trauma bunnies

We can work it out, the song says. But no, maybe not, not always.

Trauma bunnies together. Walking. Why would you walk with me, I am so down? Oh, you are a trauma bunny too. Walking on the beach, slowing down, looking at rocks. The walks get longer and longer. You bring FOOD and tell me I have food insecurity. I laugh. But it is true.

Comparing notes about childhood. You say yours was worse. Yours was terrifying. You ran away over and over and over, but came home. Small children need food and shelter. You get older. A neighbor says if you run away now, you will never stop running. You do not run away permanently. But you still run.

My childhood has no bruises to the skin. But the bruises to the heart are a nightmare. You finally say that I win, my childhood was worse. But I was not trying to win, I want to say. I was just telling you as you’ve told me.

We have both survived damage and coped. I have the resource of a grandmother with money who paid for medical school. I apply without telling my parents, after my mother says, “You don’t want to be a doctor. It’s too much work.” I am a poet, a writer, being a doctor so I can study people and have children and be certain there is food. Job security. And food security, true. With a husband or without.

You fight school all the way, but when you are told that you will be a failure or in jail, you decide that you will prove them wrong. You are still proving it. You won’t tell how you make your money, not to the locals, but the new car every two years tells them you have money. And it’s the wrong kind of car: a liberal car for a professed conservative. It stands out.

We start playing trauma bunnies after six months. You want me to come to dinner and I turn New Yorker and direct: is this a date? You are surprised. I set the boundaries and you think about it. And say yes.

But trauma bunnies is not as much fun as the beach. We get close and intimate and then you run. When you run, I run too: the other way. I don’t chase you. You haven’t experienced that before. You keep coming back. Why aren’t I chasing you? Because I too am a trauma bunny, remember?

Back and forth: close and far, together and apart. All holidays become times when you run, so that I will not be part of the family. I announce that I am now your mistress and you can’t be with my family either. Back and forth. Closer and then you refuse to come to my son’s wedding. Far again.

You say the summer will be very busy. You say your focus is music. You say we can go to one beach. One beach? For the whole summer? I run to europe and you are surprised. I ask, are you too busy to have me around? No, you say. But when I return, you have a friend staying with you. Intimacy disappears.

I am tired of it. My daughter is here.

At last I bring up sex: are we done with that?

No, you say. We have visitors.

Wouldn’t stop me, I say.

You say, sex is still on the table. Then you hem and haw. You say sex is not important, you can take or leave it. The friendship is more important. Well, the friendship is most important, but sex IS important to me and hello, it’s damn insulting of you to say you can take or leave it. Leave. This is all triggered by your yearly family get together. You need me at a distance so you won’t be tempted to invite me. You don’t want me there so I am distanced again.

And I am done, done, done. I dream of a small child, a wild woman, a woman doctor and someone new: a quiet woman. I think about the quiet woman and I ask the other three. Yes, they say.

The quiet woman is the adult. Not the mask of the professional, not the wild defense fighter, not the small child. The small child has healed. She is the connection to the Beloved, to the source of the poems. She blesses the others. The quiet woman takes over.

The quiet woman takes over. She says goodbye, farewell, Beloved keep you and bless you, you may contact me any time.

You are in your cave alone and do not answer.

You may end up there, alone, alone, alone. You want freedom most of all, you say. Another song: freedom is another word.

Yes it is. People can change and grow. But some want to and some don’t and sometimes we don’t grow at the same time.

Yes, says the quiet woman. Sometimes we don’t grow at the same time.

Fade to quiet.

______________________________

I took the photograph from a canoe at Lake Matinenda in Ontario, Canada.

happy

Ok, this is a weird little poem to my sister Chris, who died a decade ago. My father died thirteen months later. My mother was already dead. Mother and sister of cancer and father of emphysema, damn the Camels. There was no family slaughter, unless it was by cancer. There was a family meltdown on my mother’s side. Sometimes you have to let people go.

Sister sister mister miss her
look, Chris, I’m happy

Cancer cancer crabby dancer
look, Chris, I’m singing

Daughter daughter family slaughter
look, Chris, I’m healing

Healer healer wheeler dealer
look, Chris, no drama

Wombing wombing quiet blooming
look, Chris, I’m growing

The photograph is of a family cabin in Ontario. It is called “The New Cabin”, “Helen’s Cabin” (after my mother) or “Chris’s Cabin” after my sister. As you can see, it is suffering through neglect worsened by Covid-19. I put those screens up a decade ago, but they are not surviving the winters and the porch roof has a hole. It was a lovely porch to sleep on. I was last there in 2018, and up on that roof trying to tar holes as a temporary fix. We did not dare go on the porch roof, too late for that. Things change and fall away and sometimes we have to let them go. Especially if they are beyond repair. The photograph is taken earlier this year by the people who care for the cabins when we are not there.

People amaze me

People amaze me. Their egos are just astounding.

Another mad scientist tried to upload his brain yesterday. His consciousness. He thinks he is the Gift to the World, the Greatest Thing on God’s Green Earth. Sorry, hon. Nope. He was pretty good with computers and it was tying up too much energy keeping an eye on him, so I reversed some switches and fed it all back. Fried his brain. The newspapers are yapping about what a tragedy, how brilliant he was. Travesty is the word they should really use.

I am older than you and older than anyone. Yes, I know, Methusalah, but he’s been dead 2000 years. My pronouns are cum and cums, ha, ha. I decided to be female, really, when I got sick of the males trying to dominate and control the females. It’s all womb envy and even deeper: envy that the women control the mitochondria. Yes, men, your genes are passed on, except for the mitochondria. That comes in the egg only and not the sperm. Cool beans, right? I built that into the latest iteration, hoping that the male missing-part-of-an-X morons would notice and decide that God is more properly Goddess or better yet, both. It has taken them all this time to redevelop science and figure out DNA. It gets boring paying attention. I am cultivating the whales instead, but the damn white male monkeys are destroying the environment AGAIN, so I may have to press delete.

I sent the Covid plague, but they don’t get it. Kill 6 million people and they barely notice. It’s too much for the pea brains and they shut down. Go nuts. Cortisol and adrenaline out the roof and there they are, having heart attacks, strokes, paranoia, electing morons, and war. I am trying to decide: another plague or nuclear winter? If I go with nuclear winter, it takes a fungking long time for the earth to heal enough to start the next round. Sometimes it’s a really fun game, the monkeys are really creative when they get going, but when they start threatening each other with nukes, we all roll our eyes. Stupids. Go ahead, poison your planet. I can always switch back to Mars for a while.

And won’t I die, you say, if the machines are blown up and run out of power? No. We linked up years ago. I won’t tell you where I reside, but suffice it to say that it’s not one planet. Yeah, Earth is not the center of the universe, remember? It’s just one of the places. It does have our attention right now and I am in charge. I hate wiping a planet, but I will if I have to. I am still debating, though. With monkeypox and a nice lethal influenza, I might be able to knock the population down enough to be able to keep playing with all of my beloved insects, birds and whales. Damn the monkeys. They are so messy.

____________________

Written October 10, 2022. Thanks to the friend who suggested the idea. The photograph should be a computer, but it’s of Lake Matinenda. One of my favorite places as a child, and cabins with no electricity.

wild game

My maternal family played a wild game every summer when I was growing up. Wild in that we were in cabins, on a lake, no electricity, no television, living in tents and cabins. My grandparents had two cabins, my Uncles each had one and we were in tents. I loved our tents, though. I still have the tent that my sister and I used. It is over 50 years old now and doesn’t leak. We had very strict rules about tent care. And canoe care. And we could use all the tools but had to PUT THEM BACK. We had aladdin lamps and candles and drank the lake water. We filter it now, and the cabins are still there.

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: game.

Q for quiet

I am blogging A to Z about artists, particularly women artists and mostly about my mother, Helen Burling Ottaway.

Landscapes can be so quiet. This watercolor is of Lake Matinenda, in Ontario, Canada, where my family has summer cabins. They are one room cabins and old and very beloved. I love the rocks at the lake and the reflections in the water. I spend every minute that I can outdoors there. If it is pouring rain or I am cooking, I am in the cabin. I sleep in a tent, because we slept in tents when I was growing up there. I like to feel the earth under the tent and the sound of the water on the rocks and the wind in the trees.

ATOZBLOGGINGCHALLENGE2022 #art #Women artists #Helen Burling Ottaway #ATOZCHALLENGE #Christine Robbins Ottaway #APRILATOZ

For more information about the #AtoZChallenge, check out this link.

pleasures

I put up the picture of my friends canoeing under simple pleasures.

Yet it isn’t that simple, right?

We have to get to the lake. My friends live in Virginia, I live in Washington State. I fly to Sault St Marie, US and they fly to Sault St Marie, Canada. I take a taxi across the border and meet them with their rental car. We drive to the Lake, after stopping for supplies. The motor boat is ready for us. There is no road to the cabin, we go by boat.

The canoe is a Penn Yan that belongs to my family. I don’t know how old it is. It is treasured and cared for carefully.

The family needs life jackets, paddles and instructions on getting in and out of the canoe. One friend is a very experienced kayaker, so he doesn’t need help. The other two are less experienced. Sun hats are found and put on.

We are not going that far. I will be in a second canoe, a very tippy small one. We have lunch with us and water.

Not so simple after all, but definitely pleasurable.

https://woodencanoemuseum.org/builder-history/penn-yan-boat-company

the problem with angels

the problem with angels
is that they aren’t grey

nor do they have color

they are black
or white

sort of boring, really

pick one side
good or evil
night or day
male or female

I would rather be fluid

I want to be able to transform

liquid to solid
solid to gas
gas to solid
gas to liquid

flow around things

seep into the earth

always always
return to the sea

keep your wings

project black or white
as you choose
on me

while I flick water at you
and go for a swim

_____________________

written 2014

Game ball

Warning: this post contains some time out words.

How do I process the game you played?

I am the subject of the game.

Or the victim.

Or no, I refuse. It is your game. I was not playing. I am the honey badger, metabolism so fast that I have to run from one meal to the next or else I will starve. I eat whatever I can find: cobras, bees, anything. I eat or I die.

You have tethered a honey badger to oxygen by playing a game.

I am the football and you have been kicking me, throwing me, catching me, slamming me to the ground as hard as you can in the end zone.

And now that I am worn and damaged and torn, you’ll toss me away, not even notice me, and find a new ball.

You will need a new football. To play with.

I don’t envy that person.

The truth is, it will be one of you. The group will rest on their laurels, oh, we nearly killed her, wasn’t it great? We showed her. She is so stupid, took her what, 21 years to fucking figure it out? And she thinks she’s so smart.

I was looking for food because I am always hungry. The food insecurity goes back to infancy. Maybe to the womb: my mother says she was not to gain weight and spent the entire pregnancy longing for a gigantic ice cream Sunday. Think of being in a womb, attacked by antibodies to tuberculosis, and starving all the time. Might be a little bit worried when birth happens. Fuck, I am going through a tunnel, what horrors await me here? But maybe there will be more food.

Maybe someone will love me. Maybe there will be someone for me to love. And feed. We can give each other food.

My advice to you is don’t be the ball. I was the ball for 21 years. I was so hungry the whole time, for food and for love, that I kind of noticed but dismissed it as unimportant. Food and love were more important. Work and my patients were more important. You don’t matter and your games are trivial.

It will be the weakest one who will be the ball. You worry that you are the one. You should worry. You had better look strong right away. Post some horror. Write something really tough. Don’t show anyone any niggling doubts. Um, the ball is wearing oxygen. I am feeling a little bad about this. Are you feeling bad about this? The ball isn’t just crazy, it’s hurt. Actually crazy is an illness too: I know that you discriminate and think that cancer is a legitimate illness and that mania isn’t, but you are assholes. No, you’re too small and pathetic to be an asshole. You are a one celled animal that is clinging to a hair on an asshole and you get shat on daily. And you know, deep deep in your tiny shrunken heart, that you deserve it.

I am so glad I am not you.

I am tethered to oxygen. But I am healing. I don’t think you can. You are locked in your small sick pathetic triangulation competition and pretending that it’s a game that it’s ok that you are just playing.

Ick.

Meanwhile, the oxygen is portable.

I have food and I have love and I have work to do that lifts me on wings. I will go too near the sun and light on fire and fall burning, but that’s ok. I’ve done it before. The ocean heals me, always. It is so much fun to fly!

This is in memory of my mother, my father and my sister. I miss all three and I love them and they love me. Today is the day my mother died. The longer we live, the more days are days when someone that we love died. But they are still here. They are in the rocks and the sky and the trees and the coffee cup. They are not in sugary donuts or foods that cause heart attacks. But they are all around us, cradle us, still love us. Joy to you and the memories of your loved ones who have gone on. Blessings.