Wednesday, September 19, 2018

the body never lies

i think you wanted to know
his moonshine eye, his cliff-noted past
i caught you looking through his pockets
planting seeds, stabbing your skin on 
hangnails- he was ripshorn and scarcely
alive; you loved him for the weak pulse,
the saline drip of his nose, degeneration
of his eye, where rolling stones fumbled
slowly, wet and dark and hollow.

i think you wanted to know
what you were up against: a war
you would not win clamoring against
your rib cage, a hurricane state 
in the immune system of your heart
where invaders would never be silenced
or your father ever be wrong;
he called you a slut faced bitch
i slapped him twice and took you home.

your favorite poet was Sexton,
reading her suicidal confessions, her calm
representation of madness, premeditated
murder during the childbearing years
i know you hated her for failing as a mother,
now i'm talking about you again
although you tell us how you can't blame
them forever, how you have to grow up 
and take responsibility, to forgive

to forgive the cancer that mouths it's
gumless seams against your wounds,
to forgive the blood rot that licks
sugar off your ribs-
or to forgive your parents.
why would you do that?
deny your body it's truths.

the body never forgets
how your sex foils itself again and again
your arms ache and your stomach broils,
hot plantings sewn into the curve of foot
cold buds wakening in the slip of your mouth,
headaches, dreary Sunday monsoon
flashes it's wet tears against your dry eye.

i think you wanted to know
what it was like to be un-loved
in a million different ways
this mission was your alone
torture yourself for as long as you shall live
in his arms, where he would never know
*never give a shit, want to be inconvenienced, love you*
and you would never remember
and everyone would be so pleased you forgave

it is so much easier that way;
don't you think.

Friday, September 14, 2018

where are we

at night i write a story
erase the middle and tape together the beginning and end

here we are remembering
here we are living in remembering
here we are still in rememberance
here we are, still.

it is quiet in this house
there is no youthful screaming and clawing
an entire poem of missing items:
Sunday morning breakfast,
sex every day, late night tv, late night fucking,
late night love making,
laughing until crying, crying until laughing,
tumbleweeds of family, rolling over living room floor,
your hands enormous over my rib cage,
your heart enormous, a dialect between two,
hands together, after work together, always together.
an entire lifetime of missing items:
you disappear and i disappear with you.

where are we?


Tuesday, May 8, 2018

maniac heartbreak

the rain deconstructs on its own
the limbs of trees, wings of bees
birds that have flown

why fail here
when i am offering it all
hairy leg, shaking fingers, limp hair

buried in the ground there is
a reminder
not like bone, nothing as new as flesh

but a glass bottle perhaps,
a broken glass
something broken

i dig it up easily
soil now mud
and hold the thing hard,

i will deconstruct myself,
i will bleed at my own request
my own power.

and the blood makes
such pretty little rivelets
down my wet wrist

curling and thinning to pink
around my arm
like the bracelet i wanted for Christmas.

although you do not love me
you will feel something hard
and now it begins.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

dead dog sunday

it is the deadening of my nerves that has surprised me
more than anything
the last few years.
i continued barreling through my thirties with the sex drive
and moods of my twenties
so i didn't expect withdrawal
the Cheever fossilizing against suburbia
finally making itself known;
if anything I would have expected more exuberance
due to the children all being partly or all grown,
no more babies hanging from my breast,
in between my husband and i in bed.
at times i feel the ridiculous nature of life
is so extreme that to coast is best.
other times i feel terrified that i am secretly dying,
and will be buried in my suburban garden,
with it's pleasant cluster of low moisture needing plants
and non-toxic bug killers
with my old dogs buried near me
my old fears too,
my pretty little pussy buried underneath the roses
so by any name, they may smell as sweet.
am i old so soon?
why am i deliberate in the face of our world
hurricanes and droughts and churches away
from being a total failure,
why do i bathe my children and hold them and 
weave decorations through our lampshades,
stroke the dog's belly and feed my neighbor,
when the clock tower is nearing midnight?
it's amazing how tired you can become
long before it is time to sleep.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

People In Your Neighborhood


take a seat and read


I'm obsessed with this video series from The Paris Review: The First Time where authors tell the story of writing their first play, novel, etc

One of my Vitamin Shoppe pieces: A Decade by Decade Guide for Women's Supplements

I frequently have 'high functioning depression' as in this VICE article

I like to escape into this gorgeous place

Fasting fascinates me

Did you ever read Mother, Writer, Monster, Maid by Rupi Thorpe?

Andrea Volpe on complicated grief

Beauty from around the world

Do you know The Marshall Project? They do amazing work.









Saturday, November 11, 2017

i hate people

in my mind are two images 
one is a child sitting next to their 
lower, left leg
which was just then blown off
by a bomb
and the child is reaching out her arms
to her father, screaming,
because her lower, left leg
was just then blown off
by a bomb.

the other is a spider quivering
as she is sprayed
with an insecticide, and releasing
a dozen or so babies in her instinct
to save them,
so they  might run, as they do, 
perhaps just one will 
make it without being sprayed 
with an insecticide.

i hate people.
i don't want to be in this merry go round
of terror anymore
i am moving to the mountains
and if i die
it will be because some bear tears me in half
not because he poisons my food,
sprays me with chemicals, skins me,
develops a weapon to gut me, shoot me, 
or obliterate me-
in fact it is the lack of malice
and creativity
that i used to see as terrifying
which i now see as practically a fucking paradise
compared to what us ugly humans do
with our big, fancy brains
and our empty, diseased hearts.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold -A Review-

The Netflix documentary Joan Didion, The Center Will Not Hold, directed by Didion's nephew, Griffin Dunne, begins with the classic snippets of 60's culture: Go Ask Alice blares next to images of half-naked teenagers writhing in open spaces or in the littered streets of cities, oversized sunglasses and long hair framing faces without makeup or pretense, but instead often the glazed and slightly unhinged expression of the unstoppably high. It might fool you into thinking that this documentary will be about Didion's life as reflected in and through the culture.

Yet halfway through the documentary we are picked up and summarily plunked in front of another screen, another view into Joan Didion's life; we see now not the culture that surrounded her, the culture that she helped shape with her astute and observant intelligent writing, but instead a plunge into the personal: many photos of Joan, her husband John, their daughter Quintana Roo, and the internal experience of Joan and John's marriage, their adoption of Quintana, a long, dark period of Joan and John's marriage, their various works apart and together, their social life, and then a long drawn-out ending that mirrors the dread and intensity of the long, drawn-out ending of the lives of her most beloved; John died of a heart attack in 2003, followed two years later by the death of Quintana.

"People are afraid of dying because they don't want to leave their loved ones behind," Didion tells the camera. After a long pause, she continues, "I have no one to leave behind."

I was surely the target demography for this documentary. I've been reading Didion since my teenage years, starting with Play It As It Lays and most recently with The Year of Magical Thinking (on her husband, John Dunne's unexpected death) and then Blue Nights (on her daughter Quintana's slightly more expected, tragic death after years of serious illness.) Someone, in other words, who already knew quite a bit about Joan Didion, but was hankering to have this first-time interior view of her life and thoughts.

Many of my friends who have seen the film expressed disappointment–it doesn't give any secrets, it doesn't focus enough on her writing, it doesn't delve into Didion's own reflections on what her work has meant to the country and our culture, it does not delve into how prescient many of Didion's points of views, her obsessions in her work were. While some of all of these subjects are touched on (Joan Didion's zoomed in focus on Dick Cheney's importance as a 'truly evil' government player) they were not, for whatever reason that we aren't privy to, what this documentary was to be.

To me, this makes perfect sense; that a movie about Joan Didion, made by her family member with her full cooperation, would cut out all other discourse once the dying of those who matter most to her begins. This is the same writer who said of Los Angeles that everyone there was struggling with the understanding of complete meaningless, that nothing they were doing or saying had any importance. The same writer who went through a long stretch of inability to write because she was struck with the certainty that writing was meaningless. The same writer who wrote that in the wake of her husband's death, she experienced a series of repeated confrontations with the meaningless of life itself. What clearly was meaningful to Joan Didion was her relationships with her husband and her daughter.

There were subjects touched on that I wasn't aware of; John Dunne's furious temper is mentioned a few times, with growing gravity. Didion calls him a "hothead" and offers that he would get set off by "anything, anything." How exactly this terrible temper showed itself in their life, how that played into their period of separation, and how it may have affected Quintana Roo (who later had an alcohol addiction that appeared to have played into her untimely death)–not a word.

A telling moment is when Didion's nephew asks her how she felt when, as a reporter, she encountered a five-year-old high on acid. "Well, I mean," Didion pauses for a long moment, waving her fingers delicately, and finally says, "It was gold." Honest, and sad. Later in the documentary Didion is recounting a huge party she and John threw, and finding, when she checked on her little daughter upstairs asleep, drug paraphenelia on the floor. "Who would do that?" she asks, still upset with the memory. The jarring disconnect between her emotions toward her 'subjects' and her daughter struck me as important to understanding Didion.

An in-depth analysis of her family dynamics or of her work were not meant to be the focus of Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold. Instead, this is in a sense an extension of her two previous books about her husband and her daughter. In an interview, she is asked why she didn't want to finish writing The Year of Magical Thinking and she replied that when she wrote, she was in touch with John Dunne. And when the book was done? Didion responded with her mouth in a line and a wave of her hand into the air: Gone.

Didion produced the magnificent work of The Year of Magical Thinking, which the documentary notes is the first book about grieving written by a non-believer. The book was not concerned with anything but love and grief. In the documentary, we are able to see how both intensely fragile–weighing at one point 75 pounds, shaking with what, I wondered, might be Parkinson's, speaking about dissociation and descent into madness during grief–and intensely strong–funneling the deepest pain into bright, piercing words, sentences, books, creating a play and becoming part of the theatre community as healing–Didion is. She is finding again, she tells us, that it ends up being about coming back to who she is.

Without realizing it, over the last decade Didion has revealed exactly who she is: a woman who claimed not to know what falling in love means, but who loved like an involuble molecule, so deeply bound with the lives of those she most adored that since their deaths, all meaning and all living has to pass through the narrow corridor of Didion's memories of their lives and their loss. Writing is an extension of Didion, clearly, but so were her family. Without them here, Didion wants us to remember her loved ones with her. It makes me wonder what she would have said if she had been asked about writing and meaning now, that her work is centered around John and Quintana.

She is sharing them with us; her experience of them in life and death is what she is willing to give. I for one am glad to take it.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Witches, Switches and Son of a Bitches

Halloween night 
i'll be drunk and un-mothered,
all the children monsters on the outside,
all the mothers gone.
i will have stayed behind,
preying on the suburban men
the ones who have sex with their wives
at precisely eleven thirty almost every evening-
that's my neighbor;
he moans loudly when he comes.
one by one i will blow them,
fuck them, leave a trail of semen and bad costumes
on the floor behind me,
and when i arrive back home
by identity as a slut and homewrecker will follow
and destroy my house like a bomb made of snickers and tarts.
i will be completely guilty and wrong
and pass out on the bed without brushing the dogs or
cleaning the floor or
locking the doors or
checking that the children brushed their teeth or
enjoying a whore bath in the hallway sink.
i will be completely wrong and guilty 
and leave my husband to deal with the children's tears
the neighbor wives' fury
the neighbor men's sudden righteous anger 
at being tricked while in a vulnerable position,
all alone on Halloween night,
when a woman they had previously known to be fairly distant
took their hands and placed one on the curve of her hip,
the other on her right (the better, slightly firmer) breast
and whispered to them that it wasn't their fault,
she was having it all,
that's what she was told to do,
and she would take it by hook 
or crook, nut to slut,
and sleep the dreamless sleep of the damned.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Melatonin

THE LAST few months I've had no problem falling asleep at night which is really (Jim Carrey reahealhealhealy) not like me

Which I am grateful for.

However not grateful for the constant fatigue of the last month. I have always, even as a teen, had problems with fatigue-fatigue dominated my twenties-but it has been manageable the last year for the most part, until recently.

So tonight I'm taking melatonin at midnight because I have watched a movie, it is saturday night, and my when I asked E. if he wanted to watch a movie with me he simply said 'no' and Everkins came right up to me and put her arms around me and said Mama I'll watch a movie with you and I felt sad that at her age, almost seven, it is so obvious to her now what is going on, and how the various people in her life feel about it- how she might feel about it. She talks about it almost every day right now. I bought her a workbook When Your Parent Has Mental Illness and she loves it, the way only small children can love these kinds of things. On her own she opened it and did four pages, which I didn't discover until the next day. I was a little startled because I don't think that's a great idea, for her to do it alone, but then I was a little in awe of the singleness of children, of how just when you start falling into the unconscious lull and bull of living as if they are known completely to you, they go and do or say something to remind you of their singularity. Ever Elizabeth is absolutely singular. That child has the spirit of a pioneer. She is upright morally and physically and yet without the prissy bossiness her mother had as a child. She's a damn good egg. We walk the path together. 

Anyhow I turned to her with a smile and said of course, I'd love to watch a movie with my girl, and we snuggled up and she fell immediately asleep and I lay thinking about some of the hardest, most elusive questions of my life, and reminding myself once again to put Montaigne's writing/essays in my amazon bucket-
so in fact, I will go do that now. I can feel the melatonin kicking in.

edited-
i put Montaigne in. anyone want to read him alongside me? we could talk about it. back and forth on blogs even, like the old days, god i hate that expression. xo


edited-
realized i actually put in a bio of Montaigne, which looks so good and is so cheap i'll start with that anyhow. it's 'How To Live: A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer'
I MEAN could any book be more necessary for me right now?


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