More Domestic Art: Cooking with Wild Plants

This cake, made from the invasive but edible weed known as Japanese Knotweed had the texture, but not the spices of gingerbread, and was moist and just delicious! If anyone wants me to reconstruct this recipe, let me know.

knot cake aka cake made from Japanese Knotweed

NO ONE LISTENS…

No One Listens
NO ONE LISTENS

I

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have been able to speak now for at least a month, but before that there were four months of what I can only call subconsciously self-imposed silence. Not “selective mutism” because I did not speak at all. There does not seem to be any term for this intermittent affliction, when I cannot speak for long periods of time, but as my poem says, “Nothing locks my lips or seals my tongue” — a paraphrase I fear because I do not recall the exact words.

 

I would write more, but I have no time this morning. I post this small, 3.5″ by 2.5″ drawing because of Sue B’s comment on my most recent post…as it most eloquently I think answers her question. Whatever the reason for my muteness, I do not consciously choose to go silent. It simply happens, with a bang, so to speak.

This muteness can lift, I have found, with music, with singing, and people encouraging me to sing…and then to sing-talk my words, until finally I “forget” and simply end up speaking.

Here is the poem I wrote that expresses some of htis, It can be found in my newest book, LEARNING TO SEE IN THREE DIMENSIONS, available on Amazon and through any bookstore.

PHILOMELA

I haven’t spoken out loud for many weeks,

bullied by “voices” to a frightened into myself silence.

 

Still, what does “speechless” mean

in these days of text-to-speech software,

with its choice of Vikki or Samantha or Victoria voices,

 

especially when I’m possessed of a blog and writing fluency

enough to speak my mind to my heart’s content?

 

Even so, being mute is not a manner of speaking.

 

Yet I tell you I cantalk. Nothing physical impedes

my tongue, or locks my lips

 

except my brain’s hallucinated snarls,

Jerry Mahoney and Charlie McCarthy thrown

into surrounding shadows

 

ordering up this stoppage, blockage, blockade.

 

Now, like Stevens’ fire-fangled bird at the end of the mind

feathered unlucky, tarred, locked in golden cage

 

my voice remains only a memento

 

of everything

I wanted to say, but could not get out,

I couldn’t get it out, I could not get it out…

 

 

*In the Greek myth, Philomela is raped and has her tongue cut out by Tereus, the husband of her sister Procne. Rendered mute, Philomela weaves a tapestry detailing the crime to inform her sister, who, enraged, takes revenge on Tereus. At the end of the story, both Procne and Philomela are transformed into birds.   In some versions of this story, Philomela turns into a female nightingale, while in others she becomes a swallow. However, neither of these birds can sing.

 

*Jerry Mahoney and Charlie McCarthy are two famous American ventriloquists’ dummies

 

 

EMMA GONZALEZ’S BRILLIANT, MESMERIZING SPEECH

THIS IS THE GENERATION WHO WILL SAVE US AND SAVE THE WORLD. BRAVA, EMMA!

AND AN EQUAL BRAVO TO EACH AND EVERY SURVIVOR WHO SPOKE SO BRAVELY TODAY.

As Brandon Wolf said, survivor of the Pulse massacre and a young man who lost his best friend to that carnage, Emma’s silence is the silence of all the Sandy Hook mothers who come home to empty houses, all the mothers of Columbine and Parkland students and all the other surviving mothers who come home to empty silent houses…It is a silence that screams, DO SOMETHING! But will we dare? Will this march lead us finally to vote those who do nothing out of office?

Difficult Decision: Will I or Wont I

 

 

 

 

 

 

I went off my psychiatric meds over the course of several months without a problem to speak of, until I was off them for a week, when two things happened. First off the withdrawal dyskinesia (see brief video above) was getting better, but I was beginning to feel, well, nothing, no motivation, no pleasure, no enjoyment in doing anything. I know that many people do not do well on Abilify and hate it, in which case I would say it does little good and to stop taking it. For me, ever since I started taking it in 2006 or so, I have had motivation to start doing and learning art in a way I never felt before. And each time I stop  it, no matter how  fast or slowly, I go down the hole into no motivation or pleasure in anything. I do not like this situation at all, because Abilify also causes me severe double vision, but but but, I must say that i helps me do things, to finish things, to enjoy the process. I do NOT have any idea why this is,  but it has always been so since I started the drug, and I can no longer bear being off it, despite the side effects and disapproval by others. Whatever the damage that years of first generation neuroleptics have done to me, this one drug seems to help me do what I want to do..

.Hate me or not as you will, I cannot bear not taking it. Without it I have no impulse to do art or write, and my life is shit. Is that really what I should be satisfied with?

PEACE PRAYER OF ST FRANCIS plus…

fullsizeoutput_2cf6https://www.quora.com/How-do-you-interpret-the-Peace-Prayer-of-St-Francis-How-has-it-served-you-in-your-life/answer/Pamela-Spiro-Wagner

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:

I read the word “lord” as “The Force for good in all things” and construe “good” as anything that serves life and joy.

where there is hatred, let me sow love;

This is what all good counseling and self-help tomes teach or ought to. In any situation where hate is evinced or demonstrated, dealing with it with love and detachment can only make things better. That is what Marshall Rosenberg’s Non Violent Communication (NVC) is all about. It is not about eschewing violence per se, though it does that, but about responding with love and empathy to each and every situation we meet in life.

where there is injury, pardon;

This is a difficult plea, for it asks for the strength to meet a personal injury or wound that affects the self with nothing more than pardon and forgiveness. This is a mental act. It does not mean that society should not also deal somehow with the injurer, only that the pleader as an injured person wants not to be embittered or soured by life’s misfortunes and untoward acts by another individual. The plea itself, “where there is injury let me sow pardon” when intentional and sincere, is the first step towards true detachment.

where there is doubt, faith;

Doubt here does not mean a religious doubt and the faith is not a religious faith. I read this is asking to promote faith and trust in life-serving-life and in a world of love where people have become so bitter or worldy that they doubt the reality or even the value in either one. Doubt closes us down, and is a narrowing, a contraction, a pushing away of opportunities that might be trying to come towards us,  whereas faith opens us up to possibility and has a magnetic quality

where there is despair, hope;

Sometimes all you can do, in the face of another’s personal despair is to be there and listen to them, affirming their pain while promoting the ever-present possibility of hope. One of the most loving and in the end healing things anyone ever did for me was to hear my cries of suicidal despair and to take my pain seriously. This lovely woman not only understood that there was a possibility I might not live, but knowing this, she offered to be there with me, accompanying me on the journey at least that far, when I took my own life. She knew she could not stop this act, if it occurred, but also understood that I did not want to die in some closet or under the surface of a full bathtub. I wanted to die with understanding and peace, and wanted someone to be with me who was not afraid or insistent on stopping me. Be horrified if you will, but it was her act, her offer to simply be with me and not make me die alone that turned the corner in my mind. I realized that all my preparations, like Advance Directives had been for life, for survival, and so if I was so intent on suicide, there truly was something amiss…and I could see that proof in my own documents. I wanted to live. I always wanted to live, so even I could see that seeking death in this period of deep despair was not the solution I would want, “in my right mind.” Because of this realization, we got me to a place where I could find help without abuse (i.e. not a hospital) and a way to go on…The result was that I began to heal for real, from lifelong mental illness and disability into a life of love and joy that I could not have anticipated at the time I wanted only to die.

where there is darkness, light (would change “darkness” to “loss of vision”)

Not all darkness is negative. Some darkness like when one sleeps at night is necessary and peace-bringing. People have for centuries equated darkness and blackness with what is evil or bad. No wonder African Americans have been taught to hate the color of their skin… But no more. As in the Yin Yang symbol, darkness and light are equal partners in life and without one we could not experience the other.

But when you lose vision in the sense of truly seeing what is there and what is real, you may need light to shine on your loss, to help you see the truth.

where there is sadness, joy.

And what better goal in life than to sow joy where sadness reigns? Sometimes just being there and understanding a person’s sadness is enough. Not deriding them or trying to artificially buck them up, but to sow joy as a person of joyfulness. It is hard for anyone to remain sad in the presence of real joy. It is infectious and contagious. Come, will you share my joy with me?

O divine Force for good in all things, grant that I may not so much seek

to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.

So many people do not realize that in doing these acts of kindness towards another, we find relief from our own pain. In consoling and understanding another, we experience consolation and understanding for and of ourselves. When we give love, out of a full and selfless desire, we get back so much more love than we ever could have imagined. We learn to love ourselves.

For it is in giving that we receive,

Giving and generosity are not highly valued in this society. We think, if a person lacks something, their own resources and work should provide it. To receive is for many even more difficult. We do not want charity or to be seen as needy. But sometimes we have to allow others the gift of being able to give to us. That way, they can feel joy and be healed too.

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

That is truly the gift that gives…When we do unto others, we also bring about the same outcome and reward for ourselves without even willing it. When we promote forgiveness and act in a forgiving way towards the world, we are ourselves forgiven and learn to love even what mistakes we make or errors we find ourselves in. But there are no mistakes, no errors, when you serve life and joy in all things…Everything that happens in your life leads to where you are, which is here and now, praying to be an instrument of peace in the world. What else could be better? Death has no dominion then…And dying is just sleeping, a rest and a reward.

Amen.

Yes, when you have understood all that, Amen indeed, “so be it.”

LEARNING TO SEE IN THREE DIMENSIONS: three poems from book

 

Reviews would be greatly appreciated! Here is link to book at Amazon.com

https://www.amazon.com/Learning-See-Three-Dimensions-Poetry/dp/0998260460/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1519480074&sr=8-1&keywords=Learning+to+see+in+three+dimensions

TO THE READER

who may be sitting as I am
in a green recliner with a cup of tea
staring out through the porch
to a darkened streetlamp outside the diner,
with a book in her lap, mine, I hope
the only one I feel I should have to mention
if I mention a book in a poem I write;
to the reader, the nitpicker, the one
who may be wondering why
on p. 47 there are two ands, one
right after another, and whose fault that is;
and to the reader, who may be tired
after a long ride home on the bus
after dark and a meal not worth mentioning
who picks up my book but finds his eyes
closing before he has opened the cover,
I say: Forgive me
I am only a writer sitting in a green recliner
with a cup of tea, I can’t explain
those two ands or the mysterious
streetlamp or warm the feet of a tired
reader in his bed. I can only put music on
and tell him stories to make movies
turn in his head, to let him wake
with the sudden understanding that poetry
may be all it takes to make a life—
well, my life at any rate, and maybe his,
and maybe the nitpicker’s and yours, too,
staring through the porch to the streetlamp
where what happens so mysteriously is poetry—
and the whole night is wrapped
in the words spoken by two strangers
meeting there, or not spoken, which is poetry too,
and all of us who listen are waiting
for the music of what is to happen.

(Last line, thanks to Helen Vendler)

MOSAIC

Mosaic: a word that means from the muses, from Moses
and a work of art created from broken fragments of pottery,
stone or glass.

 

Even the first time, surrender was not hard,
though the grownups and mothers
with their drinks and swizzle sticks
undoubtedly thought it so when you volunteered
your only present that 10th Christmas
to a younger child who wouldn’t understand
being giftless at the tail end of a line to Santa,
nor your inherent sin in being born.
Such generosity should have stayed
between your concept-of-God and you,
but grownup admiration (you could not hope
to make your act unpublic) sullied the soap
of any generosity’s power to cleanse you.
Other atonements followed, only one
almost perfect, being perfectly anonymous
spoiled by an accomplice’s later telling.
Perfection? You never made that grade,
your terrible love for God demanding all life
from your life. No one told you, “Live a lot,”
not in words that made it matter, though
they doubtless counseled, “Live a little.”
You were always in school to be perfect,
never knowing that life is a classroom
where one learns to love flaws
by throwing bad pots, to shatter
them with careful hammer,
assembling beauty from broken things.

FORGETTING TO REMEMBER

Multiples: former shorthand for people diagnosed
with multiple personality disorder, believed to arise
from early sexual trauma and abuse; now considered
a dissociative disorder.

 

Two suicides and such a multitude of multiples
wrung from their imagination the year I was there
by student psychologists eager to make names for themselves,
the halfway facility would be shut down for good the next.
But not before seeds of uncertain certainties were sown:
repressed memories miraculously recovered from the abyss,
of incests, sodomies, satanic abuses, so even my stalwart insistence
on a happy-go-not-so-unlucky childhood
became stained by the sepia of doubt:
had I really escaped such clutches?

Knowing memory’s foibles, it’s hard to trust
what my sister tells me was true: that there really were
neighborhood “Bad Boys” and a shack in the woods
where they kept a stash of comic books and pin-up calendars,
the price to read there all afternoon if you were a girl
a feel, that I’m not wrong to believe I read my fill
of “Archie” and “Prince Valiant” and “Peanuts” inside.

Though I had to find my own way out afterwards
after they’d gone, taking their comics with them,
leaving just June, now unpinned from the wall
in her tiny shorts, the shine of her raspberry lips
pouting next to a tractor, I recall only
dry motes falling through the last rays
of sun, the smoky smell of sawdust and dust,
and grit under my bare feet, my trembling relief,
as I studied a stroll through the back door at home,
perhaps worse for the wear but on time for supper
so nobody questioned the dirt in my hair.

"While I breathe, I hope"

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