The Wah Watusi
Nevermind that he committed suicide the next morning, Ernest Hemingway’s famous last words to his wife were romantic.
“Good night my kitten.”
By comparison, my husband Larry’s last words to me, “Come inside already. That garden of yours is gonna be the death of you,” sound lackluster if not controlling; and about as romantic as “Pass the salt.”
If Larry said those words once, he said them 999 times, repeated every time I was out there on me time, compulsively, belligerently, thrusting open the kitchen window on high octane, even when his sciatica was acting up, hollering each syllable with the same emphasis in exact order, like a mantra, unable to think creatively whatsoever, never contemplating reversing the two simple silly sentences, let alone inserting an alternate adverb, and why couldn’t he mix things up and call out to me from the back door, instead of the kitchen window above the sink each and every time? Couldn’t he for once avoid messing with the delicate hang of my pressed curtain tiers?
I’d just ignore him, sort of, because although I didn’t run in like possum on a vole back to the house, I could feel my shoveling arm auto shift into high gear, slicing earth like a deli meat until I plum tuckered out calling it quits. As I’d enter the back door all sweaty and ravenous; sorely in need of a beverage, a meal and a body rinse, he’d be sitting at the table twiddling and in-betweening waiting on me to fix his supper instead of putting up a pot for me, (mostly ’cause he was nearly blind as a bat towards the end), so naturally I’d get to fixing right away but not before I’d say,
“Larry you’ve gone and done it again! Look at my curtains!”
But the last time he called out from the window was different. By the time I got into the kitchen, I did not inherit the opportunity to demonstrate a retaliatory curtain kerfuffle. Larry’s head was face down on the kitchen table like a big pile of silly putty on a newspaper, deceased from a massive aneurysm.
The sad truth is, ironically; and I hate to admit this, Larry’s last words were 100 percent accurate. The garden was the death of me. I was found by my conscientious mailman too late; as I succumbed to heat stroke on a sunny unseasonable 95 degree day in early June. His postal eagle eye caught a glimpse of me while he stepped up onto the porch to deliver my chamomile tea. He noticed me in the side yard slumped over a cluster of azaleas and dialed 911; even attempted to pull me into the shade while my clippers were still married to my fingers, not knowing if it was too late, poor thing, since with the back of his hand he felt the high heat coming off my tomato face, expecting death to be cold, not realizing I was no different than a shrimp on the bar-be.
But that was then, and as I retell all that memory lane nonsense, Larry is right here beside me chucking a chuckle that brings out his sweet dimples, those same dimples that had been lost with age, swallowed up by the sundry cavernous lines that come with fretting over time. Not sure if I’m supposed to let the cat out of the bag, but on this side, when you get to the gate, there is a form to fill out. Old school, no wifi. You get a pencil and a manilla envelope with your name on the outside (obviously no need for an address), with your D.O.B. and D.O.D. under your name and inside the envelope is a questionnaire to be filled out with three absolute questions.
1. What age do you want to be for all eternity?
2. If you could do one thing with your time in eternity, what would that be?
3. If you could pick one person to share eternity with, who would that be?
Taking me somewhat by surprise, I wondered if Larry was right on the other side of that gate and if he was, what were his three answers? After laying him to rest, I admit I had not thought of him much while I toiled my days away betwixt the rutabaga and the beets. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my husband dearly and I was lonely without him, but a newly unbridled horse is gonna run.
Pencil in hand, slightly bewildered by my clarity, my mind automatically turned to our wedding day all those years ago, almost as if someone popped in an old VHS tape of our special day implanting it into my mind. There we were dancing The Wah Watusi in front of all our loved ones, like two 30 something year old kids, not caring who was in front of us, not wondering if we looked like fools; during the whole evening affair I maintained my focus on his luscious dimples, the comfortable sound of his laugh and our dancing feet; a sound I had forgotten about; the sound of young love.
Without knowing if my answers were to be accepted or denied, done, done, and done:
And the gate opened, and there you were, weren’t you Larry, looking as dashing as you did on the day we said “I do.”
So you see? Death ain’t so bad after all. Never did think too much about it when I was alive. Larry on the other hand admittedly did. But I don’t hold it against him. I’m too busy dancing without a care and staring into those dimples that somehow had gotten lost between the root vegetables; somewhere out there, on the other side.
for something spectacular to sprout in our lives.
that our dreams will come true as we sit dreaming of them.
every day...but yet we still sit around like our life is endless...when really it’s a ticking time bomb...and before we know it...it explodes with all of our hopes and dreams that we never got to experience because we were just
and pretending we weren’t dying.
But death is real. And ignoring it is stupid. And making yourself feel better by saying “oh, don’t worry there is another life beyond this” is ignorant.
This is your life now. You do not know what comes after...or in the future...so stop sitting around waiting for it to come...and live this life now, seize it with both of your hungry palms before it slips out of your hands.
Our lives are now,
so let’s stop
(because this is all we truly own).
The time has come
for me to visit you again.
I've brought you all the things
you used to like so much,
along with other stuff I'm told
the dead can't do without.
I wonder – can you hear me?
Are you really there?
Is this for the indifferent dead,
or is it for the living?
All I have are memories,
and memories of your memories.
That is all that's left of you,
and what I fear will become of me
the day I turn to dust.
Time lost all vestiges of me
as the fog crept into the land,
icicles of my heart formed
as phantom voices crooned,
the absence of reason,
negligees of evening
uncoiled in lashed warnings,
naked eyes seeing, yet unseen,
masked ghosts along mossy earth,
smoke tendrils disguising the sun,
vines of spiraled thoughts,
broken heart of wanderlust moon,
negative forces swathing my world.
Come to me and touch me I implore
but I can’t see them in smothered soup,
echo chambers silenced by apparitions of
smoke and vapors – shadowed reminders
of muted shores and unknown spirits
Oh swallow me! Oh swallow me!
I can no longer fight that which
He suffered long with lunacy,
to which he lost an ear,
then sought some help at Saint-Rémy
in spring the foll'wing year.
Now, little did poor Vincent know,
the coverture had split
and he beheld the spirits' glow-
he wasn't having fits.
Vibrations whorled and energies'
exquisite colors shone
with such beatific majesty,
he couldn't let them go.
He painted visions frantic'ly,
from starry night to loch-
the roiling, silent, canvas pleas
of tortured soul, Van Gogh.
Death of a Caterpillar
What happens when a caterpillar dies?
Socrates asked his pupils on the summit of the acropolis
Is it gone? Is it dead?
He said as he watched their glimmering eyes.
What comes of that incremental soul?
The one a caterpillar sheds.
Is a sluggish life
All that caterpillar has to give?
Or is its living a constant fight
A symbol for our strife?
It is the never ending lie
That death is holding all our souls.
For what a caterpillar calls the end
The rest of the world calls a butterfly.
“What a caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls a butterfly.”- Lao Tzu
Do you hear them? That faint laughter, like the burble of water over rocks. That beckoning whisper, like the rustle of leaves as the slightest wind stirs them into an improvised dance. That conspiratorial murmur, like the coo of a mother bird.
Take a step - careful - watch where you put your weight. You’ll scare them away if you breathe too loudly. They are scared of you, you see. You aren’t like them and they aren’t like you. Here - try inhaling through your nose, exhaling through your mouth, expanding your chest with each breath like you are allowing the world a brief moment of respite in the warmth of your ribcage. Breathe as if you were standing in the roiling stomach of a blue whale, as if the slightest dissonance in your lungs is enough to dash you away in a whirlpool of half-eaten fishes and ocean salt.
Now, listen. Listen as if you are not you, but one with that bubble of laughter, that whispered sigh, that lilted murmur.
Now, look. Look as if your eyes were made of glass and your eyelids gauze and your eyelashes ferns. Search for the glyphs in the dapplings of sunlight. Seek out the murals of tattooed history inked into the worn skin of the oak trees. Gaze into the shallow puddle of dew at your feet, and do not look away, even when a ripple paddles through its glassy surface, even as the woods remain still around you.
Now inhale and exhale. Allow the musk of the forest to fall away. Allow the delicate, probing hairs inside your nose to pursue that wisp of perfume beneath the cloying veil of woods. Do you smell that? The rich mushroom stew. The airy buttery croissant. The tang of salt and iron and fire in a pheasant’s leg.
Now, stop listening and looking and sniffing. Just wait. Keep your ears and eyes and nose open, flex your fingers to remind yourself that you haven’t fallen away into the ether between worlds, and wait.
And if you are lucky, if you are patient, if you are willing to believe the senses that lie beyond your five physical biases, perhaps they will allow you a glimpse of them and theirs.
what is left behind
stole my light
snuffed it right out
the night she left us
the moon was full
while the world
like the loss of her
hadn’t quite sunken
Yet my low glow told me true,
she still hovers and holds us close.
Her ghost and the lights that follow when she goes.
Constellations never looked so familiar ♥️
Cobwebs Swept from Slumber
Musty attics, joist and beams
Cedar chests of midnight screams
Paralyzing, sleepless dreams
Stitched to sheets with iron seams
Vacant eyes peer paper-thin
Feathered bristles goosebump skin Footsteps float on hollow winds
As chalk-white walls seep scarlet sins
Whispers breathe in notes and verse
Stalks of incense swallow mirth
Iv’ry keys, off pitch, rehearse
Wool of steel picks wounds Eve’ births
Morning wakes, your mind discerns
The dust and ash of earth and urn
Eyes ablaze, love’s spirit burns
Death’s image as your soul returns