Friday, May 19, 2017

Self Portrait, 3rd Person



The haunted child has a pigeon
on each shoulder.  The birds
are not haunted.  They do not know
fear.  The child knows
a thing or two:  times tables, state
capitals, the words that get her home
when she is lost.

The beautiful child carries a shawl
but it means nothing.  Her beauty
means nothing.  She rushes through a forest,
bare feet cushioned by pine needles
and arrives at the back door
of a little cottage.

The curious child, mouthy and distant,
wears white cotton, and fidgets like a woman
in pain.  She can see the very thing
you believe to be hidden.  She doesn’t want to.  
It’s just that, as soon as she achieves

silence, the vision arrives.  

The sad woman can’t help the aging.  She can
still bend over, she can still smile and remove her bra
as if to music.  When she smiles knowingly,
it means she knows.  When she flutters her hands,
it means she used to be a bird.

The pigeons on her shoulders, let’s say
they represent imagination.  Let’s admit
that they fail.  Let’s confess
that we don’t even know what success
of the imagination would look like.

And the woman, we must agree
that her tears aren’t real. But they could be,
if we weren’t watching.  She conceals her eyes,
but not from shame.  Out of dignity, aggressive
self-possession.  You should thank her.
But don’t wonder what it means.  She won’t
tell us.  Don’t ask.  Shhh.  Don’t say a word.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

100 days of 100 words, day 26: selfless self-esteem

Selfless Self-Esteem

After 40 years of struggling to achieve a healthy body image, I think I've found a viable mental strategy that might get me there. 

The almost 15-year-old girl who lives next door is (among other things) beautiful, tall, willowy.   She will not have the short/dumpy body issues I did/do, but she *will* have her own.  As someone she sees as a role model, I owe it to her to show acceptance of what it is to be me at my age and to look this way.  Maybe acting comfortable will lead to feeling comfortable.  

Selfish selflessness.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

100 days of 100 words, day 25: Greek tragedy

Greek Tragedy

The Place:  Detroit, Cooley High School, 1965

The Characters:  A 17-year-old girl, a 17-year-old boy

The Set-up:  The girl was attracted to the boy because his family was religious and listened to classical music.  The boy was attracted to the girl because her parents threw parties, drank, smoked, and listened to loud tunes.  

The Action:  A pregnancy, an elopement, and a marriage that was a misery of miscommunication, mixed signals, conflicting goals, and opposing objectives.  And four children.

The Climax:  A swampy divorce, ill-fated remarriages.

The Chorus:  The four children--Damaged, Affronted, Provoked, and Dead.

Monday, May 8, 2017

100 days of 100 words, day 24: unintended personality test

Unintended Personality Test




There are those who want to hold my arm whenever I start walking and those who forget I can't see until I stumble.  Some fear I will be an easy victim, while others just enjoy getting to use my handicapper placard when I'm in the car.

My obese, plagiarizing, pathological-liar friend feared that I would embarrass myself while eating in a restaurant by missing my mouth and smearing food on my face.  My sister grieved that I might not be able to see her face.

Kids enjoy testing me and delight in finding the lacunae where I can't see them.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

100 days of 100 words, day 23: the blueprint myth

The Blueprint Myth

It's easy to imagine that if not for certain choices (sometimes made by others), my life would have developed as it was "supposed to," that I would have reached my potential (whatever that is or was).  But the original blueprint has been modified, completely overhauled.  Sometimes, through the overlays, I can see the faint lines of the original and it is tempting to think that I can somehow get back to it.

Those decisions that rearranged my life:  I didn't foresee how completely they would alter my design.  I have no choice, however, but to live in the house I helped to build.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

100 days of 100 words, day 22: (sad dance) and wonder

(Sad Dance) and Wonder


I didn't have the words to say good-bye to the baby brother whose birth I had celebrated with my 8-year-old happy dance and whose life I had tried to enhance and protect.  There is no longer a life to enhance (sad dance), so I protect the memories.  These words I'll keep.

When Scotty was 4, he admitted to my friend Carolyn and me that he had a crush but would not reveal the name.  What's it start with? we asked.  He said, "It starts with a 1."  Only after much cajoling could we learn the name of this numbered love:  1der Woman.

Friday, April 21, 2017

100 days of 100 words, day 21: door

Door


"No one let Kristy outside," stated the sign taped to the door I had finally found in my attempt to escape a college party featuring a complex net of past, current, and future lovers.  Startled, I stood there considering.  Relief from social anxiety was so close!  Would it count if I let myself outside?

Eventually, I smiled.  Eventually, I learned there was a cat named Kristy (didn't get to meet her).  Eventually, thankfully, I also outgrew that initial way of thinking which allowed me to believe that a sign handwritten by unknown people could stop me from going through a door.