Sonnet Challenge #4.

I’m putting these up in approximately the order that they’re being typed up in.  The other week when I was typing up the sonnets I wrote while I was in Flagstaff, I discovered a couple that I’d written in Monterey in July and had never typed up.

This is another of Darrin’s suggestions.  (His topics infer that he is inspired by frustrations in life.)  “Letter to a brusque cashier at the retail store”.

The Cashier.
(read from a guy’s perspective).
The line is long, progress we make is slow,

then I catch a glimpse of the cashier’s pretty face.

If I ask to take her with me, perhaps she’ll go,

Like me, can’t wait to get out of this place.

She doesn’t make eye contact, doesn’t smile

at customers, the way she talks is flat.

The workload that she has is half a mile.

Each problem is resolved matter of fact,

each question answered blunt like they were dumb.

She’s gorgeous but her attitude’s a wreck,

stuff thrown in bags as if her heart were numb

and all she thinks of is the next paycheck.

I thank her, smile and wish her a nice day;

I turn.  She shoots a happy grin my way.

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Sonnet Challenge #3

This one was from Darrin’s challenge:  “The advantages and hidden disadvantages of hot showers”.  As you can see, I’ve used poetic license in the interpretation.  Please try though, to imagine yourself in the shower, and not me.

Hot Water
I turn the motel shower faucet on –

a test!  It’s up and down, or left and right?

At last, a stream, then, leaving it to warm

for a quick shower, I tie my braids up tight.

I step in, barely warm for a quick sluice.

I’d like some heat to help tired muscles unfold.

So left a notch, soap up, sweet scented juice

but suddenly this rainfall starts to scald

my skin.  I wince and dodge and nudge it right,

but now it’s ice!  I shudder, try to turn

it back to middle, but I lose this fight,

rinse, alternating between freeze and burn.

So maybe next time I will be more bold,

Decide to simply have the shower cold.

Challenges

1302oneside_wPlease enjoy my monthly mailing for September – and don’t hesitate to respond to some of the challenges!

Tales from the field #1.

I’ve been thinking for some time that I’ll add a ‘Tales from the Field’ thread to my blog because funny stuff does happen out there.  But this weekend just gone I had quite an experience with my airbnb location, which is something I can’t contain!  One of those things that you’ll laugh at later…..or in some cases, at the time….

So having taken an inadvisable “short”cut in the high desert, I ended up arriving at the Bay Area airbnb in the dark, which made arriving particularly difficult because I couldn’t see the map sufficiently in the dark and was on the wrong street at one point, thinking that the house didn’t exist.

When I did find it, it was one of those airbnb-only houses, a monster tract home with five bedrooms, all rented out, and an unused space which would normally be the dining room part of the kitchen, with a sofabed and a couple (flimsy) room dividers. I’ve done the “corner-cupboard” kind of set-up before and the price is right.  Before I continue, I have to point out that all the others in the place (I figure there were up to 9) were nice respectful people who didn’t make a lot of noise, play loud music etc. and it was all quite clean.

However the communal area – a large living room that was set up as a work area, the dining and kitchen areas, were all laminate floors and my sofa was the only soft furnishing.  It was an echo chamber.  And open plan, so if the light was on anywhere, it lit the whole place.

So I settled in to sleep.  Or try to.  Then realizing no one was downstairs I got up and turned off the light.  The fridge was unreasonably noisy and never seemed to cycle off.

Oh and the house is right on a flight path to an airport.

Later, the nice couple in the downstairs bedroom had their friends over.  They left the light on in the communal area and I got up and turned it off.  They chatted in the downstairs bedroom.  Not loudly, just normally, and the other good part was they weren’t speaking English, so it was a little easier to try to ignore, but even with their door shut, it’s still an echo chamber.  People crept in quietly and left the light on and twice more I got up to turn it out.  At 12:30am someone got up from the chatty group and chopped fruit in the kitchen for a snack.  They finally went to bed about 2am and realizing I finally had silence, I relaxed enough to sleep.

I had to get up at 3:30am to go to the show. 🙂 What’s the emoticon for zombie, again?

Saturday night I walked out to go to a nearby restaurant, which was fine, and with 1 hours sleep in the last 40 and two glasses of wine, I slept.  The fact that the house was silent that night I guess helped.  A few people came in late, crept in, turned off the light.  Yaay, I slept like the body laid out in the corner of the morgue.

Sunday night was also pretty quiet, and the guy who was working late at the downstairs work area was kind enough to turn off the light when he went to bed shortly after I did – about 10pm.

Around midnight, a couple guys came in the kitchen to cook.  Again, they weren’t noisy, and they weren’t speaking English – an Indian language by the sound of it.  They had no idea I was there.  During the proceedings, one of them needed to cuss.  I don’t know if it was about the conversation or the cooking, but this was in English.  However beautiful other languages are, I figure you just can’t beat that good old Anglo Saxon F-bomb to put an exclamation point in the conversation.

The incongruity of the casual ‘Oh ****’ in the middle of the conversation was a surprise that changed my whole attitude to the event – I don’t know how I managed to suppress audible laughter, but a pillow was involved.

They took their delicious smelling food upstairs to eat, and now I know how the dog feels when you cook and don’t give him any.

Co-la-la-lage evening

mixed media painting

“Soft Light” at the top of the stairs at ‘The Loft At Liz’s’

 

 

Last Saturday I sped from the art fair in Sierra Madre over to the Co-La-La-Lage reception – a juried show of the Collage Artists of America at The Loft At Liz’s in West LA.  (Well, it started with driving at the speed limit but of course it was stop and slow through downtown and we slowed to a crawl on the I10 – there was a wreck just before my exit.  Ah, yes, I love LA.)  The upstairs gallery was crowded.  I think most of the 30 artists in the show attended the reception and brought others too.  There was an awards ceremony (no, I didn’t win anything), but having two of three paintings accepted into the show was an honor.

 

mixed media painting

Gentle Storm at ‘The Loft at Liz’s’

 

 

One of the disappointments of the show is that the paintings did not have labels on the wall next to them.  I would liked to have added the cards that have the poems that each painting has alongside the card, but it just wasn’t an option.

 

 

 

 

 

 

mixed media painting

 

I was interested in some of the mixed media pieces as I have a collector/friend who is looking for a mixed media piece for a certain place in his home, so I took a few shots of these when I got a chance and the crowd cleared.

mixed media wall sculpture

mixed media sculpture

mixed media sculpture

“Potus’ Bedroom”

 

 

This one was one of the prize winners.  The artist said that it contained everything that was apparently important to him.   Sadly the way that CAA sends emails I can’t open the content of all of them, so I’m not able to tell you the names of any of the other pieces shown (other than mine), or the artists’ names.  Ah, technology.

Middleridge Winery Reception

Middleridge Winery

Just warming up for the crowd. The Middleridge tasting room is in a beautiful building in downtown Idyllwild.

Yesterday I was scheduled to attend two gallery receptions (blissfully perfectly timed so that I could, despite the 90 minute drive between them) for galleries who have my work. The first is the group show ‘Art Uncorked‘ held at Middleridge Winery in Idyllwild.  This is the first time I have shown there, and there were eighteen artists in the show, most of whom were in attendance and who I got to meet.  Spoke to a lot of interesting people about both my work and theirs – and not just artists.

One thing that jumped out when talking to most people about my work – I have hidden the poem ‘Arrows‘ in the painting so well, that hardly anyone found it without being told to look for it.

Jeni Bate art at Middleridge Winery

The “Jeni Bate” wall. I have two other round pieces in the show which will be in the upstairs gallery.

I’ve spent years mulling over this poem.

I feel that I finally got it right.  Questions on the back of a comment if you don’t get the symbolism in the first two verses and would like to know what it means…..

Tribe

First the mirror,
then blood.

The heart beats stronger
than the tree grows
on the land if there are few of you,
yet the skin is more tactile
than the cloth;
the tongue
louder than the book, which is
more vocal than the anvil.

We run ourselves ragged
in the circles in which
we think we move,
tripping over ankle-height
revolving cogs
intersecting and grinding,
snarling with different grooves
forcing us to question
our motives,
your reasons,
everyone’s voices
until we are dizzy with
the mesmer of conficts.

We cry out
‘where is our tribe?’
But the tears on the mirror
obscure our true selves,
our image
and everything behind it,
fizzling into a formless haze,
blinding us so we no longer see
we should be
we are
we cannot continue unless
we become one.