Guest blogger: Emily Dickinson

Hello everybody.

Warning: I won’t be including any new poems here. Those of you who know something about me know that I keep my poems to myself. Out of 1,800, I’ve published fewer than a dozen. In fact, perhaps I won’t publish this bit of prose, either.

joem18b volunteers here at the Union Psychiatric Facility, which is how I met him. Strangely enough, he teaches a class in basket weaving. Basket weaving used to be the principal activity with which mental patients in asylums passed the time, but it has become a lost art in the padded cells of America. I specialize in the use of soft spaghetti and other noodles. This sounds crazy, I know, but that’s par for the course here on the ward. At least I don’t use human excrement!

Of course I am a woman suffering from the pathological delusion that I am an historically famous poetess, dead these 125 years. If I work hard, hard enough, I can recover a reality beyond these, my own personal confusions.

I earn my current permissions level here on the ward by repeating those two sentences to staff whenever appropriate. Naturally I include the statements here in my post. I believe them to be true. Really.

Having said that, let me answer the question most often put to me: How can I be so placid when I am locked in a secure building with no option to leave? My answer: I never went out anyway. I’m perfectly agoraphobic. This is the ideal situation for me. I write new poems every day. I’m allowed to wear a white dress.

My boyfriend is Napoleon. Stereotypical? Not so. There are virtually no Napoleons left in American mental institutions. The emperor is out of favor. Or perhaps the current level of historical ignorance in this country has turned him into an unknown. But this instantiation of him, my Napoleon, has sold me. Ask him a question and his answer is either true when you check it out on Google, or there is no answer available online.

Why Napoleon? If you know anything about the man, you know that he can’t keep it in his pants. That is in no way a problem for me. I’ve been taking care of myself my whole life. My relationship with Nappy, as I call him, is not based upon physical considerations. And please don’t bother googling “Emily Dickinson” and “lesbian” together. The poems that you’ll find referenced there came to me on exceptionally hot and muggy days, when wearing my usual starched garments became unbearable.

Anyway, my father was an extremely erudite man. I believe that is why I am attacted to Napoleon. We can sit and gab about history for hours.

I’m looking out the window now, and I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a pine tree, or is that a juniper? Kilmer stole the line from me, by the way.

Guest blogger: my mom

You don’t phone. You don’t write.

Ha Ha. Just kidding.

Move out of the house.

So this is where you spend all your time. The crumbs in this keyboard! No wonder we have rats.

They aren’t squirrels. They’re roof rats. Google it.

Hello, everybody. I’m glad to meet you.

To the shiksha who my son has been hanging out with online: Invite him over. If you live at home like he does, that’s ok. He can sleep on the couch. Don’t feed him pork. Have some protection handy, although to tell you the truth, I don’t think he knows much about that side of life yet.

To the boys who my son plays games with online: If the shiksha don’t invite him over, you invite him over. He can sleep on the floor.

Who do I have to screw to get this kid a job?

Son, if you don’t go down and apply at Carl’s Junior this afternoon, you’re dead to me, although I will keep doing your laundry and ironing, including your sheets and underwear.

Flowers, Puppies, and the Love of God

Reading over some of my recent posts, I find them harsh. I regret these posts. The world does not need harsh. The inside of my brain is not a harsh place. Let us  mellow out.

Yes, let us think of… flowers. Their beauty. Floral beauty. Their colors. Floral color. Each flower provides sustenance and living space for myriad small creatures. Sure, the little things eat each other to some extent. There are spiders. It’s a jungle in miniature. Endless soulless remorseless death. But let’s not think about that. Let’s focus on the aromas, the deep satisfying colors. With global warming progressing exponentially, you’ll be able to grow all manner of heat-tolerant, drought-resistant varieties year round, until we reach the point where only cactii can survive. Increasing respiratory illness and allergies might spoil our walk in the roses, as will the advent of the African black death honeybee, but let’s not think about that.

Let us think instead of… puppies. So fuzzy. So friendly, except for those traumatized into quivering catatonia by their previous experiences with humans. Ha. You think you know where this is going: into negative territory, again and again. Wrong. Watch this. Puppies, yapping, tussling, months away from developing into vicious pit bulls… Now you think I’ll promise not to go dark, but then I will go dark. No. I won’t promise anything. Why should I? You don’t know me. We’ve never met. Have you ever been bitten by a rabid dog? Sure, the dog was tiny. But it’s teeth were like needles. Have you ever had rabies treatment? The needles into the abdomen? Sure, I can be mellow, but give me a friggin break! Let me work through a couple of issues first, alright?

So let us think of… love. The Love of God. I no longer say a blessing over dinner. Why? Because in the space of time that I am speaking the words of thanks, and while I’m also asking for a blessing upon family members, in that space of time, an average 423,706 individuals around the world will die, often in what some would call hilariously macabre circumstances. If I keep up the blessings, one or more of my family members are increasingly likely to drop dead while I pray, as am I. It’s simple statistics.

Will I read this later and find it harsh? I think not. If flowers, puppies, and The Lord are not mellow, what is? Or what are?

Assure Yourself a Bottomless Pit of Blog Visitors!!

I used to post my movie reviews on Spout, which supported personal movie blogs. Spout would send me a screener to review and that was excellent, because the movies that arrived in the mail from them were never ones that I would have watched otherwise, but that were well worth my time. Broadened my horizons. Sadly, Spout stopped supporting private blogs, so I opened a WordPress account and copied 30 or 40 of my reviews over to it.

Without links to or from any other website and no connection to an online community and no friends who knew about the blog, I expected zero visits, except for those by random spamming blogbots. But not so! Every day or so, I have at least one visitor, and sometimes two! Examination of my stats reveals that the visits are  always to one of three particular reviews: Wonderous Oblivion (2003),  Manda Bala (2007), and Tillsammans (2000). For whatever reason, Google lists my reviews of these movies prominently enough in common searches for at least one person a day to click on the link to my site.

A visit a day equates to 365 visits a year, a veritable deluge. OK, the rate goes down a bit on weekends and holidays, but still, I never dreamed I’d have 300 readers a year. Course, maybe it’s just been one crazy  guy – the director of Wonderous Oblivion, for example. Or sneaky bots that fool the spam filters. And even just telling you this, I’m running a risk. What if you post reviewsof these three movies on your own site, and my average goes down from the current one visit a day to one visit every two days? Does the satisfaction that you’ve read these words and acted upon them compensate me for my disappointment at my plunging stats?

It’s a damned double-edged sword!