Two for Tuesday: Personal Histories

Gertrude Hermes The Cuckoo 1958 woodblock and linocut
“The Cuckoo” (1958, woodblock and linocut)
by Gertrude Hermes


“I have woven a parachute out of everything broken.” ~ William Stafford, as found on Writer’s Almanac

Tuesday evening. Clear and cold, 24 degrees.

Yes, I’m still here. Let’s just call February a wash, shall we? It was a horrible month for so many reasons, and yet this surprises me not at all because my Februaries are almost always horrible; this one just happened to be a record for physical and mental pain. My rebound migraine finally seems to be breaking—after four weeks. It’s a good thing Corey and I didn’t try to fit in a trip to Ohio in the past few weeks, as I would have been miserable company.

The headache is still here, just not nearly as acute as before. The snow is supposed to melt tomorrow as the temperatures are supposed to hit the 60s. Of course on Thursday, we’re supposed to have freezing rain again. I have left the house twice in the past two weeks, once for the doctor, and once to make a trip to campus with Brett.

Cabin fever anyone?

                   

“Pine Branch” (1951)
by Eyvind Earle

The Phone Call

She calls Chicago, but no one
is home. The operator asks
for another number but still
no one answers. Together
they try twenty-one numbers,
and at each no one is ever home.
“Can I call Baltimore?” she asks.
She can, but she knows no one
in Baltimore, no one in
St Louis, Boston, Washington.
She imagines herself standing
before the glass wall high
over Lake Shore Drive, the cars
below fanning into the city.
East she can see all the way
to Gary and the great gray clouds
of exhaustion rolling over
the lake where her vision ends.
This is where her brother lives.
At such height there’s nothing,
no birds, no growing, no noise.
She leans her sweating forehead
against the cold glass, shudders,
and puts down the receiver.

~ William Stafford

                   

Igor Grabar Winter Rooks Nest 1904
“Winter Rook’s Nest” (1904)
by Igor Grabar

Solstice

Remember how the city looked from the harbor
in early evening: its brutal gaze
averted, its poised and certain countenance
wavering with lights?

Remember how we sat in swaybacked chairs
and marvelled at the brush fires
of dusk clear in the distance, the flames
scrawled across the skyline

like a signature while currents shifted
inside us? Ecstasy of fire—
works rising in midsummer, of fulvous sails
flashing in the heat

And orange life buoys bobbing on the water;
ecstasy of flares and secrets
and two bodies held aloft by desire…
judge us as you will,

but remember that we, too, lived once
in the fullness of a moment
before the darkness took its turn with us
and the night clamped shut.

~ Edward Hirsch

                   

Music by Dustin Kensrue, “This Good Night Is Still Everywhere”

“I’m up to my ears in unwritten words.” ~ J.D. Salinger, excerpt from a letter to Jean Miller

 


“I feel a stupefying pressure under my skin. I want to pierce everything and penetrate as far down as possible. I want to reach the depths of the earth. My love is there, in the place where seeds grow green and roots reach one another, and creation perpetuates itself amidst decay. It’s as if my body were a temporary and transient form of it. I want to reach its source. I want to hang my heart like a ripened fruit on all the branches of the trees.” ~ Forugh Farrokhzad, from Another Birth and Other Poems

 Wednesday evening. Hazy, hot and humid, 95 degrees.

I’m on day three of this prednizone run for this particular intractable migraine episode, and the pain had gotten better, but I fear the heat is going to muck things up.

It’s hot. It’s ungodly hot. It’s Hades hot. It’s volcanic hot (well, perhaps not quite). It’s so hot that when I look at the ground I see waves, bands of heat floating above the asphalt. We’ve been out in the heat for two days now, today in Brett’s car with its dying AC. So frigging hot. The driving test will have to be redone. Nerves. But we found a doggy companion for Brett to take with him, a good pick, a real sweetie of a dog at the Norfolk Animal Care center. I think a dog is just what he needs, for so many reasons, which I won’t go into now because it’s hot, and like that witch, I’m mellltttingggggggg……

Gah. It’s hot. No breeze. No storms. Just putrifying, paralyzing hotter than hot heat, and we haven’t even topped 100 yet (we always do).

Did I mention I don’t do hot well? Probably? Well, it bears repeating. The heat and the accompanying sun kill my head. The heat makes me nauseous, makes me not want to eat, only drink cold sweaty things in tall glasses. I feel like squirting my whole body with lemon juice, which for some reason seems that it would be cooling, but would probably just attract insects.

” . . . throw roses into the abyss and say: ‘here is my thanks to the monster who didn’t succeed in swallowing me alive.’” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Behhhh. It’s too hot to get in the pool. Truly. The pool water is like bathwater, and the sun is well, sun, you know, bright, and all of that.

I don’t really have anything to say, other than my running commentary on the weather, my happiness for Brett’s canine adoption, my looming anxiety over the ensuing move, and a deep-seated desire for central air that I could set on 65 degrees. Also, I think/know that I’m sad about all of the doggies that I had to leave behind at the shelters because, well, another dog here? No, not quite. Have to wait until we have a place with some land, and trees, and goats . . . yep, rambling. Heat makes my mind turn to pudding and then shut down.

If I were alone, I would take off all of my clothes, lay atop my bed sheets, and just melt, well, perhaps alternately melt and hydrate.

On that note, I think I’ll stop. Oh, just one more thing:

It’s too damned hot to leave an animal in a car with the windows just slightly down, and I really shouldn’t have to tell you that you don’t leave children in hot cars, and if the sidewalk is too hot for you, it’s too hot for your animals.

People please, brains much?

More later. Peace.

All images reflect the state of my brain today.

Music by Nirvana, “Lake of Fire” (unplugged)

                   

The Ordinary Weather of Summer

In the ordinary weather of summer
with storms rumbling from west to east
like so many freight trains hauling
their cargo of heat and rain,
the dogs sprawl on the back steps, panting,
insects assemble at every window,
and we quarrel again, bombarding
each other with small grievances,
our tempers flashing on and off
in bursts of heat lightning.
In the cooler air of morning,
we drink our coffee amicably enough
and walk down to the sea
which seems to tremble with meaning
and into which we plunge again and again.
The days continue hot.
At dusk the shadows are as blue
as the lips of the children stained
with berries or with the chill
of too much swimming.
So we move another summer closer
to our last summer together—
a time as real and implacable as the sea
out of which we come walking
on wobbly legs as if for the first time,
drying ourselves with rough towels,
shaking the water out of our blinded eyes.

~ Linda Pastan


 

P.S.

“I find at least the light to see the cards I am dealt.” ~ Tom Clark, from “Crisis on the Savannah”

“Awakening” (1980)
by Eyvind Earle

                   

Two for Tuesday:

One Hundred and Eighty Degrees

Have you considered the possibility
that everything you believe is wrong,
not merely off a bit, but totally wrong,
nothing like things as they really are?

If you’ve done this, you know how durably fragile
those phantoms we hold in our heads are,
those wisps of thought that people die and kill for,
betray lovers for, give up lifelong friendships for.

If you’ve not done this, you probably don’t understand this poem,
or think it’s not even a poem, but a bit of opaque nonsense,
occupying too much of your day’s time,
so you probably should stop reading it here, now.

But if you’ve arrived at this line,
maybe, just maybe, you’re open to that possibility,
the possibility of being absolutely completely wrong,
about everything that matters.

How different the world seems then:
everyone who was your enemy is your friend,
everything you hated, you now love,
and everything you love slips through your fingers like sand.

~ Federico Moramarco

                   

“Reflections” (1984)
by Eyvind Earle

                   

Anniversary

Didn’t I stand there once,
white-knuckled, gripping the just-lit taper,
swearing I’d never go back?
And hadn’t you kissed the rain from my mouth?
And weren’t we gentle and awed and afraid,
knowing we’d stepped from the room of desire
into the further room of love?
And wasn’t it sacred, the sweetness
we licked from each other’s hands?
And were we not lovely, then, were we not
as lovely as thunder, and damp grass, and flame?

~ Cecilia Woloch

                   

More later. Peace.

Music by Hunter Hayes, “Wanted”