Friday, October 18, 2019

If I Had Been Kafka’s Gregor Samsa

“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.” – Franz Kafka
I have not been able to read a printed book on the train for some years now. My hands and arms and I can’t quite manage holding a book, in the needed position, without significant pain. Flipping through the pages of a book was my favorite thing to do while commuting… When the pain forced me to make a change, I started people hearing while riding.

People hearing is just like people watching, but with eavesdropping included. I’m not talking about spying or trying to overhear other people’s precious secrets. No, I wouldn’t enjoy that. I am referring to letting my ear near conversations others might be having on the bus, in line to pay for groceries, at the airport…   

Yesterday, while riding the 1 (the 1 train, that is) from Manhattan to The Bronx, my people hearing curiosity and I were served several treats:

- a woman with two dogs, said to one of the pups, “If you’re mommy’s very good girl, and you pee on that asshole’s rug, mommy will give you bacon.” I never found out who the asshole was.

- a very old man (no, he didn’t have enormous wings), told an invisible friend, “Cut your nails when they’re looking. Hit them in the eye. Hard in the eye. That’ll stop it.” I’m still wondering about the identity of the ‘it’ that needs stopping.

- a girl told her companion, “If I’d been the Gregor guy, I would’ve eaten my whole family. Some assholes deserve to be eaten.” I’m quite glad to inform you that I wasn’t the only people hearer who shook with laughter at the imaginative teenage girl’s cannibalistic choice of imagery.

It’s very likely that I will never stop missing the joy of reading a paper book while riding the bus or train. But I am grateful for the unexpected (and rather uncanny) gift that came out of the change. Now, if my skull and I could only get rid of the image of a teenage roach devouring the unsightliest of familial meals.


 - linked to the Interactive Moonlight Musings, over at Poets United, where my favorite person in the whole wide world, invites everyone to write an article (in 369 words or fewer) inspired by the Positive Side of Change.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

From the Depths of Darkness, a Light

“In dark we see, in death we rest; a beautiful frightening magic.” – Khaya Ronkainen
On the cover, an exhausted moon watches over the world through a shroud of blood and darkness. Each page reminds us that borders break bodies and devour souls, that inaction is mother to despair and death, that hope turns to myth when humans forget that the whole world—dirt, beast, bloom—is made of the same star stuff: chaos raging in the dark, conscious thought fighting to kindle hope.
from the depths
of darkness, lived ink
can birth light

From the Depths of Darkness, by Khaya Ronkainen
cover by Ayala Art
painting (on the background) by Shelle Kennedy

- on her Wild Friday at Poets United, Sanaa invited us to pick a poetry collection that has touched us deeply, and write a response poem. I chose From the Depths of Darkness, written by Khaya Ronkainen and illustrated by MagicLoveCrow. Her brief, “dark poetry left in the light” sticks to head and heart for a long time. For instance, the poem bit at the beginning of this post has been dancing around my skull for days and days and days…
- linked to the Poetry Pantry #496