Wednesday night. Partly cloudy and warmer, 63 degrees.
Spent the day with Olivia, and now she’s asleep. We’re going to need to put together the single bed because she’s almost too big for her Pack ‘n Play, but that’s something that I need Corey to help me do as it involves rearranging and stuff. Tomorrow I’m going to take her to visit my aunt and cousin.
I tried to do a quick stir fry tonight for dinner, but it was terrible. The noodles were old and tasted like blech. Thankfully, she likes Spaghetti O’s. Yes, I know, processed food and all of that, but hey, I was punting. I tried to do the right thing, only it didn’t happen. She was just as happy to have the pasta.
I’m hoping that I’m able to fall asleep soon as I know that she’ll be up early in the morning. So for now, have some poems, and let’s just pretend that it’s Tuesday. Okay?
More later. Peace.
Two for Tuesday (on a Wednesday): October
It’s odd to have a separate month. It
escapes the year, it is not only cold, it is warm
and loving like a death grip on a willing knee. The
Indians have a name for it, they call it:
“Summer!” The tepees shake in the blast like roosters
at dawn. Everything is special to them,
the colorful ones.
Somehow the housewife does not seem gentle.
Is she angry because her husband likes October?
Is it snow bleeds softly from her shoes?
The nest eggs have captured her,
but April rises from her bed.
“The beggars are upon us!” cried Chester.
Three strangers appeared at the door, demanding ribbons.
The October wind . . . nests
Why do I think October is beautiful?
It is not, is not beautiful.
what is there to hold one’s interest
between the various drifts of a day’s
work, but to search out the differences
the window and grate—
but it is not, is not
I think your face is beautiful, the way it is
close to my face, and I think you are the real
October with your transparence and the stone
of your words as they pass, as I do not hear them.
~ Bill Berkson
Midnight. The cats under the open window,
their guttural, territorial yowls.
Crouched in the neighbor’s driveway with a broom,
I jab at them with the bristle end,
chasing their raised tails as they scramble
from bush to bush, intent on killing each other.
I shout and kick until they finally
give it up; one shimmies beneath the fence,
the other under a car. I stand in my underwear
in the trembling quiet, remembering my dream.
Something had been stolen from me, valueless
and irreplaceable. Grease and grass blades
were stuck to the bottoms of my feet.
I was shaking and sweating. I had wanted
to kill them. The moon was a white dinner plate
broken exactly in half. I saw myself as I was:
forty-one years old, standing on a slab
of cold concrete, a broom handle slipping
from my hands, my breasts bare, my hair
on end, afraid of what I might do next.
“Closed Eyes” (c1894, oil on panel) by Odilon Redon
“The Death of Ophelia” (1905, oil on canvas) by Odilon Redon
“Lady Macbeth” (c1898, pastel on paper) by Odilon Redon
“Beatrice” (1885, pastel on paper) by Odilon Redon
“Closed Eyes” (c1895, pastel on paper) by Odilon Redon
“Closed Eyes” (1899, oil on paper) by Odilon Redon
“Sita” (1893, pastel over charcoals on paper) by Odilon Redon
“Mystery” (nd, oil on canvas) by Odilon Redon
“Woman in Profile under a Gothic Arch” (nd) by Odilon Redon
“Mystical Conversation” (c1896, oil on canvas) by Odilon Redon
“The Golden Cell” (1892, Oil and metallic gold paint on paper prepared with white grind) by Odilon Redon
“Reflection” (c1900-05, pastel on paper) by Odilon Redon
“No matter how careful you are, there’s going to be the sense you missed something, the collapsed feeling under your skin that you didn’t experience it all. There’s that fallen heart feeling that you rushed right through the moments where you should’ve been paying attention.” ~ Chuck Palahniuk, fromInvisible Monsters
It’s supposed to be “Two for Tuesday,” but I’m pushing Tuesday to Wednesday because I was up until almost 6 a.m., thinking about words, words that I wanted to say, but I kept myself away from the keyboard because I knew that once I began, it might be days before I stopped. Days, hours, it matters not.
This is what kept me awake: My mother was the one who realized that something was wrong with Caitlin. Not me. She did. She took one look at her and said, “What’s wrong with her eyes?” She said they were bulging. I didn’t really see it, didn’t want to see it, shrugged it off as my mother being overprotective of her granddaughters in the same way that she was overprotective of me.
She was right.
That phone call I received at my very first faculty meeting? That one? It was because my mother had put Caitlin in the car and had taken her to the pediatrician’s office and made them look at her eyes. You see, after the ER doctor had said that she had a virus, I had taken Caitlin to the pediatrician and said that my mother thought her eyes looked funny. The one doctor, the one I never really liked, poo pooed the comment.
My mother was right. I was wrong. The ER resident was wrong. The pediatrician was wrong. It took my mother taking Caitlin to see the other pediatrician in the practice, the gentle one who listened to every word you said—it took that for someone to finally pay attention and send Caitlin to the Children’s Hospital, the hospital that found the brain tumor.
My mother was right.
“How children think of death is how the shadows
gather between trees: a hiding place
for everything the grown-ups cannot name.” ~ John Burnside, from “The Hunt in the Forest”
Look, you’re probably wondering why I’m going over this yet again, but all I can say in way of explanation is one word: fall. Autumn is my best and worst of times. I love every natural aspect of the season, yet the way in which my emotional well-being goes into free fall more often than not leaves me tortured. Nietzsche said it best when he said that autumn was “more the season of the soul than the season of nature.”
Example: Yesterday, after getting my fasting labs done in the early morning, and then having my six-month checkup with my PCP, all I could think about were curly fries. Weird, I know. So I had to maneuver the hell that is a major thoroughfare that it still under construction to get to the nearest Arby’s. My timing was lousy as the nearby grade school was getting out at the same time. Parents in their cars lined both sides of the streets. No one would let me turn into the narrow street. The resultant snafu left me in tears.
Yes, tears, as in crying in the car, which, if you’ve ever been in the car with me, is completely uncharaceristic. Crying over curly fries, crying over curly fries that I couldn’t eat once I had ordered them. Then yesterday evening as I was trying to force myself to post something, I came across the story about a journalist who was beheaded by ISIS, and again, I cried.
Bed. Yes, bed would make it better. But bed, not so much. No sleep. I couldn’t stop thinking about my mother and Caitlin’s eyes, which leads me to this moment.
“. . . how come sorrow is as heavy, lumpen and impenetrably black as an anvil?” ~ Agnès Desarthe, from Chez Moi
November will rear its ugly head in just a few days, and with it I have to confront once again the losses of my daughter, my father, my friend, and yes, even my dog. Isn’t it time to let go, past time, you ask?
Beh. Of course it is. But that’s for normal people, people who do not obsess and obsess and obsess over perceived failings. Example: I did not clean the portal lines that had been inserted into Caitlin’s chest the day that I had taken her in for a follow-up MRI. Why do I remember this? Who knows, but I remember vividly doing a haphazard job of inserting the flushing material in the waiting room at CHKD before they took her into the MRI suite because I wanted to make sure that I had done this one thing for my daughter that I was tasked to do on a daily basis.
Did that failure to use a one-inch square of alcohol on a gauze pad lead to infection? Who knows? Possibly? Probably? Probably not?
The point is that I REMEMBER. I cannot forget. Just as I cannot forget that I did not go back to the hospital that night before my father died even though I had promised his unconscious body that I would come back and spend the night at the hospital. Exhaustion and relief at being away from the white noise of the ICU gave me a false sense of relief, and so I went to bed, and he died in the middle of the night alone.
“How long it takes me to climb into grief! Fifty years old, and still held in the dark, in the unfinished, the hopeful, what longs for solution.” ~ Robert Bly, from “A Ramage for the Star Man, Mourning”
Enough, you say. Stop this madness, you say. No, not nearly . . .
When I left my mother’s room that Thursday afternoon, I secretly congratulated myself on making such a speedy getaway, leaving my mother to talk the ear off the social worker. I had work to do. I needed to get her house ready for her to come home. There was snow to be removed. And so I had a brief visit, long enough for her to bitch at me, and then I left, and then she died the next morning, sometime, they are guessing around 9, alone.
And did I mention that that best friend I lovingly wrote about years ago in my Vale et Memini series, the one who had a brain tumor and survived? Her? Did I mention that she died and I didn’t find out until a few years later, that I never even went to the funeral because I didn’t know that there was a funeral, and the other night it suddenly came to me that hell, I was her eldest daughter’s godmother, a sacred honor that I had completely washed from my memory.
And that other anamchara friend, the one who I always thought I’d be bonded to in perpetuity? I haven’t corresponded with her in years, other than an obligatory Christmas card. Yes, I am a careless friend, the kind of person who withdraws so completely that the only interactions I still have with friends occur in the midst of troubled sleep.
And then there is the nagging curse I imposed upon myself when Corey and I first got together: I had been so certain that he wouldn’t have to be burdened with me for years and years because I never wanted him to see me get old, and so I had this feeling, this sense, that I would die when I was 56. And you hear of people who have feelings that they will die young, in their teens, who do, and people who have a feeling that they will not live to be old, and they do not, and so what have I done to myself.
“Endlessness runs in you like leaves on the tree of night.” ~ Anne Carson, from “TV Men: The Sleeper”
Listen, if you recently subscribed to this blog because you found it amusing and slightly entertaining, or if you enjoyed the art or the poetry or the music, if that was your reason? Well I’m sorry. Because this post is really what this blog is about. This endless cacophony of doubt, and blame, and grief, and sorrow, and pain.
That other person, the one who offers up stuff from Takei’s tumblr or other such sites? She’s a phony. She is neither glib nor witty. She masks all of the pain behind little ditties about animals and absurd abuses of the English language because to do otherwise would be peering far too keenly in Nietzsche’s abyss, and we all know what happens when you do that.
The only good thing about this post is that I did not get out of bed at 4 a.m. to begin it. Had I done so, I am completely certain that the maudlin factor would have been even worse, if you can imagine that.
I always, always know when the words are going to come fast and furious, when there is no stemming of the onslaught. It has always been this way, since I was but a child, hiding in my room, trying not to let my mother see that yet another book had reduced me to tears and heartache because her solution, of course, was to think happy thoughts, and for a soul such as mine, one might as well say something along the line of “you could be happy if you just tried.”
Oh, but if you only knew the truth of my esse, my life force, that tortured, tormented, and torrid do not begin to encompass the four corners of my heart.
More later. Peace.
All images by French artist Odilon Redon (1840-1916). I am intrigued by how many of the subjects in his paintings have closed eyes or eyes narrowly opened, to which I can relate: going through life with eyes closed, surrounded by beauty . . .
Music by Will Hoge, “When I Get My Wings”
Consider the Space Between Stars
Consider the white space
between words on a page, not just
the margins around them.
Or the space between thoughts:
instants when the mind is inventing
exactly what it thinks
and the mouth waits
to be filled with language.
Consider the space
between lovers after a quarrel,
the white sheet a cold metaphor
Now picture the brief space
before death enters, hat in hand:
vanishing years, filled with light.
I’ve been in a bit of a fog for several days now. Not really sure what’s going on. Just beginning to feel a bit better today. I had my six-month check-up with my PCP. Forgot to tell her how I’m craving sugar all of the time. I’ll have to try to remember to call tomorrow to say, “by the way, when she asked if anything was new, the answer was actually yes . . .”
Sorry I’ve been so lax lately. Thanks to the newest followers. Hoping to get back into some kind of groove this week. For now, have this little ditty:
Can you name the 50 different words in Dr. Seuss’ ‘Green Eggs and Ham’?
Friday afternoon. Partly cloudy and autumnal, 67 degrees.
So . . . hmm . . . a whole lot of nothing going on in my head . . . actually, too much to sift through . . .
The dogs kept me up most of the night, well, up and down and up and down. There must have been some kind of critter in the back yard that had their interest. The highlight of my evening was watching the finale of “Project Runway,” which I still like, even after 13 seasons. Tried to read and couldn’t. Tried to watch something else, and couldn’t. Not really sure what’s going on.
At least I finally got the x-rays on both of my hands done yesterday afternoon, something my pain management doctor prescribed weeks ago. Funny how I hadn’t noticed how weird my left thumb is looking, as in misshapen. Love this getting older stuff. Oh well . . .
This week’s headline:
You don’t say . . .
And another good one:
That these two were friends (they went to Julliard together) is absolutely amazing:
Have you ever ridden in an Intelevator? Me neither.
It’s long, but worth it, especially around 5:40.
Where do I get some of this?
Crime and Punishment: He did what?
Crime and Punishment: World’s worst robber?
The hell, you say?
Too bad the U.S. doesn’t have the guts Canada has in this instance:
Love the pun:
Moral of the story? Always check for newts . . .
Twitter responses to pumpkin riot in New Hampshire hand conservative pundits their own words . . . with a twist:
So Corey left yesterday afternoon, which meant that I did not sleep well last night, which was unfortunate as I had Olivia today. Lex is working part time at a local pizza parlor, so there was no way that I could call her and tell her that I just wasn’t up to watching the bébé. So I muddled through, took a nap when she took hers, until Lex got off work and picked her up.
This evening I watched a few shows in between dozing, so I knew that I would never be able to get to writing a real post . . . so here’s something you may find entertaining:
I used to read Dear Prudence all of the time, mostly because she’s my kind of advice columnist: snarky when appropriate. So when I saw the description of this one in my inbox, I just had to read the whole thing. So glad that I did.
I live in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the country, but on one of the more “modest” streets—mostly doctors and lawyers and family business owners. (A few blocks away are billionaires, families with famous last names, media moguls, etc.) I have noticed that on Halloween, what seems like 75 percent of the trick-or-treaters are clearly not from this neighborhood. Kids arrive in overflowing cars from less fortunate areas. I feel this is inappropriate. Halloween isn’t a social service or a charity in which I have to buy candy for less fortunate children. Obviously this makes me feel like a terrible person, because what’s the big deal about making less fortunate kids happy on a holiday? But it just bugs me, because we already pay more than enough taxes toward actual social services. Should Halloween be a neighborhood activity, or is it legitimately a free-for-all in which people hunt down the best candy grounds for their kids?
—Halloween for the 99 Percent
In the urban neighborhood where I used to live, families who were not from the immediate area would come in fairly large groups to trick-or-treat on our streets, which were safe, well-lit, and full of people overstocked with candy. It was delightful to see the little mermaids, spider-men, ghosts, and the occasional axe murderer excitedly run up and down our front steps, having the time of their lives. So we’d spend an extra $20 to make sure we had enough candy for kids who weren’t as fortunate as ours. There you are, 99, on the impoverished side of Greenwich or Beverly Hills, with the other struggling lawyers, doctors, and business owners. Your whine makes me kind of wish that people from the actual poor side of town come this year not with scary costumes but with real pitchforks. Stop being callous and miserly and go to Costco, you cheapskate, and get enough candy to fill the bags of the kids who come one day a year to marvel at how the 1 percent live.