Sunday, March 27, 2011

all the living animals

This, my life, is a thing.  It’s to be used then thrown.  It’s temporal, it’s mine.  For now, then gone.  I walk through the naked streets of New York and I always feel my face, no matter what.  My face moving along one two three sideways, one two three straight, freaking in my own picture of self and when they send me to the death, the end, I wonder if I’ll remember this second, that second, this step that.  Creaming in my own existence I walk I walk I walk I hold myself, the little baby of myself, the little infant, the beloved Pepe the beloved father who both died in their cancer, the one who fell in love. 

I’m all of these things.  I am my beautiful moment.  My devastating moment.  I am this person sitting on the bed looking through the bars of the fire escape past the diagonal man on the street, though the rims of the cranberry car and earphones and new green light, past the moving truck and rolling homeless cart, through the gates of St. Luke’s and up the veiny trees to the arcs and tunnel lights that vanish my view.  My love lives in inches in feet in years in deep, You, it lives in You. 

And I don’t want to be the one who draws the linen shades, the ones that fray.  I want to be the one watching the moving shadows on my ceiling turning flat to flux and I want to be the one to tell you I love you.  

We spoke.  His voice is my drug and my lingering thing.  It’s been years.  I hear him clearly- “are you lonely?” I said yes.  I was living with someone then, but surely I meant yes.  Shelter Island was my place to escape.  I wanted, needed, to get away from the city.  I dreamed of it.  And somehow things fell into place that I could go.  It was summer 2008, a year after the bomb: that summer day he told me he couldn’t do this, he just couldn’t do this.  I’ll never forget he told me “one day you will understand”.  As if he’d become famous and it would be suddenly clear one day as to why, that it would be so evident, so obvious, I’d understand.  Or that one day it would come flashing on my forehead that he was scared. 

I pretended I was alright, alright.  I even didn’t pick up when the fires were burning, when my things were close to singeing in the witch fires of 2007, when I couldn’t bear to pick up the call.  I was in Tahoe, finished, and my stuff was in Del Mar smoking and ashing in the near-fire.  I remember seeing his name.  The phone rang and it was his name.  That’s all I needed was his name.  I didn’t pick up and I lived the rest of my life without him.  I cried from time to time and from the most horrible times to times, how I loved him.  

A year later it got worse and oh my god I needed to hide myself from mankind.  And Shelter Island was the place to go.  I took the ferry I went on the island - it was supposed to be for a month or so.   I stayed one and a half years.

I remember knowing I was screwed, I was over.  How could it be that One Year after his “one day you’ll understand” that I would be worse?  How?  I would hold myself in all temperatures of myself and stay still.  I’d watch the swans from the windows and make friends with the dark, I smelled childhood in that house and trinkets of simplicity, painstaking simplicity, was all around.  There was the bar of glass windows, chock of Waterford glasses, and dimming lights braced those glasses in their own shadows.  It was a dark corner of handmade cabinets, amber lighting and a deep blue oriental rug.  Standing statues were in front of the brick wall, and pewter and porcelain and manmade things bought me back to others’ lives.  And the sink beneath was the home of a creepy spider I’m so sorry I killed.  It was installed like me, just simply installed, and I had no right to kill it right there in the drain. 

Maybe I was extinguishing all the creepiness around me.  But what was creepy, what was creepy was the silence, the darkness.  That more than the solitude.  At night it was pitch black in the room and a quietness melted over me, it kept on saying nothing nothing nothing.  It made sure you knew you were alone.  I’m used to garbage trucks and shaking sewer lids, horns and curses, forensics students smoking and talking, erupt flirtations, homeless mumblings, laughter, and pimp music rolling by.  I used to hear the clop of horse drawn carriages past my window in the morning and I foolishly liked it, until I realized the abuse that NYC horses endure, and that they don’t belong in city traffic drooling behind tailpipes in 0 and 100 degree weather pulling tourists, and they don’t belong in city buildings at night in tiny barracks where they can’t turn around and they don’t belong with their heads tied so close to a parking sign that they can’t even move their face and they don’t belong on asphalt with chains swinging from their foamy mouths 7 days a week in fear of busses and the Russian guy with the whip that doesn’t even pet him.  None of these sounds, liked or unliked, came through the curtains in Shelter Island.  And the only reason I pulled those curtains at night was because the blackness scared me and you never know, someone might row up to the dock in the middle of the night and just stand there at the black window and you wouldn’t even see them.  Sometimes I would hear steps in the dark and in the morning I’d find gobs of black marble shaped feces.  I became a naturalist and understood it to be raccoon.  I took their paw prints on the beach, those feeders, and then one night I saw them like a fairytale- the mother and the 3 babies making their way across the dock.  The fun that filled my eyes.  It had been about 15 years since I’d seen one- it was in California and I heard a screeching noise outside, a kitten being mauled by a raccoon- and I intervened with nature; the kitten was saved, but not from death- it already had an eyeball hanging out and had to be killed.  Marian didn't want to use her shotgun so we put it in a large box with a blanket to spend the night in the kitchen.  My guilt is the hours it took for that poor thing to finally be killed.  I wasn't brave enough and I didn't understand suffering as I do today.  When I found out it was killed by drowning I felt awful that I couldn’t just have taken a rock and finished it sooner. 

Which is why the day that Pepe disappeared in Shelter Island I just wanted to die.  I couldn’t bear the thought of her being mauled by a raccoon or fox.  It was my nightmare.  I don’t know, sometimes it felt like I went to Shelter Island to die.  And that was the perfect day to do it.  The sun was going down soon and somehow she slipped from the edge of the dock to the neighbor’s property.  I went trespassing with intent.  Pepe.  Calling Pepe.  A little boy was in his kitchen holding a black cat.  It wasn’t Pep.  I told him I was looking for my cat, then his sweet mother (who loves blue herons) came out.  She asked for my number- 1966.  Everyone in Shelter Island has the same prefix numbers.  I continued, dying, calling, thinking she’s gone on her senile walk to die in the woods.  But baby, it doesn’t happen like that- you’ll be mauled.  An hour later the lovely heron lady had Pepe in her arms- she’d found her at the edge of her driveway, ½ mile down, walking along.  She said how sweet Pep was, and handed her over.  That was the 2nd chance feeling we all get when we’re lucky.  Like all sins are absolved and the Missing signs on milk containers can stop printing, because they've all been found, alive.  Forget the broken heart- forget all that nonsense- because the most important is that I had my responsibility and my love safe in my arms.  

I think of her coming to the kitchen, woken from my midnight movings, and she’d turn the corner and sit.  I’d never leave her unsatisfied, never.  It was only my pleasure to give her a little something, a little chicken I’d heat up, a little love between, and I’d always be thankful for her presence.  It has been so hard to lose my loves.

S, I bought you a book on the streets of La Jolla- it was called How to Build a Miniature Zoo.  I remember how you liked everything miniature.  I never got the chance to give it to you, and it has now disappeared.  I remember everything about you, especially the silent times.  I know you, I do.  You sometimes don’t like to wear your glasses so you can’t see people looking at you, so you can feel invisible and not observed.  I called you the ice cream man the way you always wore white.  And I empathized deeply when you went through L's sudden death, how I was with you, mourning with you, loving M and wanting to protect her even though I never met her, stopping for her because no one deserves to be motherless.  

The padded elevator we met in was a capsule of time and we could've been anywhere but the Soho House, we could've been in 1800s Normandy, could've told secrets in that elevator that no one would've heard from the parlor to the street, no matter the century, they would stay safe in the billowing tufts of leather walls puckered with buttons, in tightened innocence, as I feel safe in that memory with you.  And one thing you don’t know is that even though it was a hot and sweaty summer, the way you’d come over to my place dripping in your clothes, I felt like it was already winter.  It was the only time in my life that all time seemed to merge- I was somewhere else with you, in all time.  I felt it was winter, I felt the comfort of you.  To my surprise your next book was titled about love and winter.  I recall losing you in the supermarket as you were in search of turnips, and how I was frustrated- I would do anything to be again frustrated by you.  But I don't want to burden you with this love.  I just neatly walked away and let my insides swamp.  I gave you what you wanted, which was not me.  When I watched "Love in the Time of Cholera" in Shelter Island, that was my hardest moment, and it wasn't until the credits rolled that I burst into emotion, and I went out on the dock and stared at the blur of the moon.  It was there I knew I'd keep this silence for the last my life.

E. Kelly's Spiritual Journey on Love one another:

"I think most people are afraid of love because it makes them vulnerable.  They would rather not love at all than be placed in that position.  When we accept the vulnerability and just go on, we progress.

The consciousness within us is infinite, and love has an infinite reach...  So hold on with love.  Do everything with love, knowing that no matter how difficult it is, it will turn out in the vastness of time to be good.  It doesn't matter whether we are there to witness.  We are part of the universe.  If we just function well in our little part, everything will be better."

1 comment:

  1. Capturing the impossibly complex essence of human experience moment by moment using words yet beyond the words stretching the function of letters on screens into other dimensions somehow expressing the constant flow of millions of bits of data taken in by eyes, nose, ears, breath, skin, brain, body while human nature thrusts every file of somethings and nothings past that have been noticed or not with pleasures or pains throughout personal history mixed with others actions from phone calls and movies and stories heard all atop the ever present longings and desires and hopes and dreams of the living body and mind and whatever floating through the endless and tiny universe...and in the mix you move someplace new and unrecognized by my day to day mind touching that which is strange yet also real me...
    just an attempt this morning to let you know how marvelous these "deep fried desires" or yours are and what genius it is to me.
    thanks...and hello...hugs, Matt


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