I have an article on breast-binding in The Telegraph. I had to register to read it. 😏 You can read several articles for free.
All delirious and bitter,
whispers in blue-shadow light—
“needs must,” she says,
the TV on, urging their mad dreams
of what if—
when the lathered red lust is over,
and death chants crushed,
who recalls us?
Through mist, I watch the moon—sleep, sing, shine.
And as the fiddler sprays a thousand diamonds into the sky
they soar, time-aching with echoed whys.
My poem from the Magnetic Poetry Oracle. This time, she really gave me everything (except echo). She obviously knows what’s going on in the world.
Monday Morning Musings:
There might be ghosts in this story–
a tale of family secrets, a haunted house,
nightmares and night terrors
(what if they came for you?)
the spirits, specters, demons, and devils–
a frisson of fear, a shiver and a quiver
as you hear the tale,
it’s not real (you tell yourself)
these things don’t exist
(unless they come for you)
the secret police, the armed agents
to detain, to torture, to turn your life
upside-down, the world we live in now,
where we see the light reflected and wonder how
it is here and there, and wanders
from shore to distant horizon
between what we see
and what we think we see
in the fog, all is a blur,
sound is distorted, it echoes,
a soft purr of distant cars, the honk of a goose
here birds stop, then soar,
but I stand, rooted like the trees,
in the midst of autumn splendor
(I like to think)
still rising, still growing,
knowing that roots connect underground–
so be it. And healthy cells grow, too,
though the malignant tumors stand out,
they are not the entire body (politic),
Still, I sigh, watch the birds fly,
read the horror tales, feel the feels,
they’re not as scary as what is real–
the ghosts of 215,000, rising, plus,
and thus, what’s to come with the scary clown,
while the Constitution is whittled down
we ache, body and soul,
as the fluff-headed victors sound the death knell
to tell of democracy’s demise—yet the story to tell
is that the moon still hums, the stars still sing,
and scatter the light brightening
all, it radiates, falls
in ripples, like the stone I cast
into the river, watch the ripples pass
flowing on, the present an illusion, it doesn’t last,
past to future, goes, in ridges and waves
like light, with colors we won’t ever see,
an essence remaining, like a ghost of ancestors, or you, or me,
the whispers of earth, the songs of the sea.
Merril’s Movie/Theater/Book Club:
We watched a live-streamed production this week, STATE VS. NATASHA BENINA, which you probably won’t be able to access, but if you do get a chance, it’s well-worth it. I wondered how a production done live on Zoom would be (the audience was muted, and I turned off my camera, as I didn’t want people to see me in pjs in our living room). The actress was so good, portraying a Russian teen, who was raised in an orphanage, and now is accused of a crime. The audience is judge and jury, and votes at the end, but that serves more as a lead-in to discussion.
We were going to go out to a winery in the late afternoon yesterday, but the weather was not very nice, so we cancelled. I made a dinner, similar to one we might have had after Philadelphia theater dates, and we watched a filmed play, which is now on Amazon Prime. What the Constitution Means to Me is Heidi Schreck’s award-winning play, and it is excellent. I have heard pieces of it on the radio, as she discussed how she paid for her college education by giving speeches as a teen on the Constitution, but the entire play is really wonderful, as she weaves her personal history, her family’s history of domestic violence, women’s rights, and other issues into the narrative.
We also watched the new version of Rebecca on Netflix. We both enjoyed it. I like Lily James, though she seems rather more attractive and charming than the book character, and Kristin Scott Thomas is very good as Mrs. Danvers. From what I remember, this version does not have the overall menacing, Gothic feel of the Hitchcock movie or the book. I think it’s better to take it as it is, and not compare it to either.
We’re also started watching Borgen on Netflix, a Danish political drama. I like it, though it took a couple of episodes for me to get into it (and to understand the Danish political system).
And I finished The Year of Witching, and I’m almost finished with Home Before Dark. Horror reading—not nearly as scary as reality.
We stand on a precipice, nation and world. Fissured by plague and threats to democracy, we are faltering, close to tumbling into an abyss. Is this the beginning of the end? Or merely a ripple in the waves of time? I leave the angry and weary voices to walk, looking for beauty in the bright colors around me. A chipmunk scurries by. Deer shyly graze, turkeys strut through the long grass, and blackbirds give a trilling chink as they fly overhead.
I watch the sun rising over the river, making it sparkle. It know it’s physics, but I can also see the magic. We need both.
bare branches turn green,
brown leaves fall into river–
past floats to future
A Haibun for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday Haibun prompt, using Frank Tassone’s photo at the top for inspiration, and my photo at the end.
Monday Morning Musings:
Once my sister and I were chicks,
we sucked honeysuckle from vines,
and danced with bees on hot summer days.
Then I became many birds. . .
a robin, who sings in morning
a mother goose, swimming with her mate
telling stories to her children
and teaching them to swim and fly.
I became a heron,
standing at the water’s edge
as the frogs jump and ripples
flow in expanding circles
like raptors in the sky,
on a quest,
we all fly this path,
ignoring the owl’s night warning–
danger is coming, danger is here!
and hope like the phoenix, we’ll rise again.
So, I become the golden peacock, a light-seeker,
even as my many eyes cry for the lost,
I fly to worlds only imagined. . .
imagine them now–
for my star songs
I give them to you–
hold them near your heart,
feel them flutter
Like most people I’m heartsore and weary. Since November 2016, the majority of Americans have been in shock, but the situation in our country, and in the world, continues to deteriorate. I know I’m fortunate to have a home, a loving husband, daughters, sisters, and friends, and food to eat. I have places where I can walk without fear. But, I’m worn from taking care of my mom, worn from her dying, worn my cat dying, of so many people dying. . .while the lies and the lack of leadership here have led to more deaths. I don’t know how to express all this. There are others who can say it better, but I write in poetry. So this was today, my musing. (Some of the photos come from this week, and some are older photos.)
On an entirely different note because we all need escapes, Merril’s Movie Club: The Vast of Night, a new movie on Amazon is a lot of fun. We ordered takeout Saturday night and had a movie night. It’s sort of a retro sci-fi movie that pays homage to The Twilight Zone and old sci-fi movies. One review I read said something about how you’ve seen the story lots of times before, but it’s the way it’s told. We both enjoyed it a lot.
We also watched the show Undone on Amazon, and even though I’m not normally a fan of animated shows, this is such a Merril show. I learned that this type of animation is called rotoscoping. The show is funny, profound, weird, moving, and deals with moving through time and space, mental illness, deaf culture, indigenous cultures, family. . .each episode is less than half an hour.
Monday Morning Musings:
“Life is a cabaret, old chum
Come to the Cabaret!”
–John Kander and Fred Ebb, “Cabaret,” from Cabaret
“Which of all my important nothings shall I tell you first?”
–Jane Austen, Letter to her sister Cassandra, June 15, 1808
On a summery autumn day,
we left the sunlight
to enter the smoky den–
(the Cabaret, old friend)
Germany in the 1930s
but goose steppers are looming
the winds of war are moving
soon the guns will be booming
but for now, there is consuming
beer and goods,
here in the night,
the women are beautiful
the men are beautiful
they slink and glide
in barely-there wear
the Emcee, in heels and gowns
feather boa and garters,
grooming the audience
flirting and diverting
we’re there, but here
then, but now
startled at my own emotion reaction
because it’s no longer an abstraction,
“Tomorrow Belongs to Me”
and Nazi insignia–
my throat constricts,
the body knows what the mind refuses to accept
(more goose steps)
I hear “some very fine people” gather
drivel and blather
echoes of then and now
the need to fight and disavow
what do politics have to do with us
the characters ask
that can’t happen here,
our rights will never disappear
people standing tall and proud
arms held straight in devoted salute
They worship him
(no matter what he says)
small steps with profound consequences
(build a wall and many fences)
the slippery slope
and where’s the rope to pull us back
to ring the warning bell
to tell us now that all is well
So, what would you do
My brave young friend?
Would you pay the price?
What would you do?
What should we do?
What will you do?
We walk and talk
a wonderful production
the set well-designed,
the orchestra well-tuned and engaging
the voices delightful
the direction, insightful
altogether, quite a show
a little too close to current events
(Maybe this time)
we’ll be lucky
maybe this time
he’ll go away
We wander some more
through old city streets
encounter wedding parties
one right after the other
brides, grooms, sisters, brothers
“the wedding stalker,” my husband says,
but it makes me happy to see love and joy
(where some want only to destroy)
affirmations of love and life
after the violence, hate, killing, and strife
We drink coffee
stroll across the cobblestones
where men met to create a nation
to establish here a firm foundation
(remember the ladies, Abigail said)
but no, they simply went ahead
We’ve come a long way, baby
but still and all–
life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness
flawed men with lofty ideals
feet of clay
and yet they found a way
it’s still the best we have
pledges made then and now
pledges these couples make in wedding vows
to love and cherish
to pursue life and happiness together
to do their best
we must do our best
(to join together)
After the play, we join our friends
friends of years
through love and tears
saying farewell to one couple’s house
not their first
but one where babies were born and nursed
here a family gathered
here we’ve shared many meals
often, like tonight Chinese food
viewed one way
something we’ve done before
but there’s always something new and something old
moments to cherish and hold
close here to heart and mind
to bring out and remember
should we ever find the need to,
we say farewell to the house
but not the friendship,
remember that time, we say?
“What do you talk about? one friend’s daughter asked.
How do you describe the talk of old friends?
We talk of all our important nothings
and then we talk some more
of children, homes, work, and retirement
of travel, plays, movies, and books
of bats in our houses
and grandchildren in our beds
of catching mice
and stalking cats
of coffee cups and chocolate cake
of food and wine
and all the time
and all things fine
(and some things not so)
until finally it’s time to go.
We part with hugs effusive
despite the hour
and as the moon peeks from her cloudy bower
but not goodbye
Enjoy life’s show–
it may be a cabaret
but if so, the set changes every day
and yet love, the light, true friends remain
and all our important nothings
in turns out
are really something
There are fools surrounding a god
of smoke & poison
remember angel voices caramel breath linger long,
“it is I,
time to wake”
embrace this desire & live no prisoner
laugh open our secret magic
never let peace go
in warm night
a marble boy is born
the star bleeds
and will heal him
it is salt-rhythm poetry
glass and fire
for a wild heart
Saturday Magnetic Poetry. The Oracle decided to go with some magical realism, or surrealism, or perhaps it’s time for Angels in America (again). The Oracle is cryptic.
“Imagine all the people
Living life in peace”
–John Lennon, “Imagine.”
When I was young,
maybe seven or eight,
I went to bed one night,
and dreamt about The Mummy,
Boris Karloff with his shuffling gait,
walking in my backyard
trailing bands of white linen
a nightmare image,
but somehow then, my dreamself knew,
I could change the story.
And so, in my dream world
that mummy played ball with me.
Standing in my backyard tossing it gently,
he cracked a smile
beneath his layered wrappings.
Now I wish I had that power
to change the world I see,
to turn bombs and guns
into birds and flowers,
to turn darkness to light,
to change hate