Wednesday, January 14, 2015

back in the hollow

I spent a good day in the hollow today, Tuesday, after returning from Wild Dunes yesterday because of the lousy weather. I woke with little energy but after a little work on the computer and a quick nap, I felt better and went for a hike to the orchard. On my return, I did my bike riding and my weights and yoga. I also played my piano and felt very good about that. I am not sure if I should continue piano or go back to my sax (for now my mouth still hurts from the bridge so it is no choice). Claire contacted me and I am going to have dinner with her tomorrow. I am including a couple of things I wrote recently. I don’t think I will send either out but they do reflect my mindset pretty well right now. Gloria called again and I hope to talk to her later. I haven’t heard from Gyorgyi so I assume she is too busy to get together. I did talk to Gloria yesterday but she seemed pretty distant, too bad for her. I had a very nice dinner with Claire at Bull and Bones and we both had a lot to share. We also went for a walk on the Tech campus and that was fun. Now we are all Charlie and the 12 are heroes, martyrs to the cause of freedom of expression. I honor their right to make fun of Mohammed, to satirize anything, Putin, Obama, Jews, Christians, you name it, it’s fair game. But I have no desire to make fun of Mohammed. Or Jews. Or Native Americans. Or African Americans. I think there was a time to make fun of feminists, pot smokers, and always white men. But with the increasingly difficult access to abortion (mainly pushed by white men), I’ll leave the feminists alone. And with the easing of the marijuana laws, pot smoking has lost its panache as serious material for satire. I think Obama is a smart man who cares about the American people but who makes a lot of bad decisions and is certainly no great leader. Putin is a thug particularly in the Ukraine but I don’t find that the basis for a lot of belly laughs. You can try to satirize Isis and Al Queda in Yemen but I don’t find a lot to chuckle at about those groups. Both groups are murderous zealots and they often recruit those who have lost their way. Is this the stuff for humor? So the question is, what is really left to make fun of that won’t cause someone to get upset. I have one friend that almost all my humor is directed at, mainly because she finds my material very entertaining and she knows I have the deepest respect for her. Outside of her, I have several friends with little sense of humor—or at least my kind of humor—or lives that involve too much suffering, never a great situation for poking fun at. I make fun of myself all the time, and that almost always gets laughs from my friends, although I still haven’t been very successful with using my cancer experience of six years ago. In my humorous essays for WVTF (sadly, that medium is much more limited right now) I have made fun of chocolate, concrete, the bird flu scare, giant pumpkin growers, bear fences and other fairly innocuous things. I like quirky things and usually no one’s feelings get hurt. Does that mean I lack courage and commitment like the fallen 12? I don’t think so. I have acted with some courage at points, several times helping women being harassed by men and on occasion rescuing people in trouble on rivers. And I do think I have commitment, witnessed by my 30 plus years as an environmental activist (with several arrests for my activities). It is just that many things seem off limits to me. I just don’t get making fun of the Prophet Mohammed (and I understand that it is more satirizing Muslim extremism that the Prophet himself). Bill Maher recently said that all religions are “stupid and dangerous,” and I understand that religious beliefs have provoked some of the worst wars and the worst behaviors. I don’t buy any of the organized ones—I do spent a lot of time in nature and I pray to a special white pine in my hollow—but I don’t have a problem with other people worshipping “God” in their own fashion. Perhaps Maher is right that “there are no great religions,” but I don’t want to make fun of those who get comfort from their religious beliefs. It is a tricky world that we now inhabit and I am not sure exactly how far freedom of expression should go. Do you remember love? All the intricate trappings, The bouquets and poems, The first kisses and the meeting of tongues, And the words, like fine weapons in a fray Both expected to win. The hurried removal of shirts and blouses, Shoes and pants and skirts, the smooth flesh, Mouths insistent and guided by a solitary candle, Capturing nipples and erections, The wet humming and the entrance, The pulsing thrusts, again and again, Moans and more movements And orgasm and ejaculation, And collapse and tender intertwined fingers And often awakening in the night For the needed more. But now there are only yellowed memories, For the cancer surgery did not emasculate completely but only diminished severely and now each thrust brought pain from the stitched scars within. And the rare climax was not so much a release But a cautious victory, still a man Or enough of a man to couple If your hands worked hard enough, Or you brought your mouth to bear. That was not love, I thought, Just obligation, and I thought of my betrayals And how my body was now sentencing me, And when you decided to leave I couldn’t hate you for it Since so much of the distance Was how far I pushed you away, And I sleep alone, Not actually expected, But a just situation, Not a prison, But close enough.

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