de profundis in extremis

wednesday 24 march 2012

destruction day. family-stealing day. the day of the phony police chief. that’s what today is. the anniversary thereof, that is.

these are some of the names, but by no means all, that I have for the second wednesday in march of 2008, the worst day of my life, bar none. and now here it is again: the second wednesday in march.

have I mentioned, in my hundreds of pages of internet writing, that I loathe the human species? I’m very sure I have — at least once or twice. as a person with Asperger’s, I  never had a great fondness for humankind to begin with, since way back in toddlerhood. but since this day four years ago, I can say that extreme trauma has exacerbated my natural autistic tendencies not to understand or particularly admire homo sapiens to a pinnacle of disgust, mistrust, and resentment. these are facts. if post-modern, new-age drifty readers don’t want to read words of this kind of truth, then they’d best get out of this blog right now.

what names would you give such a day, if such a day should happen to you? a day on which you lost your way of life as you had always known it, and on which every single being that you loved was torn from you… what names would you call it? and if this great disaster had not been brought about by a fire, a flood or an earthquake, but rather by the viciousness and malice aforethought of other human beings, what might you feel?

maybe the answers to those questions wouldn’t contain any let’s-stay-positive-and-let’s-forgive new-age fluff. or maybe they would. if your answers would contain such drivel, then you should definitely get out of this blog. I have little tolerance or mercy for such attitudes on an ordinary day, but I reach absolute zero today: family-stealing day; destruction day.


read…   Extemporaneana…   Being toward death

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how many scars

monday 12 march 2012

a real apartment after four years of confinement. not an unmitigated relief, as I said tuesday.

after four years, I’m slowly retrieving the belongings that were mine, that were ours. it’s a huge relief to have one’s own things back again. at the same time, every object — from the tiniest pewter fairy to the largest bookshelf or the bed or the loveseat — is imbued with the loss of those who used to share these things with me. emanating absence, emanating rage at those humans who brought this all about, breathing loneliness and empty places.

I don’t know if objects have the same weight for most people that they have for me. they do for some few at least, I know, but perhaps not for most. it has very little to do with  how much the object cost, and much, much more to do with its history and the history of those of us living beings who shared those belongings, for whom they were part of the fabric of daily life.

the things slowly return to me. the fourteen living animals, never. murdered and gone. but the things, as they come, bring back stories of the life that was my own, and the stolen family that was my own, and the self I was and the way I lived before the most severe trauma of all my decades on this planet. the things carry the history, carry memories, carry richness and remembrance and rage. breathe love and loss.


read…   Extemporaneana…   Being toward death

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four years

tuesday 6 march 2012

on goes the drifting. that’s truly what being alive is for me now, since march four years ago. sometimes the drifting has a certain amount of direction to it, but there are now so few directions that matter in any deep way that this small amount of direction rarely carries with it an imperative.

there is a real apartment now, for the first time in four years, and I live in it. since february first. naturally the guinea-pig princess, her royal highness Shiloh-Chailín, lives there with me. we are no longer just a pair. we have become a family.

on the ninth of february, two parakeets came to live with us. they were still too young to sex at that time, perhaps five weeks old, but now, a month later, it looks as though one is a boy and the other a girl. I had hoped for two of the same sex, but things have turned out a different way.

there is a family again. this lightens the burden of the last four years to a certain degree. so does having a real apartment after four years, after a totally illegal and brutal eviction. things that belonged to me are slowly being brought from the storage unit, and this, too, restores a certain element of the past: of the way I lived for fifty-five years before psychotics took over my life and ripped it to rags.

but no apartment will ever be a pre-devastation apartment, as I learn each day that I live in this new one. no family will ever be the one that was stolen and killed. the darkness dumped on my soul by the actions and words of deceitful, disturbed individuals can never be completely lifted. holes can be poked into it, and through those holes some light can pass. a real apartment again is such a hole. the two birds and the pig are such holes. the belongings retrieved are such holes. piercings in a dark black cloth where the sun injects itself in narrow beams.

I’m grateful for the holes, for what else would I have of meaning, of value, of purpose, without them. at the same time it weighs heavily that nothing that used to bring joy can bring quite that same level of joy ever again. what is dulled, what is darkened, is damaged for all the days remaining. how many is that, I wonder.

the sound of birds is within my walls again. seed hulls scatter on the floor, and I have to sweep them. I had birds for nineteen years. the joys and sorrows of bird-keeping were well-known to me, threads in the fabric of everyday, normal (for me) life. how familiar and second-nature it feels to do it all again, and at the very same time how foreign and unbelievable.

this dichotomy exists in the apartment as well. for fifty-five years I lived in houses and apartments. I lived in spaces that are considered in this country to be what a person should have for living space. and then four years of deprivation, of being trapped in small spaces and deprived of things like a kitchen. going back to normal now feels, on some days, exactly right: this is the way I always lived, and this is the way it should be. on other days, the space feels overwhelming, and it feels wrong. I get a fleeting, panicky need to flee the space and get back into confinement, as if confinement were somehow right. it is not right. but I’ve been conditioned by four years of claustrophobia and mental cruelty, and there are moments now when my psyche seems not to know what to do with personal space.

I wander on. wander through the space I now have. wander, as ever, through the memories of life before psychopaths. wade through the grief, the rage, bitterness, with a princess of a guinea pig and two ebullient parakeets by my side. we are seeking our cat. when we have her, that will be the limit of the family I am currently allowed to have. when you don’t own your own home, others dictate to you. one of the many ugly warts of being a renter. a renter is always walking among the warts.

greetings from down the street to Shiloh-Chailín, Canarie and Cerulie. take care of each other. I’ll be back soon.


read…   Spite and malice…   All my stars

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friday 29 july 2011



beyond myself somewhere, I wait for my arrival.
                        ~~~ octavio paz









read…   Scealta liatha…     Shadowpoems…

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the tintinnabulation of the bells

Page One hundred thirteen

thursday 16 december 2010…     turnered

Two things I once loved:  Poe’s poem The Bells; and the Ukrainian Carol of the Bells                         
Another thing I loved:  bells
And a fourth:  my lovebird Tuuschi
We listened every holiday season to Poe’s poem set to various melodies by various musicians. We listened to various choirs singing the Ukrainian carol. We listened, and I sang, and Tuushi, along with the other birds, chirped away.
When I was a little girl, back in the stone age, every year at Christmastime, Ed Sullivan would have bell-ringers on his show. Musical handbells. I was enchanted by these bells, how each one was a different note, how co-ordinated with each other the ringers had to be, etc. But after the Sullivan show was gone, the only time I ever heard handbells again was a rare performance on Public Radio at the holidays.
So there we are in 2007, my animals and I. Catalogs are coming in the mail, it is the fall, Shirley Temple is my new case manager at the DMH, and I believe in her (oh fool). I have already bought the harp and the tin whistle from these catalogs, and then I buy something I’m not even sure what to call: eight pipes lying on a wooden rack, tuned pentatonically, and you play them with mallets. I buy it. But right before that one, there are the BELLS. Eight bells, one octave, each in a horrendously bright color, meant as a children’s toy. But they are the only damned handbells I’ve seen since I was a kid, so I buy them. “The jingling and the tinkling of the bells…”
Why was I buying all these instruments? Because another thing I loved was fooling around with instruments, even though I don’t play well. And because, when Shirley Temple found us a place to go, I would have fun with these things, and with at least SOME of my animals. And because, if Shirley failed (which I didn’t really believe in), I would play some music for my animals before we were destroyed.
You can’t play much on one octave with no sharps and flats, but I mastered Joy to the World, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (music by Mozart), and a couple of other things on the bells.
Tuuschi, the effervescent, crippled-from-birth lovebird, had a copper bell of his own in his cage. And when the handbells arrived and were played, he decided that these were quite the thing, and, as animals often do, he made up a game and taught it to me. He started ringing his own bell every time I STOPPED playing mine. After a few times of this, I said: What do you want? Another bell? So I went and got a bell, rang it in front of his cage, saying: this is an A, and it’s turquoise.
Every single day he had to have a bell. He would ring his little copper one incessantly until I brought him a colored bell. I always told him the note and the color, and he would gaze at those bells with sheer rapture on his face, not moving a muscle until I stopped ringing.
Another thing that often happens:  you have your OWN reason for doing something, but after you’ve done it, a different, more meaningful reason appears that you didn’t even know about. I didn’t buy those bells for ME. I bought them for Tuuschi. And we never had a Christmas again. Hell, we never even had another St. Patrick’s day. Valentine’s Day 2008 was the last holiday we ever had.
How did Tuuschi end after he was stolen from me? I was told that the unholy priest adopted him out to someone here in town, but I was never told to whom, and I was never allowed to visit him, and I’ve never been told when and where he died. May the ocean’s dogs devour them all: Shirley Temple, the unholy priest, the adopters, and everyone in town who knows about my bird and will not tell me. Christians all. Damnable, lying, sneaking followers of christ.
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another christmas carol

Page One hundred twelve
monday 6 dec 2010…   turners tightfists                                                                               


It’s very early; not yet 5:30 a.m. I’m listening to one of the Public Radio shows that my animals and I listened to for years. It goes on for two hours: I won’t be able to stand it that long without them. I never can.

This is the wandering blog, the one I’ve singled out for that concept.  And yet wandering, of the body and of the heart and of the memory, is there in every blog I’ve made since April of 2008. Haunting – ghostish, wraithy – came up new this year in this blog.  Haunting is what I very often do, and haunted is what I mostly am. The ghost of Christmases past, and only the past, because that is the only temporal place where my own life now lives. Where fourteen stolen, executed friends now wait for me, who waited for me for years and more years, every time I went out the door. No words describe better who I am since the day I saw them for the last time than ghost, wanderer, haunted.

Today is the sixth day that I’ll wander these streets in search of our Christmases in this poisonous town. Twenty-two of them. I’ll listen to journal cassettes of a very few of those Decembers. I’ll try to feel us. Sometimes it happens, sometimes not. This is the only deep and real thing now when Solstice and Yule appear on the calendar again: to feel us. Gifts are bought and wrapped for two human beings, only two. Gifts are bought for the guinea pig princess. A few decorations exist, but no tree. No more trees. No more the daily playing of the season’s music, which for us was a daffy, elcectic stew of baroque and renaissance and folk and classical and all the old standards. Silent Night in how many languages? Oíche chiúin.

Will I ever fry bacon again? So far I can’t. In 1999 I started a new yearly tradition of bacon on Christmas morning. Bacon for me and for cats and for dogs. We lived at 59 L Street then, Nookie’s insane asylum for drunks and druggies, he himself having been a member of that sterling club. Will I ever listen on the 24th and 25th to The Nine Lessons and Carols, sung by boys in England? So far I haven’t. Those nine stolen, lethally injected cats will never bat ornaments off the tree again and roll them under the furniture. Those three stolen birds will never chirp at the top of their little voices to their own particular favorites in our Yuletide musical canon. The stolen dogs, those two who remained, one half of what had been my pack, will never drool over the bacon and beef and lamb and turkey and pork again, or have their Christmas walks with me again, or lie down beside me for the Christmas day nap. So I wander around past the places we once lived and the places we once walked and wait to feel us, a ghost and an exile who can never step into those yards again, walk through those doors and take a look at those rooms we shared again. Barred, and barren, and a baleful little wraith.

Oíche chiúin. Yes, the nights are silent. Christmas Eve and Christmas night and Solstice, and all the nights of the year. There is an ocean of silence, a jabbing abyss of absent sounds that were part of my nights for fifty-five years: snoring dogs and breathing cats and nocturnal trips to the food dishes or the water bowls. A bird suddenly waking up and speaking in the dark. And breath, breath, breath: beside me, above me, around me: my friends, my children, breathing and sleeping in innocent peace. There is a huge chasm, a great ghostly vacuum. There is, having been brought about by the viciousness of unholy christian human beings, an endless string of lonely and grieving and murderous silent nights.


read…    Being toward death…    Stolen stars

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Page One hundred six                                                                                                 

Turners Fails


“And my soul from out that shadow… Shall be lifted – nevermore!”
                                                                   ~~  Poe



For decades, October was one of my three favorite months. That began to change a bit in 1993, with the death of one of my cats. October was greatly darkened for me in that year, but I had a whole twelve months to wrestle with that, and when October 1994 arrived, I was ready to love it again; if not to full capacity, then at least pretty close.

And then another cat died. The second one hit me even harder than the first. October suddenly felt like some kind of a curse I couldn’t erase from the calendar and have done with. When the last few days of September came around in 1995, I felt October anxiety creeping in. But it was all right that year. Not until 1998 did the October curse rear its head again, and it was another cat. Mauled to death by a dog on Halloween night. It’s a long, sordid story, which I’ll no doubt write more about in another place (it’s yet another event brought about wholly by ignorance and ugliness of certain denizens of Turners Falls).

In 1996 a rabbit who was honorarily part of our family, vanished. And then 1999. Two animals  dead in a week, a rabbit and a guinea pig. October 2001 another rabbit. October 2002 another cat. I had so many animals in my first 55 years that I’m sure there were many other October deaths that didn’t glue onto my memory cells, but once I did start having them stick there, October became, gradually over nine years, an anchor around my neck.

And also in October ’98 was the return to Turners Flails, on Sunday the 11th. Moving to this wasteland for the second time. I and my animals had escaped for 13 months, back to the east, back to my home, and I had wanted very much, once having quit this place, to stay quit. But I couldn’t find a place I could afford out there, and my daughter found one in the right price-range here,  and very much against my will and against my fears of the crud in this town, we were back here again.

There were some good October memories, to be sure: the birth of some birds in 1994 and some rabbits in 1996, and my daughter’s birthday every year too. But as the number of October deaths mounted, the dread of it did too.

No animals of mine — that I know of — have died in October since 2002. But, there are eleven animals who were stolen from me in 2008 whose death dates I’m not allowed to know, and there could certainly be an October involved somewhere in that nasty scenario.


All of which brings me to October now, and the two before this one that I spent with my life and my way of life ravaged, without my animals and without large pieces of myself. This is now the third October spent that way, and the unbelievable weight that October puts on my heart increases every year that I live it as someone very different from the person I was for 55 years.

October 2008, my first after the ravaging, I lived outdoors in this hellhole commonly referred to as a town. I’ve discussed this elsewhere in these blogs, and will no doubt do so again, because the sheer cussed meanness of the fact that absolutely no one in this phony Christian town took me in and tried to help me continues to turn to bile in my throat. October 2009 I lived in a rented bedroom in Greenfield. October 2010 I’m in Turners again, waking and sleeping yet again in the town where I had my animals, this time indoors, this time with a rental unit of my own again after two years of no such thing, and a rental unit so tiny and so screechingly aggravating to my claustrophobia that I can by no means apply the word “apartment” to it.

I’m still the ghost, and finally we arrive at the right month for ghosts. I haunt the pathways of my memories. I walk in tears past various places where my animals and I once lived. I walk the canal that I walked with my cats for years, and walk alone: a ghost among many smaller ghosts joining me in that place. I walk the riverbank that was once the nature spot of me and my dogs the same way. I walk and haunt in a strange mixture of joy and gripping sadness. Joy that I can feel us, feel our walks together, feel our shared lives, so strongly in these places. And the shattering when I look about me and see no one there. I abhor the people in this town, and yet cannot leave it. My heart isn’t ready (will it be ready ever) to leave the places where I lived and walked and shared life with my truest fellow creatures: my animals.

October 2010 is a heavier, sadder, bleaker October than I’ve ever known. I can’t describe that anguish of the heart to you. It’s too hard for me to pin down accurately with words. You would have to have had a comparable loss, and a comparable level of cruelty from other people, to know inside you what I’m talking about.  

The last word, as the first, is for Poe:                                                                                    

“Is there – is there balm in Gilead?…

Quoth the raven, ‘Nevermore.’

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~   website

(blank books and oak necklace at Leaves are real, from a special tree. Pumpkins and raven from greeting cards.)


whither the geese?

Page Ninety-one

Monday 9 August 2010          Turners sneaks?

As long as I’ve known the place (25 years this month), Turners Falls has had Canadian geese.   
 Sidebar: don’t lift up your nose in
 snobbery and tell me they are called
 CANADA geese.  Maybe they are, and
 maybe not. In northeastern Mass where I
 grew up, they were called Canadian. And
 even if Canada should turn out to be the
 official ornithological term, I won’t use it.
 We do not say America Eagle, or Tasmania
 devil, noun beside noun, and there’s no
 logical reason we should do that with these

This year, there have been more geese than ever. And for the first time in my experience, families of geese have been brave enough to swim along the shoreline and walk up onto land down at the point of the riverbank. Several sets of parents with several sets of goslings of varying ages.

That is, until July 24th, or perhaps a few days later. On July 24, I went to the canal and had some interaction with ten geese who were up on the land. For the next four days, until the 28th, I still saw and heard geese here and there as I did things around town. And then, about July 28, all sign of goose activity in the center of this town, which includes the canal and the widest section of the river, ceased. From the 28th of July until the 7th of August there was no sign of Canadian geese at all. I was looking for such signs, daily. Looking at the river, at the canal, in the sky over my head. Not one honk. Not one pair of wings moving. Not one black neck swimming on the water. Nothing.

And more unprecedented goings-on: 

1. On Saturday 31 July I went to the canal, and since I’d last been there three days earlier, the place had been mowed in draconian fashion. All blooming and pod-forming plants had been decimated. In fact, the mowing was still going on while I was there — on a Saturday. I’ve never before known the electric company (who own the canal) to pay people to be mowing on Saturdays. Nor have I ever known them to do the fall mowing any earlier than late September, which allows many of the plants the chance to go to seed. Why this premature mowing? Why was it still going on on a Saturday? Why no geese?

2. On the morning of either the 2nd or the 3rd of August, I went down to the point section of the river, and I couldn’t enter. The point was sealed off with bright blue plastic fencing anchored on white plastic poles. Never in all my years here have I found entrance to the point forbidden.  Late the same night, I went back to see if the fencing was still there, and it had been removed. Why was it put up in the first place? And why were there still no geese?

I didn’t see or hear any Canadian geese in this town from the 29th of July until the 7th of August. Finally on that day 15 of them flew over me at the river. And I saw the same 15 the next day, in the water. At least I’m presuming they’re the same ones, because I feel the new gooselessness here so keenly. Someone who is as observant of and familiar with the goose numbers as I am knows when something drastic has happened.

This is my theory:  there has been a major, devastating “flock reduction” that has taken place. Did the geese themselves decide to take off for greener pastures? I find that very hard to accept, since in all the years I’ve been mindful of the geese, they’ve never deserted this place in large numbers before. If the electric company or the state parks services or some other set of bureaucrats were behind it, they wouldn’t, of course, do it themselves. They would get some other set of bureaucrats to do the dirty work. Most likely Mass Wildlife and Fisheries, an outfit as unfond of animals as is the national Bureau of Land Management. I think some yuppies jogging and roller-skating away their so-called “RiverCulture” may have got their little selves frightened because there were geese coming onto the land (I actually witnessed this chicken-shit routine a couple of times), and they cried and wept, and then perhaps our geese were decimated.

Decimated how? Not shooting certainly, we would have heard that. Poison? Thus the very premature mowing and the blocking of the point? Capture and removal to another town where geese are in short supply?

I don’t know these answers and details, because if the electric company organized a goose-removal with Wildlife and Fisheries on the QT, they certainly ain’t ever going to admit it to Anne Nakis. No one in this nest of vipers will even tell me what became of my own animals, let alone the wild geese.

What happened to all our geese? What happened to all those wonderful goslings born this year, swimming by us with their families, eating our bread, and walking up on the banks? Are all those brand-new geese dead now?

I’ve told you before that this town is full of poisonous people. If I have neglected to say so before, then I will add that the ignorance in Turners and in the whole of Franklin county is so thick you can cut it with a knife.

What happened to all of our geese, who at evening dusk and morning dusk sound a kind of humming that is like a lullaby; who fly overhead in their many chevrons and honk and squonk their messages to each other; who are truly a piece of the river’s culture, whereas the roller skates and bicycles and baby strollers are not.

BackIn my own life, I used to sometimes sing the geese a song when I walked the river with my dogs. Even now, my own life destroyed, I did sing one verse of it late this July to the geese who came onto the canal bank and ate my bread:

                                     There are sounds to make you angry,
                                      there are sights to make you sing,
                                      but the bonniest sight of the morning
                                      is the snow goose on the wing.
                                      Her neck is long and slender,
                                      her road’s a simple line.
                                      And the rolling grey Atlantic
                                      has parted me and mine.

                                                     ~~  brian mcneil

What happened to our beautiful, plentiful, natural, graceful, peaceful Canadian geese?

Update:  On the 7th of October I went to the river in the afternoon, to see on the water no less than 400 geese. You can laugh at me all you like, but I cried. And stood there listening to them make their speech to each other and watching them bathe and flap their wings, and had my adventure of gratitiude for the reappearance of geese. We have our abundance of them again. I can never know a couple of things, unanswered questions that nag me (I hate unanswered questions of any kind): Are these 400 the same 400 we had before, or a new batch just arrived? If they’re new, what happened to the ones we had?

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animals versus homo sapiens

Page Ninety


                                  The human being is not the lord of beings,
                                  but the shepherd of Being.
                                           ~~~~~  martin heidegger


An exercise in compare and contrast on Thursday 5 August 2010, in the human cesspool commonly known as Turners Falls.

It’s been leveled at me more than once in my life, by more than one human and always in a scornful, jealous tone of voice:   You care more about animals than people.   Now to me, the person with Asperger’s, the person who has been psychologically bullied by neurotypicals in more ways and more times than I can count, the person who has only ever felt safe with animals, this statement seems to me, first, ridiculously obvious and logical, and second, filthy mean in its derisive tone of voice, and third, utterly bloody childish in its jealousy. So… a systematic look at why animals are better for me than humans, and always have been.

One:   You do something for an animal, and however small or medium or large that thing is, it is appreciated, and that appreciation is immediately obvious. In my own experience, and my own is the only kind I’m discussing here, this has very rarely been true with humans. Whatever appreciation there might have been was usually small, and usually very short-lived.


Two:   Animals scratch and bite and snarl, whereas in general, most humans do not. At least, not literally. Humans have different, more insidious ways of launching their attacks. But animals only attack in these ways (at least in the 55 years I lived with and observed them) when they are sick or injured or frightened. They are not doing it because they hate you, or envy you, or want to bully and control you, or desire to take something of yours away from you. When the animal attacks, you can suffer the injury and forgive them, because there was no malice in the act of the type that humans practice. An attacking animal doesn’t wish to see you destroyed in any way, it just wants to keep you off when it is in an extreme emotional state. I would rather be bitten by an animal once a week than assaulted ever again by the type of viciousness that the human species practices.

Three:   Animals live what they feel, they don’t simply flap their gums about it, as humans are fond of doing. Every day, you experience their love, their loyalty, their appreciation, and also whatever fear or anger might come over them. You feel these things subliminally, in the energy that emanates from them, you see them in their body language, and hear them in their non-human vocalizations. You’re seldom in doubt about what an animal is feeling, and what their intentions are towards you, and how they regard you in general. There are exceptions to this in some animals, but that’s fairly rare. You are never in doubt about their need for you, and the fact that they are grateful when the needs are met.

But humans? For an Aspie like me, neurotypical talk is a mine-field. They don’t speak directly, not in any way that I can define as direct. Their body language and facial expressions are very often saying something different than the words issuing from their pie-holes are saying. And their loyalty, or affection, or fondness can be meanly and manipulatively withdrawn at any second, and you may never, ever be told any truth about why it was withdrawn.

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 read…   All my stars…   Don’t ask



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