I don’t have time for this
brand of living, for this
dedication of making things
harder than need be on myself.
Nietzsche is an octave higher
than my heart, yet nonetheless
his feet are my prayers shuffling
through psych ward halls impatiently
mumbling, “Who dares to say it?”
Prophets can be unbearable,
and because I’m in pain, I say
(apart from Friedrich)
let’s kill Nietzsche and his will
to nothingness in this hard rain,
— perhaps I do think of truth as holy;
so let this be my granite sentence.
Why examine anything at all
when the sky puts on her covers?
A person can walk aimlessly
week after week, year after year,
for a half century at least
before asking, What’s that there scratched out with pointed stone?
Dyslexic letters I step around
for Auld Lang Syne…is all I know.
Imagine. I can’t believe myself
for not seeing it all along! Cad.
Who writes truth in the wake
of the road, in the middle of no-
where? That I should stumble on.
I never took him for one
who liked to chat and drive.
Maybe it was a trick question.
Do you think we’re soul mates?
There was a bridge coming up
before hitting the town named
after paradise, &i paused…
&i let out a laugh. Truth is
we’re not even best friends.
No dropped bomb on this one.
We ended up agreeing there’s
no such thing as soul mates,
but if there was, that meant
you’d have to speak the same
language, like the same things.
The kids heard us confide &made
their own judgements on love
&marriage when I put my hand on
top of his, which he softly received.
We gathered ourselves together because we were falling apart–apart. I was in charge (oh why am I always the one in charge?) of making it happen last summer, so I rented a room for the four of us in a century old house (because I’m cheap vintage like that) and dubbed it the “old friends are better than gold” weekend. I’m kitschy like that, and cling to a theme for direction. “Old school”, “old ladies”, ya, ya…we all concede nobody’s getting any younger. I borrowed some vintage dresses/costumes from a collector and brought my camera that was able to shoot on a timer. It was midnight when this picture (plus 58, minus 7) was taken.
I swear we had not been drinking. We didn’t need to. We were so giddy from the whole idea of gussying up for a secret photo shoot that one snicker inevitably led to another. Shhh! We don’t want to wake the bed & breakfast hostess in the back room…How did I get the camera to self-shoot yesterday?… Where are those instructions??…Pull your dress down; we’re not taking those kind of pictures!…What should we be looking at?… Should we be silly or serious?…Oh no, she’s coming!…Stop laughing!
We had been caught in the act of playing dress-up…at our age! The house hostess shuffled in, wrapped up in her house coat. She raised an inquisitive eyebrow, stuck a fork in the pie she’d foraged out of the fridge and offered to take a few photos for us. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it well that “It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.” Sure, it was stupid how we tried to be flapper girls at midnight, but we needed a magical flight from reality.
We purposefully reminded ourselves to “let it go” and to change the subject when conversation got too heavy, as it did when we talked of our collective losses. The truth is, we had lost fathers to cancer, mothers to Alzheimer’s, energies to the wind, and body parts to gravity. But we could still laugh.
For one summer night, we were neither wives, caretakers, nurses, chauffeurs, cooks or maids. We were teenagers who giggled and rattled the old house screen doors and mom checked up on us in our room. Our laughter filled the foyer with an aroma more intoxicating than the sweetest potpourri. We squeaked like rusty gold hinges, hanging on to a shared fanciful and fleeting moment. Last summer’s memories of my “old friends” are beautifully golden and I think the time’s ripe for another one of our gatherings.
“I count myself in nothing else so happy as in a soul remembering my good friends.”-William Shakespeare