“Special No. 21” (1916, oil on cardboard) by Georgia O’Keeffe
“Summer 1962” (oil on canvas) by Frank Lobdell
“Four Seasons: Summer” (nd, acrylic on canvas) by Peter Max
“Summer Madness” (1990, Oil, gouache, pencil and crayon on paper) by Cy Twombly
“Dune IV” (1909, oil on cardboard) by Piet Mondrian
“From the Plains II” (1954, oil on canvas) by Georgia O’Keeffe
“Melting Volcano” (nd, oil on canvas) by Georgia O’Keeffe
“Summer Afternoon” by Eyvind Earle
“Simoon” (1915) by Serge Sudeikin
“A Wheatfield on a Summer’s Afternoon” (1942, tempera on canvas) by Marc Chagall
“I feel a stupefying pressure under my skin. I want to pierce everything and penetrate as far down as possible. I want to reach the depths of the earth. My love is there, in the place where seeds grow green and roots reach one another, and creation perpetuates itself amidst decay. It’s as if my body were a temporary and transient form of it. I want to reach its source. I want to hang my heart like a ripened fruit on all the branches of the trees.” ~ Forugh Farrokhzad, from Another Birth and Other Poems
Wednesday evening. Hazy, hot and humid, 95 degrees.
I’m on day three of this prednizone run for this particular intractable migraine episode, and the pain had gotten better, but I fear the heat is going to muck things up.
It’s hot. It’s ungodly hot. It’s Hades hot. It’s volcanic hot (well, perhaps not quite). It’s so hot that when I look at the ground I see waves, bands of heat floating above the asphalt. We’ve been out in the heat for two days now, today in Brett’s car with its dying AC. So frigging hot. The driving test will have to be redone. Nerves. But we found a doggy companion for Brett to take with him, a good pick, a real sweetie of a dog at the Norfolk Animal Care center. I think a dog is just what he needs, for so many reasons, which I won’t go into now because it’s hot, and like that witch, I’m mellltttingggggggg……
Gah. It’s hot. No breeze. No storms. Just putrifying, paralyzing hotter than hot heat, and we haven’t even topped 100 yet (we always do).
Did I mention I don’t do hot well? Probably? Well, it bears repeating. The heat and the accompanying sun kill my head. The heat makes me nauseous, makes me not want to eat, only drink cold sweaty things in tall glasses. I feel like squirting my whole body with lemon juice, which for some reason seems that it would be cooling, but would probably just attract insects.
” . . . throw roses into the abyss and say: ‘here is my thanks to the monster who didn’t succeed in swallowing me alive.’” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
Behhhh. It’s too hot to get in the pool. Truly. The pool water is like bathwater, and the sun is well, sun, you know, bright, and all of that.
I don’t really have anything to say, other than my running commentary on the weather, my happiness for Brett’s canine adoption, my looming anxiety over the ensuing move, and a deep-seated desire for central air that I could set on 65 degrees. Also, I think/know that I’m sad about all of the doggies that I had to leave behind at the shelters because, well, another dog here? No, not quite. Have to wait until we have a place with some land, and trees, and goats . . . yep, rambling. Heat makes my mind turn to pudding and then shut down.
If I were alone, I would take off all of my clothes, lay atop my bed sheets, and just melt, well, perhaps alternately melt and hydrate.
On that note, I think I’ll stop. Oh, just one more thing:
It’s too damned hot to leave an animal in a car with the windows just slightly down, and I really shouldn’t have to tell you that you don’t leave children in hot cars, and if the sidewalk is too hot for you, it’s too hot for your animals.
People please, brains much?
More later. Peace.
All images reflect the state of my brain today.
Music by Nirvana, “Lake of Fire” (unplugged)
The Ordinary Weather of Summer
In the ordinary weather of summer
with storms rumbling from west to east
like so many freight trains hauling
their cargo of heat and rain,
the dogs sprawl on the back steps, panting,
insects assemble at every window,
and we quarrel again, bombarding
each other with small grievances,
our tempers flashing on and off
in bursts of heat lightning.
In the cooler air of morning,
we drink our coffee amicably enough
and walk down to the sea
which seems to tremble with meaning
and into which we plunge again and again.
The days continue hot.
At dusk the shadows are as blue
as the lips of the children stained
with berries or with the chill
of too much swimming.
So we move another summer closer
to our last summer together—
a time as real and implacable as the sea
out of which we come walking
on wobbly legs as if for the first time,
drying ourselves with rough towels,
shaking the water out of our blinded eyes.
“Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic.” ~ Frank Herbert, from Dune
Tuesday afternoon. Rainy and mild, 59 degrees.
And so we do the Tidewater temperature bounce: 34 degrees, 59 degrees, 31 degrees, 67 degrees. Is it any wonder we are a population of incubating sinus problems?
Just above my left temple is a pain akin to having been bruised by a hammer. I can’t tell if it’s leftover migraine or incipient sinus headache, which makes figuring out which med to take more trouble than it’s worth. I sat on the edge of the bed with my hot coffee cup pressed against my head, trying to figure this out, and finally took nothing more than ibuprofen because I was giving myself more of a headache over trying to figure out the headache than the possible medicine could have relieved.
Still with me?
Last night I dreamed that my high school friend Sarah was a soothsayer, and she had read in the cards that within 24 hours everyone who was playing video games would die. We were trying to figure out how to let everyone know without causing widespread panic. Can you just imagine? An impossible task. One thing though—she had the most amazing long grey hair, the white-grey, not the steel grey, and I was so envious.
“All we can do on this earth is step into the future with a sense of the many people behind us, the living and the dead, as if we carried our bodies like amphorae filled with sunbeams into each new day” ~ Morton Marcus, from “All We Can Do”
Yesterday I went to Lex’s apartment after dropping off Brett on campus, stayed for a bit and then brought Olivia home with me. We hadn’t seen her in a week, and I was going through bebe withdrawal. Eamonn had called in sick to work, so Olivia got to see her uncle and her Granddaddy, two of her favorite people. She is babbling a lot, saying ma ma, but it doesn’t seem to be associated with anything, just babbling, which is natural.
I remember when Caitlin was in the hospital, she had begun to say something that sounded like ma, and she was the same age that Olivia is now. Funny the things you remember out of nowhere.
Anyway, we had fun eating strained squash and fruit, and she is doing all kind of gesture imitations, which is funny to watch. But while we’re watching Olivia, Tillie is watching us, especially Corey, as if to say, “Hey! What about me?” Such a funny dog.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if poetry—poetry in the broadest sense, in the sense of a world filled with metaphor, rhyme, and recurring patterns, shapes, and designs—is how the world works. The world isn’t logical; it’s a song.” ~ David Byrne
By the way, I’ve been meaning to say greetings and thanks to my newest followers. Recently, I topped 100 followers without even realizing it. Always glad to hear from new people, and remember, if you would prefer to comment via e-mail, that’s fine too.
Let’s see . . . what else?
I haven’t started on my new meds yet mostly because one of them was on back-order at my pharmacy, and I want to start the new regimen with everything. That makes the most sense because I want to be able to tell if they are working collectively and to see if there are any unwanted side effects I may not be able to tolerate. Anyway, I found the one medicine at a CVS near the house and had the script transferred there, so I’ll probably start everything tomorrow; although I’d prefer to start on a Sunday as one of he meds is a patch that needs to be changed every seven days, and I know myself—I forget too easily, so I need a memorable day of the week, you know, like Sunday.
My, I am running on today, aren’t I?
One of my new meds is a sumatriptan shot that I can give myself when my migraines are severe. I had tried this medicine years ago, and it made me very nauseous; however, that being said, the new doctor gave me a shot while I was in his office (because I had a headache, of course), and told me to take a phenergan with the shot for the nausea. The shot worked on the headache, but left me feeling a bit dizzy/woozy. I guess I’ll have to wait to see if this is an avenue in which the nausea is worth the pain relief.
“I am looking into your dark centers where I see myself reflected, standing close to the edge, as though I might at any moment take in my breath and dive down.” ~ Deborah Abbott, from “All Day at Work”
I watched the last episode in season 3 of “Downton Abbey” last night, and boy was it heartbreaking. I really hate it when I have made an investment in a show, and it ends up breaking my heart. Corey is going to take seasons 1 and 2 with him when he leaves. I have the boxed sets. He likes period pieces as much as I do. In fact, one of the first movies that we watched together was Sense and Sensibility, the one with Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman. Such a beautiful version.
Don’t really know what the above paragraph has to do with anything, but I was thinking about it, so there it is.
Other than the usual weird dreams last night, I also wrote a poem. However, I did not wake up after composing this poem, so I did not record it. Consequently, I remember nothing of it other than it was there. I know that it was short with short lines, a la Charles Bukowski, but I don’t remember anything else, which is so very frustrating. I know that I liked it, and I think that it had something to do with gravity, which may have come from thinking about Copernicus’s birthday today (somehow that connects in my brain).
I hate when my mind does this to me.
“Without even intending it, there is that little shiver of a moment in time preserved in the crystal cabinet of the mind. A little shiver of eternal space. That’s what I was looking for.” ~ Alan Ginsberg
I’m all alone in the house now, listening to The Secret Sisters. Corey has gone to do errands; Eamonn is at a concert, and Brett as at school. Just me and the dogs, and the dogs are barking at everything and nothing, and Alfie’s bark is the exact pitch that makes my eyes hurt when I have a headache, so all in all, it’s simply fantastic. The only thing missing is the sound of a chain saw or leaf blower.
Actually, just a few minutes ago while I was sitting here daydreaming, I was listening to the wind whip the wind chimes into a frenetic ballad, and I noticed the sound of a jumbo jet passing overhead. When you live in an area filled with the sounds of fighter jets and jumbo jets, it is very easy not to hear them any more. Anyway, so paying attention to these random sounds I remembered a scene in “The Walking Dead” in which one of the characters says that she would love to hear the sound of an airplane passing overhead because in this post-apocalyptic world populated by zombies and survivors it’s so quiet.
And this leads me to ponder: Would I really like to live in an old farmhouse on a piece of land somewhere, far from everyone else. I think that I would, but then would I miss the sounds? I wouldn’t miss the loud trucks and the sirens, but I would miss the sound of the train in the middle of the night, and the sounds of a fog horn on the bay.
I think that I know what I want, and I think that what I want is different from this, but actually, I don’t really know. Do I? Do any of us?
More later. Peace.
Music by The Secret Sisters, “Tomorrow Will be Kinder”
The Lucky Ones
stuck in the rain on the freeway, 6:15 p.m.,
these are the lucky ones, these are the
dutifully employed, most with their radios on as loud
as possible as they try not to think or remember.
this is our new civilization: as men
once lived in trees and caves now they live
in their automobiles and on freeways as
the local news is heard again and again while
we shift from first gear to second and back to first.
there’s a poor fellow stalled in the fast lane ahead, hood
up, he’s standing against the freeway fence
a newspaper over his head in the rain.
the other cars force their way around his car, pull out into
the next lane in front of cars determined to shut them off.
in the lane to my right a driver is being followed by a
police car with blinking red and blue lights – he surely
can’t be speeding as
suddenly the rain comes down in a giant wash and all the
cars stop and
even with the windows up I can smell somebody’s clutch
I just hope it’s not mine as
the wall of water diminishes and we go back into first
gear; we are all still
a long way from home as I memorize
the silhouette of the car in front of me and the shape of the
driver’s head or
I can see of it above the headrest while
his bumper sticker asks me
HAVE YOU HUGGED YOUR KID TODAY?
suddenly I have an urge to scream
as another wall of water comes down and the
man on the radio announces that there will be a 70 percent
chance of showers tomorrow night
“If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for, in detail, ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for.” ~ Thomas Merton
Tuesday, early evening. Cold.
It’s hovering around 40° F; yesterday it was 78° F. That’s how it’s been for the past five or six days. One day, unseasonably warm winter temps, and the next day, temps at least 30 to 40 degrees lower than the day before. I seem to have developed a scratchiness to my voice. Could be the temperature fluctuations, or it could be pollen. Then again, it could just be Wisconsin Governor Walker grating on my nerves (and why is the mainstream media totally ignoring the Wisconsin situation?)
Just for fun, I thought that I would interrupt regular posting to insert Jon Stewart’s latest commentary on the Wisconsin happenings:
Today I had the first of three gastro tests to try to find out why my system does not work like a normal person. I’m not even going to list the name of the test that I had to undergo. Suffice it to say that personal privacy and boundaries are not respected during this test and that it involved barium, which, if you have never been near this contrast medium, you should thank the powers that be as barium is made of chalk and bird poop, which is what gives it its lovely white consistency and delectable flavor . . .
Thankfully, I did have two really great radiology technicians, which helps the nerves. Next test involves having to swallow a contrast marker and then have x-rays taken on day five; I already swallowed the marker last week because the woman in the doctor’s office did not tell me not to take the marker before today’s test, which means that I have to do it all over again. Third test involves putting a tube in my nose for 24 hours. Just typing that makes me shudder, no lie.
February was spent in a haze of doctor’s appointments. Little wonder that it is the first of March, but my brain is still January-engaged.
“The visible exhausts me. I am dissolved in shadow.” ~ Theodore Roethke
Two Fridays ago I had my eye exam, the first one I’ve had in a couple of years. It was only after this exam that I found out that the vision rider for which I am paying is essentially worthless. “Well it covers this, but there is a fitting fee . . . but if you want to get glasses, then you have to pay $80 for the contacts today, but if you want contacts, then we deduct this and add that and if you’re really lucky, on the full moon, you can wish for glasses or contacts, but not both. Whatever.
I went back last Friday for the optometrist to check the contacts that she had prescribed. I told her that I was having problems seeing out of my left eye. We talked for a few minutes about my previous experiences with contacts, and she said—I kid you not—”Well, you are older now, and your eyes are older, so you can’t expect to see the way that you used to.”
Really? No shit? I’m older? Thank you so much for that moment of truth. I was completely unaware that I had gotten older. In her favor, she just seems like a very matter-of-fact person, not snotty, just telling it like it is.
So my old eyes tried another contact prescription. I could tell before I left the waiting room that they weren’t working. Another hop onto the exam chair (which is really hard to do, hopping, that is, when you’re old), and we decided to go with two different lenses: near vision in the left eye, and distance in the right eye. I was certain that my brain would rebel, but it actually works perfectly. I can see everything on the dash in the car, and I can see the computer screen. I always find it beneficial to see the car’s dash, so I’m feeling better. Now I just have to wait for another payday to get updated glasses.
(Oh, this part made me feel old as well). Corey and I were looking at frames, and I picked out a frame that pretty much mirrors my current frame. I know what flatters my face and what is comfortable. Seemed like a no-brainer to me . . . Corey says something along the lines of shouldn’t I try something that is a little more stylish?
What??? My frames are old-fashioned? Is that what you were implying with your comment? Poor man. Simply cannot catch a break. We left Costco with neither of us very happy. As it stands now, I don’t have a clue as to what kind of glasses I want to get. Every pair that I try on leaves me feeling less than attractive. I mean, if Sophia Loren can put her name on a line of glasses frames, why can she not append her visage with the frames? Loren looks cool in glasses. I look like . . . well, probably what I am: a bookish teacher type.
“Now I am quietly waiting for the catastrophe of my personality to seem beautiful again.” ~ Frank O’Hara
In other news, remember that poetry contest that I entered? Well, I didn’t win, but I was a finalist. Pretty cool, huh?
Now if I were an optimist with a good self-image, I might see this as a sign that I should probably work on my craft more and actively work on sending things out for review. However, we all know that this is not the case, so my immediate first thoughts were, “A finalist? Are you kidding me? Did you not have a lot of entries?”
A Poet Reflects, the blog that hosted the contest, asked poet Allen Braden to judge the contest, which is why it took longer to find out the results. I had decided that because so much time had passed between submitting my entry and hearing anything that I was definitely out of the running. This is how my mind works: no news = bad/horrible/catastrophic news.
Anyway, after I received the good news, I got an e-mail requesting that I create an MP3 of myself reading my poem. Seriously? I hate my voice whenever I hear it recorded; it always sounds like a little girl. I don’t mean that I have one of those Jennifer Tilly squeaky, breathless voices, just that I would prefer a Lauren Bacall timbre.
So after I get over the request itself, I realize that I have no idea as to how to create an MP3. I know. I know. It’s really not hard, but what can I say? I panicked. Then I settled down and gave it some thought and realized that Brett’s gaming headphones have a microphone on them. Voila! Recording action can be had.
Several attempts later, I finally came up with a reading with which I was actually pleased, so I shipped it off before I could change my mind. My poem and the reading are supposed to appear on tumblr tomorrow or the next day. I still haven’t decided if I’m going to post them here, although I’m not sure why this blog or that blog really makes a difference. It’s not like I’m beholden to my privacy or anything. I do plan to post some of the other finalists’ poems as well as the winner. Stay tuned.
“I have scars on my hands from touching certain people . . . Certain heads, certain colors and textures of human hair leave permanent marks on me. Other things, too.” ~ J. D. Salinger
So that’s how things have been around here for the past week or so. Each time that I’ve sat down to write a post, something has kept me from achieving said goal. For example, on Friday night/Saturday morning, I didn’t fall asleep until 9:30 in the morning. Needless to say, I felt less than creative on Saturday afternoon, and Sunday was not much better. I have been trying to put up a few small things here and there (I loved the no elephants picture).
Meanwhile, Corey has already lost two shifts this week, but last week he worked 55 hours. It just doesn’t make any sense to me. If I were responsible for scheduling these people for shifts, I would make darn sure there was more balance. I mean, that’s one of the things I had to do in retail, schedule over 50 people at a time, and believe me, it’s not easy.
Speaking of retail, a Marshall’s is opening in the shopping center just down the road; I’m talking a mile away. Part of me longs to apply for a management position there, but who am I kidding? Retail management means working at least 50 to 60 hours a week, and a lot (emphasis on lot) of physical labor. How do you think those clothes get on those racks? Oh well, I can wish.
Not much new on the kids’ front. Spring break is sometime in March. Neither son has anything exciting planned (that I know about). Alexis? Well, that’s a post all by itself and a subject that I’m honestly not up to dealing with at the moment. So that’s it for now.
By the way, I have changed the name of my tumblr from “Slow Dancing in Quicksand” to “Frenzy and Lightning,” which is the url. It just seemed to make more sense, at least, to me.