lexicon lost

Page one hundred twenty-four

wandering through things lost… again… as ever

the dear, important things lost this time are words. some I rarely hear anymore… out of strangers’ mouths. some I never hear. but these words were part of the years before I was excised from my human family as if I were some kind of putrid, deadly tumor. as if I were worthless, deserving of no love, no respect, no regard. words of forty-five years. I can’t recall them all at one sitting, and so will have to edit and edit this page as lost, missed words come back to mind. words as much a part of my lost family as our meals, our furniture, our house, now also lost.

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you’re standing in the way of progress

you’re a pimple on the posterior of progress

you’re giving me agitta

oh go soak your head

take a long walk off a short pier

standing there posing for animal crackers

like a fart in a windstorm

that was a doozie

that was a blinger

slumgullion

myirror

birthtay

philadelthia

if he was any slower he’d be going backwards

if he had a brain he’d be dangerous

a la casa linga (sic)

numbnuts

padade

licky locks

the great one

the piazza

god love ‘im

bullcookies

ha-past eight

clam up

go top shelf

that frosts my cookies

(more in future)

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all photos, graphics, poems and text copyright 2009-2013 by anne nakis, unless otherwise stated. all rights reserved.

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streams 5

tuesday 26 february 2013

Page One hundred twenty-three

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I’m sick of you, putz-self… sick to death of your stupid star-eyes. you’ve been a bleeding fool forever…

you’re right, reality-girl… but don’t you get some of the blame? what took you so stinking long to get big enough? why did it take so many ugly scenes, so many knife-wounds in our gut, for you to scream at me?…

why did it have to come to screaming?… I gave you quiet talks for years, and there were plenty of days when I raised the volume some. … why do you need screaming?

because I’m bigger than you… the stars in my eyes shine loud… shine with stupid belief in possibilities, with sorry belief in people’s lies and shams… because I couldn’t black out all those stars… some of them, some, sometimes… but not all, never all…

now it’s time to blacken up, smarten up, tar out your silly stars… isn’t this enough now?… isn’t it enough now that asshole drank and asshole gambled and asshole lost the family house and asshole woke up dead?… dead in the bed for days, tissue breaking down, dead for days?…

no, no don’t say it. not in my family…  not in our family, another ugly newsflash… it’ll be in the paper, I suppose. asshole so-and-so found dead in bed in a state of … autopsy being performed… no, no, not in my family… wasn’t billy’s murder enough, splashed all over the papers from salem to boston, on the boston TV news… wasn’t that enough newsprint sordid stink in my family… and learning about the mafia man, dear departed grampa… wasn’t that all enough stink?…

embarrasses those star-eyes, eh?…

you know better… you’re as much me as I am… miniscule embarrassment… gargantuan heartbreak… my family doesn’t have sordid headlines… my family has sunday rides and cukes in the garden and dad playing the mandolin… my family has natural deaths in old age…

shut up!… in all the years since you supposedly became an adult, why did you ever, for five minutes, keep believing that this family is anything but a pack of deceiving, denial-ridden jackals, always out for blood, the other guy’s?… always out for yours, star-eyes…  why have you kept believing that any good you found in them could rise up and prevail?… did goodness ever prevail in any one of them?…

no…

say that louder, star-eyes…

no. no no no no no!

now you’re talking. now you’re waking up… a pack of denial-ridden, self-involved jackals, out for blood… worshippers at the altars of the lowest, most ugly things inside them… goodness was never going to rise to the stinking surface and stay there, and win the psychic battle… not ever… those stupid goodness-stars in your stupid eyes would not see…

my stupid eyes see now… any stars for humans are fading fast…

and how do you feel…?

like dying…  like killing, but that one is already dead in the bed…

out with the rest of it now… I’m the reality girl… I’m big enough now, and I’m yelling…  out with the rest of it..

I feel I wasted the energy of my heart and soul and body, any energy I spent on any one of them over decades… like I was swindled by them, and by my soft heart and starry eyes… like I’m the biggest putz who ever breathed… like dying…

well maybe we should… we can’t go on bleeding forever from all of their knife-blows… it’s no life, it’s not living… it’s stinking sempiternal suffering… let’s just pull the plug, finally…

we’ve tried that before, more than once… we can’t… whatever it takes to pull it off, to euthanize oneself and stop the bleeding, we don’t have it… we are failures at that too…

so we’re stuck… stuck till we wake up dead in the bed like that other one…

stuck… yes, stuck…

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read…  twenty-ninth december  

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all photos, graphics, poems and text copyright 2009-2013 by anne nakis, unless otherwise stated. all rights reserved.

arwen

saturday 28 april 2012

Arwen was a friend of mine, lost this month to memory and, I presume, the tender mercies of a chain saw. Lost on the 9th, or 10th, or 11th or 12th of this month. I had let my trips to the river lapse for a few days, going out on easter morning but not again until the evening of the 12th. On that night, Arwen was gone. Had I known this destruction was on the way, I would have said a deep good-bye to this old friend on the morning of easter.

Arwen was a white birch tree, standing alone in a corner of what the trolls in turners call Unity Park. Standing there for I don’t know how many years. I used to visit “her” when I walked my dogs to and from the river, the only white birch in the entire park and riverbank. A lone white gleamer in a landscape of firs, maples and oaks.

The eradication of this beautiful tree has come about because of a stinking skate park, and if you can’t discern my feelings about skate parks from the use of the word stinking, then you’re being obtuse. We had a skate park in that section of town before, right beside where the new one is going. I lived only a stone’s throw from it, had to walk my dogs past it all the time, and it was a scum-scene all the way. The longer it was there, the scummier it became. Skateboards, shoes, even bicycles were often thrown over the fence, with no regard whatsoever for any of us pedestrians passing by on the sidewalks. The language emanating from the place was foul. At night, it was a drug pit: buying them, selling them, using them.

But the powers that be here in this sinkhole have decided that a new, very large, very expensive skate park  must be provided for our little criminals-in-training, and so for this noble purpose my old friend Arwen had to die. I grieve this beauty that lit the corner of the park with white bark, especially in winter when white snow joined white bark to make us a vision of a pearl on moonlight nights of white on white on white.

I know I’ve mentioned before that I, being a misanthrope, dislike human beings, and that I particularly dislike the ones who inhabit turners falls. This can come as no surprise to any of you. Close your eyes and imagine Arwen, standing as a lone sentinel at the front corner of the park. Try to see “her” in her winter splendor of triple-white on a moony night, and ask yourselves what I ask myself: why couldn’t the haven for the druggy little vandals have been designed around her? Why couldn’t this white light have been saved?

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read… All my stars…    Stolen stars

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all photos, graphics, poems and text copyright 2009-2012 by anne nakis, unless otherwise stated. all rights reserved

how many scars

monday 12 march 2012

a real apartment after four years of confinement. not an unmitigated relief, as I said tuesday.

after four years, I’m slowly retrieving the belongings that were mine, that were ours. it’s a huge relief to have one’s own things back again. at the same time, every object — from the tiniest pewter fairy to the largest bookshelf or the bed or the loveseat — is imbued with the loss of those who used to share these things with me. emanating absence, emanating rage at those humans who brought this all about, breathing loneliness and empty places.

I don’t know if objects have the same weight for most people that they have for me. they do for some few at least, I know, but perhaps not for most. it has very little to do with  how much the object cost, and much, much more to do with its history and the history of those of us living beings who shared those belongings, for whom they were part of the fabric of daily life.

the things slowly return to me. the fourteen living animals, never. murdered and gone. but the things, as they come, bring back stories of the life that was my own, and the stolen family that was my own, and the self I was and the way I lived before the most severe trauma of all my decades on this planet. the things carry the history, carry memories, carry richness and remembrance and rage. breathe love and loss.

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read…   Extemporaneana…   Being toward death

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all photos, graphics poems and text copyright 2009-2012 by anne nakis, unless otherwise stated. all rights reserved.

streams four (suite in sixty-four)

saturday 31 december 2011, 11:00 a.m.

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a week ago… only a week ago… forever ago… a moment ago… this very moment now? paying for candles in deerfield… out to the car… christmas eve sunny, bright…  back on the highway to turners, to a gale on a glen… no, no, no gales this time… zephyrs on a glen breathing moments from our years… one b.l.t., one egg over easy (what’s that called when it’s runny?), two slices of whole wheat toast… the bright yellow counters that no one (thank zeus) has yet changed…egg-yolk counters, and no one has changed them… olympus forfend…

I’ll go… go again in a few moments more… I’ll sit… sit on the same stool if I can get it… eat the b.l.t. again (no, not that one, not the christmas eve b.l.t., a new one, a gray one)… walk out into the rain and gloom and sour of new year’s eve… but first the stool, the stool with me on it, the one to my right empty… empty today and until who knows when… gales on the glen again today, but a week ago (a moment ago, an age ago), warm winds in yellow and red and green… and when we leave, the river… you take me to look for my friend… my friend is a goose, but this time you don’t mock…

3:00 p.m.

encaved in dark wood, ceiling to floor, we sit, no we sat, caved a second time within our booth… you and I twice encaved… you made no move to escape me this time… I called the bathroom the polar ice… 

you and I, in red shirts and black leggings… as if we’d planned it, but we haven’t planned to dress alike in decades… 

I look at photos on your phone of all that you hold dear, and I’m not there… you have the salad with steak tips, you have the wine… I take water and lobster the scamp (haven’t had lobster since old 98)… you eat cheese from the mushroom caps, whereas I eat it all… we eat, talk, drink, talk, pee in the polar ice with santa… the north pole sparks me… but you it ensnarls… you were once a north-pole girl… how can you look on your old white pole with such disdain… for me your disdain has been there always, but for the cold, no… you once were a snow-girl like me…

but there is no snow… the christmas is empty of snow

you shed tears, and I am disbelief… to see you shed tears in my space after such a space of years… you shed tears for what you hold dear… what you hold dear is in those photos on the phone, where I am not…

we talk of the camp long ago, and in that talk, the beast returns… the beast is hard, the beast begrudges… this beast that never leaves for good, leaves me feeling myself the likes of some dread disease… not the womb, the primal cave… nor the reader of tales and cooker of meals, but something deadly, greatly to be shunned… in that short and small unveiling of the beast, our deep-wood christmas caves fall in on me… I’m once again diminished to a mote in a brown, disdainful eye…

what else do we talk of…? why didn’t I make notes…?  what else do we talk of on a christmas eve that never came before or will again…? how could I let it go by without notes…? I, the compulsive noter of words, let it go by with a dearth of notes…

you pay (I am ever the pauper)… you pay, and we walk to the bookstore… you ask me questions of why the store is where it is and what happened to the old one… you have no memory of the fire… I tell you of the fire, tell you it happened while you were here, tell you you’ve been in the new store before… you have no memory… you seem not to believe… you came to believe my tweets with yoko, but the fire you have wiped from your files… do you believe…?

you buy me a plato-socrates book, but will let me buy you nothing… I’m shrunken again, a smaller mote… I want to buy you the tiny glass starfish you like, tiny and red… it costs almost nothing… why do you not let me… I am diminished again…

we drive on streets with colored lights and then go home… home… we go to a place where I live… we go to a closet where I live… I am of late beset by caves…

6:30 p.m.

you sit in the christmas chair after the gifts… how slowly, carefully you’d opened them… the past was always the rush, the rip… I’d watched you in the colored lights of twinkles and the white flame of candle, the fierce burn with the gentle light… low light of campfire in a cave, the walls close in the stingy space I drown in… I cannot give us space, but there is nothing harsh for light, nothing harsh for words…

I’m sad that the gifts for you are so few, but don’t say it… sad that the gifts are so few, remembering the untied ribbons, remembering how gently you held the glass with the silver snowflake, saying you would never burn a candle in such a glass… I take the pictures, but only when you’re gone understand they are too few… I took the pictures with my dinosaur of film, and only when the time was gone saw there were too few… and then, in a blow, in a blast of shrinking even smaller, remembered that you’d taken (with your phone, with your digits) not a single one of me

only an hour after the gifts, a scant hour more in the christmas chair, you go to bed… I shame because the bed isn’t one I give you… the bed is a couch downstairs in the room they call common (common to the poor, common to those kept in subsidized cells)… the bed is a serendipity… it’s nothing I provide…

I lie on my loveseat (no bed for me either) wondering if you sleep… the first time I check on you I walk in, say something I’ve forgotten, see you’re comfortable… the second time I only peek through the glass: you’re safe…

sunday 1 january 2012, four a.m.

a week ago… a moment… an age… (time is relative… time warps… it bends)… did einstein know he was mapping memory, mapping heart and soul…?

at dark black morning under half a million stars, I left…  walked the alley that had once been ours, all of ours (yours too)… climbed turquoise stairs to the turquoise slide as once I’d done with the puppy whose life you’d saved… vertigo kept me from calling back that moment in full voice… vertigo stole my star-show first, and after that the clouds…

there I was walking, talking, tossing the flowers… there I was raging at the huge grey hulk that had stolen my christmas stars away… raging, cursing all randomness… cursing until, behind the block where we once lived, those clouds dropped down a paucity of christmas flakes… even for such stinginess I rejoiced: christmas day flakes… one, just one, landed on my cheek, stung that old, sweet sting of our snow (you were once a snow-girl, like me)…

I did those things out there at four a.m., the things I do on christmas and all year, but had you, just this once, to come home to… home… had you, just this once, near my cave to return to…

today, a week later (a week, a moment, a month…) there was the fog… fog that came last night to watch our year drop dead… this fog that likes it here and has stayed for new year’s first cry… today you are not on that couch when I come in from the dark… today I don’t return to you…

7:10 a.m.

who says there are no christmas miralces (you came, didn’t you?)… who says… we listen to the baroque, talk, watch darkness go to light… out of the blue, as we say, you stand, go to the window (I have only one… am beset by caves, by lack)… it’s snowing, you say… I look and see… it’s snowing (who says there are no miracles)… the flakes in the alley were just a taste… now it snows a flurry… snowflakes on christmas so rare here… I tell you this… so rare (and they have come when you have come)… I smile the biggest smile my face can make (and this is rare… I am autistic; this is rare)… yippee erupts from my throat, my mouth, without design, and this yippee is rare, it is real… I am thrilled for real, and have not been thrilled in years… who says there are no christmas miracles… not I, the atheist, because I’ve known them… I know them again this moment: you are here on christmas day, and snowflakes fall…

12:21 p.m.

a week ago… two minutes… a lifetime…? how long ago was it, exactly…? how much heart-time, soul-time, has passed since we went to that woods…? we went to that woods you’d never seen… went to that woods stolen from me nearly four years (a lifetime? a moment?)… went without my dogs, one of whom had once been yours… I hate him, you’d said (how often you hate me, and I you), and you’d left him behind… I’d kept him as to my custom: open arms and heart… loved him with my customed fervor till they stole him from my arms… walked that woods without those dogs for the first time since the theft, and you walked with me… how much shock I felt when you said you would go… to go where you knew I would feel so much pain, and you despise my pain…

you listened to every name of every spot and pool and tree that had been sacred (still sacred, still, though dogs are dead and gone)… you held in your rage… held it in almost complete (don’t worry: almost was good enough)… one hour in this sacred woods… an hour I’ve waited for these years… how totally unthinkable that it was you who gave that hour to me… who says there are no christmas miracles… not I, not the atheist…

4:10 p.m.

you come back from an outing on your own… you walk through the door, my keys go to the vanity… can’t remember now how it happens… how does it happen that we speak about my art, my photos, the music I once wrote… strain and strain the memory, for nothing… can’t remember how it started…

you come back… you give me fifty minutes of attention to my work… most of the work is old, from the nineties to four years ago… don’t do much new art now… you recognize the tree from in ’02 (I’d sent it to you on a bookmark, and forgotten)… you look at other little pieces on the walls… I take down the fairy photo, tell you how I did it, the mistakes I made, and yet it turned out as I’d wanted it… I go to the computer, show you a few things more… you pay attention, attention… is this interest real…? it feels so… for the first time in your life, it feels so…

I dare a further step… open a page of music… show you that I try to make use of the costly software… it’s hard for me, but I try… another shock, my lunge again when you ask to hear the song… you ask to hear the song… I hear the words, see your face as you say them… but can’t believe…

the computer plays the song… you ask for another… the computer and I obey… I can’t believe… a week ago this moment (a day ago, a year ago?), I hear and can’t believe… the songs are ages old… I wrote them outside your bedroom door, the notes outside your bedroom door, the words… you didn’t care… no spark of interest that was real, no pique of curiosity… you didn’t care… yet now you ask for the notes… I can’t believe… am beset by shocks…

a little after five we go away… off again to santaland on griswold (the first time I hadn’t brought the camera)… I take eleven shots, eleven minutes (how many do you take?)… only later, when you’re gone, do I shock again to think we took no photos of each other… no pictures of each other with the christmasland… no pictures of each other

if allowed, I will defend myself (a defense too weak?)… will say that in your stay I took five shots of you (though not at santaland)… and you took none of me… you did a plastic gnome, a pink sunrise, who knows what else… but never me… the face not seen ten years… you did the plastic gnome, but never me…

(and just on the side, just as an echo of family you had… of family I once thought you loved… just on the side: your grandmother’s eighty-two today… there in that place where you live, there far and gone from me now, and from snow, do you remember…? remember her…? know it’s her birthday…?  if you know that, that’s something… but I know you don’t know eighty-two… you don’t even know how old I am… can’t keep it straight how old we are, any of us… we matter so little, family you had… family I once thought you loved…) 

a week ago today (it’s just a week… a week is only seven days)… a week ago today you took me to my woods (a shock), you asked about my art (another shock)… gifts not from the bankcard, but from you… gifts that shocked, overwhelmed with their largesse… and yet today, a new year’s day, you will not call me back… it’s only a week ago… you don’t call me back…

from santaland we go to jake’s… (for you, for you, since you have done for me)… for your sake I enter a bar on christmas… (to say it even now I cringe) for you I am in a bar on christmas… I who hate bars, I who hate drink, who loathe the stink, the drivel, the culture of drink… I who hold christmas sacred (though an atheist, a godless one), sit in a bar on christmas day… and no, it isn’t any bar… I go into the bar next door, most hated bar on earth… most hated bar whose drunks torment me with their noise at tables out of doors in summer, spring and fall… I the non-drinker, the atheist christmas-holder, sit in the most hated bar on christmas, drink tomato juice, hold my revulsion at bay… I do this ugly thing for you, since you have done for me some things that make you cringe… I put this stain on christmas day because you’ve done for me…

9:20 p.m.

you return from the room they call common… the man on the couch plans to stay all night… the man is there, and you won’t take the loveseat to sleep while he is there… can’t blame you, but I have no bed… can’t blame you, but my floor is hard… I want you to sleep soft, but there is none… the floor of this cell becomes your bed (now we are both beset by caves)… I lay the comforter doubled on the floor (there is little comfort between you and floor), you stretch out with your red pillow special for your bad-disk neck, your pricey velour blanket (this blanket is huge… velour is thick… how much did you pay?… I don’t begrudge you… am only curious) spread over you, head-top to toe… you sleep three feet away from me… sleep three feet away for the first time in twenty years… you are three feet away in the christmas night, a candle aflame… the twinkle lights lit… you are three feet away in my low-lit cave… I can’t believe… 

monday 2 january 2012, 3:30 a.m.

I can’t find sleep again… doesn’t matter… can sleep when you’re gone… have slept so little since you came… doesn’t matter… awake in the black morning, candle aflame… twinkle lights lit… you are three feet away… can’t believe…

can’t turn on the radio for pete and the classics… five a.m. will come, morning edition, can’t turn it on… might disturb you… you’re only three feet away (still can’t believe)… want to walk the dark morning like yesterday, can’t… you’re there on the floor but you’re leaving… have to stare at you on that floor, step over you in this cell when I need to pee…

you said, on christmas eve day, you’d stay till tuesday morning… later you said monday night… later still, monday afternoon… the first christmas in thirteen years is amputated to sixty-four hours… you’re leaving when you rise from that floor… I ignore the dark morning’s calls to me, and the river’s… I stay and watch you on my floor…

and then your head rises at seven… you stand up your length… the end begins… brushing hair, taking blanket and suitcase to car, back in my door to fetch another load… while I, holding my begging inside (please stay till tomorrow, please, please… after ten faceless years, please give me more day)… my begging would only bring the harsh words, the demeaning face… I hold my begging inside and pack up the food… corned beef and cabbage, cheesecake, cherry pie, maple syrup… I pack up the bag of food with a content façade, but the begging encaved inside me is already crying tears…

skinny fifty minutes from the floor-rising to sitting in the car beside you (last time)… riding to the store beside you (last time)… watching you make coffee at the front while I shop… watching the back of you make coffee for yourself (last coffee from this town)… the pleading for more time, for one day more after all the years (one decade or three? time is relative… it bends, it warps… the time on the clock is far out of synch with the time of the heart)…

how does it happen that so very soon, in a nanosecond, I think, we are parked again at the curb where I live… my shopping sits under a cherry tree, my camera in my hands… you lean against the car, I take the last shot on the roll (my dinosaur of film… I happen to love)… we make the hug again, same as we did on arrival… in sixty-four hours it has grown no tighter… still weak, still tentative and tenuous… still not a real hug… there’s a spit of snowflakes falling to say good-bye… you point them out to me, knowing I love them… (you were once a snow-girl, like me)… you drive away and I watch, the begging now roiling inside me… because of the little hill, your car vanishes fast, and now there’s not even a watching left for me…

I check the time (my asperger’s must always know the time)… you drive away at eight-sixteen… arrived at four-oh-seven, left at eight-sixteen…

one week later… no, it may in fact be a month… heart-time has a measure of its own… one week later, says the calendar… you won’t answer my call… one week later I am, suddenly (as suddenly as it has changed all the years of your life) no longer wanted, no longer deserve respect, or even courtesy…

suddenly a different thing has arisen from the floor of your brutal (for me) inner world, and I am (again) shunned… so it has always been… how, exactly, did your inner world shatter into pieces that won’t unite again…? you’re gone again… on top of that I’m shunned again… the ancient blows continue…

but… BUT.. you came… to the last second, I waited for the back-out… but you came… gave me more yule gifts than ever before… the ones that cost money, the ones that cost heart… that walk in my woods is the shiningest, and that, of course, you came… I’m shunned again, at least for a while…

I find some long hairs, your hairs, around the cell (beset by caves) and tape them to the bathroom wall… a physical part of you left behind unconsciously… a physical part I can touch… a part I can’t put in the wastebasket… these hairs on the wall: the desperate calling of blood to blood…

yes, for me, for who I am and how I’m made, the call to blood is desperate… the lack of blood is a cave of incompleteness, involuntary amputation, constant, unslakable thirst…

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we flow, you and I… you loathe that flow, mostly; you dam and scorn it… but we flow, as all blood flows, and you cannot evaporate it, however you try… we flow, you and I… amid the grinding and scraping and letting of blood, we flow…

so tell me, someday before I die:  is the stream of me that flows in you despised beyond mercy…? is it as tiny, leached of value, as you seem to wish it…? will the stream of me that flows in you grow wider, grow even somewhat loved, when I am gone for good…? beset by caves, beset by shocks, in love with snow, I ask you only from a silent distance the words I won’t dare speak… don’t speak for fear of wrath, of cruel response: does the stream of me that flows in you have value? will you let it grow wider, stop damming it, when I am in the ground, the last cave, the one I never leave?

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read…  twenty-ninth december  (companion piece)

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all photos, graphics, poems and text copyright 2009-2012 by anne nakis, unless otherwise stated. all rights reserved.

streams two

frijasday 26 august 2011

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dense clouds of language lie about the crucial point
                              ~~~  wittgenstein
 
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a 5 and a 2. this is for you, you know that. a 5 and a 2… do I have all my numbers and dates right?… I passed that 5 and that 2 so long ago it feels like a decade… didn’t get to pass them in a house with two cars and two incomes and any kind of comfort born of money and a human. had to pass them hard… the easiness of your years compared to mine causes one of our favorite things, yours and mine: bitterness…

all you needed to do was say that my idea was just as possible as yours… or, later, just to say the word sorry… sorry I didn’t give your thoughts as much credence as I gave my own… so simple to me, so do-able. but wasn’t done. simple words weren’t said. and in that stinginess, everything of value was tossed out… I couldn’t go on without credence.

maybe the value was only there for me. that seems to happen way too much… maybe those letters and calls were only dear to me, and the loss of them for you is relief… maybe the cards and gifts reached my heart and not yours, or not yours deep enough… not deep enough to overcome your me-world… no one must expect from you.

it surprises me that you could get to 5 and 2, that you could read  those hundreds of books, that you could baby a baby who brings home the big bucks for so many years and not know… not know that closeness has expectations built in, on both sides…  you expected from me too. expected my mind (you called it formidable)  to stimulate you… expected to be a writer vicariously, through me… but you wanted it for free. no expectations on my part. and you expected me not to be fragile… that’s pretty damned arrogant, you know. you who have had so much ease and comfort compared to me. you who have never had everything destroyed. to expect me not to be fragile. what right do you have to expect that…

it surprises me to have found that you can’t be honorable for very long. I’d thought you other than that…

I’d like to be calling for 5 and 2… would like to have sent a gift. longing for the way it was last year…

but I need credence, to be believed and believed in. I went without other things from you, stayed on because of what was good. but couldn’t go on without belief.

little equations learned along the way… the more selfishness, the more arrogance, the more difficult the words I’m sorry. impossible, in the end. an admission of mistake the ego can’t bear. a loss of face that can’t be endured. 5 and 2 is still too young to suck it up and take the loss of face. it passes, this perceived diminishment… it passes once it’s done, once the way is cleared for the bright things to go on…

always it comes back to only me: it was important only to me. it was worth trying to keep, only to me… to you it was a weight. to you it was expectations intruding into me-ness. to you it was all better gone…

when my day comes, will you think? will you write? will you regret?…. no, no and no, I know. know already before I ask the questions. no. people’s favorite word to give me. life’s favorite word to give me…

I remember 5 and 2, and you, and last year, and what was and what wasn’t… I see the empty space where all that was. do you?… no, no and no.

why did you come looking for me, if self-involved was all you wanted to be? why did you even come looking?

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read…    Braon…   Sehnen...   Soulcast

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all photos, graphics, poems and text copyright 2009-2012 by anne nakis, unless otherwise stated. all rights reserved.

 

the christmas bag, 1997

Page One hundred sixteen

Saturday 22 January 2011

In 1997, not necessarily of my own volition, I turned my back on Turners Falls and went back home. I’d like to be able to say that this was an event that was not, for a refreshing change, brought about by the nastiness and ignorance of other people. I’d like to be able to say that, but it wouldn’t be the truth. It was in fact brought about by some trolls who live and/or work in this town, and by a pole-up-his-rear waste of space who waltzed in from Boston.

It had been the plan anyway. For about ten years my mother had kept telling me that anytime I got sick enough of Turners that I could come back there with the kid, or without her, if she was grown by that time.  A trust document had been made that gave ownership of the house, on the deaths of my parents, to one of my siblings and to my daughter jointly, and lifetime living rights to me.  It even got to the point by 1995 that my mother was frequently asking me to come back; she was lonely, and she’d like help taking care of my father. My father was by no means an invalid at this point. In fact, he was never what you’d call an invalid until not long before his death. But he did have frequent health issues and frequent doctor appointments, and hadn’t had a license for years, due to legal blindness. There was a lot of driving. Never one to stay home the whole day, my father liked to get out of the house for a while.

So, though I wasn’t quite ready to give up having my own place and live with my parents again, it was forced on me by others, and back east I went. Only to found my parents in a truly shocking state, and that’s saying something. There had always been a fair amount of tension in our home, and arguing, etc. But what I found in 1997 did in fact shock me. To the point where most of the time I couldn’t even think what to do or say next. I had no idea how to navigate this changed parental landscape. My mother wanted me to take over and do everything so that she could lay on the couch all day, every day. My father wanted me to do nothing, because in my mother’s deeply worsened mental state, she had convinced my father that I wanted to kill him. Over time I would find out how many people in our family and our town had been convinced of totally fabricated and bizarre things about me by my mother in her mental collapse.

I had my own health issues, and they seriously deplete my energy. Even if I had wanted to, I didn’t have it in me physically to care for my animals and my mother and my father, and have anything left to read a book for myself, or write one, or do anything at all. And I didn’t want to do everything. You can say that’s terrible if you like, but I don’t much care. My mother was not hampered physically, and there was no justifiable reason that she couldn’t keep her house. I was willing to do my share. Share the driving, share the cooking, take care of her animals as well as my own, share the yardwork, but I wasn’t willing to become Cinderella while she lay on the couch in perpetuity eating candy.

My unwillingness to servitude only made her more fiercely determined to break me. Tantrums, tricks, lies and manipulations multiplied daily. I had arrived there on 28 August, and by December I was living in so much continuous and unrelenting stress that I could hardly think. I had been idiotic enough back in August to think that we would have a nice Christmas together, because I would cook, if necessary, and string all the lights, if necessary, and my parents wouldn’t be alone, hoping for a relative to invite them, which sometimes had happened over the years, and sometimes not. And my daughter would drive out from Turners, and the four of us would be together.

Idiot. Thanksgiving was hellacious, and Christmas was worse.

Over these months back in the family home, I’d frequently go to my cousin’s house for a little break. She was only a few streets away, and I always needed breaks. Holiday time came, and I helped her wrap gifts. She buys tons of them, and then there’s all this wrapping to do. She showed me my gift, and I wrapped it, took it home and put it under the tree. Yes, there was a tree. Only because this cousin, one night, had sweet-talked and gently bullied my mother into going out tree shopping with her and me. We bought the trees at a place owned by a guy I’d gone to high school with.

I suppose most people have one or two favorite Christmas things to do or buy or whatever. One of my favorites was always the bunch-of-small-gifts thing. I loved the stocking filled with little things, or the basket, or the gift bag. I loved to receive such things, and I loved to give them. And each item had to be wrapped. It was cheating if you just threw them into the receptacle without wrapping them. The unwrapping of each small gift was at least half the fun.

So here rolls up a Christmas from hell, and my cousin knows how bizarre things are in our home because I give her regular reports. She knows, from my mother’s own reporting, that I’m not getting much of anything for Christmas from my parents. Comes Christmas eve, and I’m down in the cellar where I live, my animals all around me, and I think I’m feeding rabbits when I hear the dog’s over-anxious barking, the parents yelling at the dog and yelling at each other over what-the-hell-is-the-dog-barking-at. I start to head to the stairs so I can go up and see what the dog’s on about, but I hear my mother get to the kitchen door first. It’s my cousin. She’s come to see me (this does not go over well. it was expected by my mother that any cousin visits to the house would be for her). Cousin has very bad knees and starts down the cellar stairs, but I go up to meet her to spare the knees. She hands me a large gift bag, telling me that she got me “a couple” more things for Christmas. She’s in a hurry and can’t stay while I open it up.

Away she goes. Parents and dog settle into their respective spots again;  I and my animals are there in the cellar, and I start gently lifting out items from the bag, one at a time. They are wrapped. I shove them back in and then remove and open only one at a time. I open them very slowly, knowing full well that this is my Christmas and there will likely be no more. Each item is something she knows already that I like. Candles, incense, soap, and now I can’t recall what else. For years I could list every single item that was in that bag, but at some point over the rushing of time, many details have left me. My cousin is a great bargain finder, and buys only expensive merchandise, but only at knock-down prices. And even with this tremendous shopping skill that she has, she had to have spent fifty bucks on that bag. A hundred if she had paid full prices, but she never does that.

That bag was to me like the star shining in the east to Christians. It made me feel that there was one human being on the planet who cared a little about me. It made me feel like Christmas was actually happening in all the gloom that I lived in. It brought beauty — beautiful colored papers and beautiful scents and beautiful shapes — into a life so full of darkness. Naturally my animals were beauty in darkness too, and I am sure that I only kept going because they needed me, and because we loved each other. But at Christmas we want things from other people, and by that I don’t just mean gifts. Love. Kindness. A little festive spirit. Things that were nowhere to be found in my immediate family that year. I don’t know how many months, but I think for well over a year, I kept all of those items right in that gift bag, and took it with me everywhere I landed. Looked at it month-in, month-out as a light that had shown and was still shining: the light that unexpectedly slashed into the darkness of a Christmas that remains, all these years later,  too difficult to think on most of the time. I’ve had to think on it to write this, and hope now not to think on it again for a long time.

What a sorry excuse for a real and worthwhile life it is to be so wretched that one Christmas bag from one single year beacons out like a lighthouse over the years that follow it, like the one jewel in the bottom of Pandora’s box of pestilence. But so it is.

~~~~~~~~~~  website  ~~~~~~~~~~~~   Share  ~~~~~~~~~~

 (stars from a greeting card)

Goblin days

Page One hundred eight

Thursday 28 October 2010       tesseracts in Turners

Oh long ago, somewhere in the mists of primeval something, I gave birth on Sunday 28 October 1979 to a female infant. The only such creature I’ve ever produced. I did not give birth without a whole sideshow of western medical assistance, I’m sorry to say, and even that circus nearly failed to do its job correctly. Enough to say in this spot that I don’t have particularly joyful memories of this birth.

So let’s go to later, which is my focus in this post. Later meaning one year later, and the four years that followed that one. Because this child had a birthday so close to Halloween, I, the Halloween-loving mother, couldn’t resist making the yearly birthday party a Halloween party too. I had felt in my life the lack of festive enough birthday parties. In saying this I don’t mean to paint my own mother as a shirker. She had three kids with three birthdays every year, and she was a person who was not terribly domestic in some things. We had small parties with a few kids, some pin the tail on the donkey and drop the clothespins into the milk bottle, cake and ice cream, and that’s enough. They weren’t horrible parties, by any means, but something particular in Asperger’s-creative-sensitive me had always felt let down somehow, felt that birthday parties should be a bigger deal.

                                                                    

So what did I do for my little one’s parties? I went berserk, of course. I was poor and couldn’t hire clowns and jugglers and storytellers, but I made the biggest frigging bash I could with the little bit of money I had, and with help from relatives and parents of little guests.

I’d start in September, or even late August, buying things. Napkins, tablecloth, candy bags, plates and cups all matching, all in the same Halloween theme. Then balloons. And party favors. And ingredients for the treats to be made. And candy. And sewing the costume for a couple of years. Guest list. Halloweeny invitations.

The guest list was always a long one: relatives, neighbors, and others whom we knew out in the world. Thirty, forty people always, because most of the adults stayed for the party. I meant it that way, as a family party. Almost every adult would bring something to add to the food supply. These events went on for three, four, five hours before the last guest departed. It was a feeding frenzy that seemed to be appreciated by all. There were no planned games: after the gift opening and cake and ice cream, the kids were turned out into the yard to run around, play on the swings and big wheels and whatever, and then my father would hitch his large barrow to his riding mower and give all the kids “tractor rides” around the neighborhood. There was much picture-taking, much shrieking and laughter, great costumes, a little crying, and lots of sugar-highs. All kids went home with little Halloween bags full of more sugar.

When each of these five parties for the first five birthdays was over, I was exhausted and sick and broke. But satisfied, in a way that’s hard to describe. Satisfied that there was plenty of food and plenty of balloons and plenty of play and plenty of presents. Satisfied that I’d extended myself to make my kid’s birthday a very special bash of a day. Satisfied that, though I was a single mother and had little money, my parents and I together could make a big event of this fatherless child’s birthday.

Last year the fatherless child’s father, who denied being her father till the day he died, committed suicide. His parents had recently died as well, and now my daughter, this child who never got one hug or one present or one kind word from her father, will inherit a hefty check from her father’s family’s assets. Once in a very great while, what goes around comes around. She’ll have something from her father at last, something that will help her out in her life. Something I never had the finances to give: a big check. And she got the phone call informing her of all this from his family’s lawyer on October 14 last year, two weeks before her birthday. All unknowing, her father at last gave her a birthday present.

And the parties? If we had continued to live there with my parents, I’d have gone on giving those Halloween bashes until child said she wanted something different. Nevermind exhaustion and sickness and expense. There weren’t too many times in the year when I could do something really shining like that. And I find that as the years have passed, every October I think of those parties and miss them. Miss the time when I could make a shining day for my kid. Miss the costumes and tractor rides and happy shrieking. Miss my father. Miss his house.

She’s 31 today, and I have less money than ever, can’t spend on the birthday the way I did in those days. I console myself with the memory of the five big bashes long ago in the temporal, autumnal mists.

(part of the book Being Toward Death)

~~~~~~~~~~~  website ~~~~~~~~~~~~                                                                            

Frohen Geburtstag

 

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 (poem and crow from greeting card; doll at www.signals.com)

 

september, she’ll remember

Page Ninety-six

Wednesday 1 September 2010     turners turns more acrid

1. Thursday 2 September 2010

Sally     gentle yellow girl, for charlie and all of us

                                      1989  —  Thursday 1 Sept 1994

2. Thursday 9 September 2010

                Bandit        bandy blandiens bendybones bum

                              3 Sept 1986  —  sun 19 Feb 1995

                Mindy        pitty dahling, lady romance arrives

                             5 Sept 1988  —  5 Nov 2004

                Beavis       methuselah of bunnies, high jumper arrives

                           5 Sept 1993  —  Monday 9 Sept 2002

                Judah        child of the sweet blue eyes arrives

                               6 Sept 1994  —  When?  nno one will tell

                 Andie       gentle lady; so patient with Jake

                               1990  —  6 Sept 1996

                  Tiki     wonderful child and sister and wife

                               25 December 1991  —  7 September 2000

                  Danny    the pipes, the pipes are calling

                                1990  —  Fri 8 Sept 1995

                  R.W. Shea      13 Sept 1960  —  Fri 5 Sept 2003

                             I only partially understand the thing

3. Friday 9 Sept 2010

                  Zoë-Jane      darkest day:   tá brón mor orm   

                                        April 1995  —  Wed 10 Sept 2003

4.              Baby Alex          so soon, the day is gone

                                      Nov  2001   —    12 Sept 2005

5.              Caibhan       big strong buckeroo, tá brón orm

                                     6 Oct 1996  —  Sun 16 Sept 2001

6. tardy, tardy

                                     Steve Irwin, September 2006

                                                 a brave man

7.  Wednesday 22 September 2010:  The Princess, the Tin-Pot dictator, my lady and    mistress, Shiloh-Chailín the guinea pig is ONE year old. Lang soll sie leben.

8. Wednesday 29 September 2010

All the animals were soulmates, but you were the mega-mate of my soul

                Mugsy       17 March 1990  —  Friday 29 Sept 2006

                                                                    

                                   

                 

                                     

  

august, die she must

Page Eighty-eight

1. Tuesday 3 August 2010

          Stovie            all the ways you were cheated

                                March 1997 – Tues 1 Aug 2000

           Chani, China, Sammy, Elliot     Tues 7 Aug 1991  lá an-sóna

2. Friday 6 August 2010

                           Zoë, Bruce, Spot, Blaise, Chloë and Shiloh

                                            Thursday 7 August 1992

                                                      lá an-sóna: aris

              W. Philip S.        12 March 1956 — Friday 7 Aug 2009

3. Wednesday 11 August 2010

                    Jay-Jay     her bluebird of happiness, once

                                     1980  —  11 august 1997

                    Mó Bhríd            lighter of bulbs and chimeringer

                        sat  11 aug 2001  —  the theft on 9 july 2003

                   Cinnamon         the unusual voice of spice

                        1991  —  friday 11 aug 1997

4. Wednesday 18 August 2010

                           Louise B.  —————   1950 — 18 Aug 2007

5. Friday 21 Aug 2010

        Toblerone Macaroni Baloney     best dad, best hubby

                              Dec 1990  —  Thurs 21 Aug 2003

6. Tuesday 24 Aug 2010

                           Cíaran       6 Oct 1996  —  24 Aug 1998

                                             gentle brother

             25 August 1985  —  We move from Amherst to Turners Falls. The

             most colossal mistake I ever made, bar none.  A descent into malignant

             ignorance and meanness unmatched by any other I’d ever seen.  A mistake

             that cost me, though it took many years, everything that I lived for.

 

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