Monday, July 31, 2017

How full is your glass?  jk cosmos
One wonders about that question, more often than first surmised.  How can anyone not think about the haves and have-nots?  How can we work, play and pair off and not think about our sister, brother, friend, lover, cousin?  
Being grateful for others and for ‘What I love best ‘things.’ usually spins one’s mind to someone else’s newer, cooler car or home or furnishings or pool, doesn’t it?
How full is your glass?  Very much full, thank you.  It’s full as long as one breathes and has the opportunities to transform one’s life from “this” to “that”.
The full glass - empty glass conundrum holds quite a few mixed up responses; those that we inherit and those we learn and respond to.  How should this concept be handled?
Glass full - glass empty, how do we view our lives?  I think that I’m a half-full kinda person and that is due to experience of life throwing so much shit at me that the decision had to be made, kinda quickly and kinda off-the-cuff.
What is that shit, you ask.  It’s about marriage.  It’s a story and it’s not happily-ever-after.  It’s a reality that kicks a person in the shins and then, smiling, kicks a person squarely on the jaw.
Marriage, wedding plans and romance, kisses and passion, sex in the rawest and most carnal way - all of it.  Yes, please.
I’ll give away my power and my control over myself.  I’ll give away my true self to accommodate your needs.  I’ll give away my goals and desires to please you.  All of that, surviving that compels me to answer - Yes, I am a full glass kinda person.  Yes, I am.
Thirty-five, not too old, but not a time in a life to play the blushing bride.  No, that has passed and the good fortune is finding a guy to marry and plan a life with.  What a cock-eyed optimist!  The reality is that handing over control of one’s own, wonderful life may, just may, end in a not so lovely ending.  And that is exactly how it played out.  Not a lovely ending.
What is that ending?  What is the beginning?  Let me tell you, the story begins with a wedding. The bride glowing and happily smiling at her guests and her groom. The bride, oh so happy, in her white, satin gown.  White satin pumps, white satin covered buttons along the back of her fitted, bridal dress. The bride, wearing a crown of entwined flowers, polished with a high gloss of white; tulle attached to form a lengthy flow of veil to the floor.  The bride, perfection in her traditional, bridal clothing.
The groom tolerating the festivities and looking for his guys, to smoke and to snort a bit of coke to take the edge off. Her handsome groom, the black tuxedo offset by his locks of golden, quite long curly hair.  How handsome?  What a lucky girl she was!  
The Bride and Groom walked from the Ritz over to the area near the Swans; near the summery flower beds of the Boston Gardens.  The bridesmaids and groomsmen followed along as she tried to talk with the groom.  He was looking down at the path and did not respond to her chatter.  She slowed her steps and took to walking the rest of the way with her bridal party; they were chatting and glad to be in the sunshine, in their formal attire on this glorious day.  
Photos taken, maneuvering posing and smiling, she was not herself.  The Bride was trying to be in the moment, and yet, she felt this was stepping into something that was not quite right.  Her apprehension was not the first time that she ‘paused’ to question her saying ‘Yes, I’ll marry you.” to the beautiful man nearby.  Not next to her, not holding her hand - just nearby.
Walking back to the Ritz, he took her hand, sensing her aloneness?  She didn’t know.
The end of the reception and they entered an upstairs suite at the Boston Ritz, above the grand ballroom and alone, at last, behind closed doors.  She primped, taking only a brief time and waited for her new husband to join her in the master bedroom suite.  Overlooking the Boston Gardens, the formalized blooms and ground cover, a historic setting, at the corner of Newbury Street.  The elegance of the area  and the high-brow reception, more than she had ever hoped for.
He followed her to the bedroom, still in his tux, and grabbed her neck; twisting her skin until the tautness of his hold on that thin and vulnerable skin bore down on her.  She didn’t speak, she didn’t scream; he held her.  A prelude to passion?  If only.  It was not a prelude to passion, but to a nightmare and terror, while wide awake.  Her groom had plans for her that were unimaginable, and very cruel.
In her head, she screamed at the unfairness; this trick of the Fates. Her negligee was thin, transparent and so sheer that her skin and the throbbing of her blood through her veins, all visible.  He knew her vulnerability and was empowered.
“Let me teach you how to defend yourself.  You need to be able to defend yourself, when I’m not around.”  Vicious words, serpent tongue.  
‘AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH’… her head, in her mind.
He reached, with his free hand to his case, took a pistol out and put it in her trembling hand; the pistol fit her hand and he put his hand over hers. She felt the cold, hard grip of the handgun. His eyes, blue and cold and did she hear that verse in her head.  Yes, she was hearing the words - something about the devil on the other side of the door, that handsome devil in tight jeans - just at the other side of the door.  In her case, he was standing beside her.  She shivered.
“ Let’s see now how this works.  Let’s see how you are going to defend yourself.
The safety is off.  The gun is easy to handle, yes?”  “Yes.”
“Notice, my darling, that there is no number on the gun.  I got it from a cop friend of mine, and the numbers were pretty expertly rubbed off.  Hmmmm.”  
“See, here.”  
She did not answer.  She could barely remain conscious.  She wished this was a dream.  
“What do you think would happen, if there was an accident and you shot yourself?
She didn’t respond.  “Any thoughts, darling.”
As quickly as he had produced the pistol, it was gone.
He laughed, picked her up and threw her down on the bed; their first night as husband and wife.  His intentions to take full control.  His intentions to demand respect as the Master of the house.
He took her in that master suite and he showed her what it is to be degraded, to be used, and to be spent.  Horrified, fear dulling her mind, she complied.  And, she started planning her escape.
The ‘how of it’ and the plan to run not formulated; her desire to not be connected to this devil.  This man, whom she had married before he had revealed his true self.  She wondered if she murdered him; could she escape and maintain freedom or end up being prosecuted and convicted, without time to truly run. Beyond killing, what were her options?
Why would she have to run from her life; beyond escaping him?  Why should she?

In the morning, he went about his morning routine and barely glanced at his frightened bride.  She managed to dress and pack; they were leaving Logan for Paris at noon. The secrets between men and women; the reveal and the conceal.  Her heart beat faster than ever and she was compelled to plan an escape that would be final.  Something to free her and leave no options for him to return.  Murder, frame up for his conviction of her murder?  How do people plan and actually do anything to be free from capture?  She didn’t know and her mind spun.  She must calm her mind and be still.  Could she be still?  She was not so certain, but knew continuing with a man able to hold a gun to her temple and indicate that he alone was Master, was a dangerous place to be.  
And then, she had figured out that only her fingerprints were on that pistol and so, another piece to deal with and change in her favor.
Paris, city of light - of love.  They checked into a small hotel, close to L’Opera and quaint, lovely.  She did the unpacking, as he returned to the pub area in the lower level to play pool and drink brandy, expensive brandy.  She began to lose control and cry, then sob a bit too loudly.  Stop.  Crying will turn him on and only encourage his cruelty.  She thought about that pistol and wondered if he had brought it through customs to Paris.  Possibly not.  She hadn’t found it in the luggage, but her fears took over her usual commonsensibilties. Fear immobilizing her to do only what he demanded.  
She left the hotel and found a cafe just to the right of the Opera and felt some relief to be out and about without him and in public.  Safety in numbers and visible. How her longing to be seen magnified and held her.  She decided to walk to the Jardin du Tuileries;  similar to her beloved Boston Gardens.  Sitting in a light green, metal chair near the pond with a view of the flower gardens and symmetry of the setting, she smiled.  Paris, a parallel city to Boston, in her estimation.  Ah, to breathe.  
Thinking about leaving him had to be her focus, not the aesthetics of the gardens.  How to leave?  How to disconnect forever?  Formulation of a realistic plan in a foreign country would not be as simple or straight-forward as she hoped. And yet, language barriers and mistaken communication may work in her favor.  She jumped off the chair and fast walked back to the hotel, not noticing a young, slim man with ripped jeans and a blue scarf wrapped ‘round him was following her, keeping the clip and a certain space between them. She was waiting to cross La Rue de St. Germaine and in the crowd, oblivious to her surroundings.  The Frenchman bumped her side, apologized and smiled.  His slim face and aquiline nose, his piercing blue eyes and relaxed slouch engaged her for a New York minute.  Light changed, people crossing and she moved with the crowd.  He moved with her.  Again, a bump and an apology.  
“Was he trying to pick her up?”  
He was in step and asked her if she was from the States.  
“Yes.” smile.
“I would love to visit the States.”  “Where would you suggest I see first?”
“What?”  She had to focus and get back to her husband and figure out a way to leave.
“Nescafe?”  “Come and tell me about your home?”  Smile.
She thought about being in the room with her husband or extending this reprieve a bit more in public, in Paris, with an attractive man.  
“Fine.  Nescafe.”  She answered and he lead as she fell in step and they found a cafe.
Sitting outside, he ordered and turned to her, still smiling.  They sat on either side of a cafe table and there were so many people around that she felt safe.  Safe enough.
“What do you want to know?”
“ I want to know about you.  I want to know more about what makes you smile. What makes you glad to be alive.  Who you truly what I want to know.”
Tearing and feeling her lips quiver, unsure how to answer.  An unknown, a man without a name in a foreign country, how convenient that she stopped.  Time stopped.
“I am not glad to be alive.  My husband is threatening me and I’m sure that he’s going to kill me.  Not this day, perhaps, but soon enough.  He’ll make it look like an accident. He forced me to hold a pistol and my fingerprints are on it.  He’s threatened me.  I am so afraid, I’m scared that he’ll kill me. I am so afraid.  I’m frozen and unable to do anything. I am unable to think. I am not able to smile.  I am not able to do anything at all.”
“You should stand up and leave.”
I am so not in my right mind.  “Please stand up and leave.”
He sipped his nescafe cautiously and pensive, not moving and thoughtful.  He placed the cup on its saucer deliberately and slowly.  She caught her breath and began to normalize herself and her breathing and being in the moment.  She didn’t blink.
“Drink your cafe.  Finish and come.  You cannot live like this.”
They finished and stood.  She was very unsure of what would be next and of course, had no idea who this man was.  She was ready to follow to him.  She was compelled.
They briskly walked down a narrow street, abutting the cafe.  She kept up with him and they turned a few times, to an area that was more French than tourist-based.  He ducked into a  tiny shop.  She saw glassware and miniature souvenirs, racks of postcards and on the side spices and supplies for baking; speciality pans and decorative equipment.
“My parents’ shoppe.  Let’s go in the back.”
She nodded in agreement.  They sat on small, wooden chairs in the back, leaning on the side wall with a tiny table nearby, covered with papers, pencils and calculator, post-its...a well-used back area.
“Shall I introduce myself?”
“Yes.  Sorry, I should have asked.  Sorry, I am so sorry to have told you what I did.”
“I’m Andre.  Don’t worry.  I believe that everything happens for a reason.  Let’s talk about your husband and what has happened just before you left Boston to come here.”
She told him, with as much detail as she thought he’d be able to take; leaving out the sexual maneuvering and sadistic exploits she had endured.

She did escape.  This narrative ends well in that regard.  And life, life is always a twist, a possibility - a life force.
The great news, yes, the superlative is intentional, is that the lesson learned is to be half-full and appreciative of life, of love, of family and friends, of lovers and colleagues.  They love and appreciate you, without conditions and without requiring the chipping away of one’s true self.
The half-full and “love & light” persona is not only one that is developed, it’s groomed and nurtured and a gift.  The gift to oneself - the affirmation of love to oneself is everything.
Half full is a quite wonderful place to be and the energy reverberating is proof, simple and direct.  Be grateful, be authentic and see life as half-full.
Lifting a glass of wine and feeling the liquid on her tongue, expressing the physicality of the sip, the twirl and the taste.  Life most certainly is half full.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The times they are a changing-

The Sixties was a time of activism and push-pull on social issues.  The Sixties enabled youthful energy to 'full court press' against the establishment and move it all to the left & out of Vietnam.

So, what's the rub.

Trump - the new Administration is so very toxic & effectively dummied down America.
Shocking - compelling & now - urgent!!!

What is it about a man, who comports to be a leader & admits to "Not reading books"?
What is it about a man, who "loves everyone" & rushes to shake President Obama's hand - while his wife struggles to exit the car and balance and gift and make herself presentable - alone.  No extended hand from her husband, the new leader of USA?
What is it about a man, who cannot appreciate nuanced diplomacy and runs off at the mouth through a child's platform of 'twitter' feed to express himself?
What is it about a man, who is unable to reflect on his own core values and unable to do so for the nation?
What is it about a man, who mocks others on the world stage and without apology becomes defensive about his own bad behavior?
What is it about a man, who is emboldened to grab at women & boost of his virility?

Most of the nation cries out in shame and shock!
Most of the nation has been mobilized to hit the streets in protest!

I am one of those to do so!
I am one of those who did so!
I felt tired and bone-weary that we are not where we should be in a civilized society.
I am now rejuvenated to move this forward for the betterment of our society; of our nation; of our communities; for our families; for our neighbors; for our international friends & foes -alike.
I am re-energized to support and in solidarity with those who move forward with core values, with values and a sense of self that translates to a sense for others.

I am the New Activist in a Challenging World!
I am the older Warrior in a World that will Listen!
I am the experienced Protester - recalling the Sixties with a renewed purpose!
I am the Voice of the Many!
I will be Heard!
I will effectuate Change!
I will Stand Up!


Monday, August 29, 2016

Hot Humid August Day!!

Hot humid summer day & the energy level is quite low.  Wishing there were a nice bed available for a nap on crisp clean sheets and cool pillows.  Not so!  Am waiting to teach a class and the heat & steamy weather makes it challenging.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Responses - Ten Minute Timed Writing Prompts - Vermont

Responses - ten minutes timed writing from prompts.  Goddard campus - near the Tea House
Sam tied the strings to his apron around himself; and looked up.  
“Another grueling day!”
It was still so early, most were sleeping.
The basket is full to the brim with brie and fresh bread.  Charcuterie, and assorted pickles.  Delectables!  Sweets!~  Yes.  The basket includes lemon bars and a sweet raspberry torte with chocolate layers.  Orangina and red wine with crystal tumblers for picnic use - nothing too fragile.
The picnic is in the fall on Georges Island.  Took a ferry and am glad for the crisp, cool breezes before winter; before the ferry stops.
Myself and my girl.  My California girl, who’s stayed in Boston to be with me.  She’s game for everything!  She’s ready for new experiences and adventures.  I’m hoping she’ll fall in love with Georges Island, as quickly as she’s fallen in love with me.  Having her with me…..
At seventeen, I knew myself so very well.  My special-ness, my intellectual prowess.  I knew to the core, I was destined for ‘great things’ - significant and phenomenal contributions to society.
As a child, and on the very precipice - the edge - the one more step to adulthood.  Not womanhood, as I have & still do think that gender and roles attached to gender are superfluous -- driven by ignorant people.  It’s totally about our “human-ness” - our humanity.  A belief then and now.  The mind, the thoughts, the articulation of questions - that’s critical and important.  That’s who I am!!!  Thought seeking wisdom.
At some point in my life, I forgot that or maybe didn’t forget, but put it aside -- deep down -- in another realm.
I’m truly happy - content-alive - when thinking and learning; when the journey includes philosophical ‘pause’.
It is not the norm.  I’ve always been different in this way.  I was not interested in rollerskating or clubs (unless it was drama) and seldom had interest in those frivolous, scheduled time with friends.
Give me an idea, an issue, a problem and let’s discuss and come together, collaborate on a solution, a dissection - of it.
Inspiring writing - to block - my initial sense is to use and think about obstructionist concept. An obstacle - full stop.  I think about soccer, as I am a Master Spectator of the sport.  “The block” - defenders - teamwork defending the net or is it really about the individual and the focus on the game?  Block to win!  Block to shift power.  Perhaps, defenders and blocking isn't it afterall. The running through, around or over or under - the block is the thing.
Is this why I love the game - so?  And the players?  The ever-so clever players - strategizing as a team and strategizing as an individual.  Has soccer and the intricate play and energy become an idealized frame for my life?
I haven’t ended all the time for this prompt. I’m blocked.  
I am so very happy to be here - at Goddard - in the garden.
Sitting, feet dangling over the concrete wall.  The sea wall, built up to keep the sand, surf and small cottages within the lines.
My bottom on the concrete wall and it’s feeling rough on my upper thighs, where the skin is bare and the material from my shorts doesn’t protect me from the roughness.
I’m sitting up - straight with my hands flat on either side of me - securing myself on the wall.
Looking out - the blue sky, fluffed up - white clouds - static not moving today.
I hear the rhythmic sea, with gentle clapping at the edges of the tan sandy beach.  The sea, foaming, ok - so, delicately and dancing and a ballet - strong and not.
“All’s Fair in Love and War”  Is this a truism?  Human nature, a hereditary piece of men and women compelled to get the ‘win’.  Win the prize - power & to prevail - no matter the ‘What!”.
My truth and journey is counter - “cliche”.
I’ll have to stop.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Love - jk cosmos (writing group prompt)

Love - jk cosmos

He met me at the airport, greeting me as I stepped off and into his arms.  Harris was the most passionate man and lover.  How could I not love him?  How could any woman refuse him? I met him in a cafe in Athens on a boulevard near King George Hotel, at a time of upheaval in Greece.  The conversation turned to love and life and the ‘what ifs?’.  I fell hard and most of my plans were rearranged to be with him.  Greatist love?  Certainly greatest passion.
Stepping off the plane, I felt something else, and certainly not love.  Looking at his smiling eyes, and admiring his handsome face, masculine face; masculine everything.  I was embarrassed and turned to Mario and turned to my true and beautiful romantic love.  The man I met on Skathios in the airport and the one where there was such a magnetic and compelling pull; an energy and total understanding.  Love is more than the passion, isn’t it?  I knew that physicality was important and held his tender, generous love close to my heart.  I said ‘Yes.’ when he asked me to marry him; Harris - that is.  Yes, after three brief weeks of being together, he brought me to his family; to meet his family and it was all quite wonderful; a happy, joyous time. Harris was kind, hmm, I said that, didn’t I?
Mario, the guy, the love, the one that held the world and life in such a similar way, that I truly and totally fell in love.  Love, a concept about more than one or another level of affection?  Of passion?  What, exactly, is that one true love?  I have considered so many variables, so many features and definitions of love.  He, too, had large brown eyes, and curly, soft long brown hair; dark brown, mahogany brown with tendrils falling beyond his collar. Beyond, his broad shoulders and most amazing energy, beyond his tall and slender build, Mario had a warmth and kindness and gentleness that was magic.  He was very intelligent and talking with him went beyond a conversation; it was a knowing and a similar view of what is important. He was gorgeous!
What can I do about Harris?  And how to let Harris know that I will not be marrying him? It’s not possible to marry and live a life together, when I have fallen in love with someone else. It’s unimaginable to love this lovely man, when my soul and very being must be with Mario.  
And so, I kissed Harris and I knew it was over between us.  I kissed Harris, and I felt Mario’s gaze upon me, a gaze of understanding and of love.  I kissed Harris and we left the airport; it was the beginning of an unraveling between us.  Harris knew, or should have known.  I wonder still if that kiss betrayed my change of heart.  Harris and I continued and we went along together for a few days only. I decided to return to the States and I promised to plan a meeting with Mario. And yet, I  hadn’t altogether broken it off with Harris.
Mario had been open and insistent; both - at the same time and I knew that I would be making plans to visit him in Swaziland, South Africa - his home.  I also knew and felt a secure and laid-back energy, a warmth of love that was between us.  I was confident that we would marry and welcomed being with him for the rest of my life.
Home, and my closest and most lovely and loved confidant, my father, agreed that I must go and visit Mario in Swaziland.  Relief and a renewed knowing of gong to him and being with him; and my father had been open to that possibility and approved.  There was no impediment; I started to plan my transfer of business to someone else, so I could leave.  I spoke with Mario, long and yes, expensive conversations.  We were in agreement.  We were in love.
And then, my father died.  He suddenly and quite unexpectedly had a heart attack and died.  He was not old, he was my best friend in the world.  He was my co-conspirator, supporting my leaving to go to my love, my Mario.  
My father’s death most certainly delayed my plans to reunite with Mario.  And, then, as people say - life goes on.  I never made that trip.  I spoke with Mario often enough for the following few months and then I married someone else.  Mario called, sometimes, and we spoke for hours.  I knew that I had made a most terrible mistake.
When my marriage ended, Mario offered to come to the States, to be with me and my sons.  To renew our love, in person, in real life and real time and without any illusions.  I wanted him to come and to be with me and my young sons.  I cried so many days and nights about the loss of our chance to be together.  I was already in the fight of my life, a custody battle with my former husband that took over any chance of happiness.  After, most likely, too much thought, I asked Mario not to come to the States as I might lose my children.  He deferred his trip, he agreed to my request.  I loved him even more.
He married after meeting a Dutch woman on a cruise.  They have twin daughters and Mario and I lost touch.  I think of him and I love him.  I regret not letting him come to help me, to love me and to heal my soul with his love.
I think of Harris, the man I had agreed to marry and wonder if he thinks of me.  Does he think of me as someone who betrayed him or someone that truly let him go for reasons beyond both of us?  I wonder even more so about Mario and if he’s had a joyful, loving life.  I hope so and I sometimes think that I should plan a trip to Swaziland and go there to see.  I should go to see his life in a country too foreign, but so beautiful, a country that my father told me to experience before he died.  One that I should experience before I die.
I am now beyond middle-aged.  I am now nearer the end of my life than the beginning or the middle and I am trying to think about what makes me happy and where my love is.  I have loving sons and I love them dearly; but not that long ago, I had a choice to go to Swaziland and marry a man who loved me and to a life that would have been quite different than the one I have lived.
There was a moment in time, when I fell in love with a man with brown eyes and a gentle soul and I am grateful; very grateful to know love.

Adjunct Faculty Gig - love students, love vibe - wish there were more in terms of security & quality of life....

Faculty at a local college - oh, happy Day!  Teaching Freshman Comp - fabulous, energizing & quite the coup!
The year was 2001, and my teaching gig as Adjunct Faculty had just begun!  Sigh! Lovely!
Slowly, I sought out & was assigned more classes at other local colleges.  Slowly, I concluded my Court-appointed criminal cases and did not seek new clients!
Transitioning from the very lucrative career of law & criminal defense was a process - one that I welcomed, after years of litigation & clients on the precipice of their lives with freedom at stake -
I welcomed being in an academic setting; with colleagues and students and my writing and my books!  That was the beginning and my idealism and innocence precluded any acknowledgement of the realities.
Reality!  Get another terminal degree and your appointment as a full-time lecturer is assured!  Well, no - that was a fantasy!  Why didn’t anyone tell me?  Why did ‘they’ let me spend five semesters, countless hours reading, annotating and writing?  Yes, and writing my name on student loans every term; signing up for debt - with a happy heart that the full-time ‘gig’ is just around the bend.
It’s still somewhere around the bend - that job, that secure, benefitted lovely job.
HA!  I’ve taught at so many colleges and had diverse, and yes, crazy schedules - teaching days and nights - even Friday nights in the ‘hood’ to piece together a life - a job rather, that supports my life.
The consistent good news is the students and being a part of their new-found passion for or renewed passion in learning, discussions - discourse on issues & truisms that matter.  No matter their competency - I love being in the class - facilitating, nudging and listening.  I’m younger for it, after all these years.
Being an adjunct faculty means random assignments of classes and numerous colleges, with Administrators that don’t seem to look at that ‘required availability form’.  How they figure what and where your classes will be is mind-boggling and nonsensical.
So, how to put it all together?  Perhaps, the trick is just - saying ‘Yes’.  ‘Yes’ to everything offered.  Hope for the best!  Nerves of steel and whispered prayer.
Beyond that, the pay is not a liveable wage and to diminish the very little value given to adjunct faculty - the payroll schedule and tendency to hold funds until way into the semester translates to no funds for rent, electricity - yes, ‘turn off’ of gas and electric is not uncommon with adjuncts - and the norm of ‘no funds’ and lack of timeliness.
How to align these problems to a solution?  Teach more, tutor more, take any job to pay bills and keep on moving; the keep on moving mantra is mine.  There are many, yes a multitude my club.  My peeps are phenomenal, humorous, smart - and very poor.  This particular common denominator is shameful-shameful to the US, the society we’ve become; and that shame shifts to us, despite our smiles and pushing forward.
It is shameful to be poor in America.  It is shameful to have multiple graduate degrees, be smart and engaging and teaching and poor.