Thursday, April 28, 2005

It seems to me that the one valid play left to me in a game where the dice are in your hands and you show no indication that you plan to roll them is for me to withdraw from the game.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

That typewriter thing has me thinking.
What other sounds have become obsolete in my lifetime?

Monday, April 25, 2005

Spring CD releases that will draw down the bank reserves:

Garbage: Bleed Like Me
Bruce Springsteen: Devils and Dust
Stevie Wonder: A Time 2 Love
Sleater-Kinney: The Woods
The Wallflowers: Rebel, Sweetheart
DMB: Stand Up... Although, I hate the single

We've just about burnt out on U2 and Green Day the last few weeks. I think Garbage is the front runner to replace these two. I already picked up the new Tori Amos but the kids don't "get" her.

Daughter had on the top 40 station this weekend and I made one of those classic "roll your eyes at Mom's nerdiness" kinda comments, that everyone sounded like Mariah Carey these days. Daughter who tells me about the Black Eye Peas and that the song I just sang along with was Linkin Park. Admittedly I'm not a total slouch when it comes to current music, I was the first Evanescence fan in the house, but I had to agree that my Mariah comment was really dumb. Until the announcer said it was Mariah Carey.

This was almost as bad as when I embarressed her by knowing too much in the local "goth" shop. Mom's are not supposed to be "goth" I was informed.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

I had bought a slim volume of poems by Billy Collins a week or so back. Then she was not impressed, being thirteen and easily grossed out by the thought of a grown man writing poems in the buff. I don't think the word penis in print would throw her, but possibly the imagery of discarding his body parts one by one was a bit dark for her tastes. I liked the thought of it myself, and bought the book on the basis of that one poem, "Purity"
I am concentration itself: I exist in a universe
where there is nothing but sex, death, and typewriting.

I realized that my children have never heard the sound of a typewriter. But that is a tangent.

It was clear at the end of the day yesterday that I was more in need of tucking in than she - the coughing and the sinus pain had made their inroads over the course of the day, and so I was in pajamas before she was. Putting on her motherly tone, she put me to bed, fluffing pillows and bringing a thermometer to have my temperature taken. Then she picked up the Collins book off my bedside table to which I protested "but you didn't like his poems." She answered "this is YOUR bedtime reading" and opened to "Walking Across the Atlantic" (which you can hear Collins read at that link) so I lay back, eyes closed, listening and waiting to see if the lead would rise. She seemed to warm to her task after that one, and read the next four aloud also, until it was determined I was without fever and the lights could go out without further doctoring.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

I should be in bed. She of all people would be shooing me upstairs reminding me I am sick and need more sleep. For a moment I caught myself wishing she were around to bake the cake, this most symbolic act of caring on a child's birthday, but surprised myself with how fast the follow-on arrived... she baked enough cakes while she was living thank you and deserves a break now. Honestly I think she must be quite exasperated with me already given how often she has to stop by and remind me to polish the silver (her way of telling me I'm letting my inner surfaces tarnish) but I'm grateful for each scolding.

The other time I can count on her to stop by is when I'm in the kitchen, always with little helpful reminders. We have an odd sort of dialogue every time I make stew, the meal our family most fondly associates with her. She regularly burned it in the pressure cooker, a small cooking disaster totally unlike her, a natural gourmet cook, and yet, it was still one of our favorite meals. When the pressure cooker comes out, she always seems to be spying on me, and I find myself apologizing to her when I don't burn it. This makes no sense, because one of the strange things about our relationship in her afterlife, if that is what you'd call it, is how non-judgmental she is of my actions. If ever a child craved unconditional love, it flourishes in the garden we share now. Now matter how heinous my thoughts it's always my conscious, not hers that condemns. Hers that redeems. As I type this I see the parallel to the sort of connection people feel to the Virgin Mother, the healing that comes from a mother's acceptance. Self love becomes more possible when cradled in this acceptance.

Sunday I wore her caftan, a long cotton bell-sleeved garment in amethyst with embroidered flowers. The first time in the six years since she died I've put it on. The same day I opened a card sent from my Dad, which he'd picked for the daffodils on the front, "to remind you of her favorite flower" he wrote. She has already pointed out the daffodils in my neighborhood I wanted to say, she has been commenting on them for the last couple of weeks, happy I filled a planter box with them last fall, now bursting in blooms. She is the daffodil, and the birthday cake, and the cough syrup, and the burnt stew, and the tears, and the lullaby, and the silver polish, polishing away the darkness on my insides until I glow again, as I always will in her eyes.

For Abdul-Walid, because the presence of the dead can be a gift.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Five things I liked about New Orleans

laughing gulls


even the dogs get to party at Mardi Gras


The word "bayou" pronounced by a resident Cajun.

Monday, April 18, 2005

In Memory

A thing treasured is not easily forgotten
So I made love to your memory this morning
Face pressed into your smell
A t-shirt little substitute for the body I so miss
But in the moments between dreaming and awake
The mind is more easily tricked.

I pictured how you came up behind me
Drew back my hair and pressed your lips into my neck
Your other arm wrapped tightly around my waist
Fingers slowly dragging the teal silk up my hip
Put myself in that moment once more
Let myself replay what came next.

As I slid over the edge, cried out your name in release
Something else broke open in my heart
A flood of things we have yet to do
One release triggering another
Coupled with the cries of bliss came sobs
Grief and ecstasy merging into an involuntary prayer
“Please don’t go.”

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Dump Bucket Day

Three glasses of wine isn't quite enough to get drunk
Just enough to lift the attitude from gutter bottom
Into the cynical smiling state of defeat.
It wasn't good wine. And the last glass had
Fruit and sugar and tasted like a soft drink
Which made it easier to gulp when
I felt like a teenager
Crying over the thing anyone could have told me.

I'd like to call it crushed hopes, but that's too innocent
As if I didn't know exactly my part.
Got what I deserved and god knows,
You can pull the blinds on someone else, but
You can't hide forever from what's in your own room.
It sucks, and it sucks for all three of us, and what else can I say?

I sat in the parking lot outside the wine tasting
Listening to JT on the radio and tried
Just like the shrink tells me
"Feel it, don't intellectualize it."
So I held onto that snapshot for a minute
Of the two of you at the car, tried to breathe
But I felt it a little too much, and I had a date
To taste some bad wine, so I sucked it up and shoved it
Into my wallet, to hand in small bills to a shop clerk in exchange for
My tasting tour, cleverly titled "Dump Bucket Day."

A little too apt, that title,
Because that is just what I would have done
With those cheap tastes, if drinking to drink had not become my goal
It was sucky wine
So I drank fast, no lingering on the palate,
No fancy glass swirls or inhaling deeply into the nose
"Give me the next glass please, that last one was a little flat."
Thankfully, that's just how the wine worked on me as well.
A little air out of the tires, so now, all that's left of the pain
Is the small hollow sound delivered when you blow
Air in a half empty bottle
Knowing that it is going to sound lonelier,
The emptier it is.

One of my tasks at work this week is defining trust and explaining how it impacts work relationships.
The washing machine has arrived exactly on schedule and in its initial run, performs as advertised.
I am exchanging emails this week with my 3rd grade pen pal who I haven't corresponded with in the last 10 years nor seen in 30 years. I was surprised to hear from her but not really, she has a remarkable memory and even knows my family home mailing address still. She lives in MA. Oddly enough she knows a single man here in Portland, someone she had a crush on back in 3rd grade when we first met, and is volunteering to set us up. We already had the 3 degrees of separation relationship with my ex-husband's family because an aunt knew my penpal through their temple. If trust is something earned, then all those years of sharing our deep secrets and birthday wishes and school woes should count for a lot. But of course there is a difference between someone who knew you deeply as a child, then not at all as an adult.
I recently reviewed an article about men and friendship for my work, and one of the conversations it triggered was the difference between someone you grew up with, and someone you've met recently. It seemed several men had significantly higher levels of disclosure with a sibling or a high school/college buddy, as compared to a work friend or neighbor or in some cases even their spouse. I wonder if trust is differently earned between men and women... the degree to which competition affects that.
The point about trust in the workplace that I'm really tuning into is that besides the context of assumed competence and reliability, that trust is also directly related to whether I perceive that the other person has mutually serving motives, or if they are only looking out for themselves.
The other piece of this is the degree to which I'm willing to risk trust. At work, in my experience I've learned that it really has to be me looking out for me, because it's not my experience that almost anyone else will. On the other hand, I am willing to assume that the washer will do the things they say it will without 20 years of evidence to back it up, because my last washer was totally reliable. Willing to assume that I have something to gain by meeting my penpal's 3rd grade crush even if she doesn't know me well anymore, because, well.... ok because I'm desperate. Gees I have plenty of experience with bad dates and that still hasn't deterred me.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Enough of the ordinariness of washing machines and fluorescent light fixtures. However... possibly I've swung too far to the other end of the spectrum with this.
To preserve those of delicate leanings, I've hopefully set this up such that you will have to highlight the following to read it. If you think erotic poems are better left to porn sites, move right along please, no offense intended.


Couldn't you just spend the morning
lying in the early sun of my bedroom, stretched out
cat-like, lazy, and asking to be stroked?

Come over now and we can shower together,
warm water trapped where
our bodies are pressed close
then I will lay you out on the rug and take you, untoweled
wet into wet
already I can hear the low chuckle of delight
as you peak
leaving me sweet cream slicked and glossy with your cum

Friday, April 08, 2005

We are back, safe and sound, and it was a good trip. But between work, my family, and my appliances there hasn't been time to be online in the last week and possibly not for the next week either. I think I'll just call it long term jet lag.

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