Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fall's Arrival

Today Summer was waning and Fall made it's appearance
there is always one day, one day when you know a season has passed
and another is here
In the Spring it's always the day when you can go out without a coat
and just by chance a crocus will bloom
and you know you won't face another morning of frost
another night of whistling winter winds
not for awhile,
not for a few months,
not tomorrow

Today someone who loves me read me a poem I wrote years ago
that I couldn't remember writing and even though it made him sad
he shared it with me and for a few moments
we lived as Uncle Walt trying to find meaning in the trees
looking for the one leaf that will convince me fall is here
and summer was gone
I wanted to hold off frost for just a few more weeks
hoping that more of the morning glories would bloom because
I think they have become my new favorite flower
they teach me patience
and I will need that patience when the earth is covered in snow
when Superman will look briefly for the green mermaid
when the summer bugs stop singing me to sleep

Oh Emily let the winged creatures you loved teach me about hope
let them land on my sill and share with me the secrets they keep
and I will push fall and winter aside and plan the Spring garden
I will be fearless
I will paint more
I will wrap myself in that cloak of hope and truly believe
I will believe in summers that last forever
for gardens blooming under winter snows
I will believe in sweet men who read poetry to women who cherish them
and of course that the morning glories will bloom just another few weeks.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fireflies In A Jar

He tells me that in the next life we will find the other sooner in life
we will live by the sea in a house full of books and paintings
and of course a cat with six toes
and when we grow weary of love as lovers often do
I will remind him how long it took to know us
the last time around and I'll dye my hair red
and learn to cook souffle
and we can eat it in a hammock
under an azure sky full of clouds
that look like circus animals

I won't get jealous when women admire your sweet smile
and you'll agree I should travel to meet the poets
and miss me until I return
and we'll meet at the Cafe Du Mond drinking coffee
because the first time I saw you, you were drinking coffee
and I fell like an autumn leaf sailing
happily to it's demise
only to be reborn under an autumn sky
wrapped in the love of the harvest moon
shining in the blue of your eye

I will keep a jar at our bedside table
where I an capture that noise you make right before
the sigh that whispers to me you'll let go
and give up your rib all over again
and when we are old the together kind of old
and on a park bench near the Seine and you ask me
why I have loved you through two lifetimes
because it will take me that long to convince you
we have loved before and will again
I will pull the jar from my bag
the jar that looks as though it holds a thousand fireflies
and open it to play
the sweetest battle cry of desire, a symphony of nights
in foreign hotels, in our room by the sea, in the hammock in our garden
and even the hotel in Paris

and I will tell you that you fill my head with music
that even after two lifetimes my heart beats faster when you are close
that you push away the wallow of sadness I tend to swim in
and you'll ask me what you ask me over and over
so I'll never wonder
and I'll ask you back
was there Spring before I loved you?
Do you really think of me when you put on your socks?
Is it forever thine, forever mine
not a day less
because I'd miss you so
just you and I on the river and a jar of fireflies
planning for the next time

Saturday, September 17, 2011

She's the Moon

I was missing my mother all day today as I fiddled around with the idea of fall closing in and putting away some of the garden. Another year turns and I don't miss them any less, those that aren't here anymore. So, I went to find Peter Gabriel and he kept me company while I hung the Halloween witch from a tree and fashioned the giant spider on the side of the house as a Saturday spins by.

I am my mother's only one
It's enough

I wear my garment so it shows
Now you know

Only love is all maroon
Gluey feathers on a Flume
Sky is womb and she's the moon

I am my mother on the wall, with us all
I move in water, shore to shore;
[ Flume lyrics from ] Nothing's more

Only love is all maroon
Lapping lakes like leary loons
Leaving rope burns --
Reddish ruse

Only love is all maroon
Gluey feathers on a flume
Sky is womb and she's the moon

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Monarch's Wing

The arrival of the Monarch holds us
in the reverence of God's design
and as we are an audience to his beauty
we are reminded that nature is the inspiration
for all art and God's Apollonian winged ornament
tempts man's torment his want to pluck apart
anything more beautiful than himself
He is brave he is Mercury taking flight
feeding from and nurturing flowers
like the buzzing bee
and as I am an instrument of God I stand here
gentle reader as his shield and in telling you of his beauty,
his sword
beauty can after all cause such want, such need and eventually
such pain

Then there is the tiger pacing in his diminutive cage
man's opportunity to humble such a fierce creature
and they will poke him, this pacing calculated feral animal
who would if left free tear the spectators limb from limb
and with a glance can strike fear even in those who carry guns
some creatures after all believe they can conquer anything
they are born with that inherent belief that they are Zeus
they are of the mighty Gods just walking around us as though
we are furniture
and for their restraint we put them in a cage
trying to capture what we aren't trying to reign in fire
trying to push back the ocean bucket by bucket of disdain
and of course fear

And as we are reminded we are all human
why is it that we take the best of us and try to dismantle them?
pluck their wings
make them into Godlike creatures, make their presence almost unattainable
with doubt and speculation
take for example man, a man among the Gods
a man that teaches, that guides us that would be a prophet of sorts
in an age where prophets no longer exist
and in a moment mans design to be whom he is
he steals a kiss, a simple kiss
we would destroy him, we would take away all he is
make him humble, remove from him what is who he is
just to remind us that he is of us, human
and rather than celebrate the piece of him that was God
we would dress him in shame and pull his wings
cage his soul
poke at him with sharp sticks and tell ourselves we are better for it
such is life
such is love
such is man

I can't think of a better thing to do on the anniversary of 9/11 than listen to Ani DeFranco, she is after all a singing patriot. I love this one:

she says forget what you have to do
pretend there is nothing
outside this room
and like an idea she came to me
but she came too late
or maybe too soon
I said please try not to love me
close your eyes, I'm turning on the light
you know I have no vacancy
and it's awfully cold outside tonight

the rain stains the brick a darker red
slowly I'm rolling out of her bed
the rain stains the streets a darker black
I dress my face in stone
because I can't go back

I feel her eyes watching me
from behind the curtain of her hair
and she says I'm sorry
I didn't mean to stare
I say I think I really have to go now
but oh baby, maybe someday
maybe somehow.


Ten years ago I was looking for Best Friend because the Sears Tower seemed such a prime target and I just wanted her close. We waited for Richie to get out of school watching in terror (isn't that what they wanted?) as the city I found myself, the city I love so much go up in flame. New Yorkers would help anyone, that have that kind spirit, that beautiful soul that is unique to New York. So, the three of us held out for a few days, playing dominoes, watching TV when we could, making plans. I think the truly shocking part is that this sort of thing didn't happen here. We were given a window of what it was like to live in Israel and at any moment we get on a bus, we lose everything, everyone we love. Why doesn't it happen here? because you see we live in a place of brave men, men who don't let insane zealots and social misfits light women on fire, refuse to educate their daughters and burn things just to watch it burn. We have brave men here who fight, who write, who do what they do unafraid, bold and for the safety and peace of mind of us all. So rather than dwell on the horrible of the world, I think I will spend the day thinking about the joy of those brave men and how lucky we all are they love us.

A fine addition to any ipod:

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Langston Hughes

The Death of the Bookstore

One of my favorite things to do is to peruse the bookstore with my Best Friend. We linger there for hours. I always order some coffee thing and she, iced tea and she will always ask me to share and then remind me why she hates coffee. "Tastes like dirt." will always be her reaction. They are all closing those giant mega mall of books. The days of sipping latte and reading a book you wont indulge in at home because $30 for a book you will just read parts of seems obscene are coming to an end, the end of an era. It's not just books, cds are obsolete with the invention of an ipod, with YouTube, with electronics changing our lives, making us just a little less social. I went to look for a Langston Hughes book of prose this morning and I found it on Amazon for $1, explains why borders would struggle to sell the same book for $15.

And while I do love my kindle, I also love the romance of a book. All my books have little notes on the pages, on the inside cover, little pieces of poems, something I was thinking at the time. And I save them, those worn books, the books I've read too many times to count. When I am feeling melancholy about life I want my old friend Pat Conroy to be on my bookshelf so I can read of men who wish for two lives. I have more Bukowski books than anyone should be allowed to own and depending on my moon I want to read his take on women, or shack jobs, or reading Tolstoy while working in the Los Angeles public library as a janitor. I want him at the end of my finger tips and to feel the pages beneath my fingers and my eyes, it's just comforting. Having those old books close is comforting like having church on Sunday morning and coming home to the scrambled eggs and black currant tea. It's comforting like old photo albums and calling my Best Friend to see what she is reading which I will do in a few moments.

As for the Langston Hughes poem I was looking for?

Droning a drowsy syncopated tune,
Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon,
I heard a Negro play.
Down on Lenox Avenue the other night
By the pale dull pallor of an old gas light
He did a lazy sway . . .
He did a lazy sway . . .
To the tune o' those Weary Blues.
With his ebony hands on each ivory key
He made that poor piano moan with melody.
O Blues!
Swaying to and fro on his rickety stool
He played that sad raggy tune like a musical fool.
Sweet Blues!
Coming from a black man's soul.
O Blues!
In a deep song voice with a melancholy tone
I heard that Negro sing, that old piano moan--
"Ain't got nobody in all this world,
Ain't got nobody but ma self.
I's gwine to quit ma frownin'
And put ma troubles on the shelf."

Thump, thump, thump, went his foot on the floor.
He played a few chords then he sang some more--
"I got the Weary Blues
And I can't be satisfied.
Got the Weary Blues
And can't be satisfied--
I ain't happy no mo'
And I wish that I had died."
And far into the night he crooned that tune.
The stars went out and so did the moon.
The singer stopped playing and went to bed
While the Weary Blues echoed through his head.
He slept like a rock or a man that's dead.


That poem is so beautiful it is a work of art, it's a song, it's pure art. Hughes was related to the first black man to ever hold a public office. You can find his prose of I wonder as I wander at Amazon for $1. I purchased a copy today and will be here soon. I like the idea of wandering with him a little during an autumn afternoon while leaves are flying, so I am preparing for that.

Here's a little taste of the joy of his work:

Saturday, September 3, 2011

In The Rain

Being caught in the rain as a child is a rarity
you aren't allowed to play in the rain
and when I was wandering home and caught a rain storm
I would walk very slowly in watery dreamland

This summer afternoon was covered in rain
a honey dripping August afternoon
and as I was out walking when I turned the corner
there he was
it wasn't Yeats' glimmering girl
it was my shinning boy
his eyes gleaming in the rain
his hair plastered to the sides of his head
his shoes full of water
and that sweet smile that puts women at ease

"Is it five?" he asked
I whispered "Not yet."
and with that he pulled me under a tree
fashioned into an umbrella
and there we whispered the things lovers do
we were the bathing sparrows
drip dropping into fall

Lovers have an umbilical each to each
to nourish their souls and that cord is twisted
and snapped by life's every day this and that;
the moving of the world, the pursuit of our passions
other than the flesh
and on the days that are good
the soft peach days of summer passing into fall
you are certain that you are always taking more than you give
when the conversation is finished like a storm
and everything feels clean
and smells like linens hanging to dry

Those lovers, these lovers pause for just a moment
in the rain
and begin again to want for "hello baby"
and under the tree with the drip drip dripping
of nature singing to us he sat with me and we begged
time to move slower
like when we were children and the summer afternoons seems to last forever
when we held time in our pocket
next to the compass that led us to that place no one knew of
where we shared childhood thoughts of nothing ordinary

I'd like to find that secret tomb and find that unafraid girl
the girl who never looked before crossing
who never crawled
and share her with you
When I tell you of my life there
I will tell you that no one ever told me they loved me in the rain
their shoes full of water
no one ever told me they loved me in the rain
before today
a day like this can change your life
God teaches us that love changes everything
He has changed my heart
he of reasoning and science and romance
I had to ask
"Why are you out in the rain?"

"I was looking for you." he said
and then went on to explain we are born in the water
like the fish
when I am full of emotion, caught in the moment
my eyes are always covered in tears
the rain of my soul
and when he is on top of me moving
that intimate friction will turn to rain
until his skin is fused with mine
and we are one
one soul in two parts, two orbits, two lovers
twisting and holding and pushing one against the other
and both into God and out again

Nobody ever told me they loved me in the rain
you can't buy it or wrap it
you can only sing it or make it into a poem
and hope that long after you are gone someone finds it
and sings it for you
the song of two lovers who find the other in a twirling universe of stars
and who find the other again and again because without the other
life goes on but together there is an undeniable magic
that changes the world
the same love magic that teaches the sun to shine
that fill plants with foods for the harvest
that teach the ants to march
and birds to fly
it's the restrained strength when he holds me down
and and I could stay there forever and listen to his breathing
and the rain
listening to the water wash the dust from the world
and my heart

This is truly lovely:

It's hard to listen to a hard hard heart
Beating close to mine
Pounding up against the stone and steel
Walls that I won't climb
Sometimes a hurt is so deep deep deep
You think that you're gonna drown
Sometimes all I can do is weep weep weep
With all this rain falling down

Strange how hard it rains now
Rows and rows of big dark clouds
But I'm holding on underneath this shroud

It's hard to know when to give up the fight
Some things you want will just never be right
It's never rained like it has tonight before
Now I don't wanna beg you baby
For something maybe you could never give
I'm not looking for the rest of your life
I just want another chance to live

Strange how hard it rains now
Rows and rows of big dark clouds
But I'm holding on underneath this shroud

Strange how hard it rains now
Rows and rows of big dark clouds
But I'm holding on underneath this shroud

Strange how hard it rains now
Rows and rows of big dark clouds
But I'm still alive underneath this shroud
Oh Rain
Oh Rain

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

And the butterflies began to sing

The painting is the work of Surrealist painter Max Ernst. He's best known for his collage pieces, taking parts of 19th century works and creating something new entirely. He was a thinker and never led anyone too close to why he did anything leaving the work up to one's imagination. I found him recently in a book I wasreading and the caption under the painting read:

And the butterflies began to sing

The scientists don't really know why moths are irresistibly attracted to light, and they remark lamely that the insect's response "suggests that it has some biological meaning for these animals." But at least they now know that moths migrating at night can navigate by the moon and if there is no moon, by the stars. Pliny had some very curious and obscure reflections on the subject:

The month that is seen fluttering about the flame of a lamp is generally reckoned in the number of noxious medicaments; it's bad effects are neutralized by the agency of goat's liver.

And I found this which is amazingly wonderful:

Set yourself an hour at least when you start reading her blog you won't be able to stop, fascinating woman.

The whole concept of the moths flying around the flame is dangerously exciting. Langston Hughes knew the power of the attraction of flame:

The gold moth did not love him
So, gorgeous, she flew away.
But the gray moth circled the flame
Until the break of day.
And then, with wings like a dead desire,
She fell, fire-caught, into the flame.

And my contribution to the ever burning desire of moths and flames and love and the ending of summer the preparation of what is frozen and ungiving and what will seen in February unending...

Summer is dwindling and soon the summer bugs will be quieted with a blanket of dead leaves and I will miss them
When the temperatures are too cool I will look for their blazing glory the moths
circling the lamp's light
as they teach us how to love how to let go of the intellectual fight
to give in to the dance
to turn our face to the light
and resist what we know is true of love
of the attraction that turns a passing fancy to the clutches of want
to just let the flame touch you a little
as you brush shoulders
to absorb the warmth to believe it was only burning for you
for this very moment
burning brightly for a hundred years hoping you would find him here
and that you'd have the strength to let go
flying a little closer
the dance would make you dizzy even drunk with desire
and ordinary complications of life left
drowning in the mire their voices barely audible
under your laugh
under your sigh
beneath the clicking of your thinking tongue
that beautiful instrument of fire