5/22/15

For My Town's Convenient Store Clerks

When I did a job restoring houses from fire, flood and certain fluids,
the supervisory told me they would have to do over all my work, that I was going too fast.
The next day the company had a meeting with all of us using me as an example of how not to clean.
This is just a day in the life of Sheri Grutz. So, I stayed there 2 days, and my temp co. boss said, if they are going over your work and telling you you are not doing a good enough job, maybe you should quit. So I did. Now I don't have a job.
I have fucked up plenty of jobs on my own either due to depression, syncope, crap job that I didn't feel like doing, but a lot of times there is some sort of reaction toward or around me. Others in my jobs will sense my vulnerability through my online presence or rumor, and they will mind fuck me, until I quit. I cause this with my poetry friends. I have not hung out with them for months. They will write biting things about me, causing the schizophrenic to panic. My other male friend, I am grateful to have him as a friend as we can talk about targeting, Amen, somebody who doesn't turn their head and walk away, but inadvertently our conversation will get around to talking about sex in the news or opinions, and he enjoys forcing me to have to think about and dwell on sex, and he gets a big kick out of this. These are my friends.
Many other supervisors might know about my blog, targeting, or mental illness and say things like, why do you want to work here? Jobs I really want like at Goodwill, I'm looked over, not good enough, and then I end up suffering because they didn't open the door to me and I get more and more into situations of abuse.
My neighbors avoid me, hate me, don't want to engage with me. Nobody in my state has ever come to my aid with targeting. Nobody in my family has come to my aid with targeting. There is not one good person who hasn't remained silent while I was being tortured. Since I am in an experiment, my physical body is being used against my will for things I have no idea about. 20 years and I don't deserve the truth about how they are using my body.
Men in dating all want to fuck, that's it. Men I show interest in other places go on on about how great other women are in their life, and can't believe that a woman like that exists. Who cares? No one. I don't even know if I do. But when the clerks at the convenient store give me that look, like, wow, when are you gonna stop drinking, maybe they should read this post. I drink to help the next let down. And the major one now is getting out of targeting by June 1st. I have decided that if there is no visible sign of changes in my life by that point, I'm giving up on God. I'm losing my religion anyway, but it will gone for good very soon. Keep 'em sick, keep 'em in the dark, keep 'em alive though, but keep 'em under radar.
My pulse is so low I was thinking last night in bed that my heart would just stop. It would be a quick, peaceful, painless way to go. but instead I woke up.

5/21/15

When I Wake Up Tomorrow and Targeting Doesn't End

It was like when I passed out, or had a seizure from syncope, and I woke up with a medic over me, and I should have asked him then to declare me dead. But just dead in theory, so they leave alone. I think it's like an unofficial, let's end targeting party. And it's going to happen this weekend. I don't know if I should just pretend it is happening like that. But then I'd be truly schizophrenic.

Suffering hard today with syncope, now sweating and cold, shivering, tingling down my spine, hands are balloons, head is in dizzy mode almost passing out, like a bad drunk or something, like a bad LSD trip. There will be vomiting. There will be stomach pain and uterus pain from fibroids. There is direct energy gas, and there is frightening people online who might be antagonizing me or it might all be imaginary.

But tomorrow or sometime this weekend, we can kind of pretend then that targeting is ending. That monarches who have been sexually toyed with as tools of aversion and study will definitely fall in love for real though it's only pretend. I know it doesn't end. But it will be this total way of taking a turn into freedom. I just might dance all weekend. I took all grass and shade today on our walk, no sidewalk. I just might turn over a new leaf. Yep, it's the end. How does it feel?

Stuck in Patterns (An all-silent play)

Stuck in Patterns or Show Me the Money

An all-silent play by Sheri Grutz

Characters

WOMAN (in summer dress, canvas shoes)
ZOMBIES (half dead, gruesome looking)

Lights up on Zombies walking the floor in a huge yellow circular pattern winding in til it gets smaller and smaller. In the center of the circle exists a huge money machine, or a jackpot, set on the floor. Woman in her 40's walks up to them, sees the money, and the following persists.

ZOMBIES
walking slow

WOMAN
walks slow, keeps time with them, walking along side them outside the circle

ZOMBIES
get smaller and smaller near center of circle, each drops dollar bills into the jackpot, starts over again from the outside of the circle

WOMAN
tries to get to the money pot, but they crowd her in, she is stuck and can't breath: she screams: “Help, I'm stuck in patterns!”

ZOMBIES
push her out of the circle. She stands bewildered looking at them and the process of their going round and round in this circle.

WOMAN
she then tries to speed them up, runs along side of them, tries pulling them along, but they brush her off, they maintain the same speed and distance from each other. She tries putting hats on them that she finds on a table on the stage.

ZOMBIES
They very methodically remove the hats and send them sailing into the audience.

WOMAN
Stand outside the circle, arms folded, disgusted, pouting.

ZOMBIES
continue getting smaller in the center of circle and then dropping dollar bills into jack pot.

WOMAN
reaches in her pocket and pulls out coins. She tries throwing them into the jack pot, and they bounce all over the place

ZOMBIES
stop. Each one stands facing the audience and pulls a quarter out from behind their ear. They throw them out into the audience. Then they continue walking around in the pattern.

WOMAN
growing tired. She decides to get in line and follow along with the Zombies.

ZOMBIES
Each one places a hand on the shoulder of the Zombie in front of them, and the Woman is included. Cue music. “Come on ride the train,” then the Zombies smile for the first time, and start kicking in line doing the dance.

WOMAN
crawls out, and nears the jackpot. She tries lifting it. It's too heavy.

ZOMBIES
are now bumping hips, and they bump hips with the Woman and she goes sailing out of the circle.

WOMAN
music is cut off and the woman waits.

ZOMBIES
go back to walking in the pattern, dead pan faces.

WOMAN
takes a bunch of long stemmed flowers from table and hands one to each Zombie.

ZOMBIES
they smile, stop walking, smell the flower, then one by one throw them out into the audience. They resume walking in the circle.

WOMAN
hands each Zombie a small plastic cup of water. (people in the audience moan)

ZOMBIES
pretend to drink, but don't. Each one by one throws in out into the audience. It's confetti. They go back to walking the pattern, getting smaller, dropping bills into jack pot.

WOMAN
points with both hands to her chest saying: “What about me?”

ZOMBIES
look over at her randomly, bug eyed.

WOMAN
spins around each Zombie causing them to spin too.

ZOMBIES
They each spin out of the circle, and then fall down.

WOMAN
jumps up and down and says, “Yes! Now it's all mine.” She walks to center of the circle without going around and around in the pattern. She pushes the jack pot out of the center of the circle.

ZOMBIES
they go haywire. Spin in circles again, trying to find the pattern they were in, walking in sort of semi circles around the stage. They get smaller and smaller, then drop then stuff the dollar bills into their chest pockets. They search the stage, they are a chaotic mess. One starts saying, “Imploding! Imploding!” Then each one says it, and they join in in chorus. Suddenly each one jumps, crashes down to stage and dies.

WOMAN
Looks very surprised. She very carefully walks over to each Zombie and removes the dollar bills from their chest pockets. She stands. Waits. Feels bad. She very slowly helps each Zombie get to their feet, and they look visibly damaged. She walks each Zombie to the beginning of the circle. There is a row of about 6 of them, and they all hook arms. Cue music, “We're off to see the wizard,” and they skip all the way around the circle.

Lights out. The end.

Support

I read a poem once in which the poet said something like, it becomes apparent just how little good my writing has done anyone around me.

I get some support from my friends, encouragement, but I think everyone in my family wishes I wouldn't be an artist.

It's not something I have much control over, I have to do it.

5/20/15

New World Order (An all-silent play)

New World Order:

( An all-silent play) by Sheri Grutz

Characters

MAN (older wearing a suit and tie)
WOMAN (his protege, or secretary, wearing dress)
YOUNG MAN (early 20's, jeans and sweatshirt and back pack)
EXTRAS: judge, cops, waitress, Ups guy

Lights up on half the stage as a courtroom where the 3 of them sit with Man on the end, Woman next to him, and Young Man next to her in a row with more seats all facing the audience. There is a judge facing to the actors right, asleep. There are at least two cops, one near the judge, and one behind the seats and they are wearing shades standing very still. The Man and the Woman are facing the audience with their heads turned to their right, and every movement they make, they never stop looking right. The Young Man is looking all around, nervous. The other half of the stage is set as a city backdrop with 3-seated bus set up facing the audience, basic chairs, a bus driver elevated facing near the audience, overweight, with head phones on. There is a door into a coffee house, and outside there is one small table with one small chair. Action.

MAN
sneezes

WOMAN
sneezes

YOUNG MAN
hiccups (he smiles big, gets no response, and then frowns)

pause.

MAN
jerks an arm

WOMAN
jerks an arm

YOUNG MAN
sees them, and then sits on his hand

pause.

MAN
gets up quickly and gets dizzy visibly

WOMAN
does the same right after him

YOUNG MAN
(tries not to get bothered) he stretches, then slowly gets up, not dizzy, shrugs his shoulders. does the they walk out to the bus, and stand waiting.

MAN
checks his watch

WOMAN
checks her watch

YOUNG MAN
watches them, then looks directly up at the sky

pause. They get on the bus.

MAN
sits in the aisle seat

WOMAN
sits right behind him

YOUNG MAN
stands in the aisle

pause. They get off the bus.

MAN
goes into coffee house

WOMAN
goes into same coffee house

YOUNG MAN
sits outside

pause. They meet up. They walk in place like walking down the street. Man in lead, Woman following him, Young Man looking all around, nervously following her.

MAN
checks his phone

WOMAN
checks her phone

YOUNG MAN
looks in the mirror on the side of the building, shocked, he runs off the stage in a panic.

Man and Woman march off stage. The 3 come back on stage one following the other and sit back down in the courtroom where they were in the beginning.

YOUNG MAN
tries to keep looking right, but too preoccupied

MAN
sneezes

WOMAN
sneezes

YOUNG MAN
tries to sneeze, almost sneezes, waits for it, then sneezes (he smiles, looks back to his right following the Man and the Woman)

pause.

MAN
jerks an arm

WOMAN
jerks an arm

YOUNG MAN
jerks a leg, then tries holding it still, waits for it, then jerks an arm

pause.

MAN
stands up quickly and gets dizzy

WOMAN
stands up quickly and gets dizzy

YOUNG MAN
stands and doesn't get dizzy, then jumps and up down from sitting to standing, then gets dizzy (smiles slightly)

pause. They wait for the bus.

MAN
sits in aisle seat

WOMAN
sits directly behind him

YOUNG MAN
sits directly behind her

Bus driver turns on the radio. It is the first noise in the play. It is static the whole time, but right when the 3 exit the bus, it becomes clear music.

MAN
goes into coffee house

WOMAN
goes into coffee house

YOUNG MAN
holds the door for her then goes into coffee house

They come out of the coffee house, and walk in place like walking down the street.

MAN
checks his phone

WOMAN
checks her phone third one

YOUNG MAN
pulls out his hand and checks it, then back into his pocket, again his hand, then finally, his phone, and he checks it. He sees something on the phone about him, screams silently and runs off stage.

Man and Woman march off stage. Back to beginning, sitting side by side.

YOUNG MAN
picks up his chair and moves it into the aisle to be first in the row. He sneezes.

MAN and WOMAN
turn their heads and stare at him

YOUNG MAN
raises his eyebrows

Then the lights start flashing, sirens go off, judge hits mallet and screams order, order! cop comes out with sign that says Out of Order, and he walks back and forth across the stage. judge screams Order, order. Waitress comes up to the Young Man: May I take your order? Wild stage. Ups guy comes up to Young Man: Here is your order, sir. Judge screams, Order, order! Young Man in front of line now becomes overwhelmed and confused, and he goes back to where he was sitting then everyone runs away and there is peace and calm. Back to beginning. All three are staring right,

MAN
sneezes

WOMAN
sneezes

YOUNG MAN
(very serious now, and in line) sneezes

Pause.

MAN
jerks an arm

WOMAN
jerks an arm

YOUNG MAN
jerks an arm

pause.

MAN
stands quickly and gets dizzy

WOMAN
does the same

YOUNG MAN
does the same

They all checks their watches one after the other, then resume looking right waiting for the bus. They get on the bus and ride one in front of the other. They ride the bus, all 3 looking right. The Young Man turns his head and looks out into audience. Lights out. The end.


Why We Hate Republican Governors

Terry Branstad is tightening the belt, and has decided that means services for special needs populations, mental health, and other programs for disabled are taking too much of the money, so my son's case manager is losing her job, and he and will probably end up giving a tax break to those making over 200K a year. This is why it is highly unlikely that I will ever vote for a Republican.

5/19/15

May (be) June

This week I'll write two more sketches, and then take another break.

In June I have planned up to three child's stories, a short story series on Annie's Parents, and a poetry series on the human body. There will also be sketches, and more Poem-Stories. Stay with me!

Another myth

They say,

"Oh when you get out of targeting you are going to lose all your powers, you will find that you won't be able to write anymore. So, you're gonna have to decide, to go on being a writer, or to lose the surveillance and electronic hold and lose your passion."

I think this might be a story of mine coming up in the next couple of months. Unless you want to write it.

What's In a Future

After I dropped out of college at Iowa, got pregnant, had my kids, sitting in cheap apartments in DeWitt, living on welfare, I took some classes on bettering my life, and there was an assessment on my best suited field to go into, and it all said: Creative. So, I paid off my Ubill, re-enrolled and moved us to Iowa City. Shortly after, I was in the workshop and met Peter Richards, Marc Rahe, Joel Craig, and Paul Stanslaw.

Feet

I don't have a lot of information of my early years, but I do know that I was born with a club foot, or a left foot totally turned in, and while I was learning to walk and there after, I had to wear special correctable shoes with a flat steel bar connecting them. There is like one or two pictures of me sitting on the lap of an uncle or an aunt where I am wearing these. It's not something I can recall, but why they thought this was a good idea is beyond me. I think my mother was told I would always need to wear special shoes, but of course I didn't. I would really prefer to wear tennis shoes every day. Then about 12 years ago I developed plantar fascia. I do believe I got this from being a runner, but also from dancing on a threadbare floor for years in a basement, and doing all kinds of jobs in factories and waitressing on my feet. I now have plaster insoles I try to wear every day. My daughter has pitted edema, or swollen feet. She can't wear a lot of dress shoes. It's only in her feet. She has been tested for heart problems, vitamin deficency or any other related problem, but no one knows why she has this. For both she and I, nothing with our feet has stopped us from doing anything we want to do.

5/17/15

The Military Sober

The Military Sober
by Sheri Grutz

There was a time when Warren Winborn would have given every cent in his bank account for a drink, feeling the pull of the mind heave its way from the body like a barge, and needing to lighten the load, with the ease of having that power again to carry on. But things changed once he started working for the government with clients on Medicaid and disabled, offering them services, home visits, counseling, recreation, anything to better themselves, and the joy was that it too was working for him, it was doing a number on him.

He went to Marcy's house that had been listed on the market for over a year, and he heard her tell it that soon she wouldn't be able to eat, soon she would have to sell her jewelry, soon she would just walk away and stop making any kind of payment at all. Warren did what he could to help her, seeing if USDA would swallow her loan and offer her a fixed mortgage based on her income, getting her heat and energy assistance, he got her hooked up with working for food vouchers to the Referral Center by taking in donations, pricing items, organizing the pantry. She was a success story. She had schizophrenia.

“I think I will take down my listing,” she told him when he came to go over her accounts. The kitchen table sticking with humidity bringing out the smell of the wood.

“Really? Why, Marcy, I do believe that you can make it too.”

“I'm doing studies for the clinic, it's a year long program, should bring in a couple thousand.”

“Oh, that's nice. I'm feeling like that's got potential for looking good on a resume, and then you can take over my job.”

“Ha, Warren, I just might too.”

One day Warren realized that he had stopped drinking, it was a Sunday and he was on his way to the park with his dog, and he thought something seemed strange, like a tree he had never remembered seeing before. Then he saw into his own life and realized that he was so busy with clients, so turned outward to help them, that it worked on him internally, it became his saving grace.

He went into the office to get updates on clients, to fill up on forms, to find out when the next all staff meeting was, and Alicia was there. She was sitting at the reception desk giving him that look like, “I knew you were coming.” She was wearing clothes that looked more California than Iowa, with low cleavage and tight pants that made him instantly want to sleep with her, and he felt that old familiar feeling of just the right amount of loneliness set into his heart like warm working hands of a woman who wraps one around his member and doesn't play, that sullen, excitable feeling of attraction.

“I got the exit questionnaire from Phil, he was hoping that we would do errands for him, and felt that Medicaid had fooled him. I think you should call him and explain that Medicare can help with that. Some day we will coordinate both programs,” she seemed to be talking to the air and not him, but when he realized she was talking to him, he back tracked in what he heard to know how to respond.

“I asked Peggy if I could that for Mr. Johnson but she said it would be a liability since it's medications he was mainly after. The pharmacy offers delivery, but the payment for that comes from Medicare, I do believe.”

“Yeah, he's going to move in with his cousin, and I hope that this person can accommodate.” She was at the fax machine, looked up at Warren, smiled, and said. “He gave you a good review. He will recommend you to others.”

Warren remembered Phil's panic attacks, his lack of use of the internet, and how difficult it was to get him the right information that he would believe in. He remembered his ball caps, and his love of sexy women, it was going to be hard to let him go.

Then one day, Warren got some bad news that his father had passed away, and he took it hard. He couldn't understand why he himself could help so many people and yet, not be able to do anything for his father who slowly wasted away from early onset dementia. It was a Tuesday afternoon, and Warren didn't have any clients until the next morning. He went into the convenience store where he always got $1 double blueberry bagels, one of recent addictions, and before that, slices of bbq chicken pizza. He very determinedly walked into the beer cooler, and picked up something that seemed good, anything really, no matter the price. He got Miller Guenuine Draft, looked at it, then remember, this stuff gives me diarrhea, so he put it back, then started to really look around, so much to choose from, so much life it seemed, so much partying to be had. He got Bud Light Lime cans, 18 of them, and he paid feeling like he was getting away with some kind of easy stunt, and he went home where he downed the beer one right after the other, up to 12, then he ate, and fell asleep.

When Warren got up the next day, he called into work and said he wasn't feeling good, which was true, and it was the first time he had ever called in. He promptly finished the 6 remaining beers in his fridge. He went and got another, this time a 30 pack. This would be his life from now on, if he could just do his job all day and come home and drink at night, it would be fine. He could survive.

One of the billing specialists at the office was coming into the convenient store when Warren was walking out with a bottle of wine and a 12 pack of Old Style Light. She asked him how he was, and he was in a big hurry to not only avoid her, but to get home and start consuming. He ended up telling her he was going to be tuning into the Cubs and needed some party favors. She laughed, thinking, he's the best, though, he just is overworked. Later she was talking to Alicia who told her that his father had just died. The two women were concerned, and they came up with a plan.

The next time Warren was in the office, he was greeted by Alicia immediately who noted his eyes right away bloodshot, dark rings, and hair and clothes unkempt. She told him she wanted to take him to Stickman's for a few beers, you know, just talk awhile, and socialize. Warren was surprised but said sure right away, it was a Friday afternoon, and he remembered that good feeling from his college days of drinking early on Fridays, skipping class, meeting strangers.

The bar was crowded, and instantly Alicia wondered if this was going to work the way she had planned, but the two got a pitcher of cheap beer, and then Alicia went up to the bar and asked them to bring over shots of tequila about every 15 minutes. She felt sick to her stomach drinking this stuff, and she nursed it, barely drinking at all, but Warren was jolly as a pig in mud, and he talked and talked about how he had big dreams to get a MSW and use what he knows to really do counseling for the under served. Alicia wondered if he could do substance abuse counseling, but she held her tongue. They were playing Guns and Roses, and the bartender was sliding beers down the bar, it all seemed surreal to Warren. He laughed, and felt the warmth go to the head. “Are you going to take advantage of me?” he asked her.

“I have a request for you, Warren,” Alicia said to him, nearly seeming to scream and pulling her face in close to his ear.

“Alright,” Warren answered her suddenly seriously feeling a bit of wishing he was drunk because he might not be able to satisfy this woman.

“I want you to walk down to Kmart and then go in the opposite direction crossing over to the other side. When you get to the other side you will instantly be drunk, and that is because now that you work for us we have an obligation to fix you.”

“So you think I'm broken?”

“You will notice this whole side of the street has greener grass, cleaner air, even footing. You will make note of this, but it is a fleeting feeling, and suddenly no one is harming you, no one is out to get you, you are totally in your own element.”

“Everything feels good when you're drunk,” Warren screamed and two men turned to look at him, looked at each other, and laughed.

“And now that you are here, we are going to change you. We are going to erase you and recharge you. Warren, don't you get it? We are going to take the drunk out of you.” She suddenly looked like somebody straight off the golf course, with a windblown look, and a kink in the neck.

Warren felt for a moment that he was in a movie, and that these people were all reciting script that involved a huge government takeover, and he was falling victim to having his life used for the purpose of selective reprogramming. He knew about his. He knew that the government was reaching into people's lives to eliminate all forms of abuse and he wanted to believe this was a good thing. Sure, it was a good thing. Then why did it feel so damn oppressive?

“I know that's what you do, Alicia,” Warren finally said feeling mostly sober, or wanting to. “I know that the program is similar to boot camp, right? You work them up, and then you test their resolve. Is that what this drunken escapade today is all about?”

“Yes. Just do as I say, Warren, ok? Follow the instructions, and then call me, and we will start phasing out the old, the stuck, the pattern of abuse, and we will fix it by leaving that drunk in it's glory were it belongs.”

Warren did as she had said, he walked down the street to Kmart, he crossed the opposite way, he felt euphoria, he felt the best ever because he felt drunk. He waited there a long time thinking, this is where I leave it. It was a gorgeous place to be, it was the best, and he knew, that was the end of it.

He called Alicia and she came to pick him up. They didn't talk on the ride back to his place. He wasnt' sure if he should thank her. He wasn't sure what else she had in mind, like maybe picking up this dead drunk feeling off the ground like a shadow and framing it, and calling it, his father, his fears, his fantasy. He would sleep so long that night, and start planning a new way of life in the morning. It was going to be alright.

Books

If there is an end, there won't be any book by me about how I survived targeting, but my daughter, Beth, is a young Muriel Hemingway, and she should write "How I went unscathed from a family life of targeting, mental illness and addiction"

5/15/15

Comparing Two Poems

The Layers
BY STANLEY KUNITZ
I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
Yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:
“Live in the layers,
not on the litter.”
Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes.


This poet is ever-evolving like the earth itself, through many trying times, the voice said, Live in the layers, as in look to the horizon, look to the next day, and not what you have done and discarded. The poet is tired, and has come a long way, and even though things seem fixed, things seem planned and already part of his own history, he will no doubt have more of these evolving times.

Compare this poem with one of my favorite's by Derek Walcot. In his poem, he has lived a life that also is evolving with rushing here and there, needing to just slow down, and he does this tired and slow walk into himself where he is the horizon, he is the greeting of a new day or a new person or a new place that he now finds himself in, and in both poems they are reflecting upon their inner journeys.



The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
Derek Walcott