Friends have left notes here over the past weeks and I have either been too busy – or too idle – to respond. I’m reluctant to return to this blog. Keeping it up requires mental and emotional space I don’t have to spare now. I sometimes think of starting a new one – anonymous this time, a place where I could post without self-consciousness.
Deb Szczech Zabel – such a great name – left a note here the other day which led me back to another post and the thread of our conversation, which was about missing friends and losing loved ones. I am re-posting the poem I found there, one I haven’t thought of in a while. Goodnight Marcia Ryder, and now so many others, wherever you are.
Poem for the Family
What so deeply underlies our baseline conceptions that fathom weights turn in circles and loop like one seeking hope in the ocean, swimming in waters far beyond waters we know?
What over-arches our thinking from such a far distance we can only guess… Maybe…. as above, so below?
What holds us here like the unknown unseeable holds the mosaic total?
Father swings through the trees, he wrestles crocodiles, white men, personal demons. I see a small jewel – green hills and blue ocean – rotating inside the compass of heaven. Fine silver threads in circles and spirals, fractured pinpoints of gold, ruby and emerald hang in a canopy of velvet. The absence of light does not equal darkness; sight shatters on far-away anvils and leaves hammer shards, finally silent.
Through transparent eyelids I watch a sandstorm cover the sun. Twilight rides not on light but whips around from darkness, a rude wind marshaling vast killing wings. Between sight and knowing are clear jelly curtains and outside, the mean blur of teeth. The wind is an iron-framed plow; a rusty, steaming, oil -flecked stallion with shoes of blue steel, throwing up sand, clacking, spitting and clattering.
It is a torn accordion, wheezing and whistling, entropy compressed and then tortured through ripped leather fittings. The wind hits the dunes with cutting fists of diamond. It is here that my mother nurses her husband. She waits down the wind, the triumph of darkness, the blowing sand peeling skin, carving bones. As the rocks are ground down Mother swings Father onto the wind and leaps on behind him.
She seizes a good night not to go gentle in and leans to the stallion’s ear hissing: Is this the worst you can do, evil thing? A maniac riding a maniac wind, heels hard in its ribcage, fists in its mane, holding a man who is dying. She drives her heels in, she spurs the wind on, into the well of souls that they came from. The wind sends it’s unrest, it’s hornets and locusts but nothing remains here to kill or consume except death, and death is dying.
Time has unrolled to its end over nothing and no new myth comes. No milk streams through space from her breasts, no planets or galaxies spring from her forehead, or anus and he’s just crazy, with crazy thoughts, like: The child beside the elephant is so small, yet the elephant obeys him.
Higher now than she has ever been, she holds her husband through the driest time. The black wings of another wind sweep down. The ground turns upside down and vanishes. Stars take the place of the sand. Silence and stillness replace sound and movement and now the unteaching, in earnest, begins.