Saturday, December 31, 2011

Darling, you're right,
never mind about dancing,
let's steal away
and go skinnydipping,
in the Thames,
or Lake George,
or Carly's old pool...

overheard this week at a local women's clothing store that is going out of business...
So what are you going to do after this?
I'm moving to Lake George
Lake George? what's up there?
It's beautiful there!
What are you going to do - go ice skating?
No I'm not going to go ice skating...
... still in peaceful dreams I see
the road leads back to you...

Darling, it is related to the civil war in the mind, that whole Master/Emissary split, what I described yesterday, the real and metaphoric differences between Olivier and Monroe, as well as among branches of my family...

Dearest, I'm up here on this New Years Eve, thinking very much of you, and making sense of a very few but eloquent, or meaningful to me, page hits. I wonder about your finding my blog quite often via the disturbing Francis Bacon image, and you always access it the same way, not quite the right phrase, a letter off, and so I know, despite disparate geographic ISPs, that it's the same person - you? I always imagine it's you - yet don't quite know what to make of it. Except that the image is disturbing, and makes me feel that you're communicating your internal distress to me -- I don't know.

Or - perhaps that's how you like it - having googled it myself, and come across erotic images - Bacon's isn't, I mean other ones - I imagine it myself, and you...

I do feel hopeful about 2012. Perhaps I will see you.

I don't feel despairing (anymore) that I didn't see you this year. No - there is still next year, the coming days -- who knows?

And it's all impossible anyway, but - how nice is this nice touching between us?

Dinner tonight will be awesome. D bought mussels, and will prepare them in a saffron sauce of his that is just divine. I look forward to it already, the heady aromatic delicious suffusion. He headed into town for a couple of hours "to keep things moving," and I suggested that he stop by a newish cafe there, that has a very fancy oven - imported brick by brick from a Columbia County equivalent in the French countryside - and pick up one of their baguettes, that we can have with the meal, to savor the sauce. It's late - past five - the cafe may well be out of baguettes, in which case we'll go back to plan A - fettucine...

Sweetheart, I had a divine time with you this afternoon. And the sun came out from time to time today, and it was quite mild outdoors, in the 40s, still green. I put up the thermostat, took off my clothes... and it took a while, so much perambulating around & around in my head and all elsewhere to finally get that final focus... do you know - I think my fantasies have very little to do with what would transpire if we were to get together - I'm not sure it's entirely anatomically possible, what I imagine, my mouth isn't large enough, my teeth, my throat - and yet it's what I picture, you clutch me by my hair

And that's it, really. I would love to visit Chicago again. Now I have a fantasy of going there by train. I would love to see it with you, through your eyes, since you know the city so well.

I won't lose my bag, as I did on my first and only previous trip to Chicago - I accidentally left my handbag, containing my wallet, on the plane...

funny - I had a similar dream just last night - which I noted in my very last dream journal entry of the year - it was about how I was in Amherst, and misplaced not only my handbag with two one-hundred dollar bills, but couldn't remember where I'd parked the car either... and yet I wished to see the sights, check out the village center, the restaurants, maybe get an ice cream, before I had to leave...

Sweetheart, my dearest Falling Rocket of a beloved wonder...
have a wonderful evening this night
with falling rockets
and popping champagne corks
and kisses all around to everyone

I love you very much
see you next year - starting
abacus style - tomorrow

Georgia O'Keeffe (Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, 1887-1986, Santa Fe, New Mexico), Lake George [formerly Reflection Seascape], 1922, oil on canvas, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Friday, December 30, 2011

Hello darling, musing up here, thinking what to write - every evening such a challenge, perhaps not unlike going on stage for a performance - it is like that - only I don't know my lines. I went to the movies today, a matinee of My Week with Marilyn, in which Michelle Williams incandescently reprises Marilyn Monroe - without an ounce of camp or schtick, it's a lovely, moving, modest yet fully formed reincarnation. Also, I've been thinking about the holidays, about weddings, about dancing at weddings - I picture you in your gray morning suit, dancing...

There's a scene in the movie where Marilyn is captivated by an enormous, intricate dollhouse - a royal dollhouse, at Windsor Castle. She asks permission to open it, and we see her large eyes, scale akin to a cat peering inside a mousehole, only Marilyn wants in -- not to devour any mouse, but in order to dwell psychically within, in what she imagines to be the happy family that she never had as a child, and that continually eludes her in adulthood, due to her gift, which comes with nurturing it, a necessary severing, a deep ambivalence - a forever keeping herself, in some sense, apart.

I think of the elaborate choreographed ballet of your extended family... you all play the roles so incredibly well, coming together for all sorts of formal occasions as they come up - major Catholic holidays, funerals, weddings - most always formal white ones.

I'm sitting up here thinking what to do with a couple of half-price certificates I have to my favorite restaurant in town. Only they've wised up and no longer allow an alcoholic beverage to count - there goes my discounted glass of wine. Only I can't eat $25 worth of food by myself. So what to do? Our 25th wedding anniversary is coming up. Perhaps we should take ourselves out to dinner. The certificates will cover the entrees. We can buy a bottle of wine.

There was a time I would have looked forward to that. The upcoming anniversary feels hollow.

My writerly friend, kindly, gingerly, suggested a marriage-retreat program that she has familiarity with. The lightbulb must wish to change for that to work, I wrote back to her, thanking her for the link.

I've never been good at pretending. When I was happy for twenty years -- I wasn't pretending. I was happy with him.

And I don't think you all (extended family, individual members) - I don't think you're pretending or faking it, not at all. But it does remind me, in a sense I'm grasping at, of the movie today, in which Kenneth Branagh plays Laurence Olivier, old-school English theatrical actor - whose identity as an actor, his training, cultural background, generation, everything he has in himself to bring to bear in a performance, is about donning a persona - and acting it - showing up on time, knowing the lines, hitting the marks, executing them perfectly.

While Marilyn Monroe, not only because she is American - but I guess it's a big factor, at least in 1956 England, still hidebound before the 1960s - is trained in Method acting, in which she seeks to not just to memorize lines and parrot them drolly, but to understand the character she's playing - even if, as with The Prince & The Showgirl, there isn't much of a deep character to play - and to inhabit her.

And so I relate - more to Marilyn, than to Laurence Olivier. But the Olivier character in the movie, that philosophical split in ways of not only acting but, I imagine, of being - reminds me too of your extended family, perhaps as most embodied (dare I say enforced?) by my aunt, who is very old-school and of her generation and particular, fixed worldview in that regard. Who - and I respect it, and on many levels envy it, the way "Marilyn" looked longingly into the dollhouse - expects formal roles to be played, and cheerfully (as most often, it seems, on your side of the family they are - you all brilliantly self-select one another, it seems to me) - and it genuinely confuses her that someone (such as me) should be overly concerned with such notions as personal happiness and fulfillment.

I mean, I see the split in styles or worldviews right within branches of my extended family. I do long for familial connection, a great sense of belonging. I love festive occasions (mostly). I think of my brothers & my sister, they interact with one another, and with my brother's children (two generations of them now). I'm not part of that, for whatever reason. I was too much for them - too "heavy" - I was named after my mother - and I think, though not for that reason really, that I remind them too much of her. My sister once referred to me - in passing, but directly at me - as "needy." A strange, horrible word. And by so labeling me, she didn't feel a need to deal with me, not really.

They hit their marks in their way. I don't know that I understand it. They have their own family interactions. But it's selective.

"The soul selects her own society, then shuts the door." That's closer, I suppose, to how at least my own psyche has turned out to be.

I'm not part of your extended family, nor part of (technically) mine, with its own ballet going on.

I don't really understand it, not really. Here I am typing. After dark. I just heard cats fighting, outside the windows - I should go down & check (& so I type faster).

And so I write to you... I suppose I am a bit of a Venus, though without Vera Farmiga legs - mine (size 14-16) might be more like Marilyn's --

And there you are, looking at the evening rushes of mine, my dearest Olivier
(perhaps not this particular one, but one, say, of December 8)

And do you know what, darling, what this Method Marilyn wishes very very deeply?
To dance with you, even though I don't know how to dance at all, but I'm sure you know all the beautiful moves, you in a morning gray suit, band playing, sweeping me around an airconditioned dance floor

Thursday, December 29, 2011

My dearest, wherever you are, my impression is that you took flight again this morning, and landed many hours later, this afternoon...

I'm sitting up here in the aerie, sipping pink wine, trying to ignore pointedly mild-melding cats that want me to do something, listening to the heating coils up here burble (for a spell I could imagine I was descending in a bathyscape, so loud were the watery gurgles all around). Dinner is on the stove, chicken paprikash stew that we'll have over noodles, only I'd just as soon eschew the starch, and have mine over baby spinach - maybe so, that's what I'll do. I stood at the sink before five, as the light was fading, and deboned the drumsticks, making the dish much easier to eat, especially with a fork later on, at my desk in the aerie. D and I don't eat together anymore, except for sometimes lunches when he comes home. I put the bones in the freezer, in a baggie I have started towards the next batch of stock. I had a trifecta today. The sun was out. It was freezing, on my walk I was bundled in my bright-red wool coat, black hat, black wool scarf wound around my neck. Actually I was cozy. And it didn't seem bleak at all, the air was so crisp and the day so bright, and lawns are still green -- it isn't all desiccated, desaturated, colorless greige.

Sweetheart, I'm just tapping keys here, musing. It's the very tippy-top of the year, there's a temptation to look back behind (but I'm afraid of heights!!) and look back at the year I've just come from. Oh a few random snapshots flicker, truly in no order except for as they come to me now...

I lived to see you again, and this year, didn't
I lost hope of seeing 1.0, and (sure enough) didn't
I turned 52, in August
my periods stopped early in the year & I've since read that the typical time for women to hit menopause is at age 51-1/2, which seems uncannily biologically precise - and that's just how it happened for me
I ventured from the Hudson Valley, across the Berkshires, to the Pioneer Valley
I saw the back of a "faux Emily"
I met Lenore & Jerome, and felt that I'd met friends, a really nice connection, at long last
I saw Anderson Cooper crossing Sixth Avenue at around 38th St. one Sunday (when I'd just gotten off an Amtrak train at Penn)
and now I quite often do my workouts to his talkshow
he has a nice charm, easy to take
I had wonderful stays in Brooklyn, I've lost count, I think three of them scattered over the year - thanks to old friends, neighbors there
I discovered my way out of sexual misery, via blue birds of happiness
keeping batteries charged all the time is a way of life for me now
I made a friend this year, my "writerly" friend, a truly lovely, lovely woman in every respect
I haven't been to the conservation area in months
I don't often have the car
D has a lot of work, and has gotten serious
things I think were dire, on the brink, I've been kept out of the loop but he's been taking care of it and I think it's all working out and that's all I know, as far as finances
A asks chirpily, "so how's the house coming?" I shake my head - no
but still - small gains
a redone aerie staircase, freshly painted & recarpeted
I read books - let's see: 1.0's, memorably (whose copy sits, albeit at this point buried, archaeological style, under layers of intervening papers & books - but is nevertheless always 'near to hand' - and even now I can see, peeking through the shadows, part of the title on its spine... scape of the Mind)
I read a fine biography of E.D., by Richard B. Sewall
With very few exceptions, each day I took a walk, wrote a post;
most days (or on average five times a week) I did an exercise workout on a mat
I have a nice figure, but far from perfect, I need "flattering," formskimming tops
that's okay

Sweetheart, dearest - have I put you to sleep yet? Oh that might be a nice thing, depending which time zone you're in darling, I'm guessing Europe, but who knows - but if I'm right then high time you cozily fall asleep...

Which by the way those O'Keeffe/Steiglitz letters - I'm sure they have their moments - and I guess you had to be there - as with this blog
but I'm having trouble wading through the massive tome

that's the nature of writing - it's excreted a bit at a time
and then those bits -- not like raindrops at all -
accrete, accumulate

I have a hard time confronting "The Complete Poems of E.D.", or even a volume of "Selected Letters"

So -- and I can't offhand think of a tie-in to the waning year -
but darling, I'm very glad that - lucky you!
you get to read these nightly installments
one completely digestible bite at a time

and you know how the narrative goes... no need for me to recap it...

throwing my arms around you, dearest you
sleep tight
all best wishes
see you tomorrow

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My dear love, thinking of you, picturing you, as I sit at my desk wondering what to write, pleasantly aware of faint netherly throbbing, bodily afterglow of sweet spent session. Afterward, in the aerie, golden light streamed through the windows, before sunset. Tomorrow's day length, here, will be thirty seconds longer, I checked. That fact, the retilting of the earth towards the sun - no, that's not right is it? The - whatever it is that by the end of January will cause days to be palpably longer, light even after five - gives me a sense of optimism. I'm leaping ahead already to warm weather months, bought on sale today, a flattering knit top, summer-weight but in autumnal shades, that I imagine wearing in August, with a black skirt.

Dearest, slow news day here, but I am happy to report, as I sit here typing, that I am feeling much more even-keeled, okay, than I had been the last few days. I guess I had to adjust to some news, some absences, some nonsense, and other all the rest that the jetsam-strewn tide of the holidays seems to litter on shore. The waves sweep up the banked beach, but now they've withdrawn, leaving bits of shells and crab legs and clear jellyfish, and I walk westward, barefoot in the wet sand, in the direction of Breezy Point, too far away to reach by foot on the beach, and so eventually, after the decrepit wood beach hotel structure, abandoned now I think, set high on piers above the sand, I turn back down the beach, stepping over fishing lines grounded into the sand and arching to the waves, picking up occasional spiral conch shells along the way...

I was thinking about the fact of the newcomer, some ramifications (at least as they strike me personally - obviously I'm completely outside it all). We are all grandparent age now, that we hadn't realized. And I couldn't help but think, strictly from my point of view (because I understand that you might well, from an entirely different perspective, view things differently), that I think it's good she had a baby straight off. I mean, it seems to me to put a focus on things -- to organize one's life, if it's done right which of course it will be, and is being so done, I can tell already.

I think back to when I was her age, how very clueless and free-floating I was. I just had no clue, no support structures, certainly no family to fall back on, no guidance. I did have a bachelor's from a good school - I tried to pull myself up, and into favorable situations for myself, by my degree.

I don't know. I guess I can just see the great benefit & advantage of being thoroughly grounded (possibly whether one wishes to be, or not). It takes the endless choosing & decisionmaking out of it. When I was that age, and younger, and older too I suppose, I felt this terrible burden of freedom -- that supposedly I could do anything, had all these options, but I had no idea in my own self which way to go, where to turn, what to pursue.

It didn't help at all that I had no practical knowledge of How To Be In The World, at all. So I had to try to figure that out on my own, the simplest, most basic life lessons, of figuring out about money - everything from how a checking account works (I bounced my first few, in college) - to the worth of things, balanced against their cost. I had no money (other than what I'd earn temping, in office jobs, all through college) - and yet was capable of buying a full-priced pair of shoes from a department store, or a basic tee - paying way too much - because I really didn't know any better.

Now obviously I do. Though I've made mistakes more recently -- spending nearly $8000 one year, when D & I were more flush with cash, on Major Medical hospital coverage. No medical disaster happened that year - we didn't get any doctor visits or any other benefit whatsoever from it - but we were out $8000 -- which frankly - well, I can imagine uses for that money, that would have made a bigger difference to our lives, that we might have enjoyed.

And so - I know it's going to work out, with the baby. If it were me, I'd be happy for it - takes so much of the choosing guessworky angst out of it. To be replaced by another kind of angst, that may very well be.

I am a feminist - in the sense that I believe in the notion of women being able to choose their destinies, and to have doors opened to them to succeed in any professional or other realm imagineable. But for me, of the very particular & peculiar generation or frame of time I came up in -- I felt pressured to "succeed" - that is to strive, be aggressive, "dress for success," show professional ambition, drive, & expertise -- without, the way I feel about it, having really been given some practical guidance, support --

a sister-in-law of mine, who "did no better" than a community college A.B. degree -- is a very accomplished, ambitious, high-achieving businesswoman, who continually reinvents herself in business, and stays on top, and has a life besides, including grown children

I think I'm losing my thread here, darling --

I'm glad that the new mom had a stellar education (with the highest academic achievements, as my aunt proudly noted) and also that she has been set on at least one path that will give compelling direction -- it may postpone others, but certainly won't preclude them - and may indeed suggest them - who knows?

Sweetheart - please forgive me my ruminations -

I look forward to later on, in the dark night chamber
waking up in your arms

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I wonder where you are darling, have you flown off somewhere again? I think of you... It's pouring out, I hear the rain pelting on the other side of the windows. Pitch black, damp, chilly. I've just come back from stepping into my bedroom, where I laid out and admired my new lingerie. Like a trousseau - too good to wear - except for very special occasions. Beautiful stuff, I'm really enjoying it, all the lace, and black, and in other sets, delicate ivory & white.

I confess, I'm having a hard time this week with the holidays. I try hard to not let them get to me, but it seems they do. I will be very glad to break out my brand new Botanica desk calendar for 2012, just get through this week.

I've been thinking about how I seem to have accoutrements about me for a certain kind of domestic life - one that might suggest lots of friends & family all the time, but it doesn't happen, hasn't happened. As though I wish for it to happen, by providing some of the props - that is, I suppose, feathering a nest. I have some beautiful things, mostly bought at sales over the years. Tonight's dinner will be leftover Oriental shrimp (as described yesterday, only I'd neglected to mention the protein). Last night we had it on beautiful porcelain bowls, decorated with a vintage pattern of scattered roses; since those are in the dishwasher now, unwashed, tonight our meal may be on dinner plates of a gorgeous ornate floral semi-Persian (again, "Oriental") design. I have some beautiful china, a collection of mismatched, yet pleasingly coordinating sets, bought over the years - mostly for - no exaggeration - a dollar apiece, at a semi-annual tabletop sample sale in town. These various dishes & bowls, mismatched as they are, add wonderful decorative touches displayed on my open kitchen shelves, and look like a million dollars - such lovely objects (obtained, by good fortune, for a song) make every meal beautiful and special.

I wonder - would I have been happier - this holiday week, just for example - if I'd had children, if I had a child or a brood around me? I can't honestly say. Or what I can honestly say is -- well, I think I would enjoy them at times, but at other times I'd wish my space. Could my life, had it gone differently, been focused around children? I don't know. Maybe. Or not?

I don't know.

All I know is that I don't much like being so much by myself, day in, day out, all year long. And it's hitting hard this week.

And I'm not part of a tribe, not my own, and not another one. And so that was hard the other day.

I went for a walk today and found myself voicing (to the pines, and the crows, and the sky) very angry words towards my deceased mother. Unfair and horrible to the extreme - one part of me felt - and yet I unleashed it, as I walked by a tiny old random cemetery in the middle of that stretch of road.

And so I do have a home... or the props for one. Without going overboard. Just a nice place, and I have good taste - that I do believe I got from my mother - well, so okay, I mellow, I soften, just now thinking of that.

Dearest, I wish I could summon you if for just a moment, and if I could I'd clutch your hands, and look at you, and I would love the way you look at me, and then we'd break off corners of that wafer and exchange bits, and - I was all forgetful and confused about that ritual - it seems to me that one should feed the other, as a bird might feed a baby bird, or a priest dispensing communion wafer - popping bits into the other's mouth. But I guess that's not how it's done, it's all privatized... well just as well -- goodness knows I don't want that ritual getting too heavy...

Dearest, wherever you are, I'm thinking of you, and kissing you, and I hope all is well, and you are a very great comfort to me, and a wonder, and so - wherever you are - all my love

grab bag gift

Monday, December 26, 2011

Hello darling, your Weeping (almost) Woman is restored to her usual equanimical self. Glad the stress of the holiday is over. Today was good. I managed a triple concerto: lovely pastoral movement; brisk, energetic scherzo; sweet lingering meditation of mounting build (no small part of its charm) and exquisite finish.

Sweetheart, it's very peaceful up here now. I took good care of myself today. After all the ham & cheddar biscuits & buche de noel & pot roast of the last couple of days my system was craving spa food. So I went food shopping, and tonight's dinner - I've done the vegetable prep already - will be starch-free - an "Oriental" (Chinese? Indonesian?) stirfry involving bok-choy, carrot, broccoli, red peppers, mushrooms, onion, water chestnuts, ginger, garlic, and maybe even - I left them out by the stove in case D, who will execute the actual stirfrying, is so inspired - fresh pineapple & lime.

On my way home I stopped by a chain fashion store that's going out of business here. I don't much like the store, the only thing I've ever bought there, once, was underwear, and I scored on that same score today, a 'nude' bra and three pairs of lacy beige panties, all for $22.

I am amazed at how much you travel, it blows me away. You're like that George Clooney character in that movie with Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air. I asked my aunt (we were standing in the kitchen as she described in sketches the news) - how is he with all that travel? My aunt at first shrugged - well, that's what he does for a living (those weren't her exact words, but that was the gist - that that's, I don't know, what's expected of you, what you do - I hesitate to use as loaded a term as "your lot" - but maybe, that's the way it falls out), but that wasn't really what I meant. I rather tediously am always going after how people feel about their lot, or what's going on with them. I told her that, for example, I would hate to fly as much as that, I can't even imagine it. And she acknowledged that she didn't think it was easy for you...

Ah, now I feel as though I'm "telling." Which I don't mean to - sorry - this morning's post was more than enough. And I think of this snatch of conversation with my aunt - not in that way. It was actually one of the few (or perhaps the only one) semi-direct questions I dared to ask, as I lightly, gingerly (but inwardly tumultuously, passionately) inquired...

Where are you now I wonder? I imagine home, but maybe packing. I don't know. This is a holiday week after all.

Dearest, this is all I have for the moment -- I'm glad we've gone back into the clouds, or settled back to earth -- as opposed to the jarring ripcord of descending a zillion feet south to a Riverdale-like hill in T'town. I floated uncomfortably over that patch of land for a day, landed there even, and am glad to be back in the "mid-Hudson Valley," where I think I may have just heard the Amtrak train that happens to be carrying some guys we both know, who are bound for Chicago...

Bon voyage -- to all of you - as you pass through Hudson!

& to you - my dear one -
at whatever latitude - or altitude - you are
Hello sweetheart, it's 7:30 in the morning, the light dim and gray. I don't hear cardinals tutoyering, not yet. Starting to wake up with a cup of coffee. Something smells good. D says it's the ham from the party that he's just had for breakfast. I'll have a bit later too, with cheddar biscuits I made yesterday.

Dearest (and dearest 1.0 too), I'm sorry I didn't post last night. We got home late, after nine, and I was just exhausted and my emotions felt all roiled. It was one of those visits, for me, that give holidays the reputation for being difficult. On the way down I was still holding out the hope that you might be there. I was happy to see them, but those feelings unfortunately were greatly overridden by my disappointment and sadness. So right there is an example of the embattled feelings I had to struggle with through the afternoon. As I smiled and chatted and caught up with relatives, at the same time my mind was working furiously, and I had to struggle not to burst into tears. I'm certainly glad I didn't, but my face must have registered difficult emotion. My eyes felt like a set of exposed cement dams holding back the floods. (How's that for straining for a metaphor? But honestly, even now they feel masklike, from all that numbed-out not-crying.)

I don't mean to sound like a drama queen. It was just such an odd situation. It always has been for me, just being a member of my thoroughly alienated side of the family, interfacing with the other branch that is so thoroughly cheerful and close-knit.

On top of all that, I felt acutely duplicitous, having of course to completely cover up my feelings, which are in conflict with an arguably more compelling familial connection.

I heard a bit more about the new baby, and learned about the wedding. And that was hard for me too - they had all attended. Not that I would ever have expected to be invited, I'm not close family as that. But why was I only now, months later, learning of it? Why hadn't she ever responded to my email back in June? It's hard not to read into that. If she has demonized me - can I blame her? And if so - what then? I cared for her, but at this point grimly note (the thought brings me no joy) that other stronger, conflicting, countervailing feelings have taken hold.

I talked with my aunt, all the while struggling with painful topics and emotions while trying to keep pleasantly composed. It was rough. Her daughter will help care for the baby; I couldn't help but think of my mother, who told me she never would, and didn't. My aunt asked me if I was in contact with my father. I told her not in well over ten years, that I wouldn't be, that he and the rest of my family had caused me nothing but pain and that at this point that was all behind me. So that was another difficult minefield. Then my aunt mentioned how they've dubbed someone with a Polish name (what in American is a girl's name, and so it struck me as particularly emasculating). This anecdote hit a nerve. I told her that I didn't think that was funny, he has a perfectly good name. Of course she went into denial mode ("he doesn't mind, he likes it"), and she repeated the ancient chestnut of how years ago my grandmother had misread my handwriting and thought that D's name was "Dong" - and that bit of demeaning shtick has lasted all this time. And I told her that I didn't think that was funny either. People who are suspect, outsiders, not quite part of the fold, get their identities tinkered with - is how I feel about it - they aren't allowed to simply be themselves.

Dearest, I just kept drinking glass after glass of icefilled pink wine all afternoon, in an effort to become numb. I know how absolutely terrible that sounds. I was having a hard time. Finally the wine did the trick, and we all sat down at a long banquet table that had been set up in the family room, and dined, and the food was delicious, and the talk light & convivial, so that was a whole lot easier to take than all the prying questions and painful topics.

(I confess that for many years I didn't like L, could never warm up to him - but now I really like him, and he saved the "oplatek" portion of the ritual from getting all very, very HEAVY - because I was getting uncomfortable about it [because in my family it was always an exceedingly painful, awkward, false, forced ritual to get through], and he instantly and empathetically saw my point of view, and understood, and suggested that we drop the heavy, portentous aspects -- and the meal all went very lightly & cheerfully after that - and so I was very grateful for his light touch there.)

Earlier too, I really enjoyed talking with A... she had started on the usual "so how's your writing" stuff - a hard subject for me, as you can imagine - but got the message when I said that it's of a private, fragile nature, and that I have no interest in publication. She changed the subject. And spoke very entertainingly of the wedding, and we also had a very interesting discussion about creativity & drive - that one of her sons is quite obsessed with putting things together -- and I think it's so exciting when there is that kind of passion for something. I told her that I believe that God put us on this earth, and gave us this earth and everything in it, for us reorder the various elements in all their realms, to play with them - put together words, assemble building blocks, plant a garden, paint a picture, compose music, etc., etc. -- just take everything there is and endlessly combine & recombine -- and the combinations are infinite. I believe that each of us is potentially creative - and the challenge is to discover what it is that inspires and drives us to tinker with the elements, to restlessly work at what new thing can be formed.

And then we sang carols, and one of the young boys played the piano -- and he too was a wonderful example of initiative and drive and passion. Last year, as far as I know, I don't think he could play the piano at all. But he had worked with his teacher over the past several months, to work up a repertoire of Polish & other carols. And he played them beautifully. He reminded me of when I was his age, starting out on piano, accompanying the trilling living room chorus -- that's how I'd started too, and here's the next generation embarking on that tradition.

I guess I'm still feeling a little emotionally out of sorts, it just seems so hopeless & pointless sometimes, so much strong feeling and for what. I slept alone, as usual, last night.

I wonder what 2012 will hold. More of the same, for me?

But hey, at least I looked good. At least one of my cousins went out of his way to mention it, which felt good. I told him I've been working very hard at it, walking every day, etc.

I heard about how hard you work, all the travel... calls from Paris... I wish I could one day get such a call.

I feel like a monster. I look nice on the outside, and I just have all these crazy feelings on the inside. I'm like the Vincent D'Onofrio character in Men in Black, whose insect-self kept trying to bust out of his human carapace. That's how split I'm feeling at the moment.

I try to be good, to be kind, and above all maybe - to be true - or certainly, to not be a hypocrite. But what was I yesterday, if not that? And I could feel it, this double self.

Overnight, I found myself wondering about another thing, anew. How is that I came on your radar at all? How is it that you ever found my posts? Even that much is an utter mystery to me -- after all the placid years of surely both you & me being no more than background figures to each other. So I puzzle over that -- at all this complexity, under the surface anyway, when there never was any before, except for the difficulty of being of my decimated family, as opposed to - of yours.

Dearest - I will post later today, as usual, and hope - after a walk, a workout, and all the rest - that I will be back to my more cheerful, certainly more composed "together" self.

The sun is coming out. A brand new day.

Kisses, darling, I suppose. Am I dreaming this whole thing?

Dearest, it's nine-thirty now. I had published this post an hour ago, forgetting to save a copy, and sure enough it crashed, I lost a chunk of it, and so I deleted the post, and reworked it.

I apologize for this post, really, that I'm dealing with painful topics, in such an obviously self-centered way. I think of you, and try to imagine your situation, and the news and events and everything else. I hope all is well & happy with you, and working out as best can be expected - no, better. And too, dearest, that you had a very merry Christmas, even if we couldn't all be together.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Dear love, up in the aerie, 5:30 p.m., sipping a glass of icefilled white wine, nice & minerally, Spanish, not a rioja, but reminiscent, dry & minerally, of the type a glass of which I savor when on occasion I take myself out to lunch...

Sweetheart, I wonder where you are... I sense that you're thinking of me, and you know that I'm thinking of you.... Many kisses, a few right here...

I'm back from a couple of hours in town. My writerly friend emailed me late last night suggesting that we catch Dickens' Christmas Carol, the matinee performance, a one-man show, the same actor who did the Emersonian play I saw a couple of months ago (with the same friend). I'm glad she suggested it - actually we'd floated the idea beforehand, but in early December the idea of going to a play on Christmas Eve seemed, I don't know, a little out of reach. I mean, it's a crunch time - even for me. As I emailed her in response to her message, I had actually toyed with the idea of attending the performance myself, and quickly dismissed the notion because I had so much cooking & baking to do.

Which I did -- I simply re-organized my day and got them out of the way this morning. I was baking two different types of cookies (dough pre-prepared), plus assembling two different types of involved salads... and I hadn't unloaded the dishwasher of yesterday's clean dishes... and the sink was full of dirty ones from last night's dinner plus breakfast.... plus all my mixing bowls & chopping boards and what have you--- the kitchen was, as of around 11, an absolute disaster zone -- the culinary equivalent of the Mr. Bean episode when he unleashes a paint-bomb to paint his apartment. I was just determined to get in my "trio", plus the cooking, plus the play... so I had to try to beat the clock, all the while trying not to overbake cookies, while ministering to other pots & pans.

Crazy. But do you know what? It all got done. I raced the clock and managed even to completely clean up the kitchen after the aftermath - one would never know that a mere hour before a small nuke had hit it. Ah, eleven. Oh good, D's not coming home til 1:30, I have to wash my hair, and I have to take a walk, let me lie down - oh my darling - with my battery-operated toys (one of which seems to be flagging, but hey, there's a spare), and so I did, raised the heat upstairs, kicked Claire out of my bed, shut the door, took off my ripped cashmeres (my sleepwear is very 'Gray Gardens' that way these days), and went for it, and thankfully despite all sorts of thoughts in other directions...

Ah finally! And with time to spare. I could get in an abbreviated workout, and then wash my hair, and dry it in the freshly cleaned brilliant sunfilled bathroom (because today was a beautiful sunny day) and then - for lunch - sample the salads I'd made, and sprint out the door.

Wow, way too much tedious detail, darling - I'm not trying to file a police report.
Listen officer, I love this man, crazy as it sounds -- oh, right - just the facts? well it was pecan shortbread, except that it became all crumbly, and also a taboulleh salad, and a curried couscous salad, which I hope will go over well

though D sampling them at lunch declared them all delicious

Dearest love, I need to break away from this post & join corporeal life already in progress -- the aroma of D's sofrito for arroz con pollo (at my request) is floating up the stairs.

All my love, wherever you are,

my tenderest regards in every way -

(this post is a mess, but I simply must launch it as is --
very many kisses -- )


Friday, December 23, 2011

the more the merrier

Hello darling, up here with my evening glass of icefilled wine, after an afternoon of gospodarstwo domowe in the form of energetic housecleaning, baths included - Yuletide edition. So beyond the bit of hay tucked beneath a tablecloth, should a stranger wish to stay -- no need to panic, I'll simply provide fresh towels.

Oh sweetie, slide over in that narrow little bed tucked under the eaves, let me lie down beside you. That's how I've been picturing us the last couple of nights - where I've been picturing you, that is. I haven't been up in that room in ages, and have such fond vivid memories of it from girlhood

of my grandfather lying in that bed, and my grandmother in the other twin bed across from him; of sliding into bed with my grandmother early mornings, nestling against her cozy body in her filmy cotton gown. You know, I used to really like, and wonder about the source of, a peculiar sweetish signature odor about that attic aerie -- and have in adulthood come to realize what it was (oh dear, I am, at times in that regard, indeed my grandmother's granddaughter)...

and now my imaginings of you & me

which weirdly I imagine my grandparents smiling at, however improbably, from their heavenly rafters, because love is love, and perhaps they would enjoy the irony, and the surprise of it - and it's all w rodzinie - a whole new twist on that - and I don't sense that eros is quite as hidebound in heaven as it is here

I don't remember my grandfather so well anymore, I was too young by the time he died (in the mid-1960s - he somewhere in his sixties, I maybe in second grade) to ever have a full sense of his true personality

but I could see him smiling privately and bemusedly, while my grandmother, ever the one for exuberant expression, might feign huge disapproval in the form of a dramatic scowl and pointed look -- but I then instantly see her bursting out, in an exasperated, entertained, delighted guffaw

if for no other reason than that I was her favorite granddaughter
did you know that dearest?
yes, it's true - she told me so herself

sleep tight tonight dearest
I'll think of you, & you'll think of me
and thank you up in heaven, for all these complex
& wonderful
love matches


Darling, the dishwasher has arrived not a moment too soon. I've only been waiting - what - 363 days... but you know me (seems like yesterday, 1.0) - who's counting.


Many kisses for you, darling, all over,
and carnations,
in every room...


I wake - whenever I awake - whether it's night or day, at all moments, I think of you, I think of you, I think of you -- you could make a long strand of Christmas lights and all they would ever twinkle as far as I'm concerned is 'I think of you'

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My dearest, at low ebb this evening, as though the weight of all the darkness, of one of the shortest days of the year, is bearing down upon me. But that's just this moment, this early evening, as I try to rouse myself to write. In fact I had a full day, triple play, plus cooking in the morning - that is, putting together dough for two different types of cookies, which went smoothly except that I discovered that D had evidently mistaken a bag of prized, pricey pecans I'd been saving for baking, for mere, far less expensive nuts - snacking on them at some point. Fortunately I had enough to make one batch of pecan-shortbread - but not enough for two. Pecans, a couple of months ago, were $10.25 a pound in bulk at Sahadi - they're that much more up here, at the supermarket...

Also dearest - I suppose I'm wrestling with myself a bit - getting excited on one level - but trying not to get my hopes up on another

but my mind can't help but 'connect dots' and (over?)interpret (seemingly) meaningful page-hits in tandem with interpretation of timing (with hours-long gaps, as one might encounter say, in a long flight - perhaps (given a late-morning hit from "Portugal"), with a connecting flight...

So when I see a single page-hit, landing on a post of mine whose first line reads, "Hello my darling. The new dishwasher has been delivered" (such result obtained via a google-search as to Queen Victoria's ambivalent relationship to her own body & its processes) -- am I to decipher this -- my dearest Prince Albert -- as immediately I do -- as that you in fact have been delivered safely to the Garden State - after all...

Oh I hope so!

Anyone reading this on such scant information might well conclude that I'm crazy. But this latest hit followed a few meaningful others the last few days... a reference to Steve McQueen in a plane... oh take me with you when you go... references to daVinci's Christmasy Madonna (okay, those hits are a bit harder to take personally - maybe), oh - and - also an exceedingly unusual - page hit, I think it was yesterday - "je reviens."

Darling, if you're trying to communicate with me this way, then I say you're brilliant.

I didn't dare hope to connect those dots yesterday (though I started to)... but now I'm wondering. I hope my (yours too?) dream comes true, that we at least get to see each other, spend a little time...

another fantasy (illusion?) I had... that perhaps I had made a difference to you -- I don't know

but I signed an online holiday greeting card to President Obama and his family -- and included the line (also a very recent, and resonant pagehit)... "it's not about being perfect, it's about being whole."

so if these pagehits are meaningful -- did you, or members of your family, change their mind?
or were you always coming, as you do most every year?
but then why would there be subterfuge - or is there?
I don't know - it's confusing -- and as I confessed at the top, I feel particularly tired

but if I get to see you, I will be so incredibly delighted, over-the-moon, however brief, however tacit

and if I don't -- well, I'm just trying not to get my hopes up -
I'll have a nice time anyway
I'm prepared - I've put together the cookies, though not yet baked them
and my beautiful party outfit is freshly laundered

and if I don't see you more imminently -- then, as I understand it -- at an occasion, in June ---

goodnight, wherever you are, near or far - I think of you

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Dearest, I did buy carnations as a matter of fact today, pink ones, along with a bunch of alstroemeria (I can never remember the name of that flower, had to fish in the garbage for the sticker on the cello wrapper), and Asian lily, all in coordinating shades of pink, not bad for supermarket flowers.

My day was very pleasant. D's doing some work around here so I had the car for a bit, so went supermarket shopping, not only for flowers, but for foodstuffs as well. A chicken is roasting in the oven, along with russet potatoes, and a pan of - can you guess? - chopped root vegetables - carrot, sweet potato, butternut squash, red onion.

After lunch I was determined to go to the library

(Ah lunch - so delicious - fresh mozzarella, Italian soppressata (hard salami), fresh basil leaves and a few olives, toasted Italian bread, mixed salad. I was feeling energetic until I ate lunch, directly upon which I felt sleepy, but I was determined...)

In the car I fiddled with the radio and directly came upon, right as I was pulling out of our dead-end street, the start of an amazing David Gray song, that so put me in fullblown love-mind of you that I cranked it and rocked as I drove (speed limit:30 - adhered to). It's a beautiful song. I'll embed a link (ignore the video, just pretend we're together -- wherever).

And so at the library I picked up my books on reserve...

Oh but way before any of that -- rewind the videotape --

this morning I had a sweet session with you (though it took a while for some reason, and I am wondering why the rechargeable batteries seemed more charged in that motel room - I mean, isn't electricity, electricity? If they're fully charged - is there such a thing as supercharged? Only I don't really feel like asking anyone directly - only you, rhetorically. And so, yes, it did take a while --- despite all that BUZZING -- though no fly at all!

Sweetheart, in case you can't tell, I am just willy nilly tapping keys here. As technologically deficient as I am... do you know that there were times in my life that my typing speed was clocked (at temp agencies) at over 100 words per minute, with a high accuracy rate? I could have been a contender... [cue voice of Marlon Brando]... in some sort of speed-typing contest.

And so I'm typing fast here darling (quick brown fox jumps over the lazy brown dog)
[had to scroll back to put the 'l' in 'darling']. Where was I?

Oh yeah! I wrote a mini-graphic novel yesterday, a one-off in connection with this weekend's grab bag, and after much deliberation this morning, and consultation with D, came up with a title for the modern-day fascicle (stapled, not sewn; made up of booklets of paper menus my favorite half-price certificate overpriced Swoonery leaves in a basket near the door - all the inspiration I needed).

And that's it, dearest. I hope you're having a wonderful time wherever you are. Oh my dearest --- giving you a fantastically huge great big kiss just now, on top of all that transpired this morning -- as I'm sure you yourself have imagined.

Love you -- sweetest you. Have a good night, and I'll see you - first thing - when I wake in the middle of the night, Claire staring down at me from a sham - and in the dark still room, chinks of light coming through the side of the light-blocking shade (D's draped lights on Thumbelina, a Colorado Spruce we planted

and I wonder if the lights are too bright, keeping birds and other creatures in the hedgerow awake -- I don't know)

I wake - whenever I awake - whether it's night or day, at all moments, I think of you, I think of you, I think of you -- you could make a long strand of Christmas lights and all they would ever twinkle as far as I'm concerned is 'I think of you'


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

There's a fly buzzing around up here, but at least it wasn't in the bedroom this morning at the moment of my petit mort, which if it had been, I wouldn't have been able to cross over, and live.

The most stark cinematic poem ever - pre-cinema - unadorned fragment that starts at the apex of highest drama - a deathbed scene, as viewed & rendered in its entirety from the point of view of the about-to-be deceased - sudden vivid vision going black - as with a reel projector spooled out of film. This poem blows me away, with its immediacy and clarity, capturing - elliptically - a fleeting brief moment, as in a recorded dream.

#465, by E.D.
I heard a Fly buzz-- when I died--

Monday, December 19, 2011

Hello darling, up in the aerie, hope you're about the same, perhaps in that room you'd dreamed of, loft above the garage. That's how I'll picture you, dearest, reading my letter by lamplight, as in that lovely Georg Friedrich Kersting painting we both love.

In a mellow mood. Laundry is tumbling in the drier. A pan of sauteed-mushroom sauce, to be ladeled onto fettuccine and topped with parmesan, sits on the stove. I managed a workout, and a walk, but alas not the trifecta. I felt a little physically out of sorts today. And was so full of warm thought of you this morning, and synapses firing as to connections, that I put together this morning's post, an uncharacteristically prolonged sedentary start to my day, if for no other reason than finding the right images, and downloading them, and thinking how to link them -- it's all so very time-consuming. Still, I'm very glad I managed to put it together, the snapshot of what was going on in my mind, now those threads (hardly any of them mine really, not originally), woven together -- with thoughts of you.

I'm half looking forward to, half dreading next weekend. D and I supposedly are driving down. I say supposedly because we are a train wreck and had a big exhausting fight last night, reflective I suppose of the anxiety we both feel over the visit. I personally absolutely dread 'knowing' looks and improper, prying questions as to the state of my marriage. To which I have no good answer, and absolutely do not wish - on that day of all days - to lose my temper over impertinent queries and seemingly knowing saccharine looks. Oh aaarggh. Please dearest, wish me patience... I will do my best.

I have hardly been an angel the last few years
but I have a great deal of anger towards D

there was a time, a couple of Januarys, or maybe a February ago, that I packed a box of belongings and actually stood outside on the driveway because I thought someone might be coming for me

at that time - that person wasn't -- you

I still feel that I could in my own mind take flight at a moment's notice
(not that I wish to stick anyone with anything - I'd wish to be responsible in that regard)
but in other ways -- I have left the building
(as in, "the artist is present" --)

So I will not countenance any faux-caring queries as to my connubial state
though I expect you will forgive me and understand if I make light queries --
if only to read the press release (it's okay - & I want you to know it is okay - & I do have a mix of feelings surrounding the whole thing, and one of them is (one of the very, very many) -- oh wow, power to her, it's ok, 'welcome to the modern world,' and - listen girl, speaking as a 52-year old -- it's all ahead of you, still is, very much, you can have this life, and a reinvented one when she's your very age, when you're not even mine -- and you'll discover all kinds of things in yourself you never knew possible -- and -- well, I don't even know you but if I could give you a great big hug and my most heartfelt well-wishes, well then here they are -- you will do great, I know it, even if it wasn't the script anyone expected, but that's ok...)

I wanted to write - but didn't wish to be false in any way - that one day she'll look back and find that it was all amazing. I don't know. I never had children. I will never have grandchildren. And here I am, embarked on what feels to me another phase of my life... which would have happened I think, whether I'd had children or not. Not sure what I'm saying here. Yes I am -- she will be just fine (actually I'm a bit more worried about you, if it meant, as somehow I imagine it has, more pressure on you).

Next weekend also involves some sort of scrounging around the house for a "grab bag" offering for the party. I don't really have anything that anyone would want (that I don't myself, owner of it, need or otherwise possess for some reason, I don't have much of a cache of extraneous stuff).

But it can also be a sweet, and so my mind - out on my walk around here, in the gray chill before dusk, mallards quacking invisibly on the turbulent rapids - thought of a "silly" thing I can make, that - whoever gets the grab bag, or trades it - will enjoy... And I am enjoying simply thinking of it, planning the cheerful witty I hope delicious surprise...

And look at Angelina Jolie - who was on Anderson today - & on occasion of which I pulled out my exercise mat --

who would ever have imagined how incredibly beautifully, beautifully, beautifully, she - and all about her - would turn out?

so - dearest love -
oh all my love - that's all I can say

And What Music

To that part that
no one can ever see...

Thinking of you this morning, dearest
many kisses
hope your day goes well
the whole day through

... just an old sweet song...

My Faraway One: Selected Letters of Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz: Volume One, 1915-1933 (links here and here)

Photograph of Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz kissing at Lake George, 1929, Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library [image with manuscript caption here]

Patti Smith singing Georgia on My Mind, Metropolitan Museum of Art, December 2, 2011 (via NYRB blog)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Rhinebeck, 5:15 p.m.
Hudson, 6:00 p.m.
Hello sweetheart, back from a lovely afternoon, lunch out and a movie. I'm enjoying sitting up here with my usual glass of icefilled pink wine, still in my dressy outfit, the one I wore last weekend to the E.D. soiree. I love this outfit, the whole thing, including parts that people don't see, such as the beautiful black lacy undergarments, and opaque hose. And I have to say, all those walks & workouts have paid off - my legs are quite shapely - for me anyway, who was never petite. And freshly washed hair, silver wristwatch, spritzes of Miss Dior, heels... I enjoy getting dressed up once in a while. Not that the outfit screams so dressy - it's just very nice, and flattering, and attractive.

I had a half-price certificate, and in my finery enjoyed taking myself out to my favorite airy restaurant in town, where I sipped a glass of Spanish white rioja (I think?), nibbled on earthy, warmed baguette slices slathered with bits of icecold butter, and savored an elegant shallow bowl of duck cannellini (white bean) soup, which turned out to be dark golden, savory, rich, and hearty - very satisfying.

Afterward I drove down to Rhinebeck, and saw the new George Clooney movie, which I enjoyed, but didn't love. It felt derivative to me somehow -- as though either John Sayles had already done something like it, or might have done it better. Still, I enjoyed it very much, perhaps especially the quirky glimpses and portraits of bright, misfitted, heart-feeling youth. And Clooney was good, but not entirely credible in this role, not as written anyway. His character becomes obsessed with trying to lay eyes on the man he learns was sleeping with his wife, who's mortally injured and in a coma. And I'm sorry, I couldn't quite let go of my "suspended disbelief" - yeah, if I were George Clooney I too would want to know who the hell my wife could possibly find more sexually appealing & available than a character who looks like George Clooney, and finally, in huge disbelief, lay my eyes on him. (And that all said, Clooney's not a vain actor, good looking as he is. But still... Clark Gable, salt & pepper hair, those looks, those eyes, minimal if any makeup - is still Clark Gable... or George Clooney.)

Sweetheart, I'm fading. I should change my clothes. They're the very ones I'll wear next weekend. Goodness knows I don't want to run my stockings, which are like dancers tights, sturdy & opaque - pulling them on I have uncanny recollections of my girlhood, pulling on tights over my feet, calves, and thighs, pulling them up to my belly. Over which I now smoothe a black knit skirt...

Sweetheart, reluctant to let you go. I wish we could share a bed together, but the one I sleep in these days - I would have to get new bedding. There is something wrong with those sheets, they slip & slide off, the whole night long...

Claire sleeps with me & shows great delicacy, turning to the wall when I, tossing & turning, complain to her about her scratching...

Unlike a party seated at a table near mine, who took to, in the airy delightful expanse with delicious comestibles, tucking with relish into a detailed discussion of waterbugs, how disgusting they are and graphic ways of dispatching them...

At that pained (for me) moment, as I was about to embark on my soup, the Eliot line -- in the room the women come & go talking of Michelangelo - sprang to mind - and honestly, that (and virtually any other subject in this myriad, beautiful, endlessly fascinating world) seemed a much more civilized conversational alternative than this absolutely horrid tableside topic

Oh right, darling, I didn't wish to infect you with it as well
I did shoot a look, and one of the party, a guy, noticed my pained expression, and amused, smiled back --

And that's that dearest, many kisses over the table --
oh please, allow me, I'll pick up the check this time, my love
I have a half-price certificate
but your hand under the linen cloth, where it is
encountering reaches of my shapely knees (Rhinebeck), and regions north --
oh by all means - calculate
the tip

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Hi sweetheart, up here in the aerie, thinking about you, wondering about details, since I don't have any, but imagine will be filled in next weekend. It's funny how the barest fact of the information is stirring up feelings in me, a complex of them. Oh but never mind about me - I wonder how you're doing. I wish I could be there for you in some way, and I suppose I am, simply by tapping these keys to you. Sometimes it really does feel inadequate though. I'm feeling truly self-centeredly narcissistic right now - because all I have to go on is my own feelings - and I don't think I actually am quite as self-involved as that. But I have nothing else to go on. And it's not any of my business either. I don't know. It's just complicated, and complex, and you're far away, and I'm here, and the whole thing's impossible. And we wouldn't even be having this conversation if it weren't for the internet! It simply couldn't have happened in a previous time. I can't imagine that I would have been mailing you letters every day. Or - I don't know - perhaps I might have. There was a time, in Victorian England I believe it was, and maybe for a time before that, that one could post a letter in the morning, feel quite certain that it would reach its recipient by early afternoon, who could post back, reply received by dinnertime. So that was a sort of hard-copy internet, quick pingpongs that could sustain a relationship, keep it afloat.

I didn't end up going to Rhinebeck today - I plan to go tomorrow, the movie shows an hour earlier. Instead, D came home for lunch - and we had a fabulous lunch - I made a kind of Thai red-curry-paste shrimp & vegetable melange served over basmati rice -- so good, colorful, delicious, healthful. Then I took the car into town for a bit - so as to look for boxed Christmas cards. I could buy them in Rhinebeck tomorrow - but in terms of endeavoring to "shop local" - Rhinebeck doesn't need my dollars - Hudson does. So I was determined to try to find a set on the beautiful main street of shops. I walked into one, that I vaguely thought might be a candidate (but it was more of an antique curio shop than I had remembered) - and the proprietor told me she doesn't sell holiday cards, and I asked her - do you know who might? And first thing she suggested was - the CVS! Say what - ?! No - I mean better than that - and it was just such a shock to me that a Warren Street shopkeeper would ever suggest CVS for anything other than maybe aspirin. Anyway, she got my vibe and in thinking about it for a moment then suggested a very lovely, stylish purveyor of Swedish-imported home & garden objects - which I hadn't thought of. So I walked down there, but he didn't sell holiday cards either. I ended up getting a box at a combination pub-bookstore. I'm not crazy about them - they're not really me - but they'll do.

Oh sweetheart, here you are, Pablo... I would have said "dear Pablo" but I am trying to put a moratorium on the dears and darlings, I think I exceeded my quota with this morning's post.

I got in a vigorous walk this morning, which is a good thing, because I've been indulging a bit in rich food these days, with the holidays creeping upon us. After I bought the cards, and walked back up Warren Street looking in shop windows, I developed such a craving for very good chocolate. This was after I actually entered one shop. It was a few steps up from the street, and up I stepped, and looked in the entrancing oval antique door glass into the emporium within... and was entranced with the beautiful mosaic tile floor. You've seen such floors before, classic black & white hexagonal patterns worked out in tiny hexagonal tiles, but this flooring - back from the original nineteenth century day, tiles mellowed with time -- also involved color - orange, green, and yellow hexagons. It was just ravishing, this vast, airy shop-width expanse of tiled carpet. I entered the shop - it wasn't entirely clear to me what it specialized in - on the walls hung leather jackets, and also there were elaborately colorful silken textiles, and handpainted mirrors on the wall with delicately painted pastel borders ($485, an aesthetically inked figure read on one ragpaper tag)...

No boxed cards, but I did help myself, from a bonbon dish set on a table, to a single tiny silver-packaged chocolate, hardly bigger than a Chiclet, that I unwrapped, back out on the sidewalk, and popped in my mouth. Delicious... not absolutely the best chocolate I'd ever had... but it made me desire more. And I remembered about a chocolate bar that I'd received at the hairdressers the other week, when I got my hair trimmed, their holiday gift to clientele. Which struck me as a little unappetizing at the time, frankly, a chocolate bar in a wrapper labeled with the name of the salon - which involves the word "Hair." And I know I am sounding like the worst snob in this post (what - get my holiday cards at the CVS? well I never!) - but I didn't hold out high hopes for this sweet of dubious provenance. But it turned out - as D discovered later, upon reading the fine print on the wrapper - that it hailed from a very fine confectionary in town. Ah - and so its imprimatur passed my muster - and though I'd bequeathed the unopened bar to D - when I saw the last remaining three tiny squares on the kitchen table the other day - I devoured them. And they were delicious.

And so today - at the same confectioners. No paper-wrapped bar. But a cheerful cellophane packet, tied with raffia, of milk chocolate pieces. Oh heaven!

But really, d**r**t, I should have gotten in a workout.

All my love, many kisses - thinking of you - hope all is well & happy -
(oh someday we'll meet again, won't we? maybe next year? along those lines - though less passionately - I've written out a card...)
My dearest Minotaur, my heart is full of enormous feeling for you this morning.
I heard the news today, oh boy. I know I won't see you. My heart is topsy-turvy just now, happy for you, sad for us, I don't know... I hope all's well & happy truly - I hope all is joyous, all around. Loving you very much, thinking of you... Let me go for my walk now, out in the freezing gray day, and work off some of this tumultuous energy. I'll be thinking of you the whole way, arm in arm with you, dearest, dearest angel. Later, darling too - of course - I just really wanted to send you some kisses right now. All my love. xoxo

Pablo Picasso (1881 Spain - 1973 France), Minotaure et femme derriere un rideau, 16 June 1933, etching from the Vollard Suite, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

Friday, December 16, 2011

My dearest, many kisses good evening, holding your hands and reaching up to inhale you and give you a big sweet kiss. Ah, what do I have for you this evening? Not much, beyond myself & my love. I have just finished vacuuming the downstairs. Russets are baking in the oven. Dinner will be that, and steak & salad. I made a chicken pot pie for lunch. I thought of it as a happy-birthday pot pie for 1.0, which makes no sense since he won't be able to taste it, but I think of him on this day (as I do every day) and send him all my love & good wishes for a happy birthday, wherever he may be, as at Thanksgiving, not home, which makes me wonder a bit - but I am forever reading into things - but, hey, at least I admit it.

I can hardly believe that it's a week as of tomorrow morning that I set out for Amherst. The week has gone by in a flash. What a strange nature, of time, that way. I measure it these days, with hourly changes in page hits, the minute additions, subtractions -- like measuring one's life with coffee spoons, per T.S. Eliot. It's okay, though, I do other stuff too - don't worry. I loved your very powerful hit this morning, darling -- it means a lot. I'm sure it was you - or so I decide... it's the only way to make sense of things, really...

I am tired, just typing, sipping pink wine, wondering what I'll do this weekend. I need to buy a box of Christmas cards. I'd like to go see the new George Clooney movie, it's in Rhinebeck, but the first showing is at 4:15 - later than I'd wish. It's also in Great Barrington, but I was just there, don't feel like going back just yet. Perhaps I should go see the new Martin Scorcese which is right here at the multiplex. There's also a new film, called Shame, about a sex addict, which I wonder if it will ever play around here at all -- so I've already saved it to my Netflix cue. There's a new Roman Polanski - only in major cities, as is an intriguing looking movie about Freud, which stars Keira Knightley. The movies I'm most interested in seeing - aren't here.

I wonder - do you have a boat? One of the proxy hits was from a "cover your boat" site. Which fine, it's a proxy hit - but it did make me imagine you, in your coastal town, perhaps owning a boat, enjoying going out on the blue water, oh soulful poetic you, you and the sea, sun and breeze on your face, you steering, and thinking, savoring the movement of the boat on the waves - what would it be? Perhaps a motorboat. Those seem easier than sailboats - all those sails, though I love the poetry of them, of course, flapping canvas, ropes, clanging hooks... Anyway -- if you wish a boat -- then I hope you have one, and a cover for it as well.

I managed all three legs of my triathlon today, along with cooking, so not bad. And a brief nap - all before five, by which it was already pitch dark out. I liked a line in one of the Patti Smith songs (or is it by Springsteen - I guess it is - anyway the line about angels in the form of lust, at night... I'm paraphrasing. But do you know, on some very deep level I do sense that... that we're here somehow, spiritual aspects of us, for the very purpose of connecting & making love. I feel that way when I come -- like, where did that come from, that transformation, even if it lasts just a few moments. Or I think of when I encountered you in the dining room, you standing there, me near you, and - I don't know - something just seeringly connected with me, right then, so improbably there, but it was you. It did feel as though we were two spirits - angels - connecting. There wasn't anything coy or cutesy or seductive about it -- it was just this single, singular moment of utter & complete recognition and connection.

So sweetheart, I am just typing away here - not a polished piece at all, just wishing to whisper in this way, as it were, in your ear.

(Dear 1.0, where are you - in a motel somewhere? Do you like them? I couldn't stand the single night I spent last week in mine, myself. But perhaps you don't spend so much time in them. I don't see how one could happily spend a whole evening in one, by one's self, with just Wifi and cable TV. But of course, you're much more peripatetic than me, much more used to driving, stints long & short away. But here's maybe a small difference. I might like traveling. But the motel itself, the cheerless room with the adjustable heater that made the blackout curtains (that blocked easterly sun as well as a view of a rubbled asphalt lot, an apparently abandoned stripmall construction site) billow & blow, made me feel very alone & lonely, cut loose, cut off. Is there some part of you that likes that sensation, somehow?

Or - talk about projecting - I'm imagining you (1.0) in the very motel room in which I stayed. Perhaps yours are a bit more cheerful somehow. No, that can't be right. We're wired differently - maybe we weren't two angels connecting -- oh, but weren't we?)

I don't know darling --
Love is an angel disguised as lust
Here in our bed until the morning comes
Come on now try and understand
The way I feel under your command

dreaming of you, dearest -

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My dearest, sitting up here in apricot lamplight, contemplating just now a pair of apricot roses stuck in a tall green bottle for a vase. The petals are papery, shriveling, drying, yet remain open, eloquent, pursed, folded back, tissuey, unfurled, all at once, spread, mummified apricot, fascicled flowers, multiple petals bound together, volume 1 & volume 2 here, perfect in their way, though on their way out, and in a few days I imagine I'll toss them out. So God makes these perfect blossoms, and they wither & die on the stem, but there will be others, though perhaps no two alike. But the same can't be said of poems, so if you bind them into fascicles, you shouldn't then on your deathbed command for them to be destroyed. Did she do that? I'm vague on that point. She went through all the trouble of binding together poems, sewing them with needle & thread, placing them in a box, or with her maid, in her maid's box, for safekeeping. Oh these? they're nothing, you'll see that they're destroyed once I'm dead, won't you dear Maggie?, E.D. lightly purred. Yes, m'am, intoned Maggie with a brogue, disregarding her fey charge - did E.D. feel like a charge? I'll do no such thing, thought Maggie. How impractical, she thought, to spend all that time scribbling as though it meant something, only to turn around and have it destroyed or devoured like so much as a piece of "black-cake." I'm too practical minded for that, perhaps she thought - who has the time to burn paper packets....

Ah sweetheart, I'm just sitting here musing... I think I've finally gotten out of my system, out into this blog, most of my impressions from this weekend. A few loose ends linger. Such as, I contemplate the little basket ("a tisket, a tasket") sitting on my desk, in which came the bit of specially-baked black cake. And I realize that the basket itself is clever - perhaps modeled after, or at least echoing, the baskets of sweets that E.D. was known to lower down to neighborhood children.

Also, I've been reflecting on my visit to Amherst, and, as I wrote this afternoon in a message to a friend... "it was nice... to take a walk around the beautifully laid out Amherst College campus - serene, orderly, timeless, each building perfectly sited on the green expanse with majestic backdrop views of the vast Pioneer Valley - it made me wonder how much (if at all) the beautifully patterned campus, might have influenced E.D.'s own sense of visual composition (such as in her beautifully laid out Herbarium pages)."

I've been listening to Patti Smith sing, and I'm very glad for the fact of her, even if I've come to her late. She seems very real to me, the impressions I've gained, from seeing her on C.R., from reading her memoir, from listening to her voice read, and sing. I so appreciate her directness, her earthy lack of artifice. I think back to the last holidays, at my aunt's house. She had on one of those horrible fakey, faux, overly orchestral sugary albums, and I overheard one of the young boys complaining about it to his parent, imploringly asking if the music couldn't be changed - which it couldn't, it was my aunt's house. I don't even remember which child it was, from which family... but I felt for him, and understood on some level. There is no way that that music can speak to him. It was fake - then. For her - it's all about - artifice. Appearances. The fronts. The saccharine music is part of it. (Still she has the "family values" part down, genuinely so -- much better than my own family managed, ruthless strivers.)

Ten more days, and I wonder. A mystery, whether we'll meet... A year ago now, I didn't even know.

I love impassioned love letters, the ones between O'Keeffe and Stieglitz. Her voice sounds so self-effacing, in the brief excerpts Patti Smith read... Stieglitz's so direct, thrusting, impassioned, knowing exactly what - who - he wants. I feel somewhere between the two. No lover writes to me, not anymore. It's okay. Say it with page-hits... A dialogue in love-letters isn't easily sustainable. Better, probably, a monologue.

Still, the corporeality, of touch... I had a sweet session, and it helps on some level - a miracle every time - but does it? It isn't cheap, it's profound, necessary, rare, in private, on my own, once in a day. But it isn't the same as seeing you, touching you.

I peeked at nudes Stieglitz took of his Georgia, with her supposed "masculine beauty." Is it that? She has full beautiful breasts. But yes, she is (it seems) tall, slim-hipped, athletic... a Diana, exemplar of an American ideal of female beauty, that overtook all others, around that era too (nineteen-teens and twenties) as a Met Museum exhibit a couple of years ago, sponsored by Vogue, made clear - not a French, or Slavic Venus...

When I was young, gaining an education, I felt myself to be an individualist. I didn't understand culture, didn't really grasp it, though I was immersed in it, whether I was aware of it or not. I remember being at my aunt's house, as a fairly young girl, maybe getting a little older - preteen maybe? I don't know. Her house was filled with the children (scattered invisibly to rafters & basements) and guests of her generation, who'd been through the war. And their ethos prevailed. They had been through so much - I felt, somehow as I regarded the buzz in the living room -- all these relics who professed to have some recollection of me as a newborn -- that they had nothing to say to me, not really, that the challenges I would have to face, I'd have to face == well, they were done - they weren't interested in the subsequent generation, they were involved with themselves

and I wasn't going to be able, I desperately sensed, to gain any kind of credible guidance from them, for all they'd been through (and that evening there was even a woman there with a concentration camp number tattoed on her arm - the only time in my life I've ever seen that in person - and I was horrified, and impressed) -- but I also knew that that was all behind, that whatever was going to happen to me, become of me -- it was all forward of me, ahead, and here on this soil -- and there wasn't really much that that generation could help me with, even if they wanted to

And so -- yeah, kid, I don't like that fake music either
And you probably wouldn't like who I like now - which is Patti Smith -- at least at the Met Museum (ha! that's irony, isn't it - so she's officially entered the portals of that pantheon)

So kid - can I help you? Not really. But - I'd like to know - what is it that you would like to listen to?