Wednesday, January 10, 2007
This Plant Is A Healer
There's a scar on my upper leg that looks like a ringworm. It's from a tractor lighter, one that my friend Bridgett stuck on my leg because her granddaddy said it didn't work. It did. The burn, a third degree one, caused her grandmother to scream and run for her aloe vera plant. She squirted some of the strange-looking fluid out of its cactus-like limbs and waited for me to feel better. This plant is a healer, she said. Even at age five, I knew that I needed nothing less than morphine to ease my suffering, not some crappy plant that had been dying in her living room for as long as I could recall. Do not, she said, play on the tractor. Alas, too little, too late, the story of my then short-lived life. I did not like the shape of the burn as it mimicked a ringworm affliction a little too closely. Ringworm was common in my classmates -- many of them had to have their heads shaved because of it and went around with tiny homemade beanies to cover them. Even though the affliction was not pleasant, nothing was as bad as the shame and taunting.
One of my favorite titles ever is the Charles Bukowski short story, "My Beerdrunk Soul Is Sadder Than All the Dead Christmas Trees in the World." It's long as titles go, but I think it says a lot and one of the lines in the story about how we cling to our misery is downright brilliant. Even though I hated my scar as a child, I love it now. The burn was a bad one, but the pain wasn't terrible since it was such a small area. I could separate myself from it, pretend it belonged to someone else. The scar speaks to me of a different time, one when playing on a tractor seemed like a suitable way to pass an afternoon. It fades a little each year, becomes more and more like something else. Then again, it never looked like a burn. It could be a ringworm scar or the surface of the moon, something horrible or magical, but nothing a person could see without knowing what they were looking for from the start.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Sometimes you unexpectedly taste/ the inside of your own mouth." Denis Johnson
Drinking reading suggestion: The Incognito Lounge Denis Johnson
Benedictions and Maledictions
When We Go Out
I never know what to order.
That's where you come in. I
was not born to this world, don't
understand the language. Food
doesn't interest me until it's
on the plate. I'm not going to
be difficult. Tell me what I want.