The Water Portfolio



This folio was designed and printed by the estimable Charles Overbeck at Eberhardt Press one year after he designed and published Keesha and Joanie and JANE (a surely classic example of " ... and now for something completely different"). It was sparked by Portland's Recycled Rain Project, founded by Sara Sjol and co-curated by Sara McCormick in 2014; they placed two of these poems in their gallery show. After that, I added the third and talked with Charles about how we might make the effect last a little longer. The Water Portfolio is a set of three broadsides, each one a poem about water and other fundamental necessities.  [Out of print - but I have a few copies, so if you need one, flash me an email.]



(always, writers say, the light on the water
shines like diamonds, shines like gold
but the truth is that gold, and that diamonds
want only to shine like the light on the water)

When the rain wind comes, green leaves turn over greysilver
but that tree, there, who can say why or how it happens
that one’s leaves turn gold – over there, across the river, see?

running liquid, rushing
west over the land, west
to this cold water, thrashing
its white hair, racing


Impossible to hold, necessary as light to the living, water is both literal and metaphoric in this stunning set of poems, The Water Portfolio. Arcana gives us “light on water” as an image of hope and beauty, showing us such images are everywhere, creating “the shivering glimmering path” that leads to anywhere worth being.

….... Kirsten Rian – Poetry Editor, The Oregonian


She Said


One of the first pieces I wrote when I returned to themes of motherhood and reproductive justice in the late 1990s is “She Said” – published originally in Oregon's feminist literary/art journal Calyx, and then as a tiny chapbook designed by Daniel Arcana with cover art by Natalie Frigo. Seeded by memories of Chicago's pre-Roe abortion underground clinic called JANE, it’s a precursor to What if your mother and serves as that book’s conclusion. In 2011, it was brought back into print in this pocket-size zine by Lantz Arroyo of Radix Media with a wrap-around version of Natalie's cover drawing and a new introduction.  [Out of print - but I think I have a few copies, so if you need one, flash me an email and I'll search.]




On the phone she said, I have a friend who's got a problem, but she couldn't get to a phone so I'm calling for her. Do you know what I mean? Is this the right place?

She stood on the back steps outside the counselor's apartment and said, This is mi prima, my cousin, from Mexico. Can you talk Spanish to her? ¿Habla un poco? ¿Un poquito? ¡Si, gringa! We will do this.

When we told her she should pay whatever she could afford, she was quiet a minute and then said, I think I can get nine dollars.

After the cervical injection, she said, How did you learn all this? Did you read a book? Is there a book?


She looked at the clear plastic sheet on the mattress, the speculum and the syringe. Then she laughed and said, You ladies somethin, doin this up in here; you somethin, all right.


She Said "operates on the emotional and political sides of the brain at once" - James Tracy







Working with Mac Kieffer at Ash Creek Press, I made this signed/numbered edition of a folded broadside, five poems in an elegant little booklet printed on pale cream card stock. Mac chose the tiny fire from a set of possible cover drawings I'd found, and suggested we do it in red, delighting me. POEMS is the result of our collaborative deliberation, thinking together about words and pictures. I'd worked with the folks at Ash Creek before: Mac did my business card and the original tiny chapbook "She Said" and Susan Bloom did terrific design work on a Judith-for-rent flyer as well as a lovely two-sided program for the 2007 Grace Paley Memorial - which she presented to the organizers as a gift!  [Out of print]



The First True Thing

You’re sad to leave the first true thing
the first true thing you know won’t stay
it runs like water all down your life
rushes hot behind your heart
slides inside like dreams talking;
deep whispers in your mind will go
on telling that true thing.

That true thing will go down rocks
into ground on past deep winter
gone, but you can know it, you can
remember; use it to learn language
for listening, for seeing things
when they’re really there, yes
and when they’re not. 


Did you make this poem yourself? It's good!
— A farmer at the Portland Farmer's Market
(after reading an excerpt)