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“A happy family is but an earlier heaven.”

27 Dec

The night is damp outside the windows of the car, all blurred forest and road, the sparseness of a highway on Christmas Eve. The hush.

Past small town I see the warmed houses, their lights, the trees, the tucked in beds and waiting, the cursing parents, assembling, or peaceful around hot rum and love. The waiting, the held breath of the night before, the culmination of weeks of waiting and hoping, blessing. House after house we speed by, their jolly lights, the candy canes and sleighs, candles holding vigils.

I hold it in as long as I can, swallowing hard the lump that begins in my tummy and rises like bread to my mouth. I hold in the anger and the sadness that this year, my children were not with me, that never again would their parents pile presents under a tree lit together. I gulp down the helplessness of being unable to stop, or fix any of it, and the insane rage at losing what seemed so simple, and I took so much for granted, that sense of family, as false as I created it.

But I can’t hold it in forever, and after far too many monosyllabic answers to my love as he tries to draw me out, the tears rush away from me and I can’t keep it inside, not anymore. And I find myself wanting to screech my anger across the fields and laneways, wanting to pour my sadness into a vial and toss it from the car. I want to stop mourning what I never had to begin with, that peace, that togetherness.

Slowly, I accept my new normal, wipe my face as he pulls off the highway to hold me. Fantasy evaporates as reality chides me, reminds me that it won’t always feel so ruined, so broken off.  That what I imagine, and what is aren’t ever the same.

****

I spend Christmas with his family, and see what I’ve never seen before, a family who loves and cherishes each other, who acknowledge each other’s weaknesses and yet still just…exists together in a way I’ve never had. Even on the fringes I feel the warmth and love radiating from all of them, the silly joy in their faces and laughter.

And I know, clearly, that it exists, this love, a place where everything is ok, and someone waves from the window as you drive off.  A righting of a life, a glimpse into normal, what normal can be and should be. A confirmation that normal is something I can have, if I want it.

***

How we can ever live without love I’ll never fathom. But then, I didn’t notice I was thirsty for it until I started to drink it in.

“Youth is easily deceived, because it is quick to hope.”

24 Dec

Remember then, the days that were? the golden light, spilling from ears and mouths and lips you couldn’t reach to touch but dammit the vodka could and the spins, the world spun out from under your feet as you caught your breath on dew spit grass and laughed and laughed until the moon rose and everyone became quiet-

quiet because they knew the secret, that secret, this one.

It’s never forever.

that slip of a minute which sits coyly in your hands as you feel time skim past you, as the words tumble free of you, that tiny moment, the breeze on your back, the light that grows in your eyes when you look past each other, when “fuck” sneaks out and with a gasp you remember a future you haven’t lived

you’re 17. Your shoes hang loose over the river water, black like greasy coal, your hair streams in the wind and your cigarette pretends it’s not yours as the smoke whirls into the night. It all has meaning. It all means something.

We’re gonna do something. We’re gonna be someone. Just wait. You’ll see.

Exhale. Inhale. Quiet holds.

It’s never truth. It’s all truth.

2 blocks become forever underfoot, as tomorrow accelerates towards you, legs growing to adulthood, heart shrinking in fear and anger, apathy closing. Decisions, thoughts, meaning.

You sit on her porch and wonder. You stare at the lights across the river and see yourself, lifetimes, with children, with no one, with cats, with treasure, in the heavens. All possible worlds, like fossils, stagnant against a step.

and again, you spin through a park, rictus like face as the drugs embrace, drill your veins with joy as a fire like sunrise covers your aching skin and you all swear that nothing, nothing, not one thing will ever be as beautiful as this moment, right now.

It’s a truth, finally.

You stumble home drunk on Earth and the coffee shop is still brown and your dreams are still smothered and you’re almost hungover but your heart screams….

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.

7 Dec

I’ve been writing about the end of the world for months now, in fits and starts, redo’s, edits, charts on the wall, memories I cannot grab in the air, a past unwritten.

I finally get the opening right, and I feel spent, worn already.

Her black boots against the pavement mark, the slow heave of her gait. One foot, left foot, this foot, right foot. Footfalls against the buildings, ratcheting between. Breath ragged, steady. Measured.

Crows cascade from the branches of a maple, her eyes follow as they scream across the grey sky. She sniffs at the air. Snow, soon. The leaves have turned to gold, nearly grey with cold.

“It’s October.” harsh, like nails, a voice unused. She looks to the crows circling. “October.”

It’s a fucking STORY. It’s not nuclear medicine, it’s not childbirth, it’s a story and a woman (one of three, three stories trying to be told in separate places) I cannot get out from under my fingernails and into the light. This is as close as her voice has come, as close as her stained hands can get to daylight, out from under my lungs and disappointment.

I think her name is Molly, but I’m not sure. Her other selves were too weak, too brash, too echoed. She will search for home, for love, for peace. She won’t know why, or how, but she will search.

If I can wash her from me.

***

I am so fucking clogged.

I can write the fiction. I know I can. But it gets stuck, or the clock shows 1am and I’m tired or there’s yet another question from a kid or a job to be done, laundry to fold, something to clean, and the simple pleasure of coloring in the world in my head? It doesn’t pay the bills or feed anyone and so Molly gets crammed into the back to wait. When the time comes, when I have 5 minutes to dash together, or an hour, she pouts like a fucker in the corner and refuses to talk to me, to tell me why she needs to travel across country to find her likely dead, or why she’d only wear heavy leather boots and refuse to cut her hair despite lice and filth. She won’t talk to me, like a petulant child, all wiry, flashing eyes and a bit of pudge which won’t last forever, not if she needs to walk and survive.

She will not move.

She has a daughter, and a lover, gone, a silvery whisper in air grown clean again. She has a ring on a finger and marks on her belly to prove they were, and a voice she can no longer sing with.

She will not speak.

Her hands will become calloused, her hand formed to the knives she will find she needs to carry. Her heart will grow over, five times, covered in moss and stone.

She will not let me be.

She will not leave me.

****

How do you then, writers? How do you find these people, in the silences of minutes, in a world of so much noise-how do you give them space? I find myself breathing her in all day and when I sit to let her loose, I cannot shake her from me.

How?

Memory is often less about the truth than about what we want it to be.

30 Nov

It’s all in one corner.

I spent my day off cleaning my spare room, what used to be “his” room, another emblem in the constant unbalanced act that was our marriage. His ROOM, compared with my desk crammed in a corner of the bedroom. HIS space. A wall against me, wielded as a sword or at the very least, as a silencer.

Since he left in January, since the day we moved into this house together, 6 years back from now, this last pile of crap sat in the corner, growing dust. I let it stay, and let it stay, and mentioned it, and got bitched at, and mentioned it again and told I’m a naggy bitch and it’s his house too.

But it’s never been his house. It never was, and it never could be. These bricks, this mortar, the shitty crumbling walls and the 6 layers of paint on the sills-they’re mine. The dreams I cooked while a child rested under my heart. The places we’d go, the people we’d be, knotted into these walls. But he never fit, instead cramped into a room full of dusty boxes of words and songs from a lifetime ago. He wasn’t here, in this place.

I sit where he spent nights away from me. But now the floor is clean, subdued, my books and words surround me. I sat and threw out the memories I had kept, the candy boxes from that first year together, a time that wafted around us and disappeared like smoke on our tongues. Held in my hand briefly , cradled, but no magic was left in that cardboard. No pain, no pull.

A sigh. The closing of a book, heard from a distance.

Piled neatly it all waits, his last moments in my life, foreign as jungle to me now, the he who was.

***

It gives me such a headache, all of it.

The breaking free of each other has been easy. He pulled away years before leaving, leaving me the defective, the dreamer. I wanted family, I wanted the car ride through the woods, the hot cider after skating. Arguments about paint colors and curry. I wanted a home and a story to carry.

But the detritus of married life, the mortgage and the credit and the custody-the tethers you still are indebted too even after, the choices which aren’t so simple anymore. The staggering weight of alone, after days and years of at least believing you were in it together. The bills, the planning, the dentist and the vet. All such things you once spoke of, together, the commonality in the banal.

It whispers at night to me, the protection that marriage pretended at. Shakes me awake with the reminder that doing it alone together was worse than trying by myself. The deep night hugs me to it, alone in a too big bed, embers of a life where alone meant wondering at 4am if he might ever come to bed. A mortgage paid in brick, stolen in storm and fear.

I crave simple answers. I crave a bare wood floor of nothing, walls of stark grey, a quiet porch in a summer wind. I want to pack it all up in a corner, this house, this dream, this life, and leave it for someone else’s hands. I want the newness, a memory built fresh in bare walls and strong arms. I want better.

I’m starting over, but patience has never been my strong point. If I had my way, that past would be folded crane like into my palms, and tucked in the corner of an old moving box, kissed on the road out the door.

I would be clean of it, 3 times over.

***

I might sigh heavily and say I regret it, all of it. I might mourn the 20 something I never really was, the wife I couldn’t be, the woman I only dreamed of. I might blame him, I might blame myself. I might say I don’t believe in second chances.

But I’d be lying. I’d be lying if I didn’t still believe, oddly, that this was still always the right road after all.

Crimson and Clovers: Toy Review

29 Nov

So…this is another one of those posts that some of you might want to not read…in which case, run off here and buy me something cute. Namely this one. Cause it’s awesome.

Continue reading

“A memory is what is left when something happens and does not completely not happen.”

17 Nov

 

“Why did you never tell your parents?”

“When would I? When my mother was dying of cancer? After when our family was already splintered? When my father was drunk and sobbing at 2am? I couldn’t do that to him, give him something else he couldn’t protect me from.”

“It’s not the child’s job to protect the parent.”

“Maybe not. But it was mine.”

 

My grandfather died this week.

Or, as I’ve long thought of him, my mother’s father.

He has never been a grandpa to me. Or a Pa, or a Poppi or anything. He has always been an old man my skin cringed away from. He has always been the first man, the one with wandering hands.

I justify it, that it doesn’t hurt, that it doesn’t harm me, because I only remember one time, on the couch, while everyone else was in the dining room. I was giggling, playing, until I wasn’t, and his hands tightened on my arms, then around my chest and like fire stealing air from a room, I was suddenly bereft.

I find myself crying absently at work full with memory. My voice breaks and I run to the bathroom. I make it home somehow and I run the shower long and hot and silently sob, letting loose a scream no one will ever hear. Facts take their stolid, well dressed place in my head, examine their nails and recite:

My grandfather is dead.

He’ll never touch me again.

He’ll never touch my daughters.

This worry, this pain I know I am not alone in, that somehow, they will find us again, pin us down with malice and silence and take, it slips between my lips and I am sudden and surrounded by light, by relief shaped like candy. In my eyes that little 6 year old skips, in a red dress and shiny bob and giggle and disappears into light, free.

Free.

I am free of the hands that hurt me. They are all dead.

All dead.

But so am I, inside it seems.

***

I have never told my family. I have mentioned it once to my father as he slid off the end of my bed, drunk, sobbing his failures into his hands. I remember comforting him, wishing he’d go to bed already, I had school in the morning. I started to tell my brother once, and stopped, realizing you can’t speak to a rock.

I have told friends, obliquely or not, I have let loose silk ribbons of my truth, but never a chorus of it. Always trapped in my mouth, the lack of detail, the sore of scabbed memories, fenced in. I cannot be a survivor of something I do not remember, can I?

I remember moist hands, trapped breath, the inside of my eyes. Wrong. I can taste the wrong inside me. The world collapses into a moment I carry like a photo, tattered.

Once my father made me hug him, years later.

Wooden. Turn to stone, to water, to incorporeal ether. He can’t touch what he’s already stolen.

***

I will never tell my father. I could you know, let it slip, color his coffee. Let him carry it.

I won’t. I never will. Today I bury this. Today I have stared into it’s maw, felt my tears and said enough. I have lived with a rock under my heart for far too long, a child in a corner, wistful and quiet. She deserves more.

So he will never know. As a parent, I’d damn well want my daughter to tell me, but as a child,  I cannot burden him with anything more. This life has been sweet and sour enough for him. I can protect him. This I can do.

***

I am relived. I am livid. I am terrified. I am 33 and I am 6. I am crying and smiling and retching as water spills over my back. Noise rushes between my ears and I am seized by finality, and the gaping future before me.

I am free.

“Be brave. Even if you’re not, pretend to be. No one can tell the difference.”

3 Nov

I lug my ass out of bed before the sun comes up these days, the grey pre dawn hanging sullenly in my window. Most days I can turn the alarm off before it rings nausea through my belly. I peel a sleeping child from my arm most mornings, wonder why I’m so tired.

I shout orders for 30 minutes straight, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush hair, EAT YOUR GODDAMMED FOOD! leave the kittens alone, socks, the SOCKS ARE RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF YOU!, where is your backpack?

hurryhurryhurryhurry.

I hardly hear the words they speak, at me, through me as I half drag, half trudge to school with them, kiss them goodbye absently as I race to meet the bus.

I start each day wishing I didn’t have to do this. Every day a drudgery, each day another requirement of a mother, of a person I struggle to be. I find myself hating it, and wonder, do I just not care?

I don’t have the time to care, nor much time for my children. Work through the morning, back to pick them up, play for 30 minutes, then home for lunch and chores for me, work for them, nap maybe, and then I’m off again, back to work, past their bedtime, home to a house I don’t feel I even live in, let alone own. Children essentially raised by people who aren’t me, their father, my father.

Do they even know they’re girls, soon to be women?

Drained, I eat bare rice with soy and try to convince myself I’m doing right by them.

***

Please don’t tell me it’s normal, that I’m just tired and this is how anyone would feel. It’s not. I didn’t go with my kids for Halloween this year, first time, ever.

I didn’t feel a damn thing. I was glad to be a free of it.  I don’t miss them when they’re gone-instead when they return I feel a weight descend on my shoulders, a horrid sludge like thing which slows me down, and I am petty, short tempered and mean. I find it harder and harder to like them, and crave silences.

I wonder if it makes me a horrible mother, contemplating being the one who leaves, the one who pays money and has two weeks in the summer and Christmas.

I wonder how long I can pretend this isn’t the truth.

I love my children, but increasingly, I do not believe I should be their primary caregiver.

Outloud. It’s been said.

I am not a good mother. I do not believe I ever have been, or frankly, ever could be. I am vacant and distracted, and sadly impatient with it all.

But to say it, to cast these thoughts into the wind like prayer is one thing. To release them, to say in not so many words to the world at large that despite my vagina I am not the best parent-these things will make me outcast, shunned in a way their father would never be. It would be ok for him.

This will never be ok for me.

***

I just don’t have it. I don’t have that girl urge, that mom urge. For years I pressed it into service since one of us had to be the parent, but now, as their father steps up more, and I find my SELF breathing again for the first time in….ever, I realize that person, that Mom self-she doesn’t exist. Maybe she never did, and it was that split, that forced march into mother that turned me crazy.

How am I to know?

first condition for equilibrium

28 Oct

I always wonder if the nattering got to my mother.

Perhaps I wasn’t as persistant…or loud, or whiny however I doubt that. Alone, singular and by default quieter. But there were days when her eyes rolled back until she could see her own ass and she thought “dear lord, if this child does not remove herself from my sight I will send.her.back with postage and chips.”

She thought that, right? This woman who wanted me, desperately, or if not desperate, at least enough to wait 7 years for the phone call to come, for the news that another babe in wool, a girl was ready for her barrenness to rear.

I’ve always found it unfair that I of all people were given two daughters like a summer sunrise, while so many good people go without children, cast into a life of second best, of want and need so heavy it lingers in the air between them like dice thrown at craps. What have I done to deserve such beauty, such wonder? Was it a gift of surrender, the universe shrugging and saying “well bitch, maybe this time it’s ok?” Was it a lesson, wrapped in sadness and joy and absolute chaos that life is what links us, that new starts are what bring smiles to the faces of old men, broken long before we could think to salve it.

I do not deserve the security of continuance, do not possess the ego necessary to thrust my genes into the wilds. And yet here I sit, daughters of my womb snoring gently (or not so gently) in the room beneath this ragged wood floor. I, their mother, shaking her head in stark confusion.

To an action a reaction. A spark burns the forest to our heels. Love begets love which leads to hate and boredom. I meet a boy when I’m 15 and fall in lust/love and years later I bloom like a tulip, twice, and bring forth awe. Gravity. Centripetal force, unending, their center in my center, heart of their heart, the beating drum heard on a table and then, in a tiny chest fluttering like a bird in giant hands.

And then to natter, incessant, to tell me the laws of birds and men, the vague ties of rain and mettle. It would be horrible if I lost my voice she crowed.

Horrible, not my exact adjective. But a fluttering heartbeat in my teeth, a moment lost beneath the daily trudge, a reward. A pause. A denial, life thrown into the darkness, hostile baring teeth.

Impelled toward a center, circling.

***

Mid afternoon this time of year, the light turns hollow and brittle, a clear yellow which breathes melancholy and memory. It falls through the yellow and blood-red leaves, dapples my eyes with her face, my mother at the kitchen sink, clearheaded in the late day sunlight.

I am at her feet, humming a toy car along the carpet lines, and feel her gaze upon my head like a benediction every few minutes. Around and above me the adult world, the secret monotonies in the cupboards, the sharps and dips she stood before, brave.

She glows in the light, then, and now, time a shutter, and I the center.

She smiles, I grin.

Not the center. The starting point after all.

“Give me the poverty that enjoys true wealth.”

25 Oct

They page through Christmas toy catalogs, eyes bright and wanting, yelping I want this Mummy and Maybe I could get this? Can I have this?

I snap at them to stop with the asking. I cannot hear it anymore.

I haven’t the money. I fret about Christmas, wondering about points and freebies, hoarding small things in the closet, warning that this year won’t be as rich as I’m told about how their father has made promises of this and that. I’m sure it’s nothing more than the vague whispers I give them sometimes, but it hurts all the same.

I know that things won’t bring them happiness, that it’s all just stuff and they are no less for not having it. But I stifle tears each time I feel the knife dig into my chest with the ask.

I cannot provide.

***

Growing up in a household where my mother stayed home, where one meagre income supported four of us, I did not lack. There was love where money stopped, and things weren’t horribly missed. But I remember that sense of want, the swallowing of the question since you knew somethings would just never ever happen.

I never wanted this for my children. I never wanted them to know they couldn’t have something because I could not give it to them. I should be able to give them anything, or at the very least more than I had.

I could not give them a family. And now, I cannot even give them things and somedays, it feels like my love is the impossible goal even, wrung out and tired of them as I am. I cannot provide to them on any level, and the chorus of wants for Lego is slowly, irrevocably, eating my heart to ribbons.

I am their mother. I shall provide. Yet the basket is empty, only full with the tears I shed in anger for my shortfalls.

***

It’s the accusation from a 7 year old, the eyes that tell me “you’re failing” when we walk past decorated houses and petulantly I’m asked “Why are we the only house without decorations” and despite reminding her the decorated homes are the anomoly, I still feel raw and frigid inside, incapable, lessened.

We scrape hand to mouth. We buy secondhand things, we use others until they fall to pieces, all things of which I am proud. And yet when she stares at me with sad eyes because all she ever hears is no, I lose sight and have another vision of poorer us, a trap I cannot escape from or evade.

And I just don’t know what to do anymore.

A scar is what happens when the word is made flesh.

15 Oct

Left arm, upper. That fleshy bit just underneath the tattoo of a cicada, memory from a faint sweaty September.

If you pay attention, if you look hard enough, there's faint lines, the pathway of a year of chaos, of discovery, of change. Of being 17.

Anyone who has never cut will never understand the release it brings. I never did it after that day, scared perhaps by the flighty pleasure it brought me, or maybe the indelible mark it left on me, on my body, rapt. You should have seen me then, fishnets, black dress so short I blush to think of it, clinging to a body I either never had, or I had in disbelief. My rough black boots, tight against the callouses that replaced the blisters I had walked through. Hard cropped black hair against my head.

Twas all about the black that year, if I remember correctly. A year to shed, to mourn, to release. It was so entirely predictable-girl loses mother. Girl gets on a bus and run away. It felt like running away, boarding a bus to somewhere, knowing that somehow, life would detour and you'd find someone standing in your sun outside a northern town as you waited for the next part of the route.

And it did, and months later, I found myself dancing around the cluttered room I rented with a friend's parents, listening to black metal and slicing my arm in tiny slivers. The blood would bead around the blade as I pressed it further in, until I could feel entirely that little pop, the moment of exposure, and I could feel again.

If you had asked me then I would have told you I scarred myself purposefully, leaving a lasting reminder of where I had been, of a moment in time, the chipped white paint on a tall dresser, the small closet my life was crammed into, the stash of hash on the windowsill next to Bob the spider plant. I would have said it was a legacy, a time capsule.

Maybe it was. Maybe it was a release, the slow leak of ache.

Or could be, I was 17, and high, and just slicing open my skin because I could.

***

It's almost gone, this scar, blending in finely with the ruddiness of my skin, the tan left fading from a scorched summer. You'd have to squint to see it.

The past in a rear view, receding.

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The Break Up

11 Oct

I do believe I broke up with a friend tonight.

Let me preface this by saying I don’t do friends well. I really never have. Maybe it’s a touch of something wrong with my brain, maybe I’ve just got a short where my heart should be, maybe I really am a fucking cunt. I don’t quite know. All I know is that those hallmark-esqe loving relationships some women seem to have? I never have them.

I don’t much care too either.

I mean, there’s the occasional wonder about what the big deal is, and what I might be missing, but it all just seems like a lot of fucking work. Hurt feelings. Careful balancing of time for them versus time for other people. Lying-lying about how good that dress looks, if that purse is worth the 500.00 or if the recent boyfriend is good looking.

Sweet hell, it tires me out just thinking about it.

I don’t as a rule make friends with women, because I will inevitably disappoint them. I don’t remember birthdays. I cancel plans. I answer honestly if asked what I think of those shoes. I am an asshole.

But, in a moment of weakness, I made a friend last year. A friend I would hang out with fairly frequently, who was there for me and who I was there for, all that good stuff I suppose. I kept my mouth shut as I watched her basically chase her boyfriend away with neediness. I pushed myself to go out with her and her friends, despite my inability to socialize with anyone 25 or younger. I dealt with the weirdness.

But then, I fell in love.

I’m not good at balancing people. I’m not good at splitting my focus. I never have been-ask my oldest friend and she’ll roll her eyes and nod and bitch about how I’m just never consistent and she won’t hear from me for months.

I get…distracted.

And frankly, I’ve been fucking happy, feel like I’ve finally found a partner who meets me on equal ground, instead of me on theirs or them on mine. And I’m enamored and sparkly and fluttery and all those wonderful things, while at the same time stressed out about my mortgage and what to do with custody and figuring out what I truly truly want in my life. While working full time, and trying to have a little time for me.

I don’t have the fucking time or headspace to listen to someone without any responsibilities complain that they hate their life, while they do nothing to improve their life or lot. I don’t have the fucking time to explain, for the zillonth time that I don’t return calls cause I hate the phone, and that most of the time, it’s on silent and in another room and I don’t freaking even know someone called.

I don’t have the time to pretend anymore, because life has come to a roaring head, and most of all, I don’t have the time to pretend that I can’t tell that she hopes my relationship fails, and is jealous and bitter or…SOMETHING about the entire thing.

I don’t have it in me to have a friend who can’t understand the following is all so very true:

Your best friend falls in love
and her brain turns to water.
You can watch her lips move,
making the customary sounds,
but you can see they’re merely
words, flimsy as bubbles rising
from some golden sea where she
swims sleek and exotic as a mermaid.

It’s always like that.
You stop for lunch in a crowded
restaurant and the waitress floats
toward you. You can tell she doesn’t care
whether you have the baked or french-fried
and you wonder if your voice comes
in bubbles too.

It’s not women either. Or love
for that matter. The old man
across from you on the bus holds
a young child on his knee; he is singing
to her and his voice is a small boy
turning somersaults in the green
country of his blood.
It’s only when the driver calls his stop
that he emerges into this puzzle
of brick and tiny hedges. Only then
you notice his shaking hands, his need
of the child to guide him home.

All over the city
you move in your own seasons
through the seasons of others: old women faces
clawed by weather you can’t feel
clack dry tongues at passersby
while adolescente seethe
in their glassy atmospheres of anger.

In parks, the children
are alien life-forms, rooted
in the galaxies they’re grown through
to get here. Their games weave
the interface and their laughter
tickles that part of your brain where smells
are hidden and the nuzzling textures of things.

It’s a wonder that anything gets done
at all: a mechanic flails
at the muffler of your car
through whatever storm he’s trapped inside
and the mailman stares at numbers
from the haze of a distant summer.

Yet somehow letters arrive and buses
remember their routes. Banks balance.
Mangoes ripen on the supermarket shelves.
Everyone manages. You gulp the thin air
of this planet as if it were the only
one you knew. Even the earth you’re
standing on seems solid enough.
It’s always the chance word, unthinking
gesture that unlocks the face before you.
Reveals intricate countries
deep within the eyes. The hidden
lives, like sudden miracles,
that breathe there.

(Common Magic-Bronwen Wallace)

***

Emails were exchanged, and as usual, I am the asshole. Because I don’t try. Because I’m “basically dumping her for a guy”-because, I don’t know. Because I have said “this is who I am, and is who I have always been. Maybe I changed for a little bit, but I can only pretend for so long. This is me.”

I can accept that I’m an asshole. But then, I don’t get bloody excited when people in my life get distracted and fall off the earth for a little while either.

Someday, I question my vagina I really do.

All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous unpremeditated act without benefit of experience.

3 Oct

I’m deeply dreaming about my brick house, it’s mortar and mortals, and I’ve dug up the floor, through layers of wood and laminate, carpets and come upon a door. Battered, sealed with boards against the opening we tear through it, he and I, this new love, our hands firm and strong against the pine and rusted nails until we dislodge the blockage and walk within.

A new basement to an old place, full with, of all things, lingerie and washing machines, the kind you find in dingy laundromats, shit brown and begging for quarters. We wander through, the walls shabby and unfinished, bare wood, the floors gleaming so i can nearly see myself, the light bright yet unkind.

I hold him near as I turn in amazement at the crannies I have never seen, the newness that envelops me in a haze of brilliant light, the kind which wakes you early on a September morning, clean.

***

There’s something to be said to feeling like your life is a new book you just opened. Or rather, feeling like your life is an old book you get to start all over with.

***

Quiet. In some places, you can try and imagine what it must have been like so many years ago, before all the this.

The sky gets so big you feel like it might just swallow you up, the air carries cedar, pine, birch to you, and if you’re lucky, the geese take a chorus up before you as your muscles relax into movements oddly familiar. The silence teems and try as you might, you wonder when the last time it was that you felt this completely sure of yourself, and your place within everything.

A new door. A highway to a new world, one which stood right next to the old one, scratching it’s head and asking, puzzled, what you were waiting for.

What are you waiting for?

That candy light

30 Sep



That candy light

Originally uploaded by thordora

The day I took this picture it was about 13C, with a sun that warmed and a wind that cooled. We wore hoodies and smelled winter cackling in the distance, somewhere in the mayonnaise clouds perhaps, or behind the brittle candy glass sun. I remembered someone’s advice about finding new angles, new perspective as I crawled around in the loamy cold earth to capture my favorite and best light.

I’ve decided this light is clean, and virginal, my attraction to it an attempt to refresh my own self, encapsulate my desires, start anew. Yet it’s also a lust for beauty, for simplicity, the convoluted logic of something so pure.

It’s nearly a taint for me, yet I shine for it. This light, my happiness, this beam of YES! that nearly pours from my skin when I awake in the morning, the dawn peeking in my window under the blind, singing of love.

I am poured in this light. And I am all the better for it.

I know the lands are lit.

27 Sep

My soul opens as the fired trees pass, glimmers against glass, moments I will be awed by yet ultimately, fail to remember, so common they become. Hours from the city I become quiet and still, my heart and body stilled by the absolute of a world not tied to hydro lines or paper. All I can explain it by is stillness, like a quake of non movement, silk across my lips.

It comes this winter, and with it we shed the colored skins of where we’ve been, of heat, of tempered mornings in the quick light. The season rolls across to us, reaches out her fingers to mouth

-hello-

as we blink back, crazy to think we’re here already, hadn’t the trees just begun to bud? Hadn’t we just been soothed by the joy of those new green leaves, waving in the breeze which smelled sweet like our youth did, once? Wasn’t I just here, toes in cool water, ice cream rivulets down your chin?

Weren’t we just here?

How can time be a highway like this, a soothed balm to a soul and yet stuck in high gear, and spinning faster and faster as we question, if this is my last year, would these burning trees be enough? If this was the last glimpse I have of our fair land, is it honestly judged? Have I danced my thanks through starlight, a pale worship, but an honest one?

Have I understood?

It makes me quiet, the growth, the creeping sleep that overtakes the land as I watch, bemused and shocked, how time rakes across, how time is blind and carefree. It gives me pause.

What is a soul undone, if nothing more than a free spirit in trees?

Toy Review: Topsy Turvy

23 Sep

This is a review of the Topsy Turvy by Doc Johnson, provided for review for Eden Fantasy. If you choose to not know far more about my sex life than necessary, click here to learn something new and cool. Otherwise, read on.

Also, I’m eating candy corn while I write this, so if it gets really odd, blame the sugar. Not me.

Continue reading

Invite

16 Sep

Every day I find myself ranting after the girls come home from school. Or rather, after I work the first half of my god forsaken split shift and go haul their carcasses home 4 blocks. I open up their homework bags and idiotic “star” binders and see what fresh hell awaits.

Usually it’s a request for money. Flyers for stuff we can’t afford since we’re neither rich or on assistance. Lectures about reading to your children, not parking in the “kiss and drop” zone.

And today, a note. No giving out party invitations anywhere on school grounds. Because, and I quote, “we wish to avoid hurt feelings.”

I’m not an ogre. I was a kid once. I was a kid who was never, EVER invited to anything. Unless we count the months after my mother died, when the pity invite was in full effect.

I didn’t like the other kids. For the most part, they didn’t like me. I was strange. I was bigger than them. I did weird things. I knew all these things, and it never bothered me.

Vivian received very few invites last year, and never mentioned it. The few she did get I mostly ignored since we couldn’t get there, or couldn’t afford a present. And she was well aware that with the exception of one of her close friends, that there were reasons we weren’t going. She was also aware why not everyone gets an invite. Some kids don’t like you. Some you don’t like. Some parents can’t afford everyone at their house.

A multitude of reasons, spawing a multitude of conversations about class, budgeting, friendship and self confidence.

However, because we’re sparing “hurt feelings”, I no longer get to have these same conversations with my children, who apparently get to wait until who knows when to have real life jump up at them and bite them in the ass.

It’s not that I don’t understand the inclination-I do. No one wants their child to suffer.

But it’s a big bad world out there, full of people who don’t like us, and quite possibly wish to do us harm. It’s a real world, with obstacles and people and emotions we have to process and deal with. And speaking as the kid who was weird and shy and had a mother who sheltered her as much as possible from these blows until she couldn’t anymore, it’s a world we need to be exposed to early on.

And it’s also a world that I am responsible for guiding my children into.

It’s bad enough that a kid cannot walk by herself 10 feet off school property, that I get glared at for letting my daughters gleefully run the last block and a half to school alone. It’s bad enough that the school seems intent on teaching my daughters to be passive and rely on other people for their own protection, to the point that I need to virtually scream at them that a little self defence is not a bad thing.

But this…this just smacks of all the wrong things, protectionism for all the wrong reasons. We’re poor. Period. I cannot afford the latest and greatest of everything, and frankly, I don’t want to give them to my kids, let alone anyone else. And this is a conversation that I have with my children, because we do not live in bubbles of magical ponies. When I say we can’t have something, or do something, Vivian automatically answers “Because there’s no money for that, right?” She’s beginning to understand that money doesn’t grow on trees, and part of the reason for this understanding? Being unable to attend parties last year.

I am growing so irritated by the fact that every single movement seems to be one to cover children in cotton at this school. My favorite was during Vivian’s kindergarten year when they weren’t allowed to jump off half foot snowbanks unless they formed a line and took turns. No creativity, no chances to make mistakes. Just rote. Just…what passes for problem solving and fun.

I send my children to school for an education, and I worry enough with poor test scores and an administration that is unable to send the right student info home or even spell my children’s last name right, despite being given it in 10 places correctly over two years.

And now, I have to worry about my children being taught that things are always fair?

Maybe I’m harsh, but this is one lesson I wish to get out of the way early, and in my way. Not by pretending.

“Why are we scared to die? Do any of us remember being scared when we were born?”

13 Sep

Fear is a funny thing. We run from the idea of it, hiding behind pretense, lies. We sit sedately in our armchairs, in our pods, cornered by inertia. We surround ourselves with things, stuff, blinkers and tweeters, invisible things, words on screens, whispers across airwaves. We pretend at fear.

We manufacture horrors. Drama. If we should breastfeed. If the kids should walk to school. Epidurals.  Peanuts. Weed. Small terrors, things that once would have worried us in passing that now engulf us. Inside we become shrunken, slivers and shadows of who we should be. Of what we could be, wrapped up as we are in HFCS or local produce.

Who would we be, before? If we were explorers, or hunters, dancers or willful neglect in the air-who would we be? What would we have discovered before we lulled ourselves into half measures, drooling children of a forgetful world?

Who would we be?

***

This weekend, with some gentle prodding, and slightly too much information, my lover took me for my first motorcycle ride.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. I tried to pretend I wasn’t, but he looked in my eyes and softly said “You’re scared.” I was. I was freaking terrified. Heart in my throat freaking out, distracting myself with instructions and the necessary clothing. My fingers scrabbled against my palms and I became quiet. Unnaturally so.

But I swung my leg over the beast. I settled myself on the back of that bike, clutched at his back, and swallowed hard. Slapped down the visor and breathed again.

And we were off.

I’d also be lying if I said I didn’t nearly puke my ever loving guts inside that helmet. I’d be lying if I didn’t spend the short ride reminding myself to relax, that I was safe, that I trusted him and that he would never ever put me in danger. I’d be lying if I said my eyes were always open.

When he asked if I was ok, and I said I wasn’t, we returned home right then. No questions, just a straight line on a bike under his gentle hands, and my unsteady breathing. I climbed off the bike, wavering between wanting to be sick and wanting to cry, so great was my fear. And he was there, to tell me it was ok, that he was proud that I climbed up despite my fear, that I tried.

How I wanted to just sit and cry right then, from my fear, the emotion racing through my veins, the terror, the calm that it was, as expected, ok. How new, and unexpected, this physical fear, the gut jerk as it streamed through me.

I was fine in a bit, as I processed the input. But for a few minutes, maybe 20, I was quiet again, overwhelmed. I had faced my dragon. The dragon didn’t win, and somehow, I felt all the stronger for it.

***

He pushes me, this lover of mine.  Not only did I climb on back of his bike, but I sat in the driver’s seat of his 4WD truck and drove, however briefly. (I was fine until he pointed out not one, but TWO ditches. At that point the fear took over and I freaked out a bit. There may have been some girl screaming involved.)

The main thing here-a few years ago, just sitting in a car as a passenger made me want to cry and be sick all at once, anxiety from no where for no good reason. A few years ago, hell, this time last year, I wouldn’t have even contemplated driving anything. The fear held me like a dancing partner, cheek against mine, caressed me as I stood alone and unwilling, letting it lead.

But my hand on the gear shift told me better. Tightly gripping the wheel, or his back, either way, I had won. The fear didn’t own me anymore, even if I shrieked and refused to drive farther than 30 feet, even if I may have gibbered “get it off me! get it off me! when some strange catepillar landed on me in the woods.

I swallowed fear. And then I danced it outside.

***

Who would I be, if I hadn’t been so fucking scared for so many years?

***

He tells me to put my boots on, come outside, come see. I rouse myself from the fire he has stoked for me, and clomp out into the night. My gasp echoes across the fields and empty roads.

The dark sky, alight with thousands of someone else’s suns. The milky way, stretching like a cat. My eyes brim with grateful tears as awe and wonder fill me, and I reach for him.

There are no words to thank with, not for this. Not for beauty, not for strength. And so we stand staring into the past as it glows at us, and I murmur.

When we release our fear, when we stand open, all manner of things are possible.

there,

Last First Day

8 Sep

And we’re here.

I found myself staring at both of you this morning, as we brushed hair and washed cheeks. Over your heads I stared, eyes slightly damp, at the picture that has sat on the fridge since Rosalyn was a baby. In it, Vivian, you stare intently at 2 day old Rosalyn, curious like a dog, nose barely an inch away from Rosalyn’s red cheeks, her tightly wound reddened hands.

I remember that day. I remember it was too hot for the heavy sleeper we put you in Rosalyn, the cute one already packed away for nostalgia. I laid a homemade blanket on the kitchen floor as I gently laid you down, Vivian circling and wanting to see. Her sister. Sisters, the two of you.

Two of you. All grown up. Your hair it tangles, and weaves itself. Vivian you yell and curse and scream until I hand over the hairbrush, ever so insistent on doing it yourself. Much the same as you did at 2. You both let me tie your hair back today, feeling distinctly grown up and old as I wrap the hair tie around the thick hair. 4 brown eyes stare intently, my daughters, flesh of my flesh, and I feel a slight sigh flutter out of my belly.

It’s like I’ve escaped something, or exceeded a goal or just…crossed a line. Suddenly you both feel and seem so awfully grown up and old, that is until Rosalyn starts rattling on about Ren and Stimy or Vivian, you start telling me it’s ok to kill ants because no one likes them anyway. While you’re both silent, you seem ageless. Short, but simply without time. Yet then I feel so old, as minutes and hours march by me in your eyes, and I feel the wind change.

The wind carries your womanhood on it, your growth, the days ahead. Lunches, pencils broken, hearts and flowers. Futures.

But for now ladies, I’m good with both of you out of the house each day.

Thirtieth Day of the Eighth Month of your Fifth year

30 Aug


028

Originally uploaded by thordora

I gasp in recognition when I see her. I, adopted, always loved, always cherished but always….just slightly more alone for the blindness my providence brought me. I dreamed of seeing my own eyes reflected, my strong legs built from someone who was connected by blood and not will.

Cast out almost, surrounded on all sides by those with the security of knowing exactly where they came from. I spent hours gazing at myself in mirrors, dusty windows, puddles, waiting for wisdom and belonging.

And when I did see myself reflected, when my eyes were finally swallowed by the blood I had craved, there was a sating, a measure of quiet that overcame.

But nothing like staring into the eyes of my second born, and seeing myself, squared by the universe. Seeing my wide eyes, darker. taking after her father, but delicate and lovely. The steel behind them, my stubbornness, tangled in her own charm and wit. Nothing has been like catching her stride out of the side of my eyesight and seeing my own muscles bending and pulling, legs which could settle a nation and wrap a lover tight.

Nothing like hearing a laugh full of candy glass, and knowing it’s more like yours than you’ve ever known.

She’s 5 1/2, and I stop her movements in the setting sun and plead, stop Ros, please, let me catch you in the light like a dragonfly and she sighs and smiles politely, the forced smile I can never make real ever.

Two of us who should never play poker. Two of us, transparent for all of our masks and putty.

Inside a somber self cradles a book, and sighs satisfied.

The moon, she lies in wind you know.

28 Aug

The air is heavy and moist as I speed home, the lights glittering in the new night. I can smell the ocean, it’s shores stolen from me by kilometre, by time and tree. But I can feel it, sinking beside me, absorbed to my skin like so much velcro or kelp, floating.

It is all shifting, this life. These lives.

I walk in my door, stumble more like it, across a dark gravel and potty lawn, and up the steps to my old wood deck. I tangle with cats as I open the door, hear the silence of rest down the hall, my children safe dreamers in the corner room. The sea carries to them too, monsters, adventures, memories they’ve yet to birth. The lights glimmer against the ink sky as the moon sets, a dull orange candy widened, and a whisper is made, a promise I spoke aloud once, years before.

I do not recall it, not in words. But it had wings, and petals. Shone silver in the light of a wet road.

Fall comes. Fall opens her woolen coat, stretching her arms peaceful through it’s sleeves, readying herself. The twilight calm a penance she’s paid, a held moment before the pricking months descend. Her breath is dusty like a new lover, and mewing, only a thought on the wind yet.

Yet.

She grasps this moon, this snake which gnaws itself, the scent like ribbons on the breeze which captures my eyesight. She holds it still for us to gasp aware for, suddenly children again, suddenly wanting and misty with the echo in our lungs.

Her hands cradle my cheeks,  her fingers just the edge of chill, eyes the color of deep water and death. From her skin rises the earth and water scent of melancoly and unattended, a pale wounding in how she misses something she can no longer name.

A kiss she gives. Before the light moves off the milky world, off my daggered arms. A gentle nudge before she casts off, windless.

Her voice a memory, a mere falsehood in time.