Thursday, August 22, 2013

briefly

Every night this week has ended in the same fashion: sitting in front of my poems and then shuffling off to bed with my eyes dry and nearly crossed from all the words and lines aloud. Tonight is no different. A backseat(though sometimes driving) force has been my "to listen to" playlist on Spotify, which is essentially piles and piles of songs to listen to. Finding new favorites. How did I go this long without The Raincoats? Joe Cuba echoes through the apartment. I come home and I clean while I cook dinner but then...all end the same way. Right here, in front of my work.

I'm sure I'll say more soon. But for now I go back to the grindstone and rest my face to it with a grin. I am following what I love and boy does it feel good.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I've had the wind knocked out of me, but never the hurricane.
- Jeffrey McDaniel

Friday, August 16, 2013

some state of things

Last night I talked to Jon on the phone for the second night in a row. Jon is a dear soul & friend I've known since high school. He's about a month in at his AP post in Cairo, Egypt. Before that he worked in Nigeria for about 4 years.

When we talk on the phone, sometimes he pauses to check out the sounds of gunfire or to comment on the sight of a person in the street after curfew. When he talks to me he is relatively calm. He tells me about some day to day things in Cairo. You can have groceries and other services delivered to you. There are stray cats. Just about everyone smokes. A lot of the bars are strange.

Currently, it is also a place of chaos. In summation, from the live Egypt blog on Aljazeera:

Mohamed Morsi became Egypt's first democratically elected president on June 30 last year, but 12 months later, millions of Egyptians were back on the streets to protest against his rule. The army stepped in and deposed Morsi on July 3, appointed an interim president and outlined plans for a new constitution and elections. However, Morsi's supporters stayed in the streets for more than a month protesting against his removal. Security forces finally moved against their Cairo sit-ins on August 14, with deadly results.

Today is being called a "day of rage." Again from the live blog:

Crowds supporting the return of deposed president Mohamed Morsi have filled streets on Friday in areas including Nasr City in Cairo, and the port city of Alexandria, as the Muslim Brotherhood called for a "Day of Rage" days after hundreds of protesters were killed as police cleared sit-ins two days earlier.

The Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque has become a makeshift morgue for all of the bodies injured in the current clashes.



From Aljazeera:

Wrapped in shrouds and kept cool with blocks of ice, most of the bodies bore gunshot wounds, but a number were charred, making them hard to identify for family members....Many of those at the sit-in wrote their names on their hands at the time of the attack so that their bodies could be identified. Their names were listed on cardboard signs at the end of each row, where they lay waiting to be buried.

Sigh. I could keep posting quotes. Pictures. Death tallies.

Due to the time difference, a lot of the violence/action kicks off when I am still asleep, or just waking up. As soon as my alarm goes off I've developed a habit of checking the news first thing. I read my friend's updates via AP, as well as Aljazeera. And every morning this week I've been stunned and gutted by the amount of violence that continues there.

There is nothing to be done here in Pittsburgh. Nothing except that thing where I try to push my heart outside its chest as far as it will go. All my thoughts and hopes and love...I throw it to the wind and hope it makes it. I don't know what else to do but worry. A few times I have gone to the bathroom at work to shed tears out of frustration and worry. Obviously for my dear friend. But mainly for all of Egypt--shit--all of the WORLD in general. Sometimes I am so confused by this being human business.

I've had the privilege of living in the United States for my entire life--I can only wrap my head around this sort of urgency and movement so much before it is lost on me. I educate myself as much as I can but I can't imagine having to go to the streets to fight for basic freedom/justice. I have no personal reference for that. I have the privilege of not only having a job, but I can get to said job without witnessing bombs or clouds of tear gas in my way. We have it so good here--too good--so few of us recognize that. We get caught up in paying bills or complaining about coworkers/traffic/gossip/gas prices/paper jams/tv shows. It's all so stupid. Our stupid privilege to complain, to not have to see outside of our own shit because it's all-consuming.

I am full of worry today. Full of worry and the realization that I cannot protect anyone really. Ever. That this is the world and this is life and it's brutal and confusing. I don't mean for this post to be a downer, but I don't really work with anyone who cares enough to have this conversation, and it's already in all caps in my journal, and I already talk with Jon about it. I don't know what else to do. The world frightens me. I know I'm not supposed to let it, but it does. I don't know what else to say. I want peace. I want it for Egypt. I want it for everyone.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

odds/ends

I rush there to write--to my home or the coffee shop down the street. I go there enough to be a regular, to know some names, which is so nice that I can barely contain my joy over it. Small and simple. Just enough to matter. I remember my hours there.

This, right here, is the constant. My scribbling. Crumpled receipts scrawled on and tangled in my bag or in the glove box. Oh and in my wallet, next to a horrific bank statement. To stagger somewhere between missing events to dismantle poems or staying out until the birds start again and the sky goes light. I haven't been sleeping well lately--this is true. In unrelated news I've kicked my soda habit.

And just now I looked up at the mantel, saw the birthday card made by my niece, how she spells "Ant Nike" and it fills me with so much love that I want to cry. The physical distance, at times, plays tricks on my mindset. Some days I seem to forget about all that love and it pains me to say that. Routine on a cloudy day. I don't think I want to be in this city anymore.

Currently listening to Will Sheff & Charles Bissell sing "Ex-Girl Collection."

Since returning from the retreat early last month, I've been pulling all the boards off the entryways on this big heart of mine. I've been attempting to trust instinct--true, genuine-me instinct as opposed to a trained response of defense. I don't have to be a fist. You get what you give, and lately I've been giving all the love I can to the process and progress of connecting with other human beings. It's not always comfortable, but it's so much more living than the darkness. I've learned so much by simply being open. I know I'm late to the game on this but that's alright. All this to say right now I'm really, really enjoying myself. More soon.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Yesterday looked like a beautiful day weather-wise. I could only give it a barely-wave from the other side of the glass--stuck in a migraine for the duration of it. I dragged myself around from bedroom to bathroom to kitchen and back again. And drag is, in fact, the right word for my movements.

I knew it was coming I guess. That strange panicked/helpless feeling I get at work before I even get home...I had that on Monday. I get frantic thinking about the solitude I face when I will arrive at my apartment door...and then boom the feeling goes away and in its place a migraine. As if something in me knows that something is coming. Sometimes animals go wild before natural disasters...maybe this is similar.

No matter. It's over now.

I feel like my insides are turning and turning upon themselves--the ultimate ice cream maker filled with guts and thoughts and love. I've been pressed up against my writing for a few days now, pressed up close and breathing heavily on each stanza. I want this. I want this next collection to represent what cannot be said but what sits in me like a fat irritable orb. I am still working hard to figure it out. It isn't about being nice or clean but honesty. If there is venom then I show the poison and if there is weakness then I reveal the tremble. I have spent hours trying to describe the emptiness within me where my mother should be. I have spent days trying to write out my hummingbirds and tree trunks and mistakes and whole notes. I keep stretching to explain it. I sweat on this til I start to rust.

Keep the tough work coming though. I love every bulletbloated minute of it.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

draft (1)

dog heart

in the bowl of your hands,
some teeth.
wanting and waiting added
to the list of criminal activity--
a feeling stitched with
bowtie and bone.
i clamor to know how good
the gone was,
rush of pickled blood to cheek,
gallop of your breath
in the brief of screen door,
bag bumping kneebend but
it's no secret.
i mean
you leave so frequent.
there must be a whistle
that buries its pitch
in your pulse.
there must be a howl
devouring all direction--
there must be a reason,
a magician,
an end to arrive to.
there must be something thumping wild
under that thick chest.