Just when I needed them … they were there staring me down like a petrified knick knack


One of the main reasons I love books so very much would be their uncanny ability to appear when I need that particular thing. This is true of all books that have come to me, but doubly so of poetry books.

Ooga Booga is a book I came across last year — about this time last year — leaping at me, leaping into my eyes. Upon opening it and reading words on a random page — I had an ice pick for a dad — I knew I was in for something. I knew also that that feeling I had with it in those first moments — a feeling akin to my finding Fernando Pessoa — promised me something grand. I just didn’t know if it would be grand bliss or grand sadness. Or grand anger. Or an emotion that would be entirely new to me. This time last year when I first saw this book, I was in a state of great confusion and I was always searching for something not knowing what the something was … definitely not a good way to live your life if you desire any contentment at all.

And now this year, and in recent days thinking a lot about knick knacks, I have evaluated the role of both creativity and love. This statement lies in a knick knack. Here is your assignment, dear reader, if you choose to accept it:

* Find a knick knack. Define the knick knack with an adjective and a noun: tiny bunnies.

* Look very closely at this knick knack. What is it accomplishing in the line of your sight? What is it accomplishing in this moment alone with you, both staring at one another in one way or another?

* Do you see a potential to love this knick knack as you would any creation you find fulfilling (a song, a painting, a lawn mower, a platypus)?

* Do you see the direct relation of love and creativity? The tangible object and its intangible counterpart.

I just completed this task with my mother’s knick knack … three tiny bunnies. Two of them are teeny tiny and one (in the middle) is slightly bigger. The larger bunny in the center has his paws to his mouth as if yelling for someone. The two teeny tiny bunnies (who are also twins I see now — even posed exactly the same) cross their little paws across their tummies as if patiently waiting in line at the bank. There is both a disappointing stasis and a resounding excitement in this little narrative. How desperate are they? Did someone steal their food? Destroy their home? Did someone break their little hearts? And so they stand there not knowing the next step except waiting patiently, with one telling of the desperation in its yelling. But this all may mean they yell toward a hope — food, a home, someone to love them.

Their inanimate circumstance makes me envious.

The knick knack ponderings began after I went to the post office in the town where I work. I parked on the street and when I got out the car, I noticed a woman in a windowed room polishing knick knacks on a folding tray. She seemed so happy by them, arranging them, dusting and polishing them. In that moment, so much made sense to me. And today with seven hours alone in a car with only my thoughts, music, and the occasional coffee to keep me company, I thought more about her. I thought more about how much that image of her and her knick knacks made everything I have been trying to find and understand so very simple.

Love is simple. We make it complicated.

Truth is simple. We make it complicated.

But old habits die hard. It is hard for me to feel these things simply even if I can think of them simply. This is always when hopelessness starts in with me. I thought I was on to something. And now as I write about it, I realize I’m not. I desire simplicity but have trouble with it. Complication and complexity give me something to think about, write about, laugh and cry about. Laugh, cry, smile, and sing — all things that occurred in my thinking of all of this on my seven hour drive today.

Complication. Complexity. Company. Companion. Composition.

And what I am realizing now is that all I really want is what those knick knacks had in the moments I watched her arrange them by species, polish them lovingly like a mother cleaning chocolate from the awkward corners of her little one’s mouth. I wanted that feeling inside of me, the feeling I imagined in that windowed room on that otherwise typical overcast day.

This came to me for a reason. Letter to be mailed. Post office. Windowed porch. Woman. Knick knacks. Care. Love.

Frederik Seidel came to me for a reason: Need for complexity. Understanding. An empathy. Inspiration. Love.

Now as usual, I am not sure where to go with all of this now quite jumbled babble I have in my mind. I have made so much so complex. I suffer for it. All of us suffer for our complications.

But I think I know one thing … I imagine if I were a knick knack, I would be a petrified deer with an inexplicable crown, possibly dusty, in a fingerprinted curio.



Published in: on November 22, 2007 at 4:29 am  Leave a Comment  

There is Love and a Cry for Love


Today my Unitarian Universalist service was truly meaningful to me — from the meditation, to the sermon, to the benediction with a Buddhist prayer. Our guest speaker, Rev. Gy Ludvig talked about our Unitarian roots in Transylvania. This was news to me since I did not know that was the genealogy of UU. Our history is fascinating and makes me extremely proud since it is based on both love and intellectualism; heart and mind as one. I think what she discussed that most captured me was her idea that there are only two true aspects to the human condition — love and fear. Love is possessing and giving love and Fear is a need for love. As anyone reading this knows, the former is better but often more difficult than the latter.

These days when I have been quite neurotic about my place in the world in general and in my own relationships in particular, her words were not only very much ringing true but they were also inspiring. Too often I feel I need validation, I need the attention of others to feel worthy of myself, to remain walking on the earth. This is my fear, my ultimate fear. And it is often what I experience, more so than love. There’s love and fear. And as a woman possessing free will, I am constantly able to make a choice between Love and Fear.

Love is more difficult for many reasons. For me the reason is often my ill inner thoughts of not being loved and therefore afraid to give it wholly to anyone. This may explain my predilection with inanimate objects possessing a lifeblood however metaphysically. In my poems I often see the unalive as alive in a sense we as humans will never know because of our constantly hovering consciousness. The unconscious inanimate has nothing but being, existing on an atomic level, no need to choose Love or Fear because that inanimate is also emotionless. In this I feel a sympathy with the inanimate. In this I feel a sympathy with that person who is seemingly thoughtless and emotionless. But even the murderer has this … but they are ruled to their very core by Fear, a cry for love.

I have again been reading my “bible” — The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa. I fear his words as I read them, his words that move a part of me deeply because I see so much of myself in them. And since I have been researching Pessoa while I work on an essay about his poems, I now feel that Pessoa was a walking Fear. He did not murder anyone, but in a sense he was constantly murdering himself — hence the several personas he possessed all with different lives, zodiacs, and outlooks. In Pessoa’s (writing as Pessoa) poem, “Stations of the Cross” he writes, I am myself the loss I suffered … // And on this road that leads to Otherness / Bloom in the slender wayside glory / The sunflowers of the empire dead in me.

I have had so many desires these last several days, but now my only desire is an interior reflection in my interior mirrors, a road that leads to Otherness. I desire today to try only to love and in this declaration I fear there must be a silence since I must first try to love myself. I think my natural inclination toward fear is evident in many of my words here and will be again no doubt. The difference now though is my acknowledgment with it and my desire to run right by it heading toward an empire of love and desire instead of fear and desire.


Published in: on November 4, 2007 at 5:42 pm  Comments (1)