Friday, January 23, 2009

Writing on Menopause: "I Never Knew It Would Be Like This" by Portia Brockway




Writing on Menopause

By Portia Brockway


I never knew it would be like this.

Even the most melodramatic writer feels that it is the “other” that is banshee screaming, that is flailing her arms like a babe from Darien in paroxysms of revelatory rage, so loud that the neighborhood sends the police around, or so you may imagine, delusional as the queen bee of peace and harmony becomes during the 20 or so moons of pausing from all the physical blood letting out through the vagina. It’s almost as though the new lack of release, no more blood shed, on a physical level turns into a pathetic savagery; we ourselves are a battlefield. Woe to the contender!

And so it goes, and at the low ebb of the Year, when people swirl in eggnog because they can’t swivel down the block in an energetic, ergonomic way of being; we are caught and stuck with beloved relatives who have grown up blind to each other so they could get the pap first; you know it’s true that people turn a blind eye for survival, and that is what this is about, how it feels to watch the blind with the eyes of the Pause, the contact high of a growing wisdom around the cruelty of an ignorant world, one that cares and must care yet does not know how to care in an effective manner, and so we are blind and we hurt one another, as though twins grasping for that pap.

And now that I can no longer offer it, and my body begins to desire to melt, now youth is blind, to me, to all individuals with a wisp of gray or an above-medium build. Oldsters say that the gray panther is visible, because we have become bitchy brewers, cooks and bottle washers, statues watching our old statuesque views turning into pain, sensing that the only way to evolve through it is to not take it personally, at the time in life where personal is the only experience available, when the blood starts to rush (everywhere but out), the mouth starts to foam with plethoras of cussing innuendos, and the wet places still form. We have not dried up, we are rushing; I am Vesuvius and no one holds me under the Earth any more. Roar!

So, I wrote a short piece about Christmas, its beauty, its beauty in the homes in which I have lived in my good fortune. I attended the Flying Dog Salon at Charles Coe’s house, and, on my first visit, staid at the back of the room, I watched one after another, quirky, or brilliant, funny, or melodic soul truck up there and strike us with all unique ways. I began to watch myself question if they would see in me the greatness that I saw in them. I began to wonder if I should tuck away the essay, and run home in the dark when the coast was clear and the voices had turned to listening Charles read “A Child’s Christmas in Wales”, Dylan Thomas. Oh.

And that persevering force in me that has brought me through one business and into its child, my second pioneer career emerging, said, “No, give them a chance to love you. You wrote the piece for today. Don’t throw your thrill at your own genius into the compost. If you must, throw it into the fire again, for, Vesuvius, you are a volcano.”

And so I went, waiting for the din to settle, feeling last, knowing the great go last, and that Charles would calm and soothe them into receiving one more reader, and so he did.

And I sat and I wept for them, on the travesty of lastness, of being uninteresting, of being unknown, of being uninspired to reach out, and I gleaned the words, escaping goods on a harvested field, from the page, rumbles and sighs and gasps making it all garbled, like a baby’s fumbling at first words. Oh it was rich, a rickshaw view of the back of a wisening peasant’s head running along a crowded city street, the regal seated not knowing, “where does the old horse want to go?” Out to pasture at the monastery on the hill, to rest in a grass hut by a simple stream on a steep hillside shaded by fog at many hours? Where does this mind travel? I did not ask them. They did not ask me.

The forecast was of darkness and the season of sleep and illusion. The story I told was of white and crystal and wood and worship, of the single and solitary footstep that no one has followed, or is allowed. That is mine. And it is my pride that is wrangled from me in these 20 months, where the stoic has found that she is really alive, and glad to feel.

The next step is the impersonal. For now, I am happy where I am.


* Portia Brockway is a visionary artist whose skillful devotion to the written word with a knack for ethereal yet grounded poetry. She has been published by Poetry Motel, 57 Inc., The Empty Vessel, Yoga International, and many other publications, as a poet, an essayist and as a short story writer. She was a finalist for “Best Female Love Poem” and “Best Female Erotic Poem” at the Cambridge Poetry Awards. Her photography has been published dozens of times by the hip Boston newspaper The Weekly Dig. She is a respected, beloved and admired yoga instructor of almost 20 years in Cambridge , MA

-- Portia Brockway

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