In praise of the sweet spate that was summer, and compound names for things.

This summer, I had a personal Everest to assail. I may have mentioned this in a previous post; for the past five years I have undergone the breaking down and decay of my teeth. A medication I’ve been on since the nursing home is the culprit.  Every time I thought about going in to the local low/no income clinic, I froze, and piled on the poems to be written, the dolls to be crafted…love to be made, wherein I kept the terrible secrets in my mouth to myself, no mean feat.  But finally I took myself by the nape of the neck and managed to get to the clinic.

It was as I had feared;  all of my upper teeth were in ruin and had to come out.  Thankfully, the staff graciously granted my requests– that I be able to bring a nonalcoholic beer with me to settle my stomach; that the room be darkened, as florescent lighting does me in, that I be able to bring a doll or a bear to hold…ultimately these accommodations were all made for me and I am happy to tell you that I have undergone the extraction of fifteen teeth and the filling of a few others.  Next comes intensive cleaning and something to do with my gum-lines receding, and then four or five sessions in which I am fit for dentures.

Nearly all of this has been free thanks to Colorado Medicaid.  It has been pure bliss to be rid of this festering and depressing situation, but most of all, utterly enlightening:  I am far stronger than I thought I was.  I didn’t fall apart; nor did I bolt out the door with a half-extracted molar hanging by a thread.

I am emboldened now to think of having both knees replaced.  I have plenty of Medicare and Medicaid for that undertaking, thank goodness.

Around the extractions, the beautiful green warm days came and are now on the wane.  We had lovely talks on the deck and for the first time in recent memory, very few insects/wasps/crickets and so on in the house.

Also across the summer and never far from my mind: that I was a finalist for the 2014 Autumn House Poetry Prize.  I was one of twenty finalists chosen from five hundred entries.  Alas, I was not chosen by Alicia Ostriker; Ellery Akers received the prize. I am thankful that someone also in her sixties is the winner.

I was also invited, by one of Sicily’s top poets, Rita Elia, to participate in a contest.  I worked on translations of two poems to enter and finally decided I should let more time pass and continue to revive my Italian before entering any of the numerous  publication prize contests seemingly abundant throughout Italy.  Who knew?

I interact with a score of Italian and American writers a day, via Facebook–a rich and uplifting pastime.  I have started a new feature on my poetry blog—I will be posting a poem by one of my new Italian/Sicilian poet-friends, with my translation, once a week–Tuesdays.  Just now I have a beautiful poem up at La Parola Vivace by a Neopolitan “poetessa, ” one Maria Esposito.

Perhaps my prose is so disjointed and clumsy tonight I should stop for now.  But I wanted to share the blessings, as it were– thanks for stopping by, and stay tuned! Here we are, on one of the lush green days of early June….more soon.


Jack, me…on the deck…..