Maya

Surrounded.

The stuff pushes in, new stuff; Christmas stuff and clutter. I have a tendency to be overwhelmed even by too many groceries after a trip to the store, the consumerism of Christmas always freaks me out a little. I don’t know how to catalogue things, except books. I have just gotten done giving things away, things with emotional weight; I never keep such things. They stay new and perfect if they are full up with expectations that never realized fruition, or a disappointment that hangs over my heart. It’s so much easier to gift wrap my emotional bounty and give it away in parcels,

But there is always the incoming. The influx.

I don’t pretend to be well, but tomorrow and the next are also parcelled into organization bits. This year I will synthesize a little bit more of the love offered. I’m frowning over a sum, bent over the computer. The stuff has a presence of its own, looming and omnipresent as rock formations in my mind.

What she does, the kitten, is she leaps into the middle of everything that seems so serious and so much. She’s a little girl cat, and she’s one of *those* girls, you know: The kind that prove boys aren’t _quite_ the most lovable things on Earth. She’s all round tumminess and slightly slanted green eyes, and she can take the distance from the couch to the arm chair in one leap, no sweat. She lands in the pile of my terrible stuff, and I’m laughing, suddenly, because there’s a ribbon caught on her whisker, and she’s a rakish pirate cat. I push it all aside, very matter of factly, and retrieve my wayward cat.

Strange magic, Maya. You turn my sink and soar into a comical flounder. I want to write, to respond to people far enough away that I can get close to them. And of course push away those who have gotten too close, find some way to word my regard and still carefully post my ‘Keep Out’ borders, but you won’t stay on the floor, will you?

She jumps into my lap with the stubborn, single-mindedness of a girl cat. Gracie was the same way, but Gracie didn’t leave four tiny holes in the skin of my thigh, rousing me to holler from the pain of her stubborn climb.

You’d laugh too, to see her looking wild and alarmed, rushing away from the shout, to hide behind a pile of ‘Shall i keep them?’ books. She knocks things down. She doesn’t listen. She hops into my lap over and over while I’m sitting at the keyboard, thinking I will write the twisted etchings of my mind.

I have to take my hands off the keyboard, and wrap them around this little, purring body. She doesn’t understand anything. She doesn’t know I’m a failure, that I make some sort of living off of introspection, that I hate myself, and the holiday, and love my family and hate their presence and hate  hate hate the STUFF; she’s a fool.

And she’s real. And soft. And alive.

And I’m in love. 

Myriad bits

In Xanadu did Khubla Khan

A stately pleasure dome decree:

Where Alph, the sacred river, ran

Through caverns measureless to man-

          Down to a sunless sea.

 

Hi, hi. I was trying to find information on Pliny the Younger’s garden yesterday, and one description made me feel that Coleridge must surely have visited. Maybe he took a jaunt up to Tuscany while he was acting as a British spy for his Majesty on the island of Malta. (true)

Poets- you read a poet you really like, they’re sort of a messed up lot. It’s weird how a person can act as a divining rod for universal truth, and put that down for posterity with such boldness and authority, but then be such a doofus in their personal life.

Well, look at them. Shakespeare- Shakespeare married a woman much older than him and essentially left her to go play theater, and- (speculatively) paw young men.

Emily Dickinson could not entice herself, most days, to leave the house.

Richard Brautigan got fried 12 times (‘electroconvulsive therapy’) essentially for throwing a rock through a police station window. He tried marriage a couple times, but it didn’t take. He ended up living alone for a time, and then shooting himself in the head. No one discovered his body for over a month.

Samuel Coleridge?  His portrait belies a certain weakness in the mouth. The Albatross was probably an apt personal metaphor. He early married a woman he didn’t love, and seemed to spend a lifetime disappointing the family they created together. He took turns trying to make good and send support to his family, and lapsing into laudanum soaked reveries of scholarly exploration, poverty and retreat. His appearance was so haggard on one occasion, that Wordsworth’s sister Dorothy actually mentioned how shocked she was in one of her letters to William, who was a poet/friend (temporarily) to Coleridge.

Why do so many writers, poets especially, seem to struggle so much with basic, everyday life: Marriage, work, and personal relationships?  It seems that sensitivity which can inform amazing poetry doesn’t serve a person positively in other arenas. Taken through this lens, Thoreau’s Walden is one big, beautiful excuse written by a man who really couldn’t handle the daily tow.

I don’t really want to focus on the suicidal ones. Just the overall trend of botchedness- does it say something profound about human nature that those individuals most able to discern and translate it with clarity are the least likely to be able to tolerate it?

These are just mumblings and musings. I found a little passage in one of Barbara Kingsolver’s essays which I will leave off with, because the perfection of her metaphor caught my fancy:

 

“Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the race,” Percy Shelley said. They are also its margin of safety, like the canaries that used to be carried into mines because of their sensitivity to toxic gases; their silence can be taken as a sign of imminent danger.  -Barbara Kingsolver, High Tide in Tucson

 

 

 

 

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

reading, writing, and rudimentary notions

I woke with an odd yearning. Someone I’m acquainted with on the East Coast shared this interesting tidbit: They love those strawberry iced donuts from Shipleys.

I’ve never been to a place called Shipleys, and I’ve never had a strawberry iced donut, but now I have a hankering. You might even call it a yen. Whatever this strawberry iced Shipley stuff is about, it sounds good, and I want in on it. That’s ideally how I’d like to start my day today, actually.

The other part of the how-I-would-start-my-day-but-it-just-didn’t-happen was having a post all fresh and up and ready on this site. I wrote with that intention, last night. Another poem thing whatsit, but it turned out to be writing meant for me, not for the world in general. 

That can happen.

So here we are. In my heart of hearts, I know it doesn’t really matter if or what I write. Engaging once again in weeble world and what’s going on with others would be more greatly appreciated than sharing my cryptic hankerings (a belly-dancer’s costume, an orgasm, a corned beef sandwich… yeah, probably in that order)

That’s something the object of my twitterpatedness is good at. It’s like part of his nature, the responsive thing. Anyone he meets feels bathed in the warmth of generous, good-natured attention. I’ve been trying it out in a way, and it’s not hard, If-  you’re sincerely interested, or predisposed to like/admire the people you give that attention to. It can’t be faked, so the big and noticable difference between us is that he’s more likely to be open and optimistic about people, till they prove him wrong. My tendency is not really warm toward the human race. My default setting is to receive new people with a mixture of cautious interest and suspicion. Depending on how they come off, or what happens next, one or the other of those elements takes precedent.

The weird part is- who do you suppose is the better gage of human nature?

It ain’t me. For all my caution, I have gotten close several times to the wrong people. People whom, I suppose you could say are wired particularly to disarm, or fool the suspicious nature.

Whereas believing the best about people often brings out the best in them. Believing, in spite of everything, in their better nature almost seems to make them want to act on that.

I’m learning this stuff, but they are in the context of some things I already know. Everyone’s different. People will probably always scare me a little, so I’m never going to be a real ‘people person’, and that’s okay. I love the natural world, so loving people in a general sense would be a conflict of interest, anyway. I do really love that he is like that, and it pleases me that I’ve learned a little bit more about how to respond when I have that gut instinct that leans toward letting someone in.

He talked about this yesterday,  in reference to something I had done, which made an impact on him (I kept these thoughts to myself for the meanwhile) but what he said is that part of love is getting to know someone who teaches you to see things in a new way. 

Think about that: If you can see something over and over and have the same response, and then someone comes along who shows you the texture, the meaning, the beauty in that-   it changes your world, subtly. And that’s a big part, too, cus our culture is so used to focusing on passion and sentimentality- but love is also about learning. 

That’s a pretty cool part about love.