Flyover

In the soft goldness of the morning the plaintive calls arrive first pulling them along the cloudless height

There

are the swoosh of wings beating at the air

morning after morning like clockwork sometimes

two sometimes

six

never one

this northern girl shades her eyes while peering into the heavens

my heart follows them

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Home at last

For the last two months ive been living in a construction zone. You’ve shared the story of the reconstruction of my camper and my life and youve been so uplifting to me. The new is….

I’ve finished the other end. The end I had to reframe. Here it is.

Its bigger than the place I had been sleeping for the last two months, and I have my breakfast nook and table now.

The whole place seems bigger. There is all kinds of storage space for my books and dishes and food. It was such a joy to have someplace to sit and write tonight instead of going to a restaurant like Arbys. Such a joy to play music and sit comfortably and write, and read. I also found my Himalayan salt lamp, which casts a warm glow through thr whole place.

This is my home. It is insulated properly. All the dead wood is gone, replaced by new 2 x2 studs. It has new curtains and as I go along it will have new rugs, new wall hangings, and continue to change along with me. It is the first home I’ve ever owned.

I love my tiny home and I live in the best place on earth.

I am really home. I am home within myself, I am whole within myself; I need no one, because I am complete inside myself, but choose to be involved in this thing called life.

Life is a wonderful thing. If we blink, we miss it. I go to the water and spend my days gazing at the vastness of it and know I am exactly where I am meant to be. I am blessed.

Teachers striking, I support you!

I am a teacher.

I know what condition public schools are in in many states due to education cuts over the years.

I know that politicians have pushed persistent education cuts to ruin public schools so they can get their hands on the Federal funding that goes to public education by privatizing schools . I know our Education Secretary supports privatization of education.

I know most teachers have not seen raises in 20 years or more across the board. And we have put up with it for the kids. We have continued to teach despite education cuts to our schools, low pay, cuts to our existing pay and benefits, despite working two and three jobs to support our families, despite working in schools that are falling apart, despite having our unions weakened by so-called right to work laws that are really laws undermining all American workers.

When there is so little money for schools that we are funding classrooms out of our own pockets, we are not serving kids.

When there is no funding to fix school buildings for a good educational environment, that does not serve kids. When rats are running around openly, when buildings leak when it rains, when students must learn in environments that are an insult to education expectations in America, it is time to do something for the kids. Especially when politicians won’t.

When there is no money for textbooks that does not serve kids .

American voters have let kids down, including their own kids by supporting deep cuts to education and believing career politicians who have willfully lied to the American people by calling public school teachers lazy, overpaid, entitled, and undeserving. That is nothing more than propaganda for privatization. The American public has fallen for this book, line and sinker.

By saying all public school teachers shouldn’t get paid because there are “bad teachers” and because we supposedly only work nine months out of the year which is a lie, the politicians and their propaganda outlets take the focus off themselves who only work 4 months out of the year and make 5 times more than teachers in the salary and benefits they leech off of taxpayers. This is never discussed.

I support my colleagues.

I support a nationwide teachers strike.

Teachers are striking for the kids. Fund education. For the future of this country.

The only adults in the room doing the right thing are the teachers.

We have had enough of being a political football, and seeing kids victimized by political agendas. We are teachers.

We teach the future. We teach all professions. Kids deserve good schools and enough supplies and the best learning environments. All kids deserve an excellent education.

The American public must be willing to pay for it.

Period.

The lake

(Image by TripAdvisor.ie)

In my mind I can see her; endless and blue, blue expanse to the horizon where the pale blue of the water meets the sky in a darker navy blue line. She is placid when I think of her, still and clear like a mirror. On the day I think of her I am hundreds of miles away to the east of her looking over what to me is a smaller, tamer inland sea, that called Erie. The Iroquois called Erie erielhonan, meaning “long tail.” The French fur traders who traded with the Iroquois shortened the name to Lac Erie, and Erie is how we know the name today. It is smaller and shallower than Superior, called by the Ojibwe Gitchee gumee, or “shining big sea water.” As I stand here on Erie’s shore, in Buffalo,NY, I feel as if Buffalo is the garrulous old ex-steelworker biker sitting at the bar while Superior is the wild woman ever tumultuous. This sense of wildness is something that never leaves me no matter where in the world I have travelled. I have seen the great Pacific, and the older seeming mighty Atlantic. We have met in passing, and while both oceans are to be respected and are majestic in their own right, it is Superior who sings to me when I feel far away from home. It is Superior who is mysterious to me, so many legends permeate her name. She has claimed many, many ships and has thousands of untold stories. No matter how long I have been gone, it is Lake Superior who calls me home. In the subsequent essays to come, as I write I can feel the wind coming off of her in a long ago summer night when the world was sleeping and I was alone on Park Point beach. The wind was whipping up the waves into five foot swells and I, I felt wild with her. I fearlessly stripped down and entered the water, and felt so alive in the cold, mercilessly cold water that rarely reaches any kind of a warm temperature even in the summer, so alive that I remember that moonless night 26 years later. I was a young fool. I should have known better than to get in the water with waves coming up that high. That night, I felt a kinship with the lake; never did it enter my mind that my lake would ever hurt me–would want to hurt me–and so I let it baptize me and cradle me in its watery arms. It was like being in the womb of Mother Earth; it was primeval and it was safe and I safe in it. As I swam the waters calmed and gently one last gentle wave deposited me back on shore. I lay there in the warm night watching the sudden appearance of the Northern Lights–its scientific name the aurora borealis–known as wanagi wacipi (ghost dance) by the Lakota, and also by the Salteaux of eastern Canada and Tlingit and Kwakiutl in the north in their respective languages. The lights danced overhead in shades of green and blue and yellow and I reached up with my hand and tried to touch them. Here I belonged; not a traveler of the world but a citizen. Here my heart is complete. Here is home.

I belonged here.

I belong here.

There is much more to tell. My heart is full of her this night. I have long felt I had a story but it took 26 years, six countries, and the failure of the most important love relationship of my life to identify and perhaps uncover, what that story was; the one that was too close, but yearned to be told. This and the essays to come see that story. Superieur–Superior.

I saw that I had forgotten how beautiful the drive to Thunder Bay was; the towering sighing groves of fragrant Norway pines, the broad expanses of clean white sand, the sea gulls, always the endlessly wheeling sea gulls; an occasional bald eagle seeming bent on soaring straight up to heaven; the intermittent craggy and pine-clad granite or sandstone hills, sometimes rising gauntly to the dignity of small mountains, then again, sudden stretches of sand or more majestic Norway pines — and always, of course, the vast glittering heaving lake, the world’s largest inland sea, as treacherous and deceitful as a spurned woman, either caressing or raging at the shore, more often turbulent than not, but today on its best company manners, presenting the falsely placid aspect of a mill pond.

Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Murder

(Photo by C Scherer)

autopsy

four times you have dug me up

peeled the skin away from my extremities

Cracked my ribs open to peer at my heart

and not content with looking

sliced it open scalpel at the ready

you oh vivisectionist, reveling in my dry and rotted flesh watched

as the blood drained from me and

I grew progressively cold

and whiter

you could not wait until I was dead before you peeled the muscle from my bones

my screams of pain your face impassive I the

experiment

you will not find my humanity in my bones

torturer you cannot wear it like a second skin oh if you could disguise yourself

Hannibal Lecter of humans

eater of emotion

murderer

of loving souls

how many skeletons of those who went before me are buried in your basement deep abyss black pitiless intent your

mind their faces your face interchangeable

I see you standing over the bodies nightly in the dark

pondering your next victim

Predator

changeling

warm

sweet

kind

abashedly shy and you liked

to hear me talk of dreams and

butterflies and you dug that hole

in the backyard for my potatoes but

I think now it was really a grave

for the illusion you wove

for the sweet, tender hearted boy who loved me

the brooding silent one who lives inside you snatched you in the night replacing you with him

angry condescension morphing into that cruel leer as you knifed me or maybe he

repeatedly with his words that other

one the dark one the one with no remorse

who occupied your mind the one

who made you go down that dark well and

scoop out dead snakes I wonder if

the serpents crawled inside your head and stayed and grew wrapping themselves around your spine

and their venom courses through

you him that distant dark memory alive

weaving and cutting holes in your soul

or

perhaps the fairies came and took you in

that well perhaps the dark

stranger who sat across from me with that blank psychopathic stare that triumphant smirk as you he

cut me open in our nightly bloodletting immune to my pain but entranced by

it

is not you at all

the hole gapes in the ground

the well

uncapped

the darkness far below the

abyss

We the walking shadows fighting

for the light

we lost

you

only the changeling remaining

Poem of the day: Linda Underwood “All This Talk of Saving Souls”

geese

All this talk of saving souls.
Souls weren’t made to save,
like Sunday clothes that give out at the seams

They’re made for wear; they come with lifetime guarantees.
Don’t save your soul.
Pour it out like rain on cracked, parched earth.

Give your soul away, or pass it like a candle flame.
Sing it out, or laugh it up the wind.

Souls were made for hearing breaking hearts,
for puzzling dreams, remembering August flowers,
forgetting hurts.

These men who talk of saving souls!
They have the look of bullies
who blow out candles before you sing happy birthday,
and want the world to be in alphabetical order.

I will spend my soul,
playing it out like sticky string
so I can catch every last thing I touch.

geese resting in a flooded field

in darkness descending cerulean to black
a surprise bursting out of night in harsh
headlight glare
they rested quietly upon the silver flash
of still water
white cheeked upon black neck white contrast
to the dark obscurity that rests opposite daylight
a whole flock lately returned from southern sojourns
skeins soaring across the sky
now in gentle quiescence
small trees grow in summer where they rest
the water recedes, gives way to dry ground
for now, it is home and as I round the bend
they stay with me in perfect
peace.

diane o’leary 2009

geese