Friday, February 26, 2010

Rick Bursky Poem

THE SEAPORT DINER, PORT JEFFERSON STATION

My mother and a cousin decide to go to The Seaport Diner,
my father's favorite, for a cup of coffee on New Year's Eve.
Though he's been dead for six years, they take him along.
The black marble box that holds his ashes is placed
in a shopping bag, then on their table next to a window.
On another night the waitress might have asked about the box.
But tonight the diner is crowded, she doesn't notice
that two women asked for three cups of coffee.
There are many ways to suck the marrow out of times bones.
This is my mother's. No one's seen the inside of the box,
though at times I've thought all of heaven was within.
By refusing to bury it my mother is unwittingly hiding
my father from the devil. At a small table in the center of the box,
my father sits. Ashes piled to his knees, he remembers
flames and fears he's in hell. If he walked forever
he would discover the wall and on the other side of the wall
my mother's hand holding the spoon she stirred coffee with.

-Rick Bursky The Soup of Something Missing

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Kenneth Rexroth

I think one of the symptoms of being civilized is that you never know when you are being courageous.

-Kenneth Rexroth

Nightmare

In a dream a friend was standing with me on a sidewalk in New York City. She was offering me a subway token as we approached the below-ground entrance. "I have two," she said. I begged off, feeling too ashamed to take one. The next moment we were in a car on the highway. My friend was driving. We came to a complete stop at a traffic jam. Suddenly the car was moving freely again - because we were going in reverse at high speed! I winced, imagining we'd be crushed at any moment by an oncoming vehicle. My friend was looking at me and cackling, not even glancing in the rear-view mirror. I didn't want us to die. What to do? Pull the keys? Take the wheel? I opened my eyes.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Black Stockings

My recent painting Black Stockings just got accepted into the upcoming Pawtucket Arts Collaborative juried show. The opening reception is March 4th 5:30-7:00 PM at the Blackstone Valley Visitors Center in downtown Pawtucket.

View the painting here.
Here's the statement that accompanies the painting:

About Painting

I think of painting as a strange, visceral, intuitive, painful game of chess. Here is how the chess game goes: I begin with a sienna sketch, treating my canvas like a chalkboard, sketching and wiping away until I get an image that I feel is strong enough to develop. Then I add color and confirm the elements. Certain themes recur in batches; a character, a color scheme, or a certain shape, whatever my subconscious is generating. Other elements are complete surprises. I have to sink in and listen to what the characters and objects want to say inside these theatrical dreamscapes, as if I were a novelist. The painting and I will wrestle and argue and sometimes reach a standoff. Then the painting sits facing the wall for weeks or months or years.

About Black Stockings

This painting was started a while back. It needed something off in the distance. The land mass I had originally painted wasn't working. When the Arts Collaborative proposed the theme of water, the painting came back to life. I changed the land mass to a sea of turquoise water. Then the painting gave me an actress who wanted to star in this play, and the character brought the setting to life. I felt lucky that the elements came together.

I’m not sure what the woman with the black stockings is up to, or where, exactly, she is. I imagined that she was at a hotel, or a villa, and that maybe she was a mistress. But I don’t know. I only pose questions and scenarios, and invite the viewer to respond. The viewer's perception completes the chess match.

Paul Durcan

It is promulgated by the arbiters of culture that an artist should have only one spouse. An artist such as myself wth the two spouses of poetry and picture-making is not looked upon favourably by the chaperones of art.

Let us be chivalrous to the chaperones but let us never compromise with their punitive monomania. Art is not a prison with poetry in one cell, picture-making in another cell and so on. "Spare me the ghostly procession of your conceptual categories" wrote Nicolas Berdyaev.

-Paul Durcan Crazy About Women

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Arthur Miller

INTERVIEWER
Do you have a routine for writing?

MILLER
I wish I had a routine for writing. I get up in the morning and I go out to my studio and I write. And then I tear it up! That's the routine, really. Then, occasionally, something sticks. And then I follow that. The only image I can think of is a man walking around with an iron rod in his hand during a lightning storm.

Paul Auster

Writing is physical for me. I always have the sense that the words are coming out of my body, not just my mind. I write in longhand, and the pen is scratching the words onto the page. I can even hear the words being written. So much of the effort that goes into writing prose for me is about making sentences that capture the music that I'm hearing in my head. It takes a lot of work, writing, writing, and rewriting to get the music exactly the way you want it to be. That music is a physical force. Not only do you write books physically, but you read books physically as well. There’s something about the rhythms of language that correspond to the rhythms of our own bodies. An attentive reader is finding meanings in the book that can't be articulated, finding them in his or her body.
-Paul Auster

You can't put your feet on the ground until you've touched the sky.
-Paul Auster

You see, the interesting thing about books, as opposed, say, to films, is that it's always just one person encountering the book... it's one to one.
-Paul Auster

Kurt Vonnegut

Find a subject you care about and which you feel others should care about. It is this genuine caring, and not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style.
-Kurt Vonnegut

Writers can treat their mental illnesses every day.
-Kurt Vonnegut

The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.
-Kurt Vonnegut

We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.
-Kurt Vonnegut

Monday, February 22, 2010

Camouflage

I was walking with Lily today and on the way home I took the path through the woods. I was warmed up but I had to take off my gloves, sunglasses, and hat to remove my turtleneck scarf. When I went to put my sunglasses back on I realized they were no longer in my hand, so I turned around and started to retrace my steps. Everywhere I looked were sienna colored oak leaves and dark twigs. My sunglasses completely blended in! I thought about those puzzles where you try to find a creature that is camouflaged in an environment. I've had these sunglasses for 22 years. They have a nice shape, and I like to wear them in winter because the lenses are not too dark.

I scanned the ground imagining all the positions the sunglasses could have landed in, but all I saw were leaves and twigs. I walked up and down the path a few times, and then there they were, folded, with their lenses facing down. I picked them up, put them on, and smiled .When Lily and I got to the fenced-in baseball field I let her run. Lily was wild over all the spring smells, looking for stuff to scavenge. She found a bright blue plastic freeze-pop wrapper and was licking it. Then she ran with it hanging from her mouth. I called her but she ignored me, and each time I approached her she playfully ran away. Then she stopped and gobbled it up in two bites! That will become some interesting camouflage.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Masquerade

Yesterday when I walked Lily down poop alley a lady I see occasionally was slowly waddling toward Lily and me with her little white shaggy dog dressed in a red doggie overcoat. The lady shouted in her Ethel Merman voice, "Is he friendly?" She was too far away to hear an answer. As she came right at us, again she shouted, "Is he friendly?" I said, "Lily won't hurt your dog." As soon as I said that, Lily hunkered down in her library lion pose. The lady thought she was so cute, but I was suspicious. I grabbed Lily just as she lunged and barked at the dressed-up mop dog. No harm done. Although maybe the lady now thinks I am mistaken about my dog. The woman kept walking and greeted a friend further up the path. I strained my ears to catch if she said anything about being traumatized by our little canine exchange, but I was too far away to hear. She seemed to be onto other things. I was amused and grateful that it all worked out. Lily is friendly with other dogs and rarely barks, but I'm not sure she understood that this dog was really a dog!

Rick Bursky

The mayor ordered a statue of himself
erected at the stop of a steep road that twisted
up from the beach. It took five days
to find a large rock that looked like him.

-Rick Bursky
from The Growers Of Olive Trees
The Soup of Something Missing by Rick Bursky


A man on a bicycle late in the day,
shadow following at his heels,
an eclipse of sorts stretching

-Rick Bursky
from The Man Who Sharpened Pencils
The Soup of Something Missing by Rick Bursky


Slowly lower yourself
to the water, like the quiet book returning
to a shelf in a library.

-Rick Bursky from The Lover's Bath
The Soup of Something Missing by Rick Bursky

Friday, February 19, 2010

William Carlos Williams

It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there.

-William Carlos Williams

Bob Dylan

Let's face it, you're either serious about what you're doing or you're not serious about what you're doing. And you can't mix the two. And life is short.
-Bob Dylan

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Anaïs Nin

The few moments of communion with the world are worth the pain, for it is a world for others, an inheritance for others, a gift to others, in the end. When you make a world tolerable for yourself, you make a world tolerable for others.
-Anaïs Nin

Furry Dream

I dreamt I was in my grandmother's apartment on Brighton Beach. The apartment had new occupants who had painted the bedroom walls deep purple. They had kept the kitchen wallpaper, and I was examining the pattern closely. It was yellow with a repeat pattern of a kitchen stove with pots and pans hanging above it drawn in black line with white ornamental dots, dashes, and swirls. In the corner of the bedroom I found an old birthday gift that was for both my grandmother and her best friend Sue. In the dream they had the same August birthday.

In real life Sue and Willy were my grandparents' friends who lived in the same apartment building. Sue was perpetually suntanned and slender with a loud husky voice and Willy had a pencil-thin mustache and was pretty quiet. This shared birthday gift in the dream was an elaborately framed needlepoint with their birthdate embroidered on it. Attached somehow were Willy's shoes, which were 70's platform boots spray-painted gold to look bronzed.

The new occupants weren't around, or maybe my husband and I were the new residents, but in another room a family had moved in with twenty cats in cages and five white metal birdcages filled with little blue birds. I was thinking this must be why my lungs feel furry. I recognized this family as my real-life current neighbors.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Snowski

When I walked Lily to the cemetery and the reservoir today I noticed that even more kinds of trees, not just the red maples, had delicate fluff and buds on their branches. I could hear a woodpecker loud and clear. We stopped at the ballfield in Turbesi Park. I was surprised to see the snow in the fenced-in field completely untouched since the last snowfall; no dogs, cats, squirrels, bunnies, or people had walked through it. I blocked off the entrances with the big plastic trash barrels and let Lily run free. She ran in circles like a race horse, and when I threw a snowball for her she caught it in her mouth and hunkered down and ran even faster. Something about catching snowballs makes her go wild. I think it's the sensation of the snowball bursting in her mouth. As Lily ran and built up heat she dipped her mouth into the snow to scoop it, eating it while she was running. She tanked up on all that fresh snow.

Now the baseball field was covered with rings of dog tracks! It looked like a whole pack of dogs had been there. As we played in the snow I spotted a person off in the distance walking awkwardly across the other baseball field. It looked like a very old man in pain. As the person got closer I could see it was a thin middle-aged woman wearing cross-country skis. She moved very tentatively across the snow, almost robotically as if she were recovering from an injury and this was her rehabilitation. As she neared the edge of our baseball field Lily went to the fence, jumping up on her hind legs, hoping meet her, but the woman was looking down, focused on her movement. She skied extremely slowly and methodically across all of the open spaces in the park.

Lily and I headed home. On the way out I could see that the skier had left a meandering trail of long thin lines in the snow. Her ski tracks led to an opening, a gate along the back fence that perhaps opened into her yard. When I got home I wiped Lily down and had a peanut butter and jam sandwich and a cup of hot tea. I fell asleep on the couch and later woke up to the cawing of crows in our tree.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Furry Lungs

Even though it is snowing, the branches of the red maples have fine dangling threads and the ornamental pear trees, which burst with white blossoms in early spring, are now loaded with gray buds. My lungs feel like they are lined with circa-1960 lime-green-and-orange shag carpet, like what my best friend from first grade had in her finished basement with the fake gas fireplace. Today I am distracted by my furry lungs. I feel like I am not well acclimated to this planet, maybe I'm a visitor from Mars, or the deep sea. Drinking hot tea is soothing.

Wacky Wiring

It was late at night and we were driving home on the highway discussing Sail Away Ladies --a song Bill sings while playing the banjo. As I was thinking about the suggestive imagery of the chorus lyrics Don't she rock Daddy O, Don't she rock Daddy O I got a gut rush and then a quick tingling zing through the soles of my feet, running from my heels to my toes. Wacky wiring.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Muddy Monday

I walked through the cemetery today. I often feel an immediate sense of calm stepping off the packed neighborhood street and into the expanse of open space. I love walking along the back path where I can see Harris Pond off in the distance. Today I saw three people out on the ice on the far side of the frozen pond. Two of them were wearing black and one was wearing white. The person in white was almost invisible against the frozen lake. As I walked along the street I saw that the three figures were girls skating. They shouted hello as Lily and I approached. I said hello back, realizing that they must have recognized me and Lily, but they were still too far away for me to see their faces.

When I got to the park Lily ran in the ballfield, chasing a tennis ball and getting spattered with mud on her belly and legs. She was having a blast. A car pulled into the parking lot and four young kids jumped out. Three of them ran over to the circular playground toy that spins around when pushed. The man who accompanied them propelled the spinning thing by grabbing hold of it and running alongside of it. The kids were loving it! Two of them lay on their backs looking up at the sky, their little hooded jackets open and their bellies exposed. I felt vertigo just watching. I bet those kids are his grandchildren, I thought. Then Lily and I walked home. When we got inside I took a washcloth, wet it with warm water, and wiped the mud off of her belly and legs and elbows and paws. She loved it!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sun Dog Circle

Today I felt like I was under a cloud so after my shower I headed out for a big walk to Harris Pond hoping that the fresh air would wake me and cheer me up. I walked all the way out to the dead end. On the way I said hello to a lady I know from many dog-walking hellos. She said she's still unemployed and moving away this month. I saw a guy working on his car in his driveway and he said hello. I walked on the trail in the woods, and through the bare trees I could see the junk yard of colorful metal off in the distance.
On my way back home I noticed the sun had a huge rainbow ring all around it. There were two sun dogs, one above and one below, that the arc connected. I wanted to point it out to someone on the street. I saw a lady in turquoise who seemed to know me. I showed her the sun ring, and she loved it. Lily jumped up to greet the young man who was with her; he was happy to be hugged by Lily. He said I love big dogs! Further on I saw two long black funeral limos pull in to Savini's parking lot. Everyone got out and stood around in their long black coats; a few were consoling each other. I wanted to tell them to look up at the big circular rainbow, but I didn't want to intrude. I kept walking. I saw Jamie our mail lady and I showed her. She was ecstatic. "I've never seen anything like it in my whole life!" she said. When I got home, I came inside and shook the sand out of my shoes. Later, when Bill arrived, he said he too had seen the sun dogs and ring while driving home.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Maintenance

Yesterday afternoon I heard the loud hum of a truck engine out front. I went to the window and saw a towtruck picking up a smashed dark blue car. I hadn't heard the collision, but accidents do happen at the intersection near our house. Later that night we went to the park on the way to the supermarket and Lily ran herself silly. It was dark but the snow had enough glow from the nearby streetlights. I knew she needed to get her ya-ya's out because we hadn't had a huge walk during the day.

This morning when I took Lily out, we approached the corner near our house. The city traffic division guys were putting up a brand new stop sign at the intersection. The sign must have been torn down in yesterday's collision. Lily and I went for the big walk down to the reservoir. The sun was out and it was slightly less cold than it has been lately. I approached the 6 inch diameter hole in the street that I pass every day. Just then a Blackstone public works truck pulled up in front of me. The driver got out and looked at the hole. I knew that the cast-iron cover for the waterpipe hole was sitting nearby on someone's front lawn, so I pointed it out to him. He retrieved the cap and tried to fit it to the pipe but it wouldn't sit right, so he rummaged around in the back of his truck for another cap. I kept on walking, but I could hear the clanging of his trying to fit the cap to the pipe as Lily and I entered the park.

JoAnne Preiser

On the Set

They’re making a movie
at the old state mental institution;
they’re making it look
like it’s 1954
like it’s an island
off the coast of Boston.

They’re making hurricanes blow
with an aircraft engine
and rain pour at an angle
that tears at a wall of windows
canted just enough
to prevent the camera’s reflection.

They’re making the talent
scale a cliff
made of medium
density fiberboard,
MDF in the trade,
rock that rises
all of six feet
from the ground.

In the woods
behind the cottage
that once housed
sex offenders,
they built a cemetery
and a mausoleum
with stones
that look like New England
granite but weigh less
than your shoe.
Even the felled trees
are fake — pipes
covered with more MDF,
thin sheets of rubber
molded like bark.

They’re flying in rats
from LA
to follow a whistle
and two alpha males.
They’ll peek out
of their MDF cave
for a close-up
then jump
to a long shot
on prefabricated ground
cut
to the water’s edge
which is not
the rocky coast of Maine,
not even the sandy shore
of Carson’s Beach,
but a tank
with two hydraulic pumps
shooting out water
every six seconds
and sucking it back
till they’re ready for more.

A world all its own
where night reigns
as the sun beats down
and daylight lasts
long after the moon
rises over the real
cemetery farther down
Hospital Road
where 839 inmates
lie buried, their nameless
plots marked
by small stones
etched with numbers
to credit their lives.

-JoAnne Preiser

Thursday, February 11, 2010

St. Thomas Aquinas

The things that we love tell us what we are.
-St. Thomas Aquinas

Scared Crows

There were about two dozen crows on the ground along the back of the cemetery. They all flew up in unison as Lily and I rounded the path. Their blue-black wings caught the gray light like magicians' capes. I looked down while walking and noticed that rain drops had punctured holes in the snow in a polka-dotted pattern creating inverted constellations below.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Charles Simic

He had mixed up the characters in the long novel he was writing. He forgot who they were and what they did. A dead woman reappeared when it was time for dinner. A door-to-door salesman emerged out of a backwoods trailer wearing Chinese robes. The day the murderer was supposed to be electrocuted, he was buying flowers for a certain Rita, who turned out to be a ten-year-old girl with thick glasses and braids. . . . And so it went.
He never did anything for me, though. I kept growing older and grumpier, as I was supposed to, in a ratty little town which he always described as "dead" and "near nothing."
-Charles Simic

Margaret was copying a recipe for "saints roasted with onions" from an old cookbook. The ten thousand sounds of the world were hushed so we could hear the scratching of her pen. The saint was asleep in the bedroom with a wet cloth over his eyes. Outside the window, the owner of the book sat in a flowering apple tree killing lice between his fingernails.
-Charles Simic

Infusion Dream

Years ago, when I was 12, I sat around the Sunday table while my parents and their friends were discussing the merits of reusing a tea bag. It's the second infusion that's the best. That night I dreamt that people were flying upward in their chairs outside my window because they had drunk from the second brewing of the tea leaves.

Unreturned

This morning I was in a friend's house in my dream, and I noticed that all of her books were covered with plastic. I took one off a shelf, opened it, and saw that it was stamped with the name of a library. Inside the book was a letter from me with a package of seeds for spring planting. I was shocked that my friend had never returned her library book. The whole wall of her living room, in fact, was a gigantic bookcase of unreturned library books from many different libraries. All of the books had personal letters folded into them.

It Hurts

I went to get milk at the dairy farm and the young girl at the counter had a tiny pink tattoo on the inside of her wrist. I said, "That must've hurt." She said, "It did!" I asked her if it was the breast cancer symbol. She said yes. Have you lost someone? My Nana is on the way out. (She swept her hand out and away.) I'm sorry. We're all getting tattoos, my Aunt got hers on the back of her neck and my mother will get hers after she recovers from surgery. Does she have it too? No, but she gets everything my Nana ever had, they're like twins. But she's young so we hope she won't get it. I tell everyone don't ever get a tattoo on your wrist, it hurts!

Rope

Today the sun was out and Lily and I walked to Precious Blood Cemetery. When we got there I saw a bunch of cars lined up near a gravesite at the north side. There were people wearing long black coats gathered around a wooden coffin covered in colorful flowers. Lily and I stayed out of sight, walking west, up the hill. Then we stepped out of the cemetery onto the road. I could see that the reservoir was still frozen and the ice was gray but there were big areas of black ice. I noticed a big maple tree looked decorated. When I looked up close, I could see that it had dark red buds all over its branches. I even heard a few spring bird songs while we walked. We went to the park and Lily ran wild in the baseball field. I looked down and spotted a red white and green knotted rope frozen into the ice - I'll bet it was a Christmas dog toy! I yanked it free from the ground and threw it for Lily a few times. She loved chasing it and running with it in her mouth as if it were her very own dead squirrel! She used to have a rope toy like this but she shredded it. I decided to take the rope toy home. On the way back we passed by the cemetery and I saw that all the people who had been wearing black coats had left, and the two grave-diggers in dayglow orange vests were maneuvering the heavy gray cement box, positioning it with their little yellow tractor. The box was held by chains from a big metal hook, suspended over a hole. When we arrived home I washed Lily's new toy in a bucket of warm soapy water in the kitchen sink. I hung it on the clothesline in the boiler room to dry.

I'm Just A Country Girl From Queens

Yesterday at band rehearsal Lauren said "I'm just a country girl from Queens" and I loved it.

I'm just a country girl from Queens
Raised on glossy magazines

Wishing for a life out on the farm
Where singin' and jammin' do no harm

I dance around in cowboy boots
the home boys just keep shootin' hoops

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Winter

Winter is not a season, it's an occupation.
-Sinclair Lewis

S. J. Perelman

The main obligation is to amuse yourself.
-S.J.Perelman

How many drafts of a story do you do?
Thirty-seven. I once tried doing thirty-three, but something was lacking, a certain - how shall I say? - je ne sais quoi. On another occasion, I tried forty-two versions but the final effect was too lapidary.
-S.J.Perelman

There are nineteen words in Yiddish that convey gradations of disparagement, from a mild, fluttery helplessness to a state of downright, irreconcilable brutishness. All of them can be usefully employed to pinpoint the kind of individuals I write about.
-S.J.Perelman

In my more pompous moments I like to think of myself as a writer rather than a humorist, but I suppose that's merely the vanity of advancing age.
-S.J.Perelman

Bob Dylan

Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.
-Bob Dylan

Forgotten New York

A cool website called Forgotten NY did a story about the apartment house my grandparents lived in on Brighton Beach at 711 Brightwater Court in Brooklyn. Check out the architecture on the building. The site is very cool, with other Coney Island images and street murals. Forgotten NY found my Urban Mermaid blog and posted my memories of 711 Brightwater CT on their page!

Here's the link.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Don’t Touch That

I combined two recent vignettes Theater Magic and Mysterious Straw to become this one.

I was five years old, and my sister and I were visiting Grandma for the
weekend. We took the tiny elevator down into the lobby and walked out
into the sun. We walked under the boardwalk, passing through the striped
shade on the way to the beach. I looked down and saw a straw poking out
of the sand. I reached down and plucked it out. "Don't touch that!"
Grandma said, "some dirty old man put that there!" I still wonder what
she meant. Was it a fear of germs? Or are there old men who get a kick
from licking straws and placing them in the sand each night for little
girls to pluck?

Last night, at a gathering of musicians, I saw a man with huge bright
eyes, worn red skin, and a pointy goatee. He looked like an engraving of
a man from a different time. He asked me, in a strong accent, if I spoke
Russian. I asked him if he was a magician. He kissed my hand and gave me
his card and invited me to his house to drink vodka with him and his
wife. This man had a hypnotist's face. I will stay home instead and write
about his Russian blue eyes. I found his silver tobacco pipe tool under
my shoe just as he left. Remembering Grandma, I gave it to the hostess
for her to return.

Costumes

I saw a photo in the NY Times today of actresses in the Metropolitan Opera's latest performance of Strauss' "Ariadne auf Naxos." The women are wearing dresses just like some of the characters in my paintings!

Here's the link to the NYT photo.
Here's the link to one of my paintings featuring a similar costume. If the production were a ballet, it could look like this.

Evening

I stood on the hill in the cemetery and I thought I was seeing two dried leaves shaking in the trees, but then I saw them separate and glide away. One shape was black, the other was bright pink. It was two people far out in the distance skating on Harris Pond. As I headed home it was getting dark. I could see lamp-lit living rooms and glowing TV screens, and I saw a man walking three beagles in Blackstone.

In the morning I dreamt I was in my childhood home. The two sunroom windows that were never open in real life were open. It was summer, and books on classical music kept arriving in the mail. They were for a friend who was doing research for a poem.

Friday, February 05, 2010

A Friday

While walking home from the library a gigantic tractor-trailer stopped next to me on Clinton Street. The driver was asking me for directions. I was shouting over the roar of the engine and pointing while standing on tiptoe in order to see him. Then, crossing through the Burger King parking lot I spotted a twin of Lily sitting in the front passenger seat of a green mini van wearing a doggie seatbelt. The dog looked at Lily with the same enthusiasm as Lily looked at him - it was as if they were looking in a mirror. Then heading down Social Street I saw a gigantic red mop-head in the driveway of the car wash. There were three bright yellow sawhorses lined up beside two white repair trucks. I noticed more parts - red, white, and blue lengths of floppy felt alongside long metal rods and oily metal gears. The carwash was dismantled for repairs. It was a Friday, and I could feel the hum of the day as we walked along main street.

Bob Dylan

When you feel in your gut what you are and then dynamically pursue it - don't back down and don't give up - then you're going to mystify a lot of folks.
-Bob Dylan

What's money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.
-Bob Dylan

Kim Addonizio

What I've learned is simple: if you nurture it, it will expand, and it will nurture you in return. I have also learned that it is a kind of salvation. Sometimes it's more than enough and sometimes it's not enough -- by that I mean one's own creativity. If you can truly tap in to the creative process, you know it's there all the time, and then you probably don't need saving.
-Kim Addonizio

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Sunshine

Today I walked down Cass Ave with Lily. Even though it was cold and windy the sun felt good. I saw a woman standing in the thin strip of midday shade cast by a lamp post. She stood waiting for a bus, hatless, wearing a long black dress coat while smoking a cigarette. I smiled at her and said if you take one step forward you will be in the sun. She did and I said doesn't that feel better? Yes, she said. We laughed and I kept on walking. I met an ancient Boston Terrier with one pale blue eye and one brown eye who greeted Lily cautiously as we walked past his driveway. I saw a Woonsocket Highway Department dumptruck pulled over on the side of Diamond Hill Road. The men were filling a pothole with what looked like a shovel full of glistening oreo-cookie crumbs. Then our oil man passed us and tooted his horn. It felt good to walk in my city, in the sunshine.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Melancholy

Lily was antsy this morning. She had missed her big walk yesterday and I could feel her agitation, perhaps I had it too. The skies were cloudy and I was definitely feeling melancholy. So we set out and walked. I ran into a young man I have seen a few times at the blues jams. He works nearby. We said hello, and I said you have an amazing face, like from another era. He said people have told me I look like James Dean. Exactly, I said. You could've stepped out of the cast of West Side Story. I wonder why that is? he asked. Maybe your perfect teeth and haircut, I said. He smiled and we walked a few blocks with Lily.

I continued on to Precious Blood Cemetery where I admired the expanse of snow on the frozen lake. Down by the reservoir I ran into another pal I know from walking in the neighborhood, and we chatted about the anxiety of depression and how it cycles throughout the year even when we think it won't and we always think it won't. Perhaps we ought to welcome it I said, invite it in; set a place for it at the table; depression at one end, joy at the other, because they both are part of life.

Afterward, my feet were freezing, but I wanted Lily to have her chance to run. We went to Turbesi Park's baseball field, and I closed the openings in the chain-link fence with the white plastic trash barrels, and Lily ran and ran full throttle as I knew she needed to do. She found the baseball we had lost last time and I threw it as far as I could. She chased it a few times and we lost it again. Then I was ready to go home. She wasn't. She found a stick and picked it up and ran and ran. Finally she was ready. The walk home felt quick and easy. My spirits were elevated a notch and I was grateful.

New Paintings

Two new paintings just posted on my painting blog:

Black Stockings and The Family

Have a peek.

http://emilyliskerpaintings.blogspot.com/

S. J. Pereleman

I guess I'm just an old mad scientist at bottom. Give me an underground laboratory, half a dozen atom-smashers, and a beautiful girl in a diaphanous veil waiting to be turned into a chimpanzee, and I care not who writes the nation's laws.
-S.J. Pereleman

Monday, February 01, 2010

Grandparents

I didn't grow up with God, I had Grandparents.