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Daily Archives: July 29, 2014

Alliance

We live in a world of strictly held ideologies. I know some might argue the ideologies are theologies, but I wonder about theologies allowing and promoting killing each other. Several years ago in a conversation, my mother questioned a point I made about a conflict. I responded I was not on anyone’s side, but I am opposed to war in general.

I oppose war and killing, but it does not mean life is easy. It is not an unreal ideal. It suggests I come to terms with a world fraught with failure and difference holding promises of alliances of hope and love. I think it is not so much coming to terms with, but coming to terms in the world. Coming to terms with proposes I live outside humane relationships. Living in the world is alliances and relationships forming beginning in me.

Maya Stein’s poem suggests these alliances require courage and used brave. Brave comes from a word meaning valiant, courageous,  untamed. Courage comes from the same word as heart. In this heart and in this world, I search and research attempting beauty and hope. I wend my way in the moment-to-moment journey seeking answers to Mary Oliver’s question: “what is it you plan to do [in] your one wild and precious life?” This suggests a quality in life and alliances which is not tameable, but perhaps I do not want to tame it. It is in wildness it offers more,

“You have to make an alliance with your anguish,” he said,
“not wage war against it.” And I thought of all the fists
I had shaken at misfortune: games lost
because the shot clock ran out,
a good meal scorched in a forgotten oven,
money dropped on a dress worn only once,
the bully in 6th grade, the math test in 9th,
the wrong outfit at Halloween.
But of course, this isn’t what he meant.

If I were brave enough, I’d tell you how my heart
has raged for love, stretched thin as a high wire.
If I were brave enough, I’d tell you
how my body has been fighting to stay upright
on every precipitous downhill the city
throws at it. If I were brave enough,
I’d climb into your lap and weep with longing.
All I can say is that any attempt at beauty and hope
is land-mined with failure.
And so the perilous track-making begins.
Wending our way through,
there are possible clutches at sunlight, at windows, at yes.
We are each of us inches from death.
We are each of us inches from life.
We are each of us inches from one another.

Old Men Sing The Delta Blues: Two Songs

I listened to the Blues early in life and developed a love for the blues in its many forms. I saw Willie Dixon and John Lee Hooker in concert very early and they were thrilling experiences. Willie Dixon was supposed to have said that the Blues is the roots and the rest is the fruits. I find the Blues embedded in much of the music I listen to today.

Dr. Rinaldi's Horror Cabinet

“Blues is not a dream. Blues is truth.”

—BROWNIE MCGHEE

Soul Down and Mashed

My daddy used
to do it,
my uncle too.
Sing the blues
in that way:
slow beat to throat
moving like a ghost,
a woman riding night,
a man right beside;
soul down and mashed,
muddy waters
touching more than
is a face to tell. A light
touch sparks that
metal chord,
an ear awakens, hears –
a jackdaw’s screech,
clear and crisp: stops
and listens to this old
man on the bayou
sing and play the delta blues.

Knowing and Doing

We lived down
the bayou
back in the big green,
where there ain’t
nothing good
but a few ole coons,
a hound
or two; but let
me tell you, there’s something
in there
like no other place:
a people
with a certain
raging –
a desperation,
a dark
and heavy, a living
that comes
from knowing and doing,
saying…

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