November 10 - my life had stood, a loaded gun

I’ve been trying to be disciplined. The days are getting so dark, it’s easy to just want to curl up protected and give up on extra things. I’ve been eating a lot, sleeping a lot, doing meditations with nice ladies on youtube, and reading the news. I started running every day again. I got on a good program when I lived in Port Townsend because I was lonely, and I’m not lonely anymore, but it’s hard to know what to do with myself every day unless I give myself a job. This songwriting group I’m in has been a big help with that. The prompt this week was “pull the trigger,” which I found to be kind of difficult at first. I hate guns. My brother is a veteran and had to live with a gun for many years, and I don’t like what that does to people. He’s a wonderful person who deals with his reality in a stunningly strong, brave, honest way, but I wish he didn’t have to. I wish none of us had to. Thinking about this prompt though, I remembered a poem that’s never been too far away from me, Emily Dickinson #764, here it is:

My Life had stood - a Loaded Gun -
In Corners - till a Day
The Owner passed - identified -
And carried Me away -

And now We roam in Sovreign Woods -
And now We hunt the Doe -
And every time I speak for Him
The Mountains straight reply -

And do I smile, such cordial light
Upon the Valley glow -
It is as a Vesuvian face
Had let it’s pleasure through -

And when at Night - Our good Day done -
I guard My Master’s Head -
’Tis better than the Eider Duck’s
Deep Pillow - to have shared -

To foe of His - I’m deadly foe -
None stir the second time -
On whom I lay a Yellow Eye -
Or an emphatic Thumb -

Though I than He - may longer live
He longer must - than I -
For I have but the power to kill,
Without - the power to die -


Tonight, I went to a vigil at the courthouse for the victims of the Tree of Life shooting that happened in Philadelphia last week. I got there late after turning in my song to the songwriting group website, and stood by the door while a Lummi man spoke about coming together as a community to stand against hatred. I met a Jewish woman named Miriam during the break who was new to Bellingham, and we talked about music and traveling and life. I heard a Sikh man read a prayer in Farsi. I heard a choir of sweet people singing a Pete Seeger song about leaving the earth behind. Belle was in the car because I thought the vigil would be outside, but it wasn’t. We were warm in the courthouse and they had specifically not asked for a police presence, because they wanted us to be together in safety in our own group. I don’t know for sure what any of this has to do with Emily Dickinson, or the song I wrote today, but it all happened at once and it seems to be slightly related. I want to be a part of the world, and I want my songs to be part of the world. I want them to bump into things and get changed. I want to get changed.

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