cc&d v170.5 supplement March 2007 book, Distinguished Writings from Kuypers A collection book was published in 2006 by Scars Publications called Distinguished Writings with writing from assorted artists. cc&d released this supplementissue of just the editor’s writing from that book, along with a new editorial (you know, there always has to be a new editorial for a release from cc&d magazine...).
This 2007 (Mid March 2007) release from cc&d is now available not only for order as a paperback book. On this page you will see a listing of all of the writings included in this collection — and as an added bonus, we actuallt included all of the poems from the cc&d v165.5 supplement Singular Endings that appears in this book (as well as in the book Distinguished Writings, which is as either a paperback or as a hardcover). Enjoy!

paperback book: $9.95

cc&d












the boss lady’s editorials

new:
Clinton, the Black Contingency & the Political Machine
the real chance for a President that’s not a white man





...from Distinguished Writings:

Do Protests Equal Violence?

Shoving our “Good Life” down the enemie’s Throats

Losing Her Chance at the Presidency

Does the RainForest Cafe Love the rainforest?

Child Molesters & JonBenet Ramsey

Putting Up Walls is Never the Solution

Failure to Implement Basic Safety












poetry

September 11, 2001

a Great American

I Want












performance art shows





“Dreams,” 02/03/04:

He Told Me His Dreams 4

Realistic Dreams

The Dream

He Told Me His Dreams 5

Transcribing Dreams 3

Dreams 01/19/04 Three

He Told Me His Dreams 9

A Dream About Murder

People’s Rights Misunderstood












“a night of Firsts,” 06/22/04:

In Love I Abide

Under the Sea

The Little Differences

Tight Rope Affair

Too Far

What We Need in Life












“Beach Poets,” 08/15/05:

Burn It In

Freedom Just Past the Fence

David

I Dreamt About You Last Night

Coquinas

A Child in the Park

In The Air

Age

Clay












the SPJ final feature, 08/26/06:

Everything was Alive and Dying

True Happiness in the New Millennium

The State of the Nation












philosophy monthly

By Reason if Insanity

Modern Day Footbindings and the Oppression of Women












dual: poems into prose

People’s Lives Were at Stake

Gary’s Blind Date

Hancock Suicide, Chicago, December 1994

Change My Perspective

Headache

Holding my Skin Together

Expecting the Stoning

Last Before Extinction

Dreams 02/20/04 one

Chess Game Again

He Told Me His Dreams Nine

Walking Home From School

Poam: Militant Man With Schizophrenia

Get the Idea

Dreams 01/19/04 one

the One at Mardi Gras

Understood












cc&d v165.5: Singular Endings





Coping With Her Leaving

Janet Kuypers, 09/01/06 #1

I’ve had to be the calm one
all this time

my brother told my husband
he was proud of how strong I was

well, I can’t be sobbing
while telling the news

when talking to people now
we’d have to remind ourselves
at that least she’s not in pain now

we all knew her death was coming
we just didn’t know when

and now I’ve just made myself numb
I mean, what other choice did I have?

I go through waves now,
usually in public

where the tears well up
and I want to let go

but I say to myself
you can’t do that

not here

not now

and I stifle my tears
and I stifle my pain

and this is what I do now
and there’s nothing else I can do

I have to hold it in
because I don’t want to let go












Letting Time Tick By

Janet Kuypers, 09/01/06 #2

we left for O’hare airport early
went through my automatic check-in
sent my luggage off to be X-rayed

now, I had to get an earlier flight
to see my father
because my mother died

and although I paid coach
they gave me first class
so I could grieve with my family

lucky me, first class
now I can drink through my depression
for free

so after I dropped off my luggage
I walked past the curling security line
for no-line first class security

so now I’m sitting here at gate K8
for almost two hours
waiting for time to tick by

lucky me
letting time tick by
living












“The Power To Tell Her”/
“The Power To See Her”

Janet Kuypers, 09/01/06 #3

“The Power To Tell Her”

when Dave died
a man I had dated for a year and a half

I was stuck on the other side of the country
and couldn’t go to his services

couldn’t see him laying in his coffin
so that I could really say good bye

and knowing my mother was dying
I had already cried so much
that I almost shut down
when I heard that she died

my father called to tell me
and he couldn’t even talk
so I heard the news over the phone
from a friend of his

it was my job to tell my brothers and sisters
but I couldn’t get through to one sister
who was closest to mom

my oldest sister offered to tell her,
to have her paged,
to break the news to her

and I thought, wait, dad told me to do this
I should be doing this

but then I thought
I don’t think I have to power to tell her

I don’t think I could be prepared
for her falling apart at work
I just didn’t know if I could do that to her

so, I said, okay, you can tell her

I heard from them after the fact
that my older sister was crying
to the switchboard operator
before she could reach my sister

that probably expedited getting them connected

so now we’re all flying across the country
to have another impromptu family reunion
to help my father cope with being a widower

###

“The Power To See Her”

my mother is being cremated
she said she didn’t want a service
even though her grieving family might need one

but I just talked to my sisters
they said they got through to dad
and he’s waiting for us at his home
across the country

well, of course we’d be there

but my sister told me
they’re waiting with my mother’s body
so we can see her before cremation

because, you know,
we might want to see her

and I didn’t want to tell my one sister
because I couldn’t be prepared for the crying
but

but I never thought
about seeing my mother dead
before she was cremated

but I will cry now
the ocean levels will rise
my tears will start hurricanes

here in south west Florida
where my mother
lies waiting for us

###

I was so angry
that I never saw Dave in his coffin
because I needed some kind of closure

and my sisters tell me
“you don’t have to see her if you don’t want
that’s your decision”

and
and while my mother was still alive
and I still had my flight to see her

my father said I’d be shocked
when I saw her
that she’s so thin

so
so a part of me doesn’t know
if I can see my mother dead

but I think of the closure I’ve needed
for years after Dave’s death
... it has been over eight years now

so
so a part of me doesn’t know
how I couldn’t see my mother one more time

###

so I have to see her
and we tried to decide
what she should wear for the viewing

which is what she will wear
when she is burned

and I struggle with this
because I could keep the dress we chose
and a memento of my mother

but we chose the dress she wore
to my wedding

that her body will spend its last moments on earth
in the dress she wore to my wedding

everyone told her
how beautiful she looked in that dress
at my wedding

I have a photo framed from my wedding
of dad kissing mom
in that dress
that she looked so lovely in

in a photo
where her beauty is captured forever

so
so it seems beautiful
it seems painfully beautiful
that she wears the dress
she wore to my wedding
before she leaves us forever
so it seems fitting
that,
like at my wedding
she wears the dress
she looked so eternally beautiful in












Soaring So High

Janet Kuypers, 09/01/06 #4

I’m in a first class airplane seat
flying to see my family now

the seats are roomier
and embroidered on the fake leather
on the seat in front of me, it reads
FASTEN SEAT BELTS WHILE SEATED

and I got a full meal
while on the flight
and the flight attendants
were very attentive

I’m going to Florida now
to see my family there
because my mother just died there
only about twenty seven hours ago

and I’m sitting here in first class
with these embroidered seats
with the full courses and friendly service
reminding me of when
we first went to Florida
thirty years ago

I was a little kid
so the seats were big
and back in the day
they always fed you meals in the sky
and the stewardesses were
that much more attentative

and now I remember
my first trip to Florida
where at Disney World I was afraid
to go into the dark tunnel for
“It’s a Small World”
and I was afraid to go
into the dark room
for the “Space Tunnel”
roller coaster ride
so they sat me with dad
so I’d be too afraid to cry

and I remember being so little
on our first trip to Florida
that I saw mom and dad
watching Connors and McEnroe
play tennis on tv
and I thought Connors was President Carter

I remember flying to Vegas
with my parents and my sister
when mom told me to sit by dad
so, like my construction worker father
I could marvel at all of the concrete
at Hoover Dam Below

once we took a small flight
across Florida
to the town my parents now live in
I don’t know, a DC 10, a DC 3
and we actually shared a long bench
for our seats for our flight
to where they’d one day call home

I’m flying in an airplane now
and it makes me think
of flying with my parents

and now I’m flying to Florida
to meet my sisters, to see my father
because my mother has passed

so now I sit in this big airplane seat
look out the window
at the clouds below

it’s a wondrous thing
getting so far
soaring so high

but right now, all I’m filled with
are memories of flights with my mother
when we were soaring so high












The Good Ones

Janet Kuypers, 09/02/06 #3

I’m back in Florida now,
near my mother’s house
where everyone on these little streets
knows everyone’s name
and everyone likes my mom
because she’s such a sweet woman
and every time I walk down the streets here now
it seems that over half of the people I run into
have to stop to tell me they are sorry about my mom

and you get used to hearing that
I mean,
not that it doesn’t mean anything
or anything
but everyone is sorry she’s gone

but one woman hugged me
and said
“they always take the good ones”

and that’s when I started to react
that’s when I was just about ready to cry
because yes,
they do always take the good ones
and it made me that much more sad
and it made me that much more angry
to know the injustice of it all
and to know there was nothing I could do

she didn’t smoke
she took care of her husband
and her five children
she was so sweet
and tried to make everyone
as content as they could possibly be
she followed her husband’s lead
in doing what he wanted
and kept track of finances
so that she could afford a good education
for her children

her husband
seemed violent in his children’s eyes
he drank too much
and she stood by his side
and kept things together

and she fought with breast cancer
then had cervical cancer
and she fought those cancer attacks
and won

you’d think she had gone through enough
for crimes she didn’t commit
but, you know, cancer doesn’t fight fair
so later cancer struck back by not attacking an organ
but all of her blood instead

I know she’s a strong woman
but how could any one woman
fight every cell coarsing through her body so yeah, it’s unfair
it’s completely wrong
I want to kill someone for doing this to her
someone has to be held accountable
because it makes no sense
that she has to fight a battle
she can’t win

and she’s one of the good ones
and she really shouldn’t have been taken
I hate them for taking her
and I hate them for leaving us to grieve this way
I don’t care who you are
but I hate you












It Must Have Been On Sale

Janet Kuypers, 09/03/06 #2

it’s only me and my husband in our house
and I go to Sam’s to purchase
twenty packs of paper towels
you know, because buying in bulk
is supposed to be a better deal
so I’ll have the bottom of the kitchen pantry
lined with rolls and rolls of paper towels

you know, I might have a lot to clean up
in the next year
have to be prepared, I guess

and I’m sure I get that from my mother
my sister and I laughed
when we were in the house alone once
and we had a craving for ice cream
so we said, hey, we should look in
the deep freeze
they have this huge freezer in the basement
and we go there
and there are tons of two gallon containers
of pistachio spumoni
I guess my mother likes pistachio spumoni
because there’s a ton of it
it must have been on sale
so we shrug our shoulders and laugh
and try pistachio spumoni
for probably the only time in our lives

so now that mom has passed
and we have to go through her house
to try to clean things up for dad
to organize things, to throw things away
we find on one of the shelves
in one of the pantries
spray can after spray can
of Easy On Heavy Duty Speed Starch

(like my 75 year-old mother
ever needed to speed starch
fifty loads of dress clothes for dad)

so I take a starch can back with me,
my sister takes a starch can back with her
so at least if I have tons of shampoo
and vats of laundry detergent
and Oxy Clean tubs to clean the house,
at least I can be well-pressed for anything












Knelt and Cried

Janet Kuypers, 09/03/06 #3

I was in the minivan
or whatever the Hell you call
dad’s new car, driven only 930 miles
dad driving, sister in the front seat
me and brother in the back seats
my husband behind me in the far back seat
and I waited at my father’s house for a while
so we could go to my mother’s services
well, they weren’t services
she didn’t want that
but dad thought the kids would want
to see my mother
before she was cremated
so there we were, the family
in ties
in black dresses
sitting and waiting
in our little hearse
to drive us to Fuller Funeral Home

for our final visit

we were in the car
and my husband in the far back seat
and he knew I was sad
he sensed I was crying
while the hearse took us to the funeral parlour
and he reached his hand forward
to take my hand
to touch my shoulder,
to something

and I couldn’t see his face
but his hand
was a grave consolation
as our hearse rolled on
to our chance to say farewell

I was trying not to cry
in the ride in the hearse
to the funeral parlour
I’ve been a good Marine
I’ve been trained to not cry
but I couldn’t help the tears at that point
and I did my best to stifle them
so no one would consider my sniffling
and no one would question
my faltering emotions

we had to take two separate cars
and we arrived
and we were greeted when we entered
and we asked where to go
and they pointed the way
to lead us in the right direction

and I think we were all afraid
to go into that room

to see her

well, I can’t speak for anyone else
I know I was afraid
afraid of what I’d see
afraid of

afraid of I don’t know what
afraid of seeing how she looked
afraid of the finality of it all

just afraid

so, I’m the littlest one
of course I let everyone else go in before me
they’re supposed to want to see her more

that’s what I hear

and we walked in
and there were many seats
and you could see her face,
asleep,
peeking out of the coffin in the distance
and we all just instinctively sat down

dad finally walked to her
and knelt before her coffin

we watched him
watch her
pray for her
talk to her

I don’t know what he was communicating with her
he was with her
and we all wanted that with her
one more time
one sister went next,
knelt
cried
then a brother
then another brother
and I watched a procession of family members
all older than me
all apparently more important than me
all with more history with her than me
and

and my husband asked
if I wanted him to go with me
when I walked up to see my mother
and I thought,
no,
I need to do this on my own

I finally walked up to her
knelt before her
and looked at her
in the dress she wore to my wedding
and thought she looked so beautiful
she looked so peaceful

she looked like she was sleeping

and I hadn’t seen her that peaceful in a long time
every time I came to visit her
since the disease started
she always looked tired
when she was awake
otherwise she was asleep
and looked fitful in her rest

I looked at her eyebrows
they were penciled in very nicely
and I looked down at her nails
and they were long,
every nicely painted

and the earrings we picked for her to wear
were so dainty
and so lovely
and the dress was so nice
and she looked so peaceful

and that’s all I could keep thinking
that she looked so well rested
that she was just taking a good nap
and she would be just fine

she had to be

###

I looked at my mother
one last time
these were my final words to her face
this would be the last time I saw her

make it good, girl
you’re the one with the words
tell her what you mean
in fifty words or less
that’s how these services go, don’t they?

and I told her that I loved her
and I told her that I hope
that I carry on any of her kindness
because that’s they way she’ll live on
because the world is filled with people who aren’t nice
who aren’t kind
and losing her
makes the world a worse place

people have told me that I am kind
that I am nice
and I only hope I can do you justice
that I can somehow make this world a better place

like you did

I only hope that I can do the world justice
because the world needs you now, mom
and you had to leave us

so what do we do now

before I left her
that first time
I started to run my hands along my chest
into a cross
because I wanted all of the spirits to know
that you are there
and that you are to be welcomed
because you are blessed
even if it’s only from the likes of me












We’re Not Making
Any More Appointments

Janet Kuypers, 09/04/06 #2

“I never thought that your mom
was really sick, it never occurred to me
that your mother was dying.
I saw her getting more and more sick,
but I didn’t think that meant anything...
You dad was taking your mom to the doctor
and he wanted someone to go with him,
she needed help walking,
getting to the office,
so my wife went with them.
They went to the doctor,
and they checked on your mother,
and they said,
“We’re not making any more appointments.”
And...
And that’s when it hit me,
even the doctors knew
she was near the end.”












Where the Blackberries
Came From

Janet Kuypers, 09/04/06 #3

At the parent’s house
they had blackberries left over
they’re my favorite fruit, you know
and when they reminded me
there were still blackberries in the refrigerator
I found them
and snarfed maybe over half of them down

and then I realized
that carton of blackberries
that label I saw
and read
was from the blackberries
my mom was adding
to her champagne

she added them to her champagne
and the champagne
wasn’t champagne she liked
Cooks, or something like that
so I hear she ate the blackberries
out of her glass
so her blackberries
were soaked in cheap champagne

but she was eating

that’s what I hear

but I was snarfing blackberries
from the carton of blackberries
my mother was eating from
the night before she died

and I stared at the label
on that carton
wondering if she looked at that carton
or if dad pulled the blackberries out
for my mother’s champagne
for her to eat

but
that was irrelevant
because she ate from these
and I was eating from them
like they were my favorite fruit
and nothing else in the world mattered












Even Though I Didn’t See It

Janet Kuypers, 09/04/06 #4

I’ve been walking around here
in this mobile home park
and I was told that for days
the flag at the base of the park here
was at half mast
for my mother’s death

of course, once they told me
the flag was back up

I thought the flag should only be
lowered like that
for someone in the military
or some high-ranking government official
but

but at least they did that for my mother
even though it was only for days
and even though I didn’t see it












Clouds Over Blue Sky’s

Janet Kuypers, 09/04/06 #5

I’ve been at my mother’s home
for a few days now
and I’ve noticed
that even at different time times of year
I’ve been in this hurricane-prone town
in the summer, the fall,
the winter, the spring
but I’ve noticed
that although it may be cloudy
for a day or two
the sky is sunny
that the skies are always blue
where my mother lives

But I’ve been here now
to my mother’s home
to put her life in order
after her death
and I’ve noticed
that now,
at Blue Sky’s Mobile Home Estates
the sky has always been cloudy

we’d look and occasionally find
minute patches of blue
among the dark gray clouds
but the sky has been cloudy gray

it can’t help it












It Hurts in the Bones

Janet Kuypers, 09/05/06 #2

“I didn’t realize
how much pain she was in

she got out of the house one day
and I did gardening her for,
she told me what weeds needed to be pulled
as she sat in the chair
in front of the house

she’d try to pull a weed up
if it was right by her chair

but she did that sparingly
and when I saw her,
I’d say,
mom, tell me what to do
and I’ll do it

she needed to go inside again
after a short while
and I think that was the most movement
she did for the rest of her life

I’d try to get her out of the house
you know, just to walk
maybe to the next house and back
and she’d always say no

and she looked like her neck hurt,
her back hurt
so I’d ask if if I could rub her neck or back

and she’d say no,

then she’d say
that wouldn’t help

and then she’d say
it hurts down in the bones

and we read this is one of the stages
of this disease

and I don’t know what it feels like
to hurt in your bones
something deeper than deep muscle pain
I
I can’t imagine it
I can’t imagine what it feels like

I think my mom
wouldn’t let on
about how much pain she was in

When the doctors told mom
she had six months to a year with this disease
my sister said to mom,
your father
(our grandfather)
had cancer
and the doctors said he had
six months to live.
how long did he live?
and mom replied,
six years.
so she tried to tell her
that we Bakutis are stong folk
and she can be okay if she fights

but I think mom was in so much pain
that she made a decision tight then and there
that she didn’t want that pain
deep down in her bones any more
and decided to let her enemy win.

we keep saying to people that it’s better
that she’s not suffering any more

emotionally, for us, we wish she was here

but we don’t want her to feel that pain anymore
and we keep telling everyone
that this is for the best.”












Wanting to Touch a Corpse

Janet Kuypers, 09/05/06 #3

I’m the youngest child in the family
and I wasn’t as close to mom as the other daughters
so after dad called to tell me mom died
and I told the rest of my siblings
my older two sisters rescheduled their flight
so they could see dad that night

I had already rescheduled my plane ticket
for the next morning
first hoping I’d be there in time to see mom
before she died
so I wasn’t going to pay a ton to change my ticket again
so I went to dad the next day

and mom didn’t want any services
she didn’t want anyone to see her dead like that
especially if she was getting more and more sick
before she died
so we held no public services for mom
but we held a small service for only the family

it was hard for me to agree
that for this service, and for her cremation
she should wear the dress she wore to my wedding
and the remains of that dress
would be mingled with her ashes forever
but I agreed that this could be a way to connect us

we entered the room
here her body lay
all stopped at the other end of the room
all I think too afraid to make the first steps
to see her laying in a coffin
and see her for the last time

dad finally walked to her and knelt before her
cried
what am I saying, we all cried

I waited for everyone else to see her
to have a moment with mom, kneel before her
before I went to her on my own
and when I knelt before her
and tried to think of what my family said,
about how thin she looked, how her skin hung
before she died

but she looked so peaceful there, relaxed
free from pain and dressed like and angel
for her private farewell
she just looked asleep, like I had often seen her
in her final months, but this time was was no longer
sleeping to avoid the pain, she found another way out

unlike the many times I had seen her sleeping when sick
she looked free of pain, free of the battle, at peace
and I didn’t want to stop looking at her

when she knew she was dying, I wrote her a letter
telling her that I just wanted to be able to
put my arms around her and hold her for a very long time
to show her that I loved her,
and that she meant that much to me
and it was like a part of me was unable to believe

she was dead
and I wanted to touch her hand, touch her cheek
just make some sort of contact with her once more
but
but I knew I wouldn’t be able to cope
with feeling her cold dead skin

and my family would be shocked and mortified
if I touched my mother, I knew I couldn’t do it
I saw the skin on her arms, the fingernails they painted
so she would look pretty for us, to ease our burden
when seeing our mother for the last time
and knew it wasn’t the skin of my living mother

I had to let her go, even if I couldn’t help
but keep crying












More Painful to Experience

Janet Kuypers, 09/06/06 #1

people will think it will get easier
you know, time heals all wounds
or some nonsense like that

I don’t know, maybe you’ll cry less
but I think the pain is still there
and you’ll never be able to shake it

but it’s been eight years
since the last time I encountered
and unjust death like this

and you’re right, I cry less now
from that first death
but it’s still extremely wrong that it happened

and it’s still extremely painful
no matter how I appear to react now

I never saw the first death
in his coffin
but this time I saw the death, the coffin

and I’m trying to figure out
which is more painful to experience
it doesn’t matter if it’s eight years ago

or now












Harder To Burn

Janet Kuypers, 09/06/06 #2

you know, you hear of goth teenagers
liking the idea of posters of caskets
or you see come Halloween
props of caskets at trick stores
and tacky novelty shops
or Hell, my husband even saved
a casket-shaped “Black Death” vodka bottle case

it’s funny, caskets

imagine Son of Svengouli
coming out of a casket
to introduce another B horror movie
(or was it Elvira
that came out of a casket?)
and hey, didn’t one of those tacky tv shows
I don’t know, The Munsters, I’m not sure
didn’t a show like that have someone
who was a vampire that slept in a coffin?

ah, the humor
of a carton for carrying a dead body

right now, all I can think of
is the cardboard-based casket
we chose for viewing my mother
before she was cremated
yes, there was a wood finish
possibly a veneer
but you don’t spend for a quality casket
for a cremation,
I mean, a better wood
is harder to burn

so settle for cardboard

ah, think of the novelty to caskets
when you’re forced to deal with them
so concretely, so practically, so literally
think of the novelty












Where Else Would I Be

Janet Kuypers, 09/08/06 #1

mom was in her second round of chemo
and the hospital was 55 miles away

so I couldn’t visit daily,
only weekly

so I’d call every day
to see how she was doing

and one day
I called in the afternoon

and she answered,
in a panicked voice

it sounded like she was crying,
and she said to me in a rushed tone,

“Call back in an hour”
I said okay, and she hung up the phone

my husband was home from work early
so he saw me in a panic from the call

we even drew a bath for me
to try to calm me down

and I told him what she said,
what she sounded like

and he tried to think
of every possibility

of why she sounded that way: maybe
she heard that her sister, my Aunt Sally died,

maybe she
maybe she got bad new about her health

but he tried to prepare me
for whatever mom was going to say

when I called her back

I kept checking the clock
and after almost exactly an hour, I called

mom sounded fine,
and before she explained anything to me,

she said,
“I’m glad you called me back”

of course I’d call back —
what else could I do?

and I responded in shock,
why wouldn’t I call her back?

I wanted to know what the problem was
and she told me

she had a bad reaction
to the medication they just gave her

and her teeth were chattering
and she couldn’t speak

so the nurses were coming
to give her something for the side effects

so she was fine
and I had nothing to worry about

###

mom was doing well
for having only so many months to live

we had high hopes for her
and thought she could beat the odds,

doctors said two to six
months, but maybe up to a year

and she was almost in remission
from the first round if chemo

so we were sure she could survive
for over a year if she wanted to

and so I planned a trip
to see my parents at their home in Florida

my oldest sister planned to visit
one month later

we had all these great plans

but dad called, less than a week
before I was flying to see them

said mom’s not doing well
I should change my flight, come earlier

lucky me, hurricane Ernesto
was coming, I mean, it is hurricane season

so I scheduled my flight
for the first day the airlines would let me

my mom died
while that hurricane was coming through

when violence was supposed to hit
our shores, our home, bring destruction

but the hurricane
didn’t touch shore, so we were safe

well, even though my mom died
they were as safe as they could be

and all of the brothers and sisters
rushed to my mom and dad’s home,

too say good bye to mom
to be there for dad

and all of the neighbors
kept seeing us there, giving condolences

and most of them said to us,
it’s good that you could be here

and our response is always,
where else would we be

I stayed longer
to help my dad function

without mom

and still, people see me and say
it’s good that you could stay here

and my response is always,
where else would I be












Making the Bed

Janet Kuypers, 09/08/06 #2

so I’m staying in the house with dad now
for maybe two weeks, to make sure he’s okay
to make sure he’s not alone
the first eighteen days
after mom died

and I remember, because the bed
in the kid’s room,
when the door was open,
faced the entranceway to their house
so anyone coming over
would see if our bed was made or not

so it’s a rule at this house,
make you bed before you leave your room
every morning
you know, so the house doesn’t look so messy

so it’s my second day here with dad alone
and I make my bed, and I’m sure
he doesn’t really care, but
it’s something you really should do here

even if mom isn’t around to tell me anymore

and I remembered this morning
that mom would always make their bed
after dad left in the morning
she had a system down
for making their king sized bed

but as they got older, dad had trouble
sleeping on his back all night
so at a local rummage sale, mom bought
one of those twin-sized hospital beds
where you can control the inclination
of your back for a restful night’s sleep
you know, so dad could sleep
sitting up a bit more, and mom
could still rest on the twin-sized bed
right next to him

so, when dad was walking though the house today
I asked him,
I know mom usually does this,
but would you want your bed made?

and he walked into his bedroom with me,
showed how he has an egg carton mattress
under his sheets on his hospital bed,
and said that the fitted sheets often pull
out from the top of the bed, you know,
probably because the bed is always inclined
when he sleeps

so we lifted both fitted sheet corners
on his bed
and pulled the egg carton pad up
as high as we could
then put the sheet back on

then dad said,
you don’t have to do much more,
if you want to pull the sheets and blankets up,
that’s your call

and he walked out of his bedroom
and I started to pull the sheets up
on his side of the bed,
noticed that they tugged on mom’s twin bed
at his bed side
then I pulled the blanket up
and had to walk around
to mom’s side of the bed
the left side, the same way
I sleep with my husband
to pull the blankets up evenly,
to fix her two pillows
resting on her side of the bed

and

and I know he can’t be alone
and I know he’d never want to
remove mom’s twin bed,
or even remove mom’s pillows
from her side of the bed
but
but it’s just hard
to see so many reminders of mom’s existence
in places you wouldn’t expect to look

excuse me,
I have to dry my tears now












Cardboard Bending At WalMart

Janet Kuypers, 09/08/06 #3

I’m with my dad now, for a few weeks
helping him adjust to mom passing
he’s learned how to make the coffee
he’s learned how to use the dishwasher
he says he’s learned how to wash clothes
though I haven’t seen him wash clothes yet

and he’s started going to WalMart now
because they have a good price
on the cans of chicken broth
he drinks every night
instead of having another
Grand Suzette liquor drink
before he goes to bed

okay, sometimes he has two cans of soup
before he goes to bed

you see, he opens the can of soup
and pours half of it into an insulated
plastic cup
and heats that cup in the microwave
for three minutes thirty-three seconds
(it’s easier to press 333 for the time)
then he takes out the hot soup,
and pours the remaining unheated soup
into the plastic cup
so it’s the correct temperature

(don’t ask,
this is just how he does it)

and we’re used to visiting him
and when he wants to have a glass of soup
we open a can for him,
pour half of it into a glass,
heat it, add the cold soup
and bring him his drink

well, he’s learned to go to WalMart now
especially because they supply
free electric carts
for those who don’t want to walk through
the labyrinth of aisles in the SuperStore

well, he’s learned to go to WalMart now
because they have the cheapest prices
for cans of soup

###

I remember going to WalMart with mom
for soup for dad
and she’d find the lowest price
and the stock boys would leave opened boxes
for 18 packs
or 24 packs
of soup en masse
and we’d but one opened cardboard box,
maybe two
so that dad wouldn’t have to worry
about running of of his soup

###

So were were at WalMart
dad in his slow-moving little electric cart
me slowing down my pace to stay with him
it was a SuperStore, so I got tomatoes
and Mike’s Hard Lemonade
and Saltines for dad there

and we passed the pasta aisle,
and dad hates paste with a passion,
but I said that mom used to have flavored
packs of pasta
that could be be prepared ready-made
for a meal
so I ran down the aisle
to look for what mom always bought

they didn’t have it
I searched
so I had to settle for something close
to what she always had

###

we got to the soup aisle for dad
he picked out one that he remembered drinking
I think it was a more expensive soup
and then I pulled out the cheapest soup,
remembering the label
and said
I think this is the one you have at home

he agreed
and there was one opened cardboard box
left of his soup of choice
like I did in the past with mom,
I tried to see if I could lift the box
to put the whole box in our cart
his electric cart and chair
that was so hot
because it was outside
in the Florida sun
but the box started to buckle
when I tried to pick it up,
and a can or two tipped over

I realized then
I couldn’t do things like I did before
and moved all of his cans
one by one into his cart
before we could pay and go home












Flowers on the Tables

Janet Kuypers, 09/09/06 #1

“It’s funny, every year
me and Janet host the hot dog dinner
every Labor Day,
and Janet said to me,
this is the first year
there were no flowers on the tables.
Your mother, every year,
would take flowers from bushes,
red centers, real pretty,
and place them in water at all the tables
for people when they came to eat.
This is the first year
there were no flowers on the tables.”












Wearing Her Jewelry

Janet Kuypers, 09/09/06 #2

So I’m here in Florida now
with dad, while he settles in
to life without mom
and I put on jewelry for dinner tonight
put on the only ring
I wear on my middle right finger now
mom’s huge blue topaz
she gave me when she decided to
stop the leukemia treatment

and it made me think
of what jewelry I wore
to her private services

you see, we had to sift through
her costume jewelry
once I got to Florida
to pick and choose through what we wanted
I didn’t want her watches
(I have too much of a love affair
with my Tag Heuer, sorry)
and I didn’t want most
of her clip on earrings
(she never wanted pierced earrings,
she hated the idea)
but one pair of earring she ordered
was pretty, and simple
they were a pair of earrings she ordered
when she found out she was sick

it was what she bought
when she felt bad
the she was struck with cancer again

and the earrings didn’t come in the mail
so she was going to reorder them
but said to my sister,
oh,
get the earrings as pierced
and keep them for yourself

but when they got back to her town
her clip on earrings were there
waiting for her anyway

so these earrings were ones she bought
because she felt bad
because she was sick
and had to face cancer again

so I kept those earrings

I picked something else to keep
a silver chain, with a pendant
of mock diamond studs
in a heart shape
there were two pieces of glass
in the center of this heart
locking in a few loose
mock diamond studs
that could move around
within the heart

and I thought it was uncanny
that I owned a silver ring
with a silver circle
and there were two pieces of glass
in the center of this circle
locking in a few loose
mock diamond studs
that could move around
within the circle in my ring

and so I picked only a select few pieces
of my mother’s jewelry to keep

and when we were going
to my mother’s private services
my sister asked me,
“are you wearing that
heart-shaped necklace
of mom’s?”
I only showed her the jewelry on my neck
and didn’t say a word

I know, there are only a few pieces I keep
but I wear them like tombstones
and I shouldn’t need words
to explain that












Story Telling

Janet Kuypers, 09/09/06 #3

Your see, my mom, eleven years ago
had breast cancer
and the three girls
flew to visit her at her home
across the country
and mom felt bad
that shouldn’t make our trip better
because she just found out
she had cervical cancer too

but we couldn’t have come
at a better time
and she had procedures
she had surgeries
and she had a radical hysterectomy
and then the cancer was gone
she was in the clear

so for a decade
she went to the doctor
and they found no cancer in her
and all seemed well
she had beaten
a killer

###

when I was almost killed
in a car accident
and I had head trauma
no fractured bones,
except my skull
they never told me
just my family
but not me, the patient
that I’m expected
to have a seizure
within six months of my accident

I had a grand mal seizure
seven months after
I was almost killed

no one explained to me
what was happening
and I had to figure it out
as I went along

###

well, a decade after
her bouts with cancer
she went back to the doctor,
had a fever, felt tired
and they said,
well, it’s funny,
you’ve got all the symptoms
and most women who have had
as much cancer in their history
as you’ve had
well, you’re likely to have
leukemia

###

well, she did

###

and when she found out
at her home in south west Florida
she traveled to
University of Chicago Hospital
(they’re a good hospital, you know)
and she got prepped for chemo
was in the hospital shorter than me
(damnit, I shouldn’t be
so self-centered that way)
and had chemo
lost her hair
(with her new crew cut,
as her hair grew back
she looked just like her brother,
Uncle Pete, from this army photos)
and the doctors said she was in remission

now, this leukemia is a tricky thing
cancer of the blood
versus cancer of an organ
it was easier when you could
just remove an organ
and leave it at that
but this was cancer in her blood
and the cancer crept into her bone marrow
and they had to periodically
drill into her hip bone
for a bone marrow biopsy
to see if there was any cancer
in her bone marrow

fun job,
drilling into her hip bone

you wonder why there are so many
hip replacement surgeries now
well, look at how doctors test now

a little bone pulled here,
a little bone pulled there

well anyway, the doctors said
she was in remission
(happy happy, joy joy)
but because this cancer-of-the-blood thing
was tricky
they’re going to give her
another round of chemo
just to be on the safe side
because you know, if people
don’t go through this extra round
of chemo
the leukemia is more likely to come back

so mom took the chemo
and she recovered
at my sister’s house
until she was well enough
to go back home
and recoup in her own home

I visited her in her recoup time
just shy of my parent’s fifty sixth
wedding anniversary

bought the cologne dad would give mom
for their anniversary
while I was visiting

she hoped that when her hair grew back
after the chemo
it would grow back curly
and it was
she was so used to having a hairdresser
style her hair into a bee hive
and she’d have to sleep on her nose
to keep her hair style in place
until her next hairdresser appointment

so her hair was curling now
she bought curling hair gel
she wore a little white hat
(we always could pull off
looking good in hats)
and curled the ends of her new short hair
around her little cap

she looked so cute

mom would work in the mornings
run errands, get groceries
and by lunchtime she would be tired
so she’d watch her soap operas

but who can blame her,
she’s still recovering
from all the chemo Hell
she went through

all of her neighbors said,
it’s amazing how well she’s doing
after all she’s gone through

and they were right

###

a month after I left from visiting
mom started to feel tired,
feverish
so dad took her to the doctor
and they said,
Silly us,
she wasn’t in remission

they wanted to put her in hospice care immediately
and she looked at dad,
and they both instantly agreed
they’re not giving up that easily
so back to the University of Chicago hospitals

more chemo for mom
a different chemical this time
so she won’t lose her hair
but after she went through the chemo again
they found no change in her condition

and then they said,
“you’ve got two choices:
because you’re immune to chemo now
you can go for experimental treatments,
or you can decide to stop treatment”

she said,
“I don’t want hospitals anymore”
so she made her choice

and the doctors said
she had two to six months to live
maybe as long as a year
and I said to her
as she was getting platelets
at the Hospital,
“When your father had cancer,
doctors gave him six months to live.
How long did he live?”
and she said
six years
so this was something
she could beat
we Bakutis come from a strong stock
we can do anything

I know we can

###

well, I don’t think she wanted to fight
I think the pain in her bones
was too strong
and I think she was tired
of fighting a battle
she couldn’t win
so she let it take over

they said two to six months
and she lived just shy of three

she struggled through it all
not telling us about her pain

just taking her medicine,
so to speak
and hoping everythin g would just kill her
and get it over with

and

and I think emotionally
she made the choice
despite us

###

and now I sit and write this story
and my father is sleeping
in front of the tv
in his lounge chair next to me
he says it’s more comfortable there
to fall asleep
and I’m listening to his breathing
while he sleeps
and I hear him panting
every thirty seconds
while he sleeps
like he’s having nightmares
about it all still

and as I tell this story
there’s still a panic in the air
even while we sleep












A Little Angel Inside

Janet Kuypers, 09/11/06 #3

it seems strange,
that on the day the towers fell five years ago
where every television station and newspaper
is praising our resolve for all of the death
that has been forced upon us
well, it seems strange
that this is the day the death certificates
became available from Fuller Funeral Home
and this is the day we pick up my mother’s ashes

seems eerily strange

my sister is holding some ashes
to be made into a diamond from mom
so they came to us with a small container for her
and a larger cardboard box of all of mom

and Kristina from Fuller Funeral Home
even handed me a small maroon bag
tied tightly shut
and she whispered to me,
“these are your mother’s earrings”

I knew the dress we chose for her
the dress she wore to my wedding
would be burned with her in her cremation
but it never occurred to me
that the earring would survive

and here they are,
in a little velour bag for me

like how people try to keep something
from the fall of the World Trade centers
who lived through that horrendous day
well, I think, maybe this is what I’ll keep

if anyone argue about them
I’ll say,
I lost her dress
from my wedding
for the cremation
so these earrings are a gift to me now
sorry

I know, they’re clip-on earrings
and they’re not real diamonds
but they are three pretty little stones
today, tomorrow and forever
and they look so dainty and delicate
and they’re a good way for me to remember her

when we left Fuller Funeral Home today
dad carried the paperwork, the death certificates
and I carried mom with us
in her little containers
and I think I held that little red bag
like there was a little angel inside
and I had to be delicate
to make sure nothing happened to it
because I was it’s keeper now
I’ll treat it well
and treasure it always
I promise












Just Let Her Rest

Janet Kuypers, 09/11/06 #4

it was heavy
heavy the way I felt
after I let the news sink in
that my mother died

my sister told me
to take mom’s ashes

ashes of her coffin,
and ashes of the dress
she wore to my wedding

the ashes were so heavy

so we were at Fuller Funeral Home today
and we asked if the ashes were ready

they brought mom to us
a smaller container,
a larger container
sealed tightly

along with all the necessary paperwork
to prove that yes,
these are my mother’s ashes
this is really it

and I carried mom out to the car
with my dad
so we could bring mom home
one more time

mom sat in my lap at first,
then at my feet
for a safer journey

she’s resting on my bed right now
all tightly wrapped up
like she was covered, in a blanket
because she used to get cold

there are a few polyester/
cotton button-down tops
we keep in the hallway closet
you know, for additional warmth
for mom

we kept them in the closet still
because the kids visit
and I’ve even been wearing one of them
because I get cold
in the air conditioning
in the afternoons here

we keep some of these things around
like her crocheted blankets
because she’d get cold sometimes

and maybe I can think
she’s resting now on my bed
her ashes in plastic
like a blanket around her
to keep her warm
and to keep her together

###

I probably sound delirious
talking this way
but saying these things
makes it easier to handle right now

I don’t want to think
that my mother’s remains
are now only ashes
in a plastic bag
closed with a little white twist-tie
in a cardboard box
on top of my bed

I don’t want to think of it that way
really

I’d rather think
she’s resting now
before I bring her back
to where she used to live

she’s my mom
I even just had to put her
under the blankets
you know, with a little room at the top
her her head
wherever it may be

I even had to put my arms around her
like I wanted to do
while she was still alive,
dying
so I even put my arms around her
and cried

so give her a rest
she’s needed it for so long
just let her rest












About the Author

Janet Kuypers has a Communications degree in News/Editorial Journalism (starting in computer science engineering studies) from the UIUC. She had the equivalent of a minor in photography and specialized in creative writing. A portrait photographer for years in the early 1990s, she was also an acquaintance rape workshop facilitator, and she started her publishing career as an editor of two literary magazines. Later she was an art director, webmaster and photographer for a few magazines for a publishing company in Chicago, and this Journalism major was even the final featured poetry performer of 15 poets with a 10 minute feature at the 2006 Society of Professional Journalism Expo’s Chicago Poetry Showcase. This certified minister was even the officiant of a wedding in 2006.
She sang with acoustic bands “Mom’s Favorite Vase”, “Weeds and Flowers” and “the Second Axing”, and does music sampling. Kuypers is published in books, magazines and on the internet around 9,300 times for writing, and over 17,800 times for art work in her professional career, and has been profiled in such magazines as Nation and Discover U, won the award for a Poetry Ambassador and was nominated as Poet of the Year for 2006 by the International Society of Poets. She has also been highlighted on radio stations, including WEFT (90.1FM), WSUM (91.7FM), WZRD (88.3FM), WLS (8900AM), the internet radio stationsArtistFirst dot com, chicagopoetry.com’s Poetry World Radio and Scars Internet Radio (SIR), and was even shortly on Q101 FM radio. She has also appeared on television for poetry in Nashville (in 1997), Chicago (in 1997), and northern Illinois (in a few appearances on the show for the Lake County Poets Society in 2006). Kuypers was also interviewed on her art work on Urbana’s WCIA channel 3 10 o’clock news.
She turned her writing into performance art on her own and with musical groups like Pointless Orchestra,” “5D/5D” and “Order From Chaos,” and starting in 2005 Kuypers ran a monthly iPodCast of her work, as well as an Internet radio station (JK Radio) — she even manages the Chaotic Radio show (an hour long Internet radio show) through BZoO.org and chaoticarts.org. She has performed spoken word and music across the country - in the spring of 1998 she embarked on her first national poetry tour, with featured performances, among other venues, at the Albuquerque Spoken Word Festival during the National Poetry Slam; her bands have had concerts in Chicago and in Alaska; in 2003 she hosted and performed at a weekly poetry and music open mike (called Sing Your Life), and from 2002 through 2005 was a featured performance artist, doing quarterly performance art shows with readings, music and images.
In addition to being published with Bernadette Miller in the short story collection book Domestic Blisters, as well as in a book of poetry turned to prose with Eric Bonholtzer in the book Duality, Kuypers has had many books of her own published: Hope Chest in the Attic, The Window, Close Cover Before Striking, (woman.) (spiral bound), Autumn Reason (novel in letter form), the Average Guy’s Guide (to Feminism), Contents Under Pressure, etc., and eventually The Key To Believing (2002 650 page novel), Changing Gears (travel journals around the United States), The Other Side (European travel book), The Boss Lady’s Editorials, The Boss Lady’s Editorials2005 Expanded Edition, Seeing Things Differently, Change/Rearrange, Death Comes in Threes, Moving Performances, Six Eleven, Live at Cafe Aloha, Dreams, Rough Mixes, The Entropy Project, The Other Side (2006 edition), Stop., Sing Your Life, the hardcover art book (with an editorial) in cc&d v165.25, cc&d v167.5, as the Kuypers edition of Writings to Honour & Cherish (with an additional editorial), The Kuypers Edition: Blister and Burn, S&M, and cc&d v170.5, as the Kuypers edition of Distinguished Writings (with an additional editorial). Three collection books were also published of her work in 2004, Oeuvre (poetry), Exaro Versus (prose) and L’arte (art).