As soon as I think it, the thought flees. Oh, it was the perfect opening; now an ethereal thought gone, maybe into outer space. What I do remember is that the water is boiling for the spaghetti. The grease is hot in the pan and the meat is sizzling. I am in the middle of this sentence and I have to leave the page to check dinner. Fuck. What I do know is that the ice is melting in this glass, watering the vodka down.
There is so much I do not know these days. I do not know if I will be alive and shivering in the coming Ice Age. I do not know if I will live penniless on the streets, although that is likely. I do not know this week’s winning lottery numbers, unfortunately. I could go on and on. What I do know for certain is that I am on a misdirected path. I am traveling backwards. I am struggling.
How do I look? Pictures of me will always be of how I used to look. What does it matter if it was taken one second or many, many years ago? My dreams don’t matter anymore. I have left them wallowing in sleep. I am living a continuous dream– no, I am living under water. The currents take me elsewhere, somewhere dark and bizarre. I am unfamiliar with the life forms that surround me. I am alien.
I have tried to make you happy. I have tried too long at the expense of my own sanity. You are hard, unyielding. Why can’t we speak to each other with kindness and respect? Why are you so afraid to connect intimately? I open my palms to you and you come at me with shards. You swing at my vulnerable veins with broken glass—
I am alone in the past and present, and will be alone (dead) in the future. As soon as I write it, I cower, and think to erase— I will always write of how I used to be. What feelings linger? What feelings persist?
I am struggling. Can’t you see that? I am asking for help. I am asking for you to be patient with me and help me through this relapse into sorrow, into that old, hate-fueled addiction. I am scared—can’t you see? Where is your humanity? Are you so callous and cynical that you have forgotten our vow? I thought five years sober was going to last longer. I give and give. I am empty now. I have given my all.
What else can I do?
What will survive—the poem or I?
I am lost in my own distraction. I am afraid to read the words I write. I am afraid of their truth. This day is hot. The heat radiates from within and without. I watched the John Lennon film for Imagine. My god! That white room! If I were to set foot in it I would cry uncontrollably. I would curl into a fetal position and wish to be born again.
I want to be born again in that white room. It is inaccessible to me. If I were in that white room I would likely not be able to write. The white silence would be too great. The clean page would erase me. I would only be able to write of ennui and the flowers growing unkempt beyond the windows.
I am so far behind in my own education. I know only the tutelages of grief. I write about death in every poem. The death of self, of other, of love—something has changed. The vodka is kind. I watched the way you cut the lemon. I came home and mimicked your slicing—neat and precise. My limes were perfect over ice in a glass with vodka and juice. It’s time for another.
Thank you for breaking into the jail of me.
I want to open figuratively and literally. I want to crush the glass in my hand and let the blood and cold liquor leak through my fingers. My nature demands the wakefulness of ineffable shock–
There is a river in me. Storms have come. The snows have melted. Let the floodgates open. I want to flow to land, wipe away structures.
I am on a cross and I am scared.
I walk barefoot in the morning grass to load the suitcase and my guitar in the car. It feels so pleasurable–a feeling I have not experienced in years. In the field across the street, there is a thin mist lingering above the grass at the feet of a statue of a saint. I don’t know which saint it is, but Trecie would, of course. Cows are mooing “good morning” nearby, amusingly. It is not unusual to hear roosters crowing at home, but a “moo” is delightful and different. A hawk looms over the houses and settles in the top of an oak tree—crows scatter and caw. This stay has been exactly what I needed. I feel so excited about my time here and my new outlook. I am on a new path–I am rested and ready to go home.
RETREAT 2.0 PLAYLIST
Joni Mitchell –-Miles of Aisles
Windham Hill artists (guitar and piano)
“Kindness” (a mix CD a friend made for me)
Givers –-In Light
Radiohead—Kid A and In Rainbows
The Rolling Stones—Tattoo You
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