Thursday, July 22, 2010

quite seriously

quite seriously

i’ve come to find
my self
quite seriously
refined, don’t you know,
even though, year upon year,
it appeared, as if
i had not really
been paying my self
any realfirm and/orconcerted attention,
at all, and yet …
… here I AMand damn
if i don’t sing out loudand often
all by,
and all about,

collage art by anne cunningham, words by same, and maybe just a clever way of saying that i walk around the house humming like my grandmother used to do! i have perhaps arrived!

Saturday, June 5, 2010



with one sweeping motion,
a subtle, yet physical one,
you walk through the house
wiping the slate clean ,
all evidence of inhabitants,
other than yourself,
careening for dear life,
sliding across the floor,
needling the baseboards,
hanging on for lost,
bent and side-lying
in wait for better days
when you are out and about
and we can roam free,
shouting through the locks,
opening up in all the spaces
where you wish we would
cease to lodge ourselves
while your back is turned,
and yet we remain steadfast
awaiting the eventual moment
when you finally realize
your need for other people
is not a weakness.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

outside the box, an email transmission in two acts ...

inbox message: you know i would come home, all you have to do is tell me, and i’ll do it. do you want me to come home, or not? [he said after leaving for the umpteenth time and then emailing from a distant locale, full of regret, ready to buy a ticket home again]

outbox message:

how about …
you own it. answer this question for yourself.
i’ve been living it, owning it, and now not loving it so much, while you keep pondering over your option to buy, me, us, fully.
i’ve become your mega-year test drive.
i’m not trying to be an ass, but STOP ASKING ME AND ASK YOURSELF!
i’m tired of holding the mirror.
i’m getting ready, instead to slam it over one or the other of our scattered heads and just be out of it, out of this, away from it for good, as far away from my heart as possible, my brain good and dead to the notion, somewhere so far beyond hearing and factoring through any more of your bullshit in this place you live inside yourself where you say one thing out loud, and then do another.
just fucking be real.
i don’t care where you do it.
i don’t care if you do it with me.
just fucking be real for once in your life, for you.
that would be enough.
or, if you can’t, then don’t, don’t do it, don’t be real, but keep your un-real-ness away from me.
one unreal and one real don’t make a right.
i’ve said this same thing so many times before, and i’m slamming my fingers on the keyboard trying to tell you again now!
what a waste!
i’m typing my heart out into a plastic box with a flashing cursor mocking me, waiting for me to say words that just don’t sink in beyond this page.
i think i’m going to have to call and have someone take the computer away.
this is ridiculous.
i keep trying, but it’s pointless.
i’m going to bed, to mend my head.
i hope my heart takes the hint and does the same.
least ways, in my sleep, i won’t be tempted to fire off any more responses to you.
responses that are going nowhere.
delete this crap.
this conversation isn’t happening.
you can’t find love in a plastic box with a grayscale screen.
maybe that’s it.
i get it now.
fuck me for being such a slow study.
sue me, but i prefer to live out of the box.


[flashing cursor, flashing, cursor, flashing cursor …]


Monday, May 3, 2010

Carving Out Time, Defining Self

"It's a Monday night. Midnight. The house is quiet, my family asleep. The row of sober-faced brick homes leading from my house on a corner is silent now, and the people in them probably asleep. As is most of Detroit by this time, except for me. I spend the hours around midnight back here in my sun room, sipping cool drinks and looking for some light Inner Inspiration, that I might, before my eyes give out, distill a line or two of poetry from the short story “The Bird Cage” by Paulette Childress White

It is a Monday night! It is nowhere near midnight, but because I’m currently working upstairs on the shared computer in the bedroom, rather than downstairs in my own office space, the bewitching hour is already here.

Mark has an early flight in the morning, and so it wouldn’t be fair of me to leave him snoring on the couch, the remainder of his day, with “Law & Order” reruns playing in the background, the dog asleep at his feet.

I don’t have the benefit of my laptop tonight, either, and the ability to curl up on the couch, sit at the dining room table or go down to my office.

Woe and computer-impaired I am tonight. Both the laptop and the desktop will be back in their places by the weekend, after weeks and weeks of waiting to be rehashed and reloaded and revamped, one having had a blue screen of death and one just acting stupid. It was time for computer house-cleaning. Because Mark does all this for me, it has been computer house-cleaning interruptus at best due to his travel and work schedule.

So that brings me again, back to this room, the bedroom, the shared room in the house. The sleeping, TV gazing, reading room! (Oh, and the other “stuff” too, but that’s privitized.)

No one normally works in here. My working in here for the last several weeks has not been normal! I don’t belong in here in that regard.

That being said, I’m still trying to stick to writing something every day for 30 days until it becomes habit again, instead of habit to push it off to the side after the day is done, and I’m entirely done in.

In a conversation today (and I will find a copy of the story for you Jennifer!) I was reminded of the above quote.

The story “The Bird Cage” spoke loudly to me the first time I read it. I have had “sun rooms” in my life, places of solace at the end of the day, where I could sit and regroup, remember my place in the world, mark a little time, or make a few amends, all before going off or going upstairs to sleep with self or someone.

It’s a lot like that saying, “Don’t ever go to bed angry,” especially angry at your self for not making that time, even in a crowded shared room where all your work and play and writing stuff really doesn’t belong, but in order for you to belong and stay current, you still have to make a demand for that space.

You desperately need that few minutes more!
I had to make that demand tonight. It came out as, “I know, I’m sorry, you have an early flight in the morning, but I’m going to need the bedroom to myself tonight until at least 10:30.” I was going to qualify it with all kinds of things, like gee, look what a great dinner we all had, time to reconnect before you leave again, and ummm, yeah, so, I’d be downstairs if my computers were reinstalled, and no, well, no I don’t need the extra time for work, not really, I need that extra time “after work” for, well, er, um … never mind!

Except I minded, so I didn’t say all that. I didn’t qualify the need after I had quantified what it was that I needed, just a little more time. That is all.

My quantifying, my announcing that I needed “just a little more time” before I’d share the room was all that was necessary. My saying I needed 30 minutes of breathing space, thank you very much.

Unbelieveable that I would want more time in her since this entire Monday (after working all weekend) I’ve been stuck in her most of the day, except a brief errand run, a meal cooked and hurriedly eaten, and then back to work.

Unbelieveable, but believe it. I need this time. I need to split the room’s personality one more time today before it returns to “bedroom.” It’s been “office” all day, and now it’s my “writing space,” for this last 30 minutes … or 40 minutes … I mean, he is snoring, and he really does want to give me that extra ten minutes, he just doesn’t know it!

While I no longer have a house full of babies, and luck of the draw my significant other is far less high-maintenance than any man I’ve ever had a relationship with, I still have to work at times to carve out this me time, this writing time. So it may seem wicked that I’d push it that extra 10 minutes, but it’s also necessary. It is still too easy for me to to push it off and say, “Oh, shit, oh well, I didn’t get to it this morning, this afternoon, tonight, because, because …”

It would be too easy for me tonight to say, “Oh, well, what would it hurt if I didn’t …” and we just both got some sleep, but I know it would hurt all night long into the morning.

I need to remember that my craft is important, that underneath it all, this is who I am in, out, under and through every brutal day of the week. I’m me, the writing me.

It takes practice to remember that. It makes sense some nights to make it known what I need, and to quantify how much of it I need, without having to qualify it with an explaination. Tonight I needed time, and the people who ove me see what that means for me, the writing me.

The writing me is the one who visited with everyone while she cooked dinner, but raced through the dinner, so she could get back in here and close to the “me time.” And the people who love me understand that. For that I am blessed.

When I first read the Childress story, I felt like folding it up and putting it in my hip pocket as a reminder to carve out that time for myself, every day, not just every other, or just whenever, but always in all ways in order to be more true to myself.

Funny, though, I didn’t fold up the story and do that. I took it to heart but I didn’t put it in my hip pocket. Ali was 13 when I first read that story. I know this because digging the quote out of a notebook today, there is also a notation about her on that day.

I read this story four solid years ago and made myself a solid promise and then didn’t keep it.

The story, and it’s meaning to me, didn’t come up again in my mind until today in another conversation with another writer, when I thought, “Gee, she’d love this. She’d totally get this.”

And if I really had the story in my back pocket, she’d get a copy of the story a whole lot faster now, wouldn’t she?

You live, you learn, and you do better! And tonight I did well to carve out my half hour, to use it accordingly and to end things with a post-it note that says, “Find and print multiple copies of that story,” to which I intend to put one in my bra, in my purse in my hip pocket, tape one to the mirror, email one to Jennifer and give one copy to every woman, young, old or otherwise so that they remember to do the same, carve out that time, remind themselves who they really are, at all costs, on a regular (yes daily basis)!

And now the bedroom can turn back to the bedroom again, and I can have sweet I-accomplished-day-3-of 30 dreams!

Thirty days makes a habit, and this one I don’t ever want to break again.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

description polecats

I made myself this promise to write 30 somethings in 30 days … but after a long weekend of working, tonight the only two items I can see scrawled on a notepad (not having to do with my work) are “running versus owning,” and “description polecats.”

I’m not sure what I can do with either of those phrase-y prompts tonight, although the pulsing cursor on the Word screen seems to think otherwise. It’s all huffy and puffy and go to blows with the page why don’t ya! Write something. Anything!

The first notion, “running versus owning,” I know where it comes from (inside me, duh, where all the writing comes from … grin), but I don’t have time tonight to dive back in there and get the rest of it. I’m too interested now in finishing things up here at the desk, all things, and getting some sleep.

And “description polecat.” I wrote that down because the phrases that pop up in the CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) boxes on certain websites crack me up. I guess I was intending to keep an ongoing list of the CAPTCHA crap I’m forced to type into those boxes to prove to the computer that I am real, and not a bothead! Every CAPTCHA phrase I’m supposed to retype always make me laugh. The word groupings are insane.

Or, maybe I was going to make a bogus list of my own, of silly two-word phrases that should be used in these boxes whenever someone has to prove themselves real. A fun list of bot-zapping phrases, to keep the creative juices flowing, maybe that’s what I need tonight instead of the longer piece that will likely result when I finally get to the gist of “running versus owning.”

I know there is something more to the “running versus owning” phrase, but the more I look at it tonight, the more it looks like a bot-busting phrase in my half-cursive-half-not handwriting, all twisted and weird. It’s making me realize, when I finally dive in to the piece, it (like all good writing brutally clear and honest) will authenticate me. It will tell me, “You are real, please continue on this, that or the other bloody website of life …”

This is true of all the writing grist, all the shit I half write down, but then never get to, but when I do get to it, boy, oh BOY, AUTHENTICATION IN ALL CAPS … even if the only authentication of it all is that I have written something because that is what writers do after all, they WRITE (when they are not doing laundry, working or wishing they were already in bed, etc.).

Writing prompts are like bot-busting jots, you repeat them and you become real, genuine, more diamond, less rough. Ten times more you, no question about it.

Tonight, however, I’ll have to suffice my writing self and my writing challenge to self (the 30 in 30 days) to a pretend list of bot jots, things that a computer might force me to repeat back to them just to prove that I am a person. Just for shits and giggles, a list of possible CAPTCHA phrases:

toaster chronicles
crockery buttercups
dishonesty hamburger
biscuit chronology
prison blowfish … and goodnight moon.

Really, I mean, it goodnight moon! That wasn’t a bot-buster, that was me saying saying, “Good night moon, hello bed …”

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Louder Than Any Crazy Storm

If a forgotten feeling falls down inside of you, can anyone hear it? Can you? Can I?

If we can’t hear it, is it really there?

Last night, driving home from a wonderful night out, dinner with my daughter Carol and some live music played by very near and dear new friends, a tree that had fallen in my inner forest threatened to re-sprout itself. It was a tattle-tale bitch wad of a tree, with limbs reaching out and a knot-holed throat ready to scream of my previous bloody murder thoughts.

It really caught me at my guard, gave me that “what the hell would make me think about that again” kind of feeling.

The roads were shiny as we drove home from the roadhouse, the fried food, the good music. Carol, my eldest, and I were both tired, happy to be heading home at 8:30 pm, although also a bit humbled by the somewhat early hour for a Friday night, a rare night out.

Rounding, the bend towards her upper duplex in the center of our small town, was a welcome sight. Our sighs filled the cab of the truck, her relief to get home to bed, and my relief to be closer to home and soon off the shiny misleading rain-splattered roads.

We guessed, both of us shooting eyes upwards to the lamp-lit upper windows above the old meat market, whether or not the girls were still up. Her duplex rests up there, in the sky, over this old part of town. Were they torturing their sitter, my youngest daughter, their Aunt Ali? Were they coloring, reading or watching a movie? Who was up, who was down, or maybe they were all asleep.

“It doesn’t look like it rained very hard here,” I said, since that was our biggest worry, going out during storm-warning weather bulletins which had finally reduced themselves to weather watches and then trickled down to nothing to be afraid of.

“I guess not,” Carol answered, “or wait, maybe it did, look at the muddy patch in the drive.”

The mud wash from the driveway was wet and smooth like clay. I steered the truck around this, and pulled on further into the parking lot, to my usual turn-around spot.

As I did this, the truck’s low beams landed on a fallen tree branch, in the limey grey and wet muck of the upper drive.

“Wow,” I said.

“What?” she asked.

“Oh, nothing,” except that it was, and so I continued with, “It’s just that, well, that tree branch, and this storm. It reminds me of a time when I was little, all of us, and there were storm warnings. Mom for some reason would always go outside to check on things, and leave us inside.”

The truck was in total pause, caught partway through it’s usually Y turn-around maneuver, and I looked towards Carol’s face in the dark.

“Well, this one dark night, Dad wasn’t home,” I ventured, “it was lightening really, really bad, and during one flash, the driveway was empty. During a second flash, a branch appeared in the driveway where it had once been clear. We had all been kneeling on the couch looking out the window and one of us joked that the branch was Mom’s skeleton.”

“Weird,” Carol said.

“I know,” I continued, “because we were really young, like your girls upstairs. I couldn’t have been more than Lili’s age. We had to have been, the four of us, really young. And I remember for a second thinking I wished it was true, but then two seconds later my pajamas felt damp with fear, or maybe it was guilt because what I had wished for was really mean.”

“Grandma was mean.”

“She wasn’t your grandma then,” I offered, and then realized that she didn’t even feel like my mother now.

“I know, but …” Carol attempted.

I finished the Y turnaround and parked near her back door. Maybe I lied, my Y turnarounds, are more X, Y, Z-ish, but in any event, I got her to the door. She exited the truck, stepping out over the flat, but soft mud washout. A silly part of me wanted to tell her to come back and we’d make footprints! Instead, I excited my side of the vehicle, skirting the rain slicked muck, and we ran up her back stairs, into her warm upper duplex. Their home.

We managed to get all the way into the lamp-lit living room before the kids heard us. Lili was already falling asleep under a blanket in a nearby chair. Alice was on the carpet where Ruthie and Scarlet were drawing on white recycled typing paper, print side down, their heads close to their work. Our shadows fell over them.

The room came alive.

We all talked at once about the rain, and if anyone was scared, and the girls asked us what we had for dinner and if we really saw “Cookie” the woman in the band. Without even meeting Cookie they all had been giggly and intrigued by the woman’s name when I told them where I was taking their mother for the evening, to hear “Joey and Cookie” play music.

I passed on a message to the girls that Cookie wanted to be sure that I’d tell them the reason her nickname was “Cookie” was because that’s the only thing they could get her to eat when she was a child. The name stuck, a mother’s love and teasing to get beyond the fuss of a picky eater. Marie.

Alice gathered her things, we all said goodbye and our “see you tomorrows,” since we almost always see each other every day these days. Alice and I ran down the back stairs, out to the running vehicle, leaving my oldest with her three little girls, everyone safe, inside, tucked and solid. No one was scared. There were no cold sweats or guilty fears over strange wishes that are never going to come true, over crazy sad notions.

On the way home, I dropped Alice at a friend’s house, an overnight she was attending in order to work on a school project for the rest of the weekend. I arrived home to find a less than coherent dog, and a snoring Mark on the couch. I readied for bed, slapping a furry hinder lightly and tweaking a fleshy warm elbow, in order to get the dog and my lover to follow me to the bedroom.

There was the jingling of dog tags, as Walter stretches, but not too far since he intended to curl up in the chair in our room immediately. Darkness fell and with it quiet as Mark has this uncanny ability to shut off the lamps and the TV remotes in one full swoop. For my part, I hurry to the bedroom in the fading light, to hit the wall switch, so I don’t trip and fall on shadows in the hall. That’s our routine. It’s how we keep each other safe.

Mark, still getting over influenza, drifted back to sleep in moments. If dogs could snore, Walter would have been through 50 logs by then already.

My sleep last night, however, proved to be wicked in process, disruptive to say the least. The room was humid. Everything hung heavy. I contemplated again whether or not we needed a dehumidifier for muggy, rainy days and nights. The blankets smothered me.

I eventually left the bedroom and slept on the couch, taking comfort in the cooler breezes blowing in off the low-lying marsh areas on that side of the house. The chirpy, chirpy nighttime froggy sounds from the pond at the end of our road finally lulled me to sleep.

In the end, I woke feeling refreshed, which surprised me since my initial trip through La-La Land was slow going, but I somehow had spent most of the night in the Land of Deep, Restorative Sleep. Maybe this particular storm had in fact washed me clean.

Early this morning, I heard from Carol that she and the girls had a version of the “Sound of Music” playing out in her bedroom after we left them last night. All three girls came in and told her they might get scared later, if it stormed again, so maybe they should have a slumber party in Mommy’s room.

It never stormed. She let them say anyway.

The scenario made me grin. I make my coffee, and spy two photos on the fridge, two of my favorite photo [things]. My middle daughter Bekah cuddles with me in one, the year Alice was born. In the second, Bekah stands in our front drive, the day she moved out for job and college. I see these pictures several times a day, every time I’m on that side of the kitchen, alongside the fridge. Sometimes I go there extra, and on purpose, just to look.

As I reached for my sweetener packets along the back counter this morning, a breeze arrived to tickle my forearm. I continued to gaze at the photos and think over the last 12 hours.

I smiled again. I felt as if I might smile, again and again. It shouldn’t but the again-and-again smiling feeling always strikes me as odd, like an “okay, what’s up with that” kind of guilty feeling.

I smiled some more, really tempting the gods who really aren’t watching, really aren’t keeping track.

I was amused at how, in rethinking the previous night, something wicked had came up, but it quickly quieted inside me, unable to fight the noise of what’s really out of ahead of me, and who. These days, though quiet, are louder than any past disturbance could ever be!

Adding milk, stirring my coffee, it became clear to me this morning that the lines are no longer blurred. I understand why I smile, and why it’s okay to smile again and again, and again. No one is going to get caught. No one is going to be hurt. It’s really okay to beam, be happy, content, standing in the place where I choose to live [life to its fullest].

Trees fall in all kinds of forests, and maybe in the dark brambly woods of my mind, during particularly stormy nights, the zombied limbs I thought were buried threatened to return. Perhaps they can and will continue to make strong efforts to come alive and infect my mind, weaken my heart, if I let them.

I won’t let them. I see that now.

The guilt and shame over what I saw or felt that wicked stormy night of my childhood may at times still be palpable and tell-tale, loud and ready to rip up the floorboards. Last night, maybe it was a close call, the storm warning that then fizzled out and came little more than a warning. While I could conjure up the memory, I refused to become again that little girl, cold sweat trickling down the back of her flannel pajamas, guilty over what she wished for, more than anything else in the world.

I had a right to be happy. I have a right to be happy, content, least of all scared.

My world is bigger now, better now. This many years down the line, the beat of my own true heart silences what fell in that forest. That little girl is not gone, but gone deeper. That little girl is me, living out loud, louder than any crazy storm.

['might need some tweaking but in order to do my 30 pieces of writing in 30 days, i had to get it up tonight before midnight. this is a goal i've set for myself. ironically this current 30-day challenge to myself comes after my previous challenge (30 collages in 30 days) and actually contains a collage of those collages.

there were a lot of sticks and stones in those collages, and the resulting piece of art was fitting for this piece.

i'm beginning to think that "challenges to my self" are the way to go, and that sticks and stones will not break my bones, and names will never hurt me. ;) ]

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Passage of Time and Laundry ... There is no such thing as time, only change.

folding laundry yesterday, i went all CSI all over my now clean duds, methodically folding it as if i was reconstructing some kind of crime scene.

it reminded me of something i had written years back, thoughts on the same, and my constant reminder EVERY TIME I DO THE WASH, all these years and years, what my life is comprised of, once the dirty work is done.

you know the drill, the clothes of a single woman, the clothes of a married woman, the clothes of a married woman with children, the clothes of that same woman now unmarried with children, the clothes of … rinse and repeat, the story has changed multiple times.

the first piece was written in july of 2003 and the second piece, last night definitely a comparing and contrasting look at how things change in eight years of living, loving learning.

07/2003 … the logistics (and quite actually fun!) of finally doing the laundry: the washer is broke and so we trekked to the ‘mat. there were lots and lots of towels and one white terry cloth bathroom (stolen from a hotel last year ... everyone has one of those ... which you feel is so "naughty" but if you check your debit card/hotel receipt, the price of the robe was deducted, plus this was not “officially” stolen, since at checkout i told them i wanted to purchase it), socks, shorts and t-shirts. no clothes under a female size 10 or male 36. somehow, a winter headband was in the mix, which was funny because the current temperature outside was still well over 90. however, we found a nicer laundromat on the other side of town that was cool in contrast to the beastly hot nature of all the machines. it took three washers x 1.25, a liberal amount of soap, bleach and intermittent use of the stain spray on some of our hiking duds. while the new laundromat is slightly more comfortable, temperature-wise, it still sported hard back chairs, limited reading material and was blasting cruddy music. we would have gone broke on the snack machines. instead we trekked to the mcdonald's for healthy fare and refillable fountain drinks, books under our arms, sexton bio and electronics, respectively. for some reason the mcdonalds was playing amazingly good music. a quick break in our air-conditioned/unlimited fountain drink/good music/comfy booths for reading was necessary to put clothes into the dryers x2 at 1.25 a crack ... which afforded us another 50 minutes of reading time. later, folding laundry, we treated it as an anthropological/archeological event seeing what we could discover about ourselves and our habits now that we are a slightly less encumbered couple with all the children gone for the summer, most permanently, the youngest temporarily. we came to the conclusion that terry was the bulk of it, our clothes are that of minimalists we lost some socks and our new stain spray, while dollar-discount, packed the appropriate punch.

versus yesterday (pictured above) now/04/29/2010: there are still three people in the house, but all of us (myself, mark and ali) do our own laundry and so the archeological dig now is “all about me” and my duds, my current life, and so what does it reveal besides the fact that i am no longer a woman’s size 10 and it appears that all my “hiking” is solely done indoors on machines.

LtoRight, i can tell you this, i sleep, better than i have in years. this has taken some doing, some real lifestyle changes, medication tweaks for my brain weirdness, exercise and eating right. judging by the pj pile you can tell it is spring, but nights are still cool because it’s all long johnny or long-sleeved. sitting atop the pj pile are two pairs of arthritis gloves for my sore thumb joints, the one and only reason now where i may occasionally not get the best sleep, but what’s not in the picture (Lidoderm patches and an occasional Vicodin with Tylenol) helps.

Mid-section of the pile … it’s all about my midsection and feeds into why lots of things are better and why i sleep perchance to dream ... workout clothes (yoga pants and hoodies), and to the right of that a sweater, proof that it got cold this week. atop that some of the socks i wore and proof that my favorite brassiere color of late is decidedly red.

far right, proof that i’ve showered and washed my hair several times, eaten dinner and prepared meals because the placemats, the cloth napkins and the kitchen towels always end up in my pile of laundry.

life is settled, methodical, scheduled and less overwhelming. i’ve worked out and i've worked hard. folding laundry remains a calming and revealing thing. this time, all about me, at 48, sleeping relatively well, working out and getting what i need and washing my hair (and any stress away) that i haven’t already cooked away in the kitchen.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

sliva?!?! you mean, salvia? aka why i love my workouts at the gym

WHY I LOVE MY WORKOUTS, a short play after some exorcising exercise acts

[me, just finishing up, refilling my water bottle, getting rid of my towel, etc. etc.]

JON/DAVE: [in unison and followed by a woman I don’t’ know] Where’s Anne? Anne will know.

ME: Know what?

JON: The stuff you can get at the grocery store?

ME: Okay … [I mean, really, give me a little more to go on!]

JON: Silva?!?!?

ME: For … ?!?!?!?

JON: Pain.

ME: Salvia?!?! [My mind was racing because first I was thinking Silvadene, but that’s from the pharmacy and for burns.]

JON: That’s it! It’s some kind of controlled substance.

ME: It is not! It’s more like a herbal something-or-other.

DAVE: I think I have some of that growing in my yard.

ME: Oh, I see, you guys were trying to come up with a medicinal herb and it’s all “Ask Anne,” or translation “ask a hippy.”

MURIAL: [the woman I did not know until now] This is Anne?!?!! [as in Anne Anne, not to be mistaken with someone who is just another Anne and not “that Anne.”]

[I am introduced to Murial and also her friend Marge, the woman who won first place in the holiday incentive contest …grrrr, yeah, I’m still upset about that, especially since up until today, four months after the contest, I had never seen her in the gym! I will beat up Marge later, now that I know what she looks like, but back to Murial and the controlled substance conversation!]

ME: [me looking perplexed and making a mental note to get the back story from Jon on how come my reputation precedes me since he’s the one who has obviously told Murial who I am, prior to her having ever met me.]

JON: Yeah, Salvia, it supposed to be like marijuana.

DAVE: Maybe I should go sit out in my Salvia and see what happens.

ME: I’m not sure if you smoke it or … [then I hand Jon a flyer off the counter about how there is going to be a community drug collection for old prescriptions in the next week or so.] I dunno, Jon, maybe see if you can get an official name tag of a sort and help with the community drug collection and you could pocket some.

JON: I already save my own old prescriptions and then I take them all at once to see if I can get a buzz.

ME: Do you crush them and snort them, or … ?!?!?

MARGE/MURIAL: [you totally know they want to know how it is that I’m in the know about this, or if I just know about this, I mean, I am “that Anne.”]

DAVE: What’s with all the snorting! Why does everybody have to be snorting!

[Everybody talking at once and saying how they are going to rush home and Google the hell out of the WWeb for anything and everything about Salvia]

CAROLINE: [who has just arrived at the gym]. We had marijuana growing around our silo years ago. Apparently the birds brought it in.

DAVE: Tell that to the police!

CAROLINE: They also said it was not ‘very good stuff.’

ME: Apparently the birds forgot to drop Miracle Grow around the silo too.

[Then one of the fitness staff comes over and takes Caroline’s blood pressure and it’s 158 over something equally as horrible]

CAROLINE: Why on Earth is my blood pressure so high?!?!?!

ALL OF US: You just finally ousted yourself on your previous drug history!

LISA: Better go to confession! [Caroline is devout.]

CAROLINE: I think I better sit here a minute and have my pressure checked again. I’ve never been so high before!

[the end … except it isn’t … because I always go back because I like the endorphins that come from exercising and these priceless “after exercise” conversations!]

Sunday, March 7, 2010


When I'm out in the second hand shops, I love perusing the books. I love buying the books. When I buy the books they come in two categories, Readable Books and Rip-Able books that I later use in artwork, etc. This weekend I found two great Rip-able Books, but also one fabulous book of poetry translations, the poetry that of William Matthews.

I absolutely adore this piece which is the first page I randomly opened to, grabbing the book up off the desk tonight, to take to the bed for a bit of pre-snooze reading. The poem is too-too-TOO perfect for this time of the year.

My little grand girls have been playing in the last snows in our yard during the latter parts of last week, and part of the weekend. The snow indeed stretches from our yard to the next and the next and the next, across several vacant/undeveloped lots. The snow still exists today, though I don't think there is a square inch of it that doesn't hold their tracks, the tracks of the fox, the dogs and the occasional deer. But it is still there.

Still there to remind us that this particular season is ending, but has not ended yet. Spring is definitely set to arrive, but I figuratively love this particular piece of poetry and its emotional landscape, but I also LITERALLY LOVE this particular piece of poetry for its mention of the last white stretch of winter.

For all of you out there who would hate me for wishing for a "Winter Snow," you'll realize when reading this piece that the winter snow doesn't have to be falling (although a late last flutter of the white stuff would be cool). It can be enough that it still stretches and yawns and grows lazy at night and sleeps in the yard, its tiny respite from the meltdown. [oh, what am i saying ... i really would like a "winter snow" with snow being the action word!]

Before I go mad and shake the snow globe, I give you instead, this last piece of winter ...

SPRING SNOW by William Matthews

Here comes the powdered milk I drank
as a child, and the money it saved.
Here come the papers I delivered,
the spotted dog in heat that followed me home

and the dogs that followed her.
Here comes a load of white laundry
from basketball practice, and sheets
with their watermarks of semen.

And here comes snow, a language
in which no word is ever repeated,
love is impossible,and remorse ...
Yet childhood doesn't end,

but accumulates, each memory
knit to the next, and the fields
become one field. If to die is to lose
all detail, then death is not

so distinguished, but a profusion
of detail, a last gossip, character
passed wholly into fate and fate
in flecks, like dust, like flour, like snow.

Monday, February 8, 2010

here we are now, yesterday no more …

there is no such thing as time
and the small change that comes to us
not by pony express
or snail mail across the sands
but real time, real quick
as technology seizes us
with the emailed words
ten years ago, it was
and then some--
as i try to catch
our collective breath,
everything that is and has
become of me,
what might have been
an “us” and yet …
scrawled across the pages
of every journal ever written,
least ways and most ways
by me, by my hand, my pen
my heart …
i can’t find the beginnings,
and want to try and figure out
where we started, but in actual words
i spent little time remembering
when it all began
versus when it ended for sure
until you say, remember …
and i am at a loss
for words.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Saturday, January 9, 2010

gretel's nightmare

gretel’s nightmare

if this house of glass
became gingerbread on a whim,
where am i to stand,
hungry within and without,
the rain falling
reducing the wall to
so much mush,
the frosting
once strong mortar, now
lacy thin between my fingers,
to have and to hold
nothing much,
this sickening sweet mess,
the licorice tiles
which once shingled the roof,
i now gather by the handfuls,
their good & plenty sticking
to my molars
reminding me of
what is and what is not
for keeps.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Save a Deer, Ride Your Inner Cowboy

*Write things down!*
“Statistics show that 75% of what we write down happens.” I read this and some other pretty interesting and resonating “stuff” on this morning. And I tend to agree wholeheartedly! I keep endless lists, and 75% of what goes on those lists does get accomplished. The 25% that does not get accomplished was either not important enough, or blocked by some feeling (inner critic) that it was not important enough, otherwise it obviously would have been moved up on the list, or kept on the list until it was completed. This can be as simple as “buy eggs” versus “submit this or that piece of writing.” There are some days I don’t think it’s important enough to scramble an egg for myself and/or feed my soul. On those days, I will only accomplish 25% of what I initially set out to do, all because of how I was thinking or feeling that day, and dependent on what I thought or felt was “really important” on that ongoing “to do” list.

I think I make New Year’s Resolutions just like the next guy, whether I write them down, toss them out at a party on the eve, or lament them later in the year as “oh, it was dumb to think or say that again, now wasn’t it?!!??!” Nothing on the list is lame or stupid, if it keeps appearing on the list. If it keeps itself on the list, it’s obviously important to a person’s wellbeing. And a person’s “well being” does flow out and affect others. If you are not “well” at the core, it shows. It colors everything you do and it affects the people around you. Really, check that list, I bet I’m right. The thing you said was “stupid to aim for” is probably the thing you will put right back on the list for the next year, and damn it if you won’t shoot for it again until you get it.

Another thing I read on this same website, “Exercise your ‘want muscle’ … something you would really, really like to achieve for your ‘self.’” When I read that it totally hit a sore spot I’ve been having. I have always WANTED to move a certain resolution up on the list this last many years, but I’m always too shy to do it. I always feel “as if” it would be selfish to do so. But this year it’s going on the list. *Be more selfish. Want things. It’s not illegal.*

And how about this one “when you visualize, your brain ‘practices’ your actions.” *Day dream, night dream … wait make that day practice, night practice!* Seriously, try it! Get up every day and go to bed every night “as if” you are already there!!!! …wherever “there” is for you as far as goals and such. Don’t wake up every morning “not quite there yet” or go to bed every night with that “almost got there today” feeling. Just get up and “be” and act “as if” and pretty soon, you just “are!” It takes real practice to be what you feel would be the “absolute perfect!”

“The difference between a goal and a dream is a deadline.” This has got to be one of my favorites. Deadlines rock! How often do you hear someone say, “I got it in just under the deadline, but I did it!” or, “Oh my aching ASSSSSSSSSSSSSSS, I save everything to the very last minute and somehow it all works out, but I did it!” Seriously, deadlines mean something when you set a goal! Goals and deadlines carry some weight. Dreams are kind of flighty, fluffy and elusive. So another one for me this year is

*Deadline big!* instead of “Dream big.” You will stay up all night and kick ass all day to meet a deadline. Name the last time you did that chasing a dream.

And the ever-popular, “Fake it 'Till You Make it” which I will refer to what I said earlier as *live every day “as if” it totally is the bomb already!*

And as far as the photo … it’s in keeping with “when life gives you lemons, make a batch of vodka lemonades!” And we all know that is what happens sometimes with these “pesky” resolutions. They get trampled and sometimes revamped into an entirely different mixed drink, but they still get done, right?!?!?!?!? The important 75% of things that you write down, or resolve to firmly, will happen in some shape or form, I’m totally betting you!

The horse above, was not initially a horse. It was a "doe a deer, a female deer," who had been drinking at the shoreline at Terre Andre State Park, Lake Michigan. We (a “we” of yester year) had walked very close to it before it “startled” and ran off. We didn’t get a picture, shucky of all darns! But when I looked down in the sand, I saw the deep tracks from where she dug in and ran, fast … disappearing into the dunes. The very concerted, dug-in hoofy marks totally became a horse’s perked ears in my mind, so I drew the same in the sand! I’m no longer a part of the “we” of that day, and the deer itself was fleeting as well. The horse! Years later, damn if I don’t still have the picture! The deer, and the “we” of yesteryear, I couldn’t even tell you what they “really” looked like, but this horse, rocks on!

And we all know I love the adage, "30 days and it's a habit!"