Friday, May 18, 2018

Mercy Now



Mark Bradford's "150 Portrait Tone"
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
I do not pray except for mercy. I may sit on the side of Sophie's bed in the early hours of the morning, pulled there by a groan and thrashing legs and arms, and I'll curse in my mind even as I stroke her tiny face my grimace an extension of hers and I will ask for mercy. Mercy. I do not pray except for mercy. There is such a thing, isn't there? Not the prayer but the mercy. Today another ten children were gunned down by another child. Mercy. My own son rages at the world says hopeless but his strong body intelligence the way he moves belies the cynicism. Be merciful, I think. This morning two small yellow-breasted birds splashed in the fountain just outside my bedroom door. Yet, the earth is betrayed, buckling, relentless. I sip coffee. Sophie slept. Even so, I have a past, you know, where or is it when I did terrible things. I have a past, you know, when I was terribly hurt. I am sorry. Yes. I am, too. What, I think, might have happened if I hadn't done that? Yet still, mercy. I have held Sophie in my arms, a pieta without prayer.  The line of those who have hurt her, even indirectly. We must show mercy. What might have happened had Sophie been given cannabis medicine in those early days? Would I have crouched in the shower and wept, lay my forehead on the tile in thanksgiving for mercy? I have not prayed except for mercy. Those children dead, this earth, that person, that love betrayed and having been betrayed, my son, my son, my daughter. Mercy. There is such a thing, isn't there? Not the prayer but the mercy.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Carried by Great Winds



There I am with what I called 2/3rds of the circus that I run. The work of my heart. Mother's Day came and went. The College Boy is home for the summer. The Brothers are back at it. Sophie had a rough weekend but is better today. I'm going through loads of paperwork and hustling for freelance jobs. I'm baking cakes. I'm answering calls and emails and appeals for help regarding medical cannabis. I'm working on an exciting caregiver project that I'll tell ya'll about soon. I'm reading novels and excited to start watching the Patrick Melrose mini-series. I read those brutal and beautiful books years ago and so look forward to seeing Benedict Cumberbatch playing the lead.

Here's a poem that my friend Noan sent me the day before Mother's Day. It's by Alison Luterman, and I think it's perfect:

Invisible Work

Because no one could ever praise me enough,
because I don't mean these poems only
but the unseen
unbelievable effort it takes to live
the life that goes on between them,
I think all the time about invisible work.
About the young mother on Welfare
I interviewed years ago,
who said, "It's hard.
You bring him to the park,
run rings around yourself keeping him safe,
cut hot dogs into bite-sized pieces fro dinner,
and there's no one
to say what a good job you're doing,
how you were patient and loving
for the thousandth time even though you had a headache."
And I, who am used to feeling sorry for myself
because I am lonely,
when all the while,
as the Chippewa poem says, I am being carried
by great winds across the sky,
thought of the invisible work that stitches up the world day and night,
the slow, unglamorous work of healing,
the way worms in the garden
tunnel ceaselessly so the earth can breathe
and bees ransack this world into being,
while owls and poets stalk shadows,
our loneliest labors under the moon.

There are mothers
for everything, and the sea
is a mother too,
whispering and whispering to us
long after we have stopped listening.
I stopped and let myself lean
a moment, against the blue
shoulder of the air. The work
of my heart
is the work of the world's heart.
There is no other art. 

Allison Luterman



A long time ago one of my relatives, from whom I am now estranged, wrote a caustic comment on this blog, imploring me to get my head out of my ass and quit reciting poetry. Something like that. It stung then because there was a bit of truth in my head being up my ass. I felt a bit of the old shame and embarrassment at being bookish, having my head in the clouds, being book smart as opposed to street smart, pretentious instead of easy-going. 

Whatevs, as they say. The thing about being more than half a century old combined with living in the Trump era, is that you can shed all that shame and run for the hills with your poetry, bringing anyone willing along with you.

What else? I went to see an incredible interpretive theater thing called the theater is a blank page by Ann Hamilton and Siti Company at Royce Hall on the UCLA campus this past Saturday. I might as well have been raptured up right there, as it was a wild interactive theater performance of Virginia Woolf's novel To the Lighthouse, hands-down probably my favorite novel ever.* I don't even know how to describe the experience that my friend Tanya, Chris and I had attending this show, but it was restorative and mesmerizing, and we all left feeling -- again -- like we'd been raptured into a writer/reader/lover of words heaven. Check it out if it comes to your town. Here's a video that I found on the internets of part of the performance in another city:




Also, if you're not one of the more than 115 MILLION people who've already watched Childish Gambino's incredible performance piece This is America, you should. I've said it before, but in these messed-up, clusterfuckery times, art and corporeal politics can save us.













* My Top Ten Favorite Novels

  1. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
  2. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  3. The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
  4. Middlemarch by George Eliot
  5. The End of the Affair by Graham Greene
  6. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  7. Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
  8. Love in the Name of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  9. Machine Dreams by Jayne Ann Phillips
  10. Possession by A.S. Byatt
Who am I kidding? I didn't even list the children's books that should rank up there. It's virtually impossible for me to narrow down my favorite novels to ten, but those are the ones that come immediately to mind. What are yours, Reader?





Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Witnessing



I took Sophie to her quarterly visit with Nice Neurologist yesterday afternoon. Here's a caregiver tip: take someone with you when you visit a doctor, and you won't be reduced to your usual Psychotic Visiting The Doctor PTSD Self. Saint Mirtha came with me yesterday, and aside from the tremendous help she provides lifting the 4,000 pound wheelchair into and out of the back of my car and ministering to Sophie in the back-seat, her presence just calms me. I felt less chaotic, less alone, less like the person careening into space on my old copy of Sartre's La Nausée. I'm perfectly capable of doing these things by myself and have done so, but it's gotten very, very old in this the two thousandth and eighteenth year of our lord. During the visit with Nice Neurologist, I did my usual and asked him to reverse places so that I was sitting at his desk on the swivel chair and he sat next to Sophie on a folding chair. So I can better explain to you what's going on with Sophie, I said, and use the time to tell you about CBDA, about how I've been weaning the benzo and what dose you'll need to write a prescription for her at this point. Just kidding with the switching chairs. I used to call these visits with All the Neurologists The $475 Reflex Check, but these days I've noticed that All the Neurologists barely touch their patients, much less check their reflexes. Nice Neurologist is so open, though, and he generally has some interesting information about something or other related to immunology or studies being done on mice or genetics -- information that he doles out in a hopeful tone as it might distantly relate to Sophie in between the schooling that I'm doing. He writes down everything I say about CBD and now CBDA, and when I encouraged him to watch Sanjay Gupta's latest show on opioids and cannabis medicine, we had a healthy discussion about the fuckery of the Sackler family and Big Pharma pushing them on the country back in the day. I think I inserted somewhere in this discussion that I'd die happy if The Neurology Community recanted their stance on benzos, particularly with epilepsy patients, and I remember him looking a bit sheepish (was it the eyebrows or the mouth?) and not acknowledging it. He was, in fact, there to write that scrip for the benzo that Sophie's been on for eleven years and not much else. Sigh. Nice Neurologist is awesome, actually, in the long line of Neurologists Sophie and I have encountered during the last twenty-three years. I'm grateful for his attention even as I'm painfully aware that I'm sort of running the show. I made an appointment to bring Sophie back in mid-July and then wheeled her out to the waiting room to join Saint Mirtha who, when we left the office and went down into the parking garage, helped me put Sophie into the car and lift the 4,000 pound wheelchair into the back, even as the four Grown Ass Male Valets stood watching us, gawking. On another day I might have made some caustic remark to one of the men or even shoved them in my mind into one of the luxury cars out-sexing my Sexy Mazda and locked all the doors. Here's a caregiver tip: take someone with you when you visit a doctor, and you won't be reduced to your usual Psychotic Visiting the Doctor PTSD Self. You'll have a witness to all of it.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Is She Who



Who is she, really? What does she know? I say everything and mean nothing. I say nothing and mean everything.

So much is fathomless, even her eyes, yet she is entirely her self as I've known her for twenty-three years.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Love Poem



To C


are you only one hour ahead?

yes

weird,

this whole time I thought it was 3

no

Time's an illusion

you've been gone forever

only a minute

will be back in a

flash

will wait

forever




Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Writing While Lost

Big Sur Jade

I've got to get back to writing because I'm increasingly lost without it. Is that possible? Is being lost something that grows from lack or is it a steady state of darkness? Entanglements, dark covers, woods. The wash of water, tides, tears, oceans. Drowning. The elements. You can find dark green nephrite jade in Big Sur where the surf pounds the mountains.

My necklace is cool against my breastbone, smooth beneath fingers.

Claire Dederer wrote Because the finishing is the part that makes the artist. The artist must be monster enough not just to start the work, but to complete it. And to commit all the little savageries that lie in between.

Little savageries. I know what they are, as do you, writers. I have felt incapable of committing them even as I've contemplated them. Contemplation, though, has gotten me nowhere. Nowhere. Lost. I'm obsessed with the way the mind works, its trickery. I've been told I'm a disgrace by a person with whom I was once close, tied to, yoked. I suppose it's true, but not in the way this person believes. It's the lack of little savageries that make the disgrace in my mind. The hacking out of lost. The commitment to the savagery is what makes the clearing.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Benignity and Trickery



I'm going to tell you about what might happen to siblings of kids with complex medical needs. No matter how conscious you are about giving them equal time, things slip through the cracks, stuff is blown off, "little stuff" is overlooked. Oliver complained about pain in his finger for a year. I acknowledged it, but I also blew it off. I blamed it on diet or inflammation. You need to stop eating junk, I might have said. How bad could it be? Both Oliver and his brother Henry are strong in every way. They are strong and sensitive. They are honest and funny as hell. Like their sister, except they haven't gotten as much attention. It turned out that Oliver has an aneurysmal bone cyst. Benign but tricky. Today he had a second surgery to remove it as the one in December didn't work. The tumor came back, began eating into his bone. Hopefully, today's intervention will last. I sat by the bedside in the recovery room for hours, running my hand through his hair, watching my nearly grown boy sleep off the drugs they gave him. He made jokes in his sleep, smoothed all my rough edges worn thin by time in hospitals those weird hours ticking by. Precious child. Brave children.

I'll be catching shit for the "inflammation" and "too much sugar" talk -- but that's okay. We all need to be humbled and set straight.

Power to the siblings.


Monday, April 30, 2018

Let's Talk Books



I'm on a bit of a reading binge these days -- a sort of defiance of the general zeitgeist of distraction, hysteria and just general shitshow stuff. 

Reading, I've said many times, is my only constant.

I've just started Louise Erdrich's Future Home of the Living God. It's too early to say whether I love it or not, but I'm having a rocky start given the genre. I'm not a person who enjoys the dystopian novel or even fantasy, so it might be hard going. We'll see (or read). I just finished Cynthia Bond's novel Ruby which was lying around my house for many years. It has some amazing lyrical passages in it, but overall I found it overwrought. Obviously, this is subjective, but as I get older I find that I like things stripped down to the essential. Lisa Halliday's novel Asymmetry was riveting for me, a kind of meta-fiction thing going on (shoot me now for even using the word meta) and stripped of sentimentality. I found the story really interesting and sexy and was blown away by the structure and writing. Jesmyn Ward's Sing, Unburied Sing was perhaps the most beautiful book I've read in years -- brutal, spare, lyrical and transcendent at once. If you look over there on my righthand side-bar, you'll see a list of all the books I've read so far this year -- when I glance at it, I'd say that Jesmyn Ward's Sing, Unburied Sing and Jamie Quatro's Fire Sermon were my favorites. Quatro is one of those writers who appears to have been living in my brain taking notes.

Up next, after the Erdrich, is poet Robert Hass' A Little Book of Form and maybe simultaneously Celeste Ng's Little Fires Everywhere. I'm also making my way through a pile of New Yorkers.

Reader, what are you reading?

Friday, April 27, 2018

Cannabis Oil Questions Answered: Tiny Little Mother Mind Report with Stanley Brothers Podcast Update



Each week the tiny little mother mind™ is consulted about various topics related to cannabis medicine. I thought that I'd emerge from my tiny little office and answer a question that I've been asked numerous times during the last few weeks as the news accounts of powerful legislators "evolving" and the FDA approval of GW Pharmaceuticals' cannabis product Epidiolex snowball into one big bag o' dollars and a confused consortium of doctors, incarcerated black people and other tiny little mother minds™ wonder what's up. As you can see by the above photo, I'm wearing my cannabis bindi to augment my tiny little mother mind™ machinations. I have also consulted with Dr. Bonni Goldstein because -- you know -- tiny little mother minds™ know when they need help and ask for it.

What's the difference between Epidiolex and Charlotte's Web Hemp Oil?

GW Pharmaceuticals has long been developing a cannabis-based pharmaceutical for the treatment of seizure disorders. It's called Epidiolex.* Last week, Investors Business Daily reported that the company's stock shot up to a months-long high because of the anticipation that the FDA will approve it for use. You can read about it here.

GW Pharmaceuticals basically grows the cannabis plant and extracts CBD from the plant -- extracts a single molecule cannabinoid and then adds in proprietary terpenoids (that they are not sharing with the public). The product is more than 98% CBD in an alcohol and sesame seed oil base with artificial (strawberry) flavoring. There is only a tiny trace of THC in the formula nor other cannabinoids.

Charlotte's Web Hemp Oil is a whole plant product that includes many full-spectrum cannabinoids as well as a better spectrum of flavonoids, terpenoids and some THC.

Reasonable people are going to agree that the more choices and options people have to treat themselves or their children, the better. If Epidiolex becomes available and works to control refractory seizures, then obviously that's a good thing. That being said, it's been my experience, as well as many, many other people's, that the best seizure control as well as anti-inflammatory and other medicinal benefits comes with the whole plant medicine that includes the wide variety of cannabinoids PLUS THC. That's been relatively easy for those of us in legal states -- we've added different cannabinoids (like the CBDA that Sophie is using) and, of course, THC (that Sophie is also using).

Plus, I'll just come out and say it: I don't trust the machinations of Big Pharma and dread their encroachment.

The tiny little mother mind™ doesn't have the time here on the blog to really explain or instruct you, Reader, about the endocannabinoid system, but I highly recommend that you read about it and educate yourself. The website www.projectcbd.org is an excellent resource, as is Dr. Bonni Goldstein's book Cannabis Revealed.**

UPDATE: If you enjoy podcasts, the Stanley Brothers (of the eponymous Charlotte's Web fame) who are a sort of Jesus and disciples for some of us in the cannabis medicine world, have a new podcast that airs today, Friday, the 27th. Their first episode features Sanjay Gupta and discusses the opioid crisis and cannabis as an answer to it. I know a whole lot about cannabis, as you know, but I learned so much more. This weekend, I believe, CNN is airing Part IV of its series Weed. The times are a changing. Let's hope that they change in the right way -- WHOLE PLANT CANNABIS MEDICINE that Big Pharma doesn't destroy.

Here's the podcast link:

Stanley Brothers Breaking Ground



















* My tiny little mother mind™is also a nerdy mind, and I love to pick apart the names that pharmaceutical companies give their concoctions. With the help of the internets I've parsed out Epidiolex:

Epi:   Greek, upon, on, over

Dio:  Latin, deity, god

Lex:  Latin, law, statute

So, are we safe, Reader, in interpreting this new drug manufactured by GW Pharmaceuticals as being Over God's Law? 




**Disclaimer: I helped Dr. Goldstein with the book and am given a small percentage of sales.


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

A Couple Days Ago in Georgia, My Home State



This happened.

What is there to say about that in 2018, the heart of darkness that is America? It's not sufficient -- and even grotesque -- to note that there were counter-protestors that far outnumbered those raising their hands in a Nazi salute and burning swastikas. A white guy who blew away four black people in a Waffle House is caught alive and sits in a jail cell, and it isn't enough to note that an unarmed young black man wrestled the gun away from him, and the Man in Charge, who runs at the mouth otherwise, said nothing.  It isn't enough to lie in bed every morning and wonder whether the Man in Charge is still alive, hoping that he isn't, aware that this is happening, this seethe and boil, everywhere, even in my heart. This is happening. It's difficult to remember that beyond all duality and consciousness is Love.

My friend Rosemarie wrote it --wrest it -- best:

Meanwhile in America











#BlackLivesMatter
#Resist

Monday, April 23, 2018

Missing Teeth

Chocolate Flecked Yellow Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting


Out here in the gig economy, we're scrolling through online job sites, taking cake orders and editing jobs, and buying lottery tickets because you just never know. I do know there are Russian bots out there and enormous intrusions into my privacy and yours, so I probably deserve every bizarrely targeted ad I get, but I'm mostly intrigued and sometimes thrilled by the random shit that finds its way to me. I can't help thinking that something good and lucrative will surely land on my lap and all my troubles will be over. Nearly every day, I get a slew of requests in my email box to interview promising writers of upcoming books with titles like Finding Your Wow or The New Discipline: Building A Tiny Home for Time-Outs. Money is never mentioned, though, and I honestly can't bring myself to tell them that my audience, while faithful, is more devoted to learning about the intersection of politics, disability, parenting, poetry and mermaids than how to explore inflatable zones. I removed the link from inflatable-zone.com to ensure that you aren't projected into some kind of alternative universe, although there's a fair argument to be made that we're already living in one:


Hello Dear,
I am Ellen from inflatable-zone.com
We just found your articles on your blog were attractive. I think your style of writing is quite good and fit to introduce my company's products. We are looking forward to establishing a cooperative business partnership with you on the basis of equality, mutual benefit.
We would like to sincerely invite you to cooperate with us.




Back when many of us thought Bush was the worst President in all of history and couldn't understand why our fellow countrymen would vote for the guy they "most wanted to have a beer with" yet still felt somewhat connected to them as human beings (unlike today's clusterfuck of living amongst seeming aliens who voted for and still defend that POS running the kakistocracy), I got this request:


Dear Elizabeth,
Can I write an article for the a moon, worn as if it had been a shell? It would be regarding Danney Williams, the man who says he is the son of Bill Clinton. 
Let me know if you want to chat about this. 
Sincerely,


Reader, if there's one thing I know, it's that laughter is good for the soul, that having a strong and dogged sense of humor and absurdity will save you from all manner of insanity and despair.


Dear Poet / Writer,

Greetings! Hope this letter finds you in a cheerful mood !

As well known to the intellectual world The Home of Letters (India) or
HOLI is engaged in literary, publishing and socio-cultural activities for
the cultural uplift of man. It acts like a platform to exchange sublime
ideas between the poets, writers, scholars and the intellectuals of the
world through its various publications, books, anthologies etc. It is a
House which organises small seminars from time to time (depending upon
finance) where poets, writers, scholars and the intellectuals discuss
various educational, literary and socio-cultural topics. It also awards
individuals for their high level achievement in personal or professional
life / for outstanding accomplishments in the literary, intellectual or
academic realm / for outstanding contribution to the fields of art, culture,
education and society / for their commendable contribution in promoting
world peace and universal brotherhood with humanitarian ideologies. Since
1997 HOLI has been playing a very significant role in the above fields.

You will be pleased to know that we
would like to confer upon you “MATTHEW ARNOLD AWARD" for sweetness and
light in creative writing.

The multi-colour certificate (20 X 14 inches in size) is beautifully
laminated on
WOOD and photo-framed (for
hanging on wall / for
placing on table or shelf), which will be sent to you by Regd. Airmail.
Your
name will be published in one of our publications in future.

If you are interested to receive this WOOD-LAMINATED citation you may
send USD 150 (as
administrative, processing, packing, postal charges etc.).

*Mode of* Payment : Bank Wire
Transfer (please ask for our SWIFT bank details)



The universe is abundant, no?*


Are you still with me? Do you need to order a cake, maybe? I'm obviously not doing anything constructive today.

What about the title of this blog post? You know, Missing Teeth? Here's today's email, a request for me to interview a dentist acutely aware of the missing teeth problem in America:


Dr. Shamblott is available to discuss why there is a significant high percentage of American with missing teeth even when there are a variety of options to prevent tooth decay and to replace missing teeth.  If you’d like to schedule an interview with him, or having him write exclusive materials for your publication, please let me know, I’d be happy to coordinate all the details.

Reader, is it condescending to email this public relations firm back that my services as an editor might be a better idea, starting with the subject line?

Expert Discuss Missing Teeth in America



















*No, I'm not really going to accept my Matthew Arnold award for sweetness and light by wiring $150 US dollars to The Home of Letters. Don't worry.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Happy 420 Day and Tales from the Vet



I've been talking about marijuana/cannabis for well over five years now, right here on the old a moon, worn as if it had been a shell. If you go over to the Looking for Something? search bar on the right-hand side of the blog and put in the words medical marijuana, cannabis, you'll pull up posts from 2008, even, when I first started reading about marijuana and pondered smoking it myself and blowing it in Sophie's face. There are posts documenting my walks up and down Melrose Avenue, looking for a pot doc to give me a medical marijuana card, posts documenting my resignation at being on a waiting list for Charlotte's Web, posts about my jubilation coming off the waiting list (one of the first 20 or so in California back in 2013), posts about our great gratitude for its success in giving Sophie the first real seizure relief in her life and, of course, numerous posts where I wrote -- or rather ranted -- against and about The Powers That Be in all the shapes they took, whether it was a doctor, a head of a non-profit foundation, a pharmaceutical company, a legislator -- even a relative or two -- who basically threw obstacles in our (and many other families') path.

Take a moment, if you have one, and put those words in the search bar just for me.

If you don't have a moment or are tired of me, please at least read the two links below, one a blog post from four years ago and the other an article that appeared in an investor paper this week.

Fight the Power.

GW Pharma Spikes on Likelihood FDA Will OK Cannabis-Based Med

I'm only saying this because it seems like not a single moment goes by in the day that I don't run across something cannabis/marijuana related, and it's all about the tide turning, the evolution of seemingly intractable folks in power, the swaying of public opinion and on and on and it just makes me feel all -- I don't know -- sad? Angry? Bitter?

Yesterday, I watched a bit of a live Facebook thing with old Bernie Sanders and young Cory Booker, touting some bill that is being introduced to Congress, and while I deeply admire Senator Booker for his progressive views, his eloquence and general decency,  I'm cognizant of his formidable obeisance to Big Pharma and it just makes me -- well -- sad. Angry. Bitter. I don't have anything to say about Senator Sanders, other than he appears to be still working doggedly for the people which is a good thing, but I'm tired of the dogged white man thing, and I'm not sorry about that, especially given the racial component of the whole marijuana legalization thing but that's a whole other story.

In the end, it's all about the money, isn't it?

What do I know? Not shit, apparently.

Scratch that whole post up there.

Read this article, now.

Let me tell you about what happened at the vet the other day when I brought our 14 year old poodle Valentine in for a general check-up. Valentine is still remarkably perky despite her many years, but she clearly suffers from arthritis and has lately also been needing to go outside about a million times a night and seems -- overall -- confused, as well as deaf as what do they say -- a post.

I am decidedly and unashamedly not a dog-lover, although I do have a great fondness for Valentine, and so after putting off the whole take her to a vet and spend about a gazillion dollars, I did bring her in. The vet said that she should probably go on an anti-inflammatory for her joints and that this might cause some side effects like diarrhea and vomiting and would cost about a million dollars, in addition to the $450 blood work and urinalysis that she'd already done and I felt like I might cry there in the smelly room with cat hair floating around and the kind vet assistant smiling benignly -- cry there not for the poor dog but for my old caregiver self who really just can't handle any more side effects of drugs so I said, brightly, What about CBD oil? It's a potent anti-inflammatory! And she said, Well, you know, it's a Schedule One narcotic, so I can't say anything about it, and we need more studies done, so I ran out of the room, pushing the benign assistant aside, dragging Valentine behind me on her purple leash out into the sparkling yellow Los Angeles light and just ahead of a dark cloud that opened up raining diarrhea and vomit all over the vet office.




Monday, April 16, 2018

She In There



This is what Sophie looks like when I take away even the tiniest bit of Onfi, the benzo that we've been trying to wean her from for four years. I'm still weaning the damn drug, a tiny, tiny bit at a time. I tinker each time, as well, with the various cannabis medicine products, and good things happen. Every day is different, though, and we continue to live this life as an experiment in progress.

Like my dear Dr. Jin said, so many years ago, She in there, she know.

I am sorry that I've left you readers high and dry, an occasional post once or twice a week. I haven't visited blogs or left comments, have been deleting newspapers and articles from my Inbox and have just generally avoided -- well -- everything. I've been down and blue and struggling a bit with I don't know what, but I feel it lifting a bit and hope that I will soon be back in writing daily order. I'm engaged in the world as I've always been, but man oh man every single day we wake up to that vile emperor with no clothes and his persistent presidency. It's a freak show and a clusterfuck, and like we say in the writing biz, you just can't make that shit up. I'm not underestimating its effect on my psyche -- nor should you if you're of the same persuasion. If it doesn't bother you or you're one of his supporters, well, I'd bless your heart if I felt any respect for you at all. May it all be over soon and not because some bomb is dropped on us for being such idiots. The thing is, though, that what's rent is rent, right? The veil has been pulled back. The core is rotten, isn't it? So much work to do and most of it is about coming to terms with our privilege and our whiteness.

I've been reading a lot lately -- have been able to dig in deep and get through to the end of novels and bask there glad and filled up. I recommend Lisa Halliday's Asymmetry, Jesmyn Ward's Sing, Unburied, Sing, Terese Mailhot's Heartberries: A Memoir, Claire Dederer's Love and Trouble and An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. I had ordered a book from the library that finally came in, so many months after the request that I forgot where I'd read about it, but I really liked it -- a novel called Elbowing the Seducer by T. Gertler.

Oh, and then there's Fire Sermon by Jaime Quattro. I'm obsessed with her and her writing, her brain and mine.

What else?

I've tried to wander into museums, too --saw a beautiful David Hockney show at LACMA over the weekend and an amazing exhibit that included a multi-media show by Kara Walker at the Hammer last week. I'm so grateful for the sustenance of art -- of words and painting wrought, especially, from great struggle and suffering. Our lives are enriched even as our own troubles recede and perspectives enlarge.





Thursday, April 12, 2018

Dear John Boehner,

My daughter, Sophie, one of the many people who has suffered because of your influence


Dear Mr. Boehner,

My first response to your recent "evolution" toward supporting the legalization of marijuana was two words strung together. The first sounds like truck and the second like foo. I'm aspiring to the elevation of language, though, so I will refrain from using epithets, however justified. When I recovered from seeing your picture (dated from 2015, and I frankly would have preferred never seeing your face again) above an article titled John Boehner's Marijuana Reversal, I learned that you had used Twitter to announce your startling "change of heart" regarding the legalization of marijuana. Here's your Tweet:

I’m joining the board of because my thinking on cannabis has evolved. I’m convinced de-scheduling the drug is needed so we can do research, help our veterans, and reverse the opioid epidemic ravaging our communities.

My second response was a physical one, a stomach-clenching, heart-pounding, limb quivering somatic blow-out that had everything to do with rage. My rage. I could have been the Bodhissatva of rage. A Bodhissatva is a being who is capable of reaching nirvana but delays doing so out of compassion for other suffering human beings. As the Bodhissatva of Rage, I am thinking of the grotesque numbers of people arrested for simple marijuana possession, the majority of whom were persons of color. You know the statistics, so I won't include them. I am also thinking of the legion of people, including children like my own, that have suffered and continue to suffer from debilitating diseases that can be treated successfully with cannabis. I'm thinking of the legion of children, in particular, with seizure disorders, who live in states stymied by federal law or who do not have access to the medicine that will alleviate their children's suffering and even save their lives.

I know there are some out there who are encouraged by your "change of heart," but as the Bodhissatva of Rage I am repelled and horrified. You worked incredibly hard during your entire career as an elected official in our government and one of the most powerful senators to block any kind of marijuana drug reform. You knew all the statistics, listened to and read all of the appeals. I appealed to you personally during my days as a cannabis medicine advocate. You rebuffed all those appeals, ignored the statistics, persevered in obstruction and helped to destroy lives and perpetuate some of the most vile racist laws and practices in our country.

One of your buddies had back pain alleviated by marijuana, leading you to see the light. I guess the tens of thousands of appeals from mothers of children with cancer, with autism and with seizures weren't enough. You evidently are also appalled by the numbers of people incarcerated in prisons for simple marijuana possession. You turned a blind eye to literally generations of young men of color for how many years, Mr. Boehner, before Acreage Holdings, an investment company with an enormous footprint in cannabis, brought you on? While you were in Congress, more than 420,000 people were arrested for marijuana possession, the majority of them persons of color. You knew that. How much money do you stand to make now in this new evolved venture?

The wheels of commerce are running beautifully, even as I type. Marijuana stocks are rising rapidly. So much money to be made. Pharmaceutical companies are rushing to seize the whole pie, pushing out those of us who have paved the way. Your evolution is disgusting, Mr. Boehner.

Truck foo.

With no due respect,

Elizabeth Aquino

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