Snapshots from a bad week…

Sunday
We clean the basement.
It takes the better part of two days.
In 30 trips we lug my past to the curb:
20 overstuffed black plastic bags,
2 32 gallon garbage cans and
several miscellaneous bundles
bound with green neon surveyor’s string.

We are always the ones lucky enough
to sift through the mildew, rotting wood and
debris of my failure, old failure. Why me?
Why my wife? How can someone leave pieces
of themselves, their lives, in every corner
and just
and just
and just
walk away?

The cellar air is clogged with
oily fumes of lassitude
and the solvent vapors
of alcohol. How far does
one actually need to fall before
the safety line draws taut?

I stumble awkwardly, turn an ankle, upon
the skeletal remains of days and plans
ideas and dreams.
New pain for old injuries.
Old pain, new injuries.
It slices in both directions.
I deserve the wounds.
I love these wounds.
I poke around in them with a filthy stick.
I am hoping for blood poisoning or staph.
I am hoping to create obvious scars.
I am hoping for disfigurement,
so that everyone will know.

The basement is clean.
It took the better part of two days.
We lugged my past to the curb:
20 overstuffed black plastic bags,
2 32 gallon garbage cans and
several miscellaneous bundles
bound with green neon surveyor’s string.
This is not the end.

Monday
The pictures from the holy cities
are not promising. We are re-learning
that it is impossible to spin death
and mortars
into a daydream of flowers.

Tuesday
She says almost casually,
“All of the prophecies are aligning.
He will be here soon.”

I worry that living alone is starting
to collect on a past due note.
I worry that dementia has opened
a the closet door.
I worry that she stays up too late
watching 2AM armageddon and brimstone
television programming.
Mostly, however,
I worry that she might be right.

Wednesday
Leave it to my generation to
celebrate the day that needles
and blue steel ventilated
a sealed, inviolate space.

Leave it to my generation to
not follow the pattern.

We do not celebrate the day
Washington and his wooden teeth
withered away on an old age bed.
We do not celebrate the day
a pistol ended a quiet
night at Ford’s Theater.
We do not celebrate the days
assassins spoke through long
rifles in Dallas or Memphis.
We do not celebrate Elvis,
dead in the bathroom with
his pants around his ankles.

Leave it to my generation to
celebrate death over life.

This is stupid.
Stop the music.
Cease the elegies and conspiracy theories.
Come out from under the bridge.
No more gatherings at the greenhouse.

Do they even know when this hero was born?

Leave it to my generation to
get it all so very wrong.

Thursday
The 20 overstuffed black plastic bags,
2 32 gallon garbage cans and
several miscellaneous bundles
bound with green neon surveyor’s string
we placed at the curb have
drawn a Notice of Violation
from the town
Code Enforcement Officer.

We have placed too many bags
at the curb on the wrong
day of the week. The limit
is five bags and they can be
placed no sooner than 24 hours
prior to pick up day.

This is one of the freedoms
that young and poor
Americans are sacrificed for:
the freedom to be told
on what day and how much of
your past you can put to the curb
during one calendar week.

It will take another month
to dispose of my past. We will
haul five bags to the curb for
the next four Wednesdays.

So much for my dream of
a quick, clean
escape from these memories.
This is not the end.

Friday Part I
My dog has diabetes.
She is the third being
in my inner family circle
to be so diagnosed.

Sugar pursues me,
a mute, diligent assassin.

Friday Part II
Plans turn to ash.
Old nails spiked
through new flesh.

Stop…
listen…
Does this hurt?
No.
How about this?
No.

Stop…
listen…
Did that hurt?
Yes.
Should I do it again?
Yes.

Stop…
listen…
You should no longer
race this insanity.
I smell something…burning.

Plans are ash.
Nails enable religion.

Saturday
My wife carried, kicked and dragged
the refused bags of my past
off the curb and up the driveway.

This is a story of collateral damage.
The ones wounded by accident,
without intent,
out of thoughtless self absorption.
The innocent.
These are the ones that deserve tears.
The rest of us deserve cob webs
and hate crimes committed
on our front stoops.

This is not the end.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s