Thursday, September 06, 2007

Yesterday and this morning the air was heavy, poisonous with smog fumes from two major fires. Now, a great wind is thrashing the trees, opening and slamming doors in the house, raging through the world.

I've got a bad headache and feel bloated, spacey and tired. Spent all day yesterday waiting for FedEx so I could get Masankho's luggage to him on Hawaii. He has lousy cell phone reception there so we had a number of frustrating phone calls that were basically a bunch of static, and "I can't hear you, your phone is cutting out!" shouted desperately into the void.

I still feel numb and cut off from my feelings about Jasch, (and Scott, and Michael.) It may be because of the medication I've been taking ever since Alan's death when I slipped into a major depression. Or maybe I'm just overwhelmed and scared to feel. At any rate, I can't feel right now--I want to, but it's not coming.

I confessed all this last night at an exformation (playing around) group with a couple of Interplay friends and it felt good to at least name what was going on. Just to say it. It's not just the deaths, its all the other big--and good--changes that have happened/are happening this year. Even moving from a single person to being a couple--and I have felt C and I move more and more into that shared mind-space over the last few weeks, that space where we are each thinking about the same things together--Alan and I had that, and it's wonderful, and scary.

After the little group, I went to the car and called C and confessed all to him, and he was empathic and said all the right things. And it was still a hazy hot evening and I'm still in a numb, overwhelmed moment, but I can also be loved and okay. I know I've been eating too much sugar and playing too much online Sudoku and I want to stop doing's just more ways to not feel, and it ends up making me sick.

I did find this poem this morning on Poetry Almanac, which made me think of Jasch's relationship with his daughter, Hana. I hope someone shows it to her:

For My Daughter

When I die choose a star
and name it after me
that you may know
I have not abandoned
or forgotten you.
You were such a star to me,
following you through birth
and childhood, my hand
in your hand.

When I die
choose a star and name it
after me so that I may shine
down on you, until you join
me in darkness and silence

--David Ignatow

I also found a great poem by Kevin Young yesterday when I was cruising around on Poetry web sites. I love Kevin Young's work for its economy, music, and humor.

Ode to the Midwest
by Kevin Young

The country I come from
Is called the Midwest
—Bob Dylan
I want to be doused
in cheese

& fried. I want
to wander

the aisles, my heart's
supermarket stocked high

as cholesterol. I want to die
wearing a sweatsuit—

I want to live
forever in a Christmas sweater,

a teddy bear nursing
off the front. I want to write

a check in the express lane.
I want to scrape

my driveway clean

myself, early, before
anyone's awake—

that'll put em to shame—
I want to see what the sun

sees before it tells
the snow to go. I want to be

the only black person I know.

I want to throw
out my back & not

complain about it.
I wanta drive

two blocks. Why walk—

I want love, n stuff—

I want to cut
my sutures myself.

I want to jog
down to the river

& make it my bed—

I want to walk
its muddy banks

& make me a withdrawal.

I tried jumping in,
found it frozen—

I'll go home, I guess,
to my rooms where the moon

changes & shines
like television.


mermaid said...

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.

By Mary Oliver

mermaid said...

May you find comfort in your voice.

May you sleep deeply.

May you heal.

mahnazd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mahnazd said...

The Kevin Young poem was really good, thanks for sharing.
&& as for the fires, I totally understand what you mean. The sky has been gray and smoggy around here for far too long :(
Feel better; you're amazing!
Take care, Mahnaz

Minkgirl said...

Dear Alison,

I've been reading your blog this summer and really enjoying it. I felt some vicarious pleasure reading the details of your trip to Malawi - I was supposed to go to Africa once to visit my sister who was in the Peace Corps, but she had an accident and came home, so we never got to go.

We've met once - I was the Associate Artistic Director for the Playwrights Foundation in SF for 6 years. I'm also a huge fan of your poetry - whenever I get the SUN, the first thing I do is look to see if there is a poem of yours!

I'm glad for the chance to hear your voice more often.

You know it sounds like some of the malaise you are experiencing may be culture shock. Whenever my sister comes back from Africa (she's been there 3 times), she's usually in a daze for quite awhile. I think the cultural contradictions of that place and this are too much for her brain to sort out. And of course there is so much to grieve for everywhere - travel opens you up to pockets of suffering that you might have previously understood intellectually, but experience emotionally and fully when you encounter them in the flesh.

Good luck with your reentry and remember to be very kind to yourself.

Be well.

- Christine Young

Alison said...

Thank you, Christine! Yes, I remember you--how nice to re-encounter you here!

All best,