Thursday, August 20, 2015

It is a day of blues to be indulged.

Patsy Cline
 - Jennifer Chang

She’s in the desert
releasing the ashes of her father,
the ashes of her child,
or the ashes of the world. She is not
what she observes. The rare spinystar.
It does not belong to her. Bright needle threading
a cloud through the sky. There’s sun enough,
there’s afterlife. Her own body, a pillar of ash.
I fall to pieces, she says. Faithless
nimbus, faithless thought. In my life,
I have lost two men. One by death,
inevitable. One
by error: a waste. He wept
from a northern state,
hunger too cold
for human knowledge.

Once I was a woman with nothing to say. 
Never did I say ash to ash.
Never has the desert woken me up.
I said
who releases whom?
Inevitably, all have known
what the desert knows. No one
will count the lupine when I’m gone.
No one looks to the sun
for meaning. For meat
I’ve done so much less.
Cattle in the far basin, sagebrush, sage. 
I live in the city where I loved that man.
The ash of him, the self’s argument.
Now and then, I think of his weeping,
how my body betrays me:
I am not done with releasing.

I have put Nina Simone on repeat.  Today I drift.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

More Air

Wild Geese
- Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Because some days I crave poetry like air

To Myself

You are riding the bus again
burrowing into the blackness of Interstate 80,  
the sole passenger

with an overhead light on.  
And I am with you.
I’m the interminable fields you can’t see,

the little lights off in the distance  
(in one of those rooms we are  
living) and I am the rain

and the others all
around you, and the loneliness you love,
and the universe that loves you specifically, maybe,

and the catastrophic dawn,
the nicotine crawling on your skin—
and when you begin

to cough I won’t cover my face,
and if you vomit this time I will hold you:  
everything’s going to be fine

I will whisper.
It won’t always be like this.
I am going to buy you a sandwich.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Journal 7

My world is changing. 

Heh, the world is always changing.  Your life today is not a carbon copy of yesterday’s life, but there are similarities, there are overlying themes and activities that require repetition.  Brushing your teeth, eating, bathing, working, and breathing.  Breathing…*shrug*  I want to think of the future, not those who no longer breathe.

My job is changing, actually my job is disintegrating.  My position will no longer exist as of October 1, 2015.  My company won a contract to expand.  Part of the contract determines that the main corporate office must be in a different city. That is understandable, but it has created tremendous upheaval for the staff of this company.  Who will move, who can telecommute, who is searching for a new job.
I am in an odd little pickle, as my job is not on the transfer roster.  Strictly speaking, it got farmed out to another 3rd party. So I am taking this as an opportunity to flip my process.  As of this fall semester I will be going to school full time and working part time.

I cannot stress how terrifying this is to me.  Not having a full time job is not something I am at all comfortable with, but I am so close to finishing school and I so need to be done with it.  My momentum is thinning and I need to bolster it.  So I am hoping FASFA will actually be awarded to me beyond the Feds saying “Yo, you qualify” and that my family who promised to chip in can actually do so.  I will find a part time job no matter what happens.  I am hoping to find something in my current field, so I can keep a hand in and even more hoping that I will be able to cover my own bills.

If not maybe I will borrow Natalie Goldberg’s idea of spontaneous poetry and set up shop on a corner somewhere.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Pulled bits of a convo

I keep day dreaming about past versions of me as china dolls, I don't even know why they broke and a new doll came in to play, but they are cracked and taped and worn in some fashion. My brain and my body is a construct of my own making and yet I seem to have such little control over either. Is there a point where there is a sense of stability in the expectation of erratic to be? 

I route it back to my three paths.  There is the path you desire, there is the path that being walked and then there is the path that snakes underneath like a particularly rickety catwalk and that is the one with all the crazy spirals and dips and slides. When your brain turns into to the Mousetrap game and you eventually think, omg not sleeping for 3 days is awesome I get so much done and now I can get my cat sushi for a treat at 2am, I am sure there is some place open for fucks sake this is California motherfuckers oooh maybe there is a place in LA it is only an hour away and I could also go to the beach and stick my toes in the sand.

Now I want to go to the beach.

Maybe because I know that path exists, walked my version of it.  I periodically peer over my current path to see that other path and my shivers are a mix of terror and excitement. There is a part of me that thinks if I can make my rigging strong enough, find a stable enough anchor, I can walk the path for a bit.

When I climbed the wall with E and C, I realized I haven't shook that hard with adrenaline in years.  Not since I was racing to T's house with my heart beating in my head and my stomach twisted. It was nice to revisit that level without the death at the end. To have myself feel the relief after and a sense of success even though my successes were small.

I don't want the parts back necessarily that I broke, that were broken.  Finally, I think I've realized that.  I mourned the woman that was before my manic, when I was nice and polite and I didn't fuck up friendships 6 ways from Sunday. When my heart ruled my head and my pussy could only make suggestions when I was daydreaming but never got to speak aloud. 

I keep thinking of my past as a puzzle mess.  Those huge picture with in a picture within a picture and maybe there are actually like 3 or 5 or 15 different puzzles in the pile and writing is a way to sort and put parts of the self puzzle in it's nice little box, but once you get 3 or 4 pieces together you realize that maybe those pieces don't go and maybe they do nothing gets put away and you are just sitting in a pile of yourself that is not yourself because it is still in pieces on the floor.

A friend said  "I am who I decide to be moment by moment." and I am going to take all those puzzle pieces and I am going to grind them up and make them into Whim Dust.  When I want to write about what I remember, I will tap out a line, inhale and see what comes up in my head. Because she is right, who we were is influenced by who we are. I can only say who I see now and then play matchy match tomorrow with who I see then.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Journal #6

April is coming.  I can feel in slipping in under my door, wafting through the window.  The deceptive coolness that I wake up to in the morning luxuriating in, till memory takes hold.  Till my gaze falls upon a simple black plastic container that holds court on a bookshelf.

I am so tired of talking about a dead man.  Of dreaming, missing, being angry at a dead man. He cannot fight back, he cannot soothe me, he cannot do anything but be a pile of ash in a simple black plastic box on a bookshelf.

I am supposed to be thinking of an essay to write soon.  The Self in a Relationship.  So many options to chose from.  Shall I pick the man who left me first, or the most current lost.  Which death that has laid it's own fine spiderweb of scarring over me shall I pull out to examine.  I have a hard time moving past the still healing wound to the scars of the past.  Why ignore the pink, somewhat scabbed, always itching with parts still gaping slash across me?  Nights like this I am glad I keep my nails short and crave heavy nail polish to thicken the edges.  I fear I will give into my old high school urge to rend flesh with nails just to see if I can make the outside match the inside.

Bloody hell that is melodramatic.  I will not harm myself, I haven't made it this far to give up in a corner of the desert.

This is where I get to be melodramatic.  I keep myself silly, bright and unvarnished as much as possible for those around me.  To be brutally honest, it is for me mostly. I rather play the fool, and have nights like these were April pools at my feet and soaks into my skin, then live like that always.

Tonight I wish to paint my feet indigo and go dancing in the moonlight. Feel the coolness of the desert breeze sink into me, so I can call up the memory when the summer truly takes root.    I want to map my travels in the sand and watch the wind blow them away.  Instead of taking the car, and traveling by one headlight to a desert that seems to only exist in my head.  I will snuggle back down into bed.  Tell myself a story of a future where April has little hold on me and the pile of ash in a simple black plastic box has even less.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


This entry has been quite difficult. I seemed to have hit a downward drop in my mood cycle. This drop most likely caused by loss of my pet. Part of me feels like I am being over dramatic, she was only a cat. Then I remember she traveled with me to this state and I had her for 13 years. Thirteen years! That is a long time. I miss the comfort of her breathing. I came to this state with two cats, a dog and a man. The only two left alive in that group is me and the dog. The dog lives back in California now with the man's sister. I am left alone here in Arizona. That feels dishonest, I am not alone. I have managed to build myself an amazing support group and I am blessed to have found so many wonderful friends. But they are Arizona contacts, our relationships have Arizona roots. My California roots used to be intertwined with four other beings, and now it is just mine. They feel so thin and bare; so very singular.

I was thinking of my brain attic again. I have discovered a window that looks upon my past. Above this window there is a shelf and on this shelf are rows and rows of Whim Dolls. From the tiny doll that represents me when born, to the current typical doll size doll with razor cut hair, piercings and tattoos that show me now. Each doll is a lesson. Each doll is an Whim That Was. I look at their faces and see the cracks and bandages. See the scratches and dents. Know that while they are all broken in someway, it was to grow, to learn, to change, to move up into the next doll. I step along the shelf, shuffle my feet to the left following my own years down the row. I come to the last doll. The Whim That Was that I currently miss the most. The Whim that existed before the great years of grief. She hasn't existed since 2012, but still I gaze into her eyes and try to remember what it felt like to live in that head. When I try to find the current doll for the Whim That Is, I find myself staring into a mirror. I wonder what change will come and what will I look like next to myself?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Mental Attic

I currently have a theory.  Since it has been so long since I’ve been a consistent journal writer, I am full of ick.  Mentally, I am the equivalent of some overloaded and terribly dusty attic.  This class is my first foray into actually opening the door and beginning the cleaning process.  So each time I sit now, I must remind myself that it is ok to write about the same few things for a bit, to write about all these dusty, moldy old broken memories, feelings and problems.  I am slowly cleaning out my mental attic page by page in my notebook.

To get this activity past my mental censor, I have made it a deal. It backs off and lets me word vomit all my attic mess into this notebook and the next notebook, I will try to write with more of a focus beyond spring cleaning. So far it is mostly working; I really do believe that I need this month or so of just opening all the attic windows and throwing things out.  Toss everything out on the lawn, in the sunshine so I can see each and every bit I've saved over the last 10 years.  See what is worth coming back and writing about, pulling apart farther or shining it up and putting it back in my mental house.

I want to make my brain attic my writing space.  I want to live up there each day for a bit, and I will make it cozy and comfortable and I will surround myself with artifacts and reminders of what I would like to explore.  I cannot have it yet though, I need to work for it.  I need to clean, dump and dust like mad.  Only then can I decorate, furnish and inhabit. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Epigraph Revisited

I've been really thinking about the epigraph post. Something has been bothering me about it. I felt as if I was being a bit untruthful. I didn't dig deep enough for it, perhaps. I remembered, finally, that there was a little rhyme I had come up with when I was about 12 or so, which I would write onto the first page of all my notebooks. Anything I wrote in for me, for school, for anything. I remember doing this up in till my early twenties. Funny enough I stopped reciting it about the same time I stopped writing for me. I still told stories, mostly to myself and to a few others who would ask, but I stopped writing them down. So I bought a notebook this week and the first thing I did was open it up and on the first page I wrote:

Lady Luck, where are thee

Come and rest your favor on me

Lest I fail and fall distraught

Into Fortune’s melting pot


I remember feeling immensely clever when I came up with this. So proud of myself! I used “thee” and “distraught”. I gave Fortune a melting pot and it rhymed! This was something I could be happy that I wrote and even all these years later (22 to be exact) I am still impressed with kid me. I used to call this my little school prayer. It was my way of asking for help to do what I want or what I needed to do in that notebook.

I wonder when or where exactly I was when I lost faith in my little prayer. I would like to think that if it was an EVENT, I would remember. I think my faith was lost as most things are; carelessly. I got distracted, I didn't pay attention. I was too busy being a grownup and feeding, sheltering and supporting family, romantic partners that I forgot to feed and shelter all of myself. I shut that bit away, because I thought it would always be there. It had always been there, so how could I have known that it would get so stale and rusty that I would even lose my little prayer.

So now I want to resurrect it. Breathe new life into it. I want to go back to the relief of pen meeting paper and the drive to empty myself of words again. I need to allow myself to be full of words again. I am looking forward to when I no longer have to consciously flip that mental lock and let them in the back door, but they just wander in on their own, in their own forms and hang out at the kitchen table; waiting for me to come make them a cup of tea and start the game.


“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.” 
― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

I started reading Plath at an impressionable age. Pausing in between chapters to relearn to breath, because I could feel the oppression she described so perfectly weighing on me. I remember finishing The Bell Jar and lying with my brain cracked open across my bed. Everything that was in that book resonated with me and, until that point, that had never happened before.
I want this quote to be my epigraph because it has been a consistent mantra from my teen years on. It reminds me to stop and breathe which is particularly crucial for a person with bipolar & anxiety issues. My mental spiral spins into physical reactions such as increased pulse rate and hand tremors. I practice working on focusing on only one thing (my heartbeat) while constraining my breathing to the rhythm of “...I am, I am, I am.” This helps me regulate my breathing while helping me reset my brain in a fashion. At the very least, I can typically knock myself off the crazy anxiety train ride my brain was taking me on. My brain lies. It swears that the anxiety train ride is actually super cool and really fun, but no, it isn’t. My brain says the same thing about mania and well, that is also a gigantic lie. Mania is only fun in the beginning and then again fun doesn’t equal safe.

When I feel my mood elevating to watchdog levels I recite this quote help to keep myself still. Sometimes the last thing I can even comprehend is staying in one place, but the rhythm that is my heartbeat is something I can focus on anywhere and at anytime. Watchdog levels: code for wondering if my mood is just a normal really good mood or if I am edging into the land of too happy. Bipolar: the joy of constantly wondering if you are too much of something.

I am currently working 40-50 hours per week and have a half time school load. I also seem to have a pair of butterfly wings attached to my back. So my schedule can get quite full, mostly due to my loathing of saying no. Who needs sleep, when you can laugh? I know my glitches by now, but this quote reminds me to slow down, to cancel some plans or drag out the dreaded No word.