You've done this thing, like attaching a string, from my mind to your heart, from my mouth to your brain; You've created this thing, like a hornet's sting, from my inner-most thought, comes a painful tingling; You've become something, not quite a human being, from my unhealed parts, the blood is running again; You've turned out to sing, the song of an old enemy, from the deepest of want, for the very same things; You've proven to swing, back and forth, in between, from the history you haunt, o the throne of a King.
In the dark I smiled as his sleepy voice said,
that he wanted to kiss my toes to my head,
that he wants to stay here all day with me in bed,
no, not to have sex, but just hold me instead;
In the past he crafted 3,000-mile-long words,
that he was most certain would never be heard,
that were perpetually in vain, his brain was assured,
no, like a boomerang they’d return again, undeterred;
In the same exact spaces of time, never mind,
that I searched for words to fall out of the sky,
that I oftentimes spied the dimmest flash of light,
no, it was gone before I wiped the tears from my eyes;
In the sunshiny rays that warmed my face,
was the thawing of ancient gears frozen in place,
was the gnawing of rope til the final thread gave,
was the spawning of hope with the dawning of days.
“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr
Fucking profound….just sayin’.
My Great-Grandmother Tannuea (who is full-blooded Shawnee) is the legendary storyteller of my mother’s family, and has always told me stories and lore that were a macabre mix of her own personal and epically divine inclination towards the “Mysteries”, and the blood and guts and gore of the American Yankee Spirit. She always spoke of Great Spirits that took on the form of animals and men and women, fish and birds and trees and rivers…she is the eldest member of our family, who has told every child in her far-extended family the most cherished and sought out tales to be told. I have blood relatives through this woman whose faces adorn Totems in places I’ve never even heard of, much less visited. Grandma T has bore and bred true greatness in her lifetime, though she would NEVER stake claim to this TRUTH. She has also bore and bred sheer Hell during her years alive, but would not be caught dead in allowing such a thought in her mind. She has the whitest hair I’ve ever seen; she always has, since I can remember. She smiles, and I swear to the Gods it seems as if everything else just evaporated around her – she holds strong energy, even at age whatever she is – she is ANCIENT. She is my GREAT Grandmother!!! She has outlived several generations of her offspring, another heartbreaking truth that she neither leans on or against in times upset. She is just present. Always, ever present, in the moment – alive.
I can tell you that not a single one of her stories was lost on me; I was typically either terrified to the point of tremors, or was intrigued by a thought she had tickled deep down in my cerebral cortex during one of the wild sagas she had us entertaining . I always had the feeling that my brothers weren’t listening; they were hearing the words…just not listening to the messages.
She demands alone time often, always has; she can meditate for hours on end, quite happily.
Sometimes, I would happen upon her during her quiet times when she “rests her mind”; she would be silently sitting: the picture of posture, humming her tunes into the air – with ever-replenished tears streaming down the deep lines in her taught, leathery cheeks.
“Who would make Grandma Tannuea cry like that? And why?”
Humankind makes her cry; because it is a damn shame.
Tannuea hails from the Ohio Shawnee clan that Tecumseh lived amongst and led in the late 1800s; she can recall a childhood full of discomfort and prejudice thrown at her after her tribe’s forced assimilation with the Cherokee Nation in the 1870s; she grew up in its wake. She is a stickler about kindness; I have a funny feeling it is because she was never shown much of it throughout her lifetime. For the young Tannuea who endured her own ‘trail of tears’ as a result of being a native-born tribeswoman during the formation of the present day United States of America, a life of hardship was embedded deeply and without awareness. Still, this woman SURVIVED, still survives to date – to be a solidly founded boulder for others: many, many others.
Because of my Great-Grandmother’s support and guidance, I was able to deliver a very healthy baby girl (Boo, 7 lbs. 13 oz. /19.5 inches tall) in 1997, under extreme duress. Because of the same soft-spoken woman’s wisdom, I was able to find the inner-gladiator that it took to testify in court against the father of that beautiful baby girl for his attempt on my life in 2002. She showed me how to be strong when I didn’t feel strong; even still after all these years, her very presence in a room with me naturally humbles me beyond words.
A human being, who has never seen kindness in the first person, yet knows the intricacies of it as if she created its very essence.
THAT is empathy.
Today’s morning post has been inspired by – yet, another sleepless night for Yours Truly.
As I was tossing and turning for hours on end, in a bed that I spent way too much cash in vain on (in hopes of it curing my insomnia-esque night time routine), I was thinking about Edward Norton Junior. Okay, well about his character in Fight Club: the narcoleptic corporate IKEA geek with a dastardly alter-ego that pirates control of his sanity for a time. Then I was thinking about Jim Carey’s character “Hank” from the movie Me, Myself and Irene. (In my defense, Hank is actually not a character I like – nor was Tyler Durden; it’s the innocents attached to these fuckers who I find myself relating with time and again…)
BLAM! It hit me in like a soap-sock to the back of the head; and it only tail spun my thoughts from there…
Many of my most endeared and beloved ‘Heroes’, in real life and in the movies, are actually characters defined/depicted as villains, murderous warmongers, savages, psychopaths, head-cases and many other types of negative typecasts. They are ALWAYS the underdog; they are ALWAYS broken and damaged and unable to communicate properly. BUT they are also each individually AWARE of the shit that’s changing them and warping their’ existences.
Let’s review some perfect examples of my heroes: