Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Guest Post from Claire @ Bicoastally

Hello, dear friends of Micaela, this is Claire from Bicoastally.  Although I miss Micaela's regular blog posts, it's been so fun reading everyone's guest posts!  By now you know that Micaela asked us to share our hearts in this sweet format:

"With as much creativity as you can muster, show your heart in: a picture, a poem, a song (or piece of music), a quote, an item of clothing, and a place."

So as tempted as I am to write about the breakfast I had with Micaela and Max in Georgia last week (I love her even more in person!) , I will oblige and share my heart:

A picture:

Deep in my heart is my passion for ending capital punishment, prison reform, and prison education.  I've been teaching creative writing in prisons for years, involved with the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, and have been outside San Quentin at every execution that has taken place here since I moved to California.  I took this picture outside the prison gates at the vigil before the execution of Clarence Ray Allen in January of 2006.  Although the execution did go through, it was inspiring to see all the people rallying to put an end to injustice.

A poem:
(I studied creative writing in college and went to graduate school for a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing/Poetry, so picking just one poem is an extremely difficult task for me!  but here's my best try)

excerpt from The City in Which I Love You by Li-Young Lee:

And when, in the city in which I love you,
even my most excellent song goes unanswered,
and I mount the scabbed streets,
the long shouts of avenues,
and tunnel sunken night in search of you . . .

That I negotiate fog, bituminous
rain rining like teeth into the beggar's tin,
or two men jackaling a third in some alley
weirdly lit by a couch on fire, that I
drag my extinction in search of you . . .

Past the guarded schoolyards, the boarded-up churches, swastikaed
synagogues, defended houses of worship, past
newspapered windows of tenements, along the violated,
the prosecuted citizenry, throughout this
storied, buttressed, scavenged, policed
city I call home, in which I am a guest . . .

a bruise, blue
in the muscle, you
impinge upon me.
As bone hugs the ache home, so
I'm vexed to love you, your body

the shape of returns, your hair a torso
of light, your heat
I must have, your opening
I'd eat, each moment
of that soft-finned fruit,
inverted fountain in which I don't see me.

I feel like this is Li-Young Lee's swan song.  Please google & read the entire poem--every bit of it is as beautiful as this excerpt.  Gives me the shivers.

A song:

A quote:

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."
                                                           (Anais Nin)

An item of clothing:


I love big, bold scarves.  And I live in San Francisco, so they're pretty much always weather-appropriate. ♥

A place:

This is Baker Beach in San Francisco . . . notice it is very similar to the picture I took that's in my blog header.  The beach is so very beautiful, sits among cliffs and under the Golden Gate Bridge, and it soothes my soul every time I go there.  Oceans in general are where my heart belongs, but this peace of the Pacific, in particular, calms me. :)

Thank you for having me, and hurry back, Micaela!


Marz said...

I love your heart Claire!!!!! Your passion for what you believe in and for what you love is so inspiring! Seeing how deeply prison reform and all that goes with that touches you, makes me long to believe in something so strongly and feel that same kind of fire you do!

That poem had such an affect on me I'm going to read it in it's entirety right after I finish this comment. Wow! You're right - gave me shivers too!!! Such beautiful words that spoke directly to me. Thank you SO much for sharing xo

I love the ocean and I can't wait to be on Baker Beach with you! xoxo

Jumbleberry Orchard said...

Amazing poem, amazing song!

Claudia said...

Thanks for sharing your heart!

danielle and dinosaur toes said...

you know i like your place, claire! so beautiful!

Marisa said...

Claire.. I love your heart and admire you for not only verbally making your beliefs heard but also taking that extra step. So many could learn from you.

I too adore scarves and am always wearing bright bold colors. I think Because I wear alot of black, it is my way of incorporating some color.

The poem is beautiful and I will be heading over to read it in full now.

I have not been to San Fran since I was a girl but have always wanted to return. I was in Carmel a few years ago and tried to talk my party into taking the drive down but I was overruled... Maybe someday soon.

bklyn76 said...

thanks for sharing that fabulous poem along with the rest of your heart, c!

J. said...

I 'heart' your heart, my dear! :)
I KNEW you'd pick "Nightswimming" I know how much you love it, and now everytime I hear it I think of you. (And I'm a huge R.E.M. fan, so I hear it often.) Sidenote: today is Michael Stipe's birthday! :)

Tillie said...

I love reading about your passions miss claire. You are oh so wonderful.

When I come back to san francisco (which is hopefully going to be real soon) you just must take me to that spot PRETTY PLEASSSSSSSSSSSSE!

Erin said...

One day I am totally going to go to San Francisco. My grandparents lived there... but I've never been. I need to see it!

I'm so impressed by your dedication to the causes you believe in, Claire. Thanks for sharing your passion.

this free bird said...

Oh Claire. I have mad respect for people who stand up for what they believe in. Love you girl!!


Micaela said...

YOU ARE MY FAVORITE!!! The poem and quote... amazing!!!

i have always been amazed by your passion, complete passion for everything you believe in. You changed my feelings on capital punishment in the few months we've known each other.

i sooo can not wait to have our girls trip and get to spend more than a magical breakfast together! i love you!

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