Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I am reading Anais

I feel such an connection with Anais Nin, and have been re-visiting her diaries. How generous, really , to share your journals with the world. When I was younger I used to worry about all my diaries being discovered someday. Now I admire those who live so openly and are not afraid of sharing even inner most experiences with others.

Here are a few favorite passages:

"I chose poetry and the metaphor not for the love of mystery or elusiveness but because that comes closer to the way we experience things deep down.....What we cannot see within ourselves, what we cannot seize within ourselves we project outside. A great part of life is an invention to avoid confrontation with our deepest self."

"Let us suppose a person is made up of four colors. Let us suppose we respond intensely to one color in him - the tone of voice or the expression of his eyes. We will continue to respond to this particular trait rather than to an image of the total personality. We have a continuous response to fragments."

Inner and Outer Life in NY

I’ve starting writing again, words rising like ice in a glass, like truth in life, the way the image comes out when you rest your pupils in a magic eye picture and its suddenly all clear. I’ve started thinking how funny it is we need rest and relaxation to achieve real activity, and how strange I chose the most unrelaxing city in the vicinity to achieve this. But we all did; moved to New York to "get somewhere" only to slowly or quickly find out where we need to go is inside. Whether this dawns quickly or slowly depends on how fast things crumble. A road dissolving beneath you will surely sink you down into the present faster than a spoon into oatmeal, whether you like it or not. If your road is fortified with self-gilded lies it will take longer, and if the lies are held up by others' confusion, even longer. Your path will seem sure and steady till you’re old and realize the gild you saw was a fog that left you floating in illusion for too long.

This world to the next. Funny how we have to be here to transcend here, how we have to be so in our bodies to become more spiritual. How we have to root down to fly. Its a slippery slope, using words to get to non-words, because we come to believe in the words more than the meanings. Or maybe that’s just me, the poet who gets caught up in syllables and the hooks of js and gs on unreal white computer screens, forgetting I’m writing an idea, and that I’m writing the idea to get beyond the idea, to a feeling, a perseption.  Maybe we get caught up in bodies and forget we are spirits. How many of us get caught up in the hooks of smiles and lines of eyes we see in the mirror and written on others, forgetting they are lines writing an idea of us, an idea shielding the reality of us as experience.

When I hurt my back this year it was like my computer crashed and I lost the last few chapters of the novel I’d been working on, laboring over. It was a fast halt, a slowing down, to get beyond actions to activity, beyond words to feelings. Whenever things slip away there’s that fall before the landing into present. I tend to get quite eleveated into dreams and thoughts, and that fall into reality can be hard.

I swear I am grounded when writing this, and not high on anything, except the image of the lines of the train outside this window, running along elevated tracks like its floating. My mind has been running like that train, from one borough to another, over and over again for a year. Soon, it will stop.

Brooklyn Manhattan Run

Today I took a run and said goodbye to Brooklyn. I get sentimental about spaces and my interaction with the energy there, and like to say my goodbyes. I always do this, even when I lived in stinky LIC I went to the docks and threw a rock in the water.

Every place has its particular energy. Williamsburg to me feels like a flat radius, like some city that was once bombed and unimaginatively rebuilt. Everything is a gray box, and Williamsburg has some strange theme of slate grey plastic siding on squat houses. Interspersed with chic restaurants, of course, and hip kids eating overpriced food in outdoor gardens with plastic light candles. I don't get eating overpriced food in a kinda yucky part of town. Its like the juxtaposition of a girl in swank clothes and a blow-out and glossy heels crawling through the subway tunnels among the rats. I mean, really, New York is comical. And Williamsburg has always seemed particularly comical to me, too-cool-for-school kids pretending to be starving artists while paying city-comparable rents, getting $100 haircuts and purusing boutiques with 3 dresses along a wall. Girls with plastic hoop earrings and mod hairstyles smoking a cigarette with one hand and holding the handlebars of a bike with a flower basket on the front with the other. Call me cynical....but I don't get the 'Burg. My favorite part of the run was the stretch along the waterfront, looking at the sparkling complicated marvel of Manhattan throwing its reflection across the water like a big mirror, asking who's fairest. And I'm about to hop that pond. Its as big a change in NYC life as hopping the general, Manhattanites and Brooklynites embrace very different identities.

I walked down my soon-to-be Manhattan block the other day and found it blooming and lush and lulled with summer. The tree in front of my apartment was sufficiently green and shielding the windows I'll soon perch in again. The playground across the street from my apartment was squeaking with swings and the skateboard sound of wood on wheels. The community garden next to it was belting out Ella Fitzgerald, a sure Good Sign. The greenhouse was lit like a globe in the dusk, and some East Village character was pulling weeds or planting flowers, small pink and white Christmas lights lit along the trees. I walked through and said Hello, to him and the new shiny red footbridge spanning the pond with the Japanese goldfish. It looked quite spruced up. For some reason, even though I was in the middle of CrazyTown Manhattan on that block, it felt hushed and elevated to my heart, I felt the block levitate in my chest...which has been so heavy these past months. It hummed for a split second with that hit-the-sweet-spot-like-chocolate feeling, like freedom, like inspiration again. Just like how my heart sung when I got off the plane in Japan, and how the singing grew louder the closer I got to any temple, like it knew it was closer to home. It was like that.

Or, maybe I'm being dramatic.

I've been told lately I'm overly dramatic, but I'm sure these are comments by people who do not understand me. When I say over phones I feel like I'm going to jump off buildings they think I really mean it, not knowing I mean I'm going to jump off the building of some Feelings. I mean, when are poets so literal? I guess I should be more specific, but sometimes specificity is not accurate. I mean, if I say you're acting like I'm dead to you, it means my heart felt you roll over and I lost the reading on the radar of the simultaneous heartbeat action we once had. That's what I meant. Don't you know?

Sometimes I think New York doesn't get it. Its too speedy and surface-shiny, like the latest computer, full of bugs that will corrupt in time. It is too literal, as if higher means better and newer is greater. Of course, the longer you stay somewhere, the more it seeps into your skin. I, too, now have trouble absorbing lessons of slowing down........running along waterfronts, feeling the seams of two worlds touching, instead of sitting squarely in one.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

this deserves a re-read