Monday, September 29, 2008

Poem for Monday, September 29, 2009

The Everly Brothers

by Floyd Skloot

My brother thought they were freaks

of nature, voices fitting together

through some fluke of chemistry.

He said they might just as well

have been Siamese twins sharing

a heart or the Everly humpbacks.

My brother preferred Jerry

Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry.

He cackled at their antics,

battering mother's baby

grand with his fists when we

were alone and duckwalking

the hallway until our downstairs

neighbors hit the ceiling

with a broom. At night he worked

on his Elvis sneer while caking

his face with Clearasil.

I can still see my brother

rave as we rode four stories

up in the quaking elevator.

He offered me one frenzied

groove of Yakety Yak at the top

of his lungs when I tried

to sing. All I wanted was

his voice joining mine in

harmony. The song did not

have to be about faith in love.

Burke's Book Store
936 South Cooper
Memphis, TN 38104
(901) 278-7484

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I can never say no to anyone but you

I just finished watching Teeth with my best guy friend. We were both profoundly disturbed, but for completely different reasons. He, for the normal-male-fear-of-penis-severing, me for much uglier reasons.

I was raised in a pretty Christian household. My mom had me praying for Jesus to bring me a husband from before I was old enough to understand sex, and by the time I figured out the mechanics of it (thanks to a fascinating 4 pages in a Ken Follett novel) the world had already started to sour around me.

Somewhere around the age my brother started trying to pin me down, my best friend got raped. Everyone called her a slut and said she was lying. She started spiraling out of control and I was angry enough to go along for the ride. There was no protection, no guarantee of safety. Nothing but lies. Sex wasn't some beautiful prize, it was a power struggle, always with a winner and a loser.

We were 13.

I ran away at the end of the summer. I'd been on Prozac for a couple months, on and off, and this was back before they knew about the erratic behavior side effect. I went for a walk down to the river park and ended up camping in the woods with some older kids I'd bummed cigarettes off before. By the end of the first night I'd decided I might as well lose my virginity. It wasn't worth anything. It wasn't special. The guy was 19, and not gentle. I have no idea how he could have bought the lie that I was 15, because I looked about 12.

It was my first kiss, too.

It was like being told a secret so huge it ripped me apart from the inside.

The next day I limped to the picnic shelter restroom and washed up. Looking in the mirror I imagined myself somehow infinitesimally wiser. Powerful. Bitter.

Then, of course, I got sent off to long-term brainwashing camp, where I was forced to repeat over and over that I had had sex because I was a drug addict, in front of large groups of other inmates, as well as in front of my mother. Then I spent the rest of high school under hardcore vigilance. I spent a lot of time listening to the Cure's darkest songs, especially the Figurehead.

I will never be clean again...

My first weekend in the dorms at Rhodes, I went to a frat party with a guy, Adam White, who was friends with a girl in my dorm. We went "just as friends," since I'd just starting dating this guy Josh and was really into him. Adam got me really drunk-my second time ever- and took me back to his room and next thing I knew he was in me. I was so wasted all I could think was that Josh was going to be so hurt and that this wasn't supposed to be happening. When it was over I staggered into the shower and sat sobbing under the spray. I remember lying on the cement out in the middle of campus watching the stars reel overhead, and I remember Josh coming to get me and crying when I told him what happened. I couldn't understand why he was so sad.

I don't think I've ever not been fucked up about sex. I've had a lot of it, and some of it's been really fantastic, but most of it seems to have been the kind of wasted and sordid one-night stands you only have when you really hate yourself. I tried to convince myself that I was just empowered, that I could be liberated and deatched and in control or callous and cold-hearted, but really I just thought of myself as disgusting and used-up and corrupted.

I did a lot of things I am not proud of, especially toward the end of 2007, when my antagonism toward my body was at its hardest.

I've had this mysterious bladder pain for about 6 months now, which is also the longest period of celibacy I've had since I was 17. It's gotten to where I have actually resigned myself to never having sex again.

Part of me wonders if my subconscious and my vagina are conspiring against me.

Do I really think I deserve this? Have 8 months of therapy really not even made a dent in this mountain of guilt and shame?

Deep breath. I have two tests tomorrow, and I can't figure this out tonight.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Poem for Monday

Poem for Monday, September 22, 2008

For the Children

by Gary Snyder

The rising hills, the slopes,

of statistics

lie before us.

the steep climb

of everything, going up,

up, as we all

go down.

In the next century

or the one beyond that,

they say,

are valleys, pastures,

we can meet there in peace

if we make it.

To climb these coming crests

one word to you, to

you and your children:

stay together

learn the flowers

go light

Burke's Book Store
936 South Cooper
Memphis, TN 38104
(901) 278-7484

Friday, September 19, 2008

I can't seem to keep weight on, and it worries me. or rather, it adds to the general anxiety I have about my health declining. I'm sick again, feverish and achy, swollen glands, exhausted. If I'm not better by next week I am going to go get tested for mono.

I got a flickr pro account and was looking at pictures from last year. compared to then I look emaciated.

I'm so fed up with being sick. I have a good day, then I overdo it and get sick again.

acceptance. acceptance. I might never get any better. I need to focus on being grateful for what health I do have. some days I have to chant to myself "at least I don't have lupus. at least this won't kill me."

I miss having a social life. I miss dating. it's been since April since I had someone cuddle me. I don't know how to talk to regular people anymore. all I seem able to talk about is fibro. being sick has consumed me and I don't know what is left.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Poem for Monday

Poem for Monday, September 15, 2008

Moving Day

by Jay Meek

Our lamps sit on the lawn

as though

we lived there we roll

our rugs into documents


nothing new this is our last

house before the river we are


our lives again our radio

keeps playing Music


the Royal Fireworks we are

drifting downriver farther


farther from it where

are we going into our own


saying go back go back

Burke's Book Store
936 South Cooper
Memphis, TN 38104
(901) 278-7484

Sunday, September 14, 2008

por fin escampa

For the past two days I've been feeling less depressed and restless than I can remember feeling for months. I'm sure it's due to too many factors to pick just one, so I won't.

It's lovely to be able to spend time in my apartment reading and napping in bed without feeling a pressing need to Get Outside. Granted, it's pouring down rain and my bike isn't working, but the horrible urgent restlessness that has plagued me all summer has finally abated.

Bless you, Minor Bupleurum. The whole idea that emotional balance can be achieved by balancing internal organs makes a lot of sense to me, since the western/corporate medical idea of just treating the brain certainly hasn't done shit. (as a side-note, skullcap+marinol=total psychedelic za-na-nas, seeing trails, blissed out. I'm looking forward to doing more research with drug-herb interactions, since I will probably end up treating mostly chronically ill patients.)

I have a few chapters to read for my Clinical Counseling class, and some laundry to do, and meals to prepare for my 8 hour day tomorrow, so I'll have to venture out into the rain, but I'm pretty unfazed. I've been a cranky bitch for a while and it's a relief not to be so angry and frustrated and anxious, so I don't mind.

I'm finally starting to feel like me again. this goes beyond the number being unemployed and bored out of my skull did on my psyche. this is more that I am finally able to move the physical discomfort of my everyday life to the back burner, to minimize its window. yeah, I feel like shit. no, it probably won't ever go away. at least it's not so upsetting anymore.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


I decided to drop the class I had Wednesday nights and it's like taking off a pair of sunglasses I didn't realize I was wearing indoors. it was a fairly interesting class, the philosophical and historical foundations of Chinese medicine, but as far as priorities go, the two classes I have the next day are so much more important. I just couldn't get home and get to bed on time and I was toddler-faced and attention span-less through my long 8 hours of class.

So far, after two weeks, I'm pretty excited. half of the classes I am taking now are not super challenging, just a lot of review and rote learning. I haven't taken biology since 1997 and I never took anatomy. I am glad my school really emphasizes biosciences, because I hope to do a lot of research later on in my career. I still remember what mitochondria are and all that, so I am not reallt worried.

We've discussed yin and yang characteristics in several of my classes and it's been interesting to try to identify myself. I have come to the conclusion that I have excessive yin and almost totally depleted yang, probably as a result of being forcibly medicated in my teens when I was still growing. it definitely makes sense to me, even on a nutritional level. When I am feeling really poorly, I crave certain foods, all of which are very yang- I want hot, spicy, garlicky meats and chocolate, I want sunshine, I want to be warm and active. When I am feeling well, my natural personality comes out- I'm bubbly, excitable, exuberant, impulsive. When I feel bad, I am quiet and withdrawn.

I've done a few things in the past week to try to test this hypothesis, mostly eating more meat and only listening to upbeat music (according to Tony, my tai ji teacher, rap music is yang, so I have been pretty much exclusively listening to Jay-Z and Missy Elliott). I also decided to take a break from birth control and menstrual suppression, since birth controls add yin energy and I already have way too much of that.

I'm optimistic again. I feel surprisingly ok today, especially for a nasty rainy day punctuated by uterus spasms. I got some really cute skull & crossbone galoshes and some winter gloves, so I'm one step closer to being ready to ride in the snow. if it ever stops raining I will be able to start getting my new fixie put together.

It might take me slightly longer than I anticipated to finish grad school, hopefully no more than an extra semester. I have to accept my limitations, and keeping up with an overload is just not possible if I want to do well.

After an email inquiry I sent, the assistant dean is trying to get a disability support group going at school. I hope some of the more advanced students respond. I could definitely still use lots of guidance.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Fwd: Poem for Monday

The Grade-School Angels

by Rafael Alberti (trans. Mark Strand)

None of us understood the dark secrets of the blackboards

nor why the armillary sphere seemed so remote when we looked at it.

We knew only that a circumference does not have to be round

and than an eclipse of the moon confuses the flowers

and speeds up the timing of the birds.

None of us understood anything:

not even why our fingers were made of India ink

and the afternoon closed compasses only to have the dawn open books.

We knew only that a straight line, if it likes, can be curved or broken

and that the wandering stars are children who don't know arithmetic.

Burke's Book Store
936 South Cooper
Memphis, TN 38104
(901) 278-7484