I am carrying my body
Or maybe it carries me
A vessel of muscle and respiration
Of heartbeat and headache
From a place of relative peace
Into that river of fear and happiness
And sensation and tension and annoyance and excitement
That I call
It lifts me, and I drag it
Wheezing and protesting
Toward duties and desires
Straining toward outcomes.
Continue reading Body
Ever since my initial exposure to Occupy Wall Street, I’ve longed to participate. The Occupy Portland branch has been thriving, but living outside the city on a St Helens farm, and temporarily without transportation, there was little I could do but watch.
So watch I did! I followed the #OccupyPortland and #OccupyWallStreet Twitter streams, read dozens of articles as they popped up daily, viewed scores of Youtube clips, and watched demonstrations on Livestream when I could. When protesters chose to sit down and be arrested in Portland’s Jamison Square, my heart longed to be with them. So I held vigil, watching until the last protester was arrested at 3:30 in the morning, livetweeting quotes from the Occupy Portland Livestream. I spread links across Twitter, Facebook and Google+. I traded thoughtful Tweets with Portland Mayor Sam Adams. But I had not set foot in the Occupy Portland encampment, or walked bodily among them in their numerous marches.
I felt a desperate, emotional need to be there.
Continue reading Occupy Emotions
A poem, conceived in the wild and incubated at the Bridge:
I am NOT a slave.
I know it in my bones
But it’s easy to forget in the maze
A truth drowned by the lies of plastic and steel.
Freedom there is pain
Freedom there is rage
Freedom there is impossible
So I chain myself
And hate it.
I chain myself
And love it
And hate myself.
Continue reading Free
Regular readers, if any remain, no doubt have noticed that there have been no posts on Story by the Throat! in a long, long time. There are a number of reasons for this. There are a lot of things pulling on my mental and physical resources that make it difficult to do such a simple thing as write blog posts.
I’m going to be real with you for a moment. My life is not what I want. like, really, truly deeply falling short of what I dream and yearn for. Oh yes, I have many pleasures, many wonderful, enriching friends, many creative and fulfilling pursuits available to me. And of course I live a life of incredible privilege compared to most of the world. But still somehow I find myself beaten down by life until I can barely even remember my dreams, much less pursue them. I drive many miles to work long hours at a job I hate, for a world machine designed to chew me up and spit out the bones. The joyous work I dream of doing–celebrating story, poetry, music–is unsupported in society outside of a corporate-sponsored celebrity system. The precious work that awaits me at home–husband, father, simple liver off the land–increasingly declines as the job exacts its toll. It takes the best wine from my cup and leaves me with dregs.
It’s like I’m running a deficit on spiritual resources; everything I do, everything I attempt, requires a loan against a soul reserve I can’t back up. And acts of love, of creativity, of joy, are the most draining, so it’s much easier to sit and anesthetize the ache with entertainment and frivolity. My time and energy are drained away until I have none left for the pursuits I care most deeply about.
And I’m not alone. I think many of us, maybe all of us, are suffering in one degree or another from this soul disease. Someone I love has found themselves stuck, trapped in a life that looks far different from what they planned, hemmed in with debt and workload and isolation until even the ability to hope for more is numbed.
Continue reading We All Suck at Joy
Hello, everyone! Annie and I have moved out to her family farm in Warren, OR. Yesterday we spent our first night out there, and this is the result:
And so we fled
And came to the farm house late at night
Parking on the grass
And flipping on lights
That had long lain dormant
And little Niamh giggled and ran through every room
And we followed, indulgent
Reluctant to break the spell
And walking outside
The stars loomed close
Hanging just above my head
Dancing, singing, shining
Through an atmosphere of peace
And I stood and stared
And all but kissed them
And Annie nursed the child
And the quiet stole our breaths
And we whispered in reverence
And Annie sang and the child slept
And later, so did we
And in the wee hours I alone awoke
Out of weary duty
And made the drive
Over that wide and tree-encrusted highway
Wonder-struck at the painted sunrise
That you only see out there
Where we have fled
But I bid it farewell and drove
My foot still smarting
Where I kicked the gate
In the dark, fumbling with chains
Chains that bind us still
I gave a talk at my church, The Bridge of Portland, OR, on August 15. It was based on my post here, The Sheathed Sword, but expanded and elaborated into a dramatic storytelling extravaganza! It was quite fun and rewarding.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8VZ9rBoCww] Continue reading The Sheathed Sword, Storytelling style!