Goodnight, Norman

This week I reverted to killing bugs again – the tiny beetles that search my kitchen sink basin when the lights have gone out. I go in for a glass of water and switch on the light and before they scurry off have often stamped them out with a paper towel under my thumb.

It began this way (killing everything in sight), then it was not (feeling bad about killing), and only recently have I begun to murder them again, sometimes two or three at a time but they are bugs and one soul is no more important than the next, says my tired mind that has been working too-long days and my strained body worn out mostly because the mind is.

Norman, I named them. Hi Norman, I would say walking into the kitchen and I would let he-she do what beetlebugs are going to do which is be harmless. And I felt joy that I had named them and thought Norman was a likeable kind of character the way some names tell you all about a person before you’ve gotten to know them (of course there can always be surprises).

Other items in and around my home are: Vivienne (the dinosaur balloon now deflated since my birthday), Sheldon P. Strawberry (P stands for Percival), Cornelius the Jelly Donut Pillow, and Horace Alfred the owl-made-of-bird-seed who has two first names and whose apricot eyes attracted a trail of ants that I also wanted to kill. There might be a few others, but only so many details can fit in a brain at one time although I do think mine has extra room compared to standard brains which are often attached to people with standard names like Courtney and Bob and Mike (never more than two syllables, these types).

On the day I named the kitchen bugs Norman (earlier this year) I also stopped smushing them because once something has a name it has a personality and a soul and before you know it simple bug extermination feels more like murdering a roommate, albeit one(s) who lives only in your kitchen sink basin.

Hi Norman! – a good way to start the day

Goodnight Norman! – a good way to end it

But this week I began killing Norman(s) again and have two theories why:

1. I am tired and overwhelmed and someone has to pay for it.

2. Norman has multiplied and I must draw the line somewhere.

May 2019

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Silent Song

If I hope for you to understand what
kind of human is inside this creature
of the animal kingdom who is still
evolving: I advise you to undetectedly
tiptoe up as I sit in front of the piano
(jesus whatever you do, do not speak,
but listen best you can) and when I am
done leave before I become uneasy
to find I’ve shown myself so honestly.

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Listening Skills

What I know so far:

In the light, we are different;
in the shadows, we are the same.

It is:

– entering the dark together
– listening a while, and then
– pulling each other from it

that we are reminded of what we knew all along.

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Dark Water

No more winter clothes, ferrying to
the island, nor the pines and willow
shaped as a large turned-up palm.
Among other things shed long ago:

Pulling out the bread drawer and
the one above it to create stairs to
the kitchen counter, at a time when
such a setup supported girl-weight.

When they became too much to care for
we let a pair of rabbits into the field,
but they returned all winter to be fed
and so a bag of pellets was kept on hand.

Bicycling home this week I realized
nine years has passed since I last saw
the first red-breasted robin of spring.
Where I live now are mockingbirds.

Age: you change the locks each morning
with no regard given to leaving a key.
Time moves, releases itself, like it or not,
so I write down what I remember:

Winter clothes and adventuring along
gray rocks spilling into the dark sound
where once we fished for salmon, and
where I’m certain sea lions still swim.

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As the Dog Sleeps

There have been several dreams, most a form of wish fulfillment, even that in which I walked across the room to hold him and found a skeleton under his clothes. The physicality of this I still feel when awake. It is no unforgettable sensation, wrapping your arms around bones.

In waking life I have spent half a lifetime holding men who needed to be held, but I cannot save him now, nor could I ever.

Some years later the dreams arrive less frequently, but after their return last night I wonder how the sleeping brain can recall a person’s smallest mannerisms and micro expressions. To forget would be lovely.

Furthermore, until I woke this morning I did not know that I was still angry. At who? This is what I have sat upon all day.

This morning, in the still-dim dawn I found that the Aloneness I have worked so hard to keep at bay had returned. Early filtered light silhouetted the room, revealing all the possessions that we as humans collect to make our lives comfortable–to feel safe and significant–but even then I began my Sunday weeping, loudly, into my pillow. The dog slept in the corner and the sun continued to rise and time passed as time does.

Must we feel what needs to be felt for grief to work itself out of us? Reluctantly, yes. Not one of us differs in this way and if nothing else there is solace in that.

I write this the same day as the morning it happened and will feel silly for such melancholic contemplation once it is Monday and I am again reading the news and stirring my coffee.

Yes, to forget would be lovely – but while we are wishing that something never happened we can also stay actively hopeful, because this remains a constant: life unfolds and time passes and the dog sleeps and the sun rises and a sliver of the mind says there are new memories to be made.

(written Easter Sunday 2019 after a bad dream)

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Two Halves and a Human

Being a woman,
yes I write about
that which turns life
into the unstable tops
of white-froth waves.

Being a girl,
my mind envisions
when I can next wear
the lemon-print sundress
and with which shoes?

Being both,
I wonder if it is okay
to walk among you showing
both halves of myself
at the same time.

(April 29, 2019)

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At the Piano

It might have me reveling in
Sunday morning and the gift of
a home among mature trees;
together we are an orchestra.

We hold this pattern, each day
returning to familiar notes much
alike, contemplating the scale of
an experience again and again.

Then, changing rhythm signals
life moving into its new phase.
Sometimes this is a yearning,
sometimes resolution. Both.

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