my roommate is polish, late fifties. every day he asks me my schedule.
"you have play?
how long? one hour?
he is obsessed with time, and the news, iraq, beheadings, etc.:
"the news, i see, if is good news. maybe. maybe. every day is bad. so maybe today good....ah.
the shit, is pronounced as if through a screen door.
i notice in my responses to him a desire to flaunt my lack of judgement on things. i want him to know that i do not find the schedule or the news bad, but just the world as it is. i want to show people that i do not complain, and that i do not beleive in good and bad, that i can see both sides of all things. and in this flaunting, this righteous posturing, i recognize pride and ego, and i am shamed, for i recognize these as, hm, bad.
my secret heart (this is a phrase i like now) is a mystery; i do not know what i think of good and bad. such a confusion: this bird sees the sun and knows it is the light and this bird sees the moon and knows it is the light too and in the eclipses of living i bird i find myself confused and trembling by the pale shallow pools of morality and quality.
what kind of asshole would write a sentence like that? a bad one? a good one?
i finished east of eden today. steinbeck seems pretty sure that good and evil exist. and we great creatures have them both within us, we are filled to the brim with them, and we may choose, thou mayest, we are lovely. i love his writing and his acceptance of the bad, his painful embrace of it. i love lee!! and cal and abra love each other in the end for their imperfections, their bad thoughts.
but its not so clear out here. tonight on deck 12 after working out, i let the cold wind freeze my sweat as i was listening to a hiphop mix se gave me (sle? sae?...i cannot remember, bad)...i think it may have been eminem singing, "you better lose youself in the music, this opportunity comes but once in a lifetime, grab it," etc, that optimistic hiphop about seizing life and tearing down the drapes and dancing through the street. you know. and i found myself imagining a room, a pre boxing room, concrete, bare bulb, tattered whitewash posters, and here i am receiving this encouragement, my woodstain trainer massaging my blazing shoulders with his anisette breath, and i am about to enter a ring, and he tells me, seize it, lose yourself to it, be it, and i am so scared because it is not boxing ring i am entering, and it is not my fists, nor is it my mind that will save me...rather this game is played with my elusive hidden soul.
the odd contest is in a circular, eggshell white room, high ceilings, perhaps two doors, lady, tiger...i will be thrown in and will have to play, but the rules do not exist. and i have played before, by leaping and shouting, by hurling myself at a door and banging it with my radiant song...or by walking slowly through and examining the woodwork for holes that may house hints. once i sniffed the air for an hour before the walls collapsed on me and i again wet my pillow with lost sobs. once i tried to hide in the corner but could not find it. once i danced calypso shadow puppets on the wall with a coquettish smile.
but i have always lost, in the end, lost, always. i must have, for this uncertainty inside of me persists.
i sometimes just dont know what is good or bad. i dont know how to act. i dont know what to say to this stranger to let her know that i am interested in loving her, without frightening her. i dont know how to tell this man that i love him in spite of what i have done to him, in spite of my lies and betrayl. and maybe there is no good or bad...but the agony is that sometimes i know its good, because the things i do and say make the whole world smile and magic. so there are right ways to do it...ive been there and felt it. but when i try to figure it out, oh, oh oh. my teachers (many of you!) tell me that this is the problem...the thinking, the thinking, the math problem approach. i should "be myself", do thy will, and the chorus will emerge from the circular lip of the ring and shower me with the rose petals of a well lived life.
and i think that in real time i can do this...i think that in the continuum flow of moment silk moment improvisation, in conversation, music or love (occasionally in cooking and video game playing too), i find this loss of self and judgement does not come into play and i am blessed with the overwhelming happiness, the greatest laughter, and the world becomes a garden of light, water and sound, with giant green leaves to blanket and bed me.
but then time sneaks in...and i find myself alone with this head in the moments in between and the analysis begins and all comes scrumbling (LIKE THAT WORD!) apart and i cannot begin again because i cant be myself because myself is thinking of too many different options and has no rules by which to judge them. ugh! but the thinking is me! still, still. and i think of this act, an action of pure being, so right and true, that has ended up hurting another. good and bad...and there is time to think about that, and i am lost in eclipse season again. this man traveling at the speed of light seems to be still and sickly to this man on the ground who loves as well. right?
it is true if someone thinks it...if an action is thought to be bad by one, then he is right, it is bad. truth is only subjective...and all subjective thought is thus true. theyre both right, always. its all true, i remember.
so how to proceed? i want to live, but my living is thinking. this writing soothes me, but it is a dangerous attempt to find a side. i know this hypocrisy as i write it. or does it just occupy me...am i still so afraid of being alone.
not ready, still, old song. i must be not ready to accept the vows and live in peaceful stillness. i still dont beleive that the singing will be as sweet on the other side of nirvana. i still dont beleive that through stillness i can enter the ring without thinking, with my true self who can dance every dance. that my being can flow so effortlessly from me and the world will be all right if i dont worry about it. do i not trust...do i still not beleive that the world is good? that evolution triumphes over entropy. at the core of my un-understanding of good and evil is a presuppositon that good is good, and my distrust that the world is good, that death will not hurt, that they are not laughing at me, leaves me vacant.
its so hard, and so lovely, this not knowing how to live.
but i must be learning...for my impulse now, sometimes, is to stop the mad runnings into the sun, to stop the wild serenades and outpourings of words (clearly! ha!) and just lie in the center of the room, on my back, with arms folded sweetly on my chest, and wait. stare at the ceiling and feel the eggshells bubble my back. wait until the moment arises again where i may be distracted by a creation, a simple turn of phrase or hip, into not thinking. a fierce love that hurls me into the moment and lets me do no wrong.
and only if the love is true, right, only if the love is true will this work. only if i truly love all the glowing angels that surround me. and if it is true, it will outlast time, and will remain.
i am sorry for all i say sometimes. i try so hard to stay in the present but i fail all the time. and when i fail, when i drift away, is when it becomes bad and sadness creeps in with her old cellophone refrain. sometimes i wish i could erase the boards and enter the ring with nothing but a blanket, a guitar, and a plate of warm peach turnovers.