Thursday, October 26, 2006

Technology Connects, Creating Heals

I saw pictures of Anthony, many pictures of this new person, so far from his parents who work here, 6 hours north of New
York City. His father showed me his beautiful big cheeked bouncing baby boy on his phone. The phone's letters were in Chinese.
Amazing, no more wallet photos, but digital, portable and always with him.
Anthony is tended by his father's mother and father. His mother is back, taking my credit card number, transcribing my order.

I weep for them and envy them. So young and with dreams and a plan and working so hard. I celebrate them. I think of how my mother told me she had to bring me to her mother, that I spent the first six weeks of my life in my grandmothers top dresser drawer on 160 West 144th street between Seventh in Lenox in Harlem USA, a few doors down and across the streeet from my grandparents' store that my grandmother ran.

I will never forget their hard work.

My unmet friend--- someone I've yet to meet and yet have spent much time and life changes with over the years--- he too has a brand new son, named Che. Che is in Tanzania while his father is in Tunisia, well London at the moment.

I exalt in the wondeful images of Tunisia, Tanzania and the beautiful brown babay boy and again--- soon lapse into
yearning to be able to move at will.

i pray to craft a way out of this inability, this frailty. I am demeened and exploited, betrayed by the very endeavor I fought so hard to sustain and maintain. I had my acute therapy occur here, so I could be near my work, work now denied me because I cannot walk. Old News, I know but I return to the red faced fury unloaded on me, the exploitative inequity and yearn to
be able to walk away. "I been 'buked and I been scorned. I been talked about, sure as you're born"

I've eased my hunger to create in the way I did last yea, and now cannot, by crocheting. I've completed a snow man for the cleaning lady who
so graciously gave me a jar of buttons, a crochet hook, two yards of fabric and yarn, He follows the snow man in Crocheted Dolls by Noreen Crone Findlay,

( a wonderful woman, because she led me and others to create dolls to raise money for victims of the Tsunami ( among the many other ways in which she gives and shares and heals). That effort demonstrated for me a way in which to give, when I thought I had nothing to give. I created in the face of destruction and yes, sold a doll, made money and was able to send money..)

I had free formed a 3 globe pile of snow kind of object for her, but then I realized she wanted this bi bellied humanoid, She digs him--- I just want to record him before I gift her.

I made a big red buxom female-- my first art doll in a long time, and I've made a small goddess figure that I wanted to
wing,but the gilded and sparked black of her body and her 4 yarns or red hair suggest gold wings vs the pastel yellow acrylic
I had thought at first to apply.

I've made several mice--- my own pattern-- and gave two of them away-- again to people who gave me materials. I've desigend a leaf bracelet, a small heart pin and acquired mother of pearl buttons to create some button necklaces.
I've begun to work on gifts for the holidays for the women who have so generously helped me this terrible. terrible year.

This has done something comforting and healing for me. This and seeing the Georgia O'Keefe exhibit in an accesssbile
and easily maneuvered space, and then writing a poem about the piece I chose-- On the Patio VIII (1950).

There is joy in the making.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Egg Foo Young

It's a chinese omelette--- I tell my brother---
Remember when Mommy had an epiphany and began to make scrambled eggs with stuff in it and then began to whisk in soy sauce? smacking forehead--- must be where we got it from-- we'd been ordering it for years!

Anyway my favorite egg foo young is now shrimp egg foo young because the folks upstate don't use the any of vegetables that came in my downstate egg foo young-- snow peas, etc. but the Chinese always had fried onions and and peas in their egg foo young.... i don't like the baby corn but love the sprouts and water chestnuts...

i too say hold the gravy, as our father did--- soy sauce or hot sauce is enough for me.

When I was in the hospital one of their vegetarian offerings (the food was unbelievably good and they
called it "room service") anyway there i got into salsa with my omelettes, yum!

My 50 plus pound weight loss was doubtless aided by the dagger-in-my-gut contrast between the incredible menu at the hospital and the worst of cardboard and frozen fakery at the nursing home.....

My friend took me to task about eating-- are you getting fresh food? The only reasonalbe food option for me is Chinese food. No grocery store in this part of the world delivers. And way cheaper than the delivered meals-- I live on $30 plus tip a week of food wheareas the old person frozen meal is $8 a meal.

And yes, one or two neighbors have offered to shop for me. But each failed my test. I asked for things not critical to life and limb--- extra shopping bags, laundry detergent--- and each time it was such an enormous difficult deal, dear readers, when what you ask for does not arrive, unless, alas, you are ordering Chinese food from the menu.

So I continue to pray to find my way out of this sad sad mess. A neighbor has called me 4 times today and knocked on my door twice, but this 3 days after *not* delivering what she both offered and promised, when she said she would.

And the drag is to be ready to recieve, I have to be ready, I must be out of bed and in the wheel chair and dressed and not in the midst of any of the tasks of living that take me an inordinate amount of time to do....

Yes,, yes, people were always flakey. I have to remind myself that though all discomfort is magnifieed by the lack of my previous coping mechanisms: snatch up the task and do it myself, go for a looong walk and walk off the stress, run down to my studio and make something, ... that though it feels worse, it is not necesarily so.

I always have to translate to myself, weigh.... how much time do I have? How much energy do I have? less than before
less than before, less and yes yearning, praying, crying for more

Saturday, October 14, 2006


“ Stand.
In the end you’ll still be you, on that’s done all the things you set out to do”
----Sly Stone

Thank you my brother for sending this. Stand was part of the liturgy when I preached in the youth service at the Presbyterian Church. How wonderful our youth was!

“ you’re still the same person. You are still you”
----ex exec, hospital tray server and spirit tender

Why does the Medical supply company, sending me an adaptive e device pack it in an oversize box full of Styrofoam bits that require enormous work to corral, contain and dispose?

Why are the lift doors at work nearly impossible to open, causing me to almost yank myself out of my wheelchair to open?

Same for the doors at my aprtment building?
Why do people think it’s okay to touch my wheelchair?
Why have people begun to pat me on the head?
Why would I be invited to a reading where I could not be dropped off at the door to building at which I would enter?

Why do people call and expect me to answer the phone--- this might not be true even if I
Was walking it is less true not that I’m not--- if I’m not sitting right by the land line, it will take at least 30 seconds for me to reach it….

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Even as Bonnie Raitt Sings I will not be Broken

I've written Oprah:

Dear Oprah Winfrey Grand Dame of Dreams and President of Promising Possibilities,

I want to walk again
On November 14, 2005 at 302 am I fell down and could not get up. After many painful tests, I was diagnosed with idiopathic transverse myelitis which means that something they can’t pinpoint has disrupted my spinal cord, nerve function and the signals from my brain don’t reach my legs.

I am single, African American and 53. I had just returned to work after having retired because my investments lost their value; the man I loved and planned to live with, left, and the small town I lived in shrank as the company closed factories and laid off workers. I lost the possible audiences for my workshops and buyers for my art and jewelry.
The three galleries I had work in, closed. My new job as director of marketing and development for a small nonprofit was just two months old when I was stricken. My prognosis is: they don’t know. I am determined to recover. Until then I need help.

I would like to make my house accessible. I reside in a concrete box in Rochester, a barely wheelchair accessible apartment nearly two hours away from my house in Corning, NY. My age makes me ineligible for the senior benefits and supports but I am no longer young and have no familial resources. I emptied my savings and cashed in investments to pay my mortgage and bills while I was in the hospital and then in the nursing home…. I thought I had planned well—I have 3 degrees and acquired some skill in creating things—my first solo show was in Chicago in 2001. I’ve won the National Endowment for the Arts and other awards for my poetry. But I’ve had a series of bad breaks. Nearly everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong. Can you help connect me with those who could retrofit my home, so I could return to it?

Thanks for listening.

Akua Lezli Hope

Monday, October 02, 2006

Mobilization 1

I'm not immobile. I can't walk.
I do wheelchaior pushups
and thank myself for maintaining
an above average flexibility
making it easy fro me to touch my toes
massage my feet and manipulate my legs.
I read about a quadiplegic in NYC leaving home
buying his $625,000 apartment and renovating it so he can
ride his wheelchair into the shower....

Even with more than 600 hundred grand to spend, he had trouble finding an apartment.

He works from 7:25 a.m. til midnight and has a full day attendant
who sponge bathes him each a.m.......

and guess where he's from? Rochester!
where i dwell in double exile-- not home in my houseand not home in New York City

Donald Trump wants you please respond
Black Incomes Surpass Whites in Queens
Are your emoticons boring?
Millions of people are doing this
A years worth of diapers

(email subject lines)