don't reworry the thread


worry:   2) to touch or disturb something repeatedly

people are not threads to worry and pull and twirl around your finger.
when i'd snag a favorite sweater,
my mother would find her seam ripper,
using the very tip of that tiny harpoon, she'd restore not ruin. 
she'd wrap the loose thread around that metal prong twice, neatly tuck it back into the weaving,

do not re-worry the thread.
let it be.
tuck it back in, or snip it away,
and if you're not sure which,
sit on your hands while you wait.
you'll know.
but in the meantime, don't pull and tug simply because you've never learned not to.
you can learn another way.
are there not books?
are there not people who've lived more than you?
do you really believe you are the first at fault?
listen, little snowflake, this is why there are professionals.
they're there for the threads; they're there for the worriers.
you didn't know better when you were younger, so maybe
it was forgivable,
but that was so five minutes ago.
and if you don't stop as soon as you know, you're only being selfish.

"i respected a girl and i liked it"

"I love your writing.  You are one of the few women who inspire me."

"I don't like any female comedians, but I like you."

girl and hoppy goat, also scribbles


When I was commended for my performance in these areas, my gut reaction was "Awesome!  I made it.  I've crossed barriers and won over the unexpected fan.  I must be exceptionally clever to challenge his prior opinions."  I felt honored and complimented. 
I no longer feel either. 
In addition, I apologize to the women who learned this years ago, because when you spoke out, inwardly I judged you for your angry indignation.
I was wrong.

This post falls into the category of "Things you all knew decades ago, but that I just learned.  I'm a late bloomer. 

I learned this year that those "compliments" were not compliments.  They were highly offensive.  When someone tells you they like you or your work as a member of a race/gender/group in this fashion, they are telling you that they like it because you are not what they usually think of your group.  They were surprised you taught them.  They did not expect you to offer them something they couldn't find from someone in their own class of humans.  They were "pleasantly surprised."  I was "pleasantly surprised" also...then. 

On reflecting, I realize how little they expected from me as a woman - from women in general.  I took the compliment gratefully, because somewhere deep inside of me, I didn't expect much from women either.  I wanted to be one who crossed over gender lines.  I wanted my words to be palatable to men.  I thought of it as playing tennis:  When I look for a tennis partner, I want to "play up," with a better partner so I am challenged and play better.  I don't want to plunk around the court with someone who plays worse.
Shame on me for believing this was "playing up."

However, I'm grateful for their honesty.  In each instance I sense there is some self-congratulatory feeling that they've been open and accepting to new ideas.  Honestly, they were pleasantly surprised.  They weren't hoping for the other person to fail.  And maybe because they were open enough to be surprised once, they will be more open to others in the future.  This is good.

I learned that women or different racial groups, anyone late to the party in receiving rights (different situations in different countries, but I mean in US) has the strength of being flexible and adaptable.  This is out of necessity.  We expect to be inspired, entertained, taught by different genders and races.  We must.  I don't mean we are better or stronger, we just haven't had as many choices.  If for no other reason, quantity-wise, for centuries we haven't had film, literature, comedy made by as many people like us - readily available anyway.  If we limited ourselves, we would've had a more narrow scope - again, based on quantity.  I realize my choices are vast compared to those of my grandmother or great-grandmother, but there is still a thread of it that runs through our lives.

I thought I was beyond being affected by gender issues.
I played the life-game well; I am educated and privileged in many ways.  I didn't know the underlying problems and prejudices, because honestly, they haven't blocked my choices much.  This is because of  women who fought for me years before I was born.  They were angry, so I haven't had to be.
Thank you women.
Thank you.
I know why you were angry, and I'm sorry I wished you'd just be a little "cuter and softer and more cheerful."

There is strong emphasis on gender roles being equal, but different.  It can be very scary to some people when gender roles get blurred.  The message is that different roles can be equal...the genders complement each other, at best in a beautiful way ordained by God.  I'm not saying that this doesn't happen at times.  But hardly anyone fits any role perfectly.  That alone maybe isn't a good argument for tossing out a set of ideals.  However, I'd offer just this:  if you implement a system of "separate but equal" roles and rights for any race, gender or people group, be sure to ask people on BOTH sides of that system how it's working for them.
And ask regularly.
Maybe dig in even.  Because there are some people who sense immediately that things are askew.  But others, the late bloomers, can get into a fair amount of trouble while they are waiting.


Love can be a smothering blanket; a confining cage.
After years of it, you become like veal - older, but too tender to exert yourself in and upon the world.

Love can a be a warm rug tucked around you, then snatched a way.
Over and over.
Left on a cold floor, you will do anything to recover the warmth. 
Strangely, years of that never prepare you for the cold each time, but you learn quickly how to get that rug back.
And at any personal cost.

Love can be a word, thrown at you like a life preserver, but never until you get desperate enough to  beg.  Sometimes by then, it's too late.  It can feel like drowning in a desert.  If your mouth is full of sand by the time you ask, was that love that watched and waited?

What is love supposed to be?
Carrying loads together.
Side by side.
Setting loads down to rest together.
Side by side.
Celebration - "Look what you did!" or even better, just "See who you are!"
Privilege - to see a soul bare the way it shows itself to so few, but the way it is most itself.

Do we love because "He first loved us?"
It makes sense to me that someone created us, even if I can't prove it.
But we seem like art.  You do.
Maybe someone filled with Love imparted that love to us, and it's in our essence.  What a great fuss is made about sin being imparted to us as soon as we enter the world!  It's exhaustifying and defeating.  As if anyone was afraid they were perfect.  What about the love in our Artist's DNA?  More about that, please and thank you.

Love is our language and means, our need and our gift to give.
Otherwise, where do we get it?
I don't know.
But I can know.
And I can know...without a textbook, a tome, a preacher or a class.
If something is true, it's just true, is it not?
Whoever needed more than a soul to know love.

not your rock

it is nice to help friends with their rocks,
but not everyone is a friend.
some people do not want to carry any of their own rocks.
these people will push and pull at you trying to get you to carry their rocks for them.
they will tell you they are too busy or important or even hurt to carry their rocks....
they may tell you their rock is soooo heavy and you should help, because you made their rock heavy and it's heavier every second...they may accuse you of being selfish and uncaring for not carrying their rock.
if you are a very kind, empathetic person, this may work on you.
but you know what, Honey?
you already have a lot of rocks of your own.
leave it


clickety click click
you get credit credit credit
but joy-fingers, how much longer will you work?

banjoing typing tying up ponytails,
snapping and tapping
peeling apart Twizzlers

flexing between paragraphs
wagging hellos at babies
snapping at tweens to signal silence and threats
twisting a twirl of hair around your index just because you can

be ye not nimble forever?
wherefore the heck not, phalanges?
wait, is this why the older women have the short fuzzy hair--
is it a matter of limited energy?

if only a few tasks can be done daily before the fingers begin to ache
would i waste one with strenuous braiding?
I say I couldn't live without hair-- it helps my face--
but choices presented, what would I choose?

the curl of the fingers around the pencil
the happy claws upon the keyboard
the turning of a page so thin, just so you can smell the next one

sometimes i am surprised to find my hand resting in my lap
turned in on itself like a bird with its head tucked under its wing sleeping.
I see this in older hands that never turn out to wake

but mostly mine are moving, thank god
sometimes I scrabble for the pen in the car
swerving momentarily up and onto a curb
receiving a middle finger in the side mirror as a truck zooms by furious
but that doesn't hurt as much as not getting the words out

if no release of words, no peace no healing
i haven't found another way yet,
and if that's true, well...
once my hands stop working, I'm screwed.

maybe it is true for now
maybe I need to panic and scrabble and work and harvest
tomorrow will worry about itself

or maybe the joy-fingers won't be the thing to go
maybe it will be the ponytail
and i'll just be a mannish face with a confusingly high voice and short indeterminate hair and gender.

men in the nursing home will think I'm nice,
but wonder whether to ask me out for coffee
or to join their poker night.

and won't that be interesting to write about.

gumball party

some people expect to get things right.
when they don't, they are shocked and mad.
others are waiting 'til they "fuck this up too."
where is this learned?

because I think it IS learned.
it can sound like a cop out -  self-deprecating is easier - and maybe it's used that way sometimes.  but even when it's laziness, I suspect it didn't start that way.

I don't know much, but I know this:  some people seem to DO so well, but can only SEE their gaps, lacking, failures...
seeing these short comings leads to more.
self-fulfilling prophecy.
I don't know how to fix it.

"fix..." hmmm...
maybe that word is the problem.
believing we need to be fixed,
believing there was a model and we fell out of "true" like a house off balance and must work our way back.
then again, maybe the goal isn't back or even forward.
maybe just be.  here.  now.  as you are.
and if i'm wrong, and we are "out of true," well then, at least all the gumballs will roll down our lopsided floors and they'll be easy to find in the corner.
corner gumball party!

Bird and Lemon Reenact Scenes from "Easy Rider"

Bird: You know, this used to be a helluva good country. I can't understand what's gone wrong.
Whale:  Everybody got chicken, that's what happened, man. Hey, we can't even get into a motel. You dig? They're scared, man.
Lemon:  Can someone with hands help me get this helmet off?
Bird: Oh, they're not scared of you. They're scared of what you represent to 'em.
Whale: All we represent to them, man, is somebody needs a haircut.
Bird: What you represent to them is freedom.
Lemon:  If you each lift one side, it'll pop off...
Whale: What the hell's wrong with freedom, man? That's what it's all about.
Bird: Oh yeah, that's right, that's what it's all about, all right. But talkin' about it and bein' it - that's two different things.
Lemon: Maybe I'll just try scrapin' my head against this tree again.  Can someone with legs carry me back to the tree?
Bird:  'Course, don't ever tell anybody that they're not free 'cause then they're gonna get real busy killin' and maimin' to prove to you that they are. Oh yeah, they're gonna talk to you about individual freedom, but they see a free individual, it's gonna scare 'em.
Whale: Mmmm, well, that don't make 'em runnin' scared.
Bird: No, it makes 'em dangerous. Nik, nik, nik, nik, nik, nik, nik, nik - Swamp.
Whale:  Heh heh swaaaamp.
Lemon:  [sigh]....swamp.