Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Obsessions Confessions- Part May

I'm overdue for an obsessions post, no?

Oh but you are in for it… for this Kate is feeling mischievous and slightly misbehaved.

I'm going to throw this one out there- without explanation.  Consider it a mystery of my life here… Blue Smartwool.  Consider it a challenge, a code to decipher.  Just what, Kate, just what is the point of the Blue Smartwool?  Mine to know- yours to decode.

This song.  It's old.  But I found it again this weekend.  And here's the thing about it:

Well I wish I could kill you, 
savor the sight. 
Get into my car, drive into the night- 
Then lie as I scream to the heavens above, 
that I was the last one you ever loved.

That is, without a doubt, the most delicious series of lines in a song.  This is the dark side of love: wanting to be the last in a line of lovers.  Wanting to be the one who makes the most (or is it the least?) sense and making your lover forget everyone and everything else.  Only a band from New Orleans could make that desperate and that sensuous of a point.

And really, my obsession with Better Than Ezra is a long time running- ever since the first of many concerts I attended.  I watched the lead singer essentially make love to the microphone.  I was done for.  Seriously.  Done. For.

This song, too.  Much newer, but all the same- significant in it's own way.  This is the kind of dream that I imagine dancing to.  I imagine my other, my lover, my partner in crime coming home to me cooking, listening to music.  And there, in the kitchen, he pulls me to him and we dance.  What better place is there to dance than the kitchen?  And to what better song?

I beyond adore tattoos and tattooing.  All of you know this, I am incapable of denying it.  It has been suggested that I get a tattoo of 'Atlas'.  Which is brilliant and will absolutely happen when I find the right design, right artists.  But birds might have to happen first- birds along the collarbone so that I can take flight by lifting my arm: birds from feathers.  I have also considered the merits of:


But I have no idea where.  My wrist?  The back of my neck?  Behind my ear?  Where or where does one put the words of the blood and bones of an Englishman?

Get ready for it!  Actor obsession.  Love this dude.  For sure love this dude.  Because of his delectable badness…. Yum.

Also… mountains. Mountains, Mountains, Mountains.

Always mountains, my loves.

Until next time…

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

One of Ten Thousand (Impossible Dreams)

Every single time I read something, one more component of one more facet of one of my ten thousand impossible dreams becomes a little clearer, a little more cohesive- cohered in my brain as equal parts manageable, reachable and utterly far-fetched, absurd and (as the name implies) impossible.

On the plane from Charlotte to Philadelphia, I started 'A Good Year'.  I continued it on the plane to Manchester.  It is the kind of book I take on when I feel like an easy read to get me back in the flow of things; when I haven't been able to sit down and properly devour a book in a while, I need something charming and nostalgic to get me eating again. And it did exactly that.

Half a book later, I landed in New Hampshire after a weekend of glory in North Carolina, wanting to immediately hop another plane and restart life in France. How much trouble could I possibly get into, right?

Yep,  one of my ten thousand impossible dreams- to leave this North American life behind and take up, myself, my dog, a straw hat and espadrilles, in France.  Perhaps Spain- either would work honestly (where do I sign up for a relative to bequeath me land?).  The landscape of Provence charms me at the moment so that component of place takes shape with ease.

What I would not give for an ancient farmhouse, table set outside in the violet sunset, air shimmering with summer heat and fragrance.  What I would not give for a love with whom I can share wine and laughter and the sweetest and simplest of lives in that farmhouse.  What I would not give for the opportunity to feel alive and part of the landscape- to feel good; to walk through a local village and make up stories for the old men playing boules, the same old men who yell in savory foreign languages at me when I accidentally walk across their courts.

One of tens of thousands of impossible dreams. 

At the same time I pick up Frank O'Hara's 'Lunch Poems' and immediately being that great of a writer is set into my dreams as well.  It is a movable impossible dream- to be a great poet, a great writer; great enough to make a living because other people actually want to read what I have to say- in poetry, in prose, in essays or long works of (non)fiction. 

Combine the two, and another element solidifies in my mind's eye.  On top of the table that is set outside is a manuscript, half typed, half hand-written and waiting to be typed.  It sits under some trinket that I bought on a whim at the airport, or maybe at the local antique market, that I use as a paperweight.  It has been discarded, for the moment, in favor of the every-evening drink which keeps us company as we witness the sunset.  It has been discarded in favor of a bowl of olives which are oily in their dream-goodness, crackers with soft cheese and maybe anchovies or artichoke hearts.  It has been discarded in favor of bare feet, languorous stretches, and head-thrown-back laughter (although if is even beginning to be possible, I am not nearly that graceful, the laughter would be through the wine, which would be spit or spilled).

And then Henry (he's inevitable) starts barking. 

Back to work, Mom.. Bark to work.

The sigh of the impossible, Friends.  Until next time.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Allowance (or Questions)

As always, words are on my mind. 

I have meandered through, picked apart and hashed out the meanings of some specific words on this blog- words like 'Obedience' or 'Responsibility;' words like 'Disease' or 'Disorder.'  I have taken time and language to figure out what 'Wilderness' means to me- a word that constantly grows in and attracts significance in my mind; a word that I like to use as my own.

Lately, though... lately I have wondered about 'allow', 'allowed', 'allowance.'  Allowance is a loaded word- one that has lost it's meaning for money.  But there are at least three working definitions for 'allow', so let us begin there.  Merriam Webster defines 'allow' as:

1) To permit (something): to regard or treat (something) as acceptable.

2) To permit (someone) to have or do something.

3) To permit (someone) to go or come, in, out, etc.

And those are the short ends of the definition stick.  Allowing someone to do something.  Allowing oneself to do something. Permitting, having, doing, accepting- coming and going.. all of these words are tied up in 'allow.'  And the longer I roll that word around my tongue, the longer I let it follow old grooves in my brain, the more complicated it gets, the more important it becomes.  Accepting the comings and goings; Permitting the having and wanting and doing.  The importance grows with the implication of personal allowance and permission (and we all know how I feel about permission).

Because 'allow' mutates into 'allowed'- which is when the questions begin. 'Am I allowed to care (and about who)?  'Am I allowed to love and feel concern (if so, how much)?'  'Are others allowed to be concerned for me? to love me? to care for me? (hell, am I allowed any of those for myself?)'  'Have I allowed them that privilege (and privilege here reads all that pain, all that responsibility, all that devastation)?'

'When am I allowed to go off-script, to break the rules, to ad-lib?' 'Am I allowed any say in any of this?' 'What am I allowed to want? What do I, can I allow myself to want?'

Who allows?

Who is allowed?

'Was I allowed to eat today?' 'Did I allow myself enough to eat, enough to sustain even a muted life?' 'Did the Beast allow me a moment of peace, an instant of relaxed hope? (and no, the Beast is not Henry). 'Was I allowed to shrug my shoulders, even for a heartbeat; just long enough to let some of the weight of this incessant burden I carry fall away?' 'Will I be allowed a second of relief today? Am I allowed to close my eyes for just a second, today, and feel lightness of being?'

And that's not even the half of it.  Because then 'allow' and 'allowed' move to the most frightening: 'allowance.'  Which, to me, has little to do with payment for chores or for good behavior.  

I think about allowance and it takes on much more potent implications and this sets off a totally different set of questions. I start to wonder, how many times I have cashed mine in, my allowance?  How much of my life allowance have I spent trying to buy myself more time, to buy off the Beast?  When I make bargains with myself and with others, am I using some reserve allowance of power that really isn't mine to use at all?  Am I borrowing against an allowance that is running out fast- that I cannot replenish because I really don't do enough life chores?

And what allowance is this life worth?  The half-lived life of the half-mad?

And from whom do I get permission for this?  From whom do I seek answers?  Who is allowed to tell me, give me, permit me, accept me, come and go with me, live and want with me?  Who allows me to be?

Who allows me?


And on that note, friends.  Don't Freak Out. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Exchange

I very nearly titled this one… 'Reciprocity, Bitches.'

Digression at the beginning is not, however, the way to go.

In order to fully understand this blog post- you should probably read this one first: a friend's musings on the meaning of haunting, haunts, the haunting of places, times, people.

His post got me thinking about exchanges (in a typically round-about fashion).  If we leave something of ourselves to haunt a place, a time, a person (if we have or make haunts)- do we get something in exchange? Do we not become the haunts of the others, haunted by the others?

If we leave something of ourselves- do we not get the chance to take something as well?  Is there not an exchange of being-ness?

From Australia
For example- I have traveled and lived all over this planet.  I literally have haunts in so many towns, so very many cities, that many states, and too many countries with that many people all over said planet.  But for all these places, spaces, people that I have haunted; for all these places, spaces, and people who have a part of me eternally with them, don't I carry a return piece with me?
From China

Am I making (no) sense (at all) yet?

Let me put it this way and in a very clipped, edited fashion: From Australia I took (or did it give me?) gold, GOLD; from China the meaning and impression of new, young love (and smog, of course. Also, maybe lung cancer); from New Zealand- both times- I took… indescribable- the knowledge that there are, indeed, things that take no, will have no, words.  And that is only three of the many, so many, too many.

From New Zealand… 

And what was that exchange? I left in Australia the first sigh of waking every morning to birds calling at dawn; I left in China a little of my naiveté, and some of my heart; in New Zealand I left such lit joy- such knowledge of and gratefulness for goodness.

There, you see, that is the give-and-take of it.  We have Haunts, we Haunt- we are Haunted.  All ghosts come from and go to.  They are left behind; they follow.

We come from and go to; we are left behind and follow.

The place that opens up in our souls when we create a haunt needs to be filled somehow.  The piece of me that I left in the open-air market in Amsterdam- the hole it left behind is filled with the scent of tulips; the fear of zombies from seeing 'Night of the Living Dead' the first time (it played at a bar there, on Halloween night- the undead attacked from a screen behind me while I sang 'Like a Virgin' during Karaoke).

The gaping hole left behind the first time I left New Hampshire is filled with mountains.   The piece of me I left in Iceland- well, I took away some sort of heritage.

And in and from North Carolina?  Only and ever love.

And it never seems to matter, how many places I go.  It does not matter how many people I meet, how much time I spend.  There is always a part of me left behind.  And there is inevitably a part of everything else in me.

Much love.  Too much until Next Time?

Saturday, May 3, 2014

A Singular Obsession

I recently discovered a band called Augustines.  And yes, yes I did discover them on a terrible series on Hulu.  And no, no I will not tell you which one.

Moving on- their album Augustines has been creeping over and over up on me.  I listened to it today, walking Henry and running.  This is the album of the summer I think: this is windows down, volume up, and let the Jeep fly album.

All the songs are delicious in their own muddled mixture of Springsteen-esque/U2-ish/BonIver-dom.

Weary Eyes is Longing.

Cruel City is Jump Around and Dance.

Nothing to Lose But Your Head… well, I already have a theme song.  But this one is pulling a close second.  For these lyrics:

Have you ever felt lonely?
Like your hollow heart's hanging in the wind?
Your black lungs can't breathe
Ya got nothing to lose but your head

(Um, yes.)

There are nights that I can't sleep
My mind feels like an
Empty parking lot for the unloved and lonesome ones
They sit at a table in my head, 
My head, you feel see through
Like everyone sees your heart
Is blown apart, that it's crippled
And cracked and had enough…

(Yes again.  Cracked and had enough… and sometimes every inch of me is that empty parking lot...)

Have you ever lost someone?
Screamed Holy Mary down the hall
Or cried against the steering wheel?
And hated every mirror you ever saw?

(Yes. Yes. Yes and Yes. YES).

Have you reached out in a cold cold night
Waved goodbye into headlights, or known you were wrong your whole life?
The day you felt true love, love…
You feel see through
Like everyone sees your heart
Is blown apart, that it's crippled
And cracked and had enough…

(Again with the YES.)

You can understand, maybe, why I would designate this a secondary theme song.  Every single word in this lyric set screams.. Hi Kate.

Hating mirrors, crying against steering wheels, struggling to fill a hollow heart?  I have done all of these things.

I have cried against steering wheels and then leaned my head back and continued to cry against the headrest in the Jeep.. in both of my Jeeps.  In my mom's Mustang and my old Mercedes.

I have threatened to break all of the mirrors in my world.  (If you search 'mirrors' in my blog- you'll get a sense of why I might not love them.)

I have had those conversations, on the dark nights of the soul, with the other lonely ones who inhabit my space.

And that heart- I have tried to cobble that cracked heart back together more times than I care to number.

I love this song.

Until we next meet…

Thursday, May 1, 2014

May Day Dreams

It does not feel like Beltane in New England- not today.  Today it feels like dreary.

Especially after a night of nonstop dreams.  I dreamt of dogs; I dreamt of you; I dreamt of buying bikes and learning to waltz with Richard Fosse (Sherri was there, too); I dreamt of you again.

Let me go backward before I go forward:

Beltane has a lot to do with cleansing and protecting- cleanse the soul, homestead, the heart.  Protect the same.  Make sure our business is in order so that as we move to the lightness of the year we can dance and celebrate and live with that lightness…. without worry, without fear.

And dreams have a way of cleansing the mind, of offering it some protection, some revelation, in sleep.    Dreams are nightly May Days… they set up possibilities, and then knock them down in equal fashion. They open doors, windows, and let the air through.  Fresh air for the spirit.

Until next time,

Open the window, let the air through.