“I have things in my head that are not like what anyone has taught me—shapes and ideas so near to me—so natural to my way of being and thinking that it hasn’t occurred to me to put them down.” ~ Georgia O’Keeffe

Iron-Rich Creek Bed
by Michael Melford, National Geographic*


“The ear can detect a whole apocalypse in the starry night of the human body.” ~ Jean Cocteau, from “Opium: The Illustrated Diary of His Cure”

Sunday, late afternoon. Stormy and cool, high 50’s.

Random thoughts:

  • I make telephone calls to strangers at 3 a.m. (line from unfinished poem).
  • In the shower I realized that I do not use the word sardonic enough. Great word.

    Yellow Birch, Adirondacks
    by Michael Melford, National Geographic
  • I am wearing socks with penguins on them.
  • One pitfall to cooler weather is that my bones ache, especially the bones in my back and the base of my neck.
  • Remembered line, possibly from another unfinished poem: I am not your faithless remembrance.
  • Tillie the Lab does not understand why we cannot play outside in the rain and mud.
  • Jif peanut butter is like crack cocaine for my dogs. They know when I unscrew the lid.
  • I ran out of hot water in the shower today, which is particularly ironic as I told myself that I was going to take the hottest shower possible to try to help my back. Figures.
  • I ache—literally and figuratively—to take a long hot bath that smells of lavender or verbena.
  • Why did I not know about the television show “Haven” on the Sci Fy channel?
  • There was another line that came to me in the shower, but I waited too long to put it down, and now it has escaped into the ether, probably forever.
  • I have realized that I use the pause comma quite a lot.

“I’ve stepped onto the front porch to see
the stars perforating the milky black clouds

and the moon staring coldly through the trees,
but this negative I’m carrying inside me.” ~ Edward Hirsch, from “More than Halfway”

Serious thoughts:

  • My dog Shakes is getting worse, but he still has an appetite. When he stops eating, I’ll know, and I hope that I won’t be alone.

    Stream Reflection, South Africa
    by Maurits Van Wyk, Your Shot, National Geographic
  • In my dreams, I am visited by my father and my uncle, but not by Caitlin.
  • I worry that I am becoming obsessive in my love for Olivia.
  • In retrospect, I wish that my wedding bouquet had been a small spray of fresh lavender and herbs rather than the humongous white rose thing that I carried. That this still bothers me is problematic, for me only.
  • I feel Mari’s distance too keenly in October; her birthday was the 1st of the month; we did not speak.
  • Mari was the one person to whom I could say absolutely anything, or so I thought.
  • I miss friendship on a daily basis, comforting, like a mug of hot tea.
  • Am I too old now to still do the things that I long to do? When is it too late? When are we too old? When do we accept the halfway mark?

“hushed, hushed, the mountain
hidden deer, distant, calling
leaves falling, falling
I have no friend to see
and my heart grows cold” ~ Sugawara no Michizane, rewriting an anonymous Japanese tanka

Difficult thoughts:

  • The Eagles’ song “Wasted Time” hits too close to home.
  • I do not speak to my mother enough. I find it taxing, especially in this state of mind. Another check in the guilt column.

    Autumn Brook
    by Olegas Kurasovas, My Shot, National Geographic
  • I do not want to spend my entire life in this house in this city in this state, but I’m afraid that I may do so.
  • My life has become a series of milestones, good and bad, in other people’s lives, and that I have no control over this hangs heavy about my heart.
  • I am positive that when I spoke the the former chair of my department at the reading the other day, he had no idea as to who I was. I could see his eyes darting back and forth as if to try to grasp that thread, but it never came.
  • Am I the kind of person that is easily forgotten, and if so, why didn’t I know that before now?
  • I do not want to become bitter. I really, really do not want to become bitter, and I know that this is one reason that I do not spend more time with my mother.
  • I wonder sometime if anyone will leave stones at my grave, and then I remember that I want to be cremated.

“Tenderness does not choose its own uses.
It goes out to everything equally,
circling rabbit and hawk.
Look: in the iron bucket,
a single nail, a single ruby—
all the heavens and hells.
They rattle in the heart and make one sound.” ~ Jane Hirshfield, “Late Prayer”

Other thoughts:

  • I do not make these lists because I am lazy. That’s just how my mind works on some days—linear progression, one step at a time—and then in prose on other days.

    Leaves, Cascade Lake
    by Michael Melford, National Geographic
  • I learned to cook spaghetti when I was 14 from a recipe on a tomato sauce can. It’s gotten better since then.
  • I remember the name of the first boy on whom I had a crush, the name of the first boy I kissed, the name of my first love, but not their faces, well, except one, and he will forever be young and that summer color of milky coffee in my mind.
  • For a time I kept my journal on yellow legal pads. I have no idea what happened to them.
  • I have had an obsession with writing implements ever since I worked at the newspaper, a lifetime ago. I ordered the office supplies, and I kept a secret stash of pens in my bottom drawer.
  • Why did I remember that?
  • I once set out in the rain to walk to the cemetery from my house. I found a dog and brought him home. The other dogs were not amused.

“How invisibly
it changes color
in this world,
the flower
of the human heart.” ~ Ono no Komachi (trans. Jane Hirshfield)

Final thoughts:

  • The theme in today’s quotes happened quite by accident.

    Autumn Leaves, Japan
    by Michael Yamashita, National Geographic
  • On a show that I was watching on Discover ID, a woman was talking about how, when she learned that her sister had been murdered, how she felt her heart break. She said that she had heard this term many times, but never really knew that it was a physical thing. I knew exactly what she was talking about.
  • The human heart is such a powerful organ and such a tender vessel, a working muscle, yet the imagined seat of the soul. And in the middle of the night sometimes, I like to place my hand on Corey’s chest to feel the strong beats of his heart as he sleeps.
  • For some reason, I always think of two places when it rains: the mountains and London.
  • This is a very telling memory: Out of all of the songs in Mary Poppins, my favorite, even as a young girl, was “Feed the Birds.” It still makes me cry.
  • I’m thinking that I have no more thoughts.

More later. Peace.

*I probably spent more time looking for images than I did writing today. I just couldn’t pinpoint what I was trying to achieve with the images, went from paintings to black and white photography, finally landed on a combination of color and water, found everything on the National Geographic photography site.

Incredibly beautiful music by Martha Wainwright, “Prosperina” (her mother’s last song, can’t believe I’ve never heard of her)


Tear It Down

We find out the heart only by dismantling what
the heart knows. By redefining the morning,
we find a morning that comes just after darkness.
We can break through marriage into marriage.
By insisting on love we spoil it, get beyond
affection and wade mouth-deep into love.
We must unlearn the constellations to see the stars.
But going back toward childhood will not help.
The village is not better than Pittsburgh.
Only Pittsburgh is more than Pittsburgh.
Rome is better than Rome in the same way the sound
of racoon tongues licking the inside walls
of the garbage tub is more than the stir
of them in the muck of the garbage. Love is not
enough. We die and are put into the earth forever.
We should insist while there is still time. We must
eat through the wildness of her sweet body already
in our bed to reach the body within the body.

~ Jack Gilbert (Found this on Dragonfly’s Poetry & Prolixity)


4 thoughts on ““I have things in my head that are not like what anyone has taught me—shapes and ideas so near to me—so natural to my way of being and thinking that it hasn’t occurred to me to put them down.” ~ Georgia O’Keeffe

  1. Yes the song Wasted Time by The Eagles hits way too close to home. And on your remarks regarding the human heart……I was assisting a heart surgeon in a trauma case a couple of years ago, and the patient was far to unstable to put on the heart bypass machine, The heart had a large hole in the left ventricle and the surgeon was repairing it. My job was to hold the heart steady…….for over two hours I held the beating heart of a beautiful 16 year old girl. I cupped the heart from beneath and lifted it gently as far as possible for the surgeon to reach the injury. To this day I am still in awe of that beating heart laying in my hands.Despite the trauma inflicted upon it, not once did it stop beating. I had never before and have not since assisted on a surgical procedure that left me with such profound thoughts.

    1. Thanks so much for commenting.

      Your story about holding the girl’s heart is really powerful. I cannot imagine how much that touched you. You are very lucky to have witnessed that, and the girl is very lucky that her heart did not stop beating. I hope that she has gone on to live a good life.

      Please stopy by again.

  2. Very haunting song, Prosperina…

    The rain has arrived. It really makes me want to curl up and read until sleep. But first, I am going to try your warming shower thing and hope that the water lasts. And cocoa, I might do cocoa…

    I’ll have to mail you some photos of my bookshelves and then you’ll see why I’ve been trying to use the library again. They don’t have everything I want, though. Those “Book Pages” are full of books that the book store and library here never buy… When I lived in the DC area, my library used to use the Washington Post book review to order the books, and it seemed like everything I wanted to read was ordered…

    One day my house may crash down around me and I’ll be buried in books… (Not a bad way to go?)

    Stephen King has your journals written on yellow legal pages. Just kidding. It popped into my mind and I just had to try and amuse you with it.

    I think that you shouldn’t worry about talking to your mother enough. Let her go… You can’t be who she wants you to be, and it’s not your problem.

    I was reading “Barking Up The Wrong Tree” and it said that “We need to have three positive emotions for every negative one to thrive.” (Barbara Frederickson). I’d link to it, but I don’t remember how to do that… 5-to-1 is essential for happy marriages… They think it might be a basic primate need. That comes from a book, I think, called “Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain” by Elaine Fox. Not sure if she is related to Michael Fox, but on Amazon there is a comment by Michael Fox that says that he would send his kids out the door with the admonition: “You can choose to be happy.”

    I’d probably be described as having a more rainy brain, but – as long as I don’t have to live with someone who serves criticism with dinner every day, I feel pretty sunny. Even if I don’t appear that way to others. I know I’m a stoic… and it’s okay. I also know I love my moments – listening to the owls, smelling the roses, etc. etc. I can choose to try and build those moments into my days…

    I hope you are having a good evening… Wrapped up in something warm, reading, the dogs all curled up… Some good music, quiet sons, and a good book…

    1. I came across the song on my tumblr. So glad that I did.

      I did Ovaltine, which I prefer over cocoa. Oh, bookshelves. How well I know. I was always supposed to get built-in bookshelves, strong enough to hold my books without sagging when I was married to my ex. It never happened………My mother used to be afraid that my old wobbly bookshelves would fall on the kids. Another thing for her to worry about.

      I had forgotten that King used yellow legal pads.

      I know that you can choose to be happy, but it takes so much effort. Definitely a rainy person. I like your description of your moments–it’s beautiful.

      Spent the evening on the heating pad watching my backlog on the dvr. Put a comforter on the bed. Dogs were in heaven.

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