Free Me ~ Haiku


 

Choking hazy smoke

Another red sun looming

Free me on sailed sea

 

~ Emily C.

7.6.17

 

***

Day 6:  Smoke is still here. I can smell it in the house when I opened the bedroom door this morning to the hall where it’s an obvious contrast. But, then sitting in the house, one acclimates to it.

I have been running HEPA air purifiers with brand new filters round the clock, and have only opened the doors briefly in morning or night to let the cool air in for a bit. And even THAT has been enough to make it smell smokey in here. Check out my filter picture, the one on the left was new on Thursday. The one on the right is unused. Look at all that dirt caught in only 3 days. Crazy! Glad its in there and not my lungs, but I do feel it a bit anyway.

The first two pics are from Sigma Shreedharan again. Yucky air makes for great art!

The third pic is mine off my back deck at sunset. We are still dealing with heat, but it’s only in the high 80s instead of high 90s now. After the 4 feet of rain we had this winter, I didn’t think I’d be desperate for a raincloud, but here we are. 🙂

Side note: my Mac’s trackpad has been causing issues and making my cursor go berserk in a scary way. So, I haven’t been able to use it and all my poetry bookmarks are on that one. I will be delayed even more in catching up on your awesome words. But, in time will be trying my best to catch up.

Also back to my vestibular therapist tomorrow. Still working my way through that, but definitely not as acute as I was. The new exercises have been a challenge for my brain on top of the environmental triggers lately with the heat and smoke. Looking forward to clean air and improved health.

Miss you all and thank you for your steadfast support.

 

Wildfire Moon

Wildfire moon, orange in night sky
witness to the burn, reflector of fire

night is a hot oven, skin melts puddles
not a fresh breath, nor window open

smoke on tongues, 
numb tingles ripple
lethargy death grip, otherworldly rogue


escape, no option, water, only hope
bunker in basement, hiding to cope


horizon designed, devoid of detail
mountains hide, water invisible

red sun sets, ruby in dead sky
hell on earth, no end in sight


~ Emily C.

8.3.17

***

Things are not good in Seattle and Vancouver and much of the northwest. Hundreds of wildfires in British Columbia have been sending smoke all over including smothering Seattle. We are also having a heat wave in the 90s to near 100 this week with no signs of letting up this coming week. This is day 3 of suffocating haze and smoke smell. It looks like a foggy Christmas Eve around here. Can’t see the city skyline, the mountains have disappeared and the streetlights look out of a dark London alley. We do not have clouds so everything in these pics are smoke. Can’t open windows because of the unhealthy air quality which means the house is ridiculously hot and muggy. Some respite in basement but it’s got moldy smell like basements do…so the choices aren’t pleasant either way. Hoping al are safe in BC. Sounds like at least a few fires have been determined arson. Terrible. The sun has been otherworldly in its redness, and he moon in its orangeness…makes for eerie pictures.

Not looking forward to the next several days.

(All pictures are mine except the red sun and ferry picture by Sigma Shreedharan.)

The haze around the Space Needle is smoke, with orange moon above


Red sun through the trees

(There is supposed to be an ocean and a huge mountain range there…)

Chris

*Update: Did some fine tuning on his face and added the light reflections in his hair this morning. It’s as finished as I know how to make it without any art training.

*****
Words have been hard to harness lately with the chaos in my life. But tonight, I attempted to draw again.

I don’t draw, though. I’m not trained and this may be only my third serious attempt in my life. Chris Cornell of Soundgarden…one of the most beautiful people to have lived.

Hope it passes.

Em

*I saw my vestibular therapist this week and finally have a set of exercises I have to to daily. Most acute symptoms have tapered but my brain still reacts to triggers and I have a long way to go. At least I’m trending the right way. Today was pretty good, relatively speaking. Miss you all and I will ease back as I can.

Float

 

Sliding down burning rope
into darkened depths
of glimmering hope…
each level descended,


I shatter in scope

— breaking layers
one by one —
leaving the past

dis
in
te
grat
ed


behind in my wake

of tormented times.

Freer and freer,
deeper and deeper
I dive,
growing fins
where wings were.

I do not fear
the landing
because

I float.

 

~ Emily C.

5.31.17

******

Hello friends. Just a quick note to check in. I continue in my recovery and healing from my own challenging year, and then the grief of Chris Cornell’s death. I needed to detach from obligations and expectations this last little while to really truly shed layers of stress built up. I am finally…fingers crossed/knock on wood…seeing glimpses of my happier self shining through (prior to Chris’ death). It’s been a daily consciousness kind of thing, and really listening to my needs, making them known, saying no, and living in the moment.

On that note, while I have been writing some, I’ve had to breathe from the reading here a bit. Today, I have spent all day trying to visit and catch up on as many blogs as I can.  I am also working on not apologizing for things that don’t need apologizing for, so I won’t say I’m sorry for not being around, because my health needed the break. (Being a people pleaser is part of what has caused so much stress to begin with.) But, I will say thank you for your continued support and love. Especially to those who have reached out during my grieving.

I think after a year of constant daily writing, my brain needed space. And honestly, I think that it will mean that I have a wellspring built up to produce more words when they are ready.  I need(ed) to allow myself the time.

Love to all. I’m always in awe of your talent, passion, beauty and friendship. And while we all need time away, I doubt I could ever stay away for long.

Thank you!

Love, Em

Blackbird Song

when tears fall,
blackbirds fly.

I’ll know it’s you,
soaring high.

when tears fall,
they’ll never dry.

love drowns this
dying heart’s fire.

music beats in memory drops
darkness illuminated
in your fading light

demons faced, never fearing night
your words’ searing strength
coaxing dark into sight

when tears fall,
blackbirds fly.

I’ll know it’s you,
soaring goodbye.

when tears fall,
blackbirds cry.

I’ll know it’s you
singing goodbye.

when tears fall,
blackbird song dies.

I’ll know it’s you
soaring goodbye.

when tears fall, 
they’ll someday dry.

but only after my time
in your lingering light,

on this green earth
expires

~ Emily C.

5.20.17


Goodbye, Chris.

Grief is an interesting beast; sharp and spiny, with a very soft tender center. Sitting at my favorite place, the gathering space and cafe inside KEXP radio at Seattle Center, just across the field from the Space Needle and the International Fountain; my mind struggles to process exactly where to start.

The city of Seattle is a beautiful place. It is growing rapidly, mostly due to the takeover of Amazon and other tech companies drawing the thousands of new people here for their workforces. I know the city is changing. I know that people like me, native-born Seattleites that are still living here, are getting increasingly harder to find, a rare breed, if you will.

I was a young pre-teen and teen when this city was giving birth to grunge through the likes of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Mudhoney, Green River, Mother Love Bone, Alice in Chains.  I was just young enough that it was an act of rebellion to go out to some of these concerts. My mother, a somewhat conservative Christian (while liberal in politics), didn’t always understand why I was rebelling into punk and grunge. I was the good little church-going girl (Although that changed as well. Being forced into religion turned me off to it once I grew into my own.) But, my room increasingly morphed from pink to black, sporting posters of my favorites.  And Soundgarden was a big one.

I believe it was 1990 when I was 13 turning 14 years-old that my brother and I were allowed to go see Soundgarden live at what was then the Coliseum, now Key Arena. This was a HUGE deal. My mom just didn’t ever “let” me do this kind of thing. I once even had to lie to her about going to an Alice Cooper concert in Oregon, somewhere about this time.

She probably felt better that I was going with my brother who swore to take care of me. Although, she wasn’t a fan of my outfit, saying I “looked like a sex pot.”  In 1990, concert going gear consisted of tube skirts and jean jackets with a tank.  I wore it anyway. Because. And no, I didn’t look like a sex pot. I looked like every other young teen concert goer.

My brother and I sat back in the seats, not far up, but not in the pit where the moshing was.  He worked hard to keep an eye on me, but I was doing fine. I think it was The Posies who opened and they were grumpy that we weren’t listening to them because we were so excited about Soundgarden. They swore at us. So punk, so grunge.

At one point in the set, Soundgarden, who at this time was still a few years away from their Superunknown album, played a song called, “Big Dumb Sex”, which repeated the phrase:

“Hey, I know what I’m gonna do // I’m gonna fuck fuck fuck fuck you //“

over and over and over.  Well, this kind of horrified my brother and he tried to plug my ears. But, to no avail. Besides, I heard the song dozens of times before. This is the freedom I came here for after all.

This will be one of the best memories I have of my brother who struggles with severe bipolar disorder to this day, the onset of which would not come until another 4 years from this concert.

Chris Cornell’s passing late Wednesday night is like losing a family member. His music spoke to the generation X youth in Seattle and the world with its dark, brooding, melodic moods, and yet…ultimately positive and strong in its message of fighting through and overcoming personal demons.  It’s no secret that Chris himself struggled deeply with addiction and depression that could have taken his life countless times.

The news this morning is that his wife is disputing the suicide claims. It seems that he talked to her after his performance with Soundgarden in Detroit saying that he “may have taken a two or three extra Ativan.” She immediately called hotel security and asked them to check on him. They did, and found his lifeless body in the bathroom. The coroner states he committed suicide via hanging.  His wife says he was slurring his words and not himself. It makes more sense that the extra Ativan could have put him in an altered state that led to him not being of clear mind, perhaps leading him to such a sad ending.  Drugs, even prescription, can be dangerous in their side effects. And from the sound of it, he was a loving family man, planning upcoming Memorial Day holidays and summer trips to Greece. It just doesn’t make sense without the Ativan playing some part.

The sadness of his fans, while deep, cannot matched the grief of his wife, his young children, his bandmates. But, having come to “know” him, and essentially grow up with him in this city, we feel this goes deep in our blood, too.

The thing is…music was different back then. The culture was different. Pre-digital abundance, we were forced to discover music the hard ways: listening to the live radio, DJs, through friends, through local paper blurbs and listings, underground night clubs…it was all active work. Now, music is highly available and accessible; people don’t have to do the footwork.  Of course, there are positives to evolution, but it is an entirely different experience for today’s youth. Back then…well, it was something that made you who you were, your identity.

Chris Cornell’s astounding 4-octave voice, could go from a smooth baritone to a soulful-scream, seemingly endless air supply, power, tender vulnerability and a love of the art of melody, a true craftsman. Not to mention his lyrics, a kind of poetry that he put into notes, striking at the heart of his fans who could identify with his struggles, his relation to the city, and ultimately, his success. The man was beautiful…seriously striking beauty, with piercing blue eyes and curly brown hair, a ripped bare chest, those camo shorts and combat boots.  The girls dreamed of him. The guys wanted to be him. He was the epitome of rockstardom, but he was grace and humility and comfort in who he was…all in one.

Born in Seattle, he is truly the voice of Seattle. Eddie Vedder is a local boy, but not born here. Yes, he defines Seattle in another way. And Kurt, local but born in Aberdeen.  Chris? Born here, went to school here.  This man was gifted with a voice that could not be denied. We were blessed to hear it, more blessed to share his city.

I spent all day yesterday downtown at the fountain under the Space Needle, and at KEXP radio station where people were gathering to grieve. I was photographed by Getty and interviewed by our local paper. My swollen ugly cry puffy face is plastered over the internet in pictures on the news today.  I want to write about that next. For now, this is the start.

And you may have noticed I haven’t written much poetry this week. My brain has said it needed some quiet, to gather thoughts, allow new words to form. And then the news of Chris has set me back a bit, obviously. But, I expect that I will find a poem escape here in the next few days or sooner. Lot of processing going on.

Thank you for your love and support.

Em


All pictures mine.

Mourning Chris


Last night I had an extremely vivid dream where I was sobbing at the death of someone who was not identified. I woke up exhausted as if I’d been crying all night.

The first thing I do is check my phone and what do I see…Chris Cornell of Soundgarden had died overnight. 

I have been in shock and bawling all day. I have a story to tell. Hopefully, tomorrow I will be able to put my feelings down and recount this surreal day in Seattle. 

We’ve lost a legend, one of if not the best rock voice in history…4 octave range. 

This city — his birthplace — and the world mourns deeply today.

And that dream…not even kidding. That’s the truth. I can hardly believe it.

***

Photo my own. I was the first to lay flowers at the fountain and at KEXP radio station today. Space Needle went dark from 9-10pm in his honor.