Maternal Grandmother

So… I will share this experience with you, and you make of it what you will…

My maternal grandmother awoke every morning at 4 a.m. She was a pistol with a zany sense of humor. She always told me when she died, I better have the coffee brewing at 4 a.m. because she would be coming back to have a cup of coffee with me.

She passed away when I was 19, after a week in hospital. My mother and I came home that night, and fell asleep talking in the living room, her on the sofa and me on the floor. At 4 a.m. I was awakened by my grandmother’s alarm clock. I said: “Awe…,” and went into her room to turn it off. When I returned to the living room, it dawned on me and my mother that my grandmother had been in hospital a week, and she had the type of alarm clock that would play and play until someone turned it off…we laughed and cried and got up and made coffee…sat at the table and talked all morning.

So…I’ve had the flu. I went to sleep as soon as I got home from work yesterday. I awoke about 11:30 p.m. and read my social work textbook, Facebooking in between. I went to make myself a cup of coffee…I know…who drinks coffee at this hour? I returned to my room with my coffee and realized…It’s almost 4 a.m….I better go to sleep!

I turn out my light and snuggle down into my pillow. Am I dreaming? I don’t know, but my grandmother is at the foot of my bed talking to me…I am telling her something about my little brother…and she is telling me something about checking up on him. She “floats” back out of my room. What jolts me awake is the idea: “Why is my grandmother checking up on my brother?”

So I dial his number…he is on a paper route…yes it’s nearing 4:15 a.m. now. I am telling him what has happened. We ask one another if it is a significant date? Not that we can tell. I ask him to check on his newborn baby. All is well with baby. As I am trying to figure out what it means…well, I must have hit “snooze” instead of “okay” on my phone because the alarm sounds in my ear…again. As I turn off the alarm, that’s when it hits me…

It’s 4 a.m. and I just made a cup of coffee…and WHY is my alarm ringing at 4 a.m. on a Saturday morning. It’s only set to alarm on Monday to Friday!

My subconscious making the connection?…perhaps. My grandmother saying hello?…maybe so…


Necessary Things

I have used up all the pretty things now,
The baubles and the bows,
All the old colognes.

Like feathers
And shiny buttons
Collected on a whim
before I knew the value of imperfect lotion or a
Secondhand Ruffled blouse
and that old jar of

And these old cut off shorts
Making my day
Should have bought two
The day they had the sale on
Ten years ago

The question then,
One day when the cage door is left ajar,
Will I collect again
A bright blue button with a sparkle just right
Or move on from here,
Content with my clipped wings, wrapped with
Old string
Red yarn
and holy toe socks.

– Tanya

Autumn Fog


I am so confused at the moment. None of my life’s lessons are helping me. I don’t know how to trust anyone or anything right now. I try to listen to my intuition, but even it does not know the way. I wait for signs and read the synchronicity but even those seem baffling. I don’t understand anything right now. Nothing makes sense. It’s like death, but I don’t know what is dying and what is being born. It’s all wrapt up in grief and time, and holding on and letting go. “Don’t stay where you’re not wanted.” But I don’t know what to hold onto or what to let go of, or to hold onto nothing and to let go of everything. I think I have it figured out, but then it slips through my fingers, and I am lost again. “When in doubt, wait it out.” I don’t know the message, I can’t find the purpose. Wrapt up in responsibility, sacrifice, and joy. How to know when joy should be sacrificed, and to what end, and if ever, and for how long, but what is joy? When does sacrifice yield joy? Does it ever? Is it real? How do you know the difference between self sacrifice that destroys you or self sacrifice for higher purpose? How much do you sacrifice, for how long, if ever? Do you never? What does that accomplish? I do not know the way. I ask the question and wait for the answer but when it comes bearing fruit, it is transformed ever deeper and yields more questions without answers. Dead ends. What do you trust? And risk. I am methodical, I plan, I do not take risks, I do not make snap decisions, and yet that has yielded no better outcome. When do you jump, do you jump, where do you jump, what is jumping? I wait and wait, and time does not discriminate. What is time? What if there was no measure of time? How much time is time enough? How much time is wasted time? I walk in fog, exploring uncharted territory. No beginning, no end. I am looking for a box, so I might open it, and read the message written there, but what if it is a blank scroll? Is there a box? Didn’t I craft a box long ago? Who has taken it away? And safety. And experience. And joy. And why? The autumn and the quickening. Do I allow it to rejuvenate, once again, or do I snuggle under crinkly leaves. Rest. My hair is tired and wet with the fog. Is there time enough? Is it time? Cruel trickster, where are you hiding? Tell me Yakov. – Tanya

Yakov responds: I’m flattered that you ask me. i’m reminded of Alice Toklas who asked Gertrude Stein on her death bed, “Gertrude, what is the answer?” To which Gertrude replied, just before she expired, “Alice, what is the question?”

Tanya: You really do drive a hard bargain. I love you, Yakov. Thank you.

Where the Green Beans Grow

I saw them in the garden first, the fairies danced last night,
Into the weary forest, sugar lanterns shining bright.

A beacon to old loves in green hammocks, singing though my head is bending low, I hear the gentle warbles calling, in the blackness…come on home.

Carry me back on a tee shirt wing all merry all happy and bright. By and by hard times come knocking at the door, but my old Kentucky home, fireflies.


The Winter of My Discontent

I shall call this the Winter of my Discontent
(Inspired by Marcy Playground and The Lumineers Angela)

Dreams collapsed together so that all remains
Is some ephemeral blue flying thing
Nondescript Soul in snow
Like a blue lady fingers, fairy flower
On the hills of County Clare.

Slipping through my fingers
Kill it or die
In a home baked pie of
Bumble Berry

Smash it in the pages of that book, before it gets away, free forever
In the Nethers
Of a nook
Or cranny
Hanging on a hook
Unused long
In a Rosicrucian song.

I come to Narnia
Pregnant or not at all
Remember the Fairy Tale?
A cloaken robe of elvin kind
Hangs in the back of my wardrobe behind
All those things that Mother said were
Improper for a boy
Put it on, in the playground
Wear it new
On the back of a wild cuckatoo
perched in some river run down tree hidden.

Tails dusted through the leaves
Of Fall
As I danced
In oh some just a Dream
Theme in
feathers jest so cruel
In rouge
In Rainy rouge
Running down a white faced blouse in the river wood true.

I wore it once in Spring.
Removed all the impossible things now
Nothing left,
Just Me
Mold on the holly hock branch
Under a morning cold recliner cider in frost.

I come to the Temple naked, this time
I’ve been here before.
Core musings.
My fingers grow without a fire
Blazing red roosters cones.
Raising a belly
In the blizzard
All hail
The steed snorts in the crinkly air
Afair and field and far
Blue tails trailing
In snotty wind
Awind and racing
Onward soldiers
a fiery hawthorn bier awaits
The summer land dance and
I sing softly
waiting under blue covers and black bellies
And fir
Pregnant with you singing softly that soul lost or found or haunted here in Avondale.


Near Death Experience, 1998, Part I

I wasn’t aware that the “distressing” near death experience is rarely shared…or that there are people who need to hear their experience shared from another living being in order to heal. I was recently informed my own experience is categorized as “distressing,” though that term seems an odd choice. As such, I will share the experience here, but I warn you, the experience itself has nothing much to tell. It is the before and after experience which makes the “event.” If you have questions, you are welcome to post them here in the comments section, and I will answer to the best of my ability. Because my near death experience happened over the course of several days, my post will be in several parts.

Prior to this experience, I never gave much thought to “near death experiences.” When I did hear something on television about it, I always imagined when people referred to “the tunnel,” they were happily, peacefully, calmly floating upright, on foot, toward the light.

My near death experience was a result of hemorrhage from miscarriage and occurred at home. I lost approximately one gallon of blood and am told there was not enough blood left in my body to carry oxygen to my brain. I subsequently had surgery and a transfusion of three pints of blood.

I was going to the front door to go out to the car, in order to be taken to the hospital by a family member. A call to the hospital had confirmed I needed to be there immediately. I had just made the statement, “I don’t feel so good.” As I placed my hand on the doorknob of the front door, and opened it, I felt myself sagging to the floor against the door, and I lost consciousness.

Though I had sagged against the door to my right, I felt I was on my back, and my head was bumping against the floor. This felt very similar to the feeling of being on a fast, bumpy, wooden roller coaster ride. I heard a loud roaring sound, which I liken to that of an up close locomotive train. I was “aware” and I was “awake” but not in my living room. I could not see anything of my house, but only the tunnel. This seemed to have happened immediately.

I felt myself shooting through a tunnel, feet first, at break neck speed.  Outside the tunnel, was dark, and the space was filled with human creatures, that I can only call daemons (although I cannot quite consider them demons, either, they were in such pain) for lack of a better word. They were the epitome of all things horrible, gnashing, dark, and hideous. They were full of pain and they wanted to get a hold of me. I knew I was safe, however, that “they” could not touch me. If I had been dreaming, I would have been terrified.

Inside the tunnel, in the space that I was traveling through, was dark leading into a bright, white light, which was shining in through a hole beyond my feet. I was not traveling down or up, but rather straight through the tunnel, feet first. Though I was shooting at break neck speed, this was not a smooth ride. It was loud and bumpy. As I was nearing the light, and the noise and bumpiness began to subside, my maternal grandparents (deceased) were present. They were not present in physical form, but I could feel them there with me.

The next thing I knew, I was no longer in the tunnel.

I was up near the ceiling in my living room.. I could see my body laying on my back on the sofa. I was in the area of the living room ceiling at the end of the sofa where my feet were propped up on pillows, away from the head of my body. I could not see the face of my body, but only the side of my face, as there were medical workers surrounding the upper part of my body. They were working on me and they were very concerned and urgent. I believe, trying to remember these years later, there were two men and one woman around the sofa. I vividly recall the back of the male medical worker’s head. He had sandy blond hair, and it was a short cut. He was immediately in front of my body. One of the medical workers was standing along the back side of the sofa.

I recall thinking, “What’s the big deal?” I could not understand why everyone was so concerned about the body, because I felt fine. While I did not look down to see if I still had a body in my present state, I “felt” like I had a body. The body on the sofa was of no concern to me. I felt no pain. I felt no fear.

The next thing I knew, I was back in my body on the sofa. It happened in wharp speed. I immediately began to pull the mask off my face, and the medical workers wanted to prevent me from doing that. I felt absolutely fine. I pulled the mask off my face, and I saw my daughter (age 8 at the time) kneeling beside me on the floor, beside the sofa, on my right side. I knew she was very frightened. I touched her and told her, “Mommy is okay. Mommy is going to be okay.” I also told her, “I love you.” and “Don’t be afraid.” The medical workers replaced the mask on my face.

The next thing I recall is waking up in the ambulance as it was leaving. The medical workers were having to constantly pull the linens from under me and replace them with clean linens. I felt very bad for causing the medical professionals to have to do such a thing and I felt bad for making such a mess. I recall repeatedly apologizing to them, and I recall their responses were very kind. I also recall they continued to sound very afraid and urgent. I could hear the fear in their voices.

The next thing I recall is laying on my back in a hospital bed in the hospital. I wake up fully, and I feel “tingly.” I hear someone say, “She’s tapping out!” I know this is not good. That is the last of my recollection prior to surgery.

Because I want to keep my personal commentary and opinion separate from the facts as I recall them, I will post my opinion separate.

– Tanya

(I searched out a photo to include here, that best fits the tunnel as I recall it. I was laying on my back, with my feet aimed toward the light, in a tunnel that looked like this, only perhaps without the ridges.)DARK TUNNEL


It is the first word.

But “no” never came to me,

In Bradshaw’s book, or at mother’s knee where I sat like a marionette on puppet strings,
Nodding yes.

Not as a test,
Of my person.
Not as an activist,
Standing firm for my rights,
With my hands on my hips,
Or my fist clenched,
In solidarity with nothing,

It’s one of the first tentative steps of the “S”elf, the individuation of an independent entity, a sign of selfhood.

Not in my pajamas at the closing of the day,
When my feet pattered over the hardwood floor and I sent my nighttime prayers,
Into the stars.

I never pointed my finger at my plastic baby and said to her,
As I’ve seen the little children do,
or made the dog to sit and stay,


It never quaked or quivered from my lips,
In hesitation.

I never knew it.

When I learned to say, “No,” it was after time had worn thin all the possibilities.

After faith had faltered,
And trust had turned,
And the lesson books had been shut hard,
Against hope.

It was after the used car salesman,
And after the missionary’s knock on the door,
And after Philosophy and too much coffee.

It was after the promised visit,
And after the suicide,
And after the death,
And after the piercing sound of a gun,
And long after the smell of blood,
In Spring.

It was the other foot falling,
In smashes,
Of mud,
Trudging to safety,
On solid ground,
In balance,
With fist pointing up toward the mountain,
In triumph.


After abandonment,
After abduction,
After divorce,
And after noon,

After a million deaths,
All denied,
And “no” welled up like a water fall.

It was when everyone else’s possibilities had been tried and found unworthy,
And yes was weary and dull,
And all my pores spit with it.

The umbilical cord, first cut in blood,
with the finality of the word,


Is cut again in Spirit.

“No circumstance can take away what we were born with, unless we agree to surrender,” said Inette Miller.

But when it came to me,

After white hair and wrinkles, and a fondness for feathers,
And after meteor showers.

I said it through the fear,
Of rejection,
And at impromptu times,
And in awkwardness,
And often,
From the guts of my instinct, at the behest of my intuition, in
Reverence for all the “I’s” in every word and every being,
And in darkness,
When necessary.

No, I do not like liver.
I’m sorry but I just don’t agree.
I’d rather not.
No, but thank you for asking.

Then I knew.

It’s the yang word in the great sentence that tells the life story of Abraxas, and with it comes the possible in impossibility, in softness, in yin.

No, I will not!
I said, “No!”
It screamed forth,
After death.

From nothing, IAM.

But first I had to learn how to say no.

Like Tommy, struck deaf, blind and mute for a very long time, at a very young age.

“I do not agree with it,” I said, “I will not do it!”

My answer is “No!” to any path without a heart.