Meeting again

The raw material of awareness.
The messiness,
the scariness,
the dark, the light.
The open spaces of our wildness,
we are skin, body and mind.

Our boundlessness,
insignificance, the
thin spaces of hard places,
seeing ourselves
from ten thousand feet.

The endurance is not confined
to jumping out of a spacecraft.
And if we do, we have no parachute,
unattached to the outcome.
Landing on the here pre-dates the Big Bang.
Being picked last for the team no longer matters.


© 2021 Copyright Rick Frame

Playing with the form is fun. This is based on the piece ‘Meeting’.

A meeting

The raw material of awareness. The messiness, the scariness,
the dark and the light. The open spaces of our wildness,
that we are nature. Our boundlessness and insignificance, the
thin spaces of hard places, seeing ourselves from ten thousand feet.

The endurance can arise anywhere. It is not confined
to jumping out of a spacecraft. And if we do, we have no parachute, unattached to the outcome. Landing on the here pre-dates the Big Bang. Being picked last for the team no longer matters.


© 2021 Copyright Rick Frame

What if happiness were a creative activity, like righting a poem? John Tarrant.

The horror


The light machine circled above us. It moved around like a mysterious cloud. Then it landed. I knew we were in deep trouble, trapped in the car park nearby. The night had closed in and the terror was like an unwelcome stranger, faceless. Like the aliens who emerged from the light. I was in the middle of one of the most extraordinary nightmares and I awoke with a start. I felt awful and shaken. This had been the second episode in the early hours of the morning. Earlier I had had a connected dream and it involved people being pulled into dark places by those who came later in the light machine. I went back to sleep and the dream restarted. Go figure. I had come to a lake and was swimming like a crazy thing to get away from these creatures that were human cardboard wanting to take control. I awoke again horrified, the menace everywhere.


I have had weird dreams in my life but this one was truly dreadful. It was the end of the world and the apocalypse had arrived. Living in it, I was in covered in despair. I wonder what Jung would have made of it?

Freedom Day

It was simply years ago. I can’t for the life of me remember his name. He was a kid I taught. His mind was so fixated. He hated black protest poetry and railed against me and the system for teaching voices and lives that did not matter to him.

At the end of the lesson, he would have a real go at me, saying that I was an agent of the ANC liberation movement, propagandising my pupils. He got nasty. Everywhere in my classroom he ‘saw’ the colours of the ANC – green, gold and black. The rabbit hole he had gone down was pretty scary.

In those days we were listed in the telephone directory and I am sure he was the nuisance caller, saying dreadful things on the line. Then we changed the number and it stopped.

At the time I was utterly scornful and dismissive of his views and attitude and simply wrote him off, not trying to reach out to help him. I thought he was a crank, hoodwinked by his white supremacist background and had no interest in trying to change his mind.

Today, on Freedom Day in South Africa, I am wondering if he has been saved from himself and his background. Now my heart goes out to him that he was such a lost, unreconstructed soul.


Today I am thinking about all those people who have unhooked themselves from their past, where there has been an chance of unbuilding and unmaking views that have created a deep unhappiness.

Each moment is all there is

‘There is nothing more terrifying’, he said, ‘than to accept oneself completely.’*

Up until that moment I had felt that my life was a series of visiting countries’ airports. ‘How do you get there? That is the big question.’

‘The moon is pink and pigs fly before sunrise.’


© 2021 Copyright Rick Frame

* It was Jung whom I am quoting. Not sure if this works for you. I am no sage.

Lonely

The road was parched, sand smooth like a faraway beach. There had been no rain since the previous Spring. Dust blew up, the army truck tracked for miles. No one wanted to think about much. They travelled into their silences.

There had been landmines in the area, the long muse they could be next. There was no one around that they could see. No children playing. No laughter. The thatched huts kept their secrets. War had squeezed the blood out of the place.

The arrival at the destination. A black metallic chopper, the ferryman with blades, to drop them high up to the squatted hut, sandbags and rats and a call sign for company.


© 2021 Copyright Rick Frame

This is a companion piece to First Street, published earlier. This road and this journey, this place returned only recently. Why it had leapt back into the consciousness I have no idea. I have no memory of the safe journey out four weeks later. Maybe this is not such a mystery, like one does not report the safe landings of aeroplanes.


I wanted to see how spare the original was and changed the form, only dropping a couple of words. The sparer the better.

The road was parched,
sand smooth like a faraway beach.
There had been no rain. Dust blew up,
the army truck tracked for miles.

No one wanted to think about much.
They travelled into their silences.
There had been landmines in the area,
the long muse they could be next.

There was no one around that they could see.
No children playing. No laughter.
The thatched huts kept their secrets.
War had squeezed the blood out of the place.

The arrival at the destination.
A black metallic chopper, the ferryman with blades,
to drop them high up to the squatted hut,
sandbags and rats and a call sign for company.


Updated 26.04.2021

First Street

I am struck by how,
in reading of a soldier-poet’s war,
the distance
between him and me
is one of luck.

The war,
unforgotten by the few,
found only in hooded shades
on the lonely outskirts
of history.

I am sure that if he saw me
sunning in a cafe in First Street,
he may well have despised this
long-haired youth, bell-bottomed denims,
sticking out like a sore thumb
not doing his bit
in the eyes of
the short back and sides.

Perhaps he was a better man than
those sauntering by;
whatthefuckery written
all over their lips.


© 2021 Copyright Rick Frame

As you can imagine, there is much behind this piece. It is something that I wrote in my head forty years ago and now have penned it. Writing it out of me helps.

Oceans

There is a meditation practice where you can imagine yourself leaving the earth. The further you move away, and look back, leaving the earth’s gravity, you come to a realisation that you are in this hugeness, that your place is just a speck. That you see the blue dot in the deep darkness getting smaller and smaller.

Here you come to terms with your smallness – not in the sense of not being good enough; not in the sense that you don’t matter; not in the sense that nobody cares. In another sense altogether. How you have a consciousness and breath and a mind and body. That you have feelings, can taste, touch, smell and hear and you can doubt and question and be curious.

Here too you can get another perspective altogether. The vastness of the universe. The oceanness of your life. Strangely it is here you do not feel alone. Importantly it is here that you experience the stillness and the silence. You may of course choose to believe it is cold and bleak and dark but rather turn this on its head and listen.


© 2021 Copyright Rick Frame

I love this meditation of no longer feeling the pull of the earth. It is the space equivalent of a fire escape. Returning to this world, you feel your emptiness and fullness simultaneously.

Careless people

Extract from a first draft of a novel with the working title, Upended.

Harry had been thinking of two characters, Tom and Daisy, in the novel The Great Gatsby*. Why on earth they had popped into his head he was not entirely sure. Perhaps it had been how they represented sheer and utter carelessness, something with which Harry was overly obsessed with.

They ‘smashed up things’ and ‘retreated back into their money or vast carelessness’ and they reminded Harry of the political elite. He had gone to the scene where after a terrible accident the couple had sat opposite each other and, on re-reading it, Harry was reminded of ‘the plate of cold fried chicken between them, and two bottles of ale’ that had drawn his attention all those years before on first reading. In the midst of this banality, they were conspiring together. A person had died and they were not going to own up that it was Daisy who had been driving.

Harry couldn’t put the scene out of his head, not that this was unusual. His copy of the New Statesman had come through the letterbox. It depicted a former prime minister involved in a lobbying scandal and the title ‘Careless People’ splashed all over the front cover. Harry went straight to the leader page and there it was. The quote about Tom and Daisy. How they ‘let other people clean up their mess’.

‘Exactly!’ he roared. ‘Great minds and all that.’


© 2021 Copyright Rick Frame

* Scott Fitzgerald is the author

I have discovered that writing a novel is particularly difficult. Never done it before but in view of the fact that, on retirement, I have wide open spaces, just like the savannah that our ancestors travelled through, I thought I would give it a go. It’s darned tough.

World to rights

A walk today in Abbott’s Wood,
bluebells and wild flowers,
the carpeted Spring soundtracked
by birdsong along dusty paths.

We were putting the world to rights –
failing spectacularly mind you
bearing up, but not grinning
at our helpless powerlessness.

The rage, frustrated beyond imaginings.
The powerful bankrupt, the lies priced in
all a short term fix. Nobody seems to care –
it is not in their own backyard.

Their argument, he does not pretend
to tell the truth. Honestly dishonest.

How is it possible? We rage what the fuck
against the darkness, the sheer blindness.

It is like the climate change deniers.
Troubles stored up. It will crumple
without warning. All gone in a whimper.
Not before the tragedy where the blinkered

blink, scales falling, emerging in the daylight,
gasping at their carelessness.


© 2021 Copyright Rick Frame

I have had this piece hanging around in me for weeks. It has travelled with me in conversations and a quiet rage that needed to be put to rest on a page. Then I read a blog from Ryan Holiday offered a translation of Marcus Aurelius’ words that woke me up – ‘It is silly to escape other people’s faults. They are inescapable. Just try your own.’ This provided an important balance to what I had written, particularly in my search for equanimity.