Separations

Time has become a mercurial substance, balling itself up in clusters on the calendar…a series of lunches or volunteer commitments cluster together until they resolve one by one. Until the moment they separate & each takes an identity of its own. Usually just when I thought I had it all together…it comes apart discretely.

I remember when my days were an unthought routine: up at 6, commuting by 7:30, leaving a bit early since traffic was always an unknown factor. Arrival, coffee, meetings, a lunch hour, emails, calls, an afternoon break for another coffee, gathering my life back into my purse to head for the garage park. Home to another routine of dinner, TV, conversation, chores & bedtime.

It’s different now or is it really? I cannot get far from routine even when I think I’m doing so.

I miss my little cat. I tell myself tiny stories, but I cannot keep the back door open or I will spend the day watching for her & her friends who came by for dinner & a shoulder rub. I cannot complain at 2 a.m. when she’d wake me for a night’s run & I’d bumble to the couch to curl into a different sleep, into strange-lit secondary dreams.

When I named her Dream, I did not think she would so easily become one. I did not see her ever hurt or stressed or physically unable to alight upon any height like a butterfly rising. She barely made contact but would suddenly appear in the space. She had a rusty voice & never hesitated to tell me what she was thinking. “Time to get up & let me out.” “Time for me to eat, whatcha got?” “Time for us to get to sleep…” Tho this last was a rarer call than the others. Sleeping for four straight hours in the daylight does not lend itself to sound slumber all night.

I cannot talk about her ending except the very last moments in the vet office when she rested her face into my cupped palm & breathed out her essence into my hand.

Was I being cruel to expect her to travel across the country with me? I had great accommodations with a large kennel which would hold litter within. I had plans on shifting her to a roomy carrier which would perch atop my wheelie suitcase entering the motel. I even had a bungee set aside (a blue one) to tether that for security. I had a harness, a leash, a plan for her food & comfort. Literally, with a snap of jaws it ended. Though I think I have cried it out, I have not cried out enough about the awful event. I know how quickly things happen, especially tragedies. I avoid thinking the unthinkable until it drapes itself across my eyeballs, unavoidable.

It comes enfilade, this watching of corners where she appeared, plumed tail tall & waving. It is never direct but by a corner & around a slant, I see her earnestly making her way. The baby next door squeals & I alert thinking Dream must want to come in now, must be at the door, must be slipping along the windowsill to let me know it’s time.

Like so many blameless happenings, I want to assign a blame. I want to take away the sure & certain terror she felt & remove all pain & wobble from her flight. She always walked fast, fur electric around her: a voice, an appearance, a pass-by, a dream within a dream.

A moment of horror & a life changes. Her brokenness becomes my memory when all I want to see is so completely different from that. A moment of sadness & my life is my own again, alone & awaiting, a-waiting.

I miss you, my baby-girl. I miss our conversations, your slanted looks, your comic demands. We weren’t a cuddly couple; you never spent an afternoon on my lap & I was quite content were you even on the couch nearby. You knew if you stared hard enough, I’d rise to resolve your want. I knew if I called out the backdoor at the end of the day you would dash toward me, each footfall prodding a vocalization.

My heart slips a notch, my eyes refill. Only recently after our year together did you stay near enough for me to stroke you, tho you loved being brushed. Only recently did a hope stutter-start that you might one night climb into bed with me & sleep by my side.

We steadied each other; studied each other. Love is sometimes a nightlight or a match-flame, nothing like a bonfire of vanities, but lit nonetheless for in all darkness, one candle is enough to illuminate a world.

Farewell, my kitty-kitty dream. I shall not forget your grace & gravitas. I am not diminished for having loved you well & a year is worth a thousand griefs. I know you have been lifted above all of it: but you were mine when you were you & I shall love that beyond time.

Off the cuff

When I found that ‘fabric’ in a tall pile at the flea market this morning, I knew it to be the so-far elusive “tablecloth” (something with yellow & cheerful) I’d been searching for. In my hands!

(My table has a large chip missing. I like to cover that up. A cloth is so much easier to deal with… but I have to live with it in my kitchen. I want something I can live with. What does that say about my life, that I need to have an in-house relationship with my tablecloth? Put that in your dishwasher & hit soak.)

After scrubbing the table up, I put the pattern on it. I stood back & laughed, my mind flashing on my 9th Grade Home Economics Teacher, Helen Something & how she looked when I chose the most difficult pattern in the box to make for Homecoming. It had gathers in it, stitching across the back, oh my! I could not & if you want to be picky about it, still c a n n o t thread a needle. But the front of that dress was ready to display 4 months later.

I have a karma with patterns. When I was out of teen-hood but barely, my sister decided to show me how to sew. She gave me a pattern & fabric to cut out on her king size bed. Which I did, also making a pattern of her deep green bedspread. And I had not even seen Gone With the Wind at that point.

Well, I just wanted to share that little bit of my afternoon with you. I couldn’t resist the thought of putting a smile on that face!

Love,

Carol

Inner Child Stuff

No worries. Just a bit dug around in

Like some dry earth garden

Attacked with an unmerciful hoe.

This happened when I realized

That thing I used to say, that I didn’t like kids much

(There was no understanding to be shared?)

Well, an impossible little Jack popped from the box

          When I wound it up:

It turns out the child I didn’t like is me. My inner, to be exacting.

Now what?

No wonder she hardly visits, but has that,

my chip’s right here. Where’s yours?”

We once drew sabres but now poignards suffice

Honed to lethal: set beyond Blood –

I think that’s my liver hanging from hers.

I don’t feel too good.

Hey, listen, I’d a sworn it not to be me

But all this Later, now I look away & wonder.

It’s only that it’s never mattered;

I was so obviously wrong about everything!

First & foremost, about her.

I chose to misinform myself first,

I chose to trust the weight

If I balanced. My sign, too,

First nature to me, now.

I only know the numbers

Not the matters a-weigh

But sudden-like it came off

There stands little between the wound

And continuing on.

I’m seeing myself again, this unnatural self

Who knows no meaning save the cerebral

When she must ought be found waiting in

The confessional of Spirit.

For the first time in years, I’m genuinely frightened

(she knows everything: she was there from the beginning)

My heart tears its reins from the

Tethering tree

Stumbling off

Carrying that unholy girl.

Now what shall I do?

Now where who do I call?

Once everyone knows everything

I’m kind of barnacle embarrassment

Who, seeing this, even knows me?

They would never know my face!

Do I stop then? No, of course not.

Beginnings are all ever given to me

I know little of middles or endings

Most certainly not this one.

God help me.

The child is on her own.

SOME POEMS ARE GIVING BIRTH

An idea gone material

Reaches for a pen & white paper

Closing not around the plastic

But on the idea

Clasping it in taut fingers

Saying what to say

Until it speaks on its own.

Too soon for me,

I like control…

While Surrender is much more eloquent

Her vocabulary faultless, flawless.

I KNOW NO PERMANENCE

At three years, I pack stuff up & go

I hate the restraints I feel

Like all this time I’ve picked up rocks

Instead of poked at clouds or found feathers

And time’s come to put all those big things down.

Some flash jealous, some disregard, or vanity, or to mediocre flesh

I took no time; but like I said,

She knows everything –

There from the start,

She remembers being human, too

I more remember what things were called.

She’s the hum of the song I sing

With a child’s grace to forgiveness

Caught with you, I am move in the Presence,

In the DNA I was cast,

This you, this me, you wise, brown-eyed,

Braided child

With two sets of eyes since one never was enough.

No wisdom for earthlings; she minded

Herself like a science experiment, full of reactions

Of bromides, quick trips to the interior

When the exterior redlined.

This, that we thought a landscape

Instead a portrait

Most likely, a mirror.

We both don’t want to remember.

We both can’t do much else.

What happens when the

Earth-senses fail?

Like some , yeh, think about it,

About stuff I never even

Thought about; it was more omnipresent than that…

This is harsh, tho. Two at once?

Embellish it now: embroider it now

A black jet-bead ribbon threading the frame

The mourning of what I’ve left of my mortality.

Two senses in the same day?

Lost to some disease I never wanted to get involved in

Especially my sense of smell”

Which I mercilessly mocked my Mother over as she’d none.

“Carol, what does this smell like?”

A dread call from the opened refrigerator

Mother waiting, eyes over her shoulder

Would I come into the kitchen?

Would I dare not?

This is a truly Cosmic Upside!

Knocked me silly: my teeth moved up in my jaws.

My friend said there’s more flavors in New Mexico

Than hot.

Now I think he spoke too soon; seems where I’m goin’.

Ferals

My Prayer for Ferals

Is it forgiven if you pray it that? Even if you’re not always kind?

We live now & then, like Ferals. It can be on any wavelength: emotional, spiritual, physical, pineal. (Pretty much you can count on physical to accompany any of them.) It’s all of the above getting through as best as can. After a point one forgets completely about, “’Scuse me,” after an unexpected burp. In fact, I welcome the burp so I can watch myself not react.

Everywhere each of us has attuned to environment differently. In many cases, travel changes that. Reducing the ring to one key reduces it irrevocably. I, (who seemed so stunningly, daringly, original & intrepid …) such an Individual…

I set out alone only to find I was one in a long line. I could choose how long I wanted that line to be.  (Not like now when choices are made for us), but in a time when a choice meant where you might spend years of your life.

At times, we choose the longer line.

As a years-younger woman, I wanted to believe I could live like a bird. I wanted my habitat to precede me. I wanted it waiting for me as part of my all-around landing. I was amazed others did not think thoughts like me!

I grew up on the beach, as eternal & in-the-moment changeable as any element can be.

I confess it now to be a knowing. I could live like a bird. I could sing for my supper. I had not tried to name it before, feeling it was enough. Once we got together, though, she’s cut miles off my route. All it took was an exchange of names. Then came the Winters of our Discontent, flowering in below-ground cellars. However we’ve had time to grow into each other & interesting years to do so,

It gotten to be that whenever we come to a crossroads & check in, we both shrug & say “no matter.” (It never does if you’re plugged into at least the vista.)

I have been so slow in my awakening, other worlds have invaded the one of my visions. I have gotten off here, at this particular timeline, this colossal universe named for food. I’ve stayed a long while. Maybe even over-stayed; up to you.

In my campout days I woke to find the world around the tent had clarified – almost atomized – a face-full of Now. I made my marks on it, hot water & coffee, a poise upon the picnic bench all steam, aroma & a face-full of sunbeam.

I learn late the lessons in of my “last hours of ancient sunlight.”* I am close to the Jump, but not saying yet, I don’t give a damn.

I want someone laying a little Boddhisattva on me for a change.

*–Thom Hartman: The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight

childhood, Part One

CHILDHOOD: Part One

My mantra was, “I cannot remember the child I was” or all the years of now between then.

She has taken to showing up, slipping postcards of our past under my door.

Yet my memories of her are as foolish and small, hesitant & fearful.

(How I wish I could take them back to uncreate! Urge “Be cool, suave, debonair! All answers lie beyond your patience.”)

I wished to be in reality – as I seemed

In other realms.

If only my environment had prepared an ounce of the pound of me.

 

I recall being tiny

Braids so severe, my scalp stayed taut

Hypervigilance in glasses – blinkered by nystagmus/

Glasses impossible to keep on my nose.

 

I lived an imitation life, so much safer than living my own which was hidden for the foolish moments, hazy on salt air, striped in shadows.

I felt launched, like an episode of Quantum Leap into the Carol life,

Choosing only the stars that spoke loudest save I be missed.

 

I remember cartoons: sporadic family interactions: Reading!

These all indoors, but outside of the house only five long blocks to the beach, where an entirely offset (offshoot?) of me crystallized. And although I knew the beach would be where it always was, I was always grateful to it for being there.

 

Later in life I would remark, “the beach was my mother.”

I remember the beach: coming upon it

Digging into it for shelter; cool sand-silk just touched by sun,

Walking to the water where all smoothed into invitation: sand: sea: sun coalescent, the chanced Kaleidoscope of my life fitting into synchrony: I was perfect right there.

I must have memorized it with my breath.

Here I laid down all weapons, prayed my heart to open;

 here it was clear I was here only to be here – a placeholder

for divinity.

As sure as the reminiscent moon feathering off above.

I re-call the playing light & shadow, even rain, legendary whips of storm.

What I don’t remember is the other 80%.

 

End Part I: Placeholder for Divinity Series