just over a month ago (January 13th), I came to this page to write from the Sunday Whirl prompt for the week, and found I was too depressed from the death of a woman very near and dear to me to do so. I've been pretty stalled ever since. there's so much change happening all around me that I've had a bit of a hard time keeping up, it having been the dark time of the year, when I generally need to withdraw and hide out alone. but we've past my birthday, now, when I get my annual resurgence of solar energy and 'snap out of it' a bit - waking like a bear, or Spring. slowly, and with a grumbling...
anyway, I want to share what I had written on that day (January 13th), and a bit that came a few weeks after, rounded out with this final edit finished near the end of February (quite the process piece?). the Whirl words for the week of January 13th were taken from the poem Get Drunk by Charles Baudelaire, reprinted below. what follows are my edited
"You have to be always drunk. That's all there is to it—it's the only way. So as not to feel the horrible burden of time that breaks your back and bends you to the earth, you have to be continually drunk.
But on what? Wine, poetry or virtue, as you wish. But be drunk.
And if sometimes, on the steps of a palace or the green grass of a ditch, in the mournful solitude of your room, you wake again, drunkenness already diminishing or gone, ask the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, everything that is flying, everything that is groaning, everything that is rolling, everything that is singing, everything that is speaking. . .ask what time it is and wind, wave, star, bird, clock will answer you: "It is time to be drunk! So as not to be the martyred slaves of time, be drunk, be continually drunk! On wine, on poetry or on virtue as you wish." -- Charles Baudelaire (tr. Louis Simpson)
so I read a brief synopsis of Baudelaire after reading the above poem, because his is one of the names I've heard, but never looked into. in learning the poet was an 1860's French trustafarian (rich kid living on family money), I thought, 'I wonder where this guy was in relation to Rimbaud', whose poetry I have read, and who I found by way of Jim Morrison and The Doors. turns out Rimbaud "claimed him as a predecessor", according the the linked summary on poets.org. this oddly disappointing piece of information led me on a brief search to attempt to discover the people who inspired the writers who inspired me, starting (for whatever reason) with Hunter S. Thompson. about an hour of that activity left me feeling flat and none the wiser, so I ditched it and tried to come back to the page to scratch out whatever was kicking me in the head.
and what was it I saw? the American experience through the immigrant's eyes, the crumbling of the American dream. a leather jacket rock and roll poodle skirt chrome and muscle arrogance, that got beat down by the chess club after school. no, that's not it, but it had something to do with thinking of a way to talk about Audre Lorde, Alison Bechdel, Adrienne Rich, Gloria Anzaldua, and Cherrie Moraga without having to justify to myself and others that I'm not a lesbian when I do...why should it matter? why does anyone care? but I guess their experiences taught me a great deal about the world that I hadn't seen, and explained so much that I didn't understand.
...anyway, I haven't even looked at the words, yet, I found out first thing this morning that Ayala died, and it's pretty much all I've been thinking about since then. I want to talk about her, but I'm not sure how - maybe through the words of the wordle ~
my heart breaks eternally
diminishing slowly like an old drunk on the steps of a palace
growing ever thinner until he
one day and no one notices
is it the burden of poetry
to bend me over these words
wishing against my own virtue
for the days when all I could wish for
was to be drunk
in a ditch
never rooms never virtue
never rooms and virtue
oh as my heart breaks eternally
and I rage against the diminishing with
poems of drink and ditches
from my room of virtue
my heart bends strains against the breaking
of a burden
so like a palace
with old drunks on the steps
that this is what it comes to
making it none the easier
A Season in Hell kind of day - oh, those drunken French aristocrats...nope nothing about Ayala in there, either. just summat about the rainy day grief and despair I'm feeling in general, the 'end of the January thaw ennui' as we head back into brutal winter. needing to work in earnest, punch my way out of that bag, already, it's so old...but I am stalled today by yet another emotional hit, and I feel like...I feel like I want my Algerian mom. she'd know what cream to put on my face, which muscles to rub, what tea to make while fixing the food she knew would help. I think of Sherman Alexie's grandmother, with "hands that smelled deep roots buried in the earth". I think about how all the elders are gone from my life, now, all the 'foreigners' from the old country, and I'm left with a handful of distant white cousins I barely know but for our shared experience - and that crazybitch mother I could do without. I'm feeling really lost and alone.
I've decided I'm really tired of academics again, which is helpful, because there's no way I can go back to school this semester, anyway, but I still want to work on my thesis. I want to look at the question of removing a woman's breasts, and think about the graphic novel Transmetropolitan and Hunter S. Thompson - coming down off the mountain, that wild person, who's doing it? for a minute, I thought it could be me again (can you tell I miss him? he was in my dream the other night), but I'm not that sharp anymore, if I ever really was. while searching for his influences, I found a list of people he said he'd look to as examples of who's good today, but nothing about his influences...must find out.
coming into Aquarius while in mourning. I am devoutly sad, though I managed to be playful with the kid on the bus stop this morning. lost in fantasy to transmute my pain, swinging between really losing it and being my own life coach. splitting in two, and sewing myself back together, endlessly. my favorite astrologer and his talk about rewriting your own mythology - what I've been trying to do, why is it taking so long? is it so hard to challenge the dominant paradigm? that's another post that has been sitting unwritten...there's so much to dive into with that one, it may be more of a term paper than a blog post.
oh, total non-sequitor, but with all the noise about guns lately (so sick of it, already), I figured out that my stance is that I can't see it on any other level than in absolutes, like a child, so I end up with simply "War is Bad", and in my way, I will flip that statement to reflect the positive, and turn it into "Peace Is Good". and that applies to all human rights issues, I think, but I also know that I am hopelessly naive, no matter how much I engage with a subject in an attempt to learn it. evolution for the better is long overdue.
photo-documented timelines, like I always saw...pictures and stories. the time is now. can I throw myself the rope I've been tying slowly around my own neck? and in telling the stories, I don't mean to forget the ugly ones, because there will always be those who will need them.
ah, hell. I'm just alone in my mourning and melancholy, and I want to fight the lightening of my mood because I don't feel like anyone has sufficiently acknowledged my pain! but at the same time, I want to pull off an amazing transformation and immediately manifest all my life's dreams at once. I want to be infused with the Spirit. I don't want to wait for myself to appear, anymore, I want to curl up on the couch and tuck my toes in under the warmth of my Presence, and be content with it all.
I want to join my ancestors for Turkish coffee - the kind the spoon stands upright in - though they will mock my choice to drink tea. I never meant to be an elder, but...here we are. as the wine-soaked ditches move into the realm of 'Remember When' and fade from memory, I wonder at the silence they will leave behind, and if I'm much more empty without them. I am nostalgic for that golden time in my life when I had all the watchful eyes I could want or need, and sunlight was a promise on my young skin. losing the older ways wounds me deeply - there was so much comfort in my connection to another time and place, and now I feel adrift in an unknown sea, though I've lived here my whole life.
it's just the way of it, and I have to move on. there's an end to us all, whether we shout or whisper, and we only will have mattered to those who choose to recognize our beauty. goodnight my beautiful mother, thank you for the gift of your love ~