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 tag “religion”

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

 

 

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“But as for me, I will [go]”

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“But as for me, I will [go]”

Let time pass. Let all kinds of time pass. Once he was settled toward the back of the bus, alone in a two-seater (which he knew wouldn’t last), Nohl shut his eyes and let himself meditate on this gentle imperative. Earlier that morning, as he showered, it rose up and hovered in his mind like steam. On the bus, though, he imagined that the words came to him just then from somewhere outside of himself, way outside. He saw a large slick, insulated (and insured) envelope, containing this message, blasting past black holes and through mesospheres and stratospheres and whatever other ‘spheres there might be, through different kinds of cosmic dust and space clouds, and then dispatched into the earth’s atmosphere, where it continued down along the pale but fast-goldening sun rays of this mid-July morning and caught a warm upward breeze, which sent it very un-coincidentally into an open window on this very same ride. Let time pass. Let all kinds of time pass. That was all it said, but according to the envelope it was meant for him.

Better still, he would like to think the words were delivered specifically to him from “On High,” along with instructions, “Guidance,” on what to do during this “all kinds of time” and how about after it passed, too? Yes, please. And just a bit in the way of explanation regarding the big “why?” of it all would be helpful. But no, nothing like that had ever been, would ever be, forthcoming, Nohl had come very slowly to understand. Feeling agitated, also tired and a little sick because of last night’s activities (the good, the bad, the inexplicable), he tossed about in his seat, his exoskeleton-like exterior clashing with the exoskeleton-like interior of the bus. In one particularly herky-jerky maneuver designed to discourage anyone then boarding from sitting with him (as a favor to them, he thought), he ended up spilling his coffee into his old running shoes, which he had no recollection of taking off. Huh. Could the new Nohl be the kind of guy who takes his shoes off whenever/wherever he pleased … on a bus like this, no less? Why not? He kind of liked it, smiled to himself. So how about throwing away the soggy no-good beaters, laden with roads already travelled, at the very first rest stop, cutting yet another tie with the past? He liked that too — poetic. And he’d just put on the pair packed in his carry-on.

The Nohl who packed the bag late last night was worried about grubbing up these other shoes, which were nicer and newer, on the long bus ride. Today’s Nohl got that but considered it a little strange that he decided to put them in the carry-on at all (given the size of the bag). But then, he often saw evidence of another, wiser, version of himself, who could see further past the surface of things, the present, than the regular Nohl could, knew what to do sometimes when the regular Nohl didn’t (but not every time, far from fucking every time. Last night for example. OK, just: Let time pass. Let all kinds …). Wiser Nohl was there to help pack the bag, sure, but where was he exactly when Russell told him that Francis Fahy was dead and regular Nohl felt compelled to excuse himself to use the bathroom — which he did but not before paying Fahy a little visit (“just to be sure,” was the thin explanation he offered himself), not before having to set his stop-watch bag to zero again. And here he was today (yeah, “as for me…”), wiser Nohl nowhere to be found. He tried to focus on the shoes in his bag, something hopeful, something that made him feel that there were plans for him still and maybe he wasn’t damned after all.

 

[Continued elsewhere.] 

Plena sen mu vokaroop.

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Plena sen mu vokaroop. This, I say, will make things right.

Noop rang jolzee roo-roo-roo, vokarooop! (One time tonight.)

Then: yipper sen, yipper sen, under, ender — pah-tippy sen.

But tippy roonish plena mu, plena mu sen, plena mu!!!!

Vokaroop, tippy? Jolzee roo? Yes, yes, yes (and everyone knew).

Noop, jolzee, yipper: roo-roo-roo. It’s sad, but true and better too.

Plena sen mu vokaroop. I tell you: it’ll make things right.

Plena sen mu vokaroop. This is all we’ll do tonight.

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)

Trouble with Homonyms: Exorcise versus Exercise

ScreamWriteI’ve always had some trouble w/ homonyms, not those that make people think you don’t really don’t know what you’re doing (e.g., their vs. they’re vs. there), but this kind: “I went to the PEEK of the mountain to take a PEAK.” I solved the problem in this particular instance by linking the two eyes you might use to peek with to the two e’s in peek. (Please don’t tell me I still have it wrong…)

Anyway, lately my Writing has taken a turn. If you’ve read my About, or you can see what I see when I look at my blog (still not clear on who sees what), you know that I have very little time left to reach this blog’s goal. And I think trouble with homonyms may be at the bottom of it — because if something’s wrong with your words, then something’s wrong with your world. The two can’t be separated, I don’t think, because they are the same thing, SAME THING. No difference. And I’m 100% sure of this. No, I KNOW it. So if you’ve got two words switched around in your head, well, then ….

I think there’s a fine line between exorcising your demons and exercising them. And while I never set out to do either in this blog, I do think somewhere along the way, I started exercising something that maybe needed exorcising. And then at some point, I think those demons started using my blog as their gym or even a sort of personal trainer. And now my demons are all big and buff and SWAGGERING about, sipping their electrolyte-infused, colorful beverages and admiring themselves and, secretly, one another in the mirrors I’ve set up all around them. They used to be so easy to fold-up and stow-away… And even though I never forgot about them, I felt they were safely confined/contained, when really NOW I think it was the opposite. “We’ve got this one in the bag,” I can hear them saying just before going on an extended vacation.

As far as most of my demons go, though, they are pretty unremarkable — the usual stuff. The subset I’d call my writing demons, the ones that cause the most trouble here, are also of the garden variety, for the most part. They include the ones that yawn loudly while I read something I’ve written back to myself, the ones that slip in little errors or cliches here and there to remind me that I’m not a natural, the ones that whisper in my ear, “If you were really meant to do this, you’d find the time … even now,” the ones that tell me nothing will ever come of my writing. But none of these bother me all that much because they’re so generic. I’ve heard more than enough about them in every book on writing I’ve ever read ,,, and I couldn’t seem to get enough of these in my late 20s and 30s. Because these demons don’t seem to know anything specifically about me at all, beyond that I aspire to become a successful writer, I can and do ignore them (for the most part).

The writing demons that get to me are those that seem to have crafted themselves, piece by piece, out of certain specifics from my own life, past and present, that the writer in me cannot really stand to admit. And over time, these snippets from page after page of the memoir I’ll never write (because it cannot lead, in any version of the truth that I can imagine or abide, to my becoming a successful writer) have morphed, in the soggy backwoods of my brain, into the absolute worst of the big and buff and SWAGGERING demons who’ve been exercising in my blog, my mind, my life. You might not see them if you didn’t know what to look for, but I know they’re there and they know I know they’re there and am hoping I can keep them hidden, which of course is exactly how they get their power. My unwriterly life, the shame or doubt it causes me, pumps them like nothing else.

Well, no more. I’m calling (at least a few of) them out now.

Immundus spiritus #1: Skin, as in “by the skin of [my] teeth,” as in that’s how I passed high school. You like to replay the memory of when I ran up to my English teacher on graduation day and whispered in her ear, “Well, do I get a diploma today?” and she said, “Yes, Miss, but you’re passing by the skin of your teeth,” and I hugged her till she smiled — only hearing “yes,” not really understanding what the rest meant, not really giving a shit. I just had to get across that stage so I could go to Ocean City with my friends. I’d worry later about how to get out of going to college or pass it, too, by the skin of my teeth. But anyway, we all know how that turned out. (Not so bad…)

Immundus spiritus #2: Remy, you like to remind me about how I had to take remedial reading during my first year of college and how I fell asleep in the front row, just exactly like a narcoleptic, during every single class. You point out how I am still a slow reader and take a long time to really grasp what I’ve read. You’ve pretended to comfort me, insisting that I shouldn’t feel too bad given that English is not my first language. (But it is.) You used to think it was funny to highlight entire pages of text or underline words like “and” and “the” and place question marks in margins. I used to think it was funny, too …

Immundus spiritus #3: Space, you’ve adopted my high school nickname “to keep it alive” because you feel it was a mistake for me to let it go. “It just fits,” you tell me, assuring me it’s more endearing than offensive. “Plus,” you say, “it gives people a heads up about what they can expect from you.” That way, your logic goes, no one’s surprised when I can’t answer the question because I wasn’t listening, I show up with my shirt on inside out, or I’m not there at all because of a(nother) “Google calendar sync mis-hap” thing or because I have no idea where my keys are. “Please don’t take this the wrong way,” you’ve said recently, “but couldn’t one argue that mindfulness and attention to detail are the very soul of art, including writing, just … for example?” Space, you’ll never grow tired of gathering evidence to support your position on the old nickname/me/any of this. And, indeed, there will likely always be plenty of evidence to gather. With better credentials, you’ve pointed out, I could have passed for the absent-minded professor type, but we both agree it’s a little late for that. But then, it’s late period. And here I am. (You might mention that to Remy, by the way.)    

Immundus spiritus #4: Eff, you like to say that’s short for “Effort” — you think it’s “tremendous” how hard I try. But what you really like talking about is all the Fs I’ve gotten on papers, especially when I was just starting out in college. “No one understood what you were trying to say. That’s what it was,” you’ve said. And “it wasn’t that the papers were so BAD,” you’ve explained, “they were just incomprehensible … to your reader. That’s all.” And this probably has something to do with the fact that I had only just come to America around that time (right?) and was still learning the language, you’ve generously proposed. “Yes,” I now know to say … “That was probably the reason.” You like to compliment me then, saying I could almost pass as a native speaker now. I always thank you in so many words. And you say, “de nada,” or some such, reminding me at every opportunity that there’s no language you don’t know. How are you doing at understanding me now: not just what I’m saying, but what it means? Take your time.

Immundus spiritus #5: 1999 (as in “Tonight we’re going to party like it’s …” ), you are in awe of my history of partying and doing all sorts of stupid and inappropriate shit. You’ve said that if my penchant for festivity and fun had only (HAD ONLY) been coupled with a strong creative spirit and robust artistic discipline, I might have been able to parlay some of my more interesting but misguided adventures into something worthy: art … redemption, even. “But at least you’re not one of those people who lied on their death bed and said, ‘gee, I wish I hadn’t worked so hard, been so serious, etc., … wish I’d had more fun.'” I used to ask why you always talk about me in the past tense. You’d avert your eyes, pretend to blush. But now I just say, “good point.” You’re in awe of the way I’ve finally come around.

Immundus spiritus #6: ADD-y (or ADHD-y, as you prefer, because look at you go!!!), you are a skinny, crazy, speed demon, you are! You’re new around here and so I’m not really sure what I think about you. For now, I just want to see you and Immundus spiritus #3 fight.

Immundus spiritus #7: Just-Weird, you are the worst, the damned-est, of them all. You and Eff like to work out together, I’ve noticed. But you are clear with me that you understand: my problem with words and the world they make, as well as the true basis of my fear that I won’t, finally, be able to connect (and there is “only connect”), is not that I am still learning the language or have some kind of cognitive or behavioral issue, but that — even though I may look, from across the soccer field anyway, like a soccer mom— I’m terrified that I’m just weird and that what I have to say is also just weird, that it doesn’t and won’t connect with people, not in the way they want to connect, not in the places where they hope to find connection. You snort at my blog and its goal, at my odd little stories/vignettes, essays, and drawings, etc. You snort at me. But you don’t snort at what’s coming … rising up, tsunami-like, between all of you and me. You just do another rep. To that I say, good idea! Keep at it!

Maybe give the others “heads up” too.

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

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