moving out

  1. live five years in a tilting house. impact? low. marbles? easily found at the southern-most edge of any room.
  2. having collected your marbles, advance toward any and all signs of better well-being. spend more time out of the tilting house. let more people into your tilting house. say yes when friends extend invitations. take long and intentional walks. see a life coach. when the life coach tells you you should see a therapist, ask someone you trust for a name and call him. climb the stairs to his office. you will come to love these stairs. sit on one side of the couch for a couple of months. then move to the other side. you are ready. your perspective is shifting. you must shift, too.
  3. go away. go away, go away, go away, go away, go away. feel it move in you like a switch being pulled on a track. this is not because you do not love your friends, do not love your tilting house, do not love your soft gray couch, do not love your neighborhood, do not love your view of the river, do not love your green metal bridge. this is not because you do not love your supermarket, coffee shop, pizza parlor. this is not because you do not know your way around backroads and front roads. this is not because you do not still have many conversations you can imagine having, wish to have. this is not because you have already done everything there is to do in this town, at this desk, among these folk. this is because of something else. it is because of something else you know to be true but are still learning to trust. and, in learning to trust that you can go away, you learn to trust how fully you must be exactly where you are. the heart is tenderized, not cauterized, and this, this, this, this, this is how you will continue to grow.
  4. be in your country. be in it for a whole month after you have packed the last of your things into the stick shift car that will surpass 150k on your way out of town. be in it. be in it on june 29, 2016, when news of terror attacks in turkey will repeat on every npr station you catch from 22963 to 14830 on your way back for a visit. be in it to hear and to cry; to feel the clarity in your sorrow as the skin of humanity pulls away from the muscle. grieve for the killers and grieve for the killed. grieve for the man who threw his body on the bomber. this story contains what we are made for, what we are made of, what we are tragically capable of being so bereft from that we can plan and execute its destruction.
  5. be in your country july 4, 2016. lie back on a sloping dike beside someone who wants to hold you as fireworks fly and umbrella the full scope of your periphery. be there while it is beautiful and be there while you cannot shake the sense of profanity entangled in our simulating bombs for our own pleasure. be there while it is beautiful and profane and beautiful and profane. be there when the urgent desire arises to start the hundreds gathered to watch singing  – singing something patriotic – so that you can all say something beautiful together. your anthem never seemed so appropriate as now, now that you have seen “bombs bursting in air”.  but, when the show is over, everyone rises, some leaving their empties, and immediately begins walking towards home. you think you mustn’t be the only one tonight who heard the bombs in our “bombs,” who saw the rockets in our “rockets”.
  6. be in your country when philander castile and alton sterling lose their lives in the same week. the media will show you the country responding, social media will show your friends responding. you’ll look around yourself. you’ll ask questions. you’ll think you begin to understand. you’ll realize things are missing from what you realize. you’ll want to be more perfect in your understanding. at first you’ll try to realize answers; then you’ll try to realize questions. you’ll hope you can realize how to ask them. you want to be brave enough to say what you don’t know and to speak what you hope and to keep after the will to see the systemic truth while seeing each man and woman in the eyes.
  7. and get ready. get ready to leave to go, to go, to go, to be going, to be going, to go. get ready to read and read and read and have more to read; to be behind on your postcards and your electronic correspondences. get ready to run out of fresh sheets, fresh towels, and fresh sox. get ready to find the grocery store, laundromat, bus stop, train station. get ready to make every purchase into a math problem, converting currency to currency. get ready to figure out how to be with new people and away from old people and with yourself, with yourself, with yourself. and dance. and cry. and get better.
  8. with love, in particular, to aaron e.l.r.b., katie v., paisley w., josh a., rodi r., maria k., connie s.b., laura c., bryce b., daniel h., terry o., michael c., beth b., edward d., sue m., hannah l., cathy a.t., jill k., matthew w., kaye n. …. our conversations changed my year. your support changed my life. and thanks to others i cannot name to whom i am bonded though distance serves us. and to the boys at vitrix and all my other corning steadies: much love. keep your eyes on everything beautiful and keep growing. see you soon.
  9. more to come. t.s.s.Photo on 7-10-16 at 2.00 AM #3.jpg
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i’ve got the blues; now what?

got a new computer & a wifi connection, so i’m plugging back in to this blog. i started a draft the other day, and, coming back to review it this evening, bumped into a draft from nearly two years ago. so, to start the return, a little bit of the blues, circa 2014.

september 7, 2014

over the hudson from kingston, down a windy road through some woods, and spreading like a heart that breaks and heals, consoles and carrousels — there is omega institute, where i lived, worked, played & learned for a season in 2005. towards the end of the season, the institute hosted a program called “women and power”. one afternoon i was part of the audience, ladies crowding the venue, watching the speaker, listening.

i can’t tell you who was speaking, nor outline her talk in total. i can tell you this: she fell out with her lover. (who left whom when, i don’t know). things got broken. (who broke them, i don’t remember). she was confronted with a terrible mess… she cried. she screamed. and then: she cleaned it up.

the pain came. the mess came. and then came her hand, riding out of her own body, moving her wrist and elbow, her upper arm and shoulder. her hand moved with volition –  away from the stillness of the body that had stopped to regard the chaos, to the broom. and, what did the broom do? it was an intermediary, a translator between body and room, between heart and mess. broom lets body and building conspire, lets heart and mess convalesce…

people, i’ve got the blues; now what? it’s nine years since i heard that story. nine years since the summer i let a nose ring break my skin as true as first sex; nine years since i loaned out my car in exchange for an oil change; nine years since reiki attunement & graphology & evenings spent “dancing my bliss”; nine years since my art class spent a day making stick lean-tos, an evening making living tableaus with our bodies.

gentle now. the lineage from then to now is foreign languages and navigating streets. it is stretching the neck for a kiss and rivers full of meditations and pollutants. it is dancing and identity stretched. it is a sorrowful summer with a dark autumn quick on its heels.

[author’s addendum, july 13, 2016: following the apparently sorrowful summer of 2014 came the exuberant summer of 2015 when i rode my bicycle every day, unlidded beer on the front stoop in the evening, and spoke real and good conversations that moved me to move. then the leap-and-bound summer of 2016 during which the entire contents of my drawers, closets, and shelves were donated, gifted & packed and i cried and laughed and hunkered down like a mole for a while, waiting in a weird emotional underground invaded by the news and another kind of weird kind of blues.  more to come on that soon… & looking forward to seeing you then… t.]

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possible outcomes

read to this awesome, melodramatic mood music: stay (rihanna ft. mikky ekko)

in my current thinking, the answer is that, perhaps, possible outcomes is defined by the closed set {1}. it’s not like me to employ mathematics in the figuring of things, but, there it is, for the moment, whereby {1} is more manageable than infinity, despite all the things that {1} implies – for example, that we must feel mess, must experience pain,… must even cause it – in others, yes, and also in ourselves.

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thursday, april 04, 2013 | corning, ny

someone from the central circulation desk comes to me at the children’s desk and hands me a book that belongs to one of the local elementary schools, mistakenly returned to us at the public library. it’s a biography of winslow homer. i glance through the first several pages, focused on the images. at page 21, i stop for “Art Students Copying in the Louvre,” which, like the other images in the book, is in black and white. i recognize the broad arch of the hallway, the endlessness of its length, perspective drawing it out to some wall in a far distance which may, in fact, be illusory, and the crowded paintings leaning out from the walls. i have been there before. it almost has sound. it almost has a scent. but one thing it achieves, for sure, this trip to the louvre, is color. brown, yellow, green, in a murk of shadows left behind by visitors many generations removed.

the color entering my mind is a train i get on and, which, in a flash, delivers me out of doors to a spot on the sidewalk just beside the high fence at the edge of parc monceau. i am there watching art students enter the gates. the day is bright. the louvre, as always, is dim. and everywhere, here and there, it is paris, paris, paris.

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seeing with snake eyes

would you believe me if i told you that,
beneath the black surface of the river tonight,
i saw fish swimming?

for all of the times you told me, “look! did you see it?”
it took first seeing, as i did today, a snake,
a python, to be precise,
wriggling about in a tied sack,
to be able to spot the swivel movement
of those underwater dwellers.

funny how sometimes you must first
see a thing that looks like a thing
in order to see
the thing itself.

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i am about to take these bags out of the house. there they are – two bags, right next to the door, packed, ready.

i am about to take these bags out of the house. (repeat as mantra.)

these words also mean: i am about to let these things out of my life. i am about to pull the circle of what is essential a little closer. or, wallace stevens, i am about to let these bags be a blackbird whose flight marks the edge of a circle… that is scariest of all.

but, tomorrow, i will still be ok, again.

with the edge of one circle, though, come reminders of other circles whose edges have been crossed. example: dulles airport, summer 2008. hard to forget letting a huge airport guard see you cry, then losing your way from the highway into an endless sprawl of carbon copy condominiums, only to arrive home and sob in the shower.



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scribblelip still exists…

some nights it’s water, other nights it’s beer. that’s ok for now. there’s a lot of self-talk right now.

self-talk while at work: you can persue this huge goal. it is not too huge for you. go, go, go.

self-talk while in the car: it’s ok to get on the highway for a few miles just because you are not ready to go home. go ahead. put the window down. turn the radio up. listen to this crappy music. na na na na na — you make me feel so… na na na na na. get off at the familiar exit. go to the store you reason is likely closed at this hour. find it closed. turn around. go home. no harm done.

self-talk while anywhere at all: you’re ok. you’ll be ok. you’re fine. don’t go outside of yourself to make this better. the betterness is in you. somehow. in you.

this is all ok. there is nothing wrong with any of this.

partnership is an exploration. selfhood, as well. when you get home, self, which you will do when you are ready, you will pour the water, or open the beer and, being home again, you will do whatever comes next… read a poem or a page of a novel you wrote before and realize

scribblelip still exists.

this writing self, it is not your alter-ego, self. it is who you are, how you understand the world… and there are people who are waiting – who are willing – who are ready — people who will value your voice.

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