Bent Words

Bent Words

March 03, 2021

Painting the Pond

Sir Winston Churchill lost a daughter. Age 2. A year later, he moved to Chartwell.

He was an author, a master of the English language and unforgivingly wry.

He painted. Mostly paintings of a pond in his backyard. Dark, fluid, incessant. As though he were trying to communicate something utterly uncommunicable.

A portrait was commissioned by the government he served on his 80th birthday. Deeply displeased, he took his frustration’s out on the painter, admonishing him for painting Sir Winston Churchill in such an unfavorable light.

He said that it made him “look like a down-and-out drunk who had been picked out of the gutter in the Strand.”

He said it was cruel and without sympathy.

“Age is cruel! If you see decay, it’s because there is decay! If you see frailty, it’s because there is frailty!”

When do you let go? Succumb to it. Is to do so to die altogether?

The spark. The fire. The clamber in your heart, the excitement in your step, the anticipation of elation replaced by tiny seeds of doubt and discernment. The mundane tasks overtake you because they are so many and there aren’t enough hours in a day and who has time, after all that, for pride, prettiness and poignancy?

Now all you see is the lacking shine, the exaggerated frown, the wide space of dreary darkness which is just like a giant canvas of black… nothingness.

Oh I grow old, I grow old.
Though I’m not dead (I have been told).

Now I cater to a litany of disappointed faces whom I’ve bent over backwards for by making snacks and dinner and beds and clean clothes and who repay me in such sordid statements as, “You are so DUMB! I hate YOU! I will NEVER love you!” All for requesting one to wear a hat in -15 degree weather. Now I am the target in a batting cage. You hit me up with your requests and I try to field them as best I can. I will get you ready for school, make a snack, find your boots, clean your mask, slave through math that I never understood and do not intend to now. I will make sure you bathe and I will brush the knots out of your hair.

You’ve lost your shine, you’ve lost your spark. You are a Cinderella much too old for balls and beauty and midnight is way too late for anyone to be awake when they rise at 6am.

Your boss speaks of your contagious energy that you bring to the team but she doesn’t know you worn and weary like the rest of them do. And I don’t know if it’s age, if it’s just altogether too much or if the actors present are just too shitty at supporting their lead character but I grow dull.

Oh I grow dull, I grow dull.
Lost the masts to this great hull.

I look forward to nothing. I am excited for nothing. All that I am are the tasks that eat up my time.

I never worked well this way. Caged. Captured. Caught.

When I went out, I went out alone. I will be there when I’m there and I will leave when I am done, slipping out the back door so as not to say good bye or to be begged to stay. I like it loud when I want it loud and I like it quiet when I want it fucking quiet. I shouldn’t have to beg for these things now but I do. I beg you to shut up, walk away, make no noise, request zero seconds of my time.

I dread the weekend.

There’s just laundry and people and… I literally have nothing to put here.

Dark. Fluid. Incessant.

Painting the same stupid pond.

God I hope I don’t make it to 80.

Written at 5:02 p.m.