Saturday, December 28, 2013

Xmas with Parents, not Children (a long post)

How was it, you ask?  How was your Christmas?

First, let me say that I am writing from Vancouver's airport, waiting for a 7 am flight that has been delayed to 8 am: another travel day off to a stellar start.  This while the nervous sweat in my armpits is still drying out after the drive here, chauffeured swervingly by my father (still heavily bandaged after the surgery that amputated two fingers on his right hand, seemingly blind in the dark, and afflicted, like so many of the 80+ set, by the conviction that 40 kmh is close enough to the posted speed limit of 100kmh).

My Christmas was so bad, so bad, I am going to transcribe here the terrible poetry I wrote about it.  I will lose the 3 readers I have, and I will be sad about that.  But that's how bad it was.  So bad my judgement is even worse than usual.  So bad that even though I know I am not Michael Ondaatje, I imagine the lines below through the filter of his excellent writing and delude myself (well, not quite), about their passability.

In case it's not clear: being away from my children over Christmas was devastating, damaging, punishing.  In the cold neon light of the airport I can joke a little, but this may take some time to recover from.  This is an experience which is indeed like an injury and all the more confusing because 1) it is so terribly painful and 2) it results directly from decisions I made, and is thus self-inflicted.

I want the depth of grief to add up to something, to mean something, to be convertible into some good outcome.  (It's also tempting to try to do deals with the gods "if I never have to feel this bad again I will be the best mother, I will be the best person, I will perform endless acts of charity.")

Here're the two poems.  It's unlikely I will regularly post poetry, so it may be safe to come back to momosyllabic in a week or so. (Bonus for those who scroll to the bottom of this post: a picture of my three fingered father.)

Christmas in Vancouver

The lights on the ski slope at Grouse Mountain hang in dark distance
like a spangled fishing net thrown up from the coast into the mountain's pines.
My heels slip in cold earth.  I walk along King George Highway.
Dripping air.

But the hearth fire I've carried here in my chest
is out of control
two young blond heads I cannot sniff
too far to kiss them
too long from them.

I walk as one burning,
becoming fossil dark
in orange flame
and smoke tears.

something will be left
some frame
some architecture desolate of flesh?

(And I miss you too, love--
hard as shock--
the worst realized here
in having
neither you nor my children near me)

Come, time--
over this raze--

Stumble on to an uncertain future.


And then there's one more, just as mediocre (even more melodrama!)

December 26

So low I'm under

I see it all from below
people            past

I lean back into

everything above,

the people I love

walk past over me.


And now: take a look at my father!  7 weeks out from surgery.  Only three fingers on his dominant hand, and still a goofball.  Go Pappa.

No comments:

Post a Comment