Monthly Archives: May 2013

Walk-in Killer

Hold my holy rosary

(turn out the light)

Jilly’s talking in her sleep

(turn out the light)

I can hear him in the wall

He is looking for a door

I clean my closet everyday

(I know)

yet it always looks the same

(I know)

Mom gives seconds to complete

what never will be neat.

Diamond Bar’s not far away

(turn out the light)

We just past it Saturday

(turn out the light)

We just left the house too soon

He’s snuffing up my room

Hair is wavy as the heat

(turn out the light)

His mouth’s melted to my sheets

(turn out the light)

My wall’s not really a wall

I’m not even here at all

Jack Clark hit it into space

(I know)

See the look on Daddy’s face

(I know)

See the lines left on my wall

that were not there before

Sweat is on my trundle bed

(turn out the light)

that isn’t from my head

(turn out the light)

Eyes the size of time and space

are sucking up my face

Police sketch stapled to my wall

(I know)

Matt just saw him in our hall

(I know)

He just opened up a door

that wasn’t there before.

Prince Carlos’s Poison (1568)

I keep falling down the stairs

especially those that are not there

Father said he’d save me first

but my best became his worst

Silent William, you had no choice

to fill me up to find your voice

Prince of Orange/Oh Prince of Fight

I’ll drink the day right from your night

Poison ends us all the same

Life is just like iocane

We choke loud on pregnant words

Ones that hemmorage do not surge

Mother, My Queen…Don’t cripple me just yet

just yet just yet

I could be your miracle

My brain reverses life cycles

I could darn your butchered heart

a broken clock turned brand new art

I could be your peace retreat

wind you back to be pretty

I could be all that you’ve reaped

Death won’t part us/help us sleep

I could teach you not to grieve

I’ve got clots no one can see

Yes, the blood we should not break

is the blood you have to take.

Father, my king…Don’t love us like this yet

just yet just yet

politics is prayer

When I lived in Ohio for a couple of years as a kid, a tornado touched down in nearby Willoughby. Since I was from Southern California, I was accustomed to the threat of the Big One, and earthquakes still don’t frighten me, though they should. But a tornado, a spire of wind and debris shooting hundreds of miles per hour from the sky? That was terrifying. No one died in Willoughby’s tornado. I glimpsed a little corner of damage in the town. I was informed about the safety of basements.

Yesterdays tornado in Oklahoma was unprecedented. Winds hit 300 miles per hour, and a two-mile wide monster barreled down on a school. People, many of them children, are dead, and many more are injured, and others may still be trapped. I am so sorry for the families of the victims, for the victims themselves.

I know people get angry when others get political after a tragedy. But I think it is healthy to get political, so long as you aren’t exploitative (which is a fine line to walk sometimes). People should mourn and pray and love each other and do everything they can to find some comfort right now. Maybe there is nothing we can do to prevent this in the future, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try, that we shouldn’t ask.

I was reading through The New York Times comment section this morning and wanted to share these two:

“I am a school psychologist for Moore Public Schools. I escaped with my life, but as I write this, I fear for my students. My heart aches for the parents who are left with the knowledge that their child died alone in the debris of not only one of the poorest schools in the Moore Public School system, but one of the the most poorly constructed.

I am angry tonight. After our recent record of devastating tornadoes and lives lost, there is no excuse for a public school in a tornado-prone area not to have been retrofitted with a “safe room” large enough to accommodate all occupants. Unlike past years when tornadoes were more of a nuisance than a threat in Oklahoma, we no longer have the luxury of scurrying to a closet or interior room for safety. Meterologists tell us unequivocally to go underground, go to a safe room, or basement, and if none of these is an option, to get in the car and drive away from the tornado.

Thanks to our meterologists, we have plenty of warning of impending tornadoes. The people of Moore had at least half an hour to an hour to get to safety. However, the children and teachers who died today had no such option. Sadly, they were forced to take shelter in the sheetrocked hallways of buildings shabbily built in the 1960s. No basement. No safe room. A death trap. Perhaps it is time to rethink our priorities and begin re-directing money toward, not only better educating our children, but keeping them safe in school–and not just from crazed gunmen.”

-Angela, Oklahoma

“This is the time for politics – politics are costing lives and livings – to suppress comments about politics is to suppress a discussion of how lives could be saved. Those of us who recognize this and press for political reason are those who are most likely to have a positive effect on future horrors. Politics has created this problem and is the only means by which it can be effectively addressed. Politics is prayer.”

-Jennifer, North Carolina

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liebster award

liebster

This blog has now been nominated three times for the Liebster Award, which is given to deserving blogs with fewer than 200 followers, most recently by Looking Up With Down Syndrome, and once upon a time by my good friend Anthony at My Gay Mom.

There are several contributors to this blog, so on their behalf, I say thank you. Thank you. Thank you. We are all together right now, bowing in our sweatpants via satellite.

Since I currently have a whole bunch of work to do and it is late in the evening and I enjoy not sleeping after 11pm or so, I have decided to finally accept this glorious award and bestow it upon others. Here are the rules.

1.Thank the Liebster-winning Blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog.  If you don’t thank me, you are dead to me.

2. Post 11 interesting facts about yourself.

Here are mine. I’m sorry they aren’t very interesting.

1. I know the difference between a choke hold that will simply make you pass out and a choke hold that will kill you.

2. When I was pregnant, I cried at that movie 5o First Dates with Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler.

3. I used to be a sign holder, a dancing waitress at Denny’s, and a construction day laborer.

4. I am exceedingly self-righteous.

5. I attended six different schools by sixth grade.We were not in the military.

6. I have been punched in the mouth more than once.

7. I’m really skilled at the lost art of rollerblading.

8. I’ve smoked pot a handful of times, and I don’t think I ever did it right.

9. I don’t understand wine drinking culture.

10. I get nervous when there is too high a concentration of rich white people in one location (which may explain #9).

11. I am a horrible liar.

3. Answer the 11 questions your nominator asked.  

Here are her questions, with my answers.

  1. Why do you blog? Writing helps me work things out. It’s a compulsion, like many things that I do. And I care less and less about being an officially published writer than actually doing the writing itself, on a regular basis.
  2. Aside from me and my fabulous blog, what are you passionate about? I am passionate about being a parent, politics, reading, writing, running, music, moving, learning, growing, becoming a better person, slowing my crazy brain down occasionally.
  3. Myself excluded, who do you admire? I admire my kids. They both have had some significant developmental delays, but they keep kicking ass and surprising me. They are two of the most interesting people I know. I admire my husband because he has so much more compassion than I am capable of. He also makes up way better stories and does an uncanny Pillsbury Doughboy impression.
  4. What would you like written on your tombstone? “How strange it is to be anything at all.” -Jeff Mangum
  5. If someone is reading your blog for the first time because a wildly talented, somewhat disheveled blogger who is wearing actual underwear today nominated you for a Liebster Award, which post do you want to make sure they read? There Should Be a Greeting Card for That by contributor Vicky Tulacro or Somebody I Used to Know by contributor Michelle Dowd or More than Fingernails by me.
  6. Hypothetically speaking, If my kids have allergies but they are not really affecting them right now, is it still okay to give them Benedryl so I can take a nap? Yes, but my kids have the opposite reaction to Benadryl, so that doesn’t work for us, unfortunately.
  7. What is your favorite place and why? I love the Bay Area, mostly because it is ridiculously beautiful there. I got to live there for two years. I wish I could breathe in that cool, foggy air right now.
  8. What is your favorite book? I hate this question because I have so many. A few that pop into my brain: The Things They Carried, Fun Home, Wild, Madame Bovary, Foe, Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Giovanni’s Room.
  9. You know that song that get’s stuck in your head even though you hate it – which song is that? Is it stuck in your head now? It is always “Party in the U.S.A.” That song haunts me.
  10. What is the meaning of life? Homeostasis.
  11. Where did I put my car keys? Fuck if I know. Mine are lost, too.

4. Create 11 questions for your nominees.  

Here are my 11 questions for my nominees:

1. How are you doing right now? This exact moment? Really?

2. Is Facebook good or evil?

3. What is your best quality?

4. What is your worst quality?

5. Where is the best place in the world you have been to? Why?

6. What is your favorite album from the last 10 years? Why?

7. Why can’t I fall asleep?

8. Does the good in people outweigh the bad? Prove it, you dirty optimist.

9. Will you promise me that you will never use the term “bucket list”?

10. What is the most important lesson you have ever learned?

11. What book do you think I need to read immediately and why? It better not be Fifty Shades of Grey.

5. Nominate 11 blogs of 200 followers or less which you feel deserve to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been chosen.

1. Second Lunch

This guy does weird, cool comics and I heart them.

2. Mother Sugar

This blog that I’ve been following for some time is “an extended conversation among friends.” There is some beautiful, heartfelt writing here. I want all of these women to be my best friend and whisper wisdom to me over chai lattes.

3. Daniel Nester

I’m sure Daniel has more than 200 followers, but I can’t figure out how to tell. And he’s fucking awesome and way out of my league. We published some profiles of New York together in this book, and I sort of stalk him on Facebook because he’s funny and talented. Sorry I’m such a creep, Daniel.

4. Glass Half Full

I have a son with autism. So does the author of this blog. And she writes about it very well, and with a healthy dose of humor.

5. Absolute Frankness

This girl is 20 and studying the Classics. She lives in Dublin and is working shit out for herself and I like this blog a lot because it is well-written, and, well, frank.

6. Eric Shamp

My friend Eric is good at everything. Like, he doesn’t train for a race and then he beats you anyway good. It’s sort of annoying. A year ago, he started this blog that “illuminate[s] the (partially fictional) life of Thomas Kinkaid in words… colorful words… words of so many goddamn colors…” He only wrote two posts, but they are brilliant. Tell him to write more. I need my Kinkaid-based lit fix.

7. unkilled darlings

“Faulkner said, kill your darlings. I say, put them on the internet and let strangers read them.”

8. Another angry woman

Part anarchist. Part feminist. All angry. Has too many psychology degrees. Likes brevity in internet profiles. Blogs a mishmash of feminism, psychology, politics and navel-gazing.

9. Shoebox Dwelling

I’m sure she has more than 200 followers. Again, I can’t tell. This is a design and culture blog that is simple and beautifully curated.

10. MisEtcetera

Melissa and I are Facebook friends. Homegirl has great taste. Check it.

11. Literopathy

“You tell us what’s wrong. We’ll tell you what to read. You’ll feel better. Or at least smarter.”

6.  Display the Liebster Award logo.

mother’s day

Sunday is Mother’s Day. This year, I decided to end my relationship with my stepmother, who raised me, and my biological mother is dead. Both of these women lacked the resources or capabilities to be effective parents. My mother-in-law is amazing, but she did not raise me. And so there is a bit of an empty space where a mother should be. Most of the time, this does not feel like sadness. It feels like relief. Every year, I used to try and find a neutral card to give my stepmother. There were rows and rows of cards with pictures of flowers and heartfelt, saccharine poetry. Generally, I’d find something blank and scrawl something inside.

Dear Mom (I don’t want to call you Mom, but remember how you forced me to when I was 8?):

I don’t really know you even though we lived in the same household for many years. Please accept this candle/lotion/chocolate that I felt obligated to purchase for you. I hope the weather is satisfactory today.

Regards,

Angela

That’s what I always felt like saying, anyway.

This dumb photo of Gwyneth Paltrow and her mother made me cry one time.

gwyneth_paltrow_and_mother_blythe_danner-320x425

My friend recently lost his mother. Although I wasn’t close to my mother, and I didn’t know her very well, and I have in my possession only one photograph of us together, and I rarely think about her or cry about her, I feel that absence intensely from time to time, like  pain in an amputated limb. I am so sorry for my friend, who was close to his mother. I know the pain he must feel is 1000 times more intense than what I feel, and that there is nothing anyone can do to change any of that.

I guess what I am trying to say is that Mother’s Day, like all holidays, can be complicated.

I have two lovely boys, and I hope I know I am a good mother to them and I know I can do better. Last night, I helped Ben cast his Mario Bros. toys as characters in Hairspray (again). Mario is Link. Luigi is Corny. Princess Peach is Amber. Toadette is Tracy. I was exhausted after work, and this made me laugh and laugh. This morning, Elliott insisted he didn’t need a sweater, and I told him to step outside and see. I watched as he stood alone in the backyard and felt the breeze wash over him, squinting into the sunlight. He finally agreed to the sweater. Like me, he is stubborn. It is sometimes frustrating, but I also love that he needs to decide for himself.

I want to say thank you to these little guys for teaching me what it is to be a mother even as I am still figuring it out. I want to say thank you to them for making Mother’s Day meaningful to me, something to celebrate. And I want to say that I am sorry to those of you out there for whom this holiday is painful and complicated and nothing like the cards or commercials try to convince you to believe that it should be.

Let’s make this day, and every day, our own.

Photo credit: http://jjscholl.wordpress.com/2010/05/07/i-heart-mom/

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