Poetry/Prose

Keep Moving, Mapmaker

PS: Did you ever notice how  phallic the NYC metro map is?

PS: Did you ever notice how phallic the NYC metro map is?

You are a cartographer
Your life is a map
There are ways to get places
And there are experiments that result in dead ends
No shortcuts
No guarantees, except:
Every day life gives you a chance to improve your resolution

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Poetry/Prose

elf-600-still

Talk to the person who seems the most opposite to you

Maybe they turn you off, annoy you a bit, even scare you

Talk to them, and love that part of you that you hide from yourself

That part they were lingering around to help you find

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Poetry/Prose

Fists are for Fighting

hand-tattoo-tnKeep your hands open!

It comes

That thing you want so bad

And all you want to do is curl your fist around it

But then it changes

Gets crushed

Resents the journey it took

To reach you

And all it wants

All anything wants

Is to be free

When it escapes

It has memorized that terror

It will not return

So keep your hands open

Through everything

Keep them open

When it comes

Whatever it is

Whoever it is

Whenever it is

Keep ‘em open

Observe

Don’t shoot it

Don’t trap it

Don’t catch it

Become one with it

Appreciate it

Support it

Wish it well

When it goes

Keep OPEN

Because that’s the only way

Anything good

Will ever get in

And anything past its use

For your living soul

Will escape

The end

Is the beginning

Make it end good

Like Seinfeld

Most of all remember:

The fist begins in the mind

Train the mind

When the bird of love lands

To keep open

Smile so deeply inside

Without disturbing the winged one’s nature

As you support it

In your open wide hand

One day, the bird will land that wants to call your hand home

Before you realize it

Your open hand will be covered in straw

Baby birds warming themselves atop it, chirping

And on that day, you will feel

You never had to make a fist

You never had to do anything

To enjoy the natural splendor

Of love’s most natural flight

And necessary landing

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Poetry/Prose

Who Do You Think You Are?

Image courtesy clashot.com

Image courtesy clashot.com

Let me put it this way

We lose a civilization

With every extinction

Everyone

Has the wisdom of society

Even if we only see

With our narrow minds

Their purpose relative to us

Entertainment

Nuisance

Food

Transportation

Companionship

Lives marked

If survived

By our reactions

To convenience

Or inconvenience

Reckoning

We never will

As everyone collides

Millions and millions of galaxies worth

Of us

Species, families, kingdoms

Come

Call them what you want

Put them in silly categories

The birds would laugh

If they could or would

Pull focus

On the tiny speck

Of humanity’s rationale

It’s absurd

This obsession

Running away

From what we don’t know

By making up stories

Of what we think we do

You will get so much further

Watching, listening, whispering

Submitting

To your territory

Your dharma

And wide amazement

To all others’

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Poetry/Prose

The Holy Cow

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 3.18.40 PMOh holy cow

No more questions

Am old enough

To turn around

To see

The sacred pattern

Sure of itself

So much more

And nothing more

Than me and you

All that you have lived

Through all I have been

My existence

In every tense

Is what you longed to see

What would happen?

You never asked

If I became

So now I can only open

Every morning of my life

As you flood my eyes

Punctuate my dreams

With the actions

That I am

Forging

For what you aim to know

What you aim to see

What you wish to be

Oh holy cow

So many reasons

So many seasons

So many toys

My mind plays

Tiny games

It is true

And meaningless

In the moments

I have never arranged

The cells of my body

The truth

The causes

The effects

This beautiful work

In my soul’s wake

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Poetry/Prose, Sugar Free

Sometimes (The Spiral Stairwell)

What I have come to know about life is that it’s like a stairwell

You grow to understand, you climb it alone

Sometimes it smells like roses, is lined with velvet

Sometimes memories hang on its walls

Haunting you

Delighting you

Teasing your obsession

Sometimes all you want

Is to keep looking up

At that point

Where it turns

The invisible beyond

You see out the windows

Shout to the psychics

Tarot cards flutter in the air

Their colorful, suggestive pictures

Whisper and hint

You will never be sure

Sometimes it’s musty

Or so sophisticated

Clean

Like Handel

And a book

And some tea

At times it’s alienating

Like the private schoolyard

And your poverty

When it’s warm

For a moment

You can’t remember

Difficulty

Before again

It’s raining

It’s a rainbow

It’s freezing

And all you can do

Is smell the cold

Feel the Jack Frost mirage

Grab your mind

Point your eyes

To your crying toes

Sometimes it will feel

Like a warm embrace

From a long-lost friend

From many lives

The wells divide again

And it will feel

Like the indifference

Of a 1.5 year lover

Deciding on a seeming dime

He didn’t love you

And by the way

He never really did

Or, more importantly

Like a breathtaking gesture

Of a friend

Who drops thousands of dollars

And a weekend

To help you

Without your asking

This place offers you ecstasy

In its many forms

That never last

This place will feel

Like contractions

Pushing you through

Everything

You didn’t know

You could survive

And we all know it

It can be to some, sometimes

So fucking cruel

The walls

Pock marked with bullet holes

Spattered with blood

Pieces of bone

Soft, spongy white hints of brain tissue

Sometimes it’s slippery

You fall, break yourself

Are forced

To slow down

Remember your feet

Reframe your journey

Sometimes it’s on fire

You have to drop everything

Run for your life

Sometimes it feels

Like you are falling down

Moving backward

Sometimes you think

It will always be this way

But it will never be, always

It will always be sometimes

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Poetry/Prose, Yoga & Spiritual

Can You Taste It, Yet?

the_moment_before__by_Pretty_As_A_PicturePeople can complain about it being the cause of all problems.

But frankly, the most annoying thing about ego is that it’s predictable.

Because it uses the moment instead of being in it, it’s really not so super creative.

It’s got a plan, it’s hungry, it wants to feed itself. Period.

If you watch it a while, you will think “why am I watching something not quite as exciting as CSPAN?”

And yet it gets really high ratings and people sacrifice a lot of time for it.

This numbing, predictable affair–with ego.

Watch it long enough and its pattern is clear; you’ll know what happens next.

You think you are doing a different dance, in a different place, at a different time, but when you dance with ego, it’s always the same, predictable gig.

Inside a closed bubble of ambition.

Some needless drama, as pattern overtakes innovation .., inspiring just a touch of insanity, assuaged by activity, producing more of the same.

So how do you get out?

You ask, and even demand to know!

If I’m such a smarty pants, what’s the solution?!

I guess I’m like anyone else, always inclined to engage in this predictable pattern, but awakening to the fact that if I stand away from it a bit, I can turn away from it.

This constant, superficial identity crisis that reinforces itself.

But what do any of us turn toward?

You ask me and I’ll say this:

The moment.

And if you ask me in five minutes, I’ll say the same thing.

Put all your senses on it.

Close your eyes, can you see it?

Close your hands, can you feel it?

Close your mouth, can you taste it, yet?

 

 

 

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Poetry/Prose, Yoga & Spiritual

Sit Down, Close Your Eyes, Watch the Movie

"A Time of Reflection--Crow"--credit: James Ayers Studios: http://jamesayers.com/original-artwork/sold-work/a-time-of-reflection-gallery/

“A Time of Reflection–Crow”–credit: James Ayers Studios: http://jamesayers.com/original-artwork/sold-work/a-time-of-reflection-gallery/

It’s a matter of time–your life.

Humans make the most of it through reflection.

That is the one power that differentiates us.

 

Was the movie good?

I’ll tell you in four days, when the scenes still play in my mind, or don’t.

Is that person important in my life?

I need time–to miss them, time to notice that so many of the things that they did and said still come to my mind, as if they speak them in the moments, when I remember … days, months, years later.

If we are smarter than the little part of ourselves–the part that wants to be king, that runs like a rat on crack–we catch a pattern.

We start seeing people in the moments: for what we predict we will feel and know, days, weeks, months later.

If we’re lucky, if we reflect, enough, we develop this capacity and we use it automatically.

It becomes a deeper drive, righting our interactions with others.

If we sit still. If we pause, again and again, we see these things.

We become human, and we split off enough from our animal, come to know, our godselves.

We develop the film of our life so that the picture gets clearer and clearer. In the darkroom.

In the quiet, dark, still space–behind our closed eyelids and between our palms, spread apart, setting aside, our time.

We gain the power, to start seeing, through time.

Some of us do this. I do this. It doesn’t make me special, it’s just what I have chosen to do. And so can you … for now …

It’s so funny to me … and sad to see … how it’s always been and will always be a matter of time.

 

 

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Poetry/Prose, Yoga & Spiritual

Is it … Desire?

My cat, Pasha--image and editing: mine

My cat, Pasha–image and editing: mine

Was looking at my cat’s fur, as I do often

How perfectly it grows

Most people think about how annoying its shedding is

I guess I like to think of how it grows

Where it comes from

 

There’s something so elegant about cats

Inspiring if you watch them

The way they move

Their very structure

Springy joints

Powerful, understated muscles

This fur

The way it lines his face

The tiny, short hairs growing along his nose

 

And I wonder and wonder

What makes this fur grow?

What holds all of the cells of his fur together?

What commands the molecules that join to make the cells?

What?

 

Those molecules, those atoms, they can do whatever they want

But something commands them, to become, his fur

 

And then I start to think, about everything, this way

What holds anything together?

Is it …

 

What if it was, desire

What if I sit here and type

Because of desire?

 

The two cells that started what I am

They were held together by something

Their molecules

 

The molecules, the atoms

That could be doing whatever they want

Somehow, they come together

To do something very specific

 

Scientists will laugh at me now

DNA child, it’s DNA

But with this mind of a child

I will continue ceaselessly

As if it were a matter of my favorite toy

On the shelf

 

The answers

Like that toy

Will never satisfy

As much as inspire

More and more

Questions

More and more looking

At more and more toys

More and more answers

That never complete

This … desire?

 

I’m going to keep on asking

Like the scientists do, too

Because maybe I’m not just a child

Maybe I am one of them

Maybe we all can be

 

What brings that DNA together?

What commands those molecules?

What is it?

 

Look at anything around you

Ask yourself–what is it?

 

Whatever it is, you are a product of it

So am I

 

And if it’s desire, shouldn’t we tune into it?

I mean, if you do something you don’t desire

Aren’t you going against it?

 

If two people don’t share a desire

It is incomplete

Nothing will hold together

It will break apart

 

If someone stalks you

You will ask the police to come

You will tell the person to fuck off

A million times

Even if their molecules

Construct an ego

That won’t listen

 

You are part of this desire matrix

Telling molecules what to do

Your molecules

Someone else’s

 

The configuration we are discussing now

My fingers and your mind

As you read this

There is a command of molecules, atoms

 

The electric attention of your mind

If a video can travel over invisible space and time

To reach your phone

Why can’t desire bring this message to your mind?

And your mind to draw its own conclusions?

 

I’m not convinced

Never convinced

And if you read my stuff you know

I don’t believe anything

So that I can study everything

 

And today, I wonder

 

What is it?

Is it … desire?

 

 

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Poetry/Prose, Sugar Free, Yoga & Spiritual

The Blue Star

Image credit: Iribel on Deviantart.com--"Center of the Universe"/Extensive filters/editing: mine

Image credit: Iribel on Deviantart.com–“Center of the Universe”/Extensive filters/editing: mine

Quixotic

All the chances

Body languages

Mine

Your mother tongue

Oh animal

 

Before I change my mind

Another time

You wait

Amused

 

Ducking low

You watch my silly movie

Walking softly, nimbly

Unsuspectingly?

Through tall grass

You see everything I am

I can only smell you

Very close

 

My mind runs

Yours salivates

Lurching forward

 

The chase delights us

Makes us laugh

Say hmmmmm

Say anything

Say everything

Just right

 

You move in

Velvet piston legs

Push your hot breath

Into my living neck

 

Its perfect form

Exposed

A fragile freeway

Of vessels designed to bleed

All the bits of stars

Back to Earth

 

You feast on my guts

My eyes point to the distance

They’re still glistening

Feeling everything

 

There is no word

For the opposite of pain

The mind has no business

Here

 

Edges of Earth

All shaved and paved

We fly away

 

But I always turn around

Look back

To see

More than you

 

A burial ground

The buzzards play

My love for them

Eating bits of bone

Flying me away

To my next life

 

I no longer care

If you ever see

If you ever know

What I do

What I give

And what I get

 

It is enough

That I give it all

To show you

 

That some animals

Are more than animals

 

I visit that place when I want

When it wants me

When it needs us

To die

 

I go where we go

And leave it behind

 

Stardust never settles

 

Never forget

You are

I am

Human

 

And humans know themselves

Can die to themselves

Rise again and again

 

I only see you when I feel like it

When you feel like it

And lately, we  just happen to

Lately, we just happen to

 

Every time you think I’m dead

I’m human

I’m watching you

And I know you’re watching me

 

When memories come

Running through the bush

I watch them close

Find their patterns

Chase them down

Admire them deeply

Aim assured

Shoot them all, dead

 

Crumple what we said

On paper

Under some twigs

Haul in a log

Start the fire

Burn everything

Into the light

That dots the sky

 

It’s a succulent feast!

That feeds my growing bones

Stronger than before

In every new place

We found together

To break

 

What is over

Never ends

To me

 

And one day, darling, I will say

What stars don’t need to

And won’t

 

Did you ever dream to see

How lucky we said I am

Become so pitifully odd

To recall

When you know

And feel a hunger

That might never end

Except

 

Oh

How lucky you are

To hold stardust in your hands

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Poetry/Prose, Sugar Free

Happy Endings

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Usually I need music to write

But I sit in silence tonight

Because something has been pulling me

Like thread

Finally, through the eye of a needle

Just noticed now

After 30-odd years

 

Like an eight year-old girl

Tugging on the hand of a woman almost 40

Tugging her through scenarios

She thought the gods wanted

Tugging and tugging

 

Year after year

And she thought she was older

Past all that

Just living like people do

With ups and downs

And downs and downs

And stories and fodder

For blogs and books

 

Tonight she discovered

This tugging child

Some weird flinch

In her hand

That words in a book

Drew her eyes finally

To look down

In one breathtaking moment

To see

That little fist

Strangling her fingers

 

Yes, tonight was the night

After a particular series of events

That seemed loving

Could have been more loving

Found me in the bathtub

Looking up from a book

Weaving words

Through my mind’s voice

Running films of the past

‘Or my mind’s eyes

 

Dumbfounded

Aware

The girl was right there

Always has been

Tugging at me

Only now

Looking at me

 

Like thousands of yesterdays ago

Playing out

That kermit the frog sweatshirt

Anemic face

Blue, penetrating eyes

Nerves like a rabbit

Distracted, wild

Lost, somehow

Yet stunningly lucid

 

Her hunger for love palpable

Her attention

A warm breeze of empathy

With survival-grade hooks

Save me

She could have said

 

Instead, she smiled

Looking down at an angle

Nowhere

 

Her fist squeezing tighter

Around my hand

 

I wiped my eyes

Collected myself

Asked her some questions

Began to weep some more

 

Oh, you only have two pairs of pants?

She looked down regretting her penchant for truth

 

Who are your friends here?

Well why don’t they talk to you?

What do your parents do?

Oh.

 

All I want to do is adopt her

Tell her I have nice clothes for her

That we can talk every day

When she gets home from school

 

I will make her snacks

She doesn’t have to wait until dinner

Fight over fish sticks

Tuck her importance deeper

Every night

Into her pajama pockets

 

Everybody did their best

It’s not about them, anymore

It’s about us

Now it’s our turn

 

Lucky for her

She has no choice

And neither do I

 

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Poetry/Prose

The New Dementia (SOC reflections on time with grandma)

Grandma finishing a puzzle of my sister and I on an iPad (Image/editing credit: mine)

Grandma finishing a puzzle of my sister and I on an iPad (Image/editing credit: mine)

Last night

We sliced through darkness

*

Turned on hairpins

Of winding roads

*

Where headlights end

Imagination begins

*

A lone car on the highway

Gliding over bluffs

Between two tiny towns

*

It’s 55–she announced

Bundled in a blanket

Sitting soft, still

A mother hen

*

How dare I argue

With 93 years

Of grandma

*

How dare I do anything

But dance

With her dementia

*

“Where is Jennifer?”

With Connie

“Where are you staying?”

Cedarberry

“Have you seen your dad yet?”

We just had dinner with him–remember?

“Where are you staying?”

Cedarberry

“Oh … that’s nice.”

*

*Smile,* repeat
Not exactly

*

“Where’s Jennifer?!”

 With Connie

*

Meantimes

Watching emotions

Chasing tornadoes

Forgetting

Remembering

*

Over and over

Those days

Her council

Gone

*

Who am I?

Without her

*

Anyway

*

Transcendent spirit

We are one

*

Your Soul

The Wizard of Oz

*

The silent mind

Your yellow-brick road

*
The brain

Data processor

Emotional processor

Memory processor

Word processor

*
Fathom?

If there were no words

Could you think about it?

*

Other languages

You’ll never know

And those people

With those tongues

They think about it

*
Not enough sleep

Not enough will

Not enough understanding

Systems crash

Get old

Couldn’t think

Even if one wanted to

*
The soul rises

Shining through logic’s cracks

*
The demented mind

Ever as bright

Just, somehow, now

Diffuse

Like the feathers of a dove

Flown away

Left behind

*

We know they were there

*
We hold hands

She tells me what to do

Forgets

Asks

Surrenders

*
To everyone else’s words

*
I remove her shoes and socks

Rub her feet

Help her into her nighty

Assist her with her dentures

See a part of her

*
Vulnerable

Agitated

Reaching constantly

Again and again

For the slipping veil

Grace

*
Through her

I find a part of myself

The selfless part

*
“Emily,” she says

“You are such a big help”

*
But I can’t take all that

I’d be nothing

Without her

*
She sits on bed’s edge

Swings her legs up

Rolls to her side

*

Grandma, are you comfortable?

“No.”

*

Let’s get you comfortable.

*
She turns to me

Her blue-green eyes

Targeting

As they always have

My very soul

*
She smiles

Shakes her head softly

As if I missed the point

*

“No, hehe—it’s okay; I won’t be comfortable.”

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Poetry/Prose, Yoga & Spiritual

Have I Grown Up Yet? (this is not a poem!)

Image credit: mine

Image credit: mine

I would be lying to say that the past couple weeks were not a washing machine of “didn’t I already pass this test?!” and “are you f&^%$ kidding me, universe?!” moments.

And yet, I prayed–through the shadows cast continuously by this series of personal retrogrades–that there was indeed a reason for all of it. Strangely, situations that were familiar and disturbing at the outset saw unfamiliar resolutions based on a new level of clarity. Something I played a lot of life, hard, to win. And as the days have passed since a lot of the storm settled, I am starting to get it. There’s always a delay–always!

In plain English: I went through a bunch of shit that I had been through a long time ago, in very abbreviated ways, so that I could ensure that the situations ended totally differently based on the level of maturity I have attained.

Like most westerners I know, I need some kind of definition or reason–as dumb as that sounds considering my size and life’s importance in the grand scheme of things–and so if I must have this I would preliminarily say that all this bullshit lately is to show me that indeed I have grown up.

I mean “the proof,” the universe seems to say, verbatim, “is in the fact that you are going through the same scenarios but the endings are better: more about a long-term solution and a win-win scenario.”

Me: Am I growing up? Am I? Have I changed? Why do you want me to go through these dumb things?

Universe: How the heck would you know without a repeat of stuff you went through 20 years ago, in extreme fast-forward motion, with a completely different resolution and very little reaction on your part while it all went down?!

Me: Ooooh … yeah; I guess you’re right. (laughing)

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Music/Book Reviews, Poetry/Prose, Yoga & Spiritual

We Will (Wear the Satin Jackets)

Seems to me that one of the greatest mistakes I’ve made so far is to assume that just because it feels and felt so good to be close to them, that any of the loves of my life provide me with answers.

On the contrary, upon their attractive entrance, they open new lines of inquiry: into myself, into life itself, into what it means to love, into my past, into my deepest fears, plunging me deeper and deeper, lifting me higher and higher, below and beyond an outdated recognition of self.

In fact, as we draw closer to anyone, we are pulled into the unconscious, the out-of-control part of ourselves. All our little secrets from ourselves, once anesthetized by comfortable solitude are awakened and name-tagged by a connection that precariously and paradoxically tempts us with our oneness and announces our division.

If we live in love, if we live bravely, we are always being stretched.

We can run away. We can cling too tightly when the lessons are done. Many do. I know I have, sometimes. Then comes a time when the soul gets hungry for what it needs, overrides the silly and pointless aversion of nature and all of her gracious, healing elements.

In this staying, with anyone, we realize that it’s the conscious gestures that are the rudder and the sails on our soul in a massive sea of self-and-other navigation–we learn through trials and pain to balance amidst the incessant stirring of these unconscious waters by relationship.

Essentially, the things we have conscious control over are the means to making what is inherently unpleasant–the tilling up of our most rigid personal soils–bearable and even enjoyable.

From the smallest, unseen, secret, subtle gestures to the most overt displays of affection–our conscious effort offsets what is natural with mechanisms termed civil … even, superficially, “loving.” Be they efforts toward the self or other, stuff that comes easy or changes that are tough, they are conscious.

In the end of the day, however, it is the submersion in this shadowy, unconscious sea, brave and ready for regular humiliation, that is the ultimate act of love in a universe held together by it.

I know today, who I am. But I’m ready, always ready, for you to change me, love. Because whether I surrender or not, you are doing this with every thought I think, every feeling I feel. Whether I want you to or not is irrelevant. Because you gave me life itself, we will.

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Oyster crackers in tomato soup

When you find a seashell in tact

The smell of the inside of a Saab

A nap on the first afternoon of a long weekend

When you just know you’re a 10 out of 10

The random toddler choosing YOUR company

A long chat about stuff you couldn’t find by yourself

Anything fun that’s out of the blue

A good red at sunset on a white quartz beach

That undefinable second after a good, long cry or laugh

Tom Hanks in the 80s

 

 

 

 

 

 

Movie Reviews

Review: Saving Mr. Banks

SAVING MR. BANKSThis is definitely one in the ‘wait for it’ category. It’s got some stuff working against it–big budget, Disney, stars who usually ride the integrity line but have been know to trip over it–but word on the street prompted me to give it more consideration and even a rent click last night.

In short: Tom Hanks (The Man with One Red Shoe) and Emma Thomas (Dead Again) star in this big budget tale of the making of Mary Poppins. Yeah, I know, you don’t know those movies … or maybe you do and are seriously tickled by nostalgia now. Anyway, allow me to digress away from digression to continue this review:

I’m writing about this one because:

a) It manages to take a true-life story and surgically carve out a plot that keeps the audience suspended in the beautiful, colorful, cheerful elements of a time period–indeed, we are warmly invited behind the scenes to witness a process around creating a children’s movie inspired by an incredibly dark childhood

b) Like the protagonist, I (and many others) experienced the disabling reality-check of losing a parent when young as well as the side effects of an alcoholic parent

Basically, this film was so resonant, so earnestly crafted and yet so light-hearted that I can hardly believe it exists! It was like eating a bag of marshmallows without the sugar low … like someone invented very nutritious marshmallows.

Saving Mr. Banks draws its strength from colorfully masking the drama of an emotionally-paralyzed genius author (P.L. Travers) being forced to reconcile her past baggage with the help of a sing-song Los Angeles creative team and interactions with Disney himself. We witness the contagion of her deep despair as the Disney artists fight against her controlling, heavy, relentless adaptations to life itself.

We see that the film in essence documents the power of human love, vision and dedication to turn one woman’s incredible misery into a movie that would bring joy and laughter to millions of children (Poppins, incidentally, was the first film I ever saw in a movie theatre!).

Through its very basic interspersion of past (20s/30s Australia) and not-so-past (1960s LA and London), the film helps us easily into the shoes of all of the characters, with particular focus on Disney and P.L. Travers (the author of Mary Poppins). Moreover, filmmakers today have discovered a way to ride a line between fantasy and reality given camera angles/lenses, makeup and high definition technology so that you experience something just beyond real, in a way where you can detach, enjoy and let the deeper elements of what is being expressed slink around your defenses.

The next morning you might wake up, like I did, into a dream, of highlights you remember from a film like this. Deep thoughts about your own life that suddenly other people understand, all-to-well … what few would be able to say directly, and many would join together to convey in a film like this: that the hardships we face, in early life or anytime in life, are opportunities to find grace, and in more intense cases opportunities to make something so deeply touching to countless other people. Everything we see as a weakness has the potential to be our greatest strength. If we’d only have the courage to step forward, firm-footed, letting go of our fearful grip on the past.

But is it really that simple? Never.

We see how difficult if not impossible it is to let go of the past for Travers as it was absolutely essential that she didn’t in order to write her masterpiece! Her father preached to her young ears that  life is an illusion, supporting her deepest motivations as a successful author of a fantastic, pseudo-fictional tale of Poppins. But it could never be totally fiction, and life could never be completely fantasy to a girl who lost the love of her life at such a young age–watching her father’s slow-motion, horrific, and eventually lost battle with alcoholism. The rest of her life, clearly, is spent creating–through incredibly consistent displays of extreme control of herself and every conversation and interaction she took part in–scenarios that prevent any possibility of such loss, ever again, even if it meant extreme isolation even in crowds (the bar scene in the movie might cause people to wonder why it’s even there, but it’s perfectly essential to the outline of her character).

Disney and Travers, Disney and Travers … but to me, the most important character in the film is her driver, Ralph, by (Paul Giamatti). He provides a striking contrast to how one handles extreme disappointment.

Over the course of the film–through her ice-cold, demanding, correcting ways–you see that he doesn’t expect anything from Travers and moves with a lot of grace around her rigidity. It’s as if he understands her but has not taken such an approach on life himself and doesn’t at all realize that his approach is far, far more functional. Indeed, through the film we realize he more than understands her, because–due to his daughter’s disability–he is on an almost identical path.

Just like Travers, Ralph has had to reconcile extreme disappointment related to the disease* of a loved one. His path, however, doesn’t allow him to control anything because his daughter is alive and needs him to continuously let go of himself and his idea of the way things ‘should be’ so that he can love her. He has been on an underrated path of grace since the moment his daughter was born. By that comparison, the death of a loved one would be a cake walk, only marred by a person’s sense that they can control everything thereafter in a perfectly futile attempt to ensure that nothing like that could ever happen, again.

 

*Alcoholism, beyond addiction, is a disease folks–alcohol is widely known among toxicologists as the only drug so powerful that, when you are deeply addicted, you need a bridge drug (barbiturates) to get off it without dying.

 

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Poetry/Prose

Ode to Anyone You’d Best Forget

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Seventeen times a day

I almost think of you

But

The stoplight turns

Bird shits on the windshield

Changed billboard

The phone goes off

Discovered cat puke

Buzzing dryer

Online billing

Ingredient labels

Water-cooler discussion

Flossing

Tortilla chips

A hand shake

Zoning out in traffic

An obvious look-over

Long smile exchange

Deep breaths

Work e-mails

What I mean to say is

That anything, really

Would be better

Than that

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Poetry/Prose

The Ticket

Image

 

Milk and honey drip

Like constant rain

From invisible breasts

Clouds of compassion

Unfathomable mother

Embracing blue sky

 

Breath

Like a thumb

Pressing softly

Between a cat’s eyes

Moving

Up and down,

Up and down

Your whole life

 

The music of our minds

Blends and finds discord

But always wants to marry

Unrequited compositions

Satisfying duets

Sacred, confident pauses

Silent meeting points

Intense recognition

 

Why fear anything?

When the sky offers its hands

Invites every concern

For safe keeping

Automatic shuffling

 

The wheel of time

More like a filmstrip

Rewind, fast forward

There you stand

In the projection room

 

Laugh when you can

Cry when you need to

You are only ever talking to yourself

Making movies

Cradled gently

Loved completely

 

Don’t you see?

Your ticket was free.

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