Previous month:
October 2009
Next month:
December 2009

Posts from November 2009

Their rhythm is always the same

Delightfully colorful seeds in my November garden; I think the secret to a content life is to always be germinating new ideas and thoughts and projects and talents and interests / New Jersey / Nov. 2009

“I sing praise to seeds, their rhythm is always the same,
they open and close and jealously transmit their secret.”

(from Lesser Psalm by Edvard Kocbek; full text of the poem after the jump)

. . . and I sing praise to the rambunctious rhythm of the family: Turkey Stomp

Continue reading "Their rhythm is always the same" »

Listen for the yes


Light reflected, light refracted, light my way: Light becomes so important at this time of year. In the summer the sun blinds me and washes out lesser light. In November I drink in every speck of light, every morsel. My eyes feast on the light. / New Jersey / Nov. 2009

“You have to say YES every time: Every other time and maybe aren’t enough, and I just have to take care of 47 things. If you want to pet the cat there’s no use chasing it under the bed, you can see that much, if you want to open your letters and read them there’s no use slicing them up, ripping and kicking and hitting: You can see that much too and the logic between 47 and 17 is clear, what’s clear is what you see through and cut yourself on, and it hurts, your skin hurts far too much, scratches, wounds, and there’s nothing else to do: You just have to keep going, without watching every step and until you can hear it, totally clear: YES.”

~ Yes, by Danish poet Katrine Marie Guldager

As if there were no sky

Tangledtrees Dear so-called leaders, please dispense with secret talks and granting favors to people who give you money and preening in front of tv cameras and false righteousness and arrogantly proclaiming that you know exactly what every american wants and just do the right thing — give us a decent health care bill; please; we're counting on you; please; we're begging you; please; we're getting desperate; please, please, please / at the Delaware River whipped by winds of change; NJ / January 2009

“ . . . what are your intentions,
you, so called leaders
of mankind, what is hidden in your whispers behind dark glasses,
what is the meaning of your silence
of your loquacity, of your continuous meetings
and secret talks, pilgrims knock in vain
on other doors, artists connect in vain arches
of palaces rising from new foundations, in vain children write
slogans on the walls, in vain are the discoveries in megaphones
in vain the sacrificing of women kind, in vain
parades and volleys, volleys as greetings, volleys
as warnings, volleys for punishment, too many
bans, too many orders, as if there were
no sky, as if there were no man.”

~ an excerpt from “History” (Zgodovina) by Slovenian poet Edvard Kocbek

An area of vorticity


Curling, spinning brick wall as if hit by a Nor'easter / Charlottesville, VA / Oct. 2005

“ ... the things you can't remember tell the things you can't forget ... ”

This line has been swirling through my head for the past few weeks. A function, I think, of age, life and all the nor'easters that have hit New Jersey this fall. The nor'easter winds circle back and blow the leaves in endless circles, around and around. In my head, the things I can't remember spin with the things I can't forget. The line is from Tom Waits' haunting song, Time. Over and over, I hear Waits' rich, gravelly voice and the song's mournful melody. It has such wonderful imagery: “the wind is making speeches,” “it's raining hammers, it's raining nails,”  “Mathilda asks the sailors 'Are those dreams or are those prayers?'” Guess I'll have to wait for my storm to pass; for the vorticity to slow. ... so put a candle in the window and a kiss upon my lips ...

* Nor'easters are usually formed by an area of vorticity associated with an upper-level disturbance or from a kink in a frontal surface that causes a surface low pressure area (“vorticity” is the tendency for elements to curl or spin).

To great clouds, light and free


For Mary Alice who loved Goodnight Irene and the memory of hearing Paulo on the guitar and Tom singing to her . . . we'll see you in our dreams / New Jersey / Nov. 2009

In the wonderful book The Leopard, Don Fabrizio reflects on his imminent death:

“With the slightest effort of attention he would notice at all other times too the rustling of the grains of sands as they slid lightly away, the instants of time escaping from his mind and leaving him for ever. But this sensation was not, at first, linked to any physical discomfort. On the contrary, this imperceptible loss of vitality was itself the proof, the condition so to say, of a sense of living; and for him, accustomed to scrutinizing limitless outer space and to probing vast inner abysses, the sensation was in no way disagreeable; this continuous whittling away of his personality seemed linked to a vague presage of the rebuilding elsewhere of a personality (thanks be to God) less conscious and yet broader. Those tiny grains of sand were not lost; they were vanishing, but accumulating elsewhere to cement some more lasting pile. Though 'pile,' he had reflected, was not the exact word for that matter. They were more like the tiny particles of watery vapor exhaled from a narrow pond, then mounting into the sky to great clouds, light and free.”   ~ Giuseppe di Lampedusa

I love this idea of things sliding away here and being rebuilt elsewhere as we age. It makes me wonder ... when people die do they also take little particles of those that they love with them to a new rebuilding? It would explain some of the feelings of loss -- as if parts of yourself are falling away.

An invisible cloak, The poetry of hands, 31


Uncle Josip, Jelisava & Anton jauntily watching over us / Philadelphia, PA / circa 1940s

“May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak to mind your life.”

~ a blessing from John O’Donohue

Remembering the 54th Anniversary of your most auspicious day. Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad.

Emotion in the air

The_hip-hop_wall Concrete art / Croatia / May. 2005

Let the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall remind us that walls are not the way to solve political problems in this world. Over time the final (and 4th) version of the Berlin wall (made of prefabricated concrete slabs) became a canvas for colorful and graphic graffiti art. When the wall came down, the decorated pieces were dispersed around the world (see the list and some examples here). Berlin Wall Art displays a record of “the social, political, and artistic expressions of the wall surrounding the city of West Berlin.”

“The paintings on the Berlin wall always had an exceptional touch. It was always one extra emotion in the air which transformed every wall painting into a strong political act.” — wall artist Thierry Noir

Fistful of flowers


Happy 101st Birthday Barba mine / Nov. 2009

Darkness comes suddenly now
Setting sun draws new patterns on the wall
Outside a world constantly changing
Things falling away
But all is not lost
You bring me a fistful
Of brightly colored flowers
And a bag of still-warm soft pretzels
Scent of mum
Scent of fall
Scent of life
Scent trail to find my way back

Fortified with ribbons


Wrap me in ribbons / Philadelphia, PA / Nov. 2009

How wonderful to walk down a busy city street on a gray day and find the “Ribbon Vault on Arch Street” by the artist and sculptor Robert Chambers (see another of Chambers' ribbon creations here). An entire storefront, filled with ribbon spools hung on the walls, with the ribbon spilling and coiling down and out into the display windows. Repeating a theme is such a powerful statement. One uncoiled ribbon looks like something left behind by mistake. A bulging window of ribbons of various colors and widths is a celebration. Chambers says: “My work very often references a sense of experimental playfulness” and “I find myself constantly toying with visual connections between science and art, forcing them into a realm of senselessness and chaos.” I wish I had a vault of ribbons.