Sunday, June 15, 2008

My heart is very full of Carla, Carla, Carla. last night C and I, along with Ruth and my old friend Jeremy and Jeremy's son Aidan went to hear Carla perform at the Jazz School. So many times I found myself blinking with tears. As she finished I Could Drink A Case Of You, Jeremy leaned over and whispered to me, "That song always makes me cry."

That song does not always make me cry. It was the way Carla sang it, and how radiant she looked on stage cracking herself up with corny jokes that brought me to an emotional edge I don't have the words to describe. Today it spilled over when C and I talked in the kitchen.

"I really liked the way she did 'I'll be seeing you (in all the old familiar places,)'" he said.

"She did that song for Maclen, thinking about after she's gone, everywhere he'll look in Berkeley he'll see her and think of her--" and then the real tears started, because I can't hold onto my denial anymore. Even me, who is so good at it, who had 30 years practise with my mom's M.S. I can't stay there, plus Carla won't let me. She's moving so fast now, the physical symptoms are progressing, and so is the light and understanding within her, as if they were in a race to keep pace with each other.

I can't keep up.

Today she told me about the breathing machine she'll start using, about feeling the end of being able to sing in the future, and about needing a wheelchair more and more.

"It's hard for me to hear this," I said, because there was nothing else I could say.

"I know. But I have to tell you; I have to be honest about what's happening."

"I want you to tell me. I feel honored that you tell me. It's just hard for me to hear."

"I know. But it would be worse if it weren't hard, wouldn't it?"

So we sat a minute in the hardness of it. Then a minute later we were laughing about euphemisms for blow jobs. That's Carla.

Quiet weekend. We've been working on the in-law--that is, C's been working on it. He put in a security door, and is re-roping windows and preparing a major overhaul of the bathroom, plus preparing to paint the whole thing. There's very little I can do at this point, so I'm sitting here staring at my new play, Shame Circus.

I have a good feeling about this play. I think the concept and the execution are more interesting, more wild, closer to poetry than anything else I've done yet. Tomorrow I'll go to a Playwright's Foundation class about using the I Ching as an oracle to help in the playwriting process--which sounds far-out, but also fascinating. Another essay rejected by MORE; one left to go. I shouldn't count my chickens before they hatch. I sent another essay to The Sun. The Ledge accepted a poem: "$18.88." (That's the name of the poem.)


Anonymous said...

Oh good, I thought that was what you were getting paid for it. That would hardly cover postage!
Love you,

shara said...

only enough time to read three posts (children, cat, husband needing tending) but I will undoubtedly be back to read more as often as I'm able. beautiful writing.

Alison said...

Actually, Em, I'm getting paid zero cents for it. $18.88 would be an improvement!


Alison said...

Dear Shara,

Thanks for your kind comments. if you want to read more about Carla, you can go to and see her story there. (Also .) I can't seem to do links on this blog--smarter computer brains than I have tried and failed, it must be a glitch in the program--or I would have a link to her blog.)