January 01, 2007

Hunger Pains

The room was white peeling plaster
and yellowed wallpaper
that slumped and separated
from the walls
in great bubbles.
We sat
five of us to a sagging bed
passing around bottles of cheap beer.
A lightbub shone white and hot
over our bobbing heads --
Teenage angst,
lust and anger burned inside our skulls
making its way out our mouths
and down
to our loins
filling our narrow eyes with electricity
that traveled invisible across unseen wires
plugging straight
into our impoverished swollen hearts.

We were starved for love then --
like the little brown children
on the television with their staring eyes and flies
on their faces;
their distended bellies pushing out
as they stood in the dust.

We gorged ourselves on love affairs
thrown at our feet
like bags of rice, but we could not
absorb what was good in it.
It ran through us like dirty water
and we could only keep feeding --
howling at night in our beds
at the hunger pains burning.

Cutting the Cord

This first morning of 2007 I was met with not one single new email. I thought it strange and made sure my account was working properly. After several different types of tests, I have determined that Smith had me on an automatic shut off schedule. I no longer have a Smith College email address. Woe is me.

It's not even the hassle of setting up a new email, or sending out one gigantic bulk email to everyone with a new address that has me upset. It's the change. It is the passing of something entirely symbolic of a time in my life that is now over.

Those who know me might mistakenly think that I am a woman who embraces, and perhaps even covets change. A quick inventory of my life would reveal many moves, many risks taken, many new paths courageously forged and a seeming willingness to leap over the edge again and again.

It is partly true. I have never been afflicted with that condition known as "fear of change". At least not on the level that it prevents me from making new plans, or uprooting my life and everything I know in order to pursue a goal. But the whole truth is that once I am done riding the wave of change, and find myself washed up on a new shore, I lay there shivering and moaning for days. I have to grieve what is past, and I feel the need to grieve fully over every path ended.

And so, this morning when the realization hit me that I had actually been finally and completely severed from Smith as a current student, I felt the grief rise up from my belly and wrap itself loosely around my throat. I expect three days of brooding, brow-furrowing type behavior from myself before I can get both feet fully onto the next path. I wonder if I was moody and pensive in those first days after the exodus from the womb?

(Oil painting "Letting Go" by Rebecca Gottesman, can be found here)