I Am Poem
By:Zander Mehran, age 9


I am happy
I wonder how earth started because now one knows
I hear Mrs. Puljiz talking about animals which makes me think of how they lose there home
I see the yellow bee that crashed on the table
I want to be happy for the animals
I am happy
I pretended that there is a big tiger that lept on me
I feel the smooth floor that is hard
I touch the floor that feels hard
I worry about the animals because they might become extinct!
I cry about nothing because I was not sad
I am happy
I understand that the animals lose their homes when we build something
I say nothing because I feel bad for the animals that lose their homes when we build
I dream to have 100 dogs that will like me
I try to keep animals safe from destruction
I hope the animals are safe so that we are safe
I am happy

The End of the World

Around 8:30 PM she breathed a sigh of relief as in 90 minutes her head would hit the pillow and the illumination of the world would end.
Over the years she had tried a few things to help her sleep: milk, cookies, magnesium, men, books, and various sleep technicians. None of this had helped her yet now, during this time the world is ending, her sleep was the sound of a book closing.
A thick book.
Hours would pass and she would lie in the same position lost in another world, past or future.
Hip into moon crater.
Hair lost to crown of thorns.
Hands gnarled like the chicken’s feet next door who called in for morning to come.
The time was undivided like listening to the dial tone on a rotary phone.
Some knew the world was ending..
It was like knowing something so sad you couldn’t look it in the eye. Having a secret that no matter what you couldn’t tell.

There were fires and there was anger. People drove their cars into other peoples cars as if they were small children in an amusement park. Children were so enraged they screamed all afternoon in the park next to her house.
There was nothing she could do. There was always something she could do in the past but now even putting her sneakers on seemed futile.
There was no where to run to.

New viruses appeared along with nuclear weapons and food in the stores became nothing but signs saying you could have this product but not until five years had passed. Sometimes there is a 🙂 on the sign.

The children stopped growing. No one seemed to notice.
Cars were abandoned on rooftops.

I remember saying to a man that he was the love of my life and at the time I believed it.

 â€śThe Red Kerchief “Claud Monet

I wanted him to notice me.

It wasn’t that difficult to see what I wanted.

In winter he stayed inside all the time.

Painting. He was.

All the time.

Winter, always a danger to everyone, young and old.

No freedom in winter.

Too much freedom for him.

I wandered by that day wearing red,

A reminding flag of conscience,

I’m waving a shawl of belonging,

frayed and thin. Notice me.

Person in a lake

There’s a moment when a child stops

playing just for her as there is “Another” watching. The play become something other than sole imaginary play and is now “observed” play. The child comes out of her unconscious and is now conscious of her presence in the world No one really remembers this moment except me, that is. I was so lost in my play at age 4 that noticing I was being observed was an electric jolt. An intruder. As if someone could see into my mind and know what I was thinking. I was no longer playing for the sake of playing but now I played to an audience even if there was no one there. There is a psychological term for this. I forgot that term. I do know that I am almost integrated now. If I were a photograph I would be just one outline and not a series of paper dolls slightly overlapping one over the other. All those different characters I played. All the people I thought I had to be. Pleasing so many and always worried I had failed some which I’m sure I did. I became really exhausted from all of this pleasing. It is so much easier not to even notice.

Aquatic Entertainer

My Life as an Aquatic Entertainer.  

 

In another life I was an aquatic entertainer because I needed to practice my breathing. I suffered from anxiety and worried nightly about remembering to breathe. I could barely sleep.Sometimes this fear kept me up for hours. Aquatic entertainers are required to hold their breath for a minutes at a time.That’s “minutes”. I wore a costume of filigree, seaweed, and Jantzen , a rubber plastic cap of petals variegated in color like a new variety of lettuce leafs. I descended into a tank at Hollywood Gardens In Winter Tree, Florida at 10am, 1PM and 5PM. I was the best in show. I sipped more air from the dangling hoses than other girls and was penalized for it. Holding the dangling hose like a lucky strike, taking my sips, men died for me. I was still the best. Then I dried off, removed my costume, and fraternized with the drinkers. All part of the job. I liked the drinkers. Encouraging them to have more was good for them. They felt happy and slapped each other on the back. They always asked me to give them a special wave from the tank so I always told them I had and how could they have missed it? Aquatic dancers have certain health problems which are an accepted part of the job. We tend to grow back fins which are tricky to remove and sometimes can only eat underwater: much cleaner but not as tasty as normal eating.

I liked my job but in the end I had to quit. It was too hard on my hair. I never had time to socialize or get a life. The worst part was constantly smelling of chlorine. The best part of being underwater was not having to talk.

 

 

 

 

Oh Russia

Oh Russia

 

 

Russia…

I hear symphonies and underlying notes of soulful

loss and pieces of Dostoyevsky and still she lumbers forward with

Tchaikovsky attending to the beat and refuses to look far ahead

at the leader who is stomping angrily in the snow looking

for the borderline knowing this earth belongs to him

and him only…

The world cries against him which enflames him

like men in backyards throwing kerosine at their

barbecues, exerting control over hot coals,

the tanks filled with children keep moving

and shooting and the people, they say they are

not running but the baby carriages filled with

spotted dogs, babies, canned tuna and handguns

progress to the western Ukraine border. We are all

onlookers: fearful, our mouths stuck shut with cello

tape, our wrists bound, our feet shoeless,

like those forced to watch the witches hang or

the Holocaust victims fall into the graves they

were forced to dig. Some say it will be stopped

but there are some who see the spread of evil

like an ink stain on a dark blotter and one country

seeps into another taking everything and everyone

with them.

 

 

Marla Ruzicka

Let’s talk about war. It’s so cold here that the moon withdrew itself last night. The fur on people’s dogs stopped  shedding for the day. I heard the word “honor” in connection with the memorial I saw from the second world war and I thought why is it honorable to be in a war or to create a war? Why is it considered honorable to be a hero when you kill people. Or why is it considered honorable to be a hero when you’re a leader and you decide to kill even more people? I am going to write this in the simplest way I possibly can. I don’t see any heroism in war. I think this concept should end But what really frightens me is that I think it’s a basic part of human nature. It seems to me it all boils down to the territorial imperative. Even if the  territorial imperative is 1 inch of space somewhere. I’m not a historian and ,in fact, I hated history because I hate precision in any form. I am an artist and a creative person so I don’t like squares, I like circles. I don’t like wars. I don’t like it when leaders stamp their foot and turn on their heel and walk away and send in their giant killing machines.

One of my heroes was a young woman who on her own counted the civilian victims of war in Afghanistan and Irac. Her name was Marla Ruzicka and Senator Patrick Leahy passed a bill in her honor stating that civilian victims of war would now be counted. Why in her honor? Because she was killed before she was 30 by a car bomb.

I had met her in New York one warm night at a friends reception for the Ploughshares Fund. Her blonde hair fell around her face in a kind of charmingly messy mop and she was wearing a tank top and some old pair of jeans and we spent 20 minutes talking about what she did. It was so inspiring to me and a few weeks later when I read on the front page of the Times that she had been killed my heart broke for her. I couldn’t stop crying. In my mind I kept seeing that wonderful, youthful face with her wide smile and a great soft glow about her. She was my hero and always will be.

It’s time for the world to wake up and realize who the real heroes are. It’s not the territorial imperative and the machines of war that are the brave things. It’s a single person who will dare stand up and make a point and risk their life doing so.

My House

 

 

I live alone, people think, but in fact my house has so many inhabitants I have to be careful when moving through it. There are many men lurking about in my closets and bedroom all of whom seem angry and hungry. They steal things from me like small bottles of Vodka from airplanes I’ve never been on and buttons. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. The kitchen contains some younger ones with damp, slightly curled hair who cook gravy. I like these younger ones better. I happen to hate gravy unless it’s on turkey which is tasteless without it. Why in the world is turkey so very white? So many things are. I walk slowly through the detritus of my life so as not to stumble over hillocks of bodies and chirping young friends who think I am hopeful so I am. To them. I need young friends. The doors are always unlocked and flowers wander in and out flagrantly fragrancing the hours. The hallways, always making memories, melt into the cracks and settlings of bones and earthquake reinforcement. The flowers are welcoming like the chorus in a Greek play as they understand suffering and wilting. People ask, don’t I want an elevator but why would I? Life goes fast enough as it is. I can wander in an elevated state up and down and sideways into the dining room where the chairs are always filled with brilliance and I can sit with the thoughts of so many nights, so much laughter, the best wine, and no gravy. I always end out in the dining room now but often all the chairs are already filled.

We Call

We Call

 

We call to each other in “fluent transparent animal.”*

I might be gone from the living and this is the

Bardo.

We call, all the souls here with me,

waiting to move on, wanting to move on.

Not wanting to move on.

I am not thinking about breathing for once.

The others here are transparent like the fish tank in Monterey.

I want to say I knew it would be like this

but my lips do not exist just as I forgot how sensitive

they used to be when still alive.

I seem to be in the middle level as high up I see a light

Like a military searchlight it shivers me.

There is no apparent order

No signage

No music or noise

The volume is turned off.

It’s very pleasant here and waiting isn’t wanting.

 

 

*a prompt from Diane’s writing class

Desperate Comprimise

Desperate Compromise

To be honest the other night I pretended I didn’t mind this man was a Trump supporter because he was so handsome and I couldn’t take my eyes off of his mostly craggy face. At 80 his arms did not look too bad either. Though I could not see them, I could see their outline through the crisp blue check of his shirt. It was all I could do to keep myself from reaching across the table and stroking them. “Will it bother you if I tell you I am a Trump supporter?” he asked, as we sat down at a local restaurant meeting for the first time at the suggestion of a friend.

I do not think I even heard his question as I was mesmerized by his arms and found them around me, holding me closely, gently kneading me like brioche dough, though I could still see them attached to his shoulders. I wasn’t  tempted to walk away particularly not without those arms. That’s what shows me just how desperate I’ve become for male companionship.

It might also be that I drank a half glass of wine before walking down to the restaurant to calm my nerves. My nerves need a lot of calming these days. I am monitoring my wine intake. I must or I might just get to drinking first thing in the am before toothpaste. Once I saw my husband grab a half-finished Scotch from the night before’s party and swallow it right down. I always liked his style. For years I remembered that drink with deep admiration and knew I was not up to it.

Well, I am now. I like this Trump supporting man. I like his obvious masculinity, his low testosterone filled voice, and his arms. I think I will take him home and keep him. He could live happily in the freezer.

From time to time I could partially defrost him and have dinner with him quickly before his brain unthawed.

Virus

Child’s Game

“Hold your breath!”

passing a graveyard we said

In the back seat of a 57 Ford

gravely

acknowledging the dead.

Now, out walking, I hold

my hand over my mouth

careful to not breathe in

air of living people

passing.

Young Adult

 

She didn’t know why she did what she did, she just found herself doing these weird things. Like tonight, here she was, crawling all over her parents bed among the winter coats and the purses, opening the wallets in the purses and taking out the licenses. Taking them out, examining the pictures of the women, correlating height and weight on the license with what she knew of their physical reality. No way Mrs. Dewart weighed 108 pounds! Why was she doing this? She had no idea but once she had started there was no turning back.

So here she was with a dozen licenses in a small, neat little pile in front of her on the bed. First, she put them in alphabetical order, then she put them in birth order, and then she had no idea which wallet she had removed them from but at that point it really didn’t matter. By the time the women came upstairs to get their coats and reclaim their enormous bags, she would be safely in bed, in her room, safe from blame. Then it occurred to her there would be no blame until one of them was either shopping and needed ID or pulled over by one of Connecticut’s finest.

That’s what she felt: this sense that she was doing the right thing even though she was obviously doing the wrong thing. Clearly somewhere in her slightly above average mind (as her last teacher in writing had said) she was twisted but the thing was, she liked being twisted and that was that. She figured as long as no one knew what she was up to, it was kind of like a Robin Hood gig in the world and no one ever seemed to catch on.

Her life most of the time felt like a gig. Unfortunately, there was no chance she was adopted as she was definitely the child of Robert and Susan Crawford of 11 Meadow Wood Drive in Greenwich, Connecticut. She knew this with certainty as she had inherited a particular blood cell disorder that caused no damage but made genetic identification a perfect science. The thing was she couldn’t find one bit of similarity with either her Mom or Dad or with Joseph, her twelve year old amazonic and idiotic brother. She had felt like an outsider from the time of her birth when her mother refused to nurse her. Oh, she knew that was an ambient memory all right but apparently it was a true one as she had asked the nanny if she had been nursed.

“Oh no, dearie, yer mothah had meny meny things on her mind and couldna be bothered with the demands of a young lady like yerself.” Said Hilda, the constant nanny, who spent most of her time in front of the TV watching Days of Our Lives and Jeopardy and eating Cadbury’s Milk from a very large bar. She never shared.

“Yr mothah was a good Mum and did giver yer brothah a lot of time and milk so aftah that , yew see, it was time fer her ta go back tew bein a wife for the man.”

“Yew were a good babe and didna take much time sew it was jest  girrrel. Just a bit small!”

Avery, (can you believe they had named her Avery?) was small. This was very true. Just under five foot four was small for the eighth grade and she knew it. It didn’t take a brain trust to observe that most of her class was taller than she was. They were also  blonder, had straight hair and wore mostly matched clothes with shoes that came from the “cool” store in town .Avery was small, as you know, and had very curly hair which frizzed out around her head in a halo when the weather turned the slightest bit damp.

At certain times, when no one was on the second floor of the house, Avery looked at herself in the mirror. If she was doing this naked, she did it sideways as it was less of a shock. She turned off the bathroom light, opened the medicine cabinet door so the mirror was more visible, and let the towel slither to the floor. Sometimes she wore a second towel wrapped around her head as she liked the look of an exotic person and it distracted her from the sight of her body.

Her body, apparently, was not responding the way D. R. Waters said it should be responding at this time in her life D. R. had written a book on “The Advent of Puberty” which Avery consulted regularly. She had once asked Margret who had given her the book and  why there was a reference to Christmas in the title. She still had a really fat tummy and a completely flat chest. All right, all right, her tummy wasn’t really fat it was just not what Avery felt it should look like when comparing it to the bodies in her mother’s fashion magazines. Avery’s body looked shapeless to her and rather like a white fish with a head and no tail. It was depressing to look at it so she tried not to most of the time.

Clothes: now clothes were a problem as her closet was filled with clothes chosen for her mother, without Avery in mind at all. There were racks of little pleated skirts in plaid and plain with skirts that flew out at the slightest provocation. White blouses with puffy sleeves and tank tops that went underneath. Shoes with ties that could be changed for other ties depending on the mood of the shoe wearer. (The ties had never been changed.) Everything arranged carefully in terms of color, style and season. There was even another closet upstairs in the attic with another complete wardrobe but for summer.

The whole clothes thing was unimportant to Avery and very stressful. She liked it better when they were on vacation as no one cared what she wore then. On vacation meant the best thing to do with her day was to find a place where ever they were that was safe from her brother and had food. On vacation but at home meant wearing black and white combo’s daily that all looked the same as the chances were good her parents were not around. She had exactly three pairs of black jeans, a black skirt, and three white shirts and this was all she needed. Unfortunately, her mother didn’t know this and continued to fill her closet not noticing Avery was not wearing anything from the “mother” pile.

Avery had known from the time she was a toddler that having too much was more of a problem than a blessing. She preferred only one book at a time, one pair of shoes, just a little bit of clothing and usually the same kind of food from each food group. Like apples, chicken breasts and arugula(this was Greenwich)and an occasional chocolate bar could hold her until she died. Just the smell of red meat made her nauseous and orange juice really killed her throat. It was also out of her color chart. It made her get a headache if she had too much around her to be responsible for and too many decisions to make so she kept her life as simple as a eighth grader could : eat, sleep, school, homework and then the whole thing all over again.

She had a great way to get rid of excess and she made use of it usually once a month or so. She had discovered that the other people in the house also had too much stuff and never went deep into the back of their closets. Her mother had so many closets she usually only went into one or two on a weekly basis. Her father was rarely home and his dressing room was tightly organized and more challenging for her system. Her brother was disastrous in keeping his room organized and discarded his clothes both new and old on the floors of his three closets. The maids were given standing orders to remove clothing from the floors weekly, wash and return these items to their proper place in the closet.

So here’s the system: if everyone in the house had too much, Avery thought that it would be” helpful” to her family to cleanse the house with regularity and so she did. Every month or so she went into her own closet first and removed a sizable chunk of the clothes her mother had bought recently. Then she went into her mother’s closet and crawled way back into the second row where she found the items her mother never wore but was too greedy to give away. These items ranged from evening dresses to cashmere sweaters to jeans: all very costly and very soft. As a matter of fact, that was how Avery learned about the value of clothes: the softer something was the more expensive it turned out to be.

After finishing up with a few choice items from her father’s closet which were usually items he was hoarding(a habit Avery knew to be bad for him) she moved on to her brother’s room. This outing was the most dangerous and had to be conducted with the most serious reconnaissance. She dressed in one  of her all black outfits, carried her IPHONE with its recording capability, attached her air horn to her belt, and she was ready to go .Her brother’s schedule along with every other family member was on the office bulletin board and so it was pretty easy to see when he would be out of the house. Unfortunately, however, he was known to have a hissy fit from time to time and insist the driver take him home from where ever he was earlier than he should have been home. She had to lie still under the bed listening to him reading gross magazines, chomping on chips, and talking with his mean friend, Jerry, who also tortured dogs. 

Once she had assembled all of the “donations” it was easy. She went to the kitchen and sat down to speak with Margaret O’Toole about going to Whole Foods with her on her weekly shopping trip. Avery loved Margaret and the feeling was mutual so the kitchen was a cozy place where Avery learned how to cook as well as how to do good works in the world. Margaret was a Catholic but never had anything bad to confess as she was a very sweet lady. Avery asked her all the time about confession as she wondered if it might be good for her. Margaret had convinced her that remaining a Protestant for the time being was probably the best bet. She had been in the kitchen for as long as Avery could remember and despite the fact that Avery’s mother could never remember Margaret’s name, she was the most important person in Avery’s life. Avery could tell Margaret anything but she never did as she didn’t want to jeopardize her position in the household. If Margaret knew the stuff Avery did, however, Margaret would still love her and that was a pretty powerful love.

Anyway, Margaret liked to have company when she went shopping and so taking Avery was easy. Margaret had been the first person to tell Avery about the cost of Living. Living was always capitalized in Avery’s mind as she didn’t feel she was really living in this house. People who lived had dinner together and bought milk and bread and butter from lists which told them they needed these items. In her house people just bought what they wanted at that moment. The more Avery knew as time went on about Living the more she thought up ways to correct her family problem.

Margaret and Avery went off in the family errand Mercedes wagon and travelled down North Street to Whole Foods where Margaret went into the store and Avery went to buy comic books, something she did every week. Avery waited until Margaret was safely inside Whole Foods before walking over to the Goodwill dumpster and emptying the contents of her back pack into the conveniently located drawer on the side. She walked away happy as she always did.

There was a time in her life when she wanted to be a Catholic and this act of initial thievery made her queasy, but she had outgrown that. Now she completely believed she was helping others with the cost of Living.

 

Avery knew she wasn’t like other kids because she lived in a world that she didn’t like and she had no idea of how to get herself out of this world so she found ways of dealing with it. From what she had read it wasn’t normal for a kid to think about how she didn’t like her world.

 Sometimes she saw other kids her age whispering with each other or giggling when certain boys passed them by and she felt jealous and uncertain. Maybe she was missing something. How could she become like them? The idea was so completely hopeless it depressed her. On the one hand she wanted to be like them but, on the other, she knew it wasn’t in her DNA to act or think like they did so she just kept on feeling out of it and made the best of it. The biggest and most compelling thought was that growing up would make everything better so she waited for that to happen.

 

 

 

 

 

                                              

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                     Chapter Two

“Avereeee? Avereee?” called her mother from outside her door in her usual happy voice which really sounded like a really weird kid pretending to be an adult voice.

Avery slowly opened her door to be faced with what looked like a main character in the movie Wall Street which happened to be the only movie she had watched with her Dad. Her mother was dressed in her “serious” outfit which was usually composed of a tight fitting suit with a slit up the rear and very seriously precarious shoes. This time the suit was fire engine red and so were her lips.

“Yup, Mom, I’m here!” said Avery to this apparition of importance.

“Avery: you know what night tonight is, don’t you?”

“Thursday, I think, because tomorrow is the end of what has been another boring week in the life of Avery, the freak of the eighth grade!” said Avery

“Avery! You know I don’t like to hear you speak like that. You are not a freak and you have lots of friends!

Not falling for that trap, thought Avery, as her mother continued to move her lips almost pneumatically, and Avery watched without hearing the words coming out. By the time her mother had turned and was walking out the door, Avery realized she had been talking about Parent’s Night at her school. Quick, Avery thought to herself, what had she been up to at school recently? Anything obviously wrong there? Nope, Avery thought, I’m good. Mrs. Yan really likes me because I am obviously sucking up to her in class and the stuff she teaches us is really obvious.

            I guess I can just allow her to go to school dressed like a female Batman and see what she runs into.

Avery closed the door of her room and went back to doing her math problems. Arithmetic was so satisfying as all you did was play with some numbers and make them do what you wanted. You could check your work, know immediately if you were right, and then move on.

Another knock on her door sounded. “yes?” said Avery in her other mystery voice. She had two mystery voices for the phone and one for herself only. The phone voce was exactly like her mothers’ and very useful.

“Its Margaret, Avery dear, wanting to know if you want to have dinner now as I am leaving soon.”

Avery jumped up and ran over to the door, opening it and saying. “Yes! I love dinner with you! What are we having?”

“Squabble duck and farty pear,” said Margaret with her serious face on. “Lets go down right now and eat it up!”

No matter what Margaret said, Avery laughed. She had noticed this reaction to Margaret a few years ago and had no idea why she laughed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes Avery hid from people. She had no idea why but it felt good. She hid in the large linen closet on the very top shelf and was able to lie completely flat up there next to the ceiling. She had been interrupted quite a few times from her slumbers up on the shelf by people entering the closet to take or give linens and no one had ever noticed her which was how she knew it was a brilliant hiding place.

It took a while to get situated up there because you had to make sure there was no one around before entering the closet. Then you had to be prepared to carefully climb up the shelves which was no mean trick! The shelves had ruching thumbtacked to them and so they felt unstable and potentially dangerous which was part of the challenge. Once you reached the top shelf the hard part was going from an upright person holding onto a shelf to a sideways person on the shelf which was two feet from the ceiling. It took a leap of faith, literally.

She was getting really good at this move after about a year of attempts. The weird thing about hiding was she didn’t care if anyone found her she just liked being invisible. It was a secret she couldn’t share with anyone as she figured it was weird for a relatively old kid to be doing this. Somehow hiding made her feel safe which was a good thing. She felt as if having a safe place in the house was good in case she needed it someday.

Dinner

Light the candles, dim the lights, serve the good wine, make people laugh, tell them to go home after 2 1/2 hours, go to bed, drink water, pet your dogs, Dream of passion.

Water

 

No Safe Place 2

Water      

 

Water,

wet, moist ,damp, soggy,

only a lost commodity .

When I first tasted your skin

it was covered in water.

Remember water?

It was hard to describe but it was free.

Lakes are craters now.

A child asks “Who pulled the drain plug?” as

you drive by the empty, barren memory of a

lake. T

There is deep sadness in the retreating

water leaving a reluctant

path of tears sinking into the dust,

searching for an oasis to nourish, water

looks down

and sees it’s vanishing.

Cries out to the lone red bird

perched on a burnt tree,

cries out to the cactus who needs no one,

cries out to

you and me who have forgotten water

already.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Last Night I Saw My Friend Vanish

Last night no one knew if it was

the sun setting or the moon rising

but it was orange: hung there by a

wire moving around our sky, currents

of warm air lifting and lowering its round

shape enough to light the narrow, soft roads

crisscrossing the sandy summer peninsula.

One young woman pushing her

old cruiser bike silently, leaving Book Club late after

a chat about amphibians, taking the

long way home, blond hair falling in a

triangle down her back, white Keds glistening,

she thinks of fall when everyone will be gone

and suddenly there in the mist she becomes

invisable except for the sound of one repentant

bicycle spoke grinding it’s rhythm until she’s home.

This Afternoon

I like young old men.

Men whose twinkle never faded like some

lust or the memory of really good vanilla ice

cream. I like the round muscle of their arms,

the temptation of golden skin,

and the quick way they look at me for

what seems like a long time while we are

kissing. Each time I open my eyes there

is that gaze, eyes so clear and full of intent.

I don’t know what to do with that gaze.

It never varies. I’m so unused to direct

and constant I’m checking it, closing my

eyes and then quickly opening them again

like a child thinking it will be gone. The kiss

goes on and on like undulating waves in

a warm climate with hopeful palm trees

that clap their fronds for any passion seen

below.

I think it’s over but something like

one finger on my cheekbone

begins the spiral again.

It would not be sensible to want this

on a regular basis but everyone does.

Desire and to be desired.

We all wait.

A remembered afternoon in summer.

Shades of Gray

Shades of Gray

 

When you’re a child you think everyone tells the truth.

You think your mother and father will be together forever.

When you see your first divorce it’s kind of like seeing your first accident.

You can’t believe this could happen

Sometimes people stay together because they can’t stand to be alone.

They tell themselves it is  for the children

but actually it’s to spare themselves pain.

Sometimes you think it’s better to lie and have maybe three or four different lives and after a while you don’t know which life is real for you.

I’ve known a lot of people like this.

Unfortunately more than one have wanted me to join in but the problem is I don’t see shades of gray.

I like black and white.

You are mine I am yours and that’s it.

Call me crazy but it’s a heck of a lot easier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hopeful

Yesterday a man held my hand so

powerfully I couldn’t tell after a while

as it seemed so right

that consistent pressure.

Normally I don’t like comfort in any form as

it embarrasses me like the chameleon

turning pink

on lava or carnation, I pull away from

touch as I know the consequences.

But this time I stayed and cried.

It had been so long since I

felt comfort.

Loss

Loss

In the gray half open eye period prior to

full alert status I feel a touch or maybe an

outstretched limb, a phantom connection

I may remember. Warm and wanting..

Delaying the awakening I dwell there

In hopeful desire among my fresh sheets,

memories of sun fragrant and salt drying,

my fingers on your chest, lightly, sensing

your heart which in these dreams is

still faithful to us, your family.

Maybe

 

  Soon Enough

 

It is dark nearly all of the time.

People have forgotten the feel of water.

Lifetimes have shortened

Partners are assigned

The dictionary has been revised.

So many words no longer exist,

Joy, Hope, Heart ,Listen, Compassion,

Friendship, Cookie, Sunshine, Language

Touch

The past disappeared so rapidly that

history

Forgot to transcribe itself.

There are no more Buddhists.

It’s tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Last Bing Cherry

 

The Bing cherry is named after Seth Lewelling’s Manchurian orchard foreman and friend, Bing. Bing was over 7 feet tall. The Rainier cherry, named after Washington State’s famous volcanic peak, was created in 1952 by cross-breeding the Bing and Van varieties.

Wikipedia

 

 

 

Yesterday I ate the last cherry in the white bowl on the varnished wood counter

In my warm kitchen.

It sat there in the bowl, shiny, impervious to dust, all afternoon staring up at me like a disemboweled eye.

Why did someone name the cherry Bing?

after a 7 foot tall Manchurian, a candidate for the forgotten man?

In my mouth the cherry felt like a vulnerable marble: warm not cold and very round yet porous; wondrous, and intimate: impossible for an explorer to resist. I pierced the shell of the cherry with my one Wisdom tooth and tasted through my teeth the sweet and the bitter, surprising youth and pungent old age. Holding it all under my tongue slowly moving the pieces I wondered was there anything else so delicious on earth as the last bite of anything on earth?

Bing Cherries

The Best Memory

                                   The Best Memory

 

 

The best Fall I remember happened outside of Paris due

north near Chambord in November maybe October’s

when the Beaujolais Nouveau was released along with

me…I walked out

the door of the inn we stayed in

while you drank with our host.

I wandered following troughs of wet leaves marking

the crusades and the dark fall  all yellow

smelling of dank and my life as an

obedient pathfinder Joan of Arc

wanting you to worry I was lost

yet  knowing you never would.

Hours later I reluctantly returned just as I used

to at 8 and still no one noticed.

I think we made love that night

as we usually did but the bed was small, you

said, as you moved across the parquet floor

to the adjacent one

and closer to your children across the

Atlantic and I imagined

us leaving in the morning croissants uncurled

and me dressed in black because you said it was

best and before I knew it we were back in

California and you were married again

yet I was still outside of Paris in November

in 1996 longing for something I had felt

for a brief moment but never again.

In Reality

For the longest time I thought I might become

someone else.

I could be Norwegian and learn the language well so people would say how

no one could tell I wasn’t a native.

My hair would miraculously turn blond.

It would be ok to like sex.

I like the sounds of their desserts.

Or I could be a lawyer in Manhattan wearing crispy tight suits in black with very high heels and click click click across the court room floor stating my case with brilliant red lips and always winning.

Rootless like a malformed carrot I

refuse to flourish in one place.

I know this is a  problem this rootlessness.

It’s prevented me from 

applying myself  to much of anything: love, housekeeping, friendship, home repair… you get the story. I kept a suitcase filled with cash hidden in my house and a bag packed with essentials which changed from month to month.

Now my rootlessness fits right in. No one is going anywhere but everyone would like to be rootless.

Where will I go when I can go anywhere?

Hawaii because I can’t get the music of palm trees out of my head.

Like Eloise, I could move into the Four Seasons hotel on the Big Island and go down to dinner every night sitting at the bar overlooking the lapping ocean generously tipping the bartender so that he always saved my seat.

And oh yes there is the spa with palm leaves that rattle above your hut while you are having a massage. Preferably a Lomi Lomi massage and I don’t know what that is.

I have entertained myself all day thinking of places I would like to go when I can go anywhere. Frankly, it may be better in my imagination. That’s been a life long problem of mine.

Last Woman on Earth

I am the last woman on earth.

I live alone in my house and every day I do the Schedule:

yoga, coffee, meditation, breakfast, look out the window, laundry,

make the bed,

take a shower, take a walk, lie on the floor, wait for the dogs to

jump on me, eat stuff from the fridge,

gaze into it awhile. Brush my hair.

Add blush. Add mascara after thinking about how long it will take

to remove later.

No lipstick.

Yesterday I considered a small glass of red wine with breakfast.

I can’t remember the day.

My neighbor’s new dog barks

enough to make napping problematic.

I drink a lot of tea with half and half and maple syrup which is

tastier than sugar.

After 6 my garage is a café for friends

and dinner comes in white cardboard boxes. We slip food under

our masks like horses with feed buckets or dogs with muzzles.

We are dreamers who believe

next month will bring hope back and neighbors come

two by two

like passengers on Noah’s Ark

run aground and have a hard time leaving.

I’m glad for the distraction and for the wine and anesthesia.

I don’t tell anyone about the hopelessness.

Minnow

Today I was watching an

insignificant film in which a

young girl traveling in Italy with her

Dad was swimming in a hotel

pool doing laps inside of the

20 foot bowl back and forth

and I started to

cry. Only in Italy do they have

hotel pools carved out of marble

lipped with travertine, lined with

Carrera, filled with the water of

Aquaducts and baptizing tears.

I saw my daughter at 12, a swimming

minnow,

Black haired and glistening, and I

remember promising her we

would return with her

daughter to a pool in Italy

someday. I wonder if anything

I promised will come true…

I am the last woman on earth

I am the last woman on earth.

I live alone in my house and every day I follow the schedule that I have arranged for myself.

That’s my game. It’s the best way to get through this.

Yoga, coffee, meditation, breakfast, look out the window, do the laundry, make the bed, take a shower, take a walk, lie  on the floor and wait for the dogs to jump on me, eat stuff from the fridge

after gazing into it awhile. Brush my hair.

Add blush. Add mascara despite considering how long it will take to remove. No lipstick.

Yesterday I considered a small  glass of red wine with breakfast.

My neighbor’s new dog barks

enough to make napping problematic.

I drink a lot of tea with half and half

and maple syrup which is tastier than

sugar.

My garage is a café after 6

and dinner is in white cardboard squares

ready for all of us dreamers who believe

next month will bring hope back and

neighbors come two by two

like passengers on Noah’s Ark

run aground and have a hard time

leaving.

So how do I feel?

I’m glad for the distraction and for the wine and for the anesthesia. I don’t tell anybody about the hopelessness.

In Reality Travel Doesn’t Measure Up

                        In Reality Travel Doesn’t Measure Up

For the longest time I thought I might become someone else. I also thought I might live somewhere else. I could be Norwegian and learn the language well  so people would say how no one could tell I wasn’t a native. I like the sounds of their desserts.

Or I could be a lawyer wearing crispy tight suits with very high heels and click click click across the court room floor stating my case and always winning.

Rootless like a malformed carrot I would refuse to flourish in one place. I know this was a problem this rootlessness.It prevented me from applying myself to much of anything: love, housekeeping, friendship, home repair… you get the story. I kept a suitcase filled with cash hidden in my house and a bag packed with essentials which changed from month to month.

Now my rootlessness fits right in. No one is going anywhere but everyone would like to be rootless. I wonder if after we finally figure out this virus and we are free again if everyone will prefer being rootless? After all, being imprisioned at home for over a year can drive even a boring person crazy.

Where will I go when I can go anywhere? I think at this point my first stop would be Hawaii because I can’t get the music of palm trees out of my head.I often thought it would’ve been a perfect place to live full-time. Like Eloise, I could move into the Four Seasons Hotel on the Big Island and just go down to dinner every night sitting at the bar overlooking the ocean generously tipping the bartender so that he always saved my seat. Reading a terrific novel all during dinner while drinking wine and eating sushi would be heaven right now.

And oh yes there is the spa in all those hotels and the spa always has palm trees with leaves that rattle above your hut while you are having a massage. Preferably a Lomi Lomi massage. I still don’t know what that means but I love them. I have entertained myself all day by thinking of places I would like to go when I can go anywhere. Frankly, it may be better in my imagination. That’s been a life long problem of mine and one I intend to keep as it’s so useful.

Living the 70’s Dream

My sister knew everyone in New York. Every couple of weeks she would have a dinner and she would always invite me. I never thought about it at the time but now, looking back, I realize what a generous thing that was.

When I was invited to one of her dinners I felt slightly sick, incredibly lucky, and completely shy.

Sometimes we would go shopping before these events to a special section in Bloomingdale’s where they had amazing designs from a young London woman who created costumes which were perfect for my sister. Generally, they were dresses that extended to the ground and when you lifted your arms in them cascading waterfalls from each arm in colors one had never really seen before fell around you.. In fact, I thought my sister looked like  a glamorous bird of paradise.

I loved  these shopping trips. I wouldn’t go in the room with her because that would’ve ruined it for me. I sat outside instead on a bench and waited for  her reveal. It was always extraordinary and we always knew right away which one was going to be the right one for the night.

I wore the same outfit pretty much to all of her dinners. Jackie Rogers was a designer at the time who had a shop on Madison Avenue and I had spent way too much money on a black chiffon pleated skirt that was slightly transparent. I would wear the skirt with whatever black top I happened to think looked good that night. The best part was getting into the taxi on my way to my sisters and saying “ 7 Gracie Square, please!”

I thought it was the most glamorous thing in the world and surely the taxi driver must realize I was a very important person to be going there.         

Once I got to her apartment and she opened the door which she always did And I could hear the hum and buzz of the party within.. I knew what time she would be serving dinner so I always arrived about 15 minutes prior to that time because in doing that I wouldn’t have to spend too much time making small talk which was not my strong point.

My sister would always introduce me to whoever she thought would be fun for me to talk to. One night I met Fran Leibowitz, George Plimpton, and Erica Jong. I felt as if my lips were frozen and certainly I couldn’t have had much of a conversation with any of them but just being in their presence was probably the coolest thing I could’ve imagined.

In those days everyone wanted to have fun. It didn’t really matter what you said or thought but if you laughed and had motion in your thoughts people adored you. Consequently I think I was adored at least by some of my sister’s guests.

It was the first time in my life I actually thought I was interesting. In the 70’s going out meant going out! We got dressed up. We took makeup seriously. We read Women’s Wear Daily and tried very hard to have big hair, beautiful dresses, and a lot of fun and we did.

I remember going to El Morocco which was a night club on 56th St. and the east side with various girlfriends and what I loved most was the staircase entrance. You showed up at the front door and Bart, the doorman, who was always wearing a top hat, would open the door for you and show you immediately to the elevator.

The elevator would take you to the second floor where the ladies room was and you could check your makeup for the 20 billionth time that night. After you exited from the ladies room there was a grand staircase descending  in front of you. It was also mirrored on the right hand side to reflect the entire room of people who were dining or drinking. As you descended you knew that all eyes were on you whether for a second or longer. It was the most thrilling experience of my life. Don’t forget, I was all of 22 years old.

Bart, the doorman, often intervened when men became too amorous. I remember one night when my sister and I were going back to her house and one of our admirers wanted to come along with us in the cab. Neither my sister nor I seem to be able to be forceful enough to stop this however Bart took it in stride. It was quite exciting needless to say.

El morocco had been around since my parents were dating and was the most glamorous place people could go. There were black and white zebra skin banquets and palm trees with white feathers hanging over them. It was very important to be seated near the dance floor so you could see everybody and everybody could see you. I was never a Studio 54 girl. El morocco was the place for me. The music was amazing and the food, forgettable. The lady in the ladies room knew everything about everyone. If you were smart you would give her a good tip. Otherwise she might tell people things about you that might be true but weren’t pleasant.

Tonight I have been reflecting on how much fun that time was. The 70’s were a great period. The music was great, the parties were great, people were light hearted and wanted to just flirt and have a good time.

I was saying to my sister tonight how much I appreciated her support and friendship during those years and how it had made all the difference for me in my life. I am so grateful for all those memories of her apartment, all those interesting people, the food, the wine and the ambiance. I felt safe there.

 I felt like nobody was going to say anything mean to me and everyone was going to protect me. She was the perfect older sister. Without sounding sappy, she was good to me. I don’t think people enjoy life in the same way that we did then in today’s world. Even when Covid leaves I don’t think young people have as much fun. It’s too bad.

It’s too bad because in those moments you could forget anything that was going on in the world and just listen to music, listen to the beat, look into the eyes of some interesting person and have a wonderful night.

The fish never stop hoping

The fish never stop hoping they’ll be put back in the niantic river yet the current drive them down to the ocean and the seagulls grab them and throw them down on the beach disemboweled and still quivering. For centuries now this has happened. For centuries now we keep fighting our own destiny which is what keeps us alive.

Covert Covid

  Covert Covid

I spent so much time as a child hiding and waiting that I am

really good at doing this thing that we have to do right now.

So we hide and we wait but we’re not really sure how long we have to do this.

So I know that’s why I am getting itchy skin and restless legs syndrome.

And I find most other people really hard to take.

A policeman on the street corner near to me

yells at an old lady. Construction workers spit in your path. Mask wearers versus non-mask wearers have set battle lines and there is going to be a fight this Saturday at 2:04 PM on the corner of Harrison and Santa Rosa. A duel.  Sharp tongues used as weapons and nobody has a second. Or a third or even the first. A first.

 Someone asked me what it was like the first time I knew I was in love. I told them it was so long ago I couldn’t remember.

I guess it might honestly be right now with my puppy who jumps on my head in the early morning but does it so gently it feels like butterflies on my eyes. The first time she did it I was astonished.

 I force myself to leave the house. Yesterday I went to the dentist and it was terribly exciting. I have a canker sore. She asked me if I was stressed. Then we both couldn’t stop laughing.

 On NPR two scientists announced that the general population was drinking too much. For some reason I have always hated the obvious.

The biggest thrill is going to the supermarket. Now I’m eating things like tuna melt and macaroni and cheese balls. Before too long I’ll be a chubby old lady. I don’t really care. Yesterday my cousin said he didn’t really care either.

I’ve always loved that particular cousin. It’s hot now and it might be hot for a while.

 I can’t hold my breath underwater anymore as I  feel like I’m drowning even if I’m not in the pool.             

The Best Memory

The best Fall I remember happened outside of Paris due

north near Chambord in November maybe October

when the Beaujolais Nouveau was released along with

me…I walked out

the door of the inn we stayed in

while you drank with our host.

I wandered following troughs of wet leaves marking

the crusades and the dark fall  all yellow

smelling of dank and my life as an

obedient pathfinder Joan of Arc

wanting you to worry I was lost

yet  knowing you never would.

Hours later I reluctantly returned just as I used

to at 8 and still no one noticed.

I think we made love that night

as we usually did but the bed was small, you

said, as you moved across the parquet floor

to the adjacent one

and closer to your children across the

Atlantic and I imagined

us leaving in the morning croissants uncurled

and me dressed in black because you said it was

best and before I knew it we were back in

California and you were married again

yet I was still outside of Paris in November

in 1996 longing for something I had felt

for a brief moment but never again.

What I mean

Autonomy

like monotony

but without the pendulum

marking time.

This time

Is monotonous

but for the autonomous

It’s fine

For a time.

What I’m Really Saying about life in California

I’m beginning to see

I need no one after a time.

I’m preparing for the lifeboat,

the buoy,

the evacuation of the planet,

no packing, everyone is coming.

I’m leaving everything

behind.

It’s meaningless.

People come and go.

I’m trying to be brave.

Now I realize people want to hear hope from me as I’m old.

So I hand them some perfectly ripe

tomatoes from my garden,

tell them how to chop the basil

add the olive oil,

mix with hands.

Serve at room temperature

perhaps outside with the sun

fighting to make its way through the smoke just for one last time.

It’s good to eat with others

as things digest more easily.

Someone Asked me

Someone Asked me How I Start a Poem

Someone asked me how I start a poem

And I said it had to do with scent,

I remember, summer 1957,

being underwater and chlorine and the vivid

look of other swimming beings.

Play “Tea Party”

“Why?”

I never understood “Tea Party”

or the scent of afternoon grass

in Connecticut

in June.

Lying there, listening to

airplanes floating, hawks looking

for sex, prey,

safety.

We lay there

among the blades, clipped,

eyes gliding across summer blue

skies reading cloud clusters like

braille translating childhood.

No language for bewilderment.

Listening

I would highly recommend learning the art

of invisibility at a young age.

It’s useful to sit still

breathing but not moving your ribs.

Taking notes..

It’s in the details one

learns the ropes and

listening to neighbors in hotel

rooms is lesson number four.

To cries, whispers, the click

of locks,

learning what stops listening

like ear plugs or music or white

noise. Stop.

Other people will always disappoint

you.

Stop taking notes

on life.

Summer 1955

Summer 1955

Nothing is moving today.

Neither the trees nor the grass

not the top parts of the ocean

nor the blacks birds over the path.

The heat falls onto us mid morning and

children

lose interest in torturing the dog.

I think I hear

the Good Humor man’s truck,

an echoing television from an open window,

the hiss hiss of the sprinkler whipping

around its three pronged medusa heads,

over the damp, soft grass.

Inside, a white eyelet nightgown’s

rustle, moving metal treasures in my

Grandmother’s drawers while she napped

with her eyes open.

My Mother’s Hair

My Mother’s Hair

My mother’s hair always escaped

from under her red kerchief or the

hairspray

lacquered on  for control and the hair

often went

dancing in a night club in Manhattan

even when she was in labor with

one of us. You can’t control wildness.

My mother lay, legs askew, baby

coming, never having  to push as Dr. Leroy

removed us with forceps while her hair was

dancing at the Stork Club and her waist, so

thin

turning sideways she could have been

an exclamation point or a bent spoon.

Her hair, curled in the heat and the moist

music, was happy as rhythm was the

clef of curl and the smoke, the smoke,

smoothed her out and persuaded her

life could be El Morocco and the possibility

of finding Mr.Rich.

Even after she found him she

worried he wouldn’t stay. He told her to

make

her hair softer. It was always

touch and go but he made the rules.

Older, her hair curled around nurses

who loved her sweetness while her children

longed to hear her truth.

You see, life was a silken tendril and a

Frigidaire,

TV dinners and flowered dresses with waists

cinched by men who knew how to lead.

Scissors hadn’t been invented and music

could anesthetize freedom. Hair could go

anywhere.

Vol de Nuit

              Vol de Nuit

“This is your captain speaking” I hear as I look around my seat and curiously push the dimly lit buttons with the diagrams on them of what I may want to do for the next 10 hours.

 I love the deep voice of the captain especially when he’s British: so reassuring and yet sexy as if any minute he’s going to offer me a cocktail and anything else I might want.

“Ladies and gentlemen” he says “our flight will go over Newfoundland tonight. We expect no delay in our landing at London Heathrow and  it is our hope that you will enjoy your flight asleep or awake.Thank you for flying with us.”

 I am longing to hear that captain’s voice again.

 I want to be in the capsule of transportation.

I want a lady with make up on and coiffed hair to offer me a blanket and a billet-doux.

I long to be taken across the Atlantic, flying high through the clouds while someone else is in charge.

 Maybe I’ll fly to Charles de Gaulle and exit through one of the tube escalators up and escalator down into the customs area where I will be met by a chauffeur who will take me to a five-star Hotel in Paris where I will acquire several new outfits and a chauffeur.

At night when I can’t sleep I think of all those opportunities. My daughter kept saying to me, “Mom!Go live in France for a while. They’ll  understand you there.”

I know it’s too late and that’s OK but I still love to imagine the sound of that voice “Good evening ladies and gentlemen!Welcome to flight 27 from San Francisco to wherever your heart desires.”

I  am wearing my travel clothes so I will look perfectly chic when we land.

I’ve been wearing them for five months.

I’ll never stop dreaming just as I’ve never stopped  breathing so if I never stop breathing I can’t guarantee I won’t in-jest something that could easily kill me.

So that’s why I’m happy I’m a good imaginer.

I always travel light and rarely breathe.

Wasp Homelife

WASP- Homelife

I hate Italian families.

When you see them in a group they’re always laughing and eating,

kissing and hugging and touching each other as if they really mean

it and they don’t mind being close.

Don’t they know that they’re not supposed to behave like that?

In the best of WASP families you never touch anything but a cheek

with another cheek.

You have children but they leave the house

young.

To a WASP there can be no answer as

nothing is written down.

It turns out your family will never resemble an Italian family. 

Never.

Wasps require large houses because everyone needs a greater than normal

amount of space in which to sequester themselves from their

childhood memories.

So if they can afford it they move into mansions and most of the

rooms are left empty.

Certainly on holidays there is one long table but it’s like

Covid before Covid.

I’m trying to learn how to be Italian.

I’m a genetic aberration.

I used to have a friend in the mafia who definitely was Italian.

He used to take me to dinner at the Italian club and during the meal

the table would shimmer and shake according to who was shooting what

weapon at the gun range on the floor below.

Having dinner with Vincent made me feel weirdly protected but

also somewhat

apprehensive . Like having indigestion before you even thought

about eating. I asked him to adopt me but that wasn’t what he had

in mind.

I found out a year ago that Vincent had died. I hate that.

People that you keep thinking of for years

and years and then suddenly you hear that you shouldn’t

have been thinking about them because

they were dead.

“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, we bury the upper crust!”

Motto from a WASP funeral company


My Birth

My mother’s father, Samuel Joseph Cawley, died three days before I was born and was buried in a paupers grave in Van Nys, California, alone and still drunk so the embalmer had it easy. My mother went into labor etherized and alone, and, hearing “ it’s a girl”, sighed into her peignoir and turned her back on it all: the dead first boy, the second, another boy, then two girls and then me. A brood mare. She struck a match for her L&M and flicked the ashes in the nightstand drawer it’s white metal smooth and cold. Loyal to her. She slammed it shut when she heard my grandfather’s voice in the hallway. The most important post birth attendant. Bearer of the name and the cash envelope labeled “Olive”. He always wanted her to be free of his son.Telling my father to be kind to her, grandfather gave her money. He said it was so she could leave but really it was so she would stay.
Lucinda Watson

Water Again

When I first tasted your skin

It was covered in water.

Remember water?

It was hard to describe but it was free.

Lakes are craters even now.

A child asks who pulled the drain plug as you drive by.

There is deep sadness in the retreating water, a reluctant

path of tears sinking into the dust,

searching for an oasis to nourish, water looks down

and sees it’s vanishing.

Cries out to the lone red bird

perched on a burnt tree,

cries out to the cactus who needs no one, cries out to

you and me who have forgotten water already.

Wedding Photo

The wedding photo

Our wedding photo seemed perfectly natural. I lay there on a white bird with a cherub playing a violin and you lay on top of me. I had a convenient fan in case things got too warm. Another cherub in a tree was hanging upside down with the candelabraperfectly balanced like prongs on a pitchfork.

There were farm animals and you wore a purple suit and I thought as many do what a wonderful fantasy. It was almost as if we were taking a small rest leaning against the curved plump soft white bird. I could feel her heart fluttering in her bird chest. Soon my heart was mimicking her rhythm. It never occurred to me that we were actually going to have a marriage after we had taken the photo. I couldn’t think that far ahead. I preferred to live in a soft fantasy where the idea of cooking meals and having children never came up. I didn’t really like the feel of your right hand on my hip but the photographer had suggested that it be there. A man had never touched me before so it wasn’t unusual to have that feeling. I wanted to keep the cow but I realize that would be difficult in a third-floor apartment. You said to me that one day we would have a castle. The only good thing about a castle to me would’ve been the moat. I remember distinctly that dissembling all the props took a long time and you refused to get out of that purple suit. I had a nice drink of some decent red wine and took a walk forgetting to come back.

Colonoscopy Time

I am writing because I wanted to express my concern about the medical centers across the country that perform common procedures like colonoscopies on a daily basis. While I understand that Covid has changed a lot about how one interacts with patients, I was very disappointed to be treated in the way I was prior to my colonoscopy this week.

Three years ago when I had a colonoscopy at this Center things were quite different. It was the human touch and connection that made me feel safe and secure having the procedure done. By that I mean the anesthesiologist, who was an older man, took the time to talk to me right before he put me to sleep by  introducing himself a second time  and making a small joke. This made me feel relaxed and safe and as if he cared about me.

Yesterday the anesthesiologist did come in and introduce herself to me in the waiting area however immediately prior to being put to sleep I was wheeled into the procedure room where no one spoke to me. My doctor didn’t speak to me, and the anesthesiologist did not speak to me. Frankly, I was looking for the anesthesiologist and I’m not even sure that she was there. Perhaps it is the practice now for the head anesthesiologist to meet the patient, take down information, and then pass this down this information to another anesthesiologist who will actually do the job. I hope not!

The feeling I had was that I was on an assembly line and merely a body on a gurney. It would have made a difference, for example, if someone had asked me how I was doing, patted my hand, and basically reassured me right before I went to sleep. Instead, when I said that the needle in my hand was hurting somebody seem to adjust it, but they didn’t say one word. I guess they felt like it didn’t matter because I would be asleep in two minutes which was true. However, perhaps they do not realize that those moments before being put to sleep are incredibly important ones and make a patient feel safe or unsafe. I felt unsafe and so that is my memory of the procedure and the treatment I received.

I understand the reasoning behind the lack of personal connection because of the fear of Covid but I think it is not right that patients don’t receive compassionate care. It’s very important for doctors not to forget that though they do 20 of these procedures a day or more, each  patient is an individual deserving of compassionate attention and reassurance.

The leader sets the tone in any business. Therefore, I have taken the time to write this letter in the hopes that doctors and others who are in this position will change their style in terms of patient interaction. All it takes is a pat on the hand and a gentle statement saying that everything will be all right.  Every employee who interacts with a patient should have the same compassionate approach and should take the time to make sure they are feeling comfortable. This happened at times during my procedure, but the most important time is right before one is put to sleep when anxiety is at its highest level.

Thank you for reading this and I hope that some changes are made because I think it will make a big difference in how comfortable people feel having colonoscopies performed.