Author Archives: Joe

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces.

Trees

TREES

by JOYCE KILMER

“I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.”


Alone at Work 

For most of this week, I will be alone at work. Because of a screw up in HR, most everyone is taking off this week because they’d lose their time otherwise. Because I am paid through a different program, this didn’t affect me. I still have all my vacation time. So while everyone enjoys a week off, I will be holding down the fort. We do have one part-time employee that the HR error didn’t affect. She may be in some of the week, but she might be working out of the office too. Even so, most of the week, I will have the office to myself. I have a few minor projects to work on, but nothing to keep me busy the whole week. I will definitely be doing some reading while everyone is gone.


23rd Psalm


23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.


Moment of Zen: Sleeping In


Boston MFA


The Boston Museum of Fine Arts is amazing. They had a Botticelli exhibit that was truly out of this world. The Venus above is an example of what was there. We also went to the American gallery where they had an exhibit of John Singer Seargent. Wow, that was some beautiful art, such as the nude below.


Answers

In yesterday’s blog…

Susan wrote:

While an understandable emotion in this situation, in fact you have nothing to feel guilty about. You stated you love your job so the issue is its non-permanence. Anyone in this predicament would seriously consider trying to find employment elsewhere. No employer can or would expect an employee to work under the threat of eventual job loss. If your leaving would put them in a bind, then perhaps they should reconsider the status of your position. Good luck with your search. ❤ 

Anonymous wrote:

The shortness of your blog entries and the lack of any enthusiasm for life in small town New England makes clear that your present job, while it rescued you in the nick of time, is not what you want or need. If the funding for your position is at risk, then you have a full justification for looking for another post of the same kind, for which you now have experience. 

The above were my two comments from yesterday’s post entitled “Guilt.” Let me address Susan’s first. I know I shouldn’t feel guilty. I’m a loyal person though and it bothers me that I may disappoint my current coworkers. However, my job is uncertain at this point and who knows where I will be in two years. This job came open and I had to apply. In my opinion there was little choice in the matter. Besides, I just need to get over myself because the other job may not even consider me a worthwhile candidate.

As for Anonymous’s comment, it is true that my blog posts have become shorter since I moved here. There are several reasons for that. When my friend died 18 months ago, I lost my muse. He was very good at giving me suggestions to write on or sparking something inside me to compel me to write about that. Now that muse is gone. Second, small town New England is quite boring. There just isn’t that much going on, and to be truthful, though I love my coworkers, they aren’t a really exciting bunch. There are topics I could go on and on about such as Donald Trump or what I miss about the South, but then my blog would have a negative feel to it and I don’t want that. I would miss a few things about up here. For one I love how close I am to Montreal. I’ve only been once but I’ve been planning to go back. I have some vacation time I need to take.

Anyway, there you have it. I’m off to Boston this morning. I won’t be back until tomorrow, but I’ll post something for tomorrow’s blog.


Guilt


This week, I applied for a new job. I love my job, but I wish it was closer to home. Also, my job may turn out to be a temporary project, so there is no guarantee that I’ll have a job in a few more years. So I applied for a new job closer to home. It would be at one of the best universities in the South. I don’t know why I feel guilty about applying, except I’d leave my current employer in a major bind. However, I may not even be considered for the job I applied for. In the meantime, I’ll probably still feel guilty until I find out one way or another about this other job.


Instructions on Not Giving Up

Instructions on Not Giving Up
by Ada Limón

More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out
of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s
almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving
their cotton candy-colored blossoms to the slate
sky of Spring rains, it’s the greening of the trees
that really gets to me. When all the shock of white
and taffy, the world’s baubles and trinkets, leave
the pavement strewn with the confetti of aftermath,
the leaves come. Patient, plodding, a green skin
growing over whatever winter did to us, a return
to the strange idea of continuous living despite
the mess of us, the hurt, the empty. Fine then,
I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf
unfurling like a fist to an open palm, I’ll take it all.

About This Poem

“It was a hard winter. My whole body raged against it. But right as the world feels uninhabitable, something miraculous happens: the trees come back. I wanted to praise that ordinary thing as a way of bringing myself back too.”
—Ada Limón

Ada Limón is the author of Bright Dead Things (Milkweed Editions, 2015). She teaches in the low-residency MFA prog


Monday


Yet another Monday when I don’t want to get out of bed. It’s going to be a long week.


Mother’s Day

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The Virtues of a Woman/Mother

An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. 

The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. 

She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.

She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. 

She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar. 

She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. 

She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. 

She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. 

She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. 

She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. 

She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. 

She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. 

She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. 

Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land. 

She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant. 

Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. 

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. 

She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 

Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 

“Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” 

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. 

Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates. 

Proverbs 31: 10-31

I hope that we all think of our mothers today. I love my mama, but like all mothers, she drives me crazy sometimes. She has been in a long period of depression since she found out I was gay, but that was relieved somewhat by the birth of my niece, so she now has the grand-baby she always wanted. She is still convinced I am going to hell, but she doesn’t say it as much anymore. As long as it is a “don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t discuss” situation, we get along great.

So even if your mother drives you crazy, I hope that you still have a good relationship with her and tell her how much you love her today.

I love you, Mama.


(She would surely die if she ever saw this blog, but I did choose a picture of sunflowers because they are her favorite.)


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