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Posts Tagged ‘23 AUGUST’

Like a circle, you can choose WHERE you begin to read the story below.

Perhaps, turn it upside down: read from the bottom up!

A very different tone- like listening to Beethoven’s Ninth in reverse, that is, first listen to Ode to Joy.

Any point of entry  has the capacity to  set the stage and receptivity.

23 AUGUST   8/twenty-third   AUGUST 23

 Circle and Spirals: aroundandaroundandupandordown

 Coincidence, Collaboration, Concinnity

23 AUGUST   8/twenty-third   AUGUST 23

My Father, my Daddy, was killed in a car accident on August 23.

I was six.

I was home on furlough from the  keep in ascetic and antiseptic

yellow-green hospital walls.

Both of my legs were held straight in heavy white plaster

so the hand sewn stitches could weave the deep surgical cuts together.

A rubber heel was  installed at the “foot” of each cast.

I used crutches and swung in a rhythm throwing my legs and body forward

and in the next moment my crutches aligned with my upright body.

Repeat.

A beat.

Pause, anchor, inhale, swing, pause, anchor, inhale, swing.

I defied the gravity of my heavy plastered legs.

Rhythm.

I loved movement and was equally frightened by it

 because of my infant to child body being bound to beds.

I loved watching children run, tumble, wrestle and jump!

Absolutely delighted in the delight of witnessing movement and motion!

I watched my Mother.

My Mother was an artist whose creative energies were shaped to serve others.

She knew I was an artist.

It took many generations to create the full bloom of an artist.

My eyes and ears were keen instruments

and my sense of touch which was silenced, atrophied and

would yearn, gasp, whir and luxuriate with a beloved’s touch.

A beloved’s touch would echo in oceanic waves and be held within me  long, long past its receipt.

Touch created agony too.

I always paused and needed reassurance to welcome/invite and ready myself for it.

My solar plexus, my gut, told me about trust and touch.

Sensitive.

My fate was preparing me to be an artist with strong shoulders, arms, back

and hands with long fingers that could spread wide –

 and were noticed by pianists and basketball players.

The August twenty-third my Daddy was killed,

my sister Lynne, my brother Bill and I were sleeping over at a neighbor’s home.

We were taken there two nights earlier because

 my youngest brother Blake, who by nature is consumed and motivated by all senses and curiosity,

was in the ER with our parents.

A thin plastic tube was frantically placed down his throat and  plunged into his stomach.

Poison was being pumped up and out.

Blake’s life teetered.

He had found a bottle of poison and drank it whole.

He would turn two on 28 August.

I was the one who noticed his dilated pupils.

We were all outside in the backyard of our brown house with the bright green front door after a barbecue dinner.

My Daddy came running after I screamed a sound I had never heard.

We were sleeping at a neighbor’s home for two nights.

Bill slept on the sofa and I slept on the floor of their living room.

In the middle of the dark night of August twenty-third, I woke up suddenly

and whispered to Bill: “Billy, Daddy has died.”

Bill was four.

His little boy body sat up and said no, and went back to sleep.

I could not.

I knew.

Early the next morning, our Mother arrived in a grey station wagon not our car.

She was dressed in a narrow silhouette of black.

We were all gathered by the neighbor waiting for her arrival.

I knew.

We were brought into the neighbor’s little girl’s room,

and Mother sat on her bed as did Lynne and Bill on each side of her.

I stood in front of her and hung on my crutches.

She told us.

I looked out the one window at the blue skies with clouds slowly moving from the right to the left- an adagio, as I listened to her voice.

The announcement with my Mother’s voice and the window stayed with me.

I looked at her and told her I knew.

23 AUGUST   8/twenty-third   AUGUST 23

Our bodies were pulled into themselves like a magnet as August 23 approached.

Every year this pilgrimage, this invisible walk to the altar of loss would occur.

I would forget the date and my body remembered.

My body knew what my heart and mind wanted to forget.

I loved my Daddy and I remember his touch, his smell, his voice and yet his visage is blurred.

I think it is because we were told he fell asleep at the wheel and his car crashed into a bridge.

My Daddy was decapitated.

Daddy was thirty-two.

23 AUGUST   8/twenty-third   AUGUST 23

Decades later I did become the artist.

I could not stand, tolerate, endure being fenced in, corralled, and boxed in.

My Mother said I had such a magnified/magnificent sense of wonder!

And I was terrified at once.

Desire and fear always in perpetual battle like Jacob and the Angel.

There were tapestries of intricate and interconnected stories: personal and professional.

I received the prestigious P.S. 1 International Fellowship for my art the first grant I had ever applied for.

I lived in New York City on Mulberry Street between Canal and Hester for over six years.

I paid my monthly rent to Rocky.

John Gotti, Dapper Don, reigned and was a gentleman to all who lived and loved on this street.

I took a part-time job.

I was physically assaulted on my job, at my place of employment.

Rocky asked me after one month: Why do you not smile? You always smile and laugh! What happened to you?

I told him.

He said: Give us his name!

I said: no.

 My orthopedic surgeon told me I could not change the physical demands of New York City.

When I left, the wait staff from every restaurant on Mulberry Street, my home, came out

and waved a white handkerchief as my taxi rolled its wheels down my neighborhood for the last time.

I have not been back.

My grief was too profound.

I had risen and the assault melted my wings.

On 23 August, I was preparing to leave the city that resonated with the rhythm of my heart and soul.

23 AUGUST   8/twenty-third   AUGUST 23

I go back to Minnesota.

 The self shuts down and I hold the pearl of my freedom and joy within.

I go back and live with my Mother.

We do things that I did not have the opportunity to experience as a child.

We garden together, we play, we laugh and we fight and we laugh once again.

A circle, a spiral of life.

My family was raised with dogs: Beagles and English Springer Spaniels.

My Mother decided it would be great fun and a wonderful experience to have her beloved Abby have puppies!

And, I would be there as she prepared everything like a high-end maternity ward.

As August 23 approached, our bodies pulled inward with the scent of heavy grief -still after so many years.

Yet, this time there was anticipation of joy.

An event occurred that would turn that eternal unmovable date around to welcome a new story.

We measured Abby’s billowing belly every day!

I read the books on delivering puppies with special attention to the emergency situations.

At mid-day on August twenty-third, Abby let out a very feminine yelp and we walked her to the whelping bed placed in my Mother’s bedroom.

A head appears from her vulva and Abby looks at me!

Oh my God. She is frightened!

I recall pages 83 to 86- each word in my mind’s eye

I reached inside her and pulled out the sack and tore it  open with my teeth.

It is a boy!

The newborn is not breathing.

Every second was life/death critical.

 I nest this tiny figure of life in my cupped hands

and turn him on his back with his head at my finger tips.

 I pump its body up and down and I place my mouth over its nose

and slowly, gently and evenly exhale my breath into its lungs.

I had read the lungs could burst.

This is performed in intervals and timed like a metronome until he breathes on his own.

My heart is beating a fast syncopated beatbeatbeatbeat-

and my Mother is video-recording this event!

I was the mid-wife to every sequential birth coaxing gently each delivery and without the use of my teeth!

This first-born becomes mine.

I could not have children because of my physical story.

He remained nameless for weeks.

And slowly and  finally, I anointed him: SIMON COVENTRY.

Simon, in Hebrew, means: God heard.

Coventry was the last name of my beloved Dr. Mark B. Coventry, my orthopedic surgeon for 23 years.

  We collaborated

I was his broken Ming vase…and together we looked at my x-rays

and he searched my bone and found my spirit in the marrow.

23 AUGUST   8/twenty-third   AUGUST 23

 A new spiral of life and meaning was offered on that date of 8/twenty-third one of new life and joy.

A circle is unending beginnings.

In the night and in the day, the stars are always out and  shining.

New York City is calling me…I await other signals of being called and returning.

Circle and Spirals: aroundandaroundandupandordown

 Coincidence, Collaboration, Concinnity

EXITS/ENTRANCES   ENTRANCES/EXITS

Breaking open and breaking through what you already know- the story of your life becomes your life.

Amazing Grace

My beloved Dr. Coventry held the poem below close to his heart.

His daughter Martha said he recited this ancient Sanskrit poem until the day his spirit lifted away from his body.

Look to this day
for it is life
the very life of life.

In its brief course lie all
the realities and truths of existence
the joy of growth
the splendor of action
the glory of power.

For yesterday is but a memory
And tomorrow is only a vision.
But today well lived
makes every yesterday a memory
of happiness
and every tomorrow a vision of hope.

Look well, therefore, to this day….

Amazing Grace

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