miércoles, enero 01, 2014

She twitches nervously. Her thin wiry body looks frail, but strong in new ways.

The last time I saw her she was wearing a bikini on the beach. There was barely a hint of a paunch that stretched her skin taut. She looked more threadbare then. In the sun.  The pacific ocean bearing witness. I remember her hopefulness, I remember my reservation. I remember our mutual friend, beautiful in the sunshine, surrounded by children, red-gold hair framing her in sunset flames. It is hard not to reach for one's empty womb at times like these.

Her fragility, now, in the sunshine, with dust kicking up and the golden-grass hills rolling behind us. There is a rusted out truck from the 1950s, with rounded edges and the hint of its one-time utility. It stands like a monument to failed endeavors, or, at least, that is how I choose to interpret this scene.  The colors are muted, antiqued, faded like cotton-dyed cloth that is whipped about on the clothesline.

She smiles and I wonder how the pain can end. How. When a child is gone. When there is no recourse for your actions. She was so damn hopeful, I think, and it puts my own pain into perspective. Her child was born, healthy, beautiful, strong, girl. She gave her child away. To protect her. To carve out a secret safe space, beyond the limits of his threats, his anger, his unrelenting rage. It makes sense at the same time it doesn't make sense at all.

She fled to another land, for a while, I am told. She doesn't tell me these things, but I know them about her. I think back to my other time, when I walked those vast open plains, olive trees and low-hanging oaks, much like the California landscape that lays itself before us. I remember other stories of mothers who let go of their daughters, for love, jailed, for foolishness, lost, forever. I want to tell them, now that those daughters are mothers, now that the distance of years makes such a trespass less offensive.

I offer her food, a soup that I made in an attempt to soothe myself, to soothe the demons that flare up about me.  I see them. Always have.  I don't want to be happy, I think, because happiness is too much of a burden. I am drawn to sadness. You have too much energy, too much joyfulness, too much. It was just too much for me, I think. I had to step off the roller-coaster at its lowest point, dizzy and delirious. I'm sorry.

I look at her and want to reach across that ocean of pain and offer her something, more than soup, to apologize for doubting. Not that my doubts had any effect on the outcome, rather to apologize for being right.  What starts badly, invariably ends badly. Isn't that what you said to me? Badly for some, worse for others. And for others still, it simply never ends.

My womb aches for her. My heart hurts for her. And for me. And for you, though you don't know it. Can't know it. Your happiness is deafening.

martes, diciembre 31, 2013

wish-list 2014

Ok, I'm taking a moment, a brief one, to do what I had promised not to do, which was revert to a self-indulgent pseudo-public diary. Why? you might ask... well... just because. You know. Chomsky.

Or something like that.

There is little wisdom to be sprinkled about these days. Not a little, as in, I have a few tidbits, rather, a dearth. There is not a lot sparkly going on right now in Ilana-world. Ah yes, deep into the self-indulgence we gooooooooooo.

Here's the deal. I had high hopes for 2013. Sure, I did some fun stuff. Mostly involving travel, bringing artists to Phoenix, meeting new friends, getting involved in some serious activism in the great state of Arizona, which is where, incidentally, I have been residing since late summer 2012, but since I skipped this indulgence last year... well, only the real world and some Facebookers knew about it. Anyway, despite making several wonderful new, sustaining friends, I've also made and subsequently lost a few (for reasons that will not be discussed in this forum) that have left a deep, wounded, blood-drenched hole in my heart... and I'm still wobbling, so... rather than a recap, or a list of resolutions, I'm going to put a personal wish-list out into the universe for the coming year.

In the coming year

1) I want to be able to speak with honesty (when it is important), and not fear the repercussions.

2) I want to don sparkles on a more regular basis. Especially glitter make-up.

3) I want to write something creative (and not self-indulgent) on the daily.

4) I want to keep my heart open, despite my overwhelming instinct to slam those doors shut.

5) I want to move to a part of the city that is more in line with who I am.

6) I want to let myself get angry and really feel it.

7) I want to set boundaries and defend them. For real.

8) I want to make music with others.

9) I want to be less of a perfectionist and send my work out, out, out...

10) I want to effect real political and social change in my community.

11) I want to help my aching child find herself, separate from me, become a happy quasi-adult.

12) I want to tear it up on the dance floor wearing the many new (gasp!) jeans that I just purchased on this last day of the year.

And with that consumer-drenched fantasy, I leave y'all.

2013, it's been real.  2014, let's hope you come through.

sábado, diciembre 21, 2013

Día 9

Así nomás, pasas de ser un ser anhelado a un ser de la nada, anonadado. No nadas. No te gustan las aguas turbias y profundas. Te asustan por peligrosas y desconocidas. ¿Y yo? soy hecha de agua, hecha de agua que se extiende a las profundidades más vertiginosas. Echa el agua.

Poco importa.

Hay accidentes. Hay hallazgos.  Hay hallazgos que parecen accidentes, y accidentes que parecen hallazgos. Hay abandonos. Hay destellos de luz que se reflejan por sobre las aguas, que las hacen parecer llanas, llamas. Hay fugacidades que duran mil años luz.

Y vuelvo a mi cueva subterránea, cojeando y herida, del accidente, del hallazgo. No hay quién me calme el dolor, ni quién me traiga alimentos mientras se me sane. Yo he aprendido a cuidarme sola. Es lo único, tal vez, servible que he aprendido en este largo camino hacia la muerte.

Poco importa.

Hay puertas que se abren, compuertas hacia lo más recóndito. Vos las encontraste de par en par. Husmeaste. Decidiste que lo que había allí no valía la pena. Measte en una esquina, cual perro, marcando tu territorio y te fuiste sin más.

Y yo, pequeña y mojada, temblando de susto, de rabia, de impotencia, cerré esas puertas que por casualidad no había cerrado con candado. Y dolorosamente, todavía cojeando, reitrándome a los aposentos de mi soledad acuosa, apagué la luz, bajé la cortina, cerré con llave y me envolví en mis propios tejidos, los que hice hace años, esperando al Odiseo que nunca llegó.

jueves, diciembre 19, 2013

Day 8

And just like that, it is gone, vanished, burned up and released into the air like ash.

I'm left standing in the kitchen. There are broken plates shattered around me. Glass crunching under my bare feet. There must be blood, I think, but I don't examine too closely and I certainly feel no pain. Not in my bloodied feet, not in the skin pierced by shattered jagged edges shards of our former life, the possibility of a life, shattered.

You're a Phoenix, I tell my invisible self in the mirror that I hate. You will rise up from these ashes.

And I do, and I will, over and over, and over and over. But each time, there is something lost. And maybe something gained? How to know?

miércoles, diciembre 18, 2013

Day 7

And sometimes, there are just no more words.

The pain is so deep and so unutterable that it spills out over the edge. She says I don't listen, can't listen. She is often right. There is a limit and beyond that limit we just break.

She sits and bangs her feet against the door frame. She shrieks at me that she hates me.  Then her little girl eyes look up tearily and she asks if I love her. Why do I love her? What is the purpose? And it takes every. single. last. ounce. of. strength. to not simply dissipate. Melt into non-matter. Disappear.  And I hear myself saying, out loud, what feels to be true to me, right now, but is not comforting in any way. "We are all always alone. Always. We ARE ALONE. We are born alone and we die alone. NObody has any purpose."

I wonder, sometimes, why I can't stop those words and that pain from spilling out. I try to contain it, I try to believe some other world is possible. One in which we don't greedily stomp on the next guy. One in which we are able to listen to our children, without interrupting or getting angry.

martes, diciembre 17, 2013

Day 6

"He loves you more than he loves me," her pink lips turn into a feigned pout.
"Oh, this puppy, he's such a puppy, he's such a siwwy wittoo puppiter..." is the indirect reply, from her mother whose hands are flopping the soft brown ears of this anxious, adoring, one-eyed beast that she never expected to love.
"Mama... you're so... silly."
"Who me?" she turns again to the puppy whose black and white border-collie face cocks slightly to the left, his one good eye tracking his new mother with a somewhat unholy devotion, "Am I the silliest of sillies? What do you think mr. puppish? Are you embarrassed by me? No? See? No silliness happening here!"
The beautiful, lithe, adolescent cinnamon girl-child whose dark, wide eyes are artfully laden with thick black mascara and eye-liner, whose glossy chestnut hair is curled, in envious emulation of her mother's golden ringlets, stops pouting for a moment and laughs as her heavy-footed mama dances in clunky circles around the living room, stopping to roll her hips, and hold the dog's front paws while they take three salsa steps. "Mama..."
"Yes?"
"I love you."
"I love you too, bear bear... come here."
And for a glorious moment, they just dance around the room, those three, that little unconventional family in the middle of an open-concept living space, forgetting about everything, the work, the dishes, the hurt feelings, the psychic exhaustion, the strange quasi-sisterhood. They dance, and hold each other in love.

lunes, diciembre 16, 2013

Day 5

"This is all fiction, you realize.  It is just fantasy, all of it," I say, trying to calm him down. His nostrils flare with anger and his eyes, dark and storming, glare with intensity. His hate is almost palpable.
"I don't believe anything you say. You whore. You libertine," he flicks epithets my way, some that sting, some that deflect. "Stop smiling, bitch."
The semi-smile, the one I wrap myself in when everything is too painful to actually look at head on, disappears. The unrelenting words that pummel my soul like fists only manage to provoke a deep nausea and a solitary tear of anger and defiance that wells over the edge of my trembling eyelids. He lunges forward, casting his shadow before him, imposing with a towering man-body that dwarfs my own.  I am meant to be afraid, but I am not. I don't care.
"Hit me, motherfucker," I taunt. I don't care, I don't want to care, I believe for a minute, hold my breath, wait. He backs away, violently wrenching himself and turning his back on me. He spins around again, this time pointing, jabbing his finger at me, connecting with the soft flesh just beneath my collar bone. I wince in pain, don't move back.
"You are disgusting," he spits at me, "fat, ugly, disgusting. No one would want you anyway."
"You're right," I whisper. "There isn't anyone, there never was, there never will be." I want to wrap myself up in layers of blankets, of skin, of silence. I just want him to go away. Stay away. He reaches for my hair, grabs it with his strong fingers and pulls. My chin juts up at a strange angle and he throws me down on the bed. My hands fly up to his hair, burrow in, wrap and tear with force. His knee presses down on my abdomen and I yank harder.
"Let go of me, whore," he growls through clenched teeth.
"Not until you let go of me," I respond, digging from deep inside of myself.
I wake up twisted in my sheets, there is nothing but the darkened room that used to be ours. I look around, disoriented. There is an alarm clock sounding, it is 4 am. I cast my eyes around, trying to parse the sound. My head feels foggy, stuffed with cotton. My mouth is dry and the whoosh of the furnace fills the silent air. I shiver. There is a small child-body curled around me, it burrows in for warmth.  The air smells of Eucalyptus and tar, sea salt and putrefaction. I disentangle myself, find the phone, turn it off, and I weep.