CRONE'S NEST ENTERPRISES
Ru Otto
artist  | writer  |  poet    

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The Need for Renewal

Posted on August 27, 2016 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (5)

The Need for Renewal

 

It didn’t used to be

So difficult.

 

At 30, renewal was everywhere,

Like women marching in the streets,

Taking Back the Night,

Taking back their bodies,

Taking back their souls,

Shave your head, pick up a sign,

Will yourself safe in the dark.

 

If only for a night,

We knew in that short

Emboldened parentheses of our daily lives,

That we were surrounded and lifted up

By hundreds of sisters,

The Army of Lovers that could not fail –

And didn’t really fail,

But seemed to fade away,

As we acquired our own singular bravery,

We no longer needed each other,

Or thought we didn’t, anyway.

 

And now, Daughters and Grandaughters

Spangled with metal piercings and graffitied with tattoos,

Leather-clad and rainbow-haired

Go fearlessly into the streets.

They have no need to “come out”

They were born out.

 

The old paradigm has shifted,

And we, the once young, bright, system crashing First Wave

Have sunk back into the homogeneous warm sea of humanity

That brought us so alive at their age.

 

I know what I know,

And my tired back was a bridge

For this generation of women.

Might they not at least

give us credit for suffering the first blows as

we sought justice and equality for our female-centric ways?

 

No, it’s not the way of a revolution,

And besides,

Too much looking back

While traveling at this rate of speed

Can cause accidents.

 

But must I content myself with living in the shadow

Of a lesbian nation I helped to create?

Must I allow myself to be cast

Into the pile of elders and crones

Whose stride is no longer strong,

Whose voices are no longer relevant?

 

 

 

 

I think not!

I am old, but I have lived the truth of this revolution,

And I will not be silenced

By either apathy or disappointment.

 

I am tired,

But I still have the strength to vote “The Woman Card”

And bring this patriarchy to its knees.

 

I am no longer young,

Dew-kissed and lovely,

But I will continue to model a life

Of value and valor

As a Grandmother and Wisdom Keeper to

The next wave of empowered women,

And to the wave after that,

Until I finally slip beneath

The restless currents of human consciousness

To my own deep and satisfying final resting,

Until the next time, anyway.

 

Buddha Babe Goes to Camp

Posted on June 9, 2015 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Buddha Babe Goes to Camp

    This past May 9th on my birthday, I had the pleasure of attending one of the SGI Conferences at the Florida Nature and Culture Center, or the FNCC, as we know it.

    When I became a card carrying Buddhist and joined the Soka Gakkai International, three years ago, I read about these conferences, but knew in my heart, I would never have either the money or the physical endurance to go. Nevertheless, it went on my altar with my list of “impossible things” I wanted to accomplish.

    Another impossible goal I put on my list was to make money selling my paintings.

    No one could have been more surprised than me when I sold my first painting, and then my second and then my third. Money started rolling in along with many physical benefits.

    I was led to a surgeon who trimmed back my stomach and helped me lose 80 lbs, which caused me to no longer be diabetic, hypertensive, or pain-filled. I began to sleep better and as of my last blood test, everything is running at 100%

    Suddenly, I found myself monetarily and physically ready to make the trek to Florida and see this SGI miracle in the Everglades, the Florida Nature and Culture Center.

    I won’t say I wasn’t nervous about traveling in my power chair. I knew it would have to be stored in the hold of the plane for the trip, and then I would require lifts on the various vehicles taking me to and from the airports.

   To my delight, everything went smoothly, and I arrived at the center just in time to enjoy a steak dinner. The first of several mind blowingly delicious meals.

   That first steak dinner for all the new arrivals says a lot about the ichinin of the land.

   The Florida Nature and Culture Center sits on 125 acres of pristine, Florida Everglades, normally teaming with reptiles and insects. Yes, there was a 7 ft gator that liked to bask among the water lilies on Toda Lake, watching us eat on the veranda. And yes, sitting outside at dusk, one had to spray mosquito repellant all over your body to keep from being eaten alive, but in general I’ve never felt a place so gentle and protective.

    In 1996, President Ikeda dedicated this piece of land to the SGI-USA members as a place to go to refresh our spirits and our determination to practice. It’s all that and more. I would encourage all of you to make the trip someday soon, and enjoy this precious gift.

  There is an aura of caring and compassion that fills you up while you are there.

  This started right off when I first walked on to the property. An attractive man hailed me with a wave and said, “Hi there! Welcome to this beautiful place on this beautiful day with the happiest people in the world!”

   The conference I attended was the 15th Annual LGBTQ Conference, and for those of you who have never heard the term, LGBTQ stands for Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transsexual and Questioning or Queer

   This year, President Ikeda honored us by giving our group a name: The Courageous Freedom Group, and we spent the weekend dialoguing about what these words meant to us, on a personal level.

   We were asked, “What does freedom mean to you” and “What is courage”?

   What does freedom feel like? How do you know if you are being courageous?

   As was stated at one of the workshops, “our community is a majestic spectrum” and there are no simple or cookie cutter answers.

   Sometimes you can only define freedom by what you don’t have:  Like the freedom to be yourself, when you are an outlandishly feminine gay man,0r the freedom to be a man when you have all the plumbing of a woman.

  I justy know,  It’s hard to come out, no matter how many times you do it.

  I suspected I was a lesbian at age 20, but did not admit it to myself or others until I was 30. That’s 10 years of no courage and no freedom.

  At 33 I joined a women’s collective and fairly burst out of the closet, shaved my head, had 5 earrings in one ear and became a “man-hater”.

  Well, I’m older now, and I know I’m not really a man-hater, but I bond emotionally only with women, and I don’t want to be ashamed of that. There is a place for me on this planet and Sensei has convinced me that I’m an important part of that majestic spectrum.

  Being at the Florida Nature and Culture Center reminded me of how proud I am to be a lesbian and helped me renew my vow to challenge and overcome my limitations whenever and however they pop up.

  Some of the people at the conference were not as lucky as I and told stories of abuse that I’ll never forget. It was a healing experience for us to all be together and be able to open our hearts in love and acceptance of each other.

  I made about 100 friends at this conference, and I’m going to have a hard time keeping up with them all, but I’m going to try, because I learned so much from them, and I just love them.

  I would like to end this experience with a quote from President Ikeda in his personal letter to those of us in the newly formed Courageous Freedom Group where he encouraged us to remember, quote “that there is no Buddha who is defeated by suffering and hardship”…and to “please lead a life dedicated to your personal vow, filled with pride as a bodhisattva of the Earth. Let us adorn our lives with optimism and cheerfulness, as we “dance with joy” all the more.”            

 

 

 

Breaking Ice at Dawn

Posted on April 29, 2015 at 3:10 PM Comments comments (0)





Breaking Ice at Dawn

 

Slipping from warm bed into January dawn,

Well padded and clumsy with down,

Melting the brittle air in a world of cold silences,

Softened only by huff of horse breath

There, near my left shoulder

And behind my swaddled head.

He stands, expectant, beloved, waits

For my pick-ax to fall, patient

For this morning gift of water soaking

Through the splintering ice.

Massive head on graceful neck

Lowered now to drink, accepts

The daily offering of my labor.

Tiny shards of ice catch fire in the light,

Airborne crystals sparkle like jewels,

Stick to my coat and skitter across

The frozen pond. My arm arches with the rising sun

As I swing the ax in rhythm with my heart.

 

Fare Thee Well

Posted on April 29, 2015 at 3:05 PM Comments comments (0)




FARE THEE WELL

 

Blue eyes looking into brown

Goodbye again, farewell.

We part again,

To meet again,

And part again, somewhere.

The classic dance continues,

Of point and counterpoint,

As rhythmic and slow,

As all the years that flow,

Within,

And far beyond

Our separate lives.

 

Ain't Nothin' Free

Posted on April 29, 2015 at 3:05 PM Comments comments (0)




AIN’T NOTHIN’ FREE

 

The Narrows Bridge in Tacoma

Fucked me with her beauty.

Long limbed lovely

Stretched out before me,

A surprise on this slate-ugly day.

Rain stung my eyes

As I slid into her waiting arms.

I thought the click of the police camera

Was a wink from God,

And I sailed,

Mouth ajar with joy

Across ruffled amber waters.

Days later

The bill came in the mail,

Long since my ardor had cooled.

 

I didn't know she was a working girl

 

Family Line

Posted on April 29, 2015 at 3:05 PM Comments comments (0)




FAMILY LINE

 

I was tired of sitting

At the head of the table,

Presiding over empty chairs

And abandoned toys.

The armoire against the far wall

My only companion,

Unadorned doors of mahogany,

Gleaming darkly and closed tight,

Secrets stored elegantly

In an otherwise impoverished room.

My Thursdays were special

Because of her,

But it was already seven

And she had not come.

Suffused with angst

I searched the crowded drawers

Looking for her number,

Any number,

I needed someone to come for me.

The lethargy of my illness

Was drawing me down,

I soon became heavy with inertia.

I went to the patio to look

A breath of air,

And I saw that my family

Was all gathered there,

A rose tinted portrait

Of three generations

Sitting serene in a line of lawn chairs,

A solid but cheerful

Line of lawn chairs.

 

 

 

October Rains - A Good Day to Die

Posted on April 29, 2015 at 3:00 PM Comments comments (0)


 

October Rains; A Good Death

 

I fall asleep to rain in October.

The windswept raindrops pelt my windows and roof

They sooth me and I sleep hard

Like a winter bear dreaming-in the great migration of salmon.

Those hook nosed behemoths who circle and wait in the fringes of our rocky coast

For just this moment of autumn deluge,

Memory and sex driving them relentlessly

To search the flooding streambeds,

Nosing for the scent of home and safety.

For lodged in each reptilian brain lies a instinctual map to their spawning grounds,

The perfect place to drop their chromosomal package

And hurl themselves into the future.

 

King of Fish, benevolent gift of providence,

They fling themselves forward,

Plunging upstream,

Scraped and bruised by rock and gravel,

Until, in a final act of piscine ecstasy,

Expelling sperm and eggs over rock studded runnels,

And gasping,

They die in droves,

Covering the streambeds for miles with the stench

Of life and death.

 

And so, growling and frisking,

The bears feast with coyote and wolves, eagle and crow.

Every living creature sharing in this bounty of flesh

Sharp teeth crunch bone,

Tongues loll in loose lipped pleasure,

No appetite goes unsated,

Even the rooting mouths of the great Pacific Rainforests,

and taproots soak up nature’s bone meal and spoor soup,

As the rains continue,

Pressure washing the dust of late summer

From needles and cones

And the giants sigh a long satisfied breath

And the rains continue,

Enveloping the world in a mist that cleanses and permeates

To the very heart of the land.

We wooded creatures purr and circle soft beds in dark dens,

Welcoming the short winter days of silver shadows,

And sweet, dreamless sleep.

 

 

 


The Need for Renewal

Posted on April 29, 2015 at 2:55 PM Comments comments (0)




The Need for Renewal


It didn’t used to be so difficult.

At 30, renewal was everywhere,

Like women marching in the streets,

Taking Back the Night,

Taking back their bodies,

Taking back their souls,

Shave your head, pick up a sign,

Pretend you are safe in the dark,

If only for a night, we knew in that short

Emboldened parentheses of our daily lives

That we were surrounded and lifted up

By hundreds of sisters,

The Army of Lovers that could not fail – but

Didn’t fail, but seem to fade away

As we acquired our own singular bravery.

And now, Daughters,

Spangled with metal piercings and graffitied with tattoos,

Leather-clad and rainbow-haired

Go fearlessly into the streets.

They have no need to “come out”

They were born out.

The old paradigm has shifted,

And we, the bright, young, system crashing First Wave

Have sunk back into the homogeneous warm sea of humanity

That brought us so alive at their age.

I know what I know and my tired back was a bridge

For this generation of women.

Might they not at least give us credit for warding off the first blows

As we sought justice and equality for our sex?

No, it’s not the way of a revolution,

Looking back can cause accidents,

Especially traveling at this speed.


Ru Otto 2015

Cure for Blindness

Posted on April 19, 2015 at 11:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Chapter 8 - My Memoir

I had an eye doctor appointment yesterday. My new glasses suck although they are lovely and make me look better too. But I’m having trouble seeing out of them. Everything seems to be moving, especially letters, and forget trying to read my fish food labels. They told me the new prescription would help me see better in the bright light, but everything is just as foggy as ever. Consequently, I was not thrilled to make the long trek back to see what could be done. So anyway, my appointment for my yearly exam came time and I went in and got dilated. It seems that I have Grandma Winebrenner’s eyes. My cataracts are growing like crazy and there is nothing to be done but change my prescription again and expect surgery in six months. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that they now have “premium” lenses available to pop in your eye after they take the old yellow cloudy ones out, and these lenses are so exquisitely calibrated I will never have to wear glasses again! Imagine that! With no cool glasses I will definitely have to work on my personality.

So I was not only rather blind on my roll home, but also exploring my foggy, or actually, less foggy future. I’ve been playing with the idea (eye-dea) of getting a neck tattoo. I’ve never been a fan of the tats, but they are very popular in this part of the world. I want one on the back of my neck, popping out above my collar. I won’t be able to see it, but everyone I leave in my dust will. Little joke there…..

So while I was waiting for my eyes to dilate I thought about what I might want and the idea of a Kundalini Dragon came to mind. Although I think the Kundalini is a snake, I picture mine as a dragon. Puff of smoke floating into my hairline, maybe flames, open mouth, fangs, but pretty, little wings coming out its neck, then a curving dragon body swooping down my spine, kind of dancing with it. Little feet? Maybe. And not an ugly, mean dragon, but beautiful and Awe-full. A little something for the coroner to find. Is that sick? #dragons #cataracts #tattoos

 

My Mom - Memoir Exerpt

Posted on March 5, 2015 at 4:50 PM Comments comments (0)

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