Wiggie RIP 1982?-2012

20 10 2012

Wiggie’s poem

as told to and transcribed by the boychild in 2012


Images flow through my head,

orange, red and blue,

Fire flickers, candles burn,

Nothing breaks my love


Birds and bones,

Bananas, brooms and hats

They all flicker through my head,

Like the wings of a bat.


Dogs, kittens, cats

Don’t fly like bats.

My head extinguishes them

Fire fades and I wake,

To the morning day.


Crossroad Door Monster

2 09 2012


Recently, I thought I might check myself into a clinic.  Last week. Today.  The clinic I imagined is rather dull, not particularly colorful, nor is it brimming with life.  Or the clinic is inside of an enormous tree.  Or the clinic is in a cave.

I feel fire.

I’m not depressed, or suicidal; nor am I a danger to you.  But I imagine that in the clinic, I could let go of all of this, the bills and the dishes, the work and the needing to hold it all together.  The needing to be a mother above all—hold it together, be there.  I could have the time to reside in this new pain, this breaking open, this lonely.  I’ve a lid on it—it’s there at the surface but I cannot be in it.  This is why I’m that little bit crazy.  I’m in traffic and want to cross the road onto the sidewalk, I want the gas to the floor, I want the car in the air. I’m in traffic and want to scream, I can barely stay in my skin.  My being itches.

he’s got hay in his heart

Or the sun blinds me and then someone asks me how everything is going, how has the summer been, and I almost start to cry, I taste tears, but I don’t because they aren’t really asking and anyway, all of the crying will be about something that happened forty or thirty or three years ago, in another place with other people.

Todo se hace polvo

Have you tasted blood, have you smelled blood, what is that iron, that iron ring in your left shoulder.  What is that iron ring and how might we hook you up, contain you and keep you here.

A good deal of one’s baggage would appear to be not even one’s own

Once upon a time there was a girl.  The girl was at the crossroads where you can meet the devil if you are in the mood.  The world was there and the moon was blue.  A monster who was not a werewolf tapped her on the shoulder and she turned to him.  What he wanted were those same clouds they’d had once.  She turned away from him, turned back to the crossroads but it had vanished and there was the door.

That unbearable smell

That fucking chasm.

There are many ways to be held prisoner

Once upon there was a girl in a yellow dress with blood in her mouth.  She crossed through a heavy wooden door and when she reached to close it its teeth took her arm.  Just one arm.  She had another one left.

she is/my desolation

Remember loneliness, remember that city?  Ciudad.  I’m not there because it’s ashes.  I’ve eaten the ashes.

Kiss me

The girl had one arm and she spit red, blood was in her mouth and her other arm was tied.  That’s how it goes and no one will come because this is what it is.  The cold tiles on your feet or on your cheek because now you are lying on a bathroom floor.  You are vomiting and sometimes the blood from your stomach makes it into the toilet.  More often it does not but you don’t care because it is comforting to lie in one’s own blood sometimes.

you are searching the park for your name

Try it.

I was a study in ash

It is comforting and warm the tiles are cold and the girl is asleep.  The monster who is not a werewolf is in the sink and he reaches toward her hair, brushing strands away from her face, away from the bandages and the blood.  She sleeps more soundly now that he is watching.

How do you breathe now?

I’ve consumed the ashes and I’m at the end of things and you are at the beginning but it is OK because I’ve found my own monster.  My monster is here to hold me when I’m afraid, and to wipe the blood from my mouth.  You may be on the other side of a chasm but I don’t need you.  You are in another place in time.  You are at the beginning.  You are there and will be there.  A sort of torment.  But my monster is all I need.



Quotes are by Paul Hoover, Anne Carson, Julie Carr, Janice Lee, Marina Tsvetaeva, Paige Ackerson-Kiely, Pistolera

City of Loneliness

19 08 2012

I cannot tell if that tree outside is dying.

I was a study in ash

Today I revisited Morocco on Google Maps —zoomed so far in and to the east so I landed on a dune in Algeria’s desert.  This is in the place I looked towards when we stood at the edge of the Sahara having driven all day from Marrakesh over the Atlas mountains.  I remember the gem sellers on the sides of the road and the truck stop high in the mountains.  I could imagine myself in the truck stop but I didn’t actually go in.  This is not the City of Loneliness but I visit it because I am alone.

I long for you.

I’ve been hammering at everything, my work and such; I’m tired.  Sometimes I talk about things and I feel as though I am on fire and I look at my companion of the moment and there is a blankness in the eyes.

I had finally gotten accustomed to those.

There are many forms of loneliness.  I’ve visited the La Ciudad Íngrima and entered some of the houses.  One has sterile landscapes and studio portraits of children on the wall.  I’ve been in that one and in one where the walls are yellow.

there is something queer about it

The yellow walls or a yellow dress I’m wearing.  It is possible that Charlotte Perkins Gilman has polluted my memory and painted yellow walls in a room that might have had walls of a different color.  The wooden chair in this room and a girl that was me.  This is not a real memory.  I may have had a yellow dress. The thought of it makes me ill.  I know it’s not real.

en la ciudad hay mucho tribu…aves de paso que se quedaron

I am writing about loneliness, though, and about glazed eyes. Writing around things as usual.  But writing around does not mean writing absent the emotional content of these things.  The emotional content of being a forty-two year old woman trying to create a sustainable way to exist in this world through her passions.

The world is everything that is the case.

I do believe I expect too much.  I’ve been so lucky and so supported.  This is not pablum; nor is it an attempt to spin what is real fear into something Hallmark.  It’s just the necessary statement of my fortunate circumstance as I, in turn, note with my fear that my expectations and desires far outstretch what is fair or conceivable.

One day I appeared to have finally stopped looking, in any event.

I’m sometimes afraid of death also.  It is about loneliness and time.  Do you ever see that place where it is dark and tangled?

The doors will close.   Over and over. There isn’t really anything else they can do

I need to strip more away. I do the Buddhist meditation to practice death.  I envision the burning away of flesh and bone and then the burning away of my attachments.  My slaves to fortune, so to speak.  I don’t actively burn my attachments but I imagine burning what connects me to them.  Imagining my flesh burning is easy; it is a relief despite the fact that real burning is deeply painful, in my minds-eye it is just dissolving.

The flesh is bruckle

While, in my mind, the flesh melts without agony, imagining the burning away of my attachments really hurts.  By attachments I mean those I love.  What I have to do in this imagining is let go of them.  I have to stop clinging.  I have to imagine never being with them again.  I have to release them.  It’s brutal but on the other side I’ve come closer to nothing.

the Feynd is slee:–

I want to bathe in this nothing, to become the opposite of agitation and to be utterly removed from loneliness.   I want to escape time and be in the nothing without the yellow.  There is no yellow because it will have burned away.  That yellow wall and yellow dress in The City of Loneliness with its rooms some of which I inhabit.

If I had no thistles in my heart

Inhabit even with your touch—especially with your touch

(I would put out the sun)

If I could set fire to that city, I wouldBurn that loneliness until it is ash.

I am restless

Loneliness, I’m told, is a valuable space to occupy.  I’ve heard it said before.  I’ve heard it whispered by my own self in my own ear.  Even when you are breathing into me or touching me—I’ve told myself this loneliness is part of being and of finding what I am being.

Fuck it.  I don’t care—I’d burn it if I could, that whole city, those rooms.  The occupants and their sad photographs.

I’d burn it all even the adobe on the end of the street with the banana plant in the front, the coolness upon entrance, the smell of wax, the floor of clay tiles.  If I lie down on them it feels like those blank eyes.  The blanket and the fireplace with the logs no longer burning.

He forgets them, he “burns” the memory of them

Nothing here to give me fire.  I’m the fire.  I’m the one to burn it down.


Quotes are by David Markson, Mircea Eliade, Paige Ackerson-Kiely, Amparanoia, Ingeborg Bachmann, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, William Dunbar, Ludwig Wittgenstein

It was clouds

23 06 2012

It was clouds we thought we held between us.
They broke and vanished and in the morning

I was alone; the clouds were unreal.
In the morning the clouds did not matter anymore;

or so I told myself, as though I could make myself forget;
as though, just by wishing, I could force condensation away.

The clouds were there but they weren’t clouds
The clouds lingered in the back of my mind.

I made a door in the wall and it closed upon me.
I made a door in the wall and I tried to crawl through.

I reached my hands into the hole in the world; as I reached
it slammed shut and the blade took my fingers off at the knuckle.

And then, with the stumps of my fingers bleeding, the way fingers cut
to the bone will do, I wanted to find my way home but the paths had changed.

It had rained and washed the earth and my footprints; I was lost.
But I made another door, my hands painting the frame red

and it stayed open for me, as if the blood was all it had wanted.
It stayed open and I walked through alone. The clouds and you

remained on the other side (you’d always been there). I passed through and as I did
I felt a breath of wind, like the faint touch of something ending.


4 06 2012

One night—remember?

My dream was full of people I didn’t know

—you traded places with your sadness.

I tried to care for them and then I woke up.

And when I woke, my eyes hurt with beauty.

Without the sun…you cease to appear to me

Rarified blue and greens.

I thought it saw it for it was, but I’d looked right

Twas Crisis—All the length had passed

past it. Just beside it.  Only along it.


That dull—benumbing time

You told me this sort of beauty happens every day in other places

as if, even if it did happen

my sense of walking the near edge of perfect pain

had no real meaning.

The world is so casual:  it presumes its attrition. 

I know it doesn’t.  But I don’t need to be reminded when I am inside of it.

Everything I am.

A space filled with shadows of what I perceived.

Remembering when you were here is like nailing horseshoes to hoof-prints

It is an old saw–

today let my self burn hard in its absence

I’ve stripped myself down.  I’ve dipped back into that well of pain that belongs only to me

I used to believe I was very good at being lonely.

though you have one too.

All of this is so very abstract.  Here is concrete–the seasonality of the cottonwood, the blanketing of the air and the streets with pods.  A baby gray squirrel running along the fence line.  Some stones, some earth.

Now it doesn’t seem to matter

We no longer share a language

I’m allowed to be total to this and to what was.  I’ll be inside everything and I’ll feel it.

Come sanctum  Come along strict witness.  Look.  The eye of a leaf is all.

I cannot be anything else.

the ringing will register inside my heart

a pain appropriate to my age


Quotes by Andrew Grace, Emily Dickinson, Ingeborg Bachmann



The Hunger Games and other things

2 04 2012


Do not even want to care

I’ll start off admitting that I read the Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins (as well as her Gregor the Overlander series) and enjoyed it.  [And if I cared about Joel Stein‘s view I might suggest that my role as a parent required that I read this pretty fantastic series before my kids–but I don’t care…not really…]

They just can-/not see that there is anything to wonder at

If you haven’t noticed there is a debate ongoing about who should read The Hunger Games.  There are, of course, the moderators of adult taste such as Klein, who suggest adults should read adult fiction–I’m not jumping into this fray since it is silly.

Fire, in time

I’d going to write a tiny bit about kids <12 years old reading the books and seeing the films.  This seems a more interesting debate. What we are asking about in this debate is what we allow our kids to know about brutality.  Because it is about how children mature and what seeing violence does as they mature

And it is about what we let them discover about cruelty

a sanctum of all there is to lose 

though, of course, unless they are enclosed and protected, as was the Buddha as a child, so that they never know illness or suffering or death, they actually are wise to cruelty as children.

we are a form of a form dismantled

My son is nine.  He will be 10 on Shakespeare’s birthday, at the end of this month.  His reading of the series happened a bit by accident–the books were purchased as a gift for him when he pointed them out to the gift-giver at a bookstore.  He loved Gregor the Overlander and wanted more books by Suzanne Collins.

At the point he brought them home, it was near futile for me to stop him from reading them.  That would, if you know how it works with kids or anyone, have made them more desirable and would, perhaps, not be worth the difficulty.

Although, for another child, it might have been more important to slow down their entry into the Hunger Games world.  For whatever reason, my son, sensitive to other people’s feelings, to other living creatures (at one point wanted to stop eating carrots because they kill the plant), seems able to engage fantasy like the Hunger Games without being traumatized or losing his ability to care.

I’ve been wondering about this–about what is different between different kids and about why I think the Hunger Games would have fed me as a child my son’s age.

These are small thoughts below–I do not think every child is ready for THG at age nine or ten or even thirteen.  But I think I would have been–I think they would have fed me.

a scream is better

I had my own bit of trauma under the knife before I could speak and, as I got older, as happens, there came a time that I was so deeply alienated that tales of connection and comfort made me feel pushed farther outside.

than a thesis

I’d reached that place where you either turn your alienation onto yourself and try to excise that part of you that is what you think is causing it or you excise the world.  I did a bit of both.

One night 

And while fairy tales did feed me, with the traumatic casting away and subsequent empowerment of children in a cruel, violent and horrifying world (think Hansel and Gretel, the abandoning parents and the cannibalistic old woman), perhaps something more akin to the Hunger Games would have touched on that part of me that knew something about horror and cruelty even as a child but knew it pre-verbally, where it is hard for our post verbal selves to go.

you traded places with/ your sadness

I don’t know if it would have desensitized me though sometimes I wonder if it might be easier if I had had a bit of desensitization to violence and cruelty as a child.  It might make things easier for me now.

Stare at me with the soft terrible eyes in which there is always snow

I wonder also whether early trauma is needed for the Hunger Games to be healing or good or a place where a child might connect.  I hope not, of course, because my son seems to have gotten something profound from the books and the movie, and I’d like to think he hasn’t suffered the sort of trauma I did as a toddler.  Perhaps the sheer anxiety of the world we’ve created for our kids–where they know about global climate change, and extreme weather and mass extinction and worry about these things even as they are utterly powerless in their face–has created a need for texts that engage their anxiety and trauma and tell them they have some power in the face of horror and cruelty.

I know that agitation is prohibited/ That’s why I’m writing


Quotes are by Inger Christensen, Andrew Grace, Zinsudra of Sumer,

Welcome Thallium

25 02 2012

I’ve been thinking about the thallium poisoning of quail in southern California.  It happened near the turn of the last century.  I was not alive and neither were you.

And I’ve been thinking

Love, love, my season

I want to write about the thallium.  It’s not a pleasant death, apparently

There is a sickness in the belly and a falling out of hair, a wasting away

We know all this because enough people believed in the miracles of thallium

the sound of the land…the same wind

a substantial data set could be gathered on the effect of thallium poisoning

blowing on the same bare place

on the human body, in a short period of time.

the nothing

As is typical of these sorts of things

Enlarging loneliness

a chemical that turns out to be poison

Don’t let me be

is not a failure but an opportunity


I have an interest in poisons.  They break our hidden rules about how things involving the body work.  They don’t pierce but they kill.  Generally those sorts of deaths involved tremendous abjection, where the body comes outside—a black tongue, lost hair, vomiting, diarrhea, wasting away.  The bed, the floor, the tub are filled with what should have remained inside the body.

In the books it is often a sweet clean death

The dead find you are not food

But really we know it isn’t.

the great secret

The quail were never the intended victims, nor were the other birds, nor the rabbits.  They were collateral, they too ate the laced grain.  What was it was like to walk the fields filled with all of those little dead bodies.  Were the walkers appalled?  Someone must have been because the program was ended—but maybe it wasn’t the walkers.  Maybe it was someone else.


What matters?  Perhaps nothing.  This story of the thallium is just another thing I’ve had at the back of my mind that in my weaker moments I suspect tells me something about the place and time I’m in.  What that something is, I do not know.

Define it

It hangs there and I watch it spin.

Define loneliness

Quotes are by Claudia Rankine, Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath, Wallace Stevens, T. S. Eliot

Debra Blum’s The Poisoner’s Handbook provided the bits of information about Thallium