Magpie Tales is a blog “dedicated to the enjoyment of poets and writers, for the purpose of honing their craft, sharing it with like-minded bloggers, and keeping their muses alive and well.” Each week, it offers an image as a writing prompt.
One of the advantages of being post menopausal is that I no longer get the raging PMS that — in retrospect — I think was responsible for messing up my various relationships, including that with my parents.
Back in the 50s and 60s and 70s, PMS was considered a fabricated rationale for plain ol’ female bitchiness. Now, we know better, and I know that what I (and my friends and family) had to suffer through was actually my PMDD.
It’s hard to describe what it felt like to go through those terrible fits of insanity to those who have never experienced it. So, at the time, I wrote this poem — which, I think, pretty much says it all.
A sliver of moon
like a sharpened claw
slits the underside of April,
sending clouds as heaving as stones
onto the roiling rim of earth.
It is time for the Tooth Mother’s coming.
She tears through my skin,
talons sharp as the moon,
eyes that slice, breasts like scythes
along my hungry tongue.
She breathes into my mouth
the bold remains of winter,
turning my cries to ice,
my thoughts to stones
that roll like clouds
along my ragged edge of mind.
I stuck a willow branch in the ground and it’s budding.
The branch is from our Japanese willow tree . It will be a bush rather than a tree, but otherwise will look the same.
I wonder if Aaron’s rod was really a thick willow branch, which roots very easily and buds quickly.
Willow trees are part of my Polish heritage; they grow all along fences and stables and wayside shrines throughout old Poland. I have a collection of translated prose and poetry from 1945 called “Wayside Willow.” It is a first edition, signed by the editor and all of the contributors. The dust jacket is missing, although the flyleaf portion is stuck inside like a bookmark. It was a gift to my Dad, who was very active and well-known in the downstate New York Polish community. It comes with me wherever I go. I have to admit that I have never read through the entire publication. Maybe today, Father’s Day, is a good time to do that.
Willow people (i.e. those born in March) are beautiful but full of melancholy, are attractive and very empathic, they like anything beautiful and tasteful and love to travel, they are dreamers and restless, capricious and honest, they are easily influenced but are not easy to live with being demanding, they have good intuition, but suffer in love and sometimes need to find an anchoring partner.
…but the truth is that I don’t like to travel, I am not easily influenced, and I’m awfully easy to live with. As for the rest, I’m not sure that I can be objective.
I don’t read many blogs any more. I did in the early days, when we were a seedling community, all just starting out and feeling connected by our shared fascination with exploring the reaches of this technology, with sharing love of writing and our willingness to be open about who we are. We wrote with fire and shared with ferocity.
So I’m delighted when I stumble across a personal blog that I wish I were able to write, myself. It’s good writing. It’s honest feeling.
I dream every night, double feature sagas that roam places I’ve never been. Except that I have. People plague the landscape — people I’ve never known. Except that I have. I fight the mornings, waking out of time. Someday, I will sleep in endless oblivion. But now, I dream dystopias.
Some 25 years ago, a friend gave me a clipping from her Wandering Jew plant that she had grown from a clipping a friend had given her.
I have moved this plant with me through a half-dozen moves since then, and it continues to grow in several pots around this house. It’s a survivor, thriving on minimum care. And periodically a tendril emerges (sometimes after years of compact dormancy) to reach for light and something to hold onto.
I think of it as having an “old soul” and a “young heart.”
My mom is sitting down at the table having a cup of her fake coffee. AsI look down at her, I notice a thick smear of something light green stuck in her hair. Huh?
So, I touch it. It’s sticky. I smell it. It smells minty. Aha!
I have to admit it. I laughed a lot.
She has a spot on her scalp that always seems to itch her. When she tells me about it, I put Scalpicin on it, and that helps. I guess this time as she combed her hair in the bathroom mirror, she picked up the first thing that looked like an ointment tube and rubbed it on the itch.
The last time she rubbed something strange on her body, it was on her lips and they swelled to the point where I had to take her to the doctor’s. As far as anyone could tell, it was an allergic reaction to something, and I think she had been rubbing her 30-year-old Lancome cream on her lips. I cleaned out her beauty lotion drawer and it hasn’t happened since.
She always seems to be fidgeting. Mostly she takes sheets of Kleenex and folds them into squares and loads her pockets with them. She insists on having tops and pants with pockets. Sometimes I miss emptying a few when I do her laundry. Even if I use those scent-free dryer softener sheets, those little bits that stick to the clothes are a bitch to pick off.
She would love to fold blankets and other larger squares, but she has a torn muscle in her left shoulder. Not only can’t she raise that arm, but the whole shoulder is painful, even though she’s had a cortisone shot. After Thanksgiving, I am going to arrange for a physical therapist to come over and help her with that arm. I think I finally found a place that is certified for Medicare.
Very often, she snaps. No, literally. She snaps and unsnaps those closings on the tops I buy her so that they are easy to get on and off. Last night, she was desperately trying to snap closed the edges of a very old pillow case that she had long ago sewed snaps on to keep closed. (I guess she’s always been obsessed with snaps.) When she went to sleep, I resewed the ones that were coming off and sewed on a few additional snaps so that she could have yet another snap-happy fiddle thing.
Actually, I found a site on the web where you can buy fidget things for people with dementia. Other sites suggest these stress-reduction toys. My mom will not fiddle with toys. She will only fiddle with things that are familiar to her; things that she has used in her role as wife and mother. Safety pins are one of those things. She finds them and pins them to the inside of her slacks. The other day I found her picking her teeth with the point of a large safety pin. She has a drawer full of various dental picks that I bought her. But she uses a safety pin. Sigh.
I spend a lot of time Googling for ideas on how to calm my mother, since her fidgeting is associated with her nervousness and anxieties. As a result, I sent for a really soft furry teddy bear and made a sweater for it with a Polish logo. You’ve heard of Polar Bears? Well, this is a Polish Bear:
I thought that stroking the bear’s fur might relax her. I thought the Polish theme would attract her. Nope. She knows it’s a toy. Cute, but no cigar.
Well, I tried.
In another day I’m planning to try to leave to go to my daughter’s for Thanksgiving. Actually, I’m going no matter what. I don’t know how my brother is going to manage, but I’m leaving enough food, clean underwear, desserts etc. so that my mom will have whatever she needs. He just has to make sure that she gets it all.
I can’t wait to see my grandson, who has been unofficially adopted by the guys in the local firehouse that his mom takes him to visit periodically. The last time he was there, they gave him a piece of real fire hose (including nozzle) and a door chock (whatever that is). His firefighter suit, of course, is compliments of Grammy.
He wants to be a firefighter when he grows up. Also the owner of a tree-cutting service. Or a road construction worker. Or some kind of para-medic/rescue worker.
I think he’s going to spend Thanksgiving rescuing his Grammy.
If you’re familiar with Kalilily Time, then you know who Lilith is. The image above is from here, a treasure trove of Lilith images. Lililth was said to be banished by god into the darkness east of Eden.
If you read the previous post, it should be obvious why that image resonates with me tonight.
I think of the days when this one would have been the Lilith image that spoke to me. And I think of the time when, again, the crone in me will fire up and fly away.