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Archive for September, 2009

|| September 27, 2009 || 10:20 pm || Comments (2) ||


Oh, hey! Hi there! I didn’t expect you, gosh it is so nice that you’ve dropped in on me!

What was I doing? Oh, I was, um….

Okay, busted. I was putting up my newest post over at Polite Fictions. You should come over there and hang out. Lots of swearing and violence baked goods and hand-to-hand combat artistry.

You might dig it, is all I’m saying. Just try it once, see for yourself. But don’t let me pressure you or nothin’. I want you to want to do it.

|| September 26, 2009 || 11:33 pm || Comments (2) ||

What I forgot to say is this:

(me, from a conversation earlier tonight)

there was this little rail bridge out by my grandfolks’ farm

there was only one route to the store and it included that bridge

so here you are, going over this rocky little rushing creek

with only two rails, which were under the tires

no side rails, no struts that I could see, no nothing

but your tires and those rails

Made you want to sort of pick the cannibal clown instead


What I forgot to say is this:

I am terrified of bridges, I suppose that’s why I’m always burning them.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

I think I’m coming out of the darkish sort of fog that had me settled underneath it for the last couple of weeks. I feel like I should run around singing, ‘I can see clearly now’ –just that one line of lyric– at the top of my voice over and over until someone tells me to shut the fuck up with that, they’re sleeping. Or, you know, not done being depressed yet.

Seriously, it’s crazy to me how everything is just so grave when I’m like that.

Ten things I desperately want for my children, in no particular order:

I want my children to know interesting people.

Just as shitheads come in all shapes, sizes, ages and income brackets, so do genuinely interesting folk. I’ll be honest: It’s sometimes hard to wade through the shitheaded and dull to find your wee people a couple-handsful of characters, but you should work hard at it. They will be enriched in ways that probably never occurred to you before. Let your kids talk to the guy who thought he was Jesus for a couple of years there awhile back (although, while he is in the actual throes of this Jesusdom, maybe it’s best to insulate them). Encourage them to ask questions of the old man down the road who consistently wears mismatched shoes. The large, ukelele-playing lady from North Carolina can teach them songs they’ve never encountered before. Make their lives a tapestry of knobby, vibrant humanity-threads. Let them sift through people in order to find who their best fit might be, of whom their eventual personal tribe might consist.

I want my children to stay grounded.

I am looking at you stonefaced now, people: I plan on winning the lottery some day, most likely soon (never mind that I don’t purchase tickets on a regular basis…why are you so fucking shortsighted, Cyberia, GAH). Sam will still mow the grass, even if it’s just one acre out of our impending eleventy-hundred. Scout will still Stain Stick the warsh as I sort it. Mathias will still drag the cans to the road (using the awesome golf cart that he desperately wants to toodle around in, but still) and back again for garbage day. We will continue to volunteer monthly at the thrift store whose precious funds are funneled to the boys’ ranch. There is enough uppity in the world; I’ll not brook one second of it from my brood while I draw breaths. Maybe this teaching will stick with them after I am chucked into the clay; I’m working to ensure this is the case.

I want my children to be passionate.

Someone has to show them how to throw themselves wildly at life in general and certain aspects of it in particular. Whatever those particular aspects are varies from person to person. They need to be taught to seek, to adventure, to embrace, to go willy-nilly at something (or several somethings, even) with everything they’ve got. I’m trying to express this to them by living a life of passion myownself, attempting to lead by example in this arena. I hope it’s sticking. If not, they will at the very least have loads of stories to tell their therapists/friends/strangers on the bus about their Crazy Southerin Momma.

I want my children to be compassionate.

I hope that I am teaching those three people I’ve been given charge over to remember the broken, the disenfranchised, the misfortunate. Sometimes a pat on the shoulder will bridge the gap of someone’s need. Other times it might be a cheeseburger. I’d like to think I’m showing them how to look, how to notice when something is awry and to be proactive (but also judicious) about it. I was reminded of a a quote recently (thank you Mister Wilde) that goes, “Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future.” Those words have been stuck in my head ever since, and I suppose it’s because they ring just about as true as anything I’ve ever heard. You are fucked up and also divine. So am I. So is everybody. Some are more firmly ensconced in one camp than the other. Some have balance. We are all in need, waiting for someone to recognize what our particulars are, no matter how deeply we try to carry them.

I want my children to get their hearts broken.

Having your heart broken means you gain perspective. It sort of prunes you back for new –and dare I say better?– growth. It’s shitty logic, but getting your guts stomped a goodly once or twice tends to make life sweeter in the long run. And an heartkicking dealt removes the fear of the unknown, which is ultimately more crippling than the experience of being heartbroken. It also reminds you of how human and frail you are, and that yes, Virginia, you do indeed have a heart. I just pray that the breaking of the heart is sans one of the spirit, because I would never wish that on anybody….I don’t think.

I want my children to be adaptive.

You have one box of macaroni and one can of Ro-Tel in the cabinet. Do you a) cryyyy for want of a steak or b) do you whip that shit up and grandly call it MexiMac then proceed to chow down? Eat up those starchy-spicy carbs, chump, and use the ensuing calories to figure out a way to acquire steak for breakfast. Don’t be a whiny, entitled bastard. Be a competent entitled bastard.

I want my children to know the collective history of their family.

We have a rich melange of heritages swirled up in our bodies; we are part of a lineage so very rife with incredible people and intriguing stories. Sam, my eldest son, thirsts after the History of Us actively and will sit for tellings and re-tellings of tale after tale, sometimes to the extent of driving me crazy with his probing questions. I sometimes pin down the other two, unawares, and drag them into these same tales, but they are usually attentive by the end of things, offering their own questions and insights. Verbal histories of personal culture are getting lost in the shuffle these days and I’m afraid we as a society will be the worse for it. Identity is very, very important.

I want my children to be unafraid of taking chances, stretching, seeking.

Be foolish! Be daring! Make wax wings and fly to the sun! Figure out that was stupid and make them from titanium! Get your fill of flying and move on to the next thing that intrigues you! Go it alone, or take a team of like-minded folk, just go!

I want my children to remain connected to one another.

Toward this end, I am forever telling them not to be Permanent Assholes to one another. Periodic assholery is customary in siblings; it is our families that teach us how to adapt to and deal with all the different personalities that the world at large offers up to us. I want my children to know one another in real and important ways beyond one another’s birthdays or the road trip we took in oh-three. I want them to get at one another’s Truths. I want them to help one another get at their own Truths. I want them to be sounding boards and touch stones and anchors for each another. I want them to cheer one another on in heartache and triumph. I want them to know that, in the sea of humanity, there is a little island of beauty and safety labelled ‘Siblings’ on the map and they can flee there for encouragement, rest, an honest-yet-loving kick in the ass. I want them to be careful and brutal with one another, and to know which occasion merits the one or the other.

I want my children to be comfortable in their respective skins.

I could give a shit how many people actively like my children (though, on this front they seem to be doing well thus far); it is far more important to me that they like themselves and can rest peacefully at night with the full knowledge of who they each are as individuals. I want them to love themselves, to look in the mirror and see a person that they can not just live with, but someone who shines in a remarkable, satisfying way.

|| September 20, 2009 || 5:19 pm || Comments (7) ||

milestones versus millstones

wherein scout illustrates the kind of week it has been
:: wherein scout illustrates the kind of week it has been ::

My spirit is a young-like, coltish thing, always bucking about exuberantly, noticing things like the impossible green of the grass and the sweet rosiness of smiling babies. Said spirit is understandably flummoxed, then, when faced with the reality that I’ve got two people under my roof that are near-grown by legal standards.

The fact that Sam will be eighteen in a smattering of weeks –mere weeks!– and that grown men do double takes at Scout (grrrr) startles that young spirit on occasion, making it go all wide-eyed and giving it a surly case of the hiccups. It’s not entirely the fault of my spirit that I forget that I’m ‘middle-aged’; I mean, hell, I’ve got great skin hell bent on helping me delude myself. If only my knees would get on board!

And now, proof positive that I have at least one foot hovering over the grave: My daughter, my sole female heir, had her First Official Girlparts Visit this week. Holy! Holy! Sheeyut!

Recently she’s been having a dollop of unusual behavior in her, ahhh, Dainty Plumbing, which her primary care doc thought we should have investigated in a more detailed fashion. So here comes mother to the rescue, setting up the appointment and agonizing internally about how we are going to navigate the morass of emotion that she may have. I’m not real great at being Scout’s mother sometimes, because she is such a self-reliant, stable little cuss. She’s never been overtly physical like the rest of the family. She’s extremely body-conscious where Sam and Mathias would live a pants-free existence forever if so allowed. And, truth be known, so would I.

So I waited quietly, nervously, for her to approach me on this matter. The night before the appointment, she did. She asked questions about what would happen and how; I answered them very frankly, trying to convey to her that there should be no shame for her in this experience and I would be waiting in the wings to judey-chop any person infringing on her modesty and/or sense of safety.

“Do you have to be in there with me?”

“No ma’am, not if you don’t want me to. And should you decide you do want me there, I certainly won’t be on the fifty yard line…I’ll be floating all ghost-like in the corner with my head so far in a book that you’ll have to turn some pages just to get my attention.”

“I don’t want you in there. Not for The Thing.”

“Okey dokey. If you change your mind between now and tomorrow then that will be fine as well.”

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

My first visit to the Enchanted Girlparts Doctor was embarked upon completely alone. I was seventeen, and I don’t remember if my mother even asked if I wanted her to come along. She made the appointment, I showed up and was pretty much handed a gown, told to disrobe and that the doc would be along shortly to get things underway.

I sat on the table, looking at my feet, configuring them in all sorts of ways, this toe to that, bottoms together, the sole of one foot kissing the top of the other, to pass the time until the knock came at the door. A pleasant enough, handsome enough man came into the room, followed by a female nurse. He asked me to lie back on the table, explaining his intent toward a breast exam, toward showing me how a self-examination worked, as well.

I reclined, exhaled somewhat nervously and heard him chuckle, “Ah, I’m going to need you to remove your bra.”

He then excused himself, and I did the little unsnap-pull-the-straps-through-armholes trick that we learned as part of the feminine arts for surviving locker rooms and summer camp and the like.

Back again, he instructed me to lie back, started to explain what he was doing, looking at my face or the opposing wall as he circled and prodded the boobage. Midway through, he stopped short, cocked his head to one side and asked, “Hon, are you still wearing your panties?”

Oh sheesh. I was not embarrassed up until this point, but now I was ashamed because how stupid was I that I’d been sexually aware and active and responsible for some time but had no earthly idea as to how to conduct myself during something so monumental and important as my First Official Girlparts Visit? I felt self-conscious, like some unprepared, whey-faced hayseed gone to the big city.

So he left the room once again, I shimmied out of my pink bikinis and hopped back up onto the table, a little worse for wear. To say that I was phenomenally unprepared this rather big deal of an occasion would be a gross understatement. It was my good fortune to have a doctor that was sensitive to his patient, though, and explained thoroughly what we were there to accomplish.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

We got Scout signed in, I said hello to my friend Suze, we took seats near the broad expanse of window-walls at the far end of the waiting room. Settling into opposing couches, we both cracked books, reading as we waited. I will take this opportunity to share with you that I was appalled at how many times over the next hour that fifteen- and sixteen-year-old little things heavily round with Teh Pregnant waddled in. I tried very hard to employ my poker face, but it hurt my heart to calculate that approximately eighty percent of the expectant mothers we saw that morning were extremely young and (hopefully still) unwed. Ow, ow, ow, my left ventricle wailed with each bump of the ticker. My left ventricle is where I keep my compassion; the other three chambers are completely awash in righteous indignance, but were too stunned by the left ventricle’s sorrow to activate phasers.

Finally shown back to what must have been the hinterlands of Country Ohbeeghine, we were turned into a little room and left to our own devices.

“Okay, after she comes in and we talk, you are leaving, correct?”

“Yes, Scouty, yes. I swear I am not here to make this a mortifying experience.”

Scout had specifically requested a ladyperson for this endeavor, so I had found her one. She came in, introduced herself, asked two or three questions of me and then focused completely on Scout. This made me comfortable and happy, her treating my daughter as a capable person in her own right. She explained things that Scout already knew and invited any questions. Then Scout was handed a drape (with the benefit of explaining that all undergarments were to be removed, natch) and I excused myself to the lobby.

A little while later the nurse came out to summon me back. I found a completely unrattled daughter, dressed and with ankles crossed daintily, reading her book serenely. The powers that be left to write a prescription and a school excuse and Scout looked up at me with her eyes merry.

“Her name is Pie and she is sweet as everything, how great is that?”

“You realize you lead a pretty charmed existence, yeah?” was the question that slipped past my grin.

She smiled with no teeth and all innocence, “I know.”

|| September 19, 2009 || 5:10 pm || Comments (1) ||

A Fun Saturday With The Superiors

text from Maxim, five forty-six pee emm:

Need anything from The Big Evil Corporate Monolith?

response text from Jett, five fifty-one pee emm:

Taquitos. Whipped cream cheese, red salsa, cilantro. Mt Dew. Weed. Hope.

If Joe Strummer is there tell him I said hi.

Oh look, Muffinasses, I’m pretty sure I’m a couple days late starting ‘Lexapro Week‘. Again.

|| September 12, 2009 || 10:56 pm || Comments (6) ||

here’s what you were looking for, yeah?

Once again it’s you and me, beneath the dim bare bulb that casts shadows across the most elegant of all our faults and I can’t find one single reason to stay and stare at the bare bricks and their sloppy mortar except that you are here. Would that there were less dirt on the floor and more of it on our sweating faces.

I want to shine an interrogator’s light in your face, hostile, and take back all the truth that is mine, truth that never in a million years should have been bared to you. The clumsiness of it all doesn’t matter, doesn’t even register anymore: I can’t find fault in awkwardness because maybe that’s the only pure innocence left. Maybe it’s the only remaining barrier, too. Your riddles are a dime a dozen. My outrages are, as well.

You can’t have my peace, because I have none. I can’t have your assurances, because you have none. The collective definition we have for impasse is dull and uninspiring. It’s a ghost that sits at the end of my bed and mocks me; nothing I’ve tried to date has chased it away. We are a scream through wired jaws, begging for blown veins and snapping, technicolor happiness.

Always my brain is working overtime without my consent.

Always there are the earthquakes snatching me back to where you say I don’t belong anyway.

Always there is the thought of your eyes begging for rescue and hinting at promise.

Always your lips are on me, probing, you stupid fucker.

|| September 11, 2009 || 12:41 pm || Comments (2) ||

here we are again

I can’t help it, I groan internally each time; I can actually feel my insides cringing and drawing up when a handful of patients, as they are signing in, say ‘NINE-EEELEVEN’ with great aplomb, like they are wishing me a happy birthday or just found out they’ve won a free pizza or something.

I meet the gazes of these blank-faced, passively rude. I want to be a better person most times, but sometimes I get sick of dumbly courting ridiculousness and the only form of polite I can manage is my silence accompanied with a lack of expression. I want to know, when did we start giving people an automatic pass on That’s Not Acceptable 101? Or, at the very least, its rather remedial and preparatory course, Shit Not To Say 098?

Then a little lady makes her way to my desk. She is drawn up, she’s been here five decades longer than me, her voice is difficult to follow sometimes as the result of the stroke she suffered two years ago. She might have remained aphasic, but she battled hard to get that voice back.

“Good….morning, youngun,” she rattles at me as she signs her name and fills in her birthday. Moving on to the date column on her patient sheet, she asks, “Today the tenth?”

“Eleventh,” I say and as she writes the date she shakes her head and the halting shakiness with which she typically speaks falls away with the next thing she says, couched in a near-whisper:

“What a terrible day.”

She looks up, her eyes brimming over, and I smile gently at her before turning away, getting up, hiding alongside the wall of files because my eyes are betraying me, too.

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