Sunday, May 30, 2010

Where Did the Day Go?

My morning begins with a whirlwind I start a poem and leave it in mid construction
I make coffee, wash cat dishes, my plates, saucers and cups, clean some Tupperware
Do a wash - separate Cleo from Magic pass the litter box remind myself to clean it and continue on my way to pee I’m busier than five buzzing bees
Then I spy some jewelry and figure out a way to reconstruct it to a different form
I conduct a search for the missing parts
I look outside at budding trees raise the window and stick my head outside to try to feel a breeze and see a blue bird nearby
I look for my glasses then remember to search for those movie theatre passes and hang my keys
I return to the poem to find the word and discover I’m lost in my mind confined and in a bind it’s totally intertwined I have to unwind
I clean the litter box listen to my neighbor play the sitar I think maybe I should make some apple fritters to kick the day off
I pick up my see through blouse think about sewing it tighter I’ve got to get out of the house by two to make that deposit I hang the blouse in the closet
take out my new dress I guess it’s time to rhyme I pin the hem to make the dress more feminine what’s the crime in that
I want to mend everything seems to blend I think the stress is getting to me
I return to the computer to try to find the word I was looking for before but forget what it was or what it meant I need roto-rooter in my brain to stay sane
Continuing to look for the word I search the net betting I can find that set of dishes
I light some incense the smell is intense and I get the foot cream intending to rub it on my feet but place it on the countertop as I pass by
I pick up and eat a sweet on my way to feed the cats and take a shower
five minutes later keeping neat I scrub the tub and try to remember where I put the feet cream down I search all around clean the toilet seat, I’m a bit over heated and overwhelmed I remind myself to put the clean sheet on the bed instead
I pull a pair of white panties from the drawer and stare at them in disgust and decide to go bleach them in the sink on my way to the kitchen to get water for the plants
I just can’t seem to get things in order so many chores before I get myself out the door
I dry myself off and put the towels in the washer the wet wash in the dryer and scramble around like I’m running from fire
I vacuum the bathroom floor clean the second litter box
on my way back to the bedroom to get dressed I pour bleach in the toilet and sink and remember to sip my coffee
Run the vacuum over the living room rug and the word returns to haunt me
So I run back to the computer picking my glasses up from the counter when the phone rings disturbing my linguistic delight and the word takes flight I see the light
I keep moving until the middle of the night
Maybe some adderall will solve it all

Saturday, May 29, 2010

gcast up front again

G Cast doesn't work or exist anymore. It was a recorder that played my music and poetry. Now you can hear that right on my front page - click here.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Steig Larrson and me

Steig Larrson, the man behind the stories that gave him his name fame glory posthumously led a fascinating life. Larrson could be one of the characters he became famous for writing about in his millennium series. Fighting to right Nazi wrongs in Sweden, he was a well known journalist who founded Expo, an antifascist magazine. Here in the states people don't usually think much about the Nazis but in Europe people give more importance to World War II and the havoc it created in history. In Sweden, its importance is even more meaningful. According to Lev Grossman in Time Magazine, "Fascism is a live issue in Sweden, and fascist groups have been known to attack reporters who investigate them." This makes me wonder if someone stuck him with a needle to produce the heart attack, especially as he was a well known Nazi hunter and Sweden is known to have sheltered Nazis seeking refuge and places to keep their bounty. And who would have known?
Larrson was a known target as the founder of Expo, the antifascist magazine he published. Larrson had built himself quite a reputation as a dragon slayer and his daily life and that of his life-long companion, Eva Gabrielsson, were affected by the backlash. Since Larrson was well known as a journalist and a political activist, most of his writing was reporting. His life was quite stressful because of his political affiliations his widespread writings of unpopular subjects. He was a feminist before men were allowed to be defined as one.
Now another drama ensues from his untimely death:  inheritance issues complicated issues of control surrounding other things in his estate, including his writings. Because Gabrielsson and Larrson never married in spite of being together over thirty years, the Swedish government has given his birth family all rights in spite of the fact that Larrson had very rare contact with them. Not a good situation for the bereaved partner. What deepens the suspense is Eva has a copy of the number 4 book on his computer in her possession. I watched her speak about this in a recorded television interview. Apparently they've always worked together and she edited most of his work.
I first felt compelled to read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo because of the colorful cover plus all I'd heard and read about it and the author. Then after I'd read, I became enthralled with the mysterious powerful heroine. Larrson's gone and passed on but I love his shit!
Larrson wrote fiction to relax and he loved detective stories. I guess it gave him a break from the harsh reality he faced daily. Strangely even the aftermath of his life reminds us how life is often as strange as fiction.
Larrson proves that writers can create anything. Like my friend Anthony Whyte recently said over coffee, you can take a usual situation where people are sitting at a table drinking coffee and all you need to do is put a gun on the table and boom - the center of attention changes drastically and you can do what you want with your characters. All one has to do is let things fall into place and put things where they should be to add a little drama and spice.
Hooked on Lisbeth, the heroine whose intelligence and resourcefulness never fails her, I sped read the entire book submerged in the characters and events. Little Lisbeth, my heroine, is barely 4 feet 9 inches and 94 pounds soaking wet, is an exceptionally skilled computer hacker who survives impossible circumstances. She is lithe, super strong and can kick karate ass as well as Sarah Michelle Geller plus can defeat any enemy intellectually as well. I also love "Kalle fucking Blomkvist" another main character in the trilogy who could be Larrson's alter ego. Together he and Lisbeth could solve any mystery.
The wording is sometimes a bit dry but according to Grossman, that may be due to the translators facility with subtleties but it didn't damage my attention span or interfere with the excitement. This fast paced thriller kept me spellbound like a movie playing in my head.
After this I was compelled to read number two of the Millennium trilogy, The Girl Who Played With Fire, the perfect mix of action and expository to drive its thrust. Now I'm going to read number three next.
It is fine writers like Mr. Larrson who excite me to write. His characters are so finely tuned and defined that we know them as intimately as our closest friends. For those who don't know the series, I wasn't surprised to see Lisbeth buried alive at the end of part two of the trilogy. Lucky for me the first chapter of part three is included at the end of part two. I can't wait. I'll keep you updated!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Pain travels & travails ...

OK I did expect a play about mental illness - that's how it's advertised after all. I've known Dan Berkey for many years, since 1993 to be exact when we met at a poetry reading. We've been in touch on and off since then and more often now that we've discovered the pleasures of email.

I am Dan Berkey a schizophrenic actor in remission he announces as though we were all together at an AA meeting. Hi I'm Joy and I'm crazy too which most of us are but how many of us have spent time in the psych ward being evaluated and treated and let go again and come in again and again. Some of us slip by this maneuver by the hairs in our nose - we manage not to be there, but somehow this play makes me feel like I signed up for a degree in craziness please, which in some ways I feel I have but not purposefully or at least consciously. I just am crazy enough to be a magnet for people who need help and seem to have a natural ease to understanding their dilemma.

Berkey jumps through so many hoops and has so much energy it unnerves the audience, puts us on edge as he sits on the ledge ready to hedge through the next interlude minus the quaaludes that used to be so popular in the 60's. He leads us through his life showing us what it's like to hear voices and drink to suppress the voices but instead in Berkey's head - alcohol only serves to make the voices more rambunctious. I sat on the edge of my seat as Berkey announced he "would touch" us which he clearly intended to do physically mentally and emotionally. I longed for his touch and dreaded it in the same breath just as he predicted I would.

He exposes his childhood calamities and what appears to be a childhood rape but it's unclear as to whether the rape is real or imagined. He lies on the ground humping the floor and speaking to someone asking them to stop then threatening to tell mommy. The other voice threatens back and his resistance to tell is quelled. In my head I'll go for this is real and the culprit is obviously someone very close - family or close friend. How do I know this? Because I've spoken to over a hundred abused kids, many of them sexually abused by their step dads, uncles, or mom's trusted boyfriend. This particular issue is enough to make me cram my fingers down my throat. While working I got so I could just meet a teen and know she'd been sexually abused. Eventually this work became too painful for me and to make it through my last five years at the Department of Education I had to switch to pre-k - 3 to 5 year olds. Not that they aren't abused but not to the same extent as older children nor are they as verbal as their teen counterparts.

Why did I want to see this play? Because all my life I've worked with and helped people with problems. Forget about the diagnosis - Diagnosis -shmiagnosis. I can talk about that too but that is never what interested me. What always did interest me was motivation and introspection. I find the I in others and examine myself there and there's the rub and fascination. If we can find the whys of our behavior we have a chance of understanding the whys of others.

We were brought full circle as Berkey finally let his pain go along with his medication and alcohol abuse. He chose to be alive be healthy and to be in remission. If he had kept drinking he would've been dead by now. Not only was his liver fucked but he had pancreatitis too and we can't live without those two organs.

Does that mean one chooses to be ill or chooses to be schizophrenic? I think not but I think Dan Berkey has a point about it being in the best interest of the medical profession to keep the ill ill because that is what maintains them - not recovery. I asked Dan if he thought stress had anything to do with his remission and as far as he is concerned it's a mystery where recovery comes from and where illness goes, but his healthy lifestyle combined with clean intent with meditation and yoga practice are certainly factors that help reduce stress. Another factor that influenced his remission is his attitude of letting the pain go, letting the illness go, letting the voices go ... well if you let go of things - those things can no longer influence or control you.

Riveted to Berkey's voice as he took us through his adventures, his sex addiction his alcoholism his bike messengering job and through his successful acting career, I watched him fly through the air, do somersaults, share his inner tumult, and swing right back into the rhythm of himself as naturally as a dog shakes off snow from the winter storm and curls up by a warm fire inside himself. His props are quite creative and strangely believable, especially the bike I imagine I saw him riding, but it's actually strapped to his head and chest as he runs around the stage - showing us another page in the life of ... whoever is running inside my or your head, please make them stop - it's getting sore from being trampled on. His message is loud and clear. We do need to be our brother's keeper.

I know, I'll go do some yoga eat a double nut fudge sundae and watch the fringe while contemplating on the me in me and the me in you and the you in me and us together in society.

Seriously folks, there's only one show left this coming Tuesday and if you're in New York or plan to be and have any interest in the subject matter - go see Dan Berkey in Remission at PS 122. When you're through you can visit Enchantments across the street and pick up some candles and incense like I did.

Monday, May 10, 2010

award winning poetry sites

These are the last 5 awards I received plus a great place to check out many other poets:

1.         Winners for your 2010 Top 35 Poetry Blogs award were announced on July 8, 2010.

2. the top 40 poetry blogs on the web, May 2010

3.  link now dead because they do not publish this any more
100 Best Poetry Blogs listed under female poets.

4. listed with 20 other blogs

5.  Kreative Blogger Award The Seven Kreativ Blogger Awards May 2009
Joy's Poetry Blog - Joy Leftow is an inspiring and intuitive poetess who is also capable of lampooning or exposing society for its ills and shortcomings, she also provides insight into a host of important topics to the contemporary world.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Joyce Kilmer save me please - we got history

The dead stay talking to me I feel as helpless as a tree
They speak through to me
and I’m definitely not a tree
and they are most definitely dead
I’m forced to be an embossed embassy another Berlin a magnet for their raw charms or languished cries
Explaining longings telling me where he expected to be if it weren’t for this one little thing but in my dream he didn’t know he was dead he was a wannabe alive guy
Hats off to Manny
telling me his plans like everybody else
Voices vicariously strewn like spring flowers falling from boughs outside my window
The scent of dead flowers buries itself deep in my veins
I breathe it out and in
I am I am a tree
Voices from the past exist in my head I ask for more put them on play - replay fast forward exit start over again and again
The hypothesis of life over again replay
A come hither look
Think deeper
From way back to before birth infancy a fantasy I’m torn in two
Should I stay or should I go a lifetime of going ahead
instead of staying and regretting is what I do best at my own behest
I’m challenged trumped set ahead to go make that next jump if not literally than figuratively
In my head I jump a hump
Ahead to where I don’t know where I am or how I got here
Yet here I stand
A tight bright white light goes off fast in my head flashing faster red green green red yellow stop on yellow hit those brakes or barrel through it
Careful take the next step and do it
Just call me
Crashing catastrophe meets the coroner on the corner for the very last time

A shout out to Ninua at facebook's networked blogs for their tireless energy and help in keeping these blogs organized. If you're on fb so should your blog be!

A shout out to Bob at Apple for helping me solve the mystery with his tenacity and alacrity. I love apple.

A shout out to my readers: this blog is for you, the you inside that hurts and wonders about the way we choose constantly - the you and me who seeks more...

my writing is me - what you get is what you see

Joyce Kilmer and Robert Frost were the first poets I memorized in elementary school. They both wrote short poems. Even back then my mind jumped a lot and memorization was difficult. Ironically I can recall words from ancient conversations at will.

Friday, May 07, 2010

totally going crazy

I already am

A publisher recently told me he'd been waiting on my short story for a book - little did I know he'd never received it. My life feels unsettled like a hurricane hit me.

I just realized my blog is fine it's my email that the problem.
I can't start over with a new url - it's too nuts and will make me more insane.
I'm changing it back.
I'm sorry I'm so crazy
the good news is I've come through with another solution!

one aggravation after another

I can't understand it.
Like lil abner a cloud follows my head.
I've been dealing with lost emails and sent emails that never go anywhere and from what I just learned this has been going on for many months. Now on my end when I send an email it makes that nice whoosssshhhh sound that apple mail makes and then they disappear into cyberspace. It took quite some time to realize all this was happening.

This time I did it on purpose without realizing it was my intent.
How could I do it again? – I followed the tech person’s instructions exactly.
And when he said do you mind deleting your email downloads I didn’t realize he meant I’d delete every drop of my email sitting on my desktop like a cold winter moon night letters disappear with morning light.

The simple solution would’ve been to create another box to dump my emails there. After I’d gone through every piece of email every day and cleaned it up spotlessly and saved what I needed over two years ~
Why would I delete it if I knew that’s what I intended to do in the first place.
My mailbox is clean and I still can't send mails out.
What a pain only a few days remain ...

For some reason I 'm the chosen one to be made the example of. Road runner finally admits they're the cause of the problem. I am no longer permitted by road runner to use my blog links in my emails. Can you imagine sending your emails daily and they don't go anywhere? Hrummmpph!

I called Road Runner some time ago. Told the tech man my problem but they kept insisting it wasn't their doing. They had no idea what caused the problem. The second or third tech didn't know either. The third time I called they told me to reset my password at road runner. These fixers worked for a minute and then people began complaining again about my mail. Road runner man did not ask me to back shit up either. It took the apple tech Bob and his crew to figure out why no one gets my emails.

I turned to apple time after time. I've been working with Bob for a few months on this email issue. I have eliminated my mail several times trying to resolve this. We'd reset the mail program by throwing out the mail from preference panes plist and by trashing mail from the library. These were the same steps the road runner man took me through too. After each restart mail would work for a little while and then stop again.

Bob and I tirelessly tested variation after variation seeking the answer to my misery. Yesterday Bob and his team figured it out. Bob said the problem was my server, that different email addresses get assigned different servers and that this server must be identifying my links as junk mail or unsolicited advertisements. So we tested this theory and found when I eliminated my blog links - low and behold, my mail mailed! I even sent boyfriend's links from my mail and that was received by the tech person. I set up a mobile me account and then any links worked. The apple rep said maybe road runner can set the server to accept my links.

When I called road runner I had to go through three people to get to the top tech who said my links are indeed blocked. He told me to write road runner security a letter which I did.

This is what I wrote below. I had to make the links clandestinely to show to them as you can see. Perhaps now I should do it like that in my letters too so they will go through.

Dear Sir or Madam:

Below are the 2 websites I use with my signature on all my correspondence. I am sending them to you so you can see they are poetry sites, not commercial spam sites.

h t t p : / / j o y l e f t o w s b l o g . b l o g s p o t . c o m

h t t p : / / j o y l e f t o w . c o m

I wrote a few more things but they never responded except for a form letter saying they receiving my correspondence.

Last night I went back to the drawing board and back to road runner. Last night a high tech person told me road runner is considering me a spammer when I use my links. When I said everyone else uses links Sam said, "you must've sent many mails with links. Eventually everyone else will reach this level of sending emails links - theirs too will be blocked." Sam said it also has to do with the popularity of my link.

To make a long story short I'm stymied for a second.

Don't you always include your web links in your emails? What's this world coming to?

Sunday, May 02, 2010


I was thinking of all the things I had to do
And then I started thinking of you
And lost my memory of what I was supposed to do
Because then all I could do was think about you
That’s just the way it goes
sometimes I hit all the lows
The highs are left behind
I refuse to leave well enough alone
The next climb’s all my treat
Yes I’ve finally done it
I’ve gone and lost my mind
I heard it through the grapevine
No longer will I be mine
I wish it were just fine but it seems
things go from bad to worse
So I try to put things in reverse eliminate
Jealousy creates boundaries
I rewrite herstory and tap the cinnamon of life
into my coffee after steam frothing lactose free milk
I tap the nutmeg of my soul
to rife up the spice
dissolve artificial barriers between me and you
eyes set deep in my face I trace the lines
on your face revealed and sealed
I’m healed by the power my words wield