December 8, 2014

The tracking of self

It is quiet as a cat steps, the gentle return to the self.  Delicate as this as well.

When I was growing up and we moved from the old neighborhood of Baltimore suburb sprawl to the country woods and backroads further south, my closest friend lived across the street from me in a house that was built at the turn of the 19th century.  It had kitchen stairs, which if you're from the east coast you know are the narrow shoulder-squeezing curvy steps meant for the servants or slaves to use.  Honing the return is always like this.  Knowledge of the secret passages crept and kept, how to use the quiet shadowed light to slip unseen through the house.  How to recognize when some part of your self has become subservient to an other.

And so it was I went away.  North on the 1, for many hundred miles.  Slept under canopies of trees so deep the green looked black and the sunshine wasn't so much as a yawn.  Spent hours of extra hours of travel time just to be able to drive the quietude of mountain roads.  As it always goes, I was not the same and more the same than ever before when finally I returned. Drove the Grapevine in panic up- down of body exhaust and got delirious on the man-friend for trying to get too close. It took me a full week to stitch it all together again, what all of that--the departure and return and rupture at the end--might've meant and still could mean.

Now, I move about the hobbit house on quiet cat-step toes.  Set the slow cooker to high after it sat on the counter for three hours ingredient-full but not plugged in.  Mistakes are made: I'm not wholly present, but know as much--can see at least that I'm not which is as close an assessment of the truth as can ever be seen.  I open books, close them, adjust the light.   Take notes. Miss movement in my body but know this is temporary, this physical time-out.  Feel certain of being on the verge of things.  A surety of witnessing: the stealth and knowing look of being so close to, and at once amid, the ever-endless circle of tracking and tracking the tracking of self.

December 4, 2014

An act of love

Boom-shaka-laka he says, and turns, keeps talking, good choice--more a mutter under his voice.  He is responding to my breakfast sandwich order. The woman next to him with the hair and eyes we would've called hipster ten years ago but is just Youth now is wringing her body, a posture you have to be near enough her to feel or sense rather than see.  Squirming.  Trying to contain her energy.  We used to call it wilen--trying to hold that feeling in.  They are jolly, inside-skin-sweating, barista-caffeinated in that contagious way that saturates me so completely I have to sit down and write about it.

To write, to just say: I witness, I see.  And also I guess, for some of us anyway: Yes, I also have been…

...A barista, a million 5 am mornings the slim shiver ice slap to the face brutal as breath in the morning coming in from the Bay.  Get the lights on and newspapers out for the Pines retiree locals who'll be here by 8.  Espresso grounds airborne or on your hands actually infuse your skin, that high-wired trigger volt there even if you don't drink, gotta go gotta go gotta move keeping going what to do nowwww.  Brown-eyed hippie boy and his broad shoulder townie friends, Natalie's Comfort Food blueberry muffin smells, how smells actually fog your glasses, December mornings walking in to Play it Again Sam's, start the slow drip 7am, senioritus and early-caffeinated-sobriety thirteen years ago in my college town.

I have been…

...I leave the rehab early this morning.  Two clients I used to work with, back.  One strung out again, one almost half a year clean.  The same jittery barista-body wringing-energy in them.  One from tweak, one from the joy, the life force, the vitality that is wordless but throttles through you in a rush of yes I can.

Hope is a funny thing, its wavers and disappearing acts, its suddens rushes and returns.

There are so many people in this coffee shop that the line doubles itself in front of the door.  Of all the things I have been hope is the most important of them all.  Boom-shaka-laka guy never doesn't use his barista high to connect with me, and every other customer, to give them a smile.  I remember that.  Each moment, which could be…an act of love.

In most moments, a choice.  In a million different things.  HOPE--which most finally is a thing to be...

December 3, 2014

I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope

Mostly I am on hear tonight to holla:

It feels so good, after three months watching the concentrated efforts, to see the ground work of the activists rallying in response to Eric Garner tonight.

My trip was so bitchen, but I am tired now and in need of quiet because I feel like I am settling a lot of things.

There is this project which makes me yearn and yumm.  It's nice, restores a small elemental part of me, experiencing music seemingly somewhat worth the production..

Finally.  Mostly I just want T.S. Elliot to speak for me.  

from East Coker  italics mine


O dark dark dark. They all go into the dark,
The vacant interstellar spaces, the vacant into the vacant,
The captains, merchant bankers, eminent men of letters,
The generous patrons of art, the statesmen and the rulers,
Distinguished civil servants, chairmen of many committees,
Industrial lords and petty contractors, all go into the dark,
And dark the Sun and Moon, and the Almanach de Gotha
And the Stock Exchange Gazette, the Directory of Directors,
And cold the sense and lost the motive of action.
And we all go with them, into the silent funeral,
Nobody's funeral, for there is no one to bury.
I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you
Which shall be the darkness of God. As, in a theatre, 
The lights are extinguished, for the scene to be changed
With a hollow rumble of wings, with a movement of darkness on darkness,
And we know that the hills and the trees, the distant panorama
And the bold imposing facade are all being rolled away—
Or as, when an underground train, in the tube, stops too long between stations
And the conversation rises and slowly fades into silence
And you see behind every face the mental emptiness deepen
Leaving only the growing terror of nothing to think about;
Or when, under ether, the mind is conscious but conscious of nothing—
I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
Whisper of running streams, and winter lightning.
The wild thyme unseen and the wild strawberry,
The laughter in the garden, echoed ecstasy
Not lost, but requiring, pointing to the agony 
Of death and birth.

November 30, 2014

The music of gypsy goddess sounds

This place was my first California home. I don't know how to explain this.  I suppose that partly means I can't.
Returning. What that is like...and.
The true magic in these hills.

It has rained since late Thursday. 
Which feels whole to me, like the heart's releasing ions of clouds.

Now I'm about to get on the road again, after such dear connecting again with Mo, Dora, and Brother Jon. I'm thinking that it's been a while since I've been so truly and clearly who I fully am.

Blessings are boundless. Endless as tree breath, light as giggle movement, the music of gypsy goddess sounds.

November 26, 2014

Translating to words the sea and tall-tree talk

In Rincon I thought for a sec about going to the beach.  I had a conversation with Konan the night before about surf breaks and it only seemed right.  Everything in me wanted tires on road though and already the 101 was making that certain kind of only-on-101-noise.

The gas station on the right was cheaper by a cent but the cashier in the other one had the night before won me over.  An ESL student with a middle eastern way of averting his eyes which I knew was meant as a form of respect.  The night before I'd asked do you carry tasty cakes and he said, "Excuse me, ma'am, I am only learning english, please repeat the question." We talked about his commitment to learning english and I authentically tried to assure him how successful he already was.  His humility I could actually feel in my heart.  Even though he worked, as he told me, graveyard shift, I still went back to his store in the morning for gas.

I knew there'd be grace then: walking out to my car, in my hand a jug of water and some rugged gloves that were only 2 bucks for later when I camped.   Next to my car a van, the old hippy kind, with a Dead sticker on it.  A guy my age-ish or a little younger came towards me then.  He had the sparkle in his eye and was inside his heart.  I relaxed and smiled big and warm, already had my wallet out…Think you could spare a few bucks he said and then, we're trying to get to San Diego by the night.  I nodded and said a prayer and gave thanks for beneficent road blessings for us both and handed him some cash.

I took the 101north until I saw a sign for Morrow Bay then took that west.  In Morrow Bay it led me down a little access road, it being the magic which by now was back and I had to let it ease through my body in a mild, sweet way a little at a time.  But for sure it led me down this little road with beachfront motels and so I made note, Morrow Bay I will be back.

At the south end of Big Sur I found Sebastian's General Store just past the Piedras Blancas and the Lighthouse of the same name.  Originally my plan had been to get warm lunch there then get north to Kirk Creek.  But in the parking lot it was the feeling of noooo not yet in a soft movement that felt like gentle wind.  So on I went.

I am glad I did that big stretch of the 1.  Big Sur is the only stretch of California coastline on which I'd never travelled.  But then as I got more north I realized wow that isn't true.  In the 90's when my dad lived in San Jose he brought us down that route--me and Sean my brother.  This was probably 1992.

I was saddened by Big Sur because of the invasive fragmite all over the sides of the hill.  As an indicator of the ecosystem a parasite like that, among so much splotches of otherwise bald land, well it told me her health is not well.  I was expecting so much more…green.  Only in the center is there deep green quiet and that stretch lasts only a few miles or so.  I thought more than once, well Kel you're spoiled because you lived on the Oregon coast.  Then realized it's why people keep the magic up there such a secret, it's own private host.  Kirk was all reserved and the other campsites too. I was deeply content already just with my drive and really wanted, needed big trees so anyhow so I turned right in Carmel--which means towards inland--and got a room for $50 when I got to Salinas.
Salinas is mostly Mexican which anyway next to the wealth of Carmel made me feel more at home.  I got tacos and watched the Ravens win on cable.  From there, next morning I got on 1 again and took it towards Santa Cruz.   I got to Big Basin and lost my cell again, which made me happy because it was the final piece of grace towards the silence that I need.

This morning all I could see was no shower with the crisp yum of redwoods still in my hair and curled up some place with poetry and coffee.  So I set out knowing that was it, magic vision flowing like it oughta or useta or is anyway again, and now on the other side of those coastal ranges I landed in the town of Saratoga in a wood floored cafe that roasts their own beans.  I had the most blazin burrito for breakfast even though it was already close to noon.  In this valley where around me the redwoods sing the sound you need absolute quiet to hear--well, yes.  Cozy is the word.

Writing now and will scootch to the corner in a second for a over-stuffed couch and poems and the real work, which is translating to words the sea and tall-tree talk.

Humboldt in the morning, with soul-fam.

As it should be, for Giving Thanks.