Sunday, February 28, 2010

field notes from Women of Note

My darling, I would bring the apples but I've actually been eating them. Today went better than yesterday. For one thing the sun pierced through the grey pall and now as I sit in the aerie listening to songs on the radio and enjoying iced rosé and communing with you and enjoying the movement of my hand across the page, the sun is casting the most beautiful liquid light around the room, a moment exquisée and for the first time in a very long time I can dare to believe that spring might actually be coming. Way past five, too!

Of course I'll take you as you are. I cannot wait to discover and discover you. We know what it's about.

It's true - my aphrodisiac is you - but it's amazing what a subtle pounding rhythm in my heart of soul does for me.

Trips with glitches - there's an Ashbery poem about pleasant people in Newfoundland, I think. It is impossible to "go out for lunch" in Nova Scotia. To drive around there is to come up on entire lakes that one cannot cross but must go around.

Now a sultry song that Lhasa is singing in French has come on. Darling, this I believe is the sort of song that was not around in Fairfield County in the 1970s. Take me as I am, mon amour... swaying and sinking...

I can't wait to see you look at me directly. That is incredibly sexy.

Let's learn French. Let's lie together in a beautiful featherbed listening to song after French song... repetée après moi and only very occasionally look up a word...

come drift down next to me, darling
tell me your dream
my arms are around you and I'm listening
to your beautiful voice

some days
engulfed
ready to be borne
into the future

Honoring the Human

From letter from Belle to Amelia, 17 January 2007
... The whole concept of “honoring the feminine.” If it were truly honored in our society, one wouldn’t have to go out of one’s way to honor it, i.e., to pay it lip service. I don’t think it’s really about the feminine. It’s about the human. The human in men too needs to be not so much honored – as heeded.

I’m being entirely incoherent here, sorry, but I’ll keep trying to plug forward. In American society there’s been a strong capitalist winner-takes-all conquering mentality that has dominated everything. It’s been ruining our physical landscape for decades. In my own community we’re waiting to learn what the octogenarian Greenport planning board will decide with respect to the big-box store (Walmart supercenter) proposal.

I appreciated the views of one gentleman in particular in this community battle (the retired Wallstreeter). Figuring he might be receptive to new ideas, I sent him an email saying that I had been musing about what might go in this 130 acre site absent the Walmart proposal. My scenario involved a fairly high-density older-adult community which would connect with nearby shopping areas and downtown Hudson via a trolley system so that people wouldn’t have to jump in their cars for every errand, and with sidewalks and landscaping so people can walk. (He sent me a warm email back, flatteringly asking my permission to circulate my email to “a group of thoughtful citizens of the region who spend a lot of their time thinking about our county’s future.” Oh my.) (Well, that was 2 weeks ago and I haven’t heard anything back!)

Anyway, my point is that what’s missing in the Walmart proposal is the human factor - the developers don’t care about it, it’s about maximizing their needs. I’m not saying that my off-the-cuff idea has any merit at all, but at least I used my imagination and tried to take into account perceived community needs, unlike the Greenport planning board.

I really feel, on a visceral level, that things are starting to change. The Greatest Generation has had its say, thank you very much, and now there’s a new generation that has seen what 50 years of their decisionmaking has done. And we are saying, no thank you, we are not doing that yet again. This is coming up from the community, unbidden. (Oh, and I see at the end of your letter that you think so too - “somehow I think the current ecological crises may be a blessing in disguise for ‘the missing half.’”)

Sometimes I don’t think it’s just the “missing half.” Sometimes I think it’s everything else. Everything that’s not winner-take-all/maximizing/me-me-me/ profit motive only, etc.

the "try to be happy and do the best you can" generation

From my old blog, Hidden Clapboard, 8 November 2005

I have a deep love and affinity for the domestic, for nature, everyday moments, and the like. But there's a part of me - is it my superego? - borne of my upbringing, formal education, cultural influences, and a parade of ambitious and class-conscious friends, relatives and acquaintances over the years, that devalues it. That says I should be doing something "better" with my "talent" and education. Well, I did for the longest while. It got me a nest egg and the satisfaction of a few professional accomplishments. But beyond that it's as though it never happened. The world doesn't care... so why should I?
I should give myself a break!

I was reading the
New York Review of Books. (I know how pretentious that sounds - but I'm a dumpster diver with the library's used magazine box and I got it for 10 cents.) In the issue is a review of a volume of Richard Feynman's letters. It turns out that not only was he a pyrotechnically gifted scientist and communicator, he was also an empathetic teacher, aware of the difficulties and uncertainties of many young scientists just starting out.

Lecturing in Athens in 1980, Feynman observed that the Greek educational system put (as the review states) "an overwhelming emphasis on the glories of classical Greece," which he felt gave children "a bad start in life, teaching them that nothing they do can equal the achievements of their ancestors." Feynman wrote:
They were very upset when I said that the thing of greatest importance to mathematics in Europe was the discovery by Tartaglia [a 16th century Italian mathematician] that you can solve a cubic equation -- which, although it is very little used, must have been psychologically wonderful because it showed a modern man could do something no ancient Greek could do, and therefore helped in the renaissance which was the freeing of man from the intimidation of the ancients -- what they are learning in school is to be intimidated into thinking they have fallen so far below their superior ancestors.
I may be mixing apples and oranges, but I have wondered if there's a pernicious effect to Tom Brokaw's designation of the American generation that came of age during the Great Depression and lived through World War II as the Greatest Generation. Not just a great generation - which it undeniably was - but the Greatest. Does it make later generations (never mind every other nationality that suffered the war) feel second rate by comparison? Such as, notably, the generation that served in Vietnam? How about those now serving in Iraq and Afghanistan (who, by the way, don't have the GI bill to come home to launch them on a prosperous civilian life)? Actually, we don't hear much about the Greatest Generation anymore - maybe because of the current wars, which may have hastened the exhaustion of that particular marketing scheme.

I'm not sure I literally agree with dooce when she says to "aim low." But I hear what she means.

When I was young my mother would express her hope that her four children would grow up to be like the Huxley family. No, I don't mean the family in Bill Cosby's sitcom. I mean, the English family with Julian and Aldous and who knows who else who were famously high achievers in whatever fields. I was supposed to be a concert pianist, or a great writer. One of my brothers was supposed to be a great doctor. The other - don't remember what he was supposed to be. My sister was to be a great artist.

I was a kid growing up in Connecticut. Who are the Huxleys, anyway? I would ask. What do they have to do with us? Why do we have to be so great? Can't you just wish for us to be happy?

Well, that too, she'd say. That goes without saying. (No it doesn't!) But there's no reason why you can't be very successful while you're at it.

Here I am decades later. When I'm done with Simple Abundance, I'm reading this next.











images:
Thumbelina when first planted November 2005,
and Thumbelina this afternoon (with another Colorado spruce coming up too)

we must cultivate our Garden

The Roman goddess Tellus in a bas relief from the Ara Pacis (altar of peace) in Rome, consecrated in 9 BCE.
In fact, the [climate] crisis is still growing because we are continuing to dump 90 million tons of global-warming pollution every 24 hours into the atmosphere — as if it were an open sewer.
Put yourself in the mind of Gaia. How would you feel about that? What would you be inclined to do?




















Masacchio, The Expulsion of Adam and Eve
from the Garden of Eden,
1423

We sense that more brute force is not the answer. We yearn for a new approach. What is it?

Mother Earth
you are my life support system

Saturday, February 27, 2010

blah blah blah blah blah

My darling, this late afternoon finds your darling feeling less than sparkly and shiny, more achey and bone-tired. A great mix of emotions. Skies have been cold and grey all day long. Delightful diversity at the bird feeders though - at least they're happy. I had the most amazing dreams about us last night - visceral, a gift. I have a sense of unreality in my waking hours. Who could make this stuff up? Not me. So much that's disturbing in the world - today's earthquake, and the tsunami threat, and then perusing the Huffington Post main page and connecting the image of the (to my mind) Queen of the PostHumans with the image of the "children" (?) on Jaime Oliver's show. Those children - those faces. How can innocent children have faces such as that? They are utterly soulless - impoverished on every level. This has been a conscious state of affairs. Those children are the deliberate end result of our culture and economy. Devolution.

My dearest, how can I be expected to be so scintillating and up all the time? I have literally been housebound all week, except for walks around here. It contributes to my sense of unreality. I am out of memories for the moment, and besides for me (and for you too, I know) I'd rather think about the future. But I want us to make our future together, dream it together - I can't use this blog to spin fantasies about that (so different from examining memories). Plus, talk about jinxes.... just a bad idea all around.

When the time comes and I'm checked into some exceedingly quiet place - an alcove, say - I will try my hand at composing a song, in honor of the incredible cornucopia pouring forth unceasingly from KZE. What would I have done these days without those songs? I can't tear myself away. Not even to see Dear John or Crazy Heart.

Oh to be killing chickens in Italy, or counting endless days in a shimmering desert...

Later, darling. So thinking of you, on a cellular level, absolutely every microsecond of every moment...

We Come at the Age's Most Uncertain Hour

Belle to J, 30 August 2008
... On other subjects, I was paging through some books and magazines today and came across some intriguing ideas. One was an article about how there are now contagious cancers - cancer has evolved to transmit itself as a contagion from like hosts, like a parasite. What a chilling thought. (This was a David Quammen article in a recent Harpers.) Another was, again, Quammen - D has been urging him on me - in his collection of essays, The Flight of the Iguana. Quammen, a science journalist writes about the hypothesis of someone named J.E. Lovelock, that Gaia - planet Earth itself - is a single great animate being, with the ability to regulate itself in such a way as to support life, including human life. . Lovelock's hypothesis is overly rosy, in Quammen's view. Lovelock seems to think that all the degradations that humans inflict on the material world, even to the point of nuclear holocaust, Gaia can over time repair. I like Quammen's conclusion, "But the question that nags me is this. When humanity's earthly misbehavior has progressed to the point where even our farts [earlier he discusses methane gas] can't redeem us, won't Gaia simply cure herself of Homo sapiens?”

I just found it intriguing to muse on that, with Gaia being a possible example of "Mind" (as is - of course - God), that is not human mind.



title line from Paul Simon's American Tune, which played on WKZE as I worked on this post

Friday, February 26, 2010

human

...We indeed
looked out for others as though they mattered, and they,
catching the spirit, came home with us, spent the night
in an alcove from which their breathing could be heard clearly.


John Ashbery, "The Alcove" (excerpt), Planisphere

Thank you. I treasured that evening.
I treasure the memory of that evening.

***

I too seem to have had a transformational effect. I have to
really come to terms with how really low he sank. It's hard to
believe - so not what I experienced with him, but there it is.
It's okay. I'm a grown woman. I love him. We've both been
through the crucibles. His mother saw the storm coming, though.
I remember her once remarking to me, in an oddly blithe tone,
considering her words & their import, that he would turn
out to be like her own father (Rhodes Scholar) - alcoholic.
I was very confused by that - big disconnect -
and obviously I was no stranger to familial alcoholism -
but I guess at that time - well, I don't know what to say.
It wasn't that I was just dwelling on the surfaces --
I think it is that he & I did connect on such a profound
direct level --
I didn't see his other sides. He kept that hidden.
Again, though, I don't blame him. How frightening.
He wasn't in control.
I love him so very much.

song on KZE as I hit send... they pushed you into the sun...

***

stella's night

My darling, I am missing you particularly painfully today. Nothing is going right and outside everything is cold, wet, and grey. I slept in the nude last night, except with that black wool coat wrapped around me. I took my arms out of the sleeves, so it was like a sleeping bag and I imagined you tucked in with me.

How many more nights am I going to sleep like this without you, on the floor, radio playing all night. I don't think I've shut it off even once in a week or more. It's nice in back by the pellet stove protected from street noises but unfortunately a stink of cat pee wafts over me from time to time during the night, breaking any spell. One of the cats - or maybe more than one - is doing some heavy-duty marking. No wonder the Norfolk pine is looking beleaguered.

Stella the Artist is on now. I love that song. It might be my very favorite. You're all mine, darling.

This morning when I got up. "Nice coat."
"Thanks."

hang on sloopy

riven, rent
brought low
stooped, bent
bouncing back though
better than yesterday
for now

***
6:40 p.m., all day, off & on, considering John Ashbery's poem (via the 12534)

But it's not over yet. Terrible incidents happen
daily. That's how we get around obstacles.

I wish you well

Journal notes, around 4-5 a.m.

Thinking of that poor little cat Samson (how did I know his name?) who would haul his poor palsied spastic broken body over garden wall after garden wall - he belonged to people down the street - in his quest to come visit me. Why? I'm sure I didn't feed him. I suppose I petted him but I don't specifically recall that. I am hearing song after song of men off a cliff, broken, lost, ruined - Samson reminds me of you. You were looking for me, trying with all your broken might to get back to me - and I kept returning you to your indifferent owners - they didn't seem to care. We spoke to them once and there was a big disconnect. Poor Samson. I remember one July night sitting on the steps of the terrace, listening to speechifying at the Democratic Convention - and you came & joined me and we listened together, my darling cat.

those sorrowful beseeching eyes

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mama Bake a Pie (Daddy Kill a Chicken)

Belle to Linda, 29 April 2007
... talk is good. Speech, lots and lots more of it. It helps me to think things through. But do we need "walk" as well? Definitely. Talk - and walk. (But a good walking shoe, no? Rather than a boot?)
image to follow, maybe - for now, ping pong with Pink Martini)

windows

Belle to J, 24 June 2008
A boy I went to school with at Stamford High called me last year and I was amazed at how the eclipsed years didn’t matter – it was as though we picked up where we had left off! (And we weren’t even close friends or anything – just a friendly classmate.) In a follow-up email he reminded me of a memory he had of us standing by a window together, and his amusement at my reacting with confusion to some ironic remark he’d made. Bizarrely, I remembered that moment too – and truly, it was such an offhand, “in passing” thing. Not “memorable” at all. Well, memory’s a funny thing.
Email message from Mark G. to Belle, 27 August 2007
Belle, I had a memory from late 1976. It was a winter day, and we were in the AP English room early (you'll recall it was on the 2nd floor of the main building, in the front, overlooking the main entrance basically). It was a late fall, early winter day, and we were looking out the window. Some cheesy (but attractive) girl in a 1970's type fur coat-thing was skipping (some 3-group) class and heading out to the Dunkin Donuts. I said to you "that's my ideal woman" - joking but I kept a straight face. You looked at me sort of not knowing what to say, but clearly shocked.

Do you remember that?


Belle to Mark G., 28 August 2007
My goodness, your memory! I could not have come up with that memory on my own. But do you know - I do remember that! Either that, or I'm very suggestible and I can simply conjure the image. But I don't think so. You were standing to my right as I recall. And as I read your description of that moment, I found myself re-experiencing the feeling of being very taken aback, because your comment was so unexpected and because it was unusually personal and revelatory (or so it seemed!). Underneath my (thin) veneer of ironic detachment and sophistication was a girl who took things quite literally. Especially since you said it with a straight face. That's Mark's type? Really? (I look out the window again but the girl's out of sight.) Darn. I wanted a better look at her. What is it about her? Who is that anyway?) Huh. Wow, go figure. Well, okay then.

So thanks for that memory - it's nice. I wish I could come up with one. I mainly remember a general overall impression of you as someone very kind, very benevolent, never judging harshly or meanly, which I much appreciated, especially in that environment which underneath all the swagger and bonhomie could be quite cut-throat and competitive and anxiety-producing. Except that that makes you sound dull. Which you weren't. You were observant and smart and capable of being quite surprising!

The Circle Game

Belle to neighbor, the Countess Batory, 6 August 2007
When you think of it, could you please return the pickle recipe to me (my only copy)... Also, have you seen the film, The Double Life of Veronique, directed by K. Kieslowski? That's what I was watching (actually, for the second time that week, with the audio commentary on) during my tomato project. What a beautiful, haunting film. I think you would love it. The opening images are of mothers telling their very young daughters, one in Poland, one in France, to look, look closely at the wonder of the universe, of nature. The whole film is about looking beyond the surfaces of things, finding connections, following clues, looking, listening. It's really wonderful.

song of bernadette

Belle's comment on Amelia's blog c. 2006-7
Back in college one of my dorm-mates was a young woman from South Africa. This was in 1980 when apartheid policies were still in force. She told us of how there were two classes of entertainment there. Cinemas in black neighborhoods showed ONLY the basest, most violent, soul-killing fare imaginable - on the level of snuff movies, I guess, not just bad mainstream movies - while white neighborhoods had a mix of mainstream fare, including romantic comedies, dramas, etc. She felt that this was a form of political control, to keep blacks down so they couldn't dream or have images of or imagine a better life. I think that particularly with this administration there's been a ratcheting up of violent, crass, unfeeling fare for the masses - all the more to desensitize us so that we can fight wars, plunder the Alaskan tundra, exploit immigrant workers, ruin the environment, abuse animals, etc. and not feel a thing. Or even be able to justify it - means justifying ends, "righteous" humans having dominion over everything else.

And so I agree with you we have to be resistance fighters in this, via words, acts of kindness, empathy, beauty, light.

Imagine a world without dreams.










Now imagine that world without tasty pears, luscious raspberries, and juicy strawberries...

Belle's comment on the 12534
Hello, how about cinema? Must I really have to drive to Great Barrington, District 8 Albany, or Rhinebeck to see a film called Blithe Spirit? Or whatever the name it was of the film involving Keats? I mean, why can't I (visionary that I am) have a calorie/cholesterol/politically correct snack right in my own home town & go to see an indie even if my Daddy might not like it? Just sayin.

riches

The camera's decided to work again. Seems fussy about the position of the rubber band holding it together. Giant Sarcastic Eyeroll. We are the stepping stones. Open-faced pie (galette, crostata) in oven. Bake at 425. I didn't peel the apples, red & yellow delicious - I know, not baking apples, but that's what I had ready-to-hand, along with a bit of leftover cranberry sauce, sugar, a drop of vanilla, and juice hand-squeezed from an orange, all tossed together and spooned on defrosted rolled out dough.

I couldn't bring myself to peel the apples, the skin was just too beautiful. So in it went. Aren't the jeweled colors something?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

perdu

5 a.m. exactly
Hem, on KZE
objects I hope
to reacquaint myself with
in the hereafter
objects gone missing
my rabbit songs CD
the art history scrapbooks
I made as a girl
especially the first one
the little emerald ring
that I cherished so much
and worried about so much that in clutching it
I dropped it and watched it roll right into a storm drain
the convent next door, and the glimpse of
Sister Dolores' pale serene room
Joe Jackson, Graham Parker,
summer late afternoons in Brookline
I should know because this fool's in love again
you exotic moth you --
the exquisite treasure box of pastries
at Van Alen that I wished had been for me
the tiny silver musical note charm
rainbow sox with toes and new espadrilles
my autographed copy of Hugging the Shore
a hammered pendant you slip around my neck
your tongue in my mouth
your hand in mine.

Outspread

Philosophical meditations. So strange having not having had any action in cannot even for a priest in a confessional count the transgressional years and yet all at once out of the rafters come all kinds of nameless faceless blue horses

Understood

When I am alone
When I’ve thrown off the weight of this crazy stone
When I've lost all care for the things I own
That's when I miss you, that's when I miss you, that's when I miss you
You who are my home
You who are my home
And here is what I know now
Here is what I know now
Goes like this..
In your love, my salvation lies
In your love, my salvation lies
In your love, my salvation lies
In your love, my salvation lies
In your love, my salvation lies
In your love, my salvation lies
In your love, my salvation lies
In your love, in your love, in your love

Well I had a dream
I stood beneath an orange sky
Yes I had a dream
I stood beneath an orange sky
With my brother and my sister standing by
With my brother and my sister standing by
With my brother and my sister standing by


text (lyrics of song)
Alexi Murdoch, Orange Sky

Free to enjoy Cunegonde

From a paper I wrote my freshman year (1977-78), for a political philosophy course at Simmons College in Boston. Note that I wrote it with a fountain pen - Osmiroid, I'm sure.

Pangloss tried to ignore the existence of the passions, as did other philosophes; his own suppressed impulses found outrageous releases in ways that were ultimately more destructive than pleasurable, such as his contraction of venereal disease after feeling the urge to give an impromptu lesson in "experimental physics" to the chambermaid. Voltaire recognizes the complexity of man's nature, that he is a combination of reason and passion, and good and evil. Candide, and even Pangloss and Martin, at the end of the novel, represent a realistic view of man, taking into account and reconciling conflicting aspects of the nature of man. Candide comes to terms with his own strengths and weaknesses, and strikes a balance between the two poles of optimism and pessimism, which until the end of his escapades, confused him a great deal. Candide finally decides to follow his natural impulses and work in his garden and see what comes of it. In reality, Candide becomes the true philosopher of the novel. Where Pangloss and Martin express glib views of life, Candide sees deeply and clearly that man is complex, but can come to terms with himself only by moderately following his basic talents and motivations. And since Candide is now in control of himself and of his life, he can now allow his passions pleasurable and even constructive release.

Heart of Hearts

Belle to Linda, 30 May 2007
Anyway, it's amazing to me how my thinking - lifelong conditioning - is slowly changing since I moved up here two years ago. I quit my desk job back then (I chafed in the city bureaucracy) and have felt a lot of guilt and self-doubt about not having a "normal" career, dropping out. But I have a whole new re-education ahead of me, and I am facing it and look forward to it. Someone commented on a blog - "Be an activist as though everything depended on politicians. But act as though everything depends on you." I find that empowering, because I feel there's little I can do about, say, the war in Iraq, or the impending new "Greenport Commons." But I can turn off my electric clothes drier, and reduce my dependence on the Price Chopper (or even gas-guzzling farmstand runs) by trying to grow my own produce, and reduce trips to the dump (and fertilize my produce) through composting. And generally, just try to live my life consistent with my values and grasp of the situation facing the world.

So I think the revolution - one now looms
ahead - will depend on individuals doing it for themselves, "acting as though everything depends on them." For me, I see that there will be a lot of imperfection, a lot of inconsistency, but the goal can be set and worked towards.

In college, I really enjoyed reading Voltaire's
Candide, and I always found the character of Cunegonde, who just wanted to cultivate her garden, so appealing. I felt that, in my heart of hearts, that was the life I wanted. But there were a lot of expectations to Get a Career. Well, I did and I have nothing more to prove on that score, but I have a chance now to rediscover my inner Cunegonde, who always just wanted to cultivate her garden.

I need your cornbread, too. EVERY DAY.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

so many rivers

Dearest darling, I'm going to pretend that it's just you & me. Well - maybe for a moment it is - I vacuumed up a hell of a lot of "ladybugs" today.

So today was a snowday, but I was not the Lady of the Woods. I've been rather neglectful in the housekeeping department, and things were just feeling very dusty, grimy, and buggy. I cannot leave this house without at least trying to go through the symbolic - more than symbolic - rituals of trying to de-dust the place. Ah, an association. There's some English children's book author whose theme is that dust is the big enemy of life - will "quilt" later - but I think I did feel that way. But I do find, at this point, housework exhausting. But it was weird. All these songs were kindof obviously in reference to you, me, you & me, etc., and as late as 5 I was standing there ironing, and I hadn't even showered or dressed yet. Don't think that's a typical state of affairs - I'm quite punctilious in the personal-grooming department - but housework - well, I have to let myself go on some level.

Now they're playing a song that starts Lalalalala - storms gather in her head some days...

I remember a little conversation I had with your brother. I said to him how music affects my mood, can transport me, change my mood entirely. G looked at me and said something along the lines of I figure out the mood I'm in and then choose the music accordingly.

Well, he wasn't "wrong" - god knows, I've purposely put on the Enigma Variations when I'm in a certain epic mood. But, I am affected by music - this mix of songs on KZE - they're appealing to my mix of goddesses - and I can "go with the flow," embrace each mood as it comes, in its turn, store it away.

Perhaps one of the most pernicious concepts ever - 7 Faces of Eve, the whole idea that the Joanne Woodward character had this split personality that was.... schizophrenic... bad.... well, the words are failing me, but it was a Bad Thing.

And now, in my personal re-education - my personal evolution - in modernity, we are incredibly complicated creatures. So many goddesses - aspects - in me, each quite valid, the trick (no, no trick, far from it) is to embrace the complexity.

blah blah blah blah blah
ever so many kisses, darling
oh when oh when will we be able to review this material in person?

I looked at him, feeling extremely lame, although these days, I'm thinking I'm the one, as confused as insecure as I was, who got it.

Natural Disaster

Journal notes, 21 Feb. 2010
a song overnight on KZE -
the words:
"the trees lay down to die"
yesterday at the conservation area I wondered
aloud why the woods along the western path of the wood look so devastated. The trees are split, felled, dead, toppling. Not "normal." Even in summer (ghostly galleons) it looks rent. Yesterday the whole place to me looked like a battlefield, a Civil War battlefield, a killing field. In a wet section near to where I had slipped that time - I thought of soldiers in Vietnam, bebop-o making his way through a rice paddy. What was that line of Kathe Izzo's = something about the spent goldenrod like warriors - that was dead on, & I remarked on it.

Posting now, will come back to quilt.

station of the crossing

Dream noted 28 September 2008
John is leaving for a long trip. We’re at a ticket counter, arranging for his tickets and documents. I offer to go back to the car for something, there’s time, and John agrees, but disappears and I don’t remember where we parked the car, a lot on either Henry or Hicks, but it’s all very crowded, like Chinatown…. We never reconnect…

John is returning from his trip. I don’t think he’s back yet. I’m washing dishes at the sink, and I see that his wallet is on the counter. So he is back. I go into the bedroom, and he’s asleep in bed. Only his face has come off – his head is an empty shell – like he’s a robot. I don’t mind, I try to rouse him. He wakes and is completely distressed that I’ve seen him in this state. He tries to reattach his face but some of the screws are missing. It seems they’ve scattered on the floor in the other room – I look for them, they’re underneath the baseboard heaters, etc.

held up to the light

Belle to her brother Mark,
15 August 2006
Hi Mark - Thanks for the pictures! Sometime I'll return the favor - no current photos of me lying about. Who took the pictures? Nice garden. What was for lunch?
Not much going on here. D's drawing up plans to build a back porch and to redo our back room which is currently a dark cave but (with the addition of windows) will become a sunny space. For fun, we are in the midst of our personal Roman Polanski Film Festival, via Netflix and local library DVD reserves. We started with
The Ninth Gate. Very entertaining thriller with Johnny Depp, with rare book atmospherics and satanic overtones. But the best is watching it the second time around, with Roman Polanski's voiceover comments. Cool guy.
Take care, and send along more pics and news. Belle


***
image:
detail from photograph taken by Mark, August 1976

New Rules



It Was a Really Bad Year.






"sno?"
Time for diamonds.


















First the bitch-slap. Then the kumbayah. Got it?

Happy Happy Oh My Friend

In the email coal mine picking up diamonds...
30 June 2006, Belle to Kathy
... I am trying to figure out what to do with my life next, so I was thinking that maybe I could develop a research/writing project. Who has lived in this area? Whose archives might conveniently for me be located but a short drive away?

I discovered that Edna St. Vincent Millay lived at a farm-estate called "Steepletop," in Austerlitz, several miles east. I never read her poetry, and didn't know anything about her. But I have just finished reading one of her biographies - and I couldn't put it down. It's called
What Lips My Lips Have Kissed, by a poet, Daniel Marc Epstein. Beautifully written, he tells the story of how her love life - which was prodigious - informed her love poems. She was quite a fascinating character. She had such personal magnetism that men (and not a few women, in her college days at Vassar) would instantly fall madly in love with her. Granted, perhaps this was the era when "a glimpse of stocking" might make a man swoon (she lived 1892-1950), but she was definitely ahead of her time in the Free Love area. Interesting relationship with her devoted husband too (actually they were mutually devoted). He understood that she needed to be in an "ecstatic" state in order to produce a great poem - so when he sensed some quivering going on, he would discreetly absent himself. He figured that if this produced but one great sonnet a year it was worth it!

Unfortunately I doubt I will be writing about her - I'm too late - her archives which used to reside at Steepletop are now at the Library of Congress. But one other tidbit: apparently there is a cache of artistic nude photos of her in the archives - that are embargoed from public view until 2011! (She died in 1950 - no direct descendants - so these must be some photos.)

Anyway - if you'd like a good read - I do recommend that biography.








image via the 12534

Monday, February 22, 2010

unwrapping my apron

A small fuss of kitchen prep is behind me, chicken roasting in the oven, a pan of biodynamic sunshiney root veg all mushed up with my hands in a pan with Spanish olive oil (extra virgin, of course), minced garlic, and just a seductive - not heartstopping - suggestion of sea, oh the sea, by the beautiful sea, salt. Sultry jazz on the stereo, I'm in a swoon. Russet potatoes in oven too, and dish of butter hauled out of fridge.

I won't call you stranger, my dream lover, and I hope your freight train isn't late.

The pecan pie part though - I hope you're bringing that. Sweet Melissa's has a good one, I'm sure. Cream? We'll wing that.

P.S. Door unlocked; cranberry sauce chilling; I'll promenade wherever and in whatever you like, as you well know.

trapezoid

No dreams last night just songs
one of them was about stepping outside
to look at the stars - so I threw on
my coat and did.
Black night, clear
constellations - I wish I could have
lingered - but it was cold.
West behind the barren trees
glowed a Russian banana.
I returned to the floor
and was cold
(you wrapped around me
would have been the perfect warmth)
I willed myself to get up again
fished in the closet for
my elegant black coat
sweeping soft wool
and plush muff collar
it's old
and the style is too old
I don't wear it anymore
and yet
I lay back down
and wrapped it around myself as best I could
it's like the one I wore
as we rode at night along snow rimmed roads
the belted one with the long fur collar

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Belle to J, 26 July 2008
Do you know what excited me earlier? I googled "nymphet butterfly," following a train of thought to link Lolita to the fact that Nabokov was a lepidopterist, which I'm sure is a key to understanding his writing. I found a lit-crit essay that discussed that scene when HH is on the settee with Lolita that first time, and he believes in his solipsistic way that he's managed to come without her knowing it. Silly me: I myself should have known better than to be taken in by that most unreliable of narrators, HH. The lit-crit essay pointed out key phrases in that passage that indicate that Lolita was fully cognizant of what was going and was sexually turned on by it herself - all that wriggling and squirming on her part, plus head thrown back.

There was something about reading about her as a subject, an actor in her own desire, that turned me on. Nabokov truly is brilliant - he wrote that in - it was there in the text.
***
I think about the little scene I observed - the whole scene of cozy enjoyment in a clean well-lighted space, layered with meaningful activity wedding cake style (I remember having a brief but ever so powerful internship at Van Alen in 1997 or so - the idea of structuring spaces for mutual, easy reinforcement - well, I've forgotten the plannerly terms... but je reviens).

Anyway, vetiver (I forget what that means offhand, but I choose it to mean 'to get on with things'), plannerly me witnessed a beautifully integrated scene in which the lovely daddy, bursting with gratitude, was in a clean well-lighted, neighborhoody space full of reinforcing, interconnecting intersections, books and joy... he sat on the floor, in full delightment for perhaps the first time in his adult life, ecstatic to be in the company of his beloved toddler daughter, he's on the floor, head thrown back.

P.S.
You know, listening to Nina Simone - I cannot get a handle on her. The music flows, I love it, I flow with it, but on some level I must not notice it because whenever the DJ - tonight, of course, the wonderful Jerrice - says we just heard Nina Simone, I'm like - what? It's weird.

Okay, hitting send now, typos and all, and I'll come back (je reviens) from time to time, add a stitch here, a stitch there...

Still Waiting for Godot

You know, after 33 years plus change, I really figured he'd show up at 10:20, 10:21 the latest on 21 February 2010. And I mean morning. Because there was something on the radio about lunch, then flying to Memphis and hitting home, probably for pie.

But he's not here. Now he's a good 12 minutes late. I am so going to write him up.

image via this 'n that

cashmere bouquet

Grey sweater and blue jeans? No, blue skies. Pink gift turtleneck, freshly laundered, and pink cashmere sweater. Fierce brown denim. Actually, not so fierce now - faded. Must iron back pocket. Press sweater too. Damn, the binding's frayed at the top button. Must mend. Everything's broken. Scissors blunt. Can't start spool of pink thread. Fortunately there's another already started. Use nail scissors to clip threads. Never was good at mending. Amateurish. Best I can. Tuck neck under, no one will ever know.
12/27/09 (Brooklyn)
Vivid dreams last night, narrative, remember only tiny fragments this morning. Am in a room with 2 men, both of whom want me. One is John, a young smiling John, sitting on a chair across from where I’m seated on the edge of a bed, going through the motions of trying to mend something with needle and thread. The second man is seated to my left – also John, I think, now older. I become flustered, self-conscious with the mending and leave.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Cast Away

good morning, darling
I hope you slept well
I spent a langorous night on the floor
buffetted by song
the last few weeks I've noticed a shadow
in the solarium
It vaguely reminded me of something but what
I couldn't even figure out the source
it looked like a face
crazy hair up top, carrot nose
it shook and shook on the wall
though nothing in the room seemed to be moving
the pellet stove seemed to make that thing move
I'd look at the figure shakin and movin
and eventually figured out it was the maidenhair fern in a pot
casting its recursion on the cave wall
the only maidenhair I've ever managed not to kill
this morning on the grotty polyester comforter
in the guest room
(how I long for cotton, nice soft cotton, and you)
I rolled over and greeted the palm
and the synapses started firing
Wilson
that was the image on the wall
what's that Tom Hanks movie where he
crashes to earth and is
stranded on a desert island
he makes a friend out of a stranded basketball, I think
let me repeat: he makes it
(factchecker: volleyball)
his dearest figurine friend
he names Wilson
Wilson gets lost
I'm so happy Mr. Hanks got his girl.
(Now which came first
the _______, or the
idea of the _________.)

***

Fragment from an unfinished story, saved to Word 21 March 2009
There wasn’t anything more to be said at the moment. I felt tired and suddenly sleep sounded like a good idea.

“Come on, let’s go to bed,” I said. Before exiting the parlor I switched off the sconces, pitching the room into blackness. We tiptoed upstairs to our rooms, and bid each other goodnight in the hallway. Before slipping into bed, I changed back into my nightgown, and though I haven’t slept with him or any other stuffed animal in a very long time, I picked Teddy up from the chair and fell asleep with my arms around him.

Friday, February 19, 2010

every stitch

Belle's notes, 28 December 2008, Brooklyn

I love you, darling J.
I saw the man at the library who looked like you
with his toddler daughter -- and I thought,
oh, that could be you -- could be
us --
He was about your age, too -- maybe a
little younger -- but not much --
My
dreams.

***

The above was me being strict recorder of my notes.
But to add to this, I can conjure the image now.
The man really did look like you - the way I remember you
smiling & laughing & engaged & completely enjoying the moment.
You're laughing at a joke and being tickled at the same time
And I regarded you enjoying yourself,
and it gave me such pleasure
multi-dimensional joy & jubilation.

Oh this post is a mess. So what. It's an instant message.

I & Love & Brooklyn

miss you too
I'm open
gospodarstwo
ritual sidewalk sweeping (walking up Clinton Street over the Xmas holidays - so littered - cardboard "faith" messages," Orbit candy wrappers, and a bit horrifyingly a spent (!) tube of KY jelly)

I have wonderful memories/visions of a time when we lived there where it seemed everyone was "saying it with flowers" - flowerboxes in the brownstone windows, all floors, and across the street - it was really lovely

thank god Brooklyn has sidewalks
Great start!

P.S. and across the street, lilacs in the dooryard blooming

every day is like a year

I've already packed my journal in a box otherwise I'd write down my first thoughts with a (not-yet-fountain) pen on paper away from prying headlights and army of ladybugs. Never kill a ladybug I was told as a child. They're rare. I have reason to rethink that policy, the place is crawling with them.

(Confession time: in the past I have vacuumed them up. I once actually had D change the vacuum bag to a completely fresh bag. The thought was I'd vacuum them up, they'd land in the new bag - catch & release! Turns out that the journey sucked involuntarily up the tube was enough to kill the lot of them. Periodically I have debugged the place via vacuum (swat, lemonade)).

But I digress.

To install antispyware is to invite the spies. (Ever so smart, that T.R.) So I heard a message in a song today or so I thought - walk to the end of your street (probably a paraphrase, that). Sounded like a command. I'll take my sweet time I thought, and continued with my metaphorical b.m. Eventually I got out there though. Nice afternoon. Pretty sky, lots of flags, so very many brand new trucks & cars. (Whaddya think - I'm blind?) Yes I saw Run Lola Run. What is this the sequel - no, excuse me - evolution, W Jola W. Memento, spelled sideways - no , no longer, now it's up & down. Mostly up. That I approve of.

So - walk to the end of your street. I wasn't really in the mood for a walk. I live on a deadend street (as keenly observed in a KZE song) so I figured to go past the B&B was to strictly speaking exceed the expectations. Perhaps it was hoped that I'd make it all the way down Chittendon Road to where I had once encountered the coyote. But I was tired and, as I said, not in the mood. So I looked for signs.

I decided to swing on birches, make a u-turn at the river birches.

So if I'd gone all the way
down the hill
past the teeny graveyard
past more eerily parked cars & trucks
in an otherwise utterly depopulated area

THEN might I have received deliverance
or at least a perfectly placed
skyward pointing kiss?

cc: cruel invisible hands
bcc: dearest darling

***
note, 8:50p.m. oh yeah, and this morning there was, racing up the deadend street, a truckbed of wheels - from cadillacs?

Notre Dame & Our Dame


More...
As we would expect from a writer of Fitzgerald's imagination, he thoroughly transforms his visual sources, or background images, into his own creation: that is to say, one symbol evolves into another.

Okay, I still have to work out Doctor Eckleburg's spectacles, among other things. Later.

(I am in such dire need of k. Is anybody out there listening?)

Coney Island Retold

(More, from the Publisher's Afterword to The Great Gatsby...)

Below, on earth, colored carnival lights blaze before a metropolitan skyline.

Luna Park

From the Publisher's Afterword to The Great Gatsby:
Maxwell Perkins, who embodied both the voice and literary conscience of Scribners, was clearly elated. His great expectations--and--equal impatience--for the delivery of Fitzgeralds' new novel prompted Perkins immediately to commission (seven months in advance of the finished manuscript, as it would turn out) a full-color, illustrated dust jacket to be held in readiness for the new book.

The artist chosen was the Spanish-born Francis Cugat, who had designed posters and movie sets in New York before he became an art designer in Hollywood for Douglas Fairbanks. His painting... is the most celebrated--and widely disseminated--jacket art in twentieth-century American literature. Like the novel it embellishes, this Art Deco tour de force has firmly established itself as a classic. At the same time, it represents a unique form of "collaboration" between author and jacket artist. Under normal circumstances, the artist illustrates a scene or motif conceived by the author; he lifts, as it were, his image from a page of the book. In this instance, however, the artist's image preceded the finished manuscript and Fitzgerald actually maintained that he had "written it into" his book.


Now that's what I call city planning!

(Hi Louis.)

Gatsby

"She used to be able to understand. We'd sit for hours ---"

He broke off and began to walk up and down a desolate path of fruit rinds and discarded favors and crushed flowers.

"I wouldn't ask too much of her," I ventured. "You can't repeat the past."

"Can't repeat the past?" he cried incredulously. "Why of course you can!"

He looked around him wildly, as if the past were lurking here in the shadow of his house, just out of reach of his hand.

"I'm going to fix everything just the way it was before," he said, nodding determinedly. "She'll see."

He talked a lot about the past and I gathered that he wanted to recover something, some idea of himself perhaps, that had gone into loving Daisy. His life had been confused and disordered since then, but if he could once return to a certain starting place and go over it all slowly, he could find out what that thing was..."

Packed

J to Belle, 11 October 2008
... I had a dream about you last night. It's the first time in a long while that I am aware of having a dream about you. We were searching for something that had to do with water--I think this might have been related in my mind to the various springs around Kostenki, which have assumed some importance for interpreting the archaeological sites ever since we figured out that buried spring deposits can be seen in the sites. Towards the end of the dream, you weren't feeling well, you fainted, and I was carrying you up some stairs into a house to find some help...


Light as a Feather I'm not.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

About the Sleeping Princess

Belle to J, way back when (oh, those corporeal technicalities, where is any former image I used of a Polish Princess, somnolent American Princess, whatever... have you figured out how incredibly ***airy*** I am). Oh yeah, I meant to write a post today having to do with zoning text that would prevent a girl in the flush of her rosy youth having to deal with the horrible global capitalist assault on a tender first kiss of big red neon letters that read FAG... I think it's why I pursued planning, long run version. Also I sorta kinda remember walking with my mother one day. We had already had the conversation, why does this thing read FAG? My mother said that, in German, they don't realize how offensive that is.

Hitting Send.

Belle to J, 8 July 2008
I remember the back room of your house, the one with the fireplace, sofa, and a wing chair or two. What a cozy room. As evenings spent at your house wore on, your parents would eventually retire to their room, and the exhaling moment would arrive when you and I were finally left to ourselves, in the darkness, lights out, but perhaps some firelight and the last hiss of logs. We would lie together on the worn, narrow sofa in each other's arms and kiss for hours, and sometimes we'd doze off like that. And then it would be the horrible witching hour when we had to rouse ourselves so you could drive me home. I hated those curfews. Thinking of them now brings back that horrible sense of oppression, of having to leave the paradise of your arms. Painful.

I remember the sensation of your kisses...

ping pong spirit (this post is total mess)

Responding to the 12534.

(Beloved? Cyrano? Doubles? Dopplegangers? Outside? Inside? Dang. I'm giving it away for free. This riff should be a separate post.)

[Note: I didn’t write the following. I don’t recall the source, a letter on Salon maybe. But I was impressed with the idea so I saved it for myself.]

20 April 2008
In early January on a rainy Saturday, a good friend came over to visit. After several hours of watching me make food for the coming week(s) - five pounds of carrots peeled and cooked; five pounds of potatoes scrubbed for mashed or roasted potatoes; several batches of biscuits and cornbread made up; and the prep work for a cheese tart; two apple cakes; a roasted chicken; a pork roast - well, you get the idea. She slaps her forehead and says: "Would you like to earn some money cooking for my parents???"

Her parents live nearby. They are in their 80s, and live in their own home. They like good food, but her mother has stopped cooking. They don't like to go out every night. My friend had tried everything in the world to supply them with good food. (She has no skill in the kitchen.) They like to sit in front of the TV and watch movies (like Ronnie and Nancy!). They want a good meal and they always have wine.

Long story short: My friend invested in some of those hospital type trays. I make 3 dinners for them each week: meat; a starch; and a vegetable. I make two batches of biscuits or cornbread; two desserts - apple cake and chocolate pudding pie are favorites; and a salmon tart. I make the trays up and wrap them in aluminum foil, label and date them - and deliver them. For this, she gives me $150. A bit high, in my view, but they are thrilled to pieces. I've made everything from chicken with matzoh balls to liver and onions to chicken bog. This money covers my own food bill - and I enjoy doing it.

Analyzing My Beloved Narcissist

I will come back another day and insert proper links, but the following was a comment I left on an extremely helpful blog I subscribe to, written by a psychiatrist, Linda Martinez-Lewi, whose book I can recommend, and whose posts are very thought-provoking. I just want to get this out there, because really, I am feeling so much wanting to express myself (fly) but constantly dragged to earth (waiting for the phone to ring, knock on the door, increased integer on statcounter, etc., etc.). But those love songs streaming, oh dearest...
"The narcissist's mother emasculates her son." Not just because I'm a woman, and feminist, but I'm uncomfortable with the notion of placing the exclusive or predominant burden of blame for creating a narcissist on the mother, whether she is or isn't narcissistic herself. What about the role of the father, in a dynamic family system? Could there be a genetic component to a predisposition to such a rigid narcissistic personality structure? (Do you mean that the N in my acquaintance would be a mature, altruistic, balanced empath if his mother (whom I knew & liked very much, she had a strong, outgoing personality, a lively mind, including doting on her 2 boys - but not what I would have thought excessively or inappropriately) had parented him differently? I can't help but feel a little skeptical.) Could one factor, in a male, be too much testosterone?

You state that in creating the N, the mother says "dance to my tune." But in our culture, don't responsible, present mothers - especially in upper classes - pretty much have to do that? Eat what I put in front of you so you grow up to be healthy; study hard and do well in school; find your talent & become good at it; "failure is not an option." Parents have high expectations for their children - though sometimes I think they're unrealistically high, or the expectations are communicated without love or warmth (e.g., conditional, rather than unconditional love), on the part of either parent. Also, what about other strong cultural impacts on the budding narcissist? I think of one I knew who attended a boy's school, and then the Ivy League. He received an education that was geared to creating the next generation of the ruling class. Any show of "weakness" was thought of as feminine, and to be suppressed (and so it comes out in distinctly unhealthy ways). Girls were idealized, eroticized - they were literally, the "other." For him, the very notions of the artistic and poetic were scary, emotional, dangerous, feminine aspects - he's a scientist without heart, without meaningful human connection.

It just seems that the American culture is so thoroughly steeped in narcissism, that it's hard for me to buy that the main problem stems from the mother. Another question I would have is (though I'm not a mother), if you consciously don't want to raise an N - what then would be the mothering pitfalls to avoid?

night lights


Slow on the uptake sometimes. Wonder what boatloads else I've been missing.

they look so familiar

Message from Belle to Barbara, 30 June 2009

Hi Barbara - I love True Blood!!!! I can't wait for season 2 to come out on dvd. Sookie & Bill remind me of when I was 16, head over heels with my first boyfriend. That was 33 years ago. Ironically (and to my disappointment), I recently came to learn that he's been a serial philanderer all his adult life, and all through his marriage - a predatory narcissist, a/k/a vampire. But that's a whole 'nother story. [Ed: wild guess.]

I love the vampire theme (in fiction) when it's very well done. Have you watched the Buffy series? I tore through all 7 or 8 seasons - one of the best series ever, I think. Incredibly well-written (engrossing, witty), psychologically perceptive, and beautifully acted.

Speaking of vampires, last week I was diagnosed with Lyme disease. I should be fine - I got treatment early. Yes, & oh gross, unbeknownst to me a tick sucked my blood and infected me (turns out only about 30% of victims ever know that they had a tick). I'm now on antibiotics, which should eradicate it (left untreated it's very bad news). Funnily enough, like a vampire I've been cautioned to avoid direct sunlight - that I'll burn more easily now and must use sunscreen!

To pile things on further (I'm not making this up!) the day after my doctor's visit I picked up a couple of novels that I had reserved days before. I learned from Salon last week that there's a subgenre of supernatural fiction by women, on vampire & werewolf themes, and a couple of the titles sounded intriguing. But they have now taken on a wholly different significance for me - Bitten, and Sunshine!

That's all for now. We just had a humongous thunderstorm roll through - wind and rain was blowing in from all the exposures, so I had to race around shutting all the windows. We get some doozies here.

I'd love to keep in touch. Please tell me what's been going on in your life, work and your life outside of work.

I'll let you know how I like Saving Grace! Love, Belle

***
image via language is a virus dot com, I kid you not

Bug

Because Keats and Camus just didn't go far enough for me.

Checked out 33 years ago - seems like yesterday...







Mahopac Library
668 Route 6
Mahopac, NY 10541

02-17-10

Belle, Did you forget?
Our records indicate that the following item(s) are overdue.
Please return them as soon as you can in order to minimize
the fines which you may owe. If item(s) are not returned you
may be billed for the replacement cost(s). Please disregard
this message if the item(s) have already been returned.

AUTHOR: Haskell, Molly.
Love and other infectious diseases
CALL NO: 920 HAS
BARCODE: 3 2916 00036 8315
Mahopac Adult DUE: 02-03-10
DATE CHECKED OUT: 01-13-10 03:38PM

Sleeping Beauty

beautiful small city

Recorded 18 April 2007
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
at the City of Hudson LWRP meeting


Good evening, you good and most attractive citizens of Hudson.

Tonight we meet to discuss the future of the City of Hudson’s waterfront.

I see from looking around this room that there is no shortage of concerned citizens.

I am a newcomer to your beautiful city. But even when I was a young boy in Austria I had heard of this river. It is true, the mouth of this river is at the great City of New York, and I did not contemplate the fact that the river runs for so many miles northward, at the 110 mile mark at your beautiful city of Hudson, and miles northward still, at the Port of Albany.

So you have asked me to make a speech here, at your City of Hudson draft LWRP meeting. I understand it is contentious… People disagree. I love this place and they have strong ideas about it and a lot of experience.

I have met with some of your stakeholders here and I have taken a look at some of the incredible topological maps. I understand that there was a pitched battle to prevent the construction of a cement plant.

I am a newcomer to your city. But I have seen the realities of other inner cities, including in California. The City of Hudson has its own reality...

America Retold

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Loaded Gun



Bah.

Belle to some troll on Hudson 12534 "voyboard" [factcheck date later]

You can’t handle the truth” – Jack Nicholson

"America Love it or Leave It" = rightwing morally lazy battle cry. It means that you disagree with my politics. It’s yet another cheap slogan that means Shut Up/Don't Criticize. Ironically, this is the single most unAmerican sentiment you can have. Our nation was founded on the idea that we have the freedom to openly express disapproval of the government. Why should *I* leave? I want the Bush/McSame administration to leave!!! Why should I cut and run? I love my country, I’m sticking with it, and I’m working for change!!

"Why are you so obsessed? Wow.” = unflattering conclusion about me because you can’t handle what I wrote but are unable to say why.

"Sad to be you." – your bogus verdict. Dismissive and patronizing. Tactic to divert attention away from the substance of what I wrote.

"Go find a puddle to jump or a puppy to pet. Maybe even a flower to smell. Try to smile and have a cold glass of lemonade." - I'm a grown woman, not 6. What you're saying is, Shut up/don't criticize, stay in your place.

Glad I'm not you. Glad I'm not you.

(Pouring myself a cold glass of lemonade while I wait for some more flies to swat.)

Allegro

My camera's busted - gone baby gone. I would have preferred to photograph the image of the yellow (not yellowed) lined paper the following was ever so legibly scrawled on.
Opera while eating vanilla ice cream & kahlua (translated from the original Italian)

by Waldo Sealarezzia

Fig Fig Fig Figaro
I write so fast though
because I don't want-o
my ice cream to melto.

This stuff tastes (almost) as good as my
Jola la la la-la-la la-la
la's Kissessessessesses do-la


(Allegro II)
She-o getsa not much a mail-uh
in the mailboxa
A leg grows are too long rows

(over)

Its a tasty like she's a tasty.
Itsa smooth like-a her skin
It's - beginning to melt -- There-a-fore
It's getting warm like her

I'm-a eating it in the privacy
of my own room like I
love to see her in private - far
from other eyes

I can't stop with half a pint when
there's another half pint in front of
my greedy eyes --
Just like I can't stop with just
one kiss when her red lips are in
front of me.
Ice cream is sweet but only nearly
half as sweet as Jola (not even nearly)
Jola satisfies my psychological transcen-
dent sweet tooth in away that ice cream


[arrow drawn to] spot where kahlua dropped from spoon

fails to do for my physiological
sweet-tooth.


(Allegro)

Now I can write slow
because my ice cream no
longer exists
as a separate entity.
My stomach, however, now
does exist as a separate entity
(a fat entity, at that).
My bowl is empty and I am fat.


I can write ramblings like this because
I have no school!

Bear with me, please. Fat W. (grizzly)

Jola, I hope my next letter
better.

chapter 2 of how I got elected prez of my dorm

Waldo to Jola, 2 April 1980 [factcheck year]

56 Cummings Rd. #4
Brookline, MA 02146

Jola, 4th Floor
Freeman Hall, Wellesley College
Wellesley, MA 02181

Dear Jola & 4th floor people, Due to the fact that people at the house all contributed to buying the refreshments - that is they reimbursed me - I would make a profit were I to accept this check. The alternative is for me to turn this over to various people. That would involve too much work, though.

You all provided the space, food, music, and most importantly, the concept. The least we could do was provide beer and wine.

Having been in an overly relaxed state, I think I forgot to thank you for inviting us. In any case, thank-you so much for a fine evening. I'm sure the π guys would be (very) amenable to any similar events in the future. Gratefully, Waldo


***

Dear Reader,
I dated him for a delightful year. Hugs & kisses. He was a bebop-o spirit all the way, and I'm sure it informed his future practice. I have a packet of his poetic love confetti. Not a g. or n. at all, in my book. And as I go through my special reserved manila envelope of his leaves, I see that he was a secret santa, too.

Re: a birthday, perhaps
Where do we sleep? Check under the head of the ______.
I was very bad at math & algebra. Waldo was helpful.
Why don't you look in the x .
x = what we read

But I need
two of them"
thinx Jola
bella.
"All (real) answers are
complete and only
real answers can be found
in Windows"
thinks Waldo

***
(okay, this post is a mess
but I know it can be fixed later)

personal evolution

Belle to Katya, 23 June 1981
Dear Katya, I’m sorry that I didn’t get a chance to get in touch with you when I was in Connecticut; I was there for only a few days, and worked about twelve hours a day for most of them (at Playtex International in Stamford). I had really wanted to talk to you or see you before I left… for California!

Yes, indeed, I’ve made the move, and right now I’m writing this letter to you from a rather boring temporary secretarial job in San Francisco. I moved out here two weeks ago, to Oakland, and I’m living with B. Co-existing is probably the way to put it, for there is no romantic or amorous entanglement between us. Not that he wasn’t expecting any; he was, but I’d put my foot down against it months ago, and he’s slowly coming round to appreciate the joys of platonic living.


***
oh brother, just a little pit stop on the wild phantasmagoric journey of missteps after

how long, dear reader, do you suppose the platonic living lasted?
he was a really good guy (hugs & kisses) - but so not The One
ACCEPT NO SUBSTITUTES
yeah, but life is rough that way

***
"Like, you need to have them be able to go toe-to-toe with you intellectually. But don't they also have to have a vagina you could pitch a tent on and just camp out on for, like, a weekend? Doesn't that have to be there, too? The Joshua Tree of vaginas? ...I'll be happy when I close out this life-partner thing. Think of how much mental capacity I'm using to meet the right person so I can stop giving a fuck about it."

I don't know, what John Mayer said - makes sense to me.

And memo to Arianna - douchiest? WTF is that supposed to mean? Haven't we evolved past such baroque sequestered terms?

Ash Wednesday











a dove flew overhead
light reddish-orange drops on snow by my car
a man in parking lot says "slippery"
I sign my name (first name only) in the
book and write "slippery"
I have taken care not to fall on my walk
though it was slippery and a couple of times
I slipped
Keep to the path
I thought of that poor luger who died
He looked frightened, in the photo I saw of him.
He was frightened.
Dominoes.
Cross-country ski tracks in snow.
I felt as though someone had laid out the
path for me, made it safe. The mail has come.
D says the whole universe has arranged itself
around me. He says this sarcastically.
Seems so, I laugh. Seems I have the mojo. Who knew?
It's like a Philip K. Dick novel, he says.
If you say so. I never read one. You did.
You and I plays on the radio.
Was that you in the window across the way
that night the pines were dancing?
I saw a man - you - in the window looking
back at me. I stepped back into the shadows
of the kitchen and continued to watch the
trees dance, reach and dance.
I wasn't frightened - not that time.
Interdependence.
On my way out of the parking lot
trying to get out the car lost traction.
Slippery. I don't know what to do, I said.
The man with the skis and his companion came to my aid.
Just don't give it too much gas, she said - we'll push.
They set me free. Thanks, I said.
Thank you, passing strangers.

I'm no saint

... cc: Kirsten Gillebrand (memo to a.m. Rick on KZE: hello, she's the freakin United States Senator from the Empire State of NY - so pronounce her last name right, already...

Gillibrand.

Keersten.

sky is still blue

my camera's busted - figures
I would have preferred to post the image of a journal page, undated, last year sometime

***
"yearning"
idea of the "sacred"
yearning is dangerous
we usually hide our yearnings
to offer people a glimpse you
can get labeled as, say, needy
we are meant to show ourselves as
self-sufficient
one week I missed catechism
I asked Sister Dolores what I had missed
she said, we talked about interdependence
what's that, I said? I tried to understand.
But I just couldn't. I had no frame of ref.
And I was a great student.
I asked my mother, and she scoffed at the word.
My family is all alienated from one another
They scoff at interdependence - their boundaries
are moats, high walls, and iron gates
I'm the needy, yearning one
Longing for interdependence - family, tribe, clan, kin.

***
not me, and a different Sister Dolores - but the same spirit

Sister Dolores

There's a small fragment that's been kicking around my mind for decades, my journal for a few months, and maybe now the day's arrived to set it down here. I'll do it poetry quicktime style, though I'm not really aiming for poetry, more like a b.m. And I mean that in the best sense ever. Anyway, I was never much of a churchgoer, or catechism attender. I lived next door to a convent. That was to the north of our house. To the west, up a steep hill was a church. To the south, the sun. Sometimes too much. To the east, railroad lines - no but first neighbors across the street - including an elderly woman who liked to drive a red car - then the Amtrak & Conrail lines (then) - and on the other side of that some very mysterious factory building with neon letters that at night in winter, leaves off the trees, read FAG, I kid you not. I remember one of the first times, if not the first time, you drove me back home and kissed me goodnight - and there were those horrible letters staring us in the face! I winced with embarrassment, but you didn't care, and I suppose we both laughed and kissed and that was that.

That so wasn't where I was going when I first started out but I haven't had coffee yet. I'm going to hit Send even though Dear Editor is probably like, gawd, why does she insist on giving it away for free all the time? Yeah, Babcia was right.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Dearest John

je comprends, dearest
memo to scott murphy: my mind is so much way quicker than the f***** slow connections I can do these days on the f****** unacceptably slow & unreliable internet connections

back to darling

oh f***
I forgot my original point

cc: Kirsten Gillebrand (memo to a.m. Rick on KZE: hello, she's the freakin United States Senator from the Empire State of NY - so pronounce her last name right, already, and she's no longer just from "greenport, ny" not that there's anything wrong with that

Dearest John, I completely forgot what the "je comprends," where I started out from, refers to.

Kisses, my darling dearest, wherever you are, this county, the next county, county lines, gardens, sky, parades, oh my goodness,

wherever you are - there I am

ow!