Saturday, December 26, 2009

the Ebenezer season

winter tiredness has hit me hard. it is dragging my eyelids through slushy pot holes--liquid ice and mud and street salt pools that burn real bad.

my heart is heavier than the gravestone in my back yard and the frozen dead chicken still resting soundly in the garage. it is heavy cause blood family can be so complicated. and when 39 year old relationships can no longer withstand the daily test of love and being together, it can roughen the heart of even the most optimistic of people. not that i am an optimist--far from it.

and so let me start over. let me tell you that i can be sentimental. i like to hold onto objects that have passed over the hands, mouths, faces, teeth, breasts, butts, and other fleshy parts of long dead humans. i like old agricultural and woodworking tools--the kinds with worn handles--smooth and slippery from sweaty, oily palms of men who have died due to various diseases and accidents. a slip on an icy patch of concrete and a divot to the temple--dead like that. a long agonizing death treated only with drips of liquid morphine as the jaw bone fell apart from the ravages of mouth cancer in the year 1940. a quick unexpected death from a heart attack--a grasp of the chest a turning up of the blue lips in a quick flash of pain only to last as long as it takes to stop the beating of the human heart.

i think about these things. these made up deaths in my head. haunting me. keeping me company. a story to go along with the handle of a 100 year old ax.

but, i am having difficulty appreciating the many words left by humans about what all this living is supposed to mean or about how we are supposed to do this living or about how we are supposed to love while living or about how we are supposed to die well or about simply being.

some of these words come in the form of inspirational, contemplative bullshit that circulates in a whirling deluge through the interwebs and books and "news" sources and audio recordings and dvds and etc; all that inspirational gunk floating throughout space; all that shit is driving me mad. up a wall.

who cares? really? do the words make it easier here on this planet? maybe for a brief moment. but really? and i am reflecting on all of this after giving my uncle who is battling the unbeatable pan.creatic cancer a bo.ok of blessings to try to help him get through a few minutes of the day.

yes, maybe a few minutes.

in the end though, we will succumb and no longer draw air into our bodies and we will do it either lightly or heavily or quickly or lingeringly or maybe all of those together. we will end up burned into dust or placed in the ground wrapped in gauze or bomb proof caskets with silky linings for our dead skin to feel not or a pine box or some other simple contraption or maybe we will be left out for carnivorous birds to tear at the sinewy strings of our muscles or maybe we will be thrown--flesh and bones and blood and hair--into the midst of a hot compost and break down into a perfect kind of soil additive. we will come to death and hopefully some of us will have myths and meanings wrapped up around this event that is bound to happen to all of us. and hopefully these myths and meanings will be deeper than the wordiness of this post or of the hundreds of thousands of rants of words that fill the human airwaves.

all in all, i sometimes think that all the inspirational bullshit hovering around is some kind of balm to keep us in denial about the impending end and the crusty parts of living that are like a big, snotty nose that has been sick with a sinus infection for days on end. you know the kind when your skin is rubbed raw down to the layer right before bloody. touch that raw place. touch it and press it and plant a seat upon it for a few hours. maybe the meaningful words written by too smart for their own good people or too spiritual to be drawn back down to the rocky soil we are treading on esoteric type of folks would get lost among the pus and pain. maybe every once in a while we just have to stare the suffering in the face and say you suck suffering--you suck real bad. and you suck hate--you suck worse than suffering today. irreconcilable differences you suck.

not eloquent or soft and fluffy, but at least this thinking keeps me rooted; at least it keeps me grounded. the sentiment above is what keeps me from ever becoming an addict (drugs, alcohol, etc); i like to feel what is happening before my eyes or what is unfolding somewhere beyond me, but has been conveyed to me by letters or phone calls. i do not want to be numb. i do not want to smile or think that was oh so very deep and profound and now it all makes sense because of something i read. i want the real to unfold around me and to grab hold of it, even if it is a razor blade and squeeze it until my hand is gutted and my heart aches. okay maybe not that dramatic...

oh and maybe the inspirational fodder adds some drama to the day. to this day. and writing is a god thing after all. it makes for fun times.

and now this crotchety soul will move on to another glass of beer and try with all of her might to ignore the trembling, shaky leg syndrome person in the booth behind her. but that might be the festering raw sore i was talking about sitting is for me tonight.

Monday, December 21, 2009

to a longer day--to not knowing what tomorrow has in store

time ticks away. the days fall flat or robust or somewhere in between like a deflating sausage casing. night is long. and now it is getting brighter. or at least the seasons teach us and promise us that after today the days will get longer and light will be our helpmate, our sustenance, our teacher, our guide.

This time has been heavy for k and me. Always it is. Always the months of October, November, and December hold the traces of people who have passed on from us. k's mom was born in october she faded through november; she became vapor like in december; she vanished in January. all of this happened years ago, but still her fingerprints leave smudges over the lead glass windows of our house and the liquid surfaces of our eyeballs.

I could go on and on about the dead ones and the dead almost ones (like what happened last year at this time to my body and then came out all bloody and lifeless in the toilet) but i'll spare us all the memory traveling and reexamining of emotions and emptiness left on the concave ridge of kk's collarbone and i will tune in to where we are now.

we are waiting for the days to get longer. we are learning that chickens do not appreciate the wet piles of snow accumulating all over the yard. we are thankful to still have this deep love, like a tunnel to the other side of the world that seems to go on and on forever, between us. we are happy with one another's softness--the soft parts of our skins, the pillow world of cheek and the bone hard security of shoulder.

we spend time together as though time might soon slip away from us and fall out of line with the tale that seasons have told for so many winters and summers and springs and autumns. like it might just end, be gone, flit away in the particles of dust shining in the sun shards coming through the window of a dark, deep basement.

we wonder what it will be like to be old and childless. we wonder what it will be like to be old and parents. we wonder if we will even make it to old, or if cement or bumper or disease will have its way with us before the silver and white coat our skulls. we wonder a lot about the future and work. and we think about where we want to be in this world and how we want to be in it. we think too much.

on this solstice--this night that is long in the veil of dark, navy sky creased by the shy light of a sliver of moon--we tried again to make something of a life in kk. who knows what tomorrow holds, but for now we will cheer the promise of a longer day and taste the star shaped snowflakes of december on our tongues.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

dead chicken/enormous hair

Winter wind has met us--cold and breaking the dusk and night sky with the knotted knuckle hand of a fierce whip cracker.

In the bust of cold that has draped itself over this fair Midwest state, one of our chickens took her last breath. K found her dead in the corner of the run yesterday evening. She picked up the lifeless hen and placed her in a plastic bag. Now, I need to dig a hole and bury her.

The ground is semi frozen—not deeply frozen yet, but for sure tougher to work than earth in August or September or October. I need some daylight hours to crack the shovel into a tuft of grass and turn it and lay the wee dead bird down in the soil.

In Savage Beauty—a bio of Edna St. Vincent Millay—the author tells the story of when Edna’s mother passed away in the depths of a frigid winter and they had to blast the side of the hill open with dynamite to get her body into the earth.

If only I had some dynamite to blow a hole in the backyard under the sleeping red bud and then rest our feathered friend in the December dirt.

However, I always arrive home from work when the light is fast fading from the sky, and I leave when the light has just arrived. So for now the chicken is in a bag in the red wheel barrel in the garage.

And, I am still up to similar shenanigans. Riding my bicycle, working, cooking, traveling around the usa when my toes get the tickle.

I’ve also been sporting some enormous hair lately. And while I know that the big hair has nothing to do with the dead chicken or how I pass time on a daily basis, it has something to do with hilarity. Hilarity is that dose of jolliness that I need sometimes to make it through these dark, winter days. How perfect that I simply have to look in the mirror at my own curly mess of hair to ignite that tin can echo laughter in the flabby parts of my belly.

I’m not really sad about the dead chicken; she lived a good, good life. We will go through less feed, now. I’m just a little nervous that she may have had some disease that will spread through the rest of the flock. I think this is not the case, but I have this tendency to make everything into something more convoluted than it really is.

But then I turn to my own head of hair and it shakes me back to a place with steady ground and more realness than those imagination disasters in the gray parts under my skull. Night scatters cold wind through the decaying leaves and frozen ground and a dead chicken stays put in the shelter of the garage and my heart leaps at the thought that tomorrow the sun will soar behind cloudy skies and I will trace the pattern of the days with the tips of my fingers and the prints of my hands will leave solid sections of stars across this time, this now. Each winter day will teach that lesson of patience to be, just be, and sour lipped laughter will abound at the reflection in the mirror.