contemplating

Seed

She made the transition with little effort.

One moment we’re twenty, comparing dreams and lovers;

the next moment a two-year old in the park with a scraped knee

is calling her “mother,” expecting her to wipe his tears,

falling into the groove between her hip and her breast,

as if he has always belonged there; even before he existed.

She tends to us both; stroking his head to calm his fears

and nodding at me with the hint of a distracted smile

as I tell my story – another story – of love and loss

and the burning desire I have to create things, to mark

the world with my breath.

The boy wonders if his mother had ever been like me, her flighty friend,

who lives in rented studio apartments

with temporary men and temporary furniture

and roots as shallow and spindly as a desert cactus.

“Don’t you want to settle down?” she asks me

one morning over muffins while the boy plays with his train.

“You can have all this, you know. There is nothing more than this,

you know.”

Her eyes reflect the kind of love that makes me

want to break things, to smash vases against the walls, to

rip pieces of paper into millions, to weep

for all the inarticulate utterances

I am unable to communicate in defense of my weak roots

 

So I just say

 

“Maybe someday.”

 

contemplating

Mother

Mother

 

We hated god because mother became devoted

after spending several days in the tub, naked,

she emerged like a drunk angel and created

shrines to ridiculous gods, spraying marigolds

and sugar treats, as if inanimate idols can taste

or feel. We wished we were made of metal, or stone.

 

We invented games where I would play a stone

and he a river, running around my still-life, devoted

to trying to move me. In those moments I would have a taste

of how beautiful death must be, when everything is naked.

That was another game – funeral procession – gleaning marigolds

that had fallen from the many shrines she had created

 

and because we were the children that she had created

we couldn’t argue with logic. Once I threw a stone

at a shrine. Like dominoes, everything fell, marigolds

scattered the carpet like soldiers, devoted

to a foolish general who leaves them naked

and wounded. No victory. They won’t know the taste.

 

In the kitchen. In the bedroom. The skylines of coconut. I can taste

The bitterness of my brother’s tears. She had created

a holy mess of ritualistic disorder. My world was naked

and I hated the idea of god or gods – those stone

stoned caricatures reminding us of the devoted

Mother, and even now I cannot look at marigolds

 

without remembering the smell of the marigolds

that distracted me from homework and games, the taste

of daily disappointment, so much that I would become devoted

to hating all things they said god had created,

like the world, and myself, everything of water and stone.

I can remember life before god, when all was naked

 

not falsely clothed with prayer, but naked

ravenous planet, beasts and flora, even marigolds

clambering towards the sun, which falls upon the stone

walls of prehistory, pre-Deus, like the simple taste

of rain, of things happening for no reason. Nothing created

anything. Everything just is. You can be devoted

 

to the still-life of a stone, as the naked light

is devoted to the growth of marigolds

and to the taste of all the things that are yet to be created.

contemplating

Hermit

My new therapist asked me if I journaled. It occurred to me that I no longer journal. This has happened before - the subconscious struggle to disappear into a haze of unrecorded events and days that blend into one another. But why? I also no longer dream. Actually, on most days I need a crane to get me out of bed, and when I do get out of bed, I'm not sure why I bother. Most would say I'm idle. I am idle. I lost my way somewhere, and idleness seems to be what's found me.

I did a tarot layout this afternoon - my first in a very, very long time. I wanted to cry as I shuffled the cards. I've had the deck since I was thirteen. I pulled cards that appeared to be reflections of themselves. If one implied suffering, the next implied retreat, and then the one after would indicate that the isolation caused suffering, and then another card of retreat. I wonder if there's a message in the retreating that I'm unable to understand. The card of the Hermit came up, in the position of the future. I'm trying really hard to break free from my state of isolation, but it's not natural. Naturally, i want to stay alone inside the house and ponder things, until the truth comes. I wish someone would tell me that's OK. Well, a lot of people tell me it's OK, but I tell myself it's not. I wanted other things for myself... Or perhaps interpreted myself as an extension of my parents' expectations. I don't know. I've been individuating for a while now. I wish I were myself again, so I could get on with life. For the first time in my adulthood, I feel I don't know who I am, and it's absolutely terrifying. It would be nice to be nineteen and attending college and reading Jean Paul Sartre now, I feel I would gain much more than I did 11 years ago.

And oh yeah, I turned 30, which was kind of a big deal because it's been like a death sentence. But it feels like the date passed and I'm still on Death Row and so maybe there's some hope for a turnaround in my sentence. Because, well, I didn't do it. I've been unjustly accused, don't hang me.

I miss driving. Sometimes I feel really resentful towards M about the car and leaving L.A. and coming to New York. I don't like New York. There are too many people and I miss sitting inside my car and tuning out the world. You're still, but the world is moving. Here, I'm still, and the room's still, and everything's still, and it's like dying. I guess, if I had to sum up my problem, it's this -- Homeless. Ever since leaving LA and the brouahaha with my status and being forced into an Indian exile - shudder - I have not had a home. I call this home, I love it - physically - and love M, and the cats. But something's gone now, and I can't express it. And, sadly, my dreams have fled, leaving me no psychic clues for a solution. So, I'm gonna try journaling again, because it seems to be the only start.
contemplating

Birthed Day



It has been three years, well, actually almost three and a half years since I finished film school. Despite a few lovely silver linings, this period has been very heavy and difficult for me to bear. It started with breaking my leg, then the break-up, then the lack of a breakthrough with my film, then having to leave my home and what had become my country, then a year of nothing in India, then a period of looking for work and not finding work.
Of course, in all this I met and married M, which was the high-point. But as for my progress as an individual... well, something's just kinda collapsed. And I keep getting hung up on the fact that I'm 29 and that for the past 3 years nothing has been achieved - nothing stupendous for my resume, no outstanding awards or accolades, heck, nothing even finished. How many novels I've started! How many mediocre short stories, and poems just kinda sitting there growing old!

I would like to reclaim my life and say that I'm 26 and the last 3 years never happened. I wish I could start fresh, with resolve and direction, and meaning. But I've lost sight of who I am. I no longer know what to pursue, or how. Am I just doomed to keep making wrong turns?
 


 
contemplating

Unmarked Plot

The idea of plots burden me.
I find them terribly non-indicative of the absolute humdrum of life. The three act structure was the worst invention, damn you Aristotle.
but the pain, too, is monotonous.
What relief, when relief?

An unmarked plot, like an unmarked grave
leaves falling silently
over stories that never needed to be told
stories about nothing
that had no birth
as they had no death.
contemplating

everything's been said

Sometimes I feel like all the important things have already been said, and all the literature and art that mean anything have already been created, and all that's left for the likes of you and me is Craft and Kvetch. We have no room for art, but we are, indeed, crafty. And when the desire to be crafty fades, well, then we can always kvetch about it.
But that ache inside you that says you must create something
that's been stilled.
art stillborn
art still born
art not born

you can play with words. But the meaning will always be the same.
empty inside out/
vomited ulcer bile boil pus boil
nothing of meaning

scream scream scream scream scream

WHERE IS HENRY MILLER WHEN YOU NEED HIM?????????????????????????????????????????????
contemplating

Jane's Cult

I have made some progress. I checked out some books from the library and started doing more research on psychotherapy cults in the 1980s... I feel more certain than ever that Jane was part of a cult. She mentions things like the Gestalt Ritual and someone called an "Orlock" in her diary. Also, "Al" who I at first presumed to be her lover, now seems more to me like the therapist figure. It's intriguing. I wonder if she's still alive...
contemplating

More from Jane's Diary

*I found a journal several months ago. It had no name on it, just pages and pages of dense and tortured words. I believe she was on the verge of losing her mind. These are the first few entries.

6/22/83

Mon –

Session on Tues. – don’t know wherefore it came…

 

Next page:

 

6/23/83

Street fair –

Seemed that, to me,  didn’t feel like we had done enough on it. For starters, a little scared of the contact. Scared of the contact since the marathon.

Setting up was OK.

Felt very sad when Al came by, glad to see him I think and very young too – too young to talk. I think I was wanting a lot and just couldn’t talk – felt very sad and watched him leave.

 

The clown walking around the street fair insulted me, said my make-up was hideous and that I was a joke. It really came out of nowhere and I told him he was pretty vicious and better not talk to the kids like that. I think what was so shocking about it was that he felt harsh and wouldn’t change or let up. This made me sad – he was pretty ugly about it.

 

On going back to Al’s – asked a guy on the corner for a match – he said, “I’m Mongolian!” It was wonderful. Weird.



---
i think jane belonged to a psychotherapy cult. Must investigate cults in NY in the 1980s. Suspect that Al was her therapist... Have started to write again, don't know what it is yet, a novel? i have drawn inspiration from her madness. It gives me license to do or say whatever i want.

contemplating

Jane's Diary

In a box of abandoned books somewhere in Park Slope, I found the journal of a woman named Jane. It is from 1983. Jane seems psychologically off balance. She talks about daily therapy. Of multiple parts.
I have grown attached to Jane and her fear of abandonment. I carry her diary around with me wherever I go, and take comfort in her growing madness. In her fictional relationships with men named Al and Ken. I am filled with contempt at her mother and father, who remind me so much of my own when I was a child.

Sometimes, on the subway, when I see a woman in her fifties, someone who looks slightly lost and deranged, the New York state of mind, I wonder if it's Jane. But Jane probably committed suicide. The therapy bills and her inability to improve her mental health probably got the better of her. That's why her diary was lying in a box of abandoned books in Park Slope, along with Milton and Mann and Kerouac.

She was a failed painter. She was a tragedy. I know nothing about this person and yet I know her innermost thoughts; that she made herself fall in love with a cripple because he was the only one who would never abandon her.
Fear of abandonment.
I know all about that.
The fear of abandonment.
The fear of being abandoned meant

That in the end you would die alone. This is what Jane feared above everything else.

--