"I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with the nonhuman world and somehow survives...Paradox and bedrock."-Edward Abbey

18 November 2011

The Days of Ghosts and Omens

This song was written after Neil Pert lost his daughter in an accident and his wife to cancer within the span of eighteen months. He also wrote a book of the same title in which he chronicled his grieving and healing and journeys all over. I lost my mother to cancer and one of my best friends to accident within the span of ten months. Although I neither wrote a song or a book, I've done a fair amount of wandering out in the bush and those badlands of the tundra. Perhaps there is only a parallel because I want there to be one.

Anyone playing along at home has come to realize how I am about the abstract of time that I really shouldn't have to go on about it again. This instant is one of those that validates my view point of time, but also some legalities. In some parts of the world, one is considered dead once brain function is declared non-existent, whereas, in Colorado, death is official with the cessation of the heartbeat. My stint dancing with the dead for money taught me these things, though it hardly matters; dead is dead, and you rarely get to walk away from that.

The day after my daughter's birthday, to a degree, her birthday itself, has been tainted by the death of the bruja. Although the date the pulled her from machines and her heart stopped is a few days off, for me, her death date will always be the day the rollover happened; the day after my daughter's sixteenth birthday. Fucking perfect.

The bruja was one of those cats who felt the words I purged carried a certain kind of magic. As I visited with her family, my old friends from down below, and her battered shell that only drew breath by virtue of mechanization as a formality, I was vividly acquainted with the fact there are limits to whatever mojo I possess. None of my stories could bring her back and make her better. I couldn't find the words to magic the incident into the tongues of fiction. It was all sickeningly spit-shiny real, and there was no way around or through that.

Don't think I didn't try...

It's been a year, nearly two for my mother, and Humptey-dumpty has been slowly putting himself back together again. Although, I never bothered to ask all the king's horses and all the king's men for help. Perhaps I am obstinate like that; I heal, I find salvation or damnation on my own.Within that space of ten months and the subsequent year since, in which psychic the fallout has settled, I've worked to reestablish my sense of equilibrium and reconcile my sense of belief, heretical though it is. It goes without saying, and I'd not recommend it to anyone, even if they wanted to sadistically test themselves.

Like my mother, I see little reminders of my beautiful friend everywhere. These omens of memory can get me to smile. To restrain tears or growls of psychotic rage at the very chaos, which permeates the universe. To remember. To wonder what if.

But mei fei tsu...

Those what if's and if only's that can drive you mad if you let them. And they hardly matter. She's gone now. All I have are the memories and the stories, and that will just have to do because she's not coming back anymore.

I meditate upon whiskey and wine. Beer and tequila. Coffee and tea. A thousand cigarettes and a million laughs. Those memories and stories. Secrets, shared and kept. Good and ill. Chaos and acceptance.

It's been a year since the bruja walked on. Almost two for my mother. Because of the proximity of  such events I am still more walking wounded than I'd like to be. Than I'd ever admit to, other than maybe to those psychic demons that show up late at night for tea. But I am stitching myself back together. Slowly but surely. I'd like to believe they'd have both wanted that, even if it's vanity and hubris to second-guess the dead. I find on days like this and times like these, it's the very best I can hope for.

And hope is one of the most precious of commodities, far moreso than rubies or even glass beads...


  1. I started reading this earlier, and I got sidetracked by a memory of my own late mother. I had to stop reading and deal with my own ridiculous heartache. When I came back to it, I got so caught up in your words, I forgot to listen to the song....

    I like that last line.

  2. Glad you liked the last line. The song is a right toe-tapper, if you ever get around to listening.