sometimes i try to equate the movie i watched (in this case, a river runs through it) with the reality facing me the following morning. i don’t do it for any reason except to see if there might be a link, some thread that might help define what i believe is poetry in the big math. as i always found myself identifying with the relationship of brothers growing up in the film, as well as the Neal Burns character (the drunk guy who passes out in the sun) – though the difference of time and place – turn of the century montana as opposed to 1950’s brooklyn – how metaphorically fly-fishing might connect with anything connected to my culture or circumstance; the universality of death, loss and life going onto more death, loss and life,…gee, i’m pretty sure i don’t know where this has gotten me to, except to say that there is poetry, so much poetry, but it didn’t weave all that well when i awoke this morning.
months ago i began to wrestle with what once was brooklyn union gas. they became keyspan and quickly after morphed into national grid. months after becoming national grid i began to get…..insane fuel charges. i wrote about this here probably five or six months ago for the first time and believe it or not, this still hasn’t been resolved. my upstairs friend, angie, just got a bill for three thousand dollars. her first bill (last month) was for 450 dollars. my five-thousand dollar bill has been fluctuating, though i’ve been paying other insane over-inflated bills (the current ones) just to keep my dispute “legal”, wherein, if i don’t pay the current bills, i would be defaulting on my “dispute.”
enter the public service commission.
that’s where it is, now.
i know this doesn’t account to a hill of beans out there in the land-of-the-intergalactic-multi-purpose-information highway, but it’s some place where i can let this go and then close my eyes for a few minutes and breathe out the tension it causes.
like illness, anger or tragedy, people have to find outlets to dispel these poisons.
by now, as i write and think about things, the music i hear has gone from jazz to bach. my reliance to sound and film for connection to the cosmos is well-documented here. movies are my schoolyard and teachers, a place where i may have learned my morals or lack thereof.
it was one of the few places where i remember being able to pay attention.
tonight i hope to watch a frank capra film, “mister smith goes to washington,” and later in the night, the original, “manchurian candidate,” with the score by my friend, david amram.
who’d have thought that i would have the chance to say something like that?
i’ve pal-ed around with a lot of “swells” in my time, but rarely an institution. mister amram is an institution.
which, i guess, might bring back to that fabric, that celestial-quilt that binds us, much more than any faith or belief could possibly do. i have and have-had run-ins with a remarkable array of humanity, probably because of my inability to keep still.
don’t get me wrong. i envy those who have found that place – that warmth and safety; that peace where these things don’t matter and the truth is they really don’t. they’re just people, but it’s the extraordinary people (anonymous or not) who put value to my existence, for what that’s worth.
maybe having moved eight times in the first fourteen years of my life might have something to do with the skittishness that rules my behavior. who knows?
having to make the best of a restless situation might be my lot, but please bear in mind,
i don’t affix anything negative to this. my creative and literary attention-deficit-disorder is what got me here and maybe broadway in bushwick might not be your idea of nirvana, but if i were to qualify it with “and that’s ok by me,” then that’s all that should matter and it seems to hold me steady for the most part.
this, like everything else in life, can change in the bat of an eye.
i am the sum result of my addictions and afflictions, shooting craps on the floor of the finished basement located on the eighth electro-plasma-ocean of the ninth dimension.
and maybe this is me once again simply whistling past the graveyard.
before her passing, my mother related a memory that seemed to have plagued her.
she sitting back in a recliner, staring blankly at an episode of “wherever CSI”.
i was sort-of baby-sitting her. i think this was a process she and maybe old folks in general establish in the final years of life, consciously or not. maybe they call it “exorcism of emotional trauma.”
“was i a good mother?” she opened….”i had to bring you to their house and leave you until i could get things together. you know, i had to find an apartment and get a job. you stayed there for a month or so….,” she turned from the television to me. she seemed to have rooted herself in 1957, i think. i may have been four. i listened. whenever it was, she was recalling how she had to mobilize and get out of the hellish relationship she was in with her first husband and the mother-in-law that came with it. she was recalling how she had to ask her godmother to take me for a while as she had to construct a new life. godparents, for the uninitiated, are the people who are supposed to raise you in case your folks get killed or something. it’s the church’s backup plan to make sure you’re raised in the corporation. i think a lot of faiths have this in their small-print. i am my neice Emily’s godfather. her birthday is the same as my mother’s, february 18th. she just turned ten. dolores would have been eighty this year. i’m glad she’s not around anymore, for her sake.
in a tired voice she went on with this story, which had appeared virtually from nowhere… “when i brought you to their house, i introduced you to them and told you that you were going to be staying there a while. you ran into the living room and hid under the couch. i felt so bad and guilty, but there was nothing i could do…,” the words came out of matter-of-factly, as if she were confessing to an old crime where the power of the moments were as old and tired as she. trying to dust the cobwebs off the guilt she felt, that being her computer’s “default” setting, i suggested there was no reason to feel bad about anything.
she turned back to the CSI screen.
there was a pause. “i hadn’t thought of that probably since it happened,” i said.
i stared at the TV screen.
i remembered that house. it was up north aways. i’m not sure if one or both of these people represented the godfather or godmother.
i remember them being sturdy-looking people with the woman roundfaced and cheery and the man, thick and moustachio-ed. they looked like they belonged in a rockwell painting. i remember a clean house of polished, dark-wood furniture and a backyard.
i remember kindness and good food.
i’m not sure how much trauma i’m supposed to affix to this or everything else from that time, or my ability to interact or develop and keep relationships.
i related these memories to dolores, unsure if i was making it up or not. she told me that my memory was correct, that they lived in rye, new york. she turned back to me slowly.
“was i good mother?” she asked again. it was a tired old woman’s attempt at being plaintive.
“dolorous” is a synonym for “plaintive.” ain’t that something?
her life truly was a play on words.
“you did the best you could, mom” i said, “you didn’t raise any killers, bankrobbers or criminals. we grew up with a sense of right and wrong,” i went on, “so yes, you did a good job. you were a good mother.”
“i didn’t know what i was doing,” she wheezed.
“it’s ok. none of us do.”
silently, we watched the conclusion of, “eighth-electro plasma-ocean of the ninth dimension-CSI.”
i don’t know.
cameo appearances tend to be light and entertaining.