At the end of October, I kept myself busy. I began attending a writers group, working on my second draft of my first NaNoWriMo novel while I was preparing for the next NaNoWriMo, outlining connections between characters and places on an imaginary map for my second novel. I was storytelling and doing music every week at the preschool, and searching unsuccessfully for more work. I was tackling some interesting subjects in psychology as well about the nature of consciousness and the effects of sleep deprivation (of which I have a lot of personal experience being a recovered chronic insomniac). I had no difficulty sleeping or staying awake during my studies.
It is my 29th birthday party. Hundreds of people are at my parent’s estate to celebrate. I know almost no one. My large floppy dog at times changes into my youngest son as a baby;one time his head rests in a pool of water dreamily. When I go to use the bathroom, I find the toilet completely shattered.
I drive my daughter to school through a silent suburban neighborhood similar to one of those I grew up in.
I could hear a toilet flushing a mile away, I think.
There are two routes to take to get to the school. The one we take is through a more broken down section of the neighborhood on a street called Frontier Way.
“Your mother doesn’t like this way,” I say turning to look at my daughter, but she is gone. Puzzled I say her name.
A girl, about seven years old, in a grey fur coat walks through a dark room.
“Mother had to leave,” she says with an English accent.
then I am driving a Winnebago with a dashboard crowded with plastic snack containers filled with compost and dirt which falls on my lap and floor. I am trying to put it all back as it was when the journey began.
I pull up to a house, and go up to the door with friends who were riding in the Winnebago with me. The people in the house speak Spanish. My sister organizes a work party. We move soil from the roof into terraces formed by cinder block walls on the slope next to the house. I walk beside a little girl, under the scaffolding that holds up the plank pathways from the roof to the terraces.
“Tambesoso,” says a voice from above.
“That means it doesn’t matter,” I say.
“Que chucha,” says the voice from above.
“That means how cute.”
Three Fall Poems
I am sitting in the sun
Minding my own merry
How the shine does simmer in
Like a sudden cherry.
Close the Door
The morning light glares in upon my page.
While the wind, outside, rushes blindly in a rage,
Howling in the hollows beyond the tumbled tracks
Blasting in estuarial brawls, bending leafy backs
Licking at the lintels, picking at the locks
Moving the machinery inside the broken clocks.
The crows’ hoarse croak
Echoes in the alley,
Trampled by boot tread
And trailing wisp of smoke from a pack
Of hang-about teenagers.
Standing on a bridge,
Life all laid out and gasping,
Rasping growth and sundry parts colliding
with the pungent smoke
coming from their lungs.
I am with a group of teachers grading a color/music test using templates. It is going to be a long night. Then my oldest son arrives with a three pot coffee maker he just bought.
“It was only thirty dollars,” he says.
I fight for each word and time flies by outside my cocoon of thought. I look, every now and then, to see I am battling hours and words.
In order to follow the law, I have to solve a complex logic puzzle of divisions and rules: I have to move across a certain area, systematically crossing each section in a particular order, and I can’t remove the tag from my white blanket.