Say Something

This time of Covid is a terrible time for everyone. It’s hard on families, it’s hard on children, it’s hard on the police and the fire department, it’s also hard on all the medical personnel that work so hard to keep everyone healthy and alive.I have compassion for everyone working in law enforcement but I do think more attention can be paid to what’s happening in small ways in our community.

I did something this morning that I am very proud of. I can’t see any reason not to have done it. I live near a playground and I heard a child crying this morning. Not crying in the way a child sometimes cries when they’re tired or want something, but crying in a way that says I am desperately unhappy and in pain.

The crying was so faint at first I thought I must be imagining it because I was on a zoom call taking care of business. When I was done I went downstairs and asked a friend who had been using my wireless if she had heard the crying. She said I was just going to come and get you because it’s been going on for at least 20 or 25 minutes.

I went outside and walked across the street to the park where I found two young women talking to themselves and four children all apparently under the age of two. One of the children was over by himself in the corner and  was sobbing. I called out to the two young women saying that the crying has been going on for 20 to 25 minutes at this point and I was very concerned about the child. I asked why he was crying and why they weren’t comforting him.

Both women became very aggressive and said that little children needed to cry and it was because his mother had just left him for a short period of time. I said no child should be left to cry for this long period of time and they should attempt to comfort the child. They told me to basically mind my own business.

The child continued to cry and looked incredibly forlorn so I told them I was going to call the police unless they did something. I called the nonemergency number of the Sausalito Police Department and made my report and I was called back by the dispatch person who basically said to me that this was not child abuse and there was nothing that they could do. I explained to them that it may not be child abuse but it was child neglect which was just as bad. The young woman on the phone said that I should understand the police department doesn’t concern themselves with such matters.

At this point a car pulled up in front of the playground and a young woman got out and it was clear to me that this must be the mother. The child went running to her and stopped crying immediately. I went over to the mother and reported to her what had been going on and the two young women who were there denied everything saying who are you going to believe the two of us or her? They went on to say that they were running a child care business and they knew how to take care of children.

Despite all of this I was happy to see that the mom was sitting on the ground holding her child who had stopped crying and was so peaceful and happy after what was now 45 minutes of hysteria.

I am hoping that in my being an upstander rather than a bystander this mom will think twice about putting her child in the care of someone she doesn’t know well. I still can’t get over the fact that this child had to suffer for such a long time. It was shocking to watch these two young women chatting away while this child was over in the corner completely hysterical and ignored.

I’m sure the Sausalito police have their rules and regulations but sending a patrol car to the park which is three minutes from their station might have made a big difference not only in this child’s life but in the lives of other children  in the future who are left with these two women.

Everyone needs to be more compassionate in today’s world but I firmly believe we also need to look out for those who can’t look out for themselves.

The Stone Creek Motel

The Stone Creek Motel
You always think you’re going home and then you
find yourself suddenly at the only roadside motel that takes dogs
on a Sunday night in Missoula having stopped at the liquor store to buy a
bottle of wine and some Pringles.Out the window of room 208 you
can see the inconsistent glint of Highway 90 heading east and you understand why you always wanted to be a trucker.
In a minute you are in your truck cab hustling down that
Highway, your fur ball dangling from the rear view mirror wearing tight jeans and someone’s T-shirt headed for that lineman in Wichita County slamming the gearshift up and down and checking your Colt 45 under your seat at rest Stops.
Or you could take the job listed on the board in the lobby of The Stone Creek Motel –
“Deer Cleaner” “Twelve bucks for the Bucks!” “Seasonal Work” Get yourself a rubber apron and a sharp knife and go to town.
You always want other people’s jobs.
The night goes on and you feel comforted by your new friends, Marge and Tiny( her Great Dane), as you settle down in the
lobby in the brand new spanking chairs setting up your Pizza Hut box and six pack of wine alongside Marge and Tiny with their feast of Wendy’s double burgers washed down with Zapple.
Marge asks where you are from and for a moment you have no answer
but she forgets to wait and tells you about her granddaughter in Des Moines and what she’s bringing her. Marge is nice enough. She is wearing the last pair of pink polyester pants on earth. At some time there was a daisy chain down the side of each pant leg but some have fallen off into the
vastness of Marges yesterday’s.
You could be anywhere.
You could step into Marges life in a second.
Take Tiny out and shovel shit for days.
Marge knows what she’s going to do tomorrow and you have no plan.

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.

The Introvert

                                               Introvert

I can’t tell people

I like how it is now:

“Da Viwus”

as Rosemary calls it,

the restlessness gone.

 No days of yoga,

 no decisions,

few people, puppy

watching

the main activity.

I only want to see children

swim in the pool making

light of alligators and yellow cheese slices

made of plastic and air. The in breath

and the out breath like hand bellows

in my belly, welcoming and productive.

“What if it is like this forever?”

There will always be children.

I must keep this secret.

Along with the other

introverts of the world.