“… you can go back into it and find something else…”, someone said.
“Ripping out a page steals the silence.” N.Rigets
Found Poems go back to the time of T.S. Elliott
“Launch each Moment”Sita
fantasy vision life.
strength to go,
have your tongue and swallow anger,
Embark painful self
turn the page.
Many chapters had been roughly torn from a paperback… I received three pages. I searched to find a poem by connecting an assemblage of words between, above, and below the printed text in front of me. This is how ‘Dream VII’ was written.
I awake from a dream holding onto Julie with my arms wrapped around her waist. I’m saying that my Mum is just wanting to buy as much time as possible before she dies of cancer.
In this dream I see a leopard print jacket with a candy pink, pink bow, at the top of the neck – who’s touching my clothes?
The walk to Ambleside is littered with abandoned logs.
A collage collects along the low granite wall where the seams of blacktop meet with the rock.
The wind presses forcefully against me like a new lover. It takes all my strength to walk forward into it.
The clouds spit at me and a crow sprays white splotches across my black umbrella.
I leave the library on my way home with three heavy books curled into my arm none of which I want to read when I get home.
My Mother’s apartment building shivers in cold grey as I walk by. I let the wind pull my hair across my eyes so I don’t have to look into the dark empty windows where she once resided in warm lighting.
I tell myself all along that nothing matters but the feeling of being under twelve today and noticing how connected I am to all of nature as I walk home in fluctuating weather conditions.
Once inside I put on something warm, wipe the bird doo from my umbrella and brew bancha tea. I ignore the days’ old rinsed dishes and the clean laundry waiting to be put away. I can’t scrub a sink or address an envelope right now. I turn the ringer off on the phone, and relax into nothing.
Today was of the special variety that I experience randomly and want to add more of to my life. It’s a day when nothing can ruffle me; I sail along with no fears, no worries, no upsets. I didn’t have any concrete plans made in advance so I didn’t have to get snarly when life moved impulsively into my morning. Instead of writing this post at 2 p.m., as I intended, I got together with a friend who rang just to see if we could meet for coffee in my neighborhood. Painting the day with flexibility keeps me happy. There is no need to routinely cross off the must-do’s on the list in any special order. What doesn’t get finished today can be added to tomorrow’s list. Was I blissful because nothing went sideways throughout the day? Or was it my fresh attitude and faith in life itself that brought unequivocal and dynamic energy into my realm, in perfect synch with others, rewarding me with the wonderful feelings I attracted.
I was careful to watch my thoughts today and keep them supported upward. Being negative never allows me to fulfill my dreams or handle risk taking. Rather than resisting intrusions I make the decision to embrace them and redesign the day. The recapture of energy by not forcing my will on on the clock is abundant. If, however, I keep repeating I’m too busy and can’t fit anything in, guess what happens: exactly what I’ve told myself and the world returns what I’ve told it to. I give the Universe a chance to understand I am communicating to receive positive vibes and outcomes. It sounds corny yet I was amazed that what I had read about does work perfectly well.
I started off out the door of our building to see my friend Sonny and as I approached the intersection I looked up into the sky to identify a bird flying in slow circles. Too big to be a crow, I realized it was a baby eagle. The circles he was making were small, baby circles. Even birds show a respect for the young as they left him alone to practice learning his flight patterns. Adult eagles get verbally blasted and dive-bombed by crows and seagulls in our area but this little guy was left in peace.
I was early to meet Sonny and I remembered a conversation yesterday with one of my very close friends. They mentioned taking things slow because they did not want to miss a step or mis-step; or worse, make a mis-take as they proceeded along a new path. I was surprised. I’m a risk taker so I am impulsive; quite the opposite of this person. But like the baby eagle, if I think I can fly I will try it. If I lose a few feathers or make other birds laugh I don’t mind. I might get a little red in the face but I’m living and alive!!
What if baby birds wouldn’t try to fly because they were afraid of falling or failing. What if they would only fly if they could form perfect circles. It’s not in our nature to be perfect; it’s something that is learned and practiced once we leave childhood and compete and work in an ego-based outside world. A world outside of ourselves where we may have to compensate for shaky self-esteem. It’s not healthy to thwart ourselves when we can blast off and get to the core of our quest.
I told my friend that holding back didn’t make sense; that it’s ego talking. Ego that thinks everyone is watching us, waiting for us to make a faux pas, and then ridicule us. Yet everyone fails their way to success. Even rocks, as steady as they are, will take a fall at some point in their stony life. The last thing we need is to stay in one spot and never move because we’ve let our ego fill our minds with nonsense.
At Art School no one tells you how to do things. There will be a short talk, and if you’re lucky a demonstration, but no one can do it for you because they don’t have your mind, body , and spirit. Only you can make the finished work by experimenting. Marcus Bowcott, my painting teacher says, “You’ve gotta’ break a few eggs to make an omelet!” Go ahead and scramble into something new. Don’t listen to your head, listen to your heart. The heart holds only love: no fear. Never pull back when the momentum takes you on a roll to a passion for what you were meant to do.
I just tore a week off the calendar and in a sweep of the arm the week was gone. It woke me up with the thought that every moment must be loved: have, think, and do only what you love! Be the little eagle who loves to fly.
Dream 2 – Excerpt from My Journal – October 6th, 2007.
Across the railway tracks I see Simon, our caretaker, at the top of the telephone pole that stands there. He is carefully wrapping a large piece of white cotton muslin over the top area of the pole; left over right – right over left. We exchange short conversation as the frosty-wet, misty, sleety atmosphere contains us. He says, “The most important things are to: meet, greet, eat, in life.” We smile and laugh, and I go back inside the Seastrand at our east entrance, near Pauline’s suite. – The end –
I have read of women with a family of 5 children and a business to run, a husband and meals to cook, going to University to get their Master’s or Doctorate degree and still doing charity work, socializing, and looking immaculate; that’s where I got the idea I could go to University to get a BFA.
I hesitate to write this. Yet it saddens me to frequently hear from women I meet, who would love to become artists, how they stop themselves with notions of so-called sensible reasons.
This was: My Journal entry August 6th, 2001. It came from a hand-held cheap, Mead, Five-Star in a class by itself, spiral bound,Neat Sheet Perforated Pages, with 200 ruled sheets, and 400 ruled pages.
Runnng a family is at best fun and rewarding but a woman needs to be as free as her husband and children to be an artist, even if it only means designing her life to fulfill her dreams. Dreams that don’t cost her her family, but allow her to feel proud of accomplishing her vision.
When we are in our teens we have a million ideas – do these ideas get pushed back – do they become expanding waistlines, huge backs and hips?
If you had a short sentence period of life left to live because you are dis-eased would you make certain that you cleaned the house, picked up the cleaning, paid the bills, washed the car, and did lots of laundry between doing all the other self-imposed obligations you didn’t want to do when you felt forced to say yes.
Each day is so precious even when you are not compromised in your health.
My personal discovery is that nothing in the house changed while I went to University full-time for two years. (Notation: two years for a diploma worked into being five for a degree). The dust still sat on the top of everything. The house still looked the same at the end of a day even when I hadn’t spent ten hours wandering about in it.
The same little imperfections were on the walls. The messy areas, where there was no other place to use the messy items or to store them, still struck me in an uncomfortable way; even though I had not walked past them a million times a day, as in the past, wondering what to do with them.
But while the house lived its life without me, I created hundreds of projects, got a diploma in Studio Art and following that a BFA degree, showed my work in galleries, was published on the cover of two literary journals, wrote, painted, entered juried competitions, and put my work on the Internet. And I didn’t know I had it in me when I was taking the garbage out regularly for something to clean up.
Art School was one of the dirtiest and messiest places I had ever worked in. I learned we were focused on the project not on our surroundings We had great relationships; we learned what we had never known about ourselves and each other. The mystery of life came upon us and we had feelings; strong feelings!
We became sleep deprived and were told to do things we had never dreamed of. We were let loose!! I called the courtyard full of industrial junk our play pen: our toybox. Sometimes we felt isolated when we worked and sometimes we worked in groups.
There were many times I ate pizza, celery and peanut butter, plain bread, cereal, or junk near the end of a term, but it did far less harm than resenting the doing of something I no longer wanted to.
There was one time when I had to wear the same clothes for three days – that’s about as much inconvenience as I remember. (Notation: This is when I remember feeling like a REAL artist having read up on Louise Nevelson, one of my favorites, who would roll on and off a small bed in her studio wearing the same clothes for days while she worked on a wall-size sculpture.)
I never knew a house could run itself. My family was amazed and thrilled with the difference in me. My secret self shone. And to my amazement they all knew how to look after themselves. It wasn’t a slice; I have never worked harder in my life; had only 5 hours sleep a night, worked 7 days a week, and pushed myself to the, and beyond the, limits of my imagination.
Every new term Dad would go into the hospital for a couple of days for cancer treatment. Usually he announced it without any warning and always when a printmaking project was due. Our business dropped when Bailey, our soft-coated wheaten terrier of 14+ years, got old suddenly and collapsed. For seven months I was sick at heart with the thought of soon losing her. Bills piled up and at one point I measured the pile: it was over 10 inches high. We had a robbery in our home and lost $25,000 in property that we were very fond of; some was sentimental.
What a blessing to have something so rich to focus on as my art: my heart’s desire. It was a ten year dream that still continues. Our wheaten had a seven month old age and died a natural death, my Dad died in the hospital on the 3rd day after an operation a year before my graduation, and a very close friend died soon after. I couldn’t prevent the deaths and I couldn’t control other lives either.
What I have learned to do is concentrate my attention on my gifts and talents and make something from these instead of living through other people’s lives: ie. family, friends, people in newspapers, on TV, celebrities in magazines, etc.
How does your own life look, could you write a story about turning down a different road now and becoming what you dreamed you would when you were still in high school?
It’s Friday night and I’m having my own party…a bag of organic chipotle flavored potato chips and a small dish of organic bread and butter pickles. I see an ad I recorded in my journal that reads: “Baker kneaded”.
An email pops into view – a quote from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “Sit in reverie, and watch the changing color of the waves that break upon the idle seashore of the mind.”
The rare ‘Paper Nautilus’ is not fastened to its shell and can leave the shell and start another life. This was mentioned in, ‘Gift From the Sea’ by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. What a remarkable thought! Leave and start another life..
A friend calls from her Benz idling in front of the building, “Can she come up, or is it too late?” “No, it’s not too late,” I reply, “There’s still some chips left”.
“Sometimes I feel I have left the lives of others around me,” Zilli spouts as she walks in the door straight through to my spot on the chesterfield. I graciously overlook the loss of my comfort zone and move my cup next to a chair but not before lifting the chips closer.
Zilli was right on the seat of the next thought and it was LONG…here’s how it went as later recorded by ‘Moi’.
“I’m that rare or unusual one the others of my kind stand and blink at. Something I don’t know about is being transmitted outward and creating a pause in the space to be filled between me and others.”
Before I could get clarification, I heard, “Too many faces in Whole Foods swarming between the products, the aisles, and one another.”
“Hmm…next…” Zilli’s ongoing, “Their expressions move back and forth between them and across their faces and stab my vision with unpleasing impressions surrounding me as I make my way among them. Each one works to extinguish my smile, my energy, my openness, with blaise oversight and self-importance. They work all day on their appearance and they leave their smile on ice while leering daggarishly around themselves.”
“Drink Zilli?” No can hear!! Off she goes, “They’re either pausing to blow their own horn with an acquaintance, or I hear their cellphone conversations projecting loudly into the department around them, making them appear absurd!!”
While Zilli coughs on a pickle she scoffed, I reply, “So what you’re giving me is a warm-hearted critique of mall shoppers in a 40,000 square foot food store.”
TGIF to all!!!
I have Zilli for days and dreams by night, internal dialogue, white noise, din, construction racket, gardeners’ engine driven tools, garbage and recycling trucks, diesel-powered Handy Darts, the freight train, sirens, false alarms, the elevator shaft, the laundry machines, dogs barking, and I’m to clear my head and write something new every day. I think I’ll write a dream recall instead:
I woke up to remember seeing a pigeon with a Keno entry form held along one side with its beak. The form was white with red print, as they are, and the pigeon was warming up to fly off with it. The heavy paper was flat and smooth as it protruded from the small dark beak. The bird took a flight at a low, low, level across my vision and after a couple of trys it made a veer to the old stone stairs. There was a bright spot in the sky at the top and it was in that scene that I saw the pigeon successfully gain altitude and rise above the length of the staircase. The bird now exhibited “smooth sailing” and the ability to fly upward while holding something heavy. I discovered I was with someone and we had left a dark basement-like space to come outdoors and see the lesson nature offered. The other person was a slender young woman; she and I looked like two figures in a color comic strip where the background was a dim grey and I saw myself viewing us this way as I dreamt. “The End”
There’s always worry in a day, only this time it’s not mine, it’s Noah’s:
Noah confesses he’s worried about the beavers on the ark.
Zilli left after the snacks ran out and I’m putting the kettle on…the evening’s just begun!
Tucked into these sheets everything feels more comforting. Spilling over into this beautiful book with French white-lined paper receiving my feelings, my frets, my fears. I am releasing, reliving, and relieving. All I wanted was a serene, semi-elegant life of creating, contemplating, and finding my calling.
Instead I feel like I’m walking through a storm of sheets of paper that are flying helter-skelter in the wind’s force. The driving gale batters me with these pages. They’re blank and they act like moment to moment barriers blocking the way to my long range vision. I can’t see ahead, movement is slow, and interference is never-ending.
I was dreaming when the phone rang this morning. Bailey (my soft-coated wheaten terrier b.1986-2000) and I were on a bus together. She had her head in my lap and someone near me was with us; sort of. Someone further up in the bus criticized my having a dog on the seat. Inwardly I replied, “Dogs are perfectly clean.” Then Bailey and I were standing at the edge of a solid green lawn that could have been the perimeter of a golf course and it had an underlying coldness to the atmosphere and a darkness and it wasn’t a golf course and it was daytime.
Bailey was so real and yet I could feel the light weight of her skeleton confirming my knowledge of her passing in 2000. ‘The End’
Things didn’t seem so rough when I had “Snuffer” (Bailey). I’m crying a lot and Rand gives me a hug standing beside me as I sit here. He then brings me a big roll of toilet paper as I fill up a cocktail napkin and as if that isn’t enough he reaches for my Hermes scarf draped over a nearby chair and that brings up a laugh.
Bailey always took an interest in me: it was perpetual.
Maybe not being able to see where you’re going is a blessing. In our culture it is the norm to make plans, set out goals, and say what it is you’re going to do; not be buffeted about by the winds of change. Do I anchor myself, or do I set sail and observe the view. The latter I guess. I’m a romantic looking for adventure. I am??? When did this happen?? I wrote it, I must be feeling it. Now to try it.
Note: The exterior of our apartment building is being pressure-washed pre re-painting. Our glass enclosed solarium has lots of windy leaks and I have insisted we plasticize the inside of the glass walls and tape them securely in place.
The solarium has a plastic drop sheet taped over every window right down to the floor. It’s quite attractive the way the thin sheets diffuse the daylight. “I’ve put up my sheers!” I tell Rand.
Having left the sheets up to protect us from water and fumes from paint, we saunaed as we slept in the solarium for twelve weeks during summer’s premature arrival.
Question: Why don’t you sleep in a bedroom?
Answer: Because it’s tied up as a studio?
Email letter to a friend in late 2009:
“It’s exciting to hear the way our lives have somewhat paralleled each other’s. You’re right, it’s the freedom to lock up and go out the door that is most appealing about condo living. And yes, being near water is just as you’ve described it. Before we moved in I brought a friend over to see the space and as Katherine and I stood looking out to the enclosed glass balcony I suddenly shrieked, “I’m going to put our bed out here.” She laughed but she knew I meant it. I ordered an extra-long double bed, bought a funky chandelier at Jim’s Hardware across the street, placed 6 candles in it, and set 3 of Rand’s stone sculptures and my dead eucalyptus tree with tiny Christmas lights at the end of the room and I was done: all happy. I tend to open the windows wide before getting into warm covers. The one next to my head sometimes spits rain in. The mixture of mountain and sea air is gorgeous. The ‘best’ is the sounds of the waves throughout the night. Lots of freighters pass by with a long row of lights along the top of the hull and it can look like a necklace illuminated in the dark. The cruise ships that have passed (very likely with you and your husband on them) look most magical in the early morning light.
Three years after I did this I picked up a design magazine and saw an article displaying interiors with a bed as the focal point of the livingroom. YES!! It’s enjoyable, functional, and decorative when played up with textiles, pillow jungles, throws, books, mags, your dogs and cats. Tucked into these sheets everything feels more comforting.