Saturday, July 17, 2010

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo is apparently a complete sentence in English.

"Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo." is a grammatically valid sentence in the English language, used as an example of how homonyms and homophones can be used to create complicated linguistic constructs."..."
"The sentence can be clarified by substituting the synonym "bison" for the animal "buffalo" and "bully" for the verb "buffalo", leaving "Buffalo" to refer to the city:'Buffalo bison Buffalo bison bully bully Buffalo bison', or:'Buffalo bison whom other Buffalo bison bully, themselves bully Buffalo bison'." (Source: Wikipedia article linked to above).

But actually, I digress...I'm trying to figure out how to maintain two blogs at once. And I'm working on a very complicated application with future career ramifications. Thus, blogging has been slight. Much has moved to my slightly more anony-blog that I pointed out in my last post (ahem). (

Actually I just posted a poem there.
My slightly more experienced blogging friends, if you have any advice regarding copywright whatsits, I would appreciate the advice...There seem to be apps for it now. How convenient. What do I do?

I forgot that this blog was supposed to be poetry and the other prose. Oh darnit. Well I will figure it out eventually....


Friday, June 4, 2010

The Unwedded Widow

So...I've just started a new blog, called The Unwedded Widow. I want to be slightly more anonymous than I am now, so I can write a bit more, and promote it a bit more. I'm planning to keep this blog going too...The other blog is going to be more exclusively focused on The Whole Grief Thing. The Whole Widow Thing. The Whole Miserable Ball of Wax.

So these are my bread crumbs to the new blog...the new blog won't have bread crumbs back to this one.

It will have more poetry, and a lot more prose. Although it seems that when I'm in the thick of some deep emotion, it only comes out as poetry. Maybe that's why, at 7 months (as of today), I've gotten more prosy. Who knows? Grief is even harder and more confusing than I expected it to be, and I was expecting a doozy.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Punchy Tips for Great Unsolicited Advice

Hey kids! My tens of readers know by now that I'm going through what I'm starting to call The Whole Grief Thing. I may just start abbreviating it as TWGT just like the kids in Prince Caspian started calling their dwarf companion our Dear Little Friend, whic became DLF, and then they forgot what it had stood for...But I digress. But I digress because this whole post is a digression, sorta...The wonderful and inimitible Supa Freshwidow posed this question on Facebook:

NEWS FLASH: Some widowed people are "difficult!" -- Is it hard to deal with a grieving person? Do we have ridiculous standards, are we needy friends, and subject to mood swings? Are you more or less of a pain in the @$$ since your loss? Is that going to change, d'you think?

One of the responses to the question dealt with the issue of how annoying it is as a widowed person to get unsolicited advice. It being the wee hours of the morning (hello insomnia, my old friend), and I being a bit punchy, started coming up with ridiculous pieces of advice that could be offered. Because in some ways, a lot of the advice that one gets in this situation (no matter how sensible it may seem) often comes across just as ridiculous as some of the silliness I'm about to share. 

On a more serious note, before I launch into The Silly, I think people are driven to offer advice because they are discomfited by their friend's sorrow/pain, and want to Fix It. Sometimes this is driven by concern for their friend, sometimes this is driven by the desire to make the friend's pain go away so they can stop worrying about their grievng friend...They're ok? Ok, I can stop worrying now and all's right with the world...To have someone suffering on and on and on can feel something like a bystander watching the horrible BP Gulf of Mexico oil want to make it stop, but you don't know how, and you don't have any power over what gets done. And that can be enormously frustrating. 

I think people genuinely do want to help (for the most part), and whatever bits of advice they can think of, they throw your way, just in case it will help. Often, unfortunately, it has the opposite effect of what is intended (Cf: Law of Unintended Consequences). For the most part, people genuinely mean well, but hit a wrong note hard enough, and oh it is ouchy...Of course the whole "I'm going to avoid you because I'm at a total loss as to what to say" approach doesn't help so much either... 

Therefore, in the full spirit of Punchy Tongue-in-Cheek silliness, let me present (*drum roll please*):

Unsolicited Advice Gone Wild!

Cause if it's gonna be useless, it might as well be funny!

1. Paint your house. Every week! Start with fuschia. You can accessorize with turquoise trim! Your homeowner's association will thank you!

2. Join the French Foreign Legion. Because, well, why not?

3. Go on a round the world trip, visiting only cities and countries starting with the letter 'E.' Ekaterinburg, Estonia, and Ecuador, anyone?

4. Show your love for your dearly departed by cutting your hair very short and then shaving all your hair except that which spells out his or her name. Then dye it blue, because you are blue. You can declare your grief to the world and be hipster and avant garde too!

5. Tattoo his or her name on your forehead.

6. Start wearing your dearly departed's clothes, become a street person, and build a church brick by brick every night. Oh wait, that's already been done. (Cf: St Ksenia of St Petersburg)

7. Take up llama farming. Or alpacas. Lovely wool! Plus, they spit. What more could you want?

8. Make sure that you live in a yurt while doing your llama farming. 

9. Move to the northernmost part of Alaska and live out of an igloo in the winter and a sod house in summer. Insist on being called "Bubba." Even if you are female. 

10. Play the complete works of Johann Sebastian Bach with a kazoo. 

11. Found a kazoo symphony in order to pull off item 10.

12. Eat only your loved one's favorite foods. Especially if they were, say, friend liver and lima beans. The nastier the better, in fact. As a bonus, you get to guilt trip over it if you don't!

That's all I can think of at the moment...Please help me out and suggest more! Thank you, my tens of readers! :)


Rejoice? O Unwedded Widow...

I've done a lot of connecting with widows online lately, and I'm feeling more and more comfortable self-identifying as such. It's liberating. There's a word for me! I'll just add a modifier. "Unmarried widow." It reminds me of the classic Orthodox hymn, "Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride" (otherwise known as "Agni Parthene" in the Greek). If the Holy Theotokos (God-bearer) and Ever-virgin Mary can be called Unwedded Bride, why can't I be an Unwedded Widow? Not so sure about the "Rejoice" part...But if somebody can write a hymn called "Glory to God in all things" (which is beautiful, by the way) in the Gulag, starving to death in a concentration camp in Siberia, maybe at some point I'll be able to actually rejoice. (How on earth did he DO that? Well, I also wonder how St Gregory the Illuminator of Armenia managed to survive over a decade in a black basalt pit underground without losing his mind...I visited it once...Darkness, dampness, and silence...)

But one thing I can rejoice at: there is a word for me! Widow! Unmarried widow, unwedded widow...Add a modifier, I have a phrase. Xera Animfefte (Greek), Vdova Nenevestnyaya (Russian/Slavonic)*, Unwedded Widow. :)

*If these are totally off, could somebody let me know? Thanks.

Friday, May 21, 2010

coal and diamonds...written today

I hope that
all this pressure
has a purpose.
If that ream of coal
were sentient
would it cry out
as it's made into diamond?
Let this be for something.
Oh, let this be for something.
If I'm to be crushed--
and I am crushed--
I am utterly crushed,
I am brought very low--
Let it turn me into diamond.
But oh, how it hurts.
Let it turn me into diamond.

Friday, May 14, 2010

written today, May 14, 2010

Where the meteor fell
In Montana
There is now
A beautiful lake.
May my crater of loss
Someday also be
Something beautiful.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My life closed twice before its close--a poem by Emily Dickinson

My life closed twice before its close--
It yet remains to see
If Immortality unveil
A third event to me

So huge, so hopeless to conceive
As these that twice befell.
Parting is all we know of heaven,
And all we need of hell.

~Emily Dickinson

Lamentations of the Theotokos

This page contains the hymnography for the Matins of Holy Saturday, celebrated on Good Friday evening. The service contains the hauntingly beautiful Lamentations of the Theotokos, the Mother of God's lament for her Son in the tomb.

This year, fittingly, Nelson's birthday falls on Good Friday. I am sure I will get choked up singing the Lamentations. As the Theotokos wept for her Son, so I weep for my Nelson. I have more than three days to wait til I can see him again--but in Christ's resurrection is Nelson's resurrection. Unlike the Theotokos, I have more than three days to wait, but she didn't know she only had three days...

Grief is grief. Thank God our Church's hymnography recognizes that, and gives words to human suffering--words shot through with both pain and hope.

Through the prayers of the Theotokos, O Savior, save us.

grief poem. written Monday, January 25, 2010. 2 months, 3 weeks, 3 days.

You metaphor for my soul
Not one stone
Laid upon another whole
Earthquake, turmoil, wreckage
Despair, disaster—so!
Everything’s flattened,
Nothing is left.
No one cares for my soul.