Wednesday, August 27, 2014

It Sneaks Up On You

i don't want to be in the house
with my family
i want to run far


i'm grumpy and
i want to sleep all
of the time.

i hate these clothes
it's a struggle just to get my bra off
and it makes my breasts hurt.


my breasts hurt?

oh, fuck me, my period's coming.

no wonder i feel like shit.

come on and start already

and let me get back to my life.

written 8/27/14

Yep. I'm beginning to think I'm a confessionalist.  Can anybody spare a heating pad, some Mini Snickers, and a 70's disaster film?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Too Much Mystery

I've known my husband
          20 years...this August.

In October
          celebrate our ninth wedding anniversary.

This week I made a
          about the size disparity between my breasts.

He said
          They aren't the same size?

Maybe our marriage
          a little too much mystery.

written 4/11/14

The stuff I find when I'm early morning browsing my rough drafts.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ask Gradual Grampy Watching an Alabama Football Game

Dear Gradual Grampy Watching an Alabama Football Game,

I am at my wit's end!  I have been dating a woman, and I think that she's "the one." She is beautiful, smart, funny, successful and we rock in bed. The problem is that I hate her dog. She has one of those little rat-dogs that is always underfoot and constantly growls at me. She has to put it out of the bedroom and shut the door when we want to be alone. How soon after I pop the question can I tell her the dog has got to go? I have even considered taking the dog out one day and "losing" it on the side of the road, but, with my luck it would find it's way home.

sign me,
I Hate That Bitch

Dear I Hate That Bitch, 

You do have a problem, go. You have a wonderful woman with a pesky dog, go baby! I am left wondering a few things, What! Is He Blind?!!! You have listed many positive qualities about, "the one" but, Roll Tide,  you haven't clarified GO BABY GO! GO BABY! GO BABY GO! GO...ROLL TIDE! TOUCHDOWN ALABAMA!  ROOOLLL TIDE ROLL!

Gradual Grampy Watching an Alabama Football Game

written 8/19/14 at 4 fucking 30 in the morning

I don't like being up this early, but I'm all writey now and I can't sleep. I will do some catch up posting about what's been going on later, although some of it you probably already know. This has been one hell of a summer. No wonder that I wanted to write something to amuse myself. I may be the only one who thinks this is even halfway funny, but I was inspired by some comments I read on reddit by /u/Gradual_Swede. I thought that I wanted to do something similar, but with the way my Grampy used to act when he watched Alabama Football. And so I also borrowed the advice column format from The Onion. If you want to ask GGWAAFG, please feel free to send it end. I'm sure he has an answer for you.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

My Son's Name Is Jack.


Please, please help me. My son’s name is Jack. His name is Jack. He is only five years old. He stands a little over three feet tall and has fair skin and blue eyes and dark curly hair that he likes to hang down in his face. He is smart and he is funny. He loves Captain America and dinosaurs and My Little Ponies. Please think about him; remember him; believe in him. His name is Jack and he is fading away.

It started this summer. He caught a case of ringworm that spread all over him and he wasn't able to go to day camp with his brother and sister. I don't know if it is connected, but that is when I noticed that something was going on. When I went to talk to the day camp about withdrawing Jack until the ringworm cleared, they said that it was okay. He was never registered.  I thought that it was me being flaky, and let it go. Jack and I would spend the day together while Ava and Evan went to camp.

Ava and Evan are my other two children. Ava is six and Evan is four. Jack... Jack is five. Unlike Jack my other two have blonde hair. Jack is also more introverted and quiet than Ava and Evan.  
People often comment on how Ava and Evan look like their dad or each other. They say that Jack looks like me. I think it's the dark hair. I would have never admitted this to anyone before, but I have always felt closer to Jack than to my other children. Now, I don't care if that makes me a bad mom. Jack is mine and I can't lose him. Not my Jack. 

When Ava and Evan would come home from camp, they would eat a snack, excitedly tell me about their day and then run off to play together. From the start, Jack seemed excluded. I would see Jack sitting alone, watching his brother and sister and ask why he wasn't playing with them. 

"They forgot me, Mommy."

I felt nauseated and didn't know why. 

"Sweetheart, they don't forget you. They just get busy. Do you want me to get out Candyland, and we can all play together?"

"No Mommy. I just want to watch them for a while." My son looked sad and old. Babies aren't supposed to look that old.

I went outside to my other two children. 

"Hey! Did y'all forget about Jack?" I was kidding.

They both stopped playing on their swing set  and looked at me for a moment. It was maybe ten seconds, but I could see in their faces that for that ten seconds, they had no idea what I was talking about. 

"Jack, Mommy? Jack is inside."

And I stopped there. I didn't push it. I should have.

"Alright my sweetie-pies. We're going to eat supper in about a half an hour. Y'all are coming in then and I don't want any fussing."

"Yes Mommy!" in unison.

I don't remember seeing the three of them play together since then. 

A week later, the ringworm cream wasn't working and so I tried to make an appointment for Jack to see the doctor to get a prescription. Our doctor's office has this website where you can just send in a request for an appointment. I had spent an hour inputting us all into the system and setting up passwords a year ago. When I went to request an appointment, Jack's name was not listed on our page. I sent an email. I even remember the exact wording. I wrote:

"Good morning! I would like to request an appointment with Dr. Harrison for my son, Jack. He has had ringworm for a week and it is not responding to the cream I bought at the pharmacy. When I went to request the appointment in his name, it had been removed. I would also like to request a code key for him, so that I may reenter him into the system. His name is Jack Graves."

The reply they sent me was:

"Good morning Ms. Helmer. We have processed your request for a new blue card for your son, Evan Graves. You may pick it up at any time. If you would rather, we can also mail it directly to the school, since you have already signed the release."

I reread their reply and then my original email. Evan needed a new blue card, but I had not submitted a request. I couldn't make sense of it. I felt a chill on my right arm. 

"They forgot me, Mommy." 

I jumped. His hand was the cold spot on my arm. I didn't even hear him. His hand seemed to have no weight at all.

"What baby?"

"The doctor's office. They forgot me. Everyone is forgetting me."

"Sweetie! I'm not forgetting you." I picked him up and almost sent him over my head. He was lighter. He looked the same, but he wasn't as heavy. I squeezed him as tight to me as I could. I could tell by the way that he moved, that he was hugging me back just at tightly, but I barely felt any pressure. 

"Jack. Sweet boy. You stay with me. I love you. I am not forgetting you. You stay here with me, okay?"

The slight pressure relaxed and he looked at me.



"You'll forget me too, Mommy."

"Never! I promise. You are my boy and I am never going to forget you. And I'll make everyone else remember too!" 

I called my husband and asked him to leave work and come home so that I could talk to him. 

He looked worried as he walked in the back door 20 minutes later. 

"Devon, something is wrong with Jack. He's cold and he feels lighter, and as crazy as it sounds, people are forgetting that he's here. That he exists. They aren't even responding to me when I talk about him. No one even seems to see him."

"Heidi, it's okay. We can work it out. Once both Ava and Evan are in school, you should be able to pick up your hours. But it's also no rush. We'll be okay with you easing your way back in. Don't trigger a panic attack worrying about that job."

"Devon, what the fuck are you talking about? I am telling you that no one seems to be able to remember our son! There is some crazy shit going on, but it's not me having another panic attack. Jack. Jack is....disappearing. He seems to be losing substance. No one remembers him. You have to help him. Help me!" A cold draft on my leg and a small voice.

"Daddy forgot me, Mommy. He doesn't even hear what you are saying. He thinks you are talking about something else. You are the only one who knows me now."

I looked down, at my small, beautiful son. He seemed almost translucent.  I noticed the rug underneath him. I had bought it with my first paycheck. I started to worry. How was I ever going to get back into the swing of things at work full time? Part time was overwhelming as it was. Was I cheating my children by picking up hours? They are only four and six once...

And there he was. Jack! My sweet boy. I had forgotten. That quick. He was gone because I had forgotten. I don't know how I remembered, but it brought him back. 

I sat on the floor and pulled him into my lap. I wrapped my arms around him and felt them go almost through. 

No, he's my son. He's my Jack.

Devon thought I was going to throw up and brought me an anti-emetic. He sat with me on the floor while I cried and apologized to Jack.

"Devon, just say his name for me. Say Jack"

"It will be okay. I love you, too. We'll get through this."

Jack just sat cradled in my arms with his head on my chest. 

"I'm tired, Mommy."

"I'm sorry baby, please hang on."

"You forgot me for a minute."

"I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. I won't forget you again. I promise. Never. Never ever. Mommy loves her Jackie."

"It's okay, Mommy. And it will be okay when you forget."

I just sat there and cried. I won't forget. It won't be okay.

This has gone on for weeks now. Everyone interacts with me like I am not screaming "Look at Jack! He's right here! Believe in him!"

So now, I am alone in my room with Jack. He sits in my lap dozing as I type this. I don't know what else to do. None of my friends, family, or casual acquaintances remember Jack. I can't even get them to hear his name. 

So here I am. 

On the internet.

This is the only place on Earth that I think may be able to understand what is going on. The only place that will comprehend what I am writing and believe. Because I need you to believe. 



I know I sound like some stupid speech from Peter Pan, I don’t care. Please believe in my boy Jack. I have a son named Jack. Please think about my boy, Jack. Picture him with his dark curls and serious face.  Please. Help him. Help me. I need Jack. He is my little fella and I love him. Mommy loves you Jack. Mommy loves you. I won’t forget you Jack. I won’t forget you Jack. I won’t forget you. I won’t forget. I won’t forget. I won’t forget. I won't.

My son is Jack.


Please, Jack.


written 8/17/14


Friday, August 15, 2014

And Because Now I Am Missing My Meme and Grandma...


the last time I saw you
  you were
    in a bed,
    tucked in.
you looked so small.
i brought you my baby girl.
you didn't recognize me,
but you liked seeing my daughter.
you stuck your finger from out of the cover
    held it out to her. She smiled and
  grabbed it and you smiled back.

a few months later, your body was in a box.
my heart was breaking and the preacher...
  was a dipshit.
i wanted to yell "Shut up! You don't know
what in the fuck you are talking about!"
then my sweet girl loudly crapped her diaper.
the women in the pew behind us giggled.
it was perfect. and i knew that you were laughing.


originally written 8/9/11


I never said goodbye
I didn't see the necessity
I long for just one more hug
One more smile
one more chance to be your sweet girl
I miss you more than I knew
I could miss anybody
and I wish you could have been here to meet my babies
Goodbye Grandma, I love you.
i think this was originally written 8/2000


Walking with Rachel

I like to walk with Rachel
with her angel hair in the sun,
Her brown eyes full of joy
when she is having fun.

She may find a beautiful flower,
or a smooth stone in the sand
Or sail from a jumping place
Into loving arms - treasures still in hand.

She dances ahead to find
The cardinal in his trace.
Or just to feel the warm wind
Kiss her on her face.

Hand in Hand we walk
Using her fresh eyes to see,
Rachel brings the world into place
and gives it new to me.

Frances Hood King

Rachel and her Grant

Maw-Maw and Sweetie-pies

I wanted to do something a little different today. This poem was written by Frances Hood King, my friend Rachel's grandmother. She shared it with me when he grandmother died. Yesterday my mother-in-law died. And since she was also a very good Maw-Maw, I thought that I would share this with you. I included the picture of Rachel and her Grant,because, obviously, it's frickin' adorable. Thank you Rachel. Thank you Grant. And thank you Maw-Maw. heidi

Thursday, August 14, 2014


This post is a bit different from my other posts. I am overwhelmed with recent violent events, and, as I sit in my Mother-In-Law's hospice room listening to her sleep, I have a need to talk about what has happened in Ferguson. I have a need to confess. (Thus, as a confession, I am not going to do any editing or rewriting. You are getting my first draft here. )

If you have read this blog before, then you probably know my writing is very confessional. I have a need to get what is in my head out of  me.  Today I want to talk about  racism and rioting and privilege.

I like to think that I am a pacifist. The reality is probably that I am not, but it is an ideal that I aspire to. And so, for more years than I am okay with, I was very judgmental about rioting. After the L.A. riots, I focused not on what lead up to the riots, but the stories of the bystanders who were hurt during the riots.

And then, a few years ago, I read about the Stonewall riots. And it clicked. I understood why people riot. Why it is ridiculous to expect the people who are being oppressed to behave "better" than their oppressors.  We have limits. What else is there to do when you are continuously being attacked? At that moment, I thought about what Thomas Jefferson wrote to James Madison, "I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical."  I have to admit (since I'm confessing) that I felt a little smug and wise when I finally "got" rioting. Then came my second epiphany. With Stonewall, there was a raid and an arrest and that lead to a riot. Why was I okay with the Stonewall event and not the L.A. one? The attack on Rodney King was more violent, and the jury's verdict acquitting the officers who attacked him supported the idea that you could beat a man and put him in the hospital if you thought he was high and you were an authority figure. But was more than that. It supported the idea that you could beat a black man and put him in the hospital if you thought he was high and you were a white authority figure.

That's when I understood that I'm racist. I don't like it. I don't actively support it. But it is ingrained in me. And, as a racist and Guilty Liberal, I felt awful. And I tried to deny it. And I realized that denying it doesn't make it not true. And I had to face my privilege. 

Privilege has been a hard concept for me to understand. In part, because I think the word is one that triggers defensiveness. I embraced that defensiveness. The way I understand it now, is that it means there are adjectives about me that I never have to think about. I can ask "why does race matter?" because I almost never have an adverse interaction due to my race. And the ones I have are insulated because I have all sorts of proof around me that the color of my skin is Normal. Almost all the faces I see on TV and Magazines and Movies look like mine. And the few that are different are, just that, Different. Race matters in America because I don't have to think about mine, but other people have to think about theirs. More than that, they have to think about their race within the cultural lens of my race. Where I live, that's the way it is. I think the idea of being "colorblind" fits in here. It is a tool of assimilation. If we are all the same, and the Normal is white, what happens to culture that is not white.  If you are colorblind, can you not see it? Can you not see what is cool in the many ways that people can be? Must all Different conform to Normal? Or is it to be set to the side and used for amusement, or titillation, or a bad excuse for art? Is the main benefit of Different the chance for Normal to appropriate what it wants and discard the rest?

(Okay, so I think I may have gone a little confusing tangent there, but I know what I'm writing about and privilege is slippery for me.)

 I guess I needed to write this down and get it out of me. In Ferguson, a child was murdered. The events after that murder, by the people who are supposed to make it right, have been incompetent (if I'm generous) and horrifying (if I'm truthful). In the same letter to James Madion, Thomas Jefferson wrote (without any seeming ironic self-awarenss) "Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem." My white privilege allows me to add that quote to this post, without having to consider if my approval or opinion of any of the events going on in Ferguson is even wanted.

The reality is that I don't have to think that someday someone may be afraid of my son or want to harm him because of his skin color. I don't have to think about his race in relation to how to keep him safe. I can not remember reading a white kid gunned down article in the news. And I am very (guiltily) grateful for it. Privilege, allows me the luxury of not even considering the question of how do I raise my white son? Some things seem obvious. Teach him that it is wrong to murder kids. Teach him that it is obscene to use someone's clothes or childhood mistakes as justification of brutality against them. But I also have to teach him (and my daughter) that, even at our best, we may have ideas that we are unaware of that influence our decisions. We have to make ourselves aware. We also have to be aware that not everyone has the same reality and you can't judge other people on your reality. Maybe, despite the popular saying, not everyone has a right to their own opinion.

I am a middle-aged, middle income, educated, white, married, heterosexual cis-gendered woman living in the deep south. I have privilege out the ass. Racism, sexism, classism, trans-and homophobia have been in the very air I breathe since I was born. They are a part of me whether I want them to be or not. The best I can do is be aware of what influences my thoughts and actions. And when I discover that I am not living up to my ideals, then I try to do better.


For Robin Williams, A Repost of Last Love Letter

Last Love Letter

My cousin was a year older.
He was the second grandchild.
He was the younger brother
I was the first granddaughter.
My cousin lived three hours away.
I saw him and his brother
only some weekends. Two or three a year.
He was a sweet, quiet baby.
When I was six, I wrote him love letters
on scrap paper.
When I was ten, he taught my brother
how to turn his eyelids inside out
that made me run screaming.
We played baseball with socks wrapped in electrical tape.
I privately competed against him.
He was a funny, reserved, young man.
He once wanted to be a store Santa
because young women liked to sit
in Santa's lap for a picture.
When I was twenty-six, he died.
and I forgot everything but the pain.
and a vigilante hummingbird.
I forgot his smile.
I forgot his laugh.
I forgot his wit.
I forgot his love for his nephew.
I forgot.
I would have traded anything to have
him back.
To hug him the last time I saw him.
To Tell Him I Loved Him.
And I cried
Tonight I found some pictures.
And I remembered:
How he was sweet
How he loved his nephew
How he was funny
His desire to be Santa
My notes
The woods
Hawaiian Punch
Hot Chocolate
Hide and Seek
His eyelids
His smile
and i cried.
originally written:3/13/97

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


217 published posts
on this blog

mostly poetry
trying to make something

out of something




and still I can't find a better


to tell you

Maw Maw's dying.

written 8/13/14

how do i help my sweetie-pies through this?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

On the Outside

A life spent outside others
mostly watching events
makes me my own ghost.

written 8/12/14

Maybe a too obscure comment on anxiety. Because anxiety was the first thing that popped out at you, right?

Monday, August 11, 2014


consuming the emotions of others
gorging to satiate
their own unexamined howling emptiness

written 8/11/14

Yeah, I've had better days.