Saturday, December 31, 2005

Bits and Pieces Which Will Be Poems......Someday

My New Years Resolution is to make the following bits and micro-bits of my life into poems.

Tell me, Lita, did you follow
a goose, a duck, or a mythical swan
that only you could see?

(This was a 18 month old girl named "Leetha" who was found - cold, blue and unresponsive - in a pond a few yards from her family's garage where her parents were taking groceries out of the car. The pond was one commonly used by wildlife)

it's imprinted in the shine
of firefly: the way we live will be
the way we die

(lightening bugs -- I just like 'em)

Chinese spiders thrive on air
but I am just the aphid sucking substance
from the stem

(from a dream I had last year...had to do with paper bags and spiders which Dan told me were "Chinese Spiders" who apparently didn't need anything but air to survive.)

Some say she sought the lunatic
but he, in fact, sought she.
How strange that no one finds her mad
she's more insane than he.

(Self-explanatory if you know me)

You thought that Death would never find
you (though you courted him on darkened stairs
and in the lonely alleyways behind
your mother's church)

(for nothing and no one in particular and for every drunken driver and every hang-glider I've ever taken care of in the back of an ambulance)

To the Boy In the Attic of His Father's Garage

What lurks beneath the loss of hope?
The roof - the rafter - the length of rope.

(I want this for the ending couplet to a sonnet (?) about an 18 year old boy....the son of a friend and co-worker who was pronounced at the scene shortly before Christmas 2000. It may very well be that it's still too painful to write, tho.)

There are about 7 more snippets hanging around my "open.doc" but the more I look at them, the more I am thinking they may just stand alone as some sort of bastardized haiku. Perhaps I'll post 'em later.

Old Friends Revisited

I love this blogging stuff. I never know where it's going to take me. (other than away from all the things I should be doing, of cooking and cleaning and writing my own damn poems)
Tonight I was browsing blogs and came across the name Joe Massey....clicking the link, I ended up here: and it certainly SOUNDS like the Joe Massey I once knew. Problem is, I knew him under an AOL screen name, and I only think that this is his real honest-to-goodness name. The rant sounds like him and the poetry sounds like him, tho, so I am going to assume that it IS him and say "YAY" for him and for his new book, Bramble. I always figured if anyone was going to make it, it was going to be Joe and it's nice to know I figured right for once.
Wish there was a way I could get in touch with him and tell him so. I lost touch with him several years ago and it would be good to say "hello" again and catch up on what's been happening.
So...if you're out there, Joe - The Banshee/Bysshe says hi.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Excellent article

Thanks to Brandi at who got it from Trog at

I love this blogging stuff. Today I am going to try to link to some of my favorite bloggers....may they forgive me.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Vegan Panic

Christmas has come and gone....the kids have come and gone. It was wonderful having them here. There is nothing more rewarding than finally realizing that you've raised someone whom you truly enjoy spending time with. The days flew by much too quickly and I cried when I dropped them off at the airport. Joe even played Scrabble with us a time or two. ( Understand- this is the same kid who, three years ago when asked if he'd like to join us in a game, replied, "I'd sooner slit my wrists.") We spoke to my other two sons and their families on Christmas morning. Jeremy was on his way out the door to serve dinner to the homeless in his adopted state of Oregon and Jason and his family were going to visit his wife's family later in the day. They had spent Christmas Eve with my sister's family and my mother, after which he had gone to his friend's house and played Santa for the children. It makes me cry, but I think I did ok on the children-front. Single-parenting is not always easy and many times I am convinced that I scarred them irreversibly.......not this week, tho. This week I am just enjoying the fact that I love them and I think they love me back. Jeremy asked Joey to be in his wedding party in May.....both Jason and Joe will be standing up for him. Nice, yanno? These are the same kids that used to beat the hell out of one another on a daily basis just because they could.

So that was Christmas.....New Year's is not going to be so easy. Dan has invited his ex-girlfriend and her current boyfriend for dinner at our house on Monday. One one hand, it'll be nice to show the new condo off. We've been here almost 7 months now and we've only entertained people 4 times. (Ok, so we're horribly anti-social. We're mostly happy with the arrangement.) On the other hand, there's the ugly isue of "what do I make for dinner?" to deal with. Normally I'd be a little worked up just about having people over - simply because I'm not an "entertainer" sort of person. Martha Stewart, I'm not. Being from the Midwest, my idea of "dinner" is hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill.....and if it's winter, then a huge pot of sausage-laden spaghetti and a loaf of bread and butter. My four major food groups are beef, sugar, starch and chocolate. If a recipe doesn't contain one or more of those things, then I don't know how to cook it and I sure the hell don't want to eat it. I eat by sight....if it's orange or green, I don't touch it. This is even worse than my normal panic, tho - Dan's friends are strict Vegans. Not even just ordinary, eat-cheese-and-dairy variety vegetarians, mind you, but full-on "don't-eat-it-if-it-once-lived-or-could-have-lived" Vegans. No eggs, no butter, no cheese, no milk-by-products, no mayonaise type True Vegans.

I've been looking up recipes all morning. I don't even know what 90% of the necessary ingredients ARE, much less where to buy them!!! Tufu and Mongolian Fire Oil and TVP Chunks, and Yeasy Flakes and Tahini and Vegan Parmesan Cheeze. I'm close to hysterical just thinking about it, to be honest. I stress even doing things I know how to do when I have to do them around strangers.....this is almost beyond my coping capability. Even if I figure out what this stuff is, and where to buy it....and how to prepare on earth am I going to know if it tastes right? Normally you cook, you sample, you add or you subtract ingredients. But I have no idea how any of this is supposed to taste. (And that's assuming I'd be willing to taste it in the first place.....which I am not.)

And if I DO manage to find a recipe that I can manage, how do I explain why I am not eating with them? I was raised not to make people uncomfortable, and I'm pretty sure a hostess refusing to eat with you in her own home is going to be considered not only uncomfortable but also downright rude. Be that as it may, I just cant eat food I don't like or understand. And, honestly, why do I have to? Obviously they are not going to eat meat or dairy because they don't believe in it, but then again, (being ugly here) I don't believe in tofu and Yeasy flakes. I asked Dan if I could make two dinners, one for them and one for us, and he said ok, but I mentally vetoed that idea myself when he told me that it truly pains her to see animals being eaten in any way, shape or form. They held a barbecue last summer and actually included a link to vegan-approved beers in the invitation. So I either find a recipe that not only they can eat but one that I can also eat without getting sick - or the alternative is that I spend the evening green around the gills and excusing myself every now and then to go upstairs and quietly and unassumingly gag myself to death. Hardly the correct way to impress someone upon first meeting them, is it?

This is truly stressin' me. I'm notoriously ill at ease in social situations to begin with. I have a hard time relating to people in general and when it gets this specific, I feel honestly ill.

It's a shame, really, because I can char-broil a damn fine steak.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Christmas Eve eve

Too much left to do...too little time to do it in. Spaghetti to make, a stubborn turkey to defrost, a house to clean, a blow-up-bed to blow up, last minute presents to buy. My youngest son and his girlfriend are flying in tomorrow morning at 8AM. Whatever possessed me to buy tickets for that ungodly hour, I'll never understand. The poor things will have to leave their home in Indiana long before dawn to make their Midway flight by 6AM. It will be the first time anyone from back home will see where I live now. I shouldn't be scared, but I am. Dan is being a good sport about the whole thing. Being Jewish, Christmas is not his "thing". There's a small tree in the corner and stockings hung on the mantelpiece....and a Menorah on the table.

Christmas is not my "thing", either. Too much time spent in seeing sorrow up close and personal. Too many tears, too many fears, too much tragedy. C. Dale Young said it well in his blog, "Avoiding the Muse": .

I spent too many years working Christmas, either on an ambulance or in the Emergency Room - or both, depending on how many shifts I was scheduled and where. This is only my second Christmas in 16 years when I will not be working. I am finding out that you can quit a job, but you cannot quit a memory. Terrible things always happen on Christmas day...and on every other holiday, as well. Even the normally not-too-terrible things seem more horrendous than usual when they happen on Christmas. The expected winter house fires, the anticipated and ordinary drunken driver accidents, the chronically abused child, the oft-beaten wife, the 80 year old grandfather who clutches his chest and arrests at the dinner table....all of these are things which we grow accustomed to dealing with - and yet they seem so much more tragic when they happen on Christmas. People die every day - people die on holidays, it's a fact of life. I'm no longer in the field, but I can't seem to shake the doom and gloom. When I cannot reach a family member by phone at a time when I think they should be home, I still imagine (as I've always imagined) that my child is lying, bleeding to death, somewhere in the middle of the street, that my grandson is screaming in his second floor bedroom and no one can reach him because the smoke is just too toxic, that my 82 year old mother is lying on the basement floor with a broken hip, and has been for days, that my boyfriend was the victim of a random terrorist act at the Pentagon Mall train station. So much of my life is tainted by the knowledge that "shit happens".

There are good things in the world, too, however. Although I'm learning them slowly, I'm learning them now. There's love and there's the contentment that comes from living with someone who understands you and your moods. There's poetry to read and to write and black kittens who purr on your lap while you're doing so. There are grown children who are successful and happy to call on the phone and to visit with. There are grandchildren to spoil and weddings to attend. There are mountains close by, and an ocean within driving distance. There are even casinos for when you feel especially stupid. Not all car trips end up in accidents, not all Christmas trees catch fire, not all old people fall down. Unfortunately, you learn what you see, and I may have observed too much and enjoyed too little.

I keep trying to write poems about my work-time. It's hard, tho. I hate drama and how do you write drama without being dramatic? I have a few......eventually I'd like to write enough of them to be able to assemble a book of nothing but "work poems". My problem is, tho, that I feel disloyal to the patients when and if I write about them. After all, they didn't ask to be written about...or read about, for that matter. Pain should be private, and so who am I to take their pain and make it public?

Ack...anyhow....Merry Christmas, be safe and be happy, tell someone you love them. Oh and if you remember......

While it's probably too late this year, perhaps next year you can send a fruit basket, or a cake, or better yet, a pizza, to your local fire station, police department or emergency room. It won't be dinner with their family, but it'll still be dinner. :)

Friday, December 16, 2005

Tomorrow we leave

I hate getting ready to go away. Even if the "go-away" is only overnight. Today is filled with laundry and packing and last minute gift-shopping and house cleaning. Much as I hate rushing around before leaving, I have coming home to a messy house even more.
That's neither here-nor-there, tho. I keep going back to a poem I'd read over three years ago. It's one of those poems that you read and you immediately say "Damn, I wish I had written that one". It's amazing how some people can have some of the same thoughts as you do - and yet they are so able to express those thoughts while you have no idea of how it's done. I keep going back to it, and back to it, and back to it again.
The poem is entitled "The House" and it's written by Phillip Gross, whom I'd never heard of before. That'll be my present to myself today while I am out buying presents for everyone else. I'm going to try to track down one or more of his books.
Read the poem, please. It's incredible.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

"God less you, too, President Bush"

A Unit's Fitful Year at War
By Steve FainaruWashington Post Foreign ServiceTuesday, December 13, 2005; Page A01

Long before he came to Iraq, Spec. Russell Nahvi hoped to save the world. In a spiral-bound notebook filled with math equations, he jotted his secret yearnings: "I PRAY one day I can make the world proud of me. I hope I can restore an unknown peace to wartorn nations, peoples, families, friends."
Nahvi's ambitions led him to a dark road on the outskirts of this town, where, on a patrol Oct. 19, a bomb hidden in a pothole dismembered him and incinerated his Humvee. Two other Americans were also killed. One soldier survived: a platoon sergeant who managed to wrench himself out of the vehicle, flames rolling off him.

Afterward, the Pentagon tersely attributed the soldiers' deaths to "enemy indirect fire." An officer handed Nahvi's mother, Nancy, a form asking if she wanted her 24-year-old son's body parts returned if they were recovered. President Bush sent his parents a three-paragraph condolence letter. It contained a typo: "God less you."

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Right to Die? Let "Dad" Decide

Makes you wonder where the Terry Schiavo life-at-any-price people are now, doesn't it? Seems the State of Massachusetts wants to discontinue both breathing tube and feeding tube on a comatose 11 year old girl. Which, by the way, is just fine with me. I think they should have done it for Terry and I think that they should do it for Haleigh. I also think that there should be as much hue-and-cry for Haleigh as there was for Terry. Call me silly, but once again it appears the pretty, the white, and the middle-to-upper classers get the lion's share of attention from the news media, the right-wingers, the politicians and the hand-wringers. Maybe it's easier for Americans to identify with a beautiful, socially adept, reasonably intelligent young woman who may or may not have an eating disorder than it is for them to stretch their imagination and pretend for a moment that they could have anything at all in common with an abused child who's been made a ward of the state because her own family couldn't seem to keep their hands (or feet) off of her.

On second thought, I hope the world ignores her impending death as well as they apparently ignored her short and painful life. Nothing that happened to Haleigh was deemed unusual enough to be considered newsworthy when she was alive, let's grant her the only remaining kindness we can still show her and let her die sans our attention as well.

Monday, December 12, 2005

And the good news is........

Wheee...I forgot. I received an email today from Harvey Stanbrough, the editor of Raintown Review. The new issue will be out in February of 2006 and I've got three poems in it. One sonnet and two rondeau. I am especially pleased with the rondeau acceptances - simply because the guidelines say "please don't send us any rondeau". I love the form...and I tend to play with it frequently. It's not very well known and it's definitely not very well received (to say nothing of the fact that it's a bitch to write) The fact that Harvey accepted them both makes me feel like I did a damn fine job of it. Not only did I manage to write two good"form" poems, I managed to write them well enough to overcome an editor's natural distrust of the form itself. I'm glad I found the courage to send them to him. I wasn't going to. After all, the guidelines said not to and who am I to disobey guidelines? I did ask his permission first, tho. :) I'm not that brave.

Fighting for Computer Time

Got a new computer yesterday. Don't know if we're actually keeping it or not, tho. Dan's MAC is about dead and the two of us have been working off of mine for a couple months now. He's back in school and the MAC just won't cut it anymore, so he needs my PC to do all his homework on. Which is fine.....IF I don't want to use a computer. Unfortunately, I DO want to use a computer. I think the new one is going to work out ok....right now we're just using dial-up on it and it's slllllooooooowwww like molasses....I think if we figure out how to use the Broadband router we bought, we should be in business. Dan is having second thoughts and buyers remorse and all that stuff. He's partial to his MACS and I think the idea of switching to a PC is more than he can bear at times. It'd be nice to be compatible, tho. For now, however, we are back to arguing over computer-time. He's taken print-outs of all his fantasy football teams downstairs for the moment, so the computer is mine, mine, least until he comes back up here.
I should write a new poem. I should send an already written poem to an editor or a publisher. I should work on beautifying some already started poems.
I should go play Pogo games. Lottso, I think. Or maybe Poppit. Lately all I want to do is be mindless. I don't want to write, I don't want to think, I don't want to do anything which taxes my brain or uses up my precious-little store of energy.
I keep telling myself that when a poem is ready, it'll magic. I know better, tho. No poem is magic unless you make it that way. A poem is hard work and sweat and time-taken. It'd be nice to have that kind of talent that just "happens", but I don't. I have virtually no talent other than sheer stubbornness. Which is why I write, maybe, in a good year, a grand total of 6 half-way decent poems. I think I've used up my quota for this year. Good thing it's December.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Last Two Days

Oy.....this blogging thing is not so easy, is it? At least not for the computer-illiterate - of which I am numbered. I've literally spent huge chunks of two days simply trying to add links. (Although now that I've accomplished my grandiose goal, I must admit, even if no one else ever uses them, I love the idea of being able to reach many of my own favorite places in one easy access.)

Now that I've impressed myself with my own abilities, I'm thinking of adding a few blogs as links. There are four or five blogs which I tend to read often and enjoyably. I'm not sure of the etiquette of doing so, however. I'm thinking maybe I should ask first....which is a problem because I really don't know these people at all...other than what I've read here. I'll wait on that one, I think. I'm tired of html anyhow.

I discovered blogging accidently. I'd read about it, true, but I'd never actually considered doing it myself. Who'd care, yanno? I was googling myself a few weeks ago (ugh, right?) and I came across three unfamiliar sites which seemed to have mentioned my name. One was a rather vivid porn site - but that ended up not being me at all....fortunately. The other two were blogs. I have to admit, it was a total kick to find out that perfect strangers had somehow run across my poetry and thought enough of it to add a link to it on their own personal site. It meant much more than if a friend had done so......friends HAVE to say they like you, strangers don't have to like you at all...nor do they have to pretend to, either.

Perhaps I've answered my own question there. They didn't ask me, so maybe I don't have to ask them. <> I don't know, tho, just because I didn't mind (on the contrary, I was flattered) they may not feel the same way. I'll still wait. Besides, I still don't feel up to more html.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Feeling Flu-ish

Being stuck home with the flu is bad....being stuck home with the flu and feeling maudlin is badder still.....being stuck home with the flu while feeling maudlin just before the holidays is the baddest. I think a trip to the casino in Charlestown is in order sometime soon. Altho, after reading this little news blurb I'm unsure if even the sounds of my beloved "ching-ching" could cheer me up. Who'da thought that slots could make even deer suicidal? I'm not even going to comment on the casino's idea of corpse disposal....I only know I don't want to drop dead there.