Friday, January 11, 2019

On Friends and Fights, Many Loves, Many Lives

M and H in correspondence. 

Photo by Hunter Canning
Monica on her Mom.
And my Mom back from the hospital. 
Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, sitting, eating, drink, table, indoor and food

"There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it,"
Posits Edith Warton.
And a third, a wind that that blows it out.
The love remains.
But so does the struggle.
That’s just part of it,
With parents and their memories.
Friends and friction,
And fiction.
You never know when they come up.
I felt it walking in Brooklyn.
Making our way home.
Shoes lost at the party.
Punching Rob on the shoulder,
Like puppies jousting.
I’ve been punched a lot, Rob told me wandering home from Bed Stuy,
replying with a robust fist to my chest.
The punch was swift, feeling more about the past than the present.
Leaving a bruise that remained,
Every cough  reminding me for weeks.
 I shouldn’t have punched first,
Or thrown the beer cans in college.
Guys are stupid.
Just ask Mario who clubbered Gabriel
and still has to talk about it in every interview he does.
Still the pain still lingers.
More about a dad who punched a lot, than a joust in the rain in December,
He offered a painful retort.
Its not so simple to differentiate.
Friends fight.
And go to the baths and forgive.
And fight.
Guys see competition and conquest.
Taking out those in their way.
Masculinity is toxic and stifling,
Notes Reginald.
Can we learn from the pain of others?
Is there another way?
“The majority of people are subjective toward themselves and objective toward all others, terribly objective sometimes, but the real task is, in fact, to be objective toward oneself and subjective toward all others.”—Sorën Kierkegaard.
That’s what all the world needs to learn,
Caroline told Andrew.
To be open to the other, to the stranger or the friend.
Its not always easy.
Sunday night, I spent the day visiting mom in the hospital.
Navigating between doctors, nurses, emergency rooms and the soul crushing exhaustion of profit driven medicine.
Finally, we got mom home, enjoying a glass of wine in her home.
Sleeping, I found myself in Amsterdam, checked into a hotel room,
Maybe the one where Chet fell to his death, between the trains the red lights,
A puff of hash remaining in the air as he tumbled down.
And I was somewhere else,
Lost between rooms,
The bathroom separated from my hall.
Locked out,
I could not get back.
Just lost, I walked and walked.
Unable to get back to my kids,
Now growing up,
Reluctant time but still time.
Going to shows, the Met with the little one,
The Cannibal Girls performing at ICE on 16th Street.
Rob dropped by to say goodbye,
leaving, the teenager performing.
I’m off to see my punk rock daughter.
The teenager is growing up,
Growing away,
We all are.
Hold with an open hand
Give them room to fly.
So one day they may want to return home.
But it’s never simple to let go.
Was not easy to get care for mom.
Monday I went to Wegman’s twice to get medications
For mom.
Home health aid to keep her at home.
A third to trip back to return mom’s credit card when I was half way back.
Trying to coordinate care.
Mom didn’t want anything.
I wanna be independent.
You’re the boss mom.
Just this time, take help.
Back I finally careened to my home in Brooklyn, back to Brooklyn.
Off to Yin Yoga, passive postures, with a bit of hot yang in the middle,
A harmonium played as we stretched and stretched.
Taking me back to a reading in at USC,
We would have called this a happening, said Mike’s dad.
Spring of 1992.
Screaming with joy,
Singing along,
Remembering Allen Ginsberg,
Whose harmonium vibrated through my body
All those years ago.
I greeted the bard after the show.
Its an honor to have someone as handsome as you
Appreciate hearing me, he told me.
A smile was back.
Saying goodbye to Neil, who was Dean,
In Jack’s mythology of the road.
We’re a part of this daydream.
Sitting there we watched Allen remember:
His memories and mine.
Watching him play, recalling many loves…
A night with Jack and Neil, all long gone.

Ooooooooooooommmmmmm we sang,
Past and present intersecting, the harmonium vibrating,
Light pouring through the dark studio.
Yin and yang dancing in my mind.
Many lives.
Saturday we spent the day reading Herman Melville,
Who wrote about friendship.
Ishmael and Queequeg:
“kissed his nose and that was done; we undressed and went to bed, at peace with out own consciences and all the world.  But we did not go to sleep without some little chat.
How it is I know not; but there is no place like a bed for confidential disclosures between friends.  Men and wife, they say, there open the very bottom of their souls to each other; and some old couples often lie and chat over old times till nearly the morning.  Thus, then, in our hearts honeymoon, lay I and Queequeg – a cozy loving pair,” (p. 68).
Nathaniel and Herman corresponded through a friendship,
That lasted but two years, before crumbling.
None of us really know.
Moby Dick and the Scarlett Letter dueling through time.
Hawthorne’s letters to Melville lost.
What was the conceit?
November 1851, Melville responded to Hawthorne’s reaction to Moby Dick.
“I can’t stop yet.  If the world was entirely made up of Magians, I’ll tell you what I should do.  I should have a paper mill established at one end of the house, and so have an endless riband of foolscap rolling in upon my desk; and upon that endless riband I should write thousand – a million – a billion thoughts, all under the form of a letter to you.  The divine magnet is on you, and my magnet responds. Which is the biggest?  A foolish question – they are One.
Later that night, we watched Monica take us to Mt Rushmore:
“We can change our world…
A true 1980's adventure with espionage, unexpected friendship and second chances.”
Remembering her father,
Gone too soon.
And her mother,
Still here, but a part of her long gone.
Loving her and feeling repulsed with it all,
A mother who votes for Trump and creates Monica,
The contradictions expanding into the horizon.
The struggle of living, of remaining close is never easy.
So she told a story of her
 fantastical life in the throes of the rebellious Reagan era.”
Her father’s struggle with corporations, pollution and oblivion,
Her mother trying to live.   
And now all gone.
The hunt for the whale is an allegory of US expansion, killing ourselves and nature.
Dune buggies zipping through Joshua Trees.      
The government is closed, as Harod in Chief massacres the commons.
But we’re alive.
Vibrations for us all to feel,
The new reminding and enticing, the possibilities of Romania,
Of travel, writing into the eternal
As age grips at us.
Mom drinks a glass of wine.
We all get older, holding and letting go,
The comrades, writing partners, Hawthorne, Melville,
Dean and Allen,
Going to China, not going to China,
Joys and pleasures,
Letdowns and new beginnings
Until we run out of time.
Melville reminds us:

“Methinks we have hugely mistaken this matter of Life and Death. Methinks that what they call my shadow here on earth is my true substance. Methinks that in looking at things spiritual, we are too much like oysters observing the sun through the water, and thinking that thick water the thinnest of air. Me thinks my body is but the lees of my better being. In fact take my body who will, take it I say, it is not me.”

Later that night we took in the Canibal Girls at ICE!

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