Dying/broken/forgiven.... now I begin

Born: 17-06-56....gemini.... monkey
re-born: 3-09-80
born again\found: 14-04-08
other notable dates: 10-03-68; 03-09-87; 23-03-96;
1-05-98; 31-01-02; 5-04-04

Interests: movement, stressed/transgressive embodiment, lived experience (body\space\time\relation)
expression ( word, dance, text, image, story, music, poetics)
learning, yielding......

Hopes for the blog:
offer up the wild intersectedness of lived experience and engage others in creative, expressive, perhaps irreverant, hopefully playful, and respectful encounters....
enact kindness
create moments of pause for disclosure, discovery, stillness

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

In Medias Res

" I just can't slice them open when they're looking at me like that!"
Charlene is literally wailing as she backs away, her face red with agitation, shame and crying. I don't remember ever seeing her like this, although I haven't been in this job all that long, so my frame of reference isn't exactly great. Charlene is a short, sturdy barrel of a woman with huge hands and feet and that yellow blond hair that looks like it's fake but it's really hers. She ties it back in a tight bun, all the while sobbing and heaving and cursing.
" I know you can do this" she says to me, "I've heard about where you're from. You do this kind of stuff all the time."
I gaze at her, relieved that she seems calmer now that she's got some distance between her and the task at hand that is totally freaking her out.
" I can't just walk off the floor, Charlene," I say "Someone will have to cover my section and everyone gets so pissed off about any special requests."
"I'll take care of that" she says, " don't fucking move!"
I'm a Newfoundlander, and so I appreciate the creative use of that word as a part of speech other than a verb... or a noun. I'm not going to move.
I lean against the counter's edge, unguarded; everything here in Charlene's space is spotless and sanitized and I like that, given what we do here all day. Charlene moves past me with the heat and energy of a blast furnace, her speed and agility impressive in one so .... robust. Charlene is never in the public eye, her work always done behind the scenes in relative anonymity, which she pretty much demands, so when she makes an appearance "out front," all drama and dash, her white-coat flapping with splendor and glory, the higher ups take notice. I wait for the word from on high, remorselessly drawn into reverie...

never take a job you're not willing to walk away from... so said one of my early mentors. Yes, verily say, I, but have a plan B for all the times when the ideological walkaways are paths to no money or visible prospects. I am pretty good at what I do and I get well paid to do it, when that is what I am actually doing. I've done the walkaway, though, enough that I've developed a string of jobs that can save me in a pinch. I've taught ballroom dance, swimming, fitness classes; I can coach gymnastics and teach guitar, and I'm handy at bar and restaurant work, although in my present incarnation, that kind of work is more risky than it used to be. Regardless... there's no work I won't do, though there's definitely some I'd prefer over others. Anyway, that's how I met Charlene, on one of these " others."

and it's Charlene's roaring at her superiors that brings me back to my here and now; and she's really giving them the gears: " when do I ever get a speck of assistance back here (blah, blah blah, curse, curse) when do I ever ask for anyone to give me a hand with all the shit work I do that no-one else wants to do (curse, curse, blah, blah, blah) all I'm saying is that she can do this and all it's gonna take is for someone to take over her goddamn section for a goddamn hour... and this thing is not going to happen if I have to touch one of those things while it's looking at me, not going to happen, gentlemen, I will walk I swear I will..."
then it gets quiet and I know she will get her way. No one here wants to lose Charlene. I re-organize my utensils and get my gloves ready. I catch the eye of one of my younger colleagues as she swings through the door and lays out her flat hand to me. Ok, she says, hand them over. I 've got your section for an hour. She looks at me ruefully, I guess you have to go and, well, you know...
fine, fine, I say, pulling the edges of my gloves up over my wrists. Charlene blasts back into the huge, gleaming room. She glares at my colleague. You, she says, out!
and you ( that's me, now ) get over here.
Yes, ma'am.
Charlene points to the tray filled with a substance that looks like sheep's brains with bits of garnish thrown in. Is that parsley, I ask her, well aware of all the jokes about how things sometimes look back here. Yes, it's parsley, Charlene says, and I put in a bit of turmeric and lemon pepper as well. Smells nice, don't you think? She smiles at me. I am not sure what to do, or say, or how to respond to this information. You never know when she is messing with you or when she is serious. It does, I agree. What the hell. Live dangerously.
Well, OK then. Here 's the blade. One swift cut , neck to tail... tail, you gotta love her sense of metaphor.... and then split the little sucker open and fill it up with that dressing.
Should I do all the cutting first and then all the stuffing? I ask her, sincerely.
Charlene has that look like she is going to explode or fall against the wall crying. Whatever is faster, she says. So I get to it. I have done this kind of thing before and there is nothing creepy about it. I move with a quiet efficiency and Charlene watches from a respectable distance. I can see her reflection in the shiny, stainless steel doors over my head. I smooth the slick skin together and line the trout up on the baking trays. Today's special, baked stuffed lake trout, saved by acts of boldness and compassion.
I smile at Charlene. How often will this be the special, I ask her.
Just once a season, she says. She pauses, How long are you planning on hanging around here?
I shrug. As long as I need, I suppose.
Well, I don't care.... this one is done. I just hate it when they look at me, she says, again.
They're dead, Charlene, I say. She and I are quiet. She looks over at the impressive array of trays of little stuffed trout corpses. She looks over at me. We look at the clock. 20 minutes left.
I raise an eyebrow and tilt my head toward the oven. She nods. I load. We wait.
She's right; it does smell nice.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Rage against the machine

I go to the mall near my house to find an automated teller machine that is located in my own bank. Normally, I do not balk at the fee I pay for having the gall to withdraw money from another bank, but it was Sunday, I had a bit of time, and the grocery store that I needed was also there and so off I go.
So, yes, the machine ate my card. Let's get that piece of inconvenience out of the way right at the outset. However, it was the absurdity of the whole event that bears telling.
I have withdrawn my money and the thing asks me (ok, I know it isn't really asking me anything, but bear with me, here) if I want to do any more banking and yes, I do, I want to update my little passbook, of course, being the anal creature that I am. I hit the yes key and then, I get an internet explorer screen telling me that it cannot complete the transmission of this message and do I want to continue, even though it suggests that I should say no. This is a freakin' bank machine, not my home computer and I am on a key pad, not a key board and how the hell I got to internet explorer from the yes key is a huge mystery to me and no matter what cancel key I hit, nothing is happening. Nothing. My card is inside and I am fuming at an internet explorer screen.
I pull out my cell phone and call the1800 number and Stephen answers. I bring him up to speed on my predicament and he says, well, ma'am, you're going to have to get a new card.
That will have to be tomorrow, I say and then he says, and you 'll have to call your internet provider about that screen.
I'm not at home, Stephen, I say in that tolerant voice that alerts those who know me well to take cover. Listen carefully this time, Stephen,....I am at a mall in front of one of YOUR INSTANT TELLERS !!! and right now some hacker is probably emptying my account.
well, ma'am, you'll still have to get a new card tomorrow.
I am hoping against hope that this call was monitored for customer satisfaction. Not a chance.
I then punch the machine and curse at it. That word, yes. If I'd had a blunt object, I daresay I would have been arrested for destruction of public property.
What is the moral?? ya got me.....
how about always arrive at a bank machine with a crow bar, you never know when you will get the urge...
I am reflecting on that.
Today I got a new card. Yippee.
onwards, through the fog.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


such was the lie agreed upon

spouse and I were a loving couple
no one saw the cold silence

spouse was devoted
no one saw the obsessive control

spouse had a sense of humor
no one saw the contempt

this is cruelty: finding the most fragile parts of a self and shaking them
until the only shards left are smaller and even more dismissable
than tears
you couldn't have known what you were seeing
or what was happening
when you watched me almost
tumbling out of the car into a graceless, terrified sprint
past the bees swarming around the garbage bins
nowhere else to run
no way around but through
I 'd arrive sweating
& ashamed
heart pounding
eyes downcast
already detaching
from the gauntlet that awaited me
at the end of the day

when we speak of it, now
its power remains
my eyes are dry
and your eyes are open

Saturday, March 20, 2010


gazing carefully
clear-eyed readiness
calm enough
cold enough
old enough

rustling raises shackles
a welcome caress
shivering with awareness
night falls
dawn breaks
twilight hovers


how do you hunt a fox
the fox will teach you

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

bleed green

I suppose there's no getting away from lineage, pedigree, great- great- great-grandparents, family trees, branches and twigs.... seeds falling, sailing, and taking root, growing wild and as strong as the ground that nurtures them.

.... you'd not know it from my name, but I am Irish and twice cursed/blessed because the Irish blood was forged in a Newfoundland crucible. My credentials are .... well, enviable, I guess: criminals, renegades, rogues, liars, soldiers, thieves... spinners of yarns, sorrowful and sweet; loyal in that way that only hard knocks can make one loyal, and with that fierce tenderness hovering near enough, and deep enough, to keep anyone bold enough to get close a little off balance....

the St. Paddy's day stuff can be cliche and silly and maybe even a bit overblown; yeah, yeah, everyone's Irish or wants to be, at least one day of the year. Still, I have to say, the color of my blood, the rage in my heart and the taste of my tears are reminders of connection, an unforgettable touch that is as real as the feel of your words

and all my words can't tell you how much I love touching back

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


syn(a)esthesia ... my friendly companion
i am wary...
i have not been so permeable in a time
and the wild is as lovely as I remember it

i ride the tides of moon and ocean
no need of a mouth
the words are everywhere

i am waterbug
i am smoke
i am a shy girl in a strange plaid coat
that used to be a blanket

Sunday, March 14, 2010

.... here, there be dragons

Little by little
one walks far

Peruvian Proverb

Friday, March 5, 2010


Rain is the sound of my feelings.
I listen.

I lay in bed and hear its murmur on the roof,
its lash against the window.
I am content to be filled with its music.
I am undone by the flow of its sorrow.
I am pierced by the fury of its rage.
I am soaked.
I am ready to feel.
I listen.

Rain is the sound of my feelings.
I listen.

I raise my face welcoming the first, fat drops
plopping hard enough to make me blink
wet near my eyes slides down my neck
under my clothes
an unhurried acquaintance-making
warm and soft
I do not shiver under its weight
a silver whispering curtain
I walk through it, as if in a dream
the grass and trees are cleaner
my socks are squishing
I stand and let it fall around me
I am surrounded
I am ready to feel
Ready to listen

Rain is the sound of my feelings.
I listen.

I find myself a large, flat rock
and fling myself upon it
a yellow raincoat angel
the sky is impossibly purple
and the wind howls
the sparks crackle
the thunder crashes and clatters
water sizzles all around me
and I am pounded, pulverized, buried
bursting into a pain
so real it makes me whole
I am gasping into this river
pouring into this ocean
cradled into this tide
I am ready to feel
Ready to listen

Rain is the sound of my feelings
I listen