you understand that my daughter started out as two small aqueous blobs that united to make a slightly larger small aqueous blob? that's how these things work. and then she sprouted branches, arms and legs, and a furious character like angry branches in the wind and sprang from my body railing at the light of the world? this happened too. well, a few days ago she emptied her dresser of clothing either too small or too unwanted to make room for clean laundry which rarely finds its place inside her drawers, mostly all of her belongings, clean or dirty, magnetic with the floor and i reached into said bags and tried on a few articles of cast-offs keeping a couple of her shirts for myself. you understand that this is cataclysmic, that it defies systems like mathematics? well, it does. she's my daughter. and yesterday i packed her long limbs and yapping budding flowers (her spirit thinks it's springtime) into the car and drove her jittering all the way to a nearby city to get her nose pierced? and you know i have my nose pierced? and you know the usual order of her world is to reject all things related to or reflecting me, a natural order of progression? and you know that i held her hand and could not watch and wanted to die when she said aloud am emphatic, oww! which underlined the inarguable pain she was temporarily inside of and yet while i closed my eyes, she held hers open? and that later in a store, it was not the wool socks i bought for her or the movie, The Corpse Bride (nor the nose ring we had ventured), but this scenario that finally had the words hanging in the proverbial air that i had seriously doubted i would ever hear, that i will repeat for you here after i tell you this small story: she had her lanky body up on the shopping cart and was pushing her long legs out in wide sweeps as though it were a scooter and she nearly top ended the cart and knocked over a high-rise of merchandise at an end cap and i casually muttered, hey babe, be careful, not wanting her to hurt her precious body.
at this she stopped center aisle and stood gaping. you said, be careful? she asked, dumbfounded.
u-huh, i agreed.
you said be careful, not - don't do that! as in, it is alright if i do this with the cart? she asked again, incredulous.
and i said, again somewhat absently but ripe with the whole scenario of having a daughter and seeing her growing up, growing, changing, transforming, right before my very eyes, u-huh.
and she spouted then, erupted there in the middle of the dairy section with the vastest compliment i could ever have anticipated by such a force of nature, mom, you're cool.
but i have said it wrong. i start again. you understand that my daughter started out as two small aqueous blobs that united to make a slightly larger small aqueous blob and yet now she is growing into a deep and sentient person absolutely stunning, absolutely shining, absolutely resolute in her being and independent of me? yes she is.
all week long i am pressed against the cunning sharp edges of society, everything engorged with the methodical pressure, everything hitched and hinged, everything geared like a fine machine - tiny mechanized teeth to create that which is not naturally human (or is it?), everything demanding the specific final output: productivity, as though this means anything at all.
friday night my lover and i are shed from the system like a splinter rising on its own poison, pressing with absolute blind deference, one body moving through the other, slipped out through the thin blank wall of skin. we walk in the backwoods with no destination, the white shy birch in her beautiful skin-tagged shivering, the valleys blanketed in the ease of last week's long cast raw umber autumn leaves. at first at the mouth of a small forested valley there is not one sound at our arrival, but the woods soon forgets us (as it should) and small animal body fidgeting replaces absence, the flickering of their heightened alert skin and fur flitting through rusted leaves, our eyes always at least one step behind identification. then rise the voices, thrush, woodpecker, partridge. and then silently emboldened: more, like a dark and murky echo behind our brains, the crisp clean sound of something momentous, anonymous, advancing. behind us coniferous trees stand pure, steadfast, solid, their significance so deep, so vast, so forever, beyond any of our petty explanations. an owl glides by unseen, making its sound, almost hooting but something other, calling us onward into the hallway of its chant, beguiling. we, ghosting by a small swamp, yearning to not be heard ourselves, stand still again as there is a small unexplained splash through the water, less a splash and more the sound our ears make in refrain to the gliding surface, a channel cut into water by a body. we look up then and then we look up more. behind the bones of poplar, alder and birch trees, the full moon rises. the calendar knew to anticipate it, perhaps the animals, but not us. its face is cast deeply yellow, like a familiar and warm story, upon the settling surface of the swamp. nothing here means anything; it doesn't lead to any other thing other than its own next moment; it doesn't have to. i become fuller, it seems, than the swamp, the forest, or the moon spilling its gentle somber face earthbound. i have to ask, what then am i? and then the moon hones its face keener upon the water and i am caused into the most delectable silence by the gravity of all this being to not ask anything else...
there is a dream the people share in Reisterdam, a secret dream but one that bleeds household to household through the vents, through the floorboards and refrigerators, through the beds and pillows. the windows sprout the dream between houses, fully connected unbeknownst to their inhabitants who tip their hats and nod good-day in passing one another on the sidewalks, never realizing the wild tangle between them. the dream appears like vines, roped in hope and yet circuitous in delusion. it's of another town higher up on the hill, purer than Reisterdam, one where children are hungry only in the right regard, where husbands and wives are lovers. there a man drinks milk from his woman and knows the weight of a buck's torso thrown over his own body, each of these sensations, warm milk and death, as common as having hands. in the purer Reisterdam there is a shine from a new density of being that is a beacon; all those lost might be found. what happens this year, this week, this day, in the purer Reisterdam, is always enough.
but the one Reisterdam, this one, is, on this earth, the highest elevation.
and in their low beds, their dirty hair upon their pillows, the citizens of Reisterdam toss sleepless but dreaming still.
as large as a lounge chair,
as smelly as old milk spilled in leather creases,
each day Irene pivots her bulk,
and the bulk of the world
to the curb for sale,
uncomplaining, each day,
each day like a shadow unfolding,
over and over again, Irene,
and magnificently beautiful.
(who is to stand in judgement of Irene? there are certain facts. her last dwelling (the one before her truck) an historically important store in a small town, was full to failing with things and did set fire and threaten her then neighbourhood. there are rats now in her new residence (an old car garage), i imagine comfortably residing inside a magnitude of neat refuse and spreading outward into the town, happily, well. and there is, of course and always, the threat of future flames. it is true that when you speak with Irene there is a surprising dignity that is taller than any pulpit. and each day (and i get to witness this!) she engages in the tremendous work of sloughing goods out of the oil stained doors and into neat lines for no one, really, to buy. what might she make in any one day? a couple dollars? but Irene sits all day waiting, hopefully. and at night she rises with one concentrated effort of compounded work in her body and begins sloughing things inside, again and again. i was driving to work the other day and i saw Irene and i considered all the years she has done this and will do this and i was struck silent as though watching the infinitesimally slow creation of a mountain.)
all summer long at the ice cream parlour the anxious folks complain about the abundance of flavours.
in the winter they complain about the scarcity of the few.
out behind the parlour's garbage shed is a field. a northern saw-whet glides over it like wet lips glide over a black comb to make noise, only she makes none. she folds her wings deliberately at acutely precise angles to manipulate the air to her needful favour.
when she is hungry she plucks a vole right out of its jittering life. when she is not hungry she plucks another vole right out of its jittering life, knowledge knit into her owlness that she will, at any moment, become hungry again.
some days the sun warms her feathers and she rests, releasing tension in her skin. some days the sun does not.
i get older
i read more
i retain less
i realize that where there are not new hairs poking out
there are new holes assembling all over me inward
i ripen into my ignorance
much like a tiny common unnamed plant i once saw
a greenish thing, scrawny, barely, but-!
jutting out from a cracked and crumbled sidewalk
which lasted nominally one season