They Call

toss and turn. clammy sheets.
trembling hands and frigid feet.
creatures of the wildest kind
existing only in the mind,
hovering neither here nor there;
trudging through with weighty cares.
I know not if they’re bad or good
or simply the misunderstood.

they call, I come.
they chase, I run.
they seem as friends
but quickly lend
a mocking to my misery.
yet when they call each night, I’ll go,
afraid of where they’re leading me.
they speak of all that’s terrible
beyond the dusky shore of sleep.

*originally written on Aug 16, 2012 and recently published in the poetry anthology Ground Zero by Nicholas Gagnier of Retcon Poet

Ground Zero

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Attack of the Zombabies

I often suffer from terrible dreams and insomnia. Last night I had a dream where I woke from sleep (waking from sleep inside of a dream is pretty trippy) and I was covered with toddler bites, which had become infected. Then I woke up for real and spent 15 minutes in half-sleep haze, cataloging my extremities to make certain that I was not indeed attacked by zombie-babies. Distressing, yes. Weird, yes. Insightful? Hmmmm…maybe?

I’ve realized lately that my dreams can be rather telling about the roots of my anxiety. This particular dream was no doubt due to some apprehension over my interview today for a nanny position. No worries, everything seemed to go well, and I was not bitten by any toddlers. I even wore my “you-can-trust-me with-your-children” interview glasses. It’s not yet a done deal, but the family does want to proceed with a “trial run,” which always makes me feel hopeful. It has been FAR too long since I have had full-time employment. Being unemployed or underemployed sucks. It’s discouraging and draining and often seems pointless after a failed interview, especially when I felt it had gone well. Yet, I feel like I have turned a corner. Maybe it’s the warmer weather and the flowers blooming. Maybe it’s my “trust-me-glasses.” Whatever it is, I feel full of hope, that even if this one doesn’t work out, I can trust in God and not fall into a spiral of cynicism and self-doubt.

So here’s to spring-time, flowers, warm breezes, new glasses, and endless opportunities.

Cheers 🙂

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“But you can trust me…I’m wearing glasses.”

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wake each morning sweating,
trapped beneath my bedding.
confusion reigns from dreams most dire.
my head has caught on fire.
paranoia running rampant.
captivity beneath the blankets.
enemies are everywhere;
i’ve not a friend to spare.
running. running. always running.
thoughts are strange and unbecoming.
no rest found inside this bed
whilst I live inside my head.
running

Backing Up Over My Dignity

This is the story of how I backed up over my dignity and lost face. This is one of my more embarrassing moments, of which I have scores. I seriously doubt the person(s) involved will ever read this, but they were there and already know what happened so all embarrassment has rolled off by this point.

A few years ago I had a hopelessly unrequited and hopelessly ill-informed (but that’s another whole blog all by itself) crush on a man. I had been trying for weeks to get his attention. We were friends but it was a tense and terse relationship from the start, fraught with misunderstanding, fights, and me generally making an ass of myself. I had heard around the water cooler that he had started seeing someone.  It was pretty clear they were together but he had told me emphatically that they were not dating. Turns out that wasn’t true, but again that’s a story for another day; or a story put to rest with a shovel, a shotgun and a bottle of Jameson’s.

On this particular night I was going to a friend’s house for a get-together. Several mutual friends had RSVP’d saying they would be there. As my luck would prove, it was to be an excruciatingly awkward evening with only the host, hostess, the Man, and the girlfriend-who-didn’t-exist. The smart part of my brain said ‘Run away! Run away! This can only get worse.’ But nooooo, as I am a glutton for anything that is bumbling, stumbling, lumbering and fumbling, I decided to nut up and power through. Let’s be clear that I have a love affair with awkward situations, as long as I am not the cause or victim. Wait…I guess that means I love social spasticism (yup, new word) only at the expense of others which kind of makes me a jerk. Sorry, digression over. We all sat around the dining room table as the Man loudly praised the non-girlfriend for how awesome she was, “I mean seriously guys! Isn’t she the awesomest EVER?! RAWR!”

Blechh. I went to the backyard to cry quietly over my cigarettes, and not-so-gently scold myself, “Pull it together woman!”

When I came back in we had moved the “party” to the living-room where I would spend the next two hours trying not to see the hand-holding three feet away from me on the couch. Asking the host “Are you sure they’re not together? They look pretty together,” I was told “No, no, no. Definitely not together. He said no, so it’s no.” In all honesty, what they were or weren’t was none of my business but 1) I HATE being lied to, even over something stupid and 2) crushing hard on someone can drive any sanity out of the brain right through the ears.

After the movie was over the Man and not-girlfriend left pretty quickly. I stayed to chat hoping that I had left ample time to avoid needing to interact with them in the drive-way. As I walked out, I saw the Man and the girlfriend-who-never-was kissing in front of my car. Again, I could have saved face and gone back inside but nooooooo. I just cleared my throat and began walking to my Scion. The Man pushed not-girlfriend off of him, which actually makes me laugh now, cause damn…that must have been hard to explain later. As in any emergency (real or perceived – emphasis on perceived), fight or flight kicked in. Fight was insane, duh, so I had no choice but to flee. I’m telling you, it seemed perfectly rational at the time. In my haste, I threw the car into reverse. I heard a crunch. Not a really loud crunch, more like a gentle crunch. I looked in the rear-view and found I had backed over the host’s neighbor’s 30-gallon plastic planter. And of course it was filled with about 20 gallons of dirt and 15 lbs of plant.

“Well I can’t get out now dammit! I have to just keep going!” as I threw the car back into drive to complete the k-turn.

“SCRAAAAAAAPE!” halfway down the street.

“I know! I’ll just go faster in order to lose the mansion-sized planter which is now embedded under my car!”

SCCCCCCRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAPE!”

“Sonofagun!!!!!”

Chirp-chirp from my cell phone alerted me to a new text, “Um…I think you may have something under your car?” From who else but the Man himself, who happened to be driving behind me.

I’d like to think I responded with grace and aplomb, but that would be so uncharacteristic. It was probably more likely me shouting at the rear-view “Oh you think? You think?! No crap Sherlock!!!!”

I went to bed that night feeling lied-to and stupid, and woke with that always hopeful feeling of that-can’t-have-really-happened. I received a phone call from the host later that morning saying “Our neighbors found their planter busted up at the end of the road and tire marks on the front lawn. Do you know what happened?”

“Um…yeah. I happened.”

embarrassed-bunny-is-embarrassed-168839-456-342_large

(this makes me feel better)

Dream Bazaar

My brain has turned to mush
In the weighty static hush
Of TV’s blue electric light
Left on throughout the night.
Dreams infused with bawdy calls,
Shouted from the market stalls
Of televised metropolis.
I’m tired…tired. I’m nonplussed.
Clamor from the market square
“Look here! Here!
HERE!
No, THERE!”
Working deep inside my dreams.
Sludging up from churning streams.
Coiled spring inside my chest
Winding tighter with each jest.
Screeching at me more and more.
“More and more! Always MORE!”
Dream bazaar. And dreams bizarre:
Keep that TV very far.

dream2

image used with permission from onlyhdwallpapers.com

I would not survive a zombie apocalypse.

I love zombie movies. I mean, I loooooove them.

Then why don’t I marry one? Maybe I will, so shut up.

I have always had a somewhat morbid imagination.  As a child, after watching an episode of Unsolved Mysteries (which by the way is way more terrifying than any zombie movie and which I still refuse to watch), I became convinced that I would be murdered in my home. I took it as a given; it was only a matter of when and how.  I came up with a plan for how to defend myself in any room in my house relying only on improvisation and pure adrenaline:

The hallway – my old-fashioned red-painted gumball machine that stands about 3 feet high.
The bathroom – the back of the toilet tank.
The kitchen – knives, spatula, and cast-iron frying pan.
My bedroom – lamps. And a flat-iron, but only if it’s been plugged in.

I think my love of zombies stems from my irrational fear of being murdered but also from my irrational belief that I am STRONG ENOUGH TO WITHSTAND!! Zombie movies feed my fear of death and dismemberment but also my firm delusion that I am stronger than I really am. If I’m feeling generous towards myself, I say that it’s because they remind me of my own mortality. All of that aside, there is just something grotesquely awesome about seeing the dead and decomposing walking about. My parents are fully aware of “My Plans” and bought me this book for my birthday a few years ago.  I mean, it’s no The Zombie Survival Guide but I am sure some of the methods could be used to fight the undead:

books

Then last summer, all of my bravado came crashing down. I was watching the children of some close friends and it was a beeaautiful day!  We went outside to use the trampoline. I was calmly reading (unfortunately neither of the books previously mentioned) when I was attacked. One ambushed me from behind and wrapped her crazy, skinny, little arms around my neck. The other proceeded to try to tickle me. At first it was all fun and games, then I started to freak a bit. Like that feeling when you’re holding a butterfly and you think “Ohhhhhh, it’s so pretty!” Then you realize, “Wait, what the H am I doing?? This is just a caterpillar! that can fly at my face! get off! GET! OFF!” So I tried to fight them off.  And I realized that these kids are strong, like crazy strong.  Little boy was attempting to pile drive me, and I literally had to palm his entire face to toss him across the trampoline (for any potential employers, particularly in the area of child-care, he was totally fine, and this is not a regular activity).  But they just kept coming. Wave after wave of tickle madness, a blur of arms and legs, and manic, bugged out little eyes. Keep in mind that these are little children. Four and seven to be precise. I came to the awful and heartbreaking realization that I could not fight them off. My only hope was to surrender and face the follow-up question of “Why are you so weak?”

I knew in one soul crushing instant that I would not survive a zombie apocalypse. I would not be the chick, hiding in the basement, hoarding all the weapons. I would not be the wily one, who can lose them in the woods. I would not be the brave one on the rooftop surrounded by zombie-traps and barbed wire. Regardless of how many “How long would you survive a zombie apocalypse” quizzes I take on Facebook, I would be one of the first to die. I will find the world’s best blanket, tuck in for a nap and wait for the end. Is that morbid? I’ll give myself a little credit and say I might survive. As long as I don’t have to face the zombies on a trampoline.

photo_1364270520-1317780109

“Don’t say that!”  “What?”  That!  “What?”  The zed-word. Don’t say it!”  “Why not?”  Because it’s ridiculous!”

* For those who also LOVE Zombie movies, Zombie TV and Zombie books, check out my favs:

28 Days Later
(the not quite as good) 28 Weeks Later
Shaun of the Dead
The Cabin in the Woods
Planet Terror
[●REC]
[●REC]2
[●REC]3 Génesis – only enjoyable if you can view this as a comedy (which it was not intended to be); not consistent with the overall vibe of the first two, but ridiculous enough to be pretty darn hilarious
The Crazies
I am Legend
Zombieland
40 Days of Night – I’m thoroughly aware that this is a vampire movie, however those vamps are so terrifying I am convinced they must be a malevolent zombie-vampire hybrid: “vampies” if you will
The Walking Dead  – duh.
Game of Thrones (book series)

Looking forward to seeing:
Warm Bodies
The Evil Dead (2013)

Exhaustion

I am weary all the time.
So weary that I am tired even in my dreams.
While conversing with my cat,
As he is mid-sentence, I drift off.
Dreaming within the dream.
Waking…doubly confused
And the more tired because of it.
The arms and legs feel heavy always,
As if I carry 10 lb weights with me
Or move through deep deep waters.
When I finally awake
The brain feels sludgy and slow.
Slow to respond. Short on patience.
Everyone is quick to offer advice.
“Less sugar” or “More veg.”
“More prayer” and “More books.”
“Less coffee” and “Less sleep.”
And all my body wants is waters deep.

Ghosts

Strangest dreams of friendly ghosts.
Followed me with silent tread.
Intangible they were at first,
Then I felt them flesh and blood.
No one else could see them though.
They could not see. How could they know
The secrets that they told to me?
“Do not fear. You’ve been set free
From waking horrors and walking sleep.
Live your life. You’ve been set free.”

Befriend the Night

Give me brightness by day and dark placid nights,
With dimly lit lamp shedding just enough light
To let me sleep in the deep drowsy black;
With enough of a glow to find my way back.

Give me the leaden blankets of sleep.
Drown out the howl of seething dark deep.
Keep me safe from the dire-wolf’s bite.
Let me befriend this fierce night.