It’s a New Dawn, It’s a New Day

I’m a huge fan of Nina Simone. My favorite song? Feelin’ Good. I like it in all its iterations I guess. Most people probably have forgotten all about Nina’s version and skipped right to Michael Buble. That’s OK. I don’t think she would mind. Nor would she care about the Muse version. I like that one a lot. Who sings it isn’t nearly as important to me as the lyrics.

I started really loving this song when I was 45. I liked it just fine before that, but when I was 45 I came down with a little bout of Leukemia. Music has always been huge in my life, songs associated with people, places, events.  Feelin’ Good got associated with my healing, my being alive.  It was a new dawn, a new day, and I was, after months of treatment, feelin’ good.

Photo by Tamra Parker

Here I am, years later, still in love with this song.  Still associating it with the thrill of being alive.  Because, well, I am still thrilled to be alive.

K and I were sitting here talking the other day about how weird it was that it was going to be 2019.  How it seemed impossible in some way, that it was nearly 2019.  I don’t know why it seemed like such a big deal because, after all, it’d been 2018 for nearly a year, but somehow it did.  Somehow time has taken a leap.  The idea that 2019 was nearly here, and I’m still here, and though I’m older than I used to be, I’m not as old as I’m going to get.  If you’d asked me in 1983 when I graduated from high school what I’d be doing in 2019 I wouldn’t have been able to even imagine it, being so far in the future and all.   And now here we are, so far in the future and all.  Weird.  Not bad.  Just weird.

Friends of ours recently asked us to attend a party.  They asked everyone who was invited to bring a bottle of booze, an appetizer, and quote or song or piece of writing to be read aloud and shared. I think it was meant as a sort of send off to the year passing and a greeting of hope and inspiration heading into the new year.  Cool idea.  Sadly, we couldn’t go, but I was thinking about what I would’ve shared if we had. 

There are a lot of quotes I could’ve shared.  I’m a quote person.  Just see the inspirations page of this blog for proof of that.  The fact that I get nervous and shy at times might spur the use of a quote.  I probably would share a quote like this…  “The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”  ~  W.B. Yeats 

I could’ve shared a poem.  I’m a lover of all things poetic and have been reading and writing poetry since I was a wee sprout, sometime near 1983 I’d say.  I was 17 then, and graduating from high school, so my poems were very broody.   I might’ve shared a poem at the party if I happened upon or could think of one I thought might be inspirational.  Maybe the E.E. Cummings “I thank you God” poem…

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

 
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and love and wings and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)


how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

 
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
 

 e e cummings 

(in ‘complete poems 1904 – 1962’)

Or maybe something by Pablo Neruda, Charles Bukowski, or The Type, by Sarah Kay.

If I had my wits about me I might’ve thought of something profound or witty or inspirational to say all on my own.  Possible, if I’d had my wits about me.  Sometimes they are vacationing and leave me searching for the right words, the right feeling, the right way to say what I want to.  

Weston is currently crying over K’s shoulder as she eats her morning oatmeal.  It’s the first day of the new year.  He likes oatmeal.  Sometimes all that matters is the hope that you’ll get the last bits of oatmeal left in the bowl.  That someone will remember you like them, and that getting them will make your day.  That those bits are what will bring you joy right at this moment.  And maybe the story of Weston and the oatmeal bowl is the only profound thing worth sharing.   It’s the simple things in life that are worth everything.  Finding moments of joy.  Moments of happiness.  Moments of peace.  We don’t need a lot to make us happy and joyful.  Bits of oatmeal left in the bottom of the bowl will do.  So I’ll say this… go out there and find your bits, whatever they are for you.  See them for what they are, for what they mean to you.  Relish them.

K has finished eating and Weston is now licking the bowl.  His crying has stopped and he’s blissfully enjoying this tiny moment of joy.  I’d say, like Nina, he’s feelin’ good.  A pretty great way to start 2019.

The Laughing Heart

one for the shoeshine man

one for the shoeshine man

the balance is preserved by the snails climbing the
Santa Monica cliffs;
the luck is in walking down Western Avenue
and having the girls in a massage
parlor holler at you, “Hello Sweetie!”
the miracle is having 5 women in love
with you at the age of 55,
and the goodness is that you are only able
to love one of them.
the gift is having a daughter more gentle
than you are, whose laughter is finer
than yours.
the peace comes from driving a
blue 1967 Volks through the streets like a
teenager, radio tuned to The Host Who Loves You
Most, feeling the sun, feeling the solid hum
of the rebuilt motor
as you needle through traffic.
the grace is being able to like rock music,
symphony music, jazz . . .
anything that contains the original energy of
joy.

and the probability that returns
is the deep blue low
yourself flat upon yourself
within the guillotine walls
angry at the sound of the phone
or anybody’s footsteps passing;
but the other probability–
the lilting high that always follows–
makes the girl at the checkstand in the
supermarket look like
Marilyn
like Jackie before they got her Harvard lover
like the girl in high school that we
all followed home.

there is that which helps you believe
in something else besides death:
somebody in a car approaching
on a street too narrow,
and he or she pulls aside to let you
by, or the old fighter Beau Jack
shining shoes
after blowing the entire bankroll
on parties
on women
on parasites,
humming, breathing on the leather,
working the rag
looking up and saying:
“what the hell, I had it for
while. that beats the
other.”

I am bitter sometimes
but the taste has often been
sweet. it’s only that I’ve
feared to say it. it’s like
when you woman says,
“tell me you love me,” and
you can’t.

if you see me grinning from
my blue Volks
running a yellow light
driving straight into the sun
I will be locked in the
arms of a
crazy life
thinking of trapeze artists
of midgets with big cigars
of a Russian winter in the early 40’s
of Chopin with his bag of Polish soil
of an old waitress bringing me an extra
cup of coffee and laughing
as she does so.

the best of you
I like more than you think.
the others don’t count
except that they have fingers and heads
and some of them eyes
and most of them legs
and all of them
good and bad dreams
and way to go.

justice is everywhere and it’s working
and the machine guns and frogs
and the hedges will tell you
so.

Charles Bukowski, Love is a Dog From Hell

Texan

20140719-112723-41243022.jpgtexan

she’s from Texas and weighs
103 pounds
and stands before the
mirror combing oceans
of reddish hair
which falls all the way down
her back to her ass.
the hair is magic and shoots
sparks as I lay on the bed
and watch her combing her
hair. she’s like something
out of the movies but she’s
actually here. we make love
at least once a day and
she can make me laugh
any time she cares
to. Texan women are always
healthy, and besides that she’s
cleaned my refrigerator, my sink,
the bathroom, and she cooks and
feeds me healthy foods
and washes the dishes
too.

“Hank,” she told me,
holding up a can of grapefruit
juice, “this is the best of them
all.”
it says : Texas unsweetened
PINK grapefruit juice.

she looks like Katherine Hepburn
looked when she was
in high school, and I watch those
103 pounds
combing a yard and some change
of reddish hair
before the mirror
and I feel her inside of my
wrists and at the backs of my eyes,
and the toes and legs and belly
of me feel her and
the other part too,
and all of Los Angeles falls down
and weeps for joy,
and walls of the love parlors shake—
the ocean rushes in and she turns
to me and says, “damn this hair!”
and I say,
“yes.”

-Charles Bukowski, Love is a Dog From Hell

Chopin Bukowski

621841_10151187467875802_2019195269_oCHOPIN BUKOWSKI

this is my piano.

the phone rings and people ask,
what are you doing? how about
getting drunk with us?

and I say,
I’m at my piano.

what?

I’m at my piano.

I hang up.

people need me. I fill
them. if they can’t see me
for a while they get desperate, they get
sick.

But if I see them too often
I get sick. it’s hard to feed
without getting fed.

my piano says things back to
me.

sometimes the things are
scrambled and not very good.
other times
I get as good and lucky as
Chopin.

sometimes I get out of practice
out of tune. that’s
all right.

I can sit down and vomit on the
keys
but it’s my
vomit.

it’s better than sitting in a room
with 3 or 4 people and
their pianos.

this is my piano
and it is better than theirs.

and they like it and they do not
like it.

Charles Bukowski, Love is a Dog From Hell