Tuesday, December 8, 2009

And Now for Something Completely Different

Cold Descends

It is very cold today.
I rise up out of my body
and see the white gooseflesh
on the girl in a nook with a book.

It is very cold up here
without skin. Looking down
at the shivering girl with a book
I feel frozen with a form of pity.

It is a bone-deep cold
but I have risen as a spirit and so
it must be soul-deep cold here
in this room where love is lost.

It is very cold in the heart
of the gooseflesh girl
who hopes the phone will ring
but no sound travels through the ice.
So my daughter Milo and I were talking about stuff as we decorated the living room for the holidays. She took a step back and said, "This is good. It doesn't stress me out thinking about you having to put it all away."
So we stopped at three strands of lights, eight or ten snowmen of various heights, half a dozen sparkling red balls and three gold spangly thingies bought at Pier One last year on sale.
I listen to her today. I don't try to boss her around. I appreciated her adult attitude about simplicity.
We talked about her childhood, about fathers, fears, and whatnot. Nothing of earth-shaking importance. She's turning 24 this week. We made a date to bake cookies. We made a date to have dinner.
She left.
I thought, I would fight like a wildcat for that child. Just that fast, I went from mellow to fierce. I washed a few dishes, said goodnight to my husband, played with the kittens. The feeling didn't leave. I would kill a man for my daughter. I would drive all night in the rain if that girl needed me. Thoughts like that.
Where did they come from on this simple Monday evening in December?
Human beings are intriguing. Two women I care about got drunk today. One I know for sure did, because she called me in tears. The other one, I'm hearing different things from her and from someone who saw her today. I don't know. I've been concerned all afternoon.
So I went from zero to sixty in a second. What can I control in my life, with my loved ones? Only my attitude and actions, not their safety, happiness, future.
Can't even control my own heartbeat most of the time.
What this has to do with anything, I don't know.
The cold poem today is about a moment that I remember very clearly. I had been left one more time. I didn't know how I could go on with such a broken heart.
And so, I lived with pain and lived through it, and felt madly protective today, and was powerless. Life as I know it.


Karen said...

Oh, Mother. I have thought similar thoughts about my children and now grandchildren. When I have these thoughts I always then think that my own mother must have felt this way about me, and life settles into perspective.

Yesterday, my dear friend's husband was seriously injured in an accident. He is in ICU and we don't know if he'll make it. She lost her mother last year. They have no children. Life turns on a heartbeat. And we feel powerless.

Turn it over, Chris. That's all we can do.

Shadow said...

your poem is outstanding in its cold and frozen state. a gratitude for me today. something i don't have to face. nor you. nor many of my fellow blogger buddies here...

the walking man said...

Ya can only control what you can control and have to see that there are others on their own road. If you ever learn the trick of driving two cars (or more) at once please Chris pass it on.

As long as you're there to help other people try to clean up their wrecks, it is enough.

Scott said...

me mom and I have a similar relationship... it wasn't always pretty getting here but we're here now and both very grateful

I never did get warm yesterday until i got back into bed lol we had our first snowfall lol

Dianne said...

I like it, I'm going to write more about my children and less about wistful dreams.
And not blog so much, but I'll be following!
Thanks for continuing to compose.
You write hearty work!

big Jenn said...

Your words always touch me so.
We are powerless. jeNN

Tall Kay said...

The icy coldness of a broken heart. You really nailed the feelings with your poem. One of my favorites so far :o)

We get our families back! What a beautiful gift to love someone THAT much! It's always sad to hear about someone drinking again. Why can they always call after they drink and not before? Sending you wishes for a peaceful, productive day!

Lou said...

Ah, zero to sixty..I know it well. You might not see it on my blog, but I'm a lot better these days;)

Nessa said...

I repeat the Serenity Prayer like a mantra, each day all day. I'm a major control freak. It helps calm me down and keep me focused.

Yes, We Have No Bananas

RNSANE said...

This is a poignant poem that reaches into my soul. It fits with San Franciso's rare 32 degree temperatures this morning.

Woman in a Window said...

I'm not entirely sure how you did it, but i am in your living room, now and years ago. I feel it all. I am inside you. I know it. And it is a beautiful, volatile place to be.

love this
so much

Brian Miller said...

wonderful verse, capturing that moment gently as opposed to in anger or angst...but i guess there are stages...i would defend my kids as well, but know each day when they get on the bus, i am letting go because i can not control what happens next. sorry to hear about your friends...

lakeviewer said...

We are connected to our daughters and sons in so many ways. They won't know the feeling until they too have children.

Monkey Man said...

The frsot can flow deep and sometimes we have to let it. We cannot control the choices of others and must simply let them learn in their own way. For each of us in what ever the circumstances, your bottom is when you stop digging.

Alan Burnett said...

This is really quite moving : both the poem and the thoughts about your daughter. Love is wonderful isn't it?

~ Tabitha ~ said...

Holy smokes,Enchanted-You took me all over the place in my own heart
with this poem and posting.I am a mother too.I can relate to being protective,very very well.As for the coldness,yes,it's a piece of a puzzle we need to feel to put the rest back together,isn't it.
YOu are a very interesting writer.
I appreciate your blogship very much.Thank you for sharing.

Poetikat said...

I can't imagine how difficult it must be to have an addiction and face the Christmas season. It's hard enough even when you're not a slave to anything. I pray for your friends (and for you too, of course).

Julie said...

I love the poem. It strikes a chord in me, especially lines like "I feel frozen with a form of pity." What an awesome line. I could feel the cold throughout the reading, and it is the same coldness of soul I have felt at many times. I love how the poem uses cold, but at the same time, I feel a pulsing heartbeat in the lines.

Then I read your words below, and boy can I relate to the mother/daughter feelings. I could (and would) kill a man or a grizzly bear with my hands if they tried to hurt my daughter. Just thinking about something that hasn't happened to hurt her makes me mad...ha! ha! It's sort of a family joke about how I still hold grudges against the girl in kindergarten who was mean to my daughter one day. We haven't even seen the girl in ages. She probably doesn't even remember me. But it still makes me mad to think about it.

I'm so sorry about your friends. They are lucky to have you to care for them. I do think your words relate to the poem. We have no control over so many things. That can be maddening sometimes.

Syd said...

I am thankful many times for not having children. I think that it would be too much for me because I tend to have too many expectations and too much love. I fear that I would lose myself.

Hope said...

I loved this post. It is such a gift that we finally can hear our children instead of making them listen to us. It's taking me a long, long time to learn that. I am grateful.

Anonymous said...

I could stare at that picture for long...how beautiful it looks to me yet for the leaf, i wonder whether its chilling vein-deep.

Take Care Chris..as you rightly said life is that way.Learning to live through all of it.