Midnight sun illumines,
salmon dancing in baskets
set out for market
brightly painted boats expel
seamen icing down the catch,
setting up for sales along the pier.
Rain thundering down
does not change the pace or activity.
Houses, painted the color of the boats,
overlook the early bustle.
I meander down the moss covered
past ivy covered walls, along tree lined streets
into the hustle.
I am offered writhing catch,
fresh shucked oysters.
I slide a few oysters down
into a breakfast hungry stomach.
I am reminded of Kodiak Alaska,
but this city offers more than –
the industry of fish.
My bones respond to this place,
where ancestors lived
worked and drew their last breath.
It is an unfamiliar home.
An internal GPS leads me to places and people connected
to my blood, heart.
In a library
an unknown chance relative
shows me pictures of places
of my people,
shares names, dates,
relative to the tree of which I am the smallest branch.
I ride a tram to overlook the city and harbor.
I stand in this
Green Meadow Among the Mountains
the City of Seven Mountains
as a resident of the distant
City of 14 Hills.
Everything I am, have been, is echoed before me.
Swirling organza, lace, floating on
enriched air warmed by 6 foot fireplaces.
A private library with hidden books,
lit by chandeliers. Melodies filling heated air
from a tuxedoed man at a grand piano.
Grgich vintage wines, rare truffled pastries
Waltz through the rooms by those who serve at great price:
The night’s purpose is to raise funds to cloth children without a shelter, place
simple food in their bellies, secure a lighted place
for study, tutoring, buy school supplies, that
their parents can no longer provide.
But the children are not here, nor their parents.
They are in tents set up in churches, synagogues, temples
In tattered clothes, warmed by space heaters and each other’s bodies
Nourished by spirit, camaraderie, hope,
Listening to street noise and the coughing of neighbors
in tents lined up like barracks.
At the gala , pockets empty mindlessly.
True Golden nuggets are formed in deep veins along a common route
through pressure and time.
There is a pristine whiteness to the lace
that takes me back to France.
To Paris, at the foot of the stairs
leading up to the Sacre Coeur.
There is a group of shops
of handmade lace linens, curtains and delicate under garments.
I have a few items I bought in this district
that I keep nestled in the back of my dresser drawer,
saving for those special occasions
when I want to feel pretty, feminine,…ready.
I thought at first it was the symbolic whiteness that he loved
that it was the color that brides wear, virgin white.
But after we were no longer a couple he wrote me
telling me he missed me and he was longingly remembering
the blue ribbon delicately woven through the white lace
around the décolletage. And I remember how he would
finger that ribbon and the little blue bows at the shoulder
and all this rushed back to me this morning
when my ring snagged some of that precious lace
and dragged to the surface the delicate garment along with the memories.
It is change.
With the sun arching in a high winter elliptical
the hours shortening
the breath becoming visible
another perceptible season is ending.
The aspens sway barren
with the first snow of winter
the bark blends into the landscape
with dark eyes watching over
the softening curve of the slope.
The sap slows and warms. Energy gathering
for a new season, growth.
The world, my heart follows course.
Shedding that which does not serve,
making way for change.
A windy spring day.
Windows and doors are open.
Large books prop open the doors,
Light airy objects that will blow away weighted down.
The wind whips the curtains through the air
alternately sucking them up snug against windowscreens.
I sit in my soft chair reading my book on light and color
while the wind blows my hair in spirals around my face.
The wind brings the fragrant scent of the magnolia tree
into every crevice of my home.
It cools this hot skin from
time spent in the morning sun.
It billows the edges of my blouse caressing me.
And the sound….is a storm without rain
but with force and fury
that makes me feel alive,
that stirs up every desire
and dilates my eyes wide and dark
to draw you in when you struggle through the door, fighting the wind.
The days move along with a normal ebb and flow.
Unexpected moments of delight and panic continue to come.
The rhythm of a day is joyful.
Pace quickens with extra caffeine.
I do not wish these moments were different.
They are defining ones.
Learning how I spend personal energy.
Where I find my center of gravity.
How life is intact alone.
Yet the color of my palette remains muted.
There is a dullness to this world when you are gone.
Though even pedestrian music unexpectedly moves me…
I wont say I miss you.
But there might be such an admission
If I were forced to testify under oath.
The intellectual showed there is a fire in the belly.
That a passing exchange can bring a benediction.
There is a spirit that can feed the reasoned mind,
transforming a thoughtful recitation
into a moment of grace.
A Corporate executive sits silently on a private jet
above the earth, in the clouds
people clamoring for decisions that must be made
He quietly decides –
assigning tasks and programs
confidently, mindfully making personnel changes,
being given his itinerary for the next several days
which will keep him in the sky.
A moment of peace allows him to recline,
and daydream of a simple life selling Yakitori
in a little market somewhere to regular customers
from a little cart. He delights in thoughts
of how he would marinate his Yakitori overnight
in his private sauce, fussing with the ingredients
and steaming fresh pots of rice,
rising early to prepare his cart for market
packing his hibachi, coal, wood-chips, rice and marinated morsels.
How the smell of his grilling meats will draw
his regulars and newcomers. How he will chat and sit on his
little wooden stool like his uncle in the tobacco store in Japan.
He is awakened from his daydream, disembarks, is shuttled away in a private car
returning to a city far from home. He answers questions
asks many more, listens intently, makes a new plan and
is shuttled back to the car, to the plane and into the sky.
Before I knew it, it was yes.
I didn’t think it, but it was – yes.
There was no awareness of it, but yes.
It isn’t really yes, but – yes.
It isn’t practical, but must be yes.
It’s a secret. Its yes.
Simplicity, ohhhhhh yes.
Retreating to center, yes.
Peace – yes.
Every possibility is yes.
The Universe echoes – Yes.
Barcelona felt like home the minute I stepped into the street
The familiar smell of oranges and the sea floated through the town
There was a guitar player I happened to meet
whose music I felt as deep as those eyes of brown
Gaudi, Picasso and the Sagrada Familia ignited visions.
the food and wine comforted late into the night.
The Barri Gotic, the Rambla, and Sarria – the towns divisions,
felt as familiar as a childhood home where the porch was always lighted.
I wept to leave this sacred place
hoping to return, an act of grace.
In the dark, I hear your breathing
From miles away, my breath falls into syncopated rhythm.
There are things unsaid.
I am working hard to “not love you”.
Certainly it’s easier just to let it happen.
Lay the cards on the table.
There is nothing to be done about the response…
The outcome is not even self-determined.
It belongs to the universe, the cosmic play, whether these affections are returned
Rejected or simply ignored.
My bones are strong enough to handle any response,
Though, of course I want to be loved.
The Universe is handing out some irony here.
I request a partner who is not needy.
The Universe delivers someone who does not need me.
Like losing grasp of a dream upon waking.
Yet, in the dark, I hear your breathing, from miles away.
Paper and Salt attempts to recreate and reinterpret dishes that iconic authors discuss in their letters, diaries and fiction. Part food and recipe blog, part historical discussion, part literary fangirl-ing.