Friday, November 23, 2007

The Anxiety of Deadlines

In the house, Carol and I have set things up so that we don't get in each other's way. She has what I call her "suite" upstairs, and with the white noise machine on she can block out almost everything. Everything except what I call the Real White Noise Machine:
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When Rainer speaks, he will always be heard. And, blind and startled frequently, he is heard a lot.

My office is downstairs. I initially had the idea, after a year of substantially cluttering up one small room in our other house, of having nothing but a desk and a chair. With, of course, the madness of my bulletin board and the yellow moons of post-it notes that surround. The small Basquiat calendar remains on October. It regularly falls to the floor, but the prevailing month lets me know it's been at least three weeks since this has happened. I started with the desk and chair. The 1950s couch, given to me by my good friend Don moved in:
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then the bookshelf. The bookshelf is small, three shelves only. The idea behind this is to recycle books: read them, then sell them back to Henderson's (current credit on my account is somewhere near $120, something that makes me feel safe the way my parents never did), then buy books only as I have time to read them. I refuse to get another shelf. This is a system that Should work.

There's only one pile of books on the floor. Granted it reaches the full three or so feet in heigth that the shelf does, it is only one stack. The other stack on TOP of the bookshelf is probably only two feet high. And we won't go into the conversion the room's closet took on. One day there's wood on my floor, the next day there are shelves in the closet and the books have again multiplied. Then there's the chair I bought at the Catholic yard sale. I felt good about talking them down. Thirty dollars was way too much for a chair that who knows who has sat in. Regardless, the other dog likes to sit in it and watch me read on the couch.
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All of this was the setup for what? Today as I read Allen Ginsberg's _Planet News_ a bird flew into the window. From this I got a new title. I keep a list for things that don't readily title themselves. I looked up just in time to see the bird. It flew away, shaken. I was reminded of the week Natalie repeatedly saw birds flying into windows, I wrote down the title, I returned to my book. Three or so stanzas down in the poem I was on (Waking in New York) I read this: "Oh New York, oh Now our bird / flying past glass window Chirp", which reminded me of the post on death I'd been meaning to write.

Last week an experienced kayaking doctor got blown off course in the bay and was found facedown in the water three hours later. He was 40. I have little orange bottles in my bathroom with his name on them.

Five years ago tomorrow my grandmother died. She was my favorite person in the world. Once she realized I had no relationship with my mother she took over in the ways that she could. She wasn't the baking cookies kind of grandmother, she didn't coddle, but she loved me.

A friend of a friend (a girl in her 20s) died last week, a blood vessel rupturing in her head.

All of this reminds me I could die anytime.

I have things to do. I've never been happier. I've found the girl of my dreams. Somehow happiness has brought terror though. I'd never given a thought about mortality until I found I had everything to live for.
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1 comment:

Carol Guess said...

The book on Patricia Highsmith can't have helped. I want to read her as obsessed with twinness, with intimacy-gone-awry, but from the bio it seems she was obsessed with violence. Determined to feel misunderstood.

Right now I'm watching quite the choreographed cat-and-bird show: our neighbor's three-legged cat is perched on the fence, gazing with admiration and obvious hunger at a tiny bird in a naked tree.

The bird is safe, or seems so. The cat is wondering where its people are. And as usual I'm wondering what they do in their attic room, of which I get just a glimmer of light, and what looks like stacks of records -- possibly musical scores? -- in rows and rows.