Stormcloudsdropwisdomonearthsday’s Childe

The sound. A bubbling over, as if millions of child-blown bubbles are popping all at once, small ones running here and there to explode them. Triptaptriptrap. The loneliest time of night is 3am and the lit moon slanting in the dusted-over window. Dog shifts; a snort, a rumble of dissatisfaction.

Across the world my mother wakes from unremembered dreams. Everything she does these days is without memory.

“Thank you” and “Thank you,” the chorus of voices. Scoliosis. Backs bearing weight today will be irredeemably arched like the bow of a harp some thirty years from now. Then it will be me unable to bear witness to the unfolding day and the small events that make up life in a small place.

There are times I keep good company in my writing life. Between the pages of a journal. Sandwiched between stories of apocalypse and flight. These days the words are petulant; not wanting to emerge from the dark. Meditation might open roadways to progress. Not enough hours in the day.

Clock.

Cart.

Fence.

Bully.

Tinsel.

Death on the never never. Bass baritone spine tingling chill of the Irish Sea. Walls sheathed in snow like frosted cake on the dining room table at Christmas. The decorations of childhood are now no more. The sled. I remember the sled, and Santa urging the reindeer onwards, the back packed with parcels and bows.

A glass bead sits on the desk. The future reflected in its glow can’t quite make me understand. A list of sorts. Payment for services rendered. Boxes without packing slips. Meetings to discuss trivial things. Worry too much about checking off standards and measures, and not enough about impassioning the young students who want to be thralled.

Thanks.

Chicken.

Tape.

Heart.

A slow falling rain. The gauge ticks steadily to three. The downcast eyes of a stained glass Jesus. Before my time. Giant clips constrain the pages of disappointed manuscripts. Energy and effort are lacking. The writing must wait. There’s not enough time in the given day for all to be addressed.

Meat dried on a prairie. The lone coyote at the far end of the box canyon waits for the dim light of night. Men on horseback click tongues and move through the grey slush. Acres. Thousands. Widgets create wealth. A line item on an agenda goes unseen. The pastel painted card askew on the desk is a reminder of what’s left to accomplish.

Every falling drop is hungrily absorbed by the dried earth as it flexes its girth and welcomes renewal.

Sometimes I wake in the night and stare at the beams and their painted weight. Dreams remain forgotten. A hint here of what makes one anxious, a taste there of what engenders fear. A grave holds five coffins. There’s plenty of room for more beneath the frost-rimed surface. Don’t fool yourself to the ache of impermanence.

 

Murder—My Legacy

Gloves of otter skin and a fur-lined anorak, dressed for the arrayal. The brittle leaves destroyed underfoot as the dead bird rattled in the cardboard box. Children’s hearts are empty when it comes to knowing deep grief, or at least they are up to a certain age. There had been no visible signs of struggle. The hen appeared quite normal when I collected the eggs that morning. Certainly, she was loud, her ire expressed with a piercing cry at seeing her treasure pilfered. The hole we dug was ample for the shoebox, the soil dark and moist like wet coffee grounds, a small pool of water in the bottom of the grave. Looking back, I thought the creature’s breast seemed swollen, abnormally so, perhaps some cardiac condition known only to poultry? Anyway, we dug the hole smack-dab in the middle of my mother’s manicured lawn. My parents were out of town on a weekend “getaway,” and I was the man of the house. Murder. That became my legacy. After the box was in the ground, we dumped the soil on top and patted it down tightly in case the bird came back to life and haunted us. When we finished, I thumped my best friend on the back and headed towards the house as the slanted sun poured its bloody light on the fresh mound.

Diadelosmuertosmarigoldsday’s Childe

Dia de los Muertos,” begins with rain on our land. The thunderous pummeling of rain drowns out all other sounds as the dry earth drank deeply of the brief rainfall. Tea and messiness all around, the cherry stickers on the blue crayoned page from last week. The dead are everywhere, in dreams, in waking, in continuous emergence from dormant corners of the brain. I did not think of my mother this morning when I awoke. Rather, her mother, my grandmother, came to mind. Try as I might, I couldn’t get a strong enough memory of the woman to hold on to and trace the thin skein of recall back to. I wonder how alike my own mother she was? Did she, too, sacrifice everything for her family? Did she, too, hold on to those Catholic rites and rituals as my mother does?

altar

The day is filled with my father’s presence. Fourteen years dead. He was here this morning as I wrangled my young daughter to get out the door and start our day’s adventure. Nothing went as planned. There was no bread in the house, nor eggs, so breakfast was a hardscrabble affair involving Halloween candy and a frozen breakfast burrito. I found myself channeling my father’s rage when things didn’t work out for me in the kitchen. The lint trap was stuffed with debris and as I cleaned it, a good amount fell on the floor. My father spoke through me in tongues. This, I did not like. In the car, ready to go, my daughter dropped her snacks on the floor of the car, sunflower seeds and goldfish crackers everywhere. My father’s rage threatened as dark as the gathering rainclouds on the foothills.

tombstone

When they die they inhabit creatures and objects in the vicinity of those they love. I tell myself this tale, partly to make myself feel better, and partly to keep myself out of the reach of the priests and clerics of the world. Some days I look at our dog and see eyes as expansive and sad as my father’s. Perhaps he sits, from the dog bed on the living room floor, in judgment of me as a father? Does he nod and say, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, does it, my lad?” Or, does he let out his breath when I manage to contain my anger and still the waters inside? Later, we’ll erect the altar to the dead, bring in the marigolds and put up the family photographs and mass cards. They are not forgotten. They are with us in spirit. For good or for bad. Honor to the ancestors. Lessons we must learn from their passing.

 

 

Inside

the wall, behind the plasterboard, a small Clark’s Mary Jane shoe box, size 12D. The box holds three objects; a brownish, desiccated piece of umbilical, a clear-glass Rosary beads, and a lock of dark, curly hair, tied with a piece of string.

IMG_1954

Beckettiana

‘The blown roses of a phrase shall catapult the reader into the tulips of the phrase that follows. The experience of my readers shall be between the phrases, in the silence, communicated by the intervals, not the terms, of the statement, between the flowers that cannot coexist, the antithetical’ (nothing so simple as antithetical) ‘seasons of words, his experience shall be the menace, the miracle, the memory, of an unspeakable trajectory.’ (Dream of Fair to Middling Women)