joannebest











{September 11, 2015}   I Can Never Forget

9 11abb

I’m sure I’m not the only one who is having a hard time getting through another September 11th. I tried desperately to write today but found myself staring at a near blank page and clicking back and forth between writing and looking at Facebook.

Basically wasting time.

I can’t even muster up the ability to write about that day in 2001 from my perspective, but it nags at me, to post something. I can’t ignore the day without acknowledging it some way,  yet I can’t write anything today, the words are stuck in my heart because my head is filled with all the what-ifs, all the lives that were touched that day, and how there was a ripple effect that day. You didn’t have to live in New York or New Jersey or Pennsylvania or Washington DC or Boston, it doesn’t matter where you lived, the World changed that day and Innocence became a memory the instant that first plane hit the first Tower.

I dug out some of my blank books, the books I use to keep track of rehearsals and write lyrics. I also tend to doodle when there’s lead singer down time, and it just so happened we had rehearsal on Tuesday, September 11th, 2001. I wanted to cancel but in the end we decided to go to the studio and try to not think for two hours. We had a gig coming up where we had to add a few cover songs to usual original set so I had a bit of doodle time while the musicians musicianed other people’s songs.

So I decided to take a few photographs of my doodles, and the lyrics to a song I wrote that night called “Lay Me Down”, just my feelings about that day jotted down quickly in a blank book as the horrifying terrible smell was everywhere and the smoke continued to take over the sky no matter where you turned.

This year was worse for me. Don’t know why, it just was.

So I shall share some pages from journals written and doodled on Tuesday, September 11th,2001 at Stage Right Studios while our Innocence disappeared slowly, nearly unnoticed, like that tragic scent and the never-ending smoke. I never claimed to be an artist, but I just needed to share this, and hope to sleep tonight nightmare-less, unlike last night when I had one of those same nightmares where I’m lost in New York City alone in the dark.

If you click on this photo you can see a scribbled NYC skyline, the one I saw every single day.

911a

If you click on this you can see my mental me unravel a bit, writing down words to songs my Mom sang to me when I would cry and she’d sing “Why oh why oh why oh, did I ever leave Ohio?” Neither one of us ever went to Ohio but it became our code song, kind of like clicking your ruby slippers three times or Calgon, take me away type stuff.

Just me then? [shrugs]

 

911b

These are the lyrics to Lay Me Down, the song I wrote that night, the song sitting in another studio waiting for me to finish some vocals and a few other touchups. If you click on the photo I was surprised to find the words legible. Um, just me then? Either way, I believe I may have posted them previously, if not, perhaps I will.  Right this moment, this is all I can do.

I’ll get back to my WIP tomorrow after Dad Duty. How do you make an almost 89 year old ex Navy Man who was actually there on D Day let you help him? He doesn’t want my help, he wants my Mom back and so do I but that isn’t possible. So I shall visit and clean and do laundry and go food shopping, shout louder than I sing so he can hear me, and bite my tongue near in half at the way he talks to me and the fight he gives me about cleaning. He can do it himself you know. That translates into what I call Covert Cleaning. I’m getting better at it. Oh, my point, I will have to remember to post my lyrics if I already haven’t. I think I may have but my head is telling me to watch Anthony Stewart Head in Dominion then sleep. Without lost in NYC dreams please.

911d

Well would you look at that! Over 700 words, much more than I thought I had in me.

I have to thank Kate Richards and Nina Cooper, their collective words to me on Facebook healed me enough to post this. Thank you both, you are truly amazing women I am extremely Blessed to know in any capacity, this virtual world we gather in really does make miles disappear. For that I am very grateful ❤

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{September 5, 2015}   Lowering Liquid

jack3

the level lowers quickly,
that dark liquid magnifier,
a bottle lessens to a drop and another cracks open,
see, it’s the weekend you know, and everything must go
according to a fantasy schedule, unshared and unbelievable,
easier to play along till your bones are suddenly screaming from an unintended stumble,
collision unexpected and yes, balance no longer works,
soft reasonable patient words unheard,
slurry mumbled snark, the kind where they’re only kidding and
don’tcha have a sense of humor,
your sanity questions you to shake things up
and a bump grows on your eyebrow, stabby painful and nothing new
lather rinse repeat because it never goes away.
they fight for control but Jack always wins these days,
an occasional visitor who tends to overstay his welcome,
I think he sucks,
but when it’s over no one remembers the demon, just the angel,
all a figment of my imagination

jack



{September 4, 2015}   Kitty Crawl

catstalk

kitty vision,
eyes open wide,
glow and reflect,
i take You all in by the light of dusk or
not-yet-morning light,
slouched back, supine, alert in reverie,
silent sizzle
it’s not a stalk but a draw, a pull,
insistent and incapable of taking no for an answer
so I slink,
low and slow i take it all in
no words, just purrs and hisses,
instinctual,
ingrained from the ancient tribes,
when primal ruled the lands
and winners took all
to live another day
it’s in our dna,
impossible to resist, this pre-ordained,
You dangle treats and i pounce,
positive reinforcement or force of habit,
maybe,
but that certain growl tells me
You control the outcome

kittycrawl



{September 3, 2015}   I Am A Rug, I Am A Carpet…

walkonme

… and a rug feels no pain, and a carpet never cries.

So I woke up extra early (for me) yesterday morning, 5am, and figured I’d write for a few hours then spend the rest of the day trying to straighten out this financial mess my Father made because, male pride and I’m a girl.
Had a few cups of tea, did a few things around the house, got all the paperwork together I need for the financial finagling I needed to do so I could just pick it up after I wrote for awhile.
Then my Father calls.
Nothing unusual about that, but this time he’s telling me he needs me to come down right away, something isn’t right, he says, he needs me to take him to the hospital, now. I’ve got him on speakerphone as I dash around the house locking the doors, making sure the dogs are in and no cats snuck outside and I ask him to tell me how he feels. “Just hurry”, he says and hangs up the phone.

I’m in a controlled state of panic and run out in my yoga pants and t-shirt, slip on a pair of sneakers, stuff all his paperwork into a bag and fly out the door with my Ray Bans covering my worried eyes after first splashing water on my face and putting on some lipstick.
Don’t judge, Ray Bans and lipstick make me feel better in all circumstances.

I make the ride in record time, pull into his driveway only to find all the doors locked and my key to his house back home on my other keychain. I knock loud and call out to my Dad, all the while my brain is figuring out which window I should crawl through, something I haven’t done since I was a teenager but luckily I’m still able to fit through. Window-crawling mission aborted as I hear my Dad yell “come in”.
“The door is locked,” say I.
“Wait a minute,” he replies as I hear him slowly shuffle to unlock the Dutch door.
Each second is an hour as I imagine every horrible scenario possible, remember past emergencies, generally freak myself out until he finally gets to the door and unlocks it.
I burst through the door, “Dad! What happened? Are you OK? Tell me what happened, let’s get your wallet and go to the emergency room.” I babble the way I do when I’m nervous and he just looks at me.
“Let’s go,” he says. “I want to get some money out of the bank.”
“Don’t worry about money right now Dad, let’s go to the hospital first and I’ll go to the bank after a doctor sees you.”
I’m impatient, worried, thinking ten steps ahead and I realize he’s looking at me like I’m a crazy person.
“Dad? Are you ok? Let’s go! We need to get to the hospital!”
“Hospital? I just want you to take me to the bank.”
Silence for what seems like forever.
“Dad,” I say calmly, “You told me you needed to go to the hospital, what’s going on? Are you ok?”
“Wait, let’s go sit in the living room,” he says as he shuffles away.
It all begins to sink in.
Manipulated once again.
I can see the gears turning in his head as he attempts to concoct a believable story.
He doesn’t succeed, he can’t talk his way out of it because he knows I’m catching on.
“I didn’t feel like driving to the bank,” he admits.
By now my head is pounding due to rising blood pressure yet I remain calm.
Outwardly calm.
We’d already had it set up for me to go to the bank for him on Friday/today (I’d already been to his house Monday, Wednesday, and now Thursday). This day was meant for me to get the SBA on the phone so I could talk them into not holding back 15% of my Dad’s Social Security checks due to him missing a few payments of $53 per month. I used to take care of this particular loan payment from Hurricane Irene’s destruction but Dad insisted he wanted to take care of his own bills so I had no choice but to turn it over to him.
After spending more than half the previous day on the phone with the Department of Treasury I was told my Dad now has to pay the DOT $485 per month in addition to losing 15% of his SS checks. The loan was taken out when my Mom was alive so my Dad’s income alone barely makes it, coming up with an extra $400+ is undoable. The man at the DOT was very nice and told me if I had the gift/power of persuasion I might be able to get the SBA to change it back. Which was what I was going to take care of before dear old Dad told me he had to go the emergency room.

I’m rambling again.
Back to the non-hospital trip: he wanted me to go to the bank, take out some cash and go to the corner store for the newspaper and lottery tickets.
I remained outwardly calm, drove to the bank and noticed my car was verging on overheating. Over 90 degrees outside and I’m driving with my windows open and the heat blasting so it wouldn’t overheat.
Drove around town getting his cash, his newspaper and lottery tickets, all the while dripping sweat.

When I got back to his house, I channeled my Mother and exploded.
Respectfully exploded.
Although the F-word did escape my mouth a few times, I explained that all he had to do was tell me the truth, I would have stopped at the bank and store on my way down and gone merrily on my way. I told him it was unacceptable, the lies I mean. Because he’s been known to stretch the truth before, I sat him down and explained thoroughly the tale of The Boy Who Cried Wolf. I explained that his health is better than mine and if he continued to play games like this (because he found the incident funny) there might come a day when he really needed me and I wouldn’t be there, because I don’t know anymore when he’s telling the truth or lying. I explained the mess he made out of everything, and asked him who else helps him besides me, the answer being nobody. He drove my younger brother away by constantly treating him like garbage and my older brother, well, he flat-out doesn’t care to help in any way shape or form. I think he’s still pissed at me because he hated the idea of the house being fixed after Hurricane Irene, he wanted them to sell the house as is and move them into an assisted living place but they wanted their house back. Truth is, I don’t even know my brother’s phone number or address because he moved and never gave me the information.

I’m a nervous wreck still worrying about my Dad, still making excuses for him, and still being taken advantage of. I know I’m lucky I have at least one Parent still alive but at this rate he’ll be burying me instead of the other way around. If that sounds cold it’s not meant to be. I told my Father I love him and always will but if he continues to lie to me my Mother’s dreaded saying would come true, he will live the rest of his life a lonely old man. I think of all the times I defended him to my Mother and compare them to all the knife wounds in my back.
I try to make him understand that we’re all we got, it’s just us now, and I asked him if he’s actually trying to kill me, death by stress.

So yes, I am a rug. I am a carpet stepped on again and again and I’m wearing thin.

Can I please stop being the adult?

walkonme1



{September 2, 2015}   Who Owns Who

catman
like a kitty needing to curl up near You
i purr at Your touch
scenting You, much like
the way You left Your mark on me,
waiting patient and still
i crawl in Your direction at the sound of Your voice,
as i feel the pull of Your invisible leash
attached to my invisible collar,
alert and ready to leap across the room
or strut slow and low, tail in the air
searching for the slightest bit of Your attention
a gentle nip leads to a salty lick,
cat-like signs of devotion
yet it never crosses my mind
who owns who
catwoman



et cetera