Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Consequences Under Pressure*


"past screamin' from the rooftops
we live to survive our paradoxes"

-Springtime in Vienna by The Tragically Hip

We sat with our CPA today to go over our taxes. He explained the state of the state--that being it filled with companies who are dumping and leaving for other states, the brain drain of young people who can only find jobs outside of it, and the harbinger of woe that the real estate market has slowly become. He said that we, being at the start of a marriage, should buckle down. Get things cleaned up. Put something away.

"Twist My Arm" is filling my ears via the nano right now. Each phrase paints the vivid picture our past and present life in the city in which we live, from Jacques Cousteau's boat once being once parked on the river, to the ominous knuckles from union and corporate sides, to the shots of tear gas flares into rioting crowds, and the hounds of the Dow Jones. I sit writing under the protection of the Presbyterian church I attend. It has endured 154 years of the flux of it all. Wars and riots. Wounded times and closures. The gutting by the mob of community relations because they just could not get enough from every one's pocket. The bleeding out of lost dreams.

"Men here of the secret
the pass in upholstered silence
they only exist in crisis
they only exist in silence"

And the manufacturing of dissent. Michael Moore is from my home town. I used to have one of his old jobs of showing movies at the local university. He is sometimes seen as a hero but more often as a devil. A schmuck. Wasn't he supposed to have done something a while ago with those two movies? Was it GM's inaction that made Flint seem a pathetic, undone wasteland? Or was it the shifting of the sand in the litter box of GM's fat cat ways to reveal exactly where the crap happened. I don't understand. It was so long ago. I exchanged that beautiful, tender, broken town for another one.

I can sense the worry of the governor quite strongly. The look on her face when the big pharmaceutical pulled out. She is in Germany courting business now. My CPA is right. Things are getting bleaker here. Outsiders shake their heads. Denizens can't wrap their minds around it either, yet it is because we are so accustomed to it.

"Instructions from the manual
could not have been more plain
the blues are still required
the blues are still required again"

We push into this bleakness, so depressed we can't recognize a remedy. So confused by remedies we can't foresee a resolution. We hear the inglorious stories of Coleman Young. We witness gruesome unfoldings of marital bliss leading to murder. Our friends seek ending careers as industry packs up and moves to other states and countries. It won't hurt if you don't move. Are we moving? Because it still hurts.

The grit settles in. The sludge takes over. The flood overwhelms. The sun bakes everything nearly dry. We emerge defiant as thorns, lost as Israelites in the desert, bereft as the young Moabite widow in a new land, crazy as a profit soaking wood for a sacrifice. Just desperate enough to believe that we can create good and a future from nothing but dirt and feces and seed. We are only 60 seconds on the dial and that takes a while, says Gordy.

I can see out from the stone and glass of this old church. This edifice covers me in hope. It holds me still when I don't want to listen. It moves deeply when my heart is numbed and resistant. It plants its message deep withing me. I can only go outside when I know I am accompanied by this great force of comrades. After all, there is no simple explanations for anything any of us do*, says Gordy.

* from Courage by The Tragically Hip

- END -

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Dusting the Shelf


I am marinating in these writings. Feeling a bit of satisfaction again.

For such a long time my words felt like names and faces I couldn't connect. I had gotten used to them being there to call on for support, comfort and expression for so long. Then a wonderful shift in my life happened. I was being with someone new and not hanging around them so much. Yeah, once in a while I'd scratch something out when I needed them, yet for long periods of time they waited so patiently in the dark.

I recently Googled myself. (There was a stranger with the same name that wrote alternate episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer...they weren't so wonderful, so there is no mystery as to whom they belong. If they were palatable, I'd leave it a mystery.) I was surprised with what my curiosity found. There were reviews and titles I recognized, yet did not remember writing. Odd, because they rattled off so easily in my second story apartment on Court Street not to long ago.

I had a hero of mine find a poem in one of these reviews. It was years ago and I have the poem packed away with other important papers. It was such a rush receive token of literary affinity. I also remember seeing the moon rise as a translucent tangerine slice over the mountains in Acapulco Bay. I've caught those simple, golden threads twining the divine, artistic expression and my own reality. I felt I was holding a mystical secret.

"As artists, we do not often marinate in self-satisfaction. We do not often say to ourselves, 'This is the greatest' --although it might be.
- Julia Cameron

I know that somewhere in the shadows there are words and more words. I will find that poem so I can post it where I can see it often. I will feel the moonlight juice from that tangerine drip down my chin again. I will hold tight to those secret, golden threads. They are my accolades, my trophies and my ribbons.

- END -

The Dragon Princess from The Mexico Diaries


I have often asked myself "What am I doing here?" Somehow, I have created a bit of a solitary existence during my time here. Most days I sit studying and writing. On others I head into town for exploration. I haven't met many more americans. I don't think they trust people here. They often resemble elephants in packs--large, oblivious and clearing a path for themselves whereever they go. And the mexicans, well, let's just say I am still in culture shock. They have the same human habits that we americans do--they mumble, have slang and use speech patterns all their own. (Don't worry, I am trying.)

Today I took an excursion. About a 35 minute walk outside of the center of town is one of four places like itself in the world--"El Salto de San Anton". This 36m cascade of water has deeply cut itself into a gorge. The white water falls in the company of exotic greenery and birds that find lodgings in hollow rocks. The only thinks that make it not look like a postcard are the playful dinner-plate size white butterflies and the sad amount of trash at the bottom of the gorge. The sound of the water has a tranquilizing effect on me. I want to curl up onto on of the rock benches and fall asleep for hours.

I packed a small suitcase full of friends for the trip and the one I brought with me today is Mr. Rilke. He's bee teaching me about love and the solitariness of humanity. Today he told me,

"We have no reason to mistrust our world, for it is not against us. Has it terrors, they are our terrors; has it abysses, those abysses belong to us; are dangers at hand, we must try to love them. And if we only we arrange our life according to that which counsels us that we must always hold to the difficult, then that which now still seems to us will become what we most trust and find most faithful."

I am going to go to the botanical garden, "El Jardin Borda" on Sunday. Apparently many people, foriegners and nationals, crowd there and walk. Don't worry. I'll keep trying.

Yours truly,

The Dragon-Princess

Tangerine Moon from The Mexico Diaries


Last night I saw the moon rise over Acapulco Bay within minutes. It was huge and hung like a transluscent orange slice over the water and making the water shine like fresh mango.

I am not sure what I was expecting when I came here. It’s all so busy here and there is nothing relaxing about it at all. My Tia Modesta and I are staying on the 14th floor of a hotel overlooking nearly the entire bay, with a palm tree laden boulevard of big city traffic separating us from the beach. Don’t get me wrong. I have enjoyed the crashing waves, large jumping fish and pelicans. It all just reminds me that I have tiny, freshwater seas at home that are more placid and in their humble, Michigan way more of a tropical paradise. They only thing that makes it worth being here is that I am with my aunt and enjoying her.

I wonder sometimes what this trip means.

The traffic has me missing Detroit. Yet there are things I will miss about here, too. The dark, shiny, laughing eyes of my cousins. The way that volcanic ashes, knowing the secret language of snow, float into my room and onto my arms when I open the window in the morning.The elegant shapes of primary-colored birds. How the green velvet mountains stand firm around you like guarding soldiers. Seeing lime, grapefruit, and mango trees with heavy hanging bows of fruit. I have a little over a week left here in Mexico.

I feel as if I will wake up in a few days and find myself at work. I want to preserve of this restfulness I feel so I can remind myself with these images not to take things so seriously. Maybe that is why I am here.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Eterne Primavera from The Mexico Diaries

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

When you get to Mexico City and the polution sears your nose, take a long, deep breath and let it cut into your lungs a little. Don't worry. The acres of roses will come later. Careful to watch for cowpies on the way.

Greetings from Cuenavaca, Morelos, Mexico.

Last night:
Here I sit watching a fabulous storm with thunder, lightning and buckets of rain, wind whipping itself through the great palms as if they were dandylions. What else would I be doing at home, anyway? Pining for things just out of my reach and frustrated, that's what.

Today I got so frustrated with my spanish skills that I quietly thought that everything my mother, high school teachers and college professors taught me was a lie. HUGE lie. People don't speak as they do down here. And my mother intuits what I say anyway. There are so many colloquialisms I had no idea of, that I have been taking notes from the subtitles of Dawson´s Creek and not-so-new Brendan Frasier movies (both of which are strangely abundant on cable down here).

I woke up feeling like a viejita (little old woman) today. Yesterday I explored Cuernavaca by myself just to get oriented and on the long bus ride home (I had taken the wrong one) I think I put my hip out.The pain woke me in the early morning hours and was to the point where I didn't think I could do anything today. When something like that happens, you have to get up and move. Endure the pain. Let it work itself out. At the end of the day, it might nag a little, but at least you did something. I washed my clothes and wrote.

So far I've met four americans and two english people. I met an american couple with a blanched, mid-western look shopping in the cathedral plaza. Minnesota or Wisconsin, I'd say. I helped the english couple negotiate a deal for an alabaster carved mejican god, which ticked of the sales lady, because they didn't buy it because it was chipped. The other americans I met on that long busride-Patrick and Leah from Ohio. Schoolmates at one of the spanish schools here. They invited me to go to where the americans hang, but I didn't catch the name. Alcabres? Too bad, too. Patrick was easy on they eyes. He had nice glasses, too.


I stayed for a few days at the ranch my aunt and uncle oprate for a few days. No fue mi tazo de te. For sure. Many goats. A few horses. Chickens, ducks, and a turkey. Three mean bulls and the cows they are separated from (hence why they are so mean). Sheep, too. Not many cowpies but lots of goat and sheep tarts. Talk about hoscotch. The back forty where we rode the horse smelled like freshly burned mesquite.

So on the way to Curenavaca I realized why they call it the 'lugar de eterne primavera' or 'place of eternal spring'. Just past the cornfields I saw them-fields of green dotted in red and white. As the bus drew closer, I saw acres and acres of roses. They might sit in a vase on your table someday.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Indigo Kings


I’ve been meditating on King David lately.

King of Israel or manic depressive?

I think both.

And I also think there may have been so many other men in the Bible like him. Elijah, Saul, Moses and Jonah. Maybe more.

David showed the signs of a repressed artist. It seems he was never so happy as when he was tending sheep. In between shepherding and protecting them, he explored songwriting and his skills on the lyre. He had been focusing on the meditative quality of his work with his sheep and developing his level of performance before Saul. He had had a soul mate in Jonathan, someone with which he could honestly relate.

Jonathan died. Saul, King of Israel, was his adversary. It must have been an abrupt change for him. He was pulled out of his solitude and called to be king because of those leadership and warrior-like qualities. His only outlet thereafter, after all of this change occurred to his identity, seemed to be the Psalms.

The mantle of his king-calling must have put him on edge. Not having his solitude must have compressed him. No wonder he danced naked. He just wanted to be free. No wonder he took Bathsheeba. He had been stricken with grief…someone had been taken from him. His acquaintance with despair was very real. He acted out—not able to process fully the power he held as king. He made mistakes. He succumbed to his chemistry, his broken humanity, his irreconcilable differences with truth.

Who was this David? I see him in the men around me. All kings of great callings.

- END -



“And God said to me, Write,
Leave the cruelty to kings.
Without that angel barring the way to love
There would be no bridge for me into time….”

- Rainer Maria Rilke

I have been taking the time still my soul in these last glories of summer days. They are filled with balmy, ripe-fruit, blue skies where the trees only slightly tire into autumn. The sun caramelizes my skin while the breeze gives the breath of coolness. The grass is there to put my feet into.

The contemplative is an investment, I must remember as I conjure the dividends. The bank is a study of the ordinary. I long to continually be of quiet notice. No more ringing of hands and desperate want. The taking on of something quite deeper. A trust in the King of time. More days in stillness.

10/24/04, 11/03/04

“…incorporate the Eucharist into your own life.
In this we can connect others to Christ.”

Everybody seems to be searching for a hero. The English have the Royals and we in America have our celebrities. Both sets of exalted persons symbolize what is really desired in life. English: tradition; wealth; history; controversy. American: money; material gain; fame; sex. The truth is that all of these groups are just people. People have insecurities, bathe, make mistakes, eat, are selfish, dress themselves, and try to do good, yet mostly just end up being selfish. It taints every action. Should we not have examples? No. Should we commit apoplexy because they fail us? No. To look at it a different way, does someone fire the potter because the vessel is broken? No. Conditions of brokenness vary. Someone may have just simply dropped the vessel. Sin is a condition where pedestals aren’t allowed.

- END -