Surreality.

Every day I see people who knew you in life, sometimes running into them for the first time in decades; and, they inevitably ask about you as if they expect to find out that you’ve moved away to Canada, like you always threatened to do. The news of your short battle and premature death unfailingly drops jaws all the way around, and I regularly find myself in the position of having to firmly convince someone that you are dead and gone: a highly dissatisfying instance for me.
At least once a month I see a dress or a couch or a set of dishes that oozes your still lingering essence, and this essence permeates my existence for some time – maybe an hour; maybe a day…and as much as it stirs the burn of the embers inside the firepit called Pain, I greedily and secretly lean into the heat because it’s the only way I feel like I still know my Mom. Like I still have my Mom.
Every single night I walk my dog down the street your house is on. Although somebody else lives there and its appearance has been drastically altered since you died, I sometimes see your faint ghost on the front porch doing a crossword puzzle. I see your ghost watering the lawn too, or occasionally it even excitedly waves a hand at me from across Camden Avenue in the darkness.
I catch myself more frequently spitting out random statements and sayings that were always unique to you, alone.
Things like,

“In like Flynn.”

Or I sing stupid bits if stupid songs like,

“Here we come,
on the run,
like a hamburger on a bun.”
Or,
“Jonathan Joe had a mouth like an O”

I know its really you speaking in my voice, but I wonder what any of it means.

I often thank the Gods that you and I were able to at least scratch the surface of our reciprocal amendments to each other before you died so horribly fast and miserably. I’m continually thankful that I was able to thoroughly explain myself to you after all was said and done between us, but before your brain got so full of metastatic tumors that you were unable to comprehend me. I’m ever thankful that your passing wasn’t during any of our many former years apart, and that I was there to hold your hand when you asked me to be, because I can vividly remember that you were afraid, truly afraid. You never lost face though, you remain a bonebreakingly strong idol of my candlelit shrine. And no matter what else life throws at me, I will meet my last day on Earth with your smile on my face and your strength in my bloodstream. And, while your death killed off parts of me and stole any comfort I knew in the big, bad world, I haven’t let it burden me.
Though, I still bitterly wish we could have had Christmas in Sutter Creek, but it wasn’t meant to be.
Every single day passes with a strangling sense of your absence. And some days, I find you staring back at me from a mirror or the reflection from a storefront window as I pass. The tiniest and subtlest bits of your essence still trickle from the hole that losing you that way has left in my heart.

Clingy.

When you aren’t available, the world feels hollow.
I can only pray to nobody and nothing that you haven’t left me behind yet.
After all these years, no grip of mine is tighter than this desperate clinging to you.

Mama.

In randomly scattered moments
I can fool myself cruelly
through the tattered fragments
of a phantasmal memory
Abreast on a breeze of torment
I hear a quiet whispering
of an imaginary figment
a vague and ghostly thing
In the maddening confusion
I can make myself believe
through the comfortable illusion
that a child’s eyes perceive
Within such a warm delusion
I hear words never spoken to me
from the mouth of a fabrication
by the mom that you couldn’t be
In gradually growing resentment
I can hardly seem to breathe
through smoldering enchantment
my eyes still fight re-opening
for the sake of such abandonment
that represents the harsh reality.

Mama.

“Are you okay, Jake?”

(My mother’s nickname for me is Jake)

Hmmmmm…I don’t know, Mama…

let’s review, shall we? How shall I respond to such a painfully dense query? …

Maybe by throwing myself beneath oncoming freeway traffic…

Or peeling the fucking skin from my face with a smile…

Would spontaneous combustion count as a reply to your stupid-ass question?

crying-woman‘Am I okay?’…

fuck no, I’m not okay…come here and I’ll show you.

floki nooooooDear Mama,

I’ve NEVER been okay, and, as my blood-mother – has it ever occurred to you that you should know these things better than anyone? It hurts me so deeply that you take such little interest in knowing me – never have much cared about WHO I AM.
The irony here Mom, is that I am everything I am because of you, essentially, despite your ongoing carelessness and cruelty throughout my entire life. You will never understand me because you don’t care to; you will never hear me because you don’t listen to my words, and never could be still long enough to…do you know how much that hurts me? Even now after all this time I’ve had to accept who you are, it still just doesn’t sit well with me to know that your only daughter is wasted on you, and always was. You’re ignorance has always wounded me deeply, Mom.
Please keep trying, I will too.

Papa always told me that if you are crossing a bridge and become tired, you have only two options:

1) To sit down in the middle of the crossing and die;

2) To go back or forward until you get to one side or the other…

but you don’t just sit down and die, you keep going.