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yemaya's limestone archiviste
Back again, the cave, blowing the pre-buddha minds of the un-initial. Who is not? We all initial in the same ways as the morning's sounds: it’s a visceral grind, a seeking for truth in the gutters of nonsense, the gutters of Annapurna, the gutters of Bombay. My father’s feet in the streets of Lahore, the whores of Lahore fading in memory, but not the body’s vault of uninterrupted play. I could fade, he could fade, but not the beauty of red desire as she flies the morning streets, hers the prayer of the sensate, the nerve endings of sacred flight.
A lazy Friday, with the six weeks running down. We are, amazingly, two weeks from the one week Thanksgiving break: that is absolutely mind-boggling. No clue what we will do with that lovely gift.
Went down into the Baja William last night, to Robot and Susan Oaks’ gallery show. Was met in the hallway by a series of collages, wonderful pieces: I had not known she worked with collage, along with her fiber pieces, the whimsical Seuss pieces along with the holy. Spoke with her, her light shining on the three of us, the sacredness of art for us all.
Up early with the day, nosing into Murat 11 and responses. Wreckless Eric for a bit; should be a lazy prep weekend: the projects are assigned and the movies are ready for watching.
Busy weekend on the homefront, though: Jessica’s show this afternoon, dinner at Alan and Terry’s this eve, lunch with the westsiders tomorrow, Onashka for coffee, and then Tina’s show in the eve.
Revisiting Bill and the reckless journey yet again. The eve of destruction, the eve of deconstruction, the eve of all the baby souls coming home to roost. Finding home to roost, finding home to root.
Busy birthday week day: rounds and blessings at Reconciliation, Tibetan prayer flags, all this after a wonderful surprise at Terry and Alan’s last night: good food and good people. From Rec, we sailed to Beto’s for comida and conversation in the back yard, babies swinging on the vines. Back home for Onashka, who rolled in with news from home and the rest of the cosmic map, in her own unique blend of wherewithal. A fine time that was. Tina was off, then, to Jessica and the altar show, while Mr Baby and I held down the roost. That be that.
Roger’s cumpleanos. Took Onashka’s carrot cake for all to enjoy, and enjoy they did. Lazy school day for most, except my little sophomore scholars and eighth grade woogies. Hung out with Tonye at lunch. Some good writing/work from the fifth period crew, o solo mio. Zat’s the way it’s supposed to be, no? Didn’t hurt that the HOD was AWOL for the afternoon, joining the barbecue ranks of Big Bill. Always a season to be pleasin’. This was that, and the rest was shopping with baby for his new air-cooled shods, he was happy and boppin’ in the new year.
Quiet birthday, after the previous week’s hubbub. Bounced around the greetings at WSSA, cake from N and K. Messages from Toni, Gretel, and Laura. Little buzzes abounding. Took Matt to his bus stop, then headed south to pick up Walden in his new gladiator shoes. Roasted veggies and more of that pumpkin pie for the evening feast. 54: well now. Flip the numbers to Walden’s entrance in our lives, these are still the glory days.
StoryQuarterly wants my submission for their latest (rigged?) contest. I visited again with Rana, to see if he had anything to say on the matter.
Came home a curmudgeonly and sleepy mess, opting out of the Celtic mass at Reconciliation. Ultimately decided to renege on that foolish decision and showed up at the seven-eighths packed house over at the Rec. Dark night outside the windows, it felt like a pre-Advent Advent. As pretty as Rec is daytime, it is equally so at night. Wonderful Celtic tones of Mr. Newell: “deep peace,” etc., and of course, Ms Mary Earle always makes things all sprightly and celt-y. She was clad in an electric blue sweater after the service, bringing Yemaya into the Episcopal gumbo house. Deep peace.
My thanks to Ms Amber for reminding me that this week’s drowsiness and sleep upheaval has likely been helped by the misguided devotees of Mr Franklin and their clocky manipulations. As soon as she mentioned her own disgruntlements, it clicked for me as well. I came home this time a little less guilty about heading for me bed.
Could not find The Last Unicorn, so like Mr C, I too have failed. We will choose between Smoke Signals and Monty Python, with Space Case thrown in for good measure. In the meantime, we will re-gather and stretch to the horizon.
Last day of the six weeks, a down day, with a twist of Veterans Day thrown in at day’s end. The usual patriotic nonsense, twitterings and eye-rollings, and ghastings at the roll call of tyrants, sans our own lovely example to the world. Polite twittering and eye-rolling, to the extent that such can be polite. I “applaud” Jamie’s anarchist spirit, and ask Megan whither Conscientious Objectors Day? What sobers is the presence of the actual vets from the senior home, in our midst, with their own stories of survival and sacrifice. We file out past them: welcoming, thanking, blessing, blessed.
Up early for Morning Prayer, the predictable one and only in attendance (with the One and Only, of course), while Lisa walks the labyrinth at dawn. I pass on tea somewhere: heading home, I hear Cab Calloway’s sublime Minnie the Moocher, with all the wonderful rackety call and response: this, with Henry and Bones, and Thomas and Victor, folds nicely into the story that’s brewing. Snooze time down in the southlands, piratic laser boys running, Tim in for a visit, while Tina is off discovering her discoverings. Tina and the laser pirates off to Fishead, I laze by the fire.
Dreadful unshakably messy day, long crawl through baths and showers and flustered naps and the sense that nothing was getting done and the further sense that I didn’t give a shit about getting any of it done in the first place, I just wanted to root and hollow. Did I say unshakable? It truly was: I’ve known many that don’t hunt, but this one dug, pit bull maw at my throat. Was I fun to live with? Hell, no. Did I pray for it all to end? Hell, yes. Did it? Not by a long shot. Dug in, dug out.
Finally, back to the land of the living, though things still looked bleak when I woke up this morning. I did not want to crawl through another day, with urchins to boot. Head massage: nada. Shower: not really much, but finally something began to flow in the thirty minutes before I went out the door. By the time I got to school, I was fine: a little tired, but the nagging three day headache was gone. Rolled through the day, road trips in the morning, newbies in the afternoon, NM and the woes of the earthbound, welcome to Third Rock.
Magic seashells. Warning: strangulation hazard, or dukes of hazzard at least. Innovative hospice care? I shudder to think. It is a one bath deposit, creative collage. Bath salts, more than likely, after the disarray. Maggie on McKinley Avenue, after the Placido Domingo soufflé. I wouldn’t reconsider: it’s not worth the time. I’ve seen better, but I’ve heard worse, and after all, my kid could paint that. In fact, she did: all of it, all of it in the hands of Fig, the manservant. Lady Bracknell needn’t worry in the least. It’s unthinkable, and out of the reach of Knees itch.
The big winds blew in from the north, big autumnal blast that scared the bejesus out of me, whipping all about the yard and street. It wasn’t exactly cold, but it was certainly big and full of all kinds of Yankee mess I did not want stuck up my nose. The horrid little facetious dance in which you try to convince yourself (unconvincingly) that you can somehow dance between all that nasty airborne (sorry) crap. I know, I know: ain’t the North Wind’s fault, and certainly ain’t the Yankees (it’s those pesky Canadians!!), it’s just our twirling little terra firma.
Failed the dance recital, I did, and got progressively more miserable as the day advanced. By lunchtime, I was ready to just roll over and play dead, which I certainly did by the time of my delightful fifth period. The munchkins disappeared into their prompts, much to my relief, munchkining along. Came home and dissolved into a hot tub: twas a very Berryman day, and it was with a book of JB that I soaked, sonnets and misery and formal elegies. Sitting here, I feel a bit more like I’m beginning to orbit earth again, into a bath of chamomile.
The break has come. The brain noodles were soon turned off, so why fight it, though my munchkins continued valiantly and wonderfully on with Wilde’s “Importance…” Will we do Godot next? Shall see. Anyway, we are off for another 9 (5, depending on how you count them) days. Walden and I were bacheloring it, with Tina off visiting Rachel in Austin. SpongeBob it was, with Ocean’s 13 on tap for T’s return.
Atrium trim, wrestling with the fortnight, down by the riverside windows. Chagall visits, damned and all, crying into the soul’s dark wilderness. Lynette sees what the eye cannot.
The bachelors out and about, on our little shopping “sprees.” Walden for another Lego treasure, I to Borders for Herbie Hancock’s Joni album, which sounded oh so lush on the drive around town through the grey day. Tina home from Austin, pizza dinner, and then Ocean’s. I’m obviously no longer hip: I count 13 the least of the three, by a long shot, and I rate 11 and 12 as just about even. Walden’s ready for “14”; I say they close the bank. Hard to believe that I would say that I missed Julia, but I did. Pacino did nuthin'.
Another lovely grey greyness upon us this day. Back to Reconciliation after last week’s absence, into the cave of the testosterone tribe of four boys, and two adult males, storyteller and gatekeeper, all for the story of Samuel, the name, as it happens, of a brother of one of the four, a Samuel we all know quite well, “given” of God indeed, guide and teacher. Perhaps twas best that Ms Amy, my projected assistant, was nowhere to be found. She might have fainted from all the vapors. In truth, it was nothing like: we be a peaceful band o’ tykes.
The Joni Letters is full of surprises beyond Ms Norah: a cool, prim, pin-striped Tina Turner on “Edith and the Kingpin,” with this funky whispering guitar-jive undertow; a lovely instrumental deconstruction/reconstruction of “Both Sides Now,” leaving the song blessedly near-unrecognizable; the sweet girl-child voice of Corinne Bailey Rae on “River.” Critics have lauded Luciana Souza’s take on “Amelia,” but it rings flat for me, though I love Hancock’s ever-present searching, here and throughout the album, old friend running in and out and up from the water, crying, “here, and here, and here,’ gems and gems and gems of beach glass.
Getting sperled with this week off: I can feel it, big time. Spent a few hours over at Rec this evening: substituting for an unnamed guest speaker: Jimisu and a handful of others: Anita, Ann, Ellen, Yvonne, and William. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and Perrier: Episco-decadence. The topic was aging, for this rambling crowd of 50 plus-ish teenagers, as eternal teen seemed the internal age of one and all. A pleasant, quiet ramble for us all: I love the library in November, dark night flooding in the windows: J even dimmed the lights. Ruthie’s Travelin’ Shoes sent us off.
As usual, when the North is barreling down upon us, we set a record first, and then let the winds blow. 88 degrees: with the lovely walk in the morning, I would not have thought so, the eruptive heat of the charging Staffordshire Bull Terrier notwithstanding. He were a vision as we climbed our usual hill, Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker dreaming, mercifully, at the other end of his taut leash.
As the winds commenced, I walked into 50 years ago on San Pedro, down a long hall to tiny ashram, Havana Hotel redux, a body molding to complete the birthday fest.
Cold blown in, the greyest of greys: took Blue for a walk this morning, after he gave me the most human look I have ever seen on his face. It was not a face to ignore or refuse, so I didn’t and I didn’t. Woodsmoke in the air as we walked: Patsy’s house, blessing the neighborhood.
Lazed through the afternoon, while also prepping the feast: we finally sat down at 5: roasted brussel sprouts, garlic, and leeks; sautéed green beans; boureg; cranberry sauce; sautéed salmon for Tina; apple cider with spices; pumpkin pie. A beautiful meal, with my beautiful family.
Utter laziness today: like yesterday, an all day pajama day. Peeked on the football upsets, talked to Laura in Nashville, snacked on all of yesterday’s yummy leftovers. Heathcliff has faded again: I’m snooping again (again) (again) in Bourjaily’s Now Playing at Canterbury. Watched a Korean film with Tina and Walden this evening.
Pumpkin pie and a bit of apple crisp is all that’s left now of the feast. While I lazed, Tina and Walden worked in the back yard: looked out the window to see Walden in his winter coat, “sweeping” Blue’s play area with a giant arm of bamboo.
Icy day, on the wet side, ensconced here behind this merciful window. Blue pigged in his pen for a bit this morning, muddying “all my hard work” (that’s me talking) in the kitchen. He must have had a good time, though: he was in no hurry to come back in.
There are skyscraper stacks of books for the biblioteca in the living room: time to flush out the shelves. Read a story from Mali this morning, dias le la escuela are creeping back in. I am so gone from a school mentality at this point. Imagine where the kids’ll be.
Ichiban At night when I sleep Singing, the illusion bends As if the cold joins Straight to my heart And the sadness below Is made from Ichiban With the old ways White and sweet and tempting. At night when I sleep Singing, the illusion bends As if the sun’s ardent light Pierces my heart. When strength pretends to be A heat red and hungry A sun vanquished by shadow And made fast by night. At night when I sleep Singing, the illusion bends To gods who hold The pain in my heart. after antonio machado for the Armenian Thanksgiving Feast
Home with the P-girls. Not quite, P-Funk, but with the younger P, close. Lots of giggling going on behind me, led by the ladies, fed on pizzas and Mad-libs. This after a rambling day at the Institute, all of us lackadaisically re-entering the pretend zone. Two things hit me today, in my fatigue: 1. the year really is almost gone, and 2. what the hell am I really imparting to these folks? Relationship, yes, but that fourth period English class will break me. Re-evaluating one’s pedagogy is for summer, not for the dead of winter. Or soon to be dead.
My sophs saved me today: no dramatic shift, just, well, awake. They’re off on their writing projects: “Christmas in Lubbock,” “Taliban Christmas,” “Gangsta Tree,” and some futuristic something from P. G is still working on his Vietnam story, periodically stopping to check, or access, his visualizations. Came back from lunch with a note in blue on my dry-erase board: “We love Mr. Booker. Evryone.” (Yes, that spelling). Sad (is it really?) to say, I needed that, a tiny affirming message from the deeps. Over to TMI to watch the middlers get whopped by the Panthers, but twas a good thing.
Hump day, a rising fashion. HOD and JC beckoned to be outside this morning, icier and colder than I anticipated. Still, it was nice to take it easy, not be such a taskmaster, sit and grade while my juniors slipped back into old times on swings and slides. HOD and AML came to chat, then JC, then a few others. They liked the time: very relaxing. Some throughout the rest of the day: not OUT, but took it easy for the rest of the day. Writers, pictionaryists, graffiti artists. Meetings too long, but not a bother. The countdown is on.
Long catching up call with Ms Toni in PHO: it had been a long time, much to explore and share. Funny how I resist phone calls of all sorts and then relax into three and a half hours of talking. Was reminded of the very first time I met Toni, in Uvalde, when she was a mere three years old. A taciturn one, not the least bit taken in by my usual kid schmooze. This woke me up: hmm. Talked, this time, loves, jazz, skepticism, God and other mythologies, other fictions, and the room to roam one’s questions and notions.
Stayed up late, woke early, no apparent worse for wear. A good little groovy day at school, folks hunkering down, fairly peaceful. Sevenths off to see the missions, some eighths off to feed the folks at Habitat. JH even in during last period to fire off an impassioned screed on parenting. Nasty traffic driving home, endless rounds by the time I could get free of the mess, then on to Hawthorne for Aphrodite’s news. We bade her farewell as she navigated down Josephine on Gabriel’s rig, then noodled down Broadway through foggy misty Christmas-lit Yule mess. Nice to be home.
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