Monday, March 26, 2007

I can't sleep.

I am driving into the night.
Driving into death. Into life.
Strange how alive you feel
when you feel death close to your face
and in your blood and the fear and the hope
and the confusion and the fight in you takes
over and you run or you drive or you walk
straight into it. Tonight I am driving that highway.
The one filled with uncertainties. It's night
and everything takes on a surreal prescient
existence. I am driving. The steering wheel
gripped with sweaty hands. My mouth dry.
My heart pumping, pumping, pumping life
into every particle of who I am.
In this year that has come and gone now
so very quickly, I harbor the same fears.
I have not let loose of one. I taste blood
in my mouth. I let myself cry. The rest
will happen as it will. I want to call someone.
But all the someones I called that night a year
ago could do nothing. I want to run. But I can't.
I am not so very old but I am so very tired.
So I watch Terminator 2, a very uplifting movie.
I think about who's crazy and who's sane
and wonder what difference it makes.
We're all so completely alone. Wholly.
Drive, hope, breathe. Be. Beyond Be
lies something I know nothing about.
And being be is something I don't do well.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise him all creatures here below
Praise father, son and holy ghost
Praise...I forget how it goes. The doxology,
I think it's called. I wanted to believe in it.
I want to believe pain is essential. I want to let
the believers believe. I need to believe.
That third line in the doxology is something
about the heavenly host. Host. Ghost.
Ghostly. Mostly. Not very hostly.

That's it. I am taking my lonesome self
outside to look at the stars.
One year ago

at about this same time of day, I went to my parents'
house to visit with them before I left town for a four
day conference. Dad had been to the doctor that week
after his legs gave out on him for no apparent reason.

It was to be the last day he would ever be in his home.

That night, Mom thought he was having a stroke. He
couldn't lift his left hand and was having difficulty

She called here first. She had forgotten
I was out of town. My brother didn't have a phone so she
couldn't reach him. Before she called an ambulance,
she was hopeful one of us would come over and take
a look at Dad and determine that perhaps he was just
fatigued or something.

But we weren't to be found.

She called the ambulance. She called Wes back and told
him they were on the way to the hospital and to try to reach

I had just unpacked my suitcase and gone downstairs for a drink
and a bite to eat. I didn't hear my phone ring because the opening
dinner was a dinner/dance thing and the music was very loud.

I had to go to the restroom, and when I got there, I heard my
phone beeping. I had missed two calls from my son. When I called
him back, he told me what my mom had told him.

I got my husband on the phone and told him to go knock
on my brother's door and tell him what was going on.

I told my boss what was going on and went upstairs to pack
my clothes and head home. As I was packing, my brother
called from the hospital to tell me that the doctor said
Dad needed to be sent by Medivac to a hospital with a neurosurgeon
and a staff equipped to deal with, what the doctor termed,
a serious stroke--one he may not recover from.

And so the ambulance loaded him up and took him away
and then the helicopter took him away

and he never came back home.

The weeping cherry that was given to me in your memory,
Dad, is in full bloom today. You would love it.

I drove by the house this morning and your backyard
looked so beautiful. The huge forsythia by the back door,
the flowering crabapple, the redbuds, the daffodils, and
the hyacinths. All the flowers you and Mom worked so
hard together to plant and tend.

I miss you. Each day I am better, but my heart is so full
today and now so are my eyes. I can't believe it's been a year.

I hope I get to see you somewhere again.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Dream Deferred

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore--
and then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load

Or does it just explode?


I'm having a Langston Hughes moment.
Not just a moment--
an every day thing lately.

Just what does happen to a dream deferred?

Monday, March 19, 2007

Walk, walk, walk

Going to try this again. My problem
with any exercise routine is staying with it.
When the weather gets very hot and humid,
I will not want to be out walking. Even at 7
a.m., it's 80 degrees many summer mornings.
80 and terribly humid and no breeze.
But I am going to try.


3/13--2.5 miles
3/14--2 miles
3/15--2 miles
3/16--2 miles
3/17--0 miles
3/18--2.75 miles
3/19--2 miles

So, that's 13.25 miles in 7 days. Not a bad start. Just have to keep it going.


Crazy dreams last night. Here's one. I went into a church--
an Anglican church--shortly after Martin Luther
had nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the church
in Wittenberg. I knew I was time traveling,
and others knew I was not from that area, but I was
invited into the church. I had on some coffee-colored
velvet slacks with a matching top. I had something
on my head but can't remember what. I just remember
the people in the church looked like this:

So, I went in. I touched the last pew and genuflected, like
a good catholic, before I walked down to my pew.
I sat with a group of men. The man next to me
was not wearing anything on his head. He had the blackest
hair I have ever seen and the most beautiful face.
Not handsome--beautiful. He was sporting a modern day
haircut, but his dress was of that time. He was talking
during the sermon and being blatantly disrespectful.

He leaned his head over on my shoulder and fell asleep,
but within mintutes he awoke and began unclothing
my left shoulder and upper torso until my breast
was exposed. Then it was as if he was nursing.
Even the parishoners assumed as much. So, at first,
I thought I was nursing a baby. It was only after
I looked down at him again that I felt a twinge
down below and knew he was not a baby suckling the breast.

And I woke up.


No job yet. Have completed substitute teacher training.
Just need to send my transcript, have a physical,
get my background check back, and get started. I want
to sub and I don't. At one point in time, I wanted
to be a teacher. Subbing can be very trying, I am sure.
I keep sending resumes out but I am getting very little
in return. I am frustrated, but I am more tired and indifferent
than frustrated at this point.

My money's running out. If I want to do things,
pay off some things, go some places, I need to work.


Time to shower and get busy living.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

On Collecting

The following is an excerpt from Susan Sontag's
The Volcano Lover

Collecting is a species of insatiable desire, a Don Juanism
of objects in which each new find arouses a new mental
tumescence, and generates the added pleasure of scorekeeping,
of enumeration. Volume and tirelessness of conquest
would lose some of its point and savor were there not a
ledger somewhere with ones assorted mille e tre (and,
preferably, a factotum to keep it updated), the happy
contemplation of which at off-moments counteracts
the exhaustion of desire that the erotic athlete is condemned
to and against which he struggles. But lists are a much more
spiritual enterprise for the athlete of material and mental

The list itself is a collection, a sublimated collection. One does
not actually have to own the things. To know is to have
(luckily, for those without great means). It is already a claim,
a species of possession, to think about them in this form,
the form of a list: which is to value them, to rank them, to say
they are worth remembering or desiring.

What you like: your five favorite flowers, spices, films, cars,
poems, hotels, names, dogs, inventions, Roman emperors,
novels, actors, restaurants, paintings, gems, cities, friends,
museums, tennis players...just five. Ot ten...or twenty...or
a hundred. For, midway through whatever number you settled
for, you always wish you had a bigger number to play in.
You'd forgotten there were that many things you liked.

What you've done: everyone you've gone to bed with, every
state you've been in, country you've visited, house or apartment
you've lived in, school you've attended, car you've owned,
pet you've had, job you've held, Shakespeare play you've

What the world has in it: the names of Mozart's twenty
operas or the kings and queens of England or of the fifty
American state capitals...Even the making of such lists
is an expression of desire: the desire to know, to see
arranged, to commit to memory.

What you actually have: all your CDs, your bottles
of wine, your first editions, the vintage photographs
you've purchased at auctions--such lists may do no more
than ratify the acquiring lust, unless, as it is with the Cavaliere,
your purchases are imperiled.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Really on edge today. ..

I woke up this morning thinking
today would be the day I would start trying
to pull myself together. So, after taking
Wes to school, I took a 2 1/2 mile walk.
Then I went to the pet store and got Molly
a harness, new leash, and some toys.

Next stop, the grocery. I was feeling fine.
Bought a few things for the next couple
of days and felt excited about cooking
something wonderful--tandoori salmon
with a red onion and cucumber yogurt raita.

Brought it all home, put it away, checked
my email, got Molly out of her crate, went
outside with her and played for a little while
and then, almost all of a sudden, this uneasiness
settled all over my body. I just feel like my skin
is crawling.


1) Molly can't do anything right
2) The cats are getting on my nerves
3) My house is a mess
4) My life is a mess
5) I am overweight and out of shape
6) I am a drunk
7) I am a loser
8) I am a whiner
9) I'm an emotional wreck
10) Everything feels wrong


I actually felt good when I was walking this morning.
I was thinking about something unpleasant, something
that changed my entire life, something that has cost
me so much, something I have tried and tried to write
about and to let go of, and I was thinking I would write
about it when I got back and that I would start
putting it in its place and that writing about it
would help me do that, but I can't write about it.

It's about when I died, really. When I decided
I had no right to live any longer. And though I've done
a first rate job at times at leaving it in the past, it
has never left me. It's been my shadow even in the darkness.
It's been there in every happy moment, and it's been
the cause of many unhappy ones.


Molly gave up the ghost. She curled up on the rug
here near the computer. I guess she figures sleeping
is something she can do right and won't get scolded


Monday, March 12, 2007


Went to see Harry Connick, Jr. last night. So glad I did.
I've been so down lately. It helped to be somewhere with
a friend and to see such a great show.

Got his autograph too (cheesy, I know). I just
said, Hey, Harry, how ya feeling tonight? He just smiled
and said Fine...real fine, and you? Then he signed
my ticket stub.

It was pricey, but I'd pay again and go again and will
next time he's in the neighborhood.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Every Day You Play

~ Pablo Neruda

Every day you play with the light of the universe.
Subtle visitor, you arrive in the flower and the water.
You are more than this white head that I hold tightly
as a cluster of fruit, every day, between my hands.

You are like nobody since I love you.
Let me spread you out among yellow garlands.
Who writes your name in letters of smoke among the stars of the south?
Oh let me remember you as you were before you existed.

Suddenly the wind howls and bangs at my shut window.
The sky is a net crammed with shadowy fish.
Here all the winds let go sooner or later, all of them.
The rain takes off her clothes.

The birds go by, fleeing.
The wind. The wind.
I can contend only against the power of men.
The storm whirls dark leaves
and turns loose all the boats that were moored last night to the sky.

You are here. Oh, you do not run away.
You will answer me to the last cry.
Cling to me as though you were frightened.
Even so, at one time a strange shadow ran through your eyes.

Now, now too, little one, you bring me honeysuckle,
and even your breasts smell of it.
While the sad wind goes slaughtering butterflies
I love you, and my happiness bites the plum of your mouth.

How you must have suffered getting accustomed to me,
my savage, solitary soul, my name that sends them all running.
So many times we have seen the morning star burn, kissing our eyes,
and over our heads the gray light unwind in turning fans.

My words rained over you, stroking you.
A long time I have loved the sunned mother-of-pearl of your body.
I go so far as to think that you own the universe.
I will bring you happy flowers from the mountains, bluebells,
dark hazels, and rustic baskets of kisses.
I want
to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Excerpts from The Volcano Lover


To be unaccompanied. To be alone. To lower
yourself into your own feelings.
There to find mists and vapors. The little
protuberances of old angers and longings. Then a large
emptiness. You think of what you have done, done
with brio--great slabs of actions, enterprises.
All that energy has drained away. Everything
becomes an effort.
Surfeited, his appetite for surfeit. Now it's enough.


How thin the line between the will to live and the will
to die. How slight the membrane between energy
and torpor. So many more could give way to the temptation
to commit suicide if it were made easy. How about... a hole,
a really deep hole, which you put in a public place, for general
use. In Manhattan, say, at the corner of Seventieth and Fifth.
Where the Frick Collection is. (Or a prole-ier address?)
A sign beside the hole reads: 4 PM -8 PM/ MON WED & FRI/
SUICIDE PERMITTED. Just that. A sign. Why, surely people
would jump who had hardly thought of it before. Any pit
is an abyss, if properly labeled. Coming home from work, out
buying a pack of wicked cigarettes, detouring to pick up the
laundry, scanning the pavement for the red silk scarf the wind
must have sucked off your shoulders, you remember the sign,
you look down, you inhale quickly, exhale slowly, and you say--
like Empedocles at Etna--why not.

Susan Sontag


Mostly sleeping a great deal. In bed around 9 each night.
Up at 6 or so. Molly keeping me busy.

Had a consultation with a different surgeon last week.
He hopes there will not be the need for another surgery.
He hopes some other types of treatments may heal the wound.

Brain fog and indifference still overtaking my faculties
like kudzu. Creating these strange shapes out of things
that were once recognizable but which now seem to be
completely different organisms, beings, elements.

That's all I can muster today.