Thursday, April 30, 2009

cramped in the deep end

good thing i was bouyed up by noodles, i swam a lap in the pool backwards, some part of me just seeing if it could be done. i hadn't ever tried to swim backwards, but i kept kicking and dragging my feet out of the water and back she went. my sister swimming beside me, i couldn't swim fast, but i progressed nicely. my girl finally breaking out to catch us, and at the deep end, where we touch our tushes to the wall and go "ping" (denoting the winner of said lap), nearly tackled me to keep me from touching the wall. she ping-ed before me, and ultimately won, but in the frenzy of battle, my entire calf cramped in a way that i'd not felt since i was pregnant.

i remember that night, i was asleep in the bed beside my grams, hugely pregnant, and she lept out of bed like a young woman and rubbed my leg until it stopped cramping. that's how she was. always nurturing, always taking care of me. every moment of my life i miss that woman.

my sister looks and acts very much like her now. she's had as many kids, her body is doing the same things. while she lacks the feisty temprament (i seem to have it in excess), she has the more tangible aspects of my sweet grams.

i arrived home the other night and she made her way to the door, everything, every move screaming gramsy.

what can i say.

being pregnant was a wonderful time, one i hope never to repeat. that is why i made the most of it, so i never regret. suck the marrow out is my motto. experience it fully. time is short. live large.

but it's not about the stuff, only about the people for me.

my pony came back to me. the radiator died. i had the guys check it over completely, and three new tires were also in order, so citing convenience, i went for it. why not. i already had a rental. no point dragging it out.

we picked it up and just made it to belly dance class where she proceeded to kick our asses. my sister will pack home my videos and a hip scarf to revel in the wonders of belly dance.

i was supposed to cook tonight, but everyone has cancelled, and i'm grateful. i don't feel like cooking and realized with my luck i'd probably make some culinary disaster and have to feel the clod for even suggesting it.

today i kept hearing,
it's all slipping away from me.

and how this is supposed to be my problem, i don't know. i had to keep the best face possible on it, and walk away. just turn and walk away.

that comes easy to me. i understand it.

i think in so many ways i've been too easy, too accomodating. that has to change, i have to find that line between my work ethic and other people's responsibilities.

i don't agree with a lot of what is going on, but my job now is just to do the best i can and then, walk away. i can do that.

i will do that.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009


i'm being told things will be awful where i'm going, that i'll call and want to come back. i say,
i don't retreat. you don't know me.

this one whom i thought had my back seems only to want to cut off my escape and it's made me a bit paranoid. i'm just tired, i think. but it really feels like he's setting himself up as my self-appointed protector. i don't need or want his protection. i never did.

i finally laid down the law, and he's abided by it somewhat. still get the occasional text, but i ignore it.

the babies called me again. don't know if i mentioned it, but my eighteen month old twin nieces have taken to dialing my cell when they should be napping, and we chat. they giggle. i don't understand them, but i hear their gentle coos and it makes me happy. though they woke me at around midnight last night, their momma abed beside me. i get it, they know where she is.

the chief thought it was very cool that the twins call me. i do too, so glad they even know who i am. babies matter to me immensely. i'm just glad i don't have any more to raise.

and i'm just so tired.

my pony threw a shoe. not really. but i was driving to pick up my sister and noticed, as i'm sitting the baking sun and slight traffic that the temp gauge is rising, it was about three quarters of the way up when i noticed, and flipped on the heater to high, and rolled down all the windows. i made it to the airport and back, but after we stopped for breakfast i noticed a pool of water under my pony.

not sure what to make of it, i drove it straight to the car guys and told them,
do whatever it takes. but don't call my ex, i left him. he won't care.

i had to rent a car, a little subcompact jobbie. a pregnant rollerskate one customer called it. i don't mind it though, it's necessary. i'm so busy, if this had happened at any other time without the serendipitous delay of my sister's flight about an hour, i would have completely overheated in newark. the gods favor me. i believe this.

so i'm working with the classics scholar and we're both running on waaay too little sleep, we're like the keystone cops just trying to get drinks straight. it isn't very difficult but i'm having comprehension issues today. and i've a full day.

the chief is presenting at drew university tomorrow and i said i'd look over a paper he's working on. i had just exited the shower, complete with alice cooper eyes, and when i knocked on his door he said,

i look like you feel, right?

and he laughed.

i was wasted tired, and had to bed, as four o'clock comes early. i will take my sister to belly dance class, then swimming with my girl, then home, and do it all over again.

by tomorrow, perhaps i'll enter delirium.

she wants to go to the city, i'm wondering if i can fit it in on friday morning. it's the only spot of time in my week not yet spoken for. how i long to just sleep in, but one can't when one has guests. and i've left her alone more than i'd intended. she doesn't like being alone.

but she'll be with the chief tomorrow, my girl on friday, me on saturday, and home sunday.

i think i'll go to bed and not get up for a couple days after she leaves (provided i have them off). i was asked if i'm counting the days until i'm done here, and i wasn't since i am working with the person who loathes me, i now am. i just don't get it.

my friend said,
so, you're impossible to work with?

am i?

that's what i understand. but i don't think so.


it's weird, how we're perceived. i'm feeling rather paranoid here lately. i just want out. i want out now. the sooner the better. i feel my skin crawling and i'm trying not to make any mistakes. but i mentioned a few of the comments customers have made to me to my friend this morning and he said,
wow, really? what a jerk to say that.

i don't think my paranoia is entirely unfounded.

i explained a lot to him about my perspective of this store, i think it saddened him ultimately. he doesn't want me to leave, for sure.

it's not right, you leaving.
he said.
he doesn't realize what he's losing.


i look forward to my new place, new stomping grounds.

monday morning i slept fitfully as my sister was flying all over the nation (rerouting, etc), and i kept getting phone calls updating me, so i'd know when and where to pick her up. finally the calls stop and a supervisor from my work calls me at 5am, the opener, she'd forgotten how to turn off the alarm. which i find curious.

i'm just so tired. must rest.
tonight i'll likely use a noodle to drag my exhausted body through the water.

i'm not even working out this week, no time, no energy.

Monday, April 27, 2009


i had a craving for a margarita. a blended margarita. i went out for drinks with a friend after work one night and couldn't get a blended margarita. i got saddled with one on the rocks. i asked the bartender to blend it, and true dairy queen style he puts the cup under the malt mixer thing and froths it. (after sparing the dry lime that came with the drink), he walks back over and replaces said lime on the rim of my cup and hands me a frothed margarita.

what are the odds he'll spit in it if i send it back again?

pretty good.

so i drank my margarita on the rocks, but when my friend paid, i said,
i will take you somewhere i can get a real margarita.

bartender doesn't care. he avoided the blender for some reason unknown to me. but this margarita plagued me, as do all things i am denied. i want them, and pursue them like a chunk of cheese on a trap. i'll find a way to outwit the trap or die trying.

top shelf,
my friend keeps saying.

i have no clue what top shelf is. i tasted it when it arrived, and wowza.

she explained to me the meaning of what she requested and i said,
i'm used to bottom shelf, i guess.

but it hit me like i'd never had a drink before. and since i'd eaten not much that day, and not recently, the booze made me giggle like a schoolgirl.

i wasn't going to be a lowsy drunk, but it was not up to me. she set me up but good.

so i order a fruit plate, they confiscate the last eighth of my drink (i got ripped off a partial margarita folks), and a strawberry lands on my chest.

the girls were on display and this was met with much laughter.

we were at a mexican restaurant so i kept saying,
i eat with my hands folks.
and the guest i'm supposed to meet is sitting there, i bite half a pineapple and hand him the other half.

i'm weird, what can i say.

he takes it and smiles.

same thing for the papaya.

i don't know how it is supposed to work, but i expected people who wanted something to reach over and get it. might have ate the entire fruit plate, with this amazing avocado, i basically made love to the appetizer and i don't get there often. food being the non-event that it is.

let's just say, i ate well. a lot. my friend kept saying,
it's so good to see you eat.

she always sees me eat because she has the best damn leftovers since my grams. i go over her house and she feeds me persian dishes, sometimes mexican. they always rock.

she sees me eat a lot.

but i sobered up after the meal and was able to drive my pony home. or at least to their home, where the drinking resumed and i crashed in their guest room.

i'm a lowsy drunk apparently. or they care too much to let me drive away like that.

either way, there i slept.

she danced me to exhaustion, and i told her,
i do things with you that i only do alone at home.
because there was a party going on, but we were having a belly dance class right there in her living room. her hips do things i only wish mine could. i told her,
yours do so much more than mine.

yours are doing the same thing mine are,
she says,
i just have bent knees and don't collapse into the move.

i have this habit of carrying myself poorly while i'm dancing. not at class because i'm focusing on it. but i like my hair to cover me and hide me a bit. yes, i confess, i'm hiding.

the dark lord is in sight and i attempt to understand the lure, the draw, the reason. i don't really get it. but i get that it's where i'm at. i'm fine with it. have fun, remember, that is what it's about.

there are a lot of things going on in my mind right now. it's awash with ideas, images, dreams. some of them likely to take place, most of them to the average person, unattainable, but i've never been average. i've never limited myself and i don't advise those who listen to what i have to say to do that either. go for it. why the hell not.

we're not getting any younger, not guaranteed tomorrow. all that bullshit. amen.

Friday, April 24, 2009


so, the lamb rears its ugly head again. and i limp through my yesterday, trying to figure out what the hell happened.

for being a strong woman, you take a lot of shit.

i know,
shaking my head,
i don't know how it happens.


i don't know what you're putting out there, but men want to control you.

because i drove to her, limped to her, aching. feeling like i'd been brutalized by my ex. not a good feeling and i cried a couple times over it.

when i told her, i knew she'd be furious.
you've been taking it all along, making excuses. even now you're making excuses.

we talked a long time. and she's right. i make excuses. i don't really know any other way to get where i'm going except to put up with a bit of shit along the way.

it's wrong.
she says.

and i know she's right.

and so i went to ask the only one i trust at the moment, and he said the same thing.
it's harrassment. report him.

i don't want to do that.

but, i drive away knowing i am very, very close to having to.

what i want, all i want, is to get to my new store and be done with it. will this issue follow me? no. i will take steps today to stop it. to draw inviolable boundaries and there will be no more communication off the work phone when i'm there. even then, it will be limited. drastically.

i don't know what else to do. but i don't like feeling beaten down. i hate it. and it's not right.

my friend is trying to convince me that i don't "need" an artist to find acceptance. that a regular joe can suffice. but i keep saying,
i've done that already and look what it got me.

but i can't decide now what i will and won't accept. that is foolishness. so i go into tomorrow and see what happens. we may not even get along. who knows. i have no capacity for bullshit now. i'd rather be alone than with someone i don't trust.

and now i must away, long night ahead. i have an on off schedule for the next three days which is good. i worked six days straight last week and it kicked my ass. i'm going to get the girl in the am tomorrow and we'll spend the day horsing around, literally. her riding lesson, tracking down the other members of the herd, wherever they are and spending time with them.

then, the dinner party. i try not to think about it. because i'm not so good in groups. i have no interest in bullshit conversation, so we'll see how it goes. it's easier for me to be silent at these things than voice my odd opinions, but my friend knows this and forbade me to bring either book or pen, she'll probably frisk me before i get in her car. and she will make me, force me, to enjoy the company we're with.

hope i can oblige. i'm sure i can oblige. i'll just drink. nothing like a little whiskey to get the conversation going.

no matter how i turn it over in my mind, it seems like it will be, um, interesting. that's all i can say.

i'm wearing my leather pants.


good. look sexy,
she says.
for men, it's all about the looks of a woman.

right. i'll try.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

outside the cage

i've been out of the cage for a while now. only recently have i begun to enjoy it. very recently. i've stopped worrying about how it looks and am just going with what makes me happy. that means leather pants and tats at the dinner party, it is who i am. i can't keep apologizing for that. and if i'm not good enough as i am, i'm not interested in your company, whomever you are. amen.

it's tough, navigating the cage, i remember it. it feels forever. it feels like there is no way out. i remember when we had a standy uppy rabbit cage in the backyard of my cousin's house. the house on the top of the hill in monterey park, where we spent all our early years, each summer digging in the dirt, climbing up the ivy playing army. we laughed, cried, learned about life there.

anyway, the older cousins made sport of younger cousins by doing such things as luring us into the rabbit cage (imagine!) we were small then, and tumbling us around the yard. now i don't remember if this was meant to be malicious, but it was a past time. i scarcely recall more than one of us being in there at a time. can you imagine over and over with your cousin passing you by in various states of upsidedownedness.

that's the cage. that's what it feels like.

my sister and i got in a cage together once at a fair. it was called something i can't remember but it was the shape of a kidney bean and they locked you in, never a good sign. these independently spinning kidney beans were also orbiting a giant center as they spun. immediately upon departure all the shit drops out of my sister's and my purses and we are tumbling through the air screaming and being pelted by all manner of cosmetics and miscellany. that's the cage.

i don't know what to say, how to tell you to get out. i can only say, i hope when you're my age, you've found the door, or at least the direction of the door. that you've not foregone looking for an out, because there is one. and i am testament to that. all the dark shit is real, i understand it more deeply than you know. perhaps you know, but i understand it. there is a door.

it is not the door you think though. perhaps it is not the door i think. perhaps i'm merely in the foyer of the great cage, unawares of my remnant cagedness. perhaps. i don't know. i don't profess to have any answers.

i just know this. no one can make you accept what you don't want. or want what you don't accept. or some combination of the two. not even i.

i don't pretend to try.

so it's back to the studio for me, i have to recut those first four tracks. i just can't live with them the way they are. four of my strongest poems wimpered out because i was uncomfortable. i'm not the lamb anymore baby, i'm the lion. i want those poems to roar like the rest of the cd. they have to.

i remember so long ago how my friends kept believing in me, and i wrote this:

it's a great friend indeed who can see the lion in the silently trembling lamb.

i see the lion in you sweetness.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

soon, very soon.

so many things fall under this category for me. soon.

it almost makes me laugh. almost.

patience is a hard gig for me. i ain't got it. but i guess the way to get it is to wait for what you want. this does not seem to be as clear cut as it seems in my mind, because, i have to wait for some things. i have to let time pass. it is the nature of the universe, time must keep moving, and we must try not to get hung up on what went or the promise of what is coming.

but i do. i still do.

seems the wiccan mayday festival will take place while my sister is in town, and i hope i have the day off. so we can dress up and dance and laugh for an entire day together. what a blast. there will be belly dancers performing all day long, and i'm sure the dance will just break out as it really is a gathering of belly dancers. i can't wait.

i stumbled (more deliberate than that, but i'm being coy) into my proposed place of employ, and the manager had some news she could not tell me. and so, in the way of women's knowing, i know something i did not know before. i understand some of the complexities and am excited about the possibilities, though i still, admittedly, know nothing.

apparently, there is some jockeying going on, and it's not up to me where i'll end up. which is kind of nice. i like that fateful element. change is coming, it's in the wind. and perhaps it will do my soul good to move from where i've become predictable. ha!

i'm going to try to take my sister birdwatching while she's here, and shopping, and spoil her a bit. but mostly, i'll drag her around to meet the people i love, and just spend time loving her.

it's good, it's all good.

the cd is cut, without flaws (the flaws were my sad ass cd player in my car. it skips a lot. i should have realized this was not the recording, but my vehicle. the next day when i listened to it, perfection). so now i'm ready to pass the torch and let it happen as it will. i'm already tired of listening to myself read. the novelty lasted for a moment only. and when you have someone bright eyed and questioning, keenly interested in poetry for the first time in their life because they heard your work, it's something. immensely gratifying, i must say.

i'm to close the store with my boss tonight. he's not scheduled that long, but he'll likely stay. our days together are numbered and i know he'll miss me when i go. it's time though, past time. i could not find an exit before this, and i'm grateful it's shaping up where no one is getting damaged from it. my morbid thinking likely at play there.

but this intensely creative time continues and while it is a black creativity, it is mine and i embrace it. i'm keenly drawn to the dark at the moment, and i'm going with it to see what can be seen. while, at the same time, reading about a lighter belief system which at the moment i'm uninclined to say much about. i have only told three people i'm working through it, because i want to explore it without anyone else's input or agenda. my agendas are plenty, and i'm trying to let those go. hard to do when i'm grappling with another's.

went to that poetry reading the other night. i have to tread lightly with what i say. not that anyone reads this bullshit, but there are a few. and i've learned the hard way that what i say is more honest than most can handle. it does not win me any favors or friends (for that i'm grateful), but i also don't have to be vicious.

though i have my moments. believe me.

the big poet read, and i was ... here, i must be careful...let me just skip to the end. i introduced myself. he heard me read, and then after came up to me before leaving and said,
i liked the first poem best.

thank you.

i'll see you again.


i was talking to a few other poets who happened to be there.

enough said. it's better if i just leave it at that. i often burn bridges once i cross them, no point in burning them before i've even set foot on them.

so much creativity in the air. i'm ablaze. it's wonderful.

i couldn't live like that all the time,
my ny best friend said.
i have to turn it off.

i have lived too long without it to let it go now.

it's been something watching you these past few months, you've blossomed.


and i remember with gratitude the one who believed in me. the only one who believed in me even when i didn't believe in myself. the one who essentially loved me to life, and can only do the same for those i meet. give. lavish the love lavished on me. it is too good to keep inside. it is too much to hide. oh shit i'm rhyming.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

eight hours later

we have a cut poetry cd. it still needs some tweaking, and at one point i watched him chase phantom sounds, and had to yell out,
it sounds fine
(i was in the bathroom!). he is a true sound guy though, can hear all kinds of inaudible shit, and i'm grateful for his expertise and guidance.

we'll have to find a small run press for you, unless you want a thousand cds.

um, i don't know.

i'll look into it for you.

seems his kindness knows no bounds.

the cd press he uses may do a small run, but how many is too many? how much is too much? i'm of the opinion that i should go with the best and just suck up the rest. do what i have to do. sure it may take me a lifetime to unload them, but what else am i going to do? they will be my businesscard. ha! it would cost me less in the long run to give away those than my book.

need to order that third printing. but i'm waiting for something, not sure what.

so i went by work after my studio time, and the boss won't let me in on the "news" he's forbidden to spill. but from what i gathered, i'm transferring soon. one kid, the one i don't trust, is getting promoted asap (i have reservations about this, but it is not my call), and the other who is the bomb and the likely candidate to fill my shoes has to be second in line for promo. but he won't be denied long. i'm told four weeks out for him.

that means, i'll be replaced by two, they have to hire another person to replace them, and one will step down. quite an upheaval. but i've never been replaced by just one person any place i've left. i do the work of three. maybe more.

so i'm thinking i'll trust my boss' and his boss' judgment about my placement. it may not be where i'd choose first to go, i may end up in a store that is not a mile from my house, but it will be a store that houses a golden child. and i've learned that if one can sit at the feet of a golden child, the glow translates. it is a smart move for me to go where they send me, to "behave" as it were. not to obstinantly demand what i want inspite of what my boss' boss wants. and so i'll defer my preference this once, in favor of the larger picture.

i may be gone by next month, and this pleases me. i'm ready.

i went over my friend's house this weekend, and we did a movie marathon. i got to hang with her and her family (my persian belly dancing friend), and it was nice to be a part of a family again. her daughter is sooooo my daughter. it made me laugh. at one point, i mentioned it to the girl who is my girl's bffl, and she gave me the scowl my daughter normally gives. and i laughed.

that's her exactly.

i know.
she said.

i get to spend more time with my girl's bffl than my girl. that's sad. but i am grateful to not be bereft of little girls entirely. i don't know that i could bear it.

so, i'm off, up there again to go for a long walk through beautiful orange county. it is gorgeous up there. and then tonight to a poetry reading. i get to hear a big nj poet i've been wanting to hear read for some time. i'll likely read something i just wrote a couple days ago.

i do that. break out the fresh fish for the fish fry. it makes sense.

i had a lot to say, but by the time i get here, i lose it all.

and still you wake me at three am, and i lay there in your arms wondering when you'll appear and i won't have to imagine you anymore.
you say, but i wonder if soon in your reckoning is the same as soon in mine.

something in me does not think it is so.

but i can wait. i'm not a patient woman, unless there is something i want.

Monday, April 13, 2009


so i finally made it to the juke joint, the saloon i'd been invited to many times over my time at my current place of employ. this guy who looks so much like an old dear friend of mine, and has long hair, hosts musicians for what is, essentially a jam session.

well, i showed up and the place was all dudes. not so good. but they weren't creepy dudes, and i sat with the musicians. kenny, a nice percussionist and i got along. go figure. they were all my age, perhaps slightly older, very talented. a very famous person's son jams on bass each sunday at this joint, which is also why i wanted to go and had forgotten. i had to go. need shit to write about, you know.

so it's late, i'm off work and wide awake.

when i walk into the joint, i order a margarita, and it's a shots and beer joint (no wonder no chicks were there, they'd do more chick business if they splurged and bought a blender).

this guy at the bar knows me because i've taken to wearing some jewelry at work that shows my personality. a double silver choker yesterday, and he says,
hey, i remember that necklace.
and we chat a bit. but the guy who invited me is right there and i follow him to the crowd of musicians.

do you want to read some poetry?


yeah, sure.

um, i don't know that it would go over so well.

we're laid back.

we'll see.

so this guy is up there jamming and singing margaritaville or something similar, and he's quite good. so i park myself by kenny and we talk about converse.

i'm trying to calculate how much i can drink and still get home safely since i've not eaten for hours. and i'm slighter of frame, so i can't hold my liquor anymore. i decide not to over think it and we have time.

a girl walks in, beautiful, dark curly hair, we could have been sisters (that was the refrain we kept hearing). she sits by me, and eventually we talk.

then they all got up to jam, and she and i are grooving to the tunes in our seats, and mention how we should dance.

i'll be the feet if you are the hips.

so i retrieve my hip scarf and we are in the back of the room dancing, when the musicians hear my coins. the whole place kind of cranes the neck and the musicians demand we dance in the middle of them.

so, for the first time, i've danced in a room full of men and it was great. there was one other chick there, she carried an african hand drum and sat with the musicians jamming. i didn't meet her, but she had clearly been there many times.

we danced for what seemed like forever, i turned to the guy i knew and said,
how long will you play this song?

as long as you keep dancing.
he said with a smile.

and we finally stopped. went to the bar and got water. the salsa girl was teaching me the basic salsa steps, and since belly dance was the only dance she'd never been trained in, i showed her some isolations.

more jamming ensued, and at one point, we got up again and danced some more. they kicked us out just before one, but it was amazing.

i realized, the musicial crowd is a nice comfortable crowd for me. it reminds me of all the clubs i frequented as a kid, and how easily i fall in with musicians. while i can't have a technical discussion, i can state my preferences.

one guy kept lacing his improv with zep riffs, and i called him on it.

zeppelin, ha?

you caught that?


had a zeppelin cover band, we broke up.

form a new one.

it's not that easy.

and a couple of these guys come from orange county, north of where i live, so it was nice to meet some souls from my neck of the woods.

there was something of desire in their eyes. desire for their art, and that is nice to see. artists actually doing their thing. all of us. i didn't hang with the drinkers, but with the musicians. and as an artist, (though i know i was shaking my ass. it was noted that a tambourine like that is "what i need"), but it was all in good fun. i drove away laughing. but i saw how much these guys were willing to give up to do this. to drive to this little empty bar and jam for a few hours.

have to get up at seven.


and he didn't even leave when i left. it was nice though, the whole thing.

i just keep telling myself, dance every dance girl.

and the guy who invited me walked over smiling ear to ear,
i had no idea.

(but he did, he just forgot). i had mentioned it to him when we first met.

off to work. the business of training a replacement begun. before things are even set in motion, i am fashioning an exit.

my boss said this morning,
you can't wait to get out of here.

i'm just ready. it's time.

i rode the kid i don't trust anymore last night and for the first time he argued with me. while i'm refreshed by someone telling me what they think, there is and isn't a time for it.

i'm told i need to fix this before i leave but i would have called anyone on the amount of time it took to make three drinks. even if you only have one bar. it took too long. but there is nothing for me to say. i spoke a bit to him, but i simply am out of words. it happens.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

duckies align

so, in my why not now approach to life, i've been speaking with people whose situations i know, and trying to fashion an out from my current store asap. (my boss says it will take a month, but not if i have any say in it. i have spoken to key people who, if they make their situations known, could fashion an exit for me now. it would be a quick easy transition for all involved.) it could be as soon as the next two weeks if things went down as i envision them. but, they may not. perhaps it is best i don't meddle. but i'm kind of a meddler. it's my life, i should be entitled to have some say.

i spoke to the manager i want to work for today, and she was excited to hear about the developments. she even solicited my assistance, which i promptly gave her. (it can't hurt to impress a potential boss with my speed of response. i'm very fast with shit. i don't know, it just comes to me easily somehow). i don't know what will come of it, but it's two seconds from my gym, four seconds from my house. all around a better, much better gig for me. and this morning, the place was hopping, at least five people on the floor. haven't ever seen that. i would like to see that. (in a store where they are actually needed, that is. i've been scheduled with five other kids who stood around and talked the entire time. what a waste that is).

so, it's raining. no drumming tonight. that bums me out. but, whatever. it will come again. i will away to orange county to hang with my friend there. we will laugh a lot. that is the good thing about her. she makes me laugh.

i'm curious to see the response a poem i just wrote got. let me check it out.

...yes, it is as i thought, the poem is viable. i like it a lot, even now. but these are my children and i adore them. it's just there was this one word that wanted to be there. i tried to reason with it, tried to say, you're too big, too gawdy, you don't really fit or make sense, but it was obstinant, ever the petulant child and i the doting mother more slave to my children than guide, relented. i do that, give them what they want. because when i'm growing, stretching, changing, i want that kind of freedom, to demand certain things and get them. to want certain things, even when they don't make sense, and get them.

this happened with my profs the last two semesters. the first of my final three sems, this was not an issue because my prof was tribal. abnaki nation, and he had that mystical/intuitive thang going on. the latter were more the kind of profs one happens upon in the academic setting.

i kept saying,
trust me, please. i know this is right though i can't tell you now where it is headed or how it will come together.

and they did. i'm so grateful for trust. i fly blindly. i ask a lot of trust from those i deal with, because i don't even know, i don't pretend to know outcomes or even destinations. i've let go of all those things. all i know is at this moment, here is where i'm at and this is what i think is what is going on. what needs to happen now.

now is all i know.

and it makes me think of one dear to me. certain the past has made him what it has, and sure. it has. but it is gone. over. done. we are not merely the sum of our experiences. we're still living, breathing, capable beings able to determine our own ends. we can make choices and set a course. one not grounded in past hurts and pain. i see that. i understand that. i lived there for a very long time.

i don't live there anymore.

you got angry.

i've been honest.

because you see, i've come to the place in my life where it's all out on the table. if you're in my life, you're in the loop. if you don't want to be in the loop, then take the exit. but if you're here, i'm going to be honest. not appropriate. not predictable, but real.

because i've worked too hard, too long to get to this place.

so long i was unable to speak my mind, to be perfectly clear about where i was at. i was trapped in my head and heart and mind. but not anymore. is this easy, no? it's a lot for some people to bear, and those are the people i do not frequent. because i won't go back to guessing what you want from me and jumping through hoops like some trained dog. never again.

i have this quote i need to read to you. i thought of it, but you were right, i was lost in your eyes and forgot myself. that happens. so sometime, when i have my wits about me, i will stir it up, i wrote it on the margin of a book i was reading at the time. it's about personal power. this is not the whole quote, merely a part of it, but it gets to the point sufficiently for now:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.
Marianne Williamson

i believe this is the situation. think about it. stop believing you're only the result of what has been done to you, who people said you are, and that you're powerless to change today. you are able to be whomever you want to be today.

i, for one, believe in you completely.

it is my greatest weakness at the moment.

Friday, April 10, 2009

money for art

so the sound guy came in just before i left yesterday, and i was ready with what cash i had. because we worked so late i had to fly to get to my belly dance class on time (and fly i did. i'm scary fast sometimes). the circuitous roads of jersey are no longer so daunting, they make sense in a convoluted way to me now.

so i ask him,
what do i owe you?

yeah, we need to talk about that.

well, what do you want?

i know i've said a couple things. i was going to charge you half of what i normally charge, then i was going to do it for free
(he never mentioned this to me until now).

no. not free.
i said.

i thought it would take an hour, but we're doing a lot.


how about...

...and he named the amount burning a hole in my pocket...

...and we'll just do what it takes.

great. because i can't accept this for free, it's too much.

he's planning on burning cds for me, and hosting my mp3s, etc. a lot. he doesn't think mastering will need to be done, but is willing if it does. i can't believe it. i'm astounded by his largess.

so, i'm slated to go back to the studio weds, for however long it takes, until the work is done. we'll be rerecording the first three tracks we laid down when i was uncomfortable, because they are three of my stronger poems, and they were very poorly performed.

it looks like i'll cut an hour long cd. which is probably not what others would have me do, but it is what i will do. it is what i want to do. i can see no reason not to. but i'm open to opinion, though many know i do what i want. amen.

but i need to pay something for this great kindness. i could never pay him what he's worth (at least not yet, but someday!). but some compensation is better than none. he makes his living at this. i must trust that when artists support other artists this makes art possible. even if it is merely creative exchanges, these are tangible to me. these are valuable. if i want to make a living at my art, i have to support other artists, that's the bottom line.

meanwhile, i'm flying high because my boss' boss came in and i finally had an notuncomfortable exchange with him. it's not that i try to be awkward, but i don't fill silences with bullshit.

so, there are lots of silences with me unless i have something to say to you.

it was an unexpected visit, which worked in my favor because i tend to overthink things. i tie myself up in knots and wonder why i struggle to find my footing conversationally.

he walked into the back room and i mentioned a few things to him. my ordering this past week seemed a bit much, but when i pointed it out to him, he said,
no that's fine. the weather is changing and you have to be ready.
this is the line i get from everyone. but from him, i believe it now.

and i had a couple items in the store that needed to be accounted for and marked out of our inventory so we wouldn't get hit with variances on them. i pointed out this particular product that came in the canadian version and i didn't know what to do with it since the product wouldn't be marked out via the canadian sku.

he told me
you need to look at the manifests,
i opened the drawer and produced them. he said my boss
would need to look up the cycle counts
(which he did not know i do them all), and i opened the drawer and pulled out all the cycle counts. in two seconds produced everything he required to deal with the situation, and i looked up at him and said,
i'm the archivist.


i was a secretary in the past.

then, before he left, i mentioned to him that i've peaked at this store and i'd like more challenges. that i want to move up in the company, and leaving my store is probably the next thing i need to do.

he said.

we are thinking of new ways to challenge me, but i've pretty well met all the challenges thrown at me.

it makes sense to seek higher volume.
he said. and he was lit up like a christmas tree.

yes. i live a mile from ... store, and talked to the manager.

right, we don't like to do it that way.

i know, but ... knows, and the manager didn't talk to me, i talked to her.

you see, i've done none of this on the sly. then he said to me,
there is another store that might be better for you.

i talked to ... already.
(i think he was surprised at this, because when he walked in i knew exactly where the product he was carrying was from.

how did you know that?


because i was there looking through their overstock to see what i could keep from ordering.
he smiled at that).

so the man knows i'm in the loop. he knows i'm getting around and reaching out to other stores. what will happen next is not up to me. but i called my boss as soon as i could and told him myself what went down.

you've been talking about it for a while.
he said.


you see, i don't want to be where i'm at any longer. especially when certain people leave, i don't want to be there anymore. so i have to set things in motion, i have set things in motion, because i need new faces, new places to get in trouble.

and i felt a huge relief. the bullshit of my store is finally going to stop, because i won't take it with me. i'll be able to come in well boundaried and be the suzanne i know i am as a worker, and not the one i was when i arrived at my current place of employ. i was beginning to feel trapped and couldn't see a way out or a transition point.

plus i had many more revelations, like snippets of all kinds of conversations and scenarios had finally come together and made sense to me. i could see the big picture. and it ain't pretty kids. what's going down. i have to get distance, and i have to get it now.

interdistrict transfers are no problem,
he told me.

i know it can't happen tomorrow,
i told him,
but i'm ready. i need 40 hours though.

that won't be a problem.

i mentioned to him that i knew i was supposed to be in the assistant manager program come january, but the whole company changed.

he said.

and he pretty much left after that. i think good things will come of this. if nothing changes in my life, at least i'll have some new place and some new challenges. i've grown very comfortable in my current digs, but comfort isn't necessarily the best thing for me. especially in that context. i know there is more for me, and it's time to let the change come.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

timeless space

the studio is as much outside of time as any place i've ever been. i finally sat down with a sound guy and recorded my poetry. it was a blast. we thought it would only take an hour, but after three hours, we're not even halfway through editing them. i read about twenty four poems or so, about an hour's worth of spoken word. and i must say, the experience was invigorating.

i'd known this customer since the first week i started at my job. i meet all the longhairs, i know them all by name. they know me. what can i say, it's my weakness. this one had been talking to me since that first week because i had inquired about recording my poetry. he let on that he has a studio, and well, there you go. it's all history from there. long and drawn out perhaps, but not really.

i started out in the vocals room. a little closet of a room all soundproofed and surreal. i had the headphones on and couldn't see out the windows because of the soundproofing stuff. i read three poems, and could hear myself so clearly, it was strange. finally i said,
i'm just not comfortable.

let's listen to one.
he said.

and we cut the first poem. it sounded good, i was ready to try again, but asked for a venue change, which he offered repeatedly.
anything you need,
he said.

can i see you. will you take the stuff off the windows. i'm used to seeing people when i read.

sure. no problem.

but then, when he went to remove it, he said,
how about i just put the mic in this larger room. that mic works really well with your voice.

so he mentioned i could leave off the headphones if i didn't feel i needed them, and i accepted that offer straight away. they were awkward for me. and i'm not used to hearing myself so clearly.

as soon as i started to read in the other room, it was like a poetry gig.

you got stronger,
he told me later. we even cut one poem without any amending because it was just like a poetry reading. i'm solid kids, i told you.

it's a curious thing, baring your soul that way. and after i would read, he'd say,

i knew when i'd drop a line, but sometimes (rarely), his wolfen hearing would pick out some subtle rustle from the upstairs or exterior and he'd make me repeat a line. if i dropped a line, he had instructed me earlier to merely repeat it and continue. this process came easy to me as i know when i stumble. don't we all.

you're a natural.
he said.

we discussed my voice a lot because he really liked it. being a sound guy, at least i knew he wasn't just blowing smoke up my ass.

i'm going to play this stuff when i'm meditating, your voice is so soothing.

i said. i never thought my work contemplative in that sense. though i had always hoped it would be.

i was blown away by his actual studio. the racks of electronics, the mega soundboard, all of it. i sat there and he came back and i said,
this is impressive.

he downplayed it a bit, and i said,
no, not the equiptment so much as what it represents. the place in your life you've come to. i'm very impressed. i want to do this with my art, get to the place where it is what i do. all i do.

thank you,
he said.

and we broached the subject of art for pay, and he has some distributorship ideas for my works. he thinks i can sell them on itunes or something, and, well, it sounds like a fine idea. to be at a reading and say, this poem is available at itunes, or wherever, it is a great idea.

plus, i'll get paid.

the bottom line for me is not money. but if this is all i want to do with my life, this is going to have to blossom into some way to earn a living somehow.

and i didn't feel strange there in his studio. it felt like the place i was supposed to be that moment. so many times, i look at me and think, girl, you have no natural environment. everywhere is your round hole. but it didn't feel that way. and talking artist to artist (he has a band and whatnot, we discussed songwriting a bit and the creative process which is really what floats my boat), it was right.

i know there is a place for me as i am. pink converse and all.

i think i'm headed there. and as i mentioned my studio time to a couple of my favorite customers today, they replied,
i want to hear about that some more.
(long lines sometimes prohibit actual communication). but the conversation goes on, over days and weeks.

poetry is in the air at my store and i love it.

i will return to the studio next week where we'll work through some more of the poems.

how's that,
he'd ask. after cleaning up some of my breathing and popping enunciations.


great. i don't want it to be sterile.

neither do i, that was a big concern for me.

that is why i'd rather do this with you here.

because you see, i'm reading the poems in the book while he's parsing the pauses (funny, never joined those two ideas. parsing space. parsing time. i like that a lot, will have to develop that thought) [and of course, parsing is not the "correct" word. kerning is the word i had in mind, kerning pauses. but that is also a transmutation of literary words, static words into space and time, and that makes me happy. i'm a simple girl, what can i say].
longer space? or shorter?

shorter, that's not a stanza break, but a breath pause.


these subtleties would be lost to anyone else, i'm glad he's letting me in on the process.

this process is going to cost me a chunck of change, but i need to do this right. people will be paying money for this, and i'm going to go with his distribution ideas. i trust him. i don't think he'll lead me down a bad road. and, i think i'll have to put stalking the dead out there too. they must be available together. time to order a third printing, which makes me happy in some way.

my work is finding a way on it's own. that is all i've ever wanted.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

stupendous job!

so, i got the all clear from the doctor. my girls are fine. i'm fine. whew. what a load off. my friends and sister have been calling me, asking me, and i've been kind of avoiding thinking about it. but today when my superbusy girlie friend broke out of her life to ask about the results, i called.
they found nothing, you are fine.



so that is it then. the battery of tests and people poking and prodding me is at last over. nice to have my body back. nice to be okay. i knew i was, i just had to subject myself to this in the name of preventative maintenance. like changing a fan belt, though i'm told there are no fan belts anymore (at least not on my car). whatever.

i keep waking up at 4am, head full of ideas, images, conversations. ones i must have. ones i've had. things that need to be done. i lay there watching it all take place, listening to myself speak to whomever it is i'm awake with, and structuring my sentences, verbally prewriting, essentially, for that phone call i will make today to tie up some loose ends at work from yesterday. it was a vastly rewarding day at work. i broke out of the barista mode, and was full fledged into administration. i dig that, it is a strong suit. and when my boss handed me the phone to speak to the corporate guys, i filled them in on the situation and it went on for hours, working out this particular kink. so i had to fax something to corporate and instead of just putting our store number, i wrote SUZANNE really big on the cover sheet, so he wouldn't forget my name. how could he, we talked several times yesterday. i need to call him today because there is, as yet, one thing more to address.

i ended up tracking down former supervisors from my store to get the answers i needed, and provided all this info to this man, who ultimately let it rest where i left it and said,
stupendous job!

which felt nice to hear.

all my boss could say when he reappeared later in the day (fortunately, because i had to keep going into the basement and had to be on the phone), was,
thanks for covering my ass.

he made drinks while i handled shit, and i loved it. now i gotta get away. move to a place where i can spread my wings. but this splash, this foray into administration will be a good thing. i can feel it.

several things were handled yesterday, and i met a famous psychic. it was kind of a fun interaction because i was making her drink and she was tucked away behind the straws and shit we have on the handoff plane. i'm the hobbit of our store, so i can't see anyone. my head barely shows over the machine, and i have to stand on my tippy toes to see over it and talk to people.

she was wearing big dark jackie O glasses. she looked a lot like my new jersey best friend, which is probably why i liked her. i'm not inclined to talk to everyone i make drinks for, i'm awkward in the chitchat department (as has been noted)
do you like the rain?



you must be a poet.
i said

yes. and i'm psychic.


i love the rain. i'm a poet, just had a reading in the city.


poets love rain.
she said.

my work tends to be very dark,
i told her.

mine too,
she replied.

happiness is a transient emotion, i try to catch it but i can't.


but darkness, is palpable.

(i could have said that, it was like hearing myself speak)



i never tell anyone i'm a psychic. i don't know why i told you.

then we discussed her upcoming venture in the big leagues, and she said,
we'll meet again.

and, well, who can you believe if not a psychic. so, it got me thinking, i'd like to know a psychic, not for the cheap parlor trick aspect of it, but to know the mind, how it works. to hear how it happens. to see it in action. it's not so mysterious, i don't think. and in some ways, i think it is something quite natural.

perhaps that's why she told me. i think we know whom we can trust, deep down inside. i'm told the kid whom i no longer trust is regretful, and yet, it doesn't change anything. i still can't trust you just because you realize you blew it.

it made me think, either i'm wrong in believing gentlemen don't gossip, or i've mispercieved you. the weight is heavier on the misperception angle. and i'm sorry to say, i've given too much credit, been too gracious in my appraisal the character of a person (because i just don't think that's the case). but then, i can't be that harsh. i just can't trust this person the way i once could.

he's going to apologize,
my boss said.

for what?


i don't know.


maybe because i haven't talked to him since.


you guys are such babies, you get mad and stop talking to each other.

no, i talk to him, just not like before.


you don't confide in him anymore.


right. i don't talk to him like i used to. i can't.

burn me once, your bad. burn me twice, mine. i'm not gunshy, just changing my priorities. there's plenty to talk about without mushing and gushing over all kinds of personal bullshit. though we are similar, him and i, that is why i wanted to trust him, let myself trust him. we share the same perspectives in many ways, or at least i thought we did. i'm grappling with some cognitive dissonance at the moment and not quite sure what to do with it. so i'll do nothing. i'll let it go. i'll let it be what it is until it resolves of its own or something happens. either way, it is where it's at. amen.

so, i envisioned a leisurely day getting to my closing shift this afternoon, but i got the call from el capitan that we had a problem. fortunately, i was dressed and ready to walk out the door. it was and is a huge miss. and, by the time i was near my store, it was handled, for the moment. i'm just glad it's handled, but we are going to have some splainin' to do. sigh. now, i've set out to work hours before i meant to, but did find a store with massage oils which i obtained. so, all told, not a complete waste of the morning.

it's a curious thing, desire. and there is only one thing i desire at the moment. but that, too, can wait.

Monday, April 06, 2009

drumming anyone

i've been wanting to drum for a long time, the past year especially. and it's my next chance to get down and dirty with the wiccans. i'm excited about it. there is so much i want to do, and this is just part of it. i have no deer skin stick, but i'll use my hand for now. the stick will come in time. i believe this. but i will use the drum my former lover made, and i will be grateful for having known him. i'm grateful for everyone who's blazed a path through my life (or, perhaps the other way around).

went to the gym this morning, i'm on my way to work, but i have to squeeze it in. it's important. helps keep my head in check. and the ladies there love, LOVE to talk about food. it's a curious situation. i crank my tunes as loud as i can stand it, and try to just focus on the burn. on making it burn. but i'm not giving it my all, i think i may be a bit tired. i spent a lot of time in bed this weekend. just resting. i don't do that much, and it's nice to do it on a high rather than when i'm languishing in freakish misery about the latest thing i've decided to torment myself over. it's nice to just go to sleep and dream.

going into the studio weds. i was going to do it after work, but this is important to me, and i want to honor it. so i will make a special trip to my work neighborhood and do this right. it's the least i can do. i'm just going to read and see what happens. i don't plan much more than that on most occasions. but this one, i had thought about planning something out, but i'm going to let the moment take me where it may. i'll likely follow the path of my reading that i gave in the city. it was a solid set.

though i think i may have to add in some things that are not in stalking.

at belly dance class this week, it really sucked, we just did arm movements. i hate those classes because, i'm sure they are necessary, i learn something every time, but standing there waving your arms around for an hour gets old. and it's hard to feign interest in that.

though a girl at work asked me about belly dancing and i began to show her the isolations.

wow, that's a lot harder than it looks,
she said.


and i only showed her about four isolations. there is infinitely more to learn. what with combinations and improving. it's a lot.

i showed a guy at work a poem i'd been meaning to show him for some time. but with all the talk of my upcoming reading, and customers asking that we host a poetry event SOON!, it's come up to the forefront of my mind and i'm willing to let the window open just a bit.

i brought out the poem called castles and kings. handed it to him and he stood on the floor while i went back to wash dishes.

you're writing about odysseus,
he said.




i'm impressed.

his opinion matters mostly to me because he studies greek history. it's his major. ancient civilizations, i think it's called. so for me to invoke all this elysium bullshit, and him to stagger at it, was something.

oddly, the kid whom i adore, but no longer trust asked me last night to see some of my work. i just said,

i don't know. i really don't. there's a lot of info there. he can get it without going through me, and if it's fodder for the gossip mill, i don't need it. but then he said to me,
i'm going to cut a demo and i want you to listen to it. more than anyone else here. i want your opinion. as a poet.

this is a great honor. arguably.

all i've ever wanted is to find myself among creatives, creating. it seems, somehow, i've stumbled into that scene. we're all just working the espresso machine to pay the bills. creating art along the way.

and i remember the reading on saturday, this man wanted my book.
but i have no money,
he said.

it's okay,
i told him.
it's a labor of love, not a money making venture.


thank you.
he said.
will you sign it.




write, to tony with all my love.


no, but i will sign it.

and so i did.

it's a curious business. this art for art's sake. i know i need compensation, but my compensation is largely intangible. always has been. i figure, if i'm faithful to the intangible, it will cross over into tangible as a karmic necessity. though that is not the angle i work, for i do not necessarily believe i will be compensated for my work in this life. do i stop creating? to i hole it up and wait until i'm paid?

no. i can't do that. i won't do that.

i believe in my work, it will make it's own way. even now a volume sits in the poetry section of bluestockings in nyc. who will pick it up. where will it end up. am i ready to let this out, i wasn't a year ago, but i think i am now. i think i'm ready for this journey to come.

and my sister, even now plans to fly out to spend a week with me.

ah, sweet relief.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

my one fan

my mind is spinning from the carne asada sitting in the backseat of my pony. i like to buy some scrumptious food and then make myself wait to eat it. weird that way. last time i got an order of these, i devoured the entire thing, which is probably a pound of meat, cilantro, onions with green chile and lime. mmmmm. so much for being a vegetarian today.

had a poetry workshop this morning and while i did write a poem, i did find a great wellspring of other things. not to mention a wonderful woman whom i was there to meet. one of those serendipitous occasions.

i tried to strike up conversation with the gentleman who is not a poet but host of the poet whose workshop i took. it was awkward, strained. i was graceless and admitted it.
i hate chitchat, but i wanted to try to make you comfortable.

it would have been better if i scowled at him or ignored him from across the room. i walked away, and had wonderful conversations with all kinds of other souls i haven't seen in months.

even introduced myself to a mousy blonde standing between me and another poet because i figured she was his friend. best to say hello. well, they had just met there too, and when we started talking, she let on about some projects she's starting up.

i'm going to need an internship for my master's work.

this is exciting!
she said.

and we talked more, effortlessly (i was hoping the guy could see i'm not a total and complete social clod. perhaps it is give and take that keeps awkwardness at bay).

we have many similar perspectives, though she is seasoned far beyond me. as the conversation unfolded more and more of the same influences of thought and interest came up. campbell, woodman, leventhal. straddling my dual passion of psychology and poetry, it seemed everything i've dabbled in, she's done. and, well, it made me not feel like a complete loser.

i'm going to check out movies, and stuff myself with mexican tacos (the genuine article). then, who knows...

oh, but before i go...i read at the open mic after the worshop/reading. and one person hollered when i went up to the mic. i didn't see who it was, and it was from a section of the room i hadn't realized i knew anyone.

ah, my one fan.
i said when i got up there.

everyone laughed.

my poem was delivered perfectly poised, and they loved it.

sometimes, when i do what i'm supposed to be doing, it's so easy.

i am going to be reading here:

Lips will hold a Publication Celebration Reading for Lips Number 30/31 on Thursday, May 14, 2009 at 7:30 p.m.

Barnes& Noble

395 Route 3 East

(Clifton Commons)

Clifton, NJ


Thursday, April 02, 2009


okay, so it hurt a bit. i'm sitting in the antiseptic corridors watching scrub clad people of all shapes and sizes, some with the little blue tissue paper shoe covers, some with the face masks draped around their neck. some with comforting puppy dog designs, all walk by. i tried to imagine them my poet/doctor friend, so they would intimdate me less. i kept looking at the people walking by wondering who would call my name, which one would be the one i'd go off to a room and undress for. weird thought, that.

some gangly fellows walked by, some creepy men, some unsavory women (at least none i wanted to undress before). and i would say, no. no. no. sometimes one would pass and i'd say, maybe. there were very few, precious few yeses. what can i say, i might be a closet prude.

then she appeared, slight of frame, mousy blonde. no bigger than a whisper. no fanfare, dressed all in white.
she said to me, after getting my attention, lost in thought i was. looking at all the radiologists going by, the people being wheeled to god knows where. it's by no means a busy hospital, but there are things one doesn't see every day. and the mind wanders. how the mind wanders.

yes, i even cried a few more tears. this after my ny best friend laughed at me.

you cried,
she said.
it's because you have young boobs.

really? nothing to worry about?
my boobs don't seem young. and i'm quite fond of them.

really. they should have explained this to you. it's why they don't do mammograms on young women, the tissue is too dense. in old ladies, it's like a waterbag.




i don't want to talk about your boobs, tell me about your poetry reading.

and we talked a bit, but i wound back around after appeasing her with a few tidbits. i told her how half the crowd left after i read,
they were probably there to hear you.
she said.


yes, this was advertised?


i told you,
she said.

okay, i'll believe you. that makes me happy.

the thought that someone would turn out to hear me read. strangers even. then i realized, there weren't many readers at the open mic, so they clearly were not there for their own agenda. they could, conceivably, have been there to hear me.

and i am glad to be alive.

truth be told, i cried because i thought of who i could call and talk to who could walk me through this darkness, who wouldn't think me odd, or foolish. and, of course, it was my grams. we never have enough time with those we love. never, never, never.

and i missed her again, as i missed her when i lost her.

i remember that hospital, i had flown in from dallas, and slept in the waiting room with her eldest daughter. she shot up at 4am and said,
i have to go to her.

she practically ran out of the room, and i grabbed all our stuff and followed.

she tried to hook me up with some jw literature, but i refused. instead watched my grams in icu hooked up to all kinds of machines laboring for each breath. her entire body swollen. emphysema drowning her.

when i had arrived the day before, her daughter regaled me with tales of how strong my grams was, how she was arguing with the nurses (i come by it honestly), and threatening to leave. but i knew it was her time. i don't know how i knew, but i knew. my only thought when i bought my ticket was, wait for me, please.

and she did.

i arrived in her room at 9am. she had already lost the will to eat. the fight gone. her eyes slacken, the nurse asked me to try to feed her medicine. i did, but grams would have none of it. so i didn't force her. i just opened my songbook and sang to her. i sang to her and talked to her until the rest of the family gathered, some time later in the day. i can't remember how long i had with her, but it was hours. i kept thanking her, telling her i loved her. calling my california cousins and letting them speak to grams via cell (which is an icu no-no, but we do what we must).

and then, at 4:56, the buzzers started buzzing and we rushed to her side.

i let her go. i whispered in her ear how much i loved her and told her it was okay to stop fighting.

and then she left me forever.

for two years i couldn't even keep from breaking down in tears. to write of it now only stirs what i cannot describe. such loss.

i understand everything we love dies. everyone we love must leave. i understand this. it does not make it easier.

it makes me live recklessly. i want to be completely used up when i die. to have lived, to have loved, to have done what i am supposed to do.

go home, enjoy the day. stop worrying. the results will be back by tomorrow,
the radiologist said.

and i got dressed and left.

still missing my grams.

dark and scary

so it's hard not to let your mind wander down dark roads, at least, i've never hemmed my mind in, braving the macabre, the dark, the scary even, for the sake of art. last night, i could have medicated somehow, but i didn't. i just felt the sheer fear of darkness. and it sucked. i cried. what can i say.

i always say, i'm not bound by the constraints of time, but perhaps i am.

song lines like, no one gets out of here alive kept running through my head. and i wondered if i am being issued a ticket, or if this is just routine healthcare (healthscare?).

don't know.

but i shuddered and was afraid. it's not so bad now, out and about with things to do. but i've that appt today and my eyes are all puffy from crying, which makes me look sleepy.

my boss made me laugh when i told him how scared i was. he is good for that, at least. odd hours, hilarious imagery. just what i need most.

and i try to lean toward tomorrow, but i can't lean past today. i have to be in today. i have to go with it. to sit in the admitting room of the hospital and get that little band around my arm.

i am reminded of the time i went on my birthday with a friend who was having the same thing done. she needed support. trouble with me is, i got no support.

i swam with my daughter last night, and had to get out of the pool, and i just sat in the locker room and cried. so many reasons, these bring them all to light. and if the worst happens, so be it. i'm ready. whatever. life has no guarantees.

if this is just routine maintenance, great. but i will have a bit more compassion when someone asks me for support. i will try to be present to them.

the great thing i've realized about this place i'm in is the utter isolation, in so many ways it's a good thing. in many other ways, not so much. who do i reach out to, where do i get support? not sure.

i thought back a lot last night to when i was married, what would i have done?

probably the same thing i did last night, cried and reached out to friends and my sister. there was no compassion in my home. and i don't want to scare my child. so that means, hole up in silence and put a smile on.

that is why, i guess it is better for me to live alone and be raw and real, than to be fakey strong. perhaps that is all my strength was, feigned courage.

i'm grateful for where i am, won't be here always. moving on, moving forward. i do have friends, just hard to remember that in the darkest nights.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

three quarters

so before i leave for the city, i check my mail. have to go in for some more tests, apparently. what can i say, i'm well endowed in some sense. the lady at the women's health center said this happens with many baseline patients. it's a baseline, they want to make sure it's right. so i get to get felt up by radiology next. yay. tomorrow, let's get it over with, i say.

i got several phone calls, a couple texts, even a card from my thoughtful sister before my reading, and i was grateful for them all. when i had finally stopped wishing, hoping, and wanting what i wanted to happen would, i enjoyed the idea of going to the event alone so much more. i got ready, parked my car by my old digs because there was no where else (though it meant a couple blocks walk near midnight, the thought of that didn't intimidate me so much anymore. curious).

i wound my way through the streets to the train, bought my tickets after only minor issues which were easily resolved. (i have two technological left feet. it's only taken me a year to figure out how to turn the shuffle feature on, on my mp3 player. hello. i guess it never mattered until now. but i'm lovin' it with the recent demise of my favorite alternative station).

i boarded the train and everything looked new to me. i'd seen it all, i've ridden that train many times. granted, most with my girl. so when you have a child in tow it's an entirely different focus. this time, it was mine. the trees, the houses, the kids in the thicket with the white lab. all mine. i watched five egrets take flight as we rumbled through the wetlands, the basking turtle soaking up the last rays of the setting sun. it was divine. all of it. even the open trailers of the freight yard, held a peculiar interest. i devoured it all. and when i arrived at secaucus, i stood in the wind and breathed deep. the air was chilly, the place was crowded, but when else are you on your way to destiny. when ever are you standing perched to fly. and so i let the wind take me where it would, and we set off for penn station.

i just followed the crowds mostly, but when we got there, i went to the street and found macy's. thought i'd brave it and i was about two hours early for the event. i asked the doorman (thankfully) where i could find what i was looking for and he sent me to exactly the place i needed to be. fourth floor. comfortable shoes. what a labyrinth that place is. i had no idea. i guess if you warrant three starbucks, a mcdonalds, and ice cream shoppe, then you're a pretty damn big store.

on the street i passed several starbuxes but didn't stop. i didn't want to. don't know why.

i found the shoes i needed. juniors department. figures. i passed the $120 pink leopard heels that i REALLY wanted, in favor of the simple black clunky pumps i needed for my coming party. i tried them on and even with my jeans they looked great so i figure they'll look great with my leather pants, too. love a multipurpose shoe. hope they don't hurt. no stockings though, i have to draw the line somewhere. besides, the stocking kept making them pop off my heels when i walked. without, perfection.

my bag in hand (after they order the shoes, apparently there is some lair where things appear from. what a store), i wandered out to the street but realized i'd chosen a different spinny door than the one i'd ventured in. undaunted, i pressed on. knowing i needed to find the subway. a much easier task from penn station, but i wasn't too far from where i'd come to street level and figured i could just go back to square one if i needed. it was simply a matter of circling macy's.

well, i found a subway. not the subway i needed. so after passing the jackhammering workers as fast as possible, i cornered an attendant who told me i had to go to 34th and 6th to get the F train. so, out to street again.

ultimately, i just enjoyed walking with the crowds. only once did i find myself in the middle of the street when the light changed and the taxis threatened to pancake me. though that would likely be worse for them than me.

i found the venue and went to get a gigantor slice of spinach and ricotta pizza. it was delish.

my reading was wonderful. i was present. i was bold. i opened the way i wanted to. was it perfect, no. it's been a long time since i've been to opens and read. there was evidence of that at first. but the crowd was mine. i owned them. no one soul shifted or left. i told them what i needed to, and they ate it up.

which, for being in the city is a huge, huge accomplishment.

after i finished, half the crowd departed, and i was grateful i was the first reader. the next lady couldn't keep them pinned, some got up to look at books while she read. others to use the bathroom, or go outside. lots of action.

but during my set, stillness prevailed. eyes were locked on me. and i was grateful.

did i do what i set out to do? bury this book? i don't know.

but i did meet a group of women, one of whom is a hebrew scholar, and she told me,
poets are the high priests of a culture.

i'll have to use that line,
i said,
see what i can do with it.

your work is very interesting.
she said, then she told me something i said during the reading, proof that she was listening for which i was grateful. i could see, during my read, that the works were affecting her. her face would crinkle or a slight smile would paint her cheek. it is the older women i want to reach these days. i lost my patience for the young a long time ago. but now, i'm entering a powerful sisterhood time. a season of sorority which i can neither deny nor neglect. but i've gotten away from my story, after she told me what i said, i told her,
i am a poet, i cannot just say one thing at once.

she smiled and insisted i sit beside her on the subway, and was so gracious, i gifted her my book.

how will i reach you?
she asked.

i wrote my digits and email in the book.

i'll write after i've read it,
she said.

as i rose to leave the subway, her face lit up and she held the book up for her friends (one of whom was the other featured reader, a professor from somewhere i can't recall),
i got a book!
she said. with the enthusiasm only a person of letters could appreciate.

and with that i exited the train.

so, i wander around the city at night a bit, looking for penn station, and found it easy enough. there was no panic in me this time. no concern. i knew it would be well. and i had my brother in law on the phone with me. he was telling me how grateful he was for my intervention into the goings on of their home of late. i really forced some issues and said,
this is how it's going to go down.

it was risky. i love him, he loves me. but one does not presume to tell a man how to lead his household. but he respects me, trusts me, and listened.

you were right.
he said last night.

but i was so preoccupied with finding penn. i couldn't have a convo about it. so i let it go. we'll talk later. there's always more time to talk later. i was grateful to have the voice of one who loves me on the phone though. sometimes that's all i need to help me through a rough patch. and it was hardly rough, but it was, deep down, what i needed.

so at penn, i find the signs, and even know how to read them. i run to the train in true veteran form (i had briefly considered waiting for the next one, but then, i figured, why not try, what's the worst that can happen) so i made a run for it.

of course the train was packed. and i got tude for days from the dude i stood too close to. there were seats but people sit in such a way, that unless you're really wanting to sit, it doesn't make sense to get all in their face just for one stop. so i stood there, and had to peel off the layers of jackets i had on because i'd run to the train and was shvitzing (don't know how to spell that).

perhaps that was his objection, i'm sure my wafts of smell, of patchouli, of me, were overwhelming him. but he wasn't a gentleman and didn't let me sit, so fuck him.

and i think i might have been singing, ear buds tucked securely in ears, because the guy in front of me kept doing that annoyed half turn of the one who wants to get a point across without saying something. but i tried not to sing. i was just happy, what can i say.

at secaucus, i stood in the wind of the tunnel and danced. it was fab. i didn't care who saw, who walked by, who watched, i was dancing while i waited for the train. how often does one get to fly, and touchdown doesn't have to be a downer.

on the train home my boss texted me a congratulatory note, and i was grateful. though my ex is blowing a gasket about my texting, it is how people communicate these days. and, well, what can i say. he'll kick me off his plan soon enough, it's time for me to separate everything anyway. no worries. never any worries.

then the conductor walks up. now, mind you, these are usual flabasaurusrexes with little in the way of sex appeal. but this guy had a few piercings in each ear, i could see his hair was pulled up into that conductor hat, and when he took my ticket i had to ask.

how long is your hair?

he smiled,
three quarters of the way down my back.

and i smiled.

he wandered by, but on his way back past me, he leaned over and said,
how could you tell?

i know what to look for,
i said.

i could see the pull of his hair upward, the line of his neck, so familiar. i know the look of a man with longhair, what can i say. and he was swarthy, a dark man. i don't see many of those who have the balls to be truly tribal.

he went back to work, and i had a long way to go to get home. so he passed a few times and we met eyes. i pulled out my card and gave him one the last time he passed.

are you tribal,
i asked.


isleta pueblo,
i said.

how do you pronounce your last name?

and so i told him. it doesn't matter the rest of it. but it was nice. i left the train at my stop and he was standing there smiling.

talk to you later.


and so, it was a good night. i had fun.