Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I am in no shape to write tonight, but I am in no shape to quit either.

The day dug in at my temples and one small spot on my back.

I rummaged for tea and found herbal junk with pretty pastel scents, then smashed through cabinets looking for something black and caffeinated and bitter to help me trudge through another morning.

I shoved Hershey's snout through a black shirt and wove her paws through the arm holes. She gets to run around dressed that way until the open cut on her back starts to close.

We don't want to sew it shut and sew in an infection, the vet told me...

He cleaned her wound and gave me antibiotics. Try a T-shirt, he said.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Sorry for the cheap cheep…


At 10:45 at night with the sounds of a war movie shooting into my imagination, I remembered Ed.

His mother couldn't rinse the Vietnam out of him.

My poor Eddie was so nice until he came home, she would say. It's the war, did it to him.

Stupid woman, he answered.

Oh Eddie! Stop It!

I would watch her wriggle around in the easy chair -- ass stuck and legs propped up while Ed would roll and unroll his gaunt ugly words: stupid female. You're fat and it's your own fault. I don't know how dad put up with you.

Oh Eddie, she would say.

He would bring her dinner on Sundays. He would call and ask, whaddaya want?

He brought her fried fast-food orders folded into stained paper bags.

I wanted a world with everything in it. Ketchup, mustard and hope on a hard roll…

After his mother died, Ed had nobody to hate except me.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Me My Booze And I

We weren't serious and the affair is over

We were just passing time like a game of solitaire that I always lost

We remember years ago when together we pushed the world away

and cleansed our aching, pulpy souls with cheap vodka

We didn't blame anyone, we just kept buying vodka

and noticed that the bottles got bigger and cheaper

our potion came in plastic

He frowned and asked me if I wanted a drink

I didn't want one really, but I wanted everything else even less

On a summer day with magic and warmth that did not touch me

I watched my glass sweat

I watched my glass empty

I think of those days years ago when I filled my life with booze

so I know what a lot of people are hiding

as I serve their drink

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

You And Me

Could have been me with wine-stained lips

drunk and tired and out of cash

Could have been my glass that tipped and burst

I watched her glass empty,

her pockets empty, her eyes empty

she staggered away

Monday, May 23, 2011

A fool's hope in my heart...

Clouded mist turned to rain as I guessed my way along a dark sidewalk on the way home.

Pounding across the skylights hours later was rain like small applause falling hardest as thunder boomed.

When I was a girl...

For a time umbrellas filled my single-minded little head. The Easter bunny left a pointed, ruffled umbrella near my basket and I grabbed it, ran outside, and stood at the top of Grove Street staring downhill. A steep slope ran past Roger's and Maura's houses toward the bottom where the new kid Baruch and his mother would stand in the mornings waiting for the bus. I avoided rushing down the sidewalk, lifted and cracked by tree roots shrugging off the concrete. Tripped up in a rift last year was my grandmother's sister Josephine who fell and cut up her elbows and knees when she hit the ground.

Instead, I was headed straight down the center of Grove -- a rush when I was on my bicycle churning my legs to keep up with the pedals.

On that street clear of traffic on a long-ago Easter Sunday, I opened my new umbrella, clicked it into place, and whipped my arm high in the air as I ran.

I wondered if the resistance would let me hover fleetingly over the pavement as air pooled under the umbrella's cover. I felt its handle tug in my fingers as momentum pulled me toward the bottom where I panted and leaned on my knees. I looked up at my umbrella without any understanding that things can go wrong in seconds, that the hopes you have at the top blind you from disappointments at the bottom.

Only for a few seconds had I held my much-loved new Easter gift. In my hands at the end was something inside out and broken.

If only I had Lily then to chew my pink plastic gift apart before I ran downhill with a fool's hope in my heart.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My droll little method lately: if I have nothing good to say, I say it anyway.

I open my mouth waiting for the narrator within to give me words, and when none come I close up again. This is annoying.

I might fight my stubborn prose with poems.

First, I know nothing about poetry other than it is generally done by stacking bits of creative and economic thought together without the idea collapsing.


Stepping across yesterday's clothes then prying open a lid,

I, boil, pour, stir.

Making wishes over a cup of coffee.

I ought to shut up now.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

My thoughts are still stuck inside a silent head. Without adding any depth or insight, I am going to sit here and at least tell you what I see while my writing voice hides.

In the woods...

Downhill past a vernal pool where early spring amphibians screamed, I see a zig-zagging stone wall. Time has been here too, gathering ground around the stones to hide them.

It's midnight on Saturday and rain slaps the patio and roof. I wonder about goddesses in the woods.

She is a kaleidoscope of colors. Whimsy and butterflies move her in and out of sunlight. Her hair streams and her skirts flow. She is filled with light. I look through images of forest goddesses and see young and seductive life until I find her in black and white.

A pale woman with black lips haunts the night. Eyes filled with stolen light hover inside dark shadows. Colorless cheekbones push at her skin and black strands crawl through white hair.

She seeps into shadows.

Her lips are dry and her skin is cold. Her empty hands once held spring's promise of life ready to bloom. I picture her now, waiting to smile and walking through fleeting memories of color, light, and laughter.

I don't know this goddess, and like every little person before me, I am inventing her based on nothing.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Seers believe our world ends on a Saturday. Amid morning coffee, errands, make-up sex, or video games, time will run out. I understand our Lord is coming to lead us to a day when our tabs come due.

At last Meagan from second grade will pay up for her mean little childhood. Standing next to her one day I noticed her braid and said, your hair looks cute.

I HATE the word cute, she said.

Maybe she will burst into flame on May 21 and an angel will bottle up her smoke for me.

But I have my own debt to Meagan. She was standing in the auditorium on an early June day singing her heart out alongside the rest of us fifth-graders thinking of summer vacation. As the choir wound down its last song, Meagan passed out. Her head cracked against the glossy gymnasium floor with a hollow bang. I wasn't upset. Screw her and her cute hair.

Somewhere in the house is a mosquito with my DNA in its horrid little belly.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I am sitting here with my stubborn writer's silence. Inside my head I hear no words as the dusk darkens and I grow smaller under a fading sky.

Threatening my writer's block, I say that with daylight gone we'll disappear. We can't exist in darkness without a voice.

From the back of Jerry's motorcycle I drifted through cotton candy patches of lilac blooms, green scents of cut grass, a cigarette in the car ahead, and road fumes.

For a few minutes I forgot about writer's block until I listened inside my head and heard cotton-filled silence.

Things could be worse. I could accidentally use my voice at the wrong time like a coworker today on her cellphone who said, sure, I'll be there. I just have to drop off a urine sample first.

While my narrator rests her voice, I guess I will start listening.

By the way, I finally wrote to Ann.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I have writer's block. It's like drowning.

She holds raw clay in her hands and warms it, shapes it, and presses it to the earth as a man. She gives him gifts that fade. She cries and reaches for another nub of clay, kissing it before setting it down.

I imagine the goddess again as big as the moon. Time does not touch her. She grieves. Her beautiful people age. They suffer and struggle and raise wet faces toward her soft light. They wonder why.

All her little people will die. They leave her alone with the Universe and Death, who hoards her creations. No mortal has tested the earth and walked away with eternity.


Today a scent stopped me on the wet grass. With rain trickling down my back and stuck in my eyelashes, I stepped toward the viburnum with its white clusters of blooms. Nose against the tiny petals, I breathed a deep spring breath that I cold find nowhere but here.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Words are everywhere but in my fingertips today.

I am getting in touch with my inner, stubborn mute.

Tonight all I have is another scratchy verse for spring.

Little flowers on a forest floor:

Mother nature shapes secrets

with darkness, hunger, and cold

that struggle to life through mud and stone...

This verse means only that I staggered around trying to stay upright after avoiding little petals about a tenth of an inch wide and just an inch off the ground. The world's smallest flower grows in clusters as grass thickens toward summer.