Oct 9, 2006

A Rant About Columbus Day

Columbus Day is a holiday??? Why ??? Isn't this just hubris on the part of white people? Columbus never reached landfall on the North American Continent and every where he DID land there were already people living there! The Vikings had established settlements on the North American continent long before Columbus. So exactly what did he discover? The Caribbean! If you can call arriving in a place where your kind had never been before and there are people already living there "discovery". And do you know folks in the Caribbean celebrate Columbus Day? Why they would celebrate white domination and slavery is beyond me.

Some folks make it an "Italian" thing - well it is only because Columbus was nominally an Italian - it was the Spanish who financed the damn trips.

I'm Italian and I'm proud of my ethnic background but Italy has more, and better claims to fame than Columbus..

Spare me this crap...

Sep 15, 2006

A work in Progress at Midnight

I hear music in my head, that no one else can hear.

The drummer keeps a steady beat;
the guitarist throws a riff
While the sax man blows it long and low -
it finally hits my feet.

A shuffle, then a bump, a swing,
as hips go side to side
And then the trumpet sidles in and I begin to glide.

Sep 3, 2006

Prized Possessions

On a message board I frequent there is an ongoing photo "contest". Each week there is a different subject for participants to post photos they took that illustrate the subject - such as "landscapes". Got it? Okay! So this week the subject is "Prized Possessions" and just as I suspected the first posting was a pic of a pet dog. I'm sure there will be other pet pictures and who knows - maybe husbands, wives, grandchildren.

I have posted pics in the past but I won't be posting anything to this category - Why? you ask. Well I'm sure some folks will think I would post pics of my cats except they are not possessions. They are sentient beings and as such can not be a possession. People, living things with brains and souls CANNOT be possessions. And quite frankly I find it offensive that people think they can OWN a living creature, of any kind.

Then of course there are material objects - but you know what - material objects are highly dispensable and replaceable. There are often objects of sentimental value but their value is not in and of themselves but rather what they represent, the memories, feelings and emotions they evoke . These are not things one can photograph.

So "prized possessions" - what exactly does that mean? What I prize is impalpable - my intelligence, my sense of humor. My being able to love and be loved in return - so many intangibles - all prized possessions because I truly do possess them and all unphotographable!

Aug 13, 2006

Today is the tomorrow you were worried about yesterday

I've never understood why "counting down" to an event would be a good thing, It just makes you more aware of something that will happen in the future instead of paying attention to the here and now. I don't much want to think of anything more than a week or two away. Time passes more quickly when you are not aware of it.

I also don't get the nostalgia thing folks of my age seem obsessed with - it was yesterday and it's gone - it's a new day dawning folkies and today is what you have to deal with - with just a soup├žon of tomorrow. And don't you just love when all the old folks moan about how it was so much better in the "old days" - Did everyone live in Shangri-La? Did I miss it somehow? It wasn't on my map.

There is always the discussion of how much less everything cost - but no one talks about how much less everyone earned - it's all relative. The past can be something fun to chat about but ONLY if you are chatting with the people who were actually THERE with you - experiencing the same thing at the same time in the same place with the same people. Otherwise I really don't give a rat's ass about what someone else did when they were 10 - the school yard, the candy store - whatever - I wasn't there, it didn't happen to me, it's probably of no great social import or historical importance - so, spare me. I don't care!

Every once in a while I hear myself saying one of those "in my day..." and I just shut myself up and smack myself in the head.

May 1, 2006

WORDS

Tunnel vision is what you get when you are passionate about something. I am passionate about words. The sound of them; their meaning and their connotation. They way they feel in your mouth and on your tongue when you say them, spit them; howl them; whisper them.

Poetry is about music and words and imagery; simile and metaphor. Using words to create an extraordinary image of often ordinary things. Words are pliable and multi-use, in meaning and form. Combine them in different ways and their meanings change. Words can be twisted and tweaked, pulled apart and put back together in new and different ways to create new meanings and new ways of describing and explaining experience

Poetry is the most pure use of words. Some poems were written to convey sound only; the words meaningless in themselves. Some poems were written to be seen rather than read because the form and structure of the words and letters on the page was the whole intent of the writer.

Poetry preceded prose for the simple fact that poetry has meter, a “beat” if you will, making it easy to remember and the ancients told their histories in poetry, so it would be remembered and repeated. Before there was the written word, there was poetry.

Shakespeare wrote his plays in iambic pentameter. He also wrote in the vernacular of his time and he was perhaps the greatest poet who ever set pen to paper and he wrote for the people in the stalls. One of my professors quoted someone who said “Poetry doesn’t have to be FOR everyone but it does have to be ABOUT everyone.” That always stuck with me and I used it to absolve myself from appreciating poetry that made not one iota of sense to me.

Yes, I am comfortable with the language of Shakespeare and Donne because I have been reading it since childhood. I can’t say, as a child, I understood it all...but ah, the sounds of the words, the glorious words; the music of the words.

I could read and write by the age of 4, not because I was so smart but because I come from a family of readers and my father also had a love of words, and he insisted that we use the language properly. I think I was 5 or 6 when I started writing poems and 8 when I tried my hand at stories. It wasn’t till I was 10 or so that I became SERIOUS about writing. When I told people I was going to be a writer when I grew up no one doubted it in the least, and yet, it has been years since I have written anything worth the time and ink. Somewhere in my 30’s, the need to write dissipated. And it’s the NEED to write that makes a writer. I seem to have lost that need.

Ah but poetry, there is something in that form that feeds me, touches me, compels me. Because it is musical? Because it is concise, to the point, the essential only? Because a poet can convey in one line what a novelist takes pages to do?

Perhaps it was just hubris on my part that I ever thought I could be a poet.

Mar 1, 2006

Still the Same

Someone asked if in looking back over my old stuff whether my perspective has changed, whether I see things differently. I thought about that a bit. Since mostly what I wrote about was a particular situation or an emotional state, perspective doesn't come into play really. I wasn't writing opinions or philosophy. I look back at who I was and how I felt and I often feel those same emotions all over again. I wonder at how I got into the situations I did, or how I survived them.

I started "writing" when I was about 8. I still have some of those things - some were so sweet, not bad for an 8 year old. By the time I reached early adolescence I started writing about real things - the dark things. The child who never cried out loud, or spoke the anger began to write the tears and pain.

Now when I read what that girl wrote, her unshed tears creep down my face. I cry the tears she couldn't and I cry FOR her. I want to reach back in time and put my arms around her, take her in my arms and tell her she is safe. Tell her to cry, and shout, and tell her pain. Ah, that little girl...I want to tell her that she will survive it all. That she will grow up and eventually make peace with what she is feeling. That she will grow to be a strong and lovely woman who is truly loved and loves in return.

I want to read to her this poem that she wrote so many years later:
I'm getting to like this lady,
I'm getting to know her well.
I'm learning about her pain,
I listen to her speak of the past
and wonder where the strength came from.
And through her tears I can hear the joy.
I hear her laughter, her warmth, her love
and wonder how it comes to be.

I'm getting to admire this lady,
Giving for the love of giving
and getting back more than she realizes.
Probing deeper and facing devils
thought had not acknowledged.
And still the laughter, still the joy,
the hope, the wonder - never ceasing.

I'm learning to love this lady.
Her stubbornness, her fears,
her wisdom and naivete.
She confuses and bewilders,
hot and cold; hard and soft,
but always strong, always there.

I'm getting to respect this lady
for all she is, and was and will be.

This lady's me.

Feb 25, 2006

It's Been Said

Everything's been said, I said some of it myself
Now when I do research in my mind, I find
Old poems, old stories containing even older cliches
Of thoughts and feelings, not original even then,
But still valid.

I've grown older, but no wiser, just resigned.
Life's become a saddened nodding to conventions I can't
Change, a tolerant head shaking that I ever thought I could.

Feb 24, 2006

Why Isn't Love Enough?

What can you say or do about a situation that goes on too long even when everyone knows it’s wrong. And the reason it's wrong is because love is not enough.

You have a person who loves someone. who'd rather talk to that person than anyone else. who'd rather spend time with that person than anyone else. who laughs more with that person than anyone else.

And the feelings are mutual.

But there is a problem. One of these people hasn't the capacity to show their love; because of some deep insecurity or tragic character flaw needs to dominate everything and everyone.

Who needs to change? The domineering person or the one who is subjected to the domination. Can one of these people turn completely passive, give up their identity, live every day of their life with insults and psychological abuse.

We are all familiar with physical abuse but what of psychological abuse. How much more insidious it is, how much more damaging it is. Physical abuse is preferable. You can put a cast on a broken arm, how do you put a cast on a broken spirit, iodine on a lacerated soul - shattered self-esteem does not lend itself to crazy glue.

So who is to compromise? Who is to change? And if compromise proves temporary and change impossible, what does love have to do with it?

How much pain to the person who is subject to the abuse. And how much pain to the abuser who doesn't quite understand, who can't see quite clearly enough.

Will the abused find someone who won't abuse them. will the abuser find someone who will accept the abuse. and if they do will they really be happy with these other people. Each loving someone else. loving each other but love not being enough to accept abasement or to cease abasing.

Who will suffer the most damage. the one who loved and was hurt. or the one who loved and did the hurting. But who indeed did the hurt? The one who dominates or the one who can't accept it and what is this love that transcends this wild discrepancy in character. What is it based on. The ability to see beyond the tragic difference, to see the person behind the mask. the laughter, the mutuality of the basic person, the understanding that really is there.

Why isn't love enough. and when it can't be, why can't it be left behind?