I wish you each deep love and every happiness in the New Year...
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
I wish you each deep love and every happiness in the New Year...
Monday, December 29, 2008
Sunday, December 28, 2008
This is the landlord. I’m serving notice you have to leave.
The rent is overdue.
What? Since when?
It’s months behind.
But I only occupy a small corner of this heart—there's plenty of room for others. I love the space, really. I thought the rent was taken care of.
It was, but now the withdrawals have exceeded the deposits. You can’t stay any longer.
But I have important memories here. And wishes and hopes.
Sorry, you have to go.
What if I take over the payments?
By yourself? What is your currency? The rent has always been paid in tendered denominations and mutual funds.
I can pay it that way too.
But if it’s just you the tendering will only be one way and the funds won’t be mutual. That is not standard practice.
Look, I have my own reserve to pay the rent. Can’t you accept that?
For how long?
I don’t know. Maybe I’ll just stay a few months more. But maybe I'll stay indefinitely. This space is an investment in something I care about.
But no more deposits? That’s risky business.
Who’s to say? There’s a good amount of earned equity here already. I don’t want to move as long as I feel the way I do.
Even if you don’t get a return on your investment? Even if you lose everything you’ve put in?
Yes, it’s a chance I will take. In this case I may view loss and gain the same way.
Even if your investment is no longer deliverable?
Yes, even then. But who’s to say one way or another? What does anybody know for certain?
Listen, I just collect the rent. I make sure the funds don’t get depleted. Staying put and making the payments yourself--it seems reckless, risky.
It may be. But I don’t mind. It’s not like I can’t leave. I just don’t want to, at least not yet. There are riches here. They matter to me.
You'll have to give notice if you leave.
Yes, of course, you’ll be the second to know. Right after myself.
Friday, December 26, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
3. The Christmas tree is topped not with a star or an angel, but in tribute of Rosie, our English Springer Spaniel who will never be forgotten.
5. Who cut down on shopping and spending money this year? From the look of the presents piled in front of the tree, it wasn't my family. Or was it? Actually, I think we all did cut back, and we all felt good about it.
6. Guess who slept over Christmas Eve along with his parents and was the most fun from beginning to end?
7. JB is the easiest person to buy gifts for. She loves everything, the more unique, the better. These "slippers" were in her stocking this year, compliments of Jess. Of course they were right at home with her polka dot socks.
8. We picked my Mom up for Christmas dinner. Mr. Ryan calls her Gum-ma for no reason except that's what he started calling her. She will be 93 years old on January 5th, and JB and I have told her we will take her to the Mohegan Sun Casino for the day, so she can play the quarter slot machines. She does not travel well and her memory does not work, but the Casino it will be.
10. Mr. Ryan's grandparents (JB & me) got him a Jack-in-the-Box. I wish the photo were clearer, but no doubt he loved loved loved it. Beside him, of course, is Esther the resident Witch, who only leaves the couch when she has been drinking too much and tries to fly, with mixed results.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
And let me end with the six boxes of 250 books that arrived at my back door two weeks ago. One hundred will find their way to book critics, reviewers and the like. One will be sent to Jodie Foster, who I think would play a perfect "Lily" on the big screen. A half dozen have already been dropped off at one local cafe and one independent bookstore. Thirteen have been sold, signed and mailed out from # 9, and a few have been lovingly given to special people for special reasons. Life could not be more paradoxical: at one of the more difficult times in my life, one of the more exhilarating achievements is unfolding.
And as of today, when I start to fold too, I'll do my best to get mad instead.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Valerie Walsh also known as my pal ValGal. I was hoping I might find one of her paintings to grace the cover of the story of Alex and Lily. I did not expect, and still can't believe, that Val would offer to paint an original in honor of my first book. This incredible artist gave me the gift of her incredible artwork, and she made me feel like I was doing her a favor.
I've always felt blessed by my friends. They've been there for me in many special moments in my life. But in this moment, with this gift, by this artist--well, how lucky can a person be?
Thanks Val. I'm forever grateful.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
I wrote this poem a couple of years ago. I hope its true that the heart can fly, because I'd like to think there is a place that love and blessings thrive and protect, no matter what.
Flight of the Heart
A wide winged bird settled here last spring
in this farming town with college twists,
relaxing in the gardens and goings on
and never for a moment suspecting
that an ageless soul mate
had begun its flight east.
Everything changed in that moment
and it will now be what it was not before--
a homeland different and apart,
mourning the smallest and largest of possibilities,
burying the future under the past—
not the normal order of things—
and all of it unable to settle
in this ancient place of home.
When the distance cannot be accommodated,
the little laughters and easy understanding,
the scholarly wisdom and worldly passion
of exploding change
will be forgotten,
lovingly tucked away
Until one day,
when the one reason that is every reason
is no longer unforeseen,
the joy seems less precise:
when that happens
another shift occurs
and only then they might know
a second settling
of the flight of the heart.
It begins quietly,
one November day
when the ground is golden
and the trees stretch their bare limbs
up and out, holding tight.
That is when the question is clear:
How wide can a heart stretch?
Can it expand so much
that the little hearts inside drop their protective toothpicks,
with a sigh and surrender
and step bravely past the boundaries of time and space?
The wide winged bird watches it all,
no longer alone
but in a still point
accepting this flight of destiny
now rooted in improbable trust
and carefully hidden in the wet leaves.
When the shift was certain,
when the change was solid,
when confusion became commitment,
the aching perseverating question
of how this could be
so everything can hold firm,
until the flight of the heart
can gently rest.
It is another day now.
The seasons extend and endure,
a transformation so shocking and complete,
it is outmatched only by a distance
so circular it cannot be traced,
not yet, maybe never.
From the sweetest lamenting gifts,
through all these continents,
the flight of the heart continues,
where it will rest in a treetop
safe from strangers below
and reachable only through the rare and special moments
of timeless love.
Ten days and ten months and ten years later
the leaves again fall
and the tree limbs still stretch.
The wind carries the flight of the heart
to sacred ground
where the wide winged bird
and its hallowed soul mate
The resting times and places are infrequent--
choices still built on virtue and grace--
but it does not matter.
Theirs is the solitary life, a union
so bound to godliness
that their lifetimes together are endless
In a holy place where only love rules.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
A female humpback whale had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines. She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat.
She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso, a line tugging in her mouth.
A fisherman spotted her just east of the Faralon Islands (outside the Golden Gate) and radioed for help.
Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her-- a very dangerous proposition. One slap of the tail could kill a rescuer.
They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her.
When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles.
She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, nudged them, and pushed gently, thanking them.
Some say it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives.
The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth says her eye was following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.
May you, all of those you love, be so fortunate...
To be surrounded by people who will help you get untangled from the things that are binding you.
And may you always know the joy of giving and receiving gratitude.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
that I have found it easier to read the mystery
told in tears and understood Thee better
in sorrow than in joy.
.George William Russell, 1867-1930
This was the prompt at my writing group last night. I understood this totally. So for what it's worth, with some apology for not being more uplifting as the holidays approach, here's my response to a theme I too think about. I know I'm abit somber these days, and the truth is I can't say if this poem is uplifting or depressing, but here it is:
It’s only one arm,
Okay its dominant
But I can still
Raise broth to my frozen lips.
Only one eye,
The other choked blind
Though still I see your shadow
Gracefully in flight.
I gave up my voice
So I could hear yours
When the wires
Misfired and static reigned.
My steps though mis-shapened,
Hobble past space
Where molecular memory
Forgive me on a day
When my knees give out
And I whimper toward
Whatever grace isn’t.
When I was whole
I moved too quickly
To notice almost anything.
Lucky loss has given me sight.
My smile survived
because it double duties
With its tearful turn downward
At midnight, through the howls.
Yesterday I watched a cattail
Bend and balance
And I remembered when
My heart moved like that.
This loss of limb and life
Love lust and luster:
What a tiny price
What a tiny price.
I wonder in the years ahead
Should my parts should regenerate
If I will miss
The space I’ve forfeited.
I wonder if sorrow
Might reappear as joy
filled with the love
That’s made me whole.
Monday, December 08, 2008
I am 12 and my mother is sad. She sleeps during the day and tells me to clean my room when I ask her to play with me. She is crazy that my room be clean, every day she tells me to clean it again. What’s the sense of folding my clothes when they just stay on the floor anyway? I’ve never had a bureau and if I did I would use it for my art supplies. She tells me there will be mice if I don’t pick up the candy wrappers but that only happened once, and at the time there were no wrappers at all.
My brother Joey is in Ohio and all I want for Christmas is for him to come home. We waited for him for Thanksgiving but he never came. We didn’t know he didn’t have a ride until two days later, when my mother could pay to have her cell phone turned on again. Then Joey called and said he didn’t call us because the phone was disconnected, but maybe he might come for Christmas. I am making a birthday and Christmas card for him that says “To Joey, my brother, I love you."
Sometimes My counselor asks me if I’m cold or hungry. I always say no I’m fine because that is the truth. My counselor wants my mother to leave fruit out for me so I can decide to have it when I want. My mother hasn’t done that yet, but lately she’s been asking me if I want an apple and if I say yes she unlocks the pantry door and gives me one.
My mother cleans our apartment everyday. It is spotless. She even takes the oven door off and puts this stuff on it that make it look brand new. We have two couches in the living room, one table and three chairs in the dining room, I have a mattress and my mother and Chris just got a new one. Once my mother lit a candle in the dining room and it changed the way the whole room looked.
For Christmas I could use some tops and pants. Right now I have four tops and three pairs of pants, but they are supposed to be either blue or beige for school and sometimes I get in trouble because I’m not wearing the right colors. The school counselor told my counselor that sometimes my clothes don’t look clean. That’s probably because I try to wash them in the bathtub but they don’t always dry right and we don’t have an iron so I smooth them out with my hands.
I draw to keep myself busy and I hope I get some markers for Christmas too. A few years ago we were in a shelter at Christmas and Joey and I got eight presents each. They were all wrapped and my mother was really happy and relaxed. This year I hope I get at least two presents. We didn’t have electricity for two months because my mother and Chris couldn’t pay the bill. Chris rigged up an extension cord to the neighbor’s next door for some of the time, It’s a good thing I don’t mind the cold. And a few times my mother lit candles at night, which was nice.
When Joey left for Ohio the day of my birthday I wrote in a math book that my teacher fucked herself. The vice principal showed my counselor when she came to see me at school and she asked me why I did that. I started crying and told her because my brother moved away. I thought it was better to write that about a teacher I liked instead of hated, but I hurt her feelings and I told her I was sorry.
One time the counselor drove my mother and me to a parking lot so we would talk without Chris hearing and I told my mother that I get scared when Chris yells at her. He is jealous and accusing her of seeing other men, even though she never leaves the house. I also told her I could hear them in the bedroom and I didn’t like it one bit. Since then when Chris yells my mother comes in my room and tells me she is not afraid at all, and there is nothing for me to be afraid about. That makes me feel better.
The thing I would like most for Christmas, besides clothes and markers, is more time with my mother. I want her to be happy. I want us to play crazy eights and laugh. But even more than that, I want Joey to come home. He makes us all laugh.
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Still, certain joyful aspects do not escape me as I head into the holidays. For example:
I love the way the light shines on my house.
Topped of course with my Italian father's home made spaghetti sauce.
Most of the time....
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
You are reading the words of one of my favorite bloggers, Human Being, who lives in Iran. She inspired me to write the following poem, which I dedicate to her:
Who Knows the Crow
When was the last time you saw a crow fidget
Then squawk then rail against the oddity of the way things are,
Which in the eyes of the crow
Means that the clouds darken without warning
And the chill rises without care?
You might think you’re hearing irritation
Perhaps even disgust
But when you notice the quickened pace
One leg to the other
You know it’s the dark and chill of common fear.
Sparkly things hidden in a needle nest
Falling in enough time
To be rescued if the mood was right.
But the mood is not right
So this coveted glitter falls below the fault line,
lost security from the one bright spot.
I saw a crow like this last week
Its sharp beak turning in all directions
Circle black eyes darting everywhere
Preparing for that which cannot be stopped,
For that for which you cannot prepare.
“Birdie,” I shouted. "Slow down. It’s just the wind.”
Did I hear a response? Did I hear an answer
Cloaked in pity?
Did I hear, “Person, you have no idea!”
“Yes I do,” I shouted. “I know.”
“No, no,” its body moving like wild fire, “you don’t know.”
The crow quickens its movements,
Clenches its webbed nails into the bark,
Instinctively holding on
Wings waiting for a force it cannot defeat.
Turning its head in perplexity
Unsure how its sparkly bounty broke free
Is this preparing to die?
It’s quiet now.
The wind has blown the roof two miles east
And tree branches litter the ground
Like railroad tracks splintered open.
I am walking these woods again
Perched to hear the crow’s surrender
Perched to clench my own webbed nails into the silvered bark
Steadying my grip, calling out
Seeking reassurance from beady eyes
And spent exhaustion.
“Person,” I hear “We were swept away.
It was not possible to hold on.”
“Oh my dear crow,” I said, “So where are we then?
Are we safe? Or are we too buried
Below the fault line?”
“The fault line?" each word sputtered hard and tough,
“No person,” the crow replies, “we are above it all.
We are flying free.
Our fear is gone.”