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 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.

A FEW Thoughts On My Instincts (yes, it’s about that.)


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When I first meet people I am open towards them. I listen actively (looking for normal social cues and also other clues about you), giving 95% of belief in what you tell me, whether it’s the boss on my first day on the job or a friend sharing the disaster of her day. (Well, okay. Certain people get 99.9% and you know who you are.) Ninety-five percent of me believes the rest of you, and I reserve a little bit because of this thing I have learned. Most people don’t go around lying about everything, but I find many of us embellish or omit things in normal conversation. I’m looking for you in what you do not tell me, what I am not seeing. Mea culpa, it’s how I protect myself.

I spent time with the recent celebrity trial and learned alot about myself. Go on, roll your eyes and sigh. Come with me all the way on this little essay. It gave me a reason for self-examination, what I believe and why. It was good to see a real trial and not a melodramatic portrayal on TV or cinema. It reminds me that if you took away their fame, they could be the neighbors arguing down the hall, which is also a reminder that celebrity, fame, money does not buy happiness, not even close. During the trial alot of dirt came out in the wash. I was disappointed by some of it and also not completely surprised by some of it. At the conclusion my flags, gut feelings, instincts felt a sort of vindication.

The biggest question I want to ask everyone now is this: What *exactly* does a person have to do to convince you they have been the victim of abuse? What is *your* threshold for belief? Three photos or hundreds? One mark on the body or hundreds? One tear, one sniffle, or none? Zero pictures, zero tears, just a stoic recounting and nothing else? How much context of the entire situation do you ask for, need? What do your instincts need to believe, to convince you that something happened? At the conclusion of the trial my instincts reaffirmed my beliefs: That something happened, but I do not put 100% faith in what *any* of them described. I do, however, put all my faith in the two alpacas the lady outside the courthouse brought along to bring good vibes.

When a person comes to you and tells you they have been a victim of abuse, I want you to believe them and I hope you do. I hope you will listen actively and you are one of the millions of good people who do not rely on social media to tell you how to feel about something. If you are comfortable doing so, are in a position to be available, I hope you will ask if they need help. It takes courage for men in particular to speak up. Having said that, I am still comfortable reserving 100% belief in what a person tells me and that doesn’t make me a bad person, just cautious. Commence booing me for following celebrity tripe, and I thank you for reading this to the end.

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,
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


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



Yeah now it’s time,

and I will spend the rest of the day


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.

Bedtime Story


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I made a nest of her hair beneath the couch,
circled soft gray strands into a bed
Wove black threads and sock pills,
sea green that smell of aloe into the place I lay my head.
Because she is naughty there are bread crumbs
and cheese crumbs on the floor beside my bed,
what she brushes off becomes a feast.
It is never too warm or too cold beneath the couch,
though sometimes I fear she might squish me when she sits
but she stays on that end and I on this,
and we watch The Sopranos again.

One night late, before she wakes at three for a
swig of cold milk from the fridge to stave off the pain
I crept into her bedroom and a sneeze came upon me
unannounced, incidentally, nowhere to hide.   
She sat up wide awake and said, “Hello?”
I froze, astonished she could hear, annoyed I let myself be known.
She said again “Hello?” asking of the dark
and I think she wanted someone to be there.

My Personal Dragonfly


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Weather comes for us east and west this time of year.
I watch it unfold, prepare best I can
Mostly I just watch millibars and strings and
eyewalls that have not evolved or think they wanna be
but never quite get there
coming to our shores as a tropical storm,
no harm intended but beware, she’s water
she’s nature, she cares nothing about you
and half the time I believe she wants to do us in,
and then this, an orange dusky rainbow in the backyard
proof we were passed over, patting ourselves on the backs
with that great camera phone pic that got twelve-hundred likes on Twitter
But only three of us watched the whole thing unfold
naked, no umbrellas, daring, me concerned but not flat-out afeard,
standing barefoot in lukewarm puddles in the dips of the decking
how lucky we are to be wet mongrels in the world of this day.

A supposed tropical storm came around this way and it was
more like a car wash, normal for this spit of land,
maybe a little more wind and less rain and a weak bough broke in the backyard.
You know, the backyard where the lady built a wall to keep the world out
with clotheslines and moldy towels, a half-assed wall of trellis
covered in black cloth.
We had a bit of wind and water, not much else to speak of and
there he is in my window frame,
my personal dragonfly doing a handstand on a twig, butt pointing to the sky
because a bough broke during the night.
I named him George, George of the handstand, George of the pommel horse
letting his wings dry in the dawning hot sun day
Then he’s gone for days, my personal dragonfly
Eaten or bored
But here he is again, a biplane resting before takeoff for who knows where
His big, big brothers fly west, and I notice there are fewer of them this year
Where are the westerly-flying dragonflies who get a little lost in this
surfrider canyon of yellow walls and sea-foam green doors?
George returns to the twig that looks like a slingshot,
gossamer spiderweb line, one line, awaits but he’s too clever for that
as they are still or pushed violently in the breeze.

George is elsewhere this morning and I have no hope this way or other
to see him again, but I will never forget his biplane glassine wings,
his showoffy handstands, amazement he returns to that same slingshot-shaped
set of branches that came because a wind broke a branch
and nobody but me gets to see you.

I Lose More Therapists This Way*


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I enter her comfy, cozy office, sink into the comfy, cozy couch and we get all the small talk out of the way. She knows I don’t want to talk about anything, I’d much rather babble on about current events or the weather, so she tries to get me to relax so I can share how I’m really feeling so I can feel better. She asked me to close my eyes. Yeah right, that only took five minutes for me to stay in, and then she asked me to imagine

…..sitting in the deep woods, woods filled with pine trees the breath of the breeze filling the boughs that made them sway, the scent of pine taking me away… I opened my eyes and said, “Yeahno. Nope. There’s bears. There’s bears and there’s yellowjack nests in the bottom of that tree. You know I have spheksophobia, I can’t go there, no bears, no hornets, no.”

May be an image of nature and tree
photo by Elisa Torres

I’m stiff on the couch again and she asks me to imagine the green hillside where Julie Andrews sings “The Hills Are Alive” amidst mountains and a beautiful blue sky, a scene she knows I love and helps me get to sleep. She asks me to sit down on a blanket and watch the moment. But the hills are alive with flowers and things that want flowers like bugs and bees and oh my god it’s all covered in bees and Nope. No. No thank you. I’m stiff again on her couch really wanting to talk about the ballots being audited in Arizona by Cyber Ninjas. She slowly brings me back to where I can see my sneakers on the Berber carpet, and I want an iced coffee in the worst way.

My therapist takes a sip from her coffee mug and returns it silently to the coaster on the side table. She says, “I want you to close your eyes again,” which takes another five minutes and she says “Imagine yourself floating. You are floating in the jade green waters of the Chesapeake, the place you love. The sun is warm but not too warm, the breeze is present but not assailing, you are floating, floating free and safe…” And I cut her off. “Nope. No. There’s jellyfish. Jellyfish. They’re all over. And things that touch my calf and and I don’t know what the hell that is because I can’t see it. I mean, if I can’t see it, then what is even the point of being here? No thanks.”

My therapist sighs and smiles, adjusting tactics and says, “Well ok, that’s fine. Close your eyes again please. And now you’re floating in your bathtub at home. Your apartment where the only sound is the air conditioner. Day in and day out, the world is quiet, as you like it, your most sacred safe place. You are floating in your bathtub, relaxed, thinking about the day, and …” I interrupt her. “Nope. No. I just washed the tub. I mean, I think I got all the cleaner out, but I’m not sure. I rinsed the tub out really good, I probably used more water than I should have, I mean, I really try to conserve water, but I’m not sure all the cleaner is out, so if I try to soak in the tub with that stuff still in there my labia might swell up and my vagina will follow suit and my uterus will *eject* because who the hell knows what’s really in those chemicals, so how about if I try again tomorrow after I rinse the tub out with scalding hot water for like 24 hours, it should be okay then, right? …. Right?

There’s bears in them woods and jellyfish in that water and it’s okay. My friend wrote about her time away and my current being had hackles up, red flags, fear which I throttled back slowly as I imagined myself there faced with a bear in the ferns, or maybe it was a deer, or nothing at all. After putting out my fear fires I felt amused because I can be a dork who can look at my real inside self and hear, “Well there you go. You got some shit to work on.” So thanks, Elisa for your allowing me to live vicariously through ya, and there was probably no bears. I doubt I will ever get over the yellowjack thing, but I’ll hit the water and the woods with you anytime.

*This essay was filled with exaggeration, but….

July 4th Memory


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It was the No-Go stairway. Never, ever, go up those stairs, the last, highest stairs in our building. You better believe me and my brother did Go when we could get away with it, but we had to be lightning fast and super quiet in those echoey halls to get up and down before anyone caught us. Sometimes we sat on those stairs while waiting for Mom to come out of the apartment so we could go food shopping or maybe the library. Sitting was legal, anyway.

But one night Dad took us up those stairs, those No-Go stairs, and it was amazing to get to the top and go through that dark door that took us onto the ROOF! CAN YOU IMAGINE how emerging onto a roof at night, all secret-like, felt to this fairly sheltered kid? It was scary and rule-breaking and scary and cool and scary. The dark gravel crunched beneath my sneakered feet. It was warm but cool. The wall was too short to lean over so we had to stay away from it (scary) but we had a 360-degree view of the fireworks taking place around Flushing on Fourth of July. The blossoms weren’t too near and the crackling, booming was a bit far away, but I will never, ever forget the night we did a bit of rule breaking and had some (rare) excitement with Dad on the day we commemorate our own rule breaking that paved the way to Independence.

Yay Us! (Thanks, Dad.) ❤