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Sunday, June 10, 2018

Vertigo

Perhaps at times my thoughts disintegrate before I can fully grasp them. I feel cerebrally queasy, as if sitting on the edge of the bed, shocked by the sight of my own shoes. At times like this I liken my mind to a glass which is so easily shattered. One wrong move is all it takes. Yet I resolve to regain my composure and find a way of comprehending the situation. While preparing my escape, I call the waiter over to the table and ask for the bill.

Maybe, preoccupied with the ever widening and contracting circles of my thoughts, I have a sense of being completely surrounded by water. Before me a thousand thoughts are waving, as if aboard a great ship sailing away from me, and all hope of them ever seeing dry land again is diminished by each crest of turquoise wave crowned with snow-white foam. A mounting sense of unease takes possession of me, as if in a moment immediately before a disaster. With barely half of the pizza eaten, I grip the table edge as a seasick passenger might grip the ship’s rail.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Sleep

Perhaps my drowsiness smells of heat in the dry grass. I sink my hands into the summer stalks and tempt bugs to wander up my arms. Lying on my back, I shut my eyes as warm drops of sunlight drench my upturned face. Sleep is falling steadily. I could go out and gather it in my hands. My hands would know what to do. I could leave my life. I could change completely. Is it time?

Maybe everything I love is made of it. It is beauty. It is mystery. It has a blonde smell. I bury my red-hot face in the pillow of it knowing the lullaby of its company doesn’t anchor me anymore. Light, air and leaves are moving in its breeze. There is a sweet taste in my mouth, which makes my teeth feel unfamiliar – the taste of when I was small and lay in bed, not wanting to sleep, not wanting to be alone.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Fog Storm

Perhaps it’s raining softly, too softly to matter to the trees. I notice the rain as small droplets collect on my window. A mist hangs in the air. I open the window and the weather slides in, fills all the spaces in the room, chills my face.

Maybe as I walk beneath a sky that touches down wherever it wants to, I think, how quiet can this city get? There is water in my bottle of Evian, a water that will flow forever to the ocean, a water that connects the people walking the streets of the city every day, people who wonder if they should ever smile to one another. Perhaps someday they will, but today is not the day.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Awareness of Awareness

Perhaps the awareness of awareness always involves a change in perspective. To ourselves we are always who we are, stumbling in the debris of dreams we thought we were entitled to and plans we didn’t think we had made. Yet to others, the person we are is something that emerges gradually. A map of shadows and echoes that arrives with us and then disappears again.

Maybe as driver you twist and turn the wheel to point the car’s nose toward our destination. As  daydreaming passenger I am a necessary part of the equation, yet am left with little recollection of the miles.  Outside the window the sky is the color of pink-flushed hydrangea; inside the car your cheek reminds me of blankness on paper – the smooth white. My finger traces a blue highway along the Pacific coast, seeking the circled star of a particular city. Then, without warning, my hand lifts the entire state of California and turns it over to where it continues on the other side.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Light Upon Light

Perhaps light upon light is more difficult to perceive than light upon darkness. Light upon light contains the soft touch of ‘something else'. And what if this something else could be spun into a fine, indestructible thread, and woven into the most ordinary clothing? Would the trajectory of this new creation be considered perpendicular or parallel?

Maybe in a life where so many illusions are created and fostered, it is important to remember that any trail that has long since vanished from air or water still remains visible. With each and every breath we enter the inspiration that binds feathers to the feather-bed, egg whites to the omelet; that infuses a hint of eternity to three coin-sized moths flitting into artificial light, milky-white after months of a dark, melancholic journey - flickering for a moment in the jeweled silky brilliance of their destination's gemstone.

Several Directions

Perhaps every single moment of life stands open in several directions, like the unknown figures we see in dreams. A bird catches my eye, flying low through the air as I hear the woe-is-me call of the mourning dove, the screechy cries of jays and crows hopping on the lawn. Who are you? I ask in my deepest voice, as winged feathery swarms scatter and lift, bright balloons disappearing into the sky. Whose wings will I follow? And why? 

Maybe while the past is lost forever, everything that didn’t happen is doubly lost. Everything that could have been different is the hardest part. No landmark, just the contours of the many missed moments leading me on like a compass point. The tugs on my sleeve, the pleading whispers, the forest more than ever full of voices. I now know the cost of what once seemed effortless, of we who saw each other always for the last time. An absence so large the crows call out its sorrow. I forge on into every dark day searching for you with only a day’s supply of food, a mirror, and a flashlight. 

Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Search

Perhaps they were soft, small and made of cloth so they could easily be held in our arms and hugged.  We clutched them in our sleep, played with them on rainy days, carried them to the post office, the preschool, the grocery store and the park. And since it was not unusual during this time for a lion to lie beside a zebra, for a shark to be cuddled, or for a black panther to be kissed and stroked, they came to represent the world as we often wished it were – soft, small, and good.

Maybe as we grew and our childhoods were crammed into small cardboard boxes, we continued, for a time, to demand justice against the sufferings of the world. Yet at some point it was easier to forget, along with everything else we were never very comfortable talking about. Today, although there is very little light left on the road, we turn around in an effort to reunite with what was lost, what was forgotten, what was harmed. There is still time to find it, we believe. It couldn't have gone very far. Neighbors come to help, but immediately become aware that the road is very long. What are you searching for? they ask. Please tell us where you lost it or put us into the path of where you last saw it. Several of them are smoking cigarettes. One of them is looking at his watch.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

After the Rain

Perhaps from the trees’ black shadows, small birds burst into color, their bright feathers flaring like the sun itself.  As their warmth drives away the wetness, poppies in bloom cast a tangerine glow over green water. Large bands of clouds dissipate to reveal a blue sky mingled with a magic of tint and pigment, forming an arc of translucent hue - vast, brilliant, evanescent, and fanciful.

Maybe to look at bright green leaves against the black trunk of a wet tree is similar to asking a question. I wonder, how to grieve for the blackened part? Sunshine spreading like a golden fever into my veins moves across my eyes as shadows abandon the objects that once projected them. Yet in my heart I am pinched by something sharp as the dark, as the receding root of winter chills the air around me. I walk out into the morning surrounded by colors so bright and restless I can’t bear to look at them for long.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Someone's Memory

Perhaps I once entered someone’s memory. The place was planted with a forest of large shade trees and loud voices. On one of the trees hung a painting of a cat, a cat sleeping on a fence, a cat who was famous to the birds. The cat woke up to stretch as daylight ended. I called out to the cat, to the trees, to the birds, to the loud voices; I called out to the shadow of the sky’s wide and immense stare, to the empty, black, interstellar nothing, to the dark gleams appearing on the backs of leaves, but not even a breath of wind answered me.

Maybe as the night progressed I called out to the moon who appeared to be so close that it would be possible to travel there to visit her. I called out in a silence only the moon could understand, but the moon was looking elsewhere. My mind moved on to the next memory, a story that formed a treeless forest where all possibility of upward escape was cut off.  I met you there once in this field of wildflowers and running streams, but who is going to tell me how to find my way to you again in this land I am speaking of? Who will dare to plant a single tree in this field where eye and spirit remain divided in layers of stopped voices and inverted shadows?

Sunday, March 4, 2018

A More Beautiful Question

Perhaps we should consider what’s worth doing even at the risk of failure. Then quietly ask ourselves, what are the odds that we’re wrong? And wonder, why did we love doing this so much as a child? And how might we better pry off that lid and stir the paint? Better yet, what if we could use one paintbrush to replace another? And being that we all live in the world our questions help create, how do we get more people in the door, and really make the numbers add up?

Maybe, in the face of uncertainty, why not ask, why are we climbing this mountain in the first place? And what are we leaving behind, deep inside and down below? And what if we succeed? Who will miss us? And finally, what if we could ask this question in a way that it has never been asked before?

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Your memory (guest post by Tess P)

On November 26, 2017 my dear friend Tess Pfeifer left this world. It is fitting that Teresa and I first met in a writing workshop in Amherst, MA as the precious core of our friendship had, at its heart, both the love of language, and the language of love. Teresa's contributions to family, friends and community left this world a better place. A devoted mother, teacher, librarian, sister, poet, mentor, grandmother, and friend - she is missed by all.

This poem by Teresa was originally posted on 2/12/2017

Perhaps your memory is hazy as sea glass, smooth and etched into softer blues, subtle greens or chalky whites. The clarity of a window you passed long ago has faded. You remember church bells, the smell of basil, the day you found your car had been towed, but then the sun melts into the bay and here you are.

Maybe a bad memory is no memory at all, but a haunting. It could be a story someone told you, a newspaper column about a Japanese woman who died and was eaten by her cats, or the other stories you read for pleasure. Sometimes you wonder what’s behind that door you closed, the place where you came from, and then you're treading dark water. Your bad memory is like a stray dog that wanders off somewhere and once home, you think it may carry a disease or it must have ticks or fleas.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Prickly Purple Beauty

Perhaps the prickly purple beauty of thistle flower tints the summer seaside with lavender crowns. She feels at home here in these gilded hills, sparkling in her element as an amethyst jewel – each showy filigree orb perched on a silvery stem hemmed with the rich, royal green spiked collar of her imperial costume.

Maybe she is a no more than a troublesome weed, you say. With her stubborn, invasive root system and impenetrable armor of sharp thorns she is not easy to remove. Though she may choke your garden, come first and visit her on this secluded seaside trail, and see her as I see her. Greet her with the same sweet morning song of sunshine that opens your own soft violet eyes. Watch how industrious bees and idle butterflies alike are drawn to drink her dew. 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

orange of

Perhaps the eerie, glowing orange of today's midday sun summons the midnight panic of hands reaching for family pets, photographs, passwords and passports with only minutes to spare. We have no desire to eat or speak as long as the soot of last night's hungry, weary witching hour infuses this peachy air – an air charged with particles too dangerous to breathe in yet impossible to flee – microscopic motes of heartbreak clinging to our cars, mailboxes, and entering our bloodstreams, scattering like loose petals in a fluttering avalanche of whirl and whim.

Maybe the grey that remains of what is lost kneels before each family. Twists of molten glass, shards of chipped and blackened plates, a child’s toy somehow untouched, a scorched coffee cup. Meanwhile this dusty citrus sheen of sunlight continues to illuminate the black skeletons of trees and florescent orange cones marking evacuated neighborhoods, the pumpkin-orange vests of volunteers combing the debris for human remains, a color so bright no one can bear to look at it for long.
  

Saturday, October 14, 2017

The kind of red

Perhaps it is the kind of red that tastes of late-September strawberries ripening under their dark-haired leaves, the sweetness of nature’s last hurrah sugaring the pink edge of my tongue – or the red over-ripe scent of forgotten apples left on the tree too long; a heavy, somber fragrance souring the air that follows my footsteps on this early morning walk.

Or maybe it is the kind of red that belongs to police lights swiveling into the dimly lit kitchens of neighbors coaxing their children to finish their breakfasts and get ready for school. The deafening shriek of sirens that filled my ears the morning you lost your son. I remember tugging at my own son to get dressed, brush his hair, zip his jacket, and put on his shoes as we ventured out into the cold red sunrise that hurt my eyes already red and wet from crying and I kissed him goodbye at the door of his kindergarten classroom.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Landmarks

Perhaps it is a way of being lost without having gone anywhere, like arriving at a cottage where all the year’s flowers bloom at once. The day begins with a long walk over land edged with the vivid blue of sky and white clouds overhead close enough to touch.

Maybe there is not one single open place, no path to walk along.  You attempt to follow the tracks of a rabbit, your feet crushing dandelion stalks sprinkled with dust. Thorns, briars and brambles fill the space of the open dry ground, until all the land looks alike. Up close the wide open vista dissolves into texture, into incoherence. You resolve, try again, and move along in stutters, starts, and stops.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Imperfect

Perhaps a story, like a person, remains imperfect, incomplete, during its entire existence. Each and every masterpiece of digression is a person on the beach tentatively touching his or her toes to the edge of the sprawling sea. It is a Mobius strip in which the first and last lines and all unfinished fragments in between link up to frame a unique, never-ending cycle of creation – a beautiful reminder that new views appear with every footstep and rays of understanding will always illuminate what needs to be seen.

Maybe in the cool spring twilight, water in the stream drips between rocks and I remember when you turned fourteen. We read The Odyssey together, and in the midst of the story's high drama you questioned the preferential intervention of the Gods. At the point when Odysseus’ men grew so full of despair at the hopelessness of their situation that they broke into weeping, I felt a glimmer of clarity. Waiting for the light of the rising moon I stand up and look out past the gathering darkness still waiting for you, you who promised to visit me.


Sunday, May 7, 2017

Camelot

Perhaps because I am able to love you today, happiness follows me like a shadow. The saint to be appreciated and the animal to be condemned that have always existed inside of me dissolve into one. I am at ease, like a sky deciding to become one kind of weather. I am a painting of birds, a metaphor for what I might call joy, for what you might call light.

Maybe Camelot, located nowhere in particular, can be found anywhere. Any one brief, shining moment in which we accept whatsoever is the case, without praising it or detecting faults. Next, we pick a language from what we're given as twigs collect by the side of the path and wild flowers space themselves along the meadow. Your arm reaching toward me becomes what I might call a wing - what you might call a knife.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Bells of Dawn




Not the best quality video, but beautiful sound!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxmbMUq9Mbw

Origin of Flux

Perhaps that which has happened can unhappen at any moment. I take a breath in, and I immediately have to throw one out again. The edge of day, which appears fixed in the mosaic of my eye, is even closer than it seems as it pulls away from me into the passing hours, days, months and years of a lifetime.

Maybe as I strive to direct my life according to the possible, memories occur, like rain clouds journeying west to east pressured by wind. These memories are neither small nor large; they are neither here nor elsewhere. They are the depth and echo of a future time; horses elegant and bright. Their galloping doesn’t mean they have come from elsewhere. Here when they are here, here before they were here, here after they were here – they are from no place from which I could ever orient myself.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Law of the Three

Perhaps everything is divided into three. The true, the good, the beautiful.  Existence, consciousness, and bliss. The seer, the seen, and their relationship. And what about the proton, neutron and electron? No one has seen electrons, yet it is mathematically assumed they are there.

Maybe, even about electrons, very little can be said. Physicists claim that now that we have electrons, we have come to the limit of matter because electrons are not visible and have no material property. Yet electrons cannot be called non-matter either, because all matter consists of them. If they are neither matter nor non-matter, what to call them? In the meantime, the hypnotist goes on repeating the phrase there, at the center of that sleep until you fall so easily under her spell – so colorful, so attractive, so magnetizing. You raise your eyebrows and wink, the real world falling through your mind in glittering pieces.