Behold The Walls Of Jericho!

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So I told him I would never, ever write about him. Meh.

Writing is how I make sense of life. Sorry. If my guts were not scooped out on a pretty plate and staring me in the face, I might have spent the morning reading a glossy women’s magazine or getting a pink pedicure.

What would you do? I must take scientific poll here. Yes, time for a poll. Not time to drown in heart blood, to self-destruct in ten seconds. Rock bottom is a dark place where bugs and bats live. I don’t like it here.

So I am a clawing my way back to the surface with words.

As I explained in a recent installment of As Patty’s Fucking World Turns aka my Twisted Sister blog, after an over ten year hiatus of not so much as even hardly looking at a guy, I let my little heart venture into crush land. You can read that post here:

http://pattykinney.com/2014/08/08/what-would-mary-poppins-do-or-should-i-text-him-to-tell-him-hes-an-asshole/

I wrote that piece in about 15 minutes about ten days ago. It was therapeutic, and I felt relieved to air my feelings. And, as always, I thought it just might connect with folks and help someone else?

I did think #1 crush was a real stand-up guy. I did. So I went on with my week. A nice, normal week of fun with friends – male and female. I didn’t really give #1 a second thought.

Fast forward to Thursday night. The text began with “Hello Young Lady” . . . BAM! I am back in the front seat of the roller coaster with those three words. The middle of the message says something about him being a state and like seven hours away, oh BAM! The end simply, MAYBE WE CAN SHARE A ROOM . . . BAM, pa rump a pun pun BAM! No question mark as punctuation at the end of his sentence, but he did add that he would like my company and that he did not feel well and that my company “might make him feel better.”

So, mush heart here, of course she does, drives the roller coaster eight hours over the river and through the woods and desert and late-summer Friday afternoon traffic on one last quest of the heart. Roller coasters like road trips you know? Especially hot summer fun road trips with hours of listening to love songs and breathtaking scenery! Yes.

******
Meh.

Not much more to add. It is Monday morning. This steel-cut heart is still mush, but it’ll survive. Might take a couple of days, but I pray when it pounds again it will not pound itself into the dry late summer ground.

We did get that motel room – a room with two beds. I was trying to tell myself it was romantic like that scene in “Some Like It Hot” -

It was not. It was hot and not. Mostly not.

Thing is I have a few dozen male friends. I might even have a male friend (or two??) who might even want to, say, have – GASP – sex? I have no clue. My mind does not go there, BUT to say it did not occur to me that a red-blooded male might be enticed by a girl who has “saved” herself for over a decade and is wearing what she thought was a sexy something and lounging under a thin white sheet in a bed a foot way – duh?! Of course I thought IT WOULD HAPPEN ONE NIGHT!!!

It did not. That was fine. It did not the next night either. A gentleman, yes. Perfect, No.

The epiphany came at dinner that second night when a man in our dinner party,  a gorgeous Latin man (with a wink in his heart), suggested to #1 that I had a beautiful smile. Numero Uno’s face turned into a monkey puzzle. Sort of like the ew girls germs thing from first grade. In slut-like hindsight (bear with me here, it’s been a decade), I should have grabbed the Latin by the hand. Que Pasa?

Number One and I returned to the room after dinner. He took a shower. i was going to leave while he was in the shower, but I am not a mean person. I thought it would be rude. I did not want to hurt his feelings. After his shower, he played word games on his phone with his friends, most likely members of his personal harem.

I took my own shower. I climbed in bed and whimpered a bit. He told me I was simply grieving the loss of my mother and asked me to repeat the Lord’s Prayer, line by line, after him. I did. It made me feel worse. It made me feel dirty and cheap. I felt like my God was on his side.

I woke up early, got dressed, and was on the highway home a few minutes later. Before I left, he suggested a return route for me to take. I drove the opposite direction. After two hours of tears, I stopped for coffee and breakfast. I snapped happy, sunny photos of my mush heart at the bookstore, at the beach, and at the cafe.

It took another four hours to drive home. When I checked my email I had a message from match.Com informing me of my perfect match, #1. Yep, his photo and all staring me in the face. His pretty face looking at me saying, “You dumb bitch.”

When I woke up this morning, I attempted to text him to ask him where I could leave a handful of lovely trinkets and a nice antique Native American basket I’d acquired from him during this whatever it was? Some of the items I purchased. Some were “gifts.” He’d blocked me. I guess I was trying one more time to bust open that thick skull with a look here, guys would kill for this much woman! How could you not want this? How could you not like me? Last chance. Limited Time Offer. Expires Soon!

Ha! And, Ha!

So, I called him in a last silly pithy prideless attempt at SO YOU”RE SURE YOU DON”T LIKE ME EVEN A LITTLE?? and asked where I could leave this stuff?

“Just keep it,” he said. “You’re just another customer. Just keep it until you can settle yourself down.”

“I’m just another customer.” I had to hear myself say it out loud.

He might not have said it but what I heard was, “Hey, hysterical female, leave me alone. I never liked you in the first place. I used you. You dumb bitch. I needed someone to split the price of a room and pay for other stuff. Back off. I didn’t hurt you. You allowed yourself get hurt.”

Crazy. Psycho. Bitch. Quit your crying.

So, this morning, ya, behold the walls of Jericho, dear friends. They are back up. Way up high. Higher than the neck on a fancy Victorian blouse with tiny pearl buttons.Just another customer.

Hopefully it won’t take another ten years for the wall to come tumbling down. Who knows?

What Would Mary Poppins Do? or Should I Text Him To Tell Him He’s An Asshole?

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The tickets were only $15 a piece. The band, one that this town does not see the caliber of often. I chose him to take along because he is a music guy. Thought he might appreciate it?

In the morning, I realize that a crush I have is doing me in. It kept me from writing, I bought expensive mascara, I was trying not to cuss so much.

I met this guy, I call him “#1″ at the Fed-Ex office in January the day I returned my week-long dead mother’s “Life Alert” equipment. He noticed I held a heavy box, and just like in the movies, he swooped the box from me with a dazzle.

I have a weakness for nice-looking men. Drop dead gorgeous aside, we chatted easily for a long time. He is a rock hound as was my dad. He worked with my dad years ago on a construction site. His cousin was one of my brother’s best friends in high school. When I gave him my business card, he smiled when he noticed I was a writer and asked what I teach? Poetry, I replied. He said, Oh, like he’d just tasted chocolate for the first time. He also recognized my last name and laughed when he realized he’d even hung around with my ex-husband back in the day. Just a nice local boy in Levis. My total MO.

Fast forward six months. I go to my dear friend’s (another guy/former mad crush) day after 4th of July extravaganza where I meet a nice guy with a guitar. There is no heart pounding gaga feeling going on as with #1, but he’s funny and a good conversationalist. I proceed to drink lots of limoncello, which I’d never heard of before, and flirt. And flirt. And flirt.

Thankfully, one of my grown sons, who only drinks coconut water, was my date/designated driver. At 2:30 am, he convinced me it might be a bad idea to climb into the hot tub in my flowing hippy halter maxi dress. We went home, but I stayed in touch with guitar dude.

****

I was given up for adoption the day I was born. My birthmother looked at me once and said, Meh. She told me she did not even touch me. Why would I touch you?

Rejection is one of those big old leather cattle collars with a cow bell I’ve worn it my entire life. Until recently, I used that collar to frame everything coming in and out of my life. That’s how it works. Rejection. It is the air you breath. It’s dirt and food and rain.

My birthmother died a little over a year ago. My mom died six months ago. Grief aside, I have never felt more free in my life. Four months ago, I started seeing Amanda, my massage therapist/energy work girl. I call her Anne Sullivan. She IS the miracle worker. She/We are magic. Together we’ve been able to get at the lifetime of core yuck I’ve held in this body for over five decades. At the beginning of each session, we discuss what intentions I have, what it is I want to work on/out. Two hours later, when I leave, my feet are so firmly planted I feel as though I could sprout sunflowers out my skull.

My last “relationship” was a six-month long stint with a good-looking crackhead over a decade ago. I lost every material possession, my self-worth and nearly my young son. Following that, I gained another human’s weight and sat in a Queen Anne style chair depressed and surrounded by ice cream drumstick wrappers for nine years.

Everyone who knows me well (It takes a village.) has informed me that it is MY time. Now. I am ready for Big Love, so they say? Everything in life is “lined up,” now that I love myself, what I’ve worked on for say 30 years, it is going to happen. I will have the desires of my mush bucket heart. I will find love.

Back to #1. It’s a small town. After six months, we re-connected. When I saw him again just a couple of weeks ago, my heart throbbed – could barely breath. I took him a berry pie. I don’t think I’ve ever walked more confidently, more planted in the earth as when I was carrying that pie in one hand, hips swinging in the sun. I will never forget his smile at that moment. Ever.

Yesterday morning, after two weeks of eating only kale super salad, raspberries and random legumes, I realized my life had become a game of checkers. Me, the little plastic disk, made it to the opposite side of the board, got flipped over on my back and became queen. Easy peasy except for that journey back. I think I have stopped loving myself and let this other person’s love/like be that little checker that rests on top, suffocating the other.

Feeling that hope was fading where Team #1 was concerned, I made a date with #2 earlier in the week. Invited him to a stellar concert downtown in the theater of my childhood. A great band for such a venue, but I felt odd about going out with him because my old school heart was in the other camp. I am not a good dater. Not a serial dater. I am a one-guy girl. When I like you, that’s it. Done. Deal. You will never find a more loyal lover/friend. The end.

Yesterday, I did the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done in my life. I spilled my guts to #1. I told him how I felt. I didn’t leave out a comma or a breath or a tear. I let him know about the date thing planned for the night and told him what I just told you that when I like somebody, I can’t imagine going out with someone else.

I was asking him to let my heart go. A heart he didn’t even know he had.

And let me tell ya, #1 manned up. He replied with respect. He told me I was a brave woman and let me down as gentle as the gentleman he is. It’s why I liked the guy in the first place. He reminded me of my dad. He is kind as a feather.

I did cry. No, I wailed for about a minute. My young son told me I was pretty and rubbed my hunched-over back. After that, I showered, put on a cute, comfortable black sundress – the one I feel pretty in. I left for a two-hour massage where I cried again as I remembered it is me who I need love from. I am #1. I am.

Before the concert, I met #2 downtown at a tavern right after my massage. I felt amazing. I felt beautiful and whole and good. My skin glowed soft, my hair behaved. I was me. I was in my body completely.

#2 arrived a half hour late. I’d bought myself a shot of ouzo on the rocks. My belly was warm. I had just birthed myself. His eyes did not light up when he saw me. I don’t know if it’s being a Leo through and through or just a girl thing, but I gotta have that the guys eyes lighting up thing going on when someone approaches me or I approach them on a date. That spark.

He didn’t ask if I was hungry. He didn’t offer to buy me a second drink. We walked over to the theater a block or so away, went in and found seats. The concert was a benefit for United Way. The money gathered goes to children in need right here in my community. In life, I am a giver.

The first band played. They were amazing. From the corner of my eye, it looked like #2 might be dozing off. Classic WTF? moment.

We went outside during intermission to get some air. I could tell he was not enjoying himself with Miss Happy – Miss I Feel The Earth Move Under My Feet And I Want Everyone To Feel It As Well! I wondered if it was my dress? Was it too low? Too much boob? Damn, I thought, he’s not a breast man, and I’ve got all this lovely cleavage. My hair? I just have left the little black headband at home. I am not a princess. What the hell was I thinking? Too much like a tiara for him? Oh God, I forgot my necklace. I always wear a necklace!! My neck was too bare, unadorned. And earrings, I wore cheap earrings. All the expensive earrings from galleries I own and I wear not-even-vintage-rhinestone crappy danglers from Value Village.

We returned to our seats. He quickly excused himself. He returned after 10 or 15 minutes explaining he went out to smoke some weed. I smiled and went back to being lost in the music of the second band, The Black Lilies, realizing that it was the best live music I’d heard in years right there in the the 90-year-old theater of my childhood. The theater were I saw Mary Poppins fly and fall in love.

At this moment, suspecting things might go south, I realized there would be one last test. When the United Way volunteers stopped at our row with their baskets, I told #2 that I had no cash (a lie). He was expressionless. He did not reach in his pocket to pull out a dollar. Not one or two or three. Dollars. Pithy dollars for kids. Need kids.

A few seconds into the first song of the next set, he got up and left. For the second time in about six weeks I was impressed by something larger than life, larger than me, some universe/God size force telling me, Keep Your Ass In The Seat.

The theater became a dark womb. The band played some blues. Most everyone had gone down front to dance early on so I was able to have my own little crying cocoon right there in the row of red velvet seats.

I wailed for the goofy girl on the playground who’d been brave enough to tell the cutest boy in school that she loved him with all her heart. I wailed for that baby girl in the pink blanket whose mother never touched her. I wailed out every broken heart I’ve ever owned.

Then, I danced.

I danced for the last hour of the show. I got up from that seat in the dark, walked toward the stage by myself, pushed my way into the center of the gyrating mosh and danced both alone and together with that sea of happy people, moved by the music, arms flailing, hips making love to air.

Me and Mary Poppins. That’s the way the medicine goes down, the medicine goes down, boys.

CRUSHED (in a good way)

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crush

 noun: a strong feeling of romantic love for someone that is usually not expressed and does not last a long time

Most important thing to know about a crush if you are the crusher? Not allowing crushee to know about the crush. My “love” poems are groundhogs. If they see their shadow they go back in to hiding for about ten years.

Here’s a couple “loves” that I read in Ballard last night in honor of VD. The first, Moon-Pull Pure is for a former TESC classmate who was my neighbor years ago. The poem is from 2012.

 

Moon-Pull Pure

 

you need to hear this

warmth of thigh
cementing space
between neighbors
causes quiet titillation
nice prayer flag
my pick-up line
forget oysters
the ink on your fingers
is foreplay enough
a writer’s aphrodisiac
placing palms together
hippy-incensed haze
words make out
in utility candle light
Send it to the New Yorker I say
you ARE that good
forget the decade between us
never mind bellbottoms or
Pampers in 1970
ingest moon-pull pure
connect the dots before
snow melts

Patty Kinney
January 2012

 

The second, Nessun Dorma (None Shall Sleep) should be read after (or while) listening to Pavarotti’s last performance of the same name. Nessun Dorma is an Aria from the final act of Giacomo Puccinic’s opera, Turandot. In this poem, written in January 2013, it seems Mr. Pavarotti is the object of my affection. Not so. This one is for that one guy. A top secret crush for the ages. The poem was written in about ten minutes and has never been revised.

Nessun Dorma” (None Shall Sleep)

Are we not formed as notes of music are, for one another, though dissimilar?

                                                                            -Percy Bysshe Shelley

This must be written in permanent ink or marked with
a photograph. Preserve the goodness. Remove earring,
bracelet, brain. Do stars tremble with Love? Hope?
Does the night sky hyperventilate? Am I alive listening
to this beautiful singing?

Mr. Pavarotti, I will get a tattoo on my left forearm exactly
where I pinched flesh under nearly full moon, thumb and
forefinger witness to my disbelief. Is there a symbol for
breath, air, lungs? Impeccable Lagato! A clean attack
has been made.

I am like no other. I will whisper my secret on your closed
mouth. It’s the silence that makes you mine. At dawn, I’ll
roll over, do a fly-by at the funeral of my former self. The
girl is dead. The house is cold, cat batting air above wreath
of rosehips.

 

Patty Kinney
January 2012

 

Crushes sustain me. I hope they do the same for you. Love.

 

 

 

Balancing The Writing Life – Right After My Nap

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I went away for the summer. Although I didn’t leave home, I was gone. I wrote (no blog posts), I read, I swam, I sunned. I drank summer ale, and I ate the garden’s rainbow. And sleep, there was lots of sleep.

In September, to jostle myself awake, I attended Poets On The Coast, a writing retreat for women held in Nye Beach, Oregon at the historic Sylvia Beach Hotel. The workshops kickstarted my words the year before, helping me to carve out a prolific year of writing.

Fall is here with its carpet of leaves and scarf of fog. Summer is packed in a storage unit.

I am stacked to the rafters with writing projects, mentoring, teaching, and po-coaching. My full plate is now a tray. I grieve the meetings, readings, lunches, and friends I am unable to fit in.

In the past, I always feared the other shoe would drop and someone would twirl around on a mountain peak and in their best Julie Andrews voice proclaim, “The hills are alive, but Patty is a fake.”

Call it a miracle, but the fear is beginning to fade. Confidence is a potato plant. It flourishes above ground, but what sustains me are those hidden spuds – the ones I have to dig for.

Summer taught me to pen in a day of hibernation on the calendar for every day of crazy busy. It seems to be working. I didn’t miss the blog during those morning swims or evening ales on the porch, but I’m willing to post on a regular basis again (between naps.)

Esther Williams As Muse

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I am Esther Williams.

My bangle bracelets seize the sun, bounce it to your black and white television in Technicolor.

Notice the sheen of chlorine in my hair causing ripple effect like a flat rock tossed on smooth glass.

Ponds are not for me – scaly fish, water mollusks waiting beneath docks.

Give me a pretty girl pool, smell of chemicals promising clean. I will dance on the water’s mirror.

Dive deep. Join me. We are all synchronized. Water is forgiveness in the shallow end of day.

*****

I am a swimmer. Have been since I was five-years-old. Growing up, Mom took us swimming every day during every summer until high school. We swam at Long Lake, Black Lake, Capitol Lake, and if the weather was not nice, we swam at the indoor high school pool.

There was a teenage lifeguard named Deanne, who took me under her wing and home for dinner one day. I met her mom and sister. No dad. We ate in the living room on TV trays and talked about Desi Arnaz, Jr. and Liza Minnelli.

Deanne told me I was such a good swimmer I should sign up for synchronized swimming. I agreed, figuring it was my ticket to becoming a movie star like Esther Williams. I did not want to marry Fernando Lamas, but I did want to share my life with Desi Arnaz, Jr.

My days of synchronized swimming are foggy as steam erping from the locker room showers. I had a fancy, rubber bathing cap covered with colorful flowers. My instructor, Mrs. MacDonald, gave her daughter “T” all her attention. I also recall how my butt kept floating up when it should have been executing a fancy mermaidish move under the water’s surface. Years later, I did join the high school swim team (Go Ramfish). My event was the breaststroke (just like Esther).

The best thing about the being a member of the girl’s swim team was the BOYS swim team. You had to make sure to look the boys in the eye and not the Speedo. I remember the green tinge in Bill Petty’s blond hair, making it look like a shiny penny.

I never became a swimming/beauty/movie star like Esther, but I still feel that freedom when I’m in the water that anything is possible. And I’m still ready for my close-up.

Care And Feeding Of The Rejected Poet

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I am a poetry toddler. Although I’ve been writing poetry since the first grade, have had a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing emphasizing poetry and nonfiction for nearly a decade, and been involved in the local poetry “community” for many, many years – I am a poetry toddler.

Earlier this year, I submitted my poetry chapbook to my first “contest.” I’ve had a good amount of success getting the individual poems published in literary journals. I thought I had a grip on that golden horseshoe, the lucky winner, the chosen one, as I held my book in my hands.

I was not shy about letting people know that I had a “good feeling” about submitting my chapbook. People were nice and said great things, which of course egged me on to believing that my work had a chance, a shot with this small press. I had put all my eggs in one basket. This was the contest for me. If I did not win, I would at least be a finalist!

Damn. Have you ever had to eat crow? It ferments in your mouth like rotten grapes. It gets stuck to your teeth. You can’t even remove it with floss. Crow is finding out that you were way out of your league. You were toddling around in a messy diaper at the prom.

Last week, when I received the email letting me down softly and announcing who won the contest, I put down my pen and stuck my thumb in my poet mouth. Also, there were the finalists, great poets who I adore and admire and would never put my poems “up against.”

It’s been a week or so. In that week, I went back and read two important books that had been calling to me for months. Lola Haskins’ Not Feathers Yet: A Beginners Guide to the Poetic Life; and Ordering The Storm: How to Put Together a Book of Poems, an anthology edited by Susan Grimm. They are my Dr. Spock, helping with the care and training (and revision) of this toddler.

Alas, I overhauled my manuscript. It’s been on the floor (I tossed it up in the air), my desk, the couch, my bed (yes, I slept with it one night.) It’s been candy, a dish that I can’t walk by without picking up a random piece (page) and chewing on it.

Later this week, I will remove my binky/ego and send the thing out again. Nobody likes to see a toddler with a binky. I will leave the terrible twos behind for the get over it threes. One day, I will be ready for that prom, poems pinned to my breast, a corsage smelling of tenacity, hope.