Thursday, August 22, 2019

Basic goals

So, I suppose as far as goals go, I am going to be very basic today.

Try not to dwell on my unhappiness and frustration
Work on going through Marie's things in Wes's room and try to start on the things in his closet
Brush my teeth
Wash my face
Clean second junk drawer in kitchen
Read
Work on a crossword puzzle

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Hydrangea with morning glory buds


Wednesday goals

Today is Wednesday, August 21st. It is Sweetpea's 4th birthday! We had a blast celebrating her birthday with her and a large crowd for her party last Sunday.

Goals for today:

Shower
Wash face
Brush teeth
Put on some make-up
Water indoor plants
Sweep kitchen floor
Clean out kitchen junk drawers
Read
Check the garden
Do more weeding
Cook big lunch (pork chops, roasted butternut squash, steamed broccoli, baked potatoes)
Clean kitchen
Continue working on Wes's room
Take donations to the Assistance Center

I think I can handle all of this.  I am going to try.

Breakfast: 1/2 of a 3 egg ham and cheese omelet. Cup of coffee with creamer (320 calories)
Lunch: pork chop, steamed broccoli, 1/2 large baked potato, roasted butternut squash (600 calories?)
Dinner: margaritas, chips, dip (1,000 calories--guessing)

Finished reading the A.A. Milne biography.

I got most of the things on the list done, but every time I am cleaning something, Robin comes in and asks if I am going to throw something away and why.  It annoys the hell out of me. I was cleaning the drawer with the nails, tools, and assorted junk in it. I had no intention of throwing away tools nor nails--why would I do that? So, he's standing behind me, scrutinizing everything I am picking up and saying, "Can't I have just one drawer in this house? What are you gonna do with my tools? How am I going to know where they are?" Then he picks up a small empty container, which I had placed with garbage, and states, "I need to keep this. It has the part number on it for our faucets. When Cecil leaves work, no one there will know what we need." That is the kind of thing that is maddening to me. Write the damn number down somewhere and keep it. Throw the trash away. Maddening. Then, I blow a gasket, start yelling, holding my head in my hands, moaning, etc.  It's all very disturbing to Molly. Why can't he just let me be?  I lay awake in bed last night for a long time trying to think where I could go for a week just to be alone, but I couldn't think of anywhere, and I don't like being alone. Nor do I have the money to just go hole up in a hotel.  It is on nights like that that I realize how utterly alone I am. Other people have friends they can call.  They have friends to go places with.  I have no one.  Only me and my loneliness, frustration, and unhappiness.  I don't know how or why this had to happen to me.



Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Blue

I didn't make a goals list today.  I am down.  A FB friend blocked me last night after he said I was badgering him about something he posted. He actually blocked me.  That's more extreme than unfriending.  I feel sad about it, but the sadness will pass.  I can be a very difficult person.

I will make some goals tomorrow.  Otherwise, I fear tomorrow will be like today--in bed most of the day.

We spent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights in Nashville. Zollie's birthday party was Sunday.  It was a cute party, and all of the kids enjoyed themselves.  Isaac did well considering he was just hospitalized 2 weeks ago.  He did pick u p the needle on Jon's turntable twice. The first time, Jon told him not to touch it. The next time, Jon was more harsh.  Lauren thinks it's an impulse control issue.  Isaac is working on that.  I want him to know that we are all there for him.  I hope he does know that.

We're under a severe thunderstorm watch until 8 (it's 4:52). It's overcast with dark clouds but still no rain. I spent about an hour watering this morning and pulling weeds, so I can't say I didn't do something today. 

Wish my mood would improve.  This is getting old.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Figuring Out

I think I need to be off Facebook again.  I am not finding any kindred spirits.  I can't find them anywhere.  It is time to try to figure things out on my own.


Math

Anyone good with language is better at math than they know. It is all connected. It follows a logical pattern. Syllables, assonance, consonance, structure, alliteration, rhythm--it's all this lovely sequence of events. "Math uses an order of its numbers and symbols to convey a meaning, like the syntax of English. Those numbers and symbols form units like letters and words do, combining to make equations, like sentences in English. I say “English,” but this applies to language as a whole, particularly those with a written alphabet." Just my two cents worth for this night.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Day 2: I will try again

Today is Thursday, the 15th of August.  I do not feel like setting goals, but I will. Today, I plan to:

Wash my face
Brush my hair
Change clothes
Dust and vacuum the living room
Dust and vacuum my bedroom
Clean the bathrooms
Dust the dining room
Wash dishes
Use the swiffer on the hall floor
Hang up/put away my clothes
Water the flowers near the front door
Read some of Brene Brown's book, The Gifts of Imperfection
Read some more of the A.A. Milne bio
Try to stay out of bed more
Try to think less about how fat I am
Try to drink less tonight

I already have heartburn and it's only 9:05. I usually don't have heartburn during the day, but I had a sausage biscuit with cheese and a glass of milk about 7:30, and it didn't set well with me, apparently.

I woke up at 3:47 and was awake until about 6:30 or so. I don't feel well this morning from too little sleep and this heartburn.  When I wake in the night, I lie there and ruminate. I think of all of the things I wish I had not done and all of the things I wish I had done differently.  I think about how my entire life has been one of fear.  It robs me of my joy.  Why was I born this way?  Am I just do broken I cannot be mended?  I want to be able to do the things other people do without having fear. I want to fly. I want to travel.  I want to ride a roller coaster. I want to go snorkeling. I want to go horseback riding. I want to go on a hike. But, my fear keeps me from doing so much.  I don't know how to change that.

That's all for now.

************************

Forgot to update this. Today is Tuesday, August 20th.  On the day of this original post, I did everything on this list except clean the guest bathroom. No one uses it anyway, so I didn't feel too bad about that.

Flowers





Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Day 1: Trying

My goals for today:

Stay out of bed for most of the day
Finish deep cleaning the kitchen (cleaning corner cabinet, mopping)
Cook spaghetti
Wash my clothes, wash guest room bed linens
Brush my hair and put on make-up
Dust the study
Vacuum carpets
Plant Brussels sprouts and kale

If I can accomplish this list, I will feel like I have done something. I stay in bed so much of any given day either playing Solitaire on my phone or reading.  I have gained 6 pounds since July 2 (at which point in time, I was already 90 pounds overweight). I am getting more depressed by the day thinking I will be unable to make changes in my life which would bring me a level of happiness and put me on a path to wellness.  I see others do it and don't know why I lack the motivation to do the same thing.

I want to eat sensibly, so I refuse to go on a fad diet like Keto or Atkins or Weight Watcher's. I know my problem, and it's more about alcohol intake than food, though I tend to eat more carbs when I am drinking (potato chips). Carbs are not the enemy. Depression, the need to relax, and the in ability to feel relaxed without my evening alcohol have led me to this place. This miserable place where all I do is think about how fat and miserable I am. No one can change this but me.

It's 11:33. I got up at 9:00, and since then, I have eaten breakfast, checked email and Facebook, washed my face, brushed my teeth, played Solitaire for about 30 minutes (in bed) and started a load of clothes.  I'll post an update on my day later.

*******************

It is now 3:41. From 2:05--2:40, I lay down for a little while and played Solitaire on my phone, but other than that, I have been busy and out of bed all day. I have two things on my list left to do: mop the kitchen and plant my veggies (which I don't plan to do until this evening when it is cooler). I am tired. I think this list was too ambitious. I forgot to put on  makeup, but it's all good. I didn't go anywhere, and I would have been rubbing my eyes. I'm fairly certain I am allergic to the eyeliner I am using. I will have to try a new kind.

*************

6:05. I planted the Brussels sprouts and kale about 30 minutes ago and am now inside. Just put the water on to boil for the spaghetti. I did everything on my list today.  I do feel some sense of satisfaction from completing my goals for the day. So, it's not that I can't get things accomplished--it's more that I don't want to some days.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Monday, August 12, 2019

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Vespers

Vespers
Louise Gl├╝ck - 1943-
In your extended absence, you permit me
use of earth, anticipating
some return on investment. I must report
failure in my assignment, principally
regarding the tomato plants.
I think I should not be encouraged to grow
tomatoes. Or, if I am, you should withhold
the heavy rains, the cold nights that come
so often here, while other regions get
twelve weeks of summer. All this
belongs to you: on the other hand,
I planted the seeds, I watched the first shoots
like wings tearing the soil, and it was my heart
broken by the blight, the black spot so quickly
multiplying in the rows. I doubt
you have a heart, in our understanding of
that term. You who do not discriminate
between the dead and the living, who are, in consequence,
immune to foreshadowing, you may not know
how much terror we bear, the spotted leaf,
the red leaves of the maple falling
even in August, in early darkness: I am responsible
for these vines.

Ode

Ode To The Tartigrade

So, you survive the apocalypse,
and thirty years later, you produce
more sons and daughters, keep
your eight legs, require no more
nor less than you did before the real
shit hit the proverbial fan. I lift my
imaginary hat to you, admire
your resilience, wonder how those
so and so's who predict your survival
think they know so much.

Au Gratin Potatoes

Au Gratin Potatoes With Ham

8 medium red potatoes, washed and scrubbed
1-2 cups chicken stock
I don't know how much ham. Just use leftover ham or just ham you bought to do something with, yep. I would say I used about 1/2 pound to a pound of some ham I had in the fridge. I chopped it into about 1-2 inch pieces
1 large yellow onion, cut into slices or diced--depends on what you like
Fresh thyme, washed and chopped--about 1 tablespoon or dried Italian herbs
1 cup organic fat-free milk
1 cup Half & Half 
4 tablespoons butter
kosher salt 
pepper
olive oil
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1-2 cups grated Monterey jack cheese
Additional 2 tablespoons of butter

Ok. Let me just say that I don't measure anything. You just have to play with this. But, here is what I did, and these taste better than any au gratin potatoes I've ever eaten. 

Preheat oven to 350. 

After you wash and scrub your potatoes, slice them very thinly. I cooked mine in chicken stock and water & a little kosher salt at a boil for probably ten minutes just to soften them a bit and infuse some flavor. I then drained them and let them cool a bit in a colander. While they were cooling, I melted 2 tbsp of butter and one tbsp of olive oil and cooked the onions until they were getting soft. I then added the ham and cooked until I felt like they were cooked enough. :) About 10 minutes. Remove from heat. 
In a 13 x 9 x 2 or slightly smaller casserole dish, rub a stick of butter all over the dish. Or, you can use that spray thing for buttering dishes, but I didn't have it and don't use it much. 

While potatoes are cooling, make a white sauce. I used 4 tbsp of butter and 4 tbsp of flour. Melt the butter at medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until well blended. (I'm struggling here to do this. I take it for granted that everyone knows how to make a white or bechamel sauce and I worry that I am preaching to the choir or something). Slowly add the milk and the Half & Half. I did not have cream but would have used it if I had any in my fridge. I didn't warm the milk or half & half, but usually, it is suggested that you do that to keep it from curdling or something. Keep stirring until it starts to thicken. If it gets too thick, add more milk. Season with kosher salt and pepper. I don't know how much. I just put a few pinches of kosher salt in and use the peppercorn grinder, stir it up, let it cook a few more minutes and taste. If it's not salty or peppered enough, I add more. If you like the taste and consistency, that is great. Turn it down to low or remove it from the burner. That all depends on how quickly you layer the casserole. 

So, start layering your dish. Here is how it goes. It's real easy. 1/3 of the potatoes topped with a third of your ham and onion stuff you sauteed in oil and butter, pour about a third of your white sauce over that, and then put a third of your grated cheeses over that. Do another layer the exact same way. Do a final layer the same way. I add a little more grated sharp cheddar to the top. Cover with foil and bake for 45-50 minutes. Uncover and cook another 20 minutes or until the top is starting to brown and is bubbling. I didn't put chopped parsley on top, but that would be great. Chopped cooked bacon would be, too. I just did what I just typed in that I did. Geez. That was exhaustive work typing it all in. Enjoy! I forgot to mention the thyme. Just sprinkle some on each layer. Or omit if thyme is not a favorite.

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Again

To Be Here
They have lost their green
to the evening, my mimosas,
that time when shadows
darken the landscape
and everything is a varying shade
of black or deep blue.
The setting sun is yellow-orange
behind them. Their beans hang
from the vines lifelessly. There is no
movement in the air, no wind
to shake them up. It is that way
with life. We stand there, like small
or large trees, and we suffer
in times of drought and we thrive,
or we at least resemble something
thriving, when there is plenty--
times when the rain falls exactly
when it needs to and the rain leaves,
as if on cue: Exit, Stage Right, enter
Stage Left, Red Sun. The rain has fallen
hard this day. Now, night comes creeping
around in all of her reddish orange glory,
wondering if anyone is looking. She struts
her stuff, calming me as victim. I swoon
in admiration. I don't care if anyone
recognizes swoon as a word any longer.
I am swooning. Swanning. Watching the sky
grow darker, the red ball of fury behind her
vanishing with each passing minute, thinking
how glad I am to be here for this unfolding,
for this presentation, for this grand show
which fills me and moves me, fills my lungs
like the strangeness of air of the first breath.


*This should be in tercets, but I can't get it to format correctly

Toni Morrison

To me, Toni Morrison's death is like the death of some intrinsic part of me that found a sense of belonging in feeling some of the pain of others even if I have not lived it. I can't know what it is to be Black/African American, but I do know what it is to hurt and to question and to keep seeking for truth and to be angry and to be silent because the words can't come. Her death moves me more than the death of any other person of note in the Arts in so long I can't remember. I shared my favorite books a few weeks ago, and Beloved was on that list. I can remember the first time I read it. I felt confused, often. I had to keep rereading lines and passages. I wasn't sure where the story line was going nor if I was understanding what was happening, and if I was understanding it, it was so horrible that I could hardly bear to think about the characters in that novel. Others weep for their beloved movie stars and music icons. I do, too, but this loss is a hard one for me. Harder than those. I realize she was 88, but that doesn't soften the blow all that much. I feel a great disturbance in the force, but I think that is Toni asking us all to think about what we can do, how we can help, how we must do what we believe can make this world a place where all can feel welcome. May she speak to you this night and empower you to empower yourself and others.

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

To Be Here

They have lost their green to the evening, that time when shadows darken the landscape and everything is a varying shade of black or deep blue. The setting sun is yellow-orange behind them. Their beans hang from the vines lifelessly. There is no movement in the air, no wind to shake them up. It is that way with life. We stand there, small or large trees, and we suffer in times of distress and we thrive in times of abundance. Times when the rain falls exactly when it needs to and the rain leaves as if told by the director that it is Exit, Stage Right. The rain has fallen hard this day. Night comes creeping around in all of her reddish orange glory wondering if anyone is looking. She struts her stuff, calming me as victim. I swoon in admiration. I don;t care if anyone recognizes swoon as a word any longer. I am swooning. Swanning. Watching the sky gorw darker with all of that red behind her. Thinking how glad I am to be here for this unfolding, for this presentation, for this grand show which has me so firmly rooted in the world of want to be here.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Haiku

Bales of reddish brown
hay resting atop green fields
fill me with longing.

Haiku

Bales of reddish brown
hay on the sleepy farmlands
fill me with longing.

Another FB post with no comments



Heading to E'town tomorrow for a meet-up to get our oldest grandson, Isaac. We will the drive from E'town to Nashville and spend a few nights there so he can spend some time with his cousins. We (his Gigi and Pepaw) plan to take him to the Parthenon and then to the Frist to see an exibit featuring Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and other works from Mexican artists. I think he'll love the 42 ft tall statue of Athena at the Parthenon, and I hope he also enjoys the art exhibit. We may even go to the Adventure Science Center before we head back to Madville on Wednesday. He loves the Adventure Science Center! Chemistry and Biology fascinate him. At age 5, he was quizzing me on the Periodic Table of Elements. I actually did very well, thank you! I love Patti Smith on so many levels. Her music, of course, but her books and photos have me pondering and researching for hours, at times. Thank you, Patti. Thank you.

From FB where no one comments on much of what I have to say

I'm not crying over anyone. I am crying for everyone. And no one in particular. I am crying for me and you and him and her and they and those and his and hers and mine and yours and ours and theirs and for all reasons particular and not necessarily particular and for all times and this time and because the love I feel sometimes is so much greater than who I am and what I can express and how I can give and what I give and what I can't give and for all I have not done and all I have done and for the countless moments of every day in which my mind surrounds those I love and those I once loved and those I think I love and those I am not sure about and those who have hurt me and those I have hurt and those who remain and those who are gone and those who lift me up and those who pull me down and those who play around and those who care and those who try and those who can't seem to help how they hurt me and those who want to help me resolve the hurt and those who care and those who can't muster that up and those who wish me well and those who may wish me harm. I'm crying for all of those things. I am crying. Tears are not dropping from my eyes, but I am crying. And so on and so on and shoobie doobie doobie doobie doo.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Haiku

Bales of reddish brown
hay look forlorn as the sun
sets and my heart aches. 

Friday, July 12, 2019

Across The Divide

My bed is no longer mine. I sleep
across the hall where it is cooler
in the winter and too hot in summer.

My dog is confused and stares at me
when I emerge from the darkness
of the room across the hall. Her eyes

show her sorrow. She is old now
and quite likely to leave us soon,
and for that I grieve more than I do

for the loss of lying down in my blue
room with the red accents and the art
which tells the story of my life. This

night, I want to go in there but can't.
All that kept me there was a matter
of degrees, and I have adjusted now

to the difference, the loss of bedfellow,
the sad look in my sweet red girl's eyes.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Jackson 5



Remember watching this.
Back in the day when everyone was innocent and all things were just rock and roll songs. The day he died, I was driving someone I cared a great deal about to a psychiatric hospital in another state. My grief over his death took a back seat to my immediate concern for that loved one. The hospitalization lasted for some time, and there was no time for grieving childhood idols. Michael's legacy is a troubling one. I do not know if he did what he has been accused of doing, but it looks likely that he was sexually inappropriate with young boys. To say Michael was the first victim does not minimize the pain he inflicted, if he did, indeed, inflict the sexually inappropriate acts on these young boys. Pedophilia is a sickness that destroys so many lives. It has been ten years. I remember my fear driving that night, a celebrity's death nowhere on my radar. I found out later that Farrah Fawcett died that same day. When we are in the midst of living, we do. We act. We go. We drive. We listen. We are fearful. We are hopeful. We are so very very very worried. All that being said, I do want to say that I felt Michael was my playmate many times as a child. I loved listening to him sing ABC and Rockin Robin. It took me away from my own pain.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Facebook response #1

I am the only one near my mother (geographically speaking), and I do not check on her. The reasons are filled with complicated nonsense, but it is what it is. Someone does check on her. I am glad you could be there for your parents, James. I think you are a better human than I am. I can't do it. Yet, I think of my mother when I hear this, and I think of me and how I am likely to be in that same place some day. I won't say bad karma coming back to get me because I know the deal. I would like to think I am fairly evolved but with miles to go before I sleep, but I can't do my mom. I can't. As long as I know someone is there, I can feel somewhat better about the dissonance and the guilt and shame. I really have nothing to feel guilty about though I have lived my entire life thinking that I do. Keeps me awake many nights. Wakes me up many nights. Destroys many moments of could-be happiness. I am still working on this. I may not get to any good place before she dies or I die, but it is not because I am not trying. I have a few friends who had a less than idyllic childhood who stepped up to the plate and cared for their ailing and dying parents I have great admiration for them, as I do for you for being there. I feel like you guys were able to overcome the adversity that I have not been able to do--me, with all of my social work and crisis years--me. I can't do it. Not yet. Maybe some day. I appreciate your thoughts, James, and what you were able to do for your aging parents.

Facebook post

Sometimes, it is so hard to think our parents failed us that we can't bring ourselves to say it. You may not feel that way. I feel that way, often. I try hard hard hard to think they did the best they could, and I think perhaps they did, but I can't know for certain. I can rationalize what they had to work with as they became parents, and I know some things about their lives as children. How do we fail our parents? By not being what they wanted us to be? By getting into trouble? By making bad decisions? By not being there to visit? I have to tell you that I feel I did everything I could do to "make" my mother love me. Make her love me. Make her love me. That is just the most ridiculous thought. Make her love me. I love my children. I have made so many mistakes, and I still do, but I love them. Unconditionally love them. Feel so incredibly grateful for their lives and presence and all they have given to me and to this life and to themselves. They are incredible people. I cannot imagine that one of them would ever have to say they did everything they could to make me love them. *sigh* My father was 13 years older than my mother. He was 32 and she was 19 when they married. My oldest brother was born 10 months after they married (57) and the rest of us were like this: 57, 58, 59, 62, 74. My father died 13 years ago this past April. He was kind to me but always on my mother's side. This is the way it goes. Some of us are more capable of handling the abuse. Some of us hold onto it like a stigmata through our palms, bringing up the pain over and over with scars that can't be seen. Some of us just can't move on. We are stuck, like the hamster in the proverbial wheel, running running running with nowhere to go. At one point in time, someone suggested that I have a blog to post these types of thoughts. I suppose they thought FB was not the place. I have a blog. I choose here and now. What are we if we can't be honest with our hearts? Trapped and sullen and morose and troubled. I choose to speak about my feelings this night. That is not always the case.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Molly

Totally off topic here but have to vent. If Molly does not quit licking, I'm going to lose my frigging mind! Arrrrgggghhhhhh! It is really getting on my nerves. We are doing everything we know to do except putting her in a collar, which I am going to have to do if she doesn't stop. It is driving me bonkers! She's on steroids, gabapentin, zyrtec, and Tussigon as needed. She has pulled her fur out with her teeth and chewed herself and created lick granulomas on every leg. This is the worst flare up ever! We could have a series of tests done to try to determine what she is allergic to, and then a serum would be created, and we would have to give it to her for several months at a tremendous expense. The vet keeps pushing Apoquel, but I tried it once and she started vomiting up blood. I don't feel good about trying it again. We don't bath her because that makes her skin drier even when using an oatmeal bath. Aye yi yi. I feel bad for her, but I don't know what to do. .You guys have heard all of this before. You know that Molly goes through this every fall and every spring. I know it will pass, but I sure need some patience right now. I have had it!

Monday, May 27, 2019

Salisbury Steak Recipe from the internet

SLOW COOKER SALISBURY STEAK
8
 
20 MINUTES
 
4 HOURS 30 MINUTES
 
4 HOURS 50 MINUTES
For beef patties:
2 pounds ground beef
5 garlic minced
2 whole eggs
⅓ cup breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoons black pepper
4 cups thinly sliced cremini mushrooms
2 bay leaves
For gravy:
4 tablespoons butter melted
4 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 cups no sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
Combine ground beef, egg, garlic, breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper. Make 8 (4 ounce) patties. Arrange in a 6-quart slow cooker.
Spread mushrooms and bay leaves on top of patties.
To make gravy: In a bowl whisk together melted butter and flour to form a paste. While whisking, gradually add in beef broth to avoid lumps. Add in lemon juice, seasoned salt then mix.
Cook on low for 7 hours or on high for 4 hours and 30 minutes.
Garnish with remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley.
Tip: For a thicker sauce add in 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to flour.

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

The Come Apart revised

The Come-Apart
It seems to be about the tag. It gets
more illuminated than the thought at times.
On this ordinary night, doing the ordinary
thing we do, we calculate who will be
chopped and who will remain to claim
victory on a show we watch. Invariably,
Molly decides to stand directly in front
of me on the huge purple ottoman I bought
with her in mind. Sometimes, I get pissed
that she won't sit down, allow me to watch
the expected stream of innocuous competition
which steadies me in my most difficult times.
Tonight, as a competitor took her knife
to the soft underbelly of an unknown white
fish, my eyes were fixated on the rabies
tag dangling from my big red dog's collar--
bone-shaped--reflecting light from the television,
from the lamp purchased in the middle of what
I thought was the end. It was after my father's
death and before Molly came to live with us,
love us, destroy the us-ness of this house, bestow
upon us her dog-love thing, slobber and chewing
a constant proverbial pain in the ass, a reminder
of what it takes to love when everything you know
has been obliterated, and all of love as you ever
knew it is perpetually at risk. The measure of all
of your remaining days becomes more real than
ever imagined in the light of great loss; a token
of belonging hanging from my dear dog's neck
becomes the angst my heart wishes to shy from,
to retreat, to escape to parts unknown as it weighs
out the inevitable odds attached to losing a beloved,
wearing jeans or a shiny signet of love unfettered.

The Come-Apart

The Come-Apart
It seems to be about the tag. It gets
more illuminated than the thought at times.
On this ordinary night, doing the ordinary
thing we do, we calculate who will be
chopped and who will remain to claim
victory on a show we watch. Invariably,
Molly decides to stand directly in front
of me on the huge purple ottoman I bought
with her in mind. Sometimes, I get pissed
that she won't sit down, allow me to watch
the expected stream of innocuous competition
which steadies me in my most difficult times.
Tonight, as a competitor took her knife
to the soft underbelly of an unknown white
fish, my eyes were fixated on the rabies
tag dangling from my big red dog's collar--
bone-shaped, reflecting light from the television,
from the lamp purchased in the middle of what
I thought was the end. It was after my father's
death and before Molly came to live with us,
love us, destroy the us-ness of this house, bestow
upon us her dog-love thing, slobber and chewing
a constant proverbial pain in the ass, a reminder
of what it takes to love when everything you know
has been obliterated, and all of love as you ever
knew it is constantly at risk. The measure of all
of your remaining days becomes more real than
ever imagined in the light of great loss, a token
of belonging hanging from your dear dog's neck
becomes the angst the heart wishes it could shy
from, retreat, call a truce as it weighs out the
inevitable odds attached to the life of any you love.

Friday, May 03, 2019

My response to a thread on Bevin getting bitten by a horse

Ken Prophater I say screw him but wish him no ill will. I can't go there. I can't tell you how much I detest the Cheetoh head in power of this country, and I wish he were not in power and wish he would go away and just vanish--like a fart in the wind (to quote The Shawshank Redemption), but I do not wish harm on him. My anger comes from the great injustices done to those most in need who are affected by Bevin and Cheetohhead's ridiculous and uneducated beliefs. I have spent my life helping those in need, and I can see where programs to continue to provide much needed help are on the chopping block. Neither of these (I can't call them humans as they appear to have no inkling of an idea of what it is to be human) characters have a concept of what is happening to so many marginalized, poor, falling-on-hard-times, struggling people. They pretend and go home to their million dollar environs and fancy clothes and dream worlds. It's very sad, to say the least.

Note: I am only posting this as a matter of record. Jeez, I feel Big Brother is everywhere and I can't say anything for fear of someone coming in and arresting me!

Monday, April 29, 2019

Spring Unpleasant

Spring Unpleasant
Twitching eyelid & clogged up nose--
aching teeth and very cold toes.
Lie down with no relief; sit upright
with aching teeth. Drink more water
& eat some soup; give up the fight
to get some sleep. Read some natter
in a book, curse the virus who loves
your look, who thrives in regions dark
and vast, who loves the world "sinus"
and plans to last (long time!), who shoves
your plans with no regard, who cares
not if you leave your house nor visit your
yard. Woe is me is the old refrain.
I remember it well, its power, its reign
in the hours between sleep and pain.
This night I offer myself to the powers
that be, ask they be gentle, request
that they free
me
from all of this mess
and let me accept that only hours--perhaps
days--will make me more useful in so many ways.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

The Painted Swing (revised again)

The Painted Swing
The cold takes my breath,
but I concede, give myself
to the strength of worn slats,
grooves made by the many
throughout the years, embrace
the feeling which rages between
hormones and liquor.
The hard cold is a relief--
embraceable and real.
I push
some buttons and she answers,
her voice like an echo, emptied
of body, sound only reverberating
across the scientific explainable
wonders of the day. I tell her about
entering the room where my father
died, phone propped on shoulders
drooping more each year. No need
to explain, I continue: I had to do it,
Mom. It's my job. I had to go into
the room where Dad took his last
breath, pay attention to the words
of another in that bed where his life
ended, become a vehicle, a lifeline,
the mourning daughter an aside.
I can't remember why I felt
compelled to tell her. Maybe
because I wanted her to know
she wasn't the only one suffering,
this conversation taking place
many years after my father's
death. Maybe because
everything has always
been about her, about her
needs, her losses. Maybe
because sometimes life is about me,
about my hurt, about my joy,
about my simple act of courage,
maybe because she has never
acknowledged anything about me.
And I feel I can't write this poem
because I am thinking it is a poem
and only a poem. I know that is a lie
I tell myself to keep the myth
howling like a lone wolf seeking
its kin. Mine is a life. It has blue veins
and broken capillaries. It has grey
eyes--my father's eyes--it has the requisite
components of misery and joy: aches,
longings, swollen eyes, unanswered
questions. It is many lifes.
It is about life.
And, it is about me, someone
who entered that room as part
of her job, who has to do hard things
every day that she never thinks
about (if she thinks about me at
all), and I had to let it be what
it was for me--the end, the beginning
of the end, the place where time
does not exist, my mother frozen
in her chair, my brother unable
to speak. I had to be there to listen
to the one who wanted to die, tried
to die, failed in the attempt, was grateful
I was there. I had to live again the whole
and real, bring that room to life, help
one struggling to live and let go one
who died. Same bed. A new day.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

All Over Creation (revised)

All Over Creation And Back
Some nights, a walk seems to be
creation in the making, the Biblical
seven days squeezed into an hour,
the wandering tired Me, two days gone
in suicide assessment and training,
learning what I know intuitively but not
always practicing. It's hard work we do,
front line, but not nearly as hard as the work
those we meet are doing. Such hard hard
work to want to be alive. To want to stay alive.
To believe there is a reason. At the first turn
of the block, Molly and I see three people
and a large dog coming our way. I believe
dogs know dogs, but people don't always
let dogs know dogs, and, of all breeds,
it's a Rottweiler, a breed I have been frightened
of for far too long. His name was Jay. He and Molly
exchanged their smell time and that was that.
My fears exaggerated and vanquished meant
nothing to the adrenal glands, which had been
in hyperdrive from the time I spied him, from
the time I first learned fear so many years ago.
Molly & I kept on until we reached the video
rental place so I could drop off Hugo. Then,
we crossed the street to the Red Door church
where a statue of Mary embraces the weary
walkers as they pass by and shows the same
affection for the energetic joggers, drenched
in the clean sweat only the healthy know. Molly
rolled over and over again in front of Mary, her legs
shaking confession to the bright evening stars.
Mary didn't do anything except embrace us.
We walked until we came to the street I used
to live on. As we approached, I saw the telephone
pole and remembered. I was on the phone
with my Granny, and I said, Did you hear that,
Granny? It sounds like my house is falling in.
Let me call you back. Out front, a car had crashed
into the telephone pole, an older man
was behind the wheel, his head bleeding,
his wife asking what had happened.
They were ok. Just shook up. Probably
not as much as me. And then I thought
about my dream last night. My oldest
son running into a cave to catch a baseball,
me screaming it's dark in there. Do you hear
me? Are you ok? Son? Son? And, he came
out, ball in his glove, in his khaki shorts
and white t shirt and I woke up this morning
missing my children and those days.
And, that's that. That was tonight.

Monday, April 22, 2019

The Painted Swing (Revised)

The Painted Swing
The cold takes my breath,
but I concede, give myself
to the strength of worn slats,
grooves made by the many
throughout the years.
I embrace the feeling.
Between hormones and liquor,
the hard cold is a relief
embraceable and real.
I say, into the phone propped
on shoulders drooping more
each year, "I had to do it,
Mom. It's my job."
I had to go into the room
where my father took his last
breath, pay attention to the words
of another in that bed where his life ended,
become a vehicle, a lifeline,
the mourning daughter
an aside.
I can't remember why I felt
compelled to tell her. Maybe
because I wanted her to know
she wasn't the only one suffering,
this conversation taking place
many years after my father's
death. Maybe because
everything has always
been about her, about her needs,
about her losses. Maybe
because sometimes life is about me,
about my hurt, about my joy,
about my simple act of courage,
maybe because she has never
acknowledged anything about me.
And I can't write this poem
because I am thinking
it is a poem and only a poem.
But it is not. I know that is a lie
I tell myself to keep the myth
howling like a lone wolf seeking
its kin. Mine is a life. It has blue veins
and broken capillaries. It has grey
eyes--my father's eyes--it has the requisite
components of misery and joy: aches,
longings, swollen eyes, unanswered
questions. It is many lifes. It is about life.
And, it is about me, someone who doesn't
know me well enough to know how
to explain this moment about me.

Vignette, Summer Night 2011 (Revised)

Vignette, Summer Night, 2011
In the quiet of summer,
streetlights hum their night tune:
a train clacks on the tracks;
No traffic passes.
Her voice rises, reverberates
against the solid
brick of the boarded-up
concrete company, reaches
a crescendo as her little Angel
decides she doesn't want
to take a poo
at that moment.
Angel, goddammit, do it!
Do it now or I'm gonna whip
yer ass! Do it. Ya hear me!
And Angel perhaps obliged,
her human's voice loud even
when quiet, now soothing Angel
with a, "Baby, you so good.
Ya love yer Mama,
don't ya, girl?
Ahhh, yes."
Finish with a cough:
a streetlight sputters out,
a car makes the curve
smooth as a knife
through warm butter,
Angel fades into black,
obscured moon peers
through the remnants
of late afternoon storm clouds,
pebbles crunch underfoot.
The desire to escape
from this Mayberry madness
overcomes the viewer
who wants to run like hell
and never look back.

After Reading Pastan's Notes To My Mother (Revised from 2006)

After Reading Pastan's Notes to My Mother
I
You've never sent me one
letter, though you never forget
to drop a thank-you card
in the mail (always handwritten
on the back of a picture-you-took-
turned-postcard). Though I know
the shape of your headstone
and where you have chosen to lie
(your casket stacked atop Dad's
in the Veteran's Cemetery), I can't say
I'll visit and leave you messages there;
I don't visit and give you messages here,
though I rehearse the lines daily, visualize
your reactions, cross myself and choose
not to visit. So, it is as if you already don't exist,
and I am talking to a stone, though I know
the stone would be kinder and warmer.
II
I'd like to think I wrote you letters
from camp, that I was the better
steward, the dogged champion of lost
and conflicting causes, but I can't remember
if--the one summer I went to camp,
fourteen and ready to exert my wing-
spreading detachment--my slender
fingers held a pen to the paper
and confessed, so I'll tell
you now, Mother, what happened
that summer: I fell in love
with the tanned, blonde lifeguard
and felt the rush of a long
tongue in my mouth, sought atonement
for my sins, let my sobbing self
be soothed in the arms of the Christian
kids, got high with them for the first time
in my life, in the amphitheatre after the crowd
had dispersed, refrains of We Are One
In The Spirit reverberating from the maple
leaves. I realized in that evening's
quickly settling fog, that maybe home--
and the idea of missing it-- might just be
some grand scheme from a very
clever creator.
III
Your hair was always perfectly
swept up into a French twist
or an elegant chignon, your uniforms
stiffly starched in the obedient fashion
required of you, so bright white it hurt
my eyes to look at them. You never let
one of us kids forget how bad women
had it out "there," how cruel men were,
how backbitingly vicious other women
could be, how much you detested the
drudgery of spending one's entire life
cleaning up after others. Perhaps today,
my muteness can be explained by my
insistence not to repeat the pattern,
though I do find find myself complaining
often--me, who has always cut my own hair,
who only ever imagined how lovely I may
have felt had I been less caught in the web
your anger spun round me, had I been free
to feel my soft hair gently pulled up off
the nape of my once delicate neck,
breeze-kissed and ripe with longing.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Grimm Reality

Grimm Reality
Once upon a time there was a girl.
She wore hiphuggers and halters.
The boys whistled at her from their cars
and drove slowly down the streets
as she walked on. Her beauty became
the thorn in the proverbial paw.
I am confusing characters now. and mix-
ing metaphors. The mouse, not the boys,
aided the mighty king of beasts (a male)
by removing the proverbial thorn (unbeauty).
There was no mention of a lioness, and had
there been, she probably didn't wear halter
tops. But I am digresssssssssssing, I fear.
I was thinking about girls and youth and our
mother's gardens which harbor secrets
and are largely bereft of leggy young women
catcalling boys helpful mice and wounded
lions. Those characters were dreams.
Back to the garden. The garden I found
in my mother's closet. Adam and Eve
leaves to cover the beauty. Leaves to cover.
Leaves that fall every year and cover
beauty. Leaves that are beautiful. Leaves
whose leaving signifies death's coming.
But I digress again. My mother's closet.
My father's death. My inability to stay
rational long enough to think things through.
Through is just a word. Through is not
always through, though. It may be a passage.
It may be a destination.
It may be simply and all alone
a word. Simple simplicity. Double duplicity.
I am not through. I am somewhere in between
through and though. R dropped and justly
so. I am though. And wanting to be drunk.
And the keys
don't care and my fingers can still play
and tonight there are meteor showers
I planned to watch and may still, though
I may be out there to lose the spirits,
my face intently leaning toward the ground.
Through it all, however, I think I shall
still be asking, though, why I am and why am I.