September 19, 2017

the passenger

Alongside he rides
breathing hypnotically
almost deliciously
like a triple chocolate brownie
I guiltily indulge

His name
many things
to each one of us

I envy some of you
flapping in the wind
loose and flabby
stronger than He

I can't get Him out
He's stuck 
He stinks
He wants me
or Lost
in a crowd
swallowed whole

I've seen Him large
He filled my room
He swoops He cries
a warful sound

When He's small
I've won
I think
beside me Bright
behind is Gone

it's a trick
He splits and splatters

He's got you now
stealing Beauty

I can't grab him
with my Love

He's too slippery dark
molasses mud
filthy heart

He gathers it all 
the Shit we
shake out

He keeps it warm

a throbbing


September 10, 2017


I have tried to fit you in
many narratives along the way

each one a scene
in which
you blur 

the quietness roars
rushing in
Sahara sand

immobile I have

wading through

mementos left behind
their value much less
as distance grows

a soft haze takes shape
in sky height reach

we squint in wonder

the machine drones on
we live 
we die

your solemn nothingness
refuses me

an engagement more true
a diamonds peak

in my endless stretch
towards what

I've turned 
so often


your cloudy face
feels like


August 24, 2017


before the times were like this 
they were interior

we rolled up our windows with our arms

each movement

when we said goodbye
it was evident
our eyes took the time

but the future arrived

into the spot shining light
holding hands like children in a recital
endless applause

the evidence is in your hands
and in my brain
these strangers picking us apart
climbing into our smiles
and vacant representations

i feel like i'm everywhere
a sneeze
a virus
a familiar

August 20, 2017


the air slowed down
you sped up
i never thought i'd return

again put my lips
on your palm

another spin
this merry-go-round

it makes me laugh
my morals
stuck beneath my shoes

we're secret spies
in countries
all our own

dialects unknown

so again we
play the roles


ghosts dreaming

July 28, 2017

'G E N T L Y W I L D' ......... my solo exhibit in Portland, Oregon

On Friday August 4th, 6pm Wolff Gallery reopens in Eastside Portland with Gently Wild, a photo-based solo exhibition by Los Angeles-based artist Calethia DeConto. DeConto’s series is a mixture of black-and-white photographs, cyanotypes, and collages that reflect her deep spiritual connection to the natural world, particularly the ocean. DeConto also draws inspiration for much of her imagery from the Yoruba goddess of the living ocean, Yemayá, who is believed to be the source of all life and whose colors are traditionally blue and white. 

'Tender Mysteries', 2017 by Calethia DeConto
 Edition 1/5
Original Photography and Handmade Collage 18" X 24"

WHEN: First Friday, August 4th 6-8 pm

WHERE: 2804 SE Ankeny St. Portland OR 97214

May 7, 2017

The False Floor

the wandering placement of your feet
draws (nonsensical) shapes

in circles i sit
designated targets
in sameness

the world you know
holds you
so i release my grasp
like yesterday's balloon
or tomorrow's wilted rose

i've never danced on sand dunes
or said
"I love you."
with weight or breathless
it's not been mine

tap dancing on
this false floor
the hollows beneath

April 14, 2017


that old skylight opened 

struck by lightning 




holding something lost

briefly cupping

a birth of star

light years behind

already dead

as it glowed

their rituals in repose
bathed in fear
clothed in hope

the world has its ways
to spin us 
in love
or pain

and we think 
all over each other
like paint sealed

how sweet the air
must be

on the other side

March 29, 2017


the crushing happened instantly
down she went
flattened like pizza dough
a ball of potential
breath stolen
vacuumed away
blown to bits
across the street
down the hill
she flew
hacked and coughed 

wounded bundled
aching bones
on your deathbed
she stayed
too many years

rosy cheeks pinched her face
words unsaid hung 
rotted meat
butcher's maze
buzzing stinging salty

these are the times we learn the most
kicked in the gut
illusions delusions
melting ice cream
in the dirt

a re-birth delayed
came the time
dig a hole
deep as she could
open exhale red-hot lungs
muddy grave

luscious woman
bountiful beauty
silent descent

deeper than you

February 26, 2017

The Still House

The last light of today beckons 
top of the hill
a faint shade of blue gets darker with each blink
Venus, the evening star fiery white
brilliantly hovers
planetary eye
ebony trees 
always patient
like sentinels


The house is still
save for mouse-like me
boiling water
that whispers
rather than whistles
even the walls seem to 

cold night

a fire
sounds nice.

February 19, 2017


Wispy, 2007

If you want me to remember you
I do

all of me

This season grey
rain swollen
blackwet trees
covered in
delicious time
to ponder
to find
microscopic snails
peacock pyrite
handspun fibers
of banana
foreign wool
weaving things
I'll never gift
to you

The grass lies down
slumped green tired

If you want me to remember you
I do

parts of me

To the top of places I go
smiling eyes
quick dart
slow down
marbled ground
clay beneath my nails
music lost
animal chorus

The words you do not use
leaves a bruise
a blue black purpleish hue
that I hope does not fade.

Eve by Auguste Rodin

February 12, 2017

Centrifugal Force

Part One

We didn't know a storm was coming when we set out on our bikes that day. The plan was to ride into town and sit by the water with our books of the moment. I'm not sure what I was reading that weekend. Often I would steal a couple Stephen King books my dad had finished. I devoured novels (the thicker the better) and was quite content to dive into Ray Bradbury or Maya Angelou for five hours on a lovely Saturday afternoon. My spot was on our ivory love seat next to the window and dad's was on the larger matching couch.  I loved that love seat. I loved calling it a love seat. We were proud of those couches, long overdue comforts for our brand new mobile home. Isn't it funny how you adopt furniture like it's a family member?

Days like that we didn't talk until the sun had moved clear across the trailer park. Shadows grew longer and one of us would get up to stretch, open the door to exclaim about losing an entire afternoon mumbling about time. However, on this particular day we made a plan to get our asses in gear. I'm sure we packed sandwiches: usually peanut butter and jelly or tuna fish with either pistachios or plain potato chips in those little plastic bags that folded. I hated those baggies, the snacks always fell out. I think they came with twist-ties which I never used. Dad always carried a backpack and I had a fanny pack to stash a pack of Sweet Tarts I hoped he'd buy plus whatever little shells or stones I'd surely find. I was nine, he was thirty and it was just the two of us.

The main road leading to town wasn't a bike friendly route, but it was the only way there. We left the nearly silent dirt road in our small community. Dad barked orders at me, "Go faster, stay to the right, stop weaving in and out, use hand signals!" I could always hear a held back chuckle just beneath the surface. I knew he was trying to make me stronger. Looking back, I can see it worked. Tobacco fields and pine trees lined the road filling my nostrils with earth and familiarity. I'm not sure how many miles but it seemed to take forever as most things do to children. The sun browned my skin and white clouds beckoned us towards Swansboro and the Atlantic Ocean. The General Store welcomed us and our trusty steeds(I was really into Little House on the Prairie, Native Americans and hardy women living the pioneer life). We didn't have a t.v. at that time so my imagination was a wondrous place and as an only child I had endless freedom to let it run wild.

THE GENERAL STORE was the the best place in all of North Carolina as far as I was concerned. The year was 1990 but it may as well have been 1950 inside that place. It was filled with stick candies in swirly colors, golden honey in tiny jars, fancy greeting cards on thick paper, sodas in bottles with hinged well made lids that reminded me of Germany and the beers my dad loved there. I missed Europe and its strangeness. Everything in Frankfurt had been different and I ached for the smell of tiny see through green erasers attached to foreign pencils, long red skinny sweet-n-sour licorice in white paper bags. My mom used to let me walk across the street to buy sweets myself with a handful of Deutschmarks. I missed the wild white horses we fed apples to after school and the way the wood floors smelled in the enormous room at the top of our apartment building. The light was glorious in that space. I loved to run up all the flights of stairs and tiptoe in the vastness, spinning and feeling the ghost of Anne Frank, or so I thought.

Swansboro had its own ghosts and they called to me in so many ways. I can see that now. The Native blood was steeped like strong tea in every patch of dirt we walked upon. I'd spend hours digging up fossils in our yard and feeling eyes on me in the woods. Twenty seven years later my experiences from that land still sing.

I walked the aisles of the store looking at all the wonderful things in baskets: funny jams, kaleidoscopes and pinwheels. Seascape postcards we always bought to mail to the long line of friends left behind in other towns, for my grandma (and papa) who often sent perfect cursive letters to us;  postage stamps, a cream soda and a seat near the sea with my dad. A perfect Saturday. The boats drifted by, we laughed about the time we tried to fish, I caught an eel that bit me on the finger and how the Japanese man nearby silently wielded a huge knife to chop the eel in half freeing me, then asked if he could take the slippery devil home.  

The lazy day passed with sparkling sun spots on calm waters and passersby with dogs and small children running. Dad's dark hair and blue eyes fit in with the people around us, but I always felt out of place in that beautiful, bittersweet backwoods town. I'd look at his face for acceptance and nowhere else. We were two space cadets flying by the seat of our pants. A mismatched perfect match.

After awhile the clouds darkened and he went inside to ask the owner if she'd heard anything about rain. I wandered in restless and ready to get back to our little silver trailer among the pines. I heard her voice rise in that southern drawl I still hardly recognized. 

"Ya'll rode your bikes here? Oh you wanna use our phone for a ride?  You got someone you can call? There's a hurricane comin'. It ain't s'posed to be real big or nuthin', but you can't ride them bikes out there." 

She stood behind the counter with her pale chubby fingers tapping the wooden counter. I could feel my dad's testosterone levels rise. Uh oh. He was a Marine Goddamnit. I could hear his thoughts, and even though a nervous knocking appeared in the depth of my belly I knew we would surely be riding our bikes home. We walked down the wide weathered steps, the crunching of gravel led us to our trusty steeds just as big fat rain drops hit our grim faces.

"Let's go."

February 11, 2017

strangers on this road we are on...

"So where are you going to I don't mind

If I live too long I'm afraid I'll die

So I will follow you wherever you go

If your offered hand is still open to me

Strangers on this road we are on

We are not two we are one"

February 10, 2017


the last coiling
came tenderly


slow dancing
around words
like vines

i forgot my namesake
drunken sinking with your 

on me

i should have remembered

though how can one know
how muddled these things

we're light trapped in a cage
locked by ourselves
tricky sticky shadows

i need a spell
a potion

to place you among
hardly remembered
once enamoured

in the amber light
some nights
dance alone
slow beating drums
mournful spheres

snaking spine

February 7, 2017


a darkened room
hollowed sound
bring me in
hold me down
this world spins
too fast
i cannot be
silent safety

fold me 
origami small
don't let me fall

February 5, 2017


slipping you
in the dark
en pointe over rocks
moments lost
dissolving paradox
reading-ripples night light moon
your bare wrist
calls to me
unsaid saying

 mise en place

weave you gently in
skin touch skin

begin again

take the cue
of your veins
tree shaped lungs
stardust reins
unfold yourself
loose the tight

let our death
be what might
lift your gaze

see beyond
roughest cliffs 
lonesome night

leave behind
thoughts you think
soon you'll see
our road 
bends wide

wildflowers appear

come inside

spiral stairs
you are right on time

up you wind
softly tread
i know your steps
withdrawing exploding
Timid Lion

patience is my scent
breathe in 
sweet embers burn


the walk is long
the years accrue
i'll be where
sea meets blue

digging for us
same as