Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Young Harlots Curse

The Rockrose Moon (A Serial Fiction) Part 43

My aunt used to tell a story about the time when my mother and her were visiting relatives in Los Angles. They were 12 and 14 and practicing their English so there was a radio in the room they shared.

They discovered on Sunday nights there was this goofy show on way past their bedtime. They would look forward to going to sleep so much the adults were slightly suspicious but never enough to look past the pile of blankets they would hide under, or to check the pillows stuffed in faces too muffle the laughs. The show was Firesign Theater .

They didn’t understand half of it but they didn’t care. They knew it was funny and silly and totally in line with the times they were so excited to feel a part of.

I think my mother inherited a few wonderful things from that show, an appreciation of radio, the spoken word and a high tolerance for ambiguity in that spoken word and a wild love of laugher that one can barely contain.

She would have loved living now with On Demand radio. The best part of my day is curled up under my pile of blankets listening to Performance Today. I so enjoy drifting off to some whacko combo of Vivaldi played with bagpipes in Italy as well as looking at all the pictures of the gorgeous young crop of pianists.

And now Flagman has sent me a link to the BBC show Poetry Please to remind me of the anniversary William Blake’s 250th birthday tomorrow. Thank you Julian.

I can lie on the floor with my pillows and blankets and listen to the rain and all the peoples reading bits of Blake.

I like the idea being a Bozo on the same bus as Mr. William Blake. Just us and the young harlots cursing out on the street.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Leaving Guilt to Fend for Itself

The Rockrose Moon (A Serial Fiction) Part 42

Christian wandered out of here the other day with my copies of the collected Yeats and Paradise Lost. Today I noticed he had a book of translations by Arthur Sze. He is reading poetry again voraciously, which always makes me happy. We have a video we got one year, (not a DVD, video) of Arthur Sze reading and while cleaning up the ballroom this afternoon I found my copy of his The Redshifting Web.

We went to see Sam Hamill, who was reading here a few years ago specifically to beg him to see if we could get Arthur Sze here to read to us in person. It was an awful reading, Mr. Hamill had just been ousted from the award winning press he had helped found and was viciously angry while at the same time spouting off Buddhist rhetoric.

Mr. Hamill told us to email and ask Mr. Sze but we couldn’t afford the fee he asks to be paid. We asked if he thought Mr. Sze would be willing to give us a poem to publish in our journal and he said that he writes very slowly and might not have one to spare but we were happy to at least talk to someone who knew and had published this poet we both admire so much.

I had a chance to talk to a Buddhist teacher recently and I was going on about how I was beginning to understand through my yoga how Buddhists could just not care about how they acted because in the end it all doesn’t matter and I mean that, and said that I meant that in the best possible way… all the time thinking about how truly awful this talented editor and poor excuse for a human being was acting that day.

The teacher said something to me then that I felt was very compassionate, he said that sometimes it all has to do with our conditioning and that at times people who call themselves Buddhists and practice the precepts are still wrapped in a bundle of conditioning.

I don’t think that since I was maybe 12 or 13 I have ever not felt guilty about everything I put in my mouth and the holidays, but particularly Thanksgiving, are torture for me.

Practicing yoga this morning I was thinking about all this, about conditioning as well as the sound of my breath and as I was rolled over into fetal position after Corpse Pose for my symbolic daily rebirth I was thinking how amazing it would be for just one day to feel no remorse about what I eat.

I wonder if I’ll ever get there.

As Christian says they say in AA, it is all about practice, not perfection.