Sunday, November 4, 2018

I think I'm feeling something...

I aim to be mindful with language and languaging, particularly in the context of counselling. When people slow it down and begin to examine their mind-forged manacles thought by thought, the cost of the imprecise use of language begins to be more evident.

The More To Life programme taught me that it is useful to distinguish between beliefs and feelings. In colloquial English these two terms are used interchangeably by many people. People say things such a "I feel I'm a fraud" or "I feel like I'm being bullied at work" or "I feel undervalued". If we define feelings as energy, somatic events, that can be felt and located somewhere in the body, then there are only a few basic feelings, and these basic feelings are usually associated with a tightening or relaxing, expansion or contraction, weighting or lightening of some part of the body. Those energies which are associated with contraction or tightening or heaviness are given different names such as fear (anxiety), pain, hurt, anger, hunger, excitation and sadness (depression). Those energies which are associated with lightness and expansion are given names such as fullness (aka peaceful, content, happy, serene, grateful, satisfied), and joy (bliss, energised, curious, enthusiastic.) None of these energies are intrinsically good or bad, positive or negative. All are impermanent and mutate one into the other. All can bring to balance or lead away from balance. At any given moment certain energies will be present, and to deny or resist their presence is to suffer. So if an energy we label as anger is present, then it is present until it is not, or until it reveals itself as something else. Feelings cannot be argued with or wished away. They can be accepted, met, held, encountered. They are faithful friends.

Beliefs, by contrast, are the stories the critical, judgemental, evaluating mind spins out habitually, automatically and reactively. Beliefs are the mind's statements about the way things are which can be inquired into, challenged, disputed and verified.
"I am a fraud" is a belief, a story about what I am, and unquestioningly believed, will have concomitant feelings of heaviness, anxiety-fear, and contraction. Ditto the formulations "I'm being bullied" or "she shouldn't have said that" or "they made a mistake" or "I am undervalued"
The same is true of beliefs such as "I am safe", "I have everything I require" "things will get better" "I can't control how people view me", "I don't need to know" and "I am doing the best I know how", which will tend to have associated feelings of expansion, relaxing and lightening.

Byron Katie's four questions are one way of disputing, or inquiring into, any thought:

a) Is it true (for eg that I am a failure. Am I a failure in every situation? If others don't see me as a failure am I still a failure? How many people would it take to convince me? Are my expectations around competence in any given role realistic, or even achievable? Where do the standards I measure myself against and find myself wanting come from? Who wrote those standards?)

b) Can I absolutely know it is true? (Do I have absolute knowledge about what constitutes success vs failure? In any given situation and moment can I know with certainty that what I currently label as failure is not already giving birth to what tomorrow I will label a success? Where does one end and the other begin? Who decides or makes it up? )

c)How do I react when I believe the thought "I am a failure" (What happens in my body? Heaviness or lightness? Tension or relaxation? Joy or sadness? And how do I behave? Do I turn down opportunities or remain open to them? And how am I in the presence of others when I am believing that thought?)

d)Who would I be if the thought "I am a failure" had never occurred to me, had never, so to speak, entered my system and coloured my vision? If I could drop the thought, how might I move through Life?

There is more to say about all of this, and even the best languaging has an element of approximation. I have not, for example, taken the time to distinguish between emotions and feelings. The bottom line, however, is that feelings and beliefs are connected, often in a reciprocal causal relationship. However feelings are real energetic presences in our body mind system, which will not shift in quality before they have been unconditionally felt, just as they are. Questioning an uncomfortable emotion that is being avoided does not get rid of it.

Thoughts/beliefs/cognitions, by contrast, are often not real, and often not truthful. They can be questioned, and in the process, greater aproximations of the truth, or the real, are arrived at. And in the clearing away of stories and falsehoods, the emotional experience inevitably shifts too. All this is experientially verifiable through our own work with these processes.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

THE WELLNESS DIARIES


Earlier today was with a client who has been "sectioned", confined against his will under the Mental Health Act, and threatened with forced medication if he does not comply... he is told for example he will be held down and forced to take vallium. He does not know any of the doctors and staff in the ward, and does not wish to interact with them. From what he says, at the core of his experience is a sense of frustrated powerlessness, as he is being constantly overuled. Have yet to speak to clinical staff and get their input.

Prior to being sectioned client was doing well in detox, and apparently had a psychotic episode, or "attack of paranoia", and was transferred across to the Mental Health section of a different hospital. When I visited him, I agreed to call the Mental Health Advocacy service, who provide free legal advice to people hospitalised against their will, and who can help represent them at the tribunal. Client described - quite coherently - the sequence of events leading to him being sectioned. This included correct recall of chronological sequence, place names and medication. The service was busy and said they would call us back (that was several hours ago...no call yet, but here's hoping).

In the meantime client and I received permission to leave the ward for an hour, to walk up to the hospital shop to buy smokes. Understandably, but perhaps unfortunately, my client kept on walking, and I was unable to persuade him to voluntarily return. So now the police may get involved....these are difficult issues...when do we invoke the god of safety so as to disregard the expressed wishes of someone, who quite lucidly explains their dislike of being threatened with consequences, coerced into compliance and having their (illusion of) agency limited? I certainly don't know.

Mental health legal advice in NSW, Australia


Sunday, October 7, 2018

RELATIONAL SAFETY VS MANDATED REPORTING IN MENTAL HEALTH CONTEXTS



Interesting take on the false god of safety, which is used to metaphorically club people in "developed" economies into submission and compliance - and which can and is also used in a mental health context to drive what I cannot tolerate in you underground.


Of course the supposedly "progressive" and "radical" "perspectives" (note the scorn in my quotation marks) of this blog simply substitute for the false god of safety the false god of "the person" of "personal existence." The person is seen as a supremely valuable thing, and as possessing some fundamental reality. I am more drawn to the experience of the transcience of the person, and the movement from person to presence as the only pathway to unlimited redemption and liberation from suffering. "Freedom is never of the person, but from the person." (Nisargadatta Maharaj, I Am That)
So I don't agree with the Uni speak about power, power relationships and all that fabricated Focault mind stuff, but I do think the description of the dynamic played out in mental health settings is quite accurate and useful:


"A Deeper Look at 'Safety'


When I was a patient in the mental health system, I heard the language of safety a lot! Was I safe, was I going to be safe, would I contract for safety, etc. etc...? Through these questions, safety came to mean that I was simply agreeing not to do anything to hurt myself or someone else.
But what did that leave me with?


Reflection questions


•What has it meant to you when others have asked if you’re 'safe'?
•When you’ve asked others if they’re safe?


Frankly, the more safety questions I got, the less I felt reliant on my own abilities to take care of myself. So instead of feeling safe in the world, I felt like a time bomb that could go off at any time.
It also left my clinical relationships with a huge power discrepancy: If I told the truth -- "I feel like hurting myself" -- the practitioner would feel obliged to take precautions. Perhaps they were legitimately concerned I would follow through. Or, maybe they acted more from a need to protect their job, their license or their organization. Either way, once the magic words got spoken, they mostly had the power and I mostly didn't.


Option two was to lie. If I denied my true experience, I could keep my power. But denying my reality - and keeping secrets in important relationships - also have their costs.
This was abundantly true for me. I felt miserably alone at the most vulnerable times of my life. I came away feeling like there was no one on the planet who I could really trust. I was out of my league and I knew it. I desperately wanted human support and counsel. I desperately wanted to get to the root of my true feelings and to be able to uncover any options I had. Yet, here I was trying to make a good decision - perhaps the most important decision of my life - without knowing a single soul I could trust to be truly honest with.


In retrospect, I don't think there is much that is LESS SAFE for me as a human being in that frame of mind. In fact, I can only think of one thing that's less safe from my perspective:
EVEN MORE UNSAFE = to feel coerced or pressured by others who don't understand my unbearable suffering into making a bad decision makes it even worse.
Unfortunately, that was often where I found myself in times like these, given the mainstream practice of reporting, detaining and drugging those of us who acknowledge the depth of our distress and despair.


Re-Thinking Safety



The painful contradictions noted above have led to a lot of reflecting on what safety actually means to me. Here are two bottom lines I've come to:


1.Real safety doesn’t mean talking to someone with a reporting obligation.
2.Real safety doesn't mean making a safety contracts or promises to stay out of harms way.


Reflection questions


•What does real safety mean to you?
•What makes you feel safe (or safer)?


Real safety - for me - is about creating culturally respectful, mutually responsible, trusting, trustworthy relationships. It happens in relationships where we don’t judge or make assumptions about each other. It happens when someone trusts and believes in me even when they’re uncomfortable. It happens when I'm free to share my deepest truth and you take time to reflect on what I've said. You make the effort and sincerely try to get to the heart and soul of what I'm attempting to get across to you.


When you make that kind of effort and actually 'get' me, everything starts to change. You've proven to me that you can put your needs aside long enough to hear me out when it really matters. So I begin to feel ok about letting you into my world and loosening my grip on the urgency of now.


You've also proven to me that you understand the territory. You've treated me like I have value and like my experiences do too. So I begin to get interested in what you think and might possibly know. I get curious about what I might find out if I stick with you. I feel bouyed up enough to risk the uncertain and the unknown. After all, you're a pleasant companion and the spent time with you feels bearable. That alone gives me hope that there might be something on the other side to make the journey worth hanging in for.


This buys us time. The time we need to take risks, learn from them, explore new possibilities, and learn some more. All the while behind the scenes, subtly, incrementally, without me knowing it, a revolutionary change in my assumptions is taking place. The way I think about how this world and how it all operates (me, others, the planet) will never be the same.


Reflection questions


•What happens when you are with someone you trust and feel safe with?
•How does actually feeling safe change things? (Can you do things when you feel safe that you can't do when you don't?)
•How does being with someone you feel safe with change things? (Have you ever noticed yourself being able to do something with a person you trust that you couldn't do without them...?)



This is what we call building relational safety. As you can see, it is very different from the liability management practices that are oriented toward legal safety. It requires both of us to take risks and be vulnerable, instead of just one of us unilaterally protecting our interests. This is what we call shared risk.


How safe the relationship is for both of us depends on... both of us. It only works if both of us are willing to learn to share our power and take responsibility to do our part. This is what we call mutual responsibility.


Relational safety, shared risk and mutual responsibility are foundation principles in creating relationships that work for both people. You will learn a lot about them - and practice them a lot - in this kind of peer support.


Reflection questions


•What happens to 'safety' for you if...
•I am continually assessing you for 'risk'...?
•I can unilaterally decide to 'keep you safe'...?
•I expect you to do all the risking...?
•I am the authority on what risks you can take...?


Practicing Relational Safety



It's time to put the rubber to the road and practice creating this new kind of safety in our relationships with each other. Here are some strategies to get us started:


1. Initiate proactive conversations



Whenever possible, it's best to practice these principles proactively (by thinking ahead) rather than reactively (oops...). The idea of proactive conversations is to get our concerns on the table early on, before either of us is in discomfort or crisis. That gives us the space to look at ourselves from a comfortable distance. Then we can reflect honestly together about:


1.The kinds of stuff that often comes up for us (in relationships or in our lives); and
2.What we'd like to do differently this time.


For example, if wanting to die is a common issue for either of us, we can talk about it ahead of time.


•We can explore what will help the relationship feel safe for both of us if those kinds of feelings come up again.
•We can both acknowledge (honestly, out loud) the extent of our “bottom lines.”
•We talk about how we each are likely to react when we feel untrusting or disconnected.
•We can figure out together what we will do, should we get to that edge.


By proactively exploring potentially sensitive issues like these, we pave the way for negotiating our relationship when future challenges arise...."


Extracted from https://peerlyhuman.blogspot.com/2018/06/suicide-and-safety-this-week-in.htmlhttps://peerlyhuman.blogspot.com/2018/06/suicide-and-safety-this-week-in.html

Green healing

If you are an architect tasked with designing from scratch, or renovating a hospital, or if you sit on a hospital board and have a say in the above, could you please build it with lots of natural light and plentiful green spaces so that every patient and stressed staff member can at least be looking at greenery during the day, and possibly sit or walk or lie amongst it as well.

SUPPORT OUR AUSTRALIAN DRUG DEALERS



With diminished demand all over the state, drug manufacturers and dealers are doing it hard. As a patriotic Australian you can do your bit to support these hard working members of our community, who risk police persecution and chemical intoxication to ensure we have recreational drug security no matter the political climate. By buying only local and fair trade drugs, you are ensuring that the producers get more of your money, and also contributing to a greener planet, by reducing carbon miles.


DO YOUR BIT, PURCHASE ONLY TRUE BLUE LOCALLY MADE AND DISTRIBUTED MDA, ECSTACY, COCAINE AND ICE.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Six degrees of separation Part V: creeping acceptance and surrender

Like most people going through a significant transition, experience is slowly teaching me, in little incremental steps, that life goes on.

Back on February 4, the day my wife phoned me and told me she wanted to come back to the house she had left, to be with our boys, and that I must vacate the house, a good friend had said to me (earlier) on that day



a) get your shit together
b) I am not a victim...I co created this situation over many years with my selfishness and willfullness and taking things and people for granted.


That was very important to hear, and remains a central part of my healing two months later

_____________
Lying here in a tepid bath of pain
trying to get that there's no one to blame
____________________________

I am afraid
that the silence will
swallow me
_________________


O son of Chavah and Adam
you do not need to be saved from the silence
Silence will save you

I and aloneness have been spending some quality time together.
__________

Ah my bride Presence
how beautiful your veils:

anxiety
fear
grief
anger
uncertainty
powerlessness
sadness


thank you
for the way
they part to reveal your
ever shifting beauty
___________

Into a mikvah of pain
I ascend
perhaps to be birthed
into love without end
_______________

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Six degrees of Separation - Part IV: the slow death of the ego

My ex wife said she was coming around to take our son to school, so I put on my nicest clothes, wanting to make a favourable impression and perhaps arouse some old longing in her. But in the end she did not come.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

For men who believe they have been "replaced": Helpful resources

Last night (Feb 24th 2018) I went to a men's yoga group in Botany, and shared about my wife having initiated a separation two months ago, having a relationship with another man, living with not knowing and uncertainty, and the traumatic fallout from all of that. It turned out that at least a third of the men there had been through similar or parallel experiences - at least as far as separation goes, and one also the state of not knowing.

The amount of environmental support available makes a huge difference to our ability to function, be happy and create wellbeing. This was graphically illustrated when we did a tree pose. We were arranged in a circle, and first we each did the tree pose individually. I did not even try and lift my supporting leg of the mat, but left it with toes on the ground and heel pushed in aginst the ankle of the load-bearing leg, believing I did not have the strength or balance to stand unaided on one leg. I tyhink the majority of men there did lift the supporting leg completely off the ground.

Afterwards the facilitator, Jeff Miller, invited us to stand closer, and extend our hands so that we were all pressing against the hand of the person to our left and right. Now, with this environmental support to lean on, I was able to easily do a full tree pose with confidence and a sense of possibility. It was a wonderful illustration of how mutual support and interdependence can transform our experience of everything.

__________

Useful Eckhart Tolle talk on Ego relationships vs real love

______________________________

For those men  who decide to continue their marriage after an affair: some resources (not my own experience, the experience of others)

"For my own part, just as she needed to let go of the affair, so too did I. I needed to stop talking about it, stop voicing every thought, stop throwing it in her face. She isn’t sleeping with, pining for, secretly meeting with anyone now, so what am I angry about? My ego is bruised, my trust has been damaged, my belief in my marriage has been shaken. It’s legitimate anger. But it’s anger based on past events. She is in the marriage now. She is reaching out to me. She wants to be with me. I still need to accept that completely, but I’ve found the less I dwell on this, the better I feel.
It was also helpful to accept that I can’t depend on her for my happiness. I need to secure that for myself. It’s not a bad result to all of this. I am less beholden to her and I think she appreciates me more for it.
One important aspect to keep in mind (and it helps the betrayed understand the mindset of the betrayer during the affair) is that one can become addicted to the pain of betrayal. Wallowing, anger, ruminating are all bad habits I’ve fallen into. I’m used to waking up and thinking about them. I’m used to passing by places they met and getting mad about it. It becomes Pavlovian after a while. I found I needed to have those negative feelings because I became accustomed to having them. They became a sort of crutch for me. Without them, without being the betrayed husband, who was I? I imagine my wife felt a similar need. She developed a bad habit of needing to hear from him, to see him, to read his emails, and when she tried to break that habit, it was too difficult.
I’ve really tried hard to break my own habits, to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. And one really important lesson I’ve learned is that tomorrow really is another day. I get the one day at a time mantra.
We will never be as naively trusting as we once were, but we will never be as dependent either. I think that independence allows one to take a chance on love once more."
___________________

Of limited use, delineates the problem from the point of view of the person - but I find more useful approaches which point out that the person itself is the ultimate 'problem', and that only moving towards Presence can return us to our completeness. Such as the Eckhart Tolle talk above. He points out that words like "betrayal", and "abandonment" are stories that lock us into victimhood and powerlessness.


Rethinking infidelity ... a talk for anyone who has ever loved | Esther Perel




Source: https://www.emotionalaffair.org/6-comment-gems-affair-survivors/


Sunday, January 28, 2018

Lust land

Isn't it interesting how most people who appear in made-for-profit pornographic video do not appear to be stateless, are not visibly malnourished, do not have debilitating skin conditions such as psoriasis, stretch marks, vaginal or rectal prolapses, testicular cancer, gynocemastia ( man boobs), hernia's, hemmorhoids, large beer belly's, erectile dysfunction or vaginusmus, and apparently do not need to fetch or feed or nurse or nurture children or aged or infirm relatives, or dependent animals, and seem to live in reasonably clean and functional and well maintained dwellings where presumably the plumbing works and there is food in the fridge or a phone call away.

Do they all live in a special area, like the young Bhudda in his father's palace, from which the ravages of time and poverty have been banned - "the pornographic zone."?

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Six degrees of separation - stage 3

Have moved back into the bedroom, having removed all of her remaining things, in a symbolic act of making it bearable...would that I could remove the lingering thoughts as well



Its like I'm being rebirthed, but the birth is so painful and everything so constricted it must be that the birth canal is not a vagina, but an arsehole.... (added later, was in no space for wry sardonic reflection at the time this post was made)

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Manning up to death and the maiden

I suppose this is what a separation looks like...6 degrees or otherwise

I think I am learning new and important meanings to the phrase "take it like a man"

Take your loneliness like a man
Take your aloneness like a man
Take the inescapability of now like a man, so that you may find a strange and new peace
Take the absolute necessity of letting go like a man
Take the fact that it does not matter if you apparently choose to unfurl your grip, or if Life simply stomps on your fingers til they bruise, bleed and slip, like a man
Take your loss of the illusion of control like a man
Take your addiction to stories, and hurl them into the great silence, like a man
Take your not knowing from minute to minute like a man
Take your non-ownership of any other human being like a man
Take the unexpected like a man
Take your loss of fake power like a man, so that you may discover where your real power lies
Take back the love that was never yours to possess or give away, but is always just there, sometimes forgotten for a short moment, like a man




Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Ten advantages of going through a separation:


1) You stop eating chocolate: in fact some days you stop eating altogether, so suddenly that slim youthful body is within reach. My size 32 trousers now hang loosely around my knees.

2) The pain and suffering burns away many - if not all - vanities - and you get to query your beliefs about everything in a way that can be most liberatory.

3) If you haven't yet, you begin the process of falling in love with yourself.

4) Lots of petty addictions fall away. For example, in my case obsessive FB reading and posting went from 5-10 a day to 1 a week and now back up to 2-3 a day.

5) I got really focused about priorities and economic realities....stuff I've avoided for significant chunks of my adult life.

6)Because I've been so emotionally labile - lots of tears, weeping etc, I've connected with people I've known a while in much more profound, honest, deep (er) and authentic ways, learnt more about them, and become much closer.

My crying has been quite involuntary...I can be talking to Viv on the phone and suddenly burst into sobs, or a friend can tell me about the death of a parent and I'll start crying, or I'm retelling a moving Raymond Carver short story to that same friend, a story which isn't even "real", and my throat will choke up and tears come...on Monday I was cleaning out a 70 + woman's fridge and she asked about my poetry, (and shortly before received a cold and distant text from Viv about a technical parenting matter), and I sat down on a chair and started howling.

"What did I do, what did I say?" she rushed over to me, concerned and distressed. She hugged me, as best she could with her badly bent back, and made me tea and toast with vegemite and told me how she had wanted to leave her husband and hadn't had the strength to...

Then she gave me another  long long long hug - which i suspect was more her need than mine  - and kept on trying to feed me. It was nice to receive her kindness and concern, and how moved she was by my uncontained emotion, and to have one's defences suddenly down and see how that allows the other's to drop as well - and its liberating and special and comforting to have heart to hearts with relative strangers, andto to perhaps slowly realise that love can be found almost anywhere, with almost anyone, if we can allow it.

7)I am discovering a new kind of unconditional happiness and gratitude ( same thing?) in loving what is and in being forced, or guided by Life, to let go.

8) separation is like being on a raft with four people on a white water river. You fall out of the boat, which is anyway moving rapidly, in a state of constant flux. But you cling to the rope along the side of the raft, imagining that it offers some sort of safety, security, solidity, continuity, permanence. And all the while the raging water is tugging at you, pulling on your life, and your grip is getting weaker and weaker, but you're terrified, and so you cling. But you know you're going to have to let go, or be pulled off, and swept away. And then it happens and you're into whatever happens next, with terror or elation or peace, or all three.

9) Autonomy muscles that have long atrophied are suddenly rediscovered and flexed again.

10) Surrender happens....and happens again...and again. What Byron Katie calls dying into love.

11) Suddenly cupboard space is not a problem.

Gam Zoo Le'Tovah - Also This is for the Good

Last year at this time someone rear ended my Mazda 2. It was a write off, and with the insurance payout I was able to get a newer and slightly better car.
Around the same time I lost my mobile phone and as a result got a newer phone with a bigger screen.
Now I am apparently losing "my" marriage and who knows what magnificent surprise and gift will come out of that.

Poems 5778 - 2018

Most of these poems are draft versions that were changed before submission

I am a great believer in lifelong yearning
___________________

(Poem from 2016?)

inside I still feel like a young man
wanting to bed as many lovelies as he can
for the sweetness of skin
of silky down on the arm
and the soft apertures down there
but outside I'm ageing
I'm supposed to be settled and content with my lot
not staring at the strikingly tall blond schoolgirl
exploding out of her blouse

sweet regret
__________________

במקרה שלי
ה' הקדים תרופה למכה
לקח את אישתי
ונתן לי את שירלי
_______________

Ode to convicted criminals
O you manboys
with your hardened faces
with your addiction to scheming
with your permanent hunger
to get something for nothing
for which you are always
paying the price

__________

ODE TO ANXIETY

O anxiety
you great cuddly
behemoth
how you tripped me on the stairs
and on cold winter nights
kept me warm

____________

ODE TO LANDFILL
O landfill
thy are beautiful
with thine stench
that assaills mine nostrils
with your clanking tracked great beasts
your fluttering plastic banners
and your noisy opportunists
wheeling overhead
"this is how you remind me
of what I really am"


____________

 
Lezichro shel (in memory of) Natan Alterman

The Lord came down in a cloud
in a cloud
the Lord came down in a cloud
and She parted the veil of
mind from my sight
where it overlay Being
like a shroud, like a shroud.


_________________

(From 2009)

Returning home
from a few days away
my 7 and 9 year old
boys embraced me
teeth and eyes shining
in a huge soft hug.
Later we wrestled.
I, eyes shut
drunk with tiredness
their marshmallow blows
like
manna from heaven



________________

Veyerastich Lee 

On death row with no escape
She smuggled me out beneath her cape
And when I could neither croak or sing
The Eternal gave me Her wedding ring

_____________

Don't keep jail's, abbatoirs,
psychiatric hospitals, factory farms,
locked Alzheimer's wards, women's shelters
and cemeteries
on the edge of your heart
build them in its centre
in plain view
so that the eyes may see what the hands are doing
like a soldier on the brink of madness
who goes home on leave
before he can participate in a massacre

____________

When I boarded the train
instead of putting it overhead
I kept my pack
on my back
because I did not want
to slow the train down

___________________ 
 
BUSY BUSY

In the afternoon
I write detailed directives
explaining to the grass how to grow
I sit up all night
managing peristaltic motion
and in the morning
I carefully supervise
the sunrise


______

Poem for Shabbat

I want to increase birds flying across the sky
I want to accumulate green leaves
I want there to be so many earthworms in the compost heap,
so many lemons on the tree,
that eyes grow heavy and sleep comes
before they ever are counted
I want loving touch for all who hunger
freely given and freely received
I want assett statements that reveal
the dams have been filled by our tears
the mind grooves erased by laughter
and the hearts hollow chambers
beating like drums round the fire

__________

I see a headless rider
upon a nameless horse
ambling down
a weed-green road
they forded the river
five minutes or a year ago
nothing pursues or beckons them
stopping whenever to browse or stretch
if anything moves it is the
road
the rooted trees
float like clouds
and in the nearness
you can hear
the roar
of leaves
applauding
__________________


_________________
Lying here in a tepid bath of pain
trying to get that there's no one to blame
_____________

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
שאלות ותשובות

Who owes us something?
No one
Where must we get to?
No where
How must we get there
No way
Who are we?
Nobody
What must we do
Nothing


(Receiving is not necessarily an action)

_____________
At my father' hastily
cobbled together funeral
where a well meaning rabbi
who had never met my dad
officiated
the men, as is the orthodox custom,
were invited to each
throw in a few shovel fulls
of soil into the fresh grave
to participate in the mitzvah
of burying the dead, and once the grave
was mostly filled in, and the mourners, both
men and women
had begun to walk away
my sister, breathing
hard from the exertion
and a struggle long
fought, picked up the shovel
bent,
alone
against the darkening
sky
and added a few more
loads of
reclaimed earth,
determined
despite
being excluded
to include herself
In this last
and first right

__________

אני מטפס למעלה
ממצוקי המוות
אל ארצות החיים
________
I am in the desert.
As if from nowhere
on the horizon
a dust - devil appears,
rapidly approaches
it grows, gathering height and girth
towering over me
I turn and run
my heart a
frightened creature in my chest
but am quickly overtaken,
enveloped. Resigned,
I close my eyes
only to discover
it is made
not from tiny flecks of cutting sand
but of love
and that
I am innocent
and always have been
it sweeps me up
takes me away
twirls me around
and deposits me
exactly where
i'm meant
to be

_____________

What was warm
now is cold
what was young
now is old
what was luxuriant
now is shorn
what has died
now is born

_________


Sometimes
there is a
wounded beast
in my heart
it tries
but cannot
pull out
the shafts
because it has
not hands
but hooves

____________

Oh I have been famous
in the kitchen
at the washing line
on hands and knees
with the carpet stain
or tossing and turning
in my humble bed

_____________

I look like a dowdy
middle aged man
and perhaps indeed
that's what I am
but a child-like heart
still beats in my chest
and like all hearts
it knows no rest
ready to thrill, to discover, to play
would that that heart be seen as well
and cause another heart to swell


___________________

I am being caught
more and more
off guard
by the ground

______


In the house seemingly alone
Ella chewing a nameless cow's bone
even tho she upped and went
I suddenly glimpse I can still be content
______


I am afraid
the silence
will swallow me
_________


O son of Chavah and Adam
you do not need to be saved from the silence
Silence will save you
__________

Ah, Presence, my bride
how beautiful your veils:

anxiety
fear
grief
anger
uncertainty
helplessness
sadness


thank you
for the way
they part to reveal
your ever shifting beauty
___________

Song of Presence

I stop at a robot*
- most beautiful red
I've ever seen
and love it no less
when it changes
to green
____________
* traffic light

_____________

Into a mikvah of emotional pain
I ascend
to be delivered unto healing love
without end
_______________

Many of my friends
have been on a journey of not knowing
for quiet a while
and so have I

but I did not know it
_________________________


Like immigration
when we counted the days
since we had arrived
until it was no longer significant
or remarkable


separation

where we count the days
since something departed
until it is no longer significant
or remarkable

_____________

Like a merchant
who spreads out his wares
in what he imagines is an attractive way
to seduce passers by into his stall
so have I
spread out my imaginary wares
to seduce you
into loving me

and like a merchant
who spreads out his wares
before one who is hurrying
to another destination
so have I
spread my wares
before you

and like a merchant
whose wares are sound
and who knows that the call to enter
must come from within
not without

_____________

I think I am learning new and important meanings to the phrase "take it like a man":


Take your loneliness like a man
Take your aloneness like a man
Take the inescapability of now like a man, so that you may find a strange and new peace
Take the absolute necessity of letting go like a man
Take the fact that it makes no difference if you
apparently choose to unfurl your grip, or if Life simply stomps on your fingers
til they bruise, bleed and slip,

like a man

Take your loss of the illusion of control like a man
Take your addiction to stories, and hurl them into the great silence, like a man
Take your not knowing from minute to minute like a man
Take your non-ownership of any other human being like a man
Take the unexpected like a man
Take your loss of fake power like a man, so that you may discover where your real power lies
Take back the love that was never yours to possess or give away, but is always just there, sometimes forgotten for a short moment, like a man

  
_________________________

Adaptible Poem for Shabbat

Immanuel
( or please substitute any other relevant name)
even though you have hair
growing out of your nose
and ears
(please substitute any other relevant body part here)
I still love, honour and respect
the light and life
I see in you


________________

Now there arose a new king
who did evil in the sight of the lord
he turned the garden into a jungle
banned plastic bags from the kingdom
planted pumpkins and recycled dog shit
brought in monsterous chickens
that attacked and savaged the citizens
he let vermin run wild
they ate the cereal and sugar
but one day the people arose
and toppled that pretender to the throne
that charlatan man that would be king


________________

I wear around my neck
like a protective amulet
"she's dead
she's dead

she's gone
she's gone


and she's not 
coming back "

I even said kaddish in shul for her
just to help me get it
_________________

"we carry the affair around like some kind of pregnancy and who knows what will be born from it."
______________

Can I be loved or can I be love?
____________________________

I am angry that the sun is shining on the neighbours' house.
I had expected it to behave appropriately and only shine on mine.
_________________________________

i don't need a partner
to be whole
i just need to stop telling myself I'm incomplete

____________________________

late afternoon
when the shadows fall
and the fear of night
descends
is the time
I most prefer
the company
of friends


___________________

אני, ולא אחר
שומר עליך
מתוכך
כי בעצם
אני
היותך
ונאמן
לשמור
לא על מה
שאתה חושב שאתה
אלא על מה
שאתה באמת

________________________  

aloneness
you are such a beautiful bride
I do not find any blemish in you
and nor do you age and wither
___________________________

walk slowly
as if you were going to your own death
which you are

________________________

Just as on Pesach
we open the door
so that Ayliyahhoo the prophet
may also drink
from the cup of freedom
 

so every liberation
requires we open
a hithertoo closed
door in our heart
______________________

I have been exiled from exile
____________________

there is a bird
under the piano
and it sings
 

there is a bird
in my heart
and it sings
________

I am angry with words. They have deceived me.
___________________________

Am I losing my wife but gaining myself?
_____________________________

I am a meat eating vegan
_______________

Where the hell are we?
In this place zombies
watch endless cooking shows
listen all night
to call centre music
that is changed
only once
every called has died
write novel-length self-
reflective journals
to achieve professional
development points
for the plumbing trade
and wish each other
"have a good day"
before disemboweling
their neighbour


(published in Prosopisia)
_____________________

Gifted child
looking for employment
will wipe bums


___________________

wham , bam
thank you man

_________________

איזהו גיבור?
הכובש את בדידותו
_________________


sending off poems:
the death throws of the ego
_______________________

Am I a man or a mouse?
Neither. I am a much loved poodle
______________________

I prayed and my prayers have been answered
not in the way I expected but nevertheless...
the incomprehensible creativity of Life

______________________

Where ever you go
there is a window
with a tree just beyond
even if 

at the time
you cannot see it  
_____________________

the dog
tenderly licks
the dead cow
from my fingers 

___________