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September 21, 2003
1. In 1981 I was an eskimo & Wile E Coyote.
2. A punkin’ who stood proud & naked
3. In a forty-six inch plastic pool.
4. Five years later I was eight years old.
5. And losing a mother.
6. I have a beautiful, beautiful story to tell.
7. Laced with miracles, messes, promises, prophecy &
8. The type of healing acquired by faith.
9. I am the daughter of a believer.
10. Of a Pentecostal preacher.
11. Who found salvation while holding
12. a .357 Magnum to his head
13. while my brother & I slept.
14. Years later, that same man picked up a crow bar
15. pried steel, tugged & fought & fought
16. because my body was inside a blue neon, broken
17. and I just wanted him to hold my hand.
18. There are pieces of my life I won’t let myself remember.
19. And if, by chance, I submit to memory
20. Late at night, when my mind races
21. One pale blue toilet bowl keeps me company
22. While it holds my insides
23. & i cry at it’s feet.
24. The core of me is filled with guilt & regret.
25. Because, although I am quick to forgive others
26. I rarely ever forgive myself.
27. Instead, I replay scenarios in my head.
28. Constantly wondering, ‘would this have turned out differently if i had only…’
29. I have trouble accepting that things are how they are.
30. That my experience can’t be altered.
31. I have trouble letting go.
32. Giving up.
33. Giving in.
34. I have always been the underdog.
35. And a fighter.
36. Tonight I jumped guardrails, faced traffic
37. to take black & white photographs
38. of road signs that mean something to me.
39. I’m afraid that one day, everything I love will be gone.
40. So I document this life
41. as best as I can
42. with pictures & words & color
43. because twenty years from now I may not have the boy
44. But I will have a photograph of the field
45. we walked through, holding hands
46. after discarding our clothes in the barn
47. and propositioning each other in Irish accents
48. the night I lost my virginity.
49. Twenty years from now I may not remember
50. how good it was to be twenty-five
51. drunk with my best friend
52. in Wal-Mart buying duct tape & plastic
53. because we smashed a convertible window
54. and need to cover it at 3:00 in the morning
55. before rain sets in.
56. Or how hard it is to be twenty-five
57. And watching everyone around me give birth
58. heat oatmeal, raise families, while i
59. struggle with the concept of love and wonder
60. what went wrong
61. what happened
62. is it foolish to believe
63. in an ee type of love
64. in my grandparent’s type of love
65. in a type of love where
66. sixty-three years isn’t long enough
67. to love one man.
68. I admit I don’t know anything.
69. That I watched a boy I loved
70. devour his dreams, develop tics, give his everything away.
71. I watched his skin slowly fade
72. And thought that my love might be enough.
73. I wanted to save him.
74. I wanted to heal his little boy traumas.
75. I wanted to heal his memory of fists & blood & never being good enough.
76. I wanted the little battered girl inside of me to mend him.
77. I wanted to mend myself.
78. And he just wanted to forget.
79. I once thought that I would live my entire life bearing the weight of other’s sorrows.
80. That if I listened long enough, loved hard enough, took it all inside,
81. I might remedy some wrongs.
82. So I counted cuts on 17 year old wrists, 36 to be exact.
83. Bandaged burns, applied ointment.
84. Listened to stories of self-mutilation.
85. Gave hugs. Rides. Cried.
86. Called social services.
87. Took faces into my hands.
88. Listened while she held a gun
89. on the other end of the phone line.
90. Said I see you.
91. Said I love you.
92. Over & over.
93. Meant every word of it.
94. Because twenty years from now when I’m listening to your story
95. or telling mine in third person
96. I don’t want to question if I could have done more,
97. said more, been more
98. I want to be the woman who survived
99. all the moments of impact
100. and kept on loving with a love
101. acquired by faith.
1. I haven’t written anything lately.
2. That bothers me but
3. I’ve been painting and
4. Years ago I realized it’s a creative cycle of mine:
5. Live in words for one month (or two)
6. Then become overwhelmed by images.
7. I think it has to do with the Gemini & Cancer in me.
8. I’m not really certain though.
9. I’m indecisive.
10. When shopping I select items on a whim.
11. Then put them back on the shelf when I’m ready to check out.
12. I’ve worked in a department store.
13. Sometimes it bothers me not to put stray items in their place.
14. Sometimes I’m like that with men.
15. But only if they’re–arrogant, conceited, shitty, try to take the upper hand.
16. I stand my ground. Assume a role.
17. Become unbreakable for one moment in time.
18. I can be sweet as pie or stubborn as hell depending on mood and/or shifts in the wind.
19. As a teenager I was hell bent on saving the world.
20. I didn’t understand that the world wasn’t asking to be saved.
21. Five years ago I began working with emotionally disturbed / delinquent kids.
22. They have been my life but
23. I’m thinking about letting that go.
24. In two hours I will decide which direction my life will take.
25. After I make my decision I’ll have to spend a few days alone.
26. Some might refer to it as moping and crying.
27. I like to call it processing.
28. Sometimes I have to spend days processing just so I can
29. breathe again.
30. I grieve in private.
31. It’s a trait learned from my father and my grandmother.
32. By grieving in private we are strong for others.
33. I try to put on my strong face quite often.
34. Especially when I feel anything but.
35. Today I spent a few hours listening to my father tell stories.
36. He is a natural story teller and I try to memorize his expressions, voices, maneurisms.
37. I know that one day he won’t be around to tell anymore stories.
38. That thought breaks my heart.
39. As most of my world is somehow woven around him.
40. He has been my mother & father & healer.
41. Spiritual adviser & so much more.
42. When I was eight he carried my sick mother through the doors of a hospital.
43. Spent one winter driving back & forth & worrying about his wife.
44. He took her back to the hospital later that summer.
45. He didn’t bring her home.
46. Part of me still aches
47. But I’ve learned to bury it underneath such love.
48. I try to connect the things of my past with current habits.
49. I’m an obsessive collector.
50. I don’t like to call it hoarding but I believe that’s what it is.
51. Everything I own has some sentiment attached.
52. Every rock, stick, book, dried flower–a piece of memory embedded within its surface.
53. I collect antiques imagining the women whose families grew up moving around the pieces.
54. The hands that have dusted / swiped in anger, boredom, need.
55. It makes me feel connected to a world.
56. To a history that may not be my own.
57. But is still history and needs to be honored
58. in some small way.
59. I’m terribly afraid of making the wrong decisions.
60. Of being trapped in a career / love / relationship that might someday
61. suffocate me until I have to leave.
62. I’ve left before.
63. The look on his face and the way he told me it was okay
64. broke my heart.
65. The last thing I ever want to do is hurt anyone.
66. But I cannot settle for something that doesn’t make me blissfully happy.
67. At 67 I see myself sitting on a porch swing.
68. In a tie-dyed dress
69. sipping homemade wine
70. enjoying the moment
71. pondering flower beds
72. and what my hands will create next.
73. The little old man picking his guitar while I hum along
74. is not a permanent fixture in this vision.
75. I don’t know if I will ever find anyone to suit all my quirks.
76. But I would like a co-conspirator.
77. A collaborator.
78. We could write poetry for a few months.
79. Then split canvas and paint.
80. Communicate with our eyes.
81. Sit in silence.
82. Wake up each morning pinching each other with our toes.
83. Laugh until noon.
84. Then piddle around in antique shops.
85. wood shops.
86. flower beds / herb gardens / blackberry vines.
87. There are so many things left to do.
88. I doubt I’ll ever get around to everything in my head.
89. Right now I have four different projects going.
90. A huge decision weighing on my shoulders
91. And everyone around me seems to be pregnant.
92. Someday I wouldn’t mind 3-4-5 kids
93. playing outside in their very own boxcar
94. while I’m inside baking & cooking & making things pretty.
95. But I’m not ready for babies & diapers & 3 AM feedings.
96. I still feel like such a little girl myself
97. playing dress-up in women’s clothes
98. necklaces too big for my eight year old neck,
99. collecting chipped tea-cups
100. because I want to believe my memories
101. won’t ooze through the crack.