Friday, March 27, 2020

Fragments of a Misbegotten Fairy Tale

Let us go into this.

[May I go into this]

It was a law that if I dreamed of something - in the sense of longing for it with embodied intensity - then it was thereby made impossible. To dream was to be denied.

Yet I could not stop my dreaming.

[Can anyone stop their dreaming]

[Is this dreaming]

I wanted a horse, a guitar, my own cookbooks, to cook, not to have shoot a gun, not to have to always read inside . . .

But why was it a law?

My father taught me how to be easy with death - how not to cower before its finality nor presume any theology could undo it. He favorably quoted Uncle Ed who, when asked what he wanted for a funeral, said "stick a bone up my ass and let the dogs drag me away."

[God, my father said, hates a coward]

Dogs, cows, chickens, ducks, turtles, deer, snakes, kittens, sheep, geese, squirrels, foxes, trout, crows, mourning doves and bear: some I killed, some I buried and some I watched others kill.

Much of what died I prayed would live.

What I tried to save was killed.

I lived on the verge of tears but never cried.

I became an expert with secrets. Hardened against loss.

I rejected the salvation offered by the religion of my fathers.

Yet it was also law in part because of the mysterious need my mother had to make sure nobody was ever truly happy, never truly satisfied. This was our shared penance for the horrors of her own childhood, which I would not wish on anyone.

It got to where all you had to do was know you wanted something and you heard - echoing in whatever recess a mother's grief carves in us - "no."

[I rejected the comfort of women]

Yet I questioned all of it.

In time I questioned all of it.

Alone and without any clear sense of the risk or why it mattered, I questioned all of it.

Learned to play guitar.

Learned to cook.

Gathered cookbooks and read them at night in bed with Chrisoula, who was amused but supportive, saying try this recipe. Try that.

Got horses for the girls.

Gave the guns away to be destroyed.

Gave the fucking guns away and thanked Christ for their destruction.

Gathered the fragments of a misbegotten fairy tale and told it less broken. In a way that allowed for beauty.

For holiness.

[What is sacred, how shall we say it]

Treasured violets, chickadees, quartz rocks, prisms and the early hours conducive to whatever passes for prayer in the heart of the confused, the heart of the lost, the heart of the not-yet-forsaken.

Insisted on happiness, however dim, however half-assed.

At midnight go out to the horses who in moonlight step gracefully to me. As if I am not broken but healed. As if in a dream where I am not broken but healed.

In a dream with you, where I am healed.

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