Monday, March 29, 2010

One November

empty, 2010

I did not like Paris,
my dreams had spiraled for too long.
They had grown grand and incomplete,
like La Sagrada Família.

Bayonne and Biarritz,
they were more to my liking.
Empty and cold.
Rats in restaurants.
Phone booths and rain.

And the trees of Saint-Jean-de-Luz
their limbs made me sad.

I was still a spy.
He, a gambler.
Our books were so heavy,
we gave up our clothes.

I bought a cream puff
and carried it for miles,
secure in its small white box.

Wanting it desperately,
till I could wait no more.

Friday, March 26, 2010

It's all I've got.

smile now, 2009

Do you ever feel like that nasty little Cheetos character?

Blah blah blah...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

essential (noun)

wheat flour, water, salt., 2010

They walked up the road together to the old man's shack and went in through its open door. The old man leaned the mast with its wrapped sail against the wall and the boy put the box and the other gear beside it. The mast was nearly as long as the one room of the shack. The shack was made of the tough budshields of the royal palm which are called guano and in it there was a bed, a table, one chair, and a place on the dirt floor to cook with charcoal. On the brown walls of the flattened, overlapping leaves of the sturdy fibered guano there was a picture in color of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and another of the Virgin of Cobre. These were relics of his wife. Once there had been a tinted photograph of his wife on the wall but he had taken it down because it made him too lonely to see it and it was on the shelf in the corner under his clean shirt.

Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

Do you ever think about what you would own if you kept only your essentials? Only the basic, indispensable, and necessary elements of your life? It is something I think of often.

I'm not a very religious person, but I once spent several days in an Italian monastery. I traveled alone. My spare room housed a single bed, writing desk, and one window looking out onto a courtyard. The courtyard was a clean open space with a few large terracotta flower pots. I believe those pots held red geraniums. It was one of the most beautiful spaces I've spent time.

Days were quiet. While I was there I only met three English speaking individuals, one nun and two retired physics professors. It did not matter. This was not a place for idle chatter. It was a place for contemplation. The monastery was located in the mountains and I hiked every day. What to eat? never crossed my mind. Our two meals per day were served in a large dining hall during set times and we were not involved in menu planning.

Each morning a staff member would circulate around the breakfast tables with one pitcher of hot coffee and and another with rich steamed milk. We drank red wine with dinner each evening. For dessert we passed bowls of fresh whole fruit.

Following dinner, most of us leisurely strolled the grounds before contentedly retiring to our rooms. After 9:00 pm we were to remain in our rooms, respectfully quiet.

The monastery had a small shop that sold postcards, rosaries, and locally made hazelnut chocolate bars, you know, the essentials. I treasured each night, sitting propped up in bed reading, writing postcards, and eating chocolate, taking breaks every so often to look up from my book and appreciate the moment.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Almost Night

Home, 2006

I drank juice from a plastic apple,
They once were glass.
As I looked out at a blue-orange cellophane sky.
A tiny sliver of moon,
As if cradled in an arm.
One glamorous streetlight.

As I turned,
The other sky arrived.
A deep purple.
Tiny lights dotting the bridge.
The illuminated arches of the tower.
The air clean and still.

And I thought,
This is where I live.
This is home.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Actually, it was closer to 1:00.

Priorities, 2009

Today a friend suggested an impromptu walk on the beach. I was just about to go off on my own, so I figured why not? Soon we were off. She drove the winding scenic route, showcasing the beauty of our sweet little city. We arrived at a long stretch of beach, so long the end was not in sight. The water was glistening spectacular and the birds were out in full force. Even the sand was putting on a show, seemingly saturated with streaks of midnight blue and sprinkled with the dust of stars. We strolled for a long while, dodging the taunting tide every now and again. We talked of so many things and each of us strongly supported the endeavors of the other. It was a fortifying walk.

Later I read this poem and thought of us, out on our sandy beach, words so urgently passing between us.

A memory only we will keep.

Two butterflies went out at Noon
by Emily Dickinson

Two butterflies went out at Noon --
And waltzed upon a Farm --
Then stepped straight through the Firmament
And rested, on a Beam --

And then -- together bore away
Upon a shining Sea --
Though never yet, in any Port --
Their coming, mentioned -- be --

If spoken by the distant Bird --
If met in Ether Sea
By Frigate, or by Merchantman --
No notice -- was -- to me --

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Too many branches?

The calm after Cartola, 2010

Do you follow your comments or do you set those thoughts free and let them go on with their own lives without returning to check up on them? When you write a comment, do you subscribe or return to see if the blog author has responded to you? It is clearly a lot to juggle, for everyone involved.

Subscribing to a long list of blogs is akin to being one of those circus performers with the plates spinning atop poles. Some performers are more skilled than others, but at some point it is just too many plates, for any human being.

I am intrigued by many blog writers and gain heaps of inspiration by reading what they have taken the time to write, but as the number of good writers grows, it seems my capacity for any sort of ongoing conversation ceases to scale (healthily).

Many of these intriguing and inspirational blogs mention shops, restaurants, architects, designers, books, other blogs, music, films, videos, recipes, gallery exhibitions, artists, etc. that lead me to new tiny yet interesting branches that lead to other tiny branches and others and others. In addition, I'll often leave comments and subscribe to posts, and, well, I end up in a thick wood, branches everywhere. Scary branches surrounding me, Fighting Trees style, like those guarding the entry to the forest in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Too many branches, way too many branches.

Truthfully, I really do not like occupying my time or yours with such mundane thoughts. Part of me is thinking blah blah blah, let's talk about something a little more noteworthy. I'd like to get back to observing more gratifying items, writing, photographing--leaving you all with something more substantial.

But we really should go outside and feel the sunshine on our faces every now and again. So, what should we do? Should we come to terms with the fact that there are just too many conversations taking place at once? Is it more practical to have brief interactions?

author writes post > reader reads post
and writes comment > author reads comment > the end

As I consider all of the above and regroup, your answer to the following question will be very helpful to me.

When I respond to your comment with another comment is it just too much...unrealistic...not enough hours in a day...too many branches to follow?

Thank you for reading. Thank you for your time and patience.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Drift, Clay, and Bean

from bottom to top: Drift, Clay, and Bean

I just completed these organic cotton washcloths. Each is a different stitch pattern and color, my own designs. They are incredibly soft. I love the use of the word whilst in the yarn tag care instructions:
Machine washable.
Dry flat. Wash dark
colours separately.
Reshape whilst wet.

Monday, March 1, 2010

17. Omit needless words.