Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Kerouac's Watch

the last few weeks have felt odd 
by which I mean, I feel odd in the world 
kinda vulnerable, exposed
like hiking above tree line
keeping one eye on the clouds
expecting the lightening at any moment

feeling like nothing fits anymore 
places that used to hold me
now pinch like brand new saddle shoes
that I want to hurl away from me and
scamper ahead barefoot, barefaced, unapologetic. 

voices, sawing back and forth on my skin,
every word utterly abrasive
but still they keep nattering on
bleating and blatting
expecting me to give a shit

disconnected from time
as if I am no longer wound
into the mainspring of it 
as if past, present and future are all now 

I don't want to play nice anymore
I don't want to compromise, to listen
to please everyone but me
I want to overwind the spring
until cartoon boing-y noises
splinter out of it
I want to shoot them all the bird
hit the road with my thumb out
and see where it takes me

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Another Year

It's not quite a wedding gown, but it'll do.
Today is April 22.  91 years ago my dad was born on this day.  He's been gone a long time now, 27 years.  I have stopped imagining what our lives would look like if he had lived.  Stopped imagining him walking me down a long gothic church aisle.  Stopped imagining him, head thrown back in laughter bouncing my daughter on his knee.  Stopped imagining him telling me how proud he was of me.  Those things didn't happen.  Nor are they going to.  That is the truth of it.

But I have not stopped imagining his face or his voice, his funny buckling knee.  I don't have to imagine how much I love him.   That will never change.

Even as I write this, I feel his hand on my shoulder.  He is here for me whenever I need him.  He is never more here than on April 22.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Strange Fruit

If I were a fruit
     I would be a kiwi
     which is odd
     because I don't
     like kiwi really.

Not much to look
     at on the outside
          kinda rough
          often dirty
     not smooth
          like apples
     or the velvet
          of peaches

Inside I am
     spring green
          kissing close to
          the place of
          sugary too much
          then pulling back
          Taste me
               then go
          Find seeds of me
               later wedged
               between your teeth
               and wonder.

     radiant starbursts revealed
          with every pass
               of the knife
          constellation upon
               constellation of me
          the cosmos entire
          Cut me open
               you will see.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Going Rogue

Ever have a dream that you carry around inside you for so long that the edges get worn from all the mental handling?  Don't we all!  I have had this vision in my head for the last couple years, but lacked the courage to just move in a direction that would take me there.  I worried what people would say, that they would think I was weird....OK weirder.

Used to be research was the home to all kinda nerd superfreaks.  I could change my hair color, dress strangely, be tatted up and no one would notice.  No one cared.  As long as you could rock the lab bench, you could represent yourself however you chose.  Not sure when that began to shift, but these days the lab is not all that different than your average cube farm -a cube farm where it's always casual friday.  All the ink is discreetly hidden, as are the piercings.  Hair colors remain boringly the same and I haven't seen a pair of tights that look like a Kadinsky in ages.  FTW - right?  If I wanted corporate mainstream dress codes, maybe I would work there.  Nah - you're right.  The wardrobe alone is too tedious to consider. 

A couple months ago, I mentioned this idea to Karla, she of the hair magics, that I had this vision of taking the front lock of my hair white -not just it's natural grey but absolute snowy white.  For those of you who only know me from the interwebs, my hair is a dark espresso color.  My inspiration for this is....wait for it.....the Rogue character from X-men.  I have loves Anna Paquin to pieces since The Piano and there was something about her hair in X-men I just couldn't shake.  Mostly though, I was stunned that on that night I had let this little dream slip out for Karla to hear.   She didn't think it odd.  Not in the least.  And I could see that she was trying to figure out how to make it happen.  That night the hair was too short.

Tonight she lifted about half the color and I am ecstatic.  Not just about the result, but with that first step toward something I dreamed.  Or something that is more me.  I'm sure people won't get it.  I don't care anymore.  If I want to be the superhero of my own life, that's between me and Tony Stark.  Mmmmmm.....Tony Stark.  Whoops.  Digressing.  I had no idea how powerful making such a small change would make me feel.  But it did.  I can't wait for the final product!

The unexpected result of this change is that I am now re-examining other dreams that I have been carrying.  I mean, if I can go Rogue, what else might I be capable of?

The answer is EVERYTHING!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Playing With a Full Deck

I have been intrigued by Tarot cards since high school when I bought my first deck, probably from a novelty store downtown.  This was a very plain deck and I found it difficult to 'read'.  Well groomed to the notion of not wasting money by my Depression era parents, it would be a long time before I bought another.  But I did.  And that's where the love affair started.  Newer decks are so lyrically imaged that the cards will immediately begin to weave a story for me.  Or they will sit in stony silence, the images static.  I can pretty much predict which decks will work for me if I can see just a few cards.  A great source for that is the aeclectic tarot website.  In general, the images cannot be off putting to my eyes.  They must invite me in.  Intrigue me.  And that is a very personal relationship.  Every person will choose a deck that speaks to them.  In general, I have noticed that decks with sinister, CGI, or Alex Grey type imagery do not sing for me.

I recently picked up a new deck, the Wildwood Tarot made by the same artists that did the Druidcraft Tarot which I kinda love.  Both decks are the same size but the images are different enough that I want to combine the decks together into one big mega deck.  I love the idea of duplicates of the cards.  Two Fools especially appeals to me.  But first I need to get to 'know' my newer cards.   I have been introducing myself to them slowly by pulling two or three every week to work with.  Tonight I tried for three and ended up with 5.  Some cards just need to be there and I have learned to let them.  I kinda groaned at the number.  I'm not a fan of the number five.  I think it's the odd mixture of linear and curving lines, but who knows.  

My five cards in order were King of Arrows represented by the Kingfisher, the eight of stones (in this deck subtitled skill), the six of arrows (transition), the wanderer aka the fool and the pole star aka the star.  

Those five cards fell together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.  I love kingfishers.  Always have.  They are short sturdy birds with stubby tails that live near water and dive into the water for prey.  I love the color combo, the slate blue and burnt orange.  Love their machine gun birdsong.  They are fearless little birds. I don't see them often, but each sighting has been memorable.  There is also a certain association for me between kingfisher and the fisher king of Arthurian legend.  And their genus species affiliation ties into the Greek myth of Alcyone and Ceyx and who doesn't enjoy a good love story.  In this case, it seems to represent ability, straight up - You can do it.  Dive in and go for it. 

The second card seems to reiterate that sentiment.  Skill.  The kind that comes from long hours of practicing your craft.  In this case it feels like this is related to writing.  

The next three cards are like a one-two-three punch.  Transition.  Beginning a journey.  Navigating by the pole star aka the North star.    

Seems I better fasten my seatbelt because the ride is about to begin.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Romancing the Card Catalog

My friend, Fabeku, posted a video today about inventorying your personal stories and releasing those that do not serve where you want to go.  It's not a new thought to me, but I love the way he conveys the message.  He is pure genius like this - a lot. 

Yeah....anyway that got me thinking about how there’s some major work that needs done in my own story archive department.  As a writer, I draw on all kinds of experiences and stories to make characters believable.  I tend to hoard stories, cuz ya never know when you're going to need a character with those exact quirks.  Thing is, sometimes, I hang on and start to believe that these things are true, that because I create a character that thinks one way in a specific situation, everyone in that situation will think that way.  That's not a good idea AND it's yucky logic.  How to deal?

I am resurrecting the card catalogue – yunno those old wooden ones with the index card size drawers that pulled out way beyond what seems geometrically possible?  Yeah one of those.  More than half of you will have no idea what I’m talking about, will have to google it, and will be appalled at such primitive conditions.  I am not talking to you.  That's OK.  Oh, I could set up a big ole computer database to house all these oddball stories and half fleshed out characters, but honestly I prefer the romance of the older version.  I kinda miss it in my library experience.  

Imagine it standing over in the corner holding court from its place of honor.  You pad over, reach up and touch the cool brass pulls on wooden drawers.  A gentle tug is all that’s required to move the drawer against its own inertia.  The wood transmits the gentle vibration of wood on wood as it slides out silkily, releasing the faint aroma of aged paper.  The rhythm of flicking through the cards with alternating index and tallman fingers on my way to where I want to go is soporific and reminds me of playing bass.  I miss this.  I also miss a library with real marble floors and chairs in dimly lit corners where I might lose myself as I slip through the portal to somewhere else.  All of these things belong to libraries of yesterday. 

For my younger friends - Yes the computer is faster, more accurate and invariably right.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love me some tech.  But I doubt that 40 years from now people in their fifties will wax nostalgic about sitting at a computer terminal accessing the computerized card catalogue.  I feel sorry for those who will not have ever had a real life card catalog experience in their memory banks. 

Anyway, old stories that might be useful for writing but that are not really things I believe in any more need to be filed away in the card catalog.  Stories I currently believe but want to move away from - they're going in there too.  Other stories, good stories like the one where I am superhero in my own life, cape and all, are gonna be loaded onto my internal Kindle so they can be read over and over without any danger of pages falling out and getting lost.  'Cuz y'all know the girl is hard on the books she loves.  Consider it tough love.  

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter Rant

I was raised Catholic.  I was raised to believe in family first.

Thing is, it's been a long time since either of those felt more than just straw mutterings.

I haven't been a practicing Catholic since my spirituality was given over to my own hands.  I respect and honor this tradition.  It just wasn't for me - AT ALL.  That doesn't stop people from pushing and pulling at me trying to get me back in the corral of true believers.  Easter is a particularly push-y pull-y time.  Y'all should just give that shit up cuz it ain't happenin'.

Secondly - family.  I love my family.  Most of them.  But too much of any of them or too many of them all together and I just can't do it.  I have done it for years.  But I just don't want to anymore.  I don't want to pretend that I give a big rat's ass about most of them.  And I certainly don't want some big family hoedown from hell that I MUST attend or be ostracized.  FUCK IT!  That isn't 'family' to me.  That is manipulation pure and simple.  I would love to see and hang out with people one on one.  But the huge family dys-function is a thing of the past for me.

So this year I will not be observing Easter or family Easter.  I will be hanging out solo and taking care of me.  If I don't, who will?  This time of year in most spiritual beliefs is about rebirthing something into the world.  I want to attend that service.  And it's a private one.

Monday, April 2, 2012

How Many Good Days Are We Given?

Today was definitely one of those days.
I greedily accepted it without guilt.

Glowing with gratitude.

Mean Girls Are Never Pretty

Mom's sojourn in Memory Care ended when she could no longer stand and became what they term a 2-assist.  She transitioned to Skilled C...