Saturday, June 29, 2013

Vertigo Verses: Poem-a-Day Challenge

These are the first five poems of a chapbook I did for Robert Brewer's Poem-a-Day (aka PAD) challenge.  I believe this was the last year I actually completed the challenge for reasons I won't bother to explain now but understand for myself.  We had to pick a theme and write to that theme, responding to specific writing prompts.  It was a lot of fun for me and I only stopped participating when it stopped feeling like fun.

In Search of Metaphor: Ways to Describe Vertigo

1
Imagine
you’re on a boat
finally you have your sea legs
            but the ocean is rough
                        and the ship shifts
so that you lose your balance.
                        Now realize,
           the world is an ocean
and there is no calm.

2
I’ve been on
   this carousel called
       Earth for over forty years.
I do not understand.
   Why can’t you feel
       the constant
     spinning?

3
at the touch of your lips
my cells spin apart and I
atomized by your love
I hold you tighter 

4
I’ll lean on you but
Don’t lean on me
Unless you want to fall.

5
It’s like
     you’re walking on water
     just got off an amusement park ride
     had too much to drink, room spinning
Only worse because it never ends
And sometimes there’s nobody there
To catch you when you fall again. 


Irregular Rhythm

Incomplete, the morning falls
into the same irregular rhythm
to which I woke up
two years ago and I
still hold a stillness first thing in the morning
my head secured in my pillow, I wait
in ignorant bliss until I must move.

This is it, the only peace of my day
where I can breathe belief into relief
and think I am free from those limits
that woke me up to this nightmare
unmoved until I must move and prove
the doctors doomed diagnosis right.

My head still held, I can hold onto
the hope that will fall away as soon as I
misstep my way from my bed and out
into another day of endless motion
but for now it is this, incomplete
the morning holds hope until I fall.

 

Help

From my bed I dictate our needs, recite lists of easy to fix meals
Ticking the ingredients of recipes cooked from memory.

One cup of this, a teaspoon of that,
cook for thirty minutes covered then
uncover until the sauce bubbles.

I remind everyone to update the calendar
at eight one needs to be here and at ten
another needs to be there and at four
someone needs to be two places at once.

Coordinating doctor appointments, follow-up visits, tests,
prescription renewals, and ongoing pointless physical therapy,
I still have to remind someone the bills are due or coming up.

Two weeks later, I find my bird dead in its cage. It’s funny
the things my family forgets when I’m not able to take care of them.


May Cause Dizziness

If I move too quickly, toss
my hair out of my face, shake
my head “no” with vigor or look
both ways before I cross the street
triggers the spinning in my head.

The traffic helicopter flying low
the rhythm of the trance that dances
from my son’s bedroom, the unexpected
ring of my cell phone or knock
on the door will cause the ground
to shift and slip away.

Crane shots in movies, zooming
aerial visions of director’s zeal,
a bird’s eye view of a village,
and walking down the dimly lit stairs
of a theater make me nauseous and
keep me watching DVDs at home.

The weather changes—with rain
comes a heaviness in my head
that makes reading a chore and
wind can make a simple walk
a tightrope balancing act where I
stretch out my arms to keep erect.

The list seems endless and I refuse
not to test the my physical limits.
Practically every prescription and
OTC drug says “May cause dizziness”
which, for me, is redundant.
I keep hoping I’ll find a pill
that makes everyone else dizzy
that returns balance to my life.



Friday, June 28, 2013

I Passed the CPC Exam!

I passed the CPC exam and I know it is due, in no small part, to Laureen Jandroep's Medical Coding Certification Review Blitz.  If not for her videos, I would never have passe the exam this time nor would I have gone to it with more confidence than I had the first time I took the exam.  The AAPC online course prepared me to code but Laureen Jandroep taught me how to take the exam and how to best find the codes in the coding books.

Today begins a weekend of celebration and then I have to get back to business, roll up my sleeves and see what I can accomplish in the coming days and weeks.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Insidious Nature of Racism--On Paula Deen and Personal Experience

The firestorm surrounding Paula Deen.  How can I not comment?  Frankly, easily.  I have never seen her television show.  I have never borrowed or even looked at one of her cookbooks.  I haven’t even been tempted to buy her cookware.  It had nothing to do with Deen, herself.  More, I was not interested in eating foods that were high in fat and not the healthiest choice.  When it came out that she was diagnosed with diabetes, I was more surprised that anyone didn’t see it coming than by the vulgarity of her choosing to confess the truth after knowing the truth for many months, if not years, shortly after she signed an agreement to be the spokesperson for a diabetes drug.

And now everyone is shocked that she used the N-word.  I know.  It must be shocking to people to imagine a woman raised in the south (and not just in The South but the very belt buckle of the Bible Belt) would ever have used the vulgar word.

I am unsurprised.  I’m sorry but I’ve heard the word used by southerners and I’ve seen it implied by others. 

Example:  When filling out the children’s paperwork every year for school, one of the things I had to tick off was the race of my children.  Given no other options, I inevitably chose Other.  The next year, the school would conveniently send home a packet of paperwork, the same forms I needed to fill out, only this time most of the content was filled in.  This would expedite matters.  I merely had to change anything that had changed from the previous school year.  Had we moved?  Did anyone have a new telephone number or job? 

Year after year, I would have to change one thing even when nothing  in my life had changed, I would have to change my children’s race from “White” to “Other.”  Now, I have a peculiar urge to never self-identify as “White” but I will always self-identify as “Caucasian.”  So if my only choice is “White,” I tend to choose “Other.”  However, for my children, the choice was the only one available as they are multi-racial and did not fit into a single definition.   Eventually, the school system would add “Multi-Racial” as an option, far better than “Other” in my opinion, but for many years I had to change my children’s race because some fool of an administrator looked at them and/or me and decided I was being disingenuous.

Example:  Someone I know had used their DVR to record a beauty pageant.  (Either the Miss America or Miss USA.  I can’t tell a difference and don’t care either way.)  As we watched, the person would fast forward any time the woman on the screen, the pageant contestant, was clearly African-American.  I said nothing, although I thought these women as beautiful as any other.  I didn’t say anything to the person with the remote.  Why?  I don’t think my saying anything would have led to an epiphany.

Example:  My separation occurred concurrently with the O J Simpson case. I never would have connected the two incidents had one of my friends not asked me if my husband had ever hit me.  But a well-meaning friend asked me if my soon-to-be-ex had ever hit me.  I was so blindsided by the question that I asked her, “Why do you ask?”  Her response was simple yet implicit.  “Well, the news talks about what O J Simpson did to his wife and I just wondered.” 

I assured her, no, he had never.  Inside, however, I couldn’t help but be disgusted by her obviously lumping all “black men” into one.  If O J Simpson is abusive, then the implication is obvious—all African-American men abuse their wives.  Ridiculous.  But reality is often ridiculous.

Example:   Some of my best-friends are . . .  well, the truth is they are.  My childhood friend, Love, is multi-racial.  My dear friend Pia, reunited as we were in junior high, is African-American, as is Kanika, my walking buddy.  And obviously, or so it should be by now, my ex-husband.  He was a handsome man.  A gentleman.  A gentle man.  And an alcoholic. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I refuse to say “I don’t see race.”  It’s a foolish and ignorant statement in my mind.  How could I are to be dismissive of something as essential as the race of anyone?  Would that not be like my saying I don’t notice a person’s gender?  Their hair color?  Perhaps that is how it ought to be.  Why should I notice a gender?  I certainly don’t care about sexual orientation, and I live for the day when someone’s “coming out” is not significant enough to be important to anyone.  (One day, I hope being homosexual will be no more necessary of statement than someone’s being heterosexual.  I don’t hope to olive to see the day but then I didn’t think I’d live to see the day an African-American would be President even if he is multi-racial.  You know, like my kids.)

So is it any wonder, I take little notice of the furor surrounding Paula Deen?  I was more affected by her coming out as a diabetic than I am about her being exposed as  potential racist.  Truth is, I don’t think she is a racist, not in the southern definition of such.  When I moved to Georgia, my mother said that northerners like minorities en masse, by which she meant a “Yankee” would march for, fight for, even fight for the equal rights of a group of people while still moving away from a neighborhood that was “in decline.”  She further explained that a southerner likes a minority one-on-one.  Yes, some of my best friends are . . . why she’s just like family . . . I’m not a racist but . . .

You want to know why Paula Deen is being vilified?  It isn’t because of what she said nor what she may or may not believe.  I’ve no doubt in my heart that she is utterly convinced she is not racist.  She is being vilified because someone like Anne Rice thinks it’s appropriate to say that Deen is being “lynched” never realizing for even a moment that saying such is subtle in its racism.  Paula Deen is offending the populace not because she is racist but because she is a mirror of what we all are and we don’t like what we see.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Part of an Unrevised Novel

This was a work-in-progress that fell to the wayside because I had trouble getting clear feedback on it for the longest time.  I finally had two people really help with the first part but that still left 3/4 of it unread.  And studying for the certification took precedence over writing.  Anyway, since I shared some writing last Wednesday, here is some more writing.  Enjoy!

Communion

Michael reached for the doorknob, paused to take a deep breath before turning his wrist and pushing the door open.  Almost immediately he could hear the swell of Maria Callas singing, the dense tones of Medea filtering from the speakers in the living room. He smiled knowing how some things never changed, wishing he knew how to make it different.
In a world of change, things that do not change stand out, sharp and violent.  
The windows were closed, filtering out the sunlight of dusk.  The room was heavy with the scent of spices, curry and cinnamon.  Michael wondered if there was something simmering in the kitchen but he chose to follow the one source of artificial light reaching beyond the bedroom, marking a narrow path down the corridor.  Walking past the large antique furniture, the inlaid and ornate decorations collected and kept for so many years, he moved with an uncanny silence. 
The bedroom door was slightly ajar and, taking another deep breath, he pushed against it, his eyes adjusting to the interior dimness.  This room was lavish and lurid in color, deep reds, furious oranges, rich plums, dazzled with gild and gold.  The fabrics lush with texture, velvets and satins, silk and brocade.  The bedroom was seductive, a sensory stimulus reminiscent of womb like safety. 
The scents of jasmine and cardamom that Michael associated with Lillith were thick.  From the bed he saw a movement muffled by the satin quilt and sheets.  Lillith’s slender hand curled on one of the pillows, her pale skin glowing as if lit from within. 
Michael wanted to withdraw, to not disturb the stillness, to escape before Lillith became too aware of his presence but he knew it was too late.  She would know he was nearby just as easily as he would sense her had she come to him.
Their hunger called to one another, dreams rapacious and relentless, making sleep a reinforcement rather than an escape.  The fullness Michael felt was sickening. He felt overstuffed, bloated, yet famished.  And he could feel her emptiness, the heat of her hunger grown to a feverish level, consuming her with need. 
They were too bound together and it was this tie that drew him to her bedside in spite of his ambivalence.  Lowering himself he sat on the edge of the bed, one leg folded onto the mattress, holding the quilt beneath him.  
“Michael.”  Even in a murmured whisper, Lillith’s voice was husky.  A light and aggressive caress of sound that shivered along his flesh.  “It took you so long to answer.”
“I’m here now.”  There was no sympathy or patience in his tone. 
Lillith moved again, her knee shifting the over-stuffed quilt away so that it fell from her body.  She was still covered in a wine colored sheet, through which Michael could feel a wave of heat rising from her body.  Beneath the jasmine and spice was Lillith’s hunger, a poison, a promise.  He could feel it rippling in the heat of her flesh, taste it in her aroma. 
His mouth watered.
“You made me wait.” More like a moan, her accusation moved against the walls of his resistance. 
“I did.  I hoped you would change your mind, stop calling me.”
Her sniff was dismissive and, as she moved to sit up, she opened her eyes, allowing the sheet to fall from her shoulders revealing the pearlescent swell of her breasts, the blush of her nipples, and the way her dark hair curled to cover and reveal with the fall and rise of her heightened breath.  “You knew I would never stop.”
“I know.”  He reached out to touch her hair but stopped.  “Brunette again.”
“Your favorite.”  Her slanted eyes widened slightly before drooping into a more languid glance.  The hand resting on the pillow had grasped the fabric of her pillow.  Lillith released her grip, reached toward Michael.  “You’re so cool.” 
Her palm was an inferno, her skin smoother than he remembered, softer than he could ever forget.  Her touch stirred beyond his cheek as he pondered her statement.  Michael did not know if she meant his flesh or his attitude.  Which was cool?  One or the other?  Probably both.  He did not ask.  Instead, he raised his own hand to brush her hair back from veiling her face so he could look more clearly at her expression.  “And you.  You’re on fire.”
“I am famished.” 
“I know.”
He did know.  Michael too was hungry but his hunger was different from Lillith’s.  Hers was an emptiness that needed to be filled, an insatiable starvation leaving her feeling hollowed while his was like the distended belly of famine victims, an illusion of fullness.  She lay reaching out to him with the lightness of need; he felt weighed down with his desire, heavy and ready to explode. 
Lillith’s hand was soft yet firm, grasping yet open, as contradictory as her nakedness and the obvious anger in her pale grey eyes.  “I did not think you would come.” 
“I always do,” Michael choked on the words, his mouth dry.
Lillith licked her already moist lips.  “Yes. Yes, you always do.”
Michael could feel her voice and licked his own lips with a dry tongue.
Lillith arched back into the pillows that were piled along the massive headboard, stained dark and polished to a high veneer that reflected the lamplight, created a silhouette mirror against the wood grain.  Curled on her right side, she unfurled her wings, the sheet falling further away from her now stretching body.  Her ribs strained with the arch of her back, her narrow waist swelling out to the curve of her full hips. A shudder of energy moved like water along the white feathers and fluffy down, the furthest tip reached out across the room towards the wall and then up towards the ceiling, brushing the curtained canopy before lowering slowly back to the mattress.
The urge to satiate himself was stronger now and he reached down to remove his shirt.  “I don’t want to be here,” he protested as he lay down beside Lillith, his own wings reaching first up toward the ceiling and then arching over her reclining form, hiding from his view the perfection of her body, the luminescence of her flesh, and buffering the heat of her hunger. 
“Hold me, Michael.  I just need you to hold me.  Cool my hunger with your body.”
Michael knew better but obliged, reaching around her as she curled her wings back into her body, nestling herself beneath the tent of his own span.  She nestled her head beneath his chin, the silk of her hair falling over his own shoulders and chest.  Her palm was pressed lightly against him, feeling his heart beat.
“What is wrong with you?” Lillith turned her head turned toward the wing that engulfed her.  Her fingers were brushing gently, caressing the feather free flesh, tracing the web of veins that she could see there.
Michael had no answer that would suffice and said nothing.  Her hand moved along the elbow of his wing, as if seeking evidence that would contradict her eyes.  “You can not do this to me, Michael.  You must not do this.”
“What?  You do not like me like this?  You prefer I cloak myself in ugliness, hide what I am?”  He shoved himself from the bed, pushing her away as he did so, and stretched his wings out until he was brushing the opposite ends of the room, his back to the window.  Without his own plumage the skin on his wings looked raw, like a bleeding wound.  Even in the fading light of the room, the pulsing flow of his blood was visible, the strain of the manus, the radius, the humerus apparent.  “Is this better, Lillith?”  He folded his wings with a snap and again reached them outward.  A shiver of feathered growth, like an echo of Lillith’s own stretch, followed, filling the angry pink of his flesh with furry down before feathering out in black feathers, glowing with an slick rainbow of pastel colors.
“Is this how you want me, Lillith? Is this how you would have me?”  He reached toward her, grabbing her by the neck, gripping with a force that bruised red in her iridescent skin. 
“Yes, Michael,” she heaved as he pushed her back onto the bed.  “This is how I would always have you.”
She smiled, unafraid and confident.  Her hands did not push away.  Instead, Lillith moved with the dexterity of practice, removing Michael’s clothing and the only thing separating his flesh from her own.  Michael was past the point of resistance, sank his arid lips into Lillith’s moist mouth, his tongue swallowing into her throat as she wrapped first her arms then thighs and finally wings around him.  He entered her with familiar force, the humidity of her body engulfing him and Lillith cried out, her teeth scraping his before reaching to his shoulder, biting down to stifle the ice of his embrace.
The rhythm was almost immediate as they fell into memory of one another’s bodies.  He held her down, her wrists fragile but strong beneath him.  With her hips, she shifted his weight and they rolled until they were side by side, legs wrapped around hips and waist, wings fluttering and feathers enmeshed.  Lillith rose to straddle him, her hands pressed into his chest, pulling away from his grasp, controlling them both with a new, slower pace.  Her hair fell across his face, into his mouth, and Michael felt her body warming him. 
With little force, he shifted them both again, her head now falling over the edge of the bed, one of his own hands on the floor for balance as he thrust into her, her body now damp with sweat.  Her arms were wrapped around him, holding herself so that she would not fall to the floor, her feet wrapped around his thighs.  Michael had forgotten her weaving, the way she could hold, but it was the ease of communication, the natural need for her flesh fed that made it easy and impossible for him to hold back.
He kept moving, now with a forceful slow motion, gliding out and sliding in, staring into her eyes.  He could feel the sweat trickling down his back between his shoulder blades, Lillith’s nails digging into his wings, the arch of one foot sliding along his calf.  Her own intense gaze never left him, her breath steady and rising, kissing his face with her groans.  Lillith looked up at him, her fierce eyes mocking him, daring him, urging him until he could not resist his own fullness any further and exploded into her, shoving as deeper, nearly dropping them both to the floor.  Lillith cried out, her body shaking, eyes rolling back in ecstasy, her climax feeding on the fury of his orgasm as her voice faded into a sigh of satisfaction.
Only then did Michael allow himself to fall against her, empty and no longer cold.  Lillith released him but kept him wrapped in her arms and wings.  He heaved her up and onto the bed, their feet pushed into the pillows.  Their breathing was in perfect sync, panting and heavy, then slowing down to a normal pace, soothing as a lullaby. 
“Will you sleep here?” Lillith whispered into the swell of his neck just beneath his jaw.
“Yes,” Michael paused.  “I won’t be here when you wake up.”
“I know.”  Sitting up, she reached down for the fallen quilt and pulled it over both of them, lying as close as she could, not minding the sweating that was still clinging to his body. 
“I will not come the next time you call.”
“Mmmm.  You know you will.  You always do.”
He pulled her against him, his fingers enmeshed in her hair.  He inhaled her scent, could feel the wetness of her dripping onto the thigh he had pressed between her legs.  “Not anymore, Lillith.”
She made no move to push him away, to distance herself from him.  Instead, she sighed, her breasts pressing into him as she inhaled.  “You will come.”
“I am going away.”
“I can always find you.” 
The urge to shudder was hard to resist, knowing the truth of her words.  In dreams, their hunger called most fiercely, and he had also used their connection to call her to his side when he had let too much time pass between them.  “When I leave, I will not be found.”  It was a foolish argument, untested but he had to believe.
“I can always find you.”
“Not if I won’t let you.”  His words were insignificant even in his own ears.

***
When Lillith woke up, she was covered in her sheets and quilt.  Reaching across her bed, she knew that Michael would not be there.  Only the scent of him remained.  She smiled, stretched with a feline luxury.
“Ahh Michael.  Sweet brother.  You will come back to me when I am hungry for you and you for me.”  Lillith knew that the desire they shared would not abate unslaked. 
Wherever he might try to hide, her desire would find him just as it had done this time and every time before. 


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Crafting, Sketching, Exercising Satia


Now that I'm not studying, I've been trying to have some fun.  A while ago, I showed Rob a menu board idea that I thought was pretty cool.  Much to my surprise, he though tit was a good idea and, just before I took the exam, he bought the necessary frame.  All I needed to do is dig through my scrapbooking supplies and choose some papers, then cut them down to size.

I did that today.  Phase one is complete, although we may shuffle a few of the papers into different spaces.  Still, it is now ready for our finding a good pen for writing on glass.  In the upper left frame we'll put:  This Week's Menu.  Then each of the others will have a day of the week.  I chose the papers based on what colors are in the kitchen now (cabinet and floor) as well as the color we hope to paint the walls.

And then there was this post on Brenda Swanson's blog.  I shared  a link with both my google+ people and my facebook people.  Needless to say, on facebook nobody had much to say (I think maybe it got a like although I may be mistaken) but on g+ not only did people like the idea but, by the next morning, a community had been created.  I said I wouldn't join any communities because I didn't see any real purpose for it.  However, under the circumstances, I figured I should join this one and I did although I didn't contribute any sketches for a couple of days so while others will sharing their Day 3 sketches, I was sharing Day 1.

When Shira came over to celebrate Rob's birthday on Sunday, I'd asked her to let me borrow a book and the first assignment was to draw 30 cats from memory.  Only, I burned out on the idea before I reached 30.  I kinda blame my contact lens prescription which still is not right.  I'm using drugstore reading glasses to make it possible to read but they are not prescription and things look blurry.  This inability to see clearly was especially evident when I was trying to practice some calligraphy strokes.  I eventually gave up and just wrote whatever.  I'll keep practicing but, when I see my optometrist tomorrow, I'm going to ask for far-vision lenses and a prescription for reading glasses.  I'm tired of trying to find a pair of contact lenses that will allow me to do both.

I'm especially tired of the headaches I get because I am constantly straining to see things.

All of this to say that I'm having fun. I am challenging myself to do a sketch of some sort every day.  I don't know if I'll hold onto Shira's book for the entire time.  I decided that, for the first few weeks, I would shuffle through various books.  After all, I have several choices, many books on drawing and creativity, from which to choose. I don't have to commit to any one right away.  So I'll dabble in different ones over the next few weeks and see which, if any, clicks for me.

Do I really need to mention that I'll be writing reviews of the different books?  Probably not but, since I've already written it out, it's too late to reconsider.  (Okay.  Yeah.  I could delete and start over but I'm on a roll here.)

In addition to the fun I'm having with sketching and crafting, I'm also exercising almost every day.  Not Sunday, however.  I took it off because Rob and I had been out late the night before and my body simply would not cooperate as I tried to move from one activity to another.  It was enough to bake a cake for our company and enjoy my husband's birthday.  We had a lovely time with my daughter, Chris, and Fokes.

So one day last week I didn't exercise. Otherwise, I was every day doing my morning yoga, taking Snowdoll for a walk, doing cardio and/or strength training with the 10 Minute Trainer, using Leslie Sansone's walking dvds (review coming!), and using the bike.  I continue to believe weight loss is possible even if it is not evident.

What makes this most remarkable is that Rob has not been exercising with me because he hurt himself when he was rescuing Snowdoll from being attacked.  That I've managed to be motivated and stay motivated completely independent from him . . . well, that's unusual.  Don't get me wrong.  I'll happily do the things I genuinely like doing, like yoga, but, when it comes to strength training, I'm less enthusiastic and often find reasons to not pull my weight.

So I'm patting myself on the back for being disciplined and rewarding myself with a little fun.  Speaking of which, I'm off to do today's sketch.  I wonder what the book I'm using today will have me do.  I can't wait to find out.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Five From an Old Chapbook

I wrote these ages ago as part of a four part chapbook series. At the time, I was working with an artist who was going to create a cover and add a few illustrations for some of the pieces. The collection would have told a love story, told in poetry and prose, going from falling in lust to building a loving relationship that would eventually fall apart.  Unfortunately, my artist never followed through and the project itself ended up falling apart. I finished the first book and the other three were in the early stages of being written but I never really got around to even revising the first one.  Life happened and without an artist, it all felt dead in the water.  So here are the first five pieces.

Distance
Profile silhouetted,
I see you and nothing more.
You stir your drink three times
Counter clockwise
Then tap tap tap your straw
Before dropping it on the bar.
A herd of girls huddled around a table
Fending off any approach from guys
Who jockey like jackals for position
Hoping one will break away.
I watch you join the others
Who sip their neon pastel drinks.
You edge yourself apart,
Latent and lovely,
Drinking in gulps from a glass
Too soon empty.
You are removed.
I want to remove you,
Take you away to someplace where
I can discover, uncover more.
My mouth waters;
Even then I won’t approach you
Afraid to encroach
I remain watching
From a distance.
Missed Opportunity
     I wait outside the restroom. I check out the women that come and go, talking loudly, leaning and stumbling into one another, or slinking by, still sober enough to stride with seduction.
     I wait for you to emerge, easily ignoring the rest. You are my target. You are the one I want to know. I barely allow myself to blink, knowing how quickly such fantastic moments can slip by, forever lost in the crowd of the usual club distractions.
What is it that quickened in me, that uncoiled and rose when I first saw you? You are extraordinary and I know that when I draw closer I will become inordinately drawn into the orbit of your magnetism.
     When you come through the door, I see you fumble for a lighter, a cigarette already caressed between your lips. Your head bowed, the neon light turns your hair a soft blue as if you were veiled and bowed in prayer.
     Stepping forward, I offer to light your cigarette for you. You thank me, your surprisingly dark eyes reflecting the light of my flame, your fingertips brushing the back of my hand.
Your fingers are cool from just washing them. The flame from my lighter flaring heat across my face so close to your own. Your lips slick wet with fresh gloss. These details rise quick and with a flick I close my lighter.
     “That’s a nice lighter.”
     “Thanks.”
     “Do you smoke?”
     “No.”
     I see the spark of curiosity. Intrigued, you want to know more but you are here with your friends. We say goodbye without exchanging names or numbers.

Couple
I look up, see the couple—dark, young, and
pretty—looking up at the menu.
They debate what to choose, listing
items—a coffee, a latte, or chai.
I envy the oh-so-easy way they
stand together, lean into each other.
I envy them because they have a choice
and, choosing, have chosen one another.
He is taller than she as she looks at
him in adoration, deferential,
letting him choose for the both of them
an arm close around her holding closer.
She hooks a finger through his belt loop, linked
and chained, they turn as they each take their cups.
They add sugar and cream and then blow
soft to cool the heat of their chosen drinks
before seeking a table, a corner,
a place in which to curl together.
Because I have no choice all I can do
is admire, desire and envy,
for a day when I can be as they.
Seeking
One week and another
I return to the club to see
If maybe fate will take me
To where you are.
The vapid faces of
Paper doll predictable girls
Cannot distract me from
Recollecting the way
The shadow fell across
Your lowered eyes
As I lit your cigarette
And the memory of how cool
Your fingers felt touching me
With a tattoo deepness
That no flirtatious flutter
Of lashes can dull.  
Even a one night stand
Between the thighs of another
Leaves me wishing I had been
More bold in the dim and din
Of the club where you were
But where you aren’t tonight.

Ring
Your shadow falls across the page where I am writing in my notebook. I am baffled when I recognize. “I’m sorry,” you say stepping back.
“No please,” I say. “You’re the girl, from the club?” It’s rhetorical really but you nod. I smile and push the chair out with my foot, inviting you to sit with me. Our conversation builds slowly then builds momentum as questions come staccato quick. Where do you work? What do you do for a living? Where are you from? How long have you lived here? What is your favorite color?
The questions I don’t ask won’t wash away as I sip my coffee, taste bitter on my tongue. How did you find me? Why are you here? When will I see you again? Do you always smell like lilacs and cloves?
I let your questions predetermine mine and my eyes widen in wonder when you laugh at my jokes, pushing your hair from your face in an easy habit.
That is when I notice the ring on your left hand and a wall begins to separate me from you. Whatever hopes or expectations that rose from our coincidental meeting are stopped, the kind of reality check I am never expecting.
You catch my glance and shove your hand beneath the table as if to hide some embarrassing evidence, pleading the fifth to a question I haven’t spoken.
“Would you like another coffee?” I offer.
“I’ve had my limit.”
I want to know all your limits but settle for your name and number which you offer instead of staying for more coffee and conversation. You promise to call me sometime. I want to mark my calendar with something specific, a day and time when my phone will ring.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Person Rob Is--Happy Birthday to Him

A few weeks ago Rob had an experience while walking Snowdoll without me.  While passing a neighbor’s home, a small brown dog came running out to say hello, tail wagging.  We had noticed this little brown dog and its white partner barking at us behind the fence and commented that the brown one, who liked to jump up as it barked, we were convinced that the brown one would one day jump the fence.  So clearly, on this walk without me, the little brown one got enough height to get some freedom. 

Rob returned the brown puppy back to its white partner and completed his walk with Snowdoll. 

A couple of weeks ago, we were both out walking with Snowdoll and, up ahead, we saw a woman and her son walking a white dog and a brown dog.  Rob thought it might be the same brown dog but we were still too far away to know for certain.  When we were closer, he was able to confirm that it was indeed the same brown dog that was all waggy tail and puppy kisses when Rob picked it up and returned it to the fenced in yard where it belonged.

So you can imagine our shock these two seemingly innocent and friendly dogs started aggressively barking, jerking on their leashes.  Snowdoll still thought the two wanted to play and we were trying to walk past as quickly as we could because we all know how hard it is to keep a dog under control when it is on a leash.

That is when all hell broke loose which is to say first one of their dogs broke free and then the other.  And both of them started to attack Snowdoll who, needless to say, tried to protect herself.  The woman was desperately trying to grab one of her dogs while her son wisely stayed back.  I was focused on trying to get ahold of Snowdoll while Rob tried to grab the other dog. 

It was frightening.  The poor woman was sobbing as we managed to get Snowdoll away from her two attackers. I quickly checked to make sure she wasn’t hurt.  (And, of course, she immediately threw herself onto her back to have her belly rubbed because she was all ears-down thinking she’d done something wrong.)  It wasn’t until later that day we noticed she had a cut on her ear but it wasn’t too bad.  I cleaned it with a little saline and didn’t worry about it.

We didn't even tell the neighbor about it.
I was very shook up when we came home and Rob was no less upset.  He had such a hard time pulling one dog off that he had fallen onto his elbow and back.  But that was not uppermost on his mind.  After assuring ourselves that Snowdoll was fine, he said he wanted to go check on our neighbor and make sure she was okay and that he hadn’t hurt their dogs while trying to pull them off.

Is this not the sweetest man?  I mean, here we are the victims of an attack and he’s worried that he may have hurt one of the dogs and also wanted to make sure that the woman wasn’t too upset, to let her know we understand it was just an unfortunate experience for one and all, and there was absolutely no ill will.


Anyway, that says a lot about Rob and his character and yesterday was his 42nd birthday.  So I thought I’d share a story that celebrates the person Rob is because he deserves this and so much more.

End of Week One of the Blogging Experiment

The first week of the blogging experiment has come and gone and here’s what I have garnered so-far from this.  I’m not including the book reviews I posted which you can find here.  (I’ll be posting two, possibly three, more book reviews next week.)

Top Viewed Posts:
1. What My Workout Will Be For Now
2. Because You Asked
3. True Reflections—A Short Story Exercise
4. Some Memories About My Mother
5. Warning of Words to Come
Most Comments:
1. Because You Asked
2.a What My Workout Will Be For Now
2.b Some Memories About My Mother (tied with WMWWBFN)
No comments for the others.
Most Plussed
1. Some Memories About My Mother
2. What My Workout Will Be For Now
3. Warning of Words to Come
4. In Which I Retake the AAPC CPC Exam
5.a Because You Asked
5.b True Reflections—A Short Story Experiment (tied with BYA)
There seems to be more interest in my exercising, my life, and my past than in anything else; however, the exercise post results may be skewed because that was part of a blogging meme where people who read a lot (who me?) post about how they exercise, what exercises they do, etc.

Anyway, week one and I think the results are interesting.  Week two begins today.  So there will be more to come.  Maybe something about Paula Deen or Angelina Jolie.  Or maybe some poetry.  Or a chapter from a novel I should be revising.  Who knows?  I’m curious to see what I decide to share in the next few days.