Monday, March 29, 2010
If you are a woman you learn to pose.
From a child you are taught to stand straight,
hold your shoulders back adjust your stockings
and don't flinch, dry your cheeks especially
when you are afraid.
(She was never afraid when he stood at the window
with his tender smile)
Somewhere in Amsterdam in a little booth
in heels so high she could touch the top
break the surface take a deep breath
and back down in the fish bowl
One day her hair is blond the next red
(He found this woman there and
She calls herself the Green Mermaid)
A man comes along and taps the window
and when the wall creeps up he can see her feet
then her hips and soon she's there smiling a not so
happy smile and her eyes look a little sad
but men love women with sad eyes
it gives them hope that they aren't cruel
(and when she falls to her knees
to see his brown eye he falls in passion's embrace)
He will wonder why she's there and she will wonder
why he wonders
if he stands close enough to the glass he thinks he can
smell her perfume
and he dreams of loving her even
making her happy
(Mermaids aren't happy, they drag men to the sea
and the water can hold you there forever)
Even when she tells him she will make him sad
one day he will feel the cloud pass over his head
and it will rain for twenty years
he won't believe her
until he hears the thunder and then it's too late
Love won't be enough, it never was and never will
(He doesn't know that if she could be anywhere
she'd be on a fast train watching the trees fly by)
What if she could give him anything but love
if she could turn her body into shapes
to thrill him
whisper to him stories of lust and desire
even read him poetry, the first poetry of the world
while waiting for someone to mend her fish nets,
pulling out all the little fish one at a time.
(He doesn't know that if he gives her all his love
he will fade away)
And when she was gone
when they opened her out to take out her organs
when they gut her like a fish
and they told him in a matter of fact manner
"She had no heart" would he wonder what all the time meant
or just take it at face value that she just
loved him with another organ
and not one of those disposable organs.
(Or would he wonder in sadness if those moments
when she played the violin if she was
playing for herself and not for him)
The Mermaid knew as she does that when a man
loves you he loves you for anyone who would know him
not even for who you are but for what he sees
and imagines you could be
if you were a ballerina or a mermaid
dragging him to sea
(Never second guess love it is not for them you see
it is for you the brave pilgrim of Dumas' heart)
When he passes the window and she is not there
just her things scattered about
like some hurricane passed through
and now she's a bird
will he be brave enough to look to the sky?
So part of healing is feeding your soul, I really do get it. I knew this when after my heart surgery Best Friend showed up with a bag full of beans and her walking shoes. We were in for a bumpy afternoon. You feed your body, your soul, you get up and shake it off. She's good at this and she should know they have removed every disposable organ she has, well just about and she's the strongest person I know.
So I have been jotting down recipes that heal, a little piece of this and that I have known along with a little adventuring on my part. So when you are weary and you need to nourish and can't imagine yourself ordering anything, here goes. Yes, this is a real first for me, a recipe. I will share more, I promise. I am working on some recipes with poems and some ideas in how to share them.
I love Thai anything and soup fixes anything. So let's start with the broth because that will be the constant that you keep around. I start with a chicken, a big one, some carrots, celery, onions and a bay leaf a few cloves of garlic and anything that makes you happy. You don't have to fancy cut the veggies, we won't be saving them. Cook them all slowly in a big stock pot, the biggest you can find with a little salt (not much salt is one of the evils, like sugar) and cook the chicken down. When the chicken is falling off the bone and it smells beyond good, take it off the heat, fish out everything, pull the chicken from the bone and put it in a little container for later. The broth can be saved in a big sealed container in the fridge. Then it's the fun stuff. I fill little sealed containers with some cilantro, a hand full of cooked and devained shrimp, the aforementioned chicken shreds, crushed peanuts, sprouts (sprouts heal anything), bean pods, peas (does anything say spring like green peas?), and if you have an oriental store hear you, some wonderful oriental egg noodles, (ramen works in a pinch here but throw away that little seasoning package, you won't need it.) The broth will be your base here, you just make a serving of noodles fresh and pour that broth over the top after you've reheated it on the stove. Then make the top of this into the real fun. the shrimp, the chicken, some wonderful vegetables, a dash or two of fish sauce or even hoisin sauce.
The crushed peanuts will make you think of child hood and you will kick yourself hard if you forget the cilantro. The smell of cilantro heals most anything and if you aren't a cilantro fan and there are those out there, I would use parsley, flat leaf, of course. The soup is a dance and even a little interactive and if you are a busy busy busy, tired, looking for something easy, it's quicker than take out and with a little ahead prep, you will feel like a genius. Sometimes when I am at the market I will buy 2 or three mussels or a piece of fish to cook up and put on top, even some shredded pork will do but I have to confess I am not a pork fan.
If you are healing, my good thoughts go out to you. I know the road is a difficult one, but rewarding.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Today was a day to celebrate inner strength. Sundays are always a little unstructured for me. I never know what the day will present. But I am trying you see to get things back on track, to finish healing and to get on with things. Almost 9 weeks ago The Dog had her kittens and only recently have they started to take over the house. They were like Gremlins up and down the stairs even venturing to the third floor which I was certain wasn't going to happen.
They were starting to be more than Cat #2 or #3, they had personalities now, I had started to name them in my head, Pee Wee, white cat one and two or thing one and two, Leroy, Jr., you get the idea. I kept thinking back to when Richie was home and how Dirty White Boy was in pure trauma mode and didn't like the idea of anyone else touching him and did I want to put these seven little bundles of love through that trauma. I placed the ad and today seven different families showed up to claim their newest family member. There was a touching young couple, full of new romance and love that made me smile long after they were gone. A woman, very type A with her family, two loving daughters, one older and one younger who wanted to be ever so sure she picked just the right cat. I liked her a bunch, so full of love for animals. I was touched by the family of four, the dad even soft to the idea and his kids so cute, one sweeter than the next so excited and they already had a few cats so perhaps the little green eyed kitten wouldn't mind trading in his brothers and sisters for someone a little more protective.
I was worried how I'd part with Pee Wee. He was the smallest and Best Friend and I spoke a few times about how I wasn't sure he would make it, so much smaller than the others, all needing to nurse. I would give him a head start, holding back the others, giving him cat formula. (Cat formula is so expensive even I had a hard time believe it) Pee Wee has been my favorite. His tenacity has given me pause a few times and I have snapped a few photos of him taking naps and playing. My favorite taking a nap in my brown jacket while I work and more recently sleeping on my bed side table under the lamp. The call came from a group of girls all living together in Chicago studying at the Art Institute. They wanted a mascot of sorts, something to love away from home, they could all share and I immediately thought of Pee Wee and sent a text or two with photos and their excitement made it ok to let him go. I couldn't have been more pleased when the girls showed today, in a car they pooled to rent so they could escort him home safely. They will love him more than any cat has ever been loved, and they all made me miss my sweet nieces. There is nothing like the energy and love of a group of young girls getting what they want. They promise to send me a movie of him next week and have already sent me photos of the pee meister wrapped in an old Navajo blanket. I couldn't have been happier even though I will miss him terribly. He's loved and isn't that what we all want?
I will miss each of them and I temper that with the excitement that somewhere people are loving them, so excited, can't hold them enough, taking special care, and my house is back to normal, well almost. After the excitement of the day, I headed off to clear my head a little. My son, always leaving something behind, left an unmarked CD from when he was visiting on the coffee table. I picked it up on my way out, hoping it wasn't something I didn't want to see or hear and put on my red wool coat. It's not Spring warm yet (although they promise this week that will happen) and my red coat has been my armor this winter, it feels like a second skin and I love the buttons. Buttons make anything good, perfect.
I popped in my car, put in the CD, left the volume low and went to Starbucks for an iced black tea and hot coffee. The volume was low on the stereo, didn't recognize the singing and left the volume down, just a mumble here and there. I found myself some fruit at the local market, some new cheese, and strawberries, hoping they aren't cardboard as they have been out of season for months. I drove then, to the woods, where I usually drive when I am feeling blue, a little cloudy headed and decided to drive my bitch of a car, open her up and see what she can do and let my hair fly out the window. I turned up the CD because that's what you do when you're driving and I could hear a voice singing that I've never really heard before but the song seemed familiar. "You'll always be a part of me. I'm part of you indefinitely, girl don't you know you can't escape me, because you'll always be my baby. " I had this conversation this week. How does that happen? "If you're determined to leave girl I will not stand in your way. But you'll be back again because you know in your heart our love will never end." Some of the words exactly as they have been a few times, tossed around in frustration, sometimes anger, and mostly confusion. I saved the message "Go Away" and the message "I don't think I can." I can be intolerable. It will remind me later that I need (in the words of the dearly departed North) "Calm The Fuck Down." This is a very complicated military phrase you see and from what he's told me, it mostly applies to women, like me.
I am an emotional girl, make no mistake about it. The complicated part? I have a very casual attitude about things that don't interest me at all, just letting anything and everything slide but when I am caught up, woah. I have knee jerk reactions to things and I seldom trust or really trust my gut. Tell me again I make good choices and I'll point to a few that aren't remarkable. Best Friend and I had discussions all week. She'd tell me, let it go, stop clenching, trust a little, enjoy the ride, you're fun, be fun. Please be fun. She knows how I have been struggling with healing and with keeping back the blues, not wanting to rush the process for fear I will fall on my face. I kept thinking I had heard the song before, but couldn't place the voice, sure my kid had downloaded this from itunes or some other place and then burned it. It was Mariah. That's where I heard it, it's old but the voice is new. Now I wished Joe Cocker had rolled the words around his scratchy throat and I'd listen to him later, sing come together or on the wings of love.
The car was flying and I was sipping iced tea rounding the turns I've driven as a kid, when I first was licensed and my friends and I would cut school and find the bump, still there, where if you hit it fast enough, Wendy's Dad's Impala would be air born for a few moments and then hit the ground in a thud. We'd go to the woods and walk along the edge of the lakes there while Mrs. Kerns was teaching poetry. She taught me to love "If I had loved you less or played you slyly I could have held you for a summer more. But at the cost of words I valued highly and no such summer as the one before." With each turn I wanted just to let go a little more, just to live in the moment, be glad I had moved to get the kittens homes, that I had spent some time painting a little time writing over the past week that I could swallow iced tea without cringing. The black tea was so wonderful. I wanted to play with teas when I got home, making some black tea infused with raspberry tea and then chilling it so tomorrow I would have it waiting for me. Best Friend had a rant about the spring berries this morning and I think it was stuck in my head.
And even in distraction I could hear new lyrics, the musical poems "here on my terms have some faith in me and Ill let you be who you need to be. Life on the moon could it be any stranger? Life on the moon would it feel this far away?" Who I need to be huh? Who I need to be these days makes me wonky let alone someone else. Only Best Friend lets me be who I want to be. She celebrates when some new facet of me appears out of the blue even if it drives me to distraction or to the woods. Have some faith in you eh? I have been struggling with this. I've never heard the song before but couldn't get enough, loving the acoustics trapped and bouncing off the walls of my car.
"Here on my terms have some faith in me and I'll let you need who you need to be." I am the girl who cries when the kittens find new homes. I am the girl who will pick a fight to keep from feeling stupid, especially when I am. "getting lost in my own atmosphere, stars in the sky are the stars in my eyes." I was out there driving in the woods a dozen years ago when life seemed to be going all just great, the girl who had it all and then I went out and saw a movie alone, a movie nobody would want to see and had a little melt down about it and drove to the woods. And all because I was waiting for some hero to step in and say "Carrie, I have this, no worries here." When you have everything else but that, you have nothing. Lesson learned. And lately even when HE tells me this I don't believe him. I am a shit. When someone tells you something you wait to hear and wait to hear and wait to hear and even before he finishes you are wondering if he's shining you on. When will I believe it? How Broken is broken when you can let yourself love but you can't let someone love you? When he says "Don't change one thing." the whole time you're thinking, I am trying to change everything. I pray for a common soul, get a miracle. When God presents us miracles we should take notice. I have.
One of the first things we ever discussed forever ago was feeling lonely even when you are in a crowded room and it was singing at me through the stereo so I knew that someone else felt this way or tried to figure it all out. I couldn't wait to get home to figure out who had been singing to me for over an hour and well over 100 mph. I sat in the car for a few, sent a message or two, called Suzy to remind her I love her. And the miracle finds me. He was looking for me while I was parked in the drive watching the sun fall in its last few minutes of glory. Sometimes he'd find me here at 5 when the winter was all over my yard and now two hours later one hour given to me by mother nature and the other man trying to control mother nature. Does he have any idea that he's rescued me again? Perhaps it doesn't seem a big deal to rescue a girl from a few moments of lingering sadness not wanting to go in the house and break it to The Dog her kids are gone. The good news? They won't be back asking for money or leaving a mess on the third floor. I think she hardly noticed. She could use the break and so could I. I even said goodbye first. I am working the equation, being tough, making solid decisions, not falling too hard and if I have already, pulling it back and I can. I remember telling myself even out loud "Be Fearless."
Best Friend has often said to me if you want to be alone, the world will leave you alone. If you want to go through this life just going through the motions, hitting the mark when you have to be there, life will move just fine. You will wake up years wondering what really passed. When you've waited for test results, when you're sure you're too tired to contribute to anything, when you're sure everything that is wonderful has already happened you create your own language. Go Away is I'm too afraid that I will need you, maybe more than I already do. I could hear Melissa sing to me there in the car, in the drive, the sky turning from blue to purple. Her voice was clear and true
Meet me in the dark. Meet me in the shadows.
Past the old grave yard down eisenhower road.
Meet me where the storms blow out on their own dear.
Meet me in the dark and never let me go.
I know everyone has their own unspoken fear
it eats away their senses and their humanity
they carry all their secrets every night down to the river
and they so hard to drown them
they wont do that to me
cause I'm working hard
saving all my money
and the tips in this jar will buy a brand new set of wings
for my Mercury
until then please
Meet me in the dark. Meet me in the shadows.
Past the old grave yard down eisenhower road.
Meet me where the storms blow out on their own dear.
Meet me in the dark and never let me go.
Keep your eyes down
say that you don't know me
I couldn't not survive if they took you away
If you push someone away enough they stay away. Yes, unclench. Sometimes there is magic in the dark, in little whispers, in hope. I have a pocket full of hope today and I'd gladly share it with you. When I am running low on Hope, I call my Best Friend or sit in my driveway during the gloaming and when it's said and done count my blessings. The Q will remind me that there was a time when everything I did was 100 mph hair on fire, no doubt, no explanation and little apology. Sometimes when I think back on it, it's like watching a movie of someone else. We were fearless and sleepless for 3 years or was it 5? A friendship forged in love and the need to be awake, really awake. She missed a Thanksgiving for the sake of passion. Fuck the drumstick.
The Singer? David Cook. Yes, David Cook of Idol fame. I must admit I haven't watched Idol since Fantasia won. I just haven't cared all that much. I posted both of the songs here and I like his voice. Leave it to my kid who thinks he never teaches me anything to leave me such a treasure. I love that kid.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
I awoke in the middle of the night
It wasn't a startling event, more a fall into
the dead air of 3am
the little lamp lit the room in a heavenly glow
or a haze as my eyes adjusted to the light
the little gray kitten perched on my hip
and the white one on my shoulder
snoring like a loud lawn mower
the old black cat sitting on the edge of the bed
staring at the ground like a gargoyle
perched on a gothic church staring at all below
When I ventured my way to the bathroom
they followed me, circling my feet
so I had to walk like frankenstein slowly
as not to trip up or step on one of them
when I crawled back into bed I found your shirt
the shirt you left that still smelled like you
careful not to wash it hoping you'd linger longer
and I put it on a pillow and held it close
to me while the animals presumed their prior posts
And in the light of the lamp I imagined you there
sitting on the side of my bed
playing in my hair back from some long trip
and couldn't wait until the morning to arrive
needing to be sitting here in the dark
feeling a little sleepy from a belly full of oysters
swimming there happily
and I could hear you ask "are we ok?"
and when I am again awake, the smallest cat moved from
my thrashing hip to the pillow and now she smelled like you
and it gave me pause to hug her a little while longer
the missing you part passed and the day ahead of me
and I will get to it after I brush the strudel crumbs from the bed
Kate sings this better than Elton, that's a rarity
And because Best Friend mentioned she was missing Tori the other day, here's some of her best with Kate waiting for their sailor...
It's time to color eggs again. I think this could finally be Spring's arrival. Just when I believe that to be true I remember the year Richie was born and we took him to The Dells for Memorial Day to celebrate near the lake and it wound up snowing three feet and we stayed in a little cabin off the lake and watched old movies all weekend. We could have avoided the 10 hour drive back and forth and watched movies at home I guess but you roll the dice looking for fun. We were a young couple trying to figure our way into a life with a baby.
My mother was always so excited about Easter. It was by far her favorite holiday. She made these elaborate Easter baskets which I have been known to duplicate on occasion. I love wrapping the little chocolates in pretty paper and wrapping each in a ribbon. Best Friend loves to color Easter Eggs more than anyone I've ever known. It's magic for her, dipping the eggs into the vinegar and finding them deep in color with secret hidden messages written on the shells from crayons. Even when I ask her to color 400 dozen, she's as excited about the 401th dozen.
Easter isn't a joyous holiday for me. I am bothered by the theory that this horrible thing happens and we should be glad even joyous that the outcome wasn't terrible. It was. I don't know how to tell you, gentle reader what is so horrible. I am not always sure Christ is the son of God. I'm not even sure at times he was sent here to save us all. I am certain in fact at moments that if he were sent here to save us, each of us that he would use that power to make us safer, so that we wouldn't even know what war meant.
Even in my doubt I believe there was a Jesus and that in his lifetime he lived large. He wanted to shake things up, change the world and the world was certainly smaller then. It wouldn't have taken much more than a few radical theories about love to make people stop and wonder. Those in power would be afraid when someone fed a starving person, offered to help. When he spoke of not buying a place in heaven but that our father would just give it to us because he loved us, it must have made men afraid. I am reminded that in Lincoln's last days he was sent hundreds of death threats every day. To push aside the fear and do what you know in your heart is best, to live unafraid when fear is all around is quite remarkable.
But you see, Christ had this additional burden. By design, his torture, his death was not only allowed, but choreographed by his parents. When I am in church, during the offering of the host, in tiny voices people sing "son of God, lamb of the world, hear our prayers." He was the lamb led to the slaughter and his parents nodded, encouraged him on his way, knew what they'd do, put him in harm's way. So in quiet moments I wonder what he would have imagined could have been worse, an angry mob set on him or his father approving of his public humiliation, torture and to be crucified while people laughed and cheered and his mother wept. It's hard to justify the end for me. If you were going to take him up, why not in some painless moment, private and without the cross? Why are we always designed in pain? Why can't the moment just pass with a whisper?
I was at a Catholic church a few years ago to donate some canned goods to a food pantry and the congregation was preparing for the Holy Friday. They were covering the church in black and purple bunting and I was in shock at the overwhelming sadness of the occasion and thought in just three days this pain would pass and they would be celebrating again? What of the holy mother? How would she have pushed aside the despair and understood a larger picture when she went to look for her son and he was missing. Mothers don't bury their children and mothers dont abandon them either. And in a year when ten thousand terrible things happen, when mothers here are waiting for the plane to carry their child soldiers home from the Middle East in boxes, hundreds of them, the sorrow of it all, suddenly all justified in a Spring Sunday when we are cleansed of our sins because the son of God the lamb of the world was taken home. The logic of it escapes me.
I wish a learned man would tap me on the shoulder and explain to me in terms I understand why again we are at war in a place that has been at war for thousands of years and will be thousands of years from now. I want him to tell me in soft tones how this makes us safe, how our children will forgive us for this years from now, that we didn't stand up and take charge and demand of those that make these decisions to bring our children and brave men home before one more is blown up in a tank missing his wife and wondering what his children ate for dinner so far away it would be impossible to count the miles.
And if there is a God lingering in the clouds looking down on his experiment, the ants who wander here circling mad destroying and acquiring one another. On this blue marble in an expanse of stars, where men would tell young women afraid and alone that an abortion is murder, explain to me when this stops. Tell me how many Sundays in the Spring will pass before that sacrifice a thousand years ago will make sense and we will be kinder to one another. I suppose when the people who make decisions hear a mother say "please don't put my child in harm's way." they will rush to drop the empire to it's knees and let go of being right and just go back to being. When we are celebrating our president's victory in regards to health care it's hard not be saddened that he hasn't found a way to end the war. I think I will pray for that today for peace and some purple crocus to pop up.
Peter Gabriel wrote the song below after 9/11 when he wasn't sure yet that his children were safe in New York, hope you enjoy.
Friday, March 26, 2010
It's always worse when you're away
when you're chasing dreams or have little to say
and when it's dark,
when I'm hanging from the ledge
you'll find me again
and you whisper in my ear
the train is clacking and I'm tied to the rails
I let them tie me here and I have no complaints
not really when you make the choices they are yours alone
and when it's said and done
when they pick through the pieces
and find my lips the smile still there
from when you whispered in my ear
The winds blew in like Spring just does
but there wasn't warm air from above
just the cold again and I have to tell myself
that Chicago is cold until June
you never mind the cold or dark
you sleep in three minutes
while I'm turning swimming with the sharks
the water filling my failing lungs
and if I can tread water while
the moments pass I'll float up and break the surface
the whole time hearing over and over
eating oysters and kissing in airports
the thoughts of you whispering in my ear
And when our conversation ends too soon
and I am left with the hanging moon
when winter is dark at the dinner bell
you always leave me with a final whisper
pulling into the station
turning the wheel with hands I love to have in mine
and catching you is like following a tornado
or swimming with the salmon when they are
taught only to swim
whisper to me so only we can hear
what lovers tell each other when the day is long
and there are no answers you can find in a book
and if we could write a book I'd save a chapter
for the magic of your hand on my throat
and your spear in my heart
turning me into the best part of me
when you whisper it in my ear
Remember the movie lost in translation? Well today someone sent me the link for the last whisper between the two lovers. I was so pissed off. I had to listen to it of course, HAD to know as most people have to know a secret. But you see, the part I liked about that movie and there were few parts I did like was that secret at the end. I loved knowing that so much of what went on between the two of them was the secret part. It's the not knowing why two people smile at each other in some coy manner that makes you full of such joy. You just have to wonder what sage wisdom he gives her and what slither of hope in passion's wait she gives him. If I were a stronger woman I could have not read it, turned a blind eye but I have to admit I've wondered. Someone recently asked me something I couldn't answer so quickly, so I didn't and that question is lingering in my head today. You want to say yes, all is fine but when you aren't certain, what do you say? Do you say nothing at all? Do you change the subject? Do you run? I am giving the question careful consideration.
I am full of up of whispers, a little laughter here and there, some passion as I do love the passionate part. When you have known empty and you are full up again you revel in the idea of it when you aren't looking to the phone, waiting or worse yet the door. Yesterday I hate a hot dog and it was good, I started to feel more like myself, a little grief-striken, a little overwhelmed but more like me. Spring hasn't sprung as of yet but here that takes awhile. I always wonder of those brides that plan June weddings, how brave they are to wonder of the elements. My wedding was in May and it was warm and sweet and wonderful, I wish my marriage had been the same.
I am feeling much stronger. Strong is good and Best Friend tells me, completely attainable under the right circumstances. She's an optimist. I am a healer. Take care of you and if you can eat a hot dog, I recommend it.
or not so old. I love the way lovers talk to one another, friends speak to one another, how they share of themselves. Best Friend and I talk in almost broken phrases because we are jamming so much in we can't wait to get to the next thought and then when it's slow and hard to spit out I know and she knows that the world is moving a little too quickly and we need some time just to manage the thoughts while the other listens and offers up what they know the solution to be. It's hard to KNOW when the world is moving in and it's in those quite moments you can figure out the world. I wrote of this yesterday and oh how I love those whispers. So I was thinking last night when my head was full of love that I wanted to share a few love stories, some you may have seen, others maybe not and share what moves me to tears or just makes me comfortable. I will start with The Girl In The Cafe. This is really one of my favorite movies and it's because I love the way these two lovers speak to one another, their secret dates, it's like being a voyeur and I love watching. This post is for my writing muse Will, hoping he appreciates the dialogue that I love so much.
The English Patient is one of those few movies that I actually like better than the book and I read the book a few times to be sure. This scene I love the most because he fell in love when she told a story he knew and she fell in love when he taught her something she didn't know. For me, I know that is why I love brilliant men because they teach me something of the world you won't learn in a class room. For example, did you know that in Germany if you are asked to play hand ball and you lose the game, if the ball is too squishy, its not really a loss, its more of a draw and the loser was probably going to buy the beer in the first place.
When I first saw My Brilliant Career, I was much younger and I fell in love with the movie and probably a little with Judy Davis. I think the whole world must love her smile and her spirit. It taught me that there is a woman men and women look at one another and without many words can find love.
Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Out Of Africa, mostly because its a true story and Dennison writes so beautifully. Her Winter Stories move my heart. I like this scene the most even though I am fond of them dancing or on safari and what woman doesn't like to watch Redford wash her hair? This is my favorite though because it's the poem of the "To an athlete dying young" a beautiful poem and I thought of her mostly missing Dennys, even when he was alive he was gone so often and it proves that love doesn't change when someone is away, it's a constant, someone is then your constant companion.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
I heard an Arab woman singing, her voice almost a moan
and I couldn't discern if it was an expression of
spontaneous joy or was her voice bleeding pain
There was transfixed wonder in knowing it was real
she couldn't conceal her inflection and I wanted to know
what she wanted me to know as her voice trailed off
and a wise man leaned in and told me it meant what I needed it to mean
if I was sad she comforted me
if I was happy she celebrated with me
When I am anxious the tears flow and I can't stop them
like rain falling down over my arms
watering flowers, no umbrella over my head
and I miss the refuge of our whispers
I wanted to accompany her song to
pull the violin's bow, to conjure you from the sky
as I do and in those rare moments wonder if you were the
construct of a girl who just got tired of wishing on a nebula
in a city where the lights make star finding laborious
when I am pulling the wish bone
and creating your thigh a place for my hand to rest
killing bunnies for their feet,
waving my lottery ticket in the air sure that when they
pull the numbers, mine will appear and my prize
will be your laugh rivaling thunder
watering my parched heart
where I am growing a four leaf clover
If music drew you near as this woman singing
I would pound the piano keys to announce your chariot
I'd be a musician instead of a poet,
to bring you here to me closer,
a little closer, further yet
until you were here under my rib cage
and I could find the magic
to pull the few words that trigger a reserve
the piece of me left, for that very moment
When you are caught in a lover's whisper
when he knows you, stripped naked
when something in your voice tells him you are wonky
or he's made you happier than 5 years of happy
he knows your intention when you are standing on the shore
seeking out the water to carry you home
calling on Freya, the Nordic goddess of Love
and ask her to whisper in your ear that the appointed hour
has arrived and somewhere I am waiting
when I am leaning side to side, petulant
especially when I miss you tender and I do
A song is like a whisper and we each have our own
with every person we hold close
When I am licking that frozen word
and my tongue is stuck I revel in the kindness
of my finished phrase rolling from his lips
His inflection, a word that will be the balm
the almost too perfect compliment of my raging fever
and I hold the words access and manipulate and when he
whispers deep I am sinking in the warm water
and my legs become a fin, my hair flying around me
yes, its deeper than anything I had anticipated
and the fish below welcome me with a wink
and maybe even a prayer
and when reality becomes our big sharp pin
pushing into our big red balloon
when the whispers will change
at the appointed hour when my name will turn
from Baby to Carrie
when I walk past that line, that never ending line
for the roller coaster
sure I can make my car do the same thing
if I drive through Ohio where that
little railroad road has turned over car after car
and the locals drive slowly through there
when the game of chance turns to chess
and I hear "check mate"
I will laugh thinking of the time when you were sure I was perfect
and I was sure that your car was a white horse
and that laugh may be a siren's song to warn other lovers
to hold on just a few minutes more
a heart beat longer
to push aside the papers that will never be done
to hold me in that moment so I have just one more sweet memory
to push Spring into Summer
So much of Love is timing and luck I think. I felt lucky and yet today I wouldn't touch the dice. Best Friend assures me this is more my view of the world and that when my head gets wonky I get blue and to push back the blues is a skill I have honed to almost an art. We talked of luck and of course she mentions Bingo. I am not a fan of the game mind you. I get lost in the numbers of it and find it almost silly but I've done it, mostly to spend time with the Best Friend watching people smoke like fiends, watching her set up the markers. The first time we played with army men and that drew some stares. It's akin to sitting in the Star Wars bars and I often wonder if I wouldn't be running a dental referral service. I usually read the paper or play with yarn, sketch something in my head, eat popcorn and of course find ice coffee that I share with her after adding, cream some sort of chocolate thing and smile wide when I drink it assuring her, its so so good. One day I was holding some ticket that indicated I was a probable winner in some instant lottery bingo thing. I didn't really hear the number, wasn't paying attention but assured her I thought I had won and she should go claim the prize. She jumps up, tiggers herself over there well I didn't win. The mumble back to our seats was priceless followed with a gentle head slap and a lecture about why I don't pay attention when I'm there. I seldom pay attention anywhere I am, shoe stores, Bingo, a crowded bar. When I am looking for a smile in my afternoon, it's a close memory. She is my lucky charm, time tested.
Richie was home this weekend, no luck there, just patience and not wanting to squash him like a bug for not being careful of others, for always putting his agenda first, for being 23. When I think parenthood isnt about luck, I see good people raising kids who do something insane and want to nudge them and say "you didn't do this, it's the luck of the draw." By the time the weekend was over, I would have built a rocket to ship him back to school, high speed and screw the seat belts, he can handle it just fine.
There is an element to Love that is all about luck and when I am full of optimistic butterflies I want to believe it's a reward for keeping your eyes open and being full of the possibility of the miracle of chemistry and whispers on the ride home. When someone else hears a laugh and you hear music, when your quirky artistic nature gives someone pause and makes them want to know you, how your head works and take a piece of you with them for the remainder of their life that is magic. When I ask Best Friend how she does anything that makes me marvel she will tell me "it's magic." and then she will show me how to do it because her generous spirit is love. Years ago we worked together and I knew how to do something others didn't know. She told me to teach a class in the evening, to share it. We are not only as good as what we know, we are only as good as what we show others what we share of ourselves even at times at our own peril.
I was missing the whispers today. I have been. Maybe missing something enough to make you angry or melancholy will make you more careful of it when it shows up again. Maybe it will make me more tender to it's mercy. Maybe just maybe, I will grow not to need it. There is a chance that one day I will be enough of my own person that I won't need something another person does or doesn't do to finish me. And if not, I will just cope with whispers feeding me. Hope floats, I am a work in progress and today is a good healing day. Take care of you.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
What Dreams May Come...
Written by Matheson and the title inspired by Hamlet's soliloquy, "For in that sleep of death what dreams may come. When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, Must give us pause."
Chris Nielsen: A whole human life is just a heartbeat here in Heaven. Then we'll all be together forever.
Chris Nielsen: Is that a kind of occupational hazard of soul mates ? One's not much without the other ?
Albert: Soul mates. It's extremely rare but it exists. Sort of like twin souls tuning into each other. Apparently even in death.
Matheson wrote about coming back here and dying and leaving people behind and love. His dream was a painting and a song and the idea that once you love you never stop loving and once you are you are always in the hearts of those you touch and those who love you. I've read the book a dozen times and watched the movie more. Grief is but part of triumph and sometimes when you win, you still lose. That is the nature of life and of love and we will be back, we will always be back, everything recycled and nothing forgotten, really.
There are moments when you turn the corner
of a strange city and you know the next building
like you know the next brush stroke even though
you've not had a painting instruction
The colors are an instinct, the way you hold the brush
worship the canvas, must be the way you held a lover
in another life
and don't we want to come back?
Don't we need another go around to be sure we've lived
every aspect of life?
and in the next chance we will get to go back and find
the one we couldn't love
to learn to speak French, to play the piano,
I want to come back as a butterfly and flutter from
Mexico up to Arizona and settle in a desert flower
and admire Sedona from staggering heights
or to be a prodigy and paint from the time I am old
enough to hold a paint brush, to paint everything all my life
to not worry of family or books or love
just the smell of the paint on my fingers and the making of art
We would all be different people
no simple task to find someone you loved before
unless of course they knew just the question to ask
I'd know my Best Friend's giggle in the song of a child
the smell of my mother's hair, my son's green eyes
in a field of knee high corn
and know them all over again, to love them as a butterfly
to know them as a song to sing that song on a robin's beak
to comfort them as they know you are close
isn't that the promise of heaven?
In this life I was a wife and sometimes I'm still a mother
I have loved and been loved and I always know
I have more than I deserve what I put into the world
flows back to me like a mighty river
so in the next if I suffer I will suffer gladly
and think of afternoons at my favorite Greek place
with my Best Friend laughing of nothing ordinary
In my next maybe dreary life I will think of
the gloaming of winter evenings and know I've had heaven
held it in my heart, ate chocolate, laughing
in my favorite gray tshirt
and wonder why I stare at the clock around five
As a woman I can reinvent myself from "Oh she makes bread."
to "she is an artist", "she loves the little animals."
there is freedom in being someone new,
something of your mind's construct
one moment a pondering idea and the next it's real
Juliet wasn't a tragic notion until the Bard
wrote her, dancing in his head she would die
when he sobered up or woke up
not really sure what he dreaming just knowing
for a day or two he held the sadness
I don't have the confidence I was something of grandeur before
I wasn't a queen but I designed her gown
I didn't fly Amelia's route but I do love to fly
and french fries make me happy so maybe I was a gull
I painted and planted and I knew loss
Certain I was a sad girl I embrace sadness now
like a long lost friend
I didn't sing for an audience but
I made a king laugh with a silly poem
and somewhere someone fought for me because I expect it now
anything less is so undistinguished, I can't be bothered
wasting this precious time on blase
Perhaps I lived in Paris and served drinks to
Wilde as he dined with Picaso and laughed while
he charmed a dancer in treacherous heels
or lived on a houseboat and a gar fish bit my arm
No, that wasn't another life, that happened when I was nine
time tends to coincide and we are caught in it's rules
and then when we hear the metronome
a song is playing a song from another era and we are taken there
just knowing and when you know something
I don't care how many lifetimes you've lived it's almost
impossible to not know it's tune
I'm happiest when I sing along
I know I danced, dancing feels right
and I like to imagine I've dined with Eliot
and we lost an afternoon
and in Italy in some small town Ernest
stopped by, a little cafe to drink something cool
and I made him that drink
and when I read The Old Man and the Sea
I always imagine him eating Oysters
with a very coy smile like that of a 12 year old boy
and isn't every grown man really a 12 year old boy afterall?
I think that's why I delight in them so
If everything alive were of the same magic dust
the same power to please or destroy
if that were a truth then soon my garden
would be full of souls that were either lost
or found who wanted to bask in the afternoon sun there
who wanted me to wander out and whisper them poetry
and the bee buzzed my head would whisper something sweet, sad Emily
would have said so I could find my way here to share it with you?
Oh John sing to me and help me imagine
I call on my mother's gentleness and my father's strength
to show me how to do it over and over again
fearless and alive
I was inspired of course by the Indigo Girls singing Galileo on the previous post. I lunched and then called Best Friend or she called me, and we discussed being here before. She was ever so certain I was a poet before or maybe someone who sang songs. I was sure she was a warrior, fashioned after a Greek Goddess as she always considers herself the Goddess in bunny slippers and she is.
I know I've been a cynic a few times around and I've never sailed with Columbus as the big ships make me queasy. Trains make me grounchy so I wasn't a conductor. I hate to drive anywhere so I wasn't a race car driver and I certainly wasn't a warden of anything, I hate to discipline adults. Best Friend, oh she was perched on some throne somewhere and when an order wasn't given, it was expected to be known. Gods I love that about her. She did drive and drive and drive and one day in this lifetime we will take a trip all the way across the country with nothing but maps and cold cold iced tea.
My son? In a former life he had many children, but not a mormon, he loves entirely one at a time. My exhusband, he was a jackass, he likes being one over and over again. The bossy Repubican? He was a king, he likes to rule, micromanage and he would have enjoyed the meetings, endless meetings. He would have made them create a podium in his honor all covered in gold leaf and at one time in another life a band of female warriors, beat him silly. He didn't intend to incite them but he forgot the woman he did anger had a band of them as friends. At this point Best Friend chimes in, "Carrie, in another lifetime he was a Nazi." My brother? He was a painter, a recluse in another life. When I hear him talk baby talk to the dog I think he must have been a farmer before the allergies, before the high rise life and he talked to the pigs when he took care of them and he never slaughtered one living a ilfe without bacon just for their company.
My mother was a man in another life who ran a company without a hitch and my father was never a woman and of course never really a businessman. He was a builder and a planner and he taught men how to make wine with their feet. He destroyed, she built.
And of course in another life, we found each other. I've known you before. You were waiting for someone and I was wondering why you were waiting. You told me you weren't waiting and I never saw you again but I carried those few stolen moments around. Perhaps it was the flicker of a blue eye, maybe it was that you extended your hand so easily and it was so warm, my mind wouldn't let it go. You dreamed about me and me of you, of course. Your shame and my pride never waivering. So we will get to do this all over again, maybe for lifetimes. I can't think of any other way.
For a few years now I have had a reoccuring nightmare. It has fallen on me so many times that I know when it's coming even in a dream and I attempt to rationalize it out in my head, assure myself that this simply cannot be happening and I should wake to knit something or maybe make soup. Soup can fix anything, it really can. If I wake briefly, I usually fall right back into it so when I do wake I have to really wake up, take a walk, do something that will distract me for an hour or so and then go back to sleep. In those early mornings I am sure I am the only person in the world awake and if I wanted company Best Friend would wake with one ring or maybe 30 and she'd push aside sleep, for me she would do anything. Isn't love grand? Dreams can seem so real, your mind playing tricks on you and the images rush into your head like the pounding of piano keys and its impossible to stop them even when you are conscious that you are on the other side and know you can fly back to reality and be safe. I always imagine it's the violins that take me home.
The dream you are wondering? Well Richie is young again, very young 6 or 7. I start to rationalize it out, reminding myself he's a grown man now, safe at school studying, working. I think I fall in love with the idea that he is little again, this toe-headed kid who just always wanted to play outside, the junior ghost buster, his laugh contagious. In this nightmare he's out with friends playing in a neighbor's yard and someone calls to tell me they were all shot, a group of small children and this grief falls over me that is so overwhelming I can barely breathe and sometimes when I wake from one of these nightmares I can feel my breathing has changed, I wake almost panic striken. In this overwhelming grief I fall into a deep sleep of trying to find him, trying to push back time and find the day before this could happen and make other plans, move things in a different direction, fix everything. But each time I go back I find another day, the wrong day, a day when we are at the zoo on the big swan boats, a day when we are at the lake house digging in the sand, giant sand piles to make the beach, a day when we are walking the dog in the woods and Richie is sure we'll never find him again because he's run off chasing some noise he's heard. I have a thousand of these adventure days cataloged in the reaches of my bruised heart.
In the frantic search to find the right day, I sleep past his funeral. I have buried many that I love and I rationalize with myself again that this isn't possible that I would be with him every moment until but it doesn't matter I arrive at the cemetery, run past my parents, their bones lying feet below me under the grass to open graves, 6 of them, little tiny open graves and in each a child's size casket. There is indeed nothing that brings about an image of despair quite like a child's casket and these were deep in these open holes with the giant piles of dirt sitting next to each, no one around, everyone gone home to wrestle with their own pain. I even try to convince myself in this dream that there is no way these children would all be buried together, but it doesn't matter. I am lost in grief and start to believe as I do every time I this particular set of images comes to find me that there has been some mistake and that's why I can't find my son in the time frame I looked for him so I climb down into one of the open holes to see his face, to know all this has really happened and this wasn't indeed some horrid mistake.
When I climb down into the hole I can hear the dirt falling on me over my head like sitting inside a large drum and I can't even get the top of the box open and I can't breathe. If I haven't already found a way to wake myself, this is the point where I usually wake, gasping for a breath and sometimes I've been crying. The first time I had this dream I wandered into Richie's room peeking through the crack in the door just to find him sleeping there. Now, I read for awhile, wander downstairs and find some orange juice or make a pot of tea, hoping the whistle of the kettle will shock my head from this grief laden state.
This morning was different. We had a thundering storm here, and if you live on the south side of Chicago you know that the first sign of Spring rain means the power is going out. A few flickers during the Moulin Rouge last night and it was gone, poof. I wandered upstairs to read for awhile, the kittens hovering because the rain noises frightened them and I could feel their little soft bodies under the covers tickling my feet. Dirty White Boy wasn't having any of it and was asleep at my shoulder, his place in the world secure no matter how many little kittens were around and how cute they are. Soon they will be living in someone else's house and I will get an F in the course in Animal Husbandry.
I really do love when my periwinkle room fills with the gray light of a storm or the morning is so early the light hasn't had a chance to throw ribbons on the walls. That gray light is almost like a dream in itself, so beautiful it can't be real. Nature always shocking us with it's incalculable beauty, and this morning was no different, I was in awe. You see, in the middle of the events unfolding as they had so many times before in this dream state, today I was pulled back. Literally. I could feel someone's arms around my shoulders pull me back from it and there I was, not at some grave yard full of terror and anxious grief, but instead back in my blue, almost purple room. Dirty White Boy was snoring, sounding like a lawn mower, there were no tears, just kittens with their heads peering around like flowers popping from the ground sure I was stirring because it was time to feed them again.
This morning I was rescued. Best Friend will tell me later as she always does to reassure me that this is part of healing and soon I will be myself again and this is proof positive. She will tell me that rain storms heal us if we open the window a little to feel the splashes of rain drops on our faces and I did that last night before slipping between the sheets as her voice was the last thing I heard before I went to sleep, right before the power poofed and I thankfully after I heard Nicole sing Come What May. "Suddenly the world is such a perfect place, suddenly it moves at such a perfect pace, suddenly my life doesn't seen such a waste and it all revolves around you."
I knew different though. I knew someone had slipped through that little crack in the window, past the giant robin who perches there watching her new Spring eggs. It was a familiar voice that whispered in my ear "no, not this morning, come with me." He takes me places with him, everywhere with just a few words. There he was this morning, he found a way to my dream, my room and rescued me. I laid there for a few moments in thanks knowing today I didn't have to climb into the hole that I wasn't being dragged in a dream to do something I knew wasn't even happening that all was Ok, as he often tells me it will be and how long it took me just to believe him. Even in the rain I will find eggs Benedict at the local Greek diner sitting in the booth by the window to watch the rain sharing eggs with a friend always makes a Saturday special. And later he will find me, it's what he does. It's our dance, I wait and he looks for me and he whispers to me things that reassure me and I make my way in the world until it happens again. He tells me I am brave and when he is brave he tells me more. I am a blessed girl. This I know. Yes, we are turning toward Spring. The long summer will soon be a distant memory and every now and then we are saved from a dream. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Friday, March 12, 2010
In the moment I heard you first call me Baby
I wanted you to peel me like an orange
listening for the noise it makes when you pull the skin back
back and make the fruit
when my breathing changes
It's the sound of a zipper in the dark
the click of a lamp right before you slide
between the cold sheets
And there in my kitchen pouring a glass of red wine
I could hear you whisper to me again
"I want you to be happy as you make me happy"
and the cold tile wasn't beneath my feet
instead I was above the earth
feeling you pull me, almost fainting
not wanting to give up any pretense
No need to be coy, instead only wishing to give
to stand naked there in the moonlight, Eve
armed only with a bitter apple of truth and the knowledge
of man's want
and when she heard the crunch she knew
the snake bite still fresh a little blood trickling down her leg
the pain passing quickly as pain often does
she was the mother of the earth
and he'd be naked with her there in the moment
and maybe forever
Just because someone is apart from you
it doesn't mean the love changes
the want to feel their arms around you
is no less real than the moment before they actually are
to pull the idea that you have to be guarded over your head
like your favorite faded garden dress
in those moments when you are who you want to be
your voice yours alone basking in the idea that no matter
what your dance is, that you are Salome seven veils flying
and if it cost someone their head, so be it
I never feel God around when I want him there
he's the cop at the coffee shop when I call for him
but then in quiet moments lost in poetry, planting, painting
the affirmation of why I was supposed to be here
I can feel his breath on my neck reminding me
and when I am too full of myself, too imposing
he sends a man along who will strip me naked
pointing out the rib
making me humble
and because love stories never ever end well,
Tomorrow I will awake shower and get dressed and
not be conscious of being naked
there standing in hot water I am safe
the curtain is drawn and I am back in the womb
covered in water, a fish
swimming through the drain upstream
back to where the world began and we were tiny
in our mother's arms sure the world loved us
just because we were vulnerable
and the world either crushes those that are weak
or takes them in and makes them strong
when you've done something horrid and your mother
forgets to tell your father
when you stumble and you feel the hand of the handsome stranger
lift you up just enough to get your footing again
when you reach for the brush and you aren't sure which color
how you will capture the moment
and in God's grace the paint finds its way to your brush
and without effort without even understanding the miracle
you are in the mind's eye and even creating that moment
Passion is a hurricane, it takes no prisoners
it makes kings weak, makes us wet with want and just when it turns us upside down
makes us wonder where we fit in the world before the want
it suddenly calms us completely and we start our lives all over
before I loved him and after he loved me back
Don't lick your wounds in public, move along smartly
jump up, and don't forget to smile like you're on the float
and everyone is watching
and you've forgotten the pink taffeta dress
in one snap decision fallen from prom queen
to whore all because naked felt right
when there are no clothes fine enough to cover your left shoulder
when we are sitting so close I want to open the button
on your shirt right above your body's button
so I can slide my hand over your side
and taste the sweet golden apple from your lips
Because pink is my favorite crayon...Thanks Gary. I can't watch this enough.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Can I believe the magic of your sighs? I think Amy sings this better than Carole King and that's something, isn't it? I watched an interview with Elton once where he said he heard Oleta Adams sing, Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me and it wasn't his song ever again, she owned it. I was at the pharmacy recently waiting for a script and I could hear Billy Joel over the speakers singing to me. He was singing and so it goes. In every heart there is a room, a sanctuary safe and strong to heal the wounds of lovers past until a new one comes alone. I spoke to you in cautious tones, you answered me with no pretense and still I feel I said too much, my silence is my self defense. My eyes were wet and and so it goes. I needed to hear someone tell me today that it was good to say what's in your heart rather than to hold it with both hands and be full of worry. I've seldom been truly disappointed when I've given someone my heart to break. I've been lucky that way. It's just been so very long since I've given it up, it seems life moves along and it makes us safe. We don't say what we should, we don't go walking at night for fear there is some monster in the trees, but there isn't.
I am the girl who fills the world with silly love songs. I am not worry about the silly moniker of it. Someone told me recently that he doesn't mind me being silly sometimes, my pass. I'll hold on to it for awhile because I hold on to everything he tells me, ponder it, push it through my head and when it goes out the other ear it's not always in tact but it is mine, still mine. Suzy tells me to write a love song and I was wondering what I'd say in a love song. Hasn't it all been said already? "Suddenly the world is such a perfect place, suddenly it moves with such a perfect grace, suddenly my life doesn't seem such a waste and it all revolves around you." I can't hear that enough and have my heart squeeze me a little. Yes, the Moulin Rouge was on last night and when she softly sings "Come What May" I am there in Montmarte on the right bank in the shadow of the Basilica. A few years ago Best Friend and I took our niece Katie to see a Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit at the Art Instite. There was a whole room dedicated to these lithographs Lautrec made in Montmarte. There was this woman who traveled to Paris from Hinsdale, Illinois. She danced a butterfly dance and when Lautrec saw her he lost his heart. I do hope it was in October but I'm not even remotely certain.
She painted her, he wrote to her, first in secret letters he'd leave for her and then finally he just told her he loved her. Although flattered she didn't love him and I think today she must have been truly in love with someone else because it's not every day a man paints a room full of lithographs of you dancing and it doesn't make your heart tender to him. She danced for Van Gogh, Picasso and Oscar Wilde so she may be one of those lucky women who just had her pick of men. I love the idea of her traveling so far just to dance and live the remainder of her life there not even minding that her hair would always smell like smoke.
And as a final thought this morning I was in the car the other day listening to just random radio punches and almost forgot how much I miss listening to Peter Cetera and Chicago. I miss driving down Lake Shore Drive singing, A hard Habit to break "being without you takes a lot of getting used to, she learned to live with it and I don't want to." I came home to listen to my best of Chicago stuff and Hard to Say I'm Sorry was there and it was all about summer and of course summer romance. "And after all that's been said and done, you're just the part of me I can't let go." Has everything been said and sung? Oh I think when it comes to the power of love and loss the feelings are so universal that it's hard to think a new thought. I think my favorite though is Love me Tomorrow. "She said it's lonely here tonight she's always sad wahen she's alone. She said I need you here tonight, she couldn't wait until I get home. She loves me and that's all I need to know. She's part of my life, just the part I won't let go." You see even the same artist almost needs to share the same thing over and over just to let you in a little, to tell you to be kind, to be tender, there's a chance it's fleeting and who would wish heartache on anyone? "And though its not what we both want, knowing she's there I'll carry on because he loves me and that's all I need to know."
When I was a girl I found a convincing manner
to tell my mother I didn't believe in God
He was a construct I told her and her belief almost seemed childlike to me
She put me in the car and drove me to a giant Cathederal
it's full grandeur and authority towering over a girl
I could hear the words dripping from her tongue
the how dare I even question and then her voice softened
"Thousands of men spent years building this place
and you would tell them their efforts were in vain?"
The light was bouncing off the walls and off the
mounds of snow outside and from her tender face
For the first time I understood
She wanted to believe
this wasn't bible camp in Amboy, Iowa
This wasn't a Wednesday Catechism class
her eyes were pleading and although she didn't say it then
I could hear it now in the way I tell my son
"Pay attention here this is the important stuff"
The world was dripping today, melting in drops I heard
like a symphony of nature's turn toward Spring
and I was eating a plum, not an ordinary plum mind you
the softest and sweetest of drupaceous fruit, its purple
so purple it was almost black and I closed my eyes
and listened for even one Spring bird, nothing
I could hear the raccoon chittering on the roof
eating a bagel I left in our place earlier
and there was God's kiss in the squirt of sweetness
over my teeth and the smell of the earth under the
mounds of soft snow
and then the thoughts of you rushing in my head
I could really hear your voice when we are all alone
and you are whispering to me something I will need later
so I can take it out with me on walks like this
when you are far away and yet the next beat of my wonky heart
I was my mother for a moment
enjoying God's glory in a plum waiting for the earth
to spin Spring my way so I could dig in the yard
I am here to testify that loving you is like eating that plum
God's wisdom doesn't always avail itself to me
and when I am meandering on one of his wild chases of geese
unsure what I am supposed to ignore and what I should hold close
sure that when I have lunch with my Best Friend
she will smile and shake her head and explain to me carefully
that even when I am paying attention I step over the clues
and she reminds me what love is in her laugh
and if tickled enough her double knee slap
How could a plum be Science? a simple splicing of one
plant to another to create the flesh of salmon
so sweet you have to close your eyes to eat it
the way I find myself when you are telling me
to be exactly who I am and when I hear you and believe you
the rain falls over me and washes away the dust of a careless world
turning in its own speed with its own want
this way and then stalling over winter
call me baby one more time before I pull the blanket over my head
and wonder what tomorrow has waiting behind sleep's rocking cradle
Faith works wonders and I know as I get older why my mother
found comfort in her hymnal and her blind belief
of the Lord who made plums, and who made me and who made a man
who never complains
who fights the good fight, wards off demons
tries when trying is brave, who loves his mother tenderly,
because that's the only way he knows to love women
He stands guard over my heart not by accident
not because at one time an ape did this and the other apes enjoyed it
because it was God's design you see
before I pushed my way into this world
God was in the East listening to the sweet song of October winds
and a beautiful woman lost her heart
this happens easily in October, don't ask me how I know
in a moment he witnessed a sparrow's song its twittering of no pretense
then he wondered for a moment if a man could carry the heart of a sparrow
if he could be strong and yet sing a gentle song of love's want
and Spring's promise
and in a push and a divine release
he made you
in that moment
designed a smile that puts a woman at ease
made your arms strong so you could hold her in a moment
designed your laugh like thunder to get my attention
and gave you a sparrow's song in gloaming whispers
and when I am missing you and I feel silly and tiny
this isn't Science either, it's not coincidence
it's also part of the design of a ferocious girl
and a not so chance meeting
of two people wondering what is missing
and somewhere he is smiling admiring his work
singing to me in a surprising song of drip drip dripping
Yes! I am Morrigan he assures me, I am the warrior
who wouldn't ever let anyone cut your branches
or dampen the sparrow's song
not by luck
by love's design and always in a song of Thanks
a melody of wonder
and a mother's blind faith
When someone gives of themselves so freely that you are assured that love is so alive in the world that you want to sing it's song and you wish it was Sunday so you could go to church and sing. I skipped church this morning, I was too tired and sleep was hiding last night but I did get some time watching Moulin Rouge and delighted in the idea of Come What May. Below you will find the Giving Tree, read by Silverstein himself. I just realized this morning he wrote the Johnny Cash Song, A Boy named Sue. Yesterday out of the blue Best Friend tells me I should write a song. I think I will, if not today, soon. I hope you like the story as much as I do. If you look past a few older posts there's another of his stories, they are wonderful.
It's certainly true that God is in the details, but then again he always was. I suppose his frustration is getting us to notice and his joy when we sing it's praises. Enjoy Sunday.
Saturday, March 6, 2010
I like to walk when the world is sleeping and when I do
I take my cat Leroy with me
He's the fattest cat in this damned town
and when we walk in the winter
I always pick nights when the moon is full
when the light glitters off the snow
it fills the air with a certain magic
And on a particular night not long ago
I felt a bit of star dust settle in my lungs, a poem in my head
and a song in my step
and I knew this morning was an event
something was in the air the way you can
smell a rainstorm in the summer even before
you hear the boom of thunder
Before me was a moon man, The man who lived there
when I couldn't let my mind bend around the idea
I deposed him, listening but not seeing his eyes
in the helmet that made him look like a bug
He told me stories of the cow jumping
and he knew where the dish and the spoon were
in fact he dined with them on occasion
and always took very old single malt in a fine crystal decanter
We walked there together my breath making smoke signals in the night
and his steaming up his helmet so that he had
to take my hand to find his way until my way was his way
and our way and when I stumbled he picked me up
and I rested in the strength of the moment
I wondered how one lived alone, careful not to use the word lonely
as it conjures thoughts of social misfitism and I knew better
In a crowd one could feel alone without a commonality of spirit
and still feel quite loved
The man who lived on the moon explained being alone
that he liked his own company and he was a man of science
and duty and when he felt alone, when he tired of the view
he came here to walk in the early morning careful not to wake a soul
he didn't step on the flowers in my garden, never even took a tomato with him
but when we were still I knew he had been here before
the strange rocks he'd leave behind, and of course
the footprints of the big boots
and what joy I took in the idea that he found respite in the flowers
smelling the herbs and I pictured him taking off the giant
gloves to put sage between his hands and rub the way I do
when I want to feel close to the earth and know its secrets
I knew there were things about us alike as I was at ease
and I am seldom at ease
when we wound up back in my garden we just lingered there
for a few moments or for a few years
and I thought to ask him in
before he pointed to my window, my periwinkle room
"I make sure the light shines through that window so I can watch you sleep"
he whispered to me in hushed tones
and then he said "I must go, sweet baby"
and I was trapped there in the moment and thought at least this time
he said goodbye
In my hands this giant glove and I couldn't resist
and in the fashion of letting me love him the way I want to love him
I slipped it off and held his hand warm in mine
pressed it to my chest wanting gravity to pull him into me
"I saved the message" that's all I had to say about that because
maybe he already knew I listened to it a thousand times
and every time he said sweet baby I'd have to push down the lump
in my throat until it just stayed there
I saved it because I needed it there like the cold pillow on my bed
I never knew when I'd reach for it, at 3am, in the afternoon when my throat was raging
when I woke in the morning you see
I never knew when I needed to put my head at ease and there it was
even in absence taking care of me and the moon
I couldn't remember if he'd been gone ten days, ten weeks or ten years
my pride wouldn't let me plead my case
If he took off the helmet I'd know for sure
only one in 600 or so people have one blue eye and one brown
but faith isn't knowing for sure or they wouldn't call it faith
and right then I wanted a pocket full of faith
and I do right now
Finally I could say "I left a few messages"
he shook his head and asked me
where I wanted his hand
on my left hip, of course
and N will always stand for knowledge
and I could hear the laughter that sounded like thunder
when the ground is so dry you'd fall in its cracks
He told me he dreamt of me and I wanted to believe him
so I did
My heart was beating out Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5
so loud he could hear it and he pulled me close
and we danced there a moment
and I didn't ask
and he didn't reply
because sometimes life really is an Egyptian opera
sung in Italian, it's just that strange
Now and then love sneaks in when you aren't looking
or finally when you are
Miracles happen even when you don't plan for them
and if all of love were judged in a walk
when the whole world was asleep
when there were only two lovers
then they would have to write of this morning
that we loved each other not in a lifetime
but in stolen moments
nobody really gazes upon a flower blooming
we just assume it does in quiet moments
when the sun is loving it when a cool breeze coaxes it along
when the moon man kisses it
and it's open for the world to see
in colors so brilliant, unafraid
you'll wait out the melting snow
just to see it again
Goodnight Sweet Baby, goodnight
When I first read Silverstein's Giving Tree, moved to tears I read it to my son over and over again so he would KNOW that giving all of yourself to anything is a mistake, then there's nothing left over for you and instead of love all you have left is resentment and I couldn't understand for the life of me why the last line of that book wasn't, and the tree was happy. BUT NOT REALLY. Perhaps for Silverstein it was about the fact that giving made him happy and for me its more about the balance of it, giving and getting back.
I never juggle that balance with the Best Friend. It's an understood, the joy of sharing and when she bestows those treasures back this way I am truly blessed and this morning I awoke missing her. I missed our Saturdays. We hadn't spent a Saturday in some time without an agenda. Now when she visits or I am with her its about cramming so much in seeing everyone you can see in a short time span that it's seldom about the lazy Saturday. I'd find her at the Elevated train platform and off we'd go on some adventure at a bookstore, wandering through the stacks of books, me pouring over one poem again and again and she reading an entire book in an hour or two to my amazement. Every time we'd find ourselves there she'd forget she hates the tastes of coffee and have me doctor up something that resembled milk with a little coffee color and somewhat cold. I have wondered ten thousand times why she wouldn't just get chocolate milk its what she really wants but the cosmo in her wanted it to be a coffee drink, so there it is, a coffee drink.
Sometimes a Saturday would start as one thing, the quest for the most perfect dress to wear to that thing with the guy who was currently the crush of the month. Will it be a blue dress or a white or is this THE job interview suit that had to have some sort of funky flair because it was after all something we would wear, not a drone always remembering that under the head full of book stuff there were women. After two hours of trying things on until your hair looked like you were in a fight with a ceiling fan we'd head off to a park with some dominoes and diet Pepsi sometimes with Richie, sometimes without. If Richie were there we'd have to speak in half phrases to make the other smile, what we do now when the nieces and nephews are close. And one in the woods playing on a rickety picnic table we heard the breaking of branches and she jumped startled sure there were monsters in the woods, monsters who lived what? ten minutes outside of the Chicago City limits? I don't think there's be a large bear or a cougar there hiding in the woods but to watch her jump about anything gives me such amusement. Richie had no idea that if there were a monster in the woods, he'd be lunch and she'd be running to the car for her life keys waving in her hands above her head.
This morning I went into the spare room to find a flannel sheet in the cabinet where I keep those things and there was the lamp. This lamp is by far the most unusual thing I'd ever seen. I found it's sister at a garage sale one afternoon and I knew it was the best friend's lamp. It has a giant blue glass base that lit up independently from the top of the lap and had a giant jewel at the top. It looked as though this was something directly from Persia, if Persia were in Missouri at a horrid lamp shop. The perfect lamp. I was so excited to give it to her, knowing there was no other lamp this beautifully ugly. It has everything, the color, the shape, and it was huge, a lamp that would light the jet fighters up that would pass her high rise right before the air and water show (her reason for standing naked in the window for a few days straight). Not even two days later I am tooling around looking for my favorite bead shop and I find this lamp AGAIN in green this time. We had the world's ugliest most beautiful almost matching lamps in the world. Neither of them work now of course, the nature of beautiful ugly things, a little broken but too precious to part with, like many things I love.
This morning we talked of lamps, and planting, of lost Saturdays and Leprechauns. I am perched at the mail box waiting for something, she's glad the week is over. I made a pot of coffee for the first time in a very long time and I am savoring the cream part and of course the smell. The giant pile of laundry that has been beating me up is now just a load and a half of almost finished joy. The kittens ate their real first cat food meal this morning which means they are ready for their release into their real homes, the places where they will be loved and kissed the way I love and kiss them here. I am feeling stronger and I'm letting down some of the burden of worry, leaving it next to the lamp in the spare room. My brother tells me he can fix it, let him fix the other as well.
I went looking for my missing piece and there she was and I couldn't help but think of Silverstein's story and decided to share it here. I love the part where he found what he was sure he wanted and then went to sing and found there was no room and just set it down gently. Inevitably we are own our missing pieces I suppose but how I do love carrying around pieces of those that allow me to love them and that I find the joy in loving in return. The moments in my life when I am the happiest are those moments when I take time to "watch a beetle" and find a way to take care of me, paint a little and find my voice here. The world is melting, I am healing and the earth is turning on and on and on.