05 June 2020

for breonna

for breonna

pausing the once project right now, for a little bit. to reflect and to direct focus where it really needs to be. today, specifically, on the black life of breonna taylor, an emt from louisville, kentucky who was killed on the night of march the thirteenth when the louisville police stormed the wrong house, sprayed it with twenty rounds, shooting breonna eight times, killing her in her bed.

today would have been breonna's birthday. today, she would have been 27 years-old. 

actions we must take: #birthdayforbreonna

28 May 2020

117//365

117//365

once

I saw myself tumbling down subway steps. knees buckling, limbs folding soundlessly beneath me. I saw it all-- the reactions of people standing on the platform, my bag following its own airborne trajectory. the way I might fight to recover balance, pretend it did not happen. I knew I would never stand at the top of another set of stairs and not imagine this very scenario.

27 May 2020

116//365

116//365

once

we took the back roads home from savannah, cut through small georgia towns along the way. spotted an old roadside motel and pulled over. as I got out of the car, I noticed a man in army fatigues, sitting in a plastic lawn chair the color of christmas trees. I could feel him watch me as I positioned my camera, knew the questions were next. what are you doin, girl? welp, I told him. I'm taking a picture of this old motel sign. I do that sometimes. I smiled and turned away then, looked through the viewfinder at the old sign. better do it quick, he said. before they tear this down. they wanna change everything about the south. 

here's hoping, I thought, as I got back in the car. here's hoping we change as much as we can. because I knew he wasn't really talking about the sign.

26 May 2020

115//365

115//365

once

I watched as they walked into the woods together, towards the old cemetery that has always felt like a secret. I heard them laughing from across the field, heard them move through the trees, knew they'd return before dark with stories both true and false.

25 May 2020

114//365

114//365

once

I booked a hotel room with a clawfoot tub the color of eggshells and a window with a fire escape and a view of the streets below because on my fortieth birthday, I needed to feel a little bit like I was l living the life my fourteen year-old self dreamt of.

24 May 2020

113//365

113//365

once

I vowed to seek out slides, to go down as many as possible. I made it official, put it on a list. I told myself there were no good reasons why a grown woman could not/should not enjoy slides. or swings, for that matter. I stand by this belief.

23 May 2020

112//365

112//365

once

I took a walk down edgewood avenue, past familiar bus stops and bars, past new murals and the remains of old ones. I stopped to make small talk with the owner of a barbershop, who invited me inside for a few minutes. the soft metallic hum of the clippers, the occasional sound of the broom, layers of conversation. if I could have tucked myself into a corner there for the rest of the afternoon, I would have. 

22 May 2020

111//365

111//365

once

I watched a painter work in new orleans, near the iron fence that encloses jackson square. she used a cardboard palette to mix her paints-- greens, red and yellows like fresh rainbow chard, the sounds of beyonce coming from what I could only assume was a phone. her voice muffled, as if she were singing through a sock. across the way, amber light on buildings, a scene that begged to be painted.

21 May 2020

110//365

110//365

once

I walked down aisle after aisle with my cousin at a sprawling fleamarket in rural texas, felt the scorch of the sun on my neck, thick layers of dust and sweat on my skin and knew (in my bones) there was no place else in the world I'd rather be.

20 May 2020

109//365

109//365

once

I woke up early on a wednesday morning to pick strawberries, arrived to find the field already teeming with pickers. I got to work at once, plucked berries until my fingers were stained bright red and sweat stung my eyes, until I'd completely filled the two buckets I brought with me. drove back home with the windows down, the air sweet and thick with the fruit, the juice still on my fingertips, on the steering wheel, everywhere.

19 May 2020

108//365

108//365

once

I sat on the concrete stoop of a friend's house in north portland. realized I'd seen more rainbows in the one year since we'd moved to the pacific northwest than in all my combined years of living in illinois, ohio and georgia.

18 May 2020

107//365

107//365

once

after we'd spent all our money on admission to the tulip fields (and the gas it took to drive there), I made myself a small bouquet of discarded tulips. which cost nothing, but did not survive the long drive back home. 

17 May 2020

106//365

106//365

once

we spent an afternoon on the humid streets of downtown athens, georgia. flipped through records at wuxtry, books at avid. checked to see what was playing at the old movie theatre. chased ezra's neon yellow rubber ball as it pinged across a busy street. meandered down narrow brick-paved alleyways into vintage shops stacked floor to ceiling with musty goods. considered a quick lunch at waffle house but remembered the time ward found a spoon in the bathroom there and decided against it. landed instead at the burger place around the corner and as we sat out on the patio at the table with the poppy red oilcloth covering and waited for our food, decided athens might just be the perfect place for us to retire.

16 May 2020

105//365

105//365

once

I watched a crowd of sunflowers bow their heavy heads as the sun dimmed and felt my own shoulders drop an inch or two. 

15 May 2020

104//365

104//365

once

I stopped in chinatown for pork buns and moon cakes but left with a silk cherry red fan instead.