In search of story


Vagaries in Gestation: On Being Linear, Part lV, March 16.17

If there are no lines in Nature,

how unnatural is this place?

what narrow box, right-angled well,

what one-eyed vortexed face?

Phantasmic vague stalactites

shadows flat, diffuse

Kafka-like, I morph

into hypotenuse.

Walls and floor and ceiling

and claustophobic me

all sucked into a point

 of squashed infinity.

More thanks to the S.W. Berg Photo Archives.

Vagaries in Gestation


Connections: January 30.17


word so dressy

but it’s still nosebleed

obnoxious, messy.

I have this thing

called H.H.T.*

commonest symptom

nosebleeds, you see.

So people say

“What a big yawn —

I’ve had nosebleeds

they’ve come and they’ve gone.”

Not for me

with H.H.T.

Instead of blood vessels

with cute little capillaries

I have kinky pretzel-like

vascular vagaries.

Some are big

and some are small

but “older” and “weaker”

apply to them all.

From brain in the north

to legs in the south

the bleed that startles most

is the one in the mouth,

that look to which

I most aspire:

the dripping, sated

happy vampire.

I’m sick and tired

of all the red tissue

but I realize this

really isn’t the issue.

The headlines fill me

with fear and foreboding

the whole bloody mess

is too near exploding.

Epistaxis is just

that last mythic straw

which gets the angst

unstuck from my craw.

*Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasias, aka Osler-Weber-Rendu Syndrome,

a genetic bleeding disorder I tried to describe previously in In Our Blood.

It’s about a lot more than nosebleeds.



Vagaries in Gestation: November 28.16


Yesterday I drove to the park and, as always, slowed on the adjacent street, where little wiggly people are unloaded from back seats. A car at the curb had its doors open on the street side, so I stopped and waited.

A man stood at the side of the car, arm outstretched, helping someone out. Not a wiggly little person but a ponderously slow older person. A woman. Bundled warmly against the November day, she held his hand tightly. I caught only a brief glimpse of her but I knew. I knew those blank eyes and that empty face. I knew that slight curl inward. I couldn’t swallow because of the lump in my throat and I couldn’t see because of the tears. It all comes back so quickly.

I walked around the park and so did they. No. They did not walk. She moved her feet in that familiar shuffle, achingly slow, leaning hard on him. His baby steps described patience beyond words. Twice I noticed that they stood in embrace, she apparently clinging to him.

There was a slight wind, causing tears to run down my face. I tasted their salt and was grateful for the release.

Caregiving and dementia change people so I cannot say if he were husband or son, but I think son. I think the husband was at the playground with a little granddaughter, he seeking respite which isn’t because there is no respite from dementia. It is merciless in its constancy and as steely cold as the water in the creek.

I stood over the creek yesterday and thought about the cold water that runs through life and the daunting aloneness of those who stand firm in it.





Vagaries in Gestation



Vagaries: October 11.16


best friend


curse and godsend.

 This clumsy chunk of wood and wire

monument to stubbornness

taught me to be

Queen of Stubborn


patient and impatient.

I had an itch

way deep

that made me touch the keys.

I had to play.

I cannot remember life without a piano

this love-hate relationship that coddled my inwardness

yet insisted the music go outward

so how can I think of life without it ?

No inanimate object, this,

but a being with breath


a forgiving affection for me.

Is it disappointed?

I was never great

but I was good.

More, I entered in to a human thing

the thing with music



we all itch.

Is it



Is it time to send this

wooden person

to the heap of my past

with dolls

and love letters?