Constant State of Flux

A hot summer evening, hot enough

to lay my tireless, unending head

on the pillow for its coolness;

thunder cracking down

my avenue

and the rain slanting in sideways, wetting

the paisley curtains.

Somewhere out in that dark the pine

that surrounds me soaks.

 

These nights I am not climbing up

the roots of forgotten things,

I am not clawing

for something solid to breathe my air into,

the old familiar ache of

wanting to feel through my own skin so hard

that I push through like a broken bone

 

because I am here, in a

constant state

of awakening, sometimes only to another dream

only to wake up again

and I stand in the mirror across the room,

and the lightning

floods the black kitchen

and I see a flash of my eyes in the reflection

–my image, so alive that it’s white

heat snags the clouds in a jolt.

There is a calm that never seems to tire,

embedded in my veins, the blood flowing

and I wait

for my mind to revert towards the habits

of self negligence and fear

 

but I am a cyclical rhythm

that sustains itself

and I know a small part in me believes

that I have won something with

my own two hands and tampered mind

when I had had no hands to grip with–

a blind privacy and a last call out to the only thing left

 

my will

 

I had left for dead in the gutter,  camouflaged in an alley

as elegant graffiti, crumbling brick, a broken phone booth–

the shards of glass scattered out across the pavement

and potholes–

    “did you see the moon? in the pieces of glass?”   my will asks me

“I wasn’t looking down,”     I reply

      “so then you looked up and saw the moon instead, love?”  my will is relentless

“No, I tired of dreaming. Hold it up to my face, the glass, and see if I shake,”

         My will  smiles, “straight ahead then, love, beaten and brighter…”

 

And my daughter is asleep tucked away

in the corner of the house;

the coffee is off,

and the flowers I just planted

out in the window-box

are getting beaten but maybe brighter;

it is enough to have these nights.

 

We are not born with a religion in our mind.

We are not born with a narrative or a script.

Tell me you have the courage

to scrawl across your own body

the tattoo of your story,

and would you let someone read it?

 

 

 

*image Noell Oszvald

What Do You Believe In

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I believe in. Faith is not a decision. I think it’s whatever guides you in your secret corners and what you feel when you are either terrified or enamored or content. I was raised Catholic-Catholic School until 8th grade. I studied Judaism, Islam, and Christianity in college and studied Taoism and Buddhism on my own when a while after the break down. My sister and I were talking about our dad’s death and how we find comfort in it. She said she will see him in heaven. I was kind of surprised at that thinking. I guess because a large part of me felt the scary roots of existentialism when I went mad.

I know two things about myself.

I’ve dreamt (is it dreamed or dreamt?) about a hand with an eye on it since I was a teen-never knew what it was or why. Dreamt about it again before my first break down in my twenties, and then again as I healed. So I looked it up.

divinehennaHamsa. The Hand of Fatima. The protection from the evil eye. The hand with the eye in it is a symbol throughout many religions (including Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism and Jainism). This just fascinates me. It is very much a feminine symbol.

The other thing I know is that when I was in a bad state, maybe several  months after getting out of the bin, I hadn’t written in years. And I woke up one night and wrote a poem to Jesus Christ. And I cried and felt something–like gratitude. I knew I was going to make it, and that I wasn’t alone. In the hospital I saw something vast and empty–a godless world. It was horrifying. HORRIFYING. I realized my idea of faith had been utterly shattered. For awhile…

My mother has been asking me to go to Adorations at church Monday mornings. I won’t go for one reason–the few times I have gone to mass I do everything I can in there to keep it together and not cry. And it’s tears of love and home and survival. Surviving–how do we do it?

My daughter told me she didn’t think she had courage. I added to a letter I am saving for her for her 21st birthday what I feel about courage:

“You told me you didn’t think you were courageous. But Emma, you won’t know your own strength until it is called on. You will surprise yourself. Strength doesn’t require a good past or a bad past. It requires how much you love yourself, how much you want to survive the obstacle. A passion to endure.”

I do believe every religion and faith centers around the same concept. You have to look past all the crap that has been muddying it. The point of them is the same. It’s also like science. Religion and science are brother and sister in my opinion. But what is it you settle down with at night?

I see my faith in the way early spring morning walks smell, and lilacs that take me back to when I was five, before damage occurred. I see it in my daughter and how I love her and in turn, love myself. I see it the prophets I recognize. I see it in the long winding up and down crazy psychotic loving path between my mother and I. I hear it in my grandmother’s voice I can still hear even though she is gone. I see it in the depth of the hell I was in–the dark is the light, the light is the dark. Everywhere there are openings and answers without words. The point is to face every fear, every passion, every question, every desire, everything within us, because we are human and to deny all of ourselves is a good way to stay trapped.

 

Borders

The pop and snap of prescription pill bottles
swallow, light, inhale, scrape of the chair,
cluster of tap-tap-taps on the keys, a silence—

beyond this room, beyond this wall
I can almost hear you—the soil
sifting, seeds spreading out, dry in your palm;
folds of light robes around you like
birds’ wings—your child
asleep on your warm back,
your sky a sea, an earth, a breath

because you’re there I’m less anxious
(as I palm another pill) because I rely
on sedated time I sit in my chair,
lost somewhere before the border,
where I see myself later—aged and worn away—
walking to you, palms up.
“Here, here I am…” only you aren’t waiting
for me, time is something else to you—
so I see I don’t have to tell you
where I’ve been or why I am here
but that I’ve arrived
out of the cement tomb;
the rise and fall of my chest is all,
seas of breath and I am.

I know the scent of your skin,
the feel of your warm, bent back Read More

Jung and Alan Watts

So I’m reading up some more on Jung which led me back to Alan Watts The Way of Zen.  It’s a great book but I prefer (here’s a PDF version) The Book: The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are.  Here’s a snippet of what The Book is like:

If you haven’t read these and are interested in healing and finding your way than these are the books for you.  I’ve been a long-time fan of Watts and now my self-study to occupy my days is Jung.  One part I wanted to share with you is Jung’s Psychological Types (a brief intro).  There are 8 psychological types according to Jung: out of the two ATTITUDE types and the four FUNCTIONAL types it becomes theoretically possible to describe eight psychological types:

  • extraverted sensation type
  • introverted sensation type
  • extraverted thinking type
  • introverted thinking type
  • extraverted feeling type
  • intraverted feeling type
  • extraverted intuition type
  • intraverted intuition type

I’m the Intraverted Intuitive type (to read what these are check out in brief JUNG: A VERY SHORT INTRODUCTION):

“Introverted Intuition does not concern itself with external possibilities but with what the external objects has released within.’  People of this type are inclined to make use of the mechanism of reification (i.e. they treat ideas, images, or insights as if they were real objects).  ‘For intuition, therefore, unconscious images acquire the dignity of things.’  Like Jung himself, who was primarily an introverted intuitive type (with thinking as his auxiliary function), they have difficulty in communicating ideas simply and in an organized way, for they pursue image after image, idea after idea, ‘chasing after every possibility in the womb of the unconscious,’ as Jung says, while usually overlooking what personal implications these possibilities may have.  ‘Had his type not existed, there would have been no prophets in Israel.’  They may have brilliant insights, which, if they can be bothered or sufficiently organized to communicate them, others proceed to build on.

Shadow: extraverted sensation.  Because this is mostly unconscious, they are constantly in danger of losing touch with outer reality, and if they break down they become schizophrenic (oh so true).  Many have schizoid personalities, as did Jung himself as a boy.  Vague about practical details and poorly oriented in space and time, they tend to forget appointments, are seldom punctual, and easily get lost in strange places.  Their poor relationship to reality, combined with the depth of their insights, causes some to experience themselves as belonging to the ‘misunderstood genius’ category.  Their attitude to sexuality can be crude and inappropriate, and they tend to make poor lovers 😦 since they are unaware of what is happening in their own or their partner’s body. 😦

Examples: seers, poets, prophets, psychologists (not experimental or academic ones), artists, shamans, mystics, and Read More