On the Loss of Childhood and Kites
It is easy to lose a kite. The orange is easier to eat than not to eat. But it was so pretty in its bowl. Losing childhood is the easiest part. Gaining is harder. Gaining will, responsibility, shoveling snow, packing boxes. Easier to throw things away. It was easy to forget a life. Who knew, besides me, that he worked at a gas station? Who knew the things he had gained, the days he spent wisely? Easier for the plane to crash than to stay suspended in air, I’d think. Harder to paddle with the arms. Harder to make files and stacks of things. And to be willing to lose = incredible. Easier than caring too hard. I lost all sense of history. I didn’t learn it to begin with. I was annoyed when they bothered me with history. I skipped the footnotes, as a rule. The stories of others bothered me. Like tack holes in such a white wall. It is simple to lose a balloon. It floats gracefully away. When held, it tugs, a sad pull. I left childhood behind in a breeze. Moved houses. The house with the big ceilings: lost. The sunflowers in vases: lost. Mother: still around, but hard to keep close. I have lost dependence. I don’t know where all the lost things go. My car I had when I was twenty. Dad lost his running. Grace lost her tendency toward meekness. It is easy to get bigger and then smaller again. It is harder to stay the same. I was given this ability to lose. It was something I gained. I gained it like an allowance. This many days lived = independence. First I cried, hard, but then it came easier each time. Gone on an airplane to New York City. Easy not to look back. And then there I was on Valencia street at midnight, wondering about hindsight again. Maybe I was wondering because I had a soul. But maybe it was just like all the other times: heartless. Looking at the woman that looks like my mother, but not questioning my mother’s history in any real way. Is this really happening at the rate I see it happening? My leaving, going, forgetting. The fruit I have consumed at one time was pretty. It wouldn’t have stayed that way for long because it would have gone rotten in the bowl. We tattooed our arms because it didn’t matter. Mom hated that. It does matter, she said. She had this way of giving everything meaning. She listened to other people’s histories. The sunflowers in vases were the same as her. Hopeful, brilliant, chopped at the ends. I crave the lost things. I find them in well-lit restaurants. I find them in digging, climbing, and sweating. I lost sports. I lost all feeling in my body. I lost it in cells that reorganized themselves, in youth, in bedrooms with crown molding. I can’t say I’ve lost everything. I gained this tattoo. I gained three million loves. All of it gets lost, though. In a pattern not unlike voodoo. In a pattern not unlike eating. My mother holds the microphone close to peoples faces. She listens hard. She listens good. I need to gain some compassion. She needs to lose some of her far away-ness. I need to move back home. Also, I need to forget about home. I am having trouble thinking about the past. I can’t remember certain verses. I can’t ever remember certain bikes I had. My friends are things that I have gained. We drink coffee together sometimes. I have tried to lose weight that way. I have tried to lose my hair. I have lost sleep. But I never lose too much sleep. It doesn’t affect me to lose sleep. I do better with less. I hear the ladies saying Spanish words. I have lost my language. I wonder how the brain works. I lose so much memory every day. That lady over there looks so much like home because she has those kind sort of lines in her face. That other lady looks so much like my mother. My childhood was so good and I lost the whole thing. I lost my childhood one day when I was falling in love with some guy. I fell in love a lot of times. I gained things from falling in love. I hated it when I lost it, but then it was perfect because I didn’t really need anybody. I really love the season for oranges, because I love to see them in the bowl. I don’t like how they taste much, but I eat them anyway. I eat them to feel like I have gained something. Gain some vitamin c. Gain some pulse in the veins. I try to read the newspaper to gain knowledge. I lose knowledge through my ears. I go out to dinner in order to feel alright. I need to feel home again. I felt home today, it passed through. I need to feel like I won something back. Easier to die than keep living. To win back a loss. If I could see the room that had all my losses in it, it would be as tall as the sky. Packed tight with illegible notes. It would read well. It would smell open. It would be as forgettable as any other room. I would get lost in those losses. I would ask the sky to give me some of those things back. I would tell the sky: I loved that kite so much.