"Know Your Own Bone"
I take risks as a writer, not only the risk of blogging unfinished unrefined unpolished incomplete amateurish silly embarrassing and sometimes incoherent work, but the risk of writing about something I have no qualifications to write about at all; most-lately, love and women. It’s hard to admit at age 67, after nearly seven decades of confused and failed relations with women, I know so little about them. The idea that I could write lucidly about my relations with them without exposing bottomless ignorance or offering an original thought is laughable; yet I dared. Fools walk in and hopefully keep writing afterward.
A friend suggested I try writing something from a woman’s viewpoint, and I had the temerity to try. I will go to any length it seems to make myself look ridiculous. Before her suggestion to pen something from a woman’s POV, I had dissected and laid out for the whole blogging world to see a living autopsy of my shameless contradiction...twisted unsatisfied hunger for sex and romantic love...from the Goddess of Love & Beauty Herself no less...revealing my high school boy’s arrested-emotional development with a couple of lame poems and dizzy impertinent writing about what I called Love and named Divine...Ha, ha. O Mike, what could you know about Love...or Divinity for that matter?
Don’t get me wrong. Although most of the time I feel like Fabrizio in The Charterhouse of Parma...unable to feel love the way others do...I know with certainty that I very much love infants and little children...they soften my heart fill me with compassion and tickle my mind! Ha, ha! They make me laugh and when they cry, I want to cry too. This I know. All the rest...woman-need... male-female discord and alienation...the final gasps of strangling male chauvinism...the stupid failed relationships and impossible longing for whatever it is to quit eating me alive… I know that none of it is real. It’s another confusing complex of shadows on the wall. I actually believe in quite little of this world of illusion. I try inexpertly without enthusiasm under protest to play the games pretending to believe hoping the Furies will lay off...but only in the interest of survival sanity and staying out of jail.
Most of the time I hear that siren song of perpetual human progress...but safely up here...in borderline rafters...fortunately hard-of-hearing...I'm gazing down at a ruthless human tragedy...not much progress overall...if I appear aloof too-objective and disbelieving about our common fate still I am passionately involved in every moment of my own life...believing in fate...in dreams...in visions and intuition...and a life without passion and dreams isn’t worth living...my problem forever was containing my passions and safeguarding my dreams...they are sacred...without containment being confinement or dreams being lost and forgotten...dreams my only connection to God...dreams my only relief from cave life...waking dream of love...waking dream of peace...waking dream of freedom.
Here we are though still in Plato’s allegorical cave…shadows on the walls our only reality…the real world the essence of it...the soul...the real thing baby...so high above this dump…
Perhaps the cave is simply a dark rocky womb of another sort than the divine form the Mother...where we first met life in a warm secure envelope of nourishing watery space...where dreams are real before myths are conceived...before lies are conveyed...while being mysteriously embedded in an organic near-perfect flesh-blood-and-bone intelligence-learning robot...a working model of passion intellect and consciousness with apposable thumbs...but how to get out of this cold forbidding delusional rocky shadow horror show and back to the real thing baby..."consciousness-raising" we called in the the Sixties...I tried to raise it baby God knows I tried.
Everything I wrote about women was only as they related to me however... What I thought...what I felt...what I saw...what I experienced...what I wanted...what I lost and sometimes why...very little about them...a sketch a skimpy glance a caricature...how those females made me feel...from when mother abandoned me to an orphanage to years later when she jailed me for talking back...then my sister sent me to a jail for defying God the government and the drug laws...throwing away the figurative key...forced divorce with prejudice from my entire original family!...they didn't want to be involved!...ha, ha!...two defining moments in the ongoing creation and near-mental destruction of her only brother...her Power vindicated winner of our sibling rivalry!...I hope she's satisfied in her 350-lb diabetic blindness bedridden without a brother the only one with same memories of riding backseat to Houston singing "You Belong to Me"...now completely dependent on others...how do I feel?...I feel sorry for her...but I don't love her anymore...I did once I think...I can't remember.
Whatever I wrote about love has to be complete bullshit because I can't remember a word of it.
But what I wrote was all about me. Who they were and what they were about didn’t figure much independently of their relationship with me. I didn’t explore or try to fully understand the mother, who began incubating my life drunk and raped at the San Jacinto Monument December 1940. Until I finally heard from her own mouth the true story of creation at age 34, I thought that I knew my mother. It was only then when the truth was finally revealed...that it was a blind-date and a double-date with her best friend Sunny Brown...a pharmacist from New York supposedly named Donald Redick...he got her drunk...took her outside...that I began to understand the puzzling aversion I had always felt from her...sensed but never comprehended...I always felt that she was afraid of me...only when she told me did I finally see her as a person beyond the mother-role she played so poorly...under passive-aggressive protest...that had caused me so much pain...abandonment neglect alcoholic ignorance...and teenage imprisonment resulting in my life of cautiously treading treacherous seductive paths...the maze of their deceptive turf...desiring their lovely bodies their enchanting smiles...WANTING THEIR GRACEFULNESS!...their bubbling wit...their eyes full of love looking at the camera hugging ME close this one is mine!...but expecting betrayal and tragedy at every turn...misunderstandings...presumptions...stereotyping on both sides...co-dependency...irrational behavior...unpredictable unreasonable illogicality and meanness from...guess who...women...my "other half"...whose struggle to seize power from men is said presages a kinder gentler less-warlike sweeter sexier more-colorful amusing childlike and child-loving reasonable world...a world of love and caring!...excuse me while I scoff...the feminization of Earth...the insight dawned late that nearly every male monster or female mutant around-the-world and all the other deformities of human nature out here huddled in doorways with crackpipes crazy in prison or poor-white illiterates in mildewed trailers crawling with roaches in mid-Alabama...were also like me raised by women...pioneers who slaughtered Indians and enslaved blacks came home to approving women...Catherine the Great was a warmonger who was said to couple with stallions...someone wrote there have been no female Hitlers...I write back not yet.
Nor did I ever want to know the mind or bend a knee before the reason of my disappointing but once-beloved sister...who sent me to jail two years for two joints and some lsd...18 months solitary confinement prime of my life...poor deluded weak-minded right wing Christian fundamentalist Republican female fanatic/victim had her reasons so she said...they were ridiculous!...she was afraid I would "poison her children"!...right-wing know-nothing Christian bastards kidnapped my sister and turned her into an obdurate self-righteous monster...when I knew her she was a nice girl...my first and only real girl friend...my protector...how could she have done that to me? When I think about it even now 30 years on I simply want to cry. There was never any question she had the legal right...an outrage that she would use it without warning. I saw it then and see it now as the worst kind of betrayal...family treachery...a kick in the gut...But when I wrote it it was all about me of course...I couldn't care less what her reasons were dammit!...The idea of putting your own brother in jail...it still floors me...Well, it was my ass sitting in that cell for a year and a half wasn’t it? Yes I’m still angry...yes I know it doesn’t do any good...some things you can’t ever lose.
Everything I wrote about love is ludicrous but unfunny. If there is one thing I know absolutely nothing about it is love. Needing...wanting...not-having...falling-in and falling-out of “romantic” love are all I know of the subject in Toto. Billions of words have been written about love...maybe I read a few thousand...but none made me feel love...understand it...get love or give it. Love as mysterious to me as the mechanics of the Hubble Telescope. I can only imagine Love from a kind of bewildered detachment...like trying to read a dictionary upside-down...(knowing-I-know-nothing)...definition: universal river of invisibly-flowing cosmic electro-chemical glue with a moral purpose…untainted by puny human concepts of romantic attachment and obligations to the social compact...stronger than magnetism...holding everything together so it doesn't fly apart...the all-enveloping arms of God...we're stuck in the glue and don't even know it...my definition as comprehensible as some of the others...it's a tender protective feeling you feel...it's feeling an otherworldly timeless peaceful connection to something or someone...a stunning sunset or a beautiful gal...the calm compassion you feel for a helpless infant who freezes you in wonder...a peaceful emotion security you feel at your mother’s breast..sucking the nutrients for life...sucking them from life...and never know again...after that everything uphill and symbolic...so I thought...Love...Love sucks. Then dies.
Selfless mothers experience real love but in the first place women experience less anxiety than men...they know they're women ordained by biology every thing that happens to them...menstruation...defloration...pregnancy...childbirth...confirms it...they have nothing to prove...they're probably more able to love...males never sure what the requirements for "manhood" are...males out there every day having to pass the same tests of courage strength endurance skill never sure what it takes to be a man...no control over the sex game...hardly needed in fact...men more insecure less able to love...but no wonder women love easier...babies slide out of them...their breasts are suckled it's constant Mike...and helpless little creatures love them purely and simply but with undeniable demands...an unforgettable intimacy...they see up close an innocent little creature often an exact copy of themselves...becoming something new and different every day...a dawning mind urgent needs uncontrollable passions of its own...while fathers are all-but-helpless spectators...passive observers and sometimes unwilling participants...I changed a lot of diapers and bounced him on my knee cuddled him to my chest...but my son preferred her of course.
I did too.
New mothers learn quick to submerge selves so as to communicate with this new being, for they must see and feel through its own eyes its needs and demands or needs would go unsatisfied...babies would starve die in their mess and be eaten by flies...If mothers (and fathers) could not do selfless things the infant would surely perish or grow into a deformed being. Many do anyway...mutants actually...even with the advantage of a mother’s careful selfless love and a father’s rare involvement. Sometimes there seems no explaining how we turn out. Some of the most-symmetrical people are bonafide monsters...and wisdom can burn like an arc-welder from the eyes of the ugliest human on the planet.
I wrote about the feelings that consumed tortured and crippled me after I left my wife and kid in cowardly flight. I described how I nearly tortured myself to death for it three decades...but nothing about what it did to my son, or my wife, and how they coped and turned-out. Of course much must remain private for their sakes, but again, what I wrote was all about me, how I was affected by it. Selfish yes...intended no...to me at times out on the road the only song I could hear in my head was Staying Alive...sometimes I woke with it going thru my head...but most of the time it was Dylan Lennon or Miles Davis' Nefertiti. And sometimes it was the Star Spangled Banner or the Marine Corps Hymn.
I wrote about some of the women in my life how we met and some of the things we did...how it always came to a bad end...for me anyway...but never fully described or understood or tried probing their minds to understand more than the superficial motives of those women. I see now that I didn’t because I didn’t know or care very much about their minds and motives. I still don’t know but do care now...after a lifetime of knowing and observing females...reading their books...supporting their causes...pitying their weaknesses...stunned by their ignorance of materials mechanics and how things work!...their nobility...ha, ha! Baroness Bertha von Suttner!...their intelligence…Simone de Beauvoir!...their wisdom…Margareta Nordh!...their courage...Charlotte Corday!...you go girl!...wonderful women!...admiring their accomplishments...fixing their flats...failing their tests...carrying their luggage...opening their doors...trying to meet them...to know to befriend and hopefully have sex with the sexiest ones...occasionally finding favor with one who briefly let me in...After all that what I really know about women wouldn’t fill a birthday card. The only thing I know and confidently assert is that they want to be listened to.
What am I trying to do as a writer? You may ask. I am not always sure what I am doing or even why I’m writing, but in a recent moment of clarity I saw I could only write about the subject, probably the sole subject, which I know anything about: myself. I’m a poor writer of fiction and no example of a fine creative essayist, and this is all I have.
I am the only person I know and certainly the only one I distrust with good reason. I alone know the extent of my treachery the depth of my depravity and my own quavering moral and physical cowardice. I would rather be like Che and Fidel but I don't have the guts. I have a warrior-spirit but not a warrior's courage.
So even when I write about women, or about my grandmother or mother, or about war or politics or the United States of America and the mountainous piles of accumulating dreamy unscientific bullshit...or when I celebrate the existence of a woman whose sudden presence in my failing life opened my eyes...re-ignited my passion...revealed to me finally a divinity in women...I am still writing about myself and how it affects me...what is really going through their heads I haven't a clue...all the while because I know myself doubting everything I think say and feel...the dilemma of a skeptic...suspicious skeptic wanting to believe...looking for the magic touch.
The strange thing about my voluntary but conditional disassociation from so much of civil society is that I'm awestruck by revelations of female divinity but nothing makes me want to worship. I don't know what worship means. I saw first only the divine beauty of a young erotic woman and briefly opened my mind to her spiritual source in the symbolic "mythical" goddess Aphrodite...who could if She existed delegate to a line of females her power to heal a man’s heart with love and beauty...a beautiful friendly god who likes some men enough to take them on...I didn't see and could only intellectually imagine the divinity in all things feminine...If this sexy perfect goddess is divine then so is the childless overweight matron in the food line…so is the old crone on the corner who shouts at the passing cars…ha, ha!...she knows everybody in town!...and divine are the carping old bags I run into now and then...the disappointed ones who hate men and blame it on all of us…yet even the crone is supposedly wise...containing the wisdom of her sex in her Time.
But just as I was reckless and angry enough to tell Mr. God to fuck Himself, I am as prone in a moment of pique to tell Ms. Goddess to stick it up her ass too. I can see and intellectually respect Her but I can’t feel Her at all. She is fascinating and more-beautiful than that fierce old Jehovah from Jerusalem but as unapproachable as that same old unjust snarly God. I have no power of persuasion with Her or with Him…If She is the great nurturer the great lover the great mother the great healer where the hell is She huh? When will she open her arms to me?
She is...only when I can perceive her..when perception falters or the check fails to come she vanishes like smoke in a wind…just like that fathersonandholyghost I never did get. ..Or was it a female God who helped me quit drinking?... See what I mean?... In the end assigning the unknowable God a gender or two is pretty ridiculous…but maybe it helps some find themselves...get in touch with their own inner spiritual divinity.
Men and women are one creature of two sexes...forever we seek to reunite...our separation became estrangement...the farther apart we are the worse the wreckage of the world...I fervently want to see the feminization of the world!...Just as I want to see an end to racism and war...I have been in process of personal feminization most of my life...can't tell you how many men have called me a wimp or a pussy and sometimes I had to fight to disprove it...though I knew it was no shame to be a woman...long ago I knew men were full of shit...always knew women were smarter... feminization yes domination no...don't dominate me I won't dominate you...I never did...most women didn't appreciate my passivity...they wanted those macho guys who didn't shave and left the toilet seat raised I guess...I was too intellectual...I was too quiet...too strange...too different...too full of himself they thought...maybe they were right maybe not.
Blogging all that crap about women and love I only learned more about myself...humiliating lesson too...I don’t know if I’m humbled though…if I don't know myself how can anyone else?
My uncle, for example, whom I’ve always cherished, hardly knows me at all. After he’d made himself absent from my life too busy for decades and we were getting to know each other again...me a failed broke old man then not a hard young confident marine anymore...I told him I’d helped organize a demonstration against the bombing of Serbia...this World War Two veteran expressed outrage that I had done so. “You mean you demonstrated for the Serbs?! I fought a world war to stop genocide…” and so forth...blah blah blah swallowing his own hero myth...and he was don't get me wrong...but there are other kinds of heroes too.
Surprised by his reaction...shaken by its implications...I failed to mention Serbia was our ally in two world wars and lost a million in each. Now that my uncle actually knows something about me, he doesn’t like me anymore! It breaks my heart twice but O well. Who needs a beloved uncle anyway? Ever respectful to the family that never much cared for me, I gallantly avoided mentioning the 6.5 million Asians we murdered 30 years ago to prevent Japan from, ahem, turning communist. Why bring that up again? Not that I ever did…He knows that I demonstrated against a certain war...cowboys on the march!...truth justice and the American Way!...bomb the shit out of them and blame it on Milosevic!...we missed him and all the dead are collateral damage...and one footprint closer to a weakened Russia...strip away Kosovo their oldest province sowing the seeds of another war...that was a war that Sherman Lee liked. ..He didn't see the significance it was 200 of us against the world that day…me and 200 Serbs demonstrating while Las Vegas slept off another hangover April Fools’ Day...and Clinton the bomber playing golf with a political crony...never mentioning the brave long-suffering Serbs who rescued our pilots and were hanged or shot for it...or starved in Croat-Nazi death camps… Croats that we support now...we give them tax dollars...they're still Nazis...they exterminated Serbs before Clinton bombed and where were we huh?
But I make the world outside and inside myself seem so bleak and brutal sometimes, and so it is to me much of the time, and I don’t know if it’s because I want to see it that way, or if it really is so wanting and mean. The unnecessary brutality the horror traps my gaze and propels my mind around dangerous bends into the actual torture chambers and abstract mind-dungeons of the world. This is how it is also with my obsession with the war...it is all the same war to me...no matter where it's being waged. There are no local wars. It is one war...rich against poor...capital against labor...unbelievers against believers. I failed to materially thrive in a society competitive and antagonistic to gentler and non-competitive people like myself. Yes, I talk a tough game, but really the only things I want to kill are certain bugs and people who shoot birds.
But to most of us the world is not so bleak and hopeless as I present it. I know this. I read magazines too. I see photos of the pretty people...the serious people...the creative people charmed and happy…great-looking people in a circle ‘round a fire on a beach in Brazil...walking hand-in-hand on a magic street of Paris...diving off a boat in Tahiti...reading a book on comfortable sofa in pleasant New York condo...building a cabin in Colorado...making love on a terrace over a calm African lake...I know...I know, it’s out there...all is not lost...there's always hope...the world can be lively bold sweet lovely and good…a human heaven temporary but achievable…but how can I ever hope to attain it?...Maybe I only want a piece... maybe I’m jealous and disgruntled... perhaps I’m mad and disgusted with myself for missing out on a more-pleasant and comfortable life...at my own selfishness ignorance stupidity laziness or lunacy...getting what I deserve after all...I've never been happy for more than a momemt or two...I don’t know. I don’t even know if I care anymore. It remains to be seen. Caring the biggest risk of all…if you care you’re committed.
Inevitably, the subject of women and love includes that of sex rejection and loneliness when I make the scene. A valuable person told me I bring a lot of loneliness on myself because I am “afraid of people…”...and she was right of course. But sometimes I wonder if it is that I'm afraid of people...or of what I would like to say to them do to them or otherwise offend them by...ambivalence strands me at a lonely distance...far enough away to sap the force of my surprising unexpected & explosive darts...I let them fall harmlessly on the field...wasted arrows no harm...I have a quick sharp tongue...you wouldn't believe how cutting and sharp...a family trait...don't get me started...I'm soft-spoken Irish but I'll take you apart with words...I'm relentless...But I try to keep my mouth shut now...what do my feelings matter in the end. Though it might seem so, I really am not afraid of people per se either physically or otherwise...God knows I have to encounter and engage a score of them everyday. I’ll engage them on whichever level presents...dull debate or life-and-death on the sidewalk whatever comes...I do what I must…Let me say I am averse to most people rather than afraid of them… If I don’t play your games I can sidestep your snares.
I am grateful for life on planet Earth but won’t be too sorry to leave it...truth-be-told...come whatever come what may...I see no reason why I should be sorry except I didn't fulfill all my selfish desires...now I have to die boo hoo... The truth is I have a horror of hurting anyone...even while I dream planetary apocalypse by my own hand...pushing the button APOCALYPSE NOW!...wondering at my own reluctance to hurt others...when I see so many without such scruples.
Sometimes I feel like Mathieu in the last scene of Troubled Sleep (Sartre.) The pure joy of chucking it all in the trash heap…the philosophy the morality the law codes polite society...the 10 Commandments...the lies delusions trivialities…the hypocrisies...contradictions…communism…democracy…fascism…HITLER STIRRING!...monarchy...spiritualism...empty meaningless intellectuality…THE VOMITOUS HEAPS OF BOOKS!...the university in the cafe…NAZIS IN SPAIN!...endless passionate debates & quarrels producing nothing!…political demonstrations…blasé sex liaisons…LIFE AS A LIE!...HITLER ON THE MOVE!...personal relations as intrigue hypocrisy and various forms of polite cowardice...HITLER TAKES SUDENTENLAND!...and the inability man the absolute inability to get through to anybody...to compare meanings to be involved to share to collaborate to care TO COMMIT!...to make a difference...HITLER TAKES CZECHOSLOVAKIA!...to feel passionate love…MUNICH!...TO LIVE TO THE MAX!...to get anything going...and the absolute ABSURDITY of it all…HITLER INVADES FRANCE!...finally grasping the meaning of his own absurd existence and with damned good reason and not being a coward just simply taking a stand FINALLY with the brave and the doomed…doing the right thing…making a choice…simply asking for a weapon sick of the bullshit...confronted with a clear choice at last he accepts a fate…chooses the hemlock…SOCRATES AGAIN!...and just starts shooting the invading Nazi bastards!...HA, HA! TAKE THAT YOU BULLY BASTARD!...firing full-tilt from a sniper’s clock-tower in the last town on the last road to Paris in the last rearguard outfit resisting the whole damned Nazi juggernaut in full-throated victory blitz...HERE THEY COME!... the last 15 minutes of life…when he could have faded away with the the pariah French army...spend the war in a prison camp working for the bums...but burning up the rifle barrel instead...the pure joy of throwing it all in the ditch and just killing the sons of bitches...to hell with philosophy to hell with Thou shalt not kill… potting them...“they will see my dead body”...seasoned German troops calmly bringing up a tank to erase the meaning and existence of his too-late crystal clarity.
As my old friend Dave Denaro said when he was dying eating fried chicken drinking beer and smoking unto his last day: “I like fried chicken beer and cigarettes. You gotta die of something.”
My writing is taking a turn but I don’t know what’s ahead. I never did. But now I can see that in the past I’ve been too negative...(someone has to do it in this tricky world of positive politically-correct-thinking and self-deluding bullshit about” progress”)...I have to be less negative...to find something positive that might alter my mind and improve this writing and my banal life...I’ve been careless about thinking things through...Think, Mike!...Think about what you’ve never thought about before... The Feminine Divine for example...and look where you’ve been in this long confusing disheartening family-losing racial struggle you chose to join.
When I look back at the numbness dumbness and outright misery composing most of my conscious life, I cast around for one thing to feel proud of, one thing to make me “feel good about myself,” and catch it. I am proud that in my 67 years, through conscious effort and a lot of confusion pain and groping in clumsy well-intentioned delusions and conflicting thoughts and emotions not to mention being afraid and an unwanted member of an oppressing race and a bullying sex, I apparently with the help of God and a number of tolerant black people who knew me better than I knew myself...overcame my own southern American white racism. It was benign racism not aggressive or openly contemptuous or disrespectful but institutional conditioned and pervasive...based on fear of black people...they carry knives!...made me crippled fearful and crazy...and it is gone! That it no longer inhabits me like a pre-programmed demon I have no doubt. It made me feel lousy when I was a young man starting out...to know I had a white-skin advantage I didn’t deserve. For a guy brought up on Roy Rogers movies it obviously wasn’t fair...I took their side in 1962...I always wanted to be the good guy...but it was a long hard road.
I didn’t realize that I had finally conquered it until one day recently, while walking in an unfamiliar “bad neighborhood” of New Orleans...I realized I had absolutely no fear of any black person I encountered along the way. It was like walking in my own neighborhood though I had never been there before...and I lived six months in Harlem always watching my back...I knew it suddenly by the acceptance I found in their eyes and their manner toward me. They saw I had no fear and knew I had no hate. It made me happy. In a way, that brief acceptance by people of a neighborhood who didn’t know me and had no reason to like or trust me, lit in me a small flame of validation and hope that perhaps I can love too…perhaps I succeeded at something after all…perhaps I called that one right. ..because sometimes…I swear…what I feel must be love for these black African and other people of darker colors who befriended and helped me so often…who did so much for me when I needed help...lent me money gave me shelter fixed my cars spoke the truth...if this is love it is made of reverence and profound respect for what they endured and endure yet at the hands of my race… miraculously preserving their true humanity for human inheritance...FOR ME!...preserving humanity for us all don't you think...in spite of it all…the bonds chains & whips of cursed hate and ungodly greed. What a unique and beautiful people! And what a wonderful feeling! To be liberated from at least one kind of stultifying American oppression. It made me laugh out loud to realize it. I thought happily, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, I’m free at last!” Ha, ha, ha, ha! I did everything except break out in a Marvin Gaye song. That’s one demon exorcised. God what a trip it’s been with black people. I’ll tell you about it sometime.
I can see the divinity in them...Now if I could only feel the same way about women. My struggle with sexism...wanting to be on the right side...began with the struggle against racism...I had Our Bodies Ourselves in proof for godsakes and read it before most of the women in the world...The parallel between racism and sexism and the combination of Woman’s struggle with Black struggle is so evident. That everything God created as a spark of the Divine is intellectually-evident...If I could lick white racism I should be able to finally exterminate male chauvinism in myself and actually make friends and love Woman as much as I want to love a woman. How would that feel? Could I actually love them? Could a woman ever love me? Could Woman?
And the sexual starvation? I’ve said enough about that.
Yet even mired in a swamp of self-doubt and self-loathing I feel the independence and strength of my own character even if no one else does…”My journey hasn’t been a pleasant one…”(Dylan’s “Lonesome Hobo”)… I alone know where I’ve been how hard it’s been and what I might have done…what I might have become instead of this harmless old man plugging away on a keyboard…I just kept going and things keep getting clearer.
Of all the women I’ve known…been loved hated ignored or tormented by…from my grandmother and mother to the lost sister to girl friends and wife and those I only saw in the movies…what always struck and nailed me first last and always was their incredible grace…the nimbleness of Louise Lee’s fingers threading a needle over her apron…my mother’s pleasant open smile and quick recovery from any faux-pas…my sister Pat’s beautiful soprano voice…Cindy’s sultry looks…Joey’s amused eyes…the way they moved…the way they slept…how they held a fork…how she lit a candle…Jill climbing a ladder with a camera to get a picture of her own ass!...Madeline laughing madly at her own outrageous Parisian humor…how this one walked…how that one danced…how she talks with her hands and arms in graceful motion…fixing her hat in the wind…their beauty…their fineness…their grace…I couldn’t see it if I didn’t have some of it too…I see my grandmother mother and sister and Joey in me all the time…I picked up some nutrition from them all…I ate them up…they’re in me…they are me…I am them…but still they are strangers to me and I to them...that’s why I write about it…as Annie Dillard wrote: “Know your own bone.”