Sunday, November 28, 2010

christmas in venice

The holiday season has finally caught up with Venice. It's raining and cold outside. I'm sitting on a bar stool at Hinano's listening to live blues, waiting for the moment when I'll have to get up and dance. I've seen Satin Blue perform before. They're usually on fire by the end of the first set. Until then, I nurse my Guinness and take stock of my surroundings. Christmas lights dangle from the awning across the street. People coming in have wet hair, pause to brush off their shoulders and take in the warmth. In the corner a couple are locked in an open-mouthed kiss. They have a small, protective entourage of beautiful people with them. At the table beside them two regulars in dirty jeans and plaid flannel shirts play pool. One of them bobs his head approvingly to the music while the other, taking a shot, exposes his fuzzy plumber's crack. I appreciate the juxtaposition. At the end of the bar a woman with braided hair, grinning madly, looks up from her notebook as the white-haired musician to her close right bends a note plaintively on his guitar...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

coins

I woke up feeling a little raw this morning. I've been trying to place myself within the scheme of things. I suppose there's some big picture I'm in. Sort of a Where's Waldo type scenario where I can't seem to locate my self. I walked down to my local Starbucks, where everything and nothing takes place all day every day. An opportunity for kindness presented itself. A clear moment in which to act. But kindness is not the right word. It is too big of a word. To give and receive simultaneously. So it was also his gift to me, both of us recipients.  

I've been reflecting these last few days on my motivations. Specifically the ones behind efforts I make to improve or better my self. It seems there are two wells from which this impulse springs. One is inwardly arising, a voice of compassion and command. The other a reactionary ripple from my childhood. A habit. A hole in the development of my world view I'm still trying to fill or give meaning.

I must have always believed in the existence of unconditional love because I've spent a lifetime torturing my self for not being "good" enough to receive it. My desire to become worthy of love is paralleled only by my distrust of it. At some point we're all told something we believed existed doesn't, like Santa Claus. Love can be like this.

Interesting how two impulses to do something at least outwardly similar completely threaten to unseat each other. If I learn to trust my self and my impulse towards compassionate self-acceptance and growth I necessarily have to let go of the one centered solely around my belief that I am undeserving of said love. If I keep holding on to my distrust and need to "become" worthy I will always have a vested interest in my own failure - proving to myself once and for all there is no such thing as god. I mean love. Interesting how these are two sides of the same coin.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Everything you touch touches you back.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Amendment to the Prostitution

What I mean to say is that, in my view, sex and the process which results in sex (whether it be for recreation, for love, or procreation) should never be dehumanizing. And if it is, something has gone not just a little, but terribly wrong - for everyone.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

alpha FAIL

A guy who needs to make other guys look bad in order to impress a girl or who thinks trying to make a girl feel stupid is going to raise the likelihood of him getting laid is a common, over-inflated, blowhard who needs lessons in self-respect. A woman who beds this kind of man is either actually stupid, comprehensively naive, or desperately attached to the act of sex as a means for personal validation. I don't know which is worse.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sunday, October 17, 2010

blind spots

People seem quick to point out that others have not shared the same unique experiences as they... when trying to prove their own argument but tend to overlook the fact that, for this very reason, probably 95% of all their other opinions are completely baseless or taken on some authority other than their own direct experience, experimentation, or knowledge.
I am continuously surprised at how impressive other people find even the smallest acts of authenticity.
This blog has, lately, become a place for notes. So, okay.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

my apartment is a den of illness. my relationship to this singular room changes by the day. before it was quite rosy. a sanctuary in fact. now it is yellowed by its feverish occupant. this is like the difference between a stream which is flowing and one which is blocked.

today I long for atlanta. things don't seem so far away there. roads traversed many times become shortened by familiarity.


Monday, October 11, 2010

There is frequently something very real and worthwhile in that which I dismiss automatically. This is especially true when it comes to people. Today I saw how easily snobbery can turn into bigotry. How violent and inhumane sides are when taken. It was terrible. I haven't enough tears to shed for this poverty of perspective, for black and white, us and them. These days I feel I exist, more and more, in shades of grey.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sitting at the window of Cow's End, coffee in hand, looking out the window. A man runs his fingers through his white/yellow hair seven times. He's not facing me, but I can tell he must be a few pounds overweight. Behind me a tupperware container holding loose tea scrapes against wood as it's removed then replaced on the top shelf. Outside a chubby toddler reaches out to touch a rainbow-colored macaw. He reaches with his right while holding a red plastic rake somewhat threateningly in his left. The owner of the bird, wearing khaki cargo pants, loafers with ankle socks, a Son of a Son of a Sailor Jimmy Buffet shirt and one large, gold-colored eagle buckle, rises from his chair and returns the bird, protectively, back to its perch on his shoulder.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

That my clearest moments of perceiving tend to underline my error in perceiving itself. That these observations somehow reveal the nature of my particular obstructions. Walls over which I climb only to encounter another which I in turn mistake for reality.

what's required

On Friday Michael gave a brief description of Marge Barstow's certain kind of presence. It stood in clear contrast with my desire to feel Alexanderish, as though I've already "got" it. She must have worked long and hard on her self - far past someone only interested in looking or feeling knowledgeable. I suspect it's the same with any undertaking. Those of us who seek knowledge in order to gain attention, security or power don't get very far though we might think we have. I can't imagine anything less than a truly brave show of repeated, sincere, steadfast, commitment to love and selflessness could ever get anyone anywhere, really. And this cannot be faked. Remorse for undue cockiness and for being chronically self-involved. Horror. More horror. But somewhere past my egotism, narcissism and self-love, I have reason to believe there lies a world yet unknown to me. A world of subtlety, possibility and everlasting, indefatigable hope.

on want

Want has a voice and language all its own. It sounds like a capitalist, an auctioneer, a dealer. Want wants me to rationalize, to paint, to gloss-over. Want is irresponsibility. It tells me it is better to buy and sell (now!) than to know and be free. Want, you are a peddler, a carpetbagger, a taxman. Want, you are the ultimate salesman. There's nothing I bought from you I didn't already have. 
A tangible and immediate result of my first few weeks in Alexander training is that I am reminded more regularly that I have a choice. This new and sporadic freedom has made me feel braver emotionally. And I have undertaken a new commitment - one that may not last forever, but which feels authentic nonetheless. This commitment is to myself, to be as honest with myself as I would be with a trusted and impartial friend. It's an invitation to learn and to decide, more actively, the course of my life.

notes on like and dislike

Lately I've noticed how my observations of others turn immediately into like and dislike. This is automatic. How limited and incomplete my perceptions are when viewed through this lens. Like and dislike bar the door to my experience of empathy and compassion, and from taking the flaws of others impersonally, as they should be. That they cease being flaws. That they were never flaws. That this may be a sort of automatic degradation of the energy created from observation. That this degradation is due to my using the energy generated from observation to fuel my ego. How I use it to serve my sense of separateness and superiority. That this is self-serving and ego-protective. That this is not self-serving in its truest sense but degrading, literally.

Monday, September 20, 2010

I'm afraid to think about you. 
I lapse so easily into fantasy.
The fingers of my imagination
have no place in your feather
hair, plucking at your soft, perfect
ears or stroking the divot gently
concealed between your protrusion
of lower lip and plateau of chin.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

my sister is beautiful

video 

I found this video my sister took of her feet while going through wedding photos the other day.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Love is what got me through my 5 straight years of fasting for Ramadan working at a restaurant where chunks of brownie, vegetables and various kinds of fruit were literally at my fingertips and being called un-American by my family the time it happened to fall on Thanksgiving. I am sad to say the love that carried me through in the past has, over time, slipped into obligation. Sadder still is that I find myself incapable of carrying out this month-long commitment without it.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Today I performed for the first time since Italy.  It went better than I expected and certainly better than I deserved. As a result I am, again, a member of an Orchestra in which I play cello.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Today I am exceedingly common.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

objectification


You used to actually
care for me or at least
I thought you did.

Now you only call
when you need to
take a shit... and 

I know you don't
want to have to
hear about it.

Well, I'm sorry
but you can't flush
this one down or

simply close the lid -
because I'm a person
not a toilet.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

invertebrates

like a worm, or a mollusk, like a jellyfish or squid
like a beetle, praying mantis or an eight-legged arachnid
like a knight who hunts a dragon, troll, elf, unicorn or gnome
you're Karkinos on a quest to find his mythical backbone

Friday, July 23, 2010

night fishing

The tide was high tonight. I could feel the waves break against the bottom of the pier and almost touch the surf. I often stop short of walking out to the end. There are always fisherman down there with smelly bait. Pieces of dried seaweed and white bird splatter line the railing. Every corner is a leaky trash can and the smell of piss. Tonight the fisherman had edged inland. I suppose it's natural that they should follow the water. They intrigue me. I've never seen any of them catch anything, but they must.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I swear to God!

I will not
be afraid
to be alone,
to be a maid.
I will not
compromise -
until I've met
a heart made
of the same stuff
roughly the
same size
as mine.

Friday, July 16, 2010

angel food

I've been having insatiable cravings for high calorie treats lately. I stopped by the grocery store to buy toilet paper on my home from a work meeting - a bad idea because I like to snack after work (I was a latchkey kid growing up and would make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, religiously, every day after school). But, on my way in I passed by an angel food cake display and then ran into some blueberries and the combination of those two topped with Haagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream sounded so good.... and I never indulge like this...  and buying these items here, now, would support the responsible consumption of only somewhat junkie food (it does say "all-natural" on the Haagen-Dazs carton) rather than binging on unhealthier sweets at worse times (like a brick of carrot cake before bedtime). Makes sense, right? 

The first day and a half of having these items in the house went off without a hitch. Yesterday I got home from work and immediately went for my treat. I pull the ice cream out of the freezer and start digging away at what is a very solid block of ice cream, totally sleepwalking through this. Suddenly the large scoop I've been working on frees itself from the rest and pops me in the face before landing on the floor. This still doesn't wake me. I pick it up, throw it in the sink, wipe my face off and keep going. I eat my treat and continue with my day, having a light salad for dinner (which I was proud of).

So last night on my way out the door (on a date in fact) I slipped my right foot into a shoe and felt it slide inside. Something was not right here. In fact something was downright slimy. In a flash I knew what this mysterious substance was - none other than a congealed puddle of Haagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream which had been overlooked in my dessert-eating mid-afternoon fervor.  I don't know if what I've written here can fully convey how truly poetic and humorous this experience struck me as, in the moment, but before I had even withdrawn my foot from said slimy apparatus I knew I had to try. Commentary on healthy salad-making practices and chaste visits to the o' holy shopping mart to follow at a later date.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

monkey wishes

I was humbled and quieted today looking out at the ocean from the pier. I noticed my shoulders had crept up to my ears. What would happen if I allowed them to ease away slowly, toward the railing? The thought produced a full-body release up my spine, neck, out through my arms, behind my knees, to my feet and I felt human again, suddenly. I felt more available, more free. Silence can be experienced inwardly - even amidst of the bustle and clamor of the Venice Pier. The scene comes to my eyes gently. Swathes of pink clouds in the sky. Surfers. Swimmers. People on bikes whizzing behind. The coastline with it's arms outstretched. I don't have to wonder if I am worthy (my fist still tightly closed around the cherry). I ask it to stay. I ask it not to forget me as I continue to age. I beg it to teach me how to love before I pass away.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Monday, July 5, 2010

from yesterday:

dry leaves chase me down the sidewalk two or three feet behind, caught in a breeze. upstairs my windows open to the sound of my neighbor's lovemaking. the gentle cooing of pigeons.

Monday, June 21, 2010

organ donor

Some people reject love like a body that rejects a new heart or liver, even though it could save them.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

life of the party

And some throw their fragile human bodies off balconies having mistaken themselves for birds. There's only one organ that knows how to fly and it's the heart. The rest winds up broken on the pavement.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

the "ex"

I met someone tonight who thought she knew me. She didn't. She thought she knew you too. I can't be sure, but I seriously doubt it. My love for you wasn't casual - like most things.

sensitivity

Today I feel like a scar. Some scars are beautiful. I had a crescent-shaped burn between the thumb and index finger of my right hand for years. I was reaching into the oven to pull out a batch of cookies while trying to hold the phone to my ear with my shoulder. My hand touched a coil. But that's not the kind of scar I feel like today. Today I feel like the kind of scar that's become numb to the touch - prone to insensitivity. Some nerves don't always grow back quite right after injury. If it's your scar, the desire to avoid another accident might make you preoccupied with yourself, with self-preservation. If it's someone else's scar, it's hard not to want to hurry the process or be hurt when you caress this part of them (be it small or large) and are met with insecurity or worse, no response at all.

Monday, May 24, 2010

I'm interested in people with intelligent transparency - people who choose to be openly vulnerable not out of naivete or ego, but from an unshakable sense of inner security. 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

mirrors

Most people, in one way or another, try to tell you something about yourself. If you don't know who you are to begin with, this information can be difficult to sort through. You can be taken advantage of. It helps to be able to see what others' motivations are, but this is also difficult unless you've spent some time tracking your own. A lot of time, actually. And, if you're looking for one, a true friend is an individual who has gained some measure of autonomy or freedom for themselves (usually hard-won); everyone else is looking to fill a gap.

Having just found a title for this entry I realize I'm missing the other half of the story. The flip side is that those people who are themselves - who have moved steadily closer, over time, to their own unique destiny, are also mirrors. But in them you see yourself more clearly. Where other people's dirt distorts the truth, these have been polished clean. By love. By the work of love. When standing in front of this quality of person you are asked not to confirm or deny but to simply watch and be. How grateful I am to have had both experiences in my life rather than just the aforementioned. 

Saturday, May 22, 2010

a question whose answer, given by me, always sounds wrong

I'm afraid of being judged. Someone might think I am playing the victim. Someone might think I think I've gone through some sort of hardship to get here - that I don't realize what others have suffered. That I'm not truly thankful.

I'm afraid of giving other women reasons to dislike me. They always seem to. Women tend to police other women. I learned early the worst thing you could do in a group of women is be unapologetically yourself. Women are supposed to be modest

God forbid you think yourself worthy of love or admiration. God forbid you admit, publicly, that you have ability or intelligence. God forbid you point out your struggles without preface. 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

"When you look into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you." - Nietzsche

My experience in Italy reorganized me in a small, but fundamental way. Having looked into so many beautiful people and them into me it's hard, now that I'm home, not to avert my eyes. Kindness is harder to find on the street if you find it at all.

One month later and Venice has remained virtually unchanged - the drunks perpetually drunk, sober, drunk and sober, everyone doing slightly altered variations of exactly what they were doing before. It's only from the outside that you notice it's lack of motion. The drama that feeds this area, and keeps its bars full, gives the greatest illusion of change. I suspect several generations of beach bums (and I'm not talking homeless people) will come and go here none the wiser. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

venice 4

she-wolf

One of these days I'll meet a little piggy whose house I can't blow down.

Friday, May 7, 2010

I'm probably not who you think I am.

But, if you think I'm someone who just kicked ass at darts,
you're a hell of a lot closer than most.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

self-importance

I attended a concert the other night and found myself getting upset at the two drunk bitches behind me who wouldn't stop talking. I was afraid I might lose it and say something to them uncharacteristic of a lady so I started thinking up alternatives just in case.

If I could say anything and have them really hear me what would it be? This is what I asked my self. What began as an exercise in how to cut someone down in the most acerbic, poetic way possible ended strangely when I realized that what I really wanted to say to them was this:

"You are not nearly as important as you think you are. You're much more important than that."

darts

The hardest games, for me, are not the ones that require the greatest amount of attention, but the least.

very exciting news

For the first time in my life I can ask myself this question:

"Are you willing to live alone, without a husband or children of your own, for the rest of your life, if that guarantees your ability to continue to pursue what you value most - be that art, truth, or self-knowledge?"

and have the answer be "Yes."

the trick

to living on the cheap
is to always want
what you already have

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

with me

Someone left a letter for me on the course. It read,  "WE ARE ALL WITH YOU". I may try to find a more eloquent way to say this later on but please accept, for now, that I have found this to be true. And my life has been made immeasurably richer by having all of you in it.

more bullshit

A funny clip from The Onion News Network, sent to me by LJ.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

blood from a stone

Something happened recently which caused some concern over whether I have the propensity for brutality. LJ assured me I'm not brutal in a malicious way, just that I'm not satisfied with veneers. I want to know what's really there, what's beneath, so I apply pressure; I give people a  little squeeze and watch what comes out. Like tubes of paint. Some are yellow on the inside, some green, others you could wring until you're blue in the face and still, nothing. 

The tube metaphor is over-simplified but, right or wrong, I've noticed I can be judgmental of the ones that seem to come up empty. The colorless ones. The holes. Perhaps there's nothing wrong with being empty. It may, in fact, be part of the natural order of things, of decay. But I've had a different experience of humanity and can tell you without hesitation that most people don't have a clue what or who they are - how valuable, how utterly irreplaceable, how color-full - and I can't help but feel this a terrible waste. It's a fucking tragedy

I suspect some readers might balk at my description of the empty ones and my assertion that a lot of folks (not you, of course) are ignorant of some very basic things. Who the hell am I? How can I tell? Holes are often obvious. The incredible lengths people go to to cover up what they view as their deficiencies make them so. These deficiencies, real and imagined, are like landfills where people dump all kinds of shit: their shit, other people's shit, but mostly bullshit. It can be smelled for miles away in any direction.

People who are full of shit can be annoying, but there are few things I have less patience for than people who pretend or presume to have experienced something pure or sacred when truly they have not. This is evident in those of us who label ourselves artists and poets when we have nothing to say (having been present so infrequently as to be unable to bear witness even to our own lives) and no craft with which to say it other than what we graft or imitate from others (which is no craft at all, but mimicry. And toddlers do this with more zeal and accuracy than most adults). 

I include myself in this category. I have, at various points in my life, considered myself a musician when I was and am not. I may not even be a poet. But I do aspire to poetry. And to music. And to honoring those whose contributions to these arts have been real - even if the only honorable contribution I can make is silence.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Free from envy.

For a couple days at least. I am enough.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Saturday, March 13, 2010

thrift

where all lost, unwanted, ill-fitting or out-of-fashion things go. someone, someday, will pull my love for you out from under a pile of "Virginia is for Lovers" t-shirts and have found a treasure and a great bargain. 

Thursday, March 11, 2010

short report

I'm going to Rome on Tuesday. I'll see beautiful things there. Maybe even be one of them.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

relationships

When I was younger I fancied these hiking boots. They were suede and laced up from the toe. I found a pair on discount and bought them - despite the fact that I was broke and they were the wrong size. Sometimes I just want something, usefulness be damned. I was the proud owner of a pair of hiking boots that never took me anywhere, least of all a hike. Now I ask my self, however little I paid, was it worth it?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sunday, January 24, 2010

if you take me

for god's sake take everything. use everything. fill each corner of your room with my ornament. wrap my skin around you like a blanket. fill your stomach with my muscle. my fat. until there's nothing left to taste. until I'm empty and there's nothing left to waste. nothing to spill. I want to be part of life, damn you, not just another reckless driver's road kill.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I was a huntress.

I was an arrow. I was a deer on the floor wailing. My cries shook the walls. They cracked the ceiling. They ricocheted off buildings. All our neighbors beer in hand coughing up their addictions began weeping. The sound echoed through the streets. Through the scent of potatoes roasting in butter and laundry steaming sweetly in the dryer, the dark musky odor of marijuana and nag champa burning together, as in a chorus. I was a huntress. I was a deer. Next time you shoot, shoot to kill. Gut and eat me. Don't just leave me on the floor of your apartment bleeding. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

little assholes

The holidays made me reflect on how easily influenced we are by the messages we receive from others - coming and going. I found my self wishing I could resist making cracks at Rush Limbaugh, was more enthusiastic about pictures of eagles and hadn't rejected my mother's invitation to submerge my hands in sugar. I love my parents. It continues to strike me how they too can be child-like. Children are sensitive, vulnerable, innocent, completely self-absorbed little assholes who deserve without reserve, my unconditional love. 

Monday, January 18, 2010

caterpillars

we spin a tender wrapping around one another. a golden
chrysalis. all hearts eventually break against.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sunday, January 10, 2010

impotence

snake charmers are said to hypnotize with
song burmese pythons, carpet vipers, egyptian
cobras or some other beast captured

when I found you that's how it was hungry
and wild, writhing in your pot, your beautiful
freckled mouth already sewn shut

Friday, January 8, 2010

winter mussels

in the winter mussels build up on the boardwalk. fisherman pluck them off to use for bait. I love watching their adept fingers work. crabs scuttling in and out. the ecosystem under the pier opening and closing, forced to release its tiny treasures one by one.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

these days I dream of vampires 
and hell's only son. please hide me 
in your great red womb. beelzebub