"Ordinary life does not interest me. I seek only the high moments. I am in accord with the surrealists, searching for the marvelous." ~Anais Nin

30 May 2016

Memorial Day 2016

US Casualties (Iraq War 2006), Dover Air Force Base Public Domain. Wikimedia Commons.


Hail to thee, Warrior Dead!
Whose numbers are lost to time and propaganda.
Hail to those who fought for an ideal,
For a country,
            For a people,
                      For a price,
For survival.
Hail to those who had no other choice
But to fight—
Only to fall,
Only to die.
Hail to those who were removed from this world
By force of arms,
Who were at their peak
Of strength,
And health,
And potential.
Hail to the soldiers,
Hail to the sailors.
Hail to the airmen.
Hail to the marines.
Hail, you who died as heroes to your country.
Hail to the conquerers,
              And the conquered,
The remembered and forgotten, both.
Hail to those we memorialize
In story and song.
Hail to those we mythologize
In legend and campfire tales.
Hail to those who came before,
And those who will fall after—
In the centuries to come.
Perhaps, one day,
We'll have no need of war,
Or warriors,
Or the wanton destruction and death
That inevitably comes with the
Battles between nations,
But that dream is too far off to tell.
Until then,
Hail to thee, Warrior Dead!
You who sacrifice all
In the hopes that others would not have to.

18 May 2016

Poetry Wednesday #42

Foxglove. Photo by me.

By Any Other Name

Digitalis Purpurea
Faery Caps
Faery Thimbles
Dead Men's Bells
Bloody Fingers
Lion's Mouth
Virgin's Glove
Goblin's Glove
Faery's Glove
Folk's Glove
King Elwand
Floppy Dock
Gloves of Our Lady

Such a pretty poison.

11 May 2016

Poetry Wednesday #41

Testered bed with alcove, Ming Dynasty, 15th-16thC, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO
by Daderot [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons


I need a soft bed and a hard pillow
To sink into nothingness
And keep from drowning in dreams.
Conventional wisdom says
A hard bed is healthier,
And most pillows are made
Too soft—flattening themselves
Under the weight of my thoughts.
No, the conventional is wrong for me.
The conventional pours me
Head first into the rapids,
Anchored only by my feet upon
A steep and slippery bank.
Too soon I'm swept away.
I lose myself,
And breath is hard to come by
As I tumble,
As I fall.
Swift and terrible is the river of dreams.
Terrible and wonderful and full of awe.
I dream with joy and fear.
I dream with wonderment.
I dream with apprehension.
I dream with no guarantee of waking
And no sense of safety.
I need a soft bed
To envelope my waking self,
My worldly body,
And keep some shaky semblance of sanctuary.
The pillow, of course, is my flotation device.

07 May 2016

I've Been Dreaming Paradise

Full Moon over Diamond Head by Daniel Ramirez
I recently applied for a few jobs in Hawaii.  I don't really expect anything to come of it.  Why would I when I can't find a job at home?  But I needed to allow myself to dream for a bit.  I think I could do it, you know?  Make the move—as long as I had a job to get to.

I understand the pitfalls and disadvantages.  I know that it's much more expensive to live in Hawaii than it is here—of course, it's much more expensive to live almost anywhere than it is in Kansas—but I know how to live cheap.  And I know the feeling of being cut off from the lower 48 from my time in Alaska.  I figure Hawaii will feel the same in regards to the mainland.  I also remember how much I missed my friends and family when I was in Alaska, and think it is/was probably a good gage of how I'd feel if I were to move away anywhere, including Hawaii.

However, I now have, or rather, I now lack something I didn't when I moved to Alaska, and that's ties.  Depressing as it is, I have to admit that I don't have many close ties here.  Family, most of whom I don't see, and a few friends (a very few), most of whom I also don't see.  I have no lover.  I'm not in school anymore.  My job was always meant to be temporary, plus it's very part time.  I have really nothing to hold me here.  And a good reason to go: here I am a burden to my family.  Away, they would worry, but they wouldn't have to support me, financially speaking.  And I know they're tired of me.  They're tired of having to deal with my freak outs and panic attacks—which become more and more frequent the longer it takes me to find a job.  I don't blame them, I'm tired of me too.  Still, I'm very lonely here, and I figure that if I've got to be lonely it might as well be in paradise.  Which may be a bad way of looking at things, hence my quest to find a doctor and antidepressants.

The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of a several thousand mile move and that worries me a little.  I question whether I'm running towards something or away from something.  The answer, when I really think on it honestly, is a bit of both.  I think it would be nice to live somewhere with no memory of me.  That way I have a relatively clean slate to reimagine my life.  With a job and some breathing room and a beautiful new place to explore, I may be able to begin to heal.

Don't get me wrong, my glasses aren't rose-tinted, I know that moving won't change who I am inside. But maybe it'll allow me (or force me) to grow and ultimately blossom.  I'm not looking for a quick fix, I'm just looking for a chance, and a place to breathe, a place to be.  I'm so tired of being stuck in one place.  I'm tired of being an adult who lives at her parents house like a child.  I feel trapped.  Mired in muck.  And nothing changes.  I've been searching for work for more than four years.  I've been back at my parents for twelve.  Nothing changes.  I can't breathe.  I can barely think.  I feel so trapped.

I've come to terms with a lot of things in the last couple of years.  Well, mostly come to terms.  I can accept that I will never fall in love.  I can accept that I will never have children.  I can accept that I will never own my own home, that I'll have to be a perpetual renter.  That's fine.  Disappointing, but fine.  I can live my life without those things.  But I refuse to accept that I will never do anything with my life.  I refuse to accept that I will never be able to support myself.  I refuse to accept that I'm stuck here—I'm just stuck here now.  But that has to change.  It has to.

I have to do something.  I don't know what that is.  I keep applying for jobs and applying for jobs and applying for jobs, and nothing.  Not even an interview.  I don't know what else I can do.  I barely apply for library jobs anymore.  Mostly office work.  I don't know, I don't keep an accurate accounting of how many jobs I've applied for or what or where I've applied.  Not anymore.  My poor heart couldn't take it any longer.  It broke every time I added another to the database I created.  I know a year and a half ago, before I destroyed the database in a fit of hopelessness and rage, it had nearly 850 entries.  I'd estimate that since then I've applied to around 200 more jobs—all over the country, but mostly in this area and to the North (I don't fancy being a single woman of child bearing years with liberal sensibilities and a non-Christian/non-monotheistic religious views in the American South).  The jobs I have applied for are one that I more than qualify for, and still nothing.  But I keep it up.  I spend hours and hours writing cover letters, and rewriting my resume, and searching for jobs online.  I don't know what else I can do.

My brother (the successful one with a new daughter) doesn't understand.  I can't stand being around him anymore because he always manages to say something cutting to me about my situation.  Like he thinks I'm not trying.  And I'm trying so hard.

Look at this, I've gotten all off topic.  I didn't start this to complain about my lack of job prospects.  I wanted to talk about the hope and fear that followed my applying for jobs so far away.

Hawaii is WAY out of my comfort zone, and this was the first time I've applied for any jobs there.  And I didn't apply for library jobs like I normally do with my out of town applications.  I applied for office positions.  For companies that interested me, or paid well enough to live on my own.  I did so on a whim, which makes me sound flaky, but is true regardless.  I felt stupid applying for the jobs.  Why would someone in Hawaii hire me?  But then, I feel stupid applying for any jobs anymore.  And why wouldn't someone in Hawaii hire me?  I believe, disregarding my lived experience over the last four/five years, that I'm am eminently hirable.  I'm organized, hard working, smart, and generally friendly and respectful.  Anything I don't know or don't know how to do I can learn–and quickly!  I show up, and I stick around (sometimes much longer than I should for my own peace of mind).

The thing is, after applying for these jobs I got to thinking about what it would be like to live in Hawaii, and I found that I rather liked the idea.  I like the idea of being able to go to the beach after work, or hike the mountains on the weekends.  I like the idea of learning about Hawaiian culture.  I like the idea of being on an island.  I like the idea of being a racial minority.*  I like the idea of me being in Hawaii.  I don't know if it would work, but I find that I really want to find out.  So maybe I'll focus my attempts there now.  Maybe I'll find some way to make it work.  I don't know, we'll have to see.

One last thing and then I'll go: One of the jobs for which I applied was as an Executive Assistant for Keiki O Ka 'Aina.  I don't think I'll get it because I think they want someone more familiar with Hawaiian culture than a white girl from the Kansas suburbs—though I will say that I think I'd be brilliant at it—but it seems like a terrific organization.  (Which, not coincidentally, is why I applied.)  Anyway, I like them for a number of reasons: 1) they got back to me almost immediately after I sent my resume with a request for more information, so their HR is really on the ball, making it seem, at least, like communication is not just a buzzword they use to sound professional; and, 2) they're a non-profit that provides education and assistance to Hawaiian youth.  They do cultural programs, Parents-as-Teachers education, literacy advocation, and so on.  You know how much I love anywhere that advocates literacy, and I think it's important to for native populations (or really any population) to hang on to their cultural identity, language, and religions.  I think it'd be really cool to work for them, even though I'm not qualified to be on the more fun side of things.  I rather doubt, though, that I'll even be given an interview, but even if I never hear from them again, I'd recommend anyone reading this to head over and check out their site.  Maybe make a donation.  It's a worthy cause.

Hawaii Culture Show by Tommy Wong

*For those of you who don't know, the first half of my life I lived and went to school in the inner city. I–a white girl–was, for all intents and purposes, a minority in my school and neighborhood.  I grew up surrounded by brown and black faces, until halfway through high school when my family moved to the suburbs.  I don't think I'd ever seen so many white people in one place before.  All my neighbors were white.  Most (about 90%) of my classmates were white.  I knew, but it never really hit me, that whites were a majority in this country, and the realization was . . . weird.  I've never really felt comfortable since.  It's not the discomfort with minorities that a surprising amount of white people have, it's more of a feeling as though I'm out of place in society.  Or maybe it's the witnessing of white discomfort (fear, anger, guilt) with minorities and wondering why people can't just be treated as people.  That's probably something I should explore here sometime.  And that's not to say that I don't have racial bias, I do, everyone does, it's just that maybe I'm more comfortable taking people as they come.  I don't know.  This is definitely going to be another post.

04 May 2016

Poetry Wednesday #40

Hibiscus by Liz West


To dream of change
In a time of stubborn sameness.
To be able to save something, anything
Instead of having to spend everything today.
To see the future.
To see the future.
To see the future.
To change,
To grow,
To live.