Saturday, March 24, 2007

as thin as thread

"you hold the needle between your thumb and forefinger, not too tight, or you'll get tired, not too loose, or your stich'll be bad."

as frail as she was, my grandmother had trouble sleeping during the twilight of her life. it's a strange switch, or contrast, when i'd come home at 4AM a little drunk and she'd be sitting on the floor beside her bed sewing the lord's prayer, the last supper, other bible verses onto tan fabric.

and i can't explain my interest in the things she can't do, shouldn't do, is too weak to do. she can barely smile these days, and her sewing coat hangs from her thin shoulders in a way that hugs her like a dense cloud. but she sews and sews, follows patterns, rips stitches. she never complains about the her sore knuckles, the deep bone-pain that gives her chills and moves up straining her tendons.

"i did these things years ago, before i was married... what was it... 1920? it's something i don't even have to think about doing, i just sew, like it's built in my hands"

built in the hands. rooted in the bones.

she sits at the dining room table as a pot of water boils, smells like lemon grass and pepper, rose, milk and chicken fat. she waits with her hands crossed, waits for us to join her.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Secret Space

I hid under the dining room table long before the dinner party started.

I counted the legs, both wooden and human. The worn shoes, scuff marks, panty house, hems.

What if the table collapsed and I was crushed.

Wait, have to adjust to avoid getting kicked.

I hear the muffled sound of voices, laughter, munching.

My heart beats in my ears and somehow I am surrounded by life and yet utterly alone.

From a star distance we see how life goes on and the little girl breathes from her own secret space. Waiting for God to pass by--a whirwind? a fire? an earthquake? a hurricane? a chicken leg? a deviled egg?

A whisper.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Bone growth

Breathing deeply into myself
(it is time),
I draw in the slack.

I close my eyes, and I return
to the cool, still space
that is mine.
And I listen for the slow formation
of dense matter.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

as you go, as i go.

"...but how much does it matter to you? the things you lost, the art, the clothes and all that? has it been a zen/cleansing experience? what do you miss the most?"

"there are various parts of me that are battling over what i, as a whole, will miss most above all that was lost. there is my head, which says i must yearn for the costly things, my heart, which tends to remember many things that were only important, only remembered in passing: the meals cooling in the freezer, the old socks and the first quilt i made. There are things my eyes miss, patches on walls, things my ears strain to hear again. my hands and my feet-- my back even, misses the carpet i laid on as i called you on the phone that morning. the truth is, i miss all of it, a little bit, and that is where the whole emotion comes from, the entire experience that, even as i write to you, sulks back to the black and abandoned house, away from me and back to where it wants to be. i try to hold on to it, but i feel a vacuum left wide and precarious in front of me when it goes at last, as things do. as you do. as i do."

Monday, March 12, 2007

The candles burn, our ages change, and the shadows shrink and expand.

Sometimes, I don’t say what I mean. My brain gets muddled, my words obscure. When I spoke to you of birthdays and change, I was trying to speak of becoming, not aging per se…to give language to an observation that we seem, somehow, to become more fully ourselves, that (to use some of the language floating in the space between us) our resonant frequencies continue to grow clearer, stronger. A strange and absurd thing for me to say…because, of course, we are always fully ourselves, at every moment along the way. But still, one that strikes me as true.

You say you’re in a better place, and maybe that’s what I mean I see.
We don’t, after all, live inside Plato’s cave.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

I am dazzled by the hazy brilliance of the flames.

Animals don’t speak.

Laughing together, we cast shadows in the lamplight. Our arms and legs, our hands and feet, I wonder what happens to the animals we make on my bedroom wall...the animals whose forms we imagine, the animals whose forms we become?

Tongue-tied, searching for language, my mouth doesn't say what my heart knows, and my words continue to miss the mark. Still, I speak. I am learning to trust my foolishness.

I want to learn not to speak, like the animals do.

In the lamplight, in the starlight, in the light of our flickering desire, we laugh and see the animals still, and I am not afraid.

Long ago, he wrote to me, “Everything became absurd and luminous in that laughter. The world was turned inside out...."

how hard is it to see fire, anyway.

we joke, "wouldn't it be funny if one day you reached an age when you couldn't see animals anymore!"

and we laughed at that idea, the blatant obsurdity.

it's not so funny though.

and i cringe at the thought that it's happened, but we haven't noticed.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Burning Bush

Moses worked everyday. Hard work. Hiking through the hot desert, herding obstinate sheep from one place of famine to the next. His mind running form the past to the present, from the past to present. No future, not yet.

How many times did he pass that bush that burned but was not consumed? God did NOT speak until Moses turned aside and took notice.

What a jerk, that God. Doesn't God know how busy I am? I don't have time to be looking for burning bushes.

Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

Burn, baby, burn.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Tuesday, March 6, 2007


And now I wonder, where did all the ashes go? How did they keep singing before they burned? And what were the words they sang?

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Burning bones

I was covered in your ashes, and beautiful. The sky was wide open with your sun shining down upon me.

Cranes fly overhead. It is a calm, cool day, with autumn in the air. A fire burns, and we are safe.

I’ve been rowing every day we’ve been here, except for Monday. I go out alone. On Sunday, our first day here, how I enjoyed looking back towards the water’s edge and seeing your form lit by the sun along the sandy banks. Later, returning to the shoreline, I brushed your hair.

I stayed until both switches were turned. I watched your smoke rise into the sky, moving swiftly with the clouds above, on your way. I smelled your smoke. At the end of the day, I returned and saw your bones, so strong and white. It was hard to see your bones, and I cried at the thought before I did. I howled at the thought, driving along the quiet highway. I howled and keened for your dry, quiet bones waiting for me.

The cool cloudy sky opened up, and the golden evening sun poured itself down over me.