Does it Matter? Does Anything Matter? Does Matter Matter?
Writing is of making matter.
I don't type. I ooze;
'Savor words which make me fatter;
Splat my brains like booze.
Corpulent, my cogitation slithers with absurds,
Through strain and consternation,
Squirms it's way to words.
Writing's asking "what's da matter?";
Mattering the what.
Writing is of making matter matter when it's not.
Is man a mistake of God ’s, or is God a mistake of man’s?
If I have erred, then so has He. Likewise,
if He is full of it, then “it“ reeks of me.
They say it takes two to tango at all. Leastwise,
we’d waltz solo twixt Heavenly padded walls.
We Drink and We Know Things
Have you ever had a cup of coffee you remember years later? Was there flavor, or was it just hot water? I think as a writer, I want to leave burn marks on readers’ tongues. I want them to see my name and think, oh, this cup will have some bite to it.
My inspiration comes from gut feelings. My best writing is usually accompanied by bourbon, never wine. Wine, especially red wine, makes me a special kind of emotional being. Unrecognizable. Someone once said on a writing website, your poetry isn’t profound. You’re just drunk. Not to me, just to the general writing population. I strive to be better than that, but sober, I’m rather stunted.
I take my feelings and put them in a mason jar, like fireflies. I access them and deem them worthy of a poem or not. Sometimes, believe it or not, I decide not to write about them. It’s a hard choice every time, to set them free. But as Hobbes said to Calvin, if we could keep rainbows in museums, we would. I try not to think of myself on that grande a scale. I let the fireflies go, watch them disappear into the dark.
Writing, for me, is inspired by people. I take conversations and weave them into poems. I am fascinated by language, the nuances and inflections. How to produce a good poem with these pieces can be like completing a 1000 word jigsaw puzzle, and honestly, sometimes I’m not patient enough to sit with my thoughts. But people need to be seen. I need to reflect on what people say, and sometimes that happens in a transparent glass.
Writing, basically, defines who I am. Who are you when the coffee gets cold, when the bourbon wears off? No one. Keep writing, keep going. Immortalize those feelings in your own personal mason jar.
Helloooo, Mr. Wilson!
People being people, and unable to leave anything alone, “they” have put a fountain in our pond.
It is a beautiful little pond that I have written about before. When I sit to write it is directly outside my window; 10 or so acres, spring fed, an overflow creek on the far side. The people who owned the land before it was “suburbanized” stocked the pond with perch, bass (some of which are as long as my forearm), and other fish that are too smart to ever get pulled out. One such of that sort are a dozen or so carp that Pooky-Bear bought and had me unnaturally introduce because some guy at work told her they would eat algae and help keep the pond clean. Well, the pond is no cleaner. The surface does manufacture a thin layer of algae in the hottest times of summer, but despite the fact that those carp have grown two feet long now, the pond still gathers about the same amount of algae every year. As a boy will acquire dirt in summer, I suppose algae is part of being a pond. I like the carp though. They really have gotten huge, and will occasionally surface, rolling in the sun, their fins raised like sharks. If you startle them they turn with such power that you would think someone had thrown in a cinder block. They will not bite a line, but I see them, and sometimes the predator in me is tempted to get a bow and arrow, but I do not. Pook is touchy about her animals. That might not play well.
For several years there were two Swedish Blues on the pond, domestic ducks, easily spotted amongst the mallards and gadwalls by their larger size. Now there is only one. Pook put them in, too (or should I say had me do it). Occasionally one would disappear and Pook would have to drive to what we refer to as “Duck Holler” to purchase another for company, but I finally convinced her to stop. The one seems happy enough swimming with the wood-ducks mallards, and not at all lonesome.
There is a Great Blue Heron who fishes constantly, even under the midnight moonlight, and who drives away other invasive blue herons and egrets. Their slow motion, airborne battles are amazing to watch as they drift over the pond in pursuit of one another like giant kites, and then there are smaller green herons who watch it all disinterestedly. There is a kingfisher who also watches from the surrounding branches, chit-chit-chitting at them as they swoosh by as though he were manning a machine gun. There is a red-shouldered hawk hunting frogs and snakes, and an osprey who dives after turtles, or perch, and there is a pair of owls who take over for them at night.
Deer come for the corn that Pooky puts out for her duck, along with skunks, possum, raccoons, and muskrats. Even the turtles, some twenty pounders, venture from the water for a nibble of corn. It all happened outside my window as I type, only now there is only a fountain.
The fountain is three days old, and isn’t really pretty. It is too small for the size of the pond, and is too near the south end. It has an angry roar that bellows below it’s cascading water, which I imagine frightens the fish. There have been no wild ducks since it was installed, and I have not seen the heron. The deer still come because they must, but even the young fishermen seem to have been at least temporarily discouraged by the new monstrosity. I have considered complaining, but assume mine would be the lone dissenting voice, as the others around the pond have probably never even noticed the osprey diving on a grey, gloomy morn, or heard a carp turn in the darkest of night. They have never stood on the porch at three in the morning and watched as the blue heron, shadowed by moonlight, pulls a fish from the inky shoreline and dooms it down an outstretched neck. No, they probably think the fountain pretty.
But I am not the type to stand idly by, so I have convinced my dog, General Sherman, to run for President of the neighborhood Home Owner’s Association. He is the only one who could win, as he is insanely popular, while I am notoriously stand-offish, and Pook too demanding.
Unfortunately The General has not shown much interest in the fountain one way or the other, as there is a pretty new doodle-dog across the pond who has caught his eye. It may seem shallow, but I think I will follow his lead. A fountain is a small thing in the grand scheme, and there are bigger worries, as I now see that the neighbors have bought kayaks for their young boys… ugh.
Beer Pairing with Bullshit
The cart barricade shunts us
suspects past the wary checkout lord.
No one sane buys salad at midnight,
so management routes us to chips, beer,
and night-checkout man, tall and fifty.
We of the early morn file through
his glare that roves our
pockets for bulges and
rolls a teacher-poet
into the hoi polloi so that
for a time I do belong here,
for a time I am not marked
by education and station in
this low wage GED town,
my politics temporarily
indistinguishable from the camo-clad
MAGA man who also heads for beer:
comrade of twilight hours,
brother of the empty fridge.
They shelve the Bud and Keystone
an aisle apart from oatmeal stouts
and wittes. I meditate on pairings
for spinach-artichoke dip.
Nothing shouts out privilege
so much as the desire to doff it,
like a handcrafted cap.
My compatriot carries Coors
toward the self-checkout machine
that declines his card; he curses,
night check-out man scowls.
I pay and pass unobserved.
The truth is, I lack
sufficient they to feel
a bona fide we.
The truth is, I moved
to a town that will never forget
I’m from elsewhere.
The truth is, my beer
tastes delicious, and I deserve
dislocation and scorn.
"Mom, what is...carra...geenan gum?"
"Oh, does that have carrageenan in it? Put it down. Grab that one instead."
"What about this?"
"Let me see the label. No, it has canola oil in it."
"Is that bad?"
"What does that mean?"
"It...creates inflammation. It's bad for your health and makes you fat."
"Ooh! Mom! I saw a commercial for this! Can we get it?!"
"What's in it? Oh, honey. This has three artificial dyes. Look, there's a naturally flavored version right next to it. It's non-GMO. Go ahead and put it in the cart. Now let's go ahead and get out of here. The family yoga class is at seven and we still need to pick your sister up from her conscious kids crafting class.
"Alright ma'am...your total is...$347.62."
"347...oh. Hm. Okay. Can I take this, this, this, and this off of my order? Thanks. Isaac, honey?"
"Do you see these items here? Will you run back and get the store brand versions?"
"But I thought they make you sick."
"Not this weekend, they won't. Hurry up, I don't want to hold up the line."
"Oh, and Isaac-"
"Grab a box of Cheez-Its on your way back. Your father will be happy to see them in the house."
A Few Limericks Regarding The Fortuitous Circumstance Of Discovering That The Tale One’s Been Chasing Is One’s Own.
On Identifying Identity:
There once was a writer of squareness
Who put all her grandeur in rareness.
Her ego was scrapped
And her cheekiness slapped
Off her face by abrupt self awareness.
A Cautionary Tale on Tail-Chasing:
In circles I used to philander;
To whimsy and fancy I'd pander...
But when I caught up
To myself (that sick pup!)
I decided that I couldn't stand her.
My aplomb is plucky but fleeting;
I keep posting things then deleting...
The truth is my doubt
Packs a mean bit of clout
But it strikes only after completing!
“You deserve a break today at McDonalds” (1982)
“Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.” Khalil Gibran
Deserve: to do something or have or show qualities worthy of reward or punishment.
Thus, to deserve something requires some effort on our part. And whether or not someone deserves praise or recrimination, gold or coal, is not for the person to decide. Someone or ones outside of ourselves set the standards and decide whether or not we meet or exceed them, and what we deserve in return. (Despite the title, I am not talking about all the marketing that says you (everyone with disposable income) deserve the best car, insurance, diabetes-inducing coffee drink or soda, whiskey, artery-hardening hamburgers, etc.)
What are you owed? Nothing.
Outside of payment for services rendered, based on the employment contract you accept, no one owes you anything at all.
It would be nice if your parents loved and cared for you, gave you a roof over your head, food to eat and an education/opportunities that might aid you in your efforts to become an independent, self-sufficient human being, but, no one is owed the jackpot of all parents. We are the result of a race: the fastest sperm breached the egg. All seven plus billion of us. (I know, minus the IVFers.) Anyway, what makes anyone of those billions deserving of the situations, bad or ideal, into which they were born? Certainly nothing they did. We have no control over where, when or to whom we are born.
It would be nice if when we work hard, we reaped rewards of some sort – a raise, a promotion, an A+ on a test or paper, a word of appreciation for stellar work or behavior. But if you only work for someone else’s response, you may end up quite frustrated. You can work hard and never get that promotion. A bully may never be disciplined and good behavior may go unnoticed. You have no control over other people’s responses or actions, or the wrenches life tosses into the mix. One of the few things we can control, however, is our attitude or response towards all that life throws our way, good or bad.
Study to learn. Be kind because it makes the world a better place for you and those around you. Work for self-fulfillment; for the pleasure of knowing you did your best; to pay your bills. Not for a pat on the back you think you deserve.
Don’t confuse what you want or desire with something deserved: if you tie your happiness to something distinctly out of your control (nearly everything), you make a difficult life more challenging.
Dale Carnegie has some great quotes related to happiness:
“It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.”
“Happiness doesn’t depend on any external conditions; it is governed by our mental attitude.”
And my favorite: “Two men looked out from prison bars: one saw the mud, the other saw stars.”
I hope you are a stargazer.
Merely a Mote
I am a tiny
merely a mote
piece of the universe
I strive to give
with no reward
write from my heart
hope to to start
If there is but one
I have done my job
no thanks required.
Some Days I Thought - Am I Strong Enough Yet?
I have thought a lot about that saying throughout the years. The family and friends who told me repeatedly - "what does not kill us makes us stronger" along with, "God never gives us more than we can handle." I told myself those things over and over.
My husband who was 53 at the time came home from work and told me, "you won't believe this...I got lost in the neighborhood." Next day he was at the doctor's office being sent for a CT...when compared to a previous one he had done for tension headaches the scan showed atrophy. Early onset Alzheimers at 53. Having to go on disability after being so active in his professional career was devastating to him.
He struggled so hard. Thinking he was so young it would be a long time before his life would hit that cruel decline which comes with the diagnosis...I was so wrong. The vicious attacks came swiftly. Sundowning....oh my. I had to position myself in a centrally located family room where I could easily access the three outside doors to prevent him from walking outside when the alarm would ding. He would pace in circles throughout the house....room by room he went. I usually averaged about three hours of scattered sleep a night. Being in my forties I thought although I missed sleep it didn't seem like it was causing a problem...yeah...
I remember visiting our doctor's office for one of his appointments and the doctor asked me, "how long has your voice been hoarse?" I told my sweet friend "oh, this is my sexy Rod Stewart voice" to which she looked at me and said "no, it isn't." I was diagnosed with something I never heard of - Hashimotos. Before I knew it I was off for a thyroid biopsy which came back inconclusive. An appointment was made for a specialist but not before this thyroid beast started showing up and out for me by dumping thyroid hormones that made my normally low BP and pulse sky rocket which of course led to a heart catheter to make sure everything was alright. Thankfully it was but they got me in faster and after a thyroidectomy which my surgeon said my poor little butterfly organ was eaten up with thyroiditis. It was a quick recovery and I felt so much better.
We continued to deal with his disease progression and as I watched and lived this with him, I was tired but thought I was handling it pretty well. I went in for my thyroid routine labs and they did the routine UTI. Hmmm didn't have a clue - no pain - no issues. Long story short....I was on three rounds of antibiotics....going in weekly for a recheck...no change. She ordered a CT....and I remember the doctor at the hospital telling me - no issues found except an incidental finding of a pancreatic cyst. Strangely, there were no tears or fears hearing "pancreatic cyst". I was just kind of numb. Like ok what do we do? I listened as he told me what the next steps were and I had enough sense to call my doctor and she told me. "NO. I'm calling MD Anderson right now to get you in." - Which she did....there was an MRI and I remember laying there listening to that God awful clanging sound when I inhaled my thought was "God is so good" and with the exhales came "He is with me through all things." Throughout the test that was my mantra. From there an endoscopic procedure was done which showed that it was a benign cyst which he drained. Hearing that news in recovery - I lost it. It was a release of gratefulness and relief. Amazing thing my UTI results were fine afterwards...amazing how things can be used to alert you to something else....I would have never known I had a pancreatic cyst otherwise.
My husband continued to have health issues - now he never didn't know who I was but his behavior and issues became so great that his physicians told me it was time for him to have facility care. It was something I had fought against because of his age. It was a struggle for me. In the years that followed he continued to decline and along the way he had a massive heart attack which led to quadruple bypass. He was such a fighter - after being on a ventilator in ICU for a month he recovered. He went to rehab to learn to swallow solids and walk again. Then he had an issue that once again found us at MD Anderson and the day before Hurricane Harvey hit I received a call from his physician that he had cancer. Once again he was fighting hard to survive his latest attack on his being. In the fall of 2019 he was in Hospice care and then this thing called Covid showed up and facilities were closed..,we did duo chats but he was silent and wanted to pace. The last call we had I was stunned - he was smiling and said, "there is my beautiful wife." I almost fell off my chair. I thought my God the fight within him...amazing. He had a final rally. It had been nine weeks without seeing him when he passed.
Through each challenge I thought what doesn't kill us makes us stronger and he will never give me more than I can handle. It is true, we all go through so much in our lives - look at what you and the people around you are going through and have gone through in the past.
I think these situations blessed me with not only a greater appreciation for life, but being a better person to others....We all face trials in life - none of us are immune.
Often we are quick to think something about someone but don't know the why/because. So yes...what didn't kill me made me stronger in a better way. It also strengthened my faith as I am dependent upon him. I believe His strength covered my weakness and his grace covered me through all things.