For a beautiful Lady I knew many years ago
Lord, I got to talk to you today. But first, I got to get outta these shoes. My land, seems they worked me to the bone today, cleanin’ that house with all them chirlen. And my feet hurt like the devil. You know I don’t hold much with complainin’, Lord, but I been doin’ this work since I was 12-year-old, and I do wonder at how some folk don’t seem to know how to do for themselves. It’s just mighty peculiar, Lord. And, I’m tellin’ you, there’s people who still cain’t see the diff’rence between neat and messy, ‘cept when it’s me doin’ it. But them kids, they never ate so good as when its me cookin’, I can tell you that. I ain’t braggin’, Lord, but I know that’s true. Mm hmm, they askin’ me all day what I’m whippin’ up next and it sets me to smilin’. Still - it ain’t like cookin’ for your own – never was, never will be. These 50-odd years past, that ain’t changed…….ain’t nothin’ changed……leastways here. Forgive me, Lord, I’m grateful I got a job and grateful I can still work it.
But you know, I’m gettin’ old, Lord. My legs give out on me at times, my arms don’t want to lift another thing, and a pound o’ cake batter? It feels like a hundert when I’m stirrin’ it. Them sharp pains shoot through my hips, first one, then the other, then back again, and the third time climbin’ them stairs, I can hardly make it halfway. I don’t know how long you intend me for this world, but I’m gettin’ old and I’m gettin’ tired. And right now, I still gotta keep workin’ so my boys have a house when they come home. It’s all I got to give them. It’s all I got. ‘But there’s bills that got to be paid, else they comin’ to take it. You know I done the best I could with what I received on this earth. I got this house – it’s only 2 rooms and a kitchen and a little piece o’ land next to the swamp where the snakes ain’t too bothersome. But it’s mine. I tend my garden and you know how I love that – my flowers that grow so pretty and make the world seem good and my fresh vegetable patch keepin’ me and my boys healthy. And I could always find some kinda work to keep me and my boys livin’. I do thank you, Jesus. Amen.
But this ain’t about me, Lord. The biggest part of my life’s done come and gone, and I’m still makin’ it. I cain’t ask for more than that. No, Lord, it’s about my two boys. They both in jail. I guess you know that without me tellin’ you. You got to help them find the way, the way back to livin’ a decent life. It ain’t they fault, Lord, almost all these boys go to jail at sometime or other, and these jails down here ain’t never done nobody no good. They was good boys when they was little and they both good men, way down deep where it counts. I tried to raise ‚em right. I know I didn’t always do right by them though, if you’ll forgive me, Lord. When I beat’em so hard I felt the pain myself, I knew it wasn’t right, but I was afraid, afraid that if I didn’t beat the right manners into them, some white man was gonna come along and hurt’em worse. I seen it happen all my life, too many times.
I remember when they was little, Benjamin was smart as a whip, learnin’ his letters as fast as the teacher could throw ‚em out. He would talk about what he was gonna be when he growed up, what house he was gonna have and where he was gonna travel. I would laugh and say, you do just that, baby! Then he’d say, I’m takin’ you with me Mama, you know that. And I’d say, but I ain’t got no clothes to go gallivantin’ all over creation. I get you some, Mama, he’d say, and then we’d laugh like the dickens. My sweet boy. And Nat, he was a real scallywag, that boy. He love to fly out o’ the closet just to see me jump. And my baby could draw. I couldn’t buy him no paints and such, so he just grabbed a pencil and made pictures of anything and everything. I found Nat’s drawin’s all over the house and I still got’em, hangin’ up on the walls or pasted in a book. „ Do your schoolwork!” I told ‘em. „You gotta know somethin’ in this world today.” I only went to the 4th grade, and ain’t much doin’ with that.
I could feel when I was losin’ ‘em, and I couldn’t do nothin’ to set it right again – workin’ so much, 6 and 7 days a week sometime, and them doin’ nothin’, findin’ nothin’ to do, but hang around with them other boys. That ain’t no good for young’uns, too much nothin’ time. Yesterday, when I went to see him, Benjamin said, „Mama, I tried to work hard like you said, but no matter how hard I tried or how much I learned, I always felt like somebody was holdin’ tight to my suspenders, keepin’ me in the same place, no matter how hard my legs worked to go forward, just like in those dreams where you can’t move to save your soul.“ Benjamin says jail is worse than bein’ dead. And Nathaniel is so far gone down that bad road, there ain’t no bringin’ him back. Tell me that ain’t true, Lord, tell me it ain’t true.
Seems nobody round here got any hope for anything better than what is. Where’s that used-to-be-pretty little girl down the road gonna go with no teeth in her head and all them chirlen? Half the boys are sniffin’ that stuff up they nose and some o’ the girls too, but it don’t matter cause there ain’t no work ‘cept season farm work in them cotton fields and fruit orchards; or domestic work like I got; and sellin’ your body has been bringin’ in the money as far back as the Bible. But that ain’t nothin’ to look forward to, nothin’ to aim for. We was glad we was eatin’, but that just ain’t enough.
Lord, you made me strong, but not strong enough to save ma boys. And now, ma grandson, he’s gone and joined what he call “the Revolution”. He come late last night, sayin’ he had to be quiet about it. He gave me fright when I saw him through the window – black clothes, dark glasses and a black french hat. I almost called the police before I realized it was him. „What you doin’ lookin’ like that, like you was gonna burgle some house?” „Grandma, I’m leaving. I can’t live like this no more. I got to help change things, Grandma, WE got to change things. Ain’t nobody gonna do it for us. Ain’t nobody gonna give us nothin’. We have to look out for ourselves. Besides, we don’t need nobody to do for us. We just need to get the white man off our backs so we can live.” „ We need the Lord, Baby.” „Grandma, the Lord ain’t done nothin’ in a hundred years. We can’t wait no more.”
When he left, Lord, I hugged him tight enough to crush my own ribs. I know he’s wrong about you, but sometimes it does look like you forgot us. People can’t live without nothin’ forever, just wishin’ and waitin’. My great-grandma was a slave and my grandma and Mama wasn’t much better off. I got my house and my boys, but they ain’t settlin’ for no more of this. I don’t want them to hurt nobody, nor get hurt neither. So, take care o’ them, and help me hold on long as I need to, long as they need me. You seen me through a lot, Lord. See my boys. See my boys and let them see you. Amen.
Listen to the song of the stream. It soughs the secrets of life and chants your innermost melody. Every decision we make, is just another bend in the river.
If it takes the low road, rough currents and heavy rocks lie in its path.
If it takes the high road, peaceful beaches await its passing and quiet waters invite it to linger.
We can only guess which road lies beyond a river bend. But one thing is certain:
Every bend is followed by another. And sooner or later every river leads to the sea.
You will hit hard cliffs that burst your stream and shatter you into a thousand drops. But these pearls of water will always merge and continue to flow downstream.
Stream of Consciousness
Birds chirping in a rush of spring. The sun is shining, I have 10 euro in my wallet, waiting to be spent and my friends are awaiting me today.
I let the escalator catapults me to a lower level. Standing at the subway tracks. Advertisement. Four women, swinging their hips in bikinis, are walking straight at me. They represent the ideal woman of today: marble-smooth skinny legs, flat abbs, hair blowing in the breeze, sexy expression, their intelligence quotient as high as that of a cucumber slice.
I hope. It is not a given in todays world that female citizens who haven't been blessed with external beauty are endowed with a higher IQ. Great. So what do I have left? I often find beautiful women ugly … out of pure defiance. Which then again makes them smart according to the old rule. Shit. It's all Shit. I bitterly bite a piece off my butter pretzel. Awesome! I love butter pretzels. Butter pretzels taste like childhood. Butter pretzels make the world whole again. Butter pretzels are a big tabu according to my recently crafted nutrition plan. My Ex says Butterpretzels make you fat. Everything fun makes you fat. Damn this stupid western perferctionist society.
I want to treat myself to a burger with two layers of meat, four layers of cheese, fried onions, bacon and guacamole, stand infront of a glass gym and watch that idiot, his eyes wide open with envy, his tongue drooling with hard-won sweat and salivish greed, chase his own feet.
I want to feel good about my body, sense the tension rising and the adrenaline flow, as I sneeringly observe that pathetic fat loser, spill sauce on his shirt. Am I sick? Or is this simply a normal train of thought any 24 year old experiences, staring at perfectly shaped models on a billboard?
Well, a great fat grin is better than a slim thin smirk. I never smiled as a kid. I thought my teeth were too big. Nostalgia. A sigh to childhood. Chocolate, Gummibears, Mama's arms. Mom. I miss my Mom. The subway arrives and I draw back. I often draw back when the subway arrives. I often draw back in general.
I'm riding on a subway, drenched with people. I try to lose myself in the pages of my book, in order to escape the breath of cramped homo sapiens standing around me. Where does the word „homosexual“ come from? I asked my colleague a while ago if she too has the feeling that more and more men are becoming gay. I sometimes wish I were homosexual. Just to be special.
But I'm not. I'm still hung up on you.
My stomach empty, my head bloating. Vacant heart and pain in my soul. Why can't I ever stick to a decision?
I should have never sent that farewell letter to you. I should have fought for you. Maybe then you would still be here. Maybe then you would still write to me everyday. The sound of your words in my ear, your hand holding mine, your fingers strapped around my fingers. Your kiss on my lips. I don't even know what to do with all the emotional garbage you left inside me.
I want my pain to explode into music. I want to scream and wail the words of „Not over you“ by Gavin de Graw. But I can't because I'm stuck in public transportation, swarming with strangers. Have to laugh at the thought of what people might say if I opened my mouth and started singing. They'd think I was crazy! But I am crazy. Crazy about you. Crazy to want you. To want something imaginary, someone beyond reach.
Men. It always comes down to f***** men. Can't live with them and can't live without them. Stupid guys. Guy.
There's a guy sitting on the other side. Damn he's cute! Eyes, nose, beard, T-Shirt, Pants, Shoes … he's got it all! He shoots a glance at me. I look away. Oh my God! My knees feel like vanilla pudding. My heart has jumped out of my chest into my throat. I'm too afraid to look back at him. Why am I always afraid? People always say I'm pretty. Weird thing, self-perception. My self-perception sucks! Once in my life I want to look into a mirror without that little devil on my shoulder pointing out every single thing that is wrong with me, as soon as I feel a glimpse of satisfaction. But there is no mirror here. There is only other peoples perception … external perception of myself. Let's do this! Sunshine smile c'mon let's charm the guy. I look up and grin stupidly into a puffing old man's face, who eyes back at me completely confused. That's embarassing. Where'd the cute guy go? Must have waited to long - now he's gone. Stupid time, I didn't even notice how she flew by. Time. I never have time. I am always late no matter how early I hurry. I'm not being disrespectful, I lack capability of judgement. I never seem to have enough time.
I am too proud for the pain you have caused. Speaking of pain. Why don't I stop and get rid of this stupid pebble in my shoe? Is the thought of standing still to take my shoe off in public, standing on one leg to free myself from an unnerving mini-element so embarassing, that taking action becomes unthinkable? How many people around me are torturing themselves with a stone stuck in their shoe desperately trying to be invisible?
All this thinking is making me nauseous.
I want ice cream. I want you. I want you to stay away from me. Ambivalent longing in my head. Thoughts always come back to you. You always find your way back. Why do I always choose complicated men? What is my masochistic subconscious trying to prove? One side is too exhausting the other side too boring. So annoying. You annoy me. You're cruel.
Bavarian crudities. Bavarian food. Another thing I can't eat and wake up to a clear conscience instead of running through the park as if I had been bitten by a tarantula. Why are there no tarantulas in Germany? One sting, One bite, a few more minutes and … Stop!!! Stop that thought. Continue.
Bavarian specialties. I want a beer. Beer makes your belly fat, fat belly makes you unattractive, unattractiveness means less sex, less sex means even more fat belly. But you are not here anyway. And I don't desire anybody elses touch.
Have to listen to music to quiet down, to drown the voices in my head. Turning on my cell phone. Just ran into a pole trying to find the right song for my current situation. Who said women were good at multitasking? Maybe I'm just not a woman. That would explain a lot.
I have decided to treat myself to an icecream. The girl standing in front of me is not only cute, blond, thin and waiting in line with her likable boyfriend. No! On top of it all she orderes two huge scoops with whipped cream and chocolate sauce and therefore makes it impossible for me to criticize her. I hate awesome women!
Caught between my icecream and headphones I finally manage to turn on music. Which also turns out to overwhealming. I'll probably have to puke when I get home.
A stranger pulls me from my stream of thoughts by smiling at me and wishing me a pleasant evening. Where was I?
Birds chirping in a rush of spring. The sun is shining, I still have 8 euro in my wallet, waiting to be spent and I have friends waiting for me.
Beautiful world. I am back.