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Eyes Cast Downward- Memoir Excerpt

Originally hand written in July 2015 Late Spring of 2014.  Just Months before liver failure Our eyes are nearly always cast dow...

Monday, April 25, 2016

Gasoline Rainbows

Flaccid lips slap banal tea, only the body is in torpor.
The mind has spoiled the night, that stillness has no true name.
Angst, I understood as part of me, an accepted useless appendage. 

My sixth toe on the left foot.
 I feel the weight of its existence; secret callous of torment.
 And heavy are the steps of trepidation
 mammoth is a heart hindered .

Oh sweet purity of long ago and forever after;
 I remember your name!
Your esemplastic chords pull me close, leading me home.
You linger near the quiet, tender haunting, an eternal murmuration,
it starts like this, a patient crescendo.
“Come. You will see.”

Four piles of ash of ages ago, just yesterday.

Bound upon your stage for a cruel audience you try to ignore.
The only set of keys is in your back pocket look and you’ll see.
Shackled there, the entire world is an insipid shade of grey.
The gasoline rainbow, a complete ignorance of colors existence.
Still have an attachment to that script, that misery is familiar.
All those creatures, those destructive and misplaced demigods.
 “Shake and rattle the cerebral to wake the sleeping spirit!”
If only she could save herself. “To what end?” the fool asks.
Storm clouds give way for more agreeable conditions in time.
“Rejected” in a thought,  in spirit “Ejected”- to higher places.
Incessant chatter, intermittent chatter, "Phone call, line two!".
The arrogance, so futile, so exhausting and I would like a seat.
Remembrance that life is one visit to the cinema as spectator!
To leave limbs and bones behind and bear witness; up and out.
Time does not exist in this place, it fades away; all save the beat.
You know how to express your existence, once in your solitude.
You breath, you feel, you see. You are a creator, you exist.
The great suffering and contemplation to simply breathe.
To have for a time, a unification with unsullied territory.
Grains of sand beneath her feet; all is malleable and enveloping.
When I am the child, frightened child, what am I to do with her?
“Forgive" reminds me with the first wave to kiss feet.
In the all quiet, the midst of glass shattering screaming cells.
It is beyond tangibility; the berating torture of the ego- deafens.
It starts like this, speaking through silence, a whisper,
 "Come. You will see".

Mary Catherine, Cowardice Queen

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A Very Odd Year

My arms akimbo, I stand with burning eyes at a picture of me as an innocent. 
 I study the golden rivulets of hair that cascade to the base of crooked spine and the painted, on standby pseudo smile that I've already mastered.
 I contemplate your year of birth. 
 The very the same year Adolf Hitler died.
 an odd combination in the year of 1945. 
How many times must I remember? 
I want to be Jessica Rabbit. 
Fleshy lips, jutting pelvic bone to the right and swinging,  golden hair. 
Victoria’s Secret's were mine before I was even in grade school. Dancing for Daddy's friends at the bar age approximately eight. I don't like it when you kiss me on the lips. That's not fucking normal. Tony said so. I saw him pretend he didn't see when you smacked me on the bottom. I am twenty-one years old and still afraid to tell you that I don't like that. I wave and give a fake smile as my boyfriend and I drive off.  A real number you did on me Terry Randall. 

(I think of the photographs.)

 I loved Marilyn Monroe and Betty Boop. 
 (I want to be loved by you, I am mini skirts and smile, smile, sing!
My hair was still damp and clung to my back. The outfit is obscene, one of many that your girlfriend made. She works as the dressmaker and seamstress for the strip club her daughter works at in West Palm Beach. I'm only eleven in these pictures, wearing a skirt that has a slit that goes up almost to my pelvic bone. My legs are crossed. Someone tells me to lean my head back. (Why do you cry when you listen to John Lennon's Imagine?) Put your hand in your hair Mary and lean back a little…. Okay. Now just a little turn that way… Right there, hold it…. That's my girl! Good... all right now look at the camera (vacant eyed stare). 
Perfect, that was great baby! He grabs my head and kisses the top at the roots of my hair. 
(I smell the booze).
 This is what a good 'girl' is. An error occurred in the brain of an eleven-year-old girl.

A little attention, a touch of rouge, some of her father’s paltry affection and the rare gem of praise. That was all it took, she cut that red tape before she even had the red visit. This is what one ought to do. "Your life is over." This is what you say after not seeing each other for five years. I am seventeen and I introduce to you my infant son. You were always so funny though, like George Carlin. You sang like Sinatra, a crooner Mom had called you. We sang together. You made up the most fascinating stories! You told me how beautiful I was and showered me with attention and compliments during the weekend visits. You had your girlfriend sleep on the couch and me in your bed. You did that. That was real. Not a good combination. Just like your black coffee, ten cigarettes and five screwdrivers-eighty percent vodka- twenty percent orange juice all before the noon. Not good for you. You’re dead now, a corpse man, ash man, a couple of years I guess your carbon now. You were born the same year that Norma Jeane was discovered... An odd year, that 1945.
Mary Catherine, Cowardice Queen

Sunday, April 17, 2016

To Rectify with the Departed

Dearest Grandmother, 
Ms. Mary Francis Roberts,
I am writing this letter because I am trying to stay sober, to understand, acknowledge and take responsibility for my harmful behaviors so I do not ever repeat them again. I am finally trying to do the right thing, I am trying really hard grandma. I love you and I know for certain that you loved me. 
I have written and vocalized it before, but you truly are the only one that every made me feel genuinely loved. I have few memories of my childhood, yet every one I have of you, is warm and pleasant, yet my remembrance is bittersweet. 

That is exactly why I am writing this letter. I want to apologize to you. I do not know that you feel angry or hurt, or disappointed now, but I know that I have regrets. 
The end of your life I was fifteen years old and spiraling out of control. Seeing this must have been a bit like watching your most precious cargo spin from the sky in a downward and doomed billow of smoke and having no power to stop it, stuck as a pained spectator... I wish I had spent that time getting to know you better instead. So many questions, so little time.
I apologize for being so selfish. I spent your dying days off on my own nihilistic, self-destructive storm. I wish I could take that time back. I suppose many people could and quite often do, reflect on their lives and think “If only I did this rather than that” or “If only I had simply known…”  The truth is we cannot know until we know, however long, by whatever means. Why all the suffering in between? How much torment and pain must we endure and inflict before stumbling upon this precious bit of wisdom. I suspect that we will never truly know the answer to that, not while we're stuck in these bodies. I only pray I cease to harm others and myself in the process of what is left of my fleeting life. All things are fleeting, all lives are fleeting, like catching a snowflake only to watch it dissolve.
I am only thirty but my health is quite poor for my age. I have an infectious disease called Hepatitis C with a rare genome. I currently take two very strong medications that are attempting to rid my body of this virus. I was also diagnosed with stage four cirrhosis and nearly died in August 2014. I am taking medicines to do what a normal liver does. I would die if I didnt. the doctors made that perfectly clear. You may already know all of this, Perhaps your spirit was in the room with me when I was in purgatory, when it happened.  Perhaps you tried to help me. 
I survived, but far from unscathed. 
In case you do not know already, I’d like to tell you what happened, what I did, what I failed to do and what became of me.
Shortly after you died, your daughter, my mother, gave her parental rights away and I was in  state custody. I lived in and out of what they call now group homes, an orphanage.Then a little less then a year after I was impregnated by a man ten years my senior, the first when I was just sixteen. It was a boy.  I gave birth to two of his children. You have several great Grandchildren now, Cousin Lisa had a baby as well, thankfully her marriage was out of love and maturity and the child will have the blessing of growing up in that environment.
 Mitchell and Devin are my children’s names. The father made a cruel and spiteful decision when he absconded with them from FL to New York. My beautiful son was not quite three years old and my daughter was still nursing at my breast. It was beyond traumatizing and I did not handle it well. I worry for Mitchell now as he is now about to enter his teen years, in the same way I can only assume you worried for me, A trouble in his eyes, a heart broken too young, a boy who seems very confused and boiling just beneath his surface with anger. I wish I knew what to do to help him, I wish I could ask you. I only know that I can stay sober. I simply must at the very least do this or else nothing will be accomplished. I can do my best to take care of my health and my serenity so I can be emotionally available to them.
 I wish that I could ask you why I was always so sad, so angry, so lost, so frightened? What happened to me grandma; to have made what was once whole shatter and peirce? 
Please forgive me for causing you worry and perhaps emotional pain while you where still within your human body. Help me to do this, watch over me please. Sometimes I think you have been. If that is the case I hope there is no suffering where you are, so you only saw with a loving detachment me kill myself and slaughter what was left of my spirit for all these years. 
If you are not an angel yourself, please send one to me so I can do this. I need strength; I need to know what you loved about me. I need to know how to love. I apologize for not being the granddaughter you deserved, perhaps I will make it up to you now, if I survive this.
I always loved you even if I did not know how to show you.
I still love and need you, perhaps more now than ever before. 

I like to imagine that you able to see somehow that I am not in distress anymore and that you rest easy. For you to finally see me smile with my whole heart. To one day, see me feel joy, at peace with myself and to witness me love another as I still have yet to do. If you can somehow sense me trying to communicate this too you, then perhaps you can assist me with this endeavor.
For I believe you would agree that it is right and it is good. 
Forgive me for all my youthful selfishness. 

Your blonde haired and blue-eyed granddaughter;
who still walks this lonely planet.
 Who bears the name of you and your sister.
With love, scars and truth, 
from this realm to yours,
Mary Catherine
 Cowardice Queen