Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Fragments from a fragmentary mind

Synecdoche, New York
I went to see this movie yesterday.
I came out feeling sad and confused.
I am not sure if it was good.
Or bad.
Or what the deal with Diane Wiest was.
I don't know what happened.
I cried a bit.
But that's not my judge of a good movie.
Since I cried in Titanic.
And wept buckets in My Girl.
I wouldn't call either of these movies good.

In my [real] world
Una has just laid the hand mirror down on the table.
She has put her reflection to sleep.
She is whispering.
She has to be very quiet.
Because she doesn't want to wake up.

Where we live in the [real] world
Fred: We live in a cottage.
No we don't.
Mama: Well we do live in kind of a cottage.
Fred: Cottages don't have computers.

On the other side of the [real] world
My sister has had her baby.
He was born small.
Less than two pounds.
27 weeks gestation.
He weighs less than a bag of apples.
He is rallying.
He breathes for himself.
She is learning to be a mother
to a baby
who lives in a hospital.
His name is Joseph.
When Fred talked to my sister on the phone
she misremembered his name
and said he was called 'Jesus.'
And though he is nearly 2 weeks old
I think of him as 29 weeks
as though he is still

The trouble with batteries
The trouble with batteries
in the [real] world is that when you leave the car lights on all day
because you left the house before seven and it was dark
and there was fog
and then you parked at the train station
and you were in a hurry
because the train was already there
so you grabbed your bag and ran
when you do that
and you come back after nine pm
and it's dark and cold
and you really just want to go home
and sleep
the car doesn't start.
You know it's not going to start
because on the way home
somewhere between ivanhoe station and eltham
you had a sudden flash
of not remembering
turning the lights off.
but didn't you look from the station?
down at where you had parked?
surely you would have noticed...
You didn't look. Or if you did
you didn't notice.
Because the car won't start
so you call your husband
and he calls the neighbour
who sits in your quiet house with your sleeping children
as your husband drives down in the other car
and arrives twenty five minutes later to find you shivering
and angry with yourself
and jumpstarts the car
and then you follow his
warm red tail lights
all the way home
and its the most intimate thing you've done
with him
for years
perhaps because you went to see Synecdoche, New York
and maybe it was good after all
because its tranformed your thinking
perhaps not in the way Kaufman intended
or perhaps exactly that way
because life is not bewildering or lonely or inconsolable.
We are all connected up
red lights following red lights
even when we are alone
we can be with someone.


  1. Synedoche is a weird film isn't it? I think Charlie Kaufman might work better with a director to draw him out of himself. Reflections on death, ageing and whatnot all made me feel like Charlie is spending too much time on his own. Liked Diane Wiest's appearance though. She made a good Cadin.

  2. For sure, he needs to get out, smile at people.

    Diane Wiest is brilliant, so was Phillip Seymour Hoffman. I didn't get it, but they were very good.

  3. Oh dear. Mart was your Knight in Shining Armour. Quite romantic, if a little chilly.
    I love my car does auto lights off thank goodness or I would be stranded everywhere!

    Nice prose Pen. X

  4. Very nice post Penni - smiley stuff. Good to see you blog again. Just wehn I began the bloggin' thang you stopped.

    Why can't all cars have frickin auto lights off? Why?

  5. Car sucks. It won't start again this morning because the station's only a 20 minute drive, so the battery didn't have enough time to recharge. I'm waiting for the racv. I yearn for auto lights off. My across the road neighbour's car turns its lights off automatically and it's only a '92 corolla, it's not fancy or nothing.

  6. Hate cars that don't start (remember that time when I was 50 weeks pregnant with Quinn and you were 48 weeks pregnant with Una and I was coming to your house to play at about 8am and my car wouldn't start and I sobbed for ages because I was stranded by myself in my own house All Day and Matt came home at 7pm where I ordered him to go and look at my car, which he did, and PUT THE GEAR INTO PARK, came back inside and quietly informed me that "it's all fixed now")? They need to invent a car that doesn't mind having its lights on 24/7.

    I loved this post, I've missed you around here. xx

  7. Some days you write so beautifully it stops me breathing.

    No wait, that's probably my sinuses.

    Still, beautifully written.

  8. I love you.

    Your words are lovely. The poet never left the building.

  9. Oh Kate I hate writing LOL but ... LOL LOL LOL!!

  10. About your sister's baby...there's a blogger I follow on the other side of the world (Nova Scotia, Canada to be precise) who had twins born very premature. They were both about two pounds. Liam suffered significantly from complications, and did not make it. Ben just turned two and he's spectacular.

    My point in mentioning this is that this blogger seems to be the sort to be a good connection for another mother struggling with hospital-living. Plus, for your sister or for you it may just be helpful to read some of her posts, like this recent entry:

    And connection is good, however it comes. Posts or taillights.

  11. Beautiful thoughts, written thoughts. Open thoughts.

  12. love your writing.

    best wishes to the new baby and his family!

  13. I love the last poem. Reminded me of how much I love driving in fog or even just in a convoy - physically separated by distance and metal and possibly darkness and mist, but connected in this whole other way.

  14. That's really lovely, Penni. Well ... you know, lovely and sad and frustrating and sweet, all in different spots and all in once.

    Best wishes for your sister's baby. Hospitals are really very very good at these things these days. My sisters were born very premature and 27 years later, they are as healthy as anyone. And technology has improved dramatically since then.