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Entries in angry at death (7)


But Tonight: A Fragment of a Metaphor for Something That Has Yet To Happen

We already have a fire going. I'm sitting cross-legged in my gray polyester men's robe from the Conway. We hear a rackity-tackity sound above: a helicopter. I step outside. Seems to be a traffic incident up on the highway. The lights line up in the distance: reds and whites. Stars or planes? Stop lights or ambulances? The wind lifts and drops the corner of my robe, rustles the few remaining leaves across the stones. I suddenly feel like I'm in ET. I say it out loud when he comes outside: "I suddenly feel like I'm in ET." What's the actress's name? Dee something? The one who played the mother? Her.

He admits he thinks about ET here too. We can't figure out why. Maybe it's the creek.

We watched that film again just over a year ago. When we got to the scene where they find the alien in the creek, white and dying, I cried openly. I'd blanked it out from seeing it when I was younger. Apparently something in me even then didn't want to remember the bad scenes. Something didn't want to think about dying.

But about the bad scenes in real life I'm still curious. Still alert. I run outside, needing to know. Clutching at my bathrobe. I scan the radio for traffic reports. I search the internet. There's an image I carry needlessly with me from a late night in high school when I was driving home from the city: on the southbound highway above me, a fireman carrying a woman from the wreckage of her car. Red and white flashing lights. I slowed the car as I passed. I've always needed to know.

But tonight: home fires burning, the sound of the helicopter dying off into the distance, I walk back inside. I pull my cheap robe around me for warmth. I try to ignore the hole in the shoulder. I try to forget the alien dying in the creek out back, the red and white flashing lights on the highway. We are still here. To know this should be enough.

© Zan McQuade. All rights reserved.


An Evil Beast To Wrestle

I am here to jot down the little bits and pieces left over from an unexpected trip across the sea. Thoughts written on scraps of unexpected paper. The blurred sight of an unexpected Dutch and English landscapes outside unexpected train windows. The sweet taste of an unexpected glass of Pimm's. The low sound of unexpected voices singing of all things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small.

This is what it's like across the sea: There are egrets perched on covered speedboats next to rusted old junks in the Herengracht. There are bathtubs used as drinking troughs in fields next to the tracks between towns called Meols and Moreton. There is a strong wind blowing sharply over cobblestones. England in February is the perfect shade of gray for funerals. Right now there is ice on the water in the northern Atlantic.

I thought I'd come home from this unexpected trip and stop viewing the world through these purple prose-colored glasses. I had it in mind to do a fashion show, stage pictures of myself in the orange and black plaid cape purchased on a narrow street in Amsterdam. The bright pink dress that will see me through spring. (Because jeezum pete the internet is full enough of wistful musings and not enough photos of tired-looking people wearing vintage things they recently bought in shops.) To live brightly, joyously, wisely.

But jet lag is an evil beast to wrestle. And so instead of wrestling my arms through fabric, I fall back on words, and music, and we put on records: dozens and dozens of records hauled across the granite floors and well-traveled carpet of airports, over slate paths and gravel driveways in the northwest of England. One after another, the needle looping, when there is nothing left in my brain to loop but words: little poetic bits and pieces left over from an unexpected trip across the sea.

© Zan McQuade. All rights reserved.

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