Having used Bhanu Kapil's questions from Vertical Interrogation of Strangers. How I migt never stop mourning the loss of San Francisco/having the thoughts of how I might have done it differently and stayed. The question--from Vertical: How will you live now? Posed to the women at the residential treatment facility--actually, a crumbling old Southern house in the "ghetto". the colorful part of town that some of my family calls...A sagging sodden porch with columns and old rattan furniture. In the sub/urban tropical jungle across from the cut-rate body shop where men shout and scream about costs in Creole, in Cuban, in southern black accents. The inside of the house with its old dark, cool wood-- holds the smell of moss and limestone and holds the women, softly. I ask them, in Write To Connect time, in body poetics mode, "How will you live now?' and then we partner up and trace our answers on to each other's back. I wish Michelle Puckett and Selah Saterstrom were here with me now. I wish I lived here with the girls. I am grateful to Lynn Norton of the Tampa Arts Council. It occurs to me that I could have gone to live in such a place as Rose Manor, but in CA, two years ago, and maybe, I would have not ended up in Florida now. The girls in the house tell me the Dept of Corrections has just cut their funding, which means, many of them will have to be displaced, out of the transformative space, this rehab home, even as their nervous systems still pulse wildly for the internal chemical home they abandoned to save themselves. Such a disruption, in his delicate process, seems unthinkable.
But they will stay for right now. And I am here for right now. Inhabiting the back bedroom of my mother's house--which my grandparents kindly vacated for me and Artie Glove. I would like to sleep on the back porch where the mosquito are the size of aguilas. They could carry my blood far across the dark flat wetlands of the state and thus, seed me more strongly, home. I would like to sleep in a tiny apartment in the colorful part of town with walls painted ubiquitous FL pink. But I am grateful for the dark wood in this back bedroom, for the tiny photo of Mercedes Diaz, my great-abuela with her massive forearms. Because she is dead, her love is more present. The ferocity with which she llived, the pounding and the yelling gets transmuted to all others in the family--in the way that the tasks and burdens of daily life, must get reacted to. But La Meche is quiet on my dresser and sends love.
A blog can be close to how you live. Thus, a hot mess of disjuncts, documenting this and also, the anchors of the moment that is whole. Anchors as that which fixes clealry, but with permissive, soothing, rocking back and forth, like in a boat's hold.
Photos from the grandparents bedroom, where I live for now.
I get flat in FL because it is not clear to me how I can be mobile here, how I can l live the Disability Rights Movement's dream of a dignified interdependnece. I am the daughter, cousin, aunt, niece, grand-daughter of a taut, love equation. Of people who had children very young or in exchange for not knowing what else to do. The ferocity of love meets the biting lack of space in which to unfold (for the adult, the child, the adult-child), despite the relative bigness of suburban ranch style houses. The tautness of that line--it snaps hard like a clothesline in the wind, on which hangs the heavy sheets for the crowded household. It snaps in me and I wonder at the worth of a spinal cord. Some family members read this blog. The shit may hit the fan. The intention is never to cause more hurt, but to name and in the naming, make breath just a little more available, to everyone.
I must make a list so I can stay, just for now--so I can make breathing space for some of the things that make me want to bolt.
1. Because Artie Glove gets in the Gulf with me--even though, SFist he is, accustomed to grey mist, the sun strikes him down, daily, on this coast-- a bluegreen silver late in the day. And he says, gently, "It is nice to just float with you." And he knows all the things float can mean for me.
2. Because Artie Glove has reminded me of how all life's contentment can be staked on one tiki umbrella. But it is far cry from Jimmy Buffet.
3. The neon sherbet lace skirt, these pink glittery shoes. The boatman at the pier says, "I like your slippers." He looks like a retired Hell's Angel. I wish to hug him.
4. Mom downs two Crowns and water and is happy for the first time in weeks. Jovan gets to see her soft side. She looks out toward the marina and says, "There are diamonds in our eyes and we cannot even see them." It is circa MTV-beach-house-1990, with aging dancers. The Black Honky's ;et loose on "Everyday People".
5. This raft. I could live in the Gulf. I have the bones of a 90-year-old, but really, only well-to-do senior live near the Gulf. or hard drinking, pack-a-day, old-sun FL party ladies who do marina upkeep. Those were the legs I wanted. My feet like degraded dinosaur scales, at home in the sand, but the walk to the water could mean a twisted ankle unless I get some kind of major access boardwalk initiative going or drink enough white wine. "You look so miserable, it ratchets up my stress level." But I am skating like a ray, once I find my own, small, shallow brackish spit of water to glide in.
6. A deserted, bare, stark, bones of a wedding tent. The rush to be stable erodes the moment of celebation. But I stood before this tent and chairs and stared and stared.
14. Because Reesa says, "It is fine, it is OK. You're fine." to the wrong kind of potato salad bought, the parking issue at the condo association, the confusion as to who said what when for an event. And she says it in the same intense, ferocious voice in which the aunts and the mothers shout back, "It s not fine!". Enunciating her name with a slap to the first syllable, MA-reesa--which stays in the air like a bruise. Like my name is often said. And she and I just laugh and laugh. That maybe, it is fine and ok. We might make it so.
15. And Kapil Muni goes to the sea, eternally, through Bhanu. (Perhaps, a more holistic answer to my old brutal guru, Rimbaud, who wrote--"What is eternity? The sun touching the sea." And I am at least now, a little closer to a sea my body can flourish in, water not too cold for inflamed joints--big highways and lack of proficiency with cars being the last, huge barrier.) http://healingthroughcolorandlight.blogspot.com/ Thank you, Bhanu, always.
16. Because of these kids and Ty-John and others. (See Ciro, last post). Jo-jo, the day he finished high school last week, came home to flooded streets and set up a failure slip and slide. Just a tarp and Palm Olive to pound friends into the grass.
Numbered fragments not exactly corresponding to photos. Some numbers missed, what can't correspond to photos. The one I threw away. A small black sea for a baby. What tethers me to color and light in form. What anchors in the tide of this color and light, so as to "live the question for a while". Thank you, Lexi Brayton.