...and me, you, us.
I feel you in my heartbeat, in my deepest known self
...I knew there was someone missing; don't know how
My brother; damn how you look like him, how you look like me.
I miss YOU.
We've never met in real life.
Skype, chats so polite and cautious are what we know.
I am selfish; possesive,sick with sorrow and desperate.
Thank the Universe, "God?". Mostly let's praise your smart birthmother, that you did not know HIM.
The man with the sperm, the lies, the narcissitic persona; the overtaking birthfather we share.
Lucky One. He flooded anyone near him with his tsunami of FIRST.
I am jealous that you had a father who loved you, NO MATTER WHAT!
A Mother that was so amazingly grateful you were placed into her arms
Still you were the son of the one who was unable to give many of his genetic creations that he "kept" a sense of importance, of being wanted.
He always was more important. I am so grateful brother you were given love, a family life that was whole.
I am broken, as I never knew this profound love from our shared birthfather.
I was his pawn, sidekick, the one who knew, saw who he was; I carried too much Truth,
I was disposable to him as he bounced from woman to woman, lived lie after lie.
You were saved.
May I, if I am given one last gift, sit next to you, hug you and protect our connection?
I am the gun with empty chambers,shooting at the bad but never succeeding in stopping the beast.
I am the sister, the mother, the wife, the daughter who will, if I must, load the pistiol, take the fall to keep us ONE.
I give you and all of BadDad's secrets a free card; It is not your fault that he did not care about us
He is a fault, a barren soul; let's recreate our world without his demons.
Triggered and Trust are both silent emotions.
Beckons you home, waits on the front porch far away
With her heart entwined with yours.
After a long hiatus, Rock was found face down in wet leaves, stashed behind the family pet’s gravestones
For some newer readers, you might consider going back to the very first post in October 2021; Rock has been crucial to LittleMe’s growth, always her protector and strong. As Lm gets healthier, crushing her past with a mortar and pestle grain by grain she hid Rock and escaped his wise, solemn advice. Why would she do this to her best cover, her internal bodyguard since she was so small, she couldn’t talk? Rock knows and is upright, straight forward so let him explain why, despite her bravery, she still needs him and always will. ROCK is all knowing, a TRUTH teacher, and he sees what Lm is thinking before she acts. Without him, Lm (despite feeling she can take on the world), well, simply put, she can’t. Lm suffers from childhood trauma, chronic post-traumatic stress disorder, CPTSD, depression, and extreme insecurity because those she loved like BadDad let her down, not once but to the deepest, darkest, unforgettable place that creeps up on her, breaks her and torments her still. “Lm?”. Silence. Damn. “Lm? I’m back, still here for you. Are you under the bed? Are you in the stairwell opening memories without me?”. He waits. He hears a whistle, the kind a small child tries to make but it’s more like a soft blow of wind with a hum. “Come out Lm and let’s talk about what you’ve been up to. “Lm is indeed under the bed. Out stretches her hand from the same old bed she fled to when BadDad memories became too big when she was young. She feels Rock’s gritty surface, whimpers and doesn’t retreat. Rock is everlasting, part of her until her last breath; she wraps her smallest self around him as tears flood the floor. Rock is good at cleaning up messes and doesn’t mind. “We are closer to being one, but Lm you are not ready. I will know when it’s time to merge.” Rock wants to keep her safe and tells her, “Don’t hide me away again, we need each other Lm. Do you understand why now?”. Lm nods her head up and down and wants to articulate “Yes.” She can’t talk right now and is grateful Rock returned. “Tired of keeping up that big girl smile?”. Lm nods again. “I got you. Rock is here. Rest your heartache, leave your longing, stop waiting for the sky to open and for BadDad to hear you, admit his sins, to regret his lies and wrongs. It IS NOT going to happen Lm. He does NOT care and never will because you remind him of who he really is. Rest child. I will stand guard; I will keep you from starving for his love.” Lm lies in her puddle of tears with Rock. She is sorry to admit, she is not even close to being healthy. Rock knows Lm also has much chronic physical pain and is tired of fighting, that she is weary. He assures her she can close her eyes, but he knows he can never stop her dreaming.
Lines on paper Lines of lies Lines on your forhead Lines of time Scars written in blue ink Signed with red wine Burning my little self, my littleMe Mind Scraps of Me Ripped ON Old Paper Manuscripts Rewritten, Burn, Burn, Burned. Lies Lies Like Crumpled pieces of you All that you did Only I knew Candles lit, dripping at night YOU ARE PAPER I stop your rewrites here Lies in the fire Lies ancient, Lies new Kindling. one, three, two Memoirs of Time, Flickery, flick In the flames you will go, blow blow below One line at a time, one lie at a time, one lifetime blistered by my Father of Crime.
Sitting with my Grandma, “Shhhh! Now listen”. Her smile is remembered. Loretta Lynn singing on the small television, being interviewed and my admiring her long dark hair. My cousins were restless and sent outside with sweet tea, moon pies and I stayed beside her. The Grand Ole Opry! Being poor and working one’s way to the top is an achievement many country music fans, or mindful humans can appreciate. I didn’t feel poor or that life was a struggle; Grandma came from a very well-mannered family and kept us close, often saying,”not our people”, when I asked questions about others I was all in a quandary with. “Mind your business; we have enough with each other.” I always wondered how Loretta Lynn knew anything about coalminers; all dolled up with ribbons in her hair, long braids and frilly, detailed dresses she did not seem to me to be simple or wanting in anyway. It’s dark tonight on Sweden’s west coast and my days in Nashville seem light years away; I want to believe that Loretta is soaring above us, having a look at Mars, smiling and humming in peace. Women become strong through experience, fighting for their words to be heard and sung. I feel a warmth, a sense of peace knowing she had such a good life by just being herself. What if we all could just be humble, gracious, kind and appreciate of our lives? Wouldn’t that be something? I can’t play a guitar. If I could I would take my hidden wings, stuff banana and chocolate moon pies, RC cola and warm grits with butter and salt into my backpack, strap my Fender over my shoulder and rise amongst the stars. There I’d see Mrs. Loretta waiting and she’d pat the ground beside her, invite me to sit down and we’d sing with her long dark hair flowing in sync with eternity. Actually, I think she wouldn’t care whether I could play guitar. I can carry a tune. She may be our best example of “the salt of the earth”, now an iconic memory that changed music and hearts forever. Maybe Grandma would be there, too and I’d surprise her with all my southern goodies. We wouldn’t be tired, or sick or old. Just three strong women, free from adversity and strife sipping our cola, eating warm grits and unwrapping moon pies on Mars.
Lm has been down this road many times before; finding hope, losing hope, finding love, losing love, believing, not believing, passionate, passive, TRUSTING….Huge ENORMOUS SNAG! Truth has always been closeted, boxed up, stored away or tossed out. What is there to believe in when so many people hurt, hide their fears and keep running on ego, pretention and illusions? Rock has been placed near the old church door keeping an eye out for anyone who might see Lm in this vulnerable place. She is trying with all her might to pray, to feel truly heard, to heal; yet her leary, cynical self says, “Fuck you, how the hell am I to believe life gets better or people are capable of serious growth when those who squeezed my heart until it barely had a beat never called or wrote to say they were wrong or sorry?” This old church is barren of worshippers; cold and musty it remains a historical treasure embraced by uncertainty. Centuries old, desperate pleas from villagers long gone can still be heard. Savage Saviour, where art thou NOW? Lm screams her prayer pleading to be seen, her little girl voice echos, bouncing like a slobber covered tennis ball that belongs to a beloved family labrador that was left alone too long. From wall to an arched planked ceiling and back to the pulpit it lands with fury, causing the thin paned windows to rattle. Rock is ready. He knows this will be a bad experience; Lm will likely try to run, leaving him nebulously behind. There are no quick answers, advise or even faint clues as to how she can exorcise her miniature demons which usually leave her mute, squatting in the black, dank, drowning corners of her past. She is angry that her half-siblings are put on pedestals while she and the others are shunned. Nature has gouged into humankind to believe in more since the Neanderthals rubbed two sticks together. Or did they? Shamans, organised religions, cults, even Oprah Winfrey, Ellen Degeneras, Queen Elizabeth II, Elvis and Jane Goodall have a strong following! Do Chimpanzees pray? Do elephants mourn or black crows truly attach? From Eve’s naked temptation to Eris the Goddess of all femme fatales, the feminine figure is the cause of all temptuous forces. Lm refuses to accept this. “Dear Goddess, Dear Female Lord, Dear Universe, Dear Whatever, hear my prayer. Please? Amen. Thank you. Ummm, I don’t even know what to say, and of course if you could save me from further self loathing I’d appreciate it.” Lm was ousted from BaDDaD’s life for she knew too much. (Period. New paragraph. She still has humor!) New Life. Forced unwillingly into a complex Witness Protection Program devised by elders she loved Lm has continued to feel threatened until recently; with one swift move using her handmade sharpened scythe she could exploit the Truth anytime. Escaping for her is simple. Whoever came up with the following and frequently misquoted advise was straight and as strong as well casked Kentucky bourbon. Southern wine. “Always tell the Truth then you don’t need to REMEMBER your lies”. BaDDaD once had eyes on her, little pipsqueak narks he puffed up like Vietnamese blowfish so they could feel higher, more significant to him than Lm; she was tortured with threats of going no contact if she spoke “poorly” of him. BOO, fucking HOO! Not anymore; Lm is very intelligent and knows he is the epitomy of fraudulence, the one who could gnaw through the twines of his Upper Up’s and unlike Martha Stewart, he never was nailed for his sins or intentional manipulation. From the womb of a good woman, he landed on both feet running; Crossville to Nashville, from here to there, D.C., Cannes, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Annapolis, Virgina and more he has always been fifty leaps ahead of the feds; sadly he remains on the run within himself, he wouldn’t know HONESTY if it hit him in the face with a piping hot iron skillet. Narcissistic parents brag because they want the kudos for being the world’s most perfect parents; “Look what we have created!” Lm’s achievements are never seen or known; she has jumped over thorns, with her alt persona she continues bravely through the tangled ivy, a jungle of lies to find peace. That’s gotta be worth a penny. Her brutal realness is feared by those who should sparkle and delight in TRUTH. Lm stands, looks back at Rock for reassurance, wipes her tears on her old jean jacket then together they return to safety in the hidden stairwell. Lm closes her eyes. Rock is vigilent, always alert, and steadfast. He double locks the door that leads to her heart. AMEN.
As soon as she could walk on her two tiny feet Kalthoom had been obedient; she listened well, always attentive, mindful to cause no strife as her older brothers had. She rubbed her father’s feet and served him sweet tea when he came home to their small two room apartment in their displaced country. She ran to him each night with bright warm eyes and a smile that reminded him of his wife; he would lift her high into the air and say, “my gift”. Muhamad was the father of four sons, Abdelkarim, Hussein, Salim and Omar; three were married to good women who stayed home cooking, cleaning and focusing on their husband’s needs while his sons were studying the new language in this culturally perplexing new homeland, at least for him. Muhamad for as long as he could recall was Baba, the provider and strong one who lived the life of a faithful Muslim. He wanted nothing more than his family to be happy, secure and feel loved. His youngest son and fourth child Omar was following in his father’s footsteps, this gave Muhamad much pride. His trade took expertise, patience and time; he would become an excellent mason with much to look forward to. He was not bright in the book knowledge sort of way, yet he was a master with his hands, his craft flawless. He longed for grandchildren and would often lean in with an unassuming manner trying to overhear his wife Amina speaking in low tones over tea with his son’s wives. Kalthoom was his little miracle as he was fifty-eight years old when his wife surprised him with the news that she was carrying his child once more. She had been a perfect companion, younger than he by eighteen years; she was angelic, never hurried or too tired of the children’s scattering about and noisy play, never once had she been ill. She did not deny him of pleasure nor raise her voice or undermine his decisions. It was an agreeable union meant to be. He was pleased that he could still create life with the grace of Allah and prayed for a healthy pregnancy. Honestly, he fully expected another son. Amina was his best friend, much more than she would ever know; he needed her easy way, her scent of life itself and her smooth skin touching his. Amina’s understanding gaze into his eyes at night by candlelight when he spoke of their earliest days together illuminated their faces, setting a melancholy atmosphere for his nostalgic recollections. He spoke of the chill in his skin when sitting nervously waiting to meet his soon to be wife, an arranged bride with their parent’s blessings. They laughed, remembering his shaking hands causing an obvious rattling clank of his teacup on its saucer. Her father asked him to stand when she came into the family room where they received visitors. He had spilled his tea on the carpet beneath his feet and his eyes widened and looked away quickly after his first glance. She had been escorted by her eldest brother and eventual first son’s namesake, Abdelkarim and seated with her mother on a burnt ochre settee. She never spoke directly; her mother and father spoke for her. Next, they welcomed Muhamad’s father and Aunt. His mother had died when he was sixteen from a stroke. The elders spoke while they had smiled, sneaking glances eye to eye. Her dress was like the desert sky, a perfect shade of blue. It had handsewn golden sequins around the high neck, her hair although mostly covered by her matching hijab, was a rich auburn, carefully dyed with henna. He would recall their first meeting often and Amina never grew bored with his repetitive memories. She knew that memories were important to savour for they both knew they could not return to where they had met. Kalthoom began to cook when her mother was ill with a sickness that no one talked about openly; her father was once a comforting man, reassuring her that everything will be fine if you believe in Allah’s plan. This was long before the dark shadows of sadness caused the family to simply appease their elders. The Imam came to pray with Muhamad by his wife’s bed some mornings when Amina was alert. She would thank him for his grace, then ask in her small voice for Kalthoom to serve tea, and whispered, “please serve the best of our sweet cookies, the one’s with dates carefully pressed into the middle.” Kalthoom obliged. She bowed to the Imam, careful not to catch his eyes and placed the silver serving tray on the low round table where his father sat on decorative cushions across from the Imam. Her father excused her, sending her off to sit by her mother and read poetry in Arabic, the only language her mother would ever know. Some nights and days passed quickly when Kalthoom would be awakened by painful moans and Baba crying in gasps, echoing was his broken heart throughout their otherwise silent surroundings. Kalthoom was frozen, unable to express her sorrow. The brothers and wives came with trays of food which filled the long table, yet no one dared to eat other than Hussein’s wife who was due soon with their first baby. Omar stayed over on the floor next to Baba ready to clasp his father’s hands into his own should he begin to quiver. A year passed and Baba relied heavily on Kalthoom. She learned from Omar how to take the bus to the pharmacy for Baba’s new medicines prescribed to calm his agitation, to walk without an escort into the enormous supermarket and her list of things to do grew longer and more stressful. One evening as Baba sat squatting on his haunches smoking his pipe on the balcony Omar called and said he needed her to listen to his guidance. “My dear sister, I cherish you for all that you do for Baba without complaint however, he is nearing the end of this life and you must learn the language spoken here. How will you survive when Baba should pass?” Kalthoom had never thought about her own future, not even once in a late-night dream state had she known what she longed for. Omar had finally bought a van for his business which was growing and said he would speak to Baba about her learning the new language. Surprisingly to Kalthoom Baba gave her permission to study. Class after class she attended regularly and the stares at her from all the blue eyes was unnerving. One morning a young woman replaced her usual teacher, her eyes were dark as Kalthoom’s. After each class they smiled at one another in a way Kalthoom did not understand; she only knew that the teacher’s smile made her heart thump faster and her palms to sweat. Weeks turned to months when one day the teacher asked her to have tea after class; Kalthoom jumped for joy for the very first time. A friend! She had a friend. For the first time she sat without one of her brothers supervision in a cafe sipping her tea and enjoying what the new land called, “fika”. Her teacher’s parents came from Iran, yet she had been born in Sweden; she shared each time they met a little bit more about the Swedish culture. Kalthoom silently studied how other women dressed as if flipping through a foreign fashion magazine. “Have you learned how to speak yet?” Baba asked the same question everyday. Kalthoom explained the new letters which made unique sounds, Ä, Ö, Å. She had a goal now. She continued to cook, clean and sit with Baba when he stared blankly at the television, not understanding anything he watched; it no longer mattered. His mind was tired, his appetite less and other than Omar picking him up to go to mosque he lay on a mattress near balcony window, drifting in and out of sleep. Her other brother’s wives were all expecting babies now and she looked forward to being an aunt again. When the first baby was born to Hussein’s wife, it was a girl and although it was a delight for the entire family, there was an unspoken knowing a son was longed for. Hussein and his wife Bouchera gave their daughter her grandmother’s name, Amina. Baba was joyful when they visited with the baby. A grandchild finally; he carefully cradled the swaddled bundle and held her close to his heart. Baba would die before the next grandchild was born. For weeks Kalthoom missed her classes and sat crying in the now empty apartment; her sisters-in-law took turns staying with her and they cooked for her, she was grateful yet hopeless now. The teacher rang her, understood her mourning and said she could return when she was ready. She told her in order to continue to the next level she needed to submit her identification number. What was that? Kalthoom wondered. One night the entire family gathered and spoke about necessary things, how to pay bills, how to avoid Swedes who asked too many questions and the brothers agreed that they would all pay a bit toward the rent. Omar would move in to supervise her, and she would need to stay home more. Kalthoom slipped into a depression when she was told she had been brought here with her parents illegally. Her oldest brother Abdelkarim had come with special papers and was able to study and work, but she and the rest of the family had come when she was small through channels worked carefully by other refugees. How could this be? Baba worked, Omar worked, and they had a happy life before. How could this number be so necessary? The wives suggested they meet a nice Muslim man at the mosque who was here legally and perhaps they could arrange a marriage to avoid any complications. Everyone agreed except Kalthoom. This is how it would unfold; she would be placed like a dog in a kennel with some man she never met. She was given handsewn dresses, typical formals to greet her unknown suitors. She was primped and stuffed into a yellow and white satin dress, her hair was dyed by Abdelkarim’s wife for the first time with henna and she had her eyebrows plucked and had eyeliner carefully applied. The teacher rang again and asked to meet Kalthoom, hesitantly she said she could no longer continue to meet or study the language. The language that gave her freedom was the entrance into a gated inner world of silenced women who could not be left to sip tea and sit in cafes with new friends from other places. The dreaded day came when a gentleman twice her age came to meet her. He looked directly at her and chatted and laughed with her brothers. She felt encroached upon, an item up for sale like the plums in the market where she shopped. Baba had left some money and a letter to give to the husband to be which Kalthoom never had known of. Unlike her obedient, attentive and congenial persona she stood up and ran into the bathroom slamming the door and locking it. Everyone could hear her sobbing. The gentleman agreed to leave and was given apologies on her behalf. Once he was gone Omar beat hard on the door, “Kalthoom! What on earth are you doing? We are trying to help you, please, I beg you to come out.” She refused and sat sobbing in a haze of desolation. The rest of the family left, and Omar let her be, easily drifting off to sleep on the sofa after an exhausting day. When all was quiet, Kalthoom opened the door and ripped off the sticky dress and put on one of her mother’s old tunics, a big coat with a hood and took cash from the safe inside the closet which once was her parent’s bedroom. She took a large bag of her mother’s and stuffed it with photos of her family, her bus card and a notebook of memoirs her mother had kept. She took a long look at her most loved brother and snuck out the door, unsure of her intentions. She walked to the bus stop and boarded with no plan. She arbitrarily pressed the button somewhere in the city and stepped out and saw light’s on in windowsills, snowflakes under streetlamps and heard laughter and passers-by enjoying each other’s company. It was not late, perhaps seven at night, but it was black outside, and she felt freedom in absence of her family. She saw a pizzeria open, and she went inside to warm up. She used the new language to order coffee and sat reading her mother’s journal.”Yesterday was the happiest day of my life, I gave birth to a baby girl. I finally am not alone in my femininity. I look forward to teaching her to sew, to cook, and share funny stories of our family’s past. Her eyes, like mine, are rich and warm, her tiny lips are pink as my cheeks. My daughter, my dream.”Kalthoom’s throat thickened, the sorrow she had locked inside when her mother died was rising to the surface and soon without control, she began to cry while seated in a corner table of a busy pizzeria. She knew she had no where to run, nowhere to hide and had to face her future willingly as her mother had accepted her own. She went into a small store about to close and bought a hand carved cedar box. Inside it was lined with red velvet; she bought bright kitchen towels with a floral print, an apron to match and a scented candle ina glass jar. When she arrived home Omar was beside himself with worry. “Kalthoom, where have you been?”. She took off the heavy coat and put her large bag and purchases down, her fingers numb from the biting icy weather. “I have been shopping dear brother; I am so sorry to frighten you.” He asked what she had bought. She pulled out the scented candle that smelled like cinnamon and he took the lid off and took a sniff. She pulled out new kitchen towels and he smiled, she tried on the new apron, and he smiled even more, finally she pulled out the cedar box with red velvet inside. “What is this for?” She walked to the kitchen, Omar right behind her and began to make dinner. She waited to answer and asked him to sit down and to stop talking so much so that she could concentrate on her mother’s lamb stew recipe she read in her journal. The aroma was familiar, one she recalled from a childhood somewhere else. The essence of Amina engulfed her, she felt safe and warm inside. She served the stew with cous-cous on the low table and watched Omar eat as if he had never eaten in his life. “How do you know how to recreate Mother’s secrets?”, Kalthoom simply smiled. She put the wooden box on the table after she had cleared the table and washed up for evening prayers. “Kalthoom, what is this beautiful box for”? Omar pushed for an answer before they went to sleep. “It’s nothing special”. Omar continued to ask her annoying questions and she felt the thickness in her throat again, the rise of her emotions and her mother’s love. “It’s for my unopened dreams that have been denied”. Omar had a blank look on his face. He shrugged his shoulders and went back to the sofa., happy she had filled his belly with such wonderful food. Kalthoom lay in her parent’s bed and read more of her mother’s thick journal. “I never admitted to anyone that I felt nothing for Muhamad in the early years, it has always been a seal between me and Allah. When Kalthoom was born I felt a reawakening and was full of love for everyone. Her devotion to us has opened the door to dreams I never saw come true.”She then placed the book and money back in the safe and lit the candle that smelled of cinnamon. She let some more tear’s flow and drip into the cedar box. She kissed it and put it inside the safe also. There she would share her dreams along with her mothers and perhaps, if she were lucky a suitable gentleman would call on her again soon and her brothers would be happy, and they all could laugh and live in the light of all that remained unspoken.
Rock, Lm and NOW. Alone with vivid memories, I don’t move. I am here like driftwood waiting for someone to kick me around or discover my unique beauty. I am lonely and tired. I feel desperate and afraid; I am so tired of being “OKAY” for everyone in my family who doesn’t want to hear the TRUTH. I do not care if BadDad is being a “better” father to five other siblings; I am not one of them. I am the branch that broke off during the storm, free floated through salty teared seas and landed in a secret safe space. I am no longer negotiating for love, understanding and playing by others rules. I stopped caring today. I have no grand words to cultivate, no more deals to make. I AM. I RELEASE. I SAY GOODBYE TO THE PAIN THAT STEERED MY LIFE. I am loved for who I am by very special people. I will never again reach out across the globe to make others feel nice. I am not NICE; I am Honest.
ROCK’s narrative is completely different than Lm’s; same team with different stories. His voice is gravelly, hoarse and deep. He looks stern and yet if he became human, he would be an interesting type of handsome. He would favor perhaps a weathered and a rugged actor such as Sam Elliot or Morgon Freeman. He thrives on being surrounded by nature, fresh air and cool, wet moss. Most Rocks do prefer to be kept outside but by now you know he is a very special kind of stone. Lm is refusing to leave the little red house. She favors her mother in mannerisms when angry, furrowing her brows and wincing, yet she has BadDad’s freckled red complexion with a crooked smile and his light blue eyes that squint in the sunlight. Overall, Lm asks “Why do I have to look like the one who hurt me most, left me over and over again and snapped my trust in LOVE into the ground so hard that I continue to fight and dig myself out of this pain to this very day, meaning NOW?” Lm reminds ROCK of a young Hemingway descendant or Sissy Spacek in the horror film Carrie and when she is tender, she has a bit of Lindsey Lohan. As a child, she began using her empathetic nature to sniff out trouble, find reasons to help others, meaning humans, dogs, dead birds who needed burying and had a list of ways to make people smile. She knew her babysitter loved her hair combed and despite it’s oily smell she would sit on the sofa behind her sitter and comb her hair and watch Gilligan’s Island. Her step-father irritated her and yet he could also make her laugh. He had told her mother that she was to hard on Lm and she wished her mother had listened. Her moods are always whipping all around like a cyclone of anxiety, or as if one is walking on a dusty trail in the Arizona desert behind an Appalosa but not riding it. Whimpers come from under the bed and ROCK tries to pull her out and coax her with some fun memories. Remember when you and your grandparents were driving to your great-grandparents farm in Georgia and “Nanny” wanted to get out in the eastern hills of Tennessee and look for UFO’s? Remember you lying in the back seat with the windows cracked and the smell of Paw-Paw’s pipe filled with cherry tobacco and how he claimed you as his special girl? Why can’t you focus on “AP” dancing and giving you your first Tom Robbins book “Still Life With Woodpecker”? Think, think, dig for the good stuff and remember how much your beloved friend still is here for you! She is in your heart on call and she has guided you through life like an angel from heaven? She is the sister, the mother, the leader and the one who taught you to try and keep going. Think how she would be if she were here right now. “AP” has not been introduced to readers until today. She lives far away near where Lm was born; Lm lives in Scandanvia. Lm lashes out at ROCK, “she would not be like you pushy face!” then, “she would crawl under this bed with me!”. Pouting and picking at old wounds Lm has resolved to be mute today. Her bad memories of unexpected slaps by her mother’s hand stinging her face, her mother’s pinching on her skin and under her breath words, angry stares, and mostly the belt with holes blazing across her raw pale buttocks. The criticism and strict rules all are puffing up and causing Lm tears. Lm stopped talking, eating and trying to be seen as a teen and still falls back into the hole, rewatching the reel to reel of memories that made her who she is. Meeting “AP” was by far good timing; they both were on dates seated closely together at a cabaret with music and cigarette girls. That fateful night in 1981 they shared champagne. Lm was eighteen and lost like a kitten on the side of the road. “AP” would become, even to this day her most trusted, loyal friend, the strong, older sister she never had and when she laughs she makes a very special giggly sound, when she talks she goes from subject to subject and Lm understands “AP” as she bounces her thoughts around. ROCK decides to go out and guard the door; Lm stays under the bed pretending her best friend is with her and pulls out her pastels, her old photos, thinks of camping under the stars with “AP”, reading Thoreau, identifying flowers and plants and is soothed for now. Lm is so tired and he is worried she will not pull herself through this blockage of physical and emotional pain without “AP”. There are no magic wands or fairies yet he does not argue with Lm about her whims and silly beliefs because they make her happy. ROCK is outside and she has locked him out in the rain. He will let her draw, escape, cry and believe in all the magic love can bestow upon her. This vacation is not for Lm, it’s for ROCK. She will feel raw, scalded and lonely and sink deeper and deeper, down into her traumatic past and drag each memory up. She will sob, lose all the progress she has been working on and he will have to go back to ground zero with her. There are never enough minutes in the day, enough room for perfect dreams in the night or enough hands to hold when she slips and falls into the scattered past that swallows her heartbeat and hope.
Photo by Andrea Polla
Look at the notes; study the melody of before. Even when, (collectively speaking) the veins and bones of the western world’s liberal wannabees are dipped in predominantly milky white flesh, they are bathing in their altruistic mindsets with blatant ignorance; good intentions mean nothing to a Black man walking home from the late shift after missing his bus. He sees the fear in the eyes of the silky smooth skinned passersby, he knows he is a big, Black target. He wants to get home to his family with his paycheck and stay there comforted by his likeness; his doors are locked, too. He fears each day for his children alone at home until he gets a message on his cell phone from all three. At work he checks the clock and he keeps working, he doesn’t look up often, less he be seen as lazy or slow. He is mindful that each second he is making money to feed his family. He calls home at break and is reassurred by his son’s thirteen year old voice cracking into a soon to be full blown tall and lanky teen that he has taught them well. His children know not to trust anyone, even nice white people. WE, doused in poor old gibberish liberish do’s and don’ts still do not have the rythmn down. We, the #BLM advocates dare not associate with the NAUGHTY bigots who reflect their biased belief systems with breath that wreaks of hate. Despite what one desires to believe, ” I am tolerant”, “I am not a racist”, “I am bound to a predetermined doctrine of outlined sins”, “my FAITH is THE way”, and so on, it is not even close to prophetic TRUTH. That which is enraptured, well versed in what it means to know what living while BLACK is, has been revealed historically repeatedly; it has been relived for thousands of years; only a Black man knows what it means to be alive in BLACK skin. There is a very deep part of us, a hidden well of muck; bucket after bucket will pull up the grungy facts that show we are indeed judging, challenging and self rightous. We all know GOD better than the next guy. We all see our way as the path to follow. It doesn’t matter what you believe if you still can not accept that no path has led us out of repetition. From refrain to refrain, we are all trying to discern who is who at every moment we encounter newness. Our flesh hangs like weathered flags of colors we either recognise as new faces and acceptable or turn away quickly as they threaten who we are. Dig, GO ON! Get dirty. What are you thinking right this second when a transgender Black young adult walks into your house, your family, your world? What do you really think? Are you comfortable yet? Are you ready to hear about the history of the lgbtq community? Do you care? What is it your God tells you to believe? If you have no God, here is a clean map of how hatred is eradicated. We all die. The entire planet Earth explodes and we begin again mutating into forms that divide, then divide again and we split and spin about in darkness, within the eye of a Universal mastermind and we become renewed. We try again and we don’t get far. The giraffe will always be different from the elephant. I do my homework, my inner foraging so to speak and know without doubt I am so far from being free from my own constraints. ROCK has pulled LittleMe up and pushed me down and I fight with his well meaning plans for me. Six decades of life soon and I know nothing new. The older I grow the less I know. Hate was rampant when I was born, cracks were in the sidewalk then and they are still spreading globally. Hate. Truth, Love. It’s the melody we’ve sung since the Mad Matter made humans believe they are higher up, more important than say baby sea turtles hatching and scrambling for the safety of the same water where hungry sharks await them; stars that we name still remain our guides and if you are looking beyond your frontal consciousness, holding onto your heart and breathing into your soul or hidden self, you surely must know, humans are so far from the top of the ladder. Blessed Be.
All aboard! It’s the Pain Train. My seat is permanent, my choices are few and I can’t go to the bar car, the toilet or be around others without making a huge fuss, therefore I choose to stay in my assigned seat. No one can help me; I own this pain. Looking out the window the world flies past and life is taking off at a speed I can’t cope with. The conductor is my nervous system colliding with my brain’s reactions to every tiny bit of stimulus. I see you and I care but I am off track and my brain signals are traveling at such a rate that I do not understand the smallest of conversations or even my own thoughts. This is not the train anyone with any healthy lifestyle wants to board; but it is packed. People are laying in the aisles and hoping for assistance, recognition and acceptance. Chronic Pain Syndrome or CPS is an official diagnosis now by WHO, (no not the band) , rather the World Health Organization. I was recently diagnosed with a severe form that has caused me to lose my vocabulary, shortened my fuses so to speak causing me to be easily startled, reacting with a scream or even sobbing as if the whole world is ending. In some ways, on some days, it actually does feel like a hopeless battle to live this life and ride this train. I have a collision of diagnosis. Degenerative Disc Disease, an inherited condition that I’ve known of since I was in my twenties turned from a back ache after gardening into the most severe form fast in my late forties. At that time I was given 20mg patches of morphine that I changed every few days. I believed this was as bad as it could get then. Yet, I was swimming, walking and riding my bicycle still. I also was cooking which I love to do. From there I slowly began to develop boney growths jutting inward toward my throat and spinal cord and I was told I had unfortunatly signs of early onset osteoporosis. I was put on a bone mineral supplement and more vitamin D and calcium was prescribed. Can’t get worse than this I thought, until it did. A spinal specialist said there was nothing that could be done. I not only have scoliosis, but also severe arthritis and various deformations head to toe. Earlier I had been sent to a university hospital rheumatologist who diagnosed me with fibromyagia, something I would not accept or grasp until I had the most severe flare I have ever had recenty. ( I am recooping now yet have a lot of work to be steadily on my feet again). The Dr.’s who upped the morphine years ago are unable to treat me now. I will say it barely takes the edge off on 30mgs daily slow release which includes fast acting oxynorm up to three times a day, muscle relaxants, anti-depressants, blah blah blah. The more boney growths, the worse my spine becomes. Earlier I was walking with a rolater and or crutches or a cane. Sitting was and remains one of my worst enemies but as I said, my seat is assigned for life. I then contracted covid in March of this year after three vaccinations; the very first time I went out into the city I caught it. I have not regained my strength, have developed chronic asthma and sleep as if in a coma or swing to the other extreme, experiencing severe insomnia and nothing will knock me out. My head hurts daily, I now have tinnitus and vision issues. The train chugs along and now I am in cue for a pain specialist rehabilitation hospital north of Stockholm. I never write about physical pain because I don’t know how to project the feeling with words so that others understand. I know that a really nice man, the husband of an American friend said the right thing one time years ago and it stuck with me. “Hello, it’s nice to see you are having what looks like a relatively good day”. It meant the world that someone knew my good days were fewer than my bad and that he also understood people like me don’t get better, we are chronically living in a state of pain that can ease up a bit but never leaves us completely blissful. For all the readers and writers out there who are living with CPS, I understand you now. I am sorry that I did not understand what my fellow passengers were experiencing until now. Mental health is important to address for everyone and somehow I let mine fall apart. Hopefully after my stay in the Pain Rehabilitation hospital (Uppsala University Hospital) I will be able to read with focus, write with more clarity, listen to others and converse, start walking for my overall health and socializing a bit more with those who have hung in there with me. I will still ride the train with you and I will try to reach out to all of you much more. Remember, you are not alone. We are on board together.