Friday, September 7, 2012

Small and wordless

Part 1

I wait in between and perplexed
and try to imagine the rest
and try to imagine what's next
and try to heap coals off this chest
as hummingbirds leap off the nest
 and fasten themselves to my vest.
An hourglass pours out the time
an hourglass flipped on it's side
and hourglass pouring out grain.
My fire reflects in my rain
the fire-rain collects in my brain
and Earth absorbs both like a drain
as here on The Floor I remain
as here on the floor I abstain
as here (just for now) I remain.


Part 2
She is scooped out and hollow
smooth, pale and light
like a fire would glow
from beneath her, behind
like lightening could strike her head
and cause her fingers to give off sparks
and you would watch and have to blink.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


 (Pre-Script: The first part of my Pepper Spray adventure, simply titled "MACE"  was posted three posts ago, so if you feel like it, I recommend scrolling down and reading that post, then returning to read this post.  I will patiently wait here while you do that...)
Now that I have a pepper spray canister with which to run, I am learning the proper code of ethics while running with an obvious can of Pepper Spray in your hand.  (obvious because of the word MACE written down the strap on the outside of my hand in red, for instance.) By "I am learning," I really mean that I am making them up as I go along, based on my own ideas and the facial expressions of other people on the trail at the same time as me and my Pepper Spray. Before I had the pepper spray, I was on a semi-lazy mission to say "Hi" or "Good Morning" and smile from beneath my sun protective baseball cap to anyone I encountered on the trail.  By greeting people in such a way, I was (so I told myself) brightening their morning, possibly saying the one nice thing they heard all day, while simultaneously demonstrating that I was a person who was Aware Of Her Surroundings, probably more so than you would have guessed, what with my headphones and sunglasses on,  and was therefore not a very good candidate for victim hood on that particular morning. 
     Now that I run with "an armed weapon," as my husband says, I think that the best technique is to say "Good Morning" but leave out the smile.  Because to smile while obviously holding a small canister with a strap that very clearly in bold red letters had the word "MACE" written down it would look insane.  The message I am now conveying when I say "Good Morning" without a smile is that yes, I know I am carrying a canister of Pepper Spray, and yes, I am aware of my surroundings even with these technological trappings surrounding my head, but I have no intention to harm you, I still wish you well. Only this matter of running out in the wilderness is serious business, 'cause we've all heard the stories of the girl, and the mountain lion, and the stalker hiding out in the bushes, and the fill in the blank you name it, we have all heard that story, including me, so therefore I am packing heat, but in an obvious manner like I have nothing to hide, because I have nothing to hide, truly, I am not angry at the world, generally, but I am not unaware of it's schemes, sadly, and will only use my weapon of choice if I am so provoked as to need to use it, reluctantly. 
     I think this is a good strategy.
   Today on the trail, there was a young woman walking with her dog.  He was cute, but he definitely looked like he had at least part pit bull in him, and I am sure that the woman is used to her dog's appearance inciting fear in those around her.  I noticed that she said "Good Morning" to me in an almost reverent, guarded tone as I ran past her; it only occurred to me after I had passed her and her dog to remember that I was sporting the "MACE" strap.  And I thought, "I bet people are afraid of her dog; I bet she thinks that if she doesn't appear friendly that I might spray the dog."   but I had no intention of spraying the dog.  Or anyone else, for that matter.  Her dog seemed happy and peaceful and all like, "just going on a walk with my lady, nothing to see here, arf arf," and I respect those qualities in a dog. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Man Wired

Men like their wires.  
They sometimes keep whole boxes full of them, chords and wires of different thicknesses and a variety of colors, for they could potentially belong to different devices and work in different ways.  
A woman need not mess with this tangle.  
I think my husband is just happy knowing that his wires exist and that he owns them.  Far be it from me to get in the way of that.  Suddenly we'll be sitting here and the movie will sound a little bit louder or like a real life experience, and I hadn't even noticed it or noticed that it had previously not been quite so loud and lifelike, until he mentions it to me, like my whole movie watching and music listening experience has just been super enhanced, my ability to enjoy it has been amplified, but I didn't even notice, until he says "doesn't that sound SO GREAT?"  and I had no idea, but it's cuz he did something stealth and manly with his box of wires, connected this speaker to that component or somesuch thing, and now he is way happier.  But I'm the kind of girl who's just as happy with 36" as I am with 53",   flat screen or non flat screen, and I think as long as I can hear the dialogue, it's good enough for me, I don't actually have to feel the vibrations of the car driving behind the person on screen as if the car was going to jump out of the TV and run me over while I sit here peacefully on my own couch in my very own living room to enjoy the movie.  But far be it from me to point that out to my wire happy spouse.  I think most men are happy as long as they have a chance to play around with and change up the wires every now and then.  So I let him have his way with that and don't dare ever touch his box of wires.  I'm happy to make the popcorn and follow along with the plot.  I'm happy when it all gets resolved in the end, like so many wires in a closed up box somewhere in the dusty closet waiting for  the perfect opportunity to serve.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Last Week's Bugs.

On Friday, I was drove down I5 South. You were sitting in the passenger's seat. It was dark, rural, and just past twilight when the bugs hit.  We couldn't see them, but all of a sudden our windshield was being pummeled by so many tiny bugs, we thought it might actually be raining. 
But there was no rain.  Just a lot of bugs. 
Our car still bears the carnage.  Which just means we haven't been to the car wash yet. 
Which just means I'd rather spend my cash on Starbucks.
We drive that particular stretch of road so often that the car wash seems pointless; we'll get the car clean, then drive through next week's bug storm, and we wont be able to tell which carcasses are which.  Last week's bugs look just like this week's bugs when they are splattered, am I right?

On Sunday, you were driving back up I5 North, when it was dark but getting darker.  We could see where the sun was going down behind two distant hills beyond the empty fields where the bugs had been two days before.  I watched the sun set until my eyes hurt and I couldn't easily make out what was directly in front of me without a lot of blinking over a little bit of time.  I kept saying "look at that, look at that," and pointing to the lowering sun, even though you were driving and needed to keep your eyes on the road, needed to not be blinded by the light of glory just then.

By the time we got home, it was fully dark. You said "do we have to bring everything in right now?" I said "yes," so we did.
We walked inside, put everything away.  You said "I like that you put everything away, right away."  I said I couldn't rest until I knew it was done. 

On Monday morning, I went running down a now familiar path.  I looked up and saw that the sky was blue, it was definitely blue, and right above the blue, a line of smoke. 

After that, I took it easy.



I now own a little hand held canister of pepper spray, complete with a comfortable hand strap so that it's easy to hold.  When worn correctly, the word "MACE" shows on the outside of my hand, so that any approaching mayhem starters will be psychologically overcome before they are physically overcome, and will think twice before attacking me.  In the event that it is a mountain lion who attacks, I hope that I get the one lone mountain lion who can read, and then retreat with it's tail between it's legs back to the rocky craggy cave like hideout from which it originally sprung itself the moment it sensed my presence.  I made sure I knew how to properly use the little hand held spray canister, in hope that I will never have to use it.  My husband gave me a pepper spray tutorial.  He said "you can't just sort of spray it and shriek and run away; you have to keep spraying it directly into the person's eyes until he is incapacitated." he said "Pretend you're me, I know you can do it."  He also said "You are basically armed with a weapon."  I told my husband, "I really don't think anything will happen to me on the trail, because when I run, God goes with me, and there are a whole lot of angels that surround me."  He smiled at me and said something like "that's nice, take the pepper spray."
When I was a very young child, my father used to say to me, "If anyone ever tries to hurt you, poke him in the eyes."  and he demonstrated by pushing two pointed fingers into the air in front of him so I would know the proper eye poking technique. 
So far I have never had to poke anyone in the eyes.  I'm glad because aside from the obvious reasons, eye poking feels much too personal and squishy.  I don't even touch the eyeballs of people that I like.  At least with pepper spray, I can keep a ten to twelve foot distance.
     So armed with my weapon of choice this morning, I added a mile on to my usual run, the first half of which was a steep uphill incline with sharp curves.  What enticed me was the sign at the base of the hill which read "Steep incline and sharp curves, next .5 miles."  I reasoned that if I ran to the summit, I'd have to run back down, which would be exactly 1 mile, and then I could say that I'd done it, which is my favorite reason of all, and the downhill part would be easy, and then I could finish my usual run.  I also reasoned that my 20 year old self would have run it even without pepper spray and without question, because my 20 year old self was just a little bit more naive and insane than my 36 year old self. 
 But not much. 
 I don't mind that. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012


     I am learning that summer in Redding means that you never know when it's going to be smokey outside.  One day it may be clear, but then the next you wake up, and the air is thick with smoke. When it's smokey outside, you are not supposed to go running.  It's not good to breath smoke into your lungs.  It will hurt them like smoking a cigarette, but you don't even need the cigarette, you just need to breath deeply. On smokey days, I like the smell when I open my front door.  It smells like someone is having a barbecue, or camping, and I was once again not invited.  But then I feel guilty for enjoying the smell, because I know, I KNOW That it means there is a fire somewhere, so I hope and pray that it's on a hilltop far away from any homes and that no one is hurt or needs to be relocated.  
     It's been smokey all week, but I can't tell from where the smoke comes.  So I can't tell to where I should go. Safest bet: stay inside.   
     Today I learned that the first state in the union was Delaware.  I'm sure I already learned that in 5th grade, but I have since forgotten, so I learned it all over again today.  I learned by driving behind a car with a license plate I did not recognize, it was black with orange or yellow writing, so I read it, and  above the numbers it said "The First State," and below the numbers it said "Delaware."  I thought, "I wonder who ever even thinks of Delaware anymore, yet it was the FIRST STATE, the one from which all other states followed after, including, a long while later, my beloved California."  Of course the people who live in Delaware are always aware of it's existence, but what is the current population of Delaware, anyway?  Like 7?  Our ancestors got over it a long time ago. 
      (The other night, my husband said to me, "Do you ever think that it's weird that our country is called "The United States?") 
     I'd like to talk to those 7 (or so) people.  I'd like to interview them just to find out what their lives are like, how they grew up, how much of it was so much like mine, but which parts were different, and which of these differences are different than ones that my next door neighbor could give, because they are unique to having grown and lived in such a physical place and climate as Delaware. Of which I know nothing, neither from personal experience, nor from book reading.  I'd like to know if they have TJ Maxx there; I'd like to know if they wash or warsh their clothes.
     For as long as I can remember, I've never lived out of this state, but even moving to a city four hours north of where I grew up, I find there are so many cultural and climatic differences.  Unlike San Jose, we have Winco here, and I find that the women wear an unusual amount of lace.  And yet we share the same Governator.  

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Wild Berries

Tell me if this has ever happened to you: I opened my mouth to say a mundane truth, but what came out of my mouth instead was a profound truth, the kind that has the potential to ruin you, then rebuild you back. It was the truth that had been nagging at the back of my brain, but I hadn't given it full frontal attention yet, at least not in a long long time; I hadn't given a voice to it, and saying the words out loud: "I am afraid, this is what I fear," healed me in a way that only when you shine a light in a dark cave can; where the light burns and burns away at the grime around the edges of that place, the walls start to erode, and in come the flood waters, and the next thing you know, you are weeping and even when you feel controlled enough to stop, you continue to weep because it feels right, it feels good to let the moving water wash that place OUT now that the light is shining on it.  You fall asleep exhausted but then wake up feeling the emptiness of that space you'd cleared, but keep the light shining there, look at it, wait and see, wait and see.  Awkward in your own skin because new steps don't feel natural or even comfortable when they are still new, when you are still blazing a new trail through your own heart vines. 
      I remembered how on Sunday night, we were walking through ruins of old broken down brick buildings; this was in California, so obviously these buildings were built in a time before building with bricks was prohibited in California (earthquakes) and behind the ruined buildings were the brambles that had grown up through what used to be someones home.  Yards and yards of berry bushes; bramble and bushes ripe and dripping juice, just behind what was once a great catastrophe.  We ate berries, they were sweet, berry sour and abundant, but if we don't pick them this week, they are going to all start to dry up and rot on the vine. But it is not easy to pick wild overgrown berries; left untended so long, they are surrounded by protective thorns, and who knows what thrives in the dark depths of their bushes, probably snakes and rodents with sharp teeth and diseases, so fast things can get taken over, when not consciously and vigorously maintained.

Monday, August 20, 2012 riding a bike...

I have noticed that people of all ages ride bikes in this town.  They mostly seem like they are riding  for riding's sake; like a bunch of little kids let out of school, and now they're whizzing off on some bike riding adventure or personal pleasure mission.  People of all ages, yes, but a large cross section of them seem to be old men.  Old men, reliving childhood joy.   This is how it seems to me. 
     In San Jose, from where I moved 3.8 months ago, a lot of people ride bikes, but it's different.  There, bike riding feels like a technological advance, along with recycling, campaigning to save snow leopards, and eating vegan, often all at the same time; San Jose-ans (and Bay Area-ans in general) are nothing if not multi-taskers. Even the clothes they wear for bike riding seems technologically advanced,  as aerodynamically smooth and reflective as possible, their bikes the lightest weight, for the purpose of race training, triathlon or tour De France. Even if they are not actually going to be in the Tour De France, they want to be able to ride as if they are. A picture of engineering at it's finest, by a group of engineer type thinkers who know how to cut everything down to it's most scientifically finite particle.
     Here in Redding?  It seems to me that people wear whatever feels comfortable on a bike.  Including but not limited to baseball type caps with bells and whistles and twirly thingado's and of course, a smile.  Because when you ride your bike in Redding, you can't help but smile as you ring your bike buzzer to let a person know you are coming up behind her/him on the trail.   
      Throughout childhood, I used to love to ride my bike around and around the block, getting extra air where the roots of a neighboring tree had the nerve to push the sidewalk up.  I'd ride on pretend adventures in which my bike was not actually a bike, but a car or an airplane, and it never once occured to me that I was exercising anything other than my wild imagination. 
      I haven't owned a bike since I was a kid; I haven't even really thought about it since, but living here is reminding me of how fun it was, then.  Even my husband has a bike. Yesterday, when we were almost home from church, a group of bike riders rode past our car, and Sam turned to me and said "I wish you had a bike, too." He knows that when I do get one, we'll  ride around town together and ring our bells at anyone in front of us, just for an excuse to ring them, perma-smiles plastered on our faces as the wind carries our laughter up and over the Sacramento River.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Lordette of the Flies

When I came home from my run this morning, I accidentally let in a fly.  I didn't even know I'd let it in until I felt a smallish itch on my arm, looked down, and found that the itch had a source outside of myself.  It was a fly.  I swatted at the fly immediately and automatically, so it flew off, but then flew back.  Again, I swatted at the fly, immediately and automatically, and again, it flew off, then flew back.  It kept flying back to me, like an inconvenient truth. My next act of genius was that I started speaking curses on the fly and verbally banishing it from my body and my home. I opened the door and held it open for a minute or so, in hopes that the fly would fly away.  I knew that holding the door open could bring more flies into my home, but I was willing to risk it for the sake of ending my current psychological torture.  I don't know if the fly flew out or if it just found a window at which to buzz out the rest of it's life, but at least I was left alone from that point on. 
     I have noticed a strange phenomenon since moving to this particular city exactly three and a half months ago: The native flies are attracted to me.  I do not enjoy this, nor do I approve of aggressive fly behavior. So I left my house and went to Starbucks.  This particular Starbucks contains a lot of windows, some floor to ceiling.  Which would be lovely if we were in Maui or Spain, but in the middle of a small, "nothing to see here except for the Walgreens across the street in one direction and a moving and storage shed in the other" city, it seems to me that floor to ceiling windows are only good for letting in a lot of heat, and then containing the flies that fly through the door. (Have I mentioned that it's hot here? It's hot here.)  I don't mean to make it sound like there are very many flies in Starbucks today; there are not many flies, only one or two, three at the most, I think, yet it/they keep flying at me.  There are other people only a few feet away from where I am sitting, and I have yet to see a single fly bother even a one of these people.  I have yet to see another human lift an arm in swat ready mode. Yet I keep having to swat my general air space.  Or is it possible that the flies are indeed attempting to interact with the other humans here, but instead of banishing them, the natives have adopted these flies as some type of community pets? Small consciences buzzing necessary reminders not from the inside of their individual brains, but from the outside? "Can't we all just get along?" or "Share the Road," or somesuch logic?
Was there a committee meeting about this which I missed or slept through?
I don't belong to any committees.
But here is a true disturbing thing that happened right when I got here today: I was lowering the blinds next to my chair on one of the floor to ceiling windows when all of a sudden, from where the blinds had been wound up, I unleashed not a fly, but a wasp, which fell immediately to the bottom of the window and buzzed there, apparently dazed.  Wasps are about a jazillion times worse than flies, inflicting actual terror and grief, so I ran my wimpy self up to the counter and told the barista, "There's a wasp in the window!" This young, shorter than me by several inches, tiny creature of a girl apparently old enough to be a barista, walked over to the wasp and stepped on it as she looked at me like I was pathetic. No fuss, no flinch, just a calm step that ended it's natural life. 
 As for a wasp afterlife, I can't say. 
All I can tell you is that things in this city are unnatural, to say the least.
But I like living here; I really really really do like living here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


When she looks at me,
her eyes, her smirk, lit from within
and above,
I see
a person I had never seen before I knew her.
But when she turns away,
I recognize
the side of her head
from pictures I have seen
as the face I use
to not face  anything
in front of me.
It is the side of the moon
turned away from
the Earth.
( did you know there are rivers,
gold and caves on that side/
I wanted to tell you but the timing
was never right)

How did she,
clever little daughter,
learn to make her cheek,
her nose,
flatten into
seriousness hidden
head on?
Sparkling eyes widely unseeable
from the side
I recognize
as my own.

One Night in the dark

One night in the dark,
we went for a walk
on the street behind our house
that is not lit and contains no houses.
In the middle of the road,
you pointed up and showed me
and a rare constellation
which I am sure
only a few people know how to find.
I thought to myself,.
"How fortunate am I
that I know one of the ones."


Not a lover

I'm not a lover of women who yell and scream at their men in public.  I'm even less of a lover of women who passive aggressive underhandedly insult their men in low tones in public.  The yeller is at least being honest.  I shouldn't be surprised that BOTH of these types of women are expecting the same response from their men: that he tuck his tail underneath him and whimper like a corrected puppy dog; that he lap up her insults with an acknowledgement that she is, indeed and once again, RIGHT and that he is, indeed and once again, in need of correction and THANK YOU for helping me understand what's REALLY going on here, I had no idea, I never thunk a thought in my life, I don't know how I get out of bed every morning, I just do it cuz it's what I do, and I don't think or ponder, so how grateful am I to have you, lady, to point a thing out to me.  Or I'd have walked into it and hit my head and and ended up sitting on my butt, seeing stars and wondering how I GOT here. Gosh, how lucky I am, I thank my lucky, lucky stars every day that you are in my life, I am now going to go out and buy you a huge bouquet of roses and a large piece of jewelry, large enough that you will be the envy of all of your friends, they will never doubt that I love my woman and take care of her.  OH!  HOW I LOVE you, Woman! It is INDEED not good for man to be alone!"  And then he will go off and howl at the moon for the rest of the day, leaving her alone to do whatever it is that she needs to do without having the nuisance of HIM around, for as long as she needs, world with out end, but when she's done with that, he will run straight home and not look back and BE THERE FOR HER when she gets home and RUB HER FEET while she talks and talks and talks and talks and OH LORD in HEAVEN, help us; what has happened to the females of the species these days??  I see this type of behavior and thinking pattern all the time, and it makes my heart sink. 
Exactly four days ago, I sat by in silence and tried not to look at a girl (I refuse to call females who behave this way "women," though she was probably around my age.) as she spoke down to her...boyfriend?  I gathered this is who he was from the ensuing monologue.  She started off telling him how he needed to behave, how he needed to respond to different situations, how he needed to stick up for her in this case and that case, how he was the only person who had ever told her he loved her more than anyone in the world, (why does everyone in Starbucks need to know this?) but how she didn't feel she could COUNT on him, and, oh, she made a point of saying that the point of this "conversation," was to REACH OUT to him.  Huh.  Her list of issues and self righteous self defenses just went on and on and on.  She reminded me of a bird with a large beak and she was peck peck pecking him to death. 
 I wanted to punch her in the face. 
Dude finally walked out at about the point when she was "explaining" to him that she likes who she is and is "not going to change anytime soon."  And that means she's going to go out every week, for at least four hours, she's a very social person, and he, (she said) doesn't really have any friends.  She was still saying all this to his back after he walked out, as she followed him, still pecking him as far as her pointy beak could reach.
Yesterday, I found myself yet again overhearing the conversation of two "girls" at a nearby table.  At several points in the conversation did I inwardly shake my head and shudder; I wanted to lean over the table and say "GIRLS!!! You have no idea what you are TALKING about!!!"  But I did not say that, I did not say that at all.  They wouldn't have heard me anyway; the noise inside their own mental fog being so deafening and all.

(Note to self: Don't ever treat this man in such a way. Shudder.)

Thursday, August 9, 2012


(Pre-Script: This post best read without any music.  The music is an original score that we are still perfecting.  Bear with us.)
In a six (6) week period of time, I fell in love with my husband, moved to a town four (4) hours north, and married him.  Ok, he wasn't my husband at the beginning of that last sentence, but he was by the end of it.  Nothing in life could have warned me of this, nor should it have; it was more fun not knowing what was coming, and WAH!  Jumping in and watching the stream of water swirl all around us and carry us away down some new stream of thought that turned out to be one exciting adventurous ride.  It's like life: chapter 8.  You had no idea chapter 6 would end, but when it did, you found out that chapter 7 was actually longer than you'd ever expect a chapter in any book to be.  Impossibly long, but page after page, you got through that one, and found out that low and behold, your story's not over.  Welcome to chapter 8, here's where it gets good.  

Friday, May 18, 2012

"I make new things"

I remember when I was in prison.
It was dark there, and I hated it.
I got through each day
by laying on the floor and weeping, wishing to die.
(if this is "life," shudder.
Beat your head against the wall until your skull cracks
and only gibberish and blood poor out of your mouth.)
I remember when I was in prison, but don't remind me;
what good is being let out of prison if
everytime the warden rattles his keys,
you run straight back to the old cell
and voluntarily
shut the door? 
what good is a freedom haunted by the memory
of captivity?
what good is a consciousness of anything
 before this moment,
of focusing not
on what lies before you, a road in front of your feet, a future?
How can I stay on this path if my eyes
are trained behind and beneath me?
how can I not help but veer off into the bushes then wonder
at the scrapes on my arms, the bleeding knees?
Look forward, train your eyes ahead of you.
It will feel natural only after
you have gotten into the habit. 
until then, force yourself. 
("Home" is just on the other side of this bramble.)


For one night (maybe two)

For one night, maybe two,
I packed 2 years worth
of all of my waiting hoping longing
packed it in a suitcase
and it wasn't
a very big suitcase.
I also carried a purse I had purchased
second hand
3 years ago
that still gets compliments and
I wore a pair of shorts
I had cut out of jeans when they
no longer fit right as longs but
are now perfect as shorts and
when I knocked on your door,
you opened,
grabbed my bags,
unloaded me.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

For the Love of a Spleen

(Pre-Script: This post should be read as the song, " We Are The Champions," #48 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)
So there I was, feeling good and humanitarian about the fact that I am an organ donor, according to the sticker on my drivers licence. I am not an organ donor just because I want to help the world, but because I selfishly want my organs to go on living as long as possible. Who knows what parts of me are stored in, say, my liver or my spleen that, when placed in the body of a stranger, will turn that stranger into part me? There I am, walking around in Heaven, And suddenly that stranger finds himself in search of the perfect Red Velvet Cake recipe, or singing all of the words of all of the songs in the entire "Les Miserables" musical, including but not limited to mimicking each character, and carrying jars of cayenne pepper, cinnamon, bubble gum, rocks from his rock collection, and a bit of sea glass with him everywhere he goes; the parts of myself that are now a part of him. And now maybe you know why, if you had attended my funeral, the overall theme of the snivelling mourners had been "She wasn't too proud to love herself completely."
(Before you judge it, realize: By loving "myself," in this instance, I am actually loving whatshisface back to life and good health. All for the love of a spleen.
God help the person who gets my heart.)
Well, all of this was before yesterday, when the episode of "Fresh Air" on NPR found Terry Gross interviewing a physician who removes organs from people's bodies for organ donation.
*If you are particularly astute, you will notice that I did not say that she was interviewing a physician who removes organs from people who are dead. Apparently they are just brain dead. I was disturbed when the interview went something like this:
Terry: "So how do you know that the person doesn't feel any pain?"
Mystery Physician: "Pain is a higher brain function, so someone who is brain dead can't feel pain."
Terry: "But there are anesthesiologists there when you remove the organs, why is that if the person can't feel?"
M.P.: "Wohwohwohwohwohwohwoh"
That's all I could hear, so horrified was I by what I was hearing. The organ donors were not fully "dead," just declared medically "brain dead..." and an anesthesiologist was STANDING. BY. waaaaahhhhh!!
I am supposed to take his word on the authority that he is an "expert" in the field of organ removal. But what is itching my brain in that logical spot I can never quite reach to scratch, I can't help but remember that the Physician can only speak from THIS side of the scalpel.
If I were Terry Gross, my next question would be "Tell me, Physician, have YOU ever been brain dead?"
But Terry didn't ask that, I had to wonder and suffer in the silence of the confines of the oblong walls of my own skull, while Terry Gross took a commercial break.
I thought that was the worst of it.
But then he just kept talking.
And what he said next was "Sometimes they're not brain dead."
I think I fainted.
Or I would have if I wasn't driving at the time.
My body spared me the indecency of fainting in rush hour oncoming traffic I think solely because my subconscious mind was saying to itself, "if she gets hit by a car and doesn't die completely, but is only and only maybe 'brain dead,' we will be the only thing left of her and We. Will. Feel. Pain."
The end.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Good Grief

(Pre-Script: This post should be read as the song,"Going the Distance," #9 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)
This is how I grieve:
I grieve while observing myself.
In my mind, I am fascinating to watch.
I imagine I am a character in a novel, a woman at a train station with a hat box in one hand, a blue velvet ribbon in the other, which I keep rubbing between my thumb and forefinger. ("what is she doing with that ribbon?" No one can figure it out. It's the great mystery of the novel.)
When they make the film version of this novel, a Beatles song plays in the background: "Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away, now it looks as though they're here to stay, oh I believe in yesterday..." while I look wistfully off down the train tracks. And then at some point, a slow tear drips down my cheek, and then the next thing you know I am sobbing, shaking silently from the core of my soul, so overcome with grief that I don't even notice I have lost my balance until I have fallen off of the platform onto the gravel beside the train track. The song playing now would be "Blackbird singing in the dead of night, take these broken wings and learn to fly."
Well, howhowhow does anyone fly when she has broken wings, did they ever think about that before they wrote the song, hmm? all you can do with a broken wing is sit there and wait.
And chirp.
I know, I have seen birds before.
What I noticed most is that I am not a bird, and I do not have any wings.
I am a person with arms that are not broken, and in this novel which is so well beloved by the reading masses that the film rights are quickly bid on by Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino and all of those guys; (the public love to watch an emotion to which they can relate, especially if they had never been able to put it into their own words, especially if they had never been able to form it into their own film adaptations of their own internal novels.) in this part of the film, she uses her arms to push herself to standing up and she picks the gravel out of her bleeding knees, says "is there a doctor in the house" then thinks oh whatever and walks away anyway, bloody knees and all, and oh yeah, there is also a new little scar right above her left eyebrow, just a little cut that will not even be visible in oh say two weeks give it three tops and she walks to wherever that place is she was waiting on the train to take her. Or maybe she was waiting for someone to arrive from the train, it's never been quite clear; all you know is that she was watching and waiting; all you know is that she is now no longer watching and waiting, but is instead taking matters into her own (sightly cut up from catching her own fall onto the gravel) hands.
In grief, I am the most hilarious person I know.
And then I win both a Pulitzer Prize and an Academy Award and probably a Nobel Peace Prize also.
And then I no longer feel sad, I am laughing and bowing and blowing kisses all the way to the bank.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

New Zealand

(Pre-Script: This post best read as the song, "Other Side of the World," #33 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)
We were driving on a steep winding road through thick redwood trees. The road was rain slick, but the trees looked beautiful. Everything was green and lush and you expected an Ewok to jump out of the trees and land on your lap; to close your eyes and open them again and discover that you really were in New Zealand.
From where I sat on the passenger's side, the road was broken at certain curves, and there was no fence, and I was very close to the edge. This kind of thing can make you wonder when you're going to drop off into the nothingness below, and will a tree catch your fall, and force freshly created oxygen back into your lungs, or will you tumble forever, not really experiencing the sensation of falling? The sign had warned us that it was going to be this bad, this risky, for the next 5 miles. But 5 miles when everything is so close and real can feel like 500, and when you are in the middle of the climb, you really have no choice but to continue.
You wonder how often beauty and danger ride hand in hand.
You wonder why you dared to risk it, but you do dare to risk it, every time.
And every time, you never actually know if you will make it to the end of the climb until you have actually made it to the end of the climb, or if you will instead crash over the side.
You are surprised to realize that you can't necessarily tell which would be worse.
You wonder how often the whole world seems to flip on it's head, so you could find that you are walking on an opposite continent in an opposite hemisphere and not even blink an eye at the realization.


Monday, February 27, 2012


(Pre-Script: This poem best read as the song, "Shadowfeet," #12 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)
I don't know how to be a person in this situation so I will
change myself into a fish
and swim beneath
through the viscous liquid form of what has dripped under my feet,
(tears and beers and blood from the breaking)
then when I am braver I will change again
into a bird and expand my wings above myself,
then look down from the blue sky and see
the big picture in which I am the middle:
"look, there I am walking forward and there beside me is a tree and up
beyond that bend is where I will rest on that bench by the river of which I
I am not yet aware."
then when I am bravest I
will morph back into the human
who created the tears, spilled the beers,
felt the depth of the cut from which the blood dripped,
the person in the middle of a situation she cannot see around
to control it's outcome,
but walks forward wide eyed anyway.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Talking To Myself

(Pre-Script: This post should be read as the song, " Cornflake Girl," #7 on the playlist, OR IF YOU PREFER, "Grace Kelly," #47 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist and click on either of those songs, then come back up and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

I like knowing that technology has advanced to a point where people who* (*those of us who) talk to them*(*our) selves no longer look crazy. We can just pretend we're talking into any nearby cord or wire or if we're in our cars, some device that is below the view of any passer-byers.


I don't always talk to myself, I'm more of a self interrupter. In my mind, I am always talking to myself, and sometimes some of those thoughts are so loud that it's like my brain does not want to have to bear it alone, and out pops a sentence that I had been doing such a good job of containing inside. This would not be such a big deal except that the sentence that pops out is not necessarily the one at the beginning of the train of thought; it's often one of the middle freight thoughts on the train, carrying a random link that would make sense if you could have heard the beginning and the caboose thoughts, but by itself, it just sounds out of place and crazy.

But if I say it into a cord/phone/something below the radar, it no longer looks crazy. See how I did that? "Crazy" now looks like that lady I saw walking past who was wearing what looked like two Chou Chou dogs on her feet. She walked past me and I thought "Do you understand what is happening on your feet?" and then I remembered that at that exact moment, I had a sock in my hair. And it was blue. And I was a public place. In fact, I was at work. That place where it matters what I wear, where I tell other people what to wear. I never told anyone to wear a Chou Chou dog; I also never told them to wear blue socks in their hair. In my own defense, when I learned to do the sock bun the day before, it didn't occur to me to wear a sock the color of my hair. (You would think it would have been obvious that I should have chosen a brown sock to wear in brown hair. What can I say, my mind often eschews "obvious" for more complicated random thoughts.) Also in my defense, the sock was not visible. Just a messy but oh so deliberately messy bun was visible. So there is also a difference between wearing your crazy on the outside vs hiding your crazy beneath your hair. At least I surely hope there is.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012


(Pre-Script: This post best read as the song, "Good Gone Girl," #46 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

The sign at the counter of the coffee shop says "Please conserve napkins." They obviously don't know me. I take 5 napkins and hope that everyone is paying too much attention to their own chlorophyll and chia seed induced iced teas to notice.
I'm not insensitive, just messy.
It's not a "Cheers" moment, where everybody knows my name, (does anyone do that anymore?) though I would like to think it will become one the more I frequent this locale; I like it here. It's a cute darling coffee shop in a forward thinking ecologically minded green town. I bet if the barista were to remove his baseball cap you would find wheat grass sprouting out of his head. It's that kind of place.
I'm not sure they like me here, though. I'm not the type of girl to plug my car into the wall at night; I'm all about guzzling up gasoline. I have probably used enough hairspray in my lifetime to double the size of the hole in the ozone layer. The world would all die of skin cancer, and my hair would not be moved. It's not that I'm totally insensitive, I'm all about preserving nature and keeping the species alive, the cute fuzzy ones, anyway. I'm not sure I would mind a world less of sharp fanged things that bite, sometimes in mass. Sometimes in the dark of night when you thought you were finally safe.

I am not only speaking of animals here. Obviously.

They are probably also disapproving of the heavy technology I bought in with me. All of it sucking up energy by plugging into their wall outlet strip. Other people here have laptops on which they are typing and looking important, also, but they seem to have smaller, sleaker, less energy consuming versions. it seems that every time I get close to cool enough, the next wave of cool washes over the land and sweeps all of those happy green people up in it's swell of coolness getting cooler by the moment. And I...just get knocked under. All the smiley people on the shore waving at me, drenched as I drag myself out from under. So you can see why I needed the excess of napkins.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

No Freeway For Young Women

(Pre-Script: This post best read as the song, " Any Other World," #50 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

Remember that one time when you* (*and by "you," I really mean "me," or "I," as the grammatically correct case may be.) were driving and singing in the car, and you sounded so great singing in your car like that, you sounded just like a professional singer, in fact, and especially when you drove over a bumpy part of the road and it gave your voice instant vibrato that only opera singers and Celine Dion are usually capable of making their voices achieve? Move over, Adam Levine, because you are doing his song one better? Remember that? Yeah, and you were so so happy because it was your day off so you thought, heck, I should go back to the beach, I have several hours of no one counting on me to be responsible to them in any way? Just I am accountable for me, and I am totally okay in this moment? This blissed out moment that you earned yourself after a hard, arduous, mentally taxing workout that you did it, you did it anyway, and now you were rejoicing that you did because for the rest of the day you can proclaim to anyone who does or does not want to know, "I DID it?" Yeah, And then what happened? You looked up and saw that a police officer was aiming his radar gun at you. And everything inside of you pulled tightly into itself, a snail receding into it's shell, a turtle phoning home, if you will, only you had to keep your head up, "keep your chin up, son," because you were still driving after all, and driving requires paying attention. Never mind that you suddenly are no longer feeling free, light and easy. Yes, your voice still sounds just like a rock star, or at least it would, if you hadn't been shocked into no longer singing, but you now feel unsure of your driving. You now feel a strange unusual kinship with Bambi's mother right when her ears perked up, before she started running running running no matter because she could not run fast enough to prevent her own slaughter. That's exactly what it feels like when the police officer aims his gun at your face as you drive by, isn't it? Doesn't it make you wonder what the heck are all of these police officers doing, trying to scare a safe driver into unsafe driving practices, instead of leaving well enough alone on the freeway here, the FREE-way, how ironic, it hits you, how ironic, you think, and you realise that there is no freeway, no freeway for you. Same on edge feeling you get when you see a wasp or a hive of wasps or worse yet hor-nets whenever you are frolicking about in a garden or a wilderness or nature or even just outside of the local Safeway; Anywhere a wasp or hor-net can haunt. You don't exactly know the difference between wasps and hornets, You only know that they are not honeybees, they are not sleepy nectar drunken bumble bees, they are vicious harbingers with stingers who do not die if they sting you once, they continue to sting and sting and sting, and hornets are worse because their name is two syllables of torture, not just one. So this is the association running through your mind when you are accosted by that silly radar gun aimed at your once shining face from whence melodious sounds have been emerging. It occurs to you to wonder, don't the police officers have some hardened criminal to dig up out of a basement somewhere? Instead of not leaving well enough alone? Nothing to see here, officer, we are all obeying the law here, we are all above ground here and not avoiding the sunlight. A criminal would be hiding his crime in the dark underground. Go there instead, Mr Policeman. There is nothing to see here, you think, but your spirit is now slightly dampened.

You know, I have never tasted venison stew, but it has always sounded delicious to me. Venison stew is one of those things people eat in novels which take place in some out in the wild location when the main character/s is/are starving and out of hope, but then low and behold, they stumble upon a lone warm cabin in the middle of the wilderness, which contains an old man and woman both with rough hands who happen to have a large cauldron of venison stew brewing over their lit fire, and they offer the stew to the starving main character, who proceeds to eat the stew with some sort of freshly baked bread, the character proceeds to sop it up with this still warm bread. "Venison Stew," doesn't that just sound delicious? I now wonder if it tastes like the sudden awareness of bitter betrayal, in the middle of a naive run for freedom.