31 October 2005

Memory Lane Monday

My very favorite part of Halloween has always been the jack o'lanterns. I love them. I loved helping my dad pick out the pumpkins when I was little. He always carved. Always. There was quite a ceremony involved. First we had to help design. There wasn't much to that back in those days. You know ... two triangle eyes, a triangle nose and mouth with some teeth. The design elements were in the placement of the teeth and deciding on squares or triangles for teeth. That was kind of ... it. Then out came the knives and the sharpener. First we had to sing while he sharpened, "shirah ... shirah ... smoked meat for dinner." Don't ask ... that's just what you sing when you sharpen a knife in my house (when I was growing up anyway). Then that first stab, deep into the meat, top down, making sure to cut out a little triangle so you always know how to put the top back on. Very careful and methodical. Then the eyes. Then the nose. And finally the mouth. We all (my two brothers and I) sat in a semi-circle in chairs, while my dad kneeled on the floor of the kitchen to do this. I suspect this was to keep us out of harm's way. And he would talk to us and laugh and peer at us over his glasses, with one eyebrow up.

Then when they were all three done, Mom would produce the candles. I still can't get candles to stand up in a pumpkin the way my mom could. She had the touch. We tested them in the kitchen, got the candles just so. Then all three marched our pumpkins out to the front porch and found our positions. And ... the grand lighting. And stand back and look. Who has bigger grins? Children or pumpkins?

It was quite a rite of passage, albeit unspoken, when we were finally old enough, responsible enough, strong enough to carve our own pumpkins. To not sit in the ring anymore. Old enough to join my dad on the floor with the knives. What joy to take that first stab myself and feel the bite of the knife into pumpkin flesh. Ahhh ... and make the design elements my own. To finally understand why it can't have a curvy mouth, but maybe I can make it? Maybe I can.

For years I looked forward to the day when my children would sit in a ring while I carved the pumpkins. And today for the first time ... we did. They helped me decide what kind of eyes and nose and yes, a curvy mouth (because ... I can!). They sat with me while I took that first bite with the knife and carved the special little triangle in the top. While I carved out first eyes, then nose, then curvy mouth.

Now ... who has bigger grins? Children or pumpkins? Or Mom?

A Tale of Two Attitudes

So it didn't make the news ... at least not much, but Wilma actually took two bites at our apple. She swung through the southeast, went out to sea and ran back ashore in New England as a dreaded (or beloved) nor'easter and dumped a literal ton of snow in Vermont last week. It was really heavy wet snow and it took down a lot of trees and the powerlines that they surround. Both LightHusband's parents and my parents still live in Vermont and so they had stories to tell us of how they survived and thrived the October snow of aught five! I had separate conversations with our moms this weekend and was struck by how vastly different our parents are and wondered (yet again) ... just how do we make this marriage work?? Here it is in a nutshell, the two very different worlds that LightHusband and I come from. I won't tell you which parent was whos' ... I'll see if you can guess.

Parent Set T - heard the nor'easter was coming and they prepared!! They filled the bathtubs with water. They filled the larder with canned foods. They filled the racks with wood for the stove. They purchased replacement oil lamps and mantles. They battened the hatches. They found the propane stove and ensured that it was in working order. They found the battery operated, black&white television and the ham radio. In every way that they could think of ... they were prepared. And then, they settled in, lit the fire in the wood stove and got cozy. When the story was told, they knew exactly how long the power was out: "twenty-six and a half hours."

Parent Set O - may or may not have heard the nor'easter was coming, but sometime around eleven o'clock on Tuesday night the lights went out. This caused the wife to think that perhaps there would be a problem in the morning ... you see, they grind their coffee each day. Hmmm ... what to do? Well, that would be something to face in the morning when there was more light ... and perhaps the power would be back on by then anyway. In the morning, the power was not on. So, the wife dug around and discovered that it was their good luck to have over-ground on enough occasions to have enough coffee to make one pot. ... Alas ... they use an electronic percolater. Hmmm ... what to do? Oh, yes. They do have an old stove-top percolater ... hmmm ... it's somewhere around here. So that got dug out. But now there's the problem of getting some water. The husband managed to bring some up from the basement cistern. And so it went. When asked how long their power was out, the response went something like this: "Well, I think it was 36 hours but it might not have been, but well, I couldn't wash my hair Wednesday, but I had a hair appointment, so it got washed then, but then I couldn't wash it on Thursday ........"

It all made me laugh with glee. We're so fortunate to have such healthy parents at this stage of our lives. On one hand, the organization of the T's was impressive and I imagined them riding out the storm, cozy in their snug preparation. On the other hand, the adventure that the O's experienced sounded like a lot of fun too. I don't know that I'd necessarily pick one over the other (and I used to think I had to), but I really enjoyed it all from both of their perspectives.

30 October 2005

Breathing Again

"Tomorrow is Halloween!!"

LightBoy announced this with joy, glee, enthusiasm and many decibels as we left our breakfast buffet this morning. It made me long for the days when I could control when the children knew what day was when. They didn't know it was Halloween (or Christmas or Easter or whatever) until I was ready for them to know. It was much easier back then. Now ... I just ride the wave.

BUT ... this year. The costumes are ready. I am not spending the "day of" in a mad sewing spree trying to beat the clock. LightBoy will be some Bionicle (Makuta, I believe). He found his choice on eBay and we bought the costume earlier this month -- it's hanging in his closet (or it should be). LightGirl will be a witch ala Hermione of Harry Potter fame. And ... I am pleased to announce, the dress ...

... is ....



The wand has been purchased.

And all that remains are appropriate, tasteful hair and makeup choices.

Which (no doubt) will be hammered out during long, procrastinatory discussions over grammar, math, spelling, etc. tomorrow. Because we must have some pain to go with our pleasure on Halloween.

28 October 2005

Rich Young Ruler

So the other day my BrickFriend wrote a post in which he mused about Jesus' command to a rich young man to "sell everything" and follow Him. You should read the post because it's quite good and there are several comments after it which are also good. They led me to do a lot of thinking. And then I went back to the text and did some reading because I wanted to read the story again and see just what was going on, who was Jesus talking to and what exactly did He say to him. It's in the Gospel according to Mark (chapter 10) and it's pretty short ... so here it is:

17As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
18"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good�except God alone. 19You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother."
20"Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy."
21Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
22At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!"
24The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
26The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, "Who then can be saved?"
27Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God."
28Peter said to him, "We have left everything to follow you!"
29"I tell you the truth," Jesus replied, "no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields�and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. 31But many who are first will be last, and the last first."

You know, I'm sorry, but Jesus comes off sounding sort of like a mystical lunatic in this passage. If we're really honest here, this is not a passage where Jesus sounds particularly sane or makes a lot of sense to our Western, 20th century ears. And I love Him. I really do.

I struggle with this. Because it looks like Jesus is saying, "Sell everything and follow me. That's how you do the Christian thing." And there are certainly some people who do that. Catholic priests, nuns, monks and others like that come to mind. But after having walked this Christian walk for some 15 years now, I'm not certain Jesus was laying down a command here. I've got several reasons for this.

First, the few times that Jesus laid down commands, he was very clear about it. He said things like, "This command I give to you ..." And then the command he gave was fairly broadly brushed. Things like love God and your neighbor. He wasn't into narrow brushes. Which isn't to say his commands are easy. They are difficult. Have you ever tried to love your neighbor as yourself? HONESTLY now. Have you? It's hard and if you're truly honest you've got some kind of pyramid scheme going in your head, where you and your family are at the top and get the best stuff and then maybe your extended family and your bestest friends and then the pyramid extends down from there ... and where does your "neighbor" fit into that scheme? Shouldn't everyone get the best stuff? Why should it be ranked and reserved for you and yours? See what I mean? We all do it ... that's human nature and it's what Jesus was asking us to work against when he lay down that commandment ... but I digress.

Second, if you read the story above again, you'll notice something about the rich young man. He was rich. That's really the only thing we know about him. We can surmise some things about him from that statement. Primarily from that we know he loved "stuff." Jesus knew what he loved and Jesus knew that that "stuff" was going to get in the way of the young man's relationship with Him. That the "stuff" was going to prevent the young man from following Him. There are some people who can have stuff and it doesn't tie them down, because they don't particularly care about it ... they hold it loosely. There are others for whom it is an anchor.

So I finally realized that "stuff" wasn't really the issue in this story. Nor were riches, or parents, or children, or camels, or needles. Altho they all could be. What Jesus was really saying and it took me so long to get was that we need to drop the things (whatever they may be) that keep us from following after Him. And we need to do it in a bold way. For the rich, young ruler in this story that meant selling his stuff and giving the money to the poor ... for that guy, that was a shock, but it might not be a shock to the next guy (and it obviously wasn't a shock to the disciples ... they were pretty pious about it, don't you think?). So I now have the job of figuring out what's keeping me back, what's tying me down. How do I drop it? How do we all?

27 October 2005

Gas Prices?

Anyone wondering why we are paying such high gas prices since Hurricane Katrina? Well ... the wait is over. Now we know. The answer came today. We are paying high gas prices so that the large oil companies can post the largest quarterly profits in history. They tried to say it was because their operations had been disrupted because of the several hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico this late summer and fall. But now we all now it's a load of so much hooey.

Poetry Thursday - Stevenson

The Swing
by Robert Louis Stevenson

How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
Rivers and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside--

Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown--
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!

I know that's a children's poem ... it's one of my favorites from my childhood. When I was little my father would recite it to me when he pushed me on a swing. My Grammy Charlotte used to recite it to me just for fun, with a delighted twinkle in her eyes. Imagine then, my joy, that my lovely daughter loves to go up in the air and down even more than I. She's a real sparkler!

24 October 2005


Those of you who know me well, know of my long addiction to the Law & Order franchise. There was a time when the theme music to the original was the only sound that would bring calm to LightBoy's crying as a baby. There are episodes that I have memorized. Some would call it a sickness ... including me on my better days. But I keep watching. I think I watch, because I know the character's voices so well that I can listen and sew.

In any case, a new season of television has begun. And the new season of Criminal Intent has been really good. But last night's episode should win awards. It won't. But it should. In the beginning an older nun was murdered and inwardly I groaned. I thought, "oh ... and how stupid are they going to make people of faith look this time?" But I was in for a pleasant surprise. As it turned out the episode turned on the sins in the past of a young nun. She had lured a black man to a severe beating that left him slightly more than vegetative, but not much more. His younger brother cared for him and was looking for the woman (now a nun, but he didn't know this) who could give evidence against the men who had administered the beating. It was the younger brother in a passion to find this woman who had killed the older nun that sparked the investigation. Get it? Okay ...

In the climactic scene where two detectives question the younger nun about her troubled past, I was struck by how sensitively the producers handled it. She was clearly struggling with what to tell, how much, whether or not to trust God, trust the police, and how to clear her conscience. In the medium of television where thoughts must be depicted with pictures, her eyes wandered to a painting of Jesus struggling with through the streets of Jerusalem with the cross ... the crowd pressing in on him. And she clearly drew strength from knowing that her God had walked down the same path that she was about to. And I thought, "wow ... this can't really be on tv, can it?" This sensitive portrayal of courageous faith doing the right thing. Faith that was only courageous with the support of a community of others. Faith for the moment and in the moment. Faith that lived with open hands in a tight-fisted world.

I wept with that television nun as she found her courage, confessed her part in evil and rid herself of its shame. I wonder if those producers know that they were really showing us a little glimpse of God's Kingdom last night. But I did. And I'm glad.

21 October 2005

Pet Peeve

Last night LightHusband and I (along with several thousand other fans) watched our favorite rock musicians play and sing. We went to the MCI Center and saw U2 play. It was a good concert. Not quite as wonderful as the concert we saw in May in Philly ... but still ... most excellent. I was glad we went, I have a feeling that they're not going to be doing this for too much longer. I don't think they're going to do the "dinosaur tour," like Rolling Stones or Yes. At least I hope they don't.

Anyway, during the opening act (Damian Marley - excellent by the way) I did what most women at the concert did. I "powdered my nose." I "used the restroom." I'll try to be delicate about this ... but there's really no way to be. I don't know who started the urban myth that you can catch diseases from toilet seats, but I want to find that person and torture them. Then I want to find the rest of the women who think it's perfectly fine to "sprinkle when they tinkle" and LEAVE IT THERE and do NOT clean up after themselves. I would like to lock them in a room with their own pee ... no, wait ... someone else's pee ... for a day. I would like to find all the women who think it's okay to leave long drifts of toilet paper wafting about the restroom without disposing of it properly and wrap them up like Egyptian mummies for a day. I understand that "using the restroom" in a public place puts one in a somewhat vulnerable position and so women like to take certain (howshallisayit) "precautions." But then they need to CLEAN UP AFTER THEMSELVES. Honestly ... most women enter a public restroom and turn into the Wicked Stepsisters from Cinderella. They act like they've never cleaned a thing, certainly not after themselves and they create a pigsty for everyone. It's disgusting and I'm tired of it.

Any of you women have any ideas about how we can change this unfortunate social trend?

18 October 2005

Memory Lane ... Tuesday

My BrickFriend's "Song o'the Day" today sparked a memory for me. His song today is by James Taylor. I think it's Fire and Rain ... but it was seeing James Taylor's name that sparked the memory. So ... here it is.

The spring I turned 18, I was a senior in high school and had a really tight group of friends. We were all in the spring musical together. The musical that year was "Kiss Me Kate," by Cole Porter. My two best friends had the lead roles and I even had a supporting role, and miracle of god-awful miracles I got to sing a song, out loud, in public, all by my self. It's the only time I've ever screwed up the courage to do that ... ever. And there are good reasons for it.

Any way ...

All of my friends and I do mean ALL of them were in the play in some manner. We had a ball together. But it just so happened that year that my birthday was on a Saturday. The Saturday of the "Tech Rehearsal." ACK!!

Oh well ... so I got to spend the day with my friends sitting around in the high school auditorium, futzing with lighting and sound and props and etc.. That night one of my best friends hosted a party for me. I made my own cake (German Chocolate Cake). We had a ball. All my friends came.

Here's the James Taylor part ... one of my friends ... well, really, two of them (a brother and sister), gave me what was obviously a record album. Yes, this was in the days before CDs. So, I eagerly tore off the paper wondering, "Would it be Styx? Kansas? Aerosmith? Jay Giles Band? Abba, the BeeGees, or even the Eagles?" What could it be? ... I was excited!! So imagine my thoughts and disappointment that I had to try to cover when it turned out to be ...



a used ...

ENGELBERT HUMPERDINCK album!! (make sure you have your sound on when you click on that link!)

WHAT the H ... E ... doublehockeysticksamisupposedtodowiththis?????????

Oh ... we all had a huge laugh.

And then they pulled out the "real" gift. A brand new James Taylor "JT" album, that I treasured for many years. But I've treasured the memory for many more.

Salt? Light?

On Sunday my little church continued it's consideration of that passage in the Bible we now call The Sermon on the Mount (it's in the gospel according to Matthew, chapters 5, 6, and 7). We were looking especially at this passage:

13"Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You've lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.

14"Here's another way to put it: You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. 15If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I'm putting you on a light stand. 16Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand--shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

So we did something a little different. We actually tasted salt. Well ... we tasted some food (curry and coffee cake to be specific) withOUT salt and then WITH salt. To see what the difference was. To see for ourselves what exactly it is that salt does to food when you use it in cooking. We called it "culinary worship." What was interesting was that all the flavors were all there without the salt, you just couldn't really taste them. They were flat, like flat soda. But when you add salt, just a little (like a quarter to half a teaspoon - depending on the recipe), the flavors just pop!

During the whole service, one of our community painted a painting in very dim light on the stage. At the end we got to watch as the light played on it. To see what light does to color. To watch as the colors that were already there came out as the light was added.

So I've been thinking since then about the last couple of sentences in that passage. "Keep open house; be generous with your life. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven." And thinking about how to be more generous - emotionally, financially, mentally, physically. That part fascinates me and makes me think it would be possible to live in Christmas morning all year round. What would the world look like if we all did that? What would the world look like if we all made all the little decisions in our lives through the lens of generosity towards others? Rather than making those same decisions based on how much money we'd save, or how many more "x" we can get for a dollar or how much more quickly we can attain the great American dream (whatever that is anymore)? I've just been wondering ....

17 October 2005


Here is how I picture my life on most days. See all the plates? It's my job to keep them spinning evenly and on the little sticks. I must not let them crash to the ground. The plates are all of the things in my life. I'm okay as long as it's only 3 or 4 plates ... but lately I've got about 8 plates spinning, with 3 or 4 in crisis mode and so I feel like my head is being crushed between two large bricks. It's not painful, as in it's not causing a headache, it's just that I feel as tho I'm not making good decisions, I'm probably saying and doing things that don't make sense and in the long run I hope they don't cause me more problems. I don't have enough time to spend with people or enough energy. I think if I were able to go to bed earlier, and get up earlier and have a more solid routine in my life everything would work better. But I don't seem to be able to make that happen ... so I keep rushing from plate to plate. I don't like it. It's unbalanced. LightHusband loves it. He thrives rushing around from crisis to crisis, saving the day one more time. I do not like living like this. I wish I could just buy a routine from Sears and then it would work for me.

13 October 2005

Poetry Thursday - Angelou

Phenomenal Woman
by Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

10 October 2005

Heaven ...

... stopped by my house on Saturday.

You wouldn't know it to look at it. But it did.

When Jesus walked the earth on two legs, he did a lot of talking about heaven. Except that he called it the kingdom of God. In the roughly 2,000 years since then there's been a lot of speculation about what he meant and lots of denominational strife about it too. But if you read the Bible and read what Jesus had to say about the kingdom of God, I think you'll agree it stopped by my house on Saturday. But you wouldn't know it to look at it now. Here's what happened.

As most of you know, I was down at the beach in North Carolina. So, for me this started with a phone call from the woman who was looking after our pets in our absence. She had come over to move them out of the way for some other (mutual friends) who were moving some of their stuff into an unfinished storage room in our basement. When she opened the door to the basement our dog, Sam, went running ahead of her (he loves the basement for some silly reason). And when he got to the bottom of the stairs, she heard splashing. It's never good to hear splashing when you are inside a house, unless you're in a bathroom or a kitchen. But when you're nearing a basement ... it's bad. I've neglected to tell you that at this point it had been raining for about 18 hours, and raining hard. The remnants of a hurricane had hit the mid-Atlantic seaboard after a long summer drought. And apparently the sump pump which normally keeps our basement nice and dry, had failed. But we didn't notice it, because there had been nothing for it to pump for the last two months. By the time she got down there, there were about two inches of water in our basement. Our floating floor was really and truly floating! And so were LightHusband's rope-tension snare drums and my boxes of fabric. Fortunately, the fabric was in plastic boxes and the snare drums are parade drums and are made to take the wet. So most of the stuff (and it is ... just **stuff**) is fine and what isn't can be fixed. There are some toys from the playroom that will have to be thrown away and some furniture too. Some computer equipment from his office is ruined. But none of it is irreplaceable.

Here's how heaven (or the kingdom of God) was here. Through some (call it coincidence, divine intervention, whatever you will) happy circumstance our friends were already on their way here when this discovery was made. The discovery was made when the water was only two inches deep instead of six or eight and waited til we got home Sunday afternoon. And those friends marked the spot that the water came to, pulled our stuff out of the water and carried it out of harm's way, mourned with us, laughed with us, cared with us, propped us up, and carried us through and will continue to carry us. And these friends were moving other people. This was not the only item on the day's agenda. There was still the back-breaking, heart-wrenching move to accomplish.

So ... to my AwakeFriend and his beautiful wife, my BrickFriend, PureGold, the StoryTeller, GreenGrass, P3T3, LinusLetters and everyone else who was here ... helping with the move and helping with the flood
, and to my friends at the beach who helped me to see that I can get through this and do my regular life too ... you carry God's kingdom in your hearts, you are a lamp that shines on a hill, and you brought heaven to my house on Saturday and peace of mind to my heart for always. Thank you.

08 October 2005

An Albatross

So, since I'm sitting down by the ocean for the week, it seems fitting that I should, this rainy morning, be dealing with an albatross. This albatross has shadowed me for my whole life. It will continue to follow me and you would think that after 44+ years, I would have learned to embrace it. But I continue to dance with it. Here's how the dance goes.

Well ... first, some back story, so you know what the albatross is. I have a big mouth. I talk too much. I say things that end up hurting others feelings, shaming them, embarrassing them, etc. When I was a child, I got called all sorts of lovely names that went along with this albatross so I would know when I was out of line. One of the wonders of public education in this country ... it's why we send our kids to school, so they can be "socialized." Terrorized. But that's for another post. So I learned that there were times that I should keep my mouth shut ... but I was rebellious about it. Eventually, I came to understand how hurtful words could be (that old saw about sticks and stones is a load of crap), and put my mouth under lock and key of my own accord. But here's the problem. It doesn't stay that way. My feelings override my good sense and I say things that hurt others and I continue this dance with my albatross. It is ongoing. I hate this about myself

So yesterday my brickfriend posted something that hit a nerve. I'm old enough now to know better. I'm old enough now to have enough good sense to know when to shut up. But apparently I do not. And I said too much (AGAIN) and I said things that caused him shame and embarrassment and pain. So, there's nothing I can do now except make a public apology for this mouth, and mostly for those words which cause such pain to others. I am so sorry.

06 October 2005

Poetry Thursday - Ginsburg

In honor of the "Beat" Generation and the anniversary of the first "official" reading in San Francisco 50 years ago today. Here is:

by Alan Ginsburg

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by
madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at
dawn looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient
heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the
machinery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high
sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of
cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities
contemplating jazz,
who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and
saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tene-
ment roofs illuminated,
who passed through universities with radiant cool
eyes hallucinating Arkansas and Blake-light tragedy
among the scholars of war,
who were expelled from the academies for crazy &
publishing obscene odes on the windows of the skull,
who cowered in unshaven rooms in underwear, burn-
ing their money in wastebaskets and listening
to the Terror through the wall,
who got busted in their pubic beards returning through
Laredo with a belt of marijuana for New York,
who ate fire in paint hotels or drank turpentine in
Paradise Alley, death, or purgatoried their torsos night after night
with dreams, with drugs, with waking nightmares, al-
cohol and cock and endless balls,
incomparable blind; streets of shuddering cloud and
lightning in the mind leaping toward poles of
Canada & Paterson, illuminating all the
motionless world of Time between,
Peyote solidities of halls, backyard green tree cemetery
dawns, wine drunkenness over the rooftops,
storefront boroughs of teahead joyride neon
blinking traffic light, sun and moon and tree
vibrations in the roaring winter dusks of Brooklyn,
ashcan rantings and kind king light of mind,
who chained themselves to subways for the endless
ride from Battery to holy Bronx on benzedrine
until the noise of wheels and children brought
them down shuddering mouth-wracked and
battered bleak of brain all drained of brilliance
in the drear light of Zoo,
who sank all night in submarine light of Bickford's
floated out and sat through the stale beer after
noon in desolate Fugazzi's, listening to the crack
of doom on the hydrogen jukebox,
who talked continuously seventy hours from park to
pad to bar to Bellevue to museum to the Brook-
lyn Bridge, lost battalion of platonic conversationalists jumping
down the stoops off fire escapes off windowsills
off Empire State out of the moon,
yacketayakking screaming vomiting whispering facts
and memories and anecdotes and eyeball kicks
and shocks of hospitals and jails and wars,
whole intellects disgorged in total recall for seven days
and nights with brilliant eyes, meat for the
Synagogue cast on the pavement,
who vanished into nowhere Zen New Jersey leaving a
trail of ambiguous picture postcards of Atlantic
City Hall, suffering Eastern sweats and Tangerian
bone-grindings and migraines of China under junk-
withdrawal in Newark's bleak furnished room,
who wandered around and around at midnight in the
railroad yard wondering where to go, and went,
leaving no broken hearts, who lit cigarettes in boxcars boxcars boxcars racketing
through snow toward lonesome farms in grand-
father night, who studied Plotinus Poe St. John of the Cross
telepathy and bop kabbalah because the cosmos
instinctively vibrated at their feet in Kansas,
who loned it through the streets of Idaho seeking
visionary indian angels who were visionary indian
angels, who thought they were only mad when Baltimore
gleamed in supernatural ecstasy, who jumped in limousines with the
Chinaman of Oklahoma on the impulse of winter midnight street
light smalltown rain, who lounged hungry and lonesome through Houston
seeking jazz or sex or soup, and followed the
brilliant Spaniard to converse about America
and Eternity, a hopeless task, and so took ship
to Africa, who disappeared into the volcanoes of Mexico leaving
behind nothing but the shadow of dungarees
and the lava and ash of poetry scattered in fire
place Chicago, who reappeared on the West Coast investigating the
F.B.I. in beards and shorts with big pacifist
eyes sexy in their dark skin passing out
incomprehensible leaflets,
who burned cigarette holes in their arms protesting
the narcotic tobacco haze of Capitalism,
who distributed Supercommunist pamphlets in Union
Square weeping and undressing while the sirens
of Los Alamos wailed them down, and wailed
down Wall, and the Staten Island ferry also
wailed, who broke down crying in white gymnasiums naked
and trembling before the machinery of other
skeletons, who bit detectives in the neck and shrieked with delight
in policecars for committing no crime but their
own wild cooking pederasty and intoxication,
who howled on their knees in the subway and were
dragged off the roof waving genitals and
manuscripts, who let themselves be f*cked in the ass by saintly
motorcyclists, and screamed with joy,
who blew and were blown by those human seraphim,
the sailors, caresses of Atlantic and Caribbean
love, who balled in the morning in the evenings in rose
gardens and the grass of public parks and
cemeteries scattering their semen freely to
whomever come who may,
who hiccuped endlessly trying to giggle but wound up
with a sob behind a partition in a Turkish Bath
when the blond & naked angel came to pierce
them with a sword, who lost their loveboys to the three old shrews of fate
the one eyed shrew of the heterosexual dollar
the one eyed shrew that winks out of the womb
and the one eyed shrew that does nothing but
sit on her ass and snip the intellectual golden
threads of the craftsman's loom,
who copulated ecstatic and insatiate with a bottle of
beer a sweetheart a package of cigarettes a
candle and fell off the bed, and continued along
the floor and down the hall and ended fainting
on the wall with a vision of ultimate cunt and
come eluding the last gyzym of consciousness,
who sweetened the snatches of a million girls trembling
in the sunset, and were red eyed in the morning
but prepared to sweeten the snatch of the sun
rise, flashing buttocks under barns and naked
in the lake, who went out whoring through Colorado in myriad
stolen night-cars, N.C., secret hero of these
poems, cocksman and Adonis of Denver-joy
to the memory of his innumerable lays of girls
in empty lots & diner backyards, moviehouses'
rickety rows, on mountaintops in caves or with
gaunt waitresses in familiar roadside lonely
petticoat upliftings & especially secret gas-station
solipsisms of johns, & hometown alleys too,
who faded out in vast sordid movies, were shifted in
dreams, woke on a sudden Manhattan, and
picked themselves up out of basements hung
over with heartless Tokay and horrors of Third
Avenue iron dreams & stumbled to unemployment
offices, who walked all night with their shoes full of blood on
the snowbank docks waiting for a door in the
East River to open to a room full of steamheat
and opium, who created great suicidal dramas on the apartment
cliff-banks of the Hudson under the wartime
blue floodlight of the moon & their heads shall
be crowned with laurel in oblivion,
who ate the lamb stew of the imagination or digested
the crab at the muddy bottom of the rivers of
Bowery, who wept at the romance of the streets with their
pushcarts full of onions and bad music,
who sat in boxes breathing in the darkness under the
bridge, and rose up to build harpsichords in
their lofts, who coughed on the sixth floor of Harlem crowned
with flame under the tubercular sky surrounded
by orange crates of theology, who scribbled all night rocking and rolling over lofty
incantations which in the yellow morning were
stanzas of gibberish, who cooked rotten animals lung heart feet tail borsht
& tortillas dreaming of the pure vegetable kingdom, who plunged themselves
under meat trucks looking for an egg,
who threw their watches off the roof to cast their ballot
for Eternity outside of Time, & alarm clocks
fell on their heads every day for the next decade,
who cut their wrists three times successively
unsuccessfully, gave up and were forced to open antique
stores where they thought they were growing
old and cried, who were burned alive in their innocent flannel suits
on Madison Avenue amid blasts of leaden verse
& the tanked-up clatter of the iron regiments
of fashion & the nitroglycerine shrieks of the
fairies of advertising & the mustard gas of
sinister intelligent editors, or were run down by the
drunken taxicabs of Absolute Reality,
who jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge this actually
happened and walked away unknown and forgotten
into the ghostly daze of Chinatown soup alley
ways & firetrucks, not even one free beer,
who sang out of their windows in despair, fell out of
the subway window, jumped in the filthy
Passaic, leaped on negroes, cried all over the street,
danced on broken wineglasses barefoot smashed
phonograph records of nostalgic European
1930s German jazz finished the whiskey and
threw up groaning into the bloody toilet, moans
in their ears and the blast of colossal steam
whistles, who barreled down the highways of the past journeying
to each other's hotrod-Golgotha jail-solitude
watch or Birmingham jazz incarnation,
who drove cross-country seventy-two hours to find out
if I had a vision or you had a vision or he had
a vision to find out Eternity,
who journeyed to Denver, who died in Denver, who
came back to Denver & waited in vain, who
watched over Denver & brooded & loned in
Denver and finally went away to find out the
Time, & now Denver is lonesome for her heroes,
who fell on their knees in hopeless cathedrals praying
for each other's salvation and light and breasts,
until the soul illuminated its hair for a second,
who crashed through their minds in jail waiting for
impossible criminals with golden heads and the
charm of reality in their hearts who sang sweet
blues to Alcatraz,
who retired to Mexico to cultivate a habit, or Rocky
Mount to tender Buddha or Tangiers to boys
or Southern Pacific to the black locomotive or
Harvard to Narcissus to Woodlawn to the
daisychain or grave,
who demanded sanity trials accusing the radio of
hypnotism & were left with their insanity & their
hands & a hung jury
who threw potato salad at CCNY lecturers on Dadaism
and subsequently presented themselves on the
granite steps of the madhouse with shaven heads
and harlequin speech of suicide, demanding
instantaneous lobotomy,
and who were given instead the concrete void of insulin
Metrazol electricity hydrotherapy
psycho-therapy occupational therapy pingpong &
amnesia, who in humorless protest overturned only one symbolic
pingpong table, resting briefly in catatonia,
returning years later truly bald except for a wig of
blood, and tears and fingers, to the visible mad
man doom of the wards of the madtowns of the
East, Pilgrim State's Rockland's and Greystone's foetid
halls, bickering with the echoes of the soul, rock-
ing and rolling in the midnight solitude-bench
dolmen-realms of love, dream of life a night-
mare, bodies turned to stone as heavy as the
moon, with mother finally ******, and the last fantastic book
flung out of the tenement window, and the last
door closed at 4. A.M. and the last telephone
slammed at the wall in reply and the last fur-
nished room emptied down to the last piece of
mental furniture, a yellow paper rose twisted
on a wire hanger in the closet, and even that
imaginary, nothing but a hopeful little bit of
hallucination ah, Carl, while you are not safe I am not safe, and
now you're really in the total animal soup of
time and who therefore ran through the icy streets obsessed
with a sudden flash of the alchemy of the use
of the ellipse the catalog the meter & the vibrating plane,
who dreamt and made incarnate gaps in Time & Space
through images juxtaposed, and trapped the
archangel of the soul between 2 visual images
and joined the elemental verbs and set the noun
and dash of consciousness together jumping
with sensation of Pater Omnipotens Aeterna
Deus to recreate the syntax and measure of poor human
prose and stand before you speechless and
intelligent and shaking with shame, rejected yet
confessing out the soul to conform to the rhythm
of thought in his naked and endless head,
the madman bum and angel beat in Time, unknown,
yet putting down here what might be left to say
in time come after death,
and rose reincarnate in the ghostly clothes of jazz in
the goldhorn shadow of the band and blew the
suffering of America's naked mind for love into
an eli eli lamma lamma sabacthani saxophone
cry that shivered the cities down to the last radio
with the absolute heart of the poem of life butchered
out of their own bodies good to eat a thousand

Poetry Thursday - Frost

Once By The Ocean
Robert Frost

The shattered water made a misty din.
Great waves looked over others coming in,
And thought of doing something to the shore
That water never did to land before.
The clouds were low and hairy in the skies,
Like locks blown forward in the gleam of eyes.
You could not tell, and yet it looked as if
The shore was lucky in being backed by cliff,
The cliff in being backed by continent;
It looked as if a night of dark intent
Was coming, and not only a night, an age.
Someone had better be prepared for rage.
There would be more than ocean-water broken
Before God's last Put out the light was spoken.

05 October 2005

The Beach Report

So ... the good news is: we got upgraded. For the house. The bad news is: we got downgraded for internet access.

On our trip down we got the news that the house we had rented (which was across the street from beach access) was, for some mysterious reason, "not available." So the rental agency upgraded us to a beachfront house. Whooo hooooo!! It has the same number of bedrooms, but is a little bigger and has more communal space ... little meeting areas and a lovely theatre room right off the upstairs living area. And, well, all we have to do is walk right down our little boardwalk and we're on the ocean. Can't complain. Not even a little. Except that ...

... we don't have anything except pewy 14.4 dial-up for internet access. So here's my one post for the week. With one picture. And one quote. The rest will wait til I come home. Because, well, we're having too much fun beach combing, swimming, kayaking, fishing, photographing, quilting, talking, eating, and many other things to wait on that silly little internet connection to post on my blog.

But this quote was too funny. It came about after adult swim in the pool. When the adults were still in the pool, and the three littlest children had joined them, but the older three girls seemed to be dawdling. And that was most unlike them. So it was rhetorically asked by one of the adults, "Hmmm ... I wonder what's taking those big girls so long?" To which Lightboy replied, "Oh I didn't tell them they could swim yet." Long loaded pause. "I only told my roommates." Very matter of fact. (His roommates are the twins.) It's become the quote of the week for some reason. I'll leave it to you to remember all the competition between older and younger siblings.

This is a picture of one of the twins doing a handstand in the pool. She is very proud of her newfound ability and wanted it properly documented. She begged and begged the vacation photographer to take a picture of her doing a handstand underwater. He tried to explain what it would look like, but she was not to be deterred and he complied and here is the result ... I love this picture of her beautiful feet waving at me: