Entry Five: American Treasures

“As a writer, I know I carry all the accumulated moments of my life” – Natalie Goldberg, The True Secret of Writing, Connecting Life with Language

The title of this blog resonates with me even more so when I am away. My dreams roam the blizzarding mountain passes we drove into the Rockies when I was a child. The rare whiff of olive oil returns me to my dirty New York kitchen where I cooked pasta instead of stir-fry. The temperature of the platinum autumn sky places me in small-town New England with my cousins at Thanksgiving. The places I carry inside me inspire the same nostalgia that memories of romance do.

I’m settling into my life in Ningbo. The bells of soprano Mandarin that make announcements in the grocery store, the humming stream of moto-scooters that whiz past me on my bicycle, and the scent of roasting sunflower seeds on Monday mornings outside of my apartment become more familiar each passing week. However, my twenty-three some years in the United States will always haunt me with their treasures when I reach inside to write. 

The poems from these past few weeks are a result of that. 


New England 

Leaves shatter under a

Clean grey sky

Familiar as it was in 

New Hampshire with the 

Cold blue autumn midnights the 

Rural New England gloom where I find my

Tall aunt and her 

Wide protestant smile

Baking something with sugar & butter & American cream 

New London, New Hampshire


Winter Park, Colorado

What happens is the air smells of


When the sun sets in


And the stars overpopulate the sky my

Sixty-five-year-old mother sits in the steam on our porch 

One am

Shooting Asteroids


Every other place I’ve been is littered with buildings, trash, ten thousand languages but 

Here it is Road. 




In June the hummingbirds talk in the morning the

Grizzly Bears knock on your door before dawn

I spread far, but in the end, my heart is 

Live Bluegrass in August

You know everyone there, the concert is 

Free we drink boxed wine and kids eat from the one KFC

Rain, the sky breaks Indigo, my feet are wet and 

Bare in the grass. 

Winter Park, Colorado



California 15, 18, 22, 24

Writing poems in the sand 

Bound up in my thunderstorm future, my

Father stands above, alone, watching sky blue waves


Spiderweb fields of emerald 


(this was another trip) 

(California happens to me all at once) 

Monterey sunsets – too many cars on the highways but 

Highways and routes that curve and open into something much

Bigger than us – Beyond cameras –


We are scared on the descent to LA

One Cadillac 

Rusty and Rude

Fast and Blue a

Five-year-old flips us off from behind his fly-corpse speckled window and the 

Driver’s scowl slices thin strips of meat from my ribs 

(We drive a new Mercedes Benz) 



It’s April in the desert with Joshua trees that groan up like my grandmother’s arthritic fingers 




Big Lungs Only 

Picture-perfect symphony 

California with the 


Fires and Trailer Parks 

Santa Monica Boulevard Bicycles 

Thirteen dollar Parking 

Opioid Crisis 

Silicon Valley I 

Write from the outside 

Born and raised in the simplistic hum where the west meets the middle where 

Tech giants tiptoe, but cows remain (Colorado) I have 

No concept of California beyond

Four road trips and

A lifetime of films. 

Screen Shot 2018-11-19 at 1.49.39 PM
Joshua Tree, California

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