Thursday, June 25, 2020

Meditation 75

25 June 2020

Almost able to imagine myself alone without history in the rain forest. This week’s homework is to pray (knees not needed) and to speak my gratitude. Feel grateful for everything difficult, Thubten writes, but an interlocutor in a zoom box thinks that’s also a white privilege. Feel love, Norman instructs, while acknowledging it’s most effective for the lover, not the beloved. (To allow yourself to be loved is perhaps the hardest part.) He reads a sentence that begins with “perhaps,” since there’s no surety in this practice, no insurance against impermanence. Another woman in a box says she’s lived with a doctor too long to think anything lasts; she says she’s vengeful because that’s how she was raised. Does she feel gratitude for her vengefulness, or for knowing that it’s hers? There’s room for warriors, even for tossing a man overboard, but is there space for wishing covid on the man who mocks it? I’m getting away from my plot of rain forest, the 9,000 square feet of no history (except it’s there), from the gratitude I feel for allowing myself to be loved, and for the man who lets himself love me. A channel of light pushes through the ti leaves, the hapu`u fern, the green wooden beams that support the cottage. The light in that tunnel soon fades, as rain starts up again, like a water pump that’s lost function in its air bladder, wheezing and coughing when the toilet’s flushed. I grew up in one chaos and find myself in another. Politics is rhetorical strategy, but rhetoric gives way to hammers. Each word is sacred because it leaves the unmasked mouth in search of an ear across the room. But if its only purpose is to cuff that ear, what are words for then? Here in the forest, even words are damp, leaning over as in prayer like the fern fronds, toward the soft earth (layered upon lava rock). Ginsberg would levitate the Pentagon in his fever dreams. We choose to sit, to take exception to, to build a beltway around the heart. These days, everyone’s speeding, but we remember the days of deep traffic, of waiting not for an open space, but for another closed one. The lid’s been blown off now; there’s an opening in the cloud. Dylan still uses the word “soul,” perhaps because it rhymes with “knoll.” The bell tolls and we end our meditations; history was flour sifting, but now it’s baked in again. Save your crusts for the ducks, or don’t, because that wrecks their diets. Consume the air-filled loaf, then pull the plug on desire. There’s a census form on the table to be filled out. It will prove we’re here in our cottage in the rain.



Janet said...

nice. No insurance against impermanence. Is impermanence so bad? I love the way the rainforest keeps folding into the meditation. And the difficulty of letting oneself be loved vs the difficulty of loving. (easy to love that!)

Karen S. said...

So much woven together here, from the natural to the distinctly unnatural, from rain and ferns and dreams to zoom boxes and a levitating Pentagon, and so much in between. Are politics natural or unnatural? - not a question this poem needs to answer, of course, but I'm here in MA thinking about it. I'm engaged from the opening of this poem on. "I grew up in one chaos and find myself in another" is a surprisingly quiet and yet gripping line.