Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Fasting Meditation

I'm not Jewish, but for the last 15 years have been celebrating events on the Jewish calendar. I have learned that my digestive system is unhappy without bread, and that I don't mind fasting. That's not a contradiction.
A week of Passover turns my gut inside out.
A day of fasting for Yom Kippur is welcome.

Fasting is not about food.
It has to do with how we spend our daily lives, and what happens when we interrupt routine.  When you get up in the morning, thoughts of eating are not far off. Brush teeth, wash face, put on the day's clothes - and on to breakfast. It's comforting, stabilizing, sets you up for a typical day.

Break the pattern.
Wander the kitchen for a few minutes: no, no coffee, no toast, no yogurt or piece of fruit. The morning news isn't the same without them - just skip that. Leave the kitchen - what are you doing in there anyway? You're not eating today, and you can only drink water to keep from passing out.

Go outside. Talk to god, whatever/whomever/wherever that is for you. Follow love from what you know brings joy, into the crevices where you doubt it can reach. And seek it there: in the face of the homeless woman who sells you a newspaper, in the bees pollinating trash cans, in contrails painting the sky with a gigantic Y.

What is atonement? Apology for what you did that you shouldn't have, or an effort to turn the opposite direction? Acknowledging the existence and humanity of someone invisible might be the kindest possible act.

Atoms packed close together form a solid - see it, touch it, manipulate it. Further apart, they form liquid - still visible, still tangible, but restless, taking on the forms of its containers. More space, they become gas. Now we can't quite see it, can't feel it. The vibrational space between atoms is god - more intense in a solid, more malleable in liquid, more ubiquitous in gas.
Bones, tears, breath - fragments of god, surrounded by an infinity of fragments.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Fruitvale Station

Fruitvale Station all the time

This rumpled sky, rough worthy of Van Gogh,
a hundred colors graying into dusk
a palette mixed of white in black to mimic coming dark.

At Fruitvale Station New Years Eve (2008-9) a young black man was jumped then
    policed to death
      subway crowd recording pictures under threat
         till the train moved out.
Fear, hysteria, chaos, reactions under duress -
      we have divided our nation into warring camps while
Justice, head in hands,
      catches the action too late for
                          the weighing and balancing for which we turn to her after, torn,
                          we have berserked.
We grieve an instant before the next bad-news pulse
     beats away this alarm.
Shrug or shout later, how change that fraught interface between
        what we fear and
        those anointed as our bulwark,
                            frail tho they be,
                            not up to correct swift determinations,
                            just jumping at noise, struggle,
         a young man harmless till they thugged him?

It's coming evening now, and for now
    cicadas soundtrack the time -
pop of guns come later
    - Friday night in America
           young men and cops are cruising armed,
                   looking for a hair out of place,
                   trigger to take offense.
How do we collectively learn to draw a breath,
             to see past the fear-paintings that debase our nature,
             to prove we are the homo sapiens -
              the thinking beings -
 we are named?

Fruitvale Station again and again -
      why are young men of color the enemy?
      why are police an occupying army?
Life is a wink between waking and gone -
       why do we invest in damage and defense
       when the door to the stars yawns near and cold?
When we lie in ashes, my atoms and yours rejoin once more.

Start by remembering:
   this is who we are:
       bits of one whole
           so soon to return
    having learned -