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Resistance.

The men on my tv are calling the shots.
While women are being arrested in the gallery.
I am tired of this scenario.
You are too preoccupied.
You are too political. You are not political enough. Why are you so political? Why aren’t you more political? Do you even understand? What is your purpose? You don’t really understand do you? Why are you wearing that? Don’t you know better? I just told you. You don’t listen do you? Why are you wearing that? Where are you going? Fuck off you stupid bitch. Where are you going? I never gave you permission. Go to bed. You need to lose some weight. Why don’t you lost some weight? You know you do. You don’t look like that girl in the magazine. Why? You never learn. Why are you so difficult? This is not working. You don’t listen. I just told you. You are too political. Why are you so political? I told you so. You are too preoccupied. I can’t hear you.
When I was in my 20’s I lived with a man 10 years older than me.
I was young, we lived together for years, and when I was ready to move on he took my dog, removed the starter from my car, and threw all my clothes in the front yard. He destroyed our telephone so I couldn’t call my parents. Or 911.
I watched all these things unfold like a movie in front of me. I felt older then. I am younger now, as Bob Dylan would say. I am younger.
And he is somewhere else.
Just a few years ago I was groped by a strange man in our neighborhood while out walking my dogs. I was adjusting a harness for my dog and bent over when this man put his hand between my legs.
Then he ran away.
When I realized it wasn’t my husband I shouted in my best tough girl language. A tough girl fuck you.
Then he just disappeared.
 
once worked with a woman in retail who told the story of how she saved money for years to eventually leave her husband who was abusive. She secretly saved change. Nickels, dimes and quarters. Enough until she left her husband. Enough when she had had enough.
I worked in accessories and she worked in the baby department. I remember being surprised to learn she had children. She was unassuming to the point of being invisible and I can’t remember her name. When I think of strong women I often think of her and I have thought of her story for 25 years or more. Never underestimate the idea you can nickel and dime your way to freedom. 
Never underestimate the power of a woman.
I got paddled once in first grade. I was out of my seat and talking when the teacher walked in. That was around 1974 or ’75 and let me just say for the record that shit would never fly today. Not for a minute.
Before my teacher left the room we were reading a Dick and Jane book in a semi circle and sitting on wooden chairs. Dick, Jane, and Spot. And Mom and Dad. Their robotic language was exciting when you are 6 and learning to read.
I would like to think I was skeptical because the sun was always shining, Jane had blonde hair and Mom and Dad never argued.
I have always been skeptical.
Perhaps I was out of my seat pointing this out when the teacher walked in and summoned me outside for a paddling.
Jane never got paddled. Jane never did a god damn thing. Let me just say.
That shit would never fly today. Not for a minute.
Shut your mouth girl. Sit yourself down. Take a seat.
You don’t know nothing. You don’t know. Nothing.
oh
But we do.
Just ask the gallery.
We are two steps ahead and we know exactly what the fuck is going on.
You take a seat.
You.
Take a seat.

Continue reading “Resistance.”

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Leaping.

The clouds were live action
Renaissance paintings.
Back lit and all wonder
I saw mostly dogs and sometimes bears
or maybe wolves
Mostly dogs and wolves
Teeth and ears pointing at the sky.
Battling in the theatrics of hundreds and then thousands of years
Before you were even an idea
Leaping that sky
Over my head.
Over your head.
Inky black horizon and stars we could mostly not name.
Before I could accurately document who was in fact winning
We were on to the next thing
Puffy, large, dubious, and romantic
My pair of dogs were battling an angry god in profile
Mouths open
teeth
leaping.
But
Mars pulled them apart
De-construction.
Then they built it again
And again.
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Truth.

When you are a kid they tell you to count the seconds between lightning and thunder and that will tell you how far away a storm is. That’s pretty damn accurate even as a grownup.
Get the clothes off the clothesline. Unplug the Tv for and for heavens sake don’t call anyone. Don’t you know people get killed talking on the phone during a storm? I read that once in Reader’s Digest.
When I was a kid the storms were far away and regular.
Regular storms.
You lost power during a bad snowstorm the year you finally got Atari. No Space Invaders courtesy of Santa that night. And snow is always better than ice. Everyone knows that.
Pay attention to the birds someone once told me.
They know when a storm is coming.
And that is an absolute truth. Everyone knows that.
Count the birds counting the miles because they know. They. Know.
Now
The atmosphere is incorrect. 
The weathermen are compromised. 
The barometric pressure is bottom. 
You can still count the seconds between lightning and thunder on most days. 
Get away from that window my mother said. Don’t you know? I read that in Reader’s Digest once. 
You should be in the middle of the house. 
It’s safe in the middle. 
I read once that weather is a safe conversation topic. You can talk about it with anyone and they will talk to you back. 
It’s hot. It’s cold. It’s going to rain. I don’t understand this weather do you? 
Do you? 
My father had a rain gauge and my mother loved the forecast late at night.
Family measurements of accuracy and the future.
We got Reader’s Digest in the mail.
will tell you 
Truth is measurable. Just count the seconds.
Pretty damn accurate.
But
You can yell at the trees all you want. They won’t hear you. 
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Truth.

The best thing to happen lately

happened in Kindergarten.

Those babies.

Endless questions and unrelated commentary

honesty.

Me

I just had a convo in the hall earlier.

Said

In my best stand up comedienne routine voice.

Do you know what a convo is?

It’s a conversation you have in the hallway or somewhere else with another person.

Hand in the air like a rocket or a truck antenna.

Yes.

“A convo is a group of trucks.”

A convo is a group of trucks.

Yes.

That six year old perception

is

An almost truth.

A six year old truth.

I ask myself in my not so comedienne voice

What will history teach these in ten years or more?

Truth?

A convo is a group of trucks

and

An honest perception is far better than an outstanding lie.

And outright lies

Standing liars will lose.

Its a convoy.

In your hallway

Any day.

Every day.

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Raise Your Hand

It has taken me over two decades and more to learn not to ask a room full of first graders any rhetorical questions.
Ordinary answers will take hours.
Who’s talking?
Who threw that eraser?
Why are you doing that?
Who’s poking you?
Put your shoe on.
Please? Here’s a Kleenex. Yes you can go to the bathroom.
Do you know where to go?
Do you need the nurse?
Do you need me to tie your shoe? I can.
I like that picture you drew of me. I have a big mouth? Right?
Please clean up your space.
Do you want a friend with you?
Why are you doing that?
Ask and you will get 25 answers.
And more. Hands up and pointed fingers.
You know better.
You know what will happen.
You’ve seen it before. And then suddenly someone needs a band-aid. And so it goes.We were not gun people.
Ever. I have never shot a gun. I don’t even pretend. I plan to keep it that way.
Like making my way through class without reading a boring book. Like making fun of every ordinary adult thing. Grownups are a joke.
Guns are a joke.
We were not gun people. We didn’t even pretend.
But my father had an old shotgun that I believe he kept under my parent’s bed. I only saw him with it once one winter when he thought someone was outside of our house in the snow. An icicle or some such thing falling from the roof. A frozen intruder. A potential country house break-in.
What was Dad doing?
We were not gun people.
We didn’t even pretend. I have never shot a gun. I don’t even pretend.
I have argued at length with people who have shot guns. They are an unyielding bunch. I will tell you. And so it goes. I have plotted how to protect a room full of first graders. With rhetorical questions you should not ever have to answer. And band-aids you don’t wan’t to give. Do you need a friend with you?
Stop poking your neighbor.
Please. I will hold your hand. Tie your shoe.
This gun is not a joke.
We are not gun people.

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Golden.

I was chased by a dog past the bleachers
and 
I loved being chased 
Because 
the dog never won. 
I wore corduroy pants in rust and mittens. 
Each according to the Sears catalogue. 
I was a Brownie then 
and my uniform might have also been from the Sears catalogue 
Everything came from the Sears catalogue.
Then
Any girl could be a Brownie 
with a sash and handbook and Mom with a big green car. A badge of honor. 
We played Brownie games outside in the leaves. 
It was fall. 
We made Christmas decorations from pine cones and acorns and ran Red Rover on the lawn of a church. 
I was a one season Brownie and that was it
It seemed too easy to me.
I was a Brownie in an overcoat, gold tights and heavy shoes. 
Back then 
Fall opened the window on frozen and then the world sparkled frost. 
The moon was your guide. 
Stars became your friends. 
Write it down.
Life was colder then and clearer. 
The dogs ran through your backyard 
they passed under that moon right by your swingset and the lawn chairs out beyond their season. 
Dogs on the brink of some other neighborhood. 
Saturday morning…
Friday night. 
Hounds will hunt 
And 
We are all weekend hounds. 
Teeth and fences, voices. Running.
Corduroy pants and mittens. 
According to the Brownie handbook we should all live by the Girl Scout law.
After school snacks and leaves, pinecone crafts, a sash and a brown beret. 
A handbook. 
Anyone can do it. 
Any one. 

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Flight

We rose to fame on the back of a bird
the sun saved me.
and then the wind.
I was a baby when the hurricane came. My first hurricane.
My parents waited in line for water.
I have dreams about water.
and loss.
and being lost.
I stood in my crib and cried.
Or so the story goes.
I want to tell you
All things being equal. Are not.
So
I want to carve a word of equality somewhere on my wrist
and on your shoulder.
The first thing people might see when they shake my hand.
When I shake your hand.
Or when you look over your shoulder.
My sunlight came as a match, a cigarette, a street light.
On the wrong side of the street.
I remind you
We traveled years to get here
and all things being equal are not.
The burden of time and those feathers will not sustain you
Or so the story goes.