I gave the kids candy conversation
hearts. Actually, I found a box on top of the fridge and rattled it. Once they heard the candy hearts they were like little crack addicts
. I offered it to them in exchange for peace when I write
. Silly to ply them with sugar and then wait for blissful, uninterrupted silence, but I think I need such a trick or else I might not get anything done. I think being a writer makes me a bad mom
. I am not conventional enough. I should be making tangible stuff, a soufflé
perhaps. Darning socks, working a mean applique
. Instead I hug a river of words
. I get little shocks; it keeps me coming back to piss on this electric fence
. Which is not a sensible thing to do.
Maybe it’s bad to watch your mother do something senseless and confusing, to watch her aching. But maybe it’s the best thing. Maybe it makes this a more well rounded experience, where they can see me demonstrate what it means to be human. To get mad and get it wrong, and then work it out and make it through. Maybe that will serve everyone best in the long run.
The children seem to approve of my energy when I am just goofing around at the computer. They don’t bother me then. The approval turns to fear when I begin to pound words out of the keyboard. While I am breathless and concentrating very hard, the baby pulls his wooden rocking horse over to the keyboard tray and stands up on his chubby little bowed legs. Uses every opportunity to support himself with an elbow lodged in my eye or breast. Yes his hands are sticky. Of course he hits the keys. AWD eaz w 5rt35 `1``````fuc.
As captain of the mommy ship I am the hub, center of all things. I sit in a storm of toddler. In the eye of the storm I try to squeeze something from the impulses hovering above my head. Half of me talking about sippy cups and who may or may not have pissed on the floor. The other half thinking about being a jazz singer, harnessing Billie Holiday for the power to lay down an ache you would ask for. Dreaming a pile of lovers. Thinking about finishing my projects, ALL of them. Staring deep into my own green eyes, finding myself.
Every time I get in a word groove two little people start up the mad monkey dance, scream, jump between my back and the chair. They pull my socks off. Stand so precariously on the rocking horse that I am forced to stop and break my pace. The whole time I think I don’t need this. But maybe I do. When I was young I was not carefree. After all, when I could have been doing anything what I chose to do was mostly nothing. Brilliance did not make its way out of my head. I know that as my son pushes the keyboard tray under the desk and I try to hit “save”. He pushes the mouse. He smacks me with my wrist pad. I stand up, angrily set him aside, and lift the rocking horse. He hangs from it like this is some action movie and I am about to get away in a helicopter. A heart shaped candy falls with a ping on the hardwood floor. Katie dives for it, jams it into her mouth and clamps her jaw tight. Miles lets go of the rungs, falls into a fitful screaming heap, wails at the injustice of the candy accidentally dropped and gobbled up in the blink of an eye. It was the last one.
Now there is hell to pay and I can’t cover the tab. There is not enough candy in this world.
I write leaning up against the wall. I write on the toilet. I practice sentences in my head while driving. Repeating certain parts out loud to imprint them on my memory, so that when I get hold of a pen I can lay it down, put it to rest. Get it out of here.
I run my mind through word mazes, filter life through colored disks, sift around for nuggets. I make bridges, strewing haphazard sculptures on an overgrown lawn. Attempt to squeeze a drop of beautytruth out of the mundane, for no other reason than I have to. It seems someone has forced my bulb. Check out my seashells:
You are just about to come when there is a knock at the door. It’s not your orgasm.
That bitch was a witch,
That bitch was a beacon,
That bitch was broken,
That bitch burned the bacon
That bitch was a mama
What a drama
Where to put this, fucking
My voice has begun to open up. Involuntary song bits blurt out. Right in the store, in public, before the noodles, I bust down with some Sun Ra. Just a smoky little, “Whacho gon’ do, about yo ass…it’s a muthafucka, don’t you know…better kiss yo’ ass, goodbye goodbye.” The lady nearest me haphazardly stacked noodles into her cart while evil eyeing me, slipped away fast. I laughed to myself and debated telling her it’s a real song. It’s only about nuclear war, ha ha. You know, funny stuff to sing at the store, all together now…
I can begin to understand Sylvia Plath in her last moments. She baked cookies for her kids, went into the kitchen, shut the door, stuck her head in a warm quiet womb. The scum build up in the oven was the back drop for her last look at life. Perhaps she sat, wishing her kids had not fought about the cookies when she was only trying to bribe them so she could get some words together. Perhaps after one last “nothat’smine, yoursisbigger, i’mtelling” there she was, right on the edge. Falling over it. I find my self uncomfortably divided between outraged shock and aching sympathy for her. Couldn't she call on someone?
I share a hint of this to my mother-in-law, in an attempt to make her a nurturing mother replacement with a wise hug and at least one offer to take the kids overnight. I get this, “They are only little for awhile, you should enjoy it.” As though I am not. Also as though I really could set aside every one of my own goals because I made some people. There must be a happy medium.
Preferably the ballsy over-rouged kind who knows everything, laughs a lot and calls me dahlink. Can’t she come over and watch the kids so I can write? Am I really expected to do all of this? I am an earth mama, a diva, a fucklusty off center birth goddess wordsmith magician. The fool at every stage of the journey. CHECKIT. She would know how to handle the children of just such a woman. She would be their most magic friend. Then I could relax because a new and improved Mary Poppins could fix up the sandwiches, wipe the noses, unstick juice from the floor.
In the kitchen it’s naked boybaby, a big jar of mustard and three potatoes, a fork, some spilled milk. An egg cracked open. In the bathroom it’s naked girlchild, with a head band around her neck, singing to herself in a hand mirror, lipstick up to her nose. Right here it’s a mamawoman. Down on the floor. Looking amazingly beautiful babies in the eye, thanking them for keeping me grounded. Baby arm around my neck says I am worth holding onto. Thank god.
"I tasted a crumb. And it was good. It was cereal. Off the floor. And I can’t believe it was good. Like graham graham graham.” She announces this like I might not believe the truth of it.
Katie is obsessed with potatoes and Miles with eggs. He breaks his on the floor as often as possible now that he can fling the baby gate aside like the Hulk and open the fridge.
Katie gets three potatoes and pokes the largest with a fork.
She says, “Mom, tell me ‘what have you made Katie’.”
What have you made? I ask her. Her eyes grow WIDE as she prepares to lay it on me, her mind-blowing invention.
“A potato fadjin plant. I sit it down,” (potato goes on the table, fork sticks out at a jaunty little angle) “and then I talk to it. And sometimes I poke this fork into these potatoes over here. But this one is my favorite. What do you think of that?”
What do I think of that? You cherubic little genius.