Sunday, August 16, 2009
Love Is Patient
When you are up at 4am you are sure you are the only person in the world who is awake. You look out over the balcony and there's a few people stirring but they seem mission oriented, not just wandering like I find myself wandering these days. They have a plan and they are sticking to it. I can hear Best Friend snoring in my head and a few hours ago we were laughing so hard I thought I broke something in my gut. We've known each other so long I only have to say a few words and we both bust out in laughter. Her response? "How in the hell did this come up?" and once again we are roaring in laughter laughter so loud the neighbors will wonder what the hell is going on in there. I laughed myself to sleep. How great is that?
But then I'm up wandering. Any one who has had a wonky heart will tell you, sleep is elusive. I think of calling and then think better of it. It's never good to wake someone in the middle of the night and then my kid sends me a photo (he's apparently up) and it's Leroy sleeping in my studio, on the chair where I work, waiting for me. I miss that fat cat, my feline boyfriend. There is a gentle breeze that blows past the window there and it fills me with such sobering silence. I could use that silence this morning when I have an inbox full of emails wondering where I am, a heart full of trepidation and a throat full of fire. I have had a cold for days that won't go away, nagging at me and this morning it's kicking my ass, winning the bad fight. Richie's voice sounds a little excited that he will be back class soon, he always did work better on a schedule and I will mention the military to him one more time before he takes the GRE.
When you are off figuring out the world, love is supposed to wait right? It's supposed to be patient and kind and tolerant. I think I lose sight of that from time to time when the world is toe tapping me to do what they want me to do rather than what I want. I have chickens on my farm. I couldn't have real chickens at my house and Craig tells me patiently I wouldnt' want them they are dirty, stupid animals. But I've always been fascinated with birds so I joined the farmtown community and now I have a farm full of crops and of course chickens. After plowing a field and wandering down to find the bench where he offered I am sure I must look like some homeless person in pajamas just kinda scoping the area. I am that kind of person, tell me a plan and I am scoping out the territory, finding the best advantage, figuring the lay of the land.
And standing there under a street lamp I am wondering about life and how one moment someone is a stranger to you and the next you are waiting for them to clear their throat wondering if they are patient or if they are toe tapping you. I have always been someone who comes around in my own time, who handles things in my head. People who love me love the crazy part. Tell me you need a design tomorrow, I'll have it done in 3 weeks, tell me there's no rush, it's the first thing I do. If I look and see I need to do laundry because I am running out of socks, I just go buy new socks, not washing them first, just throwing caution to the wind. (That was for you best friend.)
It's when she said "and you knew that doctor guy who told me that 100 degrees is the perfect saline breeding ground." I started laughing again, crying, slapping the mattress, rolling back and forth the taste of the thick red syrup and my tears running down my throat like red wine. Where did ten years ago? Where are those girls sitting in the big black chrysler that always reminded me of a car you'd drive in a funeral procession? Where are those girls? I wondered this morning at 4am. I would jump out of any window then and now I am second guessing everything I do, over and over again in my head, wondering how I will fix it later. She was always braver, always having to push me a little. And what of him? I carry around him now in some other corner of my head wondering what I will do with his skeptical edge that makes me so so wary. I tell myself there's another like that somewhere just easier. Have I turned a corner and easier is my thing? Nice. Nice thought at 4am and there's no Leroy around to warn first "Leroy I am going to grab you and hold you and love you and you're going to let me." Leroy just waits for me, wondering where the hell I've been.
When a cab drives by you at 4am do you ever wonder where it's going? Do you wonder is there a woman in there off to see her secret lover? Is there a man in there who is drunk, who was drinking alone and now will find his way home to his hotel room and try to read before he falls asleep. He thought a few times about the red head at the bar but like me he's feeling safe this morning. Did someone get the call that someone is sick and they are off to a hospital barely dressed but thinking to grab the green sweater that comforts them as they fly out of the house? Atwood wrote about sleep.
I would like to watch you sleeping,
which may not happen.
I would like to watch you,
sleeping. I would like to sleep
with you, to enter
your sleep as its smooth dark wave
slides over my head
and walk with you through that lucent
wavering forest of bluegreen leaves
with its watery sun & three moons
towards the cave where you must descend,
towards your worst fear
I would like to give you the silver
branch, the small white flower, the one
word that will protect you
from the grief at the center
of your dream, from the grief
at the center. I would like to follow
you up the long stairway
again & become
the boat that would row you back
carefully, a flame
in two cupped hands
to where your body lies
beside me, and you enter
it as easily as breathing in
I would like to be the air
that inhabits you for a moment
only. I would like to be that unnoticed
& that necessary.
-- Margaret Atwood
She had high aspirations. First Margaret he has to let you that close, to know you do no harm. Then he has to lick your skin to be sure you aren't poison. Then you have to keep from saying anything that will cause a sudden stir in his head and even when he knows you will turn into the fanged bat warrior who will suck his blood and steal his soul he will ponder the loss of the soul he's forgotten and let you take him to the sleep place, laughing.
I've always been able to make people laugh. My father who was unmoving would laugh easily around me. I never cared it if was at my expense. And then someone laughed about my jewelry the other day and I bled a little. It's the place where I seek validation and I guard it like a temple with the last Buddha carved in Jade. People pay me to make them something, they wear it and then they call me an artist. It seems a fair trade off. Even when I am making something I don't want to make it seems such a fair trade off. I put in this much effort, they throw a little money my way, I buy cat food and some plants for the garden and occasionally a pink party dress.
I don't have to be in an office without a window but there are moments of loneliness and solitude that can stir your mind into a crazy stew that you'll have to eat and eat and eat. A huge trade off. Poke fun at my child when he is smoking and mowing the lawn at the same time, laugh at my virtual chickens on my farm, tell me my nose is too big and that I look clownish in lime green crocs. Point and laugh when I chew the super glue cap off and the glue sticks my tongue to my teeth. Ask me why in a giggle I had to remove all the smoke alarms from my house (on every floor). Ask me how I manage to think not buying a city sticker for my car is bucking the establishment. Tell me having a feline boyfriend who waits for me in my studio is a little "off." My art though? Some days it's all I have and all I want. Best Friend was over recently and seeing the tree I painted, the tree my brother tells me belongs in an opium den, she simply turned it upside down, my painted red tree. "It's not a bad painting Carrie, but it's not a tree, it's a heart and it was upside down." Maybe it's her way of telling me my whole world is upside down. She's profound like that. Well profound and very very smart. "Tell him you are not feeling well and you are a girl who does things in her own time." Oh if life where that easy, if love were patient. If the heart were truly a hunter. If you could have a number of times in your life when you could be the fly on the wall. If I could find a tree that grows pink cotton candy at 4am. If love, true love lasted forever. If the whole world could "Calm the fuck down." If If if.
When you aren't in the crazy stew, watching someone spin around is disturbing and clarifying. You know what you want and what you don't want. It's right there like one of those horror movies when you scream "GET OUT OF THE FUCKING HOUSE THE GUY WITH A KNIFE IS THERE AND THE LIGHTS DONT SEEM TO BE WORKING." The birds sing very loud at 4am because they are singing to the sun tempting her over the side of the world announcing her arrival. Three days ago I wanted to be in church on sunday morning. Now I want to be in bed with the covers over my head sipping the starbucks chocolate shit they can't even make any more because it's so bad for you. You aren't supposed to be sick on sundays in the summer or have cramps or miss Leroy. I am heading to bed to pull the covers over my head like they taught us in grade school when the alarms went off. I remember thinking "If there is going to be a bomb that kills us all shouldn't we be dancing?"
Thanks for this time with me. Sorry I have been bad about writing. I will answer emails soon. You can always find me at Summerpoet@msn.com and my work at poetsummer.etsy.com.