Thursday, August 3, 2017


Throw off his golden mitre, rend his stole (this line from Marlowe)
bring him down from his high place
with his twisted face
tear down his gilded pedestal
slap him to the present
turn him to face the mirror
fill his pipe dreams with
actuality, verity, corporeality
smash them, shatter them
wake him from this monomaniacal mindset
Be him Humpty Dumpty
wake him from himself
split in two
words spewing from two faces
One a mask, one a child
one a demon running wild
eating from within
consumed and covered by mocking
self importance high and mighty
versing the ways of love
from a decrepit cauldron

Friday, March 21, 2014

But to Die

And so he came home.
Life sometimes puts you places where you need to go to learn about yourself. I find it strange that after all I know about him now, from his family and my own experience, that he was placed in a situation where all he had to do, all he could do, was think, all day. He had to learn humility, and feel helpless, and had all the time in the world to contemplate and look back on his life, remembering all of those times when someone depended on him but he was not there. He did not go to the hospital when his wife died. He would not stay with his mother although she begged him to on the day that she passed. He has lived a very self serving life, telling me one time that it was the responsibility of the wife to spend time with the kids. He was too busy with his own. 
In the nursing rehab center there was nothing to do but watch TV which he is completely uninterested in. So all of his time was spent in reflection and thought. Suddenly,  he had to depend on others for care. He had to completely submit to their will and none of his own. He had to hope that someone would care enough to come and see him in the hospital and his dementia made him forget that people had come. This must have made it so much worse because a day seems like many when you can't remember how many have passed and how long it has been. 
I think it has really changed him. He had to face it all because there was nothing there for him to use to ignore it in the past, like the hours he would spend reading emails or shopping on the computer or reading newspapers, or even reading boxes, or printing things which he will never read again because he is addicted to print and thinks it will make him remember. The things he says, the feelings he expresses, all show me the change that has happened in him.
I try to encourage him as much as possible. It it strange for me, too. I haven't ever taken care of a family or kids and now I am caring for 2 kids, one 87 and one 92. I find myself acting motherly, making sure the dishes are done and put away each night or morning. I make sure they are fed. I make sure he has a bath and brushes his teeth. Sometimes, I realize that I am talking to him as a child, explaining something step by step, encouraging him, praising him. I thought it would be uncomfortable bathing him, but because he is so small and the ways he acts, he is like a child in many ways and that makes me more comfortable with the tasks I have to carry out. 
He is petulant sometimes, he closes his eyes so he doesn't have to listen. I have to get down on his level and tell him to look at me to get him to listen to what I am saying. He sometimes holds on to my arm the way a child does their mother's leg. Small things can make him very happy like sitting outside in the sun or being pushed down the street in his wheelchair like a cooing baby in a carriage. I think of Shakespeare. From newborns we come and to newborn we shall return if we live long enough.
It it strange the effect on our family. The last few days have been the most harmonious in years. We have something to focus on and we have to work together. I wonder how long it will last. I am sure it is bound to break down at some point. I have seen a kinder gentler side to my brother. He is patient with him and he has never had any patience for anything. He once told me that he did better when he had someone who depended on him. Maybe it is true. Now, he actually has conversations with me where we discuss things where it isn't a one sided monologue telling me what HE thinks because he is, of course, right, and he doesn't need to hear any other sides, especially from a weak, helpless woman. My brother lives in some kind of time warp where women are ignorant, soft creatures only good for working in the kitchen and cleaning house. 
But for now there is calm. There is harmony, although, today she said that I don't baby her anymore that he had taken her place. I baby her more now than I ever have, but I think she is scared I will become too busy and ignore her. It reminds me of a child when a new baby brother or sister is born. Sometimes they act out because they don't want to be forgotten. It's funny how we forget our manners and pout more the older we get. We want our way. We have grown stiff and cannot bend. We are afraid we might break, I guess and then what is left but to die.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

15 Minutes

Every time she has some place to go, she procrastinates. The thousand little things that she lets slide each day become uber important. Cleaning out the refrigerator, cleaning out the parrot cage, sewing, putting the dishes away, whatever it is. She thinks that she can get ready in 15 minutes. "It only takes me 15 minutes." she claims. It never takes 15 minutes. It takes 15 minutes to clean, 15 minutes to sweep, 15 minutes for her breathing treatment (that comes later), 15 minutes to get dressed, 15 minutes to put on makeup, 15 minutes to get in the car, putting the walker in, wrapping up the oxygen machine and then unwrapping it in the car, plugging it in, turning it on. 15 minutes to get to the car, get in the car, catch her breath, put on her seat belt. Before she leaves because of waiting until the last minute, a concentrated look of exasperation covers her face, she leans against the chair from rushing, huffing and puffing. It never takes 15 minutes, we are now at 45, at least. "I haven't done my breathing treatment." she says, all are ready to go and after she has been sitting at the table all morning watching TV or playing solitaire on her Kindle, or bowling on her Nintendo DS, knowing, all the while, she had to go out. "I'm not going to do it." she declares, as a martyr like facade covers her expression. How long will it take? "15 minutes." she says as she huffs and puffs. Just do it! I don't want to go and watch her struggle any more than I want to watch it each day, anyway, gasping for air sometimes as fish out of water. "I'll just do a little," she says as she sits down pulling out and breaking off the slender, white, plastic tubes that she mixes in a clear plastic canister attached to a mouthpiece. All are poised, ready, waiting, trying to appear calm, disinterested, suspended from moving forward. She lifts the container periodically to check the level of the liquid. I wait to see when she will decide it is enough. 15 minutes later we go.
I may sound like I am complaining, but when she is gone, I will wish for just 15 minutes more, I will wish she was here to procrastinate.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

February 20 2013

Yesterday, at 4 am my mother was admitted to the hospital. She could no longer sleep in her bed. She could not lie down. She said she felt like she was suffocating.
Her bags were packed when I came home. No she wasn't leaving. "I was going to call the ambulance. I think I need to go to the hospital. I looked at her ashen, tired face. She hadn't been able to sleep in months. One hour in the bed then 10-15 hours at the table face down on the table. Her legs were swelling. She had not yet told me how bad they were yet. My heart is breaking. I look at. I am so scared she will not come home again. I don't know if I should go or not she says I don't want to burden the family. Who will feed the bird? Who will take care of the cat? When I got there she kept saying she didn't know if she should go. She said she didn't want to put the family through it. i had to tell her that if it was necessary that it had to be and it was ridiculous for her to worry about that. The cat would get fed and so would the bird and her husband would not starve.
It was really hard for me to dial 911 because looking at her, I though I might lose her. it doesn't matter how long you know. It doesn't matter how much you tell yourself that it is going to happen. It will break your heart.Its odd what you will think of to keep from doing things that need to be done. Ma, we'll do it. You have to go I tell her but the words are so thick on my lips that I can scarcely get them past my lips. I am sitting at the table. Talk to me about something else. Take my mind off of it. How are rehearsals? I tell her about my part. Shes a woman lost among gossips. She is religious and strives for higher things. She can't fit in. She has visions. She paints apostles which have the faces of the men she knows.
She has a slight smile on her face when I am done. It does not last long. I know what has to be done. I force myself to my feet and move to the phone. I start to mumble and cry. I don't want you to go,  I begged you to handle your business, I love you.
I lift the receiver, 911 can I help you. Yes I need and ambulance. What's wrong? So many things pop into my head. I say my mom can't breathe, I stammer a bunch of other things and start to cry. The woman says we're sending an ambulance. Now its the countdown. I start to cry. She says please don't do that, please, I am so nervous. I try to stop, but its hard. It seems like mere seconds and I see blue lights flashing outside. I go to check it out. It is not the ambulance. It is a Gretna police officer named Arthur. I find that out later. He is responding to the call until the ambulance arrives. the ambulance in only moments behind. I go to get my mom. The officer follows me and trips on the edge of the garden. He does what appears to be a shoulder roll karate flip and lays on the ground. I blurt Oh No are you ok? He says yes. I am a police officer. If that little spill hurt me I need to retire.
The ambulance is there so quickly. My mom walks out, for a moment she doesn't look like she needs and ambulance. Why are we here?, the emt asks. Just look at her face, i say. She looks scared and ashen. They put her on a stretcher and roll her into the ambulance. I look at her through the door opening, I tell her I am going to follow in my jeep.
The officer is still there. He is in his car. I walk over to talk to him. His name is Arthur. He tells me about the last days of his mother. Somehow they were estranged, I sense. I ask him once again if he's o.k. We talk for longer than I should. I go to my jeep. Ernie has been in the jeep since mom got in the ambulance. He had fastened the seat belt and couldn't get out again and the door doesn't open from the inside so he was stuck. He hoped he wouldn't be spending the night in there. We go to the hospital.
The EMT's already have her inside in a room. Ernie pets her feet but one of them is so swollen she tells him not to touch it. She looks relieved and we wait. Nurses come in and out taking blood pressure, taking heart measurements. They have her on an oxygen mask and she says it is wonderful. She can breath so easily. We are there for quite a while. When they decide to admit her, it is about 1 am and she convinces me to go home because I have to work the next day at 6 am. It is hard to sleep that night. There is an emptiness in the house when she is gone.
Today, when I visited her, i lay on the bed next to her and she brushed my hair and petted my head. When I am with her I hug her tightly and try to remember her smell, the feeling of her shape and her skin, the feeling of her hand holding my arm. I try to memorize her and all of the crazy funny things she says. The nurses already love her and call her my darling. One called her sassy. She says anything she wants and they just laugh. She told one that she had big arms and that no man would mess with her.
She is glad I made her go to the hospital. She has a smile in her eyes again which she hasn't had in a long time. She feels safe and they have been giving her Lasix to get rid of all the fluid in her lungs and around her heart and in her swollen weeping legs. Since she can't lie down they had gotten so big and red and swollen. They look much better now. She can sleep and has been nonstop sleeping for 2 days.
I love her. I love her so so so much. I will be very lonely without her when she goes. She is my all above all others. Without her I will be alone.

Friday, November 23, 2012


"You do not have a forgiving heart" her son says to a woman whom he stole from, lied time and time and time again to, repeated the same old broken down stories. "I don't want to live like this anymore" I want to be trusted" I'm not doing drugs" "I've changed" and she believed him an helped him time and time and time again. He used her over and over and she tried to be there for him no matter what like the abused loving the abuser. He had her in fear for her life. He told her he was going to burn down her house if she tried to make him leave. The same words the same stories.
He comes home amped up, talking laughing a mile a minute. He sleeps all the time then has these crying spells big ridiculous tears rolling down his face frolicking in some type of pseudo-emotional episode.
She always believes him, always trusts him. He has no care. I do not believe him for a second. I see through his masks.
She gets mad at me for not trusting him, thinks I should forgive and forget, thinks I should forget how he treated her, how he used the same words on me. " God forgives, why can't you?" Right before he threatened to gut my boyfriend. Right before he told me how he got his revenge on people. There is something dark and cold there.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


She never throws away anything that gets broken. She gather all the pieces and sits and tries to glue them back together. She arranges the pieces this way and that way like assembling a glass or clay puzzle. Each piece treated as if a relic from some hazy ancient yet relevant past. When all the pieces are not there, she will fashion missing pieces out of clay and then the cracks that remain. She talks of how ugly her hands have become, how bent her index finger has gotten. She says my father had the most beautiful hands for a man. She says E has beautiful hands too and that he wakes up her skin when he touches her. Last night, on the eve of his birthday she was in bed with him and she teased him. "God almighty" (he hates using the Lords name in vain)"I never thought id be married to a 91 year old man! I thought 60 was ancient."

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Economically Agravating

She's mad all the time now. His lack of concern for anything but what he thinks is important has taken its toll. He spends hundreds of dollars a month on books and pills that he never opens. They are stacked on the chair, on the table and they fill a brown paper bag on the floor. There nondescript white and yellowish brown wrappers contain no clue to the contents within. The cabinets are stuffed with white plastic bottles of brain enhancers, colon health, blood cleaners, prostrate health, and energy boosts. No bottles are ever opened, no books are ever read.
He eats at the same restaurant every day. He wakes up, dresses and then uses the fact that my mom isn't dressed as an excuse not to take her. She doesn't want to go anyway. She doesn't want to eat the same food all the time. He doesn't want to explore new options because they aren't better and are not "economical". He,also, thinks that eating at his favorite place cured his bladder cancer. The doctor, obviously, had nothing to do with it. The doctor just wants to make him suffer through painful expensive procedures out of morbid curiosity. Eating salmon, tempura, and rice is what did it.
She's mad all the time. He says he has no money to help out, but he spends all this money on internet scams. She sits with him for hours at doctors and hospitals, wearing herself out walking, worrying that he doesn't listen to a word they say. He acts all panicked that he needs to go but he doesn't follow a word of what they say. He fills their prescriptions, too, then doesn't take them either. She stresses over his actions. She worries that he doesn't follow their treatments. He is la de da. She is mad all the time now.