Sunday, January 24, 2010

FIELD NOTES: So what exactly happened under that blue moon on New Year’s Eve?

Catching up on a Sunday morning answer a question with more questions…what looks like busywork, but isn’t? A spider spinning? A bee buzzing? A bird building? A woman cleaning?...I went to my studio in the basement. It had become coated with dust not from neglect but from a certain unfortunate condition of busyness. Relatives were preoccupied with other things, but apart from that, it just happened that I was feeling more reflective than social and, moreover, was willing to embrace it even though that eve is intended for partying. The word ‘evening’ may mean the closing part of the day and the early part of the night, but the word ‘eve’ is not merely its shortened form; it brings with it other connotations. A second definition - its commonly acknowledged sense - is “the period just before some important event” or “a period of decline”. Imaginings of last light, owl-light, twilight, dusk, nightfall, soiree, sunset and the poetic gloaming are conjured. Who has not experienced how differently things look when you are in the dark?...I grabbed a bottle of Bellini, piped in some dusky jazz and pulled out an onerous bin filled with fabric scraps…probably some thirty years worth because I used to sew everything: shirts, skirts, gowns, pants, jackets, purses, pajamas, curtains, cushions, even dolls. The bin turned into a magician’s hat with endless strips from the striated layers of my life that I could color-date. A heap lay before me like a new map or fitted sheet impossible to return to its container once sprung. Midnight was on the march. Should I: Discard it and not look back until I discover I have nothing to show my grandchildren and no memory of my handiwork? Give in to burden and hang onto it like someone hiding in their obesity?...Neither...Though the blue moon ended up being hidden by cloudiness, it illuminated my night. I gathered the expensive or exotic specimens into a sequestered group, then folded the useful pieces that were big enough to actually be made into something and placed them strategically back into the bin. I took a sample swatch from everything that remained, editing this economically industrious period of my life into a small box. Before the ball dropped, I turned out the light, went upstairs and opened a bottle of champagne. The box of swatches will be reincarnated into a collage…perhaps…under the next blue moon…

Sunday, January 17, 2010

FIELD NOTES: A Happy Blue Pot

A Happy Blue Pot
(For Haitians & Others, January 2010)

I bought a pot;
(enameled cast iron,
cobalt blue on the outside, milk white on the in)
not because I needed it
at the time
but because it caught my eye
like love at first sight.
I first cooked in it
the bean casserole
for Wigilia*
and when I found myself smiling
unconsciously as a babe
I called it “my happy pot”.
I have since made soup
and rice,
and smile each time
for not much reason
other than delight in gathered senses
from a sometimes senseless world.
I do not wash the pot;
I bathe it
like a child of mine
when s/he was a baby
and wrap it gently in a towel.
Out from this Aladdin’s lamp
wafts wishes, memory and dreams,
and I would want it with me
if my earth should shake.
I clang my spoon,
call out,
how can I
give it
to you?

*(pronounced: /vi.ˈɡi.ʎa/ or vee-GHEE-lee-uh, the traditional Christmas Eve vigil supper in Poland)