Memories repeat like songs./I left my parent’s home in Maryland/our domestically unsafe haven/filled like helium/with emotional explosions/anchored by our collective depression/shell shocked with adrenaline/we searched for his gun to hide it/so he couldn’t find it first/while the irony of beauty surrounded us/majestic trees night singing with shimmering leaves/the breeze shines the edge of moody clouds/while below my parents double convulse/with sorrow and anger like a heart attack curse/shouting wartime abuse and the struggle of hunger./I’m caught in their triangle/but how could I expect them/to wear normal upper middle class lives/after the absolute trauma of imperialism.
We were obsessed with Living the American Dream/we had the fancy ranch house/with candelabra chandeliers and skylighted ceilings/acres of land that stretched into fairytale forests/a perfect haven in nature/with tumbling baby foxes tussling in circles/a whole family of lovely doe and bucks with new antlers/eating mother’s hard won corn/does she chase them away/maybe but only through the kitchen window/opened like mini French doors/like Snow White’s cottage/opening wide to greet whirling butterflies and brightly feathered birds./Country roads feel lonelier in winter/landscaped with Christmas tree farms/and horse riding ranches/summer ripens handpicked wild raspberries and black berries stain my childhood fingers/firefly sunsets and balmy starlit nights in the country/with the moon chasing so bright/that sometimes it could wake you.
To navigate the space of memory/to access the various versions of myself/waking dreams we call memory/every time I face them I become their lost child again/their runaway girl/the only one that left/out of three well-behaved children/the quiet one who disappeared/into the crazy, paisley, fantasy of San Francisco/I left my heart there too/as long as I can remember that feeling/bruised hearts bursting with laughter/insane, terrifying, happiness and endless tears with my muse, Spencer./I think you can be happy with many different partners/but you only get one true love./He was mine and I was his/I think that’s what marriage is/natural, instant, union./He was bipolar and I was, whatever I am./I’m a sensitive./I’m a survivor./I’m an artist./I’m a nerd.
I want to write about Traveling:/to NYC with them to get my botched surgery/traveling to Ft Lauderdale to my sisters wedding/Ocean City one day vacation/4th of July at King’s Dominion/and the mystery of Loray caverns./What I knew as a child doesn’t change/unless I rearrange it in my mind/save what I want to/conveniently forget the rest/but the worst creeps in and I rewind time/haunt myself with futile guilt./Moving forward involves not repeating the mistake/guilt is pointless without action.
We were always in chaos/and I was in shock/bookish introversion was my protection./I was in utter shock/numbed by mental electrocution/all I could do was observe their horror/my function was as a witness to them/to their constant confusion/multiplied shouting, insults, slaps/mutilation of confidence/heavy calloused hands caused more hurt/kicks to the stomach/kicks when you were already down./My older siblings were referee punching bags as children./They suffered the blows that I wouldn’t/because I was terrified/a cowardly lion/the last baby with a heart condition/the prodigal spoiled princess.
Intoxicated creepy, gropey dopey ghoul/mon pere, my handsome father/sunglass wearing motorcyclist, asian Romeo./Thinking about them shouting Then/still hurts my stomach Now./The past, present and future coexist within./My mind is a time traveler renaming stories/They were always arguing never making up/always critical never friends/never supportive, always competing/killing each other with words/withholding love/withholding respect/their prearranged marriage disaster./They were the same age/born in the year of the mercurial horse/equally matched sparring partners/both attractive and oh so proud/clever in their own unique ways/both wartime children that never forgot hunger/both innocent civilians/enduring, hardworking/unstoppable, survivors.