Archive | Quoth the Raving

Every Day Is Coming Out Day in Middle Age

There are no pictures online of Adrienne Rich (above) with partner Michelle Cliff, which says a lot about how recent LGBTQ visibility really is.

Since we’re not young, weeks have to do time
for years of missing each other. Yet only this odd warp
in time tells me we’re not young.
Did I ever walk the morning streets at twenty,
my limbs streaming with a purer joy?
Did I lean from any window over the city
listening for the future
as I listened here with nerves tuned for your ring?
And you, you move toward me with the same tempo.
Your eyes are everlasting, the green spark
of the blue-eyed grass of early summer,
the green-blue wild cress washed by the spring.
At twenty, yes: we thought we’d live forever.
At forty-five, I want to know even our limits.
I touch you knowing we weren’t born tomorrow,
and somehow, each of us will help the other live,
and somewhere, each of us must help the other die.
–Adrienne Rich, from 21 Love Poems

It‘s been almost a year since the Legend and I left each other, and we were right to do so. We were doing each other no favors and much harm. But this poem fell out of a notebook today, and it made me cry in the middle of a busy morning. Continue Reading →

The Human Condition Is a Home State

All the interesting characters I’ve ever worked with–including myself–have had at their center a feeling of otherness, of homesickness. And it’s wonderful to watch someone finally open that forbidden door that has kept him or her away. What gets exposed is not people’s baseness but their humanity. It turns out that the truth, or reality, is our home.

But you can’t get to any truths by sitting in a field smiling beatifically, avoiding your anger and damage and grief. Your anger and damage and grief are the way to the truth. We don’t have much truth to express unless we have gone into those rooms and closets and woods and abysses that we were told not to enter. When we have gone in and looked around for a long while, just breathing and finally taking it in–then we will be able to speak in our own voice and to stay in the present moment. And that moment is home.--Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

I am still upstate and spent last Saturday with music pouring out of my car speakers while I wound through great green and gold roads, indigo hills rising in the foreground, wildflowers waving hello. Ostensibly I was tag-saling (tag-sailing!), and in fact scored better than I usually do. Mostly, though, I was seeking a small adventure in the netherland between Columbia County, New York, and the Berkshires–between my chosen state and home state, respectively. I experienced my usual thrill when I saw the “Welcome to Massachusetts” sign, and my usual frustration when confronted with the parsimony of people from my native state. “One dollar, twenty five cents,” announced the older white man with shark eyes and shaking hands as I showed him the wares I wished to purchase at a church rummage sale. “So much?” I said, and flashed the lipsticky grin that opens all kinds of doors on the island of Nueva Berserk. “Now, where are you from,” he said slowly, and I could just tell he was wishing he’d charged me one hundred dollars and twenty five cents. Continue Reading →

Hang Your Hat

When we were young, there was fear and worry, desire and envy, but we got older. If you wait, everyone gets tired and the glittery gifts people carry will mostly be tossed aside just so they can cross the finish line.–Amy Bloom

Tuesday melancholy and lovely both. I’m home on a blue velvet chaise next to an open window. Permakitten draped across my legs, a glass of something amber by my side, the day’s bad news a fading beat. Since the sun dropped, I’ve been reading Bloom’s take on Eleanor Roosevelt’s lover Lorena “Hick” Hickok, listening to the rain and Sarah Vaughn’s At Mister Kelly’s with equal concentration. Outside people clatter for shelter, yowl and laugh, their desires quickly quenched. But yearning fills this quiet room. Pretty much what I figured middle age would be if I stayed in New York. The week is young, anyway.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy