Published today on Life in 10 Minutes, my ten…here. Please enjoy and happy festivities and warm Winter Solstice.
Ever try and look at all the pieces of your life, all the jobs paid and unpaid you do, all the habits conscious and unconscious, and all the words spoken and silent, and put them in a pattern? Have you ever tried to read your life like a puzzle starting to form the picture it’s going to be? Ever place the links in the chain of cause and effect in a line (a necklace) or a mosaic (fence) to see how it all fits?
I do that. It feels good. I’m a pattern maker, a puzzle solver, and a radical analyzer. I’m also critical and judgmental, as collateral effects. I do that–knit patterns, crochet chains of events and behaviors–because I want to know. We’re all seekers.
It’s not just death, either. Some people have that question covered, while still more probably don’t. The notion of doing right or wrong is somehow tied up in prediction and calculation. If I do this, the result will be this, so I should or shouldn’t. It’s not rocket science. It’s logic.
But long ago, I gave up the god of logic. I know there’s more to this living thing than logic. And whose logic anyhow? Mine? Yours? Intuition and sense are real. No denying them. Mostly, I comfort myself with balance. Life is balance. It glides off the mind’s tongue. But aren’t I just looking for patterns again?
Yes, I know I can count on one thing for sure. Chaos is my creed. And randomness. There’s comfort there. Neither disappoints. They just are. Fact. I don’t understand why the more fearful of us don’t embrace random chaos more.
It’s not anarchy or nihilism. I believe in order and cause and effect. I just don’t let them rule my world. My sigh of relief is the mystery, the storm-flurry of ideas, flung pieces, like the shrapnel of cogitation embedded in the skin of consciousness.
Surrender. Give up; you can’t build a tower to the sun, so lie down in the grass and let it bathe you in warmth instead.
I don’t like my beer with a melon-flavored after taste. I should have driven past the turn-in to my tract, straight down a half mile to my usual watering hole and gotten a right-hoppy Stone IPA with an order of stinky fries and be done with it. Instead, I made that left turn, thinking I’d just go home and enjoy a cold one at home.
But the fridge had one whole beer left, a craft something or other with a fancy label and cursive writing, all in browns and mint greens. Lovely can, but the melon after -taste…meh.
New adventures. Plenty on the horizon what with a new business and an upcoming steady writing gig that actually sorta kinda pays decent money. Not that my pay is anyone’s fault but my own. I’m learning and growing in the trade while collecting some coin on the way. It’s a journey I’m strolling through.
And the dog? The Husky pup? Well, I thought after the 20th time of her escaping and the 20th hole she dug in my tomatoes (leaving the half-chewed Romas to rot in the dirt as a testimony to her dominance and betrayal) good riddance. I’m not playing go fetch her ass from the neighbor’s yard or the playground around the corner anymore.
But here it is, not even a day that she’s been gone at the vet’s for her, you know, obligatory non-contribution to the population of unwanted animals, and…I miss her. She’s my constant companion at my feet as I write or in and out of my door when I’m trying to clean or biting my hair and mat when I try to do yoga.
She’s a presence, a dufus in the doorway, a gazelle chasing the crows down the field past the monkey bars, and a dragger of filthy, smelly, ripped-up tennis shoes into my bed. She’s got me.
My head aches with the world, swollen with the chaos and calamity of it. No salve of good will and transcendent detachment patches the soreness, the inflammation, and the throbbing anger.
When I reactively shout at him, my father’s happy. Negative attention is better than none. I’ve raised my children, done my job outmaneuvering ration-less beasts. Why do they appear in full grown men’s bodies now? I’m mad that I can’t return to my former childless self—be the child and not the parent.
And then that runaround with the country of Kaiser. Institutions are built to crush people who pay for them, give them their existence. Medicine is meant to be waved before the eyes of the sick, taunting, “Catch me if you can.” I hated when boys stole a poor unsuspecting victim’s wool hat and played keep away, tossing it just above the desperately grabbing hands reaching for it.
I’m not alone in this now perceived defect, empathy. Yet, it drains the very peace from me, feeling it all, the hands of every eternally colonized American—women, children, people of color, and the poor—with raised hands clutching at their wool hats—respect, pay, opportunity, voice, healthcare, food, dignity—just out of reach by bullies gleefully foaming at the mouth as they expand their world by shrinking others’.
Always a zero sum game to psychotics, paranoids, terrorists, and congressmen.
You give me ten, I said to her, and I’ll show you blue corn stalks
bent at the waist spying on wet larvae writhing in raw earth bleeding mud,
conjure up emerald-studded Gucci sunglasses’ shattered templates along the highway.
I’ll paint the vines growing over sacrificial ruins in Tenochtitlan
where snakes gulp pigs in jaws detached at the hinges.
Ever see the black ice that skids mango school buses with barely a wheel’s turn?
It grows atop lanes frayed at the edges with stony tar, rusty nails, and powdered glass.
Don’t fall in a ditch, or the black rats’ll strangle you purple
I heard the old man tell the boy on his knee.
Quick sand isn’t a movie myth carved of convenient climax.
And cornflowers dot the meadow almost azure not the Iowan June-wheat sun’s tapestry.
It’s only when she’s waved goodbye and disappears through the gates
do I smell the clinging scent of honey oil dipped in sea float above
the rippling hem of my cotton laced wrap.
She taps my shoulders at an arm’s reach to say, “Hey.”
August 22, 2016
How do I make it through this election season without losing friends, lovers and hope? I have never been particularly political in the sense that I cared not overly for the outcomes of elections. In my 40 plus years of voting, I may have voted FOR someone on the ballot twice. And only one presidential tenure had me gritting my teeth and angry too often.
But for the most part, my life is lived locally and interiorly. That doesn’t mean that I don’t care about the results. I do. But I am fortunate enough to live a charmed life where I can choose to live in a cocoon. Going about my daily chores, cares and doings, I burrow down deeply and ignore the rest of the world, or participate to the degree that I wish.
Perhaps that’s called first world or birth privilege. I don’t take for granted my genetic demographic winnings to be born where and to whom I was. I vote. I discuss. I inform hundreds of students a year about the world, locally and globally. I am not nihilistic. I hope. I care. I do my civic and personal duties.
But this election is different, to belabor the obvious. And not just because of who is running and how. I think I’m different. My eyes and sensors seek the world more, and so am more susceptible to it. My practice leads me to confront this headache nation, this raucous populace, with equanimity. I’m finding it difficult, prone to suddenly remembering books that need urgent reading.