Monday, 11.01:

R and I manage to hold some of our most difficult conversations via computer: he is downstairs, I am in my study a the laptop, and we send instant messages back and forth. There is no eye contact, no physical presence. Next to my desk is the intercom we often use to talk back and forth about mundane things–do you want to eat, it’s time for Sadie’s walk–but for the difficult topics, we type. Yesterday we had one of those communications, a very difficult one. R was depressed and I was, frankly, avoiding him. This became part of our discussion: how he wants me to drop everything and comfort him; how I want him to pull himself together and be more assertive about his self-care. At some point I want to record our conversation here because we did manage, I think, to get through to each other.

One of the difficult points is that R had been skipping his medications, saving back the unused meds, and I had not been aware that he would not be covered by his old health insurance–apparently, COBRA  would only have been effective had we stayed in the Houston area.

A surprising outcome of yesterday’s conversation is that we are in Jeffersonville today so that R can have his intake interview with the state AIDS service provider. They’re filling out applications for insurance coverage and ADAP–assistance with providing meds. I have been sent out into the hall while R is interviewed about his sexual history. There’s a television in the lobby. I found the remote on the reception desk and hit the MUTE button. No one is here except the doctor, who’s just finished examining another client, and R and his interviewer (case manager?), Joy. Ken, the man who set R’s appointment by phone, was here earlier and explained that because tomorrow is election day, a holiday, five of the seven staffers had taken vacations today to get four-day weekends.

I am hoping that Joy will open her office door soon and check with the doctor, who is supposed to examine R today. Joy is a talker. I don’t want her to cause R to miss an exam. The doctor–amazing luck here–is Anna Huang, said to be the top HIV doc in Louisville.

Wednesday, 11.03:

Really nice note in yesterday’s mail from Robert Pinsky, along with a hand tracing for my quilt project–which I need to take up again.

floating title: Outliving

Sunday, 11.07:

Dreamed about Rue’s house. The walls, the furniture. The back yard. Fantastic plants in the garden. Wanting to save it all. Mom & Dad inside, packing, knowing it was too late.

Thursday, 11.11:

draft | But I Digress


She pokes a finger in her ear, wiggles briskly, retracts,  examines / the fingertip. Your father gave me that the first year we were / married. You remember. He bought me a dozen yellow / roses and you arranged them in that vase. You took cuttings– / one of them actually grew. You planted it in the garden. / Every year it has one yellow bloom. I must not be feeding / it right or something. Your grandfather could grow roses. / He’d take a cutting and–did I ever tell you this?– / wrap a piece of hair around the base. Then he’d plant it / in the shade and cover it with a big pickle jar . . .

Wednesday, 11.17:

floating titles:

  • “Diagram the Following”
  • “Your Language Will Not Save You”
  • “The Helpless Air”

“Snow Language”

Monday, 11.29:

Up this morning to read a bit more of Marianne Boruch’s Moss Burning. Re-reading the poem “Work”:

Look out, he’d say, rolling
back on his ball bearings the size of a fist, 
careful of us, loving our danger. 

It’s that phrase, those last three words, that rings for me into a theme of how some of us live now. Loving: our danger. Loving our dangerous acts, endangered lives. Loving the danger, the edge we toe as we come together in love, in danger. For me, it goes all the way back to childhood, the struggle to balance love with danger, to sort the two. Thinking of my poems “The Culvert” and “Bela Lugosi” and nearly every poem written about my growing up. And of course it’s in the aids poems.

Monday evening:

Finished stitching Linda Bierds’ on her quilt block while watching a PBS program on Jackie Onassis. The most poignant moment for me was the artist talking about the book she urged him to do, how she spread his drawings on the floor and studied them, saying Thank you . . .

Started on Gary Fincke’s block. When the program ended I brought LB’s upstairs, folded it in half, set it atop the few others I’ve done this month: a basket of hands.

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