Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Any day now, I'll notice that I've already been released.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

--"You really shouldn't smoke. I had two cousins die from lung disease, and once you get, that's it. I know everybody wants to smoke. I did. But I quit."

--Sidewalk voices, man and woman.
--"I don't want to marry your body and be all in your life. I just want to have fun."

--Sidewalk voice, woman on her phone

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The news where you are told the world has shifted a little so there are three more psychic inches around you for you to be who you really are.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Shakespeare doesn't like to say one thing at a time or go where expected.

"If music be the food of love, play on" are the first words in "Twelfth Night."

We find out soon that the speaker is deeply in love with himself, after the manner of a rock star, movie star, old-fashioned theatre star. He is basically always looking in the mirror and being pleased with what he sees.

He thinks he is in love with someone else, and he's pleased about that. It gives him a new way to talk about himself.

"Oh, for a muse of fire that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention" are the first words of King Henry V. What the Chorus, a single speaker introducing the play to the audience, is asking for is help in the problem of showing how horrible war is on a small stage with relatively few people. We're going to ask you to take one person for a thousand, the chorus says.

The English win a famous victory, at Agincourt against the French, but Shakespeare takes time now and then throughout the play to describe how brutal war is. The muse helps, but Shakespeare is right. It's hard to show how bad war is if you are not right there, which is one reason we keep doing it.

Sooth means truth. "In sooth, I know not why I am so sad" are the first words of "The Merchant of Venice." Someone dealing with the play now would say, "Well, you are closeted and in love with a greedy male bimbo" but that is never dealt with in the play directly.

Does Antonio, the merchant of Venice, who says the words, think of himself as being in love Bassanio? Unknown. Antonio says fewer words in this play that any other Shakespeare title character, by a lot. He is often on stage, but silent.

He has loaned Bassanio, who should be very good looking to the play to make sense, lots of money. Now Bassanio wants lots more money to use to go courting a well-known rich woman, Portia.

"I know not why I am so sad," indeed. Loaning a loved one even more money so they can court another--that would be a good reason. Maybe Antonio doesn't speak much because he doesn't want to say true things much.

And this whole tangle gets transferred to a pre-set emotion--Jews are greedy. Jews are much greedier than Christians, and therefore are bad.

The transfer happens like this. The merchant of Venice, Antonio, has five ships out. And he's loaned Bassanio lots of money. The merchant of Venice doesn't have much cash right now, not enough to finance Bassanio's expensive idea of a courtship. Bassanio is all about making a good impression.

So the merchant of Venice goes to the investment banker of Venice, Shylock, to borrow money.

Shylock doesn't like him much. He tells about how Antonio sometimes passes away his time spitting on Shylock and others unliked. Nowhere in the play to Antonio show that much energy, but I'm inclined to think it's true. Someone frustrated like Antonio has to let the energy and rage out somewhere, and where safer than on a member of a generally disliked group.

Shylock says he will loan Antonio the money that Antonio will "loan" to Bassanio to use in courting Portia if Antonio will promise him a pound of flesh as collateral.

This might be a good moment for Bassanio to say, "Don't do that" but he doesn't. He takes the money and goes off to court, and all five of Antonio's ships don't come in.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Bless this city.

Bless the idea that it's one thing, and bless the many things it is, both shining and rotting.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

A good sax player,doodling around in public, goes from a jazz sax "I love the world complexly" to the tune of "O Tannenbaum," "O Christmas Tree" on June 10. O thank you, sir.
Now that it's closer, I can't see it. I'll have to smell it or be it.
"It's a marvelous thing, the ocean. For some reason, when two people sit watching it together they stop worrying about whether they talk or stay silent."

--Banana Yoshimoto, "Goodbye Tsugumi" translated by Michael Emmerich

Everyday life contains beauty and is in itself beautiful when Banana Yoshimoto is telling her stories.

The ocean is beautiful, everyday. That we two are together once again looking at the ocean is beautiful.

When two people who are going to be important to each other connect in Yoshimoto stories, they often don't start by out and out meeting. They are part of each other's daily life, in some way, and they notice that having this other person be part of daily life feels good.

In "Lizard," the man telling the story swims twice a week at a health place and often sees the aerobics instructor with a lizard tatoo running her classes.

One day it occurs to him that if she weren't there and someone else took her place, he'd miss her.

That same day, he is around when a student in the aerobics class falls and twists her ankle.

Lizard, as he calls the instructor, is by the fallen student instantly, massaging the ankle. The student soon smiles and gets up.

The man telling the story asks her out to dinner, and they become lovers.

In "The Lake," two people in Tokyo have apartments at the same level in buildings catty corner from each other. They look at each other. She waves; he waves.

She figures that she can wave because she grew up in a town much smaller than Tokyo. She thinks that if she had grown up in Tokyo she wouldn't have waved.

But she did wave. And he waves. And it becomes a routine. They mouth simple questions and answers to each other. It feels good.

They meet physically, in the same space. That feels good too.

She notices that he is rather odd, and that vibrationally and from things he's said, it seems like really bad things happened to him when he was young.

She feels like maybe she isn't ready for being close to someone who was really hurt when young. She also notices that being around him feels good, and that's what she goes with.

In Banana Yoshimoto's world, it isn't unusual for people to have had really bad experiences as children.

In "Lizard," the first story I talked about, the aerobics instructor tells her lover that when she was five, she and her mom were at home, living the suburban life, when a crazy man broke in and stabbed her mother many times.

The five-year-old Lizard called her father, who called an ambulance. The five-year-old went to her mom to stop the bleeding. She stopped the bleeding by touching her mom and wanting the bleeding to stop.


That's how Lizard finds out she can heal people. Her mother lives. The doctor says it is amazing that she didn't bleed to death before the ambulance got there.

During the time of the story, Lizard stops being a aerobics instructor. She gets trained and practices acupuncture. She practices acupuncture in a bare room she rents and has no bedside manner. People who are medium sick and small sick don't like her much. People who are very sick and have tried many ways to get well love her because she heals them. People who are very sick her about this and come from all over.

Everyday life is amazing. It also includes people doing bad things to those utterly undeserving of them, like children. The bad things are balance in a way by things like healing and visions and wise clairvoyent advice that can really help.

Another thing that helps is people noticing each other in the flow of dailiness and noticing when noticing a particular person feels good. Reading Banana Yoshimoto describing the world and people like this feels good.

At the end of a Banana Yoshimoto story, she doesn't necessarilly tie up all loose ends and make every thing great. What often happens, as happens at the end of "The Lake" the story about the people who started out waving across the city canyon, is that the people in the story and the people reading the story have good reason to think and feel, "This might work out. This might work out really well."

Monday, June 06, 2011

The Beauty Shop. The Who you really are is a nourishing beacon for the rest of us Shop.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Walking above the center of the Earth, at varying heights above the center of the Earth.
Sometimes, what happens in life really is simple like a folk tale, rather than being like a complicated novel.
Sunday noon, the man said to his friends, "This ground is hard to walk on," and proved it by stumbling around on the flat sidewalk. I think he forgot the part of Saturday night drinking where you stop.
She wants privacy to heal in. Give her privacy to heal in.
Why do I mind what I mind and not mind what I don't mind? My rules of being annoyed lack logic.
--"Stop doing that, man. Talk about what's going on now. Talk about the good part."
--sidewalk voice, one man to another
War is an expensive habit.
I saw the guy at 9th and Howard, maybe 15 minutes after the race had begun, getting ready to be one of the naked people or almost naked people running the Bay to Breaker.

He had on two things. The cover-all that he'd worn to the site, and jockey shorts which were transparent except for the white waistband and the white fabric that covered his genitals.

The coverall was bunched around one ankle. He was hopping around and having a tough time getting it over that foot. Nice body--worked outness but still lithe, neither steroiding nor going for the look.

But the amazing thing to look at was his face. He looked shy and panicky. This wasn't how he'd envisioned stripping down for the race would be. He kept hopping and trying to push the coverall over his foot.

I thought if I were and looked older I could have somehow communicated advice to him. Like sitting down and taking off the shoe, or taking the clothes over the shoe in more favorable circumstances.

Shy? Yes, he really looked shy. I forgot that costuming is one way for shy people to strike up a conversation, and presumably naked is a great costume for striking up conversations about getting naked. Maybe that's why he was panicking--thinking the great person to meet was watching and thinking he was looking unsuave.

Since I couldn't think of a way to helpfully tell him to lighten up, I stopped looking. I think he thought that everyone in the universe, or at least everyone in the race, tens of thousands of people strewn over blocks, or at least everyone on that corner, was looking at him, which didn't help him, so I didn't look.

I looked around the busy corner and didn't see anyone looking at him It's about fifteen blocks after the starting line, the first place the race turns, a location of many porta-johns. It's a place where people stood to watch or to decide at what exact moment to join race in progress. Three bumble bees were deciding when to join they race. They had what my hopper needed--people in exactly the same situation. Many others were deciding at what moment to enter. People who had dealt with the new ban on alcohol by getting really drunk before it started were standing, laughing, trying to think what they might be trying to think about. I don't think anyone was looking at my guy.

One person who didn't see him I heard on the phone the next day. Convention goer--I could tell by the name tag. He sounded like a salt of the earth man checking in with his wife. He said, among other things, "I watched it for quite a while. They say some people run it naked, but I didn't see any."

The "I didn't see any" sounded apologetic, like he hadn't had the quintessential experience to report back on. He was there for the trade mark convention, so maybe he was particularly drawn to seeing an event that wouldn't happen in a lot of places in its most unusual form.

He didn't say so, but he saw lots of costumes. Naked people you might miss, but people in costumes are very frequent throughout the race. The rest of the day the city is more interesting that usual because on any sidewalk you might come across an adult in baby clothes, or a grizzly bear, or who knows?

On day after the Bay to Breakers, I saw a man in a monk's robe on the sidewalk and it took my a bit to decide that he was an actual monk. Partly because I remember this was the day after, costuming was greatly lessened, though never absent in San Francisco. Partly I knew he was a monk because he had the monk's robes and the face of a harried pressured business executive.

Anyone might dress as anything to run the Bay to Breakers, but a harried pressured business executive wouldn't dress up as a monk on a Monday.

This was not Saint Francis' dream, that a brown-robed man have a face looking like it was formed by the pressure of the world in general.

In Franco Zefferelli's movie about Saint Francis, it shows him being wordly and party down without being happy, and shows him giving stuff away, and then shows him back to the camera, stuffless, naked and happy, looking at Italy at its most beautiful (an optimistic version of the world) and opening his arms to take it all in, the scene right here and all creation.

The Monday monk clothes man wasn't living a life that would make getting there easy for him.