Saturday, July 13, 2013
A Resolution for the City of Asheville Written After Seeing a Group of Singers Disbanded Because the Crowd Became Too Large
Whereas, the City of Asheville situates itself in one of the most beautiful locations in the world, and
Whereas, the City of Asheville’s founding visionaries E.W. Grove, Fred Seely, George Vanderbilt, Thomas Wadley Raoul were all devotees to the Aesthetic Age which embraced a certain wildness of spirit and allowance for Beauty, and
Whereas, the City of Asheville’s preserved architecture was designed by the masters of the Aesthetic Age finding in Asheville an open space in which to practice the new “Fine Art” that elevated people's character through proportionate balance of order and the unforeseen, and
Whereas, City of Asheville’s favorite son Thomas Wolfe bore witness to the passion and Beauty of the city in words so powerful William Faulkner named him the greatest writer of their generation, and the City did not listen, and
Whereas, the City of Asheville’s brickwork of former slaves and their sons create visual music of jazz and blues in the very makings of our buildings, and
Whereas, City of Asheville father Tony Lord saw fit to plant trees along Haywood Street and other streets so the city would remain connected to the natural world even in the midst of growth, and
Whereas, the City of Asheville stands on Cherokee hunting grounds that yet speak to us of bear and deer and elk, and
Whereas, the City of Asheville was devised by Masonic observation of there being a necessity for mystery and wonder in the fabric of the buildings that reflect the fabric of the earth, and
Whereas, the City of Asheville’s musicians and the artists attract visitors and new residents more than any other attractors, save the earth the city stands upon, and
Whereas, the City of Asheville is comprised of humans who love to dance and enjoy life with all the vivacity and joy being human is the rite of, and
Whereas, the City of Asheville is made up of dreamers and poets who do and do not write poetry but who always dream, and
Whereas, the City of Asheville is a difficult mix of spirit and matter and of people who see the world in terms of both spirit and matter in different proportions, assigning different values to each, and
Whereas, the City of Asheville’s leaders and law-enforcers are all human and also love to dance and enjoy the city’s romantic and creative offerings, and
Whereas, the City of Asheville is as informed by the wilderness of the Appalachians as it is by rules and laws and governance that may or may not respect the wilderness of the Appalachians which is permeative and inviolate in all of us, and
Whereas, the City of Asheville is a nexus of healing, art, and commerce, and in all of these are woven the currency of life and all that supports life, including fun and upredictablility, and
Whereas, the City of Asheville is never immune to the wonders of creative energy, and
Whereas, creative energy can at times seem a threat to structures and ordinances man-made and imposed in effort to maintain order out of fear that things might go too far, and
Whereas, creative energy is not a threat to order if order is dynamic and well-conceived and acknowledging of the human need for delight, and
Whereas in all things, even in the City of Asheville, joy is the order by which the soul abides and does not deter, destroy, or harm anyone, and
Whereas, the City of Asheville was, in fact, created as a place for play, respite, escape, and indulgence in pleasure found less availing in other cities, and
Whereas, that spirit of play will forever define the City of Asheville,
Let it be resolved that the City of Asheville be unafraid of romance and creativity as these elements express themselves in the actions and words of its citizens and that the City of Asheville embrace and celebrate, through allowance and trust of practioners of these elements, rather than constrain and attempt to control them through dissipation and exclusion, and
Let it be resolved that the City of Asheville is comfortable with and honoring of Beauty in all its forms and will relax in its presence to permit the spirit of the City to surface and enjoy itself unhindered at any time of day or night.
Thursday, July 04, 2013
Dear NC House,
I am certain it is my fault, this recent flurry of women's-reproductive-rights-deflating activity. Because I am a woman, and, as you well know, since the Fall of Man, pretty much everything has been my fault.
The lack of jobs? My fault. Had I only had the sense to hand in my riveter and overalls after the boys came home from the war, and returned to vacuuming, which once had given me so much joy, we would not have the job crisis we have today.
The S & L crisis (not SNL, as a friend had to point out to me last week)? I'm sure it's my fault, too, since it seems only women such as Martha Stewart seem to do any time for any questionable Wall Street activity, just as racism is probably my fault, too, since it seems only women such as Paula Deen (not that I defend her but I've seen worse from Donald Trump) seem to suffer any consequences for their ideas while of course men are forgiven because they are, after all, only men.
So, it must be my fault as well that you know so little about my body.
And this I understand. See?
Ever since I got my first period at the age of 12--I'm sorry I haven't told you that before. Yes, 12, while my family was traveling in Europe, also the summer of my first kiss, see how it all goes together? Anyway--ever since I got my first period, I have been very careful to hide it from you.
In accordance with standard grocery store scripture I have gone to the "baby" aisle to buy my "women's" products which are safely hidden from men's view. I have secretly -- oh so secretly -- stood in conversation with people in public, men and women, while my body felt as though a stegasaurus was being pushed through a fallopian tube then coached to claw my uterine lining from its place during monthly cramp time. I have bled in your presence, and you've not known a thing.
Even knowing that women in the Netherlands get three days off work, paid, to accommodate their monthly "visitor," "Aunt Spot," "Visit from Mother Nature," their "MENSES," I have taken perhaps one day off in my entire working career even if I had a hot water bottle curled up in my lap under my blazer and skirt and had to wrap a cardigan around my waist to move around the office because it was one of those, ahem, heavy flow days.
I have used entire tree's worth of toilet paper to wrap and wrap and wrap and wrap . . . and wrap my blood-tinged feminine products to prevent another human being from having to witness the fact that I am a woman, and I bleed, when visiting at friends' or using a public restroom to preserve the illusion that I am not human at all.
My baby was born entirely from an ideological perspective that has nothing to do with my body.
So, I understand exactly why it can seem so permissible to you to draw lines across it, to discuss"it" in strange detail as an "it," and not an "I" or "She," because I have kept you in the dark all these years, preserving all this "feminine mystery" in hopes that at last, if I am obedient enough, if I never speak of my body, you will forget I have one and I will be free to live inside it as myself.
But this contract seems not to be working.
I think this idealogical division between "women's health" and actual "women," is the very result of my acquiescence. As your teacher in grade-through-high school I should not have hidden the fact that I was ovulating from you. I should have laid down the chalk/dry-erase marker/laser pointer, and have placed both hands over my ovaries and applied gentle pressure as the millions of little follicles worked to emit a singular teensy tiny egg.
I should have kept a cot in all the offices where I worked so when I felt thunder in my uterus, I could have simply told you I am having my period today and it fucking hurts when you talk to me.
I should have not pretended to be enjoying dinner on dates with you when I had a 103 degree adhesive heating element stuck to the belly of my granny panties just so I could bear being upright.
I should have worn pads at the beach. Better, I should have let it run down my legs as I emerged all beautiful and bikini'd from the raw ocean which soothed me.
Because you wanted to admire me as a woman, I should have told you the whole truth of being one.
Then all of this wouldn't be such a mystery.
I wouldn't have deprived you of this opportunity to develop empathy for me, your sister-in-species.
You would perhaps then understand that for one week of 12 months a year for 32 years, I have gone through more pain than all your semi-finals-reaching high school football team player buddies combined, each month, and that all this qualifies me quite well to decide what I do and do not want passing through my cervix, whether it be you, blood, or a baby.
So, I hope you will accept my apologies.
I think you needed this body narrative all along. So here it is.
I am having terrible cramps today, and because it is 4th of July I am thankful to have a day of rest, to feel each one of them pound through my pelvis, a sort of reminder that I am a woman keeping time, I am the earth's pulse, and I have the power of giving birth if I choose to do so, and also that I am attuned to the phases of the moon and have the gift of intuition and a lot of other stuff that freaks you out because I also don't talk about all that stuff nearly enough.
As you can see in the photo above, I have purchased, from the secret girl section of the grocery store my "Always" Ultra Thin pads and a great big bottle of Pamprin. The pads soak up the blood, in case you didn't know. The pills help quiet the cramps and lessen bloat. You know about bloat, don't you? It's when you puff up like a balloon and feel you might, at any moment, burst. But don't worry. You only feel like you've gained 20 pounds. Everyone else seems to think I look fine. But thanks for asking.
I will send another report in 28 days.
Monday, July 01, 2013
Ode to Joy
O God! – you have no threefold being and are independent of everything, you are the true, eternal, blessed, unchangeable light of all time and space. . . You are present throughout the whole world and sustain all things.
A translation by Beethoven of Hindu text*
The moon begins below the water, always.
In all things, it begins this way, the left hand the rhythm in
an enduring lunar pulse that pulls and draws,
attracts and yields, however far the right hand ventures
closer to the sun then to return, then to succumb
and venture deeper.
At the wall of the dining room in Lawrence Park, Toronto,
the old, nameless upright stood.
Sheet music ragged, yellowed, the notes blackened
by endless playings, peeked out from inside the wooden bench
like the slivers of sun during an eclipse. The only piece
my mother played was the Pathetique, and its horrible chords
born of the same first material as the moon itself,
as the heart itself, as the soul itself, poured out through the home
drawing everything inside of them, almost as though inside of her
who otherwise was chipper and always home. Home, though,
when she played, was her world, a burgeoning shoulder of genius
edging out the domestic and the doomed.
When my hands could reach an octave I chose to play Moonlight.
Teachers after-schooled me in “Big Chief Crazy Horse” and “See the Bear
on the Two Feet Begging for a Bite to Eat,” which I played in recitals
wearing a pink dress. But in secret I collected the names of notes, that limited alphabet
of limitlessness, and carried them home to that wall, that piano darker than night
and began the metamorphosis of girl into woman at the age of eight.
It would be my song. My place to put things that never made any sense.
My survival, and after a time, my Joy once I learned to see what Joy is:
something belonging never to us, but only to the soul.
Beethoven translated two passages from Hindu prayer.
The Illuminati dissolved by the time he was 14, he found his own path
to Elysium and scored it with sand and ink, wax and fire. Moving deeper
under the water, he rose. Churned the emotions of the godhead into sound,
he was Arjuna engaging the battle that carries him inward all the way to God.
Each sonata was another move from light to illumination.
For Ode to Joy, Beethoven used the words of a poem by Schiller, an Illuminati text:
Those who dwell in the great circle,
Pay homage to sympathy!
It leads to the stars,
Where the Unknown reigns.
The cannons at the end are the musical equivalent of Bhagavad-Gita
Book Four. But what I hold to, still, what holds me the most, in his deaf
hands lowering me into the water so gently, like a lover who knows
the works of my mind so far down, so sounding me that all the notes
flow inward, it is the Moonlight’s first movement, the depth of inspiration
occluding all surface appearance, that I go into. And it is religion because
of its awful longing that meets the soul below the space it speaks from
and carresses it into light. To play it is dreadfully uncomfortable even
after nearly thirty years. I’m not that good, and it reminds me I’m even
worse, but that’s the lesson of Beethoven. To know perfection is to never
possess it, but to work the hands’ skills as they are given, to when the wrong
note is played not stand and move from the piano to something so much easier,
but to stay. The piano wants to be played, and the wrong note pleases the soul.
Discord pleases the soul so much that Beethoven built the discord into the music.
He left some notes for only the soul to play, for us to encounter it there on the page
and ask, “No, this can’t be right?”And it is right. And the wrong notes
open the questions into minor keys that once corrected are still minor until
the third measure of the second page when the hands land on major
again, and for a moment there is knowing, there is correctness, but there’s
no God. So he descends us. Again. And this submersion is a sequence of
the soul’s work, a beautiful subtraction of the certainty the hands must
learn to play so the heart can walk in this world, unafraid of the unknown.
The unknown takes practice, and the piece therefore is complicated.
To learn to play this, says Beethoven, (me, having written the question
in one of those little notebooks), is to learn how to love.
He didn’t care much for people but gave his life to serving humanity.
“How can I not believe in God when I work so closely with him everyday?” he said.
And that God was the God he bore into using notes like tools for gently
brushing away the cosmos.
Fitting this into a small, antique upright in a dining room, my mother
work flare denim jeans and a black turtleneck. It was Toronto in the 1970s,
and the boatswain whistle hung round her neck, a model for what my parents
saw as a sideline business as my father sought fellowships for research.
The world was disco, but the home was piano. When it was silent,
everything was known and certain and would last forever. Snow covered
the spruce in winter. The spruce re-appeared in Spring. The driveway
was gravel. The house was made of brick. It had Red shutters. The address:
125 St. Leonards Avenue, the patron saint of chefs, captive women, and wounded
animals. French lessons on Wednesdays. Dinner: roast beef on Sunday.
But when she played, the whole of it trembled as the Unknown entered
the house, and taking a seat on the leather couches they brought with us
back from England, spread its arms wide and carried us all down into Heaven.
*Beethoven’s Letters with explanatory notes by Dr. A.C. Kalischer (trans. J.S. Shedlock), 1926.
Photo: Rex Features