Wednesday, April 15, 2015

BYPASSED and e.e. cummings

I've been busy with some amazing people lately. One of those amazing people is Sarah Alderman, photographer at AGPcollective, and director of the upcoming interactive documentary about the City of Coatesville, BYPASSED.

Sarah and I were introduced to each other through a mutual friend a few weeks back, and ever since, we've been on each other's wavelength. Sarah entrusted me with the task of crafting a spoken word poem that conveys what our city represents for the Coatesville project.

We filmed that piece this afternoon. Here's a behind-the-scenes look:




All that can be said for now is: I'm so excited to be working on a project like this, one that seeks stories, highlights the humans that tell them, and reveals their beautiful community.

Perhaps there should be a break in this page for what I'm about to share next, but I assure you it's not irrelevant. A quick glance at my previous posts will reveal that joy has somewhat escaped me as of late. I'm happy to say that intro/retrospection has allowed me to find myself again, and rediscover my purpose.

e.e. cummings once wrote a poem titled, 'nobody loses all the time', that shares the lesson I learned these past few days. The piece itself may be somewhat unpleasant, but the lesson remains a positive one: everyone, everything has a purpose. Peaks follow troughs.

nobody loses all the time

i had an uncle named
Sol who was a born failure and
nearly everybody said he should have gone
into vaudeville perhaps because my Uncle Sol could
sing McCann He Was A Diver on Xmas Eve like Hell Itself which
may or may not account for the fact that my Uncle

Sol indulged in that possibly most inexcusable
of all to use a highfalootin phrase
luxuries that is or to
wit farming and be
it needlessly
added

my Uncle Sol's farm
failed because the chickens
ate the vegetables so
my Uncle Sol had a
chicken farm till the
skunks ate the chickens when

my Uncle Sol
had a skunk farm but
the skunks caught cold and
died so
my Uncle Sol imitated the
skunks in a subtle manner

or by drowning himself in the watertank
but somebody who'd given my Unde Sol a Victor
Victrola and records while he lived presented to
him upon the auspicious occasion of his decease a
scrumptious not to mention splendiferous funeral with
tall boys in black gloves and flowers and everything and

i remember we all cried like the Missouri
when my Uncle Sol's coffin lurched because
somebody pressed a button
(and down went
my Uncle
Sol

and started a worm farm)

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Reborn


I used to come to this place often. I don't know when that changed.

I woke up today feeling the best I've felt in months. I felt driven, capable, filled with purpose. I felt reborn. Part of it came from a realization that I've been stagnant, immobilized by apathy. Most of it came from facing the fact that the only thing holding me back was myself.

I stepped outside today, completely alone, free from any real or virtual access to any other being, and felt nothing but the world and my body that inhabits it. That feeling, that natural solitude that seems so foreign in today's world, drew a reflection no mirror could ever create.

I came to this place today and saw myself again: the person I am and the person I am supposed to be. I don't when I changed, but regret is irrelevant. I've found myself again, and I'm happy.

Alhamdulillah.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

We're All Roadkill




Today, I almost sacrificed myself in order to save a bird.

I'm no expert at identifying birds, but it was large and dark, perhaps a crow or a vulture. It attempted to snatch roadkill that lay in the middle of the road. It began to fly away with its food just about five or six yards away from my vehicle. I swerved into oncoming traffic and was met with a symphony of honks and horns. After I returned to my lane, I immediately thought: 'did I almost sacrifice myself in order to save a bird?'

Why?

No, not why as in 'why did I almost kill myself to save a bird'; rather, why did I immediately assume I saved the bird? Truly, I was concerned more for my safety - my instinct assumed the bird would do me damage, and so I attempted to avoid it not considering alternate consequences. Less altruistic an act than instinctual. Less honorable an act than selfish.

I think we all have a tendency to assume we are noble, with better intentions than those we actually hide. Indeed, I saved the bird, but I would not have hesitated to slaughter it had there been a car any closer to causing my death in oncoming traffic.

Too often, we speak with similar proud tongues. We believe our own fictions, believe that we are better than we are. We believe others who present themselves as better than us. That's why reflection - deep, pensive retrospection - is so important. It reduces our fictions and exposes our true nature. 

Today, I did not almost kill myself to save a bird, I almost killed a bird while trying to save myself. I'm not half the honorable person my soul wishes to be.