I decided to spent some of my new free time to call people I haven’t seen in a while, or have stopped seeing in the course of life because of the social distancing. I also decided to use the time for some more poetry. On Sunday afternoon I sat down to write a poem but didn’t find any inspiration, so I decided to call someone. I got voicemail. So I called someone else. Ditto. Eight voicemails later, I had my inspiration.
A quiet day with little going on,
in Covid times the schedule is quite bare.
I miss my friends, hope they have not become
statistics with what’s going on out there.
I guess they also won’t have much to do
so thought I’d be the one that would reach out,
pick up the phone and say “Hey, how are you?”
not leave our friendship’s worth to me in doubt.
But all I got was voicemails! Every one!
Had I missed out on something? Checked the news…
there’s really nothing different going on!
I guess just me that’s sat here with the blues.
They’ll all call back at once, that’s what they’ll do
And get my outgoing voicemail message too!
Got the inspiration for this one while doing a little clean up for my absent neighbor. I was working early in the morning before it got way to hot, even for the acclimated desert rat, to be doing yardwork. I decided to turn the inspiration into a kid’s summer day because the first line had a bit better ring than ‘I caught the sun while grubbing in the yard…..’
Catching the sun
You caught the sun, you held it like a ball
in two-year hands – a shining rounded joy
so newly given, a perfect rolling toy
and never thought that it would burn at all.
Your retina was blotched from gazing up,
your shoulders burned, your face, your arms, your knees
from summer’s day your heart demand you sieze
to dance beneath the heated turquoise cup
of sky. And as earth rolled round to sunset
you played your heart out, flew it like a kite
upon the solar wind, til it grew night
and tiredness told you it was time for bed.
Your red face says you caught the sun today.
Your smile, that it was worth it just to play.
A few years back I was travelling from Southern California for a show in Bellevue – right next door to Seattle. It’s a two day drive, pretty much up the entire west coast of the US. I had kinda planned on stopping just north of the Oregon border, but didn’t make firm plans as I figured I wasn’t sure if my tiredness would get me that far, or my awakeness would let me press on further. I’d actually spotted a well-priced motel in my aim area, and sure enough, just as California disappeared in the rear view mirror, the eyelids started to droop.
I pulled off the road at what appeared to be a motel-bearing town in this rural stretch of Interstate 5. Miraculously I passed the very motel I’d seen on the internet. The parking lot was only half full. It was late, though. The office only had a dim light on. I knocked on the door. In a few moments the motel clerk appeared.
In fairness to the man, he was obviously of Indian origin – India Indian, not Native American. Different culture. I asked ‘Is there room at the inn?’ ‘No,’ he replied. Oh, ok, nevermind, I thanked him and turned to leave. I’d gotten as far as the truck when he came out after me. ‘I have room at the other end!’ Huh?
Turns out he’d misheard me as ‘Is there room at the end?’ and had completely missed the Christmas reference! In his further defense, he’d only been in the US about 5 months.
We all tend to get a little bit bitchy when we’re setting up. Everything has to look nice, plus we have a deadline to get set up, and we’re perhaps discovering something that’s forgotten or broken or misplaced. Maybe we’ve had to wait in line a long time to get loaded in.
Last year at Sedona, there was a couple in the booth across from me who were setting up. I’d not met them before and no, I don’t remember their names, so this is incognito. This husband and wife team had a range of items, some of which went on a panel on the back wall of the booth, and many that went on tables at the front. As they were working together, they were constantly bickering. This goes here, that goes there, where’s such and such, I need your help with this, I can’t I’m busy doing that. On and on.
After about 30 minutes of listening to this banter, which was getting increasingly harsh, I walked over to them and asked “Do I need to throw a bucket of water over you two?” Turns out a good laugh did help, though they admitted that though they have been married many years and still love each other, they’re usually at each other’s throats during setup.
This was inspired by my ex’s doormat, which said ‘Welcome Fishermen and other Liars’.
They say that fishermen will lie a lot.
They’ve time to make up many a fishing tale,
sitting by lake or stream, all day they’ve got
to turn that fingerling catch into a virtual whale.
And when they come home with a two-pound trout,
the only the only worthy product of the day
they’ll think next time the wife won’t let them out.
“You should’ve seen the one that got away!
a five-pound beast, it nearly broke my pole,
my buddy saw how hard it fought the line,
it nearly pulled us both out of the boat,
an eagle swooped and snagged it just in time.
Someone will help with just how to begin
so get out there and fish and reel ’em in!
Last weekend in Palo Alto, we were setting up booths – we start early because there is only one line of traffic allowed down the streets because of the way we set up, so the people on the non-traffic side get there at 5am to set up. By the time we’re done there’s usually a little trash that comes out of the process, and there was with mine.
Walked down the street a little to where I knew there was a trash can next to a neighbor’s booth. This is what I found.
Nice cover. Is it incognito? I wonder which artist got paid to design that?
I asked the artist next to it if it was something of his he’d rested over the can. No, the city people had come round and put the covers on. What? On a day when they expect a lot more people than usual and have many food stands, they close the trash cans. It did not make sense. Fortunately I have a few plastic bags in the box of tricks so I deployed my own trash can behind my desk for myself and my neighbors to use.
Later, when going to the restroom, I found the city had deployed larger trash barrels near the food stands and porta potties, marked recycle and landfill. It’s always interesting to go to different cities and find what is and isn’t regarded as recycle in different places, but I’m not going to do a survey on that. life is not boring enough.
Avid readers may remember that last year at the Palo Alto show, I was setting up my booth only to discover I had inadvertently packed a gecko, which I then kept in a cup until I was able to release it in my yard, 10 hours drive to the south and in a completely different climate.
I almost did it again last weekend, this time managing to catch two of the three geckos that were hiding in the nooks and cranies of booth-wall bags and painting boxes to show how lucky they were to not be taken somewhere that they wouldn’t be able to live.
Two tame little geckos who almost had an unfortunate journey.
Oddly this was a journey that was destined to involve the transportation of another reptile. My other half Ken, who breeds bearded dragons and uromastyx, was in the process of having a uromastic shipped from San Diego until we realized I would be making the same journey in a lot less time. We coordinated with the seller of the lizard and he was willing to meet me at the show site, Liberty Station, at the end of the show. We did a quick transaction at the corner of the street and I packed up this little girl to bring her back to the desert on a four hour trip rather than a day at the hands of FedEx.
Little Miss ‘Liberty’ saying goodbye to her former owner.
At art fairs I get a variety of comments, often unsolicited or simply overheard. There’s quite a smattering of ‘pretty’ or ‘nice’ – those who respect my work but don’t personally care for it; and there are comments from those who do like it. I rarely get someone who actually says something negative. In the context of an art fair, there’s typically just no reason for any of the attendees to specifically state that they dislike anyone’s work. We all know that tastes differ and are not bothered if someone isn’t attracted to our work.
I had a surprise yesterday. Two older ladies (maybe in their 60s or so) came in my booth and looked at my work in some detail. They barely acknowledged me when I went to speak to them and kept looking around. They were speaking in a foreign language and I could barely overhear them anyway. As one exited, she came over to me and wagged her finger at me and said clearly ‘Hate’. As the second lady exited the first one said to her ‘Jawohl’ – I know enough German to know that means ‘Of course’, but wasn’t quick enough off the mark to gather together a sentence to ask her why she hated it before they vanished into the crowd.
Being more surprised than upset, I thought I would tell my neighbor. Before I could go over, another younger woman with two kids (one about 8 one about 5), walked passed and both children pointed into my booth and told their Mom they liked my work.
I guess I’m pleasing the next generation more than this one!