Posts Tagged ‘death’

body

(a memorial of sorts)

Bring the body down
Bring the body down
Science demands a last exam
The eyes, the hair, the face
This alien DNA never seen before
And never seen again
Bring the body

Bring the body down
Bring the body down
The subjects request a final performance
Look to the stars above
This vessel once filled with light and love
now cracked and spilled and pouring out
in a beautiful flood

The time at hand, the preparations
The coffin built to specification
Periodically blooms in transformation
Light the fires, begin the devotions
This thing once boldly set in to motion
It will not end, it will not end

Bring the body down
I can see through this disguise
Your facets and graces still intact
Here beneath the death mask
Shimmering layers peeling back
Reveal
Who are you now?

And you were never more than this to me
(bring the body)
And you were never more than this to me
(bring the body)
And you were ever more than this to me
(bring the body)
And you were ever more than this to me

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Tree Fort

It’s Sunday morning around 3 AM. I’m sitting on the couch at a friend’s house, savoring the last beer of the evening,  still glowing from the show my band played at a local bar just five hours prior. My friends and I may be middle-aged but we are giggling like school girls. Our kids are elsewhere, sleeping and safe, and we are talking about everything . . . movies, men, our mothers, life. I know I will pay dearly for this venture into the youthful territory of pre-dawn revelry –particularly in a few hours when my family will look to me to be the functional, dependable mother and wife who will make breakfast, but for now I feel like a teenager.   The deep, intense friendship we are enacting, the underlying sense of possibility that permeates the night all takes me back to the summer after high school graduation when the future was unknowable, but the mystery seemed overwhelmingly in my favor. Good things have happened and therefore more good things could happen. Summer has just begun. “The future’s open wide.”

It’s Wednesday afternoon around 3 PM. I’m standing in a darkened room next to the bed of a dying woman. We have known each other for ten years. She is the mother of my oldest son’s one-time best friend. Together we have endured and enjoyed countless play dates, some which ended well and some which ended in tears (the children’s, not ours). The friendship between our sons fizzled out a few years back, but she and her family have remained regular attendees at our New Year’s Eve parties, including this past New Year’s Eve when she shuffled into my kitchen, thin and frail, to take her usual place the table with all my friends. Her presence made the party feel complete. But now she turns her head towards me, her eyes flutter open and fix upon me for a moment before looking away. We know each other well enough for her to say, with the most emphasis she can muster, “This sucks!” Already she is tired and drifting off again and we have run out of things to say. “Take care,” I tell her, “I’ll catch you later.”

It’s Thursday morning around 4 AM. I’m sitting on the couch in my living room. My youngest son has a headache and a fever of 104.6. My husband is rocking him in the recliner. I have administered Tylenol and placed a cold pack on his forehead. We have been fighting this fever since the early evening. The advice nurse told me everything is fine as long as it stays below 105 degrees. I’m worried – not really worried, but still worried. Life takes detours; one moment changes everything. What comes next remains unknowable. You hear stories all the time.

It’s Thursday morning around 10 AM. My son’s fever is down, not gone, but back to around 100. He’s feeling better and acting more like himself.

It’s absolutely gorgeous outside, an anomalous warm and sunny day for our coastal Northern California town. I step out on the deck and feel the warmth rise up from the sun-heated boards. There’s not a hint of cold, even the icy sea breeze that often threads itself through the usual spring-like temperatures of our climate is still.  Summer!

“Come outside,” I tell my son. “It’s beautiful out here.”

Still in his pajamas, he follows me across the deck to the weather-beaten settee and sits on my lap. Instinctively we both close our eyes and turn our faces towards the light.

“Sometimes,” I say, more to myself than to him, “all you have is the warmth of the sun on your face. And sometimes it’s enough.”

He lays his head on my shoulder.  I have not felt this content in days.

My mother died 4 months after my second son was born.  The last time I had  a coherent conversation with her was on the phone in my hospital room, letting her know she had a second grandson.  The woman I spoke with after that was no longer in touch with reality. When the time came,  my nearly newborn son and I flew across the country to sit with my dying mother for ten days in a nursing home. There I watched her fade  from this world while  my son become more aware.  It was the powerful balance of life and death unfolding before me, and I tried to attend to the needs of each.    This song is about that time.

I performed it at my CD release party and it was hard singing something so personal in front of a large crowd of friends who were having a good time.  Still, I would like to share it here.

 

Oh the tender time has come

The moment soft and open

Now the ebb and now the flow

Once the weight, but now the fulcrum

Oh the tender time is done

It is the mystery that we’ve been given

Soft then harsh, soft then gone

Our bodies pull to the rhythm

Oh the tender time has come

Cocoon and butterfly

Here for the first time and the last time

Take my hand before you fly

And we are birthing the soul from the body

And we are birthing the child from the mother

And we are birthing the soul from the body

And we are birthing the mother from the child

And we are birthing the soul from the body

And we are birthing the child from the mother

And we are birthing the soul from the body

And we are birthing the mother from the child

The mother from the child