Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Orchard Lovers...

I take the vacant Saint Paul skyway home
With foreclosed signs on the parking ramp entrances
And empty store fronts
I remember my little girl fantasies
Of being the last person on earth
And - I can have anything I want
Like candy and pretty dresses –
Swimming in my pigtailed head

I pass through the old train station
And down the front steps
Balancing my satchel and books in one hand
Fumbling ten thousand keys in the other
A fat envelope waits at the back of the mail box
and I recognize the script, amongst the bills and flyers
an invitation to Raphael Ortega’s event at Mancini’s
and several bills left unpaid
I don’t usually pay my bills anymore
Because I don’t have the money
and I don't care most days

I go to work every day and home every night
I make dinner and do my homework
straighten up and go to bed
You will not find inconsistency
That would take time that I don’t have
if you were paid for the work you did each day
I would be fat
But you’re not - so
I don’t even have my own bathroom
Which doesn’t bother me at all – anymore

I no longer seek ownership of any kind
Over any thing
I have taken money out of banks
Even Banco Popolare
I use money orders that cost .79 at the unbank
When I need to
I have switched to an unsecured phone company
I haven’t bought anything new for myself
in more than 7 years
If you buy everything at thrift
all of your money goes to charity
It’s pretty win-win…

I open the international letters first
I have to retype most of them into a translator
But I can do this between food preparations
And dishes – in the shared kitchen, with a nice view of the depot
And no screens on the windows – so I can put out bird seed
I respond to several letters - and file the rest for the weekend
I put the invitation to Mancini’s on the fridge
At eye level, because that’s the only way I’ll remember

Ryuji writes to me in Japanese,
- From Burnsville
Although he’s lived here 30 years
And speaks perfect English -
He also leaves long winded voicemails
They remind me of music that’s yet to be “invented”
Somehow both soothing and alien
I don’t translate his letters
But put them into the small chest they have claimed
For someday when I have time to know
What he was thinking
And it doesn’t matter anymore
This year he will return to Japan
Take over his mother’s church
And begin a life that’s been on hold since
The first time he saw an American magazine
And our country tis’ of thee
sent him packing
when I met him it was the day before
we left to see the Dalai Lama
he had gobs and gobs of wool in his eyes…

I sit down with the fat letter from Minkenation
From North East Regional Corrections Center
Where he will be spending the next year
It outlines his daily activities
And a new found interest in gardening
Which I appreciate dearly
He also explains the politics of incarceration
A realm he is not unfamiliar with
This being his 5th visit
He claims a rightful pursuit of happiness
as his only crime and
I can’t argue in comparison to what I’m being taxed this year
I’ve rarely met a better man
Jesus was a talk-back carpenter too
and I’ll bet he’d dig the jazz
I send him a copy of The Yellow Wallpaper
By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

I fill out Raines camp forms
Photo copy his immunization records
And file the originals away
I place the camp supply checklist on his bed
and pick up any random recent interests he has left about
which are few and mostly academic
last week I amazed him with a story from when I was a child
and television went off at night, after the scenes of
fighter jets, and the National Anthem
“Nothing came on?” he said
“yes - nothing”..
“what do you mean- like the electricity went off?”
“no, it was fuzzy..”
my son is as perfect a person as I can imagine
he is kind, intelligent, and loves me
when other children his age are smarting off
and expecting fresh Nike’s
Raine has dismantled an old music box
My grandfather gave me
And is attempting to fix it for me for mother’s day
Poorly hidden under his bed, I push it more out of sight
Nearing 13 and passing me up in height,
He still lets me fall asleep - my head on his shoulder on the bus
If I were to claim even half of the credit for his perfection
I would be a thief and a liar– I don’t question anything
I just talk steady and softly
Hoping to soften the blow of adulthood

The emptiness that surrounds me is entirely mine
I feel as though I am in a constant state of worship
and I have begun to pray regularly,
although I'm not sure to whom
but someone is there
I pray to be loved and left alone
I pray for Jurmi
I pray for the water-- and often
I pray for something that is so far beyond me
I can't form thoughts and my heart is just open
deep warm winds blow right through it and I can't stop
I want to disappear in those prayers
each time - I think I may...

I feel my redemption welling up in some far off sea
It’s gravitating towards me which has become almost painful
and incredibly beautiful

There was this tiny ripple in my heart.
and it became a woman.

Ps: YourLustForLifeStartsRightNow!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Chelsea..Thank You For Your Poetry. Thank You For Coming in Here. Thank You For Being The Person That You Are!