Tuesday, April 15, 2008

taxes

First,

A poem by e.e. cummings
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)



I actually put my head down on my alchemist's university-office desk today and started to cry.

It's a new low. Really? Head down on a desk? But such a familiar desk. Such an institutional desk. Such a desk as the desks where I have laid me down to sleep.

It's a new high. An alchemist who lets me crumble without acting put out and who offers hope with the promise of a new glue-pill that's working for some of her patients. Really. Head down on a desk. Such a familiar desk. Such a desk as the desks where I have prayed the Lord my soul to keep.


You want to know the truth?

I hate it when rich people complain about paying taxes so that poor people can get the services they need and have the right to claim. I hate it when people complain about paying taxes so that roads can be paved and and teachers paid and swing-sets played.

So I know I tread on dangerously hypocritical ground when I dare to complain about pretty much anything in my life that is so blessed with people who do love and care for me, with food that nourishes me, shelter that protects me, work that provides for me, and the luxury of time and experience and safety and everything that is some kind of gift from God that allows me to have the life I have.

But God fucking damn it, I am so fucking tired and pissed off and tired of paying this extra tax of poor mental health for every fucking breath I take that I think I am going to fucking explode.

And then I'd have to clean up the mess.

No one in the world has the right to complain about spending time in Santa Barbara, Rome or with friends (albeit in Phoenix)--three consecutive trips covering weekdays and weekends with quick stops at home to empty and refill the suitcases before our next flight.

But I cannot do it anymore.

The best thing about my tomorrow is that I might be able to get away with not seeing or speaking to anybody until I have to leave for work at 5 p.m.

I am not a woman with the energy to spend so much time with people traveling and enjoying every little thing and smiling and being grateful for beauty or opportunity or delights of any sort.

I am a woman whose energy is spent not crying over sound-bites that perhaps no one else hears. I am a woman whose energy is spent carrying weights that no one else sees. I am a woman whose energy is spent gulping air that no one else drinks; eating words that no one else knows. I am a woman who begs for glue to hold together a porcelain cast that is bursting apart; a woman who wants to fill, smoothen, repair the cracks in the sculpture I once thought was almost finished.

So mos: No, I was not on disability. I was on a medical leave. I got sick. Again. My doctors said I could not work there. I made no money and no one, not even the state or the "amazing" company, gave me anything. Neither did you. Remember those days?

And friend: Just over a year ago you called to tell me wonderful news: you had a baby. I was so happy for you and then there were those nearly 12 silent months of worrying that you were sick or hurt or angry. You finally decided to speak and you said those horrible things, and I listened and heard and listened. Knowledge is power: I have the power to stop worrying about you now that I know that which is held without regard is in fact irreplaceable. I suppose for you (with regard to me, to our once-called friendship) the cliche stood--it was no loss. For me, knowledge is power--I was not lost. You "have a terrible memory," you say. But I remember those days.

God: I am the one you made in your image--just like the others. So what is this image? What a strange repetition for you to choose? to desire? to do? Let me think for a minute about that first one born of a woman--Jesus, you remember--born with such potential and love and hope to a world that was then as it is now, ragged with war and poverty and hate. He roamed this Earth and was counted and called and condemned and killed. Somehow though he had no children of his blood (of whom we know), yet he filled the world with his children because of the legacy of his existence, his essence, his being. But he died without the privilege of ever experiencing fatherhood as average men, men of your so-called image (or is it so-called men of your image?). Interesting that you would deny him that experience. The one experience so acclaimed by human cultures that it brings celebration. The one experience so acclaimed by others of your creation that it is the one experience each of them has in common somehow, whether it is just once, or repeated or with one or several or immediately followed by death. Re-creation is done. So, God, why not? How would he have been less perfect had he created too? I wish I could remember those days.

But yes, I know. Bad genes. Bad time. Bad disease to inflict on any other human being, be it by my presence or our genetics. Good decision. But do you think maybe you could find a way for me to be in the room just once? It's a terrible thing to be jealous of, I know. But my husband has seen you do this miracle of tossing a little being into the world, that hopeful start you give us all. I know it will not be the same; I won't be giving birth, I won't be the sister of a mother, I won't be the doctor or the baby catcher... But strange that in your image this woman would be denied as he was and graced as he was with the non-birthing parenting of some of this world.

And, God? You know all those analogies? Could I please be a different one? I do not want to be the sculpture cracking in the burning kiln. I do not want to be the "intense" (as they call me) 7000 degree heat while everyone else maintains a pleasant 350 and can bake bread. I don't want to be the wounded animal, or the raw burn-baby, or the facade of strength and aptitude. I don't want to carry around the giant yet strangely hollow while heavy heart; it's too cumbersome and I am losing it. Could I just, oh, I don't know, just be?

I am tired. So tired. Not tired like other people when they come home from vacation. Tired like people when they have been fighting a really long battle and so do so do so so so want to win and grab the weapons from the arsenal and hydrate and nourish and fight and keep on going, but all I really want to do is crawl into a corner with a pillow a blanket, maybe a good light book and a small snack and lie there quietly invisible while someone else fights for me. In my stead.

I am taxed.

Can I please lie under the desk?

Duck and cover.

Hey God? I'm not like that one you sent to live, suffer and die. I'm that girl who wants to sit at his feet and listen to the stories.

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