Tuesday, November 08, 2005


(Clip adapted slightly from an email to Coyo, Summer 2002. Tonight, like Vonnegut’s unlikely hero in Slaughterhouse Five, I am feeling “unstuck in time.”)

I walk here to the Fish and Chip place...cold air...wispy clouds smearing across the twilight sky...
a blanket hung on a porch rail flaps roses, pale blue and pink, cream...
a bearded man, my age, pulls out of the gas station on a motorcycle and stares at me.
The red pigtails, I think.
L. would laugh at me, think me naïve to believe it’s the pigtails he’s looking at.

The sky is almost uniform violet now. The cars travel with headlights on.
My friend C. said, "I can't keep up," and she means with me, with my life. I laugh and fire back a funny reply but there's a twinge of feeling not-enough because I am too much.

Funny how it goes - no words at all, spells of muteness when words seem as aimless as leaves in the wind and other times the words are wind itself - blowing until it stops. Wind bearing loneliness, love, the fading roses on a drying blanket, the news of my Aunt Betty's impending death. Wind gusting through, messing up the pictures drawn in sand, blowing away stories, the chatter of events, old and current history, the touchingly exposed neck of a young boy sitting at the table in front of mine.

Human human human, like a beating heart, a hollow drum.

The streetlights glow orange, blurry suns...my glasses on the table, a sizzle of food hitting grease, my pigtails trailing across cold French fries on a white plastic plate, a ringing phone...orders for pizza, Lebanese accents, men with hairy arms toiling over pits of hot grease.
Amen. Amen.


Koru's Daughter said...

Is this prose? a poem? a prayer? It sounds like a psalms to me. Beautiful, beautiful awareness.

LJ said...

It's a trip to the greasy spoon. I hadn't thought about the form. Maybe it's a psroem.
But thank you, KD.

Lucas said...

Seems like about a lot more than a trip to a greasy spoon. C,mon lj.

Some say that Vonnegut used time in SH5 to depict a mind fractured by time, as in PTSD. In my view time is inherently fractured, whether by PTSD or otherwise. I love playing with the concept of time. As with most of my stuff, however, I do it at arms length (so to speak). Your writing is always direct--straight out of the vein, or out of the heart. Always powerful, as a result. Thanks for sharing, as always.

LJ said...

I think Vonnegut is subject to various fractures in perception - which is what makes him so marvelous. I saw him interviewed about SH5. He was in Dresden when it was bombed and for years tried to write about it and couldn't. One day a friend said to him, "Oh course you can't. You were children." And that's when the book started. When you think of it, it makes sense. Isn't it subtitled, "The Children's War"? And in that way, children do not process such overwhelming events in strict time order - or have the filters to make sense of it. And PTSD certainly fits.
But, PS, that's what I like about your writing. It jumps. I never know quite where I am - so as a reader, I have to be in the moment where you put me.
Thanks for the thoughtful comment,Lucas.