A bit of night music

A a fan of the incomparable Mr. Bowie, I often listen to his songs when I’m feeling unsettled. Of course, I immediately feel better.

Something in the Air, Live Paris. October 1999

 

Blackstar (from his last LP)

What talent and creativity he possessed.

 

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Nudging

Some people like to write–it is a fun thing to do, on the list of fun things they like to do.

Others need to do so. They get antsy, they fidget, they do not feel ‘right’ until they get the words hammering again their skulls out on paper (or a screen.)

I’m not in either camp. But I’m not a writer; I’m a teacher, who does have the ability to string a few syllables together and pat myself on the shoulder. I do not get a medal for that common skill, as I’m only one of the legions who can write a coherent sentence.

Yet…yet…writing can be a tool that heals and soothes. It can even repair the cracks and fissures we get etched on our souls.

Sometimes, we need a reason to embrace writing as a tool of survival. Similar to how a peony needs ants crawling along it, to let it know it is time to bloom

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In my case, like many, it was a life-changing event that pushed me to think of how writing could be more than fun or a diversion and become transformative, able to move me from one painful state into a solid better one.

Years ago, it was a strange & bad romance that made me question just what was going on with me. I wrote anonymously, made a few digital friends and found clarity.

Then suddenly -as He often does with everyone- Thanatos visited me and… well, I didn’t know exactly what to do. I did know how to lay on the floor and press my forehead onto the shiny hardwood floor, hoping it would mitigate the pain was hauling around. I did know how to scream, how to shed tears until everything tasted and smelled of salt.

I did not know that one day, my fingers would be used for more than wiping my cheeks dry.  That they would grab letters, push them into shapes and those shapes would become strong enough to plug the gap in my chest where my heart is.

99% of that writing as healing was done on paper and not shared with others. I would burn a notebook after a while, making it a mandala of sorts.

It helped.

Now, I can write about other things, be they important or trivial. And in that, I keep healing, keep on filling the cracks.

I’m blooming now, so to speak.

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Seeds sprouting

Scott Bauer / Photo courtesy of USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

I dream of them. Seeds bursting open, green tendrils snaking forth, wrapping around my fingers, urging me to write.

Waking up, I look at my hands, wondering why they feel like they are still bound yet I do not see anything but my skin, still flushed and creased from my fights with my pillows.

To manage the growth of my garden, I must honor the rhythms that Nature is drumming onto me, via the wind, the rain and the sun.

If only Time was so agreeable. I find myself tugging on the robes of Chronos, telling him to just pause, stand still and give me a few more minutes, just a few!

He looks over his shoulder and laughs. “I’m Chronos, he says merrily, with a deep baritone. “You might want to talk to Kairos and see if he can do something for you!”

I’m heeding his advice. After all, who can argue with Time?

 

 

 

 

 

Going forth

Grief can mortally wound you. It literally saps your vitality, wicks away your joy and crushes you beneath its heels, as it walks forward, always forward.

Surviving it is a chore.

And a triumph, as well.

Away but not so

I curl upon myself at night, because you are not here to wish me well.

I unbend at dawn but you are not here with a greeting that will soothe me throughout the day.

What is this?

How can a mind bear such a burden yet remain whole?

Things done away from prying eyes

They all wondered, whispering to themselves, “How does her garden grow?” Even the yapping tiny dogs with bad attitudes grew silent as they were walked past a refused to lift their legs by her dahlias.

The sunshine made her roses, caladiums, peonies and hollyhocks look as though were made of perfect plastic, not fragile carbon that would dry up and crumble to bits by Autumn’s end.

The perfection of her plot of goodness came from him.

The blood that dripped from his lips, as she cradled his head that hot afternoon, was soaked out of the shirt she wore into a bucket of water. Muttering to herself, eyes stinging with ache,  she poured that water in the soil by her door and around the trees.

She fertilized the soil with his ashes. She was supposed to toss them into the uncaring waves of the ocean, sending him back home but she couldn’t. After all the black-clad mourners drifted away, she changed into her most ragged and stained dress, in order to spread his  powdery and gritty remains over the dirt that supported Life and watched it come and go.

When the sun had set each day, she sat under the oak tree and wept. Her tears kept the lillies-of-the-valley growing for weeks longer than they should.

If you and I could hear the trees whispering among themselves, we would hear how they are telling the sea that he is with them. The sea replies that they cannot hear her, in the bathtub, shrieking for him to return.

She tends her garden and imagines he is there. In every leaf, in every flower.

People are jealous of her blooming pain yet she is envious of their rooted joy.

Not what it seems

My heart failed me, when your casket, rather the cheap box that would burn quickly, slowly went into the flames.

I knew you were not hot, warm or cold. You were long gone-seconds, minutes, days.

I was the one there, burning.  Face pressed against the cool imitation marble walls, in the nook around the corner. I could not sit on that hard bench, purposely set just so, allowing for the bereaved to still feel engaged yet not actually see the casket go into the flames.

I heard it. The subtle grinding of the gears.

We all do, even through our weeping.

It sounds the joints of the aged, as they creep on, stumbling towards the Bethelhem in their heads.

There is not enough in any of them to suffice

“What about me?”  His eyes growing deeply sad as he reached out and brushed his fingers cross my right shoulder.  Chewing the words slowly, like gum that has lost its flavor but is still sticky, not yet slick.

Shaking my head, hair spreading on my damp cheeks like broken wings.

What could be said?

How could I tell him that I did not need him nor did I need him to care for me?

He doesn’t have enough love to stop the cracking of my soul.  His care and concern is not strong enough putty to plaster over the rips and gouges.

There he stood, facing down the monstrosity of inevitability. Valiantly fighting, soldiering through the muck and grime of persistent sorrow.

[He is not you.

They are not you.

They are not able to stopper the ragged hole left in your absence.  I could stack them together, cords of friends, family, and lovers and still, they are not equal to you. ]

He is waiting.

Dropping to my knees, I drop my head slowly to the floor and bash my forehead against the wood.

Don’t believe that wood has a natural give, that is much softer than stone.

The skin splits just the same. The blood pours out just as quickly.

Trees leaning inward

Once you were born, I walked through the park until I found two trees that were growing closely together.

I watched those trees. The younger of the two grew rapidly, as you did.

A storm came one morning, unbidden and unsought. The winds pushed the smaller tree until it cracked.

Not long after, it fell to the earth. Silently.

As you did.

The other tree, left alone in a formerly beautiful space, is beginning to wither.

I walk around it and wonder: how long?

Some walk around me  as well and silently wonder those same words.