Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I wrote this a few days ago and wasn't going to finish it but it suits my mood today:

Petty things
anchors with leaden chains
dragging you down
through the fathoms
away from the glazed lights . . .
down into the murky depths
where nothing remains clear
but ominous and deadly
sea serpents and monsters
gloating at your fear
turning you against yourself
against your own flesh
you try to gnaw
away your limbs
as the dire threats rejoice
and others rebuke

and yet you never escape.

you. . . .never. . . .escape!


I hate you cancer cell:



How dare you be so beautiful?
by what hand were you created
do you have a lease on life?
I ask 
because I am willing to listen
right now I am hurting
and I hate you
but then
perhaps you have a family
and long to exist like all the rest of us!
I just ask right now
I do not want you in my friend
what good are you?
except to make room on this godforsaken planet
for another wretched human life
again I hate you. . .
but where does that lead
except perhaps to a point of no return
so should I embrace you
and all you represent
No - she fights on
with a brave smile. . . 
I sit and cry
with a prayer on my angry lips
will God listen. . .?

stay tuned.

So - maybe the doctors are wrong. Perhaps they hallucinate or get the wrong results from their tests and pictures. No. I know better - deep in my heart - I know that I lie to myself. I do that a lot. I fucking lie to myself, but it doesn't solve anything. What would? 
No, I grieve, but it is too soon. They have only begun the remedies to try to fix the breaking body and heal the pain. I remember when my mother had lymphoma and went through their healing methods for ten.....count ten in years and all the pain that that represented. Their chemo therapies are excruciating. All that pain, and only for her hope that life will succeed. I am sorry - I can hardly see through the tears that persist and fill my eyes. I hope my friend never reads this - to see my distress - she needs only the positive right now and her little ones to hug her. 
I remember when my mother, struggling on, said she would fight until the end. I remember when her doctor said, "Go home and die. I have nothing more for you." I remember when she died in my arms, screaming and fighting against death and that dark night. I remember . . . oh God I remember . . . I remember when her pale blue eyes turned electric blue. She was gone. I ask again and again and again. . . how can there be a life one second and none the next. And the body is left as if it were a pile of dirt. 
My sister died suddenly - one moment she was happy on her motorcycle going home late at night. She was always happy. Not like me - she was sunshine. A drunk driver, 85 miles an hour on a residential road - ran into her while she was stopped at a red light. She died instantly. She didn't have to struggle. Happy for that but that is all.  That she didn't have to struggle against the end.
I am sorry - this blog is supposed to be about art - but how can there be art if there is no life. Do we create to leave a little of  ourselves behind - when we are gone - like all the famous painters who became rich from the grave? I don't know. I don't know anything. . . so why am I saying so much? ...and yet so little.  
Ah - I lie to myself again. I apologize. I know everything. I know enough. I have no more questions. What is . . . is. . .perhaps it isn't important in the end we are all just dust. Something as profound as life and it all just ends in a second. Any second.  
This morning I am shaking with the cold. The snow covers the ground like a shroud . . . I don't care . . . let me feel the cold while I still can. There will be warmth again. I know. I have been here before . . . I recognize the sign posts pointing the way to the cliffs . . . I can stumble off or find my own way back. I have done this before - and will again. 
I remember when my Dad died. He was on his honeymoon with my stepmother. They were so happy when they were swimming in the ocean. Splashing and laughing with joy. Then he said: "Swim for your life." She reached out for his hand, asking, "Where is the shore?" for she is blind and cannot see anything but the sunshine. They floated together face down in the tide, together, holding hands. She went to that place, where there is peace, she tells me. She almost died. The man who rescued them brought her to shore first and then went for my dad. It was too late. Die happy - I say. Die happy - let the tears that flow - fucking run from the eyes of the living. 
So now my anger is somewhat dissipated.  I run out of emotion. But never the pain. In all these years the pain stands out as bright punctuations in my life - scarlet punctuations - end of sentence - stop. STOP! 

Well, I realize at this point that I may have said too much, so I will stop my rant. I will now turn completely around and say, "While there is life, there is hope." And the hope remains strong in me and with all my love and prayers, I sincerely hope that Mary doesn't read this post. 


On a lighter note - We had snow last night, which covered the city and ground down the traffic to a halt everywhere. Some people were spending much of the night in their vehicles. The television news went on and on ad infinitum. It is the weatherman's hay day. That was ok because it melted by the end of today. It was hardly anything. Not enough to stop a city.

But it reminded me of the last day of school for the children before Winter Break. I stopped by one of the breakfast tables where there is a large number of the older Somali boys. They are always a gaggle of fun and naughty antics. A teacher's headache. But very endearing. I asked the group what they were planning on doing during the break, fully expecting, "Play video games, watch tv." But no, that wasn't the case. One little boy popped up and said, "Throw snowballs." Yes, yes, was the shout in response. Throw snowballs.

"OK," I said, "Are you going up to Mount Hood with your parents?"
"What! No mountain. In the yard"
"It snows on Christmas."
I laughed and explained that it rarely snowed in Portland. We are too temperate between the ocean and the mountains. We got a horrendous snow and ice storm last year that ruined a lot of family plans and kept most of the city home bound for days on end. I explained that that was a fluke. An aberration. 

"Oh no, Ms. Wolfsong - it always snows on Christmas."

Bless those little boys, with their short lives here in our state, how would they know any difference? They wouldn't listen to me and shouted me down, so I just laughed and said - "So be it" and walked away to talk to other children.

Lucky boys. It snowed for them, just for a little while, but probably enough for them to remember this snowy Christmas.  And to remind me that I don't "know everything, Ms. Wolfsong."

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