Fractured Time

Distances in Time and Age

After a New Sentences column by Sam Anderson in the NYT: 9.9.18

“We all host younger selves inside us…a multitude of nonsychronous selves.”
~Sam Anderson

The distance between our birth
and today is fractured into a host
of younger nonsynchronous-selves.
To wit—I will always be the skinned-knee
gangly clumsy bookish girl reading
about others changing the world;
the protesting hippie college-dropout
out to charge change into the world;
the youthful but serious nursery-worker-
let’s-break-this-occupational-barrier woman
out to change the local landscape;
the menopausal haiku poet out
to change the world one syllable at a time;
The artist/painter out to change
the world from the inside out.

I am now sixty-six years old.
The skin-kneed girl is still six years old.
The hippie is eternally eighteen.
The nurserywoman is forever twenty-two.
The haiku poet is evermore fifty-four.
And the artist-painter–ageless.

Despite all of this and worthy of it all:

busy day
if not for the wild phlox
this moment lost  





Morning Madness

4:10 AM
under layers of blankets
I fetal my limbs


before prayer
or thanksgiving
a pony wild


mind over matter or is it mind over madness?


rolling stone
exactly when does choice
choose us?


before dawn
lost on the pillow
the pillow itself

© ag ~ 2018

The Next Day

“To be in presence rather than results. This is a practice that I can work and play with.”

I wrote these words a year ago today, and I have been “practicing” presence for a year now with generally positive results. At the time, I was speaking/writing of incorporating a life practice rather than forming a resolution as one is want to do at the new year or any new critical venture. Not giving in to worry or fear is difficult, especially at first, however it works with mindfulness i.e. — not getting ahead of yourself. It has served me well on two occasions, the most recent one yesterday, when I went to a cardiologist for a stress test. I had chest pains (think angina) a week earlier. I managed to deal with the episode as well as the in-between time waiting for the test — to be able to compartmentalize the worry and thus walk the dog, paint something exciting (for me), visit with out-of-town friends and family and show up at the doctor’s office ready for any outcome. I did not deny the possibility of test results showing damage and a vastly different course of action, but neither did I dwell on it, or let it ruin time spent enjoying or working through life’s palette. As a visual artist, I have come to appreciate just how much and just how little control I have over the eventual outcome of the end result on the canvas, so I may as well go for whatever I’m doing with verve and nerve. As it turns out, the results are most often not worth the worry if you pay attention as needed. Oh, and the doctor said I have a strong heart, but I already knew that.

the day after
the super moon leaves
a lavender sky

© ag ~ 2018

And We’re Off…

Once again, as has been my practice for about five years now, I make the choice to take the time to reflect, write and focus my attention on one thing during each day in January that I might normally whizz by and lose sight of. In this spectacularly busy world, we regularly make and ignore small choices that do impact all the rest. This practice is called mindful writing and asks that we pay attention and bring presence (by writing here) to all these seemingly insignificant decisions that in realty shape who we are. This is not just about being serious in a somber way (I couldn’t do that if I tried). It is about staying present enough to look beyond our own foibles in order to appreciate the humor and grace that we can normally and easily ignore.

My official practice begins on January 1st every year, however as I age, I need to do more stretching and warming up physically and mentally. Hence this long introduction and a reblog of my last post from January 2016 to start things off:


Writing My Way Home  – A Kyirelle

As a mindful writing practice,
I blog daily on that and this.
It is called sharing a small stone,
A spoonful of prose and a poem.

January lobs with a cold moon,
And winter scenes of snow monsoons.
My muse inspires an artful tone,
A spoonful of prose and a poem.

Tales of grit, grace and gratitude,
Shape its forum and latitude.
With tears of laughter, grief and groans,
A spoonful of prose and a poem.

Presence is my daily prayer.
Growth is awareness being here.
To this end I write my way home,
A spoonful of prose and a poem.

c   Andrea Grillo ~ 2016

Call and Response

John Burroughs said it best: “Harvest with a quiet eye.”

Every morning and every evening, I am serenaded by a very resolute songbird. He/she is perched on a low hanging wire directly outside a window over my kitchen sink. Since I wash all my dishes by hand, from dawn to dusk, I am treated to this small bird’s boisterous concerto for what seems like forever, and long after all the other songbirds have quieted and moved on to their daily chores. Its song is a repetitive two-note high pitch that contrasts with the deep lushness of early summer green behind it. I believe the bird is a Red-Eyed Vireo whose voice fills its whole being from beak to tail tip. And from a far-off somewhere else, is the return song… another Vireo answering the call.

I am lucky to be surrounded by woods and fields and awakened at the high point of songbirds in our area as early as 4:45 AM. No need to set an alarm when the windows are open and light breezes blowing. I consider this a blessing, as it lasts only a few short weeks after the solstice, when the daylight begins to dwindle ever so imperceptibly, and birds that migrate leave nests behind taking their songs with them.

This little guy/gal and I are linked in a daily routine when washing dishes is no longer a chore but a sweet beginning and ending to summer love.

call and response from the woods yet another harvest

Wabi-Sabi For A Fractured World

Adapted from the book:

Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers by Leonard Koren.

Wabi-sabi is a Japanese aesthetic. It is beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. Wabi-sabi is earthy, idiosyncratic, organic and intuitive. Corrosion and contamination make its expression richer. It is comfortable with ambiguity and contradiction.

It’s mantra so to speak: To everything there is a season.

And therein lies its remarkable and simple beauty. Wabi-sabi is not bounded by expectations or desires. Things wabi-sabi are unpretentious and can appear coarse and unrefined. In other words, we must look beyond a worn and wearied surface to appreciate its value and beauty. As a way of life, wabi-sabi is about presence, acceptance and nature. Its song is melancholy and bittersweet.

Wabi-sabi is the poetry writ within our nature and humanity:

This too shall pass.













Bourbon and Blackberries

It’s just a few minutes before 4:00 AM, and it’s just a few days before the start of a new year.

Time — it’s all an illusion, and yet it fully engages, sparks and/or distracts us. So with that thought in mind, I am choosing once again (my fifth year) to commit to the practice of daily writing during January and onto February. January is for writing small stones (described below) and February for writing small poems. Thank you to Fiona Robyn, now Satya Robyn, for introducing and poeting small stones back in 2011. It’s a practice, along with painting, that satiates my inmate desire to combine presence and imagination, reality and whimsy with poetry and prose.

bourbon and blackberries — how does art get done?

Mindful Writing Tool: small stones

A small stone is a short piece of writing (prose or poetry) that precisely captures a fully-engaged moment. The process of finding small stones is as important as the finished product – searching for them will encourage you to keep your eyes (and ears, nose, mouth, fingers, feelings and mind) open.
A small stone is a short piece of writing that precisely captures a fully-engaged moment.

towels and shirts and pillowcases show me the shapes of the breeze

Fiona Robyn