Sunday, July 27, 2014

Trespassers Beware --- Day 3/196

Walk: No
Distance: Not much and home yoga practice  

What Ciwt often prefers is being alone.  With Callie - or her current animal - of course.

It's a hard won preference probably.  Most likely acquired and hard-wired during an infancy of being ignored and unwanted.  This isn't said critically or pathetically but factually: Ciwt's parents had other concerns and skills besides parenting, and, luckily, there was help for the children.

Even attained, and even alone, her preferred state of solitude - the one where she can hear the rhythms of her life and the sounds of her companions: Callie, wild parrots and crows sometimes, the wind of course in San Francisco - isn't easily arrived at.  There's the call of personal questions: should she maybe go to to some open houses today? Why would she do that? Well, what should (Capital S) she do if she doesn't do that? Read? Movie? Surf? Then, if she's lucky - sometimes with the unintentional aid of some at home yoga - all these mental agitations melt away and open into stillness, solitude, quiet, aloneness.  At that point Ciwt's world becomes Huge, vast, wondrous.

She could write so much about this, about her encounters with aloneness, and maybe she will.  But enough for today.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

A Man Most Wanting --- Day 3/195

Walk: Sundance Kabuki (A Most Wanted Man)
Distance: 2 miles

Here is a man who is existing - for very rational reasons - beyond trust, mostly beyond idealism, beyond hope really.  Poorly shaven, covered in ill-fitting rumpled clothes, his body too is shot -  over weight, and weighted down with an array of deeply ingrained, non-stop fatal habits. He is existing killing himself slowly and probably knowing the full range of death is upon him.

The movie is A Most Wanted Man, the role is John Le Carre's Gunther Bachmann, a German intelligence officier. But the viewer  watches with the very real sense that Gunther is also the real life actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman (PSH) .  And - this is difficult to write - seeing Gunther/him on the screen for two hours so beaten down by life's circumstances, not truly fighting any more made it easier for Ciwt to comprehend his actual death.  PSH played a lot of roles, but Ciwt doesn't remember any where his life force wasn't palpable - screwed up, lonely and left out, evil, manipulative, a host of other things, but always there was that inner shine, that vibrancy, that deep down PSH energy.

Not here; not in A Most Wanted Man.  There is the cynical isolation of persisting in a singular world view. But that's doggedness, not will to live.  And, as she said, seeing PSH/Gunther in this different, existing-without-really-living way, it became more possible for Ciwt to comprehend that this force of nature could actually be gone.

It also made slightly more comprehensible the concept of whether his genius for inhabiting roles actually contributed to his death. Ciwt hasn't entirely understood that thinking before this movie.  But maybe inhabiting completely a man who, in the end, has been utterly defeated, whose will has sat at the table with fate and capitulated truly was too much for this supreme and vulnerable actor's being to endure.

We all know A Man Most Wanted is PSH's last movie.  For that at least you go; but it is also a good movie. And you aren't distracted by plot complications so PSH can receive your full attention for the last time you get to see him first run.

His last words in the movie are "Fuck!"  "Fuck!!!"


Friday, July 25, 2014

Relevant Birds - Cont' --- Day 3/194

Walk: Union Square, Fillmore Street, Mindful Body
Distance: 3 miles and take yoga class

70. POEM IN THANKS - Thomas Lux

Lord Whoever, thank you for this air
I'm about to in- and exhale, this hutch
in the woods, the wood for fire,
the light–––both lamp and the natural stuff
of leaf-black fern, and wing.
For the piano, the shovel
for ashes, the moth-gnawed
blankets, the stone-cold water
stone-cold: thank you.
Thank you, Lord, coming for
to carry me here–––where I'll gnash
it out, Lord, where I'll calm
and work, Lord, thank you
for the goddamn birds singing!

Ciwt was startled by a new to her poet named Thomas Lux.  Maybe you've heard of him.  He has taught at several colleges - particularly Sarah Lawrence for 20 over years - and has been the recipient of a slew of awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship.

The Poetry Foundation tells us this of him:  Lux has been praised for his poetry, but as he told Elizabeth Mehren in the Los Angeles Times, "This is not something one chooses to do…It is something I was drawn to. I do it because I love to do it, and because I don't have any choice. If I don't write, I feel empty and lost." He added, "Poetry exists because there is no other way to say the things that get said in good poems except in poems. There is something about the right combination of metaphor or image connected to the business of being alive that only poems can do. To me, it makes me feel more alive, reading good poetry."

To that last Ciwt sings out a g--d---- YeSS!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Ties That Bind --- Day 3/193

Walk: Mindful Body
Distance: 10 blocks and teach yoga class

So one thing Ciwt noticed when she went downtown for dinner for the first time in ages is how ubiquitous the suit without tie is among the youngish professional men.  She's been seeing this for a long time in pictures, thinking it was just that particular man relaxing at photo time, and not really realizing this is The Look.

To Ciwt the restaurant looked odd, all these men with open neck shirts but full suit jackets and trousers. To Ciwt it looks kind of affected or studied- like loafers without socks on nattily dressed men.

Call her old-fashioned (duh), but she's a suit with tie girl herself.

Oh dear, then there's this:   

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Hope to aime Ame --- Day 3/192

Walk: Union Square (dentist)
Distance: 6 blocks and v. small home yoga practice

Off to Ame (restaurant) - if I can balance on my highish heels. A friend got a gift for dinner for two so Ciwt lucked out.  She's not sure what to order as she doesn't exactly recognize any of the dishes above from their site.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Taking It Lying Down --- Day 3/191

Walk: Mindful Body
Distance: 10 blocks, teach yoga class, have 1 hour massage

Even though the studio where Ciwt teaches offers excellent, well-priced massages, Ciwt has an unfortunate old habit of equating massages with frivolous, expensive spas. Today she took advantage of a gift certificate and reminded herself it is called massage therapy for a reason.  Lots of reasons actually including: relief of muscle tension (which contributes to injury prevention and is why elite athletes flock to massage tables), increased circulation, enhancement of immune system and nervous system functioning.  Then there's management of chronic pain, alleviation of anxiety and depression, as well as calming antidote for stress.

The list goes on.  Maybe Ciwt will now file 'massage' in the proper category: Necessary for Health.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Cheerful, Relevant Birds --- Day 3/190

Walk: JCCSF, Trader Joe's, Big O Tires, Books, Inc.
Distance: 3 miles and take yoga class

trans: The voice I hear
          Of the cheerful birds
          In the drunken Night
Tags: Tankas and Haikus.  Link: Nusquama Friday, April 22, 2011
This weekend the - increasingly disappointing to Ciwt - NY Times ran another of its self-initiated discussion forums.  Their topic was Does Poetry Matter? Is it Relevant?

A poet friend I forwarded the whole thing to wrote back in part: ..While I felt that some of the writing was lovely, I found the premise of the debate silly and offensive.  It's obvious that poetry is relevant today.  There are more people writing and publicly reading poetry today than at anytime in america's history, and if you count Rap in poetry, which I do, it's essentially taken over the music business.  When media organs post debates like this about the arts--the viability of theater is another such topic--the underlying intention is to subordinate arts and the artists to other agendas.  It's to make the arts safe by making them weak.  When artists participate in these debates, whichever side they take, they acquire greater visibility at the price of their own art.  I feel strongly that art thrives best when it defines and follows its own terms.

Ciwt liked this response; hers was to go to a local bookstore and buy three volumes of poetry.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Just a Little More Time --- Day 3/189

Walk:  Mindful Body
Distance: 10 blocks and Restorative Yoga Workshop