Sunday, December 30, 2007

Midnight


Speak to me, aching heart: what
Ridiculous errand are you inventing for yourself
Weeping in the dark garage
With your sack of garbage: it is not your job
To take out the garbage, it is your job
To empty the dishwasher. You are showing off
Again,
Exactly as you did in childhood--where
Is your sporting side, your famous
Ironic detachment? A little moonlight hits
The broken window, a little summer moonlight,
Tender
Murmurs from the earth with its ready
Sweetnesses--
Is this the way you communicate
With your husband, not answering
When he calls, or is this the way the heart
Behaves when it grieves: it wants to be
Alone with the garbage? If I were you,
I'd think ahead. After fifteen years,
His voice could be getting tired; some night
If you don't answer, someone else will answer.

Louise Gluck

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Bathed In Light

I clean Molly's gunky eye
out, hours now since I finished
my wrapping duties, and take a break
on the screened-in porch, moon full
above me, clear and white, and I think
about the silver dollar my great uncle
gave me the last time I saw him
at the old folks home, before he set
the room on fire, smoking his Camels,
O2 pulled off his face long enough to savor
one of his old habits, habits being these tricky
things that die hard. 88 he was when he passed,
not from lung cancer or a myocardial
infarction or even a stroke, just from the bad
luck of a stubborn pneumonia and his own
breaking heart, the love of his life gone
ten years since, and I think about my own
eyes this morning in the mirror, looking
back at the me who refuses to die, how much
like my father's they are, how cloudy
and distant they present themselves,
how the lightning blood-streaked swollen
mess they are still resonates the constant
blue-green, how extraordinary they are, even
this morning, night after night of no sleep
or restless sleep at best. But there's something
in the fullness of the moon, the amazement
(you see it takes little to amaze me)
of making my fingers work wonders
with red and green and ribbons and bows,
that just eases the uneasiness enough
to forgive, to think there is good to be found
in gunky-eyed dogs, the wrapping of gifts,
the waiting for the kids to get here, the hope
that they find under the tree something more
than a gift, something that tells them Mom
knows them better than they'd ever thought.
All of this followed by the unexpected relaxing
of the shoulders, the serendipitous way the body
responds knowing it has done all it can.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Lucinda Williams - World Without Tears (live)

Man...oh, man...for those of us who can choose, we make our own world...I'm fucking sick of making my own filled with tears, but I sure as hell love this song...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Van Gogh: Starry Night, 1889


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Snow in the Shade

There is no redemption in these words,
scattered across the page on a white screen, cursor
blinking, nothing to acknowledge what it took
to get here (foregoing the pencil and acid
free paper), to this point, to a place familiar
and foreign, a refuge and a wilderness
untamed. The bright sun doesn't melt it, nor
does it come close to warming it, your cold
cold heart. The day progresses, the arc
of evening not far from forming its steady
slip. You falter and correct yourself, meander
in some meaningful way to the flooded
basement to wash the clothes you carefully
sorted into piles--darks, whites, in-betweens.
You try to make sense of analogies, attempt
to ascertain what category you belong
in--post traumatic, self-absorbed, chronic
depressive state. The terms won't save you, and
the sun, that visionary, just makes a mockery
of the darkness you embrace, your sedum
rotting on the stems, uncut and whole,
pansies buried beneath piles of leaves
that may never know the gentle scraping
of a rake, the ornamental kale sprouting
new white leaves. You swallow hard,
your throat tightening with this newest
revelation, kidneys screaming take a break,
body moving in this automaton way from room
to room, doing what needs to be done, ornaments
and garland sitting in a corner, presents unwrapped
and far from wrapping, the brightest sun in days
filtering through the old quilt you hung
over the windows, you just wanting to know
it's right to be where you are, to allow room
for the cold, to forgive the shortcomings,
to understand that good is not always the end
result of suffering and bad is just a word.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Bob Dylan - It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)

he not busy being born is busy dying

Metamorphosis of Narcissus, Salvador Dali, 1937


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Michelangelo: Universal Judgement, Sistine Chapel, 1541




Sunday, December 09, 2007

Absconded

It's the loss of the commonplace, the every
day names, faces, and books, the slow
way you come to know that you don't
know now what you once did, the synapses
refusing to cooperate any longer with those testy
neurons, no particular requirement made
of them anyway, stuck here in this small town,
no one to talk to, no real compulsion to talk
or investigate any longer, words your newest
enemy in the struggle to remember. So, it throws
you when your son asks what it means
to abscond, this black-haired blue-eyed handsome
young man of yours, riding along in the passenger
seat reading Crime and Punishment, you there
in the driver's seat thinking about the journey,
rubber beneath your feet making love to a road
you've driven a hundred times or more
and know as intimately as the flesh
on your inner thigh, driving along thinking
about a boy who lived somewhere near
the end of that road, who had the loveliest
mouth you'd ever seen, whose full lips brushed
each mosquito bite on your bronzed body
after you left the drive-in theatre one sweltering
summer night, no longer the naive young girl
you were when you arrived and spread
the blanket out, how he promised he'd come
visit on the weekends, how you waited
for each letter to arrive, how you could not
sleep because that beautiful mouth was all
you could see, lying there in the darkness,
long after your mother and father abandoned
their fight, all the dishes in mosaic scatterings
on the hardwood, how the boy never came back
and you really stopped caring, how your parents
got too old to fight anymore, how you think
you-- yes, even you-- have perhaps absconded
once or twice, but you don't tell your son
any of that, you just say I think it means
you leave somewhere in a hurry, no particular
place in mind to hurry off to, and no reasonable
place to come back to.
Botticelli: Allegoria della Primavera (1478) - Uffizi, Firenze


Friday, December 07, 2007

Musings From the Front Porch

A shadow of a man walks
the rainy streets. He may
be a man who does not know he
has a shadow even in the cover
of drizzle and darkness.

What he has is the night, his slow
and steady movements on the wet
asphalt, his ability to call to me,
head, hidden and unknown, intrigue
for this voyeur:

homeless, pissed off at his girlfriend
and walking instead of fighting, lonely
and thinking, reveling in the rain
and darkness, three sheets and careful
not to drive, hungry and wondering
if mom has dinner ready, walking
instead of talking, thinking maybe.

He turns the corner and leaves
the limited field vision allows,
crosses into a darker dark, into
shadows I can only wonder about,
and I want to run into the street
and chase him down, tell him
I love the way he moves, that I want
to touch what I do not know, that I long
to follow the dark way that leads
directly into the ignorance of light.
Cold Kentucky Rain

...and it is a cold KY rain tonight. But I love rain.

Daughter called from San Diego. She and Ville
were parked at a bluff overlooking the Pacific.
A seagull kept flying down and pulling at Ville's
hair. They're having a good West coast tour.

Work is going well. Haven't mentioned it. I'm collecting
data for a social work program at a university. I give
surveys to clients at a mental health agency.

The info will be submitted to NIMH and then shared
with all the mental health agencies involved in the survey.

Only part-time and temporary but better than not working.

I am enjoying meeting the clients. They give so much
to me in that short time we spend together.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Vespers

A bottle of merlot, brought
back from Birmingham, sits
on the cobalt countertop,
nestling close to the drooping
rosemary, nearing its end
point. Perhaps I'll finish
it off tonight, lick my lips
and teeth with this wandering
tongue, try to rid the softening
enamel of such a tiresome grey,
one more reminder that my day
has come and gone, so to speak
the language of aging. If you
were closer, maybe I'd even
put on my white salwar kameez,
play the Kenyon thing up for all
its worth, pretend that living
can be made vicariously, and so
it should be if there is no other
way. For life, yes, for life, for being--
I would do that. To feel important,
if only for an evening, wine glass
in hand, spinach quiche saturating
the senses with its aroma, the night
clear and cold and full of stars,
the worries of the day set aside,
the anticipation of loving you
whole and right and fully
beating inside my chest like
some old drum solo I can recall
hearing when you rested your hand
on mine for the first time, these things
would be enough. But I'd manage
to spill that lovely red wine
all over the pure white of an outfit
that only hangs in the closet
for sentimental reasons, and then
there would be the apologies
and the change of clothes, and I'd
be back in black, the hard shell
I chose when all the losses of my life
meant gaining a new friend, an expanded
self, the lithe and vibrant woman
I once was long forgotten. And even
the tongue--that acerbic messenger--
would hold itself in check, would not
even dare lick the lips your mouth
can no longer find a way to meet.
Two Pictures of Molly

on my father's grave on October 14th--
his birthday. He would have been 84.


Had a terrible day

...with Molly yesterday and was ready to find
her a home out in the country somewhere.
If I can't be kind to her, she does not need to stay
with me.

When I was away for the weekend, she chewed
about a 4 inch piece of wood off the door facing
between the dining room and kitchen. She also
tried to eat the hardwood floors (there are 4-5
places where it is obvious she was chewing
or attempting to chew up the floors).

I guess if I were true dog lover, I would take all of that
in stride, but I try hard to make this old house
look like something I can be proud of, and it costs
some pretty money to fix things she's destroying.

Well, I don't try so hard anymore. I think about all
the things I would do if I was better, but the projects
rarely get off the ground. I got so far as removing
all the pictures and other things from my hallway
walls and the nails. And I even stripped some paper
from one end of the wall, but that's it. With depression
being the norm in my day-to-day, I rarely have
moments in which I feel compelled or motivated
to tackle some new project.

I know I can fill in the wood with putty, sand, and paint
it, and I know the hardwood floors need to be redone,
and I know a house is just a house and a dog is a member
of the family, but I was so f'ing livid. I am still upset
with her today. I'm also tired of her chasing and terrorizing
the cats, running into the bedrooms and grabbing clothes
that she chews up if I don't catch her, jumping on everyone
who comes in the house, etc. etc.

I thought dogs were supposed to help us in so many ways--
lower our blood pressure, make us feel less lonely, bring
joy into our lives. But Molly stresses me out to no end.
I hate to think I'm giving up, but it feels that way.

She deserves better.

****************************

I have to go see my doctor Friday. Otherwise, I can't
get my prescription filled again, and I have to have
my anti-anxiety meds to survive. Didn't realize
that I haven't seen her since May 2006. That was
just a month after Dad died. So much has happened
since then. So many other life-changing events, and
truly, I am not doing well with my station in life.

For all the people and things I have to be grateful
for, I am immersed in all the regrets of my life.

I miss who I was when I was the best I was.
I fear I shall never be that person again.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Spent the weekend in Birmingham



with my firend. Loved it there. It is quite
beautiful. I've only driven through Birmingham
on I-65 on my way to Florida.

Her house is on a ridge (or on the mountain).
beautiful place. Rested well and enjoyed
the company.

Took out Wes's CDs and put some of mine
in (not that I don't like some of his but really
needed some of mine).

Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris, Neil Young,
Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday, REM...

Listened over and over to Lucinda sing:

Not a day goes by
I don't think about you
You left your mark on me
it's permanent, a tattoo,
pierce the skin and the blood runs through
Oh, my baby


from Car Wheels on A Gravel Road...

I'm too tired to write much today. All around
kind of shitty day that I guess I made an all
around shitty day cuz I make things happen,
right? Not the world, not people, not animals,
not circumstances--just me and what I make
of them, but shitty nonetheless Oh whiner me.

Whine, whine, whine...Give me some wine
wine, wine....

Monday, November 26, 2007

Oh No No No

There will be no tears
tonight for the father who sailed
every ocean, who watched friends
die in the Pacific waters, who witnessed
women drowning their children in the yellow
Yangtze, who came back less than whole
but more than before, who cooked pork chops
and butter beans, who brought dolls
from the south of France, who tattooed
his body in remembrance, who laughed
heartily at Christmas, who covered
my ass when I crashed the car in three
feet of falling, beautiful, righteous snow,
who never spoke of his pain, who lived
to see his children graduate from high
school and college, who cradled in his arms
his grandbabies, who left here on his own
terms though they were not of his choosing,
who comes to me some nights, without words,
a mouth speaking the language without sound.
And there will be no tears for the friend
who planted lilacs and irises, who read
Baudelaire and Balzac, who loved Buckley
and somas, who was found half-dressed
at the foot of her bed as if readying herself
for a night on the town, whose stone I have never
visited, whose laugher I will not forget.
And there will be no weeping for the man
who never met a stranger, who let too many
take advantage, who believed in the greater
good, who loved music and science, whose voice
was a comfort at the other end of a wire
completely indifferent to conversation,
who knew that death was his newest friend,
who left here leaving this magnitude
of a hole never known before. And there
will be no regrets for not loving the blonde-
haired hitchhiking boy from the Atlantic,
who, in reality, only made a stop in this small
town on his way to see his grandmother, tent
strapped to his back and the world in front
of him, who will always be a gypsy in spirit
and a family man at heart. And even the number
guy, who spends his days calculating unknowns
with those who will only enter his known
space for a semester or two, will not garner
my supportive tears. Oh no. Tonight, not one
of them will break me, not one will penetrate
this wall of flesh made stone, this steely heart
pounding out its inaudible song in such a crazy,
irregular, solitary rhythm.
Sometimes Knowing Is Not Enough

Leaves lie scattered
about the yard, covering
the resilient purple pansies

and dying mums. Yards and yards
of streets and avenues
wear the brilliance of their dying.

Beneath their fading colors,
you, and the many yous time
has taken, lie sealed and unmoving,

bodies and faces wearing shades
the restorative artist chose
for you, not quite your own but as close

as modern art allows. I feel this gnawing
inclination to go rake them off (the leaves,
the artists whims), to expose bare ground,

but I can't sense why--

to see you more clearly, to touch
the earth that touches the box
which touches the cloth which cradles

your body? I can't make sense
because there is no sense. Let
the dead lie where they lie, says

some small and getting smaller
voice inside of me. Think. How much
lovelier the earth is in this time

of dying than at any other time
of the year. No rakes will comb
that mound of browning green,

but hands may shove the reds
and yellows aside in reckless
abandon, making way for some other

colors to find a home above you,
those hands wanting to scratch and dig
until the nails are blackened, until

the heart, restless and uneasy, appeases
itself, knowing what the hands do makes
no sense, and what the heart does, less.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Torch

...has been passed to me this Thanksgiving.
Mom not really up to it and mother-in-law
is simply too tired (88 now and has shingles--ouch!).

Will have about 16 people on Thursday and 10 or so
Friday.

I have only prepared the Thanksgiving turkey on 3
occasions (at least, that's all I remember), so I am
a turkey novice. I am just going to rub it down
with some sage butter (under the skin too) and stuff
it with fresh herbs, onions, celery, and carrots.
I think it will turn out fine.

Now, I'm trying to figure out the other things.

I have to keep these things in mind as I prepare
my list for Thursday and Friday (oldest brother,
his partner/girlfriend/companion and their child
and her children will be here Friday).

I have eaters who are:

gluten-free
kosher
low sodium
vegetarian

So, I must figure out foods that fit all types of eaters.

I am definitely not a traditional person in the sense
that I could forego dressing/stuffing and sweet potatoes
with marshmallows and all that sweet stuff on them,

so, I am going to experiment.

Sweet potato hash will be served. It has black eyed
peas, jalapenos, cilantro, thyme, red bell pepper
and other yummy things in it. I hope it turns out well.

The dressing will be gluten free and meatless and will
have the typical things in it--celery, onions, poultry seasoning,
fresh sage, egg, etc. , but I want to add something to zing
it up a bit. I may try some sundried tomatoes in there.
We'll see.

Also on the menu:

roasted asparagus
gruyere broccoli casserole (gluten-free)
fresh corn with diced red and green peppers
cranberry salad with mandarin oranges, pecans, and celery
(daughter-in-law)
corn pudding (my mother-in-law)
baked apples with cream cheese and nut filling (mother-in-law)
mashed potatoes (mom)
green beans (mom)
sugar shock cake (baby brother's girlfriend)
buttermilk pie (mother-in-law)
pumpkin cheesecake (daughter-in-law)

So, I won't have to cook everything, and most of mine
will cook quickly after I have removed the turkey
from the oven.

Still thinking about what kind of bread to do. Could
make some muffins with sundried tomato (gluten-free)
and bake some rolls.

************************

Been downer than down lately and wondering what in
the hell this--this being here--is all about, but I think
I will feel better when my children, grandchild, brothers,
and other family members are here.

I am truly thankful for the blessings in my life. I hope
I can pull myself out of this funk some day real soon.

Dear readers, whomever you may be, I hope
you are surrounded by those you love and those
who love you this Thanksgiving. Many blessings
from me to you.
Piet Mondrian
View from the Dunes with Beach and Piers, Domburg. 1909




Monday, November 19, 2007

Jackson Pollock
Totem lesson 2, 1945


Sunday, November 18, 2007


Irish Setter pointing

(not Molly, but she looks like this one!)



Friday, November 16, 2007

For This Day

She tries to catch the crescent
moon in her teeth, this bird
dog crazy red girl, snapping
at air and wind. The geese come
suddenly, while she's in the midst
of her moon chasing scheme
and throw her off for a moment,
ears perk and front paw lifts--
the expected of her breed.
I watch her as I walk past
headstones and mud puddles,
smile in spite of myself, lift
my own front leg in momentary
abandon of reason. I want to be one
with this world as she is, this red
beauty who wrecks my house,
who knocks my friends down,
who readily forgives. I want to love
that freely, want to want that openly,
want to forget being human
for a day. I want to jump in the middle
of the muck right with her,
drink from the dirty water, smell
woodsy and whole. The moon comes
up full as we leave the cemetery, her fur
matted and wet, my t-shirt drenched
in sweat. We have lived for those few
moments, have accepted one another,
have balanced ourselves in the chilly
autumn air, and for this day, it is enough.
Finished


...A Rough Magic (a biography of Sylvia Plath),
The Fountainhead, and The Sound and The Fury.

The Plath biography was a decent read and fairly
well written (if somewhat repetitive) biography.
It appears that the author relied largely on the letters
Sylvia wrote her mother for information, along with
some interviews with former friends, teachers, and
classmates. I think I read it before, but I can't remember.
My memory is shot to hell right now. I hope this is not
a permanent thing--one related more to my state
of mind and too much vino over too many years.

I didn't care for The Fountainhead and would most
likely not reread it. I guess I'm just not an objectivist.
I thought the characters were rich, pompous ass types,
whom I really could gather no feeling for at all.

It bothers me when these wealthy characters say they
are living by their principals (unlike the working poor
or the poor in general) and when Rand makes
blanket assumptions and statements through these
characters that only the truly creative can understand
what it is to live by these principals, it irks me.
The rest of the population are referred to as "second-handers"
by Rand. Maybe I'm missing some major theme, but it
just didn't reach me.

One would think I would have read The Sound and The Fury
by now, but I've only read As I Lay Dying, Light in August,
The Town, and some of Absalom, Absalom. I've also read
some of his short stories--A Rose For Emily and Barn Burning
come to mind.

The first two sections of the book were a study in frustration
for me as I was very confused with the stream of consciousness
writing. There were times I just simply had to put the book down,
but I was gathering enough info and was hooked enough to stay
with it. It's very classic Faulkner with its themes of decay, ruin,
greed, madness, etc. I would reread it and probably will, but I
think I want to reread As I Lay Dying.

**************************

The first poetry circle meeting went well. 3 people came,
so I was thrilled. I hope those three will invite some others
and we'll have even more folks in December. I am going
to put some flyers up at the college, laundry mats, Senior
Citizen's Center, the Dept. for Community Based Services
(what some folks call the food stamp office), and the grocery
stores. I would love to see folks get excited about reading
poetry, and I hope it will be a learning experience for me
in ways a poetry class or workshop cannot be or have not
been.

**********************

I'm just fooling around on here this morning because
I can't get my ass in gear to do anything else. I slept
poorly last night, the house is a wreck, my mood
swings are worse than ever (surprised the family
hasn't sent me away somewhere), the loneliness
is so all-consuming that I just don't feel like doing
much at all except wallowing. So, I am attempting
to do things. I am attempting to stay involved in life
as best I can.

***********************
Why not close with some Gluck...just chose one
from poets.org because I don't feel like walking
in the other room and finding one of my books
and looking for a dog-eared page.

Vespers

In your extended absence, you permit me
use of earth, anticipating
some return on investment. I must report
failure in my assignment, principally
regarding the tomato plants.
I think I should not be encouraged to grow
tomatoes. Or, if I am, you should withhold
the heavy rains, the cold nights that come
so often here, while other regions get
twelve weeks of summer. All this
belongs to you: on the other hand,
I planted the seeds, I watched the first shoots
like wings tearing the soil, and it was my heart
broken by the blight, the black spot so quickly
multiplying in the rows. I doubt
you have a heart, in our understanding of
that term. You who do not discriminate
between the dead and the living, who are, in consequence,
immune to foreshadowing, you may not know
how much terror we bear, the spotted leaf,
the red leaves of the maple falling
even in August, in early darkness: I am responsible
for these vines.



Louise Gluck
Les Demoiselles d'Avignon
Pablo Picasso, 1907


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Nothing New

What's new to be said about
rain falling, the drought lifted,
plants bending in the steady stream?

Nothing except this: missing is like
a day when you can't respect the rain
in the middle of the downpour, like

lifting your face and knowing it's wet
because all that's left of you is sensory--
automatic. It's like shadows of fingers,

whose fine lines and demarcations
will never touch the wavy graying
strands of honey hair again. The gentle

strumming of the body, which grows
to crescendo, gets a simple nod, a faster
pace to the car nestled on the shoulder

of the road, graves lining each side,
wind blowing balloons, wind chimes
and flower baskets aside, helter-skelter,

the voice in the unthinking head thinking
for it--run, fast--close the car doors, set
the wipers and necessary things in motion.

That's all.

The kindness of tapping gently--
all gone. The sweatshirt on the back,
saturated and cold now against shoulder

blades and thickening waist, cling to me
as I sit here, shivering in the fluorescent light,
thunder vibrating these old walls.

Absent lightning, I think there must
be times when we need the sound
without the fury.

When the storm lifts,
and night falls, I will make promises
about the work to be done: sever

the hardy hibiscus stems, the lanky
maximillian sunflowers. Dig out the vincas,
mow the leaves and bury the other remnants

of dying, pull this old body up by the laces
of my worn tennis shoes, lose myself
momentarily in the busyness of burying

the dead, wait steadfast for the cold to come.
Le Reve (The Dream)
Pablo Picasso, 1932



Tuesday, November 13, 2007








My Grandmother’s Love Letters

There are no stars tonight
But those of memory.
Yet how much room for memory there is
In the loose girdle of soft rain.

There is even room enough
For the letters of my mother’s mother,
Elizabeth,
That have been pressed so long
Into a corner of the roof
That they are brown and soft,
And liable to melt as snow.

Over the greatness of such space
Steps must be gentle.
It is all hung by an invisible white hair.
It trembles as birch limbs webbing the air.

And I ask myself:

“Are your fingers long enough to play
Old keys that are but echoes:
Is the silence strong enough
To carry back the music to its source
And back to you again
As though to her?”

Yet I would lead my grandmother by the hand
Through much of what she would not understand;
And so I stumble. And the rain continues on the roof
With such a sound of gently pitying laughter.

Hart Crane

Monday, November 12, 2007

Luther Burbank
Frida Kahlo, 1931



Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Prodigal

Dark morning rain
Meant to fall
On a prison and a school yard,
Falling meanwhile
On my mother and her old dog.

How slow she shuffles now
In my father's Sunday shoes.
The dog by her side
Trembling with each step
As he tries to keep up.

I am on another corner waiting
With my head shaved.
My mind hops like a sparrow
In the rain.
I'm always watching and worrying about her.

Everything is a magic ritual,
A secret cinema,
The way she appears in a window hours later
To set the empty bowl
And spoon on the table,
And then exits
So that the day may pass,
And the night may fall

Into the empty bowl,
Empty room, empty house,
While the rain keeps
Knocking at the front door.


Charles Simic
from The Voice at 3:00 A.M.

**************************


I finally decided, after much thought and deliberation,
to start a poetry circle at the public library.
We will have an organizational meeting this Tuesday
night.

I have chosen Simic as our first poet to discuss,
but I haven't chosen the two poems I would like
to discuss. Actually, we won't discuss them at this meeting.
I'll just send copies home with folks, and then when (or if)
this thing gets off the ground, we'll discuss
them in Decemebr and from that point on,
I'll email the circle members a few weeks before
each meeting with the name or the poet
and the poems we will discuss.

So far, I've only had two calls in regard to the meeting, but
maybe some folks will show up. I won't get discouraged.

I need this. Now. I need to move on with my life. I need
to put all of that pain and frustration and despair
in its place (wherever that may be).

It's hard to do when you miss someone. Miss them
so badly and know you are never going to see them
again, unless there is something after this life.

In the last 18 months, I've lost Dad, my job, my aunt,
my daughter's best friend, a former neighbor, one
of my dearest friends ever, and my will. Many days,
only the love I feel for my children and grandchild
and my pets keeps me going.

It's raining. I'm glad its raining.

I wonder if my mom is setting a bowl on the table about now.
Grey Line With Black, Blue, and Yellow
Georgia O'Keeffe, 1923


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Revelations

I stand at attention, red burning
ember lifted in the November air,
doing my best Statue of Liberty
imitation, right hand raised,
carcinogens lifting into the already
saturated carcinogenic air. Bring
me the tired and the poor,
those closest to my heart, let
this beacon of camaraderie shine
long after I am gone, let my tired
arm forget its reluctance to hold
true all the untruths, the lies,
the ambiguity. I can get by
thinking for this one day that this
is the best I can give, a phrase spoken
on a porch emptied of green, a steadfast
belief that better days may have come
and gone, that worse times may
lie ahead, that the best may be one
moment of such small insignificance
that only the holly tree knows
the sacrilege, and the birds who stop
to alight, the reasons for leaving. I raise
my arm high in homage to all that is lost,
to all left to find, to the company of solitude.
Dos personages
Rufino Tamayo, 1968


Friday, November 09, 2007

Frida Kahlo
The Little Deer, 1946







Thursday, November 08, 2007

Over and Over Again

Many of the people I love the most
lie beneath the ground, silent, not open
to this mockery, this home without host,
this defilement of character most shun.

And so my words I speak into the night--
freely to you and to you, unabashed--
may linger and die slowly when daylight
finds me lying there, the night's fear rehashed.

Another morning, wildflowers screaming
listen! listen you, roll yourself over
and over again until the dreaming
refuses to hold you captive. Cover

the fragile flowers bordering the edge
of your life, the fringes of your knowledge.
The Card Players
Paul Cezanne, 1890-92
















Large Bathers
Paul Cezanne, 1900-05




Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Red Canna
Georgia O'Keeffe, 1919


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A Sunflower From Maggie
Georgia O'Keeffe, 1937




Monday, November 05, 2007

Two Trees
Willem de Kooning, 1975



Sunday, November 04, 2007

Today

...is my 49th birthday. I wish I could
say I feel happy or at least good or at the very
minimum, okay. Some people say life begins at 50,
but damn, I don't want to wait one more year!
Been waiting a long time already.

My daughter and her boyfriend were here
this weekend. She even baked me a cake
last night (gluten-free!). It was actually
pretty good. So, Friday night was good
because they were here and my youngest
son and his friends were around and people
were having fun.

Yesterday was good, too. Lauren and I took
Molly for her walk at the cemetery, then
we just all sat around and talked. Dinner
last night with the kids (except oldest
son and family) and with my in-laws was nice.

I'm just blue. In a way I can't shake. I think
some people are just born that way. No, born
with some genes which may contribute to the melancholy,
but so much is up to me to do with my life what I can.

Just don't have the can-do attitude of late.
Well, not just of late--pretty much all my life.

Boring, yawn, yawn, yawn...

****

Reread A Rough Magic, a biography of Sylvia
Plath, which sent me searching the web for info
about her kids and found this site. Her daughter
is quite beautiful and talented.

Now reading The Fountainhead--one of those books
that has been on my bookshelves for 25 years and I just
never felt terribly inclined to read it. Maybe I am thinking
I need more objectivism in my life.


*sigh*

Going to go read some more, wait for it to warm up a bit
outside, take Molly for her walk, and then just be.

************

1958 Events
Bell Lilies in a Copper Vase
Van Gogh


Friday, November 02, 2007

The Lady of Shalott
John William Waterhouse, 1888





Thursday, November 01, 2007

Van Gogh Bandaged




Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Chartres Cathedral Windows


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Goldfish
Henri Matisse, 1911

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Scream
Edvard Munch, 1893

Monday, October 22, 2007

Getting There: A Ramble

3 a.m. I wake up thinking
about those patches on your body,
those flesh-colored stop-smoking patches,
you lying in the hospital bed near
death, an oxygen mask on your face,
your eyes rolled back in your head,
body stripped naked except for the loin
cloth someone fashioned for more privacy,
you looking like Gandhi, you my brother-in-law,
whose arms I don't think I'd ever touched
until that day, when your wife, who had not
slept for days, asked if I could please keep
rubbing your arms and forehead with cool
water so she could just talk to you, could hold
your seven year old daughter in her arms
as they both talked to you, saying over and over
Your girls are here, Daddy, Your girls are here,
and then could I just continue a little longer
so she could lie down for just a minute's
rest, and so I started with the cloth, up and down
your arms, wondering why in the hell anyone
would put patches on your body, you less
than an hour from death, and though those patches
troubled me and though I felt I was violating
your right to be left alone, though I felt something
close to sacrilege, I wanted to help, so I kept sponging
and talking to you, asking you if you remembered
my wedding day and how you tried to talk your brother
into a quick getaway, asking if you could recall
the day you came in to tell me how badly
injured your brother (my man) was in the bulldozer
accident, me screaming He’s dead, isn’t he!!!
and you assuring me he was very much alive
and asking to see me, me asking if you remembered
that tall tale full-of-bullshit-as-they-come story you told
once about Jigs, your daddy’s bulldog, playing dead
then jumping up and killing those two beautiful show
dogs of your uncle’s, me there rubbing up and down,
up and down those tanned arms that would never
see the sun again, trying not to break, letting myself
tell you I was going to miss you, you who I never
got to know very well in the twenty-five years
I knew you, all the while wondering about those
patches, which I now remember were on your back,
which I know now were there to make you a bit more
comfortable on your way out, which may
have kept your body from craving a smoke,
which may have made your brain a little
less reluctant to keep fighting, which freed
up those few moments in which your breathing
became a bit less labored as your beautiful
daughter wept there next to you, which gave
her some comfort and others too--your mom
and wife, your brother and son, and even me,
me the one you wanted not to like but grew
accustomed to, me, the one who presented
a nephew, a niece, and another nephew
to you, the Me you knew loved ragtime
so you played Maple Leaf Rag or some other
Joplin tune every time you came to the house,
you telling me once that you were a piano player
in a bordello in a former life, you whose genius
few others could touch, you who I think of often
when I wake in the night, unable to sleep any longer,
up and down all night asking questions I can't answer,
falling back into an uneasy sleep, getting up the next
day still wondering about things like patches
and what's humane, about how it's not the dying
that scares me so much, it's the getting there.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

And Death Shall Have No Dominion

And death shall have no dominion.
Dead men naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
Under the windings of the sea
They lying long shall not die windily;
Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;
Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
And the unicorn evils run them through;
Split all ends up they shan't crack;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
No more may gulls cry at their ears
Or waves break loud on the seashores;
Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
Though they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And death shall have no dominion.

-- Dylan Thomas

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Bob Dylan Set List

Bloomington, Indiana
Indiana University
Assembly Hall

October 19, 2007




1. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat (Bob on electric guitar, Donnie on lap steel)
2. It Ain't Me, Babe (Bob on electric guitar, Donnie on lap steel)
3. Watching The River Flow (Bob on electric guitar, Donnie on lap steel)
4. Love Sick
(Bob on electric keyboard, Donnie on electric mandolin)
5. Rollin' And Tumblin'
(Bob on electric keyboard, Donnie on electric mandolin, Stu on acoustic guitar)
6. Spirit On The Water (Bob on electric keyboard and harp, Donnie on pedal steel,
Stu on acoustic guitar, Tony on standup bass)
7. High Water (For Charlie Patton)
(Bob on electric keyboard, Donnie on banjo, Tony on standup bass)
8. Workingman's Blues #2
(Bob on electric keyboard, Donnie on pedal steel, Stu on acoustic guitar)
9. Honest With Me (Bob on electric keyboard, Donnie on lap steel)
10. My Back Pages
(Bob on electric keyboard and harp, Donnie on pedal steel, Stu on acoustic guitar)
11. Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on electric keyboard, Donnie lap steel)
12. Ain't Talkin' (Bob on electric keyboard, Donnie on viola, Stu on acoustic guitar)
13. Summer Days (Bob on electric keyboard, Donnie on pedal steel, Tony on standup bass)
14. Ballad Of A Thin Man (Bob on electric keyboard and harp, Donnie on lap steel)

(encore)
15. Thunder On The Mountain
(Bob on electric keyboard, Donnie lap steel, Stu on acoutic guitar)
16. Blowin' In The Wind
(Bob on electric keyboard and harp, Donnie on violin, Stu on acoustic guitar)


*********************************************************

I've seen Dylan many, many times, but last night
was the first time I've heard him perform
Ballad Of A Thin Man and Blowin' In The Wind.

The show was great, and Elvis Costello was pretty
damned amazing. Going to look at his set list (if I can find it).

Sunday, October 14, 2007





















This is a picture of Dad and me at my youngest
brother's first wedding.
Happy Birthday to Dad...

who would have been 84 today.
Took flowers to the grave. Molly
went with me so I could tell her a bit
about her grandfather. She even sat
very still on his grave while I took
her picture.

I miss you, Dad. You would have loved
the weather today. High of 80 (it's almost
there now), beautiful sunshine, cool nights.

You would have loved meeting your
newest grandchild and your three new
great-grandbabies. You would have loved
Molly, too, and the house renovations
and the flower and herb gardens.

And you would have listened patiently
as I told you my concerns about my job
situation. And you would have wanted
Mom to go to the beach, but you know
she would never have done that while
you were living unless you went too.
I can think of very few places (in the
ten or so years preceding your death)
that she has been without you.

And you should see how beautiful
the shade garden is that you and Mom
started for me 4 or so years ago. The peonies
and hydrangeas are thriving, and so are the hostas.
Even the yuccas, which prefer sun, are growing well.
I've added coral bells and columbine and more
hostas and hydrangeas. I also planted an azalea
at the west end of the house--the very corner
of the shade garden. Some lily of the valley, too.

You know those bean poles you bought to border
off the garden area until I decided what I wanted to
do with it? Well, I removed them when I added
landscape rock around the garden, but I couldn't
get rid of them. They're stacked, upright, in the
corner behind the screened-in porch. Maybe I'll
even plant some pole beans next summer and I'll
use them. Been far too long since I had a vegetable
garden. I have my flowers and my herbs, but there's
nothing like home-grown eggplant and peas and
squash and tomatoes and corn and limas and peppers
of all kinds.

Yeah, maybe I'll do that, Dad.

Today, Christopher, Jessica, and baby Isaac
are on their way. I wish you could be here
to see them.

Well--gotta go. I'm crying now, which isn't a bad
thing but I have much to do before the kids get home.

Love you, Pop. Happy Birthday.

Friday, October 12, 2007























Molly in her lampshade. These were taken in early August. She's grown quite a bit since then. She had to wear the collar almost 5 weeks, but she's all healed up now and still being a pain-in-the-arse puppy most days, but I see improvement since she started obedience school.


















Some examples of some art work in the house. The colors are much more vibrant than this scan shows. Don't know why I can't scan from a good pic and get a good scan. The pics were beautiful.
Part of the kitchen renovation. The counters are not all cluttered now so it looks much better. The corner cabinet is still doorless at the bottom but we will be putting the doors back on. A work island will be built in the center of the kitchen. In the pictures of Molly, you can see the floor.











These pictures don't do justice to the hardy hibisus. The pics were good but apparently I don't know how to scan!


















Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Gray Sky

Glad to have a gray sky this morning--I hope
that means we're going to get some rain.
It is so very dry here that I really don't
think we'll get to see all those lovely colors
death graces us with and strews around in the fall.

*

Finally some much needed sleep for me last night.

Had my first major panic attack in over
ten years the other night, even with my
medicine in my system. It takes at least
a week to try and regroup from one.

It was terrifying, as they always are.

I may have to change meds or increase the one
I am taking, but it's worked so well for the last 12 + years
that I hate to do that.

*

Tried out something new last night--chicken
breasts stuffed with spinach and gruyere cheese.

Defrost a 10 oz box of chopped spinach
Wring until completely dry in a clean kitchen towel.
In a bowl, mix the spinach with 1 cup grated gruyere,
1/2 cup grated fresh parmesan, 2 tbps mayo, 1 tsp
crushed red pepper flakes, and a dash of kosher salt.

Blend that well. Pound out the breasts until they are
1/2 inch thick (or just flattened a bit). Put the spinach
mixture in the center of each breast and roll it up.
Secure with toothpicks and then cook in skillet in olive oil
until chicken is lightly browned. Transfer to a backing
pan and cook for 40 minutes or until juices of the chicken
run clear. You don't want to overcook and have dried out
chicken.

Then I made a white wine sauce ( 1 1/2 cups pinot grigio
or a dry white wine of your choice, 2 cups chicken stock,
1/2 cup heavy cream, and flour to thicken if needed) to pour
over that, some jasmine rice and steamed broccoli.

It was very good.

Tonight, I think I am going to make some balsamic
pork chops, brussels sprouts with cranberries,
and some kind of potatoes.

*

Still feel drained. Going to lie down and read awhile
and then take Molly for her walk.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Where The Universe Unfolds You


When he told me about the nights
spent sitting on a bluff overlooking
a valley, and how the stars were so close
to you, you felt they were simply part
of who you were, this two weeks
after her death, him crying and begging
to have one more night to sit there
on that bluff in Montana, sit there with his
dark-haired, brown-eyed woman, his feisty
tell you to go-to-hell in a heartbeat woman,
his wife of twenty years soon to be placed
in the ground, I cried too. For losing her,
the one who loved me best, for not knowing
what it would be like to have the stars
become intimate friends, for not knowing how I
would navigate through my dark nights
alone, for not being there when she fell
into the sleep she never woke from, for loving
so much too late, for not telling her
how many times she pissed me off and for
how grateful I was she did: She now eight
years in that cemetery with the stone
he and I chose as he wept, as I became
like marble, like granite, like the rock
I thought I could be for him: He whose
calls I never answer, he who has remarried,
he who spends his days mending the damage
of nature's whims, out there on rooftops,
out there sometimes late at night, where
it seems, I am sure, that the stars remember
him: a young man in love, his wild woman baying.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Taps At One

Through the muggy air it came,
meandering through the sycamore
branches, rising above the maple
and the oak, the sound of a lone bugler
paying his respects, playing
for a man who may have been
someone's father, just as someone
played for my father, at the end
of the service, before they lowered
him into the ground.

*

Can't write about this today. That's
all I can write.

Molly and I were going through her
obedience training routine at the track when
I heard the bugle, the song. Taps.

It's on the bookmark the funeral home
gave all of us. Dad's face and obit on one
side, the words to Taps on the other.

The cemetery is SSW of the track. There is
a path from the track to the cemetery
which Molly and I take when we decide
we need to walk some hills, or when people
show up at the track and I don't want Molly
all over them. I thought about taking it
today, until I heard the bugle.



*


Wilco put on an excellent show last night.
This was my youngest son's first concert.
He has the bug now, I can tell you, and I am
glad. What would life be without music?



It is still so difficult for me to drive into
Louisville now. Louisville is a city I've always
loved--so much to do and see. But I can't go there,
can't even be on 65 N without thinking
of that night, the night my father was flown
to the hospital there, the night I drove my mom
and youngest brother there not knowing if Dad
was even still alive or would make it until
we got there, without thinking
of how terrible the whole end of his life was--
the nightmarish and unethical treatment
he received in the hands of those who are
supposed to be healers, the days and nights
of him talking out of his head and pointing
at things that didn't exist, the not knowing day
to day if he was going to make it, and if he made
it, would he ever be the same, the way his
eyes looked--desperate & terrifed but glassed
over.

I just get a knot in my stomach and this feeling
of dread the minute my car gets off the parkway
and heads northbound on 65.

Maybe in time, that won't happen, but there
are some things that never really go away--some
feelings, some bodily reponses to a prior trauma.

So, it was hard, but it was good to go see my brother,
his girlfriend, and their children.

It was good to be back on Bardstown Rd., good to spend
a little time in EarXTacy--a store I once spent hours in.
Bought some Mighty Mighty Bosstones and some Elvis
Costello. Going to see Elvis Costello and Bob Dylan
(together) in Bloomington on the 21st of October.


It was good to be at Slugger Field with my son and his
friend, enjoying the music and the mood.

*

The Ken Burns series about WWII veterans
starts tomorrow night. I am going to watch it
and hope I can get through it without
getting too emotional.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Obedience Training: Lesson 2

Molly did well Wednesday at her second lesson.
She acts so much better there than at home!

Purchased a pinch collar for her and we wear
that when practicing. There is a very noticeable
difference in her these last two days.
Now, when I just pull up on her regular collar
and tell her to sit and stay, she's responding.

She didn't even go after Dante last night, which
was pretty amazing. Of course, I have to work with
her daily--at least two 20-30 minutes sessions. I can
only give her a "special" treat when she follows
my Come command (she gets pieces of hot dogs).

After she completes her other routine work--Sit, Stay,
Heel, Down, I can give her a doggie treat, but not a piece
of hot dog. According to the trainers, the Come command
is the most important she will learn so she needs that
special treat with the hope that she will respond quickly
to that command.

Getting ready to take her out and work with her now.

*

Taking my son and his friend to see Wilco tonight in Louisville.
My eldest (always want to say oldest as eldest doesn't sound
correct but grammatically speaking, it is) brother lives there,
so we're going to stop by his house for dinner before going
to the concert. It's at Louisville Slugger Field, and it looks
like the weather is going to be quite nice for an outdoor venue.
I'm taking a jacket just in case.

*

Waiting to hear back from my interview. They told me it would
be a week or so before they contact me (they have to run a background
check). I feel confident, but who knows. I can definitely see myself
as a CDW (Court Designated Worker) and hope I get the chance
to prove myself worthy of being in that position.

*

Time to do some laundry and take Molly out.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

An I For An I

I think more of defiling
an abalone shell than I
do my own lungs, make sure
I scrub the pearlescent body
I claim as ashtray, wonder
why I do this, day after day,
why I play music that soothes
and hurts, how I got to this point
where I don't even know how
to discern what is what it is,
right or wrong, good or bad, why
only my left eye closes tight, oh so
tight, nearly every night,
me reaching for the drops to clear
out all the fuzzy stuff I'm not certain
I want to see anyway, why one eye
notices a blur, a flash of memory.

I move forward, turn backward,
start the oven, run the vacuum,
fold a load of laundry, eyes wide
open, mind not entirely closed.
I climb the basement stairs
wondering how this egoism
started: when, who, how.

I am here. An eye work, an ordinary
I rubbing down a chicken breast
with ginger, slathering asparagus
with olive oil, out of the corners
of my drying eyes watching the comings
and goings of the neighbors next door,
across the street, rubbing with fury
now, I am. Rubbing and basting
with everything I have in me, knowing
the night will come for me, and I,
I will pretend I am not afraid,
that I am strong, I am this woman
who watches carefully, who cooks
and doesn't let the chicken burn,
who makes sure the oven is off
before she sleeps, who says, night
after night: I can make it.

Roger Hodgson... Even In The Quietest Moments

For my friend, who just told me today there will not be another doctor's appointment, who told me Hospice will provide, who told me what a good friend I am...

This, from Supertramp, a group I've never listened to...

Break

We put the puzzle together piece
by piece, loving how one curved
notch fits so sweetly with another.
A yellow smudge becomes
the brush of a broom, and two blue arms
fill in the last of the sky.
We patch together porch swings and autumn
trees, matching gold to gold. We hold
the eyes of deer in our palms, a pair
of brown shoes. We do this as the child
circles her room, impatient
with her blossoming, tired
of the neat house, the made bed,
the good food. We let her brood
as we shuffle through the pieces,
setting each one into place with a satisfied
tap, our backs turned for a few hours
to a world that is crumbling, a sky
that is falling, the pieces
we are required to return to.

Dorianne Laux

Tuesday, September 18, 2007




Red Shoes, cont.

"And then she confessed all her sin, and the executioner struck off her feet with the red shoes; but the shoes danced away with the little feet across the field into the deep forest. "

Hans Christian Andersen

*

Ahhh, good old fairy tales. So uplifting.

I read a rather interesting book about the
meaning (collective unconscious/Jungian meaning)
of fairy tales by Bruno Bettelheim--The Uses
Of Enchantment, I think it's called.

As a child, I remember thinking how frightening many
of the stories were (the trolls in the Three Billy
Goats Gruff, the witch in Hansel & Gretel,
the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood, etc.)

Didn't hear the story of the red shoes when I was
a child. The only Andersen stories I remember
are The Princess And The Pea, The Snow Queen,
The Little Mermaid, The Emperor's New Clothes,
and The Ugly Duckling.

Here's to red shoes! And weird stories! And great movies!
And imagination!

*

Had my interview today. I think it went well,
but who knows. They may have met many good
applicants today.

If it's meant to be, it's meant to be.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Our deepest fear...

is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful
beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

Marianne Williamson

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Stuck Inside of Madville With The Headache Blues Again

Should write a poem about it, this headache,
all these headaches, but my head hurts
too much to do much.

*

Busy week and a half. Spent last Friday
thru Monday in Lexington. Kept Isaac
for the first time Friday night while
my son and daughter-in-law went out
to dinner. I have to admit it was a bit
scary. He got choked when he taking
his bottle (as babies do) and I was
so scared. I know mine did the same
thing--choked when they were nursing--
I only bottlefed the firstborn as I had no info
about breastfeeding when he was born, but I did
some research and found a breastfeeding support group
before I had my other two and enjoyed every
minute of the experience(well, maybe not every
minute--wasn't fun to wake up with your bed
soaked when baby slept through a feeding), and my
daughter-in-law is nursing too, but she pumps
so others can help out and have that bonding time
with Isaac as well, but it's been a while since I've
had a baby and one forgets these things. Then I worry
about tripping and falling with him (my mother
used to call me grace--I was so clumsy!). He just
seems so fragile, but I know that babies are quite strong.

Overall, things went well, but when I couldn't calm
him down and he started crying so hard that I thought
he was going to stop breathing, things got a bit hairy.

So, I walked outside in the front yard with him and he
got easy, and then about 5 minutes later, his mommy
and daddy got home and he was fine.

*

This week, my daughter called to say she and a friend
of hers were coming to stay the night and would I please
cook dinner and that she would help me when she got
here, so they came in on Tuesday night.

We invited Jake's mom over as well. I was glad
that she accepted the invite.

We had dinner and then sat outside under
the carport until well after midnight talking, laughing,
crying.

She talked a lot about Jake's death, but she also talked
a lot about his life.

There are just no words I have to give her
except I am so sorry, and so I give those,
and I hug her.

*

On Thursday, my son, daughter-in-law,
and baby Isaac came here to visit. It was
their first trip here. He did very well
on the drive and very well with his
Gramma (me) that night when his mommy
and daddy went to an interview. He also got
to meet two of his great-grandmas, his only
great-grandpa, his Uncle Wes (my baby),
and his second cousin, Elizabeth.

That night, he didn't want to sleep, and
my son came across the hall to my room
with him. He said, Mom, could you just rock
him a bit and then let him stay in here
with you for a little while? He said he and Jess
were so tired and had had so little sleep, and I know
they needed sleep, so I took him and rocked him
and then put him in the bed next to me, like I once
put my others, and he slept until 5:30 that
morning. So his mommy and daddy got about
6 hours of sleep and were most happy, and I had
my sweet grandbaby there next to me all night
making sweet little baby noises. It was more than
worth a night of no sleep, but I am playing catch-up
and have been in bed most of the day.

*

Reading Those Who Save Us--a story about
the German women of World War II and their
stories of what life was like for them as they witnessed
the atrocities of the concentration camps and the madness
of the SS.

Also reading Mark Strand and James Wright.
The intro about Wright (written by Donald Hall)
is quite interesting. And I have found a number
of poems I've never read to be so worth the price
of the book. Many of the pages in the book are
now dogeared, ready to be returned to again
and again.

*

It's such a beautiful day, but I don't think my head
is going to let me take a walk. Molly will have to wait
for hubby to get home to take her. She started obedience
training last Tuesday and did well that day and the next,
but it's been all downhill since. I am largely to blame
because I haven't had the time to work with her.

*

Some James Wright (this one I had read before and was
glad to read again):



Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy's Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota


Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly,
Asleep on the black trunk,
blowing like a leaf in green shadow.
Down the ravine behind the empty house,
The cowbells follow one another
Into the distances of the afternoon.
To my right,
In a field of sunlight between two pines,
The droppings of last year's horses
Blaze up into golden stones.
I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on.
A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home.
I have wasted my life.




Monday, September 10, 2007

Revisiting Kane


Shortly after I watched Rosebud
blaze and then turn to full burn
in the flames, I pinched my hand
on a do-it-all mop I had to use
to clean up puppy piss, and I thought:
Wait a minute and what the hell?
Who gets a moment of fame
and recognition, who is remembered
and for what, how many times did who
scrub a damned toilet, make a bed,
launder the clothes of the beloved,
cook food for the three and twice
as many who may show up, callus
knees in the labor of nurturing
herbs and peonies, sweat buckets
beneath the glaring lights of the birthing
room, bruise and bend and bruise again,
how much did who know what it is
to simply feel alive and be part of the picture
that will never be a picture?

Friday, September 07, 2007

Night Visitors

All night, they visit,
these lost ones in their
yellow shirts and blue jeans,
their hemp bracelets and favorite
hats, their hair freshly permed
and glowing like the blue
of the t.v. screen, their earlobes
sporting handmade Navajo jewelry,
their faces the way I remember them,
not like they were before the casket
closed but like they were before
there was a casket to close
them in, their smiles unwavering,
their arms doing any number of things:
filling a laundry basket, holding
a newborn baby, wrapping around
the waist of a lover, reaching to get
a can of soup from the shelf, opening
wide enough to be filled with the pain
of the living.

I wake and look around
the darkened room for some
proof of their existence,
but there is only my husband
asleep beside me, a cat at my feet,
my pounding heart, the arthritic
shadows of the nearly bare
dogwood, the splintered light
of a retreating moon, red numbers
glaring from the bedside table, assaulting
my senses with their truth: 2:45
a.m
., the silent phone, that bearer
of such bad news, nestled in its
cradle, the soft light
beaming from beneath
the closed bathroom door,
my son asleep in his room:
me--feet now touching the floor,
pacing the rooms of this old
house, prowling around alone again,
waiting for the dead to come.
Harmony in Red


Red Poppy


That linkage of warnings sent a tremor through June
as if to prepare October in the hardest apples.
One week in late July we held hands
through the bars of his hospital bed. Our sleep
made a canopy over us and it seemed I heard
its durable roaring in the companion sleep
of what must have been our Bedouin god, and now
when the poppy lets go I know it is to lay bare
his thickly seeded black coach
at the pinnacle of dying.

My shaggy ponies heard the shallow snapping of silk
but grazed on down the hillside, their prayer flags
tearing at the void-what we
stared into, its cool flux
of blue and white. How just shaking at flies
they sprinkled the air with the soft unconscious praise
of bells braided into their manes. My life

simplified to "for him" and his thinned like an injection
wearing off so the real gave way to
the more-than-real, each moment's carmine
abundance, furl of reddest petals
lifted from the stalk and no hint of the black
hussar's hat at the center. By then his breathing stopped
so gradually I had to brush lips to know
an ending. Tasting then that plush of scarlet
which is the last of warmth, kissless kiss
he would have given. Mine to extend a lover's right past its radius,
to give and also most needfully, my gallant hussar,
to bend and take.

Tess Gallagher

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Leda And The Swan







Rain

A nice slow, soft rain has been falling
all day. I am so happy. It has been so dry
and hot here.

Going to cook tortellini soup tonight.
I vary it every time. This time I am
using chicken and prosciutto tortelloni
in the soup, so I won't be adding any other meat.

Going to saute in olive oil fresh garlic, sliced
(as I love garlic and want more than minced
in my foods), one yellow onion, chopped,
two stalks of celery, finely chopped,
and one sweet potato chopped. After
the garlic and onion become translucent,
I am going to deglaze the pan with some
chicken stock and let that simmer a bit.

Then I am going to add about 8 cups
chicken stock, 10 oz of beef stock,
garbanzo beans, and thyme.

I'll let that cook until the sweet potatoes
get tender and then add fresh kale, thinly
sliced. Just before serving, I'll add the
tortellino and fresh basil, thinly sliced.

About five minutes before I serve it,
I am adding some heavy cream--about
1/2 cup. Lots of healthy things in there
and just a little cream, so it should be good.
I top it with some freshly grated
parmigiano-reggiano cheese.

I am thinking I'll slice the French bread,
brush on some olive oil and then add
some kosher salt and thinly sliced
garlic. I love it when the garlic is added
to the top and you get that burst of fresh,
hot garlic taste.

Good day for soup.

*

Tomorrow, I am on the road to go see
my grandson. I am going to keep him
tomorrow night while his mom and dad
go out to eat. I can't wait to see him!

Going to stay the weekend and hang out
with a friend Saturday night.

*

I am stoked about my phone call yesterday.
An interview--finally. Even if I don't get the job,
I am excited about someone giving me an
opportunity, but I really hope I get it.

It's a Court Designated Worker position
and I would be working with juveniles
in trouble. Part-time, but that would work.

*

Went to Lowe's today to get a new ceiling
fan for my kitchen. I turned the light on
last week and flames shot out of the old
one. Scared the hell outta me. So, I got a
new one, which I was planning to do anyway
to better match the kitchen renovation.

*

Read some Bishop today. Not sure how much
I like the work, but I appreciate the mind.
She was one sharp cookie.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Sensible Shoes

It's senior day at Kroger today.

All these little, old people in their
sensible shoes there to get their 10%
discount.

I wonder if I'll ever be one
of them. Barring any accident, I wonder
if I have what it takes to stick it out,
day after day, when your body hurts
and you can't think straight about
anything.

It makes me smile to see them,
and it makes me sad. I miss my grandmother
and many older people I have lost.

*

Had Coq au Vin Blanc last night with roasted
asparagus, wild rice, and a boule bread.

Tonight, I am cooking an Italian roast beef
dish. The beef is in the oven now. Rubbed it
with kosher salt, pepper, onion powder, and
crushed thyme. Cut slits in it and packed
whole garlic cloves in them. Then I browned
it in olive oil.

Removed it from the pan and sauteed
onion and peppers in the drippings.
Deglazed the pan with some red wine,
then added some chicken stock and beef
broth. Then sprinkled a package of
Italian dressing mix in it. Added the beef
back and put it in the oven at 300.

Smells good. Going to have a salad,
fettucine with pesto sauce, and more boule.

Can't seem to motivate myself to do much
else, so I am glad I am cooking.

*

Got my books in the mail and started with
Elizabeth Bishop: The Complete Poems
1927-1979.

Also got Mark Strand's Blizzard of One,
James Wright's Above The River: The Complete
Poems, and Charles Simic's The Voice at 3:00 a.m.

Hard for me to concentrate but am enjoying what
I am reading.

*

Molly knocked my feet out from under me last
Friday. I fell hard onto the asphalt. Good thing
I didn't put my hands down to catch myself--probably
would have broken my wrists. Good thing I have
all that padding on my rear end too. It was one
of those times when you feel thankful you have
some meat on your bones. Cushioned the fall a bit.

As it is, it is getting harder to sleep at night.

I hurt.

My fingers hurt. My left elbow hurts.
My right hip hurts and no matter how I
turn or toss, there is no way
I can sleep that's comforable.

I have little stabbing pains in my left knee
all night long. I feel certain someone has my
voodoo doll out and is sticking me all over
with pins.

Probably arthritis. Seems to improve when I am
walking, so I am still walking nearly every day.
At least 25 minutes. Sometimes 45 minutes.

*

Overcast today. I hope we get some rain.
I want to feel like this:






Monday, September 03, 2007

Jeff Tweedy Sunken Treasure

One of my favorite Wilco songs...going to see them at the end of the month...taking my son and his friend...don't know how to describe the way I feel about my son liking them...people I like...music I like...that we both like them...that we are going together...kids grow up so quickly...