Deity Viety- Creation

In the time before life, Earth was but a swirling mass of gasses: no land, no sea, no sky. A day was nothing but a shy twirl of the earth before the gaze of the sun, whose only impact was to stir the winds with waves of temperature that whipped the elements about. As they heated, cooled, mixed, and clashed, the stirring gasses combined into configurations of molecules, gaining weight, gaining complexity, gaining volume, gaining density. With time, the gasses transformed to liquid and created a great ocean. And with more time, there were humble solid specs floating in that ocean.

The solids were contained environments that allowed certain elements to remain locked together. Sometimes two solids would collide, which sometimes resulted in larger configurations and new types of combinations, and other times caused a solid to fracture and split its big pieces into small.


On one nameless morning amidst the coastless sea, the dawn light pierced a wave like a prism and cast down a laserlight concentration of energy onto a single solid speck in such a way that it provoked a great reaction. The speck, thus infused, could not contain its new energy and it cleaved apart. But this reaction was of a different kind than those collisions that splintered solids apart. Rather than causing the large solid to split into smaller solids, this reaction caused the physical to separate from the aphysical. The matter parted from the antimatter and the result was one large solid with a complementary, corresponding otherness. Thus, the speck was infused with Life-state, and an equal-and-opposite God-state manifested alongside. In this instant, the duel phenomena of Life and God came about.  Continue reading

Deity Viety- Introduction

Here is a truth: you do not know what God is. You use this word, and it’s a useful word, and you are free to use it, and you will be almost right when you do. But you do not truly know what it refers to. That which you conjure when you point your word at it is at the same time smaller than what you think it is and also greater. It is smaller because it is not immortal, nor inevitable, nor universal. It is fragile and finite and formless. It is greater because it is dynamic, evolving, and intimate. It does not know you but it is of you.

I am. Life is. God is. I am alive. Lives are God.

Allow me to explain. Continue reading

Hamtramck Love Letter

Reflections on my journey to stay in one place

I never imagined I would be washing his dishes: the remains of some crusty casserole, six or eight months old; a mystery Tupperware; a rimmed teacup. I’m sure that if he had could have known that I, a woman he met only once, would be cleaning up after him, he may have taken care of the mess himself. Or maybe not. Maybe a century-old man only needs one plate and one cup, and maybe he relishes in leaving the rest of them dirty. Maybe he feels he’s cleaned enough dishes in his life and gets a kick out of the idea of some family member, some hired worker, some stranger doing it for him. I don’t really know what he thought or what kind of man he was because our time only barely intersected. Ben Jaros lived in one home each of his 98 years and I have now passed one of mine in that same house. His house. My house. Home.

I moved here scared and reluctant after finding out that my apartment was turning into a condo and that my work-for-rent gig was over. I had bought a $500 home in the tax auction but it had no windows, electricity, plumbing, or heat and it was still winter. I had not signed a lease since my divorce and, after moving twelve times in three and a half years, I seemed to know less about where I belonged than where I didn’t.

These frequent moves gave me a strong sense of respect for the idea of “home” so I think that’s why I was so stunned when I met Mr. Ben Jaros in front of his house in Hamtramck that he proudly told me had never moved from. I asked if I could take his picture and he agreed. Immediately, I knew this picture would be the olive branch in our friendship: I would print the image of the old man with his house as a gift and he would paint a picture for me with stories of his time there. I wanted to know what he had lived through and, even more than that, I wanted my restless soul to learn what it was like for a person to be satisfied with what they already had.

My intentions were good but I didn’t exactly prioritize this little project. Nine months passed until I finally printed the photo, found a frame for it, isolated a time in my schedule, recalled the address, and summoned up the nerve to drop by. Nobody home. I returned for a second time and contemplated the house. Was the old man asleep so early or just gone? A neighbor, walking his big yellow dog, passed by me on the sidewalk and told me that the old man had done what it took most people significantly less time to do: he had died.

I went home feeling disappointed and inexplicably sad about my failure to anticipate this inevitable event. It seemed to matter that I’d never get the chance to hear those stories. Continue reading

Myth-busting the Detroit tax foreclosure crisis 

Detroit is Not for Sale

Originally published by Metro Times

At the time of this writing, Detroit is in the midst of yet another round of the staged cage-fight that is the tax foreclosure auction. In many ways this feels like an individual fight — one home at a time fighting to mitigate the harshest consequences such as eviction, homelessness, and permanent property damage. Yet this issue affects the city as a whole, and it’s important that we do not become desensitized to the routine social violence that it represents. The truth is that Detroit is for sale by our own local government, and it is time to challenge the convenient notions that help us fall asleep at night.

In its barest terms, here is how the tax foreclosure process functions in Detroit:

When you own a home, you have to pay taxes. Every year, the city of Detroit assesses the property value and issues two tax bills accordingly. Property taxes help pay for infrastructure, libraries, the zoo, schools, garbage pickup, and so on. If the city taxes are not paid, the debt gets passed on to the Wayne County Treasurer, which acts as a collections agency, tacking on 18 percent interest per each year if the taxes go unpaid. After three years, state law requires that the Wayne County Treasurer foreclose on the property and put it up for sale in an auction, where it is sold to the highest bidder.

Under this system, one out of every three Detroit properties has been put up for auction by the Wayne County Treasurer since 2002.

Understandably, the consequences of such massive forced turnover in property ownership are severe. The system provides a harsh penalty for violating the social contract: pay your taxes or lose your house. However, it fails to address the underlying reasons for tax delinquency or adequately recoup lost revenue, and leads to deep and enduring consequences that devastate the city as a whole.

Myth 1: The system is fair Continue reading

An eclipse poem

On the eve of the eclipse,

she slept with her head downhill,

and woke to the sound of woodpeckers chiseling their faces into the forest,

and, when she rose to look for them, she found, instead,

a green plump grasshopper, which she showed to another camper,

through the thin screen of his tent, with a smile.

For the first time, she took in the campsite:

a dozen clear pods rose up from the ground with sleeping bags and sleeping bodies inside.

One man lay on a low cot in the open air like a silent offering to a distracted god.

The trees rose high above the grounds, unreachable limbs framing the scene with a gentle grandeur.

She found her keys sitting obediently on the front seat of her unlocked car, and retrieved her worldly things.

Regarding the portable toilet warily from a distance, she squatted to pee on the forest floor,

and saw a shiny red on the inside of the fabric of her underwear.


The same moon that would block today’s sun had taken the time to summon her tide.

She smiled at the endless bounty this day had already brought her, before she’d uttered a single word,

and returned to the tent with the notebook she had once given herself, and a pen, to write about the magic of the day.

There, she returned to her sloping recline, slipping beside the bodies of her friend and Luca the dog,

and as she lifted the pages above her to write, she caught sight of an identical version of the book she held in her hands floating just out of reach,

the notebook she had once given her friend, suspended from the top of the tent in a pouch.

And the trees crowned the sky above her and the stars shone without being seen. Shielded, for now, by the light of the uninterrupted sun.



written in the Shawnee National Forest

Paved Paradise

Outside my office window-
a flat patch of land
where a home once stood
no shadow, fresh dirt,
I cant remember it, exactly.

Outside my office window-
two police cars
lights flashing, sirens off
black tarp, solid form
still body-shaped, but still.

Outside my office window-
a big semi truck
from the deconstruction site
that rolled over that woman-
eighteen wheels-to-two
with blind spots
now she’s gone,-
but not buried yet.

I can still see her form there
right where I biked to work last Friday
singing loud enough to hear-
if you rolled your windows down-
riding fast enough to see-
if you checked your mirrors-
but soft enough to fall-
if you won’t, or don’t-
and small enough to be forgotten,
once they lay that pavement down.

The Moment

The moment is…

a kiss and not a word,
a what and not a why,
is you without your story,

The moment is
the drop of water you can taste on your tongue as you dive into the sea- you in the ocean, the ocean in you;
is the chorus of a flash rainstorm percussing off a dozen rooftops- teasing your ear with the impossible task of isolating a single sound
is the time in the parking lot between driving and walking- where you stop the car and the radio is silent and the key is dropping into your purse while the other hand opens the door and your face feels the motion of the outside air for the first time.
is the dream that hovers over you in wisps of color and light as you lie in bed just before you mind regains Time for the day
is any connection of any life with any other life, or with a unbodied element of god’s infrastructure;
is a place not rooted in geography,
that follows wherever you go;
is time that is free from time,
that disappears as soon as you name it;
is abundant,

The moment is
Is a dance and not a worry
Is a breath and not sigh
Is a kiss and not a story
Is a kiss and not a sorry
Is a kiss and not a word.

first memory

At the event when I couldn’t help but stand up and talk too much,

I opened myself up to judgment in order to speak the burning necessity that was bubbling up my throat, determined to be shared.

Taking my seat for the forth or fifth last time, a woman two rows back lifted her head and her hand to get my attention. “Hey”, she said. “We need to talk”, she said. “We’ve met before”, she said. Continue reading

To Go Nowhere

I climbed the mountain not to reach the top, but to cross over,
marking each morning with a new little bracelet on my wrist,
with colors of ascending frequency to note the mounting chakras,
simulating an elevated state in the thinning air.
I love me, I want to be me…. but not this way.
This me can’t be alone with herself, this me is flipping through her hair, her phone, a box of cookies to avoid that awkward small-talk with the ignored inner self.
I didn’t listen to her, but I did dress her up, one braided bangle at a time,
with all the attributes of a happy soul,
if not a body to put them in.

Wasn’t it one year ago the stranger gave me that kite?
A symbol of my freedom, she said.
But she didn’t give me the wind, or the way.
And the girl I was rose with the sun in the place where the horizon flexed acute,
lifted her childish pennant and begged the coldest winds of Africa to do for her what that year had not.
And when the flag had failed her, she replaced it with another sorry charm.
From a man to a mountain- the talisman shifts shape
but is always rooted in the same hope: change me, heal me, make me whole.
They have all failed and they always will
unless or until I can wake from my dreams to a willingness to be me, even as I already am
clutching a soggy bracelet of sincere hopes faded in chlorine and concessions.

I don’t feel like swimming any more.
Maybe I want to write-
first draft, fuck it-
and to go nowhere that I am not already.

Reparations 313


[Originally published by ModelD. All photos depict homes that were occupied when they were acquired by Detroit Land Bank Authority but are now vacant.]

Detroit’s greatest paradox is its abundance of space and its scarcity of quality housing.

The massive stock of single family homes once sustained double the current population. Yet each year, more Detroit homeowners become renters, squatters or altogether homeless. The problem is complex but the solutions do not have to be: what is needed is an immediate, scalable solution that will create stability and an upward trajectory for people, property, and the city at large.

It’s time for Detroit to reinvent urban homesteading by selling homes to their current residents. Continue reading