Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Tango Nocturno - a painting by Pedro Alvarez

* originally penned 07/03/06
Baila conmigo.

Ya me voy.

Quedate conmigo.

Pero me tengo que ir.

Baila conmigo y dejame oir.......las palabras que estoy esperando.

Pero ya sabes que soy casada.
Tambien se que estas enamorada...de mi, como yo te amo a ti.

Pero que gano con amarte?

Dejame ensenarte...como se siente cuando yo te lo revuelvo.

Ni aunque me lo revuelves, yo no me puedo quedar.

Abraza me fuerte y dime que lo vas a dejar.

Y que gano con dejarlo? Mejor me voy como siempre - y estarme con uno, mientras amando al otro.

No quiero ser el otro.

Por el mientras, es todo lo que te puedo dar.

Pero dime por que te conformas con el............... cuando no te sabe amar?

Ella no tiene repuesta para esa pregunta.
Y bailaron.
Y se amaron.
Y al fin, se dejaron.
Pero nunca se olvidaron.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Behind You - The Story of She and He

This handout picture given by the Italian cultural ministry shows a pair of human skeletons embracing at a Neolithic tomb in Valdaro-S.Giorgio near Mantova. I'm going to tell their story.
The story of She and He has just as tragic of a beginning as it does an ending. She married He when She was very young. She had hopes. She had plans. She had dreams. She had good intentions. She had desires to go far beyond her humble beginnings and absorb as much of the world as She could. She never got too far.
Enter: He
He was the man She married. She saw him as the start of a new life. The first step on the road to who She always wanted to be. She was going to explore. She was going to learn. She was going to live and She was going to do it with a carefree attitude like she'd never been able to know in the small, confining world She was born into. She wanted to spread her wings and fly far away from the confinement of small town life that insisted She put down roots instead.
He was a humble man. He was a Root Bearer, not a Wing Spreader and She found that out too late. She ached and yearned to experience new things in life, see different places and different faces. She wanted to be something. More than She could ever be where She was.
He was content providing for She. He came from a working background of poverty that left no room for imagination. His childhood was too hard to imagine anything, but working to rise above and beyond that which was his heritage - poverty. His only goal in life was to provide for his family in a way that his father was never able to. To have done that, in his eyes, was to have succeeded.
He's father was a tired man, broken from years of hard work for nothing. Life's struggles had taken all emotion, except bitterness and anger, out of his life and that's all he had left for He. A child learns what he lives and He learned to have no emotion. He learned to be strong. He learned that a man works and that's all he does and there's no time for nonsense like goals, hopes, and dreams. He was content to have what he needed, for that was all He ever wanted.
He's contentment and She's discontent became the driving wedge in the marriage. She felt cheated. He felt frustrated. She needed more and He couldn't understand why having what She needed wasn't enough. She began to feel like She was suffocating. He began to distance himself from She. The days dragged on and the years stretched out behind them and, pretty soon, She decided that She could not go on.
She went to bed. She had come to the conclusion that, if this was her lot in life, she wanted no more of it. So She slept. But before She slept, She said:
"I'm not living anyway. What does it matter if I die? So much of me has died over the years from not being nurtured and cultivated that just a mere shell remains. Could death be any different that just existing? No. It couldn't. If I can't hurry up and live, let me hurry up and die."
And so She did.
Lying there in bed.
He laid down beside her. He could not go on. In She's death, He found his voice. He found his emotion. He found the words He should have told She years ago. He said:
"I never talked because I didn't know what to say. You were versed in so many things that I never had the capacity or the chance to learn. You talked, I listened. It's not because I wasn't interested in what you were saying, it's because I was. I was learning and wanted to absorb. I had nothing to add. All I could do was listen.
I never had an opinion about things you wanted to do because I knew my words couldn't stop you. You were strong willed and determined and would not be swayed by my protest. I protested anyway because I am a man. You thought that I was against you in all of it, but I was behind you. Letting you lead the way because I knew you wouldn't follow me.
Behind you.
I never showed you affection because of how many times you pushed me away. Not showing my love for you was a way of protecting my fragile ego, not a means to hurt or punish you. You never made any attempt to show me yours, but I was alway there. Not against you. Or apart from you or ahead of you, but behind you.
Right behind you.
I never encouraged you or showed any support for the things in life that you wanted to do because you didn't need any. I couldn't stop you, if I wanted to. I never wanted to. I wanted to be a part of what you were doing, not a spectator, but you were the star of your own show and never let me shine. Even then, I didn't walk away from you, I walked behind you.
Behind you.
You always thought that work was my life and all I cared about. You believed I put everything before you. You felt like you were second to everything and everybody and that only my life mattered.
What you wanted to hear so many times, but rarely did is - you were right. Only my life did matter.
She, you were my life.
Where you led, I always followed.
I'm still behind you.
Right behind you."
And He died.
Right behind She.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Room With A View - Painting By Trish Biddle

You're never gonna get anywhere with that thing you do.

I might not, but what's it to you?

Nothing will ever become of all carrying on you do.

It might not, but what's it to you?

You don't have any talent and you're too easy to see through.

I might be, but what's it to you?

That was just beginner's luck. You'll never make two.

I might not, but what's it to you?

They just felt sorry for you when they let you through.

They might have, but what's it to you?

Nobody's even going to remember who you are when it's through.

They might not, but what's it to you?

You think you're a big deal. Anybody can do what you do.

Maybe they can, but what's it to you?

I'll tell you what it is to you.

It's personal because I have what you don't, but more importantly that which you said

I couldn't to begin with. You feel inferior, wanting to be a part of something so you

try and make it something to you. The only thing that is something to you is the

credit for what I've become - because without your constant negativity, I could never

have pointed out for you what it is to you.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Preparing Vegetables - painting by Henry Tozer

Elsa is sitting by her hearth, wondering where her life has gone. She knows there's life out there. She knows her life - the one she was meant to have - is out there, but knowing this is no comfort. So she sits. And listens. And stares blankly ahead - half seeing things as they are, half seeing things as she wish they were. She sits in her chair, listening to her kids playing outside, to the mule team her husband is driving - wondering if this is all there is. Her world has been reduced to 4 walls and a dirt path leading to them.

Material things, she has. Maybe not everything she wants, but she has everything she needs. Seemingly. To the outside world. But more facets than the physical need to be nourished and that's all she's getting here. Her heart's not in it. Her mind's not in it. Her soul's not in it. Her spirit is grounded. Her body is on auto pilot. She goes through the motions of life or something like it, but she isn't living. She's just exisiting. She's never been so stuck in a place in all her life, but she's never been farther removed from one, either.

She loves her kids, but she resents them. She never loved her husband, but she tolerates him. She hates her house, but she tends it. She hates her life, but it must go on in some form or the other. So she'll sit in a chair until it's time to lay in a box. In the physical sense, that is. Because the rest of her died years ago.

Gypsy - Paiting by Pia DeStefano

She says she's not a gypsy, but I know her soul is. Her eyes tell of a mischivious youth, lovers lost, dances danced, wines tasted, kisses wasted, and hurts beyond belief. If you sit with her, she'll tell you a story. Maybe about how she danced in the streets at Carnival while her long black hair trailed behind her like the tail of an ebony kite. How she once was married, but realized on the way from the chapel that marriage wasn't for her so she climbed out a window to escape. How she knew a man in Sinaloa who promised to take her away, but all he took was her heart. Of a beach in Morocco where she wrote her name in the sand and ran out to meet the waves. Of the child she left behind with her mother in San Jose . Of how she was almost Fred Astair's other half and how she used to do everything he did, but backwards and in high heels. Of curanderas in Mexico who always smelled of incense and rotting leaves. About how she sang in Salsa clubs and danced the Merengue with cocoa skinned men in fedoras. She says she's not a gypsy - but I know her soul is. A gypsy soul can never be content in one place - even if the body can no longer keep up. So she talks. To whomever will listen. So that the gyspy soul that lives inside her can satisfy its wanderlust - just like the 2 of them used to do.

Figure In The Window - painting by Salvador Dali

The figure in the window looks forelorn because she lives a life of solitude. She is the wife of the lighthouse keeper and she lives in the keeper's shack on the south side of the bay, far removed from any neighbor or the hussle and bussle of the city streets. By day, her husband tends the grounds and readies the structure for its nightly duty. By night, he tends the beacon - guiding the traveling ships safely to shore. She looks out the window - waiting for her own ship to come. She looks out the window - waiting for a beacon to guide her safely to shore. She looks out the window - waiting for her husband to return when he's not even really gone. For years, she's been perched in this window. For years, she's gone unnoticed. By ships. By beacons. By her husband. By life.