Feature: The Bio-Psycho-Social Effects of Eczema on Zelda Fitzgerald

via Feature: The Bio-Psycho-Social Effects of Eczema on Zelda Fitzgerald


Update to August 2016 Tupelo Press 30/30 Challenge — O at the Edges

In August I am participating in the Tupelo Press 30/30 challenge, a fundraiser for this outstanding nonprofit publisher. I have pledged to write 30 poems in 30 days, and hope that you might follow along and consider supporting poetry and literary publishers by making a donation. Every bit helps. To make this fun, and with hopes […]

via Update to August 2016 Tupelo Press 30/30 Challenge — O at the Edges

Eczema Poem

Eczema Poem

You just don’t know


how could you know?

            i. . . i  don’t know. Is it  like poison ivy?

fuck no! unless you had it every minute of the day   all day   every day    for everyday      for ever


As if it was on fire inside you

like fire ants inside you

using you as a mound

or bees inside you buzzing in you their beehive

Mexican fireflies trapped in you in a jar

and you

are not translucent

            just stop scratchin’

would you?

            I’d get some Calamine for that shit, would you?

It doesn’t fucking work!

It doesn’t stop. It doesn’t stop. It doesn’t stop

itching itching itching itching

this shit itches me it doesn’t stop itching

until it’s raw

then it hurts

damn you  you just don’t know


the pain and woe


of living inside


            how bad could it be?

and my


Step Four, Take 757

Father, forgive me for I have sinned

Kneel down ye sinners for streetwise religion greed’s been crowned the king of kings

and never confessed because I believed I was unforgivable

                                                                               Well she was an American girl raised on promises

Father, could you bring Faustus back from hell for me?

papa won’t be home tonight
found dead with his best friend’s wife

Father forgive me, but do you really love me?

And would you starve without me?


Yes, my child

Kneel down, sinner, kneel down

Father, do you still love me?

Hot tramp –Daddy’s little cutie

God, are you there?

Do it like you did before. Get down

God, can you hear me?

Turning and turning in the widening Gyre, the falcon cannot hear the falconer

Lord, please hear my prayer

When you were a child you were treated kind but never brought up right and you were always spoiled with a thousand toys and still you cried all night

 Why, God, why?

Ours is not to reason why, child,

Mother, do you think they’ll like my poem?


On the other hand

there’s today: boring, normal. What does someone like me do with normal? That is the question. Normal’s fine for a minute, a day or so, one day at a time, but when the days pile up, even when I take them one at a time {I am grateful for my freedom, God, please don’t think me ungrateful} it’s so boring! The days they pile up, and it gets boring, always the same, same, same, no trauma, but no drama either. That’s when I want to take down my little wood box off the shelf and dust it off and call out his name three times and turn around and blow into the box, even though I know what would happen if I did that–there’s always on the other hand–boring.

Writing is soo hard. This is why I never focused on it so much before, never honed my craft–I don’t like discipline, which is what it takes to be a great writer and I am not going to be a hack writer. It takes discipline to be the next Faulkner or Toni Morrison, BUT IT HURTS LIKE HELL to write this stuff, to get it right, to get the truth of it out, HURTS like I can feel the bark getting stripped off me. Truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion like Tom from the Glass Menagerie says, that’s what I’m trying to give in my novel, but I know exactly why Tom nearly drank himself to death.

This morning we woke up with mud in the bed again. This time my husband just looks over at me and says, “did you make sure Lucifer got home from the Maypole alright?”

“Yes, Dear!”


My Valentine's Day Dream

Last night, I fell asleep next to my cat who snored as the wind blew in dreams. John Cusack as Edgar Allen Poe towered over my bed, stomped his cane and yelled something at me that sounded like “woman, here’s your demon  lover,” even though it was all blurry and mixed with mardi gras music that was coming from the room outside my bedroom, through a large green door frame and smoky red lights. When he stomped his black cane again it had a gold goose head on top. He stands over my bed yelling at me to wake up and get him a drink. I ask him why he’s wearing that long black overcoat and shiny black boots, and he stomps his cane again and the floor is white wood and the walls are too, and people laugh and piano music plays and John/Edgar picks me up off the pillow by my long brown hair and says “God damn it woman! I told you to get me a drink.” So I do. I come back with a bottle of Southern Comfort. He downs it and sends me back for another. This happens several times until the last time I come back and he’s lying in bed with a doctor over him, who turns out to be Dr. Meade from Gone With the Wind. The whole scene turns into the hospital scene where Scarlet runs away from the guy who has to have his leg amputated without chloroform—except it’s still my dream not a movie and I’m Scarlet and my husband is John/Edgar so I don’t run even though the doctor says my husband has to have his leg cut without chloroform. Dr. Meade doesn’t have chloroform but he has heroine not chloroform that’ll work just the same, and I  beg him not to give it to him like last time, and he tries to tell me something I can’t understand, I just keep begging him not to, and, I wake up sweating and crying and screaming and bleeding from my cat scratching me even though supposedly it was all just a dream


My husband says to me, “I miss the old Karen.” Apparently she was sweet and thoughtful. To which I said, “If you find her, let me know.” I mean, really, who is/was that? I do love my husband but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t rake on my last nerve sometimes. How can a person feel like their old self again if the self is constantly changing? They used to say brain cells died. And that was so scary. But they never told us the whole story. Duh! All cells die. Everything dies, that’s half the deal of life. The other half they don’t say is that things grow and are born and are ever growing as much as they’re dying and of course what numskull doesn’t know that what goes up must come down and what dies is reborn etc. etc.  So, my point is: NEUROPLASTICITY  the brain’s ability to regenerate itself. This is the awesome news. I’m not stuck with the brain I have right now. I’m not stuck with an addict’s brain or a prescription-medicated brain or a short-circuited, faulty-wiring brain. I’m getting a new brain as we speak. New brain cells are growing right now, and if they’re brand new, they won’t have anything to do with any kind of old Karen. This whole process of living and dying, growing and killing is not easy. I’m not really feeling my usual verbosity of optimism in writing this. I’m just still hopeful. More so, I don’t ever want to hear anything about “the old Karen” ever again for several reasons. Which old Karen are you talking about? The one I am right now who’ll be old by the end of this sentence? The older one, who existed at the first word of this post?

“They say that Hope is Happiness, alas it is delusion all. We cannot be what we recall nor dare we think on who we are” This is my favorite poem by my favorite poet, George Gordon Lord Byron. I may be slightly misquoting but the gist is the same. Hope is happiness to a lot of people but it’s a delusional state in some ways because it keeps us from thinking about who we are and what we are right now in this present moment. And as my other favorite poet, John Keats says about the Grecian Urn, all I know is right now and that’s all I need to know.