Archive for July, 2013

Dear Sugar Daddy

Friday, July 19th, 2013

Last night was the strangest poetry night ever.  It was the regular Wednesday open mic at the Ugly Mug in Orange.  Rachel McKibbens, poet, activist, and essayist was the featured poet.  The place was packed and I was sitting in a puddle of sweat form both the summer heat and my nerves.  I was planning to read a new poem I wrote, Dear Sugar Daddy, but I was nervous.  The poem was different from anything I had written before.

As the open mic got started, it was announced that we could read two poems or four minutes.  Typically it is three poems, five minutes.  But, there were so many people to see Rachel we would have been there till Friday if they kept to the usual guidelines.  My poem was close to five minutes.  I wouldn’t be able to read it.  I was so disappointed. Raundi, my BFF and partner in crime suggested I cut some parts.  I considered it, but I would either have to cut the funny stuff or the profound stuff.  I decided for the integrity of the piece, to not cut any stuff and save it for another night.

A few minutes later, once comfortable with my decision, Ben Trigg, one of the Two Idiots Peddling poetry, sadly announced that Rachel would not be performing tonight.  She had a family emergency.   Again, another disappointment.  Rachel is a truly remarkable poet. Her candor is both painful and powerful.  But through her words, she brings true healing to those who have known suffering.

But, as happens in life, when one door closes, another opens.  Because Rachel would not be performing, poets would have the usual three poems or five minutes.

So, it seems the stars were aligned in my favor last night because I was able to read my poem.  And, I was truly grateful for the response.  It was a hit.  But, I will let you decide. Per a friend’s request, I have posted it below.

By the way, Rachel’s family emergency:  a family member came into the Ugly Mug ranting and raving about Rachel not telling the truth, blah, blah, blah.  Honestly, her behavior made it impossible to believe any of her rants only to confirm the beautiful power of Rachel’s poetry. Keep on writing Rachel. There are those of us that want to hear what you have to say.  Actually, we need to hear what you have to say.

Here is a link to her website:  http://www.rachelmckibbens.com/

And a link to Two Idiots Peddling Poetry: http://www.poetryidiots.com/


Dear Sugar Daddy

Oh Henry, it was not because of Clark

You would have killed me before long if I continued to indulge in your divine sweetness.

Like oxygen is to fire

You stoked my sweet tooth

And fed my cancer

How I craved you

 

Your milk chocolate Kisses

And Gummi bear hugs

Melted me

And that almond nougat center of yours

Stuck to my insides

Your Laffy Taffy tongue could undo me in one licking

And the way you commanded those black licorice whips

You brought me to my knees

I prayed for salvation

As you placed Necco Wafers in my palm

Body of Christ

Amen

 

I still remember the day we met

I hit Payday

You were pure Almond Joy

With your Strawberry Starburst smile

And Milky Way eyes

I was on Cloud 9

You always had that affect on me

 

Like the day we played Double Dare with X rated candy hearts

You wrapped me in Bubble Gum Tape

Tootsie Rolled me in your Pop Rocks quarry

And Fun Dipped me in your old fashioned soda fountain

I was a red hot Atomic Fireball

Boom

 

Or the time we arm wrestled for first Dibs on that blue raspberry flavored Blow Pop

You won

The bubble popped

The gum stuck in my hair

We tried to wash it out with peanut butter cups

But it was of no use

I had to cut it all off

Every last strand

I knew then that I was in love

 

 

Then there was that infamous night you gave me a candy diamond ring

Down on one knee

You asked me to marry you

I slowly sucked the precious stone down to the stump

My saliva dissolving the red jewel down to a syrupy puddle in my heart

And said “yes”

 

You were my Sugar Daddy

And I wanted to have your sugar babies

 

Damn, how I loved to climb your Mountain Dew six pack

Count how many licks it took to get to your Tootsie Roll center

Tickle your skittles

Wiggle your Joe Joe’s

Butterfinger your Doughnut hole

And get lost in your package of Whoppers

Drunk on your liquid cherry cordial insides

I would howl at the Peppermint Patty Moon

While I prayed to the Sugar gods for more

 

But like all good things, it had to come to an end

I could not live on sugar alone

My doctor said no more

To keep my cancer from coming back

 

We were both devastated

After being joined at the hip, like melted Junior Mints

 

But instead of ending things, I became bitter

Trying to change you

I stripped you from your bright colors, sugar coating and gooey caramel filling

Took away your nuts, your sprinkles and your Good Humor candy center crunch

But as I tried to soften your insides it only hardened your shell

And we ended up in Big Hunk fights

 

When I finally realized changing you would not work

I tried to quit cold turkey, complete abstinence

I cleaned out my cupboards, threw out my hidden stash

And poured every ounce of you down the drain

But I became delirious

And my hallucinations got the best of me

Gummi worms were crawling all over my skin and Swedish Fish were swimming in my eyeballs

I could not take it

 

So lastly, I attempted to replace you with other sweeteners

But there was no substitute for you

 

I was in such denial baby

Quitting you was like trying to bite through a jawbreaker

You were my crack

My Dopamine Ding Dong

Bursts of euphoria would rocket me straight to Mars when you entered my bloodstream

I was addicted

No amount of Good and Plenty could satisfy me

And, my willpower was no match to your Pixie Stick

How I wanted to pour every last sugary granule down my throat

Let you dissolve in my mouth

Enter my veins

And travel to every corner of my being

 

Until one day, I hit Rock Candy bottom

I could not bear to live without you

So, I drank an entire case of Coca-Cola

Swallowed the Bottle Caps too

And hung myself from the rafters with Red Cherry Twists

They untwisted

I fell to the ground

Smashing into a thousand little Reese’s Pieces

 

That was when I finally admitted I was powerless over you

And came to believe that a Power greater than us could restore me to sanity

I began to let go

Joined AA

Went to my meetings

Found a Mentos

Read my literature

And worked my 12 step program

They were my Lifesaver

 

Since my spiritual awakening, I live a healthier life style

Green juice and flax seed cookies have replaced those late night candy bars, butterscotches and lemon drops

 

But I still long for you

Dreaming of those sweet lazy daze tangled in each other’s arms

Giggling at the comic strips wrapped around little pink Bazooka rectangles

Melted, hot, and sticky in a pile of wrappers and empty bottles of root beer

Puffing on bubble gum cigarettes

While the room filled with powdered sugar smoke

Art before Housework

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

 “Housework is work directly opposed to the possibility of human-actualization”…Ann Oakley

Last week at basketball practice, during the last five minutes of a scrimmage game, Casey landed on his coach’s foot and sprained his ankle.  Watching the whole thing happen, I could feel his pain as he limped around the court trying to shake it off but there was just no shaking it.  His ankle swelled up to the size of a baseball.  I took him to urgent care that night.  After three hours and a few X-Rays, the doctor said it’s a bad sprain.  “Keep it wrapped, iced and elevated.  And, stay off of it for two weeks,” he added.

Two weeks!!??  Casey’s friend said “Lucky!”  And Casey thought, “Well, it’s a good excuse to just hang around.”  But, I had a very different opinion.

Don’t get me wrong, I felt bad for Casey.  He just started a club basketball team and he had a big “Mother Function” gig coming up.  Poor guy sprained his kick drum foot.  No, I had a different opinion because I had already been struggling with feeling like my kid’s slave since summer began; now I have to be Casey’s nurse maid.

Casey rock'n out in our garage with sprained ankle at the Mother Function and Bunny House Party this Saturday!

Typically, I don’t mind taking care of my family.  Driving Casey to band practice, taking Maggie to poetry or making them chicken noodle soup when they are sick is part of being a mother and I love being a mom.  When they are working hard, doing well in school and following their passions, I am more than happy to help out.   But, when I ask them to clean the kitty litter or take out the trash while they are playing video games in the middle of summer, and I get answers like “in a second” or ”I will in a minute,” well that’s another story.  And to add insult to injury, when a second becomes an hour, an hour becomes an afternoon, an afternoon an entire week, then I get angry.

So, why would the universe kick me when I was already down?  Why would Casey get injured now?  Well, I have learned that’s simply the way things work.  I have also learned that it is not always a bad thing.  There is a lesson in every kick.

What lesson have I found in Casey’s sprained ankle you ask?  Patience for one.  I know this too shall pass.  Second, I need to lower my expectations a bit.  Trying to keep a house clean with all three kids home during summer vacation is futile.  But, I was really hoping to find a more profound lesson in all of this, which I finally did.

I got into a discussion about this the other day with my girlfriend.  She said that no other culture in the world does as much for our children as we do for ours.  So, I started researching it.  She was right. It’s true, especially with today’s helicopter generation.  Some believe this causes entitlement and laziness amongst our kids today.  There is probably some truth to this too.  But, even though I do a lot for my kids, they are not lazy.  It may “seem” like it at times, but when they are truly interested in something they go full throttle.  The “seems like lazy” times are usually when I am interrupting them and asking them to do something no one wants to do, not even me, like cleaning the kitty litter.  That’s when I get the “in a sec.”   Do I really think they are going to grow up to become do-nothing, lazy ass video gaming bums still living in my house at age 30 because they won’t clean the kitty litter?  Yes, sometimes I do, but then I am reminded of my own teenage days.

You should have seen my dorm room when I was in college. There was green stuff growing in beer bottles, a ten speed parked in the center of the room and my bed was hiding somewhere under all my dirty clothes (and I had the upper bunk).  I was also a world class procrastinator.  I skipped classes and put off papers until the night before.  My younger years were not much better.  My sweet hard working mother would clean and fold my laundry and leave the clean stack on the steps for me to take to my room and put away.  I have to humbly admit, for the sake of getting my point across, that stack of clean clothes would sit there for days. I would even walk by it, over and over again, on my way up to my room, on my way down from my room, without ever picking it up.  And, when I needed something from the stack, for example, a pair of panties after getting out of the shower, I would sneak down the steps dripping wet in my towel, grab a pair of panties from the folded pile, leave the rest behind, and go back upstairs to get dressed.   My mom would beg, plead and cry, “Please take your clothes to your room!”  And, I would respond, “In a sec.”  I’m so sorry mom.  And my point, I did not become a lazy do nothing bum.  No way.  Not even close.  And, neither will my kids.  Especially with a role model like me.

But am I really being a good role model?

I ask this because I know the true reason why I feel like a slave.

I feel like a slave because I am a slave, but not to my kids.  No, I am a slave to myself.  I am a slave to my should’s and ought to’s.  I am a slave to a story that has been told to me over and over throughout my life, weaved like weeds through the fragile tendrils of my spirit.   And, I am using this story to keep me from doing my real work.  It’s an excuse, a cover, blaming something else for my shortfalls.  In other words, it is a subconscious reason to not finish my book.  Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes in Women who Run with the Wolves, “I’ve seen women insist on cleaning everything in the house before they could sit down to write…and you know it’s a funny thing about house cleaning…it never comes to an end.  Perfect way to stop a woman.”

Take laundry, for example.   Why would I choose to do laundry over writing?  Besides the fact that we need clean clothes, laundry is something the kids can do.  But, instead of teaching a man to fish, I simply do it myself.  Why?  It’s easy.  It’s easier than teaching them and it is much easier than writing.  Separate the colors from the whites, add a cup of detergent, set the water temperature and press the “Start” button.  Viola, 45 minutes later, clean clothes!  It is simple and straightforward.  It does not take a lot of thought and you know the outcome.  This is pretty much true of most housework wouldn’t you say?  But when something is more complicated, has many steps, takes more thought and you have no idea how it’s all going to turn out, well that’s a completely different story.

Writing is not easy.  It takes me hours, sometimes days to write just one blog.  There are a lot of steps involved.  First, one needs to be inspired and you never know where you will find inspiration.  Second, it takes concentration, a lot of concentration.  Not easy in a world full of distractions.  Then there is planning, organization, and implementation.  And, once implemented, it is important to keep your momentum, sustain its life and finish what you have started.  Estes says, “Women who have lost one or more of these (steps) report that they “can’t think” of anything new, useful or empathic for themselves.  They are easily “distracted” by love affairs, too much work, too much play, by tiredness, or by fear of failure.”

We all have that fear of failure, whether you admit it to yourself or not.  Am I wasting my time?  Do people really want to hear what I have to say?  Are my ideas important, worthwhile, helpful?  Can I actually write?  When this Nervous Nellie creeps into our head, we pollute our creative spirit and turn to distractions.

We all have a creative spirit, a force that makes us feel alive.  Whether it is writing a poem, singing a song, closing a deal, running five miles, planting a garden, solving a case, building a future, mending a dress, painting a house, or raising a child, we are all part of the creative life. Estes says, “A woman’s creative ability is her most valuable asset, for its gives outwardly and feeds her inwardly at every level:  psychic, spiritual, mental, emotive and economic.”  I feel it.  I feel this creative spirit in the many things that I do like singing, hiking, homeschooling and writing.  But when this creative energy becomes dim and it is no longer lighting my way, I get stuck in the ordinary, the mundane.  I become overly complacent, stick to the familiar and lose my sense of adventure.  Laundry takes the place of writing, shopping takes the place of running, Facebook takes the place of reading, eating takes the place of…I’m sure you get my drift.

Me, not cleaning, with my girls at Still Water!

So when our creativity becomes polluted, it is time to clear the waters and weed our gardens.  Casey’s sprained ankle gave me just the motivation I needed to do this.  I told my kids, starting today, finishing my book is priority.  You are going to have to step up to the plate.  Do your own dishes.  Clean the kitty litter.  Feed the Koi.  And, pick up after yourselves.  I know the house is going to get messy.  Frozen Trader Joes burritos may become your food staple and your white T-shirts may take on a pink hue but Art before Housework dammit!

They are 100% behind me.

So all you women (and men) out there, take a stand with me and unite?  Come together creative spirits everywhere and join the cause!  Ditch the toilet brushes and vacuums! Throw away those mops and feather dusters?  Instead, pick up your pen, guitar, paint brush, running shoes, clippers, pliers, and glue guns.  Get writing.  Start singing.  Color those blank canvases.  Read a book.  Head for the hiking trails.  Join a museum.  And, remodel that kitchen you have been waiting for your husband to do all these years.  And, when you meet a woman, with glue gun in hand, tousled hair, stained clothes and a wild look in her eyes, do not judge.  She is a part of the movement.  She is the light.  She is writing a new story for the next generation.   She is creating!  She is free!