Poverty Is Not an Accident

Poverty Is Not an Accident
Nelson Mandela

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

I'm movin' as fast as I can

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Lord, this is all overwhelming. I just keep puttin' one foot in front of the other, but I swear I'll never catch up.

Played phone tag all morning with that blankety blank university hospital, JUST trying to set up an appointment for so-called "financial aid," so I can get: my teeth fixed, my boobies squeezed, my hoohoo poked and MAYBE some damned glasses! Lordy!

That hospital can't find its ass with both hands, and I'm supposed to trust them with my BODY? Every number I was given was WRONG, and would give me ANOTHER wrong number to call! sheesh!

Next, I have to go to court about that warrant for my arrest. I have NO idea what I should do. And the metro courts give me the runaround and just scare the snot out of me, anyway.

But I'll have access to a car soon. Yes, me: a car. A real vehicle that has a roof and a heater. And locks. A thing I can haul home forty lb. sacks of dog food in, without it getting wet, or falling in the street and spilling everywhere. A thing that can go out at night, to poetry readings or late-night recording sessions at the radio station. A thing that won't blow over in wind. A thing I can use to move out of this slum with. A real car. Me.

So, I have to clear the warrant, so I can get a driver's license. I have to clear the warrant, any damn way.

I've tried, several times. But I just got this big runaround that didn't make any sense. And the clerk said, and I quote, "get the f... out of here, before I have you booked!" That's because I couldn't come up with three hundred forty dollars' something or other, just to see a judge! Jees!

I'm trying to get my genitals repaired, so I can sit in chairs for more than a minute at a time.

And here's the big one: I'm throwing my mother out of my psyche. She has beaten, torn, abused me for the last time.

I'm doing this miraulous work, bonding intimately with another human being. It's so nurturing. It's creative. It's healing. I laugh so hard I choke. I weep openly with joy, relief and pleasure.

But I tell myself these hideous stories, about how I don't deserve love. I tell myself I'm kidding myself. I tell myself...well, it's evil. It's not true. it mom, jealously keepimg me her slave, keeping me from loving, growing.

I hate her for what she has done to the MOST beautiful little girl! The torn genitals are just a metaphor, really. I can't be a grown woman, a creative force, a happy human as long as her old abuse causes me so much pain, mental and physical.

So, I'm learning to forgive myself. I took it on. I believed I was nothing. I learned to pretend and fake being human, while always under her control.

It's old, evil stuff. It'll take me time to get the idea I don't have to be ugly, frightening and incomplete.

I'm poor because I believed I was a failure, a loser. I was afraid to trust my own judgment, intuition and intelligence. I really believed I was the crazy one, not she. I really believed it.

Well, I can't do it anymore. I tried to hang on to loving her by remembering her singing, her art, her creativity. But I realized, last night, any clever tutor could have taught me about Van Gogh and Mozart, sterling silver and crystal, party dresses and Easter hats.

I didn't need a terrorist, a psychotic ego maniac, a filthy, perverted, cruel and paranoid fascist to "raise" me.

I needed a mother. I needed real love, nurture, support, encouragement. I needed a parent who would rejoice, just at the fact that I was alive and sharing space with her.

I never had that from my mother.

But it's why I love several women in my life, who came along at times when I was on the cusp of life-or-death.

I have one, now.

They all say the same things, the sane things. All of them hated my mother, whether they knew her or not. All of them helped me learn to protect myself.

And, here I am again: almost fifty years old, realizing more profoundly how the disabling savagery of that monster has kept me smaller, weaker than I really am.

I am grateful to those women, and Richard, who coaxed and prodded, pushed and cheered. They've kept me from drowning in my mother's filth.

I've used the word, "filth" twice in this one post to describe her. I've never done that before.

It's absolutely accurate. I've tried to accomodate her filth my whole life. I get it on me and have to either avoid people or try to cover it up.

But it's not my filth. I have nothing to be ashamed of; I didn't do it.

I need to cleanse and heal. I need to bury that useless, dead weight.

I need to free myself.

Nobody can see how beautiful I am if I have these layers of crusted filth all over me.

It's time to completely rebirth myself. It's time to mother myself.

toni Morisson once said she writes the books she would have liked to have read, if anybody'd been writing about poor, Southern Black girls.

Alice Walker said we write to save lives, including our own.

Well, that's what I'm doing. I'm writing the book I want to read. I'm sick of the old, sick stories I've memorized.

I want to live.

I want to love.

I want to come Home.

po' folks' news

You are reading http://livinginthehood.blogspot.com

Margaret Kimberly, The Black Commentator
Kentucky newspapers apologize, fourty years late, for the
way they deliberately ignored the entire civil rights
*In Rights and Liberties: here

John Nichols, The Nation
John Kerry's stand on the death penalty -- that there
shouldn't be one -- is now the Democratic Party's

Steffie Woolhandler, David Himmelstein, In These Times
Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are talking about
real health-care reform. A national health insurance
program could cover all of the uninsured, upgrade coverage
for most other Americans, and save money.

Marah Eakin, WireTap
The message behind the Democracy Uprising! march is that
real democracy doesn't just take place at conventions and
in the voting booths, but rather through grassroots
movements and individual communities.
*In WireTap: here

Monday, July 26, 2004


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Dear ....,

I opened up a lot of old stuff with you this weekend. I felt safe, while
you were here.

Today's been hard; my mind is full of stories and memories. My emotions
are raw.

Talking with you felt completely natural, like back in the "old days,"
when I normally felt like others' equal.

Today, I was reminded several times that I can't ever take that for
granted again.

I'm trying not to beat myself up. Mom's voice is strong today: I don't
deserve a friend, respect, acknowledgment...

These new habits of loving myself don't come automatically. The old ways
try to reinstate themselves.

I'm trying to be gentle with myself.

I got a taste, this weekend, of what it's like to be taken seriously,
believed, respected, supported and loved.

I'm working to believe I deserve that. I'm working to believe I'll have
more of that.

I'm also very aware that, even if I don't ever again connect with
another person the way I did with you this weekend, it was an amazing
gift for which I'll always be grateful.

I'm highly motivated now to create more opportunities for such

All the old fears, self doubts, self hatreds and shames have surfaced.
I'm facing them as honestly, but as forgivingly, as I can, so I won't
use them to hurt myself. I do want to look at them, really see what they
are and where they came from. It's the only way I can work through them
and heal myself.

It's been a hard day, my friend.

But, this weekend gave me the strength to face what I must do.

Thank you, my sister.

I hope you're ok today. Please know you're loved, respected and

homeless in Kentucky, 2

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Sent e-mail message

From: Rogi Riverstone)
Date: Sun, Jul 25, 2004,
Subject: Re: My room

Dear ...,
I've lived in rooms like these. You do it quite well. I'd put something
on the ceiling, but that's just me.

The first homeless shelter I was in hated me; I was Queer, intelligent,
progressive, agnostic, actively nonracist, hard working, educated and
progressive. They were fundamentalists.

I was on the 3rd floor, with the "single" women. Women with kids were on
the 2nd floor, with large bedrooms and high ceilings, so families could
bunk together. Often, it was two to three families per room. The 2nd
floor had ONE bathroom for all. The 1st floor was offices, storage,
roach-and-sewage-infested "kitchen," great room and a disabled
"accessible" sleeping room.

The 3rd floor was the attic: hot as blazes in muggy, Kentucky summers;
bitter damp, moldy and dripping in winters. I think it had about eight
sets of bunk beds, a very small shower/sink/commode and a door to the
fire escape & roof.

I moved into the first, lower bunk I could find. I had a foot locker and
half the space under the bed.

I hung a dark, dusty-blue, hand-printed, silk Indian sari around my
bunk; it was a gift from a childhood friend. I tucked photos, momentos,
drawings, tarot cards, etc. into the springs of the bunk above me, so I
could lay there and look at what I loved. I had my boom box at my side,
with headphones, so I could put myself to sleep, listening to a
recording of the ocean.

Women move up in status, based on a variety of factors, including
seniority. I was quickly dubbed, "shelter nigger," by the other 3rd
floor residents. This greatly increased my status, immediately. They
understand persecution by staff. Most had done serious prison time, so
were offended by the irony that the lightest-skinned, best-educated of
us was CONSTANTLY harrassed, set up and denied priviledges by the upper
middle class all-white staff. The women on the 3rd floor loved me.

I eventually won the priviledged personal space in the 3rd floor: a
SINGLE bed, in the alcove by the fire escape door. It's almost like
having a private room, if one hangs a sheet over the opening.

I had a dresser, on which I
\[keyoard batteries dying

Sunday, July 25, 2004

homeless in Kentucky

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My friend sent me jpegs of her little room. For reasons I can't explain, except that something about it triggered the memory, I wrote this:

Sent e-mail message

From: (Rogi Riverstone)
Date: Sun, Jul 25, 2004,
Subject: Re: My room

...I had a dresser, on which I'd placed a few, personal things; it
served as my altar. One of the items there was a jar candle, on a
saucer. I'd found them in the dumpster in the parking lot. They were
donated to the shelter's thrift store, next door, used to make profits
for the shelter.

The night I was thrown out, the staff had a Christmas cruise on the Ohio
River. It was Dec. 21. It was snowing: wet and accumulating.
The staff came back, went into the office, and turned on the intercom,
to spy on residents. They heard talking on the 3rd floor, after 11pm.
Some of my roommates were chatting quietly.

I was lying in my bed, headphones on, falling asleep by candle light.
Suddenly, the intercom blasted, "you women, shut up and go to bed up
there. Especially you, Rogi! I hear you!" It was the shelter director.
I never said a word. The other women began shouting at the speaker,
"Rogi's ASLEEP! She ain't talkin'!' And they all, at risk to their OWN
security in the shelter, began shouting out their names, so the Director
would know who was talking.

It did no good, of course. But the fact that over a dozen poor,
Southern, African American, excon, illiterate women SHOUTED to a rich
white lady their NAMES, to protect ME! Good gawd! I've never
forgotten that night, not for the horror of what followed, but for the
healing love of those Sisters of Mercy who REALLY sheltered me, chanting
their names to the overseers! I owe them my freedom and, quite possibly,
my life.

Soon, multiple foot stomps came up the stairs. The light came on. In
flew the shelter Director, the night staff and the MALE "pastor,"
Director of men's and women's shelters, "Pastor" Tim.

Except in common rooms.

So, this was an obvious set up.

The woman Director stormed past everybody else, who were obviously
sitting and talking --and EATING, which was forbidden. She tore down my
sheet, covering my sleeping area. She tore the covers off my bed and
ordered me to get up.

I was lying there, as I'd been the whole time. True, I was fully awake
after the intercom business, but I had my eyes closed and was breathing
softly, to put myself back to sleep.

All the other women rushed to the entrance to my space, blocking access
for "Pastor" Tim. Nobody else could get to me, once the Director was at
my bed.

She began screaming at me. I don't know what. She went to the dresser
and picked up my candle, claiming it was a fire hazard, and started to
leave with it.

I FLEW out of bed, snatched the candle from her and said, "how DARE you
remove a religious artifact from a resident's private area! How would
you feel if I grabbed your Bible to throw it out?! This is America; I
have freedom of religion!"

I was evicted on the spot. I had an hour to vacate, or be arrested.

I had collected many, useful things from the dumpster. I didn't want to
lose them. But I couldn't walk up and down 3 flights of stairs,

So, I tied things up in my sheets, towels, blankets, etc and pushed them
out the windows, into the parking lot. I was crying. No, I was HOWLING.
I had NO place to go. I knew NOONE in Louisville. It was midnight.
Everything was wet and snowy.

The other women were forbidden to help me carry things down, but they
packed and bundled and pushed stuff out windows. They hugged me and,
when I wasn't looking, crammed my pockets with food stamps, money, phone
numbers, presents, a pocket knife and a joint.

The Director called the paramedics and reported that I was mentally ill.
They came and took my vitals, in the great room. They said they smellled
alcohol on my breath.

I said, yes, I'd gone to the Gay bar, in the converted morgue across the
street, for ONE fifty cent beer, during Happy Hour, at five o'clock in
the afternoon. I also said that, as hard as I was breathing, as scared
as I was, they could probably smell the entire contents of my stomach
and bowels, by now.

That seemed to save me. They didn't lock me up. If they had, I'd have
lost EVERYTHING I owned, including my car in the parking lot, and my
CAT, living in it.

As much as I didn't want to, I called my mother. I stayed out there for
a few days.

My mail was delivered to her. On the 23rd of December, 2 days later, I
got a letter from Housing. My apartment in the Projects was ready.
And THAT, my dear, is a whole OTHER story.

I need to write these stories, huh?

Those bedraggled, strung out, bitter, confused Black women surrounded me
that night. They built up every form of protection they could assemble
on such short notice. They wrapped me in every skill of mothering and
righteous indignation they could muster.

I guess I deserved it, or they wouldn't have done it. You know how I am
about people, about trying to help, trying to be useful. But it was

The Civil War is alive and well in Louisville, Kentucky. You see it
everywhere and hear it in every interacial transaction.

I suppose them "colored gals" never met a "honkey" like me before. Ain't
too many California progressives run through their lives, since they got
the right to vote, back in the sixties. I must've seemed like Phyllis
Wheatley's "Goddess" of Freedom, to them, which shames and humbles me at
the same time.

I don't remember their names. I remember their eyes. I remember their
strong arms and soft breasts as theY fiercely hugged me good bye.

I still have the pocket knife. I carry it every day.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Raouls Big Plan

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Ah, Thursdays! The first of Raoul's three days per week off!

Raoul's an emergency room, surgical nurse at UNMH. Works 9pm to 7am. Pulls down about two hundred/night, four days/week.

He lives in an even crappier apartment than I do. We share a fence.

He's addicted to: alcohol, marijuana and cocaine.

He's the one who was out there, chanting, "nigger! dyke!" over the fence at me a week or so ago.

I just heard him, planning his Ideal Home to one of his addiction buddies.

He has no friends; he must bribe people with mind altering substances, food and money to listen to his demented rantings.

Here's Raoul's Ideal Home:

Two storage containers, the kinds used on freight trains and shipping boats, welded together. Not bad, so far. Two toilets: one for guests, one for him, attached to the same pipe (I'm assuming he wants to LIVE on a boat, and flush raw sewage into the body of water he's floating in?). Still, not bad.

Now for the fun part: there will be no: carpetting, upholstery, wood, fabrics, drapes. All furniture will be metal or plastic. Same with flooring and walls.

"A matter of personal taste," you're telling yourself, right?


His logic, and I'm not making this up, folks: when the guests vomit and become incontinent from ingesting toxic levels of mind altering chemicals, he can HOSE THE HOUSE DOWN with a hose and pressure sprayer!

Yep, you heard it here, first!

This man lives eight feet from my front door.

And he calls ME crazy?


By the way, the REASON he lives here, besides pure laziness, is that, out of the six hundred per week he earns, he spends almost all of it on chemicals.

He owns three used cars, none of which he dares drive.

He can't take vacations, although he has three days off per week, because he knows damned well that, if he acted in public like he acts here, they'd lock him up in a heart beat. Ditto for dining in restaurants, going out to movies or even going to bars!

He's a prisoner in his home, in order to support his habits.

If you're, heaven forbid, in an emergency, at night, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Sundays through Wednesdays, he'll be your surgical nurse.

I told the hospital nursing supervisor about him a year ago. He's still working there. He fakes his urine tests.

not as trashy as I look

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I brought a whole case of leftover bananas to the station yesterday.

Someone threw them all away and, apparantly, my sunglasses, too which seem to have landed in the box!

One of the construction guys helped me bring them up from the loading dock.

I was going to distribute bananbas around the bldg. to people who wanted them, but some yuppy made the unilateral decision to throw them all away, without asking, because they had a few, small brown spots. wonderful!

A reporter, whom I've been trying to help edit a story for print, is angry with me for getting heat stroke the other day. I rode my scooter about 30 miles in hot sun that morning and got sick. I left without picking up a print copy of the reporter's story. So, I got flamed for being selfihs and irresponsible. The reporter takes days, sometimes weeks, off work, because she "doesn't feel like" dealing with crap. The reporter lives about six blocks from my house and has an air conditioned car. Seems to me she could have dropped the copy off at my house. But all I get are nasty emails with, "whatever" in them...like this is high school? yeah, whatever. lol

That station makes people sick and crazy.

One of the sweetest, kindest people there damn near took my head off yesterday. She mentioned an upcoming meeting. I asked some details, since I'd never heard about it before. She repliend, "I don't know everything! You'll have to ask .... I hate being the middle man!"


So, I'm back in my lil slum, working on my piece about Marianna for This American Life, eating bananas and missing my sunglasses.

I got a bad migraine today. I went blind. I REALLY needed my sunglasses! poo

I just woke from a seven or eight hour nap; it's 1am.

I'll go back to sleep soon....

Monday, July 19, 2004

I climbed TWO volcanoes yesterday!

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It's so hard to post, using the computer; the font's so SMALL! dammit! WHY did they make blogger inaccessible to MSNTV??? grr

We left at 6 am for the volcanoes. We went up a slightly steeper one than last time, and I insisted on walking around to the "back" side of it, becaus it was steeper. We went down the easier side. We circled the "bunny" volcano of last trip and found the path to the steepest one, so we can go back next time.

My body is happy. It likes it. It wants more.

I won't be poor much longer. I feel it. I'm heading there.

I'm making every part of myself as strong, efficient, clean, organized, beautiful, tender, nurturing, healthy as I can, so I can do what needs doing.

Tomorrow, I call about financial aid at the hospital. So I can go to that clinic.

Two women at KUNM have offered to help with copays. I said I'd rather pay for my own teeth, if possible, since this is about me not being "second class" anymore. But I thanked them. I suggested it will be easier, knowing I have a possible "safety net," if I absolutely need it. I also said I would consider a LOAN, in an emergency, but not a gift of the copay.

I told them I plan to keep the teeth, dry them, bleach them and, one day, have them plated with Sterling silver, so I can wear them on my charm necklace. I said, if THEY paid for the teeth, I'd have to give the teeth to them! And they wouldn't like that, now, would they?

All around me, love is leaking into my life. It's as though I've finally cracked open, like some ancient seed that could only errupt through fire. Water is seeping into me, swelling me. I am expanding beyond the boundaries of this shell that has contained me all these years. I'm pushing open this hard, dry husk.

Something strong and succulent and tender and fierce is sprouting in me, through me, and from me.

I am a medium of joy, strength, labor, creation.

I am truly the universe, conscious of itself.

The change in me is breathtaking.

I feel annointed, blessed, chosen.

It's very humbling.

I tread delicately but deliberately, conscious of every thing around me.

I'm in some sort of Zen bliss! I see so much more clearly, without confusion.

I am absolutely sure of what I'm supposed to do, why and how.

I am a teacher, a journalist, a writer, a MOTHER!

Nothing is more important to me than this: that I can heal myself and, in the process, be a shelter to others, if I just keep focused and work hard.

This self love I've finally stopped ignoring is pushing me out into places, ideas, concepts, relationships and experiences I'd never imagined.

And the more I do, the more I want to do. it's not a bit tiring; it feeds me.

Maybe I'll actually live long enough to find out what it is I want to be when I grow up.

Certainly is starting to look like that!

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

scared, but smiling

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Tomorrow morning: the dentist.

If you'd like to see how I'm doing, see
Viri Diana for the pep talk (I think it's called "pretending I'm not insecure."

To see how my radio work went today, see rriverstone radio, for the transcript I've made of my audio edits. I think it's called, "Intertribal Deaf," but I'm not sure. Long post, near the top: you can't miss it.

And yes, I read my poetry tonight. That's in Viri Diana, too.

Yeah, I'm friggin scared. Real scared.

It's only fear.

It's only fear.

It's only fear.

It's only fear.

It's only fear.

It's only fear.

It's only fear.

It's only fear.

It's only fear.

It's only fear.


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For Immediate Release | July 14th, 2004


When: 10:00 AM, Thursday, July 15th Where: Behind
Madison Square Garden (8th Ave. on steps between
30th and 33rd St.)

New York, NY - Members of the Poor People's
Economic Human Rights Campaign met with the NYPD
last Friday to discuss a permit for their "March
For Our Lives" on Opening Day of the Republican
National Convention.
The group will report on the
outcome of this meeting as well what they intend to
do about it. PPERHC will also outline their plans
for a Mobile "Bushville" tent city that will begin
July 19th and travel through New Jersey into New
York City in time for the Republican National

The Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign
(PPEHRC), a national organization representing over
fifty poor people's groups from around the country,
will stage a major protest at the Republican
National Convention (RNC) in August, targeting the
devastating economic polices they have experienced
over the last four years.

The Campaign garnered attention at the 2000 RNC
where 10,000 people participated in their protest
despite the fact that they were the only group
denied a permit that decided to march anyway.

PPEHRC has indicated they will march again this
year, regardless of whether they are granted a

According to Cheri Honkala, the group's founder
stated, "I will march because both the Republicans
and Democrats have ignored the plight of poor and I
will march to highlight the war at here at home: An
economic war in which the casualties are massive
unemployment, increasing homelessness, and
inadequate or non-existent healthcare."

Speakers: Cheri Honkala, National Spokesperson for
PPEHRC, will be joined by representatives from the
Immokalee Farmworkers (Florida), the Coalition to
Protect Public Housing (Chicago), the United
Workers Association (Baltimore), and the Kensington
Welfare Rights Union (Pennsylvania).

Samantha Heller (407) 497-4318
Cheri Honkala (215) 668-8228
March For Our Lives


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A friend told me there were free bunnies at

I just called. I'm getting 2 bunnies, delivered to my gate, tomorrow afternoon!

Seems "the kids" thought the male & female bunnies "looked lonely," so put them together, in the same cage! oops!

And the mother's going to have another litter, any day! oops.


Food Not Bombs news

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Dear Gentle People,

OK, here's wazup.

I have a weekly, Sunday morning date to go walking the Volcanoes. This is to continue through August. My companion swears I'll be back at my house by 10am, for FNB.

Porkchop will be walking with us, so don't worry TOO much about locking gates, etc., but don't let any "cooties" in my place, ok??

Now: there's one difference. On August 8th, I will be attending the live broadcast of Pueblo Revolt, at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. I'm getting picked up here at about 9am.

Porkchop will NOT be going! He has leashes and stuff, if you need to confine him. DO NOT LET HIM GO FREE! I will not be here for FNB that Sunday.

So, make yourselves at home. You know where everything is, or you can dig around and find it.

I'll leave water heating for dishes.
Turn off the heater and unplug when done. Unplug hot plate, when not in use.

We need a can of camping gas for our camping stove.

My next door neighbor owns the "empty" lot in which I've been gardening. She is selling the property. She has asked me to remove any clutter, so the place will be presentable. She has been MORE than kind, allowing me to use that space. In fact, she's fine with most of my gardening, and doesn't require I tear it out, even now.

However, I request that we keep ALL FNB materials inside my gate from now on.

All boxes should be broken down, folded and placed on the stack in the alley. We'll need someone to move them for recycling soon.

The grapestake gate I'd placed across the driveway is gone. So, that's extra reason to keep track of Porkchop.

I could use a little help, this Sunday, organizing my fenced yard to accomodate the things on my neighbor's property which I need to move. Shouldn't be a big deal: only a few minutes.

Nola Jean has expressed an interest in cooking FNB at their house one week. I'd recommend August 8th, so nobody has to worry about Porky.

Nola, Yolanda, possibly Frank and I are going to Open Mic Night at Blue Dragon tonight. We'll meet here around six or so. Open Mic starts at 7:30; I'll be reading some poetry.
We're going because Kent, owner/manager, has offered us so much assistance. I'd like some of us to meet him, get an idea of what he can provide, etc. He's very kind and enthusiastic about FNB. If any of you would like, meet us... either here or at Blue Dragon.

Thank you,
Rogi Riverstone

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Want to walk?

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Dear ....,

PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the diagnosis I ought to have, if
Social Security Disability would recognize it. As it is, I'm "diagnosed" cough with garden variety "depression." Yeah, I'm depressed. Snort.

When I go into PTSD, I relive old traumas, as though I were in them. This includes physical pain. It makes it very hard to focus on the present. I've healed myself from the worst of it.

Episodes last hours, perhaps days, rather than weeks and months now.

The major problem is that the chronic abuse from childhood seems to have rewired my brain. My adrenaline levels escalate to toxic proportions.

I can't control all of it, but I can now fairly efficiently prevent a cascade effect, in which my entire being is about terror. The cascading makes it impossible for me to come back to reality, until my body becomes literally exhausted and drained of its ability to produce adrenaline for awhile.

Seeing myself begin such an episode adds to the anxiety: I fear losing control, and that puts even more pressure on me, increasing the likelihood of severe panic.

I never want anybody to see me when I'm like that. I'm completely insane: hair trigger, irrational, paranoid, cruel and potentially homocidal. I've caused tremendous damage and hurt in these episodes.

I haven't had a severe episode since the late 80s.

Frankly, it's why I asked you to walk with me tonight. I was afraid to go out into the streets alone in such a vulnerable psychological condition. But I know I can trust you. And, frankly, your emotional self-care is reassuring to me; your state of semidetachment is a balm to me.

I didn't want to talk about the issue; that generally makes things worse for me, and I feel terrible, falling apart in front of another person.

I just wanted to walk, see trees, ground myself in Earth, and talk to a sane person whom I respect and trust.

These microvacations often save me and short circuit the episode. Walks like these are, if for no other reason, why I miss living in Pacific Grove so dearly. They saved my mind.

Since I couldn't do that, I imagined that I was walking with: you, Richard, Kate and Marianna. I listened to your stories and told each of you the WONDERFUL things about me--not the troubles.

As a result, I calmed down enough to reread the correspondence I'd misinterpretted, and discovered I wasn't in danger, after all. I'd STILL like another person to read that correspondence for me, and confirm that I'm understanding it correctly. Just to be sure.

I'd love to walk with you on Sundays. It's so beautiful up there, and I'd like to see it change over the next weeks. I'd volunteer for months, if you're interested.

Ah, another Something, out in the open. One of my worst, too, and I don't feel anything but relieved.



Monday, July 12, 2004

instant terror

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My memory's not very good. I thought I had one, more month 'til I'd get a disconnect notice from the phone co., but it was THIS month. The notice came today, though it was mailed on the 26th of last month and said my service would be disconnected on the NINETH! WHOA!

I got a week's reprieve, thank heavens!

I also received a notice from that evil, predatory bank. I THOUGHT it said I couldn't get a direct deposit advance next month, because I've been borrowing from myself for twelve months.

I get paid for an editing job this Friday: one hundred. I was counting on that, plus a fifty dollar job, to be able to pay RENT next month! With the three hundred of my disability that will be left, of course.

SO, when that phone bill came in today, I totally FREAKED! I thought I'd be homeless! SERIOUSLY!

Seems I've been borrowing for NINE months and, after the August 12 billing period, they'll start reducing the amount I can borrow by a hundred a month, 'til it reaches a balance of zero for one month.

Seems I'll have the August rent, just fine. The reductions begin in September, if I'm reading this letter right.

By September, I SHOULD be selling some radio, and may not even need to borrow anything.

But for a few hours today, I was in agony. I'm STILL on the verge of tears. It's a post traumatic stress thing: I'm TERRIFIED of homelessness and anything which might cause it.

I forgot to say: the bunny died, darn it. I'm very sad.

My neighbor, who owns the empty lot in which I'm gardening, is selling the house. I need to move some things, so she can sell the property.

She'll be staying on "a couple of months," before she moves out. I've already asked her about talking to the new owner about renting to me.

I need to leave this slum, really badly. I'm being called "dyke" and "nigger" by my neighbor, Raoul Nieto. And a new guy screams all night long and beats on the walls.

If I could move right out the back gate, up the drive way and into a new place, it'd be GREAT! And I could keep my garden!

We'll see.

I'm trying hard to come down from how frightened I was by this financial stuff.

I really need to cry.

I REALLY need to sell some RADIO! And I can.

Already started today.

Dear Judith

You are reading http://livinginthehood.blogspot.com


You are reading http://viridianariverstone.blogspot.com/.

Dear Judith,

I think I see you visiting my pages: earthlink, pacific time.

I received the email you sent to my webtv account and I replied.

Last night, I found one in the rriverstone email box. I replied.

I'm sorry you're having SO much trouble with your computer! I TOLD you I prefer WebTV! LOL

And you can buy one for about twenty-five bucks!

Well, as you can see from my blogs, I've undergone a radical transformation again.

I'm back on the radio, where I belong.

I'm back to loving women, where I belong.

I'm back to loving myself, where I belong.

I really missed myself! These days are poignant and tender, as I hold up fragmented memories and try to see my story in them.

I tried to get someone to help me photocopy the Hood Life blog and mail it to you. But the beurocratic traps are so tricky. If I'd been caught, I could have been in real trouble. And so could the person who would have helped me. So I gave it up.

My printer was out of ink, and I didn't know what to do about that for awhile. So I couldn't do it, here.

I'd love to sit and talk for a few hours, in person.

I'd love to bring her to meet you. I know you'd be smitten. I don't really know why EVERYbody isn't, except that she disguises herself to the point of invisibility sometimes, and people just don't see her.

Apparantly, I'm an Elder now. First, young children came to me for assistance, advice, etc. Now, it's young adults: particularly, Queers. They want to know what I know.

I'm always alarmed that nobody else has taught them by now!

What we did, what we learned, what we accomplished thirty years ago: these young people desperately NEED it now! And nobody's making a conscious effort to teach them, apparantly.

I'd hate to see our history disappear. I'd hate to see them have to reinvent the wheel, for another generation.

So, I'm pulling out the old folk songs. I plan to learn them on my autoharp, so I can teach them to the young ones.

And, of course, I'm writing like a madwoman, trying to record my process. It might be useful to them, somehow.

I have a good archive of old: events fliers, underground press, videos, tape recordings, vinyl records....

I can teach them, based on what these artifacts stimulate in my own memory.

So, I'm knitting together these threads into a blanket to warm them.

Radio means life. I can teach, I can explore, I can create, I can record, I can remember. I truly love radio. I'm learning it as well, and as quickly, as I can manage.

It astounds me that, thirty years later, radio is as relevent to the culture as ever. It's still people's companion.

It's so intimate. I really like the idea of talking to people as they go about their lives, chores and errands.

I'm making the best friends I've had since leaving California in '88.

The people who visit my home are intelligent, purposeful, witty, committed, hard working, and funny as hell! Only the best, at my house.

When I lived in the War Zone, I intentionally decided not to allow people into my home. I had to protect my body, my animals, my possessions and my work from unpredictability and predation.

Now, the door is open. People know how to undo the elaborate latches on my gates. They come in whenever they choose. The "bad guys" can't figure out how to get in. Besides, my pit bull dog, Porkchop, scares them to death. But he LOVES my visitors!

So, here I am, at the end of my life, beginning my life.

It's a peaceful, happy time for me.

I miss you.

I thank you for your support and friendship.

Too seldom in this half-mad life do we connect with Genuine People. You're one of those, and have been for me, since I was eighteen years old. I'm forty-eight now.

In spite of everything we've done to each other, you are a lifelong friend.

And I'm grateful.


Saturday, July 10, 2004


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A friend emailed me, saying she'd left a possible seat for my scooter out in my yard. So, I went to check.

I found Chaco, sitting on a log of fire wood, staring intensely at something in the weeds.

It was Ivan, doing something. I slowly walked around front of him and saw he was hugging something in his paws.

Much to my surprise, it was a baby cottontail rabbit!

He'd pulled way too much fur out of its rump and thigh. The area was red and sore.

I took the bunny in.

I swabbed the area with warm water and hydrogen peroxide.

I wrapped the bunny in a slippery scarf, so the wound wouldn't stick. I slid the scarf into the pocket of a waist-length apron. I tied the apron around my chest, over my breasts.

I kept the bunny in the apron until its body temperature had elevated.

Shock is a very common form of death to rabbits.

I emailed my friend to bring me emergency supplies: pine shavings, kitten milk formula, spinach, alfalfa pellets, a vitamin/mineral fortified salt lick, Neosporin.

The supplies arrived within two hours.

I lined a cat carrier with newspaper. I sprinkled pine shavings. I pourd a dish of pellets, hung the salt block and a water bottle and put the bunny inside.

Aside from one, more swab with peroxide solution, I've left it undisturbed for most of the day, to give the shock a chance to wear off.

Bunny's moving around. No legs are broken. No blood from nose or rear.

Bunny's strong and clear eyed.

Now that night's coming, I've swabbed the injury liberally with Neosporin.

I've placed an old soda can box inside, so bunny can sleep in it.

I've brought the cat carrier in out of drafts.

I don't know, for sure, if bunny has eaten anything. Bunny took a bit of water from me earlier, though.

I'm letting Nature do Her work tonight.

If bunny's still alive in the morning, I'll nurse her some more.

But the best thing for bunny is rest, food, inactivity, fresh water and vitamins.

Healing will be slow and a bit painful.

I want bunny to have as little stress or activity as possible, until that tender skin heals.

If bunny looks healthy in a few weeks and capable of self care, I'll ask my friend to take me and bunny up where the other rabbits are, in the wild, where bunny belongs, to be free.

Wild cottontails and jackrabbits are not domesticated rabbits. This bunny won't ever be safe in this city.

Bunny needs to live in Bunny Land, with the other rabbits.

I wish I could keep bunny. I dearly love rabbits.

But I'd have to segregate bunny from my other animals.

And a confined bunny would never really be a happy bunny.

But what a gift!

A dear bunny!

Friday, July 09, 2004

in my little yard

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In my yard, paper garlands, rescued from a dumpster floated, patched with tape and saved with care.

In my yard, balloons saved from a gift package from a friend -- so old, some had holes and couldn't inflate -- bobbed and bounced against passers by.

In my yard, a lifetime's collection of cat nicknacks perched on a table, rescued from a dumpster.

In my yard, fresh fruits and delicacies, purchased with Food Stamps or rescued from disposal enticed the gathered and delighted the hungry.

In my yard, sweet smells and happy sounds wafted up, over the fence like offerings to The Universe.

In my yard, stories of adventures were shared like communion among the gathered.

In my yard, the most timid cat came right up to "strangers" for shrimp tails and bits of steak.

In my yard, a dog gazed adoringly at three women whom he considers Mothers.

In my yard, rain drops bounced and breezes fluffed as we just kept talking and complimented the weather.

In my yard, two of the finest hearts I've met in this town gathered with me to celebrate Life.

In my yard, nobility and courage assembled for a tea party.

In my yard, three little girls, each badly mistreated, played with each other and giggled at our strength.

In my yard, last night, a gathering of women laughed our way together to survival.

In my yard, muses, fates, harpies and fairies gathered to conjure magic in paper tiaras.

In my yard, a sisterhood celebrated.

I'm honored, nurtured and satisfied.

It was a hell of a party!

Thursday, July 08, 2004

what an agenda!

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I woke like it's Christmas morning! I'm hostessing a party today! Oh, gurrl!

I'm not walking today. Yesterday was, and today will be, physically stressful. I'm conserving my resources so I'll make it through.

I'm making a table top fountain of virgin pina coladas! It'll be in a punch bowl, with a small pump motor set inside. The tubing will climb the back of a plastic goblet, into which the punch will spill. The whole thing's chilled with frozen strawberries and cherries!

The steaks are thawing, as is filo dough.

I'm making crab & avacado cups. I'll bake some filo in cupcake cups, with a dash of cheddar cheese in the bottom, brushed with butter. Fill with diced avacado & crab, sprinkle with lemon juice! Serve chilled. Dungeness crab & avacados are both ON SALE this week! So's shrimp, so I MIGHT get some of that, too, for the mix!

We'll have steaks, of course, barbequed. I'm not sure what vegetables; depends on what I find at the store.

If I have time/energy, I'll make cups for the dessert, too.

Paper garlands festoon my yard & patio umbrella. A dozen balloons are blown up, tied with yarn, waiting to be hung.

I have some straightening up to do in here & in the yard this morning.

Then, it's off to Smith's.

Come back and prepare crab cups.

Then, my advisor comes by at 1 ish this afternoon.

Then, a nap.

Then, a wake up call from the other dinner guest.

Then, start the barbeque and hose down the back yard & fences, to air condition the yard.

Then, the guest of honor should arrive, followed by the other guest, who'll find the container for HER gift out in my greenhouse, already decorated, waiting to be filled.

Then, we eat, wearing our paper glitter tiaras.

Then, we go to the play.

I'm wearing a see-through, black lace blouse, with a red bra under it and a cut-off, white tee shirt with a black cat silkscreened on it, examining a red goldfish in a bowl--with my a-lined skirt, printed with cat sillouettes, with black stockings and my little, Victorian boots.

And my tiara, of course!

Looks to be a fine adventure!

What FUN!

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

facing The Monster

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Dear ...,

I'm walking up to Roosevelt Park, circling it twice at a good pace and climbing back up that friggin' hill to my place, every morning, without stopping.

I hate it. It hurts like hell. I feel like I'm wearing pain hip boots.

I love it. It feels like energy. I feel like I'm getting my body back.

Thank you for reminding me I have a body.

Reasons not to walk:

My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was 60.� She's 97 now and we don't know where the hell she is.

The only reason I would take up walking is so that I could hear heavy breathing again.

I have to exercise in the morning before my brain figures out what I'm doing.

I don't exercise at all.� If God meant us to touch our toes, he would have put them further up our body.

I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.

I have flabby thighs, but fortunately my stomach covers them.

The advantage of exercising every day is that you die healthier.

If you are going to try cross-country walking, start with a small country.
I don't walk.� It makes the ashes jump right off of my cigarette.

All my best,

Dear ...,

Sorry, should have said: jokes are not original, although I edited the cigarette one....

But I could certainly relate; it's a universal experience, apparantly....

Dear ...,

Yes, but the POINT is: I'm WALKING! HARD!

All that bragging, gone to waste...sigh.


PS: I haven't QUIT smoking, but I've reduced my consumption by half.
no longer allowed to smoke in the house; I smoke more, that way. I've been coughing up aliens for three days! By the time I climb the steep hill, I've pretty well cleared my lungs enough to gulp air.

I will be a nonsmoker. rr
Dear ...,

Porkchop 'bout knocks the gate down, when he sees me grab my water bottle!

These are the first steps in restoring myself. I'm planning to get full dental services. I'm planning to get that damn warrant for my arrest off my back, without getting arrested doing so. And I'm planning on INSISTING on a REAL diagnosis of my medical condition!

I've been scared to death to engage these toxic institutions, which are supposed to "help" me. They've nearly killed me, in the past.

I am completely committed to being "presentable" within a year. It's not going to be easy.

But I got a "do-over," which wouldn't be worth anything, if it came easy.

So, physical health is essential for all this.

I couldn't do it before. I had no moral support from friends & associates. I couldn't have survived the traps of The Systems without support.

It's only been since I walked into that station that I've met the people who are that support.

I can't imagine getting teeth pulled, interracting with cops & judges, getting probed.....etc. without having people who respect and care about me, so I could heal myself from the traumas this can cause.

I'm scared.

But I can never be an equal, as long as I have rotten teeth and dodge cops all the time.

I'm still trying, after two days of conscious effort, to pick up the damn PHONE and schedule a dental appointment! I'll do it, but it's a big deal.

Dear ....,

Right back atcha re: "gutsy broad."

I don't know how dental will look yet; will AFTER I CALL! LOL. It'll probably be months, 'til my first appointment, even.

As to legal: I'm going to ask L to ask the Courthouse some preliminary questions. Last time I went, they threatened to book me if I didn't leave, because I didn't have the three hundred forty dollars it takes, just to see the judge! The case will probably be dismissed; the Animal Control officer no longer works here. She told me this, herself, before moving to Arkansas.

The dental will be a huge, physical trauma. My incest involved forced, oral sex. I have a very sensitive gag reflex. I hope they can "knock me out" to remove my teeth, but, back in KY, Medicaid/Medicare wouldn't pay for anything but local anesthesia. I was conscious, as my tooth crumbled in the dentist's pliars and he shook and sweated, trying to extract the SHARDS! I vomitted violently at least a dozen times.

See, News Director's interferance in my personal health caused me even more distress; my standing at KUNM seemed dependent on allowing myself to be tortured, in order to be acceptable. News Director doesn't, of course, know what she was demanding of me. Neither does Program Director.

You're the only person on the planet who knows.

I'm going to be physically tortured, because that mentally ill stalker beat me in the head and broke the initial tooth!

He's the reason for the warrant, too. He stole my dog, so he'd have bait to capture me to rape. He stole the dog's tags, too.

The citation that went to warrant was for having my dog running loose, without tags.

As a result of ALL that, I lost my home.

So, I'm facing The Monster, square in the eyes: the worst trauma of my life. And it's going to retraumatize me now. I know it is. And I have to walk right up to it, willingly.

L might know someone who can offer some legal help. I've researched all this. Without a pro bono, volunteer attorney, I'll be forced to walk in there without legal representation.

I'm really scared.

But I'll do it.


Tuesday, July 06, 2004


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MAN! It's HOT out there! WHEW!

I did my 2 laps around the park, showered and putted to the station.

Made some calls, cleared out my yahoomail, emailed some peeps, etc.

Tristan, the production guru, has agreed to help me repair that concert tape I found.

I went to Smith's and found some cheapo steaks. Thursday's a buddy's birthday; she's going with my & another gal from the station to a play.

I just emailed her, asking if she wants to come over for a birthday steak.

I've got a present for her, too.

That station looks different, every time I go. See KUNM.org, where they have pictures. What a MESS! LOL.

So, I'm very glad I had the good sense to turn on the air conditioner before I left this morning. I'm so diggin' layin' here, nekkid, with cold air blowin' on my hot sweat.

I need a nap, so that'll happen really soon.

This gettin' healthy stuff is killin' me! LOL

I WILL get off this couch!

You are reading http://livinginthehood.blogspot.com

I was up late; found a tape of my first radio broadcast. Viri Diana, riverstone radio. !SORRY I POSTED THAT URL WRONG EARLIER!

I'll have a lot more to say, in both blogs.

Yesterday's flurry of walking made me sleepy, so I had a hard time going to bed last night, 'cuz of naps.

So, I'm up late.

I chickened out yesterday; I didn't call any of the official type institutions. I think I needed to be emersed in MY institutions, yesterday, to rally my forces in preparation.

I'm looking for everybody in my past whom I really cared for. Everybody else? Forget about it.

I have bunches of cassette tapes, scattered all over the living room. I found real treasures yesterday, stuff that belongs in women's museums & archives.

I was the Forest Gump of the Lesbian Feminist movement in Los Angeles, in the seventies. I ran with everybody. If it happened, I was probably there...

Well, I have a park to walk around. One more cup of coffee, & I'm out of here.

Monday, July 05, 2004

starting over

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Well, it's quite obvious that the Universe, and I, have seen fit to let me have a second chance, late in life.

It don't come cheap. Wouldn't be worth anything, if it did.

So now I get to work.

I keep telling myself, "it's only fear; it's only pain."

I need to start making calls: to get my teeth fixed, to get my body healthy, to get my legal issues resolved.

This means I'm required to interface with systems which are, at best, indifferent, if not outright hostile to my best interests.

I know, for instance, what dental personnel will think about my teeth. And I know what they'll think about me for "letting" them get in the shape they're in.

I was a nurses' assistant for many years. I was also an attendant to the disabled. And I've dated and related to medical people, off and on, throughout my life.

I know what we say about extreme cases. Like mine.

Back in the day, we'd at least put on a professional face and keep our personal opinions to ourselves. The patients never knew.

But, in these days of Jerry Springer and AM talk radio, all that has become unfashionable. Just watch the TV show, "E.R." They express blatant disgust and their sense of superiority, all the time, to the sick.

I'm not sure I can explain to myself about what's happened to my teeth. I'll try, over time (not right now).

But I don't want to be judged as lazy, crazy, etc. for them.

I'm amazed at the acceptance and tolerance about my teeth from people at the station.

I'm afraid of oral surgeries. How will I get home afterward? How will I feed myself? How will I walk, with a tender mouth?

And how will I sound in a microphone?

I listened to Carl Castle this morning on NPR. He's the news reader. I can tell he wears dentures. I always wonder what he'd sound like with real teeth.

...and I wonder if anybody will hire me, without them.

So, that's just the dental issue.

I also have student loan sharks after me.

I have a warrant I must clear.

I'm scared of a real diagnosis re: my body's pain.

I'm taking this all on faith.

I've been doing tremendously difficult work lately. I've had to draw on resources of strenght, courage, patience, persistance that I didn't even know I really had.

I have prepared a reasonable foundation of internal clarity on which I can depend, as I go external.

But the world of social institutions is littered with traps and obstacles. I don't know how I'll endure it.

I've avoided it my whole life.

It's abusive, cruel, unnatural. It makes me sick. Literally.

And I need to use these same institutions, to try to get well?


Well, slowly, for one thing. I'll need large gaps of time, between encounters. During these, I can sit under trees, write, produce, sew, cook, love......

I will need every trick in my bag to make it through this without damaging myself more than I already am.

I don't want to hurt myself or anybody else, just because I'm tired, scared, in pain....

I don't want to be vulnerable.

I can see myself in waiting rooms with a tablet of paper and a pen, sketching story ideas, drafting letters....

I'll need people around me. I'll need to report in to them and get feedback from them.

I'll need hugs and encouragement.

Well, it's almost 5:30 am.

I heard 2 emails come in: probably spam. I'll check.

Then, it's time to throw on some clothes, get the dog, and walk in the park.

When I get back, I'll have plenty of time to look up phone numbers, create files, and get ready -- hours before the offices of these institutions open.

It's time.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

moving love to Viri Diana

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What's happening to me, as a result of meeting this woman, is a paradigm shift.

I'm going home.

All further entries about this will be in ViriDiana.

That's where the women's stuff goes.

Expect a lot of it.


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The food's being served and I'm resting in a CLEAN house, thank you! All dishes are washed & put away.

We made: apple sauce, humus roll ups, grilled eggplant, garlic cheese bread, chopped vegie salad, rice, soup and fruit salad.

It's such a nice group of kids!

And, this week, I could play records, which seemed to raise everybody's spirits and keep us all happy and cheerful.

Everything's either in the trash or the compost.

I'm watering my yard, even though it's mid day. It's so hot out there, and my plants had to wait so long for water, they're looking, in places, like they might not make it through the rest of the day.

Many of the cats are no longer afraid of company. They come and go and ignore all the cooking.

Porkchop's always thrilled to see the kids show up and lays at their feet, looking up at them with such joy.

They're starting to ask me questions now. About my life as a feminist, thirty years ago. They're full of questions about what we did. It's wonderful. They're forcing me to remember my life. It was important, dammit!

We got a two hundred dollar donation.

And Blue Dragon has restaurant equipment and food for us!

I'm happier than I've been in twenty years!

I got a do-over! My life is mine again!

I'm reconnecting with all my old loves and friends who still impact my life.

It's truly amazing, this journey I'm on.

I feel the Universe, itself is pouring energy back into me.

If this keeps up, I'm going to die a happy old woman, with the knowledge that my life continues on in the people I've touched.

I'm satisfied. And I'm so grateful!

ballet & weights

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I'm so glad I started the ballet stretches & weight lifting!

I just looked at myself, nude, in the mirror. My belly is disappearing! I'm amazed at the difference, in a few, short weeks!

My legs are never going to be willowy. I'm a short woman. But I've always had beautiful legs. Now, they just look stronger, more compact. They don't look doughy and flabby anymore.

My ass is getting perky. Again, I'll never have "buns of steel;" that's just not in the job description of the women in my family. We're NOT anerexics!

But my butt is lifted, full, like half a pumpkin. It'd make a nice, extra shelf for carrying stuff.

I have good breedin' hips: wide, open, sturdy, substantial. I've always had "saddle bags," but a lot of that is muscle, too. Now, my hips are more defined, like my legs.

My feet get prettier, every day: arched, stretched, toes long and seperated like my fingers.

My arms are much stronger. I can hold my flute, to play it, for hours, without fatigue. My fingers are quick on the flute and keyboard. Sleeves of old clothes are still tight, but that's not fat; that's muscle forming!

Every connective tissue in my body thrums with pain, stretching and strengthening. It's an electricity of Life. But I feel my joints' relief at having muscles and tendons to support me better.

THIS pain is about action, not inaction. This pain is Life, itself, coursing through my whole body with such force and power. THIS pain makes love to me, rewards me for my hard work, tells me we're going somewhere.

I woke achey and sore from climbing that volcano. And I didn't just climb it; I circled it!

At first, I thought I'd indulge the pain and take "the day off" from physical effort.

But my body actually wants MORE! She's rejoicing in the freedom to move, to lift, to grasp, to cling to the Earth by sheer force of will.

THIS pain is birth! It's no warning me to sit still; it's rewarding me for acting. It's telling me something wonderful is happening to me; I'm creating a miracle.

It's the pain I felt as a little girl, from spending my summers playing. I'd wake up sore and tingly from swimming, biking, running, climbing. I'd drop to my feet, ready to embrace the effort all over again.

My companion suggested that Porkchop might "feel better" if he got more exercise like we had yesterday. He might be in "better shape."

Uh, huh. The way to a woman's heart is through her dog, huh?

Today is Food Not Bombs. That's very tiring for me. I won't push myself THIS morning, so I can maintain for four hours of moving around.

But I get up very early in the morning. There's a big park, uphill from my house. I've never gone, blaming it on the hill.

But I climbed a VOLCANO yesterday! Not a piddly, paved road!

I have a feeling this business of sitting around with coffee and cigarettes, listening to the radio for two hours, is about to end.

I could easily spend two hours, every morning, with my headphones on, walking the dog, climbing the park, stretching, looking at trees.....

And I'd still hear my radio! LOL

I MISS walking! I used to walk about ten miles, every day, when I lived in Pacific Grove, CA. I walked alone. I walked with friends. I knew everybody's cats & gardens and kids.

I'd walk in the forests, overlooking the bay or tide pools. I sat on a big boulder to rest.

One day, a family of those little deer came by to graze. The buck, sporting a full wrack and laser eyes, looked right at me while his mate and fawn nibbled grasses.

I just kept sitting, not even looking at him.

He came right to the boulder, nostrils flared, scenting me. He was ready to kill me, if necessary.

I just kept sitting, breathing deeply and slowly. I never moved.

The buck circled the boulder. When he was directly behind me, he mounted the rock. I could feel tiny vibrations of his hooves under me.

He got so close to me, I heard the huffing of his breath and felt it, warm and wet, on the back of my neck.

I heard a skittering sound as he turned and leapt from the boulder.

He finished circling me.

He went to his family, nuzzled the doe under her ear, and steered her farther down the hill from me. The fawn automatically followed.

He set them up, only ten feet farther than they'd been from me. He stood sentinal, with them in front of him, head turned to watch me.

I still didn't move.

He cautiously lowered his head and began to feed.

I shifted my position, for comfort.

He continued eating, turning his head to watch me better.

They ate for about twenty minutes.

I finished my meditations, dug in my bag for some gum and a nail file. I filed my nail while they ate.

I pivoted on my rump toward the side of the rock farthest away from them and scooted down it on my bottom.

I stood at the base of the boulder. He could still see my head and shoulders. He just watched as I walked away.

In following weeks, I spent a great deal of time at that boulder with them.

I watched the fawn lose its spots.

I moved away and never finished my business with the deer.

But they're still here, in my heart.

I won't see any deer at the local park.

But I'll be stepping on Earth, under trees, watching seasons change.

I need to be on Earth. I spend way too much time on concrete and asphault. It's no wonder my body hurts!

I need to love my mother.

I climbed a volcano!

You are reading http://livinginthehood.blogspot.com

Oh, it sounds more impressive than it really is.

I didn't climb an Hawaiian island. I more like climbed a pimple on an Hawaiian island. No, more like: if an Hawaiian island is a breast, I climbed a nipple.


...and man, do I feel it, today!

I got so balled up in my teen angst over this woman, I didn't have time to write about the volcano.

We plotted our escape days ago: sunrise picnic, followed by a hike.

I cooked. I made rib eye & sweet corn tacos with cheddar cheese. I made guacamole/salsa with corn. I made deviled eggs with humus and curry. I brought celery sticks and pork rinds, for dipping.

And I made the most ooey, gooey dessert: without sugar!

Lemon curd, basically. But no butter and no sugar.

Lemon Curd:

3 eggs, beaten into the juice and zest of 3 big lemons.

Heat on stove, in metal bowl, floating in saucepan of water. Stir CONSTANTLY!

Add about half a cup of unsweetened apple sauce. Salt & honey to taste.

Cook 'til thick, set aside to cool, stirring occasionally. Mix in 1/2 cup dried fruits & nuts.

Pineapple Glaze:

1/2 large can (apx. 2 c) pineapple juice

Stir about 1/2 c into a few tablespoons of corn starch.

Heat on stove, adding remaining pineapple juice. Stir 'til thick. Remove from heat

Thinly slice 2 bananas into mixture. Add vanilla extract. Let cool.

Place some pineapple sauce in bottom of clear container; freeze. Add layer of lemon curd; freeze. Repeat until container is full.

Top with banana chips and Mandarin orange sections.

It's a cross between gelato and sherbert.

It's tart and sweet, mellow and bright, all at the same time.

And here's the best part: you can eat as much of it as you want! It's all fruit!

It'd make great pastry filling, too. And the pineapple glaze would be wonderful on: ham, chicken, turkey, pork....

So, I climbed a volcano yesterday.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

oooh, THANK you!

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She answered every, single question!

All in a row, one right after the other, so I had no idea what was the answer to what, until I copied and pasted every answer into every question.

She's evil.

I'm not wrong.

There's hope. Nothing certain, yet. And there's Something (remember "Something?") she's going to tell me this week.

She knows. She feels the thick atmosphere between us! She feels me.

A lot of "maybe" and "not sure," but that's to be expected.

I'm intense. I know what I feel very soon and very deeply.

"Normal" heh people tend to need more time.

And self-contained people need longer than that.

Oh, she's so worth it!

Someday, I'm going to dance with her under an outrageous moon.

Meanwhile, I replied that I feel just like Gene Kelly in "Singin' In The Rain!" Even sang that on my way to the store just now.

Oh, you remarkable, funny, beautiful, cranky thing!

last cigarette

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Well, it's time to be truly brave.

I just finished a pack, and I'm not buying any more.

I'm afraid I'm going to be a dang MESS!

The last time, it was really hard.

Of course, I had a horrible job and had to sit there, twelve hours a day, with nothing to do but obsess on not smoking.

And I'm emotionally wide open these days. I'm concerned about how I'll handle things without self medicating.

I keep reaching for the pack that isn't there today, whenever I wonder how many of flavors of idiot I've made myself, sending that email.

But I was thinking about booze: how it's obvious to me, as a nonalcoholic, that booze doesn't make anything better.

I bet that's true of cigs, too. Only to those of us addicted does the substance seem to "help." It's the dopamine receptors.

But I'm thinking this self love process I'm in may help. I seem quite capable, thank you, of feeling pleasure.

The withdrawl? I have no idea how that'll be.

I figure: the best thing I can do is drink lots of fluids, breathe, eat wholesome foods, be kind to myself, rest a lot and avoid crazy people.

I may have to hide in here for awhile.

Since I can get harrassed so easily out there, I see no sense in endangering myself more than I have to.

But I can't use the stress at the station as an excuse any more.

I HAVE no excuses any more!

Sorry to say, I dread Food Not Bombs tomorrow. My body's hurting from the hike. My heart's hurting from exposure. And I won't be self medicating on nicotine.

I hope I don't kill anybody! LOL

It'll probably be just fine; I worry; it doesn't help.

So, no more cigarettes. Period.

Nothing's better because I have a cigarette.

It's only pain. It's only fear. It's only grief.

I'm ok.

she knows

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I tried to tell her today. But I needed to protect myself. I mean, it's theoretically possible she might have gotten back in her car, driven off, and left me and Porkchop at Petroglyphs Monument. I doubt it, but I'm street; I take care of myself.

It was a beautiful morning: sunrise over the Sandias, hiking with the dog.

She came back here and showed me a film she'd made. It was very interesting. It told me a lot about the inside of her mind. I was encouraged.

And, as was the plan, once the movie ended, she got up to leave.

Oh, I was hoping I'd get to ask then. But she was already standing and packing.

I walked her out.

She stepped over my fence. That boundary between us: don't follow; stay on your own side.

My heart was screaming, "TELL her! Don't do this to yourself!"

But I let her go without asking my questions. It was too late. She was too determined to continue her day and her plans.

I felt tested: don't cling, Rogi. Don't demand.

She edited one of our future plans: we won't have a picnic before we attend an event next week.

Ouch. What does that mean?

I came in and sat down, still slightly in shock from the power of my own emotions.

I sent an email. I said there are things I need to ask her; could she find some time, so I could do this in person, rather than by email?

I came to this blog and reread my questions.

With some MINOR editing, I sent them to her. I sent her Wild Women, too.

I haven't been this affected by a woman in fifteen years, I told her. It makes me shy around her. And I apologized for not being honest. She deserves that.

I'll take care of myself, whatever happens. I always have.

I wish I'd told her today. But I don't regret taking as good care of myself as I know how.

I love a woman! That's so precious to me! It means I have my courage back. It means I can be authentic again.

This is a nervous thing, of course.

But it's also the greatest blessing I could have been given.

I feel complete. I feel healed. I feel whole.

However she chooses to deal with this is hers.

But I love a woman. I'm Home.

Friday, July 02, 2004

things to ask

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Are you really coming out? Or is that a metaphor?

If you are, am I under consideration as a candidate?

Are you waiting for permission?

Are you waiting to see if you can trust me?

Are you afraid I'll put demands on you?

Do you think I'll demand exclusive rights to your time, energy and affections?

Are you beginning to find me acceptable?

Are you ready to begin?

May I have this dance?

Did you see the tears in my eyes as I watched you under the moon?

Do you understand I throb, wanting to touch you?

Did you feel how thick the atmosphere was between us?

Can you work me in to your exercise routine?

Do you see how hard I work to be responsible?

Do you understand monogomy is for heterosexuals who breed?

Would you like to hear my poetry about you?

Do you see I'm too old for make believe?

Do you know I imagine that Voice of yours, crying out in pleasure, beside my ear?

Have you seen me admiring the grace and strength in your hands?

Would you like to see my record collection?

Did you feel me pull you in to me when I held you?

Do you remember saying, "at our age, what do we have to lose?"

Do you know I was aching and full, two days after I last saw you?

Do you think I don't understand about scars and mutilations?

Do you know I can love you for the rest of your life without staking a claim or forging a chain?

Do you want me?

Do you know I want you?

May I now please kiss the soft spot, behind your ear, on the nape of your neck?

Would you like some more dessert?

May I examine your hand in mine?

Could you please touch me and watch how I respond?

Feel better now?

Want to feel more?

loving women

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It's the hardest, best work there is.

Women are fierce, wild. They know their damage.

But they often don't know their beauty.

To love a Wild Thing takes patience, persistance, gentleness, firmness. It's art. It's spiritual.

To love a woman takes consistant willingness.

It's not about your ego. It's not about her ego.

It's the twining of spirits in mutual collaboration.

Every metaphor about Creation skims the surface of what it is to love a woman: composing music, cooking, birthing, writing...

It is a process.

Seduction has little to do with it. That's for later, once the trust is established and the bonds built. Seduction is recreational.

Deliberate attention: to one's self, to her, to the Universe whose hum becomes audible in the process.

Loving a woman is the hardest work there is.

Loving a woman is the greatest Gift of Life.

I never thought I'd be strong enough, complete enough, healthy enough again to do this work.

I come to it willingly, without hesitation.

Love is my Purpose.

Loving a woman puts me closest to the Center of my Purpose as I can ever get in mortal form.

Lesbian? Bisexual? Who cares?

It is sacred. It is honor. It is courage.

I love a woman.

I am Home.

Cybornetic Organism

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I woke refreshed and full of piss & vinegar. I fumbled in the semidark for the WebTV remote. Couldn't find it, which isn't THAT unusual. It also controls my "watching" tv. Sometimes, when I go to sleep at night, I put that in the wrong place, or it falls on the floor in the night, when bumped by a cat.

So, since the remote was MIA, I felt around for my WebTV cordless keyboard. No dice. Well, THAT doesn't make sense! There's only ONE place I put that: on a TV tray that straddles a pillow, on the left side of the bed. hmmm

By now, I was becoming conscious. I rolled on my belly and dug behind pillows. No remote, no keyboard. What the ....?

I flopped onto my back and looked at the place where my WebTV TV goes. It didn't look right; it looked smaller.

That's not the WebTV TV; that's the TV that used to be in the livingroom!

Then, I remembered.

Yesterday, I carefully lugged my WebTV TV, WebTV, printer and VCR into the livingroom! I replaced the tiny livingroom TV with my big, stereo Panasonic which operates on the remote.

I'm lying on the sofa, shoulders propped up on pillows against one arm. The WebTV stuff is at the other end of the sofa, on a small cabinet.

At my right elbow, the computer monitor, office supplies, coffee coaster, sewing machine and a small lamp sit. The computer mouse rests on a vinyl CD storage box, on a wooden storage box, under the table, next to the computer tower; the mouse is exactly within reach. The keyboard rests on end in front of the tower, easy to grab and rest on a flat pillow across my thighs; the same pillow now holds my WebTV keyboard.

On the back of the sofa, to my left, sits a tiny ashtray. My elbows are propped on pillows, so my fingers work keyboards without fatigue. Behind my head, next to the computer's drafting table, sits a metal waste can, to collect cigarette butts and junk mail.

As I look to my right, across the room, my "watching" tv is perched on a tall filing cabinet; it's exactly placed so I can see the bottom of that TV over the top of the computer monitor. Next to that filing cabinet sits the shelving on which I've placed: musical instruments, the turntable, my CD containers, speakers and a few, precious momentos from lifelong friends who've ALWAYS encouraged me to write. There are 2 wooden boxes, too: one contains a music box mechanism, given to my mother by my father; the other holds boxes of small, perforated discs which play songs on the music box.

On the top shelf, right in the middle, my bottle of Strega, witches' brew, stands sentinal over my audio equipment. They say that, if one drinks Strega with another, those two are bound in love, for life. So, Strega guards my fledgling radio production and my writing.

I can lie here, dog at my feet, cat at my elbow, and run the entire universe.

I'm a cybernetic organism.

And proud of it!

PS: almost every piece of equipment, furniture, etc. around me came from the trash! In the case of the WebTV, I SOLD trash, to pay for it!

So, I'm a RECYCLED cybernetic organism!

Thursday, July 01, 2004

brave or foolish?

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Dale's poetry reading happens tonight at RB Winnings.

It starts at seven.

It's five twenty-four and I'm already dressed.

I'm ready tonight.

Blue Dragon has too much reverb and bass on their mic. The room's too bright, so sound echoes everywhere. And there's no sound barrier between the speakers and the espresso machine.

I could barely hear anything anybody said or sang last night!

Plus, most of the people were very young, and all were musicians.

It was too distracting and distracted to seriously read.

So, despite constant prodding from my companion, I didn't read last night.

I'll talk to Don McGyver, the poetry dude, who runs a Sat. night reading at Blue Drag, and also hosts poetry on KUNM...I think it's saturday night, too, but that sounds like a LOT of poetry organizing in one night! Talk about herding cats! Try to organize poets!

I'm in a pretty, cotton halter dress: comfy, but has pockets.

I've been listening to Stevie Wonder's "Secret Life of Plants" all day today.

That man's world is full of colors a sighted person can't see!


Lots of romance, lots of flowers, lots of cultural pride....just what I needed! Medicine for my tired soul.

I'll tell you about "Black Orchid" some day: a song I dedicated to one of the girls in the War Zone.

Heard it today and CRIED!

Tried to phone her; no reply. Guess I'll try again before I leave tonight.

I heard from the Once Love Of My Life by email last night, too. He'll be emailing again after he returns from yet-another-trip-somewhere. He likes to spend his summers buying gasoline.

My heart! My happy, happy heart! I'm home and reconnecting with everyone I love.


"Wild Women Don't Get the Blues"

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The song is by IDA COX! gees....

I don't know how well a song sheet will copy into blog post, but you'll get the idea.

Gm D#7 D7

G(m) G0 G(m) G0
Well these women always ravin' 'bout their monkey men,
G(m) G0 G(m) G0
About their triflin' husbands and their no-good friends. C7 Peaceful women sit around all day and moan.
G G0 C7 E(7)
They're wonderin' why their wanderin' papas don't come home.
A7 D7
Wild women don't worry, wild women don't get the blues.

Well, I got a disposition, and a way of my own,
If my man don't like it, he can find a new home.
I go out and drink good whiskey, walk the streets all night, Then I go home and kick my man out if he don't do me right. 'Cause wild women don't worry, wild women don't get the blues.

Well, you never get nothin' by bein' an angel child
Girls you better change your ways of living, and get real wild. I wanna tell you somethin' you know I wouldn't tell you no lie. Wild women are the only kind that ever get by. 'Cause wild women don't worry, wild women don't get the blues.
G0 C7 E(7)
A7 D7
I said wild women don't worry, wild women don't get the blues.