Tuesday, May 14

Shadow Spaces

“I thought the most beautiful thing in the world must be shadow, the million moving shapes and cul-de-sacs of shadow. There was shadow in bureau drawers and closets and suitcases, and shadow under houses and trees and stones, and shadow at the back of people's eyes and smiles, and shadow, miles and miles and miles of it, on the night side of the earth.” 
― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Tuesday, April 30

Depth Perception

Two Views
"We have two eyeballs in order to give us depth perception – comparing two images allows us to determine how far away an object is from us. "- Lenstore, 101 Amazing Eye Facts

Life is full of jarring moments and I don't mean surprising moments, or terrible, shocking moments which carry with them judgment. I mean moments that shake and grind. The nanoseconds before realizing that something is real and has impact, like the moment I am nudged out of deep sleep. Eyes closed. Ears open. Mind searching and detecting. What woke me? Will it kill me? Should I run or hide? The autonomic questions stir bitter chemicals that pierce my body haze and force open one sticky eyeball which perceives shallow gloom, no movement. My brain checks body functions and recognizes the urges of  lungs and bladder forcing open the other eyeball, and, satisfied with a clearer perception of the depth and gradient of gloom, becomes aware of sound and vibrations of a barking dog, coyote howls, snuffles and snores of my husband, wind in the cypress branches, crickets, owl, benign life.

Jarring moments create perception, the grandmother of meaning. Granny works to create a time-space for contemplation where all human organs function to provide greater depth perception and an image of reality. This space allows people to respond. We stretch, check in, think.  Awakening seems to be a melding of  frantic nudges and calm thought: Part A meets Part B.  The mind meld needs space between the nudge and the decision. Space, time, grace to absorb stimuli and toss it from one hand to the other, feel it, weigh it, move with it and keep it or throw it away.  

I am finding that the barrage of visual and audio danger cues in today's overstimulated world is slicing away these precious time-spaces, pulverizing barriers between fight  or flight. I am not alone in trying to understand what has caused me to have psychic shell shock, a numbing mental laziness where I no longer perceive with two eyeballs and two ears, but with half of my faculties and sometimes even less that that.  This half perception produces very little meaning and sometimes no meaning at all to the point where I cringe when I hear the ever present question: "What do you think about..."

The ellipsis is a blank for daily outrages reported with acid angst in almost every news cast. Just the mere whisper of "Trump" or "shooting" or "melting ice cap" or "sexual assault" or the unwelcome image of the latest mass murderer and the gun he used triggers that distressing jarring sensation. The Talking Heads news has degenerated into a bunch of ugly, ill-mannered, pundits with zero human feelings. They seldom move past the jarring moments of  impending gloom. They are like workers in a slaughterhouse wielding their sledge hammers to stun the cattle before they are sliced and diced. Bloody work, but it pays well.

Jolts, wake up calls, alarms are jarring and necessary. I don't know a way to eliminate them without wallowing in ignorance. But, ignorance is the end result of  too much jarring and eventual shut down. Balance is critical. I can't help but feel the jolts. How to make sense of them requires response time-space.  How do people find the time to think, to process, to grasp reality, to find meaning which serves them and their communities? Hundreds of books, TedTalks, podcasts, TV specials deliver valuable info about being out of balance, recognizing balance in our lives, cultivating balance, but one simple prayer is my "go to" reference when it's time to gain perspective and turn down the noise: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference."

Wednesday, March 6

Under a Midnight Sun

Night Visitors and Dreamers

On January 23, 2019, members of the Coyote Poets of Sedona had coffee together at Reds Restaurant. The morning sky was cloudy and the wind chill dropped the temperatures into the low 40s. Everyone wore jackets and colorful scarves. Everyone was excited about the poetry prompt given by new member, Sharon Porter, a talented painter and sculptor in our town. She asked us to write a poem inspired by her beautiful painting titled, Night Visitors, a surreal and evocative image of a sleeping woman surrounded by hooded sentinels. Her  earthbound visitors seemed vaguely sinister contrasted with illuminated angels glowing golden in the midnight sun.

Each one of us found the image to be inspiring and we shared our impressions and thoughts:

Only the Dreamer Bleeds
by Kathy Mackey

Alone in a muted world,
edges overlap, distorted and dark. 
Night blooming flowers burn.
Sharp sounds provoke the black dog's bark.

Adrift under cloud blankets.
Glimpsing colors of bone, birch, cloud, smoke, ash
rising up from planets
unhinged from stars waiting to crash.

Anxious angels intercede.
Radiant black wings break the deadly fall.
Only the dreamer bleeds,
suffering, sore, a broken doll.

Anger prods, electrifies.
Sleeping dogs, tired angels, astral visitors
jolted, aroused, energized
banish fear. Dreamless sleep restored.

Friday, January 11

On a Wing Without a Prayer

Asphalt Escapees

Love it and Leave it

Signs of Hard Living on Today's Frontier
Shameful Opportunist

Chapter III

I thought of the last time I’d seen Bert. It’s been two years now. He was on his Honda Goldwing  motorcycle,  sitting tall with his big toothy smile and no helmet, so proud of his machine, untouchable, immortal. He rocketed onto Highway 1, going north toward LifeWay Christian Store. He wanted to pick up a little something-somethin for his wife, Shauna.

“Bye Cletus! Just takin her out for a quick trip to paradise,” he yelled, biceps bulging, spitting bugs out of his teeth as he sped into the mid-afternoon traffic. I knew he’d be alright and I realized that I never for one minute worried about Bert. He has always been the most solid person in my life, maybe because I really don’t know much about him except what he projects – limitless confidence and strength. He’s straight edged and righteous. A perfect soldier and patriot. Married to Shauna for a little over a year, at that time, with a baby born and one on the way. He was the poster boy/man for reproductive health.

Bert, the missing brother and absent husband and father. Bert, government owned and operated. One thing I’ve learned over the years, though: Bert does not like to share. Next to Shauna, his most precious possession is his bike and a little lower down on his precious possessions list is his vintage collection of christian rock mp3s. I now have both. I love the Goldwing and am tired of the mp3s with their never-ending rapturous climaxes. Each song seems to be an advertisement for redemption through reproduction according to a lord jesus, manufactured and for sale in the 21st century. I should have left them in Shreveport with Shauna, the mp3's that is. Even though the guilt was biting me hard, I rationalized 24/7 that without these wheels, I'd be locked up as a pervert for not following the Louisiana reproduction code. The bike had been in storage. Bert was off the grid for now. I needed it and had the keys, so that's that. I just hope that Shauna never needs it.

Shauna. Sad, sad, wife and mother. The last time Cletus saw her was for little Ronnie’s third birthday, almost three months ago. Her baby girl, Trudy, was over a year old now and still sucking on her mama’s tits. Although the christians and Division of Reproductive Health people dictated that each child be breast fed and weaned no sooner than six months after birth, Shauna’s attention to these rules seemed over the top, but who was he to judge. He was Uncle Cletus, single and unmarried, a DRH outlaw and bad influence. He winced at the memory of  the birthday boy rampaging through the cheerful decorations, stomping on balloons, shredding streamers, tearing open presents before the birthday cake showed up. Ronnie was such a hell-raiser, running around the tiny back yard with his new plastic bat, thanks to grandpa Ron. He almost killed their cat and managed to beat down an entire rose bush before Shauna brought out the cake for the smattering of neighbor kids and relatives. Before he left the party, he asked Shauna about Bert.

“They’ve got him somewhere in the Sudan. I think I found where he’s stationed, and tried to send him a text but the only communication that ever got through to him is twitter and that’s been taken over by the trump dynasty, so ordinary people can’t use it anymore. Did you know that, Cletus?” and he had to look away while Shauna blinked back tears and wrenched little Ronnie’s bat away from him. He held baby Trudy, the sweetest smelling human he knew. Her little face wobbled and then she gave me a grin that looked just like her Dad’s. It hit me like a laser beam, her new teeth gleaming backed up with huge dimples and merry black eyes. “Give her to me, hon,” said Shauna as she passed me cake and ice cream. I passed my niece back to the arms of her mama and sat down next to little Ronnie who was winding up to fling cake to the little girl across from him. I disarmed him, dusted crumbs and glitter off of him, set him free to rampage some more and left the party feeling the disturbing combination of relief and sadness I always felt after most family gatherings.

Bert. My brother is missing and I want to be missing too, I realize. Lucky bastard, a marauder in some shithole in Africa while the rest of us either knuckle under to the craziness of this season’s christian/corporate money-making scheme; or, find a place to hide-out until the next bureaucratic idiocy passes.

Another memory breaks loose in my brain. It's a scene from the movie Catch 22, my Dad’s favorite. It was the scene where US Air Corps Lieutenant, Nately, is talking with a very old man in an Italian whorehouse. The Lieutenant, a rich kid from Long Island, is trapped in Italy during World War II with desperate opportunists (Captain Yossarian and airman Dunbar). Nately falls in love with a whore and while in the whorehouse asks an old man nearby how he survives. The man explains that he always complies with those in power – the only way to survive – and by doing so has no moral compass. Whatever keeps him alive is okay by him.

“You're a shameful opportunist! What you don't understand is that it's better to die on your feet than to live on your knees,” expounds Nately.

“You have it backwards,” says the old man. “It's better to live on your feet than to die on your knees,” and he claims that the proof of this excellent advice is that he has survived to be 102 years old, living in a whorehouse. 

His father pasted this quote on our beat up refrigerator door soon after he was fired from his job at Red River Courier. Somehow this concept was supposed to excuse his thievery and destructive selfishness, and as I continued to drive Bert’s motorcycle down Interstate 49 toward Texarkana, encased in kevlar and leather, I understood the selfishness of survival. Every man for himself, seems to be my family's motto. The wind changed direction, interrupting the draft caused by the Red Raider moving van ahead of me. I moved into the fast lane feeling the drag of increased power needed to push through air currents without the shelter of  14,000 pounds of mass.  The new wind currents were not only stronger but wetter and I cursed as rain slicked the pavement soaking my pant legs. I would be stopping in Texarkana to charge up in about 20 minutes. Aunt Rebbecca's son, Trent, was managing a 24-hour RV/campground and I was certain, he'd find me a dry spot.

Monday, December 24

Bringing Good Cheer

May all the merry angels bring love, light and laughter to our weary world. May each of us bring healing, positivity, and purpose to the new year. May 2019 be filled with hopes and successful efforts to unify our world, not in fear but in love. May we all strive to see the good in everyone and everything. And, may we focus on this good and allow it to expand and sustain our human race and our beautiful planet. May all beings know love and peace.