Everything is RENT

American Nightmare

Wake in panic, sweat soaking the bed, body screaming formal commands to neither move
Or remain still;
The burner cell phone blinks green but
Every voice mail is just one more bill collector
And the ghoulish green lights up the
Stapled papers from the door reminding me that tomorrow
I lose everything. Eviction
Or pay
But that was yesterday
And the money ain’t coming
But any way the new day is here .
Roll over to syrup brown eyes and feel warm licks to the hand
And smile as Janis voice breaks across the tinny speakers of the AM/FM clock radio
“I guess we got our freedom,” I say and fluff his ears,
Knowing we were just casual visitors to this stable middle class life
And today we return to our roofless home
Less the peripheral accoutrements of the American Dream.

I contemplate
Calling Goodwill at the crack of dawn to come take it all
Except for the clothes and the dogs in the car.
But then I shut off the phone
And roll over and go back to sleep,
For four more hours I can pretend
And believe,

But knowing whatever the miracle looks like
We’ll still have each other
And I’ll still have me.

Elegy for Suzanne

In preschool you already knew that tilting your head to the side a certain way
made adults stop and stare.
Large brown eyes and elfin face, hair like night,
With a smile forever just dawning.
Daddy’s princess and Mommy’s most wanted baby girl
We all heard the story again and again about the miracle of you;
I might have resented you
But I, too, was enthralled.

Always the same
Everyone’s golden girl,
The one we loved best
And rescued, and pampered, and pretended was whole.
You were always singing and laughing
Hiding your pain in your humor and music
In the end you took your own life
When your final misadventure took its toll.

It was this time of year when your daughter died.
Not yet 18 and hit by an inebriated driver,
We all put our differences behind to bury her
And make memorial Rosita Kittens at the Tennessee mall
Build A Bear.

Was it that loss anniversary
and that memory that pulled you deep into the well of despair that fall?
Or was it everything, maybe nothing at all?
Depression is like that, unpredictable,
Yours as dark as your childhood suns were bright.
And you did your own unpredictable medication routine
With your equally unpredictable and cruel husband
Bearing his beatings for the feel of the elixir he brought for your veins.

I will think of you each autumn and swing in a swing,
Tell a punny story,
Maybe climb a tree
I will remember you as a child;
As a teenager singing about the small house of Uncle Thomas
On your high school stage;
Young mother with the shining eyes of joy;
Danielle’s mother at her graveside, shoulders bowed in grief.

I will not remember the bruised face and arms
The lies and attempted manipulations,
Or the times you stole money, or refused to leave him
As anything more than symptoms of your disease.

C’mon Baby let’s get out of this town, I got a full tank of gas, and the top rolled down

The weather in Arizona in October is equal in beauty only to the beauty of April in Arizona. One of the gifts of pairing out all the non-essentials is coming to the library to use the internet. I sit at the window where I can watch the birds on the water, three swans are making there way across, two long term adults and one just graduating into white and still with a wee bit of adolescent awkwardness. The Blue Heron is fishing by the marshy part, pretty awesome view.

So many things to enjoy and find beautiful, so much love and laughter around me, I am such a lucky woman to be alive today, and here and ready to start my next adventure!

I have pretty much decided that Krav Maga is the type of Martial Art I want to learn this year, another step towards feeling ready for my long. long hike, aka my next great adventure. S(low)O(ld)F(at)T(ry) athletes Ho!

Anyway, here is the update on all things health related, finally got test results and my blood work looks good, kidneys and liver more than ready for what I need to throw at them next. Other news is there will still be some throwing going on, but thats OK. Emotionally I am still really reeling from the cummulative year of everything leading up to and including the recent drama at the apartment buildings. On a new anxiety med and anti-depressant because I have the same inability to properly secrete serotonin that a diabetic has secreting insulin. That last is really repeated for my own benefit, because well, I am old school; it is hard for me to see my PTSD as an illness and not a moral weakness, but the meditation and yoga stopped being enough, and my kids deserve better than the other parent to commit suicide, so got help. And it is helping. My bed has been made for five days in a row. I am again LOL’ing at random stuff, and stopping to just feel the beauty of the moment.

I think it is hard for people to reconcile my positive outlook with chronic depression, but just like a type 1 diabetic can eat healthy and still need insulin, I sometimes need medical intervention when events outside my own control increase the stress in my life. Actually I was wondering what I would actually be like if I wasn’t so generally grateful and incredibly lucky and usually happy?

Definitely prefer my own four walls to being anywhere else and my two dogs company over crowds, but still getting out a couple times a week to non-work related ventures. Still smiling, still getting up in the morning, cuz well, I am grateful to still be breathing.

And life rewards me when I stretch myself, push myself to be more, do the frightening, the uncomfortable. I meet incredible new people (In fact got my hand kissed by a real Silver-haired Hottie today) or I maintain the friendships and relationships that got me this far. I have so many, many friends. Gratitude is my overwhelming attitude. Life really rocks.

Not that those rocks don’t have some sharp points. I am still truly struggling with finances and I have surgery coming up on October 31. I am finally back to full time work though which is something.Between awesome donations by generous friends and selling stuff and working hard my current financial status is thus: No longer overdrawn!!!!!! Yup, I am currently in the black. Not much but still, positive is positive! I am however still 700$ short of paying my October rent (with beaucoup late fees) so will be trying to find homes for lots of stuff as I leave this beautiful apartment. But that is what it is. I have not given up hope of a miracle, I believe in them, shoot, I live them, see them and care for them almost every day of my life. But if the miracle of money doesn’t happen then the miracle of acceptance will.

Can’t control too much in my life, but I always get to choose how I respond. And that choice will always be love, integrity and gratitude. Nothing I really am can be taken from me. Fearless is my goal this year, truly fearless. If to get there I need to shed everything, I am ready.

But I will admit to preferring to keep this roof, a car and the job I love. If you can donate anything I appreciate it, any money donated here usually goes to medical bills but with the missed work it will go to rent this month. Just a full disclosure bit. Anyway, thanks for reading, now off to read and write some more poems!

I wish you would step back from that ledge my friend…

Prompt 7

Five

Five minutes
Five tasks
Five objects each task
I count the cups as I wash them
1..2..3..4..5
Then count them again as I dry them
5..4..3..2..1
Folding five towels
Five items from gravity storage to destination
Five uniforms ironed
All to forget that outside
A man was just murdered
By his memories,
So technically a murder/suicide.
They say he went to the gas station and called 911
Then returned to stay with her until they came.
He had her blood on his hands
And his own pouring out from his stomach
Not at all like the TV
No need for music swells to set the mood.

The cop who wrestled him, banging loud at my door
Asking questions
I say I know nothing
Because at that moment all I know
Is the need to lock my door five times when he leaves.

Five episodes
Not even the Doctor or Torchwood
Erasing the memory
Or stopping the rocking
I am not here but there again
Counting the hands and the bodies
Playing a sorting of colors
Like human M&M’s.

Five breaths
Five minutes
Five corn chips

Five dishes
Five letters started and shredded
Five random posts onto face book

I walk the dogs
Counting my steps
In sets of five
Five more minutes
I can be OK, in five more minutes
In the meantime, five quick games of Words with Friends

Five seemed to choose itself as my magic number.
Three was not enough to soothe me
Back when I picked a cap for my compulsive behaviors
And six just too many
I still had children to raise and life to live and function was my highest priority
Only later did I equate it with the elements
Earth, Fire, Air, Water and the One Spirit infused in all
But sometimes instead of counting I say them.

Five more steps, five more minutes, five more bites
When I am reaching
Anyone can eat a whale, five bites at a time.

And only five when I am coping, forgetting
Remembering I am alive.

Five words
As remedy for my PTSD diagnosis
And this too shall pass.

Namo Guan Shi Yin Pusa

Prompt 6
A Poem after Meditation
The tingle starts at my largest toe;
My right foot is slightly bigger than my left,
And more calloused.
It is always that toenail on my outsized distal phalange
That I sacrifice to long distance running;
When I can run
Which isn’t today
But I wish was today
Which is why
I am sitting
And breathing
In
Out
In
Out
In
Out
Out
I am my breath.
Empty of expectation
I find that center again
Where something more than I resides
Quan Yin smiles from my altar
The music playing her chant is somewhere far outside me
Until the final chime
The unfolding into the world begins again
With stretches and steps I can take
While my soul prepares to run.

I Run for Hope, I Run to Feel….. I Run for LIfe

Welcome to yet another morning of me writing about me and my life as I know it.

This has been a profound autumn for me. The miracles coming in twice as thick as the storms, which is good because underneath the “Fine” I have been letting my foundation get shaky. Fear of Homelessness, Anger, Assault and Abandonment are my triggers and the cancers that eat at my soul and all have been tripped in the period from July through October

I had a moment this Friday when an accumulation of small thing got huge, and my fear was anything but a docile beast and the pain was consuming and I almost gave away a piece of my soul.

So this week, I apologize to all my doctors everywhere, but I gotta swim and run again.

This sitting still and resting is killing me.

Update is this:

I don’t know anything more yet than I did, and my doctor is out for the week. Yeah!

I have right now the gift of food in my fridge and gas in my car and even a donation to go dance this week, yes, I was specifically instructed to dance by the donor! Tomorrow I volunteer for the day and today I clean and play and write. Yesterday I worked, some place I was truly needed. Wednesday I take care of business at the VA hospital. And hopefully Thursday and Friday I work.

Still overdrawn, still need rent. Thank you to all those who have donated. I am so humbled and incredibly grateful for all the financial generosity and also incredibly aware that there are other people in my social circles whose needs are as big and bigger than mine.

I am equally humbled and grateful for the prayers and well wishes and time given to me over the past few months. I am so very lucky to have all of you.

I am, as I said, still working the job of my dreams, fewer hours but grateful that I have the physical and mental ability to still do this awesome job.

I have my friends and sons and grandchildren to remind me I would be missed.

and finally I have again a handful of concrete goal oriented bucket list items I am working towards

Cuz that’s the way, uh huh, uh huh, I like it! Uh Huh Uh Huh.

We all heal differently, and healing means a million different things, sometimes it even means knowing enough to say good-bye, but for me, right this minute it means that I am going to get back to swimming a mile or more and running 5K easily, I am preparing to hike the Apalachian Trail, complete a certain Biography/Memoir as ghost writer and update my passport.

And it means that this past week-end I declared a clean slate, all, everywhere is forgiven.

Yup, even him.

Namaste.

Writing songs that voices never share

Prompt Day 5: Here is more a composite picture. I wrote from a patients personna but then rewrote till all identifying info was removed. Almost all of my patients have some degree of vision issue, hearing problems, and trachs. Some are completely dependent to even be moved. But ALL have personality, likes, dislikes, fears and favorites. I hope I did them justice.

Occupational Therapy

Music is playing as I lay on my back and respond with my body to the
Colors and lights and sounds.
Footsteps, I feel them as much as hear them grow closer,
Even though the new hard plastic things are already shoved in my ear.
Two people, one grandma, one a stranger.
I hear those sounds again as Grandma’s voice rumbles
My name, I know my name in all its versions,
Elizabeth, Lizbeth, L’il Lizzie, Hush Lizzie, Poor baby,
But she says my favorite “Pretty Betty Butterfly”
Only Grandma calls me her “Pretty Betty Butterfly.”
I turn my head trying to catch a glimpse of the other, new voice,
it is soft and full of small sounds. It’s mostly Grandma talking.

“Cortical Blindness”
“Anoxic Brain Injury”
“Difficult delivery, lucky they both lived”
It is grandma’s voice, but those sounds make it sad.
I know the sounds but not what they mean.
I know sad,
I know happy,
I even know mad.
I know Grandma
And mother
And hungry
And full
And light and smells and warmth of arms.
I know I like Elmo, and Daniel the Tiger.
I start to chirp my tracheal Grandma song.

But now there is a new voice.
I am cautious, and close my eyes, pretend sleep.
Because I also know pain.

But there are no bright lights or biting smells
Just the press of the thing against my chest and my belly.
I am uncertain, afraid
But then there are arms holding me and the voice knows how to lean into the parts I can see.
Her hand puts my one hand on Grandma
And moves her other hand by her chin, her mouth.
Then I am sitting propped in her lap,
She takes my hand and touches Kitty,
my other hand touches my face, just below the nose
(I know nose)
and my hand moves sideways in the air,
I think she wants something from me
So I try to raise my own hand to my face.
Over and over we touch things and move our hands.

I like her smile, and her singing
And I want to tell her that
But mostly I want to close my eyes and smell her shirt
And dream.