Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I am not even the wind



…for I would rather be a sucker
than believe in lies
because once they were true
because once they were safe
because once I had it all figured out.



he thinks I am a fool
and full well I suppose I am
For loving?
Well worth it.
Or not. What care I?
because it is too late for me to do anything other than love.

(and in my mind’s eye,
I remember everything about that day.)
I would do anything, for you, anything
and no other man has that power, none,
for god speaks to me through you
and only you
and how I know that to be true?
I don’t know.
That is the only thing
that separates me from you:
your knowing yourself to be true.

I know myself to be:
a baby’s breath, sweet and warm, milk of her mother;
a flock of geese, the moon and dusk.
the warm, firm belly of my horse as I lean my head against him,
the coarseness of his hair and the softness of my skin.
I know myself to be a song,
and bells ringing, and phones ringing,
and ticks and tacks and clicks and clacks
and the whirring machinery of the human heart
of the human body of the universal speck of dust
that we believe is modernity
and I know myself to be your eyes,
and the light behind them.
I know myself to be a great roar from a stadium,
a dandelion, a snowflake, a crash, a stabbing wound,
a toothless, hapless smelly man
and the Queen.
And I am available to all of these,
and more,
to know themselves as me:
Here is where you sign your name.


And now my makeup’s smudged, and I’m late for a class,
and Christmas songs, and gifts, and dogs, and mailmen, and
all of the day to day distractions which I love
do beckon for my eyes upon them.

But know this:
in my secret time, within my heart, where
days exist as eons and lifetimes are a smile:
you will forever live.

I am nothing, not even the wind. And yet, I love you so.

Friday, December 2, 2011

...it lingers in the air here...

 
It lingers in the air here

by Erin Elizabeth Muir

It was a bright and cheerful morning, but cool. Very cool in running shorts, I discovered as I exited the building, skipping along the yellow and cream tiled corridor and down the marble steps to the busy street. Henry tugged at my leash more forecefully than usual.

            “Henry!”

            Ah…. there’s Doris and Mitzi further down the street!

            Henry led, but I ran to so that we could catch up to my neighbor lady and her young rescue pup, Mitzi. Henry loves Mitzi. Mitzi ignores Henry.

            “Good morning!” I shouted over the sound of cars and mowers and tree trimmers.

            “Good morning!” she returned. “Aren’t you cold!?”
           
            “Yes. I’m freezing!” We laughed.

            I smiled, looking over the dew on the clovers in the little courtyard where we led our pups, hip hop from a Honda Civic stopped in a line of traffic.
           
            “Did you know,” I began, in the hushed tones of gossip, “I read something on Yahoo today that I had never heard before, that Clark Gable and Loretta Young had a child, and no one ever told about it until the 90s, and that child only recently just died?”

            “Oh, yes!” Doris answered, letting Mitzi’s leash out a bit so she could continue to torture Henry by sometimes giving him a “come hither” look and usually rebuffing him. “I read that obituary in the paper the other day!”

            “I had no clue!” I erupted.

            “Neither did I,” Doris exclaimed, “And that was my generation! I’m 86, you know! And she only saw her father twice in her life, and at first, her mother adopted her out! Well, you know, that’s how it was done in those days.”

            “Yeah,” I said, “These days the rules of any kind of propriety don’t apply. And when it comes to this kind of thing, I’m thankful.”

            “Oh, it just wasn’t done back then. But that Clark Gable…” Doris trailed off….

            …I did too… I was remembering the first time I ever knew who Clark Gable even was. I was 12. My grandmother was living at our house, dying of emphysema. She was breathing through the respirator and every day she and I together watched an old black and white movie. I loved those old movies and wished that I had been born just 50 or 60 years earlier. I made us tomato soup with crackers and cheese, and we started watching the movie. Then came that moment, that first moment when Scarlett (Vivien Leigh) is coming down the steps and Rhett (Clark Gable) rests on his elbow and turns and looks up at her. I was STRUCK…. something my little 12 year old body had barely felt before… if ever…. suddenly, I heard heavy breathing coming from the tiny little body with tubes coming out of it everywhere…. my Grandmother was breathing verrrrrrry heavily. “Grandma,” I said, checking in on her. Her eyes were RAPT. “Grandma, who’s that?” She snapped out of HER reverie, surprised to see me. She smiled. She breathed in one long, heavy rasp: “Clark…” She breathed out, slowly, tasting the name… “Gaaaaaable.” “Ah,” I repeated. “Claaaaark… Gaaaaable.” And a femme fatale was born…..

            Both Doris and I shook our heads out of our respective daydreams and we both looked sharply at our dogs. Mitzi was poking around a tree and Henry was happily chewing on his leash, planning how he and Mitzi would run away and feast on the leftovers that the McDonald’s up the street threw in the dumpsters.

            “Well,” I said, “You know, I think Clark Gable was one of the most…” I put my thumbs up, winked and smiled… that… knowing…. Claaaark Gaaaaable…. kind of smile.

            “Oh yes,” she said, “Even better than George Clooney.”

            “Although,” I said, “George Clooney is pretty darn Clark Gable.”

            We laughed.

            “You know, I used to always want to be born in that era,” I confessed. “I romanticized it. But when I hear about the limitations on our choices… having to adopt out a child, or hush it up, I’m glad I live today, as a woman I’m grateful for my choices.” After all, I live alone, or sometimes with a roommate, I run my own businesses, I date freely whom I choose (well, if they choose back! LOL). I have traveled the world on my own and had an incredible life and it’s not even half over, God-willing.

            “Oh, yes,” Doris said. “When I graduated high school, your only choices were to get married, or go to college to be a nurse, or be a teacher. Well I didn’t go to college, because my parents couldn’t afford that, so I went and became a teacher. These days, my nephew’s son, he is in his third year of college and he has already traveled the world!”

            “I used to really romanticize Jane Austen, and the Bronte sisters, and Lucy Maud Montgomery,” I said. “I used to romanticize those eras.”

            “Well, sure, if you were lucky, it was probably an interesting time to be alive. If you were a girl from a well off family, you had very few responsibilities. Getting married and learning your manners. That sounds like a fairly nice life…” she trailed off, a look of doubt crossing her face.

            “Well, you know, my mother says, ‘Marry for money, and you earn EVERY penny.’ I guess the same was probably true back then.” I said.

            Doris laughed, as we headed back to her building, next door from mine. “Hello, John,” she called out to the handsome janitor. I smiled an waved. He was a total cutie, and he always was sweet to Henry. “And you’re still looking for the rich man, aren’t you?” She pointed a finger, almost accusatorily at me.

            “Oh, no,” I said, watching the look of surprise on her face with a secret smile in my heart. “I’ve dated the rich man, and I’ve dated the poor man, and deep down, it really doesn’t make much difference. I want a nice man.”

            She smiled and nodded, shaking her finger and her head in uniform approval. And with that, she turned and walked Mitzi into her building.

            Henry jumped up and put his little paws on my legs. I looked into his little Henry Fonda eyes. “Let’s race!” I said. And with that, we were off, sprinting the rest of the way back to my little 1950s era Hollywood apartment, full of leftover dreams and wishes from all the people who have come and gone. Those dreams linger in the walls here, in the poof of dust that escapes a closet door as you open it, in the little statue of the Chinese Lady plastered on the wall as you head out toward the pool. Those dreams never strike me as bitter, but hopeful, and sweetly innocent.