Sunday, February 22, 2015

"C'est la fille d'un roi; Ce n'est plus toi..."

hello, fellow travelers, pilgrims, and any sister souls who believe going straight takes one due north.
the bianca castafiore in me greets the milanese nightingale in you.

take a moment, sing her aria, belt it out, we can never quite get enough of it, sacré bordel!


Ah! je ris de me voir si belle en ce miroir, 
Ah! je ris de me voir si belle en ce miroir,
Est-ce toi, Marguerite, est-ce toi? 
Réponds-moi, réponds-moi,
Réponds, réponds, réponds vite! 
Non! Non! ce n'est plus toi!
Non...non, ce n'est plus ton visage; 
C'est la fille d'un roi;  
Ce n'est plus toi...

it's been a long stretch of mounting stupidity in a parabolic zone that seems to require my spinning nucleic presence to metabolize the exact quantity of stabilizing dumb [SD] necessary to preserve the nature of things. when reincarnated as a worm, i hope to play the warmer, mealier role of preserving the things of nature.

all of which is to bring you, from northside hearsepital's most rockin' and a-reelin' bed of music and magic -- 5C-507 -- this newly discovered, swiped from the archives [what to do at 3 am when even the swingingest nurses are dragging their high heels?] photo of saint dobby as he led his friend sammy, my greatest cat love through the last stages of life.  dobby is, and is told daily, that he is 90 % angel, 10% house elf, and with witchy math part rin tin tin, a very tough cat, and a sweet pea.  since buddy's arrival on scene, he has bouts of needing to be the resident Bad Boy, so long as he can drop out of the role after five minutes, tops.

anyway, here they are.  sammy never wanted to be alone in his dying, and never was.





sammy, of all the male anythings I have ever kissed, was the best kisser of them all.
not to overdo things on the originality front, but dobby is given frequent reminders that he's a very good boy.










© 2015 L. Ryan

Friday, February 13, 2015

Good Work: "Void and Compensation (Karaoke Genesis)" by Michael Morse

Part of the loveliest gift of each day, always full of promise, sometimes a complete, embarrassing failure, sometimes such a triumph as to invoke sacred quiet, or a rowdy fist pump, and often, the kerplop of a spilled diet ginger ale in the wild, waving, anachronistic search for a paper towel with which to wipe it up.

Leave it alone.  Just leave it alone.  Completeness ain't all it's cracked up.

I mention, and plagiarize, from time to time, the Academy of American Poets' project "Poem-a-Day":

Launched during National Poetry Month in 2006, Poem-a-Day features new and previously unpublished poems by contemporary poets on weekdays and classic poems on weekends.
A lovely thing to save in your email listings until that certain time of the day.  Or to stockpile for a few days, if you feel the need to sort, to rank, to wield, that sorta impulse -- which will be deflated nicely by some rhyme internal, infernal, joyous, near, far, or almost failed, on purpose -- which will curl your toes, manicured or fungused [boozed, bruised, cruised, fused, fuzed, mused, oozed, rused, schmoozed, snoozed, soused, used, abused, accused, amused, bemused, confused, defused, diffused, enthused, excused, infused, misused, perused, recused, refused, reused, suffused, transfused, disabused, overused, underused], according to ancient watery rhythms.

Or to open straightaway, a child, or a woman, hair held back by a thirsty towel, face shiny from witch hazel, and whatever signifies a man, intrepid.

Today's Poem of the Day merits.  Deserves.  It shames my verbs, as a matter of course.
"Too many words, kid," Lumpy would say.

Still, still -- the quiet moment together with the need to turn and share the work of this Michael Morse.

Michael Morse is the author of Void and Compensation (Canarium Books, 2015). He teaches at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York City and lives in Brooklyn.


Void and Compensation (Karaoke Genesis)

 
Michael Morse
Since when did keeping things to ourselves
help us to better remember them?

We need tutorials from predecessors.

To restore what’s missing makes a science
of equating like with like, or touching
small pebbles on a larger mental abacus.

We hitch a memory of order to ourselves:

From rotating bodies in space comes wind,
by which we’re buffeted, cooled, or graced;
The sun warms both the sunflower
and the angel with whom we might wrestle;
We get some lyrics from a higher power
and then we act on or for each other.

In calculated reunions of broken parts,
the latter must always feel the former,
inherit both the track and the turn.

A situation like an empty orchestra.

And when we try to sing above it, intuit,
and even in our singing are mistaken—

if pitch is something sought and never pure,
if latter sounds like something we can climb
as opposed to where we find ourselves
more recently in our relations, in time,
having been left or starting our leave-taking—

something happened—someone followed someone.
Someone had. Even held. Our formers.

We’re doppelgangers, saintly or undone;
pick a song and listen for your cue.

Here’s the void. Now sing some compensation.


About This Poem
 “Karaoke translates into English as ‘empty orchestra’—a portmanteau of sorts from the Japanese words for empty (kara) and orchestra (ōkesutora). I can hardly sing a lick and my limited range yields Karaoke choices that are more talky than sung. And yet I love the idea and essence of the act. Singing lyrics that we learn (or read) parallels what we inherit—as family members, as inhabitants and citizens of particular places, and as poets—from whomever and whatever we follow. What follows is a kind of genesis, a making in which we simultaneously borrow and add our own stamp.”—Michael Morse


Five Tools

giacometti: "figurine dans une boite entre deux boites qui sont des maisons"



when i can't deal with my mp3 player, even, as happened this morning -- i have THREE new tools in the distraction/mindLESSness effort.  that's a total, when all is well, of FOUR tools.

if i can read, i now have [ONE] oppen's COMPLETE work, and [TWO] oxford's collection of american poetry. the other big "if," and it's sucky, is that these books are large and heavy, and at the times i need them the most, too large and heavy to be of use.  that's how poetry gets to kick a person in the ass.

if my hands can grip the the little non-skid plastic non-skid plastic corner stick-ons decorating the underside of my workaholic laptop, then if the index and thumb can toss it onto the pillow awaitin' on my lap, then we can try to get to youtube and [THREE] wallow and smile with maru, and now, with and at, maru&hana.

[FOUR] there is almost always an *actual* cat, always there has almost always been a cat, but it's different now.  they take turns checking.  i've begun wearing hoodies to bed, with the hood up. in the beginning, the hoodie went up to aid in sliding up in the hearsepital bed without also dragging hair and whatever sexpot top i sported. then the hoodie stayed up to protect the mp3 wiring, then to keep my head warm, then because it comforted me, and always because it kept my unkempt hair more kempt.  so, anyway, the cats, in turn, snuffle at the perceived entrance to my face, and issue their particular greeting.  buddy, small melodious things. marmy, *::ack::*::ack::* + apologetic purrrrr and approximated headbutt.  dobby, a loud, unmodulated, caricature of a MEOW. dobby always scares me to death, if i have actually achieved sleep, and i squint to perceive a worried pink nose. yes, a nose can worry.  there's more, lots more, to number FOUR, but i'll spare you.

the mp3 player senses change.  it first died and required resuscitation. then twice, then, after a third, almost mechanical, heartless lazarus play, one night found me cursing new curses. "not that song again, no, not again, did we not do that song just, what? twenty songs ago?"

somehow, we were down to 22 songs, and, the odd thing? they were all of an era. go ahead: shiver the creepy-shiver, all at once, as one. here, this will help you pull it off: melanie, candles in the rain
ohh, emm, gee, mine people, ohh, emm, gee.

Lay down, lay down, lay it all down
Let your white birds smile up
At the ones who stand and frown
Lay down, lay down, lay it all down
Let your white birds smile up
At the ones who stand and frown.

We were so close, there was no room
We bled inside each other's wounds
We all had caught the same disease
And we all sang the songs of peace.

Lay down, lay down, lay it all down
Let your white birds smile up
At the ones who stand and frown
Lay down, lay down, lay it all down
Let your white birds smile up
At the ones who stand and frown.

So raise the candles high
'Cause if you don't we could stay black against the night
Oh raise them higher again
And if you do we could stay dry against the rain.



so the mp3 now has been reformatted.  and no, i had not been so organized as to save its last incarnation, as each incarnation was a work in progress. which is why we all come back as worms -- don't be fooled.  the universe doesn't save or back up its work, either, not believing it can make a mistake, being the universe 'n all. did i tell you what a god-awful anthropomorphic nitwit i am, and always have been, will be?

so the reloading goes well, and is a pleasure.  

we reloaded less than two-thirds of the former songs, adding a few new ones, and a few that had been removed in fits of pique.  we had a bad day yesterday, breaking beneath the weight of physical, but not mental or emotional, pain.  the perfect day for the betas (in alpha testing, a.b.o.u.t. ready for launch!) ONE, TWO, THREE and FOUR.

don't be jealous because i have five tools in my toolbox.  be happy for me.  and get me a perfect mp3 player, with seamless wireless paid for by, i dunno, you, and enough memory to hold the impossible recordings of all oppen's work as read by oppen, live, before a live audience, and the bazillion poets the oxford edition included, all recorded live, audiences optional.  no podcasts, no video, just the voices. maru and maru&hana are a whole, are "as is." the actual cats stay as they are, too, cannot be improved upon, marmy's breath excepted.  

oh, and with time, i'm sorry to break it to you, the various versions of the serenity prayer fail, usually before giacometti, brancusi, duchamp, modigliani, rothko, beckett. you will have your own sacred list.

now, if the hands fail, well, we'll revisit all this.



© 2015 L. Ryan

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Were It Not For The Annoyance Of Waking Up

this is another repost. call it an early anniversary republication, the original date of birth having been 10 february 2014.





Last night, I acted on a promise, I announced a dream come true.  Change.

I wrote to a beloved:


i'm trying to change myself -- overnight.  that's correct:  tomorrow, a new me, a new attitude, no fears, no woes, as much appreciation of the beauty in everything as my spirit can take, and large movements of big muscles.   
and learning.  i need to learn.  travel with some one or some thing to a mutual smile. 
no, i'm not on more pain meds!  and i mean what i am saying.  i've no expectation of obliterating my faults, finding god, becoming good or saintly.  in fact, eliminating those subterranean poofy pink desires, choking them out with some living vegetation, would be a relief.

Believe it or not, so far, so good.  I got up with the dawn and baked.  The batter, itself, was enough to satisfy my pissy pickiness, the evident enemy in all of my attempts to accomplish.  Accomplish, yes, without a direct object.

I learned about curling, with a man who ran quickly to his coat closet and found a supremely cool Norwegian cap, a gift someone he'd had business dealings with had tossed into one of their uber-serious business boxes. He then proceeded to decipher the mysteries of curling as the United States men battled the Norwegians, in their flag-coded, wildly paned pants (held up with a white belt).

In between the workout of blending and stirring and pouring and lifting, and the revelatory moment of the blue circle, the stone guided there by sweeping fools and ice chips, I slept.

During the night, I fell into music, a string of dear songs helping the trip to the other side of bed-shaking spasms.  When necessary, I brokered peace between Buddy the Maine Coon, beset with jealousy and insecurity, and Marmy and Dobby, who both have a hunted, haunted look, and have tufts of their hair scattered over the living room rug.  Buddy knows no other way.  He can only feel loved if he is the only available cat.  The look of confusion on his face is upsetting.  The damage he can do to other cats (and to my forearms) is remarkable.  

Punishing a cat is pointless.  I tried giving him a quick swat, and the bewilderment that resulted taught me to never do that again.  It's love, all the way, or nothing.

Fred the Wise sighs over my efforts to create peace.  "Let them work it out," he says.  He who rarely witnesses the violence.

I prayed for Syria and that felt like a waste of time.  I meditated, mindful of Syria, and left it "there," and that was infinitely better for me, though it did nothing for Syria.

To the same beloved, I shared my greatest Olympic memory, one he should have witnessed firsthand -- an account of Brother-Unit Grader Boob and his amazing physical mimicry:


once he hit 6'4", he perfected an impression of a ski-jumper that was astounding.  size 13 feet firmly planted on the good earth, he'd launch, then actually bring his body, pretty much in a straight line, almost parallel with his imaginary skis, forming a perfect V with body, feet, and floor. hands floating at his side.  then he'd execute that lovely bent knee landing... complete with whistling wind noises. 
Were it not for the annoyance of repeatedly waking up, these would surely be my final days.

© 2015 L. Ryan

Friday, February 6, 2015

I Can't Make It REAL *Here*, So Maybe You Will Hear Me

If the last 14 months had been a musical, the unifying refrain might've been:

"Who is taking care of yew-ew-ew-eww-eww?
Whew-ew-ew-eww-eww is taking care of you?"

Asked by itinerants, by sages, by assumptives and unknown consumptives.  Asked by experienced nurses, by naive patient care technicians, and women (only women) in elevators.

I won't rerun the highlights of the last 14 months -- or the last 13 years, to be realistic.  What's at issue is now, and the fact that I cannot care for myself, nor foist that responsibility on Fred, nor fulfill the many stated, unstated, embedded, encoded, shouted, whispered and extra-sensorially transmitted job requirements of the good Captain Haddock and his family's ginormous corporate expectations.

It all seemed so simple when we shot through the intra-planetary wormhole into the hot waters of the moat surrounding Marlinspike Hall, breaching the overgrowth of red algae in our miniature pink submarine like some joyous humpback whale.  We were squatters.  We weren't even really here!

I started the conversation last year.  Precisely when, I cannot say.  Circumstantially, the timing remains forever fixed:  The day I had to deal with something hygienically gross, alone, when I was not alone. Having done so, and feeling somewhat empowered, I exited the bathroom (where else?) to slip on fresh cat vomit.
But I break a promise only paragraphs old -- that of not rerunning highlights, even if they never left my brain for their cinematic marathons.

Fred and I are going to have to separate, probably by year's end.  He can stay here, quite well, and very happily, I hope.  He's integral to the running of the place.  He never thought he'd have a home, much less a freaking Manor!  I need nursing care, so that will mean whatever the intervening months work together to create.

Right now, mouths are moving, but eyes are blanking out, and white coats are exiting rooms quickly. Therefore, it is good that we are meeting new white coats.

Fred is not hearing, not believing.  But he must, and will, soon.  I will call in other voices, and he will be shocked, perhaps fall to the floor.  I will keep as many of my promises to Sweet Fred as are reasonable, and more.

Before the end of the year, there are the steps of hiring help, learning to ask for help, compromising on some things, but not others, and considering those things that are the pudding's proof that -- in the end -- we are alone.

Also, this blog needs a hell of a lot of work.



© 2015 L. Ryan

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Saint Blaise, Somewhere on the Seventh Floor Observatory, With a Papier Mâché Chalice of Prior Approval Paperwork

Marlinspike Hall sleeps around me with such intensity, precision, and natural beauty that I mistook the funky quiet for that muffled, inimitable blanket of sound that falls with heavy snow.

Turns out, it's just cold, mid-morning, and a Tête-de-Hergé National Holiday, of which there are only two, so the Genetically Indentured Domestic Staff are sleeping in arduously, as well as the Cistercian brotherhood next door (their sleep carries, let me tell you!), amplified by the trained cadence of the overly red-wined snores of their Abbot Truffatore, whom my powers of echolocation place at the second Medieval half-renovated kitchenette nearest our wing of the Manor.

The Holiday?  Now, keep in mind that it's nothing to do with religion, more with husbandry, mostly of the animal sort, and veterinary medicine, light years more advanced than t'other sorts.  Most vulgarly stated, however, and to keep things simple, which is how we like it, it's to celebrate, by a grand sleep-in, celebratory, mostly, of the grandest adenoids in all the land, and of the Catholic Feast Day of Saint Blaise. It all makes our kind of sense.

Many Catholics might remember Saint Blaise's feast day because of the Blessing of the Throats that took place on this day. Two candles are blessed, held slightly open, and pressed against the throat as the blessing is said. Saint Blaise's protection of those with throat troubles apparently comes from a legend that a boy was brought to him who had a fishbone stuck in his throat. The boy was about to die when Saint Blaise healed him. 
Very few facts are known about Saint Blaise. We believe he was a bishop of Sebastea in Armenia who was martyred under the reign of Licinius in the early fourth century. 
The legend of his life that sprang up in the eighth century tell us that he was born in to a rich and noble family who raised him as a Christian. After becoming a bishop, a new persecution of Christians began. He received a message from God to go into the hills to escape persecution. Men hunting in the mountains discovered a cave surrounded by wild animals who were sick. Among them Blaise walked unafraid, curing them of their illnesses. Recognizing Blaise as a bishop, they captured him to take him back for trial. On the way back, he talked a wolf into releasing a pig that belonged to a poor woman. When Blaise was sentenced to be starved to death, the woman, in gratitude, sneaked into the prison with food and candles. Finally Blaise was killed by the governor. 
Blaise is the patron saint of wild animals because of his care for them and of those with throat maladies.

We lit-crit types, especially we of the bad sort, ill-trained, and sleepy, could get a dissertation out of that, then kick back at our Defense, and start an almost natural fight among our Friends There To Judge Us that could easily last the requisite three-to-fifteen hours, no bathroom breaks required.

Bad habits die easily, thank God, and now that Fred is stumbling about and phones are ringing, the better habits promise to prevail and coffee cannot be far behind.  Buddy just vacated the wheel chair, after sneezing, pointedly, and with prodigious productivity, upon my joy stick, finishing his work with the careful application of a single 6-inch strand of this Marlinspike Hall Maine Coon's Serengeti counterpart's tawny mane sun-drenched fur -- still warm and redolent of the male markings of which modern veterinary science has rendered Buddy incapable. If you followed that, free parking for 2015 ManorFest!

While everyone slept, I worked.

I confirmed that the snafus Fred and I assumed to be true, were in fact, true.  Call this the polite, fact gathering portion of the endeavor.  Included were the more important confirmation of fax numbers and phone numbers, contact persons, hours of operations, and the names of any interesting listen-while-you-wait music.
No growling, no brains on the ceiling.

[Damn.  Fred made himself coffee.  But none for the gimp.  You want brains on the ceiling? Now there are gonna be brains on the ceiling.]

[Double Damn with cherries on top.  Fred has another luncheon date.  Followed by a mission of mercy for me, so I can hardly beg for coffee.  I hate Catholics. Blaise was sure gonna get coffee while they starved him to death, I betcha.  Whatcha wanna bet?]

[Triple Damn and be it on Fred's Flat Head this time. Said luncheon date, which, okay, truly is a kindness and a genuine act of fellowship on his good part, not to mention that it takes place outside of this godforsaken bed and bedroom, far away from the Feline Triumvirate and the intricacies of Manor Domestic NitPickiNess... However, it's a good hour-and-a-god-damned-half away, leaving a good god-damned languid enough period of time to cafe-presse a cup of decent coffee. "But I'm going to run 'cross the drawbridge, through the snoozing carnies, up the barn loft defenses, through the hay gate, shimmy across the ropes to the computer turret, have Sven send up my coffee, and have loads of emails to get through before I have to be in town for this luncheon gig..."]

[All Damns revoked.  I hear the kettle singing.  A line missed by both Angelou and Whitman. Throw in each to each and it could be Eliot.  But I resent the guilt out.]

Yeah, and now my detailing of my work on this Saint Blaise Day is all soiled, piggy, and dead, sour meat.

I'm trying to get the pain medication that was prescribed on 23 January 2015 filled.  It's available.  It's not strange.  It's in my new insurance formulary.  Because I did not know whom my new pain management doctor was going to be, I surely did not know that we were going to change my long-acting pain med, something I longed for, but dared not hope for (not with PF Flyers on the concrete kind of wanting, if you, Dear Reader, get my drift).  So when the marvelous and tremendously overworked Dr. Ramasubbu actually wrote the prescription, without ANY records or any bona fides beyond my writhing self and half-coherent history, corroborated by what I had been able to download and print -- okay, with Sweet Fred's assistance -- well, I was... in disbelief.

She also prescribed Topamax.  She permitted me to continue with my breakthrough meds though my impression was one of less-than-happiness.  She made a one-month appointment.

There were many innuendos and eyebrow sentences.  Had we not passed most of the larger holiday seasons, I'd have been watching for fingers placed meaningfully, tropefully, alongside various-sized noses. I had broken many rules.  Ignorance, good intentions, scientistic experimentation, frugality, desperation, take your pick.  I also did what Fred abhors. "Abhor" does not begin to cover it.  He SLAMS poor Ruby's tender steering wheel when I launch into my tale of "how did it go with the doctor?" When I get to the part which starts, "So I told her/him the truth..." -- BAM, BAM, BAM! Poor Ruby and I cringe and go quiet for a good ten miles or so, as I listen to "Why? Why do you tell them the truth? Etc."

Anyway, the truth went well.  Dr. Ram made a passing reference to being required by law to destroy the pain meds I had brought in to show her.  At the time, thinking that new meds were as available as a quick stop at a nearby pharmacy, I was almost okay with that.  But then some sort of libertarian me surfaced [I know!] and bombarded my brain with thoughts of:  Wait a minute, I paid for those, they're mine, and I've used them as directed, of even UNDER as directed!  And wait a minute, I paid for those, they're mine!

None of those thoughts exited my brain, which was good, as I was dealing with law-abiding but stern folk with whom I had not yet signed any forms, and whose eyebrows had been wriggling like crazy.

Oh, the truth?  I had cut down the dose of my Fentanyl patch, from 100 mcg to 75, on the off-the-cuff but, I thought, well-considered, advise of an excellent nurse practitioner chez my last pain management provider, with those thriving Kaisers. In order to do this, I'd dug into a lovely, large and fragrant woven bag meant for Indian Basmati rice, into which I had tossed the dregs of prescriptions over the last 5-6 years.  Antibiotics that were changed after the first very expensive dose.  Anticonvulsants that made me insane and did nothing for neuropathic pain.  Inexplicable bottles of Methadone and Baclofen, in quantities for which I am now grateful. Mostly the work of overzealous, unthinking, unsavvy doctors, though looking at the doses of some of the methadone bottles, I am thinking that guy wanted me dead.  Thinking back... he almost succeeded, with the blame placed squarely on me. But he, he no longer matters!  However, I may take Dr. Ram one of those [empty] bottles to explain my reticence at being put back on methadone, that and the whole experience of getting off of methadone! [ HERE are just this blog's methadone entries labelled "jump-off," when I -- w/o medical supervision or approval, took myself off all opiates in roughly a month so as to best approximate a treatment protocol that was my best shot at a cure.]

The rest of the truth?  That nothing was working.  I'd reached the point thought unreachable, of 10/10. Blah, blah, and blah. I think that was about it.  I warned her that I'd continue to tell her the truth, comfort for either of us be darned and dratted.  She preferred it so. I finally relaxed. Someone told me, "Pack up my meds, sign here, here, and, uh, here, here are your prescriptions, get dressed, make your next appointment on the way out and you are good to go!  Nice to meet ya!"

Each of those things was as a marathon.  But I was so happy.  I was free of the greasy-haired man everyone thought so great, who loved to fold my now unfoldable hands [shut up] into his long, i-should-have-been-an-oil-painter-in-amsterdam hands, and say, "There is no hope for you, no cure, nothing is going to get better."

I packed up my meds. I signed.  I tucked my new prescriptions in my pocket (after screamingly getting dressed).  I made my next appointment, face dripping in ladylike perspiration (channeling my sweet stepmom), and found what's-his-name, the object of admiring stares by two babies in strollers, watching him softly snuffle-sleep, book on the belly, ignoring the educational DVD cued for their learning pleasure.

"I'm not asleep!" yelled Fred, and the girls giggled.  He giggled back.  Kids love Fred!

On the way down to the parking dungeon in what was called "The Tower," I spotted a pharmacy. A bright girl, head full of Merlyn and birds and stones, I cried, "Halt!  Let's stop here and get these Rx filled, Mr. I-Am-Not-Asleep, Fredster!"

Great place. Small but fully equipped, being essentially in a hospital and next to a cancer treatment wing.

"Topamax? Not a problem.  Seven bucks!  As for the other?  Didn't you check with your insurance company? It requires Prior Approval."

By then, I'd been hit with hypoglycemia as well as the pain wall.  The pharmacist started her sentences speaking to me and finished speaking to Fred, who was lost, having just not-woken-up.

So I told him to run upstairs and ask them what to do.  And ate pretzels. He came back, said the pharmacy should hang on to the prescription, and that Dr. Ramasubbu would fax the PA paperwork to start the approval process with the insurance.  It might take as long as 7-10 days. Sounded like a plan. New plan, new docs, kinks, and so on.

Forth.

Except that yesterday, ten days later,  I got up the nerve to call the pharmacy, who said they'd heard nothing.
Checked with the insurance company, who'd managed to mail order 90-day supplies of all other meds within the week, and they had no record of the prescription at all. I asked them to fax the necessary paperwork to Dr. Ram and received a crisp, "That will be done in 6 to 8 minutes, and when we receive her response, it will take us 24 to 72 hours to make our decision." I saluted from the bed.

I yam what I yam.

Marlinspike Hall slept around me with such intensity, precision, and natural beauty that I mistook the funky quiet for that muffled, inimitable blanket of sound that falls with heavy snow.

It seemed prudent to check with the hospital pain center to see if the fax was successfully received and whether anyone had had a chance to look at it.  Twenty-five minutes on hold -- but fascinating music.

Bottom line.  Nothing from yesterday, but a bunch of stuff from "the 18th" [of January?  A Sunday?] "Could that be it?"

There's more and it was all equally time-consuming, stupid, and led nowhere.  Like, Fred was to pick up CDs of imaging studies, either at building 2001 or 2045, but the "good news" was -- get this -- that at either building, it would be on the 7th floor!  One tech guy was responsible for putting this video game together, but where it ended up depended on how his mind worked:  did he favor the hip orthos (2001 building) or the ShoulderMan (2045 building).

No mercy, however, for the woman who thought there was comic relief in the fact that, whichever building it might be, it would definitely be on a seventh floor.

I'm gonna take a nap.

© 2015 L. Ryan

Monday, February 2, 2015

bob marley staves off the nursing home

a new appreciation for bob marley.

and for the power of the third resetting of the mp3 player, 90-minute mode.


Get up, stand up! (Jah, Jah!)
Stand up for your rights! (Oh-hoo!)
Get up, stand up! (Get up, stand up!)
Don't give up the fight! (Life is your right!)
Get up, stand up! (So we can't give up the fight!)
Stand up for your rights! (Lord, Lord!)
Get up, stand up! (Keep on struggling on!)
Don't give up the fight! (Yeah!)

first, i thought, snuggling into my favorite off the shoulderless-shoulder, pea-green, perfectly worn, perfectly over-sized sweat shirt, "ah, an encouraging ode to all who are suffering, how nice. thank you, bob marley and friends. please leave the weed and accoutrements within easy reach as i flop over and rediscover this thang called sleep."

the mere thought of movement brought it home.  the upper reaches of my bladder were banging against the flabby flab of the empty trough of my stomach pouch.  we shall not mention the crunch:crunch:scream:scream from ankles:knees:hips:shoulders and overall joy of awakening.

so we took on the song as mantle, girded the loins, wherever they might be, interpolated a few verses of our own, scattering cats like no body's bidness, used the cane while still wearing our fuzzy blue hand splints (complete with nubs-between-the-knuckles-resembling-nuttin'-better-than-blue-fuzzy-TITS).

ever grip a slick cane handle with a hand predominantly filled with fuzzy blue hand splints and titty knuckles?

singing "get up, stand up, leave the mary-ju-wanna on the bedside table, woodja, bobby marley?" à très haute voix, losing the battle to keep your pants up along the way? ah, it was a woodcut in the making.

oh, listen!  the rascal is back!  "buffalo soldier"!

Dreadie, woy yoy yoy, woy yoy-yoy yoy,
Woy yoy yoy yoy, yoy yoy-yoy yoy!
Woy yoy yoy, woy yoy-yoy yoy,
Woy yoy yoy yoy, yoy yoy-yoy yoy!
Buffalo Soldier troddin' through the land, wo-ho-ooh!
Said he wanna ran, then you wanna hand,
Troddin' through the land, yea-hea, yea-ea.

anyway, i did not fall down, not on the way, not on the way back.  technically, i am not back yet, having stopped to see what bob marley et al left me on the bedside table. not one blessèd leaf, not one blessèd seed.  i haven't had any blessèd pot since 1992.

i landed with the left hanche perched daintily mid-mattress, the right (of the magically disappearing femur) propped by -- get this, GET THIS! -- a large blob of a right foot covered by a SOCK, by a SOCKsockSOCKsock planted on what appears to be a natural seagrass rug next to an inordinately large, loving, very worried, inordinately large, very sweet maine coone cat. remind me to do something sweet for that animal.

but bless the marley for waking me, stirringly, with a universal song. otherwise, i might have decided today was the day to cave, to say, "YES, put me in the nursing home, but not before i piss in the bed, not before i color mine hair blue, and hit the local spy store for ingenious kitsch into which nanny-cams may be inserted, the first objets d'art to be stolen by my new 'caretakers,' juicy fruit poppers all.  their goodness, the new 'caretakers'?  i bet they know where to score a joint, in exchange for my blessèd great aunt booboo's brooch from liberated northeastern indonesia." 

time to leave an email for fred, wherever he may find me. the text, always determined:

another night, gone, hallelujah!
i know you've a Haddock Corporation luncheon today of great height proportions.  
however, before you leave, and no matter how you assess my consciousness, please prepare one cafe-presse café, generous with the café, steeped to the 7-minute mark (or 9, your call), served with a hearty-textured -- but not soured -- milk. 
make sure i am awake, tell me you love me, make sure i tell you the same, have a wonderfully productive lunch.  if the captain shows up, drag his ass home and i'll do something with that organic pumpkin goodness. 
i do love you so.  you saved my life last night, telling me and dobby stories in the dark, talking tanzania, barney rubble, the galiban, and why, despite your (and my) absolute capacity to do it, some poems simply defied the form of the villanelle.  you also did laundry, and stretches.   
remember:  no matter whether i appear to be asleep or not, i am not, and need you, and that coffee, and need you, and need you, and need you.  and the captain, or dr. jean, or even kitty, achoo, eschew, bring her home. i can do a post-working lunch. 
i can.  i can do anything.  just ask bob marley.
drive carefully, for i do love you so.
just for you, my friends, as i enjoyed a brief pass out, and another hearty wake-up by my colleague-in-music, the mp3 player, with twinkle-eyed marmy and dobby, each aside me, buddy now asleep on the wheelchair, ears swiveling suspiciously.

loudon wainwright the third, this time. "got a ukulele." and that ain't nuthin' if not fred incarnate!

Got a ukulele now I'm not a fraidy
Cat in case I get a bout of blues
In the event I get 'em
There's no way that I'll let 'em
Bring me down no way I'll just refuse (believe me)

'Cause a ukulele's like a little baby
You cradle it in your arms and you sing
A lullaby or ditty
When you're feeling sh*tty
It will cheer you up
It's just the thing

Life should be bright and breezy
Winds could be light and easy
There's nothing hard or heavy 'bout a uke
I don't play bull fiddle
No mystery no riddle
Schleppin' that thing you look like a kook

4 strings made of nylon
Always put a smile on
Anybody's face who's feelin' blue
When your mind starts slummin'
Start a little strummin' on your uke
And you're gonna feel brand new (you gotta believe me)

Even though it's rainin'
Quit all your complainin'
Your roof's not leakin' nothin's gettin' in
This axe is a hatchet there's magic you can catch it
On your uke you can't lose you just win

Life should be bright and breezy
Winds could be light and easy
There's nothin' hard or heavy 'bout a uke
I don't play the tuba tuba's do it to ya
Just the thought of tubas makes me puke

Kind sirs and gentle ladies grab your ukuleles
I suspect by now you know my song
And the next time that I do it
Get down and get into it
I trust you all will sing and strum along (you gotta believe me)



© 2015 L. Ryan

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Follow the Reader!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014, I gave you, "On Rectitude." This past month, you've searched it out, not for its scintillating images, or original fonts, but for its something-else-èd-ness.  To the point where "On Rectitude" climbed to first among non-CRPS Serious Schtuff.  I'm having problems typing or being in any way handy, so it's a pleasure to discover the odd things others like.  Or are laughing at.  Laughter is good, too. So we're following you, wincing as need be. Good exercise.

*****     *****     *****     *****     ******     ******      ******     *****     ******

I pity you, Dear Reader.  The richness of life's tapestry around me calls up this pity, this sadness for you and what must be, by comparison, a bland and monochromatic existence.

You poor thing.

When you look out your bedroom window, you aren't gifted with the best-crack-dealer-on-the-block's cheery wave.  You don't know that the color of the day is green.

Just yesterday, it was red.  Our dealer sported red trainers, baggy jean britches -- with the fabric crotch a mere two inches superior to his knobby knees -- patched with scarlet pockets, and topped off the ensemble with one very backward baseball cap, cardinal brimmed.  His t-shirt was high tech, some sort of wicking material, and sternly black, the better to make the red shine.

The kelly green for the day does not quite work.  It's neither editorial nor a suitable fashion irony.  Let us hope his dope makes up for his design deficit.  He was working the phone, as usual, when he looked up to give me the highest five.

Back to your pitiful state, Reader Darling.  You were not greeted at your waking by the Feline Triumvirate, working together as a tight, tight trio.  Buddy the Outrageously Large Maine Coon was in charge of attacking the door and all major vocalization.  It sounded like a freaking tornado spinning out in that gaudy gilt and velvet hall. Marmy of the Fluffy Butt paced behind the other two, whipping that marvelous tail with each about-face.  It was kind of nice to hear that staccato undercurrent of her gutteral *ack*::*ack*.  That leaves the rest of the feline phenomenon in Dobby the Runt's domain. He was toe-tapping, rat-a-tat-tatting, bringing some soul to the beat they had going on.

I had shut them, and Fred, too, out.

The Spaz chose Easter Sunday to begin an all out blitz of my ragged nerve endings and my CRPS-afflicted attachments were flailing about with all the abandon of their resurrected joy.  It was hell.  It was the purist of agonies.  I kept yelling "He is Risen" out the Computer Turret windows -- more lead than glass pane.

I've declared war on my tendency to curse.  Hence, screaming "He is Risen" and, for some reason, "Ichabod Crane." For a week or two, it was "Christ in a hand basket," until Fred informed moi that that was, sniff, common.

So, anyway.
Umm.
Right!  The Easter Spaz Attack and the Eviction of All Living Beings From the Bedroom.

Fred left of his own Free Will -- to continue tossing in Christian textual pearls.  I had hobbled to the bathroom, the best bathroom in our West Wing suite, the one with the Lotus Pool.
Umm.
Right!
I wanted a space in which I could scream at will -- nothing to do with "Free Will," this screaming. It was a holler that demanded its own Appalachian valley.

When I came out, a very crooked smile pasted on my blotchy face, Fred was gone.  Along with his triple-decker sandwich and his grape soda.  La Bonne et Belle Bianca Castafiore is on tour with her troupe's most successful staging of Faust in decades, so I didn't have her or her entourage to throw out.

There was no one but Dobby.  Ever faithful, that little one.  He may be paid under the table, though, I don't really know.  I'd like to think he loves me enough that when everyone else flees, he runs toward me, the burning building, the swaying tower about to crash into waves of toxic cinder.

That may be overstating things a bit but it's my blog, not yours.

Much of yesterday's behavior was dictated by a visit to Dr. Go-To-Guy and Super Nurse Justine.  I did not even bother complaining of rabies, of CRPS sadism, and they attributed every bit of aberrant jerking to my aberrant personality, and the usual fever and chills.

Shake, rattle, and roll, My Babies, shake, rattle, and roll.

There is a sad tendency being played out in doctors' offices throughout the world, and when we all feel better, we need to stand up and change the damn channel.  I am referring, of course, to the prevalence of CNN on waiting room televisions.  Yesterday, I fought back by bringing my copy of Mother Jones to mix in with the Smithsonians and the well-fingered, tantalizing People magazines.

I underscored my CNN protest and my central nervous system maladies by an endless commentary on the purported "news." Things the receptionist may have heard:

"Yeah?  Well, I think you're oxymoronic."

"Yeah?  Well, why aren't you reporting on the dying baby Puffins on the Maine seacoast? The tragedy of baby bird fish food that is too large for their tiny beaklettes!" 

Most of my verbiage followed the "Yeah? Well..." formula.


So, Fred, Dobby, Marmy, Buddy, and I cruised around the Metro Tête de Hergé freeway pretzel while I hummed off key at high volume.  It about killed me to be in such pain, to be spasming to beat my cacophonous band, and not to be able to talk about it, admit it, show it.  Unless that off-key humming at high volume clued in my trapped audience somehow.  The dimwits.  

The sweet dimwits.

Sven Feingold was waiting by the moat when Ruby the Honda CR-V screeched to a halt just short of its pristine waters.  The sweet dimwits fairly peeled out of the car to interrogate him on his reasons for standing guard and to escape the putrid gaseous quality of Ruby's atmosphere.  Turns out Sven was just taking a break from some Maze work -- topiary saps his strength.  He knocked off for the day and joined us all for a fish dinner I had promised to cook.  We invited the best-crack-dealer-on-the-block but he was too busy organizing lookouts and runners, much in the way we used to get up a good softball game late in the breezy afternoons of my lost youth.

Well, that didn't happen. The dinner, I mean. People lined up to beg me NOT to cook, and to "go rest." I gave most of that crowd the "Yeah? Well..." treatment.  And I went to our suite to go rest.

My legs were dancing like a hopped-up whirligig.  There were four packages from Amazon dot com awaiting my penknife's slash.  I had ordered:  4 bottles of Valerian Root that were on a kickass sale and four canvas container thingies, designed for me to "organize" my CDs and sundries, an effort to make my office even cooler a place than it already was.  

Someone at Amazon dot com has gone batshit crazy about shipping.  I always request the option that offers the fewest shipments as possible, trying to curb my large carbon footprint.  I did not request "free 2-day Prime."  So why, barely 24 hours after placing the order, did I have four large boxes to unpack.  One box held one of the stackable canvas container thingies.  One box held another of the stackable canvas container thingies and three bottles of Valerian Root.  One box held two stackable canvas container thingies, stacked.  And the last box, unbelievably, contained one bottle of Valerian Root and what looked like an entire box of green puff pastries, those Earth-friendly biodegradable supersized bubble wraps, tied together like salamis.

So, anyway.
Umm.
Right!

I hope you begin to pity yourself, as you gauge your empty days against my full and abundantly purposed time.

Having made it to this morning, it was something of a hoot to be invaded by the domestic animal family and to appreciate its loving idiosyncrasies.  Little Dobby gave me a "don't try that again" warning look and then demanded a double grooming.  That means making the perfect jug of coffee and then letting it grow cold because his tiny white belly needs brushing and bubbles blown.  The coffee ends up seeming fine and Dobby stays on his back a good while, emitting pheromones of love and peace, and mixing biscuits upside down with precious tiny paws.

"Yeah, well, His is Risen, and you can just kiss my Ichabod Crane."

Don't forget, Dear Reader, I can hear every thought you can squelch out.

Buddy watched the Dobby Double Grooming Routine, hooting softly at the appearance of the second jug of coffee being set aside to cool.  Then Buddy got That Look. He's part engineer, part artist.  He's very Leonardo. I regret naming him "Buddy." The folks at the no-kill shelter had named him "Munster," as they had given the whole Maine Coon kitten clan discovered at a local horse farm (the tiny kittens sheltered under a Budweiser Clydesdale runaway, attuned to the plight of abandoned young...) the name of a cheese.  As we witnessed the destruction of which the young Maine Coon proved capable, "Munster" began to seem more appropriate than the mundane "Buddy," even though his heartening habit of sticking right with you, no matter what (except for CRPS spasms), engendered that name. He was "our buddy," and soon responded to the word, so we let it be.  

Now I think "Bubba" might be suitable.  He has that wild look, and an indecipherable eye twinkle.

So Buddy got That Look.  He's been perturbed by the hospital bed since its arrival in January.  Never mind the problems of three cats staking out three territories on a bed this small, because when you add me to the problem, my body becomes land to which a feline must lay claim, and my body bears the bruises and scars.  The comfort provided by the bed is often offset by the aches of the cat fights over its ownership.

Buddy is the most delusional of all.  He thinks it's all his, including the pale, jerking human form that takes up most of the actual mattress area.  He understands the controls and is the only one not to flee when the bed suddenly begins to move, or the trapeze slaps gently against a metal pole.  But he cannot conquer the affliction of the bed rails. He's grown since his arrival, as you've likely gleaned, my smarty-panted Reader! There are four entries to the bed that are essentially trails around the rails. Simply avoid the suckers.  Simple enough, you'd think.  It's good enough for Dobby, though he also likes to arrive via the wheelchair parked alongside the bed.  He enjoys leaping over the rails with the verticle assistance of the power chair.  If I am behaving within parameters, he will jump and land between my feet.  If I am misbehaving, violating some Dobby protocol (failing to groom being the most likely), he plants his pointy, pokey paws right on my legs and I scream at him while he trims his toenails.  But Buddy... 

Buddy wants to make his entrances to the hospital bed by coming between the rails.  It is a small space.  Granted, he's a cat, and cats can fit into the oddest places.  This feat, however, is not about fitting into anything -- usually a box -- but about passing through something without becoming stuck in it -- usually, again, a box.  You are likely familiar with the famous Maru.  Buddy is no Maru.

This morning, the gods of engineering and Buddy's personal artistic muse smiled upon him and he found the necessary alignments and twisty turns necessary to leap between the rails without need of rescue or first aid.

It was beautiful.  
And it's now something he wants to do again and again.
He's solved his problem;  I've acquired a new issue.  For the moment it is solved by a stopgap blockage of the passage with a quilt.

Marmy, for her part, is demanding that standards be upheld.  She has fussed at me in the manner of mothers the world over, a funny thing for such a heartless queen, she who left kittens scattered willy nilly about the floor as she stalked off, the bubble over her head proclaiming, "You want milk?  Suck this!"  I reminded her of how she quit in mid-delivery when Dobby was trying to be born.  I got a "Yeah, well, *your* mama..." as retort.

She did her job.

I remember protocol.
I know what I am supposed to do, and what I'm not.
I'm trying.

For Sven, I've sketched out a few topiary fixes.  He's putting in a whole English Boxwood section memorializing Alice's Trip Down the Rabbit Hole and the Mad Hatter is driving him crazy.

For Fred, I'm preparing the aforementioned fish dinner, with fresh vegetables and a careful hand with the herbs.  I'm also taking a boat load of Baclofen, so that the filet knife and I shall be an interesting pair.

I won't bore you with the complete list of my tasks, my jobs, the things that people deserve without the pressures of all that asking and answering nonsense.  

For Mother Earth, I've but admiration and intention.  See the beauty, big and small, usual and not so usual. See the ugly, and its needs, its wonders, too.  Pick up the yellow plastic newspaper wrapper stuck on the drainage pipe. Get mad about our radiated oceans.  Save a Puffin.




© 2015 L. Ryan

Friday, January 30, 2015

Retired Educator, Mocked Poetess

REPOST: Because. First published 11 April 2013.

I promised poetry but did not deliver.  You don't understand the trepidation of letting this tender, soft-hearted part of myself be open to ridicule, taunting, and satire!  How the Genetically Indentured Manor Staff thrills at responding to my meekest requests with muttered, "Yeah?  Why don't you go write a poem about it?" 

Even Fred can get nasty.  I showed him one of my best works and he said, "This is why you couldn't help weed the miniature Wimbledon courts?  This is what kept you from leading group therapy for the Crackhead Carnies holed up in the barn?  THIS is why you couldn't be bothered to cook for my Wednesday night dinner with the Militant Existentialist Lesbian Feminists?  And it doesn't even make sense!"

The Castafiore has been my only support.  "Ze poésie, cara mia, it is an art and for ze art, we give our all, we give tout! We give ze everything! Are you going to wear ze rouge pencil skirt and ze frilly white blouse of laces cut down to ze navel of you to ze très extraordinaire mass ce soir?  But then, it is ze soir when ze muse appears, no, so I, la Bonne et Belle Bianca Castafiore, can wear ze clothings before ze good Abbot Truffatore, n'est-ce pas?  We will pray for ze poésie, for ze breast titty of ze muse to land in your head..."

Abbot Truffatore and Bianca have been meeting for private prayer and, judging from his sweaty red face and mismatched buttons when he leaves, heavy monk boots in hand, some athletic catechism review.  Tonight, he is leading a special mass for the Saint Day of Gemma Galgani, on whom he's had a crush for the last thirty years, and Bianca has become a green-eyed and now red pencil skirted demon with a deep v-neck lacy frill top.  She may not break out in stigmata every Thursday, but everything else about my girl is so totally venerable and serene.


St. Gemma Galgani

I shall take a page from good Gemma Galgani's book and suffer the jealousies and pettiness thrown at me over my blessed poetry and suffer these "heartaches in reparation, remembering that Our Lord Himself had been misunderstood and ridiculed."

Ahem.  Cough.  My first selection is a cute little ditty, meant to liven up the day and inspire all with my usual inimitable hope and optimism.  Do not be alarmed if you are so moved as to be unable to speak after the first dozen readings or so.  This is a perfectly natural response to poetry of this caliber. Like good Saint Gemma Galgani, you may experience ecstacies and raptures, but be calm.  It passes.

Final Cut 
there is sand between my eye and lid
from crying over nothing, one more dead kid,
pain here, pain there, poor me, while she
becomes green algae.

my legs that just ought to go,
says the do-it-yourself amputation pro,
prod, poke, ponder: it provokes familiar argument,
the age old problem, that old saw.

both legs are off, okay and fine,
and then one arm, a kinder line,
but there's no one for the coup de grâce,
no one to take the last arm off.
-- by Retired Educator, Mocked Poetess

© 2015 L. Ryan

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Raif Badawi: Fitness for Flogging

photo credit




BMJ 2015; 350 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h492 (Published 27 January 2015)
Doctors should refuse to assess Saudi blogger’s fitness for flogging, human rights group says
by Sophie Arie
Doctors are playing a key part in the punishment by flogging of a blogger who has angered authorities in Saudi Arabia, and they should refuse to be involved, says the US based group Physicians for Human Rights.
The blogger Raif Badawi, whose Liberal Saudi Network promoted online debate about religion and politics, was convicted last year to 10 years in prison and 1000 lashes for “insulting Islam.” He was to be caned in sessions of 50 lashes each, with at least a week between each sessions. He was flogged, in public, on 9 January, …

Sophie Arie is a journalist based in London. She has worked as a correspondent for The Guardian, The Observer and the Daily Telegraph
in Latin America and Europe and as a commissioning editor for 
Monocle magazine and The Daily Telegraph in London. She regularly covers international health stories for the British Medical Journal.


*****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****

Five ways you can help Raif Badawi -- from LiveWire, Amnesty International's global human rights blog


© 2015 L. Ryan