Sunday, July 29, 2007

Late Night Elegy

I scream without sound
and what I say is this:

I am the cobalt blue bud vase
on your window shelf, devoid

of buds; the yellow dandelion plucked
from the yard, invading pervasive green;

the dying bleeding heart in the shade
garden, my time over for a season.

I am the cat’s fur, smooth and silky, hairs
flying in all directions as you stroke Me.

I am the collared puppy, making my way
despite the obstacles, to relieve myself.

I am the rice pilaf, fresh oregano and chives
sprinkling my body, ready to be eaten.

I am the load of laundry souring in the wash
tub in the basement, waiting to be unloaded.

I am the last puff of your cigarette, the end
now a punitive reminder of your transgressions.

I am the ocean at night, lapping still at the edges
where children and grown-ups alike played

for a few hours beneath a blazing sun. I am the guitar
in the backseat of the car, needing a new string,

waiting for the touch of your fingers, for the blood
of your fingers, for the life of your fingers.

I am screaming with no sound. I am the knowledge
that most screams, despite their urgency, and in light

of their need to be known, are never heard.

Lay Down Your Weary Tune set to Photography of Miranda Jane

One of my favorite Dylan songs ever...comforts me...

"And rest yourself 'neath the strength of strings

no voice can hope to hum..."

"I stood unwound beneath the skies

and clouds unbound by laws...

Lay down your weary tune, lay down,
Lay down the song you strum,
And rest yourself 'neath the strength of strings
No voice can hope to hum.

Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
Lay down your weary tune, lay down,
Lay down the song you strum,
And rest yourself 'neath the strength of strings
No voice can hope to hum.

The ocean wild like an organ played,
The seaweed's wove its strands.
The crashin' waves like cymbals clashed
Against the rocks and sands.
Lay down your weary tune, lay down,
Lay down the song you strum,
And rest yourself 'neath the strength of strings
No voice can hope to hum.

I stood unwound beneath the skies
And clouds unbound by laws.
The cryin' rain like a trumpet sang
And asked for no applause.
Lay down your weary tune, lay down,
Lay down the song you strum,
And rest yourself 'neath the strength of strings
No voice can hope to hum.

The last of leaves fell from the trees
And clung to a new love's breast.
The branches bare like a banjo played
To the winds that listened best.

I gazed down in the river's mirror
And watched its winding strum.
The water smooth ran like a hymn
And like a harp did hum.
Lay down your weary tune, lay down,
Lay down the song you strum,
And rest yourself 'neath the strength of strings
No voice can hope to hum.


Another song I can't get outta my head. Alas, more to come.

In and around the lake...

Huey Lewis and the News - I want a new drug

In the middle of the journey of our life,
I came to myself within a dark wood where
the straight way was lost.



How many times have I asked that question?
How many times do I misquote and say,

In the middle of the journey of my life...

Many...perhaps many more to come.

A life and a death. My aunt, my father's only
sister...the last remaining of that family. Gone.

Of course, we are here. We share the blood.
We share the lineage.


I am scratched and bruised and aching
from my labors. I should not feel these things.

Young as I am. Middle as I am.


Finished rereading The Half-Blood Prince.
Glad I reread. Time to start the other.
Reading takes us away. Away from the reality
of this war and the immediacy of death.

Away from siblings arrested and siblings
working themselves to death and siblings
settling for the best that comes.

Away from dead fathers and very alive mothers
who cannot give of themselves.

Away from joblessness and rootlessness
and inability to find peace in acceptance.


Damn if Huey Lewis and the News didn't
just pop in my head.

I Want A New Drug.


Out. Out, damned spot!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Struggling, struggling, struggling

Maybe May be

that it is time to reread


The Dispossessed

Rereading The Half-Blood Prince

as I have forgotten too much to go forward.

The Deathly Hallows sits on my bedside

and I am oh! so anxious to read it!

Wet brain.

Going now to research that topic.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Entering the World

...of dreams. Sometimes I wonder if we do leave
our bodies and travel in our dreams. Maybe the body
is lying in the bed, but we have stepped out of it and
into another world.

I woke this morning choking. In my dream, a woman,
who looked like Mammy from Gone With The Wind
(from the back--never saw her face), was washing clothes
in the kitchen sink of an upstairs apartment. She told me
to go outside and tell Enrico he had to come home.

I saw him across the street and called to him, but he ignored
me. Some other boys on the street yelled out to him and pointed
at me. I knew I must not be speaking the same language.

Then, out of nowhere, comes this line drive, and I catch it
bare-handed (to applause and shouts of disbelief), and then
comes a football, spinning fast and furious, and I lift the other
hand into the air and catch it one-handed. And then I remember
thinking I was choking on a piece of chewing gum. I couldn't swallow
it and I couldn't bring it back to my mouth. And I woke up with this
big cough and gasp and I really thought I had a piece of gum
in my mouth.

I never thought about the dangers of running or swimming
with a piece of gum in your mouth. And then, one summer, a
young girl--maybe 12--drowned at the city park pool.
The newspaper report said that she could have been resuscitated
(perhaps) had she not been chewing gum. It was stuck in her
throat, so mouth-to-mouth didn't work. After that, I made
my kids swear they wouldn't run track, play
ball, dance, etc. with gum in their mouths.

So, maybe I was in that neighborhood calling out for Enrico,
choking on my piece of gum. Who knows.


Because I am becoming more anal and insecure the older I get
(I thought the older I got, the better that would get), I never
trust that I can spell anything any more. I was the queenie-bee
of spelling bees and what-not in my day. So, when I typed in
line drive, I wondered if it should be hyphenated, so I typed it
into Google and what a strange story I found:



Don't know why I feel compelled to write about my dream.

I had many more. One filled with such vibrant colors
and strange people. Beautiful fabrics and the smell
of good food cooking. Tables overflowing with wines
and cheeses and fruits. Women laughing. Wearing
beautiful caftans, salwar kameezes, saris. Lots of light
everywhere and temperate weather and the sound
of water.


Time to go mop while Molly is outside. After that, I am taking
all the pictures and artwork off the walls in the hallway. I am
going to start stripping paper. Who cares if the kitchen
project is done or not? It just needs a few things that I can
do as I do the hallway.

Then outside to weed. My poor flower beds. I have never
neglected them like this before. Best get out there while
the mood strikes. Of course, my moods being what they
are, I am very likely to be out of the mood by the time
I finish typing this.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Seeing What You Cannot See

There are times when being myopic
is not such a bad thing, times when
you lay your head down on the pillow
after a night of crying and the first
light that hits your eyes is this huge
illuminated dandelion head in the sky
and it's shining all over you, and if you close
one eye, the image is less intense, but if you open
both because you really need intense, then you see
an even greater dandelion head watching over you
and if you think it might be worthwhile to put
on your glasses to see what you don't really see,
which is a crescent moon disguised
as an illuminated and grandiose dandelion,
which seems to want to own you in a sense,
you know you don't want your glasses on your face
any longer because you are so happy you cannot see,
and you don't mind so much not being able to see
what seeing people see, so you turn your head to the left
a bit on the pillow and then the light is less bright
and the trick less grand but no less special,
and if you turn to the right a little then the leaves
on the trees play tricks and look like little shadow
figures threatening to take all your light and life
away and so you turn back to the first position
and wonder whether you should put your glasses
on again and see what you cannot see when you know full well
it's better the way you see when you cannot see.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

On the road again...

going to spend the next 4 days in Lexington
with my new grandson. I can't wait to hold
him again and kiss his little feet and tiny hands!

Been a hard week for me in so many ways. I know
being with him, and with my son & daughter-in-law
will help.


103. There was a Child went Forth

There was a child went forth every day;
And the first object he look’d upon, that object he became;
And that object became part of him for the day, or a certain part of the day, or for many years, or stretching cycles of years.

The early lilacs became part of this child,
And grass, and white and red morning-glories, and white and red clover, and the song of the phoebe-bird,
And the Third-month lambs, and the sow’s pink-faint litter, and the mare’s foal, and the cow’s calf,
And the noisy brood of the barn-yard, or by the mire of the pond-side,
And the fish suspending themselves so curiously below there—and the beautiful curious liquid,
And the water-plants with their graceful flat heads—all became part of him.

The field-sprouts of Fourth-month and Fifth-month became part of him;
Winter-grain sprouts, and those of the light-yellow corn, and the esculent roots of the garden,
And the apple-trees cover’d with blossoms, and the fruit afterward, and wood-berries, and the commonest weeds by the road;
And the old drunkard staggering home from the out-house of the tavern, whence he had lately risen,
And the school-mistress that pass’d on her way to the school,
And the friendly boys that pass’d—and the quarrelsome boys,
And the tidy and fresh-cheek’d girls—and the barefoot negro boy and girl,
And all the changes of city and country, wherever he went.

His own parents,
He that had father’d him, and she that had conceiv’d him in her womb, and birth’d him,
They gave this child more of themselves than that;
They gave him afterward every day—they became part of him.

The mother at home, quietly placing the dishes on the supper-table;
The mother with mild words—clean her cap and gown, a wholesome odor falling off her person and clothes as she walks by;
The father, strong, self-sufficient, manly, mean, anger’d, unjust;
The blow, the quick loud word, the tight bargain, the crafty lure,
The family usages, the language, the company, the furniture—the yearning and swelling heart,
Affection that will not be gainsay’d—the sense of what is real—the thought if, after all, it should prove unreal,
The doubts of day-time and the doubts of night-time—the curious whether and how,
Whether that which appears so is so, or is it all flashes and specks?
Men and women crowding fast in the streets—if they are not flashes and specks, what are they? 30
The streets themselves, and the fa├žades of houses, and goods in the windows,
Vehicles, teams, the heavy-plank’d wharves—the huge crossing at the ferries,
The village on the highland, seen from afar at sunset—the river between,
Shadows, aureola and mist, the light falling on roofs and gables of white or brown, three miles off,
The schooner near by, sleepily dropping down the tide—the little boat slack-tow’d astern, 35
The hurrying tumbling waves, quick-broken crests, slapping,
The strata of color’d clouds, the long bar of maroon-tint, away solitary by itself—the spread of purity it lies motionless in,
The horizon’s edge, the flying sea-crow, the fragrance of salt marsh and shore mud;
These became part of that child who went forth every day, and who now goes, and will always go forth every day.

Walt Whitman (1819–1892). Leaves of Grass. 1900.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I am Much Too Alone in this World

I am much too alone in this world, yet not alone
to truly consecrate the hour.
I am much too small in this world, yet not small
to be to you just object and thing,
dark and smart.
I want my free will and want it accompanying
the path which leads to action;
and want during times that beg questions,
where something is up,
to be among those in the know,
or else be alone.

I want to mirror your image to its fullest perfection,
never be blind or too old
to uphold your weighty wavering reflection.
I want to unfold.
Nowhere I wish to stay crooked, bent;
for there I would be dishonest, untrue.
I want my conscience to be
true before you;
want to describe myself like a picture I observed
for a long time, one close up,
like a new word I learned and embraced,
like the everday jug,
like my mother's face,
like a ship that carried me along
through the deadliest storm.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Monday, July 16, 2007

Monday, Monday

Feeling rather vulnerable, alone, dejected,
rootless, haunted, lethargic, restless, and wrecked
this morning.

Maybe I am never going to adjust to this loss--to
these losses--my father, my career. And I say career
because what I did was not just a job to me. For all
the years that I wished I could be home more, be
with my children more, have more time to write,
read, walk, garden, paint, travel, or just be idle
for a day and enjoy it--for all those years of wishing,
I would never wish this on anyone.

What is purpose anyway? What is use? What is time
and wise use of such? This overwhelming sense--this
permeating sense of failure keeps pushing my head
beneath the water. Pushing it down and holding it longer
and longer and rarely letting me come up for a breath
and not giving me time to take a deep one before
it pushes me back down.

There is no greater joy for me--has never been a greater
joy--than that of being a parent. Now, I look forward
to being a part of my grandchild's life, but even with that
joy, my brain won't let go of the this sense of being a great
big nothing. Up and down I go.

Yes, I realize I am depressed, but I have been that way most
of my life. This time it's different. There are such varying
degrees of depression.


I also realize that this inability to write is not because
I can't write--No, because I think I could and I think at one
point I did write some decent stuff.

I can't write because I cannot see. I have stopped
seeing. I look hard enough, but I can't see. Sometimes
I look so hard that the world just seems to turn inside
out and then back outside in or it just gets all looped
around--Mobius strip kind of thing. Or it's just upside down
and the sky is the ocean and the ocean is above me
ready to swallow me up. And the tree roots are spreading
their tentacled arms into the ether and their leaves
and delicate tops are balancing on the verdant fields.

Upside down. And inside out. And I cannot see.


First Gestures

Among the first we learn is good-bye,
your tiny wrist between Dad's forefinger
and thumb forced to wave bye-bye to Mom,
whose hand sails brightly behind a windshield.
Then it's done to make us follow:
in a crowded mall, a woman waves, "Bye,
we're leaving," and her son stands firm
sobbing, until at last he runs after her,
among shoppers drifting like sharks
who must drag their great hulks
underwater, even in sleep, or drown.

Living, we cover vast territories;
imagine your life drawn on a map--
a scribble on the town where you grew up,
each bus trip traced between school
and home, or a clean line across the sea
to a place you flew once. Think of the time
and things we accumulate, all the while growing
more conscious of losing and leaving. Aging,
our bodies collect wrinkles and scars
for each place the world would not give
under our weight. Our thoughts get laced
with strange aches, sweet as the final chord
that hangs in a guitar's blond torso.

Think how a particular ridge of hills
from a summer of your childhood grows
in significance, or one hour of light--
late afternoon, say, when thick sun flings
the shadow of Virginia creeper vines
across the wall of a tiny, white room
where a girl makes love for the first time.
Its leaves tremble like small hands
against the screen while she weeps
in the arms of her bewildered lover.
She's too young to see that as we gather
losses, we may also grow in love;
as in passion, the body shudders
and clutches what it must release.

Julia Spicher Kasdorf

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Not Even Trying to Hide

It's relatively quiet tonight,
realtively speaking. The only sounds:
the northbound train, the trickle
of traffic, the landlord across
the street dumping something
into the garbage container
for tomorrow's pickup.

I watch him from the darkness
of my porch, wonder if another
tenant has left him with a mess,
if perhaps he just likes to work.
Work being the operative thought,
the impetus for pounding out words.

And I think about the last drag
of the lit cigarette, the small sip
of vodka, the liver cringing
from this latest onslaught,
the lungs unscreaming

, and I open

my hands to the night air, to darkening
sky, to the suffocating green.

No air, no air. No room to breathe.
No place to go or hide in this relative
world where even the relatives
and all their children never come
to play.

But, then,
yes, then--
there are the black-
eyed Susans who decide to grace
the side yard with their small blossoms,
on this out-of-the-way day beneath
a nonchalant sun.

The Doors - Riders on the Storm

Spent some time in Nashville last night. Discussed the doors of perception. Didn't discuss Jim Morrison or The Doors.

Listened to Warren Zevon (Preludes--posthumous collection) all the way home. Don't know how to say where this all this ties together. I am a rider tonight.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

John Lennon Beautiful Boy(darling boy)

Couldn't post the original video (copyright stuff, but you can watch it on YouTube), so here are the words.

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."--John Lennon

Life is Sweet, Cont.

and it is....I am a grandmother!

Isaac Zachariah Brown
7 lbs 10 oz
21 inches long
DOB: 7/09/07

He is a beautiful boy. Right now, those are the only
words I can offer. I am simply filled with joy. Babies
have a way of doing that to me!

He and mommy are doing well and should go home
today. I'm going back to see him next weekend.

I made it to the hospital in time Monday (3 hour drive
from here) for his birth and got to hold him that evening
and yesterday before coming back home. He's so small
and soft and snuggly!

Gotta see if I can find a particular John Lennon video
to post.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Life is Sweet: Revelations and other things

It happens, I think, like this: you are going
through a time of change. You are in turmoil,
inner or outer. You are in pain. You don't
understand why things are happening, or what
they mean. You pray that you will eventually
understand, eventually be able to assign some
meaning to these occurences. Meanwhile, you
endure. Every morning you make yourself
get up and face the day, go through the motions,
cope with whatever has to be coped with.

And then you see a bird at the feeder who does
not fly away when you walk by but stops and
looks back at you with his beady black eyes.
Or an acquaintance you had nearly forgotten
calls to tell you a remark you made two years
ago has changed his life. Or you are walking
with a child who spots a feather in the path,
pulls on your hand to notice, and suddenly
your heart opens. You are swept into the moment,
connected with a sense of blessing, kindness,
wholeness. In the midst of your hardship,
life is so sweet you can hardly bare it, like
honey on the tongue.

Christina Baldwin
Life's Companion: Journal Writing as a Spiritual Quest


I am trying to think if I have felt that way about
life recently. Today, it feels like I haven't,
but I think if I think hard enough about it,
an instance will come to mind in which
I had that feeling--the feeling that life
is so sweet I can hardly bare it. I am going
to think about that today and write down
some experiences that come to mind.
Maybe revelations will abound.


There's a song I really love by Maria McKee--
Life is Sweet. Wonder if it might be on YouTube.
Doubtful, but I shall look.


Morning started out bumpy. Trying to relax
at the table, drink my coffee, do the crossword
puzzle. Molly jumps up on me and spills the coffee
everywhere. I said %#@*& and *%#$@^&#
and a whole lot of other things. Takes a lot
of effort to say "percentage symbol, at, asterisk,
ampersand, etc." Wore me out. Molly can do that.
She's like the little girl in the nursery rhyme

There was a little girl
who had a little curl
right in the middle of her forehead...


Feel sorry for Molly though, and I think
her lampshade is starting to depress her.


Too hot to do anything outside and I am
not motivated to start an indoor project.
I want to strip the wallpaper in the hallway
and paint the walls a sage green. My hallway
is about 25-30 ft long and 5 ft wide. It has
oak hardwood floors and a beautiful 4 inch
wide beaded chair rail. The ceiling also
has crown molding, but all of the beauty
gets lost with the light wallpaper in there.
The ceilings in the house are 12 ft, but the
hallway ceilings are only about 9.5 ft.
I just know how much work is going to be
involved. Stipping the paper, washing
the walls, repairing the plaster cracks,
sanding the woodwork, washing again,
priming, then finally painting. There are
6 doors to do as well. The doors have an
intricate wood pattern on them, so they
take a while to do. If I could just start
the project--just quit thinking about how
long it's going to take to complete it,
I might get somewhere. Still haven't
completed the kitchen renovation.


Shower time. Then laundry. Then--
well, I don't know what then. Maybe
something fun. I want to go see a movie,
I think. Rented 4 this week: The Queen,
The Illusionist, Pan's Labyrinth, and Letters
from Iwo Jima. Have watched two and will
comment on them soon.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Falling into the hole: Rilke and other things

This sounds conceptual. I don't have any other language for it
yet. I need to move directly into the hole. Out of my head, out of
my reasoning, out of my ego, anxieties, fantasies of control. I
need to fall into the hole as I have never allowed myself, and be
led through darkness.

Nobody can counsel and help you, nobody. There is only one
single way. Go into yourself. Search for the reason that bids you
write, find out whether it is spreading out its roots in the deepest
place of your heart...Delve into yourself for a deep answer...then
build your life according to this necessity.

Rainer Maria Rilke
Letters to a Young Poet


Rilke makes falling into a hole sound like it might not be such a bad
thing. I am falling into a hole, so to speak. A not-speaking-much hole.
Which might be the kind of hole I need right now. It's not necessarily
by choice that I am falling into that sort of hole, but I have been told
that how we relate to what happens to us is a choice we make,
so I guess in that sense I am choosing to be a bit incommunicado.


Had Molly spayed on the 25th. She tolerated the surgery
and was doing well until Sunday, the 1st. I had been out of town
and was still not home when Wes called to tell me she had
something wrong with her leg. Took her to the vet Tuesday.
He said the sore on her leg was a reaction to the anesthetic
they gave her. He bandaged it and put her on oral antibiotics.
She chewed the bandage off within two hours of getting home.
I bandaged it again that day, the 4th, and the morning of the 5th.
She kept chewing off the bandages. It looked terrible yesterday--
could see muscle. The vet put a different bandage on and put
her in a collar.

Lampshade-Head Molly. It looks funny, but I am sure she is miserable.
She can't even lick herself, but she has to keep it on for her leg to heal.


Spent last Saturday and Sunday in New Harmony, IN. Moonlight
labyrinth walk on Saturday night. Walked the trails Sunday
and ate at the new coffeeshop. Had a turkey and pesto panini
sandwich and some hummus and chips. Was a good trip.
Fun. Relaxing. Necessary.


My brother and his family visited with my mom last weekend. I saw
them briefly when I got back to town Sunday. My youngest niece
(6 months old) is a very happy and beautiful baby. Sophia-Phaedra.
She seemed to enjoy sitting in my lap and letting me hold her in front
of me so I could watch her face and see her smile.


Grandbaby is due any day. May be on the road again soon. Lauren is
in NYC visiting my brother this week. She's planning to go to Coney
Island today. Always makes me think of Ferlinghetti when I hear
someone say Coney Island. Some good poems in his book A Coney
Island of the Mind.


Nose is dripping like a faucet today. Allergies, I think. Miserable.
But probably not as much as Molly though she's being a good
sport about things.


I have a friend who has not called me in three weeks. I was speaking
to her on the phone one day, and as we were talking, my Florida
company who visited with us that week came in the house. I told
her I wanted her to hold the thought she had just started to speak
about and I would call her back later. To which she said: Well, okay
then (in a very sarcastic tone) and she hung up. I tried her back
twice. She never returned my call.

Makes falling into a hole sound excatly like what I need to do now.
Seriously. Who has time for s*** like that? That's friendship? And
really, there is not more to the story (at least that I am aware of),
so I think her reaction was strange and unnecessary, and I frankly
don't want to invest anymore time in trying to figure it out.

Hole time. Falling time. Being led through the darkness time.


Finally got some pictures developed. Some of Dad's grave on Father's
Day a year ago. Didn't go this year. Couldn't. Don't know why. Also
pictures of a trip to FL Wes, my mom and I took last fall, and some
other pics of Molly. She's changed so much that I am not going
to post any of those. I have another roll of film to develop. It has
recent pics of Molly on it.


Spent some time on my journal today. Playing catch-up. Applied
for a job at the college. Am sending out another application Monday
for another job at the college. And may send a third for another
job posted at the college.


Some Ferlinghetti to close this ramble.

The Plough of Time

Night closed my windows and

The sky became a crystal house
The crystal windows glowed
The moon
shown through them
through the whole house of crystal
A single star beamed down
its crystal cable
and drew a plough through the earth
unearthing bodies clasped together
couples embracing
around the earth
They clung together everywhere
emitting small cries
that did not reach the stars
The crystal earth turned
and the bodies with it
And the sky did not turn
nor the stars with it
The stars remained fixed
each with its crystal cable
beamed to earth
each attached to the immense plough
furrowing our lives