Walk with rabbits

Some days I can’t chuckle
when the news rolls in
my heart could buckle
shootings again

US gun habits
What’s up doc? Dagnabbit.

Shootings on the year of the rabbit
dancers dead as they celebrate
Why are guns such a habit?
I refuse to fill my heart with hate

Gun sales stab it
Year of the rabbit

Forgive but do not reconcile
let my resolve not buckle
mental health takes a while
let no demented chuckle

Fearful gun habits
online snared like rabbits

They argue they must defend their homes
daughter teacher on the line
fearful males online alone
think that guns will make them fine

Fear is a habit
Stop being rabbits

Leave your basement
Help another
Walk the pavement
Earth as mother

Make it a habit
To walk out with rabbits

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For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: chuckle.

rebirth

I take joy in the birth of the sun each morning and the winter promise of light and warmth and spring.

Joy to you and yours today!

I took this in late September, 2022. In the winter the sun does not rise above the bluff on North Beach.

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: birth.

Winter bless us

Winter bless us year end dark and freezing
winter turn us inwards prayer for joy
prayer for joy for young ones all are seizing
others mourn loved deaths, eschewing toys
darkness let us settle loving all
silence let us turn our thoughts to peace
walk in wind and birds, iced trees so tall
few are out to gently walk the streets
the frozen ground holds lives that lie in wait
in freezing seeds hear the call and know
let every human drop their arms and hate
while seeds lie in wait to grow
let winter’s silence fill our hearts with joy
let peace descend, war melt to children’s toys

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A poem for Christine Goodenough after reading her Winter Delights.

Reconcile

I have been thinking about family a lot this week. My mother’s family has been gossiping about me now for a decade and not one of them has ever talked to me directly about my father’s will. They have a story. They never checked it. It stars me as a villain. They seem to think I controlled attorneys, which is laughable.

I forgive them.

However, I think a decade is enough. I forgive them but I no longer want to reconcile. For ten years I hoped that they would talk to me. I have asked them to, more than one person, more than once. They say that they want to believe what they want to believe. I offered to send copies of bank statements to back up what I said. No. And a cousin silenced me by saying, “Don’t make me hate my sister.” The message is that I can be part of the family for some of them, as long as I remain silent as a tomb on this topic.

No. I won’t. And it’s just like all the silencing that goes on over the world. People say they would not stand by while someone is hurt, but my family sure seems to enjoy having me be the silenced gossiped about villain. I am sick of it. They can go to where ever it is that karma will take them: gossip, after all, is a sin.

And so I am reconciled. I am reconciled after a decade to adding these people to my list of dead. Our friendship is dead, my family feeling towards them is dead, I am not asking or waiting or hoping any more.

Forgiveness is a solo job. We forgive others.

Forgiveness is NOT reconciliation. You should not take an abuser back. You should not let someone treat you badly and refuse to listen to you and refuse to apologize. I know one person whose apologies run something like “I am sorry that you took offense to what I said/did.” Um. That is not an apology. That is putting it on me, it’s my fault for taking offense. The person has no intention of changing and does not actually care how I feel. I am not okay with that. The person is forgiven but there has not been a reconciliation.

With my maternal family, I am letting it go. I would like there to be more peace in the world but as long as people cling to having villains, to believing gossip, to perpetuating gossip and hatred and meanness, I do not think we will have peace in the world.

But in letting this go, I have peace in my heart.

Peace you and please peace me.

Weight

Sorrow weights my chest like lead: breathing
is hard. Today I can cry for a minute or so
and then that is over. Sorrow teething
tearing at me from inside like a crow’s
beak sharp pointed poking grabbing tearing
winter break approaching everyone goes
insane buying drinking drugging bearing
the cost into the New Year deepening woes
I miss the dead: father sister mother
Read my mother’s journals when I am ten
She writes about art and us and other
friends dead. Her voice clear again.
My mother is my age when she dies.
Her younger voice: memory smiles and cries.

In the dark

I choose to dwell in the dark with the monsters.

I came here because I wanted to understand how people could be monsters. People turn in to monsters sometimes. Not the crazy people or the serial killers: just normal people. They have enormous fights in their families. They get drunk or use drugs. They kill themselves with cigarettes. They sit unmoving in front of the television. They fight family or close friends. Families sue each other over the parent’s will. They fight over the stuff or over mother or over who will take care of father. They disown each other. They say “I only let nice people in my life.” That leaves me out. And I don’t want anything to do with anyone who says that. That is monstrous. Do they turn the other cheek? Do they love their neighbor as themselves? No. They are monsters.

I kept studying the monsters and studying them, until I found my own. I rescued mine from a deep hole. The monsters were babies. They were filthy and frightened and crying and abandoned. I washed them and diapered them and fed them and wrapped them in blankets. They stared at me, sullen. They had no idea how to respond to being cared for. I had to learn to love them. I loved them right away, even though they were monsters. I cared for them and they grew up, loved, happy, adults.

And then I see the monsters in other people. People hide their monsters, stuff them in dungeons, neglect them, deny them, scream at them. The monsters realize that I can see them and they start crying. “Help us! Please! Let us out! We are cold! We are hungry! We are neglected!” I learn not to talk to the monsters until the person is gone. The person may never talk to me again if I acknowledge the monster. They think I am the monster. I’ve reminded them of theirs or named them! Most people hate it. I learn, slowly and painfully, that I can only talk to the monsters after their people leave. The monsters hang around. They tell me their stories. They tell me their misery. I hold them while they cry, heads in my lap, howling and breaking things. But eventually they have to return to their person, to their jail, to their suffering.

I like the monsters better than the people. Some people wear the monsters on the outside. Veterans, almost always. To keep people away. They come to clinic and try to scare me. This is very very difficult because I like the monsters. I am delighted to meet the monsters. This is startling and the veteran promptly calms down. I am not afraid. I like the people who wear their monsters on the outside: they are not hiding them. It’s the ones who hide and abuse and torture their monsters: I do not trust those people. And I feel huge grief and sorrow, pity for their monsters. I can’t fix them. The people must each turn to their own monsters. Let them come to consciousness. Face them, comfort them and at last, love them. And this is hard. It is very hard. It is a life time of work. It is emotional maturity. It has nothing to do with educational level. It is hard work worth doing.

I choose to dwell in the dark with the monsters. Because they need me most of all.

Blessings.

Qia and the dark

This story is part of a series about a Balint group for angels. Balint groups are groups for physicians to get together and talk about cases that bother them. This often means facing their own biases and discriminatory feelings. I wrote this in January 2022. The current estimate of Long Covid is 10 to 30% of non hospitalized people. Which is huge and terrifying.

___________________________

“And really, it looks like at least half the population will get Omicron. The question,” says Qia, “is how much Long Haul it causes. If it causes 30-50%, like Delta, we are in serious trouble.”

The angels are silent.

“Do you think it will?”

“I am hoping for under 10%.” says Qia. “But of course I do not know.”

Silence again.

“Why do you go to WORST CASE?” snaps Algernon. His wings rustle.

Qia blinks at him slowly.

She thinks about it. “It is the safest place to start.”

Algernon frowns at her. Another angel slowly nods.

“If I start in the worst case scenario, I can face it. I have to think about it, work through it, plan for it. Then I can back off and hope for one of the less horrific scenarios.”

“You are WEIRD.” says Algernon.

Qia is annoyed. Her wings go bat and blood red.

“Word.” whispers a very young angel.

“WHY?” snaps Qia, “WHY NOT face the worst?”

“Most people never do,” says the moderator.

“What?” says Qia.

“Most people never face the worst. They don’t want to. They are terrified. They are scared. They do things to avoid thinking about it. They skip that step and just go straight to hope.”

Qia glares at her. The moderator smiles and her wings go black as pitch.

“We aren’t PEOPLE. We are ANGELS.” says Qia, nearly snarling.

Algernon laughs. “Yeah, well, some of us do not want to think about the worst either. That is Gawd(esses) job.”

Qia is doubly pissed off to be crying. “No, we have to think too.”

“Qia, I agree, but it is hard.” says the moderator. “That is why you have the job you have. Because you are willing to go straight to the dark.”

Qia has her face in her hands.

The angels surround her, soothing, and start to sing.

We want to believe

My cousin said to me once: “We want to believe what we want to believe.”

This was right before Mr. Trump was elected President.

After my cousin said that, I was unsurprised that Mr. Trump was elected. He was elected out of fear and anger and shame and grief. He was elected by people who are afraid that people rising out of discrimination will take things from them. Lower their standard of living. They are afraid that they will have to give things up.

A friend was working on my boat. He said that if I paid in cash, it would be less. Because, unspoken, he would not report the income. I thought about it. I said, “My medical practice is mostly medicare and state insurance. That is paid for out of our taxes: yours and mine. Therefore I am giving you a check and I don’t care if it costs more.”

There is a big culture here of not paying taxes. Cheat the government. Pay cash to each other, nod, nod, wink. It is tempting, takes a percentage off what I pay. But…. the people who I know are doing this are mostly conservative. They say drain the swamp. They say the government is cheating us. But THEY are cheating all of us.

I asked my cousin why he and my maternal family believed a story masterminded by my sister. That my father and my neice’s father and I were villains. One of the villainies was the our grandmother’s money had paid for MY graduate school but not my sister’s graduate school.

But that is not true. My grandmother paid four years of medical school tuition. 21K. I paid my own loans.

After my grandmother died, and then my mother died, my father used “my grandmother’s money” to pay off my sister’s graduate school loans. 36K. My parents also cosigned on a house, that my sister walked away from. They wrote 30K off thier taxes that year selling it. My father bailed her out of 7K on a work credit card. My father called me crying when she bullied him out of another 30K for another house. And that is when I said to her ENOUGH. I refused to visit for a year: until she went into hospice for her cancer. I visited three times while she was in hospice. We made peace. But she did not tell anyone else the truth.

I said to my cousin that I could send the bank statements showing that my father paid for my sister’s graduate school. That is when he said, “No. We want to believe what we want to believe.”

I thought really? So you want to believe my sister because she is dead. We will not speak ill of the dead, so you are ok with me and my father and my niece’s father being villainized and you will not even look at the lies.

VOTE and VOTE against FEAR, SHAME, DISCRIMINATION, ANGER AND GRIEF. We have to stand up. I loved my sister even when she was dishonest and bounced 1000$ worth of checks in my small town with people I knew. My father got threatening phone calls and he paid. That was the last straw for me.

So guess which politician stirs up fear and hate and discrimination and anger and grief? Well, honestly, both sides are guilty of that, but I stand against discrimination. We all shall rise up.

Love and Blessings and Peace you.

The photograph is on one of the last three visits to my sister. She died in March 2012.

Arty’s warning

Trigger warning: non graphic mention of child abuse.

_____________________________

I don’t notice that things are frozen at first, because the cats aren’t frozen. I do notice the light. Also I notice the change in sounds. The car outside in the street is not moving nor making sound. Uh-oh.

I go to the front door. Might as well if everything is frozen. I just finished putting on make up, which always means a dangerous mood.

She lands first, on a white flying horse. Who smiles at me, showing fangs. Smoke is coming out of the Pegavamp’s nostrils. Eeeee.

Arty herself is in silver and black today. Silver cloth with black embroidery that seems to be writing a little.

“Good morning, Goddess.” I say, bowing. The other horses and dragons and flying motorcycles and pterodactyls are landing as well. Sol Duc is in the window. Elwha has gone to hide, quite sensibly, I think.

Arty stomps her staff on the ground. “I am really pissed.” she says.

“They named a rocket after you.”

“That penis toy? That is supposed to please me while they are killing virgins who refuse to tent their heads?”

“Sorry.” I hang my head.

“And do you know how much the smoke is going to shorten the lives of my birds and stags?”

“A lot, I think.”

“Do you all want to starve in the dark?’

I look up at her then. “No. I want grandchildren and a healthy earth.”

“Work harder.” she snarls. The rest of the dangerous crowd is muttering and snarling and the local cats have come out. They are sitting very respectfully at a distance. Rooftops. The ridge above my house three blocks up. The tree tops are frozen too.

“Do you need prescriptions again?” I ask. “I see that there have been a lot more rapists jailed. Thank you, Goddess.”

She looks tired for a moment. “We are hunting them everywhere: cities, countryside, hovels, palaces, movie sets, where ever.”

“You don’t turn them into stags any more?”

“Yes, sometimes. My hounds love to tear them apart. But sometimes prison is slower and crueler and a better punishment.”

I kneel. “What service can I do, Goddess?”

She touches me with the staff. I feel a hard bright shock, pain that roars through me and is gone.

“Write this. Write my warning. If this continues, it is death in the cold dark of nuclear winter and we will begin again.”

“Is that the only choice?”

“Oh, no, we are all being very creative. One suggestion has been the sperm banks. There is nothing that says they can’t be used to make one gender only. The one that rapes less and doesn’t kill young girls for what they wear.”

“Thank you for your warning.”

“Stand up.” she says. “You and every abused child, male or female, are under my protection. Yet the cycle must be broken and the abused must not become abusers. Write this.”

The Pegavamp drops one knee and she steps up easily. The other riders start to roar and shout and howl. Her winged creature jumps in the air and the whole group follows. There is a snap and they are gone.

The car in the street is moving and the treetops as well. The cats stand and move away.

I keep writing.

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October 22, 2022