Sunday, June 29, 2008

I'm back from my second year at Cave Canem and as the Reverend White says, "My cup is full." I am cleaning house, though right now I can barely drag my tired, deliciously lived in body forward to do so. I am leaning left into the wind, and it has carried me from Greensburg, Pennsylvania - where I was just this morning - back West to Austin, Texas. My cup is full, I am ecstatic.

A body of people moving together in rhythm, hearts reaching for each other, through fear, through veils as Black Girl so aptly named this - this gauze that we place over our wounded hearts that keep us from seeing each other, holding each other - going so far as touching each other, literally. It is a beautiful thing when the gauze falls off, and we hold each other unpretentious and unafraid, completely aware of all that we have to lose and still willing to stand and demand love.

There are a hundred ways to take care of a body, to care for a soul. I am reminded of the balance between solitude and congregation.

The past several weeks, I have been so busy that even checking email was impossible - my communication limited to one or two sentences in response: yes, no - can I get back to you? It's a wonderful kind of busy, full of laughter and creativity, of visioning and activity. Kind of like my past week at CC. Writing a poem a day is a particular kind of focus. By Friday, I was drained. Didn't know if how when what I would do to string words into a coherent image/concept/poem. Poem? Poem...between pushing my own understanding of what constitutes a poem, to actually crafting something that reflects my voice within that entire conversation, adding content and form, I decided to rely on the subliminal state that arrives somewhere between 1 glass of wine and 5 a.m. in the morning: a state which creates a wonderfully high sensitivity to fears, which in turn, serves poetry.

I had fun. Read Tarot. Walked down creek before sunrise. Danced. Laughed. Had intense discussions about walls and starlight. Felt heart beats next to mine. Opened my eyes to Rachel Eliza Griffith's eyes. Breathed. Remembered. Played a girl.

And now, I get to continue dipping into this crescendo. This year has just been like that, and I don't see why it should continue to be this way. It's wonderful. It's what I asked for. It's what's mine to do with as I wish. To command into my future. And the ever present present.


Sunday, June 01, 2008

I can't say much, except to share this news. Wow - what a year of loss we've had.
I suppose that's what life is, right: birth and death. But still...every death
feels like a small part of me has died, too. Maybe that's what Buddha was getting at.


From: Patricia Smith (beloved friend)

Date: Fri, May 30, 2008

Place: Albuquerque, NM

Subject: Paula Gunn Allen

Paula Gunn Allen, b.1939, Laguna Pueblo/Sioux/Scots/Lebanese New Mexico native, passed away peacefully on the night of May 29, 2008 at her home in Fort Bragg, California, after a long and courageous battle with lung cancer. Family and friends were at her side.

This poet, philosopher, scholar, and teacher grew up in Cubero, New Mexico. She received her doctorate in American Studies from UNM in1976. The dissertation evolved into The Sacred Hoop: Recovering the Feminine in American Indian Traditions(1986), a pioneering work in
Native American, feminist, and GLB studies. She also edited the benchmark book for the MLA about teaching Native Studies: Studies in American Indian Literature: Curriculum and Course Designs.

She was also a prolific writer of poems, fiction, essays; her last scholarly book, on Pocahontas, was a nominee for the National Book Award. She retired from UCLA in 1999, but always checked back into New Mexico, never stopped being a teacher and mentor, never stopped
cracking and appreciating outrageous jokes and bad puns. (The last one she and I shared, about 3 weeks ago, was "Well, you know what they say: What happens in the Zuni Mountains stays in the Zuni mountains"---Oh,my, her laugh. )

Her posthumous volume of poems, America The Beautiful, will be published by West End Press within the year.