Wednesday, January 30, 2013

nothing like a birthday to remind you to be cooler than your friends

Thursday, January 03, 2013

fragments for the new year

on the shortest day, i rose to greet the dawn, drove east to meet the sun. i had not planned it, but i rose in the pitch dark before morning and drove with nothing in the rearview but black. anything is possible when you're in motion. for the first time, i'm pulled over for speeding but escape with a warning. i'm not sure how to take this sign. which side of luck am i on?

on the day after the shortest day, i woke to the sound of a pig grinding her teeth and pawing at the gate. the world was supposed to have ended but we knew it wouldnt and we passed through unchanged (though we hoped that we and it were all better and new).

on the pizza place patio, i watch a white bristle hair terrier sidestep its owners, who try to corner it back into the fenced yard behind the house. i laugh at the show, their dance, and forget after the shouting stops. an hour later, i'm leaving little rock and in the center of the four lane 430 is a white terrier, dead.

on the day after the day after the shortest day, i have been home less than 24 hours and already, everything has settled exactly as it was. i'm falling into the rut where the house is and i see no way out.

on christmas eve, i'm crying in bed for hours, wondering why i bothered to make it this far. i've already stagnated and my greatest fear comes true. i lay heavy on the curses and make plans never to see my friends again. everything i've ever done is useless.

christmas is the usual pile of books and wrapping paper and everything you'd expect. chocolate coffee. stockings full of soap. fruit and cheese plate. the appropriate fir needle coating over almost everything. why do my cats prefer the tree's water? eventually i force myself out of the house for wine and friends and spin a yarn so long it nearly swallows me. this is the only night i will see them before they shove off for nashville, new york, japan. the small set of hours disappears in an instant and i'm shocked to find the outside world turning white, soft snow floating in the air. sometimes the earth will glitter and the bed will be warm and not too big for you and your cats.

on the day after christmas, i wake up puking. this seems unfair since i really didn't overdo it and played it safe with fruit, cheese, and only a little wine. they will always trip me: every time i find some good, it goes. any time i think i'm finding footing, it slips.

on the day after the day after christmas, it's time to go again. my mama and i trade off for the drive to her parents' in south georgia, and we don't even have to talk with the audio book playing.

these days are a pleasant stretch in the limbo of family. we busy ourselves with the business of being agreeable and intervening when the grandparents try to do anything beyond their chairs. we challenge the cousins in scores of smart phone games; we watch most of 3/8 of the harry potter films; we just barely drink to excess but generally we contain ourselves.

on new year's eve we discover there is no bonfire planned. the female cousins rally our forces to gather every scrap of torn wrapping paper and decently dry pine logs, and we feel proud of the growing burn pile till we get luke's truck stuck in a mud patch where grass becomes field. it's my fault for mentioning the time we ran into this tall grass unsuspecting, and sank from house slippers to pajamas. the fire is not the finest, but our effort is the thing, and i'm glad to drink cider topped with the ash of christmas present turning past. 

on the first day, we are in transit. i can't remember a new year that i didn't greet from the highway, rushing away from and towards the old and new, praying to every dead thing. 
on the first night, i come and curl around myself three times, receiving and giving back, giving back. 

on the day after the first day, i scour and purge, determined to make a temporary space comfortable for perhaps the first time ever. i shock myself by staying up all night here, not unusual but for the words and the recollection of hours lost typing. there is comfort and the dark is more than half done.