Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Saying What's Important

What happens when I lose my words, when they flee from my thoughts and disappear into thin air?

What happens when I fear the words that do come, that creep into my brain at night when my dreams turn to screams and I plead for the sun to free me from the cold sweats I get?

What do I do, when all I can do is stare at a blank page or a blinking cursor on the screen and nothing comes?

I make lists.

Where did my lost words go? Where do they hide? Somewhere in the whirling mind that keeps me up at night staring at moonlight, counting losses, counting scars, counting fears, counting ways to stand up, walk around, work out…any thing to step away from finding a way to fill the holes in my heart and lighten the darkness in my mind.

The damn cursor just keeps blinking. And the fears and the blackness keep growing inside me. I cannot hide from the things that outrage me and hate is an easier thing to carry than fear.

Go on a news fast…meditate…ice cream is good, but rum is way better. Damn the voice whispering those things to me, makes me crazy sometimes. So I mediate. Zazen. Sitting still and letting go…letting go…

Meditation is not enough I'm finding so I preach peace to my man child when he fully, rightfully expresses anger at injustices that only children truly understand. Ah, parenthood...

I tremble at the thought of him or his sister buried and dead under rocket's rubble or hurling curses, stones, or bullets at ‘The Other”, the enemy unknown or known, feared and despised because of their own fear or their loss of things. They would be better off wondering who their father was if I were to be the one teaching them to hate, or worse, teaching them to fear.

What if this is the only record of my ever being here? A collection of fear and loss the only record that I stood here and tried to create something out of air, the force of breath and story, my story. Could my children have enough of me then, or would they need more? And a scanty record exists in balance of all I have seen, all I have felt and experienced.

What happens when I lose my words, when they flee from my thoughts and disappear into thin air?

So I look at the things I scribble in my journal and they chronicle things that I can easily list, things that I’ve missed:

I miss the Childe Harold, Mocha Hut, The Circle Theater, drumming on DuPont Circle, street basketball, Philadelphia, Marvin Gaye, real mom ‘n pop corner grocery stores, sex before HIV and AIDS, Sean Taylor, Gary Williams coaching the Terps, John Thompson Jr coaching the Hoyas, and intelligent conversations that last until way too late to go to bed before I have to get up. I miss my VONA family, I miss being a regular at Spit Dat and Busboy's and Poets.

New Year’s is the time of lists, no? There’s more of the past I can list: past loves, my parents, Uncle Jack, Len Arrow, Bob Haney, running, eating whatever I wanted, old street cars, DC Transit, Connie Mack Stadium, Bowl games on New Year’s Day that actually meant something, fresh Tasty-Kake products, and real deli meats. 

Screw looking back on last year, I seem to be listing the last sixty-five.

But really there is only one list that’s important, only one ‘to-do’ list of any real meaning for this coming year…and any that might be following this one.

We are here by chance or divine intervention. You, dear reader, can choose. Either way we are celestial, made up of the same stuff that is the universe and as such we awaken from our deluded slumber we call our lives to remember the real magnitude of our missions here. So the list is simple.

Be aware; observe life around and within you.

Learn something, discover something new each day about ourselves, about others, about the world.

Develop and grow, become a better you every day.

Love, keep your heart open and tender.

I read these things somewhere this past year...a human 'to-do' list. I usually don't make New Year's resolutions and I'd like to think I've been practicing these four things all along. Regardless, I'm re-committing to them now. 

And as for the stuff I've been missing that I can change, like getting back on the mike, like standing up and speaking my story regardless of fear or doubt, whatever busy-ness or laziness that keeps me from it.

That shit is so in the past...