Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My dearest, I was so delighted to get your shower of page hits this afternoon. You travel more than anyone I've ever met, by far. I wonder if you're an air marshal to boot, so that beyond FF miles you get some add'l spare change for all that mileage you log, plus something else to do besides reading the inflight magazine cover to cover -- you're probably done with February's already, and it's still January. Oh sweetheart, I just looked at your picture, the one of you gazing down absently while you peel a clementine, your wife looking away in her own world entirely -- everyone in their own worlds - at least in that single snapshot I surreptitiously managed to take. Except that a couple of other people, extraneous from my point of view to the subject I was trying to catch, are grinning at me as if posing for the camera. As much as I like them (as far as I know them) I have cropped them out of the shot, so as to better attend - to you.

My mood isn't so much better today, maybe a bit - I don't know - what's my temperature? is there a thermometer for this? I feel quite certain in my gut that that letter had to do with who I think it had to do with, and really there was nothing too surprising or new for me to learn in it, except maybe - well, a few very general sketched details, as to a way of life. He doubtlessly is forming the word 'lurid' in his mind, with reference to my imagination, but I believe he has given plenty of - words fail me - bait? grist for the mill? reason for me to 'go there'? I have got to work this out of my system - and I will, I will - I have in the past, I will again -- it was just a fresh shot, so unexpected.

Words I wish to lay out today like tiles, or flash cards. Distaste. Horror. These differ from yesterday's.

"... the wheels go round and round." Do you think it's because my father was a violent alcoholic, very physically and verbally abusive to me, and otherwise "emotionally unavailable"? Though he was never, as far as I know, sexually abusive. But maybe that kind of girlhood does predispose one -- all these years later, to being absolutely drawn to someone "charismatic," a bit out of one's league. (I'm paraphrasing; I've killed the letter, in an effort to try to stop torturing myself. I never was a physical 'cutter' or 'hair-puller' - no I pick at scabs - well yes I do do that - in a very different, cerebral way.)

I think I relate to letter-writer too. She's on the outside looking in. I have an image in my mind's eye of charming him having lunch or drinks with an attractive woman - or women. (You would be impressed with your competition, he once wrote me.) Letter-writer isn't invited to those fun & elegant lunches at the local Swoon. Instead he arrives at her rental condo. That figured in my fantasies today. I was her. I came, so did he. And then he left - he had places to go, chores to do.

The guy who used to live across the street from me has a poem in the NYRB that arrived in my mailbox this morning. I went across the road in the brilliant sun to check the mail, was delighted to see the NYRB, stood there right in the road perusing the contents, surprised to see his poem - "wow, he's all over the place now," I thought, and I turned to the page, and I read it, and I liked it, though it's a bit too exquisite/arcane/erudite for me -- I would have to look up many references to fully get it. Still - I did get it - what with the scene, and the longing, and the alliteration, and the general hotness. I was about to go for a walk, changed my mind, went back in. I had to have it, right then.

Great minds think alike.

Gotta go. Feed the cat, I don't know, fill out a grant application, go to the deli with my wife -- see you sweetheart, don't call me I'll call you, maybe - what's today? Tuesday? Yeah, I like you, and I feel guilty. Probably Saturday. But if not, then maybe next week sometime.

Monday, January 30, 2012

My dearest, how are you? Was that you hitting on that Rothko Black & Gray overnight? That's a powerful image, and it made me feel that - if it was from you - that you were signaling that you aren't happy. But there it is. We're stuck, reaching out as best we can. I think of you too, darling, very much. I hope you are well & happy, or if you're not so much, or as much as you could be, that thoughts of me help, as thoughts of you are a great comfort to me.

I had an okay day, not great, mostly because of a feeling that my head was going to explode with all these different strands of thought competing, concatenating, and conflicting with one another. I felt in a state of palpable anxiety, disquiet, and discomfort much of the day. I did get in a walk, though, and a workout, and a mindblowing session -- wow, maybe I should take a couple of days off more often. I am often capable of what I think of as "monsters," so big that at the moment they arrive they overtake me. It was even more powerful than usual - after all that volunteering - the end involuntary.

I have all these strong, conflicting feelings, that collide with situations I find myself in. At church yesterday I sat in a back pew. I heartily sang alto to the hymns (most of the women in the congregation assume a thin warbly soprano). I listened to the readings, and read along. On one level I completely accept the message, and on another I don't so much resist, as find it in utter conflict and of not terribly much use in life as I experience it. I was thinking very much, for example, about an article I'd read that very morning, about someone who is very familiar to me by sight (as I must be to him), and yet with whom I'm not acquainted... anyway, he's just gone through a very major personal journey & transformation, that involved discovering & coming to terms with deeply buried aspects of himself -- but their uncovering had, to put it more clinically than I really intend, "collateral consequences," leading to the dissolution of his very long, committed marriage. I think it's a tragic story in many respects, but also I relate to it (as I very inarticulately flailed around saying yesterday) - in the sense of -- once you discover powerful, essential, integral, aspects of yourself -- that you sense to be you, that haven't been given play or expression for decades previous -- it is so boundlessly exciting and rewarding and satisfying to Become Yourself, in that respect. Something of that sort happened to me, was triggered when out of the blue 1.0 contacted me, three-and-a-half years ago. I am truly a changed person all this time later - aware of aspects of myself that I had long buried, that I no longer wish to. I'm trimmer, and physically much more attractive -- because I've discovered and reconnected with that aspect of myself. There is no way I could ever go back -- why would I want to? Of course I don't. This is a gift -- I feel as though I'm finally on the road to who I was meant to be -- and that includes -- not incidentally -- writing as well, as in this blog.

But none of that seems to get acknowledged in a service whose denoted words have so much to do with - as I'm hearing them - pretty much ignoring this temporal life as a waystation to the next one. And even if on some level I can believe that this temporal life is but a phase, and that there may be another -- in no way can I discount this life's import, and how I (or any individual) has to grapple with it, engage with it, in all its difficulties & complexities. For some it will be easy to hew to lines and stick to them. But for other temperaments -- I'm thinking especially artistic/poetic ones, or those of thinkers generally (now here I'm probably getting out of my depths) -- there is just going to be a whole lot more complexity I think. I simply am not a simple person. And on some level, I can even believe that I wasn't intended to experience things so easily -

I'm going on and on -- but I felt this conflict between the perhaps necessarily simplified message of a service -- and the enormous pain & difficulty that I think of so much, that we go through, you, me, this guy who lived across the street from me at one time, and others.

I will be delighted to accompany the congregation when the time comes. The rector introduced me at the service yesterday, and I sense from her that she understands that I'm not quite "of" the congregation... she told the story of how I had simply stopped by the church in passing. I didn't take communion yesterday, and don't plan to anytime soon (if ever) -- though I'm "invited" to, if I choose, since I am a baptized Christian. But it's just a bit too much for me, on this very unexpected encounter with formal religion, that I wasn't looking for. I feel a strong need, at least for the time being, to hold myself a bit apart, a bit in reserve. Even if at the same time I am delighted that I might be of genuine service with my musical "talent" (in the Biblical sense). I take great comfort these days thinking of E.D. I believe that she was a profoundly spiritual person, fundamentally Christian -- but not, in any way, fundamentalist -- no, she had to experience and countenance spirituality very much on her own terms. And What Music!! And that's fine --- and I am absolutely sure, convinced, that that is what God intended -- if I were more inclined, generally, to think of things in that way.

There were other strands today too, that pained me acutely, one in particular, a letter in Salon today (link here), that just hit me to the quick. I'm not in the letter-writer's situation, but I recognized very much the type of person she's currently involved with -- and I don't even know why it causes me so much pain. Her paramour - as an uncannily specific type - is all too familiar to me, I still grapple. It's bad enough that I'm on some level 'emotionally involved' with someone like that. But to actually be involved --- well, I've been through it, once, a very long time ago. But I can't imagine it, in actual terms, now. I don't know. And what the letter-writer is experiencing, and what I'm experiencing (or would be if I were in her situation) are two different things. It just makes me think that he may be somewhat blithe about how he's organized things, but other people are wired differently. There may be more than one woman in his past who could have written a letter like that.

And Cary Tennis has a great deal of sensitivity towards his type, and I do see it, myself. It's just that his type is -- I'm not exaggerating -- like a dagger in my heart. I am not "light" that way.

In thinking about the column, and its upsetting effect on my mood, all it stirred up, I had reason to remember perhaps a main reason why I had married D.... that he would not ever ever drive me crazy - not in that particular way.

But that decision - while it made for a lot of stability in some respects - seems connected with a shutting-down of other aspects of myself, in others.

And that was my day - as I "explain myself to myself."

No big ending - actually trying to figure out how to wind up, when I remember. I was feeling so bad, so knotted up inside, tumultuous -- I was driving to the supermarket -- and John Lennon came on ... I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round & round.

It's not the first time it's happened to me, in that very same parking lot. But his song, those words, that sentiment -- I took such great comfort from his song, I could hardly believe it. For a moment all my anxiety & disquiet washed away -- he had it all in perspective, a perspective that I in large measure share.

And then I went shopping, and there were avocados to be had -- a half-dozen for $1.25, and so I bought some cilantro too, and a lime--

and made the most awesome bowl of guacamole, spiked too with red onion & tomato, that will go great with those awesome organic corn tortilla chips

love you darling

Sunday, January 29, 2012

I'm here darling, loving you. I've just spent the most delightful hour just now, in the solarium, playing the church's borrowed keyboard - here for me to practice. I haven't been practicing hymns so much -- . This afternoon I sat down, light filling the solarium, aptly named, and I tinkered with buttons on the electronic keyboard, and ultimately it's an unsatisfying instrument, this particular inexpensive iteration. But I played what I could remember. I laughed thinking that if 1.0 were to hear me now he might laugh -- my Bach repertoire has hardly advanced (well yes it has, I don't think I was tackling Goldbergs with him) since I knew him -- it's still the same several familiar inventions -- that I've been playing for 40 years now -- hardly ever getting it right.

Ah, no matter - oh darling... I had a nice day today. Thought of you, and you the whole day through. Dressed in my beautiful outfit. Sojourned to the local international arts colony but they were out of the prime entree - wild mushroom lasagne -- that I had an appetite for. I might have considered something else off their menu -- elaborated salad, panini -- but if I couldn't have that entree -- and that only with bottled water sparkling flat or fruit juice -- I wished a glass of wine.

So I bailed, punted -- I'll be back. I had two glasses, by the glasses, at Swoon, later on.

And then arrived home and pleasantly chatted about the day with D.

And all day long I've been thinking sympathetically about someone who I never met, and yet --- for a great many years - if such measures were relevant - I lived -- well not very many feet or yards away, across the street. It's okay - I really relate to him - in not so many words, or the way it happened with him, I relate. And that's that.

The light this afternoon, as I sat at the keyboard downstairs, being able to lose my fingers in flight, and look out the windows too, as light in its various aspects glowed or ambled in...

I love you

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Hello darling, welcome home, so happy to see you again, that you've safely arrived, back here in my arms, where I reach up to give you a great big kiss. Your Muse has been Maid today. That is, I spent the afternoon cleaning the house, giving it a major once-over, since the sun was shining & it was fairly mild, and so I could do it in just about my altogether. This was my workout for the day. And I got everything done, just about, so nothing will be hanging over me for some other day -- no, just do it in one clean sweep, and then let things slide --- for another two weeks, until it becomes a bit much, and I'll do it again. I've started to read the study, Maid as Muse, about the relationship E.D. had with domestic servants, in particular, her Irish-immigrant maid, Maggie. What a riveting narrative. Maggie as a person in her own right is absolutely blooming to life, I'm blown away. And I've only just started the book. Amazing -- all these not so much "secret" as buried, untold, fascinating narratives, that harken back to diasporas, and to poetic legacies, left behind in Ireland... created anew here...

Sweetheart I think I will make it out of January alive. Already sunset is a bit past five -- I can't tell you how much that heartens me. It's 5:01 now, and while dusky in the aerie, there's still daylight.

I don't mind devoting an afternoon to major housekeeping. But I'm glad I don't have to do it for a living, or as thoroughly as this more often, if there were a bigger house to keep, or more people in it, especially children. I don't mean to be coy or anything like that -- but I don't strictly view myself as an artist, or as a poet. But also I don't view myself strictly as a 'homemaker' either. I wonder - as much as E.D.'s day was in great flux - in ways that I can barely fathom, the huge sea-changes taking place, as writ in a locality such as Amherst... It is extraordinary, the story Aife Murray documents, about the - is symbiosis the right word? - very deep interconnection between E.D. -- artist of Protestant established family -- and the talented, spirited Maggie -- young Catholic immigrant, fought over for between families in Amherst, until finally the Dickinson household laid claim to her...

This is just meant to be a quick breezy kiss of a note to you, dearest, so glad you're back, so glad it's the weekend. I toyed with the idea today of taking myself out to lunch at the local international arts colony, that has a gourmet local/sustainable cafe there... but... I couldn't quite muster it. Felt a bit physically dyspeptic in the morning. And really I didn't feel entirely better until D left the house for the afternoon [I actually don't mean anything pointed by that], and I had the house to myself, and the sun shining... and I worked out physically in that way, scrubbing, wiping, vacuuuming.

I had thoughts about marriage today, such as D's and mine. He's entered a 'slow' period now, in terms of work, since it's winter. It's to be expected around here. I suggested a couple of projects I thought he might consider -- for "our" house. How about redoing the downstairs bath, finishing up on creating baseboards for gaps in the downstairs? All that costs money. Fine okay. Skip the bath. How about completing baseboards for just the kitchen. That's doable. Okay good.

It made me think - yeah, of course I'm a 'material girl' in certain respects - that's what this world is. But not to a crazy extent. I was very happy in my marriage as long as D & I were working on (first) our apartment, and having lots of fun besides - tending flower pots on a terrace, going out to eat once in a while, even the occasional trip away. It was nice.

Oh forget it, I'm going to change the subject. But now I'm Lady of the Manor to him, and quite frankly, I don't relish myself in that role either. Yeah - I slipped up big time. I guess Wellesley was supposed to mean ---- big money --- high spirit -- indefatigability.

I don't know that I was 'more E.D.' But I wasn't, constitutionally, or in any other way, Maggie either.

Oh sweetheart, I sense that you get this stuff, as jumbled as I am about it -- I think you see it played out in your own family, maybe even among family members I've never even met. I don't know -- it's tough. But do you know -- it's not impossible -- there is hope!!!

And I didn't mean to swerve into the political here -- but for sure, it completely frightens me that a vampiric sort, ruthless, entitled, lacking in empathy --

the likes of him would swallow in a tsunami of avaricious indifference, the likes of all E.D.s and Maggies

Sweetheart, here we are -- alive! -- and I'm typing to you -- and now it truly is dark out now - but the house is clean -- and D is whisking up some marinade - he's going to grill a bunch of chicken tonight -- organic chicken that I found marked down the other day at the market

And I washed my hair this morning - and it's clean & dry & pinned up
And so I'll have an easier time getting out of the house tomorrow morning

boy I am so *not* Episcopalian -- don't get excited, I'm even less so Catholic

oh well, signing off, your as always boundary-challenged, ever-loving heathen dream lover, many many kisses --- ohh ggrrrrrr (no I didn't get that in today - oh sweetheart)

yours truly,

Friday, January 27, 2012

My dearest, how are you, where are you, I wonder. I sit here absently studying my hands, sipping from an icefilled glass, wondering what to write - if to write, perhaps tonight will be a night I skip posting. What do I have to report? I managed a trifecta today, over the course of the day. I took a walk this morning. It was very mild, more like March than late January, and there was green in the landscape, moss sprouting up on a northfacing slope. Which seems paradoxical - I mean usually slopes such as that are the last to see the snow & ice melt since they don't get sun. And yet moss prefers that orientation. At any rate there they were, bright green today.

Sweetheart, I wish we could just hang out together for a spell. I am feeling very off my game in the blogging department these days. Perhaps it's the time of year. I still feel compelled to try to post something every evening - to connect with you - but I don't know, I've just been feeling a splitting of self so much lately - not losing myself in the posts, just constantly being aware (I suppose it's a form of anxiety) that here I am trying to post. No wonder E.D. didn't wish to publish. You know, I used to think that if she were alive today that she'd have a blog. Now - at least the way I'm feeling these days - I'm less sure. She felt that not only "publication was the auction of the soul" -- not something that's ever troubled me, since I give it away -- but also that the idea of publishing made her feel that she was being seen without any clothes on. [I just read that the other day - now, where was that? Because here I'm paraphrasing.] And that's sort of how I'm feeling these days. Because in other posts when I've felt more freewheeling, I've been delighted to tap into letters, think of you in a kind of sharing, hitting 'publish post.' Because I felt it was worth 'something' - a note worth noting. These days I'm not feeling so blithe about it. More like, good God, here she is standing around in her underwear again for all to see, and it's not even great underwear.

Now, darling, I mean that utterly metaphorically, because I have some very nice underwear. But I do confess -- I'm not wearing it now. No, it's my 'around the house' -- yes, white cotton stuff (albeit with a pattern of very thin candystripes) that I had foresworn. Now you see why I didn't wish to undress yesterday - because with a nice outfit I also wear some really nice lacy pretty sexy low-cut stuff -- including (shhhhh!!!) to church.

Yes, I'm feeling airheady. And a bit guilty now too, because an email just came in containing the most heartwarming images of a polar bear encountering sled dogs in peaceful fashion, and, on the opposite end of the globe, koala bears, thirsty in a heat wave, requesting and accepting a drink of water from some surprised and kindly obliging mountain bikers. (I include here only a couple of the images, but in the email I got, there were more, that built, sparingly, very beautiful independent graphic narratives.)
I really like the idea - or fact - of interspecies cooperation and communication. On my walks I'm always passing by a penned yard that usually contains three barking dogs -- a big black dog, a spotted dalmation, and some considerably smaller yapping terrier. The three of them see me coming and just start barking & yapping away, running around the yard. It's pretty funny. I'm awfully glad for that fence though -- two of those dogs look powerful, and could 'kill me with kindness' and affection, even if they do (as in Of Mice and Men) profess to come in peace. I always yell back at them... good morning, good morning, hey there, etc., etc. They seem happy & well cared for, I'm glad. I passed them this morning, and thought of a dog I'd once briefly met -- outside my brother and then sister-in-law's house in San Jose. They kept the dog penned up in a narrow sunless space at the side of the house. The dog might as well have been a box of crackers (I don't know why I choose those words to type). I mean the dog was so not a sentient, feeling, pathetic creature to its owners. The dog was desperately, pathetically lonely. The weekend I was there I think the mother was like, hey (to her older girl), go check on the dog. Or maybe -- more likely -- the girl took it upon herself. Anyway, I think of that poor dog with a sense of horror. There was absolutely nothing I could do. I was just the visiting "crazy aunt" -- there for the first and last time in my life, on my way back from a visit with my sister, who lives in Honolulu. I had just quit smoking right around then too -- the trip to Hawaii was my way of trying to cope -- change patterns & all that.

I do think about the bigger picture, such as can be glimpsed here. But also I wonder if I think maybe I saw her once, when I was a teenage page at the reference library - I know what she looks like, and she was pretty vivid then, and I'm pretty sure I'd fetched her a magazine or a bunch up the back stairs or in the dumbwaiter...

And that's it darling, for now, this evening. I think of you, and hope all is well with you. Many many kisses. Love you.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My darlings, I am feeling much better today. I made a concerted effort to get out of the house. Fortunately I was able to get the car for a few hours.

I realized that the clock was running out on....

any excuse to dress up -- check out my new boots!

I headed into town...

Cute place, cozy little hole-in-the-wall. It was hoppin'. The sandwich was delicious. I left a dollar in the tip jar and thanked the proprietor -- I am now officially aware of falafels. You're welcome!

Afterward I strolled down Warren Street, as always admiring the creatively done windows. Do you suppose E.D. might have enjoyed wearing beautifully constructed white dresses such as these?

Might she have reclined, like an Edward Gorey heroine, on a white-linened settee such as this?

I admired another gallery window

and, serendipitously, my new boots again

snow flurries began to fall, though you can't tell from this picture

I headed to my new-favorite cafe, which has especially delicious coffee, but discovered that they're on vacation for a couple of weeks

I headed back up Warren Street, continuing to admire artful window displays
I stopped at a different cafe, and ordered a cappuccino, which arrived with a swirly design. I sat in the window and savored it. But I forgot to take pictures.


Afterward I made my way out of town and drove north to the little town library

I spent a bit of time on the internet, catching up on 'behind-the-firewall' Times articles mostly, and thought too, to check the library system - for a certain book that I had once left a note about, asking if the director might order it

And I discovered --- OMG! "811 -- on the shelf-- K'hook library" -- at my carrel I gave a tiny yelp of glee.

I logged off, went into the stacks, the 811s... not there -- of course not, it would be on the new shelf -- which it was. The director's office is right by checkout and she was seated at her desk... I held up the book and said, thank you so much for ordering this! And she replied that it was her absolute pleasure...

I will be very very glad to set into this book. I have been 'between books' lately, which was part of my mood-problem a little bit, that lack of focus. Anyway -- I'm back on track.

No workout today, I just couldn't bear getting out of my finery, my belted skirt & sweater set, which I'm enjoying so much. Part of shaking up the routine...

All my love, many kisses
I hope all is well with you
thinking of you, as always
and by the way -- not all fast food is bad
just the super-overprocessed kind
but a fresh taco made of wholesome ingredients from a little truck
or a freshly made falafel
that's 'fast-food' -- & healthful too

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

You feel so far away from me. I haven't seen you in over a year. Before that I hadn't seen you in a year or more, I've lost count. There is some very bare minimum that is slipping away from me. It's hard to sustain. I take a multivitamin every day. Is that why I'm noticing? Having a harder time sustaining the illusion? Perhaps I should discontinue this blog. The thought strongly occurred to me last night. I went to bed, missed the "State of the Union" speech. Realized belatedly that I could have entitled yesterday's post, for different reasons, "state of the union."

A tiny bit of housekeeping wrapped in - if relevant - a request. I love the page hits that mean something - that light on an image, a recent post - like that. But if (big "if") it's you landing on my blog via such heavily encoded encrypted hits -- could you please not do that? Because truly -- I derive absolutely nothing from them at all, in terms of feeling that I'd received any kind of personal pagehit. And those hits may not be from you at all -- they may seriously be random, occult spam. I don't like it. No blogger does.

While I'm on the subject - I suppose I should be happy/grateful that I have "google-followers" - but to be honest, again - I don't ever have an actual sense that any of them has looked in on my blog -- just from the way this page-hit business works. It's very impersonal. And I'm not saying that any of you should do anything about it -- not at all. It's just that - I do not at all, ever, in any kind of daily way, have a sense that any or some or all of you have looked in on it, and what you might make of it. (Actually Lenore -- I do get a sense from you - not from my blog stat counters, etc. - but when I see what I take to be an oblique reference -- such as regarding the Leyda -- and by the way -- I love that you're posting an "on this date" fragment in that way - brilliant!)

Thank you 1.0 for landing in your steady, recognizable way -- that has meaning to me, it really does. As you know. I don't mean to belabor it - but just offer it as contrast to far more occult, oblique -- almost, or seemingly pointlessly so - ones. If you know me, drop me a line sometime. Doesn't have to be a formal "comment." I've got an email address, accessible somehow through my "profile." Here it is in case you don't feel like scrounging -- bellehudson12534@gmail.com.

desertrat whatever your number -- who are you? I don't mean that literally -- I don't need to know anything of your identity -- but how on earth did you land here? are you still here? why?

And that's it really -- one of those posts -- sort of like a clunker "January" movie -- released then because it had no hopes of being nominated

Sweetheart -- I hear you -- I definitely didn't mean to force a question - 'pushed or pulled' -- okay - so I'm your delicious latte, no foam, design etched on top, anticipated treat, incredible aroma, and ah - that first sip

and that's fine, I guess I think of that photo of Wislawa Szymborska inhaling the aroma of a fragrant porcelain cup of tea

I try hard to inhale details of my life in just that way
tonight it's poached salmon, cauliflower mash, and mesclun salad
the pellet stove is cranking
Claire the Lump is asleep nearby me, on the aerie balustrade

I wonder if Bernie Madoff has more conversations in prison than I have
F**k him, obviously
except that it's really weird that I feel as though I've been under house arrest for several years now

not one person, I don't think, commented on my blog in all of 2011
not one, not once

I think what this post is reflecting is thoughts I'm having about whether I wish to continue this blog or not
I don't know, I haven't decided
honestly - last night - in tears - I just wanted to pull the plug on it
I don't feel that way now

but I do feel as though it isn't working -- or that things aren't working for me
I don't know how to get out of my predicament
I don't know what to do
I want out - of this involuntary house arrest (and I haven't been convicted of any crime!!) -- how do I get out of it?

anyway -- sorry -- well, in terms of start with where you are --
at least I'm not going through these muddy cold sleeping adder-filled waters --- in June

with everything in bloom, and the sun shining

now that would be a problem

I hope all is well with you --- with all of you -
the ones who count

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Hello darling, putting my arms around you, kissing you hello. Ah you feel good. I've had a better day, much better, than yesterday, and feel set right for the most part, though still my mind tends to slip off into - territories. Today was beautiful, for starters, which was a huge help, so sunny & mild that I put on lighter clothing than usual, and needed no more than a jacket, unbuttoned, for my walk. It was like an early spring day, a gift after yesterday's cold murk. I savored the sun on my skin, and the restoration of green in the landscape -- most everything has melted away, certainly whatever snow had fallen - when was that? just a few days ago - blocked from my mind already! But vestiges of ice remained on sheltered portions of the creek - and I thought to bring my camera today - that is - I went back home to get it - thus technically taking two walks today. That will 'learn me' to make a habit of carrying my camera every time. Or not - goodness knows I could stand to lose a few more pounds.

My head feels set straight today, after yesterday. 1.0 got back to me. Those weren't his page-hits -- I didn't really think they were, it was just that the geographic origin caught me offguard, on a day that I was feeling a little emotionally vulnerable to begin with. Anyway - it's okay now, and maybe I learned something, maybe even more so -- I feel a sense of clarity, that I suppose I wish to preserve, though it entails a 'moment of truth,' which is always painful too. But it's okay, maybe I've worked through something.

Message from July 2009
There is a paradox here. You have been dissatisfied but have remained completely faithful. I have been happy with my marriage, but have not...
I have been thinking a lot about infidelity, in myriad ways, including gradations of it. I was paging through an NYRB today, and came across a tiny ad, in the midst of a publisher's ad highlighting various books, about a woman who claims the best thing that happened to her is her discovery of her husband having an affair. I googled, and found a website -- and maybe so, she & him have put together a lucrative business based on their experience, including his infidelity. I perused the website a bit, and came across a page that talked about different types of infidelities -- how some people are "pulled" towards them, others "pushed." In thinking of myself, I'm feeling very pushed. Someone else, I believe, has rather more been pulled -- attracted to the fun, clandestine, sexy, ego-boosting aspects -- rather than trying to fill some horrible yawning gap. And you're faithful (as far as I know, or so I imagine) -- and I rhetorically wonder -- do you feel more "pushed" - or "pulled?" The forces probably aren't mutually exclusive, but I would imagine that only one of them, in the context of a marriage, is strong enough to act as the impetus.

I think of all this too --- oh for all sorts of reasons. D & I will have been married 25 years next month. And these days I feel as though it's the biggest error I ever made, that cost me in ways that I did not realize for many years, but realize acutely now.

I did a workout this afternoon, and learned that Seal & Heidi are divorcing. After four kids and seven or eight years together. He talked about eight years as though that's a long time! (To me it isn't - not after a quarter-century.) But four children - or one - that of course is a big deal.

I wonder what I will ever tell the Rector when the question inevitably comes up. She dropped me off the other day, since we were transporting the keyboard -- "we" have lived here seven years this April, I answered.

And yet "we" still co-exist, if in separate rooms. But I cook, he brings home the income. Tonight is an enormous pot of Sicilian Spiced Chicken. Breakfast was an omelet of broccoli and a bit of leftover salmon & cream cheese, with a dessert of stewed plums.

It's nice (to say the least) in a marriage when you have the sense of having built something together.

Something strong and important and shared. Maybe it can be undone, for all sorts of reasons - cliche, but people do grow apart.

But it isn't easily, instantly smashable, like a vase.

I know now, just the tiniest bit better than I did yesterday -
his ceramic urn is perfectly, perfectly intact

Monday, January 23, 2012

Oh sweetheart, what a dank gray day, just relentless, the world here melting from pristine cover to drear mud slush. I took a walk this morning, some by the creek, frozen at the banks, semisolid gradations of gray formed at either side of a narrow inlet between the mainland and a small parallel island several yards away. The frozen swathes -- atmospheric Rothkoesque bands -- dissolved at the center, liquid center pupil reflecting - perfectly clear - bare trees against blank sky.

I've had a bit of a hard time today, mostly due to the weather. I simply do not fare well without sun. I couldn't even muster a workout today. I played the electronic keyboard a bit, just to fool around with the buttons. I went to the supermarket, mostly to get out of the house. I didn't feel ambitious in the cooking department, so tonight it will be small panfried steaks, baked potato, and mesclun salad. Also I'm steaming artichokes -- there's an unusual aroma of lime & artichoke wafting upstairs -- I substitute lime for lemon juice sometimes -- since lemons are pricey and I often find limes by the half-dozen on the 'reduced' shelf - and they seem very interchangeable to me.

Truly nothing to report. I feel off my game. Part of it is that I woke up this morning for some reason thinking very much of 1.0 -- I mean I often do, but these thoughts were somehow more intense than I've had in a while. I can't account for it -- I don't remember my dreams from last night -- I just don't know. I was restraining myself from sending him a brief message -- because honestly I felt - what's the point -. I went for a walk, because that's what I do - but also to shake the useless, slightly obsessive thoughts I was having, that go nowhere, etc., etc. And so I did -- encountering the Rothkoesque creek, and not much else except drear blank landscape (not a heath, just a ghost town of a wintry upstate hamlet). And when I returned home and as usual logged on, I found that I'd received a flurry of page-hits from the very place where he lives, or thereabouts close enough. But I couldn't tell if it was him or not, seemed uncharacteristic... Anyway, I ended up sending him a brief message just to say 'what's new' -- etc., etc.

Why am I so obsessive? Why can't I let go? It's just crazy. Why can't I be cool & contented? Actually, most days I'm pretty okay - I don't know what hit me today - and then with those mysterious pagehits on top of it, just to set me spinning a bit, to no resolution. I don't know, maybe he's set off on a long trip, and was signaling goodbye. Or maybe it was you - but of all the zillions of tiny IP'd hamlets on this earth -- if it was you, how could the hits have come from Arvada?

Sweetheart, please forgive this post, I'm truly off my game today. I woke up, head in my pillows in the dark room this morning, for some reason ruminating painful thoughts about 1.0 (perhaps seeing Sense and Sensibility yesterday was the trigger, but still, if so, it filtered through - sideways, and in my sleep). And at the same time I had the warmest most delightful sweet thoughts of you, and could readily imagine your being with me -- and to think of you is like having the sun come out, at least inwardly -- thoughts of you are so warm, fun, loving, kind, abiding -- no pain at all -- except for that of separation - except that I completely understand it, it's okay. It's a different kind of pain. But to think of you, and to think of you thinking of me -- it just sets me right, lifts my spirits immediately -- almost like an off/on switch, the contrast is as vivid and sudden as that. And so I try very hard to just keep to thoughts of you -- because they feel better --

thank you darling
Tinker...Tailor... Soldier... WO2 Traffic Cop

many kisses --

Sunday, January 22, 2012

My dearest, I'm blowing my nose and wiping away tears, having just spent the better part of the afternoon glued, while doing a workout and chores, to a Masterpiece Theatre production of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility. Wow. What a great story, I'd never read it, or seen any other filmed version, so it was utterly new to me, except in the sense of Austen's sensibility (and I'm not even trying to pun) being familiar to me. The laying out of individual webs of connections, paths that inexorably lead once hearts & circumstances are set in motion... the surprising yet utterly plausible reversals -- breathtaking. And the nuanced observations... have things changed so much now? I wonder. In certain circles, yes. But I could relate to the story - to the heartbreak, and the rapture - very much.

So my dear, how are you, where are you? I hope you've enjoyed a very relaxing Sunday. I did, went to church in the morning, enjoyed the service, and am very glad for the simplicity of it - for someone who is a little hesitant about formal religion, I felt quite at home and comfortable with words I was asked to utter, chants or hymns to sing. Even though I'm not of that particular denomination, it truly seems ecumenical & embracing enough that I will find a place within it, I think, on my own terms, that I feel comfortable with. I think I might start accompanying a couple of Sundays from now, on an electronic keyboard that was discovered had been put away for storage in the 'choir' rafters of the church - it's in our solarium now -- anyway -- it's good, it will work out I think. The pipe organ will come later, more gradually, my acquaintance with it. But today, just being there rather more officially, attending the service, I had a chance to behold the instrument much more clearly than what I had glimpsed by chance, on the fly a couple of weeks ago. My goodness -- it is just a marvelous antique, built right into the very walls of the church.
The pipes seem Persian-inspired, reminiscent of decorative elements at Olana – stylized zigzags in gorgeous turquoise & apricot glazed colors burnished with time - the pipes were thus elaborately patterned. Their ornate fancifulness, unexpectedly rich, took my breath away. And the woodwork of this gorgeous village church - and the stained glass windows -- I had the sense, in their exquisite colored surrounds, of autumn leaves, what this region is so known for, an especially beautiful time of year. To me - this is not merely an aesthetic experience -- though the aesthetics are a wondrous part of it. But it's not the same as admiring - let's say - this church plunked down (hypothetically) in a museum. No - the fact that it was made by hands -- in 1845, I verified -- and is enjoyed & participated in, in a lively way today --- that's what adds that extra dimension - a breath of life, as of the pipe organ's bellows that I peeped behind a wood-ante-door behind the colored risers to glimpse. Not that I saw them -- I'm not sure what I saw, glimpsing behind the scenes of this truly Melvillean-scaled - that is, I mean a Great Whale - of an instrument, that like a whale, or an iceberg, or perhaps the human heart itself... one can see glimpses, or manifestations, but not all of the amazing much larger than one could imagine other workings.

It's funny - in a lot of technology (speaking off the cuff as someone who isn't very cutting-edge as to technology) -- it's all about things becoming smaller, faster - such as microchips, circuitry. I don't know, I just found it so wondrous to glimpse something - a piece of machinery - that works - and is so much larger than me.

All that said, I was also in those same moments, able to glimpse the keyboard (I'm sure not the right term) of the organ itself, and its stops. Which in my mind’s eye, thinking of it over the last few weeks, had multiplied into almost dozens of dizzying individual stops. But in fact, there don't seem to be very many at all - though again I've lost count! - perhaps six or eight. A manageable number - that with some practice, and guidance, in the form of books, or other ---

And that's it really - my day. Dressed in my "church" outfit of good jeans - that I haven't worn in a year, not - as a matter of fact, since the very last time I saw you - and my new cozy, water-resistant, comfortable and stylish (!) boots -

maybe that deserves a note too - I don't know how to dress for church -- so I paired all this with a very staid camel-brown cashmere twinset - formal counterbalance, in case denim isn't the thing -

Yesterday, with the inclement weather & my lack of waterproof footwear, I didn't take a walk
but today I did, at the conservation area
it felt so wonderful - especially after a day of not working out or walking
to stretch out and pump my legs and inhale deep and yell at the sky and spin my arms, carrying handweights, like windmills
It felt absolutely wonderful to feel so fit & connected with my body and hear the crunch of pristine snow underfoot my securely-footfalling warm beautiful boots

and lunch was wonderful -- all leftovers -- as will be dinner
we eat so well - it is a total revelation to me - how medicinal, truly, food is
so - a bowl of pumpkin-black-bean soup for lunch
I'd finally gotten around to roasting a lovely sugar pumpkin that had served as simple decoration all through the fall - and it had kept beautifully, like a 'winter storage' vegetable - at first on display

and tonight (ah I inhale the fragrance now, as it wafts upstairs) -
reheated curried chicken with basmati rice and broccoli -- because I did so well this morning at the 'marked-down' produce shelf --

holding your hands, darling, very many kisses
I hope all is well with you

all my love

Saturday, January 21, 2012

My love, where are you - I am missing you so much. Darling, I'm not giddy, just full of feeling, and bursting with pleasurable sensations, and sensual pleasures of all sorts, real & imagined. Oh let me pause right here sweetheart and kiss you, in the buff except for my brand new boots, brown furlined laceups. Baby I'm just pulsating. We're not in Cambodia anymore, except that my jeans are tight and my bodice is loose and --

Oh baby. You know, maybe one of these years you should email me again and we'll see what we can do. Only no gaps between messages that might as well be measured in geologic time.

Dearest, sweetest, sweetest love. Oh kisses again. I had an amazing session with you this morning - thank goodness for storm windows. What am I going to do once the screens go up? Actually, it was a weird session, started out emotional, because I'd misread a line of E.D.'s that I took very much to heart... I do not ask if you are "better"--because split lives--never "get well"--but the love of friends--sometimes helps the staggering--when the Heart has on it's great freight

It's an excerpt from an E.D. condolence letter... that I looked up in my own library copy of Volume 2 of Jay Leyda's The Years and Hours of Emily Dickinson. [Proper links another time] The Secret Life of E.D. FB page turned me on to it, and I reserved it from the library system, and there arrived volume 2 - the two-volume set was miscatalogued so it will be a while, it seems, before I encounter Volume 1. This - as Lenore without so many words suggests - is a volume to own, simply to dip into, from time to time, and time again. For example, someone (you?) likes my "grab-bag gift" post, and I think of that when I turn to Leyda's appendix, in which he includes contemporaneous scraps of noted memories of those who had had some, even the slightest most peripheral acquaintance with E.D., or were in a position, close enough, to recount town gossip about her. And so there were wonderful snatches -- such as of her little nephew's habit of visiting his auntie, and leaving behind what was extraneous to his toddler self -- and so a pair of little boots was sent back to the Evergreens, sprouting like vases blossoms from E.D.'s garden; or another time he'd left behind a jacket - which was returned, with notes pinned to the pockets - one read, 'Come In,' the other 'Knock' -- and one pocket contained raisins, the other nutmeats....

I must blog on a daily basis otherwise it all flies away, and there's nothing drearier (as in Christmas form letters) than backstory...

Start with where you are. At the moment I'm savoring the sensation of especially cozy & delicious boots on my feet, that I'm wearing as slippers for this evening only, since they haven't yet encountered the slushy frosty roads -- since there's now snow on the ground, as of the past couple of nights. These are my "church boots," as I think of them, since I will be walking down the road tomorrow morning, in them.

I went to the movies today, what might have been a colorful alternative to the bleak greiged out slushy overcast torpid scene here --- except that the film I chose to see at the multiplex was Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy -- which - without the benefit of any snow on the ground that I recall -- was not so different in its coloration. I stuck through it, consulting my watch every now and then... 1:45, 2:15, 2:45... trying to determine my own stamina in the face of a 127 minute movie. I came close to leaving at any given point. But I stuck through it, perhaps because my heart rate might actually have dropped. It was that slow-mo a chess game...

Dearest - oh my love, kisses. Afterburn, in the pleasantest sensations...

This is the worst post ever, in terms of literary stylings, but oh darling -- I miss you, I want you so badly
I miss 1.0 very badly also, he missed a beat, first time in ages - I love him still, and it is very hard for me (as this afternoon) to see a movie that features Colin Firth

the boots I'm wearing are awfully cute
I'm not built like Angelina
and I don't have exactly Vera Farmiga legs
but - oh I don't know - I think I look okay
my snug jeans tucked into the furlined tops
boy do I wish you were around
and you are darling, you are
many licks, and kisses

Friday, January 20, 2012

Snow overnight, a couple of inches that crept in silently, finger to lips, without a stir, shhhh don't wake her.... unlike the other night with that cacophonous wind that rattled the bars & cages of this house. And in fact, last night, I did wake up in the wee hours, for a bit, as I usually do, always so grateful that I can turn on a brown-shaded bedside lamp, step into the aerie, log on, and while the computer connects, go into the bathroom, whiz, fill a drinking glass of water, return to my desk, and sit here in darkness, with only the glow of the screen. The thought crosses my mind almost every night that I do this -- that I am so grateful for this extra buffer space at the top of the house, this aerie, my home office, my "room of one's own." I actually like its openness - one arrives in it at the top of the stairs, and needs to traverse it to reach either of the two bedrooms, or the bath. I think too, of my mother - who had strong artistic sensibilities. The house in which I was raised - that contained my parents, my two younger brothers, and my sister, seven years younger than myself -- was smaller than the house that I live in now, with just D and the two devoted 'sisters,' the housecats Gwynnie & Claire.

In that house growing up -- it was like the house I'm in now - but without the generous, airy, lightfilled semi-public buffering open space that is the aerie. No, instead, in my parents' house when one reached the top of the cramped carpeted stairs, one encountered immediately the tiny bath - with a tub but no working shower; a tiny linen closet; doors (nearly always open) to the two bedrooms, one smaller than the other; and a single window that faced west, towards the small church at the top of the hill, which blocked light as the sun fell.

The tiny space at the top of the stairs, was no larger than the cramped space that connects adjoining cars on a rail train - one doesn't even expect to sit down. And yet here we were -- six individuals -- crammed in with one another - with no private spaces -- for years on end.

Honestly - I don't know how my mother did it. I mean, the children -- we found our escapes - school, after-school jobs, always the dangling-carrot prospect that frankly propelled us, to finally one day get out of there.

But my mother. What was it like for her to wake in the middle of the night? The most she could do was to turn on a surreptitious bedside lamp, perhaps in the larger bedroom that for quite a while she shared with my sister & me, or at other times (at this point they're jumbled for me) in an unheated, inadequately fake-wood paneled 'winterized' sunporch that became her room. My father slept on the sofa in the living room. The TV set basically separated her room, with its voile-curtained French doors, and the smallish living room with its creepily textured stuccoed walls -- the surfaces weren't even flat, just run all over with veins & bones, not unlike what I glimpse of my own hands as I strike the keys (except that I like my hands, and the glimpse of action behind the skin).

And there was no internet then, obviously -- at this point I'm so used to it it's very hard for me to imagine my life without it. Certainly I couldn't make such quick & immediate & gratifying associations as I am able to follow up instantly now. (In my mother's day - in the years that she was actively my mother - knowledge was acquired either by consulting a book already possessed, going to the library, or perhaps making a pilgrimage to a museum in the city).

I'm grateful for those quick connections. For example, I'm really intrigued by Elizabeth Bishop's diminutive artworks, that I discovered in passing online, and have followed up on to see a few more, learn a little more...

(ah, I wish that Paris Review piece had been published a bit sooner, or that somehow I were better plugged into the NYC gallery scene - what's my excuse - oh no matter.... anyway, suddenly the gallery in which Bishop's paintings are on exhibit, is totally on my radar -- except that the exhibit ends tomorrow. Ah, it's okay, it's supposed to snow overnight, the drive is impracticable, and such a quick flight would only exhaust me -- and I need to be rested --- yes, I have to go to church on Sunday...)

but I'm sufficiently intrigued to look at more of her paintings on line (done on sheets of paper no larger than Crane stationery, and I learned from Wiki that she went to Vassar with a Crane heiress...)

and I'm just now figuring out about 'gouache'

perhaps I'll stop by an art supply store in town soon and pick up a few supplies -- of course I don't wish to spend a small fortune to indulge this newfound interest

I like the colors she uses -- I think of the little watercolor experiment I did at Olana some weeks ago -- and I so dislike those strident colors -- I like soothing earth tones...

anyway -- darling! just musing here
curried chicken for dinner, with cauliflower & carrots, & basmati

And so my mother didn't have any of that -- if she woke up in the middle of the night in a household of strangers each with their own powerful trajectories and/or agendas -- where was she going to go? If she wanted to follow up on something in her mind -- the best she could do was perhaps to make a penciled note (I can see her beautiful handwriting now, as I think of this - she certainly had a singular hand, and beautiful hands too, I might mention, nails always perfectly manicured - nothing short of a miracle, since there was no dishwasher, or maid)

So when I wake up in the middle of the night and have the incredible freedom of stepping into the aerie & into the bath without fear of disturbing anyone (even if D's asleep in the other bedroom, but he's used to this) - and logging on to connect in some fashion --

well, I'm very very grateful -- and I don't know how my mother managed
I'm the age now that she was -- beyond it even

and so the snow crept in unannounced overnight
even with my comings & goings from my bedroom to the computer
returning to bed, throwing the Perry Ellis black wool coat over me for extra warmth
I didn't hear it at all

it wasn't til early this morning, before dawn
when what I thought were inexplicably jets
turned out to be the most massive snow plow tanks thundering through our country lane
to keep commerce open of course
I guess I should be grateful that our stretch of road - dead ended
is still a county route
as a former planner I imagine having it demapped
if only to get rid of the obnoxious unnnecessary double yellow lines
painted every spring by other "tanks" - perhaps (I hope, as a local taxpayer) refitted snow plow vehicles
but I realize that such demapping --
would only mean that
we wouldn't have had the sweet luxury
of being plowed

okay darling I admit, this post has gone on too long
& hasn't exactly resolved in some deft fashion

never mind all that, sweetheart
my Steve McQueen, wherever you are
blowing kisses up into the air to you
because I know - I know - that you don't just "sound like a jet"
you're really flying around - up there

many kisses

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Hello sweet love, I feel so much better today - 100 percent - which to the truly fit, might be something like 85 percent. I took a vigorous walk this morning, along the country roads here, that I suppose I experience & witness deeply as I tread - but now thinking back on it - it's all an inconsequential blur. What did I see? The gray creek, small shiny pockets of ice melting. A mallard on the water, that I wouldn't have spotted except that it quacked. The rabbit, deceased on the road the other day - gone. I didn't manage a workout today - why press it - but I do have an awfully pleasant afterglow at my crotch, even now, all these hours later, we had such a grand time in all sorts of settings, changed in the blink of an eye -- Whatever Works -- to make Brangelina seem like stay at homes. I spent a couple of hours at the library today, caught up on Golden Globe red carpet fashion photos. Some couples look together, like they're happy together, at least for that moment - others not. George Clooney and whoever his date was - they looked happy. Brangelina - their body English seemed very split, disconnected to me, as did that of Banderas & Griffith. But who knows. I read into things, or things speak to me. Not quite analytical, it's more visceral, intuitive - but the impressions are swift, sudden, pretty inexorable. Certain page-hit communiques are just that way, such as this morning, a title of an old post of mine, "In My Own Mind," an allusion to a Lyle Lovett song title. And I don't even know if the hit was from you - but I immediately took it to be, and felt that you were communicating that whatever's going on in the "facticities" of your life -- in certain senses you're apart from it - of it to be sure, due to not only responsibilities & obligations, but also genuine & longstanding love, care, concern -- but also that you -- a certain, core, essential aspect of you -- are -- or is (this sentence is becoming syntactically derailed) "In My Own Mind." I feel that I get it. Also, that that particularly eloquent page-hit might have been in response to something I'd written yesterday, how I might not be quite such a homebody if I had other emotional satisfactions. And here I am typing to you... And I think of you with your traveling, all that traveling -- possibly less than I imagine, because on a daily basis, since I don't know better, you always seem to be taking off or landing, though there was that long stint in Korea -- before I even knew it was you.

I had a nice email exchange with My Friend in Finland - he'd sent me a couple of thoughtful, delightful messages in recent days, and I finally organized myself, at the library, to write him back. He's someone I've never met, am unlikely ever to meet, which actually is fine. And yet we can sort of plug into, if not a shared, then slightly overlapping dreamscape of shared perceptions, inspirations, muses...

I read a piece the other day, an interview with a guy who used to live across the street from me, the whole while we lived on Sackett Street -- the perennial tedious question, posed by (who else but?) The Economist [via], about - paraphrasing - why poetry when it doesn't pay? To which the respondent eloquently responded, touchingly & meaningfully, despite not so much the inanity as the utter cluelessness (right brain v. left brain stuff) of the question.

To me, these days, there's hardly anything more crucial than -- not so much poetry per se, but an openness, awareness, porousness to be open to all the phenomena unspooled before us at any given moment (I say this as a person who isn't visually blind). There's a danger - sometimes - of becoming just a bit too narrowly focused on single decontextualized minutiae - a single leaf, for example, as viewed against a white ground.

But when I think of all the richness just absolutely constantly abundantly about me, there for my noticing, even if in passing - even if not in noting...

I think of - for example - on my drive back from the library, on this seasonably cold January day, that by late afternoon had turned pewter & dark -- no snow on the ground -- and yet the quality of light seemed almost to compensate for that -- seemed almost to insist on monochrome

and on a long straight stretch of the rural county route -- the left-hand side, past & future cornfields for the most part --- on the right, houses, and a pasture, fenced -- and at the corner, on the other side of a gate, stood the most beautiful roan (is that the word I want?) horse, a single mysterious creature, all reddish-brown, gentle & magnificent, as I flew past, and murmured 'oh how beautiful,' while at the same time, as usual, thinking, 'darn I should have brought my camera.' (The Great Brain Divide - right there!)

Darling -- so - here I am -- in my own mind -- meeting - in between all sorts of gates & paddocks - yours

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Fierce winds blew through here overnight, blast after thunderous blast, loud - no, louder - than freight trains that rumbled past the house I grew up in, across the street, the back of those neighbors' yards. As though the train were right here - that's what it must have been like to live hard by the tracks, even more so than we already did. I woke in the middle of the night with a headache and slight fever, got up to check for kisses from you (18 of them at one instant!) and to take an aspirin. I've been lying low all day, fighting a bug - weakness, aches & pains. Nothing major, just a nuisance, but I wasn't up for much of anything, not a walk or workout, uncharacteristically. I hope I feel much better tomorrow - I'd hate to gain an ounce, let alone more, because I was sedentary for a day.

As I lay in the dark room, thrashing my covers, one instant too hot, moments later too cold -- was this a hot flash I wondered? But I don't think so - it's a bug, one that D told me this morning he'd weathered last week. I lay awake hearing the winds hurtle past again & again, and wondered how animals perceive it, if securely lodged nests get blown away, if creatures become frightened, not to mention cold. The cashmere strips blew off the tree. But the house didn't seem to so much as tremble, secure as it is, I guess, on its foundation. So that's reassuring.

Oh sweetheart, so little to report today at all, I'll just take your hand in mine, keep you company for a bit, stroke your fingers, lift your hand to my lips, kiss your palm. I'd love to see places with you. As I lay awake I imagined, ah what if were lying together, and perhaps luxuriously planning our day? Let's go to the museum and take a look at the La Bonne Aventure Magritte we both like. It would be a wonder to see it in person, with you. Or to just go anywhere with you -- sort of like Brangelina, for a bit -- the two of them, plus brood in tow, so peripatetic. I think that I wouldn't be quite the homebody if other emotional satisfactions were in place. I feel as though I'd happily travel anywhere with you, and feel right at home. But perhaps you prefer to be by yourself on your sojourns away - I wonder.

The sun has set and I've just gotten up to switch on a couple of lamps. I glance out the window. The ridgeline - miles away on the other side of the river, but seemingly right here as if for my gaze - is gorgeous, an unbroken line, glimpsed through bare black trees, blue granite curves dark beneath apricot sky. Breathtaking.

So no poetry really tonight, dearest, I'm not up for it. Room service. Where are we? Oh - a resort in Cambodia? That sounds wonderful. They must have the most amazing spritely fresh spring rolls... Ah let's step out onto the terrace of the jungly grotto outside our room and peruse the menu... you phone in the order darling to the concierge.... it will take them at least 40 minutes I know... time enough, as the sun slips behind the tangled vegetation and chirping mysterious woods of our cabana, for us to become re-acquainted, since we haven't seen each other since that museum with the Magritte in Rotterdam...

all my love dearest wherever you are
many kisses

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The rats are gone, or so I hope, but as a final act of revenge they - or it - chewed through wire that leads subterraneously from the living room stereo, beneath the kitchen, and into a set of tiny speakers under a side table in the solarium. This way we can hear music all through the house, from speakers issuing from both rooms. But since the solarium connection's been cut, no KZE the last few days, not there anyway, where I like to leave it on, background for puttering around the kitchen. I asked D to look at the stereo, see why it wasn't working. Suddenly music blasted on, a song I was indifferent to, and he turned it down while he investigated the faulty connection. I was up in the aerie, musing, puttering, and suddenly I heard Laura Marling's incredible Sophia come on - and I yelled downstairs for D to crank it. It's a great song. D thinks Marling is heavily influenced by Joni Mitchell. I don't know that I hear that - or that I don't. I just love the energy of it, the foot-stomping, mad guitar strumming, ecstatic beat of it, reaching what reminds me of how I imagine the frenzied climax of a revival meeting to be. I once, for a time, dated a guy from Washington, who had clear green eyes, pale skin, and black hair and beard. He told me matter-of-factly in his soft, measured voice, that his own mother was partial to such religious experiences, and indeed was prone, when so moved, to speaking in tongues. There was nothing in my religiously reserved background that I could relate to with this piece of information, given in between times of, over coffee or a diner meal, or lying in his arms, other forms of ecstatic experience.

I practiced hymns today, too, that connection hasn't been broken, is slowly forming. We'll see. I still have to count, in order to keep time. Four... one two three four... an entirely different experience... I wonder if we have a metronome kicking around... I could probably use one. When I lose count on these hymns that not all of which I'm so familiar with, I'm rather like a train that's run off its tracks a bit - not derailed exactly, more like threatening to go off onto a side deadhead intersection - when I'm meant - as all signal lights indicate, and I'm the driver operating this machinery - to stay on the main line. Ah! I've recovered the beat, the congregation showed me the way (as I imagine), in their deep familiarity and lugubrious adherence...

And that's it darling, for now. My musings have been a bit inspired by a piece I just finished reading... and I love the images, colored sketches by the poet Elizabeth Bishop, who I didn't know was also a visual artist. Her impressionistic yet very precise renderings of offhand daily scenes she encountered - including the curiosity, in several of her depictions - of crisscrossing electrical wires - spoke to me. I am not deeply familiar with her poetry.. but like the idea or ideal of poetry being able to capture, as best as possible, just such offhand moments, even if "imperfect," and even if "imperfectly..."

I glance around the aerie now, with its rich layerings... of lamplight, books stacked high, the dark shape of Claire asleep on a fleece by my feet; bits of textile here, my fingers tapping, printer light on; a green hydrangea-patterned lamp throwing light on City Island Scenes...

I really like Bishop's images. Also - perhaps I'm kidding myself - they seem doable. I love that they're not 'expert' - but clearly she has an eye, and a way of being able to set down the fleeting here & now, as she experiences it. Perhaps I'll give it a go, that form of expression. Her images make it seem possible... not quite the child's unconscious genius... no, it's these wires & connections fitted haphazardly across the ceiling of a room, a fan plugged in, speakers working, wires visible, not chewed invisibly by horrifying vermin, gone now I believe (verily - I must!) --- it's an adult's point of view, how these things work, and if you're not handy - it's best to keep those connections right on the surface.


Elizabeth Bishop (American, 1911-1979), Interior with Extension Cord, undated; watercolor, gouache, and ink.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Hi sweetheart, up in the aerie, aroma of roasting chicken wafting up the stairs. I managed finally to capture a shot of the woodpecker that visits the suet feeder - and, as at LaGuardia, a bluejay evidently awaiting its turn. I have an ivory cashmere, three-quarter sleeved, pearl-buttoned sweater that I've slept in, as an extra layer, for several winters, and it's finally given out, between machine-washings and my thrashings about at night. It's "too good" to throw out though, that lovely soft wool, so I've been tearing off thin strips & shreds of it, and experimentally draped a few such strands in the bare branches of a maple sapling in the front yard, thinking that perhaps birds might like it to 'feather their nests,' as they build them. It's a good thing that Darwinian evolution tends to occur on a lengthier time scale... because I'd hate to think of a generation or two of birds hatched & bred in the lap of plush luxury, only to find that the 'real world' isn't lined with cream cashmere. On a much lighter note, I imagine sightings, in Columbia County over the coming seasons, of beautiful bird nests, made of twigs, grasses, expertly, incredibly, beautifully, so compactly woven round & round... perfect cupped centers, interwoven with of all things... pale cashmere.

I am very used to cashmere myself... it takes only an instant to become accustomed to such fine, sensual luxuries, at least for me.

I'm feeling a nice sense of well-being. Although a bit topsy-turvy. I'm glad I've lost weight, I'm fairly fit, and trim. How potent are those multi-vitamins? I thought I was in menopause, but today... perhaps not, a bit of spotting anyway. The body is so mysterious, isn't it? Mine is, to me, certainly. I'm very glad I have the luxury of time & space to lead really a very nice life, with good foods, & exercise. When I worked full-time--- I couldn't get it together, I let myself go. It was like centrifugal force, or forces, spinning out. I could be good at my job. But then other things got let go. My body, mostly, as I hit middle age -- I had been ruinously abusive of it through most of my twenties, and into my thirties - especially with smoking. And also not having a clue whatsoever, as to proper nutrition.

I don't mean to rail at my mother (internally I often do, and she had a great many extenuating circumstances). I wasn't the 'chosen one' - the one deemed to have a long slim body, and accorded swim lessons. I definitely didn't learn proper nutrition from her. Actually the idea I had from her was that all calories were essentially fungible. She didn't know better, had come from a very hard place, growing up during WWII, bleak Catholic boarding school on her own after. Marriage to who turned out to be my father.

I didn't learn principles of good nutrition, exercise -- a comfortability and acceptance and nurturing of one's own body -- not from her. She died at age 58 of colon cancer, many years ago now, when I was around 30. I do believe she did the best she could by me -- and yet it simply wasn't adequate enough, the lessons, for the challenges that this rather relentless (unless one has exquisite supports, in some way - whether it's family, or capital, or an exploitative personality) culture demands.

Would I have made a good mother? I don't know. I wish -- on some level, but truthfully I have always had ambivalence around this question -- that I might have experienced motherhood. I never chose it for myself, because I could never seem to quite set up the right warunki -- conditions, circumstances, feathered nest - even if not lined in found cashmere. Working, as much at 'careers' as I could - I felt that I barely had the time & energy to take care of myself, let alone a little one. Perhaps circumstances, dynamics, would have shifted had I had a baby. I'm not so sure. I think I always felt in the back of my mind that my energies were limited - and that I definitely couldn't 'do it all.'

I was working outside the home, & cleaning the house, D & I shopped for & cooked most of our meals, didn't have a car, didn't go away on vacations (sometimes we did, but not usually), were in a one-bedroom.

How could I have fulfilled that other aspect of myself?
And so it didn't happen

And it turns out -- we'll have been here seven years in April --
I'm amazed by that number, seven years already here --

he & I were never on the same page in terms of dreams
'mountains of forgotten dreams' (was that you?)
as it turned out

but here we are - nonetheless
I have to run downstairs to put the roasting root vegetables
and the chicken no doubt now done
on warm

and that's it, my dearest Bacchus,
my Jonas Salk
are you my second? I don't know...
I keep trying to decipher those page hits
though not too too hard

good night my dear Steve McQueen
i can see the red tail lights
heading for Spain

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Hi sweetheart, big hugs & many kisses hello, I hope your journey went smoothly. Ah, it's all behind you now, hopefully you're settling in between nice clean soft sheets, laptop in your lap, reading my message by lamplight. I'm pooped at the moment, dearest, just finished vacuuming the downstairs. Before that I'd sipped a delicious cup of coffee and ate as delicately as I could, a sliced half of an almond croissant, whose flaky layers dissolved into flakes as I broke off bites of it - so possibly I saved some calories that way? Is that a French woman's diet secret? Leave behind shards of croissant, all that fat darling, as one might the slightest traces of signature perfume...

My dearest Bacchus, how are you darling? I hope all is well with you, that you're happy. I'm okay. Right - to continue backing up through my afternoon - before the cafe - I'd gone to the cinema, and saw Young Adult, starring Charlize Theron. And I have to say, it really resonated with me, is staying with me, and I'm finding myself thinking about it a lot more than many other movies I see - ones I even expected to think about more - such as the one about Marilyn Monroe, or the Keira Knightley one with Freud & Jung. No - darling - the latter films - as much as I enjoyed them at the moment I was viewing them - dissipated in my mind like so many dissolved croissant crumbs that, once I was finished with my coffee, I swept with the side of my hand onto the saucer - possibly to make less work for a server, but also so that the server wouldn't think, my goodness, that woman left a shower of crumbs at her plate.

Young Adult is very well done. I love that it depicted an ornery, difficult, essentially unlikeable character, played against other characters, each quirky, or unique -- I don't know, the whole thing was extremely well-observed. Charlize Theron plays a writer -- and I thought the film quite deftly portrayed aspects of being a writer -- such as the constant listening for background snippets of anonymous conversations, that can be woven into whatever one's trying to write. Theron plays not so much as a renowned writer - as the ghostwriter of a renowned writer. That was such an interesting twist, too. I related to the storyline a little bit - I'm not as extreme as the Theron character, but perhaps I'm somewhere along that spectrum. She wants her 1.0 back --- and (unlike me) actively pursues him, returns to her hometown where he lives with his wife & new baby, in an active bid to get him back. And meets others along the way, on her journey... a man who in high-school had the locker right next to hers - the two of them, for the days that she's in town, become friends. Even her poor little dog - she's so neglectful of it! - and yet it hangs on, and forgives her again & again...

Maybe I even related to the scenes of suburban coziness, with lots of family over, for all sorts of occasions, such as 'baby-naming' ceremonies... and Charlize appearing with an other-agenda, and not relating at all to the simple, insular life she'd made a point to move to "Mini-Apple" to leave behind...

I don't mean any spoilers - but I love the scene towards the end, when one of the characters, a middle-age woman left behind in her own way, admits to the Charlize character - how Charlize represents the one who got away, managed to escape the binds of "Mercury", Minnesota. It's a wonderful scene, because Theron suddenly sees herself not in her self-involved way, as a disconnected failure, but as others who didn't have her looks, talent ("you actually wrote a book") - view her - with not so much envy - as awe.

And that's it darling, for a film review. I'm glad I saw something that was unexpectedly, to me, so good - so honest, true -- a depiction of an "Alice" of sorts. I so appreciate that.

And there was a "girl band" in the film - formed of a circle of the small-town new moms -- the lead singer reminded me of Patti Smith -- which I thought was awesome - just do it, bang a drum, sing a song --

Sweetheart - I guess what I'm saying is - if you get a chance - do you know? check out this film - I think that in the way it has touched me for some reason - it's got something, it really does - and I hope of course that it might touch you too

anyway - I don't mean to get maudlin here, far from it
it's been so frigidly cold, in the single digits all day long
but all systems have been chugging along nicely
and I loved a scene where the Theron character, checking into a motel (OMG, it reminded me so much of the difficult moments I had at that Amherst motel - I felt so lonely - and I didn't even have a contraband cute loving Pekinese in my bag)
anyway, she spills out her toiletries & gadgets, and it's not the one I have, but I'm pretty sure (at least in my own imagination) that it wasn't a curling iron

all my love sweetheart
I will see you later, for sure, when I think of you
in the midnight hours

Saturday, January 14, 2012

My dearest, so many kisses hello. Let me put my arm in yours - let's go strolling along Warren Street. I'm so enamoured of the enticing aesthetics of this shop, especially the mosaic tile floor (echoes of Olana?), that I surmise are original to the building. Just gorgeous. I've shown D images, and suggested that if there ever comes a day that the bathrooms get redone - we might consider this sort of ornate pattern, done with hexagonal tiles, though perhaps, for baths, in a more muted palette. But I digress - what a beautiful floor. I took a few of these shots last Saturday, others today. Today I noticed the wreath on the door, iridescent scarlet feathers...

(Which, oh dear, reminds me, that beneath the table on the back porch this morning, I was shocked to see a deceased robin, dusted with ice crystals, flat on its back, wings folded across its dusk chest like arms, or angels' wings. What a shock, and I don't know how to account for it. It was beautiful in a macabre way, and when the shock wore off I could reflect on its poignant beauty, this still, frozen artifact - perfectly intact - from what I could see from the other side of the glass.)

Back to the shop... don't you love the names of cities stenciled on either window, the equivalency of them? Yes, darling, Hudson is on the map - a world city!

I laugh about it - it seems so silly - almost like an SAT question (which of these elements doesn't belong?) - but that's only if you're looking at the surface of things. Below the surface - in a 'global market economy' (this time, in my view - in a good way, with free flow of goods, coming & going, exchanging, trading, finding their value, and lots of competition) - Hudson, in the arts & antiques world, I think (in ways I can hardly fathom) truly does rank.

It was freezing out darling, but I stopped by a café to warm up, and enjoyed an unusually delicious cup of coffee with milk, along with half a peanut-butter cookie. I sat on a wobbly stool at the window and savored each sip & each bite. I have felt an unusual sense of incredible physical wellbeing today. I had a session with you (the one yesterday was interrupted, an arrival home, and I couldn't get it back, even with the urgency & drama). Today - no interruptions, just blissful extended opportunity -- which actually made it go quicker, & poof! without extraneous anxiety. Also, at times these days I've been doing my workouts to the Dr. Oz show - and I am learning so much. I mean, some of it is too much -- the micro-diagnosed prescriptions of specific vitamins and/or minerals. But I'm realizing that as well as I eat - now - since I do most of the food-shopping & cooking - maybe I'm still not getting all that I need...

So at the supermarket today (no siting of Mr. '?'), I contemplated a huge display of vitamins, and finally selected one - 'high potency daily for women.' When I returned to the car I took one, with gulps of water from a glass in the cupholder.

Anyway - I feel terrific. Was it the vitamin? The coffee? The peanut butter cookie? Or was it my getting out for a bit – including afterward - for the first time in many months - tromping around the conservation area - in gleaming sunlight?

And all wrapped up & enraptured & encased, in all that - as always - my abiding thoughts of you - ah!

Sweetest, sweetest darling - all my love, many kisses - thinking of you - wherever you are...

Friday, January 13, 2012

Hi sweetheart, up in the aerie at my desk, six p.m., an hour past dark, the temperature's dropping, it's supposed to be around 20 degrees tomorrow. But the pellet stove is cranking, and there's fuel in the furnace. I had a nice day, a walk in the morning while it was still mild, sun peeking through even, and soon after I got home a squall hit - 'lake-effect snow' from the Great Lakes, far away as that, paintballing white tufts this way. I wondered if Native Americans, millenia (or perhaps more recently - right, centuries) ago, knew about the Great Lakes & its effects. I mean, if I were born & raised here, and didn't know better, didn't have mass-media and much occasion to travel -- would I even know that there's an Atlantic Ocean - to my own mind a more compelling body of water than Lake Erie.

Well, maybe I wouldn't know, and there's tons I don't know. But I was surprised this afternoon at the little town library, when an older woman asked the checkout clerk, with regard to a note she'd made for herself, to look into a novel entitled The Snowman, by Wallace Stevens. She wished to reserve this book. And the clerk searched the computer system. My ears had perked up. Suddenly I was on a DIY GE College Bowl. "I don't think you're going to find a novel by that author," I said. "Wallace Stevens was a poet." My unsolicited pronouncement was greeted with polite incredulity & skepticism. "I think you will find that 'The Snowman' is a poem." The woman glanced at her note - oh but I don't think I would have noted a poem, there was some reason I'd written this down. And the clerk - hearing all this - continued her search - found a novel entitled The Snowman - but (ha! score points!) by someone of another name entirely. "Let me search under the author's name. How do you spell it?" Now, voyager, I too suddenly phroze and wondered -- 'v' -- or 'ph'? The elderly woman consulted her scrap. "S-t-e-v-e-n-s." Oh phew - that would have been my guess. The clerk typed it into the computer. "She's right," she allowed, "Wallace Stevens - all I'm seeing is poetry books." I had suddenly gained slightly greater standing. Now I was a Credible Authority. Well I can't think why I wrote down this title, continued the older woman, in a slightly addled way. "Wallace Stevens was also an insurance company executive - so unless 'The Snowman' is related somehow to insurance..." Oh no!, the woman answered with some energy, I wouldn't have written a note about that. "I'm sure you wouldn't have - Wallace Stevens isn't remembered for his insurance work" (except, I thought, maybe in certain business circles in Hartford). So - say, who was this Wallace Stevens anyway? You seem to know a lot about him. The older woman turned to me now, challengingly. The clerk perked an ear from her computer - still searching (snowman, SNOW MAN, keyword, STEPHENS, novel). "He is - was - that is he still is, but he's deceased now - an American poet. An important American poet."

Oh my. I had no idea. You seem to know so much about him. Maybe I should reserve a book of his poetry. Can you reserve one for me? The clerk valiantly embarked on such a search. I suggested, "you might want to just google 'snowman' and 'Wallace Stevens' and I'll bet the poem will come right up." Oh what a great idea! But I don't know this poet - maybe I'll just reserve a book of his. Does this library have one? The clerk frowned. No - but Hudson does. I suggested - it's not hard to come by his poetry - I've got an old Vintage paperback (I thought of my ancient volume, that’s been in my possession since college). Oh - but I would never buy a book of poetry if I don't know if I like it. I nodded. I started thinking, as I stood in line - shit, it was getting late, D needed the car, and here I am like the bird-expert woman in Hitchcock's The Birds...

I started challenging myself. What are Stevens' dates? Twentieth century, I would have said. Name a few poems. Idea of Order at Key West - I'd written a paper about it once upon a time. Emperor of Ice Cream (nice follow up to The Snowman, I thought, thinking perhaps of Italian ices from carts in Central Park). Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird. Or is that by W.C. Williams - no his was about plums, check, no the blackbird one is by Stevens. And that's about it, the extent of my remembrance of Stevens... She sang beyond the genius of the sea, the something something never [melded?] to sound or voice......

If the woman had challenged me - so - what does he write about? I thought about it on my drive back home. I placed a jar in Tennessee, and all around that hill… somehow that hill was subordinate to that jar. How would I answer this? Lamely. He's very philosophical. He writes of aesthetic experience. I couldn't picture saying this to the older woman, or, for that matter, to the clerk at the checkout counter.

I must run, I really must, I said -- the older woman had offered to let me go ahead of her. (I needed to check out a book I had on reserve, on organ-playing techniques, plus purchase, for a dime apiece, three magazines - two recent Harpers and a December double-issue New Yorker. If I should ever come into big money, I will subscribe to both periodicals, and to Sol Flower Farm (as mentioned by Meryl, on Ellen) - for its flowers - besides.)

I completed my transaction, the older woman left, I was left with the clerk. I murmured to her, I don't think that woman is going to like Wallace Stevens.

But maybe she will. Yes, I can see why - when however she had come across the reference - she had jotted it down ---

because I looked it up in my ancient Vintage paperback, scanning the table of contents for the title...