Friday, October 21, 2016
My instagram account is the most amazing intersection of women, diverse in the most profound sense of the word: women who keep shabbos in orthodoxy, women who keep shabbos in mini-skirts; women devoted to earless abused pitbulls; women devoted to their human babies and children; women who work molten metal; women who make lace; potters, singers; storytellers; historians, physicists; fat queer brujas who make art with their bodies; women who prepare stew from deer they killed themselves, and women who would not like to take the life of even a single bee in the creation of their meals; poets who write earnestly about abuse, and poets who write about the sweet smell of rain; women who build cars and women who ride motorcycles; women who sell opals, women who sell miniature cake charms, women who sell pastel macarons, women who sell their cast-off fancy stripper pasties; a woman who posts every other day a new couture purchase she has made, from her perch in a gilded boudoir; women with cats, with tattoos, with vintage hats and victory rolls; ballerinas with tortured feet and beautiful lines; women with no hair, by fate or design, and women with a great deal of it, in splendid lavender waves and braids...and on and on in an infinity of iterations...and behind each photo ever more complexity, never to be reduced to a single word or feature no matter how hard the world might try.
Saturday, October 15, 2016
It has been years since I last posted. Years! For a long time I wasn't writing, at all really, nothing but shopping lists. I didn't miss it a bit. Well, maybe a little. The thing is, I don't really know what my Voice is anymore. I don't remember how to write, and I don't remember who I was, and I'm not sure who I am now. This log was so important to me, I do remember now. I thought I was putting into words my deepest heart's feelings; now I'm not so sure. I think I might have obfuscated a great deal.
Anyway, I'm unsure. Exceedingly. But maybe I'll just start again.
Anyway, I'm unsure. Exceedingly. But maybe I'll just start again.
Sunday, September 21, 2014
makes the loudest
I have ever heard, with each labored step
of his big hairy beast-paws, displacing
gallons of it
which skim the shallows
like very tiny memories
of movement in light
Watching, I have learned:
When chasing minnows that
you don't really want to
let yourself be heard
In your wrong-footed chaos of
When eluding a giant beast,
keep yourself small
your breathing small
your movements small
Be not seen
Fit yourself into a slip
of golden body
so tiny as to be no more
than the briefest
Thursday, September 11, 2014
The reading of the names. A stilted, halting counterpoint of New York-accented voices against my morning routine. Names of the dead. The spreading of the peanut butter, the chink of glass on plate as the dishes are done. Names of the dead. Rattle of dog food in the bowl. Names of the dead. Hum of washing machine. Names of the dead.
Names of the dead. Names of the dead. Trucks on the highway outside my window. Names of the dead.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
My secret relationship with Maya Angelou began when I was a young girl, decades ago. Ours was a troubled friendship, if you could call it that. Maya, of course, never knew Leah.
She was such an obviously grand woman, I know this: someone whose words, whose lovely interesting face, whose very presence on this earth brought comfort and hope to so many people it's almost hard to grasp the meaning of such a multitude. Yet to me Maya Angelou--the name, the face, the words--threw down the gauntlet of a fierce and hurting challenge that I have not been able to meet.
In a middle school English class we were given her autobiography "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings." In what seemed at the time I am sure, to the teacher and probably other students, a silly and overly precious move, I took a stand and insisted, along with a classmate, that the book contained material inappropriate for my age, and I refused to read it. My school being what it was, a place where children were listened to and (albeit haphazardly) taken seriously, the teacher agreed that I could substitute another book.
In reality though, my reason for rejecting Maya's book was not silly, though I could not honestly articulate the truth behind this angry and willful rejection, even to myself. Now I know: I didn't want to, I didn't want to discuss in a room full of children, the rape scene that lay at the dark heart of the book. I had, in private, looked through the pages and I had read the words. But I wanted to undo it. Make it unread. I couldn't read it, I wouldn't. I wanted to rip, to burn, that book. I wanted to kill that book. I wanted to stamp my feet in a baby tantrum and cover my ears and eyes and throw myself down on the battered linoleum floor of the classroom and scream, "NO!" And I wanted to keep screaming until someone finally thought to ask me why I was screaming; and at the same time I wanted them to ignore the screams and look away from my terror.
Such was the mind of a child who had herself been raped, who had lived in a trembling silence of gutting shame and fear for years.
I hated that book, and I hated Maya, almost as much as I despised the one who had abused the small me. I hated her confessional, because it wasn't my confessional. I hated her bravery, because it wasn't my bravery. I hated her hope because I had none.
As so often happens, abuse followed abuse. There were other men who took opportunity to hurt me sexually. By the time I was 13, I had been sexually used and abused to varying degrees by more than one grown man. By first grade, I truly saw myself as a seductress. And by early adolescence I knew it had all been my fault.
But I never did tell anyone.
Through the dark secretive years, Maya's words continued to haunt my thoughts, and to fill me with a confused fury. Her luminous and open and generous existence was a living reproach to my own lies, my tiny fearful life, always so tightly controlled and full of self-hatred.
Phenomenal woman, and rainbows, and kindness, grace, courage, self-reckoning and insight. Living the best life possible, ultimately undefeated. A powerful self and a powerful self-acceptance. I have always realized, of course, that for Maya, all this was hard won, and then only through extreme adversity.
But still, painfully, my own story to date doesn't come fully to a place of hope.
I cried, when I read that Maya was dead. She has been my companion for so long, though I can hardly read her words and have to look away from her strong face. But I have a certainty that she would accept the notion of a woman-in-progress, always in progress. As I am.
Thursday, March 20, 2014
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Saturday, January 4, 2014
I think that sometimes I see my life as a series of meals, and I have never learned to eat properly. My pacing is poor: one minute, I'm desperate and starving, gobbling experience as fast as I can, cramming myself full, too full, scared that someone will rip it away before I have had a chance to finish. I can almost see myself, hunched protectively over that portion, eating with my hands, barely able to catch my breath.
The next minute I'm feeling frail and tummyacheish, staring at a platefull and not knowing where or how to begin on it, overwhelmed by the textures and tastes and even by the utensils. How do I use my fork? Do I remember how?
I've been working for years on a pieced yoyo quilt. I don't have stamina, but I come back to it whenever I want it and without worry. Open the box, look at the bright circles and the thread and discs and feel good. It's in different stages of creation, from piles of uncut fabric to yoyos to a yard or two of finished quilt. And for some reason, that's okay with me. I can see what it is now, what it was and what it will be. It has accepted my pace without judgment. When I work on it, I accept my pace.
The quilt is separate from the rest of my life; that is, I don't take it in as general metaphor. It just seems to exist. The yoyo box is a place I go whenever I feel like it. Wholesome and tangible. Easy. Welcoming. No gobbling, no tummyache. No one will snatch it away, I'm certain, because who else wants a box of cotton fabric? And who would deny me the humble pleasure of it?
I haven't yet found the way to reconcile my life to itself, one part to another, pace to pace. I could say, mixed-metaphorically, that I vow to spend more time in peaceful piecework and less time in alternating glut and starvation.
I hope I will.
I will try.
Friday, January 3, 2014
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
A facebook meme. I had to think about this, what constitutes a "guilty" pleasure, because on the one hand, I feel vaguely guilty a great deal of the time about most things (so Jewish). On the other hand, I'm old enough to be unashamed of my slightly shameful predilections.
1. Overpriced pedicures. At the all-pink salon, where they bring tea in rosy pink cups or, in the evenings, a pink cocktail. Having my feet dominated by Iris, whose deceptively fine hands bring on a sort of twilight sleep of deep delight.
2. Taylor Swift. But I have to listen on my headphones. Guiltily weeping.
3. Lindor truffles. Sucked not chewed.
4. Bingeing on those pithy-yet-specious list articles all over the internet: "6 surefire ways to get your man to give up his soul to you," "8 unmistakeable signs that you're a psychopath," "12 ways to get out of a speeding ticket." I like my world reduced to lists.
5. Being a pathological fantasist.
6. Lingerie catalogs
7. Memorizing complex rap lyrics and rapping along. Alone in the car. Latest "achievement": DMX's Get It on the Floor ("you motherfuckers wonder why I start shit")
8. Taking selfies. Using filters.
9. Lottery daydreams
10. Writing micro erotic