If I am the Answer, then what is the Question?
Secrets held so close inside. Mysteries with no Solution.
Riddles that can never be solved.
The Face I present to the public is not the one I see in Private Moments alone.
I remain a Beautiful Enigma who can never be truly known.
I’m Still Here…………
Today I am 55 years old. It is a Blessing to be this age. I have depression, anxiety and panic attacks. I’m also a domestic violence and sexual abuse survivor. I’m the person sitting next to you on the bus, subway, at work and in church. No I don’t want pity just acceptance. Recently I had a conversation on my Facebook page regarding mental illness. It was good sharing with my FB buddy who works in the mental illness field about the obstacles and hurdles faced not only by the mentally ill but their families. The government just seems to put more roadblocks in our way so we wind up taking many detours towards a place called Wellness. My mother Mable Elizabeth Palmer lived most of adult life as a functioning schizophrenic. There is a serious lack of support services for the mentally ill thus we read of all these horror stories in the newspapers but for the most part many mentally ill folks carry on with their daily lives. Despite all that I’ve been through as a child and again as an adult I’m happy to be alive.
Sometimes when I tell my story people who have these “happy lives” meaning a satisfying long term marriage, house in New Burbia, kids, grand-kids, successful careers feel sorry for me, pity or think I’m a walking tragedy living a substandard life. Not true! I live in full life in spite of my numerous desert and valley experiences. Perhaps an even fuller more substantive life than those who eat from silver platters. Mine is not a half-life of only the sunny side of the street but a full life that includes the alleys, back-roads, ghettos, and dimly lit streets populated with voices yearning to be head. I like it that way.
Nothing to be sorry about. Despite all the things my parents went through, especially my Mom’s battles with her demons, she was also an alcoholic, overall I had a good childhood. We have a choice to dwell on the sad past or the fond happy times of the past. I think about the good things. The fun stuff our family did when I was growing up. Of course now being an adult I have a different perspective. I was not so accepting myself when I was younger but age, maturity, experience and time changed my viewpoints.
It’s the government and people’s approach to mental illness that needs to be healed. It should not be a stigma. I readily admit to my struggles with depression, anxiety and panic attacks. That’s my life. It is not a tragedy.The tragedy is other peoples reactions and perceptions of mental illness. My Mom was a good wife and mother. I served my country in the Army, earned my BA in English, held down jobs all my life, went to church, now a full participant in Shinnyo-en Buddhism etc… It would be good if people with mental illness were more accepted. If there was more help for those of us suffering. If people would stop trying to impose their expectations on me of what happiness means. Everybody has a past. Everyone has a story. Life goes on. I’m just happy to be alive. Pitiful prayers, slapping oil on my head, telling me the latest New Age positive thinking strategy 12 Steps to Happiness, and sad sack face looks going tsk, tsk, tsk are an insult to my intelligence as a human being. It is what it is. Raw, exposed and uncut.
I have health insurance so I do have the option of returning to those mind-numbing anti-depressant drugs I took after my mother’s death but I choose not too. I choose the full gamut and range of my emotions and feelings as opposed to being a drug induced zombie. During the high points in life I love my odd slightly off center sense of humor. The times when I’m at my lowest are the times when I’m most creative. I’m a better writer, a better photographer because I know what it is like to live life in the margins, the outskirts of society, to be a misfit and an outcast. I’m drawn to people living alternative lives. That’s why I love Street Photography. I don’t want what’s staged, posed or set-up. I want real. The nitty gritty. The down and dirty. The quirky and unusual. If life was meant to be perfect happiness or total sadness the books of Job and the Song of Solomon would not be in the Holy Bible.
What would the world look like if gave a helping hand to the Mentally Ill by supporting organizations like NAMI, prosecuting men who abuse their wives and girlfriends and pulling the collars off ministers who are rapists. What if we weren’t treated like modern day lepers? Instead of further victimizing people living with mental illness write to your Congresspersons and Senators to create laws that will enable us to receive the treatment and support systems we so desperately need.
No I don’t need to be “healed” but our society does.
A Building at Rest
The museum Thanksgiving Day 2012 –
the museum is populated by a wonderful yet mysterious quiet & peace undisturbed by the frenetic masses. Silences punctuated only by flowing water, the endless hum and shifting of building machinery.
Even normal noises can be unsettling. Especially those associated with people. The building has become a living breathing organism Uttering creaks moans sighs groans from nearly 150 years of footfalls, voices, radios, songs, cantatas, the chiming of clocks, exclamations of awe & wonder. Whispers from an Archaic Victorian century long past to digital diversity.
Oh what secrets lie transfixed within these silent walls yearning for release. The Hunger has been unleashed upon the populace.
The immortality of brick, mortar & steel record the march of ethnicities & nations who roam free these hallowed halls.
Sometimes the sudden interruption of footfalls becomes ominous, invading the sanctity of the Holy Sanctuary. Even the sound of my own steps is somewhat menacing. What spirits accompany me on perambulations among the saints and sinners?
The feeble burbling of the fountain stream’s half-hearted attempts to empty its essence, struggling to pollinate magnificent coins.
The day is at end, the light has faded. Now the night crew enters to continue the evening melody.
Reflections Goth Holiday 2013
Cadaver Mind A.D.D.
Heaving sighs and moans. Creaks, chrupping of brick, mortar, steel and glass pane windows. Blood oozes and drips from open wounds in Laymen’s red brick walls. Elevator doors open and a thousand wailing, howling, grieving souls swoop through the air and into the Medieval Court crying for revenge. Flight of the Valkyries. The Martyrs avenge their unjust and untimely deaths. Swirling and whirling like profane dervishes from netherworld’s portal of the undead.
Hail Mary Echoes from thousands of Knights, monks, Nuns, bishops, and church saints racing through Byzantium corridors. Spirits of Reliquaries issue forth warnings and admonishments to modern day savages. Reliquary Fingers of Blessing Inflict Pain Yanking Opening Death’s Door breaking off bits and pieces of flesh, bone, teeth and hair for deposit into ossuary banks.
Slats opening and closing mindfully as though giving some secret Morse Code. Dioramas of Death act out murderous suicidal dramas. Eagle slays Dragon plucking out blinded eyes from empty orbs.
Medieval castle built long ago by invaders long forgotten. A grand foyer flanked by two long hallways of Byzantine art leading into Medieval Sculpture Hall filled with statues of Madonnas, Saints, Mystics, Relics, and tombs from Egypt, Europe, Greece, Cyprus and South America. Kali goddess of the sarcophagus raises her many arms in Victory. Subterranean pipes hissing steam clanking unrest.
Secret panels opening up to Mausoleum subterranean chambers containing overturned ossuaries, bones bleached white scattered throughout the tombs.
Abruptly Angels on the Christmas tree come to life and like ravenous vampire bats attack unsuspecting visitors. Reanimated Reliquary Arms reach out to throttle throats of fleeing patrons. Fang toothed Egyptian mummies arise and break through display cases to satiate their ancient eon hunger upon frenzied victims. Their desert saliva spreading infection causing festering vile pus filled carbuncles to captive prey.
Desire run rampant as sacrilegious effigies coupled and reached radiant necrophilia orgasm stone bodies now made supple. Mystics and Monks glowered lecherously all the while reciting Gregorian chants, dirges and cries for absolution filling the room with the intensity of their mating.
Gargoyles descended from illicit trysts with human females and warlock man beasts gave into the licentious behaviors’ anointing themselves and fleeing clienteles with seminal fluid oily slick.
Orgasm became an exceptional obsession.
Viscous gleaming blood, shimmering with glided preternatural flakes of light. Black Iris her breasts like soft fragrant pillows.
Descendant Daughters’ of Jephthah and Tamar
Lord I Believe Help me overcome my unbelief. Father please remove all fears, self-doubts and my nagging sense of failure from my troubled heart and soul. I am the broken winged sparrow lying shivering cold, bereft of hope, hungry for acceptance, on yon forest glen. A Woodland Tragedy. Will Jesus the Gentle Woodsman gather up my shattered heart and bind up my bloody infected wounds? Lord Hear my plaintive cries.
Which voices do I believe? The Judging critical voices of men with ravenous sharp toothed dogs or the brutal voices of women holding sharp knives ready to strike and drive men into grave ground. Or Dear Lord your Tender Still Small voice as you Cradle me in your arms, safety bound. Oh God comfort the descendant Daughters’ of Jephthah and Tamar that we may find solace, peace and sanctuary in a weary heartless land.
I couldn’t build a proper tree house. Too high up and anyway I’m afraid of heights, so instead I built this little fort of sorts as a place to gather my thoughts after a hectic day. Made my best efforts with whatever materials the forest floor offered up as building materials. There were enough twigs and branches to construct more ground level tree houses or make my current enclosure larger but I chose to save some for kindling for warmth against the chill night air and the rest I kept stacked as a type of cord-wood in a womb like nook Mother Nature had carved into a tree that had been struck by lightening. Eventually I decided to construct another Tipii twig abode to store my few belongings I had gradually began to sneak away from The Family Residence.
These Tree/Tepee/Tipii/Twig aka T3 structures became my holy sanctuaries and safe havens I return to again and again to re-connect with Mother Earth and nature. Too small to stand upright clicking my heels together three times was not an option so I was forced to remain seated. With some degree of discomfort I could lay down in a fetal position while I imagined myself re-entering an alternate womb to be reborn into better circumstances. Mine were a tepee shelters without the buffalo skin covering all exposed bones and framework.
Sometimes I’d hug my knees and rhythmically rock back and forth while repeating what I thought were calming mantras, occasionally wishing that the earth would open up and swallow me whole transporting me some place free from pain, misery and cruelty. Like a shaman I chanted using my homemade rituals attempting to silence the drumbeat of voices incessantly chattering inside my head versus the declarations of the Family. They created a dissonance tear in the time frame continuum of my thoughts.
You see our house, The Family Home if you could call it that is a ramshackle structure; a hodgepodge mixture of stone, wood and stucco additions and afterthoughts as different parts of the building were constructed at different times upon the whims the directors and caretakers.
I was forced to share this mishmash cottage with twelve other inmates, bordered on this expanse of woods providing me a refuge from leaky roofs, busted walls, peeling wallpaper, lukewarm baths, moldy musty scented showers, not to mention all the yelling, screaming, arguments, fights, thefts of food and personal belongings and constant disagreements of a house too small to accommodate the number of people residing within its creaky ramparts. The Family nicknamed it the Hotel California. You know the place where you check in but never check out. The nails across chalkboard voices of The Family were constant knife thrusts to my brain making daily life a constant battle that did not end even has the diurnal gave up residence to the nocturnal for they all snored, wheezed and gasped through the night abyss. The utter desolation of the place crept into your bones and took root nourished by hopelessness.
The Family’s house sits on an oddly place piece of land, our house gives way to forest which in turn after several miles gives way to craggy, rocky shores of a steep cliff, where if one sits perfectly still you can hear the violent waves crashing against rough jagged rock formations that looked as though they were designed by the devil himself. It is said that in olden times there used to be many shipwrecks where sailors were either impaled on the razor sharp Stalagmites. Sometimes you can even hear the shrieks, moans, cries and groans of the unfortunate wretches mixed in with the howling winds. The few who weren’t dashed to pieces by the razor sharp jagged rock formations tried to climb up to safety but were thwarted by the steep incline.
So I periodically retreated to my exoskeleton asylums as a sentry medium between earth and sky. I can never turn my mind off completely but within my secret hiding place the voices were kept to a low roar and bid to change direction and pace.
The last straw that broke the camels back came when my moronic addled brained cell-mate Pearl kept throwing her nasty, dirty towels, underwear and flip-flops over to my side of the room. When I returned from the canteen or our common dining area there were moldy wet towels plastered to the floor like throw rugs that accosted the dividing line between our two living areas. Pearl was known as the filthiest female in our wing tossing food and drink to and fro fully expecting that a squad of personal maids and sweepers were following in her wake. One night after I returned from my many woodland sojourns I decided that I had, had enough and soaked all her grimy towels in gasoline and lighter fluid obtained from an unlocked supply closet near the motor pool. Pearl had a tendency to drink like sailor on shore leave and sleep just as soundly so she never had an inkling as I piled the towels around her bed, built a kindling fort for good measure and added effect, led a fuse from a doorway to an open window, climbed out and lit said fuse.
The Kindling delivered me from The Family’s vocalizations. I tried to warn them before. I tried to silence the voices through escape, but it was not working so I had to try another plan. The crackles and pops of my campfire seem to be in sync with the screams and cries for rescue from the patients locked inside their rooms but eventually those voices will die out also, and then sleep. Blessed sleep.