It started with the grackles
just after dawn
waves of them chattering
black and purple and iridescent.
As one wave subsided
another would be building.
It went on for so long
that my neck was stiff
from looking up in wonder.
Their wings making soft thumping sunds.
Totem of the emotionally congested
Perhaps a colonic cleanse?
Or maybe just a drive around the familiar streets
of a formerly familiar place.
It was my home.
Now it is a crowded and dusty attic
filled with the detritus
of a life that no longer exists.
Our first house —
fence gray weathered and rickety
weeds instead of lavender at its edges
the Chrysler Imperial Rose no longer gracing the door with rich red cinnamon scent
the neighborhood itself shabby and untended
full of strangers
The white wood-sided chapel where we married that gray November day
replaced a few blocks away
with a grand brick building
where another building used to be
the one you worked in.
There are hot tears and choking sounds
as the pain of this new reality
forces itself on me
and the old memories
Home is a different place now.
The flood of painful nostalgia catches in my throat reading your prose. I have gone to old addresses and not fit in anymore. My childhood home I wanted to root out memories to understand myself better. Searching for emotional growth. The house I lived in with my grandparents in the summers in Long Beach were some of the happiest days of my youth wspecially when I was sent to live with my grandmother who I adored. Now the neighorhood has hardened and is not safe after dark. The house is shabby, the pomegranite tree gone, but I remembered being a girl, even as an adult woman breaking into a run to the back door hoping to see Grandma in her kitchen chair doing crossword puzzles. The old driveway cement was cracked and grimy, but I still saw the initials of Laura and Clay with a heart and the date 1/67. Another catch in the throat for my first steady. The house where my children were born, and the earnest way I tried to live up to what a good mother should be. My kids are older than I was then with children older than they were then. The house that held all possibilities for a happy marriage when Bill and I moved to a brand new house that we created together. Bittersweet with the responsibily on my shoulders only when my teen age son’s angst and acting out caused me pain. I did not live up to my ideal of a good mother. Fulfilling my husbands dream of living in the country, I moved with him to the wine country in Temecula where we created a mini southern type of mansion, only to lose it to Bill’s alcoholism. The fires of 2004 burned that house down, less than two weeks after we sold it. One of three houses lost to the that fire. Like you Sharon, I have reinvented myself in my little house in Menifee that is decorated so feminine, its obvious I live alone. My sewing has always been a solace for me. and my sewing room hold court for memorbilia of the past with new types of sewing, quilting art work. Bill would have been proud. I have to keep the saddness at bay, it will be 6 years next month that Bill died. I have moved on, sometimes wondering if Bill, the practicing alcoholic, would even be in my life today. And Sharon, another comfort is knowing that while many changes have happened in life, I am not alone walking the course. It is just that we babyboomers thought it would peace, love and being young forever. What a surprise we were in for!
Not alone at all. In fact, you have been a beacon for me, my friend, having gone down this road just ahead of me. <3
You write such vivid poetry with superb imagery, both internal and external. Yes, things change and suddenly all that was familiar is unfamiliar. I experienced this in my 2006 visit to Arizona … felt so disoriented because I wasn’t there to see it as it changed.
Keep writing. It’s wonderful.
Having such fond memories, I have determined to live in the present, plan for the future, and revisit the past sparingly, if at all.
Good for you! I have come to realize that this is a healthy way to live.
My circumstance is very different. I treasure the sight. Things that have remained the same or what has changed, who is living there and enjoying the porch which is ovious with the patio furnature there. I enjoy the sight and rember the past and the good times, the Memories come flooding back in vivid color. I feel conected to the land, the suroundings, Like they are a part of me that can never be taken away.
On the farm I feel like I am home, That I have never left, that I am somehow conected to the land. Maybe that is the way the indians feel. I usually go away feeling renewed, envigorated. Probably for all the posative memories, and close ties I feel there. Still somehow conected to the land and the people there.
Even I can feel the hominess of Monte Vista when I go back, Meg! We have so many roots in the valley that it is impossible not to feel it.