Sunday, December 30, 2007


Speak to me, aching heart: what
Ridiculous errand are you inventing for yourself
Weeping in the dark garage
With your sack of garbage: it is not your job
To take out the garbage, it is your job
To empty the dishwasher. You are showing off
Exactly as you did in childhood--where
Is your sporting side, your famous
Ironic detachment? A little moonlight hits
The broken window, a little summer moonlight,
Murmurs from the earth with its ready
Is this the way you communicate
With your husband, not answering
When he calls, or is this the way the heart
Behaves when it grieves: it wants to be
Alone with the garbage? If I were you,
I'd think ahead. After fifteen years,
His voice could be getting tired; some night
If you don't answer, someone else will answer.

Louise Gluck

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Bathed In Light

I clean Molly's gunky eye
out, hours now since I finished
my wrapping duties, and take a break
on the screened-in porch, moon full
above me, clear and white, and I think
about the silver dollar my great uncle
gave me the last time I saw him
at the old folks home, before he set
the room on fire, smoking his Camels,
O2 pulled off his face long enough to savor
one of his old habits, habits being these tricky
things that die hard. 88 he was when he passed,
not from lung cancer or a myocardial
infarction or even a stroke, just from the bad
luck of a stubborn pneumonia and his own
breaking heart, the love of his life gone
ten years since, and I think about my own
eyes this morning in the mirror, looking
back at the me who refuses to die, how much
like my father's they are, how cloudy
and distant they present themselves,
how the lightning blood-streaked swollen
mess they are still resonates the constant
blue-green, how extraordinary they are, even
this morning, night after night of no sleep
or restless sleep at best. But there's something
in the fullness of the moon, the amazement
(you see it takes little to amaze me)
of making my fingers work wonders
with red and green and ribbons and bows,
that just eases the uneasiness enough
to forgive, to think there is good to be found
in gunky-eyed dogs, the wrapping of gifts,
the waiting for the kids to get here, the hope
that they find under the tree something more
than a gift, something that tells them Mom
knows them better than they'd ever thought.
All of this followed by the unexpected relaxing
of the shoulders, the serendipitous way the body
responds knowing it has done all it can.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Lucinda Williams - World Without Tears (live)

Man...oh, man...for those of us who can choose, we make our own world...I'm fucking sick of making my own filled with tears, but I sure as hell love this song...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Van Gogh: Starry Night, 1889

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Snow in the Shade

There is no redemption in these words,
scattered across the page on a white screen, cursor
blinking, nothing to acknowledge what it took
to get here (foregoing the pencil and acid
free paper), to this point, to a place familiar
and foreign, a refuge and a wilderness
untamed. The bright sun doesn't melt it, nor
does it come close to warming it, your cold
cold heart. The day progresses, the arc
of evening not far from forming its steady
slip. You falter and correct yourself, meander
in some meaningful way to the flooded
basement to wash the clothes you carefully
sorted into piles--darks, whites, in-betweens.
You try to make sense of analogies, attempt
to ascertain what category you belong
in--post traumatic, self-absorbed, chronic
depressive state. The terms won't save you, and
the sun, that visionary, just makes a mockery
of the darkness you embrace, your sedum
rotting on the stems, uncut and whole,
pansies buried beneath piles of leaves
that may never know the gentle scraping
of a rake, the ornamental kale sprouting
new white leaves. You swallow hard,
your throat tightening with this newest
revelation, kidneys screaming take a break,
body moving in this automaton way from room
to room, doing what needs to be done, ornaments
and garland sitting in a corner, presents unwrapped
and far from wrapping, the brightest sun in days
filtering through the old quilt you hung
over the windows, you just wanting to know
it's right to be where you are, to allow room
for the cold, to forgive the shortcomings,
to understand that good is not always the end
result of suffering and bad is just a word.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Bob Dylan - It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)

he not busy being born is busy dying

Metamorphosis of Narcissus, Salvador Dali, 1937

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Michelangelo: Universal Judgement, Sistine Chapel, 1541

Sunday, December 09, 2007


It's the loss of the commonplace, the every
day names, faces, and books, the slow
way you come to know that you don't
know now what you once did, the synapses
refusing to cooperate any longer with those testy
neurons, no particular requirement made
of them anyway, stuck here in this small town,
no one to talk to, no real compulsion to talk
or investigate any longer, words your newest
enemy in the struggle to remember. So, it throws
you when your son asks what it means
to abscond, this black-haired blue-eyed handsome
young man of yours, riding along in the passenger
seat reading Crime and Punishment, you there
in the driver's seat thinking about the journey,
rubber beneath your feet making love to a road
you've driven a hundred times or more
and know as intimately as the flesh
on your inner thigh, driving along thinking
about a boy who lived somewhere near
the end of that road, who had the loveliest
mouth you'd ever seen, whose full lips brushed
each mosquito bite on your bronzed body
after you left the drive-in theatre one sweltering
summer night, no longer the naive young girl
you were when you arrived and spread
the blanket out, how he promised he'd come
visit on the weekends, how you waited
for each letter to arrive, how you could not
sleep because that beautiful mouth was all
you could see, lying there in the darkness,
long after your mother and father abandoned
their fight, all the dishes in mosaic scatterings
on the hardwood, how the boy never came back
and you really stopped caring, how your parents
got too old to fight anymore, how you think
you-- yes, even you-- have perhaps absconded
once or twice, but you don't tell your son
any of that, you just say I think it means
you leave somewhere in a hurry, no particular
place in mind to hurry off to, and no reasonable
place to come back to.
Botticelli: Allegoria della Primavera (1478) - Uffizi, Firenze

Friday, December 07, 2007

Musings From the Front Porch

A shadow of a man walks
the rainy streets. He may
be a man who does not know he
has a shadow even in the cover
of drizzle and darkness.

What he has is the night, his slow
and steady movements on the wet
asphalt, his ability to call to me,
head, hidden and unknown, intrigue
for this voyeur:

homeless, pissed off at his girlfriend
and walking instead of fighting, lonely
and thinking, reveling in the rain
and darkness, three sheets and careful
not to drive, hungry and wondering
if mom has dinner ready, walking
instead of talking, thinking maybe.

He turns the corner and leaves
the limited field vision allows,
crosses into a darker dark, into
shadows I can only wonder about,
and I want to run into the street
and chase him down, tell him
I love the way he moves, that I want
to touch what I do not know, that I long
to follow the dark way that leads
directly into the ignorance of light.
Cold Kentucky Rain

...and it is a cold KY rain tonight. But I love rain.

Daughter called from San Diego. She and Ville
were parked at a bluff overlooking the Pacific.
A seagull kept flying down and pulling at Ville's
hair. They're having a good West coast tour.

Work is going well. Haven't mentioned it. I'm collecting
data for a social work program at a university. I give
surveys to clients at a mental health agency.

The info will be submitted to NIMH and then shared
with all the mental health agencies involved in the survey.

Only part-time and temporary but better than not working.

I am enjoying meeting the clients. They give so much
to me in that short time we spend together.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


A bottle of merlot, brought
back from Birmingham, sits
on the cobalt countertop,
nestling close to the drooping
rosemary, nearing its end
point. Perhaps I'll finish
it off tonight, lick my lips
and teeth with this wandering
tongue, try to rid the softening
enamel of such a tiresome grey,
one more reminder that my day
has come and gone, so to speak
the language of aging. If you
were closer, maybe I'd even
put on my white salwar kameez,
play the Kenyon thing up for all
its worth, pretend that living
can be made vicariously, and so
it should be if there is no other
way. For life, yes, for life, for being--
I would do that. To feel important,
if only for an evening, wine glass
in hand, spinach quiche saturating
the senses with its aroma, the night
clear and cold and full of stars,
the worries of the day set aside,
the anticipation of loving you
whole and right and fully
beating inside my chest like
some old drum solo I can recall
hearing when you rested your hand
on mine for the first time, these things
would be enough. But I'd manage
to spill that lovely red wine
all over the pure white of an outfit
that only hangs in the closet
for sentimental reasons, and then
there would be the apologies
and the change of clothes, and I'd
be back in black, the hard shell
I chose when all the losses of my life
meant gaining a new friend, an expanded
self, the lithe and vibrant woman
I once was long forgotten. And even
the tongue--that acerbic messenger--
would hold itself in check, would not
even dare lick the lips your mouth
can no longer find a way to meet.
Two Pictures of Molly

on my father's grave on October 14th--
his birthday. He would have been 84.

Had a terrible day

...with Molly yesterday and was ready to find
her a home out in the country somewhere.
If I can't be kind to her, she does not need to stay
with me.

When I was away for the weekend, she chewed
about a 4 inch piece of wood off the door facing
between the dining room and kitchen. She also
tried to eat the hardwood floors (there are 4-5
places where it is obvious she was chewing
or attempting to chew up the floors).

I guess if I were true dog lover, I would take all of that
in stride, but I try hard to make this old house
look like something I can be proud of, and it costs
some pretty money to fix things she's destroying.

Well, I don't try so hard anymore. I think about all
the things I would do if I was better, but the projects
rarely get off the ground. I got so far as removing
all the pictures and other things from my hallway
walls and the nails. And I even stripped some paper
from one end of the wall, but that's it. With depression
being the norm in my day-to-day, I rarely have
moments in which I feel compelled or motivated
to tackle some new project.

I know I can fill in the wood with putty, sand, and paint
it, and I know the hardwood floors need to be redone,
and I know a house is just a house and a dog is a member
of the family, but I was so f'ing livid. I am still upset
with her today. I'm also tired of her chasing and terrorizing
the cats, running into the bedrooms and grabbing clothes
that she chews up if I don't catch her, jumping on everyone
who comes in the house, etc. etc.

I thought dogs were supposed to help us in so many ways--
lower our blood pressure, make us feel less lonely, bring
joy into our lives. But Molly stresses me out to no end.
I hate to think I'm giving up, but it feels that way.

She deserves better.


I have to go see my doctor Friday. Otherwise, I can't
get my prescription filled again, and I have to have
my anti-anxiety meds to survive. Didn't realize
that I haven't seen her since May 2006. That was
just a month after Dad died. So much has happened
since then. So many other life-changing events, and
truly, I am not doing well with my station in life.

For all the people and things I have to be grateful
for, I am immersed in all the regrets of my life.

I miss who I was when I was the best I was.
I fear I shall never be that person again.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Spent the weekend in Birmingham

with my firend. Loved it there. It is quite
beautiful. I've only driven through Birmingham
on I-65 on my way to Florida.

Her house is on a ridge (or on the mountain).
beautiful place. Rested well and enjoyed
the company.

Took out Wes's CDs and put some of mine
in (not that I don't like some of his but really
needed some of mine).

Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris, Neil Young,
Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday, REM...

Listened over and over to Lucinda sing:

Not a day goes by
I don't think about you
You left your mark on me
it's permanent, a tattoo,
pierce the skin and the blood runs through
Oh, my baby

from Car Wheels on A Gravel Road...

I'm too tired to write much today. All around
kind of shitty day that I guess I made an all
around shitty day cuz I make things happen,
right? Not the world, not people, not animals,
not circumstances--just me and what I make
of them, but shitty nonetheless Oh whiner me.

Whine, whine, whine...Give me some wine
wine, wine....