Death, Weather, Heaven; Parsnips, Psychopaths

November 20, 2012 § 1 Comment

I read in the Sunday Times abut the new survivalists, reacting to climate change by hoarding food and water, batteries, seed, gardening and medical supplies, guns. That doesn’t work so well in the city. No place for the Jeep, the ax, the semi-automatic, the solar-powered washing machine or the 2000 cans of tuna, beans, condensed milk and pumpkin. I looked into a battery-powered generator—the kind you carry in your car trunk—but you can’t use them indoors. I do have a case of Perrier and a big bag of cat food in the other room.

Anyway, that’s only for the next hurricane. Long-term, I’ll probably bypass the craziness. (I’m hoping it is long-term or at least medium-term.) “Don’t waste the food on me, young’uns. I’ve climbed trees and mountains; skinny-dipped and water-skiied; published books; visited Paris, the Great Barrier Reef and the Greek isles. I saw the young Barishnykov and heard more great jazz musicians than I can name. I remember the Beatles, the moon landing, LSD, Watergate, my wedding, the Berlin wall coming down, Oval Office blowjobs, 9/11, a black president, menopause, gay marriage, Romney clobbered. I’ve been in love disastrously and woken up hungover in strangers’ beds. I bore no children but have 6 grandchildren. I’ve forgiven grave offenses and been forgiven in turn. I’ve taken a lot of naps.

“So now I’ll just sit here in my rocking chair, reading my favorite poets in the old editions. And afterward, I’ll host the insects and carrion birds, lose a tibia to a wild dog (once someone’s beloved pet), and what’s left of me will continue to occupy the rocker as the soft wood-pulp pages fall apart, and words decay between my bones.”

Wow, that sure is fancy writing. You kinda want to stick a giant dildo and a clown nose into that picture.

***

My friend Karen grumbled on Facebook about why couldn’t Marco Rubio, as a man of faith, feel safe standing firm about the age of the earth? I responded, “Who wants a god that old…” going on to imagine such a thing, God senescent, Heaven left rudderless, until I scared myself and I don’t even believe. It’s just that death is that place where all the poets have left their marks, and my friends and family are there, and I will be too, so how can I resist imagining it a thousand ways?

It’s a mirror, but not a clean or safe one. It’s tinted and scratched, dull and heavy, hung with moth-eaten feather boas and jet bead necklaces possibly coated in cobra venom.

There I go, decorating again. I really can’t help it. It’s the subject of death that does it (besides my affinity for the mandarin in literary style). Death has always had a carnival appeal, while remaining less scary than life. Life can be lost and death can’t. Death abides. This only makes sense to writers. Or maybe just to me.

Back to climate: the weather is charming right now, mild and sunny with a clothy texture, like the skin of an apricot. All those leaf bits getting into the air, all those fallen and axed branches. Sandy still lingers. (My dead brother once liked a girl named Sandy. She had sandy-colored hair and wore saddle shoes. She was 13.) Sandy is a warning, if you assume any force in the universe cares. Even in acute disrepair, the earth will be more beautiful than our eyes can take in. Nothing changes that.

Meanwhile, the pork roast in the oven—marinated in chenin blanc, almond oil and thyme—smells delicious: the onions and parsnips nestled around it are getting soft and pig-juicy. I recently read about a tick that can make you deathly allergic to pork and beef…enough. I’m going to have dinner, sharing with the cats, and then read my new books about climate, food, forests, persuasion, Patagonia, psychopaths.

1990 Special

year-worn
weary to the bone,
dancing in the dark with the
dark,
the Suicide Kid gone
gray.

ah, the swift summers
over and gone
forever!

is that death
stalking me
now?

no, it’s only my cat,
this
time.

Charles Bukowski

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