Thursday, April 15, 2021

Writing for new eyes!

 To friends who have so patiently waited for the return to writing--i stagger under humility and apology--what does one say upon a trembling return, after such long absence? nothing--nothing at all-- a writer must not waste any more time to allow words to break the silence of a dusty keyboard. there! now i can get on to retrieve lost threads and dimmed thoughts, for others if not for self, 

A child calls my name as he bounces on a trampoline, neighbors laugh, tulips bob in wind, there is a whole world out there! mind staggers between words, colors blink in the sun, surrounded by kindness, i run upstairs to gather thoughts; to collect long neglected poetry. Thank You! 

Thank You Julian Dean! newest member of my family!

Monday, December 12, 2016

A Single Tear

Upon returning from an ordinary shopping trip to the nearest other small town, I turned to my friend who was driving her car with great composure, we saw each other, yet spoke no word, an unusual pause for us. Words retreated to the shade of our throats; to rest awhile as our eyes focused on the hidden years of forgotten joy washed away by inevitable flash floods of tears.

I found myself slipping into a light blue mood somewhere between grey sky and green lawns. Her absent voice resonating in the hollow heart of the small vehicle, the space filled with a blanket of forgiveness that permeated our common area; we were daughters, we were mothers, women of trust and tedium.

‘Twelve years’, she said’ and not a single tear, then last week’ she confided her impulse to spontaneously allow herself to grieve a flow of what she hesitated to feel as forgiveness;. a strange quietude filling her profile as she drove with hands on the wheel and mind in the past; oddly present, mostly whole.

A rare calm brushed over the day, I knew that the moment would hang about us, unspoken between calls to needs and chores of a tidy life, separate, disparate, yet held aloft by silk threads of a strong yet gentler nature. Trials and trauma swept aside for the passage of our present necessities, we walked in diverse aisles of commercial must; obeying the do, the don’t of shopping lists, and as we resurfaced, we saw in each other the wounded animal, the tender child we had been, and we knew that we had come to the traverse where the road forks away from pain.

Away from years we drag, tears we dry before they swell. Gutted from the spent drama, we fell softly into the routine of cathartic consumption, the food of our days, the taste of common delights affordable to the means of ordinary women in an extraordinary mood. We ditched our worn out truths with a fork, and poked fun at the small miseries of a miserable age in times of televised troubles and never ending wars; we were free.

Free from the need to forgive, free to give the past permission to exit at the nearest overpass. We shook our heads in sympathy for worn out emotions and basked in empathetic acceptance. She reached out to the memory of her own mother, within the depth of her gaze. I silently laid mine to rest across the ocean, inhaling the vapors of one single tear on the car window toward my present world.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

For Tomorrow Parting

For Tomorrow, Parting

She, the child, she, the universe.
Oh soft loneliness.
And her body, alone, again.

Sorrow swells in her belly
Full of water and blood
While she brings plasma to life,
To clone her destiny.
She stretches passion
Beyond walls of sanity.

Smelling softly of matrimony
She oscillates amid her moods
Swelling moistly under August heat,
She vacillates in summer misery.
Vanillin scent wafts from her womb,
Bathing her in narcissistic lymph.

Head bent toward her thoughts,
She mourns the crowded seed
And offers a certain sadness
To the posterity immured within.
Through her plump arms and breast
Courses a savage tenderness.

She, the child, she, the universe.
Oh soft loneliness.
And her body, alone, again…

Friday, March 18, 2016

Losing Your Tongue

Losing Your Tongue

Ici je raconte la soif des livres cracquelés, je pronounce les silences riches d’émotions contenues dans chaque cellule désséchée. C’est ainsi que je retrace les voyages internisés sous ciel torride.

This is how we lose our mother tongue; that first language to tease our seat of knowledge. I lost my own bearings in the sand, one word at a time, and with it, the cultural difference it carried. The mental map folded and creased by cold letters from ‘home’. The names of objects which I found in new surroundings replaced accurate adjectives which I no longer used. This is how devolution of elocution came upon me, rapidly dropping onto the arid soil of the new places. So I spoke faster to mask the sense of loss. I learned every word in the context of found books and discarded papers. I avidly read every word of advertisement, front to back and again. The winds blew all perception as I grieved a part of self whom I had ill known.

If language is the vehicle of cultural identity, I became a split personality the day I decided to leave my birthplace. Romantic notions aside, I divested myself of a heavy mantle of propriety and gradually took on an assumed personae who spoke the words of miners and vagrants that inhabited the western desert. With every name of a rock and each tool of the trade, I discarded years of experience in both rural and urban way of French life, like sand dropped from my pockets, and disseminated in dunes forevermore.

In retrospect, a youth spent between a rigid city education during school, and hard labor at vacation time in my ancestral village, had previously prepared me for dual adaptation; as if I had been plugged into different circuits all along. I had already suffered the innate clan mentality which ostracizes others and excludes them from pleasant conversation. Family stared and sneered at me each time I used correct language in daily speech. Little ‘City girl me’ spoke Latin and whatever other “things” she learned there. On the other side of the cultural divide; upon my return to the renaissance hilltop of ancient knowledge ‘Country me’ was severely chastised for using spontaneous expressions in the Patois dialect of my ancestors. Every holiday was an exercise in Cartesian discipline, as much as I favored the satisfaction of learning, I felt a strange attachment for the simpler expression of my country folk. No time to use fancy phrases between chores. Three little words and turn around. I thrived there, for awhile.

The thirst for expanded knowledge would always stir, anywhere, and with it, the hunt for communication. Books were my primary source of American English; they were left as gifts, offered by temporary anonymous residents in the abandoned shacks which pepper the far landscape of the Great Basin. All I had to do was to find material before the pack-
rats did. From partially chewed newsprint to pristine Vonnegut, I ended up talking like an old Reader’s Digest magazine, and had the sense of humor of a third grader. It was easy to make me laugh, everything seemed somewhat funny to me.

“You’ll never be one of us” said the miner to me. Neither budging nor twitching, I felt a tear welling at the tip of my lashes, so I turned silently and felt the man’s hand hovering close to my shoulder. He hesitated and bent his head whispering “I don’t mean it like that”. I knew what he meant, but that was the last act of separation for the isolated woman I had become. The desert had become its own dimension between past and present. That unassuming man had given some food to our little family, he had provided water and blankets; probably because somewhere, he had children and a wife who would not live on the desert floor. His gestures, as those of other miners spoke of the division. “That is not bad – really - you don’t want to become like us out here” he added twisting his rough hands, I consoled him with a dismissive “I understand”. (No, I did not!) I was bent on chameleonizing my adoptive environment. Not to fit in, but to live in.

When the children were of school age, I was summoned to the office and severely admonished for speaking our language to them. I was told that I was confusing the children, and they were confusing the class therefore I should immediately stop. That was another snip of the cultural scissor, a surgical strike precisely delivered to my insecure seat of emotions. The fear of deportation looming as I feared they (whoever they were) would find out that we had no utilities, a public sin far worse than difference of language. I had been told that my children and I would be cleaved asunder if the authorities found that cold water and candles were inadequate situations to raise little Americans.

I reluctantly taught mostly flat English and kept the French for bonding chores only; ‘va te laver les mains - fait la vaisselle - et tes chaussures’ the daily commands of a quasi normal life. So we carried our water in jugs for miles and cooked on makeshift grills over deadwood embers. Life tasted good in any language. And the kids could generally read, write and count before teachers got ‘a’hold of their brains too. Sand is the ideal write –erase board, and twigs abound in nature. What is love for?

It was in Tecopa California that I realized that I had gained some track on the runaway train of language. I met a lady at the local Post Office who invited me to her local home extension of the Inyo-Kern library. For the next few months I read much of the little shelf full of donated serious literature and even perused saccharine romance before dutifully returning each and moving on. I no longer groped for new words whenever I encountered rare prospectors or geology students along our daily food foraging in Death Valley, but when I arrived at whatever hovel or cave I called home, the walls closed in on the fact that I was alone (with three small children) and my mind spoke no French. Even my dreams resisted the old language; they were now silent movies, gesticulating on an ethereal theater within. No color, no odor, I was dead to the old world for several years.

Societal scissors had severed the cords. I had chosen not to mend the wounds; perhaps to protect the family unit, or was it to forget the pains carried by my first language, my first life.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Dear Writer

Dear writer, I am your reader, I have sorted your stories and I want you to take me to places where I have never been. You may have told these tales many times before. You must have watched wonder pry eyes wide open on your listener’s faces. But as I sit here, I wish to be transported to the scenery, the scenario, the sense of who lives in your thoughts.

Reading glasses on table, legs elevated, lap blanket snug and a cup of cocoa. Ready! I want to smell the flowers, the sewers, the ordinary meal, all. I want to hear the mouse chewing the trailer’s skirts, the child whimpering in his sleep, the traffic in the distance. It’s all in the detail, the minute mundane moment. It lives in the voices, the intonations that presage the deed. The story that you have planted grows and expands into its surroundings.

I want to feel the fear, to anticipate the next blow to the being which you have brought into my consciousness. As I shrink in my skin when words yank at the center of emotion, you hold my plexus in your pen; you can’t tell me what to comprehend, but you have the power to stir, to awaken dormant cells with mere phrases.

Educate me; let me learn the ways of this life or that person, this creature beyond myself. Enlarge the scope, I am eyes, I am ears. Every sense is alert, waiting to be enriched during this time which I devote to one book, one paragraph to receive your message on this page. I am at one with the written word, warm and grateful. For the library.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Sea Song

 Once in awhile words insist on dropping by, to settle on the mind and demand a page, an audience of one, an ear to come alive or simply to fade away quietly in the background before sleep. This is one such poem, emerging from years of dormancy, tentatively peering over the edge of the soup bowl of rural life.

Sea Song          (Eng)                                                    recorded                        01-10-16 ns

This is a love song—yes a love song—this- is- a love song—swirling—swilling song—a sea song—rising from a dark ocean—floating to shore.

This is a one ear to the sand song—sea foam surging—washing fears and sloshing tears—rolling—lolling about before retreating in the wondrous beyond.

This is a sad song sneering at the sun—this is a sun song shining through the trees—winking—wicked—teasing—pleasing sun.

This is an offer—this is the power of peace over pain—like the open hand—the quiet gaze—an offer—an offer of self—free of fertility, of futility—in the open fields of racing minds.

This is a sound song—another dawn song—a concert of strange winds when the mind awakens and the waves overlap—billowing waves lap and lick bare legs—slap sleepy flesh—this morning of a fresh day.

Now is the symphony of time to erase the traces of writhing dreams of long yesterday—this is the song of silence sinking into sea—softly—softly.

Chant de la Mer   (Fr)

Ça c’est une chanson d’amour—eh oui chanson d’amour—c’est un chant tourbillonant au long des courants de la mer—surgissant des profondeurs de l’océan.

C’est la chanson du sable à l’oreille—des vagues qui lavent les frayeurs et les larmes—roulant tout autour avant de s’effacer dans le lointain mystérieux.

Ça c’est une chanson triste—se moquant du soleil—c’est le chant d’un soleil scintillant entre les branches.

C’est une offre—cette force paisible qui atténue la douleur de vivre—comme la main ouverte, le regard tranquille—une offre du soi-même—un geste sans fertilité sans futilité dans cette course aux âmes fécondes.

C’est un concert des sons étranges d’une nouvelle aube—quand le vent se réveille et les vagues se rencontrent—les vagues se chahutent—les vagues léchent la plage—léchent les jambes nues et giflent la chaire indolente.

C’est le matin de nouveau—le jour naissant qui efface les traces de rêves agonisants de jours passés—c’est la symphonie du temps—c’est le silence qui se submerge sous l’océan—doucement—doucement.

the following link takes this to the audio part of the experience. in English, the French version to follow.