Before I Leave This World

I was thinking about the terrible scare recently in Hawaii when an alert was sent in error about a missile threat. Of course there was widespread panic for close to forty minutes. I wondered “how would I react?” Playing out an imaginary scenario is totally different from reacting to a real one, however it does help to look at the situation while in a cool frame of mind. A nuclear threat is as real today as it was in the early sixties during the Cuban Missile Crisis when the East coast was in a direct line for a hit. I remember lining up in our grammar school hallway, away from windows, with our arms crossed over our heads. Ever the realist even at that time, I figured that we were doomed, so what’s the point of false hope and false safety? The only way to survive is to hide/take cover in a real bomb shelter. Ever the realist to this day—that is not a choice or an option for me.

So what would I do?

My first thought is that I would make myself a bourbon sour or smoke a joint (if I had one), turn on some great blues music, hug the dog and head outside. I would want to face the sky. I have a wooden seat swing that overlooks my garden, and the thought of rocking slowly with a light buzz gives me great comfort. I would probably converse out loud with the trees and cosmos. Some words would be of gratitude and some would be profane. I do believe that I would surrender to the inevitable, and hope that I would be in the direct line of fire instead of a survivor. This in turn brings to mind and closer to home/heart —the very real horror and tragedy of Hiroshima. Somehow life went on, albeit forever changed.

The honest truth is that I cannot know in reality what I would truly do, however after all of this, when I slowly rock in my chair swing, I will do it with a grateful rhythm.

The following haiku of mine were written in 2011 about Hiroshima:

heat from the bomb
the charred near the water
left black and bleeding

~

a baby trying
to nurse her dead mother’s breast
questions of why

~

the bomb
a moral threshold
crossed

~

unmoving
always changing
blue and white

~

and today’s haiku:

grateful or profane a blue sky

© ag ~ 2018

 

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Tuscany on a Budget

I took a whirlwind tour around the globe today simply by updating and sniffing my spice cabinet…

~
cumin and cayenne
now labeled
umber and hot flash

~

dry mustard and ginger—
dijon and trombone

~

Tuscany on the tip of my nose oregano and fennel

© ag ~ 2018

 

Am I Good Enough?

Lunch discussions at the studio have been lively lately amongst my group of women-artist-friends. We come together regularly and irregularly, each with her own brand of self-expression as well as an enormous overlapping of support, encouragement and enthusiasm for each other’s visions.

The opportunity has come up recently for us to enter our work (individually) into a local show that is to represent a cross section or survey of women artists in our area. It is to be displayed at a respected gallery in town. Along with the opportunity comes the angst of “Is my work good enough?” Taken one step further it morphs into “Am I good enough/Am I worthy?” Rest assured at this point, the artists involved are all dedicated, passionate and hard-working. Several have won prestigious national awards and accolades. And yet the angst, or internal emotional strife, is a rampant virus that can cripple even the best and strongest of us. Eva Hesse, a ground-breaking sculptor and pioneering artist in the 1960s questioned her work, her vision and her right to create. Her close friend wrote her in a now-famous (with spicy trenchant language not included here): “Stop (thinking) and Just Do”—Sol LeWitt. Today we admire and celebrate her courage, leadership and movement of art onto a different and higher plane.

The most difficult part of artistry/self-expression is dealing with a brutal self-critic. The rest is simply about observation, patience and practice. What is so wonderful about working in a community, classroom, workshop or with a group of artists-peers is that when you have discussions like this—the realization sets in that we are not alone with Self-Doubt and Fear of Failure. And when we see that our peers are surely worthy of brilliance and respect, we therefore begin to understand and feel that we too are worthy. Self-Doubt and Fear of Failure are merely tools for objective observation, learning, growth and elevating our craft. It may just well be that angst is as important and misunderstood a process as creation itself.

said the rose to the thorn, thank you

© ag ~ 2018

The Dreamers Up Close and Personal

Last night, two dear and thoughtful friends braved torrential downpours and milky fog to pick me up and take me to a charming and intimate Mexican restaurant in a nearby town. One friend drove along unfamiliar, dark and winding rural roads (with a smile), so that two of us could drink some hard cider with our meal. After an appetizer of extremely hot chili pepper poppers and a warm and easy dinner—they ordered a crispy and flaky ice cream-filled dessert with a candle on top that we split. Our waiters and restaurant staff dimmed the lights and joined in a heartfelt rendition of “Happy Birthday.”

My gracious companions are well known for showing up and supporting for their friends this way and more. What made it extra special for all of us, was that the restaurant staff unexpectedly and enthusiastically joined in, enjoyed and shared in the celebration. They were born in Mexico and may very well be part of the 200,000 Dreamers in our country whose fate is yet to be determined by DACA legislation. This local restaurant is popular, a great value and a tremendous asset to our or any community. Last night they were our friends.

yet another candle yet another wish for peace

© ag ~ 2018

Lady Sings Soup

One of my favorite things to do on a dreary grey day with rain-snow in the forecast is to cook soup or stew while listening to music that literally and mentally moves me. Sometimes it’s the blues, sometime rock or oldies-but-goodies. Sometimes Pandora plays just the right mix and my dancing feet simmer with the aromas of mushrooms, shallots and rosemary. Excuse me—they’re playing my song…

~

carrot as a mic
I channel Rhianna’s
lips and hips

~

gremolata
garlic parsley lemon zest
mix with Stevie Nicks

© ag ~ 2018

 

The Bus Station Of Life

From Wikipedia:

Found poetry is a type of poetry created by taking words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages from other sources and reframing them as poetry (a literary equivalent of a collage) by making changes in spacing and lines, or by adding or deleting text, thus imparting new meaning.

This found poem was distilled (and collaged) from an article in the New York Times, Sunday, December 31, 2017 titled: “A Watering Hole for the Bus Station of Life” by Alex Vadukul

No words were added—only omitted and all words appear in the order they were originally written in the article.

~

The Bus Station of Life

On the second floor
a lone Irish bar has no bathroom
and its regulars
drink in 1945.

Bartenders stash beer
into brown paper bags.
Known for its steamtable lunch
and corned beef
it appears briefly in “Taxi Driver.”

It has cracked black and white
checkered floors
and green vinyl couches
bandaged with tape.

Its regulars include
crumpled shirts and loose ties.
A wedding once happened
near the dartboard
and a tryst between two commuters.

“I met my wife at this seat…
we’re still together.”
84 year-old Manny Muniz
rests his cane and ordered
Johnnie Walker Red with soda.

As evening approached
A trio of women—
The Ladies of McAnn’s
took their seats.

Teresa Brewer, 50
ordered a vodka soda.
“We’re all going through
life while we wait
for our bus.”

© ag ~ 2018

The Conversation Of Creativity – 1

“Paint from your vagina,” she directed us. I was in a life-drawing session with other visual artists and a nude female model. We were not really there for instruction — just to practice hand-eye coordination with some creative adaptation.This was the only advice our seasoned (often brilliant) and proficient fellow artist and art instructor, who brought us together in her classroom, would bellow.

“WHAT? Paint from where? What the h_ _ _  is she talking about?” Instead of the often stated and equally important “paint from your heart” – this time it was about painting from your sensuality and passion: a different animal for a different outcome. And fun!

Artistry, be it visual, musical or movement is hard work. It requires patience, persistence and practice. Hopefully, the artist can let go just enough to tap into our body and intuitive wisdom leaving the linear brain behind for real creation. And sometimes, it helps to shake things up by using words we don’t expect. In this case “Vagina” — has its own heart.

how then to paint my feral self along her curves

© ag ~ 2018