Wednesday, August 1, 2018

bad math

"I thought she was 'the 1'," he sighed.
The calculation in my brain instantaneous.
I counted my frozen breath.
"1" - the difference in the friendly smile that did not reach my eyes;
"I thought you were the 1; sometimes I still do,"
I did not reply. 

His 1 and my 1 had never quite equaled 2.

In fact, we are told that 1 plus 1 should equal 1.
That whole numbers are comprised of 2 other wholes.
And when it doesn't add up,
(1 equals 0) plus (1 equals 0)
Equals 0.
Oddly, 2 minus 1 also equals 0.

We never talk about the minus 1.
Or about the infinity that exists between 0 and 1.

We are cordially invited to plus 1,
Preferably "the 1."
So we push on, looking for the next 1.
Are you "the 1"?
Are you "the 1"?

"You told me countless times 
you didn't believe in 'the 1',"
I didn't reply.
Because I know that sum.
He didn't believe in "the 1,"
Like I didn't believe in Infinity.
Like an unbeliever can't believe
Until they see the proof.

Friday, July 20, 2018


I had a conversation today that was beautiful and bittersweet, honest and forgiving, brave and tender, and in which I was lovingly reminded that the real me shines and sparkles and is a light.

It broke me all over again. In the best way - in the Leonard Cohen way. And it reminded me of this song that I just heard on Wednesday. 

 Sometimes what isn't everything is also enough.

When you were young
Where did you hide
When the ghosts under your bed made you cry?
Just yesterday
Where did you run
Did you lose your way before the day’d begun?

You were lonely for a while
Did you find your mother’s smile
And did it shine on
Shine on

Where did you think
You’d be by now
Did it look like somewhere else someway, somehow?
When you drove away
Was there a sound
A simple melody that turned it all around?

And the moment you were gone
Did you hear your favourite song
And did it shine on
Shine on

Sometimes it hides
In the hardest times
A most beautiful blessing in disguise

Even on the darkest days
There’s a spark to light the way
And let it shine on
Shine on

Appears on ‘So Let’s Go
By Alan Doyle

Friday, May 18, 2018

for a minute

For a minute there
I forgot who I was.
My age.
And the shape of me.

For a minute there
I forgot about history.

Math has never been my thing.
They say it's just numbers
They are just numbers.
It's just a number.

But the numbers.
They add up.

And I
I use words.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

after the empty nest

As a parent, and especially in the decade or so in which I was, without design or expectation, my sons' primary parent, my main goal has been to raise (and to become) happy, healthy whole people living lives of choice. I've never actually articulated it as such, but from where I sit now I can see that's been the hope, dream, work, intention - for my sons as well as for me. I've never been attached to how they make their way in the world or who they love, just that they be happy, healthy and whole and that they have the confidence and tools to create life (we're all a work in progress) rather than letting life happen to them. 

DS28, as DS7 (?) - when tree climbing was free and easy
Yesterday, as I mowed the lawn using a mower that DS28 got to run two weeks ago - the only mower I've ever started on the first pull, thanks to his work - I realised, something has shifted. I've been an intermittent empty-nester for 8 years now, with one or the other son moving back in as they needed. I've worried and fussed and offered unsolicited advice. And sometime in the last year, that stopped.

Oh, I still worry and fuss, but it is so clear that they no longer want or need my unsolicited advice. They are healthy, functioning adults, and even more than empty nesting this shift brings me both deep contentment and a confusing sense of loss. Having identified so deeply and so long as a mom first, I now have to reimagine what "mom" means for these men.
DS26, as DS1, exploring in the kitchen

Don't get me wrong - I'm sure my sons need me in some way. I'm just not sure what that looks like. Sunday dinner and board games are wonderful. Trading chores (I sewed his pants while DS28 worked on the mower and the yard) is nice. But anyone can do those things. What is the mom role for independent men making their way in the world, especially as/when they have partners to walk alongside them? 

If they should choose to become parents themselves in the future that will be another shift; for now, perhaps it's enough to watch from the sidelines for a while. To speak when spoken to. And to be a quieter version of head cheerleader, knowing they'll let me know if they need me. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

a brief history of seven killings: a midview

I was so excited to get my hands on A Brief History of Seven Killings. It is set in Kingston, a city I loved while I was in it and have greatly idealised since leaving. In fact, much of it is set in "my" neighbourhood - I can feel the heat, smell the piss and flowers, see "the Singer's" house (just two blocks from my old apartment) and hear the non-stop honking of the non-stop traffic. Half-Way Tree and Camp Road and Hope Road and the causeway to Port Royal are all a part of my happy memories of Kingston. Given all of that, and my reader-crush on Marlon James, and my former obsession with Booker Prize winners (since the rule changes I've lost interest), one could assume that my excitement was high - and as I've already said, it was.

Marlon James' writing is the kind you deep dive into and it swallows you whole in a humid, multi-sensory atmosphere, not unlike Kingston itself. I have devoured approximately 2/3 of the book in large bites. It has been a solace to again be surrounded in the poetry of patwa (spelling chiefs, don't correct that - Jamaican patois is patwa), and to be transported to the sweet memories of time and place. Yet, I'm not sure that I can finish this book.

There are two problems: a 704 page "brief" recounting of seven actual  (novelized and speculative, but entrenched in fact) killings set in the most violent era of post-slavery Jamaica's history is in fact overwhelmingly vicious. As I've mention just recently, my brain - in particular my dreamscape - is easily influenced by what I read and watch, and it's important to the maintenance of my mental health that I not toss and turn and dream of hanged men and corrupt police and the most imaginative forms of violence and torture, particularly when I know that much of this is not James' imagination but how life was in Kingston at the time (and still is for some). That's the most pressing issue.

The second problem I'm finding is that there is not a single character in this book, 400+ pages in, that I care about. I love a velvet-rich atmosphere, a compelling story, and - always - brilliant word play. I like the changing points of view in the novel, and the disruption of the simplest good versus evil narrative. But I just don't care about any of these people. I need someone to like. It's not sad for me when these characters are killed off, and it should be. I want to feel that loss. It shouldn't be that the most interesting part of a story for me is looking for things I can recognize and remember. 

I suppose I'll probably finish the book. I just wanted to share my thoughts in the meantime. 
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