Tuesday, June 29

Coffee with my mother, sister and some of the boys, sunny table at The Market and everything seemed good. Kenny H. had a good joke about my grandfather's cliff driving- "they didn't have air brakes?" Just heard on the radio that an accordian festival will hit Boston next month.

Saturday night I should have been drunk given the occasion of afternoon football at the Kinvara, but baby says no. Kicks so much it must be a striker. Dino looking good for not smoking. I miss the lads. By the time the Celtic season starts I should have a wee one at my breast.

To the 108 with treats for Lucy, Thai food from across the street and a dress that didn't do too well containing me. The music was nice but I would have preferred no horn- too close to the voice sometimes. I wish Joe was there. I have words for him that don't make it into email. I wish I saw John more.

Baby keeps me from sitting still too long, chair then floor and stretch this way and that. I wish I could have softened some of the sounds for my womb, thinking of Lucy and Anders and Caleb all overwhelmed by noise.

If Mike County were a plant he would be lamb's ear, planted in the shade of a rosemary bush in the front garden of a row house in the southern outskirts of Cork.

Jim Dunn read about the beach in Magnolia. I spent the summers of 14 and 15 drinking at bonfires there while my stepmother played oblivious 100 yards away. Cheap beer with fraternal twins twice my age. One I wanted to kiss. The other declared one night sitting on the stone wall next to the local garage that if the world were to end tomorrow he would take me up in his arms and not let go. Saw him years later at Pavilion beach watching the greasy pole, still drunk. His brother was the one who told me my horn was going off at Friendly's a couple years ago.

Breakfast at the Dory yesterday. The guy who walked the pole dressed as a jester at the table in back, telling the story of Andy who fell off the wagon and hasn't been seen since. Didn't even swim in with the rest of the walkers. Swam to the boats instead, leaving his girlfriend waiting on the beach. Heard he's alive but he still hasn't made it home. Then the boy who won on Friday and Saturday comes in. The waitress was hoping he'd win all three days. He's no Jake Wood. No Peter "Black" Frontiero.

Henry Ferrini in with big news about his film and his son holding a stuffed animal and a spatula. Out the door after a moment or two. Turn around in the lot looking into the harbor. Remains of Fiesta still in St. Peter's Square, carni truck and tinsel angels. Scaffolding bones of the altar. I'd challenge that guy who said the Fort was gentrified to carry Peter through the streets and watch the women throw confetti from the windows. There have always been a few outsiders living there but let's make it clear: Olson wasn't a fisherman either.

The sailors weren't as good looking this year. Might be because I wasn't drunk. More so I think it's the war. Walking the streets with James, talking to former students, now enlisted men, trying to keep themselves out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Little boys still, not more than babies, looking for ways to stay safe. And Dan home on leave, a few more weeks left in which he can be sent away, all our fingers crossed and we pray even if we don't believe.

I should pack more now. I've killed the difficult plants and won't have to move them. I should never be trusted with jasmine or gardenia. The hibiscus by my bed hasn't got the weight to handle the sea breeze and I haven't the heart to close the window. Yesterday its three blossoms were overshadowed by the lillies from Greg, standing tall in their milk-bottle vase. Perfect backdrop for my reading Women Poets of China. Fragrant flowers near the cool sheets of my bed.




Wednesday, June 16

I didn’t get the love notes I was hoping for. I can bring myself near to tears with anticipation, foolish anticipation.

In some ways I got more.

My list was a bust. I can’t eat gorgonzola while pregnant and really I have no idea how to find a prostitute. Didn’t make it to the beach. I did visit the newspaper but that’s it. I didn’t even buy soap.

There is a general feeling of uneasiness around me. In some cases it leans toward bitterness, in others hopelessness, and in me I can’t figure it out. I spend hours imagining what could happen, hours talking myself out of or in to what I have imagined, and hours cursing myself for hours wasted. Right now I am waiting for water to boil, which means these moments can’t be considered among them.

I have left helplessness out of the uneasiness. Please forgive the mistake.

Molly Bloom and the baby she lost, shouldn’t have buried him in the sweater she knit but what else could she do? I have a sweater started for my last and I can’t bring myself to finish it for Whomever. Can’t bring myself to take it apart. My grandmother here remembering her lost child, her youngest, named James. Two sons gone and she is left to her wine bottles. Now when she counts her children I don’t know what the number is.

My stomach is upset, it might be affected. Some things I wish I didn’t know and I know it is better I do. The truths we know but can no longer deny once given the facts. The truth being variable and the facts constant. The chart Gerrit made me is hanging by a clothespin above the computer. It reminds me of parts of myself…

My body has never been a teenage body and never will be. I can’t say why this matters but as I get closer to being a mother it feels like I am fulfilling some kind of prophecy. The decision was made by my hips and breasts before they knew to show themselves. My body is heavy and will always be heavy. My troubled mind is in my bosom and womb and I can’t seem to get my arms around it. My body feels like the vessel it is and I can’t make it feel any different.

Tuesday, June 15

To Do List, June 16:

- buy liver
- buy soap
- get letter from lover
- visit newspaper
- attend funeral
- go to prostitute
- masturbate on beach
- eat gorgonzola sandwich

Monday, June 14

Sunburned from graduation. Right arm lobster-red, left arm protected by a sleeping baby. My chest in the deep v of a new halter dress. Cheeks and nose and forehead. I haven’t been burnt like this in years. Seven years today, when the scalloped neck of my wedding gown was burnt into my breast.

Not a word about my mother missing my shower. For years she fought tooth and nail to claim the role of parent and now not even a fa├žade. She has no problem with my stepmother taking over the public role. Maybe she gave up the fight. Maybe the fight was never over us.

Sunday idyllic looking out on the Canal at Newell Stadium. Boats going by and the field filled with kids in maroon and white, my half-sister among them. James there on the field watching his students and handing Samantha her diploma. She wore the pink lei, put on her by my nephew as I sat in the stands with my grandmother BJ and the rest of the kids.

Tuberose flowers falling off of the other, too much for a girl trying to fit in. The woman behind us remembers the smell of the airport in Honolulu. My grandmother says tub-e-rose where I pronounce it tube-rose. I will change my way. Fallen flowers in the buttonholes of my cardigan. Caleb crying on my shoulder from the noise of the band but sung quickly to sleep. Lovesick ballads again.

Bring the baby back to my sister. Look down- no wedding ring on my stepmother’s finger. Speeches about childhood and movies. I hope you dance. Names and names and names, proud parents with noisemakers and cowbells. Fighting our way onto the field to find Samantha and James. BJ hobbling down eventually, by then me collapsed in a city councilor’s chair. Pictures and congratulations.

At home tired from the heat and sun, skin aching against the sheets. Aloe sinking in slowly. Cool breeze from the water making me shiver. Asleep by the third inning.

Saturday, June 12

Reading short stories this morning. All of them are about love, and none of them are happy. There is just the moment. If I cut my hair short it won’t hang down over my breasts in the moonlight. One ends with horses, another with going away.

Thursday was for parents and Friday for grandparents. Today is for me and I must dress well. There will be disappointments, there always are. I would like to unwrap hours and give them to people to spend with me. I would like a quiet day. My mind and body are tired.

I will be happy with women I know who love me. I will be grateful for the help and gifts they give. I will write thank-you notes. I will mean it. But I will be wanting to be quiet with somebody- the baby in my belly or a warm body in my bed.

Tomorrow is pomp and circumstance. Sit in the stands, be together. James and Samantha on the field for different reasons, a lei for Sam and one for my father’s grave. Collapsing I’m sure by the end of the day to do the work I should be doing now.

This next week quieter than the one before it, Simon gone and others resting. If I could fill in some of the time the same way. I will get my hair cut. I am not sure how. Noah’s haircut is wonderful and he looks so much like I looked at 5. But it is short and might not do.

Into the tub now and to get ready. My toenails are chipped and should be painted but I can barely reach them. I have a birthday outfit to wear if it fits me and a smile to paint on. I should be prepared.

Thursday, June 3

Listening to ballads that bring me to tears.

Gerrit and Elijah and I off to lunch today then at the cafe, with Gerrit playing peek-a-boo behind the neon signs and he says something about the people we can never introduce...

I'm bound for the waves, and rain comes in a serpent-cloud over the harbor. In the car home a Kinks song covered by Kirsty MacCall makes me cry. Predictable, really, but still. Bits of sun fighting to shine on the Annisquam , my peas haven't come up yet and my baby will never meet my father.

Then doing dishes just now- this cruel country has driven me down. I've only sad stories... my dreams have withered and died. Thinking of friends who hurt eachother and jealousy and love. They'd run and hide. Sad but with sorrow, not depression. And when those you love hurt eachother, silver moon sailor, silver moon shine. Last night's moon the strawberry moon-- ifI were a butterfly I'd live for a day. My dreams have withered and died.

Baby kicked hard while I was in the tub tonight, hard enough to see my belly move. To Canaan's Land, I sang at my grandmother's service. At a friend's grandfather's funeral old people I can't name asking me to sing when they die. And how time passes-- a love-light shines across the sea and the soul of man never dies.

My grandmother always with something red about her and drinking manhattans. Elijah so dear to me and conceived barely a month after she died. Elijah the same age as the second baby I lost would be and so dear to me, whistles between his teeth sometimes when he breathes and blows kisses. My heart it bleeds, for she loves him indeed. Sing Hi-ho-lay at the end of the day. Elijah who calls "manna's home" when I arrive and who is so dear. Let the years come and go...

The song that made me think of Marnie but now I think Judy and little Emily who isn't so wee any more. Who now will sing me lullabies? Listening to it in the barn playing pool with my sister and Noah then 3 starts to cry because the song sounds so sad and Elizabeth and I can't not cry. The stars are all fading and Emily in California never got her lullabies.

Some tyrant has stolen my true love away. William and Davey, come round here no more- wed I am oh and happy I shall be. Rise my love and go away-- I wish to God I'd gone before you.

The good ship sails on the ally-ally-oh.