Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Photo Bouquet

Recently, I have received cell-phone pictures of flowers from two of my friends. Both sent flowers that they see frequently, in their own backyards, driveways, or off the highways. I love these snapshots, not so much because of their aesthetic beauty, but because of the way the viewer was compelled to pull over, take notice, marvel at the simple perfection of a bud, and then pass that moment of joy onto someone else. And yay, hallelulajah, that lucky someone was me, and now it's you.
What a fantastic time of year, non?
Photo Bouquet
For KB and Dennis

Kitten tongue pink in a cloud of mint

Fat-petaled cheeks weigh down wide-open faces

Heads nodding at inside jokes
Only those in full bloom truly understand

When the car pulls in
Smoke sighs from the window
Tires hiss relief
Weary slog of back and forth
Tired that rests in the marrow

Usually she doesn't notice
The buds blend into the afternoon
Heavy lids make it hard to see past smudging thoughts

All in a day’s work

But today

The flowers
Giggling their greeting

Gossiping with the grass

Shimmying in the breeze

Delicate leaves making jazzhands

Bobbing and bowing
Backlit, by a bright blue screen

She couldn't help but smile
Nod graciously, gratefully, at the roses
Snap a picture for forever

Of a flower and a feeling
How nice it is to be home again

*This doesn't mean that I want a bunch of pictures of cute puppies and kitties, Dad! Stop yourself! Don't send them just because you can!

NOTE! There is absolutely no way to get this poem all in one color and formatted correctly. I've tried and tried. It makes me crazy. It is now June 6, 2010, months after I wrote this, months after it was first read, and still I try, and still I fail. Damn, y'all!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Yeaster 2010

He Is Risen! Happy Yeaster!

Poetic Addendum

I hardly ever understand the poetry in the New Yorker. I like the articles, even though some of them have way too many words. I love the fiction - I even listen to a podcast of the stories read by other authors on my Ipod when I ride my bike. Pretty dorky, huh? Some of the pictures are great, and the cartoons are cool, but the poetry always leaves me feeling like it is over my head. Most of the time, I just don't get it. Being a glutton for punishment, I read every single verse, sometimes two or three times, before I sniff and pronounce it poorly written, and mumble something about how I don't have time to sit around reading a bunch of meaningless, self-indulgent drivel. My motto is: "If I don't understand it, it's wicked retarded."
However, after I wrote the last post, I read a poem that I like a lot, and that I think sums up those days when the underlying thrill of being makes it impossible to dwell on the negative, even if it is undeniable or inevitable, and, how just as one can get overwhelmed by minutiae, it's also the little things that lead us to feeling free, aware, a part of the universal hum, a part of something wonderful and amazing. Want to read it? OK, go ahead! Even though I am pretty sure I am going to the Big House for copyright infringement, I have reprinted it for you here. Don't worry about me. I'll be just fine in the pokey, on account of I'm real gangsta. You're welcome.
Preachers Warn

By Charles Simic

This peaceful world of ours is ready for destruction -
And still the sun shines, the sparrows come
Each morning to the bakery for crumbs
Next door, two men deliver a bed for newlyweds
And stop to admire a bicycle chained to a parking meter.
Its owner is making lunch for his ailing grandmother.
He heats the soup and serves it to her in a bowl.

The windows are open, there's a warm breeze.
The young trees are delirious to have leaves.
Italian opera is on the radio, the volume too high
Brevi et triste giorni visse, a baritone sings.
Everyone up and down the block can hear him.
Something about the days that remain for us to enjoy
Being few and sad. Not today, Maestro Verdi!

At the hairdresser's a girl leaps out of a chair,
Her blond hair bouncing off her bare shoulders
As she runs out the door in her high heels.
"I must be off," says the handsome boy to his grandmother.
His bicycle is where he left it. He rides casually through the heavy traffic
His white shirttails fluttering behind him
Long after everyone else has come to a sudden stop.

You can find it in the March 1, 2010 edition ( I'm a slow reader!) of the New Yorker, that has this great cover by Brian Stauffer:
Also, as a special, additional bonus, I thought that I would include one of my mom's poems about the juicy Rainier cherries her father grew in his garden. It is from a series she has called "The Fruit Poems", and I reprint it here with her permission, as I respect that sort of thing. With my mom, anyway.

Yellow cherries

of my childhood

with a hint of carmine

fleshy and gay

eaten right off the tree


A caterpillar filled with glee

I took my pleasure thoroughly

made earrings with twinned fruit

day after day from morning to noon

No matter when Spring comes

trailing snows

late in the rainy season

the ripening of cherries

their savoring


a durable rendezvous

- Liliane Richman

cherries image from furrygoat.com

Saturday, April 3, 2010


I keep meaning to get back to my tale of woe about the BSISD, and indeed, I will, as my ability to bitch and moan has no bounds, but right now my thoughts are consumed with other things: I have Spring Fever, when a young girl's fancy turns to...well, I don't really remember what I fancied as a young girl, on account of it's been kind of awhile, but right now I am thinking about how my garden grows.
Since I am deep like the ocean and layered like an onion, even a simple seasonal cliche like that has much profound significance and is fraught with meaningful insight, but I'd like to begin with the literal garden, the one I plant every year. The weather turns, and much like a salmon compelled to swim upstream , I feel I've got to get outside and get digging. (I realize that this metaphor is perhaps not the most effective, seeing the obvious land vs. sea conflict, and, perhaps more relevantly that the salmon swims upstream to spawn before dying. The chances of that for me are growing increasingly slim and are highly unlikely to take place in my front yard, but it's my blog and I'll write what I please, thank you very much!)
This year is no exception. I started in my backyard and planted cantaloupe (Remember that old children's whatever-you-call-it that went "Cantaloupe! Mother won't lettuce"? Get it? Read it aloud...oh, never mind!). I also put in lots of tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, tarragon, zucchini, arugula, chard, kale, green and purple beans, and three kinds of eggplants. One is all white, and called Hansel; one is purple, and called Gretel, and one is really big, black, and shiny, that I call Donkey Dick, though I don't think that's what it says on the seed packet. But wait! That's not all! There are also peppers: Big Early Bell, Cayenne, Thai, Cowhorn, Sweet Banana, Jalapeno and Serrano, and flowers: the happiest of all flora, Gerber Daisies, with big, smiling orange, yellow and hot pink faces; jasmine, to flow over the fence and perfume the morning, and elegant, lavish ranunculus, which doesn't do well in my area, but still, was too gorgeous to resist.
This is ranunculus. It comes in all different colors, and is a member of the buttercup family.

Don't confuse it with "radonkulous", which is how more than one fan describes Erykah Badu's ass. You can check that ass out for yourself
right here: http://www.erykahbadu.com/ Click on the tag that says "Window Seat Official." Radonkulous, I tell you!
Anyhoo, back to the garden. That's just the backyard. I put a lot of effort in it this year, because in the summer, I like to wrap myself up in a sheet and drink my coffee on the lanai, which I believe is Hawaiian for patio. It will be nice to gaze all of the little seedlings pushing through the soil, watching them grow and flower, feeling bounteous and fortunate and connected to nature. In the front I'll plant a mixture of veg and flowers, which drives my Japanese friend Denichiwa crazy every year. I guess in Japan, vegetables are relegated to the back yard, not right on up by the street. Welcome to my jungle, bay-bay!
I come from a long line of gardeners. Both grandfathers, though one was born in Philadelphia and the other in Hungary, grew magnificent trees, peach, plum, pear and cherries, and I have lovely childhood memories of discovering the fruits among the leaves with each patriarch. My mom's garden is fantastic, lush, ever-changing, and well-tended. Part of it is hidden. It has it's own special pathway and a little bench, and from there she can read and sing watch for squirrels over the whole backyard. In this picture, a sunbeam found her in the secret garden and she is happy.
My sister and brother-in-law have an amazing garden, with all kinds of vegetables and fruit trees, from the exotic to the humble. My nephew, who I'll call Eli in this blog, has a plot in it where he grows carrots and nasturtium and a cactus he calls a "tush plant". Ed built raised beds and planted an apricot tree this year. Their harvest is my gain; my sister will turn all of their crops into gourmet meals we'll eat on Friday nights, with wine and toasts and magic shows and banjo sing-alongs.
At this point in the season, when the red, clay dirt that lays just under the surface of the newly purchased, rich, black soil has not yet conspired with the blazing sun to suck every bit of moisture from the earth and air, previous to long nights sleeping sitting up, Breathe-Rite taped across the bridge of my nose, feeling like I swallowed a wool sweater because my allergies have set in, before the tobacco worms (bastards!) start to feasting, prior to me considering a second job just to pay my water bills, and before my eyes scream out in protest of the sunscreen and sweat that flows into them from sunup to well after sundown, all is hope and optimism. The garden represents what could be, a certain harmony, a sense of freedom and well-being. When I am in the garden, I am just how I am, no pretense or self-consciousness, and I feel alive and perfect. Coinciding with my birthday as spring does, I am often given to reflection, and I that always leads to this intense feeling of gratitude. I've got it all. I am filled with joy and wonder. I see diamonds in the dew drops on a spider's web, I dance in the shower when I wash the mud from out of my hair and between my toes, I retell my favorite jokes and I seek out the new.
Suddenly, I remember my fancy, and, birthday or no, I am a young girl again.
I love the garden. I love Spring. I love life.
My friend Krissy, who I wrote about in my birthday blog, died five days later, on March 27, 2010. Many people wrote and said beautiful things about her, including my friend Christina,
http://chmchm.wordpress.com/2010/03/21/krissys-room/, which was only fitting, as she was a beautiful woman. Someone quoted the Beatles "The End" - "And in the end/the love you take/is equal to the love/ you make", which I think is the most fitting tribute of all to Miss Kris. This entry is dedicated to her. She helped my garden grow in all seasons, and I will plant something special for her, something that is ever green.