Violation

If I want to write something angry, I can always write about V.  That usually works.  I can focus on her unfairness to me, or I can look at how she was violated, resist my urge to think she courted it, see her as a damaged girl hungry for attention and getting rape, calling it seduction. She lost her virginity at lunchtime to an unemployed man whose yard she cut through on the way to school.  I had gotten high at lunch alone, and in choir that day she laughed a secret laugh to herself.  I resented her and saw she was drunk and wondered how she had the nerve.  That was the day he seduced her and she was finally on the other side, a virgin no more.  I envied her advancement but not her method, stopping in on a man with nothing better to do than bed a teenage girl with no self-worth who happened to be in his yard.

Yeah, it’s cynical of me to hold a grudge, never mind how she hurt me, so hurt herself, struggling to come up to the air of a loving relationship, which she did find, she did find one, but that involved drama too because he was married and had to leave his wife of 20 years to marry her.  Soulmates, she said, it was meant to be and I, crass, said something about choice.

I never understood her.

I loved her, though.  We went through the crucible of teen years together, drinking a lot and getting high, seeking boys (her) or loving them from afar (me).  And I never told her about my pain because I knew it would be a competition.  Who was most damaged.  Who was most hurt.  She always won.

The fun part was watching her do Janis Joplin or Madame de Forniet or the librarian and laughing and laughing.  This was our escape, she entertaining, me laughing, in a place where pain was tamped down and barely calling to us to attend, attend to the hurt and heal it, girl.

We weren’t ready for that.  Gin and dope worked more quickly, and cars and boys and men.

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Undoing

Here is something I’ve always wanted to do.  Climb a mountain without getting tired, or just the good kind of tired, where I’m strong and healthy but feel good aches and strong sore muscles.  The food I eat is the best food I’ve ever eaten, and my thirst is quenched as never before.  I look at the view of mountains upon mountains and the sun glints and the rocks sparkle and I am full.  I float off into the fluffy clouds and live out the stories I tell my children at bedtime where people live happily in clouds and look down on the sunny earth and the world is a safe and magical place.

Here is something I’ve always wanted to do.  Climb a mountain without getting tired, or just the good kind of tired, where I’m strong and healthy but feel good aches and strong sore muscles.  The food I eat is the best food I’ve ever eaten, and my thirst is quenched as never before.  I look at the view of mountains upon mountains and the sun glints and the rocks sparkle and I am full.  I float off into the fluffy clouds and live out the stories I tell my children at bedtime where people live happily in clouds and look down on the sunny earth

Here is something I’ve always wanted to do.  Climb a mountain without getting tired, or just the good kind of tired, where I’m strong and healthy but feel good aches and strong sore muscles.  The food I eat is the best food I’ve ever eaten, and my thirst is quenched as never before.  I look at the view of mountains upon mountains and the sun glints and the rocks sparkle and I am full.  I float off into the fluffy clouds and live out the stories I tell my children at bedtime

Here is something I’ve always wanted to do.  Climb a mountain without getting tired, or just the good kind of tired, where I’m strong and healthy but feel good aches and strong sore muscles.  The food I eat is the best food I’ve ever eaten, and my thirst is quenched as never before.  I look at the view of mountains upon mountains and the sun glints and the rocks sparkle and I am full.  I float off into the fluffy clouds and live out the stories

Here is something I’ve always wanted to do.  Climb a mountain without getting tired, or just the good kind of tired, where I’m strong and healthy but feel good aches and strong sore muscles.  The food I eat is the best food I’ve ever eaten, and my thirst is quenched as never before.  I look at the view of mountains upon mountains and the sun glints and the rocks sparkle and I am full.  I float off into the fluffy clouds

Here is something I’ve always wanted to do.  Climb a mountain without getting tired, or just the good kind of tired, where I’m strong and healthy but feel good aches and strong sore muscles.  The food I eat is the best food I’ve ever eaten, and my thirst is quenched as never before.  I look at the view of mountains upon mountains and the sun glints and the rocks sparkle

Here is something I’ve always wanted to do.  Climb a mountain without getting tired, or just the good kind of tired, where I’m strong and healthy but feel good aches and strong sore muscles.  The food I eat is the best food I’ve ever eaten, and my thirst is quenched as never before.  I look at the view of mountains upon mountains

Here is something I’ve always wanted to do.  Climb a mountain without getting tired, or just the good kind of tired, where I’m strong and healthy but feel good aches and strong sore muscles.  The food I eat is the best food I’ve ever eaten, and my thirst is quenched as never before.

Here is something I’ve always wanted to do.  Climb a mountain without getting tired, or just the good kind of tired, where I’m strong and healthy but feel good aches and strong sore muscles.  The food I eat is the best food I’ve ever eaten

Here is something I’ve always wanted to do.  Climb a mountain without getting tired, or just the good kind of tired

Here is something I’ve always wanted to do.  Climb a mountain without getting tired

Here is something I’ve always wanted to do.  Climb a mountain

Here is something I’ve always wanted to do.

Here is something I’ve always wanted

Here is something

Here

The world is a safe and magical place.

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Trouble

That’s what we each thought when we spotted each other across the room.  Trouble.  Way too cute.  Better avoid that one.

But he inched up on me.  We had mutual friends so conversation came easy, and soon it seemed like we had known each other a long time.  One day he caught up with me on the street and asked me to get coffee.  Euphemism for a date.  He told me later he had been trailing me all the way down Main Street, but acted all casual when he sauntered up beside me.  I had on that long dark red coat and black beret that made me look so mysterious.

The funniest thing was when he turned around and looked right at me when someone was talking about how nice it was to have someone to take out the garbage.

I want to take out your garbage, lady, his smile seemed to say.

I did not resist the pull into his orbit.  I held back, cautious, but let myself be propelled forward.  And I didn’t want to resist this open hearted, sexy guy.

I plunged in.

The trouble I anticipated, the same old hurt I feared, never happened.  Other trouble happened, though.  Deep closeness.  Fear of a new and unknown thing.  Letting this unexpected person stay around.  He wanted to stay around.  I wanted him to.  So surprising.

Marriage.  Trouble.  Children.  Trouble.  Finances.  Trouble.  Life.

Scan-032

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Scarlett and Synchronized Swimming

The summer I read Gone With the Wind, I won a second place medal in synchronized swimming.  The morning I finished it, I went to practice and my eyes were already red for Rhett Butler.  After practice I went home and read the last 50 pages again and cried some more.

We weren’t supposed to like Scarlett, which puzzled me.  Why did Margaret Mitchell tell the story through the eyes of someone we weren’t supposed to like?  I liked her anyway.  I knew I should not like the way the simple slaves were so devoted to her, and I did side with them when I could, but the story pulled me into Scarlett’s eyes, green and lakelike.  I knew I should not like rich Rhett and his dirty Southern money, but he was so charming.  And he was nice to Mammy, in his way.  That red petticoat.

Why did we in my liberal Democratic suburb decide to overlook the depiction of the slaves, and have Gone With the Wind watching parties when it showed on TV?  This was the 70’s.  None of our black friends were at these parties.

It felt good to get lost in a book 1174 pages long.  And then go and swim to a song from John Lennon’s Imagine.  “Oh my love for the first time in my life, /My-y-y-y eyes are wide open.”

And red from crying and chlorine.

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Rah rah

My fifteen-year-old is on spring break and is being unusually nice to me.  Instead of grading tonight, I accepted a rare invitation to play a board game.  And she didn’t even mind that I won, twice.

She doesn’t talk to me much, and I am mostly patient, but this week when she has no homework and can sleep in and no Frisbee practice and none of the other pressures of high school life (she’s wearing no make-up) makes me see that she must be stressed out during school.  Which makes her quiet.  She seems surly, okay maybe she is surly, but she is also stressed.

She is always surprised at how good her report card is.  She does not know, fully, how smart she is.  She does not believe me when I tell her.  She writes better than most of my undergraduates.

I miss the adoring little girl she once was, but, when she lets me in this way, I like the teenage version too.  I admire her thrift shopping aplomb and her sense of style and her silly dancing.  (I of course am not allowed to dance.)

Her friend gave her every Taylor Swift CD for her birthday and we go into a Taylor Swift haze in the car, listening to one after the other.  We looked up tickets online but the only ones left cost $200.  Next tour.

She would actually think of going to a concert with me!  (And her friend.)

Rah rah!

Eliza2014a

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Questions

The snow is almost gone

And yet I resist spring

Don’t want to get fooled again

Yesterday I walked out of work

After 18 student conferences, exhausted

Happy

I simply like my students

They make me happy

It is lovely to like one another

Even as I tell them they might get not get A’s

The daffodils at the corner seemed suspect

Planted from a grocery store pot

No struggle against the snow

But they defied me with their cheerfulness

So much bright yellow

I remind myself to allow this feeling of happiness

At my students

At the daffodils

It comes and goes

It will come again

And go

And this morning I woke up

Down

A little sick

Ate the wrong thing

Never know the right thing

Dragged myself to the library

Where I write with writers

Get something down

And the blue and pines out the window

Cheered me

In spite of myself

Why is it

I don’t trust the happiness

Determine that it’s fleeting

But let the downward drift

Seem like truth?

Down is as fleeting as happiness

Comes and goes

And comes again

And goes

Like spring.

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Pine

Even when I say I pine for you,

I am inhaling the drift

of crushed needles in the woods

behind Pausacaco, where

my siblings and I played bears

(not dolls)

piling up orange needle houses

for us to hide in

shelter from the drip of sap and rain

and a broken heart.

pine

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