Friday, November 24, 2006

things that happen when your father dies

for Carmen

as the original support posts in your life disappear, the free-standing structure becomes all that more exposed; its integrity is tested

no one wears beanies with handmade pom poms on the top

there are gifts you will no longer have to buy

you look at your mother differently ; you look at her as a lover

you avoid a certain seat in the loungeroom

you wonder what to do with his car keys

you begin to look for him in the air around you

initially your own pain is too much; eventually you come to dwell on his

you really do remember some of the funniest times; his smile (even when he didn't wear his teeth) becomes so precious

IF YOU ARE LUCKY he had a chance to see you grow; you had a chance to see him real

you wonder at his strength, his will, his sheer hard work

you see him in yourself a little more

you think that's not so bad

you cry a lot and you wish there'd been just a tiny bit more

there is never more; it will always have to be just enough

Monday, November 13, 2006

The cat. And the rain.

I woke too quicky, torn from sleep, rising and gasping like one rising from the ocean. Behind me, the windows shook from the power of the storm. Pale light flashed beneath the blinds as lightning split the night sky beyond.
Cats were screaming. The sound tore through me. I ran to the conservatory at the back of the house. I could feel night air and smell the mud and rain as I moved. Where was storm air coming from?
Outside the rear door, through the long, slim panes of glass, I could see my two cats rushing to the door. I let them in. They stood frozen, fur bristling despite its sodden state. I looked to the conservatory behind me and saw why they were afraid.
The neighbourhood tom, a violent and muscular tabby beast, was crouched in the corner of the room. It had fallen through the glass roof of the conservatory. It looked at me with wild eyes and bawled. I went to it, slowly, picked it up by the scruff of the neck. I felt its thick claws sink slowly but surely into my wrist. Its eyes rolled as it curled its body around my arm like a wet, bristling, nightmarish glove. I was appalled. It had wounded my pets numerous times in the past. It had also attacked me. Now it terrified me. In the loud, confusing rush of the storm I could not think straight. I wanted it out of my house. It was like a creature from a horror film.
My cats flew in opposite directions as I took the hideous creature to the door. I stopped for one moment and threw it against the brick wall that faced the door. Why did I do that? I was terrified, horrified but why did I do that? Bile hit my mouth. I slammed the door shut and looked through the glass. The cat, the thing, reared back, seemed to grow in height like a human being, its eyes rolled in its head, shot through with much blood. It stared at me and its mouth opened wide. I could hear no sound above the thunder. I ran.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Crying girl

And she cried so much when it happened that she thought she would never stop. The tears gushed forth even though she was surrounded by strangers ... and someone else who had much more to cry about.

And from that day forth, the tears stayed so very close to the surface. It was like a very full well covered only with a light piece of plastic. Any day that heavy rains came, the well would easily overflow. She had to be so careful.

Friday, November 03, 2006

A good question

I saw 'A Prairie Home Companion' last night. I'm not a reviewer so I won't drone on suffice to say that, in a world of Britney Spears, chain store fashions and bad reality TV there are people out there who give you hope.

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the amount of information we are presented with these days. Sure I suppose you can tune out and live in your own small patch, retire to the convent and a life of contemplation or just turn off the television and burn all magazines but ... I cannot do that.

Torn am I between an addiction to knowing as much as I can about the world around me and the urge to take it all down a notch, return to the days when you kept abreast of news from your family and fellow villagers and - maybe - the odd bit of information from the next big town.

I adored the movie. I love Altman's gift for ensembles, his acknowledgement that, in the cracks of our lives and in the dull, overcast corners of society lie the most interesting stories, the most intriguing people. I mean the man was born in 1925 for God's sake! I know 37-year-olds who lack his energy. Ok, I'm just talking about me but surely there are 70-year-olds tucked up in nursing homes who didn't have his drive when they were 40; amazing stuff.

As for the writer and star of the show, Garrison Keillor, well he's another rare bird. By accident, coincidence or serendipity I have just recently read one of his books - 'Love Me'. His name rang a bell but the book is based in the hallowed halls of The New Yorker magazine and I am so addicted to that publication that it was that element that truly attracted me. Here is a man who can write, orate, joke, sing, debate ... I am not sure I'd want to meet him (don’t meet your heroes) but hell it makes me happy just knowing he’s a possibility. Originality, passion, the confidence to stick to things that you like when the rest of the world is hinting that they may be past their prime - God I love that. As I walk past the windows of the houses in my neighbourhood or look at people on the tram or others pushing carts through the fresh produce aisle at the supermarket I just HAVE to believe that, back home, on their tiny balconies or in their plush reclining chair filled lounge rooms they have passions that survive, that eccentricities flourish, that interests are pursued. No wonder I live with a Postman-poet ... maybe his peccadilloes are his greatest strength.

I'm rambling now and I just looked at the photo of Jearlyn Steele that I have posted here and remember what this rant was meant to be about. In the movie - PHC - she sings a song called 'The Day is Short'. Besides the fact that the woman and her voice are like hot chocolate with extra fudge and her smile made me want to cry with gratitude, the words of the song just bowled me over. I think that was because I had, only hours before, had a conversation with a dynamo type retiree about the nature of living, the pace of modern life, the challenge of being true to yourself, not comparing yourself to others and having the confidence to step out of the rat race and give the rat some cheese instead (maybe even share a glass of wine with him).

"The day is short. The night is alone. Why do we work so hard to get what we don't even want? "

- How true is that of so many people you know?

Why do we work so hard for things we do not even want? That's a curly one. I have recently taken to walking through retail strips, supermarkets, shopping malls and the rest with my eyes directed to the floor. I say to myself "You don't want it, you don't need it." The fact that I have had a hiccup with a big cheque coming through and that funds are tight is assisting this Buddha type outlook no end but recently I keep thinking about the work I am willing to take on and the things I do with the proceeds. I also look at the lives of people I love, people doing jobs they hate to buy things they don't need, who take on more and more pressure to update things that already do the job at hand. God we are strange creatures. How have we stumbled so far into the abyss? Why do we work so hard towards things that don't even thrill us that much? They may have in the past but the shine's all rubbed off now and you can see the chip board underneath.

It's probably worth pondering. I'd ponder too but, guess what? I'm off to the shops!

Note to self ...

Wow I know how to bludge. I had two weeks away from the work horse, one week to get my head together and, finally, after what seems like an eternity, I am putting finger to keyboard to start my little blogblurb again.

Reminding myself - 10 minutes every day. God how hard is that?