January 29, 2006

Imaginig Yesterday

Yesterday I woke up around 10:30, took a shower, and went to Mr. Donuts for coffee, doughnuts, and reading. There I spent two hours reading Yukio Mishima's The Decay of the Angel. Like the other four parts of Mishima's Sea of Fertility tetralogy, The Decay broods and swells like a unnerved, restless, ecstatic ocean of myths, thoughts, images, things, words, places, sounds, and, most intensely, visions. Mishima's visual descriptions, in particular his chapter long ruminations on how the sea lives and grows into darkness at dusk, startle and subdue at the same time. Its always a strange mix of the transcendent and the physical world in Mishima, and then the single swoop, like that of the sword, that cuts one off from the other.

Anyways, after getting bored with books and sweets, I went home, did some laundry and went to the gym. I had a nice long workout, doing some exercise for every part of the body, and then went home. I took a shower, I ate a bit of natto, I continued Mishima's book. At night, I had the wonderful idea to go out for yaki tori (for all you Japanese neophytes out there still not in the know, yaki tori simply means "grilled chicken" and is probably the best cuisine on earth). Waiting to meet up with some Wakayaman friends, I went to get a drink at the cafe across the street from me while I read The Oxford History of Christianity. Yes, I know what you are saying now. My reading tastes vary quite a bit. I wasn't able to focus on my book, for their was a young woman, sitting with two of her friends at the table adjacent to mine, who stole my attention. There is an unsettling element when first encountering beauty. It is not necessarily bad, but it can be. I was attracted to this girl tremendously, but couldn't manage to say a word. She started to talk to her friend about San Francisco, my cue to initiate some form of verbal contact. My book, my mouth, remained shut.

This morning I woke up sweating with my electric blanket on full blast. I realize how sudden my thoughts shift from the metaphysical sublime to the the utterly puerile. I wrote some poems today that are not particularly noteworthy. I will share them here, for they are humiliating and they are true, no matter what I think of them. They are honest. Following these childish poems is a poem that seems to be a lyrical crystallization of my state of being in the last few years, written by the late Oakland/Berkeley/San Francisco poet, Robert Duncan. It is from his book "Roots and Branches," originally published by New Directions in 1964.

I Remember

The young woman in the blue skirt
with her hot legs
makes me shiver,
as though my life, as is,
is cold.

Never again will I know
this pressure felt from a body
and a mind not my own,
that willed a succession of words
and found itself nothing.

Yes, she will be tomorrow's someday,
a recurrent dream,
a hope for consciousness raised,
reflected in visions seen and not heard,
life making this perfect sense.


I imagine a light different from the sun
and a world other than this one--
imagine your life, a new life, and waiting here
I imagine what I would say were I there.
As you talk, I imagine your silence,
your hand running across your leg sends
a part of the world to me, imagining.
I imagine you with a ring and imagine
you imagining in an imagined world
what we would we say were it the truth.
This speaking being too real for words,
I cannot imagine this world.


Come, Let Me Free Myself

Come, let me free myself from all that I love.
Let me free what I love from me, let it go free.
For I would obey without bound,
serve only as I serve.

Come, let me be free of this master I set over me
so that I must exact rectitude
upon rectitude,
right over right. Today

I am on the road, by the road,
hitch-hiking. And how, from one side,
how glad I am no one has come along.
For I am at a station. I am at home
in the sun. Not waiting, but standing here.

And, on the other, I am waiting,
to be on my way, that it be my way.
I am impatient.

O let me be free now of my way, for all that I bind to me
--and I bind what I love to me,
comforting chains and surroundings--
let these loved things go and let me go with them.
For I stand in the way, my destination stands in the way!

From Roots and Branches by Robert Duncan


Anonymous Tawn said...

Your way with words are amazing, it's as if you can see right into your heart and one can identify with the your feelings and situations. I also feel the same way you do about Viet Nam. Wondering if, what we did, was even help, if we will ever have an experience that will ever come close to the one we all shared together. One thing is for sure, the friendships made are very special and I am most grateful for them!

Chin up!

10:33 PM  

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