Friday, February 25, 2011


this has been a week of poetry for me; poetry and music making and that first desperate blur of falling-in-love.

i spent the morning writing poem after poem after poem, and though i happen to think they are quite good, i am not going to print them here because they are all about sex. ahem.

so this afternoon i sent my new love off in the rain and welcomed my children back home, and here we are, cozy and safe, the boys dreaming, mama processing what the heck just happened.

i so often describe, here, the difficulties of living in a small space that i want to take a moment and list the lovely things.

1) i have such a low overhead that i never feel any financial pressure.
2) a thorough, no-holds-barred housecleaning never takes more than a day.
3) when one is in love, one's beloved is never out of sight.
4) since i need work only a few days a week to cover my bills, the rest of my time is devoted to family, creativity, sunlight, development...and i do not feel limited or defined by the work that i do.

i feel such gratitude lately for this warm, dry nest. and also...

remember the list i made on new year, detailing the three things i wanted for 2011? well, one of them, naturally, was to meet a wild gypsy musician who would adore me and write songs with me and feel the adventure, the poetry of life just as keenly as i.

so: he's here. (next time i maybe won't put quite so much emphasis on the 'wild' part. i'm just saying.)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

cabin fever

Reigning changes! has there ever been
a time so quick-moving, cursive--
this is your mind, as you've known it.
these are your questions,
you've heard.

If the rain had come sooner, I'd seen it
the way I saw everything bloom.
In the end there is just one decision:
to love with exquisite precision.

Oh, the beautiful rains. The beautiful, beautiful rains that I love so much when I can cocoon in my peaceful house, listen to Billie Holiday, write letters, drink tea. The beautiful rains that trap me in this tiny prison with a six-year-old climbing the walls and a toddler screeching about his hurt finger...or elbow...or heel...or whichever body part aforementioned six-year-old most lately stepped on.

The morning was a pastiche of me trying to keep the toddler out of the knife drawer, trying to find a square inch of counter space to prepare food, breaking up deafening squabbles over toys or juice or which book to read.

I did get a little more clever toward the afternoon, dreaming up art projects all of us could get into (collaged vision boards: Anainn rips up the magazines, Xir trims and slathers glue, I provide thoughtful artistic guidance like "maybe it would work better to put the glue on the paper instead of on your brother"). And after dinner, while Anainn slept, Xir and I conducted a tournament to see who could fling a rubber band the closest to a valentine we'd pinned to the chair. Somehow, we made it to bedtime with all major arteries unsevered.

As we cuddled in bed reading a chapter of My Side of the Mountain we were startled by a sudden flash---Xir's first lightning sighting. He was beside himself. We turned off all the lights and waited by the window until the next one came: a beautiful arcing streamer of fire across the suddenly colorless sky. I remembered the final couplet of a poem I wrote years ago:

what's the most I could be without being frightening?/I want me to strike you like lightning.

...which reminds me of an unrelated thing that happened to me and upon which I simply must remark although it is entirely tangential.

It turns out, I am still capable of falling in love. The whole enchilada: butterflies and doe eyes and poetry and stomachaches. I had thought that sort of thing was an artifact of teenage hormones, anima/animus projections, time and place and choice. I had forgotten what it could be like, that certainty, that sense of falling not into something, but into place.

My judgement about whom to fall in love with, alas, remains spectacularly abysmal.

Monday, February 14, 2011

a cautionary valentine's tale

I gave my landlady an artisan handmade heart-shaped soap for valentine's day.

she ate it.

(giving your heart isn't enough. you need to provide instructions.)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

we don't follow any sensible trajectory.

I'm not even going to try to explain how I ended up in a stranger's car outside my house near midnight, passionately discussing the existence of God and the importance of belief with a Hasidic scholar of the Talmud who is having a crisis of faith. I am a firm believer in seizing every eccentric possibility life presents, never knowing which one is going to be the one I remember always, the one that redefined who, and how, I want to be in this world. This belief has led to many bizarre encounters and situations that, when I recount them to my mother years later, cause her to retire to her room for a 'nap'.

And, sometimes, they give me an eerie sense of disembodiment, as though I'm looking at someone else's life. Because this situation couldn't possibly belong in mine. I wonder sometimes if it wouldn't be better to just have a routine, keep one job and one city and one circle of friends and just be freaking NORMAL for FIVE MINUTES.

All of this was running through my head as I held the hand of a man I'd met an hour before and listened as he poured his heart out to me. And what struck me was: how similar we are. Seeing this man walk down the street in his forelocks and fringes and head covering, I would imagine his life: more productive, more learned, more pious thoughts than mine. Probably a sense of security to belong so certainly and obviously to something. Probably no interest in, say, Wicca, or transformation psychology.

But this man described a cartoon to me, and I laughed at the truth of it: on a New York subway, someone is looking around at all of the other passengers. A thought bubble above his head reads look at them all. staring blankly, reading, not a thought in their heads except getting through the day. I'm the only one who sees the meaninglessness of it all, the underlying truth, who feels the sword of life so keenly!

Thought bubbles over the heads of all the other passengers read exactly the same.

Talking with this man (who does, in fact, have a pronounced interest in transformation psychology, though I'd've been right about the Wicca) I could feel the pain I'd been living with the past few weeks subside: the pain of being shut out of someone's life without explanation, the pain of being rejected by people, institutions, sometimes even children, and how powerless it leaves you. Because the truth is, once you've been rejected, there is nothing you can do or say to win your way back in. The power is entirely in the other person's hands. And that does not sit well, does it? If I can just talk through something, I am always fine. But being shut out cuts that cord and leaves me questioning everything about myself, sure that I deserved it somehow.

But it is not true. The truth is, we all are just living these lives inside our own heads, completely unaware of the thoughts and motivations of others, shielded from raw human interaction by personas and professional roles and pat commentary and pretty outfits. Listening to this man, I realized suddenly that no one knows me, really. I don't even know myself! Nobody knows anyone else! We're changing all the time, and we don't follow any sensible trajectory!

This blog was just the beginning of what is turning out to be a multifaceted, all-consuming honesty project for me. A fitting transition into the study of psychology, no? I am practicing interactions with strangers that have no facade, no roles, no positive spins, no scripts. Not that I think all human interaction should be this baldly brave: I just want to know that I can do it. That there is someone in there underneath all the stories and situations and changing outer forms who remains the same.

And as I find her, it is becoming very clear that she looks just like everybody else. Which is to say: scared, confused, loving, wishful, unsure, lovely.