Flying Over I-40 N. With the World By the A**.

AA Flight 1150: DFW to LGA.  It’s 5:29 a.m., and I’m standing at the gate waiting to board the first flight out of Dallas. I’m watching the waitlist monitor, KAN.D is on page 2. Wow.  An upgrade to First, for a 6 a.m. boarding, will not happen.

Then confirmed.

“Sorry Sir, the upgrade list is closed.” 14th on the wait list. 14th! A Lifetime Platinum Member…means…Nothing.  I drag my carry-on on board, passing all the smug passengers in first class and take my seat.

The video monitor on the seat in front rotates through flight details:

  • 2 hr 59 min to destination
  • Estimated Arrival Time LGA: 10:35 a.m.
  • Altitude: 28,982.9 (and turbulent)

The GQ interview with Brad Pitt is still fresh…he recalls a conversation with Ryan McGinley…”When you get to be my age, never pass up a bathroom. Never trust a fart…”  And let’s leave the rest to your imagination.

Now that, triggered movement

I cautiously step down the aisle. The ship heaves left and right, a paper airplane battered like a piñata. If He really wanted to lean in here, we’d be dust. There’s something about flying that brings the immediacy of mortality to the forefront, not to the front to First Class of course, but to the front like in Coach.

If you possess a single cell of claustrophobia, you don’t want to be in the lavatory of an Airbus A321S in heavy turbulence.  One hand grips the cool stainless steel hand rail for stability.  The other hand rests on the lap, careful not to touch anything. The floor is wet, the soles of the shoes groan. The midsection is contorted to ensure no body part or article of clothing touches anything, and if I could have levitated above the seat without inflicting a groin pull, I would have done so.  How many before me, sitting here? (Butt) Skin to skin to skin to skin to skin.  I wash my hands, and take one look around this coffin. God, when it’s time, let it be in a grassy field, on a warm sunny day, laying among four-leaf clovers and poppies, and looking up at the bluest of blue skies. The closet closes in. Get me out of here. [Read more…]

Driving I-95 S. With an empty boat.

I glance at the odometer: 80,000 miles. 8 years, 80,000 miles. 80,000.

I read somewhere, some time ago, that the average person has 50,000 to 80,000 thoughts a day.  Reading this sentence was like swallowing a handful of methamphetamines – my mind was galloping.  How did my mind jump from 80,000 miles on the odometer to 80,000 thoughts per day and some article I read x years ago?  Who’s job was it to count these thoughts?  How did they actually count the thoughts? How many humans’ thoughts did they count to get to this average, and over what period to time to make this statistically significant? And then, a hard turn to Me.  Am I average, below or above average, and if so, why? Do those of us who are carry more doubt have 25% more thoughts than those that are more stable?  This last one set off a burst of fireworks.

I’m exhausted chasing this thread.  Repeat: Mantra. Mantra. Mantra. Let it Go. Let it Go. Let it Go.  Or as Val in Finding Your Middle Ground suggests,  “I inhale peace. I exhale release… I inhale peace. I exhale release… I inhale peace. I exhale release.” I grow impatient with this mantra, my breathing accelerates, I cut it down.

Release. Release. Release.

I pause a second or two between each “Release” and reach for the volume button on the radio. No doubt I average over 100,000 thoughts a day. No doubt. And a small percentage of them can even be nurturing.

And It comes back.

A single thought. A thought that recurs, and recurs, crawling over the millions and millions of old thoughts, to stand on top of all thoughts. One experience, one feeling, during a single hour of Life, one thought that flashes back like tinsel. [Read more…]

Zoned Out

There are the lucky few who zone out their windows and stare at brinks. The faraway intrigue of a forest— how it conspires— or the streaked lines of an ocean fringed by its horizon, or a city with more sky than scrapers, or even the informality of a backyard at dawn. But there are those— my friend and I— who can zone out, quite easily, to whatever’s right in front of us, no matter how unspectacular. A poorly painted wall. Its cracks. The ceiling fan’s chop. A woman on the C train pulling her ponytail through its tie, not once or twice, but six times. Six complete loops; her fingers closing into a claw each time. It’d been months since I’d been to a museum, but watching this woman mechanically tie her hair was softly enormous.

~ Durga Chew-Bose, from “Heart Museum” in Too Much and Not the Mood: Essays


Image: deryhana

Driving Merritt Parkway North. With Whale.

Friday evening, late rush hour. Traffic is crawling up the Merritt Parkway, my alternate route for I-95 North. Waze is navigating.

Sirius 70’s on 7 cues up Steve Winwood with Back in High Life Again. Damn tune is more than 30 years old! “From fifty to eighty”, Grace Paley said. “Seconds, not minutes.”

The intermittent stop and go, inches us forward. The pace, is ok. It’s been a long week, a long day, and we’re in full surrender mode. Weekend come, come, come, pick up the pieces. Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall, Humpty Dumpty had a…

It, the day, started at 5:30 am.  Office dark, floor quiet, and I’ve lost myself in a deliverable with a short fuse. A losing of yourself in yourself. The clock is ceaseless, unrelenting, in its march forward: 6:00. 6:30. 7:00. 7:30. 7:45, and all without notice to the occupant in the office.

I save my work. Hit print. Close my eyes for a second. The internal gearing of the laser printer warms, the file contents zip across the cables and Bam! – each of the four pages are spit onto the floor.  I peek at my watch, 8:00 am. Two and a half hours. Wow.

I lift my head from the silvery screen, making a quick break from my opioid, and stand. Too fast. 

The lights dim, the eyes blur, nausea fills the belly. I reach for the arm rest on the chair. Steady Dave, steady. [Read more…]

It’s been a long day


Notes:

 

It’s been a long day

I am not a person to say the words out loud

I think them strongly, or let them hunger from the page:

know it from there, from my silence, from somewhere other

than my tongue

the quiet love

the silent rage

—  Keri Hulme, from “Against the Small Evil Voices,” in Strands.


Notes:

 

It’s been a long day

Maybe it would be better
to let out a gentle sigh
at the transience of the world
and carry on.

~ Kyo Maclear, Birds Art Life: A Year of Observation 


Notes:

It’s been a long day

wings-fly-bird-arms

Such longing.
How large
the muscles in our shoulders must be
to lift our wings even a single time.

~ David Romtvedt, closing lines to “Dilemmas of the Angels: Flight,” Dilemmas of the Angels: Poems

 


Notes:

It’s been a long day

dark-portrait-long-day-jpg

I have had days
stare back at me as if to say,
let’s see who will darken first.

William Olsen, from “The Day After the Day of the Dead” in The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry

 


Notes:

It’s been a long day

michele-kirsch2

What is definitely true is that I am never short of work, and I’m not even a “great” cleaner, or a treasure. I’m a good cleaner. I do skirting boards, light switches, polish the smudges and grease off kettles and toasters. I do the stuff other people don’t have the time or inclination to do. I’ll take all your boyfriend’s work shirts back to my flat to iron if your electricity is on the blink. I will go the extra mile, because the work is honest, very physical, and at the end of the day, I sleep the deep sleep of the justly tired.

~ Michele Kirsch: My life as a cleaner in London

 


Notes:

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