Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11

My paralysis began on September 11 2005
We lost a cousin never met in the fall of the towers on September 11 2001

This morning I dreamed of my parents
We were living together in a hotel or wide veranda dorm
and we were shopping I was entranced by someone who
painted on a kind of cotton voile and my mother
dug it to-- my mother yelled at me for sleeping
so much and my father was hanging out with me
I start to explain tht it's because of my disability
but then it wasn't there

My brother was there and i could walk and was
zooming around on those clothesluggage carts
I am searching in the store for who made those painting/curtains and then I'm in a semi work mode trying to look up who made them
having conversations with strangers and then I'm at a desk on the phone
my old work friend Victor appeared but it's still beautiful white couch, expansive
full of light

and as always at some point I lose them

Monday, November 10, 2008

Miriam Makeba, Gone to Glory

Thank you Miriam Makeba, for being you. You gave a little black girl in the South Bronx many external proofs of African genius and beauty,. I think of you as a personal saint and a friend. I cherish you as a hero I memorized your every inflection and every word on the three records my parents owned. You wore your hair naturally!! This was singular and revolutionary for a black American girl in the fifties, who was burnt by a hot comb. You were natural and beautiful. You were natural and commanded the stage. You were natural and accomplished. There was another way to be, to see, and to be seen, to occupy the world as a whole authentic self. To wear your hair as it is, and be a star!

You sang the songs of your people and many others. So I learned to shape my mouth in new ways trying to click with you in the Click Song, singing as you did, in other languages, becoming through your music, both a child of Africa and a citizen of the world. Now sister, Come go to glory with a me, you sang. Where did the Naughty little Flea Go, Love tastes like Strawberries, She Can't Crossover, Suliram.  Songs from the West Indies, where my grandparents came from, songs in French, Hebrew,
songs of the people from many wheres. These songs were light and joy and your voice was sustenance and comfort, beautiful and warm, Your songs informed me, taught me, shaped me.

My brother and best friend and I danced and performed your songs for our friends and neighbors Darling go home your husband is ill, is he ill well then give him a pill come my dear friend just one more dance, then ill go home to my poor old man.... ahhh how we loved you!!!!

... In my native village of Johannesburg...., you told us, and so I cared about Johannesburg and found it on the map and later, when I grew up, supported your people's struggle to end apartheid, because we were kin.

Your death reminds me of other losses, my parents who were smart and hip enough to bring your music home to us, who were open to your undeniability, who let us play you again and again and again. I am so so grateful that I got to see you live with my mommy, to connect that circle of gratitude and inspiration and love, to have been in your live physical presence and applauded.

My ears will always hold the memory of your singular voice. Your marriage and move back to the continent were further inspiration. You were making change manifest. I am so glad that you got to see hope reborn in America. I am moved that you died after performing in support of another who worked for change, for righting wrongs. Know we always held you in our hearts, where you reigned.

Thank you, Miriam Makeba, for singing truth to power, for giving us to ourselves, for a lifetime of effort and inspiration Thank you, for having been here among us.

Monday, October 27, 2008

My Aide Taken Away

My aide was taken away, so now i more than intensely dislike the home health care service. This is the same ...
stupidity that i suffered in Rochester. Just when I settle into some routine or expectancy it is snatched away.

So what is the universe trying to tell me? If all is change, then change my paralysis into mobility again.

And this happens AFTEr i see her and soI must make do, go hungry and without food until the new person shows
up, because of course it is not on the day-- Monday that I usually had support. Another relationship lost, severed.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


big bees busy outside the window
where they found somerthing in the unattended wood
so did woodpeckers

a first sighting next door undoing the house
or cleansing it of other things

the old poes words bring me nothing but sorrow
my father's death on Easter undid another
holiday i cant celebrate that
he arose he is gone and i want his
mellifluous voice and i want to argue
and i want his understanding his hearts embrace

he knew me he made me and i dont
want to wander unknown

he protectedd my tender and railed against it
he understood this soul struggle
the enormity of desire and our fragility
how much we wanted knowledge
the vast sun and how weak our wax wings

he was not the father who said don't fly
he's the one who said plan to be over the sea and know how to swim
you know they will melt and you must survive the fall
and rise again

howannoyed i was whenhe signed Albe
though that was what i first called him
but he was Daddy Albe and then later he would
scribble Albe, yr Daddy and i would laugh
as if i could mistake the left handed lovely script
he created as anyone else, ever ,ever
always my Daddy.


now i'm free to talk about
younger than Malcolm x i never knew
and all those things that bothered me
i forget
you're not here for me to tease and torment
i regret everything and nothing
you knew you were loved
and i remembered every birthday
and i ached when i was five and undertstood
that your world had denied you
for christ and vowed that you would
be as you were first in my heart
forgive me god thank god
this man made me and you made him
and i am still weeping for my loss
though not mother to him
still i adored him and cherished
him and reviled him and long
to always hear his voice
his hey baby

Monday, September 29, 2008

Mourning Niles

The end was horrible. He was in so much pain that the pains meds barely took the edge off. He growled with, not meowed, but growled, a low guttural cursing. In between cursing he would purr thickly as I rubbed and brushed his jaw and his head. While his tumor at the side of his neck grew back, as before surgery, it was not a source of apparent discomfort. This was shocking as wherever else the lymphoma was hitting, was not visible, but was devastating, robbing him of use of his tail and back end in a matter of days.

I had to fight, cajole to get the technician to come with the requisite forms. But as the print out had a code and line and charge for " technician home visit" yesterday's frantic search for someone to
relieve Niles of his wrenching pain was unnecessary stress. The vet hospital's resistance to my request that he be euthanized at home, because I can't bring him in, was just wrong. I knew from able-bodied friends that they had had their animals euthanized at home, and not because there were no other options. So it rankles, that I who have no other options, was initially denied a service that they clearly have and had available.

I played and sang the two Niles songs for him on the piano, and then My Romance, which he likes a lot and We'll be together again. A new ditty came to me to sing to him and this pleased me.

We were exiled by my inexplicable paralysis, at first from each other, for four agonizing months while I was hospitalized and then in rehab. And then finally together in a small apartment in another city while home was being made accessible. I am so grateful to him for hanging in there with me. He was used to space --an upstairs, a basement, a yard, a neighborhood to roam and that time in that awful apartment was hard for all of us, but we became closer. He was an aloof kitty who barely tolerated hugs. He changed into a cat who slept by my bed, talked to me, sought and gave affection. He helped me make it through the pain and loss. He helped us make it home again.

Returning home, he unfurled himself. He was large, handsome and in charge, facing down threats and intruders. It just hurts so much that he didn't have more years to munch his particular grasses, roam
the neighborhood, tell me which tunes he liked.

Obi, slender pointy cat, returned home when the technicians arrived. He stayed while Niles, big fluffy
cat, growled and hissed with pain, calmed, groaned, relented, sighed, died. Then Obi went back outside.

I am so grateful to have had such a sweet and funny companion and friend.

R. I. P. Niles 8 years, 1 month, 11 days

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Two Songs

As a nonparent, I guess I run into this less frequently than most.
As my first niece attends my alma mater, I am reminded
of my parents sending me off. The song Letting
Go by Suzy Boggus sung beautifully and with more
restraint than i would, aired today on a Prarie Home Companion. Sunday is often crying day as it was my day to call the parents
the day of rest, I can reflect and remember. REjoice and yearn for them.

Another song reminded me of them, in the weirdest sweetest way
Waiting on a Woman,by Brad Paisley with Andy Griffith as an old codger
talking about his ever tardy Beloved. That was my
mother, always late and yes, when she was ready, she was gorgeous.
She was a woman in a way that I've known few of. She was
this fullness, this wholeness, fierce, dryly funny, sophisticated..

The son g references 1952, only now do i realize that they got married today!!!
September 7, 1952, and I was born 6 days short of 9 months later. Dear Parents
thank you for loving each other, and making me and loving me.
Thank you. I miss you so much. I told you I would. Happy anniversary
Hope and Albert. I love you. O