Straw Flowers

Straw Flowers
"Straw Flowers" by L. Folk

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Ayatollahs, Tar Pits, and the Holy Root: Ah the Summer Doldrums

 
July 6, 2011

I sit down in front of the ficus tree and immediately I get out the spotlight looking for a poem. I'm hungry for creativity. The spotlight squirrels around in the dark parts of me, looking for a nut. I close my eyes and try to think of holiness, but holiness isn't something you slip on, like a party dress. It is not in the gold you find in a chalice in Rome or a 20 foot Rood that shadows the graves. When I dig under the leaves of the Siberian iris, I find it there, a root moving confidently into the ground. When I descend in the acid-charred remnants of my belly, I find it there, a wayward flake, or a cat tail growing from the sedge. Grace is when you find a cup of rain water and take it to your lips. Mercy is the cooled molecules that dance across your eyelids. Every day we get up and look at our tired faces in the mirror. We prepare our bodies for the world. And yet, every shower is not a baptism, as it should be. We move through our lives like moles, our small fragile hands caked with dirt and guilt. But there is the root, and there is the silence, the black water with the sacred minerals, suspended at the bottom of the well.
Dear God, Bless this day.

July 7, 2011

Immediately, the dream. I am the Clarissa Dalloway character, concerned with delphiniums and my ex, FF, is the Peter Walsh character, worldly, in love with an Indian girl. I am having dinner with him and his father. The father is stern, silent, dark hair, dark eyes, just like FF, only the Ayatollah's blood pumps through his veins. I read his thoughts, you walk around completely exposed. I am afraid, perhaps, that he will kill me, as they killed Nedha Agha-Soltan, in the street, blood pouring from my nose. We clear the dishes, I want FF to touch me; I burn for him. But he is preoccupied with the saffron rice, how to make it perfect for his father to eat. “Don't touch it,” he tells me when I peer under the lid. Don't touch it. We are in a car driving. I am at the wheel. There is a bridge overhead, the Tobin, the Throgs. The Throgs. I see the mountain of pale blue steel ascending into the fog, yes. B is in the back complaining, the draftsman are back there with her. I had promised FF to her and she to him. Besides, I need to go home and she wants to go to Sunken Meadow. Are we going to Sunken Meadow? She keeps asking this. I tell her no, I have to get home; I have to catch the train home, I don't know what the hell I am doing in this car anyway. Then I am out of the car and my widowed mother appears. She is in a tar pit. (I don't even know what a fucking tar pit is.) I want to pour my heart out to her about FF and she wants to pour her heart out to me about my father. She disappears. I am in a classroom, at the white board drawing my friend Kira, a prominent figure at the Environmental Protection Agency. I get the eyes right, but the jaw is too wide. I erase the jaw and replace it, carefully, thinking of how the cheek angles slightly toward the lips. Concentrate, I tell myself. Concentrate.
Anything to rub up against FF again. Anything, anything, that is what my mind and body said. Anything for that thrill.
Ah the summer doldrums.

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