"Those were hard things for me to come by, and I offer them to you for what they may be worth." - Toby Wolff

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I look in the mirror and mourn.

Having just woken, it is unreasonable
but then I am unreasonable
have always been either with or without reason
poorly balanced against whimsy

Tears blink neon above the marquee question
"what in the HELL is wrong with you?"
while the house slumbers alongside my answer

Emotions line the block in colorful lawn chairs
anticipation rising in incremental volume
for this psychological thriller is opening right this very moment!
The hooded crowd huddles in their sleeping bags,
flasks long emptied of warmth and bladders full of tenacity

I am standing at the edge of the stage
toes gripping the beveled edge and g r i e v i n g
....."that music and the way it was recorded...so raw...so pure"
....."the grain of the photos, so raw as well..."
in contrast to my life which seems set...done..not raw at all
no longer a blank canvas with an open future
for there is all that PAINT: responsibility and commitment and connection and economy and children and work and predictability and chorespetshousepaymentsloyaltiespromisesschedulesbaggage
and NOW and then and...

I don't know how!
this morning I don't know how
to feel more than an actor in my life
how to feel it more, FEEL motion, not DO motion
I have cultivated the art of dissociation
(in my own defense, Your Honor, it was necessary for survival)
back then...so far back it seems ovarian
a dropping egg

I don't know how
not to play act, but to be the uncooked egg
reaching out with all my edges
being raw, being new, being open
within a work of art already framed!

My eyes are dark brown
traced with aubergine ink dripping down the maudlin morning mirror
dropping off the precipice of my chin onto the furrowed carpet
and I realize I have done it just now!
Tears have changed the art
I have altered the canvas
It is not static, I am not boiled hard, I am not done!
Messier, uncertain, fearing, doubting
but  o o z i n g  yolk onto the floor
feeling my life
doing my life

(After this morning's harrowing introspection (*ironic smile*...for what have I to cry over when compared to Susan for instance), I got in the turn lane to enter the freeway. A hand painted sign...a canvas...read "Fears and Doubts are OK". No phone number, no website, no agenda but the heralded pronouncement.)


  1. Wearing your tender heart on your sleeve, feeling things so acutely that it's scary, trying to distance yourself from it all, yet unable to do so. Just like most of us - honest!

    There's nothing wrong with you at all, Annie. :)

  2. Bubba - Feeling so acutely it's scary...

    Reminds me of something I wrote last year:

    "I wonder if somehow I was born without the blinders that others seem to have. Too much input for one small brain and not enough filter? Just suck suck suck between the spaces in my teeth and it swirls and foams...foams over... not bubbles, as in the cute translucent spheres, but foams, as in froths, as in rabid. Is depression like having eyes with no lids? Can I grow blinders? Do I want to? Is pain worth taking it all in? After clitoral circumcision would one attempt sex? Would I, could I, be numb...happily numb? There are drugs for that. I tried 'em. Not a fan. Guess that answers that. Gotta change the filter."

    Ha! Now I am on the drugs. Not so numb as I thought eh????

  3. I love the imagery you use to describe a feeling of imminent sadness; you feel it coming on - you know what's happening - but it hasn't quite hit you yet. Then it does: "...for this psychological thriller is opening right this very moment!" Very good, Annie!

    It's terrible to just go through the motions. I sometimes surprise myself with longing not only for the the crush and sweetness of a relationship but also the hurt and heartache. I miss the emotional intensity. I miss those days when trouble at work or  worries over a soft economy seemed distant enough to be dreams - someone else's dreams - cause my own hurt felt all-consuming. Ha! That's silly and juvenile. 

  4. Andreas - I don't think it's silly and juvenile. It's these daily, predictable, measurable troubles or worries that spell monotony. Sometimes even pain is preferable to monotony. I get it. I think we can push through monotony though. Even brushing your teeth can become less predictable with effort, with imagination, by coming at it from a different direction. Can't it??? Damn economy! *sigh*

  5. I have to say Annie that the image you've chosen here is just bloody brilliant.

    Now ... onto the content. I suspect that there are some in life who feel too intently. Sometimes I feel like my incoming filter is a right duffer. I think I was at the back of the line up for filters! Maybe that's where we met in a former life ha ha ha. Like you I often feel that I lack the wherewithall to deal with the resulting overload. It feels like too much, too much of the time ... so far, so normal. Really really normal. Or perhaps not that normal but perfectly understandable. At least by me :)

    Big huge hug. xx Jos

  6. FEEL motion, not DO motion

    this reminds me in many ways of my first and only remaining post at in through the back door - the utter need to feel my life. i hear you directly. i hear you through my life's historical ears. i.am.living.my.life. i am. on the sill. yes! as you say, the same kind of oozing. it is necessary, annie, isn't it, or what is it all for? and i know this of you as i know it of myself, the risk, the desperation, the foot on the gas. but i know this now too - that motion doesn't have to be destructive. it can be - just - alive, living, being passionate and awake.

    all so volatile, isn't it? so freaken volatile. and yet, it's possible.

    much love annie

  7. These are the beautiful thoughts, fears, and feelings of a beautiful soul...

  8. I love this. Its so honest.

    I know this feeling, too. Sometimes mundane, sometimes overwhelmingly powerful. Finding the balance seems to me to be a delicate operation.

    I try to embrace even the mundane moment in life, every motion, every choice one that will build you into the person you want to be. They are just as important as the decisions made in the quiet, powerful moments.

    Movements made like a kata, carefully chosen, formed, any misstep creating an unbalanced (unstable) position in the journey.

    Of course, I suppose that grace is the ability to turn a misstep into a beautiful accident, where you recover and move on, also shaping the person you choose to become.


    I also have to remember to keep breathing, sometimes. It seems like a good place to start.


  9. I wondered if I was feeling through you, if I was part of you, with this wonderful writing, an observer recording the emotions expressed. But soon I was making it all about me, comparing the imagery with where my thoughts started going to similar places I remember and can compare.
    I feel like I have just finished enjoying your pain, thinking of the words, how they were used, more than the connection they have to you, and your feelings here.

  10. i don't know how not to play act either. i'd like to experience life at that level, feeling my life, doing my life. it's a real good ending.

  11. Well wrought. Well considered. I'll be back for more.

  12. I'm sure you're right: we can break through it. And in all fairness, I feel like everyday life is ok most days; comforting even. One can only stand so much emotional strain, before brushing the teeth and vacuuming the house starts looking like sweet relief.

  13. Annie, this is actually brilliant work.

    The dissociation of desperation is transformed in the disciplines into the spiritual detachment of compassion just as the freedom of not yet is transformed into the freedom of mastery in any endeavor.

    The freedom of playing a musical instrument is a clear example of the difference and the work of the difference, and yet it is possible as I have done many times to walk away in the meaninglessness of things. I am currently in that position once again, with all the impulse to the divine going into the writing instead.

  14. Oh wow. It is easier to denying our feelings, but yes, so much more real when we don't. I want post "Fear and Doubts are Okay" somewhere that I can see it every day.

  15. Jos – Back of the line? Yes! Bloody likely! Duffer? What’s that? Let me consult my “across the pond” lexicon. Hmmm…something “counterfeit or worthless; an incompetent or clumsy person.” So a crappy filter. Well that’s really the question Jos. Maybe that’s the way we are supposed to live…filterless. “So far, so normal.” Love it. We should wear that on a T-shirt, no matter how abnormal we feel.

    Erin – “Motion doesn’t have to be destructive”. But it is volatile, like nitro…looking as anemic as water but deceptively unstable. With the smallest external force it explodes. So to move while conscious of that…to hammer away at it with velvet. Yes, passionate and awake. Much love back Erin.

    Marty – These are the things I wish to know of Medea. What drips from her eyes when she looks in the mirror. Thank you!

    Klaire – Yes, as I was saying to Erin…and here you are in confirmation. Movement is deceptively unstable. Have you walked a balance beam? The slower you go, the harder it is. And yet we cannot rush. Hell no. Slow down, slow down, be present, FEEL. Breathing is a wonderful place to start :) Your comment echoes my thoughts this morning. I choose…every day. Not a blanket choice of forever. But every morning I choose. A conscious decision. A balanced effort.

    Anthony – How wonderful to read your journey through mine. It should be all about you! That’s powerful. I feel competent in it, like I have written something correctly (as if there is such a thing). I LOVE that you said you just finished “enjoying” my pain. What a brave thing to say. A very naked thing. Thank you!!!

    Ed – And I’d like to do an immersion project! Can we do such a thing into our own lives? Isn’t that what we’re doing…writing as we do? Immersion project into my own life. Ha! Now you’ve got me thinking!

    Jamie – Yay! Do visit again. I look forward to listening. You’ve much to say.

    Andreas – Well put! Every emotion is relative to the next and the ones that preceded it. Oh but we strain to let each be it’s own unique and newly born thing!

    Christopher – Thank you! You’ve got me thinking. To walk away in the meaninglessness of things. I wonder how many of my impulses go into the writing more than the living! Thinking thinking thinking. I am Pooh in his thoughtful spot. It is always a delightful surprise to hear your thoughts. Thanks for chiming in.

    Glenn - :)

    Liza – I’ve rowed the river denial so many times it’s boring. Easy and boring. It’s really rather pointless. I really want to know who wrote that sign and why! The history behind such a small thing…5 words…is probably fascinating.

  16. Facing our vulnerabilities is a scary thing sometimes...


  17. shoes - Yeah, damn it. I gotta do it every day! Oh...and add insecurities to the list!

  18. "It is not static, I am not boiled hard, I am not done!"

    Yeah ... I don't ever want to be done.

    I read this one slowly, aloud. It came across well, when I got to this line, I was ready, and I felt it. I fear so much losing spontaneity, becoming hard boiled ...

  19. Matt - I would have liked to hear you speak it. I can't read my poetry out loud. Sounds....I dunno...stupid from my mouth. We ARE NEVER DONE. It's a fact. We just have to live by the knowledge. Spontaneity is a choice and a practice of discipline. Hardly makes sense...practice and spontaneity in the same sentence, but you know what I mean? :)


Thank you for listening.