frivolous friday

Ohhh I am soooo going to buy my sweetheart lick-n-stick tattoos !!!
by liz climo



"Inanimate objects are always correct and cannot, unfortunately, be reproached with anything. I have never observed a chair shift from one foot to another, or a bed rear on its hind legs. And tables, even when they are tired, will not dare to bend their knees. I suspect that objects do this from pedagogical considerations, to reprove us constantly for our instability. "

~ Zbigniew Herbert



frivolous friday

by liz climo


The Confession of an Apricot

I love incorrectly.
There is a solemnity in hands,
the way a palm will curve in
accordance to a contour of skin,
the way it will release a story.
This should be the pilgrimage.
The touching of a source.
This is what sanctifies.
This pleading. This mercy.
I want to be a pilgrim to everyone,
close to the inaccuracies, the astringent
dislikes, the wayward peace, the private
words. I want to be close to the telling.
I want to feel everyone whisper.
After the blossoming I hang.
The encyclical that has come
through the branches
instructs us to root, to become
the design encapsulated within.
Flesh helping stone turn tree.
I do not want to hold life
at my extremities, see it prepare
itself for my own perpetuation.
I want to touch and be touched
by things similar in this world.
I want to know a few secular days
of perfection. Late in this one great season
the diffused morning light
hides the horizon of sea. Everything
the color of slate, a soft tablet
to press a philosophy to.

~ by Carl Adamshick



variation on the word sleep

Variation On the Word Sleep
~ Margaret Atwood

I would like to watch you sleeping,
which may not happen.
I would like to watch you,
sleeping. I would like to sleep
with you, to enter
your sleep as its smooth dark wave
slides over my head

and walk with you through that lucent
wavering forest of bluegreen leaves
with its watery sun & three moons
towards the cave where you must descend,
towards your worst fear

I would like to give you the silver
branch, the small white flower, the one
word that will protect you
from the grief at the center
of your dream, from the grief
at the center. I would like to follow
you up the long stairway
again & become
the boat that would row you back
carefully, a flame
in two cupped hands
to where your body lies
beside me, and you enter
it as easily as breathing in

I would like to be the air
that inhabits you for a moment
only. I would like to be that unnoticed
& that necessary.



notes from Granada: a modern Geppetto

On Christmas Eve, my good friend Alberto Granados  posted about a wonderful shop of handmade toys and its maker: a modern Geppetto.  The child in me gazed, nose pressed firmly to the glass, into this marvelous world of handmade wooden toys that move and fly and sing and kiss.  Alberto (and Paco Munoz, the artisan) has graciously permitted me to steal a few images and share them here with you, my blogging friends!

As Alberto writes:
" This modern Geppetto creates trains, planes, wheels and carousels, puzzle pieces to fit, clocks and calendars, bowling as soldier, trucks and in recent years is specializing in automation: a doctor who gives a cardiac massage to her patient , a series of blocks that make up and down a few balls until they return to the starting point for a slide, a pianist who plays a score of blues, a robot, animals that slide ramps, a couple who turns his head to be passionate kisses, a rower that moves your boat ..."
~ from " Wood, more wood"

a plane I'd dearly love to fly !!

No plastic, no metal, no mass production.  Each piece dreamed and lovingly crafted by furniture designer Francisco Munoz and his team of artisans.  I was especially enthralled by a piece Alberto describes as a 'doll church' - a church built much like a dollhouse ....... but not just ANY church, oh no:

"It is quite peculiar, beneath a universe that includes several priests, a sacristan, several altar boys, the faithful and a preacher, an organist, a choir singing ......."

 (the priest moves, the altar boy sways, the officiant blesses)

 and beneath it all, in delicious allegorical irony .....

"... appears as a witty antithesis, a basement where sits a hilarious Hell divided into two areas: bankers and politicians."
  I would like to add 'lawyers' to that basement tableau !!  However, considering Spain's current state of affairs, bankers and politicians are 'spot on' for Hell.  So, next time you are in the neighborhood of beautiful Granada, Spain, stop by Geppetto's workshop ......

.... wander through this magical world, and have a coffee with my friend Alberto who will tell you where all the best food, music, art, literature and toys can be found in Granada, Spain !!  Tell him I send 'a thousand kisses ..........'

Mil besos, Alberto y muchas gracias !!



time is a graceless enemy ...

I’m winding down.  The daylight is winding down.
                                                     Only the night is wound up tight,
And ticking with unpaused breath.
Sweet night, sweet steady, reliable, uncomplicated night.

~ Charles Wright 
from “Time is a Graceless Enemy, but Purls as It Comes and Goes” 


there's something about Mary ....

from The Poetry Foundation on Mary Oliver:

Poet Mary Oliver is an “indefatigable guide to the natural world,” wrote Maxine Kumin in the Women’s Review of Books, “particularly to its lesser-known aspects.” Oliver’s verse focuses on the quiet of occurrences of nature: industrious hummingbirds, egrets, motionless ponds, “lean owls / hunkering with their lamp-eyes.” Kumin noted that Oliver “stands quite comfortably on the margins of things, on the line between earth and sky, the thin membrane that separates human from what we loosely call animal.” Oliver’s poetry has won numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award and a Lannan Literary Award. Reviewing Dream Work (1986) for the Nation, critic Alicia Ostriker numbered Oliver among America’s finest poets, as “visionary as [Ralph Waldo] Emerson.”

Winter in the Country
~ Mary Oliver

The terror of the country
Is not the easy death,
The fall of hawks out hunting
Across the musical earth,

Nor yet the useless borning
In every leafy den.
The terror is that nothing
Laments the narrow span.

Beasts of all marvelous feature,
Of vibrant hoof and wing,
Watch the white hands of winter
Undoing everything,

And do not cry or argue.
The starvlings of the day
Never dreamt of better.
Nibbling, they fall away.

The terror of the country
Is prey and hawk together,
Still flying, both exhausted,
In the blue sack of weather.



Favorite Poem of 2012

I meant to write this post days ago, more in keeping with a general re-cap of 2012 before launching staunchly into 2013.  O the best laid plans .... Realizing I had barely missed Dave's birthday threw me, and before I knew it, 2013 was firmly settled-in and ticking away.  I am not one, generally, for looking backwards, having learned in my personal life that doing so can mire one down in regrets and what-ifs or simply in crap memories that no one should be carrying around.  Don't get me wrong - of course I am quite sentimental about fond memories.  I keep those in a special memory box away from the rest.  I digress.

2012 was the year of POETRY for 'through the garden gate.'  I posted approximately 50 different poets' work in 2012 and some more than once.  I cannot recall if I read and finished one book during 2012.   But yes, I did read a lot of poems.  I had my Polish contingent:  Szymborska, Harasymowicz and Milosz.  A bit of Shakespeare, Hafiz  and Rilke for history.  Merwin, Neruda, Hughes, Cummings, Kinnell and Ryan for solid grounding.  Hulme for the metaphysical poets.  Current poetic stars like Collins, Hoagland and Li-Young Lee.  And there are the lesser known but still much delighted-in poets.  All in all a great year for poetry.

So how do I pick a favorite ??? Actually it is not as hard as it might seem.  Many poems speak to me of a particular mood, or thought - a moment in my daily life.  If I go back and re-read, these poems typically 'read differently' to me the second time around.  A favorite poem's essence, if not its actual lines, stays with me always.  Okay.  On to the short list for 2012, in no particular order:

Kay Ryan, Chinese Foot Chart
Kaylin Haught, God Says Yes to Me
poet unknown, Finding You
Tiffany Atkinson, Tea
Anne Michaels, Flowers
Eleanor Wilner, The Muse, an excerpt
Billy Collins, Silence
Margaret Atwood, Late Night
Kevin Hart, Come Back
Li-Young Lee, Nocturne

Ummmm..... this is where the choosing gets tricky.  Ten great poems.  Ten great, memorable poems.

Chinese Foot Chart ~ Every word of this poem matters.  It is spare and strong and I would have trouble picking one line out of all the rest. 
God Says Yes to Me ~ "Sweetcakes God said, who knows where she picked that up, what I'm telling you is Yes Yes Yes"
Finding You ~ For reasons of sentiment and personal attachment, this poem is awarded its own 'category' - I consider this poem to be 'Our Poem' - as in couples having 'their song'... I know, I know.  It is pretty sappy.  But Soubriquet found this poem in a book in a charity bookshop, somewhere (we can't remember where) and photographed the poem.  We have no idea who wrote it; what book it was in; why we didn't purchase the book ...... but there you have it.  Our poem.
Tea ~ Ohhhh another poem where every word counts! Really love this one:  "You weren't to know how your touch with the teaspoon stirred me" and "I thought of the salt in the crook
of your arm where a fine vein kicks.  Of what it might be like to know the knot and grain and beat of you;"
Flowers ~ "There's another skin inside my skin that gathers to your touch," and "every tip of me gathers under your touch, wind wrapping my dress around our legs, your shirt twisting to flowers in my fists." .... A very strong ending to this poem.
The Muse ~ from "There she was, for centuries, the broad with the luscious tits," to "that plump poetic dish who lived on air but looked as if she dined on pasta." - this poem is a great erotic romp!
Silence ~  Right, right - I haven't been a Billy Collins fan in the past, but 2012 changed that.  I posted at least 3 if not 4 of his poems last year.  And here is Silence vying for the top spot: " The silence of the falling vase before it strikes the floor, the silence of the belt when it is not striking the child." and "And there is the silence of this morning which I have broken with my pen, a silence that had piled up all night" ... boy, this one will be hard to beat!
Late Night ~ Oh what a great thing to discover Margaret Atwood's poetry!  She has been a favored author over the years, but I had not delved into her poetry.  I love this ending:  "Screw poetry, it’s you I want, your taste, rain on you, mouth on your skin."
Come Back ~  Mmmm .... I love the pleading repetition:  Come back .... "Come back to me.  The road is waiting quietly outside your door," and "Come back, I want to tell you how all of the things I only half-believed before are true," to its finale:  "I want to know, once more, how it feels to be peeled and eaten whole, time after time"  Love Love Love this ending!!
Nocturne  ~ Every poem of Li-Young Lee's is elegantly composed.  His poems are stories within stories; and he is, arguably, my current favorite poet (though Tony Hoagland vies closely).  The ending to this poem is wonderfully chilling:  "Tonight, something bows that should not bend. Something stiffens that should slide. Something, loose and not right, rakes or forges itself all night."

Sigh.  I've gone back and read them all including comments.  The top three, drum roll please, in no particular order are:

Tea by Tiffany Atkinson
Silence by Billy Collins
Come Back by Kevin Hart

Oh dear.  I've been resisting this decision.  I knew it all along.  Instead I wrote a very long post, circling round and round, HOPING the final choice would be anyone but .... HIM .... argggghhh!

Here it is my friends.  My favorite poem of 2012:


There is the sudden silence of the crowd
above a player not moving on the field,
and the silence of the orchid.

The silence of the falling vase
before it strikes the floor,
the silence of the belt when it is not striking the child.

The stillness of the cup and the water in it,
the silence of the moon
and the quiet of the day far from the roar of the sun.

The silence when I hold you to my chest,
the silence of the window above us,
and the silence when you rise and turn away.

And there is the silence of this morning
which I have broken with my pen,
a silence that had piled up all night

like snow falling in the darkness of the house -
the silence before I wrote a word
and the poorer silence now.

~ by Billy Collins

Here's to more poetry in 2013!


A Locked House

Abandoned House
Carpathian Mountains, Ukraine
by Alan Weiss

As we drove back, crossing the hill,
The house still
Hidden in the trees, I always thought—
A fool’s fear—that it might have caught   
Fire, someone could have broken in.   
As if things must have been
Too good here. Still, we always found   
It locked tight, safe and sound.

I mentioned that, once, as a joke;   
No doubt we spoke
Of the absurdity
To fear some dour god’s jealousy   
Of our good fortune. From the farm   
Next door, our neighbors saw no harm   
Came to the things we cared for here.   
What did we have to fear?

Maybe I should have thought: all
Such things rot, fall—
Barns, houses, furniture.
We two are stronger than we were
Apart; we’ve grown
Together. Everything we own
Can burn; we know what counts—some such   
Idea. We said as much.

We’d watched friends driven to betray;   
Felt that love drained away
Some self they need.
We’d said love, like a growth, can feed   
On hate we turn in and disguise;
We warned ourselves. That you might despise   
Me—hate all we both loved best—
None of us ever guessed.

The house still stands, locked, as it stood   
Untouched a good
Two years after you went.
Some things passed in the settlement;   
Some things slipped away. Enough’s left   
That I come back sometimes. The theft   
And vandalism were our own.
Maybe we should have known.

~ by W.D. Snodgrass
 from Selected Poems, 1957-1987



n. the sense that the future is arriving ahead of schedule, that all those years with fanciful names like “2013” are bursting from their hypothetical cages into the arena of the present, furiously bucking the grip of your expectations while you lean and slip in your saddle, one hand reaching for reins, the other waving up high like a schoolkid who finally knows the answer to the question.

n. the bittersweetness of having arrived here in the future, where you can finally get the answers to how things turn out in the real world—who your baby sister would become, what your friends would end up doing, where your choices would lead you, exactly when you’d lose the people you took for granted—which is priceless intel that you instinctively want to share with anybody who hadn’t already made the journey, as if there was some part of you who had volunteered to stay behind, who was still stationed at a forgotten outpost somewhere in the past, who was still eagerly awaiting news from the front.

via: the dictionary of obscure sorrows 

rdg:  I'm a huge lover of words and, especially, the art of the portmanteau.  I have recently discovered The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, a tumblr full of portmanteaux:  exquisite words and their unique, creative definitions. 

Saying good-bye and hello in a split second between this year and last (or speaking to your beloved who is residing a full 6 hours into your future, in a year different from your own) is bittersweet.  We recap the moments that mattered most.  We try to forget the moments that hurt the most.  Because, in the end, how you respond to the events in your world shape how you think and feel on a daily basis.  Happiness is a choice tends to be overused and rightly cliche'd.  But we DO choose a response to our world moment by moment even if it is instinctual or reactionary or a well planned consideration. 

I am pessimistic by instinct and hopeful by choice.  I am fortunate that those I call friend, here and in my life, are people who view 'the glass half full' .... all face life's misfortunes and sorrows and disappointments with equanimity and a very human mix of fear, respect and a certain mental toughness.  You, my dear friends, are those who 'overcome' - and remind me often to be happy in the moment, to look for the small blessings in my daily life, to be grateful and to persevere.  So I thank you, my friends and genuinely wish you a clean slate of a new year.  Here is the page.  You are the pen.  The story is yours to write.  I look forward to the reading.

with love,