01.13.43~11.15.07…

November 21, 2007

oh i have such regret

she was much more to me than she ever knew

and i never told her

it didnt occur to me

that i should not wait

there was a fantastic smile

so easy

so infectious

it always turned my head

and kept my heart

there was such intensity

of love

of life

and more talent than i ever admitted

i didnt keep her as i should have

although i knew she kept me

always close and tender

soothing

sweetness

such life

and now ive missed her

397…

August 13, 2007

once

when i was very small, mother’s parents visited. with them came my aunt and my cousin. all together there were eleven of us. being small and shy, i stuck close to dad.

papa decreed there should be a snapshot of all of us, excepting him. he was to take the snapshot. the preparations were made, with all the people shuffled about a few times. mostly, the grownups were settled on the sofa. the children were placed on the floor, at their feet.

dad sat in his rocky, swivel chair. i fussed until the camera and people and papa were ready. with papa barking orders and all the people trying to settle, dad scooped me up and kept me on his lap in the chair.

he spoke quietly in my ear. sit back he said. i don’t want my picture i said. i don’t want it either he said. then why i said. sit back he said my chair is magic.

i sat back and he leaned his rocky swivel chair back as far as it would go. i was reclined along dad quite comfortably. while we waited for papa to finish his preparations, dad kept me busy by holding me close and making his magic chair rock, swivel and spin. i felt a little apprehensive. these were different kinds of movements for me.

the snapshot was made, and i was released to my feet. i followed mother and my sister into the kitchen to get underfoot while dishes were cleaned and put away. more than once i was told to go play. more than once, i did not.

a long, long, long time later, i came across that snapshot. the eyes of my cousin were red. the twins smiled brightly, showing some missing teeth. mother, aunt and grandmother sat like clones, all with hands folded and feet crossed the same way. my sister was beautiful and my brother looked as if he couldn’t wait to get away. dad and i were reclined comfortably in the magic chair. we did not smile.

i had forgotten about that day until the snapshot reminded me. i was reminded that dad always kept me close and safe and comfortable. and even though i was an afterthought in that house to most… dad kept me up front, in the snapshot, in his mind and in his heart. while things changed and people and places changed, my dad was always the same. he was aware of me and my feelings and my heart. he always talked to me, even if he couldn’t answer all the questions. one thing i always knew, through all the turmoil, was that my dad loved me. every day.

segue – egypt beach…

August 11, 2007

a new fear

confusion
i lived in a new house by a different beach. there were changes i didnt like. my sister seemed to accept them. no one else thought them strange. i felt disconnected.

discovery
on the playground, i felt strange behind my ear. the nurse called mother. mother drove to the doctor. the doctor made arrangements at hospital. i asked why. they didnt tell me. i was operated on.

glimpse
when i woke, mother was there with him and i cried. i cried because i didnt want him. he was not family. i had no idea where he came from. when dad came, i asked. i dont remember the answer. linda visited too. they tried to comfort me, but i was too confused.

transition
at home, i slept restlessly, with nightmares. the incision hemorrhaged during the night. i didnt go to school. i was weak. i asked for facts, but got clues. i didnt understand what happened. and they didnt tell me.

now what
what i didnt understand was how people could be replaced. being so young, they thought i wouldnt get it, but i did. i got it slammed in my face the day he came strolling out of her room in his shorts. they seemed so natural, the others took it in stride. somewhere, i kept wondering… how did i get here?

minot c. 1969.2

June 6, 2007

buoy

swimming didnt come naturally to me. floating came first. keeping my head above the water was just the beginning. in the shallows i learned to be nearly weightless. since floating is only rudimentary swimming, i detected a problem. to float meant i was at the mercy of the current or waves. to get somewhere precise, i needed movement with power.

tack

there was a destination. away from the shore, in the deeper water, lay a rock. being almost submerged at high tide, this rock was suitable for diving. i had been out at low tide, many times. by visiting then, i found my way to the top. even though i saw where the barnacles were few, i endured deep cuts getting aboard. i saw that diving from barnacle at low tide was a bad idea. i wished to dive. i made a decision. to reach barnacle at high tide and then dive, i would swim.

chart

i began by trying to float in the desired direction. when that failed, i paddled. fingers apart and violent kicking got me nowhere. since i could float, i figured i was half there. i struggled on. i learned the paddle, but i was still afraid to go too far into the deep water. i was unsure of my ability. i tried and failed many times to get out to the diving rock. i begged my brother to tow me. he refused.

heave

all at once, i set off. on my own. i found it slow going and tired quickly. i resorted to floating, so i could rest. i rested long enough to grow cold. i considered heading in to the warmth of the sand. but the divers lured me, and slowly i paddled out to meet them.

squall

i didnt know, but there was a pecking order. the big strong kids got the rock. the small kids got the water. when a big kid swam in, a small kid could take his place. but only if the small kid could boost himself up onto the sharp and dangerous rock. if not, he lost his place and waited. if a small kid bucked the system, he risked being put off the rock in a vicious fashion. we waited in the cold and hoped a big would tire so we could have the chance to dive.

harbor

the first dive sent water into my nose and eyes. the cough and sputter cleared me. people laughing angered me. the cold drove me back onto the rock. so i dove and clambered back onto the rock to dive again. only when my lips were purple and my fingertips pruned and body covered with goosebumps did i seek the warmth of the sand.

minot c. 1969

i spent the summer of my seventh year diving barnacle. i was small compared to others. i was not a strong swimmer. i had cuts and i had fear. over time the breezes cooled and the sun had moved in the sky. i was still small. i swam very strongly. my cuts had healed and my fear replaced by triumph. now i lived in a different house. our family dynamic had changed drastically. a new fear developed.

im not sure ive faced it yet…

minot c.1969

May 11, 2007

fresh

the beach was new to me. there were large rocks and various sea creatures. i spent much of my time there alone. once i learned to swim, there were other things. but at first i concentrated on the rocks.

movement

learning the way to the top of the largest rock was tricky. on the first leg of the journey i kept close to the side. once i mastered that, i needed to make a leap of faith to continue. there was a turn and a large stretch to get to the top. i had to trust that my legs were long enough without knowing. many times i started. many times i didnt get to the top. once i made the leap, i realised something. there was more than one way down.

tides

high tide meant leaps into unknown territory, with uncertain consequences. low tide meant the possibility of damage if i made a bad step. there was no easy way down. i was afraid to retrace my steps. at the top of that rock, i discovered another leap. like the first i had to trust myself, i had to leap without seeing. i stayed at the top a long time. i found a way down, and then made my way back up.

discovery

there was a hole in the middle of that large rock. it was deep and dark. at the bottom, sand and water. the sides were slick, i could see that. at first i didnt venture into the well, i stared into it. around to the back of the rock was another entrance to the well. at the waterline, barnacles and seaweed, daunting obstacles at best. i travelled many paths on the rock, but i feared the well. once at low tide, from the back, i climbed halfway up, into the dark of the well. the slime made it hard to keep going. it was too dark to see my next hand or foothhold. if i waited, i would be swallowed by the incoming tide. i had to continue with out seeing, i had to feel my way up and out.

minot c. 1969

i was seven. my folks had split. our family was splintered. i spent part of that summer in a rented house, my grandparents cottage and at the rock. at the rental and the cottage, i was confused. people didnt tell me things. i didnt see my father or my oldest brother. my mother took up with another man. that rock made me trust myself when i couldnt trust anyone. that rock made me know i was capable, that i could do things. that rock made me feel happy when everything around me was sharper than any barnacle. i havent been back there for many years.

id like to try that rock again…


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