Thursday, October 9, 2014

How Lefty Saved the Day (gratuitous use of the word f***, because, you know, I just felt like it)

I have the reflexes of a ninja when I need them. For a person of my size and lack of coordination, it's amazing how quickly I can move when I'm not thinking about it.

I'm able to catch a falling plate before it hits the floor, to right a bottle that's been tipped before the contents have had a chance to spill, why, even just this moment, the alarm on my phone went off and before my Thinking Brain even consciously registered the meaning of the sound, my left hand, my LEFT Hand mind you, (I am perniciously right handed) flew into action, slapped down upon the phone at bionic woman speed, and defused that blasted thing before it had a chance to ring again.

It was truly an amazing feat of dexterity, skill, and startling fury. My conscious brain is still reeling, quite frankly. I had an inkling that the sound of the alarm  elicited within me some amount of irritation, but the magnitude of focused rage, to trigger such a display? I had no idea.

It went down like this: The house was still, early morning, silent. I was relaxing in my own profound thoughts lounging there, you know, relaxed yet engaged, I was writing about serious and beautiful things, I was lost in a beautiful space with my big thoughts when,


Before I even had a chance to think, "Hark! from whence springs that sound? Is it the morning cock calling me to wake? But I'm already awake you fucking asshole morning cock..."

Before I could think that, or register the idea of sound, Left Hand was all like, "AHHHHHHH! KILL NOISE!"--- and had honed in on the exact location of the (annoying annoying grating insufferable kill it make it stop) sound and deactivated the alarm function.

Thinking Brain was all like, "Huh? What the...? The alarm? Who the fuck set the alarm to go off at four in the fucking morning?!"

Left Hand was all like, "Settle down, settle down. Nothing to see here. The situation has been ameliorated and the enemy has been neutralized."

Thinking Brain was like, "Wow, Lefty, those were some fucking awesome ninja skills!"

And Left Hand blushing, feigning humility said, "It was nothing ma'am. I was just doing my job so you can do yours,"

But deep down Lefty was thinking, yeah, I am pretty fucking amazing.

True story.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

sound of thunder, certain doom, dog breath, and some kind of salvation

Last night I was feeling sort of punk, and by punk I don't mean green mohawk safety pin in the ear black leather jackets and doc martens sex pistols god save the queen punk. By punk I don't mean Jets vs Sharks rumble punk,  pushing old ladies in the park snatching purses slicked hair and switchblades punk. And I certainly don't want you to think that by punk I mean pork pie hat, stealing apples from the fruit cart, tacks on teacher's chair dipping Sally Sue's braids in the inkwell punk.

The punk I'm speaking of is mopey self pity punk, out of sorts and down and dejected punk, eat a plate of nachos and a couple of granola bars punk, going to bed before you finished everything you intended to do self indulgent mewling pathetic whiny-ass, gee I'm such a failure what am I fucking doing with my life, just throw in the towel ya big blubbery blubbering butt-face loser punk, take yourself to bed because you make yourself ill punk full of self loathing nothing but a quivering jello-y useless piece of offal in aspic punk.

Hey, by the way, it's Mental Health Awareness Week. Just a heads up.

I had been feeling rather full of the awesome recently.  A little better than normal, full of myself in a pretty good way but then yesterday noon-ish  some rug I didn't even know I had been standing on got pulled out from under me, no mean feat that, and I found myself feeling mighty fucking shitty. Must have been the rug, I imagine a nice burgundy oriental rug, over the cesspit of despair and self loathing. Ah, metaphor, what would I do with out you. Also, my dog. I don't know what I'd do without my dog. He's not a metaphorical dog, he's the real dog who woke me up with his hot rancid breath in my face an hour and half ago, scared out of his wits by an unseasonable and unexpected October early morning thunder storm.

My good husband who is also real not metaphorical, lifted the 80 pounds of fur, pathos, odor and trembling onto the bed and the old buddy let me rub his ears and give him pats and chest and chin scratches while he panted and drooled and shed in my face. I'm talking about the dog now, not the spouse, just to clarify.

My good husband also wiped the dog hair and spit off my face and rubbed my shoulders which were getting a bit knotted and tired from holding and patting the dog for an hour. This gives me pause; I must be severely out of shape if petting the dog fatigues me. I'll feel bad about that later, for now, I'm dropping that thought and kicking it into a dark corner where it will quietly fester.

Moving on.

After the storm passed, the now calm dog and I came downstairs to hang out with the languid sisters (that's what I call the cats) who had arranged themselves tastefully like decorative throw pillows on the living room rug. Ty the Dog and I shared a peanut butter sandwich and then he sniffed out a good spot, turned around three times and lay down with a sigh on the rug between the cats and went to sleep.

So, here I am, I'm wide awake. It's 4 o'clock in the morning. I'm sitting in the dark listening to the rain watching the cats and dog sleep. I'm feeling less bad. It's like a scale has been tipped slightly, less bad more good.

You'd think I might have cause to feel pissy being awakened hours early, but the truth is, my good dog, hearing the apocalyptic sound of thunder, fearing the worst, sought me out to get some measure of comfort in my company before the certain coming doom, and that makes me feel a little less pathetic and a little more worthy.

Monday, October 6, 2014

where I, in a sleep deprived state, recount random experiences with children, language, and then just get really fucking weird

I was up at 4 a.m.

My daughter was frustrated the night before. She'd procrastinated doing her English homework and eventually 11 p.m. happened, and then self reproach, guilt and extreme fatigue and she set her alarm for 4 a.m. so she could get the work done before school.

I offered to get up with her in order to lend her moral support, also to make tea and toast and keep her on task, otherwise the heroic effort of waking before dawn would have been a wasted one.

So, I was up at 4 a.m. Bleary because I hadn't gone to bed until 1 because I procrastinate even more than my daughter and going to bed was my Sophomore Honors English homework.

I fed the cats and the dog, gave the dog his medicine, let the dog out. I unloaded the dishwasher and then loaded the previous night's dishes (again, procrastination, why didn't I do the dinner dishes last night and spare myself the depressing sight; last night's congealed ketchup and milk rings in the glasses). I brewed myself a cup of coffee in the french press, I heated the milk for my coffee, I made the daughter toast and tea I took the dry towels out of the dyer and put the wet load of jeans in the dryer. I folded the towels just so because I'm making peace with my finicky self and I need the towels folded just so.

Then I remembered the dog and let the poor old fella in. The sun was just beginning to lighten the sky and the daughter sat hunched in her seat, her tea growing cold, the butter on her toast a cold film.

And she just sat there.

So I offered to give her a hand and she told me the assignment and I felt like her Sophomore Honors English might actually be New Math. It was that comprehensible to me. And me a person who loves words. But the problem is that I have a problem with the official names for parts of speech. It proved to be an insurmountable obstacle to learning another language and it was a source of embarrassment as well, since I actually worked for a short time as a copy editor. I don't know what a dangling participle is, I am hard pressed to give you a definition of a preposition. I know all about nouns and verbs, adverbs and adjectives, also I am a fan of the gerund. I love gerunding. But don't ask me about past imperfect or subjunctive or whatever the fuck because I don't fucking get it.

Daughter's assignment involved reading a sentence from a known author and then writing a sentence conforming to the structure of the famous writer's sentence.

Daughter said things like, Subject, prepositional phrase, blah blah blah blah....

And I said, WAIT. What are you doing? Is this how writing is taught? Because, maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think there are authors reading over their work saying, Oh, you know what this passage needs? A prepositional phrase!

But anyway, I don't know where I'm going with this because quite frankly I've been in a 4 a.m. fog all day long.

Language is a beautiful thing. Getting up at 4 o'clock puts a fuzzy smear on everything. There is no way my 15 year old self could have done the work my daughter is doing and I'm happy for my daughter, she's so much smarter than I am, but I am also kind of mystified, because while it seems she's learning about the components of language she's not really getting the idea what language can do. I understand that dissecting something and breaking it down to its elemental bits has it's own kind of beauty, but the way living things move through space is infinitely more beautiful than a creature dead and stuffed taxidermy style, approachable, unchanging except for the wear and tear on the ears and mange like issues along the spine and tail from improper storage...also, glass eyes.

Oh my God.

17 hours awake and counting on three hours of sleep and this is what has become of me.

I read my daughter my favorite Jack Kerouac haiku.
When I finished, I nearly shouted,  How beautiful is that!?
My 15 year old daughter looked at me like she was looking at a rare odd thing.
So I started dancing around the kitchen like a rare odd thing in an effort to retroactively earn her disdain, and I sang,
How beautiful is that?!
Her silence fell like a rock.
And I said, nature! rain, the soles of his shoes were made clean by the rain! How beautiful is that?!
I said,
dancing still,
Redemption! The shoes are clean! Made clean by the rain!
My daughter sat straight and  still on her chair and said, perhaps you are over analyzing the poem?
and as if summoned by angels, my young son silently appeared before us, arms raised fists clenched like a soldier of God, ready to punch his heretic big sister into accepting the redemption offered in a scant handful of syllables,
the image of a man walking in the rain and the soles of  his shoes were made clean by the rain.
the man and the shoes, they are long long gone,
but the rain
the rain still washes things clean.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

possible blog material

possible blog posts for blogtober:

15 things you don't know about my left nut:
1. I don't have a left nut
2.  I do not even have a right nut

As I can only get to #2, this idea needs fleshing out before I commit to it. Hahaha...fleshing out. 

some things you don't know about my cat
1. I have a cat
2. she's a cat 
3. she does cat things
4. she shits in a box

15 things I want to change about myself
1. fuck this shit
2. seriously
3. back off
4. you do not want to go down this path
5. really

One billion (maybe this is too ambitious) observations made while sitting on the toilet
 1. someone should really mop the floor
 2. I need to get some new reading material in here, 
 3. I think the new Oprah magazine was in yesterday's mail
 4. there are only so many times you can read about living your best life while sitting on the shitter
 5. reading recipes while using the bathroom is sort of weird
 6. making a grocery list while occupied in the bathroom is also weird
 7. if anyone asks where I got the idea for savory squash and endive panade  I will not say, "in the            bathroom". 
 8. I actually just made that dish up, it is not a real thing
 9. I do not really know what a panade is 
10. I do not like endive
11. I'm not actually on the toilet right now, 

I should put this one on the back burner until later...probably tomorrow morning around 7:30

10 ways to lose at everything
1. uh...

10 ways to feel like a winner
1. uh...

One important thing you need to know this moment, this exact moment, THIS moment...NOW:
1. I forgot. Sorry.

Tomorrow I'll be back on my feet and able to write a really blockbuster blogtober blog post. You just wait and see. 

Five reason I may not be on my feet tomorrow and able to write a really blockbuster post
1. my tween-ager
2. my teenager
3. my octogenarian mother
4. fuck-tons of laundry
5. brain drought 

Tomorrow then. I'll try again tomorrow.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

what kind of bloggery is this: day three

I placed my desk is in front of the window. This seemed like a good place to put a desk during the long summer days when I first set about making this closet my office. I had a view of my neighbor's garden, their apple tree, their lilacs. But as autumn supplants summer, autumn afternoons bleed into early evening pretty fucking early and the world becomes dark all around. The window becomes less a window and more a mirror. The effect is decidedly less pastoral. I'm sitting here facing my reflection which seems idiotically symbolic. My eyes and nose are obstructed by the plastic window casement, so all I can see is the top of my head in the top window pane, the locking mechanism on the window the window casement, my double chin, my grey sweater-ed sloppy sloping shoulders, my grey sweatered sausagey arms, my grey sweatered matronly bosom, and then, thank god, the top of the desk under which the rest of my overstuffed pillow-y form is hidden.

I'm planning on moving my office downstairs into a bigger room, partly so I won't have to put my desk in front of a window/mirror and gaze at the horror that is my current lumpy self  but mostly because I want more space. I want a quiet room apart from others with doors that close. I want my own room.

I'm going to hand over my current space and the adjoining bedroom to my spouse. He's a generous fellow who likes to surround himself with things and who is a big enough soul he doesn't fear getting lost among a collection of paper, art supplies, games, books, toys, keepsakes, and other personal treasures.

I wish I could be more like he is, but I'm not and I can't be. That's the way it is. After years of feeling evil for needing order, I realize I have to reject any judgement placed on my intolerance for disorder and clutter. I'm not a bad person or even a republican for wanting things neatly contained (the political thing there, that was an attempt at humor) ... It's more like I have an allergy to chaos; instead of breaking out in hives, I just break down, get depressed, feel bad. Does this make any sense? It doesn't matter, I suppose.

So, I'll have my own room, and as a bonus, my spouse will finally have a space to do his work. It's what we call after almost 18 years of wedded bliss, a compromise, or an "unconventional solution to quiet a demanding spouse" or perhaps a truce or maybe we can just say, we've come to an understanding.

It's funny that when I was young, I was eager to knit my life with another person completely. Now that I'm decidedly un-young and pretty well knit and knotted to another, all I want to be is myself by myself. Not forever and not all the time, but often enough that I need to claim my own space. It's not so much that I'm rejecting my husband and my kids, but maybe for the first time ever I'm making room for myself.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

It's Blog-tober (!) the second! and I'm going to blog every day even though I already missed a day, damn it

I've decided to post every day again for a while.

I just don't have the discipline to write stuff if I don't have some deadline looming.

It's too easy to procrastinate.

I'm good at easy things like procrastination, also, napping.  Napping is easy. I'm good at napping.

I've been reading some haiku. Jack Kerouac wrote some fucking awesome haiku.

They sort of blow my head open. In a good way. Like a gust of wind blowing a curtain.

It's good.

Airing out the brain.

Blowing the brain curtains around.

I imagine my brain curtains are lace. I like lace curtains.

I like the way they blow around in the spring or fall when the windows are open on a blue day.

Spring blue and Autumn blue are both blue but they're not the same.

I'm not telling you anything you don't already know.

I'm thinking of authenticity and voice.

Have you thought about authenticity and voice?

Your voice, is it really your own?

Do you realize that your authentic voice was present before you could speak?

Isn't that funny?

By the time you had words, had you lost your authentic voice?

So your voice was never your own?

That's what I'm finding.

So during this silence, this easy uneasy silence

I've quietly been looking for

 my voice, my own,

the voice I spoke with

when I had no words,

before I could actually speak

because I think

I was silenced

before I could even utter a word

Thursday, September 18, 2014

just a little something from the hole in the donut

This really happened the other day.

Reading Basho in the park,
a glass winged aphid lands upon the page and walks on yellow wire legs
pausing in the void of the letter 'o'.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Five Most Awesomely Awesome Randomly Generated Blog Generator Topics Ever Generated Just For Me

"my mind is a big hunk of irrevocable nothing..." to quote my favorite grammar dissing poet ee cummings and (i) haven't been able to write anything more scintillating than a grocery list. So, in a last gasp fit of despair I decided to give a random blog topic generator a try. Because I was desperate. Pathetic, apathetic. Blah. 
Into the random blog topic generator I put these sort of random words, kind of randomly: anger, time, stupid

Because, of course, those are the three words that came first to my mind.

I have a limited amount of time to work, I'm dealing with a lot of unresolved anger, and why do I feel angry? Because, dear reader, there is just so much stupidity. Violence, idiocy, rudeness, racism, sexism, ignorance, all that shit that's in the news every minute of every fucking day, it all falls under the heading, Stupid. And it makes me ANGRY. So, you've got my three keywords for the generator: anger, time, stupid.  

and this is the brilliant result.


  • 1
    Think You're Cut Out For Doing Anger? Take This Quiz
  • 2
    The Ultimate Cheat Sheet On Time
  • 3
    14 Common Misconceptions About Stupid
  • 4
    15 Best Blogs To Follow About Anger
  • 5
    Why We Love Time (And You Should, Too!)

Wow. This is great stuff! 

Are you cut out for doing anger? read my blog and you'll find out. 
Need a cheat sheet on time? I've been using time for a long time so can help you out with that.
What are the 14 misconceptions about stupid? Oh, that's rich, that's gorgeous, 14 misconceptions about stupid, I can hardly wait to delve into that. 
15 best blogs about anger? Mine might be one.
And lastly, why we love time, and you should, too, because, Time, it's so fucking lovable. Right? am I right? 

This is the freaking best thing ever. Thanks HubSpot! 

Monday, July 28, 2014

true story

The other day the kids are I were walking.

We passed by a small group sitting in a small yard in front of a small house. They appeared to be enjoying the effects of  more than a few beers. They were sitting in a semi-circle, two skinny scruffy dudes with regrettably unbuttoned shirts and un-regrettably buttoned pants and a large woman in a tight tank top and shorts, a shiny tan, a perm and a cigarette. They were sitting in those cheap white plastic chairs you can buy at the Walgreen's. The chairs with the thin legs that feel as though they will bend or break if you so much as shift your weight or fart. The chairs you see on their backs by the side of the road  road on garbage day with three legs in the right places and a jagged stump where the fourth had been until Jimmy wiggled in his seat trying to dislodge a wedgie. 

One of the scruffy men was carefully speaking in a slow motion slur that sounded raw and sore like a rug burn. This is what he said; "They rollllled me outa the ammmm-u-lance, an she was there an she lit a cig-a-rette and she STUCK it right in my mouth, an I took a long drag on that cig-a-rette...(he lit an actual real cigarette and took a long drag followed by a long satisfied exhalation to show how he smoked the smoke she stuck in his mouth) an' thhhhhennnn, the guard said..." 

Then we rounded the corner and were out of earshot. We'll never know what the guard said or why there was a guard in the ambulance, we'll never know who the cigarette lady was, (wife, girlfriend, mother?) or why the dude was in the ambulance in the first place but it's fun to think about.

Which brings me to my important point: life be an absurd ensemble performance piece and you are an actor and an audience member at the same freaking time! I want to shake everyone by the lapels because this is important. YOU"RE PART OF THE SHOW while at the same exact time  YOU'RE WATCHING THE SHOW.

Seriously, dude. Front row seats and your name in the program. Just make sure you're not sitting in one of those flimsy plastic chairs, unless that's part of your shtick.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

take time to smell the ducklings...or something like that

The other day I was walking downtown, I was in a hurry. While crossing the little bridge over the stream, I saw a family of ducks swimming around. A young mom and her two little kids were walking by, they looked to be in a hurry, they didn't look particularly happy but I took a chance and said, hey! did you see the ducks swimming in the stream? And they said, huh? And I pointed at the swimmy ducks and the mom and kids said, " CUTE!!" and the little kids laughed and the mom thanked me and it was sweet and I'm glad I took a chance; I could have been mistaken for a weirdo but wasn't and ducks! Yeah.

Today I was in a hurry again, I seem to be in a hurry always, and yet I took a moment to stand on the bridge and look at the ducks. The babies are getting bigger and soon they'll move out, go to college, get jobs, and tattoos and beak grommets or whatever, and so I'm glad I took a moment out of my crazy day to look and see the ducks while they're still youngsters. 

I realize I often don't take time to stop and see what's going on around me. I will be lost in my own head for days at a time. I think I'm seeing the people around me, but a lull in action brings me up short, I'll find myself staring at one of my kids and they'll appear so different, as though they matured overnight, I'll think, when the hell did they get so grown up? Then I realize I've been looking at them but not seeing them and some significant amount of time has passed. Where the hell was I? 

This is human nature, and so I'm stifling the urge to wind this whole thing up neatly by saying something like, "Take time to really see the world, because things change so gosh darn fast, ducks, kids, grow up, you're missing it all blah blah blah blah." But I will refrain, because damn it, if we kept ourselves continually open to the wonder of it all all the fucking time, we'd go insane. Maybe then the real lesson is to be aware that we need to tune out sometimes, it's okay as long as we consciously check back for a few minutes in on a regular basis, and from time to time we can risk pointing out the ducklings to other people and hope that a nice passerby might do the same for us.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

sunshine, blue skies, expiration dates, and the rattling sad

I haven't written in a long time. Facebook updates, no matter how quirky, cute, droll or witty do not count as writing. My facebook posts have not been particularly quirky, cute, droll or witty, but pathetic attempts to reach out to humanity, passive aggressive entreaties for comfort, compassion and money. Kidding about that money part.

I've been a little blue. I've said it before and I'll likely say it again and again, depression is a fuck...a bad fuck. Some of the sad is due to sad things happening in the world, in the bigger world  (right wing nut bags, right wing nut bags with guns) and in my own small world; my mom is ill and I've been trying to take care of her and my kids, my marriage, my house, my dog, my lawn, my garden, my hopes dreams aspirations and sanity. I haven't talked about it publicly, but my dad is ill. Very ill. It appears my parents might both be gearing up to depart this earthly plane soon. It's just a matter of time and stubbornness, who's gonna go first. I visualize dueling his and hers grim reapers, or my parents as human milk cartons with fast approaching expiration dates. I also imagine my parents in the same room (they haven't been in the same room since February 1st, 1998) arguing about who's checking out first. In my weird fantasy, each one is cursing the other while gasping their last. "Screw you, John," Mom says to Dad, "I'm not giving you the satisfaction of dying first. You're not going to win this thing! I'm gonna watch you die first if it's the last thing I do!" and my dad will say something like, "Over my dead body." This makes me smile a little. What can I say. I spend a lot of time in my own weird dark little head.

But back to the subject at hand: I'm trying to make peace with the dysthymic aspect of my aspect. It's just a part of me. If I was an apple, instead of seeds I'd have little tear shaped shiny blue-black beads rattling around in my core.

When I was a kid my favorite character of all time was Eeyore. I loved him more than any other. I figured if Eeyore and I ever met, we'd be sulk-buddies, we'd mope, sigh and slouch around together. It would be awesome. I've always been a little sad, a little weird, drawn to sad weird things, broken and worn things. It's just how I came into the world. Not good or bad, just so.

Introspection and an appreciation for the sad stuff doesn't have to be a bad thing, as long as I remember I'm not a bad thing for being drawn to the stuff I'm naturally drawn to.

Thinking I'll be happy when I can finally kick depression to the curb and break it with a quick kick to the skull with my boot is about as dumb as saying I'll be happy as soon as I grow another couple inches. I'm 46, I'm on the short end of things and I'm getting ready for the great shrinkage. I am never ever going to be any taller than I am today. My height is a fact, and changing it is not going to happen. Being a melancholy baby is just as absolute. I can put on high heels and totter around but that doesn't make me a tall gal. I can paste a smile on my face and whistle a happy tune, but that doesn't change me.

So, I guess I am going to have to find a way to honor the rattling blue-black sad at my core. Maybe by accepting the sad, I will find a my own kind of happy. Denying one's intrinsic nature leads to shame and shame is depression's right hand man. Accepting the true self is good. So perhaps the sad without the shame could lead to sad without bone marrow deep despair. Dunno. Worth a try.

Friday, April 18, 2014



I walk through the rundown neighborhood to the rundown neighborhood market to buy a bottle of soy sauce.

Soy sauce for the dinner I was preparing to make.

Because I forgot to buy it earlier when I was at the grocery store.

Earlier, when the sun was warm and bright and the dirty snow shone with drops of water held suspended for a shimmer of a moment only to fall and be replaced by another quivering globe of bright shimmering melting.

But now, it's later.

I walk past dirty snowbanks, refrozen.

Dirty puddles filmed with ice.

Old bags and discarded papers catch in the wind like tails or wings.

The gray pink early spring sky that earlier had offered warmth like a kindness
cools as the sun slides smoothly away like the well manicured regretful wave of a newly wed princess leaving the balcony and the adoring crowds below.

Inside the dirty little store, smells sweet, oily, smells of boiled coffee. Stale cigarette vapors off the jacket of a slight man, plegmy, coughing into the beer cooler.

The cracked linoleum shows planks beneath, the floor sighs quietly with every shift every step.

Single rolls of toilet paper wrapped in white tissue paper, beer, in bottles in cans, powdered doughnuts in windowed boxes, canned cat food, Cream of Wheat, Vienna Sausages in their flip-top can, boxed macaroni and cheese that rattle like maracas if you shake them which I don't, long loaves of cheap white bread, small jars of peanut butter, cellophaned bricks of Ramen noodles, and a there, on the top shelf, a dusty bottle of soy sauce.

I think, they probably don't sell much soy sauce here.
I wonder, how long has this bottle of soy sauce has been on the shelf?
I worry, what about an expiration date, has it gone past?

I remind myself; fermentation.

The date doesn't really matter.

Some things keep.

The woman behind the counter sighs.

She jokes, “Is it Friday yet?”

I say, “Almost.”

She asks, “Would you like a bag?”

I say, “Yes. Please.”

The idea of walking down the street with a bottle of soy sauce unbagged seems strange to me.

I grip the brown paper wrapped bottle by the neck.

I think, this is an odd bird,

I think, I'm a weird wino with my brown bagged bottle of soy sauce.

A sensible drunk man, gray and thin,

a case of Pabst under his arm, holds the door for me.

He takes the worn wooden

stairs with a certain gravitas,

one worn boot

at a time

with a pause to make sure his footing is sure and true against the tilt and whirl of the Earth spinning.

He says, “It's about time.”

Being from around here I know he means, Spring.

I say, “Yes. It's about time.”

The drunk man, oddly graceful, leans over the curb into the wind

and across the street and for some reason he reminds me of a ship.

I walk home, gracelessly sober, heavy on my feet,

thinking about the word “wino”--

understanding the impulse to drink oneself into grace.

The wind picks up, cold, blowing grit into my eyes.

Walking up the drive, squinting, light from the old milk-glass lamp through the white lace curtains makes me nostalgic for a thing I haven't yet lost

or haven't yet found

or have but misplaced

I can't be sure

I don't remember

it doesn't matter.

In through the back door, into the yellow kitchen, I shuck my black wool coat,

hang it on a peg on the wall

unwind my scarf from my neck like unbinding and hang it with my coat.

I pour red wine, Malbec if you want to know, into my favorite glass, a small Ball jar once filled with jelly made by a friend in a hot kitchen from berries fresh picked by her own hands, berries still warm from the summer sun when they were poured from an enamel colander into a heavy stainless steel pot with cupfuls of white sugar like white sand.

I think this every time I pour myself a glass of wine, if my wine glass jelly jar is dirty and I choose another glass instead of washing,

the absence of the jar reminds me of the jar.

The wine tastes like an attic, July, warm wood, sour berries, sunshine, dust motes, old books.

I think, this wine is a good wine made from good grapes ripened in a warm place by a warm sun

a place where spring comes at a reasonable hour and lingers late on the veranda

with drinks after dinner.

I start the rice.

I slice tofu for my daughter and beef for my boy, I put them in separate bowls.

I pour long streams of soy sauce into each bowl, add thin slices of pithy ginger to each, crush four garlic cloves with the flat of the knife blade -- two for each

add a splash of balsamic vinegar, red peppers, yellow peppers, broccoli.

In the next room the children argue.

They are hungry I think.
as I stir the frying food.


Dinner is late.

We three sit at the scarred wooden table, we laugh and then set to arguing and then careen to laughter as quickly as the melting spring turned back to winter.

We all agree between mouthfuls

that this soy sauce is

the best.

My son says this with the fervor and zeal of a new convert,

he proclaims with his mouth full, rice falls, sticks to his shirt and chin,

somehow he manages to spit rice on the dog, the sticky rice adheres to the long black fur; the dog is not bothered.

My son says, forgetting to buy soy sauce at the grocery store was a kind of lucky. Without forgetting there wouldn't be this

The Best Soy Sauce.

We wouldn't have known.

We never would have known.

Lucky forgetting.

I think, Yes.

He's right.

I tell him so.

I clear the table, leave the greasy plates and bowls spoons and forks, glasses with the lip and finger prints, on the counter next to the sink, for later.

I think, the dishes, they're not going anywhere, what's the hurry.

I think, they'll keep.

My daughter hums a melody that I can't place.

Looking out through the window I see my own face,

the wind blows last year's fall leaves against the screens, sounds like June bugs.

I pull on my gray sweater, I think about starting the furnace.

My son laughs and tries to pick the rice from the dog's long black fur. The dog is not bothered.

I think, forgetting is a kind of luck,

I think,

some things keep --

I think, there is proof of time passing and proof of time held suspended in a drop.

I think --

some things keep

like summer fruit or soy sauce.

They keep

they keep

they keep

Monday, March 24, 2014

on resilience, depression, and being deeply beautifully weird and also alive

I began having suicidal thoughts as a child. The thoughts grew large or diminished, but desiring to not be a living person was always there at the back of my brain, as a big presence or a wisp of an idea, in some form, always.

When I was a little kid, I shut down. I was blank. Despite everyone's best efforts to knock the “weird” out of me, I managed to hide a kernel of my self hoping that some day I would find it and tend it. That was brave and hopeful of me. To my family I was simple, dumb, blank, hapless, a loser. The real me was internal and far away for safe keeping.

Middle school was a nightmare. I managed to endure and didn't die.

High school was a horror story. I wanted to die, but I didn't.

College was fraught with crisis and fear, and though I never got a degree, neither did I walk in front of any of the tractor trailer trucks that sped past me on my walks to campus, nor did I throw myself over the bridge railing into the Stillwater River. At one point I stopped leaving my apartment. I stopped going to school and to work so I wouldn't be tempted to walk into traffic. Though refusing to leave my apartment didn't do much for my academic career or endear me to my boss, it did positively impact my alive-ness, so really, I won.

After I had my daughter I knew suicide wasn't an option. This didn't make me happy, but I was resigned. When my son was born four years later, I realized my son was such a quirky little goober, he needed me more than anyone else ever would. I really really couldn't die. My life was a life sentence. 

Two and a half years ago my depression intensified. I will gloss over the ugly details. Suffice it to say, suicidal ideation was a vestigial twin, or maybe my depression became a giant soul sucking parasite. The parasite metaphor works better, but I love the image of a vestigial twin, a pair of wizened legs hanging weirdly from my hip. Maybe my depression was like one of those hairy, toothy teratoma horror tumors...anyway....I confided in my husband, he encouraged me to get help. I got help. The depression lifted and, hello, I'm still here, holding my excised vestigial twin, sucking parasite or hairy toothy depression horror tumor in a jar of formalin like a freak show oddity or a gruesome souvenir. Whatever, the fact is, I'm resilient. I'm still alive.

I feel like I've gone through life with both hands tied behind my back, blindfolded, gagged, in a sack, beaten unconscious. It's hard to get much done bound, gagged, blindfolded, in a sack, unconscious. This state of being doesn't often support much in the way of lasting achievement, or personal growth. Not dying, taking care of my kids and having a shadow of a personality, these things might seem like pathetic signs of resilience, but for me, being alive, being a good mother, and being able to regrow a self like regrowing a liver from a few cells of salvaged tissue feels like something.

**Several hours later it dawns on me that I might sound self-indulgent, selfish, whiny  and ungrateful. But depression is a real shit fucking crap sucker who sticks his thumbs in your eyes and keeps you from seeing things as they are. It's only after you've kicked depression in the nads that you realize what a freaking awesome gift it is be be here. So, anyway. Just wanted to put that out there. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

this aged gen-x slacker has taken umbridge

The obnoxious Salon headline read: "Generation X gets really old: How do slackers have a midlife crisis?"

Fuck you, Salon. Just fuck you.

First: I am not getting REALLY OLD, thanks very much. And heads up, youngster, the next 20 years are going to fucking fly by. You're going to be 40-something and be as shocked as I am now every time you see your 40-something year old face in the mirror, because on the inside, you still feel like the funky little hipster you used to be. My kids are going to be the hip happening cool youthful adults when you're middle-aged. They will mock you for being getting REALLY OLD. When this happens, I will get all Schadenfreude on your middle-aged midlife-crisising ass, and I will laugh and laugh, if I'm not already dead and sleeping the dirt nap of the ancients.

Second: You wanna know how a slacker has a midlife crisis you smug little millennial?  Come over here while I lace up the Grunge era combat boots of my youth, and I will midlife crisis you in your narcissistic ass.

I'm 1/2 through my corporeal tour of duty, that is true. I have traded in my youthful lithe size 4 body for stretchmarks and saggy boobs. But, and here is the big but my young friends, I'm wise. I'm so fucking wise. I'm so gloriously fucking wise. And I'm happy.

Really really happy.

My kids are growing up to be very cool people. I'm proud of them and they, believe it or not, are not ashamed to be seen with me in public. They think I'm cool. They want to hang out with me. They like me. So, basically, I win at life based on that achievement alone.

But wait, there's more!

I'm married to a guy who really really loves me and I really really love him back. Words can not convey how profound this is. We've been together for 20 years, married for 17 years, monogamous and true for the duration. We've been through some very shitty shit and endured. This is not love at first sight love, though it may have started there. This is a love that we worked at and nurtured, this is a love that almost choked on a ham sandwich, this was a love that was Heimlich maneuvered, this love stopped breathing but was brought back to life, this love knows that life is short and this love is so happy just to be here. This isn't a love to be trifled with, this is the kind of love that will linger in the ether even after our old dottering bodies have cacked out and crumbled to dust. Most people do not ever have this kind of love. Many people go to their graves without ever experiencing this kind of love.

So, fuck you, snotty young people.

I might be getting older, but so are you, you just haven't noticed yet. I'm not young and pretty anymore but I got love, baby.   

I'm lucky. I know I'm lucky.

You'll be lucky if twenty years from now you're half as lucky as I am.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

First Day of Spring, my mind is all over the place

Maine winters linger.

It's just what they do.

But this year it's different. Winter isn't lingering so much as it's stalled in the middle of the road. We'll be looking winter in it's ugly road-dirty grill until we can call a goddamned tow or push it out of the way, muscles straining.

I believe that people encase their past traumas in amber.

We are living beings and the hard remnants of the past are hurtful to us. We store them and we try to forget about them but they make us ill because we are living beings and we are meant to fill ourselves with the present which is alive, and the future, which is full of potential. The  dead relics poison our blood. We forget we carry them.

It's one thing to carry the certainty of death in oneself. It's another to carry death itself.

There are crows in the yard. Flapping black wings, One crow drives his head into the soft snow, he shakes his head, flaps his wings, hops forward, does it again. I thought perhaps he was looking for food but he seems to be washing himself. Now he struts away.

First day of spring poem

My hands are cold.

The radiator

hisses and rattles.

from my window


an expanse of new snow,

the flap and strut of ten black crows

like words written in ink



Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I'm awake. Mostly.

It's Monday/Tuesday.

It's Tuesday on the calendar, but content is all about Monday.

Say all the words.

Even if they are ugly words.

Even if they are hurtful words.

Even if they are very strange and weird words.

Even if your father tells you your words do not make you pretty.

Especially then.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

the facebook post that turned into some weird sort of bloggery

I took a Buzzfeed quiz to figure out what sort of tattoo I should I have.

I trust Buzzfeed and I have faith in the validity of their quizzes. I trust BF quizzes like my mother, a Leo, trusted her daily horoscope, the one printed in the back of the daily paper between the Jumble puzzle and Ask Doctor Donahue.

Buzzfeed really knows the REAL ME, for real.

The real me who needs a tattoo at the age of getting awfully freaking close to 50. Plus my skin is getting that weird dry skin thing going on so that a tattoo will nicely draw attention to my weird old skin.

A tattoo, oh yes. I must have one.

Buzzfeed peered into my very soul and determined based on my Starbucks cup preference and Pixar movie preference that I want need should must have a typography tattoo.

No pictures for me. Forget the Celtic knots,  retro blue birds and cliche butterflies.

Emblazon upon my creepy old lady skin the unambiguous word.

I looked up examples of typography tattoos and found many people have had meaningful sentiments etched into their flesh: sentiments such as "maybe" and "so be it"and "&". Nothing vague there.

Having Poe's "Annabel Lee" tattooed on your back is also a thing. It's going to be awesome to read "Annabel Lee" in its entirety aloud from your very own back whenever you want to...wait.


Just look in the mirror and crane your head around  Exorcist style, and then, ah crap, it's...


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

In which we contemplate puberty and other scary things

My son will be turning 11 in April. He's already a giant fellow at 5' 3". He looks soft and round and he is but he's also very strong. One of his favorite games right now is, Can I Pick it Up?

Anyway, I digress. In my family, boys get softer and rounder before they grow into broad shouldered giant manly men. True story.

This morning, my big little boy stared pensively into his cereal bow. I asked him what was up and he said he was worried about going through puberty. I asked it there was something specific about puberty that was troubling him. He told me he didn't want to grow a beard and was afraid to shave for fear he'd cut himself with a razor.

I looked at his sweet smooth face and imagined him with facial hair. Huh. Wow! OH MY GOD. I didn't say that though, because when your kids come to you with this stuff you have to be placid as a pool of water, you have to remain as cool as goddamn cucumber and as you must appear to be as serene as something really seriously fucking serene. It does not matter how freaked out you are on the inside, this shit isn't about you, and you must appear unafraid, unfazed and not bothered.

I focused on staying placid, cool, and serene and explained in my calmest mom voice that when the time came, we could get him an electric razor. His eyes got wide. An electric razor! Holy Crap, Mom! That seems like a really bad idea! Electric razor sounds like a death machine!

He had a good point, so I explained that while an electric razor sounds like some fiendish device with sharp steel blades glinting and winging around on mechanical arms, in reality electric razors are easy to use and are really safe.

I showed him some pictures of electric razors online and made a mental note that when the time came, we'd be shelling out some real money to buy one of these bad boys for our kid. It'll be worth it though, because he will likely shave his arms, his pubes, and the cat. The last thing this kid needs is a sharp blade. An electric razor will ultimately save us lots on medical and vet bills.

Anyway, after seeing the Norelco Senso Touch 3-D,  his mood changed. He went from terrified to thrilled. Bring it, Puberty! An electric razor is a cool looking hand-held gadget that is guaranteed not to cut your face off. Life is good the future looks suture free.

I gave the boy a hug and a kiss and sent the happy lad off to school.

After he left I spent some time staring into my coffee. One day I'll be the mother of a giant hairy man. Damn. Puberty. I hope I'm ready.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


The cool dry slick slide of a garter snake through my hands, the small flat rock as big as my two palms together, set in the woolly green moss in the woods behind the house.

The smell of mud. Rain rolling like warm wax down the living room window.

The ping of  june bugs as they hit the screen door and me in my summer pajamas, fresh from the bath with hair still wet and stuck to my head and neck, sitting at the table playing with clay while my parents sit in the next room watching tv.

The little men who clung to the bathroom fan leering at me with wide eyes from the ceiling while I soaked in my bath.The whirligig of red, blue, and green faces that spun in front of my eyes at night before sleep took me. The murmur of voices that echoed in my ears while the faces spun. The faces only I could see that stared at me from under the paint on walls, the phantom cats, slinking around corners and through doors, so quick, sometimes I was only aware of the movement, or perhaps the flick of a long tail or small quiet black foot. Childhood nightmares of naked rope bound women hanging from hooks on walls or hanging from trees in the forest.

Salt spilled on the kitchen table, a spray of perfect tiny white cubes. Milk like a cloud poured into a cup of black coffee. Purple petunias, sticky velvet, the grain of the wood on the second stair, the taste of the window screen, my tongue against the dusty warm metal for a moment, my spit spanning the spaces between the wires like glass.

Crouching in dad's dark closet between the curve and strum of his guitar and his guns with their hard sharp acrid petroleum smell, the blue-grey terry cloth bathrobe. The waft and waver of cigarette smoke rising like kelp from deep below to the surface drawn toward the heat and light from the globe of a 60 watt incandescent bulb.