grief


walking in Lincoln Park

beside Puget Sound

I stopped to read the dedications

on the park benches

and felt sad

so I stopped reading them.

 

when I die let me pass to ashes

quickly,

unmourned

 

life is transient,

life is eternal

but not for grief,

not for me,

not today.

 

40 minutes’ walk finished

endorphins kicked in

it felt good

With a special thanks to Maia, a poet-teacher friend – a muse, even. She suggested that I edit out some harsher self-judgmental words – and leave in some of the ones I was squeamish about. It was a lesson in itself.

I tagged and categorized this under “muse” because it’s a good example of how I sometimes work out my grief/depression/confusion through prose or poetry. It often serves to clarify issues, codify ideas and concepts. Writing gives us time to reflect. We find ways to say things that we might otherwise be unable to express.

I have strong opinions about the romantic notion that art can only be produced  through great suffering.  From my own perspective as a survivor and Buddhist believer in the holiness of life, I came to the conclusion/rule-of-thumb that the art is never more important than the artist.

Which is quite different from saying one who suffers can’t or shouldn’t attempt art – there should be more art in our lives, not less. My love of classic reggae has taught me about that connection. One’s problems are often a great muse, a spark, a great starting point; as long as one doesn’t wallow in it; as long as it doesn’t become the object itself.

I question the wisdom of seeking the derangement of the senses as a muse (a la the popular conception about Rimbaud.) I’ve managed to do quite enough of that, without actually making a point of it. I suggest taking healthy risks as an alternative – like risking an unpopular opinion, or being thought foolish…

I seek for my muse to come from a higher life-condition, from more positive things – kindness and the sanctity of life. Art for me is a spiritual thing – or a function of spirituality.

************************************************************************

Memorial Day

Driving home in my truck
on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, 2006
after a job
risking my neck for something that seems so silly –
Well… money’s not silly!

But for clean windows?

I caught myself, mourning the passing of the oil age
No one’s troubling with the design of new cars, as much…
What’s the point, for an object so soon to be obsolete?
But then, I thought – oh! A return, for us, to god’s green earth
– a chance at regeneration for our much-maligned planet
and thus, humankind’s inadvertent partial redemption

Then, shortly after that, the blues tried to sneak back in on me
oh! They’re so insistent!
What is it this time!?

On my way home – to what?
Loneliness? An awful aloneness, so unconscious of itself…
Another transition in the structure of my day…
Is this what my freedom – being self-employed – gets me?
– Because it will force me to look
– at where in life – my actions have led me…
Yes, alone with my own thoughts – how bleak is that?!

Now, making a detour of one or two blocks
so that I can see the horizon
and have a guess at tomorrow’s weather
I’m lucky to be able to see the western horizon,
so close to home…
There’s so precious few places that one can do that…
A treat for this grizzled old sea-bitch
How long before something so soulful as the horizon is gone?
Replaced by higher buildings – apartments and progress…

Oh, god! Remembering another Memorial Day,
so many years ago, when I was 19
a huge, tacky Iron Cross around my neck
I think it said 1914 on it
painted pink on one side from fingernail polish
catching a bus, downtown
accusing stares, that made me remember what day it was
of which I had been so oblivious…
Ah! I had much to learn!
You pay a price for such youthful folly!…
Oh! The awful uncomfortableness of myself!
The shame I felt, to be in my skin!
And oh! The awful ignorance of that cross, worn in the name of hipness.

Did those German hordes not yearn for glory, too?
Were they so unlike us, today?

*************

footnote: one sign of my spiritual/personal growth/recovery was the day that the loneliness I felt when returning home alone changed into a pleasant realization that my home had actually welcomed me into its warm embrace…

*

*

I went to an immigration rights rally this spring. I passed out a handbill of this article, pointing out that the proposed bills left a lot to be desired (you haveta read it through)… http://socialistworker.org/2010/01/21/gutierrez-bill-and-immigrants

…I thought I felt hostility (thru my fears/perceptions/emotions/own little narrow, racial/life-experience lens) towards me for being observably trans… I was overcome with grief, I was worried I’d have to walk off… I just kept moving in the crowd…  it may have been the dirty look this one guy was giving me. He thought I was against reform… I told him I was for “opening up the borders”…

I told a comrade/friend so that she could observe my grief… she reminded me that I was there to show solidarity… just what I needed to hear…

wow, yeah… I get it…

The moral is: 1. rememeber, you are fearful!  2. you only think it’s so… 3. be respectful of other people’s turf – I don’t even speak Spanish   4. misunderstandings and distrust arise, when it’s for the Cause  and 5. remember your Cause!   LOL   6. It’s only your emotions, not who you are or what it is.

Did I miss anything?    – “Give thanks!” (Jamaican blessing of appreciation)

It isn’t what it isn’t.