on traveling alone and the ministry of presence

I didn’t realize I was alone until I was at the Bean. I went to take a picture (ya just gotta do it) and realized I was the only one there who was alone and taking a picture. I realized it again later that day when I had the sudden thought, “I wonder how safe it is to walk alone in this market” and looked around to see if there were any other women walking around alone. There weren’t.

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on traveling alone and the ministry of presence

c h i c a g o

(on going to chicago in 17 days)tumblr_mlaovjebmq1qjvnc4o1_500

Chicago comes back to me sometimes.  Not the city, just Chicago: it’s the driving and the beginning of communion; It’s the open chord: damn, simple pounding chords and i could be crying; it’s the calm found alone in my bed after a long day; it’s that Sunday morning, I felt God say: “listen, i will speak today” and Sunday was a lot of avocado toasts, missed tickets,  unfrozen bananas, and “Danielle, why are you putting the acai bowl in THAT? where did you put the ticket? Where are the tips?”

For my 15 minute break, the guard let me into the staves chapel and I prayed
but forgot to listen.

c h i c a g o

Three Poems: 7:51 am / On Cleaning Out the Car / Michigan Ave

Rilke cautions the young poet to not write about love.

It’s good advice to a certain extent, but from my experience, we have to write shitty poems about romance before we can learn to write about anything else. Part of me wants to apologize for some of the poems I’ve written in the last three years, but it’s all part of the journey and so while I won’t share any more than I already have, I’m not sorry.

Also, I think that every poem is about love in some form (the absence of it, the perversion of it, the love of mornings, of self, of god, of brother, of partner etc.) and so rather than being banned from writing about love, we should readjust the kinds of love we write about.

All that to say, I don’t know if I’ll ever be any good at writing poems. But I want to practice because that’s the only way to really tell. So here are three very short poems. I wrote them all tonight, but each are based off my own journal entries from last semester. In some ways, therefore, these poems transcend time in that they contain both old stories of pain and current moments of joy. If you hate them, it’s ok. me too (depending on the day). They’re works in progress.

As am I. (As are you.)


the surface tension on the cornea is too taught for light
to catch water and the dermis runs with
nerves accustomed to spread eagle sleeps
alone because I forgot your name as if I never knew it. Even more,
I forgot your face enough to see it new.
Esther found a small, toothless smile
and carried it as one would carry a flower picked in autumn and


On Cleaning Out the Car 

Beneath the seat,
we found unsent letters stuck to gum wrappers and
half -drawn monks:
there was a point of reference, but no shadows.

In the console,
we found words about the skin of teeth
(please do not forget the half-drawn monks).
All is shadow.

But we keep them
(the monks, not the letters).


Michigan Ave 
two blinks in the bucolic center of a roaring city
stilled at the glory of a head-tilted-back, upper-belly laugh of
those who have learned that love is aggression
and wait to rest among the lambs ear

Note: each of the journal entries was based on a song that I related to in that moment. While the poems that have emerged don’t completely align with the songs anymore, I still included them because it’s kinda fun.
Another Note: I feel like I’m breaking all the rules of poetry by explaining my process and attaching images and songs to them. If I were really brave and mysterious I’d just post the poems and let them speak for themselves. I’m not quite there yet.
Three Poems: 7:51 am / On Cleaning Out the Car / Michigan Ave