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.  

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Social justice & advocating for those unable to do so has been the most significant part of my life force, energy & thought. Working towards effectuate positive change is my life & passing on what I know to my sons & my students.  Critical thinking & analysis - concepts & idea person- it defines me. A dose of good humor required in the mix.  jk cosmos

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Greece v EU & Germany, in particular!

Greeks attended meetings and went into negotiations to restructure the debt and original debt payments - to the disdain of Germany IMF & World Bank.  Initially, the talks seemed to have some 'pause' to revise & rework the debt & allow Greeks to have some hope & sense that they could live and meet basic needs.  Well, that was so short-lived, the question becomes whether or not Merkel and EU ever truly had good faith efforts and best interest of anyone beyond the interest rate and pay-out???

My sense, after reading and researching, is that EU has not only been paid the original debt from Greece, but continues to set up the nation to pay more and use predatory tactics to do so; while Greek consumers have little or no funds to purchase - thus the economy spirals downward.  Closed businesses, lack of food, shelter & medical care results and continues to be the outlook for Greece.

Greece is taking on refugees and continues to pay the debt; without any relief for native Greeks.  How can the EU be so inhumane to a fellow nation?  How can the leaders truly advocate this oppression?  The greed and lack of leadership to appreciate value in other than monetary terms has resulted in the breakdown.  The true leader finds more to analyze than numbers, interest and time for payments; truly the concepts of micro & macro economics includes other variables; none of which EU has considered.

My assessment of current events between EU & Greece is that the Greeks MUST vote NO / OXI.  The gravity of the NO vote is offset by the balance of Greeks being able to self-determine, to write off the debt and not pay one more Euro - nothing/ nada to EU.  Greeks may find a 'sweet' deal with Putin, who's on the sidelines ready to loan funds to this country.  I would say 'take the deal' & keep the faith.  Greece is quite able to succeed with tourism and to continue to restructure and revamp.  I am in support of Greeks, passing on any collaborative nexus with EU and being independent and of one mind; promulgating new legislature for the sole benefit of Greeks.

More on Greek Issue - Some Points as jk cosmos uses social media to respond!!

I cannot pull away from the Greek debate - nothing is getting done, as I think about the injustices of the 1% v 99% & people w/ little 'value' and no voice against the banking system. When activists in the sixties voiced concerns about society - myself included - wow, did we ever drop the ball- We should have pressed on for a fair system & accountability. How did the power become so very skewed, in favor of corporations and banks & the few running that system. Where is our humanity?

This is about Justice, Democracy & fair-play! How can the world stand by & watch one nation in the EU suffer w/ hunger, loss of jobs, lack of basic needs & high suicide. The humiliation and deprivation f/b/o banking system is unjustifiable. The Greeks will lead to the change that is required & my personal hope is that US will follow & provide more for people to avert a similar history. It is beyond an abomination that IMF, World Bank & all those Equity Firms - who are NOT elected & are NOT accountable to anyone - have so much power & sway on our lives!

"Since the euro crisis broke out in 2010, large swaths of the continent have fallen under the rule of institutions that find it almost impossible to deal with democracy. Most important are the European Central Bank – unelected and almost totally unaccountable – and Juncker’s European commission: neither directly nor even indirectly answerable to the Greeks, Portuguese, Irish and Spanish who have lost jobs, wages and benefits at its command." Aditya Chakrabortty /The Guardian

Response to Guardian Article Behr - 7/1 Greece & EU Issue

Response to one more uninformed Journalist - Behr in the Guardian - not credible reporting.

First, I would like to see Rafael Behr's credentials??? Who is he? The EU is certainly anti-democratic. Similar to US, EU has some of the verbiage of being democratic; however, the truth is it's an oligarchy (a small group of people having control of a country, organization, or institution). The banking system, IMF, World Bank got the funds bank triple-fold from Greece & still they refuse to deal in Good Faith.

OXI - Greece should exit & begin again as a democracy as they see fit; as they move forward - it would be in the best interest of Greece to restructure, to keep money from tourist industry & to take good care of pensioners. EU cares not for any of that & the stranglehold is prohibitive and not very humane.

This is the truth & my credentials & experience are on par w/ this journalist, if not more competent. In solidarity with Greeks & Greece.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Harris's Funeral - Presentation Parish/Brighton, MA - work in progress

Chapter 3 – Harris’s Funeral (Revised1)


            Driving to Presentation Parish, she could only see the road through her teary eyelashes and her fogged up sunglasses.  She drove quickly and wondered about Harris’s family.  She drove out of the city up Storrow Drive.  She didn’t ever want to be on Memorial Drive again. So far, she had avoided it and she thought she could cross the river and get almost anywhere from the other side of the Charles River.

 Her thoughts wandered to their first few weeks together and the constant laughter. The beginning, like most beginnings was glorious.  She kept driving and tried to stay on the road, at the speed posted.  She maneuvered the intersection of Storrow and the service road by the ice rink.  Harris took her skating there.  Kate wondered if everywhere she went, she would be reminded of things that they did together.  The sharpness of the day and the harshness of the sun surprised her. 

When grief strikes so close to one’s heart, the simple tasks, the routine tasks take such effort, she thought.  She couldn’t recall much since the news of his murder.  She had dream-walked through her days.

Kate wore a black skirt, a black lacey t-shirt and of course, black tights and high heels.  She had on a black tailored jacket.  She wore no makeup, no lipstick and her hair straight, hid her face.  She was apprehensive.  She thought his family might blame her for his murder.

Kate thought about Harris’s family and the grief-stricken parents and brothers.  She hadn’t eaten and was so skittish driving, her mind wandered to the times of Harris’s life and to his funeral.  He was too young to be taken from them.

Kate had decided against going to the wake.  She couldn’t imagine seeing Harris laid out and if he was in open view, how strange would that be.  She knew that she would not attend the wake and she didn’t.  The funeral home was in Brighton Center on Washington Street, very near the church that she was driving to from one community on the river to the other.  Brighton was part of Boston and infamous for the Boston College parties, where Harris attended and played Division One Varsity Soccer.

She arrived at Presie, Presentation Parish, just on the line of Newton and up the hill from the neighborhood of triple-deckers and blue-collar workers.  She was familiar with this area and hadn’t been in the Parish since her childhood.  She loved the nuns, who lived next door and who polished the brass and dusted the areas.  The nuns washed and polished everything. 

She found a parking spot on the street, for a quick getaway if necessary.  Kate hated to be bogged in.  That held true for parking spots, crowds and it seemed she felt that way in relationships.  Being at the funeral and at this parish was not something that she could have anticipated.  She didn’t know how she felt.  She thought later on in the day she might try to figure out more about herself.

The church was empty, except for the priest, who was at the alter preparing for the service.  The priest had on a plain white robe and sash.  Two assistants helped him and moved quietly at the alter.  She watched, as the men went about their routine.  She was impressed at their exactness in the preparations.  Harris would have liked it, too.

She decided to stand by the back wall and tried to think about where she would fit in without being noticed.  She was there to pay her respects, only.  She had decided not to attend the dinner reception after the funeral and not to sit anywhere close to the front on the church. 

Her attention was drawn to one of Harris’s friends, who had come along beside her.  He gave her his sympathy.  That isn’t why she was at the church, but his words surprised her.  He softly told her how sorry he was that Harris was gone.  ‘Peace be with you.’

‘And, with you.  Thank you.’

Kate kept her sunglasses on to hide her tear-stained face and her red eyes.  She pulled her hair forward to cover herself.

Another friend came in with his wife, and walked right over to the side of the church where she stood.  She felt that the messages of sympathy and kind words should be saved for the parents.  She felt sad and guilty that some people were holding her and kissing her, when the family hadn’t arrived yet.

The fellow by her side, Brian Mahoney, directed her with his arm around her waist and back.  He led her to the second row of the church.  It was too close to the front and to the family.  Kate just couldn’t be there.  She hesitated and then she balked.  Brian told her that she should be in the front few rows. 

“Please move me back a bit.  This is too public.  I just can’t.”

He led her to the fifth row on the left side of the church. She was on the aisle in the center.  Much better, she thought.  She settled in.  He moved to the back of the church.

A moment later, one of the Investigators from the State Trooper Office stopped at her aisle and took her hand in his.  His gesture was so tender and quiet, that she began to weep.  Her tears flowed freely down her face, but Kate did not make a noise.

Kate did continue to receive kind words of sympathy from their friends and co-workers. 

Harris’s parents and family came into the church.  She could hear the hush of the crowd.  As she cried for him, the church had filled with people.  The family was prominent and Harris’s college friends, as well as his associates, were in attendance.  The pianist played a chord.

Everyone stood.

The pallbearers carried him in, young, tall and handsome, like Harris had been.  The coffin was shiny and the wood reflected the light of the simple church.

As Harris was carried past her, her tears stopped.  She was surprised that she continued to breathe.  Harris, she knew, would become a memory and fade from her. Kate did think about how she would grow old and he would stay forever young.  In thinking about the ‘forever young’ she heard the song title.  She thought how trite some things become.  She thought how some truths become cliché and yet they are true.

She watched Harris’s mother, quiet and small.  She watched his father, who looked small, although he was not.  The music began and the priest spoke about the teachings of the Church.  The congregation stood and sat, prompted by the bells.  Kate also stood and sat.  She wondered if she should have come at all.

Harris’s older brother, Eddie, spoke about their childhood and spoke about their brotherly love and the life that they shared.  The churchgoers were held in the story.  Kate was held in the moment of hearing one brother talk about the other.  She felt the loss that Harris’s family must be feeling.

 She looked up.  The ceiling had a blue mural with the face of Jesus looking down.  Kate kept her eyes up to the mural and to the kind eyes and face of Jesus.  She felt better that Harris was with Jesus and that the sorrows of his life had come to an end.

The service ended with music and the slow procession of the pallbearers carrying Harris’s coffin out of the church.  Some in the crowd cried.  Kate had done her crying earlier and kept herself quiet.  She listened.

As the family walked out of the church behind Harris’s casket, walking behind their adored son and brother, she watched them.  She thought about returning home.  As she left the darkness of the church and went into the open sunlight of the day, Harris’s father approached her and told her how much she meant to his son.

“You meant so much to Harris.  He loved you very much. I wish you…”  His thoughts were not completed and his voice was strained.  Kate didn’t know how to help him.  She repeated how sorry she was and wished the family peace.

“Thank you, Kate.  I know everyone loved Harris.” His father said.

Kate didn’t know how to respond.  She started to give her sympathy again and she started to reply that she loved him, as well.  His Dad didn’t wait on the response, but quickly returned to his wife.  They were greeted by some relatives and got into the limo.  She could see Harris’s mother’s head bent over and her smallness became unbearable.  Kate decided to drive home.

The drive back was less anxious.  She thought about her decision to attend and was satisfied that it had been the right thing to do.

   Kate knew that this day, Harris’s funeral, would be the end of a major part of her life. 

She drove up to her apartment.  As she sorted out her things to go in, she thought about him.  She kept seeing his smiling face and his pale blue eyes.  She recalled his boisterous ways, his excitement about doing everything..  Kate looked up at the steep stairs, and remembered the times they walked up those stairs together.  She began to walk up the stairs, holding on to the rail and maneuvering herself to the landing and up again to the third level.  She hoped that being inside would give her some relief and repose.  It was not to be.

She thought she should read for the rest of the afternoon.  She could not read.  She could not cook for herself.  She could not talk to anyone.  She sat on her couch.  She sat on the edge of her bed.  She was unable to move or to do anything in particular.

Maybe she should have gone to the cemetery.  She was so at odds with everything.  She was at odds with herself.  No one came by and no one called her.

Time passed.  The day ended.

Night was upon her before she realized it.  Harris’s untimely death and his murder consumed her.  She was hopeful that his case would not become a cold case.  Kate would keep a good eye on the investigation and prosecution of this case.  She did regret having left the DA’s Office. 

Why did she quit the Office?  Why was her timing off?  Kate wondered if she could follow the case through the media, only.  She wondered if one of the victim-witness staff would keep her filled in.  She thought of Brian, who had assisted her at the church.  He was easy-going and apt to take pity on her and share the inner workings on this case.  Kate did think about how her personal feelings could flip to the lawyer side of her thinking, on this day.  She felt that she wanted to help and she felt that as a former lover, she had complicated attachment to Harris and to his murder. 

Kate needed sleep.  Tomorrow would bring answers, she thought.  If not answers, Kate would find people to help her and she would stay on top things because she had to.  She had to finish this for Harris.  She needed answers and retribution.  She needed justice.