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.

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