Plague 4th

There are more pops and cracks and fireworks flying here on the south side of YO tonight that what the city would set off downtown had Youngstown not canceled their annual event. Music in the background? Mandolin Rain.

Yeah, I’m in a mood… have been ever since a couple nights ago when the Vet sent me a link to an anniversary song, adding a note that he knows it’s not our anniversary but every day is… BULL, he just sent it to the wrong woman. We broke up two years ago on the 4th of July because he came in, tossed his keys on the kitchen table, asked me to warm up some BBQ and crawled into bed. So, I was messing in the kitchen and a glint caught my eye… whoa, how could I not notice a shiny new freshly cut house key next to mine on his key chain? Of course, I asked about it… he couldn’t think fast enough to tell me whose door it opened, so I took the key to my house off.

I told him that song made me sad… reminds me that 4th of July makes two years since I woke up next to him. No reply, just Messenger stickers… hugs and hearts, sweet dreams and love yous.

He STILL will not admit to anything. He likes to keep up delusions, pretends I don’t know, but he knows that I know everything as I have not minced any words and truth always rises, just like cream. The nearest he will come is to tell me that he sees life as a game, that to make it in this world, you have to play the game to get what you need.

So, he talks about her, calls her his “buddy” as if she’s some guy… that’s his buddy’s car, with plates that expire in her birth month. And his buddy does the same type of work that she does? Yeah, tell me another… he’s a poor man, a disable vet just barely getting by, income so low that there’s no way he could ever afford to pay rent and buy a car at the same time. And, here’s this woman offering wheels… an “old friend” who has had a crush on him since grade school, they grew up together, she’s knows his family, her twin was his brother’s best friend… blah, blah, blah… sad thing is she thinks, or so she posted, he’s the “love of mine life” and you know what? Maybe he is.

So, where does that leave me?

Home alone, making just two homemade tortillas for a couple leftover meat stuffed fajitas on a holiday. They turned out pretty good. At least, not too bad for a first try… never made tortillas before.

Truth be, we never were compatible enough to make a go of living together and even though the last couple years has been a journey of heartache laced with his lies, I have no regrets. We weren’t soul mates, not meant to last… plus we are much better as friends now even though he maintains the charade. He’s been my rock, too, during this plaque as no one else, not even my daughter, takes me anywhere. Yeah, I know that’s her car he’s driving when he takes me to the store to buy cigs or whatever I need but cannot get via some delivery service, but oh well… she knew about me before I knew about her, had absolutely no respect for me so OH WELL.

Meeting the Vet, hooking up, giving it a go was not a mistake, even though it was doomed from the get-go. I learned a lot about me… he saw things that no one else noticed, called me out on my BS, like asking me why I come out so strong and then tamp myself down. Always done that to make myself more acceptable to men, socially conditioned to hide part of myself away. He was the first man to ever notice how strong I am inside, to encourage me to just be myself, my full self, and that still blows my mind.

He also accepted me as I am, flaws and all… erasing all inhibitions and body memories. He doesn’t know about that. I never told him that I was sexually abused as a child. He knows a little, asked about a little scar. I answered briefly… cigarette burn, don’t worry about it.

A part of me will always love him… just as I still love every man I ever truly loved, but there comes a time when you have to bury love with the memories in a corner of your heart, untangle emotions and move on.

It’s been two years… rough go for awhile, but still good years with self discovery and personal growth. I’m more at ease and at peace with myself now than ever. What comes next? I’m pushing 60, have no desire to ever live with anyone, but it might be nice to find someone to date. Yeah, just date… as in go places and do things after this plaque ends. But not all the time, just once in awhile… go to an art opening or community thing, maybe out to dinner or something. Even as friends each paying their own way.

Maybe I’m nuts. Thanks for reading!

Blink Poetry

A few words to the wind, as soft as a whisper. My first ebook was quietly published on October 15th. It’s a secret… just like this blog. Out there, as public as can be, yet most of the people in my everyday life don’t know that I write anywhere about anything.

Only two people knew about this ebook project until one of them (my bold and brazen daughter) found Blink Poetry at Barnes & Noble and just had to share a link on social media. She restricted her share to omit family, but I still await the backlash.

So, why am I so paranoid? It’s just bad poetry representing 40 years of raw and real emotions. Some poems reveal too much.

In some ways, putting this collection together was just tidying up the past, end of chapter, turn the page. Blink and it’s gone… time to move on.

The second purpose was purely technical. It was a practice in formatting my written words for ebook publication. Perhaps poetry was a bad choice for a first go… it’s so not perfect. Some of my formatting morphed a bit, lost my larger font size for titles and a couple poems with lines that indented visually on an angle all came in plain and straight. Nothing major, just little things that make me wonder how to make it survive the process in tack, but not enough to go on a revision quest seeking perfection. Yeah, it would be easy to get bogged down instead of moving on to the next project.

(SEE UPDATE BELOW)

I am considering an audio book version, on my daughter’s suggestion. She gave me the greatest compliment, said my poems “come alive” when I read them out loud. Maybe I should practice on street corners again. That was always fun, so doing an audio book might be fun, too. It will take awhile, of course, because I will have to learn how.

If you would like to check out my ebook, you can find Blink Poetry at Smashwords. It is rated for adults due to content and language. Yeah, six of the poems do contain profanity and some of the topics are not kid friendly. Or, parent friendly… as in my own.

Oh my gosh, the dreads hit me hard yesterday. I seriously thought about pulling it. Yeah, here I am, 59 years old, thinking about hiding my own words. And, for what? To protect other people’s fragile feelings?

Nah, it’s a bit more complicated. There are reasons why I cannot live in the same town as my family. I love them dearly, but they think everything I do or say somehow reflects on them. The pressure to conform, to toe the line is very real. Surely, if my family reads Blink Poetry, I will be shunned.

Straight up, I broke the rules.

Little girls are supposed to grow up, get married, and live happily ever after. Divorce is not an option. If a marriage fails, if the man sets her aside, the woman is supposed to maintain the highest fortitude of moral propriety until she marries again. In other words, my family believes that sex (correction, marital relations and anything that might lead up to marital relations) is for married people only. My husband left me in 1987. I was supposed to live by the rules, remarry or spend the remainder of my days without ever being touched, as if I had taken a vow of celibacy.

So you see, poems like “Sex with Neighbors” will not go over very well.

The title does sound slutty as hell, but in my defense, it was just one neighbor, the same man who practically lived with me for a couple years after I bought this house. I wrote the poem when we both lived in the same apartment building, when I wasn’t sure if we had enough in common to make a go of anything. My family knew that he stayed here. It was kind of obvious, with his clothes and stuff. Mom flat out asked if we shared a bed. She wanted to know if we intended to marry. I told her I’m like Aunt Betty, figured that would explain it in a nutshell and stop her questions.

Ye gads, that proved to be more true than not. My dad’s sister had a special friend for the last decade of her life and she couldn’t live with him either. That’s me and the Vet, but as just friends now.

There’s also a possibility that the Vet will disapprove of Blink Poetry, too, mostly because he would think that some poems should have been ripped up and tossed out long ago. But, I’m not shredding my words for someone who can’t even tell HIS delusional wannabee girlfriend to stop posting hearts and stickers asserting her fantasy relationship with him on Facebook. He knows I don’t believe his “I’m not messing with that woman, it’s all in her head” BS and has gone from total defense to just rolling his eyes now when I mention anything about his girlfriend. Bottom line, as he’s told me so many times, he can’t control what that woman does… well, ditto.

Thanks for reading!

UPDATE 14 NOV 2019: I’m on a perfection quest, almost done revising the ebook to eliminate that one blank page and some other odd things. I will update again when the revised version replaces the original. Blink Poetry will be released as a paperback soon, since several people have asked me for a hard copy. As for an audio book, that can wait as I don’t have access to equipment capable of doing that myself (or know how to use it) and the audio book service I checked into hires people to read so odds are, they wouldn’t read my poems exactly as I would. But, who knows? Maybe they could read my poems better than I do. Doesn’t matter… I don’t have money to do that anyway.

UPDATE 28 NOV 2019: Just deleted some links and edited the paragraph containing the links because I just opted out of global distributed to ensure compliance with the fine print for global distribution of the paperback. I get it… totally not cool to have the same book available from two different sources at the same retailers, even if they are in different formats with their own ISBN. I kept the Smashwords link because the ebook version there is the Smashwords edition, same poems, different back matter, etc. By opting out of global distribution, the Smashwords edition will ONLY be available ON the Smashwords website. In time, there will be an ebook version of the paperback so readers can choose… right now, I’m waiting on my second proof copy to arrive in the mail. Yeah, I rejected the first proof… my own screw-up, had the cover image too far off center and found a missing punctuation mark, plus a couple other little things. I absolutely LOVE the fact that the author must purchase a printed copy of their own book, see it with their own eyes and hold it with their own hands, before it can be approved for distribution. That extra step makes good sense to me.

BTW, sister Jai… I went ahead and ordered extra copies with this second proof as I expect to be pleased with the results. Yes, one is for you.

Day 46

Turning 59 was the best damn thing I’ve done all year, mainly because I gave myself a little gift: 59 days… 59 days in which I am “allowed” to take care of me, selfish as I need to be.

I had to… my cup was bone dry. I had given away too much, hurt myself by helping those I love, without reciprocity. I needed time to replenish my resources (time, space, energy, money, or whatever). I also promised myself to double down, always add two extra days for any day one of my resources get tapped or compromised for the benefit of someone else.

Well, here it is, day 46 and I’ve already blown this Popsicle stand upside down by extending my 59 days to an entire frikkin year. No, it’s not because I wasn’t able to set boundaries with people who don’t have any. I just need more time to unlearn some bull, strengthen my resolve, and step fully into my own. An entire year will take me to my 60th birthday.

Truth be told, I’m not going back… I kind of like the bitchy new me.

Perhaps that’s the wrong adjective, but if you met the people that I have to deal with, you would fully understand. Take my son-in-law (please!) as I’m tired of politely reminding him that he has absolutely no control over me. His latest stunt? Texting to tell me he’s coming over to get answers, he’s got questions, wants to know what I’m doing with my money. As if that’s any of his business. I found out later, from talking to my daughter, that she’s been telling him that I’m broke whenever he asks her to come hit me up for a loan for something stupid, like when he’s out of weed or wants to go play bingo. Thank you, child… but now he’s wondering why I’m broke all the time, got it into his head that I must be giving all my money to the Vet.

Speaking of the Vet, I think he’s waiting for me to revert back to my old self as soon as bail on my 59 days. He tests the waters now and then, pops in to say, “Babe, my Netflix still isn’t working.”

Well duh, done told ya… time to get your own. Yeah, I deleted his profile and changed my password about a month ago. It’s time, been time. It’s not like he’s here watching my TV anymore. He hasn’t stayed over one night in this house since we broke up on the 4th of July in 2018, even though we were still seeing each other, because he was so hurt when I took my key back that he vowed to himself that he would never spend another night in this house. Bit bizarre as he never REALLY lived here, always kept his own apartment downtown, and it’s not like I ever had a key to his place.

I asked if he planned to punish me forever. If we stay together, will he make me sleep alone for the rest of my life? I miss how his foot would find me in his sleep, miss him waking me up, the pleasures of early morning sex… and he wants back on my Netflix. What an impasse, eh?

Well, he can get his own. It’s only $8.99 for one device, not like he can’t afford it. The only difference will be that my name will not be on his Netflix screen. It is one more degree of separation.

I’ve been making other positive changes, too. The most noticeable was reclaiming a forth of my house by moving a farm table with benches into the wasted space commonly referred to as a living room. Just hauling a huge recliner chair out the door totally changed the vibe.

It looks like a dining room, but that is a work table. It’s usable space for arts and crafts, set the kids up with paints or whatever as my studio is off limits.

Of course, I had to find something else to put into the kitchen. I chose a small, antique porcelain top table because I had a similar size porcelain top stand in my kitchen years ago, gave it away when I moved back in the mid 1980’s. It’s a perfect work surface. My great grandmother baked pies for a living, rolled dough on hers, so childhood memories were woven into the decision.

I also purposely choose a simple design with an all white top because the others I saw for sale reminded me too much of someone else. Now, I just need to find a couple chairs. I’m thinking ladder back, something I can doll up with colorful paints, folk art style.

Sorry for writing so long… but, it’s been awhile.

Thanks for reading!