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I once gave you a two-headed coin
to protect you from fates that hurt you.
Now, you choose to hurt me with your words,
And I am thrown into the River Styx,
I do not want to be here,
trying to breathe.
I hope the ferryman
will accept that coin as payment.
Please ask him to take care
not hit me with his oars
as you pass by
for I have been hurt
Tonight, around 1:45 in the morning, is the fifth anniversary of my Mother’s death. It has been a difficult week of remembering her last days. In my mind, I can travel back to any minute of that week and be right there. And that is hard. It has been easier this year than in past years, but still hard. There have been so many times this past year – these past five years – that I have wished with all my heart that I could talk to her. Really talk to her, not just to her spirit. I wish I could have asked for her advice, felt her love and support and comfort, heard her joy and her delight and pride in me. I can’t have that. I can never have that again.
It’s so hard. Especially through these hard years.
I love you always, Mother. I know you’re having an amazing time wherever you are. But I sure do miss you.
I was restless today. Antsy. Like one feels before a thunderstorm, sometimes. That disturbance in the Force again. I texted a friend about it, who suggested I check in with my spirit guides to see why. That’s hard for me to do at work, so I wombled off to the Tattered Cover.
Bookstores always soothe my soul. Bookstores with cats are particularly satisfying. The Tattered Cover doesn’t have cats, but it does have squishy, cushy, comfy couches where you can sit and read or write or meditate. I did a bit of all three, and I talked to my Little Sister. I wound up the proud owner of four new books from the bargain shelf:
Books are simply irresistible.
Within the forty minutes I was inside, the blue skies had turned threatening and fat raindrops were coloring the pavement. Back at my desk, I received an email that threw me into a tailspin. And then the restlessness faded. It had – as it so often does – predicted both a natural and emotional storm.
Tonight though, things are quieter. I took a bath in the clawfoot tub. I read my current book. I am looking forward to a first date tomorrow.
Life goes on. It just does.
At the Bottom of the Deep Blue
I am caught in its tender tendrils, swept up in a rush of salt water,
Frustratingly feeble as I attempt
To catch a wave with my bare
The shades trap me, tripping me up, turning my head and my ankles
until I am nothing but a sodden heap of shattered fabric on the sand.
A sail rent so terribly that it cannot ever again love the wind.
So many tears trickled down the crevasse of my breasts,
tumbled into the wildness of my fragile hair,
teased into the tunnels of my ears as I lie on eiderdown alone.
Is the sea always as alone as I?
It has the sky to keep it company, a rich match made in changing tides and cycles of planets
and the light of certain stars.
The blue comes, a terrible torment, stealthily circuitous, catching me
innocently unaware, basking in a bliss that could never last.
It encroaches on my spirit, nibbles at the nape of my neck, an unease that I know
will smother me
until it fades away,
seeking some other
Weapons are ineffectual.
Intellect is ignored.
The blue comes,
of its own accord.
It curves around the edges of my light, false softness slipping a dream around my shoulders,
clouding my vision with gentle pulsating pain, pain so soft I can mistake it for pleasure,
until it is too late, and I am muffled, choking, speechless, sightless,
in the unlenting blue.
Today’s guest poet – Conrad Aiken
In the mazes of loitering people, the watchful and the furtive,
The shadows of tree-trunks and shadows of leaves,
In the drowse of the sunlight, among the low voices,
I suddenly face you,
Your dark eyes return for a space from her who is with you,
They shine into mine with a sunlit desire,
They say an ‘I love you, what star do you live on?’
They smile and then darken,
And silent, I answer “You too — I have known you, — I love you! –’
And the shadows of tree-trunks and shadows of leaves
Interlace with low voices and footsteps and sunlight
To divide us forever.
“The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.”
This poem by Carl Sandburg is how I feel now, except substitute “blues” for fog. This is not a full-out, twelve round, knockout bout. It feels like it’s creeping in, like I’m in a battle with my own brain and my own body for my own soul.
I had been doing so remarkably well, too, that when I have a misstep, I become discouraged. I suppose one of the lessons of the Blues (yes, with a capital B) is that nothing – not even feelings – are permanent.
Somehow that does not make me feel better.
My small sage tells me to be patient, relax, and let things run their course, that everything will work out just fine. It’s hard to believe that when you’re fighting the screaming blue meanies that seem to attack from every direction, leaving you tear-streaked and silent.
Honestly, writing helps.
But when that sense of tearing emotion seems to edge closer and closer, like some thick, wet, blue, velvet cloak trying to smother the life out of your heart…. it reminds me of women in gothic novels and B-movies, paralyzed at the approach of the charming vampiric villan, so desperately wanting to resist, but so powerless in his forthcoming embrace.
I sense a poem of my own coming on.
I miss the you who loved me
Not the you who left me
And now I cannot reconcile
that you hold both those yous
The you who loved
would never have
hurt the me you loved
the way you did.
I wonder who
I gave my heart and soul to?
I no longer know
The you who left
turned so quickly to
one you could never
love so well.
I miss the you with whom I shared
not kisses, but breaths -
not passion, but realms -
not time, but worlds -
and I wonder
do you miss that you
Is the you who loved
now lost forever,
buried in an empty grave
by the you who left?
I do not know.
All I know is that
Today’s guest poet – Pablo Neruda
Perhaps not to be is to be without your being,
without your going that cuts noon light
like a blue flower, without your passing
later through fog and stones,
without the torch you lift in your hand
that others may not see as golden,
that perhaps no one believed blossomed
the glowing origin of the rose,
without, in the end, your being, your coming
suddenly, inspiringly, to know my life,
blaze of the rose-tree, wheat of the breeze:
and it follows that I am, because you are:
it follows from ‘you are’, that I am, and we:
and, because of love, you will, I will,
We will, come to be.
Today’s guest poet – Sara Teasdale
If I should see your eyes again,
I know how far their look would go –
Back to a morning in the park
With sapphire shadows on the snow.
Or back to oak trees in the spring
When you unloosed my hair and kissed
The head that lay against your knees
In the leaf shadow’s amethyst.
And still another shining place
We would remember — how the dun
Wild mountain held us on its crest
One diamond morning white with sun.
But I will turn my eyes from you
As women turn to put away
The jewels they have worn at night
And cannot wear in sober day.
So, my new-old house purchase is moving along. I had word last week that the bank accepted my offer, but their acceptance was only good for 21 days. Which means I have to secure the loan and close by the 28th. So I’ve been cranking out documents for my mortgage broker (who says I am “golden”), and visiting the new-old homestead with a handyman who”s done a lot of work for the family over the years, trying to figure out just how far in over my head I’m getting.
The good news is, he said that the place is in pretty good shape for being over 100 years old. The furnace is pretty new. Though I did have to climb down and crawl under the house to see it (creepy). The stuff I need to have fixed is pretty easy to fix. In fact, he said if I changed my mind, that he’d buy the house for his daughter, which I think is a pretty good recommendation. Its only downside is that it’s on a fairly busy street, but it’s set quite far back, which is good. And it adds about 15 minutes to my commute – not so convenient to the bus as the Cottage. Oh, and there may be a small kick-dog next door that will need silencing. I can’t tell yet.
I’m definitely having cold feet. The down-payment will take half my savings. What if I want to leave? What if I want to move to warmer climates? What if…things change again and some of those wonderful dreams leap back to life? As I was whining about this to Kelsea this morning, she pretty much reamed me a new one. I won’t report what she said, but she had a good point.
So, I’m moving forward no matter how full of trepidation, fear, second guesses and longings for love that I have. What else can I do? And this way, when the time is right to move to the Caribbean, I’ll have my house to come home to for hurricane season.
Today, I found my kitchen table. The flea market will hold it for me until the house is mine. It’s beautiful – retro silver enamel, like the kind I had growing up (except the one from my childhood was red). Kelsea’s friend Will’s mother gave me an antique rolltop desk that she paid $1000 for about 20 years ago. She’ll hold onto it until I’m ready. My boss gave me a dresser that Pat’s holding for me.
I wandered around Home Depot tonight. I didn’t buy anything. I picked up some paint cards for the bathroom and the BLUE room. I looked at carpets. I talked for a long time about tile with this really excellent Home Depot woman. I gazed at light fixtures. I realized that scary as it all is, this can be MY house, with the things that I’ve always wanted (within financial limitations.) There’s something very satisfying about that idea. I felt like a little kid in a candy store.
At the Cottage, my hot water heater has been on the fritz for the last few days. I’ve been calling my landlord and he’s been trying to fix it. But it occurs to me, when MY hot water heater goes out, I”M going to have to try to fix it. I’M going to have to rent a sander and refinish the floors. I’M going to have to paint all the rooms and remove the little bit of leftover wallpaper. And I don’t know how to do any of these things. So, I guess it’s time to learn.
I guess it’s time to learn a lot of things.