Friday, October 31, 2003

In Time With the Music
A single melody keeps playing in my head, time after time, by Miles Davis. Miles in my head, I recently succumbed to a promotion by the Jazz Heritage Society and ordered six new CDs. It’s time to sharpen my jazz chops.

My daughter is gone for two nights with scheduled check-in points along the way. She’s attending co-ed parties in the outer regions of Lafayette. We had our first real discussion about being intimate. She says she’s curious, but not ready. She left the house last night wearing a belt that my father made in the hospital before he died. She is the first person to wear that belt of loops. She found it in the back of my closet.

My boundaries will hold. Lawrence is back home. I’ve withdrawn from the circle. I pray that without a foil for his inability to take care of himself (me), he learns how to make decisions that embrace life. I go into the world on this Halloween day as Neo from the Matrix dressed in robes of red, black, and green.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Something to say when your daughter asks,
“Why can’t our family be like everyone else’s?”

Because the truth is there really is no everyone else,
only the two of us washing through the sieve of each day,
making sure we come out of it in one piece,

and beside, why think either one of us
come close to being like everyone else
when we’ve always been so much who we are,

you with your loud mouth and smart answers,
and me acting like I know what's best for everyone
when I've never chosen that for myself.

But the truth is, even though I've tried,
I could never be like everyone else.
My look-a-like never bore the slightest resemblance.

Plus, who knows, I might settle down
for a long sleep in a goose down bed,
turn out the lights, and never snap out of it,

not hear the speaker system,
with its volume cranked up to sky-high,
telling me to get out quick

unless I wanted to totally forget myself,
my deck of cards and pearl earrings
on the vacant lot of my origins,

pull a steel-toed boot way over my damp head.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

I Cry Your Tears
Fire and fog on the morning commute, a car crash against the side wall with a police officer looking beneath the vehicle that was smoking from its hood and slowing down the usual sluggish morning crawl to a slower crawl, which sped up once drivers got an eyeful, until we hit a low bank of fog around Grand Avenue, which plopped over the Grand Lake Theater like a bowl of lumpy oatmeal. News of Faith Fancher's funeral service at Church of St. Leo the Great, a woman who went through life clearing a path with her heart. My friend Pele, in a rehabilitation center in Petaluma, is recovering from pneumonia dreaming of her prints and paintings. Lawrence is returning to his house tomorrow with insulin to inject. And I find myself slowly refilling the red balloon of my new life, sailing above the Mormon Temple over the hills again away.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Some kind of ice sculpture I've gotten myself into, which needs to be shattered with a pick-ax. What the heck is a pickax? According to

A pick, especially with one end of the head pointed and the other end with a chisel edge for cutting through roots, with a certain etymology from Middle English picax, alteration (influenced by ax, ax) of picas, from Old French picois (from pic, pick) and from Medieval Latin pcsa, both probably from Latin picus, woodpecker

but it's also listed on the net as a college and as a Mesopotamian creation myth.

Either way, I need one.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Free Falling
I can take a breath after a marketing meeting where we actually agreed on a specific direction regarding the listserve; my strategy was to continue to add to a report until the accumulated information became its own best decision-maker, plus cold medicine served from my diagonal cube mate that helped me step out of a fog. Then on to San Francisco to do passenger counts on the east and westbound NL line at the TransBay terminal.

This last year I've been in goal-oriented mode, driven by the requirements of planning my daughter's bat mitzvah and then quickly shifting to separating from Lawrence; I'd almost checked off the next item on my agenda, the divorce, as if I were a rocket hurtling through space, going through three stages of flight.

But with Lawrence's hospitalization, I realize I'm not in control; probably never was, a sensation that has no gravitational pull, free falling.

My plans for moving on have dropped through the ozone. I cannot proceed with my to do list while Lawrence is so vulnerable, regardless of the quality of our life together. There is something I need to find out, something I don't know.

There is nothing for me to do anymore. My God, how can serve you?

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

In a Wonton
Advertisements mining our souls to be consumers as I'm drawn back into the vortex of Kaiser Permanente Post-Acute Care Center. Noam Chomsky explains what's behind more blasts in Gaza. Tiger bites and gay guys with straight eyes. Indigeneous People's Day where crumpled tissues in the shape of Calla Lilies dot my desk.

I bought soccer shoes for my daughter with red cleats at SportsMart as a casserole of turkey wings cooked for several hours on a raft of cabbage and bacon.

Lawrence Livermore Laboratory was named after a jock who liked running around in circles. Everything will or won't ever happen.

I'm a wonton wrapper on the kitchen countertop of time.

Fill me with surprise.

A sweet potato is a member of the morning glory family.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

At Yom Kippur services, the community surrounded the cantor as she can-opened a rivulet of sound, and we all poured out.

I must trust that my life will happen without my own worried direction.

Fronting On Water
Floating on a raft of asparagus lashed together with scallions. Someone's been busy in the kitchen tonight, but I could care less for sauce than to be wearing boots on my feet. I'm walking on water, and it's not just me nibbling at the stalks. No siree. Almost everyone from around these parts knows where the asparagus raft comes from; one eases down the river just about every 100 years the way some baseball teams win at the play-offs. And I just happened to stumble along.

Friday, October 03, 2003

A Search Party Was Arranged
I stood at the edge of Children's Fairyland waiting for my walking partner to arrive. A white woman approached and asked if I were "Carol." She also was waiting for someone that she didn't know. Later, I saw an African-American woman with braids tentatively approach her, and they walked away together.

I sort of knew Soren. We'd met through an online dating service. Several weeks before, we'd had breakfast followed by a short hike around a shopping center. We'd almost went to a concert in San Francisco, but it turned out to be the same weekend that Lawrence had been hospitalized. I had to cancel with apologies. Mostly I knew that Soren seemed to be a sweet and supportive man. I'm not sure how you get to trust people except by spending time with them, and seeing how they bounce around on life's trampoline.

I waited, but he was a no show. Something must've happened. For a moment, I considered walking around the Lake by myself, but I couldn't manage it. I knew I was disappointed. After a week of visiting Lawrence in the ICU, I had anticipated some stab at normalcy. For a second moment, I considered going to the supermarket and bringing home food, but I couldn't manage that either.

I got in my car. Yesterday, I'd taken it to the Automotive House in downtown Oakland for a tune-up, a different garage and mechanic than my usual one of the past 10 years. The car was running well. I drove toward home. I wanted to have a search party with news bulletins and music.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Frankenstein's Wife
I've come back from the hospital.
You're getting feisty, wanting nurses
to remove restraints from your wrists.

You want to get up from the bed, go to the bathroom.
You and the catheter are one. I show you the bag.

Your energy is beginning to jump across the bed rails.
I watch lightening strike.

I can't stay away and let you go through this alone.
You called me back. You knew I'd come.

I was just beginning to start my own life.