Wednesday, October 25, 2017

all my lost fathers

Red sings on the 3rd Street Promenade between Santa Monica Blvd and Broadway. Regular hours. Something like 8 pm to 11 pm, Monday through Friday. Red must be in his 70's now and the American flag behind his chair gives him the look of a veteran. He plays his guitar seated - mostly folk ballads in the vein of John Denver, Johnny Cash, and Bob Dylan. When he's playing I can't help but be drawn in. These are the songs of my childhood and Red's steady voice wraps around me like a long-awaited paternal hug.

A homeless man joins me in the ranks of Red's orphan audience. His white-yellow beard reaching down to his chest. He sits on the same kind of walker my grandmother used. She called it her Red Racer. When it's not aiding in that unutterably tedious task of walking, it substitutes quite well for a chair. I watched him gently slip a blanket from beneath his seat, unfold it in a most dignified manner, and place it neatly across his lap. When it slipped askew moments later my impulse was to help righten it.

I am not repulsed by your sunburnt fingers or back-alley cologne my fellow music enthusiast, my friend. Nor am I frightened at the prospect of another thwarted act of love.

I have not forgotten you, John Denver. I have not forgotten you, Bob, Paul, Art, Cat, Leonard, or James. I have not forgotten you, my lost fathers.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

slings and arrows

I've been hurting over the willingness of people I thought I was once close with to villainize me. It's really a strange thing being elevated in status from a person basically struggling, confused, and heartbroken, to an entity of mythological proportion. But, I suppose a threat doesn't have feelings, it's just a threat - an object of scorn and fear. While it is a distinct and undeniable downgrade from being human, it's not a position without power.

This is the dual life of the scapegoat. You are the honorary symbol of dysfunction, yet the only one who gets credit for having any agency. Someone points a finger and says she made me do it, or better yet, I would never do that. But I get to remain responsible for my own choices, everyone else involved is a puppet.

In this black and white world, I am the black, the wrong, the bad. And as the bad one, I lost the right to feel hurt. I became invisible behind a screen on which others projected their fears (and formed alliances behind). People secretly love a villain. It validates what they always suspected to be true - that they are better. Disregard a person's total hypocrisy in numerous other ways, their transgressions big and small, on this count, they are fucking pious and will scream it from the rooftops.

Forgiveness is a slow process. Being human isn't enough, you have to deserve what you get. Well, I've decided I get to hurt. My gift to myself. I won't pretend the slings and arrows don't still land because they do. But I would rather sit with my grief rather than run to new dependencies. I will sit with my imperfections because I am ashamed. Not for all the debts I'm accused of owing, the pound of flesh, but for trading my love, my sense of self-worth for a lie.

Baba Yaga

You can hide behind another, like a bairn behind its mother's
skirts, but you're still scared of me. And you should be
for I've shed my earthly status for the realm of fantasy.

In the funhouse mirror of your eyes, I'm difficult to read,
as deformed as Baba Yaga sharpening her teeth.
But the bony one is hard to kill, I won't die easily.

Not because I'm supernatural or impervious to your swing.
It's simply hard to win a fight against your own psychology
(and it began long, long before I was ever on the scene).

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

You were beautiful unmasked.

Naked to the bone, the burdens of your sisters
gone. The strapping youth, a hero sojourner fighting battles
(but mostly monsters in the closet) = (Father).

If I could but strip away the husk and free the golden seed
of pestilence, of fear. But I can't. Unadorned, you were
my Adonis. Costumed, just an ugly child of his.

Monday, January 30, 2017

In a few days, my understanding no more enriched than now, I place myself in the center of a green crater off the coast of Maui.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

one, two

it's ok, really
no judgment
just numbers
like 4 follows 3

you're simply not 
strong enough yet
in yourself,
not for me.