Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hot times in the ole support group!/Poem: Master of the House

Ada's Outing boasted 9 people yesterday. We watched the marvelous film Slumdog Millionaire. In the parts where they tortured the hero, I simply closed my eyes. Janet got up and went to Theater Two. Cassandra got up and went to the library.

Cassy was sitting next to me. I had an ulterior motive in sitting beside her. Last week was her first meeting. Diagnosed as bipolar one (the kind where you go off your rocker), I knew she also had borderline personality disorder but didn't know it.

How would you like it if you had cancer and the doctor refused to tell you b/c he didn't want to hurt your feelings? It would ruin your chances for survival. In the case of borderline, treatment would be delayed.

We sat in the dimly lit theater, both of us with our coats wrapped around us. Peggela had brought soft pretzels and I tore off some for me & Cassy to share, a good way to break the news to her.

Yeah, she said, I read about it in The Merck Manual and thought it sounded just like me.

It's very treatable, I said. You just need good therapy from someone who knows what they're doing.

How did you know I had it, she said.

Easy, I said. When we were at the IHOP last week you talked about yourself. You said you didn't know who you are (lack of identity), that you had major anger problems, trusted practically no one, and constantly obsessed about your abusive husband.

She looked away, deep in thought. I was sure I had done the right thing, telling her.

Three minutes after the movie began, she said she didn't feel well and was going to leave. She got up and left.

I wasn't so sure I had done the right thing. But I forced myself to have faith in what I had done. I'd thought about it the previous week & decided she was strong enough to hear it from me.

She returned in three minutes since she'd left her purse on the floor.

Listen, I said, meet us for coffee afterward and we'll talk more. She did. She announced she'd gone to the Doylestown Library and checked out some books on her psychiatric condition. Good! My intervention worked.

If it's broke, FIX IT!

When we were about to leave the theater, I reached into my pocket to put on my beret. It wasn't there.

I was SO MAD!

Every time I go to the movies, I said out loud, I lose my hat.

I went back into the theater, lay down on my belly and looked under the seats.

May I help you, said one of the ushers?

Yes, I said. Every time I go to the movies I lose my hat.

Oh! said the usher. Was it a beret?

Yes! I said. So I got my beret back. I still can't figger out why it keeps falling out of my pocket.

Why don't you keep your hat on, said my boyfriend when I told him about it.

I edited 2 stories for the Compass today. One happens to be a 10-page story called: A Mind of My Own: A Personal Account of Recovering from Borderline Personality Disorder. Its author, the pseudonymous Shae Scott, tole me she has a hard time when her pieces are edited. I explained to her I preserve the Voice of the person writing it but that the job of the narrator is to love the reader so much that you're willing to make changes so the reader can fully understand what you're writing about. Hence, I made a few minor changes for clarity. Shae has a natural poetic voice which I preserved with no problem.

She asked me to email her a poem. I will, I said, if I can find it. Here's the poem.


The master of the house
looks out the screen door,
I stand and look at him
look out the screen.

A woman with loose swinging hair walks by.
We have sidewalks here on Cowbell
and mailboxes so close to the front door
you can reach right over and lift out your mail
without leaving home.

The woman looks up at the perfect moment
and meets the eyes of the master of the house
and then of mine. The three of us lock eyes
for just one moment
as she passes by our house.

The master of the house,
swivels his head
as she passes by.
Intense, alert, curious,
he has made of her passage a celebration,
an occasion of great moment
drawing all things to a stopping point
to gaze upon this unknown woman
with swinging hair

his ears swivel too
tiny ears flecked with hairs
that let the light shine through

Is he picking up walking noises
or the sound of her breath? as,
in every way, he tries to be with her
behind the screen
in the separation,
the membrane,
that parts all things,
from being one

he, too, does that,
as most of mankind does,
longing to be one
with someone

Were I to vanish
would he go to her?
would he want her
as he does me?

I remember when he came
from Brooklyn in a cage
hot and dusty from the ride,
slinking from his cage
to take a look around,
body twitching,
yet master of his new domain.
Where was he?
Where had Dan taken him?

To live with Dan’s mother.
I came downstairs to meet him,
to learn to love him,
never had a proper introduction
to cats nor cared to
‘till now
my duty
as mistress of the house

I took my body and laid it
on the couch
lay there absorbing his
smell and fur and the delicacy
of his step
his silence
his stares
his wonderment
Let myself
soak up whatever it was
that made him different from me.
I needed to co-exist with cats. And did.

He has a thing for me
Wraps himself around me
whenever I sit or type
or try to sleep.

I let him sleep with me when I nap. I make a place for
him on my chest so he won’t crush me
so he can have me
as he wishes.
Never have I had the love of man the way I have
the love of cat. He reaches out his paw
strokes my
neck, my cheek, my closed eye.
He is good to me.

I carry him out to see my garden.
He squirms in my arms
trying to get free.
Jerking when he hears the birds chirp
I hold him tight so he won’t run away.

People love cats and sleep with cats.
Dan sleeps with cats. And women too.
But me, I only nap with the cat.
Don’t think me insensitive or cruel, I beg of you.
But I do it for the cat’s pleasure, not mine.
I enjoy the pleasure of watching him happy.

I am a woman who never met a man
I wanted to sleep with the whole night long.
Nor cat either.