Another Prayer

disabiliy?

ANOTHER PRAYER

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God, burn me up.
I am exhausted
Re-framing my life.
But it always works.

I don’t find You
Coddling me much.
Thinking my way through
Has lost it’s elan.

I watch and listen
For what shows up.
I’m lucky I’m interested
Except when I’m not.

This morning I sat awhile
In my favorite chair.
My sister bought it.
I feel her love.

How could it be
This warmth in my heart
Intrigues me more
Than Lourdes or the Louvre?

You leave me charred.
I take a microscope
To the smooth and craggy face.
It is so beautiful to me.

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-CA 2014

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My Forest

impermanence

untitled, 36×52″, 1997, m/m
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Today, on my roll around downtown Santa Fe I smelled good dirt.

The kind that a dangerously deep claret-colored wine makes me think of.

When I was a kid we lived on the edge of a forest complete with burbling stream with yellow buttercups lining the edges.

There was a whole ‘north-of-Detroit-suburban-emptiness’ on one side of the threshold.

On the other was my world with tangle vines, birdsong, squirrels rummaging and a small dam-cum-waterfall which always needed cleaning.

I had a lot of secret places as a kid and this was the very best one.

My younger sister once took my life-size doll (4′) down to this very river and drowned her.

The message was probably clear but the reality catapulted me farther into the forest where I could be free and safe.

I made forts out of detritus.

Really great forts.

I stayed hidden from doll-killers and manicured lawns.

I sang to myself as I cleaned the dam and stood with my hands on my hips in utter satisfaction over the great job I did.

Big and quick Northern Pike frequented those brackish waters.

I worried about them a lot because they seemed stuck in the pooling the river made before the dam.

I liked the feeling of worrying about fish. They didn’t need this kind of help at all but I did it anyway.

My adolescence was whittled in bits and pieces by poison ivy, awe and mysterious occurrences

And I emerged intimate with the impossible richness of deep forest and earth.

I also learned to love my own company which continues to serve me well.

I am quite sure my secret spot has been finessed into suburban sprawl and kids are hanging there now with their smart phones.

The intelligence I took from that forest and swamp informed my career as an artist and now as a writer but most importantly it taught me to listen patiently and well which is the best take-away of all.

PC? But Whose Politics?

theinterior

“WANTON”, ceramic,steel 2007
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Who the hell decided that it is better form to parade around inside false humility; far, far away from overt self-appreciation?

I came across this DOVE advertisement yesterday on FACEBOOK and it chilled my bones. And so…..

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Things I love about myself:

1. I am resilient.
2. I am getting funnier as I age (many loved ones have been waiting for the arrival of this and are quite relieved).
3. I have a ready smile.
4. I know Nature is way bigger than me.
5. I see the core of goodness in people before anything else.
6. I keep trying to learn how to forgive and sometimes see some progress in this department.
7. I find 99% (oh..maybe 72%) of people interesting.
8. I am ok being a weird, middle-aged chihuahua woman.
9. I love how much I love rock stores (and rocks in general).
10. I finally love my size 10 flat feet.
11. I love the fun shock of grey hair middle of my forehead.
12. I can make a great life even in a wheelchair, without a partner, having 1 pair of shoes and not cooking.
13. I am not a good man-picker but have THE most stellar friends and family.
14. I am ok with my big nose and think it suits my face well.
15. I finally hate shopping.
16. I can make any place beautiful.
17. I love my own company.
18. I thrive in silence.
19. I am a rabid hedonist and enjoy throwing a tantrum every now and again because I can not regularly feed the beast.
20. I know my life is a projection of my own making and am still heartily entertained by it.
21. I pretty much live in gratitude.
22. Grace finds me worthy of so many visits.
23. I am still here and this fact sometimes blows me away.
24. I am no longer that interested in what I know.
25. After so many years of questioning, I finally know myself as smart, worthy and a valuable asset to the world we live in.

Whew…. that felt good.

I dare you…

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Church

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I have Sunday rituals.

Let Livvy out, make tea with home-made cashew milk, feed Livvy, snuggle back into bed, watch SUNDAY MORNING, feel fine about most everything.

Yesterday, there I was propped up with my mountain of pillows

All placed just so..

I let myself settle in and my arm naturally fell just to the side of Livvy who was leaning the length of her body against me at my hip.

I saw the curve of my wrist meet where her neck gets thinner.

My forearm resting softly against her lithe back;

No space between us.

I turned off the TV and watched what was unfolding

But an innocent bystander (of which there are few in my bedroom) would likely have seen nothing.

But I did:

Stress-free breathing emanating from Trust. Mine slowing to meet hers.

Her continual hyper-awareness of my location and wellbeing put on pause for a few moments.

Fur- fawn-colored and healthy looking.

I thought about my own fur.. I have so little and shave it off so not to appear wild.

We don’t need ours so much anymore and want it GONE. NOW.

Once, I let my underarm hair grow all the way out as an experiment. I DID feel wild! And something in me liked it.
I could smell myself and it was rather sweet.

I quickly shaved it clean after the experiment to avoid being embarrassed should I have to go to the hospital (pathetic in-grained fear from childhood warnings but these days a niggling thought).

I miss my wildness. I feel privileged to live with Livvy as she reminds me of my best self. Over and over she reminds me of my innocent heart.

With fur.

That was my church yesterday.

Dinner Party

devilish
hand-painted silk jersey from men’s/women’s collection, 1987
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Occasionally, I give myself the gift of crafting an imaginary dinner party.

There are no rules so I can invite any 8 people I choose, living or not.

Who’s on my list tells me a lot about what is important to me in the moment and so interesting how the tone of this list changes over time.

For this years’ soiree I am inviting:

1. Maya Angelou (wise, wise, shining soul)
2. Tippi (French girl brought up amidst wild animals in Africa)
3. Lewis and Clark (explorers)
4. my Dad
5. Mooji (self-realized being whose wisdom is a constant go-to for me)
6. Matisse (admired artist)
7. Nora Ephron (biting honesty that makes me laugh out loud)

We all retire to a circular table set with silvery things, good linens, comfy chairs and intimate lighting, good wine….

What do I wish/think they would say to me?

Maya: “You are a star and there is only one of you. Give your gift! Give it again.. and again.. and again. And see what happens.”

Tippi: “If you get real quiet and let go into that pure and empty/full/perfect place, any sentient being will be available to commune with.”

Lewis and Clark: “DON’T GIVE UP BEFORE THE MIRACLE!”

My Dad: I loved you and I am sorry I brought confusion and pain into your precious life. Don’t forget I love you.”

Mooji: “Don’t be scared to let go of everything you think you know. You are never alone.”

Matisse: “No one can ever, ever take away your creativity. This is your safe place and will save you over and over again.”

Nora Ephron: “Shake it up, girlfriend! Be bad, and good and depressed and fun and snotty and fierce and silly and intense…REALLY INTENSE so no one misses the fact of you.

Tools

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This is my Dad’s hammer.

He passed away when he was 51.

It is the only ‘thing’ of his I wanted.

I feel him when I use it.

I feel like he was rather glad to go.

He dealt with alcoholism, a critical wife, ineptness in the fathering department and a general hyper-sensitivity which made being in the world awkward if not painful.

His legacy to me includes supporting my creativity. He never urged me toward a “safe” career in the arts like graphics or advertising (meaning a count-on-able paycheck).

He let me bloom as the artist I was to become by inviting me into his fully outfitted workshop.

There were huge power saws and quite dangerous tools to be curious about.

Mostly silently he taught me to trust myself with such power.

He showed me rather than told me;

Guided my small hands as I made a cut with a jigsaw.

His safe place was this very room; smelling of turpentine, sawdust, enameling chemicals, various glues.

One time when I was very young I went down there by myself and drank some of that turpentine.

I can’t imagine why except the fact it reminded me of him.

My stomach was pumped and I am still here.

I always thought I might have loved working in a hardware store.

Guys being guys, the grail quest for the perfect bolt, comparing the virtues of snow shovels..

I suppose I will always like to make things

However my hands do not obey these days.

So- what’s a girl to do, I ask you?

In lieu of manual dexterity

I am making a life.

What Happens When We Help

birds
“FLY GIRL” earth, gravel, bone, shell 14x14x4
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Some good girlfriends came over last night.

They make me happy.

So alive and shiny.

Because I am assisted by Medicaid I am eligible for in-home help for which I am eternally grateful.

In the news this is called an “entitlement”.

The word makes me squirm a bit as it has a sort of foul aftertaste to it, don’t you think?

In my reality this service allows me to feel dignified as my home is clean and laundry done and food shopped for; all things I can not do.

And so- last evening I felt shiny too as I opened the door to my friends.

One of them came laden with the ingredients for a spectacular dinner: barely toated chopped kale massaged with fine olive oil and garbanzo beans, cherry tomatoes.

Laid atop rested marinated goat cheese from heaven and the plate surrounded by poached chicken.

In the center of my living room rests an orchid plant with (no joke) 16 unfathomably white and delicate blooms.

This was a gift from another fine, fine friend.

These are remarkable women who know me; my truths, my secrets, my honorable and sometimes ugly humanness.

They see me.

And in each of their own inimitable ways, let me know I matter very much.

My family has rallied round me too which, I am fully aware feels exhausting at times.

I am the eldest of 4 and I did not foresee my current state of dependance though in all fairness..no one could.

The thing I am pointing to today is this:

When we move outside ourselves and extend tendrils of our heart toward those we love or see in need

The gargantuan quality of the effects of even a small effort can not be underestimated.

I woke today feeling strong; I live with beauty, ate a meal with friends of the stellar variety, enjoy the safety and accessibility of my fabulous apartment because of my family, an organized kitchen and closet because of a friend, have a healthy dog due to another friend’s assistance and the few times I was out of my wheelchair today

I stood very, very tall indeed.

I Knew a Garden

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detail from installation, ceramic, local earth
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I once knew a garden.

She was lovingly tended by my grandmother.

There were ruffly-edged parrot tulips and raspberries hot from the sun.

Lilacs were growing in a special glade along with tiny Lilies of the Valley; her favorite.

The blackened earth tempted me to eat it

Which I did once but that is another story.

Huge turquoise matt-glazed urns held tastefully pink vining geraniums at the slate entry steps.

We, “GONNIE” and I bent low down to pick strawberries; pick, eat, pick, eat, pick, into the basket..

She swore at phantom rabbits and other pests.

I thought: “I want to be in this garden and tended by her”; my weeds removed and lovingly watched and watered.

Her garden was as close to church as she got.

We bent, pulled, tasted, dug, admired aloud, wondered, smelled, snipped and watered.

The whole day was communion for us; virtually silent yet always aware of the other’s location.

When it got hot I would go sit on a lovely garden bench in the shade of huge elms, meticulously trimmed grassy path and a carpet of those Lilies of the valley.

I was quite sure fairies used the tiny white blooms to drink from.

There rested a lovely and very old statue of Quan Yin purchased on some adventure from her world travels.

Every energy in that small glade quieted in her presence; rock, earth, air and all growing things.

Black dirt, fecund earth…

I remember you well.

You tasted so sweet to me.

Virtual Travel

interior
hand-painted wool flannel chair, 1990
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I’d love to get out of my wheelchair

But these are the cards I was dealt

And I’m dealing with em, OK???

I’ve said before that two things I miss most are my vintage and REALLY pointy cowboy boots

And the Ford F150, wine-colored (I’m a girl so that is what the color is called..OK???).

I have been binge-watching Anthony Bourdain’s travel food escapades of late.

He is an ass albeit an interesting one to me.

My boots would have amused him.

You can tell he’s an ass by the fact there are no women visible on 99.9% of his shows but he is married to a prize-fighting jiu jitsu gal who gets 2 minutes of airtime.

And he is overly (in my opinion…) fond of tripe, gutter language and gargantuan portions of mysterious concoctions mostly made in the street.

But I like him.

I am also fond of fine wine and glittery table settings but I digress..

Anthony is brave.

He wants to go to a place and he goes. Congo, Peru, Tangiers, Detroit!

He’s got his perfect stylin’ giant linen shirts which fit in anywhere and cover his gut nicely. Non-chalant dishevelment.

He looks and acts decidedly un-American in his dealings with the “fixers” he hires in each country to find inroads to the sublime and disgusting.

Each meal he tastes garners a “delicious” no matter if he is chowing down on squirrel in the Ozarks or black truffle pot pie with the portly famous French chef.

He’s cool that way.. All those folks hungering for validation from the American famous guy and on pins-and-needles waiting for a verdict.

He gives a pretty fair history lesson with fun facts like “If you fell out the boat here, on the Amazon the pyranhas would git ya in two minutes. See this here scar?”.

Why, oh why do I like this guy?

He clearly loves life and hates rules. Check.

Hard-drinking and insatiable hedonistic tendencies not toward the comfort-intoxication we run through our veins but the lure of truth, authenticity and adventure.

When I am IN LIFE without pretense, pre-conceived anything and wearing red lipstick with my hip jauntily shifted to my right (I wish..)

I can seem to find BEAUTY wherever I am just by opening my heart to what/who is in front of me.

Judgement shuts the magic down but it keeps squeezing through.

I find IT ALL interesting, no matter what.

Except when it involves tripe.