I like this picture of inside reflected on outside. Dreary day here. So here is a poem I wrote two days ago when the weather was dingy.
There are so many lovely shades of grey
that could have been chosen.
But when it is going to be a cold and dreary day
what does the sky do?
It picks the only grey that looks
like a dirty white sheet.
And keeps it waiting in the dark.
so that before that lovely pinkish grey
can arrive with dawn,
this grey is dropped over the house,
the trees, the garden, and me.
I spend the day watching through the window
for holes in this old sheet.
There are none.
That is probably why it is used so often
November to March.
No amount of rain will clean it.
It smells like other dirty days.
The winter sky is always ready
to pull it back out of the hamper
to float down on my world,
tucking it tight under the horizon.
More gloves for the drawings a day.
Warm, lined black suede gloves
make it impossible to
pick up a quarter.
Putting on these gloves
is like wearing a pair of
little brown Muppets.
You are given a box of clothes from someone extremely close who dies suddenly. Write the scene sorting through the clothes.
Look at these things! It was not as though she had bad taste. She simply had no taste. Just something to put on her body and head out the door. So as not to have to consider what colors may go together, she kept to beige and olive green. They’d look military if it weren’t for the cut of the shirts and pants. Loose on her frame and always in motion. This is the first time I have seen these clothes still. They are so empty.
Write a conversation where no one is saying what they really mean. Contrast their body language with their verbal language.
She said, “Yes, dear” staring out the window. He nodded to her back while reading his paper. Both had agreed to something that neither cared about.
How does one know when one is truly comfortable with a new lover?
When one can yawn in the face of the other’s excitement.
I read this book recently. Out loud to Lee. I liked the dedication the author had toward helping to save these largest owls in the world in outback Russia with rough men, vodka, makeshift equipment and exhaustive adventures. He writes so easily about the hardships endured in the most inhospitable place. I would recommend it to those who are environmentalists, lovers of birds and very rugged individuals.
As soon as I finish the latest Cormoran Strike book (I am only a tenth of the way through) I will start on one of these.
All writers start with an idea and some degree of passion to tell a story.
I like writing. It usually takes days like the one I started out with in the Winter Sky poem. One like today…rain pouring down, someone else taking care of Lee who slips further away on dismal days when he can’t be outside.
I found this from my journal writings.
“Books! They are the perfect form. In making them I become the story teller, the illustrator and the architect of the book itself, putting everything in a closed form for the viewer to hold in his hands and slowly make it come to life.” Sandy Webster
When I show the images in my sketch book of the Responsibility Hands and write about Lee’s dementia often someone will ask if I am planning on writing a book.
My answer is “No”. I don’t get anything from other’s people’s experiences about living with dementia except the worry that now I have “that” to look forward to. So I avoid them. I couldn’t do that. My life is not theirs. I respect that. It is offensive to have to listen to others push their ideas of what it takes to get through. I wrote the following as part of a letter to a friend who found himself on a pedestal of handing out advice on keeping hope:
“I don’t think that anyone needs to be taught the hunger for hope. But there are many who know beyond any doubt that the hunger for it does not lead to its arrival. We are not talking about those who are privileged to have the option of choice, the ones who have the luxury of time to find themselves, but those who are already awake and face every day knowing that it will be one spent solely in pursuit of survival. I suspect I am too much the pragmatist to believe everyone has a chance and choice for hope and calmness in their life. Not all people are privileged to have the helping hands of others nor are they in a position to hear those voices sharing a truth that could not be further from their own.”
I don’t remember if he responded.
The closest I have ever come to doing something like explaining dementia is this artist book interpretation. A physical interpretation of dementia. Nowhere here is a cautionary tale. No running diary of living this life we share. Just a tactile thing of what it is like and how the missing pieces are saved up in a safe place of small glimpses.
But thinking about the writing I shared the other day, If You Noticed, an idea came to me. I could write a small, illustrated book of poetry that captures the reality of dementia through small observations.
And perhaps it would be titled, “…trust the tether line.”
Here are two:
He Doesn’t Remember
He doesn’t remember
anything before what happened
in the last few minutes.
And a few minutes from now
this time will have gone off
to where years of minutes
keep a gate open
behind a grey mist.
And only then can the light shine
on what is left behind ….
the work of making
our next few minutes matter.
he could button his shirt.
I saw it!
His hands grasped
each side of the shirt
near the collar
and he felt his way down
to the first button and hole.
Body memory took over
and down the shirt he went.
All but the last one
because that part would be tucked in.
And after the shirt
was smoothed down
he hiked up his jeans
and worked that button into place.
Found the zipper
and pulled it up.
Then he grasped both ends
of his leather belt,
put one end through the buckle,
pulled tight and fitted
the prong through the hole.
He tucked what was left into
the loops of belt and jeans.
That was yesterday.
So back in a couple of days…