Saturday, August 29, 2015

Poems and People

 my beautiful mom walking deacon to school
my beautiful mom at my dad's law school graduation

Carolyn Forche, author of The Country Between Us in 1980, wrote poems about her experiences in El Salvador as a 28-year-old journalist caught in the middle of a civil war.  Though called "political" by some critics, the poems are in fact unbearably intimate and personal.  They do not capitalize on a terrible situation to make a poem; they use the beauty of language to find affirmation under even the most abhorrent conditions, an "archivist of the incomprehensible". She writes:  "There is nothing one man will not do to another."  Forche claims that all poetry is political, as it is inevitable a product of the time and place in which it was written.  She insists, though, that "political" poets are no "less poetic because they had a subject matter and were naively representational.  I say that rather than reading these poems as representational, we can read them as evidence of the wound -- as what happened to the language when these things happened to the poet and the poet's world."  This understanding of the political is in accord with Hannah Arendt's idea: "To be political, to live in a polis [means] that everything [is] decided through words and persuasion and not through force and violence.  In Greek to force people by violence, to command rather than persuade, were pre-political ways to deal with people characteristic of life outside the polis.  Poetry at once is affected by politics and effects its change, as Shelley has written:  "Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world."

As I am myself a work in progress, I strive toward "legislator".  I seek to be in continuous motion out of the confinements of definition and form to a place where purposes are real and methods are issues of morality.  By dealing with personal and political issues of marriage, motherhood, career, religion, race, and the sociological bonds we experience through such relations I am attempting to live and write in motion, so others are moved to action by action.  By being faithful to the temporal, hence moving (as dictated by time) I am unbridled by a desire for autonomy.  Unlike the authority of the autonomous "I" descended from Wordsworth and that branch of British Romanticism, I move towards a freedom that enables me to understand Coleridge's "Dejection Ode," or the negative capability of Keats and what he meant when he said that the poet must be Nobody.

My sincerity is born out of keen emotion towards life, for anything less then life is not alive. Anything short of action is corruption.  In this movement towards life Craft is nothing; sincerity is everything.  It is possible that we can take the most horrifying experience and transform it.  Say it clearly and honestly and it becomes beautiful.

Coming from the influences of Keats who when I was 13 told me what the poet must be; Whitman has taught me what to give; Williams defined imagination and showed me the living lineage of Beauty as partial and convulsive in his essays and especially in Spring and All and Patterson.  Stein's courageous Composition as Explanation taught me a syntax dedicated to the processes of time in time with "continuous present"; Creeley showed me how reading and writing must not subordinate the present historical moment to the past and the idea of line and duration of perception; and Susan Howe illustrated how to be a redactor, someone who revises a book by simply reading.  I have come to oppose the urge towards false unities in artistic practice and in life in general.  Honesty and clarity are the qualities that connect other humans deeply to each others experiences, and one can only be honest when living.  My tribe may find my philosophies flawed, however, as long as I am involved in a perpetual becoming it compels them to act.  "Poetry itself, great poetry, never empowers a singular perspective."  Such methods of life and composition refuse to limit any part of what we call Being.

The souls of poems and persons do not rest in form or shape.  They go.  We follow.  We read to go where poetry has gone and to preserve the possibility of a delightful contact.  The generosity of these artistic practices broaden the available reality and so take definition from the living action of the soul. We must look, "for/ christ's sake, look/ out where yr going"--Robert Creeley (I Know a Man). Language is vehicular and transitive, and is good for conveyance, not for homestead.  It is good to be going, and some poems or people can show the way.  Life in itself is going, time is constantly going. In these two photos you can see the ageless youth of my mom has been altered by that thief time. Actually, she is not ageless.

I love poetry that moves, for it makes me more comfortable in this constantly moving existence. My Mom cannot be my homestead, rather she is my conveyance for peace. Peaceful Vana moving through time and space. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Temples. I like white.

April:  tender crystals of a temple

ruining your creases
with insistent fingers,
my initials in pieces
shimmering with particles
of fine china     historic women
donated to its construction;
devoted to losing life
for virtue's sake

water rushing
over my parching face
     not with filling intent
emptiness is encompassing all
by letting fleshy rain
settle in surfaces you see
     what's not available
to your sight is not
sacred, rather solitary.

So, that is a poem I wrote. And now I am going to talk about paint colors, because this blog has no purpose or direction.  Basically, what I write here is a love letter to my family.  Like an Ezra Pound style love letter: full of a little bit of everything, but not really anything.

My home is not that dijon mustard color that was so popular in the late 90's. Hallelujah.  I could not have lived another week in a house with grey poupon walls.  The walls of my house are a humble taupe color.  Not too offensive.  I have let them sit with me for a month now.  Then I came across this photo on Apartment Therapy.  It is the same color as my walls.  Let's do this project.

I have to pick projects that can be whipped out in a couple hours tops. Low commitment projects.  I taped my walls freehand and did a surprisingly accurate job.  Normally I hang stuff all crooked if I don't have a level.  I also swim crooked laps in pools. It is a flaw. Without using  a plumb-bottom I was cruising. I choose this really well researched paint.  Like I googled "best white paint" and decided that Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee was the way to go.  It was supposedly Divine.  Of course, Benjamin Moore is not sold at Lowe's.  It is sold at some little shop in the industrial section of town that only die hard painters go to.  I decided to live my life with quality and go get the paint. Man, it was a little pricey.  Not Farrow and Ball pricey, but you know.  I was giddy to have my expectations met. The first coat was going to be glorious and all that was needed and it was going to cast cool undertones that played magic with the light.  The paint was super thick and annoyingly non-covering.  You would have thought my humble taupe walls were black with the amount of coats I had to put on of BM. (Ha, BM.) At this point my little year of the dragon Everett was done with me being on the ladder.  He cried despite my assurances that I was fine.  He sensed my imminent danger.  He cries whenever I scream (which is often); he cries when I cannonball into the pool; he cries when Deven wrestles with me; he cries a lot, basically.  So, I obliged him and stopped my project which was turning out poorly and not near as cute as the photo.
Late that night after little humans were asleep I drug the bigger ladder out of the garage, for I had reached my potential with this smaller one.  When I was finished painting Deacon was helping me rip off the tape, since that is the best part.  We tried to pull it off in big long pieces.  "Deac, do you like the result."  "It is very you." "What do you mean by that?" "It is white. You like white. This chair is white, white lamp, white bedspread..." and he went on for 10 more minutes pointing out everything white that I owned. I have been fine with taupe walls for a month, but now that there is white next to them they look super taupey.  There is nothing like contrast to show you differences between two things: the difference between taupe and white. Like how in life you live with a whole lot of taupe but then you experience something or someone really amazingly white. Without accord, the taupe becomes less then it was; possibly intolerable.  I give this a few weeks before I paint the whole thing white.
Now, for the rest of my poem.

June: touching them
"He wept"
i would like to have talked
to Lazarus
who returned from that country
hello.  where have you been?
here all along
enter if you want
do you? Come.
Seize the door way
stuck in the light

The emporium is empty
it has been ripped off
so I let myself express violence
gain courage to go along (or alone).
Some of us fall; don't take it 
as a tragedy.
We are all living
in a trailer park
at the edge of something.
Learning courage
with no way to resolve-
only a coming together
in a moment
of rest:
I call this photo Taupe on White in a Moment of Rest

Monday, August 24, 2015

"ma ma"


this little baby. naughty angel demon. he has this evil villan/bleating lamb laugh. in the second video i had told him not to put the toys in his mouth. he laughs, put them in his mouth, then tries to pinch me. the third video i asked him to hand my my sunglasses.

Friday, August 21, 2015

so I think it's time for us to have a toast

My freshman year of high school was my best year of high school.  In large part because my brother was a senior at the same school.  We had not been in school together much; for reasons of their own my parents put my brother in private schools all growing up, and left me in the public system.  That's cool mom and dad.  It was the one year I remember ever hanging out with my brother socially. It was the one year we had mutual friends. It was the one and only year we it was me and him, him and me, against the world.

Well, my two oldest are starting high school together.  They have two years left to make these youthful memories.  Two years to go cliff jumping, strip cruising, sneaking into lake las vegas clowning, and what ever young shenanigans they can amass.  After that their relationship will change. Charly will move on to college seamlessly, for that is how she has grown up: seamlessly.  Deven will then be the oldest child at home and soon thereafter embark on his two years of service.  That changes a boy.

I raise my glass of sparkling water to the last two years of all of us under the same roof :  may it be tender, connective, and full of laughter tears! Cin cin!

(Speaking of two years of good friend just had her son return from France.  He was giving his report at church and full on fainted at the pulpit.  Hit his chin and was down for the count.  They had to call the ambulance to take him out on a stretcher. It was dramatic.) 

Friday, August 14, 2015

joie de vivre

august rainstorms in the desert are dreamy. the rain is warm, yet cool enough to create steam on the sun soaked concrete. they are wild storms that come in an instant, are punctuated with moments of sunshine blindingly bright, they leave, they return.

as a child my street would easily flood during these rains.  we would lay in the gutter letting the rain water full of street matter wash over us.  i was wearing my mother's high school class ring one time i made the brilliant pre-teen decision to lay down in the gutter full of rushing water.  i felt it slip off the finger on my right hand. i feverishly ran down the street ahead of the water and laid perpendicular in the gutter attempting to create a body barricade as which to trap the ring. no such luck. i imagined it went down some storm drain and out out to lake meade.

full of remorse i went home where my mom was. where she always was. i told her what happened. she was not even remotely upset. i felt puzzled at her reaction. now that i have kids of my own, and class ring that gathers dust, the payoff of seeing your kids run, lay and dance in the rain usurps a high school trinket.  mamacita knew this.
Deven 14, Everett 2
excited rain

speaking of high school rings...charly's state ring came in this week. she took state in three events (100 hurdles, 300 hurdles and 400 relay), so she could have gotten three state rings.  she was modest and just combined it all into one ring. i do not think she will be so kind if one of her children lose this ring. let me put that on the record for any of my future grandchildren. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Laborare est Orare

. . . thus we gather up all the threads of human passion and interest, and weave them into an harmonious tapestry, subtly and diligently with great art, that our Order may seem an ornament even to the Stars that are in the Heavens at Night. In our rainbow-coloured texture we set forth the glory of the whole Universe--See thou to it, brother Magician, that thine own thread be strong, and pure, and of a colour brilliant in itself, yet ready to mingle in all beauty with those of thy brethren!  --Aleister Crowley
I have a couple dear friends who have set up camp outside of the norm on a farm, an island or whatnot. Why is it that I am raising my kids in the same place and same system that I grew up in; and I found such inherent flaws in it.  Ca va. It is only for now.  I will get this first baby of mine off to college then reassess the situation.  

In the mean time, it is a duty to teach my boys to work. To do something productive so they feel the art and prayer of labor. How would you like to have me for a mom?  This 14 year old of mine needs some prodding...Ja feel?  This is the second summer I have sent him to work with my brother.  He owns his own landscaping company in southern Utah.  He is a 6'10" 40+ year old guy who works outside with his body most all day everyday.  He willingly houses and works my boy.  He said Deven did not do much the first week, so he did not pay him for that time. Bwhahaha!  After that, Dev worked hard in the heat without complaint for the rest of his duration there.  

I am so thankful for my brother.  We are cut from some very different cloth, but I have mad respect for that guy. He always took the brunt end of my dad's disapproval and ire.  Even in my dad's last days of life he was such a jerk to his only son "the gardener" he would call him pejoratively.  That caused a bit of rage in my soul.  I love my brother dearly. He loves my children dearly. His thread is strong, and pure, and of a brilliant color.

cutting lawns
a little fishing on the weekends

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

on falling asleep

must touch
being certain
are touching
touch being certain
you being

oh, and this kid. who is so fly he even sleeps in a cool his swim shorts. all tan and beautiful.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

a little more on Complex Motor Stereotypies: i get excited and it comes through my body

In an interview with Joe Cocker:
Q:  "Where did your unique dancing style come from?"

A: "You mean my arm movements?  I actually saw myself with Eric Clapton - you know you see all your old stuff on YouTube now - and I was horrified at myself, with my arms just flailing around.  I guess that came with my frustration at never having played piano or guitar.  If you see me nowadays I'm not quite so animated, but it's just a way of trying to get feeling out- I get excited and it all comes through my body."

another video when he was older

Monday, August 3, 2015

Complex Motor Stereotypy or ASD

Everett has some quirk going on in his life.  I became concerned at about 18 months when he stopped using words he had already learned.  Right now he has a vocab of a whopping three words.  I am flattered "mom" is one of them.
In addition to his speech delay and regression there is this hand flapping he does when he is excited. Of course the combination of these two give me pause.  He is scheduled for testing at a pediatric neurologist, but in the meantime he has been having some early intervention and speech therapy.  The consensus is that everyone is perplexed by the enigma that Everett is.  He does not seem autistic due to his empathy, eye contact, affection, and socialization.  However, he's got something going funky in that little brain of his.
I over research and over think everything, so I have had many hours of concern.  It seems as if Everett enters into his own world, far far away, when he starts flapping. I can bring him back to me by calling his name or touching him.  Other adults with CMS have described this flapping as a very creative outlet which allows them to enter a space that is fascinating, engrossing and safe.  That is a relief.  Where can I sign up for this? I will go with you Ev.  Flap and fly my pollito.
he was moving his hands and mouth at 6 months...
i just thought he was jazzed about life.