Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Dead Came Down With The Rain

I had a friend, who when asked where we were going, would always reply, To Hell if we don't change our ways. This always made me laugh given that I do believe in hell, the hells we make for ourselves, and the ones that are visited upon us. Growing up in a the heart of the Bible belt, I heard a lot about that fire and brimstone business, but it didn't scare me. The shit that scared me was all around -- loneliness, lost youth, spent dreams, a tremendous inordinate excitement for the new Wal-Mart and McDonalds (until I was in high school, I'd look at McDonalds as a big-city luxury, one you'd drive an hour to get to), and those sticky school day minutes that never seemed to pass. Lots of people had gone bad to drink, to crystal meth, and to all those other demons that appear, innocuous looking as baby powder. Baby powder shaped into straight lines by razorblades and served on mirrors.

One of my favorite anecdotes from Tennessee Williams' Memoirs involves his sister Rose, the obvious inspiration for many of his mad, enduring heroines. In and out of mental hospitals, she had few friends save for a parakeet that Tennessee had given to her. She loved her parakeet and made Tennessee visit her pet each time he came to visit her. But one day, she did not want him to see her friend. "She's not feeling well." He learned from the nurses that the bird had been dead for five days, but Rose wouldn't let them take the body. In his typical wry understatement and inherent kindness, Tennessee wrote that Rose wasn't good at accepting death. But sometimes she'd say, The dead came down with the rain last night. She never really recovered her mind, never really was functional. I think about her often, trapped in her own little glass menagerie, surrounded by reflective surfaces, but unable to look at herself. Of course, nobody I ever saw snort meth or cocaine off a mirror ever could either, not with the those mirrors anyway.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"There is a time for departure even when there's no certain place to go." Tennessee Williams

Cocktail Hour
Drinking cookbook suggestion: Domesticity: A Gastronomic Interpretation of Love Bob Shacochis

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Wednesday!


Brian in Mpls said...

Does your herse break down a lot? I used to have access to a similar one but it was grey and broke down all the time

Ropinator said...

Well, McDonalds is quite a bad place but I still eat there if there is no better. On the other hand are you sure that lost youth is bad? People used a proverb for Mussolini here that "he took out something from his left pocket and he put it to the right one". It means seemingly he gave something to the people but only seemingly. I think it is almost the same with aging. you get older, you won't be that good looking anymore, girls can't flirt with every guy etc... but you will be wiser, you will have more experience. I think getting older is not that scary, I am afraid of death.

Charles Gramlich said...

"The dead came down with the rain last night" is one of the most evocative lines I've ever heard. I wish I'd thought of it. What a great title it makes.

eric1313 said...

A fine post. I wondered about the title line and was sad to see it was a Tennessee Williams (Like Indiana Jones, but saucier!) line and not an original. It's still fine, but I thought it was yours and you'd hit a creative well-font of unbelievable magnitude!

My mom was the same way--McDonald's was the place to be for country people, I think, until they realized it was the city slicker's way of getting everyone to trade money for garbage disguised as food. The last time I ate McDonald's it sat like a rock all day long, until later when it was confirmed to definitely not be a rock.

eric1313 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
the walking man said...

Death does come down like rain depending on where you are at mentally. Physically as well but that is mere mortal death, one not to be feared but rather grateful for.

When true death comes with the rain the rain is just to wash one into the sewer pipe of never ending darkness that should be feared but not by anyone who has ever lived a mortal life.

It is a good line though in that someone can't take it and put it up their nose or smoke it in a pipe but I can hear wheels spinning and gears turning for some to find a way to say it in a unique way.

hell maybe it's my own gears turning although they are mighty rusty from sitting out with the tin man in the rain to long but I know eventually the scarecrow will come along and oil me up and then death will come up with the tide or some such thing.

Ropey--fearing death will make it come faster it's when you don't fear it that it seems to take forever to get here.



Jason said...

Oh Michelle! Are you dating/hanging out with musicians?


That pic is straight up Detroit. My grandmother's bird recently died. Sad.

Ian said...

You are lovely and write beautifully.

I think that you could be my equal

John Ricci said...

My dear Michelle
Lovely post and view as always. I think I recognize that abandoned pool and hearse. They look quite familiar. Now that things have settled and that our beloved Lions are doing well and now that Big Blue is vigorous as is to be expected I can relax somewhat and enjoy a luxurious nightcap and catch up on your most lovely blog. I salute you as always with champagne toasts and caviar dreams and of course a most super Bravo!

Cindy said...

Gig Harbor has been a true revelation. I don't miss Macomb but I do miss you. Come visit! I'll gladly foot the bill. You'd love it here. No gnarly men around.
your Cindy