finally, sleep came but tinged with terror …


I have been taking photos of my eyes when I sleep becomes a mystery to me. This is day 3 or 4 with no sleep (losing track of days). I played with the black and white and sepia tones to make evident my circles under my eyes. I feel I am garish.

So, I finally find my way to sleep last night. I was reading reading reading for hours and finally just had to close my eyes, then sleep came. It was a mercy.

But it was interrupted about 4:30 this morning (seems to be the usual time this occurs … as evident in my dream journal) with a terrifying nightmare that would make Andre Breton proud … a surreal nightmare. I was here, in the city of Chicago sitting in my apartment. Then I was suddenly compelled to go outside after hearing the sounds of horses outside. Lots of horses, a neighing procession, and pigs snorting. It sounded like I would imagine a morning in a zoo or on a farm may sound … not city sounds. Once I found myself outside, nothing. No horses, pigs, animals, people, nothing. I thought about the neutron bomb … I started panting. Feeling suffocated. A full-fledged panic attack. I ran to the beach and saw one person … his organic form standing there like a dislocated daffodil … smirking. The only other form that was present is the ever-present faceless man in the navy suit who is always there just watching me suffer. Is he a guardian? Is he a sadomasochistic misogynist loving the show of my suffering soul? I was chased to the pier by the daffodil bad man and jumped into the lake caring for nothing anymore. I remember thinking, “I care for nothing anymore. This is it.” I awoke in a sweat soaked through my tank top, my sheets, my hair was wet, I couldn’t breathe.

I have been experiencing immense amounts of anxiety with a move that was hellish beyond belief, an anxiety of being alone without the protection of my sweet love, Don. The oneness of being alone with my thoughts. No more nightly chances to kiss him, be held by him, to make him steaks that make him blush.

I have spent a great amount of time just sitting. Listening to the outside’s constancy. A city at my feet … the sounds all day, all night. So any silence is terrifying. My total terror. I have been worried about fire overtaking my building and killing my cats … so I spend the nights I am up all night feeling the walls, the door, the floors, feeling for heat, for fire, sniffing for smoke while I burn sage and chant for our safety and happiness.

Then Don walks up to me in this city every weekend and my heart falls into happy pieces and comes back together, red and hearty and true as anything in the world.

But then I dream of a bad man from moons passed … and he reminded me for the first time as an awkward daffodil and I couldn’t get over his awkwardness. Why I wanted this … wondering where my soul was in this time. I know it was gone as the Shaman told me in my soul retrieval. He said he had seen my soul part on a porch step crying. She came back to me and I knew that second … I was in a bad way, a bad place in all ways. I felt her peace when she returned to me. Felt a bit like a strong handshake followed immediately with a long and genuine hug.

And now, this dream.

My fear (like I need another one) now is that she has left me again. That my last depression was too much for her. That I had betrayed my promise to her to never let anyone or anything hurt us again. Is she gone?

And now, this dream. And so today I am being followed by it still, the feelings of it, evoking feelings of fear, panic, and that horrid feeling I have only genuinely felt once of truly being detested by another human being. A man who detested me enough to rummage through my panties like I was a poke shop tinged with that feeling of complete indifference toward me … like I was on consignment as a lawn chair tattered from too many storms. I wasn’t new. I wasn’t anything real at all.

Why now? Is the anxiety I feel daily in these last weeks bringing up dated feelings of anxiety and emptiness those years ago? That daily feeling of stupidity I was coerced into feeling … and letting it all happen was the worst part of it, what is really scarring. I think I am also noticing not having sessions with doctor.

There’s nothing scarier than: What is happening to me? Meaning it as much as reality, the reality of a chair I sit in right now, the reality of my hands, of my eyes watching a man argue with someone on his cellphone like he’s the only one in the world.

I saw the light after my shamanic counseling and meetings with my psychic. With doctor. Finding myself again. And now, this dream.

So today I will go to The Modern Wing again. Art always puts everything into perspective, manageable pieces of truth that deliver peace to me.I will sigh with it all today.

And then my sweet Don will be here tonight. I will have him next to me tonight and tomorrow as my protecting soul and sleep may come to me uninterrupted and safely now.

Published in: on August 28, 2009 at 6:37 pm  Comments (2)  

pondering crime with poems …


I know this is old news, I believe first reported in December of 2008: A piano found by a woman strolling in a wooded conserve in Massachusetts near The Cape. Having been invited to potentially contribute to an upcoming issue of The Lineup, a chapbook of poetry about crime, I am revisiting this news story. This story that has been marinating in one way or another in my mind since I first came across it last year.

I am also revisiting The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death about the creations of Frances Glessner Lee. The notion of a small world in the literal sense has always and always enticed me. I am attempting visual art in this medium, but also in my poetry. Here, in particular, is an image, a crime that is inspiring me to write a poem. I desire to give a voice to this murdered woman, allegedly a prostitute, to give a voice to pain, to vice, to our human existence in the dark room.


Lee, a Chicago aristocrat who was also amazingly talented in sewing and miniature work with dreams of a career in law (a dream stumped by her social standing and her being a woman of course). So Lee created macabre nutshell studies of crime scenes to train detectives in finding clues. The original scenes are still, to my knowledge, in Maryland, and still, to my knowledge, are being used in training still today. Thanks, Mary Ruefle Love, for recommending Nutshell Studies … you are a dear heart.

I arrive at these news stories with imagery, with a poet’s eye in a sense. I needed something, a poetic goal, and thank the dear editor of The Lineup for sending me back into the caves of poetry, a room of clues to figure …

My first poem since living in Chicago, “The Crimes of Cat-Calling” is on its way to fruition … beginning with what all of this really means to me … does to me.

It’s a crime, men having the time of their lives,
cutting me down to the humidity of my panties.
How am I supposed to handle this disaster?

And it is a disaster to me to feel a crime wave coming on because of the pig-minds of strangers. They don’t want me here, that’s how it really feels.

But I am home now. Is it a crime to think that is now mine?

Published in: on August 27, 2009 at 9:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

observations of today after days of learning and leaning into the soul of Francis Bacon


Look at Bacon here … Francis Bacon … the man who always mentioned hating his face, his look (thanks in great part to disparaging parents). And here, now, today, this man, dead since 1992 … a year I was likely correcting my family’s grammar and generally being a little cow to everyone around me thinking I knew everything. And here, now, today, his face fills me with intense life, sitting here now before me like a most beautiful parakeet sensing its own difficulty with intensity and color.

My sweet love, Don bought me the Michael Peppiatt biography of Francis Bacon titled, Anatomy of an Enigma. It is apparent to me that this book is written by a man who shared much time with Bacon since it is written so genuinely and compassionately, but also truthfully as only a friend could see and tell truth. I am finding myself staying up into the wee hours unable to pull myself away from Bacon, what I am beginning (and only beginning) to decipher of the true Modern genius.

In reading the biography, articles, and staring intently at his work, I am finding the world to be a different place in my eyes. This is the moment, for me, when art turns into the capital “A” Art … when it questions, alters, and forces one to reconsider their perceptions.

So today, I am in a coffeehouse in Chicago, watching the hipsters flit around like little birds manifesting absurdity. I say this being a poet and an artist myself, knowing there is a level of narcissism in me, and definitely absurdity and all of this is okay as long as there is a great amount of time you walk out of yourself as if you would a room, moving through the doorway, shutting the door, and out to see, to be, without any in BE-ing in mind at all.


Bacon’s main predilections that give life and intensity, and that uncomfortable Truth, to his work are the elements of Chance, Disguise, Pleasure / Pain, and Chaos. As this photo of his studio illustrates, Bacon thrived and needed chaos … in his room to work, in his life to function. The revolving door of pubs, lovers, and gambling was a necessary aspect of Bacon, necessary to explore and that he did, amid massive chaos all while his nanny (who lived with him till her death in the 1950s) slept on his kitchen table.

Chaos in my life is necessary as well. As a child and a teen, especially after 16 when I was diagnosed with Bipolar, I created chaos, drama, anything to keep my world from getting right-side up. And everyone around me suffered because of it — family, friends. I avoided lovers until I was 22 years old … having had only a couple “dates” which basically meant I was perusing books at the local bookstore with my “date.”

In college, I was told again and again to cease my chaos in my poetry. And tried. It was so unnatural for me. Herb Scott at Western Michigan University where I received my MFA, allowed me again, encouraged me, to have that chaos if it was needed. Chaos can still be chaos even if it is controlled chaos. And in higher education began the lover card, my little shows of intensity to a man who was attracted to my chaos, and as the first man to break my heart put it whilst screwing another woman behind my wild back, my eyes are always “scavenging”and for a while it is nice then awfully bad. I only remember for sure his word “scavenging” to describe my eyes. I remember also thinking it was wondrous for him to say that, but then realizing it would doom me for years with men, especially the textbook narcissists who flocked to me and I to them.

And like Bacon, part of my chaos has been hating my face, my body, especially the unduly tearing through my chest by strange men. I don’t want to hate them, and especially do not want to hate myself, my face, my body as I often do.

Bacon may have disagreed with my view of Chaos, something I had not thought much of until now, till learning Francis and Chaos. He probably would not have agreed that to me, Chaos to be pure, pure Chaos, must also have a level of peace, or trying for peace, just never pure peace. There must always be the chaos but the wiles of it must be permeated also by a seeking for peace. I have been making peace with my body, my face, my hair as I tangle it into “sculptures” of pins all over my head. I will wear my chaos and be it.

Chaos for me is necessary because it is the only moment in my daily life that I feel my heart be mangled like a piece of paper. As if my heart has been taken out of me, put on the top of an open door and then closed upon till I can “control” the chaos again, in poetry, in my artwork, in looking at the mirror, in the mirror, to myself, as I now look also to Bacon, my sweet Francis, he and I standing in my tiny bathroom looking in the mirror at ourselves and each other, at chaos. Me making a sculpture in my hair and Francis piling on the lipstick and rouge. Ah, lovely chaos.

And in this vision, I also feel him staggering somewhere in my upper right arm right now. This moment, coughing out his desires and his missives of chaotic beauty.

Published in: on August 19, 2009 at 9:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

my city life … and myself as visual artist?


Living now in a large city instead of a small one is bringing many odd little imagistic parallels and feelings to my disquieted surface. While I am loving the senses that are so constant all around me, I find myself terrified a few moments during each day and night even if only for a few seconds at a time. Aaron, maybe a little like you said to me last night? The overstimualtion curse? But it passes like a breeze. Never long. Brief as quick encounters.

Wanting to hide under the mesh of mind and thickening humid winds, wanting to proclaim myself as a new fixture here, all the while wanting to only be an observer. This is why I love to be with Art, write about and study Art, but tend to hide that visual artist part of myself. My art is usually about my personal relationships, illness, past lovers from hell, and my family’s beauty. Now as I know the truth of a real man and real love, a series, My Lovers from Hell thus begins its germination in my mind. Think: a sardonic playground menagerie of deviant mood killers pretending to be Casanovas? A visual poem of the forced learning experience of hellish hearts.

The only regrets that exist come as majorettes of time, a parade of normal hate.

And I sit here and I ponder my sadness in being without the love of my life most of my life right now. And I think of this knowing this lonesome time is good for everything in the Beautiful.

And I am dreaming of living in a pie-shaped room with the love of my life in Marina City, never having to leave the confines of a white bed if not desired. My ultimate life that is so far away from me today. Steaks made from my heart to slap a smile on my lover’s face. The hums of the subway and the fridge giving us goosebumps we absolutely earned in our time as the ones with lovers from hell that saw us like a convenience of toilet paper and cocktail party bravado.

And now, in walking the streets thinking intently, noticing the shapes in life, I am being interrupted by urban men who “want to talk” to me. I hate this and being a well-endowed woman is sometimes the greatest karmic curse of reincarnation. I was a cat-calling pig in my former life, right?

My heart aches today with a want to be invisible, wombed and loved in a big bed white with astute observations.

I never want to dread a walk home.

Someday I want to make someone cry with only 6 words.

Published in: on August 10, 2009 at 8:02 pm  Leave a Comment