I got lots of receptacles for Christmas: water glasses, wine glasses and mugs. The mugs were from my mother’s house—she’s accumulated too many, I’ve broken too many—and it’s very nice to have these familiar objects, all holding bits of her history or soul. Many were gifts from the causes she supports: “Saving American’s Mustangs,” “Fund for Animals, “Their Courage Endures—American Veterans for the disabled.” In turn I gave her jewelry I made and a bound book of this years blog entries (her request). She said, “Only the good ones.” It’s nice to know someone so well that you can pretty much tell what that means.
I also got honey, chocolate and pears, Cava, truffle-scented polenta, scones, jam and lemon cake. The Paleolithic diet will have to wait. This is the week of hearing from old friends, expected and unexpected, of get-togethers before and after New Year’s. I love/hate this time of year.
I’m not sure what we’ll be doing Monday night, except that it won’t cost any money. Most likely what we did on Christmas: cook, drink something bubbly, listen to itunes, and take video of Fitzroy rolling in catnip. I’ve never liked New Year’s Eve. I think I’ve had maybe 3 good ones in my life, none recent.
Most of the time I don’t miss fancy restaurant meals, and I’ve replaced theater and music with poetry readings. While I feel less the indulged, sexy sophisticate, that’s made up for by the deep resonance of home cooking: childhood, my mother’s house, my early married days. This may not be the apartment or city to best experience this, but it’s what I’ve got, and in between my late-night financial panic, and frequent homicidal fury (recently upgraded from suicidal fury), I’m grateful that I have a home and at least some work; that Charles loves poetry readings and my cooking; that Mouchette now sleeps on top of me like a velvet-covered 10 pound weight, whenever she gets the chance; that most people forgive me my character flaws.
And always, night and day, the sound of Charles’ guitar from the other room. Sometimes it brings me pleasure, sometimes distress that he’s not working, sometimes envy that he’s working creatively, mostly the steadying reminder that I’m responsible for his happiness.
I’ve never been happy for any length of time, and not for lack of trying. Right now, it’s beyond my reach. I don’t care any more: I’d settle for being functional, non-depressed. Ah, the good old days of being only “normally” depressed! But if he can be happy because of me, that’s something.
Not enough, but something.
Fragments for the End of the Year
On average, odd years have been the best for me.
I’m at a point where everyone I meet looks like a version
of someone I already know.
Without fail, fall makes me nostalgic for things I’ve never experienced.
The sky is molting. I don’t know
if this is global warming or if the atmosphere is reconfiguring
itself to accommodate all the new bright suffering.
I am struck by an overwhelming need to go to Iceland.
Despite all awful variables, we are still full of ideas
as possible as unsexed fruit.
I was terribly sorry to be the one to explain to the first graders
the connection between the sunset and pollution.
On Venus you and I are not even a year old.
Then there were two skies.
The one we fly through and the one
we bury ourselves in.
I appreciate my wide beveled spatula which fulfills
the moment I realized I would grow up and own such things.
I am glad I do not yet want sexy bathroom accessories.
In the story we were together every time.
On his wedding day, the stone in his chest
not fully melted but enough.
Sometimes I feel like there are birds flying out of me.
Jennifer K. Sweeney