Line

  

Hooked on believing I harbor no addictions,
 
I circle the perimeter of consolation.
 
Sure,
 
I smoked for years, 

but I stayed quit for years too, 

returned and stopped again.

And yes, 

lurching from bouts of drinking 

to sobriety and back may sound obsessive.

But absolution bears no compulsion

nor is it addiction. 

Or is it?

I cop to compulsions, 

short, 

fleeting ones like finishing things, 

completing what I started, 

books, courses, paths, dinner plans, 

stuff like that.

I used to obey rules for the hell of it, 

something compelling and lovely in the rule, 

the principle and the law emitting a magic that moved me.

Until I lost the lust for it, 

cooled on the perfection and rigidity of the line,

the truth of the right angle.

Balancing on the nuance of tightropes flashed a softer luminosity of right.

Since then, 

the lapping years ate those twists and flavors forward to calibration.

Now, 

I leap less, 

wheeze disbelief in equations like cause and effect, 

rules too tight

patterns as solutions,

no, 

not any more, 

the insecurity submerged, 

lost,

moored to the mystery of ignorance.

Dark matter. 

Yet the words

spill

pour me over the rocks and smoke me

chilled

heated

flaming swells of urgency

touch,

pick,

scratch,

gnaw it off the bone

and bloody ears of vein-hydrant flood quelling.

The irresistible line draws me

circumscribed and subsumed complete.

 
credit: https://keeldevelopment.files.wordpress.com

9 infidelity ‘things’ and more…

     
Salon’s  9 things you might not know about infidelity is one of those numbered titles that packages tidbits of information from the significant to the pandering. And though the author does a fine job of gathering, presenting and contextualizing (sort of) the information, there is never a question in my mind about the transparent motives of articles like these: seduce readers with and for the numbers.

It is all in the packaging. Lost leaders abound.

Opening sentences handshake the readers to the tone and subject:

Monogamy is a nice idea in theory, but in practice, humans are less adept at it than they might admit. 

Yes, so we have read. The author, Kali Holloway, then launches into the biology of two of the nine “things” such as the correlation between ovulation and frequency of infidelity as well as a lesson on spermatology: the race to the egg is a competition including beating the opponent out of the race altogether. 

Next up, sociology. Having participated in society only in the last 100 years, women surpassed previous records of infidelity running a closer race to cheater men:   

A 2010 study from the National Opinion Research Center found that over the last 20 years, the number of married women who admitted to affairs rose a staggering 40 percent. Which we can all agree is a lot. Nearly 22 percent of men copped to sex outside of marriage, a number that’s remained fairly consistent since 1991. For women, that percentage rose to 14.7 percent. A number of theories are floated for this change, including increased financial independence for women, the fact that women spend more time in co-ed working environments (most affairs begin in the workplace) and changing attitudes around women’s sexuality.

Now this next came as a surprise:

Most cheaters, across the board, don’t get caught. A recent survey found that 89 percent of spouses engaged in extramarital affairs are able to keep their infidelity on the down-low. But women are better at keeping their affairs a secret than men. 

Though it somehow does not surprise me. My theory: most spouses do not want to know (read: denial) or silently sigh a relief in the face of infidelity. I have no numbers to back up that hunch. All I know is, sex is complicated, monogamy or not. Conflicting sexual appetites, ebbing and flowing of phases of the moon as well as the decades, and a hundred and one sexual hangups originating from family, society and biology, all contribute to the complications inherent in trying to maintain interest in, let alone quality or quantity of sex in the long term relationship.

Holloway cites a Forbes interview for the following statement by a dating site CEO in item number 6: 

“You often don’t catch the women. Because women naturally think more contextually. They consider long-term vision and potential consequences much more thoroughly before acting.”

Based on which evidence: anecdotal? experiential? statistical? A CEO?

People who make $75,000 and up are 1.5 times more likely to cheat than those whose annual salaries are $30,000 or less. Those with graduate degrees are also more likely to seek sex outside of marriage, being 1.75 times more likely to have an extramarital affair than people who haven’t graduated high school. Living in a city also ups one’s chances for cheating by a factor of 1.5 times.

The take home from these statistics? The struggle to survive financially takes up too much time–none to spare for the affair. No doubt social values of a society in which the measure of an individual is in the size of his or her wallet has something to do with it. The equation of money to power weighs heavier on those with lower salaries and affects confidence, logically. 

As we near ages that end in zeroes, the chances for infidelity increase.

Mortality. Enough said.

…people who use Twitter every day tend to have shorter relationships than those who don’t, regardless of age. And not that it’s totally germane, but daily tweeters were also more likely to masturbate on a daily basis

Ok, how in the world does one measure that last info-bit and who even thought to ask?

And along the same vein (pun intended), appealing to salacious appetites for the sexual, inane, absurd and obvious:

…penis fractures and extramarital affairs may correlate according to a too-small-to-be-significant study that the author includes–just because–in an otherwise responsible gathering of information on recent infidelity findings. The study authors appear credible, at least, and if they are not as strong as the National Opinion Research Center out of the University of Chicago, the author comments upon that fact.

And while the trend for the numbered article annoys me, caters to the soundbite mentality of pop readership, I too cannot resist the draw of itemization, the buffet of tidbits of data big and small, serious and amusing, but most of all, the back story of the findings, the minds of the surveyors who seek quantification and categorization of minutae and the commonplace. 

The story, for me, breathes in the cracks of the facts, the why’s and wherefore’s.

She’s Leaving Home

Not the right lyrics but the refrain is the same. We live like clichés: daughter leaving for college, we weep, we anguish, and we sever ourselves from ourselves to get past the pain. We cheer ourselves with thoughts of new beginnings and circle of life and metamorphoses, butterflies growing beautiful, upward flight past us.

It feels trite and real at the same time. Our lives have been captured in too many Hallmark poem-lets for sale.

I have anticipated this moment in my dreams (nightmares) since she was born, different shapes and scenery, but all the same theme: leaving.

She’s leaving home. Off to college, which will be her new temporary home in a new state. Whether the leaving is temporary or permanent is yet unknown.

In the meantime, I will be shoring up for the next one’s departure, estimated time of departure, two years or twenty.

Published on #RebelleSociety: Learning How to Shift Our Anger Out of Overdrive and Into Freedom

image

 

Please visit RebelleSociety.com and read the complete version of an essay I sketched on the blog a few days ago: Read it here.

Blogging has been a fruitful enterprise for me creatively speaking, and I am happy to have maintained my initial pursuit and purpose for it as a sort of notebook of ideas and writings, both complete and incomplete, wholly raw or somewhat polished.

When I find myself in mid-spasm of angry spume, I calm myself with a gratitude checklist, one item being the opportunity to write. This blog has facilitated that.

Thank you all for reading.  Here is a treat:

 

 

Pajama Strangle

 
 
Barely there, I lurked minutes, days, and hours

pretending meaning lay in dark, around a turn,

ever on the edge of understanding or knowing;

the condition of life, they say, that stretching on.

 
Naked I slept, too roused in a strangled sleep,

a mind refusing to rejuvenate in still idle stop,

pajamas abandoned for safety in the passage

to dreamscapes blind, conspiracy plot defused.

 
Exposed in button down, collared pajama shirts

to snuff a peaceful sleep in twisted neck tubing,

constricting dry breath with a cobra flannel grip,

plastic bullets embedding skin imprinted targets.

 
So, nude I slept, exposed in unsuspecting hours 

by day, vulnerable to negotiate the middle path,

invisibly drawn with white ink on scalloped seas

foamy, colorless and frigid for all the life it holds.
 

There you slept with me hanging on for dear love

afraid to let go even in death to loosen your hold,

your legs enwrapping mine in immobilized sleep

beckoning childhood’s grip on a pajama strangle.
 

 

credit: image04.deviantart.net

The Lover’s Leap

  

I am sorry.
 
I brought her into bed with us again, she who worries 
too much about her breath and her b.o.
 
all the wrinkles of offense, she who cringes at the thought,
the very idea that she may be seen,
 
imperfect as the smoke hiding the fireworks the other day,
left a trail of sooty stink looming,
 
threatening to mar our view, dim the shiny glee of us.
And now you know.
 
Though the end is not the all, not the being or culminating cause,
we were groomed to believe so,
 
such that her presence stays me, stems the flow, ebbing waves,
impenetrable shield, a barrier, firm and illusory, still
 
and empty as the notion that we need to be THE image
the key to keyhole fit
 
when with a flick of a switch, lights on to view the truth
veins and skin and twisted mouth
 
invisibly drawn to be erased in one full sweeping hearty sigh
honestly gut-of-the-mind uttered
 
by body belief in beauty larger than sight
holier than the mountain
 
we delve in for deliverance in undeniably desirous delight
release and respite, fulfilling
 
in its wholeness, this acceptance, this release, 
this trust in blind care
 
for the principle, for the knowledge of us we share 
enfolded, in threaded limbs
 
that nothing but fear she wedges between permeable doors
open-shut as the thought leaping over the falls
 
cascading down an embracing grip caught in the pupils’ deep
in careful sense, fragile fortitude as the spine of a lover.
 
 
photo credit:  static.yourtango.com 

When You’re a Grown up

  

My daughter and I were at the frozen yogurt store the other day when we overheard a boy about five years old say to presumably his mother, “I can’t wait til I’m a grownup!” Not exactly sure of the context, but I believe his mother had just conditioned his frozen yogurt choices on being old enough to know what was good for him.

Though the exclamation produced a smile on my face, my 19-year-old-off-to-college-this-week daughter quickly turned to the boy and said, “Don’t rush it, kid. You don’t know what you’re asking for.” And she laughed so as not to terrorize the boy.

I turned to her and asked, “Is it that bad?” She nodded, yes.

I know the anxiety of living away from home for the first time preys on her nerves, playing a checklist of to-do’s and what-if’s in her mind on endless repeat. I feel her.

She and I differ that way. When I left home, I had no thoughts. I left on the sheer will of want: whatever I wanted. It was only after I left that I began to worry as I realized I had no idea how to write a check let alone balance a checkbook. I had only one experience with a bank: a savings account my mother opened for me when I was in junior high, one with a little blue, firm-covered, palm-sized bank book in which to register deposits and withdrawals. I remember how grown up I felt then. But that bank book, regulated by my visions of large purchases and the change in my mother’s purse divided by four, did little to teach me about pooling money in time to pay rent, feed myself and pump gas into my car. 

I learned, especially after a few months of barely living on graham crackers and cottage cheese or peanut butter. A visiting uncle, a psychologist  from Texas, remarked to my mother at one family gathering during that time, “Does she have anorexia?”

Burning by my own mistakes was my way. Still is. So long as they were mine. My mother did little to prepare any of us five children for the world as she protected us–wittingly or unwittingly–from the responsibilities of grown-ups, cocooned as we were in our middle class suburban neighborhood.

Maybe it was the time too. She stayed at home and cooked for us, washed our clothes and poured our milk for us. I remember telling her one day in sudden astonished awareness, “Mom, I’m 12. I can pour my own milk.”

My children did not grow up the same way. Their parents worked and so had to fend for themselves more. Even when I worked from home when they were small, I advocated for their independence. As soon as they were old enough to complain about what was for dinner, I let them know they could make their own if they did not like what was on the menu and then showed them how to use the stove. 

I am not suggesting my kids are not over protected or spoiled in other ways, however. While my parents had no means to buy their children things we nevertheless asked for, my kids have had more money given to them than I had. Growing up in a one-wage factory laborer family, we became accustomed early on to the idea that any material items we wanted would have to be purchased by our own means. I worked mowing lawns, helping my brother deliver newspapers and babysitting from the time I was 8.

My daughters, on the other hand, were raised to believe their grades and sports were their jobs, that they had too many years ahead for the paying jobs that they would eventually have to report to daily. “Don’t rush into working,” I always said.  

So my 19 year old has had a job for a year now; she worked part time while attending the local community college to pay for her car, books, concerts and clothes. I know it has been a stretch, the responsibility, though I know it hasn’t been a shock. She is used to budgeting her time and her resources, having been over-scheduled since she was 6 with soccer practice, piano lessons, school, and whatever the day’s playdates or parties brought.

But it is not the practical how-to’s or what-to-do’s that have her worried about moving out. I know it. She can figure things out, and it isn’t as if she is completely cut from the cord. Smart phones have kept us connected for years now anyhow, near or far. I group text my daughters to come down from their upstairs perches (more like second-story caves) to dinner (when I cook).

Nope. What she fears, I imagine, is what we all do. Doing it herself–whatever it is. The psychological state of being on her own, which prefigures the time when she will be truly on her own, no parents to call upon for a word of advice or a few bucks (or few hundred) to carry her over til payday, is the foundational fear–of death, first others and then her own. 

Not to be too dramatic, but Freud did not get everything wrong. Death and sex are primary human motivators. Everything that drives us is rooted in either or both. 

When my daughter goes off to college, it will symbolize that eventuality (hopefully far down the line) of being on her own without the umbrella of parental love. She will experience it as a mix of anxiety and excitement. And even as she will be making her own love, whether parenting or not, which will occupy enormous space in her mind and heart, she will one day yearn–even if it is just for a moment—for a time when the burdens, seemingly too heavy to bear, were barely perceptible just as they were lurking, unnoticed, above her childhood, as she splashed in an inflatable pool in the backyard and wondered what was for lunch and if she would ever not be bored on endless summer days.

I know I have.

And perhaps my mother, sitting among us near motionless in the skin of a fading light, silently reminds her, also symbolically, that connections run deeper than the physical–etched like the voice that called her to dinner at night all those years of play and idle dreaming. Even when the voices are silenced into memory, beginnings and endings forge life forward even as they fall backward in the marching on. 

Independence

  
Happy Independence Day! I suppose I will be celebrating something like that–the roundabout essence of it, anyhow–next week when I drive my daughter up north a couple states to college. I imagine the scene of having unloaded the last of her belongings from the car into her apartment and saying goodbye: my oldest child off to begin a new phase of her life–independence.

She and I have been preparing for this moment all of our lives.
 
And while she has suffered no grievances that have necessitated her leaving, no unbearably unfair treatment or restrictions like those American colonists who could not assemble, receive speedy justice or a fair wage living by the tyranny of a distant king, she must leave to seek her independence. There is no other way to grow into the human she will become. 

We both know it. And while we understand the leaving will behoove us both, stretch us both into the next phase through the forces of fear, anxiety and excitement of new spaces, we mourn something passing permanently: our time together up til now.

She and I realize that independence begets great freedom and the commensurate responsibility arising from that liberty, on the part of both the liberator and the liberated. My first born will bear the responsibility of tapping into all of the resources she has at her disposal, the inborn and acquired, to leverage her mistakes and maximize her growth, pleasure and education in books and in the streets. My responsibility is letting her, watching with faith that I did my job the best I could, teaching to and modeling for this moment of severing the cord. 

For in keeping her tied–whether by finances, guilt or need–is a far greater responsibility, one I am not prepared to take on. Those who would keep another in need or greed will eventually pay a steeper price than of losing that dependent other. And so it is with a nation.

America celebrates its freedom today, marking a day of great deeds by a population led by fearless, brilliant men  in an awe-inspiring act of bravery: foregoing personal interest for the greater good in the name of freedom, a principle far more important than life and limb. And not mere oppression moved these future citizens of a new nation to act. It was something more compelling, deeper within the human spirit that spans the heights of ultimate honor and goodness to the very depth of devilry and satanic cruelty. We are a strange duality of a species that way.
 
I am sure no one was more surprised than Frederick Douglass, an ex slave, to be called upon to speak to the nation’s celebration of freedom and independence in an era when slavery still existed. The irony was not lost on him. He mentions that strange fact in the bewilderment of his having been called upon to speak. But the amazing man is if not merely discreet, magnificent in his tact, bravery and circumspection while rousing the call that the opportunity brought him at that strange moment of addressing his mostly if not entirely white audience, I would guess, at Rochester, New York, in a speech called “History is a Weapon: the meaning of July Fourth for the Negro”, nothing short of masteful in prose and passion.
 
Douglass first assures his respect and acknowledgment of great men and great deeds, for so uncontested in greatness a cause as lofty as freedom:

Fellow Citizens, I am not wanting in respect for the fathers of this republic. The signers of the Declaration of Independence were brave men. They were great men, too-great enough to give frame to a great age. It does not often happen to a nation to raise, at one time, such a number of truly great men. The point from which I am compelled to view them is not, certainly, the most favorable; and yet I cannot contemplate their great deeds with less than admiration. They were statesmen, patriots and heroes, and for the good they did, and the principles they contended for, I will unite with you to honor their memory. 

They loved their country better than their own private interests; and, though this is not the highest form of human excellence, all will concede that it is a rare virtue, and that when it is exhibited it ought to command respect. He who will, intelligently, lay down his life for his country is a man whom it is not in human nature to despise. Your fathers staked their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, on the cause of their country. In their admiration of liberty, they lost sight of all other interests. 

They were peace men; but they preferred revolution to peaceful submission to bondage. They were quiet men; but they did not shrink from agitating against oppression. They showed forbearance; but that they knew its limits. They believed in order; but not in the order of tyranny. With them, nothing was “settIed” that was not right. With them, justice, liberty and humanity were “final”; not slavery and oppression. You may well cherish the memory of such men. They were great in their day and generation. Their solid manhood stands out the more as we contrast it with these degenerate times. 
How circumspect, exact and proportionate were all their movements! How unlike the politicians of an hour! Their statesmanship looked beyond the passing moment, and stretched away in strength into the distant future. They seized upon eternal principles, and set a glorious example in their defence. Mark them! Fully appreciating the hardships to be encountered, firmly believing in the right of their cause, honorably inviting the scrutiny of an on-looking world, reverently appealing to heaven to attest their sincerity, soundly comprehending the solemn responsibility they were about to assume, wisely measuring the terrible odds against them, your fathers, the fathers of this republic, did, most deliberately, under the inspiration of a glorious patriotism, and with a sublime faith in the great principles of justice and freedom, lay deep, the corner-stone of the national super-structure, which has risen and still rises in grandeur around you. 
 
However, the irony of asking an ex-slave living in the time of institutionalized slavery newly confirmed by a legislative decree that commanded the nation to honor the slave owner’s rights to gather up escaped slaves and return them to slavery, to speak about independence on a national celebratory day, cannot but scream not only irony but cruelty, the kind that bedevils the human constitution also.

Behold the practical operation of this internal slave-trade, the American slave-trade, sustained by American politics and American religion. Here you will see men and women reared like swine for the market. You know what is a swine-drover? I will show you a man-drover. They inhabit all our Southern States. They perambulate the country, and crowd the highways of the nation, with droves of human stock. You will see one of these human flesh jobbers, armed with pistol, whip, and bowie-knife, driving a company of a hundred men, women, and children, from the Potomac to the slave market at New Orleans. These wretched people are to be sold singly, or in lots, to suit purchasers. They are food for the cotton-field and the deadly sugar-mill. Mark the sad procession, as it moves wearily along, and the inhuman wretch who drives them. Hear his savage yells and his blood-curdling oaths, as he hurries on his affrighted captives! There, see the old man with locks thinned and gray. Cast one glance, if you please, upon that young mother, whose shoulders are bare to the scorching sun, her briny tears falling on the brow of the babe in her arms. See, too, that girl of thirteen, weeping, yes! weeping, as she thinks of the mother from whom she has been torn! The drove moves tardily. Heat and sorrow have nearly consumed their strength; suddenly you hear a quick snap, like the discharge of a rifle; the fetters clank, and the chain rattles simultaneously; your ears are saluted with a scream, that seems to have torn its way to the centre of your soul The crack you heard was the sound of the slave-whip; the scream you heard was from the woman you saw with the babe. Her speed had faltered under the weight of her child and her chains! that gash on her shoulder tells her to move on. Follow this drove to New Orleans. Attend the auction; see men examined like horses; see the forms of women rudely and brutally exposed to the shock ing gaze of American slave-buyers. See this drove sold and separated forever; and never forget the deep, sad sobs that arose from that scattered multitude. Tell me, citizens, where, under the sun, you can witness a spectacle more fiendish and shocking. Yet this is but a glance at the American slave-trade, as it exists, at this moment, in the ruling part of the United States.
 

How could he not but be appalled, amazed and agonized by the hypocrisy of a nation in celebration of freedom? Those who chose him to speak at this great hall before free people, scant few, if any, who were black in that audience, most probably saw him as a symbol of freedom and independence, a man who escaped slavery, self-educated, self-determined, an abolitionist working tirelessly for the freedom of all enslaved men, women and children, having to argue that black men are men. They undoubtedly saw him as a beacon of rugged individualism, ignoring the indignity of such irony in the existence of slavery. 

The same spirit of absolute sacrifice and bravery that recalled a nation that risked life for liberty was needed to free the rest of the population, and yet, there was not enough solidarity, sheer numbers to stand behind the black population to do so. It would take white people, privileged and empowered to cede some of that exclusive power and risk security for themselves and that of their families in the name of conscience. That cause was not as compelling nor urgent as the institution of slavery that existed far longer than it should have in this country largely consisting of so called God-loving people. The ultimate divide in the human composition, the extremes of polarities comes to light on this day we celebrate one of the poles.
 
Americans! your republican politics, not less than your republican religion, are flagrantly inconsistent. You boast of your love of liberty, your superior civilization, and your pure Christianity, while the whole political power of the nation (as embodied in the two great political parties) is solemnly pledged to support and perpetuate the enslavement of three millions of your countrymen. You hurl your anathemas at the crowned headed tyrants of Russia and Austria and pride yourselves on your Democratic institutions, while you yourselves consent to be the mere tools and body-guards of the tyrants of Virginia and Carolina. You invite to your shores fugitives of oppression from abroad, honor them with banquets, greet them with ovations, cheer them, toast them, salute them, protect them, and pour out your money to them like water; but the fugitives from oppression in your own land you advertise, hunt, arrest, shoot, and kill. You glory in your refinement and your universal education; yet you maintain a system as barbarous and dreadful as ever stained the character of a nation-a system begun in avarice, supported in pride, and perpetuated in cruelty. You shed tears over fallen Hungary, and make the sad story of her wrongs the theme of your poets, statesmen, and orators, till your gallant sons are ready to fly to arms to vindicate her cause against the oppressor; but, in regard to the ten thousand wrongs of the American slave, you would enforce the strictest silence, and would hail him as an enemy of the nation who dares to make those wrongs the subject of public discourse! You are all on fire at the mention of liberty for France or for Ireland; but are as cold as an iceberg at the thought of liberty for the enslaved of America. You discourse eloquently on the dignity of labor; yet, you sustain a system which, in its very essence, casts a stigma upon labor. You can bare your bosom to the storm of British artillery to throw off a three-penny tax on tea; and yet wring the last hard earned farthing from the grasp of the black laborers of your country. You profess to believe “that, of one blood, God made all nations of men to dwell on the face of all the earth,” and hath commanded all men, everywhere, to love one another; yet you notoriously hate (and glory in your hatred) all men whose skins are not colored like your own. You declare before the world, and are understood by the world to declare that you “hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; and are endowed by their Creator with certain in alienable rights; and that among these are, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and yet, you hold securely, in a bondage which, according to your own Thomas Jefferson, “is worse than ages of that which your fathers rose in rebellion to oppose,” a seventh part of the inhabitants of your country. 

Fellow-citizens, I will not enlarge further on your national inconsistencies. The existence of slavery in this country brands your republicanism as a sham, your humanity as a base pretense, and your Christianity as a lie. It destroys your moral power abroad: it corrupts your politicians at home. It saps the foundation of religion; it makes your name a hissing and a bye-word to a mocking earth. It is the antagonistic force in your government, the only thing that seriously disturbs and endangers your Union. it fetters your progress; it is the enemy of improvement; the deadly foe of education; it fosters pride; it breeds insolence; it promotes vice; it shelters crime; it is a curse to the earth that supports it; and yet you cling to it as if it were the sheet anchor of all your hopes. Oh! be warned! be warned! a horrible reptile is coiled up in your nation’s bosom; the venomous creature is nursing at the tender breast of your youthful republic; for the love of God, tear away, and fling from you the hideous monster, and let the weight of twenty millions crush and destroy it forever! 

Lest we forget our history…

All Roads Lead to Anger

  
I am an asshole on the road. 

While I have never engaged in road rage, I rage plenty on the road in seething insults and strings of profanity that I cannot help but recognize as an inheritance from my father.

I always believed I was most like my mother: cheerful, determined, optimistic and rational. But that’s because my father was never around, working round the clock as he did. Come to find out after he moved in a few years ago, I am much like him.

I not only inherited my dad’s long, skinny legs and dark eyes, but also his temper. 

My Dad could be nasty. My memories soak in pools of chiding, my mother wagging her finger at her husband after yet another profanity blasted from his lips. His pet names for his wife included colorful epithets that would curdle any feminist’s blood–really any civil human being’s blood.   

My father’s vulgarity fully bloomed in a car. I drive like him: impatiently, erratically, and aggressively. All the curses I ever heard growing up fly freely from my mouth in explosions of hateful disdain on the road. I transform from human to monster. 

I know habit has a large part to do with it, but I am nevertheless surprised at the ferocity of my anger the moment I encounter a perceived slight on the road: it rises in a flash hotter and more suddenly than those that plagued me for years before menopause. It feels like a siege, as if I have no control over an acid-spewing alien cocooning inside me that bursts from my guts and spews terror. 

And when I have just spit aloud from clenched teeth the words: “You f#@*ing asshole!” with venom, I immediately catch myself, just as automatically as the words that flew out of my mouth, “What is wrong with you?!!” 

Therein lies part of the problem: not the knee-jerk flying foul language and anger triggered by insignificant, impersonal lane encroachments but the counter reaction of self-berating. It does nothing to change the reactive fury. 

Not that I condone the behavior, the lack of control in the face of something so irrational and trivial. Like any bad habit–smoking, nail biting, leg shaking (all of which I have had to beat)–the behavior masks some other neglected need, some other unattended emotion, unhealed wound, stewing conflict or ongoing unresolved problem.  

Most often, however, we seethe in separation, having polarized ourselves in opposition to those who would thwart our efforts, not only on our immediate but our larger destination–at least that is our perception.

When we lash out at the unknown ‘other’ out there in the world, someone we have reduced to a concept, a negative speed bump in our lives, whether that be the generic bad driver (or merely inattentive driver), not to mention the total road blocks–“the racist cop”, “the black thug”– or the more specifically named and reviled “woman” or “Asian” or whichever derogatorily denoted driver, we do so because we are isolated–and not just in the safety of our cars. We are closed up inside of ourselves, removed from our innate artist’s eye able to see the details of others. I know this because no one except the seriously ill or wounded cannot memorize the lines in his mother’s face as she sits paralyzed placid in her wheel chair or the dimples in her babies’ knees.  

The mind can see if allowed to.
 
The distance between us is self-imposed, learned, unconscious and/or conscious. It derives from the dis-remembrance of our primal past as cave-dwelling groups of protective survival and the ever-unfolding illusion of separateness, the change in us since those days.

Change comes from active awareness of our material being. If the scientists’ and spiritualists’ postulations resonate truth, we are all part and particle of the same star bursts, the same matter that existed eons before us, made us. Our DNA that shapes us is shaped similarly to that of the earth’s flora and fauna. Whether our individual components–genetic or nurtured–make us tall, short, dark or light skinned, good drivers or bad drivers, even-tempered or hot-tempered, we are all respiring sentient beings that matter, are matter, both divine and profane.
 
When we forget that, we other-ize, sense the loneliness of that disconnection, and get angry. And that’s okay. Eventually, we shift sight, change gears to lower breathing rpm’s, and recognize ourselves as the free-way, the one leading us all to the same exit and on ramps.

 
Photo credit:  wakeup-world.com

Professor of Cups

  

Professor of cups picks off the dust from chairs
and washes the filth from sieves and tunnels
when once she polished prose and persuasion.
 

Professor of swedish fish, marshmallow bits,
coconut hairs and pillow cushioned seats, she
bleaches the silverware shiny sterile grade A.
 

Professor of mourning the days of harrowed fear
salting agonizing dread and jittery legged angst
when dirt dwelled only in systemic sly dealings.

 

photo credit:  https://pondermortality.files.wordpress.com/