Wednesday, August 21, 2013

this be the verse, part two

Today at my doctor's (she is a saint), I cried and cried and cried so much, I wouldn't have believed beforehand that I could open up that much to anyone.

My doctor (she is a saint) was so good, even though doctors don't even shake hands with patients these days (swine flu, baby, swine flu, don't you know, the hysteria that surrounded that took away our one way of physical contact in everyday interactions between people), even though doctors don't even shake hands with patients these days, my doctor (she is a saint) actually hugged me when it was time for me to leave, and not only could I allow that, but I actually sniffled against her shoulder like a child and said "why are you so lovely when I am so horrible" and she said "I am no lovelier than you are not horribler", which is a peculiar way of putting things but it came as her immediate response and I'm sure I understand what she meant, although I don't feel it, I don't, that's for sure, children, I don't.

I left her room and walked the few steps to the bathroom in the corridor, and I had a cup of water from the tap because miraculously and thankfully, there was a plastic-cup dispenser thing there, and I checked myself in the mirror and I had cried so hard there was not any mascara left even on my face, and so I washed my hands and opened the door with the paper towel protecting me from touching the lock, and disinfected my hands, for which I took off the ring I got from Kriszta as a present from Croatia, as I'd given her the Kuna that I had left from last year to get a few things, because there's the population of Europe in bacteria lives under each one of your rings, you know, and then I opened the door to the stairwell and started walking down the five flights of stairs and while walking, disinfected my hands, taking off my ring of course, given I had touched the lock and the door handle to enter the stairwell, and I walked all the way down and opened the stairwell door into the lobby, and forced myself to refrain from disinfecting my hands (taking off my ring) until I had also opened the front door and left the building.

There's no sense in any of this. I want people to continue shaking hands and I have to disinfect three times when leaving a building.

So my doctor (she is a saint) told me I should take fifteen minutes to myself to calm down before going to see the living dead that the woman who bore me, my mother, has become. I should walk to the park, Sibelius park, right round the corner:

Sibelius Park 2

and just sit and give myself time and enjoy the greenness of the summer and the world, while it lasts. And so I did, because I want to obey my doctor (she is a saint).

In the park there were two Chinese ladies with two large plastic banners on the ground, telling us about the atrocity of organ harvesting the Chinese government perpetrates: using Falun Gong members, Uyghurs, Tibetans and political or prisoners of conscience as a supply of sellable organs, harvesting crops of kidneys, livers, corneas, hearts, for there are plenty of prisoners nobody gives a fuck about or at the very least nobody who could do anything about it, and plenty of rich Westerners and perhaps the odd rich Chinese as well who will happily have the organs without question, and I read their leaflet and dared myself to look at the pictures on their banners, and signed the Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting petition, and

This is not a world in which I wish to live 
~ Sarah Kane, 4:48 Psychosis, 2000 C.E.,

and I sat down on a bench and read and re-read the quote on the back of their leaflet:

We shall succeed in ending injustice and abuse when those who are not the victims are as outraged about the injustice and harm as those who are the victims. 
~ Solon, 500 B.C.E.,

and then, as I sat there for nearly an hour instead of the fifteen minutes I had intended, for I also read passages of 4:48 Psychosis because it feels like the only thing that really describes what I would be feeling, if I wasn't so well medicated that I only really know that I'm feeling this way, rather than actually feeling how I feel, then it finally was time to go visit the living ghost, the woman all grey apart from the blood-red swollen and bruised eye which she banged against the handle of her Zimmer frame when she stumbled and fell over last week and my father couldn't lift her up on his own any more, and he called me at 8:08 AM to ask me to ask my younger son (who is also a bit of a saint, my poor child, my poor, poor, poor little boy) to take a taxi and go and help him, which he did, for luckily he had the money because he has been working black market for a removal company for most of his summer holidays

and she has gone so very frail, so very much frailer in the few days I haven't been over to see her

and in two used envelopes which she had folded over to close them, one for me, one for my older boy who cannot get work, cannot get to school, isn't allowed to return to the world from which he wanted away a few years ago and who could blame him, in two used envelopes she had put some money, some for me, some for my boy, and she had written my boy's name on one and mine on the other, and it is still my mother's hand but it isn't going to be for much longer, it is already changing and becoming thick and spidery,

and almost immediately I came she said "I will go and rest now", through the voice-synthesising communicator device she, a once-summer-job-journalist touch-typist taps with her left forefinger, and she did, and there is a hospital bed, a walking stick, a Zimmer frame and a wheelchair in my childhood home, the thresholds between rooms have been evened out and the toilet seat changed into one with fold-down handles so she can still pull herself up,

and there is this smell that I think is the smell of her dying, although it maybe is only the combination of her various medicines and creams for her septic eczema and things, but it does smell like it is the smell of her death, and I cannot get the memory of it, the molecules of smell from my nose for hours after I have been in my childhood home,

and when she woke up and got up she wanted me to take the one-and-a-half packages of her favourite cracker bread home with me, for she cannot ever eat it again, it would kill her, she doesn't eat any more only the tiniest amount of the softest things, she had a tiny corner of a Swiss roll and nearly choked on it while I was eating my slice, she no longer eats but has had a gastric tube inserted into which my father pours a liquid feed every three hours during the day,

and when the operation had just been done two weeks ago he said I must go and get taught to do it too and when I said there are things that I can do and things I cannot, and that this is one I cannot, he went passive-aggressive as he does,

and when I left their house today, I forced myself to refrain from disinfecting my hands


Sabine said...

Reading this I felt a wave of great urgency. Not sure what for, may to squeeze every drop of life out of whatever number of days, weeks, years I may have. I shall see.
And I get the point of disinfecting but there is only so much you can do...
Thanks anyway.

Anna MR said...


In a way I am glad that the feeling you got was what you describe; thank you:

If instead of abject dismalness, you managed to glean from what I wrote an urgency to live, live, live, I am – although this word has been so disgustingly overused in things such as American Idol type competitions that it's near-unbearable to use in any decent context, but it's the closest I can get to what I mean, so I shall be brave and bold and use it in its original sense and context and usage – I am moved. Touched.

Thank you.

I have occasionally read your writing, and know that you live with much pain and carry it with admirable dignity and beauty. I didn't know you were my reader. I feel – quite honoured.

Thank you again.

I hope life is giving you every drop that can be squeezed. It owes you that.


Reading the Signs said...

This is very powerfully expressed, Anna - and I can only salute your honesty in setting it down as you have done. It takes courage to do that and is a strong element of what makes the writing so strong. So I add my thanks to Sabine's. And my good wishes to your mum at this threshold time - and love to you.


Anna MR said...

Oh my Signs – thank you, you know how much your words mean to me, all of them: what you say about my writing and honesty makes me humble and grateful, and your wishes to my mum and me makes me emotional and, well, a bit weak, but in the good sense. I don't have much chance or opportunity for weakness, these days, and those I have are welcome in ways I have yet to describe. Perhaps I'll find a way to say it sometime.

Miss you honey. Wish I could come to That Thing we spake of – but sadly it is right out, I'm afraid. You must know I'll be there in spirit, though, don't you?

My inability to work is becoming panic-inducingly scary this week. I must, must, must work, or face – doom. No, seriously, I really must. But hope to talk soon.

Much many multi mwahs, and thank yous, and love.


Navas said...

Oh Anna, what to say. Just that I am thinking of you. Take care.

Anna MR said...

Dear Navas – thank you.

And I want you to know that my friendship with your daughter has been enormously important to me these past few difficult months. Always has been, but you know what it's like to have good people around when times are hellish. She is like having a total angel for a friend. I don't know where I'd be without her. So, you know. Thank you for her as well.

Hope things are good with you my dear.


Ramonita said...


Anna MR said...

Well, Ramonita, I must say I only visited your profile (interesting stuff indeed) because it seemed like a slight-oddly-out-of-place sort of thing you said there, given the context of this particular post. However, I admit my choice of making a return visit was most likely effected by the fact that I was slightly flattered, you see – in fact, I confess I allowed myself to think – momentarily, Ramonita, momentarily – that you'd thought my writing was "fantastic".

So imagine my disappointment when I realised that really you were talking about the reclining exercise bikes that you sell as a living. Tsk. What can I say. Vanity was always my favourite mortal sin.

Let's not be seeing you.

Reading the Signs said...

:) eh, Ramonita, you just stumbled across real class here, and you probably have no idea. On yer bike!

Anna MR said...

Well my dear Signs, it takes one to know one, for you are one classy lady yourself (classier than me, I rather suspect).

But you know, what really does me is that these really are people who are probably employed by some bloody companies to go and leave these messages – I mean, it needs to be a human to come here and comment ("prove you're not a robot"). People who are employed to go and leave messages like "Brilliant!" or whatever on blog post after blog post…to advertise things very useful for the survival of mankind, such as reclining exercise bikes brilliantly exemplify. Employed. They do it for money. Man. How much for? How much per "Brilliant!"?

I fries my brain a little bit to think of that.

And then there's the issue of the whole thinking behind it – I mean, why say "Briliant!" at all? Why not just say, hei, come and have a look at our exercise bikes? Yes people would be (even) less likely to click on their link…but simultaneously, they are now – realising they've had their leg pulled so cruelly and old-fashionedly – (even) less likely to browse through the fucking website, looking at their essential-for-the-survival-of-the-species products.

I have to say, this world most of the time beats me.

I hope you are doing well. It is people like you who have always given me hope for mankind, my dear.


Anna MR said...

Ah, the word Ramonita used to lure me was not "Brilliant!", it was "Fantastic!". Do forgive me, Ramonita, for this hideous disrespect for your work.

Reading the Signs said...

Heh :) - Ramonita, if you're serious about all this you could actually think of taking issue with Ms MR for misquoting you. Having said that, I don't think I even bothered to click on yer link so I'm not what you might call bovvered - especially as you not human, or animal. Well you might be human, but you're in thrall to robots and the forces of darkness, so ...

Good morning, Anna. I am certainly not classier than you. I'm sure I could actually prove this, but hei, you'll just have to take my word for it.