Monday, July 29, 2019

My Response to Everything Concerning Everything (that strange flower)

Sunset at Allison's
Twin Peaks, CA July 2019

is poetry, and it's not what I write but what I want to read, words floating up or by like fish in my mind. Wallace Stevens comes to mind complacencies of the peignoir.

In the span of let's say five minutes I scanned just scanned words strung together (scan, scroll, read?) Mitch McConnell Mitch Moscow his voice a drone the rap something about something and then a star not of the sky (the stars' wrapping) but of rap his radiance in Sweden who threw a guy across a street which I believe is assault (the Swedes say) but whom POSPOTUS wants out (of Swedish jail) encouraged by the Kardashian paper doll who put on clothes that her husband ordered up designed that covered her famous breasts and ass and fly waist and Cinderella feet so that she could pose with the men in orange, most recently, take a selfie and


P for justice reform and Ikea be boycotted (Ikea being Danish not Swedish but who cares but meatballs and lingonberries and soft-serve cones) and wait, who do we support here? 

remember: five minutes (maybe ten including the footage of the blue-eyed Eilish)

they ended with Meghan Markle editing British Vogue and insisting on freckles and then the photo of the boy standing in grass his thin-lipped sweetness smile shot dead at a garlic festival by another angry white man with a gun.

Precious child.

Another one (or two) added to the piles of dead children.

I've stood in a sunflower field with my sons in Gilroy.

There's humor in befuddlement or is it wry or rue?

Here's the poem.


That strange flower, the sun,
Is just what you say.
Have it your way.

The world is ugly,
And the people are sad.

That tuft of jungle feathers,
That animal eye,
Is just what you say.

That savage of fire,
That seed —
Have it your way.

The world is ugly,
And the people are sad.

Wallace Stevens

I think we (you) suffer from an intellectual laziness, a lack of imagination.

Like Stevens' also wrote:

People are not going
To dream of baboons and periwinkles. 

On another note, I am learning about pleasure.

(and no, I am not going mad but rather writing and wrestling with words)

Saturday, July 27, 2019

It's aturday and my s key i sticking

I'm not going to fix the "s" thing, so you'll have a little game today, I guess, this lazy Saturday afternoon.

Both boys have gone to the eat coast to spend the week in Hilton Head. I've decided to tay here with ophie and try to feel calmer and more relaxed. Hilton Head is not my happy place, to use a loathsome cliche, but I hall mis my family and the feeling of being together, however fraught with family drama. Perhaps it's a trial run for when Oliver goes to college in late August, and Sophie and I will be fairly alone and defenseless except for the large guard dogs we have and the crowbar I keep beside my bed, ready to swing at the first person who sets off my fancy Nest security system.

Reader, beware.

Today I went to see Dr. Jin, and when she stuck a needle in the flehy part of my arm just below my elbow crease, I felt a surge of -- something -- and then tears or were they water? started leaking out of my eyes and down my face where they pooled, I'm sure, on the white paper I lay on. What i this? I asked Dr. Jin, but she was already down at my feet and remarked, Almost done, it's good to cry. Cry and then relax. he put the tinny Chinese music on, and I cloeed my eyes and drifted, like I always do, to the past and a kind of lucid dreaming where I am at once aware that I'm lying on the table with needles sticking out but drifting through past lives and memories and boys and babies and it's all very zen and soft and humid and sensual without any exertion. Before I left, Dr. Jin reminded me to take the special pills she'd given me last week. I imagine they are some form of Chinese prozac and will help me to regain my former effortless composure and sunniness.


What are you doing this weekend?

Thursday, July 25, 2019

It's This Kid's 21st Birthday

A lot of you have been around, reading the old blog for over a decade, so this may come as a surprise that my Henry is 21 years old today! He tells me that he went out to lunch with his gorgeous Annika and had his first legal drink. He also brought home a bottle of gin so that we could make Negronis before we go out to dinner tonight to celebrate. Lest you think alcohol is all we're doing today, he also announced that he'll be heading to the nearest cannabis dispensary.

Just kidding.



I've said it each year, and I'll say it again: Henry has been the light of my life since the moment the doctor pulled all ten pounds of him out of me. He is sweet and smart and beautiful, inside and out, and I love him.

Happy Birthday, Henry!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

They're Getting Kool-Aid™ Jammers and Animated Movies*

Children do not belong in detention centers. "Detention centers" appears to be a more acceptable term than "concentration camps." Families belong together. This is now a popular trending hashtag. So is Close the Camps Now. Last night I attended a vigil downtown at the Los Angeles Metropolitan Detention Center, where over 1000 men are being held. We gathered outside the facility with 4000 people, just over the 10 freeway. Some people brought Mylar blankets as a sign of solidarity, fashioning brilliant flags and scarves out of them. The incarcerated children have been given such blankets to cover themselves during detainment.

We held our flashlights, electric candles and phone lights up toward the building, and the men inside flashed their own lights through the tiny slits in the imposing walls. It felt futile to be there and powerful at once, but mostly futile.

One of Sophie's caregivers, a legal resident originally from Guatemala thanked me for going, and I felt ashamed. There is much tension in our city as families gear up for tomorrow's ICE raids.

Meanwhile, Terrible America provides snacks and movies to the thousands of children separated from their families, languishing in private facilities whose boards are stocked with profit-hungry rich men, rich men who've protected one another in the vilest of ways. Perhaps the vilest of them all, the POSPOTUS, plays golf, presides over rallies and is cheered by the most ignorant people in the country. The most powerful people in the country who continue to support him have lost whatever shreds of moral authority they might have had and will, I imagine, go down in history as spineless, lacking even a modicum of integrity.

I'm curious. I had an exchange last year with someone who objected mightily to my outrage over separating children from their parents when they sought asylum at the border. Anonymous, what do you think of the camps now? How about the children separated from their parents? How about the conditions of the camps where thousands of men, women and children are being held?

Is this who we are?

* So reported F*^king Vie President Pence after a recent "visit" to a detention camp in Texas and proceeded to blame Congress for the over-crowded conditions in the men's facilities. The photo of him and his entourage smiling their greasy smiles of paternal solicitude made me sick.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019


I took 24 hours and left with Carl on Sunday morning for Ventura and a boat that took us to Santa Rosa Island, one of the remote, uninhabited Channel Islands. We spent the morning looking at whales and dolphins and the wide-open Pacific, the water choppy and sky overhead gray and moody. It took over two hours to get to the island, but once we were there, the skies opened up blue and we wandered around the fields and explored the deserted buildings of the ranch that had once displaced the native Americans who made the island their home. It was very beautiful.

No one lives on the island anymore, but some people brave its isolation and camp, and there are volunteers who stay to lead tours. Carl and I avoided the few people who had gotten off the boat and made our way alone down to a beach that might as well have been in some tropical paradise, such was its wildness and solitude.

I lay in the sand and read and dozed and we ate a bit of the food that we'd brought -- turkey, crackers, cheese, grapes and plums.

I tried to let everything go, everything.

to be grateful for love and companionship
for whales
for the ocean
for the souls that were banished from this place
for the sand and the breeze that bends
the poppies
for the wide world that still holds us up

the deep world

Saturday, July 6, 2019

A Whole Lot of Shakin' Going On

Reader, we are fine so far after two of the biggest earthquakes we've felt in the twenty years I've lived here. Last night I went outside a bit after dinner and stood in the front yard looking up at the sky. It was a beautiful night, a typical glorious southern California clearness to the air and the temperature, and I noted how quiet it was -- no sirens, no voices, no birds. No birds.

I do not like earthquakes. I do not find them exciting, particularly when they happen really close to one another. I do find them similar, in some ways, to living with a person who has uncontrolled seizures. That means that I never get used to them. They come out of nowhere, cause the same burst of cortisol (or is it adrenaline), and one makes you feel nauseous and like you can't trust the ground under your feet while the other makes you feel nauseous and like you can't trust -- well -- anything. So, I generally practice being mindful, or at least try to be mindful even as I dissociate a bit during Sophie's seizures and marvel/wonder/holy shit! during earthquakes. But we're fine, honestly -- taking stock of emergency supplies, wondering if the 30 gallon container of water in the backyard shed is still good and whether I should go ahead and pack a "to go" bag specifically for Sophie and her meds.

Those meds control Sophie's seizures about as well as preparing for an earthquake controls my nerves. We could stretch out that metaphor to say that all is vanity and there's nothing new under the sun.

I read something the other day about the importance of a belief system -- higher power, etc. etc.  to allay anxiety. I remember feeling somewhat faithful in my Catholic childhood and early adulthood, was obsessed, briefly, with the lives of the saints and even went to a Billy Graham revival with my Bible beater college friends, but when I look back and read back (lots of religious agonizing in the journals), from this vantage point of general/relative unbelief in any higher power other than the universe itself and, of course,  love, love love, I'm struck by how I labored to believe and how the whole religious thing banks on the myth that it takes labor to believe, to love, to have faith, etc.




to those I've engaged with over the last few days who argue semantics (the term concentration camp) and wave their silly flags and insist on the rule of law and God and Jesus and prayers and then exclaim should we just let them WALK over the border, then? and bite into their charbroiled burgers and slide some mustard over their hotdogs and watch some hulked up millionaire swing a bat at a ball as American as pie.

Speaking of pie, The Gig Economy Worker made seven peach pies this week and is taking orders for the rest of the summer.

(I picked those donut peaches from a friend's tree, a tree that had a ridiculous number of peaches and bowed branches, so heavy was its fruit. Alas, the taste was not as sweet and generous as the number, so I used very ripe, very delicious peaches from Trader Joe's)

Thursday, July 4, 2019

The 4th of July in Terrible America

Children and workers are seen at a tent encampment recently built near the Tornillo Port of Entry on June 19, 2018 in Tornillo, Texas.
 Getty Images

I was sitting at my computer, paying my American Express bill and waiting for a peach pie to finish baking in the oven when what was the biggest earthquake I have felt in several years began. It started as a jolt and then it grew in waves even as I glanced up and saw the chandelier swaying and heard the pots clinking on the pot rack that hangs over the stove. I willed myself not to panic and walked toward Sophie's room, the hallway a galley in a boat swaying back and forth. I nearly put my arms out on either side to keep my balance and when I passed the boys' room, I shouted to Oliver, Earthquake! and sat next to Sophie who was lying in bed, her eyes open, my stomach lurching the pots clinking and windows creaking. It seemed to go on forever and then it stopped. Everyone is fine. We are all fine. Sophie, who had a ridiculous number of huge seizures yesterday out of the blue, as she'd been doing so well, is fine. I know that she had those seizures now because she is exquisitely tuned in to the strange and elemental goings on in the universe. I imagine she feels relief now, her brain settled even as we settle. It seems like relief, now, after the simmering rage and unease I've felt for days, a rage that I attributed to what's going on, the unease to the imperative to celebrate, to wish happy fourth of July when so many are suffering, when tanks are being power-washed to shine at military parades for that POSPOTUS, the empty rapist in chief of Terrible America. Yes, my words are harsh, but isn't it true? And what can we do beyond cutting our pie crusts out with END THE CAMPS letters scattered over caramelized peaches? How can our voices be anything but tiny and inexhaustible (Faulkner)? I just can't wish anyone happy anything this 4th of July. I feel angry and ashamed to be an American, to be so ineffectual, to be able to do nothing but post horrible photos and satirical cartoons about the POS we have leading us and the incredible injustices that he and those who support him, those we know, those, even, we love, are doing in our name. It makes me so sick to my stomach that the very real earthquake that rocked our house was a kind of relief.


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