A Ghostly Life


I never got to say goodbye. Never saw the body. My child asked me not to look.The remains were at sea for several days, providing nutrition for fish and perhaps mammals. I asked if he was in one piece. I don’t know why it mattered to me. Possibly because Isis had to go to the ends of the earth to find 14 pieces of her husband. She found 13.

She had to fashion the 14th to put him whole again.

So I undertake the same, in the underworld, to where he’s gone.

He told me we would be closer than ever some day. They say true love never dies.

The Dog Star resonates with me now. When others say, “Are you serious?” they are wondering if I’m sincere or ernest, but it sounds to me like they are asking if I’m Sirius.

When you get older, the stars assert themselves, reminding you of your eventual return to interstellar space.

Speaking of John Coltrane, he is good  medicine for now.

I’ve been listening to Dave’s music, when I can stand it. I feel him constantly.

They say you find the most precious things when you’re not looking. I found everything I wasn’t looking for: Christmas, Easter, Ground Hog’s Day/Brigid, Santa Lucia, All Hallow’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, a roll in the hay at 3 a.m. (midnight California time) on New Year’s, a wedding on the first day of spring. I felt the death of the Sun King each August, and each October the chilly skies in windswept Noe Valley blew in the pagan new year.

I met a time traveler who has traveled on. He blessed a great many people, and he eclipsed me. His precious body is a memory, but his soul abides. I’m glad I can love him, but rebuke myself daily for not making more inquiries, for being worn down by it all. I would have given anything to keep him here, but sometimes a soul feels trapped, alone, exhausted, afraid and worthless. I saw Dave as free, well-attended, energetic, fearless and confident. If his wife saw him as that, how could he end up the opposite? I have such a hard time believing he didn’t share or cherish my opinion of him. He revealed my weaknesses and evoked my strengths, exactly as God does. I worshipped him.

The goal for everyone is to attain enlightenment. Is a genius not closer to enlightenment than a dullard? Many think the genius is an enlightener. The egoist genius results when a genius is patronized, and this is the ruination of artistry.

To require patronization for any art is an abomination. Art should be folded into life’s necessities, not regarded as a bonus. Folk art and high art are not two sorts of art except that one requires more money than necessary to make its point. If we are all swept away anyway, what need to hew something in stone?

The human heart is longer lasting. Love is forever. Better to celebrate love and nurture living relationships than to pay someone to describe their inspiration for all time. Give me utopia over any pretty city. Give me a culture of kindness that makes art out of food and plates to put it on, baskets to carry the day’s harvest and other necessary items.

I’ll make art out of my clothes, movement, speech, relationships, prayers, and if I’m successful, I will change the world to folk art, with everyone serving everyone, singing their joy in communion with Mother Earth, Sun of God, Harmony of the Spheres, the Compassionate One conceiving all in perfect time.

That said, I’m sure glad for Stonehenge. Its design rewards study. It was clearly made by genii. It’s obvious that whomever made this stone device anticipated the need to hew important information in stone, as humans were about to get very stupid, and when they got smart again they would need to understand Stonehenge’s information in order to get out of the unbelievable mess they will be in.

We are about to get very smart as necessity will demand us to pledge, once again, the types of pledges Americans made to one another in dire times: to care for one another’s interests as one would one’s own. Selflessness and trust are the basis of community because everyone must both contribute and sacrifice in turn for the greater good. These truths we hold to be self-evident; that to claim the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, one has to grant that right to all.

Why should one abandon equality? My guess is that many people believe a selfish world is “human nature.” I think it’s the opposite. I think human nature is fundamentally selfless, with a tender heart and sterling character. For a rebuttal on my assessment of human nature, read Mark Twain’s Letters From the Earth, a book so scandalously hilarious it could only be published 50 years after his death.


Church of the Subtle

Some time ago my husband Dave Myers and I were discussing, again, what we should name our band. We’d been singing together for at least a year when we settled on Church of the Subtle. We both loved John Coltrane and were taken by the fact that devotees of Coltrane founded a church around his music, and gathered every Sunday in a Christian fashion to play his songs.

Dave and I both appreciated subtlety,  particularly with respect to music. We were both radio people, so understood the power of invisible forces. We wanted our life together to represent subtlety, and we wanted our work to testify to the marriage of our vibrations.

The Earth and Her subtle agencies garlanded us with rewards, leading to overconsumption, poor judgment, predation. Art lost. The children paid, and paid.

Defeated, casting my eyes heavenward, I discovered goodness, and sipped it through a straw.

I heard a voice and hummed what I heard. It was Aloysius Proud, who wrapped himself in a summer’s day and explained himself away. I took notes, unfortunately.

My service dog, Lucky, was attacked while I was away, burying the dead, the long dead, the castaway. He was bitten in the neck by the same shark who took his master’s voice. It circled for seven years, and went for the juggler, but the juggler took him and cast him in the sea. She was not a sailor, but was driven.

I must bring him back piece by piece, and remind myself he was subtle, he worshipped the subtle, he was a child of rock and roll and therefore must never grow old.

The obituary mentions me as one of the “other relatives.” Church of the Subtle isn’t mentioned, though we made two albums together and sang together for 14 years, mostly Dave’s compositions, and him doing most of the playing and singing. I had the babies and massaged his body and worshipped at his feet and assumed he deserved all the credit.

We gave each other nothing for Christmas, after giving everything we had to others. Those were our happiest times.

When you love someone and kids are involved, you have to put your love first and remember why you had kids together. It’s not up for debate. I married an artist. I married in a realm above it all, and invited others to witness. Whoever made it to Sutro Park in San Francisco on the first day of spring in 1997 heard me say I would love him even when he was tormented and needed understanding.

Perhaps only the sea heard me.

Now the underworld is overhead and the ocean’s harbor is my bed.