Sunday, May 29, 2011

Into Temptation (Elegy for SLS)



You opened up your door
I couldn't believe my luck
You in your new blue dress
Taking away my breath
The cradle is soft and warm
Couldn't do me no harm
You're showing me how to give

Into temptation
Knowing full well the earth will rebel
Into temptation

A muddle of nervous words
Could never amount to betrayal
The sentence is all my own
The price is to watch it fail
As I turn to go
You looked at me for half a second
An open invitation for me to go

Into temptation
Knowing full well the earth will rebel
Into temptation
Safe in the wide open arms of hell

We can go sailing in
Climb down
Lose yourself when you linger long
Into temptation
Right where you belong

The guilty get no sleep
In the last slow hours of morning
Experience is cheap
I should've listened to the warning
But the cradle is soft and warm

Into temptation
Knowing full well the earth will rebel
Into your wide open arms
No way to break the spell
Don't tell

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Book People Austin


I've been back a full year in Austin and only now went to what used to be my favorite bookstore: Book People, on 6th and Lamar. I think lack of a car was psychologically holding me back. Plus I've not yet had a lot of extra money to spend on books (other than steep discounts that I've found on Amazon, et al.)

Well, a milestone birthday of my mom's is coming up, and this year, unlike last, I couldn't just get her a gift certificate that I ordered online and tell her, "Sorry I couldn't go shopping; I don't have a car!" While it's still true that I don't have a car, milestone birthdays call for more than just a gift certificate!

But where to get a gift? I know a bus route to a mall, but what would I find there -- a shirt or a vase or something?? Book People, my old haunt, was a good idea -- aside from a vast collection of books, they also have a wide variety of interesting-but-not-horribly-expensive gift items (arty umbrellas, candles, quirky dolls/games, Texana/Austiana(?), plus unique cards, international magazines, etc.

I decided to consult the Austin Capital Metro Trip Finder -- the same bus that stops outside my door and takes me within a couple of blocks of the downtown library also stops 3/4 of a mile from Book People! Yup -- I could walk that!

I love Book People, starting with the pleasant (but not overpowering) incense smell that greets you when you walk in. (Since being a teen, I've always associated the smell of incense with a "cool" place featuring off-the-beaten-path things!) The second I stepped in the door after years away, I remembered how much I'd always liked, and felt welcomed by, that smell!

For the 3 years that I was in New York, I'd gone to the famous Strand bookstore in the Union Square area several times--excellent selection of used and new books, but... a madhouse to shop in! What I mainly was looking for there were books about New York, so every time I went there, I went straight to that section; browsing, on the other hand, was kind of a hassle -- just too crowded to relax and take your time exploring. One old-time New Yorker that I once worked with told me there used to be dozens and dozens of little bookstores lining the streets around Union Square in the '70s and '80s and even early '90s -- unfortunately long since closed once I got there in 2007.

Austin's Book People is a store in what I gather is the "old New York City" vein -- plenty of weird stuff, plenty of "secret" nooks for settling in and looking over books at your leisure. Plus, I've always loved the "Esoterica" section upstairs, with its candles, incense, et al. And no crowds! I went on a weekday, around noon -- hardly anyone was there.

Yes, I did find my mom some interesting things that were a bit more personal than a gift certificate. And, selfishly but cheaply, got ME my favorite incense that I'd been without for at least 4 years and had forgotten that I loved so: Escential Essences -- "Tibetan Musk" and "Energy"! ("Sold as curio only, no magical effects are guaranteed.") A lot of incense just smells smoky and patchouli-ish, but this stuff is really nice! (And, despite its "no magical effects" claim, it did magically dissipate the nasty motel-room-cigarette-smoke odor that seemed to have taken over my one-room apartment because of all my smoking in it! Proof positive: My finicky non-smoking mother, who always comments on the cigarette-smell in my apartment when she picks me up to go swimming over at her place, actually wondered why my apartment smelled good!) :)

And then... I also found the pictured "Mildred Pierced" card! Any place with random Joan references is definitely a place for me.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Letter from Ted Hughes to son Nicholas 2/28/98

"...you described a dream... You were walking up a garden path towards a building with a glass door. A frog was jumping up the path behind you. You entered the building and closed the glass door, shutting out the frog. The frog then jumped against the glass of the door. Do you remember it?...

[many pages of various Hughes dreams on the same subject]

...So all I wrote, through all those years, contained nothing of what I really needed to say. And nothing in my real life contained the real me -- I was living on the wrong side of the glass door. All I was aware of, all that time, was the desperate need to break the glass door, and blow up the log jam, but I didn't dare because it was -- the business of your mother and me. The incessant interference of the feminists and everything to do with your mother's public fame made it impossible for me -- it seems -- to deal with it naturally, and express it indirectly, obliquely, though other symbols, because everything I did was examined so minutely for signs of it. Also, I was not allowed ever to forget it enough to let it sink into imagination and be changed there subconsciously. Which is the natural process for dealing with unmanageable experiences.

So my daily feeling that I could write nothing and hardly even live until I freed myself from the log-jam was blocked and frustrated all those years -- till I got ill.

It was when I realised that my only chance of getting past 1963 was to blow up that log-jam, and assemble whatever I had written about your mother and me, and simply make it public -- like a confession -- that I decided to publish those Birthday Letters as I've called them. I thought, let the feminists do what they like, let people think what they like about me, let critics demolish and tear to bits those simple, unguarded, quite private for the most part, unsophisticated bits of writing, let the heavens fall, let your mother's Academic armies of support demolish me, let Carol [Hughes's 2nd wife] go bananas, let Frieda and Nick bolt for their bomb shelters -- I can't care any more, I can't lock myself in behind this glass door one more week.

So I did it, and now I'm getting the surprise of my life. What I've been hiding all my life, from myself and everybody else, is not terrible at all. Though you didn't want to read it.

And the effect on me, Nicky, the sense of gigantic, upheaval transformation in my mind, is quite bewildering. It's as though I have completely new brains. I can think thoughts I never could think. I have a freedom of imagination I've not felt since 1962. Just to have got rid of all that.

Well, let's hope it wasn't all just a bit too late.

But I tell you this, with a hope that it will let you understand a lot of things. Also, that it will make you think about the frog, and the kiln. Don't laugh it off. In 1963 you were hit even harder than me. But you will have to deal with it, just as I have had to. And as Frieda has had to. You were given the means -- if you use them, everything about you will be changed, by what follows the frog through the door...."

--------------------------------------------------------

Ted Hughes died of cancer on October 28, 1998, eight months after this letter. (The day after Plath's birthday.) He was 68.
His son with Sylvia Plath, Nicholas Hughes, hanged himself in Fairbanks, Alaska, on March 16, 2009. He was 47.

"Something has to stay." But what? Videos?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Paul McCartney "Hi, Hi, Hi" 1972




On YouTube, where I found this, someone commented: "This was the closest I ever got to a dirty song when I was an adolescent. It was soooo naughty! :D"

Same here! :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Messenger

(from a 5/24 dream)

The '66 Big Sur silver dollar
changed hands, changed color
like his shirt, like the memoir
he'd hung on his front door,
loose wires around the missing buzzer.

"He's alive," I whispered. "She loves you."

"I couldn't be in a car with her
for more than an hour."

Inspired by Pioneer Woman...

... here's a new feature of my blog! FOOD!

With warm weather now ensconced in Austin through October, it's the perfect time to buy BAGGED GREENS for making quick, refreshing salads! I've seen Fresh Express bagged greens in supermarkets for years now, but to me they never looked that fresh, plus they seemed too expensive. But with the warmer weather and my craving for more fresh vegetables (and with the knowledge of numerous heads of lettuce going bad in my fridge in the past), I thought I'd experiment by buying a bag. The Romaine mix turned out well -- $2.49, and I got 3 servings out of it. I did have to add my own onions, but the mix itself had Romaine lettuce, carrots, and cabbage -- it's way too much hassle for one person to buy all of that separately and chop up (like I said, the lettuce I buy usually goes bad after I've fixed only one or two servings), and this bag o' stuff was the perfect solution. After trying the Romaine mix, I then tested out the Coleslaw bag ($1.99, with an enclosed packet of dressing). It also turned out to be a tasty, refreshing summer-time side. A bit too much for me, alone, to eat, though. Over a few days, I had maybe 3 servings; after that, it got old (didn't go bad, I just got tired of it), so I tossed the rest out.

After my initial excitement about "discovering" Fresh Express bagged salads, I had a niggling in the back of my mind: Wasn't there something in the news recently...? After an Internet search... Why, yes there WAS something in the news!

July 2010 -- Fresh Express Romaine bags recalled for E.coli.
August 2010 -- Fresh Express Veggie Lovers' bags recalled for listeria.
April 2011 -- Fresh Express Spinach bags recalled for salmonella.

DAMMIT! Now SEE! Right there is why I will NEVER be Pioneer Woman! Or have ad revenue!

What does Pioneer Woman have that I don't?

A couple of weeks ago I read in The New Yorker about the phenomenon of the "Pioneer Woman," a 40-something woman with a zillion home-schooled kids and a husband she calls "Marlboro Man" who lives on a ranch in Oklahoma or someplace and blogs about her life there. AND HAS MADE OVER A MILLION DOLLARS IN AD REVENUE FROM HER BLOG over the past 5 years! WHAT?!

What does Pioneer Woman have that I don't have?!

I didn't get around to visiting her blog until just today, so consumed with envy was I after reading the article. Once there, scouted out her subject tabs: Confessions, Cooking, Photography, Home & Garden, Homeschooling, Tasty Kitchen.

OK, #1, I have plenty o' CONFESSIONS here! And better/juicier ones, if I must say so myself, than "Look at my dog's funny tongue"! (Though I did really think her pictures of her son's Cary Grant impressions were very cute! Whenever, though, I post pictures of my cute nephews here, Norway Julie copies and sends to kid porno sites. Why doesn't Pioneer Woman have these psychos hanging around HER?!)

#2: COOKING: Hey, have I not revealed here both the Hot Pockets in my freezer and the canned goods in my cabinet? Have I not shared my complaints about local fast-food establishments? What more can I give, people?

#3: PHOTOGRAPHY: Really, what would you rather see: Self-taken shots of me sloppy drunk at 4 am or of cattle being herded? Come on, now.

#4: HOME & GARDEN: My one-room casa has been YOUR one-room casa! And as for the "garden" part -- I KNOW that I have shared photos of both my rubber-tree plant and the trees outside my window. As well as stories about hopping spiders and neighborhood jackals. So there. I have no guilt about holding back in this area.

#5: HOMESCHOOLING: While you might not get charmingly cranky lessons from the "Mean Ol' Schoolmarm" here, you do, though, get plenty of "Oh my god, how STOOPID was that?" Plus lots o' info (aka "bitching") about "homeworking" -- the new "homeschooling."

#6: TASTY KITCHEN: I'd join this with the COOKING category, but...that's just me, me who earns approximately $0 from my blog. Who're you going to listen to?


And then I saw the below list on Pioneer Woman's blog:

Pioneer Woman's TEN IMPORTANT THINGS I'VE LEARNED ABOUT BLOGGING

1. Be yourself.
Write in your own voice.
Write as if you’re talking to your sister.
Unless you don’t get along with your sister.
Or don’t have a sister.

2. Blog often.
Whether you write a sixteen-paragraph essay about the cosmic implications of a free market system, a one-paragraph description of what happens to your soul when you walk into your godforsaken laundry room, or a simple photo and caption, consider your blog a precious bloom that requires daily nurturing.
And watering.
If you water a plant once every two weeks, it will shrivel.
Unless that plant is a cactus, and then it would thrive.
And to tell you the truth, I really can’t figure out how a cactus fits into this analogy, so forget I brought it up.

3. Be varied.
Change things up.
Offer a smorgasbord of content.
Unless you’re, say, a fashion blog.
And in that case, you should probably continue to blog about fashion.
But never blog about the same top twice!

4. Exercise more.
Blogging is an insidiously sedentary activity, and if you blog daily you should take steps to markedly increase your daily movement.
Unless that movement involves eating coffee ice cream.
In which case it would be better not to markedly increase your daily movement.

5. Allow your boundaries to set themselves naturally.
Don’t feel like you have to sit down and set rules about what you will and will not blog about from day one. Just blog, and see what feels comfortable for you.
I did that.
I’ve found, over time, that I tend to blog about the same things I’d talk to my sister about.
I’ve also found, over time, that I tend not to blog about things I wouldn’t talk to my sister about.
For example, I don’t blog about hanky panky.
I also don’t talk to my sister about hanky panky. If I did, she’d cover her ears and say, “Okay, gross.”
And you probably would, too.

6. Bring back retro phrases like “hanky panky.”
But only if it feels right to you.

7. Don’t be afraid to embarrass yourself.
On this website, over the course of the past five years, I have burped, performed Britney Spears songs in Ethel Merman’s voice, misspelled words, posted typos, and talked about ways I humiliated myself as both a youngster and an adult.
At times I’ve wondered if maybe the burps were too much.
But they’re a part of me.
At least they were…until they came out of my esophagus.
But you know what I mean.

8. Try your best to spell words correctly and use proper grammar.
You don’t necessarily have to wig out about it.
But do try.
It’s important.
And if one or two of your readers emails you alerting you to a typo, don’t be offended. Thank them profusely and sing praises for the day they were born.

9. If you have writer’s block, push through and blog anyway.
I posted the first chapter of Black Heels on a morning when I woke up with the most raging case of writer’s block, I couldn’t even type my name.
I was sure you’d hate it, but I posted it anyway.
I went on to write forty-plus more chapters.
What if I’d given in to my writer’s block and decided not to blog that day?
I would never have written my Green Acres-meets-War and Peace romance novel.
And my bottom would likely be a little less jiggly.
Please see #4 above.

10. Value every person who takes time out of their day to stop by your blog.
Tell ‘em you love ‘em. Regularly.

11. I love ya.
More’n my luggage.
Mean it.
P-Dub
(Sorry. That was eleven things. Please see #1 above.)

-----------------------

While I do naturally abide by Rules 1-9, when it came to #s 10 and 11... Uh-oh. Therein lies the key. I'm mean. I'm sarcastic. I don't say "I love you, you 50 people who visit my blog every day." In fact, I seem to recall posting a couple of messages about "Geez, why would someone visit this blog 20 times in one day?" But that wasn't bitchin' about someone regularly reading my blog, it was about someone obsessively coming back 20 times in one day when there are never/have never been that many updates in one day... c'mon now!

See, there I go again. Pioneer Woman is nice and forgiving. I'm mean and judgmental.

Sincere voice as The New Me: Luv ya!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Babes in the Hinterlands

...The canyons cooled. Indigo darkened,
Oozing out of the earth like ectoplasm,
A huge snake heaping out. "This is evil,"
You said, "This is real evil."
Whatever it was, the whole landscape wore it
Like a plated mask. "What is it?"
I kept saying. "What is it?"
As if that might force the whatever
To materialize, maybe standing by our car,
Maybe some old Indian.

"Maybe it's the earth,"
You said. "Or maybe it's ourselves.
This emptiness is sucking something out of us.
Here where there's only death, maybe our life
Is terrifying. Maybe it's the life
In us
Frightening the earth, and frightening us."

--Ted Hughes, "Birthday Letters" (1998)

--------------------------------------------------

I wrote the below after traveling through the same part of the country in 1994, on my road trip from Texas to California:

DESERT

is the true gothic

what lightness to guide
sunshine like
new tongued lithium

sucking last life
out of surprised cactus
and never praying for rain

what obscure world
what mind to be in
that could come close
to your deliverance

think snake even thinks of you

think sun sets once
with you in mind

try lizard mercy
sun mercy
cactus
sand
snake
tongue forked to flick
at nothing in particular

your own absence

--------------------------------

Until I read the Hughes poem later, I'd never known that anyone had picked up on the evil (empty) vibes of the desert, as I had.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Day of the Jackal



Something creepy happened this morning. On my way to the bus-stop, I pass a variety of small buildings. One is a nameless building that I used to think was a Ron Paul headquarters because it has a "Ron Paul Revolution" billboard right in front of it. (Turned out, it's not an office of his; I think it's empty, and random workers in the area use the couple of spaces in front for parking.) Anyway, as I passed this one-story-high building, I happened to glance up. There was a jackal sitting on the edge of the roof looking down at me.

A jackal. On the roof.

I did a double-take then started walking faster, head down: "Oh shit. I made eye contact with it. Dear god, don't let that thing jump down and come after me. Oh my god." I started looking around to see who could help me, and started scoping out the various rocks and sticks near my path that I could conceivably fight it with. After about half a block, I dared to look back -- it wasn't following.

OK, so I avoided a physical jackal-attack (!), but... perhaps worse: The jackal is the symbol (in Egyptian lore, for one) of passage to the Underworld. Dammit. Like I really need to see things like that. (I do not.)

Perhaps it was just a really creepy mangy dog. THAT HAD CLIMBED UP ON THE ROOF OF A BUILDING??

(Later in the day, waiting at a bus-stop in another part of town, a random older woman started to tell me how her cousin's 12-year-old son had just drowned in the Gulf and how she herself had almost drowned in nearly the same spot 50 years ago... I wonder if she and the jackal are connected in some way...)

I'm not regularly psychic, but I have flashes every now and then. For instance, when I was living with my best friends (twins) in the Summer of '88, their mother was dying of cancer. She'd been given maybe 3-6 months to live. One night I had a dream that I was looking at a September calendar with two dates circled, the 29th and 30th. I didn't tell my friends about the dream, but I did tell my own mother about it, and that I thought my friends' mother would die on one of those two dates. She died on September 30. (Years later, on a happier note, I also dreamt that one of the twins was pregnant. She was incredulous. Until she went to her gyno the next week and got the official news!)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Spring '11 Pictorial (sans makeup/with soundtrack)

BEFORE






AFTER




Triumph of the Will

OK, despite my self-urging here yesterday to get to bed "early" (by 2am) and not drink so much last night, I did not and I did, respectively. I think I was up 'til 6 or something, with about a billion beers. Ugh. I woke up briefly today about 1pm, then rolled over and slept on until the insane hour of 3:30 in the afternoon! Uggggggh. If I hadn't had any work to do, it wouldn't have mattered that much, I suppose (except for the crappy physical hangover/smoked-too-much yuckiness), but... I had friggin' work waiting for me!

And one of the projects is for a new company that I want to make a good impression on. There's a pack of 8 of us copy editors doing this particular job; at the end of the Excel chart that we're all filling in, there's a little box with our initials and our completion stats in it. Now THAT, my friend, is THE way to keep me on my toes! I am irrationally competitive sometimes (when I'm not being irrationally lazy), and this little box showed me that I was in the middle of the pack as far as amount of work done since last Friday.

That in itself was impetus for me to get my hung over, groggy ass out of bed, when normally I would have just written off the day and lain there miserably, watching TV. I forced myself to eat some soup and brush my teeth and splash my face and then resolutely got started on the day's work -- at 5pm! (Geez.) At first I thought I'd just grind out the minimum expected of me, but as the minutes and hours wore on, the hangover started to dissipate and I really got in to what I was doing. I kept setting further and further goals:

"OK, just finish this one set of items and then you can quit for the day."
"Well, if you do just one more set, you'll be done with the whole group and then you can notify the manager that you need a new assignment."
"Why don't you just get started on the new assignment, just to have a leg up for the next day?"
"Oh look -- you're only 10 behind 'SC,' who's in the #1 spot! Why not pass him/her up! Yeah! 'Eat my dust, SC!'"

That went on for about 7 hours, at which point I was far ahead of "SC" and felt I could safely quit, my little ego oddly sated! But was that enough for me? NO! I had another project for a different company hanging around -- not due for another 10 days, but... what the hell? Do an hour of it!

So what could have been a yucky, wasted day turned into a mighty (OK, OK: minor) "Triumph of the Will"! If only I could channel this kind of willpower ALL the time. I guess I need more "little boxes with competitor stats" for inspiration. More effective than a rally at Nuremberg!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My Idea of a Good Freelance Day

Now, dammit, here's what I find productive all the way around:

Got up at 9:15am.
Worked straight from 9:30am 'til 2:30pm.
Went swimming with my nephews from 3 'til 5.
Showered, ate, then worked for 2 more hours.
Did Joan website stuff.

And now here I am!

The thing about Productive Days is that... at the end of them, you feel relieved and so you drink a bunch... It's now 1:15am. Ideally, I'd go to bed by 2, wake up at 10, go get the older nephew's birthday present for later this week, plus some makeup, come home and do a bunch more work... Maybe. But since I'm currently caught up/ahead of work, I get in "lazy mode," i.e., "drink and goof around on the Internet 'til all hours" -- which doesn't at all lead to a Productive Next Day, that's for sure!

Tomorrow, I really DO need to hop on a bus and go buy my nephew's birthday present. (Ideas for which he today kindly wrote out for me on a tiny pink Post-It note.) I really DO need to do the ton of freelance work that's currently available to me. GO TO BED, STEPH! :)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Keeping Up with the Hugheses


This past Saturday's library visit yielded a treasure trove of new (to me) info that updated me on the latest from the Hughes (and Plath) clan.

Well, now a Clan of One -- just Frieda's left. And apparently there's a lot of animosity (derived from sadness) toward her stepmother Carol, whom Ted married in 1970 (and who apparently, aside from stealing Frieda's share of his money, also made her do an awful lot of pot-scouring whenever the girl was "allowed" to be at home!). Which I discovered in Frieda Hughes's 2003 poetry collection "Waxworks" and her 2006 "45." The latter was an interesting concept: a poem written about every year of her life up 'til that point. (Supposed to be accompanied by 45 paintings appearing on her website, but when I went there, I didn't see the "45"-related paintings.)

While I read these books first and foremost for biographical insight into her parents (and the aftermath of her father's death), I also appreciated the poems. Frieda's not a genius, like her parents were, but she is original and a very GOOD poet. And the concept of "Waxworks" was interesting, too: historical and literary figures ranging from Medusa to Rumpelstiltskin to Vlad the Impaler speaking their pieces. I think I would have enjoyed this venture more purely for its own literary, rather than biographical, merits had I not just read elsewhere that many of the figures were expressing the author's own anger at her stepmother Carol.

Since Frieda Hughes's 1998 poetry debut "Wooroloo," I hadn't kept up with anything about her career. Maybe not completely convinced that she was serious about her writing, I suppose. And maybe still living only in "Ted-n-Sylvia Land," thinking "OK, thanks, Child Of, for letting us know what their first-born's been doing..." The books showed me that she was/is, indeed, serious. And they also reinforced a sense of tragedy that I didn't necessarily want to think still existed in the line: All three of her poetry books I've mentioned here were dedicated to her husband, the painter Laszlo Lukacs. Whom she divorced last year. Her years as a child and young woman didn't seem too happy, so I had been happy for her that her third marriage seemed to have been a stable one... Nope. The 2010 divorce coming after the 2009 suicide of her brother Nicholas. (Like learning from Linda Gray Sexton's new book about her own recent suicide attempts, it just drilled the truth-nail home: Life just keeps on comin' at ya. There are no happy endings. Life, interminably, goes on with its hurts. Until it doesn't.) Ted Hughes's 1998 "Birthday Letters" didn't neatly tie up the Plath/Hughes saga.

Speaking of the man himself, I also Saturday checked out his 1300-some-odd-page 2003 "Collected Poems." I'd already over the years bought most of his individual books anyway so didn't think I needed to even look at the Collected, but... One thing I'd heard about over the years was an extremely limited printing called "Capriccio" about Assia Wevill that he'd released in 1990. All 20 poems from that book were in "Collected"! Plus numerous uncollected poems; I was especially interested in those published immediately before and after "Birthday Letters." Including the goose-bump-raising "The Offers," about his visitations from Sylvia Plath three times after her death. Reading this reminded me that no one writes like him. The complete meshing of the physical and metaphysical. And when he's writing about the metaphysical -- like the ghost of his first wife that he first spots on a north-bound train -- he ain't fooling around with "Symbols of Grief." I fully believe that he saw, all three times, what he saw.

And I also got the nearly-800-page 2007 "Letters of Ted Hughes." Stayed up 'til 7am Sunday morning with them and just got 'til 1970. Another 400 pages to go. I started out skimming, again focusing, pruriently, mainly on the letters to Plath (during their brief separation before she revealed her marriage to her supervisors at Cambridge) and then the letters to Assia in the late '60s... But ended up going back and making myself start from the beginning. He's just a person with an original viewpoint of things around him. Even as a teenager, his letters are fresh and interesting to read.

When I lugged my bag-full o' books home Saturday, I started reading at 7pm and couldn't stop 'til 7am! Ending with Hughes in Vol. III of "The Paris Review Interviews":

"...Every poem that works is like a metaphor of the whole mind writing, the solution of all the oppositions and imbalances going on at that time. When the mind finds the balance of all those things and projects it, that's a poem. It's a kind of hologram of the mental condition at that moment, which then immediately changes and moves on to some other sort of balance and rearrangement. What counts is that it be a symbol of that momentary wholeness."

And then:

"...The great Sufi master Ibn el-Arabi described the essential method of spiritual advancement as an inner conversation with the personalities that seem to exist beyond what you regard as your own limits...getting those personalities to tell you what you did not know, or what you could not easily conceive of within your habitual limits. This is commonplace in some therapies, of course."

Of course! :) Myself, having had only maybe 6 weeks of therapy in my 45 years, have, since age 12 or so, always turned to literary and other artistic seers for knowledge and explanation. And when I've done so, after weeding out the wheat from the chaff, I've hardly ever been disappointed. Ted Hughes has been, for a long time, one of my seers. (The other seers: Plath. Sexton. Rilke. John Lennon. And, yes, Joan Crawford -- as I've said before, one of maybe two or three actors who have ever given me goosebumps because of what otherworldly truths they're channeling and making available to the general public via their own special receptivity.)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Decipher Love

I feel like it's written all over me
In hieroglyphs, bar-code, graffiti
Scrawled across stars, set in stone
Under which I, and all words, lie.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Gone With the Wind

There's much that can be learned from watching this movie. One of the harshest psychological movies ever made. The awful, mistrustful dynamic between Scarlett and Rhett is sometimes forgotten in the sweep of the grand drama and of Scarlett and Rhett's initial attractive, cocky personalities that first save and ultimately betray them.

Question for S: You really want your Ashley? Really? Watch and re-watch the movie. See what happens there with Scarlett and Ashley at the end. LEARN, silly. LEARN.

Paul McCartney, 1971: Back Seat of My Car

Monday, May 09, 2011

Here We Go Again

I Corinthians 13

1: Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2: And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
3: And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
4: Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5: Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6: Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7: Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8: Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9: For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10: But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11: When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12: For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13: And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

I'd forgotten...


...how nice it was to sit outside on a balmy spring evening into night and sip cocktails (my old Cape Cods) and talk and talk and talk...for 6 hours! I even ran out of cigarettes halfway through and didn't mind.



Thursday, May 05, 2011

Upon Reflection

The mirror's still clean from when you didn't show.
The glass I threw when you weren't looking
Missed you too.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

My Mother and The Green Fairy









My mother was telling me today that she and her "gentleman friend" had been mixing "licorice-flavored drinks" recently; even after she mentioned "Pernod," it didn't click what she had been making until she mentioned a sugar cube and serrated spoon!

She and her beau have been slurping up ABSINTHE!

I must admit that I was a little shocked. OK, so there's no longer any hallucinogenic wormwood in it, but still...the decadent reputation remains. And she insisted that I had to try it! (Ma, like I need another addiction!) And, not only try it in the pure form, but also in some newfangled thang called the "Traffic Light": Pernod, OJ, and cranberry juice that, when mixed, create three distinct layers that are apparently delightful to observe before sucking down!

What the hell am I doing in my one-room apartment drinking Bud alone night after night while my 70-year-old mother and her "gentleman friend" are experimenting with absinthe! (Note to God: Please let me find someone that I can drink absinthe, and the offshoot drinks, with!) :)

One other thing: She's got that Degas print (see below) up in her house! Thus indicating that she's been fascinated by this Forbidden World for quite some time now. Most likely beginning when she was an au pair girl in Paris in 1960. Oh my goodness. The French.

Effects of Absinthe.

Imperial Bedroom: Beyond Belief

Elvis Costello's "Imperial Bedroom" from 1982 is brilliant. For days now, I've been thinking about the song "Human Hands." Unfortunately, can't find it anywhere on YouTube to share here. I did, though, find another great song from the same album, "Beyond Belief."




History repeats the old conceits
The glib replies the same defeats
Keep your finger on important issues
With crocodile tears and a pocketful of tissues
I'm just the oily slick
On the windup world of the nervous tick
In a very fashionable hovel

I hang around dying to be tortured
You'll never be alone in the bone orchard
This battle with the bottle is nothing so novel

So in this almost empty gin palace
Through a two-way looking glass
You see your Alice

You know she has no sense
For all your jealousy
In a sense she still smiles very sweetly

Charged with insults and flattery
Her body moves with malice
Do you have to be so cruel to be callous

And now you find you fit this identikit completely
You say you have no secrets
And then leave discreetly

I might make it California's fault
Be locked in Geneva's deepest vault
Just like the canals of Mars and the great barrier reef
I come to you beyond belief

My hands were clammy and cunning
She's been suitably stunning
But I know there's not a hope in Hades
All the laddies cat call and wolf whistle
So-called gentlemen and ladies
Dog fight like rose and thistle

I've got a feeling
I'm going to get a lot of grief
Once this seemed so appealing
Now I am beyond belief

Sunday, May 01, 2011

BIN LADEN DEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What a psychological burden lifted for the United States. What a possibility for a new national chapter.

I'm reminded of how it felt when America learned that the Vietnam War was over, after all those years of national strife and just plain icky feelings all the way around. I was 10 in 1975 when President Ford announced that the South Vietnamese (our allies) had surrendered. I remember watching the news with my mom, and her saying, "Finally this awful thing is over." What a weight lifted then. What a weight lifted now.

I just went and looked up when the South Vietnamese surrendered: April 30, 1975. And now the day after, May 1, for bin Laden's end. (BTW, Hitler killed himself on April 30, 1945.)

An interesting time of year...

May the happy wedding of Will and Kate on the 29th and the deserved death of bin Laden today somehow merge to create a sense of a new future... At the very least, surely there's no need to be in Afghanistan any more. And no further need to give the corrupt Pakistani government billions of dollars for their "help" in looking for bin Laden. And we now have a reasonable reason for a QUICK out from Iraq.

Can we please come home now? Please?

At this moment, I feel such a rush. Why? The sense of PURE JUSTICE being done (at long last)...

The Good Day

Things have been kind of shitty for the past couple of weeks! For one thing, 3 out of 5 checks from the company I did a job for in February have been late (at least a week past the promised "60-day" payment schedule; as if 60 days themselves were not already long enough to wait for your money!). After the first one was late, I thought for sure they'd be embarrassed about screwing up again. Apparently not. And the person in charge of payroll at the company is a fool. Excuse after excuse. I'm just crossing my fingers that I get the last checks at all. It's a real psychological drain dealing with all of that...

Anyhow... I liked today. Things have been pleasant since Friday, actually! The Royal Wedding made me feel happy and made me think about the possibility of true Soul Unification (for want of a better term). And later that day I went to the library, which always puts me in a good mood, as does walking around downtown Austin...

As for today: It was just a great mass of productivity:

Got up at 9am.
Started laundry.
Walked a couple of blocks for a cheap (but gooood) breakfast taco.
Moved laundry to dryer, scarfed down the taco, started the mass of dishes that have been piling up for a week.
Put all the laundry away, finished up the dishes.
Started hand-washing stuff that had been piling up for weeks.
Did 7.75 hours worth of freelance work! (due Tuesday; I'm ahead of schedule)

And then: A beloved cold front blew in!!! (down to 60-ish after 2 months of nasty non-springlike heat)

Took a brisk walk around the 'hood; discovered that my beer store has LOWERED the price of a pack of cigs by about 50 cents! Now the same price as the grocery store!

HOLD ON: I have Andy Cohen's "Watch What Happens" on in the background, and he just said, "You'll always remember what you were watching when you heard this news: Osama bin Laden is dead." WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Let me go check on that!

Makin' Friends


I really, really hate spiders, but there's always been one kind that I never kill when I see them in my house: little jumping spiders! (I used to call them "hopalongs.") They are the cutest things and like to hang out on windowsills and blinds, usually. But for the past two days I've had a couple of brothers making their way all over my apartment. One of them keeps to himself (the ceiling and walls), but the other one has come to say "hi" to me twice now: My computer table is by the kitchen counter, with a built-in bookshelf suspended above the counter; twice now in two days, I've been typing away, only to have a little friend suddenly unravel himself from the shelf to dangle just inches above my computer! I KNOW he knows I'm right here (just looked it up: they have great eyesight). The first time I was startled and involuntarily took a swat at him; he took off and hid. The next time it happened, I just started to blow on him; he put up with that for a couple of seconds, then casually climbed back up his thread to the bookshelf. They're fun to watch!

Only one thing though: This morning, one of them hopped himself onto my pillow. My head wasn't on it, but I was, however, sitting right there. When I shooed him off, it looked like he hopped on under the bedcovers... THAT is not cool. I've been horrified since childhood about the idea of a spider burrowing into my ear while I slept! I probably (regrettably) will have to squush somebody if he keeps hanging around the pillow! :) (Oh geez, how Freudian this is all starting to sound...)