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Archive for November, 2009

Absence of Age

One may notice, if they cared to, that I’ve eliminated my age from the “apropos blog” section. At first, I included my age in that section for want of maintaining complete honesty as far as the source of these writings and observations. But how much does my own age have to do with such honesty?

In truth, when I reveal my age, people are always, without fail surprised and sometimes even shocked. Across the board, this is true for strangers as well as new friends and long-time coworkers. Remarkably, I’ve even had hairdressers assume I have children (which undoubtedly speaks to the sort of culture and life they’ve grown up with as well as implies an assumed age for me).

When I was younger, I’d constantly hear “Oh, but you’re so mature.”

Come to think of it, my age has done little but hold me back in life. I can remember feeling stifled creatively as a child because my work in poetry, drawing, singing, was never taken seriously. But I had big beautiful words! Big beautiful thoughts! Passionate pencil drawings of people! I was considered a child playing rather than a person working creatively. My passions for numerology, wicca and paganism, astrology, the occult, were dismissed as simple “phases” I was rapidly growing through as a result of my passion for fantasy. The way my parents and other adults in my life dismissed these interests created doubts in me about their legitimacy, and sure enough, my interest in them waned. [Even today, though I am drawn to astrology once more, I am having doubts about becoming versed in it because a small voice from my past writes it off as a crock.]

But fascinatingly, as I reflect on those times in my life I realize that I was around ten years old when I began independently investigating religion. My mother raised an unbelieving Christian, my father barmitzvahed but practicing only twice-a-year Jew, I had free reign to explore these and other different religions and make up my mind for myself concerning spirituality. I read books and asked questions.and researched. At such a young age I decided for myself that Christianity rubbed me the wrong way. I felt ethnically Jewish but again the traditional worship aspect didn’t speak to me. I could get behind Paganism’s celebration of the earth and the elements, but the rituals and spells involved in practice seemed excessive and overly playful. Buddhism I very much believed, but I felt it was more of a philosophy than a religion.

At ten years old I discovered what death meant to me. I remember the moment precisely

sitting low at Gramar’s round wooden table, doused loosely in a stained white tablecloth and swathed in a cover of old spider lace. A lazy Susan sat mid-table – I was always fighting the urge to spin spin spin it around and watch all the cut fruit and stale crackers fly off onto the carpet, already and always strewn with small clots of dirt and hair from a dog long dead and sometimes needles for sewing. The must of that old house my father, uncles, and aunt had grown up in clogged my nostrils with the thickness of stagnant time gone. I sat there in a wooden chair, my shoulders just coming up to the table, family members bustling around me in preparation for passover feast. My favorite holiday. As I sat, something carried me away from the conversations in the room and swiftly, I thought of death. Everything went black. Out like a light. And there was no sight or hearing or touch anymore. There was no thought. There was nothing remotely recognizable to the life I lived every day, there was nothing for me to grasp to or care for or comprehend or appreciate. There was vast nothingness.

I sat at the stained table of lace and stale crackers and felt as if I’d choked on ether. The feeling was wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. Everything about it was wrong. I knew it was wrong. I knew immediately that death was not this swift, intense cutting of your umbilical cord to the world. Nothing in life has proved to be that completely unforgiving. Life is too much of a process. It’s an investment. It’s a rotation of seasons, a game of cycles and multi-facets and ever-expanding knowledge and ability. The ending of life would surely fit the same pattern of all these natural governances.

I decided then that death was surely like a video game, super mario brothers to be exact, and I have the next level to look forward to (And the level after that and the level after that -).

This is the knowledge I gained as a child if you were to limit me by age. Knowledge that I continue to know and use after the passage of such time. And what is it worth to limit that discovery by belittling the age at which it was begotten? It isn’t worth.

And so, a new challenge, is about disowning age.

I am not so completely on board with this concept yet, because I still see small value in keeping age in terms of comparisons and analysis and separating life’s challenges for the sake of learning. However, I also see that the longer I ascribe to my own age the more it will serve to inconvenience me. In measuring my age, I’m sure to feel I haven’t completed all I should yet complete. Or I may hold back from creating because “I can’t possibly know enough yet” or “I’m just not there yet.” My age may force me into untrue decisions about finding romantic partners. Age will give me false ideas about my own physical beauty and capabilities. Age will simply serve to limit me in the future as it has in the past. It will mottle my understanding of myself.

No, I am on board with this: age will no longer exist for me. When people ask me how old I am, I will simply respond that it does not matter. Because it does not. It was always just an erroneous piece of information anyway, created and held firmly in place by the powers-that-be. Age, simply another way to keep the status quo. Hold us back from reaching our full potential. Instill doubt in us, keep track of us, separate us into students/workers/soldiers/alcohol-drinkers. Age, simply another false constructed separation between us and other human beings. I do not need to use age to compare and contrast myself with other people. It is enough for me to know that they are human, struggling human struggles, and in this way we are connected, related, the same.

I am disowning age. Because if I hold on to age, it will automatically age me. Ascribing to age, I will “get older.” And I don’t want to get older. I want to simply be and learn and discuss and create. I should be too busy with life to worry about a false construction like age. Sometimes I feel old and wise, sometimes I feel young and exuberant. I’d rather focus my attentions on these feelings of age rather than some arbitrary number on my driver’s license, constantly used to identify me to those in power.

It’s decided. And I’ve just realized that disowning age is a small form of activism. I do hope others join.

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Recurring, Revamping, Relapsing

I have much else to say and observe. Things about poetry. About the billions of sounds leaves make underneath the plod of my feet, about their melding colors and about the way I saw a pile of yellow ones overflowing a Boston trashcan today [A safety liability?]. I have things to say about tingles. Air. The tiny hairs inside my nostrils that shiver because of leaves, because of far off fires. I have things to say about light waves and the taste of oxygen. Doctors. Men with crutches and cups and women with ponchos who flap their lips at cars and how it must feel when they drive past. I have things to say, always. Things to write.

I keep waiting for this to end so I can write them, do them, be them. The trick is writing, doing, and being in the midst of all of this. During. I am going to try it. I’m going to try to be happy with the way things are. I am going to rearrange my mind and my energy and my time and life so that I am. God help me.

 

[Me, writing this. Nov. 13, 2008]

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Leland Blue

There once was a boy

who wore a hat whene’er he was working

who made drinks one by one.

He’d snatch the ticket, which grumbled up from the machine, and hang it loosely

casual

between two slates of metal.

He’d grind the carrots – separating them juice from pulp from soul and spraying their last stingy hurrahs over upside-down glasses resting on rubber mats.

He’d blend the mangoes.

He’d steam the milk

taking care, when a gallon emptied, to crush the container and rinse it with the steamer,

tip just inside the lip of the bottle

dribbling hot water all through and rinsing of remnant and future stench.

saving future trash collectors from rot bath –

one less un-rinsed gallon of old milk to worry for.

 

This boy wore his hat to work like told

and for every ten drinks he made

he made one for himself, too.

a bubbly concoction just tinged with a reminder of fruit

to offset the taste of bitter fermentation (that never was fully masked).

 

With every ten drinks, there’d emerge a guffaw

or a burst of affection

To kiss a waitress on the cheek

To proclaim worldly excellence

To tell a girl she was beautiful or to remark on her efficiency.

 

So when the hat came off,

he’d look younger and be dressed in colors

and a bemused smile would plaster one half of his face

(for you see, he’d had an uneven grin

laying just below the flare of mismatched nostrils.)

A grin who half of which always seemed to be rather a grimace instead.

But the hat disappeared into his bag

and traded for the helmet to a bicycle, which he’d clutch in his hands

or place next to him on a wooden booth

as his hands busied lifting a clear golden glass to his lips

or a bottle.

With every sip first he’d sure up with his words

and spit them out

then fumble for them, wanting to shove them back where they’d been born from.

 

He’d speak of pretty girls,

the ones he admired for their looks and sweet demeanors.

He’d pine for interesting boys,

the ones he wished he was himself.

The girls he wanted. The boys he wanted to be.

And he never said an unkind word for anybody.

 

But the way half his face froze to a grimace

and how he was so eager to sip through his day –

he never accepted when his hand on a woman’s knee was encouraged.

“It won’t be good,” he’d concede, or

“I’d rather drink alone tonight.”

 

He’ll drink alone, and crawl deep in to the wrinkles made on one side of his mouth,

the incurable downturn of his lips on the right side

he’ll curl up like a frog or a fetus and let the crescent of his forlorn forced dimple caress him like a hammock

feeling held in some sadness

and taking some sick comfort there, sweetly in the dark.

his hands in paint and his hat nowhere to be found.

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Filthy Blues

I attended a show last night at The Great Scott (Allston, MA) in support of a friend’s band, Emily Peal.

Elana Brody opened with her orgasmic energies spiraling all over the checkered floor tiles, clad in turquoise lace and a pink plastic rose.

The Dirty Dishes rocked out with shoegaze-esque creativity. Slightly more stage presence would send their sound a long way.

Emily Peal is a band of wonderful souls and music vignettes made flawless by dedicated rehearsal. Emily is theatrical and whimsical and her unassuming yet exacting art lights up a room.

Nini and Ben were lovingly folksy and closed the show with the dirtiest blues that’ve moved me in a long while.

Check these folks out. They live and breathe their art and they practice it in a way that makes it accessible to others. That’s the goal, isn’t it? Creating a space through art that transports us all somewhere more fantastic. Thank you for doing it.

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I’ve been slackalackin’ on the post front, for serious. It’s okay, other things are flowing these days.

I meant to Big Five on the fifteenth as customary, but time kept slipping past the creases in my knuckles til it was three later. I’ve a feeling picking the big ones is going to be a challenge for me today. Know that this post is informed by the incredible elation I tend to feel when Dirty Projectors sweetly serenade me (at this moment in my kitchen).

1. Relief.

– After my illness two weeks ago, I returned to my body. Now it’s a matter of staying inside it, but I tell you it’s going well!

– And relief for letting him go and returning to my little life without distraction. I feel like a better human being when I’m alone romantically. I’m focusing my time! Being with folks I care for and showing them such in calculation and pureness.

2. Just living the day-to-day.

– I am okay with being in one place! I am happy with work and going to yoga in the mornings and filling the rest of my days with inspiration.

3. Some stagnancy.

– I’ve been struggling with a feeling like I’m not and never doing enough. I want to create, create, create! but I can’t figure out what to spill my energies in. It’s all about who I want to be, I suppose. But there is so much worthiness out there craving my attention and I find myself scattering all over the place. I’m craving depth in something but there seem to be so many barriers – like cost and future travel. I want to become well versed in things I can take with me, things that require little to no money or material. Dancing. Writing. But I’m craving movie-making and taking up some instrument. I have faith that Warren Wilson will cure me of slight boredom and swing me in the other direction, perhaps feeling a schedule even too crowded. It feels it’s been a long time since I’ve been so consistently active as I expect to be there. I hope not to go overboard, but I plan to embrace intensive activity.

4. Magic and childlike wonder.

5. I am leaving so soon! Cramming everything in before hand and spending time with lovelies.

 

I am high.

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kite-runner

I just completed this book, which I started reading whilst sick with fever a couple of days ago. I needed something to get lost in, and this work proved proper in that. It was magical.

I am feeling rather floaty and worthless lately. My hours at work have been drastically reduced because we’re now so overstaffed. I went on the roadtrip for a week and then became ill as soon as I got back, so it’s as if I haven’t worked at all in two weeks. And in the time that I have off work, I’m not sure what to do with myself. I am actually allowing myself to become bored – heinous!

I need a project. I feel like I need to be consciously developing my skills. But I have so many loose interests that my focus drops everywhere and I find it impossible to stay interested in one thing. How do I solve this? I want to be developing as a dancer, a yogi, a writer, a communicator. I want to get back into theater again. And simultaneously, I want to be learning of the world and its peoples and its injustices and its mysteries. There is so much work to be done, so much busy-ness to be had, how do I find myself in such stagnancy?

I am hoping that Warren Wilson will provide me with the hectic schedule and structure that I feel like I need. Some discipline.

There is so much to learn and so much to improve upon, I just feel as if I am committing the egregious sin of wasting time. I want my life to regain the momentum it once had – a speed at which to push forward and roll over itself.

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krs-one

KRS ONE: “I am not just saying this because you [a woman] are asking the question, this is my real answer: More women. More women. Not just emcees or b-girls, but women taking control of hip-hop. Let me be culturally-specific- hip-hop’s women should teach hip-hop’s men how to speak to them. Because when we learn how to speak to you, we can learn how to speak to the whole business world. It’s not just about respecting you…it is…but it’s deeper than just respecting another human being. Everytime you degrade a person, you degrade yourself, because you are standing next to that person. You can’t diss a person, and not diss yourself…I should say ’she’s a queen.’ And what does that make me? A king. So now at the end of the day, what’s missing in hip-hop? Knowledge of self, that should only come from women. I know that sounds feminist, but that’s real talk.

[Check it: feminism is real talk.]

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Ode To An Artichoke

The artichoke

of delicate heart

erect

in its battle-dress, builds

its minimal cupola,

keeps

stark

in its scallop of scales.

Around it,

demoniac vegetables

bristle their thicknesses,

devise

tendrils and belfries,

the bulb’s agitations,

while under the subsoil

the carrot

sleeps sound in its

rusty moustaches.

Runner and filaments

bleach in the vineyards,

whereon rise the vines.

The sedulous cabbage

arranges its petticoats;

oregano

sweetens a world;

and the artichoke

dulcetly there in a gardenplot,

armed for a skirmish,

goes proud

in its pomegranate

burnishes.

Till, on a day,

each by the other,

the artichoke moves to its dream

of a marketplace

in the big willow

hoppers:

a battle formation.

Most warlike

of defilades-

with men

in the market stalls,

white shirts

in the soup-greens,

artichoke field marshals,

close-order conclaves,

commands, detonations,

and voices,

a crashing of crate staves.

 

And

Maria

come

down

with her hamper

to

make trial

of an artichoke:

she reflects, she examines,

she candles them up to the light like an egg,

never flinching,

she bargains,

she tumbles her prize

in a market bag

among shoes and a

cabbage head,

a bottle

of vinegar; is back

in her kitchen.

The artichoke drowns in a pot.

 

So you have it:

a vegetable, armed,

a profession

(call it an artichoke)

whose end

is millennial.

We taste of that sweetness,

dismembering scale after scale.

We eat of a halcyon paste:

it is green at the artichoke heart.

Pablo Neruda– Pablo Neruda.

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Feel Your Human

where-the-wild-things-are

“It’s hard being a family.”

– KW [Lauren Ambrose]

The movie allowed the story to remain and properly reached into its depths. The terror and the brilliance of it were well preserved. The soundtrack was entirely intuitive and young.

And the thing I love about this movie (and the book preceding)

is it shows mistakes. Everyone in the story is constantly making mistakes. They suffer from moments of weakness, from lapse of judgment, from too-big emotional reign, from selfishness. And the mistakes affect the outcomes of the situations in serious and confusing ways. This story is about love and about remorse. It’s about learning. It’s about not having the answers and making mistakes even when you mean well.

The ecstasy of love and community was there [sleeping in a pile]

The reach of someone’s frustrated anger was there [concern for Carol and his ability to destroy everything]

The resolution wasn’t there and that’s what makes this story so brilliant. Because though Max is folding into his mother’s arms at the end, we know that he isn’t going to be happy forever. Life and circumstance will come for him and he’ll be responsive to that. He will hate again and be selfish again and break someone’s heart again because that’s what happens. Eventually he may learn how to hold things up higher,

but it takes practice. And I’m not sure perfection in happiness is a reachable goal.

We’re all full of blemishes.

And though we can wish for a life of ecstasy, people (and ourselves) are going to make mistakes and deny us that. So we must feel and hold these mistakes, then release them upwards as balloons and move on.

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And twice during a routine, feeling some thread of weakness flutter up through my sacrum and overtake me

for a brief.

(not needing to qualify that.)

Knowing and uttering out loud that something was coming for me.

And this blasé man of work to my left quipping:

“Don’t say that. You say: I’m not going to get sick because I’m going to fight this.”

Is that what I say? Well I took to heart and my mind repeated those words. I thought of my strength but knew these efforts were resigned.

And the pedal over the bridge that night felt like effort for once

felt like work.

I was done with being worked for the night.

Over the course of the next day the sickness slowly settled in with timid barking symptoms, affecting me like hiccups

doll waves of flickering whiteness

minor threatening interruptions.

So I prepared myself to rest and to fast and I turned my ears just inside out, multiplied them, and placed them too in my stomach and the aching portions of my back.

Morning I woke and coaxed myself out into the world

So separate. Measuring each step.

Stomach thin from one meal early the day prior I cozied into a bubbling café chair and read of shamans and altered mind states, of early life before humans knew what humans were (at what point did we specifically become humans, anyway?)

I cozied and I sank

Each time someone walked in the front door I checked my peripherals for Yona’s deliberate pace.

No one mocked it.

I alternated liquids and temps until the buzz of customers around me began to grow invasive and I was nodding.

Bought some vegetables to make soup for later and tenderly made it home,

a plaid autumnal smoking jacket, unwashed hair loose and a bag of broccoli in each hand.

Walking through the alley I never avoid, a man in a curling mustache darted past on a bicycle

tails of his long woolen peacoat fluttering in his wake.

Smile to myself.

At times it pleases me to remain this contained (move so undetected) inside a community. At times this “community” is enough

But more often I long for the love of a true one, honestly knit together and bound to last for many seasons.

Weakness nearly prevented me from completing the stairs to my apartment’s front door. I dropped the groceries and made a can of soup and two eggs that I flipped with a spoon.

It occurred to me that I wanted to nest in a warm bed of blankets and

there was nothing more I could have wished for at that moment than two perfect arms of someone with love, encasing me and completing that nest.

Yona came.

And that night still seems a dream.

Him there in the darkness with me (but not like before).

Little icicle spiders overtaking my body and slowly, quietly drenching the sick tendrils of my hair made oily with manufactured visions

My own fevered imaginings, held in by lids too heavy to remain open

weighted down by utter resignation

the give way to enjoying these altered states of consciousness

these fantastic tales weaving themselves in a premise unable to be accessed by any other human no matter the closeness no matter the want

this spatial realm of just mine and just mine body’s and only shared with this some force which holds and teaches me throughout time, this

god

I am reminded of my first psilocybin experience

lasting for hours.

When I melted into this blanketed comfortered mess middling the wide space of my old apartment and became a young girl I’d surely seen on television years before

one of those young characters in The Crucible

the women of lore wearing long tatty hair and white nightgowns lined with molded lace

the ones who amassed themselves in a bed or on the floor, ripped at themselves and screamed with lungs that never wanted to close, only might bellow and moan,

and threw about wild glances looking at nothing anyone else could see

these girls of old puritan times – the “hysterical” women no one could seem to cure or control

their fits of madness either put to spells of witchcraft or fever sickness

the fact that they were swimming in another realm entirely purely scaring their authorities.

He kept bringing me back, bobbing like a buoy between the fevered mind and the space in reality we shared

My lids quietly shuttering centimeters and my mouth breathing raspy drying air which must have been saved over from before

surely I was barely breathing new air

but my talent was pushing it out with force

and these images, these worlds I was coming to when lent myself completely to the sickness

how entirely I was able to feel what my body craved

how deliciously it led me to ice and water

 

and a memory of being sick as a girl

sheltered away in my darkened grey childhood bedroom, my bed pressed into a corner just across from the door [how many times that bedroom’s since changed]

Suffering fevered but kept safe and let to rest in that whole uncharted space.

Waking in that room at the wrong time of day, the sun having already touched down and the heat of cooking softly filling the hallway

Gingerly, I’d swing my weightless legs over the side of the bed and let the sounds of silver clanking in the kitchen warm me

I’d open the door and step, blinking, into the light

face pink with fever and eyes glossy

And there they’d be, the three of them sat at their respective spaces with a full dish in front of them each

and a fixed plate holding my own place

just me not in the chair

“You made it just in time for dinner!”

My throat washing down with love and concentrated nourishment she’d made specifically for me

 

I never take my temperature anymore.

And usually, when I get sick, I deal with it alone.

 

It’s the only time I feel loneliness and bite down regret for this self-contained life I like to lead. My pieces-of-people life.

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