This week's Zelda's Inferno exercise, drawn from Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones:
I remember my grandmother, sitting at her kitchen table, watching TV, smoking Pall Mall cigarette, her bright pink lipstick smeared on the filters , the lipstick such a contrast with her pale skin, Lupus kept her out of the light
I remember playing wallball in the alley with my brother, bouncing a sponge rubber ball off the retaining wall at the bottom of the yard across the way, stopping when a car came down the alley
I remember back seat make-out sessions with my high school girlfriend, parked in my mom's car in the parking lot shrouded by the woods of the YMCA campground, the urgency of lips and hands, almost a sort of CPR as we brought each other to life
I remember poetry nights at Planet X, reading over the noise of the espresso machine, a whole packed room of people hanging on my words
I remember how we kept meeting after the place burned down, one night braving a tornado warning
to gather under the awning of a sub shop a few doors up and read Ginsberg and Bukowski to each other, not caring if the winds struck us dead, storm would not silence us
I remember saying goodbye to my comatose grandfather. I remember saying goodbye to my other comatose grandfather. I wonder how and why it is that my grandmothers both left more quickly, whether that was better or not (and for whom).
I remember getting beat up as a kid, bullied. I remember fighting back in rage, and finding that the rage hurt worse than being hit.
I remember missing by inches a head-on collision at 70 miles an hour, just managing to steer around a car that crossed the median, maybe the closest I've been to death.
I remember my father knocking my brother down, shoving him in anger. I remember my father trying to keep my brother out of jail. I remember my father in the ICU, waking up from heart surgery.
I remember seeing the Daibutsu, the great bronze Buddha, at Nara, during the New Years festival, and knowing that things could never be the same.