Monday, March 30, 2009

Movie Review: A Haunting in Connecticut

A Haunting in Connecticut might be a case where knowing less is more. I can't help but wonder if those people who are interested in the paranormal and familiar with the cases of Ed and Lorraine Warren might be taken out of the movie a bit as they notice the differences from the real case. Perhaps not. I can only judge from my own experience. I came to this movie only having a superficial knowledge of the real case, but knowledge enough to know that it does stretch the "based on a true story" concept.

But not being tied to a preconceived notion, the movie worked for me. I jumped. I squealed. I cried. I was moved. I can't ask for much more out of a movie than to be drawn into the experience.

The story hinges around the Campbell family which has a child fighting against cancer and appears to be nearing the end of his battle. The family is pretty much at their wits end in terms of financial stress, emotional stress, and the burden of long drives to get treatment for the son, Matt, who is played with heartbreaking depth by Kyle Gallner.

The family in an effort to ease the stress for all decides to rent a house closer to where Matt's treatments take place. The mother, Sara (played by the always excellent Virgina Madsen), makes an executive decision on renting a home that seems perfect for the family despite its history as a mortuary.

Though some may feel it slows the movie's pacing, I felt the scenes of family stress were very effective. They drew me in and made me care about this family which is facing the devastation of losing a child. Virgina Madsen is a fierce, protective, loving mother in this film. When she breaks down, the viewer can't help but sympathize.

Once the family is firmly established in their new residence, the family is subjected to various phenomena of haunting. Dark figures appear beside them. Things are rearranged. Electric light shows take place. The most affected by this is Matt. It is reasoned by Reverend Popescu, played by the charismatic Elias Koteas, that perhaps Matt's enhanced experience is due to his closeness to death. Credit must be given to Koteas who steals every scene he is in. His work here is perfection.

The film takes you into the past of the home and its frightening history. Director Peter Cornwell does a very deft job of tweaking color to give a sense of atmosphere and brilliantly edits between the modern day events and the past. It was very well done and could have been less effective in unskilled hands. The entities that are in the house have an original, eerie look. They are intimidating and frightening. Definitely something that would make you scream if you opened your eyes from a deep sleep to find one standing beside you.

I should comment too on the house. The art and set design give the place a very creepy feel. Like Amityville Horror, the movie wouldn't work if the house didn't work.

Yes,this film has the usual expected scary sound cues and flashes of specters that make up the "cheap thrills" of any horror movie. Yes, it has dread and gore enough to satisfy most who desire that. But what makes this movie go beyond a token horror film is the depth, heart, and journey of the characters.

Gallner's performance defines the movie for me. He really carries the weight of the illness and the haunting manifestations in his posture, his expressions, his physical reactions to things. We watch him break further and further down, until he finds the answer to the house's mystery and becomes empowered. His journey is ours.

The ending of movie honestly did present some difficulties for me. It seemed that there may have been some editing that left out key information. The soundtrack at the end took me out of the movie a bit due to too much melodrama. But praise for and satisfaction in this movie definitely overwhelmed any minor disappointments. A high recommend for fans of the paranormal and horror, and one I look forward to seeing again.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Poetry: Siren

You wear your tragedy
like a silken black dress…
Ebony attractiveness of sorrow and need
almost seems to cling to your curves --
calling out your tender parts.

You draw the men like bees to sugar.
Each one so sure he is the one to help,
the one to rescue you.
Helpless little you.
Weak and saddened little you.

And you whisper
how you don’t know what you’d do without him,
how you need him.

Lies so succulent and tempting
They are devoured greedily.
Each man feeling singularly important.
Each victim blind and deaf to the ghosts of others in your bed.

But I know you siren.
And I’ll be damned and dead
before I allow your song to entrance my love.
I saw the look in your eyes, the greed…

You’ll not feed upon his kindness while I breathe.
I see through
your painted picture of beauty and affliction
to the ugly, manipulative nature of the beast.
If you don’t want your dirty little secrets revealed
Turn and walk away from him.
Dismiss him from your thoughts.
Don’t lay your hungry eyes upon his soul again.

In case you question how far I'd go for him.
To the ends of earth and time my dear.
And if you care to try me --
Make a move.
I'll tear you apart

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Poem: The invisible

Sister, I hear you.
Your grief reached me.
Through the dark
I've come to you.
Give me your hand.
Let my love embrace you for a time.
My strength is yours,
take of it what you will.

Tell me your story
down to the smallest detail.
Open...there's nothing to fear.
Curse and rage till your anger is vented.
Weep till your pain has passed.
Laugh till your cheeks hurt and your eyes glisten.
I'll love you through it all.

You're not invisible.
You're seen for all you are.
Do you think your darkness, your diversity,
could drive me away?
My own soul plays a similar theme.
You're a kindred...not a stranger.
A radiant gift of light and love.
You can't even fathom your beauty.
But I see.
And I'll stay.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Poem: Mercy Plea

Don’t call me,
Your voice’s siren song is irresistible.
I’d crash against the rocks of your shore
So willingly I’d fall and die for you.

Don’t touch my cheek,
Your fingers warm my skin,
Awaken the blood that needs to cool
So heady with desire for you I am.

Don’t hold me,
You arms around me feel like home,
Your perfume fills my head and drunkens me
And clarity will be the only victor o’er my heart.

Don’t love me,
Don’t kiss me back to life,
Make my body sing
For I would believe, I would succumb to the dream of you.
My heart would beat for our time together,
My hands would not have a purpose but to touch you again.
And your face would be the only delight to these eyes.

Don’t say you’d stay.
I’d be abandoned as your hero swept in, taking you from this maid.
Half alive without you that I adored.
You would have my heart despite the lack of warmth
My tears would fill my room and drown me
With visions of you with him.
His skin under your lips,
Shivering with the skill of your fingers.
Murmuring his name in the midnight black instead of mine.

So don’t… darling temptress.
Don’t pretend and lie pretty lies
Push me not toward the fall.
Let me keep my ground.
Let me keep my heart whole.
Let me go.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Poem: The Phone Doesn't Ring

The phone doesn’t ring.
The connection silenced and broken
By the weight of things unsaid.
No small talk to make now.
Any words that would come too cruel and cutting.
I want to ask if you’re afraid.
So strong and mean you once were.
Your brutal force now gone
Do you cry in the night at what may come?
Do you regret?
All those moments where love was neglected
And coldness chosen
Do they haunt you now?
Do you look at your children you chastised so harshly
And feel proud of them now?
Do they know?
I want to tell you how much you’ve hurt those around you…
Those same people who nurture and take care of you now.
I want you to ask for forgiveness. I want to see you breakdown.
I want to yell at the man and woman I knew.
But nothing is left of them now.
Just these sick, aged forms with spirits about to depart.

Poem: Missing

How am I to say good-bye
I’ve loved you before this life,
On misty shores my arms enwrapped you
My delicate fingers traced your jaw and played in your hair
With a tenderness of centuries.
You were a companion, a beloved friend.
My peace in the storms of existence.
Sharing the mysteries and magic,
The realm beyond with me.
Now you come to me a cruel teacher,
An ebony mirror echoing back my essence.
I thought us a blend of opposites, ying to yang,
Dark to Light.
Perfection in opposition.
Was your cruelty
The necessary jar to my spirit--to know all that I am not.
Was there ever tenderness?
Was there ever truth?
Was there ever love?
If there was,
Where are you?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Poem: Let him stay

Sleep won't come.
I miss your quiet breathing
in this too empty night.
Wanting you home,
in my arms,
to have the world set right,
not this prelude to being alone.

Not this fear.
Not this sickness.
Not this helplessness.
Not this nightmare
of drugs,

And the clock ticks.
I toss and turn.
Not being able to stand
the thoughts that come
in the stillness.

Love I need you.
And wonder how I'm
to be parted from you,
when each second is
possibly one of a precious few
I have with you.

So I'll lie here...
breathing in and out
and holding back tears
till the dawn comes,
till I can be at your side.
And I'll pray,
Please God,
let him stay.

Poem: Killing with God

For those that saw this in a previous incarnation of my blog, forgive me. I wanted to get this out there again for new readers.


Killing with God

You kill with God.
Twist and warp the words of light
to shadow.

With every breath you pierce
the armor of the innocent
wound their hearts,
slowly and deliberately
kill their spirits.

Your eyes divulge
your pleasure at their pain --
dancing in delight and devilry.

Your fires have burned through my kind
and the loving peaceful soul
that long ago met your blades and tortures
stands again against
the would-be inquisitors.

Your false righteousness shall
be revealed in the effulgence of truth.
And you will fall,
even if I must call upon
the magics of heaven and earth
to make it so.

I remember,
my lost brothers,
my sisters,
victims swallowed in your bloody wake.
Their cries haunt me.

They were truly children of God.
You are born of a darker force
and your invocation of His name is
an obscene curse.

Time has turned this tide.
I shall not hide.
I shall not be silent.
I shall not accept the fate
of your flames again.

For every child that took
his own life thinking that God hated him,
for every woman that hanged
for understanding power and healing
in ways you never could,
for every maiden killed
because she didn’t believe as you would
shall repay you their suffering threefold.

There’s no mercy no more.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The deliciousness of Life

Sometimes we are so caught-up in the busy-ness and practical survival tasks that we don't really cherish the gift that every breath is. It can take something devastating to make us stop and appreciate things.

My step-father is currently undergoing treatment for a very agressive and deadly form of lung cancer. You can bet he is longing for his pre-cancer body. The body that was strong and hiked up mountains. The body that savored the taste of food and could keep it down. The body that didn't have to undergo chemotherapy treatments that made his very sweat toxic to the point where his wife couldn't hold his hand, kiss his cheek.

So I want to say: Don't let it take something horrible to make you appreciate the deliciousness of every moment of life.

It's important to remember our senses and delight them. Focus on something that feels, looks, tastes, smells, sounds beautiful. You have a body that is a gift. We have an Earth around us that is nearly heart-breaking in its awesome beauty if you only look at it. We have artists crying out, trying to reach our hearts and move us. Here is an example of such beauty:

Life...real life...It's the taste of that favorite wine on your tongue. It's the feel of your beloved's hands giving you that much needed back massage. It's the smell of fresh flowers. It's whatever personally raises your vibrations and makes you feel alive and joyful and loving.

I challenge you to take the time to connect with your senses again today. Forget the television and the depressing news programs. Forget the chores that can wait that are taking you away from real living -- the dishes can always be done later; believe me they won't go away.

Now go and do something that makes you remember how to smile and opens your heart.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The return to the light

There have been many physical struggles I've undergone throughout my life and I admit that I had been a little bit lost lately in just being tired of not feeling well. I was also struggling with fear and sorrow as I face the possibility of losing my step-father to cancer. The worry for Dale and my mother came in like a tide and I was swept under its force for a while.

And for some reason in times of darkness it is a real problem that I fail to do what I know will help center me and focus me on the light again. But Spirit doesn't ever abandon us. Spirit is always reaching out, reminding us of the truth.

I have an inner voice that whispers to me that I am alone, that those who claim to love me would abandon me if they only knew the "real" me. It is something that I have tended to allow to isolate me, especially if I'm in pain. But thankfully Spirit finds away around my isolation and leads me to voices I need to hear. I heard a quote from Marianne Williamson that resonated with me and captured this: "God shall outwit your self-hatred."

And so Spirit connected me with family and friends to lift me up again. My mentor Jeanine reminded me of that very simple, yet terribly powerful and difficult-for-me-to-master truth that life is what we focus on.

I was so focused on my own pains and worries. I was forgetting to give thanks for the blessings that are bestowed upon me everyday. I was making the choice to have a life of sorrow, pain, and fear. I was creating an emotional storm every moment instead of being a force of love and peace.

Today is my beloved step-father's first day of chemo therapy. So I think this is a good moment to seize the power of now and commit to make different choices. I must remember to really open my eyes and see the beauty around me, make myself focus on it until it is as natural as breathing. I must return to meditation. I must return to my friends. And in these things may I find my way back to myself.

Friday, March 6, 2009

My Favorite Thing Today: Fury of Solace.

Hi everyone,

I want to give some love to this creative adventure. Fury of Solace is a story about good and evil that is in a similar vein to the Internet sensation Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog.

This will be a mix of video and comic book work. That sounds sweet as chocolate to this geek girl. I think the song in the first vid is just awesome.

Hope you enjoy it as well. Fury of Solace can be found at You can view Episode 1 here by clicking on the play button:

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Poem: My Mother's eyes

In my mother's eyes
the sun pales against her warmth.
The love that radiates from within
shines through and enfolds me.
I find peace in the storm,
safety in the darkness.
She leads me to the light again.

Her inner joy sparkles there
with every laugh.
And she is so beautiful
in those moments,
so alive.
She reminds you of
the gift of each breath.

When the storms darken life
wisdom and compassion
combine there in a state of grace.
And I would heal each hurt
that flashes there,
but I lack the gifts
to ease this journey.

I pray for peace.
I pray for life and healing.
I pray Spirit comforts her.
I give thanks for her
and all the joys and sorrows
and beauty I see
in her eyes.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Poem: Just believe

Let go the fear.
I won’t turn you away.
Yes, come to me.

Fall into my arms.
Cling to me.
Let me adore you a while.
I’ll hold the vision of your beauty
when you can’t find it in the mirror.
My heart could never doubt you.
I believe.
Oh so clearly I see.
So dearly I love.

Let me touch you.
Kiss you alive again
till I know your every inch.
Sweetly burn you with our fire
till you warm, awaken.
Make you cry from a different kind of ache.

All that's desired
rests before you.
Just trust.
Just reach out.
Just believe.