Thursday, April 29, 2010

Where I've Been

Either inside*...
[You can tell when
it is going well.
The dustballs and dirty dishes pile up.]
Or outside

The Garden
this month is an
Iris Spring--->
Everything is awake now
bleery-eyed, newly green
shaking off the dark and cold
Me, too.
I have beds to make
[and amend
with compost.]

*“It is not necessary that you leave the house. Remain at your table and listen. Do not even listen, only wait. Do not even wait, be wholly still and alone. The world will present itself to you for its unmasking, it can do no other, in ecstasy it will writhe at your feet.”--Franz Kafka

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Bloody Butcher: Harbinger of Spring

I was walking in the woods the other day, which is where I go to escape people and my own busy mind. 

Otto leads me, alert and happy in the moment...dogs are the best Zen teachers, I swear!

I ran across several welcome harbinger of spring-- robins and this oddly beautiful woodland treat: Purple Trillium recurvatum, or Bloody Butcher, a "charming native woodland wildflower suitable for growing in shade gardens over most of the U.S." Trillium blooms in April, which is the perfect warm weather announcement: Put your sweaters in the attic! Plant seeds!  Shave your legs-- it's here!

Trillium, because of three leaves.  I get that.
But "Bloody Butcher"?? There's a story behind that-- I'm going to find out what it is. . .as soon as I find a plant folklorist.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Trees are Randy, Baby

Yeah, Baby-->
They say on a full-moon day in May, the Buddha sat under the shady Bodhi tree in deep meditation and attained enlightenment.

 "The groves were God's first temples."  ~William Cullen Bryant said.

When I want to clear my head, I go outside among the tall, stoic trees. And lately, I sneeze.

Everything is chartreuse. Everyone is sneezing and wheezing, suffering from all the trees'  floating "male gametes"-- tree sperm.

There must be some randy going-ons at night--which gives new meaning to "tree crotch."

April showers bring relief from pollen...and might finally uncover my [formerly blue] car and my [formerly black] porch.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Clock Guts

Keep a collection of your insights, eavesdropped conversations, weird fragments. I tell you, it's fascinating. Especially months or years later-- you think, where did I get that?

If you write, keeping a record of these jotted down quirky coils of words is invaluable. Even if you don't it's pretty entertaining.

I call them clock guts.

I have piles of “clock guts”—exquisite, fragmented scenes and sentences; odd phrases. Sometimes I try to transform them into a smoothly running, ticking machine. A narrative. A novel.
 F. Scott Fitzgerald kept notebooks of brief entries under headings: Descriptions, Atmosphere, Titles, Names, Ideas, Etc.

Example: "Age offered no release. She still enjoyed being kissed after too much sherry, though now the uninspired mouth of a chauffeur would suffice."[Read more from this NYer article}

 So, anybody have some interesting guts to share?

Here are a few random clock guts from my own collection: 
I bought Seahorses buy for a dime each a Myrtle Beach gift store, dried and hard, hundreds stacked in a bowl by the cash register like peanuts or chips. Now I was fluid and soft with feeling.

There were three of us and I was the smart one--like, if were were Charlie’s Angels-- I’d be Kate Jackson.

A story called “here’s your problem right here.” The repairman comes in and solves the leak quickly and the lady wishes it applied to other things in life.

Promise Keepers always hire me.
Now I found myself picking through all those facts she had casually tossed my way— a hodgepodge of confessions as cluttered as the jumble of cans in our kitchen pantry.
A week after Halloween, and the pumpkins are truly horrible. Moldy and soft, their sunken  grins toothless and lopsided, their eyes slanted and uneven, unshaven, old-folks sunken, the ravages of time, the entropy, the true story they tell.

"It's a pity that you have such awful grandmothers," my mother told me, "and I had such interesting ones."

I was out to score some X because my husband was dying.
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