Hella Green Grass, Butterflies in the Wind and Not-So-Soft Knocks

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If you go back seven or eight years in this here bloggie, you will find many-a-reference to “The School of Mostly Soft Knocks”.  This is how I fondly referred to my life.  Ha!  I guess I have since graduated.  Because the knocks ain’t so soft no mo’.  I was tickled remembering this outdated version of me though…


But today in honor of the spirit of Soft Knocks, I shall mine my mind for mundane pleasures and glistening fragments of beauty which pave my Path… and put them in one, palatable pile.  Sorta like those birds that build nests out of glitzy, shiny objects.  My most recent garland of blogs have been so heavy and dark… which is fine, because I’m not here to present myself other than I AM.  (Mostly…)


But today I’m in the mood for lightness.  Lightness with a tinge of bleeding heart romanticism and wistful longing, of course.  Grin.


This morning Karuna said she saw gorgeous butterflies courageously navigating strong wind.  This is exactly what I mean.  Beauty-full… with a hint of tragedy and a splash of shattering paradox.


Perhaps I am a stunning butterfly, bravely navigating a violent wind storm.  Maybe we all are.  Exquisite and fragile… mostly invincible in our surrender.


It’s laughable that everyone else’s grass seems so much fucking greener than mine… And yet, this region of Italy in the springtime, is the greenest place I’ve ever seen.  Soft, rolling hills that sprawl on infinitely.  I was driving Serena to school this morning and she said, “Mama, do the red poppies remind you of Grandma Sumitra?”


I told her that once…  And now she occasionally feeds it back to me, precisely when I need a heaping dose of Mama.  These poppies are insouciant spots of flaming red, bursting from the endless, undulating sea of green.  I imagine driving along these country roads with my Ma sitting shotgun… her singing sincere praises of these occasional, glorious bursts of red.


My mom loved to take scenic routes and drive slow.


The poppies remind my inner child “Dawnie-cakes” of the cans of fruit cocktail she devoured back in the “good olde days”.   Remember?  Grapes, pineapple, peaches, pears… and occasional RED CHERRY.  Probably only three per can.  The scarcity made them utterly thrilling.


(How did I survive my sugar-laden childhood???  My mom bought me bags of chips ahoy and oreo cookies and set NO LIMITS on my consumption!  I could eat them till I was sick.  And I did.  And sometimes Cap’n Crunch cereal.  Which I consumed in the same over-indulgent, carefree spirit.  Kraft Cheese and Macaroni- implemented with real cheddar cheese in addition to the hella tasty, neon orange stuff in the packet…. And speaking of cheddar cheese, there’s no such thing here in Italy.  Which occasionally bums me out.)


And speaking of my mom, allow me to delight in the memory of being twenty years old, and taking a “metaphysics” class with her at our beloved Unity Church on upper Filmore Street in San Francisco.  Taught by the charismatic, southern wonder, Revered Maureen.  Ma would pick me up from my cheap, filthy house in Oakland, and drive us in her Volkswagon Rabbit convertible.  Sounds hella stylish, right?


Well, the caveat was that the top was broken, and would not go up… so we had to navigate the windy Bay Bridge and the nocturnal, foggy city scapes and sketchy lower Filmore neighborhood, totally exposed.  She kept her semi-trusty steed equipped with a mexican blanket that I desperately swaddled myself in.  She sported a decently warm jacket.  What especially tickles me about this, is that it is SO signature “My Mom”.  There were always breakdowns, challenges and struggles born of financial scarcity.  But it never stopped her from Living Life.  She still took us out to lunch and we luxuriated over many-a-latte.


In fact, she drank lattes until the day before she died.  My brother left our camp in her hospital room and went to the awesome coop grocery store just down the street (in Grass Valley), ordered my mom the latte she requested “on her deathbed” and said “Please make it GOOD.  It’s for my mom and she is about to die.”


In the words of Kurt Vonnegut, “So it goes.”


And speaking of lattes, there’s my Dad, on the opposite end of the spectrum.  He drinks Folger’s Crystals.  Religiously.  Haha and he calls it “coffee”!!!  Two cups in the morning.  Ever since I’ve known him.  Upon reflection, I LOVE THIS.  I’ve never considered him “the perfect dad”… but from the perspective of a writer, GOD YES, he’s a quintessential character in the Story of My Life.


Not too long ago, I wrote about how “fucked up” I felt by my relationship with him.  But lately, as I’ve been navigating this multidimensional web of difficulty and heart-ache, he has showed up and totally has my back.  He doesn’t always show up when I “want him”.  But when I “need him”, he is in my corner.


His name is Bart.  I always thought that was a funny name… and even a bit embarrassing… you know, because it rhymes with fart.  But since I’ve been pregnant with a boy, I’ve been more curious about name meanings.  So I googled “Bartley name origin”… And I was tickled to discover that a primary origin is Scottish, and means “Birch Meadow”.  I dare anyone to tell me that’s not just fucking LOVELY…


And dig THIS about my dad- he’s a CRAPS DEALER.  In the Biggest Little City….  Has been since before I was born.  Which is getting on forty years.  Speaking of being forty, maybe the haunted fun-house I’m lost in is a symptom of midlife crisis!  I never believed in those things… but perhaps they are real after-all.


Anyway, don’t you think that’s perfectly poetic for me???  A dad who drinks Folger’s Crystals and deals craps in Reno, is married to a spanish woman named Mercedes, who is twenty years younger than he… Oh, and he LIVES TO GOLF.  When we used to talk on the phone, golf was THE topic that would bring him alive.  I mean how much is there to SAY about GOLF…. But… it didn’t matter, because it was said with raw PASSION.


My parents separated before I was two… but I spent summers with my Dad as a kid.  Traumatic summers.  He was emotionally volatile.  And pretty damn narcissistic.  He would totally lose control and yell about dumb shit.  He had a knack for making the most simple things complicated.


And then I married him.


Yeah, I guess I’m workin’ the shit out with Giordano.  He’s too much like my dad.  I should say, like my  Dad USED to be… Dear Bartley has calmed down and smoothed out in his “old age”.  It’s actually moving to recognize my papa’s soul growth.  I feel like a proud parent when I tune in to his noble Becoming.  Yay Dad!


Anyway, I hope I pass this rigorous ”class”, and don’t need to repeat it…  In regards to working out my core wounds and karmic… I wanna say “garbage”, because I totally hate it… But I suppose one woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure.  By the Power vested in me, I declare myself vast enough to swing BOTH WAYS- I can hate my Path, and celebrate it’s nutrient-dense rightness too.


Well… how was THAT for a hearty dose of lightness?!  Haha!  I dunno about YOU, but it hit MY spot!


Oh Life….


You Unwieldy Beast…





Paradox and Wanting

I feel like picking a fight with someone today.  Anyone.  But mostly, it’s God whose bone I most want to strip bare.  Mostly I have been so blasted patient about this whole Self realization business.  But today, I have hit my limit.  I get frustrated, meditating every day and waiting for some kind of reply to plummet from heaven and splat me ecstatic… and meanwhile, toiling away in this world of strife.  Is it really a world of strife, or am I just being dramatic?  It is both.  But God?  Please come closer to me today.

I can’t think of anything to write about.  Honestly, I woke up this morning, thinking I must be living a lie.  I dedicate so much time and care to this blog… at least two hours a day.  And then an average of twenty people read it every day… I wonder why I keep doing it… Why do I keep doing it?  Because these words make me feel real.  Because to me, this life thing is so odd and confounding… and even the most mundane happenings of my sheltered day to day experience seem so far fetched, mostly… and if I don’t write it all down, it will inconspicuously sail down life’s toilet in a great, anticlimactic whirlpool, only to be sucked back into the great, black-assed Beyond, from whence it must have sprung.  Is it just my unconscious fear of death then, that compels me to write?  Because I want to live beyond my fleeting, insignificant little life?  Why am I so existential?  Why couldn’t I have been born normal, like all you accountants and paralegals and milk maids?

I know, I know, you milk maids are anything but normal.  My friend has a magnet on her fridge that says, “The only normal people are the ones you don’t know very well”.  Touche.

I need a savior today.  This needing a savior business is a slippery slope, because usually I try to make Mykael my savior… but truth be told, he makes a crumby savior.  Which I guess is a good thing… since a woman oughtn’t cling to her man like an f-ing messiah in the first place.  Why, you ask?  Because it is a suffocating way to live.  It strangles the relationship.

This is a first:  I actually left café five oh four in mid blog.  Suddenly I couldn’t stand being in the shadows on such a sunny day.  I couldn’t stand the erratic jazz music polluting my ears.  And mostly, I couldn’t stand the cacophony inside me.  I am about to bleed, btw.  I’ve heard other women say that they turn to mush right before they bleed.  You know, lose that gracious mechanism of linear thinking and rational relations with the rules and regulations of the outside world.  Caterpillars turn to mush before their bodies re-form as butterflies.  Maybe women move between fat, squishy worm, chrysalis and butterfly every single month.  That would be nice!  If I was about to sprout big, striking wings that looked like light explosions in the MOMA!

Speaking of light explosions, yesterday evening, Mykael and I were walking down Grand Avenue (wandering purposefully toward Boot and Shoe Service for a second helping of the good time we had the night before, which I’m embarrassed to admit, but I will anyway, because life is too short for me to pretend I’m other than I am.)  Anyway, Mykael pointed to the big, dramatic stormish clouds and said, “Do you see the rainbows?!”  I looked, and was only blinded by the obnoxious sunlight pouring through them.  “Nope,” I answered.  He handed me his sunglasses (I never wear sunglasses, because I like the light too much).  “Here, look through these.”  I did, and the edges of the clouds suddenly looked like oil stained puddles, hosting ostentatious rainbows!  THIS IS NOT AN EXAGERATION.  Sometimes as a writer, I take poetic license, naturally.  Duh, you would too.  But NOT THIS TIME.  I am not just another girl who cried rainbow.  This is for real.

The edges of the clouds looked like they were being ecstatically eaten away by acid rainbows.  Magenta, warm gold, teal, turquoise, lavender… These were no primary colors.  This was psychedelia.  I was ready to stand up on high and loudly announce “MIRACLE in the sky!”… but Mykael was quick to tell me that that’s simply what the world looks like through sunglasses.  I wonder…

Anyway, I really fell out of rhythm today.  It’s two thirty pm and I am blogging on my front porch in partial sun and partial shade as Mykael feverishly sands his spiral laden stone, perpetually filling the air with fine, white dust.  But earlier, after I busted loose (as my mom always says) from the prison also known as Café 504, I did not know what to do with myself, besides wallow in the premenstrual fog, which was making me fold in on myself in an almost lethal fashion, so Mykael dragged me and my typewriter to HIS café.  You see, I finally got myself a typewriter, because I have had a long standing (six or seven years long standing) dream to go out in public with my type writer and be a real live muse.  Sell poems to the masses.  But now that I have my typewriter, I am looking my dream in the face and it is staring me down-doobie-down.  I realize how risky it is to put myself out there like that.  Gimme a V!  Gimme a U!  Gimme an L!  Gimme an N! E! R!  A!  B!  L!  E!

Yes, I feel vulnerable.  But since I am some what of a warrioress, even on my most premenstrual days, I marched my crabby self down the hill and set up shop.  I thought I’d rehearse… A dress rehersal before the farmer’s market tomorrow.  What would I DO if someone asked for a poem about “Paradox and Wanting”???  Would I freeze, or rise to meet the challenge?  I used paradox and wanting as an example, because that’s what the owner of the café asked for.  And the barista girl asked for a poem about blisters on her heel.  Mykael asked for a poem about the paintings of the wolves on the wall.  Jen asked for a poem about beauty and gratitude.

So I wrote my first five poems and I am still alive to tell the tale.  Nice!  Although I must say, that I am NOT the most literal person… So if you ask for a poem about cigarette butts, don’t be surprised when you get a poem about peaches and oven burnt nuts.