Friday, September 30, 2011

Dear love, back from the CSA farm where I suffered for beauty in the form of mosquito bites in order to pick flowers while I still may. This is the buggiest year I have experienced in my life, there has been so much rain and damp. So much so that in the solarium a bloom of shadowy black mold is erupting on a wall - there's no leak, it's from all the moisture in the air. The fridge isn't running right, condensation forms and drips onto the shelves. D doesn't think it's broken, just that it can't handle the relentless humidity.

Still, it was a nice day, the sun came out from time to time, including at dawn, fiery behind the massive twin oaks across the road, and I might have snapped a photo from the juliet balcony but it's a bad vantage point because power lines insanely crisscrossing all over the place inevitably ruin an image and without photoshop I can't get rid of them. And I wasn't about to go out in the driveway in my underwear half awake wishing only to rise slowly to the surface of my day with sips of hot coffee.

There was a wonderful haul from the CSA, I enjoy the ritual of going around the bins - today earthy dark beets, green beans, amberskinned onions, a head of boston lettuce (pristine & buttery - my favorite), arugula, a sheaf of swiss chard, tomatoes, an eggplant, and a head of garlic. And a basket of beautiful tiny hard brown pears that I've placed in a bowl, for now for decoration, but actually they inspire me to try my hand at a French frangipane tart, pastry base spread with almond cream and sliced pears arranged on top. Pears & almond are a sublime combination. I think I have a recipe someplace from a French intern of my acquaintance from many years ago now - wow, 10! she was just a kid then, and is probably married with children now. She had made one in the kitchen of the family where she was staying, and it was one of the most incredibly delicious pastries I've ever had. Well of course the French do have that knack. Her recipe was quite involved - before I keep going on about it let me look around for it. I know that I had it, at least at one time...

Dearest love, are you swimming towards me? I wish you were. Your Gioconda dreams of water towers... What would I do without you? You carry me through a day, through all my days as they pile up in succession, as I head towards you too my love, like a cutter breaking through ice, thinking of you and knowing that you think of me. A glimpse of heaven darling, the two of us swimming towards each other, somehow.

At the farm was a tiny dead bird in the flower border as I stepped. What got it, I wonder - West Nile, or a farm cat? It was touching to see the unexpected corpse, eyes closed, wings tucked in, lying in repose among bobbing stems of delicate lavendar scabiosa. As I snipped blooms it did occur to me to wonder the journey the creature had taken, in this increasingly paved over world hostile to birds, that found this exquisite little flower border - and lost its life right there. So I hope, in some sense, it died happy - I know that sounds absurd, but on occasion I see the most extraordinary butterflies or impressive grasshoppers in the most inhospitable places, such as the supermarket parking lot - and there's nothing I can do for them of course, except to mentally beam at them, get out of here! the conservation area, and the river aren't very far away! But think of the enormous distances those tiny bird or insect wings travel. I mean, I'm so much bigger than them - and how many miles, even if I were perfectly fueled & rested, could I reasonably walk? And these creatures, some of them - not just Olympian individuals but whole species - do these vast biyearly migrations to and from Mexico, South America, the Caribbean, up to Canada. So - yes, I wondered a bit about this tiny gray just starting to decompose feathered body, at rest on a flower bed.

On my way home I stopped by another farm that still has some ears of corn for sale, so I bought four, two of which we'll have with dinner tonight. The corn fields are flattened, flooded in places, and so vast. I felt very small in this beautiful panoramic landscape at its furthest extensions bounded visually by mountains. It's a soothing landscape, though - I suddenly think, by contrast, of a trek I took across a crater in Volcano National Park on the Big Island - strange surreal scape that made me feel very nervous (also because the sun was sinking, and the dark shadowy edges of the otherwise lit vast pockmarked scorched field were forbidding silent remote and lonesome to the extreme). And I was heading back to such an edge, to climb back up from the crater, emerge back up into the safety of the sulfurous parking lot...

But I digress. I don't remember birds there, in that strange other planet - that crater I mean - right here on earth. Actually that whole park is a trip. And there are birds there, and new life, as well as sculpturally desiccated volcanically ruined vestiges, such as of highly expressive dead trees still standing. It was a long time ago, my visit.

So today, too, on my way back home, after the stop for corn, I drove along an isolated rural road, and one of the yahoos zoomed up behind me from nowhere and tailgated, and I just kept rolling along - but then braked hard because there was a little creature in the road - a chipmunk maybe, though I'm not sure. So I put on the brakes (fortunately I wasn't driving fast at all, maybe 35). And yahoo behind me slams on his brakes to keep from hitting me and then leans on his horn. So yes, dear reader, I gave him the finger big time and yelled a couple of times (could he have heard me? I doubt it) don't tailgate me, don't tailgate me. Possibly there was an adverbial swear word in there, but honestly I don't remember. Maybe not. I was trying to keep it simple. Don't f'ing tailgate me.

So I don't know if the chipmunk or whatever it was made it or not. I don't know that I hit it, but the jerk behind me may well have. He turned off the road pretty soon after - so what was all the point of being on my rear - what a jerk.

Anyway, that's that darling, a few little impressions picked up from my day. I hope you've had a wonderful day my love, and are looking forward to a weekend, one in which you manage to get in whatever it is you'd like to do. I have one to look forward to myself, a writing workshop tomorrow morning, on the grounds of a Persian-inspired estate...

Love you, my dearest, have a wonderful wonderful evening. I will think of you, and look out, as always, for your kisses.

xoxo

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Dear love, it's pouring rain out as perhaps you can see, on & off all day. I woke up around six this morning to rumbles and thrumming rain, so cozy to remain under the covers listening to that wash of sounds, punctuated by roosters crowing. I've never been good at impersonations, but I'm pretty good at yelling back at the roosters & chickens in their own language, and they respond in kind.

What did I do today? Read some more of the Sewall E.D. biography, which is like Xeno's paradox. I keep being almost near the end and never quite seem to get there. I'm in the chapter where Sewall discusses Emily's relationship with a pair of female younger cousins of whom she was very fond and corresponded with throughout her life. But Sewall also notes that Mabel Loomis Todd (who had a decades-long affair with E.D.'s brother Austin, and who was instrumental in bringing E.D.'s poems to posthumous publication) dealt with them in the 1890s while gathering E.D.'s letters for publication, and found these women intolerably uncooperative & dull. The cousins were horrified at the idea of seeing their name in print and their beloved Emily's thoughts - classified, Eyes Only - made public. In the end they made copies of E.D.'s correspondence for Mabel - heavily redacted & addressed only to the 'Misses -------. '

"They were such geese," Mabel later wrote - "fairly exploded," as Richard Sewall characterizes her exasperated reaction.

As much as I love Emily of course, I really like Mabel too, her perspicacity, energy, determination, and inability to suffer fools gladly. So who do you trust? It's not so black-and-white. It seems that E.D. had been fond of her cousins from childhood, and over time they seemed to bring out a maternal streak in her (the cousins had been orphaned at a young age). Still, I can imagine scenes of Mabel encountering these "geese," kin to a breed of minor, risible, annoyingly fretful characters from Jane Austen or Dickens.

Sweetheart, my darling, I should sign off, do a bit of vacuuming downstairs. I don't have an image of silly geese offhand, but I'll leave you with a snapshot that D recently captured, in our garden, of neighbor's chickens.

All my love, and very many kisses. Yours, B---e

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My sweet love, thank you for the beautiful bouquet, so unexpected. Touching your cheek, your hair, regarding you first, before I can hardly bear it any longer and lean in to kiss you. Mon amour par la mer - is that where you are? I wouldn't mind being on an industrial waterfront with you, looking at the lapping waters even if we are surrounded by gargantuan container ships. The sea's the sea as long as you can get close to it... well, no not really, there are whole gradations of sea experience certainly. But I'll take whatever little bit I can get with you, even if it is sitting in a little car parked in a vast asphalt lot as dusk settles on the fogbound unnatural harbor and twinkling lights all around come on one by one like stars as black night falls.

Or we can blow this North Sea hamburger stand and transport ourselves, say, to the coast of Maine instead. Ah, much better. My love, you do love the sea, don't you. I get that sense. Oh so many places we could be, but it's dusk now. Earlier in the day I would have suggested a walk on the beach, and a snack of a lobster roll from a roadside shack. But at this hour, perhaps a meal in a restaurant. The maitre d' leads us to a table by a window that at this hour still - before night falls and we can no longer see out - affords a glimpse of rock, water, and sky. It's an old tucked away country inn, built in the 1800s, or maybe earlier, or later, or maybe even recently, but whenever it was it has style and charm and is perfectly scaled and fits with the vernacular of elemental Maine. And so a lovely four-over-four window. (Why am I going on so much about architecture?!) We peruse the menus as we sip glasses of delicious minerally white wine. A glinting candle on the table lights our faces as we read, and I look at your beautiful face illuminated in the rosy flickers...

Oh honey, I don't know what we eat or what we order - more wine most likely, and perhaps, let's see - a seafood risotto - or perhaps we're not in Maine, or it's a super-gourmet sophisticated restaurant, because I'm not at the moment in the mood for the captain's catch fried platter with fries or baked potato, your choice. Blue cheese or Italian? Do you want your coffee now or with dessert? Pie, apple, or triple chocolate cheesecake bombe with peanut butter and oreos, unless we're out of it.

No, darling, I want someplace very simple and elegant. Thou, moi, a little table, a spare white candle, silence except for murmurs from other reclusive dining couples scattered around the room, gleaming floors, perhaps even the house's cat, venerable soul, coming to greet us. Because you see it's not an exorbitantly expensive place, snotty & ritualized, it's simple & lovely & relaxed. And I'm starving now and forgot my readers anyway but I always knew that what I wished was a seafood risotto... and you order, let's see, well I don't know - oh - the same! For which I'm grateful because it makes my writing at the moment a bit easier darling, I'm tired, and in a hurry to get those plates on the table, and before even that the waiter gone with our orders, so that I can simply sit with you in this lovely intimate room with the wide-planked floors and soft lighting and the view from our own private window, by which our little table is tucked, of vast gorgeous mysterious ocean, gray ripples to the horizon, skies dark in the distance, gulls no longer circling. I look at you, and you look at me, we regard each other. And across the table, by the flickering candle flame, we reach out to each other and clasp hands. And imagine the delights of the meal ahead, and even more so, what will transpire soon after when we retire to our room upstairs for the night - it's a tiny inn, darling, and our room, made up, awaits - and so we hold hands and sip wine and smile at each other and look out the window as the skies darken, clouds tinged pink swirling and billowing over teeming granite sea. Dusk settles and outside the walls, where within is only the sound of clinking glasses and murmurings, somewhere in the distance a foghorn sounds.

Sweet dreams, darling.


image:
Henri Le Sidaner (French, 1862-1939), Rooftops in Moonlight, 1910, oil on canvas, 65 cm (25.59 in.) x 81 cm (31.89 in.), private collection

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hello my love, beautiful summery afternoon here, your chambermaid has knocked off for the day. I wasn't intending major housework, but then thought I should take advantage of warm temperatures and clean the baths & wash the kitchen floor, wet chores that I vastly prefer to do in the nude or, as today, wearing only panties. A second workout of sorts, after my first with rubber bands & weights. So now I'm feeling sated and self-satisfied and with what feels like a well-deserved glass of icefilled wine, and the house is the spiffier for it. I'm glad too that I didn't let it go for too long, that starts to weigh on me, oppressively. So at the moment I have a very pleasant sense of bearable lightness of being, with the house clean, and little touches of sprucings - new flower pot in the aerie, fresh curtains in my bedroom. It's the little things, sometimes, isn't it? Truly.

And now the windows are open, the light honeyed, and I'm freshly showered in my pink minotaur tee, spritzed with Miss Dior - how I enjoy wearing it - a sensory treat in itself. I love everything about it, the fragrance, light, complex, green, absolutely not cloying. I like the tiny cut glass bottle through which the pale elixir gleams. I'm so glad I've managed to recover (like lost files) aspects of myself so long-buried - my hair longer now, clipped up in a haphazard twist; my body slimmed; MiMi recharging after a glorious time with you. Even my writing - I'm so glad I write now. I had always wanted to be a writer - well here I am, in a way - finally, even if my output is a bit category-defying and unconventional. No matter.

I have a friend who as a side effect of medication that is of critical necessity for his wellbeing, finds that he has to sleep many, many hours at night, at least ten or twelve, which is frustrating to him, but he's resigning himself to it. He's very creative, and I wrote to him that I thought that perhaps without his even knowing it, in his sleep all sorts of necessary repairs and dreams are going on - that in fact, allow him to be all that more creative and productive and clear in his imaginings in his waking life. And - I don't know that it's because I wrote that to him - but I recently received a message from him, and he seems to have reached the same conclusion, and is at peace with himself with it.

I've found myself thinking about my own experience. I relate to him, though I'm not on any medication. But I too tend to need what seems to be more sleep than most people, which I too have found frustrating. But I function much much better when I have all the sleep that I feel I wish. And maybe I'm doing dreamwork too, mostly unconsciously, sometimes consciously - when I remember them I record my dreams. Also, this line of thought is tied up for me with these awful feelings of disconnectedness and with what I thought of as "homesickness" day after day, for many years, when I worked in various jobs, usually in tall office buildings. I don't think skyscrapers per se had anything to do with it - although I remember one day looking up Sixth Avenue in midtown, with this feeling of alienation - so this is what it looks like, this crazy world we're in - this is why they won't let me work from home - so that they can keep building these towers that I'm required to spend my days in (nights too sometimes). I always enjoyed working, in the sense of keeping my mind occupied, hands busy, engaging, being productive, making a difference somehow (if even only to a boss whom I liked)... but I vastly preferred to engage in all those things from the comforts of home, in my own space, without this terrible sense of unremediable self-bifurcation and exile.

But some of that feeling, too, was perhaps tied up in my not really being in very close touch with essential aspects of myself, that I hadn't properly heeded and nurtured, had in fact, quite inadvertently - in well-intentioned unconscious wrongheadedness, reinforced relentlessly by all sorts of cultural expectations having to do with success and industry - buried. I'm in a fortunate situation now, I suppose, in that there's more of a convergence or coming to fore of creative aspects of myself. My mother was ambidextrous - could write with either her left or right hand with apparent equal facility, though she favored her right. I remember her mentioning once the cruelty of trying to turn a "leftie" into a "rightie." I've always been very righthanded, and yet on another, more metaphorical level, I relate to that anecdote. That I was more creative than I knew - or I use that word "creative" as a label for, I don't know, an intuitive associative relating to the world, etc. - but that in fact as though I had been in that way "left handed" I didn't really feel allowed to go that way - in a pretty systematic way, because - well I don't know. There are, after all, successful writers & artists & poets even in our cutthroat competitive culture - but I guess success is measured by aspects of that culture - publication, marketing, "best sellers," prizes, etc.

I don't know, honey (sail away with me). As successful and productive as I've been in earlier adult years in my life, I always felt that it was all a little harder than I could naturally cope with - and that much of it wasn't me. After college I found myself of necessity of course plunged into the world of looking for gainful employment, which had - as I fairly soon discovered - virtually nothing to do with the nature of the many many years of education I'd received. I found a nine-to-five job, temping at first, then solidly employed as a paralegal, and I always hated it, the routine, the office, the duties that even if I found them engaging - were very apart from my concerns. But I know that not everyone feels the same as me - a good thing!! I remember mentioning my great feeling of disconnect from going to an office to - a woman in an office, not even one I was working in (I don't remember the circumstances). And that woman couldn't relate to me at all - because she said that she loved nothing better than to get up in the morning with the prospect of going to the office for the day. (Wow, talk about Venus and Mars. Neither of us could relate to the other.) And I had one boss who I really, really liked, loved working under him, or being on his team - and even with that I had always this part of me forever held back in reserve - and he knew it, and I think he was sensitive to it, and maybe it was even a reason why he liked me, that intelligence & complexity. He memorably said to me - and he was, as far as I could tell, a very very happy man - that when he woke up in the morning he would jump with excitement into his slippers and look forward with great anticipation to the coming day in his office. (He was such a nice guy! I think he told me this on Thanksgiving Day, of all days, when for some reason (of professional duty, we were on a big case at the time) I stopped by Maiden Lane and his office on the 19th floor - and there he was!).

I don't have any big ringing conclusion to this post. Just that I don't feel this sense of great personal splitting anymore, though my way of life clearly has its own set of issues that will only attenuate most likely over time - but I won't go there tonight. Let me just be for now, the way things are going. I am doing some necessary work, even if it doesn't look like much to many puritanical others - and this is how it's done, I think, you start from where you are.

All my love, mon amour, you too, voyager on the sea.

***
this post needs tweaking - but I'm fading
and there's a wonderful rainstorm now
rain pattering outside the open windows
I've gone about the house & turned on lamps
turned on the porch light
many kisses, darling
I'm always thinking of you
and I'll see you later, in the wee hours

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dear 1.0, I think of you on your Grand Tour of the West, look up in my atlas each morning the various places you've been. I'm so glad that you were in Montana the day I wrote that short ribald poem. Idaho wouldn't have been nearly as poetic, nor Utah. I have a wild guess that you'll be in Nevada next, which I gather is a great deal more fun than Utah. Pretty much whatever I know of either state, I've learned from HBO.

The light here is beautiful just now, the sun finally came out after days of gloom. I imagine you driving down a highway, earth stained red, landscape vast and empty except for keening lightfilled air, sandstone formations in high relief against blue sky throwing down black shadows on silent desert floors.

Dear Creature, I lie back on the hood of your truck which in reality would be mighty uncomfortable but in the staged photo shoot of my imagination is the perfect place to be, reclined, arm across my face to shield my eyes from blazing sun raining radiance and Vitamin D down on my light-starved body. I'll just lie here and take a nap until you organize what it is you need to do, check messages while we're still in range, glance at the map and wonder what's between - what was the name of that burg?, oh who cares, we'll never see it again. And they looked at me funny anyway when I asked at the liquor store if they had rosé. Rose - say what? said the teetotaler behind the counter. Pink wine, I clarified, raising sunglasses from my nose with as much politeness as I could muster.

Where are you anyway? It is so damned vast and empty around here that I feel perfectly comfortable (given proclivities on either side of state lines, married that I am) to shed my top and throw my long hair back across the hood. Darn, wish I'd brought along a lemon to squeeze into it - naturally bleach my hair. Wait! I think I did. Let me fish in my bag. Yeah here it is, along with my nail file, let me cut it in half. Oh never mind my hair, let me squeeze some on pale halved parts that haven't seen sunshine since I left L.A. The juice dribbles onto my sunwarmed skin, mmmm, I taste the lemon - oooh it's so sour, reminds me that I'm alive, not like this vast desolate landscape in the middle of nowhere with me lying in only my panties on top of your truck, and there isn't even anything good on the radio, I thought you'd bought some satellite mobile provider, oh never mind, it's just Prairie Home or Rush all the time anyway, when what I want is The Book of Love, and I mean by Peter Gabriel. Man, it's warm here and I'm getting sleepy, and I'm enjoying patting my flat tummy and running my hands over my lemony self and inhaling my fingers. It's too much to ask if they have sushi around here, isn't it? Yeah, guess so. I could go for a tuna roll... Oh sweetheart, where are you? Don't make me prop myself up on my elbows and look out across this bleak terrain for you. Probably the pose I'm in now would attract a trooper's notice, but that's just how bored I've become, you. There - I'm going to will for a trooper to appear, way in the distance, just so you'll show up and do what makes me happy! (Well, that's how it always seemed to work in the past, but that was nighttime, with flashlights in our faces.) Oh, here you are, finally, emerged - wait, you were in the cab of your truck all along? You have a microwave in there? OMG - my favorite - I'm going to sit up for this. Croque Monsieur for two - you're a genius! And I'm starved. Come here you, have some Vitamin C to go with that salty ham & cheese - I put some on special, just for you...

yours, somewhere in the wild wild west,
Lisamarie

A Creature I Don't Know

***
From post of 23 Sept. 2011
My dearest, I'm back from that rainy drive, having greatly enjoyed it. Lucky me, a David Gray song came on, "Sail Away," which followed a very passionate, romantic song... I don't recall the name of the artist, a 22-year old Englishwoman. She was so ardent that I could imagine it was Emily Bronte on the heaths singing. And then came David Gray's response - Heathcliff's as far as I'm concerned! Sail away with me honey - oh yes please do.
***
Message from Belle to Radio Woodstock, 24 Sept. 2011
Dear WDST, Yesterday at about 3:15 p.m. your station played a beautiful song by a young woman. I didn't catch the name of the artist or the song title. The song was immediately followed by David Gray's "Sail Away." (Beautiful combination, those two songs together.) If there's a way you could possibly let me know what the song was, I would greatly appreciate it. I was trying to find your playlists online, but had no luck. Thanking you very much in advance, if the information is still available...
***
Message from Radio Woodstock, 25 Sept. 2011
Hey Belle, The song was called "Sophia" by a great singer Laura Marling. The album is called "A Creature I Don't Know."

***



***



***
image:
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Faun Revealing a Sleeping Woman (Jupiter and Antiope, after Rembrandt), 1936, etching and aquatint on paper, 316 x 417 mm (link here)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dear love, no siesta for me today, not even a walk or a workout, somehow the day slipped by. I've embarked on a weeks-long cleaning and sprucing of the house, in anticipation of a weekend house swap with B'klyn friends in mid-October. Today I decided it was time to launder the curtains and roll-up shades in my bedroom - a project. D takes them down & puts them back up, I do the washing & ironing in between. Even after laundering the sheers looked shot, grayed & yellowed, hardly cleaner than when they'd gone in stiffened with dust. (Why so much dust? Is it air pollution from Ohio? The kerosene we used to heat the house last winter?) I ended up going to a store, one of the ones I dislike, as it comprises way more vast empty parking lot than it does desirable goods on a shelf - in contrast to memories I have from many years ago of, for example, a venerable department store in Manhattan, B. Altman's, that had no parking whatsoever, but was a magnificent rich, colorful, stylish, emporium of inspired treasures from all over, none of which had been merely machine-stamped in China.

I can't be so fussy anymore, the sheers I bought are polyester, made in China, but they're clean and serviceable. (I might prefer bare windows, except for dawn sun; or for aesthetic reasons bare windows again - but the glass is paint-splattered - the windows themselves need to be repainted & redone, & storm windows made - the windows stick so badly I cannot manage to open them - so my home decorating, at this point, is not an exercise in perfectionist aesthetics.)

At least I degrotted the room, dusting everything in sight. The equivalent of clean underwear, in case one's hit by a bus.

***
Sweetheart, how are you my love. I just looked at the few images I possess of you, placed fingers to my lips, touched your face on the screen; glanced at snapshots tucked in an old Christmas card that I keep nearby. Ah so that's what you look like, I remind myself, studying your face, remembering, imagining... your facial expression never changes as you absently peel that clementine - I wish that you'd look up at me & beam. I remember at one point I was playing piano, my back to the room, company in full voice singing, I turned my head and glanced back at you, and saw you beaming at me - I loved that, and hope I beamed back. I had to turn back to the piano very quickly at any rate, and also I don't see out of my left eye - but I was just quick enough and fortunate to register that most fleeting but delightful impression of you smiling happily at me. I'm smiling now, thinking of that image of you in my mind - better, really, those mental ones, than snapshots I have of you in other form.

My love, it is still summer here, it seems, the weather is downright tropical, what you might be used to much of the year - but for here it's unusual. I just hope that it will make the coming winter feel shorter. Though it doesn't work that way. I don't mind cold weather or winter months at all - that is, not through the Yuletide season. But I have a hard time the first couple of months of a year - those days (short as they are) seem endless.

I'm feeling decidedly unpoetical and unliterary at the moment, dearest, quite flatfooted. Yesterday evening's post just about wrote itself - what a gift to have had a passing conversation with someone. Without it, what would I have written? Of the buffet table, perhaps - What is that, queries a woman behind me, gesturing at a heaping bowl - cauliflower? No, replies the caterer, potato salad. There was chipotle lime butter (I heard him explain a couple of times) for steaming ears of bright yellow corn, and I myself queried him as to a bowl of mystery dip - remoulade for the cold poached salmon, he whispered, and I felt almost as though I'd committed a tiny gaffe - if one has to ask...

Is it in basketball that they're forever running out the clock? I feel as though that's what I'm doing here, keep dribbling this ball so that I can feel close & connected with you. A fervency courses through my veins as I type, darling, but perhaps it gets lost once the virtual ink dries on a typographically finished post.

Darling, I will let you go for the moment - figuratively speaking, as you know - and launch this missile - I mean missive. Perhaps those readings yesterday rubbed off on me a little more than I know.

Many kisses, dearest, wherever you are, I hope all is well with you. All my love - Belle

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Hello darling, back from a literary reading at the local international arts colony, several writers in current residence taking to the dais to read excerpts from their work, a diverse array of writings. Notes of great violence ran through some of the imagined stories, seeming to link them - Palestinian suicide bombers; homegrown abortion clinic bombers; a gondola accident in the clear blue - startling to hear, yet refreshing too, such direct references to catastrophic abyss, reflective of the tenor of our times. No sugarcoating.

I miss you, it would have been nice if you could have been there with me, we might have stayed and shared a plate of wonderful food that I ended up bringing home with me, which will be tonight's dinner. I was flattered that a guy chatted me up as I stood on the buffet line, and I don't know, I might have stayed and talked to him more, but he was just ahead of me, and once he'd finished being plated, off he went and when I was done with plating myself I glanced around to look for him and there he was all the way on the other side of the room chatting up one of the featured writers, a particularly attractive young woman, lithe & sensuous, who'd read aloud from her humorous and provocative work. And so of course I didn't press it. In the all of two minutes he and I had conversed - speed date! - he learned that I'm a writer, and I that he teaches literature. Perhaps I'll teach your work one day, he said with a smile. I doubt it, I said, internally shuddering, unless posthumously. Upon which I became a bit flustered. How the hell do I explain my morally ambiguous (that is to say, utterly wanton) writing? Oh, and plus, who's that plate of food for anyway? What, no wedding ring? Darling - in the immortal bon mots of Bob Schneider - oh what a mess I must confess. So I fled, which seemed the only proper thing to do. Still, I'm kicking myself just a bit, it might have been nice to stay and mingle, flirt a little maybe - how am I ever to meet anyone corporeal if I keep flying to hide under the nearest rock? Still, it was gratifying, for just that little minute, to feel that perhaps I'd attracted a nice-looking guy's attention, he was pretty cute & very well-spoken, teaches Lysistrata to prisoners, I kid you not. Do you know Lysistrata?, he asked me, as the aroma of BBQ short ribs wafted our way from the buffet table. Greek tragedy? I was feeling nearsighted. I'm so unused to talking to people that I realize that I need contact lenses or something - his face was so close to mine (that is, standing next to each other on this line), that he was a bit blurry, and as though in need of readers I found myself tilting my head back a bit just so he'd come into sharp focus. No, no it's a comedy - about women on an island who withhold sex from the menfolk. I guffawed, and reparteed with - oh, that must go over great with the prisoners! I asked him if his students write papers, and he said they have very limited access to books, so can't do much research. So I suggested (rather pretentiously) that they go the New Criticism route, simply analyze the text itself.

No wonder he fled to the super-sexy novelist way over on the other side of the room...

Oh darling, I'm just kidding around, perhaps he was a player, perhaps just friendly, or who knows, if he teaches prisoners, then maybe he was feeling a bit sprung himself, don't I know the feeling. Probably I should have stayed a bit longer - what do you think?

Oh never mind what you think - well, no, I don't mean it that way. It's just that a huge part of me - having carved out this hugely inconvenient uncertain ground for myself - loves to come home to tap messages to you through the prison walls.

This is just such a message, my love. And other than that, this woman prisoner on her own island had her wicked way with you to fantastic avail, all in the privacy of her own bedchamber.

Yours, in whatever is the opposite of Lysistrata

xoxo darling
many many kisses

Friday, September 23, 2011

Dear love, putting my arms around you and giving you a big kiss. I hope you've been having a wonderful day. Mine has been pretty idyllic, especially the last couple of hours.

I'm just back from the CSA farm, which had been severely flooded during Hurricane Irene, they lost seventeen acres of planted crops due to the "500 year" flood. Shareholders paid extra for a "winter share," a post-Thanksgiving box of root vegetables. The farm has scrapped that plan, offering refunds, and is breaking into that cache of produce now to try to make up for the shortfall. What a nightmare. I'm very in awe of their hard work & perseverance, I absolutely would not, didn't ever, have what it takes to be a farmer. These people are exceptionally intelligent and visionary too. They farm on conserved land, coordinate with the National Park Service (there's an adjacent historic site), and they're biodynamic (organic and then some, very holistic) in the way they grow their crops. They realize that they're going to have to quit farming their lowlying fields, and are looking to acquire, lease or somehow else get hold of dry upland acreage to cultivate. They have a lot of supporters and shareholders, not just up here. They convey to farm markets in the Albany Capital Region, Westchester, and the City too - they're a bigger deal than I even realized. That has to be true, they are just too expert & erudite about what they do. I can imagine especially the Dutch farmer testifying before highlevel policymakers to lay out his experience, expertise, and recommendations as to supporting local, sustainable, biodynamic (e.g., methods that replenish the soil) farming.

My dearest, I'm back from that rainy drive, having greatly enjoyed it. Lucky me, a David Gray song came on, Sail Away, which followed a very passionate, romantic song entitled Sophia - I don't recall the name of the artist, a 22-year old Englishwoman. She was so ardent that I could imagine it was Emily Bronte on the heaths singing. And then came David Gray's response - Heathcliff's as far as I'm concerned! Sail away with me honey - oh yes please do.

Corn fields are mowed, leaves are starting to turn. A number of trees are bare already due to all the wet weather - they couldn't take it and bypassed the autumnal blaze altogether, leaves simply turning brown and dropping off. Even now the weather is strange, tropical and mild, from a 7-day forecast I glimpsed it seems that it's to be damp and in the low-70s for the foreseeable future, unusual for this time of year.

I came back with a slightly odd mix of produce, reflecting both high summer & late fall. Plum & beefsteak tomatoes... potatoes, a "bonbon" turban-shaped winter squash, onions, beets without their greens. But also a bowlful of glistening, pristine flavorful mixed lettuce, and another of pungent arugula.

I went around the bins placing vegetables in my bags, took them to the car, and returned to the barn for scissors to take to the long planted ribbon of annuals, to snip flowers for vases. "I tried to keep things simple today..." There is something about that particular activity, that and later at home, arranging the blooms in various vessels and placing them around the house, that completely relaxes me. I survey the border as I make my way along it, spy a bright red zinnia here, another one there. The ritual causes me to slow down, take step after slow step (the border is raised along a slight hillock of very uneven ground). I admire the whole of the stands of flowers, spy a bloom, decide to clip it, but maybe not the one next to it - leave it for the next person. And on and on like that down the row, along the progression of varied flowers - salvias, dark maroon sunflowers, cosmos, and today, for the first time, blue cornflowers, feathery blue cut diamonds.

I thought of you so much on my way home, utterly blissed out, yet obeying the speed limit on that treacherous highway, slick in the rain, I was glad to soon get off it onto a gentle road that cuts for miles between corn fields - green canyons a few weeks ago, since cleared to brown earth.

Sail away with me honey... ah we almost could in this weather. A gentle composition of rain patters outside the windows. It is cozy up here in the aerie, lamps on that cast warm quiet light. My fingers tap. Ice in my glass of pink wine tinkles (tiny bells ringing, as though I were summoning the help!). I look forward to dinner, Indian garam masala chicken, drumsticks marinaded in a concoction of exotic, fragrant spices - cardamom seeds

(seeded by hand, by me! I stood at the counter splitting open pods, a third the size of pistachios and similar in shape, flaking out the tiny seeds. It took some minutes (too many) to yield "1 Tablespoon." Ah, thank goodness for my life of the mind, I wonder what I was thinking about as I went through that - oh, let me guess, wow this is boring will this task ever end, if saffron is the most expensive possible item in a supermarket, can cardamom seeds be far behind, oh darling)

cumin, cinammon sticks, cloves, fresh ginger, cilantro

Sweetheart, I interrupt this reverie to ask you rhetorically -
WTF is happening in this country, esp. in Washington,
with the Republican Congress
I do what I can, sign every petition that comes my way
(several a day sometimes, these days, in my inbox)
on all great causes - in my estimation -
such as keeping the air clean
I'm not oblivious
and yet I can't deal with it directly
I have no power, and no money (would love to give & give & give to my favorite candidates, but simply can't)
what a drag esp. after that horrible mega-corporatist Supreme Court decision (Citizens United) that gave Goliath unlimited cash

So I have this strange bifurcated life
stepping along a flower border, picking posies
driving in the rain
listening to beautiful songs
looking forward to spending time with you, dearest Captain
and at the same time - yes, I become frightened not only of my own mortality (a subject of its own, given lack of health insurance)
but the whole fate of our nation
the landscape has changed so much, hasn't it, since you and I came up in the world? It's barely recognizable to me.

I have to say, I feel very ineffective as a political writer.
All I can do is to cherish what I enjoy today, and to lament what I've lost.

I have no interest in grassroots organizing, even though I realize that that's what's required, to push back. But I'm simply not that person, that's not where my energies lie.

My dearest. At various times today I have pictured you before me, you're stroking my face affectionately, and I yours. I touch your hair. You kiss me. We murmur in the darkness. Our limbs meet and entwine, our bodies are strong and healthy and fit together. Our hands do CSA runs over each other's biodynamic presences, your shape - narrower at the hips, more angular, flared at the shoulders, taller - different from mine, rounder, softer, shorter, my hair long, breasts full, voice higher-pitched...

Dearest love, the rain has picked up, patters. I think of you, the whole night through. Many kisses.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dear love, I'm neither so sublime nor you so ridiculous - is that how you think of us, La Gioconda and a persona of Mr. Atkinson's? Having queried to see for myself, the resultant merged image is not in my view a prime example of natural selection...

Dearest, I have been feeling off the last couple of days, I don't know what it is. Part of it is that it is hard to keep up this blog every single day. Even E.D. had her productive years, and the last two decades of her life didn't write much poetry at all, though Sewall wonders if her creative energies went into letter-writing possibly, a great deal of which now is lost. My post yesterday was a mess, so much so I could hardly figure out how to redeem it this morning. By late afternoon I was feeling a little more energetic and determined in the editorial department, and managed cleanup tweaks.

Anyway, that's how I'm feeling, a bit all over the place, like a scarecrow akimbo, limbs jutting out, packing bursting from the seams. I believe in the theory of evolution, I do, no question. I believe that species evolve... But I find myself with this inchoate sense or unease about it being construed as the grand unifying reductive Theory of Everything, and sometimes I find extemporizings on the subject to be dispiritedly (literally) - de-spirited, heartless. And I fear that the theory becomes a rationalization for cruel, heartless, selfish behavior. Because, as I personally have ever understood Darwin, I'm not sure that, for example, ancestral species as they selected mates for breeding by natural selection, did it quite so consciously and deliberately - to the point where it veers off into eugenics. And surely there's a difference between eugenics and natural selection. Also, I'm aware that there's a cultural phenomenon of "social Darwinism" - our supposedly classless, utterly ruthless system relies on it - but it makes me nervous if or when I sense that scientific expositions on the subject of evolution, end up reading like apologias for conquering civilizations, or ways of being, at every scale. I wonder then, if that's science, or a theory that is being taken too far, and I really wonder if even unconsciously the theory is reflective of the ruthless times we're in, where the "strongest" (megacorporations, the very wealthiest, and the like) with some sense of self-justification throw everything else under the bus.

Sometimes I think that the theory of evolution - as much as, again, I do believe in it, in a limited fashion - appeals very strongly to a certain type of person - one perhaps, who more readily objectifies. And by saying this, I am not, or don't intend, some potshot against someone very very dear to me... No, it's more that, I just don't experience the world, and others, and mind, and spirit, that way.

So you see, darling, I remember standing in a pew in front of you in the cathedral that morning, and the priest had taken a mindless gratuitous potshot at evolution, I've forgotten what he said exactly. I was very turned off. I am so not anywhere near an expert in any aspect of this, not on the theoretical side, or scientific, or religious. But it doesn't seem so black & white to me either, that either one accepts or rejects "evolution." Which inevitably splits down the atheist/theist line. I personally don't see it that way at all. But I am resistant to seeing the theory used as a one-size-fits-all answer to cover absolutely everything - it is too reductionist from my point of view. I reject the idea that It All has to boil down to one number, to one theorem - the drive towards reductionism is a bias in itself, one that I experientially (also phenomenologically) reject.

I feel very comfortable with an idea of God, who works in mysterious ways - among those mysteries, the amazing panoply of constantly unfurling & developing creation, over time, and encompassing change. And all the human dramas, and beautiful play among other species. And the fractal nature of even a fringe of trees against a sky -- it's all about complexity. And to my mind it's all the manifestation...

I see it as dynamic, and in flux, and I can see how evolution plays a part, of course I do, as life teemingly teems towards

The right soundtrack to my thoughts, at this point, might be the overture to Bach's Saint Matthew's Passion.

Ah, yet another post that's a mess. I'm sorry. And yet, I am still wrestling with this. I was badly treated, a very very long time ago, by someone I fell deeply in love with, forever as it turned out. He went off as though nothing had happened. And yet I know that I mean a lot to him, to this day, so it's transpired. And I just wonder about that, about how much his intellect, and theories about things, played a part in his actions, and his life as it has unfolded (of which I have not been a part and know next to nothing about). There's a part of my mind that metaphorically almost views his book as an autobiography - a reflection of his mind. Actually, he did write to me (later, and it's not in the book) that his book is quite conceptual - but do you know, I think that may go over a lot of people's heads. Perhaps precisely what he wrote to me, in an offhand message, about it being almost surrealist in intent - perhaps that clarification might have found a place in his book.

Look, I don't know, and I've been feeling guilty these days, because I have these strange mixed-up feelings, that could well be viewed as passive-aggressive, and I really don't want it to be that.

Okay, well here's another post that's a mess. I don't choose, I love you both. You're both naughty, and one's good. Which isn't to say that the other one isn't, but one is really, very, very good. Has evinced heart, as far as I could ever tell, the whole way.

I had an intimate time
with you
this morning
ah Montana...
oh Europe

and do you know
I've figured out the trick
I use both toys now
switch off as I need to
to great effect

I love you, very very much.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My dearest, up in the aerie, feeling in-between in many ways, achey & fatigued, yet contented. I'm enjoying being up here, dinner is on the stove, a stirfry of sauteed mushrooms, peppers, onion, jalapeno, and summer squash, seasoned with leftover London broil and low-sodium soy sauce. Rice is set up, just needs to go. I was out on the porch a little while ago, hoping that a hummingbird might appear. I haven't seen any this year, not yet anyway, though a monarch came by, settled on a newel, flapped its wings, and descended into the buddleia. A cacophony of chickens, like teens loitering, squawked and fretted. Claire, who needs to be Frontlined against tics & fleas - but she darts away - settled on the driveway paws tucked beneath her, daring us to grab her. Ah, so in between stuff - well, now here I am, and it's early yet, but dusky, or just overcast, but certainly the sun is setting earlier, and for the first time in months I've turned on an overhead light that hangs above the stairs to the aerie. I like that lamp - an inverted milk-glass dome, reminiscent of a half moon, that glows presidingly in the interior sky. It makes me think of the moon itself, which I rarely in summer glimpse directly, it's too buggy to go out. (I did just that a couple of months ago and was so eaten-alive at my ankles & feet that I had to resort to steroid cream to quell the inflammations.)

And so it's half day, up here, yet with a moon shining bright; no hummingbirds, but flowers in the garden are bright as in June. Those chickens' days are numbered, by the way, they have a date certain with an abattoir in October. I will miss them, I enjoy their presence, they liven up the place with their vigilance and vocalized scampering dramas.

I think of you too, dearest, as you know. I'm nearing the end of the Sewall biography of E.D., and feel immeasurably illuminated as to her, and also Sewall's expansive, exhaustive, sensitive take, frankly, has given me insight into myself. I have my own literary talent (I suppose, and by this I don't mean to be coyly modest) but E.D.'s was in a class of its own. I am continually, any time I read a poem of hers, or fragment of a letter, blown away by her economy, concision, the stark, deft, unelaborated metaphor - (chicken) feet in the snow - now there's a punning analogy that E.D. herself might enjoy (ha! I hatched one!).

Darling, I'm babbling. I'd love nothing better than to be with you, spritzed head to toe with bug spray, stepping outside wherever you are to glimpse the moon, or if you're much later than me, and skies are clear (are they ever there, on what I imagine to be fogbound sea?), to stargaze.

Oh right, back to E.D. Especially in pages of the Sewall that I've recently read - the tome is possibly reaching its conclusions - its apogee (is that the word I want?) - but in certain respects I do feel as though I'm reading about myself, or a person like me, of my temperament. I feel a strong affinity towards her, and better understanding of myself, reading this at times psychological exploration. E.D. is Sewall's subject, as surely as Anna Karenina was Tolstoy's, or Emma Bovary Flaubert's, and yet - as much as I often absolutely do find truth "to be in fiction" - I don't feel as close to those fictional literary heroines, proximately understood, than I do - at this moment, or these days – to this young woman (she was always essentially young, she died at age 56) who felt herself - in between things in some sense, immersed in others - but not, certainly, in some established groove, hewing, ostensibly originally, but steeped, avatar of one's time, in hypocrisies, unable, quite, to see above its conventions.

I am the Belle of my own life, as I write my own story, who various characters in it have meant to me, and why. And I feel shifting perspectives, like the moon, rising sometimes (just now for all I know, right behind me) in the east at this hour, illuminating through the windows in black night the aerie before dawn, poised like a golfball in blue firmament some bright mornings.

I feel a tidal pull, and better understanding, towards

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My dearest, I wonder where you are, if you've been in transit, and landed, and are either asleep or set off straight to the office, working long hours. I don't know. I just speculate, wonder, surmise. Spin a little narrative out of nothing, that might make sense. At any rate, wherever and whenever you are, I hope all is well with you.

My thoughts have had a metaphysical cast today, a mishmash of assorted thoughts & impressions. I dreamt about you last night, a long jumbled fragmentary dream, and yet it did hang together with a coherent story line. We were together, but with your family & others and, much as in life, we wished to be together (I certainly did, and I sensed it from you, in my dream, believed it to be true) but were constrained not to be, and as well to scrupulously conceal our feelings. I woke up in the middle of the night feeling sad, the separation from you so vivid in my dream, but as I lay in the darkness, my arms wrapped around a pillow, soon enough happy, loving thoughts of you crept in and I fell back asleep.

At the same time, yesterday I read a NY Times profile of the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, which in turn reminded me of points 1.0 made in his book that I recently finished reading. For one thing, they both find (as I understand it) evolution progressive, that it is about perfectability, or if not that, then increasing complexity. I myself, in my spacey armchair way wonder if that's always true, because (and I'm not "trying to be funny") there seems to be such a devolution of species, seemingly - people seemingly becoming not more complex at all, but rather more bovine, and/or rabid, not to mention (too many of them) grotesquely obese. Darling, I know I'm not making sense, I'm sorry. (I am feeling tired, but what else is new.)

Anyway, both Dawkins (in the profile) and 1.0 in his book, touch on the idea of mind evolving past the need for the mortal coil, and that machines might one day think, write novels even. To which I viscerally can't help but react - great, I can believe that humans would be capable of creating a sentient machine that thinks - and then what would we do to it? Torture it and make it feel miserable, that's what - just what we do to one another, as well as to every other species that we haven't either made extinct or (mainly) miserable (coddled pets, such as cute Beverly Hills lapdogs with tragic hairloss issues excepted).

So I've been incoherently mulling over these ideas for weeks now, since reading 1.0's clearly thoughtprovoking book, and then - hard upon waking from a dream with you in it - I thought - wait, we're the ghost in the machine. I mean, I feel as though mind did need corporeality, and somehow or other settled on (among others) the human species - and here we are. And I say this not from a philosophical point of view about the nature of consciousness, and certainly not from any strict religious point of view (of which I sincerely hope I am not, in my mild, personal musings, perceived to be taking aim - I'm not, not at all), but rather from a very personal, visceral spiritual sense - of on rare (or maybe not so rare, but occasionally extraordinarily memorable) occasion of having encountered, communicated with, touched, another spirit, bound within his mortal coil. I had such a moment with you, dearest, the last time you and I were together - that is, at occasional instants occupying the same rooms - over the course of the space of a day, all of 26 hours I think it was. And at that moment, I had felt half - I want to say dizzy, but no it wasn't that - but a bit believing, yet disbelieving, incredulous, that it was you, and - just as in my dream last night - there was all this need for keeping things hidden. Which at that point you were way more practiced at, when it comes to me - it was I who had had the shock of realization that you were much less of a background figure than I could possibly have ever imagined. Shot to the foreground, suddenly, and I was happy. But stunned, and - as I said - incredulous. (And I can imagine having, if it had been someone else - 99.99999% of anyone else - of whom I would have been not elated, not at all - but severely turned off.) So even to - all in this quiet unspoken way - to realize -

Still, where I'm trying to go with this, was there was this one tiny moment where you and I stood together for the briefest moment in the dining room, and you looked at me, and I looked at you, and I swear - I had this sense of - that it wasn't yours and my bodies and eyes and names and formal relationships encountering each other - but in fact, minds - or more than that, spirits. That we were two spirits that have great affinity towards one another, and it was the first moment that our spirits met on those terms and acknowledged each other -- a singular moment, and no more than that, that happened without anyone else's notice, in that bustling downstairs room, preparations for festivities going on all about us, in various corners, adjoining rooms.

And then we don't see each other, can't possibly, and yet here we are, communicating each and every day. And it's not about my words that I type and send out over the ether being instantly potentially immortal artifacts of thought, though there is always that possibility, perhaps even now (assuming the fact that google & its draft.blogger are in the beginning stages of a Borgesian infinite "Library of Babel"). It's that - in just the way that, standing in that dining room, several feet away from you, the two of us frozen for a second, regarding each other, my sensing absolute electricity from you and my feeling the same - that our spirits had encountered and recognized and acknowledged each other, and after that there could only be mutual, tacit understanding.

Right, so in that same way - our minds touch via my writing, and your (I'm convinced of it) reading what I write - it's our spirits connecting - I suppose without the mortal coil, though in fact our physical bodies are completely necessary for this connection, across space & time, to occur.

My darling love, this is not meant as some sort of polemical rejoinder (I confess I feel guilty about what in instant retrospect felt like, some days or weeks ago, a driveby, unthought-out criticism I made of one of 1.0's book's conclusions - I apologize, truly, I was reacting to an idea that I find myself grappling with in my way).

My dearest, day is fading to night, there's a heavenly aroma of peach pie wafting up the stairs...

And how extraordinary it is that I think of you, and that you think of me. And we're not machines. We're humans. With spirits, implanted somehow in our bodies, spirits that don't always find release do they? Vitruvian, biodynamic... love. Those are ways of being that help bring out spirit - longburied, sometimes - at least that's what I've found for me.

Many kisses, my dearest love. See you again here, and perhaps, in my dreams.

Love you.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Dear love, peaceful hour, afternoon tipping towards dusk, sun fading, light flattening, after straw and gold all day, to monochrome shades of black & white. Flowers from the garden - as are these - are especially precious, summer paddling out, receding in the distance, or maybe it's us paddling towards the icebergs. This time of year, inbetween, one glimpses both, as if setting off from the southernmost tip of South America, where it's summer, for Antarctica. Is that why, in stores, September outfits are sometimes in shades of black & white, as if to offer counterpoint to the change of seasons, with its brilliant colors in some senses - flowers blooming, foliage blaze coming - but still this palpable sense of the earth tilting, paradoxically, in the northern hemisphere, closer to the sun, which means that days (like the fashionable off-white pants I'm wearing, cropped just above the ankle) become in tiny increments, then inexorably, colder, and foreshortened.

Ah, my dear, so that's my little take on what it's like to sit here at this moment, 6:28, thinking of you (the whole day through) and tapping, typing, across the universe to you. I had a nice day, off-kilter though, in that I felt the urge to put together a morning post for you, which took a while, so most everything got delayed, including my shower & getting dressed. But by one it was done & "in the mail" with sufficient postage

(as was, at the same time, by different mode, a package to My Friend, kindly dispatched at the post office by D, containing a 2012 calendar of Hudson River Art paintings, a year's worth he can puzzle over in Finland, along with a little note with birthday wishes scribbled on the back of a recycled Swoon daily dinner menu ("Maine Peekytoe Crab Salad") He can puzzle over that too.)
Actually, it was a lovely package I put together for him. I even giftwrapped it, in decorative pale silver-and-lavender paisley-patterned paper - the lovely Olana shopping bag, which sliced open and cockspatched like a hen, formed just nearly large enough a sheet to wrap the cellosealed calendar. There was just a little gap at the top - but M.F.inF. - once he unties the bit of iridescent pearly curling ribbon that I unearthed from a bag of Christmas wrap, and took pains to take scissors to & curl - and then sealed it with a gorgeous Olana sticker - it was a lovely gift. My ambassadorial gesture, as a not-so-ugly-American, towards maintenance of peaceful Finn-American relations. Are there any issues? If there have been, perhaps akin to running my fingers over the tape as I wrapped the gift, they are cosmically smoothed over.)

and then my day proceeded apace, sorta kinda, like a deadheaded train doing little local runs (e.g., between Stamford & New Canaan) before being pressed back into service on the main line for the evening rush all the way to & from Grand Central.

Which is to say, that I got back on track after a profligate weekend, and did a workout, to Charlie Rose, and was thrilled to hear everything Simon Schama had to say, he makes the utmost perfect sense to me, his animated and devastatingly astute take on the current political state of affairs in our country. He spoke it, in his own way, as I myself see it, as this fundamental divide - the Tea Party wants nothing short of getting rid of government altogether. Schama is much more eloquent on the subject than I ever could be, but I felt just so gratified to hear his voice uttering just what he uttered, and not just on the pages of Salon (as great as Salon is). I mean, to me it symbolically seemed to signify that his point of view is gaining - as well it should be! - mainstream, establishment even, traction.

And after all the leg lifts & stomach crunches and the rest, I showered, and went downstairs, and lunched on the rest of a broccoli-rabe/turkey sausage pasta I'd made yesterday and warmed up for lunch for D, and then I went for a walk, and lay down for a nap, and got up again and organized a mixed salad and made dressing (as at Christmas! your Nigella laughed to remember as she shook the jar of honeycup mustard by the kitchen window), and went out to fill the empty birdfeeders, cats & chickens following me -

and that's about it darling
which brings me to this moment
there was only one thing that I didn't get to today
but it's okay, there's always tomorrow
and I've had so many wonderful impressions & memories & abiding thoughts of you all day
I was quite wakeful in the early hours overnight and it was such a comfort to think of you, wrap my arms around you, in an erotic way, sensual certainly, oh I don't know, just the two of us on a chilly dark night in a bedroom finding warmth & comfort in each other's arms, not necessarily, at that hour, the most goal-oriented intense perspective, far from it
not "cozy" either, exactly
we could luxuriate in encountering each other's skin and forms even as, at that stranded hour, one or both of us were much too tired to do anything about it, not anything organized that is
but still that silken touch, skin to skin

ah! sweetheart: I describe an hour - not the one, now, at 7:10, I'm in
can't do anything about it
the darkness, here, is chaste
golden afternoons, whatever the weather, when I have the house to myself
ablaze

... wherever you are I'm always game
to take a stroll down that lovely garden path with you
and as cedars do, hold hands...
***
Dearest Edward, no William Morris sidewalks yesterday at Olana, just gravel paths, but a beautiful stroll through the flower garden, I imagined you there with me, you would have enjoyed it very much.
Have a wonderful day, darling. Many kisses.


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images:
Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890), Le Jardin du Poète à Arles, 1888, 73 x 92 cm., oil on canvas, private collection.

William Morris Stamp Set, Royal Mail, United Kingdom, issued May 5, 2011

***

Sunday, September 18, 2011

My dearest, up in the aerie, cardigan over my shoulders as I type, the air cooling as the sun goes down, back from a pleasant jaunt, the car mine at 3:30, and me having fit everything in including ecstasy, I drove to Olana, stopping first at a farmstand where I bought a brilliant bunch of exuberant coral, peach, & yellow-centered zinnias, thirsty flowers that I stuck in a drinking glass of water that I'd put in the cupholder for that very purpose. (Took a few sips first as I too was thirsty.) And there was winter squash to be had at the roadside spread, and red onion, and cartons of peaches, which I ignored. Olana is five minutes from there, and I arrived after four, correctly guessing that I'd thus bypass the "vehicle user fee" (a/k/a, a particularly regressive form of taxation that hits less-moneyed classes hardest, and possibly has a dampening effect on their ability to visit such a magnificent park - but I digress), five dollars that I preferred to spend in the giftshop where I was headed, which is full of eye candy for me. It's a small dimly lit space, with a  nice corner of books & notecards relating to Olana and to the Hudson River School of Art. Also they feature a few exquisite items, such as decorative locally-fired ceramic tiles - at $20 and $35 apiece, but - oh, if my fireplace could be thus festooned, no - that's not the right word, just so decoratively and rightly enhanced with these beautifully hewn and charming glazed stylized tiles... Ah well. When D & I were in the so-called planning stages of trading in the windfall from the sale of our one-bedroom in Brooklyn, for a fixer-upper with "bones," I thought he & I were on the same page - that we might be crafting something together - it didn't happen, or sort of did, but there's an awful lot of willfully (of psychic necessity) walking around with blinders on, on my part, just so I can deal with all the disrepair. This morning though I finally, out of sheer exasperation, picked a battle. We've been here over six years. It's just the two of us. There is one towel rack. For two bath towels. I am tired of perpetually damp towels, or mine strewn to dry over the shower rod. Yes, but not without a very tedious argument - yes, finally there is a second towel rod now put up, as of an hour ago, on which my bath towel is spread to dry. I just wonder - and I asked him this - how do you yourself stand it? Of course the retort was that he's "the only one working around here." These days, yes that's true. I don't really know what to say. I'm not blameless. I don't know. I have this whole other script (like a computer virus) that goes on in my head. I'm not sure if it's fair or accurate. Maybe it doesn't matter. I used to have a lot of energy. He banked on it. Now I don't. What would I do if I even suddenly got a whole lot of energy? What is there for me to do? So I type. No, not really, I write - I suppose it can be called that. (Though I'm always cowed by people, many much younger than me, who are on their first or third or seventeenth novel or volume of poetry or whatever.) I don't know. I guess, I just feel that I'm doing all I feel I could be doing, that I have, in this strange place I'm in. What D really wanted, I realize now, was for me to be the strong one pulling in the steady income, the "Wellesley" woman he thought he'd married. And for a while I convincingly pulled off that act, it was a bad strain on me, and the older I got the harder it was for me to pull it off, it wasn't me. I didn't have children, and now I do this. Yeah, maybe I am a bitch - maybe I'm reclaiming at least something I felt that I didn't quite get. It's very confusing to me. It's not quid pro quo - either I was going to have the viable option of having a child (wasn't viable at all in the conundrum of two-earner requirement in a one-bedroom in Brooklyn), or I was going to try for something else later. What I refuse to accept is simply not striving, not trying, not having a dream. If you're going to have a Catholic education and then reject it, then at least == well, just because I still feel a glimmer of hope - I can't be dragged down because he doesn't. And then it becomes class warfare between us, which completely sucks. But he never had the dream, or it got sucked out of him for some reason only he never did anything about it. But is that any reason for me to not turn from a caterpillar to a butterfly?

Very great, sincere apologies for this post. I don't have an unambiguous life.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Hello my dearest, my day was in the doldrums a bit, in that the wind never caught the sails. D had promised me the car at some point in the afternoon, and I thought I might go to Olana to find a birthday card or little present for My Friend in Finland, but D's day didn't go right, and he didn't get back til five, but no matter, not at all, I'll simply go tomorrow, my days are pretty fungible that way. Maybe it worked out just as well, by the time I got D's text msg that he'd be late, I'd woken from a short nap, after a couple of hours of moseying around the kitchen tidying and cooking, and what I hadn't had at that point in my day, after a beautiful walk in the morning, pleasurable reading (still) of the E.D. biography, was beautiful time with you, my fantasizing settled pretty firmly today in your treehouse to which you'd made a special trip. Anyway, it worked out, much to my relief. And now that windows are closed (the days and especially nights are getting chilly), I feel no hesitation in letting it all out however I wish. Amazing, the involuntariness of it, that precipitous moment. I never (or rarely) was so loud, but now maybe feel less constrained. I wonder if my vocalizing is actually tied up with it? If I had to keep silent would it still work? I think yes, and yet the vocalizing - it counts, it's another aspect of expression of that other dimension. Still, if you and I had to do it on the fly someplace, very quickly, in a dark corner, when others are out of the house, someplace else, and by some miracle we have been left alone together, or perhaps you come to me in the middle of the night, creep downstairs to the narrow sofa where I've crashed for the night - I don't know if I would come, maybe I would, probably would be the whole time - in some ecstatic state no doubt - but certainly I could be quiet, whether or not you gently place your hand over my mouth and muffle my exhalations with your warm beautiful self, rearing and exclaiming on your own. Darling, I hope I'm not writing or needlepointing myself into a corner, I don't intend on being lurid & out-there on every post. But still, today was a quiet day, and - well, for how little went on - this writeup is reflective. I for one am glad for my cerebral double life - my life, for me, would otherwise be intolerable. I'm so glad that you found me, and that I found you.

I'm having trouble winding up this post, restlessly tweaking words. I just wish if we ever do meet again in a crowded room that somehow we manage to have a private moment to ourselves, if it's only to go out together in frigid early morning, before anyone else is up, an hour when in that house you can hear the clocks ticking, and you know how to disable the alarm, and we slip out the back, bundled up in our winter coats and simply stroll together and enjoy each other's presence and maybe nothing happens we barely even touch except for hands brushing now & then, as if accidentally, or you hold a door open for me and touch my back to invite me to pass through. We return to the house and someone else has been up and started coffee - or perhaps it was us - yes it was, we stand there in the dusk kitchen listening to the coffeemaker burble & drip - no, actually we're spared those noises because we were organized to set it going before we set off for our walk - because as it turned out - the milk in the fridge was off - had curdled! And so we were back from an errand whose fresh wax-carton result would gladden all the adults and coming-up progeny who detest taking their coffee black.

Many many kisses, darling.


image: William Morris (1834-1896), detail of the Woodpecker tapestry, 1885, William Morris Gallery at Water House, Walthamstow, London (full-image & interesting writeup about the tapestry, here)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Start with where you are. A little breathless, a bit scattered. Unsuccessful go just now, still nice, but I didn't, couldn't, there was a turkey to get out of the oven, wash to get off the line, cats to feed. Heart still pounding, so close. Ran outside in panties and pink cashmere sweater, threw on dark green fleece over the lot to be decent, which only covered my panties so probably it looked as though I was wearing nothing underneath. Take clothing off the line, shirts and jeans, stuff into huge blue recycled bag. I figure no one's around, just cats and chickens. The neighbors of the chickens won't care, I've glimpsed them in deshabille. I look up: children, a boy & a girl, other neighbors, selling something for school. They're very nice children but I was total deer in headlights in my still slightly addled state, plus not-quite-ready for company R-rated outfit. Can you come back tomorrow? I said. (Damn! Only encouraging them. They will come back. I hope what they're selling isn't expensive, and/or is something I would like. Doubtful, on both.) Darling, we were in the treehouse, and then I was Dutch, and then I was in Kansas, and I was wearing first one outfit then another, couldn't quite get it fixed in my mind, black, fishnet, lace, I swear I was trying to design the thing and it wasn't working, and you were a minotaur, and then you were a dog, and then you were just beautiful you, and then just a part of you, and I was kissing you, and you were kissing me, various places, and then the batteries seemed to fade so I went back to toy #1 which packs a punch but is so loud I get distracted all over again getting used to it but then I do and actually I like the shape of it better, more realistic for this hetero woman. Don't let me forget I put in the root vegetables - a pan of them, squash, onion, carrot - in at 6:15, I should take them out by seven. 6:40 now. This morning - no, it was afternoon, instead of C.R. - no, that's not right, it was around 11:40 and blessedly I was off by noon, and it was seismic and went on & on and I could hardly believe it for moments & moments on end, like that rolling earthquake a few days before the hurricane that originated in Virginia and sent powerful shivers all the way to Canada because the ground here is so soft, or something. Doorjambs in Hudson in the old brick buildings shifted & moved and D's had some strange sudden calls for unusual repairs that he suspects are due to the quake. Oh those children are going to tell their daddy that I wasn't wearing much - or maybe they're just so sweet that they weren't so observant. I was holding that big huge Ikea bag for decency. Oh, it's okay, don't worry, it's just that - I'm on a deadend street, nobody ever comes over, and wouldn't you know - the moment I sneak out. Can you tell the state I'm in? Oh I'm okay, really, and yet if I could only have reached that pinnacle I would have been thrilled & happy and leapt out of bed into my sandals and said all rightee, what's next. So what else is new with me? I've been in or around the house all week, finally today had the car for a bit, to go to the library and to the CSA for the week's share. Such a big huge event in my week! I showered & shampooed my hair (this now, was after my vigorous workout to talk shows that I normally don't watch - I'm not that sort of housewife) and dressed in my pretty Pucci top & black skirt and the cardigan half of a black cashmere twinset, and spritzed on perfume (oh how I love it) and clasped on my watch (love wearing that too), and donned sunglasses and my nice black wedge heeled sandals and flew out the door and thought of you all the way as I drove along rural roads, past cornfields whose stalks have been cutdown, past tractors, and so much unfortunate roadkill (I'm always startled, including on my walk - this morning, a dead frog, eyes still open, an unfortunate garter snake; on my drive, a hedgehog. Tragic, seriously. Horrible planet, and we just keep mowing past all this wonderful life in these big huge machines. Somewhere a hedgehog family is missing possibly an extremely key member, and by that I'm not anthropomorphizing.) Okay darling, I'm settling down from getting myself to the 98% state and no further before all sorts of everything else intervened. I'm still in the pink cashmere cardigan (that I sleep in, and I had to pretend it was black fishnet - which just stretches my credulity when I'm so vividly trying to imagine not only the look but feel of you and disregarding buzz and batteries and need for squirts of babelube) paired now with that diaphanous summery skirt, not a bad combination, for the aerie. My cat Gwynnie looks just like a little lapdog that was on Anderson C. - the little dog, from Beverly Hills, is so cute, it has an agent. When I pulled into the driveway with my haul from the CSA cats & chickens scattered, and then Gwynnie ran up to greet me. You're so cute you need an agent I told her, reaching down to pet her. The bags of produce are still downstairs, I should unpack them: carrots with their tops, peppers, tomatoes - peaches still. My God, I am so sick of peaches, plus I thought they were a rather delicate stone fruit - how can it be that we've had two solid months of them. I am still eating mazurek made from a basket from two weeks ago, last week's are still in the fridge - and today, another batch. Next week, says the newsletter: apples. Before I left D came home with the car (of course) and with basil from a client's garden - oh good more pesto. And on my way home I stopped at a stand way way back from a cornfield - and picked up six ears of fresh corn, for $2.50. Bookend supplements to the CSA haul. This post is a mess. Thomas Higginson, E.D.'s friend, would hate me. He prized form over content, polishing, working prose or poetry over, thus serving and showing proper respect to the Art. That form should contain the content much like a corset (here we go again).

Do you know that I've been recently - in Brooklyn, at a shop - measured as a 40DDD? It is very hard for my form to be contained by a corset, in any way. And so perhaps my hybrid prose-poem love letters reflects that busting out all over. I love it myself. I hope you do too. Every inch of you, oh my darling love, wherever you are, dikes or wheatfields.

All my love, dearest dearest.
Must run w/out proofing. 7:10. Root vegetables more than done.
xoxo

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Dusk has been nigh since dawn, the sun never came out, just brooding skies all day, seeming to worry neighbor's hens that hang out in our driveway and yard. They fret and cluck nervously, the most pointlessly skittish creatures I've ever encountered, at any moment - such as when I poke my head out the back door - given to freezing in place with wary unblinking sideways looks followed by under-breath mutterings that sound to me invariably like chicken for "I don't know, I don't like the look of that", which if any of the brood agrees, which it inevitably does, off they scamper, into unmowed wilds, a mere few feet away, ridiculously on two legs. (You know, bipedal humans are more graceful in that regard.) Today I saw them shaking out their feathers with revulsion at light scattered rain that had the affrontery to dampen their feathers throughout the day.

Perhaps those chickens wish to climb up and get into your treehouse, darling, against the dampness, I don't know where they stand on falling temperatures - it's supposed to drop to around 40 tonight. I'm coming down, unless your treehouse has central heat or a fireplace or pellet stove - well, no, none of that yet, not in mid-September. Maybe we can just find a more sheltered area, say, the back of your truck, roll up windows, roll out blankets. Ah, but it's too early in the day for that - still dusk, perpetually, til official sunset at 7:05 tonight.

It's funny, I've had occasion to dash off a little "roast"-type note on the occasion of someone's major birthday, and found that I had very little to say about her, so I riffed amusingly (I hope) on that fact. I had little to say about her - because I don't know her at all, have only been in her presence a handful of times in my life - so there was no way I could approach the subject of her head-on. It's funny, had I been called upon to write something about you - I would have had the same trouble! And yet here I am, dearest, writing to you day after day after day. Well, there is a difference, writing to you, rather than about you. Different challenge altogether. I don't think I ever wish to write about you (how could I?) - only to you, as if we were lying together in some utterly comfortable place, holding hands, comparing hands even, fitting them together, always - in either English or some other tongue - neither of us knows French, or do you? - tutoyering each other - comme il faut in heavenly private treehouses and other secret enclosed spaces designed for loving twos.

Many kisses, hope you're having a wonderful evening. Love, Belle

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Okay, darling, I'm up in your treehouse sipping wine and - let's see, this fantasy isn't so fully formed yet - we've had fun on your desk chair and on the floor and now since I'm around and you don't need the computer so much anymore I've commandeered it for a few moments while you organize white rioja for us and a handful of salted almonds and for the first time ever in my life if you can believe it but you inspire me so I'm looking at the V's Secret website, not just any old page but the 'Babydolls & Slips' subcategory of 'Lingerie'. Can you believe I'm 52 and it's the first time I'm trying to imagine myself - with a mind to doing something about it maybe - in such a sweet nothing? Really, my miseducation was severe, my re-education belated but - I trust - not too late. I wonder how I would look in an outfit such as that - a little hard to imagine - up in your treehouse that is. Since up there we're more you Tarzan me Jane, me in an imaginary bias-cut leopard print _____ - let's see (donning readers) - what is the proper sartorial terminology? Will my Roget's be of any use in this inquiry? I doubt it. Though at times it seems organized with inspiredly lurid suggestiveness.
301. INGRESS, ENTRANCE
302. EGRESS, EMERGENCE
303. INSERTION
304. EXTRACTION
305. RECEPTION
306. EATING
And darling, within each subcategory is a catalogue of exhilirating, obsessive, positively Nabokovian ("caress the details") conjugation.

What do you think of this one? I don't know if I could pull it off. But I like it. I'm glad you have polished wood floors in your treehouse, so I don't have to worry about getting stilettos to match, which would only bang up your floors. Oh - you say that you were looking for an antiqued look, otherwise laboriously achieved via if not whips then chains? Okay darling stilettos it will be then, which only helps elevate me no matter what position I'm in. (Memo to Creationists Who Do Not Believe in Evolution & The March Over Time of Increasingly Sophisticated Technology: MiMi is recharging, thanks to batteries, and to rechargers).

Oh right, the image.
You're going to have to make allowances, since I look nothing like that model. But you know what I look like - these days that is, a decided advantage over inconsequential amorphous haunted Annabel-Lee immortality dribbed & drabbed over 36 years - that did nothing for my newly incipient - evolving - bent for lingerie shopping

my darling, so happy to be up in your treehouse
or is it the longed-for hideaway above your garage, either way, interchangeable for me

I was having issues a bit with 1.0's conclusion, as I probably misread it
conflating somehow the theory of evolution
with the dialectics of Hegel
he throws in Kant too - but, man, I don't know, sorry, for my not-up-on-my-Kant-brain that's a lot of throwing around of iconic philosopher references - just for prolegomena
evolution has (as I understand it) to do with adaptation over time to changing circumstances
dialectics & related theories to a very positive notion of "perfectability," a striding towards, over time, the march of time evincing, in fact, what could (in Western hegemonistic terms) be viewed as "progress"

and see? now I'm fading yet again, these concepts become like watery pools to me, as at that beautiful water garden with the lily pods and arches at the back of the Wave Hill Garden - at least as I imagine it from the top of your beautiful little treehouse, just the perfect size, a tiny little house, up in the leaves, regions that mostly only squirrels know, for a Francis Bacon dog and his besotted, intellectually-challenged, zaftig love

but we've evolved to a place where we can tap keys and charge batteries and peruse lingerie catalogs and spritz on Miss Dior and walk and work out and eat right to effect nonsurgical transformations of amazing types

signing off, darling, but not without first, saving a backup copy
yesterday's first post seemed to self-combust, not unlike some contraptions around here, such as the toaster
The Rolling Stones Following the River had been included not for the imagery at all, but because that was the song that ran through my head as I was composing my riff to you
and here in my mind it comes again