Saturday, January 12, 2013


Succulents on my back stoop
  Saturday. Insanely 70’s.  The cactus are happy with the heat, but probably not the dank cloying air. Flies will be hatching I fear.

Dearest Readers,
I harbored a low-grade temperature in my body for over a week. I’m laying low, walking Etta as little as possible, and erupting in caged creativity. I’m getting better.
My regimen involves no power walks, no strength or stretching exercises, a dose of 20-minute meditation per day, hot camomile tea near bedtime, lots of water, one 8-hour ibuprofen, a glass and a half of red wine and 1 oz of dark chocolate as a chaser. Except for the cold (not the flu), it’s been almost pleasant. I have lots of time to create. A neighbor gave me some oranges, and another looped a bag with a container of veggie soup and a hunk of cornbread around my door knob.  (Thanks Marcia and Mary Alma)!
Unknown carnivore (maybe not), grain, long needle pine, stone
 Meet the Death Ikebana. It reminds me of the gargantuan person-eating plant in the musical “Little Shop of Horrors”. On a dog-walk, I sheared off this dangerously spiky plant growing alongside a chain link fence. I wore gloves, but it still drew blood. I harvested the pine sprigs at the base of the arrangement from a long needle evergreen growing near the curb, and I snatched the tuft of dried grain where it popped up between the sidewalk and the street. I used my mother’s wide frosted glass basin (a wedding gift from 1942) to counterbalance the boldness of the killer plant, and added a round river stone to anchor the pin holder against its forward thrust. In a strange way I like this beast of an arrangement, and the flowers are surprisingly fragrant.
In progress August 2012
 I’ve resumed a painting I started in Vermont last summer entitled “Cradled in the Nest of Loving Kindness”. Here’s where I left it in Vermont, and below, where it stands at the moment. It’s a cross between digging underground and being in the cosmos.
In progress January 12, 2013

Finally, this week I began a segmented story of an old woman who reaches for the stars. I’ve been standing on my back stoop at night with Etta, dreamily staring across a little patch of backyard at the concrete block wall of an adjoining warehouse, and then up at the stars. 
View across the interstice

Here is a first draft entitled
The Interstice- Part 1 Jan.8.2013  
It’s set in verse. I’m not sure why, but it’s a narrative and will probably and eventually flow as prose.

An irregular moon lit up the brushy grass
On the strip of lawn
That sliced a treeless path
Between her condo complex
And the back of an old car dealership,
Recently transformed into a swath of trendy shops.

Her daylight view was not the trendy end.
Concrete blocks painted two shades of dirt brown,
And streaked by careless roller marks
Formed a wall along the boundary
Beyond her kitchen window.
A haphazard rebar grate
Slouched across four industrial windows at the far end.
A tiny hole punctured one pane, surrounded by a sunburst of shards
Held together by some fluke of physics.
During the day panicked squirrels raced the narrow gauntlet
In a mad dash for the tangle of vines and privet at the short end of the property line.
But it was night now, and the clutter was muffled.

The old woman slipped out her back door and stood silently on the stoop.
She unscrewed the swirl of bulb in the outdoor fixture.
The building beyond the alley was now cloaked in thick black.
Its aluminum roof shone in crisp linear ridges of light and shade.
Overhead, a circuit board of constellations and planets
Flickered in the depths of the evening sky.

She leaned over the metal pipe railing
And grabbed the end of a sparkling black string that dangled from a star.
She reached for another, and another, and a fourth one for good measure.
She tied them together in a knot with two loops
And gingerly stepped inside.
The woman bent her knees and
Made cautious leaps like a baby in a Jolly Jumper.
She clutched the strings like a swing.

Slowly the contraption ascended
Through a sea of swaying sky lines
That tickled her face as she was pulled higher and higher,
Each one tethered to its mother star. be continued

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