I was sitting with a friend last night who lost her husband to cancer last year. She said that it was almost as if 2010 never happened, or it was ages ago. And now, almost twelve months later, she is saying she is no longer numb, and the grieving even more desperate. And I want to tell her it will end, but we both know it would be a lie. We grieve, we die, we are reborn every day. There are moments when we are living, and dead moments when our blood is turning to alcohol beneath six feet of earth and the beetles are feeding off it, drunk and inappropriate.
No hands, no retreat, no return. Only a continual going out from our shoal, arms out, belly up...bloated and burnt. Then you lift me, with your sweat and love, desperate even in that. Desperate for that. True gifts indeed.
It's 5:00 AM, I'm on my bike beneath a teenage moon that's still wide awake from a night of heavy partying. His eyes blink drunkenly as I follow the beam of my narrow headlight. If he wasn't so hung over, he'd be doing a better job, or at least give way to day. But the sun will hurt his eyes, and he's in no hurry whatsoever to fall behind the world.
I pedal to the coffee shop with my goosebumps on full alert to the temperature of night. I stand at the counter, rub my eyes. "Decaf." She looks at me askance and I shrug. I take the long way home...stopping to window shop and sip the cinnamon off the surface of my Java. When I get back to the house I tuck myself away in the backyard...book of poetry, a flashlight, my warm mug. The moon yawns and slips just a bit...just enough that the world becomes silhouette, and I nothing but another black mark against the skyline. . . . .
It's like we're legg-less
crawling up each other...
the only ease
on one side or the other
and strangely, I've white flagged 'em both
But ease never carried much promise
I live my life like a war
and each day a battle.
These arms have always been my strength.
Coaches would tell me to kick kick kick kick
but I let my arms do all the work
'cuz I never really had a leg to stand on
I know this...
they keep holding on
(L&L - Was a little drunk when I wrote this) . . .
The fact of the matter is, we all try to heal ourselves.
You are gauze, he is tape, she is stitches...
we take. we take. sadly.
But (and here we've come round again) we bleed out, and need attention.
It hurts to be the healer
It hurts to be the sick
and we've all been our share of both.
So empathy will be our bandage...and a modicum of mercy.
I have been the child with the cancerous childhood. I still attempt the surgical removal of every tumor. I have no blade. I grab your hand and poise it to slice. It's just the way of things. But I love you no less for it.
I laid it in the sun
perhaps to watch it fade, or to highlight it...
I'm never sure
but I clip it to the post in the yard every day
watch the light do a slow roll across our faces
in no damn hurry at all.
It seems as vivid as ever
all that weather, yet still saturated with the hues of love and denial
I think the color releases only in pace with my eyes
and when they see their last
the sun bleached photo will take flight
a graveside dove. . . . .
I think one of the greatest things we do for each other "in here" is witness. Without judgment or even opinion at times, we witness each other in the minutia that gets missed. So much goes on between our ears, the unspoken growth and death that our fingers scream about on the page. We witness these things and press their petals into our scrapbooks. It's important to be so heard, and collected.
The scent of absolution. Such a dainty thing. We sniff like dogs, thinking it fragrant like NEED, like steak. And with our nose to the ground, we miss the delicant waft that came like a moth beneath the light of our search.
Now I wait for it to come back around, yet knowing I need only ask. . . .
I am picking up the guitar again.
My arms and fingers remember it like the weight and shape of my babies.
And I think to myself,
if I could write a lyric and a tune,
have them flow out from my levied equator,
I could exorcise things . . . .
♫You first found me in my holding pen
Stopped to take a look and stuck your finger in
I bit one off and you came back again and again . . . hey
Then the nice people let me out one day
And you told me how to act and what to say
But you never get what you wanted that way )
Did you baby?♫
Maybe it's just me
Just something unrequited
Maybe it will never be
I lean into the whisper
But I don't hear a thing
It's a tear in the dark
all alone in the car in pieces.♫ . . .
I know how they will try and talk us down from this ledge
how they will congregate on the sidewalk below
their hands over their mouths in mock surprise and fear
the well intenders
singing the praise of our worth
and tell us how fucking lovable we are.
But you and I know there are parts that... dare I say it to you...
only God could love.
There are parts that would make the crowd disperse from the sidewalk
having just painted a big red target in their wake
parts of us so dark
not even mold would thrive.
Yes. The best of intentions are in need of redemptions. We never intend to be the error, the virus, the villan. Sometimes we are. And we forgive each other. We leave those doors open. We throw open the window and keep watch for all that returns from what we've sent. . . .
My dirty mind is right between the eyes following it's own tributaries into a vast shoreless ocean following your dirty mind and hers, and his... little white boats we are calm or tossing crossing paths or solitary.
The water rises in the steam of our imagination . . . .
I think I was born in a shack on the bayou. I've memories of it small wooden porch creak of a rocking chair the gentle sway of a lantern crickets so loud they drown out sorrow or are sorrow or eat sorrow.
My eyes are the color of silt and I've the scent of the water in my hair.
They keep telling me I was born and raised inland a city dweller but I cannot reconcile the fact
Does a wolf recall the date of it's birth? Is there memory, or perhaps a scent it once new from being within a mother, that it hunts infinitely? The Moon recalls. The Moon...so in tune with the waxing and waning of it's own come and go, keeps track of all it surveys, having shone so often on birth and death. There is a record, etched with a fossilized stylus in craters and stones , and the record is grand. The memory of the Moon is long, and kind, forgiving, and complicit in the earth's forgetting the pain of birth, so that yearly, it yearns again for Spring. And so the Moon holds our unbalanced history...a rose colored collection of our beauty, the moments we got it right, the days we gave in equal measure to our gain, and our effort...the intent of our effort especially cradled with a tender glow. The rest, the sometimes painful, scared, humbled rest, is cast like fast balls within strike zone of the sun and returned via "SMACK" on the sweet spot. The cover flys back to incineration while the core sails across the sky. And there, caught readily in the glove of the Moon, is our essence...the scent we once knew from being within a mother. Safe. Warm. Nurtured. Loved. It is no wonder a wolf howls at the Moon! The Moon is kind, and it's memory is very long. . . . .