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This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Might Be Is Too

My friend Anna and I sometimes write poetry call and responses to each other during our work days. On 1/10/08 she told me it'd been too long and I wrote this.



Might Be Is Too


My commute, like a dream, on this grey morning.
I’m conjuring questions that I want to ask
and begging my world’s concrete to crack.

In a bare bush outside my tall brick building
an old aluminum can, that held cheap beer,
has been wedged near the base for months.
My cat dashed off and scampered behind
a fenced-off alley just as I was about to
remove that garbage from that holy place
and I had to give chase. I called to her
from the fence in front of the narrow alley,

she did not come. I called to her. I ran.
I ran one way. I doubled back; called to her

and jogged down a back set of steps, down

from the third story to the fenced off alley.

She wasn’t there. She sat.

She sat down now on the other side of the fence.
I wondered if she wondered where I had gone.
I called to her; she turned and trotted back to me.
Like a dream the can’s importance had vanished as
the day rushed in. An hour later again I begged,
begged the Divine to come back to me. Begged
the concrete tunnel, with its rails of steel and beams,
to crack deeply down to sediment. I thought I’d
hug a stranger just to feel another living thing in
my arms. I walked. I walked up to the street,
the concrete and marble planters lining the walks.
I thought to the bare winter trees, you are living.
I thought to the sky with its birds, you are living.
You are what is: you are being. I looked at my feet atop
the cement, that scab and thought, well, you are made
of the living. You might be what is too. I called to Her.

I remembered the can left behind and thought, to it,
perhaps now, the holy place you’ve been wedged into
for months has made you living too. Perhaps now,
you belong there.


edited 1.28.09

Obstinate

I realized a few days ago that I am obscenely obstinate.
I am feeling better today. I 'woke up' twice because the first one was no good.
I brought pictures that remind me of my natural home for my cubicle today.
I connected with a co-worker on some good levels.

It's my 26th birthday on Friday.
I'm learning to move better.
I'm getting back into the stream with new fins on.
I'm going with the flow.

Side note: Mercury goes retrograde today. Hold on to your butts.

Monday, January 28, 2008

From my Journal, From the Train, From this Morning

"In an effort to look at peoples' faces and NOT their accessories I was overwhelmed by 1 coincidence and 1 hope. At the California stop and wanting to love human faces, stood outside the window of my particular car an old acquaintance; someone who'd be a good friend, I've always thought. I was wanting and meaning to reach out and and there he stood - a reminder of the people out there waiting, without knowing it, to be my friends. The hope I came upon a stop later, still looking at faces. All the silent people wearing their masks trying to armor their beings. Many not wanting to be looked at and avoiding my gaze, some glancing nervously back at my eyes, and others with far off otherplace stares. Little by little I saw the ones who were also looking at faces and we smiled at each other, made space to honor one another. Humanity can be so beautiful, and humans - regular people - too are beautiful often, when encouraged to open up."

Then...after a dream-like morning of picking up the pieces that last week's existential crisis has strewn, I go to eat lunch. I fearfully, determinedly pick up Off the Map again and read this:
"There in the electric carriages of emptiness, people were connected by underground tunnels passing beneath jittering streets, but never by each other. Strangers avoided each other's gaze, or occasionally, reached into eyes to scoop out anything unguarded."

I'm focusing lately on noticing what makes my soul sing and continuing to do (or foster) those things. Last night, after another emotionally rocky night of terrified confusion amidst "reality", I considered the fact that fires-to-sit-around make my soul sing. Since, I'm not logistically/mentally ready to run away the way I dream of, and fires aren't very practical in this city, I reminded myself that excavating the cracks of this place makes my soul sing too. I have pulled my camera eyes back out in order to capture all the places in which life pushes up through the cracks in spite of all the money and shows trying to pave over us.
Instead of running away (now) I'm making space for myself and for my magic. I know it's here. I believe it's here. This many people can't be without spark, spirit, or magic. There are plenty of places for sorcerers to hide in this metropolis.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Daydreams Off the Map

I picked Off the Map out from mailbox and held it like Frodo held the ring. He knew its power was too big and very dangerous. I knew my obedience to the reality I've spent 2 years construction was very limited and weak and I knew this book would make me desperate to stop the implicit consent. I've been crying easily, and kind of a lot. I have always hated that I cry so easily, but sometimes I remind myself to be gentle and just let it go ahead. From Off the Map:

"Daydreams are really only life, when you live them up close, I thought. Take away the distance, live daily in the beauty you had imagined from afar, and immediately the flaws surface. It's like love that way; once you arrive, once you are firmly aground in a love, you begin to see that it has cracks and rough edges and dirty spots, pockets of toxins, less privacy maybe, than what you had imagined. But if you are willing to remember the initial distant beauty of a love or a daydream, and if you are willing to live in that beauty up close even with all its imperfections...then the dream is yours to have. People who can remember that on a daily basis are lucky, because they get to spend their time swimming and kissing instead of always looking off into the distance, making up things that aren't necessarily true about places or people who are far away. It's almost too easy to avoid living the dream you are in while questing for one more perfectly imagined."

a new favorite softer world

The Shed

So I just got my lovely period as expected, but christ, am I ever rolling my eyes.

Am I going to have to throw my hands up, commit to anarchy and a life on the road Every Time I'm pre-menstrual?

The ONE good thing about being on the pill all those years was that I really didn't PMS. Now, I'm au natural and getting pretty cyclic, but holy jeebus! I PMS to varying degrees for like 10 fucking days.

And man. THAT is a pain in the you know what.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Flat Tires

There is a soundtrack to this story called “Silently…the best of 2007”. Song currently playing: “Falling Slowly” by Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova, a song that feels like a punch to the sentimental heart on most of my recent days. I have to turn it down so I can think and not break down into some kind of tearful mess.
That’s better.

Without prefacing any of this with my current states here is my night; a film, a plot, a line with arcs and dips, excess, trials, and triumphs still finding a poignantly meaningless end.

I don’t workout after quitting time. Even with my record of lapses into stagnant depression when faced with unstructured time I decide to deviate from “the schedule” and tend to the refrigerator of my apartment, which is barer than Mrs. Hubbard’s cupboards. I decide to devise a list based on meals I want to cook in the upcoming weeks and another list with commonly purchased items in a grid so I can create a pricing comparison chart. Yes, an anal-retentive night of consumerism and compulsive spending lie awaiting. I eat a bowl of cereal, pet Billie and bid her farewell with 2 canvas grocery totes on my shoulder. It’s about 11 degrees F outside and the sun has set. The bright, ring-less moon has risen miles above the skyline, but isn’t at her “high noon” by a long shot.

Stanley’s has raspberries too close to molding, but also my favorite tea blend (Intelligentsia Organic Blend #333). Surprisingly they do not have flat leaf parsley. I pick up my produce and tea and jot down my prices. Stanley’s wound up charging me $2.09 more for 16 oz. of roasted unsalted almonds than either Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods would have. I got in an out in 20 minutes and smiled at a couple of girl roommates on my way out of the parking lot. Smiling. Faking it ‘til I make it.

I hop back in the trusty Suby and hope I can find the Trader Joe’s on Clybourn without too much trouble. I find it on the first try, am encouraged, and keep extravagant fears of betrayal, fickleness, and heartbreak at bay. Inside I taste some delicious sample of nut-based tortellini in butter sprinkled with dark chocolate. Onions are $0.50 more a pound here, but milk is $1.20 cheaper for the same brand and size. I resist the urge to buy Capital Brewery Munich Dark beer and go for the cheaper Stockyard Stout 6 pack instead. I rationalize my expenditures without any pattern, spending far too much on Mandarin & Patchouli hand soap I don’t need while deciding to drink mediocre beer for $2.50 less; and not even wanting to pay heed to the fact that none of it is really a necessity.

Trader Joe’s has me feeling even more upbeat which is a common feeling before, during or after shopping there. It’s all the wood interior, Hawaiian shirts and knowledgeable, yet hip staff. Plus…great deals!
Right.

On then, to Whole Foods, because I still don’t have parsley, adzuki beans or brown miso. I am driving, again hoping not to get lost in the maze of diagonal streets that characterize this spending trap part of the city, I drive over the kind of pothole that Chicago is known for (to other Chicagoans). It nearly eats my entire front passenger side end and I worry I’m going to hear awful noises immediately following. I turn down the blaring music (“Superstar” by Lupe Fiasco, at this point), hear nothing out of the ordinary, and pat Suby on her ever-faithful dash. I pull into the lot and am actually whistling to myself at this point.

There was a close call with desperate stories of loneliness and destinies of solitude and wandering outside Trader Joe’s but I have managed to back it off with more modern day activities of forgetting. Strolling into Whole Foods I spot a flyer for Gnosis & Meditation classes at the library and grab one for my pocket.
Whole Foods is designed specifically to make one get totally lost amid the stacks of renewable consumerism and $7 bottles of “Pumpkin Pie” spice. I find some of the things I’m looking for, pocket a stick of Burt’s Bees colored lip balm (in watermelon), and finally ask an “associate” where I might find adzuki beans or brown miso. We never find the beans, but the miso’s a success and in the process I also buy a jar of “Bubbie’s Kosher Dills”. I decide also to spend $17.99 on “whole flower” St. John’s Wort, which the friendly sales associate assured me he’d been told was a better product, and which was the real reason for wanting to go to Whole Foods. I need help with this depression this time and I’m hoping to throw some faith into a daily pill made of plants because I’m either too busy or afraid to figure out what the hell is eating at me and really do something about it.

I toss the last bag into my back seat, plop down in the driver’s, and turn the key. The radio comes back to life with Bishop Allen’s “Butterfly Nets” which makes me smile usually, except my car didn’t start and the little battery light is on. I twist the key to off and then back to on, no, that didn’t make it work. Ok…I pump the gas a few times; turn the key with much hope in my heart and…hooray! Suby prevails again!! Another pat on her lovely dash.

I’m not even thinking about what I’ll do or not do when I get home at this point which is nice. There are no voices berating me for being not enough this or too much that. There is no dread, no loathing, nothing, but it doesn’t last. It doesn’t last because I hear the telltale flapping of a flat tire as soon as I make for the lot’s exit. The moon is about three-quarters to full rise now, it’s still hovering around 11 degrees outside, and I have a flat tire and not one iota of a chance of changing it on my own without frostbite, defeat, or crying. I park the car and check to make sure, yes the front passenger tire is flat. I call AAA and mentally thank my mom for keeping this membership.

Then, the man on the phone tells me the membership hasn’t been renewed, no matter what it says on my card, since May. Ok…calm still holding…what do I do, I ask him. Either renew the membership or pay a truck on my own. How much? I ask, thankful I’ve been charging everything on a credit card and happen to have one with me tonight. $64.00 for the year. Oh, not bad, I’ll do it. Ok, a tow truck won’t be there, though, until after 11. What? That’s 2 hours from now though. Yeah, lot’s of calls from Chicago tonight. Fuck, I mutter. Then, I’m sorry, I don’t mean to swear in your ear like that (apparently my good will’s not entirely gone). It’s ok, he says, we’re getting a lot of that from Chicago tonight.

I will never understand why a city that has been at this climate (for the most part) for all of it’s European inhabitants’ existence can’t function normally when we get a mere 4 inches of snow. Never will understand that…until I look into the crumbling infrastructure and poor modern design of this country that is. No, I tell him eventually. I’ll call friends; they’ll be here sooner. As soon as money came up the tears had broken slowly out. I try Amanda and my cell phone stops working. Now the frustration at inconvenience, inability, and icy air break over my already weak capacities. Fuck! I yell, while envisioning throwing my phone at the asphalt as hard as I can. I some how hold the urge and my phone still. I try her again and begin pulling out my spare, jack, and tire iron. She answers and tells me over my thinly veiled calm that she and Anthony are on their way to help.

For a moment, before I know to dial Amanda, I pretend there is no one and it destroys me. But only for a moment until I remember I am loved. And really, loved so well. I feel ridiculous and helpless and pitiful, but try to muster on.

I manage to pry off the hubcap and feel accomplished. I have the manual out and will do what I can. I know the bolts will much more difficult though, as I do not have any good kind of tire iron (as I am later told they’re called). I call Amanda again and leave a message for them to bring a better one (the plus sign looking kind) if they have it. I struggle, pushing all my weight onto the measly lever, I notice a young man get out of a running car that’s been parked near by. I stop and look at him. He opens his trunk and pulls out the right kind of lever thingy. I smile wide and say loudly, in a falsetto for humor, My Hero! He manages to get my car jacked up by the time Amanda’s arrived and says he’ll just finish it off. I stand, talking to him and thanking him. Amanda asks if I’m ok.

I ask the man if I can give him some money for helping me and he says no, so I thank him more and hug him before he goes. Amanda and Anthony follow me home to make sure I get there ok. I am pleased with myself for gracefully accepting their offer. I am really taking anything I can get at this point. I get a parking spot right in front of my house and trudge inside to climb the stairs.

This spring and summer, I have some plans. Among those plans are getting a t-iron and then practicing changing my own tires.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Herbal Newbie

One of the ways I want to re-cultivate my inherent human knowledge is to learn about herbs and their usages. I'd love to be able to grow a few of my own in home-made window boxes beginning in spring time too.

I've been doing the new-age-urban-american thing and taking certain purchase herbs in either pill or powder form for a few years. Mostly I'm familiar with cranberry's properties, due to my urinary tract problems when "dating" men. I recently learned about d-mannose and uva ursi, since I contracted another whopper of a u.t.i. after my visit to see Devyn. Something about my anatomy makes me terribly prone to these bothersome infections and I was looking for prevention methods.

I got this expensive little cannister from Whole Foods called U.T. Vibrance (Crisis Intervention Formula). (Isn't that silly subtitle? Every thing's a fucking crisis in this country.) It has mannose, bearberry, blueberry, cranberry, dandelion, goldenrod, goldenseal root and parsley juice all dehydrated and ground into a powder and I take about a tablespoon in water or 100% cran or blueberry juice every 3-4 hours until the cannister's gone. I've been taking it for about a week and it's really helped. The first days of taking it I would get menstrual cramp type pains within a half hour of ingesting it, but as the infection lessened the pain did too. I'm also trying to cut waaay down on sugar and back on caffeine and alcohol (with success!).

I borrowed a cook book from Devyn called Blissful Detox which is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine. TCM posits the belief that all life has either a hot, cold or neutral quality to it. Based on the book's little questionnaire I'm a cold person so I should eat warming foods. I made a spicy root soup last week with parsnips, celery root and onions as well as curry powder, cinnamon, cardamom, coriander, garlic and powdered ginger. It's really yummy! I was shocked by the flavor of the celery root, which is a strong nutty and only mildly celery flavor.

I also printed off a recipe from Darcy Blue today that sounds both warming, delicious and fun to make.

So, I continue in my efforts. Any encouragement or suggestions for herbal uses, reads, or eats appreciated.

8 of Swords

It's getting close to "that time" of the 6 weeks again.

I had my tarot cards read by Devyn before I drove south from him, and the current situation I'm dealing with was the 8 of Swords which is a pros pro.


That was about two weeks ago; then yesterday, Brezsney's astrology column came out:
While riding my bicycle through a quiet neighborhood this afternoon, I saw two girls fiddling with the gate of a tall wooden fence. They were frustrated because it wouldn't open and let them inside. One kicked the gate. The other tried unsuccessfully to climb up to reach down over the top to the latch on the other side. Finally, the younger girl put her hand under the gate and managed to free some obstruction on the other side. The gate opened. "I got it! I got it!" she yelled, jumping up and down with exhilarated triumph. I foresee those words and that emotion flying out of you soon when you, too, finally open a metaphorical door that has been stuck.

So that's some kind-of intense congruousness and seems to be in conjunction with my life right now.

I came back from Toronto really wanting, really determined, to find my roots again. Internally I keep railing against all the concrete surrounding me while trying to balance it with the knowledge that it's all impermanence and beneath the concrete lives what I'm seeking. I'm standing right on top of it at all times, even when I'm 25 stories high in the air.

As much as I tell myself these things, the desperation boiling inside me is pretty intense.

I'm surrounding myself with Goddess images and knowledge of the moon. I'm working as steadily as possible to create and find me again. I know I'm here, somewhere. I might be on the beach on the north side, watching cold heavy waves eat at hard sand. I might standing taught in the wind, silently listening to the century old maples still standing in some parks. I might not even be in this city. I might not even be in my body. Where ever I am though, I'm not really moving no matter how much I try to budge. I have to let the universe take care of this one and just keep going along, as I am.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Mawage

If there's one thing I learned while reading Dubliners in EN282 (a novel of questionable importance) it's that not all epiphanies should be trusted. An obvious example of the false epiphany would be thinking the Take 5 bar is modern man's greatest invention after a successful smoke down. My recent flood of realizations is a mental whirlwind and thankfully, as I've grown, I've learned that these minor manias of mine (in which I am excessively alliterate) must be sorted. Into pretty matte painted boldly colored bins.

I was at home, winding down 24 focused minutes of home yoga practice (Shana:1, socioeconomic A.D.D.: nil) when a soul-shaking chord of singing women came through my speakers. I started thinking about some friends of mine, a comment I made on myspace, and a social norm.

The social norm I'm referring to is marriage. I was thinking about these friends, and then being excited at an idea of their wedlock, and then KAPOWIE! realization time. Why am I so excited about the idea of their possible-maybe-happening marriage?
I thought I categorically didn't believe marriage necessary (though a right to all who desire it and a legal protection for some). How would marriage be different for them, really?

Well? I admonished myself for hanging on to the damn deep cultural norm inside and pulled a Whinnie the Pooh (Think. Think. Think.). I came up with this. I already admire those two everyday. I don't think marriage is needed by all. However, for those who like it, want it, and make something beautiful of it; as I say, good times. I'll probably still cry at the ceremony and be really excited. I love celebrating.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

An Ice Pick

Ayy! YEah!

There. Didn't know quite how to break the ice after such a long stay away from my fingers on the story board. That, up there, was Me with a Pick.

I've been thinking for several days about intentions and setting them. It's something my various yoga instructors mention. It's something Magically Successful people bring up. It will likely help when one needs a direction. Setting intention.

Toronto is a lovely city. The neighbo(u)rhood of Queen West, where Devyn's cozy "Hobbit Hole" is located, is deliciously artistic and raunchy. Raunchy in that lovely incorrigable way, not in the bad smell way.

The diversity of this city is savory too, and people use the word "quite" quite a lot. It's neither colder nor warmer nor less or more windy than Chicago. The cost of living is higher, but so seems the quality of it. People are fitter looking here, fresher faced, and they all make kissy "hello/goodbye" motions to one another, which I really like the feel of. There are French speakers about and I haven't read or heard Spanish since I left home.

I haven't doubted myself since I left home, and I've listened to my first instincts more sincerely.