After so many years,
You gave me back my Heart,
and I have no place to keep it.
What can I do with it?
Like hands when public speaking,
how do I perform my daily tasks
with a nervous heart hanging around
awkwardly with no purpose.
I can’t ask just anyone to help me hold it,
when I am shifting my load or opening a heavy door.
I must set it down, and when I do,
it ends up getting cold and bruised.
Some day soon, I will set it in the wrong place,
and someone not paying attention
will crush it as they pass with an innocent foot.
“What the hell,” that careless person will say.
“It’s not your fault,” I will say wiping
the foot with something handy laying about.
“I just can’t hold it all of the time. Sorry, about the mess.”
I hope whoever it is will understand.
Maybe before that happens I will find a warm
nest for my Heart to rest in.
My breath will come a little easier then.
Maybe I will build one.
I wonder if I could look that up
On Wikipedia or find one for not too much on Amazon.
I came here to tell you
that I have no comments prepared
on the new direction my case has taken
at the present moment.
I stand mute
With my empty dialogue bubble
And stare vacuously into inchoate
mass of unrelenting ambiguous static
That are my thoughts at this time.
I have reached a level of blankness that leaves me
Unable to react or respond to events that are
Even now unfolding in my vicinity.
I am here merely to observe and
Patiently await the next occurrence.
My eyes are open, my ears hear.
I smell, taste, and feel
Whatever comes into the field of my senses is recorded.
I, however, cannot provide feedback, guidance or context
For the mess of swirling color, sound,
somatosensory and kinesthetic input
That assaults my being.
like a black hole, I absorb all stimuli
That stray into the range of my senses, storing
Vast masses of information
reflected into me from an undisclosed location
condensing and pressurizing
all into a density, so compacted,
that it can no longer hold its form
releasing a universe
Of mind into the infinite
vacuum of my life.
Stay tuned for further developments.
I just finished reading “No one belongs here more than you” by Miranda July. These stories, written in a naïve style much like Richard Brautigan but with Raymond Carvers perceptive gaze, are about the desperation and exasperation of isolated human beings, as I suspect we all are at one time in our lives. She writes with a vividness and charm that often caught me off guard and made me laugh at things I take so seriously in real life. She does not stretch far for her characters. They are each a little odd, but in gently slanted ways. She writes about fairly normal urban life, but juxtaposes their slantwise take on the normal approach to the everyday problem of connecting to an often mean spirited and sterile social environment. The way in which her characters approach and react to the people in their world is at times hilarious and at other times tragic. In each story there were points where I was intrigued, laughing out loud because of her excellent comic voice and insight, and questioning how I interact with people, and in what ways their inner lives differ from the exterior persona we all put on. Most of us go around the world with such confidence in social structures that are all agreed upon, but nobody really questions why we agree on these values or patterns of normalcy. These stories, at least for me, cut through some of this epidermis to get at the guts, muscle, bone and nerve of what is really basic to all human experience, the desire and need for connection of some kind with other human beings, the one thing that is so difficult to do in an authentic way, because it makes us vulnerable. These stories show at least a glimpse of what it is like to be a naked, vulnerable and human in Miranda July’s mind, and it is really interesting and thought provoking see how they get through their days. I hope I am a little more compassionate and humble after having been in that space for a few hours.
For the last year and who knows how long before I have been floundering around trying to figure out what the heck I will do with the chunk of life I have left to live here in the wilderness of earth. I have been writing this blog haphazardly for over six years now through all of ups and downs and in and out of crisis and calm, 61/2 years of writing is longer than I did anything consistently besides being married. I have not been very good at keeping a strong commitment to my writing or art lately, what with full time work and studying to be physical therapist assistant, as well as pulling myself out of the emotional well of the last year and a half that the separation from my wife threw me into. But, I feel like I am gaining my balance in the sunlight of a new way of living and want to be much more consistent about my blogging. So I hope committing myself to at least one post a week will work. I am sure it will and maybe even two if I am moved and do not have a lab weekend to contend with.
Anyway, I just finished reading Lucille Clifton’s “Blessing the Boats” her book of poems from 2000. I love reading women poets who can express so clearly and viscerally what it is to be a woman, because not being one, I am curious and intrigued. Lucille Clifton is so good at doing this as well as imparting so strongly her experience as an African-American, a human being, a literate person, a member of a family and every thing else that is Lucille Clifton. I feel I have lived a little while in the mind of another, and that is what I look for in poetry. The title poem is one that really struck me as one I will use like Mary Oliver’s “Wild Geese” when sending anyone out to do the work of their life. Here it is. I hope it sends you out into the world bravely with a wind at your back.
Blessing the Boats
(at St. Mary’s)
May the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear.
May you kiss
The wind then turn from it
certain that it will
love your back. May you
open your eyes to water
water waving forever
and may your innocence
sail through this to that.
the wilderness inside
There is no escaping the wild.
It is everywhere, in cars
and in airplanes at 40,000 feet.
Inside my head are vines of forgotten jungles
And microbes more ancient than the first people.
The wild is in the walls
The decay and generation, germination and death.
no inside or outside, only layers.
No life of order,
only a prison of sterile artifice
built with false dreams of separation
That shatter invisibly with each soft breath.