Monday, December 31, 2007

Hogmanay

Elegy. To all the men I never kissed.

Let us not discuss all the men I would have preferred to not kiss. They may be consigned to the dustbins of memory, fragments which retain their power by what they lacked as much as for what they provided.

But those whose kiss remains an unknown, enigmatic, mysterious passage between two souls: the link that might have been but never was.

I wanted to love you; but you were always and only you, and the me in your eyes was only a fragment of light across the pavement, the flash of light between skyscrapers. You saw only my reflection. I held only your shadow.

When I woke, the indentation on the pillow was the memory of the head which was never there.

The missed opportunities, the pause that could have been significant, the glance that faltered, the conversations whose halting words masked both intent and confusion. I wanted you, but perhaps I only wanted to want you, and only wanted you to want me.

Ghosts moving across evening light.

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

reading why isn't my handwriting more legible? and when did I forget how to spell? (Blame the Brits.)
weather snow snow snow snow

Saturday, December 29, 2007

recovery

The (sub)urban landscape



This was the Glidden paint factory, but the ownership changed and the buildings are not at all as well maintained.



The old "Josey Ranch" transitioned from fields of cows to fields of houses. The original homestead was "saved", as in not-yet-torn-down.




Stunning photos of trees taken by resident early-career photographer (not I).

reading itineraries
weather thawing

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Merry Quite Contrary



a fleet of balsa wood airplanes
reading Tintin
weather 60's, sunny, gentle breeze

Saturday, December 22, 2007

more on the mobile front




These are difficult to photograph. Shells collected at Harwich Port, summer 2006. Mobile a housewarming present.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

pre-holiday humbug

A day spent reading the most mediocre of twentieth century poets (that would be Hart Crane, inescapably foisted upon me by a cruel universe); a week spent in a peevish sulk; recent writings ruin perfectly decent paper with completely inane text. Instead, I give thee Donne:

A NOCTURNAL UPON ST. LUCY'S DAY, BEING THE SHORTEST DAY.
by John Donne

'TIS the year's midnight, and it is the day's,
Lucy's, who scarce seven hours herself unmasks ;
The sun is spent, and now his flasks
Send forth light squibs, no constant rays ;
The world's whole sap is sunk ;
The general balm th' hydroptic earth hath drunk,
Whither, as to the bed's-feet, life is shrunk,
Dead and interr'd ; yet all these seem to laugh,
Compared with me, who am their epitaph.

Study me then, you who shall lovers be
At the next world, that is, at the next spring ;
For I am every dead thing,
In whom Love wrought new alchemy.
For his art did express
A quintessence even from nothingness,
From dull privations, and lean emptiness ;
He ruin'd me, and I am re-begot
Of absence, darkness, death—things which are not.

All others, from all things, draw all that's good,
Life, soul, form, spirit, whence they being have ;
I, by Love's limbec, am the grave
Of all, that's nothing. Oft a flood
Have we two wept, and so
Drown'd the whole world, us two ; oft did we grow,
To be two chaoses, when we did show
Care to aught else ; and often absences
Withdrew our souls, and made us carcasses.

But I am by her death—which word wrongs her—
Of the first nothing the elixir grown ;
Were I a man, that I were one
I needs must know ; I should prefer,
If I were any beast,
Some ends, some means ; yea plants, yea stones detest,
And love ; all, all some properties invest.
If I an ordinary nothing were,
As shadow, a light, and body must be here.

But I am none ; nor will my sun renew.
You lovers, for whose sake the lesser sun
At this time to the Goat is run
To fetch new lust, and give it you,
Enjoy your summer all,
Since she enjoys her long night's festival.
Let me prepare towards her, and let me call
This hour her vigil, and her eve, since this
Both the year's and the day's deep midnight is.

Source: Donne, John. Poems of John Donne. vol I.
E. K. Chambers, ed.; London: Lawrence & Bullen, 1896. 45-46.


reading: subscription to the Economist expired: life is a vale of tears
weather thawing

Monday, December 17, 2007

cheer and such




Edition of 40, consigned to the United States Postal Service.

Further queries have necessitated a colophon.
Image: father and aunt, circa mid-1950's. Far too much time has already been fruitlessly spent looking online at digitized Sears Christmas Wish Books to completely verify the date.
Images commercially printed on a color laser printer at Puffer Printing, Easthampton, MA.
Backing paper: vintage silver foil wrapping paper with embossed holly and ivy.
Image sizes: 4"x6"; 3x 2"x2"; 2x 1"x1"
Aluminum wire cut to 6" lengths and treated as described in Guy Williams "Making Mobiles".
White bead from a random beading store in North Dallas.
Red paper is probably Fabriano, cover weight. 2"x2."
Silver paint pen is not remotely archival.
Two types of thread were used, either a button-weight grey sewing thread or a cream beading thread.
The edition is not numbered, available only for love and not for money.

reading recipes
weather clear, but do we really require a foot of snow?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

how does this happen?

These two postings appeared on the Conservation DistList recently. The first concerns a very well respected non-profit that seems to have encountered difficulties, and the second is the exceedingly important textile conservation center in England. One wonders when things begin to sour, and what we, as individuals and as professionals, can do to create an environment where this can no longer occur.

Wasn't that part of the rationale for founding groups such as the American Institute of Conservation and the International Institute of Conservation? And isn't part of the concept of accreditation that each person working in the conservation field bears an individual level of responsibility to maintain a level of credibility for our organizations and for our operations in the greater world?

Conservation DistList
Instance: 21:34
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Today's Subjects
------- --------
Campbell Center finances

Textile Conservation Centre closure
"Textile school is stitched up"
Article in The Times (London)

reading publicity contacts
weather between storms

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

battery at 46% and dropping, cat ate the cord again

I. Body Language

Tongue tied?
Gaze into my eyes and know my secrets.
Read me like a book: the poetry of the body.

She had guilt written all over her face.
Lines of indecision furrow her brow.
Intent encircles the neck, pooling in the hollow of the throat.
Promises read around each finger.
Past scripted down the spine, soul evident in the arch of her foot.

Laugh lines. Frown lines. The iambic pentameter of life and love.

You say: you read me and weep; I am a closed book.
But my promise to you and to the future
        laid, a chain around my ankle
        carved, into the pediment of my being
Let us live and let us love.

II. Broken glass

The crack had been forming, slightly, incrementally, for some time. Every few weeks I would glance at the ceiling, notice the growing precariousness of the lamp shade, and continue to ignore the problem. Once, I was changing the burnt-out bulb in the fixture, and took advantage of the opportunity to measure the full dimensions of the needed lampshade: 10 3/4" diameter, 5 1/2" deep, milk glass, held in place with three screws. Completely standard piece of mid twentieth century residential architecture. After taking the measurements and noting that the crack was now eight inches long, I went back to whatever more urgent piece of domestic business was more compelling. Or, to be honest with you and with myself, the harsher critic, I went back to drinking endless cups of coffee and staring blankly into space, over a very cluttered desk and a living room that begs and pleads for vacuuming.

Several months passed in this manner. The angle of the sun changed, linens changed for cooler weather, air conditioner placed in storage, summer whites folded and winter tweeds aired. Inevitably, I would end up in a hardware store for some other necessity: yet more shelving, a ladder, potting soil, a new lamp, bricks, windshield wiper fluid. The magic numbers 10 3/4 5 1/2 would echo in my memory, but the final trip down the aisle never seemed worthwhile. The lampshade was still holding, the apartment a rental, other opportunities for endless consumerism always present. In short, life continued with the crack in the glass.

Until it didn't. Saturday again, the usual toxic combination of sunlight and coffee and dozing cats on the couch. Rather than staring into space, I was cleaning the bathroom and sloshing coffee on the brilliantly white tiles, when a crash from the other room declared the arrival of the inevitable. My meeting with my lighting destiny had arrived.

Once one has a set of bare bulbs, the essential truth of the situation can no longer be gently ignored. The living room rug positively advertises its want of vacuuming in illuminated technicolor. The random piles on the desk magically triple in volume.

A quest to find the perfect rose-colored glasses at the lighting store, twelve dollars in cash and two months later still on back-order from an unknown country whose labor practices I am quite sure I disapprove of.

III. Fate, inescapability thereof

Each of us has a specter from the tarot deck living in our address book; the mad aunt in the attic who haunts us most because we are her; we know that only a veneer of sociability, a too obvious layer of forced charm prevents us from joining her in the attic, endless games of scrabble. Family, and blood thicker than water, and years of passive aggression and overt manipulation turns the outcast into an icon.

My future lies in the attic: the same yellow wallpaper, the leather loveseat, the turntable featuring years of listening to the Boston Symphony, the accumulated American Tourister luggage in unfading powder blue: matching vanity case, overnight bag, weekender, and full fortnight on the Continent. These physical specimens of the world I have forsaken to stay in the garret, queen of my domain, served by terrified and tormented nieces and nephews and a doting but controlling sister; my red lipstick indifferently applied, the color rather dated, entertained by the double letter score of the "x" in oxen. Yes, memories of my past on different lands, my dashing lovers and racy weekends in town, the sparkling ambition of my youth: shards of these memories still remain, stylized: I shuffle through them, display the spread to my niece. I was young. I was courted. But the world soured and people changed and a lady hasn't a hope any more.

You placed the salt in the wrong cabinet; no, saucepans are stored under the other counter; haven't you been shown how to chop an onion?

Even family is foreign, even family leaves. In my space, isolated, surrounded by the only true past, there alone is reality. Outside the deer eat the roses and the lawn dies from inattention; but what of the roses, and what of the lawn? I could tell you of gardens I have seen, gardens I have walked in at dawn, the dew still and beading along grass clipped in stripes, sunlight slowly piercing the day, the hem of my trousers damp. The roses opened in shades of pink and ochre, stunning double blooms perfumed with purity.

But you wouldn't believe me, would sequester my lawn and my roses to the burnt remnants of the outer world before you, the only shell that you can see.

battery now at 36%

reading bills bills bills and a happy new year
weather snow tomorrow!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

onward and upward

Spent the evening discussing my future plans to become Mayor with the current mayor -- who better to provide a basic level of insight into the governmental and political workings of the city? He is the first mayor, the town having only incorporated eleven years ago, and will most likely remain mayor for a further ten or more years.

Then it will be my turn.

The joy of small towns is never being alone at cocktail parties.

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

Ode to a Swingline (haiku version)

Palm grazes cold steel:
the industrial caress
eternal embrace.

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

exchanged reading for looking at my newest acquisition -- tax deductible art!


weather flannel sheets

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

("And the body, what about the body?" --Jane Kenyon)

Encased in wool. Double-knit wool hat, wool scarf, wool coat. Wool gloves. Wool sweater. Wool trousers. Wool socks. A walking sheep, dyed in the many multiplicities of the rainbow, shorn and knit into compliance until the ewe takes human form.

You are what you eat: many vegetarians claim that diet affects system in a wide range of physical and behavioral ways. Do we likewise become what we wear? Do woolens indicate a desire to be led, shepherded, through life; tended to, fed, watered; protected from the worst harshnesses of the elements and disease with the known trade-off that at any moment we may be shorn ourselves, turned into a product not ourselves, processed and spun into a new creation to better suit the vision of our master. Worse, perhaps, than being peacefully forcefully reconceptualized is the possibility that at any moment this path may in fact lead to the slaughterhouse.

What, though, are one's options? To forsake the insulation of warmth and texture and fuzzy appeal that stays warm when wet but shrinks if not taken to the dry cleaner? Or to dismiss the entire quandary and move to the land of eternal warmth, allow the mind and the intellect and the strength that can only be burnished by shoveling snow in subfreezing weather at six in the morning -- to give up this inner resistance to fate and sit, on a verandah, in the sun, drinking iced tea, and gossiping.

To follow the path on the verandah, as the fate of the sheep was followed to the shearing and the slaughter:

The scene, you and I, on the porch, gentle sun, gentle breeze, gentle humidity, gentle conversation about gentle topics of general interest that have happened to the one neighbor on the street whose flowerbed is always a disgrace and whose lawn is five-eighths of an inch too long, and ever so noticeably full of weeds. And did you see her son's new girlfriend? The piercings, and the length of her skirt!

So upon forsaking the life of the snow-shoveling sheep-encased resilient Yankee, we happen upon the diorama of life in the velvet shackles of southern propriety. Where there is not the danger of the shearing or the slaughterhouse, but there is no danger of any future, any change, any event, ever, at all.

But wait! A third possibility emerges, born from the dark forests of Grimm and his ghastly tales. The sheepskin could quite easily be the concealment of the Other, the hiding place of that most feared.

For beneath this sheepskin is a wolf.

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

Reflections and reverberations
refracting the image until it
creates a new identity
separate from the original.
Chopped away by the knife
the cleaver
the machete.

Lightening.

The broken mirror
of that which was
        and is
        and is to come.

The shattered remnants of who we are and
who we would like to be and
who others want us to be and
who others command us to be.
But who are we, composed only of these pieces of ourselves?

I am not your backup singer:
        I sang the chorus,
        crooning flat melodies into cold nightclubs.

I am not your tabby cat:
        mewing for scattered crumbs of attention,
        your touch after dark.

I am not your muse:
        your solitary island of inspiration
        never being a being
        never being a force of nature.

The yellow machete slices across darkness, a strobe light of intense instant revelation.

You are not my god.

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

reading Cheating at Canasta
weather the wasps are still alive, how do they manage?

Monday, December 3, 2007

crayon companions

Paper samples from Cave Paper.





reading the calendar
weather too cold for the butter to soften, even after eight hours