Self and reality. Symbol and language. Myth and image. Memory and consciousness.
Dream and unreality: locus communis.

Monday, January 5, 2015

I always tell my students to avoid quoting dictionaries.

Lately, over the course of a handful of years, I have assumed the responsibility as one who wanders to bed last in the household—after double checking the locked doors, the alarm system, and the front porch light—as confirmation of security. The act serves as a final statement to the day, the closing curtain, the poet’s final end stop at the ultimate line.

And partly imagining myself as “husband” seems on the whole… odd.
Perhaps I load too much emphasis on the role, a title-less position as the house falls into a tight slumber. Yet, a comfort lies knowing the wall clock is wound up for the night, the downstairs’ lamps are turned out, and the cat remains curled on the living room sofa, occasionally twisting an ear at the night-sounds by the window.
Ricky introduced me recently as his husband. The word jolted slightly in my ear. Without a ceremony or religious sanction I always assumed we were merely partners, not wedded partners. Partly due to the fact Texas does not recognize such arrangements (as of this writing). And partly imagining myself as “husband” seems on the whole… odd.
I always tell my students to avoid quoting dictionaries. However, this is a case where the denotation of a word could clarify my awkward position on the issue— if the phrases fit the pattern in a less vague, haphazard fashion.

I always pictured a “husband” as a faithful sheepdog (no offense meant; I am playing with associations). A symbol of security and experience, one well versed in carpentry and electronics. Someone who wore sweaters and smoked a pipe. Who reads the morning newspaper regularly. Sporting a full, coarse beard. Growling at predators. Baying at the door to be let out on occasion for a romp in the park with the boys—
It falls to this: Brendan calls me Daddy— and legally he is my son, my responsibility, my little lamb. Because of his existence, then, and due to his insistence that I maintain the role of “Father,” then, of course, yes, I am translated to the husband, with or without legal bonds.

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