Lourdes Mint's Mid-Life Miracle

Real-time memoir of the coming year (5/20/14 – 15) and the achievement of a life-long dream

Archive for the category “Poetry (?)”

There is always “burn” here now.

Pretty+Flames+2-7-2007+3-36-23+PM+2816x2112There is always “burn” here now.

Door knobs burn in my hand as I turn them, so I leave the inside ones open. Even the floor burns the bottoms of my feet, so: shoes, but they burn also. These words too, all words, whether I think or say or read them, they all burn now. Sometimes./

To hear them, these ones here, spoken aloud in this room today — w/ no one aside from me listening, no music playing, nothing baking — to hear them without burning, what I would give for that! To be back there, here but back then, in my dream of life again, where it was plenty warm enough, what I would give./

There were times I’d think I must have come from there to here through someplace really cold. I’d think, could I have died that day? That day I “wakened” to the smell of all my pies burning and you knocking as loud as you could on the door. “What’s burning? Are you okay? What’s going on with your hair?”/

We threw the pies into the garden, laughing. You cut my hair in the kitchen to help fix me back up as we aired the place out. “What happened, though? Did you fall asleep? Since when do you bake pies and for what?” I opened you some wine and we spent the rest of the day together./

But I watched the pies slowly disappear alone. It took weeks and then one downpour finally carried the rest away./

Today, I know I came through someplace really cold to get here. Why else, how else, could touching these now — these plastic keys — burn me so? So that the plainest words/thoughts, uttered as plainly as I can manage, are birds barely escaping a flame and then at the very last second returning or just stopping, letting it happen, letting it wrap them and hold them in its hot hands until they turn to ash?/

There is always “burn” here, but I’ve begun to wonder if it might be okay for a time./

After all, crying now is like climbing a tree—but on another planet. Crying: Why? How? It doesn’t happen here, I don’t think, but I’m not completely sure (having learned about evaporation so long ago). I do know it’s not okay not to cry ever./

I know too that today nothing is baking, no music is playing, and no one knocks or doesn’t knock at the door. And I know I didn’t die that day. I am being still and quiet, no more words aloud for now, dreaming of when I was “just warm enough” and wishing I could cry, here or on some other planet, any planet (except Mercury, Venus)./

And yet. Even though these words, my memories, the door, the floor, the bottoms of me feet — ALL of it burns, all of it is burning me — I begin to think it could all turn out all right, that one day I will be just warm enough again.

***

THIS is a repost, thanks. I’ve been gone from here for SIX long months. I consider it a bit of providence that I log back in tonight, after several days (weeks? months?) of thinking about this blog AND THIS POEM especially, and find that BURN is the one-word daily prompt. Today. When I log back in … But so, I have nothing new here now, I don’t think, am exhausted, but I jump back in to this — everything — holding the hand of my 47-year-old self from two years ago. I trust no one more.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/burn/

https://wordpress.com/post/lourdesmint.wordpress.com/678

 

 

You, Carbon

ScaryEye (3)
You, carbon, 
I understand what you are to me and this dog, licking a mysterious spot on the rug — and probably to the spot, too.

I know what you are to that pair of stink bugs, each seeming to pause in its path to make way for the other, and to

The vivacious algae, grooving full-tilt on the inside of the fish tank.

I know what you are to the fish.

I know what you are to vegans and cows, to moss and paper, to

Muslims and to flowers, fresh or dried … also to

Kentucky women and stunt men, hand models, leather belts,

Republicans, nuts, mathematicians and trapeze artists, run-away elephants, chocolates,

Babies of all species, natural fibers, gamers and monks, shells, dirt, Etsy shop owners, “happy creatures dancing on the lawn,”

People who know they’re dying soon, downed trees filled with munching grubs, nurse practitioners (God bless ’em), and

Maybe even aliens (from outer space).

I know.

It was back in the pitted, confused, brain-sweltering days of much younger years when I first learned — from the soggy pages of an Omni (or similar) magazine that I’d taken into the tub with me, as I often did. I craved information that seemed to stretch time out so far and wide that my life, all life, became a dot and all meaning disappeared.

That you — in your simplest, most basic, dark and un-shining form — were at the bottom of it all made me feel better. YES, knowing that we’d all whipped ourselves up from the flat, black palm of your four-fingered hand, this made me feel better. And better was best, then.

But since then, better has me agreeing to “follow up” visits with Mormon boys on bikes, has me talking so long to homeless people they beg my pardon (have somewhere to be), has me listening and watching (waiting?) for something — I’m not sure what. I settle for cake. Then I make a list I will never look at again. I think of you, sometimes.

But I no longer try to meet, let alone hold, your opaque, sooty gaze. I want to see past, to who you’re working with.

“You fight evil with all you do”

Great song, wonderful little short story … except the meatball, in my opinion. 😉

Unknown

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – Lay and Love (2007) – YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxaXYBrdRdA
I didn’t realize this video is controversial among Will Oldham admirers. One person calls it “sleazy and ironic.” I’m no Pollyanna, but I saw it as almost exactly the opposite. And “someone” (my husband) told me this morning he thought it was very disturbing (paraphrasing a bit here): “the White Man and all his money funding a frivolous and tawdry adventure for people requiring more basic forms of support” — and I get that. But I saw it more like this: here’s this sort of odd guy who’s come across some money (I don’t think rich people flash around wads of cash like that) and doesn’t know what to do with it so he sets out to do some good, if misguided, thing with it. It’s a “good” shaped out of his own experience of life, which maybe only some can (or would even try to) imagine. But I do think it’s kind of beautiful (except the meatball). And the song just IS beautiful, period. Hear for yourself.

STAY

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Forever Young.”

(Death is the dark backing that a mirror needs if we are to see anything. ~ Saul Bellow)

My, oh my, my love … about these depressions in our mattress, which can

Only be flipped and turned so many times before they stop bouncing back,

Let’s not think, so THAT is what we’ve done with one-third of our lives!?

By that time (this?), I hope we can say: well, OK, we need(ed) that for this, these, the

Other two-thirds, which — however long they may last beyond this point —

Must be able to push forth, astride those nights that do end;

Hurdle endings that don’t end: the endings of pets, people, people we love;

Let go of  things that won’t/can’t be found again, no matter how ORGANIZED we are or

How faithfully we retrace our steps, how much we care or try or want; and, AND, and

Get used to the feeling of Nature’s waning interest in us, looking through us now to

Its more current projects, just as it becomes more beautiful in our eyes.photo (2)

(How many times have I photographed the moon just this past year? The DAGGONE moon! Like it hasn’t been here all this effing time, hanging around, doing its thing while I did mine. But now, each time, with every shot, I felt/feel a word placed and then burn under my tongue: STAY! [That’s the word.] I can never tell where the word’s come from nor who it’s for. Me? The moon? Us both? Who can say [?] so I let it stay, the word beneath my tongue, until one day I look for it and find it’s slipped away again.)

I do know, though, all things do finally go, are gone, and that is that — for now, at least.

But that’s what makes life precious and meaningful. Yes, that’s just exactly how the whole thing works.

Anyway. NOW THAT THAT’S OUT OF THE WAY,  to answer the question: HECK, YES! I would GULP those

Fountain-of-youth waters down, just before diving in and spending the better part of the day(s) floating — never, ever sleeping —

On my back, this back here (!), which is presently further debouncing our mattress. But, YES!

I would drink. I would make you drink, too.

(A mirror needs a dark backing if we are to see our reflection, which is always good to check out before having your photo taken, going out to dinner, etc. ~ Lourdes Mint)

“Drafts” are the new “so?”

IMG_1969

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/______-is-the-new-______/

[Please excuse me for choosing my own blog. Felt like something I needed to do today.]

*I have 57 drafts and only 38 (39 now, actually) “published” … things. So? What is a published thing anyway, for many of us, but a draft that has somehow tripped the system, slipped through our over-zealous, ultra-self-censoring, hyper-critical inner critic? Anyway, here’s one that slipped through.

 

38 published, 57 drafts, and my blog’s goal’s

“Due date” has gone by, so by, that I

No longer see clearly the [X] on the horizon. (That dot that was my goal.)

 

But I look often. Things I’ve seen:

A fallen tree, an empty house, a man walking, hands in pockets, and a

Windmill, still. Once, I saw a fox with a rabbit in its mouth!

That was my favorite.

 

Today, though, I don’t know. Can’t make it out.

But, oh!, I know it just moved … closer no less. Or was it me, toward it? (Ha! Noooo.)

I’ve been moving lots lately but not in that direction. I’ve been wishing lots too that it —  my goal, that dot — would come to me, for me, at me,

Any way it wants, with or without rabbit. I’ll take it! But I know. I know. I’ve always known.

 

And I’m actually accepting the “failure,” for now, have taken my hands from the throat of she who failed. (I need her: me.)

And with that grip loosened, I see her becoming beauty-full again, feel laughter pushing up through her throat (words to follow?), eyes opening wide once more, synapses (many? most? all?) firing up, firing one another up,

Stretching out to meet, connect, grab hold, and go. Someplace new. Again and again!

 

So I’ll stop looking for that leaf that wasn’t loosed when fall came early this year, a guest of spring and now summer and soon to be master of the house.

The sun has said go ahead: stop. God, I’ve heard, likes (loves) me after all — no matter what I say or (don’t) do. I hear someone, many, saying, “rest.”

And yet: that dot, my goal. Can’t wash the (imagined) taste of rabbit from my mouth.

And yet, there was nothing here before and now:

38 published, 57 drafts, and me.

We’re still here. I have my crown.

 

 

Float: A Love Story (or “Scientists Prove that Atheists May Not Exist…”)

[Note: I didn’t post at all in February, but started many, many stories that I didn’t finish, and TRIED not to think about my blog’s goal, the deadline for which is fast approaching. The Lourdes Mint who is not writing is usually not reading either, and the whole writing/reading thing SEEMS to go dormant, BUT REALLY it funnels itself, tornado-like, into a poltergeist-ish presence here — one that leaves water running, burns food, compulsively engages in what I’m going to go ahead and call performance art (not a euphemism for anything too far off from that, just so you know), and enthusiastically takes on new projects/commitments even when I don’t have time enough for the ones I’ve already got.

Speaking of which, I just finished helping a friend “proofread” his new book, which I shouldn’t have done probably (no more editing, etc., for me, remember?), but the good thing was that in doing it, I got bitten so good and hard by the word bug that here I finally am again! And, on my way here, I found this article* (kind of interesting) and it reminded me of a conversation that I overheard once in a cafe, next to a hot springs in (a place resembling, on this particular morning) Iceland. Anyway, here’s my “story”…]

Float: A Love Story

“ZZ,” I’ll call him, is a pale, thin-lipped guy who looks like he spends most of his time in a dark room, illuminated only by a computer, living on nothing but coffee and Ho-Hos. He has a beard so huge it looks (and smells, I’m guessing), from where I’m sitting, as though it has its very own ecosystem (the kind that would include plenty of marsupials, mushrooms, and marshy bogs).

“‘Scientists prove that atheists may not exist…’? I don’t understand how one could possibly prove this,” ZZ huffs. “No, actually, what I don’t understand is why one would care to take on such a silly endeavor. Am I really that scary? What, are they bored w/ cancer and AIDS? Pathetic. It makes no sense. I mean, why/how can one … um…?”

He takes an angry sip of his hot frothy whatever and looks at the woman across from him, whom I can only see from the back and who is huddled over her plate, appearing as though she’s just taken a huge bite of something delicious. I crane my neck to try to see what she’s ordered … I’m sill trying to decide.

ZZ continues: “Well, what else do you remember about it, the article?”

Chewing, chewing, chewing, the woman—whom I’ll call “Chortles”—holds up a “hold-on-a-second” finger. ZZ glares at the top of her head, tilted down toward the plate. He begins to yawn (too deeply, too loudly, I think), and blink (too fast, I think), and stroke his beard (once is way more than enough, I think — and then … oh, I cannot hold off much longer on eating … getting to the springs).

I see he is feeling alone, though, and almost jealous of the food on Chortles’ plate, of how happy it makes her (I am too).

“Okay then, what did you say the article was called, again?” ZZ picks up his iPhone, peering into its glassy face through thick, black 1970s “smart person/atheist” glasses. “Hello? [to her] Can I get a web address, or URL, maybe?”

Chortles chortles and, with what sounds like a full mouth, says something about, “key words” and how “no one really needs web addresses” anymore. (And what’s a URL, again?)

ZZ seems pretending not to hear, keeps poking away at his phone. “No access, still? Here? Oh, you!” he hisses at the slick black thing in his hand. “Bastard whelp! Pathetic.”

He sets it down, gently, and begins to examine his hand as though it has just now, at this very moment, appeared. He then looks incredulously at Chortles, who is still chewing, from what I can see—no wonder given that she’s taken another bite or five while ZZ was laying-in to his phone.

Watching her gobbling away, he almost smiles, but also sighs loudly and turns his attention to the panoramic window that runs the length of the entire east wall of the place—furrowing his brow and slowly shaking his head at the sight of the hot-springers. Some are blissing out, others are frolicking, in the pre-dawn, orange-ish glow.

It’s as though they are, in their very being—through either their in-your-face contentedness or their “glad animal movements”—speaking directly to ZZ in some strange language he’s unable understand. And it’s as though he desperately wishes to communicate this disconnect to them, to everyone! The furrowing and shaking continue, becoming more and more pronounced.

“No sense at all … the article, I mean!” he says suddenly, sharply, and abruptly returns his gaze to Chortles, who looks up at him finally and vaguely nods before returning her attention to her plate. She’s slowing down.

“None!” ZZ goes on. “And sense is pretty much my number one criterion—no, my only requirement—when it comes to choosing to give something another moment more of my attention. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.” He strokes his beard again, gifting it a little tug this time. “Life really is too short, as they say.”

“Too short for what?” asks Chortles, taking a sip of her steamy beverage as she looks out at the springs. “Oh!” She points toward toward the mountain. “See this? The sun is just about to rise… .”

ZZ gives the view a cursory glance. “Hmmmm, yes, I see.” He turns to her again, pauses. “What did you think of it, the article?” he asks, his thin lips sporting a bit of foam.

Chortles chortles again and sort of shrugs.

“Huh! She laughs,” is all ZZ says as he watches her finish up. He’s hungry, starving, I’m guessing by the looks of him, but he does not seem aware of it … or at least not ready or willing to do anything about it.

Then, suddenly, the first rays of sun appear at the ridge of the deep purple mountain beyond the body of water, long fingers of pure light reaching up, over, and into the ambient glow already there. But I’m so hungry…

“See! I knew…,” says Chortles, beaming, I imagine. ZZ smiles a little, picks at the last bit of her food—says, “Indeed!”

Indeed?! Puh! Of course that’s what he’d say, I think. My food cannot come soon enough… .” But suddenly it’s there, my food—same thing as Chortles’, whose non-communicativeness all this time suddenly makes perfect sense. I’m digging in, watching too as the glow is overcome.

“I’m here now,” the sun says to its pale understudy. “You can lay back, now, relax.”

These words, this thought … strange … come into my mind as I behold the sight along with everyone out in the water and all of us inside too, even the people who work there, even Chortles, even ZZ. And all is almost perfectly quiet until a metal utensil falls to the ground.

“Actually, you know, it is funny,” ZZ says, evidently still thinking of Chortles’ latest non-response (and second chortle) to his desperate plea. “Actually, yours is the perfect response.” ZZ laughs too now, but to me it has plastic, accidental-sounding quality to it, like another utensil, a spork—I’m picturing—falling to the ground.

“Yes, I really did see it as kind of funny,” replies Chortles absently, after she’s tossed her napkin on the plate. “That’s all, really. Now let’s go float, my lamb. That’s what we’re here for, right?”

ZZ smiles at her, even though she’s not looking at him—now standing up, now sweeping crumbs from her front, now grabbing their large woven bag.

“Float, right… Have we paid?” ZZ asks Chortles, beginning to clear the table.

Chortles confirms (“Yup!”), as she pats him on the part of his pants where a butt should have been. He moves slowly, seemingly unsure of where he’s going. “I miss the kids,” he says.

Chortles grabs his shoulder, gently redirecting him. “Me too,” she says and points to the bin near the trash can. “Over there.”

And/but as they walk out, I can hear ZZ winding up again.

“Who wrote it, though? Can you give me anything there? Man, woman? Young, old? American? Anything? … Credentials?”

The door shuts behind them and I can no longer hear what they’re saying, but watch them as lay out their blanket together and then begin, also together, to braid ZZ’s beard or do some equally weird thing to the beast with swift, perfectly coordinated movements. And … I’m done, I decide, thank you—clearing my own table now.

Out on the bank, I move close enough to smell the springs and begin feeling their effect, something, as I lay out my blanket … and as ZZ and Chortles approach the water’s edge.

I am close enough, too, to see how full of doubt ZZ is, it seems, but also how free from fear — as Chortles takes him by the hand and leads him into the shimmering water, which looks almost pinkish-blue in this light.

A little later, I’m surprised, but then not, to see which of the two of them blisses out and which frolicks …

** THE END **

 *Here’s the article: http://www.science20.com/writer_on_the_edge/blog/scientists_discover_that_atheists_might_not_exist_and_thats_not_a_joke-139982

And here, also, are the lyrics from “May It Always Be,” by Bonnie Prince Billy, one of my favorite singer/songwriters—that’s him in the pic, standing in for ZZ. Hate to overload this entry, but I never know when another month might fly by with no post … and because this story/memory reminds of this song.

I’ve been with you for a fairly long time,
May I call you, may I call you, may I call you mine?

And you are near, an’ been with me,
May it always, may it always, may it always be,

Please don’t leave my side, remember I love you,
None of what I have done wrong was really done against you,

If you love me and I’m weak, then weaker you must love me more,
To reinforce what’s also strong, and all the love we have in store,

By example you showed me, living’s alright,
Stay here with me, stay here with me, stay with me tonight,

And come with me when I go to the bedroom,
And we’ll play bride, and we’ll play bride, and we’ll play bride and groom,

If you had not been born you know,
What would I? What would I be then?

I would not have strength to grow,
And be counted, and be counted among men.

Please don’t leave my side, remember I love you,
None of what I have done wrong was really done against you,

If you love me and I’m weak, then weaker you must love me more,
To reinforce what’s also strong, and all the love we have in store,

And in the morning we’ll wrestle and ruin our stomachs with coffee,
Won’t we be, won’t we be, won’t be happy?

We will rise in anger, love and ardor,
Shining, shining, shimmering in loves armor.

[You can hear a good version on YouTube: “Bonnie Prince Billy – May It Always Be (Live in London)”]

[**Photo: Bonnie Prince Billy at Sydney Opera House (2006); read more at http://www.fasterlouder.com.au%5D

Love letter, from a kind of bad guy to his beloved daughter

letterfrombadguy[Written in the spring of 1920, outside, in some hilly Tennessee woods]

To my dear daughter, Lucie,

I could not believe it when I got your letter! My hands shook so bad I put them and your letter into my pockets. I was careful not to bend the envelope. Then I went right out, into the yard and straight to my shed. I started rattling my things around like maybe I had something needing fixing. I would say I was in a state! But then I sat down and opened the letter.

Lucie, I haven’t let myself hope that such a thing as this could ever happen still for me. I’d expect better that a tropical bird might fly into my window here, sit on my knee, and start talking to me. “Hello Ned, silly old fool,” in a friendly like manner. But here your letter is in my hand! And your handwriting especially for the address is like mine as you might see for yourself. That was another surprise.

Thank you for writing Lucie. You may never know how much it means to me. Over the years I must have thought about writing to you at least one hundred times, but I could never think of what to say. You are much braver than me.

This morning, I went into the woods to write my letter to you. I believe I am sitting in a spot I might never been before, even though I come up here more and more these days. I don’t know why this feels like the right place to talk to you. I could find some place quiet enough and where I won’t be interrupted almost anywhere. You probably have some thoughts why this could be the right place for me to write this letter. You always were so good with your thinking and questions too. But I couldn’t ever think of the right answers for you, even when you were not much more than a baby. I make the point because it’s true and also because of what happened with your college school. I am so sorry what happened because I understand you are sad about it. But I know whatever made you leave that place, it cannot be that you are not smart enough. I would bet anything on that! You are the smartest person in that town. I would never doubt you had a good reason to leave.

Well there really is nothing to see in these woods but more woods. I tried many different ways through them and never came across anything worth telling to another person or to put in a letter to be carried for 700 miles to you. I wish I could describe a beautiful view for you, but there are too many trees in the way, every which way I look. Even if I could see through these trees, I doubt I could describe what I saw in a way you would enjoy. I see how good you are with words. But there was one time I saw a shovel that had become part of a tree. Someone must have left it there years ago and forgot about it, so that the tree just kept growing around it. What I mean is it was split at the blade and then came together again up around the handle. The first time I saw it, I was amazed. Now I pass right by it without even looking at.  Another day I found the stone foundation of what must have been a home for some of the very first people to settle here. This could sound very strange but I imagined you there! I imagined you and your sister and some of the others sitting around a table there, next to a warm fire. I could see in my mind what you might look like then, a beautiful girl at 12 years old or so. In my mind I also heard the sound of your voice, you telling a story just right, so that everyone was listening and laughing.

I never pass by the place without looking and imagining something of that scene. I stop there often and often I sit and eat my lunch on a good level stone. Sitting there I am just an arm’s reach from your table.

Weeks ago I saw a string of little blooms hanging from a branch. Someone made it for someone, by way of threading the stem of each into a tiny hole in the stem of the next. You know how to do this I remember, but a young lady probably doesn’t bother with that kind of thing much anymore. I don’t know why Lucie, but the sight of it out here startled me! The flowers were already wilting and nothing too special about them to begin with, but still  I stood there looking at them for a long time. They swayed a bit in a breeze and there was just enough daylight that the little petals had a glow about them. What is strange is how I can remember it so well but more like I heard it in a story, not so much like I actually saw it. The very next day I could not seem to recall even the colors of the flowers which were all of a kind. Another strange thing is as I was standing there suddenly my cheeks got hot and my hands started to shake just a little. The dog I had with me took off back down the hill without me! And I had this thought very clear in my head, that this beautiful thing was not for me to see or enjoy, so I turned and headed back down the hill too. I don’t know why. Maybe you’ll understand a reason Lucie.

This is all I can think of to tell you now, but thank you again dear daughter for writing to me. I cannot say I feel deserving of your kindness. I never thought something like this could happen for me still. And I could not believe it but for this envelope in my hand. If you want to write to me again I hope you will. I will write back to you every time unless you ask me not to. If you do write again please tell me more about all the animals, the little cousins, and especially your reading and writing. And please anything else you want to tell me.

Have you seen the ocean yet? Have you tried swimming?

Also, if there is a photograph you could send with your letter without too much trouble I would be very happy for that. I think I can imagine you pretty well at 16, all except the eyes. I don’t know why that is, but I am sure they are beautiful.

Your loving father

At 48, Some

20130731_024142_CROP

At 48, I know some of what will likely or not be,

Have seen letters on the wall, considered words they might form,

But some of that ink’s fresh enough to smudge, budge …

Like me.

I found a pond full of fish, today, in what I thought was a mirage,

Thought, all this time … because of yesterday’s chatter.

She’s had my ear too long, that Past.

Some of what she says: it’s just wrong.

Tomorrow called today, again, said I’ve had my wings on backwards.

“All this time, but fix them quick … we’ll be together soon.”

I’ve stayed here much too long, says Future,

Only some of whose calls I take.

But here’s a moment I know I can trust, see,

Like the strange mouths of these — SO MANY fish,

Opening/closing ’round the present I’ve made of old bread.

Something in me knows: they’ve been here all this time.

Something in me knows: I can catch some with my hands.

(Note: I turned 48 yesterday. It was not exactly a GREAT day, which you might not suspect from my FB post. Today is better. My husband suggested the words “strange mouths” (re: the fish that I wanted in the last stanza). He also recommended I rethink the original ending: “Some fish on our plates tonight would be good.” (“Maybe you don’t want to give a present to these fish and then eat them.”) But I do. Still, I agreed that something subtler may work better. Here’s how I wrapped it up while he made us lunch. Hope you like!)  

Remedy: “What is coming is, IN TRUTH, returning” (Poem for Mo J. & Others)

Remedy for YOU, Mo J., and Maybe for Others Who Believe (w/ Hope or Fear) that Their Identity Is “a Construct”

Mo J., I should start by saying — reminding you of how often — I listen LONG (and hard) to you. You know I do. And I believe I understand your thoughts and reasoning about the illusion/delusion of personal identity. I read [a good many of the words in] the books you recommended, the Goffman, Foucalt, etc. I Goff-awed at first, but then — truly — got kind of Fouc’ed up about the whole thing, which we discussed. In fact, as you’ll recall, I had what I think might have been my very first panic attack the last time I cracked one of those bad boys and so I took them ALL back to the library, kickin’ and screamin’, a day before they were due (even though I could renew them, “like, forever,” the summer intern told me). I have not looked back.

But I’ve been looking at you, still listening to you (for the most part), still loving you (for the most …) — AND hoping you can find your way back in from the cold (and then tell me how you did it — heh!). page-0-2

THE THING IS, I admit I can’t mount a solid argument against either of their positions… or yours. And something in me does see, does say, well, OK, this could very well be exactly how it is: As a person, one has no definite essence, meaning there’s nothing that makes me uniquely me (or you uniquely you); “who one really is” is only as solid as the words she or he can put together to make the case (and only for a time), as well as restricted AND dictated by powers beyond all of our control. Yeah, I can see that, Mo J. (and maybe others).

And yet, and yet, and yet: NO! I don’t believe you believe it (exactly), just like I don’t (exactly), because something in me ________.  So this poem-ish thing is for you (and sometimes also me). I’m hoping we can set it to music… 🙂

“Pour Yourself Out”

Go ahead and pour yourself out*

Everything, all that makes you you, till you’re sure there can be nothing left

Don’t bother with containers, mops and the like, etc.: any and all just-to-be-on-the-safe-side measures that may occur to you — because, you know, if what you believe is true, then well ….

Forget writing anything down first or putting anything away for safe keeping, not that you would (and again, you really can’t), and tell no one

Tell no one what to do or not do IN THE EVENT that your generic shell (husk?) turns up:

F’wumping about at gatherings, leaving odd messages, curling up in a pile of dead leaves, freshly raked (by someone else) for bagging

(Let that poor thing, that “drone-hive … of phantom purposes,” fend for itself.)

Nothing you do “just in case” will do you like you (don’t?) need to be done right now, anyhow.

I know, I know, but I know you too.

So just pour — start now — in dread or giddy anticipation of finding out/proving that nothing remains, if that suits, or with the intent of ridding yourself of yourself, if that’s where you are (as you sometimes are) these days, BUT GO!

Pour like you mean it, too; this is important:

Out the window of your fast-moving car (or mine — I’m ready!)

Into the ocean at the beginning of low tide or IN the middle of high (whichever is most effective), or

Onto what’s left of your garden so late in the fall … or better: that of a stranger or estranged friend, or best: that of an indiscriminate user (or gifted hobbyist/closet-creator) of pesticides, a deranged killer, a Pampered Chef party-thrower, whichever is most repugnant to “you”

Pour it over a cliff or into a pit or quarry, a trench or ditch (48-hours style), or a rank puddle of super-dubious origin deep inside a cave, where nothing but your light-snubbing brethren can breathe

And then: spit, stomp, say “HUH!,” bang a GONG — whatever feels right, rings true, to your construct

Then wait as the panic or thrill rises, peaks, begins to fall and then

…… And then plateaus as your body braces itself, knowing — as it does in every particle of its every cell — exactly what is coming AND THAT what is coming is, IN TRUTH, returning:

dirty, wet, BAD, sorry, angry, FILLED WITH MISGIVINGS, heartbroken, MISTAKEN, ashamed and shameful, WRONG, and maybe even worse;

but also better than that, DEFINITELY better: uniquely glorious, specifically worthy (to me and maybe others) in several, very singular respects, loved in particular and distinctly loving — and all of it You.

Go ahead. Pour.

* We can discuss the exact mechanics of the “Pouring-yourself-out” process, but I’m guessing it would start with getting rid of all your stuff — starting with your writings, photos, drawings, etc. No problems there, right? We’ll brainstorm over coffee (or wine). It’ll be fun. Call me, Mo J. (and maybe others).

Swidden: “All of it burns”

Pretty+Flames+2-7-2007+3-36-23+PM+2816x2112There is always “burn” here now.

Door knobs burn in my hand as I turn them, so I leave the inside ones open. Even the floor burns the bottoms of my feet, so: shoes, but they burn also. These words too, all words, whether I think or say or read them, they all burn now. Sometimes./

To hear them, these ones here, spoken aloud in this room today — w/ no one aside from me listening, no music playing, nothing baking — to hear them without burning, what I would give for that! To be back there, here but back then, in my dream of life again, where it was plenty warm enough, what I would give./

There were times I’d think I must have come from there to here through someplace really cold. I’d think, could I have died that day? That day I “wakened” to the smell of all my pies burning and you knocking as loud as you could on the door. “What’s burning? Are you okay? What’s going on with your hair?”/

We threw the pies into the garden, laughing. You cut my hair in the kitchen to help fix me back up as we aired the place out. “What happened, though? Did you fall asleep? Since when do you bake pies and for what?” I opened you some wine and we spent the rest of the day together./

But I watched the pies slowly disappear alone. It took weeks and then one downpour finally carried the rest away./

Today, I know I came through someplace really cold to get here. Why else, how else, could touching these now — these plastic keys — burn me so? So that the plainest words/thoughts, uttered as plainly as I can manage, are birds barely escaping a flame and then at the very last second returning or just stopping, letting it happen, letting it wrap them and hold them in its hot hands until they turn to ash?/

There is always “burn” here, but I’ve begun to wonder if it might be okay for a time./

After all, crying now is like climbing a tree—but on another planet. Crying: Why? How? It doesn’t happen here, I don’t think, but I’m not completely sure (having learned about evaporation so long ago). I do know it’s not okay not to cry ever./

I know too that today nothing is baking, no music is playing, and no one knocks or doesn’t knock at the door. And I know I didn’t die that day. I am being still and quiet, no more words aloud for now, dreaming of when I was “just warm enough” and wishing I could cry, here or on some other planet, any planet (except Mercury, Venus)./

And yet. Even though these words, my memories, the door, the floor, the bottoms of me feet — ALL of it burns, all of it is burning me — I begin to think it could all turn out all right, that one day I will be just warm enough again.

NOTE: I found this old poem-like thing in my files and decided to post it because I’m often too tired to think (see Sarah: My List of One). I guess it’s pretty weird, but I wouldn’t post it if I didn’t like something about it. In any case,  I’m happy to report that I am warm enough again … have indeed gone on (& can cry now if I must). No more pies. CREDIT: I pulled the background for the photo from the blog of Lao Bumpkin, who writes a lot about slash-and-burn agriculture.

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