TRIUMPH OF SPIRIT IN LOVE, NATURE & ART

Loss

astonishment

My friend, Tiramit at Dhamma Footsteps, says it better than I ever could, so immersed in shock, fear and grief are we, obviously the minority here in the U.S….

dhamma footsteps

pigeons3bPOSTCARD #231: New Delhi: Trumpets blare, the sharp impact of it hits immediately, a cloud of birds fly up in a flutter of uncertainty. Trees splash outwards in branches, twigs, leaves, blossom and seed. Astonishment… how could this have happened? Eyes open wider and wider, like a camera aperture opening so far it exceeds structural integrity, implodes, buildings collapse in controlled demolition made to seem like a natural disaster, the ground beneath us opens up in sinkholes. Words explode into fragments of meaning… thus, the un-expect-ed-ness of this unnerving turn of events.

Curtains open on the First Act. Enter, stage right, the President of the Disunited States, Hollywood version of narcissistic Third World dictator, well-dressed gangster with his carefully balanced coiffure and infrastructure of war, catastrophe, greed, hatred and delusion – a victorious returning to power, with paid-for breathless wave of applause. Financial Advisors grab all the wealth stolen by…

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Fall Teardrops


The Veil of Love

P1140699_edited-14AM
and you a warm lump
under the covers
of Morpheus
and me wide awake
with eyes moist with tears
I write
lest I forget
the vulnerability of you
yesterday
lest one day
you ARE no longer
a day of dread
so locked into desire
for your presence am I
fearful of the future
lest it tears me from you
or me from you
“Until death do us part”
the import of those words
have begun to resound
with a fierce vengeance
now 30 years later
the treasure of you
multiplies like the loaves and fishes
for I fear a famine
not of food
but of your presence
I try to hold each wrinkled emotion
on your face
in a forever place in my heart
lest you be torn from me
Not following the wisdom
of the sages
to live forever in the present
the specter of loss
hangs over me
haunting our life together
And yesterday
when you cried
when you disguised your tears
with embarrassed laughter
your eyes dripped diamonds,
sparkling as they fell
in response to mine
I crying because
there will never be
a happily ever after
at our age
sure as shooting
death will come
and rip us asunder
Perhaps our love
will be born again
in Samsara
but it is a “perhaps”
without a guarantee
My faith is feint
and my heart shudders
and flutters
under the threat
of separation
as you lay
a lump of warmth
in the land of Nod
Our love a fairy tale
in a fierce steely reality
of endings.
          *
“Unless we can discover that basic ground of goodness in our own lives, we cannot hope to improve the lives of others.”
Chogyam Trungpa
 HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

Tyranny of Mind

 2126624741-1_edited-1

4AM
and you a warm lump
under the covers
of Morpheus

Me wide awake
eyes moist with tears
I write
lest I forget
the vulnerability of you
yesterday

lest one day
you ARE no longer
a day of dread
so locked into desire
for your presence am I
fearful of the future
lest it tears me from you
or me from you

Not yet awake

to the wisdom
of the sages and the ages
to live forever in the present

“Until death do us part”

The import of those words
have begun to resound
with a fierce vengeance
now decades later

The treasure of you
multiplies like the loaves and fishes

I fear a famine
not of food
but of your presence

I try to hold each wrinkled emotion
on your face
in a forever place
lest you be torn from me

The specter of loss
hangs over me
haunting our life together

And yesterday
when you cried
when you disguised your tears
with embarrassed laughter
your eyes dripped diamonds,
sparkling as they fell
in response to mine

I crying because
there will never be
a “happily ever after”
at our age
sure as shooting
death will come
and rip us asunder

Perhaps our love
will be born again
in Samsara
but it is a “perhaps”
without a guarantee

My faith is faint

My heart shudders
and flutters
under the threat
of separation
as you lay
a lump of warmth
in the land of Nod

Our love a fairy tale
in a fierce steely reality
of endings.

“Unless we can discover that basic ground of goodness in our own lives, we cannot hope to improve the lives of others.”
Chogyam Trungpa


Moonset

 RSCN2903_edited-2

The hush

of  predawn

in which

the moon

silently

surreptitiously

descends

into the black hole

of the tail end

of night

*

A similar moment

years ago

 in my arms

as she struggled to breathe

already half the battle

over

 one prick of the needle

 instantly limp

a hushed end

to a soulmate

our baby

*

Why can’t we

too

go this way

as softly as

a moon setting

in the whisper

of predawn

of a new day?


Life Eternal

On this sad day

13 years ago

unspeakable things happened

to uncountable thousands

we have gone on

aching for those lost

Let us affirm life today

and always

By going to the One within


The Reign of Pain

RSCN3363_edited-1

 

Tears,years, fears, pain, pane, rain, car, far, are you there, somewhere?

I can’t hear you.  I can’t see you.  I can’t feel you.  Any more.

Why did you have to die?  Why did you have to go?

Your kids bleed for you, you know.

Your wife aches for you, you know.

I pine for you, you know.

Your absence is our has been.

Attachment our sin.

And in this reign

of pain we fail

we ail

each in our own ways.

It may be a thin veil

 that divides our souls but

why then does it feel like an iron curtain

 creating the great divide

between our being and your nothingness?

(Written for the three year anniversary of my brother’s death.)


Cowboys and the “Dallas Buyer’s Club”

About three minutes into “Dallas Buyers Club” I just knew I was going to love it.  Well, I more than loved it. I absolutely adored it and watched it twice. Why? Apart from being a highly meaningful piece of art with political overtones with which I concur, here was a film about the cowboy in my life. My brother.
*
No, my brother didn’t die of AIDS or HIV. He was not a drug addict and he was as straight as they come. I was the one with the homosexual experiences in my family.  My brother didn’t even die of cirrhosis of the liver, though God knows he drank enough. No, my brother died of lung cancer at age 57.
*
Let me back up and give a synopsis of the film from Wikipedia for those of you who are not familiar with it: ‘”Dallas Buyers Club” is a 2013 American biographical drama film, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée and written by Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack. Matthew McConaughey stars as the real-life AIDS patient Ron Woodroof, who smuggled unapproved pharmaceutical drugs into Texas when he found them effective at improving his symptoms, distributing them to fellow sufferers by establishing the “Dallas Buyers Club” while facing opposition from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).”
*
Like Woodroof, Tony was a hard drinking, hard-living, tough-as-nails cowboy who worked on thoroughbred horse farms for awhile as a groom. He got into trouble from time to time but he was blessed with a good, big heart. And, unlike Ron he lived long enough to turn his life around and live an exemplary life I cannot begin to touch.  He married, settled down, became a wheelchair artisan and adopted three kids. He wound up doing volunteer work, too, therapeutic riding with handicapped kids. Things Ron might have done had he had the chance. Ron has a line in the film where he talks about wanting a family. But he died too young.
*
So did Tony. His cowboy life in Michigan was cut short when he was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer at age 54.  He was given 4 months to live. Dead set on fighting and aiming to win, he had chemo and radiation.  I sent him doo-rags when his hair fell out. I did Reiki on him.  And he did his God-damnedest to stay alive. All for his kids. He dropped down to 90 pounds, walked and looked like a dark-skinned, Latino Ron Woodroof at his most emaciated. It was heartbreaking to see this once rugged, handsome cowboy wearing long sleeves in the middle of a blistering summer so as not to scare people with his stick-insect arms.
*
Damn, the movie had guts! Power, too, in spades. Just like Ron Woodroof and his beautiful transvestite partner in business, Rayon. Just like my brother, and just like so many fighting for their lives.  Ron outlived the 30 day sentence the doctors gave him when he was first diagnosed HIV, and he lived some seven more years.  Tony lived three years after the initial prediction of four months. Chemo was hell for one week out of the month followed by three relatively good weeks. Relative is the word here. Tony told me time and again he was doing all this for the kids.
*
The Rons, the Rayons and the Tonys of the world– they are the unknown, unsung heroes of daily life. Ron Woodroof became famous  thanks to the producers, writers, actors and all who made this movie jump from the page to the screen to brilliant, vibrant life.  I thank them for telling the stories of Ron and Rayon. Stories that needed desperately to be told. Ron Woodroof made good in his own hustling way. So did my brother.
*
It was great seeing Tony again, even if only in metaphor. I cried plenty from the get-go and again the second time around, but even aside from my brother, would have anyhow. The characters, the movie was THAT poignant, counterpointed by humor, too. What a fantastic whirlwind of a life was portrayed in this outstanding, almost phantasmagorical film.

Tom Attwater Is Dying. His Daughter Might Die, Too. The Letter He Left For Her Is Unforgettable.

To see a video of Tom reading this letter, click on:

http://kindnessblog.com/2014/02/20/tom-attwater-dying-of-cancer-reads-the-letter-he-wrote-to-his-daughter-kelli/


Spirits Past and the Mystical Bliss of Horses

079

It is almost Christmas, and my birthday, and today I cried reading an old birthday email from my sister.  She signed it “Lisa the Pizza, Tony Baloney and the rest of the gang ‘up there’,” meaning my brother, and my mother and father.

“Tony  Baloney” died two years and a half ago, leaving behind three adopted children whom he adored and who adored him, and a loving wife.  My father and mother died 25 and 20 years ago, as impossible as that seems.  Dad and Mom died this time of year.  And my best friend, Wendi, died shortly after.  All of cancer of some sort or the other.  But they all loved horses.

We now live in Millbrook — horse country.  Horse farms dot the countryside.  My father and mother and Wendi would have adored it.  My brother was the only one to visit Millbrook, coming with his family whom we put  up at a nearby horse ranch. They all  had the time of their lives.  One of my fondest memories of my brother is from that visit.  We are holding hands as he is relaxing after a day of riding with his kids.  He is drinking and smoking (what eventually killed him) and we are taking in the sunset on the porch of the dude ranch.

I love horses, too.  It is in my blood.  Dad played the horses and my brother worked on several racetracks, including Belmont.  Now I abhor horse-racing,  finding it cruel.  My brother had horror stories to tell of how the horses were drugged and run hurting.  I have seen horses being put down– all for a senseless sport.  Dad and I would quarrel about this if he were still alive.

I remember stroking a horse once at a show nearby and the bliss I felt was mystical in a most spiritual way.  I wanted that moment to last forever.  And the happiest I have ever seen my husband was on a moonlit ride we took in a canyon in Arizona on our honeymoon.  Horses bring happiness. My husband knows it. Dad knew it.  Tony knew it, Wendi knew it and to some extent, Mom knew it.

Too old to ride now I pet horses when I can, and admire them as we drive by horse farms.  I photograph them when the spirit moves me.  I ache inside for my parents who would have adored it here in our little barn.  For my brother, the cowboy, as different from me as night and day, but bonded by a deep love and shared losses.  For my friend, Wendi, with whom I shared a not-to-be replicated link of love.  Merry Christmas, Tony Baloney, Mom, Dad, Wendi!

My blessing comes from the love I share with my husband who married me despite my mental illness. It comes, too,  from our spiritual connection to nature. I admire my husband who works with society’s outcasts as a clinical social worker.  My giving is on a much smaller scale– tiny things here and there– online activism and such.  You play the hand you are dealt.

Christmas can be a hard time, and New Year’s, too, and I know there will be the inevitable meltdown into tears over losses of loved ones, over mortality, over our material nature.  And perhaps you will also have your own moment of bleakness.  But I hope that you, too, will be able to touch your bliss at Christmas and find a blossoming hope for the new year.

Blessings of joy to all!!