Saturday, October 27, 2007

listening to...

mazzy star

e.e. cummings

last night i curled up on my comfy couch, wrapped up in my thick LL Bean blanket and watched an old favorite of mine, hannah and her sisters. there are a million things i love about this film including the fact that dianne wiest's character reminds me more than a little bit of...ME. (and a role for which she won an Oscar in 1986.)

my favorite moment: a haunting and ever-so-beautiful reading by barbara hershey of an e.e. cummings poem.

i forgot how much i love that poem.

nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands


somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
by e. e. cummings

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look will easily unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully, mysteriously) her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;
nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Koko's Greatest Hits Part 1

it's amazing the gems you can find online.

i just LOVE the 80's. yes indeed.

orchestral manoeuvres in the dark.

for kevin, from the posse, with love

On Friendship
Kahlil Gibran

Your friend is your needs answered.
He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.
And he is your board and your fireside.
For you come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace.

When your friend speaks his mind you fear not the "nay" in your own mind, nor do you withhold the "ay."

And when he is silent your heart ceases not to listen to his heart;
For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed.

When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.

And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.
For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth: and only the unprofitable is caught.

And let your best be for your friend.
If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know its flood also.
For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill?
Seek him always with hours to live.

For it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness.
And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

listening to...

the sundays--blind

beam of sunshine

Lots has been written on The Slant about my work at EqualityMaine. I’m a self-proclaimed LGBT rabble rouser and, let’s be honest Michael, while I am clearly NOT the homosexual rights movement, I'm proud of the fact that I've managed to eke out a living doing something meaningful and important to me. Something BOTH Michaels would refer to as working for the radical homosexual rights lobbying group and advancing our so-called gay agenda.

You betcha.

I will say that sometimes this work feels thankless—and that much of the time it feels like an uphill battle with no end in sight. I mean...marriage? Shit, that’s gonna take a lot more than a small miracle, and I’m just hoping I live long enough to see the day Kimm & Jen can say they are married and mean it. Yeah. I want that day for them, very much.

It’s overwhelming sometimes, and I can admit that there are days when I just want to cover my head with a blanket and hide. These kind of days usually follow the nights that I jolt awake at 2 am in a cold sweat and filled with anxiety, certain that I don’t have what it takes to see this battle to the end. I don't always sleep well at night because much of the time my head is just swimming with worry about the work. True story.

But then something amazing will happen, and I’ll get to see first hand how this work makes such a difference in the every day lives of people I may never meet, days when it’s just an absolute privilege to be an insider in the “movement.” I've had a few of those days over the past couple of months, and let's just say it's put a little bit of wind back in my sails.

This past August, the Maine Supreme Court unanimously ruled that same-sex couples have every right to co-adopt. I played no role in that battle. I knew it was happening, but I was essentially a helpless spectator. That major victory in the courts happened thanks to some serious courage and intestinal fortitude on the part of two lesbians who refused to take no for an answer, and it happened because of the tireless work of Mary Bonauto and Pat Peard, among others.

Like I said, I had nothing to with it. But I sure did reap the benefits from it. Since that the ruling came down, I have been in a very unique position to see how it affects people here in Maine. People who have shared their stories with us, who have called us asking for resources, or who have written just to say "we are a family now." And all of it has absolutely blown me away.

There is one family in particular that I know has changed me forever. Two women and their little girl. And I carry the three of them in my heart now. I think of them every single day I go to work. When I'm too tired or too cranky or too filled with self-doubt, I remember them and say to myself, "go to work Huntress."

ain't no mountain high enough.

Let's call the two women Jane and Mary, understanding that for the sake of their privacy I just pulled those names out of the air. Jane and Mary have been together for 19 years. 12 years ago, they decided to have a child, and after two long years of visits to fertility clinics, Jane finally got pregnant and 9 months later they had a beautiful addition to their family, a little girl we’ll call...Annie.

They did everything legally available to them to connect Annie to Mary, drawing up guardianship papers, wills, powers of attorney. But in the eyes of the law Annie was not Mary’s daughter because in Maine, second-parent adoption was not allowed. So Annie and Mary were essentially legal strangers. Period, the end.

Fast forward to this past April, when Jane was diagnosed with terminal cancer and told she had about a 2 to 3 year window of survival, and Mary and Jane make this excruciating decision: to ensure that Mary has full and legal custody of Annie following Jane’s death, they do what anyone would say is inconceivable. Yet, at that moment, it's the only way. They begin the procedure of Jane giving up her parental rights so that Mary can legally adopt Annie.


How much does that suck?

In the last years of her life, Jane has to make the impossible choice to completely remove herself legally from her daughter’s life.

A day after the court ruling, an email lands in our box at work from Mary and Jane, telling us their story in what is clearly painful, emotional and difficult detail. They ask a simple but poignant question at the end of the email: with this new court ruling, is there any way we can sneak in on the court’s good favor of same-sex adoption? And then this haunting line: please understand that timing here might be everything for us.

Reading that line took my breath away.

We respond with the happy news that they don't need to sneak at all. That the court was very, very clear that both “joint” adoption and “second parent” adoption is completely permissible for same-sex couples. We make a few connections for them. Get them in touch with the right people. Tell them these connections will help them get the rights and protections they need and deserve.

15 days later, we hear back from Mary and Jane. We wanted you to know that this morning, the probate judge in our county has approved our adoption. They are writing to tell us how thrilling it was to see both of their names on Annie’s birth certificate. They say we are just so happy tonight. They call it another beam of sunshine, of positive light and energy to get us through difficult times.

And they thank us for the work that we do.

My god. You read an email like that...and you are just never the same.

(I slept really well that night.)

Monday, October 15, 2007

high on lights

so there's no sippie wallace...but still...this is pretty fabulous. 1977. and that ain't water bonnie's drinkin'.

enjoy, mchottie.

my return

Woke early this morning with willie (who is a sad little sack fighting a kitty cold and who wants to be within 1 inch of me at all times lately) nestled around my shoulders and oscar asking, not so politely, to be let outside for his morning exploration around the neighborhood. Put on a pot of coffee and lit a fire in the fireplace to take off the chill, and then just sat in front of it, staring at the dancing flames, my mind in a rare state of emptiness, all around me quiet except for the occasional crackle of birch bark meeting fire.

I have not written anything in a long while, a combination of being extremely busy both in measure of time and of thought. I don’t mind it much that life has been hectic—the constant forward motion is good for me. What’s been difficult is the fullness of my head and my inability lately to empty it out. This never bodes well for kind of crazy physical energy needs the balance of a calm mind. I disappeared briefly a few weekends ago, packed up my camping gear and spent some time in spaces empty of people. It helped. I was able to unload some of the weight in my head and heart. Some of it still sits in me, but I am trying to just let it be and focus on what is present and in front of me. If I spend too much time reviewing past missteps or trying to avoid future ones I trip over everything and miss what’s in the here and now.

Proust wrote “the only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” I’ve thought about that a lot lately and am trying to view my current world with a different—and hopefully healthier—perspective. Trying to understand and accept that there are those times when what we would change we simply cannot change. When reason fails and problems cannot be solved.

Maybe grace comes from recognizing and acknowledging those moments.

I want so much to live in a state of grace.

What I know for certain, of course, is that our human experience, all of it, is seasoned with accomplishment, failure, love and loss. Life is not solid, at all, life is water, flowing inside and around objects, people, moments in time and space, sometimes sitting still and placid, sometimes rushing whitecapped and fierce, but often something in between. And like water, life really can’t be grasped, we can’t hold it tightly in our hands.

It is when I fail to recognize this that I become stagnant and my life becomes motionless.

And when I remember it, when I become aware of it...when I let go and just allow myself to flow like water...those are the moments when I am most alive.