Oddments

In search of story


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Connections: October 22.17

I groped for the word: appalling? scary? astonishing? embarrassing? All the above?

This is one of two units in which the stuff of my life is stored. You know, dear reader: stuff? It isn’t life but it becomes life. Doesn’t it? It tells of people you miss. It tells of the daily. It’s the familiar, the comfortable, the personal.

It’s easy to scoff at mere things. They are, after all, temporary. But they are also deeply a part of us. So I stand in absolute terror at the base of this mountain of things. It stretches floor to ceiling and wall to wall — in two units! What will I keep? What must go? How did this happen? What will I do about it all?

But, more important, what do I need? My writing mate Tamara is a minimalist. She and her husband have amazingly pared their life down to necessity. They have by example taught me to re-think ownership. That will enter into this. Also I think I’ve reached a time in life where the letting-go begins. Ironically, a holding-tight happens at the same time. I want to hold tight to memory even as I want to let go of the things that hold the memory.

Thus tension.

I might have a house to go to; I’ll know more in a few days. If so, the whittling begins. Look out for shavings!

 

 

Connections

 

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Connections: October 4.17

Upheaval and chaos

visual din

hazard to elbow

ankle and shin

finally sold

my house inside-out

I’m up to my ears

what am I about?

am I stressed, twitterpated

sleepless? You bet.

Do I know where I’m going?

No! Not yet!

But life has its moments

of precariousness

we just have to hold on

and slog through the mess.

 

 

Connections


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Connections: September 11.17

If dark waters reflect light

does hope persist?

Still on owning darkness

compassion must insist.

If I tell you tomorrow

the sun will surely shine

that makes the loss all yours

and not one iota mine.

I have to share the dark

or my words serve only me

my brilliant advice, my platitudes

condescending mockery.

If I can’t feel with you

your grief and your confusion

the light is mere mirage

a cruel and cold illusion.

 

 

 

We have much loss to face this 9.11 — may we face it squarely.

Connections

 

 


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Vagaries in Gestation: On Being Linear, Part lV, March 16.17

If there are no lines in Nature,

how unnatural is this place?

what narrow box, right-angled well,

what one-eyed vortexed face?

Phantasmic vague stalactites

shadows flat, diffuse

Kafka-like, I morph

into hypotenuse.

Walls and floor and ceiling

and claustophobic me

all sucked into a point

 of squashed infinity.

More thanks to the S.W. Berg Photo Archives.

Vagaries in Gestation


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Connections: January 30.17

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAEpistaxis

word so dressy

but it’s still nosebleed

obnoxious, messy.

I have this thing

called H.H.T.*

commonest symptom

nosebleeds, you see.

So people say

“What a big yawn —

I’ve had nosebleeds

they’ve come and they’ve gone.”

Not for me

with H.H.T.

Instead of blood vessels

with cute little capillaries

I have kinky pretzel-like

vascular vagaries.

Some are big

and some are small

but “older” and “weaker”

apply to them all.

From brain in the north

to legs in the south

the bleed that startles most

is the one in the mouth,

that look to which

I most aspire:

the dripping, sated

happy vampire.

I’m sick and tired

of all the red tissue

but I realize this

really isn’t the issue.

The headlines fill me

with fear and foreboding

the whole bloody mess

is too near exploding.

Epistaxis is just

that last mythic straw

which gets the angst

unstuck from my craw.

*Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasias, aka Osler-Weber-Rendu Syndrome,

a genetic bleeding disorder I tried to describe previously in In Our Blood.

It’s about a lot more than nosebleeds.

Connections


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Vagaries in Gestation: November 28.16

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Yesterday I drove to the park and, as always, slowed on the adjacent street, where little wiggly people are unloaded from back seats. A car at the curb had its doors open on the street side, so I stopped and waited.

A man stood at the side of the car, arm outstretched, helping someone out. Not a wiggly little person but a ponderously slow older person. A woman. Bundled warmly against the November day, she held his hand tightly. I caught only a brief glimpse of her but I knew. I knew those blank eyes and that empty face. I knew that slight curl inward. I couldn’t swallow because of the lump in my throat and I couldn’t see because of the tears. It all comes back so quickly.

I walked around the park and so did they. No. They did not walk. She moved her feet in that familiar shuffle, achingly slow, leaning hard on him. His baby steps described patience beyond words. Twice I noticed that they stood in embrace, she apparently clinging to him.

There was a slight wind, causing tears to run down my face. I tasted their salt and was grateful for the release.

Caregiving and dementia change people so I cannot say if he were husband or son, but I think son. I think the husband was at the playground with a little granddaughter, he seeking respite which isn’t because there is no respite from dementia. It is merciless in its constancy and as steely cold as the water in the creek.

I stood over the creek yesterday and thought about the cold water that runs through life and the daunting aloneness of those who stand firm in it.

 

 

 

 

Vagaries in Gestation