13 April 2014

On the Unaccountable Sadness of Orchestral Maneuvers in the Morning (Sunday Meditation #39)

I find sometimes that a familiar song played solely on violins and such often leaves me with a desire to weep. A curious phenomenon that is not conducive to the conduct of business in the public sphere. While not given to frequent weeping, I am not a man that is afraid to let it vent if circumstances dictate.

Still, it is troublesome. Not the sort of thing that should occur on an otherwise ordinary Thursday morning. Sweeping the floor, tending the shop: the retail equivalent of the Buddhist practice to chop wood, carry water. Music played and the tune was familiar, although I could not recall its name. An instrumental version heavy on violins and cellos. I paused while leaning on the broom. A lump formed in my throat. There called a low voice in my head, asking why this must be so.

I had no answer to this homesickness. Perhaps it is the vestige of the little boy in me, or the mercurial passions of the Irish poet I hope lives on my heart. Maybe there is no difference between the two. All I know is that in chords I cannot name I felt a pull between those things I left behind and those things towards which I travel.

The song ended. I swept the floor, greeted the customers. The lump I swallowed along with the tears that never reached my eyes. There was new music in my head, it was good, I kept moving towards the light.

06 April 2014

On Not Being Able to Tie a Bowtie (Sunday Meditation #38)

Field notes, April 4th, 2014 at around 6:30 PM. Department store blues.

It was a jacket for which I was searching, not a blow to the heart. Then again, it was a department store and they are supposed to have everything you need along with a lot for which you have no use. Who knew that a bowtie could hurt so much, cut so deep.

The table was strewn with brightly colored swatches of fabric that glowed like jewels and cut like diamonds. Bowties! I have little to do with regular neckties, much less with old fashioned (yet cool) neckwear that requires a different approach to tie right and wear well.

That I do not know how to properly tie a bowtie was much less upsetting than the realization that followed: the chances that I will teach my legacy how to tie a bowtie are slim to none. It is true that I have a daughter, and it is not outside the realm of possibilities that someday she will want or need to know how to tie such a thing. Yes, my head gets it.

But. There are always conditions to most things in life. The condition in this case of an accidental encounter with bowties is that I will not teach my son how to tie them. It is a ritual I most likely will not experience, this handing down of traditionally masculine knowledge and experience. 

It is not their fault, those bright scraps adorning the table, that as my eye was caught so was my heart, knowing that I don't know how to tie a bowtie. And I had not much incentive to learn since the death of my son so long ago.

Truly it has been over ten years since he slipped away from us, which may not be long in the scheme of things. Yet time and ties have ways to bind, even in an innocuous aisle of an ordinary store, when we realize what we miss.

31 March 2014

Magpie Tale 213: His Other Life


Image via Magpie Tales

Shaking hand opened the drawer
Wormy chestnut, waxy blackened 
angsty scrawls of sun-faded youth 
Burden of years constricts the heart
that sees the tarot of inks it never wore 
Never will, not in this life, nevermore,
Change has come, blood spilled
in a different river from passion's run

24 March 2014

Magpie Tales 212: Unmade


My Bed by Tracey Emin, via Magpie Tales

She was told by earnest hearts
the simple solution was to get up
Shower, primp and perform
Monkeys at the circus, no doubt

She tried, decades of self-combat,
to make the sober faces happy
But what to them seemed prison
To her was sanctity of the womb