Thursday, November 17, 2016

Coming up the hill, finally, late, on the old street, the bamboo thicket high and full of nests, I hear the same rustle up on the steep bank, and what would be awake at this hour, besides me, or a cat, a possum, or a raccoon, is a fox, up there, by the chain link fence line that runs along downhill on the  backside of the old S street mansions of the Chinese and Lao embassies obscured by the trees above the narrow one-way street.

I turn my bike helmet headlamp to follow the fox up on the bank, and up there, is the fox, red, the long tail.  Above me the fox stops and freezes, before the street lamp, the light showing the leaves fallen on the steep ivy bank, dry and browned on the trees.  Its eyes shine back into the headlamp reflecting light.  It is red, indeed, furry, accents of white, dark down toward its paw, the tail out straight, and then it moves forward and up into the bush, the bamboo and a break in the fence, disappearing into the darkness.

I remember her, after she'd gotten mad at me, rejecting, over the phone, she wore a fatigue jacket, like Taxi Driver, there in the dining hall, and it was, I had the impression, she had a sense of just where I was, eating my dinner with friends but bummed out.  She stood up by the salad bar, and her hair was movie star.  And like she could spot me out, knew just where I was, how I felt, how I wanted to see her.  And she showed up, which made me very happy, though I did not make any move to capitalize or use that recourses when she had been rough with me.  Her little tribute to my effort.  She was alone.  Her indirect look a direct beam at me over the heads of seated dining hall conversation.

The Cranes are Flying, 1957, a Russian film--he goes off to war without being able to say a proper goodbye to his girlfriend lover--is on the television when I get home, and I ride the bike indoors, rolling away, absorbed, wanting to turn away from the inevitability of the storyline.  They start young, happy, in love, beautiful.

My friends have shared with me a poem, a very old poem, by Kabir, in talking to me.  She refers to it is The Radiance, by its topic.  The poet left it untitled and it can be found at Poets.Org, translated by Robert Bly, by the first line, "I talk to my inner lover, and I say, why such a rush?"  It's a short poem, and the lines stick with you.  "The truth is you turned away yourself, and decided to go into the darkness alone."

A day off comes, I pull out my notepad, and write, just for myself.

In some ways I had a hard time feeling good about myself.  I wrote about them, but that may just have increased the pattern of sad thoughts in a feedback loop, greatly repeated.  A seemingly harsh word, misread, not all that harsh perhaps, but internalized.  That had not been my intention.  Writing is supposed to be, and is, cathartic, helpful.  As if you're trying to figure something out, and can only do by writing it out on paper, to read and then understand.

But there is that radiance the poem speaks about.   And of this, one is an 'inner lover,' strange as that sounds.  Having an intimate relationship with that radiance, that radiance glossed over, ignored, mistreated by the world.

Was Sherwood Anderson writing something about that in his introduction to Winesburg, Ohio and in the following stories, the inner armored Joan of Arc within the old writer who is friends with an old carpenter?

It is a radiance which does not go away, and strange that those with a decent sense of that radiance might often come to suffering in their attempts to make manifest the beauty, innocently enough, the language one speaks, private, but able to, perhaps in rare moments, convey, conveying the innocence the gentleness, the appreciation of all things, the sense of peace and all the things that loud selfish self-profiting minded people seem to neglect and can largely just ape.

The poem concludes.  "Now you are tangled up in others, and have forgotten what  you once knew,/  and that's why everything you do has some weird failure in it."   All the more reason to remember that radiance to you as you were created unique "in your mother's womb."

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