Patchwork Love

I didn’t care where we went, I didn’t care what we did, I was ready and it was okay if I made you run late, for taking the time to swing by and pick me up, which you insisted on because it would be better with me along for the ride, my company no matter how brief, you’d take how ever long you could get

I watched the petals drop from a yellow rose, tucked under a tangle of chamomile blossoms in Sarah’s bouquet while I waited by the window and listened for the sound of your work truck, for the tires to crunch on the gravel

You liked what I was wearing, you said, I looked cute in your company logo and that it might be harder to work, now that you felt a little distracted and if we had a forty minute break, we could kiss the whole time

We followed the interstate under the flight of turkey buzzards, past the wildflower freeway medians, through the patchwork farm country, berry brambled and littered with semi-truck truck stops, truck lined weigh centers, silo trucking docks, eyed license plates from Iowa and Idaho and Washington and pulled up to the sound of a lonely rooster in historic (a.k.a. broken down) downtown Donald, that boasted of Hazelnuts and a population of 979 (more or less) where we parked next to railroad tracks as abundant as the neighborhood streets themselves

The clouds that passed, rode on a warm breeze and a layer of darkness threatening to scatter showers between sun breaks and a jogger jogged, sporting shoes the same color orange as the Road Work Ahead sign, posted beneath flapping safety flags

You put on your red bandana rubber-banded mask and got out to social distance with the sales agent, asked about the crawl space, and got to inspecting and detecting and site mapping and photo graphing

And I listened to your scanner pitch into a fast screw ball, and a morning dove coo cooing a lullaby, watched you walk paces in your boots, and the finches, the sparrows, the starlings, the chickadees, the crows, the swifts, the juncos, the jays more abundant than hazelnuts and railroad ties, seemed to skitter and hop and flit and swoop and dart and perch and spy and gather and deliver and pair and fly and sing 979 (more or less) different birdsongs while I waited for you and wrote this love poem.

“Sarah’s Bouquet” #2 (Roses and Chamomile), photo by Kay Jay, June 2020
The “Take Me With U” by Prince and the Revolution is being posted on Stitched in Stone for No Commercial Purpose. Provided to YouTube by Rhino/Warner Records Take Me with U · Prince Purple Rain ℗ 1984 NPG Records, Inc. under exclusive license to Warner Records Inc. Lead Vocals: Apollonia Mastering Engineer: Bernie Grundman Bass Guitar: Brown Mark Vocals: Brown Mark Cello: David Coleman Engineer: David Leonard Engineer: David Rivkin Keyboards, Vocals: Lisa Coleman Keyboards, Vocals: Matt Fink Viola, Violin: Novi Novog Engineer: Peggy McCreary Arranger, Instruments, Piano, Producer: Prince Lead Guitar: Prince Lead Vocals: Prince Backing Vocals: Prince Drums, Percussion: Robert B. Rivkin Engineer: Susan Rogers Cello: Suzie Katayama Guitar, Vocals: Wendy Melvoin Writer: Prince

Stone-Bruised Spring Fever

You were that boy

lying

on his back, looking

up at the stars, imagining how to build

a spaceship that would land you on the moon.

Your older brother took his time

to coach you in constellations same as he did

with baseball,

and how to steal

bases so you learned

one way

or another, There is still

a chance

to make it

home…

Needlepoint Paper-Cuts (Space Girl #1) “Spring Fever” mixed media by Kay Jay, April 2020

It should be Spring Fever, and it is, and yet…

It should be the first day of baseball season, and it is, and yet…

It should be my birthday, and it is, and yet…

It should be Our True Love, and it is, and yet…

I wait for you to make it home while you explore

the (brave) new world as she outbreaks.

I always meant to read The Plague, by Albert Camus, you know…

and each time I’d only get so far, and I’d put it back on the shelf with a promise

(more to the author’s ghost than to myself)

One day I will finish what I’ve started,

insisting, “No really, it’s me. Not you.”

And then, The Plague would grey with dust again,

the spine of it occasionally catching my eye,

never begging, nor inviting, and free from insistence.

The Plague, to put it plain,

was not a friendly reminder,

of something I’d been meaning to do, so I would know

for myself,

why Whatever Happened to Camus inspired Japanese film students.

I suppose when I picked up The Plague,

this time

it was really the first time

as what sunk in

and hit me

was how comforting

just by being truly

timeless

regardless of the times

The Plague can be…

And when I told you, you got excited and said,

maybe

we should start up the old book club again and take turns reading

aloud.

Needlepoint Paper-Cuts (Space Girl #2) “Spring Fever” mixed media by Kay Jay, April 2020

This is what it’s like to be lovesick…

the way we worry about losing our soulmates to pandemic,

Ashes to ashes and dust to dust-stars pounding out of sofa pillows

and spiralling into shards of window light all the way from outer space

for the sake of spring cleaning

and taking inventory.

The new definition of spring fever and how we take our temperatures,

to find out we are normal…

wondering how the fuck did such fragile DNA bags, ever take the first step

to make such a Giant leap to the moon?

Right foot (first step) dance step-quilt square “stone bruised-spring fever” mixed media by Kay Jay, Spring 2020
“wide open Tulip and spring fever Tree” photo by Kay Jay, April 2020

Pine Needle…Bed Rock… Paper Cut… Ranunculus

“Needlepoint and Paper-Cuts” #1 (Ranunculus) mixed media by Kay Jay, March 2020
“Ranunculus” #1 (photograph) by Kay Jay, March 2020

My Love… is paper scissors bedrock, the potential of blank paper.

Same as knowing what it feels like to be a lodgepole pine and stand still in forests, while lovers carve hearts and initials

into me.

The trunk that forms a swollen burl after repeated shocks,

protective in the evidence of how obvious how innocent how intentional how sensitive

and adaptive

in the face of,

in light of… those arabesques

our pronouncement

and commitment

expressed through lucid but deep cuts

until I become your sweet cambium peels…

and sappy;

Reaching a perfect pitch requiring fire and heat to release…

upon a floor, blanketed in a cushion

of soft and sharp needles, patient

dripping sticky

sugar water; the same nutrition and poultice that eases you

more useful than firewood

I am revolving doorways and bay windows with bench seats that secretly open into chests full of books, the eaves and the rafters and the beams, and fences to climb over and railroad ties;

you chewing on my most succulent insides

each disturbance of habitat

sending sudden and bursting new

shoots

instinctive

resilient,

self aware and

persevering…

our roots; connected intertwined traveling

to and away, tethered and anchored,

from the rising and expanding

(history)

of seeing

of witnessing everything

change,

while Matisse acquires many paper cuts to float above his quilts.

He makes his choice of pink table cloths and lemons, goldfish swimming like tangerine crescents, caresses his favorite dove, never mentioning turnip country again,

or her flatness,

or her darkness,

or her wetness.

Instead he hands each intimate shape to Lydia and points, “There.”

She places his silhouettes, like she does her feet according to his dance steps,

a choreography set to the plunking piano keys as played

by elbows

making

love

notes

in bold colors.

Notes as crushing on

as charmed by

as composed and spontaneous as ranunculus

that speak easy underground same as do

victorian tea gardens.

He listens to how

his fingers fit like a glove into a pair of scissors no thanks and in part due to the industrial revolution

and dozes off,

slips

into dreams, a future

where your radio jazz

accompanies a bouquet

that throws confetti from my lap

in order to stop what I am doing to set them in water.

The Thelonious Monk “I love You” (Sweetheart of All My Dreams) music audio is being posted on Stitched in Stone for No Commercial Purposes. (Expanded Edition) ℗ Originally released 1964. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment Released on: 2002-08-19 Composer, Lyricist: Arthur Fitch Producer: Teo Macero Drums: Ben Riley Composer, Lyricist: Kay Fitch Composer, Lyricist: Herbert Lowe Bass: Larry Gales Tenor Saxophone: Charlie Rouse

Sweet Tides at Haystack Rock…

Neptune with Sea Foam and Haystack Rock” (Cannon Beach, Oregon) photograph by Kay Jay (February 2020)

The day after you cut down the noble fir tree and Tom said he hoped it would snow, I asked you to take me to the funky lesbian-owned pet store on Division, so I could pick out a fish. The store was hot and muggy and smelled of living creatures, longing to escape their glass tanks and see-through plastic carriers. Children accompanied their parents through aisles of box turtles and geckos and snakes and all of the rumble fish were lethargic but one.

I told the punk-rock cashier girl that I was naming him Neptune and she said he was mighty handsome.

“Neptune with Sea Foam” close-up (Cannon Beach, Oregon) photograph by Kay Jay (February 2020)

We took Neptune to the coast and explained to the people that came up to learn what we were doing on the beach, that this was his first time returning home, and everybody looked at my tiny fish looking out at the enormous ocean, and agreed he was something special to see, here, of all places, where Haystack Rock juts from the crashing waves, skirted in fog until sun breaks illuminate her deep green peaks and landings.

You shouted out to me, how the tide was coming in fast, as I lied on my belly and steadied my shot, and then you scrambled to rescue Neptune’s jar, and the camera I held, as I kneeled in the waves, caught off guard and suddenly soaked, trying to run before I was even standing,

ending up laughing with you laughing with me too.

And I told you how unexpected and wonderful to be embraced by the ocean and brought into playfulness without effort all because of a tiny fish who flares his face like a sweet pea blossom, feeling like a firecracker.

Neptune with Sand (Cannon Beach, Oregon) photograph by Kay Jay (February 2020)
The Thievery Corporation “Sweet Tides” (Music Video) is being posted on Stitched in Stone for No Commercial Purpose. ft. LouLou Ghelichkhani, “Sweet Tides” is the final track from Thievery Corporation’s album “Radio Retaliation,” which saw release on September 23, 2008 through the band’s ESL Music imprint. // Support the band and GET RADIO RETALIATION // https://thieverycorporation.com/radio… // CREDITS // Staring: LouLou Ghelichkhani Music by: Thievery Corporation // LYRICS // It took so long, for me to realize How strong your heart is And all this time, my mind was working In strange ways Looking back on the days, just wanna be free Through the love in your eyes Now I’m staring inside, just wanna be free Through the love in your eyes Sweet tides, pools of love Your eyes are full of… Sweet tides, pools of love Your eyes are full of… Sharp turn, my mind is a blur Slow passage through the air Looking back on the days All over your mind, just wanna be free Sweet tides, pools of love Your eyes are full of… Sweet tides, pools of love Your eyes are full of… It took so long, for me to realize How strong your heart is And all this time, my mind was working In strange ways Sharp turn, my mind is a blur Slow passage through the air Looking back on the days All over your mind, just wanna be free Sweet tides, pools of love Your eyes are full of… Sweet tides, pools of love Your eyes are full of…

Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You…

“Sand Love” (Valentine photo) by Kay Jay (February 14, 2020)

I opened my eyes in the early morning darkness to you wanting

to hold me and we stayed

in bed until the sunlight came up when we could see each other smiling.

We never wanted to get out of bed,

while we talked about not being able to wait to get back to the ocean and we kissed

before You poured me coffee, before you showered, while I read your poem

that said when you looked into my eyes you felt safe.

The Lauryn Hill “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” (Music Audio) is being post on Stitched in Stone for NO Commercial Purpose. Provided to YouTube by Sony Music Entertainment Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You Lauryn Hill /The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill ℗ 1998 Ruffhouse Records/ Associated Performer, Executive Producer, Producer: Lauryn Hill / Composer, Lyricist: Bob Crewe Composer, Lyricist: Bob Gaudio /Editor: Devon Kirkpatrick Engineer, Mixing Engineer: Comissioner Gordon Engineer, Mixing Engineer: Warren Riker Mastering Engineer: Jr. Herb Powers

“100 Lashes” (You Reap What You Sow)

“Kisses of a Swallow Tale” (100 Lashes) mixed media by Kay Jay, January 2020

100 lashes against his cheek, impressing him with a flurry of

butterfly kisses, as I bat my eyes,

we talk about

sowing

delicate love; 

How it can survive frost because of what is deep down, 

chrysalis or seed~

all hibernations reflect this truth

and our listening,

although sometimes winging it,

emerges into swallowtails.

The Alicia Keys “Butterflyz” (music audio) is being posted on Stitched in Stone for No Commercial Purpose.
Butterflyz · Alicia Keys Songs In A Minor (Expanded Edition) ℗ 2001 Sony Music Entertainment Released on: 2001-06-05 Guitar: Gerald Flowers, Bass: Richie Goods, Recording Engineer: Kerry “Krucial” Brothers, Jr. Mixing Engineer: Gerry Brown

S(h)and Prints

I don’t wonder, “Who is gonna hold my hand?”

Our hands reach out for each other when

ever

where

ever

we climb up hill and

we pull

each other

to the top, some peak,

sum

summit

sometimes breathless

sometimes straining

sometimes complaining

but we make it

because we are holding hands. . .

I don’t gotta wonder, “Who is gonna hold my hand?”

Our hands find each other in the dark

along forest paths where the moon beams fail to penetrate

where

we trust our footsteps

from all the times before

no matter what changed

or changes

until we find that lamp light

when you asked

for my hand in marriage

and I said

yes.

I don’t gotta wonder, “Who is gonna hold my hand?”

Our hands hold fast

when I get the call

that explains my mom is in the hospital

and how you say everything will be okay

just by giving my hand a squeeze

and I know, no matter what

happens,

we made our hand prints

for all of time

and no ocean can wash them away.

S(h)and Prints” (Cannon Beach, Oregon) photograph by Kay Jay, December 2019
The Whitney Houston “Worth It” (Music Audio) is being featured here on Stitched in Stone for NO Commercial Purpose.

“ChickiBoom Strung”

“Seagulls” #1 (Cannon Beach, Oregon) photo by Kay Jay

Got one boot off

barefoot

kicking through waves

that would roll me under

and pull me away.

See that sun going down?

She’ll be back

to warm the shore,

where seagulls flock

and hop a couple of times before running

into flight,

impatient

with the focus of my camera lens. And if I should get carried away

without a reliable raft,

if back floating only filled my lungs with salt

after it passed through my cracked lips,

He’d toss me a glass bottle message:

drink the rain. . .

Saw me off a branch from his olive tree just to send me something peaceful

I can cling to

sow the driftwood

becomes the tree he grew, to carve into the stories,

Whispers of stormy winds around his lighthouse

love

and how he is driven to pull his bow across my gut strings

just to listen to me sing. . .

An empty cigar box strung into pluck and strum and I become his ChickiBoom.

“ChickiBoom in Bed” (Cigar Box Ukulele created by Sony Feldberg) photo by Kay Jay, December 2019
The Big Wild “6’s to 9’s” (music video) is being posted on Stitched in Stone for No Commercial Purpose.

My Kind of Wonderful. . .

Right Foot (dance step quilt square) #6 by Kay Jay (Stitched in Stone) November 2019.jpg
Right Foot “The First Step, The Last Step, Every Step I Take” (dance step-quilt square) #6 by Kay Jay, November 2019

I’m waiting for the right words

when he comes dancing in from the cold

careful of my feet

wraps his arms around me

pulls heat from my body until I shiver

and kisses me with tangerines on his breath

covering a hint of tobacco.

We have fifteen minutes, love

to pour the grounds into the filter, a tiny dark mound

some loose across the counter, spreading out

some on the floor, slipping

away

some clinging to the soles of his work boots.

Pour the water to the top line

after fetching it from the faucet, splashing the sink board

some running down the cupboards

some on the floor, puddling around the soles of his work boots.

“Read out loud to me?”

I ask him, avoiding eye contact with the broom

while it’s brewing

ignoring the dust pan

the percolating and chugging and sucking in

the belching bursts of hot steam

never mind the dish cloth

when he lowers his voice

deep

swear to god he sounds just like Barry White,

no matter the headline

it’s good news

when he rolls smooth and booms

until I laugh.

The Barry White “You’re the First, the Last, My Everything” (music audio) is being posted on Stitched in Stone for no commercial purpose.

Provided to YouTube by Universal Music Group You’re The First, The Last, My Everything · Barry White Can’t Get Enough ℗ A Mercury Records Release; ℗ 1974 UMG Recordings, Inc. Producer, Associated Performer, Recording Arranger, Vocals: Barry White Associated Performer, Recording Arranger: Gene Page Studio Personnel, Engineer: Frank Kejmar Studio Personnel, Engineer: Paul Elmore Composer Lyricist: Peter Sterling Radcliffe Composer Lyricist: Tony Sepe Composer Lyricist: Barry White

Beach Combing. . .

Sea Stars among anemones” (Cannon Beach, August 2019) photo by Kay Jay

A garden of sea stars clinging to the same rock

as if cradled among aggregated anemones

that more truly await the return of the tide to submerge them

so they may open hungry;

Raggedy yet elegant, under salt water,

some kind of looking glass dahlias

fragile green as summer katydids

with no one the wiser to their predatory nature. . .

My lover pokes his finger into the soft tugging and says, “watch”

and I witness the longing

that can not be satiated nor understood by its own instinctual embrace,

Paralyzing to a lesser prey

so soon consumed.

He kneels in the sand to sketch our heart chakra rock,

that living rock

that changing rock

that sings at certain times in the morning

when he is still asleep and I am the only one making footprints in the sand,

walking along the shore

with circling grey-blue silver-white gulls and their speckled brown beggar offspring who’d ask the local crows for a hand out

if only they would oblige. . .

Our mecca

no matter the weather

He captures shapes quickly on his torn Arches

and promises to paint in the colors

later. . .

How his hair is the same as the gradients of gold

that darkens under the tide’s constant measure

and whitens where the sands bleach dry, closer to home. . .

The crinkle lines around his eyes, smiling

some sun rays

and the clouds so like his beard, puffy above

the folds of his dark blue denim, his broad shoulders

jacketing the distant hills in forest

and he turns to me

to look me in the eye

and he says, this is the place that makes lovers wanna kiss.

“Tide Pool Sea Star” #1 (Cannon Beach) August 2019 (photo) by Kay Jay
“Tide Pool Sea Star” #2 (Cannon Beach) August 2019 (photo) by Kay Jay
“Tide Pool Sea Star” #3 (Cannon Beach) August 2019 (photo) by Kay Jay
“Green Sea Anemones” (Cannon Beach Tide Pool) photo by Kay Jay
“HayStack Rock” (Cannon Beach) September 2019 (photo) by Kay Jay