Our Song

An excerpt from the new book I’m working on:

You are dying. We are driving home from a car dealership in a nearby town, when suddenly- your leg starts to thump, that’s how I know. It’s my signal, my auditory cue. The thumping starts slowly and softly at first, like a slow clap. Your body begins to rock, slightly. Streetlights click on around us and the orange of the sunset dims to pink. We are in the dark.

“You need to get me home,” you say.

“I know, I know,” I answer and press down on the gas pedal.

But my acceleration and half-hearted assurances cannot stop the madness in your veins. The streetlights are streaks now as I speed down Route Six and into Scranton.

“Please, please, get me home, I need to go home.”

“I’m trying, Babe, I’m trying,” I say.

I reach out for you and you pull. You cling to me like I am air. It becomes hard to drive, and I think about pulling over against the blackness of the woods lining the shoulder, but time is of the essence and I know I need to go on. We need to move forward.

“I’m dying, I’m dying, please help me.” Four years earlier, this phrase would have alarmed me, sent me into a panic as well, but I’m becoming familiar with your death, and I react like a woman who has left something in the oven too long.

“You’re not dying honey, you’re not. It will be okay, I’m getting you home. Close your eyes, take a breath.”

Amazingly, you attempt this.

“I can’t,” you snap, “I think I’m having a heart attack.”

It’s either the heart or the head, always, a heart attack or a brain tumor, I prepare for both.

heartbeat[1]_3“Here, let me check.” I slide my right hand across the fabric of your shirt. My touch is magical, it calms you. The thumping slows, the pumping of your blood under my palm is the only sound in the world right now.

“One, two, three,” I count aloud as the car wisps around darkening corners.

This is our song, the thumping, the push of blood against arterial walls, the rush of your breath, the hush of my voice. This is the rhythm of us, the melody between us.

There was a time when I thought our song was Heaven, by Bryan Adams. We made out to it in the back seat of your friend’s car about a week after we started dating. You pushed your tongue hard into my mouth and cupped my face with your large hands. It was early spring, and the windows fogged easily. A boy had never kissed me like that before, with such desperation. But the song disintegrated quickly, and we forgot the heat of that night. Now, our song is medicinal, born out of fear and need, much like the story of us.

“Seventy-four,” I land on a final number as the headlights swipe across the front of our apartment building. We are home and your heart rate is normal.

Later that night, we curl into bed together, a rarity in our lives. But your panic has been especially bad in the weeks and months following the terror attacks, and you’ve needed me, even at night. For a long time after the towers fell, we watched together as the news channels played an endless loop of horror: planes into towers, towers disintegrating into dust, people running from dust, a plume of smoke and dust rising from the belly of Manhattan. That’s what I remember the most: the dust. But these images bother you. The worst part is the falling, you tell me one night while we are wrapped together in bed. My hand still covering the space where I believe your heart to be. Those people jumping, that is the worst. Your heart quickens and the room darkens around us. Now, we watch old game shows to calm your panic. Your heart is slow and steady like the dripping of a faucet, and I lay pressed against you like a dam.

“I’m so sorry,” you whisper one night and pull my arms around you.

“For what?”

“For being so fucked up.”

“You’re not fucked up,” I whisper, “you’re perfect.”

Did I really say that? If I didn’t, I’m sorry, I should have. The jumping bothered everyone. I should have said that too.

Moving

So this is it. This will most likely be the last night I spend in my home, the home in which I have felt protected and loved for the last eight years. Eight wonderful years. When I had no idea where I belonged or who I was, this home pulled me in tight and named me. When I felt rootless and unsure of the future, she nurtured me. I became a mother in this space. I became a wife in this space.  

This home has been the origin of three generations of my family, and now she will give someone else a new start. She has seen births, deaths, marriage, divorce, pain, suffering, kindness, and the deepest of love. We have loved her, have grown in her embrace, and will never forget our time here as a new family.  

Goodbye old girl, you will be missed.

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A New House! A New Book! Woot Woot!

Shortly after Timmy and I started dating, he told me that his dream was to build his own house.  Now, that dream is happening!

We are on a shoestring budget.  We are building it from scratch by ourselves.  The only part of the process we are subbing out is the block (the foundation walls, hubs did the footer himself).  Anyway, the house and the move is going to be completely life-changing and traumatic for me.  I’m one of those that gets attached to place easily.  But, this is what Timmy and I have been working towards for the last five or six years.  We always knew we wanted to live in the country, and now we will.

As a poet, I am bursting.  I want to write about so much of it all at once.  The construction of this house is riddled in metaphor, from “bringing it out of the ground” to talking about hip roofs and roof lines.  He’s building us.  He’s building me.  Anyway, that’s how my brain works, and once I can get my head around some of these images, there will be poetry!!!!

Which, brings me to my next announcement!

My first full-length poetry collection, BANGS, will be out this fall with Big Table Publishing.  I’ll be touring a little bit, lining up some readings for that book, so check back in a while for that info.

In the meantime, here are some pictures of the building process!

The land "before"

The land “before”

The Hole!

The Hole!

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Block!

Block!

Our Life in 16-Bits

 

The Super Nintendo: We met at a pool hall. I was sixteen, you were eighteen. You didn’t have a car or a job and were repeating your senior year of high school. You knew “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening” by heart, and wore a pair of beat up chucks. You carried a notebook full of poetry. I fell in love with you. Kurt Cobain died. You cried. I loved you harder.

The Sony Playstation: You took me camping. It took some convincing for you to leave your room, your house, your city. You still didn’t have a job. We were still young. I worked at Sears. We pitched a tent and rented paddleboats. We paddled out onto an island in the middle of a lake where you told me you were in love with someone else. It’s been a long time and I can’t remember her name. I want to say Tracy, but maybe it’s Stacy, or Annie. She lived in a yellow house on Birney Avenue. I gave serious thought to burning it down. We unpitched our tent and I drove us home in sobs. Later, you told me you wanted me back, that you loved me more than the nameless girl.

The Nintendo 64: You came to see me at Sears with an engagement ring that you charged on my credit card. I wore it. Your mother was happy. Mine was not.

The Sega Dreamcast: I moved three hours away for school. You came and picked me up every weekend. You got a flat tire in a construction zone. You had a panic attack. I thought I would never see you again, but you kept going, you kept coming. You proved your love to me in miles. My parents divorced. You wrapped me in your arms and swallowed my sobs. You proved your love to me in shock absorbency. I moved home. We moved in together.

Sony Playstation 2: You were the manager in a video game store. You came home one night and told me you wanted to see other people. You kissed an employee. She wore bikinis. I was 250 pounds. It was a battle I could not win. We had a bad fight. I chased her down in a parking garage. You smashed the mirror on our new car. You drank gallons of wine each night. I poured one down our white porcelain sink. It looked like blood. You held a knife to my throat and your eyes were lucid with rage. Things were ugly. We lived in a basement. You tried to kill yourself by taking too many pills. I left you. I took you back. We moved upstairs. I could see the sun again. Things got a little better. We got married.