Dreamwork

“Children forget. I mean, they don’t forget, but they forget the details. They just don’t know why they have nightmares all the time. It’s very difficult.”

                            –     Mary Oliver 

“poetry work was like dreamwork…it went along to things that had been in my family’s occultist tradition, because if they talked about their alchemy, they had work to do. They taught me that dreams told you things you had to do.”

                             –    Robert Duncan

P,

I usually don’t try to describe my dreams to my dream journal.

I’ve been keeping the same record (a single notebook) since June of 2008. It was a rough year, but also a particularly beautiful one. My divorce—or at least the legal end of the thing—was finalized that month; was drinking pretty heavily & eating whatever pill or other thing probably shouldn’t go with drinking heavily a lot; was waking up on the front lawn some when my neighbor came out to let the dogs play & the are-you-okay of her was noticeable but I didn’t pay the empathy of these kinds of exchanges much nevermind. Yes, I’m perfect, I thought, said, dim city stars phasing double-single-shifting under a great diseased magnolia; I watched Venus almost exclusively; jazz around the corner kept me close, & I’d sit understoop in the afternoons with mosquitos & whiskey, Erin played piano behind the near window & I wish I could remember what she played. Lovely & small. Would go on these tears with pages—ripping, cutting up, plastering my empty wooden floor with a pretty dumb fragmented narrative about a man named Leonard & some trees & a girl who did not displace the water in her bathtub.

I thought about the bathtub a lot. And so I started taking a lot of baths & when I was in the bath I found myself reading whatever spiritual work I could find—anything it didn’t matter; this is where I read Gandhi’s …Experiments with the Truth, & somewhere in this I found myself in a silent sort of prayer. I wouldn’t ask things or say things, would just sit in the steam with the window cracked & bright & watch the old pipes & listen for god. Listen to god.

& this is when I was beginning to take walks to the springs to sit under an oakshade & contemplate. & I started a dream journal & I’ve been keeping it ever since. So as I look back, I can see at first I was trying to describe my dreams to the page. It sounds an awful lot like an office friend telling you about a dream. It sounds like I know I sound when I try to tell you a dream. I start to tell it & immediately it sours itself. It isn’t right anymore with the feeling I’d carried over from the sleeping world.

There is that way a dream is yours & yours alone, really.

No one can share your unique conventions. The sensation of flying & the mechanism that takes on—I’ve discovered in asking, for example—sounds drastically distinct from one dream-flyer to the next. But also the emotional impact of an event might be lost & carried into a kind of literal embarrassment (which is incredibly destructive to maintaining the integrity of recall) when perhaps the nightmare was a man in a paper hat driving by, the exhaust of his beat-up truck smelling distinctly of bratwurst—No. This is not frightening. But in the dream (this was one I had as a kid) it was these facts-symbolic that had struck fear. There is no way to scare someone with that story.

It’s nice to kind of chuckle at yourself over the sillyness of a nightmare, but in keeping a record, something is lost in the way one has to qualify the difference between the literal imagery of a dream & its emotive expressions within the dreamer. Descriptions begin to separate out the unity of the dreamed experience & eventually there is little left of the dream itself to recollect; what I end up remembering is the description or the sense I made up about what the description meant to me. This is an obvious thing. It applies to all memory. But in keeping record, it never fit me quite right. I can always go back & describe a dream over & over & over. What I can’t always do is just now wake up from this dream. & so I have wanted to stay with the unique waking moment as a thought about keeping a record of dreams.

An important part of my process has been a practice of remaining very still when waking from a dream

(or else to remain in the energy which I feel in that transitional state: I have been known to leap out of bed and dart across the house, not really as a fully conscious decision, but somehow as a decision taken when in the dream it had been incredibly important to dart away or charge towards, but mainly it is about remaining still) not blink, not shift the direction of the eyes, not scratch an itch, not think at all. Just allow the transition from sleep to waking to take a long, full time of occurring. It’s not a willful paralysis, but a natural feeling of waking and being in the place in body & mind where you are in all of these different places at once & just not disturbing that, becoming aware of a multiple awareness. Too quickly engaging the woken body into its wakeful state is very natural, but it interrupts the multiplicity & fullness of the experience of experiencing a dream, once I’ve woken.

Once it is time to record, there isn’t thinking how to tell the dream.

Sometimes there are sentences. Sometimes there are not-really-words. Sketching visually can happen but this is not something I’ve really learned to trust in my body. I don’t think I’m a very good artist & when I start to draw things I also start engaging my doubts about what is being made, so as a part of dream work it’s something I don’t really do, even though I think it would be a valuable tool in the process. I trust the dark. The pen goes where it goes wherever in the dark. I am not recording what happened. I am staying with the dream & doing with the pen what the dream is doing with me with the pen. I trust the light. The pen can be watched on the page in the early sunlight, it kind of goes the rest of the way of bringing me into this waking way of being from another way of being. Interestingly, this process has left me less (& not more) certain what the differences between the two (or more) really are.

I want to say something about the value of this process. It’s difficult to put into words. On a few occasions I’ve had the opportunity to listen to Rikki Ducornet talking—& if you haven’t read The Complete Butcher’s Tales or Gazelle, they are glorious, stark, expansive, real, nightmares; I am always returning to them in contemplation of narrative’s dimensions in reality—talking about writing “near dream time.” She said this as a reason, it was the end of the thought. Why sit in the morning and write?—“because it’s close to dream time.” This ought be the end of the case, maybe.

I don’t remember recording this dream.

It is one of the ways a dream represents to me. It is one of the more share-able/linear pages of late:

wheels along the highway speeding down a nervous warbles we & we & all
“you are going faster” they say, “I know, than you wish”
& in the prior meadow of Oz-poppies

time it was it was a time it was it was a time 

“apple jack pull apple apple jack pull apple”

they singing Indigo in the trees
& earlier still
on the darkening peak, alone
I took photographs
of luminous fingerprints

                                some antsciente leetol
                                   tar-seer

                                                 for Cerulean

 

now! screeech your wrist to try & halt a war
awar
awarbling

to
had to
do
a Flinstone stop.

 

Curtis says it’s getting dark
& I see that he’s right
it’s very dark now

too dark for all this Marching

 

Marching
Marching

How much further in the notsolight?

pulling up by the hand
bodies by the hand Straw rope
arm in arm on arm
bodies by the hand Straw Wrope
of eye & eye in fire on fire

up
&
up
&
up

tic-a-reeki-tic
a-tic-a-reeki
tik-a-tik

reek-a-tic
a-reek-i-teek-i
ang-a-nang    ganang

teek a reek a neeki nang
anang-a-nee    ananga-nee

ateeki-reech

ateeki-rrreee

                 A reach!
                 A reach! 

A brick!
A break!

A brick!
A brick!

A break!

Now we can see
clear lines of love
&
respect
Again”

sing the marchers in the arm of the ropes

up in balloons
after a hard climb
lined up in a ferris wheel

There you are, across
everybody

giggling

like we used to do at Reed’s

 

I love you,
P

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Who needed help

P,

I was out walking in the front range, a day in early fall, clear. And a woman there and I was there and she and that was all. She waved me down across our paths and I walked over to her and she was shaking.

“I’m having a heart attack, I think,” she said, she said, “I’m having a heart attack.”

But she wasn’t having a heart attack. At least not the sort she meant.

“Let’s sit down here,” I said, and we sat and I watched her for a while and she told me where she had been staying in a group in a tent with a man who seemed to me not so much a man, but a fearful animal prone to fearful violence. And I asked her if she had people somewhere and she said, yes, a daughter and a son, and they had tried to get her to stay with them to take care of her, but she wouldn’t.

And we looked at the grass and the trees together and her breathing got slower and she began to talk about the mountains and the police and the animals and the city and she was shaking less and less. She asked me for a cigarette.

“Are you sure?” I asked, “It would seem like an awful thing to do to a heart in need of medical attention.”

“Yeah, I’ll be fine,” she said, and I looked and only had one in my pack, so we shared it.

About the end of the smoke another fellow came walking by and seemed he knew this woman a little, just to see her and say hello, and as he came toward us the woman started breathing heavy again and told him she was having a heart attack. She needed to go to the hospital. The man took out his phone and dialed some numbers and asked for help and sat down on the other side next to the woman and told her help was on the way.

“I need to go to the hospital” she kept saying. And she wasn’t having a heart attack.

But I had no doubt that she needed help. That she needed medicine of some sort or other. That she needed care.

The police arrived a little ahead of the ambulance. Two officers stood over this woman, shouting at her like she was deaf. “You don’t need to go to the hospital,” they kept saying. And they smirked at one another. Probably they’ve met her before, I thought. Probably they know her. Probably she does this a lot, she panics in need of help and can think of no other words to say than that she’s having a heart attack and needs to go to the hospital. The other man with us was offering alternatives. Maybe there’s a shelter she can go to instead, she clearly needs help. No, insisted the officers, she needs no help. She’s fine. And refused to speak to me or the other man again on the matter, and continued berating the woman—who needed help. I kept thinking maybe they get this a lot and that’s why they think they know better. Maybe they see this kind of thing all the time and have come to think of it as a nuisance—they might be helping folks willing to be helped. They could take her somewhere but she’d just be out again tomorrow calling ambulances. Must be this is why. But I still couldn’t understand, why speak to her as though she wasn’t a person. Must be it’s part of the job. Any job. Like a restaurant or a bar or an office or whatever. You get used to the rhythms and forget where you are with people and you start to think about what you need to get done before going home and how the person in front of you is just making you do extra work and you stop trying to see what they must be going through or that they’re just trying to take advantage of you.

But the one thing I knew. That it ached to know. Was this woman was in need of help and that she was asking for help, and nobody knew how to help her.

,
P

“the joy of poetry that enables the rebellion to be more prayer than protest”

P,

Did I say or know this was the name of the wine dark heart of wayfarers’ love?

Odysseus was born onto the shore from a sea of misgiving
and after them that frolicked did he walk & though
at home, such seething hands of crippling
greed,

did he drink and eat with an Island’s king
and spun a song in days and nights in lyre drawn
and javelin to his arm did prove upon his hosts himself
deserving of a boat

that the joy of poetry unwinds us to our coiled kept hearts
and sets in us a clock for keeping the gentle
heart of returnsa heart open, as they say,
to the sameness of our guests and us

I rejoice in thought of your selfness,
though I weep for the hour of the ape
I celebrate your sacrament
though blood boils in the hour of the ape

and here’s a wine to darken your tongue
in this sad sweet hour of the ape

,
P

“Melt the money, but until then, feed the hungry.”

P,

“Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” is a line from the synoptic gospels I want to think about a little here in light of how I’ve treated a thought about the president and our political system in general and our current state of collective reasoning. This “render” passage has been used to say—and maybe it does really mean—pay your taxes and obey the laws of the land, now “what is God’s, give to God.”

“Don’t give too much worry away to the affairs of the powerful,” is also what I hear. It’s especially an interesting thought to apply when ostensibly one’s government is also one’s self-and-community. When “we” are Caesar—but of course “I” am not—then to render unto the affairs of state is also a directive to participate in collective decision-making, is it not?

Something I am also seeing in this Caesar/God render-directive is a call to keep one’s aims focused & properly delineated.

I have seen the word “compassion” called something like “an educated empathy.” That is, kindness can also be aggressive & harmful if it is not focused and knowledgeable.

In pursuit of Justice, then, do so justly.

In pursuit of Peace, do so with a peaceful heart.

(I do not mean here to say that all shows of force are unpeaceful in their ends, but that too often a response to injustice and oppression represents not a struggle for justice and freedom, but merely the other side of the aggressive coin. Violence begotten by violence remains violent. Blood feuds eventually forget whose cause is right, only remembering whose blood was last spilled and how much more dearly the others must pay.)

In pursuit of a relationship with one’s creator, a consideration of what that creative force represents is necessary. If I happen to relate to God as being “a person” expressed from out of a particular set of books, those books can give me some idea. If I happen not to ascribe to a personal-god philosophy, but to humanistic tradition of moral vision—I am still, I think, seeking out a way toward “the good,” and I can call this thing my center and I can name it my creator in some sense, that which makes me what I am. What I mean is that it isn’t necessary to carry around the name “God” to find oneself in search of the underlying principles required by a maker of its creation. & likely it couldn’t hurt for one ‘faith’ to recognize it shares some kindred relationships between itself & seemingly disparate belief systems. It’s not my goal here to litigate all the differences, but merely to express my own heart/mind on the matter, & in brief. & so too—

In pursuit of God, do so with a heart after that of God.

In the midst of a lot of wild political meanderings yesterday, I found a comment by a good friend—and one of my favorite poets—that helped illuminate for me what I find true about a notion of rendering unto Caesar in the parlance of our times:

“Melt the money, but until then, feed the hungry.”

I don’t know if it’s his line. I couldn’t find it elsewhere. It doesn’t really matter. It highlights the specific intentions of a political thought about how we might best as a society affect great change towards better taking care of one another, while at the same time acknowledging that such things require time & effort & struggle & consent. In the mean time, there remain those around us who need help. & so we are called to help.

If we are to give over to the state that which the state requires of us, we participate in debate, we follow the law to the best of our ability—without doing harm or finding ourselves complicit in harm, as much as possible. We work toward a more just society of living sentient things.

If we are to give over to our maker that which our maker requires of us, we spend time in spiritual/moral/prayerful contemplation. We educate our hearts. We feed those in need of food. We encourage the downtrodden. We do our best to love one another.

I think this is also one of the goals of the separation of church & state, and of the separate treatment of disciplines: not to draw battle lines, nor to make walls between belief systems, nor to declare for all time that, say, scientific endeavor and religious endeavor be found endlessly at odds; but instead to allow us to proceed with clarity and freedom.

When we remember where to appropriately render what may be rendered, we may also act.

If we perceive the collective will to be suppressed by those in power, it need not strike fear in our hearts.

It may convict us to speak out in favor of another way, but too often—and I have felt it—there is a sense of paralysis which comes into the broad political concerns. On a national stage, there is one moment to look at—an election, & that takes forever—& then from there we fall to trembling & name-calling & whatever else lies in a forest made of fear.

So, for example, many have pointed to Brexit & the ascension of Trump & nationalism on a global scale & now this current treatment of refugees—they (we) have drawn parallels to the state of the world in the early-to-mid part of the 20th century. They (we, I) have exampled the radicals of that era in attempt to educate and dissuade us from a path that seems heads us further into suffering, violence, separation.

But one of the unfortunate realities of our own era is that the names of these radical paths have been emptied of all meaning, since we—as a general statement of all of us people—have practiced the crying of “Nazi” into an ever-forgetful, ever-desensitizing public ear.

To draw comparisons between a world leader of today & one remembered from our not-long-past is to invite vitriol & a general agreement that hyperbole of this kind is uncalled-for.

The comparison has lost all its probative value. Remember that, at first, there was a snake in the garden, & by the end he was called a dragon. The evolution of both our heroes & our monsters is ever such that from age to age they all become as vapors—unreal, overlarge. We forget what humanity is capable of because we see the past in black & white & the present we do not see & we yearn for the colors of a future that never arrives & the present—we do not see. We forget that all our monsters have had mothers. We forget that all our heroes have had demons (& whether or not one can look at a duck and call it a duck, there seem so many unwilling to believe it is a duck).

But calling a thing what it seems to us it is—& having that rejected by the powers that be—need not also be a signal to us to lose heart, nor to lean into the anger we may rightly carry with us for all we see in our midst (& ever pouring our way)…all that might have been prevented.

We may educate our hearts & speak truth to power & listen to one another. & we may never forget the fact that we will always have the poor among us. That there will always be someone who needs help. & we must always strive toward the unity of need with assistance. The unity of action with principle. The unity of ourselves with our maker.

Maintain perspective. Work toward the good. Never give up.

Yours,

P

Those people are illusions, but their mothers weep

P,
I’m playing loud guitar music through tiny plastic speakers. An epic angelic chorus kind of thing, you know, at the end of the album and they want you to remember the good times you had with them for the last forty minutes and feel like they really took you someplace. I just got done with internet window shopping for the last hour or so, at first looking for music equipment that I was curious about, then for any music equipment at all, then for just anything. I started looking at the parts of Craigslist that I never look at, like “electronics.” There was a PS3 for sale and I didn’t know how the hell I’d ended up someplace where a PS3 even existed. I usually don’t see PSanythings, anywhere. I was on eBay and thinking about trap music, and I almost typed in the name of trap producer Zaytoven, as if I could buy him. It wasn’t a joke, or a statement, I just had the search bar and a desire to consume Zaytoven.
.
I only started saying I was “an artist” a few years ago. At first it was a secret, even though I’d been focused on writing and music for years (really my entire life) and had never been shy about the fact that those were my noble goals. It was easy to hide when I didn’t know any other creative people, though, except for one or two along the way. Now all of my friends are self-proclaimed artists, and even though I’d probably be doing the same things if I’d never met them, I now wonder if I’m just forging identity through association.
.
I don’t know how to not forge identity through association. There’s a monk who comes into my job, and the other day I asked him “how has your practice affected the way that you experience friendship and fit it into your life?”
.
He gave some vague answers for a while (I don’t even know why he ever responds to me within an hour, because his answer will not come for at least that long), and then said “You ever wake up next to someone you’ve been with for a while, and you look at them, and you’re like ‘nope, I can’t do it anymore’? It’s like that, but with samsara.
.
At first you think you can just kind of block it out and focus and meditate, but you realize that not only do you still have to break up with samsara, but suddenly every day is Valentine’s Day. She says ‘oh, honey, I’m going to put on my nicest things’ and you swallow what you have to say and play along for a bit. ‘Sweetie, we’re going to go out and have an amazing dinner tonight, I’m so lucky to have you, we’re so lucky to have each other,’ and everybody’s so happy that they got chocolates even though it’ll rot their teeth, and that they got a car even though they’re just worrying about somebody scratching the car, so they double park. You start trying to get into fights with her just to see if you can push the limits, or get out without having to admit it’s what you really want to do, but that never works and it makes things a little worse for a while but then samsara puts on all of its prettiest things again and you try to tell yourself ‘it’s not so bad, she looks really nice, she’s not really that boring I guess,’ but you still know you’re done. You finally do it and it’s like ‘Sweetie, what am I going to tell my friends when they ask where you are?’ and if you’re like me you kind of back out a bit at first and go ‘well, maybe don’t TOTALLY get out of my life, maybe we can work SOMETHING out,’ but it’s too late. Now I walk around and see how people react to things, show off the shiny piece of samsara that they just got or made, and they’re so proud but that thing they’re proud of isn’t going to help, either.”
.
Keeping in mind that I see this monk eating candy all the time, so the bit about the dangers of chocolate is questionable.
.
Anyway, identity through association. Yes, this world is illusory. Samsara’s still everywhere. It’s pretty gorgeous. Some days the scenery can just about make you cry. Other days I feel like I’m straining to understand what the big fucking deal is about hillsides, fog, the Sun, etcetera. It’s just a buncha phenomena. People? Human connections? You mean random dead psychic magnetism? Is it alive? I don’t think I will ever, ever know. The doubt is strong with this one.
.
I made a dharma girlfriend a couple of months ago. We met each other and went “you will teach me!” “you will teach me!” “we will have perfect love!” “we will travel to Bali!” “I am yours, exclusively, to be owned and operated!” “I am prepared to give my all!” and we fell in love on day one and traded house keys on day two and took them back on day four because we honestly hated each other’s guts and there was no respect or friendship that could make it through the fog of our volatile mixed anger.
.
“You wake up one day, and look at it and go ‘nah, I just can’t'”
.
Okay so when I meet a person who believes in falling in love with me instantly, we can do it whether it’s good or sensible or not. When I meet somebody who believes in the power of music, we can make it whether it’s good or sensible or not. When I meet somebody who wants me to understand how silly it all is and give it up for Buddha, I can have my core shaken by him whether he’s good or sensible or not.
.
To renounce or not to renounce. The world is choking on garbage. Books and records are made of the blood of the Earth. Books don’t necessarily pull kids off of the street away from guns. Guns are samsara. But no, they’re real. They’re really shooting people. But those people are illusions. But their mothers weep. But emotion is attachment.
.
Hinduism was altered by the leaders in the region so as to create the caste system and deliberately subjugate portions of the population. The same was done with many attributes of many religions. I often wonder if Buddhism’s anti-ambition and anti-materialism messages are just control systems. Buddha gave up the palace, eh? Sounds like a stooge. An actor. He had great PR, right? The crown sacrifices one son to some stage asceticism and carefully planned words of renunciation, and then generations of people will fight for their right to be poor and unthreatening.
.
But it still makes sense.
.
Am I living for the body of the populace? My flesh will die but flesh will live. There is no immortality but to massage the sides of the Human Time Anaconda as it slithers down the big shiny blackness. (The Doctrine of Reincarnation is Literal/It Is Metaphorical/They Don’t Know/They Know)
.
((I realize that to anyone who considers themselves well-versed in Buddhism or “certainly better-versed than THIS asshole” this all seems dumb, but trust me: I’m better-versed than I am. This is an emotional thing, it’s not about your cold logical Bodh-splaining machospiritual act, buddy))
.
Do I want the world to be filled with more garbage? With more chapbooks and cassette tapes and memories of an artform that swallowed itself so hard that it couldn’t touch people anymore? I get hella rashes thinking about art about art about visions that compete with past art to make new visions that explain the importance of art visions. To quote the ’80s, “ew, like, gag me with a spoon.”
.
I fell in love with art because I was alone and it didn’t take anyone else. Art is a surrogate person through whom you learn. But I put so much value on it that I will set people aside because I suspect that the growth of my art will do more than my time with them. I knew a guy who said “art is the only thing that makes life worth living” and when I protested, he was like “what else would?” and I said “people” and he said “oh, yeah, I guess,” as if the folks by river basins in 500 BC who only occasionally ever got to hear a song were having it so, so hard because there were no amazing postmodern graphic sci-fi novels yet. Which is all to say that my own creative insularity sickens me, half of the time (Gemini power).
.
How to get involved with people.
Challenge yourself?
Do I want to farm?
Yeah, I want to farm. How the fuck do you farm? Where?
A farm?
Is this journaling? Is it whining?
Why am I self-conscious about that prospect?
Because I’ve seen people make fun of journaling, and not couching things in metaphor.
Those people were grad students.
Students of creativity.
God is the only creator, everybody else is just reconstituting supplies.
If I went on a boat across the Atlantic, it would be interesting, and then when I was done with it I would say “it was pretty tiresome, too. You just spend a lot of time on a boat, totally bored.”
And if I farmed………….
“Trauma art is stupid”
“Art about yourself is stupid”
“Write about that stop sign”
“Write about space”
“Space is cliche, now- write about what you know”
“But act like you don’t know yourself”
“You don’t know yourself but your intuition is absolute”
“Your intuition is questionable- in order to hear it properly, you first must know yourself”
“It’s very important that you go through the difficult work of painfully learning who you are. I am very upset by the sound of creaking doors, and everybody in my family knows not to use doors around me. Getting over your bullshit is so difficult, and most people can’t really see clearly enough to get down to the level of their bullshit and start facing it. I don’t like it when people take a long time in line at the gas station.”
.
 .
God damn Jesus fuck.
 .
Signed, Lovingly,
P

How is a ladder also a kite?

P,

Thank you for replying & explaining your views & for pointing me in the direction of Family Talk. When I am with a more reliable form of internet I will definitely check it out. I’m familiar with Dobson & used to listen to him on the radio as a kid when riding with my dad (usually to church), but I haven’t listened to him in many years.

I know it’s been a while but in my recollections of you, you seemed always engaged, compassionate, intellectually honest, your faith genuine, & your desire to do good for others was clear. This is why I felt I could ask the question I asked. I think you MIGHT agree that it’s been difficult to talk or listen across political lines—maybe always, but it seems more & more—lately.

For myself I have decided that to follow the example of my mother—& make listening my number one political priority—is the most Godly use of my time & I hope that I can do it well & to His glory. I’m sure I will fail at times.

I was at the march in San Antonio (largely to bear witness, but also to be supportive of my friends) & cannot speak for the marches held in DC or elsewhere except that I know some people who were at many of them, & I know how they described it & I know what those people are like & what’s important to them. I can try to address your statement & explain a little of my own hopes & of what I witnessed at the marches & what I have learned from talking with some of these other people who are the people some of them the people who march I have talked with them very closely, these others & myself & I have learned some words to say about my perspective & about the perspectives I witness— what I think the expectations of many of those who attended are/were/maybe will continue to be, & if you’re interested you can read & if you’re not, no worries & I hope you are well:

I lean on a hope, always, for common ground. There are many disagreements worth having—in good time, I hope: reasoned address of political realities (the facts of many people believing so differently from one  another & yet trying to live together—it feels like insanity, but there is much of God in this attempt to find harmony. It’s difficult to carry out in His way) but here I just want to describe something I witnessed & try to   explain generally the picture I think it paints. I will not ask you to agree with my assessment, but would not also try & prove me wrong (something I don’t expect you to do, but it is usually my own first instinct when I find my disagreement with someone over their perspectives is incredibly important to me—I give in too easily to an overwhelming knowledge that the implications residing in another person’s perspective are a direct threat (to the good) (to my family) (to my body & my faith) [& these are all so important to me. I hold them so close. They are what provide me comfort & strength… they are what teach me how to Love.] &/but, I will try to proceed with the perspective that we are all created beings in search of our maker & that in the end this is a beautiful thing & there is much suffering built into this beautiful thing & it should be my aim to alleviate as much of that suffering as I can within my lifetime for as many as possible for as long as possible & then die. There is nothing that sounds like God’s voice to me more than this thought when I hear it. It’s a trembling thought, & I am overwhelmed. & I overspeak myself. I cling to pretense. & I take pride in my trembling & I overspeak the voice that is God & I stumble & fall to anger & frustration & confusion & whatever else is lying around on the ground when I stumble there. There are so many pitfalls in the holding of collective hearts. The best we can do is our best. I know you are doing yours.

I am not a Clinton apologist & I did not vote for her, but also I was traveling all over the U.S. making books & meeting with artists & making music & trying to come to a better understanding of the country I live in—I did not have a fixed address for about a year & was not allowed to register—I have to live with this decision & whatever it says about me as a citizen). Still, I don’t expect we (you & I) would find much politically to agree on, but I want to be clear that I would never expect a person ought to vote out of a gender-based allegiance… “just because we are both women,” as you say. & I get the lack of support for Clinton by many, but to me this is a separate issue from accepting Trump’s agenda on its face or thinking about his moral character. (Angel said “lesser of two evils” & I’ll generally go along with that thought, but the lesser of two is still evil—if we’re using that language). It’s important to respect the office of the presidency. Almost as important as it is to take one’s role as citizen seriously. Faith & family come first in my mind but citizenship is important & the office of the president (as a servant of the people) & of all elected & appointed members of civil service are important for us as citizens to respect—this is what I believe.

& it’s very much in keeping with what I witnessed at the march. I’ve seen a lot of people acting afraid & so I think we are afraid, a lot of people. I think a lot of people are afraid because a lot of people are acting afraid & so I think I am probably right. I was overseas in 2008 & I remember from watching these little video clips from back home (that I remembered never really captured the way it felt to live back home—the news & so on) that while many were celebrating, many  began to live in fear of what was next.

At the march I didn’t walk with anyone acting afraid. I saw one person acting afraid. They wore a mask. They shouted angry things. They wore a mask. They shouted. They raised their fists they pointed. They wore a mask. They ran away. I think this is acting afraid even though I also think that it is an attempt to act brave in the face of fear. I think they wore a mask because it would help them to become brave & to do the thing they feel must be done. I think I’m right about this. & I think it is a fearful acting. & I think it is brave. & that these two things are not in contradiction with one another & both are true. But I did not walk with anyone acting afraid. I walked with a lot of people who were enjoying being in a place together with other folks in a place together & not feel so afraid. I heard folks expressing joy with one another & I listened to some words connecting the present with the past & descriptions of what hard work looks like & what a cheerful heart sounds like & statements agreed to consider it our duty to love & protect one another. There was, in the march I attended—since it was a local march—some discussion of local concerns relating to the broader ones. “There are companies that contract with the government here & the government is here: let us work to make the working of that government transparent  & let us work to encourage the ethical treatment of humans & let us work toward fair pay for our hotel industry, let us preserve our public parks, let us keep the refugees who live here safe. Let us take care of the least among us. And if no one opposes us, we will have cared for those who need caring. And if we are opposed, we will have cared for those who need care.” – was sort of like the thing/I paraphrase. I shall phrase eventually somewhere else.

What I saw were a lot of folks looking to do the good they see needs doing & asking one another for help & offering to help.

I’m afraid it may seem I’m covering the easy part. The temptation is to give lipservice to what it seems we can all agree on. It is given, & so we ignore it & focus on the places where we differ. Yes, yes, everyone thinks their side is right, move on. But I think it’s important to spend time acknowledging this. At all times, not only now. But also yes now. Even though the election is over, it makes no real sense to tell anyone to stop doing whatever they are doing to protect their family & their loved ones & themselves & continue working for what they believe is right. & it makes little sense that if a person perceives suffering & wishes to combat that suffering, that they should elect to make as many enemies as possible in the way they go about it. I don’t think most people are doing this, but vocal groups are doing both & it’s completely human & understandable & probably justifiable. But to refuse to talk to one another is death to a community. This seems to me unchallengeable & it doesn’t matter as much who’s responsible for the lack of listening as much as it is to remember we are all responsible to it. Spending time in agreement with these concepts is what I consider unity.

Agreement, protest, complicity, resistance. We do these things for those we love. But we also love one another. & I can love a man whom I believe intends to strike me. & I can love him after he strikes me. If I am strong enough to remember to do so I can offer him my other cheek—& if I am strong enough I will not run, but face & pay attention & try to exemplify & pursue compassionate behavior. This is what I see & witness in those I know who participated in the march. I see it all over.

Yet it is becoming more & more difficult. We trust so many voices that tell us we are different from one another. We forget how to disagree. This is dangerous, I think. It’s good that we are in conversation. I hope it is. Even if you find me full of it, you listened. That’s the main thing I want to think about here. The other stuff. Right. It’s really important. & if we can talk, we can talk about it. If not we’ll just have to keep fighting about it.

,
P

They say all information in the universe is conserved

P,
Replace the word “gift” with “thing” or “occurrence” or else “huh?” & does it better settle in you my more central thought–that to be taken from implies right or ownership or at least possession. Not certain my opinions are writ anywhere per se, I simply foist them about, to whatever end.
Life takes. Very well. If the function of life is to take, perhaps I shall make a gift of what I possess, and life and I may not come to blows over it (life also wins anyway). Is this resignation or recognition?
Also, I don’t do this most often. Most often I cling to my things (whatever I value) are they removed any less efficiently for my clinging, or does it mainly increase my fear? I’ve been reading St Teresa of Avila; perhaps this accounts for my religious tone-gift. A thing that is that need not have been? A thing that will not be that shall not be remembered much long in the appreciated ways…
They say all information in the universe is conserved… So… God remembers I suppose, but who cares what God remembers? She speaks in x-Rays. Listens in singularity. Embraces in decimation. Teaches with pain. What God remembers. Still, I should hope the ride be worth it now.
What do I care of was? As though I can come to the end, meet that end, and somehow then reflect upon it. Again, maybe God will evaluate, but God’s evaluations pay me nothing. It is worth now. Yes. Now in abundance. Worth it much. Though drastic and confusing, it has not been dull. & “not dull” requires attention. Dull is where I go when inattentive.
The dense of it (con?): I like the way you play. Do you not play? Well I like the way I play with how you aren’t playing. This amuses? Does not amuse? Ah well, whichever, I love you in whichever case for all of it.
I like your settle. Yes, I threw a very fine word carelessly. I have been writing “unsettled” quite a bit, & it’s an odd comfort, as though I am just this far from rest. I am not distressed or afraid or lost, but merely the minor addition of “not” to my settled self. Nothing more to be but not that. It is so close.
Dog is a good example: the way I have seen one try and find its sitting spot, a curling step, a lowering to, no, not quite right, circle again, lower, hmm not just quite yet, another little circle maybe, what about now? This seems good. Yes. I feel so often like this. Not off somewhere chasing tires, though a fine thing, but finding a settle. One can make many little circles and just never quite, which is also a fine thing.
Clocks also stop, keep poor time, relate to little I value. Clocks also make so many lovely circles, so like the sun the year the moon and so on, clocks describe the center. A clock may be incredibly unpleasant, loud, aggressive… These are clocks designed for the aggressive and unpleasant… A clock may take great care to make, be a joy to hear, long golden chains, cats tails, rhythmic like a pulse. Clocks are also very fine things. I worry over those (myself) who name their clocks after their suffering and proceed to worship.
I hope you’ve eaten well as well. Can there be much greater hope than this? Well, even if there may, I don’t think I’ve felt quite so uplifted in someone’s good wishes as just a moment ago when I saw you asking after my nourishment.
In whatever sort of nourishment on which you are sparse of late (even should you feel as I do over my beans & bread, that you can do-without better than you knew) I hope for you a feast of it, whatever it may be!
Yours in Crackers,
P