Poetry & Music Mash Up: Little Numbers - Boy & Around Us - Marvin Bell


Little Numbers
Around Us
We need some pines to assuage the darkness
when it blankets the mind,
we need a silvery stream that banks as smoothly
as a plane's wing, and a worn bed of 
needles to pad the rumble that fills the mind,
and a blur or two of a wild thing
that sees and is not seen. We need these things
between appointments, after work,
and, if we keep them, then someone someday,
lying down after a walk
and supper, with the fire hole wet down,
the whole night sky set at a particular
time, without numbers or hours, will cause
a little sound of thanks--a zipper or a snap--
to close round the moment and the thought
of whatever good we did.

Poem Therapy 1:05 P.M May 31, 2012: Slight Tremor - Linda Gregorson

Slight Tremor
The fine fourth finger
of his fine right hand,

just slightly, when
he's tracking our path

on his iPhone or
repairing the clasp

on my watch I
will not think about

the myelin sheath.
Slight tremor only,

transient, so
the flaw in the

pavement must
have been my

mother's back.

My father is in his eighties and never had health problems, other than the garden variety, until he was seventy-six. He is now in his eighties, still active, but unable to work hard eight hour days. He has always pushed himself, probably because he always had unlimited energy. Now, he is only able to work for a brief time, followed by long recovery periods.  Some days, he has to spend the day resting. On those days, he is frustrated.

My grandfather was a quiet man, an introvert with a love of poetry. He could recite poetry from memory, (and many times bawdy songs),  to the great pleasure of those around him. At the end of his life, he berated his leg for letting him down. He'd curse it, saying, Come on, you s.o.b., get in here!, while pulling his leg into the car.

I remember my grandfather's measured steps, his bent back, his reliance on a cane. He refused to just sit and watch the world pass by. I remember him always in the middle of a project: in his garden, clipping our dog's curly white hair down to the skin in some places. I also remember him drinking to the point of crawling.

My father now curses his leg and we laugh remembering. I see my father in my grandfather's Paul Newman blue eyes, his slowing gait, his unfathomable memory, but unlike his father, he was anything but an introvert. His shoulders are always back, his chin is always out. This is a nice way of saying that although he has a kind heart and generous disposition, you had better not mess with him. Even now, he's always up for a fight.

I am grateful for his relative good health, and his vast Library of Congress-like mind, but, I have discovered in myself that I am unwilling to see what his waning strength means.

Denial may be too strong a word. I haven't the words, yet.

Artist of the Day: Magnolia Bug 4337 - Kari Herer

Magnolia Bug 4337 Kari Herer kariherer

Artist Bio: Kari Herer has been photographing since a young girl. Her work has been shown in Martha Stewart, Town and Country, Vera Wang Fine Papers, InStyle Magazine, Tiny Prints, Wedding Paper Divas, and William Arthur. Drawing on her experience in the fine arts and graphic design, as well as her deep love of nature, she provides her clients with professional portrait photography in a variety of beautiful settings. She currently splits her time between the East Coast and the Midwest.
I am something of a beetle freak, (I've gone as far as creating paintings, collages, and even a small needle pointed image of them), so this particular piece is one of my favorites of the series. This series by Maine/Wisconsin artist Kari Herer is created using original drawings, flower petals, and organic material. The results are then photographed, and lucky us can own one of them!

Be certain to check out her gorgeous botanical photographs.

Song of the Day - Do You Remember - Ane Brun

Ann Brun performed in the State Room, in my city of salt earlier this month. I missed it. I'm certain she'll be back, soon, so I will plan on it no matter what else is going on. According to the description on YouTube, Brun's video is the first chapter of a short film from the album It all starts with One.

I love how this video examines the nature of  memory, what we choose to remember, and how we choose to remember. Also, how, regardless of our chronological age, we are all the people we ever were. I believe we can access all of our former selves. All we have to do is knock on the door and asked for entry.

I like to think of memory as a house, a large red Victorian Painted Lady, with separate rooms for clusters of related memory or for specific memories. The sitting room with the three large bay windows is the room of childhood. Up the stairs and to the left in the small closet of a room, is my first marriage and divorce. Almost all of my happiest memories are free to wander the house, but they really like to hang out in the kitchen. In the small locked room under the stairs in the dank basement is where all the unspeakables sit on their wobbly chairs. Maybe it's time to let them air out and turn transparent in the sunshine.

What does your memory house look like? And in which rooms do your memories reside?

Letters: Dear Bashar al-Assad from Niccolo Machiavelli

Dear Bashar al-Assad

I once advised, "A prince never lacks legitimate reasons to break his promise."

I knew princes.

You sir, are no prince.

Niccolo Machiavelli

Song of the Day: White Nights - Oh Land

Oh Land
White Nights

I'd never really thought of the realm of dreams as white, but each of us make our dream worlds what we choose. My dream world is colored in vivid saturated hues, like a Scorcese film.

Enjoy Oh Land's video. It mimics the netherworld with its shifting narrator and landscapes.

Poetry and Art Mash Up: Drifting Souls - Binh Danh & Drifting Souls - Robert Schultz

Drifting Souls detail

This narrow leaf one hand-span
Wide contains a landscape
Pock-marked, cracked, stained tan

Like smoke.  Within it figures wrapped
In dust stand fixed in sight
As if inside a rifle’s scope.

But for now they will not die
And are not killing, only shuffling
Through grasses, as light as ghosts — mild,

Becalmed.  Forty years is as nothing
Here, where they linger, fastened,
Their legs disappearing

In uncut grass, their torsos thickened
By packs, canteens, by radios, guns
Pursuing their endless errand.

Memorial Day 2012 Photo Essay

The Memorial Day weekend began with the annual air show hosted by Hill Air Force Base. I had never been on base before and I felt very much out of my element.

I really had no idea how much like a city the base is, with parks, residential housing and fast food restaurants. Seeing all the men and women in uniform reminded me how grateful I am to those who serve and have served, and for their continued service. And for the sacrifices the rest of us don't have to shoulder and know next to nothing about.

Also, being on base made war an undeniable reality.

Over the years I have seen and heard the jets and cargo planes as they pass overheard, but have never seen them up close. I've always thought of the enormous planes as whales. What you can't tell from the photos here, is that the cargo plane is unbelievably huge, at 174 ft is sixty-six feet longer than a blue whale.

The Memorial Day weekend concluded with a visit to the cemetery, followed by a reunion with family, some who travelled from as far as Germany to be here.

I thought it appropriate to post a few headstones of relatives that served in wars from the Mexican War to WWI.

Poem Therapy at 2:37 P.M. May 29, 2012: Frozen - Natasha Head

I have seen a life laid to waste,
in the name of pure stubbornness,
in the absolute definition of denial.

I see my own life.
Caught up on the same rails,
charging full steam ahead,
to a tunnel where no light shines.

The gates of experience fly by.
Still frames of adventures
I have excused myself from
for reasons, for selfishness.

Vanity . . . shame.
The double yellow line,
solid and illuminated,
laughs as I attempt to find the nerve.

To dare cross.

Throwing up walls of resistance
as the hourglass bleeds
grains of sand I can't afford.

I have seen a lifetime
laid to waste,
and in its shadow,
I have seen my own.


Dear Natasha,

After reading this, I am certain that you googled my home address, flew all the way from Nova Scotia to Utah, found the secret hiding place for the house key, unlocked the door and entered my home, heading straight for the journal I keep on the nightstand by my bed.


P.S. I have since changed the locks.

Song of the Day - Modern Art - The Black Lips

Modern Art

It was Memorial Day yesterday, so it's a song from Girls on Tuesday rather than Monday.

I chose this song because it reminded me of vintage Pogues. I am not a huge punk fan, in case you're wondering. A little goes a long way for me.

What does Hannah want? That is the subtext of each episode. Also, who and what will she become?

Adam stole the show in this penultimate episode. His character has its rough spots, which make him so appealing, but he's coming into full view and I like him. I still wouldn't want my daughter to date him, though.

That Hannah has never seen Adam outside of his apartment, or with a shirt on, says more about her than him.

What we know for certain is that we don't know Hannah any more than she knows herself.

All of the characters are busy trying on identities, flinging off the ill-fitting or identities like last season's clothes from the back of the closet. All of the characters are at the crossroads of who they will chose to become. Hannah had to accept that there is a story other than hers, if she'd only take the time to ask. Jessa stepped back from her default as mid-life snack. Marnie got served a slice of I'm not bragging bitter pie. Shoshanna, well, she's got to get herself some street smarts.

I love these girls. And, I am so very grateful that my twenty-something ship has already sailed.

You'll want to check out Oh Land's White Nights music, and the video is not to be missed. In fact, why not check out all of the music featured on the Welcome to Bushwick episode.

This Moment: 10:45 May 28,2012

Memory is a shoeless stranger staring right through you, as if you were a ghost standing on the pavement in the bright sunshine without a shadow to remind you that the world is made of light and darkness. From the other room a woman is singing over applause for her mama to cradle her again. This day of remembering will be over soon. It was a day of contrasts. I listened to a program where a man's deep voice stated that Americans don't have skin in the game, that a volunteer army of soldiers fight our wars while the rest of us shop at the mall. It is the truth. I laid peonies on my uncle's grave early this morning. He died at twenty-one for a sack full of lies in a war that brought that flaccid institution of monarchy crashing into the sea. It was the last feudal war. I wonder what he believed. The Beastie Boys are grating a discordant mix called sabotage, yet I am too comfortable wrapped in my blanket to get up and close the door on them. The cat voices her complaints from the top stair. Yesterday I wept as a man sang my country's anthem. I was surrounded by men and women in uniform, all of them saluting the flag. All of them have skin in the game. The house is silent save for the hum of the air pushing through the vents. I listened to another program in which men and woman stated their names, the number of tours served, and the reasons they were turning in their medals and refusing to serve another. All of them had skin in the game. I placed a vase of iris and peonies on my father-in-law's grave. He lost a leg to a Nazi Panzer shell. He bled into the cold French soil for three days until a medical unit could reach him. The old dog is resting next to me, her breathing deep and even. My own father served at the end of the second of the world's wars and was witness to what humans are capable of inflicting on each other. A train is passing through the darkness, its low whistle echoing against the mountains. We are all fragile beings made of flesh and bone.

Poetry & Music Mash Up: from Projection - Lidija Dimkovska & Wake Up Your Saints - The National

france road trip magalerie
Wake Up Your Saints
from Projection
But I know that you know how your palms itch when you're alone,
when the electricity goes off,
and the silence whirls in your stomach.
I know that you know how hard it is
to dress in white after wearing black,
to have your arms not merge into the day
but be signs by the road,
and to have nobody, Laurie, nobody travel
down your roads.

Artist of the Day: Grey Agate, Freeform Chrysoprase, & Pyrite Necklace - Theresa Cowan

Grey Agate, Freeform Chrysoprase, & Pyrite Necklace Theresa Cowan minerolgydesign
Artist Bio: Mineralogy is a collection of limited edition and one-of-a-kind jewelry designed and handcrafted by Chicago local, Theresa Cowan. Inspired by an earth science class lecture on minerals, Cowan began her creations. Mineral specimens are the focal point of the intricate collection. Each piece is made impressionistically with the experimentation with materials as the base of the design process. Cowan looks to enhance what nature has left and other times, chooses to let the object stand alone as a fortification of its natural state. The majority of minerals used are uncut and unpolished to display their unique characteristics. Cowan also assimilates the use of obscure elements in her jewelry, such as animal bones and prehistoric animal teeth, some dating back to 2 million years ago. The styles are produced in limited quantities, with each individual piece unique in its own aspects due to nature's wonderful aberrations.

If I could, I'd purchase every single piece of Chicago-based jeweler Theresa Cowan's collection.

Artist of the Day: Spring on My Mind - Ginny Rogers

spring on my mind ginny rogers daisynconcrete

Artist Bio: I am a self taught photographer that loves everyday of growth. I am a mother of 2 boys and a wife. I am a passionate person and love all things creative. I like to do all sorts of crafts/art. I try to be as earth friendly as possible and plan to grow in that department daily as well. I am, by no means, a sales person, but am trying to be seen;)

The saturated colors and grit of Atlanta, Georgia photographer Ginny Rogers photograph, expresses my mood precisely.

Song of the Day: Ma3leshi - Salalem Band

Salalem Band


I thought world music was appropriate for the day.

Democracy can be messy, but according to the Wall Street Journal Historic Egypt Vote Starts Smoothly

I searched around and found music from one of Egypt's current popstars and the grand diva, plus a few sources you may find interesting:
Amr Diab
Umm Kulthum Yara Mekawie and Ola Saad
Egyptian Pop Rock
Authentic Egyptian Music Is From The Streets
World Music News Network

Memorial Day Wish List - Vintage and Homemade Gifts

vintage postcard msalisemporium
vintage charm bracelet 5gardenians

mama's angel maclancy

turquoise locket necklace emmagemshop

1000 images cd kumareboo

fresh lemon leaf wreath nhswoodscreation

flying flags lovalon

bright green with hints of blood orange wreath hornshandmade

southwest tattoed lady twodoggardens
family photo vintageeffect

Song of the Day: Hang Loose - Alabama Shakes

Hang Loose

Here's a song to remind everybody not to sweat the big or the small stuff.

I know I am trying to keep myself from twisting so tight I fray, and to just hang loose these last two weeks before I jump in the car and head down the highway.

The Day in Cartoons: Too Big To Fail To Be Stupid Bank - RJ Matson

Too Big To Fail To Be Stupid Bank RJ Matson, Roll Call

Like Forest Gump says, Stupid is as stupid does.

Land of Deseret: Salt Lake City Industrial - Photo Essay

Over two decades ago, my sister's high school drill team  travelled to Japan for a dance competition.  While there she met a nice man in his seventies, who said he would like to come to Utah, and would she please give him her address in the case he came to visit?

Mr. Higuchi came to visit that next year. He arrived without notice. He called from the airport, and said he needed a ride and that he'd be staying with my family for the week. He spoke very little English. He was up for anything we wanted to show him, would go anywhere my family wanted to take him.

His wife had stayed home. This was his adventure.

I had moved out and was living in my first apartment, so my parents brought Mr. Higuchi to visit. He thought my tiny two bedroom apartment was enormous, especially the bathroom. I remember he took pictures of absolutely everything, the cramped kitchen, the fake fireplace, the bedrooms, even the bathroom.

On the drive to Southern Utah to see Zion, he held his camera up to the window and proceeded to take pictures without looking.

Ever since, I've been taking photographs in the same manner.

These are the images I took yesterday on the way out of town. They show the gritty beauty of Salt Lake City.

My Garden: Planted and Sprouting

Here is what the garden looks like so far. This is the before from only a month ago.

I took this a few days ago and you can see that my father's irises are just coming in to bloom. They are in full bloom now.

The green you see is my neighbor's beets, and my cousin's corn and garlic.

I have big plans for planting my vegetables and herbs  and now that my yard is under control, I'm planting the garden this weekend

Artist of the Day: Boldo, A Gestural Drawing -

Boldo, A Gestural Drawing  Jeff Bravo nudelines
Artist Bio: It all started when I was 7 and I couldn't stop drawing newspaper comics. In my teen years I became addicted to comic book art and then later in art school I drew the human figure constantly. As my drawings matured I found myself attracted to an academic style similar to the drawings by Jean-Auguste Ingres. That style then morphed into a more energetic one using abstracted bold gestures to communicate my vision reminiscent of the drawings of Matisse. I always work from a live model and that gives all my drawings authenticity. This portfolio mixes organic lines of the female torso with a balanced negative space. I use either charcoal pencil or sumi ink and then scan these originals so I can add color to them using my computer. After some manipulation, I print the drawings on archival matte paper so they will last for generations. You can visit my studio website to see more of my work: http://imagehouse25.com.
I can't say that Boldo is my favorite of Jeff Bravo's portfolio, (Simple is), but it is the drawing that spoke the  loudest. I love that Ingres is an influence for this artist.

Song of the Day: Marrow - St Vincent


I heard this song on KRCL's World Cafe program this morning. The host David Dye's interview with Annie Erin Clark of St. Vincent was fascinating. She said she wrote Marrow as an interpretation of how she thought The Wizard of Oz would sound when it went technicolor. She also said she had the voices of the Oz characters in mind. I wasn't able to listen to the entire program, but I'm going to guess that St. Vincent had the Tin Man in mind when she wrote this song

When I was first dating my husband, I remember one of his cousins telling me that he and a group of cousins used to pretend they were characters from The Wizard of Oz: C. was Dorothy in search of a way back home, M. was Lion in search of his courage, G. was Scarecrow in search of a brain, and my husband was Tin Man in search of his heart.

Now that I know all of them well, I would say the characters match them exactly.

Check out the lyrics and see if they remind you of anyone you know.
Muscle connects to the bone
And the bone to the ire and the marrow
I wish I had a gentle mind and a spine made up of iron

Mouth connects to the teeth
And teeth to the loves and curses

Can you reach the spots that need oiling and fixing?

Help me, help me

Help me, help me

Muscle connects to the bone
And the bone to the ire and the marrow

So I pretend these aren't ten strings attached to all ten of my fingers.

Help me, help me

If you could only go somewhere else

Help me, help me

Help me, help me

Help me, help me

Artist of the Day: Little Home #173 - Rodi

Little Home #173 Rodi rodica

Artist Bio: I'm Romanian living in France and having fun creating little silly happy things. I love making custom things, so don't hesitate to get in touch with me with your wishes.

I would live in this house.

Song of the Day: Montezuma - Fleet Foxes

It's Monday, so it's a song from Girls. I love this show.

I've heard Montezuma a few times. I remembered remembering I didn't like it very much when the credits were rolling, but then I gave the song a second listening early this morning, then read the lyrics. Third time's a charm. I am now a fan of the song, and of the Fleet Foxes.

Last night's episode was really a variation on the theme that you cannot go home again.

My daughter, her boyfriend and I watch Girls. They are not yet 21. I am so past 21. 

Lena Durham as Hanna from Tampa Bay Times

I talk to the show while I'm watching. Basically, what I say is,  No, and Don't do it, Hannah.

Hannah is so young. I want to protect her from herself half the time, can't wait to see what awkward, strangely enlightening or humiliating scenario is next, the other half.

The scene with the pharmacist illustrated just how young and clueless, how earnest she is in her search for the map that will help her navigate her future. She is trying so hard to be herself, find her voice, but she is still just so eager to please.

The parents were more fully-rounded and vulnerable in this episode than when we first met them. I am certain there were many, many young mouths dropping open in shock and alarm to learn that parents still make the animal with two back. Or that some even fall out of the shower doing so.
Adam Sackler as Adam from Huffington Post

Adam. Well, he is a fantastic, brilliant character and I love him, for all the right reasons. The last scene with Hannah out on the lawn under the Michigan stars talking to this man who treats her heart like monkey meat, about what's happening outside his New York window, is where I think the show hits its stride.

Adam is not a villain. He is a horrible boyfriend. To be fair, he's just a guy that isn't that in to Hannah.

If he were my daughter's boyfriend, I would own multiple voodoo dolls all named Adam.

Adam is not the guy you want to marry. He's not a keeper. But, all of us need an Adam as a counterpoint to appreciate that someone out on the horizon. 
I included some very interesting conversations about last night's episode.

Check out the meaning of Fleet Foxes' lyrics. How does it relate to you?
So now I am older,
Than my mother and father,
When they had their daughter,
Now what does that say about me.
Oh how could I dream of,
Such a selfless and true love,
Could I wash my hands of?
Just lookin out for me

Oh man what I used to be
Oh man oh my oh me
Oh man what I used to be
Oh man oh my oh me
In dirth or in excess
Both the slave and the empress,
Will return to the dirt I guess,
Naked as when they came.
I wonder if I'll see,
Any faces above me,
Or just cracks in the ceiling,
Nobody else to blame.

Oh man what I used to be,
Oh man oh my oh me
Oh man what I used to be
Oh man oh my oh me

Gold teeth and gold jewelry
Every piece of your dowry
Throw them into the tomb with me
Bury them with my name.
Unless I have someday,
Ran my wandering
In my underway

Oh man what I used to be
Montezuma to tripoli
Oh man oh my oh me