Crash Course

mood: doubtful | drinking: late night tea

bang

Big Bang

No one ever asked me
if I wanted to crash into the moon.

The trajectory was set
before I got on board
and I, attempting for once
to be a good cosmonaut,
just strapped myself in
and hung on for the ride.

Once in orbit, it wasn’t like
I could just get off and go home.
You always wanted me to
see something through
to The End, anyway, so
here we go.

No one else seems to share
my crisis of faith, so sure are they
that this is a reasonable sacrifice.

For who wouldn’t want to be
incandescent, finally?

To go out like that,
in a brilliant flash of light
just before dawn, raising
a six-mile-high cloud of debris
and dust like a fist
in the face of God.

***
I read this story today about what NASA’s going to be up to in the wee hours of tomorrow morning. All the talk of crashing gave me a strong urge to brace for impact, which reminded me of a lot of relationships I’ve been in, and then one thing led to another and this poem just sort of exploded right out of me. And there you have it.

-Lo, from the lunar surface.

Things That Go Bump

Mood: doomed | Drinking: chemicals

night_terror

Night Terrors

The things that come for us now in the dark
do not wear the faces of our childhood monsters.

There is no boogeyman or closet troll
lying in wait when the lights go out,
but still we curl beneath covers,
reduced to small sniveling things
too scared to open our eyes.

In the dark we discover the fragility of our happiness.
We realize disappointment is not an “if” but a “when”.
We discover that betrayal is unavoidable.

We suffer premonitions of catastrophe.
Panic of dying alone. Within every shadow
lurk specters of bankruptcy, layoffs and loss.

The rituals once used to banish the ogre under the bed
gave us some small sense of control, so we adapt,
develop defensive OCD tendencies,
flicking the light switch ON-OFF-ON-ON-OFF
before turning down the sheets.

When daylight finally appears, it does little to assuage us.
The pretense of normalcy comes more naturally
once we’ve been groomed and caffeinated, yes,
but the newspapers these days print our nightmares as headlines.

Late for work, we run back into the house from the garage
three separate times
to make sure the stove’s really off.
As if caution will prevent
the inevitable electrical fire
already smoldering inside the walls.

When we come home later to fire trucks,
we feel almost relieved.

We always knew disaster was only a matter of time.

*****

-Lo, who is only afraid of the dark after watching scary movies when Boy is away.

Of Tsunamis and Tiny Tabascos

Mood: Extravagantly Exhausted
Drinking: Liquids

Coming off my episode of utter contentment on Christmas Eve, it’s been a wild and bumpy week. Not all of it has been the bad kind of bumpy, but when you consider that a giant tidal wave devoured thousands of lives and homes and left disease and despair in its wake, and it’s not even 2005 yet… Well, that will put a damper on anybody’s warm fuzzies.

When you have relatives in town, you tend to pay much less attention to the TV…at least my family does. So my awareness of what’s going on in the rest of the world has been lagging a bit behind, but it’s there. And, much like on 9-11, I’m feeling incredibly helpless and inadequate in the face of such phenomenal devastation. Boy and I will do what we can to help, there’s no doubt, but it’s times like these when you feel like such a fortunate and fat American. And you realize, once again, that you are just really fucking lucky. And you feel grateful and dirty, all at the same time.

So I’m going to spend some time researching where to make my disaster relief contributions…where is it most needed, where will it do the most good, etcetera. And I’ll also be searching for tiny Tabascos and miniature A-1 sauces. The explanation is this:

My sister and her shiny new husband visited the foggy city for the holiday extravaganza this week, and it was the last time in a long time that I will see my brother-in-law. He’s heading to Iraq in a couple of weeks. And it’s one of those things that there are just not enough words for. Or not the right kind of words. So I’m focusing instead on the Tabasco sauce.

See, apparently the chow sucks for soldiers. Eating the same thing day in and day out, out there in the middle of god-knows-where, and they can’t just run over to In-n-Out and get a nice fat burger anytime they feel like it. So my sister told me that they (the soldiers) like those tiny bottles of Tabasco, A-1, whatever, because they can pocket them, season their dinner, and then toss out the bottles. It’s genius. And that’s why I’m on the lookout for tiny, tiny Tabascos. Got any?

Okay, I wasn’t kidding around when I said that I was extravagantly exhausted. A week of in-laws and long drives in the California snow (Yosemite-style) and traveling with a 50-pound Boxer on your lap because she thinks she’s a teacup poodle and hearing about home-wrecking Tsunamis has left me without any wits whatsoever. So I’m going now…

-Lo, who has already calculated the distance from beach to home in case of a California tsunami. (I think 36 blocks might be far enough away.)

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