Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Weight of a Snake, Road Trip Part 4

The Voodoo priest was a very nice man, who giggled at his own little off-color jokes. Yet, behind the thin distortion of lenses, his eyes, preternaturally blue, held mine without once wavering. Even in the damp close hot courtyard where we met to talk, even in the close air of a Louisiana midsummer, I felt a prickle on the back of my neck, under that gaze.

He spoke in such a soft little voice that it was necessary for me to put my hands on the table and incline my head intimately toward his, all the way forward, as if leaning in for a lover's kiss. Even then, I could only catch every fourth word, like whispers on a rustling wind: "death...snakes...look...hear...old path." I knew that I was allowed to assign any meaning I wished to his words, or no meaning at all; in the end, the words were of no great importance, just something to say.

The priest stroked sweet oil on my forehead, and on my palms, and he laid the resting coil of python across my upturned hands, and blessed me, and the weight of the inscrutable snake was a new experience of sensation: cool, still, heavy, quietly alive. A message, a lesson: a way to be in the world!

The snake raised her head and stared at me for a moment and her eyes were, improbably, as blue as the priest's eyes.

(photo taken at the Voodoo
Museum, New Orleans)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, July 29, 2011

Voodoo Letter, Road Trip Part 3

Dear Jack,

I hope that you will feel this pin through your heart as I feel the sharp prick of the pin you slid into mine. I dream about you every night, strange dreams, cruel dreams, baroque dreams, drawing room comedy dreams where the polite laughter is always at my expense, and, right before I wake, I'm left alone at the roadside, the seaside, the dinner party, the carnival.

If only magic and prayer would keep you bound to me...



visit Theme Thursday: Letter!

(photo of a voodoo doll taken at the New Orleans Voodoo Museum)

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tennessee Morning, Road Trip Part 2

A nice bottle of Cheerwine soda pop and a leisurely browse through the Just Busted pages...Cheerwine is a subtle gustatory mix of faux cherry, off-brand cola, and poison. I will say that it woke me right up.

The mountains here are spectacular, and thanks to the hallucinatory effects of Cheerwine, they are looking larger and smokier than ever on this bright morning. Thank you for your hospitality, Tennessee! I mean that.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Road Trip Part 1: Hotel Room

On the road to far the sights: a truck stop, a bible, and rain on the windshield.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, July 22, 2011


Our fragments of Grandma are ruined, mostly. The comb misses its teeth, the straight pins are rusted. The lace yellow, beyond bleach; china chipped, beyond glue; sweater frayed, beyond darning; beads loose, beyond stringing; books grey, beyond dusting.

As if the violent storm of years tumbled the leftovers to, fro, in winds and waters, leaving them wrecked and broken, swept gracelessly back into the closets and drawers of a very old white cottage by a very old lake.

Alone of a lifetime's treasure, the buttons are whole, fine, perfected in their lovely utility, their softly crowding, clicking handfuls. Even the herring jar says: now I am beautiful!

[photo of a button jar found in my grandma's country house; for more writing on a theme, visit Theme Thursday]

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Phebe Jane, Clarissa, Rebecca, Allice, Olive, Nancy

My daughter and I walked among the women on the hill, where they rest in the sunshine, hot sunshine buzzing with flying things, rest from their housekeeping, the washing and washing up, the clearing away and folding, the stacking of platters. I took away, when I left, a hundred questions: for which the shameful secret, the secret love; for which the nerves and headaches; for which the murdered child; for which the bottle; for which a sheaf of letters never out of mind; for which the locked box, full of pennies saved toward a leave-taking?

The soil stirs, still warm, under their names.

Please visit Sepia Saturday

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Wild raspberries, blueberries, tiny strawberries in the fields behind the house, if you know where to look before stepping, and I do. Freshly planted lavender and a thousand free-growing tiger lilies, all bending toward us, confiding; and the pines, a hundred feet tall, their top branches mobile and creaking, reeds on the lake, and daisies on the shore, all moving together in flow and rush of wind. The nights are short between deep dusk and pale dawn, and in the afternoon the water catches sun, filling the eye with sparkle so that we're sparkle blind, nothing but sparkle and sun and the wind rush: summer.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Brooklyn, July 4th

Elanor and her friend were, for one afternoon, captains of industry on a bright hot corner of Brooklyn. The lemonade, squeezed by hand in a sticky orgy of juice and seeds and pulp, served in pressed glass pitchers, took pride of place. Ice was dipped with tongs, again and again, money changed hands, a great deal of money for little girls; the chocolate in the cookies, the marshmallow in the treats, melted a little, but no customer complained, and the heaps of sweets were decimated by day's end. With frequent breaks for cold seltzer and visits to the sprinklers across the street in the park, and quick intense water fights, sudden dripping little clouds of activity, another summer afternoon passed in the dusty diffuse light of old-growth trees and the heat of children. Another afternoon, like so many others before and to come.

Expectant Before:


(a piece of my summer, for Jimmy and Mr M)