Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Abstract inventory

Those I haven't seen lately: the pot-bellied white guy with small one-eyed dog who claimed to be a "radical centrist." Hated Hillary, though. The Asian couple with two small dogs who went to Liverpool on a Beatles tour; he voted for Hillary but likes Trump now because "he gets things done." Something about no war with North Korea. Young men march to Trump's Orlando rally in red hats, offering white power signs to the camera with their hands. "He makes them all so mad; he gets things done," a 36 year old woman tells the press.

What I do see on dashboards at the cemetery during my walk with Lilith: a "Blessed" sticker, in pink; Slazenger cap, red with leaping logo; a perfect sea star. At one grave two large plastic bags, closed against the rats. Inside one, a large unopened sack of Pepperocini potato chips, set beside two small cups of dip.

My return to abstraction isn't working well this morning. Might have to go back to those pesky line breaks.

"When I say I love you, you think I am selling you soap": reading Amanda Cook's blog memoir about living with small children and a mother who loses her threads. When I say I love you, I'm asking you not to die. When I say I love you, I want you to hear it inside your bones.

Joy Harjo's poem, "Compassionate Fire," involves Pol Pot. I read about the fields of bones, but we didn't visit them. My child has bones, and some of them are bruised. In the documentary about a documentary, the first interviewer tells Pol Pot's aide that his family was killed by the Khmer Rouge. He has waited 10 years to tell him that. The aide says he's sorry.

I sit outside his session in the garden, ti leaves rattling against roof and stone wall. Above me, though I don't see him yet, is a beautiful white dog. He will note the blue and gray eyes. I saw a cat run toward the sidewalk, but it wore the wrong coloring to be the cat that's missing.

My transition from paxil to prozac involved days of singing loudly that turned to anger, anger to exhaustion, exhaustion to unhappiness, unhappiness to ebullience. "The paxil seemed not to be dealing adequately with your depression," she said, a couple months later. How I did what I did for 20 years on that stuff. When you've been in hell, purgatory seems reasonable. (Forgot to figure out which Dante translation to read.)

We had an awkward evening once with the new poet laureate. Her partner wanted to discuss the Australian movie about stolen kids. She asked about ours. Another poet's friend asked if our daughter was "a real orphan." In front of her. He was a doctor.

My neighbor spends a lot of time beside another neighbor's cars. The cars sit beneath a tree that releases sticky bits. She plucks them, one by one by one from the hoods and the roofs. She asked me if I wasn't bored in Volcano with so little to do.

Trump, Jr. mocks Biden for saying he'd cure cancer. A couple hours later, Trump Sr. promises he'll cure cancer.

Early childhood trauma can damage executive function (aka super ego). Children at the center in Texas do not cry, they scream. Someone holds a puppet up to show them how they've been separated from their parents. Pass them along. They will learn to hate themselves, and you. Just don't use the word "concentration"; it's as abhorrent as "genocide."

I'm fascinated with Trump's use of the word "love." He loves the North Korean leader. He loves his base. He loves coal miners. He loves the good white people of his country. His love is trauma. How can I say I love my damaged loves and sound sincere? Can I put the word "love" on a conveyor belt and send it to you, without its being plucked off and eaten by someone I don't know? On the refrigerator the other day, I read: "If you eat yourself, do you get fatter?"

Note: Amanda Cook, Ironstone Whirlygig, Lowell, MA: Bootstrap Press, 2018. [Lowell is one of the largest Cambodian cities in the world.]

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