Saturday, October 30, 2010

Mantra Time

Today, when I woke up at 5:00, again ever so slightly stressed about tonight’s poetry reading for nine poets who have poetry broadsides with the Palace of the Governor’s Press, the phrase, “You have all the time in the world” came calling in my mind. Broadsides are a one sided page printed to display a poem, originally a religious tract or a ballad, and these of our poems were set one letter at a time by Tom Leech.

As I took off to swim laps, “You have all the time in the world.”  As I shopped for ingredients, “You have all the time in the world,” and while baking cookies for tonight I set the timer three times for five dozen, and it went by smoothly.  I really tried to hear that phrase and live it.  I think I am rushing to get everything in, whatever everything is, done before my two years as PL is up.  I find myself counting the months like some sort of two year pregnancy when I will gestate a few elephants. Maybe it is because people are asking me about my “legacy” project or what big projects I have in mind.  I found myself getting a wee bit stressed out and I told a perfectly nice woman that my entire life was my legacy project.

As I was swimming laps, realized that the tangible is what we are after, materialists all.  My friend Rick Stevens, when he was dying said, “We walk in the snow leaving deep tracks, and think they will last.”  I am hurling myself at the PL job some days.  Miriam said that Valerie Martinez set a high bar and I am vaulting over it.  This is not limbo at a sleep-over.  This is a moment when my life has been noticed and honored, and of course I meet up with the dread ego, the dread competitor who forgot to go to yoga class and breathe, and the rushing around do-er.  As I swam laps today and forgot how many and lost track of the time, except that “I have all the time in the world, “ I had these thoughts.

Then, yet another coinkydink, my dear mother’s word for the convergences and coincidences in her life.  The lifeguard said, “Hello again.” He was one of the students from class yesterday, there all along at my pool.  He promised to send me his poem which had captured my fancy, both the Spanish and English version.  We talked  about life for quite a while, and I told another employee he was my new best friend.

So, like it or not, I am living La Vida Local.  And I have all the time and happiness in the world.  As I drove home from my swim and shopping I passed the descansos or shrine to an accident victim in the median that I pass coming and going.  Even after highway construction, the family who I have seen gathered in a circle at this site, and who never forgot to change the décor for the holidays, a pumpkin right now, St. Patrick’s green, and of course Valentines, moved the shrine and then relocated it in the median.  This Summer they came up with two large portraits of the young teen, she looks to be about 17.  She looks healthy and smart, and warm.  I like her so much coming and going.  She is making her mark on me as her family holds onto this beautiful daughter.  I think she is named Rebecca or Valerie, something substantial, as she appears to be a girl of substance. And we know the big rush is about our little line dance with mortality.

So I thank my new best friend at the pool, and I thank the median girl,  who lost her life, but did not lose being loved. And I thank time, for being the most misunderstood and crazy of the elements.  

PS.  The reading, which had me in fits because nine poets all may read a tiny bit too long, went off without a major hitch.  If time went too far over, then we would not have time to view the Broadsides,  before the museum guards at the New Mexico History Museum kick us out.  A woman actually said, “I loved every moment of it.”  That’s it, the big secret.  Hope to love every moment of today. A day when we all have all the time in the world.

The Tea Bag of Happiness

Ever since happiness heard your name, it has been running through the streets trying to find you. – Hafiz

This Hafiz quote is from Taoseña’s Dora McQuaid’s FaceBook wall.  I credit her as curator, connoisseur of quotes, and fellow explorer in the land of joy.

       Happiness is staging a guerilla attack.  Today, I had tea at my old friend’s house.  The teabag of Yogi tea, Lemon –ginger, thanks for asking, said,
“ Inspiring others towards happiness brings you happiness.”  I know, I know, I am being what we in the Santa Fe environs call “woo woo.”   But I have been wrestling with my ego, it that what wrestling with the angel is about too?  The messenger between me and the divine, my glorious ego is something I fret about a lot.  I never feel as if I do a good enough job.  I go through pre-performance anxiety and then afterwards, a large amount of energy in self-critiquing.  Plus, people give me notes and each time I try to improve.  I hope it doesn’t become like my horseback riding as a girl where I became almost paralyzed with form and forgot to have fun riding. So, knowing that maybe what I am doing is inspiring is a good thing.

      Today, I visited a composition class at Northern New Mexico College.  I have visited my friend Carrie Vogel’s classes often over the years.  I love meeting with local students who live five miles away from me, but didn’t have Beti shoving and shoveling books at them.  Let’s face it, nobody had a mom like Beti.  I always tell about her, and I read and talk too much, and then the students write.  These are quiet students in class but they wrote and some read in the final fifteen minutes of class.  Here is one, and more are coming I hope.  We begin with chile and the state question:

Green or Red?

Green is the flavor
I miss if I'm away
Red had variety
Each recipe unique
Both have the heat
But which to choose?
Why not both?
Christmas can 
Be every day
    by Nikolas Aivaliotis

  I like this poem, written by a young man with a skateboard,  because the last lines reflect how I feel now.  The PL life is the holiday season. I  also think writing a poem increases endorphins, the happiness hormone  that is produced by our body. I don’t know if there has been research, though there has been that writing can be healing in arthritis and asthma.  Also, that doing a good deed or watching someone else do a good deed increases endorphins.  So I think writing does, obviously, and chile does too.  Now that has been researched.  

Now you know why the quote on my ginger-lemon teabag was a good omen.
Right after a sweet experience, I received a message from the Yogi Tea folks.
It is also fitting as for Halloween I am making a necklace of teabags and being grumpy.  I am going as “Grumpy About the Tea Party.”  Don’t want to wear out my happiness.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dang Happy

Bill Hutchinson said, "Happiness is a fragment of your imagination."  Figment, right, it was figment.  But I am experimenting with happiness, trying it on for size.  I remember a therapist advised that I buy the Dahli Lama's book called Happiness. I bought it and thought, so what's this all about?  How does this relate to me?  I wonder if I can read it now, I certainly had no interest ten years ago.

For instance today, we walked down the road and though the only yesterday insane yellow glow of the cottonwoods was finished off by the frost, how happy was I?

Pretty darn or dang as the cowboys are wont to say. Dang happy.  I want to invite everybody over.  Really, if you are my friend come on down.  The only thing is I am not cooking much.  I am taking a hiatus from big time cooking and this week only made two large zucchini breads from the Espa Farmer's Market, chicken with garden roots, the last gazpacho of summer and maybe the best, and another soup.

That is me not cooking, oh and the cottage cheese pancakes on Sunday morning, but Sunday morning doesn't count.  Today I have "Joan and the Giant Pencil" l with Jeremy Bleich at Turquoise Trail Elementary.  I love doing this little performance with 20 poems set to music.  If you want to hear a sample of Jeremy, my first blog entry has some with my photo.  Also the group Medjool.  Get their CD and swoon.  ANyhow, I have to eat some of my "non cooking" and head on in.  A beautiful day to try on happiness, just don't use a three way mirror as I did at Penny's yesterday.  

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Happy or Hyper

Today I worked with students from The New Mexico School for the Deaf.  I love these students so much, and worked there deeply back in the 90's.  One girl wrote, "The days of the week are like shoes.   I don't like to wear shoes."  Another wrote, "Does the sun make you happy or hyper?"  That should be my question about life as The PL.  I am trying to can happiness as I once canned tomatoes.  I could pull it from the root cellar shelf, make sure the seal is good, and then open the canning jar for a whiff of happiness preserved from these two years.  It is so sweet to be recognized for my work, you can't imagine.  But it's a toss up on the happy/hyper inquiry. I feel a bit addicted to the action, work or seeing the mayor constantly, or performing poetry for kids.  I may need a chakra cleanse soon if I'm not careful.

Tonight my friend Miriam Sagan got the Mayor's Award in the arts for literature. It's a really big deal
with a gala dinner in this art glazed city. She was so gracious and relaxed, yet managed to mention everything from her late husband and new husband, to Zen and  Phil Whalen and the Beats, The Community College and her new Poetry Pole project, all of us at the table with her, the great poetry audience in Santa Fe and that the city was her muse.  Whew, that woman packed it all in and came away with a fittingly large piece of Nambé ware engraved with her honor.  Just like when my mom got Nambé for her golfers.  That was part of the trip out here, since she was on the prize committee.   We'd go on a huge Nambé spree for her country club.

My mom is on my mind these days. Yesterday was the yahrzeit (the anniversary date of a death) of both Miriam's husband Robert Winson, and my mother, Beti Weitzner Slesinger Schwartz.   Fifteen years and nine years respectively. I lit the candle,made a little collection of photos), one shows my mom lounging on the couch in Boca Raton in a divine pastel Pucci dress. She looks absolutely relaxed and sure of herself.

 Am I happy or hyper?  It depends on my sleep pattern.  I hope I sleep tonight, full moon or no, and to wake up again without the heady fast lane of City life, with my slow-mo La Puebla drone as in sitar.  I love the poetry friends, and had a blast tonight, driving home with reggae telling me not to worry bout a thing.  Maybe I am happy and not hyper, or maybe I am having a new experience.  Happy and focused on my art, and I haven't even played the coffee card yet, that is begun to drink it.  Who knows what would befall me if I went on the caffeine road. I would be turbo charged. Anyhow, congratulations to my dear friend,and to all of us who are friends with her.

Goodnight mom. Goodnight Robert. Goodnight PL. Goodnight Nambé.  
Goodnight old lady whispering, "too much."