Monday, November 30, 2009

I Am Not Bukowski or Toni or Erma Just In Case You Were Confused

There is a poem that Bukowski wrote,

that a silent friend reminded me of.
Bukowski, Chuck was an effed up dude
but brilliant. You should look him up.

He said
"if you’re going to create
you’re going to create whether you work
16 hours a day in a coal mine
you’re going to create in a small room with 3 children
while you’re on
which reminds me of something another writer said
I think it was Toni Morrison
who said she wrote at night all night while her babies slept
until they wailed then she nursed them
then she wrote some more.

And Erma? She was the first
to find funny what has always been funny
and after the Dayton Shopping News
it was $3 a pop for her perfectly funny genius
but she carried on with the laundry and the cleaning and the cooking
and made real measure of what is measureless work and she did it
On a typewriter.

I have never been on welfare or in a coal mine
or done anything more than once for 3 bucks
and the best I remember of infants at my breast
was waking at four or three or whatever it was
nearly weeping
to get back to sleep, no thought of anything
but a dream I wished to continue
and the pat pat of a burp's sweet relief and
my pillow.

I can't keep up the pace.
I am not committed
nor talented nor funny nor able enough
to tell and write and thinky think
and tend and mend with my whole self
which I need to do and which I don't regret
And also sometimes
I just want to watch bad TV.

So I'm gonna be a lazy creator when I can
(when I want to be)
stringing words on gossamer and iffy ideas
stringing dirty socks out a window and hauling them home
like I do, like I've done and sometimes regret...

I've strung up myself enough
for long enough, for longer than I thought,
to worry too much about
why I do it or worse, to worry about
that or Chuck and Toni and Erma

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I Forgot To Tell You

The GFYO says "I forgot to tell you."

Tell me what, I say? I am so angry at him I can feel it in my hurting hands.

(Earlier, he jumped his angry body into me, head first, and met me too high, kinda sucked the air out. He is big, like a little bull racing and I pay the price.)

I take a breath.

He tilts his head up to see my face and I get to look down and see him as he is in this moment: his giant body so small and so confused with his whole regret. I know what he feels.

"I forgot to tell you," he says, tears coming, and I hug him, my deep sweet boy.

"I forgot to tell you," he says and his dimpled chin rises to mine and he says,

"Thanks for letting me stay up."

Friday, November 13, 2009

Just A Typical Afternoon Striking Poses

Mid-afternoon on a very grey day while the Small Town awaits big rain and not much else, the Short Drunk People and I practice our model struts.

I don't know how it was that this came to happen exactly, except to say that we'd been chatting about the way another mom's butt moves when she walks. Naturally, I found this hilarious because the Drunks were pretty accurate in their description of this cute trait of hers. And naturally, I also got to wondering if my butt had its own little habit...

There are many benefits to having kids, like the gift of giving and receiving unconditional love for example, but there's also their ability to evaluate the quality of the shake in your ass. It's one of those things the parenting guidebooks usually overlook, but trust me, it's true.

So anyway, we each take turns walking and alternately, watching. We tip our heads sideways like critics at an art gallery, like scientists, all serious but for our laughing: we realize how ridiculous this experiment of ours is and also, the word "butt" is just plain funny.

(Say it to the GFYO. Throw in "poop" too and that kid will fling himself to the floor in rapturous appreciation of the humor. I've seen it happen many, many times so I know.)

It's after we have measured the unique qualities of our gluts in motion that we decide to roll out the catwalk, and by that I mean, we move chairs to make a path for our showmanship. We take turns wearing my boots, which seem very chic in the moment, and we high-step it up and down the kitchen floor.

And that's how it came to pass that on a dismal November after-school Friday with not much to do and not much to look forward to doing, me and the Short Drunk People worked it.

And it was fierce.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Why I Want to Run Away 2

Head to the grocery store to buy dinner as the cupboards are always bare and I need more laundry detergent. Feel as if there are bugs ALL OVER MY BODY. Get the Short Drunk People to do Grocery Scavenger Hunt so we can get this abysmal mission done quickly. While each kid finds the one thing assigned to them, they also all come back with boxes of something we definitely don't need but I throw it all in the cart anyway.

In my haste to get home to change laundry, to check Bridget, to start homework, to vaccuum all surfaces, to throw away all hair accessories, to freak out in silent horror at the plague upon my house, I slam my head against the car door and scream GODDAMMIT MOTHERFUCKER.

I notice the nice nurse lady pushing her cart through the lot. I notice she notices me.

If I wasn't such a morally upright human being, I would consider burning my entire house down. In some twisted logic, this seems like the most efficient way to de-louse, clean up, skip homework, and earn a dinner out.

But alas, arson is not in my arsenal of criminal skills so instead I'll just pretend for the twenty minutes it takes to write this that I am in a convertible, driving empty roads somewhere beautiful and sunny. I will pretend that my hair blows perfectly behind me, that the late afternoon sun makes me golden and young-looking and that I am singing at the top of my lungs in perfect pitch with a trunk filled with healthy food everyone will love. I will not be itchy.

For the twenty minutes it takes to write this, I will run away and anyone who finds fault with that can suck it. I come home every time and this time, I will stuff every pillow in the house and haul 'em all to the curb. I will start all over, rising from my own ashes.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Why I Want to Run Away

You want to know why? Well, I'm telling you anyway.

Rory and the GFYO were sent home from school this morning with FUCKING LICE. AGAIN. The skin on my hands is peeling off from these awful chemicals and the forty thousand loads of laundry I have done over the last month. I almost burst into tears in the nurse's office. She couldn't have been sweeter, said she was sending home some other kids, reminded me that all the icky myths about lice were untrue and not too worry and it's hard and she knows, but I noticed she didn't hug me.

Takes me 90 minutes to thoroughly get through Rory's hair. Hers is a mane of tangles but she sits patiently and I hold my breath and my metal comb and start feeling itchy. I send her to the shower to rinse, wash my hands, practice Lamaze breathing and start on the GFYO. He says, why is the counter all wet? Huh, I say as I am looking through a magnifying glass...

The counter is wet because THE FUCKING KITCHEN CEILING IS LEAKING FROM THE SHOWER. I race up the stairs, metal comb in hand, TURN IT OFF TURN IT OFF I shout and there's my poor naked kid, shivering and startled. Sorry, I say. Oh god, I say.

I have twenty minutes to change the second load of laundry before Bridget gets home (no time to call the plumber; no money to pay the plumber) and before we have to head to the Creepy Money Raping Orthodontist where I am scolded for missing an appointment for the GFYO. I am too shy to tell them that it was because I am leaving THIS FUCKING MONEY RAPING PRACTICE and instead just suck it up and say sorry. Feel itchier by the minute. Feel like I should be tattooed with the Scarlet L.

(To be continued...)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Music for Friday

Don't read into; just love.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Getting Thinky On Being Thinky

Every couple of years or so, I get all existential: you know, mega-self-thinky.

A few years ago, this involved me imagining myself in a variety of fantastically bohemian new roles -- boat painter, chef, coffee shop owner -- that had nothing to do with my "actual" life. I could better imagine my short hair growing into long thick, grey-flecked braids than I could see myself actually painting or cooking or making decent coffee. So I abandoned that and moved on.

Another time, I decided we were relocating to Savannah, a place I'd been but once before and only for an afternoon but which I knew, I knew held the secret to our life-long happiness. I spent endless hours conducting my "research" and in no time, I was a Savannahian (a Savannahese?) and practicing my new accent. I convinced the Kid to spend a weekend with me there, house-hunting, which we did. Trouble was, in addition to the framed photos of W in every foyer, there weren't any pay-the-bills opportunities. So I abandoned Savannah and moved on.

In my earliest thirties, I had back to back self-referential crises that all related to vehicles: I was a beat-up Suburu-wagon-driving sporty mom, all fleece and yoga pants, then I became SUV mama with a mission and then, ugh, minivan matron who touched buttons to open doors. I get into a car now that takes me places; I moved on.

In my latest twenties, I had back to back self-referential crises that all related to hair: mega short Drew Barrymore and plastic barrettes (alt-rock) then back-to-my-unruly-roots hair (when most people figured I was vegan) then the pig-tail look, which coincided not coincidentally with the sporty Suburu-driving phase. I still struggle with my hair, but I moved on.

(Oddly: my younger twenties, even my teens? Steady as a non-existential-thinking-person could be.)

I wish there were a chart, like for a menstrual cycle, that I could download on the Iphone to manage these ebbs of my authenticity. That way I could see them coming and what then? Eat more veggies? Check in to a sweat lodge? Howl at the moon, or maybe better yet, stop howling at the moon?

There are no clues ever to the ebbs: they come when they will. I might be suffering an icky unhappiness or feeling lit by boundless joy: then -- wham! -- is this who I am? I might be content or bored or traumatized or confused or simply happy: then -- wait! -- is this my life, my only one?

Is the phrase "a flight of fancy," or is it "a flight of fantasy?" I'm not sure and too lazy to check and also I really like both sayings and would hate to be disappointed with the truth because each sums up what these (short-lived, always temporary) experiences are for me. Which means: these flights, my ebbs? They don't suck.

I like them even though I can't predict them. It's like playing dress-up with a limitless box of costumes and make-up, trying on every way I can be, then washing up, cleaning up, and becoming my own very real self again. In any car, with any hair, in any place. But with a smudge, just a bit, a dash of something left over from where I've "gone" that changes me and my life for real.

There's no problem in getting self-thinky, no problem in having a moment away from who you really are. Existential crisis? Bring it.

Monday, November 2, 2009

15 Random Things (Plus Updates)

1) When I chewed on asparagus tonight I wondered if it sounded as loud as it did in my head and also if I had consumed enough to make my pee stink.

2) Asparagus pee can be embarrassing.
3) I do not understand licorice. Or Almond Joy.
4) There is a fine line between being the PTO President and just another parent.
5) I still can't tell the difference.
6) My daughter falls down stairs so much, I've stopped looking to see where she lands.
7) The Kid came home. I was too sleepy to be sweet or sexy. He tucked me in, even as busy as he (gratefully) is.
8) Carolyn says something about blogging every day. Make note to self: "call Scott; tell him Carolyn is crazy"
9) The Kid wants to know where I can live besides here: I never answer because I don't know how to without disappointing someone.
10) I find more bugs in my kids' hair.
11) I consider shaving my own head.
12) I send nasty well-written letters to town officials (not about lice).
13) I wonder why it's always me who stands up, writes mean letters, rallies troops.
14) My daughter asks tonight before dinner, "how'd it go at yer meeting," and the Kid says, great.
15) My daughter says, "I was asking Mom."