Ben Sen's Blog

Politics, Culture and Religion Without Projections

Ben Sen

Ben Sen
New York, N.Y.,
December 31
I'd rather be judged on the basis of my posts than anything written in my bio. It's put down and gathered as a record of my experience and a response to what I see as the important issues in the world today. I don't pretend it's anything other than subjective. The purpose is to analyze, interpret, express opinions, challenge the status quo, open a few doors, and entertain. I heartily welcome ratings, comments and dialogue. That's what makes this media unique and valuable. It also keeps me honest and encouraged since I'm not getting paid. Take a risk and say something; it feels better. A "conversation" is essential for the growth of the individual and the collective. I have faith it extends beyond the confines of what is said here. "For it is necessary for awake people to be awake, or a breaking line may discourge us back to sleep, the signals we give--yes, no or maybe--should be clear: the darkness around us is deep." From A RITUAL TO READ TO EACH OTHER by William Stafford


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SEPTEMBER 7, 2009 1:56PM

On the Second Anniversary of Joan's Death

Rate: 26 Flag

(The blog following the first year is titled: On My Wife, Joan)

"You are looking outside, and that is what you should most avoid right now.  No one can advise or help you, no one.  There is only one thing you should do.  Go into yourself."

RAINER MARIA RILKE, Letter to a Young Poet *


The turtle, seen and unseen, has walked with me for two years now.  The Honorable Fuji Yama San, the cat, has shared my bed and done his duty.  This time was no time, it never is since all is an illusion--mere make believe.


Saturday night, no carousing, I'm on my own looking for a purpose, passing from night to day, warmth to coldness, no beginning, no middle, an end.


A personality attracts another, a unit becomes two units and creates a third totally unique and unto itself, a secret common entity assembled in moments long forgotten, one decision at a time, installments for the permanent record, written in invisible ink that never leaves the page.


A last moment keeps happening again and again, seeking a more precise recollection, then it is gone and I have to start over:

What am I here for?


Time to slow down, time to look at what's on the shelf, time to form new impressions, time for another journey, time for quiet reflection, time for participles, time for particulars, passivity, patterns to emerge


There was an era when we believed each other, but it is gone since Hamlet couldn't make up his mind.  A few are like Faust,  joining god and the devil within, light and darkness, pain and joy.  There is nothing like death, your death, that makes it so clear.   


 * My appreciation to Mercedes Arnao for supplying this quote.

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You certainly took the advice of Rilke and turned inward and examined your soul. I have been on this journey alone and also with you since I first read about Joan's passing. You have evolved, emerged, loved, changed and remained true to yourself just the same. Nicely done and an excellent way to celebrate and honor Joan's memory as well as yours....
You have shown us some of the inside and obviously are bearing up, as we must to function in this difficult world. All the best in the year ahead, Ben.
Condolences on this anniversary. Congratulations, however, on continuing to live, and to live reflectively.
I agree with what cartouche said. You have kept your heart intact through all of your searching and your anger. thanks for sharing your journey with us and for honoring and celebrating who your wife was and what you shared.
This is a moving tribute to your wife. Looking inward while still being aware of the external is no mean feat.
My condolences and my admiration for your strength and resolve.
My condolences, too. You were truly and beautifully blessed.
We do have to go inward at times. Wishing you peace.
I extend my condolences on this anniversary, I admire the journey you have travelled!
This is beautiful. What a great honor to Joan's memory.
A year is a short amount of time in the scheme of things, but you are doing great. There are more adventures. Joan would approve of you going on them. (Rated)
That's right no matter what happens, we must go on living! A nice tribute.
What a beautiful tribute. It deserves more time from me, so I will return. Thank you.
Here is to those patterns emerging and being filled in all the ways that give you peace. Take Care Ben.
Ben I have no clue that can come close to the measure of loss you felt, and still feel....but time, and the healing nature of literature and art will save us all. I traveled to Kansas to see my mom who just turned 90. L J stayed at home and I felt the empty, metallic, ringing feeling of aloneness.....Alas, she (L J is at home waiting and I wish so much you could share that score.

Put the devotion into your work and see new creations through the years....
lovely poetry, lovely memorial to your wife. Wishing you peace.

"There is nothing like death, your death, that makes it so clear."

This might be the single most powerful sentence I have ever read. Ever. Incredible tribute and inner reflecting too.

The sentence is now etched in my consciousness.
Still absorbing this after several readings. I would be remiss not to offer my condolences but I don't know if I have the perspective to comment further. Hope you understand.
I'm sorry for your grief. Thank you for sharing this with us - it's moving. It made me think of that Rumi saying, to the effect of "your grief shows where you are so bravely working."
Why is pain so fertile for growth? We seem to learn so much more in that state. Thanks for showing a way.
""You are looking outside, and that is what you should most avoid right now. No one can advise or help you, no one. There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself." "

I liked that so much I just wanted to visit it again.
I'm so sorry that you're in a position to have to mark an anniversary of such loss, but I'm happy that you're still here, still writing, and still sharing the words that find you. Your Joan would be touched at such a loving, and lovely, tribute. 4 and 6 above brought me to tears.
I am now officially a mess after reading your post. Anytime you talk about your wife, it slays me. All that you share, learned and continue to learn during your marriage and the past two years, are something I always remember when I read anything you write. The Rilke quote is stunning and important and difficult to do. Thank you for sharing this Ben.
Thanks for making me a favorite. I have compassion for your revisiting Joan's death.
that it takes such a bitter loss
to gain humanity


the feeling of wholeness, pure
outweighs the taste of blood in the mouth
from minute cuts to the tongue


thank you
This must be a solemn time, and a time for reflection. I don't know if I would, or could be as brave. I hope the old saying about time healing all wounds is true, or at least is making them bearable.
I do not know what your "purpose" is, but I am glad you are here. Thank you for your contributions to us.