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

Friday, September 30, 2011

More importantly...

A favorite painting of my Dad's (this being just a crappy photo of a tiny replica postcard)

There...at my equator, you can split me like an Easter egg
my spirit saying up - up
a toddler longing for the saddle of a crooked hip
and a pillowy breast

my body pulled down
as if gravity were the mouth of a barren land
needing the nourishment of my decayed remains
to re-seed for another season.

None of this is particularly troublesome.
Of their own volition
my arms reach toward constellations I can't see
loving my own infinity
while the grass eats at my trunk
so slowly, I almost forget that I am dying.

But when my hands
in vein attempt
to take back from the field all it has required,
my very soul lights a torch, smoke signal to all those stars,
and rallies for separation.

oh yes.
I am not my body.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Fibs and Fibonacci

I have a talent for avoiding math, cultivated by my extreme anxiety over same. I think I am the first and last person to get a BA without taking one single math course. Perhaps I should have. I'm sold! I find this riveting, compelling and mysterious. I want to go find a sunflower and start counting!


It's difficult for me to just accept someones word...no matter how accredited. ARE YOU FIBBING ME? When they told me Pergo flooring was nearly indestructible, I balked. "You do understand I have two little boys?" So I took a piece home and lit it on fire. They were right. I ran Hot Wheels and Tonka trucks on it, Crayons and Sharpies. I generally beat the hell out of that plank and it still smiled at me with nary a bruise. Pergo got several of our paychecks and we got sore backs learning to lay it down tongue and groove. I have not been sorry, and for someone with acute buyers remorse over just about everything...that's REALLY quite an endorsement!

I am bartering my bookkeeping services for a new granite kitchen counter. I was told granite would hold up to just about anything. I balked. "Have you seen the mess I make when I cook? It looks like the top blew off the blender!" So...I got me a sample chunk. I smushed a blackberry and a tomato on it and left them all day. No stain. I left a puddle of olive oil, and another of wine, coffee, balsamic vinegar, and let them sit over night. NO STAIN! I burned it. I lit it on fire (yes...I'm a bit of a pyro) and I am sold on granite!

My husband told me to look into buying a Mac, because I am always yelling at my PC for hobbling along behind me when I need it to giddy-up! I had to poll Facebook, everyone I met, and bang on one myself at the Apple Store (they wouldn't allow my torch in there, so I'm not sure how it will hold up in a fire). I'm sold! I'm getting a iMac this week. I'll be without my PC for awhile and deep into the Mac learning curve, which hopefully isn't too steep. But I want to learn it now before I'm too old to remember which room my desk is in, much less how to work a computer. I'm excited. Be back soon.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Missing The Point


I'm listening to my mother ramble on along the nerves of my voicemail. Blah blah blah..."movie, I think you recommended it..." yadda yadda yadda "no need to call me back, I just loved the scenery, which I think you mentioned..." yackety yack...eye roll, finger drum..."I just shaved my friend's head and I'm heading back home."

My eyes snap to attention with pin-pricks of tears. I am surprised at myself and dab at the offense as if they were foreign objects instead of close friends.

My mother is calling me with more frequency. She is holding her words out to me like connective dots. She is reaching and I see her arms, one thin and one lymphatic, as they extend...wait...retract empty.

Monday, I asked her how she is. "I am....." (long pause and my toe tapping) "....sad." A woman she plays bridge with is Stage Four. It's like a chapter, no...a book...a monument, a continent. STAGE FOUR. I've battled stage four every which way but physically. I won't do it again. I will stamp it on my forehead like a destination and pack my bags for everywhere I've ever wanted to go. I've warned my family. They know.

But this woman has engaged in the battle and she is not winning. This round of chemo has her walking with a cane and trying to hide her clumpy hair under an ill fitting hat.  "I refuse to pay $17.00 for someone to shave my head," she says. "It's ludicrous." And I know how much cancer costs in dollars. I know how much it costs in other ways. I know how much it eats. My mother tells her, "I will shave it for you", and my first thought is those unsteady hands of hers. I wonder if she will have a drink first and give those cells over to their craving before she puts a blade in her hands.

My mother has actually called because she is sad about her friend and upset over the fact that she cannot get her hair clippers to work. The thought passed through my mind like the single filament of a cobweb...

mine work...

but I let it pass in the stiff breeze of my concern with time and distance...and proximity.

I should have gone. I should have seat-belted my clippers in for the three hour drive and just gone...held the hand of my mother, and shaved the head of a stranger. I should have. And I could talk about how I never seem to do the right thing, but the fact is...this deed did not need me. It got done. I just missed it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pearls and Possibilities

The story is no longer unique. It's as tired as the seat of my favorite blue jeans. Abuse - Adoption - Molestation - Irreconciliation. And yet...it was a unique opportunity I had to photograph this wedding...to discover that two broken families had made their way back to each other.

When the bride was five years old, her family attended my church. Her father, Jack, had a brother....Sam. I became very good friends with Sam and his wife. Through the course of our friendship I discovered that, like myself, Sam was also adopted. He CHOSE to be adopted. When they were in high school, Jack and Sam were best friends. Sam's mother was a beast....a wretched woman who abused him in many ways. Jack's family offered to adopt him, and Jack took their name. They took him in as their own son, and two kids who always felt like brothers, now were. Sam and Jack both fell in love with beautiful women and had beautiful sons and daughters.  The two families were very close, spending holidays together, vacations and daily interactions.

When Jack's daughter was five, Sam's son babysat her. They were alone. He molested her. The family broke apart. The son was labeled, the daughter was broken. The friends, turned brothers, became nothing...as dead as if they had died. Sam was no longer considered family for a myriad of complicated reasons. It was sad to watch. A decade went by with little or no contact other than police and attorney's and whatnot. Anyway, that's as short as I can make a long story. Eventually there was a hand out, and a hand receptive, and the two families started speaking again.

Saturday, Jack's daughter got married. Sam and his wife attended. Sam's daughter photographed the wedding with me. I am immensely happy for this bride, that on this day she is reconciled and the brothers are reconciled. Jack's son is absent, but that's not really the point.

Healing is possible.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Funeral Friday

I think lives have themes. Genres perhaps. You will find hers under TRIUMPH and his under COMEDY. I fear to name mine, as in doing so I might self-fulfill (but I already have. Shhhh, ignorance is bliss!)


Fridays are for funerals. Mondays...for mourning. All the days in between try to cheer me. They do a damn good job. Too good! Loss, that tenacious animal, poses as a mid-day and sneaks green-eyed peeks at how good I feel, how comfortable, how unaware of any boom about to jibe.

Then that beast reasserts itself. I hate that fucker...how it mocks. "I lulled you into something you enjoyed. I placed your hand into that of another and (heh heh...) you though it fit. You thought today was forever and you assumed you were some kind of gift and therefore....there were gifts you could keep (heh heh...)."


I stare at my translucent hands and they have no mass. They are incapable of holding a single thing. They have no property, though on a Tuesday or Wednesday they grasp at Deeds. How could I know that paper so easily burned while I held it, and Title was just an accelerant?


I am attending another wake today.

Looking down at my shoes, I burst out laughing. The canvas background is jet black, though peace signs, hearts and flowers scribble their way across the permanent theme.

What the hell? They must think it's a Wednesday!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

All We "Know"

It's easy to live within the circle of your own sanctity
but out on the edge
is where chickens die.

Inviolable is an envious place
yet even condoms have holes
and the impenetrable get pregnant.

Do you lie to yourself when you say there is no god?
Your knowing is not immutable.
I would rather stalk truth
than squat down with my stake
cemented in the corner of a world I did not build.

Certainty is a slippery slope.
How long were we convinced the world was flat?

If you are closed to any truth
but the button you have pinned to your lapel,
the bumper sticker layered over the last worn statement,
it will crack you open like an egg.
You will run out and watch yourself separate
into what you know and what is true, and then untrue,
and then unknown.

I have been the bakers dozen
and that thirteenth was nearly my undoing.

I watched the sun rise this morning.
I watched it seduce the clouds
lick the underside of things thought dead.
I thought to rise tomorrow, ready to capture such a miracle again
as if it were a certainty

At that point I called my own folly
and labeled myself the fool.

(I've stared at my journal for the better part of a week. "Write something upbeat Annie. Write something POSITIVE. Be brilliant but bright." Ha! All I accomplished was to snuff out my muse. I know nothing but what needs to be written during a short lunch. This poem is stained with cucumber and pesto chicken. Perhaps it was indigestion.)


Friday, September 9, 2011

Sea of Gullible Hearts

"You sexy", she say. "So tan. Tan berry sexy on man."

Handing him his folded laundry, she thinks their relationship is solidified. She greases the customer and counts her cash drawer, but he is not one to be counted on. Sue has no idea he will leave his laundry AND the bill. Her small Asian hands have handled that which is intimate with his skin. And yet...and yet...he is completely unknown. He doesn't give a shit about Sue, or The Fluff & Fold. He uses sexy as a decoy. Women and men are shooting blanks at a false target. Sue has an earthquake in her forecast and only the dog trembles.

He gives notice via e-mail. He stands on the shore with his bourbon in hand, "sexy tan" and Burberry shades. One pedicured toe draws body parts in the sand, and with the other he shoves this ship out to sea with barely a backward glance at the crew he once led. They had vowed to invest in his life and did....helped him rent a home, helped him with the subterranean layers of business, threw birthday parties and wedding showers.

And when it trickles down,
as all lies finally do,
and words start falling foreign on shaking heads
(finding their purchase on ears most shattered in their hearing)
they watch in silent incredulity,
unsure of how to stand face to face with the retreating backside of a fraud.

So they stare at each other,   red mouths bobbing
like wooden buoys on an undulating sea of recycled people,
taking on water
through the portholes of gullible hearts.

and it comes as no surprise to anyone really
that they've been taken for a ride,
only that it ended so soon.

(My boss was open with his hedonism. He made no bones about the fact that he would throw you under the bus if it would save himself. The photos of his children, were diversions among his office things. They simply drained his paycheck. Yes...he said that. We knew. We KNEW...but he was so engaging. Funny. Cheeky. I wanted to bottle him for dissection. So up front one moment, and the next he was passing out lies like soup to the homeless. Somehow we lapped it up. He left us on a Monday without warning. We are still finding all he swept under the rug.)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


"Is this what you meant by how I should treat you after?" he said....kissing her lips with his plump ones, and teasing her nipple between his fingers.

"yeah...something like that", she said.

"Well, let's go get that drink", he said....and it wasn't just one, but two...or many, as she knew it would be. Quantity mattered little in such an equation. And there was no sweetness, no tenderness, no after. He'd learned nothing. More importantly, she'd learned less. The world spun no heavier on one side, though it should have.

She pulled the cheap hotel tissue from the box and soaked him up from between her thighs. She brought the tissue to her nose and inhaled the smell of regret. It was musty. Of course it would be. Mistakes are ancient and repeated. They are destined to the fate of a sratched record...annoying as hell...but no one wants to leave the arms of their "lover" to change the album, much less the needle. So we skip along.

He didn't kiss her after.
He didn't touch her.
She didn't really think he would.
But it was worth a shot.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Rebellious Bones

When he forced himself into her mouth, she gagged
told herself it was just a reflex...simple addition and all that.
But with her mouth so filled, it was hard to tell herself anything.

She fought behind her nipples though
and spread her legs into a mouth...labia forming pubic obscenities
which felt shouted. She sure as hell heard 'em!

We all know such things are carried into our silence by fear,
but it felt like she declined surrender
and she praised herself for it
for awhile.

Finally, it was her ribs that rebelled.
It was her ribs that never forgot their origin OF, not AS.
They cracked apart like wish bones and found their parallels and intersections
building of themselves a crude ladder.

Into her mouth, words effervesced...opinions
her opinions

With such notions escaping, such unpopular notions, (and at that she laughed...for hadn't 'agreeable' at one time or two hundred been a goal?) there was no longer space for him inside her mouth. Only between her ears.

(This piece is about the way I was raised for the most part. It is a story about the removal of a gag that I carried into my marriage. I felt such a need to be agreeable, to accept another's opinions as my own. I felt guilty for having opposing views. Ribs, and OF verses AS have biblical significance for me.)