Mother and son are asleep. I’m running various home IT/tech maintenance tasks like updating router (an Asus flashed with the excellent open source Merlin) firmware, renewing my personal domain cert, and running upgrades on my Raspberry Pis. The last of Saturday’s sun is glowing over the senior care building across 5th Ave., and yesterday I was thinking about how I’ve been misguided by simple narratives. How much of the mountain of self-delusion is built on the molehill of clean narrative that ignores the messiness and ambiguity of what happens in most moments? How often do I interpret and re-interpret these moments to suit the inertia of ego, the failed state of self?
Playing the guitar, singing, and chattering to Marcelo strips away so much of the usual self-consciousness of the performative self. There’s something deeply satisfying about this mode of being—one that contrasts with the persistent bubble of hollowness that attends the usual approval/validation-seeking state of mind. There is so much about this life I could never have conceived in my fallowest imaginations.
Regression renders 4 months in off-toned shadows. Variegated ahead run days, warp of timestamped I (weft of joy), probabilistic and sutured to reveal construction. Marcelo fitfully in milestones sleeps, and I slip into forgetfulness that joy returns also.
Marcelo is 16 lbs. 7 oz. today. I spotted the woodpecker while pushing him home from the pediatrician’s office, mom next to me with an insulated bag of tortas from Doña Maty’s. I’m listening to Angel Olsen’s All Mirrors as a sliver of sleep expands in my soul. Last night I was up until about the same time as now assembling baby’s crib, cutting up its oversized box, and trashing its styrofoam bits. The crib’s color is called lagoon. It’s a mini so it’s a mini lagoon I guess. Marcelo is swimming or floating then. The pediatrician knocked on wood to emphasize the expression, which is something some people do. I briefly thought of William Carlos Williams only because we are with a doctor in Spanish Harlem I guess. People are dying daily for a very specific reason we’re all aware of instead of the usual nebulous ineffable shadow undergirding all our pedestrian sightings of knocked wood.
The days though arbitrary have number once you pick one to count. There’s disagreement about the first day, but the last is indisputable as we know. The room is warm with sleep, wake, sleep again. Cedarwood sticks in rice send up wisps of farm in summer Korea—sun, frogs, heavy rains tamping dust.
Now he reaches far away from being and been. He’s at his ends. I live in half sleep liminal. The room swoons, and the void renders me unavoidable. Tomorrow a hundred days, sacral mortal number, cardinal luck for soju and rice cakes’ offering.
His hands move now with more intention. He holds them centered looking intently for his will in their grasping. He chatters loudly to us and mumbles to himself with a gaze that seems lost in thought. There’s a deep satisfaction in seeing what I’d experienced but of which I’d had no awareness. There’s joy in his joy that can’t be stifled. As the world becomes clearer for him so does our shared experience clarify something for me though I’m not quite sure what it is.
This thread I’m pulling now is pulling me through the hearted now. This is a record of today. We woke in the baby’s slow wake to feed. 404 push-ups / 406 crunches/leg lifts. Mom bought bagels from Bo’s for herself and dad. Baby burbled with new sounds. Roasted the last 8 ounces of Flores Ranaka Robusta while pourover of same brewed, and the smoke alarm stirred around minutes after second crack. Mom and baby done, baby into bouncer, and we bounce sounds while the coffee is clean but dark and slim bitter. Marcelo on the bed for second time with head raised. Out for groceries alone and return to him asleep, mom’s watch waning, wakes to our lunch. Walk east, three of us in mostly shade for a latte and espresso. Marcus Garvey Park is bubbling with muted joy of kids and dogs. I push the stroller, espresso pushing too. Home to dinner of lime butter white wine shrimp pasta, peeling de-veining freezer-burned thirteen in the sink listening to our collective MLK memories.
Something like a low gurgling joy through all of this, thread/river pulling mind alive. Maybe something waking to this baby boy.
A week or two ago, Marcelo began to notice the first premise of the external world’s proof of his right hand. He’s begun to gurgle and coo with greater variation, to startle with particularity and to gain some control of his reflexes. Our first new year.
At 2 months Marcelo begins to follow our faces and smile when he sees us. My vestigial, pre-dad impulses continue to make notes I won’t have time to follow up on. I mark time less and less as it marks me more and more. And as my colitis flares, I wonder how long this body gives me to let him know from his roots that he’s loved and that he’s born of love.