Dancin’ in the Dark

 

It was a September dance partylove shack - Version 2

In our vibrating Love Shack

last night

Queen, Bowie, Bee Gees,  Blondie

Kiss,

She Drives Me Crazy hair flying

arms embrace twirl push pull hips circle grind

knees bend and it’s loco-motion

as his hands Bust a Move

up and down my body

I Want You to Want Me eyes smiling wild

Footloose

and boogie down, bump d’ bump

seventh grade shuffle in our Brick House

we twisted and swirled and kicked and hustled

With New Attitude

Nasty Girl 

on an autumn night

Can’t Fake that Feeling

just Listen to the Music

and our spirits Super Freak

wanting to spread the love

we Beat It

Walking on Sunshine

down the street

What a Feeling

Stayin’ Alive laughing

hearts Play that Funky Music

mirrored disco blue

All Night Long

That’s the Way I Like it

and after these 10 fine years

let’s go ahead

and buy

that mirrored disco ball

 

 

 

Earth Crisis

 

“It wasn’t butter it was earth crisis we were eating last night,” says the tall work-study. The work-study philosophizes about life. “The circle of giving keeps giving” he says.

We’re all philosophers.  Breathing into the dusted sepia pages of books, stacked from floor to ceiling in rooms scented with musk and memory.  Sunlight streams from skylights and neglected windows.  Cars whiz by on Laurel Canyon and Magnolia and the Pioneer Chicken on the corner will outlast us all.

I want to be outside but the cigarette smoker exhales feathers of tar toward saltwater.   The ocean cries and the wall of voodoo forms on the horizon, waiting to hug the cliffs and paint everyone in mist.

There is always a choice.  Today it’s between the all-saltwater-roll-your-own and the voices of those that live among the trees.  Voices that echo in canyons, Love me, free me, color me blue, violet, blood orange yellow and pink; a kaleidoscope of light that winds its way up the trunks of trees.

The trees.  The trees plant themselves into hillsides.  The trees push themselves from rock and stone.  The trees, older than the birds thatwhat of the trees perch themselves, wings spread ready to hunt, older than the iron, stone and wood structures built around them, older than the smoking man. And what of the rocks?

The earth shook and a piece of cliff set itself free.  Tumble, bounce, crumble crash.  Particles disperse and morph into another time.

The wind is hollow. The blue jay hunts for food.  I wait.

I don’t move.  I can’t spread my wings until I know I am home.

I can’t find a home and so I pick up my cup of tea, my crumpled packet of Truvia, my bent spoon, my pen, my new red cap and my bottle of Fiji.  Ten years ago I walked along a beach in Fiji. The Fijians have flat feet. They climb the palm trees and drop-thud the coconuts to the ground.  I thought about moving to Fiji.

I’ve moved before. I was young and splintered. I tread water for a long time.

We all tread water, burn ourselves into a blue flame until we suffocate or stroke.  I butterflied my way to a south-facing beach, crawled up on shore, my home strapped to my back.  Sloshed through thick wet sand. Why not let the sea push me into a dream where the sun sets in the North?

Glue me together.

And what of the dirt that I can’t seem to clean from the bottom of my feet?  Is that from a stone that fell hundreds of skies into my South facing ocean?  Lightning striking sand, melted it into long, thin tubes that sucked themselves toward the beginning.  Volcanoes erupted melted rocks. I am stained by my earth.

Today I stepped on a shard of glass.  I didn’t see it, but I felt it.  I had to stop, sit down and pull it out of my toe.  I am ground fine like glass. A window to peer through, a crystal to fill, to drink from and then place under my husband’s foot.   I have left behind pieces of myself, on pillows and in sheets and wrapped in the souls of those I have loved.

I Am 50

 

I woke up and the clock struck 50 today.

birthday roses

The Clock Struck….

The pink roses my neighbor brought over yesterday are opening.  I feel like one of those pink roses.

I am open.

Till, dig, cultivate the earth, offer worms, cut spent blossoms, thin out dead, diseased and damaged stems, pull weeds, fertilize and deep water.  I have done this. On my knees, hot sun beating down, sweat pooling, dripping, fingers earth-digging, clearing.

I planted seeds.

 

New friends.
New opportunities.
New ideas.

I am giftwrapped.
I root myself
Spread far
Vines spiral, reach, circle, stretch

I grow long
tall
thick branches
strong trunk
I am lush green
I blossom  pink, red, blue, purple and white
I burst
sprit lifts
I bend back
arch my back to the sky
I am a bough heavy with ruby fruit

I am 50

Summer Solstice

IMG_0094

Summer is glimmering
at my front door
singing and
twirling about
purple, white, yellow, blue, orange, green
swirls of light
bare footed
callused heels
white skirts flouncing
her jet black hair
tangled with color
her skin
brown as a berry

she enters my bones                BarefootSummer
I feel them
shift
settle
sink into the sand
that spray I feel
is Ocean Salt
and still
all these years later
the scent of coconut
and Bain de Soleil
is it in my pores
the orange goop
that I spread
let glisten
on my skin
nothing
smells quite like it

she reaches her hand
open palm
her eyes are soft
blue, green, brown
seductive
her smile
pulls
and I place my hand
in hers

Gratitude-O’Clock

It’s been one of those weeks.  You know the ones.  Two steps forward takes you to what seems like three steps back.

“Is it Mercury in retrograde or what?” I say to the sky, the sofa, the cats.  No one’s home to listen.  It’s just me, the computer and all the disconnections, the disconnects, the turnarounds, changed minds, the mud I am slogging through.

I want a do-over.  A re-boot.

Where am I today? Same place I was yesterday.  Safe, loved, fed, comfortable, in love, breathing.

It’s gratitude-o’clock.  Platitude? Seems like it.  Most things that are good and true are simple.

I woke up too early, tired and my eyes hurt.  But it’s gratitude-o’clock so good!  I’m grateful that I can see.  I’m grateful that I have cool glasses (I didn’t always, welcome to my childhood).

Gratitude-o’clock.  I woke up.  Get my drift?  I woke up. Another platitude? Maybe, but hey, who am I to judge?

I have an alert on my phone; today I will judge nothing that occurs. 

Someone cancels an interview I jumped through hoops to schedule for them.  Today I will judge nothing that occurs.  A candidate lied to me about sending their resume to my client.  Today I will judge nothing that occurs.  My SD card on my phone is wiped and I might have lost some great pictures.  Today I will judge nothing that occurs.

Gratitude-o’clock.

Today I will judge nothing that occurs.

THANK YOU NEXT

That’s really all I can do.  Pick up the phone, make 10 more calls.  Find another candidate, one that won’t lie, one that won’t flip flop (good thing she isn’t running for office).  Take new pictures. Who knows, maybe the old ones are hidden somewhere on my computer.

Thank you Next. Thank you Next. Thank you Next. Today I will judge nothing that occurs.

If I’ve learned anything from headhunting for the last 15 years, it’s that NOTHING is really in my control. I’ve always joked, headhunting, my work, is my spiritual practice.

I’ve been called out before.  I don’t get you, how can you be spiritual in life and so driven in business. You just can’t turn it on and off.  I once took offense to the judgement, Today I will judge nothing that occurs. They misunderstood themselves.

Patience, open heartedness, open-mindedness, benefit of the doubt, restraint, introspection, listening, hearing, being present, being in service.  Basic spiritual principals: all. I’ve been practicing.

“Retrograde, maybe, maybe not. This is life.” I say, answering myself.  The cats look up at me.  Fred meows, stretches, pushes against his hind quarters. Downward-facing-cat.

There’s so much more than lying candidates and broken phones.  So much more beauty, so much more sadness, so much more loss, so much more poetry, art, music, dance, song. So much more in the fabric of what we each call a life.rose bush

Today I will judge nothing that occurs.

I hear the birds outside, the sky is grey but that just makes all the colors of spring pop.  The roses outside my office window are blooming like never before, bursting with soft rose petal orange and pink.  We planted that rose bush for our cat Lu almost ten years ago.  I feel my heart beating, ba-boom ba-boom ba-boom in my chest, my breath is soft, I feel spring turning into summer, I feel myself, I feel my heart. I feel.

 

Roses closeup

 

So Beautiful…

 

I was looking down at himlooking down
his hands pulled my hair away from my face
he was looking up at me
we were in his small room
the sun was bright
shining through sheer curtains
reflecting off of light walls
his strong hands
capable
his dark eyes
pulling at me
his voice
a hungry whisper
‘you’re so beautiful’ he said

I let him pull me into him

Sometimes I’ll feel
the dusting of his print
on my inner thigh
on the curve of my lower back
on my belly
I’ll taste that morsel
let it melt on my tongue
that instant
when I gave myself
to this man

I felt I was woman
but I was still girl

The Other Side of the Arno

 

Write the words.  Don’t force the meaning.  Let the words string themselves together to from sentences and maybe a thought or an idea will present itself. This is what I tell myself.  Write the words. Let them chisel themselves from blocks of letters.  Write the words.  Take away what isn’t needed, let the essence emerge. Easier said than done, it’s a practice.

Michelangelo did that with marble.  He didn’t use molds or an outline. Instead he chiseled away the excess stone and allowed his figures to emerge.  He formed sculptures that are beyond words.  Pictures don’t do them justice.

Bill and I have plenty of pictures of our trip to Italy.  We don’t look at them as much as we talk about the trip, the food, the people, the ruins, the architecture, the color, the art.  We savor the essence of our trip to Italy.

Two mornings in a row, we were among the first people on line at the Accademia Gallery and the Uffuzi Gallery.  Bill didn’t want to wake up early and I didn’t want to spend most of my day waiting in line to buy tickets to museums.

“I’ll set the alarm so we don’t have to wait on line.” I said to Bill. We were drinking the local vernaccia wine and eating bread at a café inpiazza cafe the Piazza della Signoria. We chose this café from all the others in the Piazza because the waiter looked like Bill’s brother Steve.  Really, can you choose a bad café in Florence?  It was unseasonably warm for April and we sat in the shade. We watched the people walk by and found it interesting how over dressed people were for such a hot day.  They were bound and determined to wear their leopard print pants, leather coats and boots, tan, purple and even mustard yellow suede.  We have way too many pictures of overdressed tourists walking the streets of Italy.  We’d pretend to take pictures of each other, but zoom in on the hot, tired looking overdressed tourists.   I was looking at my Florence, Italy travel book. I brought travel books for each stop in Italy and I would leave them behind in our hotel rooms so other people could use them.  The book recommended reservations or just get to the museum early to avoid the lines.

“No. I don’t need to wake up early on vacation to see David, I’ve seen pictures,” he said.

Sometimes I think Bill says no just to hear himself say no. Having the discussion is a choice. Depending on the topic, like a talk about money can become heated. In the end, we come to resolution, an understanding of each other’s point of view, but we look at things in our own way.  Bill is smart with money, he is practical, grounded and I have a tendency to assume that we’ll be okay no matter what. Both are important, but sometimes our views can clash.  Something like this, whether or not to wake up, that’s mostly ridiculous banter.  A yes no yes no yes no of playful bickering. Italy isn’t a sleep on the beach type of vacation though, there’s too much to see.  There has to be a balance between scheduling and exploring.  I’d rather be early and have the afternoons to wander and explore Florence.

The day before we did that. We crossed the Ponte Vecchio Bridge with throngs of people and walked beyond the crowds on the other side other side of arnoof the Arno River. It was quiet.  It felt as if we were the only two people in Florence. Dappled sunlight through trees, high walls securing themselves around buildings and homes leading us along the curved road, blue sky, warm sun, breezes, the click snap whir of the camera. An occasional car would whiz by and the leaves would lift up and float back to the asphalt. That walk away from tourists, and cars, and shopping and crowds. That walk, me and Bill, our voices drifting above the walls up to the sky. That walk, unplanned exploration, peaceful, springtime bloom moment in time, moment in memory, a moment that although I might not remember each exact step or every carved piece of marble or stone that brought us to the Piazzale Michelangelo and the Church of San Miniato al Monte, I remember the feeling.  I remember the color. I remember the pale pinks of worn stone, the many shades of green contrasting the blue and white sky, the worn narrow road.  That walk, an experience that carved itself, grooving bursts of color and texture into a tiny portion of my mind. That walk, on the other side of the Arno.

“You’ve seen it in pictures?” I said.  He makes me laugh. “Why even leave the hotel room? I’m setting the alarm.” I said.

“Okay Mrs. Plan-o”. He was smiling and rolling his eyes.

Early the next morning we walked through the Academy Museum.

“Pictures don’t do it justice.” I said to Bill.

Muscled legs, arms and torsos, sculpted chins, cheeks, noses pulling themselves from the metamorphic rock that lined the halls of the michelangelounfinishedcaptive1527-1528museum.  Our marriage is like this museum, decorated with artifacts, ruins, souvenirs, images, moments, events, memories that line the halls we walk together, hand in hand, on kaleidoscopic days.

Marriage is like a block of marble.  We carve into it; chisel it into a shape, a living breathing creation formed from time.  Moments standing in front of The Birth of Venus, the brilliance of the colors, the drape of fabric, hair lifted by a breeze, soft curves, moments of walking through Florence to the other side of the Arno, letting the Italian smells, sounds and tastes permeate our membranes, moments strung together like a string of pearls; births, deaths, weddings, bickering, crying, laughing, love making, birthdays, graduations, loss, love, joy, pain, letting go, celebration.

Seeing Michelango’s David is one of the moments that we added to our Jewelry Box.

We were looking up at him.  David, with his furrowed brow, eyes focused off to the distance, tense, sling held in his huge left hand, positioned, ready for battle under the dome. We were standing amongst the circle of heads also admiring his stature.  Murmurings and astonished sighs swirled around the smooth stone man.  Michelangelo carved his masterpiece, chiseled the marble until he discovered the form within the stone.

david furrowed brow“You know, once you’ve seen it in a picture, it’s really no big deal.” Bill said.

I leaned into him, reached up and kissed his cheek. “Yeah, right hun, just like our marriage.”

 

Journal Entry May 15, 2013   7:23am

Be The Field

 

drop

thirsty for a drop of
movement
a splash
onto my white
primer
a brush stroke
a swirl
a splat
a drop even

paint mesunset depth
like sky
with orange and blue and pink and green and purple and
violet and…
perspective and light and black and cloud and
depth

the sea rages on
churned red brown ocean
foams sepia
hurls herself at the sand
seaweed pulled piles
gasp and bubble

today in Texas
the hale was the size of grapefruit
ruby red splatters
fed
cracked hungry earth

Deepak Chopra says
“you are a field of all possibilities”

sea rages onfly with the birds
ride with the waves
dive with the dolphins
slurp up the brine
left on shore
let it spill over
drip down my chin
make a mess
of perfection

 

 

as I breathe in
I am the field
as I breathe out
of all possibilities

Born From Heaviness

ripple lake
A vision presents one morning.
Pebbles thrown, skipping over the water,
ripples pushing out from the shore.
I walk forward, my feet sinking into the silt.
New verses, like raindrops, are born from heaviness.
Words I’ve scribbled on napkins and used envelopes,
are the scraps I hold, as offerings.

An apparition floats at the foot of my bed.
I reach for him and watch my hand cut through time.rose petal
I plant a rose bush to remember he was here.
Soft petals float, like feathers, they rest before his alter.
I open the door.
I carry my journal to the earth.
There are days I have carved history onto the page
desperate to understand.

Expansion & Contraction

I look out of my office and see the grooves in the floor. I want to lie down. Allow the tops of my feet, thighs, stomach, breasts, my palms, my left cheek, my ear to rest on the boards that have been here since 1951. There is story to share.

Flooring needs to acclimate to its environment. It’s called acclimation. It prevents excessive expansion or contraction.
Expansion and contraction.knotted history
Expansion and contraction.
Wood floors expand and contract.
They need space to allow for movement.
They are alive.

I’ve stripped through many layers of polish and shine to come to the original tongue and groove wood panels that are at my foundation. I prefer a natural finish. I want my imperfections to shine as the sunlight streams in through the windows. A nick here, a scar there, knotted flaws. Blemishes contain story.

I can find story anywhere if I choose to see. Choose to pay attention. Choose to feel. Acclimate to the energy that has been left behind. A fingerprint left on a glass coffee table, the red lipstick that stains a favorite tea cup, the faint scent of Tide tumbling in the air as the drier runs. I can be still to feel the pitter-patter of children that grew up on these floors, feel their bumps and bruises, knees, shins, hearts scraped, scarred, broken and healed.

When we first moved into the house I felt the history. I wondered if one day I’d greet Bill in a bouffant do and white ruffled apron over a yellow fitted blouse and full skirt. The smell of his dinner warming in the O’Keefe and Merritt oven, some sort of a casserole baking with broccoli, tuna and Campbell’s cream-of-something soup. I’d greet him with a chilled Martini, three olives, little vermouth, ruby lips pursed, “How was your day honey?”

I’ve never made a casserole, but I do greet him with a kiss, smile and the question.

As I look out from my office, I see us grooved into the boards. We have, after nine years in our home, added to its history.

We’ve acclimated to the house. Like the wood floors did when they first settled in 1951, we settled ourselves in here, happy, in 2004. One day another couple will settle in after we’ve left. They’ll swirl themselves into our spirits and the spirits of those that have come before.

We are pieces of wood. We expand and contract.  We are boards in a floor, placed together, tongue and groove, to create a patchwork foundation.  We are story.