I’m Fed Up With the Dissociated States of America

I’m fed up with our “freedom” chanting. I’m not sure we ever valued or wanted real freedom, or understood what it’s implications are. I’m not sure we ever understood what is required for the “pursuit of happiness.” I’m bothered by the fact that in spite of our country’s founding ideals to escape the rule of a king and requirement to belong to the king’s church, we still expect the president to attend some sort of Christian service, that pastors have any part in a president’s inauguration, or that many Americans somehow consider this nation to be a Christian nation.

Ugh. I don’t want to argue about that. I have no beef with Christianity. And really, I have no beef with the U.S. I’m just fed up with the place. I’m fed up with our strange obsession with “patriotism” whatever that even means. I’m fed up with our apparent ignorance about the definition of “all men (all people) are created equal.” Americans have never practiced equality. Never. Slavery. Women’s rights. The battle over gay rights and now transgender issues. People of color have always faced false assumptions, stereotypes, economic segregation. No one is equal. In America, one group of people or another will always carry more power, more value, than the smaller groups. The poor tend to be blamed for their own poverty. We expect those who can’t work for whatever reason, to deal with a pathetic social security system, a limited under funded nearly destroyed public healthcare system. Worst of all, we are a country of immigrants who show little patience towards those who don’t speak English, or speak it poorly.

God, now I’m just ranting. I’m just fed up with this country. I’m tired. I need a new language, a new people, a new everything. So help me gods.

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What Matters

My computer doesn’t matter.
The sparkle nail polish my sister gave me
doesn’t really matter.
The good shape of my lips, the strength
and depth in my eyes
don’t matter.
Clouds that pass by like dragons don’t matter.
Sheets fresh from the drier I wrapp
around my sleepy body
don’t matter. My body itself,
a pink scaffolding that rattles in the wind,
doesn’t matter. My home
somewhere among the bundles of suns
inside the small arc of night
down here in southern Utah
and the distance and silence
and vacuum of space don’t matter.
And the blue heron’s
yellow eye, the warblers and fly catchers
tigers and bow-necked giraffes
who keep me company
in this borrow bedroom …
they know they don’t matter.
They gather close to me on the bed.
The birds place their simple tired songs into my ear.
My tiger stretches out beside my body
his head nuzzled against that tender place
between the cheek bone and shoulder.
I want to say the jagged lightning strike
of my life doesn’t matter.
But it does.
Also my imagined companions. The Earth
that isn’t mine. The quiet of this Sunday afternoon.
My four sisters, one mother and father,
every conscious life
with its rushed circle of blood that contains
the twisted code of all human history.
Everything that is. Everything that has been and will be.
Matter. Every atom of it.
Every small swept away thing matters.
Even this moment
twelve hours away from my mother’s mother.
One woman in seven billion.
Her last smile matters.
Her pain matters.
They belong to us now.
It’s hard to imagine that anything
else matters – this last human contact.
Her existence, our existence.
Everyone a child again.
Her child.
Willing and reluctant
to see her relax in bed forever.

Dear Aliens On Earth

Do you spend entire nights, as I do
looking at the stars
their strange arrangements
and wonder which on is yours
if any are yours?
Have you forced yourself to stop
as I’ve had to.
Because it seems our people aren’t coming back.
Because we are what’s left.

I’ve thought dying might take me home.
I’ve thought existing here wasn’t possible
the solitude more empty
than the space between our stars
but now I’ve heard you are hear also
that you exist as I do
and know as little as I know
how we came to be so far away
from everything we’ve ever known.
I still catch myself looking up at night
and standing still in the cool desert night.
I think I’ll never feel at home here.
I want to feel human.
How about you?  
Have you made a home on this planet?
Have you found someone to love?

The Only Way Home

stars

If NASA is ever given the go-ahead to plan and execute a manned (womaned?) trip to Mars, I will make sure I am the pilot and get to pick my own crew, because as soon as we reach the red planet, rather than falling into orbit, we’ll slingshot around and launch ourselves into the speechless nowhere.

We’ll shut off the radios, unblock the windows, set up a table in whatever largest room is available and play cards and make jokes about preserving humanity at the cost of our humanity. We would have spiked the packed fruit juices with cheep vodka, swapped dehydrated brownies with dehydrated edibles. We will laugh and express our excitement at our new course correction.

Some of us will sleep more than others. Some will want more time alone in the cockpit or in their bunks to enjoy the simple sounds of the craft, and project their thoughts forward or backward through space. Some will miss Earth a little. I will miss it. The way I missed China and Germany where I’d lived for a time and learned their language for two or three years and then left for what they said was my own “motherland.”

Of course, it wasn’t a “motherland.” Just a land with a strange people. I will miss them and their planet, but I miss my own people and planet more. Wherever they are. The whole crew will imagine their own homes out there in the feral fields of space. We’ll never make it alive, but at least we’re on our way. At least we have each other, fellow aliens going home the only way we know how.

Eventually we’ll drink the last cocktail, empty the cupboards and make our last ceremonial waste dump. Then we’ll lie down on our beds and insert the IV into our hands to start the slow drip into sleep.

And once the drip is done, the airlocks will release. The stale atmosphere will be like a storm that tears through the ship and out into space. The engines will be silent. Our bodies will instantly freeze. The distance between planets won’t matter anymore.

The Alien Discovers Freedom

So I’m working with my therapist on my feelings of loneliness and it’s kind of fun.

Let me explain:  when I say loneliness, what I really mean is I’m not human and the next of my kind is likely millions of lightyears away in a galaxy we probably know about, but on a planet orbiting a star we can’t dream of ever seeing.  This is not hyperbole.  (well maybe a little)

The problem, oddly, isn’t the loneliness itself, but rather the way I respond to it: terror induced depression.  So, according to my therapist, the best way to change my negative response into something positive, is to address the loneliness by actually saying out loud “I am lonely,” but to then follow that statement with something positive. For example “I am lonely, but I am happy with myself.” (I also tap several times on a number of pressure points on my upper body in order to disrupt something about energy and something and something else, but I will read about that later today)

I’m not satisfied with the phrase we came up with in our session yesterday, so I’d like to take this time to write my way into a better one.

Here we go:

I’m alone, but at least I get to swear whenever I want.
I’m alone, but I can make my own appointments. (and of course forget them)
I’m alone but …. SQUIRREL!
I’m alone, but I get to say when there will be no more talking.
I’m alone, and that means I’m not married. (several minutes of relieved laughter)
I’m alone and that means I could seal up the shower and fill it with water and take a vertical bath.
I’m alone which means I’m the only one telling me what to do. (not sure how positive this is)

I’m alone, but … I’m free to be alone.

I’m alone, but being alone makes me free.

Free to stop moving, to close my eyes and breath and feel my feet on the solid floor. Free to build my small altar by the roll top desk and decorate it with a twisted chicken wire tree, a tiny aquarium with running water and lights that change from blue to lavender
to yellow and green and red.

I’m alone, but being alone I am free to worship in peace. Free to define how and what I worship: gods of ice water, gods of fitful sleep, gods of air conditioning and heat, ceiling fans, dimmable lights and textured walls. Gods of blankets that are like cloaks for crying. Smiling gods. Grinning giggling gods. Modern gods of texting shortcuts. Gods of language and broken rules.

I’m alone, but I’m free to exist in my own space without criticism, without advice or instruction. I’m free to not smile. I’m free to feel the new shape of my own body. I’m free to be naked and love what is there, which is everything, almost.

I am free. Free to be as I am and nothing else. Free to be conscious and name myself Ellee, whose angry face induces laughter and joy, whose arms are smooth now, the long hands and fingers beginning to experiment with dance and meditation.

I am alone. I am alone but not terrified. I am alone and I don’t know how much longer I will be alone. Lucky loneliness. Happy compassionate loneliness. May it stay with me. Allow me my solitude. Allow me time enough to find and name and feed the ten-thousand gods in me.

I’m alone, but being alone makes me free.