Tuesday, August 12, 2008

loving what you love.

My yoga teacher read part of this poem in class the other day.  For some reason, when a yoga teacher reads poetry while I'm practicing asanas, the words seep in further, all the way to the bone.  Poetry usually seeps into my cells anyway, so this is powerful for me.  

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes
over the prairies and the deep trees
the mountains and the rivers
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clear blue air
are heading home again
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely
the world offers itself to your imagination
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things
-mary oliver

(I am even feeling thankful I grew up in a place with Wild Geese)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Weetzie Bat Wisdom

I just re-read Weetzie Bat, by Francesca Lia Block.  I love the description of the scene where My Secret Agent Lover Man leaves Weetzie, so wanted to share it with you...but read the book!!

"Weetzie could not even cry and make Kleenex roses.  She remembered the day her father, Charlie, had driven away in the smashed yellow T-bird, leaving her mother Brandy-Lyn clutching her flowered robe with one hand and an empty glass in the other, and leaving Weetzie holding her arms crossed over her chest that was taking its time to develop into anything.  But My Secret Agent Lover Man was not going to send Weetzie postcards of the Empire State Building, or come visit every so often to buy her turkey platters at the Tick Tock Tea Room like Charlie did.  Weetzie knew by his eyes that he was going away forever.  His eyes that had always been like lakes full of fishes, or waves of love, or bathtub steam and candle smoke, or at least like glasses of gin when he was sad, were now like two heavy green marbles, like the eyes of the mechanical fortune-teller on the Santa Monica pier.  She hardly recognized him because she knew he didn't recognize her, not at all.  Once, on a bus in New York, she had seen the man of her dreams.  She was twelve and he was carrying a guitar case and roses wrapped in green paper, and there were raindrops on the roses and on his hair and he hadn't looked at her once.  he was sitting directly across from her and staring ahead and he didn't see anyone, anything there.  He didn't see Weetzie even though she had known then that someday they must have babies and bring each other roses and write songs together and be rock stars.  Her heart had felt as meager as her twelve-year-old chest, as if it had shriveled up because this man didn't recognize her.  That was nothing compared to how her heart felt when she saw My Secret Agent Lover Man's dead marble fortune-teller eyes."

Ouch.  Sigh.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Large City Poem

Large city, you've gridded me in.
I had to give you my bank account and blood type.
you dragged my heart under the tracks over the Williamsburg Bridge on the L train
at Rush Hour.
Large city, you said you loved me.
Why did you slam the door?
I love you, I love you too.
I have to get away from you, 
I have to get back.

Large city, you are an energy-overdose-vitacap I swallow and digest 
in the time it takes to walk from 4th to 14th-

Large city, I heard you the first time.
I heard you the first time, 
you don't need to scream.
Large city, I heard you the first time.
Give me some rest.
Large city, why do I come back to you when you say the same thing over
and over, running across my mind like
the Nasdaq ticker in Times Square?

Large city, Weekends in the country just aren't the same without you.
Did you feel the earthquake at 14th and 1st?
Did you feel the hurricane, the tornado, 
whirling us in and spitting us out the Empire State, the Statue of Liberty?

I climbed to her crown once, looked out the top.
Her eyes were tiny from inside.
Her staircase was petite, of course, 
she was French!
She wore high heels under her long dress
and still wasn't as tall as you.

You are not a one-woman city
you are made of revolving doors men can push me through
one to the next
Large city, it isn't hard to hold a door open when all you have to do
is push-

Large city I wrote your name in Sharpie
on the white t-shirt I always wear
like a bullet-proof vest
over the heart
I gave to you.

Thank you, LA, Thank you FLB. <3 (from the bottom)

Thank you, California, and the slinkster-cool rockstar poet author Francesca Lia Block, who I met while there.

(((Thank you!)))

I've been surprised by how many writer friends don't know her work.  You call yourself writers?  Gasp.  Is it the "Young Adult" categorization?   Don't be blind!  YA books are often more poetic and interesting and beautiful and creative and edgy work.  How many adult-only authors inspire loads of on-line *shrines* and homemade music videos for their books?  (see?)

And FLB writes in many genres...I think her work is Absolutely Amazing.  I heart Weetzie Bat (cult classic) and Echo (my current favorite) and always read with a pen for making stars and an open mouth for continuous sighing.  *sigh*

As for California, thank you for your white-gold-light, the boardwalk and the sand, thank you for the hollywood-hills-walk-of-fame-rodeo-drive-star-map, thank you for the palm trees like little sunken heads on totem pole trunks....if I could get back and forth as easy as this.......
I would every day.....


Epiphany: SWEAT

Today I assisted an adult yoga-class, leaning into lower back tattoos and lifting the hips of downdogs row-by-row.  I've gotten so used to teaching little kids yoga, I'm perpetually spooked I'll break into some kind of pranayama-song-and-dance in the middle of class, but so far I've held it together.

As I was moving heads-shoulders-knees-and-toes, I realized one thing was really different than kids' class.  Sweat.  I was layering his sweat and her sweat on top of my sweat, sweatifying the soles of my feet by stepping on other people's sweaty soles to align them in pigeon pose.  I was leaning into t-shirts soaked transparent, stepping around puddles on the edge of sticky mats.

As germy and nose-running as kids can be, they don't sweat.  I never really thought about that before today.  I'd often come home after teaching 4-5 kids classes a day feeling grubby, and worked to swat away more bugs and flus than ever, from reunions with germs I hadn't encountered since 3rd grade. But I'm realizing a nice silver lining of teaching kids is...they don't really sweat.  Yeah, they'll get a little sticky if you're hopping through poses in June, but you don't end up wringing out mats after class.

Not that there's anything wrong with sweat.  Its just a different experience to come home layered in sweat that isn't yours.  Just as its a different experience to lead a class where ujjayi breathing is the loudest sound, when you're used to kids belting out Sun Saluation Show-Tunes and ringing the singing bowl for quiet.  Its as different as the grunts and sighs in adult class verses the giggles and laughter of kids falling over in forests of tree poses.

Just different like that.