Friday, May 05, 2006

The Sorrowful Mysteries

Friday, the day of the sorrowful mysteries, the ones I understand the ones I will not know until they happen to me. When I was a little girl, I thought I would grow up and marry my daddy, the wish of all southern little girls (some probably succeed in marrying kinfolk -- this is another matter altogether). I look a lot like my dad did, particularly the eyes, but I missed getting a lot of his kindness and easygoing nature (not to mention some critical direction skills and ability to fix anything), something that would have served me well. Nobody ever mistook me for his wife until he died and then the funeral home director did, having confused me with a widow who had lost her husband in a plane crash, the same way and week my father died. During the preparations for the cremation (I'd been in this very seat at the very same funeral home with my dad and sister two years earlier doing this for my mother), I answered all the questions and despite repeated correcting, he kept referring to my dad as my husband and finally I went with it because I was so strung-out and tired. I suppose the dark comedy of everything keeps one sane when factors conspire against it.

About a month before he died, my dad and sister visited me in Detroit for nearly two weeks. I was living in apartment complex that I referred to as The Misery (a place for people whose life had turned very bad -- people getting divorces, those having breakdowns, a de facto retirement home, a holding place for the sick and dying) and I was looking to move. All the trees at The Misery had been cut back because of blight and my neighbor had a new crisis every day, a sad woman who had managed to poke herself in the eye with a broom and bloody it the day my dad and sister left. We went to the Henry Ford Museum to get out of this hellhole one day and saw all the great Detroit parts of history (the Rosa Parks bus for instance) and an exhibit on disco called A Decade of Saturday Nights. I preferred all the stuff that referred to the past, the short film on Studio 54, the relics from an era gone-by. But my dad liked the future, the beautiful planes that had allowed other planes to be built, the odes to the future. He wasn't much of a reader, my dad, but he has one inscribed book, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, from one of the times he met up with Richard Bach at a small airport and it's signed, Happy Flying, Don, Always and has lots of cute little doodles by the inscription and autograph. I thought of this at the funeral home and couldn't think of a more perfect epitaph for anyone.

Michelle's Spell of the Day

"Have pity on those who love each other and are separated." Prayer to Our Lady of Lourdes

Summer Is Here

1/2 crushed pear
1 shot of vodka
1 small glass of Sprite

Mix together and serve chilled.

Benedictions and Maledictions


You don’t have to die for me to burn
myself alive. We’ve only just begun,
sang Karen Carpenter, years before
and after she starved herself, maybe
for love, certainly not for the things
she had, a bed full of stuffed animals,
Mickey and Minnie at the dead center,
hosts to that clean Disney paradise.
Did she hear voices like Joan of Arc?
Make no mistake, she carried death
in her songs. As for myself? I am no saint
and do not have a voice worth mentioning.
I have burned myself alive once or twice,
resurrected for another round. For love?
Who knows? But, oh, what a fire.


Wichita-Lineman said...

Perfect title for that poem.
And another great ending...

"I have burned myself alive once or twice,
resurrected for another round. For love?
Who knows? But, oh, what a fire."

cindy said...

Another amazing post! Oh, what a fire!

cheri said...

Ah I love the poem. You do have such a voice, perhaps not in the same context as the ill-fated Joan of Arc.