"Beauty confronts us with the requirement that we place ourselves among...the redeemers, the leaders in the protection of life. Once you have seen the bush on fire, you are not going to get out of the assignment unless you close your eyes to the beauty.... [You] either have to close your eyes or go back to Egypt and set the people free." - Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, "Rising to the Challenge of Our Times"

Friday, October 20, 2006

middle english for the middle o' nowhere

I learnt this in high school. Pronunciation may be a little off and I think over the years I've dislocated a word or two, sort of like a one-person game of telephone. Mrs. Townsend had an LP recording of it that she played to help us get the sound more or less right and had us memorize it. I always think of her when I repeat it. I remember her disclaimer about the bawdy parts of the Tales which she officially did not assign us to read and which I dutifully avoided until the medieval literature class at SF State. I think it was during this class that the detail came up that Geoff survived two outbreaks of the black death. No wonder folks were looking for a little holp whan that they were seeke. Also he had some really dull sounding day job, like tax collecting or medieval bureaucracy or something. Maybe my problem (in terms of attaining literary immortality) is that my day job isn't dull enough. On the other hand it would seem by definition impossible to attain this status during ones natural lifespan anyway so it can't be correctly identified as a "problem" right now.

this is an audio post - click to play

Speaking of obstacles to creativity, though, a homeless woman came into the office this morning with the citation she'd received for "camping" in the park. This issue reappeared on my radar earlier in the week when the City Council decided to pass an ordinance closing most all the city parks at night and giving the cops more authority to shake out troublesome behavior...but also to ticket people for sleeping. Here's the rub: Chico has a homeless shelter that is hardly ever filled up because you have to be 1) really together (i.e. not under-medicated, over-medicated, or intoxicated, and not a parolee if they have reached their quota of parolees for the night, and not too late for the curfew) and 2) willing to surrender most of your rights as a free adult citizen, in order to stay there. Ms. Camper this morning said her beef with the shelter was that if you don't show up by 6:00 pm they won't let you in, and then you can't leave, so that means no participation in downtown life that the comfortably housed take for granted such as the Thursday Night Market, or caf├ęs, or poetry readings. There is in fact a poetry night in a cafe that a number of local underhoused but adequately caffeinated folks regularly attend. I have never been in a position of having to choose between art and comraderie or shelter. I wonder what I would choose.

No comments: