Friday, August 30, 2013

Seamus Heaney, RIP

I am sure if some of you read this you will feel how I do when I saw so many mourned Steve Jobs, I was sick of seeing peoples blogs and Facebook posts mentioning him. He just did not influence me at all. Sure he did hubs in some ways, but just never crossed my mind to follow him. Maybe some will not even know, but stop for a moment and bow in quiet as I do when a funeral procession drives past me in the car.

A giant has passed away early this morning. I had the opportunity to see him read in Dublin almost 20 yrs ago. I had no idea of his greater influence on the world of poetry, but I seized the opportunity to do something Irish, and I wrote crappy poetry.

Then I saw him in Boston this past February. I knew who he was, read his work. Jim Knowles even mentioned him, and I knew it was time to revisit his work. I had hoped there would be opportunity when hubs and I visit Scotland to swing over to Ireland again, rekindle my longing for its tea and green country side, and the yearning to hear their accents again and catch a glimpse of Seamus sipping tea in an outdoor pub environment. I can dream can't I!

Ireland was one of my dream trips. Three weeks of driving from town to town, turning down the most difficult roads, and feeling the free-est I have ever felt in my life, at the time of course. It of course has lead me to my current path of happiness. My life has in some ways been very painful, but I would never have it any other way. It is who I am.

I will confess, tears do not come for me so easily, maybe years of  difficulty I put up a wall that is not easily broken through, but today I felt loss. I know loss more than some, less than many, and tears flowed.

Seamus Heaney I bid you a happy journey back to whence you came. You shared in a good life, surrounded by family and friends and a landscape of so much there are no words. I read that you liked to converse with ordinary folk like me, leaving out praise because you are humble, and liked to talk of paths, childhood, travel, and shenanigans.

I wrote this poem with you in mind, trying to create a piece reflective of your work-

At the Foot of the Willows

When it is time, cut no more for me
than the great oak takes up. Greed
does not go with us, nor will I ask more
of Earth’s bounty; if you cannot
find me a place, then I will not pine,
as winter comes, nor fall to the ground
like leaves before me, and disappear.

Simply slice out two or more feet if she’ll spare,
so my words may breathe from her pages.

My father once tied his boat
to peeling birch on rising water,
as we dodged their spiders. Today
their quiet markers
still speak to me; as a father
to his child: of what has come and gone,
what lay ahead, while we dream
under the willows which weep.

A full heart must always carry loss
across the road to another side,
great burden of sorrow for those loved—
for those who sit, waiting,
to be moved again: a heavy job for even the steadiest
of hands. Six or more will march in ready pace if asked
up heavy steps, then down again:

When it is time, cut no more sod near the roots,
than is needed. If you
feel tiredness replacing a day’s work,
hurry on, the moon will for a short time light your path:
shovels can wait, sitting as their shadows dance
effortlessly leaning, toward new morning.

Beauty of the towering trees keeps me company.
Winds howl at my back, I under deep diggings,
at the bottom of a not too steep hill, as peace
places a knowing grip.
Rest will come: then we
shall one by one dream 
under her willows which weep.

(photo taken with my cell during the poet laureate talks at AWP 2013 in Boston- it was an honor seeing him for the second time)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Playboy Club, Dallas, Texas 1977-82

Did I ever tell you my Playboy Bunny Club story?
Trying to find a prompt to get me writing today I had a flash back...
I am going back to my first knowledge of the Playboy Club, hearing my parents discuss whether my dad would join. We had no extra money, so there was no discussion. I also heard my parents gossip about our neighbors (three houses down to the left, facing my parents home)- the husband who quit his profitable job to become a minister, his wife who was very attractive and came out for the paper in her robe, and their two children, both boys. I think they were little brats and she would never let them leave the yard. I thought my mom was strict. I believe we were around our tweens, I was the oldest at fifteen (yes I know, we were bored). The club opened around 1977 in a high rise off of Central Expressway- which is now owned by SMU for offices. Another residence was the Dallas Cowboy franchise, which football players frequented the club.
The wife was rumored to have found part-time employment at the club. We did not let a day go by without harassing this woman after the husband moved out and she filed for divorce. The scandal hardly could contain us. The neighborhood boys wanted to see her come out and lose the robe, so it was always something to get her to the door. My sister, Steve (Leslie's younger brother, my first boyfriend), and Tim always hid behind these enormous (in height and width) bushes and we would ring her door bell just to watch her come and get pissed off at us. We would all run and laugh. Once the hormonal boys were rewarded by her coming to the door in her bunny costume without hiding under her infamous trench coat.

Eventually another neighbor, first house to the left, Janet, for kicks and a dare from her husband went and tried out for the bunny job, and got it. I babysat for them from fourteen to leaving home at sixteen, but often would visit when I came home. When I was about to turn 18 in 1979 they confessed to her having the Playboy Club Bunny job part-time. Then she let me try on her costume, which was black, because she had flaming red hair. It fit. But I am sure it was against the rules. Not sure.
 I was very mature body wise, her husband used to tease me about having boobs. I think he was a boob man, and I gave him a boob cup for a gift once. Janet's sister was visiting and they asked me if I wanted to do something special for my 18th. Her sister was 22 and wanted to go to the Playboy Club, they gave us the key but we all ended up going. There was a lure to this private club scene, and I wanted to check it out. I do remember feeling everyone was so much older than I was.

I ordered a Tom Collins, because I had no idea what to drink. I wasn't much of a drinker, and got tipsy. It was very dark in the, entrances, hallways, and to the bathrooms. I called out 'Oh man is it dark or what' and out of the blue an African American man came out of the darkness, his big white eyes and teeth smiling saying BOO; it was Ed 'Too Tall' Jones. Janet was behind me, excited she told me who it was. He laughed out loud as my heart was beating so fast. I have a picture of myself that night wearing a gown and make-up, and with one of my neighbors wigs on. Janet made me up, so I looked a lot older than I was.

The club closed less than a year later, and it seemed the eighties I loved came around- Madonna, big hair, monochrome colors, music with lots of saxophone and shoulder pads. Did I mention leggings? I miss those and shoulder pads the most. It was fun reading the various sites about those times, my parents era coming to an end. The young seem to grow into their twenties and we older folk stop aging as time goes by, swifter than a jack rabbit on the run...

I see these cute little bunnies all over the landscape here in New Jersey. The jack rabbits of my youth, the size of kangaroo passing in front of my parents car in west Texas, would eat these babes alive. We do remember bigger than life images don't we!

Monday, August 12, 2013

He's On The Road Again

My son is in Columbia South America. This photo is in Cartagena. I was scared to death when he bought the ticket, but hey I have to let him sow his oats.

Confession- it has been nice having our house back this past week. Love is in the air... There is something to be said about parents having their digs back...