Monday, October 13, 2014

This week, a single parent

My husband is out of town, day 6 of 8 now, and I have gotten lazy.  I've taken the kid out for pizza and burritos and ice cream.  I've let her stand in the shower for too long, and watch movies past her bedtime.  I know better, but don't have the energy to do better.  It's like a passive bribe: let's not punish each other.  Mostly meaning me, to my own self.

At this rate I'll never be the person I want to be though, and the only thing that bothers me is the idea that every day for the next 80 years I'll think it's still just within my reach...  perhaps tomorrow I'll close my grasp.  Be better.  I'll just do it, later maybe, and it will work forever on.  We eat in restaurants and I get existential anxiety. I'm a Sisyphean groundhog-day cliche.  I'm tired by the end of the day, exhausted by the sustained commotion of micro-failure, till a step back feels like reward for surviving.  Come on, lets go spend what we saved.  We've earned it.  I'll start tomorrow, when I'm dead.

Delete Debate

I accidentally deleted every single shred of academic writing I've produced over the last fewsome years and I can't decide if it's a big deal or not a deal at all.  It is moments like these that my feet, by reflective pause, touch bottom and the current splits around me.  What does it feel like? Astonishingly cold?  Hostile? Swift, Melancholy or Bittersweet?  This writing represents so much work -- bloody, sweaty and profoundly frustrated and sad work -- but does it have heart?  Did that essay on Gatsby (always gatsby!) matter to me, heartwise?

I'm a vigilant underskilled perfectionist and an arrogant gifted procrastinator in the same turn.  I am not in-between, but am exactly 100% bastard of this spectrum.  The thing is, I've been in school while interpreting post-secondary for so long that I speak fluent academia.  I decipher syllabi with preternatural accuracy, and I cannot do less than I am called upon to do.   C to an A -- IT WILL NEVER MATTER, they say, GO EASY ON YOURSELF.  But it matters to me.  In that way, I am a predator.

Once I graduate, I just go back to being a mom who interprets in the class room.  Nothing will change.  The grade matters not at all, if not less than that.  The writing that I've lost, my work, is summarily dismissed upon submission of the grade, that again, matters not at all.  Still, it matters to me.  Futilely.  Since grades have been submitted, should I care?  Agh!

So I ran.  It's the only thing I can do.  And I couldn't stop bracing myself against the rotation of the earth.  I don't know what is coming, but I'm throwing myself against its arrival.  For 7 miles it was one ankle calf and quad with torque leading me straight.  Why am I fighting the world? And while I'm asking, why don't my A grades matter?  Why doesn't my work matter?  Does it matter?  Fuck!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Mayakka River

the one i saw

We drove north, then east from Sarasota to tour the state park on Mayakka River. The park was drier than last year. We did not wade through tea colored puddles on the forest trails. The water did not come up to the road. The ferns, high in the tree boughs, were dry and shriveled. There were alligators, honking and barking like pigs in the weedy swamp grasses but we did not see many of them. Only one, actually, and another one was accidentally photographed with my zoom lens which I did not discover until much later that night. Does that count? I don’t think so.

the one i didn't see

We spent the afternoon at Siesta Key beach down where the birds congregate. The water, as is usual this summer, was choppy but warm. I hop-toed out to a sandbar trying to photograph pelicans but they are savvy and elusive. The needle fish are also somewhat coy, unless I don’t have a camera with me, in which case they bonk straight into me with their careless needly snouts. Otherwise they dart to the peak of the next swell, just out of focus.

a congregation of birds

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Here in Florida, I say to whoever will listen, I live and die by a breeze.  Inland from the sea they criss-cross in secret, unexpected bursts.

It looks like it might storm.  Might.  It has not once rained like it did last year.  Not even once.  I’ve been waiting, thirsty, for the deluge, for the thunder and the lightning but it has not come.  Maybe today is the day.

Maybe not.

The potential for a storm seems to be blowing over.  My run today will be blistering hot and unforgiving.  At my hottest I feel thirst all the way down my throat, to the depths of my lungs.  I long to fill my lungs with ice water.  I imagine when exhaling, deadly cold water pouring down my chin and over my jugular.  I imagine ice water coursing through the white-hot pulse in my temples and on the scorched acreage of my skin.  I long to drown, running from remote island of shade to remote island of shade.  I consider the fractions of a second between life and death. Arriving at that next spot of shade between which two periods of radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium 133 atom (of which there are 9,192,631,770 for the duration of each one second) would make the difference between my life and my death.  Can any human activity be sliced so thinly?  If I were to drown in my own ice water, at which exact hyperfine moment could I no longer change my notion of folly and chose to live?  … I think, stepping into the next breeze.

Monday, July 07, 2014

I went out when in was 84ºF, and by the time I stopped running it was 88ºF.  For every 15 minutes that I ran I raised the temperature in the metro area by 1ºF.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

It's just a phase

FOUR is a new kind of terrible.  Histrionics, assurances, confidence, and distain: in adult+ size proportions.  I was cocky about mothering a baby, and a one, a two, and a three year old.  I really thought I was good.  WORLD'S BEST MOM, I thought.  Like an asshole.  Because I didn't make it very far.  4, turns out, really sucks.

The other day this particular 4yo I know was constipated.  Here is an actual quote in which she says to me: "I'm ASSUMING you think this is a big deal... Trust me on this, I'm never gonna have to poop.  I'll be fine mom, I'm fine.  Trust me on this.  I DON'T need to poop."

"Trust me mom!   I'll be fine if I never poop.  I'm assuming you don't know that, but I'll be fine!"

TRUST and ASSUME, her newest concepts.  

Of course, I bent her in half like an angry steel rod, forcing her concave to sit on the MUTHRFECKG TOILT.  Battle of wills ENSUES.  OF COURSE, I lose.  My face is scratched.  She's pinched off.  Tears, recriminations, denouncements... fists even, follow.  SLAM.

"Whew, she says, (I hear her through the bedroom door) "glad that's over!"

Being evil as fuck -- as I am -- I waited...  and an hour after she fell into the deepest redemptive sleep-state possible I puppet-walked her into the bathroom where she defenselessly passed a medieval mace of a turd-head with only a somnolent whimpering resistance.  TAKE THAT!

Meanwhile, I'm still searching Pandora for a hip-hop mama song.


Monday, June 24, 2013

Summer Noir

I made it to summer.  I made it and all time is my time.  I said.  Then BAM we're all sick, knocked down and wiped out.  Not a little sick but a whole lot sick.  Thea has an inhaler for her persistent cough.  I have antibiotics for an ear infection, Rx Sudafed and Rx Flonase, two anti-inflammatories (Meloxicam and Celebrex) for my back, as well as Vicodin, and a GABA something that is supposedly "a good high."  We've been to the doctor 3x, and to the hospital once, for X-rays.  So . . . happy summer!

Thea, now four, is having an existential crisis.  She's been talking about death for weeks.  During bike rides, on sunny days, making dinner, weeding the garden, taking a bath.  James Gandolfini died she heard, from a sick heart I told her.  What about the man with the sick heart she asks. And asks again.  Why did he have a sick heart?  Why did he die?

She does not want to eat the fish grilling on the BBQ when she learns it has died, and must die to be eaten.  We did not want to tell her this, but she asks.  We are not all prepared for the question, even if we didn't not want to lie.  The fish doesn't want to die.  Neither do trees she says, and I'll never cut down a tree.  Weeds don't want to die either.  Again, why did the man with the sick heart die, mom?  I keep thinking about him.  And what about you, mama?  Are you going to die?  What about me?  Will I live a long time?  Will I live a long long long long long long long long long long long time, mom?

We all die, I tell her.  We try not to, but we all die.  It’s okay though because we're made of stardust and when we die we go back to being stardust.  Our atoms and molecules become flowers and butterflies.


Because we’ll get old, and our bodies can’t keep working.  Or we get hurt badly, and our bodies can’t recover.

Why?  What about this fish?  Did we kill him?  Why?  Why, mama, why?  Why?  Why?  Why?

I am harrowed, hearing these words in her sweet small voice.  Die, die, dead, kill, die.  She makes me feel witless and ineloquent.

Like any mom out of her depth I use the opportunity to push my own agenda.  I talk about vegetables, water, sleep and exercise.  I talk about looking both ways before crossing the street.  I talk about compassion and the dangers of greed.  Finally, I say no matter what happens, I'll always love you.  Forever.  And ever and ever and ever.  Even when I'm stardust.

What if you die before me, mom?  Then I'm damn lucky I want to tell her.  But I say I'LL STILL LOVE YOU.  I'll never not love you.  Stardust to stardust.  I'll be the flowers in your yard, and I'll love you.  I promise.


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