Gothic Tina

Posted by on Apr 24, 2019 in Blog | 1 comment

Tina and the tire and the gothic 6/2/07

We are at Rock Lake near the Wisconsin border on Indian land. It’s a back road campsite far and away into the woods.  I came here a few days ago in the rig to write and be alone. Marilyn drove in yesterday with Pebbles. We waded out to where Pebbles stood with a stick in her mouth trying to get what she thinks is a better stick underwater. The stick underwater disappears every time she paws in the water for it and becomes reflective fragments of a stick until the water stills and it becomes whole again. She sees it there when it’s really in her mouth. She figures out that the only way to grab it is to drop the one in her mouth and snatch it up again, that way she will have the stick she already has and the one she longs for.

Marilyn wanders off to talk with some kids and their mother and I go into the Winnebago. In awhile Marilyn pokes her head in to say there is a woman out there with her kids who has a flat tire. Then she’s gone. In this way she has not called me away from my writing, if I have a heart I will do that myself.

When I return two hours later I make these notes in the sweat of the moment to later write in a more structured story, but it never gets any better than these notes:

Tina and the tire and the gothic daughter and the big headed baby and growling son and beautiful little girl and the flat tire and the hydraulic jack and the wide rimmed under inflated spare and the mechanics toolbox and the firewood and the cigarette lighter air compressor and the hand pump and the touch of her hand and the moment of fleeting beauty of the whole mess dancing in perfect synopation at Rock Lake June 29 as the sun settles into the forest across the lake and us huffing and puffing and rolling around on the ground positioning the jack over and over and the car on the slope coming after us when the jack’d fall over and drop the front end on us and the daughter with the cell phone not knowing her dad’s phone number to come get them and her being a dark waif of a 90 pound thing with rings on her fingers and toes and hoops and pins and grommets and washers looped to her sallow skin and glaring black eyes at Tina her mother with the greenish goner eyes all clear and perfectly beautifully empty and the stink of old and deep marijuana sweat from her skinny body as we work and nothing is synching and an hour’s gone and the best part of another and this thing starts to happen and she as a girl long ago awakens and takes over and little by little takes charge and makes the right moves and knows the way and she’s remembering her brothers putting her small hands to work to reach into the places their big hands wouldn’t fit when they rebuilt engines and cars on the Rez 30 years ago and Marilyn is over there with the blazingly white baby in arms now and the black eyed wasp is telling her she can hold him but not to go out of her sight or she is coming after her with a hammer and the growling roaring son in the water with his beautiful little sister half his age splashing her away from him all this is Tina’s and one flat tire and a three hundred dollar Chrysler to take her to work in Hinkley and a too wide too soft spare in the trunk and swimmingly clear eyes and big brothers from long ago with their little sister resurrected now to save her grown up self and get this tire changed.

Tina sits cross legged at the empty wheel hub fitting the spare onto the five threaded bolts like she’s been doing this everyday since way back and the bolts clear the wheel holes without a scrape to the threads and she’s turning the nuts with her fingers with the calm of doing what she’d learned to love in the olden times of her girlhood and she’s tightening them with the spinner wrench turning like a plane prop and when she’s done the little girl of her fades away and I can tell because when Tina starts her old Imperial and gets her kids inside and the big rock we’d put in front of the back wheel is still there and the firewood log on the other side so the big  car won’t move and she tells her gothic daughter to get rid of them and when she can’t and won’t stop cursing her mother Tina gets out and has to think a long time before dropping to her knees and lugging them out looking over her shoulder in my direction as if she needs help. Her gothic daughter is still on her case as they drive away ranting in loops and grommets and piercing stinging nettles.

It’s dark when I go in and Marilyn comes in with the lantern awhile later. How’d it go? I have to smile. What a family! Marilyn says she turned the little growling boy’s trying to drown his sister into a game that earned them lifeguard points when they saved each other.  I taught them to swim, she says. They loved it.

What a woman. Without her I’d’ve missed Tina and her brood. I’d’ve been writing. Yep, Tina and the tire and the gothic daughter and the big headed baby…

One Comment

  1. It takes a lot of presence to see that much in two hours. You shall be called the present note-taking poet…TPNTP.