Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Year On This Earth

For a few years after my first rape, I lived the secret life of dark circles and bloody fingernails, the days of panic attacks and singular obsession, that shopworn wish that things could return to before, a mystical land that had slipped beyond my grasp, something, as they say, I had never appreciated until it was gone. That was the season that birds were dropping by every window, diving into them, trying to tear through the storm window screens and deliver their messages of death. Every noise was anxiety and silence drove me into panic. For all my morbidity and sadness, I had never resided for so long in the land of dry bones and had almost no faith that it would be any other way again. So much in my life was normal, so much utterly bizarre. Did everyone have a public self and a private one that had no relation to each other? I started to search the past for signs and found them -- the two theater movies my rapist and I saw together were Fatal Attraction and The Accused. What can I say? In a small town, there's only one show. You don't get a choice.

Time makes so many things into a comedy. You swim away from the shore of something until it becomes smaller and smaller, and you are free except for the memories of the distant land that has become part of your language. But you are never free from yourself. For a few years, I wore a pair of rattlesnake rattles for earrings. They had come off two huge snakes, each rattle representing a year on this earth. Most snakes broke off some of their rattles through wear and tear, but these had stayed pristine. When I wore them, I'd shake my head every now and again to hear the noise. But sometimes my head would shake without me knowing it, and I would startle at the sound as if the danger was somewhere outside instead of coming from me.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"The ambulance's ruby element can move among us without care." Denis Johnson

Cocktail Hour
Drinking documentary suggestion: Capturing the Friedmans

Benedictions and Maledictions
Congratulations to my beloved Pistons for winning over the Cavaliers!


Tony Soprano said...

Yes, Michelle, I know the feeling of destructive impulses coming from within. For instance, I kicked out the teeth of a New York Family associate because he insulted my daughter. Later that same day, at my son A.J.'s shrink's office, I found one of the teeth I kicked out of the guy in my suit pant cuff. I was startled and of course tried to cover it up. There was just a small hardly noticed blood stain. I think sometimes that my inner violence may have been passed on to my son. I hope not. But he has tried to kill himself. Thanks for all your support of the Sopranos, Michelle. The final two episodes are on June 3 and 1O. Don't miss them.--Tony

Detroit Native said...

Go Red Wings!!!Kill da Ducks!!!Do or Die Mother Fuckers!!!

Charles Gramlich said...

An interesting contrast between the clear purity of the stream you're standing in, and the darker water of your memories. Great post.

Paul said...


the walking man said...

Can the past truly be ever dead? Can the memory really block out the evil that has been done to us and that we have done to others, or is it like you say, you simply move further away from it until it becomes a part of your language?

I remember in general and a few specifics of the short fat kid's torture but although I know it went on day after day year after year until I got big enough, bold enough and mean enough to make it stop. This was the year before i started on my journey to becoming the Walking Man.

During the past thirty almost forty now years of Walking I found the key in the graveyard of the living, like I said in one of my pieces of poetry that I believe you have, "Is now all you have to do is use the Damn thing."

Much of all that grows from peace Michelle.

as always


Eric said...

The emotional weight of a false face is too much for me. I figure why pretend, when someone else will pretend for me? Why pretend when the truth is uglier than any lie I could generate? I could pretend it was before, but I don't remember how, since its been so long.

I hear your rattle, feel your aura out here in the land of dry bones and howling gusts of wind. The winds keep blowing junk in my eyes whenever I look up at the horizon to try and see if you are really there. The rattle buzzes with danger and a warning and your aura burns my soul. But still, I wonder if that's really you, or someone pretending to be you,
wading into a shimmering mirage

Susan Miller said...

"I would startle at the sound as if the danger was somewhere outside instead of coming from me."

Sanity sometimes feels like a tightly pulled rubber band. One that we have carefully stretched until someone comes along and thumps it. We didn't even know they could do that. We're left with some type of vibration that reminds us of how limited our control is. It sucks.

But now, past that, there is you. And I'm glad there is you and your writing. Thank you for sharing it, Michelle.

JR's Thumbprints said...

I've always been aware of those I'm striking out against. Maybe from all those years working in a prison, I've learned to listen for the sound.

Anonymous said...

this is a beautiful picture. I love it. It's just like the post acompanying it, if I wasn't exactly clear that night in my response. Excellent writing, my caring friend.

Eric said...

green river most holy
I wade my bare feet
into your purifying flow
and ask you
if it will hurt
to have my sins
washed away
by your cold blood