Monday, June 29, 2009

a blip

i have my mother's hands. they're aging. dryer, darker, sunken with harder more severe lines. what is the function of writing? do we write to face our battles? if so, i have long since faced them and perpetually lost. they become more self-effacing when transcribed. at least in my journal. history chronicles the fool. not because she's grown so in the decade between entries and therefore can't believe she used to speak that way, use those words, praise that god. no. it is because she has changed so little and now merely has a record of it.

"hope, strange beast, what have you for me?" September 1, 2002

i'm immobilized. paralyzed by... exactly. if i knew that perhaps the battle would at last commence. instead of the undying picture of rusted soldiers still standing in a lonely valley with cobwebs clouding their guns. i can see them so clearly, because i have been standing amid them for countless years. the grey scene under a blistering sun. men at the ready, yet frozen solid like the tinman without oil. row after row of corpse after corpse. positioned at attention with comatic constancy. not a fly buzzes. nor a branch sways. clouds hover in eerie expectation. it is as commonplace as a suburban culdesac. there is not great threat, for all are certain that no battle shall ensue. for none ever has. it is the same nameless, faceless beast.

imagine a bride waiting behind the doors of the church, full of pink anticipation and flowery wonder. now imagine she has been standing there for twenty years. it's not that the anticipation has lessened, it has just been stretched thin, "like butter spread over too much bread" (LOTR, Bilbo). but, does it follow that knowing the cause of a thing can eliminate a thing. no more question marks. that querie doesn't deserve to be asked even once more.

rest surfaces toxins. they never tell you that. sleep, you'll feel better. retreat and clarity will come. purging is an ugly business. a rash on my face, my very pores bubbling with rejected bile. my urine smells like a plaque filled mouth in the morning. before health can be restored, these fleeting pestules of disease ridden reveries surface from their hiding places. i didn't recognize myself in the mirror today. all i can see is unhealth.

these words are my vile erruption of stored death. i am supposed to tell you not to fear the vulgar smear of my present insanity, for they will certainly lead to path of well-being. the way to wellness is paved in vomit. which is why we sugar coat it with positive affirmation: to alleviate the smell. fear not reader. all will be well soon enough.

i think i'll make some more tea. "tea is a good drink. it keeps you going" (The Shipping News, Dame Judy Dench).

Sunday, June 28, 2009

trains are stupid

it occurred to me that my words come more fluidly when inspired by the raw encounter of another human being, which brought to mind a writing project i thought of ages ago: "Portraits of a Stranger." writing novellas describing people that i observe and extrapolating what i think their life must be like.

so, i had this great (uber-romaticized and inevitably naive) idea of hopping on a train to nowhere for 3 days, sleeping in a modest car, with my wine and my laptop, eying strangers unabashedly in the dining car. after surveying a mediocre website, i phoned customer service only to encounter a rudely perplexed woman who insisted that i have a destination in mind.

when she finally conceded to serving my unruly wiles, she quoted me a price for a round trip, sleeper car fare from seattle to portland. before i could tell her that portland would be utterly insufficient as it is only a 3 hour drive and hardly meets my trip parameters of a 3 day journey, she let fly that the cost of said ticket was $400. $400? four hundred dollars! to portland! a flight can be had for a meager $80 on a bad day. since when has the slow, gruelling monotony of railroad travel become iconic to the point of justifying exorbitant fares?

then, it occurred to me that i was just the brand of sucker they are hoping to hook with these hopped up prices. alas, this writing project will require a flat-footed trek to local thoroughfares, complete with all the uninspiring familiarity i'm trying to avoid. after all, it's one thing to ogle a stranger on a train whilst tickering away mysteriously on my computer. it's another to have to face off the everyday schleps i might see again.

however, if i refuse to succumb to this greatly altered prospect, this creative pursuit will most likely fall into the gutter of an undisciplined writer, which is now threatening to flood.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

To my daughter, Cypress Correia

Hi Baby Girl,

We have not conceived you yet, but I have dreamt of your furious love, disarming smile, and adventurous curiosity. I can feel your tender weight pressed against my heart. I can hear your deep, dreaming breaths as your little fingers clench and relax on my shoulder.

I have wept deeply and often in my longing for you. I weep even now. The only solace I can muster is in writing this letter to you. A letter, which I am confident you will someday read. You are my treasure. My true ambition. You are my words, my song, my dance.

My soul contracts with the desire to gaze into your precious face. The thought of your gaze meeting mine in our first embrace feels likely to consume me. How often my thoughts wander to you. I would weave every hope and passion into your hair, if only to see you fly.

I want to be the one you run to when you're scared. I want to be the one you hide behind when you're feigning shyness. I want to watch you spin in your new sundress. I want to carry you up to bed with your head nestled on my shoulder, your arms hung limp, your heart keeping time with mine. I want to stay up all night by your crib, so I don't miss one breath.

It will be such a blessing, such a privilege to share 9 months of our lives as one. You father has told me that he would carry you if he could. He will watch over us as we grow together. I was born to be your mother. I choose to give you life and in so doing offer you my own. Nothing you could do could ever separate you from my love.

I'm trying to be patient, but I am so eager to meet you. Know that my heart has already conceived you.

With all the love that I possess,

Your Mom

Saturday, June 6, 2009

You broke my arrow

You broke my arrow.
I crouched over the cedar stem,
Whittling it between my palms.
We sat under its craggy cover till dusk,
Until the mosquitoes drove us home.
I can still thumb the callouses on their plump crest.

You took my hand.
I ran with you to the porch,
Clutching your fingers with enthusiastic distress.
We kissed briefly under the cool moon,
Until your mother called you away.
I can still taste the honeysuckle salt on your lips.

You found my feather.
I slit the cedar with your army knife,
Latching the abandoned goose down with my shoelaces.
We scoured the woods for an arrowhead,
Until you scavenged through the sacred Hopi graves.
I can still tremble in reverie of that trespass.

You made my bow.
I stole the fishing line from Father's tackle,
Hoping you had remembered to temper the bamboo.
We returned to our cedar but I missed the target,
Until you guided my arm assuring stillness in my ear.
I can still feel the gentle heat of your breath.

You mocked my aim.
I kept snapping my finger in the line,
Veering the arrow off course into the brush.
We played for hours in the brazen midday sun,
Until my arrow finally landed in the tree of my youth.
I can still see your blood on my little hands.