People need to be seen and heard, y’all

March 1, 2019 Your attention is valuable.  Yes, you. There is someone in your life today who would really value your listening ear or undistracted eye; someone you can learn from. I met an interesting older gentleman today at the coffee shop.  He talked of his mother, who he calls a queen of Kinloch. She died sixteen years ago.  He was wearing a warm hat and nice glasses. He is gay. He is diabetic and has a number of other ailments. He showed me his medications in his backpack. He said that the doctor said he needed to take better … Continue reading People need to be seen and heard, y’all

Words are like fossils

There is a relationship between written words and fossilization.  It is taxidermy of an idea. Words that have ossified can lose their meaning. Words work best when spoken and heard directly. They carry more of the original meaning.  We all know about the game of telephone, which ends up with wild misinterpretations of the original. It is so, to a lesser extent, with almost everything people ever say or write. You could also liken it to making a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy;  or of a cassette. It eventually gets blurry. We all have had misunderstandings over text … Continue reading Words are like fossils

Robot Birdies and Shapeshifting Buzzards

September 1979 My little birdies cheep so soft that no one else can hear them. They live in a box under my dresser, and when I get them out sometimes there are four but today there are five. I am holding them so carefully so nothing can hurt them while I am checking on them. Rusty comes in and sees me sitting on the carpet by my dresser so he knows what I am doing and he grabs my hands and claps them together  hard and says “ you smooshed them!” But I said “Those are the ROBOT birdies you … Continue reading Robot Birdies and Shapeshifting Buzzards

Taxidermy of Ideas into Ideology

It looks alive, doesn’t it? The glassy eyes of the taxidermed hawk stare no mercy for the mouse he will never devour both wrapped forever in the limbic heat of attack   The real hawk is merciful when sated And takes a joyous victory lap.   Once a good idea becomes ideology the life has gone out of it It becomes a virus No longer creating joy or hope Merely replicating itself.   If we hear a good idea Then do the good idea it can grow and change and fly then die when it needs to become Food for … Continue reading Taxidermy of Ideas into Ideology

Misha’s Ceremony

Chapter 1. (novel in progress) Misha examined herself in the looking-glass, frustrated. Her cheekbones were too long and bony, like the rest of her. The powder could not quite cover up her sun-damage. More than ever, she felt like her face was not her own. Misha was fourteen  today; the Passing Ceremony would happen to her. She was so grateful Karenina was there to help her get ready. Even though Karenina had to manage all the girls, Misha felt that the kindness in Karenina’s hands was a bit more for her than for the others. Probably because Karenina knew the … Continue reading Misha’s Ceremony

The Philosophy of Taxidermy

Taxidermy can be beautiful. The essence of taxidermy is  preservation of something that is dead, such that it should look alive, and remind us of the life it once had. My father was a literal taxidermist. He mounted the finest deer heads in Troup County Georgia. I took pride in helping him comb the soft fur, applying eyeliner and mascara to their beautiful glass eyes, applying the shiny topcoat to the nose to make it appear dewy and alive. Eating the meat and thanking the creature for giving its beautiful wild life. Almost everything we do is an attempt to … Continue reading The Philosophy of Taxidermy

Stuff I heard Jesus say to me

An agent of sorrow is what people need to outgrow youth’s anger of happiness decreed   You traveled down into abysses of shame and built  fortress walls of issues to blame   You sealed off your heart with a great rolling stone you strengthened the barricade to “lighten your load”   honey you listened but still don’t see light your eyes are still blinded by perfectionist might   Give up. Give in. Let them eat your remains. You are less than you think and more all the same   Let the reins drop. face up to the end. Count on … Continue reading Stuff I heard Jesus say to me

Serpents, Spelunking, and Gas Station Cappuccino

I drank it with you, that blast of sensory overload. High fructose corn syrup, chemically-induced hazelnut flavor, and partially hydrogenated soybean oil for creamer. But oh, it was the most delicious coffee, because it was with you. Nervous systems charged, we drove to the trailhead, hacked through the briars, and descended into the silky-damp of the cave. As we went deeper, it got darker. The only light was your headlamp. You turned it off at one point, impish, to see if I would freak out, but somehow it made the dark more velvety. My anxiety did not kick in. This … Continue reading Serpents, Spelunking, and Gas Station Cappuccino

Clucky The Two-Spirit Chicken

Clucky the Two-Spirit Chicken I remember the first time I met a person whose gender I could not determine. I was about ten, and working checkout at the store.  This person came in, and I became very nervous, sweaty even, because I HAD TO DECIDE WHETHER TO SAY SIR OR MA’AM! I made the wrong choice, and I watched the person cringe, then shrug, a daily occurrence for them, no doubt. It only occured to me later that I didn’t have to choose. I could have just said “Thanks a lot! Have a nice day!” Why did I get so … Continue reading Clucky The Two-Spirit Chicken

peaches, turtles, and trust

PEACHES Our peach tree was laden with hard green peaches when my friends and I circled around the firepit earlier this summer. It happened to be the last day it was cool enough to abide a fire. The kids ran around playing with shaving cream and the water hose as we watched the fire and chatted. Peaches are among the tenderest of fruits; they do not travel well, so one usually sees them only in season. Then my friends’ little girl Razmi stopped playing and came over to us. She had noticed the fallen green peaches lying all around us … Continue reading peaches, turtles, and trust

oud and stars

We blue-violet girls floating above the earth Goitered, bipolar, hysterical, vestibular Torn open and sewn back together too tight silent when we talk divided against ourselves Mud v/s light hidden under flowery print sheaths our mothers made us Like Venus, we are morning star and evening star both. Over the years we built dense structures of neurons to protect our golden star-essence which grew darkly resinous, then spiky, defending against outside light the applejack retreating farther, constricting into a dense point of light For protection, we curve our bodies down and in. Look up, my blue-violet sister! Sirius leaves for … Continue reading oud and stars

Oud

Photo Credit Candice Fee and Stephen Fee. Oud is one of the most expensive, beautiful perfume ingredients in the world. It has been used in religious rituals for anointing since recorded history.   Oud comes from a resin extracted from the heartwood of an Aquilaria tree. These trees grow mainly  in India, China, Malaysia, Cambodia. The transcendent, long-lasting scent is prized and well-known as perfume in east. Aquilaria wood and sap are normally light in color, and oud is only formed in trunk and roots of trees that have been penetrated, often by an insect called the  Ambrosia beetle. This … Continue reading Oud

Meeting Philip Glass

Meeting Philip Glass (painting by Chuck Close) This summer I was unexpectedly able to apprehend Phillip Glass on his way from the St. Louis opera house to the reception, I rudely stopped him for a moment and grabbed Phillip Glass’s hand. He is eighty now, a little frail but still traveling. His entourage saw that I had neither camera nor sharpie, so they paused curiously and allowed me my three seconds. My carefully rehearsed spiel failed, and I managed to blather mainly “thank you for your work” and breathless gibbered something philosophical about how his circular forms could convey both … Continue reading Meeting Philip Glass

My Brother Russ

Today is my brother’s birthday, and I am 616 miles away from him. I wanted to share some of my fondest memories of us growing up. We were a non-yelling, quiet family, so no one really talked unless it was necessary. I was an odd little girl who had trouble playing normal-kid games; I was alone a lot, because my parents and much-older brothers had work to do. I preferred finding blueberries, climbing trees, and making up stories about the fringe of woods at the edge of our four acres. (I dared not go deep into the woods). We moved … Continue reading My Brother Russ