2020 Break Down

2020 Break Down

The new, rediscovered old, the different

Joy – Hank
Book – “American Gods”, Neil Gaiman
TV – AHS/Dead to Me/Queen’s Gambit
Album – “Gaslighter”, The Chicks
Food/Ingredient – Shallots
The Power of Art – Jared Kushner Channels Dorian Gray, by Drew Friedman
Garden – Cauliflower
Person – Joy Doyle, my mother
Activity – Watching sunsets
Word used most often – Options
Word for 2020 – Death
Phrase for 2020 – I’m done
Word for 2021 – Curiosity
Phrase for 2021 – A new landscape

If you only want to read the fun stuff, then stop here. If you want to continue reading, don’t expect fun stuff.

I haven’t been that active with posts for the last couple of months because I really didn’t know what to say. My year diminished into a painfully anticipated end. In the early hours of December 21st, my father died peacefully in his sleep at home. To add to the sadness, we found out that day that a first cousin had died unexpectedly a few days prior and a funeral was currently being held for him. Their deaths are full of their own sorrows, yet they are names on a long list of lost loved ones from this year. I had spent a third of December in Arizona to be with Dad and family, but I made it back home for Christmas. I’ll have to return to Arizona later this month (possibly February) for the service. Death in winter is as plentiful as snow.

I’m not going to ruminate over how awful this last year has been. It was harder than what I’m willing to reveal. Little did I know I would purposelessly dive down into the icy indigo water of my psyche, and discover forgotten relics of memories and pieces of myself. Treasures, no, valuable, yes. Below are a couple of brighter perspectives from what I gathered and hauled away.

Connection to the natural world – I can’t push nature away from me, nor can I push myself away from nature. We are connected. As much as the universe can violently set the terms of the relationship, she is also the greatest solace: Energy, atoms, elements, chemistry, physics, biology, and wonder.

Wholeness – All of it. Every piece of me is acknowledged without judgment. I challenge myself and everyone to swap out judgement for curiosity towards ourselves, others, and uncomfortable ideas.

It’s been decades since I’ve laughed so little. I believe many of us have been forced to recalibrate what’s important. My focus now is on my mother. She lost the father of her children, her one and only husband of 56 years. In spite of human madness, they truly loved each other. Only a year ago, I watched Mum keep pace with Dad as he struggled walking with his walker to get from parking lot to restaurant. But now as I walk next to Mum without him, I notice she shuffles. She wasn’t patiently slow for Dad, they were slow together. Between them, one never began, one never ended.

For 2021, I have no desire to give any reaction to the worst of ourselves. Nor am I feeling generous with hollow positivity. I will only cook with the iron weight of truth. And I will suck at executing all of the above. Perhaps we need to stop expecting more, but instead be more. There is so much more to me, you, and us than what we’ve been convinced of in 2020.

Blood From This Stone

Blood From This Stone

You’ve squeezed blood from this stone

Nobody left here to know

I can’t take care of you and me

I perish the thought of three

Find someone with more inside

Because I am dead alive

I am dead alive

You’ve squeezed blood from this stone

Nobody left here to know

Out of the corner of your eye

You can get me to comply

I guess in my own way I will

After I have time to kill

I have time to kill

You’ve squeezed blood from this stone

Nobody here left to know

IMAGE: (I think) Santiago Caruso ?

Wake Up

Wake Up

Wake up, wake up
‘Cause I know there’s no giving up
Must make up, wake up
And so I brew one more cup
To wake up, wake up

And I wait for the day
I catch up with time
But for now just breathing
In and out is fine

Until I wake up, wake up
Doesn’t matter what I’m dreaming of
To wake up, I must wake up
When I arrive will it be enough?
To wake up, wake up.

‘Cause I know tomorrow
Answers to no one
What I have to show for myself,
A dream undone 

And I wait for the day
I catch up with time
But for now just breathing
In and out is fine

Someday I’ll wake up
Wake up

This is a song I wrote for a friend’s post on a story site. The main character would drink a lot of coffee to get herself through some difficult days. I wanted to capture the inability to burn off the heavy fog from lack of sleep, coupled with despondence. This song pays me a visit occasionally, this is one of those days.

“Stillness is our most intense mode of action,”  is the first sentence of a great Leonard Bernstein quote. Stillness is practiced from a place of power, but forced from a place of powerlessness. I ask myself, does this stillness feel like a split second of nirvana, or years of drowning? Either way, my revelation is understanding who I am under my circumstances. The painful freedom of the truth.

And then what? Am I ready to take action now, or soon? Who will I be under new circumstances? For now, I wait. 

IMAGE: ?

We’re On To You

Lyrics – 2017

The loudest camera time, and with a little help
you were pronounced fair and square
Little did your lovers suspect that
it would all be down hill from there

So you think you’ve got it figured out
by watching every move
Well then, can you handle little sister
staring back at you?
Words mean nothing, 
but actions tell the truth
We’re on to you

One by one into the spotlight
the underbelly will be revealed
You’ve got the worlds attention
Flip a coin for your next human shield

So you think you’ve got it figured out
by watching every move
Well then, can you handle little sister
staring back at you?
Words mean nothing, 
but actions tell the truth
We’re on to you

If you find the perfect hiding place,
it’s in our silence where we will lose our names

Go ahead, keep sweeping,
but the rug has been removed

So you think you’ve got it covered up
then watch our every move
Well then, can you handle little sister
staring back at you?
We see it coming down while your above 
the wasteland in your view
Your words mean nothing 
Your actions tell the truth

We’re on to you

These are lyrics to a song I recently wrote.  Our political climate is Arizona hot. I’ve never felt so compelled to pay such close attention to the actions of those in power. Nor have I ever felt my country fading away, until now. The worse part is we’ve turned on the wrong people – each other.

Having said that, perhaps we need a power explosion to blowup in our faces. As a nation, I don’t think we know who we are anymore; we have dissociative identity disorder. I want to feel whole. My neighbor isn’t just next door, it’s everyone. But we don’t trust each other, and force someone else to solve our problems.

Are we peeling an onion, or just de-petal-ing a rose? Are we disarming a bomb, or filling a powder keg? Are we cultivating a fertile landscape, or accelerating a wasteland? I guess for now we support what we believe in until someone in charge yells, “Shut her down!”  Or, we continue to struggle just like multiple personalities fighting for their turn at the helm.

Illustration by Anton Semenov

The Flags

Artists of all kinds, this prompt is for you!

Artists of all kinds, this is a prompt for you. See the photo above? Share with me your inspiration in a poem, painting, song, dance, whatever, and I’ll express my heartfelt thoughts about, or with your interpretation. I’ll post them as they come in on special featured posts. I can’t post videos or MP3s, but I’ll figure something out.

On Earth Day, I participated in the March for Science in Bellingham, Washington, and earthy it was. I listened to the poetry of scientists, ecologists, and the like all informing us of the threats they face as a community, and the threats we face as the human race. For some reason these three large flags waving together in the wet wind intrigued me. My only vantage point was behind the stage, so the flags are backwards.

I first noticed the large “Trump for President” flag being waved right next to the stage. My first thought was, “Okay…ballsy.” But right next to it was another flag; a large flag of planet Earth. No text, just Earth with a blue background. My next thought was, “Look at her, Mr. President, please look at her waving next to you. Let this sink in and change your mind. The two of you are waving together, please let that be the case.”

The Resist flag then made it’s appearance. I refused to go to the place of tug of war. I wanted to believe the Trump flag and Resist flag were sharing the Earth flag. Their unity, or battling, in this scene could mean so many things with so many possible outcomes. What do you think?