Of Skulls, Wild Blessings, Pain and Ink

I got out of bed counting skulls. I always find healing in the act of counting blessings. If you know me a bit, you aren’t wondering about my use of the words skulls and blessings in the same paragraph—I love skulls, and recalling the tales of how they got to me is quite soothing.

Take the skull in the photo below, as an example. It’s a gift from my friend Lynne, mistress of the Insomniac’s Attic. She gave it to me during her last visit to New York City… in which we delighted in old books, got lost looking for an antique shop that insisted on hiding behind a delivery truck, and witnessed a rather irresponsible New Age seller tell a customer that onyx stones would give her telepathic powers.
Weeks later, the outrage I felt towards the seller’s statement (and the amusement my reaction brought to Lynne’s face) makes me laugh like a maniac. Laughter heals. The same is true of rituals and symbols. That’s the idea behind the grouping in the image: a frog from Stacy, a skull from Lynne, rosemary from Gina, and a mini-book from Emma, every piece sitting on a stone and a shell that holds its own tale. Even the black ribbon has a story, and telling myself all those tales (and laughing) pushes the aches away. Yes, it’s magic.

After saying goodbye to the frog, skull, rosemary and book, I started breakfast and made my bed. The quilt filled me with warm grins. It’s a handfasting present from my Mother-in-Law. As my not-so-perfect picture shows, the squares make an M or a W (for Magaly & William). And yes, the stitching forms lovely hearts. How cool is that, my Wicked Luvs? How could pain and exhaustion ever compete against the love put into such thought-filled gift?

Some gifts are unexpected treasures. The memories of when I first saw them always rush through me like a wave of ecstatically surprised endorphins. Yep, I’m referring to the bee kissing crabapple blossoms in the photo below. I was gifted this glimpse into Nature’s crafty magic, right after having spent a couple of hours searching for mushrooms. The search was a total fiasco… So, I was justifiably disappointed. Then I saw the bee… and the blooms… and I was delighted. Oh yes, I’m grinning like a lunatic, just thinking about it.

I’m writing this post while my heat pad does its magic on the pain that kicks my back. And “Yes! Yes!! Yes!!!” I’m smiling, as I think of gifts… of friends… of spring… of skulls… of wild magic… of every experience life has inked into my blood… and of how lucky I am to have the strength to craft them into poems and stories to share with you.

Do you count personal blessings? If so, do tell me of a wee blessing that brings all sorts of gigantic smiles to your face. Yummy grows yummier when spread. Really. 😉

Enjoys Intimidating Random Excuses for Human Beings

I shared this picture, and asked friends (from Facebook and Instagram), “What can you tell about the owner of this bedside table?” The responses show that many of my friends are very perceptive and, perhaps, slightly insane. They suggested the owner is neat, artistic, eclectic, spends a lot of time in bed, likes fishing, is a bohemian sci-fi gel pen collector, has a dark side, likes writing, loves Gothic things, has dry skin, values ordinary things, reads a lot… One response made me smile in a completely non-insane manner: a friend said the owner of the bedside table is “someone who likes to control and manipulate—in a good way.”

I smiled because I enjoy knowing that the way I treat my things tell a story that match my inside. I am, indeed, controlling… and manipulative… in a good way. I never try to control other people (since that’s unethical and tends to suck the energy out of everyone involved). But I use every skill and charm I possess to make sure that I can control my reactions to the way people behave towards me. It’s a powerful defense mechanism, my Wicked Luvs. The same is true about my kind of manipulation. I use that particular skill to crush the resolve of anyone who is silly enough to think they can shame me.

You are probably asking, “Where are you going with this, dearest?” Well, about two weeks ago, while a dear friend visited New York City (more on that soon), I wore my purse after not having done so for months. It was a final experiment. And it failed. My left side began to throb less than an hour into the trip, and my right shoulder was useless for days. Conclusion: must continue getting cozy with my wheeled bag and buy a hip purse (or thirteen).

I have yet to buy a hip purse. So, yesterday, when I got ready for a long walk, I packed my wheeled bag (medications, user-friendly toilet paper, water, a bit of food…). Then I realized that the damn thing was too big for comfort. I decided to rig my regular purse into a, yes, hip purse. I tightened the shoulder strap around my hips, but the strap was too long. I fed a sash through the loops that connect the purse to the strap, and secured the whole thing around my waist. I was ready… and quite proud of my crafty rig.

Halfway through my walk, I stopped at an office supplies store—a girl always needs more red pens. While I waited in line, I heard chuckles behind me. I thought nothing of it. Then a woman said, “Crazy hippies.” I was smiling inside. Crazy hippies are very cool. Then another voice, one that has never heard of the benefits of whispering, said, “If I ever go outside looking that stupid, hit me.” I turned around. And I’m not quite sure what made me do it. But… staring at the woman who had just spoken, I widened my eyes, and let my smile stretch until it became a mad grin that showed every single one of my teeth.

The woman backed into a display of notepads, knocking the whole thing to the floor. I laughed… And, perhaps, took the tiniest of jumps in her general direction. The gesture inspired her to move away from me and my teeth and walk quickly out of the store. I stopped laughing. But my grin was still mightily toothy when her friend looked back.

I walked home with an insane grin on my face, thinking, I should definitely add “Enjoys intimidating random excuses for human beings—in a good way” to my résumé. Now, if I could only figure out how to whip out the mad grin on command.

…my awesome rig…
I liked the effect of the flash, so I left it on.
Also, I took the photo right after I got back from my walk,
so… I had to protect you from mad-grin residue.
*mad cackles-infused giggles*

In Her Bones, a Storm

“…those move easiest who have learn’d to dance.” ~ An Essay on Criticism, by Alexander Pope

The quivering of his knees, the clenching of her fist, the darkening of their eyes… tell my spine their bones feel the urge to break in classic agony dance. The brown keeping my skull from the bleaching kiss of the sun has met no homelessness, but my brain knows of being unwanted. My heart feels their feels—We must be human together, or we will be nothing.

My soul echoes the Colossus wail: “The ‘tempest-tossed’ can’t breathe with stone walling their throats, with water drowning the life out of truth.” The quivering of his knees, the clenching of her fist, the darkening of their eyes… My heart breaks.

in her bones, a storm
howls of broken dawns and shame,
of hearts bought and sold

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the
(not so) wee notes…
– A friend said she felt terrible to see how my physical “pain has worsen” these days. It really hasn’t, so I asked what made her think so. She told me, “I can always see your pain in your poetry.” To her, and to anyone who is feeling bad for me—thinking that my Crohn’s and my other chronic illnesses have gotten worse—I want to say that they haven’t. My body hasn’t made any leaps towards full recovery, but things are stable. The pain, outrage, tiredness… you have been reading in my poetry and prose are reflections of the current socio-political state of affairs. Pain is contagious… for people with feeling hearts, working minds, seeing eyeballs…

– Linked to the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads (Tuesday Platform), and to Prompt Nights Writing is both mask and unveiling… Battle of the Bards: Choose a famous bard—William Shakespeare, Robert Burns, William Cowper, William Wordsworth, Alexander Pope—and pick out a poem or quote (that inspires you best) from their works and prepare to launch into battle! I chose to dance with a bit of Pope. And yes, I also borrowed a few words (and sentiments) from “The New Colossus”, by Emma Lazarus.

Created out of words from Edgar Allan Poe and Sigmund Freud magnetic poetry kits poems. The background is a detail from “Blooming Howls”, a painting by Gina Morley, inspired by my short story collection of the same name. When I placed the Poem Bit over it, I thought of the Statue of Liberty. Partly because of the color, mostly because of the agony I see on her face. It looks as if she feels the pain of the entire world, and the horror turns her insides into screams.