Conjuring Conjecture

Maybe every word of this will be a lie                   I'd like to be the me I was with you when I was wrong about you and who I was                             I haven't changed                                                    Faith is an invisible foe                                           This is a window                                                    There are some people who should always be high
Maybe not all of this is a lie                                       I used to like birds                                                       I haven't changed                                                        There are too many songs about sunshine and not enough about books, bells and candles     you should stop peeping in windows                     I used to be birds                                                      they told me to write so I wrote until they told me don't 
Maybe some of this is true                                                               you complain about your gun shy dog as if you are a unicorn                                                                    I have changed                                                           you look familiar and so important but I remember when you were a moth
Maybe every word of this is true                        Fuck you

F*ck Fate

I don’t believe in luck, I believe in fate. If a person is supposed to win, they will win. If a thing is supposed to happen, it will happen. If it was meant to be, it will happen easy.

And here I am again, realizing the movie on TV is about siblings and legacy. So much for accidental streaming. Sometimes ghosts come through via paid subscription.

I didn’t realize I was not considered a valuable person until I found myself without an income.

And here, again, is another stupid movie about inheritance.

There is always at least one sibling who wants to take the money and run. There is always, usually just, one who wants to keep a thing because it was an important thing to the person who died.

I know which sibling I am. I have nightmares about it.

What is funny, in a not funny way, is the legacy I will leave my children (should I die today) will make the monetary leavings of my parents- look small.

Here I am, with .44 cents in my purse, $5 in my savings account and a pissy fucking attitude and I will be leaving behind three times as much money as my parents did and a house worth ten times what they bought theirs for.

But I can’t touch my value. It’s not a life insurance policy I can cancel. It’s not a cache of funds I can cash in.

But they can. If I’m gone.

I am, literally, worth more dead than alive.

And don’t I fucking know it.

To quote my dad, “Here you go, hon. Buy yourself something nice.”

I sound bitter.

I don’t feel bitter.

I sound angry.

I’m not angry.

I sound sad, like I’m feeling sorry for myself, like I’ve given up.

I’m not any of those.

I’m just an Iowa idiot, missing my parents, watching shit TV about a pair of bitter, angry siblings, arguing over the legacy their parents left them.

As fate would have it.

As if/Whatever

There is a wall of pictures in my living room of people who are gone. My mother always said her feelings were hurt because her picture was not up there with them.

I tried to explain to her, I couldn’t put her picture up there because she was alive.

She said it was unfair, the number of things she’d never see when she was dead. She made me write her eulogy and read it to her while she was alive.

She said it was alright. But just.

I edited and added and re-read it to her until she was satisfied with it. She told me, “You’re a good little eulogy giver,”

Which is a compliment I could do without.

Is it really apathy if the feeling of not giving a shit makes your bones feel as if they glow?

I only ask because the question exists in my head. I, honestly, don’t want an answer.

I could feel sorry for myself because there is no one left who hasn’t left.

But I don’t and I won’t.

The dumbest question I ever heard was, How many people die while being told comforting lies.

Because… all of them.

I write to the air, to people who are not really there, and I’ll buy a round of nothing for anyone who can make me care.

I’ve never been solid as the earth. This is not in dispute.

When I was water, I was an iceberg. I sank ships.

The only element left is fire.

From here on out, I would like you to treat me like fire.

My mom has been dead four years and her picture is still not on my wall.

If she can’t force my hand, there is no hope for you.


My dreams go away for years. When I do dream, I dream fucking weird. Sometimes my ghosts visit and give me advice or warnings. Sometimes their messages need to be deciphered, but they are never wrong.

For example, when he was alive, my father-in-law was never in an airport. Not once.

But he chose to meet me in an airport on three consecutive nights to warn me I should tell his son not to travel.

I was unable to decipher that message until after my brother-in-law wrecked his motorcycle.

I’ve gotten better at deciphering the messages since then.

Sorry, Brad.

Lately, my dreams have been about one of two things. Alternately. Singing and cats. In my dreams, I am either on stage singing my curtains off or I am a little old cat lady with dozens of cats.

I’m not trusting Freud with these.

When I am awake, I can carry a tune in a bucket. But I don’t always have a bucket.

In my dreams I can belt out a tune like I was born for it. In my dreams, I can sing without a tune-carrying bucket.

When I am awake, I have three cats. They want nothing to do with me. All three of them have obsessive love for my husband. I accept this because when he is occupied with the cats, he does not ask me questions he does not really want answers to.

Questions like, “If naproxen is an NSAID and aspirin is an NSAID, how are they not the same thing?”

I am slightly honored he asks me these things. Especially so because he knows how to Google.

Doubly so because, typically, the most he says to me is a heavy sigh in my general direction.

I am only confused when he asks me things when I first wake up. My answers are unreliable.

In my dreams, my house is filled with cats. They all love me. My dream house also has several rocking chairs I do not sit in. Out of respect for the cats.

This morning when I woke up, it took me longer than usual to be mentally present in this world because last night, I dreamed I was on stage singing to a room full of cats.

In my dreams I am a famous and politically correct pussy magnet.

When I am awake, I need NSAIDS, coffee, and Xanax.

If there is a message in these dreams, I have no fucking idea what it is.

If there are answers to questions like, “Do you have something I can use to make a jump wire?”

I’ve got nothing but the theme song to Cheers to sing back at him.

Perhaps my ghosts are just having a laugh. My cats won’t say.

Queen of the Cathouse

Mama Kitty is a heartbreaker.

She doesn’t mean to be.

She doesn’t set out every day to do things to break hearts.

She just does things. And they make hearts hurt. Sometimes just a little. Sometimes a bit more.

Mama Kitty has a Husband Kitty and a Baby Kitty.

Husband Kitty is timid and floofy. Mama Kitty likes to clean his ears while he naps in the sun. When she can’t find Husband Kitty I must pick her up and carry her around the house until we find him.

This is the only time she lets me pick her up.

Unless Baby Kitty is misplaced. I am allowed to pick her up to locate him too.

If I don’t help her locate them when they are missing, she will cry until my heart hurts for her. I am unable to deny her when she cries.

Mama Kitty makes nests.

Her nests are random and unexpected.

She has a coffee pod box she puts her toys in.

She naps in an Amazon box, I don’t even remember what came in it.

I am not allowed to throw away the big box from the new air fryer.

She made me cut a door in it.

She chewed a window in a corner while I slept one night.

Sometimes she sits in her air fryer box and stares out the window she made so she can watch her husband and son. She appears to feel stealthy when she does this.

Mama Kitty brings treasures up from the basement to put in her nests.

Several socks. A pair of pants The Babe wore when she was six months old. Scarves. Mittens. Gloves. Underpants. One of my bras.

If I leave junk mail laying around, Mama Kitty shreds it and lines the bottom of her boxes with it.

Currently, Mama Kitty is bapping a potato in the kitchen. She isn’t even mad at it. It is just in her kitchen.

Apparently, this is what getting old is like for me.

Queen of the Cathouse with a broken heart because of the most endearing little Mama Kitty ever.

I think I will make a nest.

The Edge

Some people live there.

It is just as much a surprise to them as it is to you.

No. That is a lie.

The truth is, the only difference is volume. And visibility.

Sometimes the knowledge of standing at the edge of this and that is so loud, there is no chance to hear anything else. It howls.

It cries like a mother who has lost a child.

Sometimes the edge is the only thing seen.

It looks like an infinity mirror that goes on and on and on.

Sometimes the edge is so quiet, everyone is fooled. Even the person standing there believes it is safe.

Then someone says something, even a stranger, and there it is. That edge. Full volume and visible.

Or someone doesn’t say something or they do something or they don’t do something or nothing happens at all or everything happens at once.

The fact is, the thought returns.

The question.

Do I?

Should I?

Will I?

It’s no one’s fault if someone crosses over that edge.

It is also everyone’s fault.

Because that edge is there.

Even when no one is aware.

Even when everyone believes the fear is over.

Even when everyone is fooled.

There is no safe.

There is only yes, I will, or no, I won’t.

It changes every day.

It has not as much to do with sad as one might think.

It has more to do with there being no more sad.

It has more to do with there being more nothing.

Because sometimes the edge looks like nothing. Sounds like nothing. Feels like nothing.

And that’s when you should worry.

Out of Focus

There is a point in every conversation when the person I speak to gets this look in their eyes and I know I’ve lost them. I become something out of focus. I am Charlie Brown’s teacher.

And I want to know why.

Is this a thing that is only mine?

Is it me? Is it the people I have always been surrounded by?

What is it about other people I don’t understand?

How do I learn something I don’t know about myself, if I don’t know what this thing is about myself?

I am no longer sad about it. Not anymore. Being someone who causes other people to lose focus is just a thing about me that makes up who I am.

The panic that used to set in, does not bother me anymore.

Now, I just talk until they’re gone and I retreat back into my head and I finish the conversation with myself.

I am a good listener.

I do not want what I have not got (thanks for that, Sinead). At least, not anymore.

But I would like to understand it.

What is it about those people who hold the attention of others that allows them to hold the attention of others?

I am curious.

Do those people feel more connected to other people? Do they feel heard?

What is that like?

Have they ever been seen and heard as someone who babbles?

Do they know how alone feels?

I am invisible. I am okay with that. It prepares me for later, when I plan to haunt people. If I am seen as confusing now, just wait. My ghost will baffle the shit out of everyone who has ever lost focus in the middle of a conversation with me. My ghost will be glorious.

My ghost will recommend music and movies. She will walk naked down hallways. She will cause red lights to last longer when you are late.

My ghost will knock things off the counter in the kitchen when you are in the living room ignoring your child.

My ghost will listen to your child when she tells the same story seventeen times.

My ghost will distract your dog when you are attempting to teach him to fetch.

My ghost will also be a good listener.

But she will insist on being heard.

here is the deepest secret nobody knows

for ee and The Babe

who gave me (with some help from The Daughter, i suspect)

the best gift

the best timed gift

in the history of gifts i have received

it has a title

or maybe it is named

“Things That Remind Me of You”

after three years of self-imposed invisibility (from a life of only ever being half seen)

after three months of acceptance of remaining unknown


mostly ghostly

The Babe gifted me with her vision of me

she began with ee cummings

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart)

she ended with an ace and a jack and an ante

she included seven songs, a nursery rhyme, nine movies, two colloquialisms that are very much mine, and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you

two songs she chose are not known by many, one is an anthem meant to be belted, one is pure poetry with or without music, one is for dancing, one is for crying and one is used to call the heathens home

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)

the movies she chose are movies we’ve shared, some decided by her to share with me, some decided by me to share with her, some decided by the two of us to discover together

i have not named anything here by name, i know

it shall remain so

because i am no longer a secret, she told me

but i am hers

this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

Straight ⬆️ My Own A**hole w/a Language Warning

This trip is long overdue. Close your eyes if you don’t like the view.

After three years of being up my own ass with a solid suicide plan, I’ve decided to survive myself.

The bitch is back.

No. That’s a half-truth.

The bitch is on her way.

That is not a warning. No one needs to look busy. There is no, “Oh, shit, wtf does that mean,” necessary.

It is simply a statement.

I have decided to survive.

After much discussion and perusing of my inner workings, with the help of loved ones (some alive, most dead) it has come to my attention (fucking finally) I am an independent entity. I am the master of my what-have-you. I am my own center.

The center will hold.

Not everyone is dead. For three years, I have been fixated on the fact that those who are dead are all the people who loved me as-is.

This was a problem.

The people who are still alive have expectations. Those expectations are not my expectations. They are difficult. Judgmental. Unaccepting. They are fucking loud.

They were so loud, I did not hear the quiet, resolute voices of the people who are still alive who do not actually want anything more from me than for me to get my shit together.

My daughter. A few nieces. Some nephews. A great-niece who is the greatest great-niece in the history of great-nieces. A handful of friends. Some friends of my children. Some long-term internet friends I have had very little in-person contact with, some I’ve never met in person.

These people very calmly and with painstaking logic, gently reminded me, who the fuck I am.

When they felt I could handle it, they reminded me not-so gently.

They did not kiss my ass. They didn’t pussyfoot. They stuck to the solid, strong truth of who they are and worked to remind me, I am the iceberg ships should not fuck with.

For some reason, I can’t even pinpoint the exact moment or day or comment that sparked it, a few months ago I realized- my suicide plan was no longer on the table.

The loved ones I have lost, living and dead- are still lost.

I still miss them.

But the loss of them will not cause the loss of me.

My mother was a warrior. I am my mother’s savage daughter.

My father was a POW. I am my father’s resolute soldier.

My three dead brothers were hippie royalty. I am my brothers’ Woodstockian sister.

I am the keeper of the tunes. The writings. The photographs. The fucked up family tree.

And to those people who are alive who do not wish to see me succeed, and even the small number who appear to take joy in the idea I will fail,

I am no longer afraid of you.

I no longer believe your insults and insinuations.

You know who you are. Congratulations on your seemingly indefatigable attempt to break a person who was already down…

you missed.

Mama Kitty

Toesy pets herself on my hand. She decides when it is time. If I attempt to pet her when it is not time, she will hide. She trusts me more than anyone else. We are learning to understand boundaries together.

Toesy has a cat-husband. Yoshi will sometimes let Toesy pet herself on him. Mostly, she just wants to groom him. She licks his face. Vigorously. He likes this for about five minutes. He is always done being paid attention to before she is done paying attention. She always takes it a little too far. It is as if she is unable to stop until he gives her a firm no. When Yoshi gives her a firm no, Toesy will hide. This is a boundary she and I both do not understand.

Toesy has a cat-son. She will perch above Pinstripe wherever he plays and she will watch him. This is a boundary she tries to understand. Toesy never hides from Pin.

Sometimes Pinstripe and Yoshi nap together. This is also a boundary she does not understand so she stares at them both until she is certain they are asleep. When they are, she will tiptoe in-between them and nap too.

When Toesy can’t find one or both of her boys she will chirp at me.

“Where are they? Please help me. I can’t find them.”

“Should I find them? Should I leave them alone? What if I never find them? What if they don’t want to be found?”

She will stand up on her back legs like a meerkat, put her front paws on my knee, look me in the eyes and chirp until I get up and find her boys for her.

She does this because she knows I will always help find her boys for her. Even if all we do when we find them is look at them.

She does this because she knows I know how important it is to have someone who understands fear and is confused by boundaries.

She does this because I won’t let her stay scared too long. And sometimes, when she is hiding, I will find her but I will not pet her because I am trying to learn boundaries too.

I do this because sometimes, when I am hiding, she finds me and pets herself on my hand.