Tree of creature comforts


On whose fruit will I feed myself as I age?

I’m growing a tree of creature comforts, fruits of myriad colors that I lop off and throw on the ground to rot in disuse. Flowered tree of creature comforts, so lovely. Colourful, odorless petals that I delicately protect from insects and worms. My glorious tree of creature comforts. Mustn’t expose to harsh light or they dry up, brittle off, crack and crumble in your hands as you inspect their beauty. Odorless, painted flowers of creature comfort, the tree is barren, splotches of color cannot revive. Fruitless tree of creature comforts, I bury my life at your feet. I enshrine my life at your base. I beg, I pray that you may bear fruit, but it is all artifice, painted splotches of color to fool the eye at a distance, never to withstand scrutiny. Tree of creature comforts, spicy Indian shrine with tangy acidic incense, creature comforts wafting about, orange, pinkish, yellow puffs of smoke. Revive, revive, dead flowers, petals of plastic and paper, the sun’s scrutiny to burn down. Tree of bare limbs, bare limbs, tree of creature comforts. Where will I rest my weary head after the long day? On whose fruit will I feed myself as I age? Tend to her, tend to her. Will she bear fruit? This tree of creature comforts…. Or will I wither at her feet as she fossilizes into a grey mass of stone and carbon, old faded splotches of flower and fruit embedded in her fossil skin. Bark of ages marked by false attempts at grafts.


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I used to be a night traveller.

Rocking in the maternal belly of a train wagon as the whistle blew a strident lullaby that cooled the mind of all past and future. The rhythm settled me into a world of distant lights and lives that passed by in a flicker, reassuring in the certainty that as they disappeared, they continued on different paths unknown to me but sure underfoot nonetheless. And now as I stand still in a house on a hill, somehow I have become those flickering lives that pass by in rapid instants and all of a sudden no certainty remains. I disappear and reemerge unsure of foot and fragile in a steady world that rambles my mind with a confused cacophony of angst and pain. I see my distant mother-train as she suckles the lucky passengers on their way. My way is a spiral path that distresses and aches as I grasp on to the brick walls that oversee, overbearing. Why can’t I stay when still, and breathe in the peace of those lights that persist beyond the dark horizon, glorifying a constancy of life?

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The hospice series II – A day at the fair with the care profession

Blue rubber (I mean...) silk gloves

The physical therapist laughed with the recreational therapists today as they moved my mother’s bed up, the tick tick sound reminding them of a roller coaster climbing, reaching the top, hearts starting to race as they prepare for the plummet. She had a sunshine smile, special. Today’s therapists all had sunshine smiles, abnormally bright and happy, clearly sincere. Must be in the moon’s waning slowly at night, something in the night air that fills them up too. Perhaps they have their own Ta’s that crawl into bed and curl up into small balls of joy and fill them with the life they need to do the jobs I find so difficult. I admire, and shrink, in guilted awe, as I watch them perform, touching and moving, where I cringe and hide. They wear blue, all blue, plastic blue aprons that cover from neck to knee, shoulder to wrist, meeting with rubber blue gloves. Gloves “of silk” my mother said once, when she was cold, asking me to give her the blue silk gloves to keep her hands warm.

Would I be able to touch more if I were protected by the blue silk gloves? I thought of that as I fled in guilt from the smells and sounds today, to hide in an overheated car, ready to embrace heatstroke and collapse from dehydration, if only to have a moment’s reprieve from the smells and sounds. How do they clean themselves?

Some of the black women wear the brightest uniforms, fuschia pink patterns with florescent greens and turquoises, flashing against their dark skin, finger nails just as enormous in psychedelic colors and intricate patterns almost embroidered into the nails. They’re in Honolulu garb, one would expect them to distribute lays as they pass by. And some smell so good I’m tempted to curl my nose up under the lobe of the ear and drink there. How would they react? Would they understand?

Why is it that no matter what perfume I put on, I cannot escape the smells? Yet one of these exotic birds flits by and I’m hypnotized, ready to follow, seeking the nest of colors and smells where they take their stregth. When they cover themselves in the plastic blue it only partially attenuates the effect, they have exotic accents and hair that continue working to create the island notes.

There is also a thin Russian woman, a tech. She is small and I wonder at how she can lift these large, large patients. She has a very strong accent despite her ten years in the States. We talked a bit and found we had been neighbors in Leningrad. It was too funny. She asked me where I lived and I thought surely I can’t remember as the words Prospect Metalistov slid easily out of my lips, my mind having absolutely no idea where they came from. Addresses must burrow themselves up in some remote part of the brain and lie dormant till the question comes and they easily slip out and reveal they’ve been there all along. She became completely animated explaining how she lived on the corner of Shosse Revolutsii and Prospect Metalistov, we surely took the same trolleybus daily. We both drifted off to the streets of Peter the Great, her standing holding some long suctioning instrument in her blue silk gloved hands. My mind hesitated between Boulgakov and Nabokov, searching for the appropriate fit to the scene. I think it settled on Nabokov. It all went too fast to tell. It is strange to travel thus when rooted so terribly in the real of the hospice. I hardly notice it when I’m there, yet wake at night trying to process the day, package it into written words that make it livable. There is not much else I can do.

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The hospice series – The vampire mother?

It’s dark outside. That’s a bad sign. There’s an annoying fly I just had to tend to. I sleep with Ta and her teddy bears, or in this case, don’t sleep. I take her in my arms often. She turns towards me almost in the same gesture she would use when a baby and seeking out the breast. She burrows her face into my chest, seems to find a spot right between the breasts and makes a small contented noise, corners of her lips moving up in a sleepy smile and then she goes back, deep into her easy world of sleep. I kiss her forehead and the side of her eyebrow, smell her hair and fill myself at the source, directly. There is no need to look elsewhere. Everything I need is there. The soft bed, the raft of my childhood carrying me out over the rocky waters. I protect and am protected. The sea is vast and menaces wide. Wilhelmina is here. She knows. Ta moves around a bit. It is hot and the air is heavy. The crickets are making a rhythmic noise; they remind of a light that would be steady if it were visible. I opened the windows in hopes of finding air, but the air won’t move. Air can be like that.

Am I a vampire like F says, not of me, but of others? Like those older men who take from young girls’ youth that which they have lost. Am I taking from Ta? If it were so, she would be depleted as I fill myself up. Yet she fills herself at my source. She turns her soft head into the pillow and floats away on my love. I see it. Could I be a vampire if it is so? Can taking only be taking? Can there not be a giving in the taking? I would not take if I felt I were taking away. There must be something more in love. I do not carry it away and hide it in a corner to use up later when I am lost and frightened. It is a flow back and forth.  At least I hope.

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I could draw you a picture

I could draw you a picture. I could, and you wouldn’t even know it’s there. It would follow you around, ghostlike, in an incessant reverence to your busy day. My picture would become a shifting presence to smile and admire, intrigued at the footsteps pacing fast along the sidewalk. I could draw you a picture, oh I do, I do. And it is with you. I wonder how frail and fragile this bond may be. Is it you? Is it me? Who made it? Who will break it? It is there though.  I feel it as I see the picture I have drawn in hues of smokey blue. I drew you a picture and it was a picture of you. I was far far away, the ghost of words that penned the picture of you, accompanied by me.

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Words III (continued)

Through the world of words in my mind, file on, dear soldiers. File through and be done with your business. Come, come soldiers of fortune, here on a mercenary mission to set bombs and throw grenades. Explore the unknown territory at will, check every corner, under every foreign bush and vine.
Are you here to pillage? To rape? Are you here to drink milk and eat cookies as you watch the little ones play? What is your purpose? I cannot care any more to fight you back. There was once a time when I would have fought with all I could to keep you out or, given the words, keep you in. There are far too many of you now, so I’ll let you do your thing.

Just remember. If you do rape a thought or two, while pillaging the coffers, if you come across the precious treasure, hidden in the very back, where spiders crawl about in their myriad cobwebbed mazes; well may I kindly request that you take a peek inside but do not touch? Leave it be please. It can do you no good. Leave it for the next words to find, the innocent ones, the ones who will giggle at the old-fashioned ways of happiness. They’ll make a terrible mess and leave laughter strewn here and there in the most disordered fashion, but they mean well. And, more importantly, I left the laughter there for them.

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Words II (continued)

They see what they came for

Some see different things. I heard them chatting as they exited. They talked about the green meadows and how they saw a young girl skipping fast, barefoot through the grass, how she giggled and sung so much that she fell down breathless and continued her journey through the clouds as her eyes perused the beautiful day.

It’s as if they see what they want, or better yet, they see what they came for.

Oh, there are reconnaissance words, ever stealthy in their movement forward, crouching and crawling on belly, as if an eager enemy would pounce at a moment. My mind, my mind is their place to wage war, and there are many the soldier-words who march through my unwary mind.

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