WOW: the Walden On Wheels project
Take dates and figs and chop them individually in a food processor until they ball up. Chop almonds until granola sized, just short of becoming powder. Transfer everything into industrial mixer with “J” hook or leaf arm and mix together until well blended. Separate into two bocce ball sized portions and throw each onto table repeatedly, folding fruit and nut mixture into a ball, then throwing it down again…and again…and again. Show no mercy. Take the key!
These were the instructions, the recipe– how Chef Hervé himself showed me through his own aggressive doing- thick French accent at almost fever pitch goading me to take the keys as he continued to abuse the innocently sweet mixture and finally roll its surrendered and compliant body into a kielbasa sized log, wrapping it twice in industrial grade plastic film and ready for the fridge.
That same morning just an hour earlier I had come to work directly from an emergency 7:30 a.m. hour and a half session with my therapist whom I hadn’t seen for a year, time off I had taken to best muddle through life on my own. He had listened in earnest to my mostly woman related travails and kindly called me a Sufi, pointing to the way I spin around the same theme du jour from every possible angle and pivot point of life. On the way to that appointment, I told him, I had dictated a poem into my iPhone and felt compelled to read it to him, if only to illustrate the depths of my inner contortions.
Reflections In Morning Traffic
Even before I fall in love with you
I fall in love with the half dead geranium on your back porch,
with the termite eaten planks of pine
and the way the overgrown weeds
seem to swallow your haggard haired terrier
as he gallops towards unsuspecting iguanas.
It’s as if a world I could never have imagined
has suddenly enveloped me,
and I begin to find pieces of you
in everything that doesn’t seem just right-
in the chipped paint and broken tiled roofs,
in the potholes and the rusted cars and the street beggars.
It’s as if by falling in love with you
I have fallen in love with the world itself-
purely as it is.
What does it say about a man, or a love, or even a poem when the object of that love, of that overwhelming heartbreak, is the cause of tear-studded outpourings of lines but the imagery itself- and quite possibly some of the hurt- is harvested from a previous romance?
The woman about whom I was in crisis was most decidedly not the woman about whom these almost transcendental lines refer. They had simply poured out spontaneously like sweet sap from a tapped Maple, prompted to reveal themselves to the world after long laying idle. They were, perhaps, what was most frontal, most pregnant with poetic capital, most soul-wrenchingly pungent in its perfect irony, images that lingered in the quiet recesses alert but still, awaiting the precise moment to mutiny and seize the vessel.
And mutiny, it was, yes- nothing short of it. Front and center, playing the role of Lieutenant Fletcher Christian, lead mutineer on the Bounty, was my own disempowered penis, a traitor to God and country, belying both the love and lust I felt for a woman and reducing me to ash against the very wishes of my heart and loins. This crisis of masculinity had sent me careening over the edge of a flat earth like a medieval Columbus, my inherent value as a lover traded like an island for a fistful of shells.
Yet what does it say about a woman who complains against the tyranny of patriarchal exploits but finds fault and shortcoming with a man whose path in this world is gentle and kind and loving- one who, given emotional upheaval, isn’t constantly equipped to take the keys or hold court amongst the likes of joust-ready Lancelots?
My wish is to be vulnerable, you see, my extreme desire to ball myself up in a curry of you and ravage our delinquent selves until despair has outweighed logic and we shiver naked and cold and broken open to the night. My wish…my childish yearning…is to bow at your feet and beg forgiveness for the pain I caused upon birth and employ every talent I possess to love your womanness back into form, into wholeness, into the dripping caverns of luminescent earth in which children play unattended and wild things roam.
The planet is dying. Too many erections and too little compassion. The industrial revolution, whose focus was propulsion and drive, has made mincemeat pie of a once fruit-bearing earth. Masculinity as a western capitalist construct is a failed experiment. As it seems to me, the answer is not in becoming more of a man but rather in becoming less of one.