03 October 2007

Quiet Terror

Money is my Bogey Man, doncha know?

There are altars built to "Bright Goddess of Abundance" and I have worshiped there. But you know how it is after you leave church: sometimes it is difficult to sustain the euphoric confidence you felt, on your knees with your arms outstretched...and the candles burning...and the uplifting hymns.

You find one more email detailing one more horror story of post-Katrina economic injustice in the morning. You discover your checking account is overdrawn (Hitchcockian, the way the discovery simultaneously disturbs both physical and psychic sensorium) a couple of hours later. And finally, your lunch date cancels 30 minutes before you were to meet--the infamous "free lunch" is, once again, a no-show.

I was running away from the Bogey Man into the Bright Goddess' arms when I left CA in '94 and it wasn't my first time on the run.

But He's a clever goblin. Even as the Goddess sings a lullaby and tucks you in for the night, Bogey Man makes His presence known. He is under every bed in every room, breathing slow and softly enough so only you can hear him. He gets inside your head. You know he is smiling. You know He will wait and you know that He will come for you in the dark.

Bogey Man nipped at Sojourner Truth's ankles most of her life. I don't know that she ever commented on the impact of poverty in her personal life but a number of biographers make reference to her lifelong desire to own a home. I suspect she did not have a checking account. She lost her first house after only a few months of ownership because she could not keep up with repayment of the loan that financed it.

She worked hard and traveled ceaselessly and passed the hat and sold printed images of herself and accepted invitations into parlors and salons where, though she would always be regarded as a fascinating, exotic outsider, she would be fed and lodged for a while.

It is a life. Certainly less terrifying and debilitating than sitting down to wait in the pit for Bogey Man to find you.

1 comment:

  1. oh yeah baby - I know the bogey man. the mad mad money bogey man.
    I've probably never been so "affluent" as I am now. I have moeny enough that I can buy good quality vitamins without a thought. (well, with a thought, but not a thought that I wish I could afford them) I can buy $10 underwear at Dillards without thought. I can imagine that I will be able to continue to afford to fly to Maine once a month to see my new "ahem" man.

    but, I also know that it is never permanent. Who knows what will happen next week? My gyno found some cysts on my ovaries - maybe nothing - I sure hope so. But can I afford it if it's not?

    I also know that I am planning to walk away from this cushy job of security and 401K and insurance and oh-my-god paid retirement. I am amazed at how each day I toy with the idea - is it a great idea or is it absolutely insane. does it matter if it's a good idea or if it's insane?

    I admire you alex, and your namesake, for making the journey you are making. It takes courage. Considerable courage to me. And yet, you make it seem pretty easy. I know now you are fretting about a job, and I wish I could just fund you for a little while - so that you could continue on the path with a little less f-ing reality in the way.

    but, reality is.

    that that is is that that is not is not

    I remember that from a substitute teacher back in high school - when the usual teachers were on strike. We needed to make sense of the words. I couldn't. She finally added punctuation to get:

    That that is, is. That that is not, is not.

    Have you read "Some Things That Stay"? It just finished it - I usually don't like those kinds of books (country coming of age story) but I really liked this one. I'm lending it to D, but then hopefully it can find its' way to you.

    peace, love and bogeymen,


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