Sucking helium: Ten for Today

Unfazed, tuned-out people amaze and inspire me. I want to be them, wearing bullet and worry proof vests. Mind you, I don’t know who these people are, other than my great niece and nephew, 5 and 8, respectively, who seem to be very selectively tuned in. One knows all the Ducks and Lakers stats, and everything sports, really, and the other knows an incredible array of lyrics and lines from Disney’s Frozen. I’ve heard her sing every word of several songs. That’s what they know. Those comprise their obsessions. Awesome.
 
Me, on the other hand, I start each day trying out the Buddha disposition: be a sieve, let it all flow through. But by about an hour into the day, I fail miserably. Something of the world–outside and inside–disturbs me, disrupts my peace, unbalances promised equilibrium. My promise to myself to be dispassionate about things, all things. I try.
 
News flashes and bites remind me of Doritos Nacho flavored chips. They must be laced with heroin. Probably the only snack I can’t have. Because I can’t just eat one. It’s the bag or nothing. And it’s been that way since they hit the market dozens of years ago.
 
My news services and journal bundling apps, I’ve tailored now to filter out politics and current events–only showing arts, photography, philosophy, yoga, writing, books and music. Same thing with Facebook and Twitter (Not sure what I’m doing on Instagram). Yet something still manages to slip in, riling the perturbations, zinging my zen upside the head.
 
I may have to turn to something quicker and stronger than yoga and meditation, something kick ass to calm my ass. Maybe sucking helium balloons. 

On True Love: Ten for Today

I couldn’t say I’ve ever come across a true love or ever will. I’ve had great love. I’ve had potentially tru-er love–but for the right person showing up under the wrong circumstances or vice versa. At least how I imagine the right person. How could I know without a long, leisurely test drive?
 
But true love is truly a cultural marketing scam. And it’s not for mere cynicism that I write that. I’ve no complaints about the loving in my life–all shades and degrees of it. I’ve slid in and out of love’s grasp by choice and force both. Yet, true love seems to have eluded me only because it’s been beamed into my brain by invisible designs since birth–without explanation.
 
Like waking up every day, there’s an impulse to arise and act, get the day started even when you don’t want to or know why you do. We just live as if there’s no choice, most of us. It’s incredibly difficult to kill a healthy human being, more than you’d think. That same blind instinct–get up and live–impels us to find true love without even knowing what the fuck that is.
 
No one believes Disney, so I’m not referring to that conception–princes and princesses and shit. Chemistry, kindred souls, soulmates, and other hollow terms language has fed us to conceive of the truth in true love make little sense. Like it must be fate. In myth and religion, there is an element of the divine in all truth, in language itself–in the beginning, there was the word.
 
And yet, all children are indoctrinated in the one true love story, even as they grow up to see the truth in that lie. It lies like death everywhere, not just in movies or television or books. It permeates culture like a dream or a virus, thinly veiled and ever present–potentially lethal. 

Pico’s Postulation

  

And I wondered if that old Italian philosopher Pico was right about humankind’s dignity and creative nature, the will of the gods, that if a man chooses to wallow with the pigs or dance with the divine, so he might do either according to how his nature blossoms from his choices. I wondered about pregnant possibilities and free will, humans as chameleons, shapers of their own destiny and fulfillers of their potential as they absorb what is around them, choosing to be like bats and hang upside down in a cave or cravenly ritualize baby killing or kiss the feet of the holy one. How free is the will of a beaten child, however, or a man gone mad from the war?

 
credit: wikipedia

 

   

    

Autophony

  
Clicking, no ringing, not quite a ring but a hum.

My breath, I hear my breath…and my heartbeat, 

flooding my ears with pulsing thrum, alarming yet calming.

Am I dying, an aneurism around the corner, pressure cooked?

Cyber facts point to clogged ears given my health history.

Simple fix, but something stops me from stopping the sound.

A comfort in hearing life, my life, in its rawest base components:

a heart beat and breath reminds me that I walk as mechanical wonder,

a miracle of meat and synchronized pumps and electric pulleys, 

anima’s dusty coat of confectioner’s powder smothering the shine.  

Courage

  
Oxford English Online Dictionary defines courage as follows:

noun

The ability to do something that frightens one, or Strength in the face of pain or grief.

Some people in social media today are bitching about the public’s lauding Caitlyn Jenner (when they are not commenting on her age or her dress or her makeup) for her “bravery.” 

Even people I have deemed intelligent and sensitive have posted Facebook critiques with photos of their candidates for the definition of bravery such as this:

  
Classic.

And yet another post-er believes this is more befitting of the adjective:

  

Both social media post-ers are men, one conservative and one progressive, one older (mid-fifties) and one younger (mid-thirties).  See a trend here?

To be brave, one must risk life and limb or recover from loss of life (the one before loss of limbs) and limb(s). And be men. 

Now, admittedly, I have seen no female contributors to the courage definition, none with a picture to share, but if there were any, I would imagine it would be of cancer survivors or mothers crossing minefields to save their babies. 

But the first reason for Caitlyn’s doubtful courage is her womanhood. The second reason is her health. It is apparently not bravery to kill off her fortunate birthright–the white male privilege–to become a woman whose worth is measured by her appearance and her ability to graciously absorb the arrows of disdain and second class citizenry based on frippery and gossip, like the target she has now become. And for what? It’s not like she needed the money or the publicity like her former step family.

What’s so brave about that? I agree. She must be a masochist to become a woman in this society–to be treated like meat. 

But Jon Stewart in his latest The Daily Show always says it best:

  

As a woman, Jenner can now look forward to her physical appearance, not her talents or mind, being the object of daily scrutiny. Should she ever need to work, she can look forward to earning roughly 77% of what a man makes. Should she ever face physical or sexual violence, she, not her attacker, will be treated with suspicion. As a woman, Jenner will also have to get used to hearing not just new pronouns but other fun words like “shrill,” “nagging,” “bossy” and “emotional.” And then, of course, there’s the catcalling, which a “beautiful” woman like Jenner can now expect daily. 

A person transitioning to live as her true self is a wonderful thing and America has come a long way toward accepting transgender people. As Stewart so aptly pointed out, though, the real struggle now is to bring up the lives of all women. On that front, there are still miles to go.

Perhaps the clichés we are fed about hero imagery and the hardship stories that go viral to tug at our heart strings in quiet, reverential sentimentality get in the way of our seeing the bravery of transformation, being faithful to the universal need to be our authentic selves even in the face of total annihilation through either vilification or idolotry. 

Caitlyn Jenner may be just a woman now, but her twice-baked celebrity-dom has transformed her into a paper doll image, something to wag about as a projection of an idea, sans flesh and blood, no matter how much skin gets bared where.

And I am not disputing the other photos depict bravery, though they are subject to the same fate as Caitlyn–the loss of humanity to an idea of something like heroism or bravery or Facebook likes.

The take home idea: Why would anyone want to be a woman in a misogynist society?

Ode to a Bailiff

  



While the others scowled, flared and puffed
in practiced postures of professional despise
you, old and world weary wise, spoke true
chatter from the heart, a human reaching too.
Your limits were, like mine, of love and family
the mystery of marriage and the ache of lonely
failure at being the man of her unmaking sight.
Only your boots were polished and sturdy black
while my socked salmon sandal clotted dust
sliding along the crusted filth of our asphalt path
your cuffs clanking the metal of your burly belt
the ones that shhh-ould be clamping my wrists.


Our bridge was my crumbling past statuesque
in its esteemed alkalized marble cool pin-grey
and the advice from those harrowed halls of din.
“Be steady. She will know. I am sorry. So hard.”
While I slow-death paced back to churlish grins
we exchanged human trade in good will spirits,
you, speaking to me as if I mattered, I listening
as if I could care at that moment juggling misery
and hope and the doom of a mis-pieced puzzle
air born cluttering the fetid air with dizzying spin.


We both, in slow walks of dim bludgeoned halls,
wondered where we went wrong, a confusion’s
connection of human heart sunken inside echo
of conscience in the concrete confines’ meeting.
I loved you then like a mother’s son, my savior
only for your voice, even, pleading, wondrously
unprepossessing, acknowledging me breathing
as a fellow traveler, sharer of one crimson grief
barreled over the tide of ticks scratching at skin
burrowing inside the stream of killing us daily.

A Parable of the Universe (Tell me if I am wrong)

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credit: chestofbooks.com

When all the stories of girlfriends and guyfriends collide and correspond, life unfolds in parables and tales of the universe. There are certain constants that run true in human behavior throughout time regardless of fashion, trends and technology. Listening to one friend over coffee yesterday and another few in email and text conversations, I awoke to a story of everyone, everywhere at some time, whether the relationship bespeaks love, career, worship, family or community. As parable, story figures take on symbolic feature to encompass the whole of humanity’s experience in some slice of its manifestation.

Today’s offering is called: A parable of the universe (Tell me if I am wrong).

I met a man when I was two thirds of who I had become that far. Too many rough years rubbed away the grit of my guts and solidity I had sewn together lo those many years prior, going to school, building a career and family–taking care of the world I had made and made securely well.

So when this man met me (I had gone looking for someone to top me off), he ministered to the two thirds left of me by being smart and witty, entertainingly soft and kind. The game of push the right buttons, turn the right knobs to nail the target and earn points had begun. He paid attention to me with admiring eyes that bathed me in light and filled missing space in the darkness of me. And he grew in me. He filled time and moment with his persistence and my quest for completion.

But then life struck again, and I lost another third. I was down depleted low. This gave urgency to him–to pour more into me, even more, to fill up that space as I, nearly eviscerated, crumpled to the ground at his feet. He saw opportunity and I felt lost. And he called it love and desire and support. He called it us and we and forever. And I fell back long, long with eyes closed until my body hit the sheets, which flew up from the force of the fall to cover me whole.

And when I awoke, I found replenishment–just enough. I could stand. I opened my eyes. The world was dull but constant. And one foot followed the other as it is wont to do. No meteor split the earth. No fire engulfed the city. Exhale followed inhale.

So when the flow of movement filled me up a little more, I found the man’s residence in me too much, too tedious and frantic. I would vomit. “Please pull back and rest inside yourself some,” I pleaded. But he could not hear. He had already made plans, made a home inside, expanded there to fuel his reason and his way.

Then the truth of the matter was plain. He was not a man at all. I had been fooled just as I had been all my life about what was life–doing hoops and carrots. I was wrong about that too. Separateness is an illusion. We don’t fill each other; we are one another. Only, some truly are tapeworms until they understand.