The Ticking Bomb

You don’t want to know what happened in the end, but I’ll tell you because that’s who I am.

I brought baby food, gently tugged at my mother’s foot to wake her a second time. I asked her to eat the yogurt, squash, and I actually don’t think she ate anything more. Then I helped her dress, by the way she smelled like cheese. We went to Peet’s but it was crowded, then to Appleby’s where I bought her a cup of coffee, a chocolate shake, and French Onion Soup. I told her I would bring her back to my place to look at family photos so I could get an idea of what some might mean. I gave her the first picture and she said, “That’s her mother,” but I never got the names. That ended pretty quickly. Then she announced that she had to go to the bathroom. I tried to help her and a few feet later she exploded in her diaper. I helped her in the bathroom, first getting off her only pair of pants. Then she pulled her diaper and the sh#t leaked out onto the seat and the floor. As she wiped, she drew her whole arm into the John, picking up, the brown turtle dove of her earlier meal. The smell of my mother’s specimen filled the room like that of any number of memories in public restrooms or frankly, whatever and wherever. Sh#t renders everything indelicate. This moment has ruined every romantic interlude I might have believing women aren’t any different then men. The ruse of modesty is out the window. I helped her up and asked her to take a shower. She would have simply put her pants back on. The look in her eye was like I was committing murder. She looked tired. I had no idea, because she really was tired. Still, I saw no option. As it turned out, she stood in the shower, but complained the whole time about how tired she was. I compromised and said I would bring a chair. I went for the $250 plastic Scan design chair that would be fine in the shower, except that by the time I got back, she was tugging on the shower curtain and fading fast.

I said, “Here, take the chair,” but by then she started to slump and by the time I could reach her, she melted into the tub. She hadn’t trapped an arm or a leg, but she slid down into the back of the tub and she seemed to have gone unconscious.

I shook her, checked her pulse and breathing; it was faint. Her eyes were rolling back into her head, and I kept talking to her: “Mother, mother…” I could not believe that she was going to die on my watch. And how close I was. It was no mystery. I guess, we just get tired and shut down.

Then she threw up, the bile of French Onion soup, the chocolate shake,  and probably the coffee. The vomit was the color of caramelized onions and it smelled like faint puke. I called 911 and waited. She threw up again but this time much more. It was all over her chin, chest, and now it was along her side. I asked the person on the phone if I should wash her off before the Paramedics got there, but she said I didn’t have to, “They were used to it.” I felt bad. I rinsed her off a little more, but it was partially hopeless because I couldn’t move her and she was laying in it.

The paramedics came, there were like 6 men and they asked me if it was feces or vomit. I said it was mostly the latter, which made them even more uncomfortable. One wiped his shoe. They wondered how they were going to get her out of the tub. I gave them towels and they had a blanket. They carried her to the white, Scandinavian leather chair with wheels and dropped her in it, then rolled her out and drove her to the hospital.

I pushed the chair covered lightly in vomit behind the recycled bin and told a neighbor to tell the other neighbor not to throw it.

She replied, “You better take it; someone will steal it.”

I said, “It was dirty,” and she could see, I was running around with apparently only one of my mother’s slippers, the same pants and shirt she had been wearing. I also had a clean diaper. As you might know the day felt like it was 100 degrees. I was sweating and embarrassed.

My mother, once a television model, a woman not unlike Elizabeth Taylor in her prime, was now naked under a few towels, wrapped partially in a blanket and being wheeled.

It turned out; she was only dehydrated and fainted when the moderately hot water and steam wafted up in the shower. She did look white. They filled her with two pouches of saline and told me if they transported her, it would cost me, versus the last time, when they insisted.

She was at the hospital within 48 hours for the injury she suffered when they found her at 1AM lying on the floor. She was there again about a month ago because she was bleeding from of her rectum.

She is shutting down. Her Alzheimer’s is taking its time, but I can see it in her tarnished capacity, the shortened distances between the same question. How she is less and less stable. And she always asks me how I am doing? It is a joke; she is fading and she knows it. All her life she’s been on the cusp of not trying, in the forest where the woman cries wolf. And so when the nurse brings her to the car and she’s feigning the capacity to enter, I tell her, “This is not a joke.”

I am tired. I am helping people in quadraphonic stereo and apparently my caring is a curse. We become the byproducts of our environments. I am always attracted to the helpless women. They need me and I come running, which of course means they never stay long. My mother probably won’t make it beyond next year. How could she? The less I can take her out, the greater her lunacy becomes. But, if I take her out, she is a ticking bomb.

A New Realisation

The neediness of my friend exposes the kind of line one draws in the sand, where friendship is defined as: “Affection, sympathy, empathy, honesty, altruism, mutual understanding and compassion, the enjoyment of each other’s company, trust, and the ability to be oneself, express one’s feelings, and make mistakes without fear of judgment. While there is no practical limit on what types of people can form a friendship, friends tend to share common backgrounds, occupations, or interests, and have similar demographics.” Taken from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friendship

She and I share almost nothing, except that she needs me, perhaps until she graduates, has to find her keys for the one-thousandth time, take the dog for a run because he is sitting in a hot house waiting.

And then there are times like these, where the neediness is in stereo, where it is worldwide because somehow as Jean Khalfa said of Foucault’s The History of Madness that “Decisions, limits and exclusions which took place at particular points…and indicate shifts in the way certain phenomena were experienced” plays to the rich-poor gap that represents a process of division through which a reality splits into radically different parts until a new realisation takes place, a synthesis which in itself is a new reality.” (See: The History of Madness, Introduction, p, XV)

This neediness appears in world politics (See: http://www.sfgate.com/news/world/article/Egypt-army-ousts-Morsi-who-decries-coup-4644336.php), where it is clear that the whole world is moving toward a place it can no longer tolerate injustice toward others.

For we are all linked to the injustices of our brothers and sisters and even though we too might be suffering, where we wield influence, we must act where it is clear we are called. And in my attention to her needs, I am being a friend, one who recognizes her near-graduation to a position in society that I helped to create.

But, I am only one person and I have myself to consider getting only two hours of sleep for the second time in a week, where the weeks repeat and the neediness grows. I can see it everywhere.

This is what is happening on the world front. We are shifting away from ourselves to each other and it is ripping and tearing. But, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, which is not what we thought. It is to see neediness from all directions and to stand knee-deep in the morass of pleadings.

But, this is the feeling I felt when I traded my Gitane 10-Speed for Walter Yamamoto’s long-forked bike. I wanted to be among and not outside my brothers and sisters. To be separate and therefore unequal in my privilege to have had a $600 bike in the 70’s as a middle-schooler.

This is the essence of what erodes divisions and brings people together. We are social animals and in the end we have this need to belong and to take our place in the world as equals, because we are in it and not out and we cannot escape our ties to the very energy that courses through us.

“86% of sex workers are mothers.”

The mother must provide in the absence of fathering
What man has thought to run away?
She wakes with the love of her child
And will do anything to keep it alive.
What happens in a relationship
That a man would abandon his son or his daughter?
Is he just there for a minute
For some purpose relegatory?
Can he not see that his soul follows suit?
What man would leave the woman he as loved
To a silent carnage?
What happens to a man
When he draws close and becomes intimate?
Does it scare him?
Does he think he must now act in faith?
I have a friend who says that God would never abandon a man who has tried.
And a man with a family,
He would watch over.
It doesn’t take much to feed a family,
To clothe them,
To watch them grow.
A man is meant to support.
He was born to carry a heavy load.

The glorious swirl of letters in an alphabet

When you wake, you begin a new day: The glorious swirl of letters in an alphabet of meaning, the Tarot of S’s and T’s, the whole summation.

I swirl on my own as the last reflection, in the case of a woman, whose name alone conjures deep recesses.

Her eyes can look at you without judgment. She simply assesses how she will love you, but not necessarily romantically, but in the manner of encouragement and direction, a kind of tough love. She is the old soul she mentions when talking about her mother-in-law, who married her aging father and who is even younger than she.

Daffodils are not more beautiful than she. It explained the reason for her few relationships and very little time in between. She is everything, more solid than a rock, and self-sacrificing. She told me to use my intuition, my sensitivity, to what is going on, but not for money, but for the sake of time and money, to give it all away: “Fall in love with your gifts; give other people the things you possess.”

I can barely keep my eyes open. I wake with many thoughts in this period near my birthday.

I feel this friendship is meant for something more than my loneliness. Later that night, I believe she lay at the pool looking up. She saw me staring into my monitor. Once I left my apartment, I could feel something and so I looked toward the pool and there someone lay looking. I looked for a moment, long enough to surmise the ghost of the lovely afternoon. I was flattered and curious as to what she was doing or making a record of. She must know my hunger. I was playing Middle Eastern music, then Fleeting Foxes. I followed this with “Love Story,” and my musical accompaniment via a harmonica that I played in the kitchen. At some point, she left. I measured her perspective and was glad she could see the paintings, perhaps she liked them or at least she could see what I had been doing.

Nevertheless, one hopes that the truth serves as a good beginning. Nothing should be left to chance. A woman of such beauty can have anyone, this woman so easy to love.

A Taste for Misfortune

“When the soul suffers too much, it develops a taste for misfortune.”

Albert Camus, The First Man

First it was an accident, then he fell into the embrace of words that seemed to embrace maudlin weight. He was self-affecting and lonely and had accepted this even though his dance partner for that evening kept laughing at what came out of him, as one cynical retort after another.

He smelled of her sex and it sickened him. Weakness in others made him vicious. Although he tried to keep to himself, there was no fixing what seemed broken in the heat.

As he ran each night, his needs for water grew uncompensated and his beliefs and attitudes seemed to cuddle a parched and broken body. He tried to laugh with her, but this event was deeply troubled. Since his father’s death he could not climb out of the well that was constructed in his lifetime by his need to be a man even before he was 10. He missed his childhood, where his mother and father were divorced at the beginning. It seemed that happiness was a foreign feeling, which felt as bad to him as corked wine. He was born on the hottest day in one of the most crowded cities, which borrowed water from the Colorado River and grew in borrowed time. He knew when he was in LA that it was his natural home. He loved how god kept it together despite that it was full of such hopelessness.

He loved critical words because for him criticism was his gift. He had a knee-jerk sense for justice, which in the end meant that whatever he said came from this mortal sadness and such sadness in the end is always wrong: People look to those who possess joy just as they also look for beauty.

He could not escape the mood that coursed through him desiring finally from his last days, where no project manifested the beauty he’d sought to create.

And this is why he always strove to embrace the beautiful, maudlin things that others wrote or created on their own.

All was not lost, where his love of words was a kind of beauty all it own. He was drawn to the most complicated linguistic tomes and stared for hours at the intricacies of Sartre’s, Heidegger’s, and Marx’s works, for example, which made him deeply happy because it seemed to represent the truth, but of course, he knew it was never the whole truth. For in the end, this deep application saved him. His hands could dance as his mind flew softly on the poetry of thought.

“By lasting, peoples prove their ethnotechnic genius ipso facto. And although the individuals within peoples purpose their own concerns in relative obliviousness, overarching myths, rituals and self-stimulations will create social fabric of sufficient ethnic coherence, even from the most resistant material…(Taken from: Bubbles by Peter Sloterdijk p. 60)

“On the way through the evasive underworld of the inner world, the schematic image of a fluid and auratic universe unfolds like a map in sound, woven entirely from resonances and suspended matter; it is there that we must seek the prehistory of all things pertaining to the soul. By its very nature, this search has the form of an impossible problem that can neither be solved nor left alone.” (Ibid., p. 63-64.)