Beachy Peachy Bliss

Beach bliss is officially here … though it was too cold for swimming, sitting in the sand and just listening is as blissful as being surrounded by the water lapping your skin. I couldn’t resist but to get my feet wet and the leftover winter coolness was pure and a titillating shock. This was another step toward something good. My fears subside more every day, subsides with every kind look of my companion.

I am free of the elephant terrorizing the corridors of my heart.

Now it is just a kind and shocking peacock in white finery walking about wholly inside me on its ugly feet.

A white peacock showing me the way through clayed cliffs and Midwest sands.

The one now beside me, with hands soft and comforting, kind and severe like quick-witted cats running through our aortic cellars grand, getting to know my soul like a bad habit.

These are goodly habits … like the habit of water moving and acquainting itself with everything.

His soul, I know, is grand and ivory.

I can see a dove circling him like an armed guard.

Published in: on May 29, 2008 at 7:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

grandfather no. 1

Yesterday, I received a great gift from my parents — old family photographs and 2 “photos” of my father’s heart — one before the stint, one after. I am currently putting together a series of collages about my family. I think sometimes when you’re the furthest one away in your family, even if you;re not that far, it intensifies one’s loneliness in the world really. I sit here now, typing this, the glue still fresh on my fingertips for creating my version of my grandfather Mc., I sit here hours away from family and even many friends …

I am happy now … happier than I have been in a long time … but that longing for that blood / DNA / one’s penchant for some obscure family trait still seems unreachable. These collages as well as my series of genealogical poems, Ohio Lonely (which was to originally be a collection of poems about children’s author, Dare Wright but took on something else altogether) make sense of connections, disconnections, estrangement, loneliness, and genetic disease. At least this is my hope.

This series will be in an art show at the Library where I work this fall. My website will give the details of it as September draws near.

This collage speaks to my young memories of my grandfather … the first things I thought of … in this he “borrows” his son’s heart x-ray and sharing the space are the three things that occupied him heart and mind as I remember … Connie Frances, cigarettes, and his wife (my grandmother), Lillian Foley.

All really so hard to get …

But there is more that was so hard to get … hence “grandfather no. 2.”

Published in: on May 20, 2008 at 11:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

tears & laughter @ the art institute of chicago

I did hold back on the tears … but my heart felt like a fist and there was that lump in my throat. One of the galleries in the AIC was one of deep melancholy and beauty. Felix Gonzalez-Torres’ installations were heartbreaking. This one shown above, Untitled, was a piece for his deceased lover and companion, Ross Laycock who died of AIDS-related complications. My immediate feeling was joy in seeing the brightly-wrapped candy leaning like a photograph in a significant corner of a room. When I realized it was a tribute to the one he loved so deeply, his constant companion, it became joy infused with feelings and emotions and thoughts on mortality and creation … the constancy of life and its renewal. I like the contrasts of the candies … something so simple and tragic and happy and beautiful all at the same time.

Torres’ installations are mutable like life and constant like true love. Viewers are encouraged to take a piece of candy from this installation and when the supply begins to dwindle, more is added. The interactive nature of this installation with the viewer further lends to Torres’ celebration of Ross.

I was observing this with someone I suddenly care for so deeply, the effect seeming even more intense as we walked about the rest of the exhibit with hardtack in our mouths and tears and laughter in our hearts. That moment with a pile of candy at our feet helped me to realize how fortunate I am to have found this kind of kindness and happiness with someone.

Torres’ other installation that moved me so was one of a strand of holiday lights lying on the floor, plugged in and bright, but cast off in what seemed a large moment of grief. A presence of love was there in its light and the notion of feeling emptied by death conveyed in its lonely life of lying on the floor untouched. The strand was able to be dimmed by the viewer. I chose to leave it bright … like the candy — joy and sadness commingled and complex like love and life.

The Ed Ruscha exhibit was great … and was a good one to go to after the heavy but beautiful melancholy of Torres. His homemade books of his photographs of gas stations, apartment buildings, parking lots and more seemingly mundane moments of modern society were odd and captivating in their taken-by-an-amateur quality. Ruscha, after met with confusion from the art world and viewers of his book of gas station photographs gave the permission for viewers to have a “Huh …” experience and reaction to his photographs.

This weekend in Chicago was another transformative experience for me. I am so very thankful for this happiness that follows me around always in the form of one of the kindest people I have ever ever known. And this is also the first time I am not waiting on the other shoe to drop, but to live in the moment infused with kind love and the softest hands I have ever known before.

I am unclear how long the Gonzalez-Torres installations with be at the AIC, but Ruscha is on display till June 1st and is worth any trip (gas prices be damned) to experience.

Published in: on May 18, 2008 at 6:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

Upper World Journey by Means of Chiffon …

My first attempt last week with the Shaman to reach the Upper World to find my wisdom teacher was unsuccessful. I was unable to go upwards from the clay cliffs of Gay Head. I chose this place, this cliff, as my starting point since it is the only open high point I am truly familiar with … I haven’t been on or in many high things … this cliff is one and Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown, the Arch in St. Louis are others … I think that covers it. I will be able to add Sears Tower to the list after this Saturday … after my great whisk-away to Chicago tomorrow.

My Upper World journey last week met with the difficulty of how I would float into the Upper World … helium balloons just didn’t seem to work and neither did the sea mist I imagined lifting me. Yesterday, it was almost instantaneous. My trance began quickly (and a lot of that may have been thanks to the Shaman’s sage tea) and I began to float toward the Upper World … by means of a chiffon nightgown.

As a side note, I found that chiffon nightgowns (or any full-length nightgown) are very hard to find … but when you do the feeling of chiffon is like a cloud … so it is an exceedingly appropriate vehicle for this into-the-clouds journey.

I digress … chiffon seems to create digression. When I reached the Upper World, I saw only one person — a man in a suit with a fedora. I did not recognize him as anyone I had ever seen before. I asked him if he was my wisdom teacher and he said he wasn’t. I followed the path of his long finger to find my teacher, but I was summoned to return to this place, this Middle Earth, before I found anyone else. I plan on journeying again tonight and hope to find my wisdom teacher … but I may journey back into the Lower World instead since I am still looking for my Power Animal.

My shamanic experiences have shown me so much possibility and love … love is now priority in my life. Hearts are guides like those spirits I seek now …

And now my father is sending me medical pictures of his heart. This is exciting and it will also be so good for the poetry and artwork I am doing about my genealogy. I wish I had pictures of every family members’ heart. I know my father’s will be large and beautiful.

Published in: on May 15, 2008 at 8:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

Happy Mother’s Day … Jane Mansfield & Fireworks

When I was a young girl, a brunette with dark eyebrows and green eyes, I wanted nothing more than to look like my mother — hair as blonde as a dirty cloud, eyes as blue as a swimming pool. Oh, and mom drew on her eyebrows, having plucked them away in the 60s …

I have always loved old movies and my mother always reminded me of movie stars … especially Jane Mansfield, minus a couple of “cups” anyway.

So for Mother’s Day … in addition to a uterine-themed collage, I wrote her a poem — about her Mansfieldian air and her run-in with a firework landing in her bra one 4th of July in the 1980s.

And now, somewhere, that firework roasts,
your B-cups now quiet and unharmed.

Happy Mother’s Day …

Published in: on May 11, 2008 at 2:23 pm  Comments (1)  

lower world voyage nos. 1 & 2

Now that I am wholly intact, my next voyage to seek my Power Animal, my life guide and adviser, was a transfixing experience. While in a trance amid shamanic drumming (the first time with the shaman himself, the second by myself with his recording of the drumming), I crawled through a clay tunnel that had begun at the Clay Cliffs of Gay Head in Martha’s Vineyard. I tunneled both times for what seemed a long time, finally emerging in a wooded area. The tree trunks, logs reaching upward were pure white, the foilage was a swimming pool blue. I was on a quest for my Power Animal, finding nothing and no one when I first emerged. I wandered in the blue, touched the white. My Celtic roots could cause my Power Animal to actually be a tree, so I was open to them as well. I came upon a white buck, tall as me. His white fur was so white it was almost transluscent, his muscles and sinews reflecting the blue leaves above us. I asked him if he was who I was looking for, was he my guide, my Power Animal? He shook his head no. I asked him to show me the way to my Power Animal and he pointed me in a direction with his solid white and seemingly untainted hoof. I began to walk in that direction, seeing nothing for a bit. But then my peripheral vision caught sight of what I thought was a peacock, a white peacock. But every time I looked in its direction, it was gone. Was it simply being playful, was it challenging me? This happened several times on both of my journeys. The second journey I saw the buck and a white squirrel. The squirrel simply pointed, as if knowing I was looking for my animal. I am guessing the squirrel was not it. I had no time to ask though … it pointed and ran up the tree undetectable in their mingled whites.

I walked some more. I saw the white peacock ahead of me … a long way ahead of me. I hurried my step, regretting my hurried steps as I was doing it, trying to slow and then I was summoned to return to the middle world (our world). I climbed back through my tunnel, reemerging here, my bedroom having a temorary blue haze while my eyes adjusted.

I have another voyage on Wednesday with the shaman. I cannot rush this search … the peacock may be one trying to guide me to my animal, or it could be my life-guide, giving me power when I need it, advice and guidance.

I buried my regrets in the forest of blue and white and they fertilized the earth and disappeared like a corpse.

Published in: on May 6, 2008 at 1:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

soul retrieval no.2

Today I attest officially my promises to my newly-found soul part.

Today I tell the shaman what she has told me …

Why she left, what gifts she brought to me.

How I should use these gifts.

I created an art piece for the shaman.

It will illustrate this important voyage I never could have had without him.

As skeptical as I was at first, worried I wouldn’t be open enough for this experience,

I know it is real. I know it has happened.

I know I am now as filled with little soul parts all together again

like a pomegranate in the autumnal harvest.

There is a watch I buried and felt the ground quake.

This is when I knew I was finally fully awake.

Published in: on May 3, 2008 at 3:48 pm  Comments (1)