The Neighbourhood on a Monday Morning



You will ask: what are the horrors of patriotism?

I watched as blood ran down the loosely lined streets—soft billows of hate still rising

each staking their claim, each proclaiming their repugnant holiness, sinew stuck between their teeth

how quaint, your holy city, filled with the corpses of each other, each the others enemy

how endearing & sweet, I can smell the refuse of Gehenna burning, the valley churning as you pillage for another body to burn

how holy. how holy.

what is holier than all the holy wars. what is more joyous than to wrap our gifts in guts—all pounded out & tenderized, a small slip of vein bowed up around the bomb.

Oh, how long is this war.

How often I’ve felt the bones beneath me, crunching, giving way to another layer of death.

Patriotism & religion. They sour my soul. They mark themselves as unholy despite their blood-lust claims.


there is strange deep pain attached to this encompassing blackness

4:15 sunsets & dark dreams

quiet aches & itches

I am a cold gathering of flesh around

this warmth of mistiness & spirit

a soul, lost in the depths of all this

unprovoked memory—holding you here against the balm of me


fragility—this faint blueness that rivers up the wrists

vulnerable & powerful, the same

that tenderness, that quaint, that faint of pulse & flutters that find themselves

exposed, throbbing

what is the rate, the force, the variation?

what is your exquisite triviality?

—the forest thick, the wilderness screaming I wander this sweet portage ever so quietly


In those shadows that close down

Winter’s pithy greyness

Slipping around the other round

There lies

All things consumed & rising—

The skeleton & the young babe

Eyes can’t focus in the fog

& we’re not soul nor whole anymore

We squirm in little circles

Our hips pinned to

The ice & the ground

Come back.

Come back with life glasped between

Your teeth.

Fade up into the blues of my memory

Of summer & ache & joy—Joy being the most resplendent ache.

Surface. Pull the breath from the air


Slip ’round the other round.

When Someone Gets It…

My little Firecracker. What can I say—she’s a Firecracker!

Daughter number two, she has questioned my beliefs to the point where I really wasn’t sure she would ever be a Witness. I really thought I lost her for a while.

But slowly, bit by bit, her questions were answered. Firecracker didn’t come to the meetings or assemblies for about two years in her early teens, and even skipped the Memorial one year. I was heart broken, but fully accepted her rejection of what I believed. I prayed about it a lot, but resigned it into Jehovah’s hands. I couldn’t do anything to make her believe the Bible. But somehow, in ways I can’t even explain, she did a full 180.

Firecracker is in her final months of high school & recently got baptized and is conducting a study with a Muslim classmate & engaging in rich conversations with her teachers on all topics. She’s pretty fearless which for a kid that is shy by nature & has had major anxiety is shocking. When other kids her age are out doing who knows what, she is studying, in the ministry, being a great daughter that I’m deeply proud to call mine.

Her Language Arts teacher recently discovered (he’s Irish, & Protestant) the true origins of St. Patrick’s Day, due to his own historical reading. He boldly informed the class of this origin & expresses how appalled he was that all his life he thought he’d been celebrating his Irish heritage but is now shocked—he’s been celebrating the massacre of those who did not conform to ‘Christianity.’ He recognized that if this supposed Saint were alive today they’d be found guilty of numerous crimes, not given a day of all their own. Funny how it takes some people a little learning to understand why others will not run with the pack.

Anyways, my Firecracker then decided to boldly go where few go, and asked him if, after knowing what he knows, he will continue to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. She described his face to be both confused & embarrassed.

Ya. I know. It’s not easy Mr. Lewis. It’s what we all experience when we know what is right but it is against family & friends & traditions. It is so hard. It’s terrible. You feel like you are betraying those you love, to not just go along with it. I mean, is the celebration today really that bad even tho its origins are so terrible? Well. Ya. They are. And your gut tells you so. If you silence the voice of the crowd, you can hear your own conscience. It’s truthfully brutal. Stepping away from man made tradition into what you know to be right takes a strength that is excruciating at times. You can appear to lack warmth for those who still participate because they misunderstand. What you try to offer as explanation or consolation that it is not to offend them, is little soothe to their bruised feelings.

But my guess is, Mr. Lewis, quite by accident just uncovered the tip of the iceberg. He’s going to discover, if he allows it, that the bulk of everything he’s ever been taught in church or had passed down via family traditions is steeped in massacre & false teachings. It’s beyond comprehension how much lie & filth is in main stream religions. People are starved to know the truth about God, the future, the past—and religion, for centuries, has been a cesspool of deceit & money making with anyone who attempted to translate the Bible in to modern day languages or enlighten the population to the lies of clergy being, at times, burnt at the stake for it, or imprisoned, or beaten, or whatever form of torture the day called for. Heretics is what they’ve all been called, but from my studies, those people throughout history who attempted to teach & translate should be applauded as heroes.

But now you can’t hide the filth of the past. You can’t hide in a state of ignorance. Now, people have access to historical information easily. They don’t need encyclopedias on their shelves to learn. They can follow the trail of lies & misinformation, they can discover the origins of celebrations & see for themselves, there really is a wide road & a narrow road. That narrow road, it’s not the easy one or the one the bulk of humanity chooses to travel. It’s painful to step off the road most taken. It can be lonely. It can be scary. It makes you question who you are, if you’re right, if you’re deceived now, since you were before. It takes digging & searching to know things & believe things that others will call you crazy for believing in.

Yep. Firecracker just happens to be a bold preacher & teacher in her own right now, and is able to ask questions in a way that motivates the heart. Good job Firecracker. I know Jehovah sees both your honest heart & your zeal. I have a feeling Mr. Lewis won’t be so keen to celebrate St. Patrick’s day anymore. But there is huge joy in finding there is both happiness & fulfillment in discovering truth, despite its challenges. Maybe Firecracker will be a help to show him, it’s okay. You can survive believing something different & looked down upon. You can survive & gain the joy of knowing answers to your questions after feeling lost or deceived all that time. It is an amazing freedom.

Anxiety & Children

Over the years I’ve learned that Anxiety (yes with a capital A) is a massive mental illness of all its own. All five of my kids have Anxiety.

In years past, say when I went to elementary, parents called in to say, ‘my kid is barfing’ or ‘they have a fever today’ or ‘they have a wretched cough!’ But now, my number one illness phone call excuse is: Anxiety. Not only that but I believe that they are more prone to the usual ailments of old due to this chronic illness of Anxiety.

I’ve seen over the years the older two have grown out of the worst of it only having minor flare ups. The middlest never had anxiety until this year when it started slowly, and came to a head when she was literally rendered speechless and immobile by a panic attack at school.

My fourth has had terrible anxiety since she started school, and my fifth, the only boy has it a little less than number four, but still significant that some days he just can’t pull himself together to get to school.

All my school kids are honour roll kids, all doing the best in Mathematics of all things. My experience with this mental illness has become so extensive I have gotten to the point where I realize the best medicine is to let them stay home & get it under control. My kids love school, and days where they have it under control, they are eager to get out the door. The other days, the ones where the anxiety has flared, their health requires a soft home environment. I have no idea what I’ll do if & when I get a job outside the home, but I feel like it needs to be acknowledged that the way we live puts a major stress on mental health. This is evident by the rise in suicides & medications for people. None of my kids are medicated for this illness, and I aim to keep it that way. Especially after seeing the oldest two grow mostly out of this hyper sensitivity to their school environments.

They both hold jobs successfully, one bartending & looking at what she wants to go back to school for; the other plans on going into Construction Engineering Technology. She is so in love with Construction but because of her knee & her wicked science & math scores along with a strength in being an enforcer will no doubt excel at that. Despite Anxiety that has literally sent us to hospital with each of them, they are getting on with life & managing their symptoms. Sleep, nutrition & home time seem to be the best medicine for this complex & ever changing illness. They are all outgoing people who enjoy other people. But this world in all its roughness takes a toll.

I think understanding the complex nature of the brain & its response to things is relatively new for people of my generation who generally didn’t suffer from debilitating anxiety. I experience anxiety myself more now than ever before. It is physical feeling combined with mental stress. It feels like it flares & then is gone and literally, I can endure stress really well when it’s not flared up. Then, some time later, the flare up occurs and simple things like dirty dishes or the floor needing to be vacuumed will literally feel like more than I can bear.

I imagine this is how it is for the kids too. Unexplainable & extreme. So, mental health days—a new but necessary coping strategy. Let’s all embrace them.