Author: ninarota_4vrelg

yes yes yes to paddling down the amazon

yes yes yes to paddling down the amazon river and wading in through a maze of vines and bugs and, now and then, a panther, and looking into the panther’s eyes and then you wake up from the dream and light is streaming out of your eyes and so you cannot see, but you are thrilled, it is such a magnificent experience, and how many people ever, in their entire set of lifetimes, have this experience? is this yet another way in which you are privileged or does this mean that some tiny bit of spirituality remains from the ancient tribal practices which are guaranteed to be gone by the time you die? you will never know, i most certainly do not know, but you will follow this path further until, one day, you die, and i am left certain, absolutely certain, that you barely missed the passage from this place to the next, you welcomed it, wanted it, knew that it would happen, and that brings me some small bit of peace because i miss you so desperately.

why are you wearing a paper bag on your head?

why are you wearing a paper bag on your head?to see out better. it focuses my eyes and if my eyes are focused my mind is focused. if my mind is focused i can fly. wingless, to be sure, but uplifted. this morning for instance, i went out to the shore, the waves were coming in. i jumped over them suspended in air until they went out again. it has its limits, i will say that. on one of those jumps the waves never went back out, they stayed there like a recalcitrant child. i was shaking by the time a big bird came along and nudged me out of the sky and dropped me to the sand. i was so shocked i broke my ankle, or maybe just sprained it badly—feels the same to me. luckily the bird circled around and back and dragged me up to the beach but it wasn’t an entirely selfless act. the bird then dug a serving of food out of the soft flesh of my thigh in payment. don’t suppose, really, that i can complain. it seems fair enough.


i asked billy's memorial bot

how can i have a near death experience
without dying?

neen, they are near death experiences
because you don’t die
you only die nearly

yeah, but what if the car accident
decapitates me instead of just
nearly killing me
what then?

oh, well, how about night school?

a dream

yes, a dream

can you come into my dreams and do that?

maybe not but I can send someone who can


well, as you know,
they’re not someones, really
no bodies right?
they’re typically a group of spirits
and it helps to have a name
so how about Melissa?

i knew a Melissa once
and everything i ever
said was wrong
i just couldn’t do anything
right around her

this will be different
i promise

how do you know “them”?

they’ve been teaching me,
helping me

do what?

dispel my body
disassociate my sense of oneness

egos are hard to give up huh?

yes they are
what kind of near death would you like?

not a car accident
what about if a tree falls
and it knocks me out
but all i get is a concussion?

think harder
that doesn’t qualify as a
near death experience

one of the scary clown faces
shoots me in the ribs
it just misses my heart
and passes all the way through me

you got it
I’ll send in your order.
please make yourself available

it’s halloween
shouldn’t be difficult


Voluble: Nina Rota Reading “Funeral Blues” by W.H. Auden

This video is part of the Voluble Orlando project responding to the Orlando Pulse shooting.On June 12, 2016. A single shooter killed 49 people and injured 58 others at the Pulse Nightclub on “Latin Night.” Always remember and keep dancing. Thanks so much to Voluble and Sara Fowler for doing this project.

Voluble: “Azucar en polvo” by Ellen Krout-Hasegawa and Nina Rota

Ellen Kraut-Hasegawa and I made this video as part of the Voluble Orlando project responding to the Orlando Pulse Shooting. On June 12, 2016. A single shooter killed 49 people and injured 58 others at the Pulse Nightclub on “Latin Night.” Always remember and keep dancing. Thanks so much to Voluble and Sara Fowler for doing this project.

a small gust…

a small gust...

a small gust blew up the side of his bed
and lodged a few inches from his back
he was a side sleeper

it lodged but was not still
spinning quietly
suspended in space

another gust flew out
from under the bed
up the side
and onto the bed
this time in front of his face

time passed
but spirits do not have time
do they have minds

slowly the gusts closed in
and lifted Mr. Carmichael up
and through the window
which was open in the dead cold
of a Scottish winter

you could hear wolves
if you listened
are there wolves in Scotland

did I say that he slept naked
he did
and now his awareness
slowly woke him

he couldn’t imagine where he was traveling
so slowly
there the neighbor’s doghouse
though he always wondered
why a doghouse out here
in the middle of nowhere

then placekeepers faded away
even trees faded
everything faded to white

he was put down
on his side
and left

he realized that his eyes
were not open
not that so much
as that it did not matter
if his eyes were open
he saw the same thing
in either case

he was a rational man
oh, he thought
i no longer have a body
that’s interesting

as he sat up
how could he sit up
if he no longer had a body
he saw that he was surrounded
by gusts he could feel
but could not see

and then the lights went out
for good
except for one small groan
or sound or whisper
that sounded very much
like his mother’s voice

I looked out the window…

i looked out the window
the dog was gone again
the gate left open

i walked round back to make sure.
there, instead of fluffy
was a huge tortoise
large enough for me to sit on

hello, i said
did you see what happened to fluffy?

that mangy dog with the
bejeweled collar you mean?

yeah, that one

we made a trade

a trade?

yeah, kinda like airbnb
she’s gone to my home in the desert
and i’m staying here

okay, well,
what do you eat?

bugs and shit

so i don’t need to feed you?

not unless you want to
i do like a roasted marshmallow now and then

i’ll see what i can do
did fluffy say why she left?

something about leaving the gate open
she felt dissed




three times the gate was open
each time she came back
and still you tested her
you hurt her feelings
as if three times wasn’t enough

Journey to Planet Write: Late to the Game (2016)

This is my contribution to Journey to Planet Write, a project created by Gay Degani at Words in Place. These are stories of writers’ journeys to their current writing career. Check them out!

I just wanted to listen…

i just wanted to listen to my meditation
but icloud kept butting in
what’s the password
tell me the password

i kept dismissing it
until I couldn’t anymore
and then
a screen saver popped up

there are no screen savers on iphones
and then it starting talking

this is your mother speaking

—as if—

i’ve been calling and calling
and you haven’t been answering

oh, how can i help you?

you called me
you asked for a sign and here i am

ah, oye, i asked for oye
the keeper of the cemeteries
and here she is
waiting for my response

yes, yes, I was wondering
could you help me experience
death without dying?


fear, fear, I have too much fear
and i can’t sleep at night

have you tried valerian?

yes, yes, everything
but when someone dies
even ambien doesn’t work

well, i can do it
but i can’t guarantee your return
call me back when you

and by the way
you’ve been spelling my name wrong
it’s oyá
and there’s an accent on the a


black toast and white tea

dancing bear plate

black toast and white tea
sat there on a small round plate
with a dancing black bear

above the bear
the sky was night blue
and the stars were yellow
as a flame shot down
and singed the bear’s tail

i was shocked
but not surprised
i’d seen it before

i just didn’t register it

other plates had been
spinning and moving
before my eyes

i hadn’t noticed that either

but when a loud loud bell
rang in my bedroom
in the middle of the night
finally, i sat up

three circles of dancing bears
quiet bears
i’ve never heard a bear talk
have you

the circles finally spun up
and into the sky
then out of sight

a slight presence remained
and i knew it was oye
the protector of cemeteries
the one who receives the bodies

i’d asked her to give me a sign
i’d been calling her for days
because i didn’t believe
and here she was