Dream. July 18,1998

I am living in an old. . . castle. Trying to get it to grow again. My main problem is a plot of land over on the (left corner) of the property. It is barren. My ex-husband comes to see me. Somehow I know if I don’t get that land to grow I will lose the whole castle and it will be his. I ask him please let it go so I can get it to grow. He refuses (once again). (Something about the wives—their blood being poured on that site and their bodies elsewhere.)
That night, I dig up a grave in the barren plot. It is a large, dark man. I am afeared, yet I give him an apple to eat. He eats with relish—I can taste the sweetness of the apple, watching him. He eats and he is a wolf, and a horse. I pick up the pieces that drop from his mouth and feed them to him. The core is last, but he doesn’t seem to mind.
This powerful man has come to life again. The castle begins to change into what it was when it lived. The entrance stairway lengthens, and a large plot of mangrove trees springs up around a pond. (A natural sewage treatment, I hear.)
I am in the castle. Still, the man cannot come in for some reason. He asks me for some type of dagger, but it’s really a pen (I know this). A little boy is helping me look for it. I find spaghetti sauce, and I think he can use that for ink (ha ha). I go up some stairs, and the fire is roaring and catching things outside the fireplace aflame. I run back down and tell the man I’m sorry, I can’t find what he wanted and the fire is out of control. Well, he comes in, and he shows me how to lower the amount of oxygen that gets to the flames. He touches a burning hot lever with his fingers and I grab them away, but am amazed to find they’re not hurt. Then I throw my arms around this mysterious man. He is wearing black and he is soft, like velvet. I am home.
We are out in the garden and I am theorizing about what happened so long ago. The blood of wives, women? was poured there and their bodies disposed of. The animals drank the blood, a mouse,  . . . and they became enchanted and have been the caretakers here ever since. This man (prince) tells me I’ve got it and shows me a pair of birds sitting on a branch with their feathers all puffed up around them.

Later we are at an inn or something. The man is a gray stallion. Two of his former servants come around the corner and he hails them with such pleasure. I look at him and his eyes and mouth are seared shut—old scars. As I watch though, as his servants come nearer, the scars melt away and the deepest human eyes appear.
We all sit with the innkeeper—a woman—and eat raw parsnips. When the (man, horse) goes I give my apologies and run after him. I know I must follow him.

 

Save Yourself

Save Yourself

Memory

Footsteps on the hot sidewalk echo;
Past fades into present.
Music~his Ozzy, my Randy~
Reverberates through flesh and bone
And my body gives up an image I can rarely conjure…
His whole face, smiling.

Another July,
When freedom rang because we took it in our hands,
Wresting it from the moment and running
Over the Mountain
And on to the Greyhound bus
With twenty dollars and two packs of Marlboros.

Camping in Albany by the railroad tracks,
Passing a pint of Comfort,
We made plans for California
And drank each other’s presence
As though we knew
We were lilacs.

Brooklyn

Brooklyn

January 1984

All my writing in the garbage can,
Deodorant sent from someone else’s mother,
Christmas gifts from strangers.

Packing to leave the psych ward
For a mental hospital in Westchester
Where, they’ll say, an old woman,
Heir to Gilded Age money,
Spends her last days.

I imagine she has a whole floor to herself,
Muffled and dark with thick carpets,
While below her,
Removed from the current of life,
We try to convince them
That we are fine
And the world is wrong.

mossnleavesnsnow

Emerald and snow

rocksnmoss

The way in.

Mote and Beam II

It doesn’t matter what others think of you–it matters what you think of others.

It doesn’t matter what others think of you–it matters what you think of yourself.

This is the crux of the admonition: “Judge not that ye be not judged.”

Fine-Feathered Friend

Poetry by Eubie Blake. I drew this for my nature- and bird-loving friend Eileen, who is every bit as beautiful and fiesty as a blue jay.

Infatuation and Love

I just want to listen to that song again
So I won’t forget how it feels

Not like every day isn’t alive
But I forgot
Not like every day I don’t see beauty
But I forgot how beautiful it all is

∞         ∞         ∞

Assumptions

Assumptions

I have a theory about infatuation that I came up with a few years ago while checking books in to circulation at the Guilderland Public Library–a job which requires little attention and so allows for musing. At the time I was still very much under the spell of Johnny Depp–post Pirates of the Caribbean–and I spun into a little fantasy of feeling involving him. Nothing in particular, but a fantasy of love-feeling, in which I felt “in love” and Johnny Depp was the object of that feeling. At the time I was aware I was fantasizing, the way you might become aware you are dreaming while you are dreaming, and I began to observe myself as I went through these feelings and question what I was doing and why. Because obviously Johnny Depp is a total stranger and I’m waaay out of his league anyway, why would I have such a fantasy of feeling? It occurred to me then that when we are infatuated with someone, we project upon them what we desire for ourselves–in my case feeling in love. We become infatuated also with certain characteristics we imagine the person to have, but in fact these often are characteristics that are liminal and possibly suppressed in ourselves.

In the case of Johnny Depp, I wanted to feel in love, and he was a very safe person to project that desire upon. But what if I took him out of the equation and simply fell in love with myself? Oh no, you say (I said), that isn’t allowed. It isn’t allowed for us to love ourselves as we love others. It is unseemly. Instead we must give all our love to others and hope that they return it.

I have thought long on this topic and have come to believe that indeed we are the ones who must love ourselves as we wish to be loved. To give ourselves the love we need.

Who says you can’t give yourself the fathomless love you’ve so long wanted from others? This is one of the biggest, most destructive lies we believe–that we can’t get love except from outside. It is this falsity that fuels the power of commercials. We are not good enough–we don’t look right, we don’t have what it takes to get and keep others’ love and regard–so we must try this product and that, keep up with the trends so we fit in, and we will pass as one of the beautiful people, one of the people who deserves love and respect. It is this falsity that fuels an excessive preoccupation with what others are thinking about us, whether we fit in to the “norm,” and the fear of rejection.

So, how does one love oneself? This ultimately has a different answer for each of us. If you are like me you have a lot of shit to work through before you can get to a point where you can truly love yourself. It has taken me years of hard slogging in the muck of my mind, cleaning things up and putting it to order, and this loving myself has been very gradual, and I’m always sliding back into the muck, too. But I’d say a good start is to make believe you do until you actually do. Really–I mean, tell yourself you love yourself and feel it. Call yourself Honey or Darling. When one of those bullies in your head starts picking on you, stick up for yourself. Wear the clothes you feel good in. Look into your eyes in the mirror and love yourself–see the love in your eyes.

But don’t forget that all the people you meet out there are you, too. Not only the people, but the trees, the air, the water, the animals, the insects. We all are One Being–it’s a scientific fact–so when you go about your days, love them all as best you can. Bless people as you walk past them (silently), bless your food as you cook it and eat it, bless your water, bless yourself.

And I guarantee it–you will feel in love.

Haven’t Been Making Any Shoes Lately

I’ve been distracted trying to stay out of the undertow while the waves keep coming. Still, I am in Hawaii so I shouldn’t complain. (Speaking metaphorically, of course.) Actually I am in the northeastern United States in October and the leaves are peaking. The heat finally came on, and all is well. I thought of this dream today, from the mid 1990s. It is a piece of the Rapunzel puzzle that I believe has been part of my life since Kindergarten, but didn’t show up consciously until I was 19 and painting a tree that turned into a fully executed Rapunzel tower while I observed my mother and I walking hand in hand up the steps of a Mayan pyramid.

Dream—

Dusty path to the West,
exercise in futility.
Carload of Asians…
I turn to the East.

The lamb lies down on the path to the East.

A kitten comes to me—
She hangs around a lot but doesn’t live with us.
I think, I should feed her, she isn’t growing;
I think, she would not be happy inside, declawed.

Safe but not happy.

First Sketch, with R.W.Emerson Quotes

First Sketch, with R.W.Emerson Quotes

July 14, 2015

Go Set a Watchman came in the mail today.

It matters what we think.

So here I am day two of writing whether I feel like it or not and I don’t know what to write so I’m just sitting here on the back stoop looking at the green and drinking my second glass of wine after having wandered Facebook and fixed my hatchback. There is a smell in the air that has been here ever since I got home–like they are doing laundry next door and using a powerfully perfumed detergent, so when the dryer goes it perfumes the air. But it’s been hours now, and it hasn’t let up, and it’s so thick it’s almost nauseating. This happened last year in the summer, too. I remember because I was walking Lucy after 9 p.m. and I finally had to give up and go home because it felt too toxic to breathe properly.

All these perfumes, dyes, pesticides, cleansers, fumes, exhausts…god, it boggles the mind to think about what we ingest every day, every breath. It’s fucking insane what we do and continue to do, as if we have no way of stopping. As if there is nothing that could possibly stop this runaway train.

Maybe this writing I am so keen to do is meaningless because there will not be humans to read it in the future. And even I, who appreciate the communications from my former selves, may well be too preoccupied with mere survival years hence to even get anything from this than fire starter.

Yes, it is that grave. If you don’t think so you are not really paying attention. Turn off the fucking television. Stop buying all the shit they are selling and fucking pay attention to what is happening. The glaciers are melting. We are eating poisoned food and drinking contaminated water and the “mainstream media” doesn’t give a damn. People are dying of hunger and homelessness and despair everywhere on Earth, and the media doesn’t care, the corporations don’t care. Corporations are taking control of basic animal needs–WATER, AIR, FOOD. This, after already reducing most humans to the level of basic survival, so they have no choice but to focus solely on animal needs. Human needs? Fuhgetaboutit. Survival is the main concern for most humans, and that is spreading. Maybe it’s already knocked upon your door here in the Greatest. Country. on. Earth. The. U. – S. – A.!

Yeah, this is what I’m thinking about. My thoughts matter. Somehow gotta get them out of the ditch.

Maya Worlds

It will go on, ever and ever. “There are worlds within worlds, Krysta” ~Magi Lune, Ferngully (RIP Robin Williams)

January 3, 2006

And is a creative word.
The great AND.

This I was able to write last night before collapsing back into my hard-won sleep. It was after midnight before drowse overtook an abnormal state of agitation (source unknown) and I fell asleep, only to waken from a dream with these words on my mind. A heavy slump of snow falling from the roof was enough to propel me to pen and notebook long enough to write them, and though I knew at the time I would regret not elaborating, I also knew they would be enough.

And is a word of inclusion, whereas its cousin, or, is a word of exclusion. And is a word of compromise; or is a word of ultimatum. A string of ands in a sentence will have your mind gathering ideas like a bouquet of flowers, while a string of ors sets your mind to shopping—picking up one item then putting it down for the next.

I don’t want to carry this too far—dichotomies have their usefulness in context. For instance, if you ask me whether I prefer chocolate or vanilla ice cream, I am likely to choose either one depending on my mood, but on those occasions when I can’t make up my mind and choose a “twist” of both I am usually disappointed that I cannot have the pure flavor of either. This, however, is the result of the kind of and referred to by the saying, “she wants to have her cake and eat it too.” Its source is greed/poverty consciousness.

The creative and has a different source. It allows and promotes diversity, which every biologist will tell you is a good thing. Think: “Heterosexual and homosexual and bisexual and transsexual are all okay.” “Your god is valid and my god is valid and no god is valid.” “Nuclear families and families of choice can both be healthy forms of lasting human relationship.”

It takes a certain amount of stretching to allow for other ways of being in the world, no doubt. Balance must be found, also, when it comes to a way of being or doing in the world that steps on or obliterates other ways of being or doing in the world. How far do we take tolerance? Are there times when intolerance is the answer? In response, say, to intolerance?

Assumptions

Assumptions

First Draft

November 23, 2014, 2:44 a.m.

It’s been a long time since I’ve written. Just woke from a dream in which a woman is talking about writing with a fountain pen and how it is perfect for those times when you know what you want to write, and it is relatively short. Then I woke up, and I think, I guess she prefers a more even, reliable flow for the hard work of just starting to write when you don’t know what you want to say–or when you have so much to say but you haven’t been saying it so it’s backed up and clogged and things are going to get messy enough without adding a fountain pen into the mix. That’s what I thought. Because I’ve never used a fountain pen, but I imagine they are messy.

So, it has been a dark three days–yesterday not so dark as the previous two–more recovery from the indulgence of the previous two. Really, yesterday was supposed to be the day I would finally sit down and start writing, but it was a cleaning day instead and much needed. New old dishes to be unpacked, washed, and put away, old old dishes to be taken from the cupboards, packed up, and stored away for Aaron when he moves. It was good work and I’m glad I did it–very gratifying to sit down to dinner last night with china gleaming on the table.

But this is the problem with not writing. There is always something else to be done, and the longer you aren’t writing the easier it is to continue not writing, until, if you are like me, you have some truly nasty days. Dark descends and every thought turns down that path. The destroyer awakens and feeds, and takes every occasion to convince me that my life is worthless, my ideas vain and insipid, my loves illusion, my joy dust.

Usually I can count on having one or two insomniac nights a week, where I go to sleep at the usual time and wake up at 2 a.m. (or, when the clocks changed, 3 a.m.). This past week, from last Monday to this morning, Sunday, every night but one has been an insomniac night. Wake at 12 even a couple of those nights and get back to sleep around 4, but when I wake at 2 or 3 usually it’s for the night. And I’ve been so tired that I just lie there hoping to fall back asleep but today… today I woke from a dream about writing with a fountain pen and I got to thinking about the day ahead–how once again there are many things to do and how was I ever going to fit writing into that? Well, why am I waking up in the middle of the night? Maybe it is hormonal hell, but it also is a damned good time to write. Most of the nearby world is asleep–their mind waves deep gamma or whatever–and peace reigns.

When I am writing–and by that I mean active, regular, daily writing–peace reigns in my world. Thoughts flow clear, and ideas come…freely from that mysterious place ideas and dreams and myths come. I can go a long time without writing–especially if I am doing some form of creative work instead–but eventually I get clogged up, dried out, and start thinking my life is over. Writing is the juicy fruit that sustains my life, and I deny myself way too often of that sustenance.

Why is that? It is easy to point to the daily grind–work, school, the odd yoga class, keeping house and home together…all these things keep me from writing. But I know that isn’t it, because when I have something to say I will write it–it will out, and if that means schoolwork or housework doesn’t get done then so be it. I’ve witnessed this, many times. I’ve also had long stretches of time when external commitments were light or even nonexistent and I didn’t write. So no, it isn’t busy-ness that keeps me from writing.

First Draft

First Draft

I think it has more to do with calcification. We are born imitators–looking first to our parents and then to other sources for what to think, how to act, what to say. You can see this if you have children or know some children fairly well. They imitate, and so do we. It is our way of adapting to the world around us–a basic survival mechanism.

But not only do we imitate others–we imitate ourselves. We form habitual patterns so to free our minds to think about other things; and this also is a form of adaptation, a survival mechanism. Imagine if you had to think about how to drive every time you got behind the wheel? How to cook an egg? How to write?

So we learn to do things by repetition and practice and we get comfortable doing them. What I think we forget is the reason why we learn how to do things. And no, it isn’t so that we can grow up and become middle managers and good consumers. We learn how to do the basic survival stuff in this world so that we can create our own lives. We learn the rules so we can break them–innovate.

I think I don’t write basically for the same reason that I don’t think about the immensity of space. Or to use an example from Jung: religion is a defense against religious experience. My daily, habitual life is a defense against the hard work of digging into my psyche and fleshing out the thoughts and conversations I am always having in my head. It’s uncomfortable–if I am doing it right and not somnolently. It stretches the boundaries of my mind, the way the immensity of space stretches my conception of myself and this world. Whoa. It’s hard to take. You want to be comfortable and secure–to know who you are and where you are going, what you will cook and eat for dinner, where you will walk your dog. In the face of the infinity of space that all becomes so small and easily…just blown away. You must let go of all the barriers you construct to keep yourself safe in order to really think about the immensity of outer space (or the equally infinite, though infinitesimal, immensity of inner space). And that is what religious experience is, and that’s what writing is. Scary, but it nourishes the soul.