Am I an artist?

I’m an artist. never wanted to be anything less, or anything more. Solitude and peace are my guides, in all my research, in all my thoughts, and in all I do. I try to create peace. Never wanted anything less, anything more. What long distances I’ve traveled, the sacrifices given, I’ve always sought in the arts a true home. Am I welcome here? That’s something I’ve always wanted to know, nothing more, nothing less. When I see a painting, I see perspectives, the entry into more texts, more research, more desires to understand our ancestors who led the way, into our own paths of liberation, if not physically, then deep in the mind. I am a poet. Never wanted anything more, anything less. I create worlds, both physical, and in the mind, to make a passageway toward freedom.

I spend long days and hours working within our government guidelines and requirements, to try to build a new future for my friends, my fellow artists, who may not get a shot, just like me, at having our work seen and heard. I’m a student, never wanted anything more or anything less, of the universe, in my heart, in my spirit, in both emptiness and dream. It all depends on the time of day. Just to live. Never wanted anything more, anything less, and tonight I light a candle, as hope for tomorrow, or any days that come. I am at peace. Tomorrow, I’ll wake up for the thousandth time to see what I can defend, so that we can continue this path, free of pain, in our moments of expression. And always, a space to dream.

Listening

Good Morning, everyone. After long thought in the early morning, I realize that I have to take a break from the Reluctant Blogger for awhile. I laid my soul bare. There is so much work to do. If you search through this writing poject, you’ll find everything there is to know about my life up until this point, and for me to continue, I have to go and just live for awhile, just be. I’m drinking tea and relaxing, and reading everything I can to continue to grow, but for now, that means a pause from daily writing. I am at peace, studying, and I’ll be on twitter occasionally, for both Amaryllis and my own account. It’s been an incredible time, my deep solace here in the early morning. I’ll be back here someday, but for now, I’m listening. I’ll let other voices speak.

When the light hits

Unable to see, I turn on the lights every morning, and light a candle, here in the studio, and listen to the voices. Tales of violence and injustice, killings and hatred, but also the soaring moments, the deep compassion of our communities. Yet at 6:45, the sun is at such an angle, that light hits through the doorway, and for about an hour, it’s just me and the light, sitting peacefully, something we all share. To return this, I wrote these songs, of all my best work. I’ve been silenced so long, but please enjoy these moments, when I had the strength, and the ability, given by my Mom, to reach toward the light, and will again.

Mothers Day

I don’t have a photo to share of my Mom, but I wanted to say something about Mothers day. She’s been with me in a way today, as I worked a 15 hour day doing budgeting, legal analysis, taking care of Amaryllis. Quickbooks, social outreach, lists, all of it. She was a powerhouse, and I hope I can always summon that fierce energy into protecting all of our loved ones, and the task I have at Amaryllis in spreading experimental writing and music. Moms, I don’t know your world so well, but today I experienced it, just fighting for a more peaceful world, for my family, and everyone I know. Thanks Mom, for all you taught me. I’m here today because of you. I miss you every day. I wrote a poem for her, about whenever I imagine her in government housing in the 1950s.

I imagine you at the windowsill, listening to West Side Story in a stark white apartment, as a child, in government housing in the 1950s, parakeet Pete, your bird, by your side. How like you I’ve become. The moments close to collapse, but, for love, so strong.

Harassment, Violence, Discrimination and Injustice

I often think I am being targeted or attacked. I worry about it a lot. I find peace throughout the day, but sometimes I feel like I am a victim of some kind of game or sport of cruelty. There was something I saw that I will never post a link to, in the readings and research I undertook at the request of one of my teachers at CCA, on a trip to Berlin summers ago. We saw a city rebuilt from the horror of the Nazi rule, and it’s a city so inspring in the artistic renaissance that has come since that time. The image that really caught me off guard was horiffic. It was a gang of soldiers playing soccer with human skulls of gas chamber victims who were unjustly, and horrifyingly, killed and imprisoned within the concentration camps. Where does this kind of violence begin, and where can it be stopped? I briefly found a few links relating to the casual harassment that takes place in the workforce, and I’ve experienced my own isolation from these experiences, and what we cand do to combat it, but this kind of fire spreads quickly. From a spark, to a flame, to a climate catastophe that could cause centuries of suffering, for what, a victory? A moment? We all have the right to privacy, freedom of speech and assembly, but the human cost of this scale of harassment is cruel and incalclulable.

What is Twitter?

I recently changed digital platforms, mostly to post poetry for the Amaryllis Recordings label, where I have been trying to share poetry and music in the world. I’ve put other voices in front of my own, and use my poetry to try and help build a new way for all of us to communicate. I’ve always been afraid of twitter. I thought it would be a place of trolling and harmful speech, which it can be, but I was also suprised by how much I learned. Following a hashtag I found in a side bar showed me so much injustice and hurt in the Al Aqsa Mosque confrontation, and as I scrolled through the site, found so many other violent atrocities happening all over the world, and I had to ask myself, is what I’m doing enough?

Thinking further, I remember a vow I took in the early 2000s stemming from a book by a Christian saint, I’m not sure any more about the source, but the approach said for contemplation, you should “not invite disquiet” and that meant a withdrawl from current affairs. Yet I still tried to address violence through my visual art, creating generative criticism, inviting disgust and outrage, just to examine one thing, the recoil from injustice itself. I never made that clear in any writing or anything else I did. It was a simple vow, and it carried me through so many difficult moments.

Something else happens when you approach things this way. Looking at the twitter feed, it became not about one thing, but about thousands, and so much of it was based around religous and ethnic intolerance. It seems almost ineffectual to demand simple tolerance, and cries out for understanding. The understanding that can only come from listening, and when needed, share that sound with others, wether it is a human cry, a poem, a letter, anything within my ability to do. Yet what is the common root of all of this suffering? I think it’s understanding differences. We are all different, all the same, we are all diamonds, mirrors in the light, reflecting each other, becoming one, and hopefully that’s something I can remember, and yet it’s inescapable, that I realized this through technology, the work of designers and engineers, who are giving us spaces for our voices, and I recoginize that. Thank you for this twitter. I can see this because I’m part of a generation, the last, that remembers the difference between the world without the internet, and the world with. I take none of this for granted, and it’s bringing so many voices together. I’m listening.

Daily Meditations

Every morning, and throughout the day, frightened for my life, I checked emails, every message, every newsletter. I had to ask myself, what was it I was looking for? These are not mirrors, but was I searching them through self vanity? I have to let that go, though many of them guided my way. I’m deeply sorry to the creators of these communications, but I have to pay attention. To the world around me, to the dharma, to self protection. Sometimes they came like gifts, some came almost like violence, I’ll still take a look through my email occasionally throughout the day, but I’m turning to twitter, where I can hear directly from artists and writers, and the reporting I hold so dear, and perhaps some distance, where I can go briefly to be inspired, from all voices. I’m still listening, but I have to embrace a larger world.

Mountain Temple

California, you are beautiful. I haven’t seen you in so long, trapped in interiors, of my own making, and the architecture, here in the concrete island, so like a prison, where I have slowly, through the help of so many, rebuilt it’s brokenness into what it can become. I count today as my first day of birth. We crossed forests, climbed into the mountains. Painters stories, the helpful strangers, facing the guardians of the hell realms at the central gates, clearing all obstructions in my mind. I make the vow every morning, which no longer will be simply be in language, but in your vast landscape, incalcuable. I sat alone in a temple, as a small crowd circled the building I found myself in. Just meeting the Buddha, at one time like a god, but this time, came to me as if an old friend.

I felt his love shine all throughout my mind, and now, at the end of the day, my only wish, is that I always remember the Buddha as my friend. A true friend who I find in all people around me, reflected in their deepest intentions, the kindness in their voices, the love in their thoughts. From the jewel temple we walked to a small statue, a guardian who protects us, and then on leaving the mountains, spun on a giant metal wheel of dharma, prepared to make the journey home. Now that we’re home, I feel each step of the journey, remember each moment, each so important, each so vast. Tonight I will sleep well, finding solace in the friendship between so many, so many I know, so many I do not. But we’re all here together. My greatest wish is that I remember this, in any difficult days that lie ahead. Thank you for this day.

The path of dream

All day on the beach I sat alone, looking far into the distance, the calm seas echoing peace in my mind. I realized I couldn’t sit forever, so I began to walk back into the forest, stopping for a moment, and turning around. Where I had walked there was a trail of footprints, yet there was a second set, different from the one before. I put my foot into each footprint, until I came to a clearing, and saw, someone I couldn’t describe, in their aspect, shining. I asked you, what way does this follow, and you said, this way leads to the open world. You will
cross mountians, feel the cold, the heat of summer, the death of winter, the rebirth in spring. You may grow tired and cold, you will live, yet you will die. So I put my foot deep in each step, but held a secret. In my mind, I carried the calm seas, with every step I took. And now I wonder, which was in the mind, and which was real? The poet answered, does it matter? At any cost, do not cease to dream.

The Very Strange Meeting on a Train Station in Mid August

It was a very strange meeting on a train station in mid august. We had gathered together, a group of friends and I. It was my birthday, this very strange day in mid august, when something very strange happened. All of us, face obscured, since we didn’t know who each other were, masked in the light, as if we were in darkness. We held our train tickets in our hands, exchanging them and autographing each one. I was distracted. It was a very strange day, and so, I wrote my life story with a ballpoint pen on the inside panel of the back of the very strange train ticket. Giving it to an attendant as he passed us by, strangely, seeming almost angry with us as we sat in the seats on our way somewhere.

We gave him our tickets, and returned to what we were doing, writing on our arms, temporary tattoos, that might, even, in earnest, take a few weeks to become invisible again, and then I noticed, you’re not writing. And then I asked, why is your hand behind your back? I’m hiding something from you, you said. I wondered, is it a weapon, a gun? a flashlight? My conscious mind filled with fear, as it often does in times like this. Because I’ve been attacked. I’ve been threatened, and then you showed me. Happy Birthday, you said, and held in your hands a human heart? I was shocked in horror, we all recoiled. Where did you get this, I exclaimed? And you said, it’s yours. It was a very strange meeting on a train station in mid August. I looked out the window, and dreamed into the day. 

A rainbow surgeon came into the open hall, where light and color stand in silence. Removing a single color, the room shook, as if an earthquake. And I, a nurse, was left to rebuild the rainbow, with pieces of my consciousness, reflecting something within, that is unbroken.