On Christmas Eve, we turned on “A Christmas Story” in the kitchen, as pecans were being chopped and sugar was being sprinkled and dumplings were being rolled and dreams were being baked and et cetera. It had reached the point in the movie where Ralphie had finally gotten his BB gun, and “all hell” hovered on the horizon in the form of his broken eyeglasses. As you know–if you are an American, and have not been living in a thatched-roof hut off the Trans-Siberian Highway since 1983–the refrain “You’ll shoot your eye out!” runs throughout the film. As we watched, my father–in a reflective sort of way–said:
MY DAD: I knew a kid whose eye actually got put out.
MY DAD: His brother threw a rock at him. He had one eye!
US: Guh guh guh gah gah gah aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
MY DAD: Can you imagine being that brother?
Here’s an obligatory Picture from Christmas Day, snapped by my aunt during a vaguely candid moment, and which–as a bonus!–is also vaguely humorous! From the left, that’s my brother’s fiancee, my sister [holding my nephew], and my mom. I’m in the middle with the New Baby.
The New Baby…well, there literally aren’t words for how I feel about this baby. It’s embarrassing. Baby of the Year. Baby of the Universe. Winner, Best Baby 2008. Winner, My Heart, Which She Holds In Her Small Fist With A Grip Of Iron. I actually WANT her to cry, because that means I can rush to her side and provide tactical assistance. But this baby doesn’t cry. You practically have to divine what she needs. And her MOUTH quirks up into this little SMILE which just KILLS you even though you KNOW THAT, TO HER, YOU MERELY RESEMBLE A BIG BLOB OF POTENTIAL SUSTENANCE.
My mother’s side of the family was in town for Christmas this past weekend, which meant that myself and three of my brothers had to sleep at my sister’s! Slumber party! Yay yay yay aaaaaaaa!
ME: I’m sleeping on this couch.
My sister cautioned us that my 2 year-old nephew would likely enter the living room, where we were camped out, at around 7 a.m. Both nights that we slept there, this did occur. I would hear something strange in the darkness–
ME: My God–what’s that loud, slobbery breathing sound?
–and then I would sit up and cast my eyes about, and Drew would be lying half-asleep and face-down on the floor in the pitch dark, immovable, half-wrapped in a blankie, thumb jammed in his mouth, staring off into space, exhaling in the manner of someone wearing a diving mask which has flooded with ocean water. The following would then ensue:
DREW: [Stares at me as though I am a grizzled hitchhiker]
ME: Drewbie, do you want to come up here and lie down and go sleepy?
DREW: [Stares at me though I have constructed a fiery Molotov cocktail out of his newborn sister’s formula bottle]
[EXIT DREW FLAILING]
When he was significantly more awake, a few hours later, it was all “blah blah blah love and kisses and hugs”, of course, like nothing had happened.
DREW: Aunt Elleee!*
ME: You looked at me like I was a grizzled hitchhiker. [Pause.] I love you.
*He tends to leave out the “m”
Here comes New Year’s. Here it comes. Here comes the shiny and new.
I recently told someone that I wanted to spend my New Year’s Eve alone on a mountaintop.
As that is impracticable at the moment, a party with small cups of champagne will be nice, too.
The next time I write, it will be 2009. Bless my boots! What ought one resolve to do, in 2009? I have a few big plans, but I’m not telling.
New Year’s is good for little plans, too. Like I think I should clean my room and I should buy a little bin where I could keep all my file folders. The bin could be red.
My room is awash in file folders. Every time I open one, I marvel at the contents all over again.
ME: Holy MARY!
Sometimes I forget why I kept something. It was bone-achingly important at some point, and now it is not. I cannot remember why I printed this short story, and gave it a folder all its own. There are other stories. I did not print them.
Last poem of 2008. I read a lot of poetry this year; I found basquillions more poets and poetesses with whom I became can’t-eat-can’t-sleep-must-read-everything-they-have-ever-written-even-the-bad-stuff-from-1992 enamored.
However, this poem [which I linked to in this blog, but did not post in its entirety] really threw me and my heart and soul and everything right against the wall. In the good way.
Happy New Year.
I have been wondering
What you are thinking about, and by now suppose
It is certainly not me.
But the crocus is up, and the lark, and the blundering
Blood knows what it knows.
It talks to itself all night, like a sliding moonlit sea.
Of course, it is talking of you.
At dawn, where the ocean has netted its catch of lights,
The sun plants one lithe foot
On that spill of mirrors, but the blood goes worming through
Its warm Arabian nights,
Naming your pounding name again in the dark heart-root.
Who shall, of course, be nameless.
Anyway, I should want you to know I have done my best,
As I’m sure you have, too.
Others are bound to us, the gentle and blameless
Whose names are not confessed
In the ceaseless palaver. My dearest, the clear unquaried blue
Of those depths is all but blinding.
You may remember that once you brought my boys
Two little woolly birds.
Yesterday the older one asked for you upon finding
Your thrush among his toys.
And the tides welled about me, and I could find no words.
There is not much else to tell.
One tries one’s best to continue as before,
Doing some little good.
But I would have you know that all is not well
With a man dead set to ignore
The endless repetitions of his own murmurous blood.