Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I Cry Daily

My childhood was not ideal. I moved so many times, and lived in a variety of family concoctions, I am not sure I ever knew that stability existed.
"Mom," my grandmother on my Barbosa side of the family, was one constant in my early years. Whether my parents were together or apart, she was the the day-time caretaker for me while my mom worked various jobs. While most of my memories of her are before I was six, they are vivid and intense.
The sunlight entering her dining room through the side windows, the sound from the small black and white TV in her room, the smell of eggs and beans and tortillas, her housecoat, with something in her pocket, for me, not for me.
I hear the sharp sound of consonants in her accent. The floor creaking as she went to make eggs, warm up a tortilla.
For various and complicated reasons that had little to do with either of us and which I don't care to write about now, I did not see her for long stretches of time.
Last year, I had the opportunity to hang out with her more than usual. Some were sad occasions and some were to celebrate. She always talked about my Franco legs, flirted shamelessly with my husband and looked amazing. "When I go out, I like to dress," she said. 
Here she is teaching me her version of the "Dirty Dog." (This video is edited to  preserve our dignity:)

Soon after this video was taken, I was told she was not long for this world due to a blackened lung. I had spent the last year in and out of hospitals, nursing homes and doctors' offices with my mother who was near death a few times and it was also my middle son's senior year. I was an emotional wreck.

But on a brief visit to Mom's one day, she leaned in like she was telling me a secret and said without an ounce of fear in her eyes, "You wanna know something? I am ready. I am not afraid to die. I'm tired of this place. I wanna go see my husband. I am ready."

And for all the things I believe to be true and all the scriptures I could quote, there is no way I could say the same.

Maybe because I am young, I thought. How on earth would my husband know how to usher my kids into their college years without me?

Then very soon after my grandmother, "Mom",  passed away, my son came home with his first tattoo and there on his right shoulder, written in Latin was the verse, "To die is gain." The craughing (see previous post on cry/laughing) began again as I whined about the fact he had not included the "to live is Christ" part of the scripture and that it seemed so ominous and that's not how I wanted to identify his body at the morgue. Not that I want to do that at all mind you.  The craughing escalated.

I am not sure why God chose the very old and the robustly young to try to teach me about holding on too hard to this world. I guess He knows I need to be given my lessons in powerful, tiny moments, so that I am not stricken dumb, just stricken sad enough to turn back to Jesus, to hold on hard to Him and pray myself through the whole business of letting go. 

He loves me. Really. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Poetry Club on the Road to SouthBy

Some girls I know talked me and another mom into heading to Austin for South by Southwest. On the drive down we read some poetry by Jack Myers and Fatima Hirsi. 

The girls chose a line from one of Fatima's poems to use as as a spring board to write their own.

Here are their offerings:

Skin like the moon melted into the sun
Touched the roughness of my fingertips and my body fell
Folding itself nearly on the floor
I wanted to organize my
 mind sets but the frenzy of the idea of living of breathing of being of holding myself together broke me into pieces
Skin (like the moon melted into the
 sun) reached into me and strung them together: my anxieties my deep sleeps my sharp pains you

-Rosie Ninesling

Skin like the moon melted into the sun,
smooth and supple,
as yet unstained and scarred 
from life's rough embrace.

She descended from the clouds like an ethereal mistress of light.

"I like it here." she said,
despite the furious shaking of heads from the miserable fellows who fled like roaches from her glow.

Warmth spread from her toes and the flowers that it awakened said hello.

She carved a hole in the Earth. And stayed there.

-Audrey Clark

Skin like the moon melted into the sun 
Encompassing breaths that sooth the hearth
Treat me like you treat your evening fire 
Tend to me while you sip your scotch
Gently, urge me in growth 
Look at me as if an undying light shoots from my timid flames
Let my hypnosis fall over the planets your shoulders bear
Spewing out, you sit too close as to deceive me 
I think I can touch you every time
You are naturally afraid of me 
You will move my origins and let out a sigh in order to keep the embers orange but
faces are unseen when they are blinding
Let me burn you so you won't forget
Fumes bring tears
And light
Let us be gods and goddesses of crimson breath
And the fire
the fire beneath our feet will keep us angelic

-Chloe Curiel