Summoning Winter

I must chide myself more often in that I miss my dog more than my ex-husband.

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There is a strong diabolic side to me; I recognize it, and in my calmer moments salute that entity with all the respect one soldier can give to another.

I want to lead my life wondering about consequences not living them, so my sense of fair play must be brief and I must have faith and act within the confines of what I claim is my God given guilt.  However, I’ve notice guilt has begun to slip.

I must chide myself more often in that I miss my dog more than my ex-husband. I grapple with the idea that I look at men now with a sort of mercenary attraction and above all I fight the urge to summon winter in all but one season of the year.

Ah-ha!  A left turn in a right-handed world.  Who is behind such egotistical words?  Who or what could fathom herself able to summon winter?

I deal in death.  That’s how I earn my bread and butter.  I wallow in the financial implications and shuffle the sheaves of paper, both tactile and electronic, that rustle or static the real life certainty of not existing anymore.  I suppose that my diabolical side has grown from my life’s advance in this work and my thick armor of mental self-preservation has grown with the continual observation of someone else’s misery.  I work in an emotional freezer.

But why summon winter in say, July?  Because often times the armor that thickens around my mental processes will crack.   When there is a break down, there is also a will to wallow in whatever brings me momentary happiness; a flirtation that I know I won’t pursue, the question as to why my dog had to die, wine in a box, a German film (earth and water let’s talk mercenary!) or a drive to find some of the best ice cream in town.

(I feel that the pursuit of ice cream is actually me already summoning winter in a subconscious quasi Freudian manner.)

Alas, dear reader, if you’ve made it this far I know that I left you topside with the word “guilt.”  Oh that word has become vile in the 21st century.  Tax evasion, illegal immigration, anarchy, murder, rape, home invasion, perjury, all can be shrugged off because no one wants to condemn anyone.  Who are we that we might judge anyone?

Why separate my diabolical self from analytical, dare I say, faithful-to-God self?  Why should I feel guilt over a pornographic film, a brief encounter that boils down to using someone or summoning winter?  What line in the sand am I drawing?

To tell the truth, I’m not sure I know any longer.  I’m older and more muddled.  My strength has waned and really what problems would there be to freezing summer, burying spring and demolishing autumn?  Why fight at all the freeze?

I salute you, oh self-motivated and diabolical one, and pray to God the strength to stop.

(Yet I’m grateful Creator for the 30-degree drop.)

 

Her Hunt

She even wondered if she couldn’t become capable of actual love.

The best part of her day is when everyone she works with is gone.  She enjoys her coworkers; she feels no animosity towards them but she enjoys the quiet promoted by their absence.  There is no shuffling, no one sided phone conversations, no opening and shutting of doors, no murmur of business as usual.

She goes about the small office, closing window blinds, making sure all doors are locked and making notes to help start her next morning.  These menial tasks give her comfort in a rushed and bustling world.

Her evening tasks give credence to the fact that she has survived another day.

She has kept to this job for five consecutive years.  She is proud of that fact and she is also proud of the fact that she has maintained her resolve not to hunt any longer.  She often ponders and searches for reasons as to why she hunts at all;  it isn’t her fault. Not really.  Perhaps.

The last successful hunt certainly wasn’t her fault and that fiasco was what strengthened her resolve to retire from all the complications and angst a hunt can and does cause.  She was tired, exhausted really and there he was, ready to rescue her. They all wanted to rescue her.  That was the emotion or reaction, empowering a man to come to her rescue, that was the crucible of her weakness; that weakness which invoked her power. Her prowess.

She had moved from Atlanta to Minneapolis.  The heat in Atlanta was excruciating and she only lasted one year there.  That complicated Minneapolis considerably.  She felt so mercenary in Atlanta.  She had just left Philadelphia and moved to Atlanta and in each of those cities she had fulfilled a hunt and that complicated things.  Philadelphia went smoothly, the hunt lasted three years and basically she tired of it and finished it.  But then she became too full of herself, she did not research Atlanta at all.  The only fact she focused upon was that Atlanta seemed happening, sharp, quick and she was in the mood to fit in.  The heat hit her like a ton of bricks and she got messy.  Minneapolis was just what the doctor ordered.

But Minneapolis proved too fertile a place.  She thought that perhaps she would try being normal and settle down.  Minneapolis would have been the place.  She knew that it wouldn’t happened, even while contemplating white picket fences, still a chance for kids… She knew eventually her weakness would take over.

And what a weakness, her power.  It took a certain type, granted.  There were those who seemed to feel that she wasn’t quite right, those who needed to be rescued themselves– she despised men like that.  Men who either couldn’t find their socks in the morning or needed that deep mental and heart felt connection.  No, those were not her type.  What brought about her weakness were men, prey, who insisted that she needed rescuing.

The sex was spontaneous to them and well calculated to her; the desperate moves, the weak knees, her weeping and his inevitable vitality expanding in his chest and the moving of heaven and earth to keep her safe.

She lasted in New York for almost two whole years but woke up one morning, felt that driving urge to make him beg for mercy and slipped the tiny needle in while he finished his last deed.

She was grateful that in Atlanta there was no beneficiary money – not coming so quickly from Philadelphia.  That would have definitely sent up some red flags to the densest of people.

Philadelphia certainly set her up for life – as wild a ride as that was.  She even wondered if she couldn’t become capable of actual love.  But in the end she needed to feel him drain, fade away, dissipate.

Now, five years later, not really needing to work but needing a place to belong she had managed to avoid the rescuing type.  She tried hard not to involve herself at all with coworkers, there were too many knights in shining armor to go around to worry her fellow coworkers.

No, the more expensive restaurants and upscale bars were the happy hunting grounds.  Certainly no clubs.  The fact of the matter was, however, she wasn’t getting any younger.  She still liked to keep that perfect distance in age but the rescuing type were not frequenting restaurants and bars as much.  Perhaps she was finally seeing them go extinct.

She hoped not.  She had one more move in her.  One more teary-eyed farewell for the onlookers to appreciate and then, yes then retire, dropping her alias and maybe even going home.

Perhaps the hard working delivery man who seems to expand his chest when she signs for deliveries would do.  They chit chat about the weather, he tries to make eye contact with her.  Perhaps she can manage a little sorrow on Monday to see if the fellow will follow after.

 

These Servant of God Days

Did he wake in the middle of the night,
Remembering the silence of his friends
And then their accusations?
Did he feel the heat and ease of his wife’s body
Next to him and then remember her words?
“Turn and Die.”

The servant of God – Job.

The life of the servant restored. –

The curse lifted,

His life after his trials, blessed.

But did he never have a dark moment after?

Did he wake in the middle of the night,

Remembering the silence of his friends

And then their accusations?

Did he feel the heat and ease of his wife’s body

Next to him and then remember her words?

“Turn and Die.”

These are my Job days.

Twenty-first century Job days.

The intolerant man at the library.

My frightened son.

A new passion encumbered by suspicion

Neither one of us deserves.

Is the outstretched hand just another prison?

These are my Job days,

My memory lesson days.

God has arrived and the whirlwind has subsided.

The graves have sunk to level ground

The children play not far afield.

I smile, I laugh, I learn and teach,

But wonder did Job ever stop to pause, as I do,

Over bright meadows, golden harvests, and

Soft cold winter nights, colder now somehow.

Did Job long for the soft touch of rest and repose and

Stare into darkness instead?

Did he scrape the scares of the sores God allowed?

Does the servant never cower now?

These are my Job days.

Old enough to let go, endure the ache of regret

But not quite old enough to forget.

God’s quiet voice echoes in my head.

He always answers with a question.

His favorite, “Were you there?”

For my life, yes, I was there.

And like Job, no human touch,

No smile, no kind expression means sincere connection.

Every man for himself, every fresh looking whore too,

Every child, every demanding parent, every well meaning

Friend sinks to memory, a crashing memory of sickness, disease,

Catastrophe, the blank stare of despondency

During these Job days.

As pencil scrapes paper and cadence settles in

I’m hiding in my car, cold feet, aching hands.

No leaves on the trees a beautiful blue sky

People go by. Did Job have these days?

Did Job remember his own cry for justice?

Did the memory of his own staunch defense

And belief in his innocence weary and slacken his mind?

What does restored mean?

That we’ve learned well to handle the emotions and

Trials of catastrophe, disease, death –

Yet a slighted touch, a cross word, a moment’s silence

Too long between lovers,

Crashes the sky and breaks the heart.

These are the scares that remain

And the servant’s heart has yet to be restored.

These are my Job days.

These Servant of God Days / Lydia Ink by SK Woodiwiss

Into the Asylum

Nobody questions why a homeless schizoid dies alone – they just pack them off to cold storage.

There are days I simply wish it were over.  I don’t want to know who I am and I don’t want to face another night.  It’s different when the sun goes down.  I know and they know and the world just goes on.

When I was a kid I would read every fantasy novel I could get my hands on.  I was the skinny kid saving his pennies for the dictionaries on Middle Earth and I was the kid alone on the playground acting out the last epic battle of good versus evil.

Teachers would pull my mother aside and tell her that I made other children uncomfortable.  That the reason I was picked on and ridiculed was because I was allowed to stay in my fantasy world.  I’ll give my mother this, as tired and over worked as she was, she stood up for me.

Every once in a while she would pick me up early from school, sign me out and we would have ice cream in the full light of day.  I know that she felt it was us against them but at that time I didn’t know how many battles fronts she was fighting.

She didn’t come home one night.  They found her remains three months later down by Navy Pier.  She didn’t die there.  The police still call it an open case.  The cops that investigated her murder even came around to check on me in foster care.  Of course that told me she didn’t die easy, it wasn’t quick.

I was thirteen when she died and foster care was one of the worst things that could have happened to me.  You see when they tapped on my window and I cried for help, my foster parents didn’t believe me.  At one point I was institutionalized for schizophrenic behavior.   That was worse because then the bastards could walk right in – the loons invited them in all the time.  Nobody questions why a homeless schizoid dies alone – they just pack them off to cold storage.

Strange, the loons never turned.  Never.

I would have been lost if my screams hadn’t been heard by a weary old priest.  He didn’t believe me that they could crawl along the ceiling and hide in shadows but he did give me a golden crucifix that has never left me.

You don’t know how desperate and crazy you can sound when a white clad orderly is standing in the doorway with a straight jacket for you and one of the cursed ones is smiling at you from the ceiling; they would crawl around like flies.   I think many of the inmates went crazy after they arrived.

I sleep in the basement of the church now.  I do odd jobs so they let me.  I sleep well there despite the unbelief of the old priest who saved me.

I miss my mother.

I work hard to avenge her.  That’s what she did, worked hard.  Maybe it will all end with me.

Some how.

Lydia Ink / Into the Asylum by SK Woodiwiss

I Loved Once

I loved once but grew weary of the underlying blame that the woes of the world belonged to me or my gender.

I loved once but grew weary of the underlying blame that the woes of the world belonged to me or my gender.  Weariness, my dear friend is not anger, no more than fantastic or wonderful is anything good or wholesome.

We came together too quickly he and I.  We moved toward love and intimacy at such a rate that consequence never left.  He was in my mind, still is.  I can still hear him call me, I feel his pull but I know in my soul he resists the very memory of me.

I don’t ponder him much – just on Fridays when I know he prays and I wonder how desperate he might be for a cigarette.  That makes me smile – the damn things.  I sit here in the far west and for the first time in my life am content.  I must someday thank him for the loss, for now I am less afraid of life, perhaps not afraid at all.

Do I sound enigmatic?  That is not my intention.  My intention is to tell you to love, love deeply and lose.

I have few friends but the ones I call friend are indeed so.  One sent me a message, a quote the other day; “what would you do if you were not afraid?”

The best answers in this age are questions.  That’s how we know we are lost, distorted, darkened. The world we know is not right.  The left is right and the right is always east.  I sit here in the west and think of him and her question to me.  Fear is a funny thing; it comes upon us in the middle.  Bravery is the answer to our hesitations and when attachment is too well formed, too perfect, fear takes over and eats away the foundation.  Top heavy and teetering we let the shambles go in a crash.

My crash was the making of me.  I am in no hurry and the shy hand who brings me deep red roses, with no words to tangle my mind, is the warmth I crave.  My hands and face will never be warmed, nor my body crave a passion that distance cannot defeat.  I sit here in the west and let the east keep.  I pray still and wait for the floods of antiquity to purge us again.

I seek high places and allow weakness to win.

This Is An Escape

I have faith that I can live without you and your lack of vocabulary and your lack of effort. I can live better without, than sitting here with you in doubt

I often wonder if suppression is not my bailiwick. 

I hate the vague, I hate the words that hide that feeling you simply cannot find the word to describe.  Find the damn words. 

Don’t drift off into meditation damn it, get a dictionary, a thesaurus, pay for the subscription to the Oxford English Dictionary and sort it from the 19th century on down.  Surprise me. 

Please.  I won’t beg, I swear I will walk away.  Of course that means I’ve already walked away.  Here I stand out in the middle of Lake Michigan, realizing that it doesn’t bother me to walk on water. 

No I’m no Saint, I have faith and that’s all it takes. 

I have faith that I can live without you and your lack of vocabulary and your lack of effort.  I can live better without, than sitting here with you in doubt. 

You look beautiful by the way, the way your hair catches the sunset and the steady breathing you maintain in the middle of this muddle.  I love the sheen of your day old beard and I love the thought of you carefully shaving it all away.   Yes, I too can love.  Yes, I too can push it away. 

Not everyone is able to grab the right word, not everyone can understand the effort, not everyone can stand the cold dunk of water that searching for meaning takes. 

I’m not for everyone, isn’t that amazing. 

I’m not for anyone, I understand.

Guess I’ll walk north to Lake Superior and stay. 

There is an island up there, nice sized that boarders on Canada and sports still the stars and bars.  Have no idea why.  Maybe I’ll give it a try. 

I’m not much for crowds and I’m certainly not much for love.  I feel you dissolve before I can mourn the loss.  Was that encounter just now or one hundred years ago?

I long for the northern wind who whistles down with no mercy to meet me.  I have shunned him more than once asking for a reprieve; his love is too demanding, he exposes me.  Think of yourself totally naked, no lust, no love but up for examination.  His critical eye assessing, measuring my age, my height, my skin.  Curl under.  Go ahead and curl under and the northern wind will thunder.  So I stand straight and feel my skin tighten and my breast squeeze painfully in the freeze and I am humiliated.  That’s loving the north, that’s loving the north wind. 

What else can I do?  I too can love and I become too demanding. (Find the word but you won’t will you) I too can love but you won’t allow it – this must be a one sided thing with me grateful and you always fulfilling.  We could have it the way you want it my egotistical despair, if you could just find your heart in all the preparations you’ve made to love me.

No I am not rejecting you – this is an escape. 

 

Lydia Ink / This is an Escape by SK Woodiwiss

Liar Books

I have a rule, never speak to a man, no matter how attracted I am to him, unless he has the backbone to speak to me first.

I have a rule, never speak to a man, no matter how attracted I am to him unless he has the backbone to speak to me first. 

I don’t speak to many men. 

For two years after I invoked this rule, I was astonished at how lonely I was.  I’m not saying that men didn’t try to approach me and speak to me, they did.  They were married, of course, and we had a conversation about the weather, the owls at night (really) the training of dogs and all manner of things at all different occasions.  Not one single male, however, made a move in my direction.  Not one single male approached my friends and asked to be introduced. 

Now some might think that perhaps I’m the female version of Quasimodo – not so.  I’m no prima donna but I’m not stooped over with a hunched back and bald – nor do I have a little black mustache. 

What happened was that I obtained a reputation of being a snob, a woman who thought too much of herself and unapproached – frigid in other words. (I am not allowed to think men’s egos didn’t play into my code of conduct but this really isn’t about the male ego nor my sarcasm).  I knew this was happening because single women started to avoid me too, they didn’t want to be branded as frigid or unapproachable by associating with me.

Please don’t think that Prince Charming showed up, swept me off my jaded feet and made me the envy of all women – he didn’t.  What did happen was that I sold my flat screen TV, boxed and donated any book I owned which was written in the 20th century or after and sat down in my apartment with every book I said I had read in the past but really had not.   

In short, I began to read all the books I had lied about reading – my liar book list. 

My first attack was on all of the Jane Austen books – even Lady Susan.  Next, I tackled the Bronte sisters but please note I had already actually read “Jane Eyre.”  I was aghast to realize that I hated “Wuthering Heights,” and wondered as I struggled through the novel how the hell I was going to continue lying about the book for I had fairly gushed over it in the past, along with all my wine drinking literary friends. 

I began to wonder then if my friends had read the abridged version and I suspected that I wasn’t the only liar in the world. 

Don’t think that I ignored male authors out of spite, I did not.  I read Robert Louis Stevenson, HG Wells, and Oscar Wilde – I laughed out loud when I read “I’ve been telling the truth all this time, can you ever forgive me?” (The Importance of Being Ernest).  The man was a genius in being delightfully rotten.  I began to believe in evil as an entity with a personality (I still believe that Satan exists and is an enemy of God) after I read the books of HG Wells. 

I became so absorbed in the restitution of my lies that my friends started wondering what had become of me.  I refused invitations and my parents drove in from the suburbs one Sunday afternoon to make sure I wasn’t bloated in my apartment and drawing flies.  My father walked down to the sports bar after seeing I was okay and my mother picked up “The Invisible Man,” and started reading it. 

“If only it were true of most men,” she said opening the book and settling in beside me with some hot tea.  She took the train in and out of the city to cook for me after I told her that I was taking a week off work to do nothing but read.  She even stayed with me a few nights and read “Dracula.”  (She reacclimated herself to her Catholic upbringing soon after reading that novel).

The Friday evening of my week long liar book marathon I lamented to my Mother the idea of having to go back to work for my rent’s sake. 

“What brought all this on?  Why are you reading these books?” asked my mother.

“Because single men refuse to speak to me.”

She blinked at me from behind her thick reading glasses and for a moment I thought we were both underwater, looking at each other from behind underwater masks. 

“What?” she asked slowly.

“No single man will talk to me.  I’ve not dated a man in four years,” and went on to explain my life in the last four years.

“Do you mean to tell me you haven’t had your heart broken?”

“No.”

“You won’t talk to a man first, so no man has spoken to you in four years?”

“Well, I’ve spoken to men, Mother…”

“Yes, yes,” she said quickly “but because your experiment has worked, you are sitting down and making restitution on the lies you’ve made regarding books you said you read but really haven’t.”

“Well, now it really wasn’t an experiment but a sort of theory I was testing.”

“A theory?” asked my mother her voice rising.

“Yes,” I said wondering at her

“Do you mean to tell me I’ve been sitting in the suburbs wondering if you’re a lesbian and afraid to tell me, dead or heartbroken and all along you’ve been testing a theory?  A theory?”

I was shocked at her strident tone of voice.

“You idiot girl!”  My mother got up from her seat on my sofa and started to pace my living room floor, then sat back down and looked at me. “I took you to Sunday School to figure out men.  I read you the Genesis account of creation.  You punish yourself because you think men egotistical, and all they are is lazy, ignorant and moronic.  When mankind fell it was because Adam wouldn’t talk!  Where have you been?  How did we miss this?” She got up and paced a few more times across my living room floor.   “Oooooh!” my mother moaned and collapsed back down on my old library chair, landing on Dante’s “Inferno.”

“Mother I would hardly say I was punishing myself.  I mean I’ve been lonely but I’m better read than most people my age.”  I shrugged and picked up ‘Moll Flanders.’  “Besides most of my friends are already married and wondering why they spent the time and money on the effort.  Perhaps I’ll skip all that.”

My Mother was looking at me from between her fingers, her blue eyes shining out from behind her reading glasses.  “Then you don’t blame me for being a terrible mother?”

“I don’t consider you a terrible mother.”

She seemed relieved and removed her glasses to dab her eyes with a tissue.  “Do you see yourself ever in a relationship?”

“Oh perhaps some older man who walks by me while I’m reading on a park bench, might stop by some day and ask me what keeps me so absorbed.”

“Have you seen him?”

“Every day on my lunch hour.  After a week’s absence, I’m hoping he might have the courage to ask me what I’ve been up to.”

“Oh, darling I’m so relieved you’re not so noble as to not try stealth.”

I smiled at her and asked if she wouldn’t make me a pot of tea. 

“Oh yes certainly.  And since it’s only Friday, I think I’ll read the Pickwick Papers.  I always hated Charles Dickens and lied through so many of his novels.  But it’s time to come clean.”