Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Poetry-A Fork in the Roman Road

In every soul there lies a mountain

Where Protean infants are left to die

But never perish, crying out

Until picked up and raised by wolves.

Lost causes, best laid plans laid waste

Our deformed and wretched thoughts

Unloved but undestroyable, untamed

Running a step behind us with snapping jaws.

Our lost children, our genius forsaken

With hands like claws that grasp at flesh

But angelic faces caked with clay

Begging to be remolded and remade.

What if there was love-spun silk

With which to make a winding sheet

To wrap around with ties that bind

And heal with soft-spoken incantations?

What if that bereft mountain pass

Was not a place to mourn and forget

But a place to dance and celebrate

Our incandescent, transcendent failures?

What if whatever our journey created

Were held sacred even if unfinished or grotesque?

What if the faces of all the Gods

Were reflected in perfect imperfections?

Could you embrace your fears with love

And feed them at the table next to your joys?

Would others hand you a cigar

To celebrate the birth of your disappointment?

If there were no bad outcomes

And every thought was safe to have

And every act was safe to try

Then the hell of self judgment falls.

Cradle your sweet tormented heart

For it is the hero of its own tale.

Soothe the brow of your weary world

For the universe can’t spin without it.

Each in turn, the foul and the fair

Deserve a measure of air and sky.

Soft breath or brimstone-laden deeds

Each needs love no matter how lost.

Perhaps all angels fallen and fine

Need to at least be able to try to fly.

And each may reach the height of their nature

Hearing a voice from whatever God cares.

If I can love my malformed pieces

And hold dark and light alike inside

So that shining through the shadows

I can project playful movement into the world.

If I can refrain from casting out my doubts

And embrace the days I weep with loss

Then I can see beauty even in the place

Where others go to lose themselves.

I can be whole: wretched and pure.

Saint and Sinner, blood and bone,

Desire and its sweet fulfillment

Content as a baby in welcoming arms.

Stacie Ferrante


Monday, December 28, 2009

Dream-Goats in the Refugee House

Ok, this one was a doozy and I am going to struggle to capture it all before it fizzles out in my brain.

I was in a house, ostensibly newly living there with a huge family. It was clear from the way the front door was boarded up that we were all squatters in an abandoned area. There was barely room for the people, but there were also animals in the house. Not just dogs and cats (my dachshund Ember was also with me) but farm animals like goats and chickens that moved from the backard to the living room. The goats were female and being used for milk. Much talk was being spent on getting the guy down the street with a male goat to come over and breed his goat with ours.

There was music being made and a general atmosphere of badly funded but bohemian and somewhat nomadic existence. I was new to it and it was a bit uncomfortable for me to have no privacy and no real possessions of my own. The men sized me up for my sexual potential, but rarely talked to me.

Some younger man noticed my elk antler Inanna necklace (I own this in real life) and was talking to me about it. It was the first real conversation I had had in a while, and I ended up making out with him. Even so, it didn't really feel like a real connection, just better than most.

I spent some time in the dream taking care of a baby girl that one of the other women had. I was feeding her some mango pudding, and it was getting all over her face in a sticky mess.

Basically, it was just me and my dog in this chaotic atmosphere with goats and babies and messy overcrowded conditions. So freaking strange.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Oh Holy-Crap!

Good friends of mine know that I have an irrational and angry response to the music of the Beach Boys. For some reason, the sound of their music grates on my nerves to the point of making me desire to commit acts of senseless violence. I am only sort of kidding.
This time of year, I have been subjected to the song “Little Saint Nick” more times than could be considered tolerable. My eyelid is twitching and I feel like breaking stuff.
I have had a limited range of interest in Christmas music in general this year. It is really annoying me for some reason, probably because I have been trying to avoid it since before Halloween. Some of the classics are great, but the newer stuff is adding nothing to the tradition in my opinion, and mostly just sounds thin and over produced.
I have a few Christmas records that I like, and that represent Christmas for me because I listened to them when I was little:
1. Johnny Mathis: Mom loves that one
2. Christmas Sing with Frank and Bing: lots of references to drinking too many hot toddies, kind of quaint in that “alcoholic uncle” sort of way.
3. Glenn Miller Christmas: Old radio show recording with many artists of the day, with references to WWII troops overseas
4. Luciano Pavarotti, O Holy Night: Beautiful and operatic, it includes a boys’ choir.
5. “All I want for Christmas is you”- as sung by that cute little girl in the movie “Love Actually”
6. “Do they know it’s Christmas?” Band Aid. Ah, the 80’s at its most Bono-riffic and Boy-George-tastic.
7. “Oh Holy Night” as sung by Josh Groban
8. “Little Drummer Boy” with Bing Crosby and David Bowie. Weird but lovely combo.
Some that have notably been less enjoyable this year for me:
1. Any Christmas song sung by Gloria Estefan. I am just not digging it.
2. The Beach Boys tune mentioned above. Shudder.
3. Any super country-music version. I just don’t like country music much. Plus the French and Latin words that some of them have sound funny with a southern drawl.
4. I have a new dislike for “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Grandma got run over by a reindeer” for no specific reason.
What about you?

Friday, November 6, 2009

The World is My Matador-*Rant*

I never did play well with others. Lately, I am finding that I chafe at the yoke of all this stress that I am under. The pressure to do well in school, the pressure to be a good wife, the pressure to be an upstanding citizen. The ordinary things that people do when they are grownups. It is ridiculous.

I think this happens every semester about 3 months in, when I still have a month to go before finals. It is just my nerves talking. But too much conforming to professional standards and good manners and decorum when what I really want to do is go around pitching fits has got me daydreaming at every possible turn.

The world is my matador. It is like the universe knows I am tired and cranky, and then just for fun throws all kinds of intolerable people into my path just to see what I will do. Wave that red flag and see if I charge.

I already don't approve of people that are both dumb AND mean, so I have been running into a lot of those lately. Usually I am somewhere that would make it impossible or just ill-advised for me to take them to school. So I have to attempt therapeutic communication with someone I would rather just eviscerate. And I doubt they even understand or take to heart the things that I say, so I end up feeling powerless-a feeling that makes me ticked off.

So I have fantasies about throwing out all of my clothes and buying only things that are red and black and leather and satin and plunging-neckline/Mae West retro-fabulous. I dream of chucking it all and running away to live as a beggar poet on the streets of Paris. I want to start up a home-based assassin business. Who would ever see me coming? I look like a soccer mom, a Midwest tourist on her first trip to the big city. I look like your auntie that bakes cookies. I could make a killing.

What is it about being ultra-responsible that makes me want to wear way more black eyeliner and fishnet stockings and carry a concealed weapon? The sick part is that by the time I gut out the next month of exams and my pediatric rotation, I will be so exhausted after finals that going out and making trouble will take a distant backseat to sleeping in.

Rawr, Bitches! I am being PC for now. One of these days I am going to snap the tether and gore that matador, skewering him and his fancy gold pants. So there.

That is all.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Poetry-Talk to Me

Deep thinker, contemplate me.
Wonder what my opinion is
Ask my existential input
Help me sharpen the finer points.

Don't instruct me, lead me
Down ancient paths, into unlit caves
Spread light and find, perfectly preserved
Wordless art in the womb of the world.

Take my hand even as it grows,
Filling your palm but still willing to be held.
Beckon me to behold in watercolor hue
The Impressionism of your heart.

Ask me why the dogma chafes
And why I shrug off my small town church.
Keep welcoming me to the conversation
Even if I never change my mind.

Over tea and Mozart bend
In tete a tete in foreign tongues.
Buttered batard and charcuterie
Precious currant jam now lost in time.

Wisdom passed hand to hand
And whisper kisses on my fevered brow.
I need it now, as ever and as strong
As when I was bundled in old country wool.

Eternity is now, time swirls and slides.
Folding like croissant dough and hearth-warmed.
Is there some talisman to open my ear
So I hear beyond my faulty filter?

Even if I don't understand.
Even if I cry out in pain.
I yearn to hear you murmur softly.
Talk to me, just talk to me.

Stacie Ferrante

Friday, September 25, 2009

Dream-Doorbell Cocktails

Bizarre dream last night. I was out with some of my Palo Alto guy friends and saw this attractive blonde on the street. She was going door to door, all dressed for a party. We asked her if she was lost, and she said no, that she made a practice of going to the doors of strangers and asking if she could come in for a drink. They almost always said yes, and it saved her on cocktail money.

At first I was offended at the very idea, but then we hung out with her more and she was so fun and full of joie de vivre that we all were soon in her thrall. She was up for anything, including jumping into a game of soccer in her high heels to score the winning goal. Her name was Christy, and she was seemingly good at everything.

I went to a party with Christy later, and we were playing and having a great time, when I saw a dark haired man staring at us. I assumed that he was staring at her, but after a time he approached me. He was looking at me! Before I left, I kissed him and told him how to find me later.

There was more to it, but it was pretty vivid, and I felt very caught up in that wild energy. Fun!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Back Off! **RANT**

Hey world! Yeah, I am talking to you! Take a big step back and give a sister some room, huh?

Here's the new rules. Consider yourself notified.

1. If you don't know me and can't be constructive, you don't have permission to yell at me like I am some kind of moron.

2. If you are both dumb AND mean, don't bother talking to me at all.

3. I am as sexy as I get at any given moment, and I am not required to be saucy for anyone's benefit but my own. If I like you and feel like being playful, then lucky you. But I am not a one dimensional creature. I have brains and stuff too.

4. I am as thin as I am getting today. I am working on being healthy. I am exercising a lot and eating pretty healthy. Maybe that means I will lose weight. Maybe not. The stress is killing me and I just need a breather from all the pressure about it.

5. I might be an earthy girl with a bawdy sense of humor, but please treat me like a lady if you want me to be nice.

Failure to comply with the above will result in immediate dismissal. That is all.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Planet Los Angeles

Got back a couple of days ago from a vacation to Southern California, where I was attending to a long overdue visit to my good friend Eliz. She's got a cute little apartment just a few blocks from the beach in Santa Monica.

I will admit that due to my aversion to thronging crowds I had avoided going anywhere near LA for a long time. While I seem well suited to the city rhythms of San Francisco and Quebec, something about the frenetic, jerky movements of Los Angeles never did sit well with me. I lived in a terrifying neighborhood in Tujunga (near Glendale) for a formative year when I was twenty, and I knew it just wasn't for me. Lots of great stories came out of it, but mostly the kind that are scary as hell in the moment but hilarious later.

I might not have left if I had lived in Santa Monica. It is much more chill. If I could hang out and walk along the beach in the mornings and go to the farmers' market and pick around at the Main Street shops and never set foot in LA proper, that would be okay. During my stay I did a ton of walking. And talking. It was like moving therapy. Eliz and I had a ton of catching up to do, and we sorted out a few things for ourselves along the way.

I wouldn't want to have to do the dating scene there, however. That hasn't changed. There is something fundamentally flaky about single people in Los Angeles in particular. I was at a cocktail event on Saturday night and, from the outside, watched people mingle. I am so much more used to being on a deep, sincere level with the people I know well. It was a lot more work to have conversations on the surface of things with strangers. Of course, with a drink or two to loosen my tongue I managed just fine, but I wasn't looking for love or anything else, so my social needs were pretty simple.

We went to see Depeche Mode on Monday night, and they were awesome. The visual effects were stunning, mesmerizing. Of course, we were lucky to have seen them at all since a rash of shows had been canceled the previous week due to singer David Gahan's illness. The set was clearly designed to give him several breaks, but that was fine. When we were on out way out of the Hollywood Bowl at the end of the show, we saw a couple in a heated argument, and the woman gave the man what looked like a bone-jarring left hook to the kisser. It was pretty messed up, but I will admit with no pride that I was gawking until Eliz grabbed my sleeve and pulled me along.

The next day it was time to go home, so I had to face down the horrors of LAX. I was doing my best to be relaxed and patient with the super-long lines. But holy hell. I am pretty sure that you see the worst in people when they travel. Everyone seemed hostile and pressed and there were just so MANY of them. Overwhelming.

I feel like I just got back from a strange planet. Planet Los Angeles. The people there look like the rest of us. Wait. No, they don't. They are certainly thinner and tanner and wear very expensive ripped jeans that under ordinary circumstances would look like they were fished out of a dumpster. Those clothes are casually, meticulously distressed by professionals and cost more than my car. I can't really criticize because I have nothing approximating a personal style. The whole affair made me want to cruise over to the Patagonia outlet and stock up on practical, semi-sporty clothes that only need to be accessorized with a ponytail and running shoes.

I can't complain, though. I had a good time and got to see LA from an adult perspective. In some ways it was just as I remembered it. In others it surprised me and gave me a glimpse of why people put up with so much traffic on the 405. There is fun to be had there, and if it isn't fun, there is always Dr. Kush.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Dream-White Dog

Despite a lifelong love of black dogs, I had a dream about a white one last night. I am not sure how I hooked up with it, but somehow I ended up with this sweet little white fluffball, and she had a name that was a little too similar to Little A’s name. I knew I couldn’t keep her with that name, so I named her “Apple”.

Apologies to Gwenneth Paltrow, etc., but Apple is a cute name for a little doggy. Then again, I wanted to name my dachshund “Doctor Heimlich”, but Tony put his foot down on that one. I still don’t know why he had such strong feelings about that, but he refused to permit me to name my dog such a thing.

In the dream people were giving me a hard time for naming my little friend Apple, but she was pretty darn cute. Her fur was soft as cotton fluff, and she had a very smiley sort of face.

I read on a few dream interpretation sites (Gawd, I so love the interwebs! What a geek I am!) that dreaming of a friendly white dog is supposed to be a good omen, foretelling of success in business and in love. For women it is supposed to mean an early marriage.

I am a bit old for an early marriage, and in any case already married. But it was such a sweet little dog. I keep thinking about it and wishing I had it to play with.

I already have a fantastic dog, of course. Ember is just awesome. But there is something going on with me that I want a new family member to dote on. Some frustrated mommy-thing that needs something or someone small to hold. Losing a family member this year has triggered some last minute biological clock jangling that I find positively annoying.

I like the idea that I would dream something good, for a change. An actual GOOD omen? That is unheard of for me. I am so Type A that I am usually much better at fretting than taking good news at face value and relaxing a little.

I want to believe it. Someday soon things need to start going my way. I don’t need to have the whole world at my feet, but I wouldn’t say no to some magi-given gifts for a change.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Shell Shatterday

Despite a strange midsummer torpor, I took a 4 mile walk last night. I took a familiar long route around my neighborhood, and by the time I was almost home dusk was in full effect. In fact, it was probably fully dark, but my eyes were accustomed to the gloom.

I was walking past a house that had a evergreen tree with low hanging branches in the front yard right next to the sidewalk. In the low light, something pale and shiny on the ground caught my eye, and I bent down to investigate.

It was the pale blue curvature of a robin’s egg. I couldn’t tell if it was a piece of egg cast off by a new chick, or a whole egg, so I reached out to gently touch it, to roll it on its side.

I thought I was being gentle, but what turned out to be an empty half of an egg shell shattered into tiny fragments at my touch. I let out a little “Oh!”

I was heartbroken that it was broken, and that it was my fault. In retrospect, I think those feelings are displaced from other things. But in that moment, I wasn’t just a woman on a summer evening walk. I was the destroyer of beautiful things. I felt horrible.

Is this how I am going to feel about my life today? That I can’t be trusted with it or it will break in my hands? No matter how gentle I am, I am sure to shatter?

And like that eggshell, I feel small and hollow. My baby bird has left the nest, and my restless heart turns over shell fragments and calls into the dark.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Shhh! I am reading.

I am off school for the summer, so I am getting a chance to enjoy some novels and non-fiction books that have lingered on my shelf. Often while I was studying over the last few months I would glance longingly at them and wished I could curl up with a good book. Not that “Understanding Pathophysiologyisn’t a good book, but it isn’t exactly a gripping read or a light diversion.

I am also working for the summer, so my books are going with me to work to be read during my breaks. Strangely enough, some of my coworkers look at a person reading a book and think it is no big deal if they want to interrupt to gossip.

Can’t you see I am reading, here?

I have been a lot quieter than usual. I crave the silence of just sitting and reading a book. I am not too interested in the TV, and talking to anyone who is not a close friend is just not appealing to me. I don’t want to have to explain myself right now. I just want the fit of hand in glove that comes with my old, treasured friendships. They know I am going through hell, and they let me choose to not talk about it if I want. But I also know that if I suddenly fall apart and start crying they will be on me in a moment with comforting hands and murmured words that have the magical effect of keeping me from flying right out of my skin.

Least of which do I want to put down my book to talk about who is dating who in Hollywood, or weigh in on who should get poor doomed Michael Jackson’s children. Maybe it is the way my life is rolling out these days, but I just don’t have any patience for trivial prattle like that. Not without a full complement of cocktails, anyway.

I know that the majority of the people I work with don’t need to hear about the very serious business that my life has become, although a few of them do want to hear about it for schadenfreude purposes. And it isn’t their job to give a flying fig about me, but it is so much nicer when somebody does. I just don’t expect my coworkers to invest like that.

I just want to read a book. Shhh

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I don't approve-Corporate Radio Edition

If I slip into a coma at my desk any time in the next seven weeks, blame the soft rock emanating from the radio in the next cubicle. Some of the songs are alright, but I wonder if it is turning my brain to mush to hear “Hotel California” every day. Not that there is anything wrong with that song in and of itself, but the radio station plays the same stuff over and over day after day. It is making my eyelid a little twitchy. If I have to hear Bette Midler’s “Wind beneath my wings” one more time, I can’t quite be responsible for the violence that is sure to ensue.

I have a lot of complaints about radio stations in Reno in general. I don’t know what it is, but we seem to be at a lower rung on the new music ladder. All I know is that when I visit my friends in the San Francisco Bay Area, I hear songs I never heard before on the radio. BETTER songs, too. Songs I am sure to just about never hear in Reno. What the hell? Who decided that I don’t get to hear that? Did some market-survey test group flunkie make the choice for me? I disapprove.

And while I am at it, allow me to complain about the talking. Who the hell made the brilliant choice to create the “morning show”? What was wrong with playing music in the morning? Why is it all yakkity-yak-yak when I haven’t had that much coffee yet? Ugh. And they are so never funny. I have a job that involves listening to people talk all day, so I don’t need to get a jump on the “listening to people bitching” action during my commute.

I wish I could listen to my ipod at work, but no dice. The earbud competes with the phone I have permanently affixed to my ear. Plus, listening to music I actually like might make me smile. You know that would just never do.

As it is, I rely heavily on my coastal-dwelling friends in SF or Seattle or Boston or LA to provide me with tasty treats for my ipod. Thank goodness for my friends. I would have absolutely no cool at all without them.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Poetry-Frail Flowering Words

They call it a rib cage so my heart can’t escape.
Trapped against straining strings, beating feebly,
Stretched against bonds that keep it from flying forth
In search of the cherished other, leaving its home.

Protest songs from a coal mine canary.
High and sweet, echoing into the deep.
Longing for fresh air, pure as dreaming,
Scented familiar and laced with memory.

Words woven, a gentle bower made,
Illusory as incense smoke wafted prayerfully.
Even scorched earth pressed to my lips
Tastes of home beneath the burning landscape.

Pole-star driven through shifting winds.
Reaching blindly to finger the raw edges
Gingerly binding, close the wound
Leaving a scar that rises as proud flesh.

My mind keeps touching that empty place
Like an old soldier with a missing limb.
No matter how gently I approach
It still startles like a filly at the starting gun.

Restless pacing and losing the race
Crying out from behind muscle and bone
Muffled but still clear enough to hear:
“Forget me not, I beat for thee.”

© Stacie Ferrante

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Despair of the Creative Mind

I like to think of myself as a writer first above all other things. An artist soul with a decent day job, as it were. I have lots of writing projects percolating on the back burner. Even more are on the prep table and haven't made it to the stove yet. I am currently waiting for my head to clear a little bit so I can select which to give my attention to. It has been a rough couple of months for being creative.

But every once in a while I read a book that makes me want to abandon all of it. I love to read, and I have a voracious appetite for books. Not all books are well written, perhaps especially the best-sellers. Right now I am reading "Bad Monkeys" by Matt Ruff, and I am in despair.

I wish I could have written this book. It is clever, witty, and has gripped my imagination. It is a thriller in the sense that it lacks thriller cliches. I can't wait to see what happens next, but every sentence I read keeps telling me that this is something that I couldn't have written. I am not that clever, perhaps. Or my writing has a different rhythm. Something about it is both delightful and degradingly other.

I was in Barnes & Noble yesterday, Borders Books the day before, and Zephyr used books the day before that. NOTHING caught my eye, and I didn't buy anything. I was contemplating how difficult the wold of publishing is to break into these days, and yet some writers make it even though merit isn't always the reason. This isn't sour grapes, as there are many writers I admire greatly. But I think you'll agree that the bookstores give up a lot of real estate to the common denominator, mass-market pleasing sort of stuff that is destined for the bargain book rack as much as for the faced-out, top of the escalator position.

Sure, I write for the sake of it. I write for catharsis. I write for the joy of creating something I shyly call art. But even Shakespeare needed to get paid sometime. I don't relish being ink-stained for life so that I can die with boxes of unpublished quasi-genius.

I have my moments when I am writing something really good and true where I am gripped with a fever. Words flow. It is the most awesome feeling in the world, as riveting as sex but more civilized for polite company.

It is time for me to do some more writing, but this book is so good it makes me falter. My confidence is rattled by it. Of course, it has been edited and polished. I can't even get to the point where I could get edited or agent glanced. Ugh, that sucks. And thinking about that will not help me write anything.

I want to pick Matt Ruff's brain for process methods. I want him to notice me and encourage me. I also want to hurt him. I want to blink back tears as I strangle him for throwing me into a state where I have to look too closely at my own mediocrity. The battlefields of the world are littered with the unburied bones of half-decent swordsmen.

I gotta get burning again. Gentle warm fire will not uncover anything in me. I need to be incendiary. The energy I am wasting in the echo chamber will get me absolutely nowhere. Fuck.

I'm coming out of the fog into my own personal dystopia. I'm almost ready. Things are percolating. But damn, I am creaky. It could even be argued that the energy I put into blogging takes away from the whole, but we will just have to wait and see.

Perhaps one day some other writer will feel that way about me. When someone breaks into my reverie to tell me that my book is so good that they must murder me to make themselves feel better, I will know I have finally done something worth talking about.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Lost Mitten

My house is full of evidence that up until Friday I was a mom. Just little things here and there, art on the fridge, stray puzzle pieces under the sofa, and silky blonde hairs in the bathtub drain. We are still in the process of cleaning the house after moving our foster daughter. There is this stray mitten that I guess I need to throw out, because I never found the mate to it so I could send it with the rest of her stuff.

It is just a little purple mitten. So small. By next winter she probably would have outgrown that pair anyway. But my eyes keep gravitating to it, and it would probably be healthier for my well being to toss it out or put it away, rather than picturing the soft little hand that belongs in it. The hand that fit so well in mine.

Better to discard it lest I do something crazy like sew it on the inside of my coat, so it can lie over my heart, secretly where nobody will see it. Because the rest of the world will become accustomed to my childlessness so much faster than I will. They won't have to think about her every day and wonder how she is doing, worry about whether she is happy. Worry about the unseasonably cold mornings and if she has something to keep her hands warm.

I have an empty mitten, and she has a cold hand. That is how I see it. She hasn't even been gone long enough to miss me, or notice that she isn't coming back. She'll figure it out in her way and probably get the reasons for it all wrong. I am sad for myself, but even more I worry for her. I just want her to be happy.

The county would gladly fill our empty bedroom with another child if we wanted them to. But there is just no way I could take that on right now for lots of reasons, so we are waiting. Need to heal. Need to get through nursing school. I feel like I need to conquer the world a bit and get my confidence back and get out from under the watchful eyes of the gaggle of social workers that in the end don't do any of the heavy lifting that foster parents do.

I don't know how long I will keep this mitten. I guess until I don't need it anymore. Maybe I need the proof that while I had her, I took good care of her.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bend, but don't Break

I am sorta half decent at yoga, but being emotionally flexible is a bit more challenging.

I’m bending into some unlikely and highly uncomfortable shapes these days. I’m angry. I’m full of sorrow. I’m hurting.

Bending. Bending over backwards and twisting sideways and sometimes inside out. Last night entailed very little sleep, because when Little A can’t sleep, neither can anyone else. But it is understandable because last night we had to tell her that she is moving on Friday. Tomorrow. We told her kindly, somberly, and truthfully. She took it ok, which just means to me that she doesn’t fully understand it.

And the things she says these days! Tearful proclamations that announce her fear of abandonment by us. A fear, I am sorry to say, we are going to have to validate against our will. I wish I could repeat them here, if only to get the plaintive voice out of my head and on paper. Out of my body where it drains me.

I did tell her that this wasn’t our choice. I told her that I will love her forever. I told her that every time she sees the moon in the daytime, smiling at her, that she should remember that I love her. I hope she remembers.

In the meantime my whole body aches. My heart is utterly shattered. If I didn’t know for a fact that my symptoms were a result of extreme stress, I would think I had cancer or some other serious illness. I feel like I am dying. I feel broken.

Little A, you have been a wonderful daughter. I will never have another like you if I live a million more lives after this one.

Image credit:

Friday, May 29, 2009

I'm Fine

I miss being fine. I would love to be great. You know, when people casually ask you how you are doing, and you say “I’m fine, thanks. How are you?” It is just a greeting. People don’t really want to know if you are NOT fine. So sometimes, if it is a person I don’t know well, I just go ahead and lie.

It isn’t that I mean to be untruthful. The truth is just too complex and too sad and to wearisome to tell. I’m not so fine these days. But I am well, I suppose.

I’m clinging to my cosmic egg theory. I am nesting and keeping this precious, delicate thing warm until it hatches and I get to become acquainted with the nascent universe inside.

The truth is, I don’t really know what I am becoming. The pain of surviving nursing school and losing Little A and all the other hurtful things I am enduring now may be making me into a goddess or a monster. Or both. I am more ferocious now, but I am also more tender now. I cry more, but I also laugh more.

I was telling a friend yesterday that all the weak and useless things in my life are falling away. We are nursing students, so we are learning to be like firefighters in that we run into the crisis when others are running out. We face down the blood and viscera of other people unflinchingly. That is shaping me emotionally, as well. I am learning to see people much more clearly, and by extension, myself.

I know what I want. I want to bed down in hot coals. I want to howl at the moon. I want to make the world tremble when I roar. I also want to hear the whispers in silence. I want to cradle precious love in my hands. I want to heal. I want to be able to rest my head somewhere safe.

I can’t fall apart. If I can survive being hollowed out by grief, then I can be a vessel to contain joy. If I can avoid filling myself with anger and bitterness, I can fill with the appreciation of all of life’s small, almost indiscernible moments of beauty and truth. That is what happy looks like to me. Then I will be beyond fine. I will be transcendent, incandescent, and very, very good.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pieta, Signore

Listen here:

Pietà, Signore,
di me dolente!
Signor, pietà,
se a te giunge
il mio pregar;
non mi punisca
il tuo rigor,
meno severi,
clementi ognora,
volgi i tuoi sguardi
sopra di me, ecc.

Non fia mai
che nell'inferno
sia dannato
nel fuoco eterno
dal tuo rigor.

Gran Dio, giammai
sia dannato
nel fuoco eterno
dal tuo rigor, ecc.
Pietà, Signore,
Signor, pietà
di me dolente,
se a te giunge
il mio pregare, ecc.
Meno severi,
clementi ognora,
volgi i tuoi sguardi,
deh! volgi squardi
su me, Signor, ecc.
Pietà, Signore,
di me dolente, ecc.

In English:

Have mercy, Lord,
on me in my remorse!
Lord, have mercy
if my prayer
rises to you;
do not chastise
me in your severity,
less harshly,
always mercifully,
look down
on me, etc.

Never let me
be condemned
to hell
in the eternal fire
by your severity.

Almighty God, never let me
be condemned to hell
in the eternal fire
by your severity, etc.
Have mercy, Lord,
Lord, have mercy
on me in my remorse,
if my prayer
rises to you, etc.
Less harshly,
always mercifully,
look down,
ah! look down
on me, Lord, etc.
Have mercy, Lord
on me in my remorse, etc.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009



Current swollen, rushing, amniotic

Carry downstream over rocks and roots.

With springtime glacier melt, bank breaching.

Cries of loons as the cutthroats jump.

Lacking paddle, upstream swimming

Habit-formed fight, bereft of control

Limbs burning under freezing foam

Before letting go to avoid going under.

Free-floating, like falling sideways

Through mossy shores and windswept boughs.

Uncharted wilds that stir with life:

Whitetail hoof beats, grizzly’s paw print.

Current-carried, is this my destination?

Do I climb out and shake like a wolf in the sun,

Or float a little longer hoping for a better view

And let the river carry me, perhaps to the sea?

Devolving in the delta, grow fins and gills.

Submerge and fill my lungs, dark and cool.

Into the mysterious briny deep swim faster

Iridescent tail fluke the last thing you see.

© Stacie Ferrante


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

In Case of Emergency

Dude, what is up? Has the whole world gone crazy or what? I'm stressed. My friends are stressed. My family is stressed. People don't have jobs that need them, and it is getting just nuts.

I swear, if I were not the strongest woman alive, I don't know what I would do.

I don't know if I am being semi-successful at adjusting to the sad new truths in my life, or if I am becoming numb, or if there is some siren song of future happiness just out of my range of hearing. I am beset on all sides by trouble, and I seem to be doing ok, considering the circumstances.

I want so badly to have something witty or even comforting to say. I wish I could just wrap my arms around everyone and hide us all from the world until this blows over. I want to cook everyone dinner and give everyone wine and try and find the humor in all of it. If you don't laugh, you cry, right?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Poetry-Drink Me

Drink Me

Waves crash in tidal relentlessness

Grind me into fine white sand.

Emotions blend so that one to the next

Flows , teeming with life in between grains.

Churn me now so even I can’t say

Whether I am animal, vegetable, mineral.

Am I sea or storm-swept sky?

Am I plankton or vast blue whale?

Am I fierce avenging God,

Or trembling sack of sinful flesh?

Am I my good intention’s deeds,

Or a cork tossed while the message bottle sinks?

Can I contain all, be all?

Be shells and mollusks, crab and coral?

Be the moon’s seductive pull

And the battered cliffs at the water’s edge.

Scoop me into a jar and prize me.

Sift my being for the valuable effluvia.

Crucible those contents that will serve

To blow some glass for your banquet table.

Into that crystal goblet pour hopes

To overflowing, and bitter poison too.

And love, love everlasting and pure,

Until the drink tastes of life, and of tears.

© Stacie Ferrante