In the Japanese tongue of the mind’s eye one two syllable word tells of the fringe of rain clinging to the eaves and of the grey-green fronds of wild parsley. ~ Denise Levertov, “Grey Sparrow Addresses the Mind’s Ear”
Here are a few of Ohara Hale’s illustrations of Denise Levertov’s poems as part of a Brain Pickings collaboration with 92Y:
Listen to Denise Levertov read her poems:
Your beauty, which I lost sight of once
for a long time, is long,
not symmetrical, and wears
the earth colors that make me see it.
A long beauty, what is that?
that can be sung over and over,
long notes or long bones.
Love is a landscape the long mountains
define but don’t
shut off from the
In fall, in fall,
your trees stretch
their long arms in sleeves
of earth-red and
sky-yellow, a little
lop-sided. I take
long walks among them. The grapes
that need frost to ripen them
are amber and grow deep in the
the way your beauty grows in long tendrils
half in darkness.
The ache of marriage:
The ache of marriage:
thigh and tongue, beloved,
are heavy with it,
it throbs in the teeth
We look for communion
and are turned away, beloved,
each and each
It is leviathan and we
in its belly
looking for joy, some joy
not to be known outside it
two by two in the ark of
the ache of it.
The killings continue, each second
pain and misfortune extend themselves
in the genetic chain, injustice is done knowingly, and the air
bears the dust of decayed hopes,
yet breathing those fumes, walking the thronged
pavements among crippled lives, jackhammers
raging, a parking lot painfully agleam
in the May sun, I have seen
not behind but within, within the
dull grief, blown grit, hideous
concrete facades, another grief, a gleam
as of dew, an abode of mercy,
have heard not behind but within noise
a humming that drifted into a quiet smile.
Nothing was changed, all was revealed otherwise;
not that horror was not, not that killings did not continue,
but that as if transparent all disclosed
an otherness that was blessed, that was bliss. I saw Paradise in the dust of the street.
Perhaps one day I shall let myself
approach the mountain—
hear the streams which must flow down it,
lie in a flowering meadow, even
touch my hand to the snow.
Perhaps not. I have no longing to do so.
I have visited other mountain heights.
This one is not, I think, to be known
by close scrutiny, by touch of foot or hand
or entire outstretched body; not by any
familiarity of behavior, any acquaintance
with its geology or the scarring roads
humans have carved in its flanks.
This mountain’s power
lies in the open secret of its remote
apparition, silvery low-relief
coming and going moonlike at the horizon,
always loftier, lonelier, than I ever remember.
They have refined the means of destruction,
abstract science almost
it is so highly polished. Immaterial weapons
no one could ever hold in their hands
streak across darkness, across great distances,
threading through mazes to arrive
at targets that are concepts—
But one ancient certainty
means blood spilling from living bodies,
means severed limbs, blindness, terror,
means grief, agony, orphans, starvation,
prolonged misery, prolonged resentment and hatred and guilt,
means all of these multiplied, multiplied
means, death, death, death and death.
Like a stunned piano, like a bucket
of fresh milk flung into the air
or a dozen fists of confetti
thrown hard at a bride
stepping down from the altar,
the stars surprise the sky.
Think of dazed stones
floating overhead, or an ocean
of starfish hung up to dry. Yes,
like a conductor’s expectant arm
about to lift toward the chorus,
or a juggler’s plates defying gravity,
or a hundred fastballs fired at once
and freezing in midair, the stars
startle the sky over the city.
And that’s why drunks leaning up
against abandoned buildings, women
hurrying home on deserted side streets,
policemen turning blind corners, and
even thieves stepping from alleys
all stare up at once. Why else do
sleepwalkers move toward the windows,
or old men drag flimsy lawn chairs
onto fire escapes, or hardened criminals
press sad foreheads to steel bars?
Because the night is alive with lamps!
That’s why in dark houses all over the city
dreams stir in the pillows, a million
plumes of breath rise into the sky.
~ Edward Hirsch
Poem on a Line by Anne Sexton, ‘We are All Writing God’s Poem’
Today, the sky’s the soft blue of a work shirt washed
a thousand times. The journey of a thousand miles
begins with a single step. On the interstate listening
to NPR, I heard a Hubble scientist
say, “The universe is not only stranger than we
think, it’s stranger than we can think.” I think
I’ve driven into spring, as the woods revive
with a loud shout, redbud trees, their gaudy
scarves flung over bark’s bare limbs. Barely doing
sixty, I pass a tractor trailer called Glory Bound,
and aren’t we just? Just yesterday,
I read Li Po: “There is no end of things
in the heart,” but it seems like things
are always ending—vacation or childhood,
relationships, stores going out of business,
like the one that sold jeans that really fit—
And where do we fit in? How can we get up
in the morning, knowing what we do? But we do,
put one foot after the other, open the window,
make coffee, watch the steam curl up
and disappear. At night, the scent of phlox curls
in the open window, while the sky turns red violet,
lavender, thistle, a box of spilled crayons.
The moon spills its milk on the black tabletop
for the thousandth time.
“I have been and still am a seeker, but I have ceased to question stars and books. I have begun to listen to the teaching my blood whispers to me.” ~ Hermann Hess, from Demian
I had that dream again, the one in which I am moving/living in the old apartment. This time, it’s much bigger, and my mother has sold her home and we are all going to live together. A friend of ours is helping us to unpack, and there are so many Christmas decorations tucked away in strange places. And then I’m looking at the special pieces that I have gotten from the woman at the museum, the one who gave me my pick of her collection for taking care of everything for her. And some of my favorite pieces are missing, like a gilded punch bowl.
My mother is putting things in the wrong place, and I’m trying not to snap. Then I look in one of the bathrooms and find that it is filthy, that someone has used it like a public restroom, and I am looking for gloves and old towels so that I can clean it. In my mind, I am confused as to whether or not I am with Corey or my ex or my Catholic boyfriend. I’m mostly confused because my ex is acting like he lives there, and I am so confused.
And then I remember the dogs, the ones that I always forget to feed in the dream. When they appear in the dream they are in various stages of illness, and it distresses me, mostly because it’s my fault that I have forgotten that they are in the back yard. But, and this always happens when they appear, I stop to ask myself if anyone has told me about the dogs . . .
“This shaking keeps me steady. I should know. What falls away is always. And is near. I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. I learn by going where I have to go.” ~ Theodore Roethke, from “The Waking”
I dreamed I was Marilyn Monroe, not about her, but I was her. Very, very strange. It was a full-blown story with other people interacting, and my mother, who was MM’s mother, and she was just as weird to MM as she is to me. In fact, most of the people in the dream treated me as MM with a great deal of disdain, and I spent a lot of time trying to convince people that I wasn’t stupid.
I think the dream probably had that slant because of all of the images of Marilyn reading books that show up on my tumblr dash. Apparently she was an avid reader, but I have to wonder if perhaps this belief wasn’t something perpetuated by her publicist so that people would take her more seriously, only in the 50’s and 60’s, blond bombshells weren’t supposed to be taken seriously, so maybe she actually did like to read? Hmm . . .
My world today has been enriched by three incredible poems that I found on my tumblr dash: Michael Lee‘s “Pass On,” Sierra DeMulder‘s “Ninety-Five Grievances to God: Abridged,” and Mark Strand‘s “Eating Poetry.” I plan to use each of them in upcoming posts.
Apparently, there is a blue theme running in the background of my day, hence, most of the accompanying images by my latest discovery—Granville Redmond. Such lovely hues of blue running through his work.
“You hold an absence at your center, as if it were a life.” ~ Richard Brostoff, from “Grief”
I began this post two days ago, maybe three. I honestly don’t remember. The end of the week seemed to be compressed into a few hours. On Thursday, Corey went to do his shift on the ship, only to be told that they were leaving port that afternoon at 4 p.m., which meant that the two days we still thought that we had did not in fact exist. Lots of rushing around, doing last-minute things.
I had planned to watch Olivia on Thursday so that Corey could spend some time with her, so I also had to fit that in, along with getting Brett to campus. Lots of rushing created lots of stress.
On Friday, Brett, Em, and I did more running around, trips to two different Wal Marts, Sally’s Beauty supply for some new nail polish, and a trip to the international market for more of the mochi ice cream that is not my favorite addiction, and by Friday night I was exhausted, but apparently not exhausted enough not to spend all of Saturday afternoon cleaning. I had planned to make French toast and bacon for dinner last night, but that didn’t happen. I ended up eating cheese puffs and trail mix. So healthy.
I guess I’ll do the French toast tonight, that is if I don’t crawl back into the bed and just read.
“I walk slowly into myself through a forest of empty suits of armor.” ~ Tomas Tranströmer, from “Postludium,” trans. Robin Fulton
Anyway, outside of the home front, major things afoot. I watched the live news feed on Friday night of what looked like every cop and FBI agent in Boston as they surrounded this one house in Watertown, waiting to take down the other bombing suspect. It was one of those can’t-look-away scenarios, and then suddenly it was over, and people were pouring into the streets to celebrate.
I kept hearing commentators saying that this kind of takedown wasn’t possible with the Oklahoma City bombings or after the first WTC bombing, but now all first responders are using the same communications network so that everyone can hook into everyone else. Seems odd when you realize just how much technology has advanced the hunting of criminals, making it possible to go from a major catastrophic event on one day to a resolution (as far as capture) just five days later.
I mean seriously—camera footage, cell phone images, the ability to isolate the two perpetrators through a process of elimination, identifying the perpetrators, plastering every possible media source with their pictures, locking down one of the country’s biggest cities and surrounding suburbs, and then, voila. Well, not really voila, but you get my drift.
I guess I’m just amazed when I look at everything that happened so quickly, amazed and relieved, like so many other people.
“I begin now to write down all the places I have not been— starting with the most distant.
I build houses that I will not inhabit.” ~ Keith Waldrop, from “Poet”
Even though I began this post days ago, the blue theme is still fitting, so I’m not going to change the images I had planned.
One thing I’ve been trying to decide whether or not, or how much to write about is my mother’s health. On Wednesday, her doctor’s office called and told her that they wanted to do another CT scan to repeat what was done when she was in the ER. On Thursday morning she went in to have that done. As of yet, we still have not heard anything. She is downplaying it. I had asked her if she wanted me to go with her on Thursday for the scan, and she said no, that it was no big deal.
On Friday, I called to see if she had heard from her doctor and she said that she hadn’t, but that he had lots of patients. I bit my tongue and didn’t say what I was thinking, which is that I don’t care how many patients he has, this is serious, and we need to know what is going on, but I said nothing because to let on how worried I am would only worsen things.
I don’t know what’s going to happen; I don’t know what is wrong with her, perhaps nothing, perhaps something. I only know that when my dad’s doctor called and said that he needed to go in for follow-up tests, he was told he had six months to live, and he lived for less than two. I try not to think of these things, but I do. Of course I do.
I’ll keep my thoughts to myself when I’m talking to my mom, but perhaps I can share them with you?
“There’s a space at the bottom of an exhale, a little hitch between taking in and letting out that’s a perfect zero you can go into. There’s a rest point between the heart muscle’s close and open—an instant of keenest living when you’re momentarily dead. You can rest there.” ~ Mary Karr, from Lit: A Memoir
Wednesday afternoon. Partly cloudy and unseasonably warm, 72 degrees.
Finally got all of my meds refilled, and with the beginning of the year deductible, it almost cost $200. Painful. Everything hasn’t kicked in yet, so I’m still feeling a bit out-of-sorts.
On Monday I allowed myself to get caught up in Dave Cullen’s book Columbine (my other birthday book), and I never wrote a real post; however, I’ve been saving the NASA Gangnam style video for one of those days, so it all worked out. Columbine is an incredible look at the events leading up to that fateful day, as well as events afterwards. So much of what I had come to believe was based on the myths perpetuated by the media: that the two shooters were outcasts (they weren’t), that the two belonged to some group called the Trench Coat Mafia (they didn’t), that they targeted jocks (they didn’t), that the two were goth kids (they weren’t).
I found the book fascinating in its straightforward presentation of facts based on countless interviews, journal entries, videos, police reports, etc.; I also appreciated the ways in which Cullen addressed the prevailing myths and then debunked them.
“Sometimes I dream a sentence and write it down. It’s usually nonsense, but sometimes it seems a key to another world.” ~ Anne Carson
Last night I dreamed that someone wanted to borrow my car to make a drug deal. I was uncomfortable with it but too afraid to say no. Then I was back in the small apartment that appears frequently in my dreams, and I was trying to figure out why one half of the kitchen was on one wall and the other half was across the apartment and why there were so many beds, five or six.
A few nights ago I dreamed that my dad and my Aunt Remy had decided that Corey and I should move to South Carolina to run the fish business. I didn’t really want to go, especially because we would have to live in a trailer, but I didn’t want to disappoint my dad or my aunt. As an incentive, my aunt offered to pay for me to get my hair done. It was a very strange dream.
Then the night before I awoke Corey by saying out loud, “You act like you’re still single.” Apparently I had been having a dream in which the two of us were arguing about something, and I said that to him in the dream, only I actually said it out loud. He was very confused.
Still not as funny as the dream that Corey had last week in which he dreamed that his mother had starting calling him Hot Dog, and when he asked why she was calling him that, she told him it was because he was a little slow. Boy was he upset over that dream. I assured him that his mother would never call him Hot Dog and that no one thought for a second that he was slow.
“And that sound, that single sound, When the mind remembers all, And gently the light enters a sleeping soul, A sound so thin it could not woo a bird” ~ Theodore Roethke, from section 3 of “The Rose”
Yesterday we were watching Olivia, who has recently begun to eat baby food, which is fun yet still a reminder of just how quickly time passes.
I called my mother to let her know that Olivia was at our house, and of course she arrived when the baby was sleeping. I offered to awaken her, but thankfully my mother declined. Olivia’s naps are too short as far as I’m concerned, and if’s actually sleeping, then I want to leave her alone. Not sure what Alexis was planning to accomplish (if anything) while we had Olivia, but I’m just glad to spend time with her.
I kind of wish that I had thought to tell Alexis to send the stroller as it was amazing outside, and I don’t think that Olivia gets outside very much. When the boys were small, I had a double stroller, and I would take them for walks all of the time, Eamonn sitting in the front, and Brett usually napping in the back. Ann and I would walk to Lex’s school to pick her up, babies in tow, Rebecca in Ann’s stroller, and first Eamonn and then both boys in mine. Those were good days.
“We walked on the river bank in a cold wind, under a grey sky. Both agreed that life seen without illusion is a ghastly affair.” ~ Virginia Woolf, Diary Entry, 10 November 1917
I read the most depressing news story today: A teenager who performed in the inaugural festivities just a few weeks ago was killed in a gang-related shooting. Fifteen-year-old Hadiya Pendleton and one other boy were shot near King College Prep on the South side of Chicago. According to the Chicago Tribune:
Friends of the slain girl said King was dismissed early today because of exams, and students went to the park on Oakenwald—something they don’t usually do.
Friends said the girl was a majorette and a volleyball player, a friendly and sweet presence at King, one of the top 10 CPS selective enrollment schools. Pendleton performed with other King College students at President Barack Obama’s inaugural events.
Neighbors said students from King do hang out at Harsh Park, 4458-70 S. Oakenwald Ave., and that students were there this afternoon before the shooting took place. A group of 10 to 12 teens at the park had taken shelter under a canopy there during a rainstorm when a boy or man jumped a fence in the park, ran toward the group and opened fire, police said in a statement this evening.
Gun violence is nothing new in Chicago, but poignancy of this story brings it home: She was just celebrating in the nation’s capital, participating in something incredible, especially for someone so young, and then in just a blink, she is gone.
The U.S. averages 87 gun deaths a day, according to most sources. It just befuddles me how we as a nation are so inured to gun violence.
“I wanted silence. My daydreams were full of places I longed to be, shelters and solitudes. I wanted a room apart from others, a hidden cabin to rest in. I wanted to be in a redwood forest with trees so tall the owls called out in the daytime.” ~ Linda Hogan from “Dwellings”
I think that I’ll probably spend the rest of the afternoon absorbed in another book. I still feel a real lack of energy, and my concentration is not strong, so it would not be a good day to tackle the taxes, too likely to make stupid mistakes.
I do wish that Eamonn would complete his paperwork for his merchant mariner’s documents, but I’m not going to nag. This has to be his decision, and he has to be the one to do the work for it. It’s hard, though.; it would be so easy for me to sit down and complete the paperwork for him, but then what would I be teaching him? That if he procrastinates long enough, Mom will do it for him?
Not good. Not acceptable.
Still, my need to take care of things for my children threatens to come to the forefront all of the time, but if I am to be honest, that need is selfish as it allows me to rescue them, and perhaps they don’t need rescuing, at least not in the way that they did years ago. Perhaps if left to their own devices they will do just fine. It’s such a weird balancing act, this whole parenting thing, how to know when to and when not to, how to decide when help is more hindrance and when help is truly helpful.
I know that I was fortunate in that my parents helped me tremendously when I was my kids’ ages, but at the same time, I had a very, very strong streak of independence, and I never would have dreamed of asking my mother to fill out paper work of any kind for me. I must remember, must remind myself that they are not me. And how wonderful that they are not.
More later. Peace.
Music by Morcheeba, “Crimson”
This Hour and What Is Dead
Tonight my brother, in heavy boots, is walking
through bare rooms over my head,
opening and closing doors.
What could he be looking for in an empty house?
What could he possibly need there in heaven?
Does he remember his earth, his birthplace set to torches?
His love for me feels like spilled water
running back to its vessel.
At this hour, what is dead is restless
and what is living is burning.
Someone tell him he should sleep now.
My father keeps a light on by our bed
and readies for our journey.
He mends ten holes in the knees
of five pairs of boy’s pants.
His love for me is like his sewing:
various colors and too much thread,
the stitching uneven, But the needle pierces
clean through with each stroke of his hand.
And this hour, what is dead is worried
and what is living is fugitive.
Someone tell him he should sleep now.
God, that old furnace, keeps talking
with his mouth of teeth,
a beard stained at feasts, and his breath
of gasoline, airplane, human ash.
His love for me feels like fire,
feels like doves, feels like river-water.
At this hour, what is dead is helpless, kind
and helpless. While the Lord lives.
Someone tell the Lord to leave me alone.
I’ve had enough of his love
that feels like burning and flight and running away.
“As a blind man, lifting a curtain, knows it is morning, I know this change: On one side of silence there is no smile; But when I breathe with the birds, The spirit of wrath becomes the spirit of blessing, And the dead begin from their dark to sing in my sleep.” ~ Theodore Roethke, from “Journey to the Interior”
I have posted a poem by Olena Kalytiak Davis before, but I came across a few lines of the following one on my tumblr dash, so of course, I went in search of the entire poem. I found it on a lovely site that I’ve recently added to my blogroll: Dragonfly’s Poetry and Prolixity. If you love poetry (and dragonflies, which I do), you might enjoy this new gem.
The Panic of Birds
The moon is sick
of pulling at the river, and the river
fed up with swallowing the rain,
So, in my lukewarm coffee, in the bathroom
mirror, there’s a restlessness
as black as a raven.
Landing heavily on the quiet lines of this house.
Again, the sun takes cover
and the morning is dead
tired of itself, already, it’s pelting and windy
as I lean into the pane
that proves this world is a cold smooth place.
Wind against window—let the words fight it out—
as I try to remember: What is it
that’s so late in coming? What was it
I understood so well last night, so well it kissed me,
sweetly on the forehead?
Wind against window and my late flowering brain,
heavy, gone to seed. Pacing
from room to room and in each window
a different version of a framed woman
unable to rest, set against a sky
full of beating wings and abandoned
directions. Her five chambered heart
filling with the panic of birds, asking: What?
“How fragile we are, between the few good moments.” ~ Jane Hirshfield, from “Vinegar and Oil”
Saturday, early evening. Showers and much cooler temperatures.
So . . . long time no real post. One week, actually. So what’s new with you?
I did manage to post the really big news in my life this past week, which is that my computer is back home, new motherboard and graphics card installed, and it did not cost me a fortune as I did not take it back to the geek squad or whatever they are called at Best Buy. Instead, I took it in to a local computer repair place, and the guy there was wonderful and more than reasonable. I will be taking all future problems to his store, for certain.
The other big news is that I’ve spent just about every day with Alexis and Olivia, much to the chagrin of my boys at home—all of them—and the sole other female in the abode, Tillie the Lab. As a result, I’m feeling tugged in a million different directions at once. I want to help Alexis get adjusted, and I want to spend these early days with Olivia, but I am also missing being at home and having some semblance of a routine.
Then, to make everything a thousand times more complicated, Corey got a departure date: this coming Wednesday. I am more than a little discombobulated.
“ . . . there is luxury in being quiet in the heart of chaos.” ~ Virginia Woolf, from a diary entry dated 23 June 1927
I simply cannot fathom that he will be leaving for three months again in just a few short days. We haven’t even gone on a date since he’s been home as the baby’s arrival threw everything out of kilter, and he’s been spending his days trying to tame the wilderness that is our backyard. Now he’s scheduled to leave, and I feel as if we haven’t spent any time together.
My middle name is guilt.
I wonder how I balanced all things when I was working full time. Was everyone so needy then? I’ve been coming home from spending time at Lex’s apartment, and then I do dishes and laundry here and try not to let myself just fall on the bed in a sweaty, exhausted pile of nothingness. The weather certainly hasn’t helped with heat index temperatures above 100 degrees and 150 percent humidity (at least that’s how it feels).
I feel as though even the Beta (Capt. Jack Harkness) is giving me the evil eye for neglecting him. Is it possible to spoil a pet fish?
“It’s odd how the objects of our lives Continue to not define us, no matter how close we hold them unto us. Odd how the narrative of those lives is someone else’s narrative.” ~ Charles Wright, from “Bees Are the Terrace Builders of the Stars”
So all of the big plans to see movies together, to eat sushi, and everything else . . . these things now have to be crammed into a few days.
Of course, I also need to spend time scanning and printing photographs of the baby as my mother is demanding pictures to send to relatives. Pictures need to be inserted into thank you notes. The computer’s hard drive needs major cleaning as I made duplicate backups of my files when it seemed that everything would be lost, and consequently, I have way to0 much duplicate data.
I need to go through two weeks of unopened mail, because, well, no one else has done it, and a million other things that are demanding my attention. At least the OB cleared Alexis to drive at yesterday’s appointment, not that that means much as she is still quite uncertain of herself and her ability to do thing with the baby by herself.
I know that my daughter is not a clone of myself, nor do I expect her to be, but I think back on when I gave birth the first time, and how alone I was in everything. My ex went back to work immediately, did not take a day off work, and there I was in our townhouse in Alexandria trying to learn how to be a mother for the first time. Daunting, but nothing that millions upon millions of women haven’t been doing for millennia. Still, I found then and subsequently that motherhood came quite naturally to me. I was fortunate in that, I know.
I guess I am aware of her mental and emotional fragility and want to ease the transition as much as possible.
“The edge is what I have.” ~ Theodore Roethke
Still, I find myself torn and divided and feeling as if there is no time to do the things that I want to do, like write my posts, or reacquaint myself with this wonderful machine with the huge monitor, sort out my desk, clear off my nightstand. I feel as if everything that I want to do for myself has been placed on that proverbial back burner until everyone else is taken care of, in as much as possible.
For instance: Eamonn is on a new tear about wanting a double bed; consequently, I need to be on the lookout NOW for good buys on mattresses. The dogs’ nails need to be clipped, and Alfie the Insane has developed another bump on his face underneath his left eye. Brett has been nagging both Corey and me to address the Internet issues plaguing our home network (as in it is painfully slow), and his fall semester is coming up, and we still haven’t found the funds to pay for the two summer school classes that he has taken. Corey’s unemployment still hasn’t kicked in for the time that he’s been home, and his phone, which he dropped into water, is not working and needs to be fixed before he leaves. Not to mention that neither I nor Brett have had our eye appointments yet. I need to make an appointment to have the new tires put on the Rodeo so that I can get the damned thing inspected before I get a ticket. and I need to stop by the local urgent care to get my TDAP shot, which I promised Lex I would get . . .
. . . and on and on and on . . .
And in between I try to keep myself bathed and try to remember to take my own medication, even as in the back of my mind I have the Social Security Administration’s form to complete, which should have been done months ago, and my disability provider leaving messages on my phone.
Have I brushed my teeth today?
“I want to tear myself from this place, from this reality, rise up like a cloud and float away, melt into this humid summer night and dissolve somewhere far, over the hills. But I am here, my legs blocks of concrete, my lungs empty of air, my throat burning. There will be no floating away.” ~ Khaled Hosseini, from The Kite Runner
Bitch, bitch, bitch . . . moan, moan, moan.
Truthfully, though, there has never been anything in my life coming close to a happy medium. It has always been feast or famine. But currently? I am at a loss as to how I should even begin to approach this Everest.
Breathe deeply, realize that there is not enough air, try again.
I know that this post is colored in large part by the migraine with which I awoke early this morning, the residual effects of which are still creeping about my eyes. I’ve had a headache every day for the last two and a half weeks, mostly because of the heat, but it morphed into a full-blown, brutal migraine finally, and I was reluctant to wake Corey to help me as he has not been able to get to sleep for four nights in a row.
Everyone is stressed, not just me. I know that, but the environs resemble a pressure cooker about to blow, and I really want to avoid that at any cost. Unfortunately, my OCD which came back with a vengeance a few months ago will not allow me to let even one thing go, let one thing slide until later.
Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still
for once on the face of the earth,
let’s not speak in any language;
let’s stop for a second,
and not move our arms so much.
It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.
Fishermen in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would not look at his hurt hands.
Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victories with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.
What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about…
If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with
Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.
“I’m an observer. I read about life. I research life. I find a corner in a room and melt into it. I can become invisible. It’s an art, and I am a wonderful practitioner.” ~ Christine Feehan, from The Twilight Before Christmas
Wednesday afternoon. Sunny and warm, 80°.
I started reading Norman Mailer’s book The Executioner’s Songyesterday. Believe it or not, I’ve never read this opus, but I’ve always wanted to; it’s just one of those books that I never remembered to put on my wish list until something made me think of it a few months back. So I finally treated myself and ordered it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get it in hardback, which is always my preference, but now I have it.
Mailer won a Pulitzer Prize in 1980 for his massive non-fiction book on convicted killer Gary Gilmore.
You might wonder why I read so much about murderers and serial killers. I know that Corey wonders it. I really couldn’t tell you other than I find the workings of such minds fascinating, which is not to say admirable. I really wish that when I was thinking about careers such things as behavioral analysis units actually existed as I would have taken that route. But since I didn’t, I read about it, whether its fiction or non fiction.
“Nothing benefits the heart like some seclusion in which it enters the plains of contemplation.” ~ Ibn ‘Ata’illah
Today Alexis and I were supposed to go over to my mother’s to sort through her shower presents (through? threw? both look funny but I know that it’s through). She called me a little while ago to say that she wasn’t going anywhere today because she’s too tired. Apparently, she’s feeling very overwhelmed from taking care of the puppy, who is not yet trained (not going to say anything), and she feels very cramped in their tiny apartment.
I told her that it was completely up to her. Besides, I have to go pick my prescriptions and take Brett to campus in a bit. I tell you what I would like to be doing, though: floating in the pool . . . Yep. That would definitely be relaxing. Unfortunately the frogs seem to be the only ones who are enjoying the pool at the moment. Eldest son is responsible for opening the pool, which, one would think, would not be problematic as he works in a pool store.
One would think being the key phrase. But since he’s spending the week house-sitting for his father, I don’t think it’s going to happen this week. It’s only mid June . . . Do I bitch too much? Probably. Do I care? Not at all.
I mean, it’s an above-ground pool, not an Olympic-sized in-ground. How hard could it be? Apparently very.
“We were awakened in the dark by the somnambulist brook nearing the sea, still dreaming audibly.” ~ Elizabeth Bishop, from “A Summer’s Dream”
Thursday early afternoon. Partly cloudy and much cooler, 70°.
So I didn’t finish yesterday’s post. Lost momentum and got distracted. I ended up packing away my sweaters and getting out my summer clothes and sorting my closet. I filled another bag with donations, clothes that I would probably only wear to work. I had thought that I got rid of most of those last year in my annual purge. Worked like a fiend until it was time to pick up Brett from class, and by the time I got back home, I had only energy enough to watch Discovery ID.
I had a night filled with strange, strange dreams. Richard Gere made another appearance, but this time he was robbing gold from somewhere. The plan consisted of a crate that was sitting on some rafters. I climbed onto the rafters to take the real gold and replace it with something that was just painted gold. Then when I got to his apartment to put back the key, some people were there eating cake and drinking champagne. One was a known drug dealer. I knew that I would need to clean the mess they had made if I was going to get away with the switch. At some point I made pancakes for boy scouts with some flour that was sitting on the kitchen counter, only later I found out that it wasn’t flour but cocaine. I had fed cocaine to boy scouts! Then an old nemesis from high school appeared and began to thwart my attempts to make the apartment look normal. Turns out Gere was in his bedroom asleep the entire time we were cleaning. I faked crying when he came out.
I have no idea what any of that means except that my imagination in my sleep is much more alive than during waking hours.
“Find what causes a commotion in your heart. Find a way to write about that.” ~ Richard Ford
Corey and I have been exchanging e-mails in the past few days. He’s scheduled to be in Brooklyn around the end of the month. He sounds a bit weary, which is to be expected. Apparently he e-mailed me on Saturday to discuss his schedule, but, of course, I did not check my e-mail on Saturday as I was in manic mode.
I will be so glad to see him, but I just hope that he doesn’t spend his time home worrying about money. It has been impossible to put any extra funds by with all of the unexpected bills that crop up each month. We had big plans to save, but it just hasn’t worked. Does it ever?
I would love to buy him a new gas grill for Father’s Day (speaking of money). Ours is completely rusted and inoperable. A gas grill is great for cooking in the summer, helps to keep the heat out of the house. Perhaps there will be good sales before he gets home. I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see, as usual.
Anyway, he says that he’s still enjoying his job but that he’s ready to be home, but the company has scheduled a Coast Guard inspection when the ship docks in Brooklyn. Not sure what’s behind that. Seems kind of strange to me, especially since the ship needs work.
“Wherever I am, I always wonder what I am doing back there, Strange flesh in a stranger land. As though the world were a window and I a faint reflection Returning my gaze Wherever I looked, and whatever I looked upon.” ~ Charles Wright, from “Hereclitean Backwash”
I stumbled upon a new site for poems: The James V. Brown Library in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The site features a poetry forum with poems of the month.
Hey, I know that there are a million (well, not quite) sites on the Internet that feature poetry, but what I find particularly interesting about this site is that it’s a public library. Imagine, a library that has an interesting website and a summer reading program. Is that an anachronism? Listen, the public libraries around here (not the university-affiliated ones) are so lacking in books that it makes me want to cry. Most of the local branches around here have more computer terminals than books.
When our Internet was off a few years ago, we went to the branch that is just a mile from my mother’s house. The experience depressed me so much: the children’s section that I practically lived in was almost non-existent. The tables that I used to plant my bum in during high school when we had study sessions were reduced to four or five. Books had been replaced by movies. That is not a public library, at least not in my estimation, but hey, what do I know?
“The untranslatable thought must be the most precise.
Yet words are not the end of thought, they are where it begins.” ~ Jane Hirschfield, from “After Long Silence”
My gardenia bush in the backyard is full of blooms. I’ve cut blooms and placed them all over the house. I love the heady scent of fresh gardenias; it reminds me of my Aunt Ronnie, the one who had Sunday dinners at Great Bridge. She used to wear a cologne called “White Gardenia.”
I especially love floating in the pool and having that scent waft over me when a breeze stirs the air. It’s such a perfect moment in time.
The butterfly garden in the front yard is mostly green as opposed to floral, except for the Lantana, which just grows and grows. The lack of sun in the front is taking its toll on the blooms. I suppose it’s the price we must pay for having that shade that keeps the front of the house cooler. Perhaps we can transplant some of the plants to the side yard this fall. The Dogwood tree on that side needs to come down as it’s not healthy, and we could put more plants there, like a lilac and some Russian Sage, perhaps the lace wing hydrangeas, as I noticed that they did not come into full bloom this year either.
I’ll leave the planting up to Corey, though, as he definitely has the greener thumb between us.
Well, that’s about all for now. I’m going with Alexis over to my mother’s today. Fun, fun, fun.
More later. Peace.
Music by Gotye (who sounds so much like Sting), “Somebody That I Used to Know”
More Than Enough
The first lily of June opens its red mouth.
All over the sand road where we walk
multiflora rose climbs trees cascading
white or pink blossoms, simple, intense
the scene drifting like colored mist.
The arrowhead is spreading its creamy
clumps of flower and the blackberries
are blooming in the thickets. Season of
joy for the bee. The green will never
again be so green, so purely and lushly
new, grass lifting its wheaty seedheads
into the wind. Rich fresh wine
of June, we stagger into you smeared
with pollen, overcome as the turtle
laying her eggs in roadside sand.