Write About Anything



Michael Lally, from It's Not Nostalgia

My daughter has been doing her own laundry for a long time. Like her younger brother. But today she had to go off somewhere with a friend and left me a note asking me to bring her clothes in from the dryer, and since I wanted to use the clothes basket, I folded them for her, sitting in her room, the warm breeze coming through her window, the sun shining like a beautiful Spring day in the New Jersey of my childhood, though this is the Santa Monica, California of my middle age, and sitting there, smelling the clean laundry while I folded it, each sweatshirt that is a daily version of her uniform neatly placed on her sheets, I realized I was incredibly happy, and that doing this task on this day was the reason, because it took me back to when she and her brother were children, babies, and through the influence of the burgeoning feminist movement and its dogma of equal responsibility in the home, as well as guilt over cheating for the first time in seven years of marriage, I first began to care for my children in what was considered a motherly way when I was a child, and so I felt connected with my mother, God rest her soul, she who has never known my children, and to their mother, now over five years in what the media usually calls “comas” though I know better now, “brain damaged” is the operative term, but the reality is “vegetable,” a woman I thought I’d be happy to never have to think of again, after our divorce, but since her “accident” have thought of every day, anyway, folding those clothes brought me in touch with the most peaceful and satisfying aspects of being alive, my being a father, raising children on my own and with the help of a succession of women, but mostly my being a father, my love for the kids and the richness they have added to my life and still do, until I realized that this was always the most satisfying job, most contented task I had ever undertaken, including it all, including the two years as a corporate executive, the four years teaching college, the years of bohemian excess, where I tried almost every kind of sex and drug, the day laborer jobs, the limousine driving and night guard at the hospital and unloading trucks and washing dishes and all the menial labor and the twenty books of poems published and the awards and degrees and interviews and reviews, and the film and TV acting, and picking up the old single bed from my soon to be second ex-wife who was nominated for an Academy Award a few years ago, the friends on the covers of worldwide magazines and starring in films and the lovers now famous or wealthy or burnt out or dead and the “regular folks” who make up most of my experiences with people, like myself, despite all the crazy experimenting with all that life has to offer, and still even more I can’t recall right now, add it all up and talk about it, which I will do, and right now, this afternoon, here in my daughter’s bedroom, folding her clothes is the answer I’d have least expected, the most happy kind of work I realize I’ve ever done and probably ever will, folding her clean clothes, doing one of the small labors of love that make it possible for our replacements to try their hand at doing it all or figuring it all out or not, but at least having the choice, as we all always do, no matter what the obstacles, and as far as I can see there always seemed to be very few for me, though it never really felt that way.



LOVE NEVER DIES by Michael Lally


Lots of shit dies
Love doesn’t

Parts of me are
Already dead

But love isn’t...
My appendix

Dead and buried
My prostate and

A disc from my back
Dead and gone too

And parts of my brain
Cut out with the

Dime size foreign body
That got in there somehow

To cause so much trouble…


Back to the top.