In the face of all the rotten things that are going on in the world right now — the earthquake in Haiti, the drunken staggering economy, the fact that I can’t find a job and have no money and may have no water or electricity, or a home, next month — I came across something the other day while my brother and I were cleaning out an old storage unit that the owners plan to demolish to make way for “mini-warehouses.” It was a poem I wrote a geologic age ago, printed on a yellowing page with a dot-matrix printer (yeah, that old). I had forgotten I wrote it. Normally I don’t do poetry — writing or reading. Maybe after you read it you’ll see why. But I kind of like it. Here it is.
In the faraway land of Mallenorn
Where enchanted creatures go,
There dwelt a lovely unicorn —
The last of her kind, you know.
Her mane was white as the driven snow.
Her eyes were darkest brown.
Her horn did shine with a golden glow,
and her tail was like silvery down.
On the other side of that isle of green
there lived a dragon bold.
And in the forest called Genzereen,
flew a griffon, all yellow and gold.
The phoenix lived on the highest peak,
and soared every day through the sky.
With fiery wings and a gilded beak,
he sailed to the clouds on high.
But none of the creatures could leave that place
to travel the paths of old.
For changing times, and the human race
had cast them out in the cold.
So they found a forgotten, enchanted land
to live in forevermore,
Except for when chance, and a poet’s hand,
can bring them to life once more.
At this point in the game, I sure wish I could join them. I’ve spent a lot of my life living inside my own head, where all the wild creatures are gentle and a bit sleepy, people are never mean or petty, and no one expects me to be something I’m not. But at this moment in history, I can’t escape the harsh reality of the present situation. Teetering on the brink of possibly losing everything I own and hold dear — like a heated building to live in and food to eat — is scaring the stuffing out of me. But it might not happen. My fortunes could change overnight. Somehow I always keep thinking they will.
In the meantime, comparing what I have at the moment to what the people in Haiti have, I’m aware of how immensely better off I am. As long as I can keep scraping together enough money to pay something on the electric bill and the water bill and buy another bag of dog food for the Puppy, some bread and peanut butter for me, I’ll get through.
And I have to say how glad I am that I’m not married anymore. I can only imagine how much stress it would add if I was still married to either of my former spouses, both of whom thought that their money was theirs to spend, and my money was also theirs to spend. It was always left up to me to figure out how to pay for groceries and utilities with what was left after they finished playing.
What has been remarkable in all this is how well my brother and I have been getting along. I guess the “blood thicker than water” proverb has some teeth to it. I’m very sensitive to negative energy, to use a New Age term, and if he was hating on me for not being able to find a job, I would know it. But he’s not, and that actually surprised me. When we were growing up he seemed to be hating on me over every little thing, like my very existence. Being older and wiser definitely has its perks.