Corners like spiders

August 14, 2011

This piece is not about Ukrainian culture. Italian, Slovak, Chinese or Irish. It is about that second generation in Canada who are chained to the old country through their parents. A friend of mine at college. An Italian girl. Moved into an apartment with me and another girl. We were all friends. There was no romance. It was a financial relationship. Her parents found out. They said she was dead to them. That’s an awful thing to say about your kid. They loved her. They knew that she was a good person. And yet they did not trust her. What happens I think is that everyone starts to lie to each other. To survive the cultural pressures of the truth.


The Husband


I don’t know why we married. My family were Ukranian nationalists. Monica’s family were atheists. I like country & western music. Monica only listens to rock’n’roll. She smokes dope. I drink Molson’s. We fit together like pieces of a puzzle.


Last week I went out and got a tattoo. It looks just like stitches. Monica says I’ve never felt any pain. Says that I was born with calluses and a thick hide. What does she want me to do? Whimper like a poet and publish my sensitivity.


Her family gave us a house. A roof with all the space we could find beneath it. I’ve always hated cages. Freedom is the slogan of my generation. The generation before us preferred good manners. I am filled with rage, laughing my tears away. I wanted to do something with my life, something important. But it seemed I got off on the wrong foot and never regained my balance.


Monica and I went riding on our bikes. We passed under some trees. When Monica came out of the shade I noticed that her beauty had begun to fade. Time undresses us all. From birth we are old.


Our house is filled with ghosts. The ghost of her father crying and Monica ripping open his sleep. The ghost of her mother, her martyrdom crucifying Monica’s desire. And there is the flood of recriminations. The ghost of our dog diving into a spinning car wheel. Ghosts of our youthful plans and our honesty. Of broken skeletons. Of cock roaches. A book of poems by a dead geek. Records in bandages. A thimble of blood. A photograph of John Lennon. Keys that have lost their reason. Eyes hanging in corners like spiders. Safes filled with phlegm. Music from the radio searching through every room for an ear to sleep in. And we pretend to know each other. I think that our problem is that we are strangers in love.


Every road leads back to our house. Like a leash. If I am not faithful to Monica, at least I love her. She is faithful. To her frigidity. She doesn’t know how to love. She is an unwanted child. Her mother tried to have an abortion. The doctor was incompetent. All he removed was the child’s soul.


Ray told me that the universe is a stomach. God is a stomach. A stomach has no ears. Life is digestion.


I believe in reincarnation. But only for the body. I believe that the soul rots.


Monica and I stayed with each other. Because no one else would listen to our silence. An eternity of self-pity. Neither of us seems able to kick it. Self-pity is a drug. It is a cat chasing its tail. Into exhaustion. Into boredom. We are our parent’s homesickness come to fruition. I ache for a place I have never been. Monica talks about the good life we could have had on the Steppes. We have in common a sense of loss.


I studied to be an architect. It had been my father’s dream. Monica does not want children. It’s her mother’s wish…


I can’t stand boredom. Even the gods can’t subdue boredom. I chase women looking for something different. I’m always disappointed. A pussy is a pussy is a pussy. But any other name it would smell the same. So I drink. I am trying to raise the level of my consciousness.


I am stone. Nothing excites me.


Sometimes I go fishing up north. I look up and see all those stars and the rafters behind. And the monkey like creatures that crawl across them. Looking down at us. And laughing.


I love her. I love her.


And then Monica took a lover. I could tell because when I was between her legs she started to respond. Involuntarily. Something had changed. It certainly wasn’t me.


3 Responses to “Corners like spiders”

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