Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Last Lecture

I just read about this guy the other day and took
some time to watch part of his lecture on YouTube:

I think anyone would get something from watching
some part of this, if not all of it.

It's too easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day
problems--the economy, the job market, the price
of gas, the continuing war(s) in Afghanistan and Iraq,
the heartbreak of losing our loved ones, the despondency
we feel as people we thought we could trust to be there
for us for the long haul leave us--

but I digress and miss the point of the lecture in such
digression...I need to let those folks go and wish them
well and think more about myself and what I can do
for me that no one else can.

I need to think about my dreams--what they were
way back when and what they are now and where I lost
sight of what matters.

Bitterness can eat us to the core. We must be careful.

I plan to listen to Randy more than once. I would say
he lived what seems to me a rather charmed life--
well-adjusted, good parenting, emotional and intellectual
support and stimulation, positive attitude, a profession
he loved, a wife and children with whom he was very close,
and even toward the end, knowing there was no way to
survive his pancreatic cancer, he refused to let that
drag him down.

Maybe not a charmed life, but certainly a charming man.

Work to do now. Not leaving until tomorrow morning--
daughter has to work later than she thought and we
don't want to arrive at Hilton Head at 2-3 AM, so I have
more time today to get my clothes washed and packed
and rest a bit. Very, very tired. What's new?


Had an email--someone asking why I deleted this post.
Did not realize that I had or can't remember now why I did.

So, here it is.

And I am back. And Hilton Head Island
stories are going to have to wait until tomorrow or when
I feel like writing them.

Some once in a lifetime moments happened for some
of us there.

And each of us will carry some aspect of this trip with us
for our entire lives.

More to come about touching the barnacles on a sea
turtle's back at 3 AM as she was making her way back
to the sea after laying her eggs, about the dolphins
no more than 15 ft from where we were standing
in the ocean, the sand dollars spawning, the apologies
shared, and the laughter--oh my...I laughed so hard
last night that my sides hurt the rest of the evening.

Now time to pet Molly, who missed me a great deal
and to look over the mail, papers, etc. Been here for
at least an hour and a half, but I have been visiting
with hubby and son, unloading the car, watering
some plants, and lots of other things.

Watch the lecture. I don't think you'll be sorry.

Thanks for the email asking why.
Self-Portrait With a Straw Hat and Artist's Smock, 1887
Vincent van Gogh

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


get YouTube videos to post on my blog any longer,
but if I could, this is the one I would post:

Lots to do today. I am cooking dinner for my mother-
and father-in-law tonight--it is her 89th birthday
today. She's an amazing woman who looks at least
10-15 years younger than her age.

Already mowed this morning, paid some bills,
took a shower, did a load of laundry, applied
for a job, and now I am headed out to get some groceries
and hydrocortisone for this poison ivy--it's getting to me.

The funeral for the two little girls is today in Louisville.
I know the great-grandmother of one of them, as well
as the aunts and uncles. It is just such a tragedy.

They were crossing the street--the mother of one
them holding their hands--one child on either side
of her. A man eluding the police (not clear if he was
drunk or not) ran a red light and hit them as they
were crossing the street. The mother was injured
but is expected to recover from the physical injuries.

Anyone who reads this, do whatever it is you do to send
peace and comfort to the families of these sweet little
girls--4 & 5 years old.
Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear and Pipe, 1889
Vincent van Gogh

Monday, July 28, 2008

Monday morning, 9:18

Much to get done today, but I'm dragging.

Restless night. Went to see The Dark Knight,
and I have to say I wasn't that wowed with it--
something Wes just can't understand as he was so
sure I would find it as good as he did. He went with
his dad and I last night, even though he saw the midnight
screening the day before it opened.

Was Heath Ledgers performance good? Yes. Did I think it was worthy
of an Oscar nomination. No. I thought Jack Nicholson
was a more interesting joker. If any of the characters
had to really dig deep inside of themselves, I would say
it had to have been Batman and Two-Face. Hell, maybe
I'm just getting old and the thrill is gone for me for action-
adventure films. I think that is what most disturbs Wes
about my choice of films lately--they indicate to him that his
ma is just not as much fun anymore--and he's right.

I rented the Spiderwick Chronicles, A Mighty Heart, and
The Music Within. Finished with the first two. A Mighty
Heart was a well-done film. The story is heartbreaking,
but the movie is not maudlin and does not dwell on the pain
associated with the loss of Daniel Pearl. I need to watch the
last one and get the movies back by Wed.

Finished reading Animal Farm and am now reading some
Annie Proulx short stories. I like her, but I'm not wowed--
like my mom is--by her work. Does she do an excellent job
of describing the landscape and the characters? Absolutely.
But I think I'm going to read some Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
some time today. I want more Annie Dillard.

Been struggling (I say that so often it has become cliche).
Between friends with bad news, my worry for my sister,
and some other personal issues, I feel rather beaten down.

I am hopeful that this trip I am going on will help.

A friend of mine's mother has a condo on Hilton Head
Island, and she has invited me to come for the week.
Leaving Thursday. Daughter is going with me, so we'll
split gas costs and everyone will buy food. We all love
to cook, and my friend is quite an extraordinary cook
(and I'm not such a bad cook myself) , so I'm looking
forward to the friendship, good food, some good wine,
the ocean--oh my, yes, the ocean. Looking forward
to interesting conversations. This friend has her MA
in English, she's radical as hell, and she's f'ing brilliant,
so it makes for some interesting times. I need to go,
but the fatigue I'm feeling is telling me to stay home.

F the fatigue. It's a 10 hour drive, and we're not leaving
until 3 or so (have to wait for daughter to get off work),
so we'll leave Nashville around 3-3:30, I guess. Then
it's I 24 to I 75 to I 16. I've never taken 16, but the other
roads I know quite well.

Poison ivy is travelling. It is now on my inner thigh
on my right leg and on the back of my left leg from
mid-calf to mid-thigh. I still have the other places
as well. I guess the only way I'm not going to get it
is to stop working in my yard. I just can't seem to avoid
it. I look carefully, or at least I think I do, and then,
bam, there it is. Oh well. I know I can't just stop
working in my yard.

I enjoy my gardens and have plans for adding more
to them, but it costs a great deal to garden, so I'm not
making great progress. I am thrilled that my Impressionist
climbing rose bush I bought last summer is now at least
5 ft tall. It has the loveliest blooms. The buds look
magenta when they first appear on the stems, but
as they start to open, they turn a reddish-orange,
and then as they open more, the center is yellow
with bands of magenta and reddish-orange toward the
bottom. I placed it next to the trellis that leads into
my father's garden, and I think it's going to be lovely
as it starts to climb the trellis. My wisteria is still
blooming, which surprises me. The garden phlox
is lovely, as are the speedwell and stella d'oros. It's
all pretty to look at. It's all a great deal of work.

But it's worth it, even if I have to put up with poisin
ivy now and then.

Have a meeting today about a job. Actually meeting with
a friend who is a supervisor to discuss some of the problems
I am encountering in my job search. I think she'll be some help.

I finally started stripping some more wallpaper off the hallway
walls yesterday. Think I'll get back to that now before
I talk myself out of it.
Self-Portrait with Felt Hat (1887-88)
Vincent van Gogh

Saturday, July 26, 2008

somewhere i have never travelled

somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously) her first rose

or if your wish be to close me,i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain, has such small hands

e e cummings
Almond Blossom
Vincent van Gogh, 1890

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday, 9:25 PM

I wanted to get up at 4 AM or so and write
down the troubling dream that woke me,
but I was so tired I wanted to keep sleeping.
So, I compromised.

Rouse yourself. Do not get up. Do not try
to reenter the dream and change it. But my heart
was pounding.

It was a film noir scene--black and white, rain
falling, red lights flashing in the distance.

I was accused of mudering a woman. I didn't
know anything was up at all until I looked around
the dark hotel room and saw a woman sitting
in a chair in the corner. She looked toward the door
and I opened it. I remember telling her to leave.

Two female cops came up the stairs to the room
to arrest me for murder. I can see my face--the look
of confusion and disbelief. Somehow or the other,
my oldest son was there (it was in a town I can't
recall but know it was about 100 miles away).

The female cops were brusque and cruel and intimidating.

I asked my son to get me a hamburger, and after he left,
smiling, which didn't seem odd, I ran to the door and said
And a diet coke. My daughter was there too.

Scenes flashed. The female cops pulled me out into
the rain in the parking lot and told me to look.

I saw a truck with what appeared to be a large
baking pan on the top. Someone dumped two
legs into the pan. I saw the legs and the black
high heels on the feet. I felt sick and said I had
to go inside. In and out of the room, friends from
years ago were talking to me, saying it's all going
to be alright. We'll be right outside. Then a woman
came in--a criminal psychologist or something.

Before she could say anything, my mind recognized
the legs and shoes. I knew then I was being interrogated
for murdering myself.

I did wake up and didn't get back to the dream, though I
had this feeling I needed to make things right.

I had another dream. I woke from that wanting to reenter
that dream, not to make things right, just to feel what
I felt in that dream. There was a young man, and I was
a young woman, and we had spent the day visting a site
with these huge statues, made of stone, some of them
frightening, some of them interesting, some of them
rather ordinary in all ways except for their size.

One was a ship, the details of the masts and the men
quite vivid. One was a fortress, moat and flags flying
from the turrets. One was a man, on bended knee,
his face that of a god, his eyes colorless and haunting.

There is more, but I stop here.

One friend called today. Tumor in the breast.

Another call. Family. Tumor in the uterus.

It rained all morning but it's hot now.

I think I should eat.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thursday, 6:53 AM

I spent several years driving through the country
to complete my college degree. The closest
campus I could earn my credits was a 2 hour
long commute--only 11 miles of it parkway.

For as difficult as it was to make that drive, there
were so many moments in which I caught myself
entranced by the nuances of farm life, John Deere
tractors, sunsets, cloud formations, the water rising
almost over the road in the river bottomlands
I had to drive through, in the music playing on the CD
player, in the hum of the tires.

I am thinking tonight of the journey, of where I've been
since then, of what it meant to me, of how it didn't change
many things in my life, of Zen and The Art of Motorcycle

What is it Persig said: it's not reaching the top of the mountain
that matters--it's the journey there that is filled with life.
The top is largely barren and the air so thin it's hard to breathe.

I don't know that I was seeking the top of the mountain.
I don't know exactly what I was seeking or trying to prove.
I just drove to my classes and I engaged in discourse
and I fulfilled the requirements to get a degree that has
done nothing for me, professionally.

There were so many moments I wished on those drives
that I was a filmmaker, that I had the camera ready,
that at the moment the sun looked like it was swallowing
the earth, I could capture it, there, with my camera.

I think as much as I bitched about the drive, it was needed.
It was whole. It was a journey through beautiful pastures,
cows grazing, horses tramping slowly toward the fence,
people sitting on their porches, houses lit up for all
the holidays, the neon sign of the one little liquor
store in Friendly always pointing the arrow there,
the tractors with their lights on at night eeriely creeping
over the fields, the owl who swooped down and hit
my windshield, the 10 or more deer standing beside
the road, my eyes trying to adjust to the darkness, the
car in front of me tapping out a brake warning so I would
know they were there, the possums who made it and the
ones who didn't, the feral cats creeping along, their
eyes red in the oncoming glow of my headlights.,
the shooting stars, the pouring rain and driving winds,
the prayer to make it home safely, the police pulling
me over for doing 65 in a 55 and then, feeling my angst
and being in a congenial mood, letting me go with
a warning, the overwhelming fatigue settling in my
bones, the young girl on horseback, ponytail bouncing
in time--a picture of a younger me, the wisteria
bordering the treelines, the crepe myrtles in full bloom,
the red and sugar maples signaling a change in season,
the snowfall plowed and pushed to the side of the road.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wednesday, 7:18 PM

It's a perfectly lovely evening. Low humidity
and temps in the low 80s. I made a somewhat
concerted effort to go out and weed that troublesome
bed out front, but I didn't get far. I need to dig the
whole damn thing out and get rid of the bemuda.
There is no pulling bermuda out easily. It means
to stay.

I find it interesting how the earth claims herself
over and over again. How we are but these creatures
trying to make her fit our agendas. If I just let it all
go, the grass and weeds would overtake everything
and the house would little by little be reduced
to rubble.

I think so often about something a friend of mine
said to me one time when I asked him what
he believed in.

He said, I believe in the tall grass that overtakes the garden.

I think he has a sound belief system.

Stayed up much too late last night. A friend I met
in 1972, shortly after I moved here, came to see me
last night. We run into each other fairly often
at the grocery store, but we have not sat down
and talked in over 20 years. She is going through
so much and has been through so much. We find
comfort in the fact that we aren't trying to establish
a new relationship as we discuss the issues that have
plagued us both. We have some history. But there
were many things I did not know about her, and there
were many things she did not know about me. We
sat on the porch until almost 1 AM just talking.

At times we came near to tears, but largely, we just
talked and listened to one another, and even laughed
at some of the ludicrous, screwed-up parts of our
lives. I am glad we are establishing this friendship.

She has taken several walks with me (Molly, too--she
has sooo much patience with Molly). We share more
than ideas and memories, we share a hope.

My house still smells like cumin and curry from the
Indian tofu dish I cooked last night. Next time, I am
going lighter on the curry and spinach. Other than
that, the dish was quite good.

Tonight, I feel no inclination to cook, though I was
going to and I have a fridge full of good food. But
it won't go to waste. I think I'll feel better tomorrow.

The poison ivy seems to be limited to my left shin
and right ankle, so I am hopeful it won't get any

I saw a few jobs in the paper today that I am interested
in. One of them is in adult ed--an area I worked in for
13 years, so I emailed another old friend who worked
with me then and asked him if I could list him as a reference.
He has a cabinet position, and he worked with me, and he
knows the kind of teacher I was, so I hope he'll agree.

Watched The Kite Runner today. It was good, but I think
I must read the book. I feel it will be much better than
the film. I finished watching Into the Wild yesterday
and know I am going to have to read the book. I had
a pretty good cry after the film was over, but I do think
the movie should have been closer to the reality of Chris's
life. The movie (or I should say the director--Sean Penn),
decided that the parents needed to be the bad guys for the film
to work. I think he's wrong. I think it would have more
impact if it had been more reality-based.

Now to go do something. Don't know what.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tuesday, 3:40 PM

In the middle of a coughing fit--seems
I can't shake this cough. I get better for
a few days and then I'm right back at it.

Had lunch with B. today, which was
nice. We had the best, most meaningful
conversation that possibly we've ever had.
We are very similar in many ways, but the
pain share and the source of the pain is a very
similar experience. Despite what she's been
through, she still has this incredible sense
of humor. I take my damn self too seriously
and have nearly forgotten how to be light.

I finished reading Bait And Switch and am now reading
Animal Farm. I wonder how many books I've read this
year. When I was taking classes, so much reading time
was devoted to course reading, though I always had
something else going on at the same time for myself.

These are the books I can think of at the moment
(excluding poetry):

Bait and Switch
Teaching a Stone to Talk
The Emperor's Children
East of Eden
Van Gogh's Bad Cafe
A Million Little Pieces
To Kill A Mockingbird
Collected works of Flannery O'Connor
Crime and Punishment
The Sound and The Fury
Million Dollar Baby
The Glass Menagerie
The Fountainhead
The Slow Moon
Running With Scissors

That's all I can think of at the moment, but I know
I've read more than that.

I so enjoy reading. I love fiction for all the places
it takes me. I love nonfiction for the same reason
but also because reading one nonfiction of interest
generally sets me off on a search for more to read.

I think learning takes place whether it's fiction, nonfiction,
memoir, or poetry one is reading.

I love words. I love good stories.
I love lyricism and metaphor. I love to read about other
people's lives. I love to read about the world, about nature.
And I love to be taken away for a little while.

Going to cook a tofu dish tonight. Tofu with curry
and mango chutney. We'll see how well it's liked.

Calzones tomorrow night. I've never made calzones.

I still find myself incapable of writing a poem or anything
of meaning. I simply feel too tired, too emotionally drained.
I can't collect my thoughts. I can't draw from that deep
well of inspiration--andi t is deep and it is full--my brain
is just too muddied up right now to make much sense
of anything.

Wes is at work. I have some laundry to do and some dishes
to do and then some watering to do around 7. I also need
to finish watching Into the Wild. I watched Atonement
last night--not nearly as good as the book. I also rented
The Kite Runner, so I'll watch that after I finish Into The Wild.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Monday, 2:01 PM

As predicted, it's hotter than hell out there
today--heat index of 105 or something.

Started the morning at the high school registering
Wes for his senior year. I have a difficult time
thinking my baby will graduate next May.
Though I am terribly excited for him as he starts
this final year and starts the journey away from home,
away from adolescence and into adulthood, I am
also sad. For all the years that have flown by too
quickly, and even as present as I was in his life,
and still am, I have also been away far more often
than I had intended to be. Between school, work,
and some travels without my family, I have missed
out on many days that I can never have again.

Msot of them just ordinary days.

Today I am as tired as yesterday. Maybe the heat
is getting to me. It would help to sleep well
for a night, but that doesn't happen much. Weird
dreams last night. Thankfully, I've forgotten
them today.

I feel like I've been drugged (of course, I am drugged,
but my Xanax has never made me feel drugged--it's just
kept me level). I tried to read some of Food & Wine
magazine, but I couldn't concentrate. The letters
all looked like they were swirling together, so I gave
up on the reading for now.

Had lunch at El Bracero with Wes and Ashley. Ashley
is the only former coworker who stays in touch. I love
her dearly and always have a great time with her, but
she's busy with work and a new boyfriend and with just
enjoying her life. She just got back from Gulf Shores
and then a two day trip to Cincy to see Jimmy Buffet.
She has to be one of the wittiest people I know. It's very
hard to feel down around Ashley, and I am grateful
the she wants to be with mopey me.

Lauren seems to care a great deal about her new guy--John.
I am glad she was able to end the relationship with Ville.
Though I cared about him and enjoyed his company, they were
not very good for one another. So after 4+ years, they went
their separate ways. The good thing is that they remain
on speaking terms and that she still performs with The Mattoid.

Christopher, Jess, & Isaac will leave for their vacation this Friday
(his 30th birthday). My first born is turning 30. Now that makes
me feel old (though I did start out at a young age--19, almost 20
when I had him).

For the most part,my mom's ok. Sometimes when I am lying in
bed, her face just comes to mind, and I can more clearly see
the pain of missing my father in the recollection than I can
when I am actually looking at her. It makes me cry. We are
not close, we have never been, and we will most likely never
be, but she's my mom and she's lonely and terribly sad and she
misses my father so much. It hurts me to see her hurt.

Yesterday morning cried for over an hour, and off and on for
most of the day. For all the losses over the last 2 years,
for all of the regets, for all of the ways I let myself and others
down, for the sense of hopelessness I feel.

Today, I have no more tears. I am too tired to cry. Too tired
to read. Too tired to do things around the house. Too tired
to care.

So, I think I'll go lie down and look at the ceiling for a little while.

Sometimes it's the best therapy for me. I can just lie there
and look at the blank ceiling and go through so many scenarios
in my head, so many conversations with people I have lost
to death or to just a mutual parting of the ways, so many issues
I am dealing with daily, so many ways to try to see beyond
the pain of the past or to just allow myself to understand
that it's not the pain that is the bad thing, it's the not knowing
what to do about it and where to go from here.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday, 1:31 PM

Another unbearably hot day today. I attempted
to do some yard work, but I was sweating so profusely
that I couldn't keep the salt from stinging my eyes,
so I just gave up on it and came back in.

I feel I am just about at the end of my rope. Despair
does not even come close to describing what I feel.

Useless, worthless, hopeless, unwanted, unneeded,
unappreciated, unvalued, unemployed--still.

I would never have thought that this is where I would
be in my life at the age of 49. I've always been a hard
worker, and I've always had the opportunity in the positions
I've held to feel useful, helpful, fortunate, appreciated,
respected, needed. I go from that to this--this lying around
in bed until 8 or 9 in the morning. This never dressing up
or trying to look nice. This never wearing make-up anymore.
This not caring how I look because it obviously makes
no difference. This not caring about words anymore, about
communicating, about wanting to engage in stimulating,
edifying, and interesting conversation. This inability to
even retrieve the words to have such a conversation.

This day after day drudgery which I try to minimalize
by making myself useful here at home. Trying out new
meals, trying to keep the yard looking decent, trying
to keep the house picked up, trying to keep laundry
done, trying to be involved.

I just go around in a fog every day. I am so depressed.

Since my father was life-flighted on March 26, 2006,
my life has not been the same. His death on April 20
of that same year, my father-in-law's massive heart
attack and subsequent physical setbacks, the loss of my
job, receiving my degree at the age of 46, 3.97 gpa,
not even given the opportunity to wear the honor
ropes or stoles because I was a transfer student, no
little asterisk by my name in the program, no jobs
offered to me, no unemployment initially because
I was a part-time student, so the powers that be
decided I would not seriously look for full-time work
(after working full-time for 20 years and going to
school anywhere from PT to FT through part of that
20 years of work).

With every perceived failure, and with my self-efficacy
skills severely lacking (self-loathing a lifelong state
of mind for me), I grow more and more despondent.

Those who profess to care for me are giving up on me
or have given up on me. They have no clue what it is
to feel like this.

And what can I do? The only thing I have control
over is how much I drink, so I drink a helluva lot,
and I appreciate the way it alters my perceptions
and allows me some time to fucking forget the hell
that is my life right now. The loneliness, the loss of
passion, the indifference to physical health and well-being,
the wear and tear of it all showing clearly on my once
quite attractive face. My weight is ballooning and I don't
care. I do these things like take walks and work in the
yard but to no avail. I don't lose any weight. I just
get hot and sweaty and I hate the heat and I hate
exercise and I only keep it up because I fear what I
will do if I give it up.

I need help.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

After Reading The Assimiliation of the Gypsies (Larry Levis)

Photo: Josef Koudelka, Jarbina. 1963.

Take care, all. Be back some time or the other. Hug & kiss yourselves tonight.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Simply Red - Holding back the years

A Streetcare Named Desire - Kindness of Strangers


People are busy. Who should expect
anyone to care about one woman,
with air-conditioning, food in the refrigerator,

a family, a dog and two cats? The police
arrive and the dog starts yapping. An old
man walks to the brick house slowly; an officer

strides ahead. The minutes pass slowly
for the watcher who has nothing else to do.
The police leave, and the old man is nowhere

to be seen. The dog keeps yapping as two
young boys on their bikes decide the show
is over, and they head north, a bit let

down with the whole thing, their faces
still a bit bemused, and the woman takes
in the last draw of her cigarette and retreats

to the inside, where the faux air feels offensive
and stifling, where the dog lies sleeping
on the cool tiles, where she can pour

herself another drink and wait for the next
ripple to stir her, the nonsense to become
sensible, for the long afternoon shadows to give

way to the darkness she loathes and needs.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

John Lee Hooker - I'll Never Get Out of These Blues Alive

I get the blues most every day

I am trying. In this confusion I stumble
around in every day, I somehow manage to pull off another day.

I don't really know how. So many days it just doesn't make
any sense to me.

Really, what is the purpose? There is nothing extraordinary about me. I don't
contribute in any significant way to anything.

Here's the routine:

walk around in a fog from sleep deprivation
plan everything around when I can have a drink
after planning when I can have a drink, plan dinner
take a walk
write out a grocery list
laugh for no particular reason
sit in the Queen Anne chair and look at a blank tv
toss Molly her ball
do some laundry
listen to the answering machine
mop a floor
pull a weed
do a little dance
don't make a little love
don't get down tonight
get tipsy tonight
get down tonight
feed the cats and dog
walk the dog
read half of the paper (always the bad news
and the obits, then the comic strips)
drink some coffee
go to the grocery
take a shower
lie down on the bed and look at the ceiling
think about calling someone
talk with my son
look over the mail
watch the food network, HGTV, CNN, a movie perhaps
stand on the screened-in porch and watch stuff happening
brush my teeth
wash my face (some days)
put my glasses on
look for a job
decide not to look for a job
lie down on the bed and look at the ceiling
use the bathroom
mow the grass if it needs it
deadhead some flowers
lay my glasses down
write stupid stuff on my blog
dissolve into nothingness
rematerialize to remove a bobby pin (it's magic!)
put a bobby pin back in to hold up the shorter
pieces of hair that keep falling down along the side
of my face
take the bobby pin back out and go trim my long hair
lose my glasses
observe the me in the mirror
touch the fine lines between my eyebrows
admire the lovely silver streaks near the temples
smile and nod at the me in the mirror
lie in bed and look at the ceiling
find my glasses
watch the rain falling lightly
lie down on the bed, roll over on my side, look out the window
prepare dinner
check on dinner
lie down on the bed and close my eyes
plate the meal and call everyone in to eat
clear the table
do the dishes, sometimes
take a pill
drink some water
brush my teeth, most of the time
lie down on the bed and look at the beautiful pattern
the lamp makes on the ceiling
read, sometimes
reach over and turn out the light
sleep, for a little while
wake at 2 or so
a few mights a month, get to look at the glowing
moon through the lace curtains
walk around the house
drink some water
lie on the bed and look up into the darkness

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Heal-all Plant

Robert Frost night

My poetry circle didn't meet last month,
but we're meeting tonight and discussing
3 Frost poems. I made a rather hasty decision
about what to discuss, but I think each piece
will certainly open the group to discussion.

Mending Wall, After Apple-picking, & Design.

Of the three, Design is my favorite. I love all the
layers in this seemingly light and largely naturalistic
poem. It also gives me a chance to discuss
iambic pentameter (which is not unusual in a
Frost poem) but it is not strictly used in Design.

The first stanza is an octet--the second a sestet
with three questions, the last seemingly rhetorical.

It is actually closer to being a Petrarchan sonnet,
though I confess to not knowing much about Italian
sonnets. I am going to read over some literature today
just to spend a little time discussing rhyme scheme,
terms, tone, etc.

Largely we just discuss what works for us in the work,
or we ask each other questions about particular lines
or the work as a whole. The group has been wanting
poets they've read before (so far, they had not
read any of the poets I have discussed--Laux, Simic,
Kenyon, Collins), so, tonight they get Frost.



I found a dimpled spider, fat and white,
On a white heal-all, holding up a moth
Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth--
Assorted characters of death and blight
Mixed ready to begin the morning right,
Like the ingredients of a witches' broth--
A snow-drop spider, a flower like a froth,
And dead wings carried like a paper kite.

What had that flower to do with being white,
The wayside blue and innocent heal-all?
What brought the kindred spider to that height,
Then steered the white moth thither in the night?
What but design of darkness to appall?--
If design govern in a thing so small.

Robert Frost


Heal-all is a medicinal herb which acts as an antibacterial,
antipyretic (fever-reducer), antiseptic, and antispasmodic
to name a few of its uses. It was once believed to be a holy
herb thought to be sent by God to cure all ailments.

Witches supposedly grew it in their gardens as a disguise.

It is a perennial of the mint family. It has purple flowers
with white undersides. It's also called wound-wort
or carpenter herb (supposedly a reference to Jesus
who was a carpenter and persumably a healer).

(above info gathered from various sources)

Monday, July 07, 2008

Through the shute and into the light

I don't like the heat, but I like being in the water,
so yesterday was great fun. Spent the day at a
water park with my hubby and daughter-in-law.
Son (oldest) stayed home with Isaac--he's not quite
old enough to enjoy the water park. Youngest
had some other things to do, so he didn't go.

I went down one of those enclosed water slides--
big step for me--I am so claustrophobic! It
wasn't bad, but it's kinda creepy going down
through that shute in the darkness. Worst
of all, it was stuffy. But I loved the wave
pool and the open water slides and the lazy
river. Just about fell asleep floating along,
all us looking like a big bowl of Cheerios
in our yellow tubes!

Outside of flipping my tube and going under
when I came out of one of the slides and hitting my head
on the concrete, all was good. I'm so hard-
headed that it wasn't much of a deal.

It was just nice to see people having fun.

People uninibited--walking around
in their bathing suits (it would have
behooved some of them to be a little
bit more inhibited!), people of all ages,
sizes, races--people speaking lots
of languages I didn't understand--
all of them speaking the universal
language of happy.

People just enjoying the day, and it was
a beautiful day. Not too humid, not too
hot, a little bit of a breeze.

I'm tired today. Just working on editing
my friend's son's book and taking it easy--
something I find hard to do most of the time.

Jack-in-the-Pulpit No V (1930)
Georgia O'Keefe

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Melanie Safka - Leftover Wine

for jim...this is one of my favorite Melanie songs...

When the Good Front Stops Working

Throw the leeks away, along with the spinach
and carrots. Let go all the reminders, plans
put on hold. Wallow, wallow, wallow.

The refrain carries no sound, not even
the dog lying on the floor next to you
has an idea. As long as you throw

the multicolored ball with the squeaky
thing inside, she settles down, a few
tosses and she seems content. Why

all the trouble when things can be as
easy as not pouring another glass,
not thinking about your mother's

fears--you don't own them--not calling
to memory the slow way your father moved
that last Christmas when you never mentioned

his swollen ankles, your fear of sounding intrusive
greater than the fear of losing him. No marinade
has covered the tender breasts you planned

to cook, and no hands are willing to search
the drawer for a knife to cut away tendons
or the small deposits of fat. Pour another

one until you cease to think, your body
prone on the 300 count sheets, sleeping
soundly until your life wakes you up,

such an annoying and persistent visitor,
coming to claim you and shake some sense
into your already failing and rapidly beating heart.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Eric Clapton - Let It Rain

A song for this rainy 4th of July. It started raining when I was weeding one of the flower beds, and this song just popped into my head as the rain started pouring all over me. I need someone's love to rain down on me.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Seems Like Yesterday

I have not yet begun the process
of processing. Your mom called
tonight just to ask how I was doing--
your mom who has not seen you now
in over a year. At some point in time
we discuss your stone, what a testament
it is to you, how anyone reading it would
suddenly come to know you--not your
grieving family. I tell your mom that Molly
and I walked by there today and picked
up the debris left behind in the wake of last
week's storm. It's a small gesture, but one
that I am sure did not escape your eyes
or your spirit. I said to her Let's think
about getting together when Lauren's
home next weekend. We'll do shrimp
cocktail and cheap wine out-of-a-box,
we'll sit under the carport and do our
remembering-when things, but mostly
we'll do what we've always done--bitch
about the economy, rant about getting
older, crack a few jokes that send us
spiraling down to the asphalt, one
of us picking the other up from the warm
ground, wine spilling everywhere, loss
never far from our minds as we right
ourselves back into the lawn chairs,
still laughing, and when things get quiet,
we'll turn the conversation over
to those damned mosquitoes, biting
our exposed flesh, about how late it's getting,
about sleep or the lack thereof, about how
we'll be sure to get together more often,
about how fat the cat has gotten, about
the time you came up the driveway beaming
about your new job, two years ago now,
that smile of yours the only light each
of us needs out there in the darkness.

I'd trade all of my tomorrows for one single yesterday

Wish I could have found a live version of this...

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

How To Shoot Somebody Who Outdrew You

The first time I played the song
for her she was nearly comatose,
lying there in the middle of her family
room, the stereo as loud as it would
go. I couldn't believe it when she sat

upright and told me that was the most
beautiful song she'd ever heard and would
I have it played at her funeral, and after
that, she laid back down on the new
carpet and closed her eyes, the room

quiet now except for the sound
of her labored breathing. It seemed
the appropriate time to go pour another
glass of wine, to let the warmth find
a way to ease the chill of her words,

me not half-drunk yet but wishing I was,
me not wanting to ever think she said them,
me four years later making arrangements,
her family at my dining room table
eating fried chicken and green beans,

their faces blank and unsurprised, her death
a blip on the screen that had long ago
stopped blipping. There are only so many
times a person can die and anyone believe
they're still alive. I'll give her this much:

she outdrew better than anyone I've ever
met, and love--that battered shoreline
littered with kelp and needles and sometimes
beautiful pieces of sea glass--she knew
that too, even as she tried to dress herself

for a night she would not walk into nor
see the end of, her black hair streaming
out beneath her head when the sun
came up, her mouth fixed in a lasting
half-smirk, love radiating from her broken

nails and the flesh showing all too white
through the runs in her ruined black stockings.

Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah (Live)

Yes, it's a Cohen song. I love Cohen--madly, deeply love Cohen--but I love Buckley singing Cohen's Hallelujah more than I love Cohen singing it.