Friday, April 4, 2014

After the shower, "that closet stuffed with savage mementos"

I feel a bit like that spider looking in on a scene of great intimacy. Don't ask me why. I stepped out of the shower and saw it there, still, quiet, perhaps lethal. Yesterday's adrenaline is today's hangover. The illusion of content (emphasis on the second syllable) as well as anticipation.

Advice to Myself 

Leave the dishes.
Let the celery rot in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator
and an earthen scum harden on the kitchen floor.
Leave the black crumbs in the bottom of the toaster.
Throw the cracked bowl out and don't patch the cup.
Don't patch anything. Don't mend. Buy safety pins.
Don't even sew on a button.
Let the wind have its way, then the earth
that invades as dust and then the dead
foaming up in gray rolls underneath the couch.
Talk to them. Tell them they are welcome.
Don't keep all the pieces of the puzzles
or the doll's tiny shoes in pairs, don't worry
who uses whose toothbrush or if anything
matches, at all.
Except one word to another. Or a thought.
Pursue the authentic-decide first
what is authentic,
then go after it with all your heart.
Your heart, that place
you don't even think of cleaning out.
That closet stuffed with savage mementos.
Don't sort the paper clips from screws from saved baby teeth
or worry if we're all eating cereal for dinner
again. Don't answer the telephone, ever,
or weep over anything at all that breaks.
Pink molds will grow within those sealed cartons 
in the refrigerator. Accept new forms of life
and talk to the dead
who drift in though the screened windows, who collect
patiently on the tops of food jars and books.
Recycle the mail, don't read it, don't read anything
except what destroys
the insulation between yourself and your experience
or what pulls down or what strikes at or what shatters
this ruse you call necessity.

Louise Erdrich
via The Writer's Almanac


  1. Oh, I love Louise Erdrich. And I love this. Thank you so much for sharing it! I hope you nurse your hangover today in whatever way puts content in your soul. You did something so good yesterday. Sit back and revel in it.


  2. I so needed this poem today sitting in the ruin I once called my home. Boxes everywhere and the dust and detritus of what was under the bookshelves and the piano. Cats perch on the sofa, what is left of the living room. Meanwhile the closing date looms and moving day and new house to paint and remodel and a new view out the windows...

  3. Love the poem and the image of the savage closet, and the poor spider so out of his or her element.

  4. OK, so you already know I am a kook, and believe in interconnectedness. This meeting with the spider was to me….no accident.

    In fact, I believe you have had a dream about a spider once before, which leads me to believe she may have a deeper more symbolic connection to you, a totem, so to speak. Explore more about what you are thinking about or what is going on in your life each time she has appeared to you.

    Overall, the spider is a remarkable symbol of intense creativity and very strong female energy. In several traditions she is the symbol of the true Mother.

    …..think about the character represented in Charlotte’s Web.

    The spider symbolizes an ability to create, an ability to develop things or ideas that appear delicate and intricate but are also quite strong and purposeful.

    From a spiritual perspective, when she shows up in your life, she may be telling you:

    You may need to employ more patience regarding a project or idea, giving yourself more time to stand back and see how things are evolving.

    She is a weaver of destiny….are you proactively and feverishly integrating all aspects of your life? Are you viewing things from all angles? Weaving and integrating some piece of your personal puzzle into a more coherent and meaningful perspective of your life?

    The sight of a spider can instill fear and a need to flee a situation. With this reaction, she asks you to explore feelings of unease in your work/family or relationships. Is there something in your life making you feel this way?

    She is a symbol of our “shadow self” the darker aspects of our personality and life that need to come to light more fully. She asks us to have the courage to explore them freely.

    Since the spider was patiently observing this particular picture from afar, I believe she may be asking you if this photo has some relevance to you right now?

    It would be interesting to note exactly what you were thinking before you saw the spider? Since you were intrigued by the spider and related deeply to it, it may be that you are indeed ready to fully explore this intimate aspect of yourself.

    p.s My deepest thanks to you for the connection...and your precious friendship.

  5. Ditto Kario. Love that poem, and it speaks to me today, especially. I know that adrenaline hangover, and have not yet learned to avoid/manage it.



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