my life, this winding and criss cross journey
enduring the setbacks nature often offers
forces an accounting of my true self’s mission
while i critiquely reflect within my soul
the revelation – the person i see in the mirror is not me
it hurts that i’ve lived with this stranger for so long
no more continuing to plod along how others want me
i’ll take the reins now to forge paths more to my liking
my destiny means claiming my glory and being wholly present
During the last week of April, I listened to Meryl Streep read Marianne Moore’s piece – Poetry – during a program sponsored by the Academy of American Poets. The event was called Poetry & the Creative Mind — Virtual Gala Supporting National Poetry Month. Meryl Streep’s reading – A.MAZ.ING.
Wanting to see if it was just the perfect actress reading the poem or a truly standalone incredible poem, I searched for it on their website. A.MAZ.ING.
Wouldn’t you agree?
Marianne Moore – 1887-1972
I too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond all this fiddle.
Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one discovers that there is in
it after all, a place for the genuine.
Hands that can grasp, eyes
that can dilate, hair that can rise
if it must, these things are important not because a
high-sounding interpretation can be put upon them but because they are
useful; when they become so derivative as to become unintelligible, the
same thing may be said for all of us—that we
do not admire what
we cannot understand. The bat,
holding on upside down or in quest of something to
eat, elephants pushing, a wild horse taking a roll, a tireless wolf under
a tree, the immovable critic twinkling his skin like a horse that feels a flea, the base—
ball fan, the statistician—case after case
could be cited did
one wish it; nor is it valid
to discriminate against “business documents and
school-books”; all these phenomena are important. One must make a distinction
however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry,
nor till the autocrats among us can be
insolence and triviality and can present
for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them, shall we have
it. In the meantime, if you demand on the one hand, in defiance of their opinion—
the raw material of poetry in
all its rawness, and
that which is on the other hand,
genuine, then you are interested in poetry.
From Others for 1919: An Anthology of the New Verse, edited by Alfred Kreymborg. This poem is in the public domain.
I’ve recently been thinking about alcoholism because of Gabriele’s post regarding the subject. His position tells me that he is against it. I am, too, since I grew up with it in my life, and it wasn’t pretty.
He has this to say, “Alcohol is like a hook .. they bite the most tempting palates. And as Saint Augustine said: Perfect abstinence is easier than perfect moderation,” which prompted my response, “It is a great quote for alcoholics as they are the most tempted, but I think he was referring to sex? Got me thinking – maybe someone who felt pressured to not have sex because of religion should not slut-shame others. LOL” It was more to indicate that St. Augustine probably wasn’t speaking in regards to alcohol.
But the post did get me thinking about alcoholism and my family’s struggles with it. In an alcoholic’s mind, their desire may be perfect moderation, but that will never happen because that is precisely the definition of the disease – being totally out of control. Maybe a better way of saying it would be, “Perfect abstinence is better than imperfect moderation?” Sure would have been nice if that thought had crossed a few minds in our family.
My dad was an alcoholic. For the most part, he was an absentee father, which was more the predominant injury than his drinking. Not that his drinking didn’t harm, as I recall quite a few instances from my childhood were problematic. My dad mostly pulled my mom into his drama. Us kids stayed away from it, but I do remember her being somewhat humiliated because of it. There was usually an awful lot of crying and hysterics going on; in one incident, she had ketchup all over her shirt.
My stepfather, divorced from my mom a long time ago, was a heavy drinker and, I would say, also an alcoholic. Booze always available and readily stocked in the globe-shaped liquor cabinet for him to imbibe whenever he chose. I remember stealing a nip or two from it myself when my sister and I first experimented with alcohol. Again, with regards to his drinking, humiliation seemed to be a recurring dynamic for my mom. One afternoon, I believe it was a Saturday, he’d already hit the stash pretty hard, and my mom’s leg became the receiving end of a glass shard from a glass he’d decided to slam down on the dining room table. I could hear her screams outside on the front lawn where I was playing with my friends. I remember them surrounding me because I was panicking and crying. Going into the house to confront him or maybe seeing that my mom was injured made him realize he’d gone a step too far, and he calmed down; I don’t know which one was the catalyst for peace from that point on. Regardless, I remember many instances where he put all our lives in danger with his drinking, primarily that he would always drive home drunk if we’d gone anywhere that he’d had a few. We were lucky that nothing unfortunate happened on the road.
After I left my home, I had several failed romantic relationships with alcoholics. In the early years of my adulthood, I’d indulged in risky behavior concerning drugs, but that stopped entirely in my mid-20s. When I became a mother at 29, even my drinking slowed down, although I never eliminated it. I remained a responsible social drinker with my second child. That is not to say that my kids or my husband, especially my friends, haven’t seen me ingest copious amounts of alcohol. Fun times were had, for sure! I paid for it the next day.
I have to be honest and say that I enjoy drinking alcohol for its effects on me. Other than weed, I don’t know of any other substance which can make me feel that relaxed or not have a care in the world. If weed were legal here in Kansas, I’m guessing I probably wouldn’t drink at all. Because let’s face it, alcohol is not good for you, and we all know that. Consuming large amounts of alcohol and being dependent on it will damage you physically and mentally, not to mention that it will impact your relationships with family and friends. It may not happen right away, but it will eventually if drinking goes beyond a social setting, beyond moderation, and is something you are addicted to.
At various stressful points over the years, I’ve worried about becoming an alcoholic. Genetically, my kids and I are predisposed to being alcoholics. For as much as I’ve enjoyed drinking, it’s always on my mind to be careful. I know things can quickly get out of hand. And I hope I never go down that path that the alcoholics in my life have. I think it would hurt too much to lose the ones I love and, for that matter, their respect for me as well. I wonder if my father and step-father ever thought about the damage their drinking caused to our connection, or if they even cared enough about it. I’m guessing not. But I’ll never know now since they are both dead.
It’s sad. Such a wasted opportunity.
Hal had me pondering a bit more about this recent piece…
It still astounds me
how fast and unforgiving
fate’s hands can be.
How can a life be so
quickly and relentlessly taken…
Without any fucking remorse?
As life comes at us, it certainly does feel like it has no remorse. At times, it feels relentless in providing us one lash of the whip after the other, doesn’t it? Bit of a sadist, I’d also say. After reflection, my answer to the question posed in the piece is simply this…
Nature is an immortal and indiscriminate serial killer.
What do you think? And what does it take to keep on going?
his champion flow
brilliant rays emanating
his light blinds us all
i take a step back to refocus
ordinary tasks beckon
i watch silently, attentively
as the rivulets of water splash in the basin
thoughts begin to cascade in
jumbled and incoherent at first
yet sentences start to form
as the words assemble reasonably
quick, let me write that down
to capture the emotions and the intent
conveying my thoughts is such satisfaction
even in the boring routine of the day
your hesitation asks questions
giving rise to unending doubt
shutting hope down
success in the making asks other questions
your future being challenges your past
it’s waiting to be discovered
force recognition of your strengths
face the obvious which holds you back
achieve all you are capable of
change your trajectory
live your dreams
demand that of yourself
Suzette gave me one of those opportunities that I thoroughly relish: examining someone else’s thoughts and re-examine my own previously held views. Thank you, Suzette.
And this is why I thoroughly LOVE the WP Community! Isn’t this what life is about?
While I agree with the quote she posted, a question arose for me. How do we get there? From what I see around our world, people are either worshipping something outside of themselves or do not even have the slightest idea that they have it within them. And in between, others are working towards more understanding.
For me, this is indeed the happy place we are trying to reach. It feels like it would be a place of peace and calm. Where our supreme self exists and allows itself to express to everyone, the people that I’ve encountered in my life who seem in agreement, this is where I have felt the most ease. But maybe it’s more of the idea that they have accepted me? Because I know that many of those I am close to still struggle with issues themselves. My comment on her piece was merely to explain what I felt would be what that would actually look and possibly feel like…
The place within us that has forgiven all the hurts, remembers all the joy,
and knows itself honestly and completely.
Do I, myself, or others achieve it 100% of the time? Hell no! But I would think it should be the end goal. Your thoughts?
The dictionary would define faith as having complete trust or confidence in someone or something. For those with a religious bent it is strongly related to a belief in a god and the dogma or doctrines of their chosen religion. For those indoctrinated into their religion as well. Faith to me simply means trusting something or someone without evidence they are worthy of that trust. And I generally don’t do that because I question everything that has not supplied me with reasonable evidence to be trusted.
Roots of Hope by Shantanu Baruah inspired me to think a bit deeper on the topic of faith and it also elicited this comment from me…
The roots of faith are steeped in commitment.
What a person believes deeply without evidence is their prerogative. I’m okay with that. That’s why my comment reflected what I felt about faith. Most believers of anything are committed to what they believe. It feels natural, correct and unquestionable. That last bit – unquestionable – is the part I’m not okay with.
Since the beginning of time, we have seen simple beliefs overturned with explanations as to why they are not the truth. As we increase our foundation of knowledge, beliefs get tossed out right and left, leaving us with more surety than what we had before. Belief in something then just becomes silly. As an example, how many of us were told that Santa Claus existed? And how many of us still do? If you do and are no longer a child, please seek help! But seriously, you understand the concept of “When you know better, you do better.” that Maya Angelou was referring to – when truths make themselves known, you can’t simply continue to believe in what is not true. It doesn’t make sense.
Many of you know that I don’t subscribe to the supernatural. I prefer a life based in reality and knowns but I realize that there are still many unknowns to contend with as I go about living. What I feel I do know is that those truths haven’t been understood or discovered yet, and may never present themselves in my lifetime. And that, makes sense.