Who says that everything I want to write has to make sense and stay in some sort of order? Trying to write the helpful book about coping with an orphan cancer is too grinding. Writing letters to Michael is easy. So is expressing my internal monologues. So that’s what I’m doing because it’s a relief from being orderly. So greetings from my stream of consciousness.
I have been outside all day. My yard feels enormous. Keeping up with it requires a big effort. It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to sustain an 8 hour work day in the garden. One replaced knee makes a considerable difference in endurance. Imagine how I’ll be after the next surgery this summer. Unstoppable. I hope.
I am not a poet. I love some poetry and some not much at all. But I wrote a poem, born of emotions I couldn’t purge from my body in any other way. Here is my non-poem stimulated by one note of one song on the headphones.
One note, I disappear into another time, barely breathing.
One note, an album cover, a bed, a body, panting, yet barely breathing.
One note, reality and memory collide, a visual extravaganza, wailing, yet scarcely breathing.
One note, an internal riot of feeling, gasping like beached fish.
One note, pain, love, gratitude, emptiness, how am I still breathing?
One note,I wouldn’t trade any of it, not for one easy breath.
And here is another weird little wordplay that helped me through a moment.
Oui can be aye.
Aye can be I.
I can be eye.
But we can’t be I.
I wish I was still a we.
Kind of bizarre, but I get to do what I want. After all this is my space and I’m not censoring. Back to the yard.
The garden is a mystery this year. Is it because of the polar vortex? My forsythia is greening up after showing none of its famous yellow blooms that always herald spring. Many of my flowers are coming late and some are not going to appear. I know because I crave their bursting life and color so much that I photograph them every year. They have gone the way of impermanent things, which is mostly everything in the physical universe. I am an unwitting phenologist, studying climate change in my little world. I am currently sitting in what was Michael’s massive vegetable garden, now a pollinators’ garden which is easier for me to manage. I don’t want to can tomatoes or pesto or salsa like he did. To me, those things are just for eating, not making. Although I’ve already planted a few tomatoes and a few peppers. I’ll always do that in honor of my boy.
This ground feels like us to me. We worked this earth together for a very long time. I cry here but I am also peaceful which is a hard state for me to achieve. I told my kids to remember that if they find me dead amidst the flowers, I went out happy. Back to the interesting spring, though. Returning in abundance are Michael’s perennial herbs. They are beautiful and fragrant. He always wondered if they’d die back eventually. Who knows? And just for you, my dead punster, no chive.
I feel guilty for still liking Michael Jackson’s music. What was once fun for grooving and dancing is now a quandary for me. Do we dispose of all their art when we discover that the artists did dreadful things in their lives? Does that tarnish their art to the point that it should be hidden, erased? Or did their deeds wind up informing their art in a circuitous way? I’ll never be able to sort through these dilemmas. I’ve been thinking that there should be one enormous “outing” day. On that day, every public figure who’s perpetrated a wrong against an innocent should be exposed and brought to task. These intermittent exposures that keep popping up in the news are so emotionally eroding. Morgan Freeman, Neil deGrasse Tyson. Ugh. Maybe getting them done all at once would be shockingly painful but then we could be done. If there is such a thing that’s done.
I am listening to a random shuffle of music on my headphones while I work. I am always wondering where all these song lyrics are stored. I’ve known every word of every song I’ve heard today. I think Brian Wilson is a musical genius. I hope neither Paul McCartney nor I die before I see him in June. I haven’t seen him perform live in 55 years. That sounds crazy to me. Now I am listening to My Sweet Lord by George Harrison. That stimulated a memory from back in 1971 when my friend Ted commandeered me while I was doing acid. He bought a dozen glazed doughnuts from Spudnuts, the sweet shop on campus and took me to his apartment. He put his new fancy headphones on my ears so I could listen to this song while he plied me with sugar and asked me questions about his girlfriend. All I knew was that I thought I could hear each individual track that George laid down in that song. When I hear it now, I still think I can separate each track.
Today I looked at a photograph from 1976 and realized that everyone in it was dead. My parents, my husband, my brother, my sister-in-law and my dog. An eerie thing to note.
My former sister in law died this week. My brother died four years ago. My great nephew sent me some videos my brother took of our family in 1976 and 1981. My brother had already sent me a copy of the 1981 film which features my newborn baby. I’d never seen the one from 1976. So many of the people in the film are gone. I was beautiful but I didn’t know it.