So. First things first. My health. My brain. My mental. My movement. Better. BETTER. Again. BETTER.

I have decided to take the risk and go back on an antipsychotic—Latuda. My fear is tardive dyskinesia--always. Especially since I had a bit bout of that when I went off the Geodon. Especially since this is always a risk, not a high risk, not like the old drugs, the Haldol, the Thorazine (20%), but still the risk is there, and nobody knows what will happen over long term use. And no one knows what the risk is, even with the start, just the beginning. So I have made a measured, well-reasoned choice, along with my doctor, to try this new thing. His hope, my hope, is that we will be able to replace three of the drugs I’m on, with this one drug. And that would be a plus in every every way.

I know, Lanie knows, I think everyone around me knows that when I went on the Depakote all the shit fell apart—physically. mentally. haywire. And I’ve gained forty pounds since 2012, when I went on the Depakote. When I felt poisoned. When I stopped working out. When I just stopped. Then clawed back and back and back and pain and pain and pain and so so so so so so much pain. And. Now.

About two months ago, about four months into my hormone replacement therapy, I was in with my gyno and I told her that I was getting a headache, maybe a migraine, and she said that if I was prone to migraines I would probably not be a candidate for HRT. As the migraine progressed, slowly breaking through, receding, breaking, receding, breaking, receding, breaking and then finally bursting full force through—as this was coming on, I went through a series of weirdnesses—smells—carwash---always, always loved, but smelled like an old dank terribly sad shoe; sensitivity to sound, smelling shit, literal shit. At the same time, changes in taste—weird. Maybe because of working with the nutritionist, maybe because of menopause?—I started paying more and more attention to what I was eating and for me that included how things felt in my mouth (thank you, Aimee Bender), my chewing, textures, tastes. I ate and chewed and tasted and spat many things out onto my plate, things I had loved (I did this in private, at least most of the time), things I had craved and eaten and stuffed into my mouth for years and years and years. Strange changes and sensations. It was as though I had been hypnotized, or I had somehow hypnotized myself. All these good things, exploration, deeper listening, deepening knowing.

Then. Three interventions/treatments for the migraine—heavy duty, ending with nerve blocks injected into the base of my skull, right and left sides. THEN. ADD. PREDISONE. A TWELEVE day pack. More and more and more and more weird on top atop atop of change and weird and sensation and what the holy fuck is going on?


Just before the migraine broke through, I ripped off my hormone patch and said no more no way no how never never never never never. So.

Here I am. Not sure where. But it feels so good, even though I had another migraine last night, even in spite of that searing orange forehead. I am able to MOVE. AGAIN. At last god all fucking thank you mighty at last I can move without pain. I can move. I can walk. I can bend over. I can lift things. I can shop, which I did yesterday, without exhaustion. Then I shopped some more. Still. Okay.

Calm. Measured. Clear. Alert. Content. Slow. Smooth. Cool. Marble. Brook. Babbling over perfect stones. Ice calm. Snow calm. No need to hurry. No need to worry. No need, just breathe.

Am I afraid that this is temporary? That it is the new drug and things will level and become what they generally are, which is very good, but not this good? No. Not worried. Suspicious? Maybe. Carefully proceeding? Yes. Hopeful? More than.

But here is the thing I most most most most truly think. This is my release from the thing that changed my world, that turned on my brain, that cleaved the childhood from the girl who became the teenager horny the woman horny who became the horny woman with a brain of fire fire fire fire fire fire fire fire fire fire fire snap snap snap snap too too too too much snap. This is my return to myself before the estrogen burst through and changed me so profoundly. My granny said she had never seen such a change in anyone ever. She was correct. Totally. Correct.

I have feared for years that when the estrogen left everything would go with it—my blue fire of words, my sex opening and yawning and saying okay, now let’s get to it. I have feared that it would be terrible and awful and depressing and because of the bipolar I would barely get through it. And now I find myself asking if the bipolar and the estrogen are so bound up together, so much of a piece of a brain that is Rebecca that is me—well.

I saw a cousin of mine at the hospital. A few years older than me. History—bipolar. Pretty damn bad. But now she’s on nothing. And seems to be doing well. We were in the room with her father in the hospital bed—dying. And she seemed pretty fucking okay.

Now we will see what we see next. I will see and everyone who loves me will see. Yes, Annette, yes. Here am I, hands open.


Then there’s all this fun stuff to mention to you guys.  Bought these yesterday, for me. I have never really had a real, honest to god, for life pair of shoes before. My gift to me. I have published a novel. 

I stocked up on Clinique chubby sticks

And got eyebrow pencil the best. And got Happy lotion. And got compact. And got scrub. I. Stocked. Up. Good for me.

I bought Sriracha aioli. Did you know that dips, everything I’ve looked at so far, are better far better than any salad dressing you can buy? Check it out—even things like spinach queso dip and queso dip and bean queso dip. No. Kidding. Hummus. Dig it. Eat. It.   I do not need as much sleep, at least for now. Another way of returning to the way things were before sickness.

I bought a plastic pincher pair of oven-mitt-like-things very red that work at least on the pan lid hot pan lid

I bought reusable bags at EARTHFARE here in Chattanooga. They had tomatoes—one red, one purple. Opened them up to begin bagging—BUGS, dead, but. Funny.

Have I mentioned that I LOVE tomatoes now? And Celery is good? And most sweets are gross? As is meat? As in life is an adventure what will happen next?

I am proud to announce that I have not succumbed and checked the sales on my novel. I will not. I will not.

I have readings coming up with my glorious girl Jenny Sadre-Orafai whose first book of poems is coming Sept 1st from PRESS FUCKING 53!!!!  Atlanta. Nashville. Knoxville.

I bought a pair of dressy short heels that will work for me for years on sale deep when I bought my boots. This is a thing I actually needed.

I am so patient with James, listening and talking and really paying attention that it’s astonishing to me.

I am sexy and the sexy is on.

Everyone, every girl everywhere needs a vibrating bed.

My hair is many different colors all at once. I am going grey—the cool grey, the grey-is-the-new-black-grey. I will be so gorgeous when we are finished, my girl Candi the wizard.

I have wild nails, half black, half white, every other even I am distracted by them.

A body scrub rub down and massage will undo you. This one thing. If everyone could have the healing touch and power of hands on the body. And clean water and food. And a little clip on fan like they sell at Disney World. I would freely give these to everyone everywhere and the world would be a better better better place. HANDS. HEAL. God comes through us.

Too too many blessings, too many material, but so many more many many that are not.

Open Hand to You,


So it’s been a week a week up and down even nightmares that awakened me even though I never have nightmares that wake me up in color dreams stressy things as annoyingly symbolic as Hawthorne   But I have held on and gotten through in spite of the mania   when a good thing happens it’s just as stressful  just as hard to manage as a bad thing sometimes harder   bipolar makes it so hard to know if you are manic or not  at least for me   plus I’m on a 12 day pack of prednisone to free myself of the terrible terrible headache no stop headache that keeps returning returning returning but is putting everything I know of pain into focus such focus   I’ve stopped the hormone replacement therapy feel better without so far so good    all my tastes are changing  learned I love CELERY always hated it   chewy breads no no no   meat no no no except maybe bacon  salt grease awful awful awful even my greatest love sugar sugar honeybun donut fritter pastry cream stuffed and apple things and chocalote things   all these loves lovers holy spirit comforters  moving moving up and away   is it the estrogen?   can I remember that far back?   is it the estrogen that gave me all this disease?    the estrogen gave me words and a flower in my cunt and never never a regret for that thank you woman god of cunts and belly swells and milking breasts yes thank you for that   but   well   everything is changing  for the better   please don’t let it just be mania  please let it be my open hand reaching   reaching  for you   for me   for a awful terrible simple thing

the book the novel she’s up   CLICK  it’s not an easy book or a kind book but if you love my writing then you may love this too   she’s a cheap date at $6.99 e-book  download share listen  spread the word  

this girl is lucky and blessed and her chest is full of a yellow sun and she shines and burns and god pours cool water into her mouth   god the lord father mother stuff of stars spin me spin me I will hold on to the center my granddaddy’s hand grabs me through the merry go round and round a life like this?   burning burning  blessing bliss my god she’s full of raspberries



inside his mouth

I have finished the galleys. Finished. Liking swimming the English channel, diving from a high high place into water. Dover. I am over the hump. Now I fear New Rivers will change their minds, or they will all be killed on a charter flight up to the tundra. I have always wanted to walk about on the tundra. I suppose I should hustle before it grows warm and ceases to be tundra. Steppe. Veld. Rabbit boots.

I would like to visit all the desserts of the world. They are hot in the day and cold at night. Special plants and animals grow there. In the Gobi they drink fermented mare’s milk. They poop on the ground in open air. The poop freezes quickly. Their houses are yerts. I should like to move from this house into a yert, no corners to trap the grandkids. Or the mice.

Even with the snakes and other spitting things with scales, the desserts do not frighten me. If I went to all the rain forests instead, there would be large insects and slimy things and I would surely be bitten and stung and lost in great valleys of fern. In movies Arabs are quite friendly and serve tea to drink. I enjoy tea.

Or all the lakes, a lifetime trip. Oceans, not so long. Perhaps the best trip would be to Antarctica where I could lie in the (summer) snow and see stars who don’t know me yet. The temple mount—seems to be a big deal. Persepolis would be the ruin I’d run hard and fast to see. I could go backwards and be my namesake. Isaac’s servant would put rings on my arms and a ring in my nose and I would be the mother of Israel. Which is also a big deal to a lot of folks.

I have taken on a new name—Job. My body is undergoing a series of experiments and tortures and interesting sensations—aliens abduct me and staratch up my back and legs and chest—sexual somehow, little babies rolling in their cribs. But I am not faithful and God can fuck himself. I am Jonah. Fuck this tree and fuck you. I’d rather sit here and be hot and die. But of course, I come around in the end--sometimes it takes a slimy belly, or a sunburn, or missing a couple suppers. In the end, God can eat me if he wants to. I’m pretty sure that’s what will happen. There’s a universe in his belly.

I am still fat, then I lose a little and this means I can have ice cream and oatmeal cookies. I often walk in the house and smell shit. Nobody else can detect it. Tonight I couldn’t bear the banana and spit it out. The cheese stick, too. The cheese spies on me from the fridge drawer stuffed with other cheeses and meats that no one eats. And hot dogs everyone eats. Hebrew hot dogs, the full length of the bun.

Today, I gathered pieces of wood and trash from Annette and will make art, with my hands. It is time to do this. And to write. And to read. And to somehow find the body that is calling to me from inside this body that is not me. Explore. The. Divine. God bows to me, I to him. We take morning walks. When I slept on a quilt in the ground in the yard in the grass, I woke up covered in due. It’s like, with God. A swimming pool.

A lake. I’ve been down to that river.


We had a great time last night, cookout, fireworks, down on the farm with Daddy, so beautiful, weather so perfect, which for us means low humidity. We weren’t sticky or sweaty. It was perfectly cool, more like a night in early June or mid-May. Great fireworks, thank you Dale, thank you James who provided the grand finale. Saw people I hadn’t seen for many years. Wholesome. Family. Fun. I was loud and laughed and laughed and Linda Sue clapped and squealed at every burst of flame and flash and I laughed at her and she laughed and everyone laughed all at once over and over.

The night before me and Net and Alex drank and made merry up until two o’clock gave voice lessons to Net smoked too many real cigarettes drank too much red wine sat in back yard maybe a never-before. Fun fun. Net wants to drink tea next time. We would certainly feel better the next day.

I am able to get up from chairs without using my hands. Usually.

Lots of things are becoming gross in my mouth. Textures. Yucks. Things I liked. Biscuits. Chewy bread. Wendy’s little burgers. But I’m queer for string cheese cold fruit bananas raspberries blackberries Pink Ladies Braeburns Greek yogurt have discovered the fucking joy of real tomatoes in season Dale has a garden. Dale said two black crumb and a yellow boy. I said the change in me is the clouds. Net said there you go. Alex said I’ll steal. There is music in our house.

I haven’t written anything or submitted anything. I have my first student through CNF’s Mentor Program and have been reading through her work. She’s really an excellent writer. I don’t know that I can help her, she’s already so polished and successful. But I like doing that sort of work and want to do more.

I need more work. I need to take out/put out ads on web. Any suggestions?

Yesterday, I read a marvelous piece on Medium-- The Schooling of Emery Dixson This is lovely and Medium rocks. If you haven’t been there, go there. Go Megan Mayhew Bergman! Must read more of her.

Need to do my work today need to get in the water so very good to move to move to play. I hope Dale will come with me and play with me and talk with me. But it’s hard to make yourself get up and go on the holiday weekend to move yourself when you work full time. I wish he could retire too.

I have heard a couple of lines voices. I may make some written things today pieces bits briefs in ether in brain we don’t write letters anymore. Yesterday Dale read me a letter George Washington to Martha I don’t want to lead this fight I’d rather be with you I don’t want you to be afraid unhappy I have made a will. So much writing then use of hands so much elegance why have we lost so much that respect that courteous love? How did we educate these elite? Why can’t we do that again? Again? Slow slow slow down read real books essays look into microscopes still remember my squamous cells the microbe shoe never cat into a frog or cat wouldn’t have liked that I assisted my teacher seventh grade me and Angela she told me blowjobs she told me sex the teacher gave me a butterfly necklace was he creepy I kept it and wore it. We sat facing a window in a room between rooms a blackroom behind us the red light was on I think Angela went in and made out with dark-haired Greg a junior the smell of chemicals doubt she came sure he did was Mr. ? creepy botany puzzles knife collection he loved my brother’s hand-hewn swords.

There are so many ways to communicate evolving so quickly. I don’t think we’ve lost face-to-face intimacy so much as we have lost consideration and thought and elegance. I do love the challenge of twitter so small so often powerful and Facebook the clips and bits staying in touch and Instagram learning speaking through pictures I love the connection the over-connection even but we are losing the thought before the composition, the thought before the speech. Real writing takes time, real relationships take time. Email is great. Blogging is great. I love texting my friends and speaking in that medium, but our communication is getting faster and faster and shorter and shorter. It reaches further, much further. Farther farther. But if we were really writing, really thinking---perhaps we would be more thoughtful and deliberate which forces a different meaning a different commitment to each other. I don’t think the “face-time” is the point. The point is how shallow the water is getting.

I used to write letters to Jane and she to me then we stopped. I used to use brown package paper weathered it with fire wrote with turkey feather dipped in ink sent these lovely things to my friends. We had a Xmas party at my house we all wrote a gift, something written. We hung the envelopes on the tree we each turned round and round with closed eyes and drifty dizzy reached out and chose our gift. But I don’t remember mine. I wonder if I kept it somewhere. Something special maybe lost maybe from same girl who had me play while she sang in the Junior Miss official pageant Becky said why her you should be the one to enter.

I used to keep the birdseed packets from weddings I played piano sometimes sang I put the nettings of seed in a special velvet box with top or maybe the pirate treasure box cross and bones chest. Later I looked inside and the little bags were full of half seeds half maggots.

Somewhere there’s a box of pictures and a pack of Virginia Slims we’ve come so far polaroids were magic. The cigarettes smelled sad and distant last time I smelled them my friend Tammy sink of dirty dishes kitchen table my first smoke so skinny a smoke.

Eat a cold banana. Write a piece of a thing. Cold raspberries so lucky this cold box in our kitchens Jude Law said I love this ice box so much I could fuck it I think that’s true.



I may stop writing paragraphs.

Doing second edits for the novel.

My hairstylist found a spot on my head. It had no hair.

It was round with a divot in the middle.

The doctor doesn’t know what it is.

The doctor took a biopsy.

We will know something in ten days. Or longer. 

My ANA is normal, if that means anything to you.

My stitches are blue and match my new do.

I have oxycodone WITHOUT acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is dangerous.

Never swallow.

I just started another round of ciprofloxacin 500 mg.

I am seeing the pain management guy in July.

I do not know if I need to see the pain management guy.

I am often confused. I can’t get my words out.

I was rejected by a massage therapist. On the phone. Less than twenty seconds. She didn’t feel “comfortable,” said she wouldn’t make me “happy.”

I was rejected by The New Yorker. Which always happens. Here is the rejection:

Dear Rebecca,

We are grateful for the opportunity to read and consider your new work. We very much regret not being able to carry it in the magazine. We do, however, look forward to reading more when the time comes.


Paul Muldoon, Poetry Editor

Elisabeth Denison, Poetry Coordinator

Like all writers, I am looking for coded messages in this rejection.

Like some writers, I love the comma before however, and the comma after however.

I have only two pieces slated for publication. I must do submissions.

I have my first student from the CNF mentoring program. I will mentor her.

I hope I feel well enough to go to church Sunday.

I’d like the blood of Christ. To drink it.

I want a new refrigerator.

I want a taupe tufted headboard.

I want new mattresses for the boys.

I don’t know what will happen next.

I don’t know if anything will happen.

Homer wrote, when the darkest covers his eyes.

Maybe the darkness will cover my eyes. Because of birds. Because of dirt.

Because my heart fell into his hands. Because he dropped it in the bushes.

Because I miss its pulsing. Its pound.

Because the old woman keeps it in a coffee can.

Because it won’t stop beating.

But, usually, the morning comes. And my back hurts.

And at the end of the day, I can’t remember what I did all day.


I find myself at cross purposes. I’ve not written here lately. I’ve not written here because I feel I must now be professional on this site, because I have a novel coming soon, because I have published a book of poems (which I should be promoting), because if I want to be a serious writer I should write about serious things. I should talk about politics. I should talk about women’s rights, or climate change. I should talk about writing, publications, books, maybe review books. I should do things that would help along a writer’s career, my career. I shouldn’t ramble and rattle on about personal things, my life, my hot fire head, my woes up and down scatter I can’t think my back hurts everything hurts whine whine. I should just suck it up and be a grownup and move forward, be an adult, an adult who will be fifty years old in November, if I live that long, if the earth lasts that long.

But, I don’t know how to be that person. I talk to learn, I write to learn, I write to excise the disease tissue and worry the notes. Sometimes a journal post will send me reeling into a poem or an essay after I’ve puffed and woofed and whined and whinnied and damn I don’t think I can do it the grownup adult professional fifty-year-old person.

Raw Facts:

I quit my job.

I quit smoking and have begun to vap.

I had an unremarkable MRI of my lower back two evenings ago.

I published an essay in BLAZEVOX.

I have been diagnosed with Chronic Pain Syndrome.

I was invited to submit to Sequestrum. They will publish an essay soon.

I am doing physical therapy, water therapy.

I have an essay coming out in the fall in Seneca Review.

I am working with a nutritionist.

Click should be out in August.

I am working with a food therapist.

I read a book on personality disorders.

I read a book on the sharp rise of insulin resistance and obesity around the world.

I discovered a new poet but I don’t know her name.

I discovered a better Prufrock—Edward Field’s “Unknown.” I suppose that’s moving on.

I have begun reading a book on the phenomenon of “voice hearing.”

I have submitted poems to The New Yorker, which is nothing new, but this time to a particular editor.

I have started something I would like to be a novel but will most likely not be a novel.

I have not yet finished The Particular Sadness of Lemon Trees as it almost pushed me over the edge in a manic nuts downward drop onto rocks and crude oil phase.

I have written new lyric essays and a piece I think is fiction and also a couple poems.

I have watched the first season of Hannibal and love too much the elegance and beauty of the horrific murders, and the fine dining.

I watched About Time which is marvelous. Also, The Bothersome Man.

The rheumatologist was an ass, a silver-haired Russian with bees on his tie. He diagnosed me on the basis of my depression/Bipolar disorder. That explains everything he said. Thanks. Your tie is beautiful.

I am watching House on NETFLIX. I’ve never seen the ending.

I have been stretching but I have also been stupid. I lifted heavy groceries yesterday. Am ruing it today.

Dale and I are going to take Education for Ministry classes this fall on Monday nights.

I have been manic and spent tons of money. I am cycling but holding on.

I saw my shrink yesterday.

James was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea, which can push one into heart failure. Treatment can improve heart failure. None of his doctors ever recommended that he be tested. They are all dolts.

My PT is gorgeous and does triathlons at least six times a year.

I once dated a guy who ran ninety miles a week.

I have gained weight.

I had blue streaks put into my hair two months ago. Now they are sea-foam greenish odd. Also, my hair is becoming curly wild. Also, I have learned to use product.

I have three new pairs of shoes. One pair is red. Everyone should try Fit Flops.

I am deep into a love affair with dates rolled in coconut.

I am learning to eat protein at every meal.

I have lost the boy’s savings bonds, but I found my passport.

I am completing the copyedits on my novel today.

I wish I had more girlfriends. Then again, I don’t.

I have two new pairs of glasses, one for reading, one for fashion, which are black and enormously large.

I have discovered Yves Delorme. Look it up. Swoon.

Real, triple-milled French soap is hard to find. Send me leads.

New towels, new matts. I now love string cheese.

I hate our dining table and enormous dish cabinet.

I bought a small dresser and have been getting rid of piles of clothes.

I have hired someone to deep clean the house this Saturday. Her name is Dee.

I posted on Twitter yesterday, and the day before.

Did you know they make dining tables with concrete tops?

Went a little crazy on new bathing products. Actually visited a real LUSH store.

Am going on a retreat in July, to the convent. Alone. This may lead to pray. Or unbalance the backporch.

Wearing hormone patch instead of taking hormone pills.

May have a persistent MERSA infection. No one knows.

Interior facts:

Thinking, speaking--impossible. Especially thinking. Especially speaking. But concentration okay. Up down up down I am a swing. Possibly with superpowers. I was fraught and confused and whirling and angry and furious when I met with my food therapist. At the end of the session he leaned toward me and said, “You need to grow up.” This affected me so profoundly, snapped me to uprighted my gumby spine brain baby cry baby shit I am ID shit, that I am now unsure of almost everything. Was I ever in pain? Is my head even sick? Is a pastry really just a pastry? Something in me has clamped down and said shut up. This is probably good. But maybe not.

I think that’s everything.

I am a TV. Signing off.

Nothing but bars. All night long.


Today I have a therapy appointment, a hearing test, a massage. The pest control person is coming at 5:30. I am trying to get in to see my doctor this morning. I want to discuss various things, but I really, really need to have my head looked at. Yes, my head, the bones and tissue, not the voices and swirl. I am emotionally fine. Stable. But there’s a bruise (?) on the left occipital lobe (?). This usually happens on the left side and when it does happy it is excruciating madness orange pain. I went to physical therapy for it and it helped. But this bruise (?) is different. I think I’m swollen. It feels like someone came in during the night and went at with a ballpein hammer. And it is not going away.

I have figured how to get my massage paid for with my medical savings account (Flex), so that will be a big relief. I wish that my insurance would pay, but they will only cover massage if it’s a conjunctive to chiropractic treatment. Stupid. All insurance should cover massage. Everyone would be less stressed, and feel relaxed, healthy. That would change the world.

I am reading a book that defines/explores personality disorders. I got the book because I wanted to read in more detail about my own disorder (histrionic), but the book as a whole is fascinating. I am learning many things about many things. Psychology has always been a fascinating subject for me, probably because I am mentally ill and have so many mentally ill relatives.

Today, this evening, I’m going to finish up with the student stories/letters and then I’m going to work on my private student’s stories. I also need to write up a course to teach through continuing education, some kind of workshop. I won’t make much (hardly anything) but it will be very cool I think.

Now I am going to the clinic. I go there all the time because you get right in and my insurance covers it just like a regular doctor’s visit.

Later, peeps.



moving on


1 Comment

So the odd thing about talking about writing and being a writer and how much you want to write and how much you want to quit your job so you can spend more time writing and that you’re sure you’ll write if you do quit working means that you will not put a finger to keyboard during these last two weeks, or even before, no good savory piece of a thing has been brought forth pulled lifted up from the rooty rooty creek bank. Not. A. Single. Thing.

But I have done it. I turned in my letter of resignation yesterday. It has been accepted. I can teach adjunct if I want. And I probably will. But I have done it and it feels right. And it feels nuts. But mostly it feels right. I have a bit of lingering stress/nerves because I must go to campus and do a fucking grade change, clean out my office, and have the exit interview. I have to go back there. I don’t want to go back there. I. Do. Not. But I must.

And I now I have to recreate my life. Revision. Twist my head clear around. I reached the fork and I have chosen. But the path is well-worn, dirt soft to my bare feet. I cannot remember the last time I walked barefoot down a well worn path. When I was a teen I put on my liberty overalls, maybe, and went to the Walk-a-Thon in Chickamauga Battlefield Park, and walked ten miles in my bare feet. The shoes I was wearing became unbearable, so. Someone from the newspaper came and took my photo—cute girl walking barefoot in the park on pavement, mostly. That was exciting. Anything for attention. The photo was never published. That was a dis. I got awful blisters. No one should walk ten miles on the pavement, farm girl or not. But a well-worn path, that dirt path, from the poem, from nineteen hundred and seventy-seven, I can still feel that.

I have stopped smoking. Got the nic inhaler. Boom. Done. Had a couple of awful cravings. Dived deep into the sugar pool chocolate honeybun, etc. Now, mostly gone, in spite of all the stress, grades, changes, things to deal with. I have quit my job and quit smoking. I have unraveled the blanket, Penelope. We are so alike, so alike. We will wait and wait and wait. Ah, but I found a better man than you. Lucky me. Unlucky you. Tennyson knew the real story. Ulysses was always a dick prick dumbass loser. But Athena loved him, stupid love. And you. There’s always someone to love a dick prick with flowing hair and glowing skin rising from the river. Let’s play ball, girls.

I see the nutritionist next week. I will finish everything up next week. I will be done, and ready to begin. I will somehow somehow relearn my life.


What a thing. I didn’t really realize it, but I got extremely up up straight up manic on Tuesday, so, so much happiness and love and joy and god and yellow. Then Tuesday night, I did something I haven’t done in a long, long time. I didn’t turn on the TV. I read a book and that book may have pushed me over the edge. I’d heard and heard about Aimee Bender, but I’d never read anything. Then I read an online interview. Then I bought the e-book--The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. The writing is magnificently on-point—spare, a woman’s muscle, slightly lyric/lilting bounce thud—and while I was reading it I felt myself learning, learning, I will be a better writer after I read this, after I suck this up, chew it up, take up its blood and shoot it into my arm. But the zero-bone chill of the girl the girl’s mouth the girl looking out through eyes that could be my eyes my own little girl eyes my own little girl brother the things I knew about my mother.

Then Wednesday more mania but so tired so tired with the brain not sleeping my brain swelled up bursting words words words words I will write this I will write this I will write this book and that book and that story and that poem and the ideas and words and phrases and words and characters speaking so loud loud loud and the students lifted me up up such joy in living in being with my lovely hearted girls and boys and and and I came home brain a swirl a pain a hurt my head was very sick. I wanted to write I wanted so badly to write or to read more of the book but I knew if I did that if I did the mouth would swallow me whole and down to the basement crazy snake place of knives so I held on and held on and called Dale he talked me down I took medicine dope a handful of pills called Annette and she read me lovely things, not too dangerous to hear, until I was ready for sleeping but even then the words kept coming and I pushed hard hard against them and fell asleep.

I slept a long time. Was groggy this morning. Am okay so far. Have to hold on. Just called shrink’s office. Will get a call back. This terrible wonderful awful exquisite disease its price is high its joy is higher but the hole the black center of the sucker is always waiting.


p.s. the glimmer--Blazvox is taking an essay for their next issue.

I continue to waffle the back and forth to work or not to work to dive headlong or not or yes or no or whistle myself free. The assistant head just emailed me and said my two CNF workshops will go to the new hire and I will be given an intro CW course and keep my readings in CNF and given another humanities course. This is neither surprising nor upsetting. I had so much joy yesterday with my humanities students, so much. I have at this late date figured out how to teach the class, how it should be, how best to reach in and out and give them room to grow. They aren’t so stupid overall, they just need seeds, watering, the most important chance to express themselves, their stories, their concerns and worries their I may or may not want this thing do I don’t I what why how when. This class should be about them, not about the books. If I teach again, we will springboard up up up and out from the books and do our thing the thing we want the thing we need the thing we most must.

This was a boost in arm and spirit, spoke exactly to where I am just now, not exactly clearing the woods but the thought the spur forward perhaps. Should/Must at Medium. It’s a lovely thing pretty with pictures pictures always help why ever graduate from picture books those that cut our teeth why ever grow up too tall to fit in small spaces under the table the Indian tent. If you’re at a crossroads if you’re wondering what to do how to live your life read this please this boosting needle to the heart this giver this vigor.

And this thanks, Alana, how could anyone not love this how could anyone not be touched yes, Rick I realize you will not but what’s lovely is a lovely thing when a soul speaks to a crowd of souls spreads wide his heart so wide you jump right in.

OCD it's love you see to lock and kiss and repeat press repeat

I’m thinking back thinking of reading the swing the sway remember Jenny that glittering thing of our Poetry Mondays remember Rachel I can’t remember their names but that feeling that sharing it wasn’t perfect it wasn’t critique it wasn’t so sophisticated but it mattered the way we felt it mattered the spark of the room it mattered the way we painted cave walls forty thousand years ago the way we learned to speak learned to think learned to reach up and grab stars.

Now, just now it clicked it clicked it clamped itself down adjunct adjunct adjunct adjunct for the joy for the I must be with them I must touch their circuits and wires they must touch mine for that thing that happens best when it happens with surprise when Eve turned away from the reflecting pool and walked toward Adam everything matters when we touch kiss share exchange our social intercourse our innermost our inner must.




    Rebecca Cook

    I write poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Here I write about thinking, writing, publishing, reading, working, living, and just about everything else. I welcome your comments and questions.


    July 2014
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