Monday, January 26, 2009

on cycles

smell of ink in the stone. "this is the character for 'health.'" an emerald green bustier bought on a whim, but still not worn. purple cane. no sandwiches. polymer clay. art days. "no guilt."

the lights are bright. i know not to squint. audience tense with silence. lungs full of phlegm, head sore, throat searing. just need first word. once it comes, all emerge as though connected by the same chord. rehearsal means producing good at your worst.

breath visible in the morning air. clothes reserved for "nice" occasions. packed rectory. who's who of austin. song of weary. thoughts are wary. holding hat in hand, head bowed, standing. anger, anger, anger. too many shoulders covered in liquid from my face.

stand up from squatting over the count of 20. speech. sit over the count of 25. use the pain in your legs to give intensity. speech. up on 10. close your eyes. on your toes in 10. stay on your toes. balance. balance. speech. resistance creates intensity. resistance creates meaning.

we had a couple of excursions. not as many as i would have liked. sometimes entailing hospitals, almost always entailing food. i already knew i found her pretty late. shyness can do that sometimes. but the main thing was the finding. what is it with me, cancer, and emotional intimacy?

new photo added to the altar. it's too full now.

look at this, sweet new child. auntie now, for the umpteenth time, but still wonderful. not my niece but lovely just the same. throat blocked.

i was close enough in which to confide. but far enough in which to confide. sometimes the ability to see the end inspires strategic confessions. someone close enough to want to tell, far enough that the telling won't damage or change or burden. i wonder what ma told that nurse who she bought lavish gifts for. or what other confessions i was too close or too far to hear. it seems that witnessing confessions is part of preparing. being prepared really seems like a state after one has released everything into the world--in mysteriously/mystically meted-out doses. i'm very certain they made it look easier than it actually was.

elegy. made as wrappings. beds of flower heads and satin. the right words never seem to be right enough. like uttering them is somehow demeaning. even repetitions of words once perfect feel unwarm. still a yearning rises. the yearning to rise. skyward voice and hands, earthy thoughts and moistened face. body still present, but no longer necessary.

the idea of love, last exchanged word--it grows to take on different forms. no longer bright and clear and smooth as it once was. scarred, weathered, tougher. like an aging tree, embracing the wind-swept molding of its limbs. still to weather even more. but like a hand-thrown teacup, or imperfect scribble on the page, the wabi-sabi of combined generations, combined ideas, combined bodies acknowledging each border and overlap. my younger love changed by one older, still changed by one even older.

whispers. whispers on feathers not even sprung from the throat of a dove. and flying.

on and out and up.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

on memory and forgetting

because i know you've surely forgotten about me.

every so often, lovely partner says, "you should blog about that." but i haven't been.

i'm a little jaded with the internets lately. i've stopped paying attention to my rss feed. and it began feeling like this sucking, demanding force that just had no business trying to take up my time. i've just had no patience.

and so i've been away from here. and so many things have happened. obama. gaza. the new year. my mother's death anniversary. i shaved my head...

and then this weekend i visited my good friend who is very weak with illness, preparing to cross over.

she is really the main person who inspired and encouraged my cancer opera. visiting with her was hard; it's always awkward, figuring out whether to show up or leave some space, what to say, where to sit, how to talk, whether to laugh or cry. it brought back so many memories of being with my mother in this same month, seven years ago, of sitting with my friend and sharing stories, of eating cheap but good chinese food at the back of a market, of telling myself, "just listen to her talk about what you fear. it's important to her now, and it will become important to you in the future."

and meanwhile, another type of memory nags at me. so comparatively mundane and trivial: my memory of words. the lines i must say in the play. it's going up on 1/23. usually, i memorize lines pretty easily, remembering about 70% just from showing up to rehearsal. and then only i need a few hours on my own to hammer it all out. but this role... not only is it very little dialogue--i'm mostly talking to myself--i talk under other characters, so i have to listen as i talk. in addition, a lot of what she says is nonsense or repetitive. i've been running lines at any spare moment, in my car, the shower, waiting in line, and just when i am by myself at home.... last night, though, the director followed along with my lines as we did a line-through (where you only say the words from memory as fast as possible to see where you need work), after we were done, she turned to me and said, "it's almost impossible to follow along, let alone remember and say your lines..." so, we've come up with some ways to alleviate the strain on my memory.

it's not lost on me that my lovely partner is an historian, and here i am writing about memory and forgetting. and as i reflect on what is behind, i see us on the cusp of what lies ahead.

forward ho.