silence

You are silent.

I try a little more but I am tired. I am tired of drama, trauma drama. I dream and dream and dream. I dream that my ex touches a live bat. The bat changes in my dream, from a tiny brown nose bat to a huge fox bat with fur and stripes. It is unconscious.

“Don’t touch it! You touched it! Now we have to take it to the Health Department!” I am eyeing the bat and thinking of throwing something over it. A container. It’s huge.

My ex laughs. “No we don’t.”

“Yes we do! Rabies! It could have rabies! If we don’t take it in, you’ll need rabies shots!” Poor bat, I think, it will be killed to test for rabies.

My ex keeps laughing. “I’m not going to be tested, I won’t have shots, and the bat is fine!”

“WHAT!” I say, “No, you could die!”

I wake up. What was that dream about? Oh. It’s about you, refusing to test for Covid after being exposed. You said you would hike with me. “Not if you won’t test,” I say, “I can’t afford to get Covid again, I can’t be around you for 15 days if you won’t test.”

And you go silent.

And I try a little more and I let go. You will have to break the silence if you plan to keep your promises. Will you or won’t you? I am supposed to trust you. But people say trust me, and then sometimes they are drunk, and lying, and you can’t trust them. “I will never hurt you,” is a lie. Try this instead: “I will try not to hurt you and I will listen if you feel hurt.” And change, maybe?

Maybe.

________________

Dreams are funny. Fox bats ARE the largest bats in the world, but they do not have stripes: https://allthatsinteresting.com/giant-golden-crowned-flying-fox.

march on

This is my dead steampunk pirate costume. That’s what I wore Saturday morning for the Farmer’s Market. Friends were playing music and I danced. I managed to lure one very little person out to dance. She held my fingers and watched my feet as I let her around. She was fascinated, but did not want to look at my face. Sensible small person!

I switched to a skirt and skeletal stockings for the evening. The stockings are both left legs. The socks are both right legs. You can tell by where the fibula is in the lower leg: it should not be on the same side in both legs! I danced to a great Port Angeles Band: funk and reggae. I liked Joan Baez reggae style. Loads of fun and I won the dead steampunk pirate category. Well, there weren’t categories. I gave the prize to the band.

My friend P took this photograph with my phone. Thank you, P!

I need some stamina today. I have my last pulmonary rehabilitation visit, #24, and then a dress rehearsal tonight for the concert on Saturday and Sunday. You should come!

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: stamina.

Rebel in clinic

Right before my hospital district informed me that they no longer wanted my services, I was rebelling. The fight from my perspective, was over good patient care. They had set a quota. 18 patients a day. One every 20 minutes and one 40 minute visit. 8 am to noon and 1 pm to 5. I argued and argued and argued. I knew finishing the note in the room took me 25 minutes on the hateful electronic medical record and I had averaged 16 patients a day my whole career. I was not fast but I was super thorough and had just gotten an excellent report on a chart review and had been told that I was a great diagnostician. Which was mostly due to my nearly OCD thoroughness. I was not diplomatic with the hospital administration.

One day I was feeling wicked, just wicked. I had a brainstorm and started whistling softly. The other two doctors and PA were all in the same small office.

One took the bait. “What is that? I know that song.”

“Oh, we are singing it in chorus. For some reason it is in my head today.” So I sang this song.

I did not have the words memorized. I swear that the temperature in the room dropped and the male doctors hunched in their chairs.

“Yeah, don’t know why that one keeps playing in my head.” I said. “I hope you can all come to the concert!”

But answer came there none.

I took the photograph at Quimper Family Medicine, the clinic I opened after the hospital clinic kicked me out. The skeleton was named Mordechai in a contest. This is from 2014. Mordechai lived in our waiting room every October, with different outfits.

Birds

Rainshadow Chorale is going to sing like Shakespeare birds on November 5th and 6th. I think this will be another delightful and really fun concert. I tried out for a solo wearing a cowgirl hat. My hat got a solo. I got a small group part. I’m too jealous of my hat, of my hat.

Why a cowgirl hat for Shakespeare? You’ll have to come to the concert to find out! We have composers ranging from Purcell to modern, all using Shakespeare’s words.

Anyhow, mark your calendars. My father was one of the initial eight choral members in 1997 and I joined in 2000. Sing on!

Here is our website: Rainshadow Chorale.

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: birds.

Songs to Raise Girls: The Humpty Dumpty Blues

This is Malcolm K. Ottaway, my father, singing the Humpty Dumpty Blues in 2009.

He made them up when I was two. Here are the two stories that my mother would tell and that I finally linked.

In the early 1960s my parents married at age 21 and were both going to the University of Tennessee. They married in June and I was born the next March. In a tuberculosis sanatorium, because my mother started coughing blood at 8 months pregnant. She thought she was going to die. She didn’t die, but after I was born she did not hold me again until I was nine months old. I was suspicious of adults by then, because they kept giving me away.

My parents had music parties, where my father played guitar. My mother had a prodigious memory and would remember every verse, so she was the last one singing. My mother said, “At one party you wanted your father to play Humpty Dumpty. He wouldn’t. You were the only child there. You kept asking. Finally he made up the Humpty Dumpty Blues. You were so angry at him that you stomped your feet at him and everyone laughed.”

And the second story: “One morning after a party, your father picked up his guitar. It RATTLED. It had 17 beer bottle caps in it. We checked and not one person had seen you pick up a beer bottle cap or put it through the strings. It took your father hours to slide the bottle caps out from under the strings with a butter knife.”

Well, that will teach him to not sing a song for the two year old. At any rate, he sang the Humpty Dumpty Blues my whole life. I don’t remember the original party or sliding bottle caps through the strings. I must have done it after the party was over, right? Did I go during the party and pick up every cap I could find, or did I already have a hidden stash? Two year olds can be sneaky, apparently.

At any rate, I am very happy to have the recording now, even though the original made me stomp my feet.

The photograph is of me, in about 1963 or 64. I don’t know who took it, but it was taken at Lake Matinenda, in Ontario, Canada.

Songs to Raise Girls: three songs

The Ragtag Daily Prompt today is memorize, and oh, what I have memorized! I saw a t-shirt at the Nowhereelse Festival in Ohio that said, “My memory is 80% lyrics.” Yes, me too, a mix of songs, poetry and books that I have read. My sister Chris and I were busily memorizing songs as soon as we could. Here are three very educational songs for young girls. The last one we learned from our cousin, who was a girl scout and a girl scout leader. She was in the calendar one year, making cookies. I was very very impressed and a little jealous.

I bought a four hour recording session at a silent auction and the recordings are me and my sister and my father. We did them in two sessions. We made a list of songs and lost it immediately so we all took turns suggesting songs. My mother had already died of cancer. My sister died in 2012 and my father in 2013. I am so glad to have these recordings. We called it Mocoko for Malcolm Ottaway, Chris Ottaway and Katherine Ottaway. We sang most of them just once and so they are not polished, but I still am happy to have them.

Bridget O’Flynn

I sang Bridget O’Flynn to my daughter when she called me about dancing. “Mom! I love to twirl!” Um, well, yes, your parents met at a contra dance at Glenn Echo Park in Maryland. We love to twirl too.

Late in the evening

A cautionary song, an old barbershop quartet song, that we sang.

Fascinating Lady

I wonder if the girl scouts still sing this.

The photograph is my son scaring me. Ok, that boulder is sitting there balanced BUT! GET OUT OF THERE! Taken in Palm Springs in 2011 up on the mesa. Beautiful.

always on your mind

This is a compilation poem from more than one song and more than one person I’ve dated. A friend and I really dislike a song her husband sings that has the “I wish that you had told me” line. We make faces at each other and whisper, “We wish that you had listened.”

Sometimes I am treated as an admiring audience by a male. At least, that is the role he would like me to play. I get pretty bored pretty quickly. If he doesn’t give me reasonable floor time, if he doesn’t listen, well, goodbye. Find another female slave. One male tells me that my poetry doesn’t matter. I think, oh, I guess it doesn’t matter to YOU, but it certainly matters to ME. There is a certain wicked enjoyment in writing poetry that references his words, heh heh. Enjoy!

October 8, 2022

________________________

always on your mind

the songs you sing
I was always on your mind
you wish that I had told you

isn’t that a lie?
you told me never to ask you
to do anything. Ever.

what was always on your mind
you told me many times
you could read mine

what was always on your mind
you said you could read mine
I wish you had. Even once.

what was always on your mind
was your fantasy me
who obeyed your every wish

what was always on your mind
was that I would wait at home
available to listen or for sex

what was always on your mind
your terror of the ball and chain
that I’d entrap you into marriage

what was always on your mind
had nothing to do with me
I tried hard to tell you

what was always on your mind
had nothing to do with me
I tried hard to tell you

what was always on your mind
was a fantasy. Not me.
How can you be surprised I’m gone?

you wish that I had told you
you say I was always on your mind
I wish that you had listened even once

_______________________________

I took the photograph on Marrowstone Island a few days ago.

lost wings

every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings

what sound is the opposite of a bell?

a bell that has lost its tongue? its voice?

a silence when shaken?

a bell rung that doesn’t speak

an angel’s wings are lost

what have they done?

how have they failed?

and why

_____________

the ineffable silence

remains

Getting ready

Rainshadow Chorale is practicing, masked, but practicing, for our concerts the first week of November.

I think it’s going to be fabulous!

Our website: http://rainshadowchorale.org/

Now all we need is the audience! Mark your calendars!

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: audience.