Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Auld Lang Syne

(Uh, if the real "Cas" is reading this, it is a complete revision of events to suit my caustic personality.)

Why am I here? This was not my idea. I know it sounds great – New Year’s Eve in Edinburgh – an iconic experience. I mean, didn’t the Scots invent this? Auld Lang Syne and such? I don’t even know where we are, the house of someone in the enormous network of people Cas knows. I’m gonna be trapped here, I can tell. Cas doesn’t mind, of course. She’s in her element. She loves everyone and she’s never met a drink she didn’t like. I hate trying to mingle. I hate searching desperately for something to talk about. I can’t remember faces. Hi, I’m going to forget your name almost immediately. I’m going to stand here and look pathetic and miserable while Cas spreads her charm about. Pretend I don’t even exist.

There are bottles of booze everywhere. Of course. It’s Scotland. Everyone drinks all the time. The Highlands are afloat. I feel a little light-headed. What am I drinking, anyway? I really don’t feel good. In fact, I feel...terrible cramping pain. Great. I’m in a stranger’s house in a foreign country on New Year’s Eve and now this. I dig ibuprofen out of my purse, which I’m not letting go of, in case someone steals it. That’s the sort of thing Cas never worries about. She’d just laugh it off, always a good sport, always up for a laugh. You’d think she wasn’t afraid of anything. Where is she, anyway? This always annoys me, how I’m left to follow in her wake. She’s already flirting with some guy, completely at ease. Why does she always do that? Why does she always, always lead them on? Can’t she tell what she’s doing? Then we’re stuck with yet another misguided idiot. She never wants to hurt anyone’s feelings. She wants everyone to like her.

Someone is playing The Thompson Twins way too loud. Oh, isn’t that just too appropriate – lies lies lies. I can barely hear what anyone says, which makes me feel like an idiot. This guy she’s talking to, his name is Eoin, and he’s an arrogant, smarmy prick. But Cas will talk with anyone, give anyone the benefit of a doubt. It’s a nightmare, the people we end up hanging out with, like that biker who drank until he pissed himself. Or that idiotic nurse who thought you could catch AIDs from a bowling ball. Cas never calls anyone on their shit. She never judges. Which means she knows a lot of assholes.

Damn. Maybe ibuprofen and alcohol wasn’t a good idea. I’m sitting on the floor trying to make conversation with a thin wisp of a man from Yugoslavia or some such place. While we talk he slowly lists to the side until he’s lying on the floor, which ends the conversation, such as it was, given that I didn’t understand anything he said.

But hey, I made an effort.

I do not feel well. My stomach is on fire. I need to lie down somewhere. Cas, I need a little help here, if you can tear yourself away. If you can be bothered. The coat room? Fine, if that’s all that’s available. Whatever. I don’t care. Go have fun. Go collect people.

There’s a bed. It’s quiet. It’s dark. I’m alone. Mostly. Okay, no problem, throw your coat on me. I’m furniture. I don’t care. I’m drifting, drifting ever so softly into sleep, my stomach slowly unclenching. And then I hear scuffling. And whispers. And more scuffling..

Oh no, you have got to be kidding. Eoin has dragged some girl up here to make out, and he bloody well knows I’m here, the bastard, because he’s smirking at me, waiting to see how I’ll react. He thinks this is just hilarious.

Well fuck you, Eoin. Fuck you Cas, for dragging me here and leaving me to fend for myself. What kind of friend are you? We’re supposed to be friends, right? That’s how you introduce me. This is my friend… Do you have any idea how angry that makes me? Of course not. You’re a master of deflection. It’s even rubbing off on me.

What did I think I would gain by storming out of the house? There’s nowhere to storm too. It’s just darkness and Scotland out here. Oh, gee, you showed up. Well, yeah, I’m pissed off because I don’t feel well and there’s some sleazy guy screwing his girlfriend in the only place I can rest. And I’m just tired. I’m tired. I’m tired of biting my tongue ten times a day, watching every move I make. Be careful with your parents. Be careful with your friends. How long are you going to go on like this? What do you think they’re going to do? Why do you fucking care? Why do I have to care?

Okay, I’m calming down. We’ll go back inside. I’m just your crazy American friend having a temper tantrum on the front lawn. Everyone looks too delirious to notice anyway. No one’s thrown up, I see. One guy seems to be hanging himself. That can’t be right. The Yugoslavian is still lying on the floor. The loathsome Eoin has disappeared somewhere. Cas suggests I lock myself in. No one needs their coats anyway. Everyone’s too drunk to leave.

Sometimes I’m glad to be rid of her. Right now, at least.

A bell. A bell is ringing somewhere, somewhere outside of sleep, and something is rattling. Then a sudden roar of people singing, blowing horns and shouting, and the door flies open and Eoin throws himself on top of me and locks me in a drunken kiss. Then he passes out, for which I’m grateful, and I have to crawl out from under him.

This pretty much sucks. Cas, where are you? What have you been doing? Why does everyone else get your attention?

Oh, there you are. Here’s a toast to the New Year, with cheap champagne and no resolutions.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


(flawnt suggested I write something about obsession, so I gave it a try)

Things are a little out of hand. Information fills room after room after room. I have no bloody idea where I am. I have your photo, but the navigational coordinates are difficult to interpret. Where the hell are you, anyway? I don’t like mazes – too much like that Greek myth. Gee, you have remarkable eyes. I’m always struck by them. I’ve been known to hold my breath – it seems wrong to exhale. And you smile as if the world makes you happy. I’ve always liked that about you, how approachable you are, how unassuming. It’s adorable. Everyone says so. You don’t answer emails, though, and that’s a bit disappointing, a tiny imperfection. Did you know that every Persian carpet includes a flaw so as not to offend God? Did you know that you can track an IP address from an email? Of course, what do you do with an IP address? You have to be the CIA to take it farther. Do you think that artists have a divine calling? Do you think you have a divine calling? What would you call it, then? I think you are too modest, but it’s a charming quality. No wonder you’re so popular. Did you know that your entire life opens and unfolds like a map on the World Wide Web? Information fills room after room after room. Did I say that before? Your hair looks much better short, by the way. Long doesn’t suit you. You should always keep that in mind. I’ve been meaning to ask – how do you decide where to break a line of poetry? By syntax? Logic? Breath? Rhythm? Or is it purely by the way the text looks on the page? That always puzzles me, where to break. The lines just want to keep going and going and turn the corner and keep going... Sometimes the words get loose altogether and it’s a nightmare trying to impose order. It’s brutal, what that does to me. I’m not like everyone else, you see. I’m complicated. Whimsy has its place, but can’t you ever be serious? You really should be serious. This is a serious matter.

I know where you live.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Circling the Block

(way back in the day when I actually wrote, I took a class in poetic forms. this was one of my exercises, an attempt at a rondel)

Circling the Block

All the doors are closed
and I cannot bring myself to knock.
I’ve spent years circling the same block,
but what can I propose

to you? My lot is self-imposed
restraint. How can you unlock
the doors you’ve closed
when I cannot bring myself to knock.

Waiting in the street’s frozen
smile, my inane greetings mock
my loneliness. My life is blocked
with a need to always seem composed.
All the doors are closed
and I cannot bring myself to knock.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Video killed the radio star but it's a slow, slow death

I’ve come to realize lately that my musical landscape has become increasingly flat and barren. At some point I just gave up trying to be alternative. Little Miss DramaQueen has to have music on in the car, so I listen to a lot of radio, and boy is it ever dreary. And repetitious. I think there are perhaps 12 songs in rotation at the moment. But, amidst the merely banal are the songs that really annoy the crap out of me, songs that haunt the radio stations and my brain for months and years on end.

This is just my opinion, of couse. I don't even pretend to be objective or to have some actual knowledge of musical worth. But, in my universe, these are the current songs that have all the appeal of banging my head with a heavy rock:

1. Love Story by Taylor Swift. Romeo and Juliet? Are you kidding? Oh, and throw in a brief mention of the Scarlet Letter. Stupid lyrics, stupid sentiment, really annoying, sugar-sweet vocals (and more highly processed than Kraft singles). Squeak squeak squeak.

2. Poker Face by Lady GaGa. How long before this song dies a welcome and overdue death? When Just Dance came out I thought it was catchy and fun - something I would hear in gay clubs across the nation. Now I feel like I’ve been played.

3. Your Body is a Wonderland by John Mayer. Gawd, don’t even get me started. "Bubblegum tongue”? Is that supposed to be cute? whimsical? It sure isn’t sexy. I’ll take Nine Inch Nails' Closer any time over this oh-so-sensitive celebration of the feminine. That NIN video is the uncensored one, btw. I know Closer is old enough to be a classic by now and was pretty much played to death, but it may still be unfamiliar to some of you. Somehow I missed seeing this rather remarkable video (part of the MOMA permanent collection, no less). But a warning for anyone who doesn't know the song, if the eff word plus the phrase "like an animal" upsets you, please move along to the next exhibit. I'll wait for the rest of you to take a peek. What, back so soon? Yes, it is a bit disturbing; I never thought of animal carcasses in that context, either. Or eels.

4. Come on Get Higher by Matt Nathenson. Suffers from the same “I’m a sensitive guy” syndrome as Your Body is a Wonderland. Take, for example, the lyrics "faith and desire and the swing of your hips." Isn't that just sooooo sweet and non-agressive? Awww.

5. Birthday Sex by Jerimih. There is nothing so icky as slow hip-hop/R&B. It’s like being felt up by a stranger on the subway. You feel like you need to bathe. I could also include some songs by the completely weird Lil Wayne. Listening to him is like being slobbered over by a hiccupping lech.

6. 1234 by the Plain White Ts. Irritatingly catchy. Really catchy, and for that reason really irritating. Just so damn cute. I’ll listen to the original Beatles, thank you very much.

7. Give You Hell by All American Rejects. Frat boys of the world unite in an anthem to your idiotic delusions of self-importance. Believe me, that girl wakes up every morning grateful that she isn’t stuck with you. She’s moved on, sweetie. So should you.

8. My Life Would Suck Without You by Kelly Clarkson. When she starts belting out that chorus, I want to shred paper with my teeth.


But just to show you that I’m not a bitter old curmudgeon too stuck up to like popular music, I will admit rather sheepishly that my current favorite song is Halo by Beyonce. Love. This. Song. I know, I can't seem to give up my angel obsession. You'll just have to suffer through it or not look. I offer you links to two Halo videos, the official Beyonce one, and this amusing homoerotic version. At least it's amusing to me. Even if it is something of an insider's joke, you can still enjoy looking at the pretty boys - you don't have anything against pretty boys, I hope. HoYay!

Now, which link did you click?

I can tell if you're lying.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Death in the Air

Many of you have probably heard or read about the pilot who died in-flight. The story is here. The plane landed safely, and doctors think he died of a heart attack.

As I was reading I came across a sentence that broke me. The journalist included a statement from his wife, who was of course distraught: “The family lived in Texas, Ms. Lenell said. She said that her husband had called her from Brussels just the day before and told her that he was bringing her home some chocolate.” I found myself weeping. When death comes, those simple little gestures become so poignant. They are arrested mid-air, still filled with the expectation that life will be here tomorrow.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Creative Midwifery

I mentioned a post or so back that I dreamed I was pregnant. By coincidence, a friend of mine also dreamed he was pregnant, and that I was his midwife. A kind of bitchy midwife, actually, who kept suggesting he get rid of “it” or at least not get his hopes up too much. I looked like I did in college, meaning dyed black hair, pierced nose, salvation army clothes – exactly what you look for in a midwife.

It’s not often you get to play someone else’s Superego, for I’m sure that’s what I was – the great squelcher. I’ve got enough Superego for two, so it’s no surprise the overflow migrated into my friends psyche. My friend has an overabundance of id (S., you know it’s true), so I may have a salutary effect.

Dear S is very creative, and like many creative people, he is in Hollywood getting paid very little. He was approached to write a screen play that was, let us say, very different from any he has ever attempted. As if, for example, instead of Gods and Monsters you got to write American Pie. I would like to see it produced no matter what, but he has many screen plays that should have gone before, ones that would be a true expression of his vision. Perhaps that is why I am the voice telling him to abort, even at the last minute. For whatever reason, I am the person his mind chose to be the scold.

And, really, I suppose that I am a bit like that. I have been dismayed at some of the decisions he has made, and I often wish I could eradicate some of his more dissipated habits. They make for entertaining stories, but I don’t think he needs to be quite so Arthur Rimbaud-ish about it.

S and I were friends in college. We worked together on the literary magazine. We spent a lot of time talking about books and a lot of time in nightclubs in less than our right minds. He wrote plays and poetry. I thought he was the most talented person I knew, always self-confident and very ambitious, with dozens of friends and a boatload of charm.

S. and I both adore the book Brideshead Revisited. He even has a cat named Aloysius. Sometimes I feel that I am Charles Ryder to his Sebastian Flyte. I’m the disillusioned, misguided and rather dull artist who never lives up to his talent, and he is the charming, dazzling, self-destructive libertine. I doubt he would ever end up in a monastery, though, and really, there is a core of pure steel in him. Somehow he breezes through incidents that would have killed me and then serves them up with wit and style.

So, S., I’m not quite sure what you’ve given birth to, or if it will live and thrive. Just keep writing. And a little less Jaegermeister, please. It’s bad for the baby.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


The heavens wheel around the point of a knife,
a silver star ordering my life
and re-ordering my past.
I think it may always have been there.
He’s in one of his moods again,
old eyes cataracted with visions,
head tilted to listen.
I listen too,
listen close but hear nothing,
not even my own breathing,
not even my own heart.
He hears. He sways above me
and the world disappears.
He has the eyes of a fly,
in them I’m multiplied,
a brood of children who won’t cry NOT FAIR
when they’re roasted up like a holiday dinner.

Somehow I think this is my fault,
that my hands are bound
while his hands are free, holding the knife.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Real Life Isn't Working for Me

I am so bored. My soul is rattling the cage doors. It wouldn’t know what to do if I freed it. I don’t think it remembers how to fly. I’m caught between wanting to stay in bed forever and wanting to run away. The iggly bits of daily routine seem irritating beyond belief. I am not pleasant.

Last night I dreamed I was pregnant. How clichéd is that? It’s like having your subconscious hand you self-extracting Jungian software. I hope I don’t have to wait nine months to find out what I’m incubating.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lighthearted, sort of

Well, I may not have written a lot of jubilant poetry, but I did find one dating from a brief span of time when I was young, naive and deliriously happy somewhere in England.


We climbed the spiraling
stairs to the castle tower.
There was a landscape I could not see;
it slid past my eyes like a scarf.
I would not look up
because it was like walking into the sky,
as if I had no body.
I would not look down
because it was like wanting to jump.

She told me
when she was a little girl
in search of forbidden sweets
she climbed the pantry shelves like a ladder
and tipped a jar of honey over her head.

She has fallen
into a rumpled sleep
on the cathedral grounds.
The heat is stunning;
blue bottles and bumble bees
stumble above her head.
She is wearing a dress
that dips in the back.
The sun stings there, along her shoulders
and behind her knees.

The cathedral bells are ringing
as if they had always been ringing.


Trying to think of something lighthearted.


Under the bed I could see
into the boxsprings.
It spooked me, so I usually lay face down.
Frail slats of wood over ghost fabric,
the insides so painfully exposed,
tensed metal coils suspended over me.
I waited there for my father to come home,
to settle his rump in the living room sofa,
open his paper, turn on the TV.
Then he was as good as not there.
It was his arrival that startled me.
When the tires hit the gravel
I bolted like a criminal, a thief,
gathering myself up: toys, books,
whatever might recall me, buoy him too long
before he sank in his chair,
the jovial questions trailing his mouth
while he was already unfolding his paper,
reading the headlines,
almost not there, but holding.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


….Miracles occur,
If you care to call those spasmodic
Tricks of radiance miracles. The wait’s begun again,
The long wait for the angel,
For that rare, random descent.
~ Sylvia Plath, from "Black Rook in Rainy Weather"

I really do get sick of my childhood. It’s a parasite I can’t seem to get rid of. It always comes back to bite me. It’s like malaria. Now and then it acts up and I run a fever. And then I begin speaking all my disordered thoughts. I need a cool cloth and quinine.

By now, I can list all the things that went wrong. I can grasp it intellectually. I suppose that is where poetry came in. I could grasp it with my heart. I could hold it and shape it; I could burn and not be destroyed.

It is difficult to accept how ugly love can get, if it can be called love, but god knows I would rather it were some kind of love than no love at all. As long as they loved me and wouldn’t leave me, I could endure. Not that I had much choice.

I was a pawn in a war my parents fought, and I had to exchange my allegiance for protection or be left to fend for myself. And it all took place on an invisible battlefield. In the visible world I was taken care of. I wasn’t neglected. I wasn’t beaten. I received affection. I was praised and fussed over.

But in this other world I was an object, a prize, a substitute companion, and for my mother, an extension of herself. There was no privacy. If I kept a diary, my mother would read it. She was always trying to get inside my mind. My body wasn’t particularly private, either. If there was a way to invade, she would find it. She usually slept with me. Not as in incest, but she slept with me because she didn’t want to sleep with my father, and because I was terrified of the dark. I had frightening images of hands appearing from under my bed. You know that scene of Freddie Kruger impaling that sleeping fellow through the mattress. That seemed to have leapt straight out of my own mind. It’s a telling image, I suppose. Hands. disembodied, waiting to grab me

Since I was on “her side” my father pretty much abandoned interest, except when he wanted affection, which I was not very enthusiastic about. I tried to avoid any physical contact with him. That seemed essential. I sometimes actually hid in the closet or under the bed. Not when I was very small – I still liked him then -- but when I was older.

So I didn’t trust them an inch, and yet I was completely dependent on them. I wanted to be loved, yet I wanted them at arm’s length. I hated them enough to sometimes worry that I might go into some sort of trance and murder them, then come round and realize that I had no one to take care of me. I was both hypervigilant and forgetful. I can’t be hypnotized, ever. I wont’ go under. But I could also induce forgetfulness. In the middle of whatever horrible crap was going on, I would tell myself that I would forget it, just forget it, it wasn’t really happening, and someday I would look back and it would be a blank. I think I lost my entire junior year of high school that way.

And, oh, the self-loathing. I was sure there was something crucial wrong with me, a fatal flaw that wasn’t fatal enough. I was guilty of something, and if I could figure out what and be punished for it, things might be better. There had to be something I could confess, some humiliation I could endure, some sort of self-immolation I could attempt to undue the crime. I was guilty of simply existing. I wasn’t supposed to exist. Of course I developed my own means of self-punishment, and God knows I sometimes still wish relief were as simple as a slash across my arm. Sometimes the thought of it is as alluring as a kiss.

It’s a miracle I’ve been able to have any normal relationships at all. It is amazing that I ever let a man touch me, when I thought of it as an invasion, violent in and of itself. Actually, it seems to have taken two marriages to come to terms with that. And I had children, which I once thought would be akin to incubating an alien life form so that it could rip you apart.

But, I suppose it isn’t odd that my view of God is lacking in the areas of mercy, love, protection, and, well, fill in the blank. It’s hard to believe in God’s love if you think you are a mistake, and how could I not be a mistake?. And how could God let me be born into this household and leave me at the mercy of two crazy people, to be violated in a variety of ways? Yes, yes, I know – God loves us and has a purpose for us. I give an intellectual assent to all the positive traits of God, but I don’t trust him an inch.

Friday, June 05, 2009

The Whistle

Dad and I walked the paths outside the forest.
Vegetation grew shoulder high,
knots of grass and blackberry.
Bees and dragonflies flew as though draping
a heavy brocade of honeysuckle.
Dad showed me how to pluck a blossom,
touch its base to my lips and pull the stamen.
I licked a vague sweetness from the flower.
The sun lolled in the sky as though it would never move,
a stubborn sun that seemed to trap the day.
Streamers of coolness reached from the forest
like extended arms.
We did not follow that path
but stopped by a stripling tree,
wild cherry, Dad said, cutting a slim branch
with his pocket-knife and paring the bark.
Near one end he notched the wood
and I could see it was hollow, still green, a little damp.
It smelled like a forest; I could taste it on my tongue.
It released one clear piercing note of alarm.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

When Poets Dream of Angels

“When the poets dreamed of angels, what did they see?
History lined up in a flash at their back.”
~ David Sylvian

I do not have the kind of bipolar that you see in movies. I don’t run around like a mad person, talking a mile a minute and then become catatonic. I have brief highs and then slide into depression and ennui. The depression is more persistent and severe than the high.

My manic probably looks much like someone else’s normal, at least to the outside observer.

Internally, it’s a firestorm.

I become entirely focused on something, usually to the point of obsession, perhaps for a couple of weeks. Then I falter. The obsession starts to evaporate, and I keep trying to hold onto it, because once it’s gone, the landscape is gray and uninteresting pointless. I drag myself around the drab landscape for a while until something new and shiny attracts my attention. For a while it was learning to knit. Then I dropped that. When we moved it was decorating – I spent a lot of time poring over books and paint colors – and then I lost interest. Recently it was summer camp.

Last weekend I could think of little else but poetry. I ransacked the house until I found my old papers and journals and dragged them out. I reread and shuffled and sorted. I began transcribing my old poems onto my computer. I drove Dear Husband nuts because I barely moved. Poems I didn’t remember writing. The dissertation reviews. Wow, I thought, my 22 year old self is just a fascinating mess. I can’t believe I stopped writing, blah blah blah. I’ll type it all up. I’ll put it all out there. Why not? This is kinda exciting. This is great!

At the same time, I’ve developed a strange and rather embarrassing obsession with Misha Collins and the composite of faith, doubt, rebellion, and wordspinner that he’s come to represent. I know far more about him than I will give a crap about in a month. I follow him on Twitter, which is itself the perfect haven for the frantically distracted and obsessed. There is always something new, always a reason to check. Misha happens to be very clever and amusing, spinning whimsical stories, which you wouldn’t think possible in Twitter. He's charming and at ease (of course, he's an actor) and everyone thinks he's just adorable. He is gifted and I am jealous. He writes poetry, and it's good poetry. Damn. He's bright and cheerful and good natured. He has thousands of followers. He doesn’t interact, but Twitter creates the illusion of giving you access to someone’s thoughts in real time, access to their daily life, or in this case, access to their creative life.

I’ve begun to falter.

The utter ridiculousness of being enthralled by some actor is a daily affront to my common sense. I feel ridiculous. I feel idiotic. I feel every one of my 43 years admonishing me to get a grip and pay attention to real life, my children, my husband, my job. It's not as if I can sit down with Misha Collins and pick his brain about poetry and the creative process. He plays an angel, but he's not carrying a message from God to me.

And the poetry. It seems so long ago and in another country. Far away. An island. I think I wrote to get high. It’s like being high. It must release endorphins. Each poem was an obsession. Nothing else was real until the poem was real. The world didn’t make sense without it. When I wrote the world was a bit sharper and I was a bit more buoyant, a bit more purposeful.

And I lost it.

I mentioned in a previous post that I have some ideas about why I crashed into a major writer’s block. But I’m not really so sure. I can’t untangle all the factors. The collapse of a relationship, the start of a new one, changing my persona for the world of jobs and careers, the desire for normality and stability, a dominant boyfriend/husband, antidepressants.

And, a not uncommon experience for me, feeling like a fraud.

I wrote confessional poetry. Much of it was filled with bitterness about my childhood, which sounds so passé and clichéd. I’m sure it bores the hell out of a lot of people. When you write confessional poetry you can’t really hide behind a persona. You’ve dumped your life out for all to see. Your demons are prancing on the pages. Everyone’s walking around in your psyche.

Near the end of my time in the writing program, I was sitting in workshop one day going through the hell of having one of my poems critiqued, when it dawned on me that my fellow poets and my instructors were talking about my poem as if I had been physically and sexually abused. I was dumbfounded, taken aback. I didn’t say a thing. I wasn’t sure whether to protest or pretend. Good God, I thought, how did I manage to screw this up? I went back through my poems and squirmed with discomfort. So many violent images, so many with sexual undertones. Taken alone, not so much, but together, bewildering. I was baffled and kind of horrified.

I didn’t experience some sort of aha moment, a revelation of a long buried trauma. I was never sexually or physically abused. I have to assume that the combination of verbal assaults, mental illness, extreme repression and shame engendered my sometimes over-the-top images. I felt that I had miscommunicated my entire life, that I should take out an ad or make a speech to set the record straight. It didn’t help that later one of my brothers told me a female cousin had accused my father of inappropriate behavior. I don’t believe that accusation. It doesn’t seem to fit. My father has many infuriating and undesirable traits, but I can’t think that is one of them.

But, you start to think, don’t you, that if it quacks like a duck, and so forth. There’s just that little bit of uncertainty. No, not possible. I would know. I wasn’t that good at disappearing.

Did that stop me in my tracks? Or am I just grasping for an explanation? I stopped trying to think about my past. When I went on antidepressants, I felt great. I felt so great that I eventually dropped both the antidepressants and the psychiatrist. That should have been a warning sign. I now know you don’t give a bipolar person Prozac – it triggers erratic behavior. I married an extremely ambitious man and hid in his shadow for years. I was thoroughly sick of hashing over my poor sad childhood. What did it matter? It didn’t help. It was getting boring. It was self-indulgent. Lots of people had it worse. I filled journals but I couldn’t write poetry. I struggled and flailed, mourned and grieved and finally stopped trying. Divorce, pregnancy, another marriage. I didn’t seem to be angry at my parents anymore. They were so remote, so harmless. I had children. I had things to do.

So here I am. I realize that I am still furious. Or rather I don’t realize it – it just comes out when I write. It’s obvious to everyone else. I mean, I know I have a temper and that I’m irritable, that I’m often moody and depressed, but I guess when I get going I fairly reek of brimstone. I’m still dogged by anger and self-loathing, and it can’t be medicated away. I haven’t a damn idea what to do about it. My therapist says I have to find some way, but she has no idea how, or maybe she just won’t tell me. Maybe she thinks it’s therapeutic for me to find out myself.

Meanwhile the world is starting to get that blunt look. Poetry, a clever actor who also happens to be a poet, hunger for that sort of creativity (Why can’t I be like you? Tell me how to be like you.) – what does it all matter? What do I think will change? My thoughts are shifting and settling like dust after a building collapses.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


She enters in a new disguise.
The air falters
taken by surprise.
I rearrange myself.
The dress I have never seen before
it materialized in a different world.
She creates the illusion
that she has stepped out of hiding
though the black cloth falls like shadows
and black lines bind her eyes.
She moves in his admiration
as though she has rediscovered herself.
The corridor between us drops
like a bowl slipping from clenched fingers.

Monday, June 01, 2009


She holds the glass under
water to wash away all remains
of human contact. On the rim
where the lips touched, the curve
where the fingers pressed, her disgust
accumulates. She clenches the glass
suddenly no longer a glass
but a cloud of scythes,
one stuck in her hand like a burr.