Saturday, July 29, 2006


a passage from a book i'm reading by robert a. johnson:
Now. Here. This is it. Contentment gives you a different experience of time; your mind stops wandering into the past or the future. As modern people, we waste so much time wishing we're in a different circumstance, which of course is quite impossible. You could call contentment being in love with the moment, not just dutifully accepting it like an arranged marriage but passionately, rapturously embracing the eternal now as your soul mate. Contentment grows out of a willingness to surrender preconceived ideas and affirm reality as it is. Honoring 'what is' is just the opposite of living out of a 'just as soon as' mentality. Reality doesn't always go the way you would like. When this happens, you can either become frustrated and redouble your efforts to push reality around, or you can learn to accept, affirm, and even dance with what is given.

i've been reading robert a. johnson for a while now, read most of his books. i find them all to be vastly stimulating and challenging. this passage above is exactly where i'm at. trying to determine how to accept things as they are, and live abundantly.

it is not an elusive ideal Christ talks about, but it happens to elude me on most occassions. this is a problem with me, not Christ's ideal. i understand that. so what has to change for me to embrace joy? a great many things. my expectations for one. i have always wanted more, to acheive. to become. there is nothing wrong with being forward focused, but at times, it is to the peril or exclusion of the moment.

when johnson refers to the "eternal now," this is a concept i heard back in texas. one which i could never really wrangle in to my experience. but has been hovering in my grey matter for some time.

the way it was phrased there was:
live eternity now

that, friends, is what i mean to do. to tend the mundane, necessary daily bits of life but to find God in them. not to belabor the dragging out of the trash because no one else will. not to begrudge the fallout of a healthy family. but to rejoice that we are together, healthy, alive.

to love now. with its shortcomings and difficulties, with its griefs and pains. to cherish life. i do this on occassion, but it is by no means the standard by which i live.

the idea of "passionately, rapturously embracing the eternal now as your soul mate" is exactly how i needed it phrased. all things pertaining to sensuality come easily to me. i can understand this concept now in a way i could not before. it was an intellectual ideal then. now it is a tryst. a love affair. a rendevous. something i understand, if even only poetically.

in this book johnson has some powerful exercises for discovering one's projections. the question then becomes,
okay, how do i deal with them?
(how many times have i asked myself this question and wanted an answer, any answer). he says,
they are lobbed from the unconscious (my paraphrase). we cannot really know about them as they are being projected so much as discover them.
this gives me some comfort.

i want to stop projecting, stop living my life outwardly, but seems the best i can do is be aware of what is happening. i have asked too much of myself to stop this activity altogether.

that is all. contentment is my aim. i believe it an attainable, worthwhile standard. i am trying to disengage from the materialism so prevalent around me and become somewhat of a minimalist. i still have trouble passing good books and not redeeming them. will have to work on that, though i passed up four books i coveted on thursday.


Friday, July 28, 2006

touch me babe

the doors' song runs through my head.
i am often surprised at how much touch means, and how little of it i get.

i grew up in a touchy feely family. we always hugged and kissed, EVERYONE when we arrived and when we left. this was because my Grams was going to get hugs and kisses from everyone. so she raised her children this way. it got to be quite an ordeal when there are thirty people at a christmas eve gathering and such. start saying goodbye about fifteen minutes before you need to leave. and yes, we had to kiss our cousins. and we didn't mind so much when we got older. everybody hugged and kissed everybody.

when i married my husband, i became isolated in the worst way. untouched. (not by him mind you. though i'm certain you have gathered that by now from my poems). but it is an entirely different kind of touch that comes from a spouse. that is a deep touch, a therapeutic touch. something mending to the soul.

but in all these many years of marriage i have found one of the things i miss most is having the cousins and aunts and uncles to hug and kiss me.

a friend always commented that i said thank you when she hugged me, but that was some three years into marriage and i was horribly untouched by that point. a week now and again of family isn't enough to fill the tanks of a touchy feely type like me.

(now that's not to say i even feel comfortable with every stranger i meet touching me. no, that's not it at all. it has to be the right context. and now, it has to be women. men hugging me, aside from priests, freaks me out. i don't need it. i don't like it, and except for those men who are also friends with my husband, i don't encourage it.)

so long it has been since i've had anyone just touch me (and know i mean WOMEN, when i say that, okay?), that i forget how meaningful it is.

at the poetry intensive, the matriarch made me cry. i cry easily. it's not something i hide or try to get around. if the tears want to come, i let them. she hugged me constantly after that. every time she saw me. she's italian. i was so grateful for the hugs, i had to thank her when i got home. i hadn't realized how much it meant.

i came across a passage in my readings that says, touching people wakens their spirit. it quickens their soul (my paraphrase). and i thought, yes. that is it exactly.

what my Grams may have purposed to quicken her own soul, quickened mine as well.

i languished in the years i have been apart from my extended family for want of their touch.

i was sitting in a bible study tuesday (see, i'm not a heathen! thank you very much). and peter, my sister's and my favorite priest at this chapel i go to, sat beside me, very close. he tucked his chair right next to the big recliner i absconded (i love a comfy chair) in the library where we met.

we were reading 1 timothy 3, the passage where it says,
silly women at home are led astray by divers lusts.

i kept giggling when we'd read this passage. and peter elbowed me.

i giggled some more because it was like something my family would do. and, well, i in the broadest sense of the word, peter is my family.

but that he was unafraid to elbow me for giggling, i enjoyed immensely. i'm sure it is tough on priests having to deal with silly women. giggling women. with all our divers lusts. i am a handful. but it felt like God was sitting beside me in him, and just enjoying being there. present. within touching distance. very nice.

the new priest at our chapel (we're small but have a bevy of priests from varying traditions, which as you know is my kind of thing), is a woman. i'll save her name for a later date. but she walks up, hugs me and kisses me with a warmth and gentleness that makes me think about changing teams (ha! just checking to see if you are really paying attention. i would never change teams. i'm a devoted manfan).

anyway, i love being touched by WOMEN. and those who don't weird me out.

some touches are freaky and creepy, those i avoid. even a handshake can be creepy given the right circumstance.

but i miss my family. i miss touching them and them touching me. this isolated existance we westerners live is too much for me. i need to be with people when i'm in their midst. maybe that is why i have so much trouble entering in. no one kissed and hugged me when i arrived. (though my priests do, and helen, the lovely 84 year old).

praise be to God.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

all one

i'm prompted to write by a kind word i received. one i never imagined to be in shadow says it is so. this confession, this revelation, this encouragement blesses me. as i find myself often feeling alone in this journey.

marion woodman says,
you'll find yourself alone but it is better to be alone then with the crowd. and when you've been alone long enough, you'll find others who are also alone. and they are the only ones worth spending time with anyway.

how i understand this. i've wondered why this aloneness? this pervasive solitude that sometimes it feels i am driven to. the crowds i just don't get. i have tried, believe me, i have tried.

i came across this sentiment in one book i read recently, forgive me for not remembering where, but i read at least a book a week and move so quickly sometimes i can't remember up from down via references. so this was probably robert johnson, as it sounds very much like him:

alone = all one

he went on to say,
when one is unafraid of being alone. one cannot be parted from self. one is all one in the sense that they are so fully themselves that they are whole. complete. entire.

i do not profess wholeness, but i do understand the desire to collect my parts which have been lain down for the sake of others. those pieces, as you can imagine are few, but pivotal.

i'm trying to understand a great many things about my wiring and one of the books i'm finishing up today speaks of aphrodite and how she is enchanted by her own enchantments.

that phrasing is exactly the kind of thing i'm looking to discover in myself. where am i beguiled by my own beguiling. enchanted by my own enchantments.

i'm ever on the proverbial witch hunt within myself, and try to ease up. but scrutiny comes natural to me. i pick through my sordid ideas and try to find the weaklings. my tendencies are a difficult matter though, because they are part habit, part comfort. i do not willingly or easily part with comfort.

it is scant these days, my vestiges of comfort. my bastions of ease have failed me. they have dried up and blown away for the most part. which leaves me staring at a whole slew of habits. which i consider and try to determine what good they are and if they deserve to remain.

it is well. i trust there is a reason for the hope that is within me. and someday i shall know it. see it. even as i rest upon it now, in faith and trust. my dis-ease ever forcing me to reckon with God and cry out for His blessing.

God is indeed faithful. the All One, is watching over me. gathering my scattered members, and re-membering me who i am. who i was created to be. though at times it feels like only darkness. He is here. in this shadow. in this mire. in this pain. He is here.

God be praised.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

write me a door

i said i'd write my way though, and i haven't written a word. so i've been bumbling through the mire and need to get out. here i am, fashioning a door of words. a window of hope.

in my prayers the other day i came across the ever powerful scripture,
i shall not die, but live.

how many times that word alone has saved me alive i do not know. i hear my spirit uttering,
choose life. choose life.

i could languish on the vine, but i choose not to. i choose life. so even though i don't feel an ounce "better" as they say, i am choosing life.

my best friend from seattle called yesterday. i had called her late friday night. i was in dire need of help that night. i asked her,
did i sound happy? i was trying to sound happy.
because i was trying to leave a message but not a scary message.

she said,
i know you. i know your voice. i can hear it in your voice when you are sad.

she went on to say,
i think anyone in true relationship who really knows a person can tell when that person is sad.

i hope that is true. i hope that there are many other people out there who have those rallying around them as i, who hear beneath the words. who see though their eyes have not laid hold of me in the flesh in many years, sometimes at all. i hope and pray that there are more friends like that out there to be-friended. if that is even a word. i don't think it is.

today's prayers have this line from luke 1:68:
to give light to them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death.

that i am a christian and need this light as much as the unsaved, is what it is. i'm not sure that i will ever not be in need of that particularl light.

i sat at the audobon society of new jersey on monday, outside the cage of a wounded captive hawk named killi. she was wounded in texas as a juvenile and while she has wings and can fly, she cannot live in the wild. she cannot fend for herself.

killi makes only juvenile hawk sounds. a kind of gutteral cry i've never heard before. none of the screeching calls so familiar to those who know hawks.

when i first saw her, the striking similarities beckoned me as we regarded one another and i said,
i'm sorry killi. i won't identify with you. i'm blooming.

(a blue jay calls outside my window just now.)

you see, i was once wounded. i once knew only juvenile sounds, but no more. i am restored. i am whole. sure, i fall into shadown now and again, but as my best friend says,
you use your creativity a lot. it is to be expected that your shadow would exact a toll.

she is a pianist, songwriter, you see. and understands these things.

so i sat with killi monday. and we had a good chat. a silent communing of spirits. her piercing brown eyes fixed upon me at times and i smiled and said,
hello lovely.
wounded or not, she is majestic. grounded and caged or not, she demands respect.

many tiger swallowtails frequent the grounds, black swallowtails and an unidentified rather large checkerspot with irridescent spots below the wings reminiscent of a gulf frittilary. but the wings are not the elongated wings of the fritillary, rather akin to a monarch.

i basked in the sun like a butterfly beating her wings upon the bright red campchair flower on which i like a stamen posed. bees investigated me. wasps too (a giant red one unnerved me). the warmth of sunshine, the visual freedom of that place (more on that another day), was healing to me.

beauty is healing. so while i've not penned me a door, i've found me a door of hope and beauty. friendship and love. and i am grateful.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

black hole sun

i will try again to write. i've been unable to get the words on the page. which is indicative more of my state of mind than anything. we artistic types, when we are stricken are down for more than just the count. we're (or i shall speak for myself alone), i'm overwhelmed by blackness. such was the case this week. it was a rough, rough week.

i had a friend encouraging me,
write about it suz. you've got to get that stuff out.

when it came out, it weren't pretty. it wasn't anything to be proud of. but it is a beginning.

i often feel bad for those who have to read me (or choose to), because the stuff i'm dealing with is so painful. i just wish i could spare the world. but some part of me thinks, this is what i'm supposed to do.

my friend asked me today,
how will you get through it?

i'll write my way through.

that is what i've done my entire life. i've written doorways and windows out of the pain by just saying,
this is what it is. it's not pretty. nothing to be proud of. it is pain. i understand pain. do you understand it?

and many people step up and say,
yes, i do.

friday night was the worst. i had fallen into shadow. plunged headlong. and could not find my way out. my way up. my poet friend met me, pain for pain, poem for poem.

that this is how i operate and there are other souls out there who can abide with me is such a blessing i can hardly utter it. that there are some who remain unafraid gives me strength. and hope.

i don't have any answers. i don't have any certainties. i don't have any happy words for you. while i'm down, i will not try to feign a smile. but i will be honest. that is what i do. that and write poetry.

here are the words i put down saturday morning. i'll let them trail off where they left me before. i've poems about these, but you must be a poet to read them. or call me and i'll read them to you. i'm in a place not fit for the marketplace. but perhaps my editor will find some way to get me out there. i certainly have no clue.

some thoughts from a book i'm reading come to me now (by Christine Downing),
Time spent in hades that is not spent trying desperately to get out also leads to the discovery of power and beauty of the dark moments in our life, the real confusions and desolations. Fear is so different when one does not have to fear fear but can simply fear; incompleteness and hurt are also different when one sees them not as something to get beyond but as something to live.

(i mentioned this passage to my friend today. she said,

but these words still resonate with me. maybe words will come so i can explain why. maybe not.)

persephone's abduction was essential to her becoming. just as ariadne's desertion was essential. all ends well. we become who we are created to become.

the demon lover theme revisited in my readings of late, which mandated the fatal turn of events for Gretchen.

Friday, July 21, 2006

waking the dead

wednesday evening it was my turn to take the girls to vbs (found another one!). we arrived slightly early and they are 9, so they wanted out of the truck to get into mischief.

i tried to distract them as long as possible and finally they decide they want to go to the cemetary.

i told them
you are so loud, you could wake the dead. and probably better be quiet.

they laughed, and my girl's new bff said,
all they can do is pass through us. they can't hurt us (meaning the dead of course).

which i thought very profound for a child. fearless. a real well adjusted kid, which is why i don't mind my child hanging out with her.

on the way to the church, which is surrounded by cemetaries, one large one across the road, but this is an old wooden one room chapel type church with a small detached building used for children's ministries. these two buildings are separated by gravestones, and a cemetary.

the girls wandered through this section of the cemetary as i sat in the truck reading, watching them go from headstone to headstone via my rearview mirror.

passing a cemetary on the way that night, my girl tells me,
that night we went camping with that other troop


i said

they told scary stories. and i listened.

i was out by the fire, so i had no idea what they were doing in there. but i saw a ghost stories book the next morning and wondered.

of course, i'm none too pleased about this, but my sister and i read ghost stories when we were girls. one night up late, it was dark (that is the time for these things, is it not?), we were reading about the undead, and we lived in a townhome. my mom and dad had gotten divorced and we were relatively comfortable in these temporary digs. we moved a lot then.

all of the sudden, we heard something run up the stairs and slam a door.

my sister launched the book and we never read ghost stories again. it was probably just the neighbor getting home and being incredibly rude. but my sis and i had over active imaginations having watched every wretched show we wanted or were shown by adults who lacked sense to know better than to show such things to kids.

so i got out of my truck at the end of vbs and stood at the leaning wrought iron fence and read. looking out over the headstones. some tall as spires. others tiny tictac shaped slabs of marble. others cobblestone blocks. there were arlington national cemetery type boogie board shaped marble, these leaned rather severely. all of them, the dearly departed. all of them, reminders of the passing of time. all of them telling their own stories of triumph and loss through one little dash embraced by a couple dates.

quite a sobering sight. i wondered when the church became such a set apart thing. no more surrounded by the ancients. no more reminder of the past and inevitable future of us all. we saunter in and out of church, or at least i do, never thinking about how short our lives really are.

we shuttle off to some distant cemetary, plop the casket in the grave, and shuttle back. it is all very disconnected. living, dying. but in these old churches, the dead become reminders of this fleeting life.

and sometimes, children walk among the headstones killing time.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

devouring elephants

i've been thinking a lot about what my next step is. i'm not sure. things happened so quickly when i arrived here in ny, that now it seems i've hit a lull. i need a diversion. to get myself moving forward again.

so i'm registering for the dodge poetry festival, which is only the woodstock of poetry. i hope robert bly shows up. i'd beg steal and borrow to go hear him.

i'm also trying to line up my duckies so i can get to denver this september. the ad lib christian arts retreat was so immensely valuable to my life as an artist, i can't recommend it enough. not only did i have my life infiltrated by God. my borders overrun and a whole slew of stuff happen, i met at least one life long friend. who has been more of a blessing to me than perhaps many people i've met in a long while.

the deal with ad lib is, the artists were so immensely and vastly gifted that it was said when we were introducing ourselves,
okay, just pick your top three areas of artistic gifting.
i met a worship dancer this way and we were able to dance at the end of the weekend.

i have been asked to dance if i go there again. the tricky part of it is, i don't dance for performance. so last year, it was sunday morning and while other performers were applauded when they were done. the group was instructed to hold their applause and walk to the chapel in silence.

it was awesome. perfect. beautiful. i couldn't have asked for more. i don't want applause. i don't want people to watch me. i want to fade gently away and meet at the chapel where we can join hearts and hands in communion.

yes, that is it.

i'm a bit off today. but finding my footing.

a dear friend told me he took my unpublished manuscript to a prison with him and someone got saved. so God is getting the glory after all. my friend said,
if it doesn't get published down here, it's all ready published in heaven.


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

so much nothing.

there's so much to say, that there's nothing in the world at all to say. the days are hot and heavy now, like a quilt that makes you dream you're in the desert. searching for water, parched and dry. i dreamt of this recently, i was burning up when i awoke. two men jumped out from behind a building with guns (in my dream), and i saw them and ran up the mountain and was safe. they could not shoot me down, though they tried.

a friend tells me this is me running to the refuge of the Lord.

i have run to the refuge of the Lord my whole life. it is the only place of safety for me. too many times i've walked boldly into places perhaps dangerous because i had my Rear Guard and Shield with me.

my husband requires i carry mase (i don't even know how to spell it), so i can shoot someone in the eyes if they look at me funny. i think, i'll probably shoot myself and then be in a world of hurt.

i got some in my eyes once, it was rolling around in the center divider of my camry. i reached back for a pen, one of my then faithful bic crystals (i used to hoarde them, but one finds when one hoards things, they turn on you. like a little gang of rebels, they conspire to frustate and not flow. to not be dependable any longer. this maurauding gang of bic crystals still inhabit my home but i'm disbursing the naredowells, i'm tossing them away full of ink. changing my preference to a retractable gel pen my husband and daughter got me for mother's day. they've taken to getting me pens on gifting occassions. which is nice. i get to try out many different types. the only trouble is, if they get me non refillables, i run through them in about a week. if not less).

so i reach back to grasp the bic, and it has some red peppery looking smudge on it. for some reason i rub my eye. i proceed to have a reaction to said gellified pepper spray right as i'm driving down the road. fortunately i didn't cram my fingers in both my eyes. only my left. so one eye is sealed tight against the raid, the other, trying it's best to pick up the slack. and i, trying to remember not to wipe my good eye.

i don't know that i ever cleaned up that mess in the camry. it is entirely possible it could happen again. i did deposit the rogue pepper bic in a refuse container at some point (though not immediately, i remember picking it up a few more times and thinking, oh no, better not rub my eyes. of course while driving. that is what makes it fun).

i've a poem i want to write about mase, but i won't spill the gist here. i'll let it continue to simmer away in my crockpot, and hopefully it will be something edible when it arrives.

not a complete letdown like the nonfunctioning band of bics whom i reluctantly part with. nothing worse than a pen with all that promise bottled up inside, just waiting to be let. then, nothing. no release. no poem. no aid to convey my otherwise pent up ideas to the page. only hot heavy days and dreams of deserts.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


something i've learned over the long hard years of darkness i find now behind me is that waiting is not only hard work, but necessary on many more occassions than i previously thought.

dr. estes on commenting on wolf behaviour says,
when a wolf gets scared or wounded, they sit and rock. (plus they touch each other, the members of the pack band together).

she says,
so when you've lost your way, sit with an idea, rock it. back and forth.

i've come to understand this as letting it become. robert johnson says,
solitude is the feminine equivalent of masculine action.

i have, of late, come into possession of a rocking chair. i'm not a shaky leg kind of person. being from so. cal i can feel tremors of people shaking legs (my sister is notorious for this), and it distracts me immensely. so i sometimes even ask them to stop. but it's a habit.

i find myself sitting in this chair, rocking. back and forth. holding my unrealized ideas, sitting up late with a poetry book, rocking, rocking, rocking. holding the idea. being quiet and still (sort of).

the sway of motherhood
my sister calls it.

women get it when they have babies.
she told me when i was a new mother. i find myself swaying to and from a lot these days. moving my ideas with me, back and forth, calling them forth. nurturing them. letting them come in their own time.

my sister was the greatest help when i had just given birth, because she had babies of her own. it was the longest time she'd been apart from her then one year old, the time she came to minister to me in my new motherhood. she has always come from afar and gifted me with her presence.

i can only go to her when i can. not as often or for as long as i'd like, though we'd likely kill each other if we were locked up together too long. such is the nature of sisterhood.

so i'm waiting. always waiting. rocking, swaying. resting, trusting. reaching out and trying not to force my will to reality. to let the unfolding teach me. to watch with open eyes and not miss my daughter's active years, my husband's faithful presence, or my own blossoming.

i picked up a book called the physiology of flowering. i intend to study the process a bit, which has so intrigued me. there is one little leaf which dangles at the end of most leafing brances, the tip leaf, (i do not know the proper name), but all the other leaves have counterparts, either side by side or adjacent. but this tip leaf is alone.

it is no surprise then, that i identify with this leaf. together apart. always rocking, swaying gently in the breeze. and waiting for the time to let go.

Monday, July 17, 2006

letting go

here i am again. preparing to write, i know not what. to, i know not whom. a line from this morning's liturgy struck my heart:
you have taken from me my lovers, friends, and acquaintances.

how deeply i know this line. how i have felt the departure of each lover, friend, acquaintance. how i feel them now, so many who have left, whom i have had to let go. when i watch the trees and leaves cascade from the heights, the thing that always impresses me is,
they know when to let go.

i do not. if i were i tree, i'd be a very neurotic tree.

why did you leave me? why did you go? i loved you.

thus, i would likely be an evergreen, wearing a drab foliage of faithful pines, bedecked with cones who drape like ornaments from my gently sagging boughs.

yes, if i were a tree, i'd likely be an evergreen.

not the even calculated symmetry of a blue spruce, but the haphazard pine.

you could make baskets of my needles, feast on my tender fruits, shelter under my boughs in a storm. and i would grow high above terra firma, though my roots would be deep.

i could keep my leaves with me alway. but they wouldn't be leaves then. i'd be deciduous. they would be needles. the poking kind. the sewing kind. the kind that blanket the floor of the forest, and i'd have to part with them too, but perhaps i'd have an easier time of it because i'd be amongst those whose time has not yet come.

i'd have my pines with plenty to spare and never be unadorned, as it were. without my lovers and friends.

acquaintances are neither here nor there for me.

i have watched many leaves fall of late, the way they twirl through the breeze and light upon the ground there to remain until they are no more.

i wrote a small poem about it, which i won't share, but it said,

these forests of tomorrow

for i understand there can be no perpetuation of trees and forests unless one lets go. unless one watches loved ones cascade away when their time has come to drift gently to the ground and return to dust.

such a time is upon me. such a time is upon me.

Friday, July 14, 2006


after the wisteria blooms faded, there were tons of them, the heavy mature vines began leafing. we noticed as we trudged through the fallen blooms that it created a very shady place on the back porch. just about that time we noticed some rather large splotches of what can only be called feces.

these were not the uniform baby carrot shaped droppings of one on a preplanned diet, but ill-formed puddles of one suffering the intestinal woes of a scavenger. one day i went outside to find our trash bag splayed open like an experimental frog, and all the delicate tender bits rotting away au naturale. there was a fish taco laying on the banister (of course i naturally blamed my husband for this crude behaviour and thought, is that man insane?). i tried to ignore it (my standard way of dealing with disgusting turns of event), but the taco demanded i take it in hand and return it to it's rubbermade grave for eventual casting into the sea of forgetfullness. or the city dump.

my beloved and child spied the villain one early morning when they opened the kitchen blinds. they told me about it after i awoke, some hours later. they had gone down and chased it off. but i was bummed, i wanted to see it.

it was a racoon, he was huge!
my girl proclaimed.

i missed it. damn. don't chase it off,
i told my husband.
i want to see it.

he said,
i'm going to have to trap it.

and then what are you going to do with it?
i asked. knowing what he'd say.

turn it loose someplace in the wild. but this didn't seem a realistic or reasonable option. i'm not sure how territorial raccoons are, but i figured, they have to know their homeland, kind of like cats. it would be cruel to displace him because we don't like the little landmines he leaves us. cruel and selfish.

they carry diseases,
my husband, ever the pragmatist, said.

i'm hearing only:
this is problem. me, husband. solve problem.

but i'm thinking: that sweet little racoon never harmed us. why run him off. he's cute.

this folks, is where it all goes bad for us usually. he gets his way because he is generally right. (which irks me to no end). and my affinity for woodland creatures notwithstanding, he doesn't want them around and will take action to elminate them.

but since the little guy hasn't been in our trash since that first incident (i take care to bury all the stinky trash deep in the can. leaving the rest of the stuff on top), i see no problem with him sleeping in the wisteria.

we named him today.

my husband came back upstairs after leaving for work, we snuck downstairs and sure enough, there was the little guy sprawled out in the wisteria, sleeping. his little black clawed feet dangling through the lattice. then he heard us and stretched his little front paws out (he was a good two feet long when stretched out, his tail was longer, i didn't see it, so couldn't make a estimate about it. remember, he is over us. we're not directly under him), but we got to where we could see him seeing us. we'd waken him. and he was looking down at us, sleepy, wanting to go back to bed, and pretty out of it.

when i'd encountered him in the past, it was dark and i flipped on the kitchen light. his reflecty eyes shone through the window. and i, like a knucklehead, moved toward the window instead of shutting off the light. because it was just dusk and i could have seen him pretty well. but i left the light on and he saw me approaching and scampered off. i only caught a brief glimpse of him, but it was a great view of his sweet little face. his bandit mask and reflecty eyes.

if you've got to be a pest, may as well be a cute one. at least then you have a chance of being tolerated.

so my girl and i are standing there staring up at him, and i say, we've got to name him.

she says.

and we came inside, so he could sleep. he's like a teenager, out all night, sleeps all day. what a life.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

between the lines

one of the peculiarities of my gifting is that i get these pieces of work that leave me studying to catch up. as if all my synapses are firing away far ahead, lightyears ahead of my intellect. and, well, they are.

by bypassing my conscious processing of work, i intentionally give over my control of what will come when and how. i do not craft anything. i write what i hear, the way i hear it. i see a portrait in my mind's eye, if you will, and paint it.

the tricky part is dealing with all the unsaid. my characters of choice of late are these women of the bible whom i seem to understand somehow. though their untold stories leave me writing words in ways some question. i can only reason the poem, pray, and study to decide if what i'm saying has merit.

such is the case with a poem i just got. it surprised me by its arrival. i had not even thought of the character at all in the months before i wrote it. but during my deprivation, i came to a realization. a deep psychological bent in me was uncovered and i pondered it. questioned it. sat with it. mystified by it.

i do not understand it. but by realizing those things that lie hidden under the years past, i find that i can somehow access a bit of the story of these women of the bible. not intentionally mind you. i don't sit down at my desk and say, hmm. what would eve say?

no, the poems result from some hideous sin committed. the eve speaks poems came directly from my experience of falleness and betrayal. so this new series will likely come from the fallow ground of my just realized past.

i do not want to make up their stories. somehow, i just find myself writing them down. saying, this is who she is, can you not see her, in all her flawed humanity? can you not believe the God of heaven loves her as He loves me and loves you?

i see these women. i don't know how. i understand them. i don't know why. but i hope these works can be released for public consumption at some point. right now, i'm holding them close to and praying. a lot.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


it's a strange morning. my girl sings christmas carols in the kitchen (she loves them, as do i), while playing the keyboard. the sounds seem to enter my head and ricochet around. there's a vast emptiness in there today. the weather's changing.

all is still. heavy and moist. the ground slick from a midnight sprinkling. the upstairs neighbor's ac drones on. i shut ours off after feeling a chill set in. there is little worse than being ac cold. its refridgerated coolness bites into your being.

the barometer is shifting around, i know this because i've had splitting headaches the past couple days. feels like God is squeezing my head like a grape. making wine i guess.

i've no great inspiration today. but i am reminded of a priest i met on sunday. he said such beatuiful words, let me share them:

we have homeless people sleeping under our high altar on the floor. i tell them, it is like being in the arms of God.

i thanked him for this image. telling him, we've so sterilized the church, i hadn't believed any churches still opened their sanctuaries for refuge. glad to hear there is at least one. a remnant is all God has ever needed.

communion is used as a weapon.

yes. we were talking about various branches of the church and how one can't receive at certain places unless you are a member there. that is why i like the parish i stumbled in to. they keep no one from the Body and Blood. all are welcome. as all should be.

the ministry of presence

he said so many beautiful things of this type. i can hardly remember the context because i grabbed my journal to write it down (no i don't remember everything i hear by memory, i write some of it down). we were talking, i believe, about being present to people. his phrasing above, though, was just lovely.

we discussed the stations of the cross. he said:

we live in a rough area. we have motels that charge by five minutes. so when we did the stations this year, we made each station, one place of great concern to the church. we couldn't pray at the motel though, because we couldn't afford the rate.

this takin' it to the streets attitude is what the church is supposed to be about. and actually making the stations places of ill repute, is just brilliant. such a lovely idea. that is the church being light in the world. not just trying to see who's light shines brighter than the other lights.

i'm off. praise God for the remnant.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

church ladies

one of the things my girl enjoys is vbs (vacation bible school). it's her summer "mini" school, i guess you could say. she loves God, so it's a week of crafts, kids, songs, kids, and just good fun.

so moving here, i asked around wondering if we'd be able to find any. in texas they are a big deal. they go on for about six weeks. last year, i think my girl went to four or five. she enjoys it, so why not? moving here i thought it a bit of normalcy or tradition that i could maintain, since she's been going to these things since she was four.

none in my village, i found that out pretty quick (get this, the lady who gave me the skinny on that said, the churches in our villiage used to get together to do vbs. but when the charismatic churches came into the villiage, they didn't want to do any ecumenical stuff. which i find to be incredibly sad. the last vestige of ecumenism is the soup kitchen housed in my parish). so there was one 45 minutes away, and i thought, well, if i have to i will. not that i wanted to drive that far, mind you. but for the child anything is do-able.

we found one just around the corner in neighboring mahwah, nj. we pulled into the parking lot and there was only three or four cars, if that. it was a nice church, large play area/equipment (they have a school/daycare).

so we go in. the priest is one of those light of the world types. really on fire. gregarious. his wife, was registering people and invited me to stay (i was going to sit in the car and read). i had my earbuds in and they were yammering away, so i go out and retrieve my books, and decide to give it a go.

we sit at a table and no one, none of the kids join us. i'm a strange adult granted, but my girl is just sitting there. after all the kids park themselves at other tables. then the pastor, his wife, assorted adults join us.

i asked
do you sing a lot?

we had sung grace in the rounds (which was cute). but
i had been to one of these types of churches in texas, for a girl scout thing,

i said.

we try,
the priest's wife said.


so i read when i could. and they all adjourned to the sanctuary for worship. which is a loud event as all the kids are singing and making hand movements. etc. so i avoided it (would you expect any less, really?).

the lady sitting beside me was still eating, she got her food last and asked.
aren't you going to join them?

i said.

i asked,
is this usually a small church?

yes. we have around forty on sunday.

my church is small too,
i said.
we've got about twenty on sunday. i go to church a, while my husband and daughter go to church b.
i find this amusing, if nothing else. she was not impressed.

well i'm glad you came to the C church's vbs. stressing the C
(i'm trying not to slam the church here folks).

have you always been a member of this church?
i asked

yes. i was born into it...
a cradle member, who detailed her qualifications for being there.

i'm from california. i'm non traditional.
i said.

what does that mean?

we don't have all the traditions. it's freeflowing. so this is all new to me. i've never felt comfortable in the traditional church.

i was trying to explain things, in the simplest, least incriminating way, you see. it didn't work. i felt condemned.

why don't you feel comfortable? they not saying what you want to hear?

she apparently didn't see my discomfort as she asked this.

no, i don't really care what brand of christian you are. we are all the body of Christ. so i've never belonged to any church.

i thought this a sound argument. she didn't. she looked at me. i think people need to realize faces say a great deal. even if you think you're masking your disdain. or being incredibly tolerant of the freak before you, it is hard to fake it. whatever it happens to be.

she got up and walked away at that point. she'd been there since 7:30 (am, i assumed). that she could make relatively civil conversation at all was a feat of major proportions.

i considered speaking with the pastor or his wife about this little convo, but figured. no. i'll just show up and let my presence be the blessing that it is.

she was tired.

so the pastor effervesces in and invites everyone to the adult bible study. well you know i'm getting out of that any way i can.

and so i did. i sat in the foyer and read a poet whom i've long wanted to read.

the thing that got me was, this event was publicized in the community. if they didn't want people to actually come, they never shoulda publicized.

there is something for me to learn from all this. what, i do not know. maybe how not to speak to people. i was reminded as i drove home that i do enjoy the company of the unsaved to the saved. there aren't godly pissing contests in the world. they don't care what church i go to. and don't hesitate to talk to me about life. not church politics. i guess that is what breaks my heart about the church.

Monday, July 10, 2006

grieving joyous

it was a long quiet (relatively speaking) week. it was nice to hear from those of you who emailed and left comments. when i was at my wits end at a couple points midweek, i read your kind words and rejoiced. what can i say? i did the best i could. at least i didn't email back and forth.

i cleaned my entire apartment. there are only five boxes left for me to sort through and unpack. the ny equivalent of my playroom in texas (that room was such a disaster, the place where i piled all my piles to deal with later.
helen buttigieg says,
is the result of postponed decisions).
well, these five boxes are visually overwhelming, so i didn't finish them, but put them where i don't have to be tormented by them.

missing music is perhaps the hardest part. though, i don't know that what i play is the most edifying stuff there is, it does speak to me. i understand some of my friends hate that i listen to the stuff, but i'm grateful they love me anyway.

i came away from last week with an understanding of my brokenness. always, this need to see afresh how i'm dysfunctioning. i liken it to having termites. all is well, until one sees the tell tale piles of wooddust here and there. then, you can either ignore it and hope for the best, or you can have it checked out.

when the verdict comes back, treatement is the only option. mandated in some places. my treatment is truth. honesty. so many times i've come before God saying,
i'm broken. look at me. what a mess. can you ever fix this?


He says.

i'm no poster child for right living, but i understand brokenness. and i was so down about the state of my soul. the termites in my earthly abode, that i just had to lament it in a few poems.

my sister encouraged me.
you're honest.
she said.

but that honesty comes at a price. so i sat in church on sunday feeling like damaged goods. riddled with termite tracks and wooddust on my head. sackcloth.

God encouraged me. of course. with the story of job. i've said it before,
his restoration came hand in hand with his grief. his joyous new birth of children, with the mourning of his lost ones. he did not go giggling into old age. he went sober and a man grieving joyous.

i wrote a poem that basically proclaimed, once i know those termites are there, the battle's nearly finished.

you can't fight an unknown enemy. you can't defeat a hidden foe. even the worst warrior knows this. we must know our sin, reckon with our shortcomings. and trust God to equip us for battle. to do battle on our behalf.

i don't know what will happen tomorrow, or today, for that matter. but this i know. terminix is in the house. God is about restoring the cedars of lebanon. driving out the devouring locust and munching termite.

praise be to God.

one thing more: i thought all three of those losers on rockstar should have been eliminated. not just the dude who played duran duran for tommy lee, dave navarro, and the dude from metallica (i always forget his name, why is that?). duh. duran duran is so totally eighties. knucklehead. but chris and phil need to be eliminated asap. they suck. zaida (or whatever her name is, that hot little chili pepper from puerto rico needs to go tambien) hasta luego.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

oops, i did it again.

about a half hour before rockstar:supernova started i was wracked with fear. why always the fear thing with me? do you find it hides in the nooks and crannies of your life, too?

well, when there is nothing to drown it out or be a distraction, it can be vicious. i had to flip on the tube early, i couldn't deal. just couldn't.

i'm beginning to think my peeps are all dropouts and rockers. (there is a jock on the show and he bit it big time, forgive my hideous delight.)

since i'm breaking my mindfast for supernova, i thought i may as well check my email, and in true, give a mouse a cookie style, here i am bloggin my wordless heart out. (i am online because rockstar, for those of you who aren't playing along, is a voting show. and you better believe i'm not letting the dweebs of this nation vote off all the good rockers. ehm. american idol).

also, i thought nikki sixx was going to be on, but it is some dude from guns and roses, gilbey clarke. he's all right. (the chicks this year are kickin' ass. i liked a couple of the chicks from last year, but this year. wow.)

the things i keep hearing in the silence

don't write or email me anymore
yeah, that one is fun. it is followed closely by all manner of things, not the least of which are jerk. and absolutely right on. i agree, then i don't agree. but i have peace about it, so whatever. it doesn't matter whether or not i agree as long as i have peace.
you're one of a kind
there are still people who love me.

various and sundry quotes for the thousands upon thousands of words i wrote last week. (midway through the two weeks, i was hoping i'd hit 23,000 words, tops. hoping. i hit 31,500 and only stopped writing because i was sounding like a wookie on the page, i was so fried.) how i coulda said it better, different. how i didn't say what i was trying to get at. how i could have put an extra line space in to affect the look of the page (yes, i have my anal moments).

let me tell you this one thing more before i go on my depraved way (i am doing a deprivation remember?).

my hubby knows johnny depp rings my bells, so he walks in and gives me this tube.

what's that?

a poster.

he actually bought me the new pirates of the carribean poster as i had admired the seven foot one at the local theater (another reason to break my fast? opening night with johnny d?).

i unrolled it and started giggling like a schoolgirl. a grin spread across my face and danny said,

you're blushing

maybe you should start wearing a hair rag

like i need help with my lust issues, eh? well, imagine having to put up with them daily. so i've got johnny depp spread out across my kitchen table. my hubby is going to hang him in the hallway so he doesn't have to look at johnny.

anyway, you'll find i'm not improving by these silences, just finding my words again. and combatting fear.

gotta go vote. here are my votes:

lucas, toby, patrice, josh, dilana, jill, and storm.

Sunday, July 02, 2006


what can i say, i have just given birth to two manuscripts and a proposal. i've written more words in the past two weeks than in the past two months. i'm utterly fried. i can write no more for now. so i will be silent.

i realized yesterday at the mall, and why i ever liked going to the mall when i was young is beyond me. now, it is overstimulation city. with endless marketing to boot. i can't stand it. i had a book with me, fortunately, and read while the hubster and girl wandered through stores. i'm so not into it anymore.

i realized though, that all the noise creates a need to drown it out, so what do we do? put earbuds in and drown it out. effectively combating noise with noise. it is utter madness. i've been doing this myself, and it is not a healthy way to live. it is a track which takes me places i do not want to go.

i sat with helen yesterday morning, listening to repeats of some of the stories i heard before, but it was nice to tell her i think her the matriarch of the church and she laughed and said,
i don't know about that.

i knelt at the altar with my manuscripts and proposal, got anointed and the priest laid hands on the stack of my words and dedicated them to God. it seemed the right thing to do. it is all i've ever wanted to do. and now i have.

so this week, i'm appointing myself inspector of all things leafy and winged. i shall take long walks, and do a deprivation (or mindfast as i call it). no reading, music, watching tv (except for rockstar supernova. how can i miss tommy lee, nikki sixx, and dave navarro on the same show? no true rocker can. and well, call me crazy but i'm nothing if not that. also, have you seen them? they're gorgeous. even with short hair. i thoroughly enjoyed rock star inxs, it was immensely gratifying. though when inxs became a rockband is beyond me. it's like calling bon jovi heavy metal, or poison. no way!).

i shall play with my girl, and try to help her again uncover the floor of her bedroom. i will look into her eyes. and engage.

there is a very short list of people i will answer the phone for, but you know who you are. otherwise, it is 3d living. meditation. silence. for at least a week.

maybe then i'll have something to say again. right now i feel like a pair of underwear that has been in the dryer too long and the elastic is shot. not much you can do with those, except retire them. so i'm retiring. for at least a week.



can we talk? seriously. i opened my email to find a poem from a friend. it blessed me beyond words. it was the Word of God to me this morning. i am grateful for it.

i've had some further thoughts on the demon lover. perhaps it's not so much that the lover is a demon, than that our godlike projections on the man/woman/whomever make that person take on demonic attributes. not of their own will, mind you. wholly of our projections.

this is not a conclusion i come to easily. but i have begun to realize how much good one soul can want to do for another, how beneficial things can really be and how quickly they can go awry. afoul.

results of living in the fallen world i guess. so i tell my now guy friends, keep your boundaries up. and i'll keep mine up. i don't have boundary issues with women, so no need to mention it there.

but it is good. it is all good. i just don't want to make any deals with the devil. or run a good man into the ground because i'm so free. you know what i'm saying?

that has always scared me. the meeting of needs not designed to be met by man. sometimes we stumble upon them and fill them. i've done this myself. it happened a lot when i was in high school. not so much these days because i'm aware of it. but it happens.

this blog of late is a dumping ground for everything i've got on my mind before i write. only five more pieces to write, and edit the proposal and i'm done kids.

my friends have helped me, by sheer force of will, climb the proposal wall. they all had to get under me and heave together, but they did. and i'm grateful beyond words. beyond words. i'm not embarrassed of my shoddy attempt at selling myself and actually feel pretty good about the product.

i still have to draw the line at going with my raw writing or flossing my grammatical teeth if you know what i mean.

i'm opting for rawness. i read an excerpt to my best friend over the phone yesterday and she was all silent and said,
God is in this.

no word could have mattered more. i am grateful beyond words. beyond all words.

i've much to do, so i must away. peace.

Saturday, July 01, 2006


i'm one of those curious breeds (perhaps it is a female thing, i don't know), who hates to get email. but then when i don't get any, i hate to not get it. what's the deal with that. it is as if all my dreams and wishes are fulfilled, then i don't like how it feels. strange.

i get irked with email forwards. who doesn't? i've simply not got time for them. rare are the emails i'll actually read, let alone open that have the word fwd in the subject line. if you delete it from the subject line and sneak it in on me, you'll get to do this twice before i ban you from my email all together.

then, there are lists, which are both a blessing and a curse. when i have time, they are an excellent diversion. but damn, how many homeschooling issues can i read and actually care about in this lifetime? i think i might be irritatingly focused on poetry, but some folks are irritatingly focused on homeschooling, or church, or whatever their breed of tunnel vision. i have it too, i just need to shake things up a bit. get around different crowds of people so i can contemplate other things.

so when i go digest on some of these lists, i end up with three and four piled up of people being generally helpful but specifically annoying with their hellos to others on the list, or myriad details, none of which i care to read.

i've gone no mail on all my nonpoetry lists because they annoy me. like i said, how many homeschool items do i have to fill my mind with to satisfy? answer: less than i've got in my email box, that's for damn sure.

and sure, i'll likely miss some great events, but i can't deal with it right now. i can't plan our next excursion at this moment of my life, so i'd rather not have to innundate my brain with endless details of which i have no immediate use.

so, i delete my entire email box every day. i do this for many reasons, mostly because if i get a mean email, i'm like a junkie and keep going back and reading it. this used to happen all the time with my dad. we'd fight (email fights are notorious for being overblown nothing), and i'd fume and steam over some dumb email.

i just started deleting all traces of crap from my email, problem solved. my memory for these things is short if i don't have a place to rewound myself ad nauseum. so every day without fail, gone. all of it.

it is quite a liberating thing. my sister struggles with this, she has hundreds of emails she feels compelled to go through and read, daily, mind you. not me. i delete liberally. if i have thirty, i get overwhelmed. so i delete. check all, delete are two good options. they are your friends!

anyway, this morning, my empty box was full of kindness. i knew the ten emails were words of encouragment and support much needed. so it was a joy to open them, and i wept as i read them (i'm such a girl). i'm ready for this weekend of crunching, and it will not be the death of me. i can do this.

to God be the glory.