21 September 2016

A call back to last year.  Originally posted on Tumblr.  A train-of-thought exercise after reading so many hard stories and wishing I could reach my hands through the computer to all of them.


On Power

there is no will to power
and where power predomintes,
love is lacking.
The one is the shadow of the other. 
– Carl Jung

The privilege of a lifetime
is to become who you truly are. 
– CG Jung

And so…

Deep calls to deep.
Like calls to like.

Shakespeare said that those who see the dancers
but do not hear the music will think the dancers mad.
Someone will always try to stop you from being you.
They can’t hear the music.
Only you can.

Are you trying to leave a harmful relationship?
With family?
A lover?
A whole community?

Deep calls to deep.
Like calls to like.

If you are not like them anymore, leave.
If they want nothing of you from you, leave.

They might tell you that you’re selfish,
Or weak,
Or proud,
Or immoral.
They may say that it is dangerous
For your body,
Your mind,
Your soul.

They may praise you for being virtuous
If you obey,
If you stop being you,
If you do as they say.
They will say to kill the part of you they hate,
To “die to yourself,”
When you still don’t know who you are.

Deep calls to deep.
Like calls to like.

So leave their shallow waters.

Here is what’s selfish:
Letting others think for you.
Here’s what is dangerous:
Giving up power to someone else.
Here’s what’s virtuous:
Taking on power,
Even when it’s hard,
And keeping it.
The last is the hardest thing.
For milennia,
We were told power is evil.
And so only evil people sought power.
For milennia,
We were and are being lied to:
To have power over yourself
Allows you to do the most good.

Deep calls to deep.
Like calls to like.

They plant the fear
and then call to it.
They take what you love
and they ransom it.

Deep calls to deep.
Like calls to like.

Somewhere, somewhere,
There is someone who will love you.
Somewhere, some place,
There is a place where you can live.

Find it.
Find yourself.
Call to it.
You will find it.

Giving up power is only a virtue
if it is power over another person.
Giving up power over yourself is, at best,
Not bravery,
Not selflessness,
Not good morals.

Leave the things that harm you.
Leaving will be the second bravest thing you ever do.
Leave the ways that harm you.
The bravest thing you’ll ever do, will be never going back.

Deep calls to deep.
Like calls to like.

Release your fear.
Leave it behind you.
Search for love.
It will call to you.

And when you stop listening to them
You will be able to hear it.

A break for a poem

Looking forward to posting on August 2nd.  I’ve finished my third draft!  Huzzah!  Drinks all around! (Er, we’re going dutch though, so just toast as you can…)

For now,  I’ve been digging through old material so there’s still something I can post for you all to read.  Enjoy my poetric attempts from my college days.   Continue reading

My Lack of Appetite

Another two inches.

I pull the wrapper off the sugar-free chocolate again and toast the horizon and, somewhere, a small New England town.

I don’t say, “cheers.”  In Japan you don’t say that for the sad things

I keep my milk chocolate in the freezer right now.  The summers of Japan are too hot for it to survive on the kitchen table.  It also keeps it out of sight, and somehow this helps (against all proverbial expectations) keep it in mind.

That’s where I want it.  In my mind, it’s close to the other thoughts, the ones that make me careful of it:  Thoughts of my father, still in the rehabilitation clinic, because home is on a second floor and he can’t do stairs.  He’s not been home since the one toe, then the other toe, then the rest, and then the top half of the foot.

And now they’re taking more.

I’ve seen his “footsies” of all end results, taken with his ipad with candid alacrity, on our private family Facebook page, all wrapped up in bandages of course, a nub that should be going farther than it does, that my mind knows should go farther than it does.  Once, there was a troubling spot of blood.  I wait on selfies when this happens, and save them, and date them, with unspoken and untyped fears.

They’ll take two more inches, they said.

Like butchers, I glower at the news.  Like his leg is a hunk of deli meat.  Like they’re paid by the cut, so they’re taking their time, instead of fixing the problem so he can go home.

It’s not a reasonable thought, but it’s how the anger comes, even like it did before, and joins the fear and the chocolate in my head, with that picture:  Ham.  On a slab.  And white aprons behind a glass counter.

How much a cut, doctor?  In a hurry?  You took your time getting a scooter ordered in, didn’t you?  So he had to hobble instead and it got infected again.  And how much insurance did that time buy you?  With all the q-tips and jello and rolls of toilet paper in between?

I fall asleep feeling like my ankle’s in a garrotte.  The next morning it’s just a rubber band, so I try to walk it off.  I wonder if it’s sympathy pain or fear for the future, or prophecy.  The next day it’s the bottom, near the toes, whenever I walk on it, like a bruise.

The anger’s really at myself, isn’t it? I reflect as I limp.  There’s a reason I’m keeping the chocolate in mind.

Word comes that the surgery went fine.  “Fine” is relative when the word “surgery” is close by.  I know there’ll be another footsie from the ipad, but I wait to look at the family Facebook page when its notification pings my phone with the text.  I don’t think my mind has room for it.

I just reflect, as you do past age thirty, when death is not a distant myth.  Death is a truth that makes you selfish, even when your father is getting his foot shaved.  It steals thoughts away from the man who carried you in from the car as a child (because you knew he would if you pretended to sleep).

I sit appalled at how his misery feeds my survival with the good kind of fear, the kind that makes me walk, cut back on the salt, and turn down second helpings.  It makes me do all those things I couldn’t do by myself.  It keeps that bag in the freezer a “sometimes food,” when just months ago half or more was a daily fix.

I still need my father, I realize, in the selfish way that children do.  It’s the kind of need that can’t give back for it.  And I get angry at myself, because I’m an adult now.  It was supposed to be my turn to help him.  There should be grandkids by now.  He should have gotten the chance to carry them.

I go to my room and lie in my bed, and read the IMs off Facebook Messenger, because I’m still shying away from the family page.  My father makes jokes and puns with far more emojis than most people use with three word sentences.  The last, “I’m going under the knife again,” doesn’t get me so much as his, “Love you bunches,” for its extensive use of almost every heart emoji, and then a kissy face.  I’m in Japan.  He’s in New England.  He loves with heart emojis and I love with worried questions about back-alley surgical degrees.  And I don’t know what else I can do.



Welcome to Hereabouts!

Welcome to Hereabouts!

Home to Westfall, Liliput and many other odds and ends of my writing and randomness.  Feel free to browse, or search by category with the links below.  I’ve added warnings and ratings on request.

Short Stories – Shorter works written in my downtime to keep my gears turning. (TV-PG)

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In the store today, picking up a few things in a land of strangers where I’d come for a wedding, I met a veteran. He mentioned George Carlin when he noted our hesitation to grab the divider for the checkout conveyor belt. “That thing is law.” He was on oxygen, standing to stretch but sporting a motor wheelchair, and wearing a veteran’s cap.

And somehow “George Carlin” was the peace word, in this world where I was wary for the sidelong stares and certain-colored hats. And we talked about Japan and Okinawa and his time there, and he smiled, for the memories, for the stories, and asked that I think of him when I return there. I said I would.

It was only after that I realized what a Japanese request this was, and so realized that this man, now an elder, once a soldier, now a veteran, had been where I’d been, and the touch of Japan on his heart had never left him.

To hold someone in our thoughts in a moment in a place of sacred beauty is to carry that person’s soul with us to that place; and to do so with prayer and with joy is the way of the traveling pilgrim, who reaches that place’s shrine and prays a proper prayer, to lead that soul in need upward on its journey beyond the grave.

This smiling man, warm in sunshine, cunning of Carlin, warm to a stranger, had asked a pilgrimage of me. Perhaps this is the year I must visit the place he mentioned. As the priest in the Noh play often says, I have long been longing to visit the place I have heard the beauty of, and now years have passed and I must see it before I die.