Table Elegy

I don’t know if what I feel about you is grief or not. That is the sentence that was repeating in my mind for awhile as I worked to settle my thoughts on objects that relate to you. I had an idea for a table elegy the other week. I should have written it at the time but I was doing something else and now I can’t quite remember what the connections were.

I rearranged the house last week. When I first moved in it was my impulse to put the dining room in the middle next to the kitchen, in the space where you had your table, which you used as a big desk. But my sister and Julian and others suggested it would be cozy to make the middle room a sitting room because the woodstove is there. So I did that. I couldn’t find a configuration that made it feel like a room I wanted to occupy instead of a hallway. The dining room went into the front room and somehow that also made the room feel like a hallway. If I were going to think about this in terms of energy, what that hallway feeling suggests to me is that the energy flowed through without stopping. Like a bucket with a hole in it. So what is the consequence of that? Having a room that is like a hall where the energy just flows through or drains away?

I end up sitting on a stool in the kitchen to do anything I do in the house. I didn’t think it would work to rearrange the house. But I decided to try it, see if I liked the feeling of the house reconfigured. And I do. The energy feels like it doesn’t drain out of the rooms. They feel more beautiful. And they also feel more like you are here. We ate so many dinners at my dining room table. And maybe, too, the dining room in Frederick feels more like the dining room in the Bethlehem house. The window is in the middle, with the radiator just under it. Why are radiators always under a window? So they don’t disrupt an empty wall?

I don’t like it when my writing feels like this – aimless and without purpose or insight. This is the mechanical part. When writing goes on very long like this I want to stop and do something else. But I also know that if I persist I may start to get somewhere. If I asked Nora, she would probably counsel me to do a breathing exercise. She is very virtuous. She makes and eats healthy food. Now she is doing Tai Chi. She is beginning to investigate Chi Gong. She walks. She is learning breathing exercises that are supposed to fix things in the body, maximize health. I don’t do these things. I start to feel I am living a life of sloth, of sins of lethargy, which somehow makes me resist her proselytizing. She wants to save me and she thinks she knows how. She’s probably right. Why don’t I let myself be led? I want to find my own way to save myself? I have a vision of a life I think could work for me that would be healthy for me, inspiring? Do I have such a vision? I think maybe I don’t have such a vision. I think when Bruce died (do I want to speak to you? Write to you? . . . I think when you died, a tremendous amount of energy I had focused on you got dissipated. I know I was waiting for you to choose me or reject me. I was waiting for you to live and be with me or die and finally abandon me. What I got, with marrying you and then you dying in a week and two days, was a strange combination of you choosing me and rejecting me. That’s what it feels like – that you rejected me. Because you didn’t listen. You wouldn’t slow down. You chose fear of death.

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