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09 August 2017 @ 04:11 pm
and we’re changing our ways, taking different roads  
1.
august 8 2000
10PM b dalton

what the reader needs to recognize is that we are as clearly defined by our failures & shortcomings as we are by our achievements and lucky gifts: okay judy? because look at it one way, and it is a shortcoming. another way, and it is a talent. works both ways.

what i am saying is that i may have found my path, spiritually. it is a slow recognition, but fast in comparison… and i've found it by looking at my shortcomings: inability to structure my thoughts according to systems imposed by society, lack of social graces; no idea how to play by "the rules," no idea what "the rules" might be, no real investment in finding out. honesty, sometimes fumbling; a desire to dig deep into everything, so deep i come out the other side. the mental translation of the intangible into symbols and the ability to translate them back. my ability to read situations and places swiftly; the gift i have in making someone look more closely at themselves. with no social graces, no sense of the rules successful people play by to ensure their success, i am able to go alone, solitary, to know myself across a crowded room. on the fringe, between the worlds - god, how do i begin?

without a society that leads me to a mentor, i don't know how i can be sure of this feeling - or how i can train, learn the things i will need to travel the path. i have books. are books enough? i don't know. i will have to see.


the gate broken, the broken gate, i sat on the bookstore floor, by the sale books, let's say 42 thousand dollars worth of sloppy grisham-steele-king-thatguywhowrotethatdamnbridgesbook seconds piled up on the middle table alone. are books enough, i wrote in my anonymous black journal, not without irony and not without hope. i don’t know, i answered in my anonymous black journal, purchased from waldenbooks, my employer’s most immediate competitor, during winter break my last year at iowa: back when i thought it would mean i wouldn’t end up back here. i like contradiction. i like when things don’t quite fit. also i liked the journals at waldenbooks a great deal better than the ones that we sold. so.

three months ahead of an election night that would run me around the subdivision loop twice at midnight, sweating even in november, crying even though i knew from a long ways back this was how things would go. sound familiar?

eleven months out of a party that destroyed everything i’d been working to heal for the three years prior. climb out from under the trauma of my life to that point: the sexual trauma, the social drama, the scholastic ineptitude: how i could never connect with my schooling in a way that remotely satisfied my desperate need to see and understand as much as i was able about the world. sound familiar?

how long is three years when you’re not yet twenty-five? a lot longer than three years when you’re not yet forty-two. it was a lot of work to have undone over the course of an hour.

then again, it also took a lot longer than that.

Outside of this room, the party keeps going. Inside of the house, the party keeps going. Outside of the house, in bursts of shouts and fire, the party goes on and on and it will not stop: not if I scream, not if I explode, not if I drop dead, not if I rush these ugly, stinking, shrieking strangers with a fire axe and mustard gas. And here I am, in this room, sitting on the center of his made bed, suffocating myself again to keep it going. Choking myself out to keep animating this ghastly corpse. [broadcasting live, episode 3, 2014]

god, how do i begin? the bookstore gate hung, angled sharply. couldn’t go up again, couldn’t go down again. the technician didn’t come and didn’t come and didn’t come. midnight approached, midnight passed. i knew this would be the case and had come prepared with a duffle bag packed with microwave popcorn, jeans and my fixer-stained joy division shirt. i listened to low and sigur ros and patti smith on my discman. i drank two cans of cherry coke and wrote in my journal on the bookstore floor. the second-shift security guard walked by at his most recent half-hour interval; he ducked down past the broken gate and waved, asked if i needed anything. i paused my discman and looked at my half-finished second can of cherry coke. i asked if he could watch the gate for a few minutes while i ran to the back.

when i returned to the storefront, a humorous observation for the waiting guard shredding my lower lip, i found him instead intently talking into his walkie to another guard. he waved goodbye and walked away without hearing my observation. disappointed, i sat on the floor and didn’t want to write in my journal any more. the technician didn’t come and didn’t come. i chose a b&n classic, the collected works of edgar allan poe, and i read.

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow:
You are not wrong who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand--
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep--while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?



2.
i picked up the duffle bag and walked with my sister down to the car.

8.9.2001
6:58AM

my life
as lived
in hospital
waiting rooms

she woke me at 6:11 with a knock and i tried to go back to bed. now a few minutes later and my stomach hurts, my body is unsure of itself. i shift my eyes and everything slowly catches up with that movement. we have a room. a delivery room. a room in which we will deliver a baby. light is strange. color is oversaturated.

mom: “they want you there at the crack of dawn and make you sit in a corner, waiting for them to catch up with where they’ve been making you wait for hours."


mom wanted coffee. she looked at me, then she looked at my sister, then she looked at me again.

my sister, hooked up to the pitocin drip, stared at the television. she wasn’t crying, yet. she wouldn’t start crying until her chemically forced contractions really kicked in. her induction related to pre-preeclampsia; the heart monitor wasn't about to let us forget that fact. i wondered if, as a woman who had three babies now in the delivery room with her daughter about to have her first baby, my mother might have some important wisdom to impart to my sister about the labor and delivery process. operating on wisdom overload and less than an hour of sleep, i wasn’t in a space for information i’d recently come to grieve as not applicable for me, so i told mom: sure, mom, i’ll get you some coffee.

i walked through the maternity ward, listening to the sounds of the maternity ward. a woman moaned terribly less than forty yards and several worlds away. “push push push,” another voice yelled. someone somewhere laughed uncontrollably. someone somewhere moaned again.

i wore a t-shirt printed with a dragon because i tend to gravitate toward artistically rendered dragons in times of uncertainty, and i was quite uncertain about how i would react to another human being emerging dramatically from my sister’s body. also what that meant, you know, for all of our futures. especially my own, if i am entirely sincere. figured: maybe if, against all our protective measures against having my sister’s abusive ex-boyfriend show up on the scene with his new gal still on her “i wanted to have his first baby, bitch” trip, the two of them could maybe talk to my dragon.

i walked past the ward kitchen three times, twice without understanding exactly that i was looking for it. one’s purpose and function frequently becomes muddled when one is at a hospital. a nurse on her way to one room or another noticed me walking by again and wondered if she could help me not be wandering around aimlessly in the maternity ward. i said my mother was hoping for some coffee and she pointed me two doors back to the left; she said it looked like the machine was out so i’d have to brew some fresh with the packets in that box on the counter. i smiled and nodded and thanked her. i walked into the ward kitchen.

i don’t drink coffee. i’d never made it before. i’d never really even handled a coffeemaker before this moment. it really is a significantly more complicated and mysterious process than you think it is. i had no idea what the fuck i was doing.

halfway into my twenty minutes in the ward kitchen and that much further out on the brink of tears that had little to do with my task, i sat down on the floor and wished this wasn’t happening. i had no idea what the fuck i was doing, about the coffee or about my sister, about the baby or the baby’s pending adoption, about my grandmother, her two strokes, or the six days she'd spent in the ICU of the hospital where i'd been born.

i remembered watching my mother watching horrible news on television when i was very young. i remembered her taking the gold cross on a gold chain around her neck and putting it into her mouth, clamping it between her teeth. it didn't seem to help, but all the same it was something to do. i reached down into my collar for the silver ankh i wore all that year on a delicate silver chain i'd stolen from the gatekeeper of my freshman year community college social drama and resulting spiritual crisis. i put the ankh inside my mouth, between my teeth, and pressed my teeth against it. it didn't help. all the same, sitting on the floor, i rocked slowly back and forth, wishing this wasn't happening. wishing this wasn't happening, i rocked slowly back and forth for several minutes. then got up and figured out how to make coffee.

mom looked relieved when i finally returned to the delivery room. “thought we’d lost you there, for a minute,” she said.

kind of you did, i thought.


3.
august 9th, 2005

grandma died this morning, a little after five.

it is my nephew’s third birthday.

these things lead me slowly to thoughts about temperament and fortune. i keep reading people my age who feel they can find all the prosperity and success they could possibly want in life, simply by denying that anything bad could ever happen to them. maybe it works. who knows? i’m sitting here feeling like the back of my head has been used to draw a hopscotch set on the sidewalk. surfaces aren’t so much surfaces as they are a feeble promise against open air. i feel maybe like i haven’t slept in a week, maybe i haven’t, who knows how my poor parents feel.


i hadn’t slept and i hadn’t slept and i hadn’t slept and i wouldn’t sleep. i lived at the hospice, not even leaving for meals. i sat with my relatives, barely able to relate to them outside of this dreaded, anticipated moment of: she’s gone she’s gone she’s gone. i found a pack of my grandmother’s favorite lemon ices in the family room refrigerator and immediately sat on the hospice family room floor, no ankh to crush between my teeth. i only did it because i was alone.

Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep--while I weep!


late monday night my father walked me down to the parking lot, put me into my car and told me to go home and sleep. i didn’t want to sleep. i wanted to be with my grandmother. i wanted to be with my grandmother when she died. i wanted to feel the room change like it did when my nephew was born, i wanted to understand what that shadow transition felt like, but i was out of time and out of magic and really did need to drop out of hospice awareness for a few minutes.

so i drove home, i’m not sure how. probably i shouldn’t have driven. i took a shower, as long and hot as i could make it. i made some rye toast so i could stare at it until i gave up and threw it away. i watched stupid television, i listened to stupid radio, i laid in my bed not able to close my eyes and listened to the quiet house. i wasn't even able to pick an album to soften the atmosphere because i knew that would basically mean throwing that album on my grandmother's funeral pyre.

i felt for my grandmother living.

i felt for my grandmother living.

i could still feel my grandmother living.

it started getting light outside, that deepening blue, that slow seep in around the fabric blind. i could still feel my grandmother living.

then my body betrayed me. all at once it was an hour later. i opened my eyes and understood: i could no longer feel my grandmother living. she was gone. she was gone, and i missed her. i missed her departure. so this is permanence, i thought without thinking.

Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?


i sat up in bed. i waited for the phone to ring.


4.


whether or not books are enough, i take delivery of my latest acquisition late this morning: ian curtis’ journals and notebooks, scanned pages upon pages of a handwritten scrawl that chills me with instant and unexpected familiarity: i’ve seen this handwriting before. i haven’t, but



we’re all going somewhere, we’re all doing something, except when we aren’t. too many of us are too busy with the shit that's killing us to make time for what all of us need to stay alive. magic is in peril, like honeybees, like sustainable climates: but too many of us are too busy with the shit that's killing us to make time for what all of us need to stay alive.

i’ve got contract work, a creativity challenge, and a five-week class on time magic to hold me through the first week and a half of august, but what i may have taken on in means of healthy distraction is causing me pain because: i am stuck, i can't write, i am mired in shadow, i miss my dead friend, i miss my dead grandmother, i miss the babies i couldn’t trust society enough to have, i miss all the versions of myself who were left with no choice but to walk away unexperienced, except in those cases where i slowly exhale with relief, because there is a vice to that versa. of course. there is a vice to every versa.

last night i thought i might journal my experience of developing a relationship with time as an ally as a letter to someone else i’ve been missing, in part because they've demonstrated at least as much of a problem with time management as i have: but they took exception to the last letter i sent them unbidden, and i (ultimately) made peace with their reasoning, mostly because that was the most tenable of my options.

but, then again, i do like my contradictions.

paging through page after page of ian’s uncanny handwriting, i consider making my magic-journal-letter to ian, instead. he might have been one of my readers, all things considered. all things considered, i’m a pretty good writer, for a girl.
 
 
music: karma moffett - boundless
 
 
 
[redacted]elsewhereangel on October 19th, 2017 09:04 pm (UTC)
too many of us are too busy with the shit that's killing us to make time for what all of us need to stay alive.

For years now. Trying to change that. Your voice is one of the things that gives me hope.

((and yes I logged on to lj just to catch up on you))