The book I was working on wound up yesterday. I only felt the end coming on a couple of days before that, but I had also been feeling a bit slowed down and listless compared to a few months earlier. I had only to wonder why–then I knew. Finishing a long project is always a bit sad. I’m anxious to see it safely through, but then I feel lost for a while.
It’s too soon to have much to say about it. Maybe just a few things–I look back and see that I mentioned being given a kindlier name for my Night Mare. Typical. No sooner had it come to me, with about a million hints and suggestions built right into it (Mother Goose and the evil eye–wink!–for starters), than it and She disappeared into the background. The text inevitably has more of an Ars Poetica character than I would like, but such is my life; write about what one knows best, eh? At least it’s always surrounded by images and metaphors drawn from literal real life. There is so much about dancing, for example. I am a sidelined dancer of many years; dancing was always the backbone of my spiritual and poetic practice.
Apart from that, a male character haunted the narrator. This of course had to be real on some level; at first I figured it would be my partner who died, as he was a poet and a very spiritually-minded person as well. That formed part of the early content, but then the real story came through and I knew who I was seeing.
We’ve both aged comfortably into our characters. I’m done trying to be a pretty lady; I’m a bald-headed cross between an elf and an extraterrestrial. He is as otherworldly as ever; I wouldn’t even try to describe him, but he’s ultra-something.
Love! Doesn’t mean we’ll ever interact again. The book was what I wanted. This is its postscript:
Ultra-Terrestrial Resident Here
As I look to the light in the window from so far away, I can see the reflection there cast
by a pale, eyeless woman. Am I the sole witness–has some crime of passion committed here last
October let go of its victim, so worm-eaten, raising what’s left of her glowing white face–
and was she assisted by someone–her lover? From utterly, eerily far outer space–
in some ritualized resurrection? I must be mistaken–she looks like a woman I know,
but I haven’t laid eyes on in–let me count backwards–a hundred or more lifetime-years in a row,
like the light-years that measure the distance between points of starlight and where we are measuring from,
but conceived as a series of wetly embodied experiences. From a far world we come,
who’ve felt a long, slow recognition mount up in such gradual stages, it’s only begun
to impinge on our focus; if one or the other is working and won’t look away till they’re done,
it’s after the work is laid off to one side, but the doors are still open between where we are
to ourselves and our sacred and genuine place. Shall we meet in the corridor under one Star
we have steered by, if sometimes unknowingly, shall we grow lush as the garden we still bear in seed,
shall we clasp at the hour of sweet sunset the hands which have worked on and on to see both of us freed
from the barrier-vapors in black-ribboned wreaths that surrounded and choked us, their marks on our doors,
which we then closed and locked? Shall we dance down the hallway of light till we race to the light-housing shores
it reveals in the breadth of its beam, cast across the wide water, with both of us shoreside at last,
and the same shore, and even the same stretch of sand as the same tide subsides and the Moon rises fast
and its loveliness overcomes both the worn journeyers reading the letters from far years to go
to these two, who are endlessly weary and yet so enchanted, they’ll blossom in sunshine or snow,
only let them so blossom together, the seeds they will cast out will bear in their turn other tunes
from far other ethers and galaxies, even as far as the farthest star-family’s Moons,
and the beings who live their, all song, singing clearly, and breathing the fragrance of songs in return
as we send them in essence our spirits, our hearts, and the letters conceived by the last light to burn–
By the soft-glowing lantern that hangs in the window, yet crosses a distance too great to behold,
an eerie reflection comes clear through the glass of the magical mirror whose use was foretold
in the prescient penultimate verse before closing the sad bloody story–the womanly ghost
who fended away in the name of her great inspiration, her half-human heavenly host–
the powers of darkness that splintered and fell like the first crystal snowflakes of winter this year.
Early, a bit; it’s not quite Halloween; I’ve not got a costume; I’m going to appear
as I am this time round, so he’ll see what I’m made of. The eyes in my head are the stars in the sky
showing through, but they’re grey, and near-sighted, and slightly confused and–they know him. Poor old world, good-bye!