“the contraries are not easy to reconcile” ~ Gottfried Benn, from “Divergences”

Forsythia and Redbud Mingling by Rodney Williams (rodwilliams) on 500px.com
Forsythia and Redbud Mingling
by Rodney Williams (rodwilliams) on 500px.com

                   

Last Spring

Fill yourself up with the forsythias
and when the lilacs flower, stir them in too
with your blood and happiness and wretchedness,
the dark ground that seems to come with you.
Sluggish days. All obstacles overcome.
And if you say: ending or beginning, who knows,
then maybe—just maybe—the hours will carry you

into June, when the roses blow.

~ Gottfried Benn (trans. Michael Hofmann)

                   

Music by Liz Lawrence, “When I Was Younger”

 

Advertisements

“I wish I could live underwater. Maybe then my skin would absorb the sea’s consoling silence.” ~ Cristina Garcia, from “Dreaming in Cuban”

“Поворот” (Turn)
by Andre Ermolaev (500px)*

                    

“Don’t think that the person who is trying to comfort you now lives untroubled among the simple and quiet words that sometimes give you pleasure. His life has much trouble and sadness, and remains far behind yours. If it were otherwise, he would never have been able to find those words.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters To A Young Poet

Sunday late afternoon. Cloudy and low 70’s.

I actually had to look at the calendar to see if it was Saturday or Sunday. That kind of week. That kind of weekend. That kind of day.

“Лепестки” (Petals)
by Andre Ermolaev (500px)

I just came in from playing stick with Tillie the Lab. I had sat down to write, and she tried to crawl into my lap. Look at me, Mom. Right. Labrador Retrievers are not lap dogs. Now that I’ve worn her out for the next half hour or so, she’s under the bed, and I can sit here for a bit.

I gave all of the dogs baths today. Had to as I needed to apply flea medicine. I found out that the medicine that I ordered for Shakes’s cough is unavailable without a prescription from a veterinarian. I even looked on Canadian sites, but no joy. This means that I’m going to have to pay the vet to tell me what I already know. I’m going to the vet at the animal shelter, which should save me a bit of money, but I don’t look forward to actually taking Shakes there as he does not do well on car rides nor at the vet’s office.

I also did the floors, the bathroom, and the ceiling fans/light fixtures. Yes, I know. I’m a glutton for punishment. My hand was feeling better, so I decided to take care of these things while I could. Corey is due in port towards the end of the week, and I didn’t want to be scrambling to do this stuff when he calls. Of course, not sure how he’s going to call without a phone . . .

“My story isn’t pleasant, it’s not sweet and harmonious like the invented stories; it tastes of folly and bewilderment, of madness and dream, like the life of all people who no longer want to lie to themselves.” ~ Hermann Hesse,  from Demian

At the moment, I’m trying to resist the urge to scratch my calves as I must have been bitten by a thousand mosquitoes while I was out with the dog. Yes, a thousand.

“Разлив” (Flood)
by Andre Ermolaev (500px)

The pool is a lovely shade of green. The hose that I bought to replace the leaking hose is still in the box, and the yard needs to be mowed. All chores for eldest son. Need I say more?

I have to try to keep Tillie from jumping into the pool as I don’t want that brackish swamp water on her, especially now that she’s had a bath and flea medicine. I’m going to resist the urge to cut the grass myself. Actually, I don’t think that I could do it with my wrist in the shape that it’s in.

Speaking of which, the guy from my long-term insurer came on Wednesday to chat. He asked me a bunch of questions, took a bunch of notes; I gave him copies of what I had sent Social Security, including my typed statement. He asked me to sign a release for my therapist’s notes. I did, but I’m not sure how I feel about that. I mean, what is the point of privacy between a therapist and a patient if anyone can read the notes. I didn’t really have a choice, though. He was nice enough, a former cop from North Carolina, but the whole process was exhausting, having to go over things that I’ve gone over so many times before. Trying to remember dates that have faded in the five years since this whole ordeal began.

I suppose since so much time has passed they had to see if I was faking or whatever. I don’t know, I only know that I resented it, but I tried very hard not to let that show.

“Cicadas on the olive trees rage in brevity.
When I go out at night, the stars and quiet
smell of jasmine and I long for a life” ~ Jack Gilbert, from section III of “Threshing the Fire”

I really wish that our windows were new so that I could open them in the evenings to let in the cool air and listen to the chirps of crickets and other insects. I think that I’d probably sleep better. But windows are yet another thing on that very long list of things needing replacing in this house.

“Z”
by Andre Ermolaev (500px)

The nights are so lovely at this time of year, cool, crisp. It’s beginning to smell like autumn, which reminds me that I need to put flowers on Caitlin’s grave, something I’m determined to do this week.

I picked up my glasses on Friday, and I’m still getting used to them. These progressive lenses are kind of weird because you have to move you head, not your eyes to focus. The first time I sat down to watch television, I couldn’t see anything until I positioned my head in the right way so that I was looking out at the part for distance. I’m actually wearing them now, even though I don’t really need glasses for computer work. I’m very happy with the frames that I picked, even though I got them in the mens’ section at Wal-Mart. I couldn’t find what I wanted anywhere else.

So I can mark glasses off my list of things that I need. Now I can get back to fixating on my hair. Do I let someone else give me a perm, or do I crawl back to Kathy and beg forgiveness? Decisions, decisions. Frankly, I don’t trust my hair to just anyone. I need a good cut and a loose perm. I’m tired of some strands being curly and some strands being straight. It’s bizarre.

My life: so much minutiae and so little depth.

“Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets.” ~ Arthur Miller

“I will follow you into the dark” by Death Cab for Cutie is currently playing. I love that song. It’s my ringtone for Brett. Don’t ask me why other than one time he said that he liked that song.

“Узоры” (Patterns)
by Andre Ermolaev (500px)

Speaking of Brett, I’m hoping to go to a few of the events in this year’s Literary Festival. I can remember when the lit festival was such a big event for Mari and me. We’d go to the readings and the receptions afterwards.  I met some really wonderful writers from the lit festival and the Visiting Writers’ Program. The festival has expanded over the years to include artists and performing artists, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. I mean, perhaps they should just rename it. I’m not against having other artists, but I’m against using the term Literary Festival. Why not Fine and Performing Arts Festival? Probably because it’s going into its 35th year, and that’s the brand.

I’m just being picky.

I’ll never forget the student who gave me a bad evaluation, saying that I had made fun of a visiting modern dancer. I hadn’t made fun. I had made the statement that I didn’t know enough to understand modern dance. A statement of fact, not opinion.

Whatever.

Why do I remember that? I mean, really, in the grand scheme of things, why that?

“Once I wished
to be a verse of gorgeous sinuosity,
a lyric poem, some tightly belted
perfect sonnet or deftly figured
villanelle. ~ Kate Daniels, from “Farewell to the Maiden”

I remember the year Kate Daniels came to campus for the Literary Festival. I had never read any of her poetry before that, but I became a big fan. I suppose it’s because she came the year after Caitlin died, and she had written a series of poems called the Niobe poems, which were about the Niobe myth (Encyclopedia Mythica):

Niobe was the queen of Thebes, married to Amphion, King of Thebes. They had fourteen children (the Niobids), and in a moment of arrogance, Niobe bragged about her seven sons and seven daughters at a ceremony in honor of Leto, the daughter of the titans Coeus and Phoebe. She mocked Leto, who only had two children, Apollo, god of prophecy and music, and Artemis, virgin goddess of the wild. Leto did not take the insult lightly, and in retaliation, sent Apollo and Artemis to earth to slaughter all of Niobe’s children. Apollo killed the seven sons while they practiced their athletics. The last son begged to be spared, but the arrow had already left Apollo’s bow, and the boy was struck dead. Artemis killed the seven daughters with her lethal arrows.

“Речные узоры 1” (River Pattern 1)
by Andre Ermolaev (500px)

At the sight of his dead sons, Amphion either committed suicide or was also killed by Apollo for wanting to avenge his children’s deaths. In any event, Niobe’s entire family was dead in a matter of minutes. In shock, she cradled the youngest daughter in her arms, then fled to Mt. Siplyon in Asia Minor. There she turned to stone and from the rock formed a stream (the Achelous) from her ceaseless tears. She became the symbol of eternal mourning. Niobe’s children were left unburied for nine days because Zeus had turned all of the people of Thebes into stone. Only on the tenth day did the gods have pity and entomb her children.

Niobe is weeping even to this day. Carved on a rock cliff on Mt Sipylus is the fading image of a female that the Greeks claim is Niobe (it was probably Cybele, the great mother-goddess of Asia Minor originally). Composed of porous limestone, the stone appears to weep as the water after a rain seeps through it.

For some reason, I had never heard of the Niobe myth before reading the poems, and they affected me greatly. In fact, Daniels’s book The Niobe Poems remains one of my favorite books of poetry. It was out of print for a while, but I believe that it is back in print. However, I can find no poems from the book anywhere on-line, and today, I’m too tired to type them, perhaps for Tuesday.

More later. Peace.

*Today’s post features beautiful aerial photography of a river draining into the ocean from a volcano in Iceland by Andre Ermolaev. His photographs remind me of Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings with the curves and colors.

Music by Lex Land, “What Happens Now”

                   

More Than Halfway

I’ve turned on lights all over the house,
but nothing can save me from this darkness.

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.

Where is the boy who memorized constellations?
What is the textbook that so consoled him?

I’m now more than halfway to the grave,
but I’m not half the man I meant to become.

To what fractured deity can I pray?
I’m willing to pay the night with interest,

though the night wants nothing but itself.
What did I mean to say to darkness?

Death is a zero hollowed out of my chest.
God is an absence whispering in the leaves.

~ Edward Hirsch

“I can give you my loneliness, my darkness, the hunger of my heart, I am trying to bribe you with uncertainty, with danger, with defeat.” ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Seagull by Georgia Mizuleva (GeorgiaM) on 500px.com
Seagull
by Georgia Mizuleva*

                   

“The lover’s fatal identity is precisely: I am the one who waits.” ~ Roland Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse

Saturday, mid afternoon. Partly cloudy, hot, not quite as humid.

Good morning! by Georgia Mizuleva (GeorgiaM) on 500px.com
Good Morning
by Georgia Mizuleva

The water in the pool is green because I had to turn off the pump two days ago when a hose sprung a leak. Eldest son was supposed to bring home some kind of hose patch from pool store yesterday, which, if he had, would have meant that I could float in the pool today. He did not, and I cannot. The pool and I have had an unrequited love affair this summer, and now summer is nearing its end.

Ah me.

The dream I had right before I awoke involved me being at a Republican campaign rally that I had inadvertently stumbled into while trying to find a place to park my bicycle. I somehow ended up backstage, got yelled at for being backstage, and found a coffee shop in which I could order a large latte or cappuccino, but I couldn’t remember which I preferred. Then I learned that they had ginger scones, so I was unbothered about paying $7.03. Why this amount? I have no idea.

I came out of the rally and found myself on the back end of a Sears parking lot, and had no idea as to where I was or how I had gotten there. I awoke with a migraine, craving coffee and ginger scones.

“I will take with me the emptiness of my hands
What you do not have you find everywhere” ~ W. S. Merwin, from “Provision”

It has been a very long week. I ordered my new glasses (regular and sunglasses) at Sam’s Club on Wednesday, which came to a grand total of almost $400. Painful, but admittedly, I have not had new glasses in almost five years, and watching television in my old prescription sunglasses is not helping the head or eye situation. What was quite disappointing was that my discount when using my insurance to buy one pair came out to a whopping $2 discount. That’s two. Only two. Seriously?

Sun-up by Georgia Mizuleva (GeorgiaM) on 500px.com
Sun Up
by Georgia Mizuleva

Thursday, Brett stayed on campus until the evening, and I was ailing horribly, chills, nausea, vomiting, all from a migraine. I paid eldest son to pick up Brett from campus, and on the way home, his car overheated. It’s his radiator. This is very bad news for a couple of reasons: It’s an old car that keeps costing lots of money, but he cannot buy another one because he has no money. Because he has no money, I have to front the money for this repair, which will be around $225 for parts and labor.

I realized on Thursday, that after I ordered glasses and paid several bills, I was down to almost nothing until the next paycheck. Now, that amount will be swallowed up by Eamonn’s car repair. I still need to get prescriptions, and I have a doctor’s appointment for which I owe a back balance.

All of this makes my head hurt more.

The one good piece of news is that the court has agreed to push forward my hearing with the medical carrier who wants big money for back bills, but I never would have found out this information if I hadn’t called to see what action had been taken, only to be told that they don’t send out notifications. The letter in which I made my request will stand in for me on the court date. I immediately got this image of a giant piece of paper standing in the courtroom.

“Beneath the blue oblivious sky, the water
sings of nothing, not your name, not mine.” ~ Don Paterson, from “Poetry

Add to all of these financial issues the fact that youngest son is having a major identity/career crisis, Alexis is still wanting/needing my presence almost daily, Corey’s distance, and I’m feeling quite overwhelmed myself. I wish that I had answers, solutions, recommendations for everyone, but I don’t. That bothers me because it’s my job as a mom to have answers, isn’t it? I told Corey in an e-mail that I really had forgotten just how hard this single parenting thing is, but then I wished that I hadn’t said that because I don’t want to make him feel bad for not being here. It’s all just a big conundrum. It feels like I’m in a maze, and I keep running into deadends, but I can hear people talking and laughing on the other side of the hedges.

Away... by Georgia Mizuleva (GeorgiaM) on 500px.com
Away
by Georgia Mizuleva

Does that make sense?

For two straight nights I skipped dinner (unless you count a handful of Oreos dinner), and I realized by Thursday that my headache was probably from eating too many gummi bears and ingesting too much miscellaneous sugar. So I regrouped and ate a big salad and tried to abstain from too much sugar. All of this made me ponder an absolutely insane question: How fast does the body digest gummi bears? Do they stay in your digestive track for days? Why would I think of such things? Which led to me making the most bizarre comment to Alexis: If they find a body that they cannot identify and the stomach contents are nothing but gummi bears, it’s probably me. Yes, I know. I watch entirely too much Dateline ID and CSI and all of those other shows.

This is how my mind works. And by that I mean, not too well. Truly.

“We sit and talk quietly,
with long lapses of silence,
and I am aware of the stream that has no language,
coursing beneath the quiet heaven of your eyes, which has no speech.” ~ William Carlos Williams, from Paterson, Book I

I’ve been searching the Interwebs for a working IBM Selectric, and they are not easy to come by. I really wish that I could get one from an old office that has one just sitting around. Don’t ask me why I imagine such things to be possible. I found a few on e-Bay, but they were selling for parts, which doesn’t help me at all. If anyone out there in the ether hears of an old working Selectric that someone is trying to unload, keep me in mind.

>>>>> by Georgia Mizuleva (GeorgiaM) on 500px.com
Flying
by Georgia Mizuleva

Corey is thinking of taking a few days off when the ship gets in port here. I think that’s a great idea. He needs to step back and regroup, see if he wants to finish this hitch. He sounds so tired. He does this thing when he’s upset—doesn’t eat. Just smokes and drinks Mountain Dew. Very not good. I mean, he’s so lean as it is, and the intake of caffeine and nicotine without food doesn’t help anything. I found out that his phone, the one that we just got fixed before he left, was submerged in salt water. I have no idea if he’s managed to get it working, but I have a feeling that we’ll be purchasing a new phone for him soon. It can be a belated birthday present.

So yesterday, because I had no vehicle and was waiting for Alexis to pick up Brett at school, I decided to try out the new mower to mow the yard, front and back. It’s been raining almost every day, and the grass was so high. Eamonn hasn’t wanted to do it when he gets off work, and finally, I had enough and went outside and did it myself. I haven’t mown a yard in a decade. I mean, I used to do it all of the time. It’s great exercise, but not so great when you have a bad back, and both of your wrists are locked up. Eamonn is certain that I did it just to make him feel bad, but actually, I was just so frustrated by absolutely everything that I decided that it would be a good thing to do—mow, make the yard look decent, get some exercise, do something different.

Yep. Right. Good idea.

Not so much.

“Words have been spoken; things that were bottled
have burst open and to walk in now
would be to walk in

on the ocean.” ~ Simon Armitage, from “At Sea

By the time I finished, my wrists were tingling and numb, and my back was shot. Perversely, it felt good. I hate that my body cannot do the things that it used to do. I hate that the entire time I was mowing, all I could think about was my disability claim. I hate that by the time that I finished, I had numerous injuries: a slice in my right pinky from the leftover glass in the sliding door; it wouldn’t stop bleeding, a blister the size of a quarter in my right palm, a numb left arm and hand. What the hell?

This morning V by Georgia Mizuleva (GeorgiaM) on 500px.com
This Morning V
by Georgia Mizuleva

I haven’t decided whether or not I’ll tell Corey what I did. He will not be amused.

Anyway, today I’m not doing much of anything. I have some laundry going, and I cleaned the kitchen. I pine for a long hot bath, even in this weather, but it’s not going to happen, so what’s the point? Maybe one day I’ll be able to emerge myself in a natural hot spring. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Eamonn drove the Rodeo to work yesterday and today. The guy across the street is supposed to work on Eamonn’s car this weekend. I had hoped to float in the pool, but I’ve already talked about that, so the only thing left on my dance card is a new episode of “Dr. Who” tonight, and a new “Wallander” on “Masterpiece Mystery.” I am simply agog with excitement. Try not to be too envious of the thrill that is my life.

More later. Peace.

Music by Imperial Mammoth, “Requiem on Water” (lots of water and sea on my mind, obviously)

*All images are taken from the 500px site of Georgia Mizuleva

                   

Indian Summer

Like a deep blue wave
of passion
you shore into the room
where I sit waiting quietly,
open-booked.

We have moved through days,
loss, pain
to hold this moment,
this picture postcard seascape
of gentle harbouring.

You say
‘I knew you were here
I could smell you’
and effortlessly I sway
to seal my fate.

You taste of ocean,
avenues of grassy dunes,
like a magician
you pluck a tiny pebble
from my hair—

Ancient survivor, sun-kissed
on this summer afternoon,
unconditionally
I step out of my dress
into your dream.

~ Eileen Carney Hulme

“I have not, nor will I ever, completely lose the longing for that something, that thing that I believe will fill an emptiness inside me. I do believe that the emptiness was made greater by the things that I did to myself.” ~ Marya Hornbacher

haizearen orrazia-1 by orkatz go (orkatz_go) on 500px.com
Haizearen Orrazia
by orkatz go on 500px (cc license)*

                   

“Ah, the sun will catch me, in my disturbing transparency.
What am I but an awareness of the dark, forever?” ~ Edmond Jabès, The Book of Questions I, (trans. Rosmarie Waldrop)

Monday early evening, low 70’s, a bit humid.

No offside by Sergio Tudela Romero (sergiotudela) on 500px.com
No Offside
by Sergio Tudela Romero on 500px (cc license)

Once again WordPress thwarted me. I had all of my quotes, hit save, got an error message, and the post frame was gone. I spend a lot of time in choosing my quotes and images, sometimes more time than the actual writing. I see all three parts as integral and important to the message that I want to convey. To say that I was highly perturbed is a vast understatement.

It really does no good to tell an inanimate object to do biologically impossible things . . . but it makes me feel better. Actually Eamonn’s computer was well nigh impossible to deal with earlier, so I stopped, did a few chores, and took Brett to campus. He only has two more classes after this session, and his next session (Pre Calculus II) begins next Wednesday, so no break for him. I remember all to well how exhausting summer sessions can be—both to take and to teach.

Anyway, now I’m on his computer, and it feels akin to magic, just how fast this computer reacts. I guess I am so used to working on the dying POS that I forget that most functioning computers do not take several minutes to perform an action. Seconds rather than minutes, what a concept.

“I will wait and you can follow alone
and between us the night has come and gone” ~ W. S. Merwin, from “To Lili’s Walk”

In the past 24 hours, Corey and I have had an argument via e-mail. How utterly stupid. I freely admit that it was my fault. I read one of his e-mails while I was exhausted, had a migraine and was near to tears. Hence, I took offense when none was there. I feel terrible. The last thing he needs to be dealing with is my moodiness across an ocean. I have tried very hard not to let him know how down I am as I do not want him to concentrate on anything but his job while he is on the ship. I have succeeded in that goal until yesterday.

ilunabarra luarcan by orkatz go (orkatz_go) on 500px.com
Ilunabarra Luarcan
by orkatz go on 500px (cc license)

Damn.

I feel so bad about the whole thing, and an apology e-mail is kind of lame, don’t you think? I suppose that it’s better than nothing, but it just doesn’t really encompass all of the emotions. Hence the Doctor Who apology gifs for yesterday. Seemed appropriate, even if no one else knew what the hell was going on with it.

Anyway, the ship is supposed to hit Brooklyn around June 22, and a Coast Guard inspection is scheduled for June 25. I’m not sure if he’s staying on for the inspection or beyond; that is entirely up to the company. He needs to come home and have a break, though. Everyone misses him, especially Tillie.

“I keep remembering—I keep remembering. My heart has no pity on me.” ~ Henri Barbusse

Last night I watched the finale to “The Killing” on AMC. It was a really good show, but I was disappointed in the ending. It seemed kind of rushed and anticlimactic. I stopped in reading “The Executioner’s Song” long enough to watch that and a show on Discovery ID. Then felt tired so I turned off the television. My sleeping time has crept back towards 2 a.m., and I don’t want to get into that habit again.

zurriola ilunabarrean-II by orkatz go (orkatz_go) on 500px.com
Zurriola Ilunabarrean
by orkatz go on 500px (cc license)

Unfortunately, while awaiting sleep, memories of Caitlin suddenly popped into my head, seemingly out of nowhere. I am resolved to the fate that I will never be rid of these memories and the accompanying emotions, but I wasn’t prepared last night. I actually had to take a Xanax to calm myself down. My doctor prescribed them to me for my anxiety attacks, which, luckily, abated just as soon as she prescribed the Xanax, so I have probably only taken three pills since getting the prescription. Believe it or not, I really try to be conservative with my medication. I have no desire to be hooked on anything.

Anyway, I was finally able to get to sleep somewhere after 3, but it was uncomfortable, and I awoke more times than I can remember. Chalk up another bad night, but hey, what’s one more in the infinite trail of bad nights?

“I’ll always be the one who wasn’t born for that;
I’ll always be the one who had qualities;
I’ll always be the one who waited for a door to open in a wall without doors” ~ Fernando Pessoa, from “The Tobacco Shop” (trans. Richard Zenith)

I debated shortening the quote above by removing the second line, but then I thought that it was too true, and Pessoa doesn’t say good qualities, just qualities, and I think that that’s deliberate on his part.

Reflection Of A Golden Sky by Garry Knight (garryknight) on 500px.com
Reflection of a Golden Sky
by Garry Knight on 500px (cc license)

In the past week or so, I’ve gotten more paper work from the Social Security administration, and a couple of voice mails from my long-term disability provider. Bear with me. This is connected.

Social Security wants me to fill out yet another description of my daily life. The disability provider wants to touch base to see if there is any change in my status. Really? Seriously? Do you really want to know how I feel?

I feel like taking a really thick Sharpie and writing all over the questionnaire:

I’ve completed this thing at least four times. Leave me alone.

But I can’t because it’s a bureaucracy, and they don’t remember what they do from one day to the next.

So instead, I feel like completing the questions in a more ethereal tone. For example, tell us about how you spend your day . . . My answer could be more of a description of my quality of life: Well, I spend a great deal of my day contemplating my existence, its worth or worthlessness, depending upon where I am on the continuum of my mental state. I consider my successes as compared to my failures, and I realize that the scale tips depending upon who is looking at it. I often spend a few minutes each day just staring at the sky and my dogs in amazement that such things exist, and then, more often than not, I have sleep filled with tormenting dreams. The next day I get up and do it all over again.

What do you think? Would they accept that?

“We do compose a soul for ourselves, I think, an inner biography that has this grace of selection—the poem of ourself, if you like.” ~ Les Murray, The Art of Poetry No. 89  (The Paris Review)

If you like to read about poets or like interviews with writers, click on the Paris Review link above. Yet again, tumblr has introduced me to another poet with whom I was unfamiliar—Les Murray, who is from Australia. It’s a good interview.

Puzzle by Sergio Tudela Romero (sergiotudela) on 500px.com
Puzzle
by Sergio Tudela Romero on 500px (cc license)

If I ordered every poetry book that I have put on my wish list, every new poet I have discovered through the poetry lovers at tumblr, I think that I would increase my poetry collection by about 50 percent, and that’s saying something.

My friend over at Titirangi Storyteller and I were discussing Charles Bukowski. I adore him, especially his attitude towards life, yet like so many of the writers of the 20th century, he had a major drinking problem. So many of the writers that I adore had some kind of drinking or drug problem, or even better, some kind of mental illness: Bukowski, Sexton, Carver, Plath, Fitzgerald, McCullers.

What does that say about me? Do I even need to ask? But interestingly enough, I have a real distaste for people who imbibe too much. I don’t like being around drunks, and I know that comes directly from my ex. So why am I perversely attracted to the writings of those who drank themselves to death?

I do not have an answer to that question.

“I dream of perfect concentration; if I found it
I’d surely stop breathing.” ~ Adam Zagajewski, from “The Room I Work In”

I’m considering calling my psychiatrist who prescribes my medications for my disorders, but I’m afraid that she’ll want to add another medication, and damn, I just don’t want that. I’m hoping that this pervasive cloud of despair will dissipate once Corey comes home. At the same time, I do not want to be one of those women who depends upon the man in her life for happiness.

Passing Storm by James Wheeler (JamesWheeler) on 500px.com
Passing Storm
by James Wheeler on 500px (cc license)

Don’t misunderstand. I love how Corey makes me happy, but I also want my inner joy to come from . . . well . . . inner. You know? I never want him to have the burden of thinking that he must provide me with peace of mind. I know that one of the reasons that I feel that way is because both of my parents (surprisingly) drilled into me that I should be self-sufficient, never depend on a man for support.

I know that they were talking about financial support, but over the years I expanded that. Having been married to an individual who was emotionally bereft, I needed to be self-sufficient emotionally. It was not always possible, and it is still not always possible. Yet I still feel that way. I want Corey to be my partner, my lover, my friend, but not my emotional crutch.

I’m going to have to think over whether or not to call the doctor because this black mood does not seem to be lessening, or it lessens but then rears its ugly head even more pervasively than its previous incarnation.

Things to ponder.

More later. Peace.

*All images are taken from the creative commons section of 500px.com. Clicking on the image should take you to the page on which it appears.

Music by Thurston Moore, “Benediction”

                   

The Room I Work In

To Derek Walcott

The room I work in is as foursquare
as half a pair of dice.
It holds a wooden table
with a stubborn peasant’s profile,
a sluggish armchair, and a teapot’s
pouting Hapsburg lip.
From the window I see a few skinny trees,
wispy clouds, and toddlers,
always happy and loud.
Sometimes a windshield glints in the distance
or, higher up, an airplane’s silver husk.
Clearly others aren’t wasting time
while I work, seeking adventures
on earth or in the air.
The room I work in is a camera obscura.
And what is my work—
waiting motionless,
flipping pages, patient meditation,
passivities not pleasing
to that judge with the greedy gaze.
I write as slowly as if I’ll live two hundred years.
I seek images that don’t exist,
and if they do they’re crumpled and concealed
like summer clothes in winter,
when frost stings the mouth.
I dream of perfect concentration; if I found it
I’d surely stop breathing.
Maybe after all, I hear the first snow hissing,
the frail melody of daylight,
and the city’s gloomy rumble.
I drink from a small spring,
my thirst exceeds the ocean.

~ Adam Zagajewski

“Wound me . . . I can only feed on my humiliated blood.” ~ Edmond Jabès, The Book of Questions: Vol. I

Budapest Chain Bridge by Széchenyi Lánchíd (Pixdaus)

                   

“Longing is the agony of the nearness of the distant.” ~ Martin Heidegger, Who is Nietzsche’s Zarathustra?, tr. by Bernd Magnus

Wednesday afternoon. Warm and humid.

Mist, by Alexandra X (500px.com)

It’s an unseasonable 69° F here; elsewhere, in the north, people are experiencing blizzards and traffic-stopping white-out conditions. This time we were spared the snow and were given warmth. Never fear, though. The temperatures here are supposed to plummet to the low 30’s by tonight.

And people wonder why so many people in this area suffer from sinus problems and allergies.

So I’m having a pretty bad day in spite of the fact that I have confirmation that I have health insurance. Waiting for the new cards to come in the mail so that I can make those appointments I was talking about previously. In spite of this very good news, I feel wretched.

Yesterday, I took the now dry, previously water-logged pages of my poem’s draft and tried to type them into Word. Aside from the fact that this computer only has Works on it (what a crap program) because we’re not loading anything on it until we can do a complete reload (another story), I realized while typing that what I had been so impressed with only days before was pure and total crap. Drivel. Snot. Yuck out loud.

I really hate it when that happens. I tried working and reworking and finally stopped myself because the more I did, the more that it read as being overworked and perfunctory, and the spark that generated the idea for the poem had been completely lost beneath forced wordsmithing. The deadline has been extended, which is good, I think, but now I don’t know if I have it in me to enter the contest. (Correction note: First prize is book of poems by Pablo Neruda, not Pessoa; don’t know what I was thinking.)

Of course, all of this mulling is giving me a low-grade headache, one of those tension bands around my entire skill. Love it.

“Sharp like a razor’s edge, the sages say,
Is the path, difficult to traverse.” ~ Katha Upanishad

Foggy Night #89, by Dimitri Bogachuk

Outside I hear the rumblings of a storm approaching. Meanwhile, Tillie the Lab has nested on the old futon in here and is currently telling me off for not paying much attention to her. She has this thing that she does whenever she feels neglected: She puts her head down and grumbles just once, a single quiet protest. She’ll repeat this little nudge until someone stops whatever they are doing and plays with her for a few minutes. Have I mentioned lately how much I think that dogs are wonderfully sentient beings? She seems to know that I’m struggling as she is pacing her grunts to meet the pauses in my typing.

Yesterday I was working on a post about HR3, that infuriating bill supposedly about abortion being proposed by a bunch of neanderthals, most of whom have male genitalia. I became so incensed over their new definitions of rape that most of the post was pure rant, so I stopped that too. Maybe I’ll go back to it later today, depends on what my mind does, where it goes in the next few hours.

Speaking of hours, I had very few consisting of real sleep last night/this morning. I fear that the insomnia is rearing its ugly head again. The alarm beeped at 5 a.m. for Corey to get for watch, and I was still awake, watching some movie that I had seen before. I had deliberately chosen the movie because I thought that it would put me to sleep.

No joy.

I think that I fell asleep around 6 a.m., only to awaken after 11. I poured coffee down my throat and drove Brett to his afternoon classes. Perhaps the sleep deprivation is a contributing factor to the headache.

“If I stare into it long enough, the point comes when I don’t know what it’s called, a condition in which lacerations are liable to occur, like a slip of the tongue; when a drop of blood might billow in a glass of water, blooming in velvet detonation and imparting to it the colorless, tasteless and originless fear in which I wake. ” ~ Franz Wright, Blade  

Red in the Mist by Viktor Minchenko (Pixdaus)

A few nights ago Corey had to waken me from a nightmare. I awoke screaming, “I hate you. I hate you.” and slapping at his hands as he tried to calm me. I had dreamt that Corey told me quite matter-of-factly that he had picked up and had sex with (and this part was very specific) 32 women.

Thirty-two? Where did that come from? How can I be my own worst enemy in my dreams too? I don’t remember much else about the dream, even though I recounted it for Corey when I was awake. Numbers in dreams always unnerve me a bit, and I don’t really know why; perhaps it’s because they are so arbitrary. I mean, if dreaming is the brain’s way of sifting through the detritus of the day, where do these numbers come from if not life?

Thirty two. Hmm. Things that make you go hmm . . .

I have been having very vivid dreams again, lots of people from my past popping up and intruding into my subconscious. Have you ever had a past dream intrude into a current dream? That happened to me. Don’t remember the exact circumstances, but a scene that happened in a former dream involving my ex unpacking dishes in the kitchen recurred in a more recent dream. The actual event never occurred in real life.

I wonder if this could be considered a rerun dream . . . Does this mean that my lack of originality has crept into my dreams, as well? Well crap.

“And then I felt sad because I realized that once people are broken in certain ways, they can’t ever be fixed, and this is something nobody ever tells you when you are young and it never fails to surprise you as you grow older as you see the people in your life break one by one. You wonder when your turn is going to be, or if it’s already happened.” ~ Douglas Coupland

Crook in the Mist by Basil G (Pixdaus)

I find myself missing my dad a lot these days, probably because he is one of those people who keeps popping in and out of dreams lately. I wonder if he ended his life filled with regret over things he  hadn’t yet done. I wonder if he realized how close he was to his death and if he was filled with fear. I wonder how many dreams he had fulfilled and how many he still hadn’t achieved.

Last night Corey said that he hated that his life was mediocre, and I said that his life wasn’t mediocre, but perhaps his current state was mediocre because he felt stuck. But truthfully, I understand exactly what he meant. It goes back to my “I hate my life” statement of before.

Sometimes it all just seems so pointless. I mean, what are we really doing here? Are we making any forward progress? We as in individuals, we as in this country, we as in this world. Everywhere I turn I hear hateful things and see so much pain, and then if I narrow my vision just a bit, I see glimpses of beauty and grace, which reminds me that it isn’t pointless.

Yes, yes. I know. It’s February, the longest month of the year for my psyche, but as with my current contradictory state, it’s February, and it feels like spring, but it smells like winter. Is it any wonder that I’m conflicted?

Truth time: the poem is supposed to be about preferences, as in what do you prefer, coffee or tea, only not that simple. But maybe it is that simple and like everything else, I have made it too complicated. Preferences. For me, that is such a loaded word. The answer is that what I prefer depends on the day, the weather, my weight, whether or not my face has broken out in adult acne, how bad my headache is, if the dogs have decided to go dumpster diving in the kitchen trash, how overwhelmed I feel when I go through the mail and realize that the “to be paid” pile is seemingly insurmountable.

Preferences? I would prefer to be working as opposed to not working. I would prefer to be pain-free as opposed to pain-laden. I would prefer not to owe so much overdue money to so many people as opposed to owing my soul. I would prefer that the sliding glass door did not have spiderweb cracks in it from where Tillie hit it head on, and I would prefer that we could install our good water heater so that taking a shower did not have to be timed to coincide with the availability of hot water.

Preferences? Yes, I have a few. Most aren’t even noteworthy, but perhaps a few are worth a word or two: I prefer moonlight and water. I prefer the smell of fresh herbs and flowers. I prefer paper books to their bastardization. I prefer long hot baths at the end of the day with candles lit, casting orange and red glows on the tiles. I prefer songs that touch my heart rather than rattle my brain. I prefer to live a full life rather than merely exist.

How do you know if you are broken? I suppose it’s the same way that you know if you are insane. You don’t.

More later. Peace.

Music by Butterfly Boucher, “A Bitter Song”

                   

on Joy & Sorrow

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, “Joy is greater thar sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits, alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

~ Kahlil Gibran