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Jett Superior laid this on you on || January 17, 2003 || 1:05 am

“…now pumpkins remain pumpkins

mice remain mice

and I am only me.”
&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp–Carolyn McDuffy

I am in love with something and I don’t think I’ve found it yet. No matter where I am in life, there always seems to be an unrest, a feeling of something lurking just beyond the next hill with my name scrawled all over it, looping and drunken, carved deep. Common sense (using my mother’s gentle, matter-of-fact Southern-aristocratic dialect) tugs at my insides, telling me that I make my own happiness, telling me that there is nothing wrong; I make the joy ephemeral, I do.

There has always been a defiantly posturing side to me, that something born to me that says regal comportment is a necessity. There is a practicality, too, that says, “You believe so in holding your head high, in keeping your chin up….do you forget, fool, that when your chin is high, it’s a clear target for blows, that your jugular is exposed??” Still, my chin stubbornly stays put.

I don’t know what defines me, even though you could gather handfuls of people and they could give you what they think are all the appropriate nouns and adjectives for who and what I am. I am almost sure that they would not be completely wrong but, by the same token, they would not necessarily be right, either. I had a feeling, once, that I was captain of my own ship, but nowadays I am not so infernally sure. Fuck, I don’t even know that there is a ship any longer. I just feel so lost in myself.

A large boy with the hair of a lion and eyes of disquiet who had never met me before read my cards nineteen or so months ago. As we sat down, he said, “You are a person of decadent tastes (what a nice way to put it, that) and of fiery nature.” Then he pulled three cloths from a bag, one of rough grey burlap, one of bright purple felt and one of buttery silk, the color of blood just beginning to dry. He put the burlap one aside, saying, “You are aware of your base nature, and familiar with it.” He pushed the felt away, likewise, saying, “False nobility is not an issue with you.” As he ran his fingers over the silk, smoothing and –I suppose– quietly blessing it, he stated, “This color, this fabric, suits your energy.”

Well okay.

I cut the deck (as is custom in such situations), cleared my mind (as is not) and let the cards fall where they may. I was open to whatever messages need be received. It was a simple spread, and as the boy with the hair of a lion turned the cards they were very clear…almost joltingly so.

He tapped a stout finger on the first one. “You have demons, and you have hurt. You are emerging from an intense period of exile, a situation that has quite literally shaken your world and sent it spinning off into new, unexpected directions. You have healed much, but there is work yet to do.” He observed the next card quietly, formulating the words.

“You have an exceptional amount of anger, and it comes from various sources.” Here he motioned to yet another card, “As with all your experiences and emotions, you are fully immersed in this anger.”

He lifted his eyes to meet mine as he gestured to another image, finely wrought in old bookplate fashion, and said, “You will ruin yourself unless you unlock yourself.”

“What? What??” I asked, and he was not slow to respond, “In order to better yourself, you have to give yourself away. From what I gather here, you need to find a capacity for giving to others, not monetarily, but spiritually. There are those that quite literally need what you have to offer. Find them. Your happiness will lie in the salvation of others. Your wholeness depends on it.”

It was all vague, and it wasn’t. I asked question after question until it became obvious that the boy was tired. Scoff if you must, but there was truth, not whimsy and pat philosophy, in that reading.

Nearly four years before that, a young man and I were drunker than Cooter and Maysie Brown (the eloquent redneck debauchery twins), tossing bottlecaps and coins and cards into a hat, shooting the shit. He and I had been quite good friends for some time, and in the quiet of the room, a slew of revellers passed out haphazardly about us, he began to speak from his great barrel of a chest.

Quietly. Lord, he had never spoken so quietly in all the time that I had known him.

“Not too many folks from around here know this, Beth,” he began, “but my gran was a Sayer. In are liddle town the Babtist wimmin all whispered behind thur hands that she was a witch, but they’d creep to her stoop in the middla the night, there to ask for all mannera things: ‘I need help gettin’ a baby in my belly’ en ‘I have turrble warts I need talked off’ en such.”

I listened quietly, only moving to take a pull off my beer or scratch my nose a little. “When she was dyin’, she called me to her bedside. She made me promise that I’d take care uv’er chickens, that I’d talk to tha Lord often and that I’d use my gifts when they was needed.

” ‘Gifts, gran?’ says I, but she said she wudden playin’ around there en I needed to listen up en listen good. She knew I had it too, only differnt from her in some ways.

“Said tha Lord told her as much.”

I was puzzled, wondering why he was sharing all this, because in all the time I’d known him he’d not breathed a word of it. People always have a way of surprising you.

“I’m tellin’ you this,” he said in answer to my unspoken question, “because I’ve watched en I’ve listened en there’s things that come offa you that yer none too aware of. You have the loudest spirit that I think I’ve ever come across and right now it’s cryin’ and tellin’ me there’s thangs that you need to know.

“I normally don’t do this, because it don’t always work out so good if people know what’s gonna be their life, but you havta be told.” He sighed heavily, like this experience was paining him, and I didn’t move the first muscle as he began telling me what was burdening him. I stopped him about four sentences in, asking if I could get a notebook and write all this down. He acquiesced, and I took notes as he spoke for what seemed to be an eternity, but was really all of forty-five minutes or thereabouts.

He outlined the coming twenty years of my life, hitting the high points and leaving out details that he felt might not be prudent to share. He answered some questions and some he patently told me that he could not or would not. When all was said and done, he heaved a great sigh and I had a neat little outline on the page in front of me. We never spoke of that night again, and some six months later I stashed that piece of paper, my This Is Your Life In Reverse, back somewhere.

Recently I came across it, and I was all rattled to find that the first seven or so things he told me had all come to pass and they had all happened in the order he had given, except for two items nestled side by side that had swapped out places like children in a lunch line. I am no complete fool, I know that the skeptics reading this will say, “AHHH, self-fulfilling prophecy or power of suggestion” or somesuch. Granted, we have much control in the way things are manifested in our lives, but some things you can’t push or place or wish into being for the life of you. Even if you could, some of the details would be off. These particular details were dead on.

And now that you think I am an absolute, utter turkey, I’ll tell you that after I unlocked the breath caught in my throat, I stuck that sucker back where I found it and went, amazed, about my business.

The things that he told me were not all things of comfort, but they were things of what seem to be practical truth, and that is comfort enough. I was told –in an extreme breach of protocol, he said– a general estimation as to when I would die and how. I was glad of this information, not freaked out by it, because I’ve never been one to look forward to being an old woman. I’ve packed a lot of living into my time on the planet thus far, and there is no romance for me in being a listless bag of bones, no matter how full of wisdom I become.

Our relationship altered that night, as I believe he knew it would. We still look in on one another from time to time, still pull beers or some of my daddy’s plum wine in the back yard while sitting in lawn chairs and taking note of fireflies. I still find my way into his arms for a brotherly embrace, I still fuss over him like I am always prone to doing with regard to the people I care deeply about. Things just aren’t the same, as they often are when you have to give someone the raw truth, no matter what that truth might be in reference to.

I just want to be settled, but I want to be free. That is selfish, I know, and damned near impossible; it just bothers me so as of late.

6 worked it out »

  1. Suzanne 1.17.2003

    My mother would kill me for saying this out loud: I do believe in ‘Sayers’ and the like…. BUT with a bit of a twist! At the time you are told your present/future/past it IS accurate. However, said future is subject to change at any given moment depending on your response to the universe and it’s response to you. Make any sense?

  2. redclay 1.19.2003

    Onaly problem I got with this is “eyes of disquiet”.

    Alright bouyed in a song. but out in the open

    like that, it’s a little bare.

    i dunno bout you honey, i don’t know you.

    but readin you, you got to admit you are predisposed to

    see the flies in raisin bread.

    i’m not sayin the raisins don’t have legs, but.

    most people are gonna see raisins in raisin bread.

    a bad zample, i know it.

    but i was out with a young lady, she wanted to hit one more

    bar. so we pulled inna new one. not too many people there,

    but she loved the music, she was havin a good time.

    a smart man woulda been happy, too.

    but. you know those things you plug in the wall, they

    make noise onaly rats and mice can hear? they don’t

    know whats wrong, but it makes em uncomfortable, and they


    i’m sittin there, and somethin just ain’t right.

    she loves the music , is giggeldy and smiling, but.

    i can’t put a fanger onnit, but somethin just ain’t right.

    then a 6′5″ boy inna blonde wig and a spangeldy dress made for

    a 5 foot tall girl, sits down and says hey.

    it’s not always apparent what’s wrong.

    inna perfect world, nothings wrong.

    the young lady is happy, the booze is cheap.

  3. waistdog 1.20.2003

    It’s the Voodoo I tells ya!

    Actually, It’s what YOU believe that counts.

    It doesn’t matter what I think.

    Except, I think anyone who uses the term “Regal comportment” is OK by me.

  4. Jettlikethat 1.20.2003

    Suze: reasoning and rationale aren’t supposed to apply in those situations, you picky BITCH!

    redclay: ooh! don’t make suppositions based on a handful of words written in teen-angsty mode. feelings are fickle things, especially during the winter. I never have dug anything raisinated….can you pick another example? like telling me that I don’t put enough ketchup on my dirt to make it palatable or something?

    waisty: my mother, the one who kept waving me toward the dictionary when I had a question, says I sound like a snot when I use terms like that. I’ll tell her that she, compared to you, is just short-sighted.

  5. redclay 1.21.2003

    don’t make suppositions about what you say?

  6. Jett 1.21.2003

    No, and I didn’t mean it as rudely as it spewed forth…..what I meant was:

    Don’t make suppositions about the whole of my personality based on a couple posts. There are swings in mood and planetary hoo-ha and spicy food all to be accounted for.


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