This is the second time I posted this poem. Somehow it came up in the pile again. Oops. Then I realized I never did say anything about it the first go-round, just left it as a stand alone poem, and tonight, I want to ponder it a bit.
e s p
digging through a purse
full of useless junk
i carry to work and back each day
digging through a purse
trying to find a phone card
so i can dial your long distance number
and thinking of the passion
i hold locked away waiting for your touch
but before i find the magic card
i pick up a ringing receiver
and hear your voice with the
subtle soft “hi” i love so much
It took me a long time to realize how un-normal that relationship was. Or maybe is. I really don’t know anymore. That was long, long ago.
I’ve lived such a fractured life. It’s normal to me. But so very hard to explain.
I heard someone talk a while ago about having to go back and pick up all the pieces we’ve left behind until we become whole people again.
In my case it’s more like putting together my frame into one whole piece. Somehow I came through intact but I have no frame of reference, no context, I fit into. It’s the liminal thing again. Neither here nor there.
The threshold, the thin space, the river in between lands is my frame.
And I don’t know how to explain it but that is the frame of that relationship, too. It was, perhaps is, a perpetually in between interaction. It could never be quite one thing or another, never quite be forced either in or out, never be quite labeled or categorized or understood. One of those things that just is. Twelve years later that same passion is still locked away waiting for the right time, the right touch, the right crossing.
It might stay that way forever. I don’t know if that threshold can ever be stepped over. And I know how lost and lonely and sad that sounds. It is a threshold with no door and no frame to put a door in.
Sitting on that threshold I had those moments where I just knew, he just knew, we just knew. Across hundred of miles we’d reach for the phone at the same moment. After years not speaking we’d discover we both woke up in minutes of each other even in different time zones. I once published work anonymously and he knew it was me, without having ever seen or heard the poem.
It’s inexplicable and unnatural and still messes with my mind. How do I explain what I know is impossible? Capturing this is as silly as going out after God with a butterfly net.
In some sense I am going after God with a butterfly net. There’s a paradox, how is it that allowing a power greater than myself to return me to sanity is pure insanity? I knew this would be the result for me. I had everything a normal, American girl could want. And then that quite little voice would meet me at the clothesline and kept whispering and pulling at me.
The same quite little voice that used to prod me to go find a calling-card or write poems or go see people or sleep by the river or walk barefoot in howling winds. It just wouldn’t shut up. I didn’t want it to shut up but I did want to hear what I wanted to hear. Which most certainly wasn’t insistence I quit smoking dope and get up and write and do and go out into the world again. I liked my comfortable, drama-free, silent, stoned life. Or at least I convinced myself I liked it.
But I know this, “hearing voices” is certifiably crazy. So are perfectly timed phone calls. And unnatural events like being able to suddenly just not use any drugs despite the painful withdrawal symptoms. Or babies who keep breathing with bacterial toxins prohibiting their nerves from communicating with their lungs.
It’s easy enough for my logical mind to dismiss one event as coincidence. I am a science girl, raised by a physicist and well versed in mathematics and experimental methods. Brainstorming logical, testable hypotheses is one of my specialties. I used to get paid to figure out why things blew up and was go-to girl when when a theory was in demand. (It didn’t help my ego to usually be right!)
How to I piece room for little miracles into my fractured frame? How to I find context for just knowing that which cannot be known? I can’t prove or test or explain a bit of it. And I don’t really want to. There is something, I’ll say magical because I lack a better word, about liminal spaces. It’s a sort of everything-is-possible nothing-is-probable space. Or maybe impossible things are probable and improbable things are possible.
Sometimes I have run statistics on the “little” miracles of my life. That million dollar child of mine? His being alive and breathing is approximately like getting struck by lightening 5 times. Not quite impossible, just unimaginably improbable. But I don’t know how to calculate the odds of perfectly timed phone calls. Or nine months and 29 days clean.