May. 4th, 2011

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Oedipus on Mother's Day by Donald Illich

Hallmark sells no cards for our situation.
I scan the aisle looking for a bittersweet

spot between those for wife, those for
mother. Wife seems too affectionate,

while son feels kind of reserved. I should
kiss you on the cheek when I've seen you

naked, lots of times? Or sit on your lap?
But I'm a big boy now, as you know,

probably too much so. I did find one
for Dad, actually, an apology to you.

A baby on the front accidentally spills
his pudding. A rainbow word balloon

yells, “Oops!” Inside, a puppy licks up
the drops. The text: “Accidents happen.

I hope you can forgive me.” We'll try
to pretend they're not blood. Let's admit,

though, you're glad I'm back this day.
Once you winced at brunch specials

and mimosas, visited places mothers
wouldn't be: sci-fi conventions, cock

fights, rugby matches. We can go out
together on a date, act as if we have

a child at home, baby sat by shepherds,
never left alone, exposed to elements.

Indifference will never be a problem
for us. The only curse we have is love.

That was the poem this morning. I liked it; it suits me: the only curse I have is love.

I've been living on my own for three days. Tonight will be the first night I sleep alone. You might think those previous nights don't count, but already I've learned that if there's no one to protect from my grief by living with me I cry aloud and talk to myself.

The secret to surviving the world is not really ever quite believing in it. Believe around corners, believe at the edges, but never confront the full unflinching weight of it. Douglas Adams said "the one thing you can never afford to have in this world is a sense of proportion". How do we think of his books as comedy?

When I'm alone and crying in the interstice between work and school (I always watch the clock: it's 2:52 and I should be leaving, but can stretch it till 4:30 if I need to) I listen to the things I say: first, into my palms with my face in my hands, I say: okay. Okay. This is how I try to surrender resistance. If there's no resistance there's no pain, is there?

But this isn't about ego. That was crushed out of my quite some time ago.

Next I say, over and over: fuck. I try it louder: FUCK. More quietly, testing: oh fuck. I always wanted to learn to swear well and never did. I thought that colourful language might open me up, vent this pressure inside and release it. I never did learn, but right now suspect it wouldn't help.

I'm too old to pull the darkness all the way over my head and disappear into it. I'm too old to dissolve. All I can do is sit here, in pain, and tell myself that's the way life is. There's no one who would argue with me. We've all been here; we almost all will be here again.

I live in the future, in expectation and in dreams and desire. This hauls me forward along with whatever weights I choose to drag with me along whatever paths I choose to beat through the unknowns of my life. This is why my fingers seek the keyboard so urgently now, why words explode and then falter in a counterpoint to the sobs I have no reason to stifle.

You aren't in my future. I'm not in yours. We've agreed on that time and time again. And I've tried to be open to you despite that, to not fear severance and the pain that will come with it.

Here it is, a moment of pain in a long life. In a month or a year it'll be just that, a moment, and return with less urgency each time I see it. I know that. I've been here before.

And I know too that maybe the point where your life diverges is not this week but later, weeks or months or even years down the road. Who knew this would go on so long, after all, haphazard and circumstantial as it is? And so in this writing I come out of the future where we have already had our last kiss and into the present where neither of us know. I suppose that's always the present: assumptions, but no knowledge of what comes next.

The pain is fading in my ribcage, leaving bruises where it forced itself huge against the bone, and leaving an afterimage.

If I look at the clock (3:14) I don't even have to see it.

I'll sit here looking at the clock for a few more minutes before I leave for school.
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Writing helps. Time to get back to my life.
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When I say "I ride my bicycle more than anyone" it's for a laugh at the ambiguity.

When I add up the hours, flying through the streets, I know it's true.

When I was little I wished so hard for a winged horse but no living being could be so responsive, so permanent, so gracefully challenging and so silently forgiving. To achieve that you must surrender, not a soul for I am certain that on our night flights we are awakening a soul in you, but self-will, consciousness, and judgement.

You have surrendered these to me.

When I speak of you to others I speak of mileage: twenty-kay a day, I say, or one-hundred-kay-per-week. If I'm feeling ballsy I'll tell them I'm ramping up to one-hundred-fifty just for work and school. Sometimes I'll admit it feels like flying.

How can I evoke the magic of your reliability? When I was little I used to stand waiting by the school gate for my parents to remember to pick me up, sometimes an hour, sometimes two. The teachers would worry. I was always heartsick. How do I tell my friends I can get myself home now after school?. After so many broken relationships how do I say I can see when the pieces break, I can feel what's wrong, and I can put them back together so it works?

When living my life feels like standing on a train watching the scenery flash by, everything there and gone before I can really see what it is, I can console myself: at least the train is coming with me.

In the nexus of reliability and freedom happiness is born. You never know me as anything but happy because after five minutes with you the world is always okay again. When I come to you I don't crumple into tears after a stressful day, demand hugs, get quiet, need distractions, want conversation. I come to you as one soul to another to exist in our best capacities.

Tonight we flew home from school. My legs are getting tired, they started to get tired at the thirty-fifth kay in two days. Tired feels like heavy and like stiff, a tiny little pull on my willpower which, quite frankly, thrives on such an uncomplicated drain. Somewhere past the highway off-ramps the evening faded to night. We rode hard, fighting the tired because such simple challenges are a glory and a triumph after a day where I've spilled chili on my schoolbooks twice, contemplated a breakup, got mislabelled specimens in lab class, and passed up a dream job in favour of steady work- and that's just this afternoon.

We came up the hill through the dark, by the hillside where if you stand very silently you can hear the whisper of water trickling through saturated soil. You warmed me there, turning spring into the kind of summer where I had to stop and strip down to a tank top. We cannonballed home after that, half-naked (someday I will take my clothes off for you) through such velvet-soft air that the world could have ended there and I'd have been happy.

I've had two dozen walks with lovers in my life as nice as the time we spend together nearly every evening. I know you'll never leave me. Do what you might for me, I never question that success with you is my own personal accomplishment. My independence from you is a given.

Take what you can get is my life philosophy, and enjoy what you're given as much as you can.

So I ride my bicycle more than anyone.


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