Sunday, August 31, 2014

Blocked At Every Turn

I'm not at all sure what happened.

Four years ago
we were marauding the west coast
singing along to Clapton
roaming through the rain in WA/OR
You were falling in love with your newest GF
I was between jobs and free in the moment
There was the ritual of tea behind the reclining Buddha
and sweated windows of the Tao in Portland
you dared to kiss the sky at Jimi's final resting place
There was Pike's Place market and the graffiti painted Chucks I wanted
where you stopped every few feet to answer yet another text from GF
a chain played out ten feet
before we had to stop for you to fumble out another answer

It felt selfish to me.
It still does.
I should have gone my own way
I should have left you to it.
The question is why didn't I?

Then you fell off the edge of the world.
Cut off with no explanation.
The cut deep and painless, only confusing.
I want to know why.
But there is only empty air beneath that question

Monday, August 18, 2014

The City of My Comfort

You have to leave the city of your comfort 
and go into the wildness of your intuition - Alan Alda

The City of My Comfort

the city of my comfort is
unplottable on Google maps
too small to be seen
a city  within the shell of a hermit crab
a place where I can pull in my limbs
become invisible
just another empty shell on the beach

the city of my comfort
has a uniform of
plainest white or crazy tie-dyed coats
things are sterile
things are contaminated
things are in carefully controlled flux
everything magnified 400 times
light refracted through bottles on a shelf
days marched out
obedient binary soldiers
of chaos and boredom

the city of my comfort
has cool marble floors under bare feet
here it is alwayssummer
all the knowledge of the world
all the words of the world
for me to twist and fondle in the dim light
smelling of ink and paper
of scriptoria and sumi brushes
a place of reverent silence
filled with scritching pens

the city of my comfort
is closely bordered by grey and pink wagon wheels
where minnows nibble on my toes in icy water
and the big one is alternately caught or spits the hook
vegetables from blackest black Earth
bathed in love and grown in Northern sunshine feed me
immersion happens here
true baptism
where I become one with the element of water
de-evolve into two dimensional chemical stick structures
lapping at the sand like sea foam

Sunday, August 17, 2014

In 10 Years

At my most recent job interview, the last question my potential employer asked me was "Where do you see yourself in 10 years?"  It's a standard question that is asked in corporate interviews and not one ever offered up to technical staff since that depends on what is needed and where a given line of work takes me.  My internal thought was RETIRED, but I didn't say that as I thought that might prevent his deciding to hire me and I really need this job.  People often guess my age younger and it felt important not to remind this young investigator that in ten years he would be doing this same hiring thing again and that it might be better to hire someone younger now and postpone that.

Instead I said something to the effect of contributing to the research effort of others, training junior people and working my own project, but it tasted a lie even as I said it.  Every other response I gave him was truthful or as truthful as I knew in the moment.  This one hung me up BIG TIME and I have been thinking about it ever since.

The truth is I DON'T see myself still doing science at 63.  Not that I won't be, just that I don't see myself still contributing with the same passion.  I can feel it waning even now.  I would love nothing more than to fall in love with science again and if that were to happen, I would happily still be working in 10 years.  But the dull ache and sour taste of my most recent position is still pretty fresh.

What I might have said instead that feels more where I really hope to be at 63:
 - RETIRED or retiring
 - Traveling
 - On tour promoting my book
 - Giving poetry readings
 - Gardening
 - Sleeping late
 - Sipping coffee and storming poetry
 - Walking an as-yet-to-be-acquired dog
 - whatever the fuck I want to do

I don't wish I had given him one of these responses.  But I do wonder what the outcome would be if I had.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Word Waterfall

So this morning I have been imagining a waterfall.  Instead of water, what tumbles free are a torrent of words.  Not quite audible until you are immersed in it.  What you hear depending on where you are in the falls.  It would be spectacular.  Perhaps it would recite all the poetry of the world, or words in random order.  Every voice heard.  Every word whisper-spoken for your ears only.

Maybe there is a cave beyond the words bathed in Chagall-worthy blue light where I might hole up and write.

Friday, August 1, 2014

BBQ Explorer

Today I had the opportunity to catch up with my brother and check out a new to me BBQ place in Cincinnati called Eli's.  Just a wonderful afternoon of food and family.  If you are an afficianado of the 'cue you should check it out.

During the conversation Phil told me that I should think about moving that I am an explorer.  WTF!?!  I don't feel like an explorer.  I love to travel, but I also love coming back to a place I know.  I have been thinking about that comment since he made it, made it twice because I must have given him the WTF look.  He elaborated about how I prowl around and discover things on my own and how wonderful it would be to have more things to discover.

I don't see myself as an explorer.  Explorers after all have big names like Marco Polo and Christopher Columbus, Jacques Cousteau and Neil Armstrong.  But me?  That didn't feel like it fit.  Of course it didn't fit that definition.  I am more of a micro-explorer delving into the less big things around me and in me.  THAT feels right.  I love small things, the smaller the better.  So maybe little brother is right.  I AM an explorer.

Funny how people see you and recognize something you don't about the familiar thing that is self.

Now excuse this micro-explorer who is off to take a micro nap and digest the BBQ and the intriguing notions of lunch.

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...