Writ in Water.

It seems that only those included in the number of human beings that are afflicted by “The Word”, that are also stained by the attached process. A love for words begins early in Life for those of us who harbor one; mine did, at least.

I recall noting many “adult” words that I overheard in “adult” conversations during my childhood; words such as: proverbial (I still over-use it, by default), harlequin (A word that I loved so much as a child, I chose it as a name for my first dog), hankering (a word that has a definition just as awesome as it is), overlord (a word that remains as fun to say today as it did when I was three), and most memorably: Tachyon (a word that I notoriously misused throughout my childhood because I simply loved to say and spell it). I was notorious for making statements that were made up of various idioms and adages I had heard my older male family members (my Papa, Dad, or any of my 5 older brothers) use. I am teased to this day over things I said in all earnestness, as a young girl trying to be super serious and to be taken seriously.

SOME EXAMPLES:

“Don’t put all of your eggs in a gift horse’s mouth before they hatch”

“Never kick a gift-horse you led to water in the mouth when he’s down”

“Give a man a fish, shame on you; teach him to fish, shame on me

 “Kicking the bowl”, instead of the bucket

 

I knew my ABC’s way too early as well; I can partially remember the day that I was in my Dad’s lap at the kitchen table and we were coloring together (so I must have been super young because I became “too old” to sit in his lap by the time I was 3.5 years, according to my Papa) and my Dad surprised me by asking me if I knew the alphabet yet. He was trying to mess with me, being certain that I didn’t – and that he would be able to give me shit for not knowing an answer – he was good like that. I can guarantee that he was the more shocked of the two of us when I belted out the entire song correctly without missing a beat; being the oldest of his own siblings, my Dad often overlooked the power that having a clan of older brothers gave me in such instances. I was (and still am) like a dried out sponge just waiting to absorb any information made available to me in any given context.

It was like I saw words as people spoke them, like a cartoon bubble over everyone’s heads, all the time. I was a naturally excellent speller as a child, something I have lost touch with in the time in between; I just LOVED words – there’s no other way to describe it. There is only one “wordsmith” in my immediate family, and it had been my Papa, who doubled as my daycare provider during my pre-school era. This became one of the most enriching and enlightening parts of my youth when it comes to words and my love for them; we often played word games together that loosely ran all day long and into dinner-time. My Papa gifted me very, very generously with his mind, heart and brain, indeed. In grade school, I was able to win over the others in my class every time through the shaping and molding of the words I chose to use on them; I took sweeping victories in my campaigns for the Student Union or Student Council positions I went after, because of the speeches I had written and the way I worded them. I was a peacemaker at home and on the playground – and my love of vocabulary never let me down in that context either. On the flip side, it has been the same love of words and literary expression that has wounded me deeply many times in Life, too, however. I am sensitive to the weight that words carry in an almost exquisite way; something that is tried and true: impossible to explain to a non-word-lover. When the weight of a word has been passed along to me, I have carried it no matter how heavy it may have been.

Most, if not all, people not afflicted by “The Word” have no appreciation for the burden attached to being a carrier of its weight, and behave accordingly. I have realized in the more recent years of my life: just how much I am affected by literature and the artistic use of words, as I find myself feeling the most emotions available to me during times that I have absorbed written content. There is just so much simplicity alongside of such intricacy in words and the beautiful combinations they can concisely make up. John Keats, my all-time favorite romance  poet, who was so perfected in his wordsmithing skills that he often made women cry and men shrink, left on his headstone, the most eloquent description of it all:

“Here lies one whose name was writ in water.”

You dig?

 

The Webs We Weave.

PTSD: (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
Noun:
An anxiety disorder associated with serious traumatic events and characterized by such symptoms as (but not limited to):
Survivor guilt,
Reliving the trauma in dreams,
Numbness and lack of involvement with reality,
Recurrent mood-altering thoughts and/or images; or
the recurrent and persistent memories and recollections of a traumatic event or experience.

 

Given a duly noted “predisposition” of mental instability attached to my very conception since before my birth (my mother was a severely unstable, drug-addicted, drunken Shawnee Native; who was also at the time, an untreated schizophrenic when she gave birth to me in 1979), I believe my father and brothers expected a deficiency just as severe from me, someday. I have somehow always harbored – what was for a long time: an unidentified – fear of growing up into a raving, schizophrenic drunk just like the estranged and frightening mother from my childhood. Very regularly during preadolescence, I pattern-dreamed (a Shawnee term used to describe the attachment of one’s sub-consciousness to another’s through dreamscape – away from the waking world as we know it) about my elusive and unpredictable mother.

 

I was always a yearling again – wearing a soggy diaper, behind the lovingly hand-crafted bars of a wooden crib – alone in a warm and sunlit  bedroom; and I am crying my little  heart out for someone to open the door and come for me, to hear me. Hours seemed to pass this way in the dream; nobody would come for what felt like days, maybe weeks –to a youngster ‘s warped perception of time…and then, SHE opens the door and stands there in the shadow cast by the hallway bulb – its grayness seeming to wash out any color as it beams down around her like a canister of smoke; I begin to cry again – loudly and more boisterously as to be noticed by her, I’m unafraid of her presence in the dream; I see her as my “savior” in my current-day recollections of its detail, I want her to come in and pick me up – I want her to hold me and clean me up and spend time with me. I don’t want to be alone and crying in this room any longer and she is my ticket out of there. I start screaming her;

MamaMama!

 

I swallow small gulps of my own snot and tears in the process; I’m so desperate to catch her attention.

 

 “Mama!!!”

 

She turns to her left and leaves without a care in the world. It was also during preadolescence, I should note here, that my father decided to spill the truth behind a strain in their relationship that obviously went beyond the differences they blamed for their divorce: this was the life-altering morsel that my mother had tried to “smother” me with my own pillow when I was an infant, still in a crib. Needless to say, this spun my world around a few times before throwing it off kilter for a few rounds, too; I was really caught off guard by this confession by my Dad, and it explained countless trifles of my existence – this horrible little truth. I wondered who else knew. My father assured me that only “the Originals”, meaning my older “set” of brothers (typically referred to as “the Originals” in my writing), and my Papa (my Dad’s father) knew about the incident.

Umokay, so you mean my Moms not only crazy as Hell, but she actually tried to off me when I was too little to defend myself?!God damn!!!

That was an eye-opener for me at the pliable age of eleven…it hurt deeply to learn, and never quite allowed Life to feel the same again after knowing it. It wasn’t until I was at least sixteen, and still trying desperately in vain to keep my baby brother (who later committed suicide) from falling mentally apart as a result of the same kind of schizophrenia that afflicts my mother, that the question hit me like a ton of bricks:

 

Why in the Hell did my father get my mother pregnant and have yet ANOTHER child, with a woman who had been put in psychiatric detention and treated for the attempted smothering of the most recent child that she bore him?

 

Of course, my father had passed away by that time, as the story goes; and I never got the answer from HIS mouth on that lingering query of mine. I have come to harbor rather strong beliefs about the intrinsic “rights” of certain women to bear children; I do not believe it is fair for those who are historically mentally unstable to pro-create as freely as those who have not shown any repeated inconsistencies in sound thinking and behaviors. Such instances create humans like me, or my late, little brother – or, the older one in my set of full-blooded siblings – we’re all challenged in some majorly handicapping way when it comes to social behaviors and/or mental illness. I’m still shocked that it was my baby brother and not me who ended up with schizophrenia as a very young adult.

I waited…and waited…and waited – waited to one day wake up and be “crazy” like my mom or just downright miserable and confused, afraid and aimless like my little brother had become. My brother was the natural kicking post in my family (natural to the Originals, at least) because he was the last in line, of a long line of boys (with the one exception of me) who are Scandinavian and Native-American by heritage and behaved much like a clan of cavemen, given the absence of any adult female in our household. I was the only one there to protect my little brother for, well – forever, since I can remember remembering. I was the only buffer between them and him, and I innately sensed a dire need to execute my power in this position day and night, all the time.  He was a sensitive spirit: quiet and observant; wise and very deep thinking; a true empath just the way that I am, too. Despite the fond recollections I have surrounding my childhood, the flip-side of it is that it was filled with the constant stress of worrying over my little brother’s well-being.This lasted until the moment he committed suicide in 1999, at age 19.

I begrudgingly buried JJ while I was still a domestic hostage to “the Ripper”, never really being able to openly or worthily mourn his tragic ending because “the Ripper” would become enraged by jealousy if I showed any sign of emotion for anyone other than Him. It was one of the very darkest periods of my existence, to my recollections…a very, deeply guilt-ridden and sad time for me.

Sometimes still, I catch myself pondering things that do not matter anymore, anyway; I often wonder if JJ ever used to have recurring dreams about our Mom turning her back on him, also.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE:

I am currently in my umpteenth attempt at making my own amends to, and forgiving past discrepancies of:

Our full-blooded Shawnee, medicated, therapy-involved, clean and sober Mother.

Sullen Swim.

If you’ve ever swam outward,
against the tides,
using only –
one arm and its hand;

You will know, then,
the difficulty lies,
in between –
a horizon and the sand;

If you’ve embraced the ocean,
in the blackness of night,
amid curious faces –
worn by beast, and no man;

If you’ve long made point,
to swim beyond,
the buoys –
farthest from the land;

If the water doesn’t sting,
your eyes or burn skin,
carry on then,
carry out the plan;

If you have ever taken,
that final, Sullen Swim,
to let spread –
the ashes of beloved wise-man;

If you’ve ever hated,
what you usually love,
an affect of –
the end of a father’s lifespan;

If you’ve been tangled in kelp-beds,
way out with the otters,
cracking clams–
with their human-like hands;

If you’ve been out too long,
dazed by a breaker’s blow,
defying–
the tugging at your hand;

If you’ve been spun,
like a washing machine,
hard tumbled –
inside a tornado of sand;

If you’ve had that moment,
when reality,
starts dawning –
quite differently than planned;

If so, you must know as well as me,
of a poisonous affinity,
the salinity –
measuring
four quarters of who I am.

 

Set On Fire.

I found out about it this morning upon waking up to look at my phone (set on silent overnight, as per my usual routine); and I will say that my heart dropped down into my belly somewhere and hasn’t yet returned to its proper place.
I groggily read just a few snippets of the slew of text messages sent throughout the night by my Mom; catching things like:

“Your father (by this, she means my step-father) went to get Boo downtown and hasn’t come back…”,
Or:

“He’s STILL not home, I’m worried…”,
Or:

“It’s been THREE HOURS NOW! I have no car, and I’m going crazy…”
Or finally:

“His phone just goes straight to voicemail…”

It was just the day before yesterday that I sat out on the front porch with him to escape my mother’s  hollering into her Bluetooth inside (she still doesn’t grasp the notion of the other person being able to hear her fine if she just speaks in a normal tone); that I verbalized some very haunting visions to him in a foretelling plea for his logical side to come out and hear me…in total vain, it turns out.

Boo has been consistently dishonest and destructive to my parents ever since that dreaded moment in which my mother was struck by some gods-awful notion that she had to see Boo through the next few surgeries until the tracheotomy is removed and she can speak naturally again; she has brought with her presence in their home nothing but grief and disarray – dope fiend maneuvers, and all things associated with a fucking street hooker’s lifestyle, in essence. My parents are so naive…sickeningly naive…naive from age, apparently. Because, the clueless and vulnerable old folks that each has evolved to represent these days were NOT the two people who I had around during my teen-aged years, by a long shot.

  • Boo’s despicable thievery has, thus far, totaled up to at least: $3,500.00 (yes, you read that correctly) stolen out of my sleeping father’s wallet in the wee morning hours while she was awake and whacked out on drugs; but, there have been other instances as well of stolen cash in much smaller amounts, too.
  • She has stolen family heirloom jewelry (oddly enough, her father literally stole pieces of the exact same set almost 20 years ago) from my mother’s room while being left alone at their house during the workday.
  • She stole ALL of my mother’s medicines (a very notably sized plethora of pills including but not limited to Oxycontin, various tranquilizers, psyche meds, and the handful of different medicines that my mom NEEDS for rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
  • She stole my father’s entire wallet; as well as a stun gun that was deep inside of one of her bureau drawers.

In a nutshell, she has been horribly ungrateful and disrespectful, she has remained in constant violation of the home that they have, once again, opened up to her in her time of need. Last night should have undoubtedly been “the straw” for both of them…

My father drove downtown last night to pick Boo up at the drop of a dime when she called, claiming she had been punched in the face and her phone had been stolen (I live in the silicon valley, a live and wide awake place where downtown isn’t welcoming at nighttime to the average person); 

when he arrived to the place she had directed to meet her at, he was beaten nearly to death by five grown men who appeared from nowhere – only seconds before Boo suddenly appeared, as well. One of the cowards even went into his car and found his ginormous Maglite flashlight, then proceeded to beat him in his face with it until my dad went unconscious in the street. I was not there…I do not know for myself any of the minor details surrounding this heinousness; but I do know that it changes everything – forever…for ME at least.

The Empath and the Opportunist – Continued.

NOTE: “The Opportunist” is someone who broke my heart pretty completely about a year ago; someone who I gave too much to, and got little in return from; someone who made it painfully apparent when I failed to present any further opportunity for him that he had no reason to stay.

He showed up on Saturday to watch the fight at the Man Cave with his lifelong friend, my roommate, Dice. I had known he would be coming – they were ALL gonna be coming, I knew (it turned out to be 16 men and 2 women, including myself) watching the fight.
His face told very sad stories immediately upon opening the front door and seeing him: eyes down-turned and swollen, bottom lip protruding out slightly…unable to make any eye contact with me. I knew something was wrong right away – because despite everything we have been through, he has never been unable to look me in the eye. Oddly, before I could even give it any logical thought, I blurted out:
“What’s wrong Opportunist? Is it your Dad?” (Of course I used his real name, though)
He just fell apart right there on the spot. Came unglued altogether. His father has been deteriorating at a sporadic pace from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s; and has recently become very fearful, paranoid and much like a strange child to his own helpless family. I watched when I was a young girl, as my great-grandmother faded to Alzheimer’s – it undoubtedly broke my great-grandfather’s heart and was the most traumatizing experience that he had ever lived through…I often think he wished he wouldn’t have.
Anyway, the empath in me was alive and well on Saturday; I hugged him, and sat with him, and talked with him for hours – let him talk about the living nightmare that he is currently undertaking in regard to watching his Dad slip away in mind and body. We ended up missing the main event fight altogether because he was obviously in greater need of talking to someone about his Dad. In a house full of his best friends that he’s known since first grade or earlier – I found it striking that it was ME he ended up in the garage with all day and night while none of them bothered to even inquire about his father’s status. I guess that’s just a guy thing, I don’t know. Either way, there we were together.

Running Distantly.

I remember these things,
the late afternoon’s lulling,
“G.I. Joe – A Real American Hero”,
the ‘Three’s Company’ opening theme,

the sound of an overhead airplane’s engine,
fading away to the south, as the evening draws in,
the sounds of a lawnmower, running distantly,
cutting down grass and sending the scent to me,

I remember the pipes in the walls that would moan,
a surefire way to know when someone was home,
the sound that the front gate’s dragging board would make,
the dogs in the back that always scared the Pizza Boy away,

Anticipation of dinnertime and seeing my Father’s face,
every evening, the hope of seeing him walk into our place,
the leaves skipping up our walkway alongside his tired feet,
the Gods blessed me with a Dad so dedicated and hard-working,

these things I remember, they are mine to recall,
only because of the good I had – my Dad, after all,
and I’ve never been sorry in the slightest amount,
for basking in his warmth before it was snuffed out.

Sullen Swim.

If you’ve ever swam,

against the tides,

using only –

one arm and its hand;

You will know then,

that difficulty lies,

in between –

a horizon and the sand;

If you’ve swam underwater,

in the blackness of night,

seen faces –

worn by beast, and no man;

If you’ve made point,

to swim beyond,

the buoys –

farthest from the land;

If the water doesn’t sting,

your eyes or burn skin,

carry on –

carry out the plan;

If you have ever taken,

the final, Sullen Swim,

to dump –

ashes of special man;

If you’ve ever hated,

what you love,

an effect of –

the end of a lifespan;

If you’ve gone out too far,

beyond the otters,

cracking shells –

with their hands;

If you’ve been out too long,

until you turn code blue,

ignoring –

the tugging at your hand;

If you’ve been spun,

like a washing machine,

tumbled around –

inside a tornado of sand;

if you’ve had that moment,

when your reality,

hits you –

a little differently than planned;

Then you must know then,

a poisonous affinity,

salinity –

Four quarters of who I am.