Sunday, April 19, 2015

Some day Sunday

When she spoke I realized
I had already dreamt this moment
There was no surprise 
I see the colors more brilliant now
The paler glimpse which was like a memory
Of what hadn't yet occurred
Later the sun streams in,
The sun on a Sunday
Some day
I write three stories in my mind 
I know he thinks
I'm too demanding
He doesn't know that it's really more that I'm just a klutz owed to being socially challenged

I either don't say enough 
Or say too much
And throw together dinner 
Reinvention into casserole better 
Twice around

Yeah better
He says I'm not

I guess he's right
But that doesn't mean 
That has to be a flaw

Anyway. How to save the world?
One soul at a time?
The blood on the cross, is it not the beacon?
so, what of a soul full of torment?
There is beauty in pain
I will tell you
There is beauty in pain
I tell you
I'll tell you,
But do you want to know?
And maybe, it's true that
It's all I know
How do I apologize for that?
Just a cross to bear
But I'm not trying to be perfect
I'm trying to be me
And wondering why
All my life
I always had to ask permission
To just be 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Baggage Claim at Purgatory; a flashback





I'm obsessed with bags. I believe it must trace back to my ancestors, so can I really help it? I didn't really think it was a problem until that night at Pearl, the art supplies warehouse on Hempstead Turnpike when it still existed on Long Island. Maybe it was the way he yelled at me from the loading dock, it reminded me of something from 'On the Waterfront' with Marlon Brando, in the rain saying, “I coulda been a kundenda, I coulda been somebody....” I think, in a way, Frankie always reminded me of Marlon Brando. Maybe what he would have been at 21 if Brando was ever skinny. Scrawny. And an Italian mama's boy from the South Shore. I am always distracted by an interesting character, whether they are good for me or not. I am just pulled to find the story.

So he said, screaming at me in the rain-- it was always raining during our strange conflicts:

You know what, Beth? You got too much luggage!” and he put his hand through my open car window and pulled out one of my Coach bags that I happened to be using that day (they are all bought second or third hand on e-Bay for a third of their original selling price, sometimes a quarter). (But, OK, maybe I have accumulated quite a lot of them over time). He knew about my bag fetish. What is it about the male gender that can at first find something about you to be so adorable but then when they decide to be assholes that thing is flung at you like it is some kind of putrid material?

So he went on to say --grabbing hold of my bag like it was some grocery store bag-- in a bunch in his fingers, crinkling the surface brutally (that is Brando at the top of the stairs in his wife-beater shirt crying, “Stella!” in a Streetcar Named Desire.)

And so, Frankie says,
you and your one million fucking bags, Beth!”

He was really saying something else. He was only using this to pick on me. Because he is worse than a woman when it comes to shopping. His vanity comes a close third to his sexual addiction and his drug addiction. Then again, he is close to a woman in several ways, despite his Brando resemblance.

Yet, sometimes wisdom accidentally popped out of his head and lips. And sometimes still does. He had rare moments of shocking depth, like, I guess, that car scene, out by the loading dock, in the rain with him waving my Coach bag.... telling me I had too much baggage. I remember, at that moment, being surprised by his fleeting insight.

Only, it is not really such a bad flaw. Not really, because my collection of bags serve many purposes. Environmentally, they are recycled material-- because I am using someone else's no longer needed or wanted possession. I don't have to purchase a new one, I'm re-using. But, also, they are beautiful in workmanship. Like, in the way that anyone can see, if you look at things in a museum and you see objects made by human's from thousands of years ago.... or, in the way that you see actual Art Nouveau jewelry at an antique show. These are works of art. So they also serve as aesthetic beauty. I rotate them on the walls, they change with my moods and it reminds me of how much fun I used to have doing the merchandising for store windows. In this way it serves me again as it stimulates my creative expression. Scientifically, this is also good because it is good for my mental health and in keeping in mind with social requirements, in our society, I am less of a strain on the government needs when I am not another statistic dependent on the treasury.

Still, there is an even more practical use about my bag collection. All my life, I have moved a lot. Another inherent trait? No doubt. And when I move, every one of those bags becomes an instant moving box that isn't made of trees. They hold up remarkably well and I have found, the hard use of these bags only adds to their character. At least those that I obsess on. From the decade I obsess on.

My Russian heritage always comes to mind when I think of my natural instincts of feeling more at ease when I look around me and imagine how quickly I can collapse everything down and take off at a moment's notice. I don't think they were gypsies. I suspect they would have been too self-righteous for something that colorful. My ancestors were all repressed. I know this because I see it strongly in everyone who came from this line. I know that is another flaw I have had the misfortune to acquire; it is hard for me to open. Which is why I like bags that have a lot of zippers and compartments and why I love cargo's. You can hide things away.

Maybe this is another metaphor. To consider a flaw and then find that instead, it is, really, more of a secret power. The way that girl at ASH asked me in middle school to join the 'cool kid crowd' and I said no. Or when I had braces and my orthodontist said he was going cut a slit into my gum to close the gap between my two front teeth. And I said no. I wanted to keep it. I never wanted to be perfect. Or be a cheer-leader and told I had to wear a pink sweater on Tuesday.

So what was Frankie really saying that day, getting drenched behind the art warehouse? I have always been drawn to the story. The ones about people. The ones I see sometimes passing me on buses. The ones who walk by you at the mall and they look at you for a split second. They reveal. I am always half tempted to do something unpredictable or inappropriate and walk right up to them, knock down the fourth wall. And there was a time I would have. But you know, that's a dangerous way to be. I learned that.

He was telling me that he could not lose control. That was not what he meant to tell me. But I know that is what he was telling me. Only while it was happening, I didn't know this. I was in that moment and, instead, the shitty thing that he had just done to me which lead us out there on that loading dock to have it out not in front of co-workers.... stung pretty hard. And I can see it from years later without regret, my skin still not tough.... not tough enough.... I can see that when I go to live inside my stories, I put all of myself in them. It isn't pretend.

Like clothes you put on. Take off. A t-shirt you peel off as the long sleeves are like a snake's second skin that goes inside out to drop or get hung. Like my bags. But are they me?

Maybe I have been trying on all these stories.... to see which one fits me the best. I know it was not conscious to do this. I just always got distracted by …. the story.

When you stand on the outside of yourself; of a story.... you see, it is safe. I see this now. I know I forgot this was once on purpose. I have just been doing it for so long. I think I was actually too stubborn to want to give in; conform. But, you see, I felt like I wouldn't be able breath under the pompoms and the sweaters.

Frankie didn't want to lose control. I never did either. Because the last time that I did I was five. And I almost didn't make it back. There is no fear of losing control when writing. It is my terms. The focus is my choice. Those things that I ignore, though, they begin to expose themselves. And when those things begin to tell my story....

I think that I am beginning to see that maybe this is the same when you are not safely removed from the experience that you are in. What fits into my bag and not what the bag is telling me I am allowed to fit. What fills the sheath's requirement to accommodate the sword. Experiencing is not exactly the same as feeling. What would it really be like, I wonder, to really, really feel and experience it in the immediate. To let it past that invisible wall and let in through. It could be a disaster. But it could also be the most fascinating experience ever. Like turning a corner past the Matrix. Would I write about it?

What is past there, past the mythology, and why would I go. I mean, I don't care about acceptance. Is there some other reason? Because, I suspect it would not be possible to just visit and then pack up my bags and leave if I don't like it. I think that portal would close forever. 

And so I think about that Jim Morrison poem,

I won't come out
You must come in
Into me

Into my womb garden where I peer out
Where we can construct a universe
within the skull
to rival the real



Friday, March 6, 2015

Reflection; Electra

"Pausing before Methuselah... My foot rested on the stone sealing the small sepulcher at his root; and I recalled the passage of feeling therin buried... What was become of that curious one-sided friendship which was half marble and half life; only on one hand truth, and the other perhaps jest?
   "Was this feeling dead? I do not know, but it was buried. Sometimes I thought the tomb unquiet...." (Brontë)

I'll write more later.  Maybe. Right now stumbling across this passage and realizing I'm moving on ....to some inexplicable somewhere--- I am stilled thus to reflect and to give my respects to the broken little pieces of my heart that have so often been impetuously tossed aside by those i regarded too deeply who thought too little of me. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

My tomb; Electra's dictionary

John William Waterhouse 1888 'The Lady of Shalott' inspired by Tennyson's poem from 1832 of the same title

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