Friday, December 29, 2006


A heart shaped shell, tumbled in a thousand tides, grainey and wrinkled, tossed at my barefeet...a keeper

An abondoned birdsnest, delicately woven, lined with glad-bag trash and the neighbor's Christmas tree tinsel...a keeper. I pruned the tree and left one branch up and three branches down, a tribute to peace, and a Mother's determination. Even empty nests bring comfort.

Marbles, twirled and swirled, blown glass spun in a circle...pocketed by little boys, rolled on wooden floors....found 23 years later buried in Georgia clay... a sister's keeper.

Silver shoes, 3 inches high, scuffed just at the toe... glitter faded, straps stretched out....toe prints on their soles...Keepers

Pisces man with a wrinkled face, and a wrinkled smile and a Coors light in his hand....reaching over, diving in, embracing his "you still look 21 to me" gorgeous wife collapsing at his side....and saying "WE CAN DO THIS. IT's OK. I LOVE YOU".... Keeper

Christmas card with a Magpie poem ....Keeper

Wedding album, mildewed and tossed, pages eaten by hungary moths and uninvited roaches, chocked full of random papers, the key to your past...A keeper....meant to be lost for 20 years and found on a rainy be wrapped up in Christmas paper and bows and passed onto my child with so many questions.....I apologize if i haven't told the stories right...memories are sometimes made-up as you go, but I love you, and unedited, this book, stuffed with the truth is a keeper....

Beer bottle caps. Damp from the chill. Tossed in a painted gourd. Collected year round, from Friday nights out, Sunday night cries....And later touched by the pen or the brush of a Magpie...reincarnated into jewels and sillies and ornaments...tossed amongst loved ones like fairy dust...keepers

Tattoos....You're stuck with them. Love it. Because you damn sure can't leave it. A permanent salute to the moment....keeper.
(And I am at this moment contemplating a yellow butterfly...come Paigey, and Kimbies, and Corinne, Linda, and Judy and Curty and Haley and Noah and Christine and Anna and Amber and Arianna Olivia and Peyton and Alana and Kyle and Stone and Tami and Dad-O and Grand-C and Chancellor and Scott and Annie and Nadine and Stan and JR and Jimmy Mac and Peggie and Badri and Sheila Anne and Tim and Papa and Nicky and Rumors and Joe and RCK and Vicci and Anne and Orhan and San Marino and everyone and everything that makes the butterfly effect so very very yellow...)

Keepers...May the New Year be Blessed with all we cherish....
and all we've yet to discover.................

Monday, December 18, 2006

On Borrowed wings....

On a borrowed computer, on swiped internet...from the porch....
I miss you guys! Miss Vicci, can't wait to see Kim's beautiful smile when she is gifted with your treasures...Anne, I can't begin to tell you....SLB, can't wait to see you, I mean CAN'T WAIT!.....C, Hope you and family have a beautiful Christmas blessed with peace, love you girls!... Orhan...God, i miss your posts....Everybody, wishing you peace, love, and a blessed New Year!


I've tried it everyway. New Year's, that is. As a child, we hooped and hollered, twirled Nana's noisemakers in the air! "It's New Years!" Along the way, we started sneaking down to the basement, having James whip us up Suicides....coke and rum and vodke, pepsi and OJ swirled in iced tea glasses....gag me with a spoon! But it left us breathless, and sitting in circles, watching midnight grab the sky, singing...."Sha Na Na Na...Hey...Hey...Hey...Good-bye... holding hands, and sometimes upchucking heads. I ache now. We are not all here now. Those were the New Years we should have hugged each other harder and left the toilets to their own.

And then we were legally "grow-up". And we hung from balconies and french kissed at midnight. It was still good. Even the year Gary Fishowitz overdosed and sentenced himself to a life pacing in an antiseptic aquarium plugged into IVs for eternity. It was still going to be a good year. That was the year Christian came out of the closet, called off his engagement to Juliet, and rocked his parent's world. We applauded him. The year that Kimbies got suspended for smoking in the bathroom and the year that my boyfriend, in a a death defying act, flipped the camaro upside down and I LIVED! It's all good.

And then we were on our own. and dateless, and all piled up in a "too expensive" "too cramped for comfort" apartment and "What the hell?" they were having a Champagne and Caviar Party at the clubhouse...So we tooled our size six fannies over and swallowed fish eggs and pink bubbles and left with the first three cars that fled the scene...

And we married our rides....(Some of us for better, some for worse, and one just for the ride)

Time flies when you're having a really good time, and we must have because it's a blue that I really don't remember....and suddenly....

It's another life and

I'm at the airport and I'm watching as my soldier lumbers down the ramp and it's late, far too late to bring in the New Year, and I'm thrilled...
He's alive and He's home and I'm in loe and jet lag is an urban myth...

We set the clocks back four and a half hours and embrace the New Year just before the sun comes up....on our own make-believe time.

Years pass.
they bring their blessings and their curses.

I've cheered New Years and blessed it out. I've welcomed the New and buried, literally, the old...dug mammoth holes in the flower beds, and put the crap to rest. I've burned it. And run out into the street and tossed it's ugly karma to the sky...ashes floating aimlessly, landing on the curbs. i've kissed the sky and wished on stars...I've given up and gone to bed....

Last year, we started this "Resolution" thing again...The time had come. A million things to resolve to, to amend to, to agree to, to give in to. But we picked only three. kimbies and Butch and I. We must have known then. WE CHOSE PEACE. WE WANTED PEACE. And oh yeah, they would get a dog and I would get a boyfriend, We just sort of threw that in. We just wanted peace.

"Sometimes you get what you want, sometimes if you try, you get what you need" MJ and the Rolling Stones.

So we buried our friends, and Kimbies has cancer, and the first boyfriend in 14 years didn't work out.

On New Years Eve, we have reservations. Resolutions. Dresses. And a limo. Kimbies will be mannequin beautiful in her hippie bandana with her priceless husband at her side. We'll leave little Nay-Nay, the Chihuahua, in her pink tutu at home. We'll cheer. Probably cry. We'll dance. We'll have exactly one too many drinks. We'll hug. We'll all hold hands at some point and maybe fall on our knees on the dirty litle floor and thank God for the noise of rock and roll, and the healing, and the Angels that brought us here. And at midnight, we'll turn and kiss...

I'm so glad even resolutions give us second chances. This one is a keeper.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

I Must be Dreaming....

I woke up swallowing words. Whole words. Big chunks. It made my throat feel raspy, smoke scratched. Like trying to swallow Saltine crackers in the desert.

I blinked. There was no sunshine billowing through the curtains. It was dark. But morning still. I could hear birds. Chirping. Sqwauking actually. The cats were playing round-da-round, flying through the halls chasing the mischevious poltergeists that only come out to play in the last moments of night.

I almost choked. Swallowing whole phrases. Instant replay of every NEVER I ever said.... rushing past me, through me, into me. Eyes wide open now. Night vision working. Everything is the same. The same old comforter piled in a heap at my feet. The wooden floors scratched and carpeted with cat and dog hair dancing just above it's surface. The alarm clock glaring, the time set two hours and twenty minutes into the future. A reminder that I need to wake up confused, because the comfort of actually knowing what time it really is, will lull me back to sleep. I gulp. It's O.K. Everything is the same. I was just dreaming.

But I wasn't. That was hours ago, and there are words stuck in my throat, tatooing the sides, hanging on like tonsilitis..... I can't swallow them yet. Go there.

I said I would never ever again feel this way. Never ever again go this way. Never ever again.

I was wrong. Welcome to my World. It's all good, baby...
I still feel the butterflies....

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Kiss...

I’ve been in love only once. A very long time ago. And for a very short time. But it lasted forever.

A romance Untainted by the first four letter word. The first harsh ugly word. The first possessive, jealous, bigoted, arrogant, righteous, selfish word.

We talked. He spoke seven languages, English not his native, and spoke them all well. But it’s what he did with his words that grabbed me with octopus arms and hugged me in tighter.

He wove them. He used them for music, for background effects, for medicinal purposes, for tickling, for thinking out loud. He sent words instead of flowers, and gifted me with stories. It was as if we had known each other a lifetime in no time at all…. And we did, because we shared our lives, our childhood secrets, our silly dreams, our disappointments …. The brown bagged everyday stuff, the chaotic “Isn’t this a crises to anybody, but me?” crap, the “I believe in…….” fairytale endings , the “I’ve never told anybody else this….” secret lives that we tote around in dirty Samsonite luggage….. Afraid to pitch, for fear it will be discovered, weary from hauling it around all these years.

We danced and sang out loud, added words, made-up words, used other world words. When he left for Desert Storm, we mailed words across the ocean , army lugged in duffle bags, wrapped in yellow envelopes. We traded tiny cassette tapes, weeks, sometimes months, in the traveling, just to hear each other’s words….

We listened. To each other. And danced in the kitchen.

I married a man whose vocabulary consisted of one, two, three, and four letter words. Occasionally graced by a few BIG words like… Toyota, Delmonico, and some expletives best left off the list. We talked about who fed the dog last, what the neighbors were up to, and the interest Rates on our credit cards. We danced on occasion. We ate well always. We fought like hell.

I listened last night. I watched the words as they were born. As you struggled to build them into a formula that I could understand, as your body spoke the words before they left your lips. When you finally quit fighting with yourself , the words fell fluid like into our space. Where I could touch them. Sense them. Hear them.

And then we danced in the kitchen….

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

It's good, It's all good

OK. My hair is falling out. Those spaghetti straight golden tendrils that I used to twirl between my fingers when in thought, that I used to plop up on top of my head, held securely by a pencil, when it was hot. It’s all falling out! Breaking off in obscene places and just leaving my head. “Must be the stress” my girlfriend Sheila said. “It looks like you were ironing it and fell asleep” she added. Thanks, girlfriend! I do not iron my hair and when was the last time I "fell" asleep? I fight it, baby!

I first noticed it in July. Woke up one morning with this tuft of crimped hair just sort of static-like at the back of my crown. Damn! Did someone CUT a chunk of my hair while I was sleeping? And then, uggggh, it kind of spread. Like I was going for the bangs look all the way around my head . Check the chemicals in the pool. I must be baking out here in the lazy round river. No, no, it’s good.

Geez….what’s a girl to do?

In August I noticed that the blow dryer was spitting little electric flames out at my face, burning my earlobes.... and was overcome with relief….. Shhhhhwwwweewwww…. Close one! I’ve been frying it every morning and just didn’t realize it. Pitched the blow dryer and replaced it with a new “better” version….only blows cool air. Heal me, please.

Uh, no. It’s still falling out. Skinny fetched me hot oil treatments, ummm, to no avail. OK, it’s good. It’s sympathy pains. I’m sure that’s it. Our beautiful sib, Kimmilee is going through chemo and losing her hair in chunks. Like every thing else in our lives, we’re just doing it together. It’s good. I can do this. But, somehow, I know….. No…this isn’t it.

I wake up one night tossing and turning and there is Deja, my blue eyed wild child Siamese dancing in my bedhead hair, swatting up a storm! That’s it! She’s been thinning it all along and I’ve slept through it! But, no….I stayed awake for 7 nights in a row, and she never once again, offered to come and pull out my hair in my sleep. I even tried to bribe her.

So now it’s November. I’ve changed shampoos, pillowcases, chlorine, blow-dryers, brushes, and boyfriends.

I woke up this morning and it was fixed.

Must have been the boyfriend thing.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Peace, love, and happy hauntings.....

This is it guys....
another spooky little day!
I'm pulling the black sheers over the windows, and letting the disco ball do it's blue magic...
tiny little orbs sneaking through the wind blown curtains out into the streets....
dancing like bubbles into the Halloween sky!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

I can't talk now, we're dancing in the kitchen...

The first time I heard/saw Lyle Lovett was late at night. I was pacing in the kitchen. The TV (one of the few moments in my life I have actually owned a TV, much less had it turned on) was background noise littering the living room space while I circled from the sink to the phone to the sink to the phone to the sink. Wash a dish. Walk to the phone. Wash a fork. Walk to the phone. Klink! Break a glass. Walk to the phone. God, I wanted to pick up that phone and call him so bad. And it was so late. And what would it accomplish anyway…

The incessant humming of the TV wafted around the corner. A different noise. I stopped. Listened. Smiled. Crept around the corner peeking. Like there was a secret waiting there and I was playing “I spy”. I loved it. The sound. The raspy earthy wailfull voice. The rhythm. It moved me. I crouched on the floor , scrunched close to the tiny TV, and fell in love with the words, the laughter, the morning after voice. Write it down. Write down his name. BUY THIS CD!

I’m a rock and roll girl, and maybe a little soul, a little blues, a little country. But a lotta rock and roll. I love to play my music loud, so that the bass thumps on your heartstrings, the guitars become your heartstrings, the drums…Oh God, I love drums. And then came this Lyle thing. I just wanted to sway. To swoop. To dip.

I bought the CD. And gave it away. I bought another one. And loaned it out. Another one. Played it until the tracks skipped and the scratchy voice was stuck on random words, over and over again. I didn’t buy another.

Years went by. Skinny got married and I danced with an old friend. Until the sun came up. A week later, the Lyle Lovett CD came in the mail. Bootlegged, of course. No Smokey portrait of this strange looking gentleman on the jacket. Just the word “Lyle” scribbled in Sharpie marker across the CD itself. I tossed it in the car and rode to work with The Big Band for a day or too, and then there was Janis, The Rolling Stones, a few rants, and a few love songs, and I sort of forgot.

Until last night.

When I ran barefoot out in the rain to plunder through the glove box, and barefoot back …

To sway. To swoop. To dip.

Love it!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I Drink Beer!

I drink beer.

I started early. I’m not proud of it, but this is the way the story goes. I drink beer. Million used to splurge and buy Heinekens and we would ride around in the green van blasting Deep Purple, drinking imported beers and laughing. We’d tell stories, that got deeper as we plundered further into the six pack, and sometimes….we would stop at ABC, lurking in the parking lot, until he would find another lost soul and bribe them into buying us more…and then we would tell stories that made us cry. Hug each other. Love each other.

And sometimes we would just laugh. And drive further. And maybe faster.

It was dangerous.

I outgrew that driving and drinking stage. (And thankfully lived !)

Now, I just drink beer. Ice cold Michelobs, stacked in the fridge like other people pile cheese and milk and broccoli. I drink beer. I don’t do the drunk girl wobbling aimlessly thing, the drown in my cup of spilt sorrows thing, the I’ll take off my clothes if I’ve had too many thing, the watch me cuss you out thing. I just drink beer.

I love the cold bubbly feel of it. The shape of the bottle. The way it tastes.

Oh God, your Mother’s going to hate me…..

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


This is the warning my friend Linda bellows into my ear. My Boss echoes it. Peggy preaches it. Spontaneous words. I am compelled to let them fly. A fleeting thought becomes a giant break-through in spiritual self awareness , and suddenly it all makes sense and I have to share it.... SEND! DONE! SHARED! Of course, the morning after, I might not feel the same....

"Mom! Tell me you DID NOT just break up with him on text message?"
"Ummm. yeah"
"Arrrrrrggggghhhhh. Do you think you're 18 again?"
"Ummmm. yeah.... kinda"

I do that. Dirty little fingers. Draw it . Write it . Type it . And hit send! I've written 3:00 in the morning love letters to strangers (well, almost strangers .... Kimbies surgeon for example) and walked them to the leaning mailbox, placed the flag at high mass, at 3:45 AM. In the morning when I wake up, trudge down the gravel drive way, back up and see the little red flag waving at me, I cringe a little.... "Oh God, I have to take it out...snatch the words from the runway before the postman finds them and sets them free" and then I turn the music up louder and keep backing out. Put it in forward. And drive off. It's a love letter for crying out loud. If he thinks I'm a nut so be it. He saved my sisters life. I can write him love letters if I want.

I've painted billboard revalations..... giant banners of "Do you get my drift yet?" and left them annonymously staked on obvious corners like "We Buy Houses" Signs or " Speeding fines doubled when workers present" signs. (Skinny, I remember the night we hauled off with the Beach Bag sign.... Paul McCartney on the radio... "Baby you amaze me"..... We laughed all the way home, high from the "WE DID IT" "WE GOT THE LAST WORD IN!")

I hit send.

If I have something to say at the moment. And it feels right. I hit the button. I might have better manners, or be more reserved, or more inclined to keep it to myself in the morning, but if it feels right when you think it, share it.

Last night my internet was down.
This morning it was down.

I wanted to hit SEND so bad I couldn't stand it.

For once in my life,
I'm glad I couldn't.

Must be that "Baby, you amaze me" thing.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Peace, Love and Happy Friday the 13th!

"Triskaidekaphobia is a fear of the number 13. It is usually considered to be a superstition. A specific fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskavedekatriaphobia or friggatriskaidekaphobia."

Kind of makes you miss the drive-ins and B rated horror movies...
Spooky little fun.

We're going dancin' instead.

I went on my first date when I was 13....
Curty boy was born on July 13th...
I weigh exactly 113 pounds...
There are 13 doors in my house...
The first house I owned ALL BY MYSELF was numbered 1330..

So jump back, spooky little day....
We're gonna have a blast!.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I know who you are and saw what you did....

There were five of us. Kids. And a natural order of Age. Me, four years, Kimbies, 4 more years, Curty Boy, 2 years, Skinny 2 more years and then Chanty Boy.

For the most part we were passive, a wandering tribe of gypsy souls. Rarely did we scrap. By our teen years, Kimbies and I were given lots of freedom as long as we toted a little one with us. Thus, Curty, Skinny and Chance were introduced to Rock and Roll, fast cars, and secrets early on.

And that would be how the natural order of things would change.

Skinny, when not digging in the dirt, was the first to bop up with "Take me, Take me", often elbowing her way into the front of the line. Which wasn't really hard to do. Curty was passive and frankly,not really interested in cruising with the big kids on Friday night. Happy to just stay home, perched indian legged in front of the big old console TV, watching reruns. And Chanty, with no words to make his wishes known was often at our "take em or leave em" mercy. While I love Skinny dearly, being the oldest, I often opted to take Chanty. We'd plop him on the center console of Million's van, and venture into the week-end, Deep Purple blasting from the 8-track, windows rattling. See, Chanty, dumplin' of a sweetie, is down syndrome...born with a forever smile and dancing eyes. And in those little eyes you have to read the world, because he doesn't speak The Kings English. His tiny voice box was just born jumbled up and the sounds and noises he makes are endless streams of babbling, sound effects, noise....but never words. He early on, became the keeper of secrets. Never one to tattle tell.

Not the case for Skinny.

Her endless arms and legs piling into the week-end, also meant her wishing well eyes were there. Soaking in every word, every sight, every secret. She would be elbow deep in a bag of Lay's BBQ chips, singing, WATCHING. Gathering. Later, on occassion, trading sssssshhhhhhhssssshhhhhhs for candy bars. A business agreement. A lucrative and viable business agreement. "Don't tell Mom and Dad"

As the years grew and her legs grew, we settled into sisterhood. Trading secrets for secrets. Trading the spoken for the unspoken. Trading the order.

Sometimes now she leads.

And I quietly follow.

Oh.....the secrets Chance could tell.

Monday, October 09, 2006

I'd rather be flying.....

I used to fly. At night. Suspended in fast forward, out of control.

I would lay awake in bed. Praying for peace. For sleep. For respite. And I would fight sleep, the only real get-away. "Keep your eyes open" "Keep singing, humming, thinking, wiggling your toes". And then I would feel it. God, I hated to feel it. The falling. Asleep at your toes. As if a thousand wasps had stung you. It hurt so bad and it crawled. Filthy little winged things chewing up your legs. Numbness. Taking over your body. And when I was totally encased in the vibrating, tingling," oh my God I have to leave this body"feeling, the body would leave me.

And begin to fly.

To bat really.

To zoom over the furniture furiously. Frantically zipping through the house, slapping walls, just skating the ceiling. Searching, searing desparately for a way out. Sometimes I would just fly faster and faster in endless lopsided figure 8's, nearly cracking my head on the fireplace mantle, bouncing vases off the coffee table. And sometimes I would leave. Find an open window. Soar into the night. Free. Fast.

And I would fly so high there would be no oxygen. And my lungs would expand until they felt like a leaded x-ray tank embedded in my chest. When my hair would wire out with energy and be alive, crawling, flapping at the sky. And I would fly over roads, and memories, and yet-to-be's, sometimes diving, nearly crashing onto crowded highways, headlights blinding me.

And then I would come home.
And crawl into my body.
And say a prayer.
"Oh, I'm done. It's over for tonight." "I can rest now".

And the humming would start again...........................................

I haven't flown in years now. I later learned it was a syndrome. Psychotic actually. Symptom of those out of control. Dreams they called them. Those that didn't fly......

I awoke with eyes cutting, eyeballs wide open, but glass, there must be glass in my eyes. I can't read the clock. The open doorframe is casting a shadow. And it's a monster. I sit upright. In my yesterday's clothes, I forget to breathe. The dog is growling. At the shadow. "Oh my God, what if she dies from eating crackers and cheese for two days. I have to look that up on the internet. Is it safe to feed Georgia Triscuts and cheese?" I listen. She's growling. She's living. Deja pounces on my forehead, running circles in the dark. She has no claws, my only one, so I know I am not bleeding. She runs in circles. " I fed them right? The cats. They still had food. " I listen. "Isadora, Tallulah?"

It's so dark. It's three A.M. I wander down the hall. What is Georgia growling at? And I remember. It's the hauntings.
I haven't paid the
phone billl
the car insurance
the second mortgage
the attorney's fees....

I'm being sued. You were perfectly fine. But what would your husband say when he found out the 14 year old station wagon that ran perfectly fine until you got bumped would be totalled and they would only give you 750.00 for your BESSIE? He would say sue her. For your teeth that you never bumped, but should have been crowned 20 years ago if you could afford to go to the dentist. Sue her!

"I've loved you for a million years". The voice. The blue eyes. His. Hers. The funeral. The not funeral. The "I'm trying to tell you something, wake up! and listen to me" messages I KNOW they are sending. "I can't understand you, I can't see you. God, can't you just stand in the drive way smoking cigarettes, sit at the kitchen table and TALK TO ME ANYMORE?"

I bop the coffee cup in the microwave. Hit 2 by instinct.

I'm up for the day.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Peek into our other world

Sometimes I just can't write.
I can't think.

Here's where I go to hide.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Empty Nest

I hauled everything out to the curb. Loaded it up in black plastic bags and left it for the garbage man. The beer bottles I found under his bed. The coke can with spent cigarette butts in the closet. The borrowed clothes never returned, I didn’t know who they belonged to…and the styles have changed, anyway. I chucked the weight set into the woods…too heavy for the trash, and I’m too tired to bury them in this cemetery I call a yard.

And then I sat down and cried.

A prom picture, marred by a beer bottle ring , was stuck to the entertainment center you hauled home from the trash. I spent 15 minutes peeling it off the glass shelf, before I pitched the found five -shelf treasure and gently buried the picture in my top dresser drawer. A trophy, your engraved name missing, toppled sideways, stood lonely in the corner of the room. What piece of furniture did you take with you, that left this plastic soldier exposed? I dusted it off, and laid it to rest in the kitchen cabinet. Receipts for things I never knew you owned, were smeared onto the vacant floor. Every now and then, pennies, nickels, quarters…lazily tossed amidst them.

I opened the windows and let the fresh air in. Noticed that even in your going, you were coming, The screen was propped just so. I’ll miss you . Precious child of mine.

I pray they are mighty

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A Sign of the Times

So today, this precious little lady reaches up to my neck and gingerly touches my love beads, cradles them in her hand.
"Oooohhh, they're so pretty, so unusual" she says in her perfectly lipsticked 80 year old voice. " I've never seen a steering wheel charm before".....

Monday, October 02, 2006

Last Call

Sorry guys, I had to go here. I have a stack of LPs , tattered cardboard corners, and covers I used to croon over, in the corner of the living room. A collaged heap of CDs tossed randomly on the floorboard of my car (front seat passenger side). An ever growing, ever reminiscent collection of sound. That I like to play LOUD. And sing to. And yes, dance to…

And sometimes the music is new and noisy and grindy and great, and sometimes, it’s just old school. The stuff that memories are made of. For whatever reason, I started thinking about certain songs and how you can remember the EXACT moment when you heard it….. felt it....banked it forever into your memory.

So here it goes….

Smoke on the Water, Deep Purple…
Million’s van, flying down Drewer Hill, well we were rolling really, but it felt like flying…blue lights dimmed behind us, just watching, And finally, I threw up

Just the two of us
A champagne and caviar party resulting in the first of many endless nights at The Entertainer, (now, a topless go-round) dancing in circles. And then, what the hell, getting married. I have since given up Champagne, and the husband

Aquarius, The Fifth Dimension
Getting kicked out of PCS Christian school. Age: 13 It was on the radio when my Father came to fetch us Filthy little sinners! How dare you have a pool party (on your own time) and invite mixed (boys and girls) company to bathe (swim, play Marco-polo, float, dive) together while listening to Rock and Steal your Soul (The Beatles) music? Ummmmmm…..It was my birthday?

Red Rubber Ball
Christian’s funeral. The procession. The absolutely ridiculous words ringing tin-like out of the radio. And how prophetic they were.

Moon River, Andy Williams
Ohhh, I shouldn’t be sitting right next to my Mom on this couch listening to this in the state I’m in.

Tainted Love…
The Palace. You were there SLB.

The Kiss, Tom Jones and The Art of Noise
Dancing, gliding, dreamily off the deck and into the pool, satin dress parachuting up to the surface…..
Plop, splash, splish, slip, swoosh…..a sea of wedding-goers joining us. Pool party anyone?

The Letter, The Boxtops
Soldiers. My soldier. Yellow envelopes. Homecomings

Pink Cadillac….
Rumors! The Other Side. I still do NOT know how to do the electric slide!

Private Dancer, Tina Turner
Tami on the mike, belting it out at Fitzgerald’s. No Karaoke. Just a mike and her voice filling the room. She‘s 12 years old and we have her at the bar drinking Shirley Temples! Our parental instincts were always ….proper?

Build me up Buttercup
The 6th grade. Ronnie Beasley and a valentine too big to slide under the desk.

Mr. Lonely, Bobby Vinton
Pale blue carpet in a long long living room. Stereo at the far end of the room. Furniture lining the walls leaving the center open for a plushly padded dance floor. Mom and Dad on Friday nights, Martini’s on the coffee table. Kimbies and I, long legs dangling, parked on the couch, watching them dance in rhythm, in sync, in love.

Funeral for a Friend, Elton John
Dancing on the tables. Kim’s living room. Birthdays. Slumber party. (We had to have a slumber party, we couldn’t drive home)

Queen, anything Queen
Our first apartment. “We are the Champions”. Throwing BYOP parties just to stock the bar ...aka... the dishwasher…top rack glasses…bottom rack bottles. Loading the tub with ice and beer. Sleep walking in the window.

Creep, Radio Head
The radio cannot play this loud enough. Reversing all the “I’m a creep’s” to “You’re a creep’s” ….. This would be my all time favorite Rant song. And I’m not even gonna say why.

To be continued….
On another reminiscent night….

And oh yeah, I just did the spell check, and I do make up words!

Sometimes you sing
Sometimes you dance
Sometimes you just go backwards

Friday, September 29, 2006

The Omen and other chic flicks

There are some things that just innately mean something else. Little intuitive omens on butterfly wings. “It’s a girl thing” “a psychic thing” “a psycho thing”. For about ten years I always blew a kiss to my car ceiling (hanging headliner flapping in the breeze) when I passed a one eyed car. You had to do this, you see, it brought good luck. I did this faithfully, for years, until I passed about 9 one eyed cars on a lonely stretch of highway being chased by a tornado…limbs cracking overhead, trash flying by the windows…

I used to groan and moan and go arrrrrggggghhh, when a black cat crossed my path, a childhood superstition, and then I had a black cat, who took up residency at my front door and not wanting to condemn myself to forever purgatory, I just got over it.

But there are still things I chink over, get a little thrill over, or a little chill over. Believe in. (ooops , can’t help myself, but I do) …little omens passing by….sometimes smiling…sometimes haunting….

A ring around the moon …. mischief stewing…
A dog whaling, I mean pitifully whining, howling to the tune of a distant siren…. that’s not good
Yellow butterflies, anywhere….hope, dreams, peace…you can’t wreck this one, I still BELIEVE
Hearing “Our song”…this one is wretched. For part of your life it is awesome, for the rest it is trashed, you want to hurl things. Live things. Don’t ever pick an “our song”, eventually it screws up the music forever.
Stopped clocks….I never pay attention to the time unless it’s stopped. And then I obsess over the hands, until they’ve passed the same place a gazillion times and I realize it has absolutely NO MEANING
Found pennies…As broke as I am, I still won’t pick one up if its not heads up
Broken love beads…I hate when that happens. Time freeze frames. Until I restring them and it starts again.
Ducks flying blindly into the hood of my car…another NOT GOOD thing
Tea stains on the kitchen counter….tarot cards by accident
Flying dreams….you don’t even want to go there
The sound of magnolia leaves rustling….Nana’s watching
SLB’s marbles….the meaning changes in the rain
Palm itching…I can never remember what this means, but it means something
Red Bird out the window…..blessed
Foot itching…run baby, don’t walk
Blue eyes…Nadine has been here, waving her wand, reminding me to pay attention
Smoke alarms…well, we all know what that means
Bird accidentally in the house…..ewwwwwww, not good
Sensormatic alarms… oh God, I left my vitamins in my purse again, and I’m going to be persecuted, prosecuted for shoplifting
Can I see your I.D.?” ….. they have a bet going on
Toll free number…I should have picked up the pennies. I owe these people money
When the Bird of Paradise blooms…..Don’t worry about a thing, it’s all good

I don’t do horoscopes and no Ouija boards live here, but still….

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Riding with Roaches

Mine was teal green. And I can tell you right now that is not cool to drive, at 16, a car that rolled off the assembly line the same year you were born. Ask any 16 year old. But she was mine. For $750.00 ( 250 for the running engine and about 500 for the fact that sometime in the future, if she lived long enough, she would be collectible) And God, I loved her! And she must have loved me because she sure got me home from a lot of places I should have never gone....

We've all ridden with roaches. And I had a few in this little baby, too. The floorboards eventually rusted out from 3 summers at the beach, sandy little barefeet grinding through the carpet the first year, the liner the second year, and finally just toes dangling through the highway hatch the third. This was a WELCOME sign to all things big and small. Ants paraded in for drive-way feasts on leftover fries embedded in the seats. Roaches visited (not so much for the McDonalds, I don't think) as to lay in hiding, riding....waiting for the perfect moment to scurry up a skinney little leg.

And then there were the real roaches, the creeps, parked next to you on the seat.

I was seventeen when I met Todd Ringling. He wore John Lennon glasses and long dirty hair,
one of five brothers. Stairstep siblings with a lot in common: Ponytales, bell bottomed jeans, and a penchant for skinny blondes.
I met him on the first day of school, in the commons. He was lounging, back against the wall, blowing smoke rings to the sky. Slowly watching them rise and disappear.
I saw him again on the way to Peace Creek, bounding down the long dirt drive, in his beat up Cadillac with the eight track blasting Eric Clapton. I was walking. The mile or more from the highway where I had been dropped off. Walking with the masses who didn't own trucks big enough to plow through this swamp land or brave enough to drive into what would surely be the place of no return. (You see, we borrowed Peace Creek, from a farmer who no longer farmed. And odds were at any given time, blue lights would come bounding down that same dirt drive. ) Anyone who drove to the bonfire would be checking into the Hotel California if the blues showed up. The rest of us, well, we'd go flying in a thousand directions, with the wind, barefoot and wild through the swamp, laughing and stumbling, reaching the blacktop eventually. But in any case, there he was bumping down the dusty road, the first to reach the party.
It was that night, dancing in circles around the bonfire that he asked me out. It was that night that Million, my best guy friend, told me flat out "Don't go". "I'm tellin' ya right now, don't go".
The next Friday night I went.
Riding with roaches.
We were flying down the two lane road, kissing the dotted line at speeds that tested fate when he jerked the wheel to the right and sent us flying airborn into ....I'm dying now, I know it.....a cow field. YUP. An endless cowfield. The headlights bobbed into an enternity of wheat colored grass, the moonlight miles ahead. And he kept driving. And laughing. I'm pretty sure parts of the Cadillac were bouncing off. I could hear Million's voice, like a fly, buzzing at the back of my neck. "Don't go". And then the engine died.
"We're out of gas" he muttered. More to his feet than to me. Are you kidding me? I turn around peering towards the past, there is a highway back there somewhere, please, tell me it is still there. And I can see nothing. An eternity of wheat colored grass, in reverse.
That's when he grabbed me. The big first kiss. "Oh no, you little creep, I'm not falling for this" "Crank this puppy up and get me out of here or I'm....I'm....I'm walking"
I slammed the Caddy door. More parts donated to cowpaddy heaven. Take a deep breath girl. Start walking. 20 feet, 30 feet, 40 feet into the blackness. He'll crank it any second, turn around and pick me up, take me home.
Vrrrrroooooom. The purr of the engine cranking. Clunk. He shifted into gear. I sigh with relief. But I don't turn around. Won't give him the satisfaction.
And he didn't turn around either. I listened as the night gobbled up the humming of his motor. As he disappeared.
I can't see the highway from here. Things are biting my legs, touching my legs, crawling all over me. Where is the moon? That's the wrong way. Don't take your eyes off straight ahead. Walk. I hear things. Noises. I see things. Creepy things. orbs. No, it's lights. Flicking on and off like an SOS signal. Help! No, hide. I don't know what to do and then it's headlights, aimed right at me, gunning me down. I fall. My face touches the cold wet earth. I'm eating dirt now.And God knows what else. And there is heat. An engine. Idling beside me. Headlights glaring past me now, staring into the path of trodden grass Todd had paved.
"Get in". I fell into the seat.
Million slowly turned the van around, pushed play, and didn't say another word.
Volume two, track one, The Eagles Greatest Hits purred as we U turned.
Sometimes we have to walk. Away. Bang a U-turn in life. And sometimes, when we least expect it, going back, into the welcome arms of what was waiting for us along, (We just couldn't see it) is where we belong.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


I barely recognized you...
there with dangling legs,
darting mud-puddle eyes
flickering like a broken reel of film.

I watched as
you shifted
Flitted back and forth....
A dragonfly caught in a mayonnaise jar.

God, how you wanted out.

Your wings beat furiously at
the invisible cage -
Raging at the capture.

I would have smiled
If I
hadn't forgotten to breathe

Friday, September 22, 2006

I just wanna go round and round

"There are four walls and you have to dance to each of them" the instructor said as she animatedly pointed to each wall. "The Budweiser sign, the bandstand, the barstools, and" (here she takes a deep breath and waves at the masses ....maybe five tired cowboys and a few 40-something majorettes in denim skirts) "and the audience!".

I knew I shouldn't have done this. Come here in my hippie clothes with my leathered charms and peace signs. But okay, we're here now. I'll try.

To dance in a line.

The concept is odd to me. We all lined up like little soldiers (except most of them had on costumes) Tight jeans cinched at the waist (guys and gals!) with a thick tooled studded belt of some kind and Pointed boots (Do you have to buy them two sizes larger than say your sneakers, just so there's room to fit all your toes in?) Anyway, there we are, the three of us lined up with them and the music starts. Our first lesson in line dancing.

The music starts, George Strait, I think, but I'm not sure because we had to count. And I hate counting! Don't count my beers, my cigarettes, my gray hairs, or my money. DO NOT COUNT! And now there is this incessant chanting on the "dance" floor. One and two and three and four and pause and one and two and one and two and .......

"No sweetie, we always start on our Left foot, the left foot always"

Are you kidding me? I always start feet just a flying and now I've got to count and remember to ALWAYS start on the left, and only the left foot, and keep track of which wall we are dancing to? 30 minutes later, I am disoriented from parading back and forth and sideways facing north, count to 8, facing east count to 8, facing south count to 8, facing west count to 8, and again....and again...on this endless game of follow the leader. And WHEN do we get to move our hips? Or our arms? My hands are going numb from just dangling off my shoulders. Could we at least do the hokie pokie?

"And now we'll take a little break and let all of you winded folks have a cool one before our next session"

Please, please, please will someone put a quarter in the juke box and please, please, please, let Mick Jagger's voice rumble through this barn?

Winded? We haven't been doing anything! We've been marching in a square, but I welcome a cold one. And decide I will sit the next session out. Squirming in my seat. Counting time.

It started somewhere near my toes. The music. I could feel it. And then I was in the chair, blonde hair flying, feet just a going, kicking up the dust under the old table. Rocking out in the audience. They were still counting and shuffling when the song ended. They never heard the music end. One and two and one and two and....
I was winded.

I'll try anything once. Maybe even twice. Sushi and raw oysters for example. I didn't feel the love for either one until the second time around. But line dancing? I'll leave it to the cowboys...

Rock on.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Happy Birthday Precious Child of Mine

20 years since I prayed you into my life. 20 years since fate placed you into my arms, 5 1/2 hours old, beautiful, meant to be. 20 years since you spent those first amazing days of your life in a doll crib, bundled up with Aunt Kimbies. 20 years of amazing me with your every step, your every word. I know there are many times you have uttered "but I'm not like you"...and I want you to know that the blessing here is not how much alike we are, but how different we are, and much we have each learned from one another. You darling, are my tree-top angel..."Lift me up, Mommy...."

Friday, September 15, 2006

I swear I saw this today

I wonder what would make a grown man take his 30,000 brand new Ford pick up to the paint shop and have these words emblazoned on it? BIG BUTT BUBBA!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I could not have heard the world end

I don't know what compelled me to go here tonight. The charges were dropped. 10 days of maximum security later. It was just two boys, two best friends, fighting over a bicycle they built together. There were no black eyes, no broken knuckles. They were laughing before Jonah ate the mud. Before he had foot prints on the place your kidneys live. The officer was dismissed two years later. It made the papers. Something about manhandling women. On routine stops.

June 12, 2002

Jonah has a cold and has busied himself indoors all day, Nicholas joins him in the late afternoon and when he telephones me to check in, it's raining and I can hear the ga-boom, klink, zip of a computer game in the background. They are two lazy boys in the afternoon. The sun peeks out and he calls me at the office to let me know they are going "riding", pre-teenage verbage for cruising, roaming the neighborhood on two wheels, hanging. It's a Wednesday and Shiloh has left the office early, it's just me, and for some reason I have lead feet this week. I e-mailed Aunt Rachel that I was "blue, as Nana would say. The drizzling rain and 5:00 traffic didn't change that heavy feeling. I came home and Holly was wrapped up on the couch, lounging, beautiful, watching re-runs from her nest. Johnah hadn't checked in, but not to worry, it was early. I putzed around. Finally kicking off my shoes and socks (Pre-Menopausal, my feet are always hot anymore). She beckoned me closer..."Mom, FRIENDS is on, come on and watch it with me". I think in my few short months of watching TV, I had already seen this re-run and commented so, but settled in nonetheless, quietly comfortable, next to my gifted, talented, finally resting, child.

I think HE knocked on the door. I don't remember. Maybe we have a doorbell. I don't remember looking out the window behind me, but I must have, because I went flying out the kitchen door. (It's not our nature to open the front door, STRANGERS go to that door.) I remember not much of the conversation, except the words "Your son has been arrested for strong armed robbery" and seeing, somehow, through the rain, a pile of black metal at the officer's feet. My son's bicylcle, his gleaming white helmet. My first response was of relief, thank God, Jonah had not been hit by an automible, was not being helicoptered away, was alive. And then seconds later, disbelief. Shock. And then movement. Sound. From the front sidewalk, I was bellowing for Holly to bring me my shoes, and she did, and then bellowing louder for my socks (why i don't know) and then finally my purse. I was digging frantically through the debris that had collected in the old leather bag for money. i would need money. A checkbook. An I.D., cash, perhaps.

I was pacing, Up and down the rock driveway. The officer kept babbling. "Your son should be out playing football". The "victim" wasn't hurt badly. The "victim" called 911. Something about Jonahs rims. He wanted them back. He handed me two business cards. You can call the officers anytime; they will call you back. He wrote down a phone number.

They were taking my son away. He had been arrested. I later found out he had been thrown to the ground and handcuffed. I later found out a lot of things.

It is now five nights later. The rain continues to fall from the heavens, weeping steadily. Side by side Mother Nature and I sob uncontrollably, intermitttently, pausing occasionally to take a deep breath, regain our strength. Only to begin again. The sunshine fools us. Or makes fools of us.

I ache from my toes to the bleached, split, tangled ends of my hair. And yet it is not enough. On Friday, I mowed down the rock drive-way, daring the pebbles to pounce from the blades, fly by and pummel my legs. I plugged in the electric weed-eater and whiled and trimmed and edged like a maniac - taunting the wind and the rain and the mighty bolts of electricity to search me out by some giant magnetic force and strike me dead standing there. I would defy it. I would survive even that. I had to and I would prove it. My body oozed from every pore. Sweat. Tears. Pungent rain. I glared at the street. I waited. I begged and pleaded with the skies. I wished on stars. I prayed. I crossed my fingers. I whispered. I gasped. I SCREAMED. I turned the radio on and when I heard 30 year old lyrics... "Paronia strikes then. Stop, people, what's that sound? Everybody look what's goin' 'round!", I cranked up the radio so loud, I could not have heard the world end.

My child has not been tried for these charges, and yet he has been sentenced. My miracle child that I breathed life into one frantic breath at a time, has been snatched from my arms, my home, our lives. He has been kidnapped by the sytem and held hostage. Like my Father before me...I read, I know, I fear.

On Saturday, Joe made a cross for Oliver's grave. A big primitive cross. For my tiny little, precious Oliver, 4 pounds at 6 months. The angel of orphaned kitties. I spent hours and hours and hours painting dots, and swirls and tiny hearts over the entire cross. And then I painted over the dots and swirls and tiny hearts. Again and again and again. I painted Oliver's name ornately and then shadowed it and outlined and painted it again. Ang again. On Sunday when JP brought me home from visiting Jonah, I asked him to mount the cross to a spike so I could place it in the garden, suspended in the air above the grave. I didn't want the wood to rot. He did as I asked and then reproached me for erecting such a big cross. "It's a mighty big cross". I remembered an old man that used to walk the streets when I was a teenager, traveling miles and miles and miles, often in circles, toting a giant wooden cross. "He's a bum" everyone said. "He toted a mighty big cross" I thought to myself.

It's quiet here now. Our tiny house, piled full with still four cats, Holly and myself, is void of any sound except the clickety clatter of this keyboard. I have begged God many times for "peace and quiet". I thought I was so tired. I thought life was too hectic. I thought I was too frazzled and worn out. I was wrong.

I was resting and didn't know it.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

One Million Seven

I drew maps today. Intricate little cross hatches on scraps of paper dotted with circles(lakes) rectangles (houses) dashes and arrows (This is the way we went) and X’s (it happened here). I can’t remember what flippant remark got me started on the neighborhood thing, but I grew up there (well actually I was already a teenager, but isn’t that when you really grow up?) and I was compelled to set everyone straight on the geography of my childhood . BECAUSE they absolutely cannot understand how all these little bungalows on these bumpy broken brick streets could be worth millions now.

Well, I can.

I, of course, can’t afford to go back and live in my memories, but anyone with a buck in their pocket that wasn’t brain fried from the 70’s and therefore CAN’T remember the magic of those roads, would be 40 something now and nostalgic for “that place”. So gotcha! Prices have skyrocketed and it’s a phenomena and the “address” to have….

But anyway, this is how I remember it…..

Flying down Grove Terrace, bumpity bumpity bump on the bicycle my Mom bought from The Sheriffs sale (stolen bikes spray painted, confiscated, and never claimed), blonde hair flying behind me leaving trails, flip flopped feet embedded into the spiked pedals…..Can’t wait to make it half way around the lake, past Paiger’s little friends house, to light this cigarette! Now I can! It takes two hands, one to flick the bic, and one to shield the wind, I’m going down hill, looking down, on a bumpity bumpity bump brick road!

The road burn was instant. The elbow and hip thing came later. The smell of my hair, scorched for a fleeting second hovered throughout the introduction. “Wow, you crashed, dude”. I stared at them. My eyes were running. Away. I’m 17, tanned, thin. Two beautiful guys are crouched next to met, splat, on the road. They’re older. 20 at least. I’m dying. “Hey, you need a light?” I laugh.

Best Friends.

30 years later they bulldoze Christians house to build three more. One million seven.

God, didn’t anyone remember we danced here? We painted the bathtub in psychedelic colors with Saturday night hands and turned it into an aquatic rescue unit. People would wait in line to sit on the toilet and watch the fish swim. We painted the glass panels of the French doors psychedelic too, embedding little peep holes into the glow in the dark menagerie…..The better to see who had rambled up the rod iron stair case onto the balcony. It was never the cops. Not in our world. Where Terry would sit on the third story roof and play the harp with the sky. Where we would all sit, blue jeaned legs dangling through the railing, toasting the angels that came out to listen.

And then, like little soldiers, we would straighten up our eyes. “Must be the stiff wind” that made them that way. And pile down the steps to the real house. The big house. One million seven.

And we would dance in their kitchen. And toast to their stories. And give them gray hair. And they loved us. And we loved them.

And they’re gone now.

And the house with the first swimming pool in town is gone. And the 47 cats that lived under it are gone. And my name, carved in a door frame, next to 32 others is gone.

And Christian is gone.

One million seven.
And worth every dime.

Monday, September 11, 2006


This is the list, the pros and cons, the
love and hates....I want to write it
down so that I remember
to not

I hate that you took me to visit your
hell and wallow there and I shared it with you,
open armed,
hugged you tight
held you up by the collar...
And you never ever asked
where i had come from...

I hate that you made me hate her,
before I would have,
And you made her hate me,
before she would have
And that you mistakenly thought
a cat fight
was affection for you

I hate that you preached and suffered
and rambled on and on about how you
made vows and wanted to keep them
and you never ever
they were already
long ago
And pretending they were anything less
is a mockery
of what they were meant
to be.

I hate that you threatened me with
mainpulative words
"if you walk out that door,
don't ever come back"
when I was just squemish and
and by the way, right.

I hate that we held hands and rescued each other,
running barefoot to the wet edge of the earth
hunting for treasures
and there in the seaweed,
tangled on the shore...
you just dug up more trash

i loved your smile...when you
really smiled...when you weren't
learning HOW to smile again.
Before you painted it there.
Pasted it there,
Showed your teeth.

I loved your blue eyes
before you lied
to yourself, to me, to
your make-beleive world

I loved your skin.
Because I could.
BecauseI wanted to.

I loved your raspy, too many cigarettes,
voice...soft on my neck....
Singing sweet serenades in the
kitchen, the car, the driveway

And I hated the way you played DJ and threw in the
other songs to see if I noticed...
to see if I could smell it, see it,
hear it, feel it when it crept in.

You're not so f_ _ _ _ n french

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Turn the Radio On

I forget. That I’m an old soul. That my bikini days and summer blonde magic are memories. Thank God. So in my naiveness, my “I can’t see to look in the mirror, anyway” blindness, I haven’t noticed that I’m not 18 or 29 or 32 anymore. I don’t mind blowing out a zillion birthday candles, as long as they don’t light my hair on fire. I have never suffered through a birthday. I don’t even understand that. I’ve had good days and bad days, good years and bad years, but birthdays? They don’t mean anything, except by the grace of God, you just had another one. And you might need to renew your auto registration.

And so it goes, that today, my body is crumpled. Not from osteo, backaches, heartaches, palpitations or anxiety. From forgetting that I’m getting old. Or older, to say the least. So last night, with three beers in my belly, 20 dollars in my pocket, contacts in these rheumy brown eyes with blue rings, we went out dancing…. My neighbors and I….

And we rocked and we rolled and we dipped and we shimmied and we shook and we twisted and we bumped and we grinded (I think everyone else was line dancing, I can’t really remember) and we closed the bar down (I’m sure they were glad to see us go! This motley crew flicking our bics on the darkened dance floor) and we moved the party here, dancing on the leopard skin rug in the couchless living room ….until it was so late that if you were 18, you would have made mistakes…..

Pardon me, while I have a relapse.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

More please

Razor ribs. Skinny little white chic. Spaghetti legs. Anorexic. Skeleton head. Terms of endearment. You’re kidding me, right? I don’t stick my finger down my throat after steak and potatoes (God, I cherish a take- home from Outback….a friend with the talent to light the easy-light gas grill I paid a fortune for!) I don’t weigh my food on digi scales, skip seconds, run on the treadmill, or even weigh myself! And we have an eating disorder? I’m ranting tonight because my sib got cat -called! Someone with the inability to recognize a family trait, a metabolism mechanism, a true- blue thin blonde, went out of their way to hack into our world and TRY to make it look like there is something WRONG with being a skinny little blonde! Hell, we were born that way! I don’t get it.

IN OUR WORLD, you don’t point, it’s rude. You don’t judge, you never know when you will wear those shoes. You don’t cry wolf when you don’t know where the wolf if camping. Why would anyone , I mean anyone above the age of adolescence , a grown stranger at that, go off on my precious sister because of her weight, or in THEIR WORLD, lack of it?

This much I know is true. When you are skinny, you just are. It is as hard to gain weight as it is to lose weight. Because you are what you are. Our knees will get wrinkles sooner. Our laugh lines will be louder. Our bikinis will fit longer, but our fannies will disappear. At some point in our lives, the juniors department will probably be inappropriate, but we’ll have to shop there anywhere. We have to wear A-OK bras and they don’t make a lot of them. We don’t tan in our wrinkles. Skin stretches and we’re not that tall. We can’t wear pantyhose, they droop.

But we can dance until the sun comes up. Laugh until the hiccups or tears take over. Be your best friend. So WHY? WHY on earth would someone trapse into OUR WORLD and trash us ? Because at 37, Paiger can still wear a belly ring and it shows, isn’t hidden behind some midlife fold? Because she’s just a whisp of a thing, flitting around, being the yellow butterfly, touching a zillion lives?

Shame on you, silly little stranger, barging in and being a bully.

Peace, love, and pass the dumplin's please

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Those Fateful Blue Eyes...

It happens sometimes. I’m parked in sweaty -bumper- to -vibrating -bumper traffic and the license tag in front of me reads….3J9 SEA….and my feet are scooped out from under me, and I’m getting road rash from the rush of crushed shells swirling under me as I try to stop myself from giving into the …


One tiny word embedded in a bent up license tag and I’ve left the five o’clock traffic and I’m drifting into a never forever land where the seaweed is wadded up in my hair, and the sticky yicky surface under my toes is an oriental rug of dancing jellyfish, and I’m bouncing madly in a sea I have no control over. My elbows bounce over thousand year old conchs and I flip and swallow water and spew at the sky like a hump back whale. I’m floating now…..

And then we move.

The Toyota in front of me shifts lanes abruptly.
I pound the brakes. And we are frozen again.

Bored, I hit the scan button on the radio. Search for the traffic report. The digital monitor blurs past a dozen channels. No news is good news. It stops.. Flashes.

Jethro Tull is on the radio.

This is news? The traffic report? I’m standing in a dirt driveway, skint knees and peasant blouse, leaning on a BF flyer, smoking a cigarette. “ Don’t mind me crashing at all. Nice to meet you”. I’m 17 again, and in the tainted sunlight of the bumper in front of me, I see Chris smiling. And I hear him saying “Nice to meet you, too”. I’m watching him, his face on the tailgate, distorted by the slowly rolling UPS truck in the lane next to me.

The light changes and he disappears.

It happens sometimes. I’m in the damndest places and I feel it. It’s not deja vue, it’s not a memory, it’s an umbilical cord…..tethering me back to where I belong, where I came from…it’s a cord cut short in an instant . A moment suspended by circumstance, left standing at the alter, waiting…for ressurrection or reincarnation or as a just reminder that life goes on…

I saw her that day at the corner store. My dear missed Nadine. Clicking her tiny high heels in front of me, faster than I could ever keep up. Flicking her ashes in the wind. Eating black eyed peas on New Year’s day. Reminding me over a static filled phone line that she would call me when she needed me. I saw her that day in your fateful blue eyes. I hope it’s not too much of a burden.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Morning after eyes

Or, in otherwords, I got contacts!

I can do this. I mean, what could be so difficult about poking your finger in your eye? Well, nothing, really. Except I can't see the microscopic lens on my fingertip, which is WHY I am doing this in the first place, and so when I drop it I can't find it. Or when I squash it into something that resembles an invisible taco shell, I don't know it until it feels like I just rubbed mashed potatoes or a wad of gum into my eye socket!

Ah, the glory of finally, being able to see. But, they're in and I have flitted around all day long basking in my new "mono vision". Incessantly grappling at my lovebeads, searching for my frames....GONE! Because I don't need them! Tooling around in the car going "nanny nanny boo boo" at all the big bad traffic because hey! I can see the highway AND THE speedometer at the same time! Check this out, floating in the pool and getting a suntan (burn) over the frame marks! This is so cool! Oh, but, wait. If I ever want to go to sleep, I have to take them out? Last night I came this close to using tweezers....Tonight, I might just try the vacuum!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The list of Five

Five (5) Things I love to do…

Stay in my pajamas all day
(Not because I have a 104 temperature or because everything I own is in the wash and I forgot to put it in the dryer three days ago, but because I can and it feels good and I have pajamas!) Which I don’t, but I would if I could.

Like in a porch swing, a yard swing, a park swing, a tire swing, you understand….
As high as my dirty little heels pushing off from the sand can send me flying
With hair swooshing and a tummy full of “I’m afraid of heights” butterflies…

Very off key.
Because I can.
And in my world the louder you play the music, the better you sound.

In the kitchen, on the porch, in the street, on the beach..
For any reason

Belly up on a pink Wal-Mart raft
Finger-painting in the water
Eyes watching God….
Waiting on Peace….
In my little vinyl nightmare, the lazy round river… my backyard oasis
(OK, in My World it’s an oasis…to everyone else it’s a blow up pool)

Five (5) things I hate

Linda (An Angel who wears blue jeans) was aghast when I told her I was going to write down the five things I hate. “But you don’t hate anything! All that peace~love stuff, you know you don’t hate anything!” Well, I want to! And I do!
So here they are:

1. Prejudice.

2. War.

3. Eating octopus. Who ever heard of anything so cruel.

4. That there are, or have ever been, Children without hope. Don’t give me that “they can rise above the hate and the poverty and become a President” garbage. Odds are they will just grow up with the overwhelming feeling that they are not loved and that is heart wrenching. Everyone deserves to be loved. You don’t have to have opportunities served to you on a silver platter, but you have to know in your heart, you BELONG and then you can BELIEVE.

5. I’m going to really think about this one. I mean hate is a really big thing. I wouldn’t want to make a mistake.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Stupid Red Sky at Sunset

I've had enough time to not think...
to let the love affair settle...
busted tea leaves at the bottom
of an almost empty cup
And from here I can
almost see the things, the tiny
little moments of love
that swept me
like wet magnolia leaves in October
swirling, twirling,
Landing in a pile, stacked
against the lines I draw...
property lines...

You took nothing of me with you...
I snatch back all I ever offered...
And toss it on the porch


Sunday, August 27, 2006

Road Trip

I'm home. I've just survived a roadtrip. Georgia and I. She could care less that we survived it, doesn't even know that we might not have. Since she gets car sick, she spent the last 6 1/2 hours laying face down on the back seat panting and drooling on the "still smells like new car" upholstery. My two attempts to take out a brand new mustang (one red and one blue by the way) that landed her on the floorboard, we're just hiccups on her journey. Since she didn't SEE the two semi trucks toting GASOLINE stopped in the middle of the interstate, she didn't have that instantaneous flash of fear I did, as we almost drove over the little Ford Mustang in front of us. Neither did she see the 21 car collision, that by the way, I didn't see either, which is why I almost parked us in the trunk of the 2nd Mustang. But being a dog and all, she kinda felt my fear so for the 10 miles or so after each incident, she did what any best friend would do....She growled.

And then of course, there was the rain. The instantaneous flash flood that said "Hey, idiot, you've just entered Florida, the hurricane state" and sent all four wheels hydroplaning. That, by the way, feels somewhat like riding the Zipper at 17. Your stomach is suddenly swirling with a zillion butterflies, your otherwise perfectly manicured hands, are sweaty and clammy, and your'e gripping the steering wheel for sweet life. The semi truck next to you is a psychedelic blur. So I did exactly what I did on the Zipper. I closed my eyes! Gotta love the florida rain. It stopped.

And the sun came out. The blinding beautiful Florida Sun. I've been staring straight into her face for several lifetimes. That's why I have "frown lines". Yep, My mother always told me to wear sunglasses, a big hat and sunscreen. I didn't. I basked, baked, rolled in the sun. Face up. Frying. Summer blonde. The only difference now, is that I'm blind on a good day. Have to wear Readers to see anything. So driving into the deep south, on top of asphalt mirrored by blazing puddles from a summer hailstorm, with a banging like looking into ...hell!

And speaking of hell, try traveling with Georgia. Oh, she travels well, I mean with her carsickness and all. She just doesn't STOP well. You see, she has "seperation anxiety". Which is akin to having a lover with stalking syndrome. From INSIDE the wayside station ladies room, where the toilets flush and the sinks run and the blowers puff on their own and it sounds like you are at an atomic energy plant, I could hear my precious Georgia May wailing, howling...pitifully yelping at the saliva smeared windows. Endlessly. I have never tinkled so fast in my life. Except in the woods.

But we're home. And we had a great time. And Paiger and I met just where we said we would. In Georgia. And we danced to David Bowie and Guns and Roses on the wrap around porch. And we laughed. And did what we always do, we cried. Because we can.

Because we're sisters.

Peace, love, and corner stores.....

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Yellow butterfly of San Marino


She wasn't a figment of our dreamy sunburnt imaginations. She really lived there. Her salty wings somewhat summer blonde, a little tattered on the edges. She'd flit and swoop and dance in the baking florida sun, this tiny little sun goddess. At night, like a firefly, we would catch glimpses of her, swirling, twirling in the moonlight (And don't you dare say butterflies don't fly at night!) She was always there. Everytime. At the seawall of SanMarino.

There, with our eyes to the ocean and the heavens, and our sandy bare feet propped on the seawall, we dreamed. We met the sunrise and watched her fall. We spent days and days, nights and nights, lounging at the seawall of SanMarino. We met strangers and best friends. Old souls and newborns. Lost kitties and lost kites. Lost souls. We made promises and we made pacts. We built sandcastles and made periwinkle soup. We drank coffee, then bloody Marys then beer. Bottles and bottles of beer. We sang, and danced, and told stories. We made up stories and laughed. We began to believe.

To believe in borrowed peace. To believe in the promise of tomorrow. To believe that we could make it no matter what. We spent stolen days and stolen weeks during stolen summers at the seawall of SanMarino. And the yellow butterfly, the tiny little oceanic ballerina, was always there. Reminding us to believe.

And then "poof it was gone". Our precious, tacky little paradise plowed upside down for high rise, concrete condos. God, it almost killed us. Where would we go? How could we escape everyday hell if there was no place to run to, to hide, to accidently stumble on?

And then, we saw her. The yellow butterfly of San Marino. And we remembered. To believe.

When this is all over, when the world as we know it is well again...we will have peace, and we will laugh and dance under the serious moonlight in barefoot sandals....

We will follow she has followed us....

To a place called peace

Sunday, August 06, 2006

"Tell Me About Your Rings..."

"Tell me about your rings..." he said so quietly, staring at my hands and the mismatched collection of meanings displayed there. This stranger, that I had known for only an hour or so curious as to the stories displayed on my fingers. Why did he want to know? What was he looking for? I looked down at my hands through his eyes..."What love story goes untold here?"

Instinctively, I reached up and touched my love beads, old and oiled with the patina of a thousand thoughts, touches, moments. I'll tell you about my rings, sweet stranger, but these trinkets, closest to my heart, that is where the love story rest....

For 19 years, this tattered string of leather (oh, it's been reincarnated a few times!) has been tethered to my neck. The three little clay love beads, once a swirling kaliedescope of color, now muted and sepia at best, were sculpted at my kitchen table, late late at night. Paige and I on an endless mission to spread peace and love to the world at large. We wove peace grapevine wreaths in those days , did string paintings of the world at war with peace watercolored across it's face. We believed. If we loved, we hoped, we prayed, we dared.....peace and love would come to all.

For a million moons, only the little love beads, strung like lonesome soldiers, dangled here. The soldered welded Peace symbol was a Sunday afternoon gift from my neighbor, Joe. God bless my Joe. I was hot, and tired, and trudging through knee high grass fighting a lawn mower with an adolescent attitude. I was overwhelmed with life and bills and the endless, never ending,rocky road trip that my life had become. In the blazing Sun, with tears and sweat fighting for first rights on my cheeks, I screamed at the sky above, at the random the top of my lungs....."I just want Peace!" The raspy choking lawn mower I was sure had camoflouged my impromptu rant. I kicked the dirt and kept mowing.

Joe never explained himself that day. He didn't have to. When I rolled the mower to the gate, he met me in the driveway. The little Peace Symbol still warm in his hands. I touched it. Felt it. He passed it to me. The first trinket to join my love beads. In the weeks to follow, it began to rust and I worried. Joe had sculpted this for me on a hot Sunday afternoon and I wanted to wear it forever. I rubbed it. Never ever took it off. The rust gave up. In the end, peace wins....

There is a tiny little "I love you Mom" charm. I can still see my daughter's eyes, 8 years old and so excited she had to help me unwrap her little gift. I hope that for as long as she lives, she can still see the look in my eyes. Love.

An Italian horn. A gift from a friend when all my good luck spells were broken. When peace was lost. When I had not yet discovered the yellow butterfly of San Marino. She dug it out of her jewelry box. To her, it was the yellow butterfly. To me, it was and always will be, reassurance, a reminder that hope is sometimes all you have....don't ever, ever let go of it.

Four hearts in the shape of a clover. This little one is etched with the markings of sand and time, a little jewel lost to sea and washed up at my feet by the tides. A precious promise from Paige, lost almost immediately, I ached and searched and finally, too many beers later, cried. Not because the little charm was lost forever, but because I wouldn't have it there, to touch, when I needed to remember, to hold real, her thoughts. And so it was meant to be, that when we least expected it, a little glint of silver glittered, and in the miles and miles of salty sand, I reached down and there she was. The mermaids charm.

May our lives be blessed. With simple things.

Peace and love

Love story to Joe in the January archives of
Self portrait in love beads and Joe's precious Peace symbol all over the pages of Just Give Me Peace

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Scrapbook House

Through my daughters eyes...

I guess you could say I was eavesdropping. I was in the next room chatting away on the computer. In the kitchen, my Mom and her friend sat opposite each other sipping hot coffee and chain smoking. Conversation bouncing back and forth between them like a volley ball game. They were good at this. They had been having kitchen-table-talks for years. They knew when to interrupt, when to change the subject, when to sit quietly and just nod. They were friends. Old friends. Honest friends. Most of the morning, their words just trickled by me, nothing more than background static, like the continuous hum of the ceiling fan. I wasn’t even aware that I was listening until the words that casually tumbled out onto the kitchen table began to break my heart. “You know, sweetie, if you ever sell this old house, someone will have to spend a fortune gutting it”. My Mother laughed aloud and their continuous bantering once again became background noise.

Very quietly, I gazed around the room. Gut it? Did she mean tear down the walls? Rip out the cabinets? Take down the doors? Gut it? Peel up the floors? Yank out the windows? Pull down the lights? Yes, I thought, that is what she meant. Craning backwards now, I peered down the hallway toward the bedrooms. Thousands and thousands of pieces of broken tile danced and swirled up the hallway walls, then snaked around the corners….a meandering mosaic that crawled up my bedroom walls, around the windows and back out my door again. Deep mysterious symbols are concealed in the intricate patterns. My Mother’s art. Grouted for eternity into the walls that divide our home.

My eyes are hurting. I have a headache, right there behind the part of your heart that you see with. I want to put on sunglasses. Rose colored sunglasses. Because I do not want to see our house the way other people must see it. I want to see it the way my Mother sees it. There are nineteen cabinets in our kitchen and seven drawers. There are green doors, lavender drawers, pink cabinets, yellow shelves, blue cupboards. Every inch of every surface intricately embellished with flowers and ribbons and cascading designs that either flow perfectly or abruptly end…as if she were stopped mid sentence. Pastel Pointe shoes , painted in honor of my first solo ballet, are tangled into the quirky design. The ratty satin ribbons blending into the background.
Our kitchen door is psychedelic. As is the laundry room door. The steps are painted. The doorframes are painted. The baseboards are painted. The cobblestone porch is painted. The garden gate is painted. Some of our windows are even painted. Carefully executed in reverse, with the good side to the world. Tiny voids of paint…the center of a flower, the eye of a storm…act as peep holes. At first sight, it looks as if someone has gone mad and collaged the entire house. There are archways of a zillion shells, all priceless treasures the tide was kind enough to share with my Mother. And amidst it all, there are words buried everywhere. I suddenly remember a remark a friend of mine once made: “Be careful what you say around here, her Mom will paint it somewhere”. It’s true. It’s called Graffiti. Our entire house is like the back page of a children’s Highlights magazine…find the hidden objects. I wonder now, if she envisioned this concrete scrapbook as one big blank canvas when she first discovered the “For Sale” sign in the tattered front yard. I take a slow breath and wonder if she’ll live to fill every page with color…if she’ll still be painting when I’m forty…if my children’s first heralded birthdays will be recorded here also.

I have grown up here. I turn around and my life is splashed onto every surface. The summer at Ballet Camp. My first boyfriend. Homecoming. My Mother’s tiled, glued, painted house are proof we have survived it all. I run my fingers down the baseboard.

Storyteller house.
Scrapbook house.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Leopard Skin Tan

Artwork (c) Singleton 2006

The blue lagoon is vinyl and blows up and is balanced perfectly on the edge of my world. It cost exactly $218.00 and is worth a million lotteries. The hurricane tarp, draped over the leaky roof for months, is the perfect palette for paradise to plop on, and I have an orange and green sponge wedged under the PVC ladder to “prevent tears” in the liner. Ahhhh….cheap and tacky….and peaceful…. The lazy round river, 3500 gallons of water in a giant fishbowl in my back yard. You see, I am a mermaid. An old dried up one, but a mermaid nonetheless. Kind of like when you have a party and accidentally leave the can of open sardines out on the counter overnight. They’re not quite what they were the night before. Neither am I.

The backyard is private (not as private as it used to be), but it’s mine. There is a fence all the way around it that says “holler over” or “stay out” depending on the time of day. And back here, I can parade around anyway I like. That’s the law. (I think) So back here, I roll my tankini up to become a makeshift bikini and I bask in the Florida sunshine. I float in lazy circles in the blow-up pool, padding off the vinyl walls. I hold my breath and open my failing eyes and stare at my underwater toes….I used to have a mermaid tail and these forty something toes with red polish look silly on this temporary ocean floor. I try it with my glasses on. Big Bad underwater Blur. I float. Eyes to God. Rump drifting vicariously close to the river’s floor. I am a mermaid. And when my fingers wrinkle and the phone rings, I plod up the ladder and park my “out of water” body on the deck. All washed up. Periwinkles and sandspurs at my feet.

By night, the only tell-tale sign of the real me is the leopard skin tan. Mermaids tan evenly. Old ones don’t tan in the folds.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

It’s raining. Giant jelly-like plops of fat delicious summer rain. Pummeling the roof top. Slicing through the trees, splatting on upturned leaves and bouncing joyfully off of others. Pooling on the ground. The constant banging of new drops churning the mud puddles into dirty little rivers.. wandering aimlessly through the landscape.

The sound sneaks in and suffocates all other noise. As if the mouth of everyday life has been covered with a plastic bag…until it can no longer utter a breath. The rain takes over…roaring in her downfall, a train passing through the lazy afternoon. And then she rests and becomes music, wet wind chimes falling from the sky. Methodical constant sound. A Mother’s soft lullabye. That sound must be the one that coaxes rainbows into dancing. That lures the sunshine out again. That soft hypnotizing sound of fading rain….

I thought about crying today.

And then I heard the birds……

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Casually haunted...

It happens. You open your windows and watch the fine mist of deja vue settle on the landscape. Have I really aged long enough for life to repeat itself or are we just paying for our sins? Being casually haunted by everyday reminders that at one time, we too, were wreckless and free?

These are the things I remember, and sometimes miss. These are the things I sometimes still cling to, tucked in a dusty drawer, crammed in a crowded closet. A pair of jeans, an airbrushed T-shirt, a notebook full of poems, pictures of the past. These are the things that once in a while, in a laughing mob of kids, I see again....And wonder, when did we become vintage? When did we finally become cool?

Flip flops, the real ones. Little 49 cent rubber thongs of no style. Perfect with button up levi's in the Florida sun.
Platform shoes. Clunky, funky, fun.
Peasasnt blouses. Embroidered. Really. No bra.
Led Zepplin
David Bowie
Joanie Mitchell
Dancing on the coffee table.
Picture booths. Distorted faces. Sepia smiles.
The smell of a patchwork leather purse. The keeper of all secrets.
Lip gloss. No color. Just the hint that I want your attention.
The perfect tan. Before the warnings, the scares, the perfect sunscreen. The kind only found on a string bikini clad drooling sun goddess sleeping in the sand.
Chicken and dumplings. From scratch.
Fishnet hose.
Forever blonde. The color of the sun. The color of the sand. The color of the dunes. The color of our childhood.
Poems. Ranting, raving love poems.
Laughter. The spontaneous unacceptable laughter that is born in the morbid silence of a funeral or etheral magic of matrimony. The uncontrollable, vibrate my body, laughter that spreads like a virus without a cure, and runs down your cheeks in taunting tears.
Princess phones.
Barefoot sandals.
Seaweed crowns.
Dancing in the kitchen.
Telephone boothes.
Ham and cheese flavoured Flings.
Big, really Big, sunglasses. "Whose behind those Foster Grant's?"
Vans. Not mini vans. Not tennis shoes. Vans. Hippie Vans.
Peace Creek. You had to be there.
It wasn't any better. It wasn't glorious or anything. I just didn't know then what I know now. And it was easier.