Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dr. Mary's Memorial memory

There so many friends of my mothers out there all over the country who couldn't be at her memorial at Green Acre in Eliot. This bit of a memory is for them. The room was full. People came forward to share memories. I wanted to take my turn, but it seemed too soon. I did write a poem, not a very good one I should say. There was a million words in the air. I hastily grabbed a handful. I wasn't feeling grief--felt more like applauding a long distance runner who had crossed the finish line having won the race convincingly. What she couldn't accomplish, she left to others she had inspired. They became doctors, humanitarians, teachers, mothers and fathers who don't turn away when they see a tear in an eye. And they became sons.
My contribution was read by my daughter.

Indian Sunset

I was hoping
I think you were too
If there was an Indian summer left in you
A reward for fixing broken bodies and shattered spirits
A last season on the porch
Of swaying and being swayed
By the colorful sleep of the twilight sky
"See this sunset," you'd say,
"Abdu'l-Baha loved the sunsets at Green Acre
Can't you picture Him walking on stairs of light
To the other world?"
And there you go
A dying sun burning brightest at the end
All the eyes of the universe giving reverence to this moment
Your moment
To be seen
And heard
And remembered

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

something wet with birth moisture

Tonight while watching a phenomenal movie, "Temple Grandin", do yourself a favor and rent it. I wrote this while watching. Don't know what the connection is. It might change.

The wishful thinking of gravity
Always trying to go home
When home has moved
Leaving no forwarding address
Here and there
Beginning and end
Moved by the faintest breeze of gravity

Monday, March 28, 2011

Dr. Mary Rides Again

I thought of another improbable Dr. Mary story which makes me think are their any probable Dr. Mary stories? On our living room wall is a water ladle used to scoop water for drinking purposes-what? you mean you don't have a ladle hanging from your living room wall?
Anyway, the story as I remember it. My mother had an unusual patient(The usual patients went to other doctors) named Alvin. He was quite old--I'm guessing somewhere in his eighties. He knocked on her door one day and introduced himself saying that for the longest time his car would slow down almost to a stop when he drove by her house which was right next to Green Acre Baha'i School, a conference center that is more than a hundred years old. For my friends who are not Baha'is, this inn on a hill overlooking the Piscataqua river in Eliot, Me. was a gathering place for transcendentalists, poets, artists, writers such as John Greenleaf Whittier, who gave it the name of Green Acre. It is also the acknowledge birthplace of yoga in the United States and is revered by Hindus because Swami Vivakandanda came here around the turn of the century. There are photographs with him surrounded by his folowers. Hindu groups conference here and show up enexpectedly just to walk the grounds. It has since became a Baha'i Con. Center because its founder, Sarah Farmer, became a Baha'i. Abdu'l-Baha, the son of the founder of the Baha'i Faith, Baha'u'llah, came to the United States after being set free when the Ottoman empire collapsed in 1908. He had been a prisoner since the age of nine--a total of 55 years. A promise to his father was the impetus behind his year long journey that took him to Europe and then 239 days in the U.S.
So much for the history lesson. You will be emailed a pop quiz later.
Back to Alvin who proceeds to tell my mother the strange tale of his car that clearly wanted to make a visit. Alvin told my mother that he was a water boy at the time of Abdu'l-Baha and the early days of Green Acre when the flat fields of Green Acre would be filled in the summertime with tents of thirsty visitors. Alvin and other boys would take water from a well on what later would become my mother's property and bring it to to the people. My mother found this story of the car and Alvin's childhood at Green Acre entirely normal(I'm smiling as I write this) Alvin became a patient of my mother which Alvin found to be a completely normal turn of events. The story gets even stranger because when Alvin was on the adjusting table he would go into a trance and channel a long dead doctor who would instruct my mother in what was explained to her as techniques to facilitate lymphatic drainage. My mother became even more renown and never stopped in her desire to be a better healer. The only part of her life that stayed the same was her voluminous dresses, her love of ginger snaps with Tetley tea served in her "Mary" cup. That explains why I have a water ladle on our living room wall. Everything else I can't explain.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

could be a poem

I was watching Carole King and James Taylor on a PBS look back in time right before bedtime and this knocked on my door and I let it in. Might need some work and, if thats the case, it should go out and find a job because I'm going to sleep.


Liver spots on the sun
Time is running out
Grey smoke curls hanging loosely from the sky
Shedding wonder on my thinning hair
Wonder, as in it was here once
So many things were here once
And I didn't think to say goodbye

Monday, March 14, 2011

film premier

Last Wed. was the premier of "Just One More Day" at the Kremple's Center-a non-profit brain injury foundation located in Portsmouth, N.H. It was a homecoming of sorts with all the trepidation associated with returning home after a long absence with the added anxiety of not knowing how our film would be received. For years I would bring various clients there three days a week and became good friends with many of the members and staff. I couldn't believe that someone was actually pay me for doing this work. Jackie Mike was still there happily spinning around in her wheelchair full of life-takes more than a bullet to the head from a drunken boyfriend to slow that lady down or take away her love of life. I looked at old friends and remembered their stories. I had hugged them them, held them, felt their warm tears on my shoulder, learned from them and now I wondered what they would think of the film I produced. Because their opinion was the only opinion that mattered--nine months work on the line and I would know the verdict in 66 minutes. We gathered in the movie room--members, staff, University of New Hampshire interns who do a semester there s part of their education and then there was Gus, the filmmaker,his girlfriend and his father. I sat way in the back with my therapist friend who was the main interviewer on the film. The lights dimmed. The documentary opens with three young TBI victims telling their stories of suicide attempts filmed live during an hour long broadcast of "Don't Dis My Ability". It is interspersed with subsequent footage of two of the young men and their mothers. Those two segments were designed to show the effect of suicide attempts and suicidal thoughts on family members. I remembered trembling all over when we filmed these segments. We sandwiched these segments around a funny and touching segment of a young lady and man who are as close as two people can be. Her brain injury, the result of being run over by a drunk driver, took away her ability to speak clearly. She uses an electronic communicator. Her story of two devastating brain injuries is simply incredible. The last segment features our radio engineer who is about my age. We wanted to show that people of all ages can fall into the dark pit of suicide. He is a survivor of spinal cancer. I am most affected by this segment and get emotional every time I see it. The audience laughed and cried and cheered at the end. I put my arms around a young lady afterward who could not stop crying. After lunch we all gathered back in the movie room with a question and answer period that included the participants of the film and the filmmaker. I looked over from my chair in the front of the room at a lady I knew for years. Her caregiver had her arm around her shoulder, As long as a I have known her, she has never been able express a moment of emotion. She would be led here and there and would sit impassively like someone who had escaped from the wax museum. Silent tears were running down her cheeks. The members and staff began opening up about what they called a taboo subject and I knew we had done our job. The film ends with each participants dedication. Mine included an old photo of my brother and I standing in front of the Baha'i House of Worship in Wilmette, Ill. I had dedicated my contribution to my brother who took his life several years ago. Contact me if you would like to purchase a copy of the film.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

"puny form"

Tuesday was an incredibly full day--stretch marks appeared on the mystical vessels that contain time. Our guest on the radio show was a thirteen year old girl who loves to write. She gets straight A's in school and loves math and sees the right answers in different colors in her mind. No, I don't understand it. She is in a wheelchair, fed with a g tube, extremely sensitive to heat and cold. Her hand movements drift in the air struggling to find the right letters on her electronic communicator. If you passed her by, you would notice her beautiful face and light brown hair, but you could easily pass her by and think nothing was behind that charming smile. She took my hand and held onto it for minutes and then she took hold of my heart forever. I love good writing and her poems were spectacular. Her grandmother said that she does not see the world like anyone she has ever met or likely will meet again. I agreed--like holding a snow flake in the cold sunshine seeing its uniqueness. She even wrote a song about her grandmother that her music teacher put to music and sings. We all thought during the show that it was the equal to the best love songs we have ever heard. I adored the language of her poetry--full of life spoken by a lifeless male robot trapped in a little black container. But she was not trapped. Her spirit eye traveled through forests and oceans--raindrops had faces that burst with happiness. I would not know that if she had not told me, made me feel the joy of the tiny explosion on my face.
This morning has left me with a lingering reflection of her eyes on my soul allowing me to finally understand what Baha'u'llah meant when He said,"Dost thou reckon thyself only a puny form when within thee the universe is folded." Seven Valleys, p.33
Everyone, I mean everyone has some unique contribution--an atom that seeks to be folded into the universe. You have it--believe it--find it and when you do you will have found your true self.