The Mess of this World
Let’s start off with a poem today, which mentions summer, but will remind us of all the baking we’re doing (or in my case, not doing) this season.
by Aimee Nezhukumatathil
Flour on the floor makes my sandals
slip and I tumble into your arms.
Too hot to bake this morning but
blueberries begged me to fold them
into moist muffins. Sticks of rhubarb
plotted a whole pie. The windows
are blown open and a thickfruit tang
sneaks through the wire screen
and into the home of the scowly lady
who lives next door. Yesterday, a man
in the city was rescued from his apartment
which was filled with a thousand rats.
Something about being angry because
his pet python refused to eat. He let the bloom
of fur rise, rise over the little gnarly blue rug,
over the coffee table, the kitchen countertops
and pip through each cabinet, snip
at the stumpy bags of sugar,
the cylinders of salt. Our kitchen is a riot
of pots, wooden spoons, melted butter.
So be it. Maybe all this baking will quiet
the angry voices next door, if only
for a brief whiff. I want our summers
to always be like this—a kitchen wrecked
with love, a table overflowing with baked goods
warming the already warm air. After all the pots
are stacked, the goodies cooled, and all the counters
wiped clean—let us never be rescued from this mess.
– from Lucky Fish
There’s the mess of the world, the snakes and the rats, and there’s the mess on our own kitchen tables. Perhaps it’s always ever been thus. I’m going to choose to be wrecked by a love for this world, then. Whoever joins me will join me. Whoever finds love now, will continue to find love.
Here’s my current mode for getting through. I’m eating the damn toast, I’m buying the grocery store pie. I’m taking photos and writing as much as I’m able to every morning, which is not always a lot. I’m working out on the treadmill listening and watching YouTube videos of Bruce Springsteen. I’m looking for the light, and I’m looking for what’s real. Usually my soundtrack for this time of year is Joni Mitchell’s Blue, or I go for my Canadian playlist, Neil Young, Leonard Cohen. But it’s Springsteen who is feeling the most real to me right now, keeping me grounded. So I’m working out, the old sad menopausal writer librarian out of shape body (keeping it real here lol), and I’m feeling joy, and it’s keeping me moving. Which I think is kind of the key to this time of year. Keep moving.
I’ve been listening to Tunnel of Love which came out in 1987 and it’s reminded me of driving in my beautiful blue 1969 Mercury Cougar down Jasper Avenue just for the sake of it, right at about that time. Boy was I a ridiculous mess of a kid back then. I had big 80s hair, could actually wear mascara back in the day, and had a beat up leather jacket. Did so many stupid things. Good times. One step up and two steps back, but here I am a million years later. Tougher than the Rest. An interesting thing about doing a bit of a deep dive into his music is that it was always there and I didn’t even really know it. Didn’t attend to it. But of course who didn’t listen to it on the radio in their car? The beauty of the music is that it’s there waiting.
I’m learning to be tender when I think of my younger messed up self. She made it this far, after all.
(The photo below is not my car, but a pretty close version of it).
Last year, I wrote a post titled “A Holiday Manifesto for Introverts.” Which might be useful at this time of year.
Maybe it was our experience in Rome in November, but I keep thinking about how the past lives in the present, and how we keep moving forward even when it doesn’t seem as though we are. (Even if it is on the treadmill….). Whether you look back or not it’s all there anyway, converging on the mess on your kitchen table, at times. The lyrics deepen over time, the meanings multiply. Some things are more evident, others, less so. The music you missed out on is there, too. And there’s always more music to be made, to drink up. More books to write, poems, stories to tell however you are able to tell them. We’re all a little bit wrecked by now from the mess of this world, but let’s be wrecked by love, then, shall we? Let’s be wrecked by love.