I used to keep track of all the books I read in a year. I logged them in a journal. For years. What, six, maybe? Seven, eight? A good while. Then one day I ripped up the pages and tossed the little journal into the trash. One sad, hopeless, self-loathing day.
I have also ripped photos to shreds. Mostly with my ex in them, and some of my mother. I wanted to erase myself from that moment in time. Erase them from my past. But, of course, moments can’t be erased, a past can’t be erased. And my mother is my mother is my mother, forever and ever. (Whoo, that gives me shivers.) I only erased a tangible representation of a particular moment. Too bad. Poor, pitiful me, in my fits of rage, grief, and despair. I’m glad I don’t go through that anymore. I am able to take a deep breath and close my eyes and say a prayer or meditate. I burn sage, sweetgrass, or cedar. I light candles, because fire is healing too. I go outside and look up at the sky, watch birds, feel their spirits, and those in trees and flowers and grass and rocks and Mother Earth. One of these days I’ll tell you about my Hawk Spirit, but not now. It’s a story for another day.
My ex and I took a photo at the State Fair in Sacramento (California) in 1967. We were both seventeen. I was seven months pregnant. My face is all puffy. But it was a great picture, really. Unfortunately, I ripped it to shreds a few years back, and now I regret it. I actually had two copies of it, and my youngest daughter still has one. One time, I saw that she put it up on her wall, and I asked her, “Why do you like that picture so much?” She says, “Cuz it’s old. I think it’s cool.” I laughed and said, “OLD! It’s not old! That was only 1967!” She gave me this look, like I was crazy or stupid or something, and she says, “That’s before I was born. I was born in 1973. It’s old to me.” I laughed again, but this time at myself. “Yeah,” I said, “I guess it’s old to you, huh?” She nods with a grin on her face. Perspective changes everything, don’t it?
I hope to write more this year. I want to, anyway. Write more in my blog, and work on more short stories. Hopefully, more poetry will come to me. I can’t write poetry just because I want to. I have to feel inspired. It comes to me. It starts in my gut, and then I use my heart to check for truth (essential truth, not actual), then I use my brain to translate the feelings and images into words. I’ve said it before, I hear a spirit telling me what to write. (Muse.) May they continue to speak to me.
Last night, or rather, in the wee hours of the morning, I had a nightmare. Geeze, I hate when that happens. I wake up screaming, and I’m sure Pharaoh Eddie can hear me from his place upstairs. I worry sometimes that some neighbor will call the cops and say they hear a woman screaming for help. This morning, I asked my son, “Did you hear me wake up screaming last night?” I was hoping he said he didn’t. But he did. “Yeah,” he said. Shit, how embarrassing. “Did I say, ‘Help! Help!’? I asked him. “I think you said, “Someone’s trying to kill me,” he said. Oh, man, that is so embarrassing. I don’t remember that, but I know I woke up screaming, “HELP ME! HELP ME!” In the dream shadows were outside trying to get into my bedroom. I could see them through the glass door. I woke up as two men walked into my room and I screamed out for help. That’s all I remember. I don’t know. Maybe stress from this mildew/mold issue? Or some shadow from my past? Many years ago I was told I had PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). That was in my bitter, pissed-off asshole, big fucking attitude days. “Post trauma? Oh, yeah,” I said, “which one?” But, really, it’s a fair question. Did one trauma cause the disorder, or is there a culmination? Awe, it don’t matter. I’m no longer bitter. Oh, I can still be an asshole, but not a bitter one.
This year I am keeping track of all the books I read. Just for fun. The one I’m reading right now is Living To Be 100, stories by Robert Boswell. That last one I read (re-read, actually) was Big Sur: “I can’t even light my cigarette, something sinister blows it out, when it’s lit it mortifies my hot mouth anyway like a mouthful of death.” Man, that’s beautiful. Sad. Tragic. A sad, tragic prophecy. But, man, that’s beautiful writing. In my opinion, anyway. Hmm, Kerouac, the Beat writer, as a Romantic. I think an argument could be made. Yeah, man, I do believe so.
So, next time, I’ll enter a poem into my blog. I don’t have time right now, I got things to get to. This year, 2013, for damn sure, I’m having my little chapbook printed up. Last year I put the idea back on the shelf. Again. Goddmanit, I keep doing that. But that’s it, man. That’s it. I’m doing it for goddamn sure this year. Just a few copies. Maybe, like, 25. Yeah, 25 copies ought’a be do-able.
Today is the first day of the year. I feel good. I feel happy. I feel hopeful. And if some shit comes sneakin’ up on me and knockin’ me down, fuck it, I’ll get up and dust myself off. Hmph!