In Search of a Title

In Search of a Title 

Though you spend years buried, knowing who you are, but unable to be, still there are leaks along the way, both good and bad, glimpses from above, colors so bright, impossible to ignore, even from below. 

Then something happens, not through the strength you know you have, but will not budge, but something outside yourself, from above, forces beyond your reach, forces that nudge you to be the person you know you are. 

And though the roots have always been strong, it’s branches gnarled, they shed and new ones, unlike any before, spread above and beyond, uncertain of how far, and though this sensation is new, you know it well, for this is who you are. 

And so you begin, lighter than ever before, though heaviness and darkness still prevail, but now are bathed under the fierce light of the sun. And so, you tread carefully, but with confidence, on a thread you were meant to walk, and though balanced, shakes ever so slightly, as its rhythm grows. 

And though you now are the person you’ve always been, you know that was merely a theory before, and stood as shadows do – not far from you, but far enough. But now, you and your shadow are one, your companion, while you walk upon this trail, and learn, things you could never before. 

But this is no easy task. 

Though filled with light, the sun behind you, darkness is still ahead, for light never stands alone, but is the consort of darkness, and this is how you balance the scales. And though the branches are no longer gnarled, and the engines roar, the road ahead is, as always, unknown. 

And so, you follow paths, which must be followed, however dark they may appear, until you reach a room filled with light, and the sun bathes your face, fully knowing who you are, until you don’t, for you never know when the end is near. 


Betty Barkas Hood

The Other Eye: The Dream I Had Last Night

An actual dream.


As I left the shop, I turned the corner and headed east on Addison Street. It had begun to snow heavily – Lake Effect Snow – and I looked westward to see if there was a bus in sight, but there wasn’t, so I began to walk. I was thinking about food, where to get some good food, as there are so many options in Chicago, and ways to get there easily and economically, even though you may have to cover vast distances. I reached into my pocket and played with the coins and a dollar folded into a tiny square. It was firm and hard, like a rock. I was headed toward the Addison Street “El” station, a walkable distance from where I was. That would connect me to several possible routes in search of food – something that would satisfy my palette. As I headed eastward, the weather changed abruptly, from snow to heat and a bright sun. I walked on the right side of Addison Street, as I was headed eastward. The west side of the street was barren. And then, to my left and in a narrow space, my encounter with others began. First, an elderly but fit and mad Greek man, holding a sheet of paper, and reciting loudly in two languages. I tried to catch what I could of his words and picked out some Greek words and marveled at his madness. What would Plato think? I wondered. Just beyond him, to my right was a common fence, made of steel, and on the other side of it, near its edge, I spotted three Black men who appeared to have been crucified on three young trees, not much taller than them, but with sufficient branches to hang from. As I approached them, I realized that they were not nailed to the trees, but hanging on them in a last attempt to find the strength they no longer possessed, but still remain alive. Thus, one arm was raised and hanging from the limb of the tree – hanging on, but the rest of the body had no more strength and hung, the head slumped to the right, the legs, loose and bent at the knee. As I slowly walked past them, I wondered if I would ever be able to paint what I had seen.

Weather Report

It’s a beautiful Spring morning.  The temperatures are hovering steadily around 60.  A puff of clouds, very thin, streak the sky.  It’s a beautiful day to be out, right under the sun.  I have the perfect balcony for that.  So I spend the morning absorbing as much sun as possible.

The weather for me has always been a metaphor for my mood fluctuations.  I used that in a poem I wrote while Hypomanic and in College many years ago.  It seems so perfect.  It fits snugly.  Um.  What will today feel like?  Today will be dark and cloudy.  Rain possible.  Damn.  What a pity.  Look.  It’s sunny outside.