Sometimes I lose my life, only to find her again in a bar, in a conversation, in a completed task, or in a run through the park. She's mine because she has a will, energy, and direction. When she walks in the sand she leaves footprints and they're often crooked, stepping to a jazz that she listens to on her own. The rest of the time I leave scarcely a toe print-jutting off the edge of the communal impression where my shapen foot doesn't quite jive with yours and yours and yours. Its our path I suppose, but we possess it soulessly, without contemplation, with a murky purpose. And all the while phantom ways dance inside my head, leaving vanishing toe prints on my play dough brain and I feel them as something that could be, that could have been. But nothing more. The impulses fade before I can shift even a little toe. To translate a potential into action, imagi
ne the neural pathways that must be run. So we walk, trod, plod, as indicated, aware of a settling unease and oblivious, just oblivious to a source, an escape, to ourselves marching to no end. And then I feel a peck on the neck or forearm and warmth spreads down my spine, into my soles and into my soul. A peck from full lips, anxious and loving, reincarnated upon meeting my molting skin. She's my life. Today I found her in the restaurants and bars of quito, as I shuddered and extended an arm and bent in a demi-plie, listening to myself dancing on my brain. And she grabbed me tight in a sprawling waltz as a stranger laid his life before my eyes. Because I saw how much deeper my feet sink with her and how good the sand feels between my toes and how much happier the course. So me and my life, I think we might shine for a while now. I think we might laugh loudly, and I think we might hope not to get lost again

sábado, 4 de diciembre de 2010

On feeling and form, love and loss

“Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing

There is a field

I'll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass

The world is too full to talk about.”

This past weekend, while talking to a friend, I realized he used to love me. I had also loved him. The realization that someone I actually cared about and respected could see me in such a light opened my heart, I physically felt a popping, as if a flood gate had been broken or the door of a musty room opened to allow light in. I entered a place of heart I had not been before. I don’t know why I didn’t understand that I could be loved, that is a story for another time.

But with the realization also came the understanding that many interactions I have engaged in with guys have come from a place of insecurity, I have rarely pursued anything I actually wanted, and have allowed myself to be with people who have been assholes to me. When I understood this I felt an immense sense of loss and regret. I had had love in front of me and had let it go…I bawled for hours, screaming high-pitched guttural noises, it was the only way my body could release the pain of the self-loathing I had felt over the years.

Still, I couldn’t get over the sense that I had lost something irrevocable and felt terribly depressed the past few days. Then today, I had the thought, so you have lost but here you are okay. And I knew it was true, I had lost something but here I was, okay.

This made me think, what is loss? And I see we are constantly losing. I have lost friends, lovers, animals, weight, strength, memories, yesterday, I have lost my childhood, my teenage years, my college years….To live is to lose constantly.

So what remains? Each of these things may have passed but I experienced each one. The experience remains and returns.

At the most superficial level we can say every moment of our existence is unique. Our existence constantly takes on a different form, a different appearance and thus we constantly lose. But with each experience comes a feeling. In truth, most of our feelings, the layer just beneath the outward form of our experience, repeat. It is so easy to forget the day to day because from the perspective of feeling we literally repeat our lives over and over again. The memories that stand out in my mind are times that I really felt something different, mystery or joy or love, awe, wonder, anger or sadness. The times I was touched by how someone moved a hand or answered a question.

When we are interested in a person, it is because we believe we could share a certain experience with them, that is love, and however deep love can go. We get sad when someone who we like doesn’t like us, but in truth we would never want to be with someone who doesn’t share our feelings, because it takes two to tango. If feelings are not mutual the experience that we desire cannot be reached, it is simply the nature of the experience. When you lose a person you lose the potential experience you could have shared with them, the feelings you could have and the understanding you gain by being with them.

When we get attached to a person we confuse that person, in other words a form, with our own potential for experience. We think a person can give us an experience. Rather it is the relationship between us and another that sparks a latent potential in us both. It is literally impossible to lose love. Love is so deep it is shared by every single person, every being, in the entire universe. The potential for delving deep into love is within every single one of us. I know that deep place within myself where I one day hope to meet someone. That place always remains for us to access again and again through different forms.

This doesn’t just apply to love. I assert that the deeper an experience is, in other words the more alive we feel during an experience and the more it is worth having, the harder it is to lose. These deep feelings are the stuff that simply everything is made up of, that is why when we feel deeply, even deep sadness, we feel connected to everything that is. Our potential to feel deeply remains with us forever.

Yet every form does have its own unique character. Here’s a simple example. I found the perfect burrito in New Haven. I probably will never encounter that flavor again but I will experience the feeling I felt while eating that burrito, that is the experience of joy or pleasure that we can get from relating to food. Although the burrito was lost, this feeling will return. Every being (by this I literally mean anything that exists) has its own unique flavor, but the experience of truly connecting with another being’s flavor, the diverse feelings that lie deep within the experience, will be felt again.

The experience, of course, won’t take exactly the same form. In different relationships the words, the gestures, the sights and the sounds will certainly be different. And some of the less deep feelings will be different. Someone you are with might make you laugh a little more, someone might make you think a little more. But I think at the core, every relationship moves toward the same thing. It doesn’t matter who you are with as long as they are willing to go to a deep place with you. As long as you are capable of going there together.

But humans are not tabula rasas. We click with certain human and nonhuman beings. We each have certain structures that allow each of us to experience deep feelings through connecting with different forms. I, for example, connect with words and feel deeply through writing this. We, like elements, can bond in certain ways but not in others. Yet we are all truly looking for the bond.

My friend who had once loved me, also asked if it was important to be unique. The form of our lives is unique no matter what, to access these deep feelings we have to each take our own unique path. We are each made to encounter love or whatever feeling in a different way. But the inside experience of the path is very much the same, or at least has the potential to be the same, from person to person. From my interaction this weekend I gained the experience of deep regret and failure which I know people have felt throughout time. We all possess the potential for the same deep indestructible feelings and I believe at the core we are all looking for the same thing. Practically, we need to become very aware of how we are feeling in any situation so that we can understand what forms and what beings move us towards deeper experience. It is then our choice to follow our own unique path, to interact with the unique forms that move us towards love, or to remain in endless stagnation, attached to forms who, with their constantly changing nature, hide us from how static we have become.

(Thank you to my friend Kezia for writing a blog post on experience, to my mom for showing me something Christopher Alexander had written in the Nature of Order on the similarity of human feeling, to Stacy Vajta for energy healing, and to my friend for sharing his life, these events all coincided so that I could write this.)

sábado, 11 de septiembre de 2010

I will feel joy

It hits
a pop
and my body sighs with relief
my body, atlas, bearing the load of my woes like a shroud
my body sighs, whispers, weeps,
thank you, thank you
How hard it is to see the things we carry day in and day out
Our burdens like a limb
We forget life without pain
and then
the package topples from our back
the spine erect sighs and
blesses the load bearer for giving it a rest
Don't forget
the burden you carry weighs
down upon all within you
a thousand back bent by the load of one
Set it down my friend
Walk next to me a tall woman
Proud and free

miércoles, 14 de abril de 2010

the sea

it is here in my throat
i thrash
i cannot contain it
cannot express it
cannot release it
it is all that i am
how could words be enough
how could body be enough
i shiver
it lies deep inside us all
lies deep
but we know when it has been offended
just as the wave speaks for the sea
i see the sea within you,
i see the sea within me
and the power we have to make waves
to throw stones
to watch the ripples spread
one day i will touch you
one day i will speak to you
one day i will taste you
one day we will look into each others eyes
and see through to the infinite sea
that lies deep within us all

domingo, 21 de febrero de 2010

In some other world

In some other world
We're all growing old together
We were there when we all turned 21
Just like we were there when we turned 16
We watch clouds on blankets
As the wind rushes against our cheeks
And "how have you been?" has no meaning
None of us have learned what it means to live in the cold
and changes come in increments
as they should
No one asks what we will do
And we all know everything can be worked out
We carve deeper and deeper infinities inside each other's hearts
and no one can say that a gesture is her own
Yes, in some other world
I've been there often
in smiles and touches and understanding
But today I wonder
If in that other world 16 or 21 really had any meaning
If maybe our desperation, our dreams of separation
Carved the first nicks into which
the stream of our understanding has flowed
in that other world
Could I write poetry
Or taste coffee
Or feel so sad and alone and connected in suburbia
Under blue skies and palm trees on a winter's day?
Goodbye other world
remain in my heart
but today I wake up among paper bags
and plastic and strangers and a million good byes
and a million hellos
But today I will laugh and cry and taste and see
Because I know, deep in my heart, here,
and in some other world,
we're all growing old together

It is I

It is I, the eternal illness
the eternal sick
the eternal dark
the eternal knowledge
that i will never be with you
that we don't see eye to eye
that we claw at one another's
that we were separated at birth
that the cord was cut
that i can say where your body ends
and where mine begins
it is I
eternal lonliness
eternal longing
eternal existence
I am pain, nausea
a heaving torso, a writhing spine
and wet eyes
I am sick with grief
even we are sick with grief
A gulf that pierces us all
right through the center
black stitches through a colored quilt
it is I
I that holds the world together


Oh how terrible the beauty of the first day of fall
The girl can only cry
She senses deep power
She senses the wind within
And if she were to perish
So she could dance
But what to do with the body of a mortal
Such power would kill her
Trample her to death
As unharnessed horses
for they know her not
though they rage within
But how to harness the wind
How to tame the sea
to forestall our own deaths must we kill?
She dices her own pain with words
The sea is calmer now
But oh such power
She must be the power
Or she will surely die
of grief
of a broken heart
of the waves crashing into her shell on the sand
But to live
To face the wind with dry eyes
Create her pen whispers in black
May your words sing the wind
Your steps the sea
Your eyes the skies
Your fingers the trees
Your face the moon
Translate, she dries her eyes

Saturday Afternoon

She was a young woman now. She sat on her bed and her heart ached. It ached with deep longing for completion and meaning. For relationship and a shared life. She sensed that depth existed. She felt the call to intense waters, to balance, to encountering a soul, a place, that would shift her own and give the whole a moment of ecstasy. Give her a moment of ecstasy. To fill a latent potential. To strike her match. She longed to burn. Every shifting center has a million purposes through which it is fulfilled. Through which it provides fulfillment. A match when lit, a doll when played with, a car when driven. The earth, we, endow beings with the gift of giving. And those moments of realization of purpose are orgasms, fulfillment, divinity, life. This pen, this ink, this paper, ecstasy. They satisfy the greater situation and so satisfy themselves. But she, where did she fit? Who could write poems with her form? She longed to spill ink. Longed. Was a writer near? She was within her grasp. She smelled a life that she knew long ago. Before she understood anything at all. A candle stand, molded, elaborate, a foot or two tall reminded her of a bygone era, that lived deep within them all. What were all the surfaces referencing? Children, technology, money, Africa, god? Her bedroom told a story of enslavement, though she could not exactly say why. Four walls, a single window, sharp edges, space. No matter where she looked, there she was, within those four walls. They contained her mind. The "outside" shaded and glassed. And there she rested in the middle. Minute, staring at herself from all directions. Floating in space. She breathed in chilled air. Her mother told her people believed in empty space once they stopped seeing the air as a being. A being she had an intimate relationship with, yet she could still only think of molecules and space. A wall separated her and her brother. Floating in boxes in space. Calm because it was Saturday afternoon.