Sunday, April 26, 2020

the more things change

The image is a promotional photo that was taken by the real estate agency for the house that my son and I currently live in. This shows a view from the back yard. Click to enlarge the photo.

This is a long post consisting of free verse poetry and an explanation of the exercise used in its creation as well as some kvetching at the end. If you aren't interested in that sort of thing, please hit the back button on your browser now.

the weather is partly cloudy and fair
that isn't much change from yesterday
although I guess it's maybe a little less windy
the trees are still leafless
I can see them out the window 
of this old house built in 1909
we eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner here
the cats sleep in sunlight spots around the house
when I was six years old I dreamed
that my mother and I watched EMS crews remove
the dead body of a man in a yellow rain slicker 
who had been hit by a car on Coronado Parkway
the busiest street in Albuquerque
I had another dream about a woman 
wrapped in bandages like a mummy
her face was visible and bore the expression 
of one dismayed by her circumstances
she was resigned to her fate
cognizant of the fact that nobody
gave one single fuck
about the way she felt about anything
her body had been chopped into neat, perfectly equal cubes
about the size of the blocks that children play with
she was still alive beneath the bandages
but the priests didn't care and carried her to the pyramid
where she would be an object playing a role that they desired
her words unheard, her feelings unacknowledged
because women should be pretty, compliant dolls
ogled for their beauty but having no thoughts of their own
yesterday, my son mentioned seeing
a cast-off beer bottle on the side of the road
my town exports oil
my house exports wastewater and garbage
and poetry that no-one reads or cares about
when we drive to Denver
we see train cars with graffiti on the sides
people always think it's okay to ask 
how's your love life 
who's your lover 
who do you love?
I find these questions invasive 
and none of anybody's business
I am too worried about my poor health 
and the actions of the Orange Idiot
to even think about having to entertain a man
who only wants to put his hands all over me
to use and abuse and then abandon me
to hell with all of that
never again
if anyone thinks that they would be brightening my day
by telling me not to give up
that there are good men out there who would treat me right
well, kindly keep that bullshit to yourself
you can sprinkle it with a spoonful of sugar
if that would help it go down better
and then eat it yourself
because I sure as hell don't intend to swallow it
"The Orange Idiot is a Russian plant," I muse
As I sit here in my loose blue Capri pants and a purple T-shirt
and think that I'm not looking forward
to the summer with its relentless heat
I remember back in Albuquerque
my cats Rose and Frisky were both hit by cars
shortly before we moved
a cab driver was shot by drug dealers 
in front of our house
he was paralyzed from the neck down, and I don't know
if the police ever caught the bastards
we moved away from there a few months later
my father was subpoenaed
and had to fly back to Albuquerque for the trial
he didn't have much information to give
but he wanted to help the poor cab driver 
if only to show support for a man 
who would never walk or hug his grandkids again
I suspect there will be a resurgence of COVID-19 in late summer
when people want to go out to festivals 
and jump into the hormone mixer
I'm glad enough not to care about any of that
my son told me about a Chinese doctor
who tried to warn people about the Wuhan virus
his truth was suppressed
and he ended up dying from the virus he tried to expose
I hope he did not feel as if he failed
he tried his best to be a healer
the words of those who think too much are always stifled
suppressed, denounced, ridiculed
thinkers are inconvenient
this doctor deserves a posthumous Nobel prize
the Orange Idiot does not deserve a prize of any kind
no matter how much he narcissistically believes
that he is the bigly best
we could give him a prize for being the bigly worst thing 
to happen to this country since the Great Depression
we could crown him Commodus Reincarnated
the emperor who brings about the downfall
of a once-great society
outside my window
little birds sit in bare trees and on power lines
today's headline from MSN tells me 
that the nation now watches as Georgia re-opens
I don't know what to say
other than "I'm not surprised" 
and "that's a bad idea"
my son said the other day 
as we drove to remove more stuff 
from the mobile home that I used to live in
that one of the reasons the Spanish flu in 1918 
claimed so many lives
was because people became complacent 
after the first wave died down
then a second wave hit 
and they weren't taking precautions anymore
technology may change 
but people remain the same
yesterday when I was visiting
my mother showed me an old box 
containing a card sent by my great-aunt 
with two collector coins inside
there were pressed flowers in the box
and a card that I had written
in memory of someone who died in 1980 
who deeply touched my troubled life
my mother pored over the message 
on the sealed envelope
I took the card from her 
and told her that it was personal
I said I didn't want to talk about it
I put the card back in the box
my family wasn't much for privacy
they always wanted to know what I was thinking
and then told me I was wrong
I suppose that's not much different from most people
who always harshly judge those they don't understand
John River said that in this world 
no-one can be different or strange or damaged 
or they lock you up
he didn't mention that they can also sentence you 
to create your own prison of shamed silence
despite assuming the appearance of a free spirit
no-one understands someone like me
it's best to keep quiet 
head down, don't give away too much
no-one wants to hear it anyway
except for unicorns, pegasi, and alicorns
when my son was little, I read him "Good Night Moon"
we lived close to Denver then
in the town where we live now 
if you walk three minutes down an alley 
you find yourself behind a group 
of run-down modular homes
in Denver, you would see the backside 
of dilapidated townhouses or apartments
and the alley would smell of piss and spilled booze
around here, people keep their drinking to themselves
we don't have a homeless population
but many of us would be 
the homeless population anywhere else
if I walk to the edge of town I hear the sound 
of the oil trucks driving by
I fear dying having accomplished nothing
my town doesn't have a postcard because it's too small
on the sign that says "welcome to Grover"
there are some kids and farm animals
I don't want to live in the city again
I'm happy to stay here
I'd be okay with dying here
I just wish my words would be heard first
the Internet has always amazed me
it has the ability to reach billions of people
and yet I am still lonely and misunderstood
with no-one wanting to read what I say


If you enjoy my work, please consider purchasing a copy of my current poetry collection, Another Autumn, for just 99 cents on Kindle. 

Content coyright 2020 by Cara Hartley

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April PAD Challenge: write a change poem

NaPoWriMo: Take five minutes to fill out the Almanac questionnaire and then write a poem from your answers.

Five minutes, my ass.           

Almanac Questionnaire
Weather: partly cloudy and fair
Flora: trees still leafless
Architecture: an old house built in 1909
Customs: we eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Mammals/reptiles/fish: cats
Childhood dream: I remember two very vivid dreams from when I was six years old. In one dream, my mother and I watched as EMS crews removed the dead body of a man in a yellow rain slicker who had been hit by a car on Coronado Boulevard in Albuquerque. This was a very busy, fast-moving, and dangerous street. 
The other dream involved a woman wrapped in bandages like a mummy. Her face was visible and had an expression of someone saddened by circumstances, resigned to her fate, and cognizant of the fact that nobody gave one single fuck about the way she felt about anything. Her body had been chopped into equal cubes about the size of the blocks that children play with.
I honestly feel that both of these dreams were precognitive revelations of the way my life would play out. I have always felt like I'm an observer rather than a participant, and I have always felt ineffective when it comes to helping others because I have no resources to offer. Regarding the second dream, I have ended up being a fractured person whose hopes, dreams, and very self has been cut up and shaped to fit certain roles that others think I should fill with no regard whatsoever for what I think or feel. I am disrespected, disregarded, meaningless. I am unheard and unloved. I am not a human being, I am an object. I am nothing, I am no-one, and I don't matter a bit.
Found on the Street: a cast-off beer bottle
Export: waste water
Graffiti: on the side of train cars
Lover: what is this "lover" you speak of?
Conspiracy: The Orange Idiot is a Russian plant
Dress: loose-fitting blue Capri pants and a purple t-shirt
Hometown memory: My cats Rose and Frisky were killed by cars. A cab driver was shot by drug dealers in front of our house and left paralyzed from the neck down.

Notable person: the Chinese doctor who tried to expose the Wuhan virus before it spread and later died from it. He deserves a posthumous Nobel prize. The Orange Idiot does not deserve a Nobel prize.
Outside your window, you find: little birds and bare trees
Today’s news headline: Nation watches as Georgia re-opens. Good luck with that. My son was saying the other day that one of the reasons the Spanish flu in 1918 killed so many people was because people became complacent after the first wave died down, and then a second wave hit and they weren't taking precautions anymore.

Scrap from a letter: My mother found an old box and showed it to me when I was over on Wednesday. There was a card in it from my great-aunt which included some collectible coins. There were pressed flowers and a sealed card that I'd written to someone who had died in 1980. The card was sealed and I didn't read it, but my mother pored over the message on the outside of the envelope. I told her it was personal and to please put it back in the box. I was reminded that my family never had much regard for my privacy or my personal thoughts. Of course, this isn't very different from most people.
Animal from a myth: unicorns, pegasi, and alicorns
Story read to children at night: good night moon
You walk three minutes down an alley and you find: the backside of dilapidated modular homes
You walk to the border and hear: the sound of trucks going by
What you fear: dying having accomplished nothing
Picture on your city’s postcard: my city is a very small town. It doesn't have a postcard.

This work is cross-posted in these places:

You have to be able to smell your audience, and the main audience at Publish0x stinks for this kind of post. They are primarily looking for information on cryptocurrency and other investment information.

I can't say that I've been entirely happy with my experience using Publish0x. I don't really have any complaints about the platform itself. Overall, it's great, although I really wish there was a feature allowing me to switch to HTML for post creation. It would make my life a lot easier. I love the idea of being able to receive tips for my work, although I rarely receive such, which is discouraging. My complaint stems from the fact that the main users of Publish0x are the wrong audience for artistic and creative bloggers.

I continue to use Publish0x as a platform for publishing creative posts because of the ease of sharing these posts with a potential audience. It's discouraging to look at my stats for posts such as this, which involve views but no likes or tips. I wish there was a setting that I could utilize to prevent posts like this from showing up in the "new posts" feed. I don't want to waste people's time, but I do want to utilize the advantages that Publish0x offers.

So far, I have been posting to BitPatron, Ko-fi, and Patreon for a week and have acquired no subscribers. I share these posts on Facebook, Tumblr, and LinkedIn and they generate no response. I get views on Blogger but very few responses. My books have almost no audience, and, consequently, very few sales. I am extremely discouraged.

I have stopped saying that my work's lack of renown is because it's bad. I know it isn't bad. It just doesn't appeal to the general public. This probably shouldn't come as a surprise to me, because I don't appeal to the general public either.

I have found myself becoming (more) depressed since restructuring my blogging procedures. Getting used to my new system is stressful. The fact that it hasn't brought me an increase in audience size or support is depressing. I'm not sure how long I should continue with my new system before calling it quits and going back to primarily using Blogger, where I also had a minuscule audience who rarely engages with my work and provides even less conversion to products sold.

I don't know, Man. Money and popularity shouldn't be the reason for doing creative work, but having none of either kind of sucks. I can only assume that I'm crazy because I keep writing even though the numbers show that my work is an abject failure. 

I'm pretty sure that I need to increase my dosage of Fukitol.


  1. Heartfelt hugs.
    I suspect that one of the reasons you get few responses is that your work is rarely 'comfortable'. Which is very true of most lives (whether we like to admit it or not).

    1. Yeah, I've heard that before. I've tried writing light, breezy romances and such, but then my small intestine tries to crawl up my throat and strangle me. I remind myself that Lovecraft didn't achieve any degree of renown during his lifetime. Before he died of kidney cancer (Bright's disease), he was subsisting on canned vegetables.
      Knowing that the king of weird fiction died in poverty isn't exactly a comforting thought, but it has led to the realization that it isn't the quality of my writing that's the problem. People only want to read puff pieces. I think if I started giving the people what they want, Jimi Hendrix would come back from the great beyond and start throwing things at me to get my attention. I always loved his thoughts on popularity. He said that compliments were nice, but they tended to distract him from his work. Hell, I'd be happy if no-one (aside from a select few like you, who say things that have some actual depth) ever said a word about my work, they just bought it. Or they never bought a word of what I wrote, but they bought my products or tipped me for my book reviews. Someone needs to throw me a damn crumb now and then!
      A lot of the time I don't even care. But sometimes the lack of acknowledgement hurts, and sometimes it just pisses me off, since I know that people aren't rejecting my work, they're rejecting ME. I'm not pretty. I'm not sweet. I'm not compliant. And, therefore, my work will never be popular because I'm not the kind of person that wins popularity contests.
      And so it goes.
      I feel very ranty today.


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