Blood Spatter

I have always liked a clean floor. It might have something to do with the way I was raised. When I was growing up our floors were spotless and the carpet was vacuumed each day. You could see paw prints from our 8 pound cat indented into the plush carpet.

IMG_20151023_072907737 copy

Mahalo

I ask that people remove their shoes before they come into our home. I placed a ceramic plaque I bought in Hawaii by our front door that reads: “Maholo for removing your slippers…(But no take mo’ bettah ones when you leave!)”

I know people make fun of me. That’s okay. I know where their feet have been. They’ve been to the alley behind a favorite restaurant to get to that secret parking place no one else knows about. They’ve been in the restroom at the airport or worse, the toilet on a plane. They’ve been to the doggie park, the gym and the gas station.

Most people are good about taking off their shoes. They’ll leave them outside at the front door or step onto the doormat inside and take off their shoes.  There are those individuals that will walk in to our home without thinking and wander into the living room. I have to remind them to ‘please take off their shoes.’

After a dinner party I’ll grab my Commercial Grade Microfiber Dust Mop from the hall closet, secure a clean mop pad to the Velcro backing and polish the floors. You’d be surprised at the number of crumbs that drop from an Hors d’oeuvres on the way to someone’s mouth or the particles that fall from dinner plates and forks onto the floor.

There are exceptions to any rule, of course, and I’ve had shoes-on parties. These are usually catered events. We set out tables in the back yard, set up a bar on the driveway and let people have the run of the property. We leave the doors open and lock the cats away in a back room. Once we even had dancing. Someone wore black rubber soled shoes that night. After the last guest left, I went through the house and rubbed until each scuffmark was erased.

I like walking on clean floors with clean feet.

These days I spend a lot of time on my hands and knees cleaning droplets of blood from the floors. Our cat has a tumor growing inside of his mouth. It pushes against his teeth and his tongue. After he eats, blood pools at the corner of his mouth, drips to the floor and leaves droplets smaller than a pea, the size of a blueberry or as big as a nickel.

Blood isn’t always red. It can be crimson, or maroon or rosewood. Blood clings to things. I clean the floor by the cat’s food dish, near the back door where he sits and cackles at squirrels and crows. I clean under the kitchen table where he naps in the late afternoon. I clean outside our bedroom door where he guards us at night.

There is blood splatter all over our house.

I use a mixture of Murphy’s Oil Soap and water to spray each droplet. I wait for the molecules to dissolve, I watch them loosen their grip. Then I wipe. Sometimes I’ll wind my way through the house following the trail of blood, stopping at each cluster to spray. Then I’ll loop my way back around and rub each spot clean.

I’ve been called neurotic. Maybe I’m compulsive. I don’t care.  Every day I clean my floors. I’ve perfected my process. Cleaning blood has become an art form.

Fred the Beautiful

My Red Bench

This morning I brought my coffee and my journal to the porch and sat on my bench. I love my bench. Not long after we moved in to our house I saw that the neighbors two doors down from us had a bench and I wanted one too. Their bench was honeydew green and had two white canvas accent pillows. It sat on the front porch under, what I assume to be, their kitchen window.

My Red Bench

My Red Bench

I wouldn’t call our neighborhood modern. In fact, except for the trees and a few over-the-top remodels, if you were to drive down our street, you might think it was 1956.  Most of the homes on our block have grass and maybe a brick pathway that leads from the curb or the driveway to the front steps.

The house with the honeydew green bench had curb appeal. One of the two women that lived there was rumored to be a landscape architect. She designed her front yard in sections with rock borders and exotic plants and a winding slate path that led you to the front of the house. When Bill and I first moved in, we’d walk over and take pictures of their plants so we could buy them and plant them in front of our house.

“I want a bench,” I said to Bill. We were standing in front of their house. I snapped a picture of their bench.

“I don’t know why they have that bench.”  Bill said. “I’ve never even seen them sit on it.”

“You don’t know.” I said and turned to Bill. “They might sit on it when we’re not looking.”

“We don’t need a bench.” Bill said. He was standing with his arms crossed staring at the house.

“It’s curb appeal.” I said. “I want a bench.”

Bill turned toward me. “You probably won’t ever sit on it.” He said.

“I’m buying a bench.” I said. Bill rolled his eyes. He turned and headed back to our house. I followed.

He stopped at the foot of our driveway and crossed his arms. I caught up and we stood there for a few moments looking at our home.

“I’ll go on line to that garden store, Smith & Hawken.” I said. “I bet that’s where they got their bench.”

“Don’t.” He said. “I’ll build you a bench.” I reached up on my tiptoes, kissed his cheek, and walked up the driveway to the house.

Bill built me a sturdy pine bench. I helped him paint it. We chose candy apple red. She sits at the end of our porch under the kitchen window. I bought two black pillows with white piping and lean into them as I write and sip coffee in the mornings. In the summer, our neighbors Susie and Jerry join us for cocktails or beers. Bill and Jerry stand in the driveway and talk about boy things like boats and the weather and motorcycles while Susie and I sit and page through the latest Crate & Barrel or Pottery Barn catalogue. Bill and I sit on our bench and watch the rain. On warm nights, sit and we’ll look at the stars and talk. I love my red bench.

The two women have since moved and a couple bought the house. He’s tall and she has platinum blonde hair. I rarely see them. The lawn is dying and the plants look tired and thirsty.  The porch is empty.

The View From My Bench

The View From My Bench

We’ve gone drought resistant. Our gardener planted lots of colorful dwarf trees and shrubs like Dwarf Day Lillies, California Redbuds, Dusty Millers, Evergreen Current and Fairy Lilacs.  What once was our lawn is now river of grey sand and rock with blue grass accents that runs through pea gravel the color of the beach on a rainy day. When Bill gets home from work, we’ll sit on our red bench and watch the bees, butterflies and hummingbirds drift from flower to flower.

This morning I brought my coffee, my journal and one of my black pillows with white piping outside. I sat on my red bench. The air was thick. The clouds hung low and heavy in the pink and blue sky. A woman walked by with her dog and waved. I waved back.  A man jogged pass on the other side of the street. A white Toyota slowed down in front of our house and stopped. I noticed the driver lean toward the passenger side window and aim her phone at our front yard. I think she was taking a picture.

A View From My Bench

The View From My Bench

LOVE


love rock pink

I’ve been swimming in love’s Caribbean blue. Diving down to explore. I’ve found a huge living breathing love reef. I explore the complexity, what clings to my coral, grows on it, decorates it, burrows into it. Yes, that’s me teeming with love fauna. Every piece of my soft underbelly that might break off with time skitters and pulses with love, with life.

The deeper I dive into my truth, my love and my self, the easier it is to swim.  I don’t need to come up for air as much. I frolic. I’m like the Whales that have been playing and eating in the ocean off of Redondo.

I dove a little deeper on Friday.

I dove and drove way out of my comfort zone to UCLA. (Have you been down Wilshire Blvd. in Westwood lately? Yikes!) I took a deep breath and swam through the sculpture garden and came up for air in Public Policy.

I was invited to guest lecture. I spoke to 70 + students who majored in Business or Econ.

The class was engaged and asked a lot of questions.

The professor invited me back.

Someone from the humanities department took me to lunch.

She asked if I’d come speak to Humanities, English; if I’d participate in a panel.

YES

YES

YES

Ahhhhhhhh

As I left North Campus, making that familiar right turn onto Hilgard, I felt a wave of emotion move through me.

I had stepped into a greater appreciation for myself. I realize that for fear of bragging, I’ve diminished some of my accomplishments. I didn’t want to sound like so many people I meet. “And then I did this and then I did that and me me me me me!”

I know that harsh tinny blinding glare–the sharp, pointed light of someone trying to prove something. I read it in newsletters every day. They’re trying to sell me something. They’re me-ing me.

I used to have this friend. She would analyze me. She’d come to my house, step into my office wearing a tool belt complete with hammer, nails, a yellow highlighter and a Freudian textbook. She was ready to analyze, diagnose and repair. Once she told me that I was holding onto extra weight because I was insecure, that I was afraid of intimacy. She was incorrect. I was holding onto extra weight because I had just had a miscarriage.

Here’s the irony, that’s her issue, not mine. Projection.

Interesting. I see her posts on Facebook. We are still “friends” there. I’ve read some of her newsletters. I watch as she bobs on the  surface of herself.

My wish for her would be to dive deep. I know that diving deep isn’t all colorful fish and blue waters. Sometimes it’s dark and scary. I’ve gone down and I’ve wondered if there was any life force down there at all. Our strange creatures, anglerfish, and giant squid live deep, their tentacles reaching. Evolution has shaded their eyes

Dive down, come back, open your eyes, see and feel.

I own it. My mistakes. My faults. My history. I take responsibility. If you’ve read my poetry, you know some of it ain’t so pretty.

I think if that old friend were to analyze me today, I’d have a different response. Or I might not respond at all, because sometimes people can’t listen to what might be true. It’s too hard and so they reflect and deflect and project. It doesn’t matter what she’d say or do now or then, that’s the beauty.

All that matters is love. Love of self so you can Love others.

Ego=fear

Light=Shine=LOVE.

Valentine’s Day Wish

May you turn on your light,

May you dive into your glow

May you shine

May you shine

Baby SHINE!

From the inside out…

From you heart, not from your head.

 

Love yourself

Love love love

Wrap your arms around yourself and LOVE!

Wishing you a LOVEly Valentine’s Day,

Happy LOVE LOVE LOVE!

 

Write on,

 

carolyn first only sig

Unedited Sunday Morning Musings

 

today

when i was walking

sand slipping between my toes

heels sinking

and lifting

legs moving me forward

people lined up in pews

eyes closed

hands clasped

throats thick with hymn

and they prayed

 

while they sat

surfers AND dolphins

sunday morning redondo beach

in the white and blue

steepled building

down the street from my house

i watched

neoprene clad surfers

wait on waves

i watched

dolphins flip

through the gleam

of sun

a flicker-dance

on the water

i watched pelicans

and gulls dive

for their breakfast

 

i know it might be corny

to make such a simple

comparison

my church

to theirs

 

sometimes truth

is just that simple

 

Hello Moon**

Journal Entry:  August 11, 2014

 

full moon morning

Full Moon Morning

I stepped out onto the back porch this morning and looked up to see the moon, still full, setting in the sky. I don’t recall a full moon ever on an August 11th, but that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t ever happened.

Today is my birthday.

“What a nice surprise.” I tell the moon.

“Sure thing!” He says.  “Happy Birthday!”

“Thank you.” I say

That moon-man smiling down on me, greeting me on my special day, makes me think about how long I have been here. I couldn’t count the number of times I’ve looked up and smiled at him in my five decades and one year.

I had my coffee, my vanilla protein shake with an organic peach and I wrote in my journal.  I left the house happy.  I drove through emptier-than-normal-for-a-Monday streets and parked in the almost vacant lot by my spinning studio.  I was greeted upstairs with smiles and birthday wishes.

During class, our instructor Mandy said, “Grab your water and grab your breath.” I don’t know if she meant to say grab, but that’s what I heard.

I looked over the parking lot, to the palm trees and couldn’t help but think about the word.  Grab.

What have I grabbed for in my life? What else will I reach for and grab? I grab a ripe Meyer lemon from our tree in the back yard — twist and pull.  I pluck opportunities as they ripen on their vines. What will I reach for next?

At 51, I am still like a child that picks and chooses what to discover and explore next.  Although, I haven’t had to grab for that much; the important, life-changing things come to me.

I get clear.
I ask.
I let go.
I receive.

It seems easy and in a way it is, but there is the work of getting clear and letting go, sometimes it can be a challenge. Although, at this place it isn’t as much work as it was when I was in another place.

That’s what happened with Bill.  It’s not that we didn’t reach for each other.  We did.  It’s how we came to be within each other’s reach, in that particular instant, that I find interesting.

I’ve written about it many times, it was as simple as that.

Why does the moon smile down on me?
Why did Bill and I get swaddled together in that moment?
Why am I blessed with this life?

I don’t know that I have answers for these questions.  I may never.  I’m good with that.  I’ll unwrap full moon birthday wishes, and magic instead of answers.

Happy Birthday to Me!

 

** Excerpt from the book that I am currently writing.

 

 

Submission Guidelines

 

“No poems about your morning coffee.”

But I love mine.

It’s organic,

French Roast,

expensive.

I prepare it the night before.

I think about how

the black liquid

will turn tan

when it mixes with the ½ and ½

on the bottom of my mug.

How I will stand at the kitchen sink,

look out the window

purse my lips

and sip.

 

Maybe that editorwoman-drinking-coffee_300

doesn’t understand

the hint of jasmine

on a spring evening,

the brush of your lover’s

finger on your thigh,

or the perfect cup

of coffee

kissing you full

smack on your lips

each morning.

LIP GLOSS

 

LIPGLOSS

My new year’s resolution this year is LIP GLOSS.

More shine
More sparkle
More glitter
More smooth
More softness
More satin and silk and suede
I love me some suede
More leather like butter
What the hell
More butter
Sweet creamy or salted
More open
More writing
More reading
More books
More of my words read by more and more and more people
More of my poems published
More of me published
More of my pieces published
More of my books sold
Even more love and joy and passion and happiness
Even More sex
More sex
What the hell
More sex
–You know it is the cure for the common everything
More grace
More gratitude
More appreciation
–Given and taken

 over exposed

So far, so good
We are three weeks
into 2014 and I leave the house
Lips Berry Beaming and Glossed
I’m Ginger Sensed and smiling Origins

My new years resolution this year is LIP GLOSS

What’s yours?

Let It Be Me

 

September comes and the days go tight.  Tentacles grasp, snatch, twist themselves, vines rooted deep crawl through my toes, wrap around my ankles, up my legs.  I watch the greens and pinks slip away to browns.  Slow hurries into quick, rushes about, reaches for dreams, planted from the year before.

Time runs click tock.

All those things folded and tucked away for another day.  All those things that have to be pulled out from underneath the brush, all those things in rooted under beds rotting in corners of bed rooms and offices and kitchens.  All those things to be dug out from the back of junk drawers, unearthed in kitchens to be tilled and spread, seeded and separated.  Thank you’s, happy birthday’s, congratulation’s, good job’s, rsvp’s, broken promises to be studied, analyzed, organized, donated, tossed, remembered, burned, ritualized, scrubbed clean. Stapled, paper clipped, rubber banded, shredded. Candle burning sticks and stones may break my bones and what about the Elmer’s Glue from years and years and years and those years so long ago?

Time is winding down.

Leaves change and let go they fall fire red decompose yellow. Die transparent.  Crackle crisp under the boots of plaid skirted pony-tailed schoolgirls that carry pink and purple backpacks and text on their smart phones.  We wrote notes on lined loose leaf that we  folded into triangles and passed back and forth at recess.

In September my skin catches fire.leaves fire

It reminds me
I have been attached to grief.

Rattled. Shingled. Raw.

I remember.  I feel back into the pins and needles and numb of twenty-five Septembers ago.  I remember winding my 280 ZX through Laurel and Mulholland and Cold Water.  I remember swerving and skidding and the squealing breaks, let it be me, let it be me, let it be me, let it be me… slicing through thick canyon on heavy Autumn days.  I remember careening into Beverly Hills. Let it be me.   I remember white piles, powder dumped from brown glass onto dirty mirrors sniffed from pinkies and thumbs and tiny spoons and keys, the razor clicks divvy out lines to be snorted and sucked up and smoked and the rolled dollar bills, used and smelling acrid sweet. Absolute bloodied white light late night Marlboro Lights rock line shots and Hendrix till sun light .  Let it be me.

Hot fire harvest moon shines.
I remember
that dream.

Time brands.
I itch.
I scratch.
I pick
I irritate my scars.

Meanwhile, September speeds up, plows through October into November and burrows under the white winter blankets of drift for hibernation.

I am awake
I remember a dream.

Let it be me.

Dancin’ in the Dark

 

It was a September dance partylove shack - Version 2

In our vibrating Love Shack

last night

Queen, Bowie, Bee Gees,  Blondie

Kiss,

She Drives Me Crazy hair flying

arms embrace twirl push pull hips circle grind

knees bend and it’s loco-motion

as his hands Bust a Move

up and down my body

I Want You to Want Me eyes smiling wild

Footloose

and boogie down, bump d’ bump

seventh grade shuffle in our Brick House

we twisted and swirled and kicked and hustled

With New Attitude

Nasty Girl 

on an autumn night

Can’t Fake that Feeling

just Listen to the Music

and our spirits Super Freak

wanting to spread the love

we Beat It

Walking on Sunshine

down the street

What a Feeling

Stayin’ Alive laughing

hearts Play that Funky Music

mirrored disco blue

All Night Long

That’s the Way I Like it

and after these 10 fine years

let’s go ahead

and buy

that mirrored disco ball

 

 

 

Earth Crisis

 

“It wasn’t butter it was earth crisis we were eating last night,” says the tall work-study. The work-study philosophizes about life. “The circle of giving keeps giving” he says.

We’re all philosophers.  Breathing into the dusted sepia pages of books, stacked from floor to ceiling in rooms scented with musk and memory.  Sunlight streams from skylights and neglected windows.  Cars whiz by on Laurel Canyon and Magnolia and the Pioneer Chicken on the corner will outlast us all.

I want to be outside but the cigarette smoker exhales feathers of tar toward saltwater.   The ocean cries and the wall of voodoo forms on the horizon, waiting to hug the cliffs and paint everyone in mist.

There is always a choice.  Today it’s between the all-saltwater-roll-your-own and the voices of those that live among the trees.  Voices that echo in canyons, Love me, free me, color me blue, violet, blood orange yellow and pink; a kaleidoscope of light that winds its way up the trunks of trees.

The trees.  The trees plant themselves into hillsides.  The trees push themselves from rock and stone.  The trees, older than the birds thatwhat of the trees perch themselves, wings spread ready to hunt, older than the iron, stone and wood structures built around them, older than the smoking man. And what of the rocks?

The earth shook and a piece of cliff set itself free.  Tumble, bounce, crumble crash.  Particles disperse and morph into another time.

The wind is hollow. The blue jay hunts for food.  I wait.

I don’t move.  I can’t spread my wings until I know I am home.

I can’t find a home and so I pick up my cup of tea, my crumpled packet of Truvia, my bent spoon, my pen, my new red cap and my bottle of Fiji.  Ten years ago I walked along a beach in Fiji. The Fijians have flat feet. They climb the palm trees and drop-thud the coconuts to the ground.  I thought about moving to Fiji.

I’ve moved before. I was young and splintered. I tread water for a long time.

We all tread water, burn ourselves into a blue flame until we suffocate or stroke.  I butterflied my way to a south-facing beach, crawled up on shore, my home strapped to my back.  Sloshed through thick wet sand. Why not let the sea push me into a dream where the sun sets in the North?

Glue me together.

And what of the dirt that I can’t seem to clean from the bottom of my feet?  Is that from a stone that fell hundreds of skies into my South facing ocean?  Lightning striking sand, melted it into long, thin tubes that sucked themselves toward the beginning.  Volcanoes erupted melted rocks. I am stained by my earth.

Today I stepped on a shard of glass.  I didn’t see it, but I felt it.  I had to stop, sit down and pull it out of my toe.  I am ground fine like glass. A window to peer through, a crystal to fill, to drink from and then place under my husband’s foot.   I have left behind pieces of myself, on pillows and in sheets and wrapped in the souls of those I have loved.