Monthly Archives: January 2015

American Sniper

I knew bits and pieces of Chris Kyle’s story before American Sniper came out. Since I’m not from Texas, here are the parts I knew:

  • I had heard about a former Navy SEAL who got shot, together with his friend, by a vet with PTSD – while they were trying to help him.
  • I had heard about a former SEAL who got sued by Jesse “The Body” Ventura, because of some dispute about a bar fight or Jesse insulting SEALS, and that the vet had died. I heard that “The Body,” who’s pretty obviously a douchebag, was continuing to pursue the vet’s widow and thought – more Jesse Ventura douchebaggery. I read his excuse or reason for why he wanted to keep going after the widow and thought “douchebag.”

When I saw the trailer for American Sniper, I could tell it would be good, and was a little surprised to see when it said “based on the true story of America’s deadliest sniper.”

“That’s Carlos Hathcock,” I thought.

It was. I learned differently when I learned more about Chris Kyle, and of course Carlos Hathcock was his hero.

Then I saw my friends making comments about “liberal” criticism of the movie. Oh, well, it’s Clint Eastwood, I thought. Any monkey can tell from the film trailer alone, knowing nothing else, that it’s not a “pro-war” movie. I thought it would be a lot more about the concerns of collateral damage in Iraq. It’s about what it is to be a man, ultimately. There’s not a decent man out there who would see this movie and not think, “That is the kind of man I aspire to be.”

The part of American Sniper that most-struck me was the conversation with Chris’ family at the dinner table, during which his father says, “There are three kinds of people in the world: sheep, wolves, and sheep dogs.” Their dad wants to know which kind of person his sons are. After a brief discussion of a schoolyard fight during which Chris defended his brother, it becomes clear: Chris is meant to protect the sheep from the wolves.

Yes, I like this movie, but I like it because it’s a true story and one we need to hear. I have confidence that the movie is true to Chris Kyle’s story – and he had one hell of a clown car life*. One colorful post-war incident in Chris’ life was an attempted truck-jacking during which two complete idiots tried to steal his truck at gunpoint. Chris shot both dead, then calmly called the police, who upon arrival, learned they were in the presence of a living legend. This isn’t in the movie. Because there’s so much else.

There’s been a huge evolution in war movies and in movies about male stories, and Clint Eastwood has been a big part of it. His recognition that Chris Kyle’s story was one people would want to know shows this evolution. Nearly every Clint Eastwood movie I’ve ever seen is about what it means to be a man — an American man. I saw some commentary from Iraqi men that they wanted Iraqis to make movies about Iraqi men — exactly right. And they were secure enough to realize that American Sniper is about an American man. It didn’t need to tell the Iraqi stories (though if the critics bothered to look, the film did show the sniper Mustafa and made it clear – before the war, he was an Olympic medalist. It shows Mustafa leaving his home, wife and child to go out to kill – just like Chris Kyle). It showed a brute terrorist, “The Butcher,” the second man to Zarquawi, who tortured women and children with a drill. For Mustafa, I think the SEALS had respect and fear. “The Butcher” was justifiably what Chris Kyle said, “a savage.” I’m pretty sure the same thing motivated Mustafa as motivated Chris Kyle, just the same as it motivated the NVA sniper that Carlos Hathcock killed in a similar long-distance sniper showdown. Hathcock realized afterward that his NVA enemy had him in his crosshairs, and if he hadn’t made his shot at the second he did, he would be the dead one, not his enemy.

People do far, far worse things than Mustafa, Chris Kyle, or even the fictional “Butcher” in American Sniper.

It makes me feel pretty good to see some of the commentary from those who don’t like or are disturbed by the film. They almost look like some of my reviews.

“American Sniper” is an artless nuance-free hate piece built on insultingly unsound narrative ground. (that could be from “Amazon customer” but the guy did put his name on it)

Cooper looks the part, having bulked up for it, but he can’t do anything with the blandness of the character the script has given him. (I could think of a lot of words to describe Chris Kyle but “bland” isn’t one of them)

It’s like Chris’ father said. “There are three kinds of people, son. Sheep, wolves, and the sheep dogs who protect the sheep from the wolves.”

Michael_Moore_2011_Shankbone_2I can’t make up my mind whether the American Sniper critics, including those relentlessly “fact checking” the film, are sheep who perversely want their throats torn out, or the sort of limping, cringing, weak, runty wolves who lag behind the pack to lap up the spoils of meat and bone from the kills of the alpha pack members. I’m pretty sure Bill Maher is in that latter category. There’s also the fat wolf who can only howl for food.

I have no doubt that if he were here to say it, Chris Kyle would be the first to say it would be a better world if we didn’t have war. Because he was a sheep dog.

He didn’t make the war. He wouldn’t have made the war even if he could have. He was one of the many who fought in it. He did what he had to do, and what’s more, he was a real hero, because he and his family suffered just as all vets and their families do. He came home, he dealt with what he had to deal with (the aftermath, including PTSD) and was helping others when another vet who was worse off took his life.

American Sniper does in a few seconds what other films take an entire 90 minutes to do: show PTSD. I am among the women who can have some understanding of the scene where Chris sits with a beer, facing the TV, hearing and seeing the sights and sounds of war. Children scream, bullets, grenades and rockets fire. Then the camera turns to show a TV that isn’t on at all. That is PTSD. So is the scene where he’s sitting, not hearing a word Taya is saying, and jumps up to protect his son from the family dog, who was just playing. The people who say American Sniper doesn’t portray what PTSD is — do not know what it is. Chris Kyle did overcome it and he did so by helping others: one of the best ways. In the very end, Taya says he did come home, and he did.

Another of the best things about the film is the way it portrays Chris’ relationship with Taya and his children. It doesn’t draw back at all from her situation. She is coming out of the hospital after learning their first baby will be a boy, and she’s on the phone with Chris. She tells him it’s a boy, and then the firefight starts. She’s left alone, listening to this, and has no idea if her husband is alive or dead. There’ve been many days where I faced something that big alone. People are praising Bradley Cooper’s performance and rightly-so, but they should also praise Sienna Miller. She portrays Taya as strong and loving and amazing, a woman who holds the family together, but who also tells Chris that he’s losing himself (naaaahh, the movie doesn’t portray PTSD or the costs of war … this great man almost lost himself and his family because of what he was called to do!). At the end, when Chris calls her and says, “I’m ready to come home now” in the middle of another firefight, it is so . . . it would touch anyone’s heart.

Unless they were Michael Moore. In which case, I’m guessing he’d cry over a Philly cheesesteak. Double meat, double cheese. Whatever his favorite foods, he won’t be getting them at Brann’s Steaks and Sports Bar in Michigan.

Although Chris Kyle’s story will inspire most normal people, most people would not want to be Chris Kyle for real. Because there’s three kinds of people, just as his dad said.

***

*Clown car life – like a “clown car” plot where so much is stuffed in one story it can’t be believed. I have a clown car life for a woman, and I’m embarrassed about it.

About Rejection

I had 82 rejections before I made my first professional science fiction and fantasy sale. I had another 40 until the next.

Amy January 2015I told a friend this morning – I am inured to rejection. I no longer care. It is impossible for me to make myself care any longer.

But once upon a time …

When I finished the Clarion workshop in 1984, I went home and wrote assiduously for about two years. I didn’t understand at the time that the rejections I was getting meant I should keep trying. I thought they meant “you should quit.”

The final blow was an item I can no longer find: a little handwritten postcard from Alan Rodgers, then the assistant editor at Twilight Zone magazine. Years later, I would have married the self-same Alan Rodgers, had his, and our, lives been different. Years later, it is his life work that we are republishing through Chameleon. Alan never wanted to admit that it was his version of an “encouraging” rejection that convinced me to quit writing for eight years. But it was.

I put it in my copy of In Praise of What Persists, edited by Stephen Berg, given to me by Art Seidenbaum, my boss at the Los Angeles Times Book Review. These were essays written by well-known and regarded writers of the 1970s and 80s about why they wrote — what drove them. I now “outsell” this book. You can buy it for a penny on Amazon.

A significant number of people have told me they persisted in writing after reading my essay about the Writers of the Future Contest. That’s one thing that happened to me after I started writing again in 1995.

What a lot of people don’t know is – I quit writing after that, too. I didn’t write between learning I was pregnant with my son Anthony in 2003 until a year after his death January 11, 2005, so – almost three years. My life became about him. Then he was gone. This is not counting the millions of non-fiction words I continued to write. I went significant periods not-writing in more recent years as well. I have written more in the past year and a half than I believe I have ever done before. I cannot say I’ll never quit again; I can say – it’s unlikely.

According to Taya Kyle, the widow of American Sniper Chris Kyle, “He had more willpower than anyone I’ve ever met. If he cared about something, he just wouldn’t ever quit. You can’t fail at something if you just never quit.” This American hero is apparently being vilified by fat, self-satisfied, lazy excuses for human beings I won’t name, since they live their lives for fame and attention, because he takes the attention away from their own blaring, bleating nonsense – nonsense that has an evil purpose. The evil purpose is to degrade, denigrate and dehumanize others. All so they can get more. More whatever – I don’t know. It seems all about attention, fame and money to me. Chris Kyle lost his life trying to help a young ex-Marine with PTSD. So, I don’t know what it is people want from him by tearing him down, and I don’t know why Jesse Ventura would persist in going after Chris’ widow Kaya, either – it’s not like he doesn’t have enough.

None of this enough will any of us ever manage to bring along with us when we go. None of which may be bequeathed to others save money, and that is of very little importance, all things told.

This is what I have to say about rejection, whether the oldschool variety (legacy publishing) or the newschool variety (self-publishing): “You can’t fail if you just never quit.”

There is only one judge of whether or not you’ve accomplished what you set out to do: you.

There is only one person who can ever truly say you are a failure: you.

I live free, and write free. That is what it is – for me.

If you believe, truly believe, in what you are doing, you will never quit.

That is what I have to say about rejection.

 

 

 

 

The Truth Is . . . Remembering Auschwitz

Plakat_wydany_przez_Zydowska_Organizacje_BojowaYou learn something new every day.

Today, I learned that there was a fierce Polish resistance to the Nazis, especially in Warsaw. This poster says “All people are equal brothers; Brown, White, Black and Yellow. To separate peoples, colors, races – Is but an act of cheating!”

It was made by Żydowska Organizacja Bojowa or ŻOB, the Jewish Combat Organization, which was part of the Polish resistance, which fought with untold bravery against the Nazi occupation during the second World War. The wall is the Warsaw ghetto wall, the hands meant to be those outside and those inside, joining together.

Pretty much all the ZOB members died. But they died fighting. A few survived to join the Warsaw uprising against the Nazis in 1944. A few even survived the war to tell their story to the world.

I thought about what it would take to make a poster with an SS company outside your door, roaming your streets, taking men, women and children — grandparents, babies — to a train — to their deaths. Shooting people down in the streets. Shooting little children. Setting your block on fire. Forcing you to starve in a tiny area of the city, worse than anything on LA’s Skid Row. I thought about what it would take to find a typewriter and write the desperate message sent by the Jewish resistance to their non-Jewish brothers and sisters over the other side of the wall. I thought about what it would take to speak to fat, self-satisfied, safe Britons and Americans – how one could try to communicate, like Szmul Zygielbojm – a Jew and member of the Polish government in exile, whose wife and child were trapped in the Warsaw Ghetto.

Szmul told his story to the London Telegraph in June, 1942, a story of murder, terror and death painstakingly gathered. And the Telegraph published it.

And nobody cared. That was it. The only such story at the time. Millions died. To this day, there are Holocaust deniers, and worse — the ones who do not care, the ones who are required to be told that Catholics also died, that Gypsies and gay people and disabled people were also slaughtered. Then, to them – it might slightly matter. For five seconds.

When I was a kid, I remember carving “JDL” (Jewish Defense League) in the top of a school desk in the RHS library. I saw myself as a Jewish resistance fighter, not even understanding what that meant.

I was with a man for ten years who denied anti-Semitic prejudice every time it was mentioned. He was in denial that he was with a dirty Jew. I have anti-Semitic letters from my own family; I was made to want to hate and deny my own self, my own family and blood. It was attempted to make me think there was something wrong with me, something wrong with my own people. Strange people, with strange customs.

Still, I carved “JDL” in the library table.

I can have some sense of what Szmul thought, when he did everything he could. When he told the people who were fighting the Nazis — the British, the Americans — of how bad things were. Telling them of things no sane human being could conceive. Impossible things. Who could imagine such brutality? Other than Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, and hundreds of others all over the world, including in this hemisphere. After notifying his superiors in the Polish government of their failure, he committed suicide. The manner of his death was either poison or gas. His remains have traveled; he now rests in New York after being cremated, making it impossible for him to be buried in a Jewish cemetery.

Are there enough of us “new people” now?

I do not know.

Still, I carve “JDL” wherever I can. Because that is who I am.

For this, on this day, hold your peace, stay silent. It was as Szmul knew. It is as we all know. But – our souls and spirits are eternal. No Nazi or fat, self-satisfied person who stood by idly when they could do something to stop it, can change that.

* * * *

Tosia Altman member of ZOB resistance in Warsaw Ghetto WWII

Tosia Altman member of ZOB resistance in Warsaw Ghetto WWII

Tosia Altman, born 1919, escaped Nazi-occupied Poland only to return with other Jewish youth group leaders to fight the Nazis. While in the ghetto in Warsaw, she organized other young people and established training kibbutzim and collectives – to train the other young people to fight. After weeks of fighting the Nazis during the Warsaw uprising, Tosia escaped capture by the Gestapo and returned to fight. The bitter fighting continued, with fire, gas and hand-to-hand combat with Nazis. She escaped the last bunker in the ghetto through the sewers. She hid in a celluloid factory outside the ghetto, which caught fire. She was badly-burned and found by the Polish police, who turned her over to the Nazis. She died two days later. She was beyond badass.

 

 

What to Do With That Giant Bag of Greens?

You’re at the market and you think, “That looks healthy!” but the bag is so huge!

Earthbound Farms Organic Deep Green Blends

Earthbound Farms Organic Deep Green Blends

Indeed, it is huge. The largest triple-washed bag of organic goodness from Earthbound Farm weighs in at one pound.

Remember when you were a kid, and eating plain spinach was “eeewwww!”

No longer … there’s a big difference between old-fashioned cooked-to-death spinach and delicious baby greens. Earthbound Farm sells several different green mixes that are good for salads and cooking. The Power Mix has baby kale, chard and spinach. Between baby and big kale, there’s quite the difference as well. Baby kale is tender … grown-up kale? Not so much.

Using half the bag (1/2 pound) for simple sauteed greens will serve two healthy green-eating adults. For four servings, double the recipe.

Sauteed Power Greens

  • 1/2 pound Deep Green Blend Organic Power Greens (baby kale, chard, spinach)
  • 2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves garlic – minced
  • 1/4 white or yellow onion, chopped fine
  • Sea salt and fresh pepper to taste

Mince the garlic and chop the onion. Set aside. In a large, heavy covered pot (I use my Mexican rice cooker – this would also work in a dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot with secure lid), heat the olive oil. Put onion in and saute until softened (only a couple of minutes). Add the garlic, saute a few seconds to mix.

Dump in the greens, straight out of the bag. Saute briefly in the olive oil. Cover with lid for 1-2 minutes. Lift the lid and continue to saute until greens are the desired degree of softened to your taste. The giant amount of greens will miraculously shrink to two serving-size. Salt and pepper at the end, also to your taste. Different flavors of salt and pepper will add interest (lemon, garlic, etc).

sauteed power greens

 

Super easy, super tasty, super healthy. And voila! The greens are eaten and won’t spoil.

 

Why My Gluten Free Bread is Making Me Sick!

Gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free … yay! Not.

gluten free bread from Costco

gluten free bread from Costco

How excited I was to see this excellent-looking pack of two loafs at Costco …

All I did when I got home was make a tuna sandwich and eat it. I continue to suffer the after-effects, a day later.

Gluten-free expert Jennifer Fugo explains what the problem is: the ingredients aren’t good substitutes for any kind of nutritious food. Gluten-free bread is bad for you: there’s no two ways about it. Rice flour has its good points: baked goods made with it are often more delicate and have a crispier crust than those made with wheat flour. Tapioca and potato flour, however, are 100% pure starch. If you’re eating “pure” you may have noticed some bad aftereffects of eating white potatoes, regardless of how they are cooked. These can include stomach pain, cramps, the unfortunate “gas” problem, and blood sugar crashes. Most people don’t down spoonfuls of tapioca flour, but this is exactly what it would do as well if eaten in quantity — and it’s usually found in quantity in gluten-free baked goods.

Good old white taters, and tapioca, are basically starch. Starch turns to sugar in the digestion process. Undigested sugars in your body ferment … voila! Gas. You are a one-person fermentation factory.

Another problem ingredient in gluten-free baked goods is Xanthan gum. What is it? I decided to find out.

The food additive Xanthan gum, which is becoming as common as the mysterious lecithin, is a “polysaccharide” (sugar) made from the secretions of a bacteria called Xanthomonas campestris. They make it in a chemical process that includes precipitation using isopropryl alcohol (rubbing alcohol). The “gum” is then dried and ground into powder, and later reconstituted to form the “gum” that provides the gluten-like thickening and texture found in commercial gluten-free baked goods. Oh! guess what the little dudes feed on to make their secretion? GOOD OLD WHEY. Of course! Whey, the “miracle dairy byproduct” – dairy waste that has found its way into every prepared food known to man and the main offender for those who are dairy-allergic, sensitive or intolerant (not lactose intolerant – DAIRY intolerant). The only things in whey, other than water (until it is dried) are the dairy proteins that the allergic, sensitive and intolerant cannot digest. Once the whey is dried, these concentrate to an unbelievable level. This is why those who are dairy-intolerant can usually eat a small amount of butter, which is mostly oil, and cannot eat margarine (nearly all commercial US margarine is in this category) made with whey without getting very ill. It goes without saying that products like “Cremora” and CoolWhip are nothing but high-fructose corn syrup-infused plastic containers of death for those who can’t tolerate dairy.

Rice flour and xanthan gum, as well as liberal amounts of actual sugar, are found in the “wonderful” gluten-free bread I found at Costco.

Some people may be able to eat some gluten-free baked goods as an occasional treat. They are not recommended for true healthy eating, and the ever-growing “gluten free” aisles at our supermarket are no substitute for eating real, whole foods: proteins, vegetables and fruits.

Here are some symptoms of problems after eating gluten-free bread:

  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Stomach cramps
  • Back pain (mystery type)
  • Food cravings for more and worse
  • Allergic “shiners” (dark circles or bags under eyes)
  • Skin problem flare-up (dry skin, oily skin, pimples, eczema/psoriasis)
  • Excessive tiredness/lethargy
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Flare-ups of immune-related problems – other allergies or even arthritis/joint pain

Sound familiar? Just like gluten-related problems. Because all of this STUFF is STUFF we’re not well-equipped to digest and eat.

 

Multiverse

I think the multiverse is real, as proposed by Laura Mersini-Houghton. Dr. Mersini-Houghton has now proposed that black holes are not real, based in math, making herself once more the popular proponent of theories that aren’t accepted by the cognoscenti.

The multiverse is a concept proposing that there are infinite universes, all existing simultaneously. Because of our limited senses and biological makeup, people don’t generally have the idea that there are infinite versions of themselves out there “somewhere,” as well as infinite versions of our pets, of various trees, of the ocean, land, earth and everything else in the universe we live in, perceive and know.

But if we listen and feel and breathe and perceive more subtly, a great many people would admit to having an impression that there is at least one, or more, life they lived which was different from the one they inhabit.

My daughter Meredith mentioned to me a vivid dream she’d had, in which her life was very different. She was living in a large apartment complex, a place she’d never seen or been in before, and a monorail carried people to and fro. She had a different job and was older than she is now. She had different friends – her life was just plain different.

I was in her age range when I had similar vivid dreams of a hometown that was absolutely not Redlands. It was, strangely, near Redlands, in a location that has always been filled with orange groves and no town whatsoever. There were different stores, streets, houses — and people — including lifelong friends I’d never in my present life, met.

But my most notable visit to the multiverse occurred when I was a student at Scripps College. I was an art (and literature) student. I was in Alan Blizzard’s painting class, and because I’m “just so special,” my individual studio was in a favorable location in the corner of the painting studio, which was north of Scripps’ famous Seal Court. It was the same location that is currently the college coffee shop, the Motley. I painted large, obnoxious paintings, stretching huge canvases myself, and gesso-ing them myself, before doing hideous things with charcoal, acrylics, paint brushes and … one day I got the smart idea of throwing paint from a bucket. I hurled this upward, and it splashed the canvas, and the window approximately 10 feet overhead, where it dried in a blood red splatter, remaining there for almost two decades. When I did return to campus, I always looked to see the “blood spatter.” It was a comfort, in a strange way.

I do not think it was “paint bucket day,” but rather another painting day, when I slipped from this world we know into the other. I was painting, wearing one of my grandmother’s 50s dresses and heels, dressed up like Donna Reed from her eponymous show. I was alone. And at once, I was overcome with the … I can’t call it a memory. For this one brief time, my mother had not died. She had come to school to spend the day with me, and we had spent the day, walking up and down campus, having coffee, seeing art, meeting other friends. I was, for this time, whole and happy — an entirely different young woman. My mother was with me, and I felt her love and warmth. She was, I had the sense, proud of me. Happy for me. She was everything I had ever imagined, and so much more.

I went outside and sat by the Seal Court, looking at the water, enjoying the sun on my face. Then, I realized.

This was some other me, some other time, some other – universe. In that place, my mother had come. In this one: she was dead and had been for years.

My friend Dovey arrived to paint and I attempted to explain what had happened to her. The sense of grief and loss was overwhelming. Because I’d not only seen that, I had felt it and known it. For those moments, and time wasn’t exactly “real” because I had the feeling I’d spent an entire day there, and only a couple of hours had passed in the world that is, I had been another, better, happier, stronger me. I sensed it was a better world in general, also. Things were just plain better all the way around.

People write around these ideas with their “alternate histories.” They focus, of course, on big events and upheavals. What if the Nazis had won WWII? What if the Kaiser had won WWI? What if John Kennedy had not been assassinated?

Given the multiverses, all of these things happened, or did not happen.

But for us as individuals, the differences are perhaps more subtle. Perhaps they are little increments, where our favorite color is red, not blue. Perhaps we own a cat, not a dog.

I do think that time is an illusion, but that location (place) is real. I think perhaps, we all do live simultaneously in these different locations — places that we cannot immediately travel to, but which reveal themselves to us in strange, sudden glimpses of the true reality.

So different from the one we think it is.

 

 

 

My Idol Was a Barbie Doll

Barbie

My idol was a Barbie doll
With pointy breasts and waist so small.
She really was a fancy thing
With soft blond hair in a sixties swing

We drank Tang, ate tasty filler
We listened to songs sung by Mitch Miller
Barbie’s legs, they bent just so
I couldn’t figure it out, you know

So, I took my trusty blade
To see of what stuff my Barbie was made
I showed my friends Hey look! A wire!
They refused to believe, called me a liar

Her wireless legs now all aflop
Her neat blond hair twisted in a tangled mop

My Barbie still was totally swell
Made special for me by Mister Mattel

So, here is a link to the Marge Piercy poem tIdbarb18hat children are taught in school.  It’s about a girl with a big nose and big legs that cuts them off and then dies.  Some of the explicators don’t think she dies.  They think she has cosmetic surgery and gets married.

This poem is so negative and depressing that I would personally like to catapult MY poem to the top of the Google rankings.  My poem celebrates childhood discovery, the use of folding knives, and teaches the lesson that anybody can have fun with dolls any old time they want – with or without their heads or wires in their legs.  So there!

I learned (or I should say “re-learned”) that this Barbie that I cut up (this is an autobiographical poem) was “Living Barbie.”  You bet she was!  This picture of the collectible exactly what she looked like, too.  Right up until I scraped off her eye makeup and lipstick to see what it was made of.  Someday I’m going to write about the Norse God bonfire I set with Barbie, Ken and probably “Midge.”  I’m sure Midge went into the funeral pyre first.  Nobody ever liked Midge.

Update: “The Barbie Poem” actually *is* assigned in school now. Take that, depressing Barbie victims! Girls and boys – this poem does encourage doll surgery – to find out what they’re made of and how they work! Engineering 101, kid-style.

The Language of Love: Poem of the Day

Some people do not know that I write poetry. Ron Collins and I once talked about how incredibly steamy and passionate Edna St. Vincent Millay‘s poetry was. When I was young, I was reluctant to read her work because her name was “Edna.” I associated that name with old, unhip, etc.

heart u soOh, Edna. I was thinking, “When have womens’ poems of a steamy love nature ever been published?” Oh, Edna … sold 50,000 copies of her book Fatal Interview … in 1931! The poems were inspired by her love for younger-than-she (22 to 36) poet George Dillon. George’s book regarding Edna won the Pulitzer Prize the following year. But guess what? There’s no “Dillon.org.” Nor is there a house/society dedicated to his work.

This poem is called True Sacrament.

 

 

True Sacrament

I can see it in their eyes
They’re intimidated by me
Is it my legs? My hair?
My eyes?

I never saw myself this way
I don’t know how I see myself
It changes like a funhouse mirror

One day fat, the other thin
Never as I am

But I hear their laughter
I see the smiles
I see the bright spark
lighting in their eyes

I see the flash of fear
And my black heart takes pleasure

The ruined prince died
three years ago

He looks on from above

And I was never his princess
never a lady
something else, entirely

Take my fine bones
make of them what you will

Because neither princess
nor lady knows
what it is to be free.

Black bones
brutal fire
burning in the night

Meet me in the desert
meet me in the dark
meet me beneath the mountain
meet me beside the sea
touch my body
my body is me

my strength my blood
my sinew my flesh

this is my flesh taste me
this is my blood drink me

They say there are seven sacraments

And there is the true sacrament
bonded in blood
and its name is love