Saturday, July 30, 2005

dear xxx,

Well here I am again, there won't be a send button pushed tonight, but still I write, because I've become accustomed to your audience. It's easier to keep writing, pretending you are listening now, then to face the silence cold turkey.

I could tell I asked some good questions in the meeting I went in for this morning, even though I wasn't sure at first I was bringing up anything relevant. Then this afternoon when it came time to write a status report for the month, it seemed like there wasn't too much tangible to show, and it didn't seem right to put in there "and I asked some good questions which helped people clarify things." But still I felt good about today. Now that I'm not asking you those sorts of questions, I'm not quite sure what to do with myself here anymore. So there's a word document archived on my hard drive, "future questions for xxx" thinking someday I'll have the chance to ask them again.

When you asked me to plant the flower box "for us", at the end of that difficult conversation, I have to admit I latched onto a hope that there might be a someday. Someday. So I planted Potentilla and Thyme, as if I could choose plants that would grow me some sort of magic charm to conjure up a wished for future out of compost and sun and water. Then added an Impatiens, a small nod to honesty. I'm not quite sure what it is in "us" that brings out this sentimental streak in me. I realize its silly but it made me feel better. Sage might have been more practical. If Thanksgiving comes around and I've proved to be the turkey in all this at least I could have used it in the stuffing. But I can't muster practicality or cynicism, my usual safe defenses. So this morning I was out there with the watering can, tending. Tending a little seed of hope feels right, because if it grows, I know what an amazing flower it will produce.

The last few weeks I've been going to bed at night exhausted but lying a long time awake, listening to the cat purr, listening to the hum of the fan, trying to find some position my body feels comfortable in. I've never slept beside you yet the night keeps whispering "he is missing here." Its midnight now and I imagine in a few minutes I will go upstairs and begin the negotiation with the empty place again. If I pretend you are there, it feels like I am clinging. If I let go, it feels like I am adrift. Eventually there is blackness and dreams and the deepness that reminds me that regardless, I am still just me, a breath in, a breath out. Another day has passed. A lot more days will pass before I know if the seed is fertile.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Dale from mole asked me to post this one. Given the temperatures here in Portland, it seemed like a good idea.


You crack me deep,
Wide open, like a watermelon
Cleaved one end to the other, revealing
Summer red flesh,
Sweet and juicy.
No longer protected under hard green rind
I yield up my secrets,
Black and seeded,
And you
Eat me all, not caring, not bothering to spit
Into the wind, onto the sidewalk
But take it all inside you,
Easy bites, savoring
Slowly, all that I give.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

If you were mine

I bet you can make a mean batch of biscuits
I imagine I'd wake to discover you gone
Wander downstairs to steal coffee-breath kisses
Get out the utensils you'd be hard pressed to find
Pester your shorts while you cut in the butter
Till you shoo me off to sit on a stool
Not long till I'm back underfoot like a cat
Rubbing and sliding till you must turn around
You threaten to grab me with flour drenched hands
So I'm forced to remind you
(In explicit detail)
Just exactly what happened eight hours before
(Upstairs on the floor)
Its my turn now, and there's nothing sexier
Than a man in a kitchen manhandling a pan
Get those biscuits in the oven
You need some AM lovin'
And when we are done we can fry up some ham.

Friday, July 22, 2005

I park as light starts to fall
If there is to be a sunset tonight
The sky will color farmhouses and newly mown fields here
Where only ghosts and unwhispered stories will join me.
I wander across the small grassy plot behind an old wood sign waiting
For the paintbox to spill across the sky,
Waiting for some noise to break the silence of stones,
long dried bouquets, empty flagpole
Waiting to hear the breeze rustle through the scattering of trees.

But no repeat of last nights fires unfold,
Only a gentle golden haze and a growing chill.
Bare-armed I shiver and crouch to
Run my fingers over the single crudely-hewn word at my feet:

Whatever heartbreak I have endured
Shrinks to nothing against this grief.
Curious behind their fence, the llamas watch me
Return quickly to my car
Back out the gravel road,
I deliberately scan the horizon for the flight of an owl
Abandoning the pink and gray headstones and their
Frozen, stoic advertisements for impermanence.

Lyrics drift up from the car speakers
"I want to live, I want to give
I've been a miner for a heart of gold"

And the sky fades to a honeyed slate as I drive
Back towards the living places-
The video store and the biker bar,
My neighborhood's glowing kitchen lights,
Young brothers in baggy shorts walking home
Passing a basketball back and forth, easy, unaware
How death looms just around the corner.

(Lyrics excerpted from Neil Young's "Heart of Gold")

Saturday, July 16, 2005

They walk up to the bakery together, setting up at the sidewalk table just opposite my window. She retrieves a third metal chair, while he pulls a somewhat pudgey boston terrier out from under his coat where he has been sheltering it from a light sprinkle against his chest. He sets the dog down and she proceeds to carefully shake out a navy blue chennille throw and fold it carefully into fourths. She looks at it and decides this isn't adequate, starts over and refolds it. At first I thought this was a shawl or a poncho, but once she put it down on the first metal chair I presume it is to guard her against any sign of a wet seat. The dog appears not to move, sitting under the table, leashless. He stands protectively over it. She comes inside to peruse the bakery case, returns, apparently tells him her choice, and he comes inside to order for both of them. Next she moves the chennille throw from the original metal chair to the third one she had pulled over earlier. Picks up the black and white terrier, examines it carefully, and places it down on the seat, holding it just so on the blanket for at least a minute. The dog sits still on the blanket, mute, dumbly stairing back at the woman who is intently watching its every move. Now she adjusts his legs. A couple more minutes pass and she picks the dog back up, puts him on her lap, spends another few minutes adjusting the dog from standing into a sitting posture. I am thinking that this is a scene of a mother with a newborn, the degree of care put into every detail of this dog's care. I am thinking how many children receive no such treatment in their lives. I am thinking this is one lucky dog.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Purchasing the various supplies for a bachelorette party at Michael's, a craft and party store, I land on a white and silver feather boa, and decide this is perfect bride apparel for the festivities. Checking out, the cashier oohs over the boa and runs her hands over its length. She is probably late 50's in age, wearing the telltale signs of several children and a lot of hours on her feet, significantly grayed and somewhat overweight, likely how I will look at this age I think. We talk about the price, and I tell her the reason for purchase. The conversation proceeds like this. "Ahhhh. The bride can wear it for the party, and then get a 2nd use from it on her wedding night!" The cashier's face has suddenly acquired a lovely glow and her eyes are dancing now. "Have you ever had a feather on your skin?" I nod, grinning. The sensuality is bubbling forth now and her voice gets much lower and says "get an ostrich feather, or a peacock feather, have him brush those long strands on your skin." I want to say "have WHO do this?" but instead I blush and she sighs, voice lower still and leaning slightly towards me now so the other customers can't hear her "Oh, I love having someone use a feather on my back. Just brush down it lightly. The back gets me every time." I find myself confessing my fondness for fingernails lightly dragged down my back, and the credit card order prints and I sign. Everything is now back to business. "I've packed the bag in such a way that when you pick it up, everything should slide down into the metal basket and ride home safely." I smile and walk out to the parking lot, thinking that woman had a whole lot of sexuality going on in a rather drab package. I am thinking I hope I am like that in my late 50s.
Get yours here

She seems to recognize that my human fingers and nails are the equivalent of her feline toes and nails.
I know this as she goes to work on washing my finger using the same lick and bite technique she uses on her paws. I cooperate by turning my hand and spreading my fingers the way I see her doing.
This is Rainbow Shooting Star, third cat who lives with us.
She spends much of her time perched on top of the tall dresser, and will reach out and grab you with a claw if you walk by without scratching her head. In fact, this is how she ended up with us as a kitten, reaching out to grab my daughter after she had put her down to look at another kitten. Despite outweighing the other two cats, she is lowest on the totem pole, and is the only cat that still fears Joey the dog. She greets you when she enters the room, with a decidedly satisfying thump as she jumps down to the floor, and then a loud "hey I'm here" meow. She waited patiently in the bath this morning while I showered, then pushed her way into the cracked shower door after I grabbed a towel (do you dry off in or out of the shower?) and rubbed herself on my wet legs, licking drops from the shower door and off my legs until I shivered with the tickling of her whiskers and stepped out. She is the middle girl, which made Rainbow princess to Lydia's queen and Acorn's jester in my daughter's 7 year old order of all things royal. Rainbow Shooting Star has three names because when she joined us her mistresses' favorite doll was a Native American woman with three names. Rainbow for her tabby stripes rising up like ribs from her golden sheened potbelly tummy, and shooting star because she has the less common tabby pattern of dark star shapes at the top of the stripes along each side of her spine, which is also marked by a dark stripe. White chest and paws, green eyes, and a pink triangle of a nose outlined in black, as if someone took a sharpie and then filled it in with crayon. She is polydactyl, a word requiring me to look up spelling, the extra toe trait is thought to have descended from cats brought over to Boston by the Puritans. Supposedly a favorite as witches familiars and Norwegian ship's cats, known as good mousers. If we pet her much, she drools with pleasure. Exacerbated by the time she rolled off the garage roof in the middle of a midnight fight with Acorn, and lost one of her incisors, which with the ragged ear scarred by a raccoon fight leaves her looking a little pirate-like for some reason. One time she carried a live starling through the catdoor at 6AM and let it loose in the bedroom, squawking and flying all over the room shitting as she pursued it until we caught it in a towel and set it loose outside again.

Although I'm no starling lover, I decidedly prefer waking to having my fingernails groomed.
(Note: I've updated the previous two catbird posts to include pictures of Lydia (June archive) and Acorn (May archives) if anyone wants to see. I finally read that little thing that said blogger will let me upload photos off my PC now. whoo hoo!)

Saturday, July 09, 2005

If you believed that a person could be damned
(in the religious sense of the word)
Is it obvious the person would know it
When it happened?

He made an offer I couldn't refuse.
Somehow he knew exactly which offer he could make that I couldn't refuse.

There's a certain kind of glorious abandon in knowing just what to do to "reach" another person without having to think. Instinctively anticipating how the other person will react. Things come so easily.

There's a certain discipline in not making those assumptions too. Remembering to ask the "whys,", to experiment with some risk taking, to do it the way you want to, not the way you know will please another.

There is so much I haven't explained. Apparently he doesn't need the explanations to know how to fly in under the radar and take his reconnaissance pictures. This alternately thrills and scares me.

Maybe my will is to be disarmed.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Ok I'm a slacker for not posting, but since I've been kinda overwhelmed and busy with work and kids this week, can I just recommend you view some awesome photos instead?
Check out Rachel's Sicily pics here

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