science in my life, part 1

i think about gravity a lot – especially when i am doing dishes. i think about gravity, and then about moisture moved by gravity, about air pockets, about vacuums where the moisture can hold and the microbacteria can make themselves into massive unending mold.

i think about flow a lot, how gravity pulls water, how water can flow along what seems like a flat surface, revealing the tilt. and how water is pulled towards larger bodies of water. i think about this when i am facilitating, that i am trying to make it feel like water. when a rock appears, i could say let’s stop, let’s decimate this rock. or i could say, let’s flow, let’s flow around this rock, wearing it into a shape that is pleasing to rush past, or pool up against. the creative collective body is like water – we are not a rock rolling down a hill, but many many streams, able to part trusting we are part of a greater, and then greater, and then greater body. stream, river, lake…sea! ocean!! this is a stress-relief approach to facilitation, because there is no uphill battle, no heavy lifting. there is just flow, flow, flow – find the natural path that is calling us down down down and feel our way into it, shape what we need, take what we need to the next shore.

i think about pollination a lot, related to my mind. i don’t like to research, and i don’t like to read stuff unless its really well written, creatively written, passionately written – nearly nonsensical, conversational, sci-fi, groundbreaking…so a lot of ideas don’t get me with a full frontal presentation, since they aren’t written in the style of nearly-nonsensical-groundbreaking-science-fiction. but i believe in the pollination of ideas – that i hear ideas in songs, and in passing conversations, or picked up as they manifest in pop culture. then they blossom in my dreams, in brainstorms, in writing. and then they become full-grown. and someone can say – your idea is the bastard mimic of this real idea over here. but my experience of it is – look, this idea came to me somehow, and rooted, and blossomed and morphed, and now its real for me.

and i think about reality – dimensions – what? what are these – is my experience a matrix or a reality, created, fated, free…

this is what i call the science in my life.

scrabble poem #1: as goes arpaio

a certain scrabble companion got me to freewrite off our scrabble words. here is the outcome:

as goes arpaio

oh this southern hunk of man
the aeon zapper
leads us back past reason
desert’s sitter
master of the raid,
his fast clips spin like a western
now you go, eh, now me
zig zag the heat alone
try and cross this line

ivy grows up the walls
of the new justice league
young nerds in beet purple
tie dyed dalai lama fur
polka dot quilts sliced into belled bottoms
saying ‘yo bro’ to black friends
running into the quad screaming “semper fi”
aw, the stink of good intentions
‘we solemnly swear to swallow
all that you are’

jive revolutionary words come easy
tax our nerves and patience
it’s a race now
who can get below the waist,
past the tight ab or bony hip
to the real power
the law abiding ho masses maxed out on awe
change is come
sweet suckling the soft to hard boing of lust for it all
up like a gavel,
and down we all went

the words i had to work with:

x lama x ab x me x alone x below x aw x aeon
x nerds x fur x fi x ivy is x yo x or x fast
po x dot x clips x raid x dye x try x sitter
x it x zapper x tax x zag x max x spin x quilts
x went x gavel x jive en x boing x oh x beet
x get x eh x go x ho x hunk x no x quad
x race

happy birthday grandpa

it’s the birthday of james brown.

i grew up convinced he was my grandfather. before you laugh, just know that it’s not impossible, he was in the right place (south carolina) at the right time. i later learned that he is most likely not my paternal anything, but by then the familial bond was already formed.

like anyone cut off from accurate ancestry, i looked for his face in mine and my father’s, i shuffled wildly across dance floors convinced i had his moves in my hips, i wailed in private song sessions, imagining myself part of a wild counterpart to natalie and nat king cole.

i frowned when allegations came out that he beat his adrienne, his wife. aw, please don’t be that kind of man, not on top of the sin of abandonment (the only explanation for why i didn’t grow up on grandpa’s lap, backstage at festivals) which i am already trying to reconcile in my kid heart.

i overlooked his incomprehensible interviews and apparent conservative politics, like many of us do with our grandfathers. even when mysteries heard by my child ears were crystallized into actual stories, and those stories didn’t appear to back up the connection i felt, i still held a soft place for him in my heart, paused when people said his name, wondering if they knew.

when i told people, they often laughed. i told a girl who traced her family back to the mayflower, and she was so impressed. yeah, james brown beats your colonizer lineage any day. a weak, magnetic individual, a master of something magnificent, even as he failed at love and commitment. however human lives are measured, his was one dynamic enough to be claimed, to be linked to.

and who knows, really – what makes the bond real? blood or belief? so join me, as i whisper a little happy birthday in his direction, just in case.

without land

jewelle gomez wrote a vampire novel called the gilda stories. in it, the characters have to carry with them some land, wherever they are from. and they have to go back sometimes, no matter how far away they are, or how long has passed.

i am 3000 miles away from all my family. more for some, but at least that to all of them. and things keep happening with them that should happen face to face, with touch, with sound – and i get the message by text, by email. stroke, heart attack, misunderstanding, motor cycle accident, homophobia.

today i dreamt that my only living grandmother and i had a talk about my sexuality, a healing conversation. in the dream she was hurt by, and struggling with, the vast space between how she was raised to think about gays and how she thought of me as i grew up – those feelings can’t coexist. i keep not thinking about our broken relationship in my waking life, not feeling it, just staying far from it.

my family is in the south, and the side that hasn’t pushed me away (for my bisexuality, and relationship with my partner) is struggling now for life. the matriarch of my father’s family had a double stroke last week and is on the line between life and death. and today i got news that my uncle was in a motorcycle accident and is in ICU. these things are calling me home, to the south, where i haven’t gone for anything but business for years now.

and as these pieces of family business pile up, i can’t help but ask myself what i am doing here, so far away from everyone related to me by blood. i have always said that truth and justice have to start in the home, and i wonder how much i can truly practice that from such a great distance. i do my best, i communicate, but – im so far, and so in my life here. not that i can even come close to imagining myself living in south carolina – i never have, i moved every two years to everywhere but that state my whole family is from.

these people i know, and love, and look like…are strangers to my daily life, and i to theirs. we know the general updates, the health news, the missives on the family phone tree. this was supposed to be temporary, the basic go-to-cali-and-find-yourself trip. i was blessed with the opportunity of my dream job, and i can’t imagine leaving. so it’s been years now. too long without seeing these faces, my sweet great-aunt’s always smiling face, and now i may not get the chance again. the memory is sweet, but the distance is bitter.

with all these stories, i feel too far from home, and without land. it might be time for a visit, no matter how hard.