Mother, Daughter, Church

Part 1

Chapter 1

 Is it so surprising what comes through when falling through the multiplicity of layers? This deep dark pool, dive into it, dive deep into her waters and be afraid of the deepness where there is no end and when will you come to rest darkness? She has been looking out for this, waiting for it to come to settle beyond eyes open for horror, praying for the unfeasibility of others’ expectations that lean towards the excruciating, for she is a child. Earth’s child.

The malingering hands stretch out for the release of muscle tension wanted after enduring an extensive period of cruelty, her passivity yearning for the water to go on, go down for ever and furious, away from those vengeful hands. With struggle, the water is furious so give in as it is said that drowning is the optimum dive into death; that drowning gives one an infantile sense, especially if the waters are muddy and while immersed, fear spreads the pictures like pieces to different puzzles, eager to fit together, despite each piece belonging to some other entirety that is elsewhere. Fear is the missing body if held undiscovered against a pier, under a bridge; fear is that no meandering soul will discover the remains of the making of her

This is how she contemplates death when this presses itself as the shinning answer amongst the barrage of solutions. The spectacle is glorious seeing her life pass before her eyes, but surely it couldn’t last, even after the present, the past, the present, the future, the past, the present; life and all its fractured parts have to pass at tremendous speed for death comes shortly after unconsciousness and the lungs filling with water while the body knows when nothing else does of being nowhere of course.

The life passing before the thousand eyes thinking in a thousand ways after embracing a thousand attitudes, a thousand principles, a thousand ways of gauging experience like a delicate fracture with many surfaces folding in on themselves repeatedly, heavy with moisture, so deadly, even more deadly than the dead of night. Not much is before the death state but what is there depends so heavily upon what is after it.

She cannot stand the moments. She finds herself in this dwelling, looking towards future moments with the torment of impermissible feeling. She begs for this to subside. She regrets what she pours herself into, her perception, affective experience and then when she feels the wrath she wraps blame and passes the parcel on, leaves this at the feet of those who have left themselves wide open, filling up with the ills of the world , disempowered, dehumanised even.

What is she to others when not falling but stagnate and accusing all of stinking while all is reeking; all is so heavily burdened with such nauseous odour. How can anyone breathe? Just fall though the water, the dark murky water my friend and know what it is to be purified once hate reveals: its undoing is in the wet deafening darkness. It is then she will cry for all the moments left to pass by only because these did not fit into her described position in the chain of beings, displacing what it is to regard a life highly because there is skin and hair and eyes and lips and teeth and genitals to categorise. There is nothing more important than all that is spawning within; far  away from each other, falling through the deep dark pool for whatever has been planted had been planted long ago.

Who planted the seed? What planted the seed if indeed the planter was a particular individual? Perhaps this individual was adhering to an archetype, a well-meant story with a moral to follow, a way of stepping as she covers the distance of this journey. No harm meant when the seed planted was planted carelessly without thought to the nature of its growth, how its developing strength will be realised or how it’s unravelling will affect the complexity of its surroundings.

This seed, once so small resting on the tip of her finger, so small it could easily remain a secret that is in  need of making itself known, for who could dare to be that mindful? So the seed is left to sprout leaflets, soft, young and tiny and she is whispering only at the extremity of her mind, near the tip of her hypothalamus she is whispering hushed wordless tones that immediately increase to a crescendo with the threat of anything, a skerrick of a word, a syllable that could tell of the existence of what once was a seed, that is now a seedling for her sun and water and earth is her secrecy; secrecy is making it strong, giving it nourishment giving it permission to grow.

The whispering is a chain; the links are fused by individuals. The seed can no longer be a spurious comment, but a bush, thick lush and glistening with moisture and the whispering, the whispering ignores its presence. The gardener is working hard, obedient as the whispering whispers, whispers, whispers.

Now all has grown out of control but what does that matter as her eyes can only take in the darkness, the same darkness when eyes are closed.

She who watches is a fluctuating one? Yes, she is watching silently with the denuded eyes of a child, her vastness engorging every last detail of the surrounds. Ode to this unloved species, loathed because of her wariness, seeking the illicit truth to be told so to know what movement to predict, what gesture to foretell, to measure her insignificance. Doesn’t she know? Is she precious? No, she knows nothing when falling through, breaking open the water; smashing through the surface after surface, layer upon layer. Doesn’t she know? The trinity formed when there is no longer the air to take in air, no longer taking in the life deemed as reality by father, by the mother, by the teacher, by the church.

She with cumbersome sensibilities flinches when any hint of unkindness creeps into what is spoken would like to release this marvellous horny structure where there is an overabundance of trust placed in history. Facts contained within and anointed with their own universe, pieced together by the community, by the factory, by the church,  by the father all falling with her way beneath the surface after surface of this deep dark pool.

Mass is nearly ending as I hold my daughter’s hand with my thumb moving up and down against a single bone that extends to her tiny cushion at the side of her palm, such a tiny, delicate thumb that would be easily broken with her skin so soft, like cashmere. The day must not come when this hand is not held by me. So cling to me my child. You must always need me. You are all I am.  With flesh, delicate like a single blade of grass, she is pushing herself above the heaviness of the clay in order to grace the sun with her magnificence.  Oh please find the sun my darling, , scoop it up and keep it tight within the precious confines of your cupped hands and let no one know. Those who discover such a prevailing and intensive light only serve to misguide those who surround us during our anguished existence. Cling to me my child as you must need me when there is nothing outside of us except him. His heart falls warily to my feet.

Take in air my lungs. Quick, before it has dissipated. There is no space for air when despair is the principle of the surrounds. Malice exhales, as the priest gives into the scriptures. The glory of the scriptures is resplendent when compared to such abominations at the production of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’

‘It is an abomination!’ he hollers as if he were talking into a long tunnel for which he was not able to fathom an end. ‘Those of you who choose to see such sacrilege abandon the path the lord blazed for you,’ He continues jabbing at the air with his wide tipped finger, jabbing at different angle to the rhythm of his utterance. ‘ for each and every one of you when he suffered an excruciating and humiliating death on the cross that he was cruelly nailed to just so he could save you from sin.’

His hollering intensifies as if was responding to the word “forte” on a musical score, ‘And you , you mindless vertebrates, want to demean such an immense sacrifice by giving in and celebrating  this drug induced Satan loving piece of entertainment!!’

He is the one! Do you not see him this stout little man with the little plump hands matching the voluptuous check outlined by fissure that sector off his fussing mouth with his lips thickened and cracked after prolonged agitation?  With skin that puffs beneath his cloudy blue red veined eyes, he is the father of the congregation who aspires to a richer parish to build a church made from mahogany-red victorain bricks and polished wooded floors, priceless stain glass depicting his victory over me, the enemies of all enemies. He watches me, with his pathetic and expecting glimpses, as an object of heated speculation upon desired encounters beyond the confines of his vows.

Come over here daddy and I will show you of what I am  made for  the congregation is a lustful woman; a big lustful woman that has no idea of her contents, just that there seem to be too many quiet voices that continually whisper the ludicrous, that want to shake the tree but do not dare. This big cunted, lustful woman the priest leads, pushes her along the road to salvation whether she wants it or not. They don’t enter into it, her wants and her needs. She is from the factory after all. We all come out the same.

‘Wants and needs are two different things my daughter’, the priest pontificated, enunciating each word as if thoroughbreds, but grimacing nevertheless as despite being  thoroughbreds, these phonemes  didn’t agree with his sensitive and oversized stomach. ‘You may want what you want and you may mistakenly believe that you may even face the afterlife if you don’t get what you want, but this is merely an illusion daughter, created by Lucifer himself.’

This conversation for the purpose of spiritual rehabilitation was held after it had broken open, when this dramatic fragment of my existence spat as if it were an infested morsel. His was the second call that had been made by my hysterically ecclesiastical law abiding mother

‘You must understand my daughter that this -ah situation shall we call it-’ he smiled apologetically as if his lack of language foreclosed the admittance to the mechanicals of her life workings, ‘ is not the work of God and is far removed from the teachings or our saviour’.

We were sitting in the kitchen underneath the window that faced the back garden where the smell of the balmy sweet tang from the jasmine’s delicate pale  pink trailing bloom crept up and over a trellis just in front of the back door wafted;   momentarily the perfume transported to my childhood when this awful pitfall was way beyond the confines of my budding awareness; such a plagued recall  dug its way in with a ruthless grieve, stabbed with a blunted three point prong. Beyond the trellis a vegetable garden that my father had established soon after he had bought the house almost thrived. It was there where I could see my mother working with her hair just beginning to grey then, and the sun, breaking though folds of darkening cloud, shimmered down on the shades of grey, white, silver and black. I noticed disdainfully, despite the excruciating conversation with which I was engaged, that she was wearing her sister’s, who had passed away only two months ago, yellow and mustard floral dress, her younger sister who passionately she had despised. And as if born from revenge the mustard gave a distasteful yellow tinge to her arms and neck. With her back bent and with the bunch of spring beans that she was placing in the front pocket of her warn apron, that one that she wore daily, she reminded me of what a serf was once, living directly off the earth’s soil, wanted by nobody except the Almighty. But strong. Yes that woman is always strong.

And I was dimly away of the ruthlessness of life’s routines, how they ran on regardless, that automated machinery that called for dinner to be prepared no matter where your daughter had strayed.

Under the burdensome pretence of re-engaging my attention this priest, our family confident, reached out and laid the tip of his finger tips on my check, stroked this as if petting a cat. Mustering the expression that softened his lips pouting and his eyes illuminating a remorse that comes from actions that one believes that they are helpless from preventing; I was a trapped animal, a rodent in the jaws of a house cat shuddering, my very viscera wanting to fall and bury themselves in the earth. After the third agonising stoke of his fat finger tips he finally freed me, pulling his hand away, suddenly, as if touching something unsanitary: but sadly, this emancipation was only temporary.  He continued, ‘But my child your holy body, the body that actually belongs to Christ, the very body you have soiled with your depravity, needs this for your eyes to see, your ears to hear, for the cleansing of your inner life that has been poisoned by this encounter. Jesus said “They may look but not perceive, listen but not understand.” Look my daughter, listen and come to know the sacrifices we need to make to live a spiritual life, to follow in Christ’s footsteps.’ He ceased talking and sat back into the hard kitchen chair. He reached out picked up the cup of tea that my mother had poured for him an eternity ago, leaving hastily a confrontation that was impossible for her as we had already had one too many. The priest took a noisy slurp. He was nervous and the silence burdened that air between us like a wet dog lying in a lap. While he contemplated my reaction with his sad sacked eyes burning my own with his scrutiny, I remained quiet, staring into my knees covered by my brown patterned light woollen pants that my mother so despised, the insides of my head scrubbed clean , my body sensing the edge of my imprisonment. ‘I know this man who needs a wife.’ I  jerked and looked up and met his red rimmed eyes. ‘He’s the church  gardener’

My daughter is beauty. Does such bewildering beauty have to take part in such a loathsome ritual? Her dark long hair that hangs over her dark eyes rich and expecting. Her eyes are the most expensive chocolate. A little single curling tendril falls over her forehead. Indeed her eyes that allude to enigmatic depth are expecting to be devoured. Her noise, meagerly flattened, lifts slightly and wrinkles momentarily when words, sounds or smells fail to establish her satisfaction, her thin lips that disappear when she grimaces, have a tendency to whiten as she worries so much my poor baby. What such a small child has to worry about I do not know. And it is this very worry that stops her from eating for she is too thin! So thin that people comment. How I wish that they wouldn’t.

She is a small girl for her age with skin a light olive shade that I believe to be from my own side of the family as there is some Spanish when one goes far back. I’m not sure how far. Maybe closer than what I have been told by my mother as her racist need to distance anything that is not Anglo Saxon and Catholic is fanatic.

If I were a better person someone who is much more resourceful, resilient, brave perhaps, I would leave the father to it, take my daughter and make ourselves a new life, a new life where the replacement of need is for the sake of want. Here the creation of rules would be the pride ripping out of the box as they are broken and then created again just so I can poke my finger without fear of recourse at this threat of ‘nameless suffocating filth and the noise of noisome ordure.’

Yes, life can be reckless as we take care of our own needs and the need of those around us, never having to take care not to expect because you love, are married to, with who you are meant to spend the remainder of these days that screech past as if these were escaping a dangerous foe.

They are for him now, all for him as so I do not include him. I leave him outside of myself and my daughter’s self and that man, my husband is trying to find a way to get in but that man, my husband is barred from this exclusive sphere, this woman’s domain.

It must be liberating when one does not have to count how much they give another person and how much the other person gives in return. It seems that I am constantly waiting for something, am hoping, am anticipating until the crushing weight of dysphoria pounds upon me once I realise that I will never receive.  Surely there has to be joy, rapture, sustenance when a person can freely give just because of the enjoyment in giving and not because it is a sacrifice that has  to be make when it is that time of year again and what are you going to give up for Lent my dear? Where is such a place that houses such a contextual richness of experience, allowing for conversation that engages the details, and at the same time engages with the whole until the moments that fleet by take an accessible shape within us? The misplacement of such a narrative is unwarranted.

Surely there has to be something better than this, worlds far away devoid of this priest who knows his job? It is a difficult one, demanding, calling for much sacrifice for how easy is it to give in to transgressions of the flesh. As they are holy men they never do, so this wayward woman fill her until she is brimming with fear, guilt and remorse, penalise her till there is no other way she can go but down that vast never ending path: so barren and painfully ceaseless. I stroke my daughter’s hand. Her skin soft like cashmere… her skin…please find a way outside this my darling lamb. Your lips taste of freedom.

Lord may the Eucharist increase within us the healing power of your love. May it guide and direct our efforts to please you in all things. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.

Mass is nearly ending, while me is holding me mother’s hand and me hand is disappearing, lost in her gigantic skin. As it is so gigantic me is gentle, stroking her skin, pulling it back then holding it to change the shapes of the tiny holes. They pull together as if they remember they are the doors to millions of the tiniest passages that barricade at any sign of intruders.

It is nearly over now. Thank goodness that time is like that. Time can be me best friend. As me is waiting for something to end, it ends. Me look back and remember how me waited for that thing to end while me is waiting for a current thing to end. With so many endings waiting to happen me is grateful me good friend time. No thing or no one can beat me, and when  mewalk down the street me make me steps carefully watching me feet with the strength that has the might of a hungry giant; for me do not want to step on the cracks. Me do not want to break my mother’s back. Really! Truly! The men who laid down this pathway, the one that stretches for what seems like a long time from my school to my home, should have thought of me mother’s back and if they had the manners, if they’d followed good etiquette, like me grandmother says, would not have carved out the cracks.

Amen

The sounds of the many voices seem to bristle against me skin as my mother squeezes me hand tight. Me is panting like a hot dog as me cannot stop knowing that she is trying to tell me something, always trying to tell me something when me don’t want to know. Me know it is a sin, but me don’t want to know. Me have too many special secrets. Which one now mother? Mother, which of the passages do you want me to creep down now? Me is trying so hard not to break into a run when there are only me tiny legs to carry me away from the terror. Whatever is in the darkness is reaching out to grab hold of me skin growing prickles on the pack of me neck. With these thoughts gurgling and hissing, me look up with me eyes only, keeping me head bowed as me like to add a bit of extra reverence to me act, me holy act. Me hair falls over me face that I contort as me blow at me tufts of hair. Hair goes up. Hair goes down and soon it will be all over until next Sunday. Me will be waiting for that end to end too, that’s for sure.

Me is  peering at one of the altar boys out of the temporary opening in me shield of hair. He gets up upon the signal of the priest to assist with putting the chalice back behind the magic curtain where all the changing from bread to body, from wine to blood, occurs The clumsy stride he takes is not to the priest’s liking,. He urgently sits down, His oily skin is  erupting pimples.

The peaks of the pimples glisten with his reddening face. The priest is looking straight at him. The priest holds this look, this hair-splitting stare.  Me is certain that the boy already knows that it’s best to stay away from this priest as he grabs at parts when these hide away beneath our desks as me studies the catechism. Me occasionally attends the special classes me take at primary school. Special classes especially for Catholics and every now and then the priest attends to grab, poke and pulls as if he were a mutant crab with more than two pinchers. Maybe five after swallowing kryptonite then dying as superman and after came back as this priest. After grabbing, poking, pulling, he slowly walks to the front of the class with his head bowed, his back slightly bent forward.. It looks  as if her is closely inspecting the linoleum with his hands clasped behind his back. But really he is watching me very closely, very closely indeed, his eyes peering out from above his moon shaped bifocals that he puts on especially. The brother, who instructs us, sits behind a desk immersed in his corrections that he discusses with me later in his gentle I-can-do-nothing-wrong-as-I-follow-Christ’s-teachings’ voice.

Me is allowed to make mistakes according to this brother for me is e still learning about the pathway to salvation. The brother allows for mistakes but the priest has no tolerance for mistakes like getting the Holy Father mixed up with the Holy Spirit for it wasn’t the Holy Father that come down and filled the apostles with fire. No. The priest is the boss of ever thing and will not allow for these mix-ups. For the sake of Christ we have to, must get it right.

Me is betting with meself that the priest will show the spotted carrot topped altar boy what is what with that growling expression like an old pug dog. Me  am seeing this from the safety of the hooded verandah that is my hair.

The priest does not want me to… he doesn’t want to let go of his congregation. Me is his lambs who must miss the slaughter. How can he let go? Me is the lamb of God who take away the sins of the world. Happy is me. Me come to me supper. Me eat meselves, as me is so tender; easy to pull a part and grind with me molars. The priest is hungry as he is holy and the holy are starving. It is all that sacrifice that makes them hungry; it’s that goodness. But what is wrong with badness, can anybody tell me, any living soul explain? Me think that every now and then it is necessary to know what is it to be bad, and the only way to know what it is to be bad is to be bad.

Yes me is interested in the devil. Me admit it. How can me think like this and because me do think like this, me worry that he will come for me deep in the night when the darkness is as heavy as a ton of coal. You see, me is familiar with the very badness that poisons the body. There is the smell of dead animals. Yes that is the sign that the devil is near. There is too much dead meat in the badness he needs as air to breathe and when me is very quiet me can hear his rasping chuckle in between the thumpings of  me heart. He thinks that coming to church every Sunday is a joke. He thinks that the priest is wicked, as wicked as him. But the devil is a fool, as he does not know that me  can only truly digest what is pure if  ne wants to stay on the straight and narrow path. ‘Stay on the straight and narrow path!’, rants  grandma, ‘The Lord will never steer you wrong.’ Me worries though grandma. Does she know? Does the priest know? Knows this when he places the body of Christ on me tongue? Does he see me as one of his sinners?  Does he know that me is the one who has sinned and does not confess? It is too late. The body of Christ has entered into me and it is too late.

The first confession; the father drove me and me made up me sins. Me remembered the real ones though. Me was a mistress. Me betrayed the bride. Real sins those ones. Me took these classes. They are medicine. Me took these classes when me made me Holy Communion. Me wore me mother’s wedding veil and it was not white, nor was it cream, nor was it pure like me insides but yellow. It will be yellow to the end of me days. The mother said that me looked beautiful and that every one could not take their eyes off me as me was an extra ordinary beauty. But me felt like the bride. Me felt like a filthy bride and when the bread and wine came to me with me shutting me eyes to shut out the sight of Christ’s blood, of Christ’s body, me wet me pants and me stank like a men’s urinal. It is too late. The body of Christ has entered into me and it’s too late.

Pool of blackness, dive deep into it my friend and gills will operate. The gills you’d never imagined possessing and there your body will know the state. The state when the end is near and now it is time to relinquish possessiveness, now you know there is nothing to own, no need for jealousy for you never owned it in the first place when it was taken from your hands. So all the objects that surround lifetime mean nothing and all the people who have passed through lifetime mean nothing. Just is. Yes, it is a state of just is or just was or just could’ve been but or has it all been wasted trying to get, trying to hold onto someplace, somewhere, nowhere my friend? Has it been wasted? Have I been too familiar with the death state?

Element is the water, the water is the cleansing and cleansing is a derivative of death. Dive dive dive for the drowning dreams dig the tunnels for the conduction of melancholia when the pores, the pores in your skin seep helpless moisture, passive moisture, moisture with no will to act upon. It just is there. Cleanse as you fall, falling, falling effortlessly falling as if falling through air. You are and so is the deep dark pool. Falling effortlessly when there is no bottom and no person can reach her cause there it is,..the stillness, her silence, her melancholy, her demise. This is the work when there is no longer your child for the father, for the mother: this is the deep dark pool when all there is left is need as you fall with a shopping trolley. The metal glistens with renewal, so much so that you fail to associate a purpose like remember shopping in Woolworths with the shimmering floors and the fluorescent aisles with all the population pushing a trolley, tripping over their own feet or crashing into a fellow shopper when in a flurry to catch those specials. You were the only one naked with all eyes staring, screaming into your skin as the floors beneath you drifted away to meet the dark water.

You fall pass cliffs and there goes a washing machine with it’s lid flung open with the bowl facing you like an expectant mouth, and you expect the machine to creak or clang, as its metal house falls against a rock ledge but …nothing. There is only stillness without purpose, without intent. Can someone say something?

Can someone speak and give their undivided attention as they are speaking just to be carried away, far away from this desperation to avoid the moon shinning its opaque light on to the surface that you fall beneath?

I had this dream. I am on the bus ride coming home from church. The father has died and the freedom soars through me like the strongest wind, like the strangest emptiness. I am hanging out of the bus.  I am hanging out the front door.  I am holding onto the pole the divides the entranceway. I am screaming to the wind. I am free as this powerful air blasts against the cold skin crying as it has so wanted for warmth. The wind hugs me face, my arms, my legs, and my belly, screaming with joy without knowing that anything is living. My body is metal with every bit knowing the mechanics of the insides and knowing that nothing is there.

But then the bus stops and the bad comes on bard: an animal that had been locked up in a tiny space far too long. And it was this bad, that is a  self-devouring factory and whilst the bas is on  the bus I am  desperate to bridge the distance travelled before my death, the distance travelled after death. I am  alone with the bad pretending that it was  there to foster, to nurture. I engaged in conversation with the bad, stretching myself to for clarity reflecting my married self that is  joined in dependency. A jester  appears and laughs  as the bad disembarks. It was the strangest dream after all.

Disgustment

Here they come

bursting out of the stainless steel showerhead circular yet rigid

from punctured wounds a fraction of a millimetre diameter browning at the periphery,

spraying a body this child cannot feel.

Her faculty fails to formulate the questions

for answers  are intangible,

and her conquering numbness cancelling out this paraphernalia

For good she hopes

‘You are a vulgar creature’ her grandmother squawks in dignified disgust

Her grey crinkled chip eyes can only safely digest on her pious ground

Such a menacing gaze settling upon the child sullenly distracted

sucking congealed gravy from the side of a knife.

For good she hopes as she watched her mother undress

thinking of her coffin and what  she ought to wear

what would they sing

would Cat Stevens attend?

In the shower she squats clutching her knees

rocks to and fro upon the wrinkling balls of her feet

imagining herself  as a  hen

unable to preen her reddening plumage.

Faithless Kiss

Don’t you ever ponder

how I was naked also during you with me exclusively wrapped

in a ragged and well worn doona for two190

crouching knee to knee, elbow tip to elbow tip

drenching ourselves in wantonness in front of the small and ineffective gas heater

without a clue to unwind itself for us?

Too quickly I hid my recovery after grappling with the enormity of the flowers you sent me

their stalks embedded especially for mother’s day in a green polystyrene casing

were meant for my admiration

but only produced my anxious speculation when  imagining cruel hands of lovingness

around the soft throat of the not so innocent.

You wooed me and in readiness you polished your tools

while thinking about the bible

how mine was upside down and when the devil led you to a faithless kiss176

you did not expect for him to remain as one with you

when you came silently and shamefaced

your head dripping between my breasts.