The Leftovers


(
google image)

Running does not help

They will still be gone

We will still remain

the lost

as much as they

My hope is that

they watch over us,

guide and protect us

let us know, gently

when we are

going further astray

Keep us from hurting

ourselves more

And rather, feel

their love

every day

I Carry His Heart

Halloween was Lorin’s favorite holiday. He loved getting dressed up and greeting the neighborhood kids.

If Halloween fell on a weekend, we would get more inventive with our costumes since we weren’t getting home late from work.

On one such Halloween, Lorin dressed up as a hillbilly zombie or was it a “redneck” zombie? He was excellent with makeup from his years studying and working in the theater. He wore a torn flannel shirt, suspenders, old pants, hiking boots and carried a mixing bowl with blood (red food dye colored water) and eyeballs (fake, of course). He stirred the bowl with a wooden spoon while sitting on the stoop. He scared some kids, but one actually asked for an eyeball, much to his mother’s chagrin.

I dressed up as the “joker’s wife” (Heath Ledger’s Joker) in a housedress, torn knee-high stockings, big slippers, matted hair in a hairnet with rubber spiders in it, and white face paint with a jagged red smile.

We were quite the pair.

A neighbor took a photo of us, but I can’t find it.

I will miss Lorin at Halloween, as I do every holiday, and every day.

This poem is dedicated to him. I almost had my best friend read it at his memorial service, but I changed my mind. I would have preferred to have read it myself, but I wasn’t fit to do so.

i carry your heart with me
(by e.e. cummings)
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Can’t Cook

oreos

(Nancy Rodrigo)

The oreos were screaming at me
from the aisle at Publix
Your favorite cookies
I kept seeing them
around every corner
as if they were the ghost
of you

Knowing I will never
cook for you again
is sometimes too much
you thanked me for every meal
even a frozen dinner

I can’t cook
for one
food doesn’t taste good

Can’t eat
what I used to
or buy the foods
you liked

Why don’t you appear
in the aisle
why don’t you
visit me
I hear stories of other deceased spouses
visiting their wives
Why not me?

I hear you in the chimes
on the back porch
in the TV that went on
in the hotel room
in the middle of the night
in the traffic, sometimes
I was never good at directions

I don’t even have an old
voicemail message
to listen to
we preferred to text

so much silence
so much left unsaid

I can’t cook, and
I don’t want to

 

*Artwork by Nancy Rodrigo.

New York-born artist Nancy Rodrigo uses her life experiences as a medium. “The media and content have changed and evolve to reflect my experiences. I see art as a means of expression and a therapeutic process.” She began her art career in 1981 under the name Nancy Weinstock, exhibiting in the East Village, Soho, Chelsea and Brooklyn. Her recent work of rich, colorful biomorphic paintings‒with vaginal imagery‒influenced by the Feminist Art Movement, including initiators Judy Chicago, Nancy Spero and Miriam Schapiro. In the 90’s she  did a series of works on canvas and mixed media constructions, the “Collective Memory Series.” These intricate pieces are constructed from found objects, organic and synthetic materials, paints and old photographs. Another project she is working on is the “Subway Series” hundreds of pen and ink portraits of people riding the NYC subways, all done without the rider’s knowledge and capturing most of the portrait in under 10 minutes.  This project has been a love letter to my city and her amazing people. Rodrigo’s work is diverse, expressive, and she is very prolific.

Truth or Dare

I haven’t spoken to Mom since Christmas — bad daughter.  Yes, I am. I haven’t had the energy or the desire, I suppose, and I haven’t wanted to hear her rebukes, such as, “You haven’t come to see me in so long!”

When Lorin and I lived in New Jersey, I saw her once or week or at least biweekly. Now it’s once a month. I haven’t got time for more pain, and I’m living far away.

A nurse called me from the Actors Home and asked if I could calm her down since she was ranting about being poisoned, again.

This is nothing new.

She shrieked into the phone, “”When are you going to get me out of here? I’m being poisoned.” Then, “Where have you been?” and “You only think about yourself, or dear ole Daddio.”

That pulled the trigger.

“Mom, I have to tell you something.”

“What?”

“Lorin was killed in a car accident. That’s why I haven’t been calling or coming around.”

“Oh no! Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Because I didn’t want to upset you, but it’s time that you know.”

She started to cry or it sounded like crying. “I’m so sorry.”

It felt good to tell her the truth. I have spared her so many truths, but I am tired of lying to her, even if she has Alzheimer’s.  I have no more time for lies and obfuscations.

“And I’ve moved out of state,” I said.

“What? Why?”

“Because I can’t bear to be in New York since Lorin died.”

“But you dumped me here and now I’m alone in this God-forsaken place! Where are you?”

“I’m living in Savannah, Georgia.”

That didn’t seem to register. Her brain must now have been on overload or “tilt.”

“You have to get me out of here. Take me to Grandpa’s house . . . anywhere.”

“Mom, Grandpa is dead. You can’t go there.”

“There’s a room for me there.”

“I don’t think so, Mom.”

More crying.

“I’m coming to see you on Saturday,” I said.

“But that’s not soon enough. You have to get me out now.”

“It’s in three days. Can I bring you anything – soap?”

“Yes, please bring me the lavendar soap. They took that away from me.  And someone scribbled all over my Wuthering Heights. It must have been Lorin.”

“Lorin wouldn’t scribble in your books.”

“Did you bury him?”

“He was cremated.”

“Oh. I’m so so sorry. I’ll pray for you.”

“Thank you. Try to relax. I’ll be there soon.”

“Okay. Jack took me to confession.”

“Oh, good.”

“He prayed with me.”

“I’m glad.”

“I have so many sins. How will I ever be forgiven?”

“It’s okay, Mom.”

More crying. The phone and she sounded far away. I waited for a while, then hung up.

No more lies.

 

 

Rabbit Hole

down_the_rabbit_hole_by_somefield

(google)

Plunging deeper into the rabbit hole
can’t get out
can’t breathe
Nobody sees what I do

I don’t belong anywhere
I don’t want your pity

Re-living the death
Yet
Trying to live
Why

Trying to dig myself
out of the swampy dirt
hole

falling

clawing

trying to find

love

meaning

warm flesh

wherever I can

Can anyone help me
get out

Ghost

casper_in_live-action

(google image)

I am your friendly neighborhood ghost,
like Casper.
You see me every day.
I do what you do,
even Christmas shopping.
I wear normal clothes,
don’t smear myself in feces
or wear a burlap sack.

I look normal,
but I’m not.
I’m lost
flying in and out
of reality
thinking thoughts
no person should
grieving,
raging,
wanting vengeance
for the loss of
the  one who will never return

Hating Jesus,
hating people who want me
to embrace him
as my Lord and personal savior
I don’t want a personal savior.
I want my husband back.

I am your friendly neighborhood ghost
don’t mind me
I’m not really here

The Week of Living Dangerously

img_1134

(Samson)

Highlights of my week:

(1) called the coroner’s office, cremation site and others to find out what happened to Lorin’s wedding ring, watch and other jewelry. Turns out after numerous calls, that his jewelry appears to have been cremated along with him. Who does that? I have had to let this go. Won’t bring him back.

(2) got into a fender bender in the Walmart parking lot (I backed up into a woman’s car). I didn’t realize I had even hit her car (kind of dazed and confused lately), but she chased me down the road, honking and taking a photo of my license plate. I pulled over and we entered a small park where she let me know what had transpired. I looked at her fender, and could barely see anything. Am I going blind too? She was going through a difficult time (health issue), and she said, “I know my husband would be mad at me if I didn’t call the police . . . “. So she called the police, and a really cool female police officer (originally from Montana) took a report and the lady and I exchanged information. I told the lady about my situation and we ended up hugging before we parted ways.

It still felt totally ridiculous to me–I had to fill out a report online with Geico over something so trivial.

I have been feeling lately like I wish someone would run me down with their vehicle to put an end to this pain.

(3) Yesterday I took a drive to Tybee Island (one of Lorin’s and my favorite places), and took a long walk on the beach and got a hot dog and iced tea. On the way home, I got pulled over by a Tybee Island police officer.

He said, “Ma’am, did you know your right brake light is out?”

“No, I didn’t,” I said.

I handed him my registration, insurance card and temporary Georgia license. He spent a long time in his car mulling over my paperwork. He gave me a “caution” and said to please get the light fixed promptly.

Lorin and I had the right brake light “fixed” over a dozen times, but it never took. I even asked my mother-in-law’s husband to check the light when I got home. He followed me in his car and said it worked fine at times, then got faint. He also checked the light bulb and said it was fine. It might be the connection, but at this point, I think it’s unfixable and don’t want to purchase a new car at the moment.

(3) Good Stuff: My contractor buddies helped me set up some furniture in the condo and came by today to put up the panel curtains I bought for the porch (sliding glass doors open onto screened-in porch.). They are such good guys and they have done beautiful work in my new home.

(4) Last night I watched “The Invisible Man” (1933) with Claude Rains on TCM. It’s much funnier than I ever thought–the lady who runs the boarding house is a riot.

(5) Samson is my constant companion. He gives me a rather indignant look whenever I leave the house. We are considering adopting a kitten (not till after the holidays, of course).

(6) Last night I also decided that widowhood can make you think in ways you never thought you would. I was fantasizing about scoring some heroin and finding someone to have random sex with. Why not?

(7) Today I tried to close down Lorin’s Facebook account, and while doing so, found numerous articles on google about the car accident. I read one of the articles and saw the shattered car window on the driver’s side, and once again, saw Lorin lying on the earth dead. Realizing he probably flew through that window. Why did I have to see that? I can’t undo having seen it.

Nothing, I mean, nothing, makes sense to me anymore.

Oh, that, and Trump is now our president.

I Keep Losing Things

road-sign-lost-600x450

(google)

I packed some jewelry–a necklace and two pairs of earrings–for a trip to Savannah in mid-August. Or at least I thought I did. I never wore them during the trip. I wore the same silver hoops and beaded bracelet for the duration of the trip. I never found the earrings and necklace when I got home and unpacked. Continuing searches in my bureau, suitcase and duffel bag have yielded no results.

When I visited my mom on her birthday (August 24), I noticed that her peridot-silver heart pendant and chain were lying on her night stand, and the chain was broken. I have replaced the silver chain at least three times–guess they aren’t made well. I stuffed the necklace and pendant in the front pocket of my purse and promised Mom I’d replace the chain. Both are missing. I’m not sure if they fell out of my purse, or if I took them out and put them somewhere else (don’t think so).

It’s only jewelry. Maybe it’s a sign that I am casting off the old and embracing the new? But why my mom’s necklace too?

My mind has been scattered what with the short sale of our house, our imminent move and family matters. It feels like things are running ahead of me and it’s hard to keep up.

As I said, it’s only jewelry. It could always be worse.

Dream of Flight

flight

photo by Robert Croma

At the airport
missed plane
only two flying per day
had to go
Dad helped me pack
on the phone with Mom
and still packing

after a while, she stopped speaking
“Mom, Mom, are you there?”

Nothing

I kept saying, “goodbye”
put the phone down
background noise / music on her end
then a click

I was traveling overseas

Where was she?

Baby Momma

 

Dolores and Mom II

Mom with her mother (my Grandma Rose) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

In a dream
I carried you
swaddled like an infant
you weighed so little,
as if you had no bones
“You’re so light,”
I said,
alarmed.
Then it hit me
it was you—now
85 years old
vulnerable and lost,
you didn’t speak or move.
where was I carrying you?