Archive for the ‘iPad art’ category

More Reasons Why I’m With Her–Mom, Me, Moon

October 16, 2016

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My mother, not believing that anyone would ever want to marry her, had two choices as a young girl.

I call them “choices”–I should say that she had two dreams.  Only they weren’t actually “dreams”–simply her view of best possible outcomes.

One was to be a teacher, the other a nurse.

My mother was born in the U.S. to an extremely Northern European family that could not “be having with” bodies, so she opted, eventually, for teacher.

Pay attention to the “eventually.”  Long before she could dream of (or, accept) becoming a teacher, her father wanted her to be a hired girl.

A hired girl back in the 1930‘s was someone who basically did dishes–that is, drew, carried and heated water for dishes, made things to be put on dishes, cleaned up what resulted from things put on dishes. Hired girls usually lived in someone else’s house so that they could work just about any time of day (as in, all hours of the–.)

Not that my grandfather thought his daughter could not manage becoming a teacher or nurse–she was the valedictorian of her high school–he just thought she should take the first paying job she could get; being a hired girl had the added bonus of also providing for her keep.

But my mother persisted–and to my grandfather’s credit, he let her persist–and World War II served as a stepping stone out of hired girldom, allowing her, under its heavy cloud, to take on greater variety of work than ever previously available to women.  Her burning desire to visit California turned, oddly, not into a trip to California, but into a job with the U.S. occupation force in Yokohama, Japan where she lived from 1947-1949.

On her return to the U.S., there were her same choices once again–teacher/nurse–and–oh yes–typist. Ironically, after earning (and personally paying for) her college degree, her career dream was to become a typist with the U.S. foreign service. But by that time, amazingly to her, she had found someone to marry her, someone she loved;  being a married woman in the U.S. foreign service was simply not a “go”.

My mother was not a born teacher. She cared deeply about helping kids learn and she worked extremely hard–but she did not have the gift of maintaining control of a class. This meant that teaching (often with 32 or 33 in a room) could be a nightmare (as in, she sometimes cried at night.) Still, she kept at it for thirty years.

Did I mention that in the first full year of my life she had to pretend that I didn’t exist? This, because of a law in Maryland at that time, which automatically reduced a teacher’s pay to substitute’s rates (i.e. maybe two-thirds) if she had a child at home below the age of one.

After that first year in hiding, I had many more choices than my mother, in part because her second salary in our household helped pay for my good education.

But, unlike the male members of my family, I simply did not have what it took to pursue the careers of my heart. How much did this relate to my being a woman? All I know for certain is that I just didn’t have the ego, confidence, self-esteem, or just plain selfishness, to reach for my wishes.  As in the case of my mother, my dreams felt like the moon to me–not because I wasn’t talented enough, but because I wasn’t somehow cool enough, hip enough, deserving enough–qualities that seemed especially important in a girl reaching for the moon.  Because the jobs I needed to take to support myself while I aimed for the moon–i.e. being a waitress to support myself while trying to make it as a writer–exposed me at times to a kind of dismissive treatment from the world that my weak ego just couldn’t stomach.

Then, finally, there was the guilt. My mother really wanted me to to have a clearly defined way of earning a good wage–i.e. “something to fall back on.”  I couldn’t bear to disappoint her.

So rather than become a hired girl, I became a lawyer (a “hired gun” as some used to call it.)  Only it turned out being an attorney is not something you actually fall back on, but rather it is a job you actively need to pursue many hours of the day.

Many things about this choice have been heart-wrenching; yet it also turned out to be extremely fortunate. Because, like many women of my generation, I ended up unexpectedly and for years as the primary source of my children’s support.  (Making me, in other words, very glad to have the steady wage my mother pushed me towards.)

I want to say this first:  I am so grateful to my employers for the jobs I’ve had. There are too many men and women both who have no chance of any good job; too many men and women who don’t even consider fulfilling a dream, too many men and women who, even working night and day, cannot provide for their children.

My complaint is just that there are so many many many women in the non-dream boat–women holding the bag, women raising the kids, women holding the bag and raising the kids. There are so many women, who have so few choices in how they make their living, only knowing that they better hurry up and get busy at it.

Of course, there are men in this situation too.  Many obstacles in life are not gender-based.  Yet the fact remains that in the U.S. and the world, the majority of those living in poverty are women and children.  (The non-dream boat isn’t exactly a life boat, even if one feels stuck in it for life.) This is not because of women’s liberation–women have not “empowered” themselves into lives in poverty–( women’s liberation did not begin in a context in which women had control over their economic and personal lives)–rather, it is because of all kinds of worldwide economic and societal factors.

I am convinced, based on her lifelong career, that Hillary Clinton cares for these women.  I am not saying that she gives preference to women and their work and dreams over the work and dreams of men.  But she understands the special challenges that women face based upon our history and the reality of our present, and she understands that in much of the greater world, especially, helping women to some share of economic power must be a priority.

My own (albeit lucky) history makes my support of HRC extremely personal.  Because mixed in with my devotion to Hillary is my devotion to my mother, my devotion to mother’s sister (who worked for over forty years as a dietician, which then was like a non-body-touching nurse), my devotion to one of my mother’s other sisters (a stay-at-home mom who taught briefly and thereafter seemed to yearn almost desperately for some income of her own), and then to my mother’s other sister (who was brain-damaged and, though beloved, the reason my mother believed that no one in that eugenics-prone age would ever marry any of them)—-

Mixed in with my devotion to Hillary is my devotion to all the wonderful teachers and nurses, I have known, the secretaries and waitresses —

my devotion to my Dad (a scientist), my husband (a nature lover),
and, most strongly, my devotion to my daughters, who may not get the jobs of their dreams but at least are strong enough to choose fields based on their vocations and not their gender–

and to my baby granddaughter, who, every time she sees me, says moon, pointing up–

Giving It A Rest

May 4, 2016

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 Thanks as always for your support.

Not I(sle)

April 19, 2016

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Not I(sle)

I will not go as I arise
to till another glade
though its clay be good for bean rows
and bees may have it made.

I don’t care to find some peace there–
it won’t happen if we’re there too–
not because we drop things–
but because I’m me, you’re you.

You’re sorry about the singing–
I know–you have explained–
and in bed, you hate that purple glow–
(though I dim my phone when you complain.)

Still, I’ll not go when I arise
for always night and day;
I want your side close-lapping
especially, by the way,

when I’m in the City,
upon the pavement gray,
also when in the country
where linnets’ wings hold sway.

I want your side close-lapping
as we shift limbs old and sore,
even through the fleece and flannel,
to feel your deep heart’s core.

*****************************************

poem of sorts of some number for April–for Brendan’s wonderful prompt on Real Toads about turning something on its tail, poetic surprise.  I fear I’ve cheated a bit here, cribbing  from one of my very favorite (and much mined) poems, The  Lake Isle of Innisfree by Yeats.   Recycling older pic too.  (Any port in a storm.)  All rights reserved.

message in a bunch of bottles (reposting)

March 6, 2016

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message in a bunch of bottles

water once washed
the rocks; then, at least, wet
them, but now this is
an ex-stream–what bubbles is
blown bag, what’s damned is
plastic, what slivers sun
aluminum, canned flotsam,
and what water bobs
is branded–

bottles bottles everywhere
nor any drop
to drink–
bottles bottles everywhere
oh how the flow
does shrink.

******************************************

draft poem for Kerry O’ Connor’s prompt on Real Toads, 55 words arising from an idea of the extreme.  Pic is mine; all rights reserved. 

message in a bunch of bottles

March 6, 2016

20160306-112529-41129689.jpg

message in a bunch of bottles

water once washed
the rocks; then, at least, wet
them, but now this is
an ex-stream–what bubbles is
blown bag, what’s damned is
plastic, what slivers sun
aluminum, canned flotsam,
and what water bobs
is branded–

bottles bottles everywhere
nor any drop
to drink–
bottles bottles everywhere
oh how the flow
does shrink.

******************************************

draft poem for Kerry O’ Connor’s prompt on Real Toads, 55 words arising from an idea of the extreme.  Pic is mine; all rights reserved. 

To:

December 28, 2015

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To:

Whatever there is in me
that sights the moon mornings
is you.

Whatever in me
alights in sun, in winter
yahoos it through
the windows, zesting warmth
like lemons,
is also you.

Whatever would, weirdly, if I were a bird,
hook its orange beak (or maybe its
orange toes)
(in the best of ways) to hold on to you
the way that cold days hold on
to hot tea and unwinding to
a breeze is what in me
holds on
to you,
only handed–

Whatever gives rise–be it green
or unseen–
writ or just
intuited–whatever
there is in me that someone
might care for–
is whatever is tinged
with you–

It sings
your
praises–

And, me, I says,
praise be,
oh, so freely
in the we
hours–

**************************************

Here’s another draft poem of sorts and pic.   

 

 

Stitch

August 16, 2015

 

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Stitch

Time–she had a stitch or nine,
because she ran so hard and fast;
it sewed itself along her sweep
until she slowed her pace at last;

and all of us who tie our shoes
and dash our morning faces wake,
slippered into sudden sigh,
though carapace began to shake–

By that, I mean our peanut shells
so welded by centripety,
their brittle case won’t whittle down
even under battery

(though we don’t batter much our shells
for arms are thoraxed tight within
and Time’s bright gait so blurs our view
we miss the spinning at our end.)

But as Time slowed, if for scant breaths,
the dervish dance cast by her draft
unspooled and drooped, and feet adrift,
we swayed, then lurched, as on a raft

that washed up from a sea of notion–
each own’s idea of what this ocean
of floating storm is made up of,
this life we row, this row we motion–

Next landed on a slant shore’s sands
and while Time’s hands massaged her side,
we, creatures of a patterned beat,
assayed a waltz through lapping tide–

Soon enough, Time ran again,
with seams unstitched and hands a’scissored–
in her upswings how we whirred,
and at her strokes, how quivered, quivered.

**********************
A draft poem of sorts–meaning freshly written and little edited for my own prompt on Time on With Real Toads.   The drawing is an old one, not perfect for this poem,  but my laziness makes me a believer in recycling–