April 26, 2010

Noise-filled Thoughts

My mind is swirling of thoughts

The shoulds, the shouldn’ts the have-to's, the oughts

Unbridled emotions swirl around

Arrogances, annoyances, burdens abound

The clammer inside continues to rise

I can’t hear the external, I’m completely inside

Engulfed by past images or futures I want

The words I wish I hadn’t uttered continue to haunt

Fireworks of stimulated synapses exploding everywhere

Words burst into each other and evaporate into air

And suddenly from the depths of my noisy despair

A hear a Voice that Sternly Blares:


All is quiet.

I hear my own breath.

I return

April 25, 2010

Sadness is the Stillness.

Sadness is the stillness.
The quiet holding of a breath
that exhales with a long sigh
a gasp of air before she wept

she begins to blink her eye
but she holds the blink too long
and as her chin begins to quiver
you can tell that something's wrong

and just before she knows it,
you see the sliver of tear, the rest
desperately begging not to be released
so as not to let the sadness manifest

but still they seep through-quiet
tears blossoming from a downward crescent eye
rolling through the crevasses of her mouth
despite attempted blinks to keep them inside

and despite the subtle motions of her face
and the tiptoes of her tears
the delicacy of sadness breaks
and the gasps and sobs begin to near

trying to maintain her composure
she squeezes shut her heart
clenches her fist and clamps shut the eyes
of a witnessed break-down she will not be a part

and slowly she contains herself
and of a mustered smile she tries to make
her eyes get wide and bright
but you knows this attempt at composure is fake

so for now she will pretend to be ok
and wait till the comforts of her room
to break open her sadness
and freely wallow in her gloom

see sadness craves the stillness
it likes to be alone
hidden in the shadows
where melancholy's sown.

April 12, 2010

The Box Conspiracy.

I tend to gravitate towards small contained areas that completely enclose me, otherwise known as boxes, squares, or rectangles. As a child, when my mom could not find me in the house, she would open the closet and there I would be nestled against three walls sleeping soundly. My favorite room in the world is in my cottage in Canada, a narrow rectangular room that barely fits a single bed and dresser. There is something about small confined spaces that makes me feel safe. This is probably why I love my studio in NYC. It is really small, but there's something about it that brings me relief when I walk in it. There are no surprises. I can walk in, peer around from my stairwell, through my doorway, and ensure that no stranger lurks in an unseen place.

Unfortunately, my tendency towards straight geometrical patterns is what I most dislike about my self. Because not only do I physically find myself confined by small places, but I find myself living many days in a box. I think the same thoughts, I walk the same route to work, I eat the same food. I have the same weekly meetings and get-togethers. I'm living my days just like they're displayed on my calendar--in little tiny boxes, but with a different number for a different day.

And besides the squareness of my days, I am forced to spend most of my days staring into the damned glowing box of a computer screen. The Onion recently just had an article that headlined "90% of Waking Hours Staring at Rectangles." This is probably not completely statistically accurate, but it's not too much of an exaggeration either. This is frightening.

Stupid Squares and Rectangles! They rule our lives! We even force the vastness of the mind's creativity into them. Like now, in this moment, I'm trying to capture my intangible thoughts on life and fit them into the "posting box" of this website that falls within my rectangular computer screen. And when I paint, I find myself painting on a square canvas. And when I take a picture, it prints out onto rectangle paper and I try to preserve the memory in a rectangle frame. And when I write, whether it be poetry or a legal opinion, I print it out on the rectangular paper. Even the world's best novels are contained to little boxes full of print.

Is no one else bothered by this?! Is there some type of conspiracy out there to confine our lives to boxes? Is it not ironic to anyone else that the limitless nature of creativity is often expressed on the limited nature of a square? How can these limits not, at least on some subconscious level, affect us?

Regardless of whether the conspiracy exists, my constant daily struggle is to accept the confines of physically small places, but to seek vast spaces. Though we are already inherently contained by the limits of our bodies, the joy in the metaphysical is that our hearts and minds transcend their physical organs. Our thoughts, expressions, and creativity are free and spacious. They only become contained when we decide to place artificial limits on them. I want to fight to free my mind from these limits (even if it feels less safe). I'm pretty sure my deep cravings for the ocean reflect this desire. I take comfort in the ocean not only because it is beautiful, but because it is vast. Because when I look at it, I do not see limits. I do not see boxes or squares or confinement. I see endless motion and expansiveness. It is a vast space of unboxable life. And this is how I want to live--oceanically.

I don't want to be put in a coffin when I die (do you hear this, family?) I went to cremated and spread into Lake Erie. It will be my last (and surely my most successful attempt) to be free from the confines of a physical box.

April 2, 2010

Ode to Musicians

Over the past month I have witnessed random people creating music in the most ordinary moments. Last week, on my way to to the Maui airport (yea for vacations :)), an older Hawaain man quietly began singing "Tiny Bubbles" from the back of the bus. All of the chatter immediately ceased. As we sat there listening, no one turned around to say anything to him, but there seemed to be a quiet understanding that we took joy from his song.

And then there was the flute player in Pacific Palisades Park sitting on a bench in the rose garden practicing "Chariots of Fire."

And then there was the elder Asian woman dancing and singing to herself in a language not understood by me by the East River on a spring morning.

And then there was the musician playing Van Morrison "Crazy Day" in the subway tunnel during rush hour in the lower east side.

And then there is the recorder player Mickey who greets people emerging from the subway on their evening commute everyday.

The beauty of music is that it often finds us, sneaking into our awareness in the most unsuspecting moments. Providing us an opportunity to stop our thoughts and listen. Allowing us to witness strangers gifting their talents to other strangers. Letting us enjoy something that we did not have to create.

Music allows people to stand alone in a random part of the city and share a part of themselves with the passing world without seeming crazy or annoying. The public sharing of any other passion is looked upon with disdain. People who talk to themselves on the street are considered schizophrenic. People who share their faith are preachers. People who hold up signs are in-your-face protesters. People who make art on the street are graffiti-ers. People who hand out leaflets on their cause are annoying fundraisers.

But people who make music....are musicians. People will stop and listen to musicians. People will tap their feet to a stranger's beat. People will be moved to drop money in a hat when they pass by out of a pure appreciation of a sound. People will look up and smile in the acknowledgment that you too are listening. People will feel their memory or emotions awaken to a recognized song. Because of this, musicians have a rare freedom to uninvitedly reveal their talents and soul to the world and still be embraced.

I want to be a musician. I think a lot of us do. And though we may not have the lyrical or musical capabilities of producing pleasing auditory compositions, we have something within us that we yearn to share to the world. We want to share it although it will make us vulnerable. We want to voice our inner most passions, but fear such an act would deem us crazy. Or worst, no one would listen. We want to create something that people may, if only for a moment, pause and appreciate. We want the opportunity to show the world that we can create something beautiful.

Perhaps the myth is that only singers and songwriters and instrumentalists are musicians. Perhaps we walk through life resigned to listen to others' music, without realizing that we too can create it. Perhaps music is not merely notes or sounds, but the courage to vulnerably share an inner voice to strangers passing by. Perhaps the creation of music means quieting the yelling of the mind's opinions and allowing the voice of the heart to emerge. Perhaps the melody we create will find a listener. And then perhaps the true beauty of music lies not in what is created, but what is shared.