Thursday, December 31, 2020

Not So Random Bits of My 2020

not-quite Journaling, 2

12/21/2020: With the first day of winter comes the return of the light. This might be my favorite bit about the Winter Solstice. I love knowing that even while the ground is frozen and the air is cold, sunlight is stretching strong arms towards warmth… I wish you a healthy, safe, and happy Winter Solstice, everyone. In darkness, Light!

12/22/2020: Everyone is missing so much these days: getting together with family, being able to go to school or work in person, being able to safely walk around other people unmasked, being able to go to Times Square on the 31st (for those in NYC). The pandemic often makes me miss those things, too. But today what I’m really missing is spending a handful of hours browsing through old books. What’s the seemingly small pleasure you miss most during this time of isolation?

12/24/2020: The coquettish expression on the face of our elf on the shelf makes me wonder what sorts of ‘naughty or nice’ stories she might take back to the North Pole. What do you think?

rise and be merry—
the Sun’s born of your belly;
in joy, Mary danced!

12/25/2020: One of my first philosophy of religion debates exploded around the story of Mary. I was given the role of Mary in a play and was promptly fired by a young priest because of “exuberancia excesiva/excessive exuberance”. I remember thinking, ‘All those S’s make him sound like a snake in a collar’, which made me laugh, which made him really mad… and all went downhill from there. I just thought that any being who had just learned that they would birth the son of the god they worshiped would burst with joy. But like an older (and considerably more pissed off) priest mansplained to me then, “Mary would’ve never acted like that. She knew her place. And you need to learn yours.” Yes, there was more laughter. Still, if you ask me, he was full of it. So, for anyone who celebrates the birth day of the Christ Child—and I’m all for celebrating anything that inspires people to be more decent to each other—rejoice and be merry with Mary. Let the excessive exuberance spread…

Burst into constellations
of dance.

12/26/2020: After having to take a break that ended up being a lot longer than I expected (or wanted), I’m exercising again💪🏾💃🏾—mostly running on my trampoline and dancing Perico Ripiao and Bachata. I wish I could say that my current speed and grace *cough* bring to mind lovely “constellations of dance”. But the reality is more like a wild (and rather slow) meteor drizzle. But I’m not complaining (too much): I’m enjoying myself, my flesh and bones will grow stronger (s l o w l y), and soon… constellations! What are you up to these days?

skeletal branches
weave a shroud made of winter,
broken by berries

12/27/2020: In winter, forests seem to be populated by the living skeletons of trees. That thought made me think of graveyards, which made me think of shrouds, which was about to make me sad…until I saw the berries, which made me smile. Nature is just so good at reminding us that even in the heart of winter, there will always be something warm quietly whispering of spring (and better things).

: When asked “What do you believe will be most salient small detail of your 2020?” almost everyone participating in the discussion responded “face masks”. Personally, I think face masks are a ginormous detail of 2020, so when it was my turn to answer the question, what kept coming to mind was the rage displayed by certain people towards social distancing mandates and towards those who follow them carefully (something one is rather serious about doing when one lives with a small collection of chronic illnesses). This poem was born out that discussion and a handful of not-so-pleasant elevator incidents. So, what about you, “What do you believe will be most salient small detail of your 2020?”

In troubling times,
poetry can soothe me.

12/30/2020: I shared this magnetic poem sometime back. Those of you who read it here might remember that the “troubling times” bit was borrowed from Poems to Live By in Troubling Times, an anthology edited by Joan Murray; also, that this is a rather timely read. Most of the poems are dark, even “disturbing and not soothing at all” (according to some interpretations). In my opinion, the poems in this collection nudge the reader to explore difficult topics. And I believe that sometimes being able to dissect difficult issues in ink prepares us for living them in the flesh. And to me, that’s a soothing thought. The whole thing reminds me that there are people out there who have felt—and probably lived—the same things I feel. They survived it (and many times turned those feelings into good art). I find that very comforting, don’t you?

: The snow in the photos that follow has already been washed away by wintry rains. Still, I wanted to end 2020 with memories of that snowy walk, since it was one of my favorite bits of the year. And I’ve always thought that the best way to move forward is to let go of the bad (lessons in hand) embrace the good, and use the experiences to grow… better.

Am I alone in wondering why they are so positive about not playing with balls?

May 2021 be good (or, at least, considerably less horribly interesting than 2020 was) to us all.

Have a healthy, safe, and very happy New Year.


Saturday, December 26, 2020

2020, the Year of Apart

Happiness for all was lean in the Year of Apart, of disease, of naked dislike between souls whose paths had never even crossed. Safety and health (and unmasked smiles) were mythological creatures everyone chased into forests that whispered of dead trees and sadder things. Thoughts of you guided me through the toughest fields… Once, when a guy called me a “liberal bitch”, because I would not share the elevator, I did not waste spit telling him what I thought of his covidiocy. I just woofed, growled, and grinned.

in darkness,
memories of you
become stars

for The Sunday Muse #140 and Whirligig 298.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Of Wild Blossoming and Fog

not-quite Journaling, 1

through the fog,
sweet coffee and books
conjure warmth

12/14/2020: Outside my window, my neighborhood is a scene out of a Stephen King book. This must be a sign. So, I’ll drop all my responsibilities of the day, and crawl into bed with a ginormous mug of coffee and my well-loved copy of Lisey’s Story. All right, so I can’t do that, but it’s still nice to imagine myself doing it. 📚🥰

One of my favorite quotes (and scenes) from Lisey’s Story: “I was lost in the dark and you found me. I was hot—so hot—and you gave me ice.” ~ Stephen King. I’ve always loved those words, how well they convey the importance of having someone who always knows just what to do to make us feel comfortable and safe, the same goes for how good it feels knowing that we can bring that kind of comfort and safety to another. On this not-great year and always, I hope you have your someone and that they have you.

12/15/2020:Deep Down in the Bones”, because everyone feels (in one way or another).

Let your wild blossom
in public.

12/19/2020: If this stitched blackout fills your brain-housing-group with mental pictures that make you grin and chuckle, you aren’t alone. I grinned and cackled the whole time while crafting it—for I, too, have been blessed with the sense of humor or a hormonal 13-year-old. On a serious note, this piece is my answer to the one who said to me, “My relationships begin real good. Then they get to know the real me, and the good starts leaking out fast. How do you do it?” At the time, I said, “I just let it all out at first greeting. If they stick around, they are worth my time. If they don’t, good riddance.” What about you, how do you do it? Do you show your good and great and not so awesome in tiny doses? Or, do you just let it all out?

- for Poets and Storytellers United (Writers’ Pantry #51: Years’ End).

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Deep Down in the Bones

They sneer in her direction,
call her frigid, detached,
so sinfully unlike them.

She watches the social zombies—
their eyes hard, their lips twisted by poison,
their rage unmasked—and she thinks, Deep

down in the bones, everyone feels.

photo by Vladimir Palyanov, on Unsplash

- for Poets and Storytellers United (Weekly Scribblings #50: Down in My Bones, “think about how we might finish this sentence, ‘Down in my bones, I feel _____________’. If you’d rather tackle this from a different angle, you also have the option to write about bones in general. It also isn’t necessary to use the exact phrasing.”), and for Twiglet #207 (“an emotional ape”).

Saturday, December 12, 2020

After the Almost-apocalypse

A cancer scare hits hard
and fast, like a roller coaster,
it twists the gut
and leaves the heart feeling


Those terrible days—
the ones that snail by
while your flesh is waiting,
waiting… to learn
if bits of you are rotting inside
(rotting again, in my case)—
those days are soul eaters.

But after
the almost-apocalypse is done,
when the healer chants,
“You’re fine. You are just fine!”,
the world grows bright:
flowers bloom through snow,
flesh and blood and bones relax,
the spirit blossoms


photo by Evie S. – on Unsplash

- for Poets and Storytellers United (Writers’ Pantry #50: How Do You Take Your Notes?).

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Magic Is Mind-Miracles

It wasn’t a spell, except in her own head, but if you couldn’t make spells work in your own head you couldn’t make them work at all.  ~ Terry Pratchett

m is for magic

a marvelously wild mine

of mind-miracles 

photo by H Heyerlein - on Unsplash

- my rather ugly hospital gown and I were waiting to get an MRI biopsy, when another patient said to me, “I’m praying too, but I can’t close my eyes. When I close them, all I see is cancer.” I opened my eyes (which to prove none of us can escape the claws of cliché, I hadn’t realized I had closed) and said to the lady, “I wasn’t praying. I was chanting some of the good wishes shared by friends who know I’m here. It’s my favorite kind of magic.” The lady looked at me as if I had gone insane and, I kid you not, took a step away from me—mind you, we were already separated by about 6 feet or so and a glass partition. I closed my eyes again, and continued chanting some of the thoughts offered by friends: “Sending all my good vibes and hopes for benign results” and “Prayers, blessings, light and love vibes are traveling the winds to keep you safe and whole” and “Whatever happens u will right above it” and “…may your bras never need to be altered and boob be strong x 13” … Behind the thoughts of my friends’ thoughts, I was also wondering how anyone could believe in the power of prayer and not feel the strong magic of positive thought. Weird, isn’t it?

- for Poets and Storytellers United (Weekly Scribblings #49: A B C D E F G…).

Saturday, December 5, 2020

In Troubling Times, Wild Hope

She was told, “Blossoming is done
for you—
spring is gone,
summer went cold,
autumn is falling
at winter’s feet.” But wild
roses are too wild to quit blooming
on command.

I am inflamed
with hope.

In troubling times,
poetry can soothe me.

The visuals behind the words:




- for Poets and Storytellers United (Writers’ Pantry #49: Get Your Binge On!).

- the “troubling times” bit was borrowed from Poems to Live By in Troubling Times,
an anthology edited by Joan Murray.