March, 20, 2021

Dear Body,

My one and only, much maligned, abused, and abandoned body, I will not start off with my usual opening line; the mantra of relentlessly polite women attempting to make nice in a world that would just as soon see them dead. A mantra of negation, concealment, hesitance, embarrassment, and excuse: I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.

I won’t subject you to that. We’ve had enough shame, haven’t we?

Nor will I say I love you. I do, in my stunted way. But we both know our relationship has been fraught and…

A bowl of January bones the centerpiece on our narrow table.

We set a place for the ancestors now and dig to the marrow.

Under February’s round harrowing moon

we wait for winter to end.


Just yesterday,

steam curled from rich broth and sweet veg.

We walked full bellied, dwelling in the umami of a new year

Laughing like Spring was early.

There lay a small bone in our path, absent its chicken,

picked clean out of context, a talisman gleaming at our feet

Telling riddles of a hidden hand

sliding an ivory pawn between the queen and an…


When did you become so precious?

I would not dare to set you down

without a crown in the guest of honor’s seat.

Wild eyed and gaunt, foaming at the mouth

or cowering and shaking under the table.

You were always an awkward date.

Sweet, delicate Pain.

My heart. My lover. My student. My guru. My desert. My rain.

The day we part will be the end of me and a world

thus far defined by thee. What a spectacular day comes next

once the textbook case of poor me is finally laid to rest.

As I leave you at…


The gravel terrace was covered with citrus in various stages of decay. Every year, she swore she would pick the pulpy grapefruits, copious Valencia oranges, bough-breaking Meyer and Thompson’s variegated pink lemons.

She would bring them to a food bank or offer them to friends and neighbors. She would pluck them straight from their overburdened branches and gather them in an old wicker basket to make some kind of curd or preserves or marmalade, or maybe even sorbet.

She would juice them and freeze the sour sweet nectar in little trays with fanciful shapes like stars and moons or fish…

Turkey. It’s what’s not for dinner!

Tales of an Inadvertently Vegan Holiday

Foolishly, many years ago, I took it upon myself to cook an entire Thanksgiving dinner. Just as everyone else I knew was settling down and starting families, I had gotten a divorce and was on my own. For some now conveniently forgotten reason that would have nothing to do with avoiding my family, I wasn’t going to see my parents and siblings until after the start of the new year and had decided to host a dinner for my friends who were also facing the holidays alone. I am not a professional chef or particularly keen on cooking for a…

Comments made to the Joint Committee on the Arts, Sacramento CA May 24, 2017

My family came to California by covered wagon in 1849, so I know a bit about pioneer spirit and have faith in the notion it is woven into the fabric of every Californian, regardless of how long they’ve lived here. It is with a trust in that spirit that I appear before you today.

Included in the background materials for the Joint Committee’s Annual Report on California’s Creative Economy, is a piece I wrote entitled “Judgement and the Ghost Ship Tragedy.” I wrote it through tears…

When I Am An Old Woman

When I am an old woman

I shall wear my pajamas until 4pm with platform boots and a bandana from the Galapagos on my head to keep weeds from flying into my hair when I use the string trimmer far too late in the early evening for my neighbors’ taste,

And I shall spend whatever is left of my 401k after the next bubble bursts,

on wine and vet bills for stray animals

And additional passport pages,

and say I have no money for butter

Because I’m vegan

And butter is gross.

I shall…

(Oakland, CA) After hearing this was a “rave” I’ve seen some people react with a raised eyebrow and knowing, “Ohhh, well…” as if that somehow explains or makes this tragedy any more comprehensible. I couldn’t quite put words as to why I found that response so offensive. Until now.

The people who lost their lives in the Ghost Ship Artist Collective warehouse fire, were victims of a constellation of unfortunate circumstances, including the criminal negligence of a badly maintained building. They themselves did absolutely nothing wrong. Many were artists and musicians, and most were young, living and working in the…

Danielle Thys @daniellethys #whyiloveoakland #RESIST #GoVeg #BecauseScience #artsandculture

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