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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Poetry Girl Sunday--Dear God

Today for Poetry Girl Sunday, I am featuring one of my favorite bloggers jenx67.  You can find her in my Golden Blogroll--down, down--in the right sidebar.  Her blog is dedicated to celebrating & commenting on all things Generation X; the generation loosely defined as those people born between 1961-1981 (the generation on the heels of the Baby Boomers).  One of the things that distinctifies Generation X is that we are aging.  Much to our surprise.
(btw, I was born in May 1961 so I am barely a Generation X-er--well me and George Clooney who was born 18 days before me--charming company although he appears to like years-younger women not days-younger women .....sigh)
Aging.  Not a new human experience.  If life is a mountain, it is as if I have reached a clearing near the top.  I've stopped here for awhile and am resting.  I look all around me--I can see the path I have taken to get here.  I can see others behind me, on their way up.  I can see those ahead of me on the path making their way down the mountain. I can see the path in front of me leading into the future.  It is, at once, magnificent and daunting. It is empowering and heartbreaking. Frightening and exciting.  Mysterious and certain. Validating and invalidating.

Dear God, why must life be so impervious, relentless, and unforgiving?

Two concepts of aging have quietly introduced themselves to me in my mountaintop clearing that go beyond the expected aging concepts in which you become less attractive and more frail : 1) other people in my life are aging too!  Oh no!! and 2) I feel the same as I always have ...only perhaps ...(only slightly) wiser.

jenx's poem "leaving you just when i needed to most" will possibly leave you perplexed.  But please read it not worrying about what jenx meant ....think about what it might mean to you.  The best poets want to leave you with an insight into your own life, not theirs.  After I read "leaving you just when i needed to most" this past week, without consciously bidding it, her strong images of loss and grief kept coming back to me. 

Who wants that you might ask? 

But from my mountain-top perspective, I know you can't live long enough to reach the clearing without experiencing loss.  And I realize I need to reconcile my own feelings of loss before I can move on.  I can't head into the future without a sense of peace about ALL aspects of life including the impervious, relentless, unforgiving, and yes, grief-filled aspects.

Ironically (or not--connections are everywhere if you look for them), the same day I read jenx's poem, I opened my new Mark Knopfler (of Dire Straits) CD, Get Lucky.  The second track is called "Hard Shoulder".

Read jenx's poem and let the images speak to you.  Listen to Mark Knopfler's "Hard Shoulder" too.  For me, perhaps inexplicably, they call out to one another and they are both calling out to me.  Think about the feelings they invoke.  Feel at one with each because you've experienced loss and disappointment and failure too.  Feel unburdened by kindred spirits.  Feel a connection to another human being.  Feel, no matter where you are on the mountain, a sort of transcendence beyond your moment by moment, minute by minute life--dare to feel it all; dare to feel the very most alive.


leaving you just when i needed to most

Let me just tell the world:
I left you today
And I’m certain when I did,
I chipped a tile
From the Mosaic
The fractured Bride of God.

It seems I had no choice
For 25 some-odd years I’ve watched
The same man
Silver hair and a gold horn
He played it like me
But, safer
And, you know,

I didn’t.

I fancied myself bombastic
Like James the Less
And, now here I am
No more casseroles to supplant our superficial conversations
You left
Just when you needed me most.

And, so this is what I choose for myself
This fractured daughter of God.

I stuff the change in my cold Armani pocket
And, I hold the door behind me
For you, a stranger
Four gallons of water looped around your fingers
They sway you in the Oklahoma wind
You smile with heartbroken
Ghastly yellow teeth
And, say with Broadway exuberance
My radiator is overheating and
I have to have all this water just to get home!

You twirl oddly in the wind
Talking to the sky
And, I leave you.
Just like everyone else
And I carry myself, all privilege gone
To a business appointment
Which I want to abandon
To sit with you in the Oklahoma wind
Cradle you on this prairie
And tell you

Why do we answer questions
No one is asking?
Did you think your sorrow would escape me?
It did not

Tonight, you’ll cook your crank in a bath tub
But, only after we find a new radiator
Together at a junkyard
Just like my dad had to do a dozen times.
And, I’ll hold you in a rusted automobile
And beat my chest and say
We are having church!

My God, we are having church
All you effing sonsofbitches.

But, I am dreaming.
I have missed another opportunity
And, I was missed a dozen times
1,500 lonely days
We beat crickets off us while we watched Kimmy eat a bug.
Survivors. It was so long ago.

The radiator hisses
like the last summer of childhood
Lizard juice and burned rubber
The wishes boiled and smoked
And, I was too proud.
I wanted everyone to read my mind.

But, I would not change it
I am halfway to the skeleton frame
Where I belong.

I am leaving you.
I know.
You were innocent like me.
Keeping appointments
God never intended you to make to begin with.

Mark Knopfler, Hard Shoulder

Hard Shoulder

I've got latches for windows, handles for doors
Grinders and scrapers and sanders for floors
Rake for the gravel, chains for the snow
Always got the shovel - you never know
I never thought you'd go

Man's broken down
Man's broken down on the slip road
Got a slipped load
And it's a hard shoulder to cry on

Hacksaws and hammers, brushes and mop
Then I've got the ladders up on the top
If something needs doing, I always say
You want it done the proper way
I need you to stay

Man's broken down
Man's broken down on the slip road
Got a slipped load
And it's a hard shoulder to cry on

Give me a minute we'll be going again
Sound as a pound, right as rain
- right as rain
And it's a hard shoulder to cry on
- to cry on
                                                  --Mark Knopfler

PS--be sure to check-out jenx67--are you there God? it's me generation X


Julie said...

I'm here getting caught up on my blog reading!!! Great poem!

"And so our stories go..." said...

Aging is exciting to me. It's a path which I'm walking. I love being the one who has, "Been there, done that!" Love your blog.

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