Spotlight

 

I stand in your Spotlight

Arms raised high above my head

I’m careful not to step outside the circle

For a while

 

But then I do

 

Dancing in and out

Of the circle of light

Careful not to break the flow

 

But then I do

 

The lightness is ripped into pieces

I collapse

Half inside, half out

Of the circle

Of the spotlight

Unsure of my next step

I curl up

Turn my back to you

In protection

Feeling so vulnerable

 

Zitta – written on 11/12-2013

Playing Kids

 

I hear

The playing kids

 

My ear

Receives

 

The lack of fear

 

The unconcerned

The happy tear

 

I see

I see the game

We’re all the same

We all reach for the sky

Where we share

A cloud

 

And feel so high

And mighty

 

Zitta  – written on 8/15-13

Hold My Hand

 

Richard

Hold my hand

As I envision

As I descend

Into that black hole

That empty space left behind by “us”

What used to be us

Hold my hand

With both of yours

Keep me safe as I touch

As I dare to touch

That deeper part of me

That part which may not let go

Once it takes hold

Must one lose oneself to become?

 

Zitta – written on 2/17-2013

A Heart Can Never Be Divided

 

A heart can never be divided

The fuller it is – the richer it gives

It is like a moving river

Always there is more

Having a source – the heart forever flows

Feeling so soft

 

Zitta – written on 2/12-2013

 

Response

 

I knew my heart was broken;

It was a tangible,

physical fact.

 

Then you said,

“A heart can never be divided.”

 

The broken heart cradled

In a sea of compassion

 

The sun rising.

 

Larry – written on 12/2-2016

Vision

 

I close my eyes and listen for the story. It wants to be told and emerges through me:

A few hours ago – my heart was open,

Open and unafraid.

Now it is closed

Protected by big wooden doors.

Through cracks in the doors an orange/red light speckled with white oozes out.

I slip through a crack and find myself in a spacious cave-like chamber.

I feel small but safe, the light being warm and comforting.

Ropes, spiraling wavy ropes, appear from somewhere up high in the smoke-like light.

I decide to climb one and quickly reach the top.

The view is sensational; open and embracing.

From my perch atop the rope I see people – little people, like dwarfs and goblins – squeezing through the cracks. They busily mill around, the dirt floor solid beneath their feet. They know their purpose and feel content.

An Elf climbs a rope near the one I occupy. He reaches for me. I feel it too intimate for us to touch and smile shyly. He graciously receives my smile, then climbs back down.

Below, the little people are getting together benches and a very long table. They set the table with bowls and spoons. On either side of the table they align two long troughs; these they proceed to fill with light blue sky.

The elf climbs back up, this time on MY rope. He gently pulls on my foot, suggesting that I get down and join in the festivities. I obey and he leads me to the head of the table, where I’m asked to be the queen and to sit in the queen’s chair. I feel awkward and tell them I do not wish to be the queen. Instead I initiate that we all stand up and hold hands.

A flood of goodness soars through me. It runs through my hands, then spreads to my heart – our hearts – where it comfortably settles.

I see a small bed off to one side, the bedding very white and clean.

I lie down. The bed is too small, so I stretch it pushing my arms and feet in opposite directions until it fits perfectly.

I feel tired, relaxed and peaceful. My work is done and done well.

Everyone leaves quietly through the cracks in the doors.

After a while, I get up and leave in the same manner.

Looking back on the old doors, I see the beautiful colored light shining through the many cracks and openings.

I spin around in jubilation, my arms high above my head.

I walk Home.

 

Zitta – written on 10/23-2008

Andrei – A True Story

 

Andrei, a 20 year old boy – as felt through the senses of the author – me.

I am Andrei.

I am invincible – almost.

My heart is soft – and must be protected.

Nature is safe and real – allowing the thoughts to flow.

My art has meaning – goes beyond words.

I live in the canyon, tucked away. Town is drawing me. It is Saturday.

Music – friends – maybe a little “pot” – a deep conversation.

Can we make the world a better place?

Can I?

Can I confine myself to the image this world portrays?

Mystery.

I dress warmly; a pack on my back with a change of clothes.

I have to cross the river – as I have many, many times before.

Tonight it flows fast and the rain is pouring.

I enjoy the elements of nature.

The wildness.

The freedom it gives.

I feel happy, uplifted.

I will defy the waters, the rush of the river.

I will pass – leave it behind.

Go to where I’m going.

Part way across it gets me. Takes over – shows me its strength.

I get pulled under – get stuck.

Oh shit.

I wasn’t meant to cross – not here – not now.

Frightened I call out …

We are alone – the river and I – in a battle of life and death.

I’m strong, I know I am – I used to beat Paavo in arm wrestling.

I fight. A good fight it is – for a while.

 

Time stands still.

The river shows its softness,

Cradles me in its arms. Calms me.

Tells me its story. Its story of eternity and of movement that is forever.

Slowly I give in. Pictures fill the space. Beautiful, peaceful pictures.

My body – numb – and no longer mine.

I move away. Stand aside. Look at my strong, young figure, – stuck.

I reach my mom – softly wrap myself around her heart. – She receives me.

My Dad, my siblings, my friends, I touch.

I dissipate into all-ness.

I am. – Somewhere I am.

 

Zitta – written on April 12th, 2005

 

 

My experience of the 2nd World War, at age 3:

 

The Big Boom

 

Denmark was occupied by Germany for 5 years during the Second World War.

 

The Scene:

March 21st, 1945, 11:16 a.m., Copenhagen. (For Denmark, the occupation will end 1½ months later.)

British bombers – 18 of them – were to destroy Gestapo Headquarters in Copenhagen.

35 Danish prisoners were held on the top floor of the building, probably as an “insurance policy” against bombing attacks.

En-route to Gestapo Headquarters, one of the first bombers falls into an air pocket, hits a radio tower and goes down.

The pilot in the following plane sees the smoke, thinks this is his target – and drops his bombs — ON MY SCHOOL !

I am 3 years old, very young for my class and very small for my age.

 

My Story (Monologue):

I sit at the stone table in the basement of my school, my new red lunch box in front of me. White cursive letters scrawled diagonally across the top.  A word.  My small fingers gently outline the strange, raised letters.

Shyly I look to my left.  A little girl, scarcely a year older than me, looks back.  She has long blond curls.  My friend.  She nods approval at my lunch box.  My heart leaps! Neither of us knows the art of reading – let alone that of reading cursive.  However, we both know the message the letters reveal: “Bon Appetite”.

My hands start to open the hinged lid to the treats my mother undoubtedly has hidden in the box.

!!! BOOM !!!

Loud noises.  Voices screaming.  Souls screaming. —

Darkness.

Blinded, I walk towards the light.  Stumbling over crumbled bricks.  Searching.  My hands outstretched before me.

Caring hands.  Big, caring hands – reaching for mine.

My feet – walking in very cold water.  It rises as I walk, now reaching the bottom of my skirt.

Strong hands pick me up — up, up, away from the icy water.

Sitting on someone’s arm – safe – I burst into immediate, bubbling laughter.  I lay my arms around his neck.  Sigh.

Outside.

Bright light.

Chaos.

A mother – frantically searching in a pile of bricks.  – I look away.  She doesn’t fit my image of a mother.

Fathers – standing in a row, passing a child from hand to hand, like you would a bucket of water at a fire.

Then – passing the next.

Some children lay listlessly – some scream.  Some are but a pair of very big eyes.  Eyes which saw what no eyes should see … their friend, pulled under by the sewage water – or lying under a rafter – still.

Gently, I’m being set down by the curb of the street.

Different faces.  Unknown faces.  – All children.  All much bigger than I.

As ambulances and taxis drive up to the curb, big hands – belonging to unknown, oddly clad men, are – it seems to me – “stuffing” the children into the cars.

For the first time in all this strangeness, do I feel scared!  Real Scared!

An image pops into my head: What if these yellow men stuff ME into a car FIRST, then pile all of these BIG children on top of me?

My heart starts beating fast; my feet only want to run … my windpipe feels very restricted.  – I SCREAM !

A girl – is she safe?  – picks me up.  Her eyes as scared as mine, she holds me tight; carries me with her into the next cab.  Sits me on her lap.

I collapse.  My head and back throb with pain.  I didn’t notice it before.  Now I cry – in the arms of a sweet young girl – who saved her own sanity by caring for me.

In the basement of a hospital someone tends to my head and back – gives me food, milk – shows me a toy box.  I play with the toys, look at the other children.  It seems as all the faces are but eyes.

I’m given a cot and asked to sleep.  I can’t.

I wait.  Then – wait some more.  My waiting seems an eternity.

I get up, look at the toys again.  There is a little blue wagon; its horses are brown.  I pretend it is taking me home.

 

Someone walks up behind me.  Gently touches my shoulder.

I turn around – quickly.

My Dad – tears streaming down his face – picks me up.  Rocks me, loves me.

I’m safe.  – And for the first time I speak:

“Dad, did you hear the big boom?”

“Yes”, he says, “Yes, I heard it”.

 

Epilogue:

Due to this fatal mistake, 109 people lost their lives.  93 of these were children – nearly ¼ of the children in the entire school.

 

Zitta Stubstad – written on October 31st, 2004

 

 

Here is something I wrote in college – forty-some years ago – and recently translated.  It was my contribution to “Watching a movie – and discussing what we ‘got’ from it” . The war between Israel and Arabia. (Of course, this paper – as many of my papers – was “un-gradable”) …  I never was a scholar.

I was selected to read it at “Peace Essays and Poetry, United Nations Peace Week,” at the Ojai Art Center on September 17, 2016.

 

Why? 1969

 

One cries over ones – due to war – dead husband

One mourns ones children’s frightened war eyes

Who cries for mankind?

Who cries for its cruel and evil ways – for its guilt

If one human shows evil towards one human

We hate the first and protect the second

We take a position- we make a judgment

Humans protect humans

Against humans

Protection of one self against oneself

You are talking about a fraction of the entirety

As was it the whole

As if it had independence, as if it had importance, as if it had value  –   alone.

You demand that we take sides

You are mistaken

There is more

I cry over Mankind

Over you and over me

We are so terribly divided

So unbearably lonesome

Because the whole constantly divides itself – in front of our very eyes.

 

Zitta – originally written in 1969

Something I wrote when I was 27 and a single mother of four:

 

“Dream man”

 

The night was black, soft and woolen.

I couldn’t leave it – not now.

When I thought of tomorrow, it hurt a little to know

That I would be tired – and perhaps a bit grumpy

I ought to sleep

He is sleeping

With heavy, secure breath – he sleeps

He left me – for the sake of morning:

“Darling – we should sleep now – you know – tomorrow – it’s already 2:30. It was a lovely evening. Sleep tight”

I reach out

Then – let him go

Wanting to keep my part of the evening just a little bit longer – I light a cigarette.

Contemplate:

Ten years!

Incredible

For ten years

He has lain there

Evening after evening

Sleeping – for the sake of tomorrow

No, not always

In times long past, he, as well, has talked nights away

Thinking of it now, I realize how long ago this was

He had become old – long before I – had he become old

Perhaps I’ll never get old

Well wrinkled and gray-haired and cozy I would become

But never really old enough for him

Never so old that I would let go of the “now” – the precious “now” – for something unknown

Maybe it was just as well

I suppose one of us had to…

Maybe he grew old for my sake

He was sound – so I could be free

He thought of tomorrow – so I could have today

Such security he gave

He just was

And we lived

———————————————————————————————–

Muffled noise

Noise through closed doors and sleepy ears

Chattering

Light

Bright light

Sun

Waking up

Stretching out an arm

Searching for him

He’s not there?

Where?

Open eyes

Wondering eyes

His voice in the kitchen

Shushing lively children

Quiet

Noisy quiet

Secure noisy quiet

—————————————————————–

I’m awake

Slowly – The smell of coffee seeps into the room

It reaches my nose

Stays – awaits – what is to come

My tongue slips out, licks the sleep off my lips

The aroma of lovemaking, hidden in the sheets, comes to mix with the aroma of coffee

I sigh with well-being

Brush a hand over my stomach

How flat and unassuming it seems

Remembering when it was tight and fertile

It was beautiful then

His hand softly resting on it, patiently waiting for a kick from our child

I’m one with nothing

______________________________________________________________

The door opens – someone is entering

Quickly – I close my eyes

He thinks I’m sleeping

He feels he is giving – and enjoys his generosity

A hand on my hair

Soft

So infinitely soft…

——————————————

Words

Dumb clumsy words

Words so inadequately saying such a fraction of the feelings

Words – words – Words –

The day has caught me…

—————————

I’ve made coffee – are you awake?

 

Zitta – originally written January, 1969

Walking out into my backyard early one morning:

Sun

In the pool

The reflection of the sun

Is making flittering patterns on my lace curtain

Nothing stands still

My heart swells in richness

With all that is

All that moves

“Now” is everywhere

The flutter

The movement in my body

Which is stillness

Sinks deep

Into the movement of us all

The oneness

The sameness

I will always be me

I will always be us

There will always be more

All is always here

Zitta – originally written 10/07-2013