the names

Fifteen years later, today I am going to leave this right here because literally anything else is just noise.

“The Names”

Yesterday, I lay awake in the palm of the night.

A soft rain stole in, unhelped by any breeze,

And when I saw the silver glaze on the windows,

I started with A, with Ackerman, as it happened,

Then Baxter and Calabro,

Davis and Eberling, names falling into place

As droplets fell through the dark.

Names printed on the ceiling of the night.

Names slipping around a watery bend.

Twenty-six willows on the banks of a stream.

In the morning, I walked out barefoot

Among thousands of flowers

Heavy with dew like the eyes of tears,

And each had a name —

Fiori inscribed on a yellow petal

Then Gonzalez and Han, Ishikawa and Jenkins.

Names written in the air

And stitched into the cloth of the day.

A name under a photograph taped to a mailbox.

Monogram on a torn shirt,

I see you spelled out on storefront windows

And on the bright unfurled awnings of this city.

I say the syllables as I turn a corner —

Kelly and Lee,

Medina, Nardella, and O’Connor.

When I peer into the woods,

I see a thick tangle where letters are hidden

As in a puzzle concocted for children.

Parker and Quigley in the twigs of an ash,

Rizzo, Schubert, Torres, and Upton,

Secrets in the boughs of an ancient maple.

Names written in the pale sky.

Names rising in the updraft amid buildings.

Names silent in stone

Or cried out behind a door.

Names blown over the earth and out to sea.

In the evening — weakening light, the last swallows.

A boy on a lake lifts his oars.

A woman by a window puts a match to a candle,

And the names are outlined on the rose clouds —

Vanacore and Wallace,

(let X stand, if it can, for the ones unfound)

Then Young and Ziminsky, the final jolt of Z.

Names etched on the head of a pin.

One name spanning a bridge, another undergoing a tunnel.

A blue name needled into the skin.

Names of citizens, workers, mothers and fathers,

The bright-eyed daughter, the quick son.

Alphabet of names in a green field.

Names in the small tracks of birds.

Names lifted from a hat

Or balanced on the tip of the tongue.

Names wheeled into the dim warehouse of memory.

So many names, there is barely room on the walls of the heart.

who tells your story

Hey, remember Judy?

Yes, of course, I remember her. She retired four years ago, right?

Yes. She died.

Oh my goodness!

She died three years ago.

Oh…Oh…

Yeah.

She did retire four years ago. She was given a wonderful sendoff with all the love and good wishes and promises of let’s keep in touch. But life…work…Cerner at work…family…life…you know.

No one, I guess, really kept in touch because life and all that. But sometimes late at night at work with a little downtime we talk, we laugh, we remember…and a name is dropped and we wonder, how is Judy these days? No one knows. Life, work, family and stuff, you know. Her name is searched on Facebook…even if she was never on Facebook and then she is Googled and, well…

Judy died October, 2013. She was preceded in death by her parents and brother. She worked as a Registered Nurse for forty years and found her calling in pediatric nursing. Judith was an artist in varied mediums and also enjoyed collecting and reading. Judith’s intensity in her interests was extended in her caring for those who were close to her.

Literally people, you have know control who lives, who dies, who tells your story.

And for a moment, I do reflect a little on the fact that there is no control once you are gone who tells your story.

Kind of hard for a girl like me who, in her adult life, almost demands a little control over who will tell my story when I’m gone. True, I write much of it down for all the reasons the arm chair therapists might imagine and for my children; but ultimately I have no control what parts are remembered, what parts will be re-told and what parts will be forgotten…even if I did write so much of it down.

Well, at least I know what shall be played at my memorial. Thank you Zoë!

Literally everyone should want Jesse L. Martin to sing  I’ll Cover You  at their memorial.

Rest in peace Judy.

 

 

 

a natural and common event

A miscarriage is a natural and common event. All told, probably more women have lost a child from this world than haven’t. Most don’t mention it, and they go on from day to day as if it hadn’t happened, so people imagine a woman in this situation never really knew or loved what she had. But ask her sometime: how old would your child be now? And she’ll know.
— Barbara Kingsolver

Much has been happening in the lives of my circus act this week. Much to celebrate and give thanks for…sending children off to school…new jobs…college life…marriages to celebrate…milestones achieved…all good and wonderful things for which we all celebrate and are thankful for. Yet all the good, so much good, is tempered right now with our hearts bruised and aching as we hold one of ours in this moment.

Yes, it’s like the wind has been knocked out of us because so many wishes, hopes and dreams are attached to this brand new life.

Miscarriage, yes, is a natural and common event. It doesn’t make it any easier to get over even if that is what might be the expectation. An acquaintance said recently how awkward they feel comforting someone who needs comfort; which I guess is supposed to make it okay to not even try. I countered that perhaps literally looking someone you know and care about in the eye and say to them “I’m sorry” is really all that is needed because no matter how awkward you feel, trust me, their pain is so much more. In the end as they heal, they will remember who cared to say that…and who awkwardly said or did nothing.

I’m sorry is simply all that is needed…add a hug, even better…a casserole for extra points.

In all seriousness, it hurts. I know it hurts my child more than it hurts me right now but it hurts still. It’s a hurt I can’t kiss away for her. It’s a loss that reminds me of my own years and years ago…the three of them would be 31 and 26 years old today

For my daughter and son in law, I am so sorry, so very sorry.

 

 

mourning, but with all the hope

I know that I am not the only one crying and screaming on the inside what the actual fuck right now.

Baton Rouge…Alton Sterling…”he should have just complied”…Falcon Heights…Philando Castile…”but he complied; he followed the officer’s orders”…Black Lives Matter…Dallas…Dallas PD…Ballwin…Ballwin PD…Blue Lives Matter…“All Lives Matter”…

I can’t. I just can’t.

Moments that words don’t reach; suffering too terrible to name. And in these moments this week I just want to hold the ones I love the most as tight as I can and push away the unimaginable. All of it. But I can’t. I just can’t.

I am at work and I distract myself with work. I walk into the break room and one of the news channels is on. It’s not Fox News…THANK YOU…but I just can’t. I distract myself with work, with my patients’ conditions and parents’ bedside vigils because I just can’t imagine.

Coffee is delivered by my current favorite child, and I give thanks for the happy distraction it brings.

It’s the little things. Acts of kindness. Warm hugs. Parents holding their precious new babies as close as they can taking in all the promises of future hope that they represent. Moments that words don’t reach; grace too powerful to understand. My heart hurts right now. The hearts of most everyone else I know hurt right now. Sad, mad, all the outrage, all the helplessness, all the tears and fears are happening right now and I know that I am not alone. But through the night at work last night there was for me a promise of hope that no matter how small is potentially powerful enough to rise above the unimaginable. I’m keeping that hope close to my heart and last night, all night, and today, right now I am happy for the tiny warmth it radiates deep within my broken heart.

A baby is god’s opinion that the world should go on.

Carl Sandburg

#saytheirnames

They are more than a list of names. They are people who loved and were loved. ~ Anderson Cooper

Say their names…THEIR names…let their murderer’s name become dust as he will be.

Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old

Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old

Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old

Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old

Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old

Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old

Luis S. Velma, 22 years old

Kimberly Morris, 37 years old

Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old

Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old

Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old

Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old

Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old

Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old

Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old

Amanda Alvear, 25 years old

Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old

Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old

Mercedes Marisol Flores, 26 years old

Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old

Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old

Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old

Oscar A. Aracena-Montero, 26 years old

Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old

Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old

Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old

Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old

Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old

Cory James Connell, 21 years old

Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old

Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old

Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old

Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25years old

Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old

Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old

Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old

This list of names could very well change but for now THESE are the names we should be saying and imprinting into our minds and sharing everywhere. These are the names we must remember if we are to engage in any rhetoric in the aftermath of the murder of these sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, friends and lovers. These are the names we must say out loud and remember.

photo credit: Thalia, daughter of Liz Gumbinner