a poem

April 30, 2009

Cause and Effect

It’s because the earth continues to wobble on its axis
that we continue to stumble down the streets of the heart.
It’s because of the loneliness of the first cell trying to swim
through its primordial pool that we are filled with a kind of
galactic fear. For example: one moment a rocket falls
capriciously into a square. Another moment, a rogue wave
turns over the fishing boat whose crew leaves their memories
floating like an oil slick that never reaches shore.
In this way we understand our dying loves scratching at the door.
In this way, each love creates its own theory of pain. Each love
gnaws the derelict hours to the bone. But because there are
so many blank spaces in history we still have time
to write our own story. Wittgenstein said our words have
replaced our emotions. He never understood how
we have to cleanse ourselves of these invisible parasites
of doubt and fear. We might as well worry about
the signals from dead worlds wandering around the universe
forever. Think instead of how the trees prop up the sky.
How the rain falls into the open eyes of the pond
bringing a vision no one expected. Here’s mine: this bee
hovering over the pencil seems to bring a message from
the deepest flowers you inhabit. Because I don’t know
where all this love has come from, because the clouds are
covered with our footsteps that know no time, I am
no longer surprised when each day comes from a new place,
because in this way, I can imagine these words getting lost
in your lungs, my fingers curling inside you as if I could
gather you inside my own heart, or tracing the slope of your hip
towards a whole other world. Don’t worry. Like us the planet
wobbles because of the shifting hot and cold zones, high
and low pressures, the pull of tides. The stars that are
these words are always closer than we think despite
the theories of astronomers. In this way, I will always be there,
a rain falling into the sea, the abandoned light opening your eyes
despite the curtains of reason, the life you give each time
you turn to me, because the stumbling breaths we borrow
from each other are all we have to keep each other alive.

Richard Jackson

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it’s hard

April 27, 2009

I know a number of you out there have grieved the loss of one of your parents and it’s heartening to hear about your lives these days. Running races, raising kids, falling in love, getting engaged . . . it’s heartening just knowing there’s another side to all this. Even if I don’t know the everyday details of your lives right right, which surely have their ups and downs, the parts I do hear about sound like spring feels.

I’m just so tired these days. Tired and more sad than I thought I would be, although I don’t know exactly what I thought was going to happen. I’m surprised by how grief has had laid me open. Softened me in some respects and broken my heart heart in others. For instance, the girl I like in Western Mass is as sick as she’s ever been. And I can’t really be there in it with her.

Part of me wants to tear down anything I’m still close to and anything I love so I don’t have to suffer losing it some day. Because the old distractions have only worked to pass time — tv, junk food, shopping –it’s all cellohane. Of course I can’t commmit to that path. Not that I fully want to inside anyway. I’m only half hearted at being shut down and self desctructive. For the last two days, all I can do is cry and I’m not sure what I’m even crying about exactly. It’s not all about missing my dad per se. And it’s not all about things falling apart with the girl in Mass. Although both those things make me sad. Sometimes very sad. But lately, it seems it’s more that I’m scared. That life seems so full of the potential for so much heart break that I can barely stand thinking about it.

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whatever’s lying around

April 24, 2009

These days I find myself thinking kind of “chicken soup for the soul” thoughts. Like right now, I just thought there’s nothing a chocolate cookie can’t make better. I don’t really believe it, but I do understand that for me junk food and TV are part of my coping strategies. Not the best ones. Not the worst ones either.

But then I remembered the PBS show I saw last night and this woman, who survived the Holocaust, was talking about having to leave her cousin to die in the snow on the ground outside their barracks.

I tried to leave RU an uplifting message the other day. A message about how we will be fine. Our lives are changing and we are in transition and it’s really fucking hard, but no one’s trying to chop off our hands. So we will be fine. Luckily, RU is in a place where she heard that as heartening as opposed to darkening.

Dark people bring up dark kids. And broken people raise their young with scraps and bits, string and paste, whatever splintered off, whatever’s lying around.¬† Stop gap measures, quick fixes, slight of hand–techniques better suited to a house of cards.

That’s why poetry works. It gets at all those things in a way prose can’t, not without run on sentences and footnotes and extra chapters and the next thing you know you’ve got a five volume set of crap that even you can’t stand to read no matter how self involved you are.

You wouldn’t know it by anything I said here, but the sun is shining.

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good things come in twos

April 22, 2009

Welcome to our world, Finely and Carter. I’m really happy for all the parties involved in bringing in all this new life, helping the families adjust and just generally getting things off to a good start. I also wanna take a second or two to nod to a couple other reasons to celebrate, even if they are not as momentous, like a good paying job, a well working bike, fours days of sunshine in a row, damn good food, and a way forward with my sister. Plus, Becky’s coming to town.

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tear it down

April 14, 2009

Last night I had a dream I was telling Heidi about my dad dying and trying to sell his house in Carmel. It was so real.

My sister signed the last bit of paper work yesterday to sell the my dad’s property and with any luck the whole thing should be closed this week. Cars, house and whatever is still on the land and in the house and is salvageable, which at this point can’t be much considering the rain and however many days with warmer temps you all have had in Indiana. We met the buyer when we were home. Our first face to face was at a McDonald’s on 98th and Michigan Rd. I imagine at this point for him it’s gotta be all about getting the place torn down as quickly as possible. It always was, but with spring right on his coat tails . . . well let’s just say, good luck.

It’s strange and sad and I don’t know what to make of it really. We had no real relationship with my Dad’s house. My sister had never even been there until going home for the funeral. But it is another sign of the finality of it all. And that is sad.

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what a mess

April 6, 2009

Grief is making a mess of me. And it sucks. It really does. I do better when I am busy. Either physically or intellectually. I realized that yesterday when I ended up with a butter knife in hand trying to dig the grit out of the narrow gaps in between the plastic molding in the interior of my car. And because it was sunny and I felt satisfied, I just kept going, making my way to the do-it- yourself car wash on the other side of town. Something about the whole experience felt very midwestern to me. Maybe it was the sun or playing my stereo loud with the window rolled down or wearing mirrored sun glasses

I’ve been hesitant to admit it out loud, but I’m tired of trying to keep it together. Because I am in fact suffering. And it is not at all like I thought it would be, not that I thought a lot about it. My anxiety is kind of all over the place and I just feel so confused and tired. Plus there’s periodic bouts of just being sad and angry and terribly lonely to contend with. It’s not like I miss my dad more than I missed him before he died. I’ve always missed him, but¬† more like white noise in the background. Easy to forget because I’ve lived with the white noise of his absence longer than I lived with him. I just miss him differently¬† now that he’s dead. Plus in his dying, we peeled off a protective layer that barely concealed all the craziness so now the whole world can see how fucked up things were, which is both freeing and incredibly scary.

I don’t know if it’s a free for all or a free fall or some combination.

And there’s barely any solid ground, save for a couple friends and my sister. There’s work, which is consistent and constant, but it has it own host of headaches and a fair amount of stormy waters to navigate. Still, it keeps me busy. Pays my bills. Gives me some meaning or a distraction from things seeming so meaningless. RU has been a god send. Seriously. And yet she is dealing with her own free fall. Ditto my girl in Western Mass, except she’s it’s more of a wrecking ball for her than a free fall.

I manifest in other ways what I can’t express through more traditional out pourings. I drop things a lot. Knock things over. Set things down on an unsteady surface from which they will obviously fall. I don’t make sense sometimes when I’m talking. I hear myself say things out loud and I’ll think to myself that’s not at all what I meant. But I’ll just keep talking. I watch bad TV, shows like American Idol and Biggest Loser. I eat junk food. I shop for the perfect pair of sneakers. I’ve not bought them, but I have bought various pairs of work boots off ebay, most of which I’ve donated or sold.

Grief is not gracious or convenient. And it doesn’t even make sense. My boss asked me how my weekend was and I told her that weekends seem to be hard for me because I have less to occupy my time and my dad died on a Saturday. She responded, kinda hopefully, “but it was sunny.” I just looked at my shoes and told her, “grief doesn’t care.” And it doesn’t.

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could be i get t a full citizen after all

April 5, 2009

Maybe it will happen. Just maybe. And maybe the populace is more decent than the recent elections implied. Or maybe not. Ok, so it’s the courts or sometimes the legislatures, but that’s how folks in this country get their civil rights. That’s our tradition. And if Iowa can do it, maybe the rest of the country is not so far behind.

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