Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Exile from Iowa

By Jaimie Ondrea Dunn

The Feminist (in her former days)

Every once in a while, old pain wells up to be dealt with, reprocessed, let go. The only way I have devised to do this effectively is to write about it. Maybe someone else in a similar situation will find comfort in it. Maybe pain's creation of beauty is enough. Maybe my ego is healing from what happened when I submitted these poems years ago to be published (mis-editing someone else's art should be an act punishable by public humiliation; that's what I endured, after all). Whatever the case, I feel moved to share it.

Not the Allegory of the Cave, Exactly

The path of the Spirit
is the path of the Flesh
Plato had it all wrong
when I bleed every 28 days
I encounter creation
and when my body has purged itself of the old
I reinvent myself into a pattern
that you do not know.

I wanted you to be my beautiful lover
to crave the space I inhabit
to know me apart from the fictions
of other women and bodies.

Your filterless gaze,
it convinces me you are a victim
of your own desire
but, baby, I've known desire
I've pushed against it with my thighs
felt its comforting press against my stomach
held the fullness of it inside me
so I know that it propels me
unlike when you were drunk, stoned, and defenseless
against the sexual onslaught of an insistent woman.

The desire that moved your hands over her body
and not mine
is your birthright
for you are male
and do not
know how
to love.

For Those Who Have Suffered Broken Hearts

My friend Ellen performed this poem at her senior voice recital after my friend Kara set it to music. It had a bluesy, haunting kind of feel to it. It was sung a cappella. Read.

Free yourself.

Nothing Lost That I Can't Find Again

Wrap around your finger
like a little girl twirls around a mayflower pole
inconceivable that I could ever hate you
but in the cave I peer out of
I wield my cat o' nine tails
twitching, pacing, waiting for a message
you bruise me with your silence
and so I lash myself just to test my skills.

The venom seeps out of the wound in my right heel
where the viper bit
I suck it up and spit it out
aiming your way
but, boy, you're immune to your own poison
you go your own way without making a raucous noise
consorting with your kind who feed on blindness
and here I am again left to test my mind-reading skills
when no frequency tunes in
I cut myself
and horror of horrors, I wait
to see if I still bleed
'cause they say that blood is thicker than water
and water's all you are, baby, water's
all you are
and my blood is thicker without you.

posted by Jaimie O. @ 1:09 PM 0 comments
'Tis No Simple Thing To Have a Heart

All apologies. To those who have wronged me or someone I love, I struck with calculated precision not because I hate you, but because I hate what you did, what your actions represent: a calloused heart. But in striking, did I merely justify your reasons for behaving as you did? Did I condemn you for your humanity? Did I add to the pain that found its only outlet in hurting another?

I dreamed of a tiger the other night, a magnificent female creature trapped in the house I grew up in, attacked with calculated precision for her wildness in the same way that I have been attacked for my own. She was me. I was her. As I approached her, her pelt sliced open and pinned to the floor like a mouse on the dissecting table, her heart beating fiercely, I was powerless to assuage her suffering or comfort her. I wept, woke up weeping, and cried off and on throughout the day. I, too, have suffered, prostrated before the dispassionate stares of cruel tyrants that jeered at my pain and mocked it. I do not condemn fellow travelers on this journey for their suffering or acts borne of it. I forgive you, for I recognize your suffering as my own. I advise you to cradle the beautiful new being you have become and croon to her, croon to her gently. She needs to be loved. And when she is so full of love that it pours out of her, you will know she is ready to share her love and life with a mate.

I forgive you. Go in peace.

posted by Jaimie O. @ 11:38 AM 0 comments
Come, Winter

Autumnal stirrings. Coolness in the desert. Performing again. Free-lance gig picking up steam. Money on the way. Love on the rise. Dog on the horizon. A new place to live in while the desert renews itself once again.

Come, Winter

This city touches me and I feel so dirty
soiled past the attempted cleanliness of 23 showers
and a face mask
missing the smell brought about by autumn decay
as the nights grow darker and shadows rise sooner
in the dusk, with rains that bless the Earth before she lies down to sleep
fallow once again.

Then the snow, yes, the snows bringing a thousand sorts of delight to all senses
crunching crisply underfoot
woodsmoke scents the air
after autumn fires of leaf
stars smoked with clouds
suns we assume to be aflame in galaxies where life,
no doubt, has shaped itself differently
to us, though we know not whether these suns
still burn, we see it now and trust the constancy of our own star
to sustain, always, life
no matter how long the winter.

posted by Jaimie O. @ 11:08 AM 0 comments
No, Jellybean, We Don't Make Things Happen . . .

. . . we allow them to unfold. A couple of years ago, when I was listening to the Pacific ocean, trying to sink into sleep, this was the message I received. What a comfort. To understand that the chaos of the modern age, so magnified in cities where Corporate Whoredom is the only way to make a decent wage (unless you are an exceptional human being with your own business, for example), is a passing phase. To understand that chaos is illusion, that the universe is a place of profound order and harmony where all is profoundly interconnected, brought my life's experiences up to that point into extreme focus. I proceeded with an elementary understanding of that message and have built upon it ever since.

But complications, as they are wont to do, arise. People act dishonorably and maliciously, injustice abounds on social, political, and economic fronts, and instability threatens, at times, to undermine our best efforts. It's the wheel, Jellybean, it turns and turns. Yes, Fortune turns her wheel. Sometimes, it's the chickens, and other times, the feathers (a rough paraphrase of some folk wisdom distilled by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes [check her out]). I've found that the most unhappy people seek to inflict misery on others or use power plays to gain a temporary advantage. And though I strive to practice compassion, I'm not that elevated yet, and I pity those fools, for fools they are, and I hope one day to live in a world where injustice is not a worldwide reality.

Take last week's jaunt to the mountains, for instance. I, against my better judgment, agreed to be escorted to a little resort community in Colorado. Telluride. Some would consider it paradise. On my most fundamental level, the place offended me. Imagine: a place overrun by yuppies and WASPS, not just your run of the mill variety, though, filthy rich motherfuckers who all looked the same. Those are the types that own the town. Then you have your standard issue hippies. I love tree huggers, don't get me wrong, and although I don't look like one anymore, I still am a bonafide granola on the inside. But these hippies are the types that must love shi-shi, and I don't get that because my bohemian friends abhor gross displays of wealth where capitalism has run totally amok and squashed any sort of real culture or beauty. Sure, it was there if you looked up, but for a few hellacious hours, I was in the Scottsdale of the mountains, and I hated America. Telluride exemplifies exactly what is wrong with this nation. How such a divide between rich and poor can exist in a land where the American dream is promised to all mystifies me. Why you would choose to subject yourself to an environment that displays this divide in its gross excesses and materialistic squallor for any length of time is not only puzzling, it is humorous, in a sardonic, mad kind of way. Whoop it up on the mountain, and pretend that the rest of the world is not enduring the effects of a quickening, an acceleration toward a new vision of community where everyone has enough and wealth is spread equally among those who work to create this new vision.

Hold on to your bootstraps everyone, because what is going on in the world is going to become absurdly tragic for a while. Work to make your own life a testament to your principles. Utopia may seem an impossibility, but it is in the works.

Check out an excellent new book by cybercaster Meria Heller, The Mouth That Roars, soon to be published and made available on Meria.net and via the Mythville community of self-publishers who promote literature that enhances the world. More to come when it is hot off the press. You want an amazing vision of the possibilities of your life and life on this planet? Then you gotta read this book. Beauty and truth distilled.

posted by Jaimie O. @ 11:09 AM 0 comments

Living in the desert forces you to encounter your own reflection and shadow, repeatedly, until you are able to integrate past with present, emotion with reason, conscious with unconscious, masculine with feminine, illusion with possibility. It is a harsh climate for almost six months every year, three of those being especially intemperate, and it is dry. Lips crack, sweat runs freely, water becomes an impossible element to keep stocked in your system, and tempers tend to flare. The glare from that intense sun overhead makes driving without sunglasses very difficult, and when you are the unfortunate owner of an air-conditionless car, those daily jaunts about the Valley are unpleasant indeed. It's like baking in a low oven until you arrive at your destination.

Despite this, the greater Phoenix metropolitan area continues to sprawl like a ravenous, uncaged beast, claiming more and more desert as "resort" fodder to be divided into plots, commercial as well as residential for middle to upper-middle class housing. It's a rich person's paradise and a blue collar person's waking nightmare. It's my idea of a futuristic dystopia. The desert makes this city beautiful, and acts of near-psychotic brilliance make it an ugly tribute to humanity's chaos.

What to do in the sun-drenched illumination of mirages where water vapor is a precious commodity every bit as much as water is? Clouds need water vapor to hang in the sky, and at this elevation, little water falls. Oh, to see green things and smell the decay of autumn in crisp, shaded evenings.

Northward, ho. Away.

posted by Jaimie O. @ 5:06 PM 0 comments
Not Planet X, New Age Seekers: Enter Mercury

For those of you not in the know about astrology, Mercury going direct is associated with the return of normal communications and technological functioning. It also puts the go ahead on signing contracts again, makes finding a new job possible (at least, one working for people you've never met before: retrogrades are great for reconnecting with people from your past, thus finding a job working for someone you've either known before or worked for before is a-ok), and clarifies anything to do with communicating, relieving frustrations surrounding human interactions and technology, especially computers. (None of this happens causally, mind you -- as above, so below; movements in the cosmos are correlated with the shifting energies on Planet Earth.) It's a maddening time for lots of people, and it holds certain activities in stasis. When it moves forward again, life surges forward again. Needless to say, but say it I will, I'm thrilled.

I came across old lines from what seems to be a previous lifetime, but was really only nine months ago. What the hell. Have a read. Caucasian female dates Native American man. It was a painful experience for us both, I imagine, but he was still a fucker. Bad news, Stu. Not for this chica.

Between the gray and the white,
there is a thin black line
And, Baby, you put it there
Not me
I only put my heart on that line where you
made a highway
Interstate Number Three-Something-Five
that's where you put it
through the place I thrive.

What's the relationship between art and pain?
Does one need the other
to be understood, to sustain
the thoughtful grasping, misunderstood white flag
the child's asking, the prayer man's bag?
Is oblivion the end of pointless woe,
where no truth can stand on, nor beauty grow?
Powerful dismissals, denial's control
seeking shades of comfort, harmony's glow.

You made me small
and I stood there, grasping
my shadow's length, my heart's rasping
grew harsh and desperate, combined with despair
You made me small, tiny I, there
to the will you exerted, an ingenius plan
Retreating in fear, igniting my tan-
less flesh
igniting my wind-stoked heart
flaming me white
and guilty

In that moment between reproof
and defence
the world stopped briefly, tensions dense
Found guilty of anger, found guilty of pain
I retreat to my heart-cave,
become the stain
my ancestors wove on me
inherit their sin
I thought we could beat it
the domination, the din
find a new course to run on
a new way to love
but love's not what you wanted --
so, I'll clutch it, the dove.

posted by Jaimie O. @ 7:47 PM 0 comments
I Am Awake, My Mind Is Free

I've decided that I want a dog. Yeah, one of those panting, drooling beasties that smells unless you bathe them regularly and requires as much TLC as a small child. So I trot off to the Arizona Humane Society animal shelter and investigate the options after visualizing the perfect dog: a boxer mix with the personality of my uncle's boxer, Roxie. The first dog who took a shine to me was a pit bull, and I had no idea she was a pit until I asked the handler to take her out of the kennel . . . very gentle, a little high strung, but very cute and virtually shedless. The pit bull factor seemed prohibitive since I'm an apartment dweller, but in the next breath, I found her. The perfect companion. Boxer mix, colored the same as Roxie with the same temperament -- low key, laid back, gentle, and affectionate. The problem? Providing the dog with a home suited to her rather impressive size. Roxanne (kind of Roxie II) would be the ideal companion for me to lavish love and affection onto, but I would not subject a creature that beautiful to inadequate quarters. Too, I'd insist on pampering her, and that requires what? Money, honey. Moola, plain and simple. She voted most likely to succeed must find a job that compensates her for her considerable talents and passion, ethics and vision. Nonprofit sector, here I come.

Now that Mercury is heading forward again, I am certain that the ideal job situation is waiting for me to find it. My ideal employer will be delighted tomorrow, after a relaxing three-day weekend, when my resume is deposited onto her desk. She won't be a Sagittarius. She'll probably be a water sign or an earth sign. Definitely not an air sign. Feel me or ground me, but don't bullshit me or try to manipulate me. These are my prerequisites for a boss.

I can't wait to see what else materializes this week. I have a feeling that it's going to be grand, whatever it is, and it will be fully in line with my dreams and principles. Discover those, love yourself, trust in the universe to support you through the underworld and above, and ascend, my pretties. That is your birthright. For sure, it's mine.

posted by Jaimie O. @ 1:52 PM 0 comments
Warp Speed, Mr. Sulu

I'd heard it was possible. In fact, fellow Scorpio lady friends of mine had told me of their experiences with the phenomenon. Like the good Scorpy I am, I had read oodles and oodles about the experience and wore out several vibrators (and several former partners) trying to achieve this peak of all peak experiences. In the past year, however, I had sadly concluded that having even one orgasm with a partner would not be possible until I fell in love again. So I told the universe of my plans to be celibate until someone worthy of my love fell out of the sky into my lap. Then, after a few months of getting myself off with my adept little fingers and tireless vibrator, I discovered an amazing thing: Not only am I capable of having multiple orgasms, I can have them regularly. Daily. I shit you not. Excessive I may be when it comes to my appetites for pleasure, but I know from countless experiences with both women and men that this is the real deal. This is the big love. And the impossible dream of being fulfilled in and out of the sack seems too good to be true. Thankfulness to the universe is all that I have for such a profound gift.

Blessed be.