How To Wear Melancholy
A palimpsest on Picture of a Soul ~ by Elizabeth Spires
A sweatshirt I inherited.
I sleep in it. Or it folds into my midnight poetry.
Pale blue, of course.
A wearied sag,
Stained with every tear
and slowly fading into rain.
It should be a rag
discarded yesterday, today, tomorrow,
still it ripens every autumn.
Here, can you feel it?
once round and perky.
On the doorknob
In the closet. Waiting.
Leaves falling fast.
© Andrea Grillo 2018
Four Hensters On The Fence: Flo, Rosie, Lilly and Leslie/Les (right to left).
The back story:
In a charming backyard in Morris Plains, just off Main Street, four hens climb one-by-one up onto a wooden picket fence at twilight every day. They hang out as chickens do, clucking about the day’s egg-laying while surveying the comings and goings of their neighbors, the Martins, until their keeper puts on her heavy gloves and takes them down into their coop for the evening—(all true so far).
Flo is nosy and a bit of a gossip yet gets flustered rather easily. Rosie thinks that she is right most of the time and is a bit pushy. Lilly is the youngest—sweet and on the shy side, while Leslie/Les is the hip one, and prefers that she/they be considered gender neutral. Thus, according to Leslie/Les (much to the chagrin of Flo and Rosie), she/they are referred to as Hensters, (hens + roosters). Their favorite series on cable TV is Sex And the City, and with a little prodding, will admit to relating to Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda—only with more colorful plumage and much much younger. They are all known to bicker (except for Lilly) over who is most like Carrie Bradshaw, simply because she is the star, and they all long to peck at a typewriter. The Hensters’ story is still evolving–stay tuned.
Some fun facts about chickens: they have great eyesight; teach each other; talk to their chicks before they hatch; are speedy and love to play. They are great characters and used for therapy in some nursing homes.
Regarding the painting: mixed media on board approximately 16” x 20”
after Ongoing by Jenny Xie
So what…the heartaches and headaches she collected like paper cuts over the years? Her early twenties—the twin beds of naiveté and wanderlust lay between book covers, on movie screens and in ballads along with all the angst of tragic heroism. Mood swings hitched-hiked in her Volkswagen Beetle over potholed backroads and the Parkway bound for revolutions on salty ferris wheels tottering on piers along the Jersey shore. Still, there was hope. Inside poems and under the canopy of trees. Work championed her thirties and forties until the prefixes of peri- and meno- attached themselves to the huge pause that followed many false starts and ambivalences. Books no longer satisfied and workmanship dulled into duty. Paint brushes and solvents hued the corners of her fifties and sixties. Self-Doubt trashed canvasses and shrink-wrapped perspective and poetry offering proposals of a loveless marriage or spinsterhood—what difference anyway? Until composition and compassion, juxtaposition and abstraction and other -itions emerged. New frames started to replace stale views of filtered servitude. With charcoal under her fingertips, she labored hard for beyond the so-whats and the for-whats, graying ever-so-lightly lightly into just this.
Looking for Shells and Poems…
She finds a tale of two
belly-up at the water’s edge,
tossed and parted by waves
along with driftwood and debris.
Their sun-roasted crab legs
kick and wiggle like newborns
with each splash of teasing surf.
Overhead, seagulls squawk and salivate
while jockeying for a luncheon table
anticipating a feast of crab du jour.
As fate tips its hand, (or shell in this case),
our beachcomber recalls meeting
these ancient crustaceans on other distant shores.
She upends the two crabs, and as they wade
separately back into the sea,
she straightens her sombrero and wonders…
Is their mating ritual already consummated,
or is it just beginning?
so many sea and sky stories
with each ebb and flow
ag ~ July 2018
June—a favorite month to be outdoors—to breathe the nascent summer scents, to listen to birdsong and bellowing frogs and wear the warm cloth of the summer sun on bare skin. Evenings too, are especially sensual and sweet with fireflies (or lightning bugs), soft breezes, rustling leaves and rain or stars pulsing a sticky sky. It’s a perfect time to sit and write, read poetry and indulge longings of the creative sort. With that in mind, I let go a free flow of hand through brush and words come what may.
This June, I also watched and was engrossed in National Geographic’s program Genius: Picasso and was very inspired by his relentless pursuit of his artistry and his sad pursuit of women/muses often to the detriment of their lives. There is much debate these days about whether or not one can/should separate the art from the artist. Picasso was narcissistic, egotistical and highly competitive, traits I most often find offensive. However, watching the brilliant performance of the actors on a small screen, his story in hindsight and empathizing with Picasso’s process and pain as an artist, I was engrossed and inspired by his vision despite these flaws. Also with his circle of creative compatriots—Matisse, Gertrude Stein, Braque and others. I will read Francoise Gilot’s book Life With Picasso to get her take on their life together as his lover and contemporary artist. From the blurb: “Francoise Gilot paints a compelling portrait of her turbulent life with the temperamental genius that was Picasso.” Oh, and he was a poet too.
So this warm but comfortable night, I share these thoughts, words and paintings:
A few pencil strokes between the o
tumbleweed a rusling breeze
nomads of the night sky
the unturned stone’s lost syllables
in the holy of the artist rides the shotgun