Fantasies of flavor and wisdom

As a child, I wanted more
than anything to spend the night within
the walls of an ice cream shop,
with lace covered dainty tables,
flowers everywhere,
one hundred tubs of
luscious, creamy, sweet savoring
goodness . . . and a big spoon.

I’d start wherever I wanted,
choosing the most interesting first
and go on from there,
until fully sated
with a morbidly swollen belly
and a huge smile.

As I grew older, the dream shifted
to that of being locked in at
the Library of Congress overnight.
Dusty books, new ones with shiny
covers and crisp spines. Documents
Histories, Bibles, books covering
every religion and school of philosophy

But I would head to the rare books –
the ones with pages so old they crackle,
don white gloves, and linger . . .
so much ancient wisdom
places and dreams I couldn’t
before imagine.
Ways of writing foreign to me
A world within a world.

It is there I would find succor,
sentient, satisfying completion. . .
until sated and then
entered the next room of desire.

Choices

Meal time on Memory
distant faces staring into
nothingness . . .
The feeders patiently shoveling
pureed fish or green beans
whatever the chef sees fit to send.

I look about me  and wonder
where these souls are
and where they are going.
Sometimes you see glimpses
of who they were
when choices could be made
and the treatment of life
was theirs to own.

And then I wonder –
are they going to heaven
or hell?

Unanswered prayers

So often God,

I begged, pleaded, cried,-
for men, money, success, fame
wanting so desperately
to know my purpose here
why I had to live through pain
ongoing medical and emotional
traumas – I prayed.

Time’s passed.
Dreams of long ago
are shadow figures now
and though my days are long
and my nights are shared
not with a man I prayed for
but a cat’s purr
I live with irony and resolve.

Younger years were the prevail
of two men who tore me,
split me into pieces and spit me out
bruised, battered, alone.
There were others for a time, but
all showed the true measure
of their worth far too soon.

It’s taken this long for me
to come to terms with my
inadequacies and limitations
who I am, what this skin
and my sin
have designed for me
there was no room for
more distractions

So when crisis or change winds blow
I pray for his wishes
Oh, I let Him know how I feel,
what I think and want
but I shut up and listen
and even if I don’t hear
I par for his will to come to pass
and know I don’t know the answers
or what’s best for me
or why I have spent so
many years alone –

Winter winds a blowin’

It’s 6 AM and I am not an early riser.  I’m more “The children were nestled all snug in their beds” but no dreams of sugar plums dance in my head.  Maybe that’s a good thing, I’d  likely gain weight just dreaming about them. But the gas fire is burning, there is the incessant running of little feet over my head, the coffee is brewing, and I want to write.

There’s a snowstorm coming today.  Supposedly another big one – 6 to 12″ – or so the climatologists are saying.  Well, some are saying one thing, others another, but the gist is we are getting the white stuff. None of my coats close as they should, buttons loose, button holes ripped, claspings don’t stay clasped. My sewing skills are sorely lacking.

We Northeasterners used to be a hardy lot, but we don’t get the kind of snow we vaguely remember.  Oh, there are a few that blow our way but there are days now in January and February when people are out jogging in their tight little outfits, midriffs showing, tee shirts abounding, and animals out of their eons old patterns.  I heard geese the other day and started begging them to turn around, it isn’t time yet.  Bears don’t hibernate the way they used to.  They are out perusing human leavings because there isn’t food to eat because their internal clocks are off.

I’m just as bad.  I had two accidents this winter.  One in a torrential  downpour, a mere fender tap but still, while the other driver and I were ok, a policeman showed up as we were leaving to give me a tough ticket. Then, three weeks ago, on a road I travel to work on, I went off the road, hit God knows what, sheared off my driver’s side rear view mirror as it scraped and banged up that entire side while taking off the right bumper and breaking the window washing system.  Needless to say, I’m looking for another car – scared I’ll repeat my actions on the next victim  and feeling oh, so sad I did this to my staunchly loyal little Hyandai Accent of 12 years.  It took me to California and up and down that state. And since I’m on Disability, I can’t afford much.  Anyone have a good car for under $2K?

So here I am, waiting for the snow to start and wondering if I dare go to church today.  We have quite an elderly population so church might end up closing for the day so no one suffers any falls.  We are also poor and small, we can’t afford any falls or accidents.  My rickety, screeching car maybe shouldn’t drive the 15 miles in the snow.

So, as my coffee cools, I will continue staring out the window waiting, and wondering what I should do. (Just got the call, church is cancelled for today, yippee! nothing to worry about now except finding a new car.

 

 

 

Whatever shall I write?

Deciding what to print is a tricky proposition.  What do others like?  And do I write to be read or to give voice to my feelings and thoughts?  What is honest writing?  I stumble along in my daily life, knowing I am living a far too simple one.  There is complexity and intensity in some ways but are they writable? A part of me wonders if I give voice to certain things will they be read by those who wish me ill?  And I hate how paranoid that makes me sound.  But I listen to the news and those people who say the government is sequestering everything for potential use, even by people who do no wrong. I’m a person who writes from the heart and is perhaps too self involved in my writing. I need to branch out more but am not sure my opinions matter in the grand scheme of things.  When I was writing love poems or ones about the ending of relationships, my ratings were high.  But I am long past that part of my life and believe there is still meaningfulness in what I write.  So I’m asking you, what is it you want to read?  What tickles your fancy?  What makes you sit up and wonder or imagine or conceive?  I’d truly like to know, especially if you have read my words in the past. Thanks.

Cat-ologue

Ever try talking with a cat?
Not talking to, not talking at
but attempting to reach into
the cat mind and communicate?
Can’t do it
It’s not the same as learning
another human language –
even one like the tribe in Africa
that communicates through clicks,
because there are interpreters
and pantomime –
they are beginning to interpret
whale sounds, elephant language . . .
All you are left with
in the cat corner
is the pseudo interpretation
of behaviors and
short of a cat whisperer. . .
well, even that is behavior
interpretation  and showmanship..
I’ll come home to the cat’s meow
and mimic it –
I might be saying, yes,
I ate dog poop today –
how do I know?
He lets me know when he’s hungry,
angry, bored, indifferent,
glad to see me – oh-
and when I’ve spent too long
on the computer, reading, sleeping. . .
Spike the Cat, share those inner thoughts,
talk to me.
(that might be a tad scary though –
I mean, what if he’s been using me
all this time?)

Platitudes and Analogies

There are times I feel so alone with these diseases and conditions.  It’s usually when I’ve been around “normal” people for too much time.  They just don’t get me and I’ve ceased to try to make anyone understand.  Sometimes I’m in a good space, sometimes not – but it is good to know I’m not the only one going through these issues.  I can get too wrapped up in my symptoms, people  tend to say things that don’t ring true for me.  I’m searching for some good analogies that get me through the tough times. See if they ring any bells for you.

When the going get tough – the tough get going. Don’t shrug your shoulders at that.  We are a tough lot.  We have t be.  Nobody can wave a wand and make the symptoms of our lives of our lives go away.  Medical Science has a way to go.  We suffer in silence or not, but WE are not the ones who have to go through this.  All the platitudes “normies” give us will not sufficiently calm us when we are in a rough place.  God bless them for trying, they just don’t understand what’s going on beneath our skin.

You can do it one step at a time. This is true. We can’t get out of bed and negotiate our days without moving exactly one step at a time.  Nevertheless, when our insides are racing and we can’t think a rational thought, when all we see before us is struggle, racing thoughts, nightmares and silent screams, you might want to backtrack, not move forward.  It is hard to bring ourselves to center.  We can do it, but not without skills and understanding.  And as much as we can, utilize the support people in our lives.  These are the people who understand where we are coming from.  Things will get better one step at a time.

You are the only one who can heal yourself. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?  However, we know we need help . . . even when we can’t reach out and get it.  I think it’s a phrase people say to absolve themselves of responsibility for ourselves.  We want to be self-sufficient, that is where frustration builds.  But sometimes we need outside intervention.  And though we are the ones who have to do the work inside ourselves, sometimes we need direction.   On the other hand, we are the conductors of the symphony of our thoughts, feelings, and actions that make up our lives.

Practice Joy.  When I am in the midst of adversity, joy is just three letters with no meaning.  I can struggle through the morass which can surround my life, but joy is something I rarely experience.  BUT, when I do, I rejoice in it and don’t take it for granted.  I don’t know how to practice it.  There is an artificiality in the word Practice.  I either wake up in a good place or I don’t.  Restarting the day sometimes helps, like when I look out the window and feel sunlight caressing my face on an otherwise gloomy day, its heat tickling my skin. Joy is a blessing always to be appreciated.

Nevertheless, there is always HOPE.  Nothing lasts forever.  Another Platitude but one of Truth.  We can put one foot in front of the other and each footstep gives us a new opportunity to step out of bad spaces and, at the very least, come to center.  With help, spiritual guidance, and the support of those who understand, we can change our circumstances. One Day At A Time.

 

Sifting through the Ashes

So many years since my parents have died and yet they walk through my life day by day, hour by hour.  Is this so for everyone? Sifting through our ashes, seeing the truths or remolding childhood witnessing into more truthful adult understandings. . . or should they be upended?  Aren’t my life experiences as a child as equal, or more so, than their adult counterparts?

Isn’t the fact my father and I played a game where he blew his pipe smoke in my face because it  made me exclaim for him to stop but we both laughed just as valid as my understanding that it was the underpinnings of my attraction and addiction to tobacco, and later COPD and asthma?  Or my coming in drunk from some beer bash and sitting up with him for hours talking about the world, the universe, my present, later to realize he had been drinking too and it was a tactic acknowledgement of drinking as acceptable, even essential?  Just as Christmas brings misgivings driven both my the year we snuck downstairs to see an entire kitchen and bikes our size as well as the one when Dad knocked over the Tree in a fit of alcohol fumes?

As an adult, I moved back to Connecticut, staying in my mother’s room while looking for a home of my own. Within those walls, Mom and I made peace with each other.  I finally felt her life, what made her, why she was such an angry person much of the time, overwhelmingly generous at others.  I understood why she was angry with me, frustrated at my weaknesses, as she co-dependently made right my many, many mistakes. I forgave her transgressions. And felt her presence at the foot of the bed and with the Shirley Temple collection, the first dolls she ever owned.

Yet these two people gave us such treasures.  As a Minister’s family, we moved frequently, as my Mom did, from one Brooklyn apartment to another when the rent ran out.  So when Mom saw a tiny ad for a 250 year cabin on 50 acres a 17 hour trip away, she bought it sight unseen  so we would, no matter how many times we had to move.

Every summer she would take off work, bringing us up to our spiritual center for 2 months, Father joining us under his vacation. Now I look back to see how hard she worked on the cabin, making it safe and livable for us.  Understand, as a mother myself, the frustration she would sometimes feel as a single mom for such a long time.  Laugh at when she sent my wayward brother to the garden to remove rocks when he did, frequently, something outrageous.

Memories fill the furniture in my apartment.  A teacart given from a barn in exchange for a loaf of bread, now well over 150 years old. The carved, wooden screen behind it, a much beloved piece from my grandmother.  My “distressed” childhood dresser and toddler rocker. The cut glass pieces my mother so dearly collected in a beautiful collection. The painting of “Uncle Willie”, an old hermit who closed off his beautifully furnished  home, save the kitchen, when his wife died; we picked cherries from his trees, mom making pies, jams, and bringing them to him.

My adult eyes stare into the inward memories of my brain to remember. In some places there are causes for anger displaced.  In order, wry comprehension.  In others humble gratitude.  They were not perfect people but they were good ones, who moved beyond the strictures of their memories and life experiences to give us so many precious ones.

When do you say Goodbye?

She was by turns feckless or feral.
ferocious, fickle, self-centered.
Twelve years spent in her company,
unable to respond or defend.
captive, as she came to visit
several weeks at a time,
several times a year.

Schizophrenic, Bipolar –
voices keeping her company
more than her devoted husband.
Her only caregiver –
he wore himself down
to bare nubbins.
And I worry now he will soon
follow the same path.

She appropriated my life
told me there was a cancer in me
she had to cut out.
Humiliated me in front of family
relatives, her friends – while they lasted.
Spoke in a foreign language
my husband wouldn’t teach me,
about me, in front of me,
my knowing the words were directed ,
about me, in front of me.
Told my children she
was their real mother.

She died last night,
first came mourning,
now rage . . .
It’s been 20 years since I have been
her daughter-in-law,
since I have seen her except
when my children married,
or graduated from schools.
And even in these years I treated her
with a consideration and kindness
rarely shown to me.

This woman who made my life
miserable, terrifying, unstable –
who did so much to ruin my marriage –
twisting, turning truth,
confusing my children,
angering my husband so he wouldn’t
speak meaningfully to me for months.

Who twisted my children’s
understanding of Mental Illness,
refused medication or therapy,
made her husband of 60 years’
life one of horror and despair,
beating and berating him,
listening to those damn voices . . .

After all this time, and I mourn
for her, for my children,
for her husband and my ex-one.
Mourning the woman she was
and could have been
if she had accepted her diagnosis.

Listening to her voices . . . .
Still feeling a relative,
Mourning the loss,
even as the rage pours in.
Some nightmares you never forget.

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