Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My dearest, good evening, kissing you hello. No fireworks tonight, I don't think (okay you can stop reading if you wish). Feeling a bit beat, but in a contented way. Trying to figure out what to write to you. Dora would love to meet you - but only if it's you, or you.  (Email me if you're serious, Mr. Rochester - which I know you're not - I just hope it's not a stalker.)  It turns out there's a video relating to when Pablo met Dora. Maybe I'll take a look at it at the library, where downloads are way quicker. Though I long ago quit listening to any music there - I had no idea that earphones were quite so porous - apparently I had offended some Minuteman and the librarian had to come to my carrel and tell me to turn the music down. Talk about feeling embarrassed - for all I let it hang out here, as Belle - oh that was me, in person, rockin' out to Stella the Artist in what I thought had been relative privacy. Ah well.

Heavenly aromas just now, wafting up the stairs. A second pan of stuffing that I'd made last week, with leftover creamed onions; a baking sheet with halved butternut squash; a tin of roasting beets. Warm, savory scents - ah, Ruth R. would do it justice I know, in the sensory description department.

Oh sweetheart, you've lifted me too - don't you know? Will I see you, I wonder, before the year is out? I'm not exactly on tenterhooks... letting it flow, see what happens...

The supermarket roses are opening up nicely, reminding me of the time I had with you this morning - let's see - when was that? I had quite a full busy day, actually, though it was all around here. Edited yesterday's post (I like the poem that emerged - is it a poem? I guess it is. Or a prose poem. Or a short story in abbreviated notes). Responded to a friend, about possibly getting together this weekend for a 'plein air' writing session. Made breakfast for myself, a one-neighbor's-egg-omelet with a bit of cheddar, folded into last piece of multigrain, toasted.

I was dying to spend moments with you, but the kitchen was a mess, and I needed to set out to make my annual post-Thanksgiving Mulligitawney Soup, from turkey stock that I boiled up the other day from the carcass. So today it was a matter of making the soup itself - with a base of pureed garlic & fresh ginger seasoned with hot curry powder & cumin, to which I added chopped onion, carrot, quartered potatoes (gotten to in time). I didn't follow my handwritten notes very carefully - and was shocked at the potency of the soup when I tasted it. OMG! The original recipe, from a Gourmet Magazine from the early eighties, called for not 5 cups of turkey stock (that I had, twice that probably, plunked cheerfully into the pot) - but another 18 cups of stock on top of that. Yikes. That did throw off the seasonings. No matter. I departed company from the original and both thickened & thinned the soup out with a large container of pureed butternut squash.

Somewhere in all that the process also involved putting the soup through the blender, in batches - which was not unlike the Mr. Bean episode where he paints his one-room apartment. I cannot figure out how to secure that blender right on its base.

I set it all going, the soup that is - and once the seasonings & ingredients were corrected it was great - and I left the kitchen a mess, it was around eleven, so mild & sunny today - stunning. The house is warm even without heat. And so I lay down and... eventually it all worked, and we came...

And then - it was just so positively summery - I probably should have showered but thought no - let me go down in my altogether and clean up the kitchen. It was such a delight to be in the sunny warm kitchen in the buff, unloading the dishwasher, loading it up again with pots and dishes, giving the sink and stove a good scrub...

No In Treatments I'm afraid - so I did all this basically to my own music, because I didn't even have KZE on all that loud

I completely got into it (especially since I hadn't showered yet - which would be my ultimate reward) and on my hands and knees washed the kitchen floor, and then a sticky-bug-juice area by the plants in the solarium - where I completely dreaded - since I was in the buff - that at that moment some random stranger might come knocking on the door. But the new bras and panties that I ordered yesterday, along with a couple of paperbacks I'll wish to have signed next Saturday evening, weren't yet due to arrive, certainly not today, and so I had no fear that it would be UPS or the postman.

The whole washing the kitchen floor bit was to C.R.

I am a strict recorder.

And then I did a workout to Anderson - still in the buff, in the balmy (not gray at all) aerie, and D came home for lunch and declared the curried soup delicious

And eventually I went for a walk, after some other business around here, laundry - I don't know - who cares?

Oh yeah, filling bird feeders... because I was trying to get myself out for a walk.

Which finally I did, at dusk, on these dark roads. At all of a bit past four...

And now I'm back, and feeling happy, and thinking of that Joan Baez cover of the song If I Wrote You -- indeed
And I'm so happy
I had to tell you
I'm really glad I don't live in Brooklyn anymore, because - and I'm not talking about the unused Steinway - I can be, in my moment, loud ---

xoxo dearest
launching this confetti bomb of impreciseness
into the charcoal night sky
the festooned shards of color
will just be one great big cheerful delightful --
oh come here you

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I'm feeling this disconnect between higher ideals & harsher realities
I had the car for a few moments today, when D came home for lunch
lunch was homemade pizza, delicious - La Dolce Vita -
a variation of a favorite pie in a restaurant in town
tomato, gorgonzola, prosciutto, mozzarella, figs, arugula
we eat well, and for not much money, since I cook most everything myself
the turkey we've been dining on since last Thursday was
free with $300 worth of groceries bought over the past couple of months
easy - and no processed junk food either, except for the occasional bag of
tortilla chips - but even those, come to think of it, are from supposedly organic corn

last week's cut flowers in vases - no, not even last week's -
but ones from weeks before that, that have lasted til today
pink petals detonating, first like a dropped skirt on the bedroom dresser
then a small pool on the washstand in the bathroom
the third vase, intact by all appearances where it stood on the bookcase
that contains a lamp, a basket of dusty CDs, and a Christmas cactus blooming
perhaps a touch prematurely
disintegrated upon the impact of my hand grasping the bunch in hopes of
seizing it intact, so that I wouldn't have to pick up individual petals &
stamens that littered indecorously anyway on the tabletop and a few on the stairs as I summarily marched them to the compost bowl in the kitchen where I unceremoniously mashed them in with the coffee grounds and cooked beet peelings begun to go bad & cut away - the ruby center, like a beating heart, still good

So I've been in the house the last several days, and was feeling a bit housebound
enough that I wanted to go to the supermarket for fresh flowers
D came home for lunch & I borrowed the car
he gave me twenty dollars, but looked worried
are we that broke? I asked, when you work all the time, all those hours?
cash flow, he said. Will it improve? Yes, he said.
So I took the twenty, and the car, and drove down Route 9 to the mostly empty parking lot that fronts the supermarket, and the Fashion Bug, and
a corporately abandoned WalMart
(whose cynical ads prefacing Tavis Smiley I find particularly noisome)

I shopped for flowers
at least they weren't throwing them out today
preferring to throw them out rather than to risk the chance
of someone like me not feeling forced to buy overpriced ones for the holidays

(when I came home I found myself unleashing the f-bomb to D
at least they weren't throwing them out, I said
those f'ing capitalists - if they're throwing out flowers then
they should mark them down - to "what the market will bear" -
f'ing hypocrites!)

I surveyed the available bunches, dunked in black plastic bins
and selected a bunch of pink roses for $8.99
and a couple of stems of baby's breath (why? I don't even like it very much)
and a couple of variegated carnations - another flower I dislike -
but this one reminded me, perhaps of Toulouse-Lautrec cancan dancers
or pouffy hooped corseted lampshades in a Nevada brothel
(Nevada brothels, ones in Kansas too - only there they don't have brothels, I figure, just massage tables - figure in my imaginings, sometimes)

(just now, one of at least a half-dozen daily spam political emails comes over my virtual transom - tonedeaf, as always - what is to be done? I have no idea)

I selected my flowers, not thrilled with them but they'd do the trick
I have a hard time being in this house for days on end without them
I need the color & light
don't feel sorry for me! I'm fine - I just need a few things, creature comforts,
that make everything completely tolerable for me
to the point that I hardly care what time of year it is
it's all the same, up in the aerie - as long as I'm warm
as long as there are a few fresh blooms on my desk
and a bouquet on the dresser in the bedroom in which I no longer sleep
but I need that burst of apricot or pink to relieve the too-much-blue of that room

I have thoughts sometimes about how America doesn't support its artists enough
not really it doesn't
or it does - artists of a certain disposition
there's one around here - quite the self-promoter
she does quite alright for herself I think
I met her in passing once
I don't know
she's 'working it'
I feel a little cynical about her
though honestly, she seems nice enough

I digress - I was going to say something catty about her name
is it made up?
she relates her art, seems to me, to her unlikely name
mine is - here

anyway, x-out, x-out, previous lines uncomfortably revised
not to my satisfaction, and I do wonder about her
but - ultimately, seriously - power to her

So I selected flowers, and proceeded down the seeming half-mile of mostly empty registers
this is the most cold antiseptic impersonal supermarket ever (as are they all, in our Common(s) Era)
and I found myself suddenly behind a man walking slowly in front of me
who absolutely reeked - I mean just horrendous, obvious, medical, malodorous issues
I came close to gagging, but simply walked past
noted that he was in the company of a woman, perhaps his wife
who seemed oblivious to his high stench
the kind of stench one encounters, unfortunately,
in a forlorn corner of a city subway station, or street

I passed him, as he shuffled along, he and his female companion
He looked not terribly old, not at all - perhaps our age - or no more than his sixties?
which I think of as 'young' now
it is young when one is thinking of mortality
but he was in clearly devastated shape
yet here at the market, on his feet
I think he must have been a good looking guy once
not that much older than you or me

I found a register - the express-lane one, fifteen items or less
of which someone in front of me had either taken advantage
or for some reason the transaction was slow

I waited with my cellophane-bound bunches
roses bound with a single packet of plant food

a woman with a cart took her place behind me
leaned on the - what do you call the bar that you push the cart with?
she leaned on that
she didn't have many items
actually I don't know that, I didn't look, or check
(& not that I cared)
I noticed her tired, kind face
her hair pulled back
perhaps - yes, perhaps she was 'around our age' too -

she remarked on my flowers - how nice
yes, they make such a difference this time of year, I said
though today was balmy, she noted, rather poetically
yes - but gray, I replied
ah yes - but gray, she repeated with a sigh, and looked at me

and her companion, perhaps her husband, perhaps her most dearly beloved whoever it was this man to her
appeared on the scene
me with my flowers - no more than that - just fresh blooms -
and squeezed ahead of her cart and stood next to me

and the cashier rang me up and the transaction went quickly & smoothly
because as profoundly moved as I was in some sense by this simple moment
I had to hold my breath
for fear of choking
why did he sidle ahead of her, and close to me with my flowers?
should I have offered him a bloom?
but that would have been cheesy, and overdone I think
it occurred to me to do so - my heart went out to him
I'm glad -
what am I glad of? This chance encounter, so glancing

no, not cheesy - it would have been patronizing

the extraordinary thing? do you know - I haven't checked -
haven't tilted my nose down to inhale -
I don't know that the roses I bought have any fragrance at all
(they certainly don't have a tea-rose sort that I would have
involuntarily noticed)

but do you know what's extraordinary?
that malodorous desperate gentleman, still ambulatory
with his kind, beloved companion, perhaps his wife

I don't know how one could possibly become inured to odor such as that
but she seemed to be
she was kind & oblivious to the obviousness of him
the tenderness runs deep
as we chatted about supermarket blooms and balmy gray days

***

słuchaj sweetheart, am launching this poem as is, as a draft
a work in progress
it was all I could do to get it out of me
and so I know it has all sorts of issues, as to line breaks, and all the rest... but this is how it is --- on this express line of 15 items or less -- this is all that I have in me to unpack at the moment

***
except for - oh my love - warm hugs & many kisses

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hello my dearest, sitting up here wondering what to write, musing about various things: about what it means to be in one's fifties; about constellations other than Orion - where is Bacchus & Ariadne's Corona Borealis in the night sky (visible spring & summer, I learn); about another coincidence surrounding E.D.'s birthday this year, on December 10 - that there will be a total lunar eclipse, the second this year, though not visible, I don't think, from Amherst - no matter - her soiree will far eclipse any local eclipse - so go West indeed, in the American fashion - where the eclipse will finally set.

I suppose I'm thinking about aging and what it looks like - appearances, especially - less about feelings of mortality, so much as loss of essence and attractiveness --- because I've embarked on watching, on the kitchen DVD player as I go about various chores, Season 3 of the HBO series, In Treatment. Such a worthwhile, fascinating journey, watching those episodes, the interweaving stories of disparate patients, seen by the lugubrious, sensitive therapist played affectingly by Gabriel Byrne. This season, Debra Winger plays an actress who's come to seek therapy because she's forgetting her lines - why?...

As I watched the first episode that featured her - I studied her appearance. One doesn't see her all that often, as a delightful, offbeat documentary some years ago, entitled, Searching for Debra Winger, went out of its way to examine. That she'd dropped out of public view for so long, after all her box-office success & fame in, what, the eighties...

I don't look like Debra Winger, and yet I found myself looking at her for realistic comparisons as to what natural aging looks like. She looks wonderful, and refreshingly her age. I googled her - she's four years older than me. I suppose I look about that much - younger. She's in wonderful shape, clearly eats right & exercises. Her hair is long - about the length mine is now or longer (truly, I don't sit there & watch, which is why I'm being a bit vague - I move about the kitchen, tending to a pot here, something in the sink there, fending off cats constantly begging for whatever's better that's not on their plates... so I see only glimpses of the episodes -- which are very verbal, so I listen, as I might to a radio play, to the whole thing, intently).

Anyway, Ms. Winger looks marvelous, and I appreciate how natural she looks, no obvious signs anyway, of plastic surgery, botox, chemical peels, what have you.

My own neck is showing signs of - is it wrinkling? Or thinning. Suddenly I'm aware of my neck.

From here on in I won't take anything for granted anymore. I like the way I look, better now than in the last 10 years or more, when I 'let myself go' for a variety of reasons. It was when I got a sense of hope back, that I started to attend...

I'm so much more in touch and in tune with aspects of myself, than I was in younger years. And so that's a great thing. Maybe not concomitant with aging - but coincident, in my case, like that auspiciously timed lunar eclipse...

I don't know darling, I'm just sitting here typing, and musing. I did a vigorous walk today, but never did get in a workout. Somehow I wasn't up to it. C.R. wasn't so interesting to me, and so after lunch, after a wonderful moment with you, I slept for a little while, fitfully. The sun never came out today.

In this season's In Treatment, the Gabriel Byrne character worries about his own aging, his possible inheritance of the disease that killed his father... and I couldn't help but think of the correspondence with, perhaps, 1.0 and his mother, with the legacy of the same disease. And the Debra Winger character's sister is dying of breast cancer, and she has to contend with that, what that might mean for her own chances, and how she would dread, especially for medically prophylactic reasons, to lose her breasts. And that terrifies me, I simply cannot imagine losing mine, they are so much tied up with my identity, I can hardly even tell you. And yet my oldest friend in the world, my age, had to confront just that, several years ago - and she did. And so I'm the chicken. So far lucky...

Sorry, I don't mean to be going off the deep end here - and I don't feel that way - my mood, that is, feels even-keeled.

I'm glad that I've lost weight. I've grown into my looks. I like who I see in the mirror, her appearance. That's a huge thing. I used to look at myself and see a distorted monster, I'm not kidding. Excess weight, unhappiness -- they take a massive toll on attractive appearance. Sometimes I look at myself twice - can my own profile that I once despised, actually look like that of a quite a nice looking person?

Whatever age I am, and evolving into - well, wow!!!! So there's hope!

And I do feel hope. I dream now, and feel freer to do so, than I had. I don't mean nocturnal dreams in my sleep. I mean the ability to form hopes & dreams & images of myself that I might wish to attain - in just the lightest sense possible. It has to do with what I'd like for myself... not what others (or others' expectations that I all too effectively internalized) demanded of me.

That's not all gone (how would one measure?) but a lot of it is. I do feel a sense of having been in this horrible cocoon for many years, in which I shut myself off, grew a thick carapace around myself. And I thought that's all there was.

Does a caterpillar (a literal one) realize it's going to become a butterfly? All conjectures as to its possible self-awareness aside -- I doubt it.

And so, though I'm a sentient human being, and I had always strived -- but not so much in ways that worked for me - well, I had no idea that I'd walled myself off like a caterpillar, thinking that that's all there was -

and no one is more surprised than me - that I'm turning out, at long last, on my own terms - to be a butterfly

dearest love - very many kisses - I hope, so very much so (and I believe so) that something of the like may be happening with you -

xoxo

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sweet darling, have a safe trip, I feel certain you're flying out tonight...

I'll be with you in spirit, sweetheart. Close your eyes and pretend we're together somewhere in a quiet house in the woods. Only it's not so wooded that we can't sit on the porch - an enclosed porch, warm even in winter, with a woodfire going in the grate. (Is that possible on an enclosed porch? Okay, maybe it's a tiled solarium. Yes, that's better. It's a grand old falling-down house in the country, with a stone-floored solarium that's so warm in winter that starting just this time of year oranges and lemons start to ripen on the trees that stand in ceramic pots. The room gets sun all day, and so the room feels like Florida with all the light and warm moist air and colorful fruit. At night it becomes chilly, but yes, there's a fireplace, and we lay a fire, put a match to it... And we have a glass of wine by firelight, and maybe there's music on, or maybe - as I have been just now - we're watching an old film noir, such as Laura, starring Gene Tierney and Dana Andrews. It's a clear night, at least where we are, and we've decided to camp out in this room, so there's an arrangement of comfortable sleeping bags and blankets and pillows and throws and that old romantic black faux-fur collared coat of mine, that I wrap myself in now because I'm chilly for obvious reasons. I'm not quite sure what you're wearing --- sorry darling! I'm trying to type fast so that you get this post before you have to check yourself and your luggage in for the night... But at any rate we can hang out together in each other's arms, darling, and stargaze right from this magical room, whose flames we can see all around - not only in the grate itself, but reflected in one of the tall black-paned French doors that give out to the terrace. And yet miraculously, we can see the stars as well too, because the room is dark enough, and they are spread above us and beyond us in great swathes of shimmer, like a distant fire wheel. You look like Pablo, darling, in the best way ever, just as good-looking as in that particular photo of the two of us together. You really do remind me of him (no - vica-versa). And my hair is a lot like Dora Maar's, and also not unlike Gene Tierney's, if I ever had a mind to take a curling iron to mine, which of course I don't, it falls just naturally to my shoulders. And we look wonderful in the firelight, and it feels wonderful to be in each other's arms, and neither of us can name a constellation, except for maybe Orion. And I tell you that this morning I had a wonderful time with you, and you hold me close again, and we think about that lovely moment, and how it only makes us want to do it again. And for dinner there's leftover Thanksgivingy stuff - only I've transformed it into a turkey pot pie [in my dreams] that I baked this morning, and that warms now in a cheerful ceramic casserole by the fire... and for dessert there's the most delicious apple pie ever, from a recipe that involved juice & zest from lemons and oranges -- which give such a spritely citrus note to the pie, as though it were springtime, still. It's a transformative note to that apple pie, which still includes some of the usual seasonal seasonings - cinnammon, nutmeg, allspice -- but with the tropical juices & colorful firewheels of shimmering zest all through, topped then with vanilla cream -- oh darling, sublime. As though it's springtime in November, not unlike the forsythia blooming - incredibly blooming - at the hedge fund guy's expensive garden house...

















Dear love, oh this post is a mess, but it's just my way of trying to touch you & kiss you before you go off, and for you to know that I'm thinking of you. Think of me on your way, and I'll think of you, and we'll meet, and be together, on the same side of the pane...

xoxo
all my love

Saturday, November 26, 2011


***
Dearest, yes those opaque stockings didn't do much for her, and were only part of her sartorial issues - her flouncy frock, illfitting, bursting at the seams on her explosive frame, was much too short. Or perhaps you lit on that image because you found her - on the contrary - attractively louche, in an abundantly fecund way? Which she very much was. It's just that her outfit didn't do anything for her - I didn't think. But I can see the appeal, to your eyes. And I suppose that my own frame isn't wildly different from hers (oh - suddenly - a trace of jealousy - why had I ever posted that image?!). Though I must say, I believe with the new outfit that I'll break out at the soirée, I'm aiming for, and believe may pull off (so to speak), a far more soigné effect. Oh but that might simply cause you to yawn...

And who was that landing on my blog, on that image, via "opaque pantyhose," anyway? I can't figure that out. Was that you, Vladimir, at that late hour, after all that? Because you know - which may be simply a reflection of my own tawdry mind - at certain angles that abstracted handheld piece looks awfully suggestive to me.



Many kisses, all over -






***
images:
Jules Pascin (1885-1930), Nude with Black Stockings, [date?], 65.41 cm (25.75 in.) x 52.07 cm (20.5 in.), oil on canvas, private collection

Seated Nude with Black Stockings, c. 1906, 90 cm (35.43 in.), x 80 cm (31.5 in.), oil on canvas, private collection

Friday, November 25, 2011

Each line of Shakespeare is an atom. The energy that can be released is infinite -- if we can split it open."
-- Peter Brook (quoted in The Shakespeare Wars, by Ron Rosenbaum, p. 26)
***
Hello my dear love. Up in the aerie at the end of the day, a day that felt normal, things getting back to usual. Breakfasted on cold turkey (like revenge, are Thanksgiving leftovers best served cold?).  At any rate, I enjoyed standing at the kitchen sink gnawing on a drumstick ("protein"), accompanied with a dollop of cold stuffing ("toast"), and a crimson blob of cranberry-orange sauce ("fruit"). That's a well-rounded breakfast, it seems to me. There was half a creamed onion, too...

This holiday food is all quite rich, I had skipped a couple of days of workouts, and was feeling it. And so I took two walks today, one in the morning, one in the afternoon, interspersed with a vigorous workout to a very enjoyable Charlie Rose, which featured interviews with, among others, the actors Michelle Williams and Kenneth Branagh. Ms. Williams seems extraordinarily bright and intuitive.  In her latest role she recreates a Marilyn Monroe... which caused this young actress-artist to research Monroe deeply, watching film after film of her, clip after clip, analyzing her moves - but also grasping her on a very human level. Of course I'm always thinking of Emily Dickinson -- and I would be very interested to see a film in which Michele Williams might (if she liked) have the chance to interpret, in her actorly way, E.D. -- because I'm quite sure it would be a very astute, imaginative, faithful, and deeply-felt portrayal.

I've read several more pages of The Shakespeare Wars, which I'm reading not so much that I'm suddenly so gripped with fascination for Shakespeare. Though in the back of my mind I suppose that's always a low-burning flame. More, even as I stood in the cozy town library considering whether to check out the book, I thought I might read it in light of considering, too, E.D. -- who at this point is a lens by which - by whom (?) - I view things.

E.D. was fascinated by Shakespeare - no, that's probably not the right word. Without in a scholarly way consulting the Sewall biography that sits not three feet away from me on a file cabinet, she certainly considered Shakespeare to be the beginning & end of literary considerings.

There is something fathomless about Shakespeare's works, and E.D.'s too. Shakespeare isn't necessarily always so compressed (his plays are quite expansive), and yet the meanings, allusions, references, puns, ironies, and everything else - redound & redound - reward one, on second third fourth readings, not just 'times two three or four' - but in exponential fashion, as Rosenbaum notes (p. 21) - "A third cycle of rereading does not increase one's apprehension (in every sense of the word) by a third -- it's more like to the third power."

It's a delightful book, the Rosenbaum. I can see how readers/critics have been frustrated with it. It's a deeply personal take, he reveals his process of thinking, in all his exuberance. It's a bit much (I'm not so far along in it) -- and yet it has many rewards. There are, as in a koi pond, sparkling glittering fish all around. And so I'm enjoying, in spare moments, hanging out with this scholarly enthusiast, and he's pointing out to me marvels that I wouldn't have otherwise seen.

I think of my blog. It is certainly no model of compression. I won't analyze it. It is what it is. I express myself daily. And one day I'll be dead & gone, vanished and obscure. And that's fine, that's how it is. But I will have left this trace of me, that I imagine - at least in some multiverse - will have a continued life.

And I think of the excitement that future generations have over those who preceded them, who vanish so thoroughly, and yet some of us care, care very deeply, and notice, and are excited to find traces, and to interpret them, and to create whole worlds and beings from the leavings...

***

And so on an exposed windswept beach cape, in nearly the most northerly most remote inhospitable location on this earth that one could imagine any form of human settlement ever having taken hold, if only for a fairly brief period of time, much has been "unpacked" in annual digs over the past three years, including, notably, this past summer (as in a dream), a single mysterious artifact - an archaeological find.

Think of it -- all my blathering on this blog. Well, okay, in the future, it may have its interest for others -

Or we think back on E.D. How did she do it? Create those poems on the back of scraps of letters & recipes? (I am really looking forward to reading Maid as Muse.)

Those are texts - my blog is a lengthy expounded text. But this artifact (only a couple of inches in size) is a single isolated object -- like a compressed poem -- incongruously embedded within a better-understood context. That object isn't even necessarily a work of art. In fact, my take-away is that it isn't so much, that it's an early exemplar of a replicated object...

But clearly, that buckle-like artifact is, metaphorically - to borrow from Peter Brook on Shakespeare - an atom, in what it signifies, what we can learn from it, the dense secrets it - like a Dickinson poem (or the enigma herself) - packs. "The energy that can be released is infinite -- if we can split it open."

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The sun has set behind the mountains. The photo doesn't do it justice. It doesn't see what I see when I pull down the aerie window and point the camera. The scale is all off. I don't wish to use the zoom on the camera. Should I have used the flash? Is there a 'night' setting? It's too complicated for me, I'm not kidding. I don't even know how to pump gas. I want to travel to Amherst on my own steam, but D's thinking he's going to have to give me a how-to lesson, just in case, though our car should be able to do a hundred miles there and back.

So I can see that she represented a certain form of stability. Of course she knows how to pump gas.

I'm not so hopeless - am I? There was a time I used to pump my own gas, when I would borrow my live-in boyfriend's Audi, in the Bay Area, the Oakland-Berkeley hills (way before the fires). So I am - technically - capable of it.

It's been an odd Thanksgiving Day. I'm still in it. (Maybe you're not, though I don't quite see you as passed out on a couch after a TV football game, I'm sure not.)

So much cooking and food-prep today. The turkey's just been pulled out of the oven (at 5:30), in go, temperature raised, a pan of root vegetables, and the stuffing...

Oh darling, I just discovered your page hits --- back at you, the hugest hug and kisses...

I took a walk around here, with weights, this morning. Actually, it was an extraordinarily beautiful day, sunny - very sunny - and so, was it chilly, or mild? I couldn't decide, it depended on where I was in the sun... when I first set off I felt the need for bundled red-wool scarf... but by the end I'd unbuttoned my jacket, pocketed my gloves, and donned my sunglasses... only to tip them back up on my head again to wish 'happy Thanksgiving' to a charming man walking his dog, whose house I frequently pass - it was nice to encounter a neighbor, in perambulatory neighborly fashion.

So no workout or such adjuncts today, but it was pleasant to assemble the apple pie, consult a rubber-banded falling-apart volume of The Joy of Cooking, as to creamed onions...

And then it was all of 2:30. Or maybe two o'clock. Or three o'clock. Whatever. And I wasn't in the mood for a workout. (D had announced to me this morning, no C.R.at all, and Anderson won't be on til five. Gasp!)

It was a fine, sunny, balmy, warm day. So I stripped to my underwear. And cleaned the upstairs bath. Which sounds crazy, but I don't have a maid, and I only like doing chores of that kind when the sun is shining bright and it becomes a physical workout for me, as I scrub and scrub. No Cinderella at all, I grooved on it - the light filled room, me in just underwear -- as though it were July....

And then I was on a roll, since no workout (I felt too constrained, somehow, by the holiday, it didn't feel 'everyday', and I need stimulating daytime on for my workout, not a dusty outdated rerun of Cheaper by the Dozen, which I used to enjoy as a young girl -- but now find utterly useless).

Make a long story short, the entire house is vacuumed, upstairs & down -- such was my Thanksgiving. And believe me, I give thanks that I now have a clean, freshly maintained house, because it hardly seemed a bother at all.

Before I started on vacuuming the aerie, I opened the back door and called out to D, who was tinkering with the car. It seems that brake lights are out...

It was around four. Would you mind if I have a glass of wine?

No, of course not - it's a holiday. Do you need me to open it for you?

I don't know - do I? Is it a cork?

Because you see, for the occasion, D had splurged on a step-up-better rosé, this one from Italy.

Anyway, he did pop the cork (or whatever it took), and with a glass of icefilled rosé in my hand, I vacuumed - enjoying the lightfilled rooms - the entire house.

Dearest dreamboat, all my love, many kisses.
xoxo






For nimble thought can jump both sea and land
As soon as think the place where he would be.

- William Shakespeare, Sonnet 44

Happy Thanksgiving, darling, wherever you are.
All my love, Belle.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hello dearest love, kisses hello. Up in the aerie, my mind awhirl with sensations. I should have done a workout (... for I have sinned...). There, that's out of the way. My ankle is sore, a little bit. I lay down for a nap, fell into a short deep sleep. Woke under the covers thinking of you. Earlier in the day I thought of you in similar circumstances to fantastic effect. Monstrous. It just rises out of me, the moment it does. For a moment, before the gigantic inversion, I felt like Anna K. I lay on the covers in an old Perry Ellis black wool coat with a faux-fur collar. Quite an elegant coat. I wore it to work in Manhattan for several years, back when I was in urban planning. A couple of winters ago it became the pelt I wrapped myself in when I took to sleeping in the solarium next to the radiant warmth & orange flame of the pellet stove.

There is something positively radiant about the quality or weight of that wool. I could use an extra blanket on my bed, a wool one, and there isn't money for one (or there is - but I just spent it on a new blouse & bag & shoes for E.D.'s birthday soiree - one must suffer to be Belle, of course) but as wacky or even kinky as it seems I pulled this old romantic coat out from the downstairs closet and brought it upstairs. And am glad I did. It's a well-coordinated room - nice bedding that goes with the antiqued yellow wall color, and a few modest wall decorations, such as a wooden board painted with a pair of cats (for a while referred to around here in hushed tones as The Kimble - a piece of knock-off, mass-produced wall art I'd found on sale in a Vermont shop many years ago), and a dark wood frame matted with a patchwork cloth print - in which I've placed an image that involves a patchwork quilt hanging from a line.

I digress. So - a very pretty room. But D never got around to the storm windows, and so it's quite chilly & drafty. And it's pretty - but not cutesy-pretty. It can afford a touch of austerity, or a wrong note somewhere. Or a clashing item. And so - in lieu of a cozy "perfect" wool blanket --- serving as a throw is my old Perry Ellis funereally black coat, with its funnily-draped shoulders (there was something odd about that cut) - but the coziest, warmest, loveliest spread of warmth on my person late at night while I sleep, or mid-morning, as I lie awake, my white body in black wool, thinking of you. To very great gargantuan rising out of the very depths - it amazes me every time, the involuntary aspects - and then I lie spent, throbbing, pointed -- utter miracle.

Dearest love, here's a kiss for you sweetheart, one of 52 I might bestow (scattered not evenly, but with certain strategic concentrations, of both yours & my liking) about your reclining person - and I imagine in a couple of weeks I'll increase it to 53...

Darling, I would like you to know that your prudently (against pneumonia) wool-coat clad paramour is also quite the Thanksgiving cook. I made onion-mushroom-sausage stuffing; cranberry-orange relish; crust for an apple pie that I'll finish tomorrow; and pizza for lunch - topped with seasonings (stolen) for stuffing, supra. We'll have a ton of food, and I wish we were entertaining loved ones - friends and family (ah, now I think back to that afternoon that you all descended on that surprise visit). There's more food prep tomorrow, we do that much of the ritual... and then it's blessed leftovers for the week to come, hardly any cooking from scratch at all...

Oh sweetheart, here's another kiss, oh grrrr....

I've been looking at a W-S catalog that came in the mail. That is, Williams-S. I won't be buying anything from it at all, but I am finding it an inspiration for some cooking & baking endeavors in the coming weeks... such as, perhaps, a German Chocolate Cake. Do you love cake? I love cake. I hardly ever have it. I hardly ever bake it. But I just might attempt one, now that I have this glossy image, for the holidays. And how about in the hors d'oeuvre department, tiny meatballs? or fine cheeses of all sorts? or tiny savory puff-pastry whatevers? This catalog is a keeper, til the new year...

And in other W-S news --- this time William Shakespeare --- yesterday at the library I picked up a book that was propped up enticingly - at my eye level on a painted bookcase - in a mini Shakespeare-themed display of recent books & videos. (I had gone to the library yesterday, with a sense of frustration - books I wish, suddenly, to read - weren't available - Speak, Memory, by Nabokov (I've reserved it from another outpost in the library system); a treatment of E.D. (Maid as Muse) I haven't yet read, along with the Scandalous Life tome - neither of the latter of which are in the Mid-Hudson library system at all. I scrabbled together paper & pencil from the cozy library front desk, googled the titles, and requested them from the head librarian, who said she would order them. The first I wish to read, I told her; the second, a friend urged upon me. And then I left the doorway of her tiny cubicle of an office, not without noticing her stapling my little note on - on what exactly? - reading my words, "How Servants Changed Emily Dickinson's Life and Language," and then - with reference to the other title - A Scandalous Life. To which I swear I saw her throw her head slightly back.

It's so quiet here where I am, my darling, and yet my mind is brimming over a bit - I can't quite manage all the proper links this evening.

But to just slightly go on, as to lay down the thread, I started this book that I pretty randomly picked up off the shelf, and have begun to read it, with great enjoyment and delight - it is a dip into this wonderful writer's mind... how he, with a fine scholarly background, found himself viscerally engaged with reading Shakespeare.

I've only read the first few pages so far, but adore reading the voice of a kindred spirit. He's like a natural blogger, with his exuberant & personal writing style. I supply my own links, in the sense that, as I read from the hardcover (wonderful achievement, truly!), he mentions Shakespeare Sonnets - 44 or 45 - he himself can't remember which, or maybe it's both. It gave me occasion to look up both 44 and 45 - and they were news to me, I'm sure I haven't read them before, or if I have, then without their registering...

Darling, seriously, signing off now, this endless knitted scarf has gone on too long. Love you deeply, madly

my ever-present absent one

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hello my dear love, up in the aerie, just back from the library. On my way home I felt as though I was driving in the midst of one of James McNeil Whistler's Nocturnes. Night had fallen. (So quickly! I hadn't been at the library a half-hour, and had arrived in daylight.) I had my headlights on, wipers too, that swept away drizzle stippling the windshield, thus disclosing a newly revealed layer of obscurity: distant blue-gray sky against whose backdrop loomed black shapeless stands of trees. All was enveloped in a thick extinguishing mist, with (as I thought of it) single "Cremorne" points of light that emerged into view and as quickly vanished: a lit window in a house; high beams cruising past; twin lamps of a slowmoving tractor that was otherwise invisible; reflective markers & road signs, briefly illuminated then gone. I was immersed in the vast, atmospheric, mysterious painting, as I journeyed through the dark veiled landscape.

My darling, I'm sorry I didn't post yesterday evening. I sat down at my desk intending to, and nothing was coming, and actually my mood was mired in my usual useless obsessiveness, and so I was annoying myself. I had a couple dozen spammy page hits yesterday, I think it's some scam, not anyone even actually reading my blog. But it threw me off. That, coupled with wondering about 1.0's being abroad again, well okay. But he lit on my blog on Sunday (sweet), but not - so far as my stat counters registered anyway - at all yesterday. Which only gets my ridiculously jealous imagination going overboard. And whether my hunches (or fevered mind) are right or not, why should I even care at this point? Why should it make the slightest difference? It's like a scab I can't stop picking - and to be honest with you, I'm not great about leaving scabs alone. I have to cover them with bandaids. And I guess I was feeling a little slighted, I suppose, that he & I were in a brief email exchange a few days ago, and he didn't mention what to most anybody (except maybe peripatetic him) would be a big major upcoming trip. Perhaps he was trying to spare my feelings? From what? Do you see how pointlessly mired I get about someone I haven't seen in some 35 years - and yet he lights on my blog, usually once a day -- and it's painful & acute to me when he doesn't -- and so what, if anything, does that mean?

And there are parts of me that know very very well that I could never have been happy with him. He's wired the way he is, and I simply am not. And one can be as rationalistic as one likes about why he's wired the way he is (of which he is capable of waxing cerebrally), and I can intellectually understand it, but cannot feel it whatsoever. It drives me mad. I know that there are dispassionate wives who can quite serenely look the other way - I am not of that disposition. Although I suppose (back to my ridiculous obsession) I wish I could have been, that I were that way. And I'm just not.

And all in the midst of this knotty quagmire I think of you in such cherished terms and images, my dearest. You have your constraints, obviously, but - I don't know, I just picture something very sweet, and intimate, and heartfelt, and abiding there, with us.

So 1.0, from what seems a rather obscure location, lit on my blog today, which was a relief - ah, I could exhale - and it's even possible that my mind had gone mad with jealous passion yesterday for no reason - that perhaps he'd high-beamed hello but that the stat counter didn't pick it up.

What does it matter - yes, I can well ask that myself.

And your hits mean the world to me, darling, and speak volumes to me. Though I do wonder sometimes if I'm reading too much into things, they are so very eloquent. (And I'm not writing a novel here - I'm not trying to be postmodern. My contacts with most others - that is, meaningful contacts - excluding with store clerks and library staff - happens in the form of what I take to be highly coded page hits that resonate with me.)

I suppose other strands were affecting me as well... the short dark days. The looming holidays, it'll be D and me, by ourselves. Where is my family? Why do my neighbors not talk to me? Do I care anymore? Not really. And someone who I thought had taken umbrage to me months ago -- greeted me so warmly & exuberantly the other day that I was utterly taken aback. I thought he was mad at me! But it seems he wasn't at all. Though he did press upon me to read a book he said that he can't put down, called A Scandalous Life. And I looked at him, as I rolled down my car window to talk - he'd marched up to my car - is there some reason you're recommending that particular book to me? He didn't know what I was talking about, and just kept holding forth on what a great read this biography is. D smirked knowingly - but I have to say - considering - in a nice way!

My darling, my darling - where are you? Are you in the midst of some holiday preparations, or have you too conveniently absconded abroad where the 24th will be an ordinary Thursday?

It was very cold and dreary this morning, and I pulled out an old long red wool scarf, to wear on my walk around here. I had laundered the scarf last year, and it didn't wash very well, it curled at the edges, and looked a bit beaten for its ordeal. I took the time today to iron it flat, on its reverse, and it did flatten. It's a beautiful cozy scarf, knitted with a pair of braided cables.

I had been searching around for putting a name on the strangled, flailing feelings I'd been having. I felt wrapped in cables myself, helplessly bound within the coils, unable to move, feeling everything, but thoroughly trapped within relentless thick twisting braids.

My dearest, you mean so much to me, as much as I go on about you-know-who. I can't lie (my grandmother was known for her brutal honesty too), but that's the fact of my bifurcated self. And yet I have a wonderful sense of who would actually enjoy spending time with me - and I his - in a relaxed unprogrammed way, without him at some appointed moment (unrelated to me) becoming distant and consulting his watch...

I'm here sweetheart, you'd be amazed how much I think of you...

touching your cheek, kissing you tenderly
good night
xoxo




Good morning darling, I'm here, very much thinking of you. Here are some kisses to get you started. Hope your day is going well.

(Thanks Creslyn, for playing song after great song this morning, some of my favorites: Saints and Angels, Broken Bird, I Can See the Pines Are Dancing, Big Love, others...)

Off now for a walk. Many kisses again, dearest. More later, I promise.

These are the arms you fell into...

Holding you tight. Love, Belle

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hello darling, big kiss for you, squeezing your hands, here's another kiss (dearest Minotaur). Up in the aerie at the end of the day. Odd day, here I am at the end of it. I woke up with a terrible anxiety attack that I couldn't seem to shake. Vague in origins - I don't know, it made me feel ill, just seized with this unpleasant, uncomfortable feeling - that I'd done something wrong, that things aren't right, that --- I don't even know. It was a terrible feeling. And frankly, I'm not in the mood now to relive it, entering into it by typing to you. I don't know why I get seized by those feelings now and again, some times (such as today) much more strongly than others. Though I think anxiety has been a very big problem throughout my life, only for a long time I didn't recognize it as that - I thought it might be depression - but no, I think I'm just very prone to anxiety. But do you know? I'm reluctant to take any pharmaceuticals for it. There was a time, many years ago, I consulted a psychiatrist for a while, because I felt that I was depressed. I hated my job, my mother was ill & dying, and all the rest. The psychiatrist put me on Prozac for several months. I don't know if it helped or not. I'm inclined, frankly, to think that it didn't really. I saw her for a while, once a week for some months. I don't think I liked her, looking back on it. I don't think she could ever have possibly understood a first-generation Polish-American young woman. And besides - why Prozac? - I don't think I was depressed. Perhaps a psychiatrist should have been able to judge anxiety. So what would the pill have been - then?

So no more pills of that nature, and no more psychiatric consults. I'm fine. I mean, I'm prone occasionally to these spells, but usually it's because something is bothering me - perhaps I've overstepped. And so I went back and edited out a scarlet letter, and replaced it with a dash. In case I had gone too far - and - I dread the thought - had made you uncomfortable too. The last thing I want - for either of us ever to feel. Not here, anyway.

I'm feeling better, much better. A bit more on top of things, if a bit almost delusionally so. Your Belle will be - not the Belle of Amherst... but quite belle (in her own eyes, to her satisfaction) at the ball, in Amherst. Which is to say that I went shopping. I had been thinking I'd wear this one outfit involving a midnight blue top - but do you know, it doesn't fall in a flattering way on me, so then I was pairing it with a black cashmere cardigan, and I have these old black shoes --- oh the whole effect was hopelessly frumpy & not put together at all. I knew that at the very least I needed new shoes. I had coupons. So I went to this local cozy department store - sort of like a scaled down Lord & T. - I didn't like it at first, but now I'm quite fond of it -- especially since now I don't have to shop in the plus size department! Which opens up much more fashionable possibilities (even though I am, still, full-figured).

I wore a skirt outfit to the store, so that I could try on shoes in front of a full-length mirror and gain the whole effect, and I finally settled on an elegant pair of black, pointed-toe kitten heels. They worked best with my skirt and dark hose, elongating the line.

I should have stopped there... but then I saw this beautiful blouse, crinkly, romantic, flattering... patterned in a dark paisley print in shades of burgundy, black & white, all swirly, with a scoop neck --- it's just lovely, and I had a sense it would look good on me. And so I tried it on, with my skirt & stockings & shoes-about-to-be-bought... and I looked like a 'million bucks.' Just beautiful. All put together. It all worked, and felt very comfortable as well. (Yay! No cardigan if I'm chilled! - an evening-fashion killer - this blouse has long, fitted, then flouncy at the wrists sleeves - all the better to show off my lovely watch).

Dearest, you're probably flipping the channels now... Dear God, you're thinking, she's taking me shopping, the last thing I ever wanted from her...

Oh but darling, I'm not done. The clerk rang up my blouse & shoes - a total of $55 - and the register spat back a coupon that was good for 40 percent off an item - today or tomorrow only. So, to complete the ensemble, I found a beautiful little black handbag, originally $34, for which I paid $16.

It is such a nice thing to be able to look at myself in the mirror all dressed up. I loved the way I looked (I've since changed into jeans & an old sweater - still nice, but obviously not as nice as my new dressy outfit). It is nice to look in the mirror and like the way I look. Three years of walks & workouts have paid off, and then some. I'm not skinny, never will be (God willing) but I'm healthy & well-proportioned. European in build. Slavic Venus. Oh anyway.

Clothes make the woman... Gazing at myself in the mirror, I could almost imagine myself being in some position (social, professional) other than the one I'm in now. But maybe that's one reason, a deeply subliminal one, I feel so very revved up about appearing and feeling and presenting myself and being regarded just right. I suppose I'm a literary type now - isn't that my new persona? - a diva of my own, of sorts, and I should dress properly & accordingly & flatteringly. It seems that E.D. for a long while took to mostly wearing white. I'd never attempt that.

Darling you, and you, xoxo
all my love

sweet dreams, wherever you are
love you

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Dear love, here with warm kisses for you, not blowing freezing air in your face... I've had nightmares like that - if that's what they are - that sensation, as you say, of something trying to process me at night. A very palpable overbearing secretive probing presence in the darkness, bearing down on me, not violently - gently, but firmly and in a way that overpowers me. It's not like that Fuseli image, it doesn't seem like some little goblin sitting on me. Though I don't know. It's very dark at night in the room on the very few occasions I've felt that sensation. It could be a goblin or demon, for all I know. It happens to me rarely, but it did a few weeks ago, so it's relatively fresh in my mind. I was able to will myself awake somehow, and it left...

Ah yes, here it is - I actually noted it in my dream journal, the morning of October 17:
I feel the very palpable presence of a being against my back, upon me, weight settling down on me, at first it’s comforting, I think it’s __, but then the presence begins to feel oppressive, too silent, sneaky, malevolent. I can’t shake it off, but finally do when I wake up.
I had a dream of that nature some 30 years ago now, one night while I was asleep in a narrow bed in my dorm room in college. I felt completely overpowered and paralyzed, tried to scream and couldn't. I remember it to this day. It seemed to go on and on and it was very frightening, me by myself in this pitch dark room. I felt that I had woken up as it was happening, that this creature or being was bearing down on me, pinning me. That's the strongest dream of that nature I've had in my life. I was quite shaken by it, and of course couldn't account for it. I wonder if this is true, or if I'm now making it up - that when I managed to wake up and turn on the light, and things began to return to normal, I opened the door to my room and looked down the empty hallway, the doors of all the young women's rooms, all down the familiar corridor, closed, the hallway empty and silent, safe, dimly lit, carpeted.

Oh sweetheart, I don't even know if that was you signaling to me about such a dream... and yet I think maybe so, because someone else hit on that Fuseli image just yesterday, now what are the statistical odds of that?

***
My dear love, that's not what I planned to write about when I sat down, but then the meaningful page hits came, so I wished to respond.

So - back to warm Garbo kisses, darling.

I had a pleasant afternoon - very much so, even, except for little vexations that intruded on reverie and perfection. I took myself out to lunch to my favorite little overpriced eatery, affordable with a half-price certificate. I made sure to have a small piece of chicken before I left the house because I knew that even after a lunch out I'd be hungry (yes, it's that sort of place - exquisite, pricey, and the portions are small). I ordered a glass of delicious white wine, perused the menu, and settled on a rather unconventional meal, for lunch - a country pate, served with dijon mustard, tiny cornichon pickles, and potato-chip-thin slices of toasted crostini. That, and a $4 order of mixed olives, partly for math reasons, to bring my order up to around $25. I was expecting - three, five, seven olives maybe? No, here came a small plate heaped with a dozen small green olives, another dozen black, tiny pickled onions, and yet more cornichons. Enough "mixed olives" for a table of four! I couldn't possibly eat them all, though I gave it a good try...

And I ordered a second delicious glass of wine, and asked for a bit more bread & butter - the bread arrives toasty warm, and the butter ice cold - oh it is such a sensuous treat to sit like a princess at my table for one (the chair across from me had been borrowed for another party, alas) - and tear small bits of the bread and dab on a sliver of the butter, have them meld into each other, and pop the delectable bite in my mouth. Oh, Swoon --- indeed (the name of the place).

And so it was all very nice and I tried to keep the ratios balanced... butter to bread (gone, devoured)... pate to crostini --- crostini gone before the pate. So I asked for a bit more bread... which arrived with another ice cold slab of butter.

It is a testament to my self-restraint that I didn't also devour the beautiful butter with the remainder of my pate...

Oh sweetheart! I am like the Charlie Bucket of pate, sips of white wine, and hot baguette... one tiny savored nibble at a time...

But then I was done, except for the leftover olives, and I asked for my check... and then it took nearly a half-hour to receive my check and settle the bill... because the restaurant had suddenly become busy and the two waitstaff became overwhelmed...

But it did kind of, I hate to say it, ruin or deflate my mood - sit there, wine long since drained, nothing more to eat, just sit there & wait til they could get to me ---

Not only that, the minutes crept to quarter past two (when I was finally able to leave). And so I was fifteen minutes late for a concert across the street... a lovely concert, and I hate arriving late for anything, but truly (unless I'd chosen to make a fuss at the restaurant, which I didn't) it was beyond my control. Anyway. It's just that I had wished to sail in just slightly buzzed from my delightful repast into a beautiful afternoon concert... instead there were all these lurchings & interruptions that made it all less than seamless.

***

***
All this kvetching aside... the concert was absolutely delightful and wonderful, and I'm sorry I missed most of the first cycle of Hugo Wolf Goethe Lieder. I tiptoed into the rather intimate performance space and took a seat. The young woman sang breathtakingly, and she was a marvel. A tiny sparrow of a thing, all bare arms and legs, thin black-frocked body in between. Very long wavy hair, Veronica Lake-style, parted on the side, held back with a bobby pin, tumbling down her thin frame. She sang with little or no affect - quite literally, as though channeling. It was quite astonishing, the huge, pitch perfect, emotive voice, full of passion, issuing from this diminutive physical being. It was really quite a revelation. Well, not to relate absolutely everything to E.D. - but yes, I think that if one, on the street, were to pass this young spare petite woman by, one would be quite astonished to know that such a large presence & soul & voice rise out from her.

And then there was another soprano... who had a wonderful, beautiful, also incredibly full strong loud voice (these sopranos absolutely filled the room with their controlled, full-blast vocalizations). She didn't always quite hit the notes precisely right, I didn't think - I mean, mostly on pitch & on-key, but somehow on landing on certain notes just slightly off. But no matter - or hardly any matter at all. Because she was an incredibly engaging, mesmerizing, sexy, animated presence - she brought what she sang to great spirited animated life. She had a star quality in being able to communicate through her facial expressions, whatever the foreign language libretto one can't understand...

And there was a third soprano, too, also a very beautiful voice, very controlled. Unlike me, dearest love. I should have prepped myself a little better --- she started on the opening notes of the famous aria from La Wally,  'Ebben?... Ne andrò lontana'... and tears just rushed to my eyes. I lost it, in a way I don't think anyone in the room would have noticed. I simply put my head down and I suppose ostensibly gazed at my paper program, or at my black skirt, but do you know, as she sang that exquisite aria that never fails to get me, I thought of you, and the image I have of you in my mind, of you peeling a clementine, sitting there on the side, gazing down absently at the piece of fruit in your hands, family & all holiday else aswirl around you, and there you were, and who knows what you were thinking of

The lovely poised young woman with the exquisite soprano voice sang, and I couldn't help but respond (sympathetic vibrations), and think of you, peeling that incidental piece of fruit...

And darling, that's it for now. Many kisses.






***

Alfredo Catalani (Italian, 1864-1893), La Wally (composer)
Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez, (American, b. 1949-) (soprano)

Friday, November 18, 2011

My dearest, many kisses hello, hope you are well & happy, and filled with a sense of well-being. I had such a moment this morning. I went out early, around nine, for a walk, so thrilled that after days and days of dispiriting gray skies the sun came out, which instantly lifted my mood. I was determined to get in a walk and a good workout, no excuses, today - I had missed yesterday's entirely, the overcast day just slipped by into darkness, it had never happened. Yesterday was off-balance. D was supposed to come home for lunch, but it was past two and he still wasn't around, and I was feeling restless, housebound - I'd gotten into my head that I wanted to run a couple of quick errands. He finally did come home around three, and I took the car for a half-hour, to look for black stockings to go with my black skirt, and maybe to buy flowers, if there were discounted ones to be found, at the next-door supermarket. I stopped at the fashion outlet - the store was empty of customers, but full of rack upon rack upon rack of marked down ladies wear. Our consumerist society. Next door to this empty store is a now-vacant formerly "existing" WalMart, which has since relocated a mile or so north, in a ridiculously sprawling big box deployment - overscale, paved over, ridiculous 'roads to nowhere' leading to these big boring hangars containing cheap goods...

Oh anyway, didn't mean to go there. I'm just typing, trying not to sweat it too much. Actually I feel achey & fatigued, and am trying to ignore those physical feelings and just 'transcend' and type past all that.

So no stockings at the first shabby bargain-bin - only a couple of pairs in "small" - I haven't been that size since sixth grade. So I went next door to the supermarket for flowers. And noticed in the floral area a shopping cart heaped with bouquets. I gingerly asked the clerk - are you about to mark these down? "I'm about to throw them away," she replied. I was aghast, thinking, what a waste, these beautiful perfectly intact looking mixed bunches. I beseeched her, couldn't you please mark them down. We don't like to do that before the Holiday. But the Holiday isn't for another week! And believe me, I won't be buying flowers if they're not marked down. And it's been so dark and gray - I really need some color now!

And do you know what? She very kindly relented and suggested - five dollars? Deal! I selected three bunches from the cart - $13 bunches originally. I deconstructed the bouquets - they were nice mixed, but my goal was to have fresh flowers in nearly every room... and so now I do. They won't last forever, but if they last a week or 10 days at $16 - I'm happy.

Ah, that's what I have to do now, now that the CSA farm is done for the year, and I can't go pick their flowers. Or for that matter, pick my own from the garden, the ones that the deer haven't decimated...

After my floral coup - it felt so extravagant marching out of the store with three enormous bunches - I ended up stopping, on the way home, at one of the hateful stores in the new, cynically named "Commons" big-box complex. It is on the scale of a major airport, empty roads, and empty space.

The department store I visited, which I think of as sort a cheap-version Macy's (although who knows what Macy's is these days - my benchmarks are decades old at this point - I still have fond memories of B. Altman's) - it too, was chock-full of merchandise and empty of customers.

(It's the first time I've actually tendered any real cash at this store - it is so desperate for customers that every couple of months arrives in the mail a $10 gift card - and so we buy something for around that price there - drinking glasses, socks. You're probably thinking that I'm a jerk - but for the most part, I wouldn't set foot in these stores unless I really really need something. I'm simply not much of a shopper. And except for daily things that need replenishing, I have most everything I need.

And besides, if I really wish to be consumerist - because I can have that streak in me, at times - I like nice things - I am very much looking forward to a sample sale coming up early next month, where the proprietor of her small import business is so lovely, and what she has to offer so delightful - it is just an absolute charm to buy a few things for the house, for a song, from her. A great number of little decorative touches about the house have come from her sample sales.... and you won't see them at all at a knock-off big-box store.

(Now, then there's exquisite decorating -- and the best example in recent memory I have seen of that is the still incredibly memorable, if slightly hallucinogenic night I spent at a very friendly, kind acquaintance's home in town - absolutely extraordinary, magical -- I wonder if some of it had been staged as a movie set? Anyway, I digress. But that is just extraordinary decorating--- the depth and layering and sheer abundance and exquisite quality achieving a transcendent, resplendent timelessness... I'll never forget it. And all those volumes of poetry arrayed on the library table, about New York Poets, and the gardening gloves, and wrapped gifts, and L.P. records - and in the other room, displayed on the wall behind a doubtless redoubtable settee, an image of the Vitruvian Man, that has become part of my way of thinking, my iconography, since... And the following morning, in the dawn twilight of the venerable mansard-roofed townhouse, doves quite literally beat against the tall parlor windows, seemingly trying to get in. Had my drink been spiked, the night before? No, I really don't think so. It was just a very strange experience.)

I found a pair of stockings that (upon consulting the chart on the back of the package) would fit me. Opaque black ones. I tried them on when I got home. I haven't worn pantyhose at all in decades. Mostly because for a long time I only wore pants. But now I wear skirts. But usually only skirts in warm-weather months.

Putting on the tights reminded me of putting on tights when I was a little girl, they were as sturdy and opaque as that, like leotards. When I was in elementary school, I had to put them on most every day in winter (in other months, knee socks) - because, according to the mid-1960s public school dress code, pants for girls weren't allowed. It was a very shocking development for me when finally I was able to wear pants to school - talk about a shocking change of forms! But of course - we all instantly adjusted. Pants - of course.

***
So I had a wonderful sense of wellbeing this morning, with the sun finally shining, though it was cold out, so I went out with my weights donned in jacket, black hat, and gloves. There are still vestiges of gold leaves on the trees, and now evergreens come into their own - and there are a lot of them around here - white pines, sculptural picturesque Lombardy ones, ancient hemlocks in front of the pine-cone church that really ought to be replanted, they're approaching the end of their enormous years...

So I marched and basked in the bright sunshine, such a gift, and I need the vitamin it confers...

Down the road, and around a bend, I walked past a small farmhouse, set a few steps up on a hillside. I don't have a sense of who lives there, but chickens meander around the place, an old german shepherd dog, and a couple of cats...

This morning I rounded the corner, the scent of spent foliage in the air, sun warm on my face, adjacent creek steely granite,

and I heard a young man, sitting on the porch, in the sun
strumming a guitar and singing
I tried to look up towards him but the sun was in my eyes, I couldn't see him or the porch at all - it was all obscured in a dazzle
he must have seen me (whatever)
and kept on singing and singing
he sounded really good
he sang
take me out of this place
take me out of myself
and then he strummed really hard and belted out some other lyrics in a faster rhythm and I couldn't hear him as I kept walking down the road

But just hearing him sing like that
coming upon him so unexpectedly, serendipitously
there he was
and there I was

on my return (because I have to circle back, since a tree fell blocking a shortcut back)
he was gone off the porch
I'll probably never hear him again
I'd never heard or seen him before

It's okay
He wasn't singing to me
But I'm glad he was singing
and I'm glad I heard

***
launching w/out proofing right now, dearest
very many kisses, hope all is well with you
I think of you so very very much
xoxo

Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's not about being perfect, it's about being whole. Hello darling, up in the aerie, musing about Occupy Wall Street, I've received an email questionnaire from an affiliated group requesting thoughts, comments, ideas...

At the same time I spent moments of the day reading Jane Fonda's latest book, Prime Time. I really like her, and I'm enjoying the book. She makes a lot of sense. She's got a healthy, commonsense, pragmatic, nonjargony way of laying out her ideas. For me, the effect of reading it is almost like having a mentor or guide as I get older in life. I'm still (as she would judge it) in Act II, towards the end of it, and then in the sixties and whatever years are given beyond (increasingly for many, thirty or more) - there's an Act III. I've stumbled so much through life, trying to figure things out, largely without guides - so yeah, I'm very glad to read a very positive, straightforward book about ageing. And it's not just that - I sense myself what she's writing about. She's writing about a paradigm shift in the view of one's self. It's one I relate to.

Sorry, dearest, I'm not being very coherent I'm afraid. I guess I have a lot of feelings around the subject. My own going through menopause - guideless, truly. But it's okay. (Weirdly, I don't think I've experienced a hot flash yet. Or is that because in summertime I have the luxury of being able to pop my top in the house if I wish, and in cold weather the heat's down so low that hot-flashes are actually a benefit?! No - I really don't think I've experienced one.)

I feel this paradigm shift occurring in myself, and I think that's what Jane Fonda's book is about - a paradigm shift in the view of one's self in the "Act III" of life.

And I think Occupy Wall Street, also, is ultimately the expression of a paradigm shift.

I think of my siblings, every day that goes by more & more distant. The rift is complete. I think of one of my brothers, in particular. I feel that he has been in a quest for perfectionism of some sort. I don't understand him, never did. I didn't cut it in his book - wasn't perfect enough - as a sister!, his one older sister - so I got dropped.

That's how my family was, very weirdly strangely (to my mind) driven, cruel, and ruthless that way.

It still causes pain to think of it, my family, but in a different way now. More that I can see it clearly, and can walk away from it as unhealthy.

They were perfectionists. It was an ethos, a drive, whatever it was - towards perfectionism. I see it in 1.0 too. Perhaps that's why I fell for him as hard as I did, when I did. Looking for love in all the wrong places, only the first in a lifelong pattern. Of course I couldn't see it then, and to be honest, it's only pretty recently that I'm (in fits & starts) coming to grips with it now, seeing it more cleareyed.

I don't aspire to be perfect. I used to. To be a "high achiever" was to be lauded. There was a lot of pressure. "High achievement" was also very much linked with love, whether one was to be loved or not. High achievement was measured in a myriad of ways. One was sliced & diced in a myriad of ways - usually focusing on externalities.

I can't find the quote now in the Fonda, not even in the index (a not unusual problem for me - I've taken to marking indeces when I need to) but she cites, from the Bible, Matthew 5:48 "You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." That indeed, is how it reads in my New Oxford Bible. But Fonda points out that the English is predicated on a crucial mistranslation of a Greek word...

Oh this is worth a time out to try to find the page in Fonda.

Oh goody. The book opened right up to it.

Recently, I was excited to read in William Bridges's The Way of Transition that in Matthew 5:48, when Jesus tells his disciples, "You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect," there is a mistranslation of the Greek adjective teleios, which actually means "whole, fully formed, fully developed." Jesus wasn't telling his disciples to be perfect, like God; he was telling them to be whole, like God.
I have made an emendation of the passage in my Bible, since.

And so I wish to be as whole as I can be, going forward, as I set the stage for my Act III.

I wish very much -- well, for genuine intimacy, connection - I sense that from you, even if we can't do anything about it

I'm thinking about it differently than I ever used to

I'm thinking about it

I'm not within the confines of a strict Catholic marriage

nor am I in a High-Victorian mindset of strict compartmentalization, like H.G. Wells

nor am I E.D. - I absolutely reject the notion (whether it was hers, or projected on her) of her poetry somehow taking precedence over love & human connection

also, I'm not Sylvia Plath, or Plathlike (or Sexton like, or David Foster Wallace-like, or whoever)
I love life, I find it very difficult at every turn, but I have no wish whatsoever to check out
(still, without health insurance, the diagnosis of a devastating disease could change that - but that's a different story)
no - I'm speaking from a position of health and fortitude

I want to go on
and I wish to experience great love & intimacy again
and am glad I have discovered aspects of myself via toys
(though - do you know what - it's been so long - that I realized I would have pain - and so I have started to practice)

All my love.

***

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hi my dearest Minotaur, putting my arms around you and kissing you hello. Am I to take it that you too had a fine siesta? That's how I interpret 18 page hits within one minute, champion decoder that I am. Still, I can't figure out if you're in the lowlands or if you're "lawnchair field guy back" which I interpret that you're back here for a "Kinkade Thanksgiving." Okay, so some of the clues I don't quite get - but hit me over the head with your bifacial handtool already when you find me via "picasso minotaur lover." I think of you too, sweetheart, to great effect.

Darling I smell so nice right now - I just spritzed on a drop of Miss Dior, a reward after my workout, along with a glass of pink wine -- the Edith Piaf diet plan - La Vie en Rosé.

Yet another dreary day, today a little more officially so, as it rained off & on. It's damp, so it feels chilly in the house, even though it's quite mild out. So the pellet stove is chugging away, cheery flames flickering behind glass & giving off heat into the solarium (Penelope's figured that out and moved herself to the center of the settee to take full advantage). I rather extravagantly turned on the heat upstairs this morning, but I had to, for the sake of eros which doesn't do well at all if I'm beneath covers, I need not to be, though an old, ripped ivory cashmere sleeping cardigan with pearl buttons - all unbuttoned - is just the lightest layer I need - and eventually even that has to be thrown off. I close my eyes. I'm in a motel room. No I'm in a massage parlor. No I'm in a library. No I'm in a museum with a lot of cases. You're this way. Then that way. No the other way. Sometimes I'm me. Then I'm you. A lot of times I'm you. Or just a part of you. Desperate, animal, wanton. Skilled, increasingly focused, intent. Burrowing deep within, bristles loaded with paint, releasing with glorious abandon in duskmost inner reaches of rose-caverned wall, inspired spends of effulgent white.

Okay sweetheart - now here I'm thinking more Chauvet Caves than "pastel whistler." Though I do love all those "falling rocket" hits...

xoxo darling
wherever you are
(always in my heart)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Oh darling, here I am, past five, pitch dark out, which is disheartening since it was dank dark gray all day, the sun never came out. I've been feeling a little under the weather today - and that may be quite literal. The sun hasn't been out in two days. I miss the golden rays lifting my spirits in late afternoon. As a human being, in my corporeal body, I'm sure I need that lift of sunshine. And what of all the other creatures around? Do deer and coyotes get depressed in darkened days?

I'm thinking about all sorts of things. Looking at headlines regarding the Occupy Wall Street raid. My heart goes out to the protesters in solidarity. I feel annoyed because I sense that in certain quarters of my family, were these protesters Polish in Poland in the early eighties, or Czech students in Prague in '68, or Hungarians in Budapest in '56 - they'd be regarded as heroes. Instead, here, I think of certain family members and can imagine their faces sneeringly deriding these youth - because the rhetoric and imagery for 'the Greatest Generation' - here that is - was forever co-opted by, to them, distasteful images of protests of the American 1960s.

I just need to note that. I feel frustrated by it. Could I be wrong, about certain family members not quite being able to draw the analogy to European examples? Or to Middle-Eastern ones, as well - what was the Arab Spring? A human exhortation and uprising towards democratic ideals, a fair shot. All the Occupy Wall Street people want in our society is - a fair shot. It is really hard these days to make it work - for the 99.99 percent.

I have such a crazy skewed life. I am very grateful that I sit up here in the aerie in warmth & comfort in a house that's paid for. It's paid for because we cashed out of a previous dwelling, in which we'd lived & paid a mortgage on, for 15 years. The real estate bubble was happening all around us, and we were able to transform our lives - cash out essentially, move up here, buy this house outright.

I always wanted to be able to have the financial freedom to simply be able to have the time to leisurely go about my days, devote my days to thinking, reading, writing.

I have it now. And it's due to a windfall, and it's very insecure, very tenuous in many ways indeed. We don't have health insurance. (Whatever the Health Care Act that's to be heard next spring by the Supreme Court - oh wow - buying health insurance is mandatory? If it's mandatory, I still don't have it. News to me. For me personally, absolutely nothing changed with the passage of that Act.)

I worked very hard, D did too, for many years. Didn't have children - probably for a number of reasons, but a chief one was the feeling that we simply couldn't afford it. And so I feel that I put aside quite a lot in my life, and worked very hard (even if there was a windfall in later years) to be in the absolutely luxurious spot I'm in at this moment - to simply sit here in a warm, peaceful home, typing to you.

I feel for the younger generation. The older one too. Or frankly --- all women, men too, who aren't quite as fortunate as I happen to be at this moment - because you know A Moment Could Change Everything - especially without (supposedly mandatory) health insurance.

I cannot at this point, as I marshal my energies, imagine holding down a full-time job anymore, let alone trying to sustain things with two or three part time ones cobbled together.

That may change. I might be forced to don an apron at Lowes' one day yet. Things are precarious.

But they're not precarious just for me. They are for everyone. That is - the 99.99 percent. Everyone has their story.

And that's it darling.

As with an image of Courbet's painting, Origin of the World, you won't find a post, or comment in response, as open as this on FB.

Many kisses, my dearest dearest love.

Love, Belle

P.S. hugs to Salman R.