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Finnegans Wake

It’s like the ticking of a Grandfather clock, these words that make sounds but have no meaning otherwise, except to establish the meter and rhyme of thought: Tick tock…Tick tock… They breathe with glimmers of cognition. All the while the book in your hands is like a vulva and your eyes keep peeling across the lines and you touch it and hold it with endearment and curiosity; for this is the meaning of life, beheld in partial mystery and ever-certain ignorance as the light falls and you can’t recall the liver in your pants nor the ejaculate of solemnity’s voice, now forgotten amid idleness.

 

And then somewhere in the 300s, the voice starts coming through — you picture an Irish Denisov, as you’ve formed some genetic understanding for the sentence structure. You appreciate still the meter and how the words begin to flow as rose petals are soft, like War and Peace. By page 477, you’ve come to realize, with McHugh’s annotations, that so much has gone by and you don’t have the meaning of it. It was hard reading both, as if the one weren’t enough, so you fixate on the daydreams that come as transitions between textual understanding. You solve your problems and weep at the memory of Ena, who thought she was pregnant. She saw Ghost with you — the middleman — sitting in your car in front of Columbia Inn nearly wanting her and she nearly leaning over wanting to be held. You remained cold but ever so longing. Somehow the moment passed and her boyfriend came back from New York in a couple of days. You knew it would have been wrong. Luckily, one of those moments did pass and you kept your problems to yourself. It turned out she wasn’t pregnant anyway and she knew it was wrong, in such a state of an emotional dilemma. It was better you than someone else. Maybe someone will do that for you.

 

By page 541, you’ve come to realize the Denisov image evaporates and there is a husky Irish man in a pub rattling off phrases as they sound and might be spelled in the English language. It’s like listening to someone for a long time and you understand as they articulate what before was foreign.

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A Dream

I really love this painting.
There is a man/woman in a trench coat,
Wearing a watch, with his/her hand in his/her pocket behind the door.

She could be a call girl with her pimp in the background,
Or just a beautifully wrought woman contemplating her power or burdens,
Someone separated, perhaps, from her effect on the world co-mingled
With the fact of just being.

This image speaks to me of what a woman must do in a world of men,
Selling her wares, submitting herself to the desire to be lithe and luxuriously at peace.

What is she thinking?

My mother was once this beautiful,
She always seemed to be oblivious.
She thought not of men, but of designs
On paper, oil paint, and how the world worked,
Wanting to change, in her later years, junk
Into things of beauty.

She would contemplate,
Smoke her cigarettes and look out from her balcony
Out and at the hillside, which grew from under her
And then up almost to a point
You could not see the sky unless you bent down
When you were sitting.

She said she was raped by an uncle.
Was forced to live with foster parents
Because in the 30’s with her father dead
When she was two and with two brothers,
Her mother could not afford to take care of her.

When her mother died, my mother said that
She was hours away and her mother died alone.
She never wanted that to happen to her,
So she kept us close.

When she got her first commercial art job,
She walked in with a bandbox look.
They hired her out of all the prospects.
Just out of art school at CAL,
She presented a few pieces.

Then one of her bosses raped her.
My aunt said that she took off a couple of times
And my father, a doctor, had to take care of us.

All, I am sure she did was go to a place where she could think.
How do I know this?
I am like her.

We dream a lot.
We have our drinks, but non-alcoholic,
We don’t like to dull the powers of our minds.

I too have stared into the distance
Traveled through memories
And met loved ones.
Mainly, lovers and their sleek lines,
How they made me feel and
When we will meet again
Is all I think,
In the meantime,
I make beautiful things
Like peacock feathers
To entrance them.