Tuesday, October 29, 2013


She is done with spreading,
spreading her legs
spreading brie on dry crackers, drinking
wine from waxed paper cups

It is true her life took shape as meandering clouds, thinly and soft with
private meaning, until
they sculpted her nose and
blew artificial wind through her hair

If you mapped her face, it would be like this--
provocative and turbulent: of sexual congress,

a blue mole in the crosshairs just below her lips
eyes bright as the moon though
circled in a storm ring, light
airy hair, dull as tin

She sweeps dust from little altars
in the corners of her apartment                           squares her shoulders, leans down
to smell a vase of lilies

anxious energies rise up
another late-night photo spread
buy me   buy this   buy more

There are so many angles she must consider, blurred lines of penetration: chin in, hips out, knees bent, legs spread.

it is her mortal undertaking to sell,
to understand selling as dissonance,
to do nothing but look beautiful
with grace under pressure and

tend carefully the rising
pile of black leaves,
gathering beneath her feet.

*photos taken on the street in Florence, Italy

Monday, October 21, 2013

Words As Play

No, this is not a post about religion. This is a post about WORDS.

I have a box in my studio where I collect found objects that one day may be used in a mixed media piece. I often keep colorful birthday and Christmas greeting cards for later use in creating collages. And by way of Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge, I also collect words.

In her book, poem crazy; freeing your life with words, Susan suggests this exercise to free the writer's mind when it has become stale or stalled out:

Collect words and phrases from magazines, the internet, advertisements, instruction manuals (like this example from a Ford pickup repair manual: luminosity probe and choke hinge pin!), cookbooks, manifestos, field guides...any media source close at hand. Jot down the words and throw them into a box or folder. Nouns like blood, sweat and tears and verbs like slink, churn, and lure will help loosen things up in your mind. 

Next ransack the house and garage, attaching your words to objects. Be spontaneous. 

Don't think too much. Just play with it.

Pin your labels to objects and see where the words take you.

 My husband is a pack rat, so I could see how this exercise can easily get out of hand. He has so much "stuff" (most of which I'd label "throw-away"), I hardly know where to focus my gaze when I step into his workshop. But he fixes, cuts, welds, slumps, carves, and saws all manner of things, so who am I to judge?

I stayed out of his space, and attached my words to common objects around our home, and suddenly it seemed as though the label, in a small albeit interesting way, changed the way I viewed the object. New connections were born; fresh metaphors came to mind. I actually felt a little compassion for those tomatoes (soon to be eaten or rotted); saw my guitar as a Star Child, or the center of my universe (which she most certainly is), and felt the whimsy of a hobo, a solo flower child perhaps? kicking the leaves as she walked. 

As Carl Jung said: The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect, but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves. 

So today I let my hair down and got wildly enthusiastic with words, as play. 

And now I think I'm ready to get back to work.

Monday, October 14, 2013

All Nature?

You know people live there: but they're not visible
a bar sign blinks open
soiled lacy curtains droop
in a cafe' window & 
melancholy burns up from the asphalt
smelling rank, like ignorance.

What is visible: just the stink of their lives, dead formulations
just the junk of their lives, acres & acres
of stuff & stuff & stuff lying in heaps on the brown ground
rusted cordage, severed machine parts
second-hand  throw-outs  
deep-sixed  for-eternity.

And yet daisies grow up through towers of scrapped tires
seed pods spool on a breeze of honeysuckle & float
above rusty dented fenders.

Is it all nature? the junk, funk, clunk
of shucked off & discarded stuff? is a
braided horse mane and a pretty girl the same
as an upturned rusty bucket lying in the weeds?

Hug the debris
hug all the hard places
hug the mountain road
speed the steep
slide & swerve.

Scud the gravel shoulder & with 
a celebrated hoorah, "pull" a
Thelma & Louise.

Leap to the other side
cross over & join the heaps of old iron, glass & paper below
be disposed of & cast away.

Abandon the body without ceremony
like refuse among wildflowers.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Coming Home, The Let Down

Wendell Berry, noted Kentucky author and poet, has made the observation that after a long plane trip, he allows three days for his soul to catch up with his body, and re-enter it. Three days of waiting and watching before delving back into work.

The late American Indian, Jose Hobday, once wrote that Indian mothers send their children out early in the morning, after they just wake up…to go for a walk, while humming their spirits back inside their bodies.

Today is day three for me. After being gone from home for five weeks, the re-adjustment phase appears to be nearing completion. This is not the first time I've experienced the "let down" upon arriving back home after a trip. Even after a short vacation, there is a period of time where I'm sort of fumbling through a fog and waiting for equilibrium to hit. Re-orienting. Trying to cheerfully fall back into a regular routine. 

Though my body is back on solid home ground, my heart seems to be dragging behind like a dead weight, lost in space without a compass. 

There's the unpacking, the laundry, the stacks of mail to peruse, the feeling like you want to eat at midnight because jet lag has fully kicked in, but there's nothing that hasn't spoiled in the fridge. The running around on day two to stock the cupboards and return unanswered phone calls. 

A change in environment is so refreshing and uplifting to the wanderlust soul. I don't miss sleeping in my own bed. I don't miss the familiarity of my own kitchen, the structure of a planned day, the pragmatics and rhythm of the daily domesticity of my home, which by the way, I love deeply. I can only liken it to a reverse culture shock in which everything back home is familiar and unchanging, while something inside of me has shifted and changed. I don't quite feel like getting back to reality.

Or facing the unspoken resistance to falling back into a regular routine.

"Of all the adventures and challenges that wait on the vagabonding road, the most difficult can be the act of coming home." -Rolf Potts

So on day three, I went for a nine-mile hike with friends, breathing in the cold clear air, charging up and down trails and rocks and riverbeds while admiring the golden turn of autumn. Turns out all I needed was a good tromp in the woods to comfortably feel my way back to old familiar patterns and get the productive work routine humming again.

Peaceful and ready to tackle the world, I'm re-discovering my groove, and in the fullness of time, am happy to be back home.