Monday, January 26, 2009

Hiatus Over...Reign of Terror to Begin?

It's been a long month. Christmas, New Year's, watching puppet shows, Barack Obama, NFL Playoffs, the sun. One of the coldest Januaries I can remember in years. I am back to one hundred percent healthy. I can do this for all of you, whoever you are. I'm gonna get ripe like these tomatos and swiss chards upstairs there.

I'll be good I promise and make sure to give ye plenty t' read. Starting with another section of "From Here to the Last Mound of Dirt."


I’m alone now. I’m outside by the pool. The world is dark and the moon is waxing. I’m cradling the bottle in my right arm as I lay on the lounge. Nearly waxed this bottle off over the whole day. A bottle a day keeps the doctor in me at bay.

But there is so much to heal. Both of my daughters and both of my sons. I can see myself in James so much. The way he tries to heal people, to mend wounds. The difference is, is that he’s more like his mother. He’s noble, he looks noble; he sounds noble, and is noble to the point that it can be irritating. Except to the person who loves you. Me for Rose. Eve for him. I’ve healed. I can heal. I do it and did it in my own way. Quietly because it was a duty and duties are done in silence.

There is a coolness touching everything. I can feel it caressing my skin and my hair. If I walked on the perimeter I would feel it hovering over the leaves. It’s the autumn. What was that one good thing Kerouac said? Everyone goes home in October. Well it’s not October and everyone is home.

But no one cleans the pool anymore. I did it twice this summer, but we always leave it up to that robot now. It’s not the same, though. When we first got the pool James and I would both clean it. He’d listen to his music and do it during the day and on the weekends. I’d come home from work and clean it at night during the week. Look at it, glowing greenish and dark denim. It’s always looked this way in the dark. Those deep blue stones. Santos charged a high price but the work was worth it and who am I counting pennies? I was never a penny counter. This bottle feels good on my gut. It’s not quite a gut, but when I slouch like this, it’s unavoidable.

Yes, it’s definitely a cool night. When I was growing up, every year I looked forward to nights like this in September. During the day, the sun will beat down on the flowers and the trees, but at night, the wind picks up a little. The way I thought of it was that the cold hid in the ground until winter and that in the fall it made its first reemergence only at night. It made logical sense to me then. But tonight everything is touched by dampness and coolness. On all the leaves and petals there will be little marks of moisture.

I’m an old man now. My wife is dead. The songs of my youth don’t ring in my ears like they used to. I never thought I’d be old. Look at Cutty Sark. The bottle never ages, it keeps being produced looking the same and never changing. Orange label and orange liquid. If only humans could be as simple and adaptable as that. The model of my body has been outlived. I have four children that prove that. I have four children. Each one probably detests seeing me like this. I’m sure they all know about my past, the mistakes and jokes I made. I don’t regret it and I never did. Rose may have saved me. I’m sure she did because I couldn’t have helped the kids the way I did if I was getting like this all the time. I could’ve loved them. I always would’ve. But I couldn’t have helped them. I couldn’tve been a father. Although I never quite figured out what that meant. I heard the phrase “be a father” at soccer games, dance recitals, music concerts, and lacrosse camps, but I never really understood it. I had a part in creating them and I was always there to help. But I never knew when I crossed in the holy territory of being a father.

I suppose it all means as much as you want it to or as little. There are plenty of fathers out there who simply planted the seed for their children and didn’t do a thing after. Yet, other fathers destroyed their children’s lives by taking their title of “Dad” as a license to kill their child’s independence. Being a parent is terrible, but it’s a business I’m glad I got into.

I’m getting more sentimental. It’s not just because my wife – my guide – is gone, because it was happening before that. I’m seventy in January. That’s not so old, but old enough that the memories and sentiments pile up enough so that you can be sentimental. I don’t cry about things. I’ve heard about men near death who were easily brought to tears. They cried over Christ, talk of sex, love, American presidents, war and music. It’s funny, the only thing that seems to be missing from that list is death itself, but no one really talks about that as one of the elements of life. Because it’s always seen as the opposite. I don’t think it is. It’s as much a part in life as love or anything else. I’m going to die soon. Rose already did. The clouds are moving in over the stars. I need to finish this bottle and start the next one. Each day has its own agenda. What is tomorrow anyway?

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