Tag Archives: illness
Heavenly Dances, Heavenly Intimacies, a short story
“Isn’t there any heaven where old beautiful dances, old beautiful intimacies prolong themselves?”
Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier
How can I be “dead” to any of the men I once loved? They are not “dead” to me. Not even H. How can I be “dead” to H.? They — even H. — are each as alive as when I was with them; as alive as the first time they touched me, whether tentatively or with confidence; whether softly or roughly; whether with passion or mere lust. It is shocking and appalling how H. lurched so radically to the right after 9/11. He began that journey to the Tea-Party-Mad-Hatter-Neocon-Bill-Buckley-Wall-Street-Apologist-Fringe-Brainless-Faux-News-Right when Ronald Reagan was shot; I was with him the very night it happened. We had a short affair, right then, because we started thinking the end of the world had arrived and we decided, like the crazy college students we were, to get married to celebrate our courage in the face of chaos! I realized very early on (but still way too late!) I was embarrassed to be seen in public with him. Did you ever start seeing, and marry someone whom you later realized you were embarrassed to be seen with? Perhaps the person in question was “dorky,” “geeky,” dressed “badly,” or had questionable “taste.” H. readily admits he was a “dork” in high school. He was on the debate team; need I say more? When you can’t bear to be seen in your lover’s/spouse’s/significant other’s/partner’s company, things usually don’t work out.
Still, I put in ten dutiful years, trying to make amends for my mistake in marrying H. The second he started making the big bucks, he dumped me. He left me for my best friend! I guess I deserved it, not taking control of my own life & filing for divorce two weeks after we married. And I guess I deserved how my ex-best-friend S. ruined me, as she subsequently did. She was in charge of the whole group we had socialized with: dictating how everyone in our “circle” should think, speak, act, or react. H. was dead wrong about most everything, but, to his credit, he was dead right about her. At the time I thought him merely woman-hating, but I see now, even though he did hate women, there was something more than simply being a “woman” he hated about her. He was covering up the fact he loved her by pretending to hate her. Now, I have no desire to see her, not ever again. She is definitely “dead” to me. Yes, I understand intellectually, a living death (call it shunning) can happen to anyone.
The upshot of all this boring history? I’ve been waiting for something a long time. I can’t blame anyone but myself for my unhappiness, not anymore. There is something dispirited inside me, something empty, drained, and beaten — something sick, something tired, something that has surrendered. I gave up, when? When my first ex-husband arbitrarily said no to children, breaking his solemn vow. When I realized I couldn’t find happiness outside myself — not with an old love, not with a new love, not with any of my subsequent husbands, my friends, my eventual children, or my family. Yes, to casual acquaintances and virtual strangers I am “happy, happier than I’ve ever been.” And it’s true! I’ve never been this happy, this contented, in my life. Yes, there are still problems. My oldest son is still half the world away, fighting an endless war on behalf of my “country.” My youngest son still has an ignorant, racist, rabidly conservative father. I am getting old. My face is melting. My neck is turning into a wattle. I am drooping.
Still, I cannot imagine any of them, the men I have loved or made love to, being dead to me the way my former best friend, S., is dead to me. Yet that is how they must feel about me, the way I feel about her. Wanting her removed from my memories. Wanting never to have met her. Not missing anything about her. She wants to see me, I heard from a mutual friend I still speak to. I don’t want to see her, or even see the mutual friend. I don’t even want to get as close as that! Because of reasons. Top secret, NSA, DOD, CIA, FBI, SEC, IRS, FDLE, GPD, ACSO reasons! No further comment!
a critical review of equatorial rhythms, “written” by rak, former coast guard seaman
Equatorial Rhythms, “typed” by RAK, is the pathetic, badly written “story” of a young coast guard seaman (who enlisted in the United States Coast Guard because he knew his lack of basic survival skills, and in fact, life skills in general, wouldn’t enable him to survive being drafted to Vietnam for even one full day, nay, not even one full hour during the Vietnam War), crossing the equator south for the first time. This self-absorbed, narcissistic young man’s self-pitying past and dismal present intersect with the foreknowledge of his bleak, frightening, and boring future, which he will spend lying on his wife’s couch, letting her pay the bills for ten years, then suddenly dumping her after she survives devastating brain surgery, because suddenly she isn’t content to pay all the bills and be a quiet, crocheting robot anymore. This dull, depressing “story” examines life aboard a coast guard ship, with all its gray-tinted, salty, and decaying “friendships,” petty complaints about stuff that should be barely worth mention by normal humans, the author’s unique, sadly unfunny, bathetic humor and what the narrator incorrectly terms “violence,” a couch-potato-wannabe life, clumsily contrasted with the power of the impossibly vast, eternally wild open sea: a power and majesty the narrator will never, ever, ever understand, or even appreciate with the respect it, the open sea, is due.
(originally published in the Xavier Review)
My eyes in the mirror have become
creatures unto themselves.
Still I look for some sign,
some indication, some forecasting
of the sorrow. Who could have predicted
within your final coronet of silver wisps,
you would hold an old halo of copper
rings to your pale, pale skin,
and that you would possess, too,
a luscious pair of purpled shadows
under your dying eyes: all of which
led, ultimately, to this prayer.
Adrift this way, it’s getting easier
to interpret things as signs
from God; the heavens always moan
best just before dawn… this trembling
world is more bizarre than even I,
the temporary visitor
from another planet, had imagined.
Blood-drained corpses line the path,
lightning scorches the road.
Things I once took
for granted, being lucky, vanish.
I wanted to be with you
when your soul left. The rest
without you will be forever
a near miss. On the way
to the funeral home, a seagull
sank like a stone in the ocean
of air, through the flat broad sky —
the whiteness of the feathers
(so white!) — how they blew
in the wind after it landed,
like tender fingers praying, praying.
Let me pretend one last time
you’re my mother, or my lover.