Spoken Word Review: Peter Meinke

Peter Meinke read a selection of his poems and short stories at the Inaugural Friends of Mirror Lake Library (of which I am a member) event. I seem to be unable to appreciate poetry in its written form. Listening to poetry being read completely captivates me.

The following is my favorite poem from the night.

The Bookshelf by Peter Meinke (The Contracted World)

Lying flat on the floor because I'm old
and it's good for my back
counting coins of dust in the twilight
and squinting at the books huddled above me
like immigrants in ragged overcoats
guarding their family secrets
I think You have cost me everything:
stoopshouldered nearsighted soft and white
as a silverfish caught in the binding

of The Complete Works of Henry James
from hours days decades spent bent
over your pages when I could have been
pruning azaleas or hitting tennis balls with real people

Now I've been down so long

I'm too stiff to get up or even reach for a book

so I call for help not expecting an answer
but from the stern and shadowed shelves
Emma and Anna and all the lost inaccessible
women above my cry out with their special accents
words I understand only from their rhythm and inflection
O sorrow they say all of them over and over
Carrie and Carol and Cora and Julia sorrow o sorrow Catherine and Scarlet
and Sonja and Daisy o sorrow sorrow
Molly o sorrow Wendy sorrow Dora Maud Helen Hester
and I like any man who has blindly loved
understand too late as unhappy endings pour down
just sentences on their weeping and guilty prisoner
pinned to the floor by threads
of vanishing light

Inspiration: Caroline Casey - Ted Talk


Excellent Ted Talk by Caroline Casey regarding accepting yourself completely. She does ramble a bit; however, it is worth the listen.

Caroline talks about how difficult asking for help can be. In not only asking but accepting that you need help, as though it was a flaw.

Eventually Caroline was forced by worsening eye sight to ask for help from her HR department. She was sent to a doctor who asked, "Why are you fighting so hard to not be yourself? What do you want to be? Do something different."

It is one hurdle to listen to the advice of others, it is another to accept it.

After quitting her high paying consulting job and riding an elephant across India, Caroline was able to accept herself, "wonky eyes and all."

Review: Harry Potter

I wasn’t a “reader” until High School, even then I was very casual in my reading. I read mostly beach books ... mostly James Patterson, it would take months to get through a single book. When I was 16, I read Harry Potter and the Sourcer’s Stone. Within a week and a half I read through Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which was the then current release. I finally understood was it was to be a reader. To stay up till 4am because you cannot put a book down. To quake with excitement at the release of the next book. To stand in line just to be one of the firsts to get your hands on a new volume.

I remember the wonder when the first film was released. The satisfaction I felt when I saw the characters in my imagination spring to life.

If you wonder why I love these books and movies it’s because they did change my life, as corny as that may sound. They created a passion for reading that has not dulled.

My entire adult life has been hallmarked with Harry Potter book releases and movie openings. To reach the end of the road is heartbreaking ... and exciting ... and disappointing ... and a closure for a large part of my life.

Thank you, J.K. Rowling. Thank you, for giving me Harry...
and Gaiman...
and the Discworld...
and Graphic Novels...

and fantasy...

and SF...

Thank you for giving me refuge from a world with too little magic.

Movie Review: For the Bible Tells Me So


This was an incredible, moving documentary regarding the misuse of the Bible in regards to homosexual rights. The Bible has served as a weapon to allow hate. The hate of blacks, the hate of women, the hate of gays, etc. The perversion of the Bible by conservative Christians is saddening.

I feel sadness and fear when I meet a conservative Christian and hear the hate in these views.

The most important take-away from this film, to me, was to stress the importance of reading the Bible for yourself. Do not let anyone define what you believe. The most important skill that you will learn is how to think for yourself.

Inspired by Chuck Palaniuk’s Postcard from 1986 in Fugitives and Refugees….

“Twinkle, twinkle, little star...” I stop when I see my son’s sunken face wincing. We hear a man shouting from another room, “fag, cunt, nigger, fucking kikes.” I try to remember where I stopped. I’ve been singing this song for hours; it no longer has words to me. It’s mediation. It’s me breathing in and out, watching my boy struggle to breath.

A nurse runs into our room to apologize for the shouting. The patient has overdosed on drugs and they cannot give him anymore until they clean his system of whatever he may have taken that night. The shouting continues, “fucking fags.” With every shout my boy winces. He cannot tune it out. His final moments in this world will be filled with this hateful dribble from some fucking asshole who is throwing away his life when my baby struggles for pain filled moments of his. This man who I used to rock on my knee is the most loving, honorable, respectful child whose only sin was to love. He will die listening to pure hate stream from the mouth of a junkie down the hall.

“how I wonder what you are…” the man screams again,”fucking cunt nurse, where is my goddamn nurse.” I struggle with the desire to stay and sit through this shit with the desire to make it stop. To give my child a moment of peace.

I stand up and grab my handbag. I walk to the door. The boy who drove me here, who I assume is more than ready to drive me back so that he can clock out of for the night follows me. I walk down to the screaming mans room, the door is cracked open. He must know I’m hear, his ranting becomes enthusiastic, he has an audience. The young man who has followed me here stands by the door. Wary. I can only imagine his thoughts as I sit next to the screaming man. I could not hate more than I hate this filthy creature on the bed. My eyesight blurs with rage. “Cunt,” he screams, “get the fuck away from me.” He lies naked on this bed, raging against the straps that are there for his protection. I look at this creature in disgust. My baby is in pain. He is worsening this for him. I open my handbag and take out a safety pin. “Get away from me. Fucking get away from me, he screams.” I don’t say a word. I don’t make a sound while I ram the safety pin into his leg over and over. I make sure to get no blood on me, blood is killing my child, it won’t kill me. The man is begging me to stop, stop the pain, fucking get away from him, “crazy cunt,” get away. I continue to drive the pin into him until he stops. Until he shuts the fuck up.

The screaming stops, I drop the pin into the hazardous waste collection box and walk back to my son’s room. The driver follows me; he shows no sign of shock, no judgment. He’s clearly seen worse.

I open the door and prepare to start singing, but there is no point. My boy is gone. His body is clearly lifeless lying on the bed. I feel nothing.