Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Darling, you're so right, beasts don't do what we do, and neither did early pre-modern humans, though who knows. They spent millenia obsessively chiseling those seemingly useless bifacial hand axes (the name of the implement is misleading, it's not an axe as we post-moderns (since the advent of the Iron age at least) think of them, as a chopping tool). Sweetheart, I have taken a few sips of a delicious minerally white Rioja and felt instantly amorous and thought of you, my dear Minotaur, and lay down with my pink silicon fully-charged bifacial tool - and had a revelation. What if those prehistoric numerous enigmatic artifacts were covered by some softer material, say smooth mammoth skin or who knows, tongue - key soft-tissue components lost to the fossil record - and boring, boring lifetimes pre-internet, cell, TV, movies, Netflix, the printing press, and the porn industry, were in one's lifetime - what was the life expectancy? pretty short, one must have been in one's sexual peak a great deal of it - pleasantly, pleasantly occupied, in thinking of one's beloved hunter gone off to forests or range or Kansas or what were later to become flood-prone Dutch latitudes - that in fact these comfortably handheld nonmechanical objects did indeed have a very specific and amazing use - only that puritanical Westerners (entrapped in the self-enslaving superbrain) interpreting the lurid artifacts are too reticent to ascribe to them such "Samantha" type uses in an era way, way before - if not Sex, then the City.

Seriously, my little pink stand-in for parts of you - is the same shape & size as one of those perfect teardrop-shaped hand-chiseled palm-held rocks.

What's the literary term for a part of something meant to stand in for the whole? Damn, I really was not a very good English major, even less so Philosophy. How can I presume myself ever having majored (or half- or double-majored) in Philosophy, when I never took a single course in Logic? Quite a feat. (Can you tell?!) And I would have arguments - well, not arguments, just profound skeptical disagreements on deeply felt intuitive grounds - with the professor who led the intimate Wittgenstein seminar in the oak-paneled room. Animals don't have feelings or thoughts because they don't have language, she would insist, parroting (I guess) Wittgenstein. (Do parrots mean what they say?) I didn't have the mental capacity or tools to effectively repudiate what she was saying - but I didn't agree with her, and I felt viscerally that it was a dangerous, cruel, overly anthropo-centric (if that's the word) view to take. And I suppose the rest of my life - in my own personal evolution - I have come to feel even closer to my original instincts on the subject, and a little while ago, when the cat for whom I'm petsitting vocalized and winked meaningfully at me, I played a little Bob Schneider for her - Let the Light In.

A few more sips of that divine white Rioja, and I only wish I had you here with me to share it with, along with somehow a magically appearing seafood risotto perhaps, that would be perfect with this cool delicious wine. And your kisses. Oh my love.

Ain't we beasts? No, darling. Only very loving lone conflicted creatures, half-mind, half-body, in impossible circumstances - ... it's always been that way, that's the way it was the way it will be again, forever and ever, amen.

Many kisses. Come here you, let me give you a kiss - taste this delicious wine.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My dear love, I am feeling like a bit of an airhead on my trip to New York. Just now I've been alternately regarding my fingertips, poised above the keyboard not quite ready to alight, and admiring my new watch - silver bracelet, oblong face, analog hands reading nearly quarter past six, only the even numerals enumerated around the square circle 2 * 4 * 6 * 8 * 10 *12 * odd hours implied by tiny crystal dots that glint as I move my wrist. How are you, my dearest? I miss you, I wish I could take you in, as that Brooklyn song intones, wouldn't that be nice. I wonder if together you & I might have gone out on the town a whole lot more than I have on this visit. I haven't been motivated to go to Manhattan at all, except my first full day here when I felt impelled to buy my watch. I've felt quite content to be parked here, and strolling the various neighborhoods that are within walking distance. I don't feel like spending any money at all on public transit. That watch really was a splurge and a treat. It turns out that a couple of days after D dropped me off down here, the car died - and it turned out to be not the alternator or the battery, but both - the alternator (if I'm getting this right) put out too high a voltage which killed the battery. Fortunately close to home - and we live a stone's throw from a very good repair shop - D was able to drop off the car and it's a five-minute walk home. But the repairs were several hundred dollars. The same thing happened a while ago to our neighbor's car - only they broke down near Poughkeepsie - which entailed a several-hundred-dollar towing charge as well. So we were spared that. And what a nightmare if the car had died on the way down or on the way back up from the city, on the Taconic, or the Saw Mill.

So I'm not doing the NY culture thing exactly, but I've been enjoying my stay. The pool reopened so I enjoyed a glorious swim this afternoon, and hope to again tomorrow and Thursday too. I've decided to stay an extra day, I'm relishing the pool so much, in so many ways - the sheer joy of being buoyant in water, moving my limbs amphibianly, gaining nice color from bright midday sun, the peaceful languorous scene with the pool's relaxed denizens, the vigorous walk there and back, save for the brief harrowing crossing-under-the-highway part.

My dearest, so little to report this evening, and maybe (though I try not to ever let myself feel this way - anymore) a little cowed by literary talent. I did a workout to Charlie Rose yesterday, and he had on a preternaturally gifted young novelist whom I'd heard of but never read. She had started out as a poet, and I googled her name and read a couple of poems, and was quite blown away. I had this sense of her too, watching the interview - she's a genius, there is just some unmistakable transcendent quality. She sees into the essences of things, is attuned to them. It shows on her face, even her mischievous grin. She speaks in full formed cogent smooth paragraphs. She's self-aware, but unpretentious. Actually, she reminded me, her physical appearance even, of what E.D. might have been like, if one could have encountered E.D. - that kind of rare keen intelligence. Here's a link to one of her poems, written when she was quite young - before she abandoned poetry (if she did?), or at any rate before she turned to writing novels.

I think 1.0 might like that poem - or, as I read it, it reminded me of him. He strikes me as being on a similar quest as that of a poet, grasping phenomena on a very detailed and at the same time broad-scaled epic level, and getting at the truth, the bare essence, which he reveals within the form and conventions of theoretical scholarly prose, with economical - given his vast subject - exposition.

Like that, darling. I don't get cowed by others (more than occasional sideways pangs) too often anymore at my age. I felt very overwhelmed by others' genius voices while I was younger - which only silenced me. So I have my own thing, my own schtick, and perhaps I'm aiming too low, but I don't know. Belle, you should attempt a novel! You should attempt a serious poem!, sternly admonishes some mostly muffled inner voice.

No, that's not the quality of who I am. Let Nicole K. be who she is - I'm happy to have discovered her, and let me be who I am.

Approaching ten to seven now.

I love you. Not everyone writes directly to his or her muse. I'm glad that I do, and I'm glad it's you.

Monday, August 29, 2011

I think therefore I am. - Rene Descartes

Technology is a way of revealing...i.e., of truth. - Martin Heidegger

So pervasive is the contemporary landscape of this externalized geometry that most of the global population now dwells largely within its own mind. - 1.0

I live in my own mind / Ain't nothin but a good time / No rain just the sunshine / Out here in my own mind... - Lyle Lovett

In my not terribly long list of erotic demands, have I mentioned my preference for actual corporeal presence? - Belle
Hello darling, at very low ebb today for some reason, the day was pleasant yet a little off for me, didn't go quite right. I called 311 to see if the pool would be open and was informed by a spacey clerk who I think made up his answer on the spot, that it would be. I had my doubts (I have my doubts about that 311 line, it's too much of a random pop quiz for city employees staffing the call stations, how could anyone ever expect an accurate answer except to the most basic, frequently-asked questions?) but around 11 I put on my bathing suit and took a walk down there - and sure enough the pool was closed. Later I checked the Parks Department website, what I should have done in the first place - all such facilities were closed today, I have no idea about tomorrow.

Ah, enough solipsism, between Descartes and my ever-so-minor not even misadventure - I enjoyed the walk down there, I half-expected the result that transpired - I got out into the world - Dasein me.

In less solipsistic news, the brownstone neighborhoods in which I'm currently staying were largely spared severe effects of yesterday's storm, but the same cannot be said for the region upstate where I actually live. Though D reports that our house and little neck of the woods - on fairly high ground - came through fine, he didn't report any problems, not even a power cut, which isn't unusual for us at times. But there's severe flooding and damage in nearby counties - Greene, Delaware, across the river - and this morning I was very sorry to learn of the Jobian damage afflicted to the CSA farm to which D & I are subscribers for the first time this year, via the farmer, Jean-Paul's weekly, as always extremely thoughtful, informative and wellwritten newsletter. (I offer the link here; click on "Week 12" for the writeup regarding preparations for, and aftermath of the hurricane.)

It amazes me how much of my life transpires in my own head. I can't even seem to get it together to have lunch with a girlfriend, though she's crazy busy, in ways that I can't even imagine beginning to cope with. I am more on my own, I believe, than E.D. ever was. She had a support system, and family. Well, I have a support system - D's subsidization. And page hits from my beloved muses. The End.

Other than that it's my own mind, and my ability to tap keys.

I started reading 1.0's Chapter 5 and in general terms it reminded me very much of my tenure working in the city bureaucracy... whatever 1.0 wrote about the superbrain in ancient civilizations - I went through in my own way, with its consequences - mixed -
of not subscribing, not being able, constitutionally, to subscribe

I don't know - I'm babbling
I'm just feeling myself very - I don't know the words
1.0's universal analysis - I struggle to understand parts of it
other parts resonate all too closely
arcane & clear, all at once, like a hall of mirrors

thank you for your 18 page hits at 17:43-44
does that mean that you too were having a good time?
that's how I interpret that symbol
of my dreams

love, Alice


Sunday, August 28, 2011

I lie back on the bedsheets, knees up, skirt bunched around my hips, and stare at the ceiling, silent fan going round and round, deco-patterned lines of the white tin ceiling crisscrossing. I think of you, and enjoy the sound of gusts of wind, remnants of the storm, rushing, swooshing through the trees. Gray clouds roil, but their force is spent, there's not even rain in them, or any threat. And occasionally, for the first time, at the end of the day, the sun makes an appearance, blasts a hole in the gray torpor and shines madly platinum behind a misty scrim, surrounded as in a romanticized painting, with pure white billowing clouds against robin's egg blue. For one glorious moment anyway, for a few minutes, as I stood at the top floor brownstone window and looked out over the garden and at the sky to the west, seeing the sun make its dramatic heroic appearance after the furious whirlwind storm.

Hi sweetheart, the hurricane is long over, since around noon, and though it woke me before dawn with the sound of fiercely lashing rain, that may have been the worst of it right then - the cat I'm caring for miaowed a speech to let me know she didn't approve of the noise - and I reassured her in upbeat cooing tones effective for cross-species communication - "aaawwh, it's just a big bad ole storm."

So at six in the morning, or maybe by this time it was seven, still dark out, due to the storm, I, clad in teeshirt and panties for decency, strolled around the apartment with a glass of iced coffee, going through a few minor tasks, feeding the cat, changing her water. The phone rang, annoyingly, a couple of times, and I thought, I'm not going to answer it, unless it's my friends and I hear their familiar voices asking me to pick up. I'm not going to answer the phone to let their worried other friends know that B'klyn is just fine - but that their friends are away. Anyway - calculations such as that. I looked out the window at the storm, it didn't seem so bad, yes it was raining and trees were moving - but I didn't see anything severe. Of course the back gardens are enclosed, fenced & private green spaces ringed and walled by a square block of 1880's-built solid attached brownstones. Sheltered, in other words.

The phone stopped ringing, and then I thought I heard faint knocking, which I disregarded, til I heard it again. And it was my (now) downstairs neighbor, who in the fifteen years we lived here lived in the apartment above ours, precipitously near tears because she was getting a massive leak in her bedroom from the storm. I invited her in, and showed her that I wasn't experiencing anything of the sort, this apartment (the top floor, above hers) spared, windows closed - all very peaceful. Strange how leaks work, very occult & mysterious, that they'll bypass a whole floor. I have no explanation for it, though I felt very sympathetic towards her. She was feeling quite beleaguered.

Well, I'm awfully glad I had some clothes on. My neighbor was decorously dressed in a floral bathrobe, and I'm standing around chatting with her in my braless tee and panties. And it seemed like the most natural thing in the world to be standing around chatting with her in the crepuscular light, wearing not much. I didn't think much of it until a little later, when it occurred to me that she might have been a little taken aback that I was so casually in such minimal dress. In truth, I wasn't fully awake yet, and I hadn't given it thought, and I'm so used from living upstate to taking great liberties with the desporting of clothes, that I didn't think twice. The woman who stopped by is much older than me, getting on in years. I suppose I should be thankful (or should I?) that it was her, and not the neighbor below hers, who occupies the apartment that D & I had lived in. Now he - that fellow, he's a guy, he's cute and charming, and he knows it. Would I have been like, oh yeah, come in, see for yourself, no leaks here - and he might have recognized, as I led him into the bedroom ("show me where the leak is") the plugged in pink flashing-light little object for what it was, and then I would have been like, oh shit, I'm not properly dressed.

While the storm raged I just relaxed and drank iced coffee and breakfasted on delicious bagel, salmon & cream cheese and a small glass of juice, and spent the morning reading more of 1.0's book, which I'm greatly enjoying. I marvel at the pellucid prose - and not one typo or misprint yet - because I'm reading every word - have to (skimming doesn't work with this material) - so the book was obviously very carefully gone over - it's seamless, honestly. I've emailed him to let him know how much I'm enjoying it.

Eventually the storm passed and by early afternoon I felt restless and it seemed safe enough to go out. The neighborhood(s) are quite sheltered, plus upland - they're not named Cobble Hill and Brooklyn Heights for nothing. The sidewalks and roadbeds were covered with a lot of leaf litter, fallen twigs, and smaller & larger branches, but on my walk - all the way up to the Promenade overlooking lower Manhattan - I didn't see any major damage (one collapsed awning or facade of a small building maybe, but not even a whole downed tree). Oddly, after all that rain, in places the sidewalks weren't even wet - did the winds have such a drying effect?

Anyway - so yeah, storm over, I'm glad, it did cause me a bit of involuntary anxiety in anticipating it, but it's over, and I'm over it, and I took a very refreshing nap after my walk, which had a restorative effect, I had felt very tired having gotten up before six.

And that's it, not feeling very poetic or especially creative tonight. I lean back in this office chair and put my hands behind my head. I stare out the top of the window to my right: gray sky. The ceiling fan overhead clacks a bit. The glass-shaded bankers lamp sitting on a shelf to the right of the computer glows green. I feel a bit achey. Dinner will be leftover roast chicken and a steamed ear of corn. I doubt the pool will be open tomorrow. I need new bras. Nothing grabbing me at the museums, or movies. I like it here. But I wish for your company. Here comes another gust of wind. I like the anchor on WPIX news, Jim somebody. Smart, witty, irreverent - I'd date him in a heartbeat. My type. I formed an instant Hurricane-Irene microcrush - when I burst out laughing at his reaction to the reportage of one of the correspondents out in the field. The reporter was at Battery Park City, clutching her thin rain slicker about her as the winds blew, and she had interviewed a diehard resident who was refusing, her and her little dogs, to leave their 33rd floor River Terrace Apartment, the woman had attitude, she's not worried for herself, and not for her dogs either, she gives them valium, and she won't be any kind of risk for first-responders because if need be she'll go down with the storm would never dream of summoning them and besides she knows them all and was through 9/11, and all that, and even though BPC may be under three feet of water with no power - the woman gave the camera the silent facial equivalent of a shrug and Bronx raspberry.

So the in-the-field piece ends, and it's back to this witty offbeat shirtsleeved anchor, who says, with an ironic note of humorous incredulity - "the takeaway line from all that, for me? the woman gives her dogs valium."

Reader, I googled him.

Anyway, he's married, children, blah blah blah.

Ah well. Ha!

xoxo darling

sorry for the imperfections in this post - no disclaimer, they weren't, as in a hand-crafted object, intended - I'm too tired to polish at the moment - minor edits, if any, perhaps in the morning - or perhaps never

love, Belle

Saturday, August 27, 2011

My dear love, up in the tiny study, minimally dressed, though on this day with the city bracing for a hurricane, my privacy is unlikely to be breached by the appearance of men on a roof across the street.

The storm hasn't arrived yet. I hear varied accounts, depending on which news station I've tuned into on the hi-def TV, but I think the winds are supposed to start around 8 p.m., with the storm raging in the wee hours, 2 a.m. and after, and in full force tomorrow morning. Something like that. I suppose in the back of my mind I'm a tiny bit nervous about it, mainly from absorbing so much hype at this point, and also because I'm by myself. I don't think I've ever been through a storm of this magnitude on my own - always D was there, or in childhood, my family. But how alone can I feel, in this city of millions? And I'm in a familiar neighborhood, even if I don't know any of the neighbors, except by sight. So we're all in it, alone, together.

It was oppressively humid today, a steambath. I did a half-hearted abbreviated workout to a Barefoot Contessa episode, one I hadn't seen before, that featured glimpses of the beautiful Mariska Hargitay, who wore the most amazing midnight-dark cocktail dress, with a sleeveless swimsuit plunge-neck top, that sheathed tightly over her hips & thighs and stopped at the knee, her form contained in sumptuous ink sateen cut on the bias and molded precisely with geometrically-sewn darts, akin to riveted metal sheets on a yacht, that hugged the hull of her sculpted curves.

Stunning. Why am I writing about her? I cannot remotely compare! But seeing her fit, full figure, delightful smiling face and manner, graceful toned physique - well, really, I should have been motivated to work out harder, and lay off the camembert and the Ronnybrook toasted hazelnut ice cream. And the pesto. And pasta. And rose.


So in an effort to do something other than gain weight sitting around the apartment waiting for the storm to hit (oh, and very enjoyably and profitably reading 1.0's book - mental activity, at least - and some 'action' too, at a later point) I went for a couple of walks around the neighborhood, checking out the scene in desultory fashion.

(It's been drizzling most of the day, but just now I hear the rain picking up a bit, coming down harder, audibly...)

It was remarkable to me (thinking of the collective super-brain) how nearly every single snippet of conversation I overheard as I walked along the bustling village-like streets, everyone out & about, walking dogs, pushing strollers, clutching cellphones, etc., etc. -- all the talk was of the impending hurricane. Which is pretty amazing. Everyone here is consumed with it, by necessity - it's affecting everyone's daily lives, perhaps especially with the shutting down of mass transit as of noon today. But I also found it extraordinary that - speaking for myself - I hadn't even been remotely aware of the coming storm til late Wednesday afternoon - and I presume most New Yorkers hadn't either, much before that time - and here it is - a topic spread like wildfire, the #1 meme. So - news travels.

I wish I'd written down snippets I'd heard, logged them. On Atlantic Avenue I passed a guy on his cellphone -- "... and I heard...," he was saying - I perked up my ears - "that they're going to be shutting off power in those areas." Oh!

Perhaps the sweetest moment I witnessed, was in front of a large doorman apartment building near the foot of Montague Street (near the Promenade). An older gentleman was parting with his friend in front of the building. He said, as he put his arms around her, "Don't let the wind come & take you away." And she, grayhaired, not frail but a little fragile, responded, "What do I do if it starts to?" A poetic moment, between two friends, lovely to observe. I don't know how or if her friend responded - the moment, a few footfalls on my part, had passed.

I noticed another phenomenon on my travels - a sudden new fashion (so it seemed to me), as evidenced on quite a number of women that I passed - of wearing boots, a little taller than mid-calf. Most appeared to be rain galoshes, made of rubber or plastic. Some seemed more high-end English, into which jeans were neatly tucked; others inexpensive knockoffs, paired with a miniskirt or dress. Some were very plain, as for mucking about one's garden or farmyard, others cheerfully colored & patterned. The latter I saw both on young women, and on little girls. Today was a very warm, humid summer day, and though it drizzled it wasn't raining very hard. I myself was enjoying wearing a minimum of clothing, bare legs and sandaled feet. All these women wearing boots. Boots don't seem to me to be a comfortable choice on such a day, but all these women sporting them seemed comfortable enough, oblivious to the footwear that they had elected to put on for their ongoing parade of a weekend rainy day in Cobble Hill and the Heights. Could the sporting of these boots have been a hurricane-related footwear statement? But news of this hurricane has been so recent - how could this fashion meme have begun and taken hold so quickly?

I remain puzzled, a bit, though I haven't googled to get to the bottom of it. Maybe it's been a fashion trend for a while, and I only just today happened to become aware of it.

And that's it for now, my dearest, nothing more to report. Perhaps, assuming the power is still on, I'll post in the morning, to let you know of conditions here. I don't know what the storm will bring, but I have lined up a NY Sunday breakfast for myself - I bought a poppyseed bagel and a tiny container of scallion cream cheese, which I'll have with a bit of the grilled salmon I brought down with me. And since it seems certain that I will be apartment-bound the morning at least, into early afternoon, I will try very hard to redouble my efforts towards a vigorous workout. I cook & eat like Ina, but I've got an inner Mariska too - that I try try try to make outer...

Darling, here comes the rain in earnest now. Not wind yet though. Still, I ought to shut the windows.

All my love, dearest Branwell,
putting my arms around you
very many kisses
yours, Belle

more kisses, my love
& that whole bit about Mariska's dress
I can't tell you how long I played around with elements of that description
a kind of poetic game

It's going to be a long night here, Branwell,
would you like to play Scrabble, my love?

best tile letters ever

Friday, August 26, 2011

Oh man that was close! I just nose-dived into the bedroom to put on a few stitches of clothes, tee shirt & panties. I was sitting here buck naked starting to type to you, when I glanced out the window and saw that across the way there are men working on the brownstone roof! They were concentrating on their tasks, not on me, thank goodness - and maybe they can't see in - but who knows. I'm not trying to flash anyone (save for you of course), unlike what I read just this morning on the NYRB blog, about pedestrians on the High Line being "nonplussed" by exhibitionist displays by guests at a hotel "which straddles the walkway near the park's southern terminus." Well I never. I'm meeting a friend for lunch in midtown next week. Maybe I'll see for myself.

Darling, how are you? I hope you are well & happy - here are kisses for you - sweet ones, from me. I had a very nice day, I'm enjoying my Brooklyn stay. I'm especially enjoying walking around the neighborhoods, seeing everyone out & about - so vibrant & active. I walked up to the Heights this morning to the bank, looking for all the world like a woman headed to work. But I wasn't, I was just Dora Maar (so I felt in my kneelength skirt and pinch-pleated top) running an errand, sailing up Clinton Street and down Court, checking everything out, part of the scene herself. Stopped into a shop where over the years I've bought most of my bras, got measured, tried on a few, liked one style that fit but they didn't have the color I like ("sugar" - that is, a pale cream) - so the clerk wrote down the info and I'll order it from home. Which I'll feel secure about doing now that I've actually tried it on. Returned to the apartment, noshed a bit more, on a thin slice of grilled salmon - I've been having little snacks throughout the day from the various dishes I brought down. Then I had a beautiful session with you filled with sweet thoughts, silent til the end when I vocalized and externalized at the prolonged moment of your maximal internalization - best feedback loop ever - all in my mind - yours too? - oh heaven!

Then I got up, put on my swimsuit, and a blouse & jeans over that, grabbed my padlock & a small towel, went out the door and down the steps, out into the neighborhood again, this time heading south, to the Red Hook pool. I have been swimming there most every summer (any chance I get) for many years now. It is a magnificent civilized structure, I just love it. It is immense - I'm guessing the size of a football field. And the water is cool and clear and blue. And people are civilized - lap swimmers of all ages shapes & sizes and swimming abilities share lanes, and somehow everyone manages, wordlessly for the most part, cordially. I'm a very slow swimmer, I do a self-taught crawl. I marvel at how amphibian other swimmers are - veritably darting through the water, eyes closed, head submerged except to expertly come up for air - full speed ahead, cutting through water as if it's air. I do my crawl, and I'm glad to be able to do that much (my mother, for example, had some pathological issue with water - I don't know what it was about - but she absolutely refused to ever set foot in a body of water - pool, beach, lake - other than baths in the bathtub - and now, see, I can't stand baths - I'd much rather go swimming - and then take a shower with beautiful fragrant soap).

Which is just what I did when I returned from the pool - and washed my hair for the first time in several days (I don't wish to overwash it, and I've been putting it off, anticipating a shampoo to get chlorine out of my hair).

I toweled myself off and combed out my hair and in just that midday session at the pool my tan has evened out a bit (now I have scooped swimsuit lines instead of tee-shirt demarcations on my upper arms) and I swear my hair is lighter - well, it was very bright at that glorious sunfilled pool - a David Hockney Los Angeleian watery oasis - wreathed by, in the distance, raised Gowanus Highway - as I did my slow swimmed lenghts I could see the cars & trucks stream in that circle of hell silently by.

And had to cross beneath selfsame incredibly pounding noisy thrumming adrenaline-inducing horribleness of not only the highway above (at that point, from a pedestrian's point of view, innocuous except for the deep dark concrete pitted abandon-ye-hope that is amplified beneath an elevated expressway (once years ago, while I lived here, a tractor trailer actually flipped right off the expressway onto the roadbed below - the roadbed at which I now stood at a light, with trepid or intrepid others, to cross. Because that roadbed itself is a crazy inhospitable highway of lethally speeding cars, instantly atomizing oversize long-distance hauls...

(You once told me you had driven around those very parts - looking for a church - )

I've lost my thread a bit, trying to describe the abject horribleness of that under-Gowanus crossing, under which nonetheless many pedestrians - human beings young & old - cross, all the time. (By the way, I'm familiar with the history, in urban planning terms - the Gowanus Expressway is thanks to Robert Moses.)

But I made it through the light (heart pounding) and within instants, a matter of a few dozen footfalls, one is carried up Clinton Street yet again, leafy, genial, lovely, human-scaled, pleasant neighborhood.... so so lovely. One of my first impressions - no more than a minute or two from crossing beneath the hostile behemoth - was encountering a young man, clearly employed in a dogwalking service, half a dozen dogs on as many leashes in his tow, cute sweet dogs (breeds?) that looked up at me like sweet young children - and the guy was about to pick up another dog, that was barking with great joy & anticipation behind a street-level door, so excited about the prospect of joining its friends on the lovely sociable walk around the neighborhood on this beautiful day.

That was sweet - and then radar goes up again - it is a beautiful neighborhood that I had crossed into - but ahead of me on the sidewalk I saw a young man reeling, walking very spasmodicaly, randomly, too slowly. I thought at first perhaps he was developmentally disabled - but then realized, with a bit of adrenaline alarm - that the guy was on some very heavy-duty, doubtless illegal drug. I didn't want to know, and to be honest, as slow-mo as his movements weaving up the sidewalk (a zombie, the living dead, I thought to myself as I marched across the street and as quickly as I could past him). White guy, young, looks fit enough, where I am is mostly a very affluent neighborhood. The guy looked like he might possibly, at one time anyway, had had the benefit of a mother, of parents. What if your mother were to see you now? I thought. The boy - young bearded man, shuffling along in - what a heroin drowse -

I'm going on about this because it was an incongruous sight.

At other points in my walk during the day I caught glimpses of individuals - with whom for some reason I had crossed paths - and now here I was, stylish young hip Dora Maar - glimpsing them once again - only they're so much older! Same face, same lanky build - but, OMG, who is that, when did he decide to go gray? Or another guy today - I know him from someplace - I noticed him, he noticed me - he was clutching his cellphone as I sailed past --

Anyway, darling - such was my day - all these impressions
what's the beautiful Polish word - my dearest dearest love, I love the Polish language I have such an appreciation for it - so the word that I'm about to put down here - I hear the Polish in my mind's ear - pronounced vra-zhe-nya...



but I don't know how to spell it


no big finish - it's just been a nice day
also - as an aside - it's a little different for me blogging from this computer- the typeface as I type is smaller, and I'm half-blind even with readers

what I'm saying is - I typed here
but cannot even attempt really to try to polish it

so here it is


So, I enjoyed having that glass of sherry at the tapas bar with you

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hello darling, here in the study at the end of the day. I just shut off the TV where every channel carried the Mayor's live news conference detailing NYC's preparations for the impending currently Category 1 hurricane. The plans include evacuations of lowlying areas (fortunately I am not in such a zone where I am) and - glad I caught this detail - public transit will be suspended indefinitely starting sometime Saturday afternoon (though the storm isn't expected to hit til the evening). So I suppose I will be kicking around the apartment and around the neigbhorhood this weekend, not much beyond that. Which is entirely fine with me. I'm beautifully set up here, with wonderful food & drink, 1.0's book which I've been reading on & off all day (already I'm on Chapter 2) which I'm sure I'll comment on more once I've read more of it. It's a challenging read, not 'over my head' exactly, but conceptually some of the concepts (reframed notion of "mind" for example) are a little hard for me if not to grasp, then to entirely accept (is the Internet 'mind' even if it doesn't perceive itself?) - but all very thoughtprovoking, indeed. Anyway, not fair, I'm not even linking to the book - my sense of privacy, connections too easily thus drawn in this superbrain world, here kicking in.

I had thought I might go to the pool today but the weather didn't cooperate, showers & light thunderstorms throughout much of the day. I did a bit of a workout here to WFUV (the Bronx's version of KZE, both playing a sophisticated eclectic mix, many of the same songs, in fact).

I was feeling restless in the apartment so once the rain let up a bit, I donned a skirt outfit and peds & sneakers, walked up to the Heights, and over the Brooklyn Bridge - on a fairly spontaneous mad mission. I have to retrace where the idea suddenly seized me - but I felt motivated to go buy myself a watch. I've worn watches most of my adult life, and it's only since moving upstate that I stopped wearing one. The last one I had, a beautiful well-functioning, simply & elegantly Danish-designed Skagen, finally wore out after a number of years of my wearing it. I really enjoyed that watch, and received many compliments on it, and it wasn't expensive to begin with, under $100 at the time I'd bought it, I don't even remember when, maybe fifteen years ago.

So walking back across the Brooklyn Bridge wearing my new silver-link braceleted spare simple Skagen, I thought - how in the world did I get the idea to do this? D gave me $100 yesterday to "get me started," along with the debit card which will be more flush tomorrow. I haven't planned on any major expenditures, really - the most expensive ventures (for me) in this town are going to a museum (admissions can be in the $20-$22 range), subway (rides these days are in the vicinity of $3 per), movies (even a bargain matinee is around $8 or $9). There's nothing at the movies around here that's grabbing me.

And I was reading 1.0's book, and came upon a few paragraphs about how a critically important invention in human civilization was the clock mechanism that allowed for more regular & reliable timekeeping. And reading this, I mused about about the marvel of intricate watchworks, and an image (that here unfortunately I have only in my mind's eye, but have somewhere in my computer photo files at home), a marvelous image of whorls & wheels & gears & levers & rods in even the tiniest watch - and the image, as I recall, is in shades of brown - it looks like a wonderful modernist abstract painting, but as I recall it's a photograph, magnified, I suppose. So I was musing about that, trying to think of what that photo had meant to me - there was some E.D. connection as I recall that eludes me now, and it's connected vaguely in my mind with a previous trip to the city, maybe a year ago (the connections are starting to come together). Then it wasn't a far stretch to think about how I had used to enjoy wearing a nice timepiece, being able to consult it, that I am so happy these days to wear nice skirt outfits that I look good in, and wear Miss Dior again, and I have one necklace that I wear all the time (literally - I never take it off!), and it's pretty much my only piece of jewelry, and - dammit! - I'm getting myself a watch! I've got a hundred bucks!

And so I went to Century 21, the most obnoxious emporium of discounted high-end designer goods. The place is mobbed with frenzied foreign tourists literally stuffing their suitcases - I kid you not, their suitcases! that they'll bring back to wherever on their return flights home - with the (scalar equivalents) of container loads of designer threads, sunglasses, handbags, and the like. I tend to avoid that place entirely - but it's where I'd bought my original Skagen - and hey, if they still carried the brand it'd be discounted. So I was as Zen as I could be examining probably 100 or more different Skagen watches in the display case - a dizzying display. But after several visual passes, and trying on one watch, I was able to (superbrain I, though I don't think that's what 1.0 means) to analyze them, sort them along various key traits that I preferred, reject the rest, not even see them anymore (pleather bands, colored watch faces, anything over $69.97) - until there were two or three in contention. I asked about two watches that were about to make my final cut. One turned out to be $129.97 - out that went! And so I'm in the end extremely pleased with my "natural selection" of a beautiful simple elegant watch that makes me feel - as do spritzes of perfume - well-dressed. Because I am now if not quite yet "a woman of a certain age," then I feel myself to be a woman of a certain style & substance, and I'd like the "external representation" of me - nicely groomed appearance (including toned body, far from perfect but not bad for an earthy bon vivant like me) - to reflect that.

And that's that. Not to minimize any complications or difficulties that people may be experiencing from the storm - but - since I won't be spending much money it seems at all this weekend - then at least I have a wonderful watch to wear, to keep track of earthbound time with, in the landscape of my mind.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hello my love, past nightfall, up in my friends' tiny study off the bedroom, D on his way back home already, he didn't want to spend the night because it would only cut into his workday tomorrow and make him anxious, but we had a nice drive down, sparkling sunny day, we flew. Until Westchester there were few a**holes on the road, which tended to increase the closer we got to the city, especially once we got off the Taconic onto the Saw Mill - then there they all were, rushing up to tailgate cars in front of us, forcing a car to switch lanes, then zooming up to perpetrate the same, and on and on. I hate the Saw Mill, I am a nervous wreck on it. All those sudden "jump on" entrance points. I hate to tell you this, darling, but I screech and panic and D reacts by coolly switching lanes to get away from my perceived disaster scenario. (Do you not see that I by clutching the dashboard - well, no I don't actually go as far as that - but I absolutely do not close my eyes, do not drift off to sleep, no matter how drowsy I am from yet another day's prep - because to shut my eyes for more than a moment I know would be to court disaster. I similarly, years ago when I still had occasion to fly, would not sleep on a plane - dutybound to keep the unlikely thing aloft by - not lift, not pilot skill, not aerodynamic engineering - but by sheer dint of my vigilant will.)

Having typed this I realize how ridiculous this sounds. No I do not have a God complex. I am not a narcissist in that sense. Then again, I am especially fearful of cars that sport a bumper sticker that reads "God Is My Copilot." Those you have to watch out for.

D and I just had the loveliest snack before he hit the road again. There's a gourmet market around the corner that's like a candy store, so we treated ourselves to tortilla chips and perfect fresh guacamole, a crusty French 'batard' loaf, a runny French camembert, along with some olives, grape tomatoes, and organic carrot sticks. With some rose (me) - a delightful repast.

Yesterday the minor earthquake... and now as of today I'm hearing that the East Coast, NYC included, may get slammed by a hurricane - the local radio here was forecasting it for Saturday. So perhaps I'll go to the beach (yes, I'm kidding). Not quite sure what I'm doing with myself here this week. Certainly food is all taken care of, with everything that I prepared & brought down, so in terms of emergency preparedness few could be as well- and stylishly-provisioned as I, with all the delicious foodstuffs I have on hand, including roast chicken, ratatouille & sausage pizza, spinach-feta pie, chocolate chip cookies, iced coffee, rose wine, eggs from neighbors' chickens, etc., etc.

I wish you were here, we'd have all sorts of fun. But I'll manage, and I'll think of you, as I know you think of me. A package arrived safely here for me today, I found it at the foot of the stairs inside the building, containing a copy of 1.0's book which I was very happy to see that he had inscribed to me in his familiar hand - so I have a wonderful read to look forward to here during my stay (should I, say, become apartment bound due to potential severe weather this weekend), along with (still) the Sewall biography of E.D.

I've made up the comfortable, capacious bed in the bedroom here with sheets - even my pillows - that I brought from home, the little bedside lamp is turned on low, I'm thinking of you, mimi is charging blinkingly, I don't think I forgot to pack anything crucial, so all systems are go, at least for another day, tomorrow, perhaps when I begin to rouse from sleep, with instant thoughts (involuntary, magical) of you as I slowly wake, there you are, what might be while not a nightmare of waking up, being coaxed out of slumber, becomes the most wonderful surprise... oh I'm waking to you? I had forgotten for the time I was unconscious about you, and now here you instantly are, lying right next to me, your beautiful face as constant - no, more so - as the moon, and you stroke my hair, and I in luxurious sleep, smile, and murmur, good morning darling, mmmmm...

and when I turn off the little bedside lamp this evening - charming object, from India I believe, cast-iron miniature elephant seated on its haunches upon a small round base, its curled elongated trunk rising ever upward culminating at hidden tip that holds aloft (as one imagines, not having peeped beneath the skirt) a candelabrum-sheathed apparatus topped with screwed lit bulb - mechanics hidden, the point being the glowing effect of warm amber light flicked through brown slitted beaded sprightly shade - I'll murmur in the darkness, good night darling, good night, mmmmm, sleep well, my love.

oh aarrggh (do you know how long I've been reworking the last paragraph? very long, and it still won't come right! Mark it down as - incomplete - I'll ask for an extension - )

here my big beautiful oh you, darling, no more metaphors tonight, just you, straight on, darling, as I fall asleep, and when I wake up

lights out xoxo
Darling Levin,

Of course I'll hold the doors for you!

Many kisses for now - til later

Love, Kitty

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Dearest love, how are you? I hope you've had a wonderful day. I've been thinking of you, as always. I'm very tired right now, it's a good hour-and-a-half later than when I usually sit down to write (usually around 6 in summer). I spent the day knocking myself out doing a lot of cooking & cleaning in advance of going away tomorrow afternoon. I never mind the cooking, it's fun, good to eat well, and all that. But I do hate major housecleaning - and I've noticed that my interior monologue as I scrub and scour turns dark & angry. The shift feels involuntary, not seeming to do directly with the chores themselves - whose physical exercise, on another level, I don't entirely mind. Strange. I've noticed it before, mentioned it even, the last time I so thoroughly applied myself to cleaning a couple of weeks ago. What kept my mood on an even keel today - leverage I used to right myself - was the prospect of the upcoming week's stay in Brooklyn, the idea of leaving the house in good order, not only towards a gratifying satisfaction of simple hometending sense (i.e., gospodarstwo), but also as re-entry insurance - that it won't be such a terrible overdue-to-be-cleaned mess when I get back either. If there are tasks that I wish I could delegate, hire someone else to do, biweekly housecleaning would be one; yardwork, every bit of it, except for daily watering, the other. The rest I could manage. Maybe I should move back to Brooklyn. But I'd miss the mountains.

I did manage a workout and a walk, through all that - which feels like an accomplishment, keeping to that regimen. I did my workout to C.Rose, which comes on here at 1 - and guess what? It wasn't my strenuous ab routine around 1:54 that made the whole upstairs shudder and roll and the bookcase slightly sway - I was like - what? Why is the house moving? Is it going to collapse? What's happening? All was silent outside - there hadn't been an explosion.

Within an hour I learned what I had already surmised, having experienced several in my fairly distant past - that it was an earthquake. (And I read too, concurrently, that a rare one had taken place in the last day in Colorado.) I am quite chastened and in awe of the power of earthquakes, and the idea of scale again. It was a magnitude 5.8 (which number doesn't mean very much to me, intuitively - it seems respectably strong - well, okay, I should rethink the adjective 'respectably' - formidably? significantly?), and then I learned that the epicenter was near Richmond, Virginia - and whoa, that's what gets me - that geographical point, from my perspective, is a very long way away from me, and yet here I was - jarred, momentarily, as everyone else was, most likely, all up and down the Eastern Seaboard. I googled - I'm about 450 miles away from Richmond, Va. That's pretty astonishing, that I felt as much of a sensation as I did in this house, in which I dwell to such an extent 24/7, 365, for over 6 years now, that I'm like Captain Ahab (maybe?!) - I know my Pequod - I have never felt her move quite like that! Not in the strongest winds, and we get some fierce mistrals (as I think of them), very loud, forceful winds that howl and slam through here like out-of-control trains - and the Pequod, in the middle of the night as I lie under the covers listening to such a windstorm, stands firm and barely shudders.

My dearest, I am so tired and in a quiet mood, not really in the mood to write, that I wish I could just hang out with you, lie down with you and snuggle. If the earth moves, you and I might not even notice -

come here, darling, tell me about your day
love you
hope all's well

Monday, August 22, 2011

Darling love, your Woodstock bird is always thinking, but do you really expect me to come up with a philosophical study of T. S. Eliot's Four Quartets? There was a time perhaps when I could have done just that, with great dedication. I was an English major in college - actually a double major, English & Philosophy. I took my academic studies very seriously and the coursework was very challenging. So many essays to write in a given week, since usually I took five courses per semester. Very hard to absorb works of literature in a hurry, and I was often frantic, deadline looming and me having barely started a paper. I was constantly pulling all-nighters, typing til dawn, trying to crunch out an essay. I'd put Brahms on my record player, light up a cigarette (after cigarette after cigarette, I'm afraid), pop open a Diet Coke, insert a sheet of blank paper in my Smith Corona. Was it a Selectric? I don't remember. I wasted so much paper. I was a perfectionist. I was partly in a panic all the time because I was quite capable of (and prone to) spending a couple of hours simply trying to hone the first sentence, and the initial paragraph of an essay. Consulting the text, trying to form words in my mind, typing them out letter by letter to see how they looked on the page, backspacing and hitting the white-out key to undo a typo, or to change a word, or whole phrase even, or go straight back to the beginning backspacing in white, undoing what I'd just written, then setting forth again, letter by letter, word by word. But then in the wee hours, after so much concentration on a text, and my thoughts about it, and finally having some aha! moments where opaque meanings suddenly became clear, I was capable of unleashing sentences in quicker smoother succession, a flow having gotten started. And I'd complete the thing, and retype it on fresh paper to make it perfect, and if afterward I had an additional insight or point to make or other emendation, I'd carefully, in ink, in my best handwriting, insert it into the text.

I think of all this now, because one paper I wrote was on Eliot's The Waste Land. My God I struggled to come to any understanding of that poem, as much as I loved it. And a breakthrough at the 11th hour (or beyond) finally came, and I submitted the paper at dawn (and possibly after having gotten an extension, though those were rare & hard to come by at my school, I tended to avoid going that route. A friend of mine, in some of the same courses as me, would request extension after extension, and still miss deadlines, and after a semester she had nothing but incompletes - what a nightmare. I, on the other hand, despite all anxiety and nerves and panic, would manage to squeak through what was required, and though I tended to write last minute - I seemed to need that concentrated effort to come up with anything at all - my efforts were always very conscientious, never slapdash, never at all.

I was far from a model student. I tended to skip class a lot, really, I was quite stupid & arrogant, and felt that my own insights into a text (once I was to arrive at my insights into a text) were far more significant than what a tweed-jacketed professor might have to offer from his ossified notes. I didn't skip every class, far from it - and with certain professors, I never missed a class, hung on his or her every word - but others - yawn, boredom, staring out the romantic casement windows onto foliage blazing in color outside, my stomach growling perhaps, more than ready to pick up my books and return to the dorm and stand on the lunch line and either eat in the airy, lightfilled dining hall, or take my lunch up to my aerie - then! - and take a nap, do some reading, stare with trepidation at a text, etc., etc.

I was a jerk with one professor in particular, who really bored me, and I didn't hesitate to show my completely stupid disdain. If I got overly restless, I'd simply walk out in the middle of a lecture, and it wasn't a large class. It was a fairly small intimate class of maybe twenty or twenty-five, as in an old-fashioned grade school. My leaving was rude & was noticed. Really - honestly, looking back - what was wrong with me? I regret that poor behavior now.

But as much as that professor's lectures bored me, or were at the wrong hour for me, or whatever my inane problem was, nevertheless I took the reading and essay assignments very seriously. So one week I was charged with reading and absorbing "The Waste Land," and was mystified and terrified, and pulled one of my all-nighters in which epiphanies about the poem came, and handed in the typewritten sheaf the following morning - I wouldn't be surprised if right at dawn, so that I could then return to my dorm room, crash to sleep finally, shades drawn, and sleep most of the day - including (reader, can you guess?) through that same professor's class. I was shameless.

But I remember showing up for class, perhaps on purpose, perhaps I knew that he would be handing back the essays. Which he distributed by hand to each young woman in the classroom. And I remember him walking past my desk with what I could see was my essay in his hand, heading to a young woman somewhere behind me - "what a wonderful essay..." And I said, wait a minute - that's mine. And he was so - am I making this up? I don't know now. I think he was a little pissed that this essay that he had loved - had turned out to written by rude trampy insubordinate punk me. His handwritten comments on the cover sheet read (and I paraphrase because I still have the paper, but I'm not about to go digging for it in my box just now) that it was the best in the class, that he wanted to put it up on the English Department bulletin board, and that it was a very original essay, which in his view was saying a lot because he thought it was very difficult to say anything new about it that hadn't been said a million times before. Probably his comment, in his erudite hand, was worded in tweedier cadences. But whatever. Oh yeah - he even wrote (speak memory!) - may I have a copy for the English Department bulletin board? And then wrote, possibly in a different color ink, signifying a future time - "never mind, I've already done so."

Ta da, sweetheart! And are you surprised now that I play violin for tossed coins at train stations for a living?

Love you, sweetheart - I am but a bird, but am a thinking bird


Dearest love, skimming my ancient paper - it's a wonder Professor didn't turn me into MH Services - okay, admittedly out of context, but "... Suidide [sic] requires a certain spiritual strength and vigor that is absent in the security of existence."

Footnote from the Future, 2111: There and then, Selectric-compatible correction tape was expensive. Forensic-literary scholars will doubtless observe that a 'c' typed over an imperfectly erased 'i' will look like a 'd.'

Belle (b. 1959 - ), "The Motif of Fear in 'The Waste Land,'" from concluding paragraph, c. 1980
Moments of fear and of surrender are but transient affirmations of life. We must, in order to continue, reaccommodate ourselves to a world that is perpetually "falling down falling down falling down." Religion, the "peace that passeth understanding" can serve as a formalized palliative that perhaps the pointlessness of existence too, paradoxically, is illusory."



Dear love, this post is so imperfect - though I try - but I'm not about to pull an allnighter over it, unless you, oh dearest love, have something else in mind

very many kisses

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Dear love, I'm up in the aerie, changed from a nice skirt outfit into a light blouse & underwear. Storm after storm has been whipping through here the last hour, knocking out not power exactly or even the phone line but causing Foxfire to freak out. So I had to reboot, which always takes a while. And here comes pelting rain again as skies darken, towards dusk too, but at least at the moment there isn't incoming heavy cannonfire that was so nearby it made me jump.

I'm glad it's pouring rain now - for many reasons - the lush curtain of sound, the coziness of being dry indoors, the release from my needing to water the garden tomorrow.

I'm back from a jaunt to Rhinebeck, where D & I caught a small independent film, Another Earth. Ostensibly it's a speculative-fantasy tale about the sudden appearance one day, of a second, mirror Earth in the sky, and how it affects the lives of two characters whose paths disastrously collide, here on "Earth 1." It is a lovely, affecting, thought-provoking film - I highly recommend it. To me it's less about the sci-fi aspects, than an original and very moving story of love & redemption, and finely iterated exploration of a question each of us might well ask of ourselves - "what would I say if I were to meet me?" We do meet ourselves in our lives - as a girl I tried to imagine what I might be like as an adult, at unimaginable age 40 in the unimaginably distant year 2000. Or I've had occasion to look back to my youth. I suppose a parent might look at one's offspring and see glimpses of self - perhaps so, very much. But I suppose that's a different case.

The rain has stopped. Upstairs the air is fragrant with yet another huge batch of ratatouille I cooked up today, an enormous bowlful. I had a lovely session this afternoon, brief but it counted. There's a very passionate love scene in the film I saw this afternoon, which made me think of you very much, I completely transposed ourselves into it, the excitement of great connection and love, wild passionate abandon. Not porny at all, and I guess for myself I have mixed feelings about porn, it has its uses including in the film projector of my own mind, but that form though it works well enough for me solo, is not at all what I wish for and desire. So there's an example of one aspect of me meeting another aspect of me - right there.

It was a lovely drive, I was going to go by myself but D expressed interest in the film and he really does need to get out way more - it was fine, a pleasant sojourn. We stopped at a bakery and stocked up on a variety of wonderful loaves of fresh artisanal breads for our breakfasts, rye, sourdough, "local apple cinnamon," multigrain, a baguette. I stopped into a favorite shop to buy a ritual bar of good soap for my Brooklyn stay, and was delighted to see several other bars that I like, marked half-price. The drive there and back was scenic and pastoral as always, rolling farmland, orchard after apple orchard fruit reddening on the branches and dropping scattered onto the ground - future cider I guess; a farmstand with gorgeous sunflowers, orange and yellow, I picked an orange bunch and we stuffed $4 into a plastic milk jug marked 'pay here please'.
I liked seeing the utterly impassioned love scene in the movie today. How elusive and rare are such moments on 'Earth 1'. How healing, restorative, that instant intense compulsive utterly heartfelt bonding. It is so different from porn. It is very different from marital sex (that is in comfortable longlived marriages, particularly I imagine, those with children, where other aspects of self take priority). It is very different certainly from casual 'hookups.'

There was an aspect of the film that made me feel really happy - redeemed in some fashion even - that I write a blog. That this small imperfect human daily expression of mine - that I myself depend on - has meaning I believe for a beloved one or two - and that they do so, as I'm convinced, means the world to me, and makes me feel that my endeavor however difficult to explain to an outsider not instantly sympathetic, is incredibly worthwhile. That's something I feel from each of you, here on Earth 1, and something I can tell myself even as my fingers clatter on the keyboard. Sometimes things are truly morally ambiguous - and sometimes - words fail me, and I don't wish to be discursive

(I've crossed out so many phrases my dearests, "when love is involved," but I don't wish to sound treacly or preachy or - well there's a difference)

this is what I have to give
you seem to love it
I imagine that you gain something from it
that is enough and beautiful for me
I'm glad, very glad that I do it
as opposed to not doing it
that is unimaginable to me at this point

All that - here on Earth
and any number of parallel universes
iterations of self, here and in heaven
past and present

I have to sign off now
morse code signings off
fingers tapping
brimming bowl of pasta with ratatouille
love to Delphos

Saturday, August 20, 2011

My dearest, I had an unpleasant evening yesterday, slept badly, felt upset, it threw off my day today, I tried not to let harsh spitted invective infect my mind. So today honestly has been about recovering myself, getting past - rebuilding a wall? Maybe not that - but fortifying defenses. Things have smoothed over, but still. I grew up with that. I don't need it now.

And so that explains my bifurcated, in-between mood. I did have a nice day, but it was a bit of a struggle. I felt tired, achey, low-energy, chastened. Went through paces. Put together a wonderful breakfast, a breakfast burrito made of two enormous eggs that the chickens have been laying in our bushes, scrambled on a base of chopped onion, poblano pepper, and tomato, with a bit of cheddar, and some chopped ham thrown in - a "western" scramble - folded into a lightly toasted tortilla, with lettuce and CSA arugula. Dashed with Tabasco sauce at the table. My word - delicious. And so fortifying. It held me for several hours - and I often feel quite hungry soon after eating even quite a substantial breakfast.

Then I went to get my hair trimmed - last time I did so I was about to go to Brooklyn, and so here I am again. My hair looks nice, especially after being neatened up after the trim. It's about shoulder length, and has a nice wave and body to it, and my hairdresser exclaimed over the highlights that walking in the sun I guess has put into it. (Because otherwise my hair is light brown.)

Then I drove to the conservation area and took a long walk with weights. I wore a nice skirt and light cotton top, very comfortable on a warm, humid day. Lovely there, the mountains in the distance all blue, butterflies and dragonflies flitting all over, the meadow a tapestry of wildflowers (and invasives such as purple loosetrife) in bloom, buttercups, wild asters, spent milkweed, and some plant that a poet of my acquaintance once described as Zulu warriors with spears - I think of that when I see the army of them in the field. Innocuous though!

My dearest, what else? I was getting a little too exercised over the sudden dog-leashing rule campaign to "gain consensus to enforce compliance." Grrr, I hate phraseology such as that. That may or may not be an exact quote, but those very words are used in that style in the park's online discussion of the subject. Which has only raised my hackles. But which are lowered again. I think I was just projecting some philosophical symbolic overlay meaning to the thing and got a little excited. Not my battle, not really. I'm inclined not to attend the public meeting about it next week. I don't relish placing myself in a situation where I feel that I'm being lectured at like a child - and I don't even have a dog!

What else? Stopped by a strip mall department store and bought a top (originally $44, $8 on clearance) so that I'll have enough to wear in Brooklyn. It's a nice top, a little dressy, a blue-black-white paisley design with subtle reflecting shimmery tiny sequins all over, if you can believe it! I can wear it during the day, but it would be especially nice for a dinner out, or I imagine myself wearing it at Christmas, a soiree at my aunt's - if that ever happens again, with me in the tableau that is - will it? Summer, after all, came and went...

I came home and made pesto from all the beautiful fragrant pristine basil, and D and I did a little dance (figuratively speaking) to get ourselves back on an even keel, because the fact of the matter is that - as I told him - we're stuck with each other and we need to make the best of it, there is no use doing otherwise.

D went off for the afternoon to a job, and I read in the aerie, more of the E.D. biography, and then lay down, feeling tired yet very close to you - during my walk too dearest - thoughts of you swirling amid the swirl of everything else (fight, delightful older gentleman with now-leashed sweet dog, swirly top that looks nice with my black tulip-hemmed skirt, bit of last week's leftover pesto stirred into fine angel hair nests that softened and unraveled in boiling water and cooked in a thrice, delicious lunch as I paged through a recent Harper's I'd brought home for a dime from the library's sale pile, thinking of you when I read about "The Age of Enron.")

And lay down and went to work (so to speak) and it is quite an effort of imagination trying to convince myself, along with sensations, and mastering settings, and I hate to say it sometimes a downright lascivious change of characters and venues (ranging from bunny ranches to motel rooms to back cabs of pickup trucks) - darling I'm desperate! - but finally managed - and then I read a few more pages about E.D. and Samuel Bowles (I related, they were personality opposites, not exact but not unlike either, as I read, me and 1.0), and then I fell asleep - I think - very fitfully - I was so exhausted, and yet restless, sated, yet not. Disturbances. But as the afternoon wore on into late afternoon, the light finally softening and mellowing, so did my mood, and my energy picked up, and I went for another walk just now around here, this beautiful quite scenic, "picturesque" romantic landscape, of woodlands, ancient churches, decrepit cemeteries, rushing creeks, a massive pine fallen onto fragrant silent downhill Indian path, which massive trunk I judged stable and - see I was trying to take a shortcut by taking this path but there's this huge enormous felled pine, toppled in a storm months ago its needles starting to brown now that it's been uprooted (darling your root, your stem) so long. So I, in pink minotaur garb with diaphanous skirt wielding handweights straddled the trunk and the pilates workouts pay off because I wasn't the most graceful minotaur but I managed to gingerly and without snagging my skirt, make my way over the formidable organic balance beam (lower though, roughly crotch height) and proceed onto the other side, "doing the horse" as I swung my bare legs over, crossed the vast awful wonderful Moby Dick of an obstacle to proceed forth downward to the bottom of the rest of the pine-needle strewn trail. Whereupon I hopped over a gully and emerged onto a familiar asphalt road which is entirely secluded and where, by custom, I put my handweights into service - arms outstretched little circles one two three four five six seven eight, etc., etc. - an entire routine.

And that's it darling, I'm feeling mostly restored -

do you know where I would love to be with you just now? At some private pool, sitting side by side, right next to each other, our feet dangling in the cool blue translucent depths. We just hang out, enjoying each other's company. We have our corporeal solid bodies, of which you and & I so close together are only too well aware, but we regard our lower limbs, tanned strong well-shaped shins, transformed, visually deconstructed, beneath the ripples. We talk of other matters - dogleashing, metaphors, what's for dinner, "free-markets" - while we regard our feet and toes and our calves touch, linger & touch...

I'm wearing a nice formfitting swimsuit and I'm exhausted from the day, and so my legs immersed in this lovely pool, I lie back and place my arm across my face against excessive sun. And you lift my arm away from my face and descend upon my lips with the softest most tender kisses, and a shadow falls upon sheltering me, oh beautiful you, with

Friday, August 19, 2011

My dearest, I'm glad you're back, I had the feeling you'd been constrained somehow. Is everyone spying on one another? I wonder. I went to a mall once in Houston many years ago, in the mid-1980s, and don't remember much about it, except for an indoor ice skating rink (when it was around 100 degrees outside) and a retail shop devoted to antispyware, which seemed really odd to me. I didn't understand it then, am not sure what the store sold exactly, and don't really understand it now. This was before the internet, maybe around the time that voicemail started getting big. So I shrug at that, and yet it lingers, a bit. Is that the climate, then, and all the worse now? On a related note, I remember too from that time, that I was working as a paralegal, and had been deployed on lengthy out-of-town assignments, hopscotching for many months among New York, Houston, Denver, and San Francisco. We were getting ready for a big trial to take place in the S.F. area, a trial that was expected to last several weeks, with weeks of pretrial prep. The legal team scouted for longterm apartments for us all to stay in. And the client, a huge megacorporation, apparently wanted to send its crew over there to "debug" the apartments, so paranoid were they that the opposing side might have "bugged" them. My boss seemed to prevail on this one. He said, absolutely no de-bugging - because how do we know that the client isn't in fact bugging us? What's the difference? How would we know? I don't know how any of us would ever have known if our little efficiency apartments were bugged or debugged, but I always made sure to carefully lock my door, and mostly I just crashed there for sleep anyway, spent so much time in the local-counsel's office spaces that had been cleared for us, and ate out a whole lot. This was right around the time I had met D, and we were dating. He would fly out to San Francisco on Friday nights, after his work week in NY, and join me working on weekends. He actually got on the payroll as a temp! These cases were always crazy staffed-up. Money poured like water. We lived large, very large - all the best restaurants in these cities, expense accounts. I remember going to some sweet hole-in-the-wall French restaurant with D one evening before going to the airport to put him on a red-eye back to NY. We ordered sweetbreads, sauteed in a wine reduction I suppose. It was a very romantic restaurant, dim, candlelit, quiet, intimate. The sweetbreads were sublime, I'd never had them before, nor, I don't believe, since. So silken, rich, and savory. We went to the airport (I had all kinds of unlimited cab fare moneys) and said our tearful goodbyes at the boarding gate (my tears, of course!), and were reunited (most likely) a few days later, when D returned. What a crazy time. Actually, now that I think of it, we were newlyweds I believe at that point, by the time the trial actually took place in San Mateo County. I had worked on that case for a couple of years... and had met D during the course of it. Our client/"we" lost the case. Don't weep - believe me. Though the opposition - a different form of corporate industry entity, is/was no angel either. Clash of the Titans.

Having recounted that story I'm especially grateful to be simply sitting up here in the aerie, neighbor's chickens running all over our yard, ignoring neighbor's elaborate handmade coop in favor of laying eggs in a favored spot in the back of our unweeded shrubbery. Finders keepers, wonderful super-fresh organic free range happy-chicken eggs! Though D's going to tell our neighbor - because if they're laying over here, then maybe there's some critical issue with her coop.

I'm back too from the CSA farm, where I picked up this week's haul, including an extra "small handful" of basil, because I overheard a woman saying to someone there that she was going to skip taking it, so I brazenly asked her if she minded that I took her share - an extra handful for me. She didn't mind at all, said that she grows her own anyway so to take more is superfluous, and I said that I'm happy for more because I make pesto and sock it away in the freezer. The haul was nice today, as always. Actually, the last day I've been working doubletime trying to get to all the produce, it's a little more than D & I can eat in one week. So yesterday, as I roasted a chicken, I also roasted a pan of cubed eggplant, bell pepper, celery, onion, and garlic, all tossed with EVOO. We had some with the chicken, and today I seasoned the rest of the big bowlful with redwine vinegar, a bit of sugar, capers, and olives, and lightly steamed zucchini & summer squash to go into it too, because I had them...

My sauce had started out as caponata but with the addition of the summer squashes crossed lines into ratatouille country, I believe. No matter. I've got four quart-size containers in the freezer now, the most delectable topping for a piece of plain white fish, or chicken, or pasta.

And I came home today with all the ingredients - to make another batch of just the flavorsome, wonderful same. Do you know - I think, with all the cooking & freezing of foodstuffs I do, I think I eat more summer produce in winter than I do these days!

My darling, I'm going on and on and on. I think about you very much, so very much. I'll be in B'klyn for a week, as you may have gathered, starting mid next week. I completely apprehend how utterly unavailable you are - and yet should there be some, I don't know - window

(and by the way yet another sparrow got in the house today, and beat its wings all over the downstairs in its frenzy to get out, and I tried to show it the way out, flinging open windows, coaxing it out, but it only grew more panicked - though finally did - perhaps it couldn't believe its own good luck - recognize an open, free-passage window for glass it kept banging into)

then perhaps we could have lunch. There's a French restaurant on Court that I bet serves sweetbreads. And then, dearest Pierre, we can return to the apartment, climb the steps to the treetop aerie, and have a siesta. It'll be fine. I'll take the bed - you'll nap on the couch. It'll all be comme il faut (my grandmother's favorite phrase). For a little while. Until one of us - who? which one? will it even matter? - can't stand it any longer.

many kisses, dearest you

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ahoyed, from the mixed-up files of Belle's correspondence, of just today...

Dear Mr. Sewall, I write by circuitous accidental route - or perhaps there are no accidents. Currently, I am happily immersed in reading your father, Richard B. Sewall's, biography of Emily Dickinson. (Chastened by his prescient admonition, I read Volume 1 in its entirety before proceeding to the second).

Also, I enjoy reading a Facebook page, entitled The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson.

Yesterday I glanced at some of the comments there and was intrigued to see a reference to "Richard Sewall's blog." I googled, and came upon - indeed - Professor Sewall's blog, with reference to his unpublished memoirs of 40 years of teaching at Yale, and your single post that alluded to its eventual online publication. Your post is from some years ago, and having googled further, I am wondering if your father's memoirs are available somewhere online, or in some other form. I would be very interested to read them, though I was not a student of his, nor at Yale, but am sure that his memories and observations would make for a rich, insightful, and very rewarding read.

This morning I checked the Facebook comment again - and see that I had misread it - the commenter referred to Richard Sewall's "biog" - not blog. It seems that I need
stronger reading glasses.

Still - it seems that your father did, in fact, have a blog - and I would love to read his entries, all thirteen chapters. (And would promise, as I'm sure he would like, to read them in order.)

Thank you very much for your kind attention to my query. Sincerely yours, Belle
Message from Belle to the creator & editor of The Secret Life of E.D. Facebook page
Hi Lenore - I'm ensconced in Richard B. Sewall's fascinating biography of Emily Dickinson. I am on page 457 and just now read the following poem she wrote - and immediately your FB page sprang to mind, and I started
having very odd thoughts about E.D.'s mortality, and "heaven" being a form of posthumous attention - that we mortals alive today, are "saints" from the point of view of our deceased predecessors. I probably ought to ponder this line of thought more.... but here's the poem

#431 (about 1862)

Me - come! My dazzled face
In such a shining place!
Me - hear! My foreign Ear
The sounds of Welcome - there!

The Saints forget
Our bashful feet -

My Holiday, shall be
That They - remember me -
My Paradise - the fame
That They - pronounce my name -
Hope all's well with you, Saint Lenore...
Of Emily Dickinson's poem Professor Sewall immediately following writes, "... in this tiny dialogue poem, its heaven is remote; and the only immortality she sees is the immortality of being remembered, presumably (a thought that preoccupied her about this time) for her poetry."

I had such a feeling of tiny epiphany, of recognition, when I came upon this poem and passage in the bIog. I don't know that I believe in heaven or not, and honestly, I tend not to look at the question of it head-on. I much prefer to consider it sideways. Perhaps Heisenberg's uncertainty principle applies here? To my mind, (the notion of) heavenly Paradise squirms, doesn't perhaps wish to be viewed empirically. Someone was on Tavis Smiley a few weeks ago, a fellow, a San Francisco DJ as I recall, who has written a book on his Doubt in faith. I watched only a few minutes, then shut it off, because the man seemed so constrained by his intellect, from the little I heard him say, he seemed to require 'proof,' that he hadn't yet been 'convinced,' -- and the "rational" like. And my response, as I set about the kitchen getting lunch on the table, was - he's going about it wrong, that's not how it's apprehended, there are different forms of knowledge.

E.D. herself was skeptical, resistant, reluctant, to absorb prevailing Christian fundamentalist views as spiritual revivals swept through like fierce pandemics about her, but leaving her, in a way, quarantined, unfevered, immune, though reeling. But she considered and felt deeply such matters, making sense of them on her own, deeply-felt terms.

E.D.'s amazing poem. It reminds me, too, of the work that 1.0 does, unearthing bones and artifacts of ancient civilizations. Could his deceased subjects have possibly dreamed that someone like him would come aeons later to remember them? To tell their story, utter their name? I should think that in some way they might be overjoyed to know that he has devoted his life, written whole books, on the subject of these utterly vanished peoples. And I hope too, that he will one day (carrying it forward) be similarly remembered, by virtue of the significant tracings he left behind, in the same spirit in which he dedicated his most recent scholarly book, to a now-deceased pioneering archaeologist (utterly obscure, unknown name to me) who was an inspiration to him, and lives on, thus acknowledged - My Holiday, shall be/That They - remember me -

I suppose I am trying to look at the question head-on... I get glimmerings, moments of intuition, such as quite a while ago, an epiphany (blogged about, here) on glimpsing in its simple profundity, a spiderweb at the conservation area.

And I'll end this post with a wonderful quote from Professor Sewall & Son's blog, a passage from Moby Dick, by Herman Melville.
And how nobly it raises our conceit of the mighty, misty monster, to behold him solemnly sailing through a calm tropical sea; his vast, mild head overhung by a canopy of vapor, engendered by his incommunicable contemplations, and that vapor - as you will sometimes see it - glorified by a rainbow, as if Heaven itself had put its seal upon his thoughts. For, d'ye see, rainbows do not visit the clear air; they only irradiate vapor. And so, through all the thick mists of the dim doubts in my mind, divine intuitions now and then shoot, enkindling my fog with a heavenly ray. And for this I thank God; for all have doubts; many deny; but doubts or denials, few along with them, have intuitions. Doubts of all things earthly, and intuitions of some things heavenly; this combination makes neither believer nor infidel, but makes a man who regards them both with equal eye.
From today's mixed-up correspondence files again

Yes, if it isn't too much trouble I think it would be a lot of fun to check out the Gym... will be on lookout for keys, and will let you know as soon as they arrive. Thanks again for everything, and hope you're looking forward to your getaway with as much pleasant anticipation as I am to mine. xo, Belle

P.S. It occurs to me (I hit the brakes before hitting send) - I workout at home in my underwear (shhh!). Obviously I'll need something more, er, sporty, for G***'s Gym. What do women our age wear there? I'll pick something up at K***s if I have to! I don't get out enough, sigh....
yours, Emily Dickinson

My dear love, showers & thunderstorms all day, now sun
pleasantest session with you, my dearest
roast chicken for dinner
I sit here typing in my altogetherness utterly dreaming of you
all my love

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My dearest, I do an awful lot of hemming and hawing when I sit down at the end of the day with the intention to write to you. I sip from my icefilled glass. I fold my hands. I put my forehead in my hands. I check stats. I hear crickets and a child shrieking. I wonder if I'm going to write anything at all. Maybe this evening (I think to myself almost every evening) I won't, why should I? What is there to say? I rub my upper arm reflexively. I inhale fragrance, dabbed on after my shower, the shower after my workout. I have a waist again. Today I bought an outfit on sale - black formfitting skirt, prim but for flared kneelength hem, earthtoned leopard/jungle-print top. I have gotten in such good shape that not only have I dropped several sizes, I enjoy trying things on. Clothes that I couldn't possibly have considered several years ago now fit beautifully on me. It is a genuine pleasure to greet my image in the mirror and feel quite pleased and accepting of myself. I look nice, I'm certain I do.

I read more of the Sewall biography of E.D., had a session with mimi that ended, finally, where I hoped I would - intense, unmistakable, all too fleeting, but oh so worth it that transformative, transcendent sensation, fleeting, and yet leaves its imprint. I don't wish to live without it now. After so many years without. It gives meaning and focus to my existence, it really does. It's just that special ingredient, among other special vital ingredients, such as setting down my thoughts to you, dearest Muse; such as taking my rhythmic walks in nature; such as feeling my body move, increasingly lithe, graceful, and strong with each leg lift, crunch, pushup. With every delicious morsel of fresh wholesome food I taste. With beautiful words of others that I read. With visions, darling, of beautiful handsome you, whom I remember, the very few recollections (but burned in my mind) that I have of you, augmented amply with my imaginings, mostly of you in an idyllic setting, stripped of suit & tie.

Ah, and still I wonder - what am I going to write to you tonight? You're so hidden away from me, like the moon before it's risen in the dark night sky. I write to you, though I don't see you, but I know you are there behind me somewhere, beyond the eastern ridge, and even if I don't happen to be looking, you will draw yourself above me, poised as in love, and I'll gaze up at your beauteous glory shining with utmost radiance and I'll reach up my hand, lightly touch, your face so near my own my love, poised above me in paralyzing shudder.

And perhaps that won't do, as a post, so I'll compose myself again, think what to write to you, wonder what to write, what to possibly say, dearest love, to you of the celestially vanished sort, there but invisible, save for, very late at night, towards dawn, coded flashes, meteoric streaks, shooting stars, falling down all around me, high high above, forever and ever and ever out of reach, there nonetheless, while I sleep, and clutch my pillow, in the pitch dark room at night, and later of the siesta

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The deluge has finally stopped. The sodden garden, drenched all day yesterday and into this morning with rain, is drenched now instead in sparkling sun, drying droplets all over, and drying my hair, fresh from showering.

(By the way, did you know that there's a Paloma Picasso Minotaur shampoo? Only she spells it with an e at the end (insert giant sarcastic eyeroll here))

The wheelbarrow is half-full of water, that's how much it rained. I would have tipped it over to empty it, but it looks heavy, and I didn't feel like expending the energy, there's that much water. Plus nothing in its vicinity needs to be further drowned.

I woke up from a restful nap just now

(after a fitful night last night, I kept waking up, checking stats (that is, looking for kisses), returning to bed only to be seized by very vivid semi-nightmarish dreams - though no more recurring ones of 1.0, those were of a different nature, frustrating perhaps but placid, certainly not agitated, violent, or anxious as were last night's. Was it something I ate that caused such psychic nocturnal disturbances?)

and showered and dressed in my pink minotaur outfit and spritzed on Miss Dior and went downstairs and unloaded the dishwasher and stepped into the garden looking at shimmery foliage all around, the sun drying out all the droplets, and drying my freshly shampooed hair

(though not with Minotaure)

Where are you my dearest? I hope you haven't been kidnapped
Are you in transit - from where - Stockholm to London?

Your Dora has turned 52 today

I'm okay with that
I thought that I should blog about my birthday
I tried to remember past birthdays but don't really recall any
Maybe my 35th, oddly, spent with then-friends in Wellfleet
My girlfriend wanted to buy me a tee-shirt for my birthday
I wasn't interested in tee-shirts, I didn't wear tee-shirts, not at the time
What I wanted was this little gilded papier-mache sun, of Indian design
glimmering, golden as a sunflower, but with a painted mascaraed & lipsticked smiling face
sort of enigmatic, sort of odd, this sun with an exotic woman's painted face on it, not, seemingly, strictly necessary, yet oddly cheerful and compelling to me
so I had the tiniest meltdown, not really a meltdown, just standing up for myself
it's my birthday! I'm not interested in a tee-shirt - I would like this sun!
And the sun wasn't cheap - Wellfleet's a well-heeled tourist town
I think the sun might have been $35 - or no, it was my 35th birthday
but this little object was over twenty dollars - certainly - an extravagance

(but what are birthdays for? indeed - extravagances!)

I'm so tired, my love, right now, even after that nap
turning 52 does nothing for self-diagnosed fibromyalgia
which is a background constant exhaustion & achiness

(which flares when I'm sitting still, or after a night's sleep, but disappears entirely while I'm happily engaged in vigorous exercise)

D has just come upstairs
remember that sun thing, that papier mache sun that we used to have?



it wasn't papier mache, it was wood

okay, whatever
do we still have it

(last I recall it was hanging from an eave in the shed, nearby a robin's nest tucked in the dark wood recesses of the interior ridge)

yes, I put it on Rafe's grave - I told you that

You did? I don't remember

Yes I did

Well okay, I believe you that you did
but I don't always remember every detail

that's true

would you mind
(since it's my birthday)
going out and taking a picture of it?

whose camera - mine or yours?

me, calculating: mine

(remember my last camera, the one that I had accidentally put in the wash, neglecting to remove it from the back pocket of my jeans after a walk? it had been completely ruined, but D managed over the weeks if not months that have since ensued, to coax it back to life - and now it works perfectly - and is his camera, which he actually needs for his work, so it all worked out. Happy ending!)

So now I'm at the point of the narrative where D has come upstairs with the camera
and I have put the memory chip in my computer
and am about to view the images

beautiful photos
I hadn't seen that D had done that
Rafe is buried beneath one of our willows
but the grass is so tall & unmowed that I have never yet ventured over there
so I had no idea

aren't you glad -
I certainly am, all these years later -
that I had insisted on, for the same money, the sun?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dearest love, it is pouring down rain just now, most of the day in fact, though I managed a good vigorous walk with weights at the conservation area this morning before the heavens opened up. I've been enjoying it, actually. I love the sound of rain, the constancy of it, falling on the other side of open windows, pounding the metal roof of the solarium. I won't feel this way six months from now, but in August it's a cozy treat to put on lamps here & there in late afternoon for warm soothing light against damp gray chill. It was a great day too for cooking & baking, and so I did, and here is an admittedly staged recreation of some of the summer bounty that I've prepared (credit to D for grilling the organic drumsticks). Yesterday I made taboulleh salad and a bowl of jalapeno pepper-heated salsa. Today I baked a peach pie and whipped a bowl of cream. As well I made a pot of corn-cheddar chowder, on a ham bone & chicken stock base, with sauteed onions, diced potatoes, red & green peppers too. We had bowls of it for lunch - delicious, and cozy on such a wet day - and I've frozen the rest in containers, to have on some snow & icebound winter's day when a reminder of summer corn & CSA produce will be especially welcome.

I tried to send you a message today, and was taken aback to see that the drawbridge had been drawn up. I was upset for a little while - no, that's too strong a word, just - I don't know, it seemed extreme, given that it's fake & pseudonymous. But I'm over it now, you have your reasons, I have resolved not to take it personally. This way I guess we get to have our cake and eat it too. Beyond that, who needs drama? Especially with all the less than comfortable ambiguities of which I'm only too well aware. But here I type anyway. And think about you. Besides, dearest, no one is having better fun - so I gather - and I hope that means you, thinking of me!

What else today? Read a few more pages of the E.D. biography. I relate to her very strongly, I think we're very similar personality types - given to passionate attachments (and I don't mean in a trivial sense, I mean to family members, deeply loved loves - E.D. is no flit, nor am I) and when they are sundered, acutely suffering the separation. No wonder she walled herself off? It was too much, letters she wrote to her brother Austin for example, when she was in her late teens and he, a bit older, was in college. She missed him desperately. I related to that. There was a time I felt that way (perhaps not quite as extremely) about my own brother. I loved him very very much, and there was a time that he & I had a bond. But it was at his disposition, occasionally for lengths of time warmly expressed when he needed his sister, but as quickly withdrawn entirely when he needed to go elsewhere. You know, there really is a lot to be said for compartmentalizing, so that one doesn't have to do this All or Nothing game when in the natural course of events new people come into a picture, and there's a bit of shifting, relationships adjust, to accommodate - I don't know. I don't know what happened. He was wounded in his own way by our very strange damaged, and damaging, upbringing. Perhaps - and I say this soberly, for real - it is really just as well that we have all gone our irrevocably separate ways - ours was never ever going to be a cheerful, funloving, sporty, sporting family.

Ah, again I keep sinking into these quagmires here... I don't mean to, I'm in a nice mood actually, freshly showered & dabbed with a delicious spritz of Miss Dior, which I so enjoy wearing once again. I look forward to dinner - none of what's pictured above on my kitchen table - rather, bowtie pasta with a sauteed brown-mushroom sauce and a mixed green salad.

And that's it for now, darling. Maybe the rain has stopped, I don't hear it at any rate. A dog is barking. The drier is squeaking. The light is fading. I sip from my icefilled glass. My hair is pinned up in an impromptu bun. I hope you are okay. I'm sure you are, actually. Well, I shouldn't be so sure, I have no idea. But I expect you are. What am I trying to say? I don't think things were handed to us. We didn't come by things very easily I don't think, you and me. Some people are accorded the luxury of going through life with all their illusions buoyed, forever intact. I'm not here to debunk anyone's illusions, though from time to time I have to examine my own motivations (I feel that creepy dodgy feeling just now).

Oh dearest, I'm falling into the quicksand - what I should do is lie flat on my back to save myself. No - really!

Anyway, when illusions and "the way things are supposed to be" have to be constantly buoyed, sometimes the buoyers need to hold hands. Am I a buoyer? I'm not buoying much of anyone - though perhaps, well I don't know - I offer something, don't I?

yours, in high fidelity,