Thursday, August 28, 2014

at the forefront

Here I am, in Starbucks, in California, living a life that is safer and easier than most of human life has ever been since the dawn of cavemen. The internet would not say so, but when my daughter dreams of England long ago I think of heads on chopping blocks, religious persecution, rape uncontested and terrifying kings and queens and papal violence through the word of God. When she went through her Little House on the Prairie phase I thought of Indian warfare, scalping, raping, cutting off of noses, roasting people over fires- of the white people who insisted, beyond all reason, to insert themselves into Indian land and claim it as their own, despite the death of not only the men, but many many uncounted for women and children, lost to history, burnt to their ground in their log cabins, and the deaths of the Indians and their families, murdered and raped also, children also. History is littered with bodies of innocents and warriors alike, and todays life is no more evil or terrifying than it ever was, except for possibly that the expectation of safety has created such a wall between us and the threats to our life and well being that are still present that we are shocked by it in a way that didn't exist before.

At times I look around me and feel so insulated I can barely breathe.

When Mr. Curry is ill, it feels as if there is no room for us. As if we live inside of a commercial where everyone has white teeth, good hair, mischievous children and gophers in their yard while we stumble on set, barely making it and in tears, therapist in tow.

Now, he is well. He has been well for a few months now. Navigating this is an hourly job. I am hyper aware of his facial expressions, body language and the way his half shaven beard does or does not cut across his jaw, the way he pushes his hands into his armpits when he talks, the way he looks inward, or at me. When I see him recede, the smallest wave pull itself back a foot or two- I panic. I break out in a sweat, my arms ache, a stone in my throat won't swallow, I am nauseous and terrified. 'This is it, he's leaving again, he's going to be angry soon, very angry'
repeats in my brain like a bell rung during the Comanche moon, when attack is imminent. The hour passes, he moves forward into his eyes, and I am exhausted.

Post traumatic something. Love hurts. Fear based decision making. Co-dependant. Isolated.

So sweetheart, it's OK, he tells me. I see he is there in his face, present in his jawline, mouth, and his eyelids are not sagging with effort to hold up the human body, bipolar being so draining and exhausting that at times he walks with his head tilted downward. Sweetheart, he says, and I am almost all there. I love him so much, he is my best friend, he is my partner, my walk mate. I am almost all there, but part of me, it recedes.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Around the World

Ferguson on my mind- young black boys on my mind, cops on my mind. Guns on my mind, this poster: Guns don't kill people, people kill people, guns without people don't kill people. Robin Williams, bipolar, the heroic endurance of people who hold onto life and those they love until every last molecule of strength has been burned, that crazy light we only get so much of as Robin told us, only so much light. My sons on my mind. White boys, heart of my heart, blood of my blood, loves of my life, already so much fear when they are young, aggressive, posturing and ego drivin, yet less, because they are not black. Less fear that someone will randomly kill them, or attack them. The deep sadness and fear of a world I understand more as I grow and learn our history, but less as my heart expands agonizing inch by inch to love every person, the face of every person, even the hated and the loathed, to learn to love the essence of life is a potent oil that makes the lessons of history harder to hold, harder to remember when you try to understand the random violence and death we inflict on one another. The enlarged sore shaped like California on the back of my neck that my daughter covered for me with concealer. The hardened scab I peeled off that says, ' I Am Afraid '.

Maggie and Ravi on my mind. Maggie, a young white girl somehow in Africa, creating a small village that cares for orphans. Where did she begin to imagine she could achieve this, and how do I pass this imagining and believing on to my children? How to obtain the small steps. Ravi, a young, orphaned and abandoned baby boy, ill with sepsis, left at Maggie's orphanage. 'Like'. 'Follow'. Images on the Facebook. Ravi's wizened, helpless face, emaciated arms and legs, bulbous belly, Maggie's frantic and heartbroken posts on the Facebook as she believes he will die. He lives. Maggie sleeps with him, feeds him with a dropper, 'like'. Ever looking at Lola's yearbook. ' Momma, can I have this Facebook? ' she asks. Ian's young friend, his young friend's desperate mother, on the Facebook asking for help to give her son the operation that will keep him from going blind. 'Like' 'Share' 'Donate'. Ian's friend gets his operation, even without raising the full amount. Right things happen.

Here in Poway, our town, the town of scraped desert face rezoned with trees, flanked by the hills and further off mountaintops that in Winter, are covered in snow, there was an 8 year old girl who went to Yellowstone with her family for vacation. Like my sister in law took her family, just weeks ago. This 8 year old girl stepped off the path and fell, the news repeats over and over FIVE HUNDRED FEET to her death. On the Facebook, her face, big smile, tiny white teeth, easy eyes that are loved. This tiny person. Her parents. Her parents. Her parents. Facebook says, ' town mourns '. I mourn her. Her parents.

Babies on my mind. Last week, Dakota in town, came for dinner to our new house, we call The Blue House, for most rooms we painted various shades of blue, but the living room which is bright white. All four kids , Ed myself and Dakota's best friend since 5th grade sit outside for dinner. A baby on the other side of our fence is crying hysterically. He sounds maybe one and a half. He cries, I look. He cries, he cries, he cries. Ed says ' this is why I had the TV so loud when you came home. ' Sleep training, I think. I look. Lola says heatedly ' how can anyone! what is wrong with them! ' and I say to myself ten years ago and also now to my 12 year old daughter, ' we don't know. we won't judge our neighbors. we don't know. just send love. ' the windows of that house begin to slam, one by one, someone angry is walking through that house and slamming shut the windows. The baby is not crying. My friend Taymar has her baby boy Benny. Benny has Downs Syndrome. He is very cute, so cute that Lola says it makes her feel angry to look at pictures of him, because things that are too cute make us want to squeeze them, and if we can't squeeze them, we feel angry. This makes me think of Mice and Men.

Dakota added another tattoo to his side, the state of California. Inside, there are more meanings. There are symbols. Like a cave drawing thousands and thousands of years ago. At night, I watch documentaries when Lola is not with me. My favorite shows are on ancient Mayans, Vikings and Egyptians. One night, I watch a long recounting of Pompeii. In one of the preserved houses from that great death trap, there is a toilet, made so two people could sit and talk while they shat. In Pompeii at this time, this is how they did everything, communally. On the wall, 2,000 years ago, some young man had written, ' Here, Aman took a good long shit. ' Things don't change very much, do they.

Monday, August 11, 2014


you go down 
i'll take it slow
go down where the dead people go-

to the shore,
lie flat like a shell

face crack
wide open to the skull
sun bleached bells

ring bright 
sunburst tones in the eyes-
those eyes yet

but not, held open to the
briny wave

tongue clean the 
face god gave.

the slap cold water
heartbeat of deep blue belly

a seahorse,
dolphin eyes, the tentacles
of jelly.

sun inside the skin,


far off 
hear them?
the living, noisemaking as they do

i churn
in the riptide
one exhale behind you.

you go down...
i'll take it slow
go down where the dead people know.

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