Thursday, September 30, 2010

Haunted

In 1946, at Zelda Fitzgerald's last evening at the home of friends, all were sitting on the porch, waiting until it was time to leave to take Zelda to the train station. As the time for the train to depart grew closer, the hosts kept stressing that perhaps they should be on their way...: "Zelda said we didn't need to worry, the train would not be on time anyway. We laughed and said, perhaps, but it was a risk we didn't intend to take. 'Oh, no,' she said, 'it will be all right. Scott has told me. Can't you see him sitting here beside me?'"

Scott had died in 1940. And when they finally arrived at the train station, they had a half-hour wait because the train was late.

--------------------------------

And then these excerpts from her autobiographical novel "Caesar's Things":

An encounter between the main character and her brother:
"...Before she could say anything, her brother had his thumb in the eye-sockets and the child died of horror as the eye-ball came out in a film of white plasm. It was a pale blue eye; and that was the first indication that the thing he was playing with was a corpse... That God would let this happen had broken her heart forever and that was the way she would live."

An encounter between the main character and neighborhood boys:
"Then the boys assumed the air of authorized committee 'You won't have any friends -- nobody else will come to see you. That I promise you.'... They went up to the haunted school-yard so deep in shadows and creaking with felicities of murder to the splintery old swing and she was so miserable and trusting that her heart broke and for many years after she didn't want to live...."

------------------------------------------

And a story that the Fitzgeralds' friend Gerald Murphy told about an incident in the summer of 1929, when the couples had gone to see a documentary about underwater life: "There were all sorts and varieties of strange fish swimming by the camera...and then the movie began to show photos of the predatory fish in their natural habitat. Quite nonchalantly an octopus, using his tentacles to propel himself, moved diagonally across the screen. Zelda, who had been sitting on my right, shrieked and threw herself all the way across my lap onto my left shoulder and...screamed, 'What is it? What is it!' Now, we had all seen it and it moved very slowly -- it was perfectly obvious that it was an octopus -- but it had nevertheless frightened her to death. She was hardly a timid woman; I mean, she was really absolutely fearless and she was an expert swimmer. One simply didn't think she would have been so frightened by what she had seen, unless, of course, she had seen it as a distortion of something horrible."

---------------------------------------------------

All of the above made the hair on my arms literally stand straight up. So exact a portrait of what it is to be haunted. The woman was haunted. In my late teens and early 20s, I had to deal with a few "otherworldly" incidents that spooked the hell out of me, but they for the most part faded after my mid-20s. Still, they gave me a taste of what I DIDN'T want to live with. I don't know that I had a choice; the spirits just kind of left me alone after a certain point, so I was lucky. I take that back: Maybe I did make some kind of conscious effort to "toughen up" psychologically, i.e., not leave myself so open to the haunts... By praying, for instance, to God, begging for peace... Not asking for more other-worldly knowledge, which I'd been as a young person been so hungry for, but rather for much, much less... Cowardly in a way, I suppose. But also life-saving. (Perhaps, also, the fact that I've had to actually earn a living for myself has prevented me from giving in to the extremes of my nature, has forced me to construct a workable way of dealing with everyday life. I financially have never had a choice in the matter. That mundanity also life-saving. As was, come to think of it, my overtly talkative and tattle-tale nature as a kid... While intellectually curious as a youngster, I was also very puritanical about boys lifting my skirt on the playground, Dad wanting me to sunbathe without my shirt at age 12, etc. It soon got around that I was the girl who "would tell." A junior Hard Bitch, in other words. But a little bitch who didn't get bothered.)

I think I admire people like Plath, Sexton, Zelda (and, yes, Sandra) for daring to go much further psychically and psychologically and artistically than I have been able or willing to go. My sense of outrage, and innate sense of self-preservation, have kept me linked to the mundane world that I constantly criticize so for its very ordinariness!



Zelda Shoes

While I was searching for Zelda images online, I came across a place where you could actually order Zelda shoes! I thought they were so beautiful, and I wanted a pair. They were $65, and I thought long and hard about how I'd not been attracted to anything for over a year now and how much I really liked these shoes and how really happy these shoes would make me, and how I hadn't bought anything for over a year and how I finally had a little bit of extra money to spare, and then I clicked to order. And then an $8.95 service charge showed up.

I started crying and cancelled the order. Why. What is the difference between a $65 pair of shoes and a $74 pair of shoes? Why am I so saddened by this?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"A vacuum can only exist, I imagine, by the things which enclose it."



Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Just for the record:

First cool night of the Austin fall season: Sunday night, September 26.

Since I moved into my apt in late June, I've had sheets and a comforter on my bed, but have always just lain on top of the comforter to go to sleep. (The window-unit AC in the apt works fine, but it's annoying with its very loud, constant off/on during the night. In the past few months, I've just been shutting it off when it was time to go to sleep. So... no covers on me when I've gone to bed,'cause it always got too hot.)

Last night, though... It got down to 57 or something! (The first time below 75 or so at night since June.) :)

I was able to actually get under covers to go to sleep for the first time in over 3 months! It was cozy!

The next morning, Monday the 27th, the air still cool and fresh, I jumped right up, did grocery shopping (a major chore with no car, involving bus schedules and lugging shopping bags home on foot for a mile after getting off the bus)... Didn't dread it for the first time in months, and didn't come home completely sweaty and exhausted this time! Was actually liking waking up and moving about!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

"Mean Streets" of Austin

Back when I rented my little house from 2000 to 2007 on the East Side of Austin, I had a front porch that I could never sit on. Why? Because, though the house was in a neighborhood that was rapidly being gentrified, the only people usually walking around were homeless guys. And whenever they spotted a female -- any female -- out in the open, they felt it obligatory to come over and chat. Not just a friendly "hey," but an approach up the walk and onto the stairs of my porch, and a not-leaving. That happened to me about 3 times before I just gave up on the porch.

Same with bus-stops, both then and now: Lower-class men in Austin see a woman alone at a bus-stop, and they seem to automatically assume that she's lonely and in need of their heavy come-on "companionship." Or worse: At one time in the early 2000s, I tried taking a bus from my neighborhood to the downtown clubs -- a big, fucked-up, black homeless guy at the stop where I was quietly waiting got in my face: "You scared of me? You scared of me? You scared?" What the fuck. (No, I wasn't scared of big black homeless guys in general until YOU loomed in my face for no reason, you drug-addled dick.)

And when you're a female walking in Austin, guys also seem to feel obligated to either honk or yell at you out of the windows of their cars. In the past couple of months I've gotten a couple of "Woooooooo"s, plus one "fuck you, bitch" -- have no idea what that latter meant; I haven't been back home long enough to offend. Oh yeah, and then there was the one shout-out from a white passenger car while I was doing my then-daily walk -- turned out to be my brother on his way to work! :) THAT one was funny. The rest are just stupid and tiresome.

It really is draining. Yes, I've been comparing the Austin, Texas, stupidity to being in Jersey/NYC: "Up there," if someone's sitting outside on their porch or stoop or curb or stair, you nod or ignore them if they're a stranger, or nod or say "Hey" if they're your neighbor and you're on your way up to your place. If you're at a bus or subway-stop, or on the bus or subway, you ignore the people around you and give them their space. When walking... there's no issue at all. Everyone walks everywhere in NYC and in the urban areas of Jersey; it's nothing unusual and the sight of a female on the sidewalk or at a bus-stop certainly doesn't create any utterly rube-like need to hoot and holler.

In NYC, women are protected by the mundane: Women out everywhere walking around are no great big deal. In Texas, a woman out by herself -- porch, bus-stop, sidewalk -- is somehow seen as "fair game," to be generally accosted by creeps and assholes.

I miss just being able to walk and/or sit around in public, saying "hey" on occasion and not getting hassled any further.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Frankie Say: Arm the Unemployed

I paraded around the Mean Streets of Austin circa 1985 wearing my Frankie shirt (accompanied by my neon-pink cardigan), not ever guessing that I'd one day actually be unemployed, or that I'd one day be too old and tired to even think about arming myself in protest.

The Evolution of Joan Crawford

Shane, from my Joan message board, posted this Joan homage on YouTube. I love it!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I can't believe it...

...I finally, actually have a busy schedule for the next month or so! You see, I've been invited on a whirlwind, all-expenses-paid tour of Europe. I have only a week to shop for clothes before we're off!

Um, yeah, if you believe THAT, you'll believe anything! :)

Actually, I really do suddenly have a busy schedule for the next few weeks. Work-, not Paris-, related, which is just fine with me! (Anything that doesn't involve lying on my bed and watching every single reality show known to mankind, and their re-runs, for 12 hours a day is just fine with me!)

After months of lethargy, just doing sporadic work for one company, I'm suddenly involved with freelance projects for, count 'em, FOUR different publishing companies! Not just taking tests for them, but actual assignments ASSIGNED to me, accompanied by web/phone meetings, deadlines, paychecks, etc.!

I've been so starved for work that I'm now grabbing up anything/everything that all four companies offer me. I think once I finish my first assignments for the new three, I'll have some idea of how much I actually can and cannot take on after that. But for now, through October: Bring it ALL on! I WANT to work 10-hour days. I WANT to go to bed actually tired at, say, midnight, instead of at 6am after hours of drinking beer and goofing around on the computer. (I also, needless to say, WANT new clothes, an iPOD, a SmartPhone, a love-seat, some rugs, some prints for my walls... oh, and a friggin' CAR! That's all!) :)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

"Life is what happens to you...

...while you're busy making other plans." (John Lennon, 1980)

[Sigh.] It's hard to realize that you're not "special." I think I, up until the past couple of years, always based my own personal "special" (and "aware") feeling on a few odd things:

(1) When my dad took me to his office when I was 11, one of his co-workers told him that I was "the prettiest girl" he'd ever seen. (!!) Very great for my ego, and it's tided me over -- falsely -- to this day. But it's hard to admit that your looks peaked at age 11! :)

(2) Starting in about 4th grade, I started being very aware of the group dynamics between people, that things were far from rational. For instance, in 4th grade, our home-room teacher asked all of us if we'd prefer to be in school or out of school. All of us little sheep chose "in school" except for one scruffy kid, who said he'd rather be out of school. The teacher then grilled him excessively: What would he rather be doing? Riding horses. Oh, so did he have a horse? No, but he liked them. Oh, so if he didn't have a horse, then he'd STEAL a horse and ride it? No... Well, it sounds like you'd steal a horse...

Jesus. What was the fucking point of all of that?

(3) In 5th grade, we girls were in our "locker room" after PE, changing. The preacher's daughter, a popular girl named Cheryl, thought it would be funny to hold the locker-room door open while we all in turn ran in front of it, half-dressed. It was funny, until a teacher caught us. Or rather, the teacher caught an unpopular girl named Laura while she was flashing. The teacher demanded to know what was going on. No one spoke up. Laura got busted. Not Cheryl. Cheryl wouldn't "man up" and admit it was all her idea, so someone else took the fall for her. And nobody, including myself, said anything.

(4) When I was in 6th grade, I moved from one Texas small town to another in early Fall. When we got to the new town, all of my clothes hadn't been shipped yet, so I had to wear the same 3 dresses for 2 weeks. My home-room teacher treated me like I was a piece of shit based on my crappy wardrobe. On one occasion, at the end of the school-day, parents were pulling up in front of the school, which we could see from our window. We would all stand up to see if our parents were there yet. But I was the one who got yelled at.

My status quickly changed with this teacher for two reasons: One, I scored very high on the 6th-grade aptitude test that was being given. Nothing to do with her, but it made her look good and she liked that. Two, I won the school spelling bee. Again, nothing to do with her, but it made her look good and she liked that.

After that, she was sweet as could be to me, to the extreme point of letting me make seating charts for the class. I wallowed in my newfound approval, but the earlier memories of her shallow disgust and hatefulness over my "3 dresses" stayed with me.

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The idea of not being able to trust anyone or anything was set at a very early age. Some people feed off of societal recognition, vowing to do what's acceptable in order to at least not be shunned...I did this when I was a kid. It was drilled into my head that if I preferred riding horses to being in school, if I didn't have a sufficiently varied wardrobe, if I ran unclothed in front of open doors, then I was going to be publicly derided by authority figures. I accepted this when I was 9, 10, and 11.

Around 15 or so, though, came the break: I still lived in a small town in Texas, ruled by religious fervor. Everyone was being "saved." I was in love with a religious friend, and myself got "saved" at her fundamentalist Baptist church. I took it seriously and started reading the Bible seriously... only to discover that the Bible had multitudes of discrepancies: If we all came from Adam and Eve, then where did the cave people fit in? What about the dinosaurs? And women are to be subservient to men??? Like hell to all of it. Like my 4th-grade teacher, the Bible was bullshit.

I see Age 15 as the year of my Awakening and Recognition. Previously, I'd only wondered and worried about what I'd been aware of when I was little. When I was 15, though, the bullshit kind of solidified into an obvious pattern of corruption that I've been aware of and guarding against to this day. Not always successfully.

Re-make of "Mildred Pierce"


Looks like it might be more true to the original book! (Heresy coming from a Joan fan!)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Jersey Shore: The American Dream



I admit it: I "Like" DJ Pauly D of "The Jersey Shore" on my Facebook page. On his recent happy Facebook update about the show's cast members' group appearance on last Sunday's VMA Awards, I responded (one of a couple of thousand responses) something like: "Congratulations! You guys are really living the American Dream!"

And I meant it. The cast all came out of nowhere and are now highly in demand based on their interesting, funny personalities. They're not hurting anyone. Good for them if they can make some money from the media attention.

The show's been derided for its "decadence," for displaying little but casual hook-ups and drinking and generally loutish behavior, for giving a "bad name" to Jersey residents. Those are all mild points (except the latter-- only one of the cast members is actually FROM Jersey). It's true that you don't see the cast members reading and/or discussing world affairs. But as Vinny said during a cast appearance on "Ellen" this week when asked about being "bad" for America [paraphrasing]: "We're bad for America? What about the wars and the economy and equal rights? I don't think we're the problem."

Exactly, Vinny. What's wrong with America is not a bunch of kids getting drunk and hooking up and putting their touchingly open, undeveloped personalities on display for the world to see and getting paid for it. Good for them if we all want to watch, and the networks want to pay them to let us watch.

Entertainers, and athletes, and even Internet entrepreneurs like Gates... I've never, ever begrudged them their money. They've never exploited anyone.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Gyro Police


The Austin Gyro Police are still at it after all these years. And I will no longer be intimidated, thank you NYC and NJ!

I wrote about this a year or more ago on this blog: How relieved I was to find that in NYC and Jersey, the Greek sandwich "gyro" was pronounced JIE-ro. How "scarred" I'd been 20 years ago in Austin when I asked for a "JIE-ro" and the pretentious bitch behind me in line mock-whispered to her boyfriend, "She doesn't know how to pronounce HYEE-ro!" (Funnily, up north when I -- frightened by Austin PC -- tried to order it as a HYEE-ro, the Greeks behind the counter thought I wanted a hero sandwich! When I spelled the word, they said, "Oh, a JIE-ro!" I felt I was home at last!) :)

Today I was around campus for a haircut and stopped off at a nearby Greek place on the way home. A very white, non-Greek young lady was behind the counter. As I looked at the menu, I asked how much for a single JIE-ro, not a plate... She very pointedly answered, "A HYEE-ro is $6.99..." OK. She thought she was schoolin' me! I kept quiet for a second while I continued to look at the menu. Noticing that their gyros listed were made of PORK or CHICKEN!

So I asked, "Do you have any lamb JIE-ros?"
"We do have lamb HYEE-ros, but they're more, $9.99."
Then I had to burst out with, "I'm from New York, and the Greeks there pronounce it JIE-ROS, so I've gotta say it that way! Thanks." [b'bye -- I left, not in a huff over the word, but because I didn't want to pay $9.99 for a single sandwich that I used to pay $4.99 for in NY.]

OK, so I lied about where I was from. But it felt so good to lie, just to let the snooty girl know that, yes, I'm aware of the HYEE-ro pronunciation, but REAL GREEKS serving the food in NYC don't feel the need to be pretentious as shit!

HYEE-ro is sooooooooooo Austin. I'm soooooooooooo over that kind of thing. I wanna be in the land of $4.99 lamb JIE-ros again!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Birthday Letters



I think the last time anyone other than my mother remembered my birthday was in 1994.

Here's a big FUCK YOU to the people I've given love and time and energy to who didn't, couldn't, wouldn't reciprocate. To those who forgot my birthday, lost my number, not just once but numerous times. I feel nauseated by the beautiful and powerful love energy that I've wasted on you all over the years. Your neglect and carelessness in return is indicative of your own inability to recognize and cherish something real, something of value.

"Love Wins" read one bumpersticker slapped on the dash of one car I rode in. Yeah, and "Visualize Whirled Peas," you shallow, shallow fool.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

We'll see how this plan works...

It probably won't. Money.

But nonetheless... I am HOMESICK, yes homesick, for New York (despite my having lived in Texas all of my life, aside from 2 years in grad school in San Fran). The 9th anniversary of 9/11 is this Saturday, and there have been many images of NYC shown on TV this week (along with the constant shots that I see routinely on various shows and ads). I just get pangs every time I see it. Especially with fall coming on... I miss the subway. I miss the scarf and hat sellers. I miss walking to the local delis for a salad. I miss Times Square. I miss Union Square. I miss sitting in Central Park outside of Joan Crawford and John Lennon's apartments. I miss the Chelsea Cinema. I miss walking on the Brooklyn Bridge. I miss standing at the southern tip of the island getting wind-whipped and looking out at the Statue of Liberty in the harbor. I miss the beautiful buildings, and being utterly steeped in centuries of history. I miss stepping out of my house on a Saturday and just walking around the city, seeing stuff and eating street-vendor food. I miss the fall and winter there. I miss the elm trees. I miss how the place smells. I miss the accents of the locals. I miss the variety of people. (Austin's pretty white, and I don't feel a kinship with either hippies or hipsters.)

And I miss Weehawken, too. The cute, turn-of-the-century neighborhood. That 5-minute walk to the Hudson, standing and looking over at the Manhattan skyline. My supermarket and drug store and deli and beer store all within a few-minute walk. I even miss walking inland to Union City and being one of the few Anglo faces amid all the Dominicans and Central Americans on the main shopping street, Bergenline, and checking out all the cheesy, crowded little dollar stores lining the street, walking home with bargain dish liquid and candles and socks and my slice-n-salad from my pizza place.

I really, REALLY shouldn't have left. I should have registered with 20 temp agencies instead of 4. I should have gotten a roommate to split the bills. Sigh.

Here's my plan. Well, not a "plan," really, since it relies on money that I do not currently have. Maybe I'll call it "a seedling of an idea," or "a ray of hope": My Austin lease runs out March 31 (in 6-and-a-half months). I've been doing long-distance freelance work for much of the summer, which is continuing. (Ironically, for the Jersey publisher that I worked for in-house when I lived there.) There are also two other publishing companies that I've taken proofing tests for and that have freelance projects about to start that they'd said they'd like me to work on. That's three places with at least some work for the next few months. Between the three, and with my low rent of $545, maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to save a bit of money up by March to move... "A bit" -- ha! I figure I'll need about $5000!

I was paying $1550 per month in rent in Weehawken (cheaper than NYC, but still!). However, I got into that lease in early 2008, months before the economy and rental markets crashed. And it was a big (2-bedroom) place, twice the size of what I really needed. I can get a one-room place in Weehawken or Union City or West New York like I have here now in Austin for about $850 per month. So that's about $2500 I'll need for first/last/deposit. And $500 for plane ticket/shipping of books-n-stuff. And $2000 to sustain me while I get re-settled there and re-register with my old temp agencies (plus 16 more!)... And, god willing, I'll still have the freelance income coming in. The work from those 3 publishing companies is the key, of course...

I don't mean to dis Austin with all of this. It really is a pleasant town, where I lived from 1983 to 2007. (Since I told people like my Jersey editors and author Donald Spoto that I've moved back, many have shared how much they like the town, have enjoyed either working or visiting...) It's just not ME. Like I said above, I don't feel a kinship with either hippies or hipsters. And it's a college town -- liberal and gay-friendly, yes, but also frat-boy-laden 9 months out of the year. It's just not diverse and exciting enough for me. There's nothing particularly beautiful to look at. I don't step out of my front door and get a THRILL, a sense of "what's going to happen next? what will I see next?", like I did in both New York AND Weehawken (where Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton dueled!).

Just writing all this out has made me feel better, less trapped... That $5000 may be a pipe dream, but it's not COMPLETELY impossible. Like I said, just a little ray of hope, something to think about and hope for. I was a complete idiot for moving back, but... at least doing so helped me to discover what I REALLY wanted. I honestly didn't think that I'd miss being up north like I do. I was sick of the constant job-hunting and not having enough money, just wanted to come home and be in a familiar, "safe" place again... I've learned that NYC and Weehawken were actually a lot more "familiar" to my psyche than Austin is.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Stimulation

I love Rob Brezny's horoscopes! The below is sooooooooooo true of my personal life for, oh, the past 10 years!! Like he says, I have seriously GOT to "retrain myself"! Hopefully his reading of the omens for Leo is accurate. I'm bored to death being by myself all the time! When I was in New York, I didn't really care that I was single; I was in NEW YORK, which, seriously, was girlfriend enough. But now that my outer environment is no longer so stimulating, I definitely need some other, er... stimulation, both mental and physical.


Leo Horoscope for week of September 9, 2010

For years I've been in love with a woman who is also in love with me. Hooray! But when I was younger, I sometimes got embroiled in obsessive adorations for unavailable women. One didn't want me, another was already in a committed relationship, still another lived 6,000 miles away, and a fourth was a lesbian. The pain of those impossible attractions eventually prodded me to retrain myself so as to not keep repeating the pattern. Can I convince you to learn from my hardship? According to my reading of the omens, the next few months should be a time when you put a strong emphasis on allies who are available, not on the other kind.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Mansard Roof by Vampire Weekend

The band's official video for this song is them floating around the Isle of Manhattan. I liked this fan-made video much better. (How cute is it to have a song called "Mansard Roof"??) :)


Chester French - She Loves Everybody

Sunday, September 05, 2010

RIVER OAKS ANTHEM: Rodney Crowell - Sex and Gasoline



[THE RIVER OAKS ANTHEM]

So much beauty abs & tush
Swoop down on you like a burnin bush
Pop religion bullwhip thin
Says you ain't nothing but the shape you're in
Come on now girl genuflect nude magazine
This mean old world runs on sex and gasoline

19 candles adorn your cake
Life's simple pleasures is a chance you take
So here's the skinny, indulge the urge
Then sometime later you can binge & purge
Come on little girl, we both know what I mean
This mean old world runs on sex and gasoline

You're pushing thirty why you old hag
Here's something dirty for your shopping bag
You spend the money and here's the deal
we'll do our best to mend your sex appeal
Ah come on dear girl the process is routine
This mean old world runs on sex and gasoline

You're over forty that's it for you
i'm pretty sure there's nothing else that we can do
Perhaps the convent, perhaps the knife
You woulda coulda shoulda been a rich man's wife
Come on old girl, Lolita in her prime was yet thirteen
This star-crossed world runs on sex and gasoline

Tired ole story sad but true
We mama's boys have got it in for you
Our faults are many our virtues nil
We never loved you and we never will
Ah come on now girl, it's time we both come clean
This mean old world runs on sex and gasoline
From the first grade princess to the last homecoming queen
The star-crossed world runs on sex and gasoline
The whole wide world runs on sex and gasoline
Oh yes and your mama's world ran on sex and gasoline

In the "HA!" Department

From astrocenter.com:

Your [Leo] horoscope for September 5, 2010

If you've been thinking about doing some writing, perhaps for film or television, STEPHANIE, today should be a good day to get started. You may find that your creative juices are flowing freely, and your imagination is operating at a very high level. You might decide to work with a partner, and this may be a good idea. Sometimes the blend of two minds produces a work far greater than either could separately. Dig in, and go for it!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Ashes

I sometimes take my cat Gracie's box of ashes to bed with me and talk to her whenever I feel especially sad and lonesome. Last night I did. Here's a poem I wrote in May 2009, a month after she died:

(RE)BOUND

I'd imagined me trapped
in your game-world forever.
My real-life cat
dragging herself from corner to
corner, while your glass-enclosed "No"
echoed over phone and 'Net,
pinballing off my walls.

I could not flip it back.
Still it wracked up its score, bouncing
off both wacky bells and my girl's
silent writhing.

Now through my screen
the smells of the sun and grass and asphalt
rise to a new season. It's May.

On my wall
the light and leaves shy lashes
butterfly kisses
leaving, alighting again
flirting with my cat's ashes.

In her place I soak up the shimmering sun.
I stroke my hair and arch my back
and let my eyes go green.
In shadows glancing off you, and me, and
everything.

--SJ, May 2009

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And while reading the above poem from a May 2009 blog entry, I came across another entry from that same month. Rilke really helped me then. I must read, read, and read again, and allow his spirit to enter me again. I have got to transform all of this darkness into something. He shows how it's possible.


"Everything is far
and long gone by.
I think that the star
glittering above me
has been dead for a million years.
I think there were tears
in the car I heard pass
and something terrible was said..."

-- Rilke, from "Lament"


"That is at bottom the only courage that is demanded of us: to have courage for the most strange, the most singular and the most inexplicable that we may encounter...And if only we arrange our life according to that principle which counsels us that we must always hold to the difficult, then that which now still seems to us the most alien will become what we most trust and find most faithful. How should we be able to forget those ancient myths that are at the beginning of all peoples, the myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into princesses; perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us."

-- Rilke, from "Letters to a Young Poet"

But how?

"Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect, and the beast and the monk, robbed of the isolation that is life to either, will die."

--E.M. Forster, Howards End