these teachers I never met

Page Twenty-nine, website outline

wandering among some of those whose work has influenced me, and taught me

eliot                                                                        goethe                                                     jung

                        maslow                                                                   whiteley 


 krishnamurti                                                                    vonnegut                                                             patchen

                                     goldstein                                            heidegger                     



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wandering around the blogs

Page Twenty-eight, website outline

                                                                                           to a pig

        to bill                  to a poem

                   to opals                                        to romance

to casting souls                                                                                                                  

to a blackworld

to the brightest stars                                      to blue Mishi                      

                                     to a ruby                                 to treasures


                                                                                                         to a child

 to a green moon

(these resin fairies are marketed by  I don’t get any kickbacks from these people; it’s simply that theirs was one of the catalogs in which I used to daydream back in my own life. I’d circle all the things I’d like to buy if I could ever get myself and my animals to a place of peace and relative safety. I did buy my lapharp from their catalog, but that was as far as I got before disaster landed. I’ll be using a great many of those daydream items in the graphics on this website, because those items and those dreams were one more mosaic piece of the life I shared with my animals.)

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turners falls, in massachusetts

Page Twenty-one, website outline

                        “Human beings are a lot meaner and stupider
                                     than they think they are.”
                                           ~~~   Kurt Vonnegut
                                                     Timequake (I think)
                       Bite the hand before it feeds you;
                       feeds you poison, feeds you shame.
                       Bite the hand before it beats you,
                       beats you to a bloodless name.


Two days ago I was talking to a woman who said this, just about verbatim: I came here three years ago when I fled my ex-husband, and my life has done nothing but go downhill since I’ve been here. I’m doing everything I can to get out.

And I did that too. For years. After I’d been in this town about the same amount of time that she has, I wanted out. And I tried for years to get out. Finally, in 1997, I escaped back to my original town in eastern Mass, and found utter mental chaos going on in my family home. So again I tried with diligence to find another place to live, but one out there. To stay in eastern Mass and never cross route 128 again. But it didn’t work. After thirteen months, my daughter found me a place in Turners Falls that I could afford and would accept my animals, so that after only a brief escape, I was back. Back with a very heavy heart in many ways.

In 1992, when I’d been here for seven years, I had the idea that I’d write a book about this place with the title Poison and Snowflake Trees. I even began work on this book, but that particular word processor disk is one of the many, many objects that other people have deprived me of since 1998. For me that title completely grips the painful dichotomy that has always been life in Turners for me: the undeniable, mesmerizing beauty of the nature; and the equally undeniable, tenacious ignorance and meanness of the people. Poison for the humans, snowflake trees for the nature.  All these years later, I’m starting that book again, structuring it as a collection of vignettes that are the blog posts I’ve been writing about Turners for close to three years now, together with new writing.

This year’s crop (2010)              



And now it’s April 26, and the snowflake trees have sprouted to six inches high along the canal. The cherry trees (the center of Turners is full of them) and the lilacs are blooming. The ducks want people to feed them. There’s a black squirrel living near the library. The Turners spring I know so well is in its happy throes. 

I walk in places where my animals and I used to live, where we used to walk, where we were so happy in each other’s company and so fascinated with every molecule of nature around us. I walk,cry and remember. And if the nature that we loved together for nearly twenty-two years is still here, still all around me as I walk and cry, well so is the poison. It emanates from every human body that I pass; it is in the words from their mouths; it is in their behavior.


The flowers on this page: I can just hear the wheels turning:  There’s no such thing as snowflake trees. This broad’s really nuts. No, as far as I know, there is no such thing as snowflake trees. The common name for this plant is meadow rue, but when I found them I didn’t know this. It would be two or three years before I would find out the plant’s actual name, and in the meantime  — with my Asperger’s penchant for naming people and things in ways that fit them better than their real names — I called them snowflake trees. I’ve been naming things my own names for years.


The snowflake trees and butterfly flowers (also known as milkweed) are blooming now; now being June 16. Nothing of the snowflake flower’s grace and nothing of the sweetness of the not-much-to-look-at milkweed flower can stem the human toxicity here. I’ve always wished that it could. That the sweetness of lilac scent and laurel scent, milkweed and rose could somehow alter the wormy psyches of these people. That the soft mist rising from canal and river could wash the nastiness out of them. But such has never happened, and I don’t suppose it ever will.


Something I sometimes do these days: squiggling a mouse around a table to use the Windows Paint. I see this one as an abstract rendition of the anxiety,anger and dislike I feel among the people of this town.

                                                                Junktown 2010


read…  Braonwandering…    Don’t ask

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soulcast and wrongplanet

Page Twenty, website outline                                                                

Soulcast was the first website on which I set up a blog in 2008, and Wrongplanet was the fourth. I chose them for their names, mainly. Soulcast because that’s exactly what I was going to do: cast my bleeding, shredded up soul onto pages produced by microchips; tell to a cyberworld I don’t even much like the story of what had been done to me and my animals. And then Wrongplanet, which is a site for people with Asperger’s and other forms of autism. When I was a teenager, I’d never heard of Asperger’s, and didn’t know I had it. But I did know, had known all my life, that there was some very big disconnect going on between myself and other people. And as a teenager fascinated with outer space, I made the sardonic comment in my mind more than once that  my people, those of whom I could feel a part, existed on some other planet, and that in enormous bad luck I had been born on earth, instead of where I really belonged. Lo and behold, decades later, I find out I have Asperger’s, and find a blogging site called Wrongplanet, bringing back all those exasperated thoughts of my high school years. I couldn’t pass up a site with that name.


In January 2010 I began using WordPress to make a blog-based website, and most of the posts on Wrongplanet and Soulcast were moved here. A few posts were left in place, and sometimes I’d go to Soulcast and Wrongplanet to write something new. But as technical troubles at those sites grew increasingly worse, I pretty much abandoned them. I miss those names, laden with symbolism both general and personal. WordPress is a dull name, an antiseptic yuppie name, that does absolutely nothing for the poet in me. Not talking about the site, mind you, just the name. There was great food for the poet in me, the maker of image and metaphor, in those two lost names.


read…    Sehnen…    Mishibone

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all photos, graphics, poems and text copyright 2010-2012 by anne nakis, unless otherwise stated. all rights reserved.

the timekeeper

Page Nineteen, website outline

The timekeeper holds to the corner of his cave, breathing dust. Dust is the floor of this hole of his, dust is the blanket of his rocks, dust whispers and floats in every exhalation of his mouth. His metronome of old bones rests beside him, never resting. Tap, tap, tap, tap without cease….

…This cave is long, and I wonder do I go forward. I thirst already in this haven of dust. The tap, tap, tap makes me need the outside, the tapless air of the space around this cave. I am compelled by him to come closer, and can’t know why. Closer to the tapping and his dusted brown cloak, closer to his hooded head which shows me no face, closer to the barrenness he breathes. Turn. Turn around and make for the space outside the dust. But I do not turn. I stand still…


(Friday 12 February 1999, and Friday 12 February 2010)


…What does this give me to know, this stillstanding? Neither forward to meet the metronome and the faceless cloak, nor backward to breathe in open air…


This bit of prose is something I started in 1997, intending it eventually to become a short story. I worked on it off and on over two years. It’s not here in its entirety, because its entirety is imprisoned in a storage unit, and I had to do this from memory. The reason it’s put here on the website is one that I choose at the moment to keep to myself. There are other prose pieces of a similar nature called Streams on the Braonwandering blog.


read…    Lifelines…    Lucked out

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all photos, graphics, poems and text copyright 2010-2012 by anne nakis, unless otherwise stated. all rights reserved.

education and intelligence

Page Ten, website outline

I have education and intelligence in relative abundance, and therefore, ipso facto, I was not supposed to fail. While other factors in my life and in my nature were definitely in the way of any doing well, these two things I had in my favor, and was supposed to make success out of them. I thought so, and the neurotypicals around me thought so too. It’s yet another thing that people find subtle and not-so-subtle ways to punish you for: you were one who wasn’t supposed to fail. And since you did fail, we will punish you, or at the very least devalue you.

I spent nine and a half years in universities, which gives me shivers to contemplate now, now that it’s long over. As Kurt Vonnegut said more than once: How the hell did I do that? Truly, looking back, I don’t know, because the thought of spending most of every day on a campus now makes me start a headache.

So with education and native intelligence, you will surely make something of yourself, which, translated out of the land of euphemism, means: You will make your own money. You will buy your own home. You will not be dependent on family and on government agencies for help. You will not be a leech, a parasite. You will satisfy our clichés by pulling yourself up by your bootstraps and standing on  your own two feet. And if you don’t, you are worse than others who fail who lacked the blessings of high intelligence and good education, and we will disrespect you all the more.

And so it has been in the years since I went on disability in 1994. No one like me should be poor, should be getting government handouts, should be living in shabby apartments and driving ancient cars. You should be successful, at least financially. Many people have said these words straight out, and many others have adroitly implied them. You were not supposed to fail, and we look down on you for having done so.

How would these words and implications make you feel? Like so many other actions and words from my fellow humans, they have made me feel worthless. Because I could not turn my brains and talents and education into economic success and independence, I am a failed and valueless and highly disappointing creature. And don’t misinterpret, please: I do not define myself as worthless in my own eyes. It’s in the eyes of others that I am such a nothing. And it is both demeaning and debilitating to be thought of in this way.

If you commit the great indisgression of being a financial flop in our post-modern society, and if you further stomp on other people’s illusions (dare I say delusions) by being a flop in the presence of talent, education, and intelligence, then you are truly open to any old person’s scorn, or abuse, or garden variety insults, and so on. You have violated the delusional cliché that in amerika, anybody who wants to, anybody who tries, can have their own personal slice of the pie, and if you don’t have the pie, then you didn’t want it badly enough. You didn’t try hard enough. This happens to be enormous baloney. It’s amerikan propaganda at its most insipid. It’s a crock. It doesn’t work for everybody, doesn’t hold true for everybody, and it never has. Never, ever will.


read…    Lifelines…   Braonwandering

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all photos, graphics, poems and text copyright 2010-2012 by anne nakis, unless otherwise stated. all rights reserved.


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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the department of mental health

Page Two, website outline

In Massachusetts, the Department of Mental Health is a state-wide, state-run, state-botched, lumbering and uncaring bureaucracy. I wish I had known that in January of 2007.

It was to this (I now know) indolent and incompetent juggernaut that I appealed when I was being illegally evicted from my apartment.                                                                                                        

They had an entire year to find me a home where I could afford the rent and keep at least some of my 14 animals. They did almost nothing to that end. They did, however, do other things behind my back, some of which have taken a long time to find out. Some I will never find out. They, and their contract agency, Community Support Services, lied to me, told lies about me, and presided over the destruction of my life and a tremendous worsening of my depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. At 55, with these issues as well as physical health issues, they let me lose all of my animals, who were literally my reason for living, and be put onto the streets homeless. I remain without an apartment of my own nearly two years later. I do not maintain that this wretched failure of service was committed to stick it to me, to pay me back for reporting the DMH to Governor Patrick’s office and to their overseeing body, Health and Human Services. There may have been an element of revenge in it, but I still believe that the greatest reason for the downright unconscionable “service” I got from the DMH and CSS was laziness. These state employees are shockingly lazy, and to find a place with a low rent where some of my animals would be allowed was something they just didn’t want to bestir themselves to do because it would have taken some real effort. Their idea of helping someone find an apartment is to give you a phone number for a housing project. Projects do not allow more than one animal, so that was a solution that was not going to be right for me. These DMH cretins have lists of landlords in the community, and work with these landlords periodically. But to go through these lists making phone calls, explaining about the psychological meaning of my animals, and trying to find someone who would let me keep about half of them would have taken time and effort. The same time and effort they spent arranging for places for my animals to be hidden and later killed.

The conduct of the Department of Mental Health both shocked and appalled me, as I naively believed that because their purpose is to help, that they would help. I further naively expected that I wouldn’t be lied to by these people who were supposed to help me, nor that they would do things behind my back that they had no authorization from me to do.


It’s now April 2010, and I’ve written in other places that on April 1 I moved into what can loosely be called a rental unit, but never an apartment. About the size of a ponystall, it is tantamount to living in a small cell that has a huge window and a bathroom to glorify it a bit. After two years and two weeks of living in a technical state of homelessness, when I had no rental unit of my own, thanks to the DMH and CSS,what I get is a cell with a few embellishments. And I’m claustrophobic.

I cannot say enough bad about this inhumane way of housing poor people, which I only applied for because it was the fastest way to get what is called a movable section 8, a rent subsidy which is not tied to the project you live in, but which you can use in any apartment where the landlord will accept it. You are not condemned to project living for the rest of your life.


read…  Spite and malice…     Mental hell

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all photos, graphics, poems and text copyright 2010-2012 by anne nakis, unless otherwise stated. all rights reserved.