Saturday, November 13, 2010


(Judy Grahn, January 1988, Oakland CA, photo by Robert Giard)

I'm starting a new weekly feature here at Meta Watershed: Every Saturday evening I will post a Judy Grahn poem. Much of her best work is already up here (check Labels to the right for her name) but there is still a wealth more to share. If she'd been a straight white man, they'd have declared her poet laureate a long time ago -- but then she wouldn't be writing the stunning language that she does.

Love came along and saved me saved me
Love came along and after that
I did not feel like fighting for
anything any more after all
didnt I have not that I had
anything to speak of
OR keep quiet about
but didnt I have
company in my nothing?
someone to say You're Great, to shout you are
wonderful, to whisper to me you are my every little thing?
& then one day Love left to go save someone else.
Love ran off with all my self-esteem my sense of being
wonderful and all my nothing.
now i am in the hole.

© Judy Grahn, published in The Work Of A Common Woman



(Me and Bill, Summer 1964, Houma, LA)

I watched Avec Eric which focused on how he and his restaurant funnel food to the soup kitchens of NYC. He taught a veggie fried rice recipe to a group of poor women (mothers and grandmothers, you could tell) using the ingredients that were being handed out free that day, while they ate bowls of what he had already prepared. He said he cooked exactly the same for them as he did for people coming to his "luxurious" restaurant hoping for a food "experience", and I believe him. I began crying, watching their faces.

I was often hungry as a child, hungry on an unpredictable basis, and eventually I gave up on eating. I knew very well my mother was only eating once we were done, if there were leftovers at all, and that influenced me. My older teenaged brother was stealing food from my toddler brother's plate, so I compensated Bill's losses with my own food. There were other factors -- my chronic asthma, the medications I was on, and eventually, a deep sense of wanting to vanish or die in order to get away from my older brother. But what the Bush regime chose to euphemize as "food insecurity" rather than hunger mostly is what influenced my avoidance of eating.

It drove my mother nearly out of her mind.

My liberation at 12 included a return of appetite, but by then my eating habits sucked. It wasn't until lesbian-feminism in my early 20s that I learned real nutrition and how to listen to my body. How to love my body and give it what it needs. It's been challenging because of my hormonal and metabolism damage (some from those asthma drugs as a child, medical pharmacology with no brakes on yet.) I revert to not eating very easily. Sometimes people don't believe that because of how fat I am, or think I must be binging at other times, but I don't binge, and I don't often overeat.

By the time I arrived at the hospital a year ago, I had lost 85 lbs. without meaning to from a combination of poverty and intestinal blockage. My electrolytes, potassium, etc were very off, and I was given supplements most of my hospital stay. Once I had money coming in, I researched nutritional deficiency intensively and created a supplement regimen for myself that includes potassium, vitamin D in large amounts, calcium, magnesium, zinc, antioxidants, vitamins B, C, and A, coenzyme Q, all natural from a great supplier. After two weeks on these, I could tell a difference, especially with regard to the potassium and vitamin D deficiency.

But the daily well-balanced, no salt, always-with-milk infusions from Meals On Wheels has made a sea change in whether and how I am getting hungry. I feel balanced in a way I've not been in years. (The constipation is a direct, temporary result of pain meds.)

However, I am now, deep-down afraid of going hungry again. I am afraid it will somehow come around once more (Republicans in charge), and I am not sure I can tough it out one more time.

I'll work on it, of course. I will particularly try to clear out all the grief I feel about my mother, an orphan during the Depression who grew up in a "food insecure" family, having to watch her children go hungry. It's an injustice I can never remedy, she's long gone, but the pain residue rests heavy on me and I need to scrub it all away, even if it means losing some connection to her.


Thursday, November 11, 2010


(Chickadee in flight by Gerri Sibel)


I think of you leaning in for a kiss
the gossamer hair of your cheeks
suddenly in focus, your eyes
beginning to close

In that instant, I have blood-pounding proof
you want me, want me close
I sway there, letting my body have it all
Then lick my lips and begin the thought
again from the moment you look at me full
and start to lean

Copyright Maggie Jochild, 11 November 2010, 1:23 p.m.



(The Ant Nebula)

Every Thursday, I post a very large photograph of some corner of space captured by the Hubble Space Telescope and available online from the picture album at HubbleSite, followed by poetry after the jump.


by Ted Kooser

The very old are forever
hurting themselves,

burning their fingers
on skillets, falling

loosely as trees
and breaking their hips

with muffled explosions of bone.
Down the block

they are wheeled in
out of our sight

for years at a time.
To make conversation,

the neighbors ask
if they are still alive.

Then, early one morning,
through our kitchen windows

we see them again,
first one and then another,

out in their gardens
on crutches and canes,

checking their gauges for rain.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010



This is how we get ready
Even as we tuck wisdom
into skin pouches, lots to spare
and marvel at what joy we have
simmered, still redolent decades
later -- even as we admit
we were stronger than anybody
ever told us, we have been heroes
Still, we are tired, we face night
with tricks to wick away twitchy thoughts
of what we are not sure we can
face again. Yes we endured it once
but twice may not be worth it
Heresy you dare not speak to friends
who cling to you tighter than ever
There is no one who can promise
it will get easier and you can coast
Lying back in the slow boat for a
long glide, take in the view, never
having to hear of another impossible
death, watch governments destroy themselves
or women put a cast-iron lid over
their own world-saving spark

Copyright Maggie Jochild, 10 November 2010, 2:15 a.m.
(My little brother Bill would have been 52 today)


Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Here's the weekly best of what I've gleaned from I Can Has Cheezburger efforts. There are some really creative folks out there.

The two on this page were created by me this week. The first one is a photo of Dinah with a caption she created for herself.


Monday, November 8, 2010


(La concentración del cuerpo, 2007 by Ernesto Nieto)


Our first consciousness is separation
Physical ejection and breathe on your own
But there are arms and faces
to bind the wound of alone

We pretend it will be the same
on the other end of our carnal experiment
People we have missed for decades
will be at the station to greet us

I am not convinced
and even so, I will start the journey
without baggage or company

Copyright Maggie Jochild, 8 November 2010, 11:57 a.m.