“If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.” ~ René Descartes

These pavement cracks are the places where poets pack their warrior words ~ Lemn Sissay, Tib Street, Manchester UK*


“All moments, past, present, and future, always have existed, always will exist. It is just an illusion we have here on earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone it is gone forever.” ~ Kurt Vonnegut

Monday late afternoon. Mild temperatures, 50’s.

I slept. A lot. How unusual. Not complaining.

These pavement cracks are the places where sleeping shadows of moving bridges stole ~ Lemn Sissay

I think that I fell asleep around 1 a.m. I got up at 12 to take Brett to school, and then came home and slept for a few more hours. Obviously, my body needed sleep. I did the usual awakening around 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. to let the dogs out, but I had no problems in getting back to sleep as soon as my body hit the mattress. I know: this is not remotely exciting in the way of readable copy, but you have to understand that deep sleep is so unusual for me that I feel a great need to shout it from the rooftops.

Consider the shouting over.

So anyway, Corey had to work third shift last night, and so far today, he has not received any telephone calls from the shipping line. He’s walking back and forth in the house and doing a lot of heavy sighing. This is not a big house, so his path is pretty limited, which I suppose sort of defeats the purpose of intent pacing. I’m not making fun (well, actually, I am, just a bit), but he is so restless that even Tillie, who usually follows him wherever he goes, has taken up position on the couch and just raises her head as he passes by to see if perhaps he’s going someplace that she needs to follow. Then she puts her head down and goes back to napping.

Dogs. Incredibly discerning creatures.

“Some people turn sad awfully young. No special reason, it seems, but  they appear almost to be born that way. They bruise easier, tire faster,  cry quicker, remember longer and, as I say, get sadder younger than  anyone else in the world. I know, for I’m one of them.” ~ Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine

Actual quote from my mother: “You’ve gotten really grouchy now that you’re old.”

How does one respond to something like that? Gee, thanks mom. You say the sweetest, most uplifting things.

Where the dying dust of dreams slides where the slits silt turns to food ~ Lemn Sissay

As I’ve said, I know that I’m particularly impatient with my mother, and trust me when I say that it comes from years and years and years of the same conversation, rehashed, reshaped, repeated ad nauseum. That’s not fair. I know. But I just cannot help it. Well before my mother entered her 70’s she repeated herself constantly, and I got impatient with the repetition. My father used to say, “Yeh, yeh, yeh, yeh, yeh.” Five of them in a row, and I swear the first time that came out of my mouth, I was horrified yet still oddly satisfied.

So when my mother comes out with things like this, inevitably I turn to Corey and say something along the lines of “and you wonder why I have no self-esteem.”

Look, I’ll admit that I’ve never been a heaping pile of optimism, nor has anyone ever accused me of walking around with a stupid smile on my face for no reason. That’s just not who I am. Does that mean that I’m not happy? No. It does mean that I am more often than not in contemplation over this or that, and in that sense, I married the perfect person to complement my personality. Corey is not one of those mindlessly happy individuals either. But we make each other laugh, and we take pleasure in the same things. Mostly.

People who smile easily—there’s something to be said for that. Being cheerful—that’s a good thing. I’ve always envied people like that, but I know myself too well, and I’m not one of those people. Like the lyrics in that Chorus Line song: “Mother always said I was different, different with a special kind of personal flair.” Whatever.

“You simply keep putting down one damn word after the other, as they come to you. You can either set brick as a laborer or as an artist. You can make the work a chore, or you can have a good time. You can do it the way you used to clear the dinner dishes when you were thirteen, or you can do it as a Japanese person would perform a tea ceremony, with a level of concentration and care in which you can lose yourself, and so in which you can find yourself.” ~ Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

So where was I before my mother interrupted? Who knows.

Where rain rushes down grit rock faces where the heartless heat crouches beneath the cold ~ Lemn Sissay

I do believe that some people are born happy and that other people are born sad. And sometimes that changes, and those who were born sad manage to morph into fundamentally happy people, people who can engage in witty repartee, who can smile without any effort; and then those who were born happy have some event in their lives that causes a shift, and they no longer smile, and their wounds, whatever they are, consume every waking moment.

And then there are the others, and this is the category into which I believe I fall: We feel things intensely, and when we are happy, we are happy beyond measure so that even the smallest thing can conjure a smile, but when we are sad, the pain of that sadness overshadows all of our features, leaving our faces pensive and closed. It’s a matter of knowing how to be happy, of having had experiences that were completely blissful, yet at the same time, having experienced tremendous pain and always being cogent of the fact that such pain can come back.

Glass half full or half empty—in the truest sense—or glass simply there as a container.

“I have always been unsatisfied with life as most people live it. Always I want to live more intensely and richly. Why muck and conceal one’s true longings and loves, when by speaking of them one might find someone to understand them, and by acting on them one might discover oneself?” ~  Everett Ruess

I know that I’ve said this in another post, probably more than once, but one of my keenest memories of my mother giving me advice when I was a teenager was that I needed to read happy things and think happy thoughts. I remember the exact moment acutely: I was in the store with her, and as usual, I was in the book section, and I had picked out the book The Holocaust. I think that I might have been about 14. She made me put the book back on the shelf because it was depressing.

And perhaps the pavement cracks are the pattern of concrete butterflies ~ Lemn Sissay

Of course I went back another time and bought the book anyway.

Look. I’m not saying that my approach to life is the best approach. Far from it. I’m merely being brutally honest. I know myself, know my limitations just as surely as I know my capabilities. And it’s a situation of what if: What if my mother had been more attuned to my needs? What if my mother had been better able to offer the kind of advice that would have actually been helpful? What if my mother had nurtured my talents instead of trying to rein them in?

I must sound awful, as if I hate my mother, and that’s so far from the truth. I love my mother, but I also am a realist. I know that my mother is a product of her environment, a child of the Depression, the daughter who lost her mother at a very early age and had to look elsewhere to fill that gaping hole. All of these factors shaped my mother, and the advice that she gave me made complete sense to her even if it didn’t to me. I know that my mom had her own dreams and that many of them did not come true, and that breaks my heart.

“The good writing of any age has always been the product of someone’s  neurosis, and we’d have a mighty dull literature if all the writers that  came along were a bunch of happy chuckleheads.” ~ William Styron

Happiness is a strange thing, and if we are being truthful, probably rarer than most would admit.

Like us they hold the people of a modern earth this world between the windswept flags ~ Lemn Sissay

When were you last happy? What was the exact moment of your bliss?

I know that as a child, I was happy. I was happy and creative and friendly. I got along as well with adults as I did with children. I think, no, I know that my personality changed drastically when I hit puberty. It wasn’t the rebellion. It was the sadness, the deep abiding sadness that I simply could not explain and that I did not understand. Of course I realize now that with puberty and the great hormone surge came my depression.

I have another vivid memory from my early teens: sitting on the corner of the street under the street sign, just sitting and crying. People passed me in cars, some slowed, concern obvious on their faces, and I turned away. I just wanted to be left alone in my sadness. I could not have told you why I was so sad that day. I really had no idea; I only knew that my heart felt so heavy with a sadness that I could not name that feeling anything else would have been relief. Oh god, the angst. I probably went home and wrote one of my maudlin poems.

The teen years: more bad poetry produced by the misunderstood than can ever be read.

I did not tell my mother. And truthfully, I still cannot tell her.

Oh. The answer to that question I posed? I’ll get back to you.

More later. Peace.

*Images are of  verses from Lemn Sissay’s poem “Flags,” which was commissioned by The Northern  Quarter and laid into Tib Street in Manchester, England.

Music by The Wellspring, “The Ballad of El Goodo”


The Crunch

too much too little

too fat
too thin
or nobody.

laughter or


strangers with faces like
the backs of
thumb tacks

armies running through
streets of blood
waving winebottles
bayoneting and fucking

an old guy in a cheap room
with a photograph of M. Monroe.

there is a loneliness in this world so great
that you can see it in the slow movement of
the hands of a clock

people so tired
either by love or no love.

people just are not good to each other
one on one.

the rich are not good to the rich
the poor are not good to the poor.

we are afraid.

our educational system tells us
that we can all be
big-ass winners

it hasn’t told us
about the gutters
or the suicides.

or the terror of one person
aching in one place

unspoken to

watering a plant.

people are not good to each other.
people are not good to each other.
people are not good to each other.

I suppose they never will be.
I don’t ask them to be.

but sometimes I think about

the beads will swing
the clouds will cloud
and the killer will behead the child
like taking a bite out of an ice cream cone.

too much
too little

too fat
too thin
or nobody

more haters than lovers.

people are not good to each other.
perhaps if they were
our deaths would not be so sad.

meanwhile I look at young girls
flowers of chance.

there must be a way.

surely there must be a way that we have not yet
though of.

who put this brain inside of me?

it cries
it demands
it says that there is a chance.

it will not say

~ Charles Bukowski

“ . . . Like it’s dangerous to cry while driving or to talk to strangers or to stare at the sun and a thousand other things” ~ Cole Swensen, from “Five Landscapes”

Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, Georgia, by abbey*christine (FCC)



Green moves through the tops of trees and grows
lighter greens as it recedes, each of which includes a grey, and among the
greys, or beyond them, waning finely into white, there is one white spot,
absolute; it could be an egret or perhaps a crane at the edge of the water
where it meets a strip of sand.” ~ Cole Swensen, “Five Landscapes”

Thursday afternoon. Blue skies. Temperatures have dropped into low to mid 60’s, much more seasonal.

Live Oaks at Emerson Point Preserve, Palmetto, Florida, by Diorama Sky (FCC)

Today it is absolutely beautiful outside. I had thought last night that I might try to walk a bit when I got up, but alas, I had a dreadful night with intermittent sleep and lots of pain. Maybe tomorrow.

My voice is going in and out today, probably as a result of my sinuses, or maybe my annual fall cold is on its way. Corey got home around 7 this morning after going in at 3 yesterday afternoon. He had lost his shift on Monday, so this double shift made up for it, which means that he will actually be getting a decent paycheck for this week. Who knows what next week will bring.

I put on my rubber gloves today before I started the dishes, and apparently the gloves were wet on the inside as the nail polish that I was trying to protect stuck to the gloves and peeled off at least three of my fingers. I know that I haven’t mentioned my latest nervous tic: peeling off my nail polish. I suppose it’s better than chewing on my fingers, but it’s frustrating nonetheless as I spend my evenings trying to make my nails look nice, only to peel off the polish the next day.

Seems like more of that spitting into the wind—totally useless with no ground gained.


There is a single, almost dazzling white spot of a white house out loud
against the fields, and the forest in lines
receding, rises,
and then planes. Color,
in pieces or entire; its presence
veneers over want; in all its moving parts, it could be something else
half-hidden by trees. Conservatory, gloriette, gazebo, or bandshell,
a door ajar on the top floor.” ~ Cole Swensen, “Five Landscapes”

I came across this poem by Cole Swensen, which I think is pretty cool, but when I turned the sections into headers, the line spacing got funky, so if you are familiar with the poem and are wondering if I took it upon myself to change the spacing, I didn’t. I know that I can use the pre code to make things appear exactly as the original, but in Word Press, that doesn’t always result in the best looking copy.

Colonial Park, Savannah, Georgia, by canopic (FCC)

I have forgotten most of what I learned in that absolutely awful computer infrastructure class, but I do remember bits and pieces of HTML, which I suppose means that it wasn’t a total loss, although I was really insulted by my final grade. Whatever . . . I’ll get over it.

The other night Eamonn came home and declared that he was going to buy a pair of goldfish as his room was lonely. Now this would not be problematic except that he assumed that he could have my fish bowl, which was an erroneous assumption as I have been saving that bowl for the time when I  am finally able to get a red fancy-tailed Beta, something I have wanted for years.

It’s not an extravagant want; in fact, I would say that it’s downright reasonable, and I have been asking for a red fancy-tailed Beta for every occasion: Mother’s Day, Christmas, whatever, but no one seems to have taken me seriously, not until I had the mild tantrum over the fish bowl.

Why do I mention this? Because of the mild tantrum, which is what made me realize that I had forgotten to take my Cymbalta that day. In all fairness to everyone else, on days on which I forget this very important medication, I am, well, prickly, to say the least.


The trees are half air. They fissure the sky; you could count the leaves, pare
defined as that which,
no matter how barely, exceeds
what the eye could grasp in a glance;
intricate woods opening out before a body of water edged
with a swatch of meadow where someone has hung a bright white sheet
out in the sun to dry.” ~ Cole Swensen, “Five Landscapes”

Speaking of prickly . . . I am on day four of this week’s headache. I still have not heard from the nurse at the neurologist’s office, even though I contacted the place that was supposed to be shipping my Botox for my migraines. I don’t know what I’ve done to piss of this nurse, but it must have been something really big because she is really stretching out this entire process.

Wakulla Springs State Park, Florida, by catchesthelight (FCC)

I just want to call the office and say, “PLEASE GIVE ME MY BOTOX SO MY MIGRAINES WILL GO AWAY!” but I know that such an action would not have the effect that I’m hoping to achieve, so I’m just sitting here, writing with my eyes squinting again.

Yesterday, I made the mistake of mentioning to my mother that I want to find a different neurologist, and you would have thought that I had said that I was running away to become a Sherpa on Mt. Everest. “No, you can’t do that. What will they say? What will they think?” My mother is big on the school of what will they (whoever they is) think. Her continual references to this ubiquitous they when I was a teenager used to drive me crazy until I finally broke and said, “Who is THEY? Exactly where do THEY live? What do THEY look like?

She wasn’t too happy. But THEY have existed all of my life. One day I will meet THEM, and THEY will probably have three heads and look like a Dr. Who Monster, which, frankly, I would find very comforting as it would confirm my suspicions.


A white bird in a green forest is a danger to itself. Stands out. Shines. Builds
up inside. Like it’s dangerous to cry while driving or to talk to strangers or to
stare at the sun and a thousand other things
we’ve always heard
people who wear white see better at night, though they gradually lose this
trait as they age.” ~ Cole Swensen, “Five Landscapes”

So today’s image theme is Spanish moss and state parks and historic landmarks. I love Spanish moss, love the way it drapes and cloaks and creates an air of mystery about anything on which it hangs, and it grows like wild at False Cape (which used to be Seashore State Park back when I used to skip school and go walking there). Unfortunately, the stuff is riddled with critters, mostly chiggers, or berry bugs, red bugs, or Trombiculidae for the purists. For those of you who are unfamiliar with these things, they are a type of mite prevalent in the South.

Wormsloe Historic Site, Savannah, Georgia, by Jeff Gunn (FCC)

After these little buggers crawl onto their host (including humans, they form a microscopic hole in the skin and chew up parts of the inner skin. The result is severe itching and red bumps or hives, sometimes a skin rash. Why do I know this? Because I used to skip school and hike through Seashore State Park.

Actually, a former neighbor brought home a big pile of Spanish moss and put it in his glass coffee table. Result? Infestation.

I read somewhere that Henry Ford used Spanish moss as the cushioning for his automobile seats until it was revealed that the stuff harbored chiggers. Result? The first Ford recall. I wonder if that’s an urban myth or truth . . .

Thank you Ms. Science for today’s lesson.


The air across the valley is slightly hazy though thinning though patches
remain between the groves of trees that edge a clearing in which stands a
single house. A child in a white t-shirt has just walked out of the house and
is turning to walk down to the lake.” ~ Cole Swensen, “Five Landscapes” from Goest

Okay. I’m not saying that my skipping school was a good thing, but high school was so tedious and boring, and I was able to skip 17 days of French and still get an A without breaking a sweat. Those were different times, though, and if I  had been able to go to a school that specialized in college prep or something like that, I’m sure that I would have been more interested.

Or maybe not.

Oak and Moss, Tallahassee, Florida, by ColetteSimonds (FCC)

Thankfully, the days when skipping was easy have long since passed, and now parents get telephone calls when their children don’t show up at school, which is how I kept track of Alexis and Eamonn. Brett was never a concern as far as skipping school. Some of that old-fashioned do as I say and not as I do in action.

Last night I had one of those really intense dreams in which huge chunks of my life were blended into one time sequence. My boss from the steakhouse in which I worked as a teen was the manager of Dillard’s, and while I was working full-time at Dillard’s, I was also teaching a full load at ODU, only it was the first day of classes, and I hadn’t prepared my lessons, and Mari was there, and she wanted to use some of my colored sheet protectors, and I decided that my office with the window (which was the office I had in northern Virginia) was better than another office that had a better refrigerator . . . Get all that?

And you wonder why I wake up tired and in pain. I mean, I live lifetimes in hours. So I awoke around four and texted Corey to see when he’d be home, and he said that the ship was scheduled to depart at 6 a.m. So being the kind person that I am, I went ahead and proofed his paper that was due today. I don’t know if I was being noisy, but at some point, Brett looked in and asked me what I was doing. I told him homework. He went back to bed.

The dogs were really confused. I finished and collapsed back into bed, and all was right with the world again.

More later. Peace.

Music from The Wellspring, “The Ballad of El Goodo”


Final Autumn

Maple leaves turn black in the courtyard.
Light drives lower and one bluejay crams
our cold memories out past the sun,
each time your traces come past the shadows
and visit under my looking-glass fingers
that lift and block out the sun.
Come—I’ll trace you one final autumn,
and you can trace your last homecoming
into the snow or the sun.

~ Annie Finch, from Calendars