rootless, open and more unknown than the night

Addled adolescence, sad and sweet,
quagmire of gloom
where leaves
and bodies tumble
with words,
hard blows and acid love,
an age like space,
rootless, open
and more unknown than the night,
dragging more stars than shadow.
Time rank with unreturned
with rocks under our feet and famished eyes,
with books life's lessons are squeezed from,
that--right over there--call us to notice though we don't,
with Baudelaire perched like a raven on a shoulder
and Lautréamont howling scot-free in his coffin.
In this manner,
far from Garcilasco and his riverbanks
festooned with swan feathers
and so half-cursed, the unhinged,
breast-fed on literature,
carrying every darkness in their hands,
derelict and delirious, go
trudging step by step,
taking to the road,
searching out bread, home, and woman
as all men must.

[Pablo Neruda {1904-1973}, '13', from Then Come Back: The Lost Neruda Poems]


fill your paper with the breathings of your heart

I've been busy lately, intentionally. As the seasons change and November looms closer, the loss of Chris is compounded by missing him anew. I need him, now, and he's gone! What do I do with that? And so, I do things. Whatever fills the space. At the moment, it's tidying up my incredibly convoluted computer hierarchy. What had been a desktop computer and, uh, five laptops is now (for all intents and purposes) one laptop with three profiles (temporarily) and a very large external drive, being whittled down into just one profile + guest profile. At the rate that I'm working through it, it ought to be done in approximately 2019. Still, it's progress, and it keeps me distracted and busy and accomplishing something when otherwise I'd be staring at the wall feeling sorry (i.e. more sorry) for myself and moping.

One of the amazing discoveries that I've made, though, during this process, is a cache of unposted blog writing from the very early days. Or, prehaps it was posted elsewhere, only to have been dissolved with the demise of previous blogs? In any case, the writing is...wow. And too good not to share (painfully unedited).

This was written on December 7, 2004. Three days before my divorce.

“And so I do the only thing that seems available to me under the circumstances, if I intend to go on living. I get up and walk away.”
[John Burnham Schwartz]

Just finished watching a movie --Riding in Cars with Boys. K would be pleased, because I haven’t regularly watched movies at all in the last several years. He’s constantly amazed when, during conversation, he’ll ask, “Have you seen -- ?” and name a movie, and I’ll say, “No,” and he’ll roll his eyes and explain whatever the point was that he was trying to make. He’s very much a movie person. I used to be. I went all the time when I was in high school and college. Just stopped going once I got married. I guess it was a money thing at first. Eventually, though, it was probably an unspoken intimacy thing. Sitting alone in the dark with someone with whom I didn’t want to be close was something I avoided, naturally. I avoided a lot of things.

“Every so often I caught myself, pining for this person who was absent on purpose, no matter how richly ardent she acted in my daydreams, and I felt foolish and lame and way, way off the right track.
“I really did not want to be humiliated by hope. I waited for it to leave me, and I did my best to fight it off.”
[Joan Silber]

Spent my lunch hour today taking care of business, same as yesterday. Yesterday’s business, though, was emotional. I signed the lease and paid the deposit on the new apartment. I met H at the bank and co-signed the check from the title company from the refinance of the house. We joked with the teller that we wanted to cash it and get it in quarters, and even did the Blazing Saddles line: “We’re gonna need a shitload of dimes.” It’s times like that when it’s really bittersweet, you know? We have so much history together. So many things that come up where we share a brain, where no one else would get it, with one look, that it’s absolutely ridiculous that the teller asked, “You want to deposit the whole thing?” No shit, moron. It’s a check for $--,---. We’re not going to walk up in the middle of the day on a Monday and expect to just cash it!

After we deposited the check, we figured out how much I would withdraw today to start my account. H had to stay after that and deal with some other things, and I went back to work. I spent most of the rest of the day while at work talking on the phone with my attorney. We talked four times, I got 2 voice-mail messages from him, and I was at the office twice. I’m starting to feel a bit like a law junkie. It’s not a good feeling.

Today’s errands were of a less emotional nature, but still pretty jarring. I started off at the bank, where I set up my new accounts. Nothing like removing half of our checking account in one motion and launching my own life. Odd how it simultaneously felt like I was stripping H of his financial future, yet starting out with almost nothing.

After the bank, I went to the insurance agent. I cancelled one life insurance policy (a term policy which had been set up specifically because of the mortgage), changed beneficiaries on the other, put the car insurance in my own name solely, added renter’s insurance for my new place, and set up the billing to my new account. It took a really long time, but it should be all set. That was actually pretty traumatic, if only because the agent was overly sympathetic about the situation. “We were all very saddened about your news. You and [H] were such a nice couple --both such nice people. Blah blah blah.”

I’m like, “Yeah. Thanks. Now I feel like crap.”

“That’s the thing about sacrifice: sometimes when you think you’re losing something, you’re really just passing it on, to someone else.”
[Mitch Albom]

So the movie. Riding in Cars with Boys. It was good. Sad and emotionally draining, but good. Miles and tons better than The Five People You Meet in Heaven, for chrissake, but that doesn’t take much. Holy fuck, what a lame movie. I hadn’t read the book, and I think I’m glad --it seems like a drug trip gone horribly awry. But I did like the line quoted above. I’m comforted by the idea that sacrifice means something, that it has some greater purpose than just giving up something. The concept of martyrdom or altruism hasn’t rung true for me, and now I know why --there must be a point of passing it on. A purpose.

Naturally, this has something to do with K. Yes, I do think about him an inordinate amount. Part of the reason for that is that my job is very solitary right now and involves too much time where my hands are busy but my brain is left alone to wander, and why not wander back to its favorite place?

So sacrifice. And K. He asks me, more often than I can accurately express, what it is about him that makes me stick around. (He puts it in a more succinct fashion, but I need to lay it out in a different manner here.) He’s not looking for compliments --he’s looking for an explanation. He wants it to make sense to him. Not as if it’s likely. I think it’s just that I feel it, you know? But anyway. I’m not going anywhere, and he knows it. So that’s a sort of sacrifice. And maybe I think I’m losing something –time, or energy, or faith. Or maybe he thinks I’m losing those things. But maybe I’m passing them on, to him. At least the energy and the faith. Maybe by sticking this out, by being there when he turns around and says, “Are you still here?!”, he’s coming to realize that he’s worth sacrificing for. And he’s not going to be quite as willing to run the next time.

But maybe I’m on crack. Maybe he’s the same person, regardless of what I do or don’t do. Maybe I’m utterly delusional, and maybe he’s just tired of it all. Who knows?

“Nature has a way of letting beauty disappear.”
[Mary Kay Andrews]

I don’t want to miss anything. I’m trying to remember every single moment that I have of this. It means that much to me.

[the title quotation is by William Wordsworth]


the heart must pause to breathe, And love itself have rest

So, we'll go no more a roving 
   So late into the night, 
Though the heart be still as loving, 
   And the moon be still as bright. 

For the sword outwears its sheath, 
   And the soul wears out the breast, 
And the heart must pause to breathe, 
   And love itself have rest. 

Though the night was made for loving, 
   And the day returns too soon, 
Yet we'll go no more a roving 
   By the light of the moon.

[Lord Byron {George Gordon} {1788-1824}, 'So, we'll go no more a roving']


shit. The mind gets up to funny tricks, doesn't it? Shadows grow faces

[This is all about the Shaggy song 'Boombastic' (1995).]
  1. This song is a rather shameless come-on by an accomplished ladies' man. Do you enjoy flirting?
    sometimes it's a thrill. Other times it's enormously wearing, and makes me feel old and far too wise.
  2. Shaggy sings that he's like a turtle coming out of his shell. Do you think turtles, snakes and lizards make good pets? Or would you prefer a companion animal that has fur or feathers?
    K and I considered getting a lizard, a hundred years ago when we were talking about living together. It was a muse on my part, because the idea of picking one up makes me incredibly squeamish. I'm 100% afraid of snakes, and turtles just don't do anything for me at all.
    I feel the same way about birds, though. Just can't see the point of having one in a cage, when what's inherently awesome about birds is the fact that they fly and do what they will.

    For me, it's cats or nothing. Maybe, in a truly distant universe, a dog. But probably just a cat.
  3. He also sings that if you don't feel like driving, you should hand him the keys. Are you comfortable letting others drive your car?
    not really. I'm OK with my dad doing it, or one or two of my friends--but generally not with me as a passenger. If I can let you drive my car without getting all weird, then I trust you a LOT.
  4. He tries to woo the girl with the promise of a bubble bath. Do you enjoy relaxing in the tub? Or do you view baths and showers as simply part of your hygiene routine, like brushing your teeth?
    I enjoy it, but I don't do it very often. I'm out of the habit of indulging myself like that. It's easy to convince ourselves that life is too busy for relaxing.
    When does it slow down?
  5. Born Orville Burrell, Shaggy took his stage name from his shaggy hair. Using your hair as inspiration, what would your stage name be?
    'Semper Mutans'
  6. Sam admits she hadn't thought about this 20+ year old song in years, until she heard it on a Chase Bank commercial. According to the Federal Reserve Bank, check-writing dropped more than 50% between 2000 and 2010. Who received the last check you wrote?
    the local computer repair shop. My desktop is on its last legs, and I bought it a few more moments.
  7. Which would you prefer to receive in a birthday card: a $25 check or a $20 Target gift card?
    a check is fine. God knows I'm at the bank often enough.
  8. Sam's mother refuses to pay bills online. All the news stories about data breaches scare her. Have you ever been hacked? If so, did it take long to get the situation resolved?
    everybody's been hacked. It's only a matter of whether they've decided to tell you or not.
  9. In 1995, when this song was popular, Michael Jordan "unretired" and returned to the Chicago Bulls. Tell us about a decision you made that you wish you could undo.
    I had an opportunity to go to Las Vegas a few years ago, and I did not. By choosing to give in to my fear, my life was changed. What would have been, if I'd taken that trip?

    I wish I knew.

[grabbed from The Cat, who got it here; the title quotation is by Stephen King, from Just After Sunset]


finally knowing the difference between bright and poisonous

Trying to decide what's as beautiful
as a bucket of nails on a deck, rain by rust
almost blood-colored, almost life
starting over from nothing. I pick the moment
I didn't kill a milk snake, diverted
the spade at the last, harmlessly cutting
the ground, finally knowing the difference
between bright and poisonous. Or when

I realized she loves me, she loves me not
explains why daisies avoid us
as often as they can, I say Run, simple flower,
away from my need to know
anything at all, everything
would be better. Or when

I was given an electron microscope
by the Tooth Fairy, that was beautiful
too, to sleep painfully
on a deeper seeing, and wake, and cut
my mother's tongue to show her the cells
by which she told me, Your toast
is ready, sweetie. Which it was

every morning, buttered and jammed
and cut in half, an application
of disorder that created
a different sense of order. As when Chartres
is broken into a thousand
puzzle pieces and becomes
a system on a table
more interesting when a piece or two
or three go missing.

[Bob Hicok {1960- }, 'You name this one', from Elegy Owed]


good manners are made up of petty sacrifices

  • What are your favourite smells?
    clean laundry, lemon, bacon
  • Can you go a whole day without caffeine?
  • Who knows more about you than anyone else?
    D, and D
  • What song did you last listen to?

    "Killing Me Too" by Sister Hazel, from
    Chasing Daylight
  • Do you have a crush on anybody?
    I wouldn't call it a crush.
  • Do you like The Beatles?
    in a battle with The Rolling Stones, the Beatles win hands down. Otherwise, I don't really seek them out all that much.
  • If you could choose one color to wear for a whole year, what color would you choose?
    it would have to be blue. Or black.
  • Do you cook often?
    not as much as I'd like, or I ought, but yes
  • What was the last film you watched? Did you like it?
    Bottle Rocket, the Wes Anderson's (and Luke Wilson's and Owen Wilson's) debut feature film. I didn't adore it, but it was pretty good.
  • Can you sew?
    I can make simple repairs
  • What is your favorite fruit?
    raspberries and peaches
  • Are you health conscious?
    I am conscious that my health needs some work
  • Go do the Kinsey Scale Test, what number result did you receive?
  • Do you curse a lot?
    far too often
  • When was the last time you had a pint of beer?
    reunion weekend
  • Are you pro life or pro choice?
    I wouldn't define it that way, as if there were equal and opposite choices. It's bigger, to me, than yes or no.
  • Is there a certain food you often crave for no reason?
    probably not. I think food cravings come from nutritional imbalance, so you crave salt when you need sodium and you crave meat when you need protein. Not too "fun," but logical.
  • What was the last book you purchased?
    James Ziskin's newest Ellie Stone mystery, Heart of Stone
  • Where was your last vacation?
    right here, when my theatre friends came to visit me
  • Do you shave your pits?
    that's kinda personal, isn't it? "Need to know," even.
  • Did you ever play Seven Minutes in Heaven?
    of course. That's what those middle grades were all about!
  • Girls, when was the last time you went out without a bra?
    Guys, when was the last time you went shirtless in public?

    Ha! That's for me to know.
  • Have you ever broken a bone? If so, how did it happen?
    I broke one when I was about a year and a half old, falling off a chair. The other, I've broken twice, tripping over books.
  • How do you like your eggs?
    scrambled, hard and dry, or hard-boiled. Runny yolk is not my friend.
  • What was your last argument about and who with?
    the last time I got really hot was earlier this week when I was "called into the office" at work. I was scolded, told to reform my poor attitude, and also directed to rearrange my workspace because it bothered unnamed colleagues. There is no end to the incredulity and disgust that I feel for the "management" that happens at that place. I'm hoping to get out without experiencing much more.
[random grab from here; the title quotation is by Ralph Waldo Emerson]


Vani tass, vani tatum, et omni i vani tass

I think of myself as an adaptable, intuitive person who is relatively unshakable. This last week, though, has been a severe test of that theory. Work was a combination of increased productivity, surprising sweetness, juvenile disdain and petulance, flashes of genuine humor, mass confusion, and, overall, the pervading sense that Something is Wrong and it's all [my] fault. But the funny thing is that the only people taking the blame are those probably not in the wrong. I don't know what's coming, but there is an air about the place that it's all coming to a head. I just hope that it doesn't get real ugly before this phase ends.

Also testing that theory, on a different side of things, is an almost crushing sense of disappointment with a couple of people who have let me down...again. What is it with me and expectations; will I never learn?!

Coupled directly with that, though, is the surprise that came up in relation to both of those disappointments, at the hand of my former, er, flame (?), Ulysses.  Although we're no longer anything like we used to be to each other, we've remained in (very rare) contact, probably as much out of habit as intention. However, this time around we told each other a little more truth than usual, in a little more detail than before, and the result was both revealing and practically helpful. Yes, he still owes me a great deal of money, but sometimes that's not the most important thing.

Finally--and yes, most important of all--I've been surprised and pleased and even stunned into silence by funny, inquisitive, tender, shrewd, clever texts, messages, and phone calls from and with someone I like very much. This sort of persistent attention is distracting, radiant, intense, and scary as Hell. For now, I'm choosing not to think about it unless I need to. Too much analysis can leach out the joy.

[the title quotation comes from Chris-in-the-Morning, channeled through Northern Exposure, season 2, episode 3, and translates as "Only when we understand all is vanity, only then, it isn't."]