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All posts for the month February, 2012

More Poetry from a Dusty File

Published February 22, 2012 by megdedwards

Mess

 

I am a mess

inside my head,

ideas roam about like cattle

chased by dogs and men.

Constant fear and fullness

Hold the world near to me.

My voice stops at my mouth,

held british tight no weakness.

Pour spirits thru my teeth,

my very own sweet mouth,

will weaken, face redden, eyes brighten,

words trickle out, drop by drop.

I am moving further back into my head,

a full world there,

where I can marvel,

an animal only,

with the sensual spirit of the earth.

I am transcending,

I have nothing,

I am nothing.

Do not speak.

 

Bart – A cat remembered in poetry

Published February 21, 2012 by megdedwards

Orange Miracle –

Conceived by a  girl cat,

amber eyes and wild,

and a rough sick male

with blood on his nails.

I was midwife to your mother

Big fat orange boy.

You came from nowhere and exist for no reason.

And yet you lie on my couch now,

a six hundred dollar bandage on your leg,

gently patting my cheek

with your soft paw

and watching my eyes.

Found: Old Poetry

Published February 18, 2012 by megdedwards

Crazy Kate

My sister, sweet soul,

deer doe eyed beauty.

 

Vain selfish fancy-

Full lovely girl.

You always laugh until you cry.

 

I wish you were still,

All there.

 

Black moth on the fridge,

Fluttering and fragile,

blown in by the storm,

Stark against the antiseptic white.

 

Shivering, giggling,

Pissing on the white sheets.

Black coal dripping from your mouth.

Large eyes, all pupil, wavering

Between crying and laughing.

 

You were young and full of fantasy,

All green eyes and sparkle,

Translucent, tendrils,

Drifting and catching,

Stinging and floating.

 

Falling so lightly

Off a bridge so high.

Not grounded, even then.

Too light hearted to die.

Rising again, hardened and confused.

 

Lady, light, you are floating away

And leaving your angry bitter body with me.

Killing your sweet self.

 

Examining my Breasts

Published February 13, 2012 by megdedwards

I found a piece of writing in a dusty file and pulled it out. It was something I wrote about breasts and self examinations 12 years ago.

Since then I have had close relatives lose their breasts to the scourge of cancer and I am even more appreciative of the old gals.

While looking for an image of breasts to suit my blog I came across a wonderful site called 007 Breasts . It is an informative and liberating site and I have discovered a new word, ‘topfree’! I really believe in boob freedom and I do wonder about the bad effects of bras.  Check out the site!

And here is something from the files:

“I was once inordinately proud of my breast, they were perfectly proportioned, perky and irresistible. They were soft, ivory toned and had delightful pink nipples. I wore see through shirts and no bra. My breasts were my pleasure, my beacons of ‘come hither’ and my friends.

I didn’t think about aging much, or dying. You don’t when you are in your twenties. Death seemed far off and theoretical, or sometimes just too close up and dramatic. My breasts did not make me think about mortality. They seemed pretty life affirming, if anything.

But now my breasts have taken on the personality of timebombs. I am thirty six years old with a bit of extra weight and two children and I keep expecting my breasts to go to war against my body.

My fearful scenario plays out like this, a small hard lump is discovered and then I have a meaningful relationship with a doctor. You know what I mean. We don’t like to articulate the fear but it is there.

Cancer is a real threat, although not necessarily fatal. I am aware of it, as we all are, trying to eat right and exercise and whatever else we are told to do.

But living in fear is not a good state so I am adjusting my mental state; I like to think about my body as  happy and healthy, not one ‘bad’ examination day away from disease.

The guilt trip around breast awareness is changing the way we feel about our bodies. If we don’t manipulate our breasts in the shower to feel for the dreaded mass, then we feel guilty.  If we do, we don’t know what we are looking for and wonder about every bump or mass.

Fear of breast cancer is recreating a Victorian-like fear and distancing between a woman and her body. The all important breast exam is making woman afraid of their breasts.

I approached the self breast exam with fear and anxiety I could barely bring myself to touch my lovely boobs. I have bumps and I have puckering, but at this point they have been caused by stretch marks and milk production.

What am I looking for, will I recognize if anything is wrong? I felt vulnerable and afraid. My own probing massage brought on fear and anxiety.

Suddenly I pictured millions of  liberated and sexually confident woman touching their breasts as if they are foreign objects. A fearful poke and aggressive massage and suddenly our breasts are mysterious and unpredictable – the ‘dark terrain’ of femaleness that Freud struggled to understand and explain.

After a few tries I became familiar with my breasts benign lumpiness and now I feel that I might recognize any new development. Or would I?

I have been examining my breasts with love recently. They are bigger and more pendulous than they used to be and the nipples are larger and darker from nursing .

When I take off my shirt the whole family runs over to kiss them. My partner, who was the first fan, and my little children who are either still nursing or remember nursing.

I gather my breasts into my hands and give them loving squeezes. The girls are loved and appreciated and have done a fantastic breast feeding for nine years altogether.

I am tempted to get a medal tattooed on them to honor their good work. They are loved and appreciated and I would miss them if they had to go.”

The Long Form Census and Moi

Published February 8, 2012 by megdedwards

I had an unsettling visit from an elderly Quebecois woman the other day.

She was a small woman with very practical winter clothes, and her hands and skin were very dry, like her frizzed out hair that was tied back in a strict bun.

I could tell she was a practical woman who believed being super clean was more important than moisturizers or wrinkles. She was perfectly pleasant but I felt that she was proud  to be controlling her normally judgmental nature.

I had invited her to come to my house, but with some reservation. She said it would take 2 hours, ‘2 hours!’ I exclaimed, to fill in the long form census. She had already been at my house twice, leaving notes from Statistics Canada. I called her back and made an appointment to see her.

Even then I thought, what is this, is this really less intrusive than filing out a form? She told me it was important for the government to have this information in order to make decisions about funding. I knew that. I never felt that the form was an invasion of privacy.

I decided to do the interview although generally I don’t give strangers two hours of my time.

The morning of her visit I forgot she was coming. It was 9 am and I had just poured a bath with lavender oil in it and was heading up to the bathroom when I saw a car pull up. I was filled with chagrin but tried to pull it together. I invited her in and explained that I had forgotten she was coming and she started to pull out her computer and explain, again, the benefits of the long form census data collection.

When she began to read from the computer, having trouble pronouncing the words because of her strong French, and I could smell my bath and also my underarms, I said gently but firmly, “Please do not read all the information, just assume that I understand”.

Then she asked me the names of the people in the house and began to pick out the letters on the keyboard one by one.  I took some very deep breaths and said, in a quiet voice, ‘Isn’t this a bit ridiculous, compared to me just filling out the form myself?’ She explained that they picked the houses randomly so that they had no information about the inhabitants and had to actually physically visit the house.

It took her an hour to drive to my house and I realized now, by the speed of her speech and her typing, why the form took two hours.  I knew that I had invited her and I knew I had to pull it together and be more pleasant.

I made a pot of tea and then I excused myself as best as I could. I explained that I had to go to the bath that I had just poured and I would be right back.  I justified this by acknowledging that I would be better tempered if I followed this plan, and I knew that she was already out on a day’s pay and had no other place to go that day.

I ran upstairs, had a quick bath, pulled my hair back, put on some proper clothes and whipped back. The ordeal was far from over, for both of us.

I did manage to convince her to just ask the questions without the preamble, but when it came to the relationships within the family I became short tempered again. Is Frank the son of Joe, yes, is Rose the daughter of Joe.  Just assume we are one nuclear family, I said, with only one father and one mother, and answer all the questions with that in mind. Are you the mother of Maude?

Then we moved on to my education and things deteriorated even further.  In answering what level of education you have, you can’t say just tell her, you have to look up a list of options in another pamphlet and say, for example, D.

Then I had to explain that I was getting more education and she said, “Yes, lots of education, but no job”.  She dipped her head after that, in an involuntary shudder, realizing that she was not supposed to chide the suckers who actually agree to fill in the form.

Part of me wanted to defend myself, ‘but I only just lost my job last spring, and I may get a new job soon, I am waiting to hear…’ But another part of me wanted to throw her tiny ass out in the snow so I just looked at her. “Have you worked for the government for long”,  I asked. She said she had come from Quebec so that she could be nearer her daughter and her grandchildren.  “That’s nice”, I said.  The English/French divide had hit the moment she walked in,  with the natural superiority that many French hold for the English.

The census continued inexorably. What came next was how much money I had made in the previous year, which turned out to be absolutely nothing. I felt like telling her how she had caught me just after I lost my writing job, but I didn’t. I felt like telling her that in the last year so much more had developed in my head and in my writing than money, but I couldn’t.

I was beginning to get a feeling of my worthlessness, which was seeping into my bones while my head intellectually denied any part of it.  How many hours did I spend on my work? That is hard to say considering it was after caring for my family but also a huge part of my day.  How would I describe my work, what was the most important element of my work, or what part of my work was the most important?

I said, after a pause to think, “Looking after my children”. She paused, hesitated, made a sound as if to argue with me, and then said, “Oui, d’accord”. At least on that we could agree.

Then she left for a snowy drive back to Moncton and a pat on the back from her boss for getting one more person on her list, and I worked on my essay for my last class in Library Studies and cleaned and made food and prepared for hungry kids and their many stories when they returned from school.

To be quite honest, the experience left me a bit  depressed but writing about it has helped.

 

 

Writing about Writing

Published February 1, 2012 by megdedwards

  I wrote this post three years ago. Now I live without my Mom’s voice and I am doing what I promised. I am working on a big project, writing a novel and my mind is playing on a big canvas.

My blog posts arrive quietly in my mind while I am cleaning, sorting or putzing around.

Thoughts develop, themes appear, and I want to talk about them. Sometimes I need to just sit quietly for a while and then my ideas arrive and start bubbling.

I thought I was going to write about love yesterday, but today I find myself writing about writing.

Writing is something that my Poor Mom misses.  Her thoughts bubble about and are delicious, metaphoric and deeply insightful, but she can’t write them down anymore.

I call her My Poor Mom now that Parkinson’s has taken over her life and fogged her hard working mind with apparitions and paralysis. All her life she was a woman with ideas and creative outlets; now she struggles to have a conversation.

We talk about blogging and writing a lot and she remembers her days when she wrote for an internet writing group called NerdNosh.   She wrote episodic memoirs of her life with the caveat that it would be good for her family to have those stories written down.  This was a very happy time for her; she had her own writing room where she would work on her albums and write her Nerdnosh remembrances.

This was as close to being an artist as my Mom got, and believe me, she could have been an artist. During one of our recent poetic, speculative and superbly honest conversations I told my Mom that she could have been a novelist (or painter or filmmaker).  Even now, her imagination and her ability to analyze her imagination are incredible.  When she woke from her weeks of semi-consciousness after her heart operation she told us all about the novels she had been writing while she was resting.

Recently her mind has been creating stories to accompany the hallucinations that crowd into her life. She told me that it is tiring living in the middle of a film set as people are always moving things and putting labels on things.  Even after I confirmed that this was just her own personal apparitions, she went on to tell me that the theme of the film was quite interesting, as if she was writing a film review. “It is all about the dark spaces of nothingness between the frames” she said. I said, “Mom, you are blowing my mind”, and she laughed.

And we went on to talk about why women find it so hard to take themselves seriously as writers or artists.  She told me that her life as she was living it right now would be a good premise for a novel. “I’d make an interesting character”, she said.  As a busy mom she told stories, painted, drew, and played the piano. She surrounded her children with creativity, worked as a journalist, an administrator and an agent. But she never created a story that was parallel and separate from her.

We wondered together what type of personality it took to sacrifice time and energy to a novel. We know that men and women do it all the time, even women with children, (which is truly remarkable) but we wondered what it is that drives them to produce purely fictional material.

What stops so many of us from grasping the full title, or aiming for the highest achievement? Can I create more than patches on a quilt of my life stories, or ‘mere light nothings’ as my Mom calls it? I feel that being a fiction writer may require a bigger ego than I have, or possibly, more mental discipline and stamina. But as I near the age of fifty I know that I not only have a perfectly good ego, but stamina and discipline.

I am fascinated by women’s writing and why they write and how they write. I am interested in the entire debate of a ‘woman’s voice’ and whether you can say there is one.  An old text book on Feminist Literary Theory, my conversations with my lapsed writer mom, and my blog are all leading me irrevocably down a path.

In respect of my Mom, and with love to my Mom, I feel that I have to take the creative process one step further.  Women are often content to create as we go; our story telling, our art work, our sewing and knitting adorn our lives and others, but are washed away in the current of life.

Maybe that is best. I don’t know. I don’t think that ‘fine art’ is better than craft; it is just defined and valued that way. But sometimes we hold back from creating something big because of a lack of confidence, and that is not a good reason.

In our latest conversation I told Mom I would attempt to take writing to the next level.  My mom has always said you are not a writer unless you have a manuscript hiding at the bottom of your files.  I have those, a pile of them, and they are very old and dusty or in ‘word’ files that can no longer be opened by any proper computer.

I told her I would try. It is a big commitment, promising a dying woman that you will write stories for her sake, but my only saving grace is that Mom may forget what I said.

So I have a project I am handing myself,  I am going to take all my lost children, my unfinished stories, and work on them with the same upbeat, sensible wordsmith practicality I take to my journalism or public ‘journaling’ (blog).  No self-loathing or recriminations, no high expectations or fear of failure, just a person who is happy to have her mind and fingers still working together.

And I better work quickly so my Mom has enough vigor to be able to criticize what I create; I don’t mind, I can take it.

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