Wednesday, August 30, 2006

good times

i have said it myself, sometimes when there is only goodness, we find things to complain about.

i'm trying to find things to rejoice in.

it occurred to me the other day, there is goodness all around, if i will just look for it. it will rise up to meet my searching eye. so often, i see only the sadness, or mark it in so many words and poems. i capture the melancholy, the sadness of life well. perhaps too well.

but i want to capture the joy of this season. for some reason my mind has been going back to the days of my pregnancy. those were deliriously blessed days. i wanted for no thing. i was alive and moving toward the moment when my entire being would quiver and quake resulting in one precious life.

that precious life now vexes me and gives me back a good dose of what i give the world (there is justice after all). but we are good friends, and our mother daughter spats are just that. spats. i'm grateful she is well. she is beautiful both inside and out. we are alive and together. this, too, is utter bliss. if i will only notice it.

i was thinking about the days of nursing and how they flew by. exhausting days when i was a manufacturing plant of the stuff of life. for four years from inception i was the source for that kid. whew. such a time of giving. i've not known since.

but maybe this time, this season when my four manuscripts sit in kind hands. awaiting to be read, perhaps published. perhaps these are the life giving days, but my conveyance is words. yes. i have known that. the fruit of my life is not milk, but words and images.

it is a deliriously happy time, or it can be, if i just take a moment to stop and relish the days i am in. never again will i be a potential first time author for a major publisher. and even if the worst happens (the worst in one limited aspect that is) and i don't get picked up, i can still self publish. all is well. all will be and is well.

so, in this time of silence, i'm trying to find new ways of expressing myself. some of the beauty and joy of my life can come out of hiding and become. yes, that is it for me really. i want to make monuments to joy from here on out.

i do have much to say, but the words are beyond me just yet.

when i was pregnant and nursing, i was very in tune with what was going on. i kept journals, jotted down everything. i never knew if i'd be there again. and, i haven't been back there, for some reason only God knows. i'm sure glad i didn't miss it. so too, here, i may never be here again. i may not have four more books in me. i may not have a great many things which this moment alone possesses. i must take my fill of pleasure here. now. not miss it, longing for days gone by. for dreams of things i do not and cannot have. i must attend to this moment. and so i shall.

be well my friends, and for those who encouraged me to blog, thank you. i've missed you too.

Friday, August 25, 2006

communication breakdown

(it's always the same. i'm having a nervous breakdown. drive me insane.

do you know the song? who wrote it?)

when i was in recovery, i got saddled with bi-lateral carpal tunnel syndrome. not fun. for a writer it is torture.

i remember, i couldn't write. it was too painful. it hurt to brush my teeth, to wipe my counters (holding a sponge). my arms were trashed.

i was a workaholic then. i couldn't say no because i was making decent money and had a job that "needed" me.

my mom kept saying,
mija, you're expendable. they'll just find someone else to do your job.

nah, i thought. they need me.

well, they didn't need me. i was wrong. but it changed my life in a great many ways. it was the necessary death for my rebirth as a student. i also learned how to communicate verbally (sort of). a skill, i've since let slack in a major way.

i didn't opt for the surgery then. i changed my life. it had become an endless cycle of overwork and underplay. i learned how to stop wearing myself out for the man.

well, there's a new man in town. apparently. because i've been grappling with carpal tunnel symptoms for a few months now.

the first morning i awoke with tingly fingers, i prayed,
no, God. no.

this morning, tingly again.

marion woodman would say,
listen to your body. what is it saying?

the body has no other language than symptoms. so i must begin to listen.

she battled cancer with all kinds of alternative medicines and approaches. meditation, and whatnot. things i would likely consider before i go the surgery route. she was mocked at first by her doctors. but when her body responded to the vast array of methods she used, her doctor applauded.

i don't need applause. but i do need a life change.

this is a signal from my body saying,
hey, get some balance.

so i shall try.

which means less writing for a time.

my friends ask me about when i don't write, but i must take drastic steps to curb this crippling syndrome.

and so i shall.

i don't really have much to say these days anyway. but i'll begin posting less again. and hope to change my life.

what does this death precede? that is an interesting question.


Thursday, August 24, 2006

day three: operation family walk

i lost sight of them within the first ten minutes. i kept my pace and walked alone. the world is pretty quiet at 6am, even new york. no dogs barking, no people bustling. all slumbering still in their beds. very nice. a girl can think under those kinds of conditions.

that's it for me really, to have a time when i can hear myself think. no fans blowing, no neighbors rumbling above or below. just quiet. the muse can speak and i, for once, can hear.

mostly, it's a pace thing. my beloved walks fast. to get a real workout. my daughter is on bike and keeps up with him (or waits for him when she gets ahead). that leaves me, plodding along, being herded like cattle.

c'mon wife (he calls me wife)

i'm coming, i'm coming.

but i think we have different reasons for walking. i want to look at everything. to see the fat man in the purple shorts for more than a split second as we pass him by.

i want to linger, even if i don't stop. to take in the beauty of the flowers that embellish my path. so my aim, while it is not working out, is more one of aesthetic appreciation. i want to see and hear and just be out in the world at that hour.

this breakneck walking speed business does not afford me a moment to linger on the peculiarities of the day. i have to keep going, to keep up. and yet, i never quite keep up. i get to hear this running dialogue of how slow i am, which i counter with, how rediculously fast he is.

i don't like it.

the way i see it is, if i'm off my computer and actually walking, that is exercise. i'm more into the artist's walk. the meandering, dawdle of one who is looking for inspiration.

i could get inspired on a run, i'm sure. but i don't like to run. i never really have. i ran track in middle school but it was neither here nor there for me.

now if i rode a bike, for these walks, i'd be moving way faster than the rest of my speedy bunch. perhaps that is the solution then. because on foot, i'm a plodder. i just don't have any motivation to zip around like my pants are on fire.

i'm more tortoise than hare i guess is what i'm saying.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

meaningless acts

i blogged over at ma today, pretty much bit mick's head off. but it tasted yummy. he is a good guy. the best of men, i'm sure of it.

just got back from our walk. i'm fading fast. must rest. need pillow. losing energy.

and my husband looks like a teenager, zipping around the apartment telling me i need to build musclemass. (HA!)

my daughter, is coming a close second, she just ran off somewhere.

while i lag behind the crew, wanting only a pillow and to be left alone. yes, i'm a slacker (or hadn't you noticed?). between great lengths of "contemplation," yeah, that's what it's called. and writing (which mandates silence. like now, i just shushed my daugther who walked in with a stack of books and "just thought of something.")

saw this moving the other night called waking the dead with billy crudup and jennifer connnelly. good movie, i needed a tear jerking romance. that fit the bill quite nicely. see, when i'm tired i use cliches. anyway, there is this one scene where she is telling him to go awol to avoid the vietnam war, go to canada, or something. and he says,
that is easy to say because you can't be drafted.

she plays an activist who says,
that is so patronizing (blah, blah, blah)...sometimes meaningless acts are all we have.

and it got me thinking. beware the line that gets me thinking.

but if an act is meaningless, as my entire life seems to be at times. is not the very fact that i'm living out this meaninglessness what imbues it with meaning? thereby rending it meaningful? hmm.

stick with me here.

i told this to my best friend trish last night. she said,
so you think your life is meaningless?

at times,
i said.

she wouldn't let up. she's like that.

you think your life matters to no one?

i'm silent.

what about your girl?

i did not want to yield on that point (because she got me. in jousting, she had just broken her lance on my head. the only way she could have done more damage was to have dehorsed me, but i rode on).

who cares if i wash another dish? really?

well? it doesn't matter to her?
she asks

it does,
i concede. not happily, mind you.

at least she doesn't dance on my crumbled argument. she is gracious. but i have to acknowledge my seemingly meaningless life does mean something. i guess it is the act of washing another dish that seems so meaningless. the cleaning of another floor. cleaning the bathroom, my God, an argument could be made for that being a meaningful gesture, but the rest seems like mindless routine to me.

the kind of thing that would make me say,
there is nothing new under the sun. all we have are meaningless acts.

and i guess i do say some of that. but my point is, convoluted though it may be, that the very fact that we are expending our lives on these acts, makes them meaningful.

my husband and daughter directly receive 90% of my life's work. these meaningless acts of cleaning, washing, whatever. if most of my life's work is essential mundane, then i can be taken out by that and wallow in freakish misery forever. or i can trust that there is some hidden beauty. some mystery for me to uncover. the crusty dishes and crumby floors all amount to something. because they make up the majority of my life, devour the greater part of my energy by sheer volume alone.

there are no meanless acts. that is all i'm trying to say.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

walk this way

so we're trying to get up early and go for walks as a family. it's going to get harder as time goes by because it requires me to be up before six. i go through times when i spring out of bed like a sunflower and await the fiery orb. and other times, i have to be forced awake. but those times, are no fun for those who have to wake me.

so we walked (or i trudged) around town this morning and looked at the houses and lots, the gardens of flowers. determining who had a hand for gardening and who just doesn't care.

we've never really been gardeners. but before i left texas i had begun dabbling in it. taught it as a class. that seems to be the only way i really learn stuff. i digest the material and get interested by having to learn enough to teach.

it has been hotter than texas here for us because we have one little bitty window a/c and no ability to get cool if we move too far from it into the apartment. cooking is simply a chore. the kitchen is down a small hall and around a corner so no a/c circulates there. i've had more reason to avoid cooking than usual here. or i'm so hot when i come out of there i want to kill someone. my husband is usually the poor guy in my path on those occassions.

but at 6am, it's cool and crisp. this morning was a mite chilly.

yesterday when we returned, i had all kinds of fuel in my jets. my girl and i sat under the wisteria on the back porch and read books. watched the squirrels and blue jays play. she shelled pecans while i read to her from the artist's way.

be present. the book said, in so many words.

that is the story of my life. trying to force myself to attend to the moment and not waft away in fantasy. i've lived apart from my life too much. i'm trying to change that.

the walks are nice because they get us out, we have a bit to chat, and more energy (though not today, i sacked out when we returned). very active dream time. though i can't remember a scrap of it. shame too, i want to start learning my dream language and interpreting my dreams. not today i guess.

nothing else to say. hopefully, you are well.

Monday, August 21, 2006


[The] Father as Hero incorporates both aspects of this century's version of the heroic pattern: The father enacts the first part of the heroic journey while abandoning the second. In the first part, the father is the bridge between the family and the outside world, and each day he is tested. Even with the dramatic changes that have occurred as a result of the women's movement...The family identifies with the father's trials and triumphs and eagerly awaits his return. Like the hero in literature, the father-hero of the twentieth century is absent. Although it is his privilege to come and go as he pleases, this privilege carries an enormous burden. He is encouraged to abandon the home front in his task of serving society, yet he is expected to remain responsible for the welfare of his family. Today's father is successful at slaying the dragon, but he has not been taught how to bring the boon home; the second part of the hero's journey has been collectively abandoned. As poet Robert Bly has stated, the child receives her father's temprament but not his teachings. The father is forced to carry an image (and its attendant glory) that may bear little resemblance to who he is as a person.

from The Hero's Daughter by Maureen Murdock

how much this books tells the tale of my father worship. my hero dad could do no wrong in my eyes. even when i cowered as a teenager in the closet because he was angry and raging. i thought he'd kill someone and i opted not to be that one.

dads certainly have a crushing load to bear, and bly went on to say in the passage he was quoted above as, that we imbue them with godlike powers because we do not know them. we cannot know them. they have not been taught how to relate as real persons.

their task becomes providing and seemingly ends there.

but there is so much more.

i do not understand all i'm delving into here. it rumbles and quakes in my psyche. i can only let the passage of time and the journey forward unlock what it will. but memories come to me of the girl who knew her dadgod was soveriegn and yet, he was not. i could bend his will. i could move his heart. i could make him laugh.

such confidence he gave me. that i could do anything. such confusion when i did anything i wanted and it was met with wrath. such guilt i could inflict when i wanted, for deserved consequence. inflict it i did. yield he did. i became a master manipulator.

i forced myself to stop bending wills, cutting corners, trying to be the exception in college. i made myself do every last damned thing to the t. but these tendencies are deep. they trouble me now as i know the remnants are still in me.

how many times i have used words, or looks, or silence to get my way. how easily this comes to me. as i took to my training.

it was not the gift of my father that made me this way. it was the perversion of a great love, an unconditional immature love that did it.

being fallible and raised by a fallible man, i understand the consequences and ramifications today are all mine. i get to reckon with this thing in me that would get my way at any cost. often, i find i must consciously yield. and keep silent.

to curb that thing in me that would pick her teeth with the bones of men, i must learn instead to trust and be kind.

it is a process. one i do not profess to understand. but one i hope to progress along, as the days pass and i grey.

so slowly the grey comes. so slowly the changes come.
but come they will.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

why bother?

sometimes i wonder why i go to church at all. it seems so devoid of power. a puppet of what it was meant to be. a sham. a facade. all those things i despise.

but today was different.

mind you, i've just come off a conversation with a dear soul who was horribly neglected and abused by the church. the same body of Christ of which i am a part. so i try not to hold my issues against the whole body, but when one member suffers, we all do. (i hold their shortcomings and sin against myself as well. do not think for a moment, i think i'm all that. one of the things i miss most about my daily prayer routine is the confession of sin. and the nicene creed. profession of faith. first of all, liturgy does not dick around --sorry about that-- with, did you sin, search your heart, if you mighta sinned. no, they come right out and say it. i have sinned. that gives me comfort. i was in the habit of confessing my sin daily. i'm aware of it, but to confess it, to express it outwardly is an entirely different experience for me. most of the churches i came from were so emphatic about being pure, living right, doing good, that i felt the need to deny or ignore my sins. legitimize them somehow. cover them up. not so with liturgy. it says, clear as day, i have sinned. fallen short. yes, that is what i miss about it).

so i get there early and from the start the organ (an unfavorite instrument), is resounding. really filling the place, from the rafters to the floorboards. i lay my head down and pray. kneeling enshrouded by my black covering.

the music helped me enter into that place of communion. repentence. silence before God. strange how an instrument can convey silence, but it's not noise. it's worship. it's not clatter and confusion, but praise. entirely different sounds than fill my week that's for sure. so i let the music waft me away to the throne of God.

the procession starts and we stand to sing a hymn.

the congregation is sounding good. everyone seems to be singing from their diaphram (doesn't that word have a g in it somewhere?). even the warblers were warbling for all their worth. we sounded good. it really changes the service when everyone sings.

instead of just muttering through a hymn, we bellowed it out. it was just gorgeous.

the organ is not meant to be played delicately and softly. i believe it in concert with the voices of those who are ringing out are matched and create such a beautiful sound that is why i haven't liked it. it's been played by grandmas all my life. i've not heard the organ rocked out by a young soul. (not that the aged can't rock out, i'm just saying, i haven't heard it).

the organist is leaving today for university where he will study organ. (go figure, didn't know anyone did that, but apparently they do).

so he played those hymns, all of them, through like a champ.

the congregation awarded him with a complete set of bach (three different versions) scores. and they are celebrating his departure now. me being the weird type slipped out early.

but when we go through the liturgy and said it, we were all together. one voice. one profession. one body. it was glorious.

that is why i bother.

i am trapped in my world all week long. but the church, when she is firing on all six cylinders, she is a force to be reckoned with. i wrote a poem about it but you have to be an intimate to read it. that's just the way it is.


Saturday, August 19, 2006

daddy's girl.

so one of the yeuckiest discoveries i've made recently is my seeming dependence on the male species. blegh.

i'm wading my way through that mess. i thought i'd dealt it a death blow in college and just before, but no. it's there.

picked up the hero's daughter, a book about the father daughter relationship. and how it affects women. i don't fit the description, i'm usually a conglomeration of types in these books i read, but i can glean a bit from here and there. seems if i need a book to really apply, i'm going to have to write it m'self.

how many times in my life i've had to play shrink to my own malady. i guess i'm not the first who's ever done that. it just seems odd. i have no real mentors in this place of psychological dissection. i'm just trying to figure stuff out on my own. and there are so many questions. so many issues.

friends always tell me,
suz, God is the only counsellor you need.

and i agree to a certain extent. sometimes, i just need someone in 3d to sit down with me and share their vast experience. if they are actually trained counsellors this is a much easier process. if they are laypersons, then it becomes a quagmire from which i have to extract myself, because not only am i trying to teach them, ground them, give them understanding of where i'm coming from, i'm trying to grapple with the actual issues.

i hope to go back to school and study psychology and poetry. the two are really powerful and would definately keep my interest/enlighten me. i don't want to do school if i can't study what i want to study.

the thing that is coming up now is, i may not get to go this semester, or for a year and a half, but i will continue to push ahead with my studies and progress, hopefully extracting and understanding some of why i am so comfortable around men, to my peril really.

one other interesting note in this book is the absent or distant mother figure. it really is a wake up call for me not to be a cut-out of a mom, but an actual person in my daughter's life. i have encouraged her daddy's girl tendencies because i was one, too. i understand this. but i want her to have more balance than i've ever had.

i endeavor to do the impossible. as usual.

Friday, August 18, 2006


i have always incorporated subconscious work into my process. so, robert a. johnson's inner work, is just a confirmation that i have been doing something i hadn't even realized was valuable, shall we say. that seems to be the way it is with me, i try things and find they work, then come to find a tradition of some sort or another which promotes this type of behaviour as essential.

my process though is less of a dictation process, though i do write what i hear. my process is more of a quieting yourself and listening. the difference being i'm not recording a scene or interactions, like one example given of the greater exercises of saint ignatius of loyola, who advises, participating in gologotha by imagining yourself there, smelling the dust, watching the scene, moving with the throngs. you see the difference between my process and this is, it just happens to me. i had no plan to write death shroud. it sought me out, somehow.

then, i found myself, over the course of the next year, living out my life and seeing various scenes which became the eventual poem. the most poignant example i can give is watching the gulf fritillary lose its spikey skin, the red pool of liquid beside the tiny crown of thorns thrust me into the experience of mary removing the thorned crown from Jesus. i didn't intend to make that connection. it was just so utterly obvious to me that is what that experience demanded. i was there, feeling it, seeing it, living it, but i had never sat down to contemplate it as it were. do you understand this?

so my process varies greatly from johnson's in that i live my life this way. walking in and out of subconscious imaginative experiences. which then usually become poems. i sometimes have to sit and seek out the words i need for a poem, pausing, momentarily, consciously apprehending a word. but usually, the words just flow from my pen as i'm listening to the poem in my mind. i hear my poems. i don't just chop and refit words together in a frankensteinian approach to making a poem. i let them live or die on their own without much intervention on my part. without life support, essentially.

my process is more clear to me now as i see it in contrast with johnson's methods. it is striking how i've come to this place naturally. now that i am reading about artificially incorporating these processes into one's life, it makes me feel a little better about something i have found so integral to my process but people look at me like i'm nutz when i tell them what i do. i know they don't try it. they just walk away and forget what i said. but it really works.

i am cutting loose the distractions i have battled sound with here in ny. though the noxious noise is still troubling, it does not help to compound the noise. to trouble the waters. i need a still place, a reservoir within me. somehow.

still not quite sure how to go about that. the silence permeated my being in texas because i was steeped in it. here, i have to fight for the still place. i have to block out the distractions and focus on stillness. silences.

in texas, i did this thing where i'd do exercises in silence. i'm thinking i need to practice that again. for small increments, use no words. be absolutely silent. intentionally. the thing about it is, i don't talk much now. so for me to intend silence, i need to go further. stilling my turbulent mind. being quiet of mind and heart. i race all around emotionally, intellectually. time to settle down.

i find when i do talk, my words come racing out. i've got to slow it all down. way down. i'm racing again in my deep places and it is troubling me.

my thinking is, i simply have to focus on the pace of my life, internally, externally. i must consciously, meditatively, approach my life. kind of like the japanese attention to detail.

my beloved will tell you, i let many details go. i don't do finely detailed work. but perhaps it is time i try. to focus again on one thing at a time. and doing that job with excellence.

i have heard the term excellence used in a snobby way. a judgmental way. be excellent was code for, perfect. i'm not saying that at all. perfection be damned. i'm into doing things with full attention and love. sometimes i fire through my day and slap the food in a pan, slap the food on a plate, shovel it down, the whole process is devoid of life, of excellence, of love. my husband is right. i have no love for cooking, but perhaps i'll find some way to excel at it.

excellence in action. yes, that's it.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

summer of fun

it took me nearly 24 hours, but i finally cooled off. i ditched my morning prayer routine some time last week and i'm wondering what will happen. sometimes i have these petty thoughts of God, that if i'm not doing something to please Him. something to show i'm serious, He'll get me. yes, the vindictive God syndrome. but He's never been that way with me. why doubt i him? so many questions. no answers. or none that satisfy.

my girl has had a blast here in ny. made little friends all over town. the gs troop is getting ready to start up again. yesterday, she and her little friend were cycling on the street, and when they went by, i noticed they had both pinned red capes to their backs.

i had this, let them create, kind of attitude for the longest time. pretty much going for anything in the name of creation. unfettered imagination is a good thing.

until they got to my spice cabinet. having just moved, we don't seem to have a lot of stuff. but my girl and a little friend found enough stuff to make some evil hot concoction. they were going to feed it to the girl's dad, but he was wise enough to take nearly passing out from sniffing it as a sign not to eat it. i told him, i have no idea what they put in that stuff. but it involved at least a half bottle of pepper and chili powder.

it all started after my girl produced a chemistry set i made her when she was five. there are no chemistry sets for five year olds that i could find, so i made one up with measuring cups, petrie dishes (concave bumble bee coasters), cups, measuring spoons, scale, food coloring, vinegar, baking soda, sugar, corn starch. stuff she could combine and make a real mess of. they sold bubble gum chemistry sets, but she was so young, i never wanted her to get confused. i didn't want it to become an eating event. so i kept it stricktly nonconsumable, though if she ingested these ingredients, it would likely do no harm. just make her run for a glass of water.

this has been all well and goood. four years now, i've been refilling these components. well, mix homeschooler with public schoolers and stuff happens. she's met all public schoolers, except for one or two outings.

the back porch needed to be hosed down after word got out that there was a spice and chemistry free for all going on. i was retrieving my silver spoons from the back porch and they used a whole roll of paper towels for this "clean up" which wasn't very clean.

but they had fun.

i guess that is all that matters. i kept hearing the door open and close that day, but i didn't check. they were looting my spice cabinet again. nothing edible produced. just mucky, yeuckyness on the back porch, which has since been washed away by the abundant rains.

our apt. is so small, a queen size air mattress is taking up the whole living room. the girls are still passed out from their attempted all nighter. in an apartment this small, we all had to attempt an all nighter. they made it to 11:30. there is popcorn all over the floor, foot by the foot wrappers everywhere, stuffed animals, books.

they are really good kids. i'm blessed. so i have to clean a litte, no worries. this is the first summer my girl has played the entire time with actual children. she is an only child and i've never known what to do about that. how to "fix" it, as it were. we've never lived on a block where she could meander down the street and play.

school is getting ready to start soon, and we'll be going to the bronx zoo for a first day field trip (kind of cool being a homeschooler, eh?), and the ny fire museum on sept. 12. i'm hoping to get to the guggenheim, or the botanical gardens. i'd love to try the natural history museum, but the stuffed beasts give me the willies. i should really go. so i don't pass my willies on to my child. but some part of me would rather my husband take her. even skeletons make me feel all funny inside. i don't care to look at them.

because my imagination is so vivid, i can flesh out those bones, no problem. then in my mind's eye, i'm running away from a pursuing beast of some sort. at the dallas natrual history museum, they have a huge turtle. massive. bigger than me, hanging up on the ceiling. and a slight light effect that makes the room look watery. it really creeps me out. i feel like i'm in the ocean.

once i turned the corner and a big polar bear, standing on all fours making a growly face was there. scared the bejesus out of me. why don't they put them in friendly poses? don't like that. haven't liked the stuffed animals since. blegh.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

the unnamed feeling

ah yes, i remember now what i wanted to write about today, but first let me say this. i'm all up in arms about poets and some discouraging words a friend got. who benefits from discouraging people to write poetry? no one. my angle on it is, write. write the worst poems you can, so the best can come too. i've been critiqued by a great many souls. some of them harsh. some of them i had to suck it up and fight for my right to party (ha!, no, that song just popped in my head), i had to fight for my poetry. to create crappy poetry if i needed to, so i could get to where i'm at today. i'm not there by any means. i'm not famous, i'm not published. i'm not a great many things. but i am a poet. no one can take that from me now. when i first adopted the name, i was a little sheepish. uncertain. but now, i look back and wonder what was i thinking? i am a poet. i always have been. i just didn't know it. if during those times of tenativeness, uncertainty, someone (like i have been) would have tried to rend the name from me, i would have yielded it (perhaps. but i do like a good fight and being the scrapper that i am, might have fired my jets more to keep the name. i am cliche queen today, eh folks?). all i'm trying to say is. be who you are. don't let anyone tell you who you are. or give them the power to change who you are becoming. be who God created you to be. you cannot get to the good poetry by bypassing the bad. you cannot get to the poet you will be tomorrow if you give up the name today. don't give it up. i try to provide some critique for those who want it these days (and some do, bless their souls), but mostly, i just want to be around poets. young, old, inbetween poets. and find, this attitude has helped me touch the lives, and have my life touched, by a great many poets. most of the people i deal with on a regular basis either write or have a great affinity for poetry (some are dabblers, but they don't realize they are on their way to a great love).

that is all on that. i will have more next wednesday at ma.

i walked by this guy at the store. sports getup. he looked tan like he's real active. and he reeked of pheremones. like he was going to a rut or something. the dude could have battled a musk ox and won by scent alone. whew.

i walked by again and took a deep whiff of that musky scent he was broadcasting. i swore if he walked by me again i'd ask him about it. (sometimes i am sure i do these things just to write about them) but he did not go by. shucks.

i'm all fixated on other things now so i can't write today. but i've got some righteous indignation going on, i want to fight for my people when i can. and, well, i get a little territorial, too.

let me try to tie in what i was going to write about here, it is a passage from a book called inner work by robert a johnson, the man speaks my language, i tell you (i will put in more for context than i normally would, as i'm all toasty mad right now):

[Let me explain] something of the feeling function and the difference between emotion and feelings. It took me a long time to come to the point where I associated this detail...because I had never thought of myself as a feeling kind of person. I thought "feeling types" were the highly emotional ones. I thought that, since I'm not given to displays of emotion and can't stand much sentimentality, I was not a feeling type, that I was dominated by thinking or intuition.

It was this association to the heart [he is interpreting a dream in this passage] that made me look more closely and see that Jung did not mean mere "emotional" when he referred to a feeling type or a feeling function. This symbol forced me to look more closely at myself. I began to realize that the aspect of life that really motivates me, around which I involuntarily revolve my life, is the feeling side: the people who draw my love and whose magnificent quality I sense, and the values that capture my devotion and loyalty. It is these feeling relationships, of valuing and sensing the value in people, that energize my life and give it its center. That which moves me and inspires me most deeply in all of life is the beauty, nobility, and inner quality that I see in human beings who come in contact with me.

Until I had this dream, I had always tried to repress this stream of energy in me, downplay it and keep it under wraps. In the family and the culture in which I grew up, feeling was not openly displayed. It was considered embarrassing, untrustworthy, impractical. If you were moved too deeply by a symphony, you would be considered a little strange. If you showed too much affection, it made others uncomfortable. Anyone who made decisions from the heart, rather than from cool practicality, was considered suspect as undependable. To feel, to love intensely, to be intoxicated with the beauty of a person, something in nature, or a value--all this would be inappropriate and out of place in respectable society.

now you can see why i love this man so much! though this book deals more directly with what many christians would deem "new agey" stuff. i still think it a fabulous read. this passage alone is one of those passages where the reading reads me. i love to find a writer, a book that says, this is who you are, you know how i know? because this is who i am. see yourself because i see myself so clearly.

that is what i endeavor to do in all my work. whether i accomplish what i set out to do is not for me to decide. the fact is, it can be done.

i'm still all heated and fumy about my friend, an excellent poet, probably better than me (though that person would not put himself above anyone), getting knocked around. this is why we need community. even cyber community. we need each other. i do hope and pray more poets come out of the woodwork and join us.

be well my friends. thank you for reading me again today. even if you say nothing, i know you are there. peace.

(ps, for those who always want to understand my titles, some are not ever going to be understood. but this is a metallica song off the current album, st. anger. i was sitting in the library yesterday with my mp3 player going, i'm drumming along with lars, checking email. rocking out. and the guy across the way kept eyeballing me. i have those officer and a gentlemen moments when i wish i could say things like that to people.

but i forgot to tell you of this one muslim type, i keep taking chances with them. and i don't mean to be all racist, but they don't seem to like me. i'm too forward i guess. anyway, i walk into the library and this guy has struck a pose on the seat next to the computer i was going to use. he had his arm up in the air behind his head. and was splayed out. i write like that too sometimes. but when i walked up he reeled it in.

i told him,
you can strike a pose. i don't mind.

and he looked at me like i was nutz. guess he didn't know the reference.

not everyone enjoys me. i'll tell you that. be well my friends.)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

bridal veils

before i begin today's bit, let me tell you a detail that has been haunting me that i left off yesterday's.

the lady's green linen shirt had an applique of a butterfly, in white irridescent sequins. right in the middle of her back. my eyes locked on this glimmery butterfly and it was surreal. dreamlike. sometimes my life feels all mystical. this was one of those moments. a perfectly ordinary environment (except for the falls), and normal things going on, but i'm wafted away to this other realm. not like i leave my body or anything, but like life suddenly becomes this other dimensional reality.

the butterfly was mesmerising. it wasn't even done that well, it was just the odd placement and shinyness of it, perhaps. but i can see it now. sometimes these dream images come to light and i feel myself in a waking dream. perhaps strange. but i just deal with it. usually don't say anything.

so we go from the observation deck and they funnel you through the gift shop out to the park which faces the rapids and falls. i passed through there quickly, as shopping has lost all lure for me. i walked out the door and had to find a place to perch, i saw none immediately out the doors, then i turned and there were two parrots on a homeless guy. one a yellow fronted amazon, the other some sort of conure. i couldn't tell the species because i don't know conures that well.

anywhoo, i figure, when my people see the parrots, they'll know to find me this way.

so i keep trucking, and finally light upon a bench facing the falls, though i wanted to delight in the rapids a bit. it was farther than i felt comfortable that they'd find me. we had decided to stay together this trip. i'm notorious for doing my own thing whenever we go somewhere. i wander off alone.

i sat and just put pen to page when they found me. and gave me a tongue lashing for being hard to find. i knew they'd find me. it just might take a while. and i wouldn't have minded that in the least.

we'd set out on this journey at 10am. my family can't seem to get out the door early. so we stopped once and made it to the falls by 5pm. i didn't want to stop to eat because i'm a food camel, and can go forever without eating. i figured we could do a couple things and get food later. there's always time for food later.

so we board the trolley, it's 7pm by now. and my husband is famished. we decide to take in the cave of the winds before dinner. and this was the second time i thought myself fool for willingly going to my doom.

we wrap ourselves in clear trashbags this time, put on some cheap sandals and march to an elevator where they drop us 17 stories in the ground. people were coming out of there looking like soaked rats. so i wrapped everything we had in an extra poncho and hoped for the best. i had my journal with me and a camera. the rest could have gotten wet. but those two items no.

on our way down this drop, the young guy with a sunburned face, he was lobster red says,
they built this shaft in 1922.

not a comfort, considering i'm crammed in there with at least twenty others. and if the thing stops, we'd panic.

we proceed down the long tunnel, to the shoddiest construct of a landing i've ever seen. it is perched on the rocks in front of the bridal veil falls. which moves only 1% of the water going over niagara falls.

when you reach the hurricane zone, you will be twenty feet from the falls.
the redfaced young man announces.

signs are everywhere, watch your step, hold your kids. so i am thinking,
great. this will be interesting.

we march down the stairs and across a low landing. proceed up the slipperiest stairs, which have been covered with plastic tread, and up toward the falls. the hurricane deck is full of people whose ponchos are whipping in the winds. it looks like they are standing in a hurricane.

the handrails were slick with algae. the green draping growths brushed off no doubt by the constant handholding. and where there were no hands to hold the rail, the moss ran with water. it was soaked.

as i'm ascending the stairs to the hurricane deck, i turn around to see how my starving husband is faring, and he is lit up like a christmas tree. the man looked like a little boy. it was great. a grin on his face like you can't imagine. it was beautiful. i wished the camera wasn't wrapped in plastic, so i could have taken a picture.

we watched my beloved go to the hurricane deck, then my girl got up the courage to skirt the deck rather than bypass it. so we started to go up the stairs, while my beloved was proceeding to descent the adjacent stairs some ten feet away. i hollered at him, and he heard me over the falls. it was amazing. he met us at the top and we got our blast of wind and water. then proceeded down. surviving another brush with death.

the rest of the trip was pretty standard fare. sightseeing. whatnot. nothing really spectacular. i wanted to get up early and sit beside the falls. that is my ideal. to go and be there, experience the thing. spend a bit of time with it. but it was more important that i spend the time with my people.

and so i did.

Monday, August 14, 2006

the falls

there were a couple significant times this weekend when i thought,
we're mad. i'm marching to my doom.

the first, upon the maid of the mist. the little ship that takes you right up to the misty center of horseshoe falls. i stood against the captain's cabin, as we were some of the last to get on that boat, we could not stand against the rail. and could feel the waters churning beneath the boat. then watching 90% (we came to find out later) of the water that courses through niagara pour down before us with such immense power, i thought,
if this captain slips up, we'll die, for sure.

is it the dramatic part of me that thinks always of my doom? i was glad that it would be a relatively quick death, as the churning waters would grab that boat and suck it under without a problem.

but we survived, as 84 other boats that day did, and returned to the dock. draped in blue ponchos which were little more than blue trashbags with hoods.

when we got off, we climbed up beside american falls and oohed and ahhhed. it was lovely. the rainbows were great. i've always liked rainbows.

when we turned away from the falls, we got in a line to leave (lines everywhere. i guess it is impossible to see a sight like that without flocks of people). there was an indian man in front of us who had on a white tshirt and stonewashed jean shorts. some black sandals. he had a wasp sitting on his slight hips. his wife had on a long green linen shirt that resembled a skirt. she had her hair in a scarf, and black pants.

of course if i see a wasp on anyone, i'm going to try to do something about it. last time i didn't move quick enough, my girl got stung.

so, i reach out, rather instinctively with my journal, and using the very corner, nudge the wasp off the guy. who promptly turns around and gives me a funny look. his wife, too.

my husband said as i was doing it,
maybe you should ask.

but i pressed on, fool that i am.

you see we were about to be crammed into a little elevator, about twenty of us. no comfortable spaces between us, so i knew who that wasp would get if it got someone, me. or my kid.

the wife said,
i wish you would have left it there.

in a tone i couldn't determine if it was annoyance with me (which, it probably was) or concern for the wasp. some people love all God's creatures. and i didn't kill it. i just whisked it away. sent it on its pilgrimage.

i said,
it was a wasp. a bug.

i wasn't sure if they understood. they probably did, but you never know.
i didn't want you to get stung (i didn't want me to get stung was more truthful).
but they turned around and ignored me after that.

we went up to the observation deck, and i am really having a time with heights. i'm not afraid of them. i just don't like them. i would rather not stand on top of a tower looking over a slight metal rail at anything.

so we took the obligatory pictures. you'll be happy to know we had a camera with us.

and i got away from the rail as it was making me feel funny.

i left my people to spend their time gawking at the heights, as they seemed to enjoy it.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

if i tell you more

this has been the great question of my life. if i tell you the whole story, will you leave? if i tell you how i really feel, will you leave? if i tell you more will you leave?

i've not taken the wisest path to writing. i've not taken the wisest path to life. i've laid it all out here for anyone to see, and some part of me wishes it were not so. that i could whisper my secrets to a small community of the faithful that will never tell. but that is not who i was created to be.

i just read the most encouraging words from friends about this place of vulnerability. this place of rawness. this place i live.

look into his eyes. be present. love him.

wise counsel. i shall try.

today we sojourn to niagara falls. i've only ever seen it on the tv a couple times. i'd not have chosen to go there but for my beloved. so i'll likely be swept off my feet and awed by God. at least that is my hope.

i'll get to see some parts of new york that i have never seen, and that my friends, is what rings my bell. seeing things i've not laid eyes on before. capturing them in poetry and spending time with my people.

i have hoped that we could travel these states and see all those little nooks and crannies of interest along the way. but my husband says i'd grow tired of the endless travel, though i don't realize it now. he's probably right. he's usually right, which is probably why i get so irritated when he says stuff.

i had thought i'd stop blogging all together, but as my friend advises, i'll leak out a bit of my life and thoughts here still. i'll continue to be here for your eventual return even if i never know who you are.

today i away and hopefully won't blog tomorrow. but may. you know how it is with me. i can't seem to keep from the letters. from pouring out my heart one fragment at a time.

come back if you want me to tell you more...

Friday, August 11, 2006


i've never been a very good wife. the truth be told. i've been selfish, demanding, petty. all those things that make a husband want to come home and crawl in bed beside me.

the trouble is, i've tried. and the suz you know and love, is the improved version. can you imagine what i used to be like? it gives me the willies to go there. so i try not to. i try not to think back of all the progress i've made. all the babysteps i've taken toward functionality, because truth be told, i'm still a long way away from it.

sure i get through the day, but sometimes i'm amazed and wonder how.

i started this new plan this week:
contentment in action.
no more complaining. no more lamenting the way things are. just dealing with it and moving forward. ever asking,
how can i please you husband?

this has been noticed. and appreciated. if only i could make it part of my life.

i told my husband,
i'm ready for a full-blown backslide.
because daily mass was on tv and the priest said,
and God says...

and i said,
i don't want to hear it.
and muted it.

that, right there was probably the answer to all my woes, but i didn't listen. though if i had listened, it would have been some long meaningless passage from chronicles. which would have affected me not at all.

but i'm left wondering,

what would God have said?

who knows. the point here being, He's talking all the time. and sometimes when we think we could be ready for a full-blown backslide, others think we're all ready fully backslidden.

this has probably often been the case with me. and i wonder. if i am not perceived as serving God now, when i clearly am, what hope have i? does it all hang on perceptions of me and my walk with God? or is there some finality in actually being a child of God and loving him with my whole heart.

even though friends tell me i'm "not fully committed."

then i never will be,
i say. because i don't know how to commit any more of my heart, soul, life to God than i have now. i've done it all as i understand it.

but i haven't lost the fetters of secularism. because i enjoy them. i have taken up some of the old things because they speak to me more than the approved things of the church.

i don't claim to understand any of it.

my husband would like me to share with him as i do so liberally here. so honestly here. and i shall try. which will either result in a resurgence of trust between us or me like a powderkeg ready to blow.

communication has never been our strong suit. so to try to make it the only outlet for my great angst, is, well, dangerous. i'd say.

but i'm game. i'll try anything once. maybe even twice.

being a "good" wife is something i've long wanted to try. guess i'll give it a shot.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

sunrise, sunset

while there isn't much in the way of sunrise in this picture, it is a chinese pistachio my beloved bought for me and we planted in the front yard. about seven years ago. it's a wee thing, still. (i noticed this picture is taken at about the same angle north, as the sunset picture. curious.)

the horizon line is what i was going for here. i would sit out on the porch in the mornings and watch the sunrise. coffee in hand, it would be pitch black out in the country where we lived, and not a light on the horizon. then slowly it would pink up. earth would creak like floorboards, the birds would rustle and call. roosters sound. cows drone in.

i became accustomed, too accustomed (apparently), to this view. this silence. this slice of life where it moved at a slow, steady pace.

this shot is the sunset out the back porch. the sun was high in the north at this point. it was early summer. the sun had not yet begun it's sojourn south down the horizon line. there were no houses obscuring views. little development. who knows what will be there when we return. if we return.

the thing i noticed about being here in the foothills, is i am visually hemmed in. the sun just appears over the trees sometime around ten and disappears behind trees sometime around four.

we went to a party on fourth of july and the man owned a great deal of property. he hadn't planted trees everywhere, but had a lake, and my eyes were able to roam the fields. i found great comfort in this visual freedom as i called it. for once, my eyes weren't locking into examination, but were able to roam. it had been so long since i'd been able to look across a plain of any size.

when we drive through the desert of new mexico, or the flatlands of texas, i always like to look. to pay attention if it is a road we've not ventured down before. there is so much to see. i like to examine it all. i like the oppenness. here, i get carsick if i look out the windows too much or try to read. that never happened in texas and it is strange to me. but fosters communication, which is a good thing.

i have never felt locked in visually, until now. growing up in so. cal, it's all buildings and developed. i never realized what i'd miss when i left texas. but then, you can never realize what you've got until it's gone.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

come back

posted over at ma today, on art and soul.

the blue jays are a riot. i love hearing them. yesterday when i walked to town, they hovered about and cried and called. i understand this. i stood beneath them and watched them carry on for a bit. i imagine they are so in love with each other they cannot stand to be apart. so the call and cry,
come back. come back.
at least that is how i imagine it.

i awoke to their raucous chorus and it is truly a sound i do not mind. it soothes my heart to hear it actually. sounding something like i sound internally. reminiscent of a crow. yet distinct.

i must to town today. i try not to avoid these sojourns, but i also try to get them over as quickly as possible. i've got the white stripes cd to keep me moving along, it is reminiscent of zeppelin that i can't help but love it.

working through the artist's way by julia cameron. i haven't touched this book in a few years, but my pianist best friend said,
she has tools in there for dealing with shadow.
so again i am committing to morning pages, working through the book and nurturing the artist in me.

cameron says our inner artist is like a giant child. we must coddle it, and praise it, and lament when it is sad. i do pretty well with that, but i want my kid to toughen up. to not need. or want. or hope. or dream. i guess, i just want it to produce. i'm a good american in that respect. i've learned my lessons well. now i endeavor to unlearn them.

listening to good music helps. this get behind me satan cd is awesome. i can't recommend it enough.

one thing more, if patrice or jill go before zayra, i'll utterly lose faith in the judgment of the american people. while i must say that freakish get up she had on last night was eye catching (if i could wear spandex from head to toe and look like that, i'd wear it too. though, not gold). but seriously folks, do we think anyone other than delana, lucas, magni (convinced me last night, before then, i wasn't sold on him), storm or maybe patrice could front supernova? it is not a popularity contest. it's a band. the making of a band. i wish people would think about that before they vote for zayra. Lord have mercy.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

death becomes her

went to a funeral yesterday. a lady i washed dishes with when i first arrived here in ny. she drew a crowd. the church was packed and hot. as i sat there all tacky and uncomfortable, i thought, but this is life. mostly tacky and uncomfortable. punctuated with moments of great love and kindness. i went to honor the memory of her kindness to me. hoping i would honor others with the same kindness she lavished on me. remembering someone's name is a big deal.

i am certain that any kindness is an act of God. i remember this woman would greet me by name each week. we'd kneel around the altar to have communion. the greater number of church members at this parish are over sixty. as far up as 90. still getting around. but kneeling at the altar yesterday, i looked around at the faces of those dear saints who knelt beside me as that woman had. and it was just a moment of realizing the fleeting nature of life. one moment here, the next gone. knocking on heaven's door (by guns 'n' roses) is playing as i write. curious.

the difficulty of the past few weeks seems to have turned with my attitude. i have decided to stop focusing on the problems, the shortcomings, and focus on what i can constructively do to thrive. to embrace joy. to experience life, today. since this is where i'm at.

i've thoroughly evaluated all aspects of my situation and know well the problems. i will now take a new approach, instead of lamenting, i will say,
what can i do to please you husband?
i will again become servant. lover. friend. to the one i have given my whole life to.

i was watching metallica's some kind of monster yesterday, and james hetfield said,
being sober and paying attention to life is exciting. more exciting than anything drinking or partying provided. (my paraphrase)

he also said,
the way i learned how to love things is to choke them to death. don't leave.

how many times i've heard myself say the same things. i guess that is why their new album blows my doors off. it's honest. raw. metallica on the road to healing. very nice.

i said to a friend in the course of this latest darkness,
if i survive myself, i'll be fine.
going to a funeral puts the finality of death in a different frame of reference. it is no pretty ideal. it is an ugly and sometimes cruel surprise. for those who are left behind weep and mourn. though the funeral yesterday was a celebration of a life, it was very encouraging and life affirming, there was still weeping. much weeping.

life, it seems, is precious. remember that. remind me of that. and i shall remind you.

Monday, August 07, 2006

the mouth of another

an old review published by a dear friend.

very few have done more to encourage me in my art than tim riter. i am grateful for his ministry of kindness in my life. also, he dedicated his recent book to me.


native artisans

so we went to the powwow saturday. i ran out of the house forgetting to adorn myself. i had planned on wearing this stunning string of handmade turquoise beads from santo domingo pueblo, but forgot. no rings, nuthin. just me. but that was fine.

ladies, if you can find a place where you are the ideal of beauty, go there. if for no other reason than to be appreciated for who you are. no changing it, may as well enjoy your skin.

so i search the powwow for true artisans. there are lots of vendors, but i search out the native folk who are creating art. everywhere we go we try to acquire some of this art.

our home is full of the pictures of (or used to be, only one small buffalo warrior hanging in the hall here at the apt) tillier wesley. native artist of the highest rate. the first time i acquired one of his paintings, it was actually a signed numbered print, because these native artists are so damned good, their works are 'spensive, man!

anywhoo, i had just won a scholarship for an essay i wrote, and there it was, a warrior in a painting called "as time passes." i think the verbiage for that art work got lost in this move, but the print, is just gorgeous. my beloved liked it so much, he bought at least four or five more paintings from tillier. tillier has been ill and doing the sweetest paintings of little dolls. which i've yet to acquire, but shall. hopefully some day soon.

back to new york. the artisan who drew me was domingo talldog monroe. i kept returning to his booth to look at a huge feather pendant, which elegantly curved, as if it were blowing in the wind. i like a piece with movement in it (though hugging my daughter that night, i drove the feather into her chest, and it hurt!).

what i wanted to say about this is, if you happen upon a powwow, don't just buy stuff from cases. ask the artists if they have made any of the pieces. while i was there scouring the vendors booths i saw the work of a friend, frank gilbert. a native artist i knew from california. frank makes these turtle shell pendants which open. my sister actually purchased several of them for her assorted children. but i knew the artist because i went to powwows and spent hours talking with him and his wife.

also, if you learn the artists' sign, if you buy from actual native artists, you can see their symbols and recognize them when their work is sold second hand.

my beloved and i were at a powwow in greenville, texas, and saw a guy with some silver medallions in his hair. we knew the artisan without seeing the symbol, because my husband purchased some of those medallions at a powwow in scottsdale, arizona once. makes for interesting convesation if you understand what you've got from where.

it is a very small world indeed.

we were crammed in a tepee listening to native storyteller/flute player tchin. my daughter crawled into her daddy's lap and grabbed for her water bottle to have a drink as she reclined on his chest. it was such a flash back to when she was a baby. i remember when he could hold her whole body on his forearm. now, she is nearing the point where she will probably not climb into her daddy's lap any more. those are the moments i wish i had a camera and took pictures. but i'm glad i was there and able to witness it.

one word of advice before i away. this is for all you nonnatives who may read me, when at powwows resist the urge to dance in open adult dances. i'm not talking about intertribals (the dancers in regalia dance with unclad folk), but i'm talking about when they say come out and show us how you dance like we do.

do not ever dance in these. even if they have a dream catcher as prize. resist the urge. save your dignity, go to a booth and buy a dream catcher. it constantly amazes me how stereotypically people dance in these things.

which reminds me of another sordid tale. i was seeing a doctor once when i was suffering horribly from carpal tunnel. he asked,
how do you exercise?
i said,
i dance every weekend.

really, where, he asked?

this doctor liked me because i was studying english literature and actually knew who john donne was.

at powwows,
i said.

he proceeded to demonstrate native dance by whooping and circling with legs bent and was the most ridiculous sight i've ever seen.

resist the urge, if you be a friend of mine, to dance in a "competition." especially if you happen to be with me. i will leave you there.


Saturday, August 05, 2006

on to the next powwow.

let me first explain this title. it is a great memory. i told my daughter of it recently, and so i must tell you.

it was early one evening, we were packing up our camping stuff to leave the powwow grounds. this is a time of happy banter, busily sorting, cleaning, shuffling off to our workaday worlds. when a native man mounted his van and stood just above the front windshield. he spread his arms out to each side and yelled,

come my children, on to the next powwow.

we all laughed, and finished packing. then drove away. to meet up again the next week, when we would unload, set up camp and remind ourselves who we are. a people gathered together for a bit of dancing, fellowship, and a good bit of storytelling.

today we are going to a powwow. the east coast is very different from the west coast in that east coast native people are generally more accepting of others. west coast native people tend to be snobs. it is tough to find a crowd. acceptance.

though having said that, i think of all the west coast natives who nurtured me. who accepted me. who gave me a place to be when i was alone and on the powwow circuit. they took me under their wings and sheltered me, though i didn't know it. that is the problem with generalities. people are just people and elude generalization. so strike what i said above, though i am not alone in this finding.

it is not often i go places and feel like the ideal of beauty. our culture seems to iconize white, tall, thin, blonde women. i'll never be any of those things. i'm short, dark in all manner, not sleek and young, dark hair and dark eyes. the cool thing about powwows is, the native culture is so kind to elders. and while i'm not elder material yet, i'm getting there. the grey is multiplying and lengthening.

my husband tries to pull these from me, but i tell him he is robbing me of my crown of glory and to leave them alone. i've waited my whole life for this day when i could age with dignity. and so i shall.

he yanked a really long one out about three weeks ago. it was about two feet long. i was sorry to see it go. that white, glorious hair wafting to the ground, taking with it my yearning to live. what have i to show if i hide my age? what have i to show if i try to be someone i'm not? when these hairs leave me not of their own accord, i am sad to see them go. as if some part of me has died.

when we walk around powwows, the women naturally gawk at my husband. they always do. even when we're not at powwows. this reminds me of a great many things. he is a feast for the eyes when i'm not pissed at him. he is the desire of many women though i forget because we are so close. i spend so much time focused on his shortcomings, i forget about what a decent man and good father he is. what a generous husband and companion he has been to me. i forget all these things when i focus on what i'm missing, instead of what i have.

i left my shawls, all of them, in texas. i didn't even think about powwows in the frenzied packing. i didn't even pack my master bedroom and closet where the shawls were. it didn't occur to me until we'd been here a number of months that i'd forgotten them.

renee has one, because it was in her room. but i will take a not-native shawl and do the best i can with it. though i have better, i will make due. it is not the way i would prefer to dance, draped in something makeshift. but it is understandable that we must do the best we can. and so i shall. it is the dancing that matters, not the shawl. i can dance and rejoice whether or not i'm properly clad.

i was thinking about going today and a memory popped into my mind of my daughter's first powwow. i took her with me to gourd dance. i had her in a front sling, so when i was dancing, her little head was sticking out the top of my shawl. this is a moment i wish i would have gotten a picture. but i knew no one at that powwow and was there alone. my beloved's family arrived after the gourd dancing and i had already departed by then. i missed them. it was in arizona, so my california friends might have been there, but i was too tired to hunt them down. new motherhood coupled with dancing was too much for me alone. i went home and slept.

i had gourd danced with her the entire time of her youth because at times it was the only thing that would get the child to stop crying and sleep. something of my past she remembered before she was born. a time immemorial.

i think about this often, if women have all the eggs they will ever have in their bodies when they are born, they are never without their children, until said children are born. so my daughter did gourd dance with me all my days at powwows. her memory of the dance was probably soothing to her.

i must away. the dance calls. i pray i am up to it. that i will find a bit of who i am and have forgotten there. and that my husband will be reminded of my great love for him.

ah, the stories we shall tell when we are old.

Friday, August 04, 2006


yesterday's one thing at a time went well. i actually accomplished more focusing on one task than all my running around wearing myself out. go figure. who'da thunk it?

there were a couple times yesterday when i caught myself doing more than one thing, but i just got back on track and focused. it was great. it was a no stress day. i hope today will be the same.

my fridays generally involve lots of reading and talking on the phone. my sister and one of my best friends are home all day on fridays. huzzah!

while i was doing my one thing, i helped my daughter tackle her disaster of a room by giving her just one assignment at a time. trying to get that child to accomplish said one thing is a whole nuther issue entirely. she inherited my skill for getting out of what is being asked.

one of the hardest things for her is still parting with her stuff. even if she doesn't play with it anymore. even if she doesn't hardly see the stuff, because it is buried under a mountain in her room.

so i had her get all her stuffed animals out and put them on her bed.

part with whatever you can,
i said. no longer trying to influence the decision because she can often part with a lot more than i think she will.

i am calling these muertitos. little deaths. because each time she can grieve a loss it prepares her for the next loss. and so on.

she cried a few tears after parting with a good number (about seven) stuffed animals and i held her, telling her how brave she is.

the thing about it is, she doesn't play with those things anymore. the only things she seems to play with are the new things. yet rending her from the old (she inherited her dad's attachments to stuff) is quite a feat.

i went through my stuff again too, i'm telling you, killing off whatever i can is a good thing. these little deaths help me to release some mental baggage and the larger issues of grief i am dealing with (avoiding, actually).

so today we are off to the library. i have mixed feelings about this. yes i get to sit in front of plate glass windows and the view is to die for. but other people don't know how to teach their kids indoor voices. some stomp through the library with the little tyrants yelling the whole time. vexing.

you know my issues with silence, so i try to breathe and ignore. breathe and ignore.

but it is a design flaw i think. they banish the kids to the downstairs, but i think they should have put the adult collection downstairs, thereby creating a kidfree zone.

there is no kidfree zone at this library. it is all full of tiny tyrants. and i don't even go downstairs anymore. my girl retrieves me from my chair when she is done with whatever it is she does down there.

the other day, she came up and complained that a child was talking to his mother the whole time she was trying to work on the internet.

i couldn't even concentrate.
she said.

wonder where she gets that from?

have a lovely day, i hope you, too, can do just one thing at a time.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


i live my life at a frantic pace. especially, lately. my mind it seems runs faster than i can keep up with it, and efforts to slow it down are like those mountain roads i now find myself on, i have a huge hum of an engine doing the work to keep the car at a decent rate of speed.

i have to slow it down. i have to.

i multitask my multitasks. it seems i have always done this. some times more than others. but today, just for today. only one task at a time.

though, laundry is hard to do since it is involves mostly waiting (maybe i am missing my point entirely, by writing now that i've started my laundry), but there was no running involved in this morning's processes which is a start.

a gift of contentment, according to johnson is:


so if i'm so driven, going so fast, reading in all the cracks of time in my day (which while it is very gratifying and helps me get through many, many books), it may not be the healthiest way to spend my time.

that which we love can quickly degenerate into obsession.

one day we were leaving the house, in the car, and my girl called out,
oh no, i've forgotten a book!

this pleased me immensely. for you see, she reads a great deal. it is my gift to her, shall we say.

i've come to books late in life, and have so much reading to do. my list grows longer and longer, i can't even consider fiction an option because the nf and poetry keep me so busy. reading the classics just isn't possible at this point in my life.

but am i training her to be franticly productive? or am i gifting her with language and creativity. i hope and pray for the latter.

this modern way of doing, doing, doing, is killing me. i'm sure of it. so i'm going to start being, being, being. more than i am. less accomplishment, more contentment. less frantic, more peace. less hurry, more lingering.

i don't know how it will work out. but i've been headed in this direction for a great while. perhaps i can let go of my need to accomplish. my need to achieve. my need to do something. and just do things for the sake of doing them. be about dish washing because it is what i'm doing at the moment. less because it has to be done.

passionately, rapturously embracing them moment. yes. that is it.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


i blogged over at ma, wrote a poem, if that matters.

every week my sister and i go through performance by performance to debate who we think should or could get the supernova gig. i have to say this, zayra and josh have to go.

the great failing of this show is it is designed so you spend most of your time watching the WORST performers.

last comic standing overcame this plight. the series is running so you spend a great deal of time with the best. and i couldn't be happier. (the reality stuff, while nice, was not really what it was about. i met a comic last year who said,
it isn't really a comedy show.
but this year, i'd have to say they fixed that).

so my message to the beautiful dave navarro, the decadent tommy lee, is fix the show. can zayra and josh.

last year i hated that some of my favs got voted off early. but my sister was right (yes, we discussed that show all season long, too), some singers are not right for that particular band though they may be good. it took me a while to see it. but i wanted the best singers to win. my sister tells me she remembers auditioning for a band and did what she wanted to do. in hindsight, she knows it is the band's tastes which must get preference (josh clearly isn't getting that message, soulman).

if she were to do it all again, she would do it differently. i'm sure many would say the same given these failed opportunitites.

and perhaps the best singers did win, who knows. but this season, i can see it clear as day.

if your performance is met with laughter by dave (who is mr. manners as far as rockstars go, then quit. pack it up. i don't think she knows how bad her performances are. which is a scary thought. but if you're not from this country, don't know how the song's history or even how to dress, move, or enunciate, then go home).

since i am helping improve the show, can i just say, i like the hour long format. but this reality episode online business is a pain. this week's skipped like a school girl at recess. put the damn thing back on vh1, so we can tivo it like normal folk.

i'd like to see more reality though (i think they are running it for a half hour, but an hour would be most excellent. provided they don't focus only on the dweebs).

who knows. tommy playing drums last night was a beautiful sight. immensely gratfitying. yes, indeed.

the difference between last season and this, is there are actual rockstars on the show (aside from dave, that is). huzzah.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


when i come to these places of barrenness, i look arouund and wonder, how did i get here and what do i do now?

i hear whispers of poems. but nothing i can yet grasp.

i think the lack of silence is part of the problem. i can't recall the sound of stillness. i no longer remember the sound of silence. all around me cars, engines, people, trains, birds (even they have become blurred in the frenzy of sounds).

so i plug my ears with music. i leave off my silent longing and fill it with sounds which are less offensive. yet the longing grows.

it's ravenous now, i'm starved for silence. for a moment of nothingness like i used to know so tangibly. in texas, our home was silent about 90 percent of the time. all day long, my girl and i would dwell in this silence and read. write. study.

she had a little friend over once, who walked through our house with her ears plugged screaming,
i hate silence!

so far we've fallen.
so far we've fallen.

rilke wrote of silence being a rich man's commodity. these are the moments i long for the wealth to buy me the sound of silence.

these are the moments i think a retreat to the nunnery would suit me just fine.

these are the moments i wonder how anyone gets by without silence to cloak them, to frame their thoughts.

i hadn't realized how accustomed i'd become to hearing no thing. i long for it now. that silence, pine for it.

where can i go to be away from sound? apart from these noises which ring in my head and part me from my thoughts?