"There ought to be sorting out places,
like, when it all comes crashing down, or, you know, gets too confusing
like it might for anyone in the wrong circumstances.
They ought to have this public service station
where people are trained to help you sort it out.
They tried to do that at the shelters, group and private therapies,
So, your life you thought you knew is over;
where are you going to go from here?
Because you can’t stay sheltered for very long.
We don’t have the resources.
We have to figure out what you can do, where you can go,
how you can make a new life.
So, they were motivated, I guess. But shouldn’t everyone be motivated,
to have that kind of sorting out place. You never know
when it might be what you need to get on, or what kind
of horrible downward mess vortex could be prevented.”
Autumn, awhirl in energy, pontificates while drawing arcane
shapes on found fabrics.
She cuts them free, sews in quick, sharp stitches onto
larger found fabric of other texture. She is decorating,
making this space part of her larger fabric, taking us
into her imagination’s sphere.
“I learned to figure out how to recreate myself, you know,
took on skills, from people sheltered like we were,
working out their own transitions.
There was this woman, Kate, kept to herself in a corner she claimed,
cut out patches for her worn through clothes that made her
into her own work of art.
You know, I always liked drawing, collaging with glued on
pictures from magazines painted through with dripping words and symbols.
The school my dad chose for me included regular classes in art,
dance, poetry, to bring out our creativity, make us well-rounded
for elite social intercourse. Dad liked to brag about my talent,
show off to those associates who visited his home. He was
proud of me.”
She trails off, eyes less bright, voice small and inward.
Her inner eyes relive less savory fatherly remnants.
“All those dramas, all the unexpected inflictions, all I get to live through,
life experience, like layered collage, building the background, the base
of received knowledge. That’s the structure where all the information
coming in, everything I see, feel, think gets processed.
At least I am moving forward, working through the confusion,
using that structure and information to make myself stronger.”
Kathy, Autumn’s passive mother, still not so far along in natural
lifespan, is old, used up. Her overbearing suffering, defeating sorrow,
is more disillusion than painful daily hardship which she merely
accepts. She suffers so relentlessly that pain no longer registers,
is expected norm. Always exhausted, dragged down, every moment
a dark zen koan of futility.
Constant pressure is normal pressure, is the minituae
of carbon’s metamorphosis toward rough, dense stone.
Kathy’s truncated awareness refuses to admit her daughter’s
plight. Their flight from sadistic terror has taken them to
terror’s shadow streets built up of shame, violence,
Once so bright, lovely, lively, a child of graceful delight,
ready to embrace a fairy-tale life, little Kathy had no inkling
that fairies can be deadly fiends, their tales dark, relentless.
Autumn does know this. Hope for happy childhood cut from
her early, she eschews illusion. Strong, brave, self-aware,
brilliantly adaptive, resiliently imaginative, even wise,
she understands that every day is a war to survive.
We enjoy another world here, this temporary bubble
of fantasy a deux. Autumn transforms my squalid cell
into her artist’s vision with cast out scraps of trash.
Dirty scuz of walls transform with magic curtains offering
cosmic contemplations. She furnishes our sanctuary with
sumptuous rag-stuffed pillows, mimicking arcane carpets
of myth, crafted for indulgence. She transforms enclosed
space to reflect long-accomplished whimsy, makes it hers.
So willingly I join this world, accept terms of enchantment.
Within our precious bubble, beyond conventions of ordinary
time, I am redefined. I am childhood friendship, untouched
by adult conceptions. I am a foundling of Neverland,
born of adventure. Partner by my own choosing
to this witchcraft, I am a blessed being.
As always, we part in darkness, return to separate
destinies. Yet, the magic lingers, wraps us
protectively, in anticipation of next meeting.
Is this the love I have been trying to figure out,
mutual lifting into wonder of out of time reality?
Is this happiness, fleet soaring bird of paradise taking
me into its wings?
I understand this can not last. For the first time eternity
acquires a different image in my mind.