Closure

and then suddenly in a rush of thought, you get it, the closure finally happens.

A man I barely know, an acquaintance of very little importance, presumed to know something about me, or else is an utter narciscist, probably the latter, whom I knew in a social setting when I was living with, dying with the pirate and that whole psychological nightmare of pre-teens, and teens surviving world war 2, on the wrong side, but still losing significant family to the death camps, and being transported on trains,etc etc, we never do hear the German side, or the German in Czech side, the Russians raping and killing girls, and then the murdering son, and the son who couldn’t cut the apron strings, the dynamic of a woman who could have children and her domineering sister who couldn’t.  And me trying to make a life with a man who was in many ways perfect for me, and in other ways like being out of a frying pan and into a fire.  And the time I met this acquaintance.  It was not a great time.  And me disillusioned in general with human beings, especially ones who have a very different moral code than me.  And the long held feeling of not fitting in, even though I fit in just fine with other people. Discovering it, acknowledging it and moving on, why waste time on feeling left out and misunderstood?

So that’s the back story,

who leaves someone and never speaks to them again?

Family dynamic.

hits me this morning like a cannon.

a man whose grandfather had two families, one a secret long held and never visited, one a cousins husband openly flagrantly, and a first cousin, the same.  And a sister, mentally ill, homeless, schizoid personality disorder who left a husband in the same manner.  That’s who.

this wasn’t about me.

I have my faults, I am the first to admit it.  But this was about a man who was weak emotionally, lazy, dishonest, young, so very young, and terribly irresponsible with money.

And the woman who was scrambling to survive, even if it meant codependency.

funny how I never check Tom’s computer, how we have separate finances, how he knows how I take my coffee, how I never have to ask or tell him to do work around the house, how I am never jealous.

And my artwork has become realistic, and practical, with the soul squeezing through in the tree branches and the shifting patterns of light.

I suddenly understand.

Thanks Drew.

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impressionist

toes curled in the sand,
in the snow,
the ache of undermedicated anxiety,
deep in my bones.
Depression lurks, breathing heavily at times,
at rest and licking its wounds,
more or less always.

Ankles that ache, and knees that cringe and a hip that more or less walks in unannounced.  Often at three in the morning.

Hello anybody home?
I was wondering if I could pick some of your flowers for the altar?

Gut oh my gut
one scrimmage after another.
Do you like cheese? why yes, yes I do.
oh well guess what?  Not today you don’t
do you like yogurt? I try to eat it every day.
well guess what I have in store for you?

strong shoulders, used to carrying a great weight, neck pushed forward.

Strong hands, capable hands and arms ready to hug.

Head, dizzy sometimes, crystal clear sometimes, muddied by the weather sometimes.
Heart beats a little too fast, a little too hard.

And then there is the hearth.  Think with reddened coals, cozy with pillows and richly embroidered tapestry, warm bed down and wool, embedded in this place.

More or less empty, but welcome to guests, on occasions.
As long as they see that this is my place.

The light from the windows casts a shadow of exquisite beauty,

who knows what all hides in the corners.

 

We have it all wrong.

See there is this thing, where we look outside ourselves for validation, i do not know where it begins, perhaps with shame, perhaps with expecting good behavior.  In some ways it becomes broken through the course of life.  If you are deep down a good and kind child, and you are blamed for something, saying a word you don’t know is a curse word, writing in the dust of a car curse words, not little hearts and smiley faces of a little girl, throwing a ball on the roof and having it get stuck.  Not a problem, a simple broomstick solution, but to beat the child who did not even really do it, for lying.  No that causes deep deep damage.  You cannot hold up a mirror and see good because when you do you see a person who should be punished.  For nothing.

No blame here.  Just an observation, a curiosity like walking through an antique shop and picking up a wing-wang off a shelf and saying huh, I had this when I was little, or this was the silverware my grandparents used, or this is the doll I played with until its eyes popped out and its pull string stopped working.

Do you love me?  Why do you love me?  What do you see in me?  (That clearly I do not see in myself)

Am I pretty?  As I look in the mirror at my alcohol fueled gut, the jowls on the side of my face, the wrinkles and scowl lines on my face.  Am I pretty?  Why ask someone else?  What do you know, art expert?  What do you know?  I was pretty once, I have nice ears, I have big eyes, I have a nice smile.  Okay, why ask someone else to affirm that?  There is no need.  i already know.

As I hit this hill of fifty I find myself seeking philosophical answers, you can ask on Facebook but really, lets face it, those answers are not philosophical, they are trite and superficial.  I want to have deep conversations about these things.  I want to dialogue on things that have meaning.

Instead I read and play a game on my computer and write stories in my head.  I read someone else’s patterns instead of trying to design my own.  It is easier somehow, to not have to try anymore.  And this is where I look at myself and cringe.  The not even bothering to try anymore.  Who is it for anyway?  No one buys my work.  No one wants to spend time with me.  No one wants to have deep conversations anymore, how is your daughter?  How is your mother?  How is your job?  Never is there a how is your heart?  What are you thinking about these days?  What is your passion?  Where does your heart go in nostalgic moments?  What is feeding or draining your soul?

These are the conversations I want to have.

We have it all wrong, politics, and race and gender and social constructs.
Math and reading and computer coding.

We should be teaching art and drama, music, and dance, nature and nuture, physical and psychological exercises.

Use a program for the rest.

We have it all wrong.

Linger

The touch of a lover’s hand as it lingers across your skin,

soft caresses that have no path, no plan, staying intertwined legs, a head, a chast, a poem that teases at the back of your brain, a song lyric, a breath that catches as your eyes close and your mind whispers

sleep

you you

you still linger in my dreams

go away I say aloud, Please just go away

as my eyes open you linger like an aftertaste of something sour and bitter

you linger like the graceful touch of skin against nettles,

of the scorch of an iron pan, long after the heat is off

of a necklace dangling over the heat of an oven slapping back against my tender flesh

linger as we do as the sun is setting on still waters the sky scarlet and poppy and crushed violets. Until the mosquitoes nip and suck and whine

lingering as this winter exhaustion unable to stir, returning to bed once, maybe twice in a day.

Hoping to let the dreams remain at .bay, the lingering drool on your lips the only memory of sleep.

I recall your face as you lingered, watching me go.

You did not linger long when you decided to go.

but I linger here.

Wishing for you to linger just a bit, and tell me that you did.

Pain

As I head into the last half of my life, I realize I have missed so many opportunities for spiritual growth.  Huddled and hunkered down, gone to shelter to save myself from emotional pain.  Wanting to please others, wanting to be LIKED, wanting to be accepted, I have withdrawn in order to avoid the opportunity for not pleasing, not being liked and not being accepted.

I think this all started when I was pretty young.  I loved to daydream, and the daydreaming became a kind of mental fantasy, acting out stories in my mind, I still do, sometimes it helps me fall asleep, writing these ideas in my head.  But I also withdraw. I pull away to feel comfort, to not feel pain.  It is so much easier than facing the criticism, the disdain, the derision of others.

I don’t actually think I am terribly likable.  I think I complain too much, I think I am too self conscious, I think I have low self esteem.  I think I laugh to loud, or swear too much, or am afraid someone will predate me.  Find my weakness and exploit it.  Tell me my clothes aren’t good enough, or my hair isn’t good enough, or judge my body, or judge my character.

I know I have a strong integral character, and I like my clothes I have now, it has not always been so, but with financial stability comes better clothing.  I could never go naked, too vulnerable.  I do laugh loud, and I do swear too much, and I talk too loud sometimes too, worse as years in echoing classrooms have damaged my hearing.   I don’t think I complain as much as I hurt though, and my pain makes me irritable, and sometimes my need to withdraw from interacting with others makes me both irritable and when it doesn’t come when I need it, hostile.

Now I am battling physical pain.  I don’t talk about it alot, but every minute of every day I am in physical pain.  My hands, my feet, my neck, my elbows, my lower back and knee.  The arthritis in my hands make it hard sometimes to knit, to draw, to weave, to pick up small objects.  Sometimes shaking a persons hand or even getting someone to grab my hand to help me up or down, is excruciating.  My Tom has learned to just provide a hand, because if he squeezes, its brutal.

My go to phrase is that someone treats me poorly because they don’t like me, not because they are not very nice, conscious or aware, having a bad day or just a plain and ordinary asshole.  I think much of this leads back to a childhood of being constantly bullied, blamed for things I did not do, and told I was equally responsible for my brother’s harassing and inappropriate behavior.  Maybe so, but even my sister has apologized for the treatment I received at the hands of she and my brother, because she knows it was not deserved in those times alone, while my mother worked.  I wish I could go back and wake my dad early on in the situation, because the time my brother held me down for over an hour drooling into my face and I woke my father, that kind of harassment stopped.  And when I finally told that he was calling me a cunt everyday, that too stopped.  I wish I could have woken my father when my brother followed me around the house being a shit, or left me alone to fish or hunt for hours, while I tried to handle a 6 year old alone when I was only 12.

So I withdrew, fantasy was more fun, books were easier, day dreaming was more comfortable.  Art is easier, knitting is easier, reading or dicking around on the internet is easier.  Anything feels easier than pain.

Ravelation

The gift of used knitting needles, is gratefully received; many offered but I take only the wooden ones and a pair of size 0 lace needles.  I offer to make a sweater for my sister and check my gauge.  But I cannot bear the odor of another person on the needles.  I have to put it down before the swatch is done.  I have hankies from an estate sale I cannot use because they carry some residue (in my mind) of another.  I suds up the needles in Dr. Bronners peppermint soap, and contemplate why I stopped.  Knitting, that is.

I stopped painting again, feeling like a hack, it all comes down to self esteem right?  A normal person would carry on, I suffer instead, with why bother syndrome.

Disdain then is what stops me, whether from myself or another.

I leave myself open like a sweater that has not been bound off.  Unraveled by the slightest tug.  Stitches getting dropped, or twisted.

Confession of your deepest feelings, met with combative response.  A frond of hair touched in an off hand manner, I have met this knot before.

I used to dream that when I tried to ride the elevator, the doors would not work, either too fast and dangerous, or it drops out or it doesn’t go to the right floor.  And then I realized in a dream that this elevator is not under my control.  And it is dangerous.  And I am just a passenger.

Unraveling.

I pick up my knitting and as the needles click together and my tossed line stitching moves rapidly, even, clean stitches.  Of my own design.IMG_0148

Breath

The night is a constant rush of crashing waves the wind whistling with the perpetual undulation, the whisper.  Late and long into it, I float on the cold surface of stars and moonlight.  A billion light years between each spark.  Underneath, there is nothing, just this thing shallow and hot and gnawing, like a prescient ember.  Where will this hunger be satiated.  Day is night is day is night is day……

I curse the tangled warp, and wad it up and throw it, it is my own hand that cuts and rends.  The little boy blue and grey mist and my back, and the hook and the heddle  and my neck, and the loom at rest on my legs, as I run my shuttle left and pinch and beat and right and pinch and beat, surprised when the shed is too narrow again.  I feel like an egg cracked open and all my dark is spilling out.  Dark, and sunlight, stars and reflections, shadows and oil slicks and raindrops, just a heartbeat and wind in the trees, they whisper stories of a childhood, tears of the ocean, and only there in the middle is me, like a pearl in crane mountain pond, who would look for one there?   Shuttle, pinch, beat, shuttle, pinch, beat.

I am lost in the polished creaking wood rooms of someone else’s  house, the lace curtains and lead windows, the velvet fainting couches and the hand crank laundry, the pocket doors and heavy curtains, the gas lamps flickering and hissing, the shadows.  Rambling up the back stairs and in and out of the dusty library and pretending to take my tea in the parlor and eating at the counter.  Feet bare on stone floors as sunlight tries to warm this perpetually chill place, up the backstairs down the front stairs up the back stairs again.

Me like a wooden doll with cracked composite coating and a now silent voice and the stained and naked muslin of my skin, I chew on my broken finger tips and peel the flakes from my wooden hair.  I peer inside the open mouth and see only darkness.  Sometimes if I fling it just right it will say it ever so softly.  I sit up and my eyes are open I lie down and they are closed, I sit up, I lie down, I stick my finger in to hold them open and they snap shut as soon as I pull away, I sit up I open them.

I am a sepia toned photograph; I am the ball that is never thrown, the stocking that is always about to bunch around the ankle, the foot that will never outgrow it’s shoe, the shoe that will never show wear.  Hopelessly out of fashion, I am old black paper faded to brown.  I am the aperture of the camera, opening and forever holding still long after it closes again.

I am the chained and snarling army dog.  I lunge and snap.  I retreat to the soothing meadow and gurgling stream. I am dizzy and turning and turning and turning.

I love and do not love and love and do not love and love………

 

 

 

 

 

Delicate thing

All of this, this cowering in the shadows, this vile beast thing,

it is not working.  It is working, it keeps the slime on us,

its fetid and rotting and fungal, but yes that too is life

the constant spiraling eternal gut wrenching pulling pushing waiting praying screaming crying laughing spinning of it all

life or a whirlpool or a black hole

you try to ride it

thinking you have a semblance of control

but it has you

you know it has you by the balls

and you know that every word you whisper to yourself

when the dreams, nay

the nightmares

drag your whining crying baby self up from the depths of yearning you cannot even bear to acknowledge

because if you did

you would unravel and unravel

like boogie oogie

not like piglet in the cutest possible way

but like a stinking hideous mass of creepy crawly.

do you feel it?

Alone.

As you compulsively revisit the grave every goddamned day

as you pick that scab until it’s just a mass of snot and mucus waiting to be pulled from your insides, hoping, begging for it to go away just as you pull its oily ragged, filthy gnawed gruesomeness back to you like a beloved doll, precious.  My precious.

fuck all of this.  What a thing this is.  This horror you have brought down upon this great treasure.

Go fuck yourself.

love does not exist in this trembling jelly mass of putrid goo.

it is a myth of unicorns and pots of gold.

such a pretty delicate thing.

Anniversary

I just received a notice that this is my anniversary.  So I guess nine years ago I started this blog.  I haven’t written in it in months.  I suppose a few updates may be in order.

It is officially spring, even though it is ten degrees F. outside this morning, the frost glistening on the empty fields, and trees and the mist floating over the river.  Geese are on the move, and spring song birds are begging for food, which I am too lazy to trudge through the crusted foot of snow in the back yard.  Plus at this point there are small brown bombs scattered like hidden treasure through the path to the feeders.

Tom had to buy more coal, and the wind is so cold that even the house feels cold despite the constant heat of the coal stove.  And my art room is cold despite the steam heat he installed there this winter.  It is finally above freezing, but not by much.  The wood stove sits cold most days, only on weekends do I fire it up, time for painting.

In the evenings I sit and knit, or read, or play a game on my iPad by the warmth of the coal stove while Tom watches Star Trek or Big Bang Theory or one of his recorded shows.  Most nights I get into bed early and fall asleep not long after.  The gift of a mild muscle relaxer allowing me to sleep with out the constant waking and lessens the talking in my sleep considerably.  The dog sometimes wakes me as she asks to snuggle under the comforter with me, especially on cold nights.

My granddaughter is a gift in my life, I watch her two evenings a week and one weekend day every couple of weeks.  She is growing fast and so bright.  Her language skills are incredible, she is counting and understands numbers under five.  She is funny and has the best sense of humor.  And she loves her Buddhas and chanting and looking at Pinterest with me.  She even has her own boards, horses, Buddhas, buttons and Elmo. My mom let her sort her buttons, a fun activity that I enjoyed immensely when I was a child.  Mom is living in Syracuse now, and visits regularly with Morgan and the baby.  It is nice to have her close by.  And it is great for the baby to have four generations of strong women to raiser her.  Her daddy works at the steel mill and earns good money, enough for my daughter to work half time and stay with baby the rest of the time.

Life has its ups and downs, and generally I am good.  Horrible bout with depression until I started this carb free diet, cutting way back on craft beers, It is amazing how good I feel on this strict diet.  Even though I have bad weeks where all I want is pizza or a baked potato or homemade bread, I am keeping at it.  And am please with the slow results.  I cannot believe I ever felt fat at my previous weight.  It makes me laugh now to think of it.  The echoes of the pirate squeezing my stomach and telling me what a turn off it was, still in my skull, and I shake my head thinking of it, and how, in a way, I gained this extra weight after I moved in with him.  The jerk.  I roll my eyes.

And so this is spring.  And so I am finally moving out of my seasonal depression, and so I am twenty pounds from my goal weight.  And so life goes on.

mud and rain

It is the time of year when crisp brittle cold sears your nostrils and steals your breath; when the snow crunches under your boots.  But it is not that time of year, it is, instead, drizzling cold rain, the snow, a week ago covered in ice, is mostly melted and the driveway, is a drive-puddle.  The sky is grey, the snow that remains in heaped piles is black and brown and the world is muddy and cold and damp and all you want to do is curl into a comforter and sleep.  Or do nothing.  Or weep.

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I take a double dose of vitamin D3.  I beg the universe for some beauty, some glimmer in this lifetime of hopelessness.

Ugliness.  Emptiness.  Emotional Drainage.  Like a sinus infection, it makes your head feel heavy and painful.  And your body which has already betrayed you more times than you can count, drags like it is trying to slog through a deep pool of molasses.

I drive by a muddy farm, on a sandy road, in the drizzling rain and stop to take a picture.  The ducks rush to either attack me or greet me.  And I call out to the chickens, HI LADIES.

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And when my gallon of washer fluid thumps and bangs in the back, I stop and get out to place it more carefully and I can hear the starlings making their beautifully awful noise somewhere in the vicinity of the misted river.