It’s November 1st. Just barely. It’s 4:10 am. Light precipitation. I can’t sleep. I’m trying to adjust the power balance in my household. It’s been damaged because I broke my wrist. One little bone crack, everything changes.
I didn’t mean to write this. I’m not trying to write a story or anything. I’m trying to write a novel in fragments. Fragments of bone.
I went for a walk in the neighborhood. I’ve spent a lot time walking in this neighborhood. The streets were quiet, just glazed with honey rain. Faint smell of donuts. I was glad to see the Dunkin’ Donuts was open. I didn’t encounter anyone, just heard someone in a car picking through people’s recycling for returnable bottles. I didn’t want to greet that person.
The only time I was afraid was when a brief yellow leaf fell onto my arm.
I walked down the hill, the easement nobody owns. I thought there might be some kids there, drinking, fucking, smoking. There are some white plastic chairs back there, a trio of them, but they were empty. I thought about Al ruining his life, and how Blair rejected his friendship. I liked the stucco look of that garage. It reminds me of Italy, a place where kids hang out and ruin their lives as well, I guess.
Lisa wrote me. I am hanging onto emails from Lisa and Olivia like lifesavers. I’m wondering if I should transfer my efforts to my own writing. Signs point me in this direction, but I don’t want to go. Maybe I should give it a try. Might make me happier in the household.
The train goes by. It’s lovely to ride the train at this time of day. Very quiet passengers, almost empty trains. We took a train from Amsterdam’s train station back to the airport at this time. Working people with staid composure. Kids in dark baggy clothing.
I’m wishing for my own soundtrack. I don’t think I have ever really lived my life. Just stepped through it. Looking backwards, while walking forwards. That’s how I broke my wrist. It was windy at the time.
TV noise at night bothers me. I feel very lonely. I remember Eli watching movies drunk in the middle of the night. What am I to do. Sam is asleep on the couch. The soundtrack of “Fast, Cheap and Out of Control” is pleasant. I can try to listen to it.
There’s a stack of paper next to me and a stack of poems in front of me. “Backwoods Broadsides.” I enjoy seeing them there, in a little box decorated with pears. There’s a pile of pink ribbons with white dots on this desk. I picked them up from a rainy Nantucket sidewalk outside the Unitarian church. After a wedding. I guess they’d been used to tie wedding favors together.
There’s fantasy. I wish I could access fantasy. I mean real fantasy, not just the odd fantastic incidents of my past—drug addiction, murder, alienation of the corporate world, near-fatal blood disorders.
I have nothing else to do but put some effort into this. I am one-handed in the house. I can’t sleep. I have trouble with the network. My mind races regarding home repairs. I start to target my relationship and I want to tear things to pieces.
Returning to the sadness, the persistent sadness. The sadness of short sentences. The sadness of employees. The sadness of elderly eyebrows. The sadness of muted achievements. Of not knowing your place. The bewilderment of multiple remotes.
The fear of not ever having a home. Not at home here.
I heard about Immaculée praying the rosary to survive while shut up in a bathroom for weeks, hiding from murderers.
Something I want to know? Don’t know.
I said the rosary everyday for a year. Maybe it was a school year. My sophomore year. The cheesy pearlized paint flaked off my little white first communion beads. Once I lost the rosary—it fell from my pocket. That immediate pang of irrational loss— desperation. I retraced my steps and found it, on top of a desk in a classroom. I was ashamed that someone had found it on the floor, maybe even identified it as possibly mine, and decided to place it on the desk for the owner to more easily find. It meant another person was thinking about my things.
I am sleepy. I am starting to dream more often, but I believe this is due to sleeping in a too-warm room.
This room does not feel like home, although many of my things are in here. I have my Tarot deck, and some candles. My place for meditation. Some favorite posters on the wall. Art supplies. A little rehabilitated lamp. It’s quiet in here. No speakers. Very little in the way of electronics. An iron and ironing board in the closet. The room is relatively neat. I have control over the neatness in here, which is not true of other rooms.
I am wondering about this work. I was driven to this writing by my absolute incapacity to live comfortably in my home, in my relationship, in my own damaged skin. If I am writing, I am not falling down.
I’m writing because it allows me to coop myself up in a safe place. Do I feel threatened All-the-Time? Do I think if I weaken myself, I’ll go undetected, and not draw the attention of predators? I don’t know.
Some envy. I enjoyed a short story that included a line about envy.
I enjoyed John Ashbery’s line “I write in the afternoon.” It hit
me with a great impact. Why? Because I don’t like afternoons. They are a negligible, hateful time, a chunk of time to get through. I am optimistic in the morning (usually) and pessimistic in the afternoon. There’s a wish that I could heal this. What would a good afternoon look like? Sunshine? Satisfaction? Rest?
One of the things that I love about Natalie is her ability to make judgments about people and say them out loud. It’s thrilling to hear her sum up a person, their behavior, their motivations, their unconscious fire, all rolled into one or two quick incisive statements. Initially, I just bought into everything she said. I had never experienced such a wise window opening onto other people. I was hungry for the guidance. Somehow, I had been misled, led to believe that everyone was a Child of God. Christian psychology is very flat and its behavioral modification systems are very dumb. I had no ability to read people, to differentiate between them. I was like a person, a woman, in an arranged marriage with everyone. As far as Natalie’s stories go, later I learned there might also be other points of view.
My mother had very few stories. She repeated some familiar ones often. How great Christmases were. How she broke her leg riding a tricycle. Her problem students when she was a second grade teacher. How she developed a dread of throwing up from an incident in her own second grade classroom. How she ate the same thing every day for years. Now I can’t remember what that was—an egg sandwich? fried egg? maybe it was with tomato and mayonnaise, maybe not. The world of stories was very thin.
I wanted the juicier ones. The ones about menstruation. Her relationship with mother and sisters. Her thoughts about her father. I wanted the whole scoop. I was fed crackers. My next door neighbor said our house smelled like crackers. She found that comforting. Many people found my family comforting.
Food is very important to me. I miss being able to cook, having a broken wrist makes it an ordeal. I like really tasty food. I like fruit smoothies. I love wine. I like vegetarian food—all the variety, none of the danger. I don’t think I could be vegan though. I like eggs and dairy too much.
I had to miss the poetry class on Halloween. This was disturbing. I should have tried to go. I could have made it. No use trying to reinvent the past. I had to miss out. I hate to miss out. I am easily disappointed.
Sad girls are responsible. They take on the tedious tasks no one else wants to do.
If I’m very busy writing, I won’t have time for tedious tasks.
But something’s wrong with my invention. My imagination is broken. I don’t get out much.
I threw out the white gravelly cauliflower soup. I really needed to make tea this morning. I made it—chai teabag and some soymilk. I also had some orange juice with water and four ibuprofen tablets. My hands are ice-cold. I was resting my swollen arm on top of a fleece jacket on top of a flour canister, with a bag of frozen wild blueberries draped over it. I need the elevation and the cold to combat the swelling. It’s painful.
I also threw out three small dead or mostly dead houseplants. No green thumbs here unless they are green from bruising.
Still sad. Last night I had an apple and a few chunks of parmesan cheese for dinner, and watched an Italian movie “I’m Not Scared.” Intense. I was distracted from sadness by my awareness of what was going on inside Michele, the 10-year-old boy. Empathy, I guess. I also felt the heat of the sun and the joy of running in the wheatfields. I played and ran in fields. Corn fields. Forests. Meadows. I played in brambles and thickets, streams, streets.
I am also reading the latest BANR (Best American Nonrequired Reading). I read the introductory material. I like it. I am there, on the fringes. Essentially light and non-required. I didn’t grasp that it was high school students. I like their giddy sensibilities.
I am attracted to behaviors by which we might move off the grid. Out of the mainstream. These are the behaviors I have to hide at work. Sam tried to rig up a stand for my swollen arm that I could wear, out of a piece of copper tubing. It didn’t work.
I heard something on the radio yesterday about supermarkets and the vast surplus of food/calories we produce here in the US. The radio voices said—No wonder we are confused—due to the pressure of food marketing. I am immune to food marketing.
I close my eyes to it. I used to get overwhelmed in the supermarket, until I blinded myself. Every year, I buy fewer and fewer packaged goods. No meat. Less and less fish. Ordering herbs and tea in bulk, online. This is a project full of pleasure.
A possible sadness antidote.
The quiet relief that the weekend is over. Platinum light gone down and gone down early. My dream mists back into my mind. Medieval garb, a princess in pink veils, brocade gown, pointed hat. I was dark-haired, petite, happy, pretty. I was in a play, but I had an agenda. Much more active and engaged than I ever am in waking life.
Yes this was me. I am suspicious of me, what is it. Today spent time in completely anonymous pursuits that will never offer any recognition. I’m suspicious of my name. It doesn’t feel appropriate for fame. I wrestle expectations down and down and down again. Meanwhile, why not call it home? No this is not me. Me so what. I like the universal flux instead, brightened and tightened in a node that is my skin, my wrist. My stinging teeth, my statically electric hair. My shapeless brows.
Suely told me about her sister’s breasts. So ugly, so ugly, one larger than the other, and after childbirth, even more misshapen. She sent her first money earned here home for her sister’s breast operation. Results: keloid scars and things are worse than ever. She cry, she cry.
I am not hungry. I lost my appetite. No dinner last night, just some mozzarella sticks, frozen and reheated at Richie’s. A glass of cold white wine. Sauce: ketchup mixed with hot sauce, tasted good. Richie and Suely slathered hot sauce on knuckles of reheated chicken meat. I watched and held my own.
Excellent dew we’ll go out fishing and fishing has come up. All smiles in a night dream, hiking up the humid woodsy path, all moist and mud, on my right the human fish ladder sparkling turquoise with its uphill current all bubbling and clean, the naked humans serious as porpoise, bend and flail feet flippers, swimming up to spawn I guess.
Let’s try to relax. For lunch I ate 3 tiny cubes of cheese. Some off-peak grape tomatoes and some fairly dried baby carrots.
A couple of nacho chips with cheese sauce. And some bottled water. Later, Halloween candy from the bowl in front of me.
Still sad. Sadder than ever today. I want to throw myself on your mercy. To wander into your crowd full of people I don’t know. I set up a conflict with people around me. I don’t stake my claim.
I don’t taste my own sauce. I guess I’ll leave here now.
I want to post something online I am taken with the practice of blogging I am taken in a different direction It has been hard to learn Yes it is my focus that is needed Telescoping eyes Zoom out zoom in sometimes
My shoulders have regressed since the injury. They are back up around my ears. I am waiting for a beating, another blow to fall.
I am waiting for the pain. I like to devalue, much more than most. I do not like children. I am an ana-pest.
The positions, the choreography of your gestures does not relate to the metrical feet, and though it should. There are metrical feet hiding in the prose, wearing veils. There are hard hearts, hard- hearted orb that rules the night. I am lost. Contemporary. The past. You can ask, you can ask to attach, you can task to attach your trash. There is nothing else to say.
Unseen baby, unknowable one. You don’t invite them to be a bad mother. You don’t correspond with mother. You don’t know the alignment, the starsign, the angel of mother. You don’t ask and the mother won’t retreat. You avoid the mother. The tattoos, the breath, the side dishes. The lack of respect. You are eternally grateful.
Jumpy. Jumpy. Leaf blowers until I can’t hear myself think. Renegotiating everything. What about a month of fragments? What about a month of Sundays? What about doing some hard laundry? What about turn off the critical frame of mind?
Vague desire to study philosophy. A search for meaning. Then I remember I don’t believe in meaning. I believe in nouns. I could read a philosophy sprinkled liberally with nouns. And not abstract nouns either. Concrete.
I hear the train. I hear the surface water sound that invades this house. This is a house of strangers. I am intrigued by watercolors. I am happier here if I pretend I live in California OR Oregon. Yes, hey ho, I live in Oregon.
Investing. She is investing time. She struggles to define the terms and conditions. The terms of daylight and nightlight. The conditions of breakfast, tea, noise, and satisfaction. She is not sufficiently passionate. Her passion is weak (again). I can learn from the past. I can make a move out of passion. I can dedicate.
I will dedicate my room to the poetries, my living museum of cloth and pixels. The pixels are little squares in the fabric. Her technique is appalling. Going back through the catch—fishes, shells, seaweed, and garbage. Fishes fish, dishes or dish. Hollywood Hollywood Hollywood (dactylic) Perilous Perilous (dactylic) In my room (anapestic). I could go through some poems, mark them. I could observe them in their carriages.
I am going to pull out “The Instruction Manual”—”as I sit looking out of a window of the building.” I want to write “The Questionnaire.” All of these ideas are depressing and messy, like litter. Like leaves. The dead brown leaves, everywhere, curled, curled. Every year, done, down, down.