Whirlwind Wednesday

I enjoy alliteration, as you can see in much of my writing. Using words that all start with the same letter: Misty mountain’s mystical majesty, alone, alive, above the silver sea…  That is an excerpt of a poem I wrote in 7th grade. It was lost in the move from the northeast to Florida, an entire box of all my journals, poetry and artwork up to that year, 1983.

I stopped searching for it long before the call came from the moving company, asking if we had lost a box after that trip. Of course we had lost a box, but Father took the call, oblivious to the missing silver ware, a wooden carved hippo from Africa, and a plaster bust of a beautiful male negro, as well as the cardboard box of all my writing.

Writng poetry, drawing, journaling became an outlet for my isolation. I reached out with pencil and pen to an imaginary person who was always present for me- not waving me away, or shushing me because her favorite program was on. The recipient of my artistic efforts loved me, would never laugh, and especially would not compare my art to their own that they had done when they were my age.(And done better, of course…) No, my friend was so trustworthy, I could let my fancies fly out of me onto page after page. No subject too shocking for her to read, and only love in return. The person I imagined really saw me.

I think that she (my reader) is probably kind of like another personality, or something. When the greatest traumas in my life have occured, the healing comes from my written words -blood spilling onto paper, tears saturating the pages. I used to always write in my bed, falling asleep on the notebook, waking with writing instruments imprinted in my flesh like sheet wrinkles. I have not been able to see where I end ( and where “reader” begins) a couple of times in the past years-  since my mother’s death. I used to think my “reader” was her, but she is not.

There were times over the years that my poems are prayers, my journal trying to plead unto the face of God. Maybe He would see my pain, see the real me inside who did not commit crimes, did not like to hurt people. In my journal there are entrys that end with an Amen. Now, years after I began writing I believe He not only reads my diary, but also my heart. My blue heart. Tired of the fight at times (like now),  late at night when the wet overcoat of pain slips on.

Then there are times when my voice calls out to Dear Reader to soar with me- to a paradise of hopes, color, light and strength. To fly over oceans of deep velvet blue, the stars reflecting as if candles were glowing under the water. I see these things in my mind, these  places I’ve been.  Once I was stolen away in a boxcar from Tuscon to Yuma, with the wild mountain brush flying  by as I watched: The canyons, deep clefts and crags in the rock, where all my gunfighters hid out in my dreams. I was one, I was that free spirit, and with my pen and paper I will always be.

Come fly with me!!Dream Of Freedom, c.1986S.T.martin

Life Lessons (con’t)

Continued from post of 2/6/14

After a month or so of this relative calm and sobriety on my part, the demons could no longer be kept at bay. I began “partying” again, and the feelings of self-loathing continued. memories of  molestation as a child, verbal abuse in the home, being raped while in a drunken stupor, a forced abortion – all these factors and more led to many suicide attempts. Finally,  in desperation, my parents had me commited to a Psychiatric Hospital for treatment, and at 17 years old, my eyes were opened to the depths of suffering mental illness causes, not just to the patients, but also to their bewildered families and loved ones.

Mom tried so hard to learn to express herself to me, and I to her. Much healing occured between us with the aid of caring professionals, such as the Director of the Hospital himself. However, my Dad smiled and seemed compassionate and understanding but inside he was very uncomfortable with the subjects discussed, and totally unable to open up. definately unable to change as passing time attested to. My mental illness, which was dignosed at that time as severe depression, was explained, and studied. The Psychiatric Ward I was in was a locked ward of adolescents. I saw children lost in the “system”, thrown away by parents and caregivers because they were too moody, to demanding. I made friends with a young schizophrenic girl, who taught me how to get” shot up” with thorazine by punching an orderly, a trick I never tried after watching her drool all over herself. They took away my Ozzy cassettes, and we had therapy sessions in front of cameras that followed the conversation around the group for later scrutiny by psychiatric students. At night the screaming from the adult insane ward was deafening and sad. I did not realize they were future me’s. And Dear God, I hope that is not true, but it sure runs in the family.

At least those 45 days taught me to hope for healing, in time. To know there are professionals who can help me navigate my life. I see a wonderful social worker now, who I feel safe sharing my inner thoughts with. She doesn’t judge, or laugh at, or scold me. She listens. Just like my mom did for all the years she was alive. Mom was my advocate, my shield, my lap to sit in, my hands to hold. She was my rock to cling to when the darkness comes.

When I finally came home I was clean and sober, full of love for my family, and life, Mom and I redecorated my little attic bedroom, painting the walls a lovely lavender shade.  Rather rebellious! We became the best of friends, she shared her unhappiness, as well as her joys with me, speaking to me as an adult. i was able to share my struggles to fit in,  to feel “part of” something.

The sobriety was very short lived. I smoked a joint the day I was released from the Hospital, and drank beer the next day. After a few months I was a full blown active addict again, but she never quit helping me, or believing in me.( it was years later when she learned about tough love and Alanon) I did not truly get clean and sober untill I was 32 years old, and one day I will tell you more about my life. But I lost my mom to colo/rectal cancer on her birthday 4 years ago: 3/21/2010.

When she died I was never so crushed, so alone, so empty. But she helped me cope before the actual time came. We faced it together, and she is just sleeping now. I sometimes imagine she is still in her room, just a whisper away, like we used to do , late at night. Our rooms shared a sliding glass door and we would talk in hushed voices well into the night.

Then she would tell me,”Get to sleep! Dream of bunny rabbits!”, just as she did when I was a frightened , beautiful child of 5. Thank you so much Mommy- I am really ok! (Thanks to you!)Picture 433

Long day, well lived?

I am really tired tonight, but I doubt that sleep will come. it rarely does when I am manic. And right now, I am. Very. I have been up since early this morning, my day spent in a whirlwind of caring for everything and everyone but myself. I feel like I am doing the things I want to do, I feel better if every surface around me is clean, neat, sparkling. I feel good if my hands, face, teeth are clean… sparkling. Tonight it was the dogs, even though my back was screaming, I felt good… they are now clean, sparkling.
I am in blazing needles of agony at this moment, my bones cry out to be stretched out- but I want my new blog to be just right, pretty, well written…sparkling.
I have made the comment before- to myself mostly- everyone else brushes it off as a joke- that it is EXHAUSTING to be me. I suppose they haven’t experienced being Bipolar. I love my mania, then I have myself. I try so hard to keep the crash at bay, wishing my frenzy would really work this time… maybe if I just run fast enough, the depression won’t catch me.

But it always does… maybe not today?
I will try to lie down now, some poison medicine to make me rest…I know I must take it, so my muscles can heal, but my mind fights at the very vessel that carries it around! Oh my…

The Cold East Wind

   ” Breaker’s Tony “

           This is the name our whole town knows my father by, a name derived from the “billiard parlor” dad and my brother used to own. He was a younger man then (he’s 86 now), and the local high school kid, serious players, and young ladies alike all flocked to him. He has always been a charismatic man.  At one time in a much different world he was a tap dancer, a writer, a metalergist and x-ray specialist, a service man in the Army, and an all around self absorbed meanie as a father. And I love him beyond measure, really beyond what others think I should love him due to his past treatment of our family. 

           He is my Dad, and my hero in so many ways, and I am losing him. Inexorably, as each day goes by, he disappears a little more. There are often times when he is angry, but his anger is no longer directed at his children, or my deceased Mom. No, his anger is towards eyes that don’t see as good and ears that cant hear, at a dancer’s body  now wizened with age that does not respond in the graceful way it once did. Now his spine takes a hard curve to the right- the result of a bunged -up  hip replacement 20 years ago, so that he bumbles about with a cane. But the worst of his anger is directed towards a mind “full of cotton-wool”, as he describes it, a mind in the clutches of what I know to be severe dementia. and Alzheimer’s disease.

            Thankfully, he spends more of his day happy than angry now. We feed birds and look at flowers, enjoy old movies starring Humphrey Bogart and others of Dad’s time. I am here to care for his needs, and I try to fulfill his wants too, which aren’t many: a quiet house to sleep in all day, a short walk with the dogs in the afternoon, and a cheeseburger and Coke from a fast food joint, now and then. I was severely injured in a fall lat April, which cut my pool playing career short, and kept me from taking Dad down to the local billiard parlor to shoot. At 85 he could still shoot the lights out in 9-ball, and he taught me everything I know. Even today, if we were to step into the pool hall, there is  no doubt someone would call out, “Tony!!!”, and throw out a hand or offer a hug.

             I’m glad I have had these years to be with him. I hope I have cushioned the blow in some small way. I know one of these nights when I tell him goodnight, it will be the last time I ever do. I hope he sleeps good…Image


The Song of Leaping Doe

"i'm not sure how my feet work yet..."
“i’m not sure how my feet work yet…”

I would like to share some of my poetry with you:

The Song of Leaping Doe

I lie my weary body here

on Your soft blanket of green,

giving my burning bones to the mighty oak that will sprout

here-in the cradle of my rib cage.

may my sorrow die here, on this hilltop where I lay,

the images of death forever shuttered by Your clouds.

let pour Your rains and blow Your winds, Mighty Father,

may my skin nourish this earth that gave me birth.

sink me deep into the blackness of this dirt, full of insects

that feed the mighty bear and her cubs.

let the sun come up to warm my patch of ground,

bringing flowers to draw butterfly and bee.

and as they dance in Your sun’s rays of hope,

may Your heart kindly remember me.

baring it all…

I have been keeping a journal since 1976, but I’m a little behind the curve on blogging. I am not quite sure how to do this, or how it will turn out. However, I love to learn, and understand that I will make mistakes in the process. I’m not sure that everyone feels this way,
I see many people in the news who have trouble admitting they were wrong. So much trouble that they have to resort to shooting someone, or injuring someone to prove their rightness. When I was in high school in the late 70’s, in a large suburb, none of my peers ever thought about bringing weapons to school. And I was one of the “burnouts”, so I knew almost all the bad kids. If anyone had a weapon it was a pocket knife on a martial-arts type weapon. And these were never used to hurt anyone, just to show off with.
But I turned to drugs and alcohol, and I also turned violent. When I left public school and my addiction progressed, I took pleasure in fighting. I enjoyed being mean to people who were different than myself. I was ignorant and cruel, and predjudiced because it was popular with the gang I hung out with. But inside my gut, I was sick of myself. I had an inner voice that was telling me to stop hating, to stop doing immoral things. Over the years I squashed this voice, I drown it own, I drank it into silence. I tried suicide more than once to shut the voice up completely, but I was (thankfully) unsuccessful.

To help you to understand who I am, and how I became this person, I would like to share various life-shaping incidents with you. I want to try, through sharing my experiences, to help you readers identify and shape your own life’s journey, and to do this with less fear. I do not want to preach, and I absolutely do not suggest or recommend any sort of health treatment, or suggest how one should live. I do want to entertain, to excite, to rouse you with my writing. I hope I do not bring back sad memories to anyone, but in this blog I will share my experiences with the loss of loved ones, so please be forewarned. I will also talk about my experiences with Addiction, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Cancer and Dementia, as well as other illnesses. I always want to share HOPE with you. I hope you choose to read my work, and I hope my writing brings you pleasure. Read on!!

One summer day, while attending a picnic that my Dad’s company had hosted, I watched my “then” boyfriend get mean-drunk. He began to stumble around, and to say bad things to me about my family, so I convinced him to leave. On the way home , he became more and more verbally abusive, until I asked him to just drop me off at my house. He veered up to the curb in front of my house and then sped off before I could get out. We had taken some LSD before the party but it had not been an enjoyable trip, now I was just exhausted. I begged him to stop the car, and when he did not-I just opened the door and jumped out.
The pavement came up fast and hard to connect with my head, and I was unconscious for a few moments. When I came to all the neighbors had surrounded me , and had carried my back to my house. I still remembering the boyfriend standing in the background saying,” She just jumped out! I don’t know why she jumped out!”
They laid me on the couch in the living room while my father got the story straight. My boyfriend kept trying to get in the front door, and my dad kept shouting at him to leave. Finally, the boyfriend, in his drunken insanity turned to my father and said, ” Mr. Kikonizzy- you are a real @#&$ head!” Well, that was all it took. My short, stocky Sicilian father blew up to the size of Arnold Schwartzenegger, and bodily lifted up the idiot and threw him approximately six feet across the yard! I was never so proud of my dad.

I wound up breaking up with that fellow, but the incident was a catalyst for change in that I was questioned about drug use at the emergency room that night, and I finally told my Mom the truth about my drug use. She was flabbergasted to find that, at 15 years old, I was a regular pot smoker, alcoholic, and had tried or regularly used cocaine, speed, crystal meth, LSD, mescaline, Quaaludes and ant other drug that had been offered to me. I did not confide in her at that time to the gang rape or physical and sexual abuse I had suffered since I was 13.( She was shocked and saddened enough, I could not confess to any more.)

We truly became friends after that, she opened up to me about her doubts and fears as a mother, and about her deteriorating relationship with my perpetually rotten father. We could see the outline of the bigger problems that had shaped our relationships, and meetings with a child psychologist began. I now had someone I could tell my fears to, and after I was done trying to shock her I started to hear the voice of my childhood self again. It was not very loud, but I knew that the real Kiko was still inside, wanting out.
This peaceful time was soon to end, but for the meantime I felt loved and safe… (to be continued…)