Monday, February 26, 2007

Life in Death

We have been in a bit of a silent period, He and I, as if He’s on His side of the bed and I am on mine, both of us enthralled by our own worlds of discovery in the books we read- be it The Book of Life or To Bedlam and Partway Back. My back faces Him and we are in bed together. His still, silent presence makes Him no less next to me.

There is a straining to humanity, not indigenous to male or female, we both sense that life is harder than it had to be. If we smell the air long enough, if our ears take in the most acute sounds like the elegant motorized cadence of the hummingbird’s wings, it is there, it is visible. My eyes can almost make out the shape of that old tree, if my neck bends far enough back into the past, visible now in only glimpses, its stately shape silvered and wise, boughs bending down and up, over and out, strong enough to succumb to his plucking of fruit, her convincing words.

It all begins there, really. And for me now, it does not end here. There is more, but right now He is silent and I have my back toward Him. Until Saturday evening.

Lying in bed tired from a night’s revelry with friends, I slept, on my side, arms purposefully lengthened to draw my shoulders away from my neck. Sleep is one of the rare instances when all is really right with the world: when our meager bodies remind us we are created not creator, when we refresh and refuel so we may conquer the day ahead. Once I am asleep, I am dead to the world until magically, eight hours later I awaken without assistance, a well-crafted machine that is man.

This particular evening, something woke me in the pitch of night’s apex. Through the haze of slumber, a small familiar sound pulled back the gauzy curtains of sleep. As I began the task of discerning what was making the sound, I wrestled with whether or not it was a loud squeaking or a screech. The folds continued peeling back as I grew increasingly alarmed, realizing either a family of rats lay outside my window waiting to ambush me or a band of bats. My eyes opened and took in the darkness that surrounded me as the sound grew. I surveyed the floor for any sign of vermin present and distinguished that the sound indeed was outside. As I lay still in bed, I finally spoke to Him.

“Please don’t let them come in here!”
“Make them go away!”
“I believe You are capable of banishing them from my presence that they may never return. I do. Believe You.”

And the screeching halted. It did not die away or saunter off in the midnight’s air, it ceased. In the last shreds of the fear I clung to as a blanket that would shroud me, I contemplated sleeping or not sleeping in my bedroom that night. After all, they had been outside, what if they returned? I mulled over whether or not I could actually fall asleep now that it had been disturbed by the sounds of night animals cavorting against the pane of glass keeping them at bay. And I sank back, down into the feathered pillow cradling my head and let go. In this instant, I had become increasingly aware of the vulnerability of our bodies while they sleep, previously only ascribed to babies and small children. We too are children in our own right, just taller sometimes.

The next morning I pushed the sleep from the edges of my eyes, forcing myself to get up and go to yoga, though rolling over sounded much more appetizing. Thoughts of the night before and its resulting midnight conversation spoken in the darkness supplanted any other thoughts from rising. I knew even if I asked my roommate Lori if she had heard anything, she would say no, that those screeches had been meant for me. That my will lately has been so strong, He may only get my attention when nothing else vies for it, when I am at peace, when all is right with the world.

So is this the end? No it’s somewhere in the middle of my story and perhaps three quarters of the way of ours.

A man’s words rang in my ears that Sunday morning:

“Why are you on the shore when you can be in the river? Dipping a toe or dunking a foot isn’t being completely in the river.”

My life’s safety nets illuminated around me in that day-glo orange hue and then there was context for the screeching, the river, the silence.

“Why are you trying so hard to do this all on your own? Why don’t you trust Me? You’re not doing a very good job all by yourself and yet you persist. Let go of the ledge of earth upon which you stand firmly, feet dug into the soil. See that I am good and I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Context averted my eyes from my belly button to gaze instead at shafts of light squeezing in between panes of colored glass ,and shining through those stained glass windows, its boughs shrugged under the weight of the shiny fruit. There is life in death.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

in case you are wondering

i think i have the flu. i leave right now to go to the doctor for her assessment. so after a morning of work, i found this fun website where you upload a photo and it will show you your "celebrity look-alikes". what is interesting is that james spader seems to be on all of the collages i have tried- he and janeane garofalo. who knew?

Daddy's celebrity look-alike collage

let's just say he's a one of a kind. so far none of the three photos i have tried have brought up any celebrity matches.

Tio Bibi's celebrity look-alike collage

Erika's celebrity look-alike collage

mom's celebrity look-alike collage

my celebrity look-alike collage

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

a valentine reminisces

work today felt sing-song in its approach to time. each woman received a long-stemmed red rose from rob, our in-house do-gooder. one of the flowers crushed when a colleague picked it out of the bunch and she decided to sprinkle the office floor with red rose petals. i provided homemade brownie bites that whole foods baked up and sang along with sappy, cheesy songs on pandora for fun, taunting my cubicle mates by squeaking out lyrics to lionel richie and michael bolton songs in my raspy cold-ridden voice.

tonight i indulged the gift of argent that my mom bestowed upon me in a bottle of the rare, limited edition black satin nail polish. let me set the scenario for you: i am strolling through nordstrom and remembering her voice saying "treat yourself to something special" and look at my own poorly havocked nails, chipped with the dark mahogany polish revealing flecks of white nail underneath. on a lark, i walk over to the chanel counter. my eyes hardly believe it, but there are two bottles of the black satin nail polish. two. i had tried three times before and every time they had been sold out. on ebay right now, you can purchase a bottle of it for the cheap price of $36.64 (from the u.k.) or the expensive price of $40.00. for nail polish. this is a no brainer and the cheshire cat in me is grinning. black nails are all the rage in the clawing couture realm after all...

fast forward: it's a study night and as i saunter into border's i am visibly dismayed at all the bodies crowding over the tables. shouldn't they all be on dates? at least that guy seated at the good table near the plug, maybe his dream girl will call right now to see if he wants to take a last minute visit to a north beach eatery. hmm. i get my coffee and then see one table open in the midst of all these "study" groups of college kids (who really should have been out on dates with each other). ipod-armed, coldplay turned up, i tackle my first mfa paper. and finish it within two hours. whoo hoo! i will look at it again in a few days to embellish and edit, but this task deemed only a week ago as impossible has now been conquered. here's to poet sharon olds for her incredible way with words. may even an iota slip into my style.

and now i sit typing, jet black nails tapping on computer keys, gleaming in the dim evening light as a pearled aroma of rose petals crushed underfoot clings to my nostrils- the not-so distant happy memory of a valentine's day.


Monday, February 05, 2007

life drenched with color like a diebenkorn

so tomorrow i am taking a day off from work.

it will go something like this:
sleep in, have a protein-packed breakfast, immerse myself in poems about war, death, innocence lost and sex, lunch, a good walk around the neighborhood, then back into the throes of jerusalem after world war II with jews questioning identity in a city that throbs with the lifeblood and pain of a woman in labor before her time, next off to a meeting with a new friend, dinner and depending on if i finish my reading for the day, i may sneak in a movie...

it could have gone like this: sleep in, eat breakfast, poetry immersion, go to local hole-in-wall teahouse, call tea guru james norwood pratt and see if he wants to meet up for tea in chinatown, then back to poetry (in the end this is what i would enjoy, but the other is probably what i need).

i surround myself in my boudoir with hues of aqua, purple and a splash of coral. nothing ever seems to be a straight line in my life. even passage to india i have a feeling will be more in the shape of a paisley, a lotus flower perhaps, but not a line. i wear black and white so my lips can be tomato red.

so this is how it goes down: i take what is offered and my life is bound to books and a computer. shackles of solitude and service.

how it could go down: 30 hours a week devoted to computer and then that pesky 24 devoted to the words with time left over to soak them in. it took me one hour to read three poems today by yehuda. he blows my brain open again and again. the words so multi-dimensional that i feel inebriated and unable to catch all the brassy intent even the third time around. time to drink in his words and let mine flow like his on a page. time enough for a splash of coral in the sultry blues of the everyday.