Monday, September 15, 2008

296. Poem / Song for My Grandfather Ray: Two Generations Removed from the Land, and Extra Poem "Story to Tell"

My grandfather, John Ray Minnich, 96th birthday, in Corona, California.
Black and white photograph of the same.
Two Generations Removed from the Land. Shifting Baselines in my personal life. Page 1.
Two Generations Removed from the Land. Shifting Baselines in my personal life. Page 2.
PDF file of the poem is here...
Two or three nights ago, I was bawling and crying because three of my family members portrayed that my grandfather "lost a will for life" and was content with where and what he was, even though he was weak and had a urinary catheter in him. That night, the piano was my best friend. And so was my sister. I had come to realize that tragic and chaotic emotional conditions can render very beautiful music and very beautiful art. And it is completely chaotic and spontaneous. So, whenever I am in an unstable emotional condition, I should harness these emotions into productive pieces of art--created out of context.
I visited Ray yesterday and he told me this, with a twinkle in my eye: "You know what, Victoria? Let me tell you how bad it is in this resthome. They did the same with your grandma Marion. All they care is that they put the client in a position such that they can milk as much money off of you as possible until you croak. They don't care about your happiness. So, I gotta get the hxll out of here and back to Long Beach, with a live-in caretaker." This is condensed and paraphrased, but the apparent "loss of will to live" was replaced with enormous willpower. Ray was also disturbed that the caretakers let him sleep in till 4pm, and he had things to do and needed to be productive during the day. Otherwise, Ray was very happy to see me, and I was very happy to see him. I wrote out the final version of the poem in his room.
I had constructed the chorus of the poem "Two Generations Removed from the Land" back in Fall of 2006, during my Medieval Dark Periods. Thankfully the Dark Age only lasted one year, but ended up being two, from 2005-2007. I created a beautiful melody, but had absolutely no clue how to finish or elaborate the poem/song. Then, a few nights ago, when I was collapsing emotionally, the song came back full-fledged, and I realized that this song was about the slipping connection with the land, from my grandfather's deep-rootedness, to my father, and back to myself. It was a personal Shifting Baseline within three generations of the family. When I create a documentary about my grandfather, my father, and I, and the concept of shifting baselines with memory of the landscapes, this song will be within the movie, as well as this poem:
Story to Tell
If you-got, a story to tell
Say it once, and say it well
Then allow the "technology"
To go repeating. Repeating. Repeating.
If you got, a story to tell
Say it once, and say it swell.
Then the nuts-and-bolts of the system
Go on tweaking. And shifting. And tweaking.
Then the methods, of the madness
Add layering. Of order. To some degree.
To some degree.
I am happy that I included in the "Two Generations" poem about how I was born and raised in "Disney's Cloud" and I had to rationalize my ways "to come on down," which is ultimately a satire on a Disney/Pixar song played at the end of the Wall-e film. I do say Wall-e is a Pixar film, not a Disney film. The values and implications of the film are so tremendous, I ended up walking from the film, telling Tariel: "I think this means that Disney is going to bulldoze all its theme parks and turn it into artificial ecosystems of 'wild' lands."
Bonus Set of Family Images from Photobucket Compiled for my sister Jenny:

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