My son tells me that Darren, Mr. Cool Cat, as I think of him, is moving to New York. I’m excited and happy for him. I felt a little jealous. Just a teeny bit. Just for a teeny moment. For years, I talked about someday moving to New York. But I never found a way to get there. And if I had gotten there when I had wanted to get there, my experience may have come up dead anyway. Like Berkeley. I dreamed of living in Berkeley; I so wanted to live in Berkeley. I finally found my way there, and lived there several years. Nothing worked out right; I ended up hating it, and I was glad to leave.
My obsession now is New Mexico. Would I like it there? I don’t know. But I’d like to find out.
I never thought about living in Oakland, but I lived there after Berkeley. I fell in love with it. I left when a job relocated me, and I lived north of Sacramento. That area is definitely not for me, and I’m glad I got to return to the Bay Area. I’m still in love with Oakland, but I don’t want to go back. I want to move on. I need to move on. I know my life isn’t there. I dreamed of living in San Francisco, and here I am. I’m in love with San Francisco. I really love it, but I don’t wanna marry it. I don’t want to settle here.
I’m a restless soul. A rootless soul. I want to plant myself somewhere and grow roots. In the meantime, my life experience is here, in The City, as they say here.
“The mind dreams,” according to don Miguel Ruiz. The way we live is a manifestation of the way we think. If we don’t like the way we live, we have to change the way we think. The way we think creates what the mind dreams, and what the mind dreams is our life as we live it, experience it, perceive it. We create our life experience with our own thoughts, with what and how we think. The trick, though, is to be aware of how and what you think.
I dreamed up this life I am living. I created it. I understand how I did this. It isn’t enough. I just get by. I’m grateful, but it isn’t enough. I want to change my dream. I didn’t dream far enough. I sold myself short. So, I am re-dreaming my dream, expanding it.
So, how does fate fit into this? I have said that I believe everything that happens, everything that is, was meant to be. Maybe these two forces work in conjunction with each other. It was meant that I wake up and re-dream my dream.
Initially, many years ago, I wanted to live like Emily Dickinson, locked away in my room writing poetry and reading my books. Reading/performing my poetry in public was not an objective, not even the vaguest thought. A few years later, I heard Patti Smith sing, “Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine.” I was blown away. I heard her say in an interview that she got up on a stage in New York to read poetry at an open mic. But this open mic was really more focused on music. She was young and ambitious. The audience booed and told her to get off the stage, because they wanted another band to perform. Poetry? Fuck poetry. She yelled back, “FUCK YOU! I HAVE AS MUCH RIGHT TO BE HERE AS ANYONE ELSE!” Then she read, emphatically, “Sixteen and time to pay off/I got this job at a piss factory inspecting pipe. 40 hours thirty-six dollars a week/But it’s a paycheck, Jack.” The audience were all ears. It’s a fucking great poem. When she was done, boo’s changed to roaring applause and cheers. (She later recorded it. Piss Factory on one side, and, I think, Hey Joe is on the other side of the 45 vinyl record.)
I do the best I can. If it isn’t good enough for someone else, that’s not my problem. I used to worry about it, and feel clumsy and inadequate, not good enough. I was “failing” because I was trying to be what someone else dictated I should be. I was fighting against my own true self.
I’m actually pretty excited. I wrote a new poem for my manuscript. My manuscript is complete now. I’m trying to figure out what the next step is. Submit it or self-publish?
For the Hell of it
I look back,
think of you,
Just for a minute,
for the hell of it.
a memory of mauling.
You were ruthless,
stabbing at my ego,
crushing my heart.
You left me busted and bleeding.
I didn’t deserve what you dished.
I’m a good woman.
But I’m pissed. I hope your unhappy
with your ball-busting bitch,
though I know
you’d never admit it.
That’s how I like it.
You squirming, silently suffering.