Thursday, September 6, 2012

Epistle. To: Lady Kimono Clan

   The nurse was helping me clean out the basement when she looked over at me and asked, do you think it's important to defend your privacy?
   Depends I said, on how private.
   What if I were to tell you something she went on.
   Let me count the ways I said. And then so, let there forever be a ray of hope.
   I'm serious she said and squirreled her face at me.
   Okay I thought. And while we don't question the truthfulness of our thoughts back and forth, we were able to motor along and come to understandings of sorts without trying too hard. It was a kind of telepathy we've developed over the months and at times it was like being caught in a trawler's net.
   The night before I was to have this big church wedding she said, I was watching a baseball game on television, having several small whiskeys, and I just knew the next day my mouth would get me in trouble.
   You were married I asked?
   Only for a while she said. Now I've fallen out of trees. I jumped from roofs. Once I walked from El Paso to San Diego to get food at a take out joint.
   Why I thought.
   Because she said. But here's what I mean. The night before the wedding I was sitting with my cousins and we were all chain smoking these unfiltered cigarettes and worrying wether we should lock ourselves in the bathroom because we had these amphetamine problems and in my mind I kept hearing myself talking and saying what's wrong and I'll do my best and I don't wish to be vulgar but damned if the next day if I just didn't shut up and listen to something else and then I said I do.
   So it's regrets I asked?
   No. Not regrets she said. I meant everything. But suddenly it was hold on one minute. One minute I'm just this gal. On a farm. Loyal enough to cut teeth on the family. I thought for sure I'd make a house out of a granite mountain. And while I was at it, redesign electricity and make some money. But that night before the wedding we all went out across the border and I got a tattoo.
   You have a tattoo?
   Yea she said. On my left ass cheek.
   Whoa I thought... whatever those inked lines were... how they handled those sweet curves...
   Stop this the nurse thought.
   Okay I said back in the vernacular. What was the tattoo?
   She looked at me and laughed a little and said - no child, left behind.
   And I asked?
   Well she said, on the wedding night... as we peeled down to the biblical issues... the last thing I wanted was to take one for the team. At least not that far.  He saw the tattoo. He wanted a 7-Up. For months afterwards we celebrated a headache.
   And let me guess I asked, as a wedding present, your cousins gave you what, a vibrator? With ribs and all the latest attachments? Maybe it came with a small electronic fan...
  Where does all this stuff go the nurse thought?
   Oh. The basement. Over the past seven years the basement has become so filthy and cluttered and on its own like some mountain of shit unable to be moved and has sat there so much on its own that the things from the past don't even seem like finite obstacles anymore as much simple junk to be disowned and removed and then hauled to the dump.          
   So fuck the past you might say she thought.
   Yea the whole ensemble is just a great many trinkets from the yesterdays of importance. Moldy holdover smells from springtime's high water mark. Boxes of books photos letters - all belonging to other people - how did I come to be the repository? And maybe a decades worth of old christmas wrapping paper in tatters and degrees of unravelling. Ten thousand paper napkins the mice have made a universe in. Why all the chicken wire?
   On our honeymoon the plane lifted off from JFK and I was floored with excitement to be in the air and watch the skyline from the east coast begin to disappear. Going to London. See the sights. You need to start with quality. And of course there were contradictions. That's how I was feeling as we leveled off into the clouds. Never leave in a hurry. Never turn your elbows out. Maybe it was for the best to forget what I was doing. Or get out. It's only going to get worse. Save your rags. Always have a tin of canned meat. Write on scraps of paper because it saves trees. How do you live?
   This is how it works I said to interrupt things. Hold that thought. What we need to do is move a bunch of crap, and then clean out behind what we've just moved, and then move the crap back into place and then decide what to keep. Dried up paint cans. Spider webs stretched across the mouths of ancient tupperware. Bastard wood scraps that were too short to save one day but then too long to throw away on another day. And we're the ones where it seems like we end up being saintly to whatever reasons we thought about, but really it's a waste of time to have saved it in the first place and then to have to throw it away later on. A totally trashed bathroom rug and several cracked bicycle helmets - now that's worth saving!
   Decisions are tough animals the nurse said.
   And perplexing moral landscapes I said.
   Suddenly I was  in London. Having this street in Europe beneath my feet.  I wanted to carry it lightly as I walked about even though I felt like oh wow this is happening. But I had a duty to pay and I knew that. But what - I had a pain and wanted to shape that?
   I suppose it might be a sentimental thing I thought.
   I wonder wether it was divine she added.
   Maybe you were avoiding being alone.
   Maybe she thought all I had was an old bathing suit and some new green lipstick to put on.

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