This post is not about politics. Don’t complain that I didn’t tell you.
I woke from a dream of my lover’s shoes.
He always wore dirty black shoes with square toes when we met up. I asked him as I watched him undo them in preparation for getting into bed with me, “Do you ever clean your shoes?”
He shook his head. “I only have one pair,” he told me.
I thought that was all right. I have lots of shoes but I prefer wearing boots. Mostly in the climate I live in it’s better to go barefoot. The only problem with going barefoot is treading on bees. I accidentally tread on bees a lot and as you might know, a bee sting can itch for around five days and it’s no picnic.
I’ve been trying to keep a dream book for a while and interestingly, the effort has provoked more dreaming than I can remember for years. Dreams are like poems, or bits and pieces of them.
Shattered people are best represented by bits and pieces. Rainer-Maria Rilke. I know this to be true. I have never in my life been able to sustain a continuous narrative.
My lover was in his shoes in the dream, but I couldn’t see him. I wrote down the bits and pieces I could remember, and then the phrase ” erotic vulnerability” dropped into my head from out of nowhere so I wrote that down too. A writer ought to jot down everything, no matter how disparate the bits and pieces might seem at first blush.
After that I could no longer ignore what I was trying to avoid. I was having one of the worst feelings I’ve ever felt in my life. It was a feeling of the most abject, and infinitely lonely desolation. I was looking into an abyss, but it was inside me. The abyss was filled with the miasma of all the grieving I have never done.
I did what I was taught to do, and let the feeling linger for as long as it wanted. That made my day difficult, trying to be ordinary as all the while this dark, dank grief came over me in minor thirds.
The grief wasn’t about my lover. It felt as old as the world. Yet somehow, his dirty black square-toed shoes took me right into it. I forget, sometimes, the unsaid things we do for one another, without even knowing that we do them.
The next day the feeling was mostly gone. Only a few miasmic wisps remained. I thought, well, that’s interesting. I’ve felt the most abject feeling of utter desolation that I’ve ever felt in my life. For a whole day I looked into the abyss, and it didn’t, as I’ve always feared, kill me.
Childhood sexual abuse damages the soul. I don’t use that word in a religious sense. I use it to describe the sense of oneself that is forbidden to a child who is sexually abused. The sense of me. Sometimes a child has little chance to form that sense of me, if the abuse begins very early. Sometimes the task is to restore it after the damage.
It never crossed my mind that I might find a fragment of me in the abyss.
I have been in the garden, sitting under the mango tree beside Big Dog’s grave. Of course, on my way barefoot across the grass I trod on a bee.
I don’t know what will happen next. The abyss will probably be there again some time. These things never entirely leave us. We are shattered people and we are best represented by bits and pieces. Sufficient unto the day.