Monday, May 31, 2010

My Dad: One Veteran of Many

My dad was a WWII veteran. He served for two years on the USS Pasadena in the Pacific. My dad passed away when I was 26. I never had the chance to mature enough to respect what my father did during his Naval Service. Instead we would debate the merits of bombing innnocent people to end a war. I was young and a very black and white thinker. I thought I knew it all. I had no idea.

My dad volunteered for WWII when he was 17 years old. When I was 17 years old, my biggest decision was which friend to hang out with and where.
Still decidedly a pacifist, I am cynical enough to know that war is inevitable.
It sounds cliche, but what would have happened if Germany and Japan had won the war? We have no idea the ways our lives would have changed. And because of my father, and people like him, we never have to know.

My dad seldom spoke of the war and he never talked about the difficulties. Instead, he told stories of the barber on board that would cut his hair, the small village that existed on board the USS Pasadena. PTSD was unnamed then, "shell shock" was just vague enough to never get talked about.

So, I am remembering you today, dad. You come into my mind frequently, but today I remember you for what you did for your country in World War II, and as an Naval engineer for 40 years. Rest in Peace, dad, know that you are loved and respected for your service. I wish I could have told you that.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

and more gratitude

i thank you God for most this amazing...
e.e. cummings

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any--lifted from the no
of all nothing--human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

Abundance and Gratitude

I am resting this weekend. I was to have participated in a weekend long mosaic mural workshop, which I was looking forward to for a long time. Because of my shoulder and exhaustion, I postponed it until June.

What has become clear is that my perspective has shifted. I can rest and still feel creative and full. Filled, in fact, with awareness and gratitude. They have positioned themselves as concrete supports in my newly laid foundation.

I am mindful and present a good amount of the time. I am present with positive feelings and thoughts and mindful, without avoidance, with painful states.
My creativity is feeding my life and opportunities continue to present themselves.
On this Memorial day weekend, I am thankful. I don't have to be afraid to say that; like in the past, fearful that if I admitted to this abundance, things would go quickly downhill.

So, I am grateful for so many things. Among my list of gratitudes, is the wonderful position of words in my life. Words are like different colored paints; there is no limit to how I can use them.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Early inspiration...

the struggle is really simple
i was born
i was taught how to behave
i was shown how to accommodate-
i resist being humanized
into feelings not my own-
the struggle is really simple
i will be born
i will not be taught how to behave
i will not make my muscles vestigial
i will not digest myself

From 'Mongo Affair,' Miguel Algarin

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Rhythm II.

I listen here.
By the gold dome,
on this blessed,
cracked, trashed,
overgrown pavement.
I listen here
to the solitary beat,
the beat, beat
how is this possible,
I ask myself.
How is this probable
that there would be one
discernable beat.
it grounds me. in this moment.
it's where I need to be.
I need to be here, here,
right here, I
tell myself.
I no longer listen here
for your footstep.
I am present.


I never reported it. Everyone I talk to says, "REALLY??! YOU NEED TO REPORT IT." "WHAT IF HE DOES IT AGAIN?"
I am left with a residue of shame: why didn't I report it? The attack. Because that's what it was an attack. It took the caring voice of reason of the medical assistant at my doctor's office to drive this point home. And when she shared her own story of being attacked, it made me finally cry about mine.
I respect the police. And I dread contact with that monotone, "well, ma'am, why didn't you report it on Saturday?"
Why? Why, indeed.
At work, if this happened to a client, I would quickly respond: report it, right now; I will help you. If a friend told me this, I would say report it. report it now.
So, I learn. That just because "things like this happen." Just because "he was mentally ill." "Just because it's life in the city." I deserve to tell someone.

Monday, May 24, 2010


I can't scrape these rhymes off the pavement.
I'm covered in cravings too thick to breathe through
At the sound of your voice in a text message.
I can't lose that scent
the smell of you. close.
wrap around, wrap around
these memories, these senses
overwhelm me.
And you're nowhere.
At least as far as I can see.
You're nowhere.
Not really.
Just an act, like
those plays you see
to seem erudite, uptight, in right.
You're nowhere.
As far as I can see.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

of beauty

"On the girl's brown legs there were many small white scars. I was thinking, Do those scars cover the whole of you, like the stars and the moons on your dress? I thought it would be pretty too, and I ask you right here please to agree with me that a scar is never ugly. That is what scar makers want us to think. But you and I, we must make an agreement to defy them. We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I SURVIVED." Little Bee, Chris Cleave

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Pushed Down

I was reminded today, loudly reminded. This city I love has a bitterness that sometimes follows right after a delicious swallow of energy and creativity. Walking with my iPod narrating my way through crowds of people in Center City, I meandered through Independence Mall, dodging the folks trying to give me tourist brochures.
I love this city with all it's sharp edges, it's trash, it's rudeness. These are like wrinkles and scars on a wise, wise old woman, who fills me with colorful stories and culture; who brings me back in time, centuries in a moment. I love this city, even, maybe because of, it's wrinkles and callouses. This is why I made a grave mistake today and put my guard down.
I walked through a door, after purchasing bus tokens at the subway station. The man on the other side had pressed the automatic button to open the doors, so I took advantage and skirted through on one side. I found myself painfully and suddenly knocked to the ground. Looking up, feeling a sharp pain in my neck, I witnessed what I had missed. Unkempt, talking angrily and violently to himself and me, was a man I should have noticed. I realized I should have had my guard up. I missed the signs.
I love this city. This beautiful, alive, creative artist of a city. And, I am reminded. I need to use all my senses when I make my way through it.


The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time. The ones who never yawn or a say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles. Jack Kerouac

climbing chain link fences...

one poem, a string of words, a war of sorts, a feast for the gods, a long, long walk forward.