Tag Archives: dementia

Ten Poems for Late December

1:
Know where I am?
Hawaii. On Christmas vacation paid for by my mom.
And so much has been happening,
So much has happened, and yet,
I can’t bring myself to write about it just now,
Because there’s palm trees out there
And water and sun.
In December.
So I’ll sit and watch this dragonfly a little longer.

2:
He didn’t tell me he had kids,
Little kids,
Like toddlers,
And do I get involved? Knowing either he’s a poor father?
Or he’s a good father, and he’s been hiding it from me.
I think I have to see where it goes.
Suddenly all the big little faults seem worse,

3:
I read dirty poems on the plane ride,
The whole time hoping the woman next to me couldn’t make out any words on my screen.
Like Please or Master,
Perl or Sweet.
So I switched to trying to sleep,
Alternating between playing music and how long can my battery last.
I accomplish nothing on plane rides.

4:
Did you know you can get constipated from stress?
I didn’t.
You think it was the travelling to my mother’s house?
Then to Hawaii for Christmas to meet with relatives.
My money problems?
Putting my grandmother in hospice care?
Having to hear my mother tell me she doesn’t want her to go.
What do you say to that?
I’m not asking you, I’m asking God.
What do you tell your mother when she says,
“I don’t want my mom to go?”
Huh?
I want an answer.
Why isn’t she dead already so we can start grieving?

5:
She’s not capable of handling it.
She can’t.
She doesn’t have enough unselfish juice to take care of other people,
It has to rebound onto someone else.
Here she is telling me,
It was so hard.
Like I don’t know.
Like I haven’t seen this before.
How do I have sympathy for this woman, my sister, who had to take care of my mom taking care of her mom for three days?
That’s it. Three days.
It was so hard. Why aren’t we more sympathetic towards her?
The kindness isn’t there. I keep looking, hoping to find somewhere, that caring.
But instead I find anger directed toward whoever is present. Me.
She will never see it as anything other than relating to her needs.
I need to stop judging her for what she can’t do.

6:
We’re going to talk about it for a minute.
No one gave me a sex talk.
My mom says she gave me one.
She didn’t.
I went through sex ed in a conservative Christian school,
So sex was evil and you were going to hell.
I was told I was a piece of scotch tape,
The first time mattered, but if you keep sticking that piece over and over on your skin it didn’t hurt anymore, you weren’t worth as much. As a woman. Because your tape lost it’s ability to pull hair off your arm.
I had a beer with my friend yesterday,
She hasn’t talked to anyone. She says she’ll research it online.
I told her to see an OBGYN, they are there to treat you like a sheep. Ask the questions, they won’t judge you for it, they’ve seen weirder. You are a number. It’s perfect.
Why are women allowed to have painful, uncomfortable experiences because no tells them it shouldn’t hurt?
Why did the woman teaching high schoolers sex ed not know that oral can transfer stds?
What is so wrong about facts and information?
It’s my body. Tell me about it’s bones and what they do.
About it’s blood flows and cycles.
Tell me that it’s okay I don’t want to be on birth control.
Tell me it’s okay that I don’t want to be regulated.
Tell me it’s okay that I don’t like tampons,
Cups, or iuds,
Shaving my bikini line or the hair on my toes,
Tell me it’s okay to be unsure about being confident.

7:
I’m a failure and I’m breaking down.
I can’t keep working this job.
But I can’t apply, it’s so hard for me to apply.
I can’t keep living with my sister.
I can’t keep avoiding getting a higher ed degree.
I want a house to put my stuff.
Magically, mystically I want to not work and have money.
I’m just so tired.
But I don’t have references because I’m too shy and scared to ask.
This old cycle, I’ve been here before.
Hello old friend. Glad you’re back.
Take the place of dying relatives and alcoholic aunts.

8:
She said he raised a fist at her,
After telling her to mind her own business,
He has a point,
But at age 67 you’d think he’d be able to regulate emotions,
And say what he needs to say without yelling.
He’s incapable of understanding other people have feelings.
I just avoid him now. I take an active indifference for the years of pain he caused me.
But he threatened to hit my sister, I didn’t see it.
And she was furious.
She was more mad that mom wasn’t on her side.

9:
I found it,
I was sitting with mom and my sister and her husband at a pie restaurant.
I was upset we had to wait an extra thirty minutes.
I was being quiet. Trying to be contained,
And they mocked me for it.
Mocked my feelings.
Teasing me, taking pictures, telling me to make that face again it would make a good meme.
Mom didn’t say anything.
She said I was “in a bad mood” and being a “bee-bee” because she wouldn’t say bitch.
My sister would make faces and say, “don’t take my head off”
Anytime I show any negative emotions.
Somehow when I’m upset I get mocked, but when anyone else is upset they get avoided and respected.
Just because you think it’s a silly thing to be upset about.
This right here. This is why I can’t share how I feel.
And she did this to me.
I just hadn’t seen it in such a long time. It took me a minute to recognize it.

10:
I needed to rage at god and no one was available.
I had to the apartment to myself, an opportunity to get drunk,
And no one returned my call.
I wanted to be mad at god for dementia,
For families,
For airplane turbulence and grief,
And I didn’t have any friends.
So I sat by myself on the computer.
While I packed, and daydreamed about how excited my mom would be if I were pregnant.

Advertisements

Poems from My Day (5-18)

I’m not sure about today.

1:
I’m trying to get the last drop of tea out of my cup.
The spoon is just holding back air.
I’m making the right noises so my roommate doesn’t make a comment about how I’m sitting at the kitchen table doing nothing.
Nasty lady.
She wouldn’t understand why anyone would ever count the last ten drops out of the tequila bottle, or smile at a flower, or sit.
So hard to be a regular person.

2:
I manufacture grief holidays so I have an excuse to feel something,
My grandmother’s birthday is today,
It’s the anniversary of a breakup,
I got some bad news from home,
Because I can’t let myself be in a mood without good reason.

3:
“Are you just sleeping on the couch?”
She asked me walking past on her way to the kitchen.
No, I’m awake.
I was sitting here doing nothing,
Because sometimes I have to sit,
So I can cry and cope.
Trying to understand why I can’t share how I’m feeling with anyone that matters.

4:
I’ll be home in a week.
Back for my brother’s graduation.
If I had trouble adjusting to seeing a highway after being on this island,
In this village,
How will I deal with my family too?

5:
My sister called me today,
She made me laugh.
She told me about not doing laundry and having to wear the last dregs of your underwear, and getting tumors of broken elastic on your hip, and frugality not being worth having to wear anything this tight.
While I stood bent over clutching my ankles, laughing, dying,
I was reminded that I hadn’t laughed that hard in a long time,
And I missed having people to share parts of me with,
Because you only really laugh with common souls.

6:
He’ll be gone in about seven years,
I heard the first signs of dementia on the phone.
The man who talks to me like a parishioner.
He even says, “God bless”
Before he catches himself to say, “love you too.”
I practiced what I would say to his dead body at his funeral today.
I’d like to hear him preach once more,
And hear him say the Lord’s Prayer, just the way he says it,
He ends Holy Ghost with a patronizing smile in his voice,
And amen with a full, beard-peppered grin.
I’d like to find the guts to ask him why he’s so messed up,
I want him to write down his stories, the ones that make me laugh,
But, then,
They wouldn’t be his stories anymore, they’re a tradition, with motions and faces and a crowd.
They’ll go with him.
With his memory.

You Won’t Know You’ve Lost Your Mind

Image

How is my grandmother alive? I mean really it must be willpower. Can your mind make the body last longer? I don’t know if she should be alive. I feel horrible, because in my quiet moment I wished her dead. Was it so that I could quit this incessant worrying, or to relieve my mother of the concern? But if my mother’s relived then she’ll have more time for me. Am I that selfish? Do I really wish for another’s life to end so that I can have attention? In my mind she’s already gone and dead. Her spirit isn’t here anymore. What happens with dementia, that horrible disease, is it God telling the body it’s time to go?

What am I going to do without knowing that there is a person in the world I admire. I truly admire my grandmother. Her strength and conviction and humor are things I can only strive for, but never achieve. Why do I keep making this about me? I don’t know if she was even conscious of doing so, but I think of that moment as a definitive moment. She somehow just looked at me, and I was pierced. I only knew this feeling previously through the description of others. But it is truly terrifying and wonderful. She understood me with one glance and one pointed question. I’m not sure if my mom even caught it. She just asked me how I was. It was the first time anyone asked me that and I felt like they meant it. Usually people ask me that as a passing, sideways, bored, in-the-rut of mundane, chatter-topic of conversation. She knew to ask, I think that’s what’s important to me. She recognized that I felt neglected. Did she do that on purpose, or did she just ask to be kind? Why am I still thinking about the veracity of a mind that can’t remember where it hurts?