Thursday, December 30, 2010

Beware of Expungement

Every now and then I get bummed out. I love that phrase: "Bummmed Ouut." Or the more prosaic: "Bummed." I get bummed every now and then. I'm proud of my generation for dreaming up that one. Otherwise I'd have to go with "sad," "mad" or "bad" or visit Roget's Thesaurus, where I can get lost for days.

It has been a long nine months, beginning back here with the FBI raiding my demented mom's care facility and giving her the boot. Then she had a horrible couple of months and died. Then pneumonia, then a family feud, then yada yada yada, culminating with me on the pity-pot this week. Not a comfy place to sit.

In everything give thanks, sayeth the Bible. My 12-Step program makes gratitude a numero-uno priority. So I'm working on my y attitude. Meanwhile, I thought I'd let you have a peek at the unedited me. Part of my love affair with poetry is that I get to expunge (!) (is it real, or is it Roget's?) expunge the bad stuff that would otherwise stew inside and grow toxic.

Caution: expurgation going on here:

End of December

I lie down on my bed with my fat dog
beside me growing old before his time
slowly dying of his master’s love
for feeding him relentlessly

If only I could fall asleep and awaken
next spring, like the trees in my yard
or the magnolia in the garden, then
I might remember happiness or even

contentment. At 5:30 p.m., Dec. 28,
sleep is a dream that keeps me awake
as do the past year’s march of miseries
and I name them in case I should forget

starting with my mother’s demented
implosion on the Ides of March
then her slide into madness and death
and all that followed, discord, illness

the tapestry that was my family
unraveling thread by thread faster
than I could piece it back together
My fat dog snores, snuggled close

and I try to believe this is love
this is enough to keep going on
this is a blessing big enough
to balance the accounting sheet

But in the end I lie awake counting
my woes, angry with myself
for being wretched when I have a dog
beside me growing fat and old with love


Karen said...

Blessings and prayers with you, Chris.

Shadow said...

expunge away. i heals.

the walking man said...

An ounce of love overcompensates for a ton of shit.

Brian Miller said...

so stop counting your woes and start counting you blessings already...smiles. actually a really cool have bee through much this year...

Syd said...

It must have been our time to be sad as I was suffering from that last night. It came on so swiftly that it made me wonder where I had hidden it. It lurched from me in a wave. This morning the wave has receded, and I feel at peace. Your expunged poem is real. Balancing the accounting sheet takes prayer, meditation, and trust.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Excellent expungement Chris! And another thing to be grateful for. Imagine if you didn't have the cleansing coping creating gift of poetry!And fat dogs, all dogs ,how wonderful they are. You plant the golden lotus even in the fierce flames of recent times.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Oh, I love this poem. Such a sad, yet hopeful poem. So many lines to love, but I especially love the first stanza. And the unraveling thread by thread. I felt that in my bones. The human condition.

A beautiful poem. You make me wish for a dog

"beside me growing fat and old with love".

Woman in a Window said...

This is not something to endure at all, Chris, but to draw a chair up and sit beside, as though it is an ailing relative and you know better than to let them pass without company.

You are a wonderful writer. You are also allowed to feel like shit at times. This is what grants us that dazzle on the better days.


Magpie said...

Get it out and move on. We all sit on the pity pot from time to time...just don't fall in. :)
I keep thinking back to your post about not knowing the future because you wouldn't be who you are now. I've shared it with some of my friends and family. You're wise beyond your years.

Carrie Burtt said...

I love your poetic is beautiful and full of lessons for us all.....and yes, "bummed out" is a good term that we all experience now and then. It is not like your life has been a bowl of cherries....or a bed of roses, i guess that is why you are such an enchanted oak. You are always an inspiration to me....:-)

The Bug said...

Expungement is the birthplace of poetry - so expunge away! And you're so good at it. Made me want to rub the fat dog's belly - & I'm not really a dog person (or a cat person - I think I'm just a Dr. M person).

Rachel Fox said...

Nice turn in this one.
I too sit in an unravelling tapestry... though some of this is a relief in my case. A lot of family is pretence... isn't it?
Happy 2011. Truly meant.

Anonymous said...

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Marla said...

Oh Chris, this is so beautiful and I completely get it. I wish I had no clue but sadly I do. Thank God for our dogs.

Pat transplanted to MN said...

When I can't sleep I will remember expungement. I have high hopes for 2011, first time in a few years I've felt hopeful about anything. I think that is the worst of it, lacking a feeling of hope. So I share in your feelings, been through trials too, ...glad you have that nice fat dog for comfort.

Titus said...

Beautifully done, I love the precision of the moment captured contrasted with the tapestry catalogue of bad stuff that's swirling around in the head - so like it is!
As the arch-insomniac, I rely on the World Service to keep my thoughts from myself. Mexico is always enough to make me count my blessings.