Juxtapositioning

words are foreplay for the soul
February 10th, 2017 by me

The Night I Died

It was late. I was trying to sleep. My heart beat faster. I couldn’t breathe. My heart wouldn’t stop pounding. Breath exercises didn’t help. I kept telling my heart to slow down, to stop pounding. Take a breath! Now! Do it!

I couldn’t.

I couldn’t will myself to breathe, to live. I needed help. My heart felt like it was leaping out of my chest.

I texted my beloved, in the next room. The text was garbled, a series of meaningless letters and symbols. rj3u92/, perhaps. Texting didn’t work.

I called to him. Surely he would hear me. I called and called. HELP, I said, as loud as I could. It sounded like hehhhhhhhh. I couldn’t talk. Calling to him didn’t work.

I don’t know how I did this, but I got up out of my bed and went to the wall between my bedroom and my beloved’s. I pounded on the wall as hard as I could, with the strength of a gnat. He heard me.

Call 911, my eyes said, between gasps. I told myself to breathe, even though I couldn’t.

When the ambulance came, everything would be all right. They would help me breathe again, instantly. My heart would stay in its chest. I would be okay.

The ambulance men came, with their shoes in our shoe-free house, right into my bedroom. I didn’t let myself care. I wanted to breathe again. I wanted to live.

They put an oxygen mask over my mouth and nose. I still couldn’t breathe. Why wasn’t this thing working?

The Emergency Room was like a movie. A blue-smocked nurse strode by our little cubicle from right to left, repeatedly, like a duck in a carnival shooting gallery.

I left my body and entered a land of bright golden light where loving people awaited me. I wanted to stay there forever. I felt at peace and completely at home.

I came back.

This is what I told my beloved:

We’ve had a good run, haven’t we? But it’s going to be way more fun here with you. We’ve been together a thousand years, and I choose to be here with you.

After awhile, we went home. I could breathe again and my heart had stopped pounding.

 

January 11th, 2017 by me

Circadian

I prowl restless empty streets

Savoring your breath upon the wind

Hungry for lips, tongue, the hard safe circle of your arms

 

Indoors, art-strewn walls sing and remember our passion’s roar

We are animals sated, panting

Love-slick drops roll down our limbs entwined

 

At night I sink into a white-pillowed embrace

Dreaming ecstasy, dreaming bliss

The seeds of hunger buried deep, fermenting

 

Morning dawns and I lie curled in your apostrophe

You whisper the day’s excitement

Enchantment is birthed anew

November 18th, 2016 by me

Beach

Sunshine melts into jeweled waters

Wave after foamy tumbling wave insouciantly approaches wetted sands

A community of graywhite gulls awaits sunset

Pods of black-suited surfers bob companionably over the far reef

Determined walkers leave deep-heeled prints

Wide empty seaweed-strewn sands beckon, remembering summer crowds

Shoes in hand, we amble where ocean meets earth, leaving no trace

October 20th, 2016 by me

Belongingness

On weekends, she wandered across late-80’s on-trend gray-carpeted floors, regarding the mauve sectional they bought after hours of agonizing over seating choices. She walked right through the living room to the front door and peered listlessly out into the blinding-bright Phoenix sun. Then back again, this time through the kitchen with its white tile and whitewashed-mauve cabinets, over to the family room that the house’s one visitor said needed personal touches (tchotchkes, she thought — yuck) and then it would feel like a home.

She wandered because there was nothing else.

No long streams of adding-machine tape to pore over, looking for the one mis-entry that kept everything from adding up. No yellow bags of Lay’s potato chips to pretend into non-existence, to remove any temptations, since she knew that one bite (of anything) was poison and fatness and also a gateway to desperate binging to quell the ever-present inner emptiness she avoided feeling at all costs. No books to read except for the worn copy of Butterfield 8 that arrived in the mail from Chris with a cryptic statement: “she reminds me of you”.

She wandered because she didn’t belong.

Oh, the gray-carpeted floors were hers, as were the mauve sectional and the white metal day bed (with gold finials) in the guest room and the bare tchotchke-free walls and the trendy mauve pleated shades on the windows. It was all hers, technically, since it was her money combined with his that made this Dream House possible.

And yet it wasn’t. Nothing was. Not even herself.

And now, and now, three decades later, the man, the house, is long gone. The wandering starts again. That woman has become this one.

This time the wandering is over Pergo and area rugs, while gazing at multicolored paintings I made myself, looking out onto the wide green world. The details changed but the inner part, the nugget, the kernel of that life-long pain from the long, missed grasp of belongingness, fingertips barely there but slipping off soon after because when you are a person who Doesn’t Belong, there’s really nothing you can do except howl at the pain and injustice of it all.

This time I wander in my mind, my imagination. I pretend I feel connected to this place, this house, but now I wonder whether my lifelong sense of non-belongingness isn’t connected to a place but rather to a person — me.

Maybe I don’t belong anywhere. Maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe that’s my superpower.

October 17th, 2016 by me

Moonlight serenade

Twenty years ago, a little more, I walked. Nighttime solo walks. Walks under the light of the moon. Walks to breathe cool air and smell the damp on cut grass and hear distant dogs singing to the sky. Almost every night, in all weather, but especially after a snow. It doesn’t snow where I live now. I don’t miss it, but I remember how I loved the sounds of snow shovels patiently scraping driveways, and I especially remember how quiet the world is underneath a white soft blanket.

Those walks, those twenty-years-ago-walks, were my sanity and salvation, my private world-wide Quiet Thinking Space. I do some of my best thinking while walking. The feet just go where they go and the mind opens wide into distant lands and star-bright worlds.

Tonight I slipped on my pink New Balances and a purple jacket and stepped out into the cool night, the just-this-side-of-full moon beaming bright. My world has been so small for so long. I’ve barely been anywhere by myself in more than two years. I clutched my keys in my pocketed fist and then laughed at myself. This isn’t that kind of neighborhood. Still, I was aware of where light pooled on the sidewalks from the occasional street lamps, and I looked for ominous shadows. I saw no shadows — only Sasha, the tiny white poodle who yapped at my ankles (to his owner’s chagrin) when I walked past.

Free. And strong. I’ve missed how that feels.

September 28th, 2016 by me

Bright

The second Claire woke up, she knew something was different. It wasn’t the constant steady beeping of the machines next to her bed, tubes snaking to her nose and wrist. It wasn’t the smell of disinfectant and coffee from the hallway outside the door (coffee? was there really coffee here?). And it wasn’t the starched feel of the sheets that lay loosely over her legs, not that she could feel them. No, Claire expected all of those.

What she didn’t expect was the light.

How Claire knew to look at the light that streamed through open institution-green curtains at the broad windows spanning one wall of the little white room, she didn’t know. But there it was. It wasn’t that it was more golden than before, or more pinkish, or even more blue. Light contains all those colors. A spectrum of colors. No, it was more the absence of color. Yeah, that was it. The light was….clear? How could that be.

The coffee smell got stronger. Claire remembered coffee, hot and bitter and milky-sweet, a gift and a punishment at the same time. Coffee meant mornings, and cars, and a desk in an office filled with clacking typewriter keys and ringing telephones. Coffee meant phone calls and memos and kicking off of shoes under the desk. Coffee meant regular, normal, before.

She never should have let them do it.

They said it was an experimental procedure. There weren’t any options, they said. It was either the surgery or…nothing. Literally nothing, as in Claire herself would be nothing if she didn’t agree to let them monkey around in her head. She had a good chance, they said (a good chance of what?). But still, experimental. So no one knew for sure.

Was it really the light?

Now she tasted coffee. Just the way he used to make it for her, so hot and so strong she had to douse the bitter fire with clouds of cream and what he always teased her as a whole tree’s worth of maple syrup. Coffee? Maybe it was the tube in her nose.

Was the light…moving?

The beeping slowed.

The light beckoned. So bright.

June 23rd, 2016 by me

Back From the Dead

I died and I came back. I couldn’t breathe and that fist-sized muscle in my chest pounded a hole through my thoughts and I beat my fist on the wall because I could no longer form words and the ambulance came and the lights were so bright and there I was, walking serenely in a land made of gold where everyone smiled like rainbows and there was nothing that was not made of wonder and goodness but I stepped back through the shimmering curtain to tell my beloved I chose to stay.

Sometimes I regret that choice.

I wish I remembered more. I still see that nurse in a blue smock who walked past the curtained opening of my ER cubicle over and over. I’m told that she didn’t, or that she only walked past once, but I keep seeing her stuck on repeat, right to left, like one of those carnival shooting gallery ducks. But that’s about it. I just remember golden light.

My beloved tells me I demanded sex from him right there in the ER, and that I went ahead without him and had multiple screaming orgasms. I’d like to remember that. I’ve never had multiple screaming orgasms and that would be a memory I could carry with me a long time. Instead, all I remember is the light, that golden light like liquid sunshine that poured over everything in the Otherworld, a magical Midas that turned death into gold.

They tell me I can feel that gold right here, but it’s hard for me to believe.

That’s actually the secret, though. Like Rumplestiltskin who spun straw into gold, I can spin the black mud of my life into light, and from that light I can weave a new life. I think I almost know how to do it.

September 13th, 2014 by me

The Circle Game

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look
Behind from where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

— Joni Mitchell

This is what reading my archives does to me. Inspires me, that’s what.

Thoughts that go through my head:

1. She’s a damn good writer. Why doesn’t she write more? Where’s that fucking book she promised? (oh hey, I did write this one)

2. Seriously, where is the damn book? The other book?

3. Aha! A Category titled Rants. I shall make use of that one.

4. The Way Back Machine goes all the way to here. The beginning.

5. Shit. I didn’t leave my problems back in 2012 or whatever.

Okay, that last one is a bitch. That’s why I’m here today, to reconcile the sad fact that despite the passage of six years I’m still the same [read: gloriously fucked-up, insecure, self-judging, wants-to-be-awesome] person I was in 2008. Read the rest of this entry »

August 21st, 2014 by me

Phoenix

phoenix

 

I am reborn.

The birthing process took far longer than I ever imagined — two years and counting — but oh so worth it. I now live less than a mile from a sunny warm beach. I feel welcomed into the warm embrace of loving community. My yoga body looks strong. And I feel very loved.

A year ago last night I stood in the center of a circle of love, pledging to spend the rest of my days (then still an even more uncertain number than for most of us) with my beloved Mister Splashy. A year is a long time. It’s been a lifetime already, these past 365 days and the 365 before that. Two lifetimes ago there was a real possibility I would die within weeks. Now I love one moment at a time, and each moment stretches into eternity.

I suspect this is how we are meant to live — this full-breathed YAWP, inhaling gulps of fresh wonder in each moment, falling in love with every pair of eyes-connected-to-a-heart that I meet.

I have a secret.

Life is meant to be fun, a carnival ride, a glorious adventure.

I rose from the ashes of She Who Came Before, and I stand aflame now and ready to embrace even more yum, even more breath, even more possibility. Life beckons. It’s what you do with your moments that counts.

 

August 6th, 2013 by me

100 and counting…

There are so many ways to die.

She knew this. Daily she plotted her death. Little ways.

A sheaf of papers could grow edges and slice knifelike across her white soft throat. The cord of his headset, sprawled oh so innocently across her bed, could stretch and wrap itself like a hungry boa around her neck. The closet door could slam so satisfyingly, crushing her skull into the jamb. Kitchen knives could grow wings. Heavy pots with heavy lids could crash like cymbals into the grapefruit of her head. Cars could swerve and leap over sidewalks.

So many ways.

There’s no point to being here if Here just means pain. Refresh. Reboot. Wipe away years of dried tears, years of rust around your heart, and for what? More pain.

The circle stands unbroken. You can’t get off the carousel. She prayed for the ground to open and swallow her into nothingness. She was so very tired.