Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Remember when you were only a child

Dreams. Last night was jam-packed with dreams. I kept waking, slightly annoyed, thinking all my dreams were a little ridiculous. After pondering them this morning however, they're actually pretty telling. In the first series of dreaming I was in a prison with a lot of other inmates. One of the prison walls in my cell had a large opening in it, where we could climb out onto tree limbs that were high above a body of water. This small space of freedom from the prison was all I had. Surprisingly, I did not necessarily feel inhibited, though technically I was. This dream I believe symbolizes the way I feel right now about my brother living at my apartment in Decatur and being confined to Jay's house for this next month, without most of my things. It is a physical limitation of sorts, though I have a small slice of freedom to move about (I can go home if I need to, it's just far less excessible to me).

The second series was more disturbing. I was wandering around an ancient European city where I had just found a beautiful apartment. I was on my way through the streets to go move a friend out of their apartment. To get to this friend's place I had to walk through a dilapidated part of town, where there were many large, very old building but in severe decay. It almost looked war-torn. When I arrived at the friend's apartment I climbed to the top floor and became fearful. I moved my weight from side-to-side to show her that the building could collapse at any moment, for the entire building moved with my shifting weight. I had an image in my mind that the place was made out of plyboards, like a house of cards, and could truly fall at any second. This dream symbolizes the Self, as most buildings or homes do, and because the thing was about to fall means, perhaps, my old Self is in utter disrepair or is near to collapse.

Finally, the third series was like a completion of sorts for the previous two dreams. I was in a car with my entire family, and Josh was in the car with us at first. We were traveling to the "other" side of Georgia, a place we'd never been before. Driving out on a high cliff I could see beautiful mountains, with the most incredible cascading waterfalls that went all the way down the mountains, as far as the eye could see. Everything was lush and green. My heart was exhuberant! When I began to realize the sadness that, although Josh was there, he would not enjoy it with me in the way we would have if we were still together, I grew very depressed. I wanted to move there with him, I wanted to begin dreaming out loud together about ways we could spend more time there. When I turned to speak to him about this sadness, he was no longer there... instead, Jay was at my side, smiling. A feeling of calmness swept over me. I felt both protected and sedated -- warm in my heart. I understood that things had changed, I acknowledged the sadness over the situation, but I also felt at peace with who I had at my side now. Waterfalls in dreams symbolize letting go. How appropriate.

This is the first morning I've awoken with a feeling of renewal, and good/healthy energy to get out and begin the day. For months I've been waking up with a feeling of lethargy, bordering on depression, that didn't offer me any sort of refreshing feelings or even motivation. Today, I feel good. I feel a little closer to healed.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Darling, do not fear what you don't really know

Well, I itched the scratch afterall. He's beautiful.... or, as Jason said, "breath-taking!" It took around 2.5 hours, and didn't hurt too terribly bad. Where the tail crosses over the inside of my elbow is the place that proved most sensitive. Still, it was a bearable pain, and short-lived.

Background on the quetzal: The quetzal is the national bird of Guatemala. Originally thought to possess divine powers, the Mayans sacrificed offerings to Quetzacoatl, a feathered serpent God. The first records of Quetzacoatl's worship appear in writings from Teotihuacan, an ancient Mayan city (circa 500 BCE). Quetzacoatl's archetypal image stood for many things, but was specifically associated with the wind Gods, holding a connection with Venus, known as the "star of the dawn," lording over the arts, crafts, knowledge and wisdom.
When I was traveling through Guatemala I had the great fortune of seeing a Quetzal in real-life. They really are breath-taking, especially the male birds... with their showy display of tail feathers. The lady birds are somewhat less dramatic in their appearance, with a lot more blue in their coloring. Male Quetzals have a vibrant red chest and longer tails.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Tulips by A.E. Stallings

The Tulips make me want to paint,
Something about the way they drop
Their petals on the tabletop
And do not wilt so much as faint,

Something about their burnt-out hearts,
Something about their pallid stems
Wearing decay like diadems,
Parading finishes like starts,

Something about they way they twist
As if to catch the last applause,
And drink the moment through long straws,
And how, tomorrow, they'll be missed.

The way they're somehow getting clearer,
The tulips make me want to see --
The tulips make the other me
(The backwards one who's in the mirror,

The one who can't tell left from right),
Glance now over the wrong shoulder
To watch them get a little older
And give themselves up to the light.

.... Oh, what a delicious poem!!! A.E. Stallings, you have my heart. (("Wearing decay like diadems"... how perfect is that line!))

The littlest birds sing the prettiest songs

First thing's first: the tattoo itch. I'm not so sure I'll scratch it, but, if I do, I'd like a Quetzal on my other arm. The Quetzal is the official bird of Guatemala. Here is an image I pulled up from the internet, tell me what you think:

Pardon the poor resolution... this was a camera phone upload. Chicken bruscetta -- a fantastic summer substitution for the classic Chicken Parmesan dish.

Christopher and Laura came over for dinner last night. She is a doll! Sweet and down-to-earth, she's a third-year med student at Emory. She has a very warm and inviting presence. Naturally, I'm thrilled that she's dating my brother. He really needs someone to love, as he himself is a very loving and kind spirit.

The personal research has begun: I bought Border's out on their poetry and writer's magazines yesterday. I've already found one new poet to fall in-love with -- Ange Mlinko. There's a clarity that just reaches out through the pages towards you, a certain vividness, palpableness... its texture is so very alive. These qualities make her poetry stand out among all the others. Also, since I feel particularly inarticulate today, I decided to share a poem by Mlinko that I enjoy:

Win-Win by Ange Mlinko

If an orchidophage's tastebud magnified
resembles an orchid
so my buds indubitably mimic pricking ice cream cones.
Love, little by little it dawned on us the artisanal
ice cream, especially the prizewinning caramel,
would be out of our reach,
like the previous Friday of a Sunday leaving the beach,
in the meltdown.
When you grasp at the soundfile of cymbals
-- "that knitting needle sound" -- through your headphones it kindles
an inkling that in the bongo-playing
you can hear the wedding ring,
ting ting in the liquescence.
When you hear the sound you may smile
to think of the ones and zeros that soundfile
resembling sticks and drumheads,
or knitting needles and drumheads
as the beat gets molten.
When things get molten you may think of fire
made up of a million little matchfires
rendering a house on the Sound
-- belonging to ex-employers -- a bit of char on the ground
as the regrettable outcome of a meltdown.
A thousand hotheads make a Sarkozy:
at the sight of their BMW in a car cozy
a thousand swans make a Sigolene
purring win-win.
The sound is statistical, like the meltdown.
The holes in your socks and the follicles in your leg
are pixelated as a JPEG.
My tastebuds resemble microscopic glasses of gin now, now's
the time to shake and shiver like a maraca in this house.
The many kinds of dissolution.
Well, birds happen forth from feeders like swinging pagodas
against snow, as
the meltdown goes on, a dump of rock salt.
We'll soon be signatories by default.
Crystals of sodium chloride
are made of smaller crystals of sodium chloride.
Let me know their House
is made up of many other people's houses, magnified.

I enjoy the continual reference to the interconnectedness of things, the way life can be broken down and broken down into smaller particles, all resembling one another... like a rock of salt, like a prism, like a hall of mirrors. Then, there is this sort of resolution within the poet/narrator herself, that seems to suggest she has given up some sense of ego, knowing that her life is nothing more than the mirrored crystals of sodium chloride. Anyway, these are the things I've taken away from the first few readings of this poem. I'm sure the more I read it, the more I will uncover... that's the gift of good poetry.

In other updates: I did some remodeling to the blog... obviously. What do you think? It seems unfinished to me... I'm not quite sold on it...

Also! The diploma finally arrived in the mail today!! It's magnificent.

Monday, June 15, 2009

You belong to no one

Current summer reading list: "Write Away" by Elizabeth George; "Kafka on the Shore" by Haruki Murakami; "The Myth of Freedom" by Trungpa Rinpoche.

It's hot again, and I reminisce through old writings... most of them half finished. "Dirty Seashells," a short story of love gone wrong. "Fruit and All Things Nice," a short story about breaking free, and the naive female. Poems. Scribbled notes of other story ideas. Where to begin? All of this sifting and sifting, snatching up little nuggets of gold here and there... but a part of me knows I will stop half way through, when the going gets good -- paralyzed by self-doubts. Every story I write picks up pace, becomes better and better, and as soon as I catch a glimps of its shine I become terrified that I will fuck it all up. The anxiety is great enough to stop the flow of words, every single time. Somehow, I need to overcome this. I need to get out of my own way.

Elizabeth George is encouraging in her book on writing. Each chapter she begins with a quote from her personal diary. These quotes reflect her own struggle with self-doubts in the writing process. Yet she pushes forward, every time. She keeps going.

Florida Atlantic University... this is where I'm setting my sights for graduate school. I want to study poetry with Susan Mitchell. Every time I visit the MFA website for FAU, a wave of intense longing flushes through me. I'm not ready yet, though. Almost, but not quite. I'm not ready to leave this town. I need to stay just a little longer.

The process of looking for a new home has begun. I found one in Cabbabe Town that was adorable, but slightly too small. One closet?? I'm a woman, come on. There were a few places in Grant Park I went to look at yesterday. To put it bluntly, they were all shit-holes. Dark and damp inside. Ratty carpet. Peeling paint. Holes in the screens. The kind of places you can imagine will never really feel clean, no matter how hard you might scrub. And then there are a few places in Little Five... what catches my breath on that one? Oh, that. That's what catches my breath on that one. Cabbage Town might be my best bet.

(The moon in Jamaica)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

You are the stars that I follow endlessly

What a beautiful morning! Though summer is slowly making its way in, there is still the fresh floral scent of springtime in the early hours. Every morning I wake with the window open, cherishing this brief and passing time.

There is a genuine sense of pleasure in being true to one's self, in following through with what the heart truly desires. Yesterday I had an invitation to attend the Virginia Highland's Summerfest with friends, but my heart resisted the idea. I knew it would be a day-long drink-fest, hanging out by the poolside, watching the crowds of drunken thirty year olds stumble around the Highlands without any real purpose other than to find another drink. What I really wanted was time to myself around the house, a gentle, domestic evening. I chose to honor these feelings, and instead kindly declined the invitation.

I had a wonderful afternoon nap. I spent the evening working on our mosaic benches with neighbor Jenn and friend Helen. We talked about God and the universe. Jenn has had a fascinating childhood. When she tells me stories about how her parents raised her and her sister, I often think to myself that this is how I'd like to raise my children. Jenn is an atheist and was raised this way. I really enjoy listening to her talk about what it means for her. It's something that one really has to open themselves up to hear, otherwise, our preconcieved notions about what "atheism" is will inevitably get in the way of understanding. It is a tricky thing, she explains, to show others how she derives an incredible depth of meaning from her religious position because such terms like "atheism" and even "spirituality" don't quite suffice. She does not believe in a "higher power," but this does not necessarily disclude the sense of awe and wonder that the concept of a higher power bestows upon believers in the big "God." She is aware of a pulse, a unique undercurrent in life that allows for the transparency of the physical world, of spirits and even premonitionary dreams. She wants to call the universe "magical," but at the same time she doesn't believe it requires any sort of magic. She believes in the beauty and majesty of physics, and this was how she was raised... to see the complexity in the physical world and to have a humbled, awed respect for the world.

If I were asked to articulate my own religious position it would be very much the same. I was not raised to be religious, yet as far back as I can remember, I've had a child-like thirst, an unquenchable desire to envelope myself in this spirit all around me... I have always and only ever found it it nature. I enjoy the concepts in Buddhism, but cannot really be Buddhist, because it will never fully encompass my view. It is inevitably a limitation of sorts for me, all religions are... this is why, I feel freest and most fulfilled in the home of my own religion. It's not New Age, it's not eclectic, because I don't really borrow from other religions. Yes, I meditate from time to time (and would like to meditate more), but other than that I don't have a set of practices. I strive for continual growth, to engage with others in the healthiest, kindest way possible. I hunger to be near beauty, to sit with it and appreciate it and feel the nearness of beauty. God is not really a concept to me, though I find myself speaking in my heart to some sort of unidentified source of spirits, for I do feel there is a consciousness or consciousnesses surrounding me that can respond energetically to my own energy, and interact. I don't think of salvation, I don't think much of those "spiritual leaders" that have come before me, I can really only understand the here and now, and when I look around, what I see is a fantastic universe, a complicated, mathematically intricate and wonderously balanced interaction of energy... this image, I fall in-love with on a daily basis.

A garden tool, well used:

The flowers are beginning to really spread out and go their own wild way!! Jenn and I have agreed that the white ones are really the prettiest.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Everlasting joy

Productivity is the name of the game. First, the closets were attacked. There were nine loads of laundry hiding in there!! Who knew I even had that much clothing? Wow.

While I was waiting to rotate loads I decided I'd bake a cake with the cherries I had left from yesterday. Pitting them wasn't that difficult, actually. It was fun! The red juice is so deep and vivid in color. I pulled up a basic cake recipe from the internet and just played around with it to suit my liking. I added vanilla, fresh ground cloves, and fresh ground anise seed. For the icing, I made a lemon yogurt sauce which I drizzled over the top when it was done cooling. Oh - my - goodness! I have never in my life made anything so delicious as this sucker.... I'm going to bring it into work this evening to share with everyone. It simply must be shared!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Saved by a woman

The carrots have come in!! They are beautiful and delicious, and suprisingly yellow. I wasn't aware that one could grow yellow carrots... apparently, it can be done!

I turned these yummy friends into a tomato salad with pine nuts, blue cheese and balsamic vinegar. It made a terrific summer snack, especially given the particular sweetness of the yellow carrots against the salty blue cheese. Yum!

For dessert... Wild cherries! I feel really good eating raw foods like these. It's as if they cool the body down like an air conditioner. My insides chill out. It's very soothing, not to mention refreshing.
So, here's a little project that Jenn and I have been working on lately. We discovered these large cement blocks amongst the back yard kudzo one day and decided they'd make great benches. Over the last year we've managed to collect broken dishes and tiles. Now we're turning these blocks into mosaic benches! They're turning out beautifully:

I'm also beginning to make prepartions to move, but to be perfectly honest, I'm feeling somewhat torn. I'm excited about finding a new place in Grant park; I think it'll be wonderful. And of course, it will be much more affordable as well. At the same time, I'm saddened to be leaving my neighbor whom I've grown to love spending time with in our little creative pursuits. I'm also nervous about the prospect of living with someone again... it's been so long. Will he clean to my standards? What unknown things am I going to get frustrated over? What if this doesn't work out?? I know these are all just natural anxieties, and I will work through them one by one over the next two months. Chris is going to sublet my place for the summer, which will help me out on bills since Dad got laid off this week. Incredible.... over twenty years and you're let go just like that; no pension, no retirement. Times are tough indeed.

Oh!! I almost forgot to mention the latest literary discovery! Anais Nin. How she has my heart! I picked up her collection of short stories "Little Birds," which is an exploration into desire and the erotic. She crafts thirteen different tales of men and women, vividly capturing the idiosyncrasies of each character's emotions, longings, fetishes and desires. It's riveting and poetically tasteful. At times it was even hot... I found myself having to put the book down and take a walk to cool myself down! I'm really interested in checking out her others works as well, particularly her diaries. I want to know this woman. I want to study her skill.