Archive for November 2013

Pearl

November 30, 2013
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August 30, 1995–November 30, 2013
(Yes, she could look sort of goofy sometimes.)

Even in my extremely sad state, I admit that Pearl may not objectively have been the best dog in the world.  But she was the best dog in the world for us.

No, she was not particularly obedient.  Although she knew certain commands–well, two commands–she would only perform them if she was convinced there was cheese on offer.

Even so, she knew exactly what her family needed in a dog–and that she unstintingly gave.

Her family needed a dog who could live in a small apartment, who could be trusted never to destroy anything or (except under really impossible circumstances) have an accident; a dog who made all of New York City feel like a friendly place because she elicited so many smiles, hellos, warm feelings.

Her family needed a dog who understood that they really were not all that interested in playing fetch but found great companionship in a dog who, pretending to be resting completely independently, budged up her warm rump against them while they lay in bed reading.

Her family needed a dog who could travel by public transportation, who practically jumped into her little traveling bag when a trip was in the offing–anything rather than be left behind–and quietly allowed herself to be squeezed under plane seats, train seats, restaurant chairs, even through the side doors of more than one hotel.

Pearl was foolishly loyal–diving after us into mountain streams (though she hated swimming);  trooping after us into blackberry brambles (though she always got snagged); charging along on hikes (though truly, she preferred the porch.)     

What her family (or at least one of them) needed most of all was to feel loved.  This need Pearl fulfilled on a daily basis, sweetly, nobly, companionably, and with great and infectious joy.

And when it became clear that one of her owners also needed help with her writing, Pearl not only provided endless inspiration, but, when things got rough, took the matter into her own teeth.

She will be very sorely missed.

Early Morning Poem for Pearl

November 29, 2013

iPhone drawing based on old Pearl–meaning young Pearl–new pictures of her (18) don’t really do her justice

Early Morning Poem For Pearl

Sun winks gold pink
at the freeze’s peaked rim, every edge below
a ledge for white, all
snow-furred.
I hold the old dog, whitish,
also hinting pink.  She trembles
even back in the house; heart sinks
in the holding.
In this stilled valley,
all that moves–the trembling dog,
the pinking light, my heart.

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55 words for Pearl (and also for the G-Man).  She is nearly 18 1/2 and really getting decrepit.  It is sad in ways that a person who’s not owned a dog may find difficult to fathom.  

I post a picture of Pearl below though she looks terribly bedraggled.  It is torturous to her to mess around too much with her grooming at this stage in her life. 

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Ode To Black And White Film (Photographic)

November 28, 2013

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Ode To Black And White Film (Photographic)

I.

You turn spider veins
below the one-piece to
inroads into
the intimate,
make pimples spots
almost capable of coupling
with the word “beauty;”

wrinkles, under your auspices, shape
a face
like the tentative tries of
the sketch artist,
while the cross-hatch of liver stains
grants depth.

All skin,
no matter the shade,
turns as velvet in your grip
as Colbert’s (Claudette):
all grins claim Clark Gable
as their close kin.

II.

Old names fit
because we enter
another age
between your frames–
time turns back
to a when we mourn
for its lost grandeur,
at least simplicity.

Then one pictures
the harsh-bright hunch of shoulders/breasts/bellies
lined up beside the charcoal-wooled SS;
the black and white stripes of
limbed kindling–

Sheriffs’ belts in the South, the highlit teeth
of snarl, blinding shirts over backs
beaten–

III.

Maybe what we miss is a time when man,
for all his good and cruelty,
operated the machine, the machine
that now runs us–

Maybe what we imagine in your
stilled life
is the machine turned off,
maybe what we hear
in your dark/light are whole minutes
as buzz-free as forests covering with snow,
lost streets pooling in lamplight–

IV.

But even before the machine,
there was a kaching-ching-ching
beneath most human doings,
gold that worked
its own gradations,
sometimes even
posed for its picture.

In its portraits, the ermine borders have spots
frequently, and the strands of fur can almost
be counted.

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Forgive me for the length of this very very drafty all-over-the-place poem, written for Kerry O’Connor’s prompt on With Real Toads to write poetry in black and white.  The idea, explained  beautifully by Kerry, was to write something using various types of contrast, and not necessarily about black and white photography.  My literal brain had a hard time with it, though it really is an excellent prompt.  Check it out! 

The above photograph is not black and white, but it has a very monochromatic feel (and in the distance are forests covering with snow.) 

Happy Thanksgiving–Pleasing the Crowd

November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving – you can’t please everyone.

Or maybe you can.

Happy Thanksgiving.

This is a reposting of older watercolors–so sorry if you’ve seen already.  Pearl is still in this world–over 18–I am very thankful for that and so much else (especially your visits and your own work.)   Take care.

Aftershock (November ‘63 – Kennedy’s Funeral, Washington, D.C.; Ruby Shoots Oswald, Dallas)

November 24, 2013

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Aftershock
(November ‘63 – Kennedy’s Funeral, Washington, D.C.; Ruby Shoots Oswald, Dallas)

The black horse resisting its prance,
the turned-back boots, the sense of legs
invisible, and those thin red stripes
at the sides of the uniform
not there,
though there were uniforms
between the sheen
of metal, tears,
pale sun;
legs too, dark grey
as those trees they have in Washington
whose leaves always look turned
the wrong way out.

The stripes now gold
in memory, and maybe were some blur
of caisson; wheels so black
they blanched the avenue,
slow as the word ‘inexorable’.

A terrible hush of waiting,
even after the black bulk passed, for what would happen next,
save us,
my face stuck with the coats,
everything wool but my mother’s hand, and she,
not able to look down–

On the way home–and this did not compare, but still
was special–
we stopped at McDonald’s,
and it really did have arches you could park beside
like the screen of a drive-in movie; and the day
seemed almost to open, a sign touting all the burgers ever sold,
which then read 4
(millions or billions–I never was quite sure)–
till my Dad turned on the radio
over our grease-spotted wrappers–

The voice was back
in Dallas, and my mother repeated after it Jack Ruby? as shocked
as if Ruby were someone she actually knew, as if it were some acquaintance
who’d done something
so unheard of
(though of course she did not know Ruby,
though it was only America she thought she knew)
and every single line on her face darkened
like nightfall or a drawing of dulled lead–

The way she acted,
Oswald’s death seemed almost as important as Kennedy’s, as Kennedy himself
being shot, which I couldn’t understand–
but she stood up from the car, hand on her curled-hair head,
then sunk to her seat again, leaning away from the upholstery
the scaled blue-green of a 60s mermaid, leaning
into the parking lot–

Oh my God, she said–what is–and I kept thinking of that dark horse
whose flanks shone like lightning as it pulled back–happening–
and of the spider quiver of muscle
inside those flanks–
to this country?

And not a one of us–my big brother, me,
my Dad–said anything for a while.

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My apologies to all who are saturated with remembrances of the events surrounding John F. Kennedy’s assassination.  I do not have a TV!  (Too many reasons to explain.)  So I’m a bit out of the loop with all the coverage.

I grew up in DC and attended both Kennedy’s inauguration and funeral. I was a very young child and do not remember much, but since I’ve been thinking about it, I thought I’d jot down some of what I came up with it.

I am linking this to the open link nights of both dVerse Poets Pub and With Real Toads. I feel a bit behind with the season but have been working a great deal so have had little free time.  Take care, and thanks all for your kind visits and wonderful inspiration. 

November 22, 1963 (if Alive then and Over Five, You Remember)

November 22, 2013

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November 22, 1963 (if Alive then and Over Five, You Remember)

Ushered from pine
desks to blacktop,
the big girls–third-graders–
roamed red-eyed arm-in-arm,
while we, who always spent recess as horses,
studied holding our bowed heads stiff
so that even our hair (the reins)
would not seem to play at anything
but the insurmountable grief
we were only just
learning about.

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Fifty years. Fifty-five words without the title. I know it’s late in the day but tell it to the G-Man.

I am also linking this to Victoria C. Slotto’s Poetics prompt on calendars over at dVerse Poets Pub.  (Not sure this quite fits the prompt, but it is a day on the calendar that pops up for me.)

(All rights reserved to poem and photograph.).

Ode To My Sore Eyes

November 22, 2013

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Ode To My Sore Eyes

If I could keep you
comfortable
in my palms
like St. Lucy
on a platter,
I’d wear gloves of water
that would cup you
in blue
as renewing as
morning’s true sky.

If I could keep you
cozy
in the moist squint
of my breasts,
I would slip you beneath
their lids
where you would sleep
till some long rest
had refreshed you
like the sight
of night’s lover.

Oh eyes,
there seems no soothing
your sharp burn.
Lke a hawk that plies
a talon ’round you,
it tries to prise you,
fly you where, mid-air, it would mock, perhaps,
our insufficiency,
or simply let you see for once
the big picture,
while me, I cling to you harder
than a child, than a mother,
holding you faster even
than that which keeps the “I” inside
the head,
no matter the pain of it.

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Here’s a draft ode to my chronically sore eyes inspired by Pablo Neruda’s many odes, and written for dVerse Poets Pub form for all hosted by Tony Maude. Check out Tony’s wonderful post and the great poems linked up.

The painting above is of St. Lucy, by Domenico Beccafumi, painted in 1521. No copyright infringement intended.