Saturday, April 28, 2012

Dream | I Woke Up Coughing


Walking up the cul-de-sac, I hum Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater.  Not because I am not perturbed or anxious.  But, because I went away for a long time.  The grass is still cut crisp as a golf green.  Stella D’oro lilies kneel straight backed before the daisies and zinnias who tilt their heads to the sky.  So proud and obedient.  Mounds of impatiens beneath the dogwood and ornamental pears make me giggle. For a good reason, I was gone a long time.

Not a fuzzy headed dandelion or prickly headed clover in sight.   I return to the same house in the same place.   Unsure of why, I thought the house would grow larger while I was in that place.  When I was gone, I had hoped someone might plant Cleome.  A little flippant, constrained perversity lends character to a city block.  Especially a cul-de-sac needs.   I don’t remember, 

but, knew.  I had been.   There.  Was a change.  I thought perhaps they might not uproot the Purple Archangel.  And that the house would be bigger.  While I was gone.  For some reason that was about calm or maybe growing.  Pumpkin.  

I remember pumpkin ~ the color that is.  Maybe the wet.  And vague ~ like recollection without calling anything to hold because there is nothing separate.  As the fair sticky strings embedded in the rounded flesh dangle seeds but don’t really think about their job, they just do it.  So I was there 

and now I am here.  And being there is not important to remember even though I was gone a long time.    I am returning now.  My hands open and close at my sides as if they should remember 

something.   The flowers would never overstep their beds or boundaries.  Not even one head peers from behind a curtain.  Such a quiet, comfortable little dead end roundabout.   Perched on the bottom curve of a waning moon,  

 house does not grow larger as I approach.  I remind myself that I am here for a good reason.   There is some noise bigger in me than the work songs and banging I hear.  But, I am not sure what

I am supposed to hear.  So I hum Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater, because everyone is happy to see me.  That is why smiles pinch their faces.   The sudden cessation of discourse and song.  This is what the squinted eyes mean. They are all wearing work clothes.  Thick dungarees with flannel shirts or plaster stained orange and red t-shirts. 

Everyone’s hands are dirty.  Every waist supports an empty tool belt.  The house hasn’t gotten any bigger, so I notice I have arrived without a carpetbag even though I had been gone a long time 

for a good reason.   Nobody says anything.  They just watch me walk across the grass.  Pause on the threshold.  Feel the rough wood on the open iron studded door.  I rather like my cream and pink floral night gown when I wear it with a bra.  Chuckie dips his head like gentleman tips his hat.  I stand underneath the upside waning moon doorframe.  Between the sky and the small house which didn’t change except for the color of the interior 

walls.  Split open pumpkin creme is what I’d call it. The walls changed hue so the inside seems even smaller now.    I have always liked faux finishes. Whoever did the sponging must have a clandestine love affair with anger.  I bet it was a woman.  But, that doesn’t bother me.  A woman in my house 

while I have been away.  What bothers me is the absence of the usual noisy frantic living chaos.   The kind children make.  The kind children made.  A child is supposed to be here.  Or maybe I am wrong.  I have been gone 

for a very long time.  This chaos is sullen and rude.  Mountains of boxes, furniture, artwork and bric-a-brac in the center of every room.  What bothers me is that a child could get very badly hurt in this type of environment.  A lamp could fall off of a cliff and bash its skull in.  A letter opener could flee from the paperweight that is has been forced to lay next to on the princess pea bed of boxes and dive in the safety of a child’s chest.   Suddenly everyone starts clapping 

and cheering.  I am being hugged,  so I am glad I put on that brasserie.  I reach up to touch my hair.  And find that a few wisps have escaped the lacy ecru night cap. I lick my lips to check for the taste of lipstick.  I take a deep breath because I can not remember if I have showered, applied deodorant and spritzed myself 

with perfume.   Every is in order.  So, I smile.  My husband takes my elbow.  He has a ball of golden thread which he unravels as he leads me through the maze.  Between the boxes, I can not see the walls. I am comforted by that cooper chafing dish who dangles her one leg over the dock of the boxes over the river of grain frozen in the hardwood floor.  I am walking on a petrified river of sap and I know this is something almost biblical.  So I hum ever so carefully and inaudibly Try Not To Get Worried.  And the tools in everyone’s hands raised hands become

palm fronds.  My husband leads me through the french doors out onto the back desk.  The side garden has been landscaped to the exact specifications I once scribbled on graph paper; ripped up for no apparent reason 

and then taped to the inside of a hat box.  Before I can grin and giggle, I feel the gentle pressure on my elbow guiding me down the stairs to the garage.  Which isn’t 

a garage anymore.   Clematis and bamboo patterns interrupt thick frosted stained glass doors and windows.  Drywall has been hung.  Two skylights make a spot lights on a desk and easel.  My sewing machine is set up in a little corner.   One cupboard door is ajar. I can see my bobbins, ribbons and hoarded fabric neatly organized and labeled.  A deep purple chaise lounge invites dreaming with its embroidered pillows  and plush fleece throw. My husband 

lets go.  I burrow deeper into this little imagination den.  Behind a carved mahogany door is a bathroom with crimson claw foot tub.  Through the window, the pond looks like a Matisse overlaid with a Picasso.  I find that quite soothing.  Everybody’s eyes have machetes dancing with sugar cane 

in them.  Smiling.  The inside is much larger.  Neatly stacked against the walls are every painting I had ever loaned to a friend because I was always moving to a smaller and smaller house.  But, there is space for all of us! There is enough space for all of us here.  There is even space for something new.  It seems as if this room could continue to expand forever.  Chuckie is suddenly twirling an ebony cane; wearing a top hat and wearing a death grimace grin.  Behind him a boy tries to use his watery eyes to scream something very important.  The crowd cheers. My husband backs out 

of the door.  I raise my hand to my lips to blow kisses.  I wink at the boy.  And then I realize he is chained to the very small house.  He is tugging so hard at the chains that his wrists and ankles are bleeding.  And I suddenly recognize him as the most beautiful thing I ever made.  As I run towards him, my husband seals the door shut.  He blows a kiss.  Draws the shades and walks away.  A music box on an end table pops open.  The ballerina spins as it tinklesPeter Peter Pumpkin Eater.

No comments: