To see is to understand? To look is to know? To feel what I felt. Everything seems now to be all balled up. How I wanted to express everything, say everything possible, the scopes I could manage, macro and micro and everything in between, around, outside and inside, what was there to say that I have not yet said. Her husband must have known her as a human woman, a human lover, a human friend; her children knew her as a human mother; I knew her as the sun and the moon. I hesitate to say what she looked like when I knew her, when she had gotten old, when she finally succumbed to dementia, when my mother had gone up to Pittsfield to take care of her for a time.
Does it matter if she were tall or short, legs gorgeous or average or hideously disproportionate. What does it mean to say a woman was beautiful, or that she was pretty, or that her eyes were magnificent–is that what we say about eyes? About whom–who do we say such things about? Does anyone say she had magnificent eyes? I am talking about she and she and yet another she. Whoever she is–gorgeous eyes? Wonderful eyes? Deep and brooding eyes? Sad eyes? Sorrowful eyes? The world enough.
What could I have said then, and what do I say now. My mother’s eyes were the world full of sorrow for me; I still hear her voice how long now after she has been gone, my mother. In the end she lost her sense of humor, but I repeat myself from a poem or a journal or an essay or a short story, or some anecdote I have told in one or another bar or bistro.
What is there left to say about Pittsfield, about the Berkshires, about my Aunt Anna Mae, my mother’s mother’s older sister; or about childhood, or about being a boy, or about being out of Brooklyn, or in Brooklyn, or from Brooklyn? I could ask many, many questions–we multiply questions so as never to get answers. But I do not–I will not–what?
I will let the words flow where they will, water around the rocks, I recall a girl I knew who used to say that we should all strive to be more like water, the streams we’d cross and follow through the woods in the hills by my Aunt’s house at the top of the hill that was Yorkshire Drive, ascending from the butt of the hill that was Dalton Avenue in perpendicular. Saying is always so much less than being, to be or not to be; being was everything when I was boy in the Berkshires. Everything was immediate, perpetually is is true. And she was who she was when she was where she was with whomever she was. She made a point of saying this, of repeating it as if it were a mantra–a very long mantra. How could a mantra be so long and remain effective? I was never sure how it was supposed to turn out, the mantra saying, that is. How we were supposed to turn out–there are no supposed to(s). She reminded me one day of something I had said months before to her: all supposed to(s) are suppositions, and all suppositions are suppositories.
Yes, shove them up your ass.