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Thursday, 14 February 2013

Weekly Wisdom from Mr. Trollope


"You must like the soft twilight, and the long evenings when we shall be alone; and you must read to me the books I love, and you must not teach me to think that the world is hard, and dry, and cruel--not yet." --The Small House at Allington

Holding Hands is a Lovely Thing


Just before the month turned to February my new friend AS sent me a link to a short movie that reminded him of a story I had shared, and it made me think of a valentine--that it was a valentine, though it was still January; that my story was a valentine; that I hope to send valentines always.  Love letters every day in some small way or another, the extension of a hand to another.  Blogger, playing coy, has decided to only permit me a link in the very last sentence of this entry, and I invite you to scroll down, slowly, and all shall be revealed.
In a notebook I've carried with me from show to show, a notebook I bought as a teenager in Roycroft artisan, Leonard Robinson's, bindery in East Aurora, NY, I wrote amidst the technical notes for Camelot (Don't move until/Exit before him/Turn around on) "Holding hands is a lovely thing."  The theatre in Houston was more vast than any other space I've performed in, and darker too.  As we started to live in the theatre, I allowed my hand to be held.  RP would take it from the wings, and I would follow him from the darkness into the light.  On stage it would go dark, and I would find his hand, and let him lead me off, a squeeze as we parted.  Exiting stage right into the black, Dawn's hand was waiting extended for mine, and I would take it as a child, let her guide me, dress me.  Holding hands onstage I thought of times I wished my own had been held offstage.  My hand on top of TS's in ritual medieval form, I would flutter my fingers upon his to say goodbye as we passed into the wings.  I can enter and exit myself, I can lead and not follow, I can change my clothes on my own (for the most part).  But I am very happy for opportunities to relinquish, to return my hand to one offered--whether it be an actor's, a manicurist's, a stranger's on a train platform.  There is care here, there is meaning here; I am not afraid to hold hands, and I look for places to let mine rest.  I often photograph my hand.  My hand that looks like my father's and my mother's, and my grandmother's.  My hand that wears rings, and my wrist that wears ribbons.  My hand that pets cats, and pours glasses of champagne, that rolls dough, and arranges apple slices just so.  I want to make things with my hands but most of all I want to hold yours.  

Friday, 11 January 2013

Weekly Wisdom from Mr. Trollope


"Power and will are the gifts a woman most loves in a man."
                                        --The Bertrams

Thursday, 10 January 2013

How the Body Approaches What it Yearns, or A Pearl


When the end was near, I remember I saw a house,
Yes, a house, as I ticked off the deaths this year.  
The house boomed above me woven in task,                         
A watercolored war I drew, artist.  
I want to know what the body knows,
How plants are trained to work for man
And the sweet, firm pressure of grasping
Where property ends.
Rising above touch mixed as batter,  
The ribbon and the rolodex, the names of the men.
What happens here spins the keys that fray
From my spine: untie me with the soft etching
Of a vapor in my torso.
Feel, I have no idea what is impossible and
I want to know what the body knows.
In an instant, yeast proves my abdomen,
Perfume washes my ribcage, and I bury you there
With your smoke and your sweat, the lungs of your face,
Until my fingertips have made a golden map of your throat.
Ring, earring, necklace, I lace around your cuffs and collars, oh
I drew this, artist, I am the lady of this house, my body
Knows I want to unfold my limbs like a telescope
To the space between your breast and your gut
And taste your waistcoat
And your beating heart,
And eat at the paint of that sketch
You made of my house.  

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

For Guenevere, after Aracelis

My heart is tangerine leaves and calligraphy,
whole cloves and a pistachio nut,
incunabula and skeins of lace.
I wanted to write a poem for a woman, and a wife
I used to be
that would make you long to rub the fabric of my petticoats
between two fingers,
break a harp’s string strung with little yellow birds,
fold paper with bone and make a crease.  
In my muslin rucksack I carry:
wrist ribbon, skirts, leather boots, cinnamon.
Tools for binding books.
I carry names with immoderate love
like a house that stands the test of time.  My house
has marriage trees out front, spiny forest trees out front
where violets grow.  
My heart is May Day, an illustration with a dainty hand
My poem has one eye open and its fingertips in a song
My house was an ocean and now it is a mountain range