Rabbit Holes

“‘But I don’t want to go among mad people,’ said Alice. ‘Oh, you can’t help that,’ said the cat. ‘We’re all mad here.'”
-Lewis Carroll

Whenever I see my students staring into the distance that is ten inches in front of their face, I ask them if they’ve fallen down the rabbit hole. Into their own little universe, unable to pull back to the reality where I am asking them to answer questions, write concrete ideas down, and co-exist with other humans. Their eyes say absence and awareness all at once. I ask them, “Have you fallen down the rabbit hole?” They snap their eyes in my direction and furrow their brows in confusion. I want to tell them I’m sorry for pulling them from their depth of thinking, for who knows what magic awaits them there. However, I want to tell them that the rabbit hole can take you in forever, can lose you in its folds and breadth. You may fall in line with the patterns of the gingham walls and the nine different dimensions where every experience you have ever had plays itself out over and over again, in legions. But, we all must go on living each day, in or out the passage to another reality, and every person’s rabbit hole is quite different. Maybe you know yours well, and maybe you are just beginning to realize its existence.

Here is A Poem to help cope with the state of being rabbit holed.


For Each Human Dimension

A figure slowly moves
19.5 steps per minute through
the space in front of him.
He does not mind that it takes awhile.
He minds that he has place to be
(a place he does not want to be).
It is dark in this space,
pacing to and fro as ordered.
He absorbs into the floor
to become one with his own version of existence.

Meanwhile, my rabbit feet
cannot help but flit from
place to place, space to space,
within the mind and within the world.
A shaky place to be, constantly flitting.
Engraves pathways upon my spirit
which end up cracking and fracturing the moments
between lucid reality.
I open up my brain so that you may see,
but only light pours out.

What it would be like to live outside the
Rabbit Hole. I wonder this as I try
to pull out threads of your mind and
weave them into something I can tie around me –
a rope to pull myself up and out of the
twist and turns of the passage.
Circling around above me, at ease.
And if you could come down here, you could see,
but you would not know. For this
is a space of questions even my own wisdom cannot answer.


Some words for the super moon, which I avoided for dangers not unlike a shewolf –

“For years mental health professionals taught people that they could be psychologically healthy without social support, that ‘unless you love yourself, no one else will love you’ … The truth it, you cannot love yourself unless you have been loved and are loved. The capacity to love cannot be built on isolation.”
-Bruce D. Perry

I don’t feel as though everything starts all over in the fall as Fitzgerald tells us: “‘Don’t be morbid,’ Jordan said. ‘Everything starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.’” Jordan, that ever lackadaisical character in The Great Gatsby, who can neither  be bothered with surface worries nor deeper feelings about the oncoming minutes, hours, days, months, years. I, however, seem to find worry in each blink of an eye. It is a trait passed down from the Funks. We are all nail biting chain smoking circular thinking women. Non-Funks have asked me my whole life why I cannot just release myself from the spinning wheel in my brain. The truth is in the memory of blood. The truth is in the history of our genes. The truth locks us, cyclically, even if we take a step out of the circle. So here we exist, passing the worry from daughter to daughter to daughter.

I keep this space for myself even after tending to the many weeds that once grew in my psyche. I keep my worry for a few reasons. One reason is because it is simply who I am. I am an extroverted intuitive thinking perceiver, an ENTP, according to the Myers-Briggs personality typing. As such, I am psychoanalytical with no formal training, constantly asking the questions of why was this done, why do they act this way, what kind of person are you. I expect answers to these questions. Even taking in the endless creativity of the universe, I expect to find out what why and how humans are the way they are. I am exhausting in this way, to myself and to those I voice these ideas. But it is what makes me me.

Another reason I keep my worry is because I don’t know how to rid myself of it. Those former weeds of mine, those that rooted themselves so ferociously within me, they were harmful. They gave me endless pain that manifested in anger towards others and me, deep depression, and flippant behavior. These were difficult weeds to pull. Stubborn, just like the Funks. And yet, I pulled them. I yanked and yanked, others helped me, and with all the strength of a human race the weeds were removed. I find them growing a bit here and there, but with all the muscles built from pulling the original invaders, I can easily tend to them. These worry weeds, however, are not so easy. These weeds are spiked. They are dark and twisty, they cover my whole heart save for one little patch. I cannot remove them, and, in fact, I don’t much try anymore. I’m at a loss for what to do.

Generations of the worry wheel. Of the worry weeds growing like chains around our hearts. Blood memory. The collective unconscious that controls us all. I do not know if I will ever drain myself of this aspect we hold so close. But naming it is the first step.

meditation on stimulus and response

Lora, who always talks me through the difficulties of interacting with other humans, gave me this quote by psychiatrist Viktor Frankl: “Between every stimulus and response there is a space and in that space is a choice.” Thank goodness for personal agency and decision making.

She has also mused me into the Dickinson-esque use of the hyphen, which is present in the following poem; it relates to my constantly firing mind and my (in)ability to deal with my body in the space-people continuum.


the space between bodies —
stimulus & response
one I have worked for years
to learn

when aerial words seem to
morph into tangible objects —
ones that must be deflected
with shields — the look on one’s face

when feeling is supposed to be
first — yet — the short distance between
your skin and mine cannot solve
every equation, every misstep

when time provides chances to mull —
response to humans and their actions,
it is still not enough for peace in
mind. peace is ever evolving, coming & going

I find space’s waters troubling,
mapless, navigation which needs knowledge I don’t yet harbor.
But, as days pass, the soul sleeps,
and rises — to continue again.

just a few elements of the mirror soul

i can say all the
right things, mirror
soul. i am not a
sage, nor a Tao, simply
a reflective surface
who can probe and
smoothly react.

when you are sad it
seeps into my being.
i wish to take it off
your back so you can
be strong enough to
make us both smile.
this never works. sadness
simply duplicates, its
impressively cancerous
ways reveling in my
silly little thoughts
that it could be beat.

every poem i read i
think of you. i wonder
what you would say
about it. wonder
what we could
contort and distort
and bring to life and
put to bed, together.

historically speaking

historically speaking,
april’s extending light —
full of itself in bloated newness.
the rain, the rain,
then the sun, the sun
all this back and forth
the newborn kittens, the blind
the anamnesis – when i had wanted to
things i worked so hard to forget.

but historically speaking,
april crawls along.
poems dried up on the sidewalk
left in a beach town where the wind
wouldn’t let up.
dropped like a quarter off
a bridge, no sound made
on contact.

i remember the noise of moving forward,
and april is swept.

precurser to poetry month (i’m ready)

peeling skin, melting snow
molting every changeable element of me.
i try to remember to speak only after
assuming the best intentions,
but it's easy to forget once
my body has shed all the icicles
winter stayed, now dripping fast from my
limbs. zinc, soma, caffeine
to replace the cold. thank iris for
the pieces of light. driving out the grey.

musings on cat power “sea of love”

it’s almost spring and i’m thinking of the sugar bush and i’m thinking of isis and osiris and i’m thinking of love and i’m thinking of myself and i’m ready for april to spring me back into my poet body.


come with me
saboteur of love
to the place where i come from
i want to show you
how much i remember
the peeling of the bark
from my tree
but not
the fingers that peeled
bare skin of maple
let seep all that was inside
the unfiltered human we all are at the core
my bark has begun
to return
like the bad habits of the smoker
i pick it away sometimes still
thinking it doesn’t belong
this is who i am —
pained to be standing cold —
proud of the raw.

Digressions on a Mantra: It Will Pass

rewrite of one of the oldest poems in the book.


Standing on the sidewalk.
Midway – between years suburbed and new days grounded,
St. Paul.

A hammer in your mouth
raps on the concrete,
slowly first,
tap, tap tap.
Birds stir from perch,
and you continue,
thumping your words along the street.
The wretched friction
tells the tale of our madness,
your claim to reality.

I toss for always,
for ever,
halves of lives together,
in the path of your thrash.
The hammer comes down upon these words,
Let one have it.

Then –
it is quiet.
I ask the birds for forgiveness,
for my body to make a move,
for the questions that sleep beneath my tongue.

I’ll wait so long I’ll turn to the bits of stone
lying crumbled in between.

dylan deep cuts

b-side inspiration

Dylan, deep cut
record the deep
the spinning deep
twist into histories —
the belly, the heavy
got the best of me.

We all have want for
something whole.
Now I am open to the deep cut
even in its darkness
even in knowledge of injury.
Edge into the deep
peer in —
even into tenebrous dark
even knowing there is no

& to those who wave red flags
your flags are not mine —
I have known mine well.
Have dined with them,
slept in their beds
pulled and pulled to get them out
of their deepest cuts.
I know their depth.
But we all have our warnings,
and yours are not mine

Dylan, deep cut
remember the deep,
the b-side,
in umbras of surface self,
the smirk beyond the peripheral.
Spinning into sight
even if it gets the best of me.


being devotchka
plant obscured from
light still thrives. idle in
the darkness that surrounds.
the lone wolf grazes, and the one
glacier that’s left floats
way from its friend
the land.

is all we are, after all.
slow, the slow fade of
bed sheets tied up in
one another
tied up in
one another.

does darkness mean alone?
or everything?
either white or black
it’s every color
or no color
and I can never remember
to differentiate between the two
the binary of life and loss.
of feeling alone in a room of
five six
ten billion people.

the spirit becomes soft,
and fades into itself.
I become abstracted,
because the only self I know
stands in front of young bodies
and returns to forget
how to breathe not in front
of a crowd.

that is alone.