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 eleven

Tuesday 23 November 2010…       Tiresome Turners Fails


Line by line,                                                                                                                     
the song of lamentation seeks its chords.
Word by word, a river slides to its waiting sea.
To the harp, sing the song?
To the theremin, sound the end?
To the wind, to the warp and weft,
to the grey-waiting sea?








 Or to the former stars, now letting bloods of eons?


How large is emptiness?
How dark is black?
Who will avenge the breath of truthful eyes?
Who will eat up the thieves of love?
Who will burn off  the poison and leave the snowflakes


Let the stingy djin come back (say dreams, say screams),
come back with double-open hands this time,
to stand a lightning tree
with kindled justice in its hands (this time, this fiery dream),
on a scorching and relentless plain of sand.
Christmas roses fall from a hand, land on the current,
run far and further from hand, and eyes, and heart.
The Christmas roses are for you.
They are for us.
(to follow, to follow)
Silence rains on the heart’s picture-book,
rains in the spaces where the music lived,
on homely objects clutched out of debris.
Silence reigns; queen of the landscape of 
the clasp torn apart.
Let the stingy djin come back.


(part of the book Being Toward Death)    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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All the odds and ends

Page One hundred ten

Wednesday 17 November 2010, TF                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Miscellanea is a little a book I’m construdting from blog posts that don’t fit into any of the other little books I’m piecing together, and this is its foreword. I’m very much in favor of a whole lot less formality in the writing of books, especially autobiographical ones. I’m not much for either pretense or conformity.

All of this blogging began in April of 2008, after the worst psychological and emotional trauma of my life: one that has changed me drastically and for the rest of my days. I had no idea in that April that I would be without a rental unit of my own for two whole years, or that the Department of Mental Health would completely fail to help me find a place, or that other things were going on in my life that I wouldn’t find out about until July. I had no idea that I would keep writing on the internet for such a long time, or that I would come to decide that I wanted to turn all of this writing into books.

Nine of the books I’m turning all this writing into have their particular themes, and the vast majority of the blog posts will fit into one of those. But there are others that are just thoughts and feelings on different subjects, or maybe on a book or a poem or a piece of music. All of the leftovers are getting tossed into this little stew of a book, mainly so that I can satisfy my new fever to organize all of this writing that I never dreamed I would do.

So, imaginary reader, read it or not. It’s just here.

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rarefied air

Page One hundred nine

Wednesday 3 November 2010

I’m going to go on about love here. After a short diversion.

My one and only human friend just recently gave me a quote from Temple Grandin, that very famous person with Asperger’s. It’s a quote of hers I hadn’t encountered before, spoken to describe how she feels among neurotypical people: Like an anthropologist on Mars. This is a time when I have to say a very loud DITTO to the words of Ms. Grandin. That’s exactly how I feel among neurotypicals. Anthropologist on Mars, mermaid on the land, and whatever other metaphors of alienation you want to construct. Absolutely as if I am among creatures who are backward, whose movements and words and behaviors are mostly illogical to me, and coarse, and incomprehensible. Lacking sensitivity and sensibility and reasoned thinking. Thrown in among creatures whose words and actions constantly hurt and offend and exclude me.

All of this being true, human love has been a thing with much darkness in it for me, much insecurity and uncertainty and pain. Love as we’d like it to be, as I need it to be, and as many writers and poets have described it down the centuries… that kind of love I have experienced with humans only in certain moments on certain days. To experience it on a daily basis, over years, I always had to turn to animals. And likewise to give love in the way that it absolutely should be given is only possible for me with animals.

Before I go any further, I’m going to warn my one and only human friend to stop reading right now. She doesn’t like sentimentality, or maudlin feelings, or probably a number of other states I might evoke in this post. And since I don’t want her to reach the gagging state, I’m telling her to leave off right here.

The rarefied air I’m talking about in the title is the air you breathe when you breathe it with someone you love, who loves you in return. The air of which I have so very little since my animals were stolen from me on March 12 of 2008. That air that is like no other, at least for me, at least in the 57 years I’ve been breathing on this planet.

I can’t describe this air to you. If you know it, you do, and if you don’t, I can’t help you. It’s the air produced by sharing time and space and breathing in a state of mutual love. It’s the air that makes you feel and do and say corny things, things you might not want all kinds of peripheral people to hear or see. Because that’s one of the things that real, sincere love does to us. It affects us in a place so fundamental and unsophisticated that we are thrown into the realm of the sentimental and the maudlin and the corny. So what. The two greatest lines Billy Joel ever wrote, to my mind, are these: I don’t care what consequence it brings. I have been a fool for lesser things. A fancier way of saying: I love you. I will be corny and vulnerable for that love. So what. It’s worth it.

The air you breathe sleeping in the presence of someone you love, walking with someone you love, acting silly with someone you love. That air that feels like yours alone, and the rest of the world is shut out of it. Moments that make whatever crap happens in one’s day more bearable.

This is air that materialized in my first 55 years infinitely more often in relationships with animals than with people. I always had multiple animals, and therefore multiple sources of love, multiple places in which to put love. Having now just the one animal is not at all the same, and not nearly enough. I lie down at night waiting to feel it, but there is very little there.

(part of the book Neverending Solitaire)

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all photos, graphics, poems and text copyright 2009-2011 by anne nakis, unless otherwise stated. all rights reserved.



Goblin days

Page One hundred eight

Thursday 28 October 2010       tesseracts in Turners

Oh long ago, somewhere in the mists of primeval something, I gave birth on Sunday 28 October 1979 to a female infant. The only such creature I’ve ever produced. I did not give birth without a whole sideshow of western medical assistance, I’m sorry to say, and even that circus nearly failed to do its job correctly. Enough to say in this spot that I don’t have particularly joyful memories of this birth.

So let’s go to later, which is my focus in this post. Later meaning one year later, and the four years that followed that one. Because this child had a birthday so close to Halloween, I, the Halloween-loving mother, couldn’t resist making the yearly birthday party a Halloween party too. I had felt in my life the lack of festive enough birthday parties. In saying this I don’t mean to paint my own mother as a shirker. She had three kids with three birthdays every year, and she was a person who was not terribly domestic in some things. We had small parties with a few kids, some pin the tail on the donkey and drop the clothespins into the milk bottle, cake and ice cream, and that’s enough. They weren’t horrible parties, by any means, but something particular in Asperger’s-creative-sensitive me had always felt let down somehow, felt that birthday parties should be a bigger deal.


So what did I do for my little one’s parties? I went berserk, of course. I was poor and couldn’t hire clowns and jugglers and storytellers, but I made the biggest frigging bash I could with the little bit of money I had, and with help from relatives and parents of little guests.

I’d start in September, or even late August, buying things. Napkins, tablecloth, candy bags, plates and cups all matching, all in the same Halloween theme. Then balloons. And party favors. And ingredients for the treats to be made. And candy. And sewing the costume for a couple of years. Guest list. Halloweeny invitations.

The guest list was always a long one: relatives, neighbors, and others whom we knew out in the world. Thirty, forty people always, because most of the adults stayed for the party. I meant it that way, as a family party. Almost every adult would bring something to add to the food supply. These events went on for three, four, five hours before the last guest departed. It was a feeding frenzy that seemed to be appreciated by all. There were no planned games: after the gift opening and cake and ice cream, the kids were turned out into the yard to run around, play on the swings and big wheels and whatever, and then my father would hitch his large barrow to his riding mower and give all the kids “tractor rides” around the neighborhood. There was much picture-taking, much shrieking and laughter, great costumes, a little crying, and lots of sugar-highs. All kids went home with little Halloween bags full of more sugar.

When each of these five parties for the first five birthdays was over, I was exhausted and sick and broke. But satisfied, in a way that’s hard to describe. Satisfied that there was plenty of food and plenty of balloons and plenty of play and plenty of presents. Satisfied that I’d extended myself to make my kid’s birthday a very special bash of a day. Satisfied that, though I was a single mother and had little money, my parents and I together could make a big event of this fatherless child’s birthday.

Last year the fatherless child’s father, who denied being her father till the day he died, committed suicide. His parents had recently died as well, and now my daughter, this child who never got one hug or one present or one kind word from her father, will inherit a hefty check from her father’s family’s assets. Once in a very great while, what goes around comes around. She’ll have something from her father at last, something that will help her out in her life. Something I never had the finances to give: a big check. And she got the phone call informing her of all this from his family’s lawyer on October 14 last year, two weeks before her birthday. All unknowing, her father at last gave her a birthday present.

And the parties? If we had continued to live there with my parents, I’d have gone on giving those Halloween bashes until child said she wanted something different. Nevermind exhaustion and sickness and expense. There weren’t too many times in the year when I could do something really shining like that. And I find that as the years have passed, every October I think of those parties and miss them. Miss the time when I could make a shining day for my kid. Miss the costumes and tractor rides and happy shrieking. Miss my father. Miss his house.

She’s 31 today, and I have less money than ever, can’t spend on the birthday the way I did in those days. I console myself with the memory of the five big bashes long ago in the temporal, autumnal mists.

(part of the book Being Toward Death)

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Frohen Geburtstag



 (poem and crow from greeting card; doll at


My Gentle Harp

Page One hundred one

Thursday 16 Sept 2010         Turners contorting

website ~~~~~~~~~~~~}


                                                My gentle harp,
                                             once more I waken
                             the sweetness of thy slumbering strains.
                                                     In tears
                                       our last farewell was taken.
                                               And now in tears
                                                we meet again.


                                                            ~~   thomas moore


So this is my harp. A small 12-string reproduction of a design from the Middle Ages. I’m supposed to be writing a piece of music for my stolen animals on this little instrument, a piece I started in July. But…  it is extremely difficult to make music of any kind since the events of 2008. The piece is maybe one-third finished, and I don’t know when, or if, I’ll go back to it.

I bought the harp in 2007, only months before everything was over. Had only months to fool around and play little songs for my animals to hear. Not that they cared one way or the other whether I played little songs on the harp for them or not. But I cared.

I said good-bye to it in March 2008, when things were being sent off to storage, and hello again in May the same year, when I moved into the rented bedroom and rescued Benazir (so I named the harp) from said storage. And then in August, fleeing Greenfield, I left it again, and didn’t get it back from someone’s barn for nearly two years, until May 2010.


(part of the book Being Toward Death)




nobody, nowhere

Page Five

sat 27 june 2009     greenfield

Nobody Nowhere is the title of a book by Donna Williams, a book about autism. someone recommended it to me this morning, and I’ve asked the library to get it for me. (here to my asperger’s blog)

nobody is precisely who I feel like without my animals; a bigger nobody than I’ve ever been before. on my blogspot blog, I use the name “nemo,'” which means no one in latin. after fifty-five years of having and taking care of animals, having it all torn away left me, in my own heart and mind, as nobody. and I’m going nowhere, because there’s nowhere I want to go without them.                                                             

Martin Heidegger talks about being toward death, and it’s something I’ve been doing for years, without ever knowing about Heidegger. we are all going to die, and so we are all living in the shadow of death. what the existentialists say (esp. Heidegger), is that we must choose what has meaning for us and live that meaning in this shadow of death. that’s what I was doing all my life with animals. that’s where I found my greatest sense of meaning and purpose. and neurotypicals took it all away. they did so because they couldn’t find it in themselves to let me just be the odd creature that I am with asperger’s and depression and anxiety and PTSD. couldn’t just leave me alone and let me be odd. they had to attack. they had to destroy the oddball world of my own that kept me going.


read…    Don’t ask…   Mental hell…  

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