Red Hair Soup

.
.
Once there were four red-heads
Living in the same room
One lived insane
One died mad
One was entirely alone
One was a child
.
One room with many walls
Many compartments
To sort all the words
Shouted singing together
In the floor sprawled days
Stirring red hair soup
.
Generated by their
Proximity to each other
Electric sparks
Lifted and tangled
Sorrel red deep dark red
Red blonde and henna dyed
.
Repelled each resided
In a diamond corner
North and South and
East and West
Inverted the four
Slept on the ceiling
.
The long tangled red hair
Felted together in hot hearts
Fused above dangling feet
Sleep walking in air watching
Six sleepless eyes unblinking
The child asleep in her corner
.
Once there were four red-heads
Living in the same room
One lived insane
One died mad
One was entirely alone
One was a child
.
.
One was me.
.
Bear . . . 06.14.2014
ⓒ Bearspawprint 2014
.

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29 comments on “Red Hair Soup

  1. […] Red Hair Soup → 2.  A Sargassum And Red Hair Raft → 3.  And One Lived […]

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  2. Lisa says:

    Insane,mad,alone,and child. At first I thought they were all the same person. But you are not the child. One from the same family. Two from another family. It sounds scary.

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    • I am the one alone. My little sister is the child. When I was 22 I went to court and TOOK legal custody of her. My mother was a bi-polar genius self medicating with gin., Just after I married, she came for a visit and did not leave … completely, until her death.

      My sister-in-law a genius innocent lost in the world came to live with us (my new husband was her big brother …. and there is background bad stuff there too) the summer she was 17. I was 21. First she was paranoid then paranoid and manic then within a few years Dx schizophrenic and was twice (more I don’t know) hospitalized. She is a classic hoarder, as well, with various other OCD issues.

      She and my mother pure D hated each other. With no sympathy at all, for each other. Though each was helpless in her own way, both were brilliant. My sister is brilliant, too. All three could sing, but refused to sing if any one but me was about. Insecure, jealous. Argh!!

      I did not dare sleep if either Arlene or my Mother might be awake. Already that was my habit from childhood, so it wasn’t a problem for me, most of the time. My too young, very handsome husband was ….. not there a lot But I felt I could not leave to do anything unless my sister was with me, or at school. Then I was concerned about leaving the other two. So I worked a lunch shift in a restaurant, while 1st Dear Husband finished his physics degree.

      When I had my babies I could not leave them alone, if there was the possibility that Mother or Arlene would be visiting or living with us and might be in the same room with them, unsupervised.

      There are several residential moves and the complications of lovers for Arlene and 6 husbands for my mother. Also, before I took legal custody, Mother and her 5th husband took Nancy and moved to Haiti .. with an inheritance from Grandmother. It was on a mysterious return trip that Nancy,11, climbed out of a hotel bathroom window and ran to me. I kept her.

      We all had red hair of various shades. All of our lives were inextricably tangled, hence in the poem it is our hair that cannot be separated.

      We were all good cooks, but with the power plays and mother and Arlene trying to seduce everyone except each other and Nancy, and the fragile egos it could get pretty sticky. Sometimes there were a few hours when they all seemed happy while cooking —- “Red Hair Soup” — if I could orchestrate it right. . Then they would complain about how much who ate. I shielded Nancy and made sure she ate a balanced diet. I became very very thin, however. But sometimes I was able to weave pleasant, actually beautiful transcendent moments between us.

      And then there were all of the mundane daily life things, the issue of schools. Florida State University and an elementary school and then middle school and high school and transportation and no transportation and no money and philandering and wonderful music and my in-laws, etc.

      Nancy was very difficult, running away, to me, worked so well she thought that she could climb out of her bedroom window and go to bars… at age 12 and that I wouldn’t be able to stop her from getting herself killed because I had to care for a baby… She wanted (needed) me to prove that I cared, that she was a worthwhile beautiful loveable human being. So I did. That part was easy for me, because she is so wonderful and loveable. My sister, at 12, was already taller than me, and with make-up she looked older. And so very beautiful. And troubled …. but who wouldn’t be troubled with what all she went through?

      She now has BA in design and Masters in library science, is a good mother of adult children and a grandmother, a successful businesswoman, also an artist and singer for the pure joy of it.

      She has had her share of adult heartache too,
      Widowed ( husband had heart attack) at a young age, then her oldest son was killed in a car accident … with hints that it was not an accident. He was involuntarily hospitalized during psychotic episode , stabilized on meds, but despaired because he would never be free of illness or meds.

      But Nancy is remarried and retired and travels and has a good time with her friends, entertaining and doing whatever pleases her. She does participate in a support group of mothers who have lost children. It does help. My boys have had close calls, but they are alive. I haven’t experienced that particular anguish….Knock on wood.

      Her handsome equally accomplished husband loves her and wants her to be happy and comfortable, and so they are.

      Arlene lives alone with 5 indoor dogs and lots and lots and lots of stuff. Due to the older medications (in the 1970s and 1980s) and “therapies” she is not as smart as she was and has lost large chunks of memory. None the less, she is still brighter than most people. Her family (my ex) ostracizes her because they are convinced that she has willfully caused all of her own troubles.

      My mother (apparently) killed herself. Could have been husband #5 … he was evil. #4 was also evil. #4 followed me all the way to California. The others had horrible flaws, too.

      Mother physical and sexually abused my brothers and me when we were children, she stole my brother’s money when they were older. How she did her thieving is particularly horrible…. and crazy … she was compelled to do it.

      When I was a young teen, mother stayed for hours, days, months naked in the bathroom either holding incontinent court on the commode or from in the bathtub, clogging the drains with cigarette butts. While we were at school sometimes she would get dressed enough to go to the liquor store. She began to have petit-mal seizures from alcoholic brain damage. No neurologist would treat her unless she dried out. One day (when Nancy was 16) she was arrested for public drunkenness and forced into detox. Within a few weeks after detox and rehab, she was dead.

      I still hate the smell of gin.

      Our lives are still tangled together. Even though one died mad and one lives insane and one is alone and one was a child.

      I omitted the specific horrors and grotesqueries that accompany various and always individually unique psychosis. Omitted Nancy best friend, from kindergarten, who recently died from stroke, Colleen, whose mother was lobotomized at Chattahoochee … Oh yes. For real!!. and Colleen’s Harpy cocaine addicted older sister monsters. “Get thee behind me Satan!”

      Omitted (so far) is when I DID go to sleep (literally or figuratively) and bad things happened .

      I hope this helps. There is always more. I didn’t talk about my ex-in laws, except Red Haired Arlene. Do you know, Arlene personally knew Timothy Leary 🙂 🙂 🙂

      If there is a particular image or allusion about which you are curious, just ask, and I will try to explain.

      The part that cannot be explained logically (so much is left out) is how everything got crammed into a few short years. Perhaps it cannot be explained logically. Maybe some different years occurred simultaneously. I have heard that this can happen. 🙂 🙂 🙂

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      • Lisa says:

        Hmmmm. I have experienced more of that than I would like to admit. Apparently, bipolars and schizophrenics hate each other too. I’ve seen this first hand. They almost can’t cohabitate. I have lots of horror stories from my family. My mom is 1/15 kids. That’s fifteen overlapped nightmares. Lots of insanity and death involved. I guess I will talk or write about it one day. I think I’m in the process of getting my own “shit together” so to speak. I helped until they started killing me. I still take care of my mother. She is enough. To say the least. I do listen to your wisdom. I know you have so much to impart. I will listen and learn from you as long as I’m allowed. ♡

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        • Nobody had any official Dx then, except the obvious alcoholism. I didn’t know that about the BP and S antipathy, in a general way, I thought it was a personal antipathy. I thought they would feel compassion for each other, as I did, since it seemed we were all stuck together. But that was beyond either of them (or my husband) .. like magnets circling. with ugly explosions if anyone got too close … a problem in my small apartment kitchen where the most coveted chair blocked the refrigerator. 🙂 hahaha Is it always that way? I think it must be. 🙂 If I took that chair away, one or another would bring it back and sit in it with crossed arms, guarding access to the refrigerator!!!
          ——-
          Does your mom see herself as you do? Do other people see her the same way you do? Or is that impossible as nobody else knew her when you were little?

          How old is she?

          Does she have a sense of humor?

          I bet family reunions are …. a blast!!!

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          • Lisa says:

            No. She has a very distorted self image. Most people won’t have anything to do with her if they get to know her. Ahem is very good at pretending, but people that have witnessed her over long periods of time see her like I do. She is 60. She has zero sense of humor.

            Yes I had a friend named, Bear, ironically that was schizophrenic and every polar that came in contact with him wanted to kill him. J lasted the longest, but eventually threatened to beat him to a pulp as well. I watched this happen with three different full blown bipolars.

            We just have huge fish fries. I’m not sure hilarious is the right word… There are always fights. I quit attending.

            Guarding access to the refrigerator has got to be one of the funniest things I have ever heard. Though it would be a highly, highly irritating situation to live in. 😛

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          • Too bad about no humor. I know some folk, relatives by marriage, that just can’t see the funny in anything. Zilch. 😦

            And Mother only pretended being amused in order to flatter someone she was trying to manipulate, usually successfully if male.

            Your mom and Arlene are the same age.

            That chair … was the Seat of Power.

            Mother could have gone home. She still had her house then. My entire apartment would have fit in her kitchen. But she would have lost The Seat of Power by default. How miserable would that be? No. They did not find the struggle humorous. Serious business using all of those IQ points to figure strategies, thirst/bathroom/fatigue/door knocks/mail to grab the CHAIR. 😦 hahahahaha There would have been a real mess if I had a telephone. Or if cell phones existed. 🙂

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          • Lisa says:

            I’m in awe of your strength. You are reminding me of what I’m supposed to be doing and why. My mother acts naive and stupid to manipulate. The “seat of power” to her is money. Which we don’t care about so it’s powerless.

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          • Wow. she has money? That is great. That should keep her maintained with out too much overt interference and effort on your part. As long as she doesn’t try to sabotage you …

            Mother lost everything on her Haiti adventure. All of possessions, every penny, clothes ….her last child, everything. Mr. Evil 5 tried to destroy what was left of her. He came much too close.

            I had to choose. I chose the child. I always choose the children.

            For all of my decisions I ask …. what is the effect on my children, on grandchildren and their children. simplifies things for me. Less stress. Answers come easier.

            I like your Three smiles 🙂 🙂 🙂

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          • Lisa says:

            Hahaha! No. She thinks she has money. She’s a financial disaster. We have learned all the sabotage tricks too. She is really impotent as far as danger is concerned. I’m just having a hard time watching it and then accepting that I came from that womb. Also, accepting the lack of feeling for any of us. It is so difficult to accept. I want a mother so bad. Thankfully, I have a wonderful mother in law and people like you in my life. 🙂

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          • She once was young and naïve and probably very sad that nothing made sense. Her marriage could not have been healthy, but somehow she did bring a beautiful person into this world. She cared enough to keep her baby cared for…by someone … until she could not. There is no shame for a child of parents inadequate to the immense task of raising that child to adulthood. Nothing is the fault of a child. You are loveable and loved and loving ….. all the rest is circumstances.

            You make decisions about who is in you household, all the time … always you choose the ones who care the most and act out of that caring. It’s just what has to be done…. from my point of view. and I think yours. obviously there are many who disagree. 🙂

            I had a client family with 15 children, once. It did something to the mother. People are just not ants or bees. The Walton’s is a myth.

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          • Lisa says:

            Thank you for that gift, Bear.

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      • Lisa says:

        Thank you. I am understanding my own situation so much through listening to your experiences. It is a priceless gift and not in vain.

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        • Every one is in a situation entirely unique. We can learn from others, but others will never understand completely any one else’s experiences. Ever. I only try to explain such personal things when I think I might, maybe, with some good luck, help a tiny bit, plus some prayers.

          Nope, it wasn’t in vain. I am blessed to have feed-back from people, from back then, and those close to some of those people, too. It seems I did some good in the world. I had a hand in deflecting some of us in a good direction, when there were forces trying to ruin us, collectively and individually.

          I don’t know for sure, but I suspect coma fog is a little like what those of us with MS call brain fog. It does clear up, some of the time, but like fog, it can drift back in, too.

          You do not regain what you slept through, and you might or might not regain events immediately prior to the coma onset.

          During brain fog I do things like laundry, if I remember how 🙂 or write post cards, with alligators on them, to relatives who haven’t heard from me in a while. I try not to have to use mathematics or learn anything new, like a name 🙂

          So far I have been fortunate enough for brain fog to go away and not be permanent. There are those with MS who are more seriously cognitively impaired, or maybe I too impaired to know how impaired I am???

          …. also estrogen withdrawal causes brain fog — until your body adapts… just like any other withdrawal does. That kind of fog DOES wear off. I promise.

          But if you know anyone going through menopause, don’t tease them until the fog is gone (like your mother). It is scary and unpleasant to think that you are becoming stupid. Senior moments are really not funny, especially if you are not a senior.

          Go to you health food store and ask about black cohosh. Even palmettoes have phyto-estrogens, but I don’t know about dosages and it smells bad. So does the black cohosh….. a tiny tiny itty bitty bit goes a long long way. So ask a knowledgeable person. Also blueberry leaf tea and blue berries are probably pleasant and available in the regular stores???

          And burn sage for clarity of mind. That I can safely say,too. It does smell good and it does help for clarity of mind. Smudging with sage also purifies or cleanses. Visitors will say “It smells like a pow wow in here”

          XXX

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          • Lisa says:

            Black cohosh. Check. I will look for blueberry leaf tea. I thought about burning sage the other day. I’m going back to the health food store tomorrow. I thank you for your counsel. There are few I can ask. Because, fortunately, few are knowledgeable enough to give counsel in a situation such as this. I also did think about “holding back the darkness”. I suppose we’ll see what the future holds. I know I feel at peace right now regardless of everything that’s happening.

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          • Then you are in a better place than most of the world.

            May the Lord bless you and keep you. May He lift up His Countenance before you and give you peace.

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          • Lisa says:

            Thank you for reminding me. You are a wonderful, beautiful woman and I am thankful to have your friendship.

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  3. We have three redheads in my house. Were you the child?

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  4. Nomzi Kumalo says:

    What a vibrant, rich and dramatic poem Bear. Oh my. Your most memorable and greatest for me. 🙂

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