30 July, 2011

Trying to make Amends

During a recent visit with my younger brother and his family, it was pointed out that I had not included any photo or story of him in a family journal I created for my children years ago. This was a grave oversight.

An oversight I can only explain by the fact that those childhood memories, or the ones that I recorded, happened in my early childhood. Up until the time I was about 10-years-old. My brother, seven years younger, just didn’t figure into those times.

Later, when he was a young child, I was gone, having left home at 14. Now, I am perfectly aware that this is all just talk. So instead, I decided to try and make amends by creating this collage and writing him a poem.

The boy in the collage reminds me of my brother. I imagine the boy has been asked by an older brother to take his bicycle and put it into the garage. The boy is too small to ride the bicycle, but pride and excitement allow him to skim over the ground faster than any bicycle could.

(If you look closely, both his feet and one of the wheels are off the ground.)
boy and bicycle

Little Brother

We grew up in two different epochs.
Where those sitting at our family table
Varied in numbers and vulnerability.

You, with your joyous youthful naivety,
Were able to run light foot over ground,
Not once touching that precarious surface
Vibrating with its undercurrents of

Disgruntled teenager murmurings and
Old people’s loud whisperings,
“The times are changing. The end is near.”

Your world was filled instead with a
Giant imagination that transformed
All our adult pettiness into something noble
And worth worshipping, though we were
Not the heroes we could have been.
Should have been. The ones you deserved.

24 July, 2011

Homage to my Umbrella IV

umbrella05 dawn
To tell a story. To do so with self-depreciation and humility. To make choreography.

Heather McHugh does so brilliantly. I was going to quote the last words of the poem, the sage words, but that would be taking away the soul of the story. Do enjoy.

19 July, 2011

Hats Off To Akala

Hats off to Akala for rapping, ranting, raging, rhyming with heart and sharp eloquence. Please watch to the end. You can even listen twice. Pure energy and tension and still loose.

09 July, 2011

Homage to my Umbrella IV

umbrella01 red
There are no childhood memories more filled with sounds, smells, and touch then those summer days spent near water. Timeless moments with sand between my toes. Salt from the sea caked in the crevasses of my skin. The feel of the sun hard upon my scalp. Digging. Digging. For gold. For China.

Stopping briefly to run into the water. Quickly, secretly, I flip my bikini bottoms down so the cakes of sand can dissolve away from between my legs. Quickly. Joyfully. I dive deep down into the coldness. My breath sucked away. I struggle to surface. An intake of breath a triumph. The wind slaps waves into my face and up my nose.

Rushing back to shore, I plop back down in my hole to China.

Such memories are divine. They transport every cell of my body back in time.

06 July, 2011

Homage to my Umbrella III

Spending some delightful days in Amsterdam with friends. It rains. It shines. The talk flows. The laughter bubbles over.

This city holds many fond memories of youthful escapades I shared while visiting a South African dancer friend. Riding through the city on the back of his rackety bicycle in the wee hours of the morning. He'd rush into the company ballet class having consumed two cups of strong Dutch coffee. No sleep. He'd finish the day's rehearsal with an empty pack of cigarettes. Manage an evening performance, which he'd get free ticket for me to watch. Then we were off to a bar with theater friends.

05 July, 2011

Homage to my Umbrella II

The sound of the sea greets me in the dark hour before dawn. Salty foam from the white caps out at sea mingle with the turbulent sandy swirl of waves breaking over the coral reef just outside me open bedroom window.

There is a rhythmic intake of silence then a swooshing sound, and thankfully the thunder of a wave breaking below. My mind drops back into a dream on the plains of an Arabian desert. Sultans. Silk. Caravans. Salt. Spices. Images that jumped out of the pages of the book I am reading. It lies half open with my thumb marking my spot. The reading lamp draws night creatures even in the coming dawn.

Bird song. First tentatively. Chirp. Breep. Cheep. Then a sudden wild burst of abandonment. A symphony.

My breath changes. My limbs shift. My mind wakens again, but this time to the day.

03 July, 2011

Homage to my Umbrella I

Summer is here and the only thing I can say is, "Are you kidding?" I'm not going to talk about the weather, no matter how strange and horrible it might be. Instead, I've decided to do a series of "Homage to my Umbrella" collages, with little or no comment.
Long ago, there was a time when I loved nothing better than going for walks during storms. Ah, my early 20s, when primal fears and melancholic indulgences ran amok. Fortunately, I had some chums who would accompany me on these excursions. Snow, sleet, fog, torrential rains... all good elements to batter down my moodiness.

Looking back on those days, I imagine the me-then calling up today and asking the me-now to go out for a walk and the only thing that comes to mind is, "Are you kidding?"