joannebest











{February 4, 2017}   The Fall Is So Much Sweeter

falling

images
burned in my head
imprinted permanent
on a screen or on my heart
and they always stay there
they won’t leave, ignoring my commands,
i shout “go away” and they laugh and sink deeper,
for i have been claimed,
even if only i know this,
i have been claimed

much is left unsaid in the marking,
it just happened,
it just is,
words have yet to be invented
nothing worthy enough,
and there is power in naming a thing,
so stay silent and flow
steady and strong, twist with the wind,
prepare to jump at any altitude
eyes wide open

the fall is so much sweeter
when you know where you are landing

 

handview

 

 

 

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catfight

Okay folks, let’s break this whole thing down as succinctly as possible without offending anyone since that seems to be the criteria for friendship these days.

In case you haven’t heard, we had a Presidential Election over here in the good old US of A. It’s something we do every 4 years and it comes with a 2 term limit. (In my opinion, every political position should have term limits but that’s for another day or, perhaps, never)
We The People cast our ballot then we cross our fingers hoping “our” candidate wins. There is a peaceful transfer of power on Inauguration Day and then we all go on with our lives.

Nah. I’m only kidding because it doesn’t work that way anymore.

Now it’s a free-for-all regardless of the outcome. I’ve lived through quite a few Presidential elections, I was a baby when John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated but I have a memory of crying adults and a sense of unity, then again, to my mini-brain, it was the exact day my cousin was born so I felt only happiness and love.
Until a few terms ago, I never paid attention to politics, it was something the adults talked about in quiet tones while my older brother and I would play “The Six O’clock News”, where we’d take turns making believe we were newscasters by coming up with our own news stories. It was one of the few times we’d take advantage and use the bed as a stage to stand on when it was our turn to announce the news of the day. Of course it always turned into an excuse to jump up and down on the bed, a children’s game I never understood but took full advantage of until I jumped so high I banged my head on the ceiling but again, another story for another day.

We The People are now tearing each other apart in the name of politics and it is breaking my heart. I look at the usual suspects of social media, Facebook, Twitter,and just about every comment section in nearly every site that allows comments. Not only is it scary, it’s a bloody blood-filled bloodbath everywhere I turn.

Lifelong friendships are being reduced to rubble, families are falling apart, and I’d wager the “unfollow” button has never been used as much as it has these days, all a result of this latest election.

I am not here to talk about who won, who lost, which Party has power, which Party is right on whatever the issue of the day is, although I believe these things are important to discuss.
What concerns me now is We The People and how we are treating each other.
And how we are treating each other right now is, dare I say, deplorable.

Personally, I have gone out of my way to keep my opinions to myself. I remember a time when who you voted for was pretty much a private thing, much like your religious beliefs. We were lulled into a deceptive sense of free speech meaning just that, freedom to say what you want short of yelling “fire” in a public place when there is no fire.

This is no longer the case in my opinion. Now we must first weigh our options, think about what we want to say, think it over again, and, at least in my case, wind up saying nothing.
Believe me, there isn’t much I love more than a good debate backed up by facts. I even enjoy playing “devil’s advocate” because I want to know all sides of whatever it is we’re talking about. I always thought it was a good thing to discuss different issues because usually, I learn something new I wasn’t previously aware of.
Now? As the kids say, NFW. No f***ing way.

I have good friends on both sides of the aisle. I don’t judge anyone by their vote as I believe we all have our own personal reasons for who we vote for. There is a reason we are given privacy when we cast our ballot. We have an obligation and a right to vote our conscience. There aren’t that many countries afforded the freedoms we have/had. We are lucky to be living here and yes, nearly every single one of us have ancestors who came through Ellis Island seeking a better life. I know mine did, most left Ireland and were greeted with signs that said “Irish need not apply” as well as other things too hostile to say. But that was the way of the world, so they did what they could to feed their family, inevitably working in the bowels of the earth coal mining. Black Lung disease took out quite a few of my people back then. But that was my experience, we all have our own stories.
Every single one of us is different, and every single one of us have different reasons for who we may or may not support.

What I don’t understand is this new test of friendship, if you voted for X then you are a racist bigot. If you voted for Y then you are a racist bigot. If you voted for X then you don’t know what you’re talking about and you are directly responsible for this, that, and the other thing. If you voted for Y then you don’t know what you’re talking about and you are directly responsible for this, that, and the other thing. If you voted for X you are “unfriended”. If you voted for Y then you are “unfriended”.
I’ve been watching silently as friends and family are giving up people they claim to love, but that love is not unconditional, that love is contingent, subject to change at the snap of a finger, that love now comes with a questionnaire that requires 100% agreement or you’re an evil racist bigot and that applies to both sides.

Think about it, imagine you were in a life threatening situation and needed a blood transfusion, or perhaps an organ donor.
Would you thank whoever that someone is willing to donate whatever it is you need to survive, or would you first ask their political affiliation and if it wasn’t the same as yours, would you turn down their offer to help save your life?
If your next door neighbor fell down in front of you, perhaps suffering a heart attack or a stroke, would you help them only if they voted the same way as you or would you step over their body and leave them to possibly die because they voted for Y when you voted for X?

What has become of us? When did we allow personal points of view to transform us into this mob mentality?
There is nothing in this world that 100% of people agree on. We are all different, we all have different needs and different ideas. The world is burning and We The People are being controlled, not by politicians as much as by the media.
The media is stirring up as much turmoil as they can in the name of money, going so far as to intentionally lie to further their own agenda, and their own agenda sure as hell isn’t We The People.
Celebrities, being paid obscene amounts of money are lecturing us, chiding us, encouraging civil discourse and who is suffering the most for this? We The People are, innocent Mom and Pop stores being set on fire, looted, destroyed just because people are riled up and taking their anger out on whatever is nearest to them, both sides of the aisle rumbling like they’re acting out West Side Story, not caring that this is real life being destroyed. Not seeing that we all bleed the same color. Not caring that we are being used, distracted by a media who no longer report facts without bias, and somehow all media outlets use the exact same buzzwords, the exact same phrases because they believe they are all knowing. They are the ones sitting in their expensive towers looking down at us, patting each other on the back because they’re stirring the pot so much we are reverting to primates, beating people to a bloody pulp on nothing more than an assumption that if you love your country you are a racist bigot.

Let’s face it, for the most part, people in power do not care about us. We The People have been reduced to voting blocks to further the agenda of the powers that be.
They don’t care that we are fighting amongst ourselves, in my opinion they are happy, the more discord, the more “news” they can report, leading to more discord, more fighting, more separation, more hatred and I’m sorry, but this is not who we are. They are controlling us and we are letting them get away with it.

Do you want to be politically involved? If so, it begins at the bottom. It begins with your local government. I live in a town where we have had the same Mayor for 16 years. Sure, he cares for the people so much he is driven around in a limousine everywhere he goes. He has bought up more than half the town, owning a good portion of local businesses but you have to dig deep to find out this information. We can’t just wake up every four years for the Presidential election, we should be involved from the bottom up if we truly care about the political system.
But most importantly, we need to stop the hostility towards each other. It’s ugly and accomplishes nothing but more division, more hatred and zero tolerance.

We The People need to realize we are one family. Yes, we can disagree, yes we can get frustrated, but I see nothing good coming out of the behavior I see grown adults engaging in, what kind of example are we setting for our children?
School age kids are fighting each other over politics because that is what they are seeing around them. Parents, teachers, neighbors being nasty to each other, these are some of the examples being set for young minds unable to completely understand the complexity involved in making that decision we make when we enter a voting booth.
They will have a lifetime of worry ahead of them, but we are taking away some of the pleasures of childhood and frankly, scaring the hell out of some of these innocent young minds.

When did we become so unaccepting of other points of view?
Are we going to continue down this path until we kill each other because we may disagree on one issue?

I used to believe we were a tolerant, accepting people. I used to believe we could have vigorous debates without being blacklisted, discarded, unfriended, ridiculed by people we thought were friends.

You may have noticed I have not stated who I voted for. Why? Because I am not here to endorse anyone, I am here to express my disappointment in We The People. You may think you know who I voted for, but you may be wrong.
You see, I personally don’t care who you voted for, you voted your conscience, you voted in your best interest as it should be. I will never judge you for who you vote for.
All I ask is that we all try to do the same.

catfight1

My name is Joanne Best and I approve this message.



{January 14, 2017}   Treasure
treasurechest1
perceptible only to me,
a breath released from a distant dream
rouses my body,
that hint of musk, detectable from all others, travels
through the frigid, penetrates my ice
and i am liquid fire, murmuring in my sleep,
dancing in my dreams
slithering around you,
your perfect skin a map,
my tongue desperate to explore,
slowly, thoroughly, nibbling my way to your treasure
and i am combustible,
and i am supple, i am flexible,
but most of all,
i am yours 

yoursonbed



 

 

bestfamilyI was barely 5 years old the day I met my baby brother for the first time. Excited beyond belief at the thought of no longer being the youngest, I was going to have a tiny little brother to fuss over. I was sure life was going to be wonderful and I was going to be the best big sister that ever existed.

I remember every detail of that day, the clothes I wore, the constant trips to the window impatiently waiting for Dad’s Rambler to pull into the driveway bringing my Mom and new little brother home. After what seemed like forever, they finally got home and I ran as fast as my little legs would carry me. In a portent of things to come, I grabbed onto the porch railing, my soft little hand landing squarely on a very angry bee who decided it was more important to sting me rather than welcome the new arrival to the Best Family. In retrospect, I should have realized what life with Tommy would become.

Never boring.

It wasn’t long after his arrival that the two of us contacted a nasty case of chicken pox, our poor Mom spent half the time applying calamine lotion and the rest of the time trying to convince us to not scratch, not an easy feat when you’re dealing with a newborn baby and a 5 year old, but we made it through unscathed.

Living in Newark raising 3 young children didn’t last long as our Parents decided it was time to move to the suburbs, and before we knew it, we were living in Sayreville NJ, a 4 bedroom house giving each of us kids our very own bedroom. There was a 5 year age difference between the 3 of us, so in a way, Donald was almost a generation older than Tommy. Being in the middle, as well as being the only girl-child, it fell to me to keep an eye on Tommy.

Believe me, it sounds a lot easier than it was. Tommy had a lust for life and a fearless nature from the day he was born and he never lost that. Nothing scared him, nothing kept him from living life to the fullest on his own terms.

I have so many memories of growing up with Tommy I could easily fill a book long enough to rival War and Peace, but I would like to share just a few.

As most of you know, Tommy loved music and was a drummer in a few bands, most notably, Genocide. His obsession with drums began before he could even talk. We had an ongoing feud when we were kids that could be broken down into 2 sentences: Tommy complaining to our Mom about my neverending singing. “Ma! Make her stop singing!” he would say constantly, to which I would reply, “Ma! Make him stop playing drums!” It didn’t take long for us to realize this was a battle neither of us would ever win as he grew up to be a drummer in a band and I became a singer in another band . Tommy never needed a drum set back then and he didn’t need drumsticks, he would use anything he could get his hands on, including his fingers to bang away on any and every thing in his sight. One 4th of July he marched around the house using a garbage can lid and a red magic marker as a makeshift drum set. In true Tommy fashion, the marker exploded, covering Tommy from head to toe in what looked like blood but turned out to be magic marker.

When I was around 17 years old and heavily obsessed with the Punk scene, I got it in my mind that Tommy should have a drum set. I brokered a deal with one of my President Park Punk friends and lo and behold, at the age of 12, Tommy got his first drum set. Now although our musical tastes were similar, we had to keep it on the down-low. It wasn’t cool for a brother and sister to share too much at that age, but when he didn’t know I was in the house, I caught him switching his Iron Maiden and ACDC albums to my “borrowed” Ramones and Dead Boys albums. I never let on that I knew, but I was secretly pleased that we were becoming closer, at least when we were out of the public eye.

Fast forward a few years and before I knew it, somehow Tommy’s friends and my friends became one and the same for the most part. We drifted apart a bit after Tommy got married and had 3 children, but I was so proud of him whenever I saw him with his children. He lived and breathed for Tommy, Danny and Alexa. There was nothing more important to him than his children, he loved them with every ounce of his being and in fact the last words Tommy said to me was this : “If anything happens to me, please make sure my kids are taken care of.” I didn’t think much of this and in fact asked him why he was talking like that. I knew he was having problems with his heart but I also knew that there was nothing that could take him down. Not Tommy. He was, as our Dad used to say “Strong like bull”, he lived through war and made it back, there was no way any kind of illness would defeat him. He lived through a nasty divorce which I won’t describe out of respect for his children, but I will say that after his divorce, he had the most difficult years of his entire life.

He lost his home and Family in one fell swoop without warning and moved back home with our Parents. After a week of so he broke his leg yet it didn’t stop him. Very soon thereafter Hurricane Irene did a number on our Family home and by the Grace of God, Tommy, hearing a loud boom ran downstairs, broken leg and all, called 911 and got our Mom and Dad out of the house before the entire house collapsed. I shudder to think what would have happened to them if Tommy hadn’t been there that night.

As soon as the State of Emergency was lifted, Mom, Dad, and Tommy moved in with my husband Mike and me and my sister-in-law Pat. It was a full house, with 6 adults, 2 dogs, and 3 cats, but we made it work. After Mom and Dad found an apartment to live in until the house was repaired, Tommy continued to live with us for nearly a year. When Christmas rolled around, Tommy was concerned that he wouldn’t be able to give anyone any gifts. Every penny he had went to his children yet still he worried about us. As long as I live I will never ever forget that Christmas morning. Santa, in his infinite wisdom, delivered a stack of gifts from Tommy to all of us. Now I’m the first one to admit we tend to go overboard when it comes to Christmas morning, we always feel a childlike joy when it comes to giving to others and that year was no different. We spent hours unwrapping gifts, and as the morning progressed I noticed Tommy would get up periodically and leave the room. It wasn’t until a few days later when the two of us were alone in the house that Tommy told me that this particular Christmas was the best Christmas he celebrated in his entire life. Never in his life, he said, had he received so many gifts as he did that year. He also filled me in on a little secret I wasn’t aware of, Christmas day, my husband Mike took Tommy aside privately and gave him a Christmas card containing quite a few hundred dollar bills. Tommy tried to give it back but we have a rule, no such thing as take-backs when it comes to gifts. That was the first time in my life I ever saw my 6’3″ baby brother cry tears of happiness, love, and acceptance.

I’ve written a lot of words here in an attempt to give you a little insight into the Tommy you may not have known. He was a gentle giant, a big guy with a heart of gold, he would give the shirt off his back to anyone in need. He was a quiet hero, helping anyone, whether he knew them or not. One day, Tommy and his Family were driving back from a day trip and saw a terrible accident on the Garden State Parkway, a van full of people had crashed, rolling over trapping everyone inside. Without a thought for his own safety, Tommy literally crawled through broken glass and got every single person out of that van, covering them up with his own jacket and sweaters and anything else he could find. He even crawled back in one more time when one of the passengers realized his medication was in the front seat of the van. By the time the EMT’s and Police arrived on the scene, everyone was safely out of the vehicle, Tommy told the Police what happened and like a true Angel, Tommy disappeared, never getting credit nor wanting credit. Because that is who Tommy was. And that is who Tommy always will be, an unsung hero who will live on through his children, and a never to be forgotten baby brother, living on in my heart for the rest of my days.

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{March 30, 2016}   Every Night He Rapes Her

persephone

every night he rapes her,
pieces of her soul flake off
like dry winter skin
unnoticed,
she disappears slowly,
ashes in the corner
once dust,
now consist of her soul,
now gather with the shadows,
conspire with the whisperings of twisted roots
seeking another way out
while waiting for the ice to melt
every night her rapes her,
whiskey colored accusations whip across her skin,
invisible scars hide beneath an icy layer of frost-defense
and Demeter has disappeared forever
the palace crumbled unattended,
the yellow roses bloom no more
while every night he rapes her

dead rose



{March 10, 2016}   Either Or

depressed

Would it matter if I ran to you
legs pumping heart beating
arms open wide?

Or

Would you say you wish you made it
and then tell me that you tried
but it was out of your control?

Will my happy ever after
appear out of nowhere
the way the music told me?

Or

Will I have to crawl and beg
gobble up the crumbs thrown my way
and swallow with a smile?

When this black fog lifts
will the sun shine down on me
leading me out of this darkness?

Or

Will this black fog darken
thicken as it chokes me
laughing as it sees me crumble?

Will it matter either way?

disappearing girl1



{March 3, 2016}   Some Times

gossamer4

sometimes
i find myself going through the motions of the everyday,
my body moves blindly,
chaos into order by rote,
kaleidoscope tunnel vision thoughts,
backwards slide into ecstacy everlasting and all i want is you,
i’m set on replay,
burned into my brain
soft landing seclusion safely centered in a bed of thorns,
momentary release echoes infinite,
comfort in an endless series of storms,
shelter from arrows dipped in poison,
invisible protection,
a gift from ancient times, when warriors were worshipped
and supple sacrifices lay willingly,
prone at worthy feet,
it’s all here,
flying through empty rooms,
dust particles in the warm afternoon sun,
blanket of invisible draped,
molded together tangled, tethered,
it stays there,
carved in flesh and bone,
a constant reminder to breathe
and sometimes I do,
translucent gossamer ties us together,
now it’s here,
now it’s there,
but the constant of this devotion remains just that,
constant,
and steady as she goes,
no hesitation,
only the wanting,
wanting you, with no expiration date
for there is no time limit for perfection,
and sometimes,
some things just are
gossamer3



bwlines Sayreville NJ blinds

bwlines1 Sayreville NJ blinds

bwlines2 Cape May NJ balcony

bwlines3 Cape May NJ Fire Tower staircase

bwlines4 Cape May NJ Fire Tower staircase

bwlines5 Cape May NJ Fire Tower staircase

bwlines6 Cape May NJ Fire Tower staircase

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Lines and Angles



bowie rip 1.11.16
“Oh no love, you’re not alone”
I’m finding it hard to string a sentence together right now, unexpectedly choked up about someone I never met and I know I’m not alone.
Rock stars come and go, they influence us, they encourage us, they lift us up when we’re down and make us cry when we need an excuse to reveal our emotions. They can define us, give us something to cling to when we are lost and broken, give us something to hold on to when we are frozen and can’t take one more step forward.
David Bowie captured everything we freaks suffered every day and welcomed us, encouraged us, gave us a place to drift to when we were overwhelmed and alone.
He wrapped his words around us and let us know we weren’t alone, influenced generations, kicked opened closet doors and told us, “it ain’t easy” but it’s worth it, we can let our freak-flag fly high and proud, and it was alright, we could all be rock and roll stars.
Growing up in suburban New Jersey wasn’t always easy if you didn’t fit the cookie cutter mold of a blue-collar town but David Bowie gave us a glimpse into what life could be like if we just stayed true to ourselves and didn’t worry about the whisperings behind closed living-room curtains when we walked down the street.
He showed us we were all limitless, we really could touch the stars if we just reached out and shrugged off the mud slung our way. He gave us courage, strength when we needed it most, there at the tip of our fingers and the drop of a needle on vinyl.
Inspiration to become ourselves.
Nearly every band I’ve loved has, at one time or another, done their own version of a David Bowie song, including my own band. Standing onstage singing a Bowie song was a rite of passage in my circle of friends, a sign to everyone that yes, I’m a freak too, just like you, and isn’t it grand?
No-one but his closest friends and family knew he had cancer, so the world woke up to a gut-punch this morning. I’m sure I’m not the only one who was awakened by a text or phone call from a dear friend telling me the terrible news that Ziggy Stardust was no longer with us here on earth.
Rest in peace Mr. Bowie, you are now a true star, a starman waiting in the sky, making the Heavens glow brighter, a celebration of music left behind in your wake.
And all the children will continue to boogie, for you taught us all, we are not alone.
Watch me now….



Are you up for the challenge? Be The Little Engine That Could and de-clutter your life….or….at least try 😛

Anastasia Vitsky

I’ve lived in my current home for a few years now. Not as many as some, but the most years of my adult life. (I’m a semi-reformed nomad who once moved five times in thirteen months.)

Whenever I moved, I purged my belongings and got rid of huge piles. Even so, I accumulated more and more stuff.

Treasures, yes. Needed equipment, yes.

But great piles of STUFF.

When I moved overseas after graduation, I brought with me two suitcases (back then, overseas flights allowed for two suitcases weighing up to seventy pounds each), a backpack, and a carry-on bag.

I brought with me four books: the first three Harry Potter installments and my bilingual Bible. Part of my love-hate affair with Hermione stems from those months when those were my only English books available. This was back before Kindle, Skype, and FaceTime.

Almost ten years later when I moved back…

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et cetera