Friday, July 3, 2015

July 3: Agony of Memory, Having Fun, Guilty Fairy Tale, Patricia Lockwood, "See a Furious Waterfall Without Water,"

And Ives?  For his part, he did not like to be away from her [his wife] and yet seemed to enjoy his excursions upstate alone, now and then, in the winter.  The harshness and the monasterial nature of the place much appealing to his purgatorial side.  The days would go by, Ives occupied by his work, the evenings desperately lonely.  He wold have a drink or two, put on some upstate public radio station that played 1940s music, the mellow voice of Roy Rogers crooning some cowpoke song, or there might be a Bach oratorio on another station and he would sit by the fireplace listening, the choruses rising, and suffer in the wondrous agony of memory.

Memory is a plague for Ives.  His present is so stitched with sadness, and, yet, the happy memories of his past are just reminders of what he has lost:  his beloved son, his family, his perfect life.  Ives is simply incapable of being happy.  My guess is that Ives feels guilty, as if he's betraying his son by experiencing any kind of pleasure.

I understand Ives' dilemma.  Since the news about my sister's illness this week, I've felt obligated to feel sad.  Tomorrow is Independence Day in the United States.  There will be parades and community picnics and fireworks at dusk.  I will go to all of these events.  I will enjoy myself.  Yet, at the end of the day, when I get home and put on my pajamas, I will somehow feel guilt because I was having fun while my sister is struggling for her life in a hospital bed.

The latest news on my sister's condition is that the doctors have finally admitted that they really don't know how to treat her.  They have done ultrasounds and MRIs, and they haven't found any tumors.  Today, the hospitalist said, "We're grasping at straws here."  So, they are referring her to either the University of Michigan or Mayo Clinic.  Soon.  Maybe tomorrow.

Thus, while I'm watching a parade of dump trucks and police cars on July 4, my sister will probably be on an airplane, flying to Ann Arbor or Rochester.

Once upon a time, there was a little sparrow named Gary who felt guilty about everything he did.  He ate a worm, he felt guilty.  He sang a song at dawn, he felt guilty.  He bedded down for the night in his nest, he felt guilty.  Gary the sparrow was never happy.

One day, as Gary was sitting on a tree branch, cleaning some bugs out of his wings, a little boy came along with a BB gun and shot the little sparrow.

Gary fell out of the tree.  As he was falling, Gary thought, "I feel so bad about having to get the grass all dirty."  He hit the ground and died instantly.

Moral of the story:  Sparrows are pretty stupid.

And Saint Marty lived guiltily ever after.

See a Furious Waterfall Without Water

by:  Patricia Lockwood

Never has an empty hand been made
into more of a fist, and Waterfall Without
          it swings so hard it swings out
of existence.  How will anyone get married
now, with no wall of water behind them?
How will Over Niagara Falls in a Bareel
marry Across Niagara Falls on a Tightrope?
Over the Falls would have worn a veil.
Across the Falls would have tied a tie,
hand in hand they would have poured
down the aisle to the sound of rustling
          silks.  Later they would make
a gentle elbow in the water, later
they would pour into a still round pool,
and dance for three minutes to what they
called music.  Niagara Falls is a family
member.  He is drunk for the first time
in a hundred years.  "I don't call that music
I call that noise," would have screamed
Niagara Falls, right through his aquiline
family nose.  All of Niagara's ex-lovers
are here.  The World's Steepest Dive
stands up and says, "I've been diving
          so long now, and when will I hit?
When will you be there for me, Niagara?"
First Woman Behind the Falls stands up
so everyone can see her, so everyone
can see what has happened to her looks.
"You took the best day of my life,
          Niagara."  The World's
          Longest Breath-Hold stands up,
she loves him, she drew in her breath
the first time she saw him and never
breathed out again, not ever.  The furious
waterfall without water he punches her
into tomorrow; the World's Longest
Breath-Held is longer now and she calls
to him from the future, "You're here,
          you're roaring again where I am,
Tomorrow."  Finally his first love the U-
Shape stands up.  Stands up and she says,
"Niagara."  The sound curves down and up
again, even the shape of her voice is a U.
"I don't call that music.  I call that noise,"
says the furious waterfall without water,
trembling at the very lip, unable to contain
himself, and there he goes roaring
                                           back into her arms.

Even Niagara Falls feel guilt

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