There's so much that I still haven't said, so much life that flies by unrecorded, undigested, uncelebrated.
The guys in the jacuzzi at my gym, a former football player who is now 54 who showed me the scars on his shoulders and back from numerous injuries.
"We used to butt heads with our helmets, it was understood that if you ran into someone hard you could break a few ribs, maybe puncture a lung. Nowadays they play sissy ball."
Stringing word-beads with my Little Sister, she asked, "Do you like to kiss boys?" (There's a new boy she likes. She met him on the bus.)
Given my current situation the answer is a resounding YES! Especially one specific boy, but let's be honest, kissing in general is fun, and we can extend that category to girls as well.
But what did I answer? "Yes," I hedged, "But sometimes you know--kissing can lead to other things, so it's important not to get carried away."
"Oh, I'm not into that," she replied quickly.
"Not you, but them," I said. "You know, you start kissing and then sometimes--especially boys your age--they find it hard to stop." That's EXACTLY--practically word for word--what my mother told me--back in the Pleistocene era!! They can't stop themselves, it's the girl's responsibility to put on the brakes. Which, of course I sucked at, and thence follows history.
I couldn't believe I was still regurgitating that old chestnut!! She just looked at me the way teenagers look at you when they've asked a real question and you give them some bullshit answer--devestating. And we went on stringing word-beads. (Thank you, Robbie! for the beads.)
This morning I heard from C that one of the schools where he works was fire-bombed over the weekend. Thank God no one was hurt. It was a crappy school, falling-apart, badly-run--but still--firebombed is a pretty strong statement. He described the smoldering wreckage as he stood there--walls blasted open, desks burned, walls charred and smoking, the electricity all out. It sounded like an unholy mess.
I read to him from Adrienne Rich, twenty-one love poems. Several of them speak to me about where we find ourselves now.
Since we're not young, weeks have to do time
for years of missing each other. Yet only this odd warp
in time tells me we're not young.
Did I ever walk the morning streets at twenty,
my limbs streaming with a purer joy?
did I lean from any window over the city
listening for the future
as I listen here with nerves tuned for your ring?
And you, you move toward me with the same tempo.
Your eyes are everlasting, the green spark
of the blue-eyed grass of early summer,
the green-blue cress washed by the spring.
At twenty, yes, we thought we'd live forever.
At forty-five I want to know even our limits.
I touch you, knowing we weren't borm tomorrow,
and somehow, each of us will help the other live,
and somewhere, each of us must help the other die.
I read this to C first, and he said, "That's beautiful." Then I read him this one:
(unnumbered, the floating poem)
Whatever happens with us, your body
will haunt mine, tender, delicate
your love-making like the half-curled frond
of the fiddle-head fern in forests
just washed by sun. Your traveled, generous thighs
between which my whole face has come and come--
the innocence and wisdom of the place my tongue has found there--
the live, insatiate dance of your nipples in my mouth--
your touch on me, firm, protective, searching
me out, your strong tongue and slender fingers
reaching where I had been waiting years for you
in my rose-wet cave--whatever happens, this is.
"Oh my," he said when I had finished. Eight-thirty on a Monday morning, he's standing among the smoking wreckage of his school, holding his cell phone in his hand. "That's incredible. I think I have to go soak my head now."