Thursday, October 23, 2008

Clover drying, sweet woodruff

Thanks for your letter, darling, I wrote to the niece in Big City That Never Sleeps, I'm impressed by the beauty of your language and the depth of your feeling. She's grieving. The end of her first love affair. She told me that food tastes like dust, the walls of her house close in till she has to run outdoors to breathe. She howls like a dog at the incredible offense of someone ceasing to love her. I tell her she's encroyable, and grip the phone helplessly, trying to force the logic of intensity onto a situation nobody knows anything about. But there's no good way to do it, not even a bad way.

Loss powders me with its dust, a moth flapping against the screen, schwush of leaves, eddy just before the water falls. Night comes on quickly these days, there's no air inside as we close windows to the cold. I write letters, try to finish poems, shoot rolls of film, write songs and sing them. Loud. Clean my house, even the clean parts. Cook. Fill the house with the smell of nutmeg. Roasting meat. Frying onions. Chocolate syrup heating in a pan to be poured over white chocolate ice cream. Homemade lemon curd.

Tonight I cooked a pan of applesauce from the new macintosh apples in bushels everywhere, just enough cinnamon to color the juice, a drizzle of maple syrup to take off the edge. It's cooling in a white dog dish in the other room (dish no longer needed by the dog, I have commandeered it for my own use). Later I'll mix a few dollops of it into plain yoghurt and swirl it around for a late supper.

Earlier the westering sun sky painted the walls of this 5-sided room where I work. The few katydids left have lost some of their voice as cold stiffens everything with its arrival. I walk out back to toss apple skins and egg shells into the compost box, hoping it lures our neighborhood skunk for a last visit, or the coyote who has learned to sneak along the edges to avoid light from the house.

I try to lay to rest once and for all something that cannot be laid to rest once and for all. My house smells of drying red clover and sweet woodruff. Like a humidor for expensive cigars, a little bit of hot cinnamon, burnt rice. The branches of an overgrown forsythia scrabble against screens, and mockingbirds on a last romp through the neighborhood call out their cascade of fooling-around imitations.

Finishing a poem is like trying to land a plane. The desired quiet touching down collides with an ultimate updraft of feeling, and in the background, the flying glass, foaming bleeding wounds, and shards lying all over the floor soaking up moon on its way to full. I bellow to the smoke trick with mirrors thing that everyone targets for their rage and fury and whining, and as always get nothing back.

Dear child, you will learn how awful it is to live in the vividness of your heart. You'll thank your stars for it, even while pressing hard against chest and belly to shore up the shreds and tatters, the blazing heat and mess left behind after love has ebbed away. You'll go again and again to the place of falling off, you'll thrive and even prosper. I know you will. I know.



Blogger Springer Kneeblood said...

This is another beautiful piece. You're quite a writer.

6:36 AM  
Blogger KathyR said...

Applesauce in a dog dish?

8:50 AM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Bracing piece - they're worth waiting for! The applesauce/yogurt sounds wonderful. And forsythia - if you can see it, it's overgrown.

8:08 AM  
Blogger Sarah Sometimes said...

Lovely and vivid. I feel for your niece. And you, trying to comfort her. And all of us, having to go through these things.

7:34 PM  
Blogger hele said...

How do I even start to comment on this post? The smells, the feeling of being in your home, of being allowed to glimpse a sliver of your soul as it dances with and becomes the beauty in all that surrounds you?

I can almost see the dog-bowl reflecting the its own light and shadows.


1:11 AM  
Blogger jo(e) said...


5:30 PM  
Anonymous Deborah Godin said...

I've read this several times and can't think of a thing to say that measures up to what I have felt through your words.

8:25 PM  
Anonymous Jarrett said...

It's rare for a piece that feels like its written fast to also be as tight and dense as this is. I don't know or especially care if the speed that I sense is an illusion; it's still a nice contrast.

I'd like to hear more about your five-sided room. Five even sides, as in a pentagon?

Cheers, J

5:12 PM  
Blogger Kathryn and Ari said...

Happy Thanksgiving! We'd love to meet the shaggy dinner date.

5:57 AM  
Blogger Rain said...

a broken heart is the achiest of pains. your cooking however, sounds to me like a wonderfully warm embrace to help mend it

9:26 PM  
Blogger BlackenedBoy said...

Anne does live in State Where the City of Brotherly Love is located. I'm not very thrilled with her right now, as you'll read about in the next post.

4:52 PM  
Blogger BreukelenDisplace said...


7:40 PM  
Blogger the psycho therapist said...

My god I'm glad I followed my intuition and wandered over. (I resonated to a comment you made at "mole".)

What spectacular writing.

1:16 PM  
Blogger Mark Berry said...

lurrrrve your words, you've got the magic

1:49 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home