“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

“An anxiety for being me, forever trapped in myself, floods my whole being without finding a way out, shaping me into tenderness, fear, sorrow and desolation.” ~ Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

Note: This post was originally intended to be published on October 16.

Abstract 4: Wind on the Tide Pool by russell.tomlin*

                   

“To look at her, you might not guess that inside she is laughing and crying, at her own stupidities and luckiness, and at the strange enigmatic ways of the world which she will spend lifetime trying to learn and understand.” ~ Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

Abstract: Confusion by russell.tomlin

One of the problems with piggy-backing onto someone else’s network is that you are at the mercy of the other person’s network, as in if it (the network) is not available, then you (the piggy-backer) are essentially SOL. Hence, the dearth of posts in recent days.

So it’s Saturday afternoon, and I’ve been trying to write a post for days now. Today I finally decided to write in Word and just paste if/when I finally get a network signal.

It’s been a very rough week. About mid-week, my mother was doing much better. She was using the walker several times a day, and seemed to be moving without a lot of pain. I made the mistake of telling her that I thought that if she kept up the progress, I would try to start spending nights at home and coming back at 7:30 in the morning. Ever since I said that, she has been regressing.

I don’t think that she’s aware of the timing, but something subconsciously is not ready for me to leave. Now she’s being difficult about taking her medicine; whereas she never gave me a problem before. The way in which she shuts her mouth and shakes her head reminds me so much of my kids when they were young.

She says that now she hurts all over her body, and she feels weak. I can see, though, that her leg is healing well. Most of the swelling has decreased in her calf, and the swelling around her knee is also visibly less. I know that her back is beginning to feel the strain of the up and down movement from supine to sitting, as well as the tugging that she is doing with her arms.

Is it horrible of me to say that I just want to spend a night in my own bed, with my husband and dogs? I feel horrible for even wishing it, but damn, I’m weary to my bones.

“The dream of reason produces monsters.” ~ Goya, from “Caprices”

Abstract: Harbinger by russell.tomlin

I tried to sleep in my old bedroom, which is directly across the hall from her bedroom, but she turns the television in her room up full blast as soon as she is awake, making it impossible for me to doze an extra hour or two, so I’ve moved back to the couch full time.

Last night was a doozy. I feel asleep around 11, and woke up at 1 a.m. with her calling my name with a sense of urgency. The latest development is an upset stomach (not going to give too many details here). She didn’t feel as if she had enough strength to use the walker to get to the bathroom. We made do (no pun intended). I got her back in bed, and then found myself wide awake, so I cleaned the kitchen and tried to find something on television to watch.

In the midst of all of this Earl Grey, the cat, managed to sneak into the house. Once I positioned myself on the couch, he decided that he wanted to sleep on my feet. Have I mentioned that I am allergic to cats. It used to be unbearable, but over the years, I can tolerate mild exposure without having a full-blown asthma attack. However, I was so spent, that I didn’t even fight with the cat, and let him sleep on my feet until the wee hours of the morning, whereupon both he and Willow (the dog) both decided that they needed to be let out at 7:15.

I’ll bet that you are absolutely agog with envy over the situation that is now my life.

“The greatest mania of all is passion and I am a natural slave to passion: the balance between my brain and my soul and my body is as wild and delicate as the skin of a Ming vase.” ~ Hunter S. Thompson, The Curse of Lono

Abstract: Leaves Over Frantic Water by russell.tomlin

Anyway, today is another day, and for the first time in days, no television is on in the house; the animals are about their business, and my mother is sound asleep. The silence is wonderful, but I think that I am a bit unnerved by it; having had a full frontal assault on my senses for weeks now, I think that I am equating the silence with a bit of trepidation: as in, it’s too quiet; something is bound to happen to break this stillness.

The other thing that is happening simultaneously is that Corey’s mom is due to arrive anytime today. He is madly cleaning, while I am over here waiting for Alexis to come and relieve me so that I can help Corey. A few days ago, I spent a couple of hours at home, during which I scrubbed the kitchen all over (except the floor), did a load of laundry, and cleaned the bathroom.

Since I am not at home, all of my nervous energy has been directed at keeping my mother’s home spotless, so when I went in the door to my own home, everything looked and smelled funky. We have made a valiant effort in the past six months or so to keep the house tidy, but my fat, gay, mama’s boy Jack Russell Shakes has taken my desertion of the home front quite personally, and has been marking a lot of territory out of spite.

Hence, the funky smell.

I’m not going to be able to spend very much time with Corey’s mom as things in this house change so drastically from one moment to the next. We are hoping to get together tomorrow evening for dinner. At least she’ll have some quality, one-on-one time with Corey for a few days before she flies back to Ohio.

“I take into my arms more than I can bear to hold
I am toppled by the world
a creation of ladders, pianos, stairs cut into the rock
a devouring world of teeth where even the common snail
eats the heart out of a forest
as you and I do, who are human, at night yet still I take into my arms more than I can bear to hold” ~ Nikolai Gogol, “Old-World Landowners” 

Abstract: Rocks Like Flowers Below the Blue by russell.tomlin

Did I mention that the judge who oversaw my Social Security hearing decided against me? Yep, my long string of lousy luck continues to hold sway. I allowed myself to think that the hearing had gone very well, and was even thinking about how wonderful it would be to be able to receive Medicare, only because it would mean the end of extremely high health insurance payments.

No joy. I had a long conversation with the lawyer who represented me, and she said that all of the cases that she presented before this particular judge were denied. Luck of the draw. She reassured me that I had done well in the hearing, but said that this judge does not really considered people to be disabled unless they have stage 4 cancer and are near death.

The judge’s ruling was quite slanted of course and made me out to be a slacker. Understandably, I was quite upset as I feel that he took so many things out of context. The next step is up to me, I can try to appeal, which can take up to another year and a half, or I can just give up and continue to receive benefits from the insurance company.

I told the lawyer that I want to appeal, mostly because I’m stubborn, but more because I’m pissed. The other thing about the appeal is that I don’t have to do any work on this end. It’s all done by the company representing me since they are actually representing the insurance company, and the insurance company would like nothing better than for me to move from their rolls to Social Security’s rolls.

Biggest drawback: There is a good chance that my new hearing will be before the same judge. How is that new, I ask you . . .

But then, if it were easy, it wouldn’t be my life, now would it?

More later. Peace.

Music by Damien Rice, “Cold Water”

*All images taken with permission from russell.tomlin’s Flckr pages.