Night of the Curtain

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The balcony rail is cold and damp
I lean on it anyway.
There is one cricket singing
weet
weet
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with long pauses in between.

It could be one of those early spring mornings
I rose in the Catskills, Grandma’s trailer
grass not green but grey, coated in condensation
silver
Many crickets singing
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with long pauses in between.

It’s autumn now and I am shirtsleeves
rolled up on my shoulders like Fonzie,
flip flops, toes not cold.
All the cars in the lot are
coated in condensation
and my child’s heart wants to run down there and
fingerpaint hearts and smiley faces on all the windshields.

“Are you seeing the same moon I am?”

“I love you more.”

Weet
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With long pauses in between.

Dear Right Shoulder,

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We had a good run, didn’t we? Remember all the things we used to do? Climb trees in the front yard. Dance the YMCA at weddings. Lift weights with Dad. Put on a sweater….

Seems like these days things are not going so well for us. I’m not sure what started it, but I sure did notice when you were not part of the cohesive unit, battle ready, as the rest of the warrior known as “Me.”

It all seemed to happen at once, that night when I was making a pot of pierogis. I reached across the sink
and upwards to open the cabinet where I keep my seasonings, my treasure called Fox Point, and at that moment the world changed. I felt a bloom of something from you, a small bloom like a baby’s breath in your senior prom corsage. Then the bloom began to grow in heat and intensity, spreading across you dear shoulder, into my chest, my back, not throbbing, not stabbing, just a wide swath of pain. I’m not sure if I screamed, but I definitely dropped my arm and staggered a bit, and the strange new bloom ebbed and stopped hurting. What. In. The. Actual. Just. Happened. To. Me? Dear Right Shoulder, you best believe I finished cooking that pot of pierogi doused in butter and Fox Point, and my body did the thing it always does which is to forget pain and move on.

The next time you came to visit I was sitting on the couch and I felt a touch cold so I lifted the Snoopy blanket up to cover me, but some of the blanket was stuck under me so I hit the power button that tells you, my dear, to lift harder and it happened again. A small bloom that spread across the top and over my shoulder and I know this time I definitely hollered, and this time I felt a crunch.

The last time it happened, that’s when I knew I had to let the old you go. I had to install a new printer on the credenza and retrieve the wires that need to connect to it that fell on the floor. I put my awesome warrior woman body on the floor and reached back to get the wires and I heard another crunch, as if someone put my shoulder back in place and I screamed as the pain bloomed. Shoulder, you punish me for a wire?

Dear Right Shoulder, we had a good run but I’m not done with you. I’m not going to soak you in pain meds or prayer or surgery. I’m going to let the teeth grinding refusal to move because it might hurt go. I’m going to fight you with personal PT, the silly elastic strap to exercise the pain bloom out of my life so I can wash my hair, brush my hair, sleep on my right side, and put on a sweater as the goddess did intend without caution, without fear, without second thought. So help me, I will bring you back into the fold of muscles, tendons, blood, condition, and demand you do what I need you to do as my body requires. Get on board, the work is coming.

Signed
Mother Who Knows Pain And Does Not Comply


A Perfect August Night In OV

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Finally. FINALLY. The heat and humidity broke. It coincided with a Friday night and everyone who came out celebrated it. There’s a pavilion across from the small strip mall where people park in the summer when the events are held and there’s no place for the rest of us to park when we need groceries… And you know what? That’s ok. Tonight a lady was teaching a group to salsa dance. An Icee truck was in the parking lot. It was AMAZING and it was a perfect night. I was not there to partake of the event, I just parked in the back so I could get in the store to buy some really dumb groceries. It reminded me of some times I was outside when I was little in the city… loud sounds, music, different sounds and vibes, but not something I was part of but was so curious about.

Speakinowhich, I pulled in and saw a stranger helping a stranger jumpstart his car. Everyone in the lot was behaving. The security guard came out and he was like, “Oh! This is fantastic weather!” He and his co-worker enjoyed the 70-degree, lessened humidity beautiful weather. I went to the store because I was craving hot dogs and Sabrett’s sauce. What I fool I was to believe. Came across the label of an unknown jar called Chow Chow. I’m a northerner and I don’t know what this stuff is. They tell me that it can be used on hot dogs and hamburgers and all kinds of other stuff, but Chow Chow??? I dunno. I decided to take a chance and will let you know tomorrow how it goes.

I loaded two bags into my battled-scarred car and drove back home. Oh? You don’t know about my battle-scarred car? The one with the paint wrecked, pooped on, nectared on, sand blasted, where the car wash can’t even help? And me with a bum shoulder that can’t detail her properly?

Everything is sus to me, but tonight my sus is lessened because I saw a guy helping a stranger jumpstart his car. A person suggested Chow Chow. A parking lot overflowed for salsa dancing in August, so unlike the covid years. It’s cooling off. I’m feeling something. And I just wanted to tell you that it feels good.

Metallica & Iron Maiden Before You Knew Them

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Wading into unchartered waters to say a few things. I’ve never seen the hit show “Stranger Things” on Netflix because I do not have an account. The only way I know about the series is what I’ve read, and I really appreciate that they chose the late 80s to tell the story. The articles include clothes, trends, music, movies, etc. and I have mostly good memories of that time. Well done, guys.

Apparently, the last season included Eddie playing a Metallica song to help his friends in a dire situation.
I’ve read about it and now I am lamely talking about it. Forgive my ignorance. I am here to say how much I appreciate Eddie playing Metallica. Metallica responded in real life and so did Iron Maiden, a band from that same time whose mascot is named Eddie, to stand up for the character and appreciate the moment. I want to stand up and appreciate the moment the writers chose Metallica and Iron Maiden in the midst of all the chaos and struggle of their characters. Metallica and Iron Maiden were portrayed in the magazines in their time of being enemies, fighting for dominance in every way, when actually it was just two bands working hard and loving their fans. Warfare sells magazines. Warfare sells everything which is an obvious lyric seen in Metallica and Maiden. The guys felt competition but did not want hate between the fans. Warfare hurts us and what they were trying to say is we must end it.

I come to tell you today about the time I saw Metallica during their Black album tour. I drove up to the Pepsi arena in Albany by myself because that’s just how it was and it was fine. I was so amped for the performance and they did not disappoint. It was everything I hoped it would be. The only problem was… they outlasted me. I was exhausted before it was all done. Song after song after song. I was young, I was healthy! Another song and I felt tired and ready to go, but no. Metallica kept on going. They were amazing. “Searching….. seek and destroy!” They left me exhausted and what was left had to drive home. And that night I had to call my Dad because he asked his 24-year-old daughter to call him to let him know I was ok. I called him from the side of the road that I was okay with a croaking throat from hollering I’m okay and I’m on the way home.

For all the new Metallica fans, Hey. For all the new Iron Maiden fans, Hey. Metal is for all of you. Come on in, there’s room for all. I will never forget calling my Dad. Or seeing Metallica or Iron Maiden many, many, many times, wishing I could see them more. I’m grateful to these bands for so many reasons. And wishing I could call my Dad and tell him I’m okay.



Fourth Of Us….. ?

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It wasn’t the first voicemail I left for my senator. Usually they answer and I tell them a piece of my mind, or I just mail postcards with my specific desire. This time I left a voicemail for my senator giving him a piece of my mind and I said you don’t have to call me back but man you have to do something about this that and the other. My senator’s staffperson called me back. I pictured him wearing a flak jacket and an M1 helmet. He had no idea what he was walking into, but man, he did call me back. He said he heard my message and shared what my senator is doing to try and protect abortion rights. I told that poor young man that I write, I call, I march, I DONATE and after years, OVERNIGHT it’s all gone. It’s not his fault. He asked me to vote when it comes up on the local ballot which I will of course do, as I have always done.

I have a vision for what I want my country, the place I love and want to be. What it looks like. I want people to hold jobs. That they don’t have to work 200 jobs to afford an apartment or buy a home. I want people to send their kids to learn, to grow, to learn how to learn, most importantly.

Tonight the locals are setting off fireworks early. I expected that. Only a douchebag would call the cops on folks trying to have some fun. I’m pretty sure 300 million of us are normal. I’ve been disappointed lately by you all. I’m not sure how long I will see the next election cycle, and I’m not sure how much I want to give my energy. All I know is that my neighbors are going to have a little get together on the Fourth, I’m going to bring some spicy mac and cheese, I love my country, it’s worth fighting for, and I’m really tired.

DON’T. GIVE. UP.

Get Ready For The Next Round

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Last week was very difficult for me, perhaps the entire month of June has been difficult, I’ve lost track. It’s been a time of deep, dark fatigue, inability to think straight, and too many tears. Depression, in a word? Well maybe, or maybe something more. Then came the news from the Supreme Court overturning Roe, a cause I fought for for so many years, gone in an instant. Finally, on Sunday I got a glimmer of personal hope and I took on some chores I had been ignoring, basic stuff like mopping the floor and putting things away. I chose to take my life in my hands and check the mail and was glad when the mockingbirds did not attack me. I went to my car to drive to the grocery store and the battery was stone dead. Deader than dead. I was overcome with hate and rage. I wanted to murder the world and if anyone saw my face at that moment, Medusa’s curse would have come upon them. I took stock of the situation and decided to continue to be hateful and angry alone, and when I could not keep that up I chose to call for a jump start later on.

A new day, a new page. New, cleansing breaths and actively looking for the correct path, I came to sit and write about it. But I did not come with lopsided, inauthentic optimism. I’ve had time to think of what to say. Am I mentally and physically ready to take up battle again? Not quite, but I’m working on it. When you have had time to rage and hurt, when you’re spent and you feel done, I would like to remind us all that it’s a really huge setback, but there are still things we CAN do. Don’t cry to me that “We did all we could do! There’s nothing left!” I cried that, too, but come on. Here’s what is next, when you’re able:

**If you do not know who your Congressional Representatives and state Senators are, find out.
Get their phone number and office address. If they already supported Roe, CALL THEM ANYWAY and tell them you want them to keep fighting.

**We have to HOLD the Congress (House of Representatives), and we HAVE TO expand the Senate.
We MUST HAVE MORE DEMOCRATIC SENATORS in order to CODIFY Roe into LAW. That will take alot of work and sadly, alot of money. These are the facts.

**Donate to Planned Parenthood, NARAL, or any other organization that assists with crisis pregnancy.

Uphill? Yes. Miserable? Yes. But NOT impossible. Give up for a while. Catch your breath. Put your armor back on and find out what you personally can do. There are millions of women who feel the same as we do right now. Encourage each other to keep up the fight.

He’s Safe.

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All I wanted to do yesterday was hold you and hug you, Boy.
I say Boy but you are not. You are a young man but I can only see you
as a tousled blonde twerp, skinny strong, and full of beans.
I cried hard yesterday and did the unimaginable (for me.)
I asked for help and it came and it helped.
But it still wasn’t the same as seeing your face and your chin
and your ballcap hair, smelling like vanilla vape
padding around in ankle socks like a magic cat.
Whose fingers can touch the ceiling.
Who can do an oil change.
Who can pencil a landscape or lady to life.
Whose head is in the trees and grass and muddy water
at the cabin where the ATVs roam.

You are mine.
I thank the universe you’re here.
I remember the last time we hugged
(I can feel your strong body clad in
black v-neck and jeans)
and we will hug again soon.
In the meantime I will write. And cry.
And fill in the time with mindless chores,
thinking how lucky and proud I am of you.

I’ll Fight For You

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I hear little voices outside,
downstairs
I look over the balcony and see them doing things in the pagoda the landlord believes is worth charging all that kinda month in rent.
I am hypersensitive to what is going on around me, I guess because I know not good things are happening
around me
So I am aware of your posture, your clothes, your glasses,
your ink and bookmarks and the times you laugh and the times you do not
Looking for trouble where no trouble is,
but trouble is, and will always be.
So when it is two in the morning and I hear things
I’m looking out for you.

I met Heather Nathan because I heard them making noise past my window
Little people! New! So I went down to see them and I was glad to see them.
I have to write down their names because I’m in that place where
stuff don’t stick
And all I could think was those days when Dad was far away
and Mom was too
and we weren’t allowed in the house without them
I guess because they thought we’d burn the whole thing down if they weren’t home,
But didn’t they know we live here too?
We froze fingers and toes after tumbling off the bus, wondering why the door wasn’t opened for us
I pissed my pants one day, frozen, hopeless, because they couldn’t trust us in the house.

This is my prayer to you, little ones who I met today while your mom is doing whatever while
you have to be outside and play in the cold
I must not swoop down and try to become some Marvel character to you,
but that does not mean I don’t see you, little ones.
I’m cold with you, I’m strong with you,
I know all your questions and I can’t answer them for you,
I’ll keep an eye out.
It’s best I can do. And I won’t sleep better for it.

For Evelyn

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I don’t want to write in the kitchen with the light on

It’s too bright

Sunrise soon in my bedroom

but it’s still dark too dark in this other room to write.

Candles 50 solve the problem

but the soot and the scent overpower

nothankyou

So I’ll just keep getting up to check on the

black sky

indigo sky

blue sky

just the right sky

Like a child,

Now? Now? Now? How ’bout now?

Can I turn off the light

see ink on the page

legible

legit

Yeah now it’s time,

and I will spend the rest of the day

complaining

It isn’t dark enough to rain–

or to write.

Purple Everything

The blog post was about things that remind you of someone. Share and remember the ones who crossed your path, with a bend towards the oldest memory. I took a look around my apartment and it’s filled with those, but today it’s about Mom. AKA Chummer. Here’s my response.

Had to go looking through the apartment to figure out what made it with me through all these years that reminds me of someone. It appears the ring I stole from my mom is the winner. I was oh I don’t know maybe 9 when I saw it and I had to have it so I took it from her dresser. Not sure if she ever found out, and if she did, nothing came of it. I fell in love with the color and the sideways cant of it, like nothing I’d ever seen before, and though I wasn’t in the habit of nicking stuff the divil got the best of me and here it is still with me after all the moves and the crazy, tucked in a dark armoire. I used to wrap bandaids on the band so it wouldn’t slip off, but now it fits just fine. In some light it looks like broken antique Pepsi bottle glass, green and boring, but in direct light it. is. purple. My favorite purple. Anyway…. I got your ring, Chummer. Thanks for letting me get away with it.