Where we meet to share sections of succulent tangerines, opening juicy surprises; secrets of sweetness or delicious shuddering sourness, We burst and pucker up to be undone by our own kisses.
I don’t know if when we took our vows I understood much about ‘in health and in sickness’ or what would be ‘for better’ or what could be ‘worse’ for the wear as if I’d need to promise I wouldn’t run away at the first sign of trouble or stick around for the last of it, I just knew it was gonna always be you and me, together, the way sometimes you feel like a lone tiger, fiercely able to fend for yourself and willing to roam, and the way sometimes I feel like a hermit, chasing trespassers and their offspring, those baby strollers and toddlers tethered with domesticated canines; miniature chihuahuas, elongated dachshunds, stubby corgis, and a lunk-headed pit-bull away from my tomato plants and petunias. . . How we both slip the old Ukrainian a little cash when he asks for our empties to add up nickel after nickel, his broken english growling, Putin is bad, rolling his R’s, he points to his chest and simply says, Andre
and Sorry. . .
and he wants to kiss our hands regardless of Corona Virus and he repeats over and over, God Bless You.
And it isn’t that spring passed us by, it arrived late, barely enough time to sow last seasons sunflower seeds, and more aphids than roses bloomed early, and then our lawnmower broke.
I do know when we sat in the emergency room, waiting for the weak-kneed technician who sounded like the scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz to take your blood pressure, he asked, did we want to hear a joke and he said it’s okay to say no, when we hesitated,
You said, ok sure, the way you get put on the spot and act polite but unconvinced, and so we listened to him practice the same bad joke, a technique employed to bring people joy, he explained, on the next patient and the next and the next, from behind thin closed doors and partitioned walls, we listened to him only making things worse,
so when your eyes met my eyes, without words, we agreed.
I do know when the Specialist finally came in on her day off. . .
after five hours and five different Registered Nurses wrangled with your body as if you weren’t even there, fondling and groping and poking you in places not even I had explored in all our years, I felt crushed as they crushed you, stretching you to the limit, I watched each one fail at the same procedure, and how they let you keep your socks on so you wouldn’t get cold feet, a hospital crucifix hung above your head, Jesus staring his own pain outwardly, as if to say he had enough problems of his own and wasn’t going to carry your water,
. . .she whisked in, smacked her enormous blue leather purse among hygienically packaged medical supplies, and asked me directly if I was going to be okay, as in, was I the type who faints, was I going to be in the way. . . squeezed between the small sink and the gurney and her purse, and your feet, I thought, if there’s room for a purse that big, there’s room enough for me in this/her walk-in closet, make-shift as it is and I replied about the time I volunteered for Red Cross carrying warm blood packs with my own two hands to the cool ice chests after student bodies Gave, yes I’ll be ok, and Jeremy, her clumsy but kind assistant, validated how I’d been here with you the whole time. . .
And I’m not leaving, no one could ever make me leave. And then I told you to breathe. And you did. So did they. The specialist doctor and the registered nurse. All at once. You all exhaled like one great big breath. And the air in the middle of the room opened up so much, it actually changed the light.
I know a man who fell in love with a woman with a Snow Shovel. She told him, music to her ears is a Senate hearing roll call, Knowing when to shut up and eat Piping hot cornbread and real maple syrup is an intimate conversation; So beautiful~ the shape of green bananas, they make her cry. And what is it about a Lily with a loaded pistil in it’s mouth that makes her remember grandma’s nursing home run by that awful woman named Hope?
When she takes her boots off, she ends up barefoot in the kitchen.
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
The trunk that forms a swollen burl after repeated shocks,
protective in the evidence of how obvious how innocent how intentional how sensitive
in the face of,
in light of… those arabesques
expressed through lucid but deep cuts
until I become your sweet cambium peels…
Reaching a perfect pitch requiring fire and heat to release…
upon a floor, blanketed in a cushion
of soft and sharp needles, patient
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
self aware and
our roots; connected intertwined traveling
to and away, tethered and anchored,
from the rising and expanding
of witnessing everything
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
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,
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.
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
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
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
We live thru the thunderstorms,
the darkening skies,
the illumination of every strike and boom and all the crashing and the rolling,
and the down~
We live thru the full Buck moon;
We live thru the rise~
the record heat,
the barometric pressure of tossing and turning,
sleepless nights, kicking off the covers with our feet
and sweating the sheets
to the encompassing sound
and whirling air
of fan blades.
We live thru the tension in the air,
what is tight and withholding and impending…
And the explosive cycles
of delicate rose
all the blushing
and the hips.
- “Such Sweet Thunder” (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 3:22
- “Sonnet for Caesar” (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 3:00
- “Sonnet to Hank Cinq” (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 1:24
- “Lady Mac” (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 3:41
- “Sonnet in Search of a Moor” (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 2:22
- “The Telecasters” (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 3:05
- “Up and Down, Up and Down (I Will Lead Them Up and Down)” (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 3:09
- “Sonnet for Sister Kate” (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 2:24
- “The Star-Crossed Lovers” (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 4:00
- “Madness in Great Ones” (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 3:26
- “Half the Fun” (Also known as “Lately”) (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 4:19
- “Circle of Fourths” (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 1:45
- Jimmy Hamilton – Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone
- Johnny Hodges – Alto Saxophone
- Russell Procope – Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
- Paul Gonsalves – Tenor Saxophone
- Harry Carney – Bass Clarinet, Baritone Saxophone
- Cat Anderson – Trumpet
- Clark Terry – Trumpet
- Ray Nance – Trumpet
- Willie Cook – Trumpet
- Quentin Jackson – Trombone
- John Sanders – Trombone
- Britt Woodman – Trombone
- Jimmy Woode – Bass
- Duke Ellington – Piano
- Sam Woodyard – Drums
- Billy Strayhorn – Orchestration
- Irving Townsend – Liner Notes, Original Recording Producer
- Phil Schaap – Liner Notes, Reissue Producer, Remastering, Research, Restoration. (No reissue retains Clark Terry’s quotation, on the original LP release, of Puck’s “Lord, what fools these mortals be!”)
- Steven Berkowitz – A&R
- Darren Salmieri – A&R
- Mark Wilder – Digital Mastering
- Howard Fritzson – Art Direction
- Don Hunstein – Photography
- Randall Martin – Design
- Juliana Myrick – Package Manager
Head Over Heels (Doin’ the Hokey Pokey)
You say, hey sweetie, I want you to listen to this song, it reminds me of you,
and you sing those lines to me before you gently place needle against vinyl,
…and when she walks she walks
and when she talks she talks…
You say, hey sweetie, you remember the walks along the delta bed we took to the wood bridge?
Past the almond tree?
Where the jackrabbit took his chances in the fields and the sparrow hawk took his dives?
How the sun forced us to stare at our footsteps,
light was louder than sound
and we gushed about the colors of stones dancing with their own shadows?
Of course I do, I say, You held my hand until you had to share with the wildflowers I picked for your Pop
I set the daisies and clover blossoms, the Queen Anne’s lace and foxglove in a jar next to his chessboard,
and I asked you to teach me about seeing three moves ahead
to protect my king.
You smile your big beautiful smile and say, hey sweetie, you’re the only one that can do the Crunge
and nobodies business can follow your
when you put your whole self in
and shake it all about...