My mom emailed me with results of my stepdad’s exam. He has metastatic bone cancer, there is some lung and lymph node involvement as well. I don’t know more than that she simply emailed me the medical report strait from the doctor.
The great amnesia, merciful amnesia will you steal too my heart?
The love I dared, the love I held for a time in my crooked womb
Purer than any other love, a curious species of Narcissism
The better self, the self that is always forgiven and held up
When I am gone and you still me, still viable, will we be one again?
Will you remember me as on a pedestal or as I was skipping
From grave to grave hoping not for life but for a sudden death
Seemingly innocuous, so as not to spoil too much, your legacy
I read recently that Sylvia Plath’s son committed suicide and I got to thinking about how Depression runs in families and so on
If you stand too close
To the heart of the matter
You are bound to scar
Will I part with dignity
Wraith wings palpitating
Amidst a populous lament?
Or will I, as ash, disseminate
Into the bowels
Of an unsigned grave?
How long I have lived
If pain is a testament
A transparent thorn
In a garden that neither
Blossoms nor withers
Will I end an imitation
To the Creator I failed?
My legacy evanescent
Books burned for warmth
In the belly of a metal drum
Expendable to the craft
But exploitable in a fix
The arts are often disregarded for being impractical (they seem to be vanishing from schools along with fitness) and poets are looked at as irresponsible for following a dream that does not generally result in a sustainable income. I am constantly at war with myself. Follow my dreams, go all in or do something more well realistic (it is hard to do both and become a genius). Weighing what I want against what others want and expect of me. It is enough to drive a person well mad!
This week’s prompt is bitter loathing. Know anyone who cannot let go of a grudge? Who continues to hate and behave hatefully? Who remains consumed/obsessed with a specific person and/or specific event? Have you found there is someone that even after years you still cannot forgive? A person that brings out the worst in you? A relationship that even if long extinguished leaves the taste of grapefruit in your mouth?
There are some realities which we find particularly unpalatable. Adult responsibilities can kill childhood dreams. Sometimes the pursuit of an ambition or love interest brings out a part of ourselves too hideous to acknowledge. Have you ever developed an unhealthy obsession? Sometimes our lives appear to us more as a penitentiary than a possibility. Sometimes our job coerces us to behave in a manner we find reprehensible or if nothing else false. Sometimes a relationship breaks us down to such a degree that we become unrecognizable to ourselves. Sometimes an illness or injury destroys our sense of self. An addiction can rob a person of their dignity, their employment, their family everything. Sometimes a single misfortune can demolish a life. Sometimes the loss of a loved one pulls the rug completely out from under our feet. Moving in childhood can be especially traumatic and heart-breaking.
Her fingertips brush against the tumescent flesh of over-ripened tins, impotent banana peels, and the acidic edges of violently deposited bottles. Somewhere within this seething estuary of refuse she hopes to find a solution to hunger. Clutching a bag of recently expired Wonder Bread she raises it triumphantly above her eye line. Her lover nods in acknowledgment only, his clean hands tucked into smug armpits. A pack of Big Red marks a second victory. Luxuries are scarce and heralded with enthusiasm.
Along the highway she hops into a car lover in tow, clothes and aromas disheveled and offensive. The man in the front seat is her brother, the girl her niece. She offers the girl an unmade sandwich, boasting of good fortune. That girl is me. I don’t know whether to accept or decline. More than the questionable menu (I’ve removed my share of mold for dinner) I am alarmed by her pressured dialogue and obfuscating eyes. Who is this peculiar woman palpitating asynchronously in our back seat? Who is this man confined behind surreptitious brows and silence? My dad offers up her name, a name I know through stories and gossip. She is a drug addict, this man is her lover and pimp, but above all this elusive creature is my aunt.
The car ride is awkward but polite. She is manic, talking a thousand miles a minute, content to fill the void with her side-stepping quips. She is nice in a way that suggests unpremeditated violence. She is vulgar and she is innocent. She flits carelessly through unknown stratospheres. I can’t tell what she’s taken but I suspect she’s tried everything. When she exits the car she leaves me with the pack of gum. Months from now she’ll be dead, her pimp having forced her into oncoming traffic. I’ll stand tearfully at her closed coffin knowing that whomever lies inside is both beautiful and terrifying.
This is a true story
I did a reading but the length made it very challenging so it isn’t very good
I don’t generally write blog posts but I thought I’d share my Christmas with you.
Traditionally Swedes put up their Christmas trees on December 22nd and then remove them on January 6th. Sam and I typically put our tree up on December 15th and remove it according to custom. We make a lot of our own ornaments. We have origami ornaments, ornaments made from melted beads, craftsy ornaments that Isadora makes in school, and ornaments that Sam carves from wood. Isadora and I paint the hand-carved decorations. Sam has a real knack for crafts. I have no such knack, I am the type of person to glue my hands together when making a simple collage. Other decorations include festive house plants, wreaths, lighted stars for the windows, advent candles, halmbocker (straw goats), tomte (santas), and trolls.
This year we celebrated on the 24th. Sam made milk free, gluten free blueberry pancakes for breakfast. After our meal we opened our gifts. Isadora received a drum, some jewelry, a Wii game and a Mulan costume. Sam received a clamp, a poem, and I believe he will buy a wood planer as well. I received some jewelry, a poncho sweater, an owl plushie, boxing gloves and a hand target (Sam and I will share), and a beautiful outfit.
Later in the day we had a brief talk with my mom on Skype. She lives in the country and her internet connection isn’t very stable so our conversations are very disjointed.
For dinner we had a Japanese hotpot which consisted of rice noodles, broth, veggies, mushrooms, shrimp, fried tofu, beef, and chicken. Sam cooked at the table on a hot plate except the beef and chicken which he prepared earlier in the day to ensure tenderness and flavor. For dessert we had a gluten free, milk free apple pie, oatmilk vanilla sauce, and cherry sauce. Isadora complimented the meal so much Sam thought I’d bribed her. I hadn’t bribed her it was just that delicious.
After dinner we watched The Polar Express. Last year we watched The Nightmare Before Christmas. Every year we watch a Christmas movie together.
On the 25th we celebrate with the in-laws. It is traditional to begin the day with rice porridge. An almond is placed in one of the rice porridge bowls and whoever finds the almond gets to make a wish. I have a milk allergy so I will skip that.
We do secret Santa for the adults (Sam and I, Sam’s parents, Sam’s sister, Sam’s other sister and her fiance). Everyone buys gifts for the children. There are only 2 children, one of which is mine, so it’s really no trouble. Every year one of the adults dresses up as Santa to pass out the gifts and every year Isadora gets hysterically excited (she’s been able to recognize the person since she was two but that’s not the point).
For snacks there are ginger bread cookies, homemade syrup cookies, homemade chocolate slices (also a cookie), homemade Swedish toffee, another homemade chewy chocolatey candy, and ice chocolates.
Dinner consists of: Swedish ham, baked salmon, potatis au gratin with anchovies, meatballs, prins korv, sil (horrible fish in jars), crisp bread, sliced cold-smoked salmon, glögg (spiced wine), and a salad.
After dinner and presents we watch Christmas cartoons. We are also working on a Gingerbread house =)
Blood is a paradox
Contested but essential
To the machine
I don’t regret it,
Despite the cruelty
That you concede
I’ve outgrown that life
That limp-fisted agony
Dusk no longer
Accelerates my fears
I am priceless
I saw my new therapist the other day. I answered questions about my childhood without crying but when I talked about my current struggles with worth I just started balling. I was so taken off guard I actually looked aroud to see where the noise was coming from. Sorry for the dark topic on Christmas but the therapy session left impressions.
Rows and rows of conifers
Dart past the window
Each one a riddle
A dream construct
Around which gifts
Are posthumously attached
I press my cold hands
Between my thighs
There’s an ax in the backseat
And a felon with a volatile temper
In the front smoking
With the window rolled down
The air tastes like
Aluminum and cremation
I am excited, cautious
And entirely insurmountable
The numbers on the white signs
Are shrinking along with the wares
We stop at the very end of the lot
The trees are dressed
In disheveled skirts of green and brown
They are beautiful
Stoic even as the blade comes
My father and uncle
Fasten the tree
To the roof of the car
Money exchanges hands
Poverty is contagious
No one suffers alone
Eventually the backs
On which we stand
The tree farm is owned by a family
Incomprehensibly they invite us for dinner
I have no idea if we’re related
They are probably cousins,
I have scores of unmet relatives
All over the city
Their home is modest
As far as I can tell
It’s mostly a kitchen
All the other rooms
Are dark and inanimate
The counter is filled with food
Collard greens, biscuits, fried chicken
Miscellaneous chicken parts
That smell internal
I take a seat and tuck in
But grateful for the food
This was a difficult write for me as my memories are all very sketchy!
I was a little uncertain if I should do a prompt with the holidays in full swing but I decided to go for it! This prompt comes to you curtsey of Morpethroad. This week you many find yourself reminiscing about holidays past. Maybe you’re spending the holidays with family and friends who are chalk full of wonderful embarrassing stories about you. Maybe you find yourself nostalgic while elbow deep in a box of festive decorations. Maybe you find yourself feeling homesick while trying to replicate traditional family dishes. Maybe you find yourself laughing at old photographs and/or videos. This week I invite you to share a story about holidays past. I say story but of course poems, artwork, cards, music, photos and all other forms of media are welcome.
Happy Holidays everyone!