Metal gods loomed over the skyline, reminding me to be free instead of locked in up in my head. I didn’t know any better. Letting the isolation sink in, it cut to the bone, sapping my very existence. I learned quickly. Pretence isn’t looked upon kindly here. Here you make it because you ate shit for breakfast and it really doesn’t matter what anybody thinks.
“What the FUCK are you looking at!”, she shouts as you quickly avert your gaze, as she hits you with daggers of anger and fear. Imagine how hard you have to become in order to survive this grind and still plant trees of love and understanding, but now they’re rebranding Gotham City into a Monopoly Game. Property moguls eating up land faster than pacman ever could.
You once stood tall, but now.
Game Over. Move over lady this isn’t for you any more. Dark alleyways, dimly lit, covered in the wheat paste dreams of momentary and permanent art gods. The grunting sounds of kitchens working to feed a city that never slept. But now silence. As you hear the footsteps in front of you disappear.
Kindness comes from places you hardly expect. Even though they say no one cares, you get the stare of recognition of common pain. She knows what you’re dealing with as you fight back tears on a Brooklyn bound F train. Get off a stop early to collect yourself and, put on your dark glasses so others don’t see you strain. Suck it up, pull it together. There will be good days and bad days but this place makes a Human out of you with a capital H.
You walk up second avenue, conjuring up images in your head about how you got here in the first place. Will you triumph over your fears, or cower in self defence? Condensed dreams in a flash, sweep by you, bringing you to an intense euphoria as you realize it’s all about to end.
Walk a block up.
Those moments of quaint rarity and clarity bubble up into the Manhattan Skyline. Right across the way, under the PepsiCo Sign, sublime afternoons overlooking the Hudson, moments of chaotic oneness, undone through the blaring sirens of cop cars. Bars overflowing with lonely boys trying to get your attention. “Hey pretty, wanna grab a drink with me?”
Nah I’m good.
I remember how I once stood, alone wondering how this would all turn out.
Fade to black.
Sirens, lure me onto ancient lands that are far more about fiction than fact. The dream is intact even though we are packed in like rats. 5 Million souls and counting, and everyone is in your damn business.
A village, A rock, An ancient ideal now lost in the cement crevices of the mind. We are strangers here. Nomads. Others. Coming and going and finding our way out of the darkness. Slowly trying to prove to every passerby to look up at the skies, instead we limit ourselves to what’s available, attainable and nothing more.
That isn’t my game.
I came here to create change. No matter what. Lingering in the dimly lit passageways of my fatherland now lost in its ugliness and disrepair. People here stare at you as if trying to find the answer to their own insecurities and grief. Knee deep in regrets they never knew they had, they stand tall against the creeping fear mongering and laundering of hope.
I smile gently urging you to invite me to your ceremony. My tears shed in apotheosis of a dream long deferred, but no more. The allure of Athenian mysteries becomes clear, a litany of a city long demolished & rebuild on repeat.
I stand still for a moment to take it all in. The clouds of doubt have dispersed once again, to reveal the softness within.
I’ve decided the let go of New York. My time in the City that helped me grow as a person, a woman and a writer, has now come to a close. I’ve not let go of her yet, and even when I eventually physically leave the city, I will never leave her. She’s been my companion through truly hard times, and through beautifully joyous ones. The stories of the past nine years are coming back to me as I gather them, life morsels, savoured through every memory created in this vast metropolis.
The stories I will continue to tell, are built upon this city of metal, false hope, real struggle and immense courage. She continues to evolve, as I have. The observer and the observed once again merged. Now more strongly than ever before; I look at her slowly disappearing from my rear view mirror as I move decidedly and quietly to the next leg of this writing journey.
She will always be with me, I’ll take her wherever I go In the only way I can, through my writing, my poetry, my spoken word and my commitment. I’m devoted to her in ways I never thought possible and although leaving her may be a foolish errand, New York will push me no matter how tired I am, to build something worthwhile, and something that’s truly mine.
Leaving is never easy. She may not forgive me. I hope she will. My love for her is eternal. She knows me like few cities do. She’s seen me break down in tears in public like all New Yorkers have because let’s be honest it’s a right of passage. You cry yucky tears on the train home from work next to a complete stranger and no one will bother you; Not because they don’t care, but because crying in the subway at 6:00pm on a Tuesday beckons you to the reality that is this city. She’s a bitch but she cares.
I’ll cary her, as she carried me though these tough, enigmatic, wonderfully tragic years of transformation. I will return to her doorstep from time to time, for coffee, a bagel some good conversations and a slap in the face to remind me to stay true to my convictions.
Communities built, sustained, and healed on the sharing of a bowl of soup
This is a little bit of a departure from the hunkering down of previous daily posts. I needed to revisit a post I had been planning on sharing for some time but tonight is as good a time as any to talk about how communities sustain and protect each other not only in times of joy but also in times of need. During these very uncertain times, some of the communities I’ve been and continue to be a part of, and who have sheltered me over the years here in New York; are coming together to support, connect and sustain each other when isolation and a global health crisis has brought us to a very poigniant reconing.
I’ve been living in New York for seven years now. More than I ever expected to last and fewer than most would accept for a person calling themselves a New Yorker, so in this eternal grey area of half existence I have picked my communities from very different parts of this city. Many of these communities have opened their hearts to embrace, assist, accompany and comfort during this very challenging and stressful time. Without them I’m sure we would all go a bit mad. I have only placed a small pebble in this vast web of support but we all have something to offer and contribute during these trying times.
This post has been hard to communicate since a feeling of helplessness has overtaken many of us during these past few weeks. We are all in a state of being and not being. Existing and not existing. Communities of all forms are even more important now and thankfully more and more of them are becoming a resource and a virtual meeting place for those who might need it. Yoga and meditation has become my guide in very uncharted waters, as more centers are using their vast network to become a compass in a very uncertain storm.
Yoga classes, lectures, live streaming, meditation and dance sessions and my own practice has been a life saving line and connection to the community that has in the past and even more now been a savior and peace of mind. Daily meditation sessions, breathwork, movement and walks, keep the body and mind connected. Now more than ever my old Ashtanga family is coming together to share, inspire and support. Without that I am sure my capacity to deal with the extra stress and feeling of uncertainty would inevitably become that much harder.
There are countless other resources out there that are being created on a daily basis. Art, dance, theater, music. These things matter, now more than ever. They are vital for all of us to become closer, kinder, and more productive. Writing on this blog daily brings me closer to those who might be feeling exactly as I am and I’m determined more than ever to keep going. Reaching out, connecting in these times of isolation ( self or otherwise) is key to weathering this dark storm. If you need to move move, if you need to breathe breathe if you need to read read. And if you need comfort, there is always a community available to you, no matter where you might be.
As I sit in my kitchen with a piping hot bowl of homemade vegetable soup, I can’t help but wonder how we build who we are when we find ourselves in between places, and in great uncertainty, things we have otherwise have taken for granted, just cement a community in the simplest ways.
In trying times like these, we are called to build families, connective tissue and communities in ways that are never clear cut, but always necessary for survival and healing.
It’s day 7 of voluntary social distancing here in New York and staying at home has been a challenge and a blessing. Now we have all the time in the world to focus on the things that we could never catch up on before. Time has become a loose and fluid entity these past few days. Hence why I’ve taken a couple of days off the daily challenge to just reflect and connect with my breath and my thoughts and write something different.
I’ve slowed down so much from my previous rhythms, that I’ve had so much more time to reflect on what really matters here and what doesn’t. There are opportunities in this global health crisis we can’t afford to miss. We’ve been either forced to stop what we were doing before but also take stalk of what the hell we’ve been doing to our planet to each other and ultimately our own health. We’re nothing next to this enemy within.
We’ve been told to stay home, help the collective good for once instead of the personal gain. We’re going stir crazy in our forced solitude, and all of a sudden it’s become a reflection on the little things. That is all that truly is on my mind these days. The grind has stopped and sharing a cherished moment talking to a loved one has taken ultimate priority over anything else.
I ( hope) know this too shall pass but we’re at a pivotal point in our existence and the space we inhabit and no amount of analysis will change it. Here’s a few things I’ve taken from the past
In the past week, I’ve cooked a home made meal for me and my housemate every night. I’ve listen to music and read a book with so much attention I forgot to stop at 2 am. I’ve stretched and moved with my friends in Athens who are also cooped up in their homes without any clear idea of when this will end. And all that I am craving is the little things that make life worth living.
The delicate and personal, the memories and the things we share with those we most cherish. The beauty of this planet and the connections we build. The smell of a home cooked meal and the clink of a glass of wine with friends in a shared tavern table just at the foot of the Agean sea. The crisp folding of a page from a book I can’t put down and the feeling of clean air against my face. Quiet mornings sipping a cup of coffee with my family before the day unfolds. No amount of technology can replace it although taking to friends and family daily is of utmost importance. The list of little things is like a treasure trove that we nibble at when all the supplies have been depleted. And here we are cherishing all that we took for granted. Living what we thought was a given and saying all we thought was understood.
Let’s hope we share on those small joys more often.
Somber mornings, built in longings, and the sea awaits. Crossings, passages, journeys of time, sublime aromas of a land that is my sacred place. Intoxicating smells of the past coming back to me at last. Long lost destiny starts with just one step, but I’ve been walking for miles and miles and I’m growing tired.
What do you do for yourself they ask. I have a task, herculean at best. There is no rest for my body tonight.
Frightful faces look at me as I smile, they must not have seen joy in a while. Staring in disbelief that someone can break the spell of misery, it’s not a mystery. Listen to my liturgy. Amen
Strange men pause their eyes one me.
Breaking the sanctity of my solidarity.
What the fuck are you looking at…My tongue gets caught in a reaction but I bite it hard.
I close my joy in a box to share with those who give it back.
It’s a rarity in these strange times. To find the sublime in the ordinary and mundane.
The rain keeps falling on the streets of familiarity, my old haunts. They fault me, chase me away.
Yet I return changed.
Memories streaming like the rivers formed by the first fall rain.
Athena is washed clean after a summer of debauchery and tourist delights.
They will soon go as they always do, to leave our land for us to clean up.
Fast forward to a quiet space. Against the race of time. It’s all mine now, this moment. Atonement for my sins. Quietly knocking down my resignation to this abomination this greed. I plant the seed to a new life, walking away from the past like a lion roaming the earth in search for a place to call home.
“It’s possible to love a human being if you don’t know them too well.” –
In order for any of us to completely understand and accept love, we have to understand what love is not. We often confuse love for a lot of things, that simply aren’t love. For example desire and love don’t often go hand in hand. Desire is lustful, passionate, unending, unfulfilled, hungry, thirsty, creepy, unvarnished, jealous, erratic, stupid and very insecure. Lust is carnal, all consuming, addicting, dangerous and sometimes clandestine. Hate well, that’s definitely not love.
Love is secure. Love is steady, knowing, calm, compassionate, giving, bountiful and glorious. Love is the glue. Love (like one of my favorite bands wrote) is all you need. Yet we still confuse love for all that it is not. We as humans have the capacity to love, be in love, and love people and beings who aren’t like us, don’t speak like us, don’t share the same story as us and don’t come from us. I’ve written in past blog posts about the 7 types of love. The ancient Greeks had many different expressions for love. Erotic love, brotherly love (yes that kind of love ), love of a parent to a child, love of all humanity, longing pained love (that achy breaky heart kind of love), playful love (flirty yummy delicious), and self love. All these types of loves coexist, they are not mutually exclusive and yes we can love two (or more) people at the same time. One thing love is NOT is stingy.
Love is Not…
Nothing else is a replacement or a stand in for love. Love in all its forms, shapes and versions, is in its core without discrimination, distinction or agenda; pure. Love is equal opportunity, bi, trans, tall, short, big, small, all inclusive and all encompassing. LOVE IS LOVE. Control is not love, abuse is not love, deception is not love, war is not love, organized religion is not love, fanaticism is not love, nationalism is not love, fear is not love, force is not love, lies are not love, hate is not love reversed. Love sees all, there is no exception.
So while love seems to get far less advertising than it should, and is often mistaken for its poor, imitations; here are my personal favorite expressions of messy, erotic, playful, flirty, solid, wholesome love, a little lust and everything in between.
Love is : Poetry
Two of my favorite poems about love. One is a monologue for a play called Crave by one of my favorite playwrights Sarah Kane; (thank you to my friends in Greece for reminding me)
Full Monologue : And I want to play hide-and-seek and give you my clothes and tell you I like your shoes and sit on the steps while you take a bath and massage your neck and kiss your feet and hold your hand and go for a meal and not mind when you eat my food and meet you at Rudy’s and talk about the day and type your letters and carry your boxes and laugh at your paranoia and give you tapes you don’t listen to and watch great films and watch terrible films and complain about the radio and take pictures of you when you’re sleeping and get up to fetch you coffee and bagels and Danish and go to Florent and drink coffee at midnight and have you steal my cigarettes and never be able to find a match and tell you about the the programme I saw the night before and take you to the eye hospital and not laugh at your jokes and want you in the morning but let you sleep for a while and kiss your back and stroke your skin and tell you how much I love your hair your eyes your lips your neck your breasts your arse your and sit on the steps smoking till your neighbour comes home and sit on the steps smoking till you come home and worry when you’re late and be amazed when you’re early and give you sunflowers and go to your party and dance till I’m black and be sorry when I’m wrong and happy when you forgive me and look at your photos and wish I’d known you forever and hear your voice in my ear and feel your skin on my skin and get scared when you’re angry and your eye has gone red and the other eye blue and your hair to the left and your face oriental and tell you you’re gorgeous and hug you when you’re anxious and hold you when you hurt and want you when I smell you and offend you when I touch you and whimper when I’m next to you and whimper when I’m not and dribble on your breast and smother you in the night and get cold when you take the blanket and hot when you don’t and melt when you smile and dissolve when you laugh and not understand why you think I’m rejecting you when I’m not rejecting you and wonder how you could think I’d ever reject you and wonder who you are but accept you anyway and tell you about the tree angel enchanted forest boy who flew across the ocean because he loved you and write poems for you and wonder why you don’t believe me and have a feeling so deep I can’t find words for it and want to buy you a kitten I’d get jealous of because it would get more attention than me and keep you in bed when you have to go and cry like a baby when you finally do and get rid of the roaches and buy you presents you don’t want and take them away again and ask you to marry me and you say no again but keep on asking because though you think I don’t mean it I do always have from the first time I asked you and wander the city thinking it’s empty without you and want what you want and think I’m losing myself but know I’m safe with you and tell you the worst of me and try to give you the best of me because you don’t deserve any less and answer your questions when I’d rather not and tell you the truth when I really don’t want to and try to be honest because I know you prefer it and think it’s all over but hang on in for just ten more minutes before you throw me out of your life and forget who I am and try to get closer to you because it’s a beautiful learning to know you and well worth the effort and speak German to you badly and Hebrew to you worse and make love with you at three in the morning and somehow somehow somehow communicate some of the overwhelming undying overpowering unconditional all-encompassing heart-enriching mind-expanding on-going never-ending love I have for you. Sarah Kane (3 February 1971 – 20 February 1999) English Playwright
My second favorite poem about love, lust and erotic love is by none other than…. E.E Cummings
i like my body when it is with your body. It is so quite new a thing. Muscles better and nerves more. i like your body. i like what it does, i like its hows. i like to feel the spine of your body and its bones,and the trembling -firm-smooth ness and which i will again and again and again kiss, i like kissing this and that of you, i like, slowly stroking the,shocking fuzz of your electric furr,and what-is-it comes over parting flesh….And eyes big love-crumbs,
and possibly i like the thrill
of under me you so quite new
Love is: Music
Everything love wants to express, it does through song, through lyrics, through the beat and the rhythm of music. Any time I’ve wanted to express love for someone I try to do in with music. The list is endless but these are some of my favorite “love” songs.
All in all… there are far more songs about love, longing, togetherness, sex, cigarettes and booze then there is about hate. I figure in the end of this little chess game called life, Love wins.
we live in this endless dystopia… we’ve been groomed again and again to endure crisis after crisis after crisis and with that; have forgotten the joy of life.
We live in strife
And we never pause to enjoy life
It’s little hidden beauties it’s endless flirtation it’s burning desire.
Το μεδούλι we say.
we let others dictate… our inspiration our connections our determination. Yet after all that, we find courage to live life, fall in love, write beautiful music, build incredible buildings, carve beautiful statues, build incredible grand ships that take us from sea to sea, and discover our limits anew each time becoming better versions of ourselves.
we delve deep into beauty and reap the benefits of true joy.
Each boy and girl each female and male becoming, growing, revealing their most true selves.
It’s no mystery we are all made of stars….
Yet we bicker and fight and cause strife. Spending lifetimes hating each other.
Demeaning each other
what a waste….
To not want to taste life’s bounties.
To not want to share in its boundless beauty.
Our curiosity for self destruction is a unique human trait, but so is survival.
No not religious kind, but true faith, in ourselves in each other. No no we’re not the only ones but were unique, no we’re not one of a kind but we have been given infinite possibilities…
Έχει ταλαιπωρηθεί λίγο τα τελευταία 8 χρόνια. Έχει υποστεί τραύματα που δύσκολα επουλώνονται, αλλά ακόμα παλεύει. Παλεύει γιατί είναι πόλη που έχει περάσει και χειρότερα.
Παλεύει για τα ιδεώδη, και την αρμονία, τη τέχνη και το κάλλος. Ως Πηνελόπη που περιμένει τον Οδυσσέα της… αλλά καλά κρατάει και δεν δέχεται κανέναν πάνω στο σπαθί της.
Έχει ραγίσει η καρδιά της αλλά είναι ηρωίδα, είναι πολεμίστρα είναι γυναικάρα.
Το έπαιξα τουριστάκι, στη πόλη μου. Σχεδίαζα βόλτες και περιπάτους, και την άφησα να με πάρει μαζί της. Γελούσαμε σα μικρά κορίτσια και τρώγαμε μαζί παγωτό. Πέρασα από την Πρωτογένους και διέσχισα την Αθηνάς και βρέθηκα στο Μοναστηράκι να παρατηρώ τη παλιά αρχιτεκτονική μαζί με το χάος της νεόδμητης πλατείας.
Βρήκα καινούργια στοιχεία στην Αθήνα που αφήνουν μια ευχάριστη γεύση στο στόμα. Σίγουρα έχει αλλάξει, έχει κουραστεί από τα τελευταία χρόνια των μεταρρυθμίσεων, της οικονομικής κρίσης, της συναισθηματικής κρίσης, αλλά έχει επίσης δώσει πνοή σε καινούργιες φιγούρες, σε καινούργιες τέχνες, σε μια νέα φωνή.
Υπάρχει οργή ακόμα. Τη νιώθεις στα σπασμένα πεζοδρόμια. Υπάρχει στεναχώρια. Τη βλέπεις στα πρόσωπα των φθαρμένων πολιτών της. Υπάρχει αγανάκτηση, την αισθάνεσαι στους τοίχους, αλλά… σιγά σιγά, δειλά όμως… ξεπροβάλλει μια Αθήνα πιο δυνατή απ ότι θα έλεγαν οι πολιτικοί, οι παλιοί, οι βολεμένοι, η κομπάρσοι, οι περιστασιακοί γκόμενοι της πόλης. Αυτοί που πραγματικά δεν την αγαπούν… τη χρησιμοποιούν όπως οι μνηστήρες… ως διέξοδο, ως πουτάνα.
Αλλά η Αθήνα είναι κυρία… με λίγο φθαρμένα ρούχα, με λίγο χαλασμένο το μακιγιάζ… είναι όμως κυρία.
Η Αθήνα δε μασάει. Μου ψιθύρισε ότι γουστάρει τη νεολαία που την αγάπησε ξανά. Μου έδειξε ότι η τέχνη είναι στους τοίχους της, οι γεύσεις στα πεζοδρόμια της, τα αρώματα καινούργια, πρόσωπα με χαμόγελο. Μια νέα δύναμη τη στηρίζει σιγά σιγά όλο και πιο πολύ.
Θέλει χρόνο όμως. Θέλει υπομονή γιατί είναι ακόμα φοβισμένη. Δεν εμπιστεύεται εύκολα τον κάθε κόλακα και ομορφάντρα που θα τη πλησιάσει… έχει ακόμα δρόμο μπροστά της να φανεί η ομορφιά της. Αλλά οι μνηστήρες βαρέθηκαν και σιγά σιγά αποχωρούν.
Τα αγόρια και τα κορίτσια της γειτονιάς την υπερασπίζονται είναι με το μέρος της, την ακούν.