Archive | Quoth the Raving

Venus on 42nd Street

Outside the deli
Primroses and daffodils
I open my coat.

I was reminded of this haiku as I ventured out for my walk super early this morning—the only time to honorably unmask outdoors. It’s my favorite entry from the Haiku on 42nd Street project, which took place in 1994, right after I arrived in New York and then-mayor Giuliani closed down all the deliciously seedy Time Square “theaters” (read: pornhouses). While normally bustling 42nd Street was still a ghost town, local poets had their way with all its marquees. These interstitial moments in history offer such stubborn, sad beauty.

My Corner of the Sky Inside

It was a beautiful morning full of the bittersweet longing that defines middle-age, regardless of whether you’re coupled up, family’d up, quarantined up. I woke before the sun, made strong French-press coffee with cream, finished reading my detective novel before springing into the day. Maneuvered mini-car Minerva over the bridge to pretty-pretty John Lindsay park from which I walked miles and miles up the Manhattan side of the East River–steering clear of the runners (oy vey), nodding at all my fellow masked travelers. On a patch of waterfront grass as far from the madding crowd as you can find on a NYC morning, I flopped down to pray and meditate and swan in soft unkempt sun. Only a particularly curious squirrel crept up, and she kept a respectful distance as I pulled down my mask and breathed in big big air. By then it was 9 am so I cruised over to the Tompkins Square greenmarket to fetch gorgeous spring produce (strawberries! ramps! mint! pea shoots!) and mediocre peonies (even mediocre peonies are peonies) before scooting home, Roberta Flack pouring out of the speakers. Back home I baked skillet cornbread and pickled watermelon radishes while jabbering on the phone with a friend about a disappointing love.

From a corner permakitten watched through greenly slitted eyes–judging my backsliding as only a feline can judge.

Now it’s midday and I’m already worn out and at loose ends. That’s not pandemic. That’s the sadness that finds us in all the places quotidian pleasures can’t reach. You know: those corners we just don’t feel held. Come mid-life, only the foolish believe those corners fully disappear.

So, dear ones, no nonchurchy church this afternoon. This is a day for reception rather than inception–for rest rather than rigor and wonder even when you can’t wander. Mary Oliver wrote: “My job is loving the world.” It’s all of our jobs, really. Love up your corner of the sky today. I suspect I’m poised for a three-hour nap and a to-go tequila cocktail. Then next Sunday (5/24) we’ll Sky-Inside together. Mark those calendars: (5/24) at 1pm on Rubyintuitionbk IG Live.

The Church of Real Work

Behold this image of the aftermath of yesterday’s readings and Sky Inside live Instagram services–the nonchurchy church portal I’ve been creating since Quarantime began. These are such trying times but deeply tuning into people is always uplifting. Because whenever I tune into a person, I always encounter their divine self— what I call their best self or the soul.

It’s only when we’re disconnected from this divinity that we fail ourselves and others.

I’m especially grateful for this work because Taurus season is a time to be beautifully of use. After many weeks of shelter-in-place dormancy, we must re-activate ourselves—dance around, primal-scream at our demons, do whatever it takes to release our static energy and salvage our sanity through service to ourselves and each other. For me this service entails translating people back to their best selves–whether through the vehicle of tarot cards in my capacity as an intuitive or through film and television reviews in my capacity as a critic. (We’re still taping Talking Pictures via Zoom for PBS.)

The larger point is that each us is a beloved child of the universe with a unique calling that make us feel most ourselves. That’s not capitalism’s division of labor. That’s a divine division of labor. So let’s each grab a tool—be it a pen, a guitar, a microphone, a garden shovel, a sewing machine, a smartphone, a spreadsheet, a callsheet—and do what we uniquely can to make this world better. Marge Piercy says: “The pitcher cries for water to carry and a person for work that is real.” Real work is the most practical magic of all.

For a reading to determine how you may uniquely be of service, book here. Taurus season readings are pure pleasure.

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