Archive | Spirit Matters

Wish We Weren’t Here (Postcard from the Edge)

Up here in the country I thought I could escape news of our Country but the truth is I haven’t earned that right. None of us have, not this year. There are children in concentration camps. There is a militia rapidly forming on our fourth-reich ruler’s behest. There are shootings every day–shootings, I’m sorry, that you can’t pray away. And thanks to corporate colonization of this land we are rapidly cycling into an environment uninhabitable for humans and many other species of life. The earth will survive but not humans and certainly not America. So these first three days I’ve been upstate have been tumultuous—the animals are subject to unusual unrest, the woods seem wicked, even my car seems…possessed.

Because we all are. The land we perch on has been possessed since European settlers first manipulated the native tribes and then made a holiday out of it. Trump didn’t just happen to us, neither did the GOP. We participated in their inception every day we didn’t stop meadows from being paved over, sat still when we should have rose up, took what flat-out wasn’t ours. So, ya, this is my “vacation face.” It’s not so relaxed. “Radical self-care” be damned, I haven’t earned the right to relax. None of us have in this burning building called America.

Change the Record, Change Your Life

I woke wanting to listen to Aretha. No big surprise there, though I haven’t been listening to my queen lately; it’s still too painful. What I really wanted to hear was new music by her, but this is no small feat when you’ve been obsessed with a now-deceased singer since you were a child.

It was a desire sparked by seeing Malcolm X at BAM last Saturday. It’d been so swampy that weekend, and R and I had been casting about for something to do that would diffuse the intense awkwardness of feeling like strangers after having been lovers for years and then not speaking for years after that. So it wasn’t just the prospect of seeing the Spike Lee biopic on a big screen that had dragged us three neighborhoods from our own as temperatures climbed into the 100s. We’d had to balance the prospect of sitting in pools of our drying sweat against the promise of a hefty distraction, and the latter had won.

The joint was packed, and not just because of that AC. Everyone in attendance was agog over the choreography and catharsis and craftsmanship and charisma and certitude. This was a 3.5-hour film, yet there was none of that BS chatter and smartphone-checking you find these days at a public screening. In the last 10 minutes, the late, great Ossie Davis delivered his eulogy for Malcolm over a montage of the diaspora of his influence, and all around me people sat silent except for the occasional nose-honking.

Over the credits sailed an Aretha recording I’d never heard before: “Someday We’ll All Be Free.”

Until the last credit R and I sat still. At the beginning of the film he’d reached for my hand and I’d been stiff, like a child afraid to disappoint a needy elder. Always sensitive to rejection, he’d dropped it after a bit and I’d forced myself not to soothe his ruffled feathers by reaching back. I’d promised myself I wouldn’t initiate any physical contact I didn’t desire. He’d done that enough for us both. Continue Reading →

Found and Feral

Rosebud (photo: Jonas Driscoll)

Mercury retrograde being the wily mistress that she is, this photo capsized my computer today as an uninvited screensaver. It’s me at 15, getting my hair done so I could play the wackadoo Essie in a high school production of You Can’t Take It With You. Part of me wonders if the wily boy who played my husband in that show engineered this mischief. Stephen was a kind-eyed bad boy who died far too young.

My mother sewed the rosebuds on that leotard; I loved it so much. But what I notice most–and maybe the real reason for this oddbot magic—is how otherwise-unadorned I seem. Even at that age, I was always “on” in the presence of other people-—big grin, big lipstick, big shtick. Yet there I am, no makeup, no “camera-ready” face, just quietly submitting to an older girl’s ministrations. Even my hair is its natural color. In the eye of an eclipse season that’s blowing up the facades in our relationships, this picture makes me weepy. I’ve always been a feral sort of girl, but there I am, lapping up the mommy love. We’re never too old for mommy love.

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