Change…

My mother died four years ago at the age of 64. I was the sole heir of her fortune, which if you follow my writing, you know by now is the sum of over forty years of journals, pictures and an entire completed book entitled, Dear Mick; or Waiting on a Friend(Thoughts on Life and Love). The book is told through letters she wrote to Mick Jagger through the years. Upon finding the journals, I was completely overwhelmed, especially since in the last year I have found many secrets of her life begging the question, how well do we really know even our closest friends and family members? A simple Post-it note dated August 16th, 1996 explains the purpose of her journals.

“Peter, I take for granted sometimes that I can pick up a telephone and call you anytime I want. I hate calling people long distance because it validates the space in between. As for calling you, if its when you’re gone and I leave you a long message, especially if it pertains to a beautiful snow or old movie, you get very angry. I think of things to tell you every day, but afraid I will cause anger and combustion of the answering machine. Therefore, my journals. Allow them someday to serve as a telephone call. Not long distance though, because as my son, you will forever be in my heart every second of whatever we find defines eternity. Mamamutra!”

I have spent the last year consolidating these journals with hundreds of scraps of paper littering her basement with jotted little notes such as “The spirit of man is cruel if he forgets the wonder of being a child and experiencing Santa Claus for the first time.” I will never know what occasions inspired her to write some of these notes or thoughts, but hopefully, by weaving together the journals and thoughts together into a book, readers will be able to learn a secret she unearthed only at the very end through her own writings. “The human experience, especially woman’s, is lonely and alone, independent from others needs but undefinable and definitely unexplainable to any man. But of course, as they are quick to tell you, their experience is independent from definition too. Probably true, but I still think Eve made a grave mistake for the rest of us. Then why do we need people? Ahh…because the memories are ten times worth the experience itself.”

I have retitled her book Press Conference; Thoughts on Life and Love, a reference to my mother’s years in therapy, which in person she advocated but in her journals secretly unveiled, “Therapy is a waste of my time. No real life questions are answered. It is all just a press conference of my actions.” In the next few weeks, as I finalize construction of the book, I will be posting segments for my readers to enjoy. By spending hours upon hours, sitting in my dark basement late at night, reading these journals, I have learned a very important lesson. Maybe the most important lesson…Life is but a mystery. And we are on borrowed time as it is…

Change

To My Only True Love…

The apartments on Fall Creek and the near 52nd
where we came and went on weekends
are the same.

The old, drab rooms in yours are still there,
perhaps occupied by other lovers now
and someone sits on my old balcony
with champagne and Robert Frost

The rooms and balconies are still the same
but we have changed.

No more the winning smiles,
Your happy whistling as you exit from a small, blue car
with a bottle of Scotch in your hand
and a hope for an evening in your heart.

The hasty song or listening,
The happy stare of love,
The young heart leaping in the dark room.

And no more the wild young man
who talked too quickly and too loud
of love and life,
ideals he wished to give away.

Seldom the morning sun catches you
lying in bed late anymore.
Seldom the birds in Holcomb Gardens
or any grass
see you stretched out upon the grass.

I pace unfamiliar streets now
attempting new solutions to old problems
and the answers seldom come.

But there was a time in the Fall and Winter
of the year when our problems seemed small,
money and things were nothing
and wine, poems, nights together
and the streets in Indianapolis
were our whole world.

Sometimes I’m sorry for feelings once known,
it doesn’t justify the years you spend remembering.
I was always shy about you loving me.

But I am happy still
that even for a moment
you were thrilled in my direction
and dreamed of my in the daytime.

For maybe six months of love
is worth the lifetime you spend looking.

And White Castles.
And wine in vistas in Brown County.
And knowing you love me.
Is enough.

Barbara Joan Sconce

Barefoot Dancing…

Sometimes we find the push we need in the strangest places. Yesterday, while on Facebook, I read a poem that my dear friend Erin, who I’ve known for over 20 years, posted, stating that it had been one of her favorite poems and that her mother had it above her desk since she was a child. I read the poem, surprised that I had never seen it before, and realized instantly that the words of it’s song resonated in my heart and pulled me back from the daily troubles and life lessons that had been overwhelming my mind recently. I printed off the poem, making two copies. One to hang of the fridge and the other one to hand above my desk in my office, next to my picture of a remote beach in Antigua.

And today, as I stood in my office, checking off all of the things I had to get done on my list, my eyes grazed over that poem and old Nadine, the poet, spoke to me as if she were standing in that room. Suddenly, I realized that my mother, old friends even old teachers and childhood pets were dancing around me in my mind, reminding me how truly short life is and how I take even the smallest things for granted.

I opened the door and stepped out into the garden behind my office and stopped and stared up at the most amazing azure sky I had seen in a long time. And then I realized that maybe I just hadn’t been looking. I kicked off my shoes and walked into the grass surrounded with yellow and orange flowers…and I danced. Maybe because the images of all of those people from my past haunted me and reminded me that one day I would be gone too! Or maybe because of the poem. Or maybe because summer will be over soon, and then another fall and another winter and time is passing much too quickly for me to grasp on to it’s withered hands.

So I danced. And I smiled. And I imagined the poet, old Nadine Stair, whispering into my ear the words of her poem, almost as if they were commands. And now I whisper them to you! Listen carefully, and head their words, because we’re on borrowed time as it is…

IF I HAD MY LIFE TO LIVE OVER

I’d dare to make more mistakes next time.
I’d relax, I would limber up.
I would be sillier than I have been this trip.
I would take fewer things seriously.
I would take more chances.

I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers.
I would eat more ice cream and less beans.
I would perhaps have more actual troubles,
but I’d have fewer imaginary ones.

You see, I’m one of those people who live
sensibly and sanely hour after hour,
day after day.

Oh, I’ve had my moments,
And if I had it to do over again,
I’d have more of them.
In fact, I’d try to have nothing else.
Just moments, one after another,
instead of living so many years ahead of each day.

I’ve been one of those people who never goes anywhere
without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat
and a parachute.
If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.

If I had my life to live over,
I would start barefoot earlier in the spring
and stay that way later in the fall.
I would go to more dances.
I would ride more merry-go-rounds.
I would pick more daisies.

Nadine Stair,
85 years old.