Tuesday, July 31, 2012

See Above/See Below

1.   Tights sighting today.  See above.  They were on an older woman, too, which made me happy, as we move into the second half of summer vacation.

2.  I re-celebrated my birthday last night on The High Line.  See below.  I've decided you can keep celebrating your birthday day after day until you get it right.

3.  Is there anything better than a post about tights and cupcakes, Lara?  I'm sure there is, but I haven't thought of it yet.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Meet PhD student, London Dweller, Tights Lover and New Bride Felicity Daly

Felicity channels Sophia Loren in her Wolford tights.
I met Felicity Daly the summer of '95, which was the summer I moved into the East Village.  She was a wee lass, a student, who seemed so busy that I saw more of her girlfriend, Meg.  Raised Catholic on Staten Island, she came out a couple of years after high school (and 12 years of Catholic school) and after a brief stint in the garment district, worked for Gay Men's Health Crisis in administrative roles.

It follows that all these years later, Felicity is in the middle of a doctorate in public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.  Her focus is on the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria--the funder addressing the big three killer diseases worldwide.  Most awesomely, Felicity's particularly interested in how funding can address issues of gender which affect health risks and access to services.   Felicity makes her home in London with her NEW wife, Feona, and her stepsons.  (Congratulations, Felicity and Feona!)

Because of or in spite of her Catholic upbringing, Felicity has been very interested in meditation and yoga,  and this is also what I remember most palpably about her.  For the past 20 years, she has been a follower of the Hindu spiritual leader Mata Amrtanandamayi--better known as Amma.  She recently spent time with Amma when Amma made her summer visit to New York.

New York is where I caught up with Felicity again, the cafe of McNally Jackson, to be exact.  It had been at least ten years since we'd seen each other.  But she has been in New York frequently lately, caring for her dear (and very sweet--from my own personal experience) mother, who died last month.  (GITP sends our condolences.)   She graciously consented to answer our four questions:

Are you in a tight place?  If so, what are you doing about it?
Everything's been a bit of a muddle.  There's been a series of intense events.  Feona and I were married on April 7th (here in NY).  On May 18, Feona's dad passed, and my mom passed away on June 12th.  My own father passed away only 16th months ago.  You could say I'm in a tight place.  I'll be the sole executor of my parent's estate, plus I have my doctorate work and freelance work.  And closing up the family legacy here in New York has been highly emotional.

What do you want to get done this year?  
Well, I will be trying to get my parents' house sold when the market is flooded.  2012 is the end of the world, right?  (We laugh.) Since I just got married, I want to be able to have beautiful, precious moments with my partner.  I also want my writing to flow.

What inspires you? 
I think more and more people are realizing what a crock of shit this economy is and are trying to figure out how to live more simply.  I'm inspired by economic and social development, but realizing what the trade offs are as we seem to be so compromised here in the west in the search for never-ending personal gratification.  I want to do more inner work.  Watching your mother die, you do plainly realize you don't take anything with you.  I'm inspired by trying to have more and more compassion and living more simply.

What's your favorite legwear?
In England it's cold the whole bloody time. I've been wearing tights almost nine months of the year in England, actually.  I wear Wolford tights, which is a European brand.  They're more expensive, but the higher quality makes a huge difference and they last for ages.  They're really soft and velvety.  I wore a very lightweight pair for my wedding.  I was worried about the color but I was careful about the color but they were perfect.  [See above!]

Sunday, July 29, 2012

raise me a dais of silk and down

i would be bringing you this if i could, julie.

here's a poem in honor of julie turley's birthday.

rosetti knows how to lay it on thick, and that's what i wish for julie's next year:  layers of silk & down, carvings of peacocks and feathered nests, golden grapes and thickly fruited trees--all things good and beautiful.

unthinkable abundance.

& i know she's not looking for the kind of love rosetti talks about here, but i wish that she will find that love of her inner artist she's been searching for.

i'm lucky to have her as a friend and a co-blogger, and i laugh and cry every time i read one of her soulful stories.  take some time to read what she's written this week in a fount of creativity.


A Birthday

BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI
My heart is like a singing bird
                  Whose nest is in a water'd shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree
                  Whose boughs are bent with thickset fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
                  That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these
                  Because my love is come to me.


Raise me a dais of silk and down;
                  Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
                  And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
                  In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
                  Is come, my love is come to me

How Do You Make Your Birthday Great? (If That's Important to You)

We forgot the matches.
Wish I could have done this day over again.  And better.  Am I allowed to do that before another year goes by?

Got this cone at the 11th hour:  Pink pepper corn and black mission fig gelato from Il Laboratorio del Gelato.

Great songs posted to my Facebook wall.

Thank you.

Good night.

saturday summer swag


i finished grading a grueling set of midterms this morning, then


we rode the lift at sundance while eating portabello wraps & seven layer bars & root beer from the deli, then



we met ingrid at her fabulous job at outdoor adventure, then

we rode tubes down the provo river, a thunderstorm ahead and blue skies behind, and then



we came home to the locust salon where we heard t.j. borden, a cellist from buffalo and


christian


and steve and



saw some girls in dresses.

today was the first time in seven weeks that i totally, totally forgot to write my morning pages.  it kind of seemed like a good thing.

today was perfect summer,

perfect.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Pasts That I Know

The days leading up to my birthday have been rather difficult and cantankerous.  My kids seem to be arguing more vociferously than usual.  There have been too many dumb shows streaming from Netflix, not enough deep, rewarding activities happening.  Things are planned then cancelled.   I'm not sure what that would be--maybe an entire film instead?  At this point, I'll take it.

So my birthday is tomorrow and it seems as if I'm getting older at an alarming rate.  This wouldn't be so bad, I think, if I didn't feel like the tight space I started the year with is still largely intact, and I'm not quite sure what to do with that.

So what am I doing?  I'm writing about a past--not mine--but creating a past for characters based on pasts that I know.  Above you see a house that lives on Douglas Street in Salt Lake City.  I'm pretty sure I lived in this house when I was a graduate student at the University of Utah in the very early '90s.   The story I wrote today is set in the house, in the basement.    Writing these stories every day have been the best thing I've been doing every day for this past week.

Tomorrow is my birthday.  Lara, there is still no cake.

lipstick everywhere

all the lipsticks on the counter at a meet n' greet.

here's the array of lipwear in the house today.

sometimes i feel sorry for c., like today, when he heard about the levels of lipstick:  from mac to nars, from wet n' wild to revlon.  the consensus is that chanel is the best for high-end, e.l.f. for low.  revlon lip butters  for low but not rock bottom.

sometimes i feel sorry for boys who don't wear lipstick.  where's the fun in that?

sometimes i write poems about lipstick

four—the eternal nature of god

unborn, undying. . . i come into being through my own magic

*
a thousand hands
holding
a thousand tubes
of chanel red
no. 5
& 
painting the roses
for men 
to gaze upon—
the beautiful lips
of god
arrayed &
speaking at once

Friday, July 27, 2012

Birthday Eve Eve

Not up for posting. The good ice cream place had a long line. I went to Shakespeare in the Parking Lot again. Saw the same play again. It's hot here and I'm very, very worried about climate change. It's all I've been thinking about lately. So what can I do about it? I'm waiting.

cagean: i have few things to say, & i am saying them


i have nothing to say


and i am saying it--


--john cage


***


i had a dogwood tree in the back yard when i was a little girl in virgina.


what tree did you have


when you were a little girl?


today was a dog, dog day.


thank dog it's night now.  cooler, more hopeful, somehow.


Dogwood
BY WILLIAM JOHNSON





Dog days doggone dog-tired dogwork of summer,
mowing the grass we're all coming to



the dog tags of you, me, I, we, stashed in a box,
doghouse throwaways. Even the namesake


tree whose blossoms some call Jesus-flowers
for the rust-grooved tips of the petals


as if nails now removed had indented
the shape of a cross, betrays my mood


how all those springs ago
seeing our tree nailed with bloody after bloody


crucifix I said this beauty's no foo-foo
and sure enough my dog-weary dearie


mowing today, the spring long gone,
I brush a limb on whose tired leaves mites amble


the edible thoroughfares and as if to confirm it,
our neighbor's mutt runs along the fence yapping


dogwood dogwood dogwood as the mower chugs on,
our train leaving for the city beneath the grass.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

What About My Birthday?

Well, my responsibilities as a parent and the threat of severe weather plus tornadoes has kind of put a damper on my birthday week.  Yes, you read that right--birthday WEEK!  I still haven't attended a yoga class this week.  I had to work the morning of the free meditation class, and the movie/plus music I had planned to attend tonight in the park got cancelled (see first sentence above).

Summer birthdays are always a little problematic.  When I was a kid, it meant I didn't get recognized on  a school day.  It often meant I was visiting my grandmother in Utah on my birthday (which actually meant an awesome cake from Roe's Bake Shoppe in Payson); it meant friends at home were often on vacation.

The most beautiful cakes in the world.  Look at those daffodils!
I'm a Leo (like Mick Jagger--whose 69th bday is today--and Madonna!) so I've always wanted to celebrate it in a big way, and well into adulthood and now into my Gen X middle age, I've tried to mark it in ways that felt meaningful and significant. I actually learned this from my friend Jan S.  Back in 1989, she threw a small party for herself and served two kinds of homemade cakes:  one of them a cheesecake.  This was a revelation to me, and incredibly touching.  I remember her saying, "I realized that no one cared about my birthday as much as I do, so if I wanted a party, I had to throw one for myself."

Some birthdays are better than others.  Last year's was not so good.  I ended up doing something I thought would be easier for the kids, when all I really wanted to do was go to the movies and watch the Bill Cunningham documentary.  I did, however, go to the Momofuku Noodle Bar last year which was super fun, and we ended up getting caught in a downpour on our way home.  Sometimes my children are cranky on my birthday and are not feeling generous.  A few years ago, they were horrified that I insisted on riding the carousel in Bryant Park with them on my birthday.  Sometimes it's hard to share my birthday with my family who never--there's no way they can--feel as profoundly about my birthday as I do.

My best birthday was a surprise birthday party held in Salt Lake City on my 42nd birthday.  Lara was there.  It still ranks as one of the best nights of my life.

So, as this year's birthday looms, I'm not sure what to do for it.  I'm sad that I'm so far away from my friends in the west, people who have been long meaningful for me.  Sigh.

What did you do on your birthday this year?  What will you do?

Anyway, here's today's birthday boy, Mick.  This video's from my favorite Rolling Stone era:  early '70s Exile on Main Street:
  And Lara, I forgot to acknowledge another July birthday sister this month. My screwed-up, tight place girl, Courtney turned 48 on July 9:




Wednesday, July 25, 2012

mundane

men's choir on the left, gospel on the right.  gospel choir posed in dynamic "gospel style" figurations.
christian found these two sets of barbie choirs at d.i. in the locked "rare or vintage" cases in the front of the store.  he photographed them for me, knowing how much i love barbies.  each set is a hundred dollars.  a good price, but where on earth would i display them?

did anyone out there know of such a thing as barbie choirs?  please tell me what this is all about.

other than a tiny pique of curiosity about these two choirs of barbie dolls, i felt emotions ranging from blah to depressed today.

hey, maybe a list will make me feel better!

1.  wrote morning pages.

2.  took lula to tennis.

3. took lula to lifeguarding camp.

4.  answered 15 emails for online class.

5. submitted 6 manuscripts.

6. made my first batch of ice cream in my new ice cream maker (after agonizing for weeks over what to spend my williams sonoma birthday gift card on).

7. washed and dried, but did not fold, three loads of laundry.

8.  polished off the last of the 26 ears of corn we bought on tuesday at a dinner with my sister and her boys at grandma and grandpa's house.

9.  reunited with cecily and moses after they spent 10 days in arizona with cousins.  i missed them so much! so grateful to the cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents who took care of them.

10.  took lula, ingrid, and nephews to sammy's for pie shakes (but no one got a pie shake, in the end, rather italian sodas, cokes, and a mango shake.) dropped ingrid and lula at muse music for open mic night.  cover charge:  $1.00.

Big Open Writing Spaces




I don't know why.  I can't write at home.  I've never been able to.  I'm easily distracted by what I'm too familiar, I suppose.  For years, I've written outside of my home, mostly in cafes.  I've spent thousands of dollars, no doubt, since I was an undergrad reading/writing/doing homework in cafes.  And that's probably really dumb, although I can feel proud about supporting my local small businesses.  The story I'm writing today has to do with someone opening a cafe in Provo, and students using it to work in.  Clearly, I'm obsessed.

I also don't like going back to the same cafe, for fear the staff will tire of me?  Not sure.  

This morning, I wrote morning pages on the bench outside of Organic Avenue and drank the above pictured turmeric elixir.  

Later, after doing this YouTube yoga video (good narrative, good lighting, no distracting crashing waves, and not too easy or hard!  I recommend!):



I took my computer to the New Museum lobby pictured below.  After I wrote for awhile, my kid showed up and we took in their new exhibit.  Tonight there's a member's party to which I've been invited.  I'm not going, however, because all guests are required to wear white (it's called White Party)--and "festive white," and I don't own a single thing in white, let alone festive . . . other than my boxed up wedding dress which is hundreds of miles away.  All those white clad guests will look luminous against all the white art and video streams, however.


This quinoa and dark chocolate cookie promised to be better than it was.



Tuesday, July 24, 2012

pioneer peach: make the air with music ring

break out the bonnets!
a 24th of july festivity:

i have a bushel of peaches

&

2 dozen ears of corn ($3.50/doz.).

summer is real!

we broke out our bonnets

miss provo was eating pie, but i got this shot of her attendants.
& went to the pioneer day extravaganza at veteran's park.

re-enactor in the sons of utah pioneer village.
our friend anna from cambridge, ma., who's been living in slc for one month,

anna from cambridge sharing her views on pioneer day, freedom & the first amendment
was approached by a news anchorish woman:

"i noticed your cute dress.  will you answer some questions for me?"

anna was interviewed on camera.  what does pioneer day mean to her?  what does freedom mean to her?  what rights does the first amendment protect?

anna passed with flying colors.

jacob, world class hoop dancer.
we watched jacob do the hoop dance.  we've been watching him progress in his skills since he was about five.  he's now one of the top dancers in the world.

heritage coffins
i loved this heritage coffin-making booth,

and of course we had to have a navajo taco.

navajo tacos are traditional on pioneer day.
currently, a dozen ears of corn are shucked and waiting to be grilled eaten with the shallot thyme butter i made sunday, and a peach pie is cooling on the counter.  the watermelon is sliced and chilling in the fridge.
peach pie cooling for tonight's pioneer day barbeque.
i only wish julie was here to celebrate one of my favorite holidays of the year.

the beehive is the beloved state symbol.
here's our classic mormon pioneer song.  i get teary every time i sing it.

bonnets at my barbeque


Come, come, ye saints, no toil nor labor fear;
But with joy wend your way.
Though hard to you this journey may appear,
Grace shall be as your day.
Tis better far for us to strive
Our useless cares from us to drive;
Do this, and joy your hearts will swell -
All is well! All is well!
Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard?
'Tis not so; all is right.
Why should we think to earn a great reward
If we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins; fresh courage take.
Our God will never us forsake;
And soon we'll have this tale to tell-
All is well! All is well!
We'll find the place which God for us prepared,
Far away, in the West,
Where none shall come to hurt or make afraid;
There the saints, will be blessed.
We'll make the air, with music ring,
Shout praises to our God and King;
Above the rest these words we'll tell -
All is well! All is well!
And should we die before our journey's through,
Happy day! All is well!
We then are free from toil and sorrow, too;
With the just we shall dwell!
But if our lives are spared again
To see the Saints their rest obtain,
Oh, how we'll make this chorus swell-
All is well! All is well!

Pioneers

Provo bonnet
I love Pioneer Day, the holiday celebrating/commemorating a group of people moving en masse out of tight places and arriving into the big open, but no one in New York City does, except maybe for my fellow Utahans in exile.  This sunbonnet photo was taken in New York, but the bonnet comes from Provo.  I was with Lara when I bought it many Pioneer Days ago.
I wore my sunbonnet today.  Sometimes it was on my head.  Sometimes I just carried it.  After work, I landed here to do my Artist Way pages.  In them, I discovered that next year I need to be in Utah for Pioneer Day.  I know that's not a major breakthrough, but I was happy about it.

I drained a giant glass mug of green tea.  Then I walked to Whole Foods in my bonnet and bought some food in order make some semblance of a Pioneer Day super for Z and S.  I made them watch this. I was confused by the ending of this, though.:  


Later, I watched this movie about a punk pioneer on headphones and a DVD player while cleaning up:


This is the actual, non-fiction Darby who appeared in Penelope Spheeris' documentary of the LA punk movement.  Darby died in 1980 on the same day as Lennon:


Also, today I wrote a story directly inspired by my bonnet.  I'm writing a story a day for my birthday week and you can read them here.
A

Monday, July 23, 2012

"the lily-light i've been given": introducing poet j.l. jacobs


poet j.l. jacobs
i overlapped with jaclyn (j.l.) jacobs at the university of oklahoma just briefly, just enough to exchange a lunch or two and a poem or two, but her stunning book of poems, the leaves in her shoes, has stayed with me for more than a decade, since we first met.  so let me start by recommending her book to anyone who loves to read poetry.  

carol muske rightly calls jacobs' book "haunting"
you can also find five of her poems here, in ploughshares, her work in american letters, her poem "an error in geography" in octopus,  and "the magnolia hotel" in the maple tree literary supplement.  she has also been generous enough to share some of her newer work here.

when we reconnected about a year ago, i started noticing that she'd been through something life altering.  when she told me how she had embraced her forced monasticism, i thought her tale the perfect narrative about finding looseness in a tight place, and i asked her to tell her inspiring and insight producing story here at GITP.  she was generous enough to say yes to my request, though her keyboarding time is so limited.  

On Spaces

“I’m exiled. You can’t convert me.” Bob Dylan

  Her disembarkment: less
  than theatrical.
  No less exiled.

  Upon returning from Florence with my best friend-girl at the time, I bought an airplane bungalow house built in 1920, with two stories, hardwood floors, claw-footed tub, original everything.  It reminded me of the flat in the PonteVecchio we’d stayed in with its shutter windows on either side of the fireplace…and it was on Julia Avenue.  I like the name of the street; it is a street for a poet.  A one-block street that is a haven of bird life, with large shades of elm and oak. 

  My physical limitations:

  Drive 6 block radius
  Two hours hand use.
   No bending, lifting,
   or twisting. Ever.
   Car rides are very painful.

  I had danced up to not walking. Truth is, I danced up to being paralyzed from the neck down.  Never sick. The one growing up in the family-owned pharmacy who never caught anything.

  It’s funny how the brain arrives at what is most important.  In my case, when it came to the wire, I put writing above saving my life.  I knew I was very sick; I thought I was dying. Add to this story that I was living with undiagnosed Crohn’s Disease for seven months.  Weighed 107 to begin with.  It melted away.  I fell backwards while trying to walk forward.  Began taking the elevator years ago because I fell backwards on the stairs.  Mine was a case of denial, par excellance.  “I must just be getting clumsy, I thought to myself.”  I didn’t go to doctors.  Ate my apple and kept them at away, at bay.  Grew up organically green, apothecary/nutritionist father and faith in the natural ways of healing.  Herbs, spices, and time to make haste, and time to be still.  Harmony, balance as the key. 

  Slowly losing the use of my right hand, and arm.  How many glasses broken; whole sets of crystal gone.  Difficult to make a meal without breaking a dish.  Wondered how long she could keep on like this.  The English Department had given her all the aural assessment classes they could, at the time all creative writing classes from 2006 to 2008.  The use of the right hand was becoming impossible and the pain unbearable.  Sleep was coveted, and elusive. The software for typing while you speak could not consistently recognize her accent.

  What mattered most, selfish soul that I am, was finishing a poetry manuscript about my dying experience…I mean, if that’s what you are up against, might as well record it…or if you are a war-time correspondent, you report while trying to save your hide. I was also working furiously to finish a novel…had 103 temperatures for three weeks at a time…when I looked down it was if looking down from a great height, everything was spinning.

  I was suffering from severe spinal cord compression at the cervical level (which controls everything from the neck down) and had not a clue.  Didn’t plan on seeing a doctor to find out.  But I was planning my wake.
  
On Holding On

Had learned to hold onto
whatever was most sturdy
in her own bathroom.  

Now why would it be any different in a stranger’s bathroom?

Got any better balance there sister?

Hoped the towel bar held out
as the porcelain sink was too
slippery.

How many backward falls?  How many glasses dropped?  Head hit
the pointed corner of the bath cabinet.

************************************************************

 It must not have been my time because my psychologist (read talk-therapist, yes, I admit it to the world)…he made the appointment for an MRI with a neurologist he knew. 

  What they found was collapse as in a crumbling building.  The spinal cord required emergency surgery; donor bone, metal plates, screws and fusion.  I would not have it.  No. Not me. I did not believe in surgery.

On Speaking to Neurosurgeons: My Father’s Advice

“Don’t put on any airs..”

Cause they got
some good doctors
really make mess outta you.

Don’t put on your poet hat
in that Medical Establishment.

Don’t do Blanche Dubois either.
Or God forbid that Steel Magnolia accent.

Remember      here
We are the auslanders, dear.

*************************
  
On Bedtime Prayers

for my nephew Ryan Kade

And if I die before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul should wake
in you
that gift of keys and chords and colors
felt by sound and round.

Yeah baby some notes don’t have any color.
You play that harmonica anyway.  Go ahead
and make those songs up as you go. 

Some letters of the alphabet don’t have much color either.  It’s okay.

Dominant colors just take over.  Just let go.  Feel it in the wind, baby.

I’ll be in the wind and dust as you get off the bus, baby.

*********************

On Plath

Anna never thought she’d write her own
cadre of Ariel Poems        before
humbling herself to the blade.

Razor sharp scalpel         cut
her pretty white skin.      Peel it back.

“Concentrate on healing. Magnolia-up now.”

“I said my convalescence bed, didn’t I?”


   When I got over, what my Grandmother would call my “mad spell,” I started thanking G-d I had lived as long as I had, and got ready for the surgery that would set me free. 

  It is true that I can “only” drive 6 blocks or maybe 10 if I’m feeling really good…my spine is stenotic all the way down and the residual damage from my neck will remain…I try to move in such a way as to “save” my lumbar spine from having to be plated and fused as well.  I’ve gotten used to the limitations, and when I awoke from surgery…hyperventilating while still in the operating room…hearing “breathe, baby, breathe, you’re hyperventilating, we’re on our way to recovery”…I tried moving my toes; they moved.  I had feeling, and if I walked out of there, I’d promised myself I’d pirouette again, though dancing, riding a bike, jumping and running, and were all prohibited, and, alas, the shapes of intimacy had to evolve radically, or be eliminated. 

fritz
 Each day is a day at an artist colony for me.  Moving from room to room, reconciled with my fate and in deep acceptance of my space, place and how I am to move in this world.  I walk my Bichon, Fritz Olivier, up to 16 blocks, when it is not 100 degrees or more.  It is like the monastic life I was enchanted by at 17; I wanted to be a Nun.  I would have been a bad nun, but nonetheless.  So, here we are, the Nun of Julia Avenue…the most important lessons I’ve learned are how to be still, to listen, to really listen, and to accept with grace the lily-light I’ve been given.  I can walk; I can type; I can write poetry, I can cook—even difficult dishes, if I save my hands for that purpose.  This limitation of mine makes everything I do a very decided choice; and those choices are sacred.  Do I make shortbread for my 96 year old neighbor today, or do I use my hands to work on an article about synaesthesia (a neurological condition I thought everyone had)? 

 Music was a crucial part of my healing too.  And, in the days when I was braced and unable to move about, I listened to classical music 24/7.  One of my musical friends noticed that I could name the key a piece of music was in…it was, alas, a skill associated with the healing spinal cord, and did not last, but it resulted in my friend buying me a lovely second-hand baby grande.

  I tell people I’m recovering from Crohn’s.  I believe I am.  Think it so, and it will be.  That’s been my experience so far in life.  I walk away when people tell me there is no cure.

  I,  who am considered a shut-in by my Parish, have been kindly cared for by those who bring Holy Communion, Altar flowers to brighten my days, and those who plant lilies in my flower beds.  The Priest asked me to write six different Poem / Prayers for Lent which was a most enriching, exciting learning experience and a secret dream of writing liturgies come true.  Most recently the Priest has me writing new hymns for old music.  My first was the ancient Latin hymn “Ubi Caritas”.  What I’ve written, is a poet’s transliteration of listening, listening and listening to the Latin.  Even while sleeping, I keep the music playing softly.  Absorb, then write.  Same with music as it is with poetry.  I’m realizing how closely kin those two are.

 Never am I without something meaningful to do, including spending quality time with the many good friends who visit and take care of my out-side world needs.  I have been liberated to live a life devoted to art.  It does not feel like a tight place; it is rather a large place and space of all the time there is.

On Neurosurgery

just coming back from the dead
trying to figure
what kind of language was used

the silver doors
swing
"breathe, baby."

knives mirrored
outsized
in sterile stainless

she did not see
the bowl
for collecting her blood
she did not see
the donor bone
soaked

dipped host
now
holds
her head up


What do you want GITP readers to know about you?


I don’t watch TV; I believe poetry and art, more generally, have the power to heal us, and the broken world about us.


     What do you hope to accomplish this year? 
    
     I want to learn more about writing songs, or poems for music.  See my second book published. 


       Are you in a tight place, and if so, what, if anything, are you doing to get out of it?  

     My physical limitations are the new status quo; I accept where I am, and go about daily trying to exist in a place of calm, deep peace & joy.


       What inspires you?

     . . . . almost everything, if I am living mindfully, alive and awake...I find inspiration in the natural world of birds, butterflies, rainstorms, overheard conversations, the midsummer stall, the midwinter hub-bu
       
       What is your favorite legwear? 

      Tights, if I wear any.  Something that will go in my boots of Italian, not Spanish, leather. ;-)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Street Theater/Little Library

I forgot that last week I actually reunioned with FIVE old friends instead of four.  Here, right here in McNally Jackson is someone I hadn't seen in well over ten years, mostly because she lives in London.   This photo and mention also serves as a sneak preview of an upcoming Guest Blogger installment.  While I was thoroughly enjoying my time with my London friend this amazing boy (see him on the far left??) strolled in while we were chatting wearing 1990 club kid white vinyl platform boots and neon orange hot pants, plus harness.  It was one of those quintessential New York moments:  just your typical Wednesday afternoon in the city.

Below you'll see that a new season of Shakespeare in the Parking Lot has commenced:  The Merry Wives of Windsor (Towers) is now playing in the municipal parking lot on Ludlow Street.  These productions feature equity actors and everything and like their flashier cousin in Central Park are absolutely free.  (Two years ago, Lara and her Utah teens attended a production.)

Lastly, after Prune, Claire and I walked up to the Standard East Village hotel to see the little Beat Literature library in one of the common areas.  It does crack me up that there are more sunglasses and eyeglass frames for sale then Beat Lit titles to peruse.  And when has Norman Mailer been considered a Beat?


In other news, I've been finishing up my online class today.  My birthday week starts tomorrow!




the spicy enticer, nostalgic perfumes & tableaux, repressing outrage


the most un-renovated joint in provo
i'm sure those of you who attended byu in the '80's will remember this joint, a place we might call the most un-renovated dining establishment in provo, maybe tied for first place with tommy burger.

christian can't stop cracking up over the name "spicy enticer"
christian and i, moved by the hot day & not being all that hungry & perhaps a sense of chow-houndary or nostalgia, decided to eat dinner here.  also, christian can never get over the hilariousness of the names of their erotically nomenclatured sandwiches, especially the spicy enticer, sized according to your desires at four, six, eight, twelve inches and up.  (they even have a special bread pan that can make a hoagie sandwich up to seven feet long.)

sandwiches are plopped on the table in their excellent 70's era hoagie brown bags
we were only into four inches that night.

if you took down all the garfield posters, there would surely be white rectangles beneath every one of them
i've eaten at the sesuous sandwich, since, i don't remember when, but starting early enough in life that i didn't notice how odd it was that no one in g-rated provo seemed to bat an eye at the overt suggestiveness of this place.

i fear they won't survive the gentrification. we'll see how much humor, nostalgia, and hoagie craving the residents of provo really have in them.
anyway, we have thought about going here many times in past year.  downtown provo is undergoing a lot of changes with the ginormous and architecturally monstrous nu-skin complex going in and the new provo temple being constructed out of the old provo tabernacle.  is the sensuous sandwich going to be shiny enough for nu-skin?  appropriate enough for white-cardiganed temple workers or patrons to drop in for a post session snack?  who knows.  so get it while you can.

the threshold to sensuous sandwich:  anybody ever heard of karl's?
my sandwich was tasty enough, though an hour after dinner my entire body was leached of moisture from the mound of salty cold-cuts, and i had to quench my yawning existential thirst with a pepsi, though i try not to drink soda any more after weaning myself of a 2 x 44 oz a day diet coke habit 3 years ago.

this nostalgia dive segued nicely into a trip to the dillard's perfume counter at the mall.  i'm looking for a new scent, and the chanel chancel fresh that was the perfume vendor's "all time favorite" reminded me of the maroon-bottled lauren by ralph lauren i used to wear (along with every other byu girl) in the '80's, jean nate of the 70's, and lolita lumpicka of the '90's.  all scents i wore in past decades.  i liked the chanel, but didn't fall in love with it.  i wanted to try tom ford's white oleander, which i've enjoyed before, but never owned, but they didn't carry it.

then we continued delving into our shared decades past by finally seeing wes anderson's moonrise kingdom.  i had to keep putting it off because my midterm portfolios took so much longer to grade than i thought, and christian got really impatient.  i don't know why, because he hates wes anderson.

i have more patience with anderson, and can simultaneously enjoy and be irritated by him.

christian's take is this:  "too precious,"  "too much going on," and "not enough going on," "too obsessed with retro technology," "too many tableaux," "too much accessorizing," and "too weirdly obsessed with eroticizing children."

i pretty much agree with him on all points, but i think i also enjoy all of these things, and am a little more comfortable with excess for its own sake, with over-indulgence, than christian is.

& i, too had a love affair with my portable record players, both the fischer price plastic records and later, the vinyl that we played over and over (one only had a few records back in the day, right?) only rather than benjamin britten's a young person's guide to the orchestra, we listened to peter and the wolf, the carpenter's, donny osmond, the byu fight song, and puff the magic dragon over and over again in our '70's kelly green basement.  the more forbidden records, like the doobie brothers (naked people!) and fleetwood mac were studied and listened to at my neighbor's house with his, to me, naughty and glamourous teen-aged siblings.  also, my dad played handel's water music every sunday on a reel-to-reel, and i listened to my suzuki violin method records every day when i practiced, and learned to love bach that way.

so, yeah, i get how much wes anderson loves his vinyl and his reel-to-reels and his radios.

(i wonder how my own children will react to the britten in the film?  they used to listen to a young person's guide to the orchestra every night in bed on cd.  what memories will it evoke for them?)

i concur with much of christian's criticism, but, i mean, who doesn't love those high-necked 60's dresses with knee socks and "sunday school shoes"?  who doesn't love britten's noye's fludde performed in a quaint church by felt-becostumed child-birds?

i especially admire how anderson works with only a whiff, the faintest whiff, of exposition and manages to tell an entire story with character arcs, a plot, and everything, however minimal.  loved how the entire love story and plot was conveyed in the 30 seconds of epistolary cuts after about 30 minutes of build up.

some of the editing was stunning and virtuosic, like in the end where the action suddenly builds into a whole bunch of jumps and cuts and images with really cool layering of sound and music.

the tension between minimalist characters, dialogue, and plot and maximalist sets, sounds, and themes is also interesting and engaging to me.

or perhaps this is just a testament to how culturally dull my immediate environs are at the moment.

i felt a guilty sense of indulgence at how much i enjoyed the film, while still not 100 percent sold on it.


***

& then, also, a simmering feeling of rage.

as a teacher, a mother, a poet.

at seeing things go wrong for not one damn good reason in our most recent murderous massacre.

but i have to keep quiet for now.

for some reason i just can't handle a discussion about this at the moment.  i've been talking about these issues with students for more than twenty years, trying to understand why emotion trumps reason & evidence in their thinking at least 90 percent of the time,

and still not understanding the excuses so many of them offer for allowing such easy access to destruction and rampage.

i've already said too much.

i'm very angry, and not ready to discuss with calmness or hear any other point of view about this at the moment.

so.

sorry.

i should keep my mouth shut.

but i can't.