Wednesday, March 25, 2009

"Devour" - Draft 1

One crumpled-up pack of Marlboro reds,
two cats curled at the base of the bed,
they crack their bones and stretch
in the wrinkle of morning.
He stirs her coffee with a silver spoon.

It is a broad back,
that sits at the edge of the bed
examining rough-skinned feet
that have never been pumiced.

They are wide-palmed hands
that still shake at the thought
of a drink, and lift the weight
without need, or question.

In the pale grey of early day
they are quiet together, she and him,
and the birds that have already had
the pleasure of a morning worm.

She, studying his scars,
biting the lip of the lover,
gaurding against the ghost
of his hungry mother...

sees the boy in the man,
and the man in the boy,
holds them both tight
to her chest
and says,
"drink the sweet milk...
go on, devour."


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Til the sun turns black


I awoke this morning with the sunrise, gently, as if the outstretched fingertips of the first early rays had placed a hand on my shoulder. A slight opening of the eyes, a sleepy yet curious turn of the head and there he is -- that magnificent sun -- peeking up through my window.

It's really nice to wake up early this way, and with a sweet sense of peace in the heart. After a long, tedious weekend at work, the calm of early morning is most welcome.

Sometimes work feels like a whirlwind, spinning me just a little too fast through a carnival night of loud drunken laughter, shrieks, wild voices and people disappearing as fast as they appear. It can be dizzying in the way a dream-ride on a carousel would be, with a fiddle screaming in the backgroung. I'm not really a participator, I'm an unfortunately child being ushered through the monster's funhouse.

For as long as I can remember, I've kept the saying "You can do anything" fastened tightly to the strong back of my will. I can do anything! Anything! Except math, maybe? If I were an ant and math were the thumb of a giant man -- then I'm being smashed beneath it!! ((for some reason, my thoughts are thick with metaphor today)) It's so, so hard. When I sit down to study a single section, I can get stuck on one question for two hours. It makes me cry. Cry! It's terrible. This, this is suffering! Truly.

So, as I should be studying for an exam on Tuesday, instead I'm going to drive to Kennesaw, take the doodlebug out to lunch, and maybe climb the mountain. It's been ages since I've been back there... since our wild, beautiful teen years, when we so often chose sitting atop that great mountain over being held up in a stuffy classroom.

Here is a wonderful little poem I've been reading and re-reading for the last few weeks. It is by one of my very favorite writers, Stanley Kunitz, at the end of his life. It is touching, and tenderly sentimental.

Today's music selection: Ray Lamontange and Clare Fader

Touch Me -- by Stanley Kunits:
Summer is late, my heart.
Words plucked out of the air
some forty years ago
when I was wild with love
and torn almost in two
scatter like leaves this night
of whistling wind and rain.
It is my heart that's late,
it is my song that's flown.
Outdoors all afternoon
under a gunmetal sky
staking my garden down,
I kneeled to the crickets trilling
underfoot as if about
to burst from their crusty shells;
and like a child again
marveled to hear so clear
and brave a music pour
from such a small machine.
What makes the enginge go?
Desire, desire, desire.
The longing for the dance
stirs in the buried life.
One season only,
and it's done.
So let the battered old willow
thrash against the windowpanes
and the house timbers creak.
Darling, do you remember
the man you married? Touch me,
remind me who I am.

Photographs for today:
Investigating the incredible growth of hair... how did this happen overnight??

From Amsterdam, last summer: I like to look at these as if they were someone else, some girl I don't know... she seems like someone I'd like. Very inward, probably quiet, introspective.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

I see the tumble in the wind

First things first: While reading my daily collection of various news sources (some satirical, some serious), I came upon this article that absolutely made my jaw drop!

Apparently, the new Pope believes placing a Bible over an erect penis will help protect people against AIDS. And if you pray really, really hard... you just might be able to turn into the Easter Bunny! Actually, I would recommend using the papers from Leviticus in particular... those ones are sure to gaurd against any kind of hard on. I mean, really? Is he actually serious?

Well, okay, so this might be the author's interpretation of the Pope's words... but unfortunately, it does come too close to the truth of what the Pope actually believes. Condoms he argues, are certainly NOT the way to protect against AIDS. Abstinence is the only way, because of course, we cannot possibly condone a protective measure that would also lead to birth control. Wait, wait, wait.... isn't abstinence birth control?! I'm so confused...

These are the reasons I wake up every day and thank GOD I am not a "follower." And in my view of things, I think God's pretty glad I'm not either.

Spring has SPRUNG! Oh it's beautiful and lovely and so, so revitalizing. Every window in my home is open. I'm searching the net for garden ideas. I can't WAIT to get my hands and knees covered in dirt!


Speaking of gardens... I have had this idea with me for quite a few years, and lately it has been rooting itself deeper and deeper into my mind. When I first traveled to Guatemala I fell in-love with this adorable little restaurant. It was a husband and wife operation, and as you came upon the restaurant you had to walk *through* the vegetable garden on a sweet little stone path. While eating there, I remember watching the wife, who was also our wonderful chef, come out to the garden and pick fresh ingredients! I most recall the feeling of pure joy in eating food with such fresh, and local(!) ingredients.

This could actually work here in America. What I'd like to do, is find a small college town, fairly liberal and progressive, and start a similar operation. My restaurant would serve breakfast and lunch only, and boast the use of all local ingredients -- organic of course. I would like to plant a garden just like the one in Guatemala, where patrons would have to walk through to get to the front door, and use as many things from the garden as I could. Naturally, I would have to supplement a lot with other locally grown items, but I can just imagine how much pleasure others would get out of such a place!

Now, all I need to do is spend the next few years in search of an investor... That may take some time in this economy. Small business loan?? I suppose I'd have to pay off all of the student debt I acquired first. Still, I'm keeping this idea on the back burner, at a healthy simmer!


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Come home to everything you need

This is the mess in which I write. It is a relatively organized chaos, with its very own rhythms of spontaneity and purpose. I never thought I'd say it, but I am actually enjoying the project.

It can at times be overwhelming to think of it all in a grand scheme, because it is so large, so encompassing of countless materials -- it stretches its limbs across more than one discipline within the discipline. Mysticism. Spirituality. The New Age Movement. Islam. Sufism. Literature!

Flex those Capricorn muscles! Fall in-love with headers. Write and rewrite... and then write it again. Pressure? Yes, there is plenty of that. But how else do you get the juice unless you first squeeze the fruit?

I wanted very much to submit a synopsis of this large, sometimes fumbling, body of work for the Spring student symposium. Jess, I am sure you will only need one guess to know why I inevitably did not. This gal may have courage, but her balls just aint that big. I'm still a woman, and I still succumb to my own vulnerabilities, fears, and self-inflicted sufferings. I dug that hole for myself, and I must tend to its limitations.

To the left of my mess, there's a wonderful little treat I've grown to love making. Flatbread yummies! This one involves canned tuna, a squirt of lemon, extra virgin olive oil, pimentos, salt, pepper, grated farmers cheese and chives. The terrific thing about flatbread is you can make so many different creations! Whatever your flavor, there isn't much flatbread wont toast well and prove scrumptuous.... except, perhaps, for hummus. The hummus will dry out, while the flatbread will become slightly soggy. Depending of course, upon the way you make your hummus. Either way, I'd guard against its use. Moreover, I'd guard against shopping at Whole Foods when you're broke. The ingredients for a single meal can culminate in an unexpected $80 loss. Yikes! Can you imagine shopping for a family of five there?? Oy ve...
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Thursday, March 12, 2009

It's that little souvenir on a terrible year

The best meal I have yet to create came on the whim of inspiration Tuesday evening. I wanted something with a Mediterranean undertone, yet zesty and rich... something slightly more unique than usual. So I brought some basic ingredients together: marinated artichoke hearts, ricotta cheese, romano, rosemary, thyme, cumin, chorizo, home made pesto...


The classic cheese and jams began the night. I chose St.Andre for its texture and creaminess. It is a wonderful triple cream blend of cow, goat and sheep milks. I brought out my neighbor's homemade raspberry jam and store bought pear preserves. Although I love my neighbor's jarring abilities, the pear proved the best flavor with this particular cheese.


The main dish, however, was a mind-blowing, orgasmic-screaming delicious! And I don't mean to toot my own horn -- but toot! toot! on this one, because it was phenomenal. First I took free-range, organic chicken breasts and sliced them open in the middle -- creating a pocket for stuffing. I filled the little chicken pouches with garlic, ricotta cheese and diced up marinated artichoke hearts. I then rubbed the outside of the breasts in thyme and sumac. I placed these in tin foil with a drizzle of olive oil and slow cooked in the oven for about forty minutes. Once the chicken was nearly done, I put capollini in a pot to boil and got to work on the sauce. For the sauce I had made a pesto mix earlier with fresh basil, garlic, lime, romano and pine nuts. In a sauce pan I first sauteed butter, diced hot chorizo, rosemary picked from the garden, and garlic. To this I added diced tomatoes, the pesto, and a small amount of cream. I ground just a touch of fresh cumin and of course, salt and pepper. Here is this dish when it finally came together: chicken breast atop a bed of capollini, with the sauce delicately poured on top and garnished with a basil chiffonad.


I invited Mom and Aunt Jenny to partake in the fabulous dinner with me, and together we all indulged in food, wine, and laughter. I needed their support more than anything and they gave it freely, as they always do, and in abundance. I didn't talk much about how it feels to have not landed the position I'd hoped for, invested so much in, and thought so positively that I'd gotten. Mostly, I just wanted to enjoy their company, and not break down into tears. What I needed more, was a terrific distraction.


Today, however, the feelings have been creeping in on me slowly. I began finding it difficult to motivate my inner strengths into doing much more than lying in bed. When the tears did finally begin to come, I resolved to pick myself up and go weed the garden. What good soul work it is to dig your hands into the dirt. It's such a great place to work out your emotions, both your failures and your gains. I especially enjoy when I can take a giant weed by the base and pull out a large, satisfying clump of root and soil.


Back to the chopping block. The biggest challenge for me now, I think, will be in not succumbing to feelings of failure that seek to become permanent members of my identity. I CAN make the life for myself that I've wanted, it's just going to be hard for a while. Maybe the time will be a blessing; if I use it right, it can be a great opportunity to work on growing as a writer.

Monday, March 9, 2009

To be alone with you


This morning I awoke from one of those strange dreams that stay with you for a while, tainting the day with a particular feeling. In the dream, I had taken a pair of scissors and slit open the ends of all my fingers. I could still feel them throbbing when I awoke.

I don't think they have an explanation for cutting the tips of one's fingers in the dream encyclopedia.

I spent a lot of time last night thinking about the things I've learned from relationships. I never understood before what it meant to be a partner with someone, how friendship comes first, really, and is above all else the single most important aspect of the relationship. You approach one another differently when you recognize the other as your best friend. I think I had this idealist notion of what relationship was, and tried my best to be so inside of the other person that one or both of us could not be seen, was lost...

My idealism has been touched by a harsh, but good reality. Tough love. When I think about having someone in my life now, I think about having someone to share things with, like a dear friend. For the prospect of marriage, I think of it now as less than a joining of "soul mates" (who knows if such a thing even really exists; or maybe, we just have more than one) and more a coming together of two people who want to help eachother LIVE. Support the others growth, their choices, their needs. And at the same time, always be able to come back into the home of your own Self. In a way, I think I've grown up to be more alone than I ever really wanted. But I think it's the truth of life -- we are, inevitably, alone. Even if we are sleeping next to someone we love, when sleep comes, you enter the dreamworld of your own.

Jason has been a very good friend to me. I know there have been times when, in the surviving idealisms of my mind, I've probably wanted him to be someone he isn't. It's hard to learn a new person, and not somehow in the very back of your mind expect them to be like the other person you once loved. It's a slippery place to be. It doesn't seem to matter, necessarily, how long it has been since the last relationship. When you enter a new one, the old one is instantly reignited, because that's where your patterns lie, your habits and behaviors. What I know of love, I know because I have loved. Therefor, are all our old lovers always with us somehow?

What I can say, is it's a pleasure much like returning to an old house you spent a great length of your childhood in, when I am able to reconnect with Josh for a cup of tea. There is a very kind familiarity there that I don't have with anyone else. I had this with Michael too, for quite some years afterwards, but in the last year or so this has changed. I'd call every year on his birthday, and that was our one reconnection. This year he did not return the call. And just like that, he's gone. Sort of like knocking on the door of someone's home and they aren't there anymore. You just sort of shrug, and get back in your car, and drive away.

Today's music selection: Joe Purdy

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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

True love will find you in the end

(Hiking at the waterfall in Palmetto)

(The first Bradford Pear blooms of the season)

(This bird was singing to me today, all morning long)

(Farmhouse at the Serenbe Inn)

(A horse/donkey mixed breed of sorts. He licked grass and dandelions from the palm of my hand.)
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There's this larger feeling of lack today, of need, for comfort. I've had a lot of time to think lately -- to feel my presence in this world, and the texture of the life that's been buildng around me. Dating isn't a good thing for me right now. It's not the time for it, I know. I long for evenings alone at home, baking, cooking, cleaning, reading, thinking, dreaming. But I have learned from the experience, one very important thing about what I do need in a person: imagination. He must, absolutely must, have a sense of imagination, a mind for creativity -- he must have the courage, and the desire, to dream.

(Stone labyrinth in the middle of the woods. It was remarkably peaceful.)

As always, I brought back a handful of forest treasures. A gorgeous, intricate sponge of sage moss, the bone of what was once a very large bird, the womb of a tree seed, granite, and a broken piece of porceline.

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Jane Hirshfield. If you haven't read her yet, you must. She is incredible, absolutely icredible. I can't get enough of her. In fact, I will let you in on a little known quirk of mine: when reading a book of poetry, I tend to start at the back and work my way to the front. I do this, I think, in order to trick myself into believing the book will never end.

Here is a favorite Hirshfield poem of recent:

Against Certainty

There is something out in the dark that wants to correct us.
Each time I think "this," it answers "that."
Answers hard, in the heart-grammar's strictness.

If I then say "that," it too is taken away.

Between the certainty and the real, an ancient enmity.
When the cat waits in the path-hedge,
no cell of her body is not waiting.
This is how she is able so completely to disappear.

I would like to enter this silence portion as she does.

To live amid the great vanishing as a cat must live,
one shadow fully at ease inside the other.