Friday, June 8, 2012

I'm writing to say that I've decided to discontinue my blog. This will be the last post. It's just getting to the point (something that I have sensed for a while) that it's counter-productive, as I move forward and take other steps in my life. A friend suggested that I not abandon it, that I simply choose other things to write about -- but I don't really have anything else to write about, not here, not in this form, anyway. So, rather than simply discontinue it without a word, leaving you wondering, waiting when I'll post next -- this will take the guesswork out of it for you. Thank you so much for reading. If you'd ever like to get in touch, then please send me a message - you know how to email me. Thanks again. Love, Belle

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Hi sweetheart, up in the aerie, doing battle with weeds some of the day, also finally planting seedlings of zinnia, cosmos, and nigella (I don't even know what the latter looks like in bloom) into the raised beds, which also I weeded. So - no workout today - though surely weeding counts, that's fine -- I don't mean to be so abstracted & decadent. The fittest I ever was, physically, was the summer in my teens, that I spent as a chambermaid in Ogunquit. Stripping beds & cleaning baths every day -- the weight will just drop off, and beautiful muscle tone form.

I'm in a bit of shock at the moment -- oh, I'm fine, it's just turned me a bit cranky -- it seems that an American nun with a fine mind of her own, who ran afoul of the Vatican recently -- isn't the only one. A "friend" of mine who, it turns out, is also of the patriarchal, hardline, fanatically religious set -- has visited my blog of late, and it seems actually reading a few of my posts, as opposed to onanistically landing on it via searches of his own name, which is his usual. Oh well, the guy --- in a land far far away -- is a fragile sort -- and now I'm sensing that perhaps some friend of his, is the one who has played some mischief.... oh who knows, it's just a bit of a shocker, for me to be denounced, as possibly having a porn addiction, and is L'fer behind it, and stuff like that. Jeez. Oh - the latter, right there - probably shouldn't have said that.

And the stupid thing is -- or not stupid - but the truly upsetting.... this "friend" of mine from one of those lands, where the sun never sets, not far from Russia, where the sun rarely rises --

Sorry, darling... I have completely lost my thread, because this silly contretemps has vexed me

Mostly I'm thinking about someone I've just met, and it was just electric.

I've pulled my ad, and quit responding to a few stragglers... oh truly, I feel telepathic sometimes -- one can tell energy - or lack thereof - coming from someone, even on the 'net.

I think of coyoteman, and his wise counsel to me, and his beautiful life
and of the lovely brave man I went to the movies with last week, at the Quad

I'm not addicted to porn, and I'm not 'looking for mister goodbar' - a seventies reference

but I really enjoyed those kisses the other night
that was something wasn't it -- you?
once every random hundred, or thousand years,
to be able to gaze at the sun like that
and smile, and laugh, and hold the gaze, and kiss some more
because the Transit of Venus, that rare celestial event,
happened around six p.m.
just around the time you and I had the urge to flee the sunlit room-
isn't it just too public in here?
and so we took our drinks and settled on the couch
and -- perhaps at the precise moment when Venus was transiting the Sun --
someone kissed someone
I hardly know who started it
and then we stayed, Venus transiting
the Sun shining
oh my

so anyway -- it wasn't 'porn addiction'
as in the eyes of some love and sun starved fanatics
in Northern Europe
God what a drag that set is
I really feel for the Greeks
so - the book got thrown at me -
by some patriarchal --- oh, ugh...

I'm glad you enjoy my blog
and here comes the sun now, shining

yes - I am grounded,
I weeded, I vacuumed, I've written this piece

my session with the toys didn't go well
no, not because I'm obsessed, or addicted
but because I wish to bestow very real kisses
on you-know-who
and that's a HUGE distraction
from run-of-the-mill-whatever porn

No, I wish to kiss you, big time
with all that that means
the way we did
that time
in that place that wasn't -
but you thought, with all those antlers
was like an Adirondack lounge

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Hello darling, up in the aerie, the sun is shining, I'm in a top, braless, and panties, having skipped a more targeted, abstract workout with bands & weights, in favor of bending, stretching, and stooping to weed portions of the garden, including the "woodland" border, where the spreading perennial groundcover, sweet woodruff, with its cheerful star-shaped foliage, mischievously ignores the vast brown weed-strewn patches, and jumps birch-log rails, into the lawn, insistently wishing to cavort with the barely-mown grasses. So I did a bit of disciplining of the gallium -- well, not really -- I just adjusted the birch log divides so as to form a barrier - for the time being anyway - between the exuberant ground cover & the outside world. In other areas, such as a little path between either half of this perennial border, I summarily scooped up big handfuls of the sweet woodruff, and roughly dug it into upland bare patches where I hope it might adhere.

And then I did some major weeding -- of weeds, shallow-rooted but waist-high -- in the area of the Four Raised Beds, in advance of planting therein, seedlings of zinnia and cosmos that I started in trays from seed. I know the rabbits, gerbils, mice, voles, moles, and deer will thank me for fresh vegetative matter introduced into the fenced utterly permeable square -- the deer, groundhogs, and maybe hares too I suppose simply jump.

Through all of this I've been thinking of other steps for myself, as very wonderful men of my recent acquaintance have suggested to me... and I'm trying to get myself to it, but it's still a problem that I can't quite seem to solve... well fine, I might be in possession of some fine free-and-clear, or setting-me-on-the-road to such paperwork --- but if I'm homeless -- then what of it? I don't know. I completely understand the necessity, inevitability, the way this cruiseliner's been heading for a long time... it's still not easy.

And that's it, I'll content myself for the moment, as I sit here in my underwear, tapping keys, June late day sun blazing (oh that's a treat, after the week's chilly gloom), mowers in the distance going, birds calmly chirping. I hope all is well with you... I had a wonderful session this morning, horizontal, and my mental imagery had so much to do with the most mind-blowing kisses -- of which... it's just not the same at all, when you're in it, really in it, exploring... as watching some compilation...


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Back from the loveliest date, dreamy, delicious white wine in tall elegant stems, leather couch in a back parlor of a cozy wine bar, hung all around with sets of small antlers, and a few large, and even one or two deer heads, decorating the place in a vaguely - well, I don't know, not sinister, but in the dim light, as I looked around, there were an awful lot of small antlers hung like cameos or medallions from high up on the walls. What animal has such small antlers? I wasn't paying attention, I was much too distracted, sitting knee to knee, on this vast comfortable sofa in the dim recessed room where we could talk in private, me of my blog, us both of our situations, it was just too public, too open in the front room with the huge bar, with the silvered mirror scrawled over with the drinks menu, the bar still and empty and casual and elegant, with a view out ancient glazed wood doors, of a tree leafed out in light airy green and white - the only color, seemingly, at least as I recall it now, in this monochromatic space, with the delicious pours, and collection of antlers, obtained, as the proprietor told my companion, on ebay, from a collector in Austria, because the effect he was going for was of baronial or manorial lodge, only I kept feeling that perhaps, oh so deliciously, I was in Paris, Dora Maar for the early evening, of Hudson, in my elegant skirt outfit, bare legs, and sandals, listening to romantic crooning chanteuses on the stereo, as my date, all delightful conversation, hands and kisses, played Joel McCrea to my Jean Arthur, I kept peeling him off, only not too hard, it's just that I'd like to be able to return to this place again, sometime, in case things don't work out, besides, this is Warren Street, not Diamond, I murmured in his ear...

Monday, June 4, 2012

From the Mixed-up Files of Belle.... notes from my visit to the Metropolitan Museum last Thursday...
Friday, June 1, Brooklyn. Good morning darling. It's dawned a beautiful clear sunny day, cool and dry, and so it's blessedly still and quiet now, since I've turned off all the fans. I hear the faint twittering of Brooklyn birds singing outside, over the steady whooshings past of cars. I wanted to note more of my impressions of my visit to the Metropolitan Museum yesterday. I've been going there my entire life - my mother and I would take pilgrimages there several times a year when I was a girl, going by train from Stamford to Grand Central. It was about the only museum she ever took me to, besides the Frick -- usually we'd visit both the same day. So yesterday as I crossed Fifth Avenue at 83rd and approached the grand edifice, it was with a sense of proprietary, comfortable return to a familiar place that is always, as if outside time, there, that splendid earthly pleasure palace.

By the time I left, two-and-a-half hours later, I was so filled with a dismaying array of disparate images from having seen a number of exhibitions, each wildly different from the next, that my immersion in all these images, colliding now in my head as I found myself in the peaceful reaches of the marbled Greek and Roman halls, was almost hallucinatory, phantasmagorical, as if I'd woken from a succession of very vivid vibrant dreams, or - the thought occurred to me - that I was here in a kind of palatial heaven on earth, with its superabundance, all collected under one massive roof, in room after capacious room, of the most remarkable beautiful colorful artifacts, relics, works of art, and treasures. I truly had a feeling of sensory overload, it was impossible to absorb it all.
(Also, I couldn't help feeling, perhaps a bit snidely and unfairly, that this had been a far more fulfilling, substantial experience than viewing the Cindy Sherman exhibit at MOMA the day before, which for its one-note repetitiousness and bleak cataloguing of the female subset of aging harpies, had left me cold -- I think there is only so much detached, vaguely mocking irony and grotesquerie that I can bear... an excess of it, so many of Sherman's works assembled all together, and to me it veers into parody, and self-parody. I had viewed the show with the benefit of a free audioguide, and when I returned it & got my drivers license back, the young woman clerk asked me, so what did you think? And I said that I found it a little too ironic and mocking "since I'm not at all like that" (which isn't strictly relevant, yet that was my reaction), and she responded, "Oh neither is Cindy Sherman, she's the nicest, most unassuming person you'd ever want to meet." Well, then that makes for a very interesting contrast right there, I replied. And certainly (I'm thinking now) Sherman has her place, but perhaps it's a rather small niche, and there is something "fashionable" about her work -- hip & cool on some level to dig her, and to be aware of her work -- rather than deeply-felt, that it's more in the realm of fashion & style, than of fine-art. I know very well that in terms of aesthetic critique, I'm way over my head --- so I will forthwith swim back to shore.)


Ceci n'est pas un Cindy Sherman
Ah, so back to the Shangri-la of the Met. My initial intention had been to check out the new Islamic, Arab, and Asian Wing, which recently opened. But on my way there I was immediately and delightfully waylaid by an all-too-tempting intimately-scaled exhibit, in a few small cozy rooms -- "Naked Before the Camera," which turned out to be essentially a charming collection of vintage cheesecake -- many 19th and early 20th century images of winsome damsels, and some exquisite male specimens too, posing in the nude in the early days of photography. So that was an unexpectedly naughty way to dip my feet into the lovely, shallower waters of the Met's vast ocean!

Then I wandered through the galleries that housed a beautiful and fascinating exhibition having to do with the geographic intersection of divergent civilizations - Byzantium and Islam -- in the Near East in the 7th to 9th centuries. A seemingly arcane subject, and I don't pretend to have absorbed it, or to have paid as close attention as the show truly deserved. And yet I was able to get a sense of it, and of a place and time so far away, and very long ago --- and usually I have no visceral grasp of that scale and vastness of time. For example, this past Sunday was the Pentecost, which as the Rev. M. explained to the congregation, commemorates the Church's Birthday, two thousand years ago. I sat at the organ, blithely listening, thinking, okay, 2000 years, nice round number – but I didn't "feel" it. But here at the Met were handwritten, in fine inked calligraphy, early Christian bibles -- and already then the Church was 600-700 years old -- imagine! Christ had died all those years in the even then distant past, and here were all these beautiful artifacts, and images of monks and of saints, and bibles, and religious imagery, all made devotedly by hand, in the furtherance and sustenance of Christianity and the early church. The scale of time eclipsed was suddenly palpable - and here we are in the 21st century, so many centuries later still. There was much beauty in that exhibition, and it was astonishingly comprehensive -- presenting artifacts from diverse cultures that flourished in Byzantium, not just Christian but Jewish as well; there was a room devoted to "commerce," and another that displayed ancient, fragile pieces of clothing; there were architectural details, beautiful mosaic floors -- there was a lot, and each detail so finely-crafted, and deeply-felt. Every object - from the most rare and sacred, to the most common everyday – was decorated and imbued with beauty. I couldn't help but contrast all these beautiful fragmentary relics, made in an age before machinery & mass-production and all the rest, with our own age. Are we worthy of this inheritance? The best our general culture today can come up with is a bunch of blank big-box stores and asphalt parking lots? What will generations ahead in the future see of our time? Have we squandered our inheritance? I know I'm being too bleak perhaps -- except that in that show I had the sense of all aspects of social, cultural, and religious life in that age, as partaking in the creation of beautiful objects and images -- there was a sense of joyful, deeply meaningful abundance.

My next stop at the Met was wildly different -- an exhibition that brought together a great many of the contemporaneously created late 19th and early 20th century paintings, that were collected by the Stein family, including Gertrude Stein, in Paris. I'm making a long story short, but they were great collectors and patrons, and bought and sold and traded paintings, and befriended artists, notably Matisse and Picasso. And that's where I encountered Bonnard's Siesta! One of the Steins had owned it for a time, a year or two – before trading it for a Gaughin and a Renoir. (I didn't make it sufficiently clear how rare this wholly unexpected opportunity for me to see it in person was -- it's on loan for this exhibit, all the way from Australia. I am so glad I got to see it -- and can only imagine my heartbreak, if I had subsequently learned that it was here and had missed it. So talk about total serendipity, for me.) Here was gallery after gallery after gallery of the most wondrous paintings -- it was all too much! Many Picassos and Matisses, and Renoirs, Cezannes --- unbelievable. And there were very clever and incredibly effective notes of curatorial inspiration. Such as, in one corner was an empty space, about 500 square feet -- the size of Leo Stein's first Paris studio, in which he started to collect art. And on all three walls of this space, were projected to-scale wall-size images of the art that lined his walls, over the years... it was like a film, as you could see how his collection grew and the walls became filled up. It was astonishingly immediate - you felt as though you were there, in that apartment. I was so blown away by this, that I remarked to a woman standing next to me - isn't this cool?! And her eyes widened, and she nodded her head vigorously, and said enthusiastically -- totally!

Then there was the new Islamic wing… a treasure trove… and what stands out now in my mind are the large-scale Persian rugs hung like enormous banners from on high, each two or three stories tall - I felt positively dwarfed surrounded by this collection that lined the walls of the gallery, whose coffered ceiling itself was an intricately carved work of art as well – I craned my neck to admire it.

And then there was a Costume Institute exhibit of the fashion designers, Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada… exquisite costumes, timeless, in a witty presentation, in which the actress Judy Davis plays Elsa, and Ms. Prada is herself, and the two women are engaged in a filmed dialogue, that is projected on the walls throughout the rooms of the exhibit, so that one is constantly in their presence, overhearing snatches of their imaginary conversation. Here too, in one of the rooms, which contained aisles of transparent cases housing mannequins in their exuiqistely tailored outfits – and it was a hall of mirrors in this gallery, dizzying, in amidst the costumes I kept catching immediate clear glimpses of myself – I looked alright, but a bit of weight still to lose from my middle, and my outfit – oh dear, I thought it was quite nice, but amid all this haute couture splendor – well, Peebles isn’t Prada. So I felt, a little, as though from a fashion point of view, I wasn’t cutting it, wasn’t meant to be there…

It was a relief to come to the end of the exhibit, and quit catching inadvertent, disconcerting glimpses of myself as well as improbable, ever-impetuous, impishly smirking and hamming Judy Davis… and so from that kaleidescopic exhibit I found myself summarily ejected into the sober, quiet, dim halls of the Arts of Oceania, from which I made my way back to the Greek and Roman marble statuary, onward to the great hall, out the door, and into the fresh air and sunshine of a Fifth Avenue afternoon.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Hello darling, up in the aerie on the early side, my re-entry day is what it's felt like. Just now outside the windows is the sound of falling rain, so soothing, I can hardly tell you, almost as therapeutic and calming as if you were holding me in your arms, running your hands over my skin. Oh dearest, I can just melt into that thought, or into the balm of a soft spring rain falling, watering plants so that I don't have to, and I remain pleasantly aloft up here, perfectly dry, oh but aching. I've been bumming out a bit today - a prospect that I've held some hope for - I don't know -- yet another ambivalent man it seems, plus - well, I sense, not really all that available (though he's divorced and unattached). Actions louder than words and all that. So I've taken the plunge again, gone fishin'... we'll see.

Oh sweetheart, I wish we could just be together at this moment. My head is just so full of impressions of my week in the City, still. And now I'm fully back, walking along these country roads, playing organ at the church this morning - as though I'd never left. As though my life had simply, for a spell, been toggled.

I don't know what to say. I drove up to the K'hook Library today, to return overdue library books, one, the Benfey, which I was greatly enjoying, but just crawling through, I'm at the part now where - weirdly resonantly for me - he's discussing Theseus and Ariadne, and the Minotaur and the Labyrinth. But I had to return it - I'd gotten the first of what promised to be a series of increasingly threatening overdue notices from the Mahopac branch - which I still don't even know where that is. But I have a mind to reserve the book again, and pick up where I left off. Truly, that book is, very labyrinthine, or geological, he's constantly tapping, surveying different layers very associatively... they don't obviously connect -- and yet I enjoy all that tap-tap-tapping, meandering, sounding, listening for the refracting, recording, and refracting back again...

I had a marvelous session this morning... this new toy has grown on me... I think it might actually be more effective than the old toy, the one that isn't even manufactured anymore. So I'll stick with this one.

I'm just hanging here, darling, not feeling very inspired, just fairly mellow, after the storm, and not just the one outside. I came home from the library, feeling absolutely ravenous, and stooped and dug through our fridge for a camembert I'd bought, and had had some yesterday... so where was it? I could not find it at all, and the more I stooped, and had to awkwardly reach into the fridge to search the shelves - it was missing. I felt so frustrated that I burst into hot angry tears - just for a moment. I found the wooden round in the freezer - maybe I had absentmindedly stuck it there yesterday after my snack, or maybe D. So now my camembert is thawing. So I snacked on leftover grilled salmon, scallion cream cheese, and a couple of thin baguette slices instead. And then had a devil of a time trying to uncork a white rioja. I mean, ridiculous -- all kinds of absolute physical exertion, straining, pulling, to no avail -- for a few moments, I possibly resembled an Olympian shotputter or weightlifter in trying my very hardest to uncork that bottle, dishcloth wrapped around corkscrew so as to not hurt my hands, and still that cork wouldn't budge, until I grunted and exerted myself with extra audible groaning force more -- and then the thing budged. Anyway, I did get it open -- but I didn't appreciate all that exertion. So after a small glass of the rioja, I'm on to screwtop rose wine...

Sort of the opposite of my sessions with myself... I let the batteries and the ingenious targeting machine do all the work... I simply, in my mind's eye, supply the imagery, and with my right hand do my best to tactically apply the tactile -- which actually takes a bit of doing -- it turns out, with this new toy, that I need to stay there and press harder, not meander about, no - stay right on the point. It won't go numb, it doesn't -- instead -- OMG... no, I don't break into coloratura arias, but instead, very very much inaudible absolute inversions, turning of myself inside-out, vocalized. So glad it was a cool day, this early June. I'd prudently shut the windows...

many kisses you
hope I see you soon - could it be?
that would be a joy
we'll see...

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Hello darling, back up in the upstate aerie, where birds are singing, the drier's going, I've got a fleece over my shoulders, and your Dora Maar is back from battle, getting from downstate to up. But it worked out, and here's a trophy photo to prove it, blurry unfortunately, probably my hand was trembling a bit as I snapped it, because I knew perfectly well that I wasn't supposed to take pictures there, and plus I'd been fumbling in my bag for the camera, and had doubtless attracted guards' attention... so this single snapshot is my little offering to you, that I was truly there. And do you know, one of the odd experiences of going to museums? I wish I could have returned, perhaps, to view the painting more closely. Because I was so blown away that it was there, that I didn't end up examining it very closely, sufficiently closely. What is sufficiently closely? How could I have imbibed, inhaled, savored that painting? Well, I could have. I know that there are ways to. I remember once, many many years ago, at the Guggenheim, viewing a Cezanne painting of a peach... and I admired the painting, and could see that it was a Cezanne, from the subject perhaps, and the palette, and the quivering sense of brushstrokes. And I was listening to an audioguide, and had paused before this Cezanne peach, and the curator intones in my ear, look at that peach... Cezanne doesn't use just gold, orange, yellow, apricot... shades one would associate with a peach.... there's lavender in there, and green, and black, and purple, and ochre...

I'm paraphrasing of course, from this immediate memory, from the distant past, but I remember the feeling of being so viscerally shocked to see --- because someone had literally whispered in my ear & pointed it out -- that indeed it was true. Cezanne's peach was full of absolute unexpectedness, that there was no way that my casual eye could register... but to focus close up on his technique... that these were the most improbable colors he chose to create this wholly realistic -- better than realistic -- because not photographic, but so fully felt, experienced, understood...

So I wish I could have had the wherewhithal somehow, to have absolutely apprehended the Bonnard -- oh just devour her, it, in some fashion. Really examine the details, the brushwork, the choice of colors, the tiniest decisions of dabs of paint that contribute to the whole astounding effect....

I won't ever have at that Bonnard again... not in the way that I had once been so fortunate to experience a Cezanne peach...

but I do look forward to the kisses and caresses of...
well, divine works who, in private, I may touch
and get to know, marvel over
kiss deeply and touch
to my hands'
and heart's content
as much as I wish
and with incredible exactitude relishing every inch
every dimple, curve, patch of hair, "unevenness of skin tone"
kisses in all those places, and then some ---

Friday, June 1, 2012

Hello darlings, just a quick note tonight to check in, back from the city - Manhattan, that is - where I had a lovely lunch (grilled calimari salad for me, a shared bottle of pinot grigio, soft bruschetta fingers that came with a savory red puree, I'm guessing of tomato, red pepper), saw a couple of films, and enjoyed a couple of drinks comparing notes after. Nothing to report except that I've had a wonderful stay here, full of adventures and no misadventures (not to say that I haven't been naughty, I have been, but trust me, I could have been way naughtier, but in my divided brain, that takes time to process, for this evening Athena (or whoever) won out, which was all just as well), and having been whisked home - I mean Brooklyn - I'm sipping pink ice filled wine now, and I have my dinner made, angel hair pasta with pesto sauce, and a beautiful salad. It's turned so chilly I've gone a step beyond shutting off all fans, to shutting the windows. I'm freshly showered, sitting here with a towel wrapped around me - it's too chilly to be in the nude. I've actually been working on another post, that I started drafting this morning, trying to capture my impressions - before they flee - of my visit yesterday to the Met. But I haven't finished it, and I need to polish it some more -- if only to get in proper paragraph breaks, because somehow, working off my friends' Mac, paragraph breaks have to be special-coded, which I hadn't done, and I'm too busy writing usually to bother with learning new HTML codes -- oh, so anyway, it isn't that I suddenly devolved upon landing in Gotham, in that my posts have been so if not overlong then certainly run-on. Anyway, warmest and fondest and most loving hugs & kisses, and I wish you were with me and we could -- you know. All my love, and sweet dreams -- Belle