Here is another excerpt from the book I created during a writing course in the winter of 2009.
Some days it surprises me that I find the courage to step out of my bedroom and down the stairs through the living room, to the hallway to the door, to step outside the door. To be stepped out on the doorstep, to let my self step outside of it, when every cell in my body is screaming like an old washing machine, spinning with a rackety-clack. Getting off-balanced, complaining about the load. Tilting with the weight of the laundry. Hanging it all out to dry for the neighbours to pick through, pick apart like buzzards perching up on the feeder, looking for a little nectar, for a mouse gone belly up in heart attack after the gas kicked in and chased her and her babies from the nest behind the stove.
I am not controlling this; I am trusting these metaphors are for something more and not just the winding down of my brain, early onset Alzheimer, maybe or too much booze not enough sunshine, or a heart that is shattered and the layer of sebaceous matter forming above the wound to cushion me from the sharp pain of my brokenness. This piece I hold in my hand, like a pen ripe with ink but holding it back lest my feelings leak out all over the page.
And this surprises me, yes. That I would even care. For once I was the queen of love, and I broke hearts not the other way around. But now, like a rocket on its way home, I find only a narrow angle for safe reentry.
Lord I was born a rambling man. Lord, I was born. A man, a rambling man. A wanderer on the holy sands. Forty years I walked that desert searching for my people. And I am sure that I have found my God is no less a beggar than I. Pleading with the universe “Don’t leave me alone like this,” he said, “for in between matter there is space, and in that space is where we ask why.”
It surprises me that I am willing to become a member of the Lateral Thinkers Bowling League, to strike up conversation because I believe in the gutters between thoughts – that truth is truly alive in imagination, that my story is told through my willingness to tell a story. My pleasure of spinning yarn, knitting tea cozies, of keeping the teapot warm. Lemme pour you a cuppa while we sit by the electric fire in my grandparents house in post war England. Where I swing my arms wildly and still don’t touch the years already past. But that somewhere in this rambling page, there is a modicum of truth.
Some days it surprises me that I still yearn to be loved. You’d think my life had wandered far enough down the loneliness path that I’d be used to it and no longer minded being alone. Grab my picnic basket, and be satisfied by my jaunt through the woods to grandma’s house – enticed by the wolves. I want to be saved. I want to be consumed. Ah, now I am spinning fables, aren’t I? Aren’t I? How do I shake these creepy feelings, like brushing spider webs away from my face long after the attic’s been cleared out.
Some days it surprises me that I haven’t given up. I am relentlessly hopeful. In every stranger’s face I see the kernel of love. It surprises me that I have yet to be recognized by someone as the beautiful, adorable, complex, sexy, intelligent, creative, engaging being that I am. Or maybe what surprises me is that I have yet to recognize it in myself. Every year this aching sadness creeps further upon me like shadows creaking across floor boards, like an animated story of a little girl tucked up in the blankets of her bed, and the relief she feels to realize that it was never a boogie man. That she was always safe.
(FEBRUARY 17, 2009)