Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Sea

For nights now my dreams are only of the water.

In one I’m in a swimming pool at night with other people and someone tells me there’s going to be a healing and the healer is none other than my father. I ask a woman in the pool how it’s going to happen and she looks surprised. She says big changes are coming and I can see that one of her eyes has already started changing, that a green crust has begun to cover one of her lids. My lover is in the pool and he swims over to me and then dives down, swimming like some plank fish over the top of me. He turns around and swims over me again.

In another dream I’m in the deep, darkest part of the ocean watching a big machine with a hook dip people into the sea, drowning them. It happens over and over and sometimes the hook dips even deeper, drowning the crane operator as well.


During the day the dark slice is so tempting and it's all I can do to fight it; a thin curtain that so easily parts, beckoning me to a place I know too well. I’ll cut everyone off, that’s how I’ll show them. I’ll stop answering phones, won’t return emails or calls. I’ll say I’m busy and that will stop them because they’re busy too. This is how I’ll get away.

Tonight, after I’d read the story about the three orphans to the little one, after I’d gotten the hot water bottle for her and let her read herself to sleep in my bed, just as I was leaving the room, she said, mom, I don’t know what I’d do without you, and I said, because I had to, because you have to say this, I said, don’t worry; you’ll always have me. And then I turned out the lights and prepared for the sea.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Blowing Smoke

Was sitting there feeling small, not big. Not important. Not seen. Was thinking it would take something major, like a new book. An important book. Something everyone would be talking about. An achievement. Some supersonic effort that would catapult me out of the ordinary, out of this moment on the porch at mid day with my smoke and my coat on, sitting there blowing smoke into the garden.

Had it been enough to wake up every two hours the night before with a seven -year-old who was crying and twitching because she had a urine infection that stabbed at her throughout the night? Had it been enough to bring her into my bed and talk her through the pain, telling her to focus on her breath and the warm ball of her tummy, then waking with her a few hours later to go downstairs and wash her pee pee and put that thick white cream all over it and then make her a cup of hot milk so she could sleep?

Had it been enough to take a ten-year-old to school early and sit with her in the car while she plotted her birthday, now 8 months away, sitting, listening to her say that she wanted to take her friends to a hotel, not a motel, as well as swim in the Yuba river and go to the Rainforest Café in San Francisco. Was it enough just to nod and say maybe and listen anyway even though none of it sounded good to you?

Was it enough to get to the gym after that and pump those arms even though it’s not short-sleeve weather anymore and all your efforts will go unseen?

Or to spend the morning focusing on four students whose work needed editing, even though it took you more time than you thought you should give it because it wasn’t important enough, or supersonic enough and mostly because it wasn’t about you?

Was sitting there on the porch blowing smoke into the garden feeling small, not big, but having neither the energy or the desire to do anything about it.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Not What You Think It Is

It's not what you think it is
That's been my mantra for days now
It's not what you think it is
Which enables a more curious stance toward life
A stretching of the fabric
A way to sit back and see past the contours of the ordinary
It's not what you think it is
Your husband and the ballerina for instance
It's not what you think it is
“Well your husband does have a girlfriend,” a friend corrected
Yes, I replied, but it's not what I think it is
it's not what I think it is.