QUAERENS DOMUM

He is slicing a tomato when the call comes in. His hands juicy-slick against the receiver holding the words “your father.” Meander suggested a god attends each of us from the moment of birth and back at the cutting board he wonders which god is attending him. This is the beginning of dread. This is the first step backwards and a greasy one at that. He slip-slid his way north to sense freedom but the world is fitted together by a seduction of opposites and who but the demons can resist?

Driving south of the border between what was and what is what he is—hope resides in red clover and the decimals between each pine. Maybe the heat isn’t as wet as it once was. Maybe the place they called paradise is too but he never found love beside the pinball machine or in a backseat.

Photography Credit: Scott Shaw

Poem: Katch Campbell

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APART

One thousand five hundred and fifty-eight soldiers lost a limb in the Mid-East conflicts. How we determine what is pain. How our outside is less hidden. When Descartes suggested all sensation is generated inside one’s brain did he know of Spencer’s limbs? They ache when he thinks of her. Stuck standing on the wrong side of this window he wonders if her needs are still the same. Does she write each week’s list on the softer part of someone’s wrist? Does she still use the tablet he left beside the fridge? He doesn’t want to remember what he’s been told he should forget. So inside against these boxes he waits for her to pass.

photography credit: Scott Shaw scottshawphotography.com

Poem: Katch Campbell

Virgin Wood

Why is it that every man sees what I cannot politely name here? When I say love I mean humanity and the sound the moon craves from the sea. When you say love you mean a burrito and afternoon sex. Walking in these woods you stop to photograph a tree hollow and I realize we are on two separate paths. The terms for a woman’s body are not nearly as rich as the hummus we now tread. I’m confused by opposites at play. Your quest for next is incessant–Last night enraptured and today barely engaged. If nothing is more permanent than the constellation of these spores, scattered upon mossy wood, than why do I bother? Let this poem be filled with hope and offer some direction. I want you to embrace everything. By everything I mean us.

photo credit: Scott Shaw

Poem: Katch Campbell

Eleven and Popeye’s

When he is fifteen he will fall in love for the first time. She walks into his life likea raspberry slushy, all fizz and fickle; a bird of paradise hopping. Her energy is distracting him in math class and his mother will not stand for less than 100%. What to do with all those brains? Pascal made a wager won’t you? She wears her hair like a nest of spun black sugar and he believes it smells of apples. If only he could know for certain. What is certain are these small sips. What is certain is that he doesn’t know anything yet of the hull of a woman’s hip or the energy produced by an arched eyebrow. Who will teach and what will they say? Is it better to wait or to rush into love? The fearful remain safe but never independently order from the full menu. But today is the game and these biscuits.

photography credit: Scott Shaw

poem: katch campbell

Betty Morris Makes Mashed Potatoes That Taste Like Clouds…

You are in here. I love you. If you do not see yourself in here you need to read it again until you do. You are all in here. Each and every one of you. Every hair on your head.

#4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

It’s the opening scene in the Nutcracker Ballet. My son is center stage with the usual characters and the curtains draw back. Music overwhelms me. I dance in my head, in my car, in my undies while making supper. I never loved ballet until my son started dancing. I loved the music but the hand positions bored me. Now I weep to see the perfection of a well-wrought arabesque. If I were to experience a perfect day I would have to live my life over four hundred and thirty-three times. I would have to be all of the numbers I have lived at once and maybe glimpse the future. So today I will be five and sitting next to Roger Rutegi and Ms. Cane will ignore my excited chatter. Ms. Cane does not exist. Sorry Ms. Cane wherever you are you no longer are if this is my perfect day. My mother is wandering the stacks of the local library and I discover the music room is filled with sliding drawers and pull them open to stumble though. Vinyl album after vinyl album of recordings and more recordings. I discover the Pastoral Symphony and later lie on the green wool surrounded by Beethoven. I will play in the symphony of my life until I stop. I’ll never stop playing. On this one perfect day I will go to conservatory and be best mates with Yo-Yo Ma. On this one perfect day I will float into sixth grade and Mr. McElhattan will still have his auburn mustache and his runners physique. I will see him running the side roads as I pass in my mom’s blue station wagon and he will wave. He will think like I am thinking, someday I’m going to marry that one. He never plays the slide show of his honeymoon in the Andes on my perfect day. I will eat wild strawberries on cornflakes in whole milk. I will row the boat alone and catch a pickerel and bring it home to fillet and eat over a campfire on the beaches of Lake St. Catherine and my sister will wander over with that huge Doberman Pincer and squat down to whisper a secret about the boy who’s parents rented the cabin down the lane. Martin Freeman I will remember everything about your blue hoodie-zippered-sweatshirt. We run from the beach and use the seesaw together forever. I would seesaw with you until tomorrow but today is going to stay. My sister will find all of the four leafed clovers in our grandmother’s yard. In my perfect day everything smells like the grass there, and of your head after swimming naked in the lake at 2AM, and of a package left at my door. In my perfect day there is a sealed package with your pen marks on it. I will never open it. I will smile endlessly holding the box in twirling curiosity because I already have you. Today Sarah Smith’s birthday is still the day before mine and I have a friend named Julie Dash who’s house smells like mystery; we eat lentils until graduation. Today I sing Christmas carols with Christa to the neighborhood and collect donations for the Children’s Hospital. Today I sail with friends from island to island and eat fried conch and drink coke and wear a white bikini. Karen is here and Adam and you. Today someone plays Fleetwood Mac and I kiss a boy with braces and my father does not drive me to the eighth grade dance because on a perfect day you just end up at the dance with the boy. Today the braces don’t matter. All of the perfect dates would be our date on this day. All of the perfect dates would be you. I dance with a boy who teaches me about poetry until I believe I am a poet too. I dance with him until his wife shows up and I tell her to take him home and make him her award winning apple pie. Today I nap with my children and read them every Bill Peet story ever written. Today we watch the Star Wars trilogy and I make love to The Harrison Ford of 1983. I will sing Amazing Grace and Silent Night. I will keep all of the mothers alive and I will cure all of the cancers. I don’t need anything because I already have all of these things. I will eat every dessert at Gullifty’s and seventy-seven pancakes from Denny’s and I will do it with the ones I miss most. I will ride every ferry, chase every ferris wheel, and race Tom Tominack in a banana car to hockey. I will learn to water ski. I will learn to surf. I will join a jug band and pull lobsters from the sea. I will drink wine with Melissa and believe that all of love is contained in a Whoopie Pie. YES! It is! I will watch John turn 50 again in an orchard behind the house and witness Jessie fall in love. I will see my friends finish their first marathon and eat Betty Morris’s mashed potatoes then ask her to make some more. I will listen to Lukas and color with Eliza. I will rebel yell at Eleanor’s winning goal. I will swing with Annie and get to know her son William. I will design a hovercraft and fly over the Blue Mosque. Today every leaf is budding and every leaf is already in color. Today Black-eyed Susans are in my hair and Italo Calvino will write the sixth memo. I will watch Nicole Read at Lincoln Center and Mike sing O’ Danny Boy there too. Today every friend who writes will write their bliss then N+7 it into a renegade piece. Today I will announce that this day never ends but always begins and I will say, “it is midnight,” you will kiss me until three minutes later when everyone yells, “Happy New Year” then I will shrug and say, “I set my watch ahead” with a smile. You will kiss me again. Later when the sun is rising on this day you will ask me what happened and I will say, “I made a wrong turn” and you will slide in behind me.

Everything stops then.

Put a Pin in IT

I keep trying to answer question number 3: Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why? I think I’m avoiding the answer because I already know it and embarrassed for some reason. Yes. Of course yes. And don’t you always? I had this conversation with someone I am getting to know over dinner the other night and while I was asking the question I was thinking, just like this…I planned this conversation too. I thought about these questions and memorized a mantra to make sure I could come back to it incase I was overwhelmed with your (his) rugged jaw line or this second margarita. 

superhero

crystal ball

fire

childhood stuffed animal

This was my mantra-story…”a superhero looks at a crystal ball and sees that a fire will alight a city of houses and decides to remove everyone’s childhood stuffed animal.” I know this makes no sense so I have decided to not edit or reread. I never expected he, the man I’m getting to know, would say as I was thinking, “of course I do, don’t you?” Then he ordered the octopus for us to share. The only item on the menu I really wanted but was afraid to mention. Why? I don’t rightly know. Sometimes I feel guilty for loving octopus because I love octopi. Their strangeness feels normal to me. I think if I were to die tonight and reincarnation was truth I would return as one. I’m so multi-layered. The number of hats I wear outnumbers the number of hairdos I have. I am tangled within an eight legged humanity! This post is like the weather, schizophrenic and without vigor but I’m going to keep writing because I’ve started it several times and today’s goal is to finish.

Recently I started praying for patience in all things and I’ve noticed more often than not I am feeling impatient. I spoke with a friend about it and she started to laugh. She said I was going about the praying all wrong. That if I ask for patience then I will be bombarded with situations that test my patience in order to hone it smooth.  What!!! I hadn’t thought about it that way and said, “what do I pray for then?” She said it is a wise thing to pray for exactly what we want not a way to deal with it.” Ah. DUH!!! So I’ve changed course. I want to write like this:

DESCARTES
                         september 2010
The aggravation of reading philosophy
to fall asleep is that you can only sleep
while reading. Once you turn out the light,
you’re awake again, swamped in conundrums
and that elaborate subordinating syntax
with which the fact of your own existence
is made debatable. I read Descartes,
therefore I am sleepy. I sleep not,
therefore I think and am desperate not to.
As for the moon, unless my senses deceive me,
it is full and though the pull of it provides for the tides,
there’s no surf thrash here to lull me asleep. Instead,
I keep thinking of Francine, Descartes’s daughter,
who died at five of scarlet fever.
The brightness of the moon allows me
to study the blood in my eyelids,
which I am otherwise uncertain is truly there.
Not even thinking about it proves it,
although, if Descartes was correct, thinking suggests
that I am as he must have been,
susceptible to what is called heartbreak,
a metaphorical rendering of grief.
It would have kept him awake too,
370 years ago this month.
After her passing, it took him two years
to demonstrate at last, the immortality
of the human soul, and still she was gone,
and still I cannot sleep for thinking.
The impossible to be borne is withstood,
and philosophy is nothing
the metaphorical heart cannot annihilate.
Little about the moon has changed
since Descartes would have looked upon it and thought,
though he must have also felt how little his thinking mattered
in the end, proving, as it did, nothing but that she had been,
and was, though he could not stop thinking of her, no more.
ROBERT WRIGLEY “ANATOMY OF MELANCHOLY & OTHER POEMS”

I’m praying for other things. Like my children’s happiness and and for all of us to graduate with honors. That I meet one nice guy with a bit of scruff who accepts my brain and the hugeness of my heart. Who believes in monogamy and thinks I’m the shit. I want him to want me to want him to be successful in all things. I’ve other requests too like a fantastic job offer and that my friend’s husband’s tumor is benign. I want my friend M’ to fall in love and another friend to find some courage…the list continues. I think somehow my life became too busy and I forgot about the specifics. I unconsciously generated file folders inside my soul and categorized all the desires of my heart into subjects.  Patience, healing, strength, stability.  Thank you to the friend that reminded me that I best be upfront because the God of this universe has more imagination than my human-Ness can conceive. Ask up front. Practice the conversation. Call me silly. Ask and Receive is my new mantra.

Amen.

Today I met a mirror

It’s been a while since I’ve written on here, not that I’ve proven myself prolific in anything other than dreaming. I’ve been dreaming a whole lot about how our world is gonna pull itself together. So much so that I spent a good portion of New Year’s Eve writing about language and it’s possible impact upon humanity. Let’s keep pushing with our writing, our voice and our visuals. Let’s make windows and teach everyone to sniff the air that breezes in.  I’m desperate for us to communicate better, to love fully, to live authentically, to be centered in the small moments. Truths, oh man do I want ALL the truths. This is what fills my mind today after reading Killarney Clary’s By Common Salt.

I want you to ask. Ok, I’ll ask. How do we ever find each other if we are not willing to risk looking like a fool? I mean all the way foolish, barefoot with dandelions, obsessed with seashells, desperate for a construction paper valentine foolish….

I meant for this entry to be about my last posting. To tell you (which is obvious now) that I survived the rappel. This is my official survival notice and thank you message. It was freezing and scary. I called a friend at 5AM in a panic who said he remembered me weighing less than a VW Bus (the weight limit of the ropes I would be using) and then demanded I like it.  I shook on that roof for over an hour so by the time it was my turn I jumped over the edge wanting the ground and some coffee. On the side of the building it was all calm and I spent a bit of time taking in the view. Will I do it again? Probably. Once on the ground I drove to Maine and saw my friends, and rode the Margaret Chase Ferry to Islesboro, and swam in the ocean, and ate all of the whoopie pies and drank all of the wine. I wrote an essay that included a confession. I read all 1800 words of it to some seagulls. It was perfection or so their cries seemed to indicate…unanimous approval, that’s what I was going for.

So what about the mirror? Here’s the one liner from Clary that wrestled me to the ground today.

 What can anything stand for if to promise is to freeze circumstance? 

So many questions arise. Can we legitimately claim upset when a promise is broken? What circumstance are we trying to freeze/elicit with a promise request? To whoes benefit does the circumstance fall? How close to perfect can a human get? Is this about grace or personal subversion? How much will is too much? Should I apologize for not having these questions when I apologized even though you broke your promise just to prove that you could? Fiddlesticks.

Language. words. images. Even the slightest movement can cause us to react, to well up, to reach out, to fall in love.

Give in. Go Find your Whoopie Pie.