tiny abominable

floyd sprints donuts in the snowfresh park, thrill-rides frosty-bearded through spun fluff glittering with streetlight– halts with purpose, centrifuges inward, makes his humble contribution to our joint venture, and back to racing corkscrews through a serendipity of white– plunges sugarcoated upstairs, melting into steam heat, carves tracery circles through lamplight into a throw rug sliding finish.

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use-less

all day long, while the snow came down and blew along with water from lake michigan across city roadways and chris wrangled for more sleepless hours on end the phone trees and data coordination of response teamwork, I sat, good for nothing, planted to the couch, watching episodes of joss whedon’s “dollhouse” on netflix, good for perfectly nothing.

it happens sometimes like that. often in response to an overlarge event I can see no way to wrangle for my own part– usually my own event or undertaking: writing a substantive project, the eternally vexing quandary of “job” searching, outreach toward building or rebuilding social networks, broaching broad chasms of communication.

I don’t know for certain whether this instance of retreat into semi-consciousness occurred in any sort of direct response to chris’s whirlwind– but it’s true enough that I felt my own lack of concrete ability to help, apart from simply being there, listening and reflecting back on particular pieces of narrative dilemma from time to time– it was a large and necessary presence, and I sat with it.

cohabitation can be like that. we’re thrown much together in a small space, with the result that waves and currents of personal energy swirl around and against one another, showering with gusts of differing weather. from time to time I retreat under the surface of muffling waters.

lately I think much on the topic of what constitutes “use”– the various ways we select to define and judge and embody it. lately I’ve been begging for determinants, signposts, guidelines, directives– when I know well enough that real work requires its own inherent, idiosyncratic, often inexplicable drives.

I’ve done all sorts of “work” that suited anyone’s purpose but my own. together we’ve decided it’s time to attend to the lessons of fracture and facilitate a more integrative and personal approach. in which, inevitably, I’m my own worst wrassling foe, lured off in pursuit of a thousand tangential distractions I can imagine important to the process.

it’s tricky, too, wanting to eschew standard definitions and limitations of genre and medium– to play among them and be motivated by blend and grey area. typical to this type of work is a little-bit-of-this-little-bit-of-that impulse which all too easily lends itself to following narrowing deertrails into wilderness and the unanticipated formation of oxbow lakes.

but some days, some mornings in particular, I’m graced with a brilliant stunning quiet and the resonance of a single tone hit right, a luminous image or a phrase vibrant enough to pull me through, on to the the next piece in the patchwork weave.

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bas relief of home

I find it impossible to title posts before I’ve written them (titling poems is even harder– thinking up lines that might serve for titling is a doomed venture, viable poems seldom proceeding, yielding virtual drawers full of unused lines too singular to incorporate organically). typically I stumble over possible title words like gravel while drafting, tumbling handfuls to good-feeling combinations in the process of editing.

I’ve been thinking lately about the many possible places, instants, and details that define “home,” having just visited one of them– and having even more recently returned to another. homes that were and homes that are. I return to snow and blackened streets, brown-black trees, things standing out in the cold as outlines of themselves, palimpsest of footprints ringing the park.

I sit beside the front window of my third floor apartment and reacquaint myself after days away with the sensory details of daily life in these parts– pedestrian traffic, street traffic, train bell clanging. suburbia was and is another world, both different from and the same as it once was: new shiny stores, parking lots, municipal library; eternal mothers with coiffed greying hair, christmas-themed sweaters of primary colors, ankle length fur coats tip-tapping across the street in the village; tailgating drivers, deserted streetscapes dotted with for sale or lease signs, christmas light festooned front lawns and orderly facades.

my mother in perpetual powder blue robe and quilted slippers; my mother seeking me out around midnight with a flashlight through the dark back hallway to where I lie in bed after tiptoeing in from visiting with my sister; my mother laughing off losing her train of thought, apologizing for eating slowly, backseat driving turn by turn by turn, my mother’s running commentary; my mother gone to bed early, sleeping late, talking from the other room; my mother’s saved gift boxes and cereal boxes, magazines and clothing, my mother’s plenty drifting spare rooms and closets, sediment of intention burying itself– my mother, my self.

my father sitting reading enormous tomes in his barrel-backed library chair, my father typing away at the computer in my old bedroom for hours, finishing the times sunday crossword puzzle at the breakfast table in minutes; my father cooking farm-delivered bacon for breakfast, four slices each, hunks of meat roasted to succulence, damned roast beef hash; my dad scowling and false-laughing and real(I think) laughing, telling tales at the dinner table; my father looking down, taking his time to answer, not hearing, my father enduring.

last night I dreamed of a prep school reunion set at huron mountain– convergence of anxieties and identities and situational drama. the details are sketchy at best, eroded to the vaguest feeling.

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