rumination house 

The Dreams of Envious Sleepers

( a piece of a poet game)

certainly, we call for redemption:
adrift in our beds,
hoping to be saved
by love or by slumber.
we have slept a long time, in this
tiny toy city,
because our dreams cannot fit here.

and when you pass us,
we are roused
like hungry men to the smell
of baking bread.
but we cannot struggle ourselves
awake. our dreams slide
us in; they devour us whole.

how not to get lost

it would have helped to have left a trail of crumbs, i suppose, though it's a bit late for that now. and what with the birds, the neighborhood dogs, the thin gray orpans-- it may have only led to a sad and clumsy parade.

the map you brought and lovingly studied and carelessly folded, over and over, is cracked and tearing. you can still see the places you've long left behind. it's harder to make out what's ahead. with the fading lights, who can tell if it's forests of trees or mazes of buildings.

maybe the problem has been too many years looking down. you remember a game you played as a child, hours with a hand mirror, navigating the world from the sky down. getting around the chandeliers was always illuminating.

how long has it been we allowed ourselves severed from the earth? without gps or cell, how can we know where we are?

look up. see that constellation? follow the tip of the sword. don't swallow your words.

what we do with our time

fritter it away, that's one thing. you can't deny a thing goes down easier when fried and sugared. for instance, tonight, we make valentines. for people that please us (see "diatribes and manifestos"), and for people who used to, and no longer are available. we aren't afraid of our broken hearts, but we are afraid of our selves, at least in the singular.

sometimes we bide it. that's harder than you think-- you have to hold your mouth in this very exhausting way that others think is relaxed, and hope you are fooling them.

sometimes we kill it. that tends to scare people (see first and one of few comments in earliest posts). dead time sits very uncomfortably on the chests of those who believe they know what to do with it.

sometimes we wait for it. hearts all pumped up expectant and therefore close to bursting. this is when we get ready for the breaking.

sometimes, after it has come, we smoke cigarettes and look at the ceiling---

late night ceiling stare song

there's this place you are wanting
in between remembering and forgetting
the sweet spot
right before the junkie nod
where peace pours in like a hammer
that halfbetween where it's ok
some promised land
some promised land
what's the difference if you bought it
lord knows you paid
lord knows you paid

beat poem fragment 411

i have a new genius in my web play/write group-- these were the instructions he gave us for the last game, followed by my offering.

"Looking through some old Egyptian notes from Pyramid texts, I came across:

Utterance #411 (Apparently a Fragment of a Ferryman Text)

... bring this to me, place me ...

So the game is to write a poem with a title that plays off this title, playing on an utterance number, a fragment, a ferryman or some other sense of transportation, and incorporates that one line somehow."

my poem is a direct ripoff of ginsberg-- wait-- let's say a tribute--

Beat Poem Fragment 411

i saw the best ferry men
of my generation
destroyed by bridges,
standing mysteriously clad,
singing in the subway stations
begging for a metro card,
dunderheaded boatmen paddling
upstream without the you know,
saying bring this to me,
place me again in my boat,
let me draw these two
shores together once more.

accidental occupations

today nena came over to write with me. the title was weddings, which should have been inspiring but wasn't, for reasons that wearry me even to contemplate. but i did write a bit piece about my accidental occupation of wedding officiate.
a few years ago i happened to be at a wedding across the state line, and happened to mention that they should have asked me to marry them, beings that my friend boog had given me a license as reverend of the universal life church for my 21st birthday. the bride laughed me off, until 24 hours later, when she called sobbing to ask if i was joking. seems the judge they'd asked to officiate hadn't thought through the part about the wedding being across the river and therefore in another state. he didn't have jurisdiction there. this came to him three hours before the wedding.
luckily the bride and groom were lawyers, as were about 500 of the wedding guests, and they quickly determined that even if i was joking, the license was valid, and thus began my ministry into nuptial formations.
an aunt lent me a brown tunic and skirt (my red dress just wouldn't do, said the wedding planner). a little jack daniels lent me confidence. and about the time i remembered this wasn't really about me at all, and i could therefore stop hyperventilating, the wedding began.
it was a beautiful thing.
since then i've done 8 or 9 more, and for these i've been involved early on, writing the ceremonies and getting to know what it is the couple is looking for in a wedding. each has been different, and at each i have felt profoundly honored to be included in such an intensely personal and powerful time.
if nothing else, weddings are about love and hope in a world of heartless reason and impossible odds.
and there's something to like about that.

shadow diving: pornography and addiction

jungians say we all have a shadow side-- personality aspects and drives that are unacceptable to us, and thus split off. the more responsible we are for acknowledging and managing them, the more integrated we are as humans. the more offended and afraid we are of them, the more we project them onto others, force the world to act them out for us, or have to go shadow diving.

i was thinking about pornography. i know a man, a kind, gentle soul, who with great pain tells me about his attraction to the vilest, most debasing pornography imaginable. now in his life, he would never act out these interests. after viewing, he feels sick, guilty and dirty. re sex in general he barely can stand to have the light on when he makes love to his wife-- who he has never asked for sex, at least not in words. this man grew up thinking sex was shameful, dirty. and yet he is a sexual being, with a sexual drive and soul. so instead of responsibly managing his sexuality, he splits it off.

it reminded me of jimmy swaggart, the fundamentalist preacher, who had no problem telling us how vile and debased we were-- yet was caught getting a blow job from a crack whore in some alley somewhere.

when we don't accept our contradictions, we act them out. when we turn away from our true natures-- even those we are uncomfortable with-- we are asking others to act them out for us.

we are often drawn to our shadows, our opposing personality. the quiet one is drawn to the extrovert, who can be her wings, or the extrovert to the introvert, who can be the anchor. sooner or later we will rebel against that same opposition, because after all, the balance we really need is inside of us.

when we use alcohol or drugs to excess, we are living in shadow. our split off selves-- our pain, our anger-- refuse to keep quiet, so we drug them down. instead of learning from them, we try to run them off. and we create an even bigger mess.

how can we learn to look at ourselves with love and compassion? how can we accept the shadow without turning the reins over to it?

part of the work is in learning to sit with our discomfort (back to part one) without reaction. to just be with it. if we are lonely, to be lonely. if we are angry, to see our anger. not to feel we have to manage it, or even change it. when we are sad and someone starts to tell us all we have to be happy about, we feel compelled to defend our sadness, and explain why they are wrong. the shadow must have that same instinct of self-preservation. perhaps the battle is in befriending it. not feeding it, but not turning away from it either. just sitting with it.

i always liked the stories of jesus sitting with the sinners.

that obscure object: my desire

this is a game the surrealists played to pass the time-- one writes 12, or 20 questions-- then has another pick an object, and uses the object to answer the questions.

hal picked "my desire"

these were my answers-- feel free to add yours (although players shouldn't peek first).

> 1. where is the object located?
> east of the sun, west of the moon

> 2. what is the climate of the object?
preturnaturally sunny, with odd bursts of rain
> 3. what is the accent of the object?
tip-of-tongue. roof of mouth. slight, beguiling lisp.
> 4. to whom is the objected indebted?
the florist, with whom she shares her secrets
> 5. what tires the object?
> reason, slathered on without apology

> 6. how does the object sleep?
like a baby-- wakes up every few hours and cries

> 7. for what does the object thirst?
dew collected in the curve of a ginger leaf; barring that, a single
malt is fine.

> 8. what frightens the object?

> 9. who betrayed the object?
the readers who would not believe her

> 10. how does one kill the object?
inattention to detail

> 11. what is the religion of the object?
born-again apologist

> 12. describe a recent sculpture designed by the object.
red, spilled like blood, like wine, but on observation it is velvet,
starched so stiffly as to hold its folds forever.

confession as path to truth

st. augustine said that-- or at least it was one path to truth--

thinking about blogging and why we do it-- and i think it goes back to the part about wanting to be known. it's a funny thing, because i am somewhat careful here about some details, because i don't know who sees it. i started this because i wanted to share some writing i had done in a virtual community without having to worry that others in that community might not want to share theirs. that, and i liked the idea of having one place it was all stored. i haven't put a lot of what i've written on here. some things don't bear repeating, and others are too personal for what i've come to see as a sometimes public place. at first i thought only those with whom i've shared the address would find this. but i see (referencing the paris-hilton-sex-robot) that i don't control that after all. so i start to censor, which is both good and bad.

that's the very odd thing about the web. we can find things out about people we might never otherwise, even (or maybe especially) if we knew them in the real world. it's a safe place to let your vulnerabilities out. that probably answers the question of why so many of the blogs are about people's deep deep sadness, fears or anger.
it also leads to lots of potential dangers, of presumed intimacy without responsibility--

a topic for another day.

back to the wanting to be known. i think most of us have a voice we identify with as True-- and we want it not only heard, but validated-- i know for me that's why i show my writing to some. i want people to say --that makes sense to me-- or even-- yuck, and i still love you. the latter is really important if they claim to know me well. like most everybody, there are bits i hold in reserve and very, very few will see me in all dimensions. it's about safety, and about having some retreat. i do know that the person in the world who knows and loves me best has seen all of it and didn't walk away. that's an amazing healing experience.

a long time ago there was a project through-- i think-- a mag called whole earth review. it was a phone number called the apology line. the guy who put it up was astounded with its popularity. i'd bet there are a hundred or more similar deals on the web now. we like to confess. we like to be fully known, even our shameful secrets, if only to a piece of paper or a prayer or an anonymous phone line. we also like redemption--

steve, matt-- thanks for your comments and your support-- i don't know what you find here that you like, but i'm glad you do. i have stumbled on others words that touched off little ripples in me, and it's nice to know i can return the favor once in a while.

sitting in shadow part 2

several years ago i came to a crossroads in my life unexpectedly. for a few years i struggled with making a decision, knowing that either direction entailed closing doors. that's how it is-- every beginning is the death of the old way. "the ego struggles mightily against its own death, and every change is one."

sometimes it's just fear talking that keeps us from changing the course. in my experience, it was something else as well: the not knowing what it is i was supposed to learn. whether the important lesson was to learn to swim in the river in which i found myself, or whether to find a river which better suited my temperament.

i still don't know the answer.

in the end, i decided against making the major change, and in part this was because it was what the majority wanted. i tell myself this is about fairness and responsibility, and i believe that. the common good. and i have learned, for the most part, much more about the river, and how to swim it.

the sitting in shadow part is about the struggle to come to that decision. in the office of my acupuncturist is a picture with the chinese character for patience. it is translated below as "to wait with certainty. to let life carry you." i held onto that thought during times when the indecision felt intolerable. although i spent plenty of time frantically looking for The Answer, it wasn't until i let myself rest in Not-Knowing that i felt any sort of peace. accepting that i didn't know, wouldn't know, and couldn't know brought a release of blocked energy and anguish. and when i finally made my choice, i saw it as just that: a choice, not a mistake.

every beginning is an ending. every ending is a beginning.
you can't and won't be able to do it all. so you choose what your heart and mind can both support.

sometimes my heart still lags behind and i go down the useless path of what if. i won't know and i am sad about that. but i can still bring love and intention to the path i have chosen.

  1 - 10 of 144 articles Next 10 Articles >> 

On This Site

  • About this site
  • Main Page
  • Most Recent Comments
  • Complete Article List
  • Sponsors

Search This Site

Syndicate this blog site

Powered by BlogEasy

Free Blog Hosting