If you ever lose heart and the earth seems as distant as stars fading into the noise of your busy mind, know this. That a tiny island exists in the blue hands of the ocean. That a tree grows upright into the salted clouds. That two eagles love each other enough to spend their lives greeting the morning sun together. That two eaglets stand in their nest, gazing at the heavens. Looking down to the forever ground. They eat and sleep and flap their wings. And one day in July, one by one, they will jump into the air. They will know the difference between existing and what is beyond. They will hold onto nothing. The hurricane will come, courage catching their pinions on fire, as they mount the wind, climbing ladders into realms of the invisible.

--T.L. Stokes

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Mannequins


Monday, March 22, 2010

The Big Climb

The 2010 Big Climb of the Columbia Tower in Seattle. Over 6,000 participants with proceeds going to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. These photos follow participant Kelsey Stokes on her first climb. She has inspired many by her training and dedication in preparation for this event. Go to the LLS link for more information on how you can help this noble cause. See you in 2011!


Friday, March 12, 2010

For Magnolia

Every blossom like lips,
like snow,
faint blushed,
has a unique

Like love,
murmured over
and over,

like pain,
to be so beautiful
for oh,
so short a time
as this,

my favorite,
my joy,

I bow to you,
in yellow licks
in beams,
in torrents,
in ice thrown savagely,

you grin,
you open,
you drip your beauty,
you widen your mouth,
and lose your tongue.

If I so in love with you,
should pick up each lost part,
tenderly, offer them
to the sky--

and clouds come over me,
and clouds,
come over me,

I wither with you.
I will hold you
until you becoming my thought
turn once more

and invisible.

for the tree in the front yard

Smallest Lips

You are the smallest lips,
tight, holding onto a word.

I love you. Do you know
what that means?

I will have affection
like a bowl overflowing
in my chest,
my belly,
my throat will clutch

at what you might be saying.
I will watch you
with tenderness.

Even when you learn the world's
languages, and throw your arms
out wide,

even when your tongue
lies damp and forgotten,

I will remember you.

What Does She Watch

What does she watch
open as she is, as a hand,
as eyes?

What place does she imagine.
What lover does she wait for.

What feeling is her rapture
close enough to describe.

What gentle word
would I whisper in her ear
and she, being dainty,

and lost
in this dreaming,

might turn
her eyes to me.

Tree of Light

Magnolia is a woman in the rain,
drops on eye lashes, slight blush
on her rounded cheeks. She flirts
just by being beautiful. You can't
hear her but she is everywhere.

Sunday, March 7, 2010



I asked him if he remembered himself as a child,
if there was anything luminous left in his eyes,
if he could see any joy, and he could not.

So befuddled, we let our hands open,
not knowing what it was
to let him go.

Into the field of horses
we watched him wander
picking the one to him
most beautiful.

I saw him mount
and nudge her on.
Cantering, he ripped
the rags he'd worn for years

in sadness,
too dark for some
though lived for music,

and suddenly lighter,
he and the horse
as fog climbed higher.

The ponds of clouds
seared by the face
halved themselves
like wounds

and grace became a wonderful sky
for the boy, the horse
still as if light

for Mark Linkous of

Saturday, March 6, 2010

for the love of bones

Henry and Alice, he said, and the words
caught my attention. I leaned into the phone
a little deeper. Take photos, he said.
Go to places of the dead, mortuaries,
tell them you're working on a story.
Be honest. Put them together with your
Henry and Alice poems. Pictures of anything
close to lifeless. I'm connected with issues
of people approaching the end of their life,
you're connected with this as well, and with
the dead on the other side. Yes. I agreed this
was a fabulous idea. I could see the photos
in the book already.

note: Henry and Alice are characters in a poem
I wrote about two cadavers we worked on in school.
I took their essence and created personalities,
filling the holes not knowing them left, and
gave them voices and things to do when we shut
the door to the lab at night.