Sunday, September 10, 2017

10 September 2017

I want to write an honest sentence about grief, the ways we claim it for ourselves as if we were assigned categories, like hurricanes. I was a five with him, and you but a three, or I achieved orange and you but a pale blue. My daughter wants to know what the colors in her book mean, but she knows that red assigns you the handmaid job. Outside, there's a bird, a motorcycle and Irma through the upstairs speakers. Behind the bird doves doo wop. I know a Honda from a Toyota more than this from that bird, or, names float separate from being. The alphabet keeper had a huge net with which she caught her letters, but names are another matter, requiring more net, or less noise. Because one student is blind, I required them either to pick up trash or to collect sound pollution. My husband sleeps on the couch as Hurricane Irma pounds one man in Naples, Florida. This one man is wearing a blue slicker and under his slicker is a helmet and beneath his helmet are goggles. I caught an early reference to the falling men, those who revisit us each 9/11 as horrible thuds on low-hanging roofs. My students took personally Ta-Nehisi Coates's lack of sympathy for the victims. Several demanded inspirational content. They loved his honesty, though. When I handed the shirtless Hawaiian man, seated on a patch of ground beside the post office with a large brown dog, a bag full of toiletries, he called me sista. Radhika wondered why not aunty, but of course he and I were of a similar age. Or he right for Nam, I for the ivy league. Let's do couples therapy with the book, I suggest in class. You read a section that angers you out loud, and then say only what you read. Tell me where in your body you feel it. If it's in the cone of uncertain grief, you've got your GPS. Grief positioning as an app, one you link to your smart phone, giving you time during the day to schedule your weeping and your denial. It's loss of control, isn't it, that ruins us, not even the symptoms that carry us there like medics in green helmets, their boots sucking mud out of the rice paddy. He was with a group of men who got separated from the others. When soldiers approached, he had no idea if they were friend or foe. Then he saw they were black, heard Sgt. Pepper blasting out of their tank. Later, he adopted a Cambodian child and married an East European woman he met on-line.

--10 September 2017

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