Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Autumnal Rumination

It is a grey day, the yellow trees standing out against the misty landscape as if they were dressed in something loud for a sixties theme party. I'm going to wear my new grey sweater bought on major sale at the E. Bauer warehouse and my navy shirt, all care of The Boy and our shopping trip yesterday for the "outerwear" sale. He bought the softest olive parka, a(nother) black fleece vest, and a grey down parka vest that makes him look all Redford and frosty. But it's not all that shopping that got me to thinking, but the sweet phonecall from my best friend and his comment that our night sounded really nice and the plan to barbeque together after we sign on the new place and that all that I have really loved is still here and that it just keeps getting added on to. My good New York friend (and first love) off to Berlin and healing after losing his wife two Thanksgivings ago when we cried on the phone together at 6 a.m. and I was brand new to Columbus and so alone that I went to Barnes & Noble when they opened and walked around there, lost, grieving, so lonely for four straight hours. And of course, there is the Bear and the baby bear and the cherished Juniper and her mother, J that have become dear to me, too. Not to mention the great friends that have offered to help move me to the new house, have offered us all kinds of help in building and repairing and how J brought boxes and M offered to dress like cat burglars for Operation Terracotta and it goes on and it's true what my friend said about an average Monday night when me and mine tried on clothes for each other and then went to the Y and then home again for our bevy of shows before the sleep that comes from the new chill of fall, which is also warm and extraordinary.

Condolence Note: Los Angeles

The sky is desert blue,
Like the pool. Secluded.
No swimmers here. No smog—

Unless you count this twisting
Brush fire in the hills. Two kids
Sit, head-to-head, poolside,

Rehearsing a condolence note.
Someone has died, "Not an intimate,
Perhaps a family friend," prompts

The Manners Guide they consult.
You shouldn't say God never makes
Mistakes, she quotes, snapping her

Bikini top. Right, he adds—You
Could just say, He's better off—or
Heaven was always in his future.

There's always a better way to say
We're sorry that he's dead—but
they're back inside their music now,

Pages of politeness fallen between them.
O do not say that the Unsaid drifts over us
Like blown smoke: a single spark erupts

In wildfire! Cup your hands, blow out
This wish for insight. Say: Forgive me
For living when you are dead. Say pardon

My need to praise, without you, this bright
Morning sky. It belongs to no one—
But I offer it to you, heaven in your future—

Along with silent tunes from the playlist,
The end-time etiquette book dropped
From the hand of the young sleeper.

It's all we have left to share. The book
Of paid respects, the morning's hot-blue
iPod, sunlit words on a page, black border.

Carol Muske-Dukes