Archive | In Port RSS feed for this section

It is Good

13 Aug

We will not let hate win

 

It is good.
It is good to see and to be seen.
It is good to hold and to be held.
It is good, this heart like a low long river
washing the soul clean to its raw lining
like the side of quivering fish.
It is good to feel the promise in cleanness,
in the sting of what was.
In every broken bit there is one conscious atom
beginning to pull toward the mending line.
It is good to cry, to wet the shoulder, the hand, the sleeve,
let it travel out to salt sea
where the elephantine roll of the darkdeep unknown
will toss it’s misted curl to the sky
and dissolve itself into stillness.
It is behind your eyes, this close fearlove
I kiss your cheek.
You kiss mine.
Both are wet with ocean.
And it is good.

This is for Anyone who has Ever Lost Someone

10 Aug

This is for anyone who has ever lost someone:

You do not own the leaving.
You share loss
because you are loved.
Loss
spreads it’s watery wake
like a quilt over a coffin.
Too little comfort over a container
of what
needs answering before it’s buried
to dissolve.
It’s not that people really tire
of your long grief,
a slow low dissonant hum of unraveling.
It’s that the fraying of this patchworked shroud between us
reveals edges of other coffins,
slowly decaying in the corners
of their own heart’s attic.
They’d rather not see.
They’d rather not feel.
You do not have to get over it.
Only wait for there to be
nothing left but holy dust
on the shrine of your soul.
One day a gentle wind
will shift ever softly
and be enough.

On This Day: Facebook

10 Jul

I wonder.
Eventually, does one carve
the jade of the heart
into something beautiful?
Or is there some alchemy,
some elixir
that lifts
layer by layer
the stony cast of streaked green
revealing some pale promise of flesh
willing to flex
again.

Bitter

5 Jul

Awake at 6:20. WTF.
Ramble highlights of imaginary lives
via Facebook for an hour.
At least it lives up to its name.
Gratitude #1.

Write existential crisis poem.
Sigh.
Attempt to communicate via social media.
Realize dog must pee.
Realize no one wants to hear.
They just want to be seen.
Ditto.                                    Anyway.

Avoid stepping on the heel of guilt.
Think: Anything can happen today.
Gratitude #2?
Contemplate: Anything.

Breathe through the motion to cry.
Muster the energy of Gratitude #3:
I can flip back a comforter.

8:46. Exit bed.
Brew
coffee sweetened with cynicism.
Still bitter.

Pasion de la Cocina

7 Mar

 

Tonight I crave the rice you made,
the grains popping in the singing oil,
musica latina tangled in your hair,
dancing barefoot in the kitchen
amid sizzling clouds of comino y cebolla
and curling swells of culantro
as green and hot as your coyote eyes.
Your caramel lips,
cafe con leche cushions
parted for kissing,
whispered delicious songs
into the fragrant rind of my ear.
Reaching melodious chords
around my waist,
and down my thigh,
sang of stirring the sweetness and heat
of my own beautifulness,
like palming the round of a glass
to warm the spirit,
like rubbing the rim with one wet finger
to hear it sing.

 

The Singularity

9 Sep

dd2bfe93-1a94-4325-87b3-7a325089f7b6_1-277258e24e0f294beb96d63426bddc5d

You can break a thing, but you cannot always guide it afterward into the shape you want. ― Holly Black

Walmart.

I loathe Walmart.

Something in its essence captures the very heart of existential crisis.

Its cold. And cheap. And filled with everything in the world that lacks meaning. The nothingness that is imbued in every item in Walmart reflects the existential angst of life.

Even the people.

Have you ever seen a happy Walmart employee…seriously? Really now…be honest. The ones closest to the door are always the most well adjusted and then as you move into the cavernous warehouse of grey gloom, the people just seem bereft. Filled with a deadness of spirit that resemble poor souls post dementor (ala J. K. Rowling).

No present. No future. Nothing.

And the people who shop there, endlessly rolling their oversized carts aisle to aisle, each one relatively the same through endless aisle after aisle searching for something that is soon forgotten by the tenth lane. Their look says, “I came in here for …what?”

By the time you exit two hours later, $100 poorer with a cart full of meaninglessness without the primary object you were intent to secure in only five minutes, you swear. “I will never set foot into that depressive morass again. It’s a suicide den…How did Walmart become the singularity?”

But down on aisle five, on the way to the yoga mats, it caught me. A pillow…cream with brown stitching, in cursive writing.

Its little mouth sang among the other dorm room flowered matching puffs.

“Love You More”

I stopped. My face screwed up into a pained grimace. Tears were instant.

“Breathe”, I told myself. “This is what you practice for”.

Completely fine with list in hand of tasks on a beautifully hot September day, my life had been flitting right along.

Honestly, I’ve been surprisingly happy, light, full of purpose since late July. Not feeling so much loneliness. A pervasive sense of forward momentum has had me lighter, hopeful, confident. The new school year has been amazingly filled with change and for the better. Mindfulness and its practice is now my professional focus. I’ve restarted a program to provide yoga for the faculty. Every week, I write a uplifting email based on a quote from Fred Rogers for teachers which goes to four school systems. Message From Fred has given me purpose and a way to give back to my profession, to love people, to inspire them to love themselves.

August was filled with creating and organizing a proposal for an outdoor classroom. Now, its professional development book talks, mandala workshops. I get off Facebook at 7:30 and read every night. Books on spirituality, mindfulness, universal principles. Every day I wake up, something else appears in my head to change school into a place I want to be. From the physical environment, to the emotional dynamic, to the outdated curriculum, I’m moving forward toward some unidentified destination, confident that wherever it is I’m going I’m meant to arrive there.

The momentum has propelled me, until the Walmart pillow.

“Love You More”

Like a stop sign you see almost too late, that phrase brought me to a screeching halt. Tears the size of peas fell out of blankly staring eyes. I focused on at that pillow without picking it up. Its little tune rang of a time when I knew the conviction of how being in love felt down to my bones. I’ve since given up wondering if the original singer of that line ever meant it. Since July, I’ve been looking for a way to connect to my childish innocence again, but now the pillow slams my heart with another question: Can I ever be in love with anyone again? And if so, how will I know, because I don’t know how it is supposed to feel anymore. And that makes me strangely furiously numb.

Oh, I can love. Believe me. I feel love all the time. From my students, to my friends and family, to the dark snuggly dog at the back of my knees every night, I feel enormously loved. Patience, gratitude, the ability to give, all these things seem easier now. I love myself, as much an imperfect human can. When I see dandelion seeds floating in a swirl outside my classroom window or the flaming skies of the late summer sunrise. I do feel love. I pour forth love. Big Love. Love like a whale. Love like an ocean of stars in the cool blue expanse of a night sky.

But the pillow’s song of love? I can’t feel it.

For as much as I emote rather grandmotherly toward just about everything…It’s the predominance of that sort of love that scares the shit out of me. Desire has changed too, for there is this seeming impermeable block in the connection between passionate physical expression and the spiritual ecstasy and vulnerability I have felt before in my heart with such matters. Passion is different now. . . it stops at the door of my soul hot, breathless, and unsatisfied.

This thing…its got to be a scar, because a callous presupposes use. At first I thought I was broken, but I’m not. I’m whole. Healed. But maybe being mended and mended and amended at the same spot so much has the healing knitted into a thick white blue band densely woven by the effort of creating it.

And all platitudes aside about scars adding strength and character and the metaphors of the mending of Japanese bowls with gold, real scars are permanent people. Permanent.

Shit.

You may think I’m crazy but I’m going back to Walmart and buying that pillow. Right now. It’s the only place to start.

Wish me luck. If I’m not out in five minutes…send in a rescue.

Retrograde

20 Jan

20160110_141939

 

“People where you live,” the little prince said, “grow five thousand roses in one garden… yet they don’t find what they’re looking for…”

“They don’t find it,” I answered.

“And yet what they’re looking for could be found in a single rose, or a little water…”

“Of course,” I answered.

And the little prince added, “But eyes are blind. You have to look with the heart.”

― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

A bowl of Thai soup steams beneath me on a Sunday afternoon after dance. My companion is seated opposite me, someone I’m trying to “be” with. I have a strong emotional connection to him, the depth of which is not reciprocated. Quickly, I am learning with every moment spent, simply being present and enjoying “the now” is quite different from love, even companionate love. I thought I could do it…the just enjoying what “is” when someone isn’t willing or ready for a deeper connection. I’m realizing, though, looking into that soup that there are no rules about relationships. No should, no shouldn’ts. Only behaviors and situations that do or do not fit a person. And the behaviors that have evolved between this person and I in the last four months are more detrimental to my well- being than healing.

“I’m thinking about ending my blog”, I say tentatively. “I don’t do the alone thing by choice anymore; I want my life to be different. . . .it’s already different. I’ve changed.”

“Why end it?” he says. “Just stop posting.”

“But I can’t. That’s like just stopping texting someone without saying a goodbye.”

I don’t reply further, but what I am thinking is  “That just means you’re too chicken shit to say. ‘Gee, I find I don’t really want to communicate with you anymore, or I don’t really have anything left to say.’ So you wimp out and say nothing, thinking to yourself, ‘Maybe someday I’ll want to talk to that person again…maybe he or she will be different. Maybe I’ll need something from him or her. No need to shut a door and create bad feelings. Just let it just ‘be’.”

But it eventually ends doesn’t it? Unless it’s Mercury Retrograde when everybody goes back to something or someone they forgot to say goodbye to. The planet turns back and doubts rise as to whether it’s still standing just inside the open back door, expectant and smiling. Why end something when there is still some basic goodness there?

I stare into my soup, and it suddenly becomes clear to me. And hours later, sitting and listening to music with him unable to show or express what I really feel, all of the dynamic became clear. His constant checking in for a loitering loose hope is the height of selfishness.

The open end.

The open relationship.

The freedom to love whomever, whenever . . .and be grateful they might be happy with someone else and sometimes you, too. Because you “love” them unconditionally.

The “its all LOVE, really, non attachment” bullshit.

It’s fucking selfishness.

Yes, I said fuck on my blog. I ought to have said it more often just as punctuation.

Fuck. There. I said it again.

“I want the person I’m with to feel completely free…. I want to be totally 100% present with everyone I’m with and embrace the moment for what it is fully, but not be entangled.” What this actually means is “I need your attention to boost my ego, as well as many others to do so as well, so I’ll untie our connection every time and let it lie, hoping you will stay there…hoping.”

Selfishness.

And yes, we all trawl for stroking to some degree. But I don’t think many people are really so conscious about how the other person in the equation feels about always filling the net.

We all make excuses about why other people don’t fit us. But honestly the true reasons lie within ourselves. It’s not them…it’s never them.

It’s really us.

But we rarely ever tell them why or let them go because we rarely look inward enough to find the real reason inside our own psyches.

I often think closing doors are necessary. It keeps out the cold. It lessens the darkness of absence. It shrinks the feeling that somehow you’ve abandoned yourself by leaving it open indefinitely, waiting to see if a light is coming down the path. Sometimes, giving up hope is the most healing thing you can do for yourself.

So many people seem to have embraced this idea of “the casual relationship”. Not casual dating, which is entirely different. That’s when you spend time with someone, getting to know them in order to figure out whether you want a relationship with them. But a casual relationship? I don’t get it. How do you have a relationship with someone that doesn’t move into emotional attachment? It’s a normal healthy biological thing to attach to someone when you are emotionally intimate and have loving feelings. Babies are built to do it automatically. It’s not neurotic to want to be in an intimate connection with one person and vice versa after a process of sharing and spending time. It doesn’t mean you will never dis-attach, but it does mean that you don’t just ebb in and out like the tide in different lagoons. Being able to drift in and out of connection with someone, even to the point of having intimate physical relations without attaching to them emotionally beyond the moment and to do this indefinitely doesn’t make you some sort of guru…some sort of spiritually enlightened consciousness . What it makes you is a selfish being who has very little love for him or herself. And you can’t truly love someone if you are like that. Love is of the soul and it’s sacred. This goes beyond “religion”.

And selfish people are hard to love. So little love…real love …comes out of them.

Love is not just caring or presence or ephemeral connection meted out in compartmentalized hours. It isn’t just smelling the rose and then walking into another garden to smell the violets, too. Love does have conditions. They are called personal boundaries because loving oneself must come first and it creates the conditions. After all, the rose has its desires, too.

Love doesn’t mean staying with someone who can only give when they choose or under certain optimal instances. Unconditional love for someone doesn’t include losing your dignity. It doesn’t mean ceasing to give to the self in order to serve that portion to others to the point where there is nothing left. Love is abiding, deep and fueled by the abundance of love one has from within. When people have very little self love, they cannot afford to attach to someone, because a requirement of loving attachment is deep giving, often… and without really desiring to do so sometimes. Of course a conscious partner is mindful that he or she cannot take indefinitely, that a beloved’s selfless giving is draining and the mutual and reciprocal nature of love seeks to give back always. It is a dance…not a fucking piggy back ride.

So the casual drifter, the “being in the moment” presence, that doesn’t really require much. It may be  “progressive” and “hip”, but it’s a signal to me that there isn’t much in there to be given. It’s a signal that the type of love I seek, love which mirrors the Divine, doesn’t much dwell there. Now, its lack of presence in a person isn’t good nor bad…it just is. And if I have to be sad about figuring that out…so be it. But at least, I know it when I don’t see it.

And I’ll admit to my own selfishness. I’m not a saint, by any means. This blog space is like someone you go back to, time and again. The “hey, I’ve been thinking about you text” that comes after three months of silence when the last thing you sent was a smiley face. And if one looks at the body of this work as a unified whole, it actually wouldn’t be a fully accurate depiction of my life in the last four years. Is it a fault that I never take time to write in this way about the many happy moments I’ve had? Maybe it is. Do I feel guilty that I’ve gotten lazy and drop my low moments here while savoring my high ones for the telling at lunchtime chats and for my friends and students? Probably. Which is why I hesitate to let others I actually know read these posts. Is it a fault that when I find myself alone and needing an ear, I turn here, to the back door of the house, imagining there is someone standing there with an understanding look and a “There, there. Don’t worry. It’s all going to turn out wonderfully; you’ll see”. Maybe there is something to learn from the casual relationship, the one you only go to when you have little to spend and know you’ll get a discount. And perhaps this is showing me a personal fault on which I need to place my own consciousness.

Real writing and real creativity takes commitment. And maybe that is what I need to find and muster rather than a relationship right now. What really am I committed to?

Do I want to be a published writer? I have no idea. I don’t dream of accolade or money.

Do I want to be an exhibited artist; yes…probably.

Do I want to learn flamenco dancing and perform? Yes, know so.

Do I want a different job, one that inspires me again? Yes, but I have no idea what that might be and I have no funds to buy the hoop that would qualify me to pursue it.

But looking at the soup tells me, maybe deeply loving others is about learning as many ways as possible to show it, starting with myself first. Some soup is not better the second time. Some soup…only I can appreciate.

I have a discarded book of Durer prints and a half finished art piece at present.

I have a DVD, a beloved friend with a guitar, and red nailed flamenco shoes.

I have this blog, and a heart full of words…and you, standing in the back door for whom I do have deep gratitude. Even if you are imaginary.

I promise.

When it is time to say goodbye. . .we’ll both know it.

Or maybe we’ll just stay.

And dance.

 

 

 

Dance Card

10 May

 

Singing and vacuuming,

Mommy is dancing with the Electrolux.

She carries the cord

in great lasso loops in her left,

the carpet attachment

like a tiny bottom trawler in the right.

They dance the brown berber

back and forth,

rapture gathering within the clink of motes.

Her voice crests over

a high metallic unwinding whine.

The plug has popped out.

The attachment drops to the deck

in front of the stereo.

After selecting a new

scratchy popping

of needle on the groove,

she grabs my hand,

slips her low arm to

dance me round the room,

“I’ll be there…. “

Spinning,

turning me into

a rhythm,

her eyes are like black diamonds,

her laugh

like the blooming of a thousand birds of paradise,

hot and orange and open;

her smile is an archipelago sky.

“Darling …Reach out…come on girl…reach out to me”

Swinging,

arms a tangle,

she casts me off.

I’m breathless

like the Electrolux.

Dancing into the hall

she’s singing singing. . .

her siren self.

Beautiful dark haired mommy,

a most lovely island entire.

Funny waifish mer-mater

like a shock of iced whisky

flooded with two seconds after sweetness

a sailor’s soul floats in the love of you

for you are . . .

still there.

 

The Gallery of Night

10 Apr

 

I look

at photos of myself,

review every line,

observe my skin,

a reptilian coolness

hungrily reaching,

impermeably separating

me

from you.

I follow its journey

toward the thin angelic softness

of my grandmother’s

whispering face.

“I want to go Home,”

she says slowly,

our twin eyes

in joint accord.

I kiss

the slope of her cheek,

lilac veins and bare blood

nearly vanished

under pearled whiteness.

 

Is it just

that the skin thins

until we are no longer able

to hold ourselves

apart from the coveting Universe?

Do we dissolve into

dark ianthine oceans

of unconscious stars?

Like once

into a pine shadowed forest pool

we dared our naked love

to venture,

wincingly frigid at toe,

until we embraced a slow

surrender

to its cold envelope,

a deceptive tomb of known

unknowing.

 

Some say the eyes

never change,

their color deepening

like blown blossoms to the light.

But within mine

I see

a graceless unwinding glimmer

of the knowing of

too much night.

 

Hen, Passerine

29 Mar

20150329_121456

She springs

twig to knobbley twig

amid pale pebble buds

opening under their

jackets of papery vein.

In warble wonder,

her voice clips round

the bareness

of bush,

the warmish drizzle

coating its

black stick frame,

carrying away the last hangings

of fall’s dead.

No nest now

for a sparrow

put out of tune.

No mate.

No promise egg.

No host

within which to make

a downy bed.

Her calls

do not wake His eye.

We watch

each other

as He breathes

out a new world,

in the pause

between refrain

and verse.

%d bloggers like this: