Monday, June 25, 2012

My Coy Mistress

Tonight, I heard myself telling my friend and masseuse of all time, Judy, about the stuff going on in my life.  Little bells going off like the theme to the Exorcist - only with less vomit - as I do.  I paused for a moment regarding those bells, realized that I had been telling this same exact thing to friends the day before.  In fact, I had been nattering on about it for a while - weeks even.

Ruh-roh raggy!  This was no longer just venting or anything remotely like it.  It was plain old story telling.  Writers are particularly prone to do this.  Occupational hazard.  It's one thing to tell a story as a writer.  This is something else entirely.  It's about garnering sympathy or excusing a foul mood or whatever.  And with each telling the details become more real, more true and more immoveable in my head.  I become more fixed, more emotionally vested in the story itself, more distant from objectivity.  (Science nerd girl shakes her head at that last one).

This particular story was about my life and how there's no time in it, how everything is hard right now blahblahblah.  You know the kind I'm talking about.  Bo-ring!  As Judy begins the massage it hurts.  Every point feels too deep, causes flinching and pain.  There is no muscular release.  That is the very real effect that this particular story had on my body - tightness, restriction, inflexibility, pain.  Judy is trying to get out of my why I am like that tonight.  Four hours later, I finally have the answer.   I am stuck in a story about those very things.

I have to ask myself why the FUCK am I hanging on to this story?  I would never write anything so pathetic.  So, why should I give it any energy at all?  Exactly.  What I should have told Judy was that I needed a different kind of massage tonight, one that was more gentle, one that coaxed me to let it all go.  What I should have requested was to be loved.  Because at the heart of it, that is the piece that I think I have been missing in my life.  Not the hearts and flowers love, but the kind that comes from true connection, from allowing vulnerability, from letting down the guard.  Maybe the flow of love has been a little one-sided and I am feeling emptied.  Maybe that's just another story.  See how it all works.

I tell myself over and over how there's not enough time, that I am too busy.  And guess what?  I find that I AM too busy.  So how about I tell myself there's "world enough and time" this week and watch as my schedule opens up to reveal enough time for whatever I dream.

And now to class it up a bit - a poem.  No, not one of mine.  A classic.

To his Coy Mistress
by Andrew Marvell

Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
We would sit down and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love's day;
Thou by the Indian Ganges' side
Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the Flood;
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow.
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.

But at my back I always hear
Time's winged chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found,
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song; then worms shall try
That long preserv'd virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust.
The grave's a fine and private place,
But none I think do there embrace.

Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may;
And now, like am'rous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour,
Than languish in his slow-chapp'd power.
Let us roll all our strength, and all
Our sweetness, up into one ball;
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life.
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Sandusky-esque Rant

I won't pretend today that I'm happy about the Sandusky trial ending.  No, I am most definitely not a supporter of this damaged asshat.  I'm sad.  I'm sad that someone so fucked up was allowed to take advantage of so many kids.  I'm sad about a culture of silence and dominance that fosters this kind of activity.

Mostly I think the case makes me remember my own experiences as an abused child.  I wonder what it would be like if the abusers had to stand and admit what they had done in a public forum.  To accept the consequences of what they did.  To have to look me in the eyes and listen while I explain to them how very much they fucked up my life.  How very long it took me to begin the recovery process.  How 40 years later I am still struggling with chunks of it.

Mostly I just want to take every person who has ever sexually abused a child and stick their pecker in a live outlet.  That's a much better use for it than the one they chose.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Goodbye -a.

I hate good bye days.

Yeah, I'm kinda like your pooch in that regard. 

"What?  You went to the mailbox?  But you were gone for-ev-er"

They never get easier.  Never.  I always cry.  You probably don't see that because I hide it more often than not.  Grief is private for me.  But never doubt that it happens. 

I feel like my whole life is made up of goodbye days. 
     Siblings moving away
     Grandparents and dad passed away.
     Lovers moving on to someone else. 
     Friends outgrown. 
     The revolving door of research colleagues.

Today was another goodbye day.  I kinda hate them. 

If only the hello days outnumbered them, stood out, brought enough joy to swamp the sadness of the other.  But the hello days are timid unknown quantities.  Hello days unfold over time into something remarkable, they unfold into a goodbye day. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Yellowstone in Winter

Thinking on Yellowstone
     on wolves
     on snow

My very bones
respond to vibrations
that beckon me
with seductive downturned eyes
     Go around the Road Closed sign
      I promise snowy delights
     you cannot imagine

Elk gathered in winter herd
collected like Christmas shoppers
at Rockefeller Center
hooves churning snow
in an elaborate ancient dance.

Delicate mountains of snow
Perched on shaggy winter-coated bison
head low, swaying back and forth
foraging for the last dry blades of grass.

And the wolves

Always my thoughts circle
back to the wolves
to summer nights in 1992
lying in my tent
in the heart of the glory that is Yellowstone

summer nights
     too quiet
     too empty
     without the soft shuffle of padded feet
     without a jubilant greeting
     without spine-shivering howling
     without the wolves.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Friendship Defined

Hours spent wrapped 
in the quiet tendrils of
conversation with a 
dear friend

Monday, June 4, 2012

Everyone Needs a Rumspringa

Among some Amish communities the adolescents are allowed a rumspringa.  It varies from community to community, but in general it is a time that the teens are allowed to live outside the community, to date, to use technology, to experience life outside.  The Amish Elders allow this because they believe strongly in their faith and way of life.  At the end of rumspringa, kids are accepted back without question and they are baptized into the community.  Both leaving and returning are the kid's choice.

I wish all areas of my life offered me a rumspringa - a place to question and still decide to return to welcoming arms when I have decided.  When I began to question my Catholic upbringing, I was basically excluded from the group for doing that.  TRUE believers did not question.  No?  People who never question are NOT true believers to me.  Belief requires a leap of faith, a dark night of the soul, to feel the truth of it and to choose it in the face of any opposition.  My leap of faith was away from Catholicism, believing there would be a place that felt less rigid but equally mystical.  Where that mysticism is encouraged and not just history.

My mom is a devout Catholic.  I am no longer of that faith.  Recently, we were talking about my Grampa.  How she misses him.  What she would give to be able to talk to him the way that I do.  I try to explain it to her, that she can talk to him anytime.  That he hears.  That if she is quiet enough she will hear him too.  Perhaps she imagines me and Grampa sitting down and sipping coffee, blistering hot just the way we both like it.  But it doesn't work like that.  It's more of a sense that comes over me suddenly and out of the blue.  The way I felt when I was with him - safe and warm.  Sometimes there will be a sentence or two kinda shouted at me that I know are him.  Sometimes it's a smell, the smell of the lake water on my skin, the sweat stained leather of his hat, pine woods.  When I ask if it's him, it's like someone sounds a chime in my head - a deep resonant chime that somehow carries the essence of his voice within it.  I have learned if I can quiet my mind that there is a certain kind of dialogue that ensues.  It is not like here and now conversation, but it is no less real.  Sometimes it is real-er. 

I tried to explain to her how it came in, but that part she didn't want.  She wanted it the way she wanted it.  That's pretty much my mom.  And that's probably why she can't hear him.  I don't fault her for this.  Catholics, especially the old school ones, believe that any intervention requires an intermediary.  I couldn't stand that, it's like being divorced from god and all these peeps who love me and relying on an attorney to ferry crytpic messages back and forth.  I like my way better.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Today's Goal

I  promised myself that this weekend, I would clean and that I would finish edits and assembly of the poetry book.  The cleaning - wahwah - not so much.  But I have made serious headway on the poetry book such that I think it will go out for review this week.  YIKES!

Why has it taken me so blasted long to do that?  I mean that idea was floated out last summer and my goal was to have the printed book in hand before my birthday this year.  Most of the poems have been written and edited at least once.  Although I will admit as I write new stuff I keep adding that and dropping out some of the older ones that I like less well.  If I keep that up, the thing will never happen.  So I have agreed with myself that what I have right now is sufficient for this foray.  And that anything new will go into the NEXT one.  Laugh if you will inner critic, but my friend Jane has already tossed this idea out, that my forever small group assemble a book of writing.  HELLO.  How brilliant is she?

I recognize that there has been a huge stumbling block to this project....ME.  Yup, self-sabotage is an art form and I gots it.  The level of anxiety produced at the mere thought of following through on this makes me wanna wet myself.   The thing is that I recognize that I want this more than I want to hang onto that fear.

I want to come home to a box on my porch and feel my heart lurch.  I want to create a ritual around cutting open a box full of my books.  I want to breathe that new book smell and know it belongs to me.  I want to bury my nose in all that dream fulfilled gorgeousness.  Then I want to happy dance.

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...