At Night in the Floating City

 At night in the floating city

gargoyles stretch, crawling

from architecture, swelling

across arching bridges

Young women wake

to their own words

like insects they wander

with purpose

They weep into silver buckets

carried to the garden

with simple grace, tears for moonflowers

and gardenias

Night passes softly as swanskin

’til the light of morning spreads

like bolts of scarlet, unwound

002 (2)

For Kate.

Finding the Middle Path (or) Silent Moments with my Brain


Finding The Middle Path

Ten years ago I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).   BPD affects how people feel about themselves, how they relate to others and how they behave.

People with BPD often have an unstable sense of who they are. That is, their self-image or sense of self often rapidly changes. They typically view themselves as evil or bad, and sometimes they may feel as if they don’t exist at all. This unstable self-image can lead to frequent changes in jobs, friendships, goals, values and gender identity.

In addition, people with BPD often engage in impulsive and risky behavior. This behavior often winds up hurting them, whether emotionally, financially or physically. For instance, they may drive recklessly, take illicit drugs or go on spending or gambling sprees.

People with BPD also often engage in suicidal behavior or deliberately injure themselves for emotional relief. In my case, I resorted to self-cutting as a means of escape. I cut my skin to feel relief… and sometimes to feel anything at all.

The borderline person uses self-cutting to distract from pain, to create a wound to nurture, to tell the world that something is wrong.  With this series of paintings, I turned the knife away from myself and onto my artwork.  Each painting is layer upon layer of color, then scratched with a knife to reveal the layers underneath.

Smoking Jacket with Tentacles

Watercolor and pulverized metal on paper, 9″ x 12″

Smoking Jacket With Tentacles

 New Orleans, 2005

Watercolor and acrylic on paper, 9″ x 12″

new orleans

 There was just no way to tell.  No explanation.

Watercolor on paper,  9″ x 12″

just no way to tell

 Sweet Face, for GG

Watercolor on paper, 9″ x 12″

no02

M’lady’snotaniron

Watercolor and chalk on paper, 9″ x 12″

m'lady's'not an iron

Silent Moments with my Brain

Watercolor and acrylic on paper, 9″ x 12″

silentmomentswbrain-1

Scratch.

Watercolor, acrylic and chalk pastel on paper, 9″ x 12″

scratch

 

Thanks for being here…

Brain Anarchy

Circular thinking takes down sanity

is there intuition in madness?

yes

listen

speak

learn to unlearn

unbind the mind

unrestrict awareness

look but don’t find

deathlessness

is a forever to interpret

language, translation, philosophy

synthesis, mind’s eye, explosions

what it means to mean something

Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way: The Mental Health System After Dark

January 16th, 2015

At first I thought I wanted to be alone, but now I can’t get enough of people. I have a frantic, indescribable urge to be with people and share and listen. Talk about whatever, not all this stuff that’s killing me.

Sometimes I’m in a state where if the timing is right, I would talk about the reality that isn’t reality.

I tried to get help tonight… started running to the ER then decided to drive. So, I got there and something took me over:  I had to touch peoples’ hair. I asked the receptionist nurse if I could touch her hair. She looked at me, and that was enough to answer my question. I restrained from asking anyone else. Told the receptionist nurse I didn’t want anyone touching my hair either.

Went back to triage… etc, etc. They told me it would be 2-1/2 hours before I could talk to a social worker. “This is happening now, not in 2-1/2 hours, please help me!” Sorry. Next.

Ran out of breath to my truck.  Got lost then realized, I just didn’t recognize my truck because someone had encased it in industrial saran wrap.  Of course they did. Even put a PVC pipe over my antenna so it wouldn’t break.  I walked around and around, unwrapping my truck.

Around and around. I thought of nothing.

Back on the road! Oh yes! The urgent-care-late-night-mental-health-place can help me!  I just need a human to talk to, and I think it should be a professional at this point.

In the waiting room, I decided to sit at the children’s table… found a Scooby Doo coloring book and devoured the story. I thought, “Yes! This makes so much sense!”

And all night it was the only thing that did.

saran wrap dress & wig

Saran-Wrap-Wig effects

Shadows

There is a forest I remember… with an oak tree unbelievable in its twining, fantastic limbs.  I turned a bend and there it was, standing in a deep hollow beside the trail.  It was surrounded by steep and unstable banks, just out of reach.  It was safe.

The bark was cracked, casting dark shades in the narrows between.  It was nearly bare of leaves, which had carpeted the ground below, crisp and coiled.  I felt a sense of magic… the higher powers of nature.  For a moment, I belonged.

I was with people I didn’t know, one of those planned hikes for nature fanatics and/or lonely people.  I was both.

Nobody that was there is imprinted in my memory.  I only remember the ring leader telling incredibly stupid jokes, followed by nervous laughter, setting an air of separation amongst the sparse crowd.

Much of the trip followed a brook… music over stones and moss.  We trekked a few challenging miles that day.  I felt my loneliness deepen.  Alone in a crowd.

As I grow older, my journey seems to become even more introverted.  I find peace in words, sewn together into stories.  Peace in solitude and mindful moments.

I sometimes wonder if I am doing myself a disservice, with my increasingly hermetic lifestyle… but it just feels right.

Guanyin rests on my altar, towering above all else that is there, observing the sounds of the world.  Within her, I can hear the brook, see the heart of the oak tree.  The moss is bright, the shadows deep.

Waking

A dear friend has passed.  His wife said he saw vivid life in his last hours… beings seen only to him, coming from the corners.  He called to them by name.  I imagine his voice soft, bringing forward all that had been.  Making way.

Crossing my arms around my body, I hold emptiness.  Emptying my life of unhealthy fear, I fill it with hope.  This is my foundation.

I will make this my mantra, until I believe it.  So far to travel, to true acceptance and open-mindedness… I am up for the trip.

For Piet, January 2013

.

Waking

.

In the shine of sun

a bird hears

what is under the earth

around the pulsing

anchors of trees

.

Upon vines

a spirit is grafted

in wishes of calm

unending growth

.

Through light and shadow

lifted

as if waking from a dream

certain you can fly