It’s been a million days of this I think, and as I write such words I see the gray slant of my ceiling in the morning, the days leading up to, but especially following, Aunt Mary’s death. Grief, which sits like a bone in the air. Its smooth, cold, calcium-yearning. Always there, blocking the place in your throat where you draw oxygen. I would lay in bed morning after morning, awake but not really. Asleep, but not at all. Just clinging there, some place in-between, my eyes in a sorta dull stare.
Funny, what it means to come back to you again: oh words, oh sacred meaning-making, oh holy process–humbled understanding. It means I come back to me. I was reading an interview with Tony Morrison last night and was struck by an image of her, a working mother, up at dawn to find time to write before her kids, open-eyed, began to sigh and taunt out Mooom! What excuse have you, I thought. It’s simple, and clear as that. I felt a satisfaction that has been a long time missing. A triumph from the well of me, gold struck and electric, so body-strong I nodded my head. Yes, what excuse indeed.
I’ve been up between five and six for a solid two months of mornings. Restless. Tested by the ceiling’s gray slant, its oceanic pressing, its whale-back depths and want for air. I have told myself this is just June gloom. Diddled away on Facebook, even began running on the beach to break that terrible habit of mind-numbing waste. The skylight with the peek-show of flat clouds. The words, which would begin in strings of lit sentences that would trail off the moment I tried to set them down.
This life, said Poet-priestess diPrima, for which
…you can’t sign up as a conscientious objector
the war of the worlds hangs here, right now, in the balance/…a war for this world, to keep it/a vale of soul making
the taste in all our mouths is the taste of our power/…bitter as death
…the war…the war for the human imagination…
…to keep it/A vale of soul-making…
Yes indeed, for this is what I chose…AND MUST CHOOSE, again, again…lastly, devastatingly…AGAIN: That this soul-making, this commitment is what it would be, what it is. My very life a testament…Holy Poetry, maker of, liver of Psyche. Twelve short years ago, on a bouncy bed in a purple house, three months out of college, in the candle-lit magic I acknowledged destiny. I made a Decision. To this would I be subsumed…to this all else would fall into submission. Lead it where it would take me, take me where I’d follow–and so on and so on in the creatrix magic of such dance.
A vale of soul-making…
Thursday on the eve of New Moon I lit the charcoal, burnt the resins, a form of devotion I haven’t practiced in years. Kat brought them to me, a cherished gift. I prayed on my knees, open-hearted, kept a whole day of quiet yesterday to honor within. I tended my soul, peeked its mirror, stayed there with me to see myself when my reflection came back. This morning I woke in dreams and was awake long before I realized I’d been laying there, tending gray.
Oh reflection, here it is.
Here it is.
I am ready again–it’s been two straight months on the Bardo—to begin.