You were not a teacher / I am not a raindrop

no I will never forget the time raindrops ran in rivers down the windshield of your car, when you forced me out of my body with yours, while I ran with the raindrops and died there on the glass over and over until you were finished. then you drove me home: out the cemetary gates, down goose lane, through the clean night air.

years later I finished with you. first I broke all the pens, then the pencils, then my fingers. when I woke in the hospital I realized these were gestures, really, as in prayer or penence, and therefore imperfect like our words for God, or love. I sat in the bare bed and learned the topography of the ceiling: look, there are mountains, valleys, rivers, roads. I let the rivers take me away...

we were an accident of eyes, you said. a catastrophe of grace. then you smiled, pulled an eyelash from above your bright blue orb, and put it in my hand saying: look, a comma; as long as you hold this, you will hold me, and we will always be able to breathe.

or the time you held me upside-dow n in the closet beh ind your bedroom, when your husband was away. you twisted my cock while I recited all your favorites from memory: I think I made you up inside my head... To live in this world you must be able to... Oh world I cannot hold thee close enough... when it w as over, when you let me down, I remember how you rubbed my ankles, my wrists. My tongue hurt, like I swallowed a mouthful of sawdust, and you said: I'm so sorry, but I think no one else will ever love you like I do.

I take the long w ay to the Pacific. I sleep in vans, walk interstates, disappear in Ohio to wake up in Kansas. I discover the secrets of time, how to bend myself from place to place. In Philadelphia I am on Market Street: long tables full of babies' shoes, electronics, dolla r storefronts and an ATM. I pull the lever and I am on Market Street, San Francisco: standing in the sun amongst the waste, losers, beautiful teenager girls and wild packs of gutterpunk crack-rats, prostitutes and tiny mountains of ash. I tap my Newport, I sing: (Em) I've got a Newport and you've got a town / (Gmaj) we could go smoking and driving around. When it's time I pull the lever again.

* * *

Thanksgiving, 1999: the roof caved and the ceiling dropped plaster on the tabletop amongst the ham and forks and knives. Mother screams and for a second I can see her before the dust rises like smoke and claws the walls of my throat. The rumble overhead: is it the roof, or a plane? Are we under attack? I push aside the table to find Father on the floor. There is white ash in his hair. When the next crash comes, the windows blow out and glass rains like a river throughout the air and forever on our lives. Father won't rise, I keep pulling and pulling and when he looks up, I can just hear him say, Pull the lever... pull the lever...

* * *

CLINICIAN'S NAME: ******* *******

******* frequently talks about voices he hears in his head. He told me that is it his real father talking to him telling him to kill himself, and others. He stated that his brain was fusing with his father's brain and that he father was going to take him to the devil and to hell.

On another occasion he told me that he was a real Indian from India and that h e hated Americans for killing all of his Indian friends. He said he came here a thousand years ago to make peace on a shark boat.

******* portrayed Squanto in our Thanksgiving show. Although it was not a speaking part, he made approparit e gestu res at the appropriate ti mes.

ANNUAL GOAL: ******* will increase positive interactions with peers and adults from baseline of minimum compentency to master level by 1/14/01.

* * *

inside the car, inside the rain, I remember that your body was warm, that your skin was soft and dry. I remember the d ashboard, and the steering wheel. I remember the moonroof and how you smelled. afterwards you said: you will heal people, Michael, you will have no choice.

once, when you were a little girl, your grandfather took you into the closet and sai d, Shhh. He put his finger inside you, and then another. You were scared but it was dark and there was nothing for you to do but wait, and pray. You did not tell me what you prayed for, or if you kept praying the next time, or the tim s a fter that. You just told me: listen: I feel better already.

* * *

I pull the lever and I am adrift. Cars stop and flow. Somewhere I think I hear the ocean, but it may just be traffic, or the wind.

* * *

Listen, Mary: there are things you just don't kn ow. I was born 1,000 years ago in another place. We didn't love throughout the ages; we never fucked in other lives. I sailed here on a shark boat to make peace but they killed us. I gave them the earth of our ancestors and they spat on it. I gave them words and pronounciation to make pictures but instead they hung up signs. You argued that was a different world but I say to you: there is but one world and it goes on. Some nights I wake up and I can feel y our grandfather closing in. I don't need prayer to hold the world. I don't need you. I pull the lever.


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