Sunday, November 19, 2017

Over Fifty

Althea felt subject to routine inquiries into her character. Was she someone who would hurt children? Was she someone who would hurt the old? Or steal into their coffers? Was she harmless or did she have ill-intent in wanting to help others for so long? It was one thing to offer inconsequential aid once. That was the most valiant form of helping in that it obligated no one to help the helper in exchange. Yet it was another thing to grow to become indispensable to someone without whose infirmities the helper could not exist. People in general had started to call that helpless requiring “codependency,” but to Althea that word did no good, and good had been her sole goal in helping anyone in the first place. She became frustrated to be the only one to last on, the only one willing to go the extra mile. The extra mile turned into the extra ten and twenty miles since no one besides her showed willingness to try. She thought for certain that she helped others out of love, if not for a particular person, as between a man and a woman devoted to each other, then for humankind itself. That sort of spiritual love had started to become defined as “dysfunctional.” Althea was losing her ability to relate to people in any proper way, since her way had become outmoded, and the new way struck her as anti-Christian, and she rejected it. She thought the new way signaled apathy. She had not been very religious in the past but had become more so in her incredulous state of not having allies in loving and offering help and succor. To Althea, the reason to be a human was being dismantled, and lower reasons, such as greed and convenience and selfishness were taking its place. She felt alone.

Then Althea met a sister helper, someone like herself, someone who wanted the good for others and who had endured examination of her motives as codependent and dysfunctional. Emma arranged for Althea to join her in the evening to watch television. They sought nearly in vain to find a program that could appeal to their authentic natures. Then they listened together to audio books. For Althea there was just a ten-minute car ride to Emma's house. They had found each other in arranging to buy and sell a lawn sprinkler in their local weekly newspaper. Once they met and felt the warmth in each other's eyes — different colored eyes — brown and blue that blended instead of hurting or offending — they found a solid place from which to go ahead and to be. For Althea the goal was not so much to talk about issues but to find a steady and reassuring presence in the other. Both women were dependent on forms of government assistance despite being ten years too young not to work and both were governed by the legal demands of maintaining eligibility. Each time one of them had offered to help a family with a loved one, she was met with rebuff and the insistence that she secretly wanted to invade the family's privacy for wealth. So each woman had begun to subside in needing to earn a living and needed only to accept her lack of scope.

“At least they have each other,” prospective families who needed their assistance would say when Althea or Emma, who had decided to move in together to one apartment with four rooms, turned  down their offers of employment. Chiefly, the ladies wanted to protect their government assistance in not agreeing to take caregiver assignments; besides, each realized, especially in each other's company, that she need not care for an unknown family's unwanted family member ever again with all its attendant hardships and that with her new hope and new way of settling things life had started to grow in satisfaction.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017


On the topic of Medicare, and in particular for those of you who straightened out the difference between Medicare and Medicaid less than a week ago, I have several things to say. I entered upon Medicare near the age of 35 . I was determined retroactively, due to the paucity of my earnings, to have been eligible starting in 1994. Those considered disabled by Social Security wait three years to achieve Medicare. I bet you didn't know that, did you? There is no short-term disability, dating back to the 1990s. ADA came in with George Herbert Walker Bush. Bill Clinton came in soon after Herbert Walker's first term. To my count GHWB had launched four wars in four years. Bonus points to anyone who remembers all four. One was Panama (Manuel Noriega). Sadly, Navy Seals were not deployed during Gulf War I. Let's imagine for a moment a non-deployed Navy Seal in a one-bedroom apartment in CA with his wife. Now it is bringing Mitt Romney's night of defeat to mind. How is men's lust and preparation for war related to government health insurance? There are, thinking of our certain, hard won (dead people, pincushions in HMOs, tattered scholars) changes in Medicare that will surely take place. No one spying on my page commented on my disabled five-day a week Medicare schedule. It is excessive to the point that an old boyfriend claimed greater health than mine. The only thing said to be wrong with me is the untested illness of bipolar. One can sink without dying. Bipolar cannot kill one, as hard for me to remember as that is, what I later called coronary to the forehead. Neurologists are turning feminist and becoming Buddhist. I guess Jesus suffered enduring consequences. He was not an atheist. He invented not being an atheist. Pray to spark reform of medical insurance for all Americans, not one, not two, not twenty-seven, but all 330 million of us. We demand good (basic) general health. We reject administrative costs that run higher than health costs do. Up by your bootstraps, Americans, basics. Now.

Sunday, April 30, 2017



Dressed as an English professor on Halloween
I escape the red devil and run downtown.
I go to the Art Car hangar
I dance, I swing my golden brown briefcase
I see the sculptor Mike Scranton
We ride to his compound
I dance nudely before a fan big enough
to agitate the sea of air
in the room with its boxing ring.
The bathroom has cold tap water
Red paint runs the walls
I stay.
In the morning, I drive home.
The phone rings at 9 a.m. on the digit.
Michael says, "We need to talk
about what happened last night."
"What?" I say.
He says, "The host of the party
said you bit his nose, and it drew blood."
I said, "He grabbed my pussy."