23 January 2009

I won't beg you to stay

There'll be no strings to bind your hands
Not if my love can bind your heart
And there's no need to take a stand
For it was I who chose to start
I see no need to take me home
I'm old enough to face the dawn
Just call me angel of the morning, angel
Just touch my cheek before you leave me, baby
Just call me angel of the morning, angel
Then slowly turn away from me...
Maybe the sun's light will be dim
But it won't matter anyhow
If morning's echo says we've sinned
Well it was what I wanted now
And if we're victims of the night
I won't be blinded by the light
Just call me angel of the morning, angel...

20 January 2009

Change has come.

I sit here, finally pleased (not just pleased-- ecstatic, thankful, finally yes finally) at the direction my country has chosen to take.  Pleased that we will momentarily have a President who judges individuals on the strength of their character, not by the color of their skin, their sexual preference, their religion, or their political allegiances.  Pleased that he inspires hope and not despair.  Pleased that he is human, and that he does not pretend to be otherwise.  Pleased that he models the ethics that he expects from not just our country, but our world, knowing full well that the only way to lead our country along the path of redemption is to lead by example.  Pleased that he encourages not just thought, but action, as the only way to make lasting change.  Pleased that he calls our generation to uphold the ideals on which our country was founded, and asserts that the meeting of threats calls not for abandonment of ideals but the cleaving to them as the only way by which to preserve our humanity.  Pleased that he espouses collective responsibility, not just blame for the few and justification for the inaction of many. Pleased that he calls for an end to indifference, for indifference causes just as many casualties as direct violence.  Pleased that he acknowledges the difficulty, that he tells the truth, that he discourages blindness to unpleasantness.  Every light originates from darkness.  
My words are inadequate to thank the universe for this man, this change.  I defer instead to Bishop Gene Robinson's moving blessing before Sunday's "We are One" concert.  I was there, and I was moved-- and I hope that this change of power will inspire us all not just to reverence, but to action.
“O God of our many understandings, we pray that you will bless us with tears -- tears for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women in many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die daily from malnutrition, malaria, and AIDS.
Bless this nation with anger -- anger at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people.
Bless us with discomfort at the easy, simplistic answers we’ve preferred to hear from our politicians, instead of the truth about ourselves and our world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.
Bless us with patience and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be fixed anytime soon, and the understanding that our new president is a human being, not a messiah.
Bless us with humility, open to understanding that our own needs as a nation must always be balanced with those of the world.
Bless us with freedom from mere tolerance, replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences.
Bless us with compassion and generosity, remembering that every religion’s God judges us by the way we care for the most vulnerable.
And God, we give you thanks for your child, Barack, as he assumes the office of President of the United States.
Give him wisdom beyond his years, inspire him with President Lincoln’s reconciling leadership style, President Kennedy’s ability to enlist our best efforts, and Dr. King’s dream of a nation for all people.
Give him a quiet heart, for our ship of state needs a steady, calm captain.
Give him stirring words; We will need to be inspired and motivated to make the personal and common sacrifices necessary to facing the challenges ahead.
Make him color-blind, reminding him of his own words that under his leadership, there will be neither red nor blue states, but the United States.
Help him remember his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that experience of discrimination, that he might seek to change the lives of those who are still its victims.
Give him strength to find family time and privacy, and help him remember that even though he is president, a father only gets one shot at his daughters’ childhoods.
And please, God, keep him safe. We know we ask too much of our presidents, and we’re asking far too much of this one. We implore you, O good and great God, to keep him safe. Hold him in the palm of your hand, that he might do the work we have called him to do, that he might find joy in this impossible calling, and that in the end, he might lead us as a nation to a place of integrity, prosperity, and peace. Amen."

18 January 2009

We are one.

Morning light.  Ice.  
The dusty grey frozen Potomac+the shadow cast by the Kennedy Center=lovely.
The Lincoln Memorial-- "in the city of blinding lights..."
Yes, that's right-- Bono.  "In the name of love, what more in the name of love?"
Thank you for inspiring us all.  Here's to the future.

17 January 2009

All I do is kiss you, through the bars of Orion

I just found out that in a couple of weeks I will begin teaching the Wee Ones Romeo and Juliet.  What teacher would not dream of teaching a kid's first Shakespeare?  Although I will admit, over the years-- after taking a Shakespeare class and analyzing Romeo's language, after learning that their passion arose more out of hormones than star-crossed love, after learning first-hand that death in the name of love is less than noble, after having my heart broken and having that pain be far more powerful than that inflicted by any dagger-- my understanding of the play has changed from the quintessential tale of true love to a quintessential tragedy of human folly.  I don't want to say that I am jaded, but Romeo was far from the common perception of what we call a "Romeo," and Shakespeare seems less to be extolling the virtues of star-crossed love than to be warning against impulsive action and the groundless formation of strong attachments, both to hate and to love.  
It will be difficult to teach the real Shakespeare to these kids, many of whom still believe in love at first sight and hold Romeo and Juliet up as the ideal of romance, without destroying their innocence.  But the fact is, love-- or even like-- is complicated.  It brings familial disapproval, rifts among friends, melodrama, and disappointment.  The guy may say all of the conventionally (a.k.a "cliched") right things yet fall short in his actions; the girl may prove the ideal object of affection but be reluctant to take chances; and, most commonly, no matter how right the love may be, timing, society, family, and location may be hugely, disastrously, wrong.  Sometimes love is not enough.  And sometimes, I wonder, if romance is worth all of the fuss that it brings along-- the sweaty palms, the beating heart, the fear he won't call, the expectation that he will, the utter dependence on his presence, the hurt feelings when he fails to be attentive, the frustration when he can't read your mind, the judgments of your friends and family regarding whether he meets the cookie-cutter image of the man they always thought you would love.  
Sometimes I wonder if I'm so used to it being wrong (the love being so right, but everything else being so wrong) that I will fail to recognize it being right when it comes along. 

"A lovestruck Romeo sings the streets a serenade
Laying everybody low with a love song that he made
Finds a streetlight, steps out of the shade
Says something like, 'You and me babe, how about it?'"
~Dire Straits

Get thee hence, nor come again,
Mix not memory with doubt,
Pass, thou deathlike type of pain,
Pass and cease to move about!
'Tis the blot upon the brain
That will show itself without.
~Alfred, Lord Tennyson~

14 January 2009

Tea and wisdom

I don't know if I've ever believed in reading tea leaves.  I believe in superstition, and I once visited a psychic who had extraordinary insight into my anxieties, but the idea of tea leaves or palm reading always struck me as arbitrary and contrived.  Still, the soothing power of tea itself, drinking tea, is incontestable.  I need that tea right now.  And I need the message, more than ever, that said tea brought to me.
At first I thought that it read "to matter," which gave me this feeling of satisfaction.  I am mattering.  But then I discerned "master," and still I was soothed.  I feel like I have lost my mastery of teaching-- but maybe, at least according to my tea, all I have to do is teach once again and the mastery will reemerge in no time at all.  And maybe in my mastery, I will matter.

13 January 2009

This is just to say

I have eaten 
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

~poem by William Carlos Williams, photo by me~
 "I want to move on
I want to explore the light
I want to know how to get through
Through to something new,
Something of my own--
Move on...
And the way you catch the light
And the care
And the feeling
And the life
Moving on."

The New York streets taught me how to see...how to explore the light...the light that leads me to you [beauty, you].

12 January 2009

Oh, but people look well in the dark

I don't think that love should be phrased in baby-talk and sweet nothings.
I think that love should be deconstructed images, eyelashes on cheekbones, sighs in jagged lines, tears like inkblots (but the happy, passionate kind).
The real.  The raw.  Remembering the scent of your cologne.

"If you close the door, the night could last forever
Leave the wineglass out, and drink a toast to never
Oh someday I know someone will look into my eyes
And say 'hello, you're my very special one.'
But if you close the door
I'd never have to see the day again." 

09 January 2009

Iconoclastic, renegade brilliance

Right now, I am inspired by strong women who follow their own path and live well into their 80s with vim, whimsy, and moxie.  They encourage individuality in others and scoff at conformity.  Would that I could be Iris Apfel or Editta Sherman!
Iris Apfel is the embodiment of exuberance at 87 years old!  She is a mistress of mixing high and low, colors and patterns, more and more and more jewelry.  Instead of taking one off, she puts one on, bringing the fun back to fashion.  She and her husband Carl have been married-- and fabulously clad in velour, fur, and bold textiles-- and the owners of Old World Weavers, a textile house that has serviced Dorothy Draper and Estee Lauder, for over fifty years.  A "geriatric starlet," Iris is the poster child (or 87-year-old) for pleasing herself and finding joy in the little things-- like yellow trousers and fantastically large eyeglasses.

The brilliant Editta Sherman lives above Carnegie Hall in a rent-controlled apartment that she refuses to give up, despite the city of New York's attempt to evict her in order to make renovations.  Read the following about the Duchess of Carnegie from CNN.com:

"Dressed in a purple zebra-cuffed shirt and black jumpsuit, Editta Sherman ambles around her enormous studio with the sprightliness of a woman half her age. She holds up a photograph of herself with Salvador Dali, her aubergine-painted eyebrows animated as she tells stories about the famous faces who have dropped by over the years -- Andy Warhol, Henry Fonda, Eva Gabor, Tyrone Power, Carl Sandburg, Paul Newman.

"With Salvador, he had an exhibit nearby, you know, and I went there to meet him and we just hit it off. So he came back to my place and I took some pictures," she said. "He wanted to buy my (stair) railing which was pure bronze then, with some engravings from Paramount. I told him it was quite expensive and he said he'd have to think about it."

Yul Brenner brought Marlene Dietrich by once in the 1950s during a time when the two Hollywood stars were reportedly having an affair, Sherman said.

"They were just so sweet," she said. "Yul was playful, and she was quiet."

In true Warhol style, Sherman photographed the pop genius as he was photographing her.

Warhol's portrait sits next to the hundreds of other portraits piled up in rows in her studio. Sherman has hundreds of letters from Cary Grant -- a long correspondence of them trying, in vain, to get together for a portrait session."

WOW.  If I look half as good as Editta at age 96, or Iris at 87, and if I still maintain my iconoclastic spirit, I will be a very happy lady.

06 January 2009


"there is a crack in everything-- that's how the light gets in." ~leonard cohen
Please let it be true.  Because if I can't be cracked, then I don't know where I stand.  And if I'm not standing, I'm cowering or on my knees.  In that case, I might as well be somebody foreign.  Somebody murky and lacking glow.

Image from here

Pretty pretty princess

I just got the most incredible top in the mail from Topshop.  Granted, according to most people, a poufy hot pink taffeta prom-style top would be considered hideous.  I, however, am not most people.  It's so Zooey it makes me swoon.  SWOON I tell you!
The front
The back

05 January 2009

"feed animals in the zoo, then later a movie too"

I am feeling stuffy and revolting, with zero appetite and my warm knotty green blanket and my mug of ginger tea, which I can barely taste. I think I may be feverish. And yet I still find this to be gorgeous and, well, perfect. It's the little things.
I wish that I could taste-- I feel like cookie dough ice cream with raspberry sauce.

01 January 2009

Morsels of love in the new year

1) Zooey is engaged!  She and Ben Gibbard may be the quintessential indie couple, completely devoid of conformity, predictability, and materialism.  Yes, the same Ben Gibbard whose "Nothing Better" duet with Jenny Lewis I highlighted a few months ago.  And despite his lack of materialism, Ben still managed to pick out my dream engagement ring for Miss Zooey, completely in line with her (and my) love of all things vintage.  I got asked a few months what my dream ring would look like-- and this is it, no question, with a slight reduction in size.  I'm a modest lady.
2) I am leisurely enjoying New Years Day with sweatpants and the Bones marathon, where I have developed yet another crush on a fictional character.  Jack Hodgins (played by TJ Thyne) may be my perfect man, minus the fascination with bugs and bacteria: sensitive, thoughtful, artistic soul, sensual, slightly awkward, with beautiful eyes and wildly curly hair.  I love a man who is beautiful without being manicured.  And who can spell out "be my love" with black-lit bones.
3) Robert Graves' short-lived quarterly magazine The Owl was devoid of politics and all about art and writing.  It featured Thomas Hardy, John Galsworthy, Max Beerbohm, and the art of Pamela Bianco (a child prodigy and a relative unknown).  I am fascinated.  Find it here.
4) New favorite blogs Translating the Bird and Art&Ghosts, this fisheye camera, and McSweeneys.