Monday, November 28, 2011

Book Shelf

The Row of Spotted Dog Guardians
The Soulful One       

OK, kitty-cats, here are some pictures of my book shelf.  I live in a very small house (600 sq. feet) and had to lose a lot of books to make the move. This used to be a very small closet, but ex-boyfriend converted it into a built-in bookshelf on this side and a walk-in bedroom closet on the other.

I had to include close-ups of my little Japanese friends.  I was hanging out with some people who were avid collectors of vintage stuff.   I decided that I would limit myself to one specific thing.  I bought my first pair of Japanese Spotted Dog Salt and Pepper shakers at an antique place on Clark Street in Chicago.  They are not terribly rare, or expensive, or collectible, but they make me happy.

Hmm.  Bookshelf notes:  I didn't want to post these because I seem to have such a hodge-podge of things.  Some pairings make me laugh.  "The Complete Photo Guide to Home Repair" rests on top of Edward Gorey's "The Doubtful Guest."  "The Immoralist" is atop "The Ethical Slut" which is above "The Heritage of Russian Verse."  (Oh, dear.  I considered polyamory for a minute, once, but it didn't work out.  I can't even manage monamory.)  I've got lots of short stories and poetry.  Much Rilke, of course.  And unfiled cds here and there.  A Zeppelin boot below Billie Holiday and Aaron Copland.  Rostropovich. Yup.  Ooh, there's some Rory Gallagher.  I might listen to that right now.  "This is the Empire State Express . . . "  Yes. 
"The Golden Notebook" I "borrowed" from a housemate twenty years ago and have never finished.
The Barthelme I had forgotten about until I read a poem that reminded me of "The Falling Dog" and I had to pull it out to re-read:  "Yes, a dog jumped on me out of a high window.  I think it was the third floor, or the fourth floor.  Or the third floor.  Well, it knocked me down. . . ."
Anais Nin's "Delta of Venus" is rightly beside Meridel Le Sueur's "Ripening."  Sylvia Plath has the ignominy of resting next to three books on Dachshunds while a vintage postcard of deer in the northwoods falls out of its frame.
A Christmas cactus grafted from my mother's pokes into the frame of the bottom shelves which house photo albums, some music books (Italian Arias?), and hidden behind an oversized book of children's stories is a lovely picture book entitled "The Female Portrait in Russian Art" which leans on Helmut Newton's "Sleepless Nights."
Well, I guess that about sums it up. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Next Right Thing

My neighbor came over to give me tomatoes
and some basil sprigs from his garden.
He seemed agitated as we stood in my yard.
He petted my little dog Bela as I held him
and then he touched my arm
as he said goodbye:
“I have to go make dinner.”
I have to go make dinner for my girlfriend,
for my loving partner
that you don’t have
and in our nice cedar-sided house
with our friends who come over
for barbeques and beer on weekends,
unless we’re camping,
are we camping this weekend or next,
maybe next.  Can you look in on Lola Kitty?

He petted my arm.
It has been so long since someone has touched me,
caressed me.
I went into the house and cried.
I’m trying so hard to do the right thing.
The post-it asks:
What is the most compassionate thing
you can do for yourself right now?
I consider a beer and the couch,
and crying it out,
but I do core exercises and yoga,
followed by a half hour’s meditation outside:
blanket down, blank me on the green green green.

Back inside I check some poems online.
There’s a post on Hemingway at Key West,
and I recall my trip there
with boyfriend long gone,
arriving at the grenadine sunrise
with the roosters and the cats
and being swallowed by something in that house
some feeling came over me under the draping crystal
chandelier, as my hands passed over the field guides
that lined the shelves going up the white washed stairs,

and then to Cozumel
where I was horrible:  anxious and bitchy.
I just wanted a decent cup of coffee
I just wanted everything to be perfect.
I didn’t know.
I didn’t know how to live.
I want to make amends.
I apologize to the air,
poor boyfriend,
to myself:
I’m sorry,
I didn’t know.

And all that is gone.
It seemed that I used to go
places and do things.
Now I just stay at home.
I’ve gotten so much better, though.
This morning I, perfect me, who
glides through life with ease and grace,
knocked over and broke a full cup of beautiful Mayan coffee.
I didn’t cry, or swear, or try to blame the dogs.
I just mopped up the brown and jade shards
and made another cup.
I didn’t know
I could do that.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


The Marble Topped Table from my mother's house last summer when I intended it to be an art workspace. 
A Collection of Postcards spread on the table after an impromptu antique mall outing.
The Table Today:  some books have moved in and a blank comp book awaits.

The Picture on the wall by my computer (in the same room):  My mother at the Indiana Dunes in the mid 50s.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Bristlecone Pine Thrives

I have to thrill

at the sight

of your rose gold flats

beneath the Chiavari chair,

your warm scarf of silk orchids

and lilies draped there.

The gift of red orange

bittersweet vines

you twined in your hands

now wreath the lamp

and I wonder at the

soft rise of your breasts

above the white flowered

flow of your belly

beneath my hands 


the timeless give and take

 of your breath,

at rest.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Flame in Snow

for Jillian

Quiet flame,

mountain azalea,

all the little bones

of your fingers fan dear,

unhooking pale crinoline butterflies

hammocked  under old growth


Crank down that window

as you breeze through the forest

and inhale the luxury

of the least expected.

From behind plumes of lace,

the egrets which edge your face,

from the swamp of the car,

the smudge pots of then.

Now breathe in skeins

of canopied light,

your heart a phoenix,

a brass cornet,


singing high.

Even the waxwings

know who you are.