“Fear of the step that leaves no trace. Fear of the forces of chance and nature that wipe away shallow prints. Fear of dining alone and unnoticed. Fear of going unrecognized. Fear of failure and making a spectacle of oneself. But above all, fear of being no good. Fear of forever dwelling in the hell of bad writers.” ~ Roberto Bolaño, 2666

Falling Rain by nyello8 (FCC)

                   

“Every man, when he gets quiet, when he becomes desperately honest with himself, is capable of uttering profound truths.” ~ Henry Miller

Thursday afternoon. Rainy, humid, and warm, high 70’s.

Rain by Debs (FCC)

If I put this into words, then it becomes real, which is why I have avoided writing for a few days. Everything is falling apart again. How did we get here? We try and try and never seem to make any forward progress.

Our mortgage is going into foreclosure. We are becoming the statistic that defines the middle class: living from paycheck to paycheck, owing more than we make, existing instead of living. And because of this, because my back is against the wall, because I cannot continue to allow Corey to bear the bulk of this burden, I must do as I must. I must apply for jobs, go back to work, my health be damned.

Perhaps if I can get a job, everything will right itself. Perhaps if I go back to work full time, the incessant stress from never having enough money will abate and some of the stress will go away. Perhaps if this happens, Corey will not have to feel as if he has failed us.

I cannot continue to weigh the pros and cons of giving up my disability coverage. While I mull over the what ifs, we are sinking, taking everything and everyone with us. I can only hope that if I do manage to get someone to hire me, that my health will improve as a result of the outside stimulus. I suppose the deciding factor was that when I was looking at openings online, I cam across a marketing position at ODU for which I am perfectly suited.

Perhaps it’s karma, fate, that I find this position at this time. Who knows? I only know that I am so tired of being buffeted along the wind like a fallen leaf, tossed here and there without any control, without any clear direction, left up to forces external.

“Would that I were a dry well, and the people tossed stones into me, for that would be easier than to be a spring of flowing water that the thirsty pass by, and from which they avoid drinking.” ~ Kahlil Gibran

Rain by Marcus Hansson (FCC)

I drafted the following a couple of days ago after seeing a picture of graffiti that said, “Imagine Life without Liars.”

imagine life without liars
peace without pain
truth without terror

pretend we can converse in our sleep
wake in our dreams
return to the beginning

how can we find fault without favor
break the bone without blood
rend the silence without sound

make believe the moment is momentous
the dregs are delicious
the echo is eternal

let us have love without loss
less without want
want without guilt

expect it not to be so
suppose that it might be
possibly perhaps perchance

I’m troubled by the last three lines . . .

“Sometimes I’m terrified of my heart; of its constant hunger for whatever it is it wants. The way it stops and starts.” ~ Edgar Allan Poe

Umbrella, Leaves by mysza831 (FCC)

When I finish this, I need to update my resume, a depressing thought. Posit: Who will hire someone my age who has been out of work for almost three years, regardless of my qualifications and background?

I don’t know what I’m opening myself up for, what kind of reaction to expect other than what I’ve set myself up to believe. I know what I can do. I know what I hope I can do. I know what I wish. Are the three the same? Probably not, possibly not at all.

I like to think there are always possibilities . . .

Star Trek: Wrath of Khan—the best Trek movie ever. Ricardo Montalban with his mullet and bare chest.

Friday afternoon. Stormy.

Anyway, sorry about that little interlude. I actually left this post yesterday to go ahead and work on my resume and cover letter. The killer is that while I know that I could do the advertised job with no problem, how do I explain my three-year hiatus?

On a brighter note, Corey had the first part of his interview with the sheriff’s office this morning: the written test, which he did quite well on; however, he learned this morning when talking to the guy who conducted the test that the department works on a 12-hour day with a monthly rotation, which means all days for a month and then all nights for a month, which pretty much screws any hopes of going to school for him. And, it’s a two-year commitment, so his plans for college would be put on hold for that long.

He’s going ahead with the interview process, but we are both bothered by the commitment and what it means to postponing his dream of a college education yet again.

“The true life is not reducible to words spoken or written, not by anyone, ever. The true life takes place when we’re alone, thinking, feeling, lost in memory, dreamingly self-aware, the submicroscopic moments.” ~ Don DeLillo, from Point Omega

Fallen Leaves by crabchick (FCC)

So today Brett went to the student health center while he was on campus. They tested him for flu and told him that he just has a cold. I know that he must have felt terrible to have gone to see someone on his own; he said that he threw up while he was at school. Completely unlike him. Last night, Eamonn had a rash all over his arms and shoulders. He’s already had chicken pox, so I know that it wasn’t that.

We’re all literally falling apart here—people, dogs, computers, house . . .

The sky outside is white. White skies are very depressing and unforgiving. There is nothing beautiful about them.

Now, the sky has opened up, and it’s pouring. Kind of the perfect backdrop to this post. The temperature is dropping, and it’s raining. Welcome fall, which came in at 5:05 a.m. In spite of the sky, I wouldn’t have it any other way for the first day of fall.

I’ve already moved my sandals to the back of the closet and brought my boots forward. Now I just need to get my sweaters out of the trunk, and I’ll be all set.

Last night I had strange dreams. In one, I was sliding down these sand dunes, like surfing the dunes. People were scattered all over the dunes on towels and blankets, and I was sliding in between them. When I got to the bottom of one dune, I lost control and ran into a man’s Buddha alter. He had placed fresh orange slices in a bowl at the base of the Buddha. I apologized to him profusely and offered to make recompense, but he was quite sedate and kind, and told me not to worry about it.

I also dreamed about my m-in-law. It was my first full dream about her since she died. We were in her living room, and she looked quite normal. She had been moving the furniture around and was decorating for Christmas. I asked her to let us help her move the furniture. She was lucid and conversed normally, except for the comment about visiting Saturn from the roof of the building . . . I have no idea what that means.

I awoke from the dream with a fierce migraine.

“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” ~ Joseph Campbell

Ripple Rain by tiffa 130 (FCC)

Isn’t it always the way that immediately after a doctor’s visit, something happens? I had my med check with my psychiatrist on Wednesday during which I told her that my medication was working well. Now I find myself depressed so completely that I feel covered by a shroud. I know that yesterday before he went to work Corey told me that I should just go to bed and rest and read. I must have looked like hell. I did not take his advice and stayed on this stupid computer for hours trying to make myself look marketable on paper.

It’s been over 24 hours since I first began this post, and I am no more certain of anything than when I began. Am I doing the right thing? Am I jeopardizing the little bit of guaranteed money that our family receives from my disability by attempting to go back to work in the hopes of making enough money to dig us out of this hole?

And just when I thought I had made peace with the idea that I would never be able to go back to work full time, I revisit the issue. A person could well and truly go crazy pondering these things.

I don’t know what to do. What do I do? What do I do? What do I do?

Sometimes I wish that I drank or perhaps did something to alter my reality . . . not really.

Sometimes I wish that I could be Eamonn: He has never understood this thing called disability. He has said numerous times, “Why don’t you just go back to work?” I truly think that he believes that I left work out of choice, that I just sit around on my ass all day doing nothing because I’m lazy. To him, it’s all so simple. You need money, so you go to work. And god help me, but I cannot help but hear his father’s voice when he talks like that.

But said like that, it is all so simple. Maybe it’s just me making it hard.

Enough. Since the computer keeps locking up on me today, I think I’ll call it a day.

More later. Peace.

Coda: The storm has passed, and the sky is the most beautiful pale crimson and orange . . .

Music by Melody Gardot, “The Rain” (what else?)

                   

Zacuanpapalotls

(in memory of José Antonio Burciaga, 1947-1996)                          

We are chameleons. We become chameleon.
—José Antonio Burciaga

We are space between—
the black-orange blur
of a million Monarchs
on their two-generation migration
south to fir-crowned Michoacán
where tree trunks will sprout feathers,
a forest of paper-thin wings.
Our Mexica cocooned
in the membranes de la Madre Tierra
say we are reborn zacuanpapalotls,
mariposas negras y anaranjadas
in whose sweep the dead whisper.
We are between—
the flicker of a chameleon’s tail
that turns his desert-blue backbone
to jade or pink sand,
the snake-skinned fraternal twins
of solstice and equinox.
The ashen dawn, silvering dusk,
la oración as it leaves the lips,
the tug from sleep,
the glide into dreams
that husk out mestizo memory.
We are—
one life passing through the prism
of all others, gathering color and song,
cempazuchil and drum
to leave a rhythm scattered on the wind,
dust tinting the tips of fingers
as we slip into our new light.

“Poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder, with a dash of the dictionary.” ~ Kahlil Gibran

                    INAUGURAL POETRY CHALLENGE WINNER                     Definitions I Prefer                     meas·ure:                    a photographer,                    his mistress.                     touch:                    two sleeping strangers,                    a Greyhound bus.                     pre·ma·ture birth:                    a poet,                    mother’s coffin.                     time·less·ness:                     chameleons,                    a branch.                     soothe:                    aloe,                    summer home.                     hun·ger:                    swirling fork,                    empty plate.                     pres·ence:                    hurricane,                    twelve dead.                     song:                    cobbled roads,                    lover’s cart.                     ho·li·ness:                    morning fog,                    reindeer antler.                     weak·ness:                    bodybuilder,                    unshared bed.                     tone:                    wood,                    pressed ear. Poem written by www.yesorotherwise.tumblr.com Selected by poet Allen Braden as the Inaugural Poetry Challenge Winner Judge’s comment: “‘Definitions I Prefer’ was chosen for its innovation in taking a kind of list we are all familiar with (dictionary entries) and re-envisioning it into the form of a catalog, or list, poem. This poem also practices William Carlos Williams’ advice ‘No ideas but in things,’ what Samuel Taylor Coleridge warned against—‘the danger of thinking without images.’” Again, Congratulations and a tip of the quill goes to www.yesorotherwise.tumblr.com! Details regarding our upcoming second Poetry Challenge will be posted later this week. Please check back for guidelines and deadline.

                    INAUGURAL POETRY CHALLENGE WINNER

                    Definitions I Prefer

                    meas·ure:
                    a photographer,
                    his mistress.

                    touch:
                    two sleeping strangers,
                    a Greyhound bus.

                    pre·ma·ture birth:
                    a poet,
                    mother’s coffin.

                    time·less·ness:
                    chameleons,
                    a branch.

                    soothe:
                    aloe,
                    summer home.

                    hun·ger:
                    swirling fork,
                    empty plate.

                    pres·ence:
                    hurricane,
                    twelve dead.

                    song:
                    cobbled roads,
                    lover’s cart.

                    ho·li·ness:
                    morning fog,
                    reindeer antler.

                    weak·ness:
                    bodybuilder,
                    unshared bed.

                    tone:
                    wood,
                    pressed ear.

Poem written by www.yesorotherwise.tumblr.com

Selected by poet Allen Braden as the Inaugural Poetry Challenge Winner

Judge’s comment: “‘Definitions I Prefer’ was chosen for its innovation in taking a kind of list we are all familiar with (dictionary entries) and re-envisioning it into the form of a catalog, or list, poem. This poem also practices William Carlos Williams’ advice ‘No ideas but in things,’ what Samuel Taylor Coleridge warned against—‘the danger of thinking without images.’”

“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