Tuesday, May 10, 2016

May 10: Thrashings of the Spirit, First Communion, Tracy K. Smith, "The Universe as Primal Scream"

In his famous Camping and Woodcraft, Horace Kephart sounds a single ominous note.  He writes in parentheses:  "Some cannot sleep well in a white tent under a full moon."  Every time I think of it, I laugh.  I like the way that handy woodsy tip threatens us with the thrashings of the spirit.

Dillard is talking about the power of moonlight and starlight.  Thrashings of the spirit.  Starlight and moonlight raining through the cosmic dust of the universe, falling in glimmers and shinings on the Earth, into our weak eyes, causing us to go a little crazy.  Think about it.  Lunar.  Lunatic.  Loony.  It all boils down to the heavens.  Celestial insanity.

My son is making his First Communion this weekend.  For those of my disciples who are not Catholic, let me explain:  it's a really big deal.  My son's been preparing all year for this.  There's going to be a Mass with singing and incense.  A photographer snapping pictures.  Cake.  Gifts.  My best friend, who's my son's godfather, is driving six hours to attend the ceremony.  Like I said.  A big deal.

Tonight, we attended a rehearsal for this Sunday.  Now, my son has ADHD.  He takes his medication in the morning.  By 6 p.m., that medication is completely gone from his system.  He can't control himself.  Standing is one place is an impossibility for him.  Keeping his hands to himself, not happening, either.  He talks, shouts, laughs.  Does not pay attention.

That's what we were dealing with tonight.  While the other kids were lined up, quietly listening to instructions, my son was doing the exact opposite.  I felt really bad for him.  He couldn't help himself.  Literally.  He simply can't control his racing mind and body.  As I sat in the pew, I heard a mother behind me hiss at my son, "Stop blowing at her!"

My son was puffing out his cheeks and blowing air at the little girl beside him.  I turned around and looked at the woman who had hissed.  She was glaring at my son.  I wanted to get out of my seat and slap her in the face.  I didn't, of course.  I wanted to tell her how my son once said to me, after a particularly difficult day, "I don't know, daddy . . . I'm a bad person . . . I want to kill myself."  He's only seven years old.

It's difficult for people to understand who don't have a child with ADHD.  Certainly, the mother in the pew behind us didn't understand.  Her daughter was quiet, well-behaved.  She saw my son as an anomaly.  A distraction.  A bad kid.  I'm sure almost everybody else there saw the same thing.

When Saint Marty looked around, he saw intolerant asswipes. 

Maybe we all need to go to confession.

And another offering from the Poet of the Week, who would totally get my son's thrashings of the spirit:

The Universe as Primal Scream

by:  Tracy K. Smith

5pm on the nose. They open their mouths
And it rolls out: high, shrill and metallic.
First the boy, then his sister. Occasionally,
They both let loose at once, and I think
Of putting on my shoes to go up and see
Whether it is merely an experiment
Their parents have been conducting
Upon the good crystal, which must surely
Lie shattered to dust on the floor.

Maybe the mother is still proud
Of the four pink lungs she nursed
To such might. Perhaps, if they hit
The magic decibel, the whole building
Will lift-off, and we'll ride to glory
Like Elijah. If this is it—if this is what
Their cries are cocked toward—let the sky
Pass from blue, to red, to molten gold,
To black. Let the heaven we inherit approach.

 Whether it is our dead in Old Testament robes,
Or a door opening onto the roiling infinity of space.
Whether it will bend down to greet us like a father,
Or swallow us like a furnace. I'm ready
To meet what refuses to let us keep anything
For long. What teases us with blessings,
Bends us with grief. Wizard, thief, the great
Wind rushing to knock our mirrors to the floor,
To sweep our short lives clean. How mean

Our racket seems beside it. My stereo on shuffle.
The neighbor chopping onions through a wall.
All of it just a hiccough against what may never
Come for us. And the kids upstairs still at it,
Screaming like the Dawn of Man, as if something
They have no name for has begun to insist
Upon being born.
Sometimes, I need to be dragged . . .

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