some things never change.

Fierce Creatures. May | 2014


Your garland, my shaky lamb,

we are close in this
slow evening gown,

we are growing down,
our winter-slung bodies fooled
and necklaced with furious morning

—Brenda Shaughnessy, from “Lure, Lapse