Friday, December 12, 2008

Cypress:Tree of Light

Even though I have the inclination to move onto some new imagery, namely the legendary phoenix bird, I choose to revisit this Cypress. In rereading my blog, I had only begun research and then abandoned the process of it. I find this is a tendency of mine: to pursue with passion and then walk away when the fire fades.

I'll none of that. The Cypress is far to important a locus for my identity to treat as a flippant fancy. Here are some words for my meditation from my readings met with the words you gave so generously:

tree of light in a desolate place of death
reviving tonic to women in labor
mythically ancient
bark: hard, fine, close in grain, durable, beautiful reddish-brown color
resinously fragrant
cypress twig secures free and safe passage across borders
the earth spirit of the East dwells in the cypress, and a portion of its immense life force can be absorbed if the resin is chewed
whispers in the wind and asks the birds of the air to deliver its messages
when harmed all the other trees will assemble at night to heal its wounds.
involves "bathing" in the fresh and healing air of a forest of cypress trees

I am inclined to first taste of the Cypress and enjoy its splendor. Instead of superficially identifying with these characteristics, I want to meditate on them for me, not through me.

The paradox of a powerful light, is that it is most brilliant in the darkest of places. Were I kneeling at the end of all things, I would trust the Cypress to guide my horizon and draw my eyes heavenward. I see a spiraling Cypress, evergreen and flaunting its life like a protuberant, proud chest, held high in the face of fear. I would rely on the Cypress to sway, carrying an odorous message to the falcon perched atop. "Guard her. Shelter her."

When my only comfort threatens to be cloak upon robe upon ragged garb over my flesh, the Cypress woos me from shame, from a mask of fear. Rather than hide from death and be weighed down in my claustrophobic attire, the elucidating presence of the Cypress inspires me to disrobe. I do desire to stand naked, bathing in her resinous, healing light. My body has too long been broken under these suffocating fears. My arthritic hands, my swollen knees, my fragile ankles, my clenched jaw, my organs burning, cramping, aching.

But, to be nude amidst so much death. To stand with nothing but peach flesh to separate you from the wintry cement of the grave. To open my arms to the starred sky and receive what the fates have long intended. To be comforted by the tree of my now. Disarmed, unimpeded, I proceed to her roots with tempered gate baring only the audacious hope of metamorphosis.

The pangs of a new life have doubled me over in a weary acclimation of daily pain. She rises, consuming my line of sight as I fall to her base. My eyes ask for her sacrifice and I am instantly reassured. "Partake." Drawn to the reddish brown bark of her trunk, my fingers delicately pry a shard of sturdy, dense meat. The smell is tantalizing, like the earth and sea mated in a bed of moonlight. I chew. The bittersweet flakes melt into a sticky sap, which sticks to my teeth like hard candy. Relief.

As I swallow, I feel a warm arm touch my ankle. As I look down in blissful comfort, I see a root, dark and foreboding against the white of my skin. Yet, there is no fear in me, even when I reach for it out of habit. The pockets of my doubt, self-abasement, and flagellation are spilled out on the rotting ground beyond my ken. As my hair is swept up in the wind, it snags onto the splintered edges of the base of the Cypress. I inhale the now overwhelmingly pungent aroma as my face is pressed against the tree. Freely, I wrap my arms around this sacred bush. I cannot see my legs, which have been carefully folded into the earth through a system of powerfully old roots.

Earth bound. Though the stars would call me home, I linger. Held fast by my sister, the Cypress. My pink skin has become but a reflection on her limbs, which one would mistake for the glare of moonlight. Together, we whisper to the birds, comfort the mourning, offer sacred balm to the birthing, and linger to meet death's sting with the warmth of a tender light.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Morning Sky

As I opened my car door to head to the U-district for a proctoring gig, I was lulled into slow motion, mesmerized by the sky. At first, I couldn't quite place the distinct brilliance of the blue, the close crystallized clouds shimmered in butter yellow. Whirling back to a normal speed, I realized that it was simply morning.

Even now, I cannot remember the last morning I greeted outdoors. The air seemed sweeter, less recycled by the day's breath and pollution. The colors sharper, a piercing glow that both held and stirred me. I felt I had a secret I could not wait to share.

Shhh... Let me whisper it in your ear.

As it so happens, my proctoring services were not needed. I willingly laid down my day of work to another, and in return received a gift from the gods, a spontaneous morning with my dear friend, Jenae.

We ventured to Vivace's new location for an incomparable cappuccino and latte. We mused about being 30: settling into self, trusting our passions to surface in their own time, choosing wellness in our work, feeling hopeful.

All in all, a delicious morning. Mornings. Hmmm... I must sample more of them - from time to time.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I Can French Inhale

"The guys really go for it. And that's how I got my nickname, Frenchy. "
"Sure it is!"
~ Grease

It's immerse myself in French time. Here is a list of to read, to watch, and to learn French by:


L'Etranger, Albert Camus
Le Petit Prince, Antoine du Saint-Exupery
Le Malade Imaginaire, Moliere
Boule de Suif, Guy de Maupassante
Les fiançailles de Monsieur Hire, Georges Simenon
Les Miserables, Victor Hugo


La Haine - Hate
Le Pacte de Loup - Brotherhood of the Wolf
Les Amants du Pont-Neuf - Lovers on a Bridge
Les Diner de Cons - The Dinner Game
Trois Couleurs: Bleu, Bialy, & Rouge - Three Colors Series: Blue, Red & White


Les Fleurs du Mal, Charles Baudelaire
Une saison en enfer, Arthur Rimbaud
Splendeurs et misères des courtisanes, Honore de Balzac
Le Moyen Court Et Autres Écrits Spirituels, Jeanne-Marie Bouvier de la Motte-Guyon
La Mort en perse, Anne-Marie Schwarzenbach
La Vie dan las plis, Henri Michaux

Shall we inhale together?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Dream Gum

My dreams, as many of you know, are insatiably visceral. A recurrent character of late has been chewing gum. I don't often chew gum, so dreaming consistently about it is curious as it is. But, this seemingly harmless gum overtakes my mouth the moment the dream reaches its climax (think literary).

I struggle to pry it from my teeth and gums as it is lodged on the roof of my mouth and down my throat, gagging me. I then have to pull it from my throat without it breaking off, which it always does. I am forced to swallow the large lump of gum. Finding some relief at having come through this ordeal, I return to face my dream, only...

... I wake up.

Here is what has to say:
To dream that you are unable to get rid of your gum, suggests that you are experiencing some indecision, powerlessness or frustration. You may lack understanding in a situation or find that a current problem is overwhelming.

Hail Joseph! This is precisely my perplexing condition. The word of my undoing - overwhelming.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A New Tree

For some time, I have been drawn to the cypress tree.

My grandfather painted the cypress trees that line the northern California coastline. I have also heard that they can grow to at least twice their size under ground, with an expansive root system. This gives them the ability to endure arid and precarious conditions, as well as the intense winds associated with the sea.

As I am in search for a new tree, a new association set apart from the Arrow Poison Tree, a picture came to mind amidst a deeply stirring conversation last night with a dear friend, and saintly guru. It was of a tree rooted at the edge of a cliff alone and along a sea shore. It did not occur to me that this could be a cypress tree, until I came across this picture.

So, I'm in pursuit of more information, both mystical and physical, regarding the cypress tree, in hopes of some new imagery for my life. Here's what I've learned thus far:

* In Greek Mythology the cypress is associated with the god of the underworld, Hades.
* The cypress is an evergreen, cone-bearing tree whose branches are often meant to represent grief or mourning.
The wood of the Cypress is hard, remarkably fine and close in grain, very durable, of a beautiful reddish-brown color, and resinously fragrant.
There can be little doubt that the Cypress was originally a native of Asia Minor, and probably also of the island of Cyprus, from which it almost certainly derives its name.
* The tree at Soma:
Perhaps the oldest living tree of any kind, is the historical and gigantic tree at Soma, in Lombardy. It is popularly supposed to have been planted in the year of the birth of Christ, and is looked upon with great reverence in consequence. It is more than 120 feet in height, and its stem is twenty-three feet round. In addition to the interest arising from this great age and size, the tree has the distinction of having been wounded by Francis I., who is said to have struck his sword into it in despair after his defeat at Pavia; and of having been so respected by Napoleon that in planning his road over the Simplon he deflected it from the straight line to avoid injuring the tree.
* The legend of the origin of cypress from Metamorphosis, by Ovid:
"Praying in expiation of his crime
Thenceforth to mourn to all succeeding time.
And now, of blood exhausted, he appears
Drain'd by a torrent of continual tears.
The fleshy colour in his body fades,
A greenish tincture all his limbs invades.
From his fair head, where curling ringlets hung,
A tapering bush, with spiry branches, sprung,
Which, stiffening by degrees, its stem extends,
Till to the starry skies the spire ascends.
Apollo saw, and sadly sighing, cried,
'Be, then, for ever what thy prayer implied:
Bemoan'd by me, in others grief excite,
And still preside at every funeral rite.'"

If you are able to find any more information about the cypress that might offer insight, please do so. Or, if you see any meaningful connections between myself and this mysteriously old tree, please do not hesitate to speak.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

It's a Girl

I'm having a niece!

My beloved brother and sister, Peter & Michelle, have just been informed as to the gender of the precious life of yet another Gomes making its way into this world.

SHE is due April 15th.

SHE will be lavished in shamefully adorable dresses.

SHE will have two terribly doting aunties.

SHE will have the most handsome older brother ever.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Response: Personality Plus

Not many surprises here, but a fun read.

At the top of the list: Sexuality, Extroversion, Mystical, Humanitarian, Intellectual, & Stability

Advanced Global Personality Test Results
Extraversion |||||||||||||||||| 78%
Stability |||||||||||||||||| 74%
Orderliness |||||| 30%
Accommodation |||||||||||||| 58%
Interdependence |||||||||||||| 56%
Intellectual |||||||||||||||||| 74%
Mystical |||||||||||||||||| 76%
Artistic |||||||||||||||| 63%
Religious |||||||||||||| 56%
Hedonism |||||||||||||||| 63%
Materialism |||||||||||| 50%
Narcissism |||||||||||| 50%
Adventurousness |||||| 23%
Work ethic |||||||||||| 43%
Humanitarian |||||||||||||||||| 76%
Conflict seeking |||||||||||||||| 63%
Need to dominate |||||||||||||| 56%
Romantic |||||||||||| 50%
Avoidant |||||||||| 36%
Anti-authority |||||||||||| 43%
Wealth |||| 16%
Dependency |||||| 23%
Change averse |||||||||| 36%
Cautiousness |||||||||| 36%
Individuality |||||||||||| 43%
Sexuality |||||||||||||||||||| 90%
Peter pan complex |||||| 30%
Family drive |||||||||||||||||| 76%
Physical Fitness |||||||||||| %
Histrionic |||| 16%
Paranoia |||||| 30%
Vanity |||||||||||| 50%
Honor |||||||||||| 50%
Thriftiness |||||||||| 36%
Take Free Advanced Global Personality Test
personality test by

Oy, My Aching Back!

I'm not in my 20's anymore.

I threw my damn back out for the first time IN MY LIFE! It was a like a train hit me from behind and knocked the wind right out of me. I tried to breathe - piercing agony. I tried to move and then the real panic set in.

I cannot bend, sit, turn, skip, pillow-fight, touch my toes, do the splits (ok - I couldn't do that before), raise my hand (I know, you are all shocked and wish for just one day in class with me when such would be the case), or clean (a unexpected perk); lifting anything heavier than a sheet of paper is out of the question.

I downed more Aleve than I care to count and have ransacked my medicine cupboard for expired muscle relaxants. I am nestled into a heating pad and am told to attempt stretching, which sounds as appealing as a turn on the rack.

How did this tragedy befall me, you ask? Well, I... uh, was hitting the slopes too hard in the early season. Yeah, that's it. I mean, no... I was spending arduous hours pruning back my garden for the winter slumber. Yeah, that's the ticket. Actually, I was lifting a helpless child out of a ditch, a starving Sudanese child who I then adopted, but then had to relinquish custody of to her real parents whom I aided in retrieving visas and now reside in Seattle and work at Microsoft and... renamed the child after me and, yeah, that's what happened. That's how I threw out my back.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Pernicious Tree

Darkness. A warm blanket of nourishing soil retreats tentatively as her roots stretch. Heat beckons. The ache for a taste of that promised light draws her up, up, up. Into the unknown. A molting leaf flops on its side, making way for her outstretched yen. The radiance of the white world tingles her limbs, the pins and needles of a sleeping extremity meeting the duress of use with atrophied circulation. The pain of birth. The glorious content of stepping into true being, meaning.

The feast continues. Undisturbed growth. No curious crawlers, pecking perchers, trampling foreigners.
Sabbath. Under a mystical, shaded canopy she is neither scorched nor neglected. No sooner does pulsing heat threaten to dry her feeble progress, than a cool fog kisses her cheeks. She abides in the mist. A haven that whispers of her beauty. Live. Grow. Be. Hope. Her names is Acokanthera Schimperi.

She greets new life as her reach extends over and under the earth. An underworld of silent, secret creatures, sacrificed for her nourishment. The white world sings, a complex cantata deepening as she moves over the red and black rocky hillside. She doesn't know hesitation, inhibition, doubt. Her cycle is her meditation. Sleep. Eat. Drink. Bathe. Stretch. Listen.

Each morning finds her farther from land. Her companions blur. Sorrow. Trepidation. Curiosity. Still, she cannot resist the call of the light. As soon as she begins to doubt her the necessity of her height, fauna visits for the first time. Never has the song been so near. A lullaby of affirmation. For this. She vows. For this Red and Yellow Barbet, she will grow her limbs long and high. A home. Another restful night. Despair put to sleep with the somber moon.
She wakes to a new light. Memories of that fierce morning when dawn first broke over her splash her face as she peers, unhindered into the sun. Glorious. Blinding. Assurance. This. For this, she was made and she grew. A new horizon. The desolate emptiness of red earth consumes the landscape. Only scattered remnants of lonely vitality interrupt the vast scene. Overwhelmed with sympathy, she reaches. She beckons the wind. No answer. She pulls at her roots. Nothing. In this quiet repose, she recognizes her own desolation.

Her vista hides behind a gray mountain, moving swiftly across the plain. Uncertainty. Terror. The tender refreshing of the morning has metamorphosed into a hateful pelting. She must drink. Choking. Trembling. Her shelter is gone. She peers down to her forgotten earth and remembers a happier time. She spies a sprout buttressed from the storm. Her doleful reverie halts. She is the shelter now. For this. She will endure.

Pain. A pang in he
r side. Then another. Tall creatures puncture her flesh, drawing her white blood. She prepares to scold these savages, when they begin to dance. The encircle her, lauding, shouting, thanking her for such a precious gift. They gather her fallen berries. She sighs as her growth nourishes them. Ah. For this. To give. To nurture. To feed. To satisfy.

Joyous revelation. Service. Limbs to support. Leaves to shelter. Fruit to nourish. Blood to please. Her voice arises strong and sure. She bends, letting the wind sway her. Whistling. Winnowing. Groaning. Creaking. Her song woos a Baglafecht Weaver. She offers her limb, her shade, her fruit. An eager eater samples with abandon. Faltering. Spinning. Falling. She tries to catch the sickly bird, to offer more sweet tastes to heal the famished creature. Collapse. Death. Another bird. Another berry. Death. She blames the summer sun and the absent rain. Another berry. Death.

Older now. Seasons of fruit push forth, fall and return again. A sacred graveyard laced at her feet. Another savage dance. A whistling dart. A tall one falls dying amidst the long since dead birds. Still. Pierced with a an arrow dripping white and red blood. Her blood. His blood. This. For this. She peers over her malicious flesh in shame. Her noxious berries. Her ruinous blood. Iniquitous. Injurious. Poisonous.

William Blake,
The Poison Tree

And I water'd it in fears,
Night and morning with my tears;
And I stunned it with my smiles
And with soft deceitful wiles

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Reading: A Life at Work, by T. Moore

"Most creative people throughout history appear misguided. They live their lives by serendipity, inspiration and experiment."

Why am I persistently apologetic and hopeless about a life that appears misguided? Never have I been completely successful in shaking the heavy-handed expectations on my life toward greatness. To whom much is given much is expected. I hate this in as much as I need it to validate me. Using my giftedness toward the greater good (expectation) would somehow excuse the erratic life I live.

But, if openness, whimsy, a myriad of passions and talents can have value without clear focus or productivity, than my life is rather one of treasure. I have gleaned generosity, inspiration, tenderness, hospitality, creativity from life. Are these not eternal characteristics? Is not the work of my life the collage of these pursuits instead of an inflexible career, whether or not it is in my passions? Have I feared the idea of choosing a career, not for the sake of making the wrong choice, but rather at the idea of having to make one choice?

The question, then, isn't what am I going to do with my life, but what shall I do right now. I need not fear moving backward, away from my goal, but rather, make myself the goal and step forward with joyous ease knowing that I am moving ever closer toward myself.

"You have to be loyal to your essence... to trust the qualities in you that you know have not yet been revealed."

Fighting my essence is a battle with history in my life. I have long since known my qualities (and perhaps known them too well), but have rarely trusted them. Being "loyal" to myself instead prioritizing the resultant effect on others is an entirely new concept. The simple answer to why I don't trust God, is: I don't trust what he has made in me.

Can my soul trust that I am fearfully and wonderfully made without extending that trust to my creator? I feel inextricably tied to the stranger in the room pulling my strings, as though the strings are spindly extensions of my skin. To cut them, is tantamount to amputation. The bloodshed alone would kill me. I feel ready to be loyal to myself, but doing so demands loyalty to him. Perhaps I have been punishing myself to punish him.

"It may also entail fumbling for a period of time, making mistakes and failing."

I am too gifted in too many ways to fail. I only play games I win (or have a good chance at winning). I find peace in foreknowledge. I find joy in a success I can predict before I enter the room. These are the trite ramblings of a woman afraid of failure. To endure failure is one thing. To receive it as a sign of soulful faithfulness, that is a stretching that terrifies me. In fact, I may have located yet another aspect of my occupational panic of late.

"Chaos and calling go together."

Silliness and soulfulness, now that was a pairing I could endure. Chaos and calling, those are words which carry weight individually that slay me; collaboratively, I feel defeated before I begin. I see the truth of it. Chaos from the norm, relinquishing bonds of the expected, risking the unknown. Calling, vocation, vox, voice-ation, a space of life spent listening to self. But seeing has never been believing for me. Still, sparks of hope flutter ephemerally in my lungs as I inhale as a mantra, chaos and calling. We shall see.

"If flexibility is the primary virtue as you pursue your calling, then a philosophy of the polycentric life is a close second."

If there is a word to fuse all my spirit-led pursuits within the past 5 years, it is polycentric. A philosophers term for multiple centers or having various (if not infinite) points of origin and thus infinite radii or realms of meaning. In philosophy (Ricoeur), in fiction (Marquez), theology, relationships, cooking (random creativity with very little food in the house), and now toward a psychological pursuit of calling (Moore). I like themes. To be continued.

"A magus is someone who is plugged into the powers and mysteries of natures like the branch of an alien tree grafted onto a tree of a different species."

It seemed suitable to begin with a metaphor, instead of a more linear definition. Magus, singular for magi, is an ancient word dating back to Persian times. The general meaning is of one, descendant of a sacred caste, with magical properties or unique giftedness (as from the gods) related to healing, religious practices, and funerary rites. Synonyms through the ages might be: wizard, prophet, dream interpreter, priest. for more info:

Recently, my conch shell of wisdom, Joel, described me as a tree, despised with its being and therefore anxiously tentative to root freely. When I begin to root, I feel the presence of this foreign tree in the earth. I know the deeper I root the more inevitably and indistinguishably I will be grafted to it. This different species and I are already one. So, perhaps, it is time to be the tree that I am: be that apple or plum or both.

"If you begin with who you are... your quest will be like a spring flowing from the font of your very nature, rather than a mere maddening search for a suitable occupation or position."

The wrestling over self I have been avoiding explains the maddening search I have been enduring. I choose me, not a job, not an occupation, but the vocation of my life: wife, sister, friend, teacher, writer, daughter, inspirer, singer, speaker, minister, magus.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Jai Trente Ans

Inconsolable verification
Heavy, aloof, persistent, comical genius
Bankrupt relentlessness

Stout birth
Broad penetration
Red for such a time as this

Closet passion without focus
Imaginative reason
Awkwardly intellectual

Embraced pain and depth
Pressing, breaking rules
Intuitive integrity

Metaphorical fantasy
Dry lips
No licking for the hell of it

Advent denial
Prayer placating lonely, pierced denial

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Ode to Hash Browns

As an act of gratitude and celebration of a blissful breech in bad monotony, here is my ode to hash browns:

Time alone carries fantastical innuendo when you're robbed of it. Time alone in abundance, without aim, without energy, without sound is a different thing entirely. An unexpected burden are the meals between 8 & 5 that I can't muster the emotional energy to cook. Usually (and by usually I mean always) if I eat at all in the daylight hours, it's a meal as in uno (none of this breakfast and then lunch a reasonable amount of hours after breakfast).

At approximately 1:24pm I mill solemnly through the pantry, the refrigerator, the food drawers, back to the fridge. Then I put the kettle on, pick out my daily tea (market spice, gun metal green, or some times I just cop out with some Tazo Refresh), then I sit back down to the laptop and brown afghan; no new emails in the 8 minutes I've just spent in the kitchen. What was I doing? Oh yeah, I'm hungry. The kettle screams.

Usually (and by usually I mean every day but today) this is when depression sinks in. Too aggravated with solo culinary arts but too hungry to ignore the pangs. I put on another movie or decide on my next futile house project. This morning/afternoon, however, inspiration anointed my crown, lightening struck, the clouds parted and in that blessed moment I knew exactly what I wanted to eat. I knew I had all the ingredients: Krusteez, Yukon Golds, green onions, blackberry preserves, vanilla extract (I like a little vanilla in my pancakes), sour cream, only not in that order. This clarity of vision was just the motivation I needed.

I walked in the kitchen with purpose. I flung open cabinets with grit and Christmas Eve anticipation: mixing bowl, check, pancake batter, check, water, vanilla, a splash of vegetable oil, check, check, check. A little more water, too lumpy. The skillet already hot and lubed in Pam, I grab my handy measuring cup and scoop out some batter (no, I don't measure my pancakes - do you know me at all - they're ideal for handling the batter and making nice circles (for initials use a measuring pitcher)). 3 perfect pancakes sizzling away, now it's time to grate the taters. I hate grating and actually have a miniature phobia of the not-rare-enough skin grating incidents that peel away just enough flesh for a persistent sting, risk of infection, and the angst-ridden pressure to decide whether or not to tear that hanging flap all the way off or try to paste it back on when you know it's just going to catch on something and annoy you later, so you might as well take it off now because you know you'll be obsessing over that mini-wound until that happens.

Yet another sign that this day is blessed, no skin grating.

Pancakes are off and buttered as I hurriedly chop 2 green onions and throw them on the crackling olive oil. Nothing pulses saliva into the back corners of your cheeks faster than the smell of onions cooking in oil. I spread the potato shavings (sans epidermis) playfully over the onions and press them into the skillet with the back of my spatula. As they brown and crisp, I thinly layer some blackberry preserves over my pancakes (we're out of syrup, but I prefer jam anyway). Then, it's time to flip the meaty layer of spuds and let the other side crisp. I nearly run out of patience for them to cook, so eager is my appetite, and instead take these moments to put on the kettle and decide on the perfect condiment. Sour cream.

But, wait. A last minute stroke of genius, a humble smattering of shredded cheddar (I know it's tempting the fates to pull out a shredder twice in one stroke, but I carry the confidence of titans now, so superb has been this day). I reach for the jasmine pearls, admittedly a bold move. I mock tribulation. Tea steeping in one hand, the complex aromas of pancakes and hash browns in the other, I sit at my couch - not forlorn, not aimless and pitiable - but proud, self-congratulatory and really fucking hungry.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Autumn of the Matriarch

... where can you be Manuela Sanchez of my misfortune that I came looking for you and cannot find you in this house of beggars, where is your licorice smell in this pesthole of lunch leftovers, where is your rose, where your love, release me from the dungeon of these dog doubts, he sighed, when he saw her appear at the rear door like the image of a dream reflected in the mirror of another dream wearing a dress of etamine that cost a penny a yard, her hair tied back hurriedly with a back comb, her shoes shabby, but she was the most beautiful and haughtiest woman on earth with the rose glowing in her hand, a sight so dazzling that he barely got sufficient control of himself to bow when she greeted him with her lifted head God preserve your excellency, and she sat down on the sofa opposite him, where the gush of his fetid body odor would not read her... (G. G-Marquez, Autumn of the Patriarch)

Each in their own power, autumn & matriarch, wield a brimming chalice of reverie, replete with a surplus of symbolic meanings, musty smells of first-edition books and molting leaf piles, hot throbbing bosoms that beat a lullaby of nurture and rest, scratchy confident voices full of self-neglect and the peace of death. As long as I have been child, I have been matriarch, and as long as I have been matriarch, the autumns of my life have whispered to the earth of my beginning. The womb of my origin, the red and gold ocean winds, carrying the kind of chill that penetrates marrow and siphons blood from each joint, a gale that stings each nostril with sweet cedars, hoary fires and dewy grass staving off the frost.

My heart grieves when the flames atop each tree fade from their incendiary vibrancy to an ashy yellow, declaring the end of my time and the beginning of an entombed season foreign to me. Winter scolds me like an irreverent child at the hands of a long since irascible nun who caught me playing hangman during Latin. My very birth mocks her impending quiet. To her I am but a matador, full of color and pomp, implacably swinging my red décolletage as she paces behind the gates, snorting white fog in ire until the moment she is released and her icy pursuit tests the veracity of my posture and the power behind my promenade. But, to fear winter now is to snatch breath from my blessed autumn. To berate the child or hasten the matriarch is to neglect the soul. Come today. Step forth this moment and I shall meet you in the milky unknown with hope for my now and contentment for what can only be then and even then a mystery.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Muy Peligroso

Why, when I see so many dearest to me choosing deeper into their lives, do I find myself choosing out? I flee from self-thought whilst chasing the white rabbit into tunnels of longed-for quiet.

Survival hasn't the luxury of dreaming. That's a pithy cop out. I suppose, though, one doesn't consider the vast, interminable ocean when struggling to regain footing on a shore of wet rocks.

When I dream of a writing desk, my stomach turns and I'm thrust into thoughts of a "paying" job. When fanciful what-if's tickle future, the present load of mail is delivered - full of bills and short a paycheck. When I catch up on some blogging time, I think, I really should get back to checking craigslist.

Yuck, this sounds like guilt. Financial despair. Self-deprecating analysis. Ah well, at least I have my health.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Reminiscent Conversation


I found this rant whilst digging around some old files. I felt a spark in the philosophical dungeons of my bowels when met with a surprisingly kindred mind and subsequently (yes, in sequence) picked through some old writing. Old, as in, Nov 21, 2004. Apparently this was the day I decided to take on Karl Barth:

But scripture is always autonomous and independent of all that is said. it can always find new and from its own standpoint better readers, and obedience in these readers, even in the church which has perhaps to a large extent become self-governing, and by these readers a point of entry to reform and renew the whole church and to bring it back from self-government to obedience.

will the new readers, like all liberated oppressed find the inevitable reign of the oppressor luscious enough to choose a new governance? is this cyclical or evolutionary? are the fools introduced to the structured wheel of the self-governing “wise” as a necessary humbling? does this process of humbling represent the purification or the purest form of the word? if the word chooses autonomously and independently, will it not choose to make itself known and replicated in the new, obedient reader?

are there those readers who know when ‘tis their turn to pass the baton to the fresh hearer that the compassion of christ will be expressed through his word to yet another generation?

what is it the self-governors intend to preserve? self? a sense of church tradition? something that has always worked in the past? the word? their interpretation? a shielding wall to keep them out? their path to salvation? do we program a replicate of our first love, because we are unable to revisit it?

the way is not relative in that it is christ, but is christ intrinsically relative to all through empathy? relativity allows the fullness only in the sharing of empathy and surrender of self-governance, even in a community of believers. community is no solitary validation for a risky hermeneutic of the reader’s response.

we read the word because it lures us, compels us, mirrors the hope beyond our knowing. the hope we didn’t imagine but recognize instantly. the word does not bear authority because we wrap it in our cloaks and crown it, but because it is why we read. does the word contain, reflect, bear, birth, guide, remind, reveal, inspire, demand, witness God?

I'm not sure I would maintain some of these presuppositions, and yet there are many questions here that I still twirl my hair through. If you are at all interested in these questions, please share.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Job I Lost

I found a listing for a movie reviewer for a database designed to recommend movies based on experts instead of algorithms. I sat on the listing for a while (shocking) and then felt a surge of inspiration last night.

So, I completed the required application blurb: select your favorite movie and then list 5 movies you would recommend to someone who like the first movie, giving a 20 word description of each movie.

Well, the post expired
* which I discovered after having completed the above requirement *
So, I thought I would share it with you instead.

And, if you happen upon any movie review jobs, do pass them on, won't you?

Darjeeling Limited (2007)

The latest collaboration of Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson depicts an effortlessly hysterical, sonorously spiritual, fraternal voyage through India.

Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Nietzsche meets Miss America in this ramshackle comedy about a dysphoric family determined to reach Rendondo Beach by 3:00pm.

Punch Drunk Love (2002)

A darkly compulsive character leads Adam Sandler to new comedy depths in this accidental love story replete with endearing wit.

The Royal Tenebaums (2001)

The Anderson-Wilson flagship film is a sardonic comedy boasting an expert ensemble as the family you love to lament!

The Big Lebowski (1998)

It’s the Dude! Bowling with White Russian in hand the Dude embarks on a slipshod caper in this kidnap comedy.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

An adult comedy saturated in drinks, drugs, and questionable polyester, this film is funny the way scab picking is soothing.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Will Work for Peanuts

Sally: Do you think a person can crack-up from too much responsibility?

Charlie Brown: Why certainly. There are some responsibilities and some pressures that are just too much sometimes to bear.

Sally: That must be what's happening to me... I'm cracking up...
It's a great responsibility, having naturally curly hair!

Charlie Brown: Oh, good grief!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

S is for Slut

Or, so sayeth the guardian of my soul. I've just noticed that every post begins with S. With the help of Freud, it has been determined that my subconscious has reveal my true inner-nature.

Although it is undeniably a prospective truth, I'd like to take a moment to propose a few other possibilities.


If these strikes you as incongruent to the me you know and love - I heartily welcome any other S words that better fit the bill.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sincerity is the new Confidence

The elusive quality which has of late titillated my intellect, at last has a name: sincerity. I watch strange pilgrims laugh unabashedly before looking over their shoulders to see if others are likewise amused. And again, other such enigmas offer sincere compliments, exclaim outright preferences for this or that, entrust gems of vulnerability without self-pity or desperate ploys for affirmation.

Sincerity, I am learning, has a sense of humor without cruelty. It offers encouragement without pity and support without minimizing or aggrandizing the cost. It is far from a gray, even keel. Sincerity is the lion's determined gaze, fierce and in full knowledge of its power. I see you, you earnest remnant, you unfettered few. I see you with plain eyes for you have made yourselves plain. You stand tall, not to emit a proud air, but because your mother taught you to have good posture, and anyway, it's good for the back.

Friday, August 1, 2008


A noted observer of my life once inquired after my curious behavior with children: unabashed, free from poise and composure, playful, hell - even downright giddy. It is true; I do love children and certainly want to have my own some day. This "at-ease" temperament seems a tempting solution to my current intolerable state.

So, I couldn't help but wonder (hehe), what if my soul is craving some kid time?

I need a job that pays decently with some sort of structure I can cling to. But, I also think it could do me some good to play with kids all day. I found a position as a pre-school teacher at a Lutheran pre-school and daycare. And, well, I'm considering it. But, first - I need a word from all of you. Please let me know what you think of this random, Friday night notion.

Pros? Cons?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Safe Place

Lately I've been looking for a really safe place. A place to explore being all that I am without my two greatest fears flooding the camp: hurting other people and losing myself entirely. Church hasn't been safe. I've been given a community of friends that seems safe. But, how do I know? How can I be sure? I've tried to think of moments in life when I've felt really safe. I time when I my mind isn't spinning, my eyes scanning and re-scanning the room, or my voice crying out, "Is it safe? Am I safe?"

I remember my mother's embrace. She gives a world-class hug. She's always told me it's because of her abundant bosom. I tell her I love her hugs. "It's the boobs," she says. She's a couple of inches shorter than I am, so when I lean into her I slump to rest my head on her shoulder. My face nuzzles into her neck and her soft, blond hair tickles my cheek. I breath in her sweet perfume and she smells like home.

I inhale deeper. She squeezes tighter. Her hands press deeply into my back, as if to say, "Let go, baby girl." She won't release me until I exhale properly. Until I relinquish my caregiver arms and cede that role to her. The roles are clearly established in that first embrace. She's there to take care of me and I'm there to receive. There will be no debate, no question. If I start to pull away too soon, she pulls me closer.

A breath surges from my toes and forcefully escapes my lips with the sound of a deflating air mattress. She knows. She's always known. I surrender my weight and with it my worries. Once she knows I'm done fighting, she pulls her arms back ever so slightly and begins rubbing my back. Now she starts to sway, sway and hum. I'm 4 again, or 10, 18, 25-because she was there, always the same hug, always the same listless feeling.

She cradles my face in her hands as she pulls away. She kisses my lips slowly and turns her countenance to me. I am the world to her in that moment. Her face always glows: she's the sunshine. But, in that moment it glows for me. A mother's pride, perhaps, or just a met longing in seeing her daughter again. I think it's more than that, though. I think, when my mom stops time to look into my eyes, still fuzzy from her embrace, she's sending me a message. "I see you." And in seeing me, she loves me: fully and without restraint.

Tearfully, we sink into another hug. This one shorter, but just as meaningful. We seal the moment we had. We hug again to acknowledge this beautiful moment and receive all the blessing it entails. This is what happens every time I see my mother. This is my safe place.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Shut In

There's something intoxicating about an empty house: the quiet security and liberty of unafflicted movement. An inviting sofa by the window shrouds me from watchful eyes, save that of the grateful gold finch at the feeder.

I read at my own pace to listful classical masterpieces. The quaint rebellion of a struck match sparking a solemn smoke. I am wooed by Daniel Day Lewis alongside Michelle Pfeiffer as I nestle into a romantic favorite, The Age of Innocence. All made possible indoors.

There's no need to look over my shoulder, holding my breath at the entrance of another person. The space is mine: no one to care for or tend to. No expectation of productivity or poise. Idleness can be a healing gift. But too much idleness, I am learning, is a plank all to precarious.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Soul Power

"Either we respond to what the soul presents in its fantasies and desires, or we suffer from this neglect of ourselves. The power of the soul can hurl a person into ecstasy or into depression. It can be creative or destructive, gentle or aggressive. Power incubates within the soul and then makes its influential move into life as the expression of the soul." Care of the Soul, T. Moore.

The whitewater force of my soul rushes toward integration. Tuning the combative voices of my life into a melodic, harmonic choir. My incubation has endured a profound lack of topic, thwarting my expression. The stacking pressure of my soul's informants, however, demand expression: vivid dreams, waking fantasies, desperate diversions, comatose hiding, disquieted angst, fleeting flurries of hope, aimless imagination, idle hands throbbing for clay, loud-mouth friends preaching self-care. I cede my path the power of my soul.

I'd also like to think that soul power has something to do with channeling my inner-black woman, but that's another post.

Welcome fellow sojourners. My well is open. My shade I'll share. We'll eat what we hunt. We'll burn dry chaff and share stories only fire can conjure. The dessert is long and lonely. But, perhaps our illusions and mirages are the solace we require for the road ahead.