September 30, 2009
After driving to the store to acquire my mom’s requested milk and onions, I pulled to the parking lot’s exit and, giving into an explosive need to break free that was jittering like too much coffee inside of me, I turned onto the street away from the direction of my destination.
A few sporadically chosen turns, and I found myself driving fast through the long, curvy road of the Bedford metroparks, the woodsy haven in the middle of the over-developed suburb where I spent much of my growing-up life wondering around. The trees grew into my road roof that filtered the bright Sunday afternoon sun into granting my body a rare chance to press pedals that propel me effortlessly fast.
The kind of autumn day you dream about.
Driving past all the people walkingrunningjoggingstretchingbiking in herds or alone, I felt crisp cool breezes and listened to sullenly hopeful speaker projections, moving and moving until an end. The end arrived with the sight of an opening that led into Tinker’s Creek, the place where my grandma brought me on young summer days. Once she instructed me to collect rocks that we took into Sunday school the next day and painted. I had painted a bird on mine.
Here, on this starkly unaverage day, I pulled the car next to the creek and watched a moment the woman with her hand tucked safely inside the man’s elbow, together wondering through each other’s company in the form of a grassy space with no destination. The look of content from a distance.
Then I ripped my shoes into shreds and ran to the stream, plodding into the cool water to collect the perfect rock, painted it with poetry and threw it into the sky, called it ebenezer to immortalize the autumn day and the falling away from things I’ve known and the necessary death of some parts of me to allow the experience of rebirth.
It’s mostly about rebirth.
September 29, 2009
In middle school in the cafeteria a friend squirted mustard on my brand new white shirt. Her mustard, her fucking clumsiness, my brand new shirt (these types of angered phrases flew across cafeteria trays). I felt angry and I hadn’t yet learned the effects of thrusting my unfiltered young feelings into the face of another young person who would feel something like scared in response. As I said It’s okay in a tone that exuded my regard of it not being okay in the least bit, I could see the wow, what’s her deal? eyes reflecting their way around the occupants of the table.
Back then I was flooded with thoughts of perfectionism, and when things deviated from my preconceived picture—especially when outside the jurisdiction of my control—I felt the falling away too full.
Now it’s different. Today I knocked a bottle of paint all over the floor of my room and laughed out of trained habit. I shrugged when someone told me little boys were outside messing with my bike. I barely noticed when the group of high school volunteers I spent exhausting hours working with this morning broke a chair and ruined a room when I left them alone. I couldn’t recall how to feel when I walked in on a man who had recently thanked me for being so kind to him sprawled dead across his bed.
Growing up might be synonymous with becoming numb to the things that you once felt so full.
September 28, 2009
In church the group of children gather in front with the woman wearing a churchy hat. Her soft girlish voice instructs them, “Jesus Loves the Little Children,” and she begins outlining a letter U in the air to the beat of an imaginary song: “Ready, set, sing.”
Fifteen small mouths obey and start singing on whatever note their voice finds in its opening.
My mom is stationed at her every Sunday seat: sloppily at the piano, one leg folded underneath her and slouching over the keys she knows how to navigate so well. She waits there all morning for hints that a moment needs musical accompaniment.
She deciphers this moment as one and tries to slyly press keys in search of which one their voices could migrate to and stay awhile. We must make wrong sounds to uncover what’s right. Jesus loves the (PLINK) little chil(PLINK PLINK)dren (PLINK)… And it goes on, interrupting the barely-song with blatant sounds of WRONG FALSE FAILURE PAIN
until that moment when she somehow suddenly knows. That slight switch of knowledge released by her pressing a key that opens something inside her, invisible to all the onlookers cringing with each bad note, lets her shape every finger made new into perfect chords, drawing the dissonant child voices into an accord for now. Tricking voices singing into sounding like song. Immeasurably better than before she started. The wrong notes that carried her there fade into backs of minds.
I am my mother’s well-intentioned searching fingers. I’m dissonant and intrusive and can’t wait until things fall into place so I can just play.
September 25, 2009
I’ve been recently lost in frustrations of losing.
But today. Today I found my checkbook stuck to a roll of duck tape under my bed. I found my poetry tucked inside a packet of papers in my office from a grant writing seminar. I found circumstances that led to a long, enjoyable conversation with one of my clients, and I found the ability to make him laugh for the first time in the several weeks he’s been here. I found a bag of cheetos to fulfill a craving I’ve had for two days. I found some words to express a yellow moment I’ve been previously unable to describe.
And suddenly I feel my neck craning up over the crowd anticipating everything remaining for me to see.
September 24, 2009
I lost my checkbook. I lost a pile of papers that contained the only copies of my favorite poems I’ve been lately writing and rewriting and writing again. I’m mid-intentional-process of losing my often draining over-aptitude for detail which has seemed to result in the unforeseen and unfortunate consequence of being incapable of remembering wherewhenwhy I let items leave my hands. I lost the ability to read in bed before going to sleep without waking up hours later with a book squishing my face and the lights shining.
But as I rode my bike home from another day spent losing my energy and enthusiasm for work, I found two children playing along the side of the neighborhood street.
“Hi!” the small boy’s arm stretched high over his head waving little fingers feverishly at me as if I was my own parade riding the street for his entertainment. The little girl’s big eyes shouted, “She’s pretty!”
Somehow those two words—if any way they had sounded my direction in the past—contained some of what I had lost. An unexpected catch-you-offguard comment restores the ability to see.
With these new eyes I saw the ugliest house that I daily pass and cringe at the clues that people actually live there. It looks like the road stretching up toward the sky to form this building’s concrete crumbling walls. Solid, square, closed, old, windowless, a looming blue-clad prison that someone calls home.
Today, on it’s block porch, four new pots containing plants and flowers. Beauty engulfed under everything opposite of it.
A hint of something found.
September 2, 2009
Strength, hers was exhausted from holding her composed overweight for too long. So her legs loosened, leaned her forward, hands gripped the cold hard metal outline of the kitchen sink which carried a hum to her head. The words, she was looking for the words, the words to the notes that resounded within now’s melody from no-particular-where on constant repeat from perhaps speakers that grew in her ears like the grass that sprouts in the center of sidewalks, singing something about yonder. A blank-eyed thought moment until she flashed eyes to the small neatly framed window-square of outside, heard words to her song as clear as the stream of water the faucet let flow. And “I’m going up yonder… I’m going up
” the phone rang. He’s no longer with us, its voice said. Inside the window shrankdissolved from her and the sink was cold it was hard it was icy but the yonder was warm.