awake in the tropics local rooster singing plumeria and ginger swaddle the cottage a swag of bananas decorates the doorway geckos scurry at morning light wild herd of chickens dash through the garden hundreds of translucent bugs stuck to the ceiling another view of paradise.
country halloween bundled head to toe cider and maple leaf air crunchy paths long unlit country roads sparse farm houses candy in paper sack no fears of poison parading around village common- then home to counting the loot
in the dark it's easy to dream easy to roll into a ball and spin gossamer blindfolds across your eyes nothing can get you in here you nestle with closed suitcases and old cigar boxes a decaying uniform serves as blanket thumps and creaks interrupt the sensation of safety old tunes weave in and out like background music remembering yet the light beckons bringing messages of possibilities new trails, new monsters maybe a new song or two you ever so slowly venture out
trying to find some honesty searching for a truth drug poking into hidden corners uncovering some secrets opening boxes of moldy letters reading between the lines peering at the photos all the secrets, lies and mysteries are mine.
in childhood, I remember golden sax between his knees round glasses perched on his nose he wailed me a tune all deep and mysterious now he's gone no trace of the saxophone no trace of him only a letter will the music conjure him up?
More musings on 60 and above..the sisters Old friends seem really important. The sharing of a history of linkages which stretches over the years. A remembered collection of stories detailing the relationships, houses, politics, children's follies, work traumas,and buckets of tears. Now the sisterhood returns in a new form; shaping a container around our lives. The old politics still intact under layers of living in an imperfect world, The idealism of youth popping out now and then in grand pronouncements about Washington, or the state of gender politics. We marvel at the tenacity, raw strength and fortitude of our friends. The toughness we cannot see in ourselves is so evident in them. They live through illness, death, trauma, poverty, losses and all with sharp retort, a joke, a spiritual reference rarely going down the path of self-pity. These feminists who championed the right of women to follow their hearts and dreams now some times live lives with insurmountable limitations.They have been to the mountain top yet they dwell at the base. The realities of a generation who knew in its heart that it would blossom, achieve, surpass, accomplish every goal now deals with health issues, diabetes, reduced retirements, a government strangely alien, and declining hope in their dream of social justice. Lately, no one calls on the collective wisdom of this sisterhood; we are strangely off, eccentric, curiosities who ranted, wrote, bullied, marched, and strategically implemented a myriad of social improvements. Those same improvements now enjoyed by arch conservatives, right wing, and fundamentalist women.. The ability to have birth control, to not be pregnant every year, to work outside the home, to own your property; to have day care, to have your own checking account, to get a no fault divorce, and to adopt children on your own. Not to mention a naming and awareness of domestic violence. I remember living when men ruled the home, where many women did not work outside the home, where the church had the last say, where hitting your wife was normal, when kids were seen and not heard and where a woman's options were to be a nun, a wife, a teacher or a secretary. It seems very important to get with friends and talk about all of this. To re- energize our collective voice , to note that the changes we witnessed and fought for can still be lost. That our efforts should not be dismissed and taken for granted. We in our 60's and beyond are a force to be heard- that would be resurgence.
Approaching the 70's, body looks 60, mind is 30, memory sometimes 100. Trying to eke out a path that is visually stimulating, heartfelt, and amusing. Trying to find meaning in the journey when work as I knew it is over. Looking for life in all the wrong places... The days roll by sometimes too fast to etch a notch into them; mark them as mine. I reflect on past accomplishments. The huge triumphs of my 40's and I laugh-a rumbling deep chortle. Oh how silly I was at times; trying to be someone be someone. There are holy moments of true insight when I get it. I see the abundance, the joy, the lineage, the small wonders of my trip but on other days a gray field when memories fall to inspire and I seek a meaningful experience. A monastery, an island, the church. Some genetic strain to laugh at life often saves me just as I give over. Always wonder about others, do they twist and turn on this, do they want more meaning? Gratitude for the travel. the stories, the foibles, the silly worries, my usual health, the family in all its lovely chaos and confusion. Being a matriarch is a bitch so much to live up to. I will return as I always do to the calendar, the book, the next projects, the bills, the appointments and let my musings about life fall aside. Call it denial, call it self preservation. I just need to keep keeping on .
more orange than one can bear reflections sharp and clear crisp sounds that lure you and the smell- toasty and dry sometimes a pinky green that only god could paint the views stop you cold breathing stops in valleys and hilltops white churches punctuate the color lights the senses more beauty than can be imagined proof of abundance
she gave me the eye piercing, direct, challenging the wind whistled it felt suddenly colder what part of the exchange was in my head was she menacing all around leaves flew in litttle whirlwinds- magic or omen does one ever know?
gold threads held tightly in rigid rows by deep blue silk soldiers shimmering bamboo was the sound emitted stiff and tough though wholly elegant waiting for a muse to stitch it into something that can travel
it reminded me of old calligraphy of maps roughly drawn there was a dingy veil over it obscuring some truth my shoulders ached as I stared just paint and canvas no big deal anyone could do it welling up big tears and a mild shaking art as I know it
these dogs don't care about recessions bailouts whole foods arms control triglyceride levels pullout from iraq social security these dogs just care about adoring you walking over the bridge running up the path climbing that hill riding in the car water in the creek these dogs got their priorities straight for em
evidence of the holiness of things proof that beauty exists treatise on the natural world notes from the dreamstate report on the state of peace study on black and white model of loveliness image of purity the peony
eyeball, breast, lock what are you? memories are sorting images are clearing the story is forming a huge wooden door rough and weathered entry to a garden roses spilling over the wall honeysuckle breathing apothecary scents lilies seeking sex and the music low tones of bees high notes of birds the green carpet speckled with clover in a darkened corner a cool stone bench babylon, shangrila for me- a secret garden
stoic under layers of oil pelican parent facing the inevitable as we watch we consider our connections our responsibilities every trip in the car every plastic bottle petroleum everywhere every pelican every hermit crab every bit of clean water soiled forever now is too late but we still need to act
she wove her way through the white topped stalls touching an old leather bound book laughing at three monkeys cavorting in a wind up toy she bought a wooden puppet carved in some far off village she crunched on roasted nuts sat on a bench for a while watching the leaves falling in waves chuckled at an old accordion minstrel stopping here and there she saw some Soviet era hats a crisp wind started up from the river she paused to chat with some young backpackers fresh from the Pergamon and then she spotted the vendor from Kreuzberg, with the brass birds, monkeys and the wonderful fish
one had an evil eye one had a third eye one was always vigilant one was just plain scary the old crones of my childhood knew when someone died knew about devils in the closet and bad blood and bad wind they kept Mary enshrined in the bedroom and Jesus over the stove I still connect his crown of thorns with great Polish food McBeth would have loved them
It was the time of Freedom Riders and lynchings Selma and civil rights lunch counters and bus strikes It was my journey to Georgia in a Karman Ghia baby on board a bag of fruit and 25 dollars It was a postcard of sleepy towns whites only water fountains cabins in the piney woods It was kindness from long haul truckers small town waitresses breakfasts of bacon and grits for this New England girl a strange new world...
ten o' clock it was over at twelve nights like this were not for a girl like her white chiffon and little flat slippers a corsage of gardenias right on her wrist bone his crew cut was perfect and he smiled like a guy all cleaned up should his chevy had all the cool stuff the black and white dice leathery seats to match nothing about this would last tomorrow would be back in the kitchen caring for her sisters trying to avoid the yelling but tonight "a white sports coat and a pink carnation" and the stuff of teenage dreams
silty talc like soil laced with pottery shards and arrowheads we treated them like marbles no true sense of worth no one told us about these ancients we had our own troubles we were spirit children of the river with our ancient finds * " the Pocumtucks dwelt in the middle Connecticut River Valley near today's Deerfield, Massachusetts." Bain, Manring, Mathrews
grandmother she says I need to talk to you. breathless, intense deep sighs, words spilling out horses and art music and history Paris and pizza fourteen and ageless potential and growth for me like a jewel box opened gems falling out sparking and precious her gift to me priceless for Matilda 2010
everyone was running from the Russians from the Germans from the bombing mother said go and I did with my treasure sewn in my wool jacket shivering in ditches under the moon I kept going to where I did not know a few coins in my pocket a bag of dry bread some shriveled carrots finally days, weeks later a large man pulled me out from under the bridge handed me a chocolate bar smiled and said the Americans are here always my enameled egg on the mantle reminds me of chocolate and kindness dedicated to Frau Groelich and her story
this life the sound of breathing the fury of anger the joy of belonging the terror of waiting the comfort of hugging the beauty of nature the sweetness of babies the cry of the owl the beat of the drum the mystery of travel the fear of disease the triumph of spirit to be alive to be part of this magic
she planned she made lists she watched the weather she read her cards she threw the runes she read her chart she checked Google Earth she called her broker she made a will she alerted the neighbors and after it all - the planning the lists the research the preparation she still encountered a fork in the road
Like champagne uncorked
Like stones skipped on still water
Like baby's first gasp of air
Like the chick's head emerging
Like the pink glow of dawn
Like the orchestra warming up
Like the smell of new crayons
Like the fern unfurling
Like nothing else
needed: new friend who has cooked at least 30 turkeys who has washed cloth diapers who remembers Elvis's TV debut who knows what no money means who has stolen a pineapple from the field who has changed sizes at least five times who counts their chicks no matter how old who cries for those in nursing homes who worries about her own old age who has had at least three hair colors who weeps at figure skating who longs for Tuscany and who is willing to still dream purpose: endless laughter and conversation
If I were a month I’d be May
If I were a day I’d be Saturday
If I were a time of day I’d be noon
If I were a planet I’d be Venus
If I were a sea animal I’d be an otter
If I were a direction I’d be west
If I were a piece of furniture I’d be a table
If I were a liquid I’d be chicken soup
If I were a gem stone I’d be an emerald
If I were a tree I’d be a maple
If I were a tool I’d be a hammer
If I were a flower I’d be a lady slipper
If I were an element of weather I’d be a spring rain
If I were a musical instrument I’d be an oboe
If I were a color I'd be purple
If I were an emotion I’d be joyful
If I were a fruit I’d be an apple
If I were a sound I’d be a baby's laugh
If I were an element I'd be earth
If I were a car I’d be a Beemer
If I were a food I’d be mashed potatoes
If I were a place I’d be Western Massachusetts
If I were a material I'd be Thai silk
If I were a taste I’d be salty If I were a scent I’d be gardenia
If I were a body part I’d be eyes
If I were a song I’d be the blues.
If I were a bird I'd be a crow
If I were a gift I'd be a book
If I were a city I'd be in Bavaria
If I were a door I'd always be open
If I were a pair of shoes I’d be flip flops
If I were a poem I would be free verse And what would you be?
reflecting on years of living large leaving that ham on the young couple's doorstep writing an affirmation and tying it to a tree in Sequim trying that spin on ice breaking my knuckle walking in wet snow on the cobblestones of old Augsburg easter baskets for the kinder German fields with real bunnies skiing off that glacier peak with my fear of heights near running down that Alaskan mountain following Lana's footsteps eating watermelon for dinner in a crappy trailer park receiving that check with no strings to finish graduate school watching film premier at Toronto gut wrenching Mother's pride my life has proven me worthy of magic, of passion, of love how else to measure one's life?