Heart Burial

I stand on grey cobblestone, my thighs pressed against a black iron railing, staring at a square of grass. This is my first visit to Tower Green, the plot of earth within the Tower of London where two English queens, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard—both seemingly my first cousins sixteen times removed—are said to have been executed. Here in this fortress, I become a kind of medium, conjuring the ghosts of these women in whose lives I see my own reflected—a gay man who has known the scaffold, who has fought to find his place. Continue Reading

Beryllium & Wing

In late 2015, I wrote a prose poem, “Beryllium.” For the Bellingham Review special section, I decided to translate the poem into a handmade one-edition, sewing all 61 words of the poem onto 3”x2” pieces of fabric. I wanted the handmade book to have the tactility of Louise Bourgeois’ Ode â l’oubli. Continue Reading

Nonsense

As I write, the estimated size of Google’s index is 46.5 billion webpages. But how much do webpages (a metaphor) really tell us about our digital lives anyway? Think of all those smartphones, all those apps. There’s so much dynamic content that Googlebots can’t crawl. Continue Reading

Slow as the Seep of Water

Holy Saturday morning. Byron and I sign the register at Bandelier National Monument for the 22-mile round-trip hike to Painted Cave. We tighten the straps on our backpacks, hike out of Frijoles Canyon, and settle into a rhythm of ascent, bodies leaning slightly forward against the pull of our packs. By the time we reach the mesa between Lummis and Alamo Canyons, the clouds have moved in. The rain starts, just a mist at first, becoming thicker until the dust turns a darker brown. Alamo Canyon is a tapered slash. I imagine that when we reach the bottom, we will be able to stretch our arms out and touch the rocks on the other side. The carved layers make geological time real. The steep switchbacks shove my toes forward in my boots. A lizard scuttles across the trail. Small stones roll under our feet. At each turn of the switchbacks, the rocks make irregular steps down that jar our knees. Continue Reading

A Collection of Essays

The page has always been as dynamic as we’ve let it be. It’s an artifact, of course, and its artifacty properties have become more obvious in the age of the digital. But artifacts like this are hardly fixed. As any reader knows, when we read or handle a printed page, we degrade it, if just a little. If not why would special collections require us to put on the creepy gloves? Why do our paperbacks wear out and the spines on our books crack and the places where we dogear pages slowly wear away? Continue Reading