Archive for June, 2009

Even the azaleas are anxious…

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Mood: half-anxious, half-resigned | Drinking: dreams

fret_wall

Fear and love sometimes feel the same, like a thousand violent butterflies beating their wings against your stomach, shredding their way out.

Hope, as I’ve said before, is a knife edge. And I am currently quivering with hope and fear. Knives and butterflies.

I think my current state is quite aptly described by the word “anxious”, with a side of “nervous” and a pinch of “fretful” thrown in. But I’m working, oh so hard, to be zen about it. To say, “what will be, will be.” And be ok with that.

It’s just that I don’t know what will be. And in the not-knowing lies the anxiety.

Let me be all cryptic for now. I’ll explain on the other side. Deal?

Until then, a little Kristy Bowen to make us all feel better. Or at least to make me feel better…

fret
by Kristy Bowen

Lets say a woman’s heart
is like a windup bird.
The conservatory filled
with oranges and the cellar
disordered, unstable
with the pull of thieves

gathering outside the windows.
I’ve invented this: the panic,
copper tongued and shaken.
I’m dizzied, dulcet.
A thin layer of graphite
blooming beneath my skin.

And here, my sleight of hand,
my tour de force,
skirts come all undone
and tapping out code beneath
the dressing table. I am
impossibly lovely, impossibly
fixed against the horizon.
Any attempt at flight
ruining all the furniture.

***

-Lo, beating wings and biting nails.

The Trouble with Poetry

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

mood: Billy Collins-ish | drinking: raspberry tea

statue

I’ve been taking my sweet time reading a book of Billy Collins’ poetry aptly named The Trouble with Poetry. I’d like to borrow two of his poems to share with you here — they just seem to fit the day.

Statues in the Park

I thought of you today
when I stopped before an equestrian statue
in the middle of a public square,

you who had once instructed me
in the code of these noble poses.

A horse rearing up with two legs raised,
you told me, meant the rider had died in battle.

If only one leg was lifted,
the man had elsewhere succumbed to his wounds;

and if four legs were touching the ground,
as they were in this case –
bronze hooves affixed to a stone base –
it meant that the man on the horse,

this one staring intently
over the closed movie theater across the street,
had died of a cause other than war.

In the shadow of the statue,
I wondered about the others
who had simply walked through life
without a horse, a saddle, or a sword –

pedestrians who could no longer
place one foot in front of the other.

I pictured statues of the sickly
recumbent on their cold stone beds,
the suicides toeing the marble edge,

statues of accident victims covering their eyes,
the murdered covering their wounds,
the drowned silently treading the air.

And there was I,
upon a rosy-gray block of granite
near a cluster of shade trees in the local park,
my name and dates pressed into a plaque,

down on my knees, eyes lifted,
praying to the passing clouds,
forever begging for just one more day.

Building with Its Face Blown Off

How suddenly the private
is revealed in a bombed-out city,
how the blue and white striped wallpaper

of a second story bedroom is now
exposed to the lightly falling snow
as if the room had answered the explosion

wearing only its striped pajamas.
Some neighbors and soldiers
poke around in the rubble below

and stare up at the hanging staircase,
the portrait of a grandfather,
a door dangling from a single hinge.

And the bathroom looks almost embarrassed
by its uncovered ochre walls,
the twisted mess of its plumbing,

the sink sinking to its knees,
the ripped shower curtain,
the torn goldfish trailing bubbles.

It’s like a dollhouse view
as if a child on its knees could reach in
and pick up the bureau, straighten a picture.

Or it might be a room on a stage
in a play with no characters,
no dialogue or audience,

no beginning, middle and end –
just the broken furniture in the street,
a shoe among the cinder blocks,

a light snow still falling
on a distant steeple, and people
crossing a bridge that still stands.

And beyond that – crows in a tree,
the statue of a leader on a horse,
and clouds that look like smoke,

and even farther on, in another country
on a blanket under a shade tree,
a man pouring wine into two glasses

and a woman sliding out
the wooden pegs of a wicker hamper
filled with bread, cheese, and several kinds of olives.

-Lo, sitting in the dark and waiting “for a little flame to appear at the tip of my pencil.”

“We’re all mad here.”

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

Mood: mad like a hatter | Drinking: melty ice cubes

graffito1

Mush.

This is what my brain now consists of. Absolute mush. Like congealed oatmeal sort of mush. Worms in rain puddle mush. Soggy cornflakes mush. You get the picture.

I have procrastinated on blogging because of said mush brain. What do I have to contribute when I’m a soggy mess? And I have, on general principle, refrained from posting here when I have nothing to contribute…

But sometimes when you sit in front of the blank page (or text box) and just start writing, something satisfying takes shape. Something that needed to be said. You make an appointment with the muse, as the workshop leaders say, and then you wait.

Of course, you probably shouldn’t do this waiting in public. But I shouldn’t have had french fries for lunch, either. And I did. And here we are.

I’m nearly 3 weeks into the new job and less than 1 week away from opening my home for strangers to tramp through. In the last 2 weeks I have spent more time and dollars at Crate and Barrel (votive holders), Cost Plus (vases, curtains, wall decor), Pier One (more vases), SatinBox (mirrored fruit), Target (sheets, silk pillows, curtain rods, and more curtains), Marshall’s (candles, throw rugs, more silk pillows), and Restoration Hardware (real fancy bookends) than I have in my entire previous lifetime.

It feels very adult. And sometimes I have trouble believing that I am a “real” adult. You’d think I’d be getting over that soon.

Anyway, Boy and I decided to save ourselves the thousands required to hire a professional stager and just stage our house ourselves. (I’m hoping that one of the benefits of this decision is that I get to keep all of the aforementioned vases and fancy bits. I will cut anyone who tries to make me return those mirrored apples, I swear.)

I’ve enlisted the eyeballs of my trusty pal Kathy, asking her to critique the results of my shopping and furniture scooting. She’s well qualified for this task due to her own formidable decorating skilz and vast experience with HGTV consumption. My neighbor Roy the Art Director has also pitched in. They both agree that I apparently have excellent taste. Well, duh. *polishes fingernails on lapel*

Meanwhile, in the midst of all this hullaballoo, LeeLoo’s getting stressed out. She’s all, “WTF is my comfy couch?” I have explained that the comfy couch is not gone forever, it was just less visually appealing than the teeny leather couch that now takes its place. The Loo is not pleased. I can’t blame her, but I don’t speak dog well enough to competently explain what’s going on. I’m hoping extra rations of pupperoni will do the trick.

In times like these when your head is up your own ass and all you can think about is the next 15 things on your to-do list that MUST be done yesterday, it’s easy to forget that the rest of the world is carrying on. NPR cures me of this delusion.

Just today on my way to work, I was reminded that a hateful racist murdered someone at the Holocaust Museum, Iran has possibly world-shaking elections tomorrow, Swine Flu (a.k.a. “Hamthrax”) is now classified as a global pandemic, New York is arguing about gay marriage, the FDA is going to regulate tobacco, Detriot is still fucked, 17 ethnic Uighur prisoners from Guatanamo Bay now have refuge in Palau, and the economy continues to give people aneurysms.

So you know, there’s a few things going on out there besides my own small personal hurricane. Good to remember.

Wow, 2009, you’re hardcore.

Clearly the muse has nothing truly profound to deliver today, although I am on draft #2 of two different poems, one about religion and one about dogs that begins with the lines:
“After yelling at my dog,
I decide I will be a terrible mother.”

So there’s that.

Apologies for the continued random nature of my blog posts. It’s gonna be this way for awhile. Perhaps I’ll break it up with some poetry when the dog poem is finished.

Meanwhile, you can enjoy some equally random grafitti apparently crafted by some dude named Kevin Harris, although I have a feeling that all he ever did is sign his name with a blue spray can. Correct me if I’m wrong, mister Harris, wherever you are.

-Lo, who’s becoming a designing woman.