Friday, January 22, 2016

NOTES FROM THE BARELY ABOVEGROUND #1

The weather is cool and grey today, with occasional sun rather wanly glowing from time to time. The air, pleasantly, is pregnant with moisture, so rain is likely in the offing. It’s cold enough to want to climb back in bed with for some book perusing and snoozing. Yet, I am all dressed for a trek to Ikea that I hope will be fast and easy.

The next day


Inasmuch as one complains about insomnia, (is there a god of insomnia? Or is it just the dark side of Morpheus?), sleeping terribly hard and late has a downside, too. For me, this morning, I can barely get myself moving. I am, even after an hour of being out of bed, still stupid and dull. I think my breathing is still that of deep slumber.

Later that same lifetime ...

I can't even remember when I started this particular post, but I know it has been several days. Lest too much time elapse ... okay I did look up elapse versus lapse but I don't feel well enough to parse it. So that tells you something.

Insomnia continues to plague me. Adding to the plague now is either allergies or a cold, and I am voting for cold. This is particularly vexsome (or should that be vexacious?) is that tomorrow is the first salon des Sybergs chez nous. I started the cooking in the form of roasting tomatillos and Anaheim chiles. 





However, I am feeling fairly punk at the moment, so we will have to see what tomorrow brings.

Apologies for brevity, etc.








Friday, January 15, 2016

WORN-HEEL GLIMPSES

Feels good to put up my feet; it will probably feel even better to jot this out and try to sleep. Scotch is entertaining herself until I crash and put out the lights. Although all three kittehs have similar collars and bells, I can always tell when it is Scotch headed down the hall. She thinks she needs to explore the top of my dresser for some reason, perhaps to admire herself in the mirror.



I did not sleep well last night, but managed to make it through most of the day. Patience is difficult to hang on to when I am particularly tired. Like a child, my mother asks obvious and lame questions a fair amount of the time. When I am not awake and moving on all fours, I have tendency to be very sarcastic.

I was sorry I was snappish and judgmental with her. I picked some marigolds and daisies and left them on her dresser.

I had a busy day cooking. The housecleaner was supposed to come but forgot. I was a little glad as I was in the mood to tackle some culinary tasks: using up the pears, roasting the butternut squash on the counter, making chicken stock and lentil soup. That’s a lot, right? I even got every thing in the fridge and did all the dishes. Most of the pears ended up in a pear tart kind of thing. There are some for making pear sauce tomorrow.


Emmylou, Scotch, and I hung around in the garden for a bit. I repotted some succulents while I spoke to KMH on the telephone. It’s great gardening weather. Hopefully, I will get some seeds going in the next couple of days. I included Tuscan squash in the lentil soup.

I PROFESS THE UNCERTAIN

I profess the uncertain
with gratitude

a man with large hands
and large feet
first looks at a pencil
then bring it close to his ear

he listens

the day lives briefly
unscented

skaken with worn-heel glimpses

becomes a shambling palace
with walking fishes
a yellow-roofed kindness

the almost untenable premise
that between counting one and two
nothing is lost.

— Jane Hirschfield, The Beauty, Knopf, 2015

Thursday, January 14, 2016

CLUMSY LUMBERING HERE AND THERE


The first sunflower.




For some reason, Try A Little Tenderness is mixing with Heroes in my mental soundtrack. Have you heard Aretha’s version from her stint at Columbia before she became the Queen of Soul? Here, you must. (True, it is marred by strings, but just focus on her vocal performance.) And, just FYI, Otis may have owned this song, but he did not write it. It goes back to 1932. Frank Sinatra has a couple of sweet versions as well. 

The digression? "Oh, she may get weary..." I think I am weary. And sometimes it's hard to differentiate weariness and sadness. So, I am not sure where I am on that continuum. 

I am not the first to remark on this, but I will go ahead anyway. One thing that is lovely about this Bowie love fest is that it does not seem media motivated. Because the news broke in the middle of the night here, the media did not have enough time to rev up the machinery of spectacle before genuine reaction took hold. We stole the thunder from the marketers and bullshit manufacturers. Another piece of art created by Bowie: genuine response. I was up late so I heard it as soon as it was announced. No regular news outline such as MSNBC or CNN or even the New York Times had the story. I could only find mention of it on Al Jazeera. 

While there is sorrow for me in his untimely and unexpected passing, there is joy in art, in his ultimate evasion of the culture vultures' definitions and boundaries. Good show all around, Mr. Bowie. I think you own the "I did it my way" sweepstakes.





I've been thinking about this. I may be very wrong about this, but a certain point in a life this seems less true than in younger years. Given the economy and all, there does not seem much room for redemption of a life unwisely spent. I don't see any happy, productive, and/or remotely satisfying paths, but perhaps I am of little faith. And I haven't given up, I just don't see the (a) way. 

And I am still shaken from Liz Swados' early departure. She was such a fighter and a do-er that it is hard to think of her as gone and so quickly. And I have another friend who has been visited unrelentingly by the dementors for about six or eight months who is seriously in danger of prematurely joining Mr. Bowie on the other side ("I can just catch his second set ..."). When your life seems completely out of control and unredeemable, when every breath is pain and there seems little possible of respite, choosing to climb out can be just too much. 

I find it odd that I can figure out some hope and some outs for that friend, but I cannot see my way to a better situation. But, as I said, I am not giving up quite yet. 


Talk about trying, here are some winter tomatoes.

It's true: I have done a bit of gardening. That steadfast, brave sunflower greets me every time I look out my bedroom window. There is something gently inspiring about that flower. It does as it does. 



Do you all know this Delmore Schwartz poem? It's a good one.

THE HEAVY BEAR WHO GOES WITH ME 

THE WITNESS OF THE BODY

The heavy bear who goes with me,
A manifold honey to smear his face,
Clumsy lumbering here and there,
The central ton of every place,
The hungry beating brutish one
In love with candy, anger, and sleep,
Crazy factotum, dishevelling all,
Climbs the building, kicks the football,
Boxes his brother in the hate-ridden city.

Breathing at my side, that heavy animal,
That heavy bear who sleeps with me,
Howls in his sleep for a world of sugar,
A sweetness intimate as the water's clasp,
Howls in his sleep because the tight-rope
Trembles and shows the darkness beneath.
—The strutting show-off is terrified,
Dressed in his dress suit, bulging his pants,
Trembles to think that his quivering meat
Must finally wince to nothing at all.

That inescapable animal walks with me,
Has followed me since the black womb held,
Moves where I move, distorting my gesture,
A caricature, a swollen shadow,
A stupid clown of the spirit's motive,
Perplexes and efforts his own darkness,
The secret life of belly and bone,
Opaque, too near, my private, yet unknown,
Stretches to embrace the very dear
With whom I would walk without him near,
Touches her grossly, although a word
Would bear my heart and make me clear,
Stumbles, flounders, and strives to be fed
Dogging me with him in his mouthing care,
Amid the hundred million of his kind,
The scrimmage of appetite everywhere.

Selected Poems (1938-1958): Summer Knowledge, New Directions, 1967



Vera Paris graces me with a visit.





Tuesday, January 12, 2016

THE TASTE WAS NOT SO SWEET

Somehow “rest in peace” doesn’t really work for acknowledging the passing of David Bowie. Peace for him was apparently just the privacy and latitude to do his work, his way. And the best thing about Bowie’s exit was the magnificent performance of it, the exquisite execution of his death.

More kudos and proper respect. Our appreciation of his artistry will grow and deepen over time. Thus, he will continue to amaze, amuse, and delight us.


Thank you, David, for stopping by.

I still don't know what I was waiting for
And my time was running wild
A million dead-end streets
And every time I thought I'd got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet
So I turned myself to face me
But I've never caught a glimpse
Of how the others must see the faker
I'm much too fast to take that test