Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My heart went thru its usual breaking as I left Texas. I moved slowly the first day back. I worried whether writing is frivolous. I thought about how far away my family is when I am here. And then I wrote three poems. And then I cried. My grandmother's Virgin Mary is set upon my altar. My chest is weighted with prayer and thankfulness and vertigo. According to Bhanu Kapil, "Vertigo is a symptom of profound attraction. An excess of desire." Yes.

I am back in the Bay after covertly digging a hole at the cemetery in Dallas where my dad, uncle and paw-paw are buried and depositing part of my grandmother's ashes there. We poured water on the ground and used trowels. I loved on my nieces and went thru my grandmother's things. I came home with a suitcase full of pictures. My assignment for Truong Tran's poetry class this week is to look at a family album and write about the pictures and the narrative that they beg to tell. That man reads my mind.

I have pictures of my father as a small baby, complete with infamous dimple. I have pictures of my uncle Mike in the hospital after being knifed; you can see the track marks in his arms. Ghostly hollow of his dark eyes. I am being given a gift. I get to sort through these things. I get to follow it back to deep baby humanity. I get to love and love and love.

I have a bit of homesickness for Boulder as the days get shorter but remain fair in California. I began my period (quite early) the day my grandmother died and I know there is a serious newness to my life right now. Each part of me is beginning something. Each of my "homes" have shifted. I don't know how to anchor.

I will be 32 in one month, the age my father was when he died. My birthday is Halloween, my uncle Mike's was November 1st, and the next is the Day of the Dead. I am mad with numbers lately. I wonder who is pulling these strings.

Tonight I made a thick fried dahl and have crawled into bed. I am listening to songs that have accordions or yodeling in them. It is clear that Fall has arrived: days like cinnamon, nights like clove.

4 comments:

sydtek said...

I have never really liked the fall, it always felt to me like everything was dying. Summer used to come to a biting halt, and the trees would give up on their leaves, and it'd be back to school-- which for me was mostly miserable. Right now, we are in a period known as Teshuvah in Judaism. It's a 10 day review of your life before God writes your name in the Book of Life or the Book of Death, and your fate is sealed. I never liked the fall when I lived in Chicago. The place is so cold that I always think, "if there is a God, he is an asshole." But something is changing. Many somethings are different here. The west coast is as far left as you can get. The people and the weather are much more comfortable for me. This fall doesn't feel like death, it's all new beginnings for me. Like you, Michelle, I've got a new home. I feel like I'm peeking out from behind a thick canvas, and it's my turn to pick out paint colors. Thanks for sharing about your trip to Texas.

skatz said...

Hi Michelle!!
It's great to read your beautiful words. I can hear your voice while I read :) I've missed you. Those pictures sound amazing, especially your dad's big dimple :)
Love,
Shayna

bajo said...

"I get to sort through these things. I get to follow it back to deep baby humanity. I get to love and love and love."

Yes. But some questions: how do we get intimate and public with everything? how do we write?

This is beautiful."baby humanity".

Michelle Puckett said...

oh, holy shit! shayna! i love u so much! good to hear ur *voice*. thanks, baby girl!

and syd, I'm glad this fall feels different for u, i want to hear more about that.

and paola, hmm. i dont know. im wondering about that myself. am noticing the things i wont say and the things i refuse not to say. god, i love u three!