[Excerpt from performance at the Family Affair – Seattle, WA, July 20, 2016]:

Seven generations: Native American and many other cultures believe that we are playing out stories and traumas that originated with our ancestors up to seven generations ago.
I didn’t know that when I wrote this song I’m going to sing for you now: The Ladybug.
I wrote it because I was trying to understand this darkness I could not shake.
But since I’ve learned about the seven generations concept, and really explored it, I have come to realize that what our ancestors most want is for us to be happy and fulfilled, so we don’t waste our lives wondering and wondering:

What is it between us, who’s there
Is there anybody there
Let’s smash the ashes and crash our old car
Let’s break the rules and smoke at the bar
Oh, Who’s talking to you
That I can’t hear
Can’t we sleep without that tonight
Let us finally kill this fright
That makes us freeze, don’t forget to say please
It’s been so long, it always feels wrong
And when I say your name, I can’t help but blame
myself for taking too long, so many things that went wrong

We’re all just trying so hard to succeed
How many times have I watched you bleed
Oh wait for me, wait, don’t leave me behind
Another like me you’ll never find
I’ll give all my money to my own Daddy
before I think of the tax they made off of all of our backs
And when I finally came through they said I was past due
and they took my last shoe and you can blame me for coming unglued

A nice Sunday brunch, take a break for a while
Lie down on the cold blue tile
What is it between us, who’s there, is there anybody there
So fly away, fly away, fly away home
I can’t forget the way that it shone
On everybody but little old me
Every last person but me
Oh let’s smash the ashes, and crash our old car
Let’s break the rules and smoke at the bar
And kill seven men before noon
Or maybe it’s just the full moon

Julia Francis Copyright No Shrinking Violet 2008

I got it all back. All the things I’d lost, both deliberately and accidentally.
There it all was, waiting for me. Glistening, blinding bright light, two eagles dancing in the sky, whipped cream clouds, empty reservoirs, shiny new boxy buildings climbing up, up, up, the warmth of the sun on an iced breeze, the lakeshore lapping against the murky reeds, lilacs in full bloom and their fragrance like the ghost of a lover, the purple irises like erections, the deep purple buds still tight, still days from opening, like little nuts of possibility, compact energy. I was both the closed bud and the fully realized flower. My eyes were the color of the sky and the Puget Sound and the evergreen forest on a foggy morning. The Flower Moon was full over Lake Washington.

How many eyes did I look into that weekend?

When I opened my eyes wide and let my irises relax, then my energy changed and you opened your eyes wider too. And we were both completely comfortable with the pause that followed. We went somewhere else, together, where we were one in the same and we were not afraid to reveal to each other that we were really terrified and damaged and also full of childlike hope that taking the risk to be open would benefit both of us.

We stared into the void until we almost understood the meaning of it all, but then we were brought back to our bodies, and we laughed as we continued looking into each other’s eyes. The laugh was a kind of crying, the kind that heals. Then we noticed that our eyes had become the same color.