Thursday, October 02, 2008

Angels of Life & Death & Lunch & Dinner

It is cool enough this morning that I put on a long-sleeved T-shirt and a dark plaid flannel shirt over that. Some of the flowers I recently planted near the edge of the forest bloom red and yellow; no doubt they will grow strong to add even more quiet joy next year.

I am restless. I seek to define the single or primary unifying idea for these little essays (or whatever they are; perhaps they are just some sort of journal entries) that I write. Perhaps the unifying idea, if there is one, is a search for purity in a soiled world. Whatever that means. Perhaps I just do what I do, and the unifying idea is for someone else to define.

I am restless, and may play for the rest of the day. Or take the notes for my next, tardy poetry chapbook, “a long night of dreams in an old hotel in a weary little town,” on a short road trip where I can spend some time with them. That seems like a responsible thing to do.

I am restless. I am no longer content to occasionally remember the notion of creating a waitress hall of fame. It would be a tribute (half playful, half sociological, and the third half poetic) to the best of the ones who serve our dreams, to the best of the ones who have dreams of their own, and to the best of the ones whose lives connect briefly and brightly with our own.

There are so many intriguing candidates. The young, fresh ones. That older one with too much silver eye shadow who was just right for the moment. All the ones in between. Humans being. Going on to become.

Just yesterday, if there were a clone for a diner waitress, I saw her. A bit of a swagger without any arrogance. “Honey” and “Sweetheart.” Eager. Easy, friendly eye contact. Young and becoming. (Purple braces on her teeth.) Looking for a car she can fix up herself to drive toward her dreams. Even her name: Brandy.

Two days earlier, I asked another one what she wants to do with her life and she said, “I like to make coffee.” There is very much more to her, of course; she shared some of her sad story with me.

Tonight, I expect to see the angels of life and death.

No. Nothing as dramatic as that might sound. In a part of the state where many people drift, these are “simply” two young women with plans.

One lights up any room se enters. Days, she’s in nursing school and expects to become a midwife who brings life into this world.

One is quieter. She stands back near the shadows and watches. She’s still in high school but working to graduate early. Her brother died in a car accident a couple of months ago; her dad just got out of the hospital after a month-long stay. She wants to graduate early so she can join the Marines to be a combat radio operator. It’s not a decision I, as a veteran, would make, but it’s hers to choose. I give myself permission to think of her as an angel who wants to go into Hell and bring lives back into this world.

Both intrigue the artist in me. Many of them do. Angels of life & death & lunch & dinner.

I enjoy wondering what will become of them, and the ones like them who interest me, too.