mr. burns says submit - so do the elms - the spooky spooky elms of autumn
I come from a long line of ever-taller women who chose to have an occasional abortion, with the following consequences: I feel lucky to be alive, and I never got to borrow my mother's shoes. I still have good legs, but have always had my father's nose (which he might have kept to himself.) In spite of his nose, I wear my long, white-tipped hair pulled back in a bushy pony tail, and once, while passing the reflection of my profile in a mirror, I had the impression that a squirrel had hitched a ride on my back. 

People have often, unjustifiably, fingered me as a librarian or teacher, but they were wrong. At a tender age, I swore off public libraries after a boy, unknown to me, coming down the main stairs of the Donnell Public Library on West 53rd Street made known to me, going up, the various parts of his anatomy that were different from mine. At 16, I quit high school, waiting until my 40's to take the dreaded GED and brave four years of rising and falling empires and mapping the arcs of parabolas, so that I now feel entitled to slip, from time to time, into educated poses, murmuring the words symposia, exegesis, and sub rosa while peeling the carrots, and reminding myself that, although the words "ion pumping mechanism" and the name Arthur Gordon Pym mean next to nothing to me now, I was officially and ceremoniously lifted up out of ignorance by the trustees of the State University of New York.

I am the primary caretaker and vet-accompanist for a cat (Patty, 16, neurotic) and dog (Caesar, 12, gimpy) left behind years ago with the Legos and Lite Brites by my daughters (Diana, 23, Food Lion cashier/graduate student, and Julie, "over 30") who still promise to give the animals a home, their home, as soon as they get out of debt long enough to move out of their tiny two-room apartments (Raleigh, NC; Indianapolis, IN). 

My health is good, but I'm subject to syndromes (carpal tunnel, "restless leg"), and once watched a dazzling, painless migraine aura in black and white snaking across my field of vision that was more interesting, than, say, watching the Congressional vote tallies on C-SPAN but that pulled me off the road for 20 minutes, during which I was otherwise blind. I am old enough to have stood at the gravesides of my mother, father and sister, and am miraculously (thanks to the family of benzodiazepines) still married to my second husband. (Paul is a sweetie and a smartie, a lifetime member of the Jane Austen Society, but he comes from Kansas, and when he speaks to people "of his kind," he lapses into a twangy farm-boy accent that doesn't distinguish between certain "i" and "e" vowel sounds so that he might actually say the words, "I've ben up all night looking for my pin.")

But lately, the dead (my personal dead) are on the rise; they hover in corners, then leap towards me like creepy quanta across the room, sucking my breath and crying out so often, "Remember me, you coffee drinker!" that I tend to cry out, myself, at odd moments, "Leave me alone!" which, in many important ways, they have already done. I would add, sub rosa, "You're just jealous because I can drink coffee and you can't, but hysterics won't bring you back. Why only yesterday, I ran over a dead squirrel. I mean he was already dead once before I ran over him - I 'sensed' the telltale bump - but was the squirrel twice as dead because of me? Or will he ever be less dead if I beat my breast and wail?"

Unfortunately, my little dead family was never famous for its ability to follow a logical argument, and as far as they're concerned, the more breast-beating, the better. To get the dead to lie back down, I will do almost anything, even all the willow-wailing they can bear, but one thing's for sure: I am not switching to decaf.

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we are trying to sell this hollow-body electric guitar for $250
to someone in the NYC area (reviews of this guitar are here)-
also available (for newly reduced price of $150) is this nice fender acoustic/electric -
as well as an alto saxophone for only $85 that needs a few new pads -
if interested, please send an e-mail to
& please click here to hear 11 minutes & 24 seconds of dumbwaiters
live last saturday at a screwmusicforever thing in brooklyn
& please remember that today is all saint's day,
the day the rest of the world spends
cleaning and decorating