Every moment of her life had been marked by her soul, waiting and restless, trying to elevate itself. Yearning. In the end, she had done what she had HAD to do… she recognized herself only from a great distance. Was she Mary Poppins? Pollyanna? A doe-eyed Disney princess? She remembered driving across Western flatlands, as fast as she could, her head out the window, her face into the sere wind.
She, an Air Force pilot’s daughter, felt bad for the poor stewardesses, who knew what was coming in a way mere passengers could not know… stoically dumping everyone’s shoes in the bathroom. Collecting all sharp things, taking people’s eye-glasses away from them. She remembered walking along the edges of the Atlantic, feeling the cool sand under her toes. Mother Universe keeps her eyes on us all.
Someone reached out to grasp her hand, solid & firm. She grasped back. She looked at the sun through the little window, a flashing brilliant light, and lightly closed her eyes. It would be quick, merciful, and good. And right now? Right now she was still alive. She was still a witness. There was no other way to get through life. Mercy was revealed, and blinded her. Everyone was waiting.
Ashes To sweeten the dish, add salt. To bear the pain, render the insoluble. She envied the past its incursions, yet the past yields to all, avoidance to acceptance, trees to smoke. My mother brought to this country a token of her death to come. Now it sits on my shelf bearing implements of […]
You were the friend of my youth. You are black and I am white. When we became adults, we drifted apart. You served in the military. I served in the ministry. You died too soon for me to tell you this in person, so I’ll tell you now. You endured more than you should have, suffered more than you deserved, and were held to the unreasonable expectations of white culture, yet still you were my friend.
You came to my white church. You stayed in my white home. You ate at my white table. Yet I never stayed at yours. An occasional visit to your world was all my whiteness could warrant, yet you were expected to live in mine.
I was in your presence when the n-word was used, on multiple occasions. I said nothing. You ignored it, while others laughed at…
The faith grew from inside my bones, starting with incense, candles, and bells. I loved the magic of my church. First down the aisle came the Verger. Then came the majestic candles and banners, singers and acolytes, and the hypnotic clouds of incense from a swinging ball. Then came the Assisting Father, the bearer of the holy Gospels, and lastly the Celebrant Father. The sweet fog of the incense hung in the air like a cloud of God, making everything in my head holy… making me, myself, holy. Holy: as in whole, complete, well-loved.
It all helped me pray. I prayed for lots of things, on my knees, eyes closed, hands together, kneeling in the pew. I just knew someday I would live in a convent castle, and be the bride of Jesus. But at the same time I was always a tiny bit afraid I might speak out loud; what if I said a bad word? Even in elementary school, I understood this fear should be irrational and unlikely.
But it wasn’t! My little brother had once, when he was under the age of two, shouted the word “fuck” while the Congregation knelt with their heads-bowed, palms pressed, in one of the dramatic kneeling sections of the service. And my baby brother’s voice was so bright, so free, so joyous… that even the Celebrant Father couldn’t keep from laughing.
Everybody laughed. Including the Assisting Father, who was round as a ball and wore his red hair shaggy, and had round, hippie glasses. It may have been High Church Episcopalian, but it was still Fort Lauderdale in the 60s. Thank god my little brother didn’t do that when I got Confirmed by the Bishop was my only thought!
“Jesus loved children,” said the Celebrant Father, and the service flowed on without a hitch.
Blood red greens Anger seething roots dark Passion feeding vegetation spark your needs, we sacrifice ourselves to feed to save our brethren on greens, trees in teens being killed for paper planes, prints insane millions die for unwanted trash, toilet paper or cash our vapour boils to extreme, no herbs it seems will cure your […]
I was four when I went to Uncle Stephen’s wedding on the train across the country to California.We had no fresh milk because of a hurricane through New Orleans, and I was bitten in the mouth by a Scotty dog on the way out west.Plus I wasn’t permitted to sleep with Grampa in the top bunk which in the end was fortunate because he got sick on the sheets up there from drinking.
I was used to grownups barfing from drinking by the time I could walk.It was just a thing that happened.Same with the crying.They got drunk, and they passed out or got sick or cried or raged or sobered up or went to work or got so mad at you when you missed the bus that all you got for Christmas one year was a wind-up all-metal alarm clock with an extra-loud bell, kind of like they must use in the army, I thought.That was fun.I tried to have fun everywhere I went.I’d have fun with almost anything.
Except other children.I didn’t really understand them.Nana protected me so hard from the world that she forgot I’d need to learn to protect myself.Yes, you can be too sheltered.Especially by a woman who lost her daughter & then got her back because you came along.You brought your mom & your grandmother back together after years of estrangement.The mother remembered it one way, the grandmother another.The mother, in the end, proved to be a good observer of the grownup shenanigans around her.My poor, bumbling, beautiful mother.Sandra Dee ideals but a Marilyn Monroe sensibility.Sparkly as a movie star.In any room, she was the brightest candle.
I was four when I went to New York City with Nana to visit Mom & Bob.They got drunk on ouzo & ate peanut butter & crackers on the sofa bed while I slept in it.I had the giant box of crayons & a huge Alice in Wonderland coloring book from FAO Schwartz.I got a doll in a giant flowered egg there, too.Was I being paid off to keep quiet while the grownups recovered from their hangovers?Yes.Mom & Nana & Bob in a New York apartment with a great view & a bottle of ouzo.For decades, just the word ouzo made Mom & Nana groan.With actual nausea.Licorice hangover, was all I could think.It smells like licorice.I liked licorice, but not groaning.I wasn’t even tempted.
Maraschino cherries were my drug of choice.And ginger ale.And a handful of coins for the jukebox across the dance floor.Enzo was the bartender.I liked to play with Aunt Marion in the package store, full of sun & sparkling bottles, like witch’s poison, all around the walls.The counter with the register.The traffic going by.So light compared to the other side.But Enzo was there behind the bar, and so was I, making myself Shirley Temples with cherries halfway down.The pistachios were dyed bright red, too, but I preferred the cherries.
There was a girl with peeling knuckles who had a special disease that made her stiff.She loved pistachios, and ate them until her fingers were red.The peeling & the dye was spectacular & gruesome.She herself had straight blonde hair that hid most of her face in shadows.She made the best of it like all of us kids in bars.
The period of being spinster is very different from married period. When we are single, there is no responsibility of family apart from our personal responsibility. For example, career, appearance, competition among friends.. But we get married things change, we don’t have to manage ourselves but each and every person of our new family. So suddenly we have tremendous pressure on ourselves.
Some steps to manage responsibilities especially in joint family.:-
1) Understand rules and regulations of your new home. When we used to live in our parents house there were certain rules and regulations we have to follow. We used to follow it. I just want my Queens to understand when you can follow the rules at your parents house, then definitely you can follow them at your husband’s house too. Just leave your before thought process in your previous home. Start afresh life, & make your mind accept…
The woman sits up all night, listening to it rain. The woman has often sat up all night waiting for one thing or another to either leave or arrive: bandaged fingers, whooping cough, her own lookalike grandchildren. When she can, she sleeps next to her dying mother in the king-sized bed; she bangs her own shins on the high rails, climbing in. Her arms and hands are able to lift the wasted body of her dying mother with amazing ease.
She watches & waters the great rack of African violets in the living room; grows wheat grass for her mother’s cat. Other times, she sits in a high-backed wooden chair, needlepointing forests in wool, chain-smoking for hours. Her mother will die very soon; then the daughter will put on her navy dress with a large, elaborate organdy collar and fail to draw a deep breath for several days. The woman’s several brothers and their children will fly in from all over the country, and flower offerings will dwarf the grave itself.
After the burial, the woman will pack all sorts of mementoes into her mother’s old cedar “hope” chest: yearbooks, diaries, photographs, diplomas, invitations, programs, baby booties, baby spoons, baby cups, even a rather grisly alligator purse, complete with the head, legs, tail & feet and sharp black claws. When she has nightmares, more often now, she sits up all night, her fluffy gray tabby queen on her lap like a hot-water bottle. The cat’s purring leads the woman away from the perilous mountain passes & rocky cliffsides inside her head and back to level ground, so she can help her mother die properly. That is what proper love looks like, she thinks.
What inspired her? A seemingly insignificant little turtle, named Max… Max who sneezed. Dear, little, humble, Max! How the mighty could fall. Schadenfreude: a word she had to admit was genius. After Max? Then there came the little red hen.
“Listen, honey,” the Wife told her friend. “Go on then, and fuck him. Go on, confide in him your hopes, dreams & fears! You go on, beg him for mercy, for forgiveness, for permission to have a life apart from his. Go on now, and you be his wife.” The two of them sat frozen, four icy blue eyes wild, two heads of hair crackling, one jaw hanging an inch with shock. The wife licked her lips. “Don’t judge a book by its cover; and certainly not by its dust jacket. Everybody’s story has more than one side. Don’t believe everything you hear.”
The Other sat, listening for the answers with every cell of her body. She could feel mitochondria working inside herself, she could feel the mitochondria chugging away in every single person in the restaurant — the fuel of molecular energy turning substance into the stuff of life. But she perceived only silence. The engine of life, the mitochondria? She stared off into space.
“Look, you asshole,” the Wife said, and she stood up & grabbed the check, her gauntlet thrown. The icy, motionless, blue Other sniffed loudly. The Wife kept on, plunging a sword through the Other’s breastbone… twisting. The Wife wanted blood, as was her right. Her old life was over. Her new life was being born, right that second.
“How dare you,” the Wife told the Other. “You will need me someday. You might learn you have influenza and mononucleosis at the same time. You could need a year’s bed rest to heal your lungs & liver. Someday, you might get arrested for something which isn’t even a crime! You might find out you have a brain tumor. You might die in jail. A wise, wise man I know told me the ends of things are always coiled up, rising from their beginnings. He changed my life.”
This made me cry & laugh & feel less alone in the world. Thank you.
I am falling in love with failure. At least I’m trying. It is time I have to.
We shouldn’t, lovely womyn, be short on our accomplishments. It doesn’t matter how slow going we’ve been, what we haven’t done yet, or what we haven’t quite obtained. We have to focus on the great strides we’ve made despite all the seeming nothings. If we fail, that means we put ourselves out there. When ever I submit a request or offer myself, the answer is silence, but other times the answer has been “yes.” I just haven’t heard many yesses because I don’t really try all that often. I’m timid, beat myself up, get down on myself, give up. Failure feels most like failure, the bad kind, when I’m indecisive and I don’t or can’t act. Not committing to something or deciding feels like a weight or blades inside. How can I love…