Sometimes when I find something, my heart writhes inside its chamber until it becomes the exact size and shape of an ape heart. And I stomp ’round my shoebox, swinging my arms and beating my chest. No one pays me mind because these acts are not unusual for me anymore. To express my unequivocal love for someone or something in this manner is so normal that to find me sitting quiet would be the shock to my familial system.
The previous weekend roused my ape heart. Mostly because it was filled with my loves: musical mayhem, milk, and men. We traversed to the Moccasin Creek Music Festival written of here. That venture alone had me stomping my heels into the dust and rocks mere feet from this giant arch meant for housing musicians. These musical geniuses will always remind me that my writing, though mostly shitty and self-wailing, is worth something. That it should be done. That it matters, even if only to one man. That man being my son once he is grown and I am way down in the earth working on growing roots of my very own. (Made of my forever growing hair. Made of my stubborn bones, my teeth that will cease to chatter, that will have more to say buried in that muddy ground than they did atop it.)
Here I shall tell you why I wish for my son to be that man. Once, I taught a brilliant man how to read. And he taught me about piping and unions and the joy of watching his son grow. As we talked and toiled, he mentioned his mother’s fondness for words and how she linked them together at night on a typewriter. He could recall hearing the tap, tap, tap of it all. “Yes!” I yelled when he offered to bring me her words. For he’d saved them. Of course I wanted to see this body of work that was born from the same woman that gave life to this brilliant man who knew so many words and yet was still learning to put them together, to sound them out, on a page.
And those pages, his pages that were once her pages. She wrote them as much as they were ripped from the very core of her day-to-day. As I read them in front of her son, I could feel her madness in getting them out of her system through that poor typewriter. Oh how it stung her. She picked and punched that typewriter out of its mind in matters of the heart, of religion, of bearing a child, of the head, of men leaving and coming and going and under-thinking. I shall never forget reading her words, her proud son sitting there watching me read line by line of his own mother’s strife. He didn’t know of this strife just yet. He was still learning, you know. I recall wanting to pound my chest for the pain she knew. For the pain her son had inevitably known. But I sat in my skirt. Hands folded in my lap. All lady, all work. And I told him that it was good. This lady, her work. In my little opinion. It was very good.
Someday, my babe might be so inclined to read of my woes. And someday I hope to have reasons to be as proud as that man’s mother must be, whether she resides above or below her fault lines. And I hope that my babe will also be proud of me as that man was of his mother. Narcissistic, maybe. But I hope it just the same. Just like I hope that my babe finds many occasions to become ape hearted in his enthusiasms for the world, for what he sees and loves, for what he experiences. Oh, how I hope and hope and hope.