A Dogs Tail

      T at rest

That I escaped my childhood with the hair still on my head, I credit entirely, to the nuzzlement   of  dogs  and with them grew up  in me a passionate curiosity to   be inside their heads as they went about their  daily lives .I could most often  be found down on the ground  , nose to nose with one or the other of them   sharing  a bone , in the neglected back hallway they were relegated to  , each of us gnawing end to end . Much  later ,  my aging body suffering daily a trifecta of miseries , I hopefully imagined  , that coming into possession of a dog, might shore up a rapidly decrepitizing immune system…The way exposure to  the catarrhs of toddlerhood strengthen  they  and their parents, as they go from snot to pink eye and all manner of other disgusting effluvium in a matter of weeks. So I was prepared for the itches and sniffles that came…One week ,  a bronchial infection, the next poison ivy , another , a rash that covered me up to  and inside my eyeballs…puzzling to Doctors and Veterinarians alike..I experienced ill health and its attending woes with the joy of a converted Christian,  for this new relationship of power licking and bed sharing, my dog  and I  enjoyed. He leaped out  at  me  from  dark corners and pounced fearlessly into the covers , down deep , earmarking every bit of flesh or flannel pajama he could , with his fetid, pongey appendages , which smelled curiously of overripe gorgonzola and toe jam . It seemed to me a love fest deeper in communion than any  I  had  ever  experienced  with  my human cohorts.

He was Cato to my Clouseau , in the mundane adventure of my life … surprising me with his  sandpapery tongue in unexpected places ,  the bathtub . or while typing away, absorbed in my petty  concerns, vapidly searching the internet , he would admonish me for the time wasted with a powerful rake of his forepaw against my knee, his large expressionless eyes , staring into me… saying pay attention.. .not just to me, but to life , which is short and shorter for a dog.

If innumerable times he annoyed me, he made up for it, with mischief and licking, and so we went on, he barking loudly to have his needs met, me hardly listening to the wants in my own head. Tug of war, tyrannized my days, while fleet footed games tantalized his, and with every passing autumn day, my ailments grew along with my misery. If Cato noticed he   seemed   as   careless   to me as a stone. Over and over I would turn his rawhide bone for him, twisting it so he could get the   dry   end   wet   and the wet end macerated. If I let it fall to the floor, he brought it back, with  a  bump  on  the  thigh  , until  I picked it up again, he was so persistent, and I so weak willed.

He sometimes seemed disgusted with my innumerable ailments and what he imagined were fraudulent disabilities…. his athletic  stealth, in contrast with my bumbling ,human gracelessness ,showed me up in ways too shameful to mention.. .he began to take over. If a walk was needed we took it, no matter how inopportune the weather, or how the joints or belly might grumble, if it was stormy, electrical, or 30 below, we walked, he pulling the leash, and me skidding behind, broken foot , no matter ,onward we  trudged… at some point when I thought he no longer noticed my existence on the nether end of the leash I thought I heard him say “quit your wingeing ,“ who’s the boss of you now…? ” betimes I noticed a stick  , here  and  there , and threw it to him in a desultory manner . But soon I picked them up for myself alone, relishing  the  crusty  bark  , or  intriguing   earthy  smell  and a jealousy rose up between us…

And there was something else, while my lungs distracted  me  with  pneumonia, and I spat out a greenish sputum, on the minute, my body began to cover itself with a silky undercoat, so pale and fine it went all but unnoticed, and even I was lulled into the belief that I was just preparing for winter, along with wool socks , thick scarves , thermal underwear, and cleated boots. It was just the winter coziness I craved and nothing dissuaded so much delusion.

As spring raised up its sleepy head and the scratchy layers were removed, one by one  ,  no one was more surprised than me, at what lay underneath…. And as my old bones woke up under the warming sun, I felt more frisky , than I could ever remember feeling in my youth. I fairly clambered up the hill while Cato ran just slightly ahead and then effortlessly we were running side by side to our destination where  the others milled , balls or sticks in mouths or hands….gamboling  with abandon for a few short legal off leash moments the green field , the buttoned up town of our habitation permitted.

In my youth I had been an averagely attractive female human, depending on who was looking, and I liked the gentlemen as much as the next female, I suppose ,though I had few feminine wiles to push the matter through, and so too often I found myself  lying down with dogs”, and finding the old  expression, too true   I found  myself as beleaguered  by fleas  as if I had been  colonized by them  …it was this matter that preoccupied me , even more as I felt my body decrepitize and my once supple skin, begin to slide downward and the whole project go as it were “south”. Cato on the other hand seemed thoughtlessly pleased with  himself and thus was found pleasing to the eye of most everyone he came upon. His handsome being, coupled with his lack of concern for the thoughts of those around him, except that they might feed or play with him, made him the favorite of all he encountered… I saw this and felt something close to envy, though not exactly that…

When I had been young and full of feminine potential, I squandered it on men unworthy of my attention. I had not proceeded willfully, being woefully unprepared on the subject, and exceptional in my slowness to see the consequences of my actions .Only later it seemed to me I had been raised up by ”wolves in human clothing” who would sooner throw me to the other wolves in the pack then reach a helping paw to me when I was foundering, and this was a thing not fixable by intelligence alone. I thought about it daily, while all manner of men presented themselves to me in one form or another… it seemed to me I could not trust a one of them, nor ever lie down again with one or another of them . For this is what my intelligence told me and what I had to listen to. And I had no gut, nor bravery of spirit to guide me through the offal that was thrown in my way…

In my youth I had learned the art of wastrelsy , by constant tutelage  from the wrong sort, I gave up endless nights to pinochle  and developing a poker face and game, that I played on alternate Fridays with a gang of toughs. Now when a good hand came my way  , it was   over in a instan t, I had a tell it seemed , I had grown a tail ! As amusing as it was to the other players and patrons of the establishment, it was not all beer and kibble for me. Nothing could be more offensive, to my highly trained sense of decorum…As a hot tempered and passionate human, I had attempted with some success to hide those aspects that could cause harm or embarrassment through their revelation… the tail in its unbridled willfulness had me quickly undone. The winking of even the most slightly adorable of gentlemen, and the tail, began its  banging  away, when some  young  tosser  with splendid forearms saluted me, my tail belied the aristocratic arch of my eyebrow, and attempt at queenly remoteness, it began wagging  like a metronome out of controll  and try as I might with a brick or a coffee table book, I could not stop the damn thing. It possessed a life of its own.

Along the way I had acquired a house and a husband, in no particular order and with no particular plan. With these came a perfidious neighbor with the  blocky ,mannish aspect of a teamster, and a habit of standing about on her corner of the street, with her peg leg, gossiping perniciously to all who would listen to her, which meant everyone but me. This being so unpleasing to her sense of herself being at the  center  of things, her stories began to have as the butt of them, no one else but me. That being so she loved  dogs  with  a  fervor  matched only by her love of the kind of pernicious half- truths   that the victim, could never refute. She was a master, of the backhanded, twofaced slap across the face   with at least   one   other neighbor in league with her manipulations  .  Having driven  her  once  handsome husband to drink, she had nothing left but to position herself as the arbiter of all things right, the matronly , pugnacious , self- appointed  doyen of the neighborhood, who  would inform me on a daily basis, when I could not successfully  maneuver around her, that if I did not like what she said, that I had better well move out!!! Suffice it to say that her machinations  , assumed a larger and larger antagonism, the more Cato and I avoided her summonses and demands to dance  at her attendance, the  bigger her lies grew, she became self -righteous, and  with one fabricated tale after another, the neighbors became in embroiled  till  finally  my humble corner lot,  became a war zone . I thought then that with Cato at my side if I could no longer remain invisible, perhaps we two could become at least invincible… men of action, flying past her house on our way to misadventures great and small .But his nature was sweeter than mine, and he was impervious to anything but the call of nature… and as it happened, one fateful day , he left a manure packet of dubious brand upon this neighbors well-tended lawn, her pride in this small tract only  super ceded  by her ability to” dig the dirt” in encyclopedic accounts of the slightly unwholesome doings of “ people you might know?” One may well imagine, what happened next…threats   made , police summoned and silent phone calls lodged into the bug infested night …sleeping and waking  one was always reminded of the neighborhoods’ ill will , its’  disapproval made  palpable  it now seemed it had been there from the start, the sideways glances , smirks and  talking behind hands, the street parties where only one house was blocked off… and so the days went and my feeling of entrapment grew, inside my body and out .

I  began  to believe in my own original sin and guilt. after all even my own husband seemed to side with the neighbors, they had always been fine enough to him, he who had shoveled their snow, or watered their lawns, or painted the areas they did not wish  to seem  imperfect but had no thought to pay a handy man’s paltry wage.

Intermission{until such time as author discovers what happens next}

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Homie

Homer was what they call a real “character” Homie was what we called him. He lived up the flat side of a triangular tilted Vermont hill sheer and steep, like out of a child’s drawing and had a mouth full of toothlessness, not exactly a gaping hole down into a mine-shaft of frightening dark untrammeled ore but dark enough and he buried the new red and black woolen plaid hunting anorak the state gave him once a year, along with the Bean-boots and a new set of false teeth in a deep pit he dug in the ground with a rusty shovel that had a split wooden handle, til he was covered in sweat, beaming his toothless grin, he said when he saw me, after he pulled me in tight and close he said ”I like huggin’, huggin’s some natural”, beaming his toothless grin again, eyes crinkling up in his pumpkinoid head all bumpily and stubbly, happy as a clam, breathing in his funk of year old socks, cheese butt, and wood smoke…he invited me in to his cabin, a fine hovel, built if you could call it that of old packing crates, palettes, used timbers, hove together with as much thought as a chicken coop in a world where there weren’t any foxes, slapped up to the side of that isoscelean hill with as little rhyme or reason, as a Popsicle stick kite but more wind worthy, he had pilastered at the center of things; a barrel wood-stove, homemade, which he’d nailed the roof to with the chimney vented inwards to the whole carbunculus, ramshackle affair, why he hadn’t died of asphyxiation was anybody’s guess? Perhaps his nature, lovable as a coon puppy, and the fact that he lived out of doors mostly, had kept him alive up to this point…

I’d come to hear about him from my ly’in thief of a brother, who I loved then for dear life, before I knew of his transgressions, because everyone needs someone to love, someone to look up to, and I needed it in spades; being horrible as my parents and everyone in that lyin’ mean-mouthed family said about me, their whipping boy…so to speak. The one good thing I can still think of if I think of them at all was the crazy lyin’ass stories they told… better than Murder TV but not as peaceful, even the funniest stories didn’t stay funny for long, before a shouting match and then an all-out, hair-pullin’ barney, my mother cutting the air with her spatula, just itching to connect up with my left cheek, grabbing my ponytail with her other hand, screaming her head off, jumped, in just cause she could…I imagine “shoot first and ask questions later” must have been her motto…

I figure Homie must have come from a “better” family than me, otherwise how else would he have come out so sweet, saving his best things in the ground, to keep ‘em new, special…Always happy to see me…when nobody else was…He said “he loved him some dancin’, that dancin’ was some natural”, and my brother and I laughed and laughed at the gormless quality of him, not even a thought in our heads, I realize now we both wanted to be like him, but were too afraid, how life might smack us in the face if we were innocent like that… how it had and we had… been just like that. Innocent as babes once, in that hardhearted household where both the parents swore like sailors and swung at each other with the black cast iron frying pans til’ my brother called the 911 while we hid in the pantry smelling our own flop sweat when he was just nine and I was barely six…and life had already made other plans for us….

… up at Homie’s we ate stuff out of boxes without spoons or forks, peanut butter straight outta the jar, and moon pies for dessert, then if it was a warm day we sat outside on upended joint compound buckets, swinging our bare feet in the breeze, rolling our stinky toes in the sharp new grass, scratching goosebumps, not talkin’ much, Homie smilin’ that gobsmacked smile he had, that said, isn’t it a fine day, just isn’t it!!??

Always it was because we were “ away”, not under her power, that mother with the rage steaming off of her, the ready hand for slapping or wielding that mean aluminum spatula whirring through the air just before it left its imprint on your face angry and red, not a single thought of her, as if I’d died and gone to heaven, or she had and gone to wherever angry mothers go when they die, who knows, who cares?

At home we ate our supper silently at a cloudy, grey linoleum coated table with frightening smooth grooved aluminum edges, we exchanged books without talking, as soon as one of us had finished one, leaving no inroads for the criticism my mother spewed like background music, every time her mouth was open… it was an unspoken contest not to talk, and who could do the best sleight of hand with the canned Lima beans, making them disappear without ever touching your tongue or your teeth, without the joy of a ready wastepaper basket… you had to be brave, cunning, cock-sure…

At Homie’s there was laughter, it spilled out everywhere, as if he lived in perpetual sunshine, I always see his shack awash in it, beaming out of his perennially beatific grin, his bald head lifted up to the sun as if he and the sun were one continuous phenomenon, though eventually, I learned first-hand that Vermont had its share of days so dark, grizzled and grim the weather alone could make you want to slit your wrists…
.
But Homie loved every bite of life despite having no teeth, that was the thing about him that still brings me to tears, I see what a vale of tears life can be, how many years wasted due to the stupidity of the somewhat educated, those of us who forget constantly how precious our one single life is and squander it all on ego, fear and sniping and I want to bust my head open, but it isn’t my fault, nor anyone’s really…What choice does anyone have about the family they’re born into?

I think I could have been happy every single day of my life if I would have been just a dot in Homie’s landscape, feeling the beacon of his reflected light warming me from a distance…I’ll never know, I never got to meet him, and by now he’s deep in the ground, telling jokes to the worms, maybe dancin’ his hobbled, bowlegged dance…

Just to think of him now, makes me smile, through and through, though I hide my teeth behind my hands because they are long and stained with age…I am hobbled up and fat as a toad, as he was, but I know he would still be glad to see me, and recognize the beautiful girl I was once, and squeeze me and squash me in his musky arms as if I’d always been his very best friend and he’d never stopped loving me for even a second…and when sometimes I find myself pining, moaning a little, saying “I want to go home, please take me home, oh, where is my home?” I begin to understand finally, that he is what I’m talking about, longing for…that place they have to take you in whether they want to or not, and they do, smilin’, that place where I have never been…

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dad

aaa Popeye.Flex_

My father was a drunk and a no good bastard, but we marched behind him with maracas and rhythm sticks, in a makeshift conga line, up and down stairs, till we fell out hurting with laughter to the wild Latin music he played on the Victrola record player, we, his children and our cousins, becoming suddenly, unified in our separate orbits, like he was the pied piper of Hamlin. I can still feel it in my bones, dancing, often the only one in a room full of uptight, white-ass bastards listening to wild-ass-shaking music and they too buttoned up to tap their little foot…that’s a gift he gave me in a shrunken life with too little love and too much anger shared, but I forgive him now, not because I have understood him all these years later, as I crawl toward my own mortality, but because I am his daughter, more like him in ways than even I could say or see, because who in their right minds ever sees himself as others see him? That gift, that brash fearlessness in a sea of politeness, has made me for good or for ill, the “man I am today”, the rotten-apple, fallen too close to the tree, that he would have made cider from, cheerfully smashing the juice out of it, worms and all.

Whether he loved me, or did not, whether he ever felt anything like love, and what that might have meant to him, I know who I am because of who I knew him to be, a brawler, a petty candy thief, a guy who borrowed other guys tools and if he returned them at all, they came back unrecognizable to the owner.
Ponderous, how he ever connected to the polite world, foul mouthed, with a chip on his shoulder, itching for a fight. Unapologetically himself, he caused his children in so many ways to quake in their boots, and years of therapy later, they still couldn’t dig his DNA out of their everyday miasmas. Memories poisonous with rage, but laced with such hilarity, that if you let it all out at once, it might shake the rafters of the ridiculous out buildings he built, with mostly chewing gum and spit and too little skill.

But, why should I be ashamed of him, everyone has to come from somewhere, and if you knew us both it would be unmistakable, despite all his protestations that his Airedales were the only daughters he’d ever wished for, I was his as much as any twin could have been.

He picked blackberries as if he were a black bear whose survival depended upon it and perhaps it did, touching the earth or things of the earth might have kept him somewhat sane, kept him from falling completely to the demons men of that age and wars may have been possessed by, maybe under all those barbed prickles, he was as acridly sweet as those blackberries he forced us to pick on those steamy, bug-bitten summer days?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Roommate

A rustling in one of the myriad paper bags that litter the floor of the trashed studio… A place that has been left to decompose like the manse of Miss Havisham, though worse in ways unpleasant to mention, because it is real.

The sound is friendly, as a mysterious sound can be, loud, crumply, not at all menacing…it is mid-morning and I have been at the sewing machine for hours…I get up to stretch my neck and back and check on the dog, who has decided recently, he will trust me with being away from him for very short spurts, even fifteen minutes, before he runs up to find me again, and paw me into leaving for a location in closer proximity to his comfort and treats, perhaps he is thinking of me, not wanting me to expire from the itching and sneezing, caused by a scrim of dust mites covering every surface, or disgust at my nonexistent attempts at digging it back into the present decade…

It is because of his momentary absence that the little friend; black eyed and grey furred as velvet, with its tiny attenuated body and after thought of stringy tail, has left it’s paper bag nest and made it’s debut onto the unswept, thread gummed floor, where I find it facing me, nonchalantly nibbling a paint chip.

It climbs into a long handled dust pan…as I’m considering its life, and experience thus far…I pick up the handle and carefully walk it out to the adjoining porch, whose door is conveniently open, on the first warm day we’ve had…placing it as gently as I can against the floors edge, facing out…All the time I am aware that the little creature appears to be very young, a native of the studio, most likely to have never seen outdoors, never lived anywhere other than it’s crumpled brown paper home, living on the collected seeds, nuts and cloth shreds that it’s mother had gathered for it’s comfort and welcoming into this world, and I feel sad, worried, a little awed for it, all of a sudden foisted into the great world, all alone in its only, tiny fur suit for its very first time.

I call a friend, in a panic, wondering if I should put food out for it, or tiny post-it-note signage about the world, and how to fare in it…then remember it can not read…it is so innocent, so unprepared…I feel tears rising up in me as I recount this, although I’m not sure why? It has been an invisible compatriot of mine, up until now, a fellow traveler…living peaceably unbeknownst to me up til’ today, sharing space silently, as the best roommates do, when you are lucky enough to find one, not guilty of anything.

…Now shunted out into a cruel, beautiful world, we will probably never meet,…I feel sad, as if for a missed opportunity, a best friend I might have made if we had met…the loved ones I could not love until it was too late, the fight burnt out of me, there is nothing left but love…and a mouse is as worthy of that as anyone…

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Following his nose… parts one, two and three

 

t-boneBW

 

Following his nose… parts one and two

I have been thinking about this for months, and I can’t start… Writing about a thing you don’t understand is hard, how do you get there, as if untangling the chaos in your own brain, is like trying to find some destination: Clarity, {an imaginary location?} instead, you’re lost somewhere in the weeds, in a dump in Pittsburg…keep going if you want to dig yourself out of the trash, and rinse off the scum…

I don’t know where I’m going, literally or metaphorically, so, sometimes, I just want to reach out and ask for directions…, really just reach out for a hand… to hold… why is that so hard, to say?
It started out, as it almost always does for me, with my dog; a furry, silky bundle of wants and needs, so complicated, with his pleading eyes and his tiny chicklet teeth, a few broken from chewing and pulling at the toughest sticks, always trying to show me who is the “better man” at the games he seduces me with, that master of fun and intrigue…

He knows I feel guilty, he must, otherwise, how could he so easily gain the upper hand, have the run of me? I think he knows I sometimes rock myself to sleep at night, imagining I am the person my dog thinks I am, cold comfort, that, I don’t sleep much….so much room for improvement…

But that’s beside the point, connected perhaps a little, but really rambling into an Arkansan swamp…the real thing, the nut of it, is LOVE, love, L O V E, whatever that is or means, whatever else you may call it, I’ll stick with English since it was what I was born into, more or less…

The dog waits for me, or someone, better than me,{one imagines} and I often disappoint him, arriving too late to assuage his fears, his aloneness, his, be truthful even though it hurts, his loneliness, we all have it, don’t be ashamed, he isn’t!

He believes I exist to please him, we all do in his eyes for that matter…I need to be like him, never is he once ashamed of his desires, he just grasps, jaws or paws at life and the people in it who he aims to please, not that he hasn’t been trained in this, a little, I name the toys as a sort of brain exercise for him, and ‘command’ him to bring them to me, for which he gets a treat, and so the game goes…Sock monkey was a favorite for a while because he, like all dogs, is a keen observer of people and observed that I liked him best, that and I imagine that he assumes that’s why I kept asking him to fetch him, because besides the treat, one tiny, parsimonious kibble, what was the point..?

Things went along this way for a while, all through that hot summer, we got each other….Finally, Sir Pantsalot and I could mark our survival of that black tar, sizzling up his paws season and get into the cool dry Fall, our first together… time to cook, now that the chill was in the air, I simmered beef stew in a big iron pot on the stove, its spicy fragrance, perfuming the house…that winter-hum was there too, inaudible to all but us, buzzing around us just under the surface of things, almost imperceptible but a percolating, kind of ode to hope, what my dad might have described as “the harvest hunger” a little song like Pooh Bear hums about honey in his tummy silly/happy, too innocent to know anything but hope…and sharpened a little by the delicious scent of wood smoke in the October air…
part…two

We both loved this season, running in and out through the doggy door, sometimes a gust of wind blew things around in the house, in places, we were not, Sir P ‘s ears and eyes registering surprised attention, then we both waited reverentially for the curious sound to change into the next moment, the next thing, side by side, heads next to each other, draped over the back of the couch, we looked out the window, at our separate experiences of the world, in companionable silence, my brain, slowed down… the endless stories it told itself about the world, about the world and me… my tenuous relation to it, verifying, verifying so self-righteously sure that it had an explanation for the millions of things I did not understand, a story that assigned guilt, blame, malfeasance to each frightening facet that threatened, confused, or hurt me; began to ease… The dog never seemed to hold a grudge, and he was even more powerless than me.

There were others that lived in the house like ghosts with us, not six feet away, but traveling in their own separate orbits as if they had the whole cosmos to themselves, intersecting only accidentally, like things that bump in the night, then, scurrying away in silent, awkward embarrassment.

There was the man she had once loved, who may have once loved her… their infrequent talk was like smoke signals made to a person who has never spoken your language, was deaf anyway, and not at all interested in talk or at least, what you had to say, like speaking to each other, from under the ocean, incoherent bubbles and then drowning in that vast, aloneness, silent, but together, no fault, it just was…

And others too, swanning about at all hours, mostly invisible but sometimes as obdurately dense as a brick, up-ended in the path, they stubbed their toes on him, he tripped them up, that tall one from Texas, why wouldn’t he remain where he belonged, not in that shadowy house where he had no business being, none at all…

Things being what they were, silence should have been a blessing, you could hear the clock thinking about its tedious task of trying to keep time, before it came to a defeated, mechanical clunk; out of time again, it too was out of time with time itself, it had missed the analog and the digital ages by centuries, and the Texan (who “momentarily” had studied watchmaking) seemed to fiddle with it, his long apparitional fingers still, awkwardly elegant with their many, fidgety rings, it gave him something to do…

Fall shadowed the walls, the long light, glistening on the surfaces of the house honeying everything, with a golden promise… stew simmering) in the pot…. The house for one brief moment under a hopeful spell…
But perhaps the dog staring warily at her, from his perch on the tattered couch, knew differently, after all, he observed everything, without judgement…. may have felt something, amiss…

Following His Nose part three

She spoke of herself, in the third person, as if that distance, that turning herself into a character, would lend perspective to the “problem” that had become their life together, the unconscious entanglement of countless, thoughtless years, that gray domesticity always turning in on itself, to memories unpleasant enough to unravel any possible, positive present… The aftermath of argument lingered in the air funereally… When she walked out with the dog, it clung to her clothes, like smoke, thinking of it made her stomach twist.

And that other man, that skinny shroud of a ghost rose up, fluttering in his aimless, languid loiter, rising up to taunt her, when she was at her loneliest, most despondent, offering her nothing, but the teasing memory of his declarations of “Love” for her, cold comfort, they weren’t worth the paper, they were printed on…for when she fell down, deep inside herself, exhausted from the households daily demands, what ghost could lift her up, outside of herself, into strong arms, into the strength we all need replenished, sometimes…

…In all the demands made on women everywhere, who, turned around and gave them back, something, anything that would sustain, the love they scattered like seeds into the wind, the very stuff of themselves, their blood, and heart, breast, and bone? But the loneliness was not just of being female and built and trained up into giving, it was a personal loneliness, the things in one’s head, unsayable, perhaps unspeakable, that Texan had told her his, she’d not told him hers, he would perhaps have understood, better than many, but he seemed to think that she existed just to please him, too, just like the dog, so she had given up and silence and its disquietude reigned.

The other man believed in, “sweeping everything under the carpet” daily, over and over until the pile of sweepings became a hill, a mountain too steep to climb, right in the center of things, an elephant in the room, if she tried to talk about it, he disappeared further into himself…so many ghosts inside that house… who could bring the living into view?

The dog remained, resting on the floor his soft body stretched out, anywhere he felt comfortable, comfort was his hobby…

…never once, forgetting about the pot on the stove, his nose attached to its aroma, like a cartoon character, wafting, levitating behind it, until he floated, all four legs into the kitchen, with the sock-monkey in his mouth, whereupon he leapt up, placed his forepaws squarely on the stove edge and deposited it, unceremoniously into the stew pot, a pleased look on his face, he had made his move….

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Other Sex

 

For as long as I can remember I have had no thoughts on “being a girl’’ at all. My father who did not live long with us, would march about in heavy boots , scratching and acting out in some parody of masculinity , that escapes any attempt at rationale for he was already ”macho’’ in the very worst sense of the word,{though we had no thoughts on that matter either at the time….he unapologetically hating women and children without differentiation, he detested his own daughters as much as other children who had done much less to offend his well -developed sensibilities, if you had been older and wiser you would have understood not to take it personally, it was a universal with him, the way other folks have a universal love for humanity, my dad had pretty much the opposite…….but I digress , when I watched him stomp and clomp in his untied, dirt covered ,misshapen boots looking for all the world like oversized baked potatoes , and scratching a patch of matted chest hair, harrumphing about lout-like ,it dazzled me and I couldn’t… I couldn’t help but do the same, he’d grunt “oh fer Chrissakes” and I’d repeat it all of a swagger, my old Dad that right bastard.

Science would have you believe that I had been imprinted by him like a duck . After all he was something like a parent, being of the same genetic material and all . But I had a mother as well, well not exactly as well, for she was for her part a poor impersonation ….I having been shot straight out of her birth canal, like out of a canon, I can attest to it by the bump on my then still soft head but that was the only evidence…

Mater, pater , couch potater, what a cozy bunch we were, the atmosphere in that dark household could have killed cockroaches, the hardiest of all our planets’ rowdy inhabitants, but I wander here…

I knew my mother’s sex one way or another before I understood where babies came from. One surprising day I heard a frantic scream from her perfumed closet and there inside stood a pair of remarkably tall, elegant lavender ,chartreuse and pink kid stiletto heeled shoe with my tiny diaper-less baby-sister squatting over the left footed one looking as unashamed and pleased with herself as any person with good taste and great marksman-ship must feel. In retrospect it seemed as apt a commentary on gender and it’s trappings as only slightly worldly folks might make…

I grew as we all do unless by some chance one or the other of our parents succeeds in their threats of murdering us in our beds….and came to this age and that older and older, but no wiser in things , and no clearer about what exactly I was…or what did any one mean, what did it mean to be a girl?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment