Friday, March 18, 2011

what is the what

Here in California the radiation comes calling. Iodine in stock or not, the invisible plumes of illness and death fluster and fight their way to our coast on the second level winds, the newsman says, with a serious expression because he has to pretend he understands any more than I do what a second level wind really is, or why people have to die.

(My girlfriend is using the hashtag #tryingnottothinkaboutnucleardisaster)

I am being gutted like a fish, beginning with Ever's cesarean birth and moving steadily forward in girth and weight, the turning inside out of skin and soul that happens to me every time I have a baby. I miss Mr. Curry in the worst way, I miss the intense focus of intimacy that is rudely interrupted by my preoccupation with our baby girl, his preoccupation with our baby girl, three other children, a family bed, exhaustion, work, clogged toilets, cooking, cleaning, writing, internet and the sweet spot of ten minutes of complete zone out. zone out/sex : the battle begins. It's not sex I miss the most. I miss us. I fret internally over Mr. Curry possibly falling out of love with me because

1 i wear sweat pants too often, becoming a damn cliche
2 i am boring, in the way that infant obsessed mothers inevitably are
3 i have an image to keep up. ( can you believe i actually THINK these things? still. there it is. )
4 my enthusiasm for a good blow-job has waned to the point of counting on one hand. let's admit
it. one finger.
5 sometimes men just randomly leave their wives

Sometimes the Earth randomly cracks it's head open on the dark endless wall of time and splits itself open, swallowing whole families and towns and grazing herds of goats, leaving one four month old baby soaked and starving and alive for three days under an enormous pile of rubble, to be found by rescuers who could not have been more astonished or more grateful for a sign of life. Sometimes I want to be oblivious.

I am so grateful for my babies and my husband and my mother and my friends that occasionally I look up at the sky and wait for a piece of it to fall and crush me. We are all singled out. We are all crushed. It's the size and weight of the piece that differs. I want to stand above my children and open my arms and let the pieces all fall on me. If the Earth opens or the radiation smooths its way into our breezy March winds, I want to fall, I want to sicken, I want what everyone wants: to save all the children and all the babies, and since that is impossible we want in place of that to save our own.

Nobody has to be alone. This is what prayer means to someone like me who doesn't believe:
now i am telling you, you are not alone It is a ritual to say the unspoken and unsayable.

A baby came along and the things that come with babies- emotional swings, messy houses, fatigue, a lapse in sex, self-doubt, joy, happiness, gratitude, existential despair, hope, love, belly laughs. Nose honking laughter. Possibly, maybe, poison is sluicing it's way through the clogged atmosphere to our home. Possibly, maybe. This list could go infinitely on. And in Japan, and in my town, there is suffering, some acute and despairing, some silenced in death. I am alive and the details of my life are precious. You are alive and the details of your life are precious. Yesterday Mr. Curry swept his callused hands over the back of my left arm for five minutes, up toward my neck, and back down again, while I nursed our baby. Lola sat and cut tiny pieces of paper to make fairy homes. Dakota rode in smelling like sweat and asking if his hair was too long on one side, his lime green skateboard pressed against the wall. Ian moved his hands unconsciously to the music from his earbuds. In Japan, I'm sure of it, someone's life was moving this way, someone's hand loved their wife's smooth skin, someone's children grew loud and stinky, and those people are gone, and we are thinking of them with love and trying to be alive while we are alive.

*title by What Is the What (Vintage)
Evangeline said...

Oh Maggie, I am pierced through with this. What a beautiful post.

Misfits Vintage said...

This is beautiful, as everything you write is beautiful and truthful and raw and wonderful and human.

People die. Husbands leave. The earth shakes and quakes. We have each other.

'What is the what' is one of my all time favourite books. Bloody Dave Eggers.

Sarah xxx

Therese said...

Tears.

Angella Lister said...

Perfectly writ. Be alive while we're alive. Yes.

Elizabeth said...

What more is there to say? Nothing, beautiful writer --

Millie said...

Hi sweetie - pack up your worries about the radiation, you've probably got more chance of being crushed to death by a rogue anaconda or being hit on the way to the bathroom by a wayward shooting star. Some idiot has pushed the wrong panic button here. You are exposed to more radiation when you have one routine CT scan, than you'll ever get from anything floating across the Pacific from the Fukushima plant.
Millie x
P.S. I reckon I could safely bet my First Born that Mr. C won't be falling out of love with you in the near future.

elle said...

From the other side of the world, where little pieces are also falling, my love and thanks for your beautiful words...

xxx elle

Chrissie said...

I don't know if you have written about it before, but why do you call him mr. curry?

justmakingourway said...

You are a master of words. Amazing.

H.M. said...

Right here, you have captured something fleeting. I thank you.

Holly said...

head to toe goosebumps from that last line. this was beautiful.

Annie said...

Beautifully written, Maggie. You bring the people in Japan to life, and capture how the simplest of moments, a caress, a look, the making of homes for fairies, is everything. It's hard to know what to say with all these worries, and our care and concern for Japan, and the scariness of radiation, along with our everyday fears from home and family. You've said it.

Laura said...

My heart aches for those over in Japan and everyone else that is affected or will be (aren't we all) with this. I can't even imagine what it must be like over there. Thank you for posting this. I sometimes wonder why more people aren't talking/thinking about this.

Jazzy E (hivennn) said...

<3 so lovely. x hivennn

Noxalio said...

Sometimes I too want to be oblivious but find i simply cannot ... neither can you, Maggy, as evidenced here and thus you write ... in a wonderful voice ... really ... i'm glad to have found your blog (Flux Capacitor, indeed ... made me smile - even though this post was not meant to elicit a smile - it is a brutal subject) ...

hello neighbor (SD) ...
noxy.

Caroline of Salsa Pie said...

I am moved to tears with this post.

Magpie said...

Oh, yes.

Mwa said...

It's like a mirror to my life, except for the teenagers. That's still to come.

Ms. Moon said...

Intimacy is all of this and all of that you wrote about. It is deeper and more far-meaning than sex, although sex can be extremely intimate.
With age and with time, intimacy becomes deeper. This is a miracle.
I will wish that for you and for everyone.
It's not enough to shield us, but yes, it is.

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