Friday, January 31, 2014

January: the month of disinspiration, if that's a word. The fact of the calendar marching quickly away from January all week has been enough to elevate my spirits.

I didn't go to New York — an unexpected onslaught of wholesale orders required whip-cracking on the homefront, so my boss flew off to Super Bowl Central alone, and I'm entirely fine with all of it.

There's a bouquet of roses on my kitchen table left over from my November birthday. Completely dried, they are the most exquisite "rose" color, a red-going-to-pink, but not quite. An undecided red, a decidedly-not pink.

Ah, color. (It exists for me somewhere on a piece of glass between where the eye meets it and where the light comes through from behind — liminal, nowhere, everywhere, shifting.)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I'm Listening....

I was in that place, last night, that place between being awake and being fully asleep when dream images flash across the semi-lucid landscape of the mind at an alarming speed, and suddenly there was my mother rising up from her chair, looking at me straight-on and smiling, and saying, T., I have something to tell you —! And I yanked myself out from that not-dream, that not-yet-sleep and sat up fully awake, fully lucid and said What? What do you want to say? I'm listening!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Self as Stranger

One day a month now, the fourth Monday, to be exact, I wake with a sense of rumbling anxiety, that old nearly-extinct shyness trying to creep back in. And to remember that I've brought this on myself serves no good purpose. So I roll from my bed and move forward into the day, knowing that at 8pm that night, I'll stand in front of a group of various and assorted poets, musicians and Columbia City bar trolls, microphone turned on, and start up my monthly open mic.

Actually, the moment I walk into the bar, I slip easily into the persona. It seems like a bit of specious magic, but it works, so I don't question it. Last night I lugged-in parts of the sound system, and enlisted a few men to deal with the heavier pieces of equipment. One even cheerfully volunteered to crawl under the pinball machine to plug in the extension cord. (A man-servant is a useful thing.) Once everything was appropriately electrified, the house music killed, I tested the mic with a hello howdy and we were ready to roll.

Host! (Does anyone still use the word hostess?!) I'm the confident one with the clipboard (with the Rosellini for Governor! sticker on the back — he who was last governor in Washington state in 1965) who circulates from table to table signing people up. I'm the person who introduces each poet and musician, who makes small talk at the mic before the intermission, the person who starts the whole thing up again after intermission. I'm the person circulating about the room, making certain to have a friendly word with everyone who's come out for the evening. I'm the person who, while packing up the equipment, makes an effort to thank each and every person as they head out the door, knowing always there will be one or two I'll miss.

And finally, I'm the person hunkered down in the corner booth at the end of the evening with the last few straggler-poet-musicians, unwinding our stories and laughing at as many things as possible, our drinks diminished to a few clinks of ice, Phil the bartender behind the counter calculating the tabs.

I'll leave The Hummingbird Saloon close to midnight, in a state of weary elation for the undeniable fun it all was among these friends who are the best of the best, and, once in bed, wonder who that woman was who got up in front of all those people in a bar — a bar, for god's sake — and pulled it together.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

No reason, except.....

....sometimes a lace dress embedded in red leaves is the only thing that relieves winter.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Years Settle In....

Odd cranial rumblings, remembering the many dreams where my dead husband returns without explanation, five, or six, or seven years later, solemn and silent, wanting back in. And my utter disbelief, relief, consternation. The chaos of it all, the impossible undoing of too many things now too deeply entrenched to undo.

And an even odder realization that I wrote a poem about these dreams thirty years ago, many years before I knew the reason for writing it. I went back to it tonight and it made sense, finally, that poem. It's the dream alright, with broken glass and a leaky roof and the return of a silent character —

"....dark collar turned against the night."

 A bitter irony:  the title is "Grown Old".

Something wrong in the order of things.

Things That Are Holy

So many, in the woods today, as I walked along paths strew with lichen and branches blown down in recent storms....
More fern than tree —

Talisman on the path —

Decaying chunk wreathed in bright fallen branches —

Mossy notch high in a maple —

 And then perhaps less than holy, on my front porch, the ruined remains of a dead pumpkin ravaged by squirrels in search of the cache of seeds within. Less holy, yes, but no less fascinating in the cycle of life. Instead of having to look deeper for evidence of life now that we're entrenched in winter here, my post-holiday sloth has allowed a colorful front porch view in pithy glowing oranges, all the slippery slumping slime of it on display. (The neighbors already know I'm nuts.)
I can't help but think of pie.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

!00% of Full

I was walking up a hill last night in the dark — hemmed in by laurel and photinia hedges, by hundred-year-old houses — and was met at the top by the moon, our illuminated dream-keeper and insomniac companion, our endlessly romanticized satellite rising full blaze above the Cascade Mountains and stunning me breathless, stumbling me with astonished wonder.

What we're really seeing is a massive heart of liquid iron encased in an olio of minerals: feldspar,  olivine, pyroxene, limenite. Back this mess of minerals up 238,900 miles, shine a light on it, et voilĂ : our grand dame of nocturnal beauty.

Of course, I didn't consider the lunar mineral content until today, when I decided I wanted to write more than just:

 O behold! 

photo by David Hutchinson
The latent scientist in me does battle with the poet, every day.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Midnight Janitors

An ex-lover bought my ex-husband's house. And invited me over, to help him do dishes. And I was barefoot.

This didn't really happen, of course, except when I was deep in a rapid-eye-movement slumber. According  Maria Konnikova, in the NYTimes (read the complete article here), As your body sleeps, your brain is quite actively playing the part of mental janitor: It’s clearing out all of the junk that has accumulated as a result of your daily thinking.

In this particularly unsettling dream/nightmare,  I can't help but wonder just what, upstairs, was getting scoured.

And now a glorious dawn sun has penetrated the omnipresent mist; and while I feel illuminated, in a bodily sense, my nighttime subconscious rompings have left my awake self feeling quite less than illuminated, and more than a bit betrayed by the midnight janitors of the brain.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sly Little Arrows

Since the turn of the year, I've begun a practice of listening, intently, to not only the many words from the tongues of friends and strangers, but also to the voice of the wind in the Douglas fir outside my bedroom window, to the scrape of the hydrangea on the siding, to the silence of the cat entering my room, to the ongoing ticks and sighs of my house that become so apparent in the dark. There is content everywhere, interwoven with connections, and sly little arrows that point the way.

Fran Leibowitz once said, "There is talking, and there is waiting to talk." I'm waiting longer, these days, letting the space between words, between phrases, take its own shape — space that isn't force-filled with more words. My habit of many years has been one of talk and wit and quips and laughs — it's not so easy letting go of some of that. But something is coming into focus, in those gaps — hazy still, amorphous, indefinite. Patience is my ally, as well as the challenge.

And, well, it's January.
It's winter.
Interminably grey.


 The Layers

I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
Yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:
“Live in the layers,
not on the litter.”
Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes.

--Stanley Kunitz

Friday, January 10, 2014



Every word I type feels spun-dry of intention, of inspiration.

The cats have it right: sleep.

Reports of the Aurora Borealis visible tonight from around these parts, but I'll have to go with imagination only, as we're socked-in up to the eyelids with cloudcloudcloud. The Borealis is on my  list of Things To Do in this lifetime, assuming, of course, that this is all we get. But what if we get more? What if this is just the prelude, the preparation? Not one to give in to Christian notions of an everlasting afterlife, this seems, of course, preposterous. But what if something else exists,  something that requires a vocabulary, a type of "seeing" that we are as yet unable to comprehend?

Oh, these Friday night ramblings will only get me into trouble. Better to shut this whole thing down and go to bed, let the subconscious do its uncensored ruminations.

'Nite, then.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A multitude of mushrooms....

....and a secret passage to the center of the earth.


Chapter subheadings from A Pet Book for Boys and Girls, 1949:

A Skunk As A Pet
A Pet Skunk's Diet
How To Pick Up A Skunk
When A Skunk Needs A Manicure

And also:
Pet Alligators
Quarters For A Baby Alligator
Food For A Young Alligator

All of this useful information for all of you, of course.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Full Speed Ahead

Although we're only seven days into the new year, today at work I put together my first draft of the 2014 production calendar, and it's almost 50% full! A little astonished I was, when I ran the figures, and it was terrifically exciting to announce the preliminary totals. Mind you, we've arrived at this number before going to any of the wholesale shows.

My boss possesses tremendous talent, both in artistic integrity and in knowing what our customers will desire. And on top of that, we have a great production staff: talented and efficient, as well as damn personable people. We are lucky.

Yesterday we shipped out three pallets with our booth set-up materials and 194 pieces of glass — one of every size and color. Next week Melinda flies to Philadelphia, and at the end of the month, we both fly to NYC, for wholesale gift shows.

It's going to be a good year.

Extravagant Playground

My Rob Brezsny horoscope for this next week:

In 1609, Dutch sea explorer Henry Hudson sailed to America and came upon what we now call Coney Island. Back then it was a barren spit of sand whose main inhabitants were rabbits. But it was eventually turned into a dazzling resort -- an "extravagant playground," according to the documentary film Coney Island. By the early 20th century, there were three sprawling amusement parks packed into its two square miles of land, plus "a forest of glittering electric towers, historical displays, freak shows, a simulated trip to the moon, the largest herd of elephants in the world, and panoramas showing the Creation, the End of the World, and Hell." I mention this, Scorpio, because 2014 could feature your very own Henry Hudson moment: a time when you will discover virgin territory that will ultimately become an extravagant playground. 

Well then.

Discover your own extravagant playground here.

Monday, January 6, 2014

In Awe

Near midnight, from an impossibly bright city sidewalk
and through a tangle of wired electricity
I can see Jupiter, at this moment only 391 million miles from me,
instead of the usual 483 million miles — the distance shortened
by the momentary alignment of the sun, the earth and Jupiter.
And amazing, that the 92 million mile difference
makes so significant an impact on my ability to view
this hydrogen and helium mass, speck of dust that I am
in the scheme of things....

photo courtesy of NASA

Friday, January 3, 2014

Internal Indigo

No, not the hydrangeas on my attic windowsill
so leached of color they mirror the winter sky.
And not those rasping outside all night against the house —
awake, awake—  no matter what dreams they unravel —

Not those, but these....
T. Clear

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Soap Bubbles or Ice? Or Both?

I've always wanted to do this, but it's never quite cold enough in Seattle.

Click on the link here for more photos.

 (And many thanks for Foxessa for pointing me to this!)