Oddments

In search of story


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January 8.18

This conflagration, dear reader, was my birthday cake last night. Today is the actual date (yes, me and Elvis), but last night was the family do. What makes this flaming cake blog-worthy is the arrangement along the far arc of it. If you look closely and use just a little imagination for the emoji candles, you will see (I’ve no doubt) that the 1001011 is my birthday in binary. My family, ladies and gentlemen! Undeterred by the lack of a 7 and a 5, they devised a binary 75! I seemed to be the only one at the table to be slow on the pick-up. Yes, yes, I know what “binary” means, but it is hardly where my brain goes when I don’t have the right candles!

You may note the second cake. My daughter-in-law, in all other ways an exemplary person, does not like frosting. So there is always an angel food cake for her. Full disclosure: no one objects to having a piece with her.

Now to real life: I lay me down last night after a full day which followed one of those rotten sleepless nights. Of course I couldn’t fall asleep. This is partly age, partly my lifelong struggle with insomnia, partly too much binary cake. After about an hour, I drifted off. At 1:20 I was awakened by chirping. Yes, chirping! One of these wretched alarms was chirping! Which one, and what would I do about it in this new house?

You may know, dear reader, that any venture in the wee hours starts with a trip to the bathroom, and that’s where I saw all the blood in my mouth. How long had that been going on? I rinsed and spit and spit and rinsed. It’s this blasted HHT, as you may know if you’ve read my blog for long. It took a few shaky minutes to stop it.

The bleeding stopped but not the chirping. There I was, at 1:30 in the morning, atop a ladder at the top of the stairs, feeling woozy and not at all patient. I couldn’t figure out anything about the rotten thing. So it continued its own happy-birthday song to me. And it continues now with its soothing beepathon.

And so begins my 75th birthday. I have broken my rule of the 300-word blog post limit, which I have abided by almost unfailingly. But it’s my birthday and I’ll write if I want to.

 

 

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Connections: October 29.17

Deaf phone line

hard blue chair

what’s the point?

no one’s there

austere right angles

sterile, glistening

rigid vacuum:

no one’s listening.

You may think this

nihilistic

but caregivers know

it’s realistic.

 

One of the reasons I started my blog was to write about caregiving. I return to that subject from time to time although I continually grapple with the related issue of denial. It’s so much easier to deny than to listen because listening requires acknowledging. But denial makes the caregiver’s isolation unimaginably more damaging.

 

With thanks to the S.W. Berg Photo Archives for this expressive, poignant photo.

 

Connections


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Connections: September 6.17

I went to the dentist’s yesterday

and as soon as I walked in

I started sneezing my head off

it made an awful din.

WachOOOwachOOOwachOOOwachOOO!!

My breath — I couldn’t catch it!

My head flew off and rolled

I had to run to fetch it!

WachOOOwachOOOwachOOO!

all the long drive home

my head expanding rapidly

into a throbbing dome.

I cozied up to kleenex

 and spent a rotten night

wachOOOwachOOOwachOOOing

 snuffling through the blight.

No clue what hit so sudden

or how this will play out

I only know this morning

I’m a red-nosed layabout.

If lookers want to see my house

with its kleenex dunes and blots

I’ll simply say wachOOOwachOOO

and ask if they’ve had their shots.

 

 

 

Connections

 

 


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Connections: August 2.17

“I get around”

 ah, Beach Boys and youth!

A few things have changed,

but it’s still the truth:

from surfboard to cane

we do what we must

so keep up or back off,

and pardon our dust!

 

 

 

More thanks to the S.W. Berg Photo Archives

and a resounding beep-beep to D.J. Berg’s sense of adventure.

Connections

 


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Connections: July 12.17

The aging gardener

captured here

tells the story

loud and clear:

sunburn, sweat

arthritic knee

callous, puncture

sting of bee

ideas spawned

by maniac

with creaking

sacroiliac

swollen knuckle

blackened nail

back and shoulder

growing frail

in love of plants

all too transparent

oft perceived

as blithe aberrant

and yet withal

a kind of glow

why is that?

who can know?

 

 

 

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

Connections

 


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Vagaries in Gestation: On Being Linear, Part V, April 5.17

The pillow of an insomniac

cleaved by her back

tells of her vigil

sitting upright

in the black cold syrup

of slow minutes

the hour of the wolf

they call it

because it stalks the weak

because it devours

nothing changes in her grey room

but behind her eyes

the pageant of life

and death

rehearsing every misspoken line

rebreathing every choked breath

rewalking every unknowable path

sitting up

but wandering

trapped

amid the masks and powdered wigs

of

judges

and mimes.

Vagaries in Gestation


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Connections: January 30.17

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAEpistaxis

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.

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