Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Poem for Monday on Tuesday, May 27th, 2008


by Billy Collins

I want to carry you
and for you to carry me
the way voices are said to carry over water.

Just this morning on the shore,
I could hear two people talking quietly
in a rowboat on the far side of the lake.

They were talking about fishing,
then one changed the subject,
and, I swear, they began talking about you.

Burke's Book Store
936 South Cooper
Memphis, TN 38104
(901) 278-7484

Sunday, May 25, 2008

and sometimes, it lets me breathe

and then there are glorious nights, full of trees and wind and birds and the sound of your breathing and tires whirring on dry pavement.

every moment is an epiphany. over and over the universe is throwing object lessons at me and i try to be grateful and humble and brave. try and fail, mostly. still, i learn as much as i can hold.

every now and then, though, it does let me catch my breath. nights with easy words and laughter and none of the worrying and projecting. even the pain backs off a little. things just happen and i can just sit back and watch myself breathe my way through it.

the lake is vast and i lay next to it feeling my heart thumping almost out of my chest, the city glow scorching the clouds, the water dark and black and heavingly alive. mars was bright. so was my face. i felt like my smile was projecting batsignals onto the clouds. huge scudding shadows the shape of my heart.

i have to believe it keeps getting better.

Monday, May 19, 2008

drive slow

My life has slowed to a crawl. I sign the lease on a new apartment tomorrow, closer to the water, to an independent natural food store,, a yoga studio, and to friends. I scan craigslist for jobs I could be physically capable of performing, I read, I bike out to acupuncture once a week, to therapy, and to watch Lost with my best friend here. I drink tea, I try to remember to stretch and shower every day, and I wait for things to get better.

I am rereading Thich Nhat Hanh's biography of the Buddha,Old Path, White Clouds. It's been almost a decade since Zach, may he find peace, first pressed it on me. I can't believe how long ago it seems. I remember being blown away and being fairly gung-ho about Buddhism for several years, although I balked at the precepts prohibiting intoxicants and casual sex. I've been very very lazy in my practice for far too long now, and the suffering has definitely caught up with me.

It has become quite clear to me which path I must follow now, and in many ways, it has been made easier. My social life is no longer based around intoxicants, and I'm no longer interested in sex as a way of escaping/punishing my body. I'm quite lucky, I guess, to have had these desires stripped away, even if it was not my choice.

I am trying to view my pain as a tool to help me prune my life. I can't imagine that plants enjoy being pruned, but when they grow straight and tall, how joyful they are.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Poem for Monday, May 12, 2008


by Lyn Lifshin

Lately I become

whatever you call

me, the way some

Indians do. First

I couldn’t say

your because

it belonged to

someone who’d

turned me into

who I wasn’t.

When you called

me love near the

rag shop on Caroline,

I tried to remember

the spell Iroquois

put on names to

make them stay.

Burke's Book Store
936 South Cooper
Memphis, TN 38104
(901) 278-7484

Saturday, May 10, 2008

I am tired. I am true of heart!
You are tired. You are true of heart!

the pain is my constant companion. sometimes it withdraws a little and I am able to go socialize with the neurotypicals, but for every hour spent in the garage at the lyndale rats' messing with bikes, there are seven hours spent in bed listening to the pain gnaw away at my body, tiny fire ants crazing my bones to dust. worrying about the future and waiting for sleep, and oblivion.

I have reached the point where I no longer remember what it was like before the pain.

I try to tell myself that there is something I must learn from all this, that I am coal being crushed to diamond. Were I to believe in Powers that Be I would be praying for grace and guidance and for whatever wisdom there is to be gleaned from the unrelenting boredom and loneliness to manifest itself in my heart. this is an exercise in trust, and in patience, and in acceptance.

I want to believe that I am not missing out on anything living in the slow lane, hobbling along with my heavy heavy load, I want to believe that I am shedding karma and learning to be true of heart. I want to believe that my suffering will inspire love and compassion in those around me. I want to believe that one day I will be self-sufficient again, that I will be rewarded for these long dark teatimes of the soul, that there is in fact an end to pain.

I can no longer ask for mercy. it has clearly been denied. for now, at least. all I can ask is for patience, and faith. and hope.

may all beings be at peace and free from suffering. and may I one day be one of them.

Monday, May 05, 2008

reading back through old livejournals from 2003, I feel a sort of tender condescension toward my younger self. I cared so much more about what people thought of me, and I hadn't really formed a concept of a future in which I would be alone and ok with it. I was so raw and ripped open still from ending an engagement that I just wanted to have that hole in my chest filled with sand. or removed entirely.

years later, I have grown used to perpetual brokenheartedness. I try to channel my love and pain into a feeling of compassion toward all I encounter, rather than try to pin it on one person as if their wanting me back could be the one thing finally capable of healing me.

my cat sits in the window looking down at the street, flicking his tail at the flies. I wish I could clear my mind enough to live on his level, free from jealousy or hurt or unrequited romantic passion. He seems to spend most of his time in silent contemplation. I suppose I must be earning good karma by supporting him while he lives in comfortable happiness.

I try to tell myself that surely there is something good and bright and shiny in my future but it seems so murky right now.

evertyhing was beautiful, and nothing hurt

my fellow Tennessean, Melissa, has finally put her portfolio up.

scenes of the lovely desolation that is time passed. or time past.

my own life seems to have reached a crisis of hecticity. hecticness. hectickery. hectitude.

i feel like i am in a log rolling contest in crocodile infested waters.
with whiplash.

Poem for Monday, May 5, 2008

For the Dead

by Adrienne Rich

I dreamed I called you on the telephone

to say: Be kinder to yourself

but you were sick and would not answer

The waste of my love goes this way

trying to save you from yourself

I have always wondered about the leftover

energy, water rushing down a hill

long after the rains have stopped

or the fire you want to go to bed from

but cannot leave, burning-down but not burnt-down

the red coals more extreme, more curious

in their flashing and dying

than you wish they were

sitting there long after midnight

Burke's Book Store
936 South Cooper
Memphis, TN 38104
(901) 278-7484