Monday, September 30, 2013

September . . . Near a Telephone

Phone Booth Near the Lake
painting by Scott Prior

Someone You Love is Far Away
but Near a Telephone

Twilight, and the maples outside the windows
Of this $95 - a - month room where I live alone
Are turning black with the time of day and time of year,
September. "It's sunset," I'd say if you called,
"And the trees are turning into shadows of themselves."

But it's too late for that, the sun is gone,
It's night here, and what I wanted to tell you

Is a lie already. Maybe, though, where you are, in the next
Time zone west, it's becoming true, taking shape
In the sky, the air, the shadow
You cast against whatever wall keeps you
There, in autumn, in twilight, on the other side

Of the telephone, where suddenly you are wanting to say
Something to someone about leaves, about light,

Not knowing what, or to whom, or why, or how far away
Anything is, while the day goes on changing
Slowly into the same night I wait in
Alone in the darkness, in love, watching the dial
Of the stars move, knowing we are both in the world.

T. R. Hummer
from The Angelic Orders

"And then the lighting of the lamps"

on my new Fortnightly post
"September Travels Slow"
The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker
A fortnightly [every 14th & 28th]
literary blog of connection & coincidence; custom & ceremony

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Happy Stillness

Hillsdale - Possum Bridge
Indiana photo by Marsha Williamson Mohr


"Because September travels slow
I catch it when I can
and hold it over for another month or two."

by Rod McKuen
from the poem "True Holly"
found in Twelve Years of Christmas


"It was a day of exceeding and almost unmatched beauty,
one of those perfectly lovely afternoons
that we seldom get but in September or October.
A warm delicious calm and sweet peace brooded breathless
over the mellow sunny autumn afternoon
and the happy stillness was broken only by the voices of children
blackberry gathering in an adjoining meadow
and the sweet solitary singing of a robin."

Entry for Thursday, 24 September 1874
from A Wiltshire Diary: English Journies
by Clergyman & diarist, Robert Francis Kilvert, 1840 - 1879

these & more on my new Fortnightly post
"September Travels Slow"
The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker
A fortnightly [every 14th & 28th]
literary blog of connection & coincidence; custom & ceremony

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Time Flies

A Postcard from Vickie
Les Biches [meaning "The Does"]
by French artist Marie Laurencin (1883 - 1956)

A few years back, in answer to a quiz question, I observed that for whatever reason -- the new millennium; global warming -- the world seems to be spinning faster with every passing year.

"What do you know now that you wish you'd known when you were younger? That "TIME FLIES" is not a mere cliche; that "A year is but a day" applies not only to the mind of God but to us humans as well! How can it be that events from ten, fifteen years ago seem like just the other day? Is the world spinning faster and faster each year? Somehow I thought it would slow down, but no! "

Over the summer, my friend Vickie sent me a postcard from Povence, posing a similar question about the passing passage of time: "Do the days go fast as one's time grows shorter? Unfair -- so much to see, do, learn, enjoy! It's been a hot summer, and too, too fast."

As literary coincidence would have it, a day or so after Vickie's postcard, yet another wise friend -- Nancy from Washington State -- sent me a book review, clipped from the The Seattle Times. In this article, poet Richard Wakefield discusses Donna Krolik Hollenberg's biography of Denise Levertov: A Poet's Revolution. Included is Levertov's sage observation that "the discrepantly aging body and mind affect one's sense of time."

Hmmmm. Just as Vickie and I suspected.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Nearly Equal




"I will . . . walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun."
~~ William Butler Yeats ~~



2012: Imperceptibly

2011: Autumn Indefinable

2010: Tonight at Noon, Equinox, Harvest Moon

2009: Autumnal Equinox: Stars Forever

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Think Like a Pirate

Spring Break Face Painting Project ~ 2001
Sam as a Scary Pirate & Ben as the Deep Blue Sea

Two Pirate Stories
both from StoryPeople by Brian Andreas

There was a single blue line of crayon
drawn across every wall in the house.
What does it mean? I said.
A pirate needs the sight of the sea, he said
& then he pulled his eye patch down & turned and sailed away."

I've found it's best to leave the hard moral questions
to them what has hard morals, he said.

Gerry and Sam in 2001
A Mellow Little Pirate with his Dear ol' Daddy - O

Halloween 1997 ~ Ben as Pirate & Sam as Batman

Halloween 2008
Yet Another Swashbuckling Pirate Costume for Ben McCartney!
With Zoe as John Darling ~ Lily as Tinkerbell ~ Karen as Peter Pan

Monday, September 16, 2013

Do Not Worry, Do Not Hurry,
Just Eat Curry!

A quiet spot for coffee, tea, curry, rice pudding
and inspiration:
"No. No, we are not satisfied
and we will not be satisfied
until 'justice rolls down like water
and righteousness like a mighty stream.' "
~ Martin Luther King, Jr. ~

in the lovely Yerba Beuna Gardens, San Francisco

Last year, when I flew out to San Francisco for the first time, I was stressing about the trip and asked my friend Eileen to send me some anti - worry mantras. She had already shared many; but, of course, when I needed them most -- when I was worrying! -- I couldn't remember them.

She e-mailed back with a simple mantra, easy to keep in mind while traveling or anytime: "Do Not Worry, Do Not Hurry, Just Eat Curry!"

For more excellent mantras from Eileen and others
see my current post

"Do Not Worry, Do Not Hurry, Just Eat Curry!"
The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker
A fortnightly [every 14th & 28th]
literary blog of connection & coincidence; custom & ceremony

Friday, September 13, 2013

Cadbury Flake

"In Scotland
there were vignettes of simple, stunning beauty
all the time
I climbed Dumyat and
took communion with a lab,
found the heather
and tasted every chocolate Flake . . ."

from the poem "Strip the Willow"
by tammy l. knox sandel, 8/17/13

~ excerpt from my current fortnightly blog post ~
Tammy's reference to "every chocolate Flake" spoke to my heart. I was not in 1979 a fan of the Flake, though I have since become one, as it is a favorite of my English relatives, including my husband and sons. Back then, however, what Kathy and I loved to buy at the British Rail newsstands were Twix Bars and Mini Babybel cheeses, two novelty snacks not widely available in the United States at the time. Somehow I knew exactly what Tammy meant about the memory of a chocolate treat that comes to symbolize everything new and unique and untried about "a specific place we must find." Or perhaps a place that we have actually found; or an old, exciting time when there was just so much to learn!

Tammy's poem led to a day spent thinking about Flakes and Twix; old friends, new friends, children of friends, and young womanhood. At the close of that day, I was looking in the pantry for some chocolate chips to add to a batch of zucchini bread ('tis the season), and -- to perfectly round out a series of connections and coincidences -- what did I discover and use instead? A package of very crumbly (even more so than usual) Flake Bars, no doubt left over from Gerry's parents' last visit.

Believe it or not, Tammy is not the first author I know to have incorporated a reference to Flakes in her writing! In Gladys Reunited: A Personal American Journey, Sandi Toksvig -- herself a master of the literary coincidence -- describes bringing a friend in the United States a package of Flakes from England:

I had brought her a gift of Cadbury's Flake -- a chocolate bar
that crumbles the minute you unwrap it. She was thrilled.
'We don't have it here. Your mom actually turned me on to them.
The first time, I said, "It comes like this?" It's a mess.
You have to work at them. Great when you're cooking.'

(109; see also
"Birds of Pray" and "Opal: In Love with the World")

Turns out I'm not the only one who uses Flakes when baking! I like it that Sandi's friend had the same idea; and she's right -- they do make a mess and you have to "work at them." Yet, Tammy's advice is undoubtedly the best of all: forget the mess, go for the experience, learn all you can, jump in to "strip the willow" and taste "every chocolate Flake." Just say Yes!

For the rest of Tammy's poem . . . and more
see my current post
"Every Chocolate Flake"
The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker
A fortnightly [every 14th & 28th]
literary blog of connection & coincidence; custom & ceremony

New Fortnightly Post Coming Tomorrow:
"Do Not Worry, Do Not Hurry, Just Eat Curry!"

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

On the Eve of that Other Perfect Day

A 9 / 11 Reverie by Meg Wolitzer ~ 2008

"Outside now, the morning was startling in its clarity and temperament . . . Every perfect fall day always forced you to think of that other perfect day when the city had been struck. But today Amy also thought about how this was a time in life when she was meant to be content. Her body remained slender, and her day was not yet spoken for. She had a close little family and a best friend whom she loved. The war in Iraq kept on going while really going nowhere, infusing everyone with helplessness, and there was still the real possibility of an act of terrorism, but people always said you couldn't stay cowering inside your apartment. Instead, they insisted, you had to 'live your life,' because it was all that any of us could do.

"The other women streamed through the revolving door. In various parts of the city and in surrounding towns off the highways came the rest of them. Soon they would be depositing their children at the mouths of schools and kissing their heads and watching them disappear inside, and then the women would be free. They could have all the covered malls and plazas and fields of the suburbs, and all the buildings and shops and museums of the city if they wanted, and all the open air as well. The day waited for them with its bounty and its freedom, which their husbands almost never had anymore and swore they didn't even want. How it had ended up like this, no one really knew. This wasn't supposed to have happened.

"But on a day as beautiful as this one, the sensations of despair and regret were mostly obscured by pleasure. All around the country, the women opened their front doors and stepped outside to take what was theirs
(39 - 40).
from Wolitzer's novel The Ten-Year Nap
mentioned briefly on my book ~ blog

Stepping into the Day ~ September 11, 2013 ~ San Francisco
Union Square

Washington Square

Previous 9 / 11 Posts

2009: Not a Normal Day

2010: Poem for Today and Tomorrow

2010: 9 / 11 Retrospective (Fortnightly)

2011: Alabaster Cities

2012: My Country's Heart

2013: On the Eve of that Other Perfect Day

2014: Back Before 9 / 11

2016: The Twain

2019: Who Knew?

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Point About the Daub

Sam's Nightlight Project ~ 3rd Grade ~ Fall 2001

In honor of Sam's birthday, I thought I'd share an oft - used phrase that he contributed to our family vocabulary back in his days as a most insightful fourth - grader. A creative student, Sam completed many impressive projects during the early years of his education. On the one hand, he was fastidious in his attention to detail; on the other, he was also very efficient in getting to the heart of the matter.

Such was the case when working on his Viking longhouse, constructed of wattle and daub. First, he wove the wattle of twigs and brown pipe cleaners, and collected live moss for the rooftop.

Next, he concocted a very tasty daub out of peanut butter, Nutella, and dry oatmeal; spread this mixture over one exterior wall; and declared his project complete. I suggested that we could easily mix up another batch to cover the additional walls, but Sam is not a time - waster, and he was insistent: "Mom! I think we made the point about the daub!"

Sam's conclusion still comes in handy whenever someone (and, yes, I confess, it is often I) goes on too long about something. Remember the little Dr. Seuss character in Hop on Pop who says, "Good - by, Thing. You sing too long?" Well, in our house, we just roll our eyes and say, "I think you made the point about the daub!"

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Fierce Red

Our Second House in Philadelphia
Fierce Yellow Living Room & Fierce Red Dining Room


Holly Golightly: You know those days when you get the mean reds?
Paul Varjak: The mean reds. You mean like the blues?
Holly Golightly: No. The blues are because you're getting fat,
and maybe it's been raining too long.
You're just sad, that's all.
The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you're afraid,
and you don't know what you're afraid of.
Do you ever get that feeling?

[emphasis added]

from Breakfast at Tiffany's
by Truman Capote


In our second Philadelphia house (built in 1805) We picked vibrant colors to contrast with the coved ceilings, the pre - Victorian windows, the twin marble fireplaces -- and with each other: "Sunbury" & "Arresting Red" (by Duron). While we were painting, young Sam, who was only eight at the time, inadvertently referred to the dining room color as "Fierce Red," instead of "Arresting Red." We liked that so much better that we changed the name, not only of the red dining room, but of the yellow living room as well. From that point on, they were called "Fierce Yellow" & "Fierce Red." Not arresting, not mean -- but fierce! There was no going back!

Ben, Gerry, Sam
Before Painting ~ Removing Forty Years of Wallpaper

Relaxing with Dad After a Job Well Done

Fierce Red Christmas Room
[more on my Book Blog & Fortnightly Blog]

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day: Don't Work Too Hard

That's me -- scowling whilst vacuuming!
In the House of Martha and Mary
by Eileen Kennedy

Christ in the House of Martha and Mary
Johannes Vermeer
Mary or Martha?

"she has chose the better part" ~New Testament

How quickly men gather at the table.
They are hungry. They are empty.
Their innards growl for tuna surprise,
Apple Brown Betty. Someone named Mary
has thrown ingredients together,
has placed the dishes, thus,
will pick at leavings later.
She will grow fat from devouring
all the remnants.

Her hunger
is to sit at table, pick at her food
idly, with her fork, while
the men listen to her words
with their eyes in their hands,
their tongues on the edge of her knife.
, 1983

~ Mary McAnally (1939 - 2018) ~ biography

"Jesus had none of the familiar male ego. He was never patronizing in his relationships with women and children. He had no need to dominate anyone or limit any human potential. Two of his closest friends, Mary and Martha, were women, and this without any hint of scandal."
~ Gladys M. Hunt (1926 - 2010) ~ more quotations

Previous Labor Day Post: "Labor Day" ~ 2009
Quotes & Poems for Labor Day: "DYFJ"
See Also: Annunciazione & Lo, We Abhor Not
Love Is Not All