Oddments

In search of story


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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.

 

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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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Vagaries in Gestation: On Being Linear, Part lll, March 15.17

©M. O’Hern

 

There may be no lines in Nature, but there are lines in Geometry, where I learned that a line is an infinite series of dots, that we see only a segment of it as it stretches into infinity. That hurt my head.

Can’t a line be just a line? Must Geometry ruin more than an hour of the school day? Must it contaminate every sketch wherein a line suggests a form, a gesture?

These lines tell of a hand, our first tool and our last. If the lines stretch into infinity, how fitting that they take with them this transient tool. This hand, no longer useful, waits. My pencil reaches out, as does my heart, to that waiting, transcribing it to something see-able. Something tangible. Some way to show what I feel. Some way to keep my dad.

When I sketched this, I didn’t know he would die in two days. I only knew that I was seeing things that no one else saw. I was alone at his bedside, as usual. I am sure that, as it sketched, my hand was also reaching out. Would anyone ever know what this was like for the solitary daughter? Yes. Now you know.

If the line we see is only a segment of its infinite self, what does that tell us about everything else we see?

It flows then like the line that the simplicity of a sketch is not simple at all.

 

 

 

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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Connections: May 4

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAThe waiting chair

where time stops

where machines and tubes

beepings, flashing numbers

measure life

in lifeless pulse.

My chair once

sometimes my younger son’s

as we

waited

for one fading generation

now my firstborn’s

as he waits

for me.

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Connections: January 27

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAIf you are colorless

like death

parchment shade of yourself

suspended

over winter water

— leering mirror

waggly-lined mockery of the real —

bent ever closer

to the purr of cold,

solitary

  unclothed

    but for frost’s wrap,

    rooted in a clay famine

   thick with indifference,

then

you are caregiver.

Warmth and shelter of Denial

hoarded by others,

yours the endless winter of dementia

never

never

 spring.

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Connections: November 8

An entire playground!

Does it matter?

Naturally not —

they want the same ladder.

At the same moment.

Because better than play

is sibling foment.

An album opens

in my head —

other siblings,

some long dead.

‘Twas ever thus:

siblings meant to feud and fuss.

Then years go agley

to entropy:

family, home, brain and bone.

One crumpled sibling stands alone

in hospital starkness

sleepless darkness.

Why is one

the caregiver daughter or caregiver son?

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