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I’m dead with dying
There is an eye I refuse to catch

I was born with knowing
I look and I listen and I discern
I know

You’ve caught my eye
I’m not God
But I know

Tell me everything
The bile and the filth and the worst, pour it
All that will be left will be left behind
Listen to my knowing

Let me catch your eye
My knowing is a reflection
There’s no dream I can’t decipher
I simply know
You tell me what’s the matter
And that’s what’s the matter
A reflection
through kinder eyes than you can’t bear to see
This is my knowing

I was born in January
I am dead with dying
There’s an eye I refuse to catch

It’s the eye of a child
Who won’t let me see
Something terrible happened
Something awful and humiliating
Something that drained my blood from my face my screams from my throat my heart from my chest and
Something that puddled my potty down my leg and between my toes
Something terrible
And I don’t know
Something terrible
And I don’t know

Hollow now
I won’t catch my blue eye that eyes me in the mirror

I was a child born dead with knowing
It was January
It was cold something terrible
Something terrible
And I don’t know

Let’s forgo the easy way.

In October, I found myself at a funeral for a friend’s daughter, who was just shy of her 19th birthday. She’s just a kid. It’s the phrase that played on repeat the whole day. At the service, two things were emphasized that struck a deep, reverberating chord in me:

— Finish your unfinished business

— Learn as much about life as you can while you have the good fortune to have breath in your lungs

It made me think about what it meant to be an 18-year-old girl again. I can’t quite fit into the shoes of that girl anymore, but I remember the world had endless potential then. There was a promise of things to come. I still think there’s my whole life to do all the things I wanted to do when I was just a kid.

I’m not just a kid anymore–even though I don’t feel like an adult, either. I’ve had 18 more years on the planet than this girl did, and I can’t help feeling as though I have unfinished business.  For all the hard (and necessary) lessons I’ve learned in my life, I’ve not learned enough. I’ve not done my part.

I’ve spent a good deal of my adult life sorting myself out. It’s been necessary. I believe in the power of self-reflection and brutally assessing oneself. I’m self-aware, sometimes to a fault, and I believe in the power of self-reflection and internal struggle. While suffering matters – it means something – I’ve nearly out-suffered myself.

But I’m not a kid anymore. The thought is as sobering and final as the closing of a coffin.

And so when I started thinking about how to enrich my life, the one thing that kept coming up was travel. With the exception of a “go me” solo excursion to Alaska and some side trips here and there, travel has been on the backburner for quite some time. It’s too bad, because I feel a sense of freedom and euphoria when I experience a whole new world.

And oh, where to go. There’s so much ground to cover (literally). The immediate bucket list is chock full of mountains and/or glaciers and/or snow…the very things I do not have in my corner of the world. Nepal and Iceland are the top two international contenders while the national parks in Alaska, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming are calling my name stateside.

The details will come. It feels good to make an 18-year-old promise to myself to continue to learn what I can about universe. After all, I’m not a kid anymore.

there are no promises that can be kept
by gift we live by right we die
grace is optional
except when it’s not

the grace to bear grief
is sometimes always never
the only prayer there is

in these hot, breathless last days, it’d do us to get on with the praying
sooner than later

I went back to read your words
But they aren’t there
They aren’t to be found
The website says
Nothing here

There’s nothing there

Was there ever?
If I can’t read the words
I can’t be sure I ever knew you

You always knew I was of flightly, flimsy flesh
So why take the words from me
Why is there nothing there?

image

A word, self-righteous angel
If you write the Anthology of You
There are consequences
Demon-meaning
In essence
It’s time to drink down the medicine:
If you play with Ouija
Don’t complain about the smell of dead people

On Monday, happenstance occurred. Happenstance, I say, because I’m not sure I believe in fate or destiny, puzzle pieces fitting together just so. I see a yellow sticky note on my office floor. I leave it there for several hours. I have things to do. In the mid-afternoon, I pick up the note and take a look-see. I’m jolted to see it. His email, the asshole, who ruined the name Steve for me, although I never liked it anyway. The one with no affection for me. His email, who I’d finally forgotten. His email, written down a year and a half ago just in case we ever started communicating again, still waiting to be typed in my compose box.

He’s not much to me, not even painful to think about. He’s nothing. He’s an asshole. He is Steve.

He facebooked me a few months ago and I told him to never contact me again.

I’m not sure why I can’t bring myself to throw the sticky note away.

All about me.

In one word describe how you currently see yourself:
homely

One prominent nickname you were given:
ML or in my other life, Lo

One strange fact about yourself:
I hate constrictions of having to come up with one response when I mostly have several responses to questions, some of which are mutually exclusive.

One bad habit?
Not washing my hair often enough

One thing you can’t tolerate?
Wordpress monster avatars that appear as my picture on some blogs. It says it saves the new avatar but then the monster shows up. And the monster looks like he’s smiling. Like he’s a happy monster. Ugh. See Bindo’s site for my monster-faced comment.

What that sickens you?
Tidiness, rinsing with salt water

One thing you can’t forgive?
Bryan, for telling me there’s no hurry to complete his contest and then calling me every 5 seconds to see if I have selected a winner.

You have difficulties with…?
grocery shopping and bullets found in my door

What turns you on in a man physically?
Tall, hair on head, brain optional
What turns you on in a woman physically?
overalls

What is a turn off for you in a man physically?
A small oh-my. Short and/or without hair.

What is a turn off for you in a woman physically?
scabs

Have you seen the white light at the end of the tunnel?
I try to block it out with my sleeping mask.

One drink you’re never touching again?
Pledge-flavored herbal tea

How many countries have you visited?
A lowly 2 countries.

How many countries still on the list?
All of them, although I might wait a minute before heading over to Somalia or Afghanistan

One word to describe you a random friend.
Sevenlicious

One word to describe your partner.
N/fucking/A

One word to describe your latest ex.
Smelly

One word do describe your soul mate.
available

One word to describe your nemesis.
Sevenlicious

Your future in one word
freezer

You’re stranded on an island… One thing you’d want…?
liposuction

One word to describe this tag
time-waster

One thing you would like to say to the person on your mind right now
Wanna cuddle?

Bryan has answered seven pressing questions (seven, because he refused to answer any more or less because of his ocd). Enjoy.

1. Do you find Nestle Crunch bars slightly more satisfying than love? Be honest.

When I was young, I did find Nestle Crunch bars more satisfying than love. But, truth be told, love to me then was make believing my high school girlfriend at the time (we’ll call her Melody Eclair) was actually a sophomore named Bo while a certain third wheel rocked herself crazily in the corner of my black Chevy S-10. Now, when pressed, I’d have to say the only thing I find more satisfying than love is a good creme brulee, so long as the layer on top gives you that little crunch.

2. What does it mean if a guy has medium-sized feet and squinty eyes? Don’t lie.

It means orgasm is probably out of the question for all involved.

3. I haven’t gotten a text in hours. Why is this happening to me?

Because you say things like, “I thought you’d never wanted to hear from me again,” “cooooooookies,” and “my dog peed on me.”

4. When are you going to provide me with a homecooked meal again?

You’ve requested Hamburger Helper of the Cheeseburger Macaroni variety. While technically this meal is beneath my level of skill, I will make this for you next Tuesday, with brownies for dessert.

5. Who would win in a break-neck, all-goes fight between bindo and Val?

I’m going with Val. I have a feeling she knows how to throw elbows. Bindo would get distracted by something depressing and write a wonderful poem about it, though.

6. Who let the dogs out? And what the hell was up with all the coconut in the Bahamas?

You let the dogs out, just the same way that you lost your room key and foolishly thought that, because we spent thousands of dollars to go on a trip together, I wanted to spend time with you. As far as the coconuts go, I didn’t see them. I was more impressed with all the men in speedos, which I don’t think you noticed because you hadn’t hit puberty yet.

7. Don’t you secretly wish you had a Blackberry Curve instead of dinky iPhone?

Never. All your readers who have iPhones should download the free App “words with friends” and challenge me, PoeticGrin, to a battle.

1. How do you define crumptiousness?

2. How do you plan to make the holidays gloomy?

3. When you give a little, do you take a lot more?

4. If a soda goes flat, is it dead?

5. Do the glue pads really work to catch rodents?

A continuation of my interview series with bloggers. Patrice is an artist who I deeply admire and wanted to give her what exposure I could.

1. Patrice, how long have you been blogging? How has your own blog changed your life and how have other blogs changed your life?

I arrived in blogland via a side door about four years ago. I’d been trying out online dating (I don’t recommend it) on a site called Matchdoctor, which is actually a pretty neat place – it’s free – no really, it is, and one of the features there was a blog option. Timidly at first – and then with accelerating zeal – I began to write. After a while it became apparent to me that making connections through my blog posts was much more gratifying than exchanging inane emails and dodging instant message types. A man that I fell for introduced me to Blogger, even setting up my first blog. To this day emails notify him of my new posts via his old email addy. They are always returned as undeliverable… Undeliverable – just like he turned out to be – just like the promise of finding a good man online.

Has it changed my life? Absolutely. Living alone in the Deep South with its mostly narrow and negative view of differences and resistance to change or alternate points of view can be stifling and intellectually lonely. Yes, I’ve friends, but my circle is small and my politics and religious beliefs are radical compared to those I know. Add to that my precipitous financial state, and it’s a recipe for isolation. But online I find peers, kindred spirits, fellow artists and creative people of all ilks. Though I can’t afford trips to Atlanta to the galleries and museums, I can see incredible artwork every day and interchange ideas, ideals and methods with those who “get” me. I’ve even sold a few pieces online! But it’s the connections that have meant the most to me and which continue to challenge and inspire.

2. In the beginning, things happened, the world was created and all that. And then artists were created to communicate the things that happened. How did you become an artist? Did you always see things others couldn’t/wouldn’t? Is art innate? (This is the Powerhouse Question.)

And in the beginning, (before photography), civilization depended upon artists to accurately portray events from history, legend and fiction. Art for arts’ sake is a relatively new phenomenon, where the creative and unique aspects of art are more important than absolute realism.

Oh me! Such a tiny, timid little girl, frightened of other children, and so, so shy. The only thing I could do better than anyone else was art. Even at age seven, I could paint a realistic Meadowlark – and the praise and attention for that first masterpiece (heh) gave me a new confidence. I had found my niche. And, yes, I did see things that others couldn’t. I was a solitary child who reveled in nature and insect life and spent hours and hours observing. Most people think art is about drawing. But being an artist is about SEEING. It’s about looking at things with fresh eyes – as if seeing a thing for the first time. You look and look and analyze and only then do you begin to draw. Drawing – and the ability to draw – is more of a technical skill. Learning to see means overcoming the symbolic language that is the first language. You have to trick your brain out of its old patterns. That’s why you often see an artist turn a painting upside down to check composition or value or accuracy of design.


And then, when you learn to see and can draw, paint or sculpt accurately, then it is time to think more about being creative than rote copying. I mean, if you want a perfect copy of something, take a photograph. Don’t get me wrong, one needs the techniques, but they are less important than verve. Technique alone does not make for dazzling art with its own point of view. To me, this is what separates an artist from a tradesman. I can teach anyone to draw better, but I cannot teach them how to be uniquely creative. That is the true challenge of being an artist.

3. In a cage fight between Popeye and Ms. Piggy, who would win and why?

This one is easy. Ms. Piggy would win hands and hooves down. Why? Because we women have the ability to talk and talk and talk. We pummel men with words and reasons and knock them silly with our command of language until they’ve no stomach for battle. Hey, we’ve all seen their eyes glaze over right before they head for the exit.

4. What are your feelings about using “Goddamn”?

As a non-believer, I’m neutral. I can’t condemn it anyway because cussing is important. One needs outlets for rage and pain and cussing is perfect as it harms no one whilst allowing venting. I may avoid the cruder forms of expletive outbursts (such as “you cunt” or “he’s a fucking shit-faced prick”) in mixed company, so as not to offend those who feel differently, but hey – it’s only words. My personal favorite cuss phrases (the ones I utilize when I slam my arm in the gate or stub my toe or whatever) are “Jesus Fucking Christ” or “God Fucking Damn.” As reading this blog is an elective activity, (and it’s not my blog after all), I’ll let you worry about the offenses herein…

In addition. I love italics. You probably noticed I answered all your questions in italics. Italics make me feel like I am having a dialogue. It’s thinking visually expressed. I’m quite sure authors like Proust thought in italics. Total stream of consciousness dialoging with the subconscious.The only problem with italics is that one can’t re-italicize for emphasis. Someone should invent a font for re-italicization.

5. As you know, I’m a fan of bleeding trees (Note: I’m buying one of Patrice’s paintings), what are you working on now?

And now and now and now…

My (now your) “When Trees Bleed” (http://patricelynneyoung.blogspot.com/2009/05/had-to-get-this-one-out-of-my-system.html) is probably the highpoint of a series of paintings about the earth and its glories and phenomena. It’s definitely my favorite painting done this past year. (And by the way, thank you for recognizing my serious work! It’s an honor for me as an artist to feel that there are those who honor what I do.)

As you’ve surmised by how long it took me to send you my answers, I’ve been keyed toward survival. That means I’ve taken a bit of a break from what I consider my serious work (such as the bleeding trees) to do some commissions and some more readily saleable smaller pieces. It’s paid off in that I’ve survived the past two months, but it’s frustrating to feel that my best work is not what the public necessarily purchases. I’m not saying the smaller works are just fluff; they’re important to me. It’s just that I like to work larger. I’m working toward a January show where I will be one of the featured artists and the broad theme is one of “branching out.” Thus I’m gearing some imagery toward literal branches and trees – but also allowing for a more expansive definition such as going in new directions, following the light, seeking ones own space to fill, etc.

So you see, I am not just a person of many images, but a person who likes to expound with verbiage.

Check out Patrice’s blog at http://http://patricelynneyoung.blogspot.com.

SOB with me

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