Running. Born Blue to Run.

blue-art-sky

I’m less than mile in, on a planned five-miler. It’s not good. The worm flips the stomach over, and over, and over. Nausea. This will pass, don’t stop, run through it.

It doesn’t pass.

Bile backs up the throat, coats the molars and scurries forward. The gag reflex is triggered. I hunch over, hands clutch the knee caps. OMG. 

I stand upright, soldier-like, arms and hands hang. Eyes shut, tears slide down both cheeks, I make no effort to clear. I need this moment. Just a moment to re-grip. 

I grab the water bottle, gargle, and spew. Most clears, too much does not. A thick stream runs down the zipper line of the coat. Puking, on yourself, nice. 

I re-start. The north wind gusts and makes contact, tear ducts gush water, the track in front is a blur. Whoa. Easy does it. [Read more…]

How Does It Feel

patti-smith-nobel-prize

This was so (SO) good. I’ve clipped most of her essay below but not all. Here are excerpts from Patti Smith’s How Does It Feel from the December 14, 2016 issue of The New Yorker:


…In September, I was approached to sing at the Nobel Prize ceremony, honoring the laureate for literature, who was then unknown. It would be a few days in Stockholm, in a beautiful hotel, overlooking the water—an honorable opportunity to shine, contemplate, and write. I chose one of my songs that I deemed appropriate to perform with the orchestra.

But when it was announced that Bob Dylan had won the prize and accepted, it seemed no longer fitting for me to sing my own song. I found myself in an unanticipated situation, and had conflicting emotions. In his absence, was I qualified for this task? Would this displease Bob Dylan, whom I would never desire to displease? But, having committed myself and weighing everything, I chose to sing “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” a song I have loved since I was a teen-ager, and a favorite of my late husband.

From that moment, every spare moment was spent practicing it, making certain that I knew and could convey every line. Having my own blue-eyed son, I sang the words to myself, over and over, in the original key, with pleasure and resolve. I had it in my mind to sing the song exactly as it was written and as well as I was capable of doing. I bought a new suit, I trimmed my hair, and felt that I was ready.

On the morning of the Nobel ceremony, I awoke with some anxiety. It was pouring rain and continued to rain heavily…By the time I reached the concert hall, it was snowing. I had a perfect rehearsal with the orchestra. I had my own dressing room with a piano, and I was brought tea and warm soup. I was aware that people were looking forward to the performance. Everything was before me.

I thought of my mother, who bought me my first Dylan album when I was barely sixteen. She found it in the bargain bin at the five-and-dime and bought it with her tip money. “He looked like someone you’d like,” she told me. I played the record over and over, my favorite being “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall.” It occurred to me then that, although I did not live in the time of Arthur Rimbaud, I existed in the time of Bob Dylan. I also thought of my husband and remembered performing the song together, picturing his hands forming the chords.

And then suddenly it was time. The orchestra was arranged on the balcony overlooking the stage, where the King, the royal family, and the laureates were seated. I sat next to the conductor. The evening’s proceedings went as planned. As I sat there, I imagined laureates of the past walking toward the King to accept their medals. Hermann Hesse, Thomas Mann, Albert Camus. Then Bob Dylan was announced as the Nobel Laureate in Literature, and I felt my heart pounding. After a moving speech dedicated to him was read, I heard my name spoken and I rose. As if in a fairy tale, I stood before the Swedish King and Queen and some of the great minds of the world, armed with a song in which every line encoded the experience and resilience of the poet who penned them.

The opening chords of the song were introduced, and I heard myself singing. The first verse was passable, a bit shaky, but I was certain I would settle. But instead I was struck with a plethora of emotions, avalanching with such intensity that I was unable to negotiate them. From the corner of my eye, I could see the the huge boom stand of the television camera, and all the dignitaries upon the stage and the people beyond. Unaccustomed to such an overwhelming case of nerves, I was unable to continue. I hadn’t forgotten the words that were now a part of me. I was simply unable to draw them out. [Read more…]

Truth

anxiety-news-terrorist-fear-chart


Source: Indexed – Existential Heartburn

 

Thundering Hubbub

patty-maher

Nothing is wrong.
The mind says that
Something is wrong which activates
An inner drive to do something
It is thought alone that destroys your peace.

~ Wu Hsin, excerpt from Morning Statements from This Too: The Water Cave Tutelage


Photograph: Patty Maher via Aberrant Beauty

 

Walking Cross-Town. With Thunderdome.

Night-Traveler-trying-to-locate-Broadway-and-Jefferson.-L.A.-Examiner-February-4-1953

The cross-walk.
The yellow cabs.
The street lights.
The cart vendor stacking his bananas.
Real things.

Yet, Upstairs, is the real show.
I turn the dials.
The brightness.
The contrast.
The tint.
And finally, the color.
The picture in picture is sharp, vivid.

I turn my attention to the World,
Gray, blurry, rushing.
A slide projector, click, click, click, click.

But the Tom-Toms beat in Thunderdome.
The Man swings his sticks.
He whips his shoulder-length hair back,
it’s sopping wet from perspiration, it rains. [Read more…]

What’s under it – hell, a snake pit, the repository of nightmares?

blue-art

I was way back in terra incognita with a friend.
At the edge of a black-spruce bog in a thicket
we found a moss-covered cement slab with iron rings.
We are fearful.
We questioned,
what’s under it – hell, a snake pit, the repository of nightmares?
My friend indicates it’s up to me,
I mean the contents.
We lift the slab aside.
The pit is full of brilliant blue sky.

~ Jim Harrison, from “Dream as a Metaphor of Survival,” Just Before Dark: Collected Nonfiction


Credits: Quote – Memory’s Landscape. Art: Trang Bui – Kind of Blue I via Exercice de Style

 

Did you feel this too?

paris-terrorist-flag-blood

After great pain, a formal feeling comes—

The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs—

In the days after Paris, Emily Dickinson’s poem kept ringing through my mind as I tried to figure out what I felt—and, surprisingly, didn’t feel. I did not, as the facts emerged and the story took its full size, feel surprised. Nor did I feel swept by emotion, as I had in the past. The sentimental tweeting of that great moment in “Casablanca” when they stand to sing “La Marseillaise” left me unmoved. I didn’t feel anger, really. I felt grave, as if something huge and terrible had shifted and come closer. Did you feel this too?

[…]

I feel certain that in the days after the attack people were thinking: This isn’t going to stop.

~ Peggy Noonan, Uncertain Leadership in Perilous Times


Image: The Economist

Riding Metro North. With the Blues.

moving-train

I run out the door at 5:30 a.m. to catch the 5:40 Express to Grand Central.
55° F. Breezy. A spring day in November.
Hit me Big Man, hit me with more of this.

There, out of the corner of my right eye, it slithers. A brown snake.  A full cup of spilled coffee tipped by the jarring of steel on rough track.  It’s three feet away and closing in.  Roots of the tree spread.

I point.  He catches my eye. He shifts to the empty seat on his left as the snake veers to his right.  He tips his hat, grateful.

We both watch the flow, creeping. Two men.  A suit on one side with his Tumi bag, Shinola Watch and e-Reader in hand.  A construction worker on the other side, with his well-worn blue jeans, a green florescent vest, steel toe boots, leather supple and well oiled. A lunch bag is tucked on top of his backpack.

He turns to his NY Post.

I turn to my e-Reader.

And my morning reader starts to pop.

Michael Wade: “I would be impressed by a college that gives credits for blue collar labor.”

NY TimesHalf of New Yorkers Say They Are Barely or Not Getting By, Poll Shows

Steve Layman: You probably don’t deserve what you have. So keep moving and earn it” via Austin Kleon.

The train pulls into Grand Central. And we pour out. I approach the main terminal.

“Awwww Puppy.”  I see an older dog ahead at the entrance.  A golden lab mix on a leash wearing a blue vest.  You look like a “Sadie.” [Read more…]

Lightning. Hit me.

lightning-storm-weather

At times the truth shines so brilliantly that we perceive it as clear as day. Our nature and habit then draw a veil over our perception, and we return to a darkness almost as dense as before. We are like those who, though beholding frequent flashes of lightning, still find themselves in the thickest darkness of the night. On some the lightning flashes in rapid succession, and they seem to be in continuous light, and their night is as clear as the day… By others only once during the whole night is a flash of lightning perceived… There are some to whom the flashes of lightning appear with varying intervals; others are in the condition of men, whose darkness is illumined not by lightning, but by some kind of crystal or similar stone, or other substances that possess the property of shining during the night; and to them even this small amount of light is not continuous, but now it shines and now it vanishes, as if it were “the flame of the rotating sword.” The degrees in the perfection of men vary according to these distinctions.

~ Moses Maimonides, a twelfth-century Jewish philosopher and astronomer in the The Guide for the Perplexed


Credits: Quote – Brainpickings. Photo: Andrew S. Gray (via Madame Scherzo)

Riding Metro North. Giving Up the Ghost.

Takashi-Kawashima-photography-block

Hump Day. Hump it was.

It’s the 9:06 pm train from Grand Central. A 15-hour day and it wasn’t over.

I sit with other weary commuters heading home. The train is silent.

I can’t get comfortable. I shift left, and then right and then lean against the window. I give up. I need to be horizontal, in my bed.

It’s Haunting. A Ghost. It’s Hilary Mantel’s Giving Up the Ghost:

The faintest movement, a ripple, a disturbance of the air. I can sense a spiral, a lazy buzzing swirl, like flies; but it is not flies. There is nothing to see. There is nothing to smell. There is nothing to hear. But it is motion, its insolent shift, makes my stomach heave. I can sense— at the periphery, the limit of all my senses— the dimensions of the creature. It is as high as a child of two. Its depth is a foot, fifteen inches. The air stirs around it, invisibly. I am cold, and rinsed by nausea. I cannot move. I am shaking. . . . This is the beginning of shame.

You are tired. You know that’s it.  Let it go Man. [Read more…]

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