Monday, January 2, 2017

The beautiful IRT

Growing up the IRT was a drag. I lived by the A and the 1 and I never took the 1. It didn't go anywhere I needed to be. 

Today I chose the IRT over the A because the A is notoriously slow and problematic. These days the 1,2 and 3 are always running fast. I got  to the station and a 3 pulled in in 1 minute, not 6, not 9, not 20. When it got to 14 th street, the 1 sat there waiting for us. It didn't shut the doors just as a I got off the 3. It was so polite. I ran over and jumped on. So easy.

Before I transferred, I sat on the 3 across from the most glorious young couple. They were right out of the early 80's Danceteria scene. The woman was so soft and gorgeous and feminine with a Debbie Harry bob complete with bangs, originally dark but made platinum and then double processed a fine pale champaign parfait grey, fluffy and messy and so pretty. She had a wide flat smile with flat teeth and wide cheekbones and full lovely lips, I almost felt embarrassed by how much I wanted to stare at her. She was angelic, no hard edges even though she was wearing great style. She had on black sweat pants, a black sweater, a long dark overcoat and high tops with a hidden wedge and she had long nails painted black. Every time she smiled at her partner, I almost blushed and looked away. The guy was all about Jean Michel Basquiat. He was dark and lovely and had that same hairstyle that Basquiat wore. Our eyes met and we exchanged a big smile.

At the other end of the train a tiny old white woman screamed at an imaginary enemy, pointing cursing and accusing.  She was so angry and kept it up the whole ride. My end of the car was so good it didn't matter. The only thing that kept me from thinking I was in a time machine was that the woman was knitting, something she would have never done if it were still the 80's.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Tradition and destiny

"That which remains unconscious manifests as destiny." I am not sure who put it exactly that way, possibly me (ha!). (There is also Carl Jung's version "Whatever is not conscious will be experienced as fate.") I am fascinated with the concept that seems to prove true again and again. I hold onto it with great hope to see how it will play out with the current PE. (I'm just thinking that you can't be a compulsive liar, a drug addict, a sexual predator, and/or a compulsive criminal and them get put into a high pressure job and stop being those things. You will stumble and ultimately you will fall. I think it will happen sooner rather than later.)

My family is black, Latinx and Asian and white. My children are black and Latinx. I have every reason to be afraid but I am not. Here's the thing, I have been politically active  and I have supported those less fortunate than me my entire adult life. I have always accepted my civic duty, my human duty in the world to be of service and to consider other's well being, not just my own (imperfectly, but consistently and consciously). I was a sexually abused kid with no support, so I know what it is like to be in pain and need. When you suffer, you can transform it into something positive, you can let it teach you compassion. You make a choice to become better or bitter.

This election has shined a light on the amount of people who are racists yes. But also on the amount of people who just don't care about the "less fortunate"; people who never made the choice to become better, who hold their bitterness dear; people whose parents never taught them that we don't improve our lives by stepping on others, but by helping others up as well; people who are desperately out for themselves and don't understand that throwing others under the bus actually hurts everyone, including themselves; and people who I am guessing never learned in their churches, even though Jesus is famous for saying it, "Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me."  Poor attitudes around service, responsibility, basic human kindness, and respect of other humans beings repulse me to say the least but these poor attitudes still exist (in at least 28%of the voting public) so now what...

The great news is that many good people who may not have consciously and consistently been practicing their civic duties are now participating which is a powerful and glorious thing.

I come from the airy fairy school of thought that says thoughts and words matter and while I am in full reality about what is going on in the world, I refuse to mentally and verbally support a hateful future. I refuse to project doom and gloom because the truth is we have no idea how everything will play out. It's kind of like when you get bad news, like a dreadful medical diagnosis. Ideally, you get clarity on the facts and then you stay positive, envision victory, and fight like hell. I am allowed to be hopeful. I have face real (WAY TOO REAL) danger before, looked it in the eye and overcame it. We can do this.

We can do this. Say it with me sisters and brothers. IGNORE the distractions- the sideshow, the tweets, the reality TV. READ and SUPPORT legitimate news sources. KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE PRIZE as you envision the future you want, without projections of doom and gloom. "That which remains unconscious manifests as destiny."

I leave you with my new year tradition of posting my favorite poem. I wish you all the strength and motivation to fight for equality in the new year, the capacity to stay in reality and hope at the same time, and the ability to be the change we seek with empathy, kindness, service and gratitude. Peace on earth, goodwill toward all.

Footnote to Howl

Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy!
The world is holy! The soul is holy! The skin is holy! The nose is holy! The tongue and cock and hand and asshole holy!
Everything is holy! everybody’s holy! everywhere is holy! everyday is in eternity! Everyman’s an angel!
The bum’s as holy as the seraphim! the madman is holy as you my soul are holy!
The typewriter is holy the poem is holy the voice is holy the hearers are holy the ecstasy is holy!
Holy Peter holy Allen holy Solomon holy Lucien holy Kerouac holy Huncke holy Burroughs holy Cassady holy the unknown buggered and suffering beggars holy the hideous human angels!
Holy my mother in the insane asylum! Holy the cocks of the grandfathers of Kansas!
Holy the groaning saxophone! Holy the bop apocalypse! Holy the jazzbands marijuana hipsters peace peyote pipes & drums!
Holy the solitudes of skyscrapers and pavements! Holy the cafeterias filled with the millions! Holy the mysterious rivers of tears under the streets!
Holy the lone juggernaut! Holy the vast lamb of the middleclass! Holy the crazy shepherds of rebellion! Who digs Los Angeles IS Los Angeles!
Holy New York Holy San Francisco Holy Peoria & Seattle Holy Paris Holy Tangiers Holy Moscow Holy Istanbul!
Holy time in eternity holy eternity in time holy the clocks in space holy the fourth dimension holy the fifth International holy the Angel in Moloch!
Holy the sea holy the desert holy the railroad holy the locomotive holy the visions holy the hallucinations holy the miracles holy the eyeball holy the abyss!
Holy forgiveness! mercy! charity! faith! Holy! Ours! bodies! suffering! magnanimity!
Holy the supernatural extra brilliant intelligent kindness of the soul!

                                                                                                            Berkeley 1955