I think, rain.

I wrote this around the time that I started playing piano again. It’s the first and only instrumental song I’ve written and recorded to date. I use to feel that I had to have lyrics when writing songs. I clung to words as the skeletal element; the scaffolding. At some point music-making morphed into a more fluid process. Words fell away. My instruments wanted to sing. And I wanted to listen.

Song written, performed, and recorded by o.dawn.i Thursday, February 23rd, 2012.
Photo made by o.dawn.i Tuesday, April 27th, 2010.

This space.

What do I do with this space?
Where there was you, I suffocate.

Written Sunday, March 17th, 2013.

Photo taken early January, 2013.

Compost you and me.

It’s been decided.
I’m un-invited to the possibility.
You won’t give chase to the chance that
this could be something worth talking about.
Worth fighting about.
Because it has to be perfect, and smooth, and expected.
That’s where the opportunity over-ripens
and is smooshed beyond usability.
Compost is the option.
Compost you and me.

Written Monday, November 5th, 2012 @ Flowers.


Performed, recorded, and mixed by Odawni AJ Palmer.
Original song by Emily and The Woods.

Photograph taken by Odawni AJ Palmer.
Copyright 2011.

I don’t feel it anymore.

I have been itching to do some recording. And here something finally is. For the past few weeks I’ve been thickening my fingertip calluses while working on covers of songs by everyone from MJ, to The Cutting Crew, to Porthishead, to Blonde Redhead. I’ve also been trying to get something original out. Like trying to squeeze the last bit of minty freshness out of a toothpaste tube.

All those many hours. And yet. I feel my musical self has been sub-subpar. I’m not entirely pleased with the end-product of this one but being OK with creative endeavors that are, mmm. OK. Is, well.  Just fine. It’s all part of the process – indeed.

Must. Keep. Practicing.

This is a cover of a song by William Fitzsimmons, “I Don’t Feel It Anymore”. With Priscilla Ahn. I stumbled upon a remixed version of it on my M83 station on Pandora while studying today. Please excuse the crunchy bass end on this tune. It was wanting to be the life of the party this evening.

Wonderment: where it begins.

My second-oldest brother, Tony, recently asked Sarah to be his bride, and I couldn’t be happier for them both.

Sarah’s parents and our parents met for the first time at our parents’ house in Port Townsend the other weekend and the ‘how we met’ stories were shared (so I hear. I drove over for dinner with everyone the following day – I missed them, the stories!)

Tony and Sarah are planning two weddings: a winter wedding in Sagada, the mountain province in the Philippines where our mom is from, and a summer wedding at Fort Worden in Port Townsend. To better prep Sarah for her Philippino wedding, we whipped out photos from Wylie and Vickie’s Sagada wedding (our oldest brother and sister-in-law), who consequently had a Sagada wedding and on the same day that Tony and Sarah will tie the knot!

Years ago, I remember looking through a photo album of old black-and-white shots of when Mom and Dad first met, so while Tony, Sarah, and Sarah’s parents perused the wedding photos, I moved furniture away from the doors to the enormous ‘photo’ closet in the TV room to hunt down the album. I didn’t find it. I found something better: photos from Mom and Dad’s courtship in Sagada when Dad was in the Peace Corps, photos and a newspaper clipping of their wedding (“US Volunteer Pick Sagada Lass for Bride”), snapshots of the beginning of their lives together when Dad stole Mom away to the US, and photos of Mom’s parents.

It’s difficult to imagine what your parents’ lives looked like before you were born. It’s impossible to know how they interacted as young 20-somethings, or what their day-to-day lives were like. This is one of the reasons I am enamored by photographs. They capture visual snippets of history that can never otherwise be seen or experienced again.

Looking through the photos of Mom and Dad, I feel like I learned more about who they are, or, at least, who they were as young adults, and I realize that we have more in common than I was aware. I mean, look at all the photos of Dad with a camera! And, as I was telling Jake the other day, “my mom looks so much like me!” To which he responded, “Uh, I think it’s actually the other way around.”

As we peered closely through pages of faded photos, I couldn’t help but recognize that Tony and Sarah are at about that time in their lives – they’re at the beginning of their togetherness. They’ll have their own album, too. And it will hold photos for their future kids to some day page through in wonderment.

You can view the photo set here.


Given that I’ve been on somewhat of a ‘covers’ streak, I’ve been toying with the idea of covering a song from each of my top 10 island discs.  One of those is Massive Attack’s Bluelines record.  I hadn’t listened to that album in a while so browsed the tracks the other night.  Any of the tunes on there would be tough for me to cover.  I’m slowly making my way toward taking on more intimidating and creatively demanding pieces.  In the meantime, I’ll play with covering ‘easier’ songs and focus on playing more with using different effects and creative techniques.  This is a tune from a more recent Massive Attack album, Mezzanine.


It’s not an easy thing to do if you haven’t been taught what it means to forgive.  If you haven’t been coached, as a kid, on emotional things.  Relationships.  How to identify or manage what comes up for you internally.  It’s not an easy thing.

I have spent a lot of time thinking, written a lot of words, and seen a lot of therapists to work toward accomplishing and dealing with many things, but one of the big big goals I’ve been working toward has been to learn to forgive.  This wasn’t a goal I had determined from the outset.  It’s something I’ve come to realize as a necessary practice to move forward.  To move on.

I forgive my parents for their shortcomings as parents.  I forgive the circumstances I was thrust into; under which I came to know and understand the world.  I forgive the various people who’ve betrayed my trust, whether they meant to or not.  I forgive myself for whatever reason(s) I’ve been flogging my self – internally.  But is forgiveness something that holds its stance indefinitely once it’s been established?  Is it a floating tectonic that comes together with the rest of you when you find it, but has the ability to break away or find you again with each shift?

I have come to understand everything we deal with or experience in life as a process.  Forgiving.  Understanding.  Trusting.  Learning.  Falling in love.  And through all of the many processes we experience.  Through the choices we make, the mistakes we realize, the people we forgive.  Compassion is needed to usher in all of these things.  Compassion is needed.


Not like a switch.           

Falling in love:
Not like a switch
Not a tock, not a tick
Not a flop, not a flip
Not a drop in a wishing well
Not the rub on the lamp
that triggers the grant.
Not the transition
from position to position
to position
in dance.
Not the push,
the rush
of a last breathe;

Falling in love.
a viscuous flow,
on porous surface;
sure constance.
cracked crust, alive
atop fiery blood (breathing)
thick as amniotic juice, heavy on the pulp.

 Written Friday, April 27th, 2012 @ The Living Room.




By Stephen Dunn

The torturer removes a fingernail:
No forgiveness for him.
An old Nazi softens, laments:
No, put him to death.
He who hates:
Give him a mirror and a gun.
He who hates in the singular:
Forgive him, once.
The crimes of lovers:
Forgive them later, as soon as you can.
Anyone who hurts someone you love:
Saints, you forgivers,
we could never be friends.
The betrayer, the liar, the thief:
Forgive anything you might do your self.
The terrorist pulls a pin:
Forgive the desperate, the homeless,
the crazed
The terrorist pulls a pin:
No, no more good reasons.
The rat in my crawlspace, the vicious rat:
No forgiveness necessary.
I, who put out the poison:
God of rats, forgive me once again.

But this does not mean surrender.

Another week or so of seemingly helpless hibernation comes to a close.                                                                                                                                   
Another stretch of seclusion behind closed blinds and locked doors.  Another cognitive battle between the voices.  One attempts to fool the other.  Sometimes they are neck-and-neck and I can muster a grip to pull ahead just enough to put the keys in the ignition.  Just enough to get up and do the ‘normal’ things.  Sometimes the trickster, with its slithered tongue, runs faster, yells louder, sings sweeter, and all of me falls backward onto its lap and lays cradled in its velvet talons, as I have done many times before.  But this does not mean surrender.

After the past year of decisively facing it head-on, I tire of saying the word, “depression”.  I tire of delivering these kinds of phrases: “I was feeling depressed” or “I fell into another hole”.  However, not acknowledging when you are experiencing symptoms of depression is not helpful.  In fact, ignoring it is detrimental.  One cannot successfully treat one’s own depression if it has not been recognized.   To successfully recover from a depressive episode, one must appreciate depression – recognize its significance and magnitude.   Neither of these are easy to do when you are in the midst of an episode.  Even when armed with years of experience and considerable knowledge of this ‘mood disorder’, it is not necessarily easier to peel depression’s intangible film from your soul’s skin.  The experience of it does not get easier.  You cannot simply ‘think’ it away.  But.  Depression is manageable.  Depression is manageable.

There were times during the past week when I felt as though my efforts to manage this wicked emotional jack-in-the-box were being erased with each successive dark day.  But I have to disagree.  I have to disagree with those feelings and that voice.  This is one part of the lengthy process to snuff out depression’s voice.  If you hear it sometimes.  If it tells you to give up, to give in, to forget about trying to halt its maniacal and cyclical lies.  Lies that you are not good enough, strong enough, smart enough.  _______ enough.  Disagree.  Don’t accept it.  Press on.  See those boot straps?  Get a firm grip and pull!  As my dear friend C texted me today, “U can can can do this.”   And you can.  If you need, ask a friend for reminders like these whenever your dark cloud descends.  Supportive and encouraging statements from people who care for you are immeasurable.  This includes telling these things to yourself.  Amidst a mind maelstrom, I try to hang on to this –  Be kind, compassionate, and patient with yourself.  This is manageable.  Believe.

Another week or so of seemingly helpless hibernation comes to a close.


“Watch out for intellect, because it knows so much it knows nothing and leaves you hanging upside down, mouthing knowledge as your heart falls out of your mouth.”
― Anne Sexton

Impromptu pain.

Two new poems sans titles and a January photo.


Lemons squeezing the past week or so.

I felt the small of my back this morning
inside my spine, I felt the beginning,
the tappings of a bruise.
“Ah, I remember this.”  This body talk
asking that I pay attention
take better care,
your emotions, your cognition, and your ‘heart’
aren’t the only parts affected by this.
Eventually corporeal consequences

nudge, nudge you to attention.

Written Tuesday, April 10th, 2012.


Last Tuesday to today
each hour of each day laced with a thousand and one emotions,
give or take two or a few.
I can’t name them all.
Some can’t be described
They burn between bones
– canines to cartilage –
and nestle in places we can’t see,
waiting to be scratched, punctured by the inevitable
Life burrs sticking to thin white socks
at the ankles:
death, disappointment, heartache, loss,…lies you believe.
Shall I go on?
Betrayal; accidental, unintentional, impromptu pain.

Written Friday, April 14th, 2012.


I’ll be the one with the purple scarf and widest smile.


(For Mr. C)




The waiting before a first in-person experience with a mostly stranger.
Did I put a voice I wanted to hear
to the text on the screen?
The waiting…
It’s not the same waiting
like waiting for the bus.
Waiting for your laptop to boot up.
Waking before your early-set alarm, half-awake; half asleep;
waiting for it to go off.
Waiting for the end of the week to begin.
Hurry, hurry up.
The waiting.  This waiting.
It’s a shiver down the spine.
A lucid dream not yet realized.
The first look, the first time eyes meet.
There’s only a first.
There’s only that first moment.
As every moment is a first.
But the ‘first’ I’m referring to
is a bit more shaky, squiggly, amorphous, foggy.
These waiting moments –
acute, dense, concentrated.
Waiting for an optical illusion to appear
and make sense of itself.


Written Sunday, December 4th, 2012 @ Joe Bar.