February Madness


in Memoriam

R.Yurman, poet


Sleeping in her clothes on top of the blankets beneath the comforter. Spending all day in the kitchen with her tablet her phone, the bed buddy she constantly reheats in the microwave and keeps either on her lap or shoulders. In these few days engineered a giant pot of spicy gumbo and two sets of noodles: one spinach fettuccine and one lasagna. Tore through all the pastries C brought over as well as the cauliflower chicken casserole from B and the challah from D.


 The big bedroom is closed. The only time she comes upstairs is to visit the bathroom. Except to sleep in the tiny room with the flat-screen where she did her post-injury rehab and never left.


So she either watches her tablet at the kitchen table, or reads or cooks. She goes out at night for a half hour walk and tries to switch up the old familiar routes.


N from the social justice committee called.  Asked how she was doing and then proceeded to poke around asking questions like was he cremated or buried? or scrambled what N thought was the family structure like thought she was taking care of a baby which, clearly she's not because Jake is 13.  Also, being on the chesed committee, seemed to have a checklist of things that are needed with people either mourning or coming off a surgery or something. That voice which already comes in at a screech, made worse by the fact that she knew N was going to be at their committee meeting that same night contributing a portion of the 15 minutes of zoom/audio they would record for her of personal commentary about Rich, who had missed his turn to facilitate by 6 days.


After, she was thinking to herself this isn't working she doesn't want this she wants that and since she can't have it, seems as though she's reduced to a fractious replaying of the closest she got to the body that's no longer here: the soft hair the cold skin the vision of a destroyed face the Stillness the emptiness hard floor fucking ignominious nakedness. She could pick up the phone and check with the crematorium and get an update but what do she do with that?


Today she had a brief urge to collaborate with her grandson—he was so kind to show her the memorial to grandpa that he started on his Minecraft site and then spend time with her customizing it:  apples and carrots for snacks, a book of poetry by Phil Levine,and flowers, and torches on the cobblestone paths, a night-time guard dog they named GitawayfromMe—so then why not just take a deep dive and compile memories and use more family members to help edit and shape and create this online memory using music photos anything she can dredge up if she's got the energy to do it, find photo albums to see if perhaps there's some way that she can make a meaningful collage. But she doesn't know if the timing is right.


And some of the fucking phone calls. She's still upset about this whole business of being called out by J about something that she said—she doesn't even remember what it was—she thinks J thought she had put a time limit on when people she contacted should...No. Actually, what she said was she would love it if people provided her with their memories as soon as possible based on her impression that if you wait, the freshness of your feeling fades, and she wanted it to be spontaneous and alive. Which she guesses is the antithesis of death; it's the opposite, isn't it. And J seemed to think that it was peremptory that it was dictatorial that's what she said. Fuck that. See? She's obviously still upset.


What she's afraid of is compiling that list of people and then discovering that the responses are so uneven that she can't keep up any momentum. So much for a memorial. And her memories begin to fade which is inevitable. And she really doesn't want more contact with his kids because she doesn't want them to hurt her and she doesn't want to hurt them. She's been staying away from them she never made the leap she never closed the chasm from past crap. They're not close by. She doesn't really want to have anything to do with them at all but how does she accomplish that, if you can call it an accomplishment. It isn't. It's ghosting. She thinks it could happen just as a natural course of things. They really don't have anything in common. Not anymore.

Tonight, she's been treating herself to a sweet little half hour show as the last thing in her evening—after she's chewed up her THC gummy and she's nice and drowsy—and wouldn't you know it has just reached the end of the last available season. And that last episode of course happened to be all about people making changes what the heck are we going to do if you die first. Nothing magical about it; if you start looking for death you will see it everywhere.



Just finished watching some more of the impeachment trial and then another episode of Mandalorian and then back to the impeachment trial but they're at recess so heat up bed buddy again because it's so nice to have something warm sitting in your lap although there are those who would say a kitten or a dog or something would do the same thing and you wouldn't have to run it through the microwave but you'd also have to feed it and make sure that it didn't crap all over the house so yeah bed buddy is the only thing I can do at this point.


I've also been continuing Queen Sugar because that is the last thing we were watching together; show is getting more and more layered, the conversations more difficult, but I didn't graduate Days of Our Lives U not to recognize soap opera when I see it. I don't care if the cast is pink elephants, it is still so predictable that drives me crazy so what is that? The new normal that you can have a particularly diverse cast that just goes on about its business but in such a fashion as to paint melodrama with this big broad brush of sentimentality, overblown and emotional and I don't read reviews of these things until I'm done. I'm just going to say that I wish the bar was set a little higher for Ava DuVernay. Seriously. Or maybe it's not for me to say? Is it supposed to be cultural?


I recognize certain things from French culture which were always rammed down my throat. I know it's not necessarily all supposed to be pleasant; it just is what it is, but I did read recently that French culture in and of itself is under attack because of diversity. There's all this push back from the highfalutin old white male institutions that feel intellectualism is under fire and French culture in general is now being subject to cancellation and that that is something they will go to their dying breaths defending. Colonialism the whole nine yards.


My aunt is 101 years old and here she is, pretty much the last of her line; that generation, all the friends gone and she doesn't quite have all her marbles she's scrambling things when we talk but if we were able to have a discussion about French culture I don't know what the old lady would say. She is the one who after all, was pretty upset when her grandson married a Japanese woman and they were expecting her first great-grandchild. She was not happy. She felt as though it was a mistake to...what? Scramble the child's brain. For crying out loud they were in Vietnam at that point so the baby was learning English because her daddy being Franco-American speaks fluent English, and French, some Vietnamese, and his wife speaks all these languages as well as Japanese—so here we have a child at present growing up in Vietnam multilingual.


When I visited in France and met her, she was bright curious pushy not at all quiet the way the French child ought to be and her grandmother, my cousin, was trying to push this French stuff on her—possibly a ploy to keep her son close to her; prevent him from considering Vietnam as a permanent home though I wish her good luck with trying to direct her son's life—point is she doesn't agree with her mother that being multilingual damages your brain, she just wants French to be primary in her grandchild's life. I get that but the world is changing.

The world has changed.



Claudine Jones | Scene4 Magazin

Claudine Jones has had a long, full career as an Actor/Singer/Dancer. She writes a monthly column
and is a Senior Writer for Scene4.

©2021 Claudine Jones
©2021 Publication Scene4 Magazine




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