Son’s Love for Two Sisters

Dorothy, their dear tender mother,

Who listened to her sons in sickness,

Dorothy meaning “Gift of God,”

May we remember dear Ruth,

Beauty, wonder in recognition

her tenderness toward Dorothy Hoffman

His mother Citizen of His Crown, Ruthie’s

Beauty given from God, his mother had instinct,

Ruth undermining hate making greatness

as a Certified Nursing Home Assistant, lifted

More love because of difficult reading, writing

Worked so hard for her ultimate Success,

She made it, past this test. “Aunt Ruthie,” hard

As an eraser was your tool. You wrote this certification

alone.” She finished the test in a state of relief,

Most meaningful, her Board stress was gone.

They both had their knowledge to give all

His mother, great mother to all children,

Roddy, Becky, June’s adopted children,

Ruth Certificate as Nursing Tech, skilled

Under God’s creation’s, Dorothy giving birth

Charles Elgwyn, Robert Douglas, from Lenard

Named her beautiful gifts. She Remembered

First son, Born Elgwyn from his father, both

Turned men, her young men turned old,

Believing in themselves one poet, the other,

Robert more giving Sound in his Silence,

His mother was proud, Her Benediction to children

Everywhere was acceptance, education never formal,

Great mother was Creation, for Ruth to follow

Dorothy in death they found life eternally

From Charles, “Dear Ruth aid my mother

In highest calling, to anoint the sick

You relieved her pain you both

Had cancers–because of her last breath,

You were God’s hands, you will follow,

So you also are Gift of God, you are love”

Beyond cancer both mother and Ruth

Let go, Charles, you have greater regions.

You will pinpoint in writing, wonder

In words, Dorothy then Ruth following

Beyond vacuum, nebula, then no gravity

Weightless bodies they both are free,

To Charles’ mother, lifted her up in word

Lifted up his mother as the eldest son

Responsibility as she found both lives,

Everyone lit a candle in the Chapel

“Take care of your sister in infinite.

Love to care for every sister, Ruth realize

You are both Gifts Of God, Aunt Ruthie

Because you ministered to others,

You know this whole process of death

Let go dear Aunt Ruthie” To my mother

After she died his last parting words,

“No one will ever Leave you again.”

He gave over no tears. He let my mother go,

He was alone, the last to see her body leave.

This is ever with me…

i

My attitude unfurls into nights

I’ve risen at 4:00 a.m. to find the mother

Moon, my mother, walking children

Across rough, black-top roads

To hide eternal oncoming cars

Behind her mother. Walking I realized

Death might come that night

Any night so stalked beneath

Her Star God, Yahweh, burning

Into eyes, like Sol, or Bush; soul retried

Between mindfulness, nothingness

Gates often called, another protection

Of vehicle bound for Alpha Centauri,

This was not her child’s man become

So caught hold into adulthood; she reached

Out this final lingering into caves, Sybil

Of forgotten moon mist, rockets into sky

Hundreds of feet beheld as one I launched into day

When this boy became man in my brother

Robert’s eyes; nonsense, mother don’t go,

Mother we are behind you, my brother

Coming home from some city in Missouri,

Land of forgotten snows, where daughter, where

I wept to repent division between labor absolute

Afterthought I was grown or lost in outer space,

There is no father since she’s dying in a land

She called her own. My mother gave my brother

That boy-man up as the brother became

Robert turned eighteen-years-old, she remaried

Soft spoken step-father once again; thus, walked

Into hyer moonlight, my mother so brave

Took me in at age 24 after my only recompence

Suicide attempt, for she never again did, wanted

Me to withstand this deep divide and bowed

Before another visit from my daughter

To her grandpa; my dad will die in agony

Beyond any realizations of his truth, of his

Death, of what he’s done to women, now

Aged at almost eighty-eight, he will die

Not long after, he will have nothing,

And so my mother did finally get her say

“The boys.” she won in spite of cancer,

All those years, she won as dad condemned,

She became Moon woman, walked her children home,

While dad lay rotting in his grave with other

Woman who found him deceitful, my

Step-mom who he mourned his plastic flowers.

Charles Taylor C2018DSCN0212.jpgIMG_1154.jpg

Great God did Open to Me

Much of my life I sought fulfillment in spiritual matters. At first I bought into a “hippie” life style as did many youngsters. I was 18-years-old and drugs became a quick means toward an easy way out of my poor family situation. I bought my first bag of dope from a high school teacher who, I think, wanted his way with my body, and I think he wanted to perhaps help me break-off with an unhealthy high school girlfriend. However, I was unhealthy spiritually as well. The college I attended made it easy to obtain illegal drugs, and there I found alcohol. I was actually encouraged to drink by one professor in classics and “cut-lose.”

My Church, a simple country church.

My second foray lasted many years with touch and go into Eastern mysticism, and Christian leanings, but I was a committed drinker by this time. I married a woman who put up with my drinking until I lost my third teaching assistant-ship, and this was my comeuppance with alcohol. Still I maintained for many my agnosticism when in reality, I hung onto the hope that mysticism was a way and a means out of a past I did not understand, and my periodic confessions to clergy only made my life more miserable. Over and over, I wandered in and out of Christianity without ever making a full commitment. The first church I joined made it clear that money was at the heart of a real Christian experience, the second tried to waylay my soul, the third made it their agnostic approach padded again with checkbook, and more money. In each church “stewardship” became the center of the Christian experience, with one approach so dramatically agnostic as to make no stance.

Finally, I wandered into the last stop, A Hallelujah Experience, the fulfillment of life expectations. As I walked through the study door for another of my confessionals, this my soon to become pastor’s office, I found myself blurting out for the first time in my life, “I believe in Jesus as my Savior.” This simple act of faith, my first confession of faith, took my pastor by surprise. He snapped into a loving attitude I will never forget. “HE” as other clergy had never attempted, lead me through my first real 5th step, and after more than 31 years of pseudo-confessions, oh I always came clean, I was honest. I was honest with my maker this time for the first time, and with the love of Jesus Christ. He took my hands in his, and we completed my confession of misdeeds, and my acceptance of Jesus Christ Christ that December 10th, 2017, with promise of more, with acceptance of a Friday night informal worship. I had advent, and my first, and second communion, the second with my aging 87-year-old father, a momentous experience, communion, that first Sunday in January, with my dad, the man who I had come to love, a man who believed in my first steps of Love and commitment. That commitment first came out of my marriage of 36 years, and now a loving relationship.

To be fair and honest, my step-dad, and my mother were Christians. Specifically, as a boy of 10, I had seen my mother accept Christ at an Assembly of God Church. When she completed her confession of faith, her statement of realization, I am positive she confessed her sins, and I saw her follow in a few months with baptism, and finally what their church called baptism of the Holly Spirit by speaking in tongues. The so called “speaking in tongues” sounded as never a part of my Christian experience, and thus, the Lord has not visited me in this way. My church believes we are visited by the Holy Spirit at the time of confession, and that Christ’s blessing is that Baptism. It is truly explained in the Book of John when Jesus visits the disciples in a sealed room and spreads his arms in benediction, “Peace be with you.” Thus, the Holy Spirit is with me, and I am a whole person at last. The spiritual journey I have embarked upon is very real, and I see myself leading as I am able to spread those miracles of sobriety I see in my life all through my last days. 

My pastor thus believes God, and in fact, Jesus, has been with me from the time I put down the first drink, and this I had to do personally, and alone. God has been with me since I came to believe that substances were not the way. I have worked with other alcoholics, but so far, only one has seemed to “get sober.” The jury is still out, so to speak, on my friend, on my trusted friend. For a sponsor, all that can truly be possible, is a trusted friendship. I am there for my friend in ways he cannot now understand, and if he makes it through life, as I am making it, “One day at a time,” he can claim the prize in retrospect, as I do with tears of Hallelujah, and thanks be to God most High. Still, my journey is not complete, and someday I may realize more by stepping into eternity with the faith of a Christian reborn. Christ our Lord, Jesus, that perfect man, born of Life and amazing, Jesus who rose subjugated death. I was told many years ago by a co-ed at college, “HE has made room for me too.” Today I pray with tears of joy, “Thank you Jesus, oh God through all my sober life making this possible.”

Till my Trophies at Last

Exchanged my worn, weary, ragged, body

On Thanksgiving night, a day of my night

Exchanged ever be true, my mother’s hands

Raised in adoration of Jesus, “On Sunday

Evenings I’d watch her close eyes, raise

Hands over head, and mouth quietly

Much…to my mind was simplicity,

“Thank you Jesus.” I thought she was

Faking it, I thought she didn’t know,

How could she know anything, these

Books, these simple offerings we bring

Vast beyond, “All measure, beyond our

Demands!” her night before death,

Now, so many years Mom died of cancer

Lingering weeks before Thanksgiving

Me stunned, tired my wife, “He’ll never call

You again!” So I began a calling campaign

I called when I could, sometimes forgot,

Oh I called often at first, one call blurted

Out with it, I had nearly lost my life

Three times 2011, 2012 so I called him

Blurted out, “You NEVER call me, you

DIGITAL CAMERA–Point n Shoot, HP, 12 mgpxl

Moran,” and love did not lift us, he

Simply said, 

Why don’t you call me, I AM THE OLDEST,

Response was cold, “If you ever

Speak to me again in that tone, I’ll never

Speak to you again.” He knew where

To cut, how deep the blade, and he

Had not been there for mom’s death

Her liberation from broken body,

Body I could not understand

I felt it rage in me, saw her give in

To death three weeks before she

Sent herself to His feet; I muttered

Some made-up poetic phrase,

She stepped neatly into His

Canyon of belief. His wisdom

Well with her soul, she made

Peace with me I could not explain to others

She knew, my mother knew I would

Find Him, my sin forgiven not in part

In whole lifted, though I be weak,

Still call brother, encourage him to visit,

Ask myself if there’s nothing in Des Moines

For me, have encouraged my wife to drive

Us to Iowa because I no longer drive,

Forgot how too late to know how, to all,

When she loved me here, when my Jesus

My Lord became my example, my wisdom

Sometimes escapes me for the better.

I call my brother, “Let the words of my mouth

Be pleasing to You, my Lord and redeemer

Meditation of my heart be pleasing to you.”

Mother’s Great Maple Tree

Floating through Iowa morning sky,

I remember childhood of space travel,

Allen Shepard, John Glenn, they’d made it,

For me in Iowa, East Side, I dreamed

Up that old Great Maple, wings for seed,

In South Dakota could such as these exist?

Yet, trees unlike South Dakota, grew on 47th street,

Sixty-years, Maple out of our house window,

Window bright, mother, you gave Iowa

Up to cancer, my brother Doug said nothing,

Coco, all his money beautiful Shetland

Died, Doug was five- years-old,

I launched model rockets into air

Four-hundred feet, cardboard, balsa wood

Painted yellow Explosion of parachute

Into our backyard, where lost boys

Conducted experiments with chemistry set,

Constructed Erector Set towers ; I never learned

To spell, so read The Adventures

Of Huckleberry Finn, old Jim, Becky Thatcher,

Then To Kill A Mockingbird the torment of Negros,

Kerry first real friend in seventh grade,

Taught me more about rockets, day

After summer day, such as I was

Eleven-years-old, then to seventh grade

Doug and I baby sat each other, summer’s

Reading, moving next to old Walker’s

House, rockets again, another Shetland

Grew as Doug grew, now he was eleven,

Remembered his snake collection, I entered

Advanced track school, none foresaw

Grinnell College family someday picked me

Up by boot straps, gave me scholarships

Became my shoulders from boot-straps

After drinking my way across Europe,

Fine wine, cheap beer, anything even green

Smoke, followed me, another day, English

Literature into great upheaval in each sum

I wanted to write poetry, never math even though

Mrs Christian gave me my only “F,”

That stuck, so I began to read so much Miss Emily.

Modern Poetry, in reverence , Science Fiction,

In Open class, girls thought Kerry,

Friend was odd, so I was odd and lonely, all but one

I was oh so smart we checked each other’s dreams

I found TS Eliot’s Ash Wednesday

I never knew how Kerry began to love

Me me as brother he never had, through High School

On to College, farther afterwards he picked me up,

As the friend he never found.

Finding dad, I had known dad longest,

My father was in college, I reported him to Social Workers,

He was hauled into court in California, blamed for every

Dollar he never paid for my pairs

Of shoes, so I took on paper-routes,

Earned every frozen cent, Doug took his

Paper money, spent it all on pop, on gum

Candy, fruit rings, toys, on a Roger’s Drum Kit envious

I went to meet dad first , and step-mom, wished

My visits with our dad would end until old age.

I  ended knowing how dad treated her,

Our mother wept for her boys because of his cruelty,

Turned to acceptance, cancer grew in her, I took on burdens

I wept, my wife consoled me, my brother Doug never

Understood me, but she understood my marriage came first,

While I lit the last candle of her death

Loved her to end of radiation, chemo, calling everyday, everyday,

From South Dakota, my students found out, understood

My stricken moods; as student myself, my lessons

Softened–child-man, these were my lessons

Why I’d  moved to California at age eighteen

In my dreams, found her when

I was sixty-two-years-old, or sixty-seven.

Our town of Hartford became

My resting place with my wife

My Marjorie, my pearl, my confidant

I wept for hours, for the lost boys

After days in ICU myself, came to know a Higher Power

Know why Kerry flew to Hawaiian Island,

Most of all my Marjorie, married longest after mother’s death

Dorothy, our mother, My Gift of God.

She never truly celebrated our 30th, dad’s long

Marriage, but our anniversaries began

With her Donald when she died, her death

Anniversary forgotten for her lost boys,

Her sons returned. Without her death nothing would have

Come together, many miles gone that old Maple,

Still growing in a new front yard; I Consoled dad

As he finely reasoned our love

Why I did what I had done, why I called attorneys

Abandoned him to jail when

I was just eleven, fear in my heart

Because he’d never sent child-support

Again lost boys, another parent

Thought we were gone; it was our mother

I Confessed my sin as he became his need at eighty-eight

I Always knew my own treason to him,

He bound me to truth, to never speak of this.

At 67, again I assumed his needs–every year

Like mother at 68 when she died, we brought him

To South Dakota in frozen January

To see our daughter; he was finally disabled

This mountain man, so  unlike his sons,

Visited with Doug in California, tried to loved us both,

Doug never understanding his ending

Another loss for my mother’s beaten life,

Marilyn his second wife in death–

Lost his best friend, as Doug never

Understood our mother’s childhood

Beaten by foster parents; because dad’s wife

Rested in Sierra Nevada grave in meadow grass

Away  from his dishevel home he’d never leave

Leave it just the way it was that day of her death.

He finally laid to rest his wife

While our mother laid by her her husband

Deep in her grave no one could ever leave her,

His youngest son filled with hate at divorce

Abandonment with education long out of reach

With release from mother’s death again

By cancer, I told father it was not his

Redemption from her beauty in her death,

But his sons who finally understood.

 

So Anxious In That Art

May we once again experience beauty

In the crabapple, Crabby Appleton villain

He withstood tests of time over 62 years,

Then small boy of seven watching with bent

Eyes, mother into mommy, into mom,

Never Dorothy, worthy woman, she was

Bitten by divorce, to be called as single

Parent, Two children “Whore, you whore,

Out, Don’t come back.” There was no stain

Upon my mother’s witness of my fathers

Cruelty, I witnessed what one called adultery.

Physical cruelty, emotionally battered, brother

Wondering at three, never knew why, saw

Mommy limp her way from California off

To Iowa with two small children, uncle

George, with trouble in his pants at home

As well as dad, so I learned at age sixty-senen

What men could do to women, push, thrust

Shove, and as a man of many shoves, feeling

More consent, Can women can batter too?

Unsure, he limped to South Dakota, to know.

Realizing this, my wife and I are through,

Through with thrust, not love, for us love

Does not bind as Crabby Appleton dissolves

Into cartoon character meant as only this

Funny creature drawn carefully by an artist

Somewhere lost in mindful past, lost as child’s

Memory winds sometimes in careful words

For dad, attempting to make inroads like

Communion together in his son’s church,

And living Christ teaches me to forgive dad.

Charles Taylor C2018

Genesis 1:1 ~ In the Beginning

I’m grateful for the opportunity to write poetry in fact I enjoy every idea of consideration and love nonviolent writing! When you are frightened and yet energic with the Books of care and full explanations even though the Books may differ in their struggle to find detail and essentially metaphor, one may reach to the senses like religeous Books with even smell and color, essentially actual physically giving details one can see,touch, smell, and hear, real physical description, then writing comes alive as with the Bible and the Koran, other religeous books like the works of famou Zen masters, then,  Muslim, Budhist, Tao All representations of great religions of the world become easily understood! Thus fighting over meaning is not necessary. We may begin to have understanding and peace because there are not differences of color, stations of life, And personal ideas don’t have to get in the way of peace and security! When Christians become tolerant and living toward All people may live in their struggle to be calmer and Christian.

Sacred Sunshine

The first verse of the Bible reads, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1, NIV). If God did not create the universe then there is no point to reading the rest of the Bible. However, if God created everything that exists then human beings have a responsibility to read the Bible and to hear the words of God.

How did the universe get here? Intelligent people have been attempting to answer this question for thousands of years. Matthew Henry says “the Bible gives us a surer and better, a more satisfying and useful, knowledge of the origin of the universe, than all the volumes of the philosophers. The lively faith of humble Christians understands this matter better than the elevated fancy of the greatest wits…”

There are only two answers to the question about the origin of the universe: (1) A supernatural force created everything…

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My Marilyn Monroe make up look

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Hey. As a preparation for Halloween 2018 I was already trying on some Halloween make up. My first creation was my Marilyn Monroe recreation. I am quite obsessed with Marilyn, her life, her work, her personality and well her looks as well. I explained it a bit more in my Story behind my Marilyn

img_9721First step into recreating her looks was to create perfect skin tone – I achieved this by using simple make up foundation and set it all with mate powder. I’m not gonna write down the brands I used cuz I don’t believe that’s what’s important – I just used whatever I had left. Important was to highlight certain areas – tip of the nose, chin dimple, cheekbones, middle of forehead and bottom of eyebrow arc.

For my eyes I used brown eyeshadow to lightly deepen my eyeball and fill the eyelid with light sparkle eyeshadow. I used liquid…

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Brave Through My Disabilities

 

 

Early in 1975, after a linghtly stay in the “psych wards,” I was told by Psychiatrist Gertrude Doughton, DO at Broadlawns (County Hospital) In Des Moines, Iowa that I should give up my dreams of graduate school and a family, move in with my mother, sit back and collect SSI from Social Security. The children’s’ psychiatrist at the same hospital from the infamous West One, West Two, West Three, which used antiquated Behaviorial treatments fot “the poor,” met with me in a single special “old fatherly session,” told me the very same thing; most of their patients, like me, were on Phenothiazine drugs and relegated the scrap heap of Thorazine shuffle, and this was exactly what happened to me; I was drinking heavily on higyh doses of powerful mind altering medications, and I was diagnosed with chronic undifferentiated schizophrenia, a diagnosis which has not been listed in diagnostic manuals for a very long time. At final discharge, I was abandoned after only a spotty four years of unsuccessful therapies and four unsuccessful hospitalizations wityh the misdiagnosis of schizo affective disorder, depressive type.

I was finally “let go.” This was the best thing to happen to me. I ended up in my final hospitalization being flattered by a medical student at the psych wards: awarded to a weekend with her and her parents while I struggled with male, female relationships. I was later to learn that the county hospitals were the worst hospitals to treat psych patients, that their programs defeated most patients. I was misdiagnosed a diagnosis I wrongly carried four decades later while I was simply depressed from insultingly poor care even at public institutions, and treated with a drug that is rarely used today, the drug Thiothixene or Navane, and infamous and Zyprexa in heavy doses. These drugs, like others of their type cause the disease TD, of which today, I have mild jerking and shaking. I had one ray of hope at that county hospital; a therapist Sandra Davies, MA, who used dream therapy, Rorschach tests, and other archaic means of treatment; I was given the special treat of an amatur Psychodrama class, lead by a local theater director with psychiatric disorders, and sanctioned by the hospital; I had likened my experiences as a drug abuser to the psychodrama class, it was still part of my severe drug induced depression. Little was known about drug and alcohol abuse at that time, but a friend mentioned a “Big Book” but I passed it off as another gimmick by frauds like “mega vitamin therapy,” I read Lust for Life about Van Gogh,  spent hundreds of dollars on vitamins at a local health food store, and nothing happened. I abandoned mega vitamins, sunk myself reading into volumes of case studies about promising recoveries, and wished they’d try a new drug on me, Lithium Carbonate, but this seemed remote. Some good things happened. One anonymous nurse placed upon my green tiled cubicle door at West One Security Ward a poem by Robert Frost which brought me to tears, “Whose woods are these, I think I know/his house is in the village though…but I have miles to go before I sleep/And miles to go before I sleep.” My mother honored my request for a Christmas gift, The Complete Poetry of Emily Dickinson. Somehow it had gotten around the hospital that I’d been an English major at Grinnell College, but earlier in my treatment, the psych students who took care of me while I cried at the prospect of never reading my beloved poetry again only chalked it up as a symptom of my disease.  My therapist believed in me, however, as intelligent and creative, encouraging me in my journaling writing, spurred on by my readings of Humanistic Psychotherapy, and she allowed that I was creative.

Even after an unsuccessful serious suicide and miraculous intervention by a man sleeping at in the neighboring room in my poor apartment house hearing my screams, jumping to stop the bleeding in my seriously cut wrist, and shutting off the gas in my oven, calling the ambulance, my attempt was truly serious cutting which caused me the full use of my left hand, deep scars on my wrist, partial use of my whole left arm. I type with right finger and thumb. A very promising sanity hearing actually helped where  I spoke loveling about literature. I actully reciter from memory the first paragraph of William Faulkner’s famous Nobel Prize acceptance speech in which he told the would be young writers that to “stand” where he stood the young writer must “learn the old universal truths of the hmnan heart,” love, pitty, acceptance, etc. I paraphrase today only the first part of the speech because today at age 67 I cannot do this. The judge was impressed and let me go with only yhree weeks of “hospitalization” and my therapist warned me out of another attempt. She told me that if I was not careful, I would end up in one of those long-term hospitals for the insane.  I began to sink myself all on my own at the evening shift as a “desk clerk” where there was little to do but smoke cigarettes and read–a reading campaign of great literature of Shakespeare, of Dante’s entire cannon, Solzenitzen, Dickenson, and many other classics. I reasoned that somehow I’d been caught “midway in the journey of our lives, in a Dark Wood,” that I’d make my own way out of “hell.” My therapist literally frightened me again into sanity, and I have never had a really serious suicide attempt since, though I used to talk insently about it reading Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, and Robert Lowell, other suicidal poets and writers.

I used to threaten suicide, and in the decade 2001 often to 2011 often called the 211 hotline, but my involvement with the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and great care after 2011, at One of the best Behavioral Health Hospitals has kept me safe. Over our state’s 211 hotline here in South Dakota there is outstand help, but I had stopped abruptly seeking only relief from the sea of pain in my talk about my disease Ankylosing Spondylitis even with the 211 hotline helping though not like their usual callers talking of suicide,. After three near death hospitalizations seven years ago I could seldom think of suicide, and at age 67, I still do not, and these near death experiences were from a drug, not by my hand, a psych drug as it were; it had poisoned me, my wife and daughter franticly driving me to the ER after weeks of nearly comotose behavior. Then I suffered a horrible GI bleed while in that great Hospital which saved my life–ulcers on the the duodenum, saved by Dr Christina Hill-Jensen in surgery at ICU ater spending three days there then requiring ten units of blood from that October third, 2011 Gi burst ulcers, and for units of platelets all over a five day period, and then almost full kidney shutdown later that spring. This was how I learned how to pray, but I was not ready in 2011 to truly admit God’s full interventions in my life. I learned to meditate as it relieved pain, then became a member of a wonderful online Zendo and I still meditate, sit as it were with and as part of these people many of whom are, like me, Christian.

Today I have black memories of drinking heavily on my medications, thinking I was homosexual–not bad if I had been. However, I took a beginning Psychology class at the community college back in 1976, easily earning an A.  Davies believed my use of alcohol and drugs were normal as she did my forays into experimental heterosexual sex, though kinky, quite normal. But, she believed in my intelligence and abilities as a student and had no problem telling me so. Although our treatment modalities were largely Freudian and unsuccessful in a harsh world of 1978 with hippie-want-to-be-s in my life, and my friends largely gay men who accepted my deficits because they were very kind and accepting people, and even parts of my psychotherapy. My gay friends offered this straight male companionship like no other friends could offer save a few friends from college, but we smoked large quantities of “dope,”  drank many cases of beer, hard liquor and took hard drugs. I went to Grateful Dead Concerts, spent lots of money on trendy rock albums that sometimes I found intolerable often turning to softer tones of classical music, and continued my reading campaign. These two gay men were the real voice of sanity in my life.

When my therapist falsely accused me of stealing a therapy tape about rats, and my mother wanted $50/mo rent, it was time to move, and I left with my my mother’s battered old Rambler and a borrowed flatbed trailer with all my stuff, mostly books. I rented a U-Haul trailer hitch, and I drove the 212 miles to Iowa City to start my life over! Then somehow, I returned car, hitch and trailer. I acted honestly for the first time in a long time. A great friend in Iowa City had found me a little one-room apartment I could afford, I began two writing classes, one poetry, the other interpersonal. I was eventually to marry an intellingent, and honest woman who has been my best friend for over 38 years and today, after I quit drinking more than 31 years ago, our daughter is 29, yes, we had a little girl: yes, a gifted daughter who has a BA from Midlebury College, Phi Beta Kappa, Suma Cum Laud in Japanese studies, MFA from the University of Iowa’s translation program on full fellowship, the school where mom and dad grew up together Now our daughter is working on a Ph.D. in Japanese studies/comp lit, full fellowship with teaching this time at Washington University in St. Louis, fluent in Japanese, working on Korean on her own and memories of straight A s in two years of High School Spanish, runner up in the prestigious Pen Award, in London, for translation of her MFA novella/thesis, articles and translations in academic publications, and like like mom she had been valedictorian award, co-valedictorian award in high school, and mom with BA cultural anthropology, Phi Beta Kappa, Highest Distinction, 4.0 BA, and MA cultural anthropology/museum studies, field work in Arizona, and New Mexico among Navajo women, and me teaching two courses at Navajo Community College while disobeying the tribe, secretly drinking  on the reservation, yet offered full-time teaching at that Navajo Community College.

Now my wife with more than 30 years service with the federal government, house holder along with her, husband, me, has retired to rest, be creative as she reads great volums of contemporary literature drives me my doctors. I earned an MA in English and an Ed.S. in higher education at Iowa, we were married that same spring in the University chapel with 50 of our friends and family present, and I had done honors in my research project on “Journal Writing in First Year College Composition in the Community College.” I had been a very successful TA. I assume my research is still in the education Library at University at Iowa. I made great friends among the faculty at the Rhetoric program where I taught, friends like Dr Bill Clark, formerly from the Air Force Academy who attended our wedding, and Lois Muehl who became my mentor as I was hired to teach in the Reading Lab as an Instructor, and beloved Cleo Martin who taught me how to teach without the red pen, with kindness and questioning, to always ask, “where do we need more information” when commenting on a student paper, to sit in circles with students commenting on their own work. Many institutions still teach with the heavy hand of authority, and the red pen dampening student spirits. But these techniques were developed through The Iowa Writing Program.

I had found a refuge in Iowa’s higher education unlike any I had ever found in a hospital, and unlike anything since. In short, I grew into manhood at Iowa, except for one thing; my drinking which nearly shattered my dreams. But, I found the love of my life still with me in spite of many physical impairments caused by the drugs prescribed, older doctoring techniques and genetic predisposition. Then there was my drinking which at the end of my beloved Iowa City was already beginning to deal deadly blows to my teaching as I fell back to heavy handed methods. Drinking being over a very long time, now I know why I drank and doctors make use of advanced medications, and old reliable drugs in proper doses and care in implamentation to ease my mind and body and extend my life in peace from the horrible disease of Ankylosing Spondylitis which attacks specifically the spine, then other parts of the body, and bipolar disorder. After completing Iowa, we moved to Columbus, Nebraska where I began my first teaching at Platte College, Central Community College System, and everyone but me knew I was alcoholic.

I taught three years, and we moved to Greeley, Colorado. I eventually earned an MFA in creative writing poetry with a 3.9 GPA in Fort Collins at Colorado State University, the place of the First public MFA in Colorado. I had my chance, after sobriety to teach at Front Range Community College though I had made more money the year before as a part-time deli-clerk at Safeway. Finally, I got sober, and two years later became the father of a bright baby girl. I was a drunk on and off during my teaching stint at Platte, and as a TA at CSU. It was at CSU I where I reached my “bottom,”kicked” out of the TA program, forced to resign in disgrace after six students reported me drunk while trying to teach, and my students gave me the poorest evaluations of any teacher at the university; my wife pleaded for me to find another way, but me thinking I’d never teach again. Within a month most of my cravings went away, but still follow me but for the help of 31 years of sobrietr, with the help of dear friends and most by my Higher Power. One the year I celebrated one year without street drugs and alcoholo, I threw my fancy can of Marijuana and my purple bong, unused for 18 months into our apartment dumpster,  My three sections of writing that previous fall were given away, and I pulled back to a lighter load of studies as I continued my beloved poetry and tried a professional essay writing class. I finished the MFA in three and a half years instead of two. I had earned my only B that spring of continuous drinking, but eventually I was helped back to academic sanity by Bill Tremblay, full professor, and my thesis director, who had written many national publications, and I began to publish here and there in little art magazines and newsletters, even being published in the Connecticut Review, and a prestigious Nebraska State Journal.  In Nebraska I had begun to suspect I might be an alcoholic when I began drinking on Antabuse while seeing a substance abguse counselor, but there not willing to admit utter defete. My sober life has not been easy because I still have dual diagnosis; recovered alcoholism of 31 years and a proper diagnosis of bipolar disorder has helped vastly. However, as I retired from working at our local grocery because at age 58, my Ankylosing Spondylitis got the best of me, and I could no longer lift more than 20 lbs, now less, has made me unsuited for all work in Hartford, South Dakota, my two self-published books were successful as literature, Both in the Platte College library and I had taught a total of 22 years of good, solid writing. My books were placed at Sierra College Library,  books sold at the Grinnell College Book Store, and both books are in the Grinnell College Library.

My wife completed her employment at more than 23 years of service at our VA in Sioux Falls, and30 years total with the government. It is she, and always has been, the one who brings in the bulk of our money with generosity and love, and her money that brought the home which is “our” home. She even saved enough to make major renovations to home by working overtime and socking money away over the years. She helped our daughter through college, as did my father; she helped with money from many hours of overtime. My dad has recognized me as a Christian friend, fully returning to me as a friend in Christ after bitter divorce when I was seven. My loving mother who told me after I had tried to kill myself, “Chuck, I don’t understand, but I’ll listen” prayed for me my brother and me many years. If only now I could spend a comunion with her as I haqve with dad. She passed away from breast cancer more than 20 years ago, and her life might have been saved had she been diagnosed today. My wife retired, GS 12, step 8 as quality control officer and trainer at comp and pension from the VA, coming up from GS 5 file clerk, and I have helped working part-time and accepting help fron Social Security Disabilty Insurance, and now with Social Security retirement. I have had Medicare for about 25 years, awarded to those who have S.S.D.I. but me also with cripleing Ankylosing Spondylitis. Medicare was saved by Senator Tim Johnson’s great staff who along with my wife showed mistakes in my Medicare record. I nearly had to pay back $18,000 in what they claimed in S.S.D.I. were over payments for a part-time job in fast-food, the only job Vocational Rehab could find an educated man. Later I returned to part-time teaching with The University of South Dakota and nearly lost a return to S.S.D.I. because I had worked a part-time teaching job. The pressure of  even part-time teaching was too much. Disabilty is a lowly situation for people in our country, but I am into retirement, will never work again.

Our daughter has been a blessing from birth, and her room has a new bedspread and new curtains when she comes home this year for Christmas when we will celebrate our traditional meal of crackers and imported cheeses , beef sausage, and pickled herring and sparkling grape juice. Christmas Eve I will go to candlelight service at my church knowing Christ is my Savior. Since daughter went on to college, and four years teaching English in Japan her room has been there for her and finally last year at age 28, she cleaned out her belongings. She has been called a bright new star in her PhD program publishing articles, even in academic books, translating small assignments outside her regular studies, delivering papers at prestigious conferences. She is our bright star with major publishing I could have made were it not for my drinking and drugging through college and graduate school, there untile I found a truer easier softer way oif complete abstonance with the help of my Highter Power, a Power which also helped me stop smoking all tobacco almost 18 years ago. Yet, my little family has mad my return to writing possible. Now I have a new book in the works, Portraits of their Lives, making my accomplishments in advanced photography a metaphor for poems. My therapist, Dr. J. Chris Nordgrun, a C.B.T. therapist of note, has pronounced me nearly normal though I still see him every two to three months, and yet, my pastor at Hartford United Methodist Church says he can tell I have a mental illness; however, most people cannot. I work successfully on my third book which will be finished as a Kindle Book, the other two being softcover and electronic, expensive publications done by a national company, and a costly way to go. Sometime next year the next book will be completed and will mark a book about five or six years from the last, helped along by the expert help of my loving wife familiar with layout and design. The book first I published as Charles Taylor, Winter from Spring, 2009, second as Charles E Taylor, Meditations on gratitude, 2014, both available through Amazon which helped me with an author page.  The next book, poetry nearly complete, will be Portraits of Their Lives, Charles E Taylor, 2019; my books are great work, but most poetry by unknown authors does not sell.

I am happy, however, my Ankylosing Spondylitis is serious and devastating. Funny, the damage to my spine goes largely unnoticed by ordinary people; damage is internal though there is marked scoliosis and my eyes have often been seriously affected. My bipolar disorder is something others never could never see. Disability for me has been invisible to others. My pain is controlled with a cocktail of drugs, pain patches, and periodic Radio Frequency treatments at The Intervention Pain Clinic of Dr Scott Lockwood Avera; my Primary, Dr Allen Funk, Internal Medicine, Sanford Health is outstanding, has helped with pain management and I have a kidney specialist because of all those drugs over the years, Dr Dana Brandice, my Heart specialist, Dr Scott Pham who says my pacemaker needed to be placed partially because of Ankylosing Spondylitis. He tells me I may die of this genetic disease with reasons undetectable, and these doctors form my Health team, along with a great PA Troy Vanoverbeek and my pharmasist Vince Riley, and I thank God every day for these helth care providers; now even my eye clinic Ophthalmology LTD, my psychiatrist Dr Michael Bergan who I see every two months, and he is from Avera Behavioral Health, University Psychiatry. Finally a fine new arthritis specialist Dr Tantoush from Lebanon, residency at Creighton University, medical fellowship as many of my caregivers, and Dr Tantoush has hopes for a new biological for my AS. I have assembled the finest medical team in the area, and I’m proud to say Avera Behavioral Health saved my life twice, Sanford once. I have Dr Funk to thank the most and at the local Sanford Clinic, Troy. Both men have gone over and above the call of duty for me, instrumental in my critical care. Finally, I wish to thank Avera Behavioral Health for Doctors who have been there with most life giving care, proper mental health treatment, and innovative pain treatment pain therapies. Avera Behavioral treatment with their partial program, and nationally known Behavioral Health Hospital more than any other team has given me a complete new outlook, and today I am a Christian with  Jesus as my Lord, and intervention in my pain which has sometimes reached level ten the most in help given me in my struggle through the fine efforts of pain therapist Dr Donald Baum and, and of course Dr Nordgrun who helped me through nightmare of feelings from boyhood; I never recognized Jesus until Dec 10, 2017 when by surprise I blurted out to my new pastor a spontaneous phrase I never thought I’d say, “I believe in the Lord Jesus as my Savior.” Looking back over my life, God has always been there for me. It should have been obvious when I put down the first drink and asked two total strangers for help, and of course unwittingly, my God , and two guys came in to bring help when again I called a local hotline in Greeley, Colorado Love and help came my way with two men carrying the message of love and tolerance.

Today because of the finest care available, I enjoy a mostly happy life with new drugs on the market all the time. Nearly all the photography in my creations, all but four pictures in the hundreds, many on my three blogs, and thousands, 12,500 on Microsoft One Drive alone, many more on Google Drive, some on hard drives that are mine. I have earned two certificates in photography from The New York Institute of Photography with a specialty in Nature and Scenic. I love the Lord with all my heart and know he has brought me here to help others. I have great friends throughout Hartford, even throughout the the US and the World because of the internet, and Sioux Falls is our playground. My wife loves movies and libraries. Both of us enjoy the many parks for walks and photography in spring, summer and fall. Winters in South Dakota are Harsh, sometimes giving me great photo ops, and we enjoy the seasons. I no longer drive but the internet and my silver haired loving wife take me places I never thought I’d go, like church, and clinics with care and understanding, and I love being of service at our local senior centers, only occasionally Hartford and always Sioux Falls Active Generations. Most all my health issues have been caused by Ankylosing Spondylitis and bipolar disorder, but today I love my wife and daughter, both giving me true special life-saving interventions in my diseases and, because of God, I am lead by the Holy Spirit. If I had followed the plans set forth at that county Hospital, I would doubtlessly be in a long-term institution never married, never my advanced education, and never my daughter. I praise the Lord, and thank my friends at Treeleaf Zendo for I have come to love them as brothers and sisters, all accomplished online with my four computers. Today I know God is Love. I wish the world to see this. Maybe someday! I have the National Alliance on Mental Illness to thank for my education about mental illness, and truly Phyllis retired executive director and now Sara and Wendy for my many awards of service in NAMI, and they are one of God’s miracles–my re-diagnosis of bipolar disorder, away from presupositions, antiquated ideas of health has given me hope. I have accepted that others cannot be locked into their devastating mental illness.

One thing in our care is insurance, for just the two of us now, is expensive; most people are being strapped with unethical hospital bills, and in some cases poor care or no care. The current trends in our country are that people will be squeezed between expensive insurance, or nothing to pay large bills. We need a universal health care systems from birth to death. In places like England, Canada, and Japan plans cover everyone; even India is trying to get into the insurance game and most of the European continent provides care for citizens. It’s dangerous not to have care for children, and why not expand Medicade clear to Medicare years for everyone? There just is no good reason not to give descent care to every citizen, from birth to childhood, through adulthood, and into senior years till death with dignity. Medicare does a good job so long as a supplemental is there for retirees. We already have some measures in place for care. There is the argument that a healthy workforce is a better workforce. Much has already been done with education by non-profits; because of lawsuits against big tobacco, money against tobacco, telling ads which are seen regularly on television, and the smokers are quitting, youngsters never take it up. My uncle, who I loved, died of lung cancer at age 55, and he’d been smoking since age 11. I quit years ago after 27 years of heavy smoking, and so far I am here. We can do more with a plan in place like in Japan where a dental crown costs $10.00, not $1000.00. Why must citizens have bad teeth because they can’t afford dental work? And, consider this–saving lives is God’s work, and doctors must not allow people to slip through the cracks. I have descent care, but that’s only because my loving wife worked all her working life for our government, and now I am 67, and we can afford our health care. Without our insurance, we would be bankrupt, or I would be dead. Consider the alternatives and pray about it, or sit Metta, or chant your loving kindness acceptance. Whatever your Higher Power gives you, give back, and I can say this–God has blessed me. Take care.

Charles E Taylor