p e r e n n i a l 

An annual practice
as a way of learning,
a way of knowing
a way of growing.

To come back
year after year
sifting through the new
unearthing the old

tracing my way
through tangled roots
some thick, some slender 

beginning to curl
around the base of a container
no longer quite large enough

for a way
to fit 

or, perhaps,
seeking a new place
to stay.

From scatter, 2019

Again, I find myself in the throes of my annual chapbook making in the last days of the year. Aside from Tracing Steps* (November 2010) and of cities and lovers* (July 2012), all of them came to fruition in mid or late December. And each year, I make declarations that the next one will be different, that I will get the writing, editing, folding, and stapling, done in another season, earlier in the year, and avoid the last-minute scramble at my computer and the print shop.

Only now am I realizing that of course I don’t put these together sooner. I have to recover the creative energy spent making them. Tracing Steps was my first chapbook, and I had years and years of preparation for it. I had a year and a half between that and of cities and lovers, plus additional impetus to complete the chapbook in time for my last performance at Tuesday Night Cafe as a Los Angeles resident.

Since then, my life has become packed with climbing trips, outdoor education work, and making pottery, along with various other endeavors (gardening, composting, baking, facilitation). And I’ve still managed to meet this self-imposed annual commitment.

Why be so hard on myself? It makes perfect sense that it is not until long dark nights arrive to slow everything down that I am able to focus.

My 2021 chapbook is well underway. There is a pre-order link. I hope to print in five days.

It might take me until New Year’s Eve– again. But I won’t be upset with myself if it does.

Video of me folding my 2020 chapbook, unearthings, then creasing it using the lip of a small porcelain cup I made. On New Year’s Eve last year. Audio: sound of hands smoothing paper, followed by the scrape of the cup.

*Out of print, but you can listen to these on my long-neglected Bandcamp.