Rhapsody.

•February 28, 2010 • Leave a Comment

SHOULDER TO SHOULDER AROUND THE FIRE MOON (Wishram).

Come.

FISH-RUNNING MOON (Winnebago)

Slippery salmon-pools of joy in my heart.

Month of Purification and Renewal (POWAMUYA / Hopi)

Yesterday was a sudden-grief day which turned into a day of purge and liberation. Systole / diastole. Literally blood, sweat, and tears. When I went to the ocean to let it out, just where I sat I looked up to see a big family of dolphins playing in the waves. They moved slow and kept my crying company.

ICE IN RIVER IS GONE (WAPICUUMMILCUM / Agonquin).

This morning I dreamed of a story-place, mountainy green with deep pools of old, cold water. Driving inland to work from my coastal morning, I was appalled at how green the hills are! When are they ever this green?

The floral delivery took me up into Orange Hills.

No Snow in Trails Moon (Onon u’la’ukwamme / Zuni)

Of course I couldn’t bring myself to drive back down the mountain. Not surrounded by so much green! So I drove up the mountain, put gas in the tank, got a nice hot bev, rolled up a spliff, and pulled out as it started to seriously rain.

PATTERING SHOWERS (KAKA-KANO / Valley Maidu)

Mmm. Roll down the windows, and entertain the possibility that the sound of your wheels in the rain on the road is your voice.

TRAIL BREAKS OPEN (BO-EKMEN / Mountain Maidu)

Orange County, you been keeping secrets from me, because I didn’t know you could do this kinda green. Up outside of the basin there are ranges and ranges of tender, fleshy, virgin green, radiant against the gray. I oriented, past Silverado, past Modjeska, back again. The rain came in waves, like yesterday’s big surge. I put down the windows to have nothing but wind and water between me and that green.

Then it was time to go down the mountain. But look at those other green hills over east! And there’s a rainbow! Quick right — and I can see where the rainbow touches the hills, ahead. The road snakes through little valleys towards it. The angle is just right so that as I drive, I round a bend and now the rainbow ends just there, on the highway. Now it ends on the hood of my car. Now I move through it! And now it’s gone, behind me. I drive through the next bend, struck with the import of having moved through a rainbow. And as I feel full of its meaning, there’s one sudden lightning flash, shocking and brilliant.

The only lightning of the storm. Then I realized I’d gotten on a toll road, sans cash. That’ll cost me a long bureaucratic phone call. Then onto the 91 West to cruise through the downpour and traffic back into the sprawl. Full of light, doubly clean from yesterday’s saltwater (ocean, tears, bath) and today’s rainbow lightning extravaganza. Carrying that green back with me.

Makes Branches Fall In Pieces Moon (Piaôdagos / Abenaki)

Also, at the beach, unprecedented amounts of driftwood.

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coyote moon (Isha-mea’ / Central Shoshoni)

Rhapsody:

1542, “epic poem,” from M.Fr. rhapsodie, from L. rhapsōdia, section of an epic poem, from Gk. rhapsōidiā “verse composition,” from rhapsodios “reciter of epic poems,” from rhapsōidein, to recite poems, from rhaptein “to stitch” (see wrap) + aoidē, ōidē, song.

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I can idealize myself well enough, thank you.

•February 15, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Valentines Day:

I dreamed There’s a storm — it’s not dark, but there are great powerful winds. Nevertheless I’m going to the bridge, to cross the bridge. Some female figures are concerned. I’m going to the East side, over maybe Burnside bridge. First we stop at Michael Goldsheft’s place in a big down town building, maybe his is on the 4th story, we look up at it from the cold snowy street. There is some concern about slipping or blowing over the side of the bridge. I feel the risk of it but am calm and confident, feel also the necessity and rightness of it, a rightness with joy inside.

After my night of talking with Chippy I feel very much like having come through this dream. And where am I now?

Freeing from emotional entanglement.

Over and over I choose the Now that flies in the face of desiring expectation, and speaks its piece honestly, and feels and means at the same time.

I choose the Me free of need
to control or carry but who trusts
Love as it comes forth.

It is not my own but I do give it, and give it freely.

The center dissolves.

And who am I in the world
and what do I want to bring?

This is not decided by any beholden reflection or in pursuit of any expectation but is fresh and urgent,
A joyful fountain me, with its slippery source.

That is my own.

It is not the frantic passionate place.
It is not even a hot place.
It is the rightness of the cold clear windy bridge.

Today:

Clearing difficult thoughts.

And swimming!!

Things which are not said.

•February 3, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Upon that point, says Dante,
where two circles intersect

God’s unwavering gaze is fixed,
it so inspires His love.

-Mary Barnard.

Thank God for poetry

The feeling of being so close to what my heart so yearns for, and knowing it is not my time.

This time is a wrestling time, this coming home surrounded by lovers

and I feel alone.

This is right. I do grieve, and the perfumes of other humans are all over my clothes, but this is right.

Echoes: “Kaeti, please don’t be afraid to be alone.”

I feel dry, and above ground. And soothed, to know that somewhere there is a dripping fountain that cries all the time, that cries for me while I sit here unable to cry, that cries for me while I am laughing and buoyant on the ocean of tears inside me, that cries for me while I learn a way that doesn’t melt into the waters but crosses the drawbridge and looks man in the eye.

I am growing a different kind of skin.

[Edit: I just put on Pandora, and the first song it gives me: Secret Fountain.]

I Can Hear You

•January 30, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Alamikos (Abenaki): Greetings Maker Moon

I felt this moon coming for a few days. I don’t know how to describe it, except as a swelling hum inside me, stronger than I remember ever feeling it. Finally I heard that it was the brightest clearest full moon of the year.

Northern Arapaho: When the snow blows like spirits in the wind.

Yesterday I stayed in all day, loose ends of schoolwork, spent a long time in my picture books, and found myself motivated to do a bunch of sprucing. I got a Brita, so water flows freely now rather than bottle by bottle. I cleaned and remade the dolmen, above which I hung Mom’s alphabet she stitched for me when I was a baby. I took care of my plants, moving grown ones into bigger containers, and hung a paper lantern outside the window that dances happily every time the train rolls by. It sounds small, in words, but it refreshed the whole energy of my place.

I finished a novel whose end just utterly destroyed me. Maybe it was only a catalyst for emotion I’d felt swirling around without an outlet for days…but:

“I come from a place where breath, eyes, and memory are one, a place from which you carry your past like the hair on your head. Where women return to their children as butterflies or as tears in the eyes of the statues that their daughters pray to. My mother was as brave as stars at dawn. She too was from this place. My mother was like that woman who could never bleed and then could never stop bleeding, the one who gave in to her pain, to live as a butterfly. Yes, my mother was like me.”

It goes on, but as you can see, that’s quite a catalyst.

And I cried as hard as I ever have, cried like I did a year ago, cried so much there were no more tears and my body just clenched and clenched, kept crying and there were tears again and all of me was drenched in them…my brother came to the door holding a large pizza, and with the other arm he gathered me in and hugged me into my body again, and his eyes were very bright.

PAAMUYA (Hopi): Month of Life at it’s Height

This morning, I dreamed:

Amy is gone, as in death, but I know I will meet her again in this world, she will come back, although it will take a long time. I talk with Ali, who regrets that she couldn’t meet her.

Dad dies. Mom says we need to call Uncle John, that it’s been a few days and it’s normal not to think of him because he’s not been very involved with us, but still it’s time to call and tell him. I see Dad, alive, and I hug him. As he holds me I remember the sheer warm comforting size of him, his strength and love wrapped around me safe.

I go out front to take a phone call. It’s John Cleese. He introduces himself, “This is Monty Python,” which is a radio show he says I might be familiar with. I tell him that I’m actually in L.A. now, and as I look out over the hills and houses below I can hear his voice as its vibrations and radio waves move through the air above the city, whose currents I can almost see. “I can hear you,” I say, meaning not through the phone but directly, his voice in the air in my ears. He tells me to say it again. I do — “I can hear you.” “Louder,” he prompts. “I can hear you!” I yell, loud, aware of how my voice flies out and joins the air currents of sound waves. “Louder!” He yells. “I CAN HEAR YOU!!” I bellow, as loud as I can make my voice, thinking all the while that it’s not very loud, but it’s as loud as I can, I can feel my throat strain. It’s very helpful for me and for John. I tell him about my people dying. He says kind soft words. I tell him I’m glad I took his random call.

Mom’s gone now, too. For a while I wander in this building, feelings of disorientation and loss but also knowing and love. I can’t do much else but this. We crouch low to the ground as Kristin holds me while I cry and cry. I say, “All my people are gone, there’s no one to hold me.” She says, softly and with heartfelt love, “Shut up.”

mkokisis (potawatomi): month of the bear

Bear images have indeed come up. Not the least of which is Mom’s turquoise Bear Medicine pouch from Arizona. This isn’t really when they come out, so it makes me wonder why this should be month of the bear…or “bear hunting month” as another name put it. Maybe they would find the dens and kill em in their sleep. Doesn’t seem very sporting. Maybe because all the people were scrawny and hungry, while the bears slept warm and were nourished off their own body.

Green.

•January 23, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Tonight a part of myself was reflected to me by a dear friend, who described the image of a staunch angry Centurion guarding the precious treasure.

A Centurion is “a professional officer of the Roman army after the Marian reforms of 107 BC. Most centurions commanded 83 men despite the commonly assumed 100, but senior centurions commanded cohorts, or took senior staff roles in their legion.”

Centurion
A Centurion looks like this.

Which is curious, because earlier tonight from my car I saw a shadowy man on the side of the road, wearing a big fluffy white headdress exactly like a Centurion’s, taking a flash photo of a giant tree / church through the rainy dark. Huh, I said to myself. That’s not quite a trojan hat, but I wonder what it is?

Then, because it was to this same friend that I said, in a recent dream, “I can be a footsoldier too” — how is a Centurion different from a footsoldier?

Well, he’s an authority — an officer, he commands other soldiers. He is a professional soldier, probably unlike the footsoldier.

“Centuries, or Centuriae, means tribe or company. Theoretically, this word traces its roots to centum which is latin for one-hundred, but that connection is widely disputed or disregarded.”

So the Centurion commands the centuries, which means he represents a whole communal structure to itself. Also he presumes to order entire swaths of time.

“Centurions could be elected, appointed by the Senate, or promoted to the rank for a variety of reasons.

“Centurions often suffered heavy casualties in battle, generally fighting alongside the legionaries they commanded. They usually led from the front, occupying a position at the front right of the century formation. They led and inspired their men by example. They also sought to display the skill and courage that may have gotten them to their rank in the first place. It is for these reasons that they often suffered a disproportionate number of casualties. Centurions had a well deserved reputation for dealing out harsh punishment.

“The most senior centurion of the legion was the Primus Pilus.”

We’ll call my senior centurion by his name, the fiercesome “Palak Paneer.”

Here.

•January 22, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I want to share with you some astounding reading. And ideas. Starting from Keith Basso’s Wisdom Sits in Places:

Louise. [Worried about] My younger brother…
Lola: It happened at Line Of White Rocks Extends Up and Out, at this very place!
(Pause: 30-45 seconds)
Emily: Yes. It happened at Whiteness spreads Out Descending To Water, at this very place!
(Pause: 30-45 seconds)
Lola: Truly. It happened at Trail Extends Across A Red Ridge With Alder Trees, at this very place!
Louise: (Laughs softly)
Robert: Pleasantness and goodness will be forthcoming.
Lola: Pleasantness and goodness will be forthcoming.
Louise (to dog): My younger brother is foolish, isn’t he, dog?

Then, by way of explaining this dialogue:

Lola: We gave that woman (Louise) pictures to work on in her mind. We didn’t speak too much to her. We didn’t hold her down. That way she could travel in her mind. She could add on to them (the pictures) easily. We gave her clear pictures with place-names. So her mind went to those places, standing in front of them as our ancestors did long ago. That way she could see what happened there long ago. She could hear stories in her mind, perhaps hear our ancestors speaking. She could recall the knowledge of our ancestors.

“We call it speaking with names. Place-names are all we need for that, speaking with names. We just fix them up. That woman was too sad. She was worried too much about her younger brother. So we tried to make her feel better. We tried to make her think good thoughts. That woman’s younger brother acted stupidly. He was stupid and careless. He failed to show respect. No good! We said nothing critical about him to her. We talked around it. Those place-names are strong! After a while, I gave her a funny story. She didn’t get mad. She was feeling better. She laughed. Then she had enough, I guess. She spoke to the dog about her younger brother, criticizing him, so we knew we had helped her out.”

Now, Basso:

“Western Apache conceptions of language and thought are cast in pervasively visual terms. Every occasion of ‘speaking’ provides tangible evidence of ‘thinking,’ and thinking occurs in the form of ‘pictures’ that persons ‘see’ in their minds. Prompted by a desire to ‘display thinking,’ speaking involves the use of language to ‘depict’ and ‘convey’ these images to the members of an audience, such that they, on ‘hearing’ and ‘holding’ the speaker’s words, can ‘view’ the images in their own minds. Thinking, as Apaches conceive of it, consists in picturing to oneself and attending privately to the pictures. Speaking consists in depicting one’s pictures for other people, who are thus invited to picture these depictions and respond to them with depictions of their own. … Apache hearers must always ‘add on’ to depictions made available to them in conversation, augmenting and supplementing these spoken images with images they fashion for themselves.”

“In other words, persons who speak too much insult the imaginitive capabilities of other people, ‘blocking their thinking’ … and ‘holding down their minds.'”

Isn’t this how we speak about dreams? Contact with even the idea of such a finely tuned way of communicating is greatly soothing to me. Especially from the grief-places and from certain other explorations of the last two years, this is the only way of communicating that works.

I am making friends with a woman, with whom I’d not felt able to adequately communicate for the first few times we met, spaced some months apart. It wasn’t until we laid down in the grass and closed our eyes and began to speak this way — starting with dreams but speaking many other places, family and lovers and desires, “places” because we spoke in images and so, with our eyes closed / open only to the vast sky above, we could touch down in each other’s words. That was where I felt myself honestly comminicating with her. That’s how we write. My entire interiority breathes a sigh of great relief at all the things that might now finally be said.

Last night I experienced someone else’s joy at finding that image-place wordstream and my body’s reaction was to dance. When was the last time you danced to a poem?

Dance:

dance
c.1300, from O.Fr. dancier, perhaps from Frankish. A word of uncertain origin but which, through French influence in arts and society, has become the primary word for this activity from Spain to Russia.

Nu-uh! A word of unknown origin!

Whence comes the place where music and body are expressions of each other? Nobody knows. It’s just a place we go.

Is that the same as a word that goes so far back it’s always had that form? I think not. That makes “Dance” an In Carne Hilarum first.

Egret.

•January 18, 2010 • Leave a Comment

It’s been a strange weekend, and I’m sitting with a lot of thoughts. Standing still while their tides come in and out.

A lot of the thoughts are those “who am I” thoughts, visiting parts of myself I haven’t sat with in some time. I am tracking anger.

I witnessed an incident in which a big sharp knife fell on a soft bare foot, thankfully cutting two toes not very deeply. In that dangerous uncertain moment time blossomed out, petals unfurling round a spot suddenly touching the center. Suddenly touching a traumatic place, and with a violent shiver and an inward voice the possessor of the foot shuddered under the cutting descent of a frame she’s borne a long long time. I saw it happen, the old fears and their wounds take her over, and saw her body shudder into their touch. The whole room filled with haunted feelings and a silence gripped us all. The old feelings are immensely powerful, they lap up all our strength. More witness than participant, I broke the silence — and was answered by a memory, the wounded friend replied with a memory, the place the pain took her back to. I was angry with the other person for not taking care of her, and clearly the taking care of was not mine to do. So I sat in the feelings with her. That was an interesting who am I moment.

My two best girl-friends both showered me with their wedding plans today — one a blossoming idea, one deep in the throes of planning. I’m getting a nice deep stretch straddling my myriad trepidations, one foot in my joy for them and one in the solid knowing that that’s not what I want for me, or it’s at least inconceivable from here and now.

I spent Saturday night at a party full of astonishingly smart and hardworking and inspiring and beautiful ladies. Doctors and builders and dancers and warriors and artists all. It was lush and easy company, and yet a part of me surfaced who I am infinitely gentler with these days, so her presence doesn’t mean I totally withdraw. Instead I was acutely aware of being surrounded by women totally comfortable and mobile and expressive in their bodies, and that young uncertain girl in me froze in recognition that we’re just not there yet. There was a long moment where the six other women were paired off in conversation and I sat silent on the couch, steeped in a tepid mixture of self-doubt and amazement at each individual’s unique blend of success, and how each’s success (and, probably at one time or another, each’s self-doubt) hinged on intimacy with her own body, as well as passion, as well as brains, as well as making money, as well as self-/compassion. We were each of us models of wholing.

This morning I read, in Krishnamurti: A mind that has understood the whole ripening of disorder comes to an order which is virtue, therefore which is love.

Practicing, practicing, practicing, practicing, practicing.

Egress:
–noun
1. the act or an instance of going, esp. from an enclosed place.
2. a means or place of going out; an exit.
3. the right or permission to go out.

–verb (used without object)
5. to go out; emerge.

Astronomy. the emergence of a heavenly body from an eclipse, an occultation, or a transit.

Archaic. the act of emerging.

[Latin ēgressus, from past participle of ēgredī, to go out : ē-, ex-, ex- + gradī, to go; see ghredh- in Indo-European roots.]

I dreamed my angry girl was enrolled in two classes, among others: Storytelling and Biophysics.

Angry girls to the front of the class, let’s have an oral report.