poetry, and other arts

Page Seven, website outline

what I consider to have been my own life, my real life, ended on 12 march 2008. this page is a sort of sampler of things I was intensely interested in during the first fifty-five years before that happened, things that are now nearly completely gone from my days, as the result of trauma.  an archive of a lost way of life, lost pieces of myself. for myself primarily, because who else cares about  the person I was before the assault of some aggressive, disturbed and unprincipled people.


writing poetry began at age nine, and reading it even earlier than that. I continued to write poetry all my life, but have written (as of 2010) only one poem since the summer of 2008 (One New Try). during the summer of 2008, the first summer after my life as I knew it was destroyed, I wrote a collection titled Naked in Cold Space, in the very new and raw pain of what had been done to me and my animals. a few links to some of those poems are still here, waiting to be moved into shadowpoems.

#23 ~~   #24 ~~  #25

#26  ~~  #27  ~~   #28 ~~   #29
Naked in Cold Space has never been re-done, which is what you’re supposed to do with your first draft of a poem: re-do it until you consider it to be as perfect as you can make it. but that will never happen with these poems. I put them onto the internet in 2008 just as I had written them in the health food store and bart’s cafe and cafe koko and wherever else. I wrote them by hand in a little notebook, and then fled greenfield in august of 2008 before all the poems had been copied into my blogs. when I have an apartment, I hope to get that little notebook back from a woman’s barn. then the rest of the poems can be added, and added just as they were written in 2008. the naggy, ex-poet part of me knows I could make them technically, artistically better if I re-worked them. but the mother in me, the broken mother’s heart that wrote those poems by hand when the stealing of my family was a very recent event, wants to leave them in their original state. the broken mother’s heart wins out.
poems and lyrics before November of 2010 are at  shadowpoems. newer poetry is at  scealta liatha.


sometimes I quote other people’s poetry, if you care to see any of that:

yeats 1. ~~   Frost 1. ~~ Frost 2. ~~   Grace Paley ~~  Kenneth Patchen 
Louise Bogan 1. ~~  Bogan 2.
Opal Whiteley ~~  Anonymous 1. ~~  McLean
between 1994 and 1997, I went on a big songwriting binge. lyrics to some of them are here now:  here for lyrics to Brave Hearts.  ~~   Dying Ribbons ~~  L’Abandonnée ~~  Serenade ~~  Winter

I had other interests, too, during my own life. Music, art, animals (which I can’t emphasize enough), literature, philosophy. Most of that is repugnant to me now, too painful. Most of it I can no longer approach, since the destruction of life as I knew it nearly two years ago. But in the early months of my blogging, I still touched on these subjects, because, though my animals and I were separated, I believed strongly that the DMH would find us an apartment and reunite some of us (and in fact I’ve been told by someone in a position to know that there was a plan to do so). Later, after Matthew told me that I was being protected by himself and his fellow feds, I believed that they would locate me somewhere (as they do with most protected people) and give back some of my family. I told Matthew in no uncertain terms that I wanted his “people” to give me this home and protect me in a humane way. He never once said that relocating for protection was not going to happen for me. So I did many months of waiting, and believing, before I gave up on this home and gave up on all of my animals as lost. Since that time, since that giving up, that realization of total loss, I cannot pursue most of the interests that had exhilarated me for decades.



This was another serious interest I had, from about 1992 to 2008.

I took this fairy in 2007, set it up as a still-life. I used a pewter figurine and some chunks of amethyst and quartz crystals placed on the top of the lower window frame. Then I waited for the cloud to move into position behind the fairy.


 An ice storm in 1995.


An oak tree from 2004


Sunset Moon, 2007.


A bog in the woods where I walked my dogs before the eviction. Mishi loved to lie down and wallow in bogs, and this was his favorite in that woods. In the spring the bottom of it was mud as black as night. The blacker the mud was, the better he liked it.


More storms, this one in 1996.


Another sunset, from just a few days before the sheriff’s deputy came to put us out in March of 2008. I deliberately shot it through a window screen because sometimes I like that somewhat blurry, somewhat grainy look.


It’s obvious I don’t use a digital camera — can’t afford it. To certain eyes it will also be obvious that I don’t even use a manual camera (the usual vehicle for art photography, journalism, etc.). Same reason: can’t afford it. But beyond the reason of finances, I have another ground for using an automatic, affordable camera and affordable film for my art photos: I resent the elitism inherent in the notion that beautiful, artistic pictures can’t be taken with an ordinary automatic camera. Yes, they lack certain features that a manual or a digital shot will have, but does that make them less valid as art? In other genres of visual art, anything goes. And no one form is more valid as art than another. So why this snottiness in photography? On a certain level, I’m glad that my finances have always forced me to use an automatic camera, because I’ve been forced at the same time to do what I can to rebel against the photography status quo, however unapplauded that rebellion may be.




Once I was done with universities for good, I kept telling myself I was going to do some self-study of philosophy. Years went by before I actually started to do this, and unfortunately I hadn’t been doing it long when everything I knew as my life was taken from me. I’ve even bought some more books on the subject in recent months, but as I’m usually incapable of reading a book anymore, there they sit.

While I still had my animals and an apartment and my own life, I decided to dive in at the deep end and read Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. I even considered trying to get a copy in German, but in the end didn’t. I’d heard many times how abstruse and difficult Kant is, so I settled on English. Well, there were many times when it didn’t seem at all like English I was reading, but it was. Once in a while I would grasp a paragraph. I used the whole six weeks the library allowed me to get through a few chapters. It was arduous in the extreme. Later I heard various philosophy professors on the radio saying that they didn’t understand all of Kant, and that in fact nobody did, and nobody ever had. That made me feel a little better, because I’m by no means an intellectual lightweight, but that Kant was agony. Well, apparently he’s agony for everyone.

I’m very taken with a good deal of Socrates’ thought, and I’m equally taken with Heidegger’s idea of being toward death. It’s what I was doing all my life, only I didn’t know it was a bona fide philosophy until I read about Heidegger’s giving this idea this name. I had death hanging over my head for a long time, at least according to my doctors, and it started when I was only 2 or 3 years old. That must have been when I made an amorphous, toddler’s decision to try to spend the time I had doing things that had meaning and purpose for me. And the greatest sense of meaning and purpose and being toward my inevitable death was always, for me, living with and taking care of my families of animals.

From 1994 to about 2005, I read a great deal of what Cathcart and Klein (in their book Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar) call “airhead” philosophy. In different words, new age philosophy. In the end I became forced to agree with C and K to about 80%: I’ve decided that about 80% of new-age philosophy is airhead philosophy indeed, but I do still find about 20% of it valid to me. I have cherry-picked from the new age, taking for myself the bits that have meaning for me and throwing away the rest. Sam Harris would castigate me for this, as he’s very negative on the subject of cherry-picking (I’ve cherry-picked from him too), but I don’t share his antipathy. I think we spend our whole lives cherry-picking, in many different areas of living. Selecting from a certain batch or set or book or whatever, that which has appeal for us as individuals, and leaving the rest on the ground, so to speak. One of the things our brains are designed to do is to make selections, and this we do; and while I abhor a lot of the selections that a lot of people make, the basic tendency of the brain to select isn’t the problem. I probably have the opposite antipathy to Sam Harris’: I’m very much against swallowing anything whole: whether it’s a philosophy or a dogma or a manifesto or a constitution, whatever. I find the idea of swallowing anything like that whole repugnant, and I’m extremely bored by, agitated by, and wary of people who do that kind of swallowing.

read…  Being toward death



Another interest that began in childhood. But I always had a rather fickle reaction to my desire to draw: I’d do it for a few months and then leave it alone for years. The last time I started again after a long hiatus was in 2002, and stayed with it with more regularity until the eviction in 2008.


This is the last drawing I ever did on a computer, from October 2008 when I was living outside in Turners Falls. I hadn’t done more than four other computer drawings before this one, and the others are locked in my storage unit, perhaps never to be seen again. The computer art can be fun to do, in its sterile techno way, but for me, it would never have replaced getting messy with inks, paints and such-like.


Another abstract manifestation of anxiety, drawn with a mouse.








Agoraphobia 2010



While listening to music went on without interruption until I was 55, my own actual hands-on work with music (writing it, playing it, singing) was another thing with which I was always pretty fickle.

Ah, well, my singing career. I say that sardonically, the way I say many things. I say it sardonically, while at the same time wishing that singing could have been something other than a self-jeering footnote in my life. But that just wasn’t going to ever happen.


The point, for me, in writing about and showing a little about the interests I had in addition to animals is to underscore how very much has been lost as the result of the behavior of a group of individuals in 2007 and 2008. To emphasize how much soul-damage and heart-damage it’s possible for cruelty and/or indifference and/or incompetence to inflict.


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