Mystery

Monday Morning Afternoon Musings:

“Art evokes the mystery without which the world would not exist.”

–Rene Magritte

“Tell all the truth, but tell it slant—”

Emily Dickinson

Rain Garden, West Deptford Public Library

A portal beneath the water’s surface?

What lies beneath the surface–

the secrets and mysteries we carry within

our hearts and minds,

many layered labyrinths

we follow the breadcrumbs

 

(when we’re able)

 

or, wander aimlessly–

well, it can be a pleasant journey–

but what will happen?

Every story has a mystery—

truth and fiction both.

 

Between the beats of morning’s song

a small red bird is illuminated

against charcoal clouds it journeys on

then it disappears into the green canopy

gone to me,

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but I am just a bit player,

in his story,

and he is the same in mine,

a chance encounter with flyby beauty,

remembered for a time

 

as I ponder the mystery

of beating hearts

and those at rest,

listen for the harmony

that is no longer there—or is it

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all of a part?– life and love–

and the stardust drifting from space

to course through our veins.

The universe is full of secrets

that may devour you–

 

or surround you with magic—

either way, it remains a mystery

we don’t know what will happen

until it does—

and then we move on–

 

or we don’t,

perhaps wondering,

what happens next?

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New masks

 

Today is Memorial Day here in the U.S. This holiday honors the memory of those who died in our various wars. Yesterday, the New York Times posted a frontpage memorial to those who have died in the current pandemic here in the U.S.—nearly 100,000 lost and counting. Among them, my mother, as well as the loved ones of some of you reading this. Here’s the interactive link.

Merril’s Movie Club: We watched four movies this week, and it struck me that idea that every story has a mystery (not a unique or profound thought, I know, but you work with you have, right?).  Frantz and The Half of It were the best of the four.

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Our movie-watching buddy.

Frantz (2016) is such a Merril movie, that I wonder how we missed it. I’ve seen both the leads in other movies since, and they are excellent, especially Paula Beer, who plays a young German woman whose fiancé was killed in battle during WWI. A French veteran appears in her town, where she lives with her fiancé’s parents. She sees him laying flowers on the grave. Eventually, they meet, and he explains he was her fiancé’s friend from when he studied in Paris. The movie is a low-key anti-war film. It’s mostly in black and white, but with some color scenes, and it’s in French and German. It’s on Amazon.

The Half of It (2020) is a new Netflix film. It’s a spin of Cyrano, with an Asian-American female self-described high school nerd in the Cyrano role. So, it’s also a coming of age story with a lesbian subtext. It’s sweet and funny, with some philosophical musings by the main character. I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would.

Sweetheart (2019) is also on Netflix. It also is a take on a familiar trope—the person shipwrecked and stranded on a deserted island. In this case, the shipwrecked person is a woman, and the island is not exactly deserted—because there’s a monster. Kiersey Clemons is excellent, and the movie was enjoyable, though I wouldn’t say it was great.

Photograph (2019). On Amazon. We watched while we ate my homemade naan and chana masala. I had high hopes for this one because we enjoyed the director’s previous film, The Lunchbox, but this one was only OK. It’s like they had an idea for a movie, but then didn’t know what to do with it. A street photographer in Mumbai is being pressured by his grandmother back in their village to get married. He sends her a photograph he took, and then convinces the woman in the photo to pretend to be his girlfriend.

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Homemade Naan

 

 

 

 

Perhaps

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Monday Morning Musings:

“Perhaps the earth can teach us

as when everything seems dead

and later proves to be alive.

 

Now I’ll count up to twelve

and you keep quiet and I will go.”

Pablo Neruda, Keeping Quiet”

 

On the inside, looking out

as the earth comes alive

white-flowered and robin-trilled,

visible joys

invisible hazards

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Tiny Beautiful Things

torment us–

miasma, they once believed,

poisonous vapor,

now we know a virus drifts and sits—

stay far away, wear a mask,

 

and wash your hands—

“Out damned spot! Out—”

we say

in collective panic, guilt,

and a truthful reminder

 

of scientific fact,

facts, a dear commodity

often ignored, as if invisible,

against the gaudy lies,

pink flamingos standing on one leg.

 

But now the world is upside down,

will we value the invisible

in the after

as we never did in the before?

Stop, take a breath–

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Puddle Reflection–the upside down world

 

remember the dreams.

“My mother told me this story,”

I say in mine.

It is not a true story

of my grandmother,

 

but it is a story of women,

of carrying on,

of working and making do,

my inner me reminds me

of this—but also to dream, to smile.

 

My mother visits with my dead father,

she walks an imaginary pet dog

through hallways she cannot walk,

dreamworld connections

beyond time and space,

 

we reach out

in our virtual Shabbos dinner–

again

connecting

and again

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The morning after–my work is done.

 

holding our friends

and loved ones however we can.

The world outside blooms, trees hold wisdom,

and the river still flows,

carrying ghosts and dreams.

 

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The gnarled, wise face of this mulberry tree.

 

I hope all of you and your loved ones are well. Sending virtual hugs to all of you! And cookies. I baked these Hamantaschen yesterday.

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Merril’s Movie Club: we watched three totally different movies this week. All on Prime.

The Handmaiden, a Korean movie (in Korean and Japanese) inspired by Sarah Waters’ novel Fingersmith, with the setting changed from Victorian London to Korea in the 1930s. It is sumptuous, beautifully filmed, and erotic (NOT a family film) with sly, fun plot twists.

The Invisible Man. This new version with Elisabeth Moss is a fast-paced thriller (not horror). If I had seen it in the theater, I probably would have jumped in my seat more than I did. It is also about domestic abuse, which if you want to get all metaphorical, is often an invisible crime. It costs $20 to rent, but I had that much left on an Amazon gift card—plus we’re not going out to the movies.

The Last Black Man in San Francisco.This was one I had thought about seeing when it was playing in Philadelphia. I would definitely watch this one again, and of the three, my husband and I liked this one the most, and we thought if we had gone out to see it, we would have had a long post-movie discussion over wine for this one. Watching the trailer for this one just now, I wanted to see it again. It is inspired by the main character Jimmie’s real life story.  Perhaps it is a true-to-life fiction about dreams and lies. Nearly the entire cast (including the street corner Greek Chorus) has San Francisco connections. There are weird random bits within this movie that somehow just fit in–I suppose like when you walk through a city and see strange sights and people.

We also watched the Netflix series, Unorthodox, which is inspired by Deborah Feldman’s 2012 memoir. This is an excellent four-episode series—we watched two episodes each night—in Yiddish, German, and English about a Hasidic woman from Brooklyn who leaves her life and goes to Berlin. Israeli actress, Shira Haas is outstanding as the main character, Esty. Haas had to learn Yiddish for the role.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flowers and Bombs, NaPoWriMo

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Monday Morning Musings:

“Forever—is composed of Nows—”

–Emily Dickinson,  Full Poem here. 

“N. A. Sumanapala, a shopkeeper near St. Anthony’s Shrine who said he had run inside to help, said: “It was a river of blood. Ash was falling like snow.” New York Times, April 21, 2019.

A week of explosions

flowers, storms, shots, and lies

bombs belie the façade

of Easter calm and Passover why

(is this night different from all other nights?)

 

Rivers of blood

with no miracle to part

falling of ash

unresurrected, fighting stops, starts–

A plague upon both your houses

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Of indecision and more lies

as the First Citizen cries

in confusion,

“No collusion!”

 

His followers cheer

not caring, or unclear

that he would destroy

all that they hold dear,

so they support and worship

their false idol. Rejoice

in the new normal, hate

the latest whipping boy.

 

I cook, wrapping myself

in almonds, dates, and honey.

The house is sunny,

scented with cinnamon

like the cat, who slumbers sun-sided

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Passover Almond Cake

The pink moon rises

we drink the first glass of wine, recline.

We are free, but refugees detained

chained, their children abused–

and we all lose–

Let all who are hungry come

 

We watch movies of

women hiding secrets

sometimes in plain sight

in poetry and stories,

sometimes driving in the night

to obligations, demands

and longing

for uncharted territories.

 

Certain women

holding together

waiting, still in a man’s world.

often unrecognized–

we place

an orange on the Seder plate,

to recognize, no longer erased.

 

We talk,

walk through city streets,

footsteps, heartbeats,

statues and stories,

petrichor replaced

with the scent of blooms

filling the air with their perfume, a trace

lingers in my mind.

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A week of explosions

flowers, storms, shots, and lies—

all the endless ifs and whys–

and yet, my heart thrills

at the sight of the spring tide

with waves of flowers,

creating bowers

while the robin’s trills—

and we remember

forever is composed of nows.

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Red Bank Battlefield Park, April 2019

 

Day 22, NaPoWriMo  challenges us “to write a poem that engages with another art form.” My Monday musings always engage with the world around me through photos, and often movies or shows we’ve seen–so to an extent–I’ve met the challenge.

We watched the movie Certain Women on Netflix. We watched Becoming Astrid (about Swedish author Astrid Lindgren, the author of Pippi Longstocking and other books) on Amazon Prime, once I figured out how to turn on the subtitles. We saw the new movie, Wild Nights with Emily about Emily Dickinson in the theater. I liked all three movies.

 

 

 

 

Connections

Monday Morning Musings:

“In a poem, one line may hide another line,

As at a crossing, one train may hide another train.”

–From Kenneth Koch (1925-2002), “One Train May Hide Another”

Full poem here

“Two girls discover

the secret of life

in a sudden line of

poetry.”

From Denise Levertov (1923-1997), “The Secret”

Full poem here.

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Ask if–

and in the language of cool whispers

she sings,

urging us

to what we want—

to soar

Everything is connected. . .

***

The days are cold, then warm,

next comes a storm

of snow, ice, rain,

till the sun shines again

as off to Florida he goes

no emergency, everybody knows

is this the beginning or the end—

only time will tell, my friend

 

if the country lives through this mess

this miasma of awfulness

and where will we go from here–

everything connected, but not so clear

 

why birds appear, everywhere

on the water, and in the clouds

I laugh aloud to see them there

and sigh to catch one unaware

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of how his beauty brightens my day

the dreariness, the gloom, held at bay

one tree branch may hide another—

and behind that, some other–

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a bit of beauty, once unseen

now there it is, what does it mean?

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty”

I wonder–is it something in-between

 

the lines of time, of place

the love that flutters in the space

between two lines—

sometimes it shines

 

in words, in deeds, or touches in time

OK, so, I didn’t make him a Valentine–

but I prepared some fondue

and we enjoyed it—well, wouldn’t you?–

along with the dipping and drinking

wine, and laughing

just enjoying without asking

as stomachs swelling, sinking

 

with all that bread and cheese

(just a bit more, please)

then chocolate to follow–

and if I walk with a bit of a waddle

 

well, more to love,

just give me a shove,

and next day to the gym

I’ll go for me, and not for him

***

We walk through the city

cold, but in sunshine, pretty

we watch a movie about art

and connection, in nature, and the part

 

between humans in ways known and not

perhaps the person you meet, was someone caught

somehow in your life, the whys unknown, and the when

as rain falls, to nourish fields, then evaporates again

 

part of a cycle, through history and time–

love and hate, poverty, wars, crime–

and how we express these things in art,

how do we share our passion and heart?

 

The movie is about art and history,

of the artist, and the mystery

of inspiration and creation,

and of repression and degradation

 

of people by those who are supposed to serve,

but instead they swerve

to serve hate with cool efficiency–

its own mental deficiency

 

as I see it, but not the one they wished to eliminate

with a path that looked so pat and straight

sterilization and cremation,

all to build their master race and nation.

 

And yet, art remains,

strains our brains

unchains with its power

though they censor and glower

 

at artists who speak the truth

and don’t look away, (not just the youth)

or any gender or race, but there is a trace

in all of us, a creative spark, a grace–

 

well, that is what I think about,

perhaps a shout out

to how we’re connected through the ages

In different paths, and through different stages,

but for now—I’ll stop and drink some wine

pretend or find that all is fine,

connect the dots, from below to above

with my musing thoughts to ask if. . .love

 

I wasn’t certain how to begin this Monday musing, so I went to the Oracle, who gave me the opening—which fit so well– of course–and another connection.

 

We saw the movie, Never Look Away. I love that my husband, whose birthday is today, will readily go with me to see a three-hour German movie. (Dale may be the only other person I know who might see it), but we both really liked it. And it honestly did not seem that long. It’s about an artist, Kurt Barnert, based, perhaps loosely, on the life of German artist Gerhard Richter. Barnert grows up during the rise of the Nazis and WWII and then lives in East Germany. When he is a child, his beautiful and beloved aunt Elisabeth tells him to “never look away.” Through her, he is connected to art, history, and to choices— both random and those he makes in his own life. Trailer here.

We also went to a wine and chocolate tasting event at William Heritage Winery. I appear to have really enjoyed that wine. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Universal Truths, Some Ice Doesn’t Melt

Monday Morning Musings:

“Poverty made a sound like a wet cough in the shadows of the room.”

–Ray Bradbury  (Referenced here.)

There’s ice on the river,
but it will melt,

Ice on the Delaware seen from Patco Train
not so some hearts

that stay ever frozen,

 

no warm current flows

there to thaw,

 

the cold. No way

to resuscitate the lifeless

 

zombies

feeding on the living.

 

Yet they proclaim

their love of life

 

when it’s cells

they pretend to care about–

 

but not the ones

into which people are thrown

 

not the children taken

and lost

 

and not their parents–

only the cells that might be,

 

not the violence

that affects them,

 

not the guns or poverty.

Power and money

 

their gods

though they pay lip-service

 

to a deity

twisted to defend

 

their beliefs.

It’s an age-old tale,

 

a universal truth that

the mighty can tumble,

 

but those just getting by

fall over the edge

and into a ravine

often unseen,

 

there to remain,

but it can happen

 

to almost anyone

without influence

 

or connections.

Perhaps—

 

connection

is the key,

 

if only to one

lock

 

of the many–

the librarian

 

who makes the homeless child

feel special,

 

the immigration officer,

who learns that

 

that law and morality

and not always the same thing.

 

We walk through city streets

where murals bring beauty–

 

and truth,

and a museum opens its doors

and galleries

to new works among the old–

social and economic inequality

consumption of people and goods

 

the movement of people and goods

across the globe–

 

a complex interaction

of thought, art, and words.

I amuse myself in imagining

my father and older daughter

 

walking though these rooms–

he, who wrote a dissertation

 

on Charles Willson Peale,

and she, an artist with a passion

 

for justice. What fun they would

have had here.What a discussion

they might have had—

perhaps in some alternative world,

 

but here, we are

and we go to a movie

 

immersed in a world that does exist–

It is fiction, but tells a truth

 

of poverty, chaos

that most of us cannot imagine.

 

Through it a young boy navigates

with defiance, bravery, spirit—and kindness

 

rising above it all

despite the example

 

of his parents, and many

around him blind to what is before them.

 

A story again of immigrants, too,

because this another universal truth

 

that people move and come legally and illegally

to Ethiopia, Lebanon, Iceland, the U.S.

 

to which my grandparents came.

And your ancestors were immigrants too

 

if you look back far enough.

And were they helped by someone?

 

Most likely.

 

We each walk our own paths

with tenuous connections

 

that sometimes mesh

or interact.

Late Afternoon, Washington Square, Philadelphia

 

The meteorologist says

there’s freezing fog today

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but the temperatures will rise,

and the ice will melt

 

But some hearts will stay cold

and some minds will remain frozen

 

screens where the cursor never moves

to write new thoughts.

 

We saw And Breath Normally. It’s on Netflix, trailer here.  It’s a quiet movie (no music, Dale!), but well done, about a immigration officer in Iceland and the African refugee who helps her. Though it’s set in Iceland, it could have taken place in many different nations. And we saw Capernaum (trailer here), which will just rip your insides outs. That little boy AND that toddler, and the horrible parents, and the surroundings. . .yeah, just see it.

We went to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts where Rina Bannerjee’s work is on display until March  31. (Free on Sundays during the exhibition). You can see and read more about her work here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My grandmothers, both immigrants

 

 

I amuse myself by imagining my father and my older daughter walking through the gallery discussing his view of the Peales and her views on art and feminism. They would have had so much fun.

Art

 

Resistence spices peel  never imagine without inheritance  I see revealed

Sun disguises well the feather we see while home

 

Stop these storms

 

She sings of summer

While the wind urges elaborate dreams

Heaving enormous fluff

 

When

Her heart healed

He looked long

Letting it be less

Herself

Him

The perfume of need and want

Melting

In embrace

Timeless as the ocean

Exploring the night

 

 

Cold, Wars, and the Music of a Dream

Monday Morning Musings:

For a brief time, the world is shot in black and white. Silent, like an old movie, till the wind sighs.

Quiet morning snow

soft sugar sprinkles glisten—

finch flits from bare branch

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I sit at the computer. In my head, a fantasy world. On the screen, test items, following a prescribed style. Test takers will read these sentences and answer questions, never knowing that the people and places they read and promptly forget about lived a full life somewhere in my imagination.

black lines on white screen,

silhouettes in the snow,

whispered world awakes

 

The world is grey again—and again. The world seems broken and full of ignorance. I finish a project, find comfort in baking. I used to bake these cookies for my children. Sometimes I bake them for my mother. Today, I bake them for me.  Mommy cookies.

Scent of cinnamon

stirring up memories, dreams—

tastes of yesterday

Mandelbrot   Merril D. Smith, 2019

Mandelbrot

 

We walk cold city streets. Above, I hear a hawk cries, echoing. Ghosts stroll beside us, as we walk across cobblestones. Free and enslaved. Immigrants and native born. Shades of white, brown, and gold. In life, some had wealth, education, and fine homes; others died illiterate and in poverty. The promissory note has yet to be paid.

Spirits sighing

wondering when and why they died

dreams left unfulfilled

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We go to a movie that opens with a scene of a cold, Polish winter with a car traveling on snow-covered rural roads. There is a search for folk music, or something that fits the bill. They become choral tunes, resurrecting a past that never was, as one government replaces another with slogans and rules. There is still prejudice and inequality in the workers’ state. Cold War politics. Realpolitik versus ideology. A couple that can’t live together, but who can’t live apart. We see time pass and locations change—rural Poland to Warsaw, Berlin, Yugoslavia, and Paris. We see velvety black and white images, shadows and light–the woman’s blond hair haloed as she sings, cool jazz. Polish becomes French and Polish again. The soundtrack of the film is a soundtrack of their lives. The unofficial theme song, in all of its permutations, a story of lovers who cannot be together.

Caged bird sings in hope

waits for a door opening

to fly, free at last

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I stock up on spices and examine all the angles. We laugh at whimsical signs. Over coffee, we discuss the movie. My husband says he would like to have seen the costumes in color. “They were in color in my head,” I say. He replies, “of course they were.”

Imagination

seeing color in the grey—

blue eyes and red lips

 

On the radio, I hear the writer/director/producer of a new documentary, Who Will Write Our History. She discusses the film about the clandestine archive kept by residents of the Warsaw Ghetto. They know that they will probably all die, and the Nazis, who think they are the master race want to rewrite history. Even in the ghetto, they were filming propaganda. The Jews bury their records in batches, so that their true history will be known. “A time capsule of a murdered civilization,” the director calls it.

buried underground

bulb emerges in the light

truth flowers and grows

 

The world is grey and broken. Still, I laugh as our cats play and chase each other around the house, then plop–toddler-like–and fall asleep. Our path sometimes looks straight, but then circles around. It is cold, but spring will come again. The moon rises, and tomorrow, dawn will come, again. In my dreams, I hear the music of the stars.

Blood-red, frosted moon

hums tunes of what might be . . .if

dreams rise, set, and rise

 

 

Sweet Dreams  Merril D. Smith, 2019

Sweet Dreams

 

 

We saw the movie Cold War—beautifully photographed with wonderful compelling performances. Trailer here.  The main song has been playing in my head on a loop—well, perhaps I’ve listened to it a few times, too. Dale–highly recommend this one.  🙂 Music is definitely important in this film. I may have to get this soundtrack. We also enjoyed the previous film Ida, by writer/director Pawel Pawlikowski, which won the 2017 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film.

Last night was the super blood wolf moon eclipse. The eclipse occurred after I was in bed, but the moon was certainly bright last night and early this morning.

Today is Martin Luther King, J. Day here in the U.S. I’m linking this to Frank’s Haikai Challenge on equality. Here’s a link to MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech. The current resident of the White House is not participating in any MLK activities today. Of course, it would be a bad joke if he did.

 

Trusting Love

Monday Morning Musings:

“Neither love nor terror makes one blind: indifference makes one blind.”

–James Baldwin, If Beale Street Could Talk

“If you trusted love this far, don’t panic now.”

–James Baldwin, If Beale Street Could Talk

 

In January dreariness, we sit in quiet reflection

still sated from treats of weeks before–

sweet confections—we turn in new directions

for the new year, wondering what for,

 

when the past seems ever with us

old hates reemerge, relished too much by some—

though we hope they’re few—so, we discuss

among our friends, from where does it come–

 

the evil of the past and then the current day?

Why do people flock to listen to the lies?

Though, true, some try hard to find a way

to shine the light before truth dies

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We all value real news.

 

we watch an Italian film, a fairy tale of sorts

with a man too good, timeless perhaps

as evil recurs, so too, goodness retorts

and yet, while we countdown till the collapse

 

Pizza Night!

Homemade pizza and wine–perfect to go with an Italian movie.

 

of the earth and all we love—

I have to have hope

in seeing the sun and moon above

and beauty in the ordinary, the scope

 

both small and wide, a cat,

the sky, grey clouds parting for sun to set–

and so, we chat, of this and that

of family and life, avoiding the threat—

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Happy to see some sunshine from my window after a rainy day.

not ready to face it yet–

so, we stroll through city streets

reminded again that truth doesn’t set

but tries again, and sometimes unseats

Philadelphia Murals

those who try to usurp power

and crush the weak or different-skinned,

but those who wield control from mansion or tower

lose it eventually, to vanish in the wind

 

like the one we walk in today

blowing clouds past the sun,

and with its light, some shadows play

upon the streets and walls, till done.

Shadows and Light, January in Philadelphia

Shadows and light.

We watch a movie, where love is strong

despite injustice based on racist thought–

centuries old–though it doesn’t belong,

still we’re caught, fraught, some brought

 

to realize indifference is just as wrong

even while hoping love will find a way

to stay, despite the panic, and headstrong

it can be, still love trumps hate, any day

 

so, it stays. And we walk and talk

as winter sun lowers in the sky

and in the park, the cry of a hawk

the chatter of squirrels, as we pass by

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then down to the train, and so we go–

home to where we’re blanketed and warm

where there is food and lights aglow,

a shelter in life’s storm.

 

Will love be enough?

We’ll try not to panic now–

there will be rougher stuff

and to time we’ll bow—

 

and yet

and yet

we’re here together now.

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We watched Happy as Lazzaro (on Netflix). Trailer here. It’s a sort of fairy tale, or perhaps an allegory. It’s a beautiful film—one to think about. We also saw If Beale Street Could Talk, based on James Baldwin’s novel. I wasn’t as mesmerized by this as the director’s Moonlight, which simply stunned me, but it was still very good, and all of the actors were excellent. So, Dale–here are two more for you! 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turkeys, Squirrels, and Magic in the Air

Monday Morning Musings:

“So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay.”

From Robert Frost, “Nothing Gold Can Stay”

“The sky is already purple; the first few stars have appeared, suddenly, as if someone had thrown a handful of silver across the edge of the world.”

Alice Hoffman, Here on Earth

The leaves strive to stay,

pops of color dot the landscape

brightening the grey

 

but falling, flying, drifting so

as autumn grows colder,

they must go

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Red Bank Battlefield

as does the day

soon the shadows lengthen

silently sliding their way

 

along pavement and ground

above bare branches wave

without a sound.

 

Violet turns midnight blue

and a glimmering filigree of light

dots the sky, like morning dew.

 

Twilight—this magic time

when fairy tales sprout

in the mind—and so I rhyme

 

Once– if tale be told–

my arm up a turkey,

the day frigid cold

 

I shoo away a sniffing cat

look at the bird’s freakishly long neck–

wonder what kind of dinosaur was that?*

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Survival and extinction

I continue the job

I won’t eat it but some

 

will, it’s the family holiday deal

a mixture of traditions and love

along with the holiday meal.

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Our lovely sommelier

And so, we gather together

unmold the cranberry squirrel—to cheers–

bask in weirdness, warmth in the cold weather.

On this night of full beaver moon

we eat, drink, laugh, and talk

though ever present the tune

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of what will be and what was past,

we try to stay in the moment, mindful

that we cannot know what is cast

 

by the auger’s stones

our fate with the stars

unknown, until felt in our bones.

 

We eat leftovers for days–

and drink more wine

walk and sleep in holiday haze,

 

then we sleep and dream

of a million things

forgotten at dawn, the theme

 

who knows? I hear the birds sing

amidst November gloom–

a little winged thing

 

can achieve wonders, I think,

cat on a lap, a book, a cup of tea—

yes, back to food and drink.

 

In sunny weather, we go to see

a Swedish film, not comedy,

a fairy tale, of sorts, it seems to me

 

border can be taken in many ways

as can gender and eye of the beholder

much in the world and nature may amaze

 

a fable may hold truth—

no matter about who or what is told

shy or bold, cultured, or uncouth

 

Magic all around us

in glowing leaves and laughing speech

known and unknown worlds, ever thus–

And so, we talk

drink our coffee and catch our train,

then our shadows take a walk—

and soon we’re home again

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to sleep under the silvered sky,

to dream of wondrous, magic things,

to ask without answers all the whys,

to hear the stars sing and to them fly.

 

Thanksgiving 2018

*I read this article on Thanksgiving.

 

We celebrated Thanksgiving with family (missing older daughter and her wife) and friends. For those who are new, our cranberry squirrel is a beloved family tradition. The unmolding of it is part of the tradition, and this year my sister made a very funny recording of the event. We saw the Swedish movie, Border. Trailer here. As the trailer says, unlike anything you’ve ever seen. It is definitely unusual, but my husband and I liked it. Coincidentally, I’m reading a book that is also a sort of fairy tale but that is set in the area of the world where my ancestors came from. Perhaps more about that in a future post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cold and Burning

Monday Morning Musings:

 “Listen. .

With faint dry sound,

Like steps of passing ghosts,

The leaves, frost-crisp’d, break from the trees

And fall.”

Adelaide Crapsey, “November Night”

 

“In the burned house I am eating breakfast.

You understand: there is no house, there is no breakfast,

yet here I am.”

From Margaret Atwood, “Morning in the Burned House”

 

The sun sleeps

in shadow now

the ground prepares

to slumber, too

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covered in brown

then sprinkled with white

golden-leaved boughs

glowing bright

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in defiant display—

this they say—

remember this day–

we will return

 

when the sun burns

the frost away.

 

So, we stay inside

watch a movie of sly wit and song,

there death seems to come along,

a bit of jokester, it seems

for which we’re never prepared,

still we turn the pages in a book,

hoping for a happy ending

Movie Cat

He is fascinated, watching The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.

And in the night

I dream of petting a sloth

(in a park)

 

then accompanying a pretentious hipster

dressed all in black, dark

like the restaurant where no food is consumed

 

but I outwit him and his friends

and wake laughing at the dream’s end.

 

Score one for the old lady

there’s life here still–

and more to be penned.

 

We venture out to see another film

unfolding tension

(a few jumps in my chair)

 

metaphors and

things that are not there—

 

a tangerine,

perhaps a cat—

 

and there is burning—

of various kinds—

 

and yearning–

what is in their minds?

 

What do they feel,

 

the young woman,

the would-be writer,

and the mystery Gatsby-rich man?

 

What is real?

 

We walk and talk

buy spices

to simmer in the cold,

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then in the chilly day

creeping into shadowed night

savor the warmth of wine

consumed in cozy light

life enjoyed despite what may

transpire, gloom kept at bay

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undesired here and now

and our fate unknown anyhow

 

so, we gather rosebuds—or drink

fruit of the wine, laugh and think

 

but not too long about the future

instead we nurture

 

ourselves and one another

 

cuddle with cats, dream of the moon

enjoy one snowfall, but wait for June

 

still we prepare soon

with family to gather

 

as the seasons turn

burn only candles

 

yet, seek the light

in every room.

 

We watched The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, a Western, Coen Brothers style, in theaters and on Netflix. We also saw Burning, Korean movie, a psychological thriller. We liked both movies very much. Wonderful acting in both of them.

 

Awkward Fantasy and Ghosts

Monday Morning Musings:

“We have grown to trust blindly in our senses of balance and reason, and I can see where the mind might fight wildly to preserve its own familiar stable patterns against all evidence that it was leaning sideways.”

–Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House

The weather has been erratic. Storms followed by sunshine, but always hot, only the level of humidity changes. The volatile, vacillating moods are echoed in the movie we see about a woman with an abusive husband and their custody battle. Neither child wants to see the father, but the daughter, who is almost eighteen, doesn’t have to. It’s the ten-year-old son, Julian, who must submit to visiting his father in this movie that becomes an intense thriller, rather than a legal drama. After the movie, we walk through Old City, where ghosts still walk, flitting through gates to hover over flowers, and drift over the cobblestone streets.

 

Sun-chased charcoal clouds

tumble through the evening sky

bright blooms smile hello

Summer in Old City, Philadelphia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We sip wine another night as the sky changes once again—blue turning grey. But we stay.

Wine glasses turn red,

echoes of the summer blooms

coloring the gloom

 

William Heritage Winery, NJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We travel to the New Jersey Fringe Festival in Hammonton, NJ—“Blueberry Capital of the World.” We see three short plays, funny, touching, strange. (It is fringe after all.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer festivals

walk through human emotion,

taste laughter and tears

We see a play about two fantasy worlds colliding,

sliding together

the man who lives in a porno world

meets a woman

then hurled

into her action hero world.

We thought the script could be tightened,

some excised, some enlightened,

but it was silly fun—and we’d only just begun

 

when off to the next one

about a man with two cartoon character names

and a most awkward life,

not so much filled with strife,

rather loneliness and seeking to connect

(even when his house is wrecked)

it’s whimsical, with ukulele and narration

and women who give him quite an education

in their multiple roles in his life, unlucky as it is

somehow, we see some hope at the end in his.

 

We pause to shop and eat gelato

 

NJ Fringe Festival,
Hammonton, NJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

walk through the flow, and then go

onto the next play

stay there in the small, hot basement room

listen to the man, the actor, speak,

we jump at every creak

we’ve seen him before

(someone opens the door

to cool the room a bit,

and still we sit).

Last year he performed here

serial murderer Jeffery Dahmer,

he is compelling, in this telling

of the ghosts and demons he has seen.

All the evidence leaning sideways,

We always

Try to make sense of what we see and fear

And here

With theater we sway a bit—wonder what is real

What did he see? What did he feel?

Is it all a metaphor for inner trauma,

Packaged as paranormal drama?

And does it matter if it is?

We take what he gives

entertainment and thoughtful reflection

we walk and talk in the direction

of our car. Then off to dinner, a day well spent

in this summer event.

The clouds fly by—

perhaps it’s my fantasy

to see ghosts and shadow figures in the sky.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I decided to play with form a bit today–Haibun and rhyme.

We saw the French movie, Custody. Trailer here. We went to the NJ Fringe Festival and saw, Wildest Fantasy, The Most Awkward Love Life of Peabody Magoo, and Ghost Stories.

We ate dinner at Mera Khana in Berlin, NJ, where I finally got my vegetable samosas. (Everything they make is delicious.)