I think of the comforts of exhibiting my life on paper. It is not the act of writing with pen and paper moving along at a steady rhythm; it’s the activation of the heart and mind, collaborating to unravel the relevant from the irrelevant. To reach this state of matrimony a writer needs not a Tuscan Villa, or an English Castle, but experiences that flake off the skin, the mise en scene that shakes its relevance.
EXCERPT FROM MY NEXT BOOK. UNKNOWN TITLE
Page 525. Terrified to post this but it is Sunday and I’m brave on Sunday. The book is fiction, first-person, and close third person so you’ll need a jogging suit to read. Based on true events.
Greta let the moment of the village rescue stay with her, like a new pet for as long as she could hold on to its beneficial ointment, away from what she calls her immersion into self. She gives me examples that illustrate her obsession with matching outfits in her closet.
It’s a bedroom she converted into a dressing room. There’s a single bed against one wall, a cabinet where she stores the winter boots, and an eight-drawer French nouveau dresser and mirror. She sits on a chair facing the windows so she can watch the trees live through sun, wind, rain, and snow. Across from the chair is the bed. She diligently arranged her summer pastel skinny jeans on the bed, and next to that row she arranged the T-shirts, camisoles, and shorts. It’s quite practical considering Greta as she has admitted to me half a dozen times, that she was born without common sense or practicality. At the base of the bed, she lined up her shoes, the slip-ons, the flats, the pumps stuffed with tissue paper to preserve their shape, and the wedges. After a breach of sanity, she goes into this room and visualizes outfits and color matching like someone might play chess. ‘ It does have a purpose, this way I visualize without wrangling with hangers and you know it just takes too much time when you’re in a closet.
‘”These days I look at them as if they belonged to someone else, I mean the red suede with gold heels that I wore on a New Year’s Eve of gaiety and not since, the black velvet pumps that always make me feel dainty and light. What care I give to all these garments when in the other part of the house, Dodger was descending into a financial coma.”
Greta did not acknowledge the few months before his departure that he was riddled with abject unfulfilling tasks, bills, and construction jobs that no longer fed him purpose and accomplishment. She did not notice that his slacking posture on the front porch, head lowered and staring out without any body movement was a sign, she in fact despised it and walked away. In the last few months, all of this seemed to rise up like a curtain before a play, in a theater and she witnessed his insolence and his silent howl for help.
The irony of her activity is that she doesn’t go to the events that she plans on going to wear the outfits.
UKRAINIAN LIVES MATTER TO POLAND
MONDAY MARCH 12,
Some domestic and global tragedies diminish in our consciousness as weeks go by. Just as the news turns their stories from our southern border crisis, Covid pandemic, inflation, and other unsolved problems.
Ukraine defending their country against the vicious unprovoked genocidal attack by Putin is not going in this direction. It is more explosive and brutal each day and the response by NATO and the USA seems to be in pandemonium. You hear, “ Everything is on the table.” “Nothing is off the table.” I understand strategic covert operations are classified, still, this leaves me asking, shouldn’t they be beyond discussion by now? If I continue to vacillate on a decision, it only exacerbates the consequences.
I’m watching more interviews. So far, I’ve seen about forty. Not one of the Ukrainians on camera shed tears, a blaring recognition of their bravery, courage, and ancestry.
MARCH 13, 2022
I LISTEN TO UKRAINIAN CLASSICAL MUSIC https://www.pandora.com/station/play/123965540132723942 or the blues, it seems unjust to bob around to the Stones or club music. It is day seventeen, and everyone knows now what that implies. You don’t have to explain it, and if you do, then I’d move away from that conversation. Did you hear about the eight-year-old boy who walked five hundred miles to join his parents in Poland? He made it and here is his photo.
WHAT ABOUT THE WOMAN hours away from giving birth when the bomb struck the Maternity Hospital and was carried away bleeding on a stretcher? She gave birth to a baby girl and is recovering.
MARCH 14, 2022 Today, I learned that both mother and child died.
STRAIGHT OUT OF A WAR MOVIE is the elderly couple who did not hesitate to face four Russian soldiers who broke thru the gate to their property, rifles aimed at their defiant threatening souls, and ordered them off their property shouting obscenities. The soldiers retreated.
Several weeks ago a Ukrainian soldier blew up a bridge to prevent the convoy from crossing over, knowing he would die.
The interviews and comments from man, woman, and child harmonized ” I’ll fight them with my last breath.”
THE THINKER & THE PUPPET
After I published this last story, I spoke with White Zen, my palgal in Santa Fe. She said the last paragraph of the story made her cry. Juxtaposed between the writers Zen of exporting such feeling, and the sadness we both shared. White Zen had a Thinker too. I guess there are more of them than I knew.
Having had six true loves in my life, who impregnated me with knowledge generosity, and loyalty is what made me so unprepared for the Thinker. He does resemble Macedonio; the first man to peel off the woman in me. They both have charisma, mystery, and good dark looks, Macedonio is dead now, and the memories of him still glisten; like the day in Golden Gate Park under the cherry blossom tree.
What I miss most, is the giggling, dancing, folly-maker that the Thinker pulled out of me as If I were a puppet. He called me Puppet because that’s how he saw me. I’ve got to get my Jojo by tomorrow. I love Thanksgiving as a day with admissions of selfishness and greed. I need to be washed away into thanks that I am here with a mouthful full of food, and a napkin.
THE THINKER – THE IMPROVISER.
I was there a few days before I noticed a figure darting from one sea-lion to another. He gestured for me to follow but I couldn’t catch him.
He caught me by surprise from behind and wiggled over to me.
‘Let’s eat. I’m starved.” The Thinker dove down then up above my head. He cupped his fins around my head and pulled my hair.
“Where you been my Fins?” I asked.
“Why?” He said as he let go of me.
“ It’s just a normal question?”
“I don’t answer those kinds of questions. I am building my sand castle! Wait till you see it–it’s going to blow you away. Everyone will be blown away!”
“Exciting! I’m so happy for you. Will you show me?”
“ Maybe. Don’t look at me like that. Your eyes, they draw me in. It scars me. I don’t know what to do with you little one. Who are you?”
He lowered his eyes and sucked in his gills.
“I really love you. I mean I want to be with you forever!”
You should make a book of shells and tell their stories. ”
” You’re right! I know their stories too!”
” You could make a lot of money.”
” I don’t think about that. When I need money I just ask for it and it comes. All you do is count what you have. ”
” You think that!”
“Yes I said it didn’t I. ”
We carolled between starlight nights and crimson sunsets on the rock porch exploring varieties of sea mates. He used his fancy fish feet to get us into private ceremonies, and parties. The fish authorities didn’t bother us at all. We crashed into a party of penguins, and we weren’t eaten alive. My eyes were always on the thinker; as pleasurable anticipation bubbled inside. In the morning he read to me from his bible, and watched the seagulls. He drove me in many directions, unfamiliar ideas, and habits that got me to thinking so when we swam we were always talking.
“You need to lower your voice. Make it deeper.”
One day he swam me to a blow-hole.
“I’m not sure I can get through as easy as you do.” I said.
“Don’t say that. Follow me.” so I followed. I’d waited a long time to see the sand castle. As we expanded our gills and soared upward, my eyes searched for the castle.
“You see it? Isn’t it spectacular?”
“I see the sand yes, but where is the castle?”
“You don’t see it? Come on—really. ”
“No my fin. I don’t see anything but piles of sand.”
“ Look beyond the piles. You have to see between the lines. You don’t get it do you? You only look at what’s right in front of you. There’s castles everywhere; huts, hideouts, back alleys. ”
“Is this what you mean by patience?”
“ No! This is conciseness of the universe. We’re not alone you know. The skeletons and ghosts are here.”
“ Have you seen them?”
“ The water of Santa Fe is as crowded as pavement. I’m telling you what no one else will. You should thank me for that. I’m handing you the key to the universe.”
“ How about the key to a warm place to rest and food?”
“ You’re such a brat. Come on. I’ll take you
I met his power posse; and they all assured me they could reverse or promote anything I wanted.
“If you are ever in trouble call me. I can fix it.” the Thinker said.
“ Like what?”
“ Whatever you ask. You want to live forever under our safety net. You have to trust me. You’re a city cougar with a Range Rover and a brick house above water. Come on–don’t you see that. Most of the fish hate you. You need me.”
His eyes narrowed into dagger like bits of darkness.
“I’m not a cougar. You are the first young exotic fish I’ve swam with.”
“ Oh really. That’s not what I heard.
“ What did you hear?”
“ I know about you?”
“ Really. Then tell me what they say?”
“ You’re impatient, aloof and swim alone. ”
“ I’m not like that always.”
“ Well I know, I’ve seen inside you.”
One day he emerged as a sea monster, holding empty bottles and wailing. I felt a rush of empathy and covered him with my body. He wrestled in pain for days and then when he surfaced, he was wearing a different face, and his touch was absent. His teddy bear eyes were like bricks of strength.
“ I’m not coming back.” He said
“ Why?” I pleaded
“ Wrong question.”
“ What did I do?”
“ You don’t see my castle. I can’t be with you. All you think about is lobster and hotel vacations.”
“ I haven’t had lobster in years, or a hotel vacation.” He swam away, just as suddenly as he appeared.
It was like a knife severing me from one place to another. He despised me. His curiosity and mischievous cleverness triumphed over affection and companionship. His splashes exploded into monsoons of tears inside of me. I returned to my brick house and closed the drapes. Every night I danced and cooked. I sat on the porch in a spray of solemn sunlight and didn’t miss the waves or blow holes. I’d missed my dance music, old movies, journal and sanctuary of comfort. I made him vanish with a vow.
As I cut his sunflower from my yard, placed it in a vase and said, ‘when the flower dies so does my love for the Thinker.’ The sunflower died yesterday. I pulled off the wrinkled yellow petals and scattered them in a planted pot. Maybe he will come back as the beautiful sunflower I once knew. But I know he won’t. Love is in all of us. How we give it and cherish it is unique. I still have my love. No one can take that.
THE THINKER ON MY TRAIN
I asked the Thinker why the universe brought him to me. ‘To guide you through Santa Fe and teach patience. Without it you will find yourself where you are now.’
‘Where am I now?’ I snapped. He clasped my arms around his neck and we swam to the center of the Plaza. There he opened a porthole and asked me to look through it. Historical images emerged like a kaleidoscope and the Thinker told me stories of Santa Fe. Some were humorous; like the bank robbers who dragged a safe down Palace Avenue and left cracks in the stone sidewalk. Other stories pointed to the feuds, violence, and mysticism surrounding the Vortex. He whisked me away to a mirror, floating sideways, and asked me to look into it. The reflection was me curled up with my knees to the chin, while a school of fish surrounded me. They were talking about my mermaid skin and long fins. I was touched. Then the Thinker took me to another mirror and there I was poised on a chair; reserved and grave. I looked like I was somewhere else.
He tossed me in a circle, waved his arms in conductor fashion and said, ‘Get rid of her. She’s not liked.’
The image troubled me and so I jumped off his back and crawled behind a sunken wooden door. I was there a few days before I noticed a figure darting from one sea lion to another. He gestured for me to follow but I couldn’t catch him.
GUEST POEM BY SOARING CROW
“Message in a Bottle”
ADVENTURES WITH THE TIDE OF THE THINKER
Audrey. Photograph By Edward Quinn
I asked the sky to send the Thinker. Then it rained in southwest furry, small white knots of hail and dark feuding winds. The thinker heard and whistled to me. It was a sweet flutist tone, and he appeared in black and grey, the silver lining of his head like a crown of light. Flashing the boyish grin, he opened his wrestling toned-warm fins to my goose bumpy arms, and I swam along side tentatively. Even though it was my chime, I was unsteady, unwilling to climb on his back, so we swam on our toes, around my house, and the Plaza. We battled sharks from Beverly Hills, whose fins were frozen from love and kindness; we faced one of our own school, who would not lend a dollar on good faith and loyalty for their Merlot Cabernet fish oil, and we strung pearls around each other necks, with a clasp that is easily unhooked. The current drove us through three more days of rowing backward, sleeping quietly without intertwinement, and meeting as friends instead of lovers.
The absence of touch, struck like a lightning storm. I didn’t see it coming, and I may be wrong. To read the Thinker is to understand his language; a circumcision of predictability, logic, or reasoning. Like a tsunami, uncharitable waves of enlightenment he doesn’t even understand drown his soul.
I understood that he airbrushed my appearance, and dropped deep into my eyes as they widened for him. I blushed before he engulfed me, and pressed my undertow.
If tonight was the last swim because of a storm I didn’t see coming, or understand. It is because my eyes blurred by his presence.
The tide goes out, but it always come back. Sometimes it touches where we left off.
PART TWO OF ADVENTURES IN LIVINGNESS
On shore the land felt liquefied and unfamiliar without the sensual spark swimming along side me. The leaves glistened above my head, like golden gems you’d wear on a necklace. The Santa Fe river sang its song over rocks, branches and brush, while white butterflies and birds fluttered an awakening. I passed cafes, watched couples and families luxuriating in the sunlight, Canyon road art hawkers snapped photos, gallery owners chatted on the courtyards.
The stage of comfort as picturesque as a postcard. I was outside the activity. I rushed home, passing people who walked as if lost, and shoes stuck in tar. Thoughts trotted like ponies all going in different directions. No path had an answer, or a reason, or an understanding of our endearment.
The Thinker swims close by. Sometimes I feel him soaring past me, glancing for a moment, then he’s gone. The house is quiet, doors and shades closed. My nakedness is wrapped in blankets and the aroma of pumpkin spice from a candle. My stage is empty, no audience of any sort. These are the moments when examination of behavior, discipline, and self-honesty rise above the solitude. A woman of lovers rather than husbands, beckons my heart to open to the odyssey of love.
I appreciate all the new followers from the THE THINKER story. Thank you for
your comments and hope you return for more.
ADVENTURES IN LIVINGNESS
The throw of the dice this week lands on the tip of the diving board. The pool was serene and powdery blue and I was enticed by the sensual shift of waves and sunlight. I took a leaping dive off and swam for eight weeks.
Beneath the surface glaze I held my breath and when I opened my eyes there was a man sitting on a rock, posed as The thinker. I asked him what he was thinking and he said, ‘the universe brought me to you.
I shimmied at this rhetoric of mysticism and then suddenly, he swam towards me and wrapped me around his back. I held on to strong neck and ran my fingers through his mane of hair. We floated away beneath the weight of reality, beyond limits and caution. We swam towards the underbelly of Santa Fe. All kinds of sharks, sweet dolphins, brainy lobsters, wondrous whales and tasty little shrimps. We swam with them in a pack and chided their gossip and questions. Swimming with the underworld fascinated me and I hung on as we passed through darkness and luring beasts of prey.
Soon we were alone again and fondling; almost one from head to toe. My breath sieged into his and we swam through layers of fantasia. Suddenly he leaped forward and couldn’t hold on. I was dropped off on a rock that splintered my skin. I watched as he soared above me and waited for his return. I was so cold that my eyes blurred and shut. When I opened them a lazer like light appeared in the distance and pulled me up to the surface. My arms wrapped around the raft and familiar hands took hold of mine. Friends paddled me to the shore. I can’t see the Thinker anymore but I see him in the memory; swimming towards uncertain adventures in livingness.
RUMINATING ON RELATIONSHIPS
Bob and Baez-JIM MARSHALL
He was going to keep me warm this winter. Toggle behind me in his overcoat and boots, making sure I didn’t slip on ice, or chop my hair when my anger meets my self destructiveness. He would plow the snow, keep the fire going, trim the roses that bloomed when we met, and hatch chilies in the kitchen. A boy, a man, and a girlfriend. He’s wrapped in primitive sensuality, gifted with athletic stamina, viscerally intelligent. There is the other side; a squadron of pointy fingers, family feuds, gossip, and the spark of emotional self-contentedness. He admits to it; and studies masters of consciousness every day. He strives for breath unscented, unencumbered childlike weightlessness. My star is dropping, the dream girl of adventures in livingness. Taking men in that hold impossible odds, the long shot that shoot you to the moon or dump you on a dirty bench.
I found someone once who held up all the right que cards; now we are best friends thirty years later. If
lovers are true friends than I don’t lock them out when they stumble on the script. Relationships between men and woman are unsolvable allegory poems. I read them over and over and never understand the meaning if I hold on to the wound. If I let the abrasion heal, I am still in love with them.
LADY JOAN RIVERS
My prayers are with you Joan. Since I was a teenager I watched your show with my Dad who laughed so hard he had
choking attacks. You brought global understanding to the humor of the Jewish faith. Everything you said rang the
Synagogue bells, and blew out the candles of the Menorah. In moments of family tension the conversation turned to you; and everyone would
recite a joke and gather in laughter. Your unique talent to sabotage prejudice with humor, sliced silent moments of awkwardness.
You have me in your prayers to raise up in your bed and shout? Where’s my goddamn shoes?
Love to you Melissa, the daughter any one of us looks up to as the eternal light in her mother’s life.