Saturday, November 30, 2013
Nightmares when they come always come early in the morning, shaking me awake at some pre-dawn moment with all the anxieties my conscious mind sweeps into corners during the waking day.
Last night’s were about the usual subjects: lack of money and pending bills, unmet deadlines, cats I need to get adopted, unanswered correspondence with a few new additions due to films I’ve been viewing: ghost stories such as Dragon Fly, The Blair Witch Project and 12 Monkeys combined with more real films such as Kill Your Darlings.
Allen Ginsberg and I have a strange mutual history, separated by a decade and a half.
We both lived in
and both had to deal with mad mothers who controlled our young lives and
steered us in odd directions that God, fate or something else wanted us to
Both of our mothers wound up in
Park mental institution in New Jersey, paths
crossing in odd ways. My mother worked at the hospital when Ginsberg’s mother
was a patient there. My father and mother met there, training for a career in
nursing that my father would go on to pursue, after he and my mother split in
the early 1950s.
As with Allen, I became the sole focus of my mother’s existence, someone, however, she didn’t always recognize during my Saturday pilgrimage to the hospital to see her. The hospital had a long history with my family. My grandmother’s father had spent time there in the 1920s, suffering some mental condition from a fight he had with his own father that had resulted in his getting a clever imbedded into his skull – the affects of which did not show for years but eventually led to his madness and his death in a hospital in
. Later, the uncle I cared for over
several decades ended up there with his routine attempts at suicide. Middletown, New York
Seeing the film and the fictional Allen visiting his mother there brought back some of the pain, and thus stirred up material for my early morning nightmare.
But I had set the stage earlier in the day yesterday when I finally got to talk to a sister I didn’t know I had (found out earlier this year I have three half sisters and brothers), and a step mother who was willing to talk to me about the father I never actually met.
This is the stuff of poetry and nightmares, and so naturally, I had the second first, and will eventually get down to shaping words that will fit the feelings that all these things brought on, just I will eventually meet the deadlines I need to meet, and pay the bills I need to pay, and get on with the conscious life I must lead after full wakefulness comes.
This is also the anniversary of George Harrison’s death – one of my heroes, and someone who made the year 2001 even more painful: 9/11, his death and my mother’s death all coming within a few months of each other. In my mother’s madness, she thought she was responsible for the terrorists’ attack she saw from her window in a
City nursing home, and no matter how I argued to the contrary;
she refused to believe she wasn’t.
I suppose in some ways, we all are.