Friday, December 26, 2008

Papal Bull

RRRRRR! I don't know what to make of it. I mean the Pope's Christmas speech or what have you. He went on about "human ecology" and how new age "gender theories" (involving homosexuality and transgender identity) will basically wipe out the human species because there won't be enough hets having sex and reproducing. Ummm I'm pretty sure we're not an endagered species, Rev. And for a religion that is so against transgender folk it's a bit odd that the clergy are all men who abjure the company of women and go around in long, pretty robes. I would be significantly more worried about deforestation if I were him.

Gotta go with a Sharon Olds poem for this one: "The Pope's Penis"

Buy and read Sharon's stuff thru:

Monday, August 18, 2008

Soo Much to Tell!

OMG - I have fallen so far behind in my blogging that I feel totally overwhelmed. It has been a busy, busy summer!

First off I will try to put up some pics of my visit to my dad in upstate NY. We went to NYC together to spend a day at the Met. Museum of Art. It was great! Okay...then I'll try to catch up on the rest of the summer in moderate increments. Here we go! :^D

The short visit started with a fun evening and my dad and "other mother," Mary Ann's house near Oneonta. Then we went to Cooperstown for a day. Not bad. It wasn't really baseball hall of fame season or it would have been harder to walk around that little berg than Manhattan!

The next day we got on a charter bus at the crack of dawn. It was at least a three hour trip to the city. I listened to my iPod alot. I chose Plastic Ono Band since Yoko Ono's studio retreat is only a couple of miles from dad's house (as evidenced by occasional helicopter landings but not much else) and it felt like appropriate music as we rolled past Woodstock and thru the rolling woods & fields of upstate.

Then we got to the Lincoln Tunnel. Scary! Then downtown Manhattan. It was nice since we didn't have to worry about driving or parking or anything. We chilled in Central Park for an hour or so but mostly just stayed in the museum. The least touristy thing we did was to eat our peanut butter sandwiches while squatting behind the Met. dumpsters...trying not to get killed by fat attack pigeons. Oh, speaking of birds, we did see the hawk nest and the encampment of ornithologists under the townhouse that the likes of Woody Allen share (not willingly) with the famous Central Park hawk, Pale Male.

PS: meet DAD: :^p

Saturday, May 03, 2008

in memory of judi

I just wanted to write a little nod of tribute to a very nice lady. Judi Beach was a warm, gentle, kind person who kind of floated on the periphery of my life for as long as I can remember. She and her husband, Stu, were friends with my mom and dad. I guess Dad and Stu met when they taught together at Brookdale College in New Jersey.

Anyhoo, we weren't close friends or in close contact, but I always admired Judi a lot. She and Stu would pop up once in a while to go for a walk with us or have lunch.

Like a lot of "grown up's" that you meet when you are a tiny kid, Judi always had an aura of mystery for me. It didn't matter how old I got...she was still towering in my mind. I knew Judi was a writer and poet. I grew up knowing that she had "published things," which added to her mystery and prestige.

Not that Judi encouraged people to be in awe of her. Just the opposite. She wanted everyone to write. Write something. Write everything. Channel that experience. Leave markers on the trail of life for others. Leave something behind. I guess that she was the kind of artist that I aspire to be--one who encourages others. She believed, as I do, that we must all create just for the sake of creating. If humans deserve to be on this planet at all, it is because we can create cool things. Whether that justifies our presence I don't know--but it's better than constant and mindless consumption. Create something. Something good.

Judi was passionately involved with the International Women's Writing Guild. She was the Maine region-rep for that group for years and spent lots of time cultivating local "kitchen tables" of writers. In a state full of agoraphobic and highly eccentric Yankees, that must have been quite a windmill-tilting experience. But I know she mentored lots of great writers who have made (and still make) Maine a better place.

At the last lunch Mom and I had with Judi, she was encouraging me to be a part of that group. I took her advice, tho the IWWG is on the periphery of my life much as she was. It is chock full of very cool women. I recommend it highly. The IWWG's annual conference, Remember the Magic, is held in Saratoga Springs, NY. That place is well worth the trip whether you write or not. If you write tho, Remember the Magic is the place to be.

Judi was a wonderful person and I will miss her flitting yet ever-soothing presence. Well--in body, at least. I'm sure she is still around. Especially in the creaky farmhouses and rain-anointed orchards of the Coastal Maine that she loved.

WERU Community Radio put up a nice tribute to her, which I will paste here because it includes her memorial preferences.

See you around, Judi. I'm followin' along as best I can.

JUDITH BEACH: Community Radio WERU just lost another amazingly wonderful human being with the passing Monday of Judi Beach, from cancer. Judi was the long-time host and producer of the Poetry Pantry short feature on Monday’s Earthtones, working closely first with Karen Larsen and then later with Lee Whitting. Judi will be greatly missed.

The Poetry Pantry was well-produced, elegantly literary short-feature that presented a wide range of poets and poetic subjects on WERU. Judi’s periodic visits to the station to work on the program were a treat for us, as her kind heart and warm demeanor were enjoyed by everyone she engaged. Her late husband Stewart, a similarly easy-to-enjoy person, passed away a few years earlier, soon after starting his volunteer career at WERU. It was a blessing to have known them both and great fortune to have had Judi as part of the WERU family for a good number of happy, poetic years.

Her good friend and WERU cohort Karen Larsen had this to say: “Judi’s love of poetry was also her love of life, her friends and family, and the everyday blessings around her. We shared many laughs and tears together and I shall miss her.”

No memorial service plans have been made, to our knowledge, as of yet but we’ll inform WERU when there are. Karen is working on excerpting recordings of the Poetry Pantry that featured Judi’s own poems and producing them for archiving on the station web site and we’ll let everyone know when they are posted.-Matt Murphy, WERU General Manager

In lieu of flowers, donations in Judi’s name can be made for scholarships to programs of the International Women’s Writing Guild, P.O. Box 810, Gracie Station, New York, N.Y. 10028

Friday, May 02, 2008

boston trip

Well, I finally got a vacation!

Last week/early this week, my coworker/cohort/friend Boots and I went to Boston. We stayed with my brother Harry and his family (Anne, Katharine, and Nat) in Brookline. Their house is very nice and they are great, so it was fun.

Harry gave us unexpected tiks to see a film called "Crawford, USA" at the Boston Indie Film Festival. He apparently knows the family of the Brookline-bred film director, David Modigliani. Of course most times when someone has the same last name as a famous person (like artist/sculptor Amedeo Modigliani, whose self portrait is to the right), they follow their intro by saying something like, "No relation, of course." But in Brookline it is no surprise that the intro was followed by, "Relation, of course." It does indeed turn out that the modern, Austin-based indie film-maker is related to the Amedeo.

Anyhoo--the movie was very good. It was about the town that G. Bush became a resident of right before his election to supreme husimajigger. It was a very good doc. I urge anyone and everyone to see it, which is why I have attached a link:

So on and so forth.

We spent some time walking around the Commons and Harvard Square. It was rainy most of the time but still a nice preview of Spring for we frost-bit Mainers.

On our last nite in town we saw the opening night of eddie izzard's new stand-up tour, Stripped. It was, as we expected, very very good. I linked a review from the night we were there--as found in

Ultimately the weekend ended as all vacations must--with us dragging our tired asses home and plowing back into the work routine. But, YAY! Short week! And soon the Boston Spring will surely catch up with us (I'm telling myself).

In peace, campers...ljl

Saturday, April 19, 2008

IT: Short Fic

This motel is completely for shit. I bet they rent rooms out to whores, by the hour. The lobby smells like mold. I don’t know why it picked this motel. It has a discount for Comfort Inn, and I saw one just down the road.

Maybe it plans to kill me, this time. It says that it will, all the time. It paid with cash. It picked a shit motel.

“Shut up,” I tell my smart-self. She just makes things worse. “It isn’t here to kill you. It probably just wants to snag a whore.”

The lady at the desk shows me where the public phone sits. It is white. I can see dirty fingerprints and Christ knows what else on the handset. Gross.

I pull a folded scrap of paper from my pocket. I got it at an ER, about six months ago. I can’t remember what town that was. Now the paper is faded and torn. I can read it, though. I press the motel key for “toll free.”

Some woman answers. “Battered women helpline,” she says cheerfully.

My mind is flooded with stuff that I could say. I can feel the motel clerk’s beady eyes on me.

Nothing comes out. I could tell her about the time it knocked out my tooth. That’s an easy one. The really hard stuff would never come out. There aren’t words for that stuff.

I could tell her how it put me in an unplugged chest-freezer for a whole night. That was the night I stopped calling it a “him” – a man. No man could do this to his wife.

That night in the freezer, I could barely breathe. The air was stale and smelled of spoiled milk.

Every now and then, it would open the door and stare down at me – smiling. Sometimes some spittle would rain down.

It held me down with its heavy hands and burned my thighs with its cigarette. My fourth foster father used to do that. When I married it, I thought all that shit was behind me.

It acted like a man, back then. I guess it was just like a trained animal that could walk on its hind feet. I could smile and joke and hug. It could say “I love you.” It couldn’t sustain the act forever, though. Not much past the honeymoon.

I thought it all over in the freezer. There was plenty of time to think. I thought I would die in there.
It just kept laughing at me. It said, “I should have put you in there a long time ago. You’re nothing but spoiled meat.”

It said my cunt is loose. It said that I smell. Then morning came, and it just opened the freezer. It let me out as if nothing had happened, at all. That’s the way it is. You never can tell.

I remember again that I am on the phone in this shit hotel. The lady on the other end isn’t saying anything. I try to think what I could say.

I could tell her about the hospital. I walked downtown in the snow. They put me in a paper gown and made me lay on a metal table. Then they brought in some sweet-faced nurse aid to hold me down. Everyone holds me down.

My cunt can’t be loose. It can’t be right. It hurt too much when they did the “pap.” Then they took three swabs. I heard them click like the safety on the gun it keeps under our bed.

It hurt. I cried. They held me down. I bucked and gasped like a landed, dying fish. Then they said, “Everything looks okay.” They “documented my burns,” then they gave me that phone number and sent me on my way.

“What’s going on for you?” the phone-lady asks. She reminds me of where I am. I’m at some shit hotel with it, again.

I think for a moment, but nothing comes. I feel like a deer in the headlights.

“It – he says I smell,” I whisper.

The lady on the phone said something sympathetic, but I didn’t catch it. The desk clerk is snickering at me. She ducks her head when I turn toward her, but I know she was laughing at me.

“Forget it,” I say, and hung up the phone. I flip the desk-bitch off and go outside.

I walk down the concrete sidewalk to 104 – It's room. I know it would still be asleep. It drank three bottles of Nyquil.

It does not look peaceful when it sleeps. This is more like going for a hike and accidentally stumbling upon a grizzly bear, slumbering in its cave. Your only thought is, “Please don’t let that wake up.”

I look around for something to do. The room smells like cough syrup and sweat. I can’t turn the air conditioner on. The rumble might wake it up.

T.V.? No way. Might wake it up. Shower? Sound of the water might wake it up. Radio? No.

I notice the bedside table. There must be a Bible in there. And a phone book. If I get tired of one, I can read the other.

I get the Bible and start flipping through. My mom used to do that. She would let it fall open to random pages and act like the first sentence she read was a special message for her.

It says “Isaiah 66.17-24” at the top. I look down at the middle of the page.

“For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, says the Lord; so shall your descendants and your name remain. From new moon to new moon, and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me, says the Lord. And they shall go out and look at the dead bodies of the people who have rebelled against me; for their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be abhorrence to all flesh.”

I look around the room – just thinking. The sound of its snoring is the only sound.

This whole thing reminds me so much of my mother. It all comes back to me, how she used to carry that bible around.

“A prophet isn’t recognized in his own town,” she would say. “Just kick the dust off your feet and move on.”

It sounded like crazy talk, back then. But it’s beginning to make sense. Isn’t that what I do with my life? I am always just moving from town to town. Maybe it’s time to kick the dust off my feet – this time on my own.

I walk to the bed. It is snoring away. Its nose and mouth are wide open and rattling with air. It is face-up with its hooked-nose pointing to the ceiling. If you couldn’t hear the snores, you might think it was saying a prayer.

“From new moon to new moon, all folks will come to worship God,” I whisper to myself. I pick up my pillow. It is free and clear – lying down by its feet. This is easy – far too easy. This isn’t coincidence. This is meant to be. I think of the shit motel, the fake name, the bible in the drawer – yes. This is all for me.

“They will go out and look at the bodies of the dead people that rebelled against God,” I whisper. “They shall kick the dust off their feet and move on.”

I put the stained pillow down over its face. I hold it tight – so tight. I lean down with all my weight.

It struggles. It hollers. It kicks and swings. It gets me good in the ribs. No matter – I can take it. I have been trained.

Everything is clear as I stand over it. Everything falls into place. It brought me here to murder me. God put it in its place. How else could I be strong enough to win this fight? I am. I can see its strength ebbing away.

Maybe five minutes pass before I take the pillow away. It feels like the length of a day. When I move, it is peaceful and quiet, like. It doesn’t look like a grizzly bear in its cave. It looks like a weak, beaten thing.

I just stare at it for a good long time. Then I put the bible away. I can have a good shower before I leave. But first, I kneel down at the bedside. Its body is on the altar where I pray.

“Thank you for Nyquil, God,” I whisper. “Thanks for bringing me to your word, today.”

I get up. I am free. I will knock the dust off my feet and walk away.

Friday, March 14, 2008

words of wisdom

Words of wisdom from a hotline caller today:

"It takes two to make a caning; the one with the cane and the one that bends over."

I'll inform Amnesty International immediately.

Paws on Parade

starry pup

Starr had a great time at the Bangor Humane Society "Paws on Parade" event last fall. Makes me yearn for warm weather again!
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Monday, March 10, 2008

poverty sucks

Gag. Poverty sucks. Maine is up for HUGE budget cuts in human services...some directly through the department of health and human services, but others from non-profits that get huge percentages of their funding from state contracts (called purchases services). So, when you read about the budget cuts you are looking at cuts to crucial Maine services like Family Planning, Assisted Living, Elder supports, Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault supports, and tons more. Please check out the webpage for Maine Can Do Better:

My editorial in the Bangor Daily News may (temporarily) be found here:

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

bloody cold out

It's snowing out again. It is forecasted to continue basically forever. Oh, well. It's pretty.

I gave blood yesterday, and my arm is sore! It wasn't too bad, though. Interesting facts:

We each have eight to twelve pints of whole blood in our body.

It takes our bodies two to four weeks to replace one pint.

Someone in the U.S. needs a blood transfusion every two seconds.

Over 38 000 blood transfusions are needed every day.

Only about ten percent of the population is eligible to give blood.

This brings me to my rant. One of the categories of people who are not eligible to donate blood are "Men who have sex with another man EVEN ONCE." -- the all caps were on my blood donor info sheet...exact quote. Well, no wonder they are always short on donors! Whine, whine whine.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Yay! It's February

Somehow we have made it to February. Two spontaneous thoughts spring to mind. The first is, "Yay! Good for us." After all, we Mainers are cresting the heartbreak hill of winter and getting ready for an easy coast down the snowy/slushy/muddy slope of Spring. The sun is radiating a rather anemic-yet-determined pallor through my office window as I write. I can't complain about that.

Second spontaneous thought: "Fuck, it's February!"

This is known to be a depressing month. Valentine's Day surely has something to do with that. What sick Ass decided to put a national holiday dedicated to arm candy and/or relationship angst (biological clocks ringing off the table) right in the middle of the barest, coldest, most depressing fucking weather of the year???! Hitler? Bad. Wrong.

Anyhoo, I have to focus myself on the "yay" for purposes of self-preservation. After all, we have survived a formidable January. Maine had record snow accumulation, plus frigid temps. My best friend broke her wrist so badly that she had to have a plate surgically inserted in it. My Mom fell in the icy driveway and is nursing a bruise that takes up roughly 40% of her body. The domestic violence project where I work had the first domestic homicides of the new year a scarce few blocks from one of our offices...and it was a double homicide, to boot.

Yet that month is over. The sun is shining. The day is warm (must be 38 degrees!). It is a leap year. I can do this. Yay!

The Pagan Holiday of Imbolg, which we in the Northern Hemisphere celebrate on February 2, is a time to prepare one's self for the new growth of Spring. As nature gears up to burst forth with a new growth cycle, we humans plan our gardens, clean house, start a health regimin, or shop online for bathing suits. Hey, whatever works. Brace yourselves, people...Spring is almost here!

So, what does that extra R in FebRuary stand for? Let's see:

Rigorous, Rich, Reality, Rotten, Rugged, Rainy, Rusty, Radiant. I guess that will do for a start. Happy February, everyone!