Barefoot in the Kitchen…

“Barefoot in the Kitchen” Right Foot (dance step quilt square) #4 by Kay Jay (Stitched in Stone) January 2021

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.

“White Rose Magenta Lily” (photo) By Kay Jay, November 2020
Dresses “Painting Roses” (Music Video) is being posted here for no commercial purpose.

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

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

“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.

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

Such Sweet Thunder…

Left foot “Such Sweet Thunder” (dance step-quilt square) #3 by Kay Jay, July 2019

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~

pours.

We live thru the full Buck moon;

We live thru the rise~

in humidity,

the record heat,

the barometric pressure of tossing and turning,

sleepless nights, kicking off the covers with our feet

and sweating the sheets

clinging

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

budding

and blossoming,

all the blushing

and the hips.

“Blushing” Rose #1 (photograph by Kay Jay, July 2019)
The Duke Ellington and his Orchestra “Such Sweet Thunder” (audio) is being featured on Stitched in Stone for no commercial purpose. (*note: The track list to the full album is provided below as it was originally featured here. Unfortunately it can no longer be listened to for free. But I whole heartedly recommend ya’ll buy it for your home collection, be it on Vinyl, CD, or thru your favorite listening mode. It’s fabu!)

Such Sweet Thunder is a Duke Ellington album, released in 1957. The record is a twelve part suite based on the work of William Shakespeare.

  1. “Such Sweet Thunder” (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 3:22
  2. “Sonnet for Caesar” (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 3:00
  3. “Sonnet to Hank Cinq” (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 1:24
  4. “Lady Mac” (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 3:41
  5. “Sonnet in Search of a Moor” (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 2:22
  6. “The Telecasters” (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 3:05
  7. “Up and Down, Up and Down (I Will Lead Them Up and Down)” (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 3:09
  8. “Sonnet for Sister Kate” (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 2:24
  9. “The Star-Crossed Lovers” (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 4:00
  10. “Madness in Great Ones” (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 3:26
  11. “Half the Fun” (Also known as “Lately”) (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 4:19
  12. “Circle of Fourths” (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 1:45

Head Over Heels (Doin’ the Hokey Pokey)

“Left Foot Crunge” (dance step-quilt square #2) by Kay Jay, June 2019

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

ashiatsu

when you put your whole self in

and shake it all about...

Jill Scott “A Long Walk” (audio) is being posted here for No Commercial Purpose

Stick-Shifts and Skipping Stones

Photo: “Hand-Stitched Love Notes” (mixed media “quilt square” Mobile detail #3) by Kay Jay, May 2019

Stick Shifts and Skipping Stones

I don’t want to admit to you I peeked at other people’s love poems…

I did not want to do it. You know I’m no voyeur. You know I don’t appreciate the swooning arbitration of Valentine’s day cards.

I purposely did not want to be influenced by their intimate life styles, how every word gets in the way or falls short for them.

I purposely did not want to listen to the pentameter of their lovemaking, or when to break the rules of rhyme and reason.

I purposely did not want to end up comparing our love poems to theirs… and the way we go back and forth.

But I did it out of curiosity~

I peeked at other people’s love poems

wondering if there was anyone that wasn’t typically quoting Shakespeare, or Elizabeth Bennet Browning, and I especially wanted to avoid Byron and Shelley and Keats and all their greedy usurping of the word love that never created the tension nor reached the climax they boasted of when they were drunk. I did not want to flounder through their archaic flowery language or proper stanzas, the non-specificity of a rose by any other name; even if I could depict the way you smell after I’ve drawn you a lavender bubble bath and watched you recline into the suds…

I wanted to discover a modern poet worth his “title” who was sifting through the mundane to find the treasure and see him hold up the junk as his trophy;

like how life really feels

when the falling went deep at first,

and planted the right seed too fast,

so the roots would grow deeper yet

and before we realized the choices of our proximity, they were pushing up sidewalks and threatening sewer lines,

A great big branch crashing down on the breezeway during the storm

leaving us amazed our tree would still stand

and barely miss crushing us.

I didn’t understand what Adrian’s poem meant at all or how she was using the words exactly, but her word choices buzzed and vibrated and her lines became increasingly wet and somewhat sticky, if not hairy, as if she was enjoying the trace of albumen in the runny yolk of soft boiled eggs dripping down her chin, while demanding her lover watch her chew with her mouth open…

and I decided, Wow, that’s a pretty good love poem even if I do not want her eggs for breakfast.

Kim’s poem was easy to understand. She listed her desires in an outline mimicking the sound of her heartbeat, revealing her character flaws as habits she’d be keeping, to keep feeling racy and racing; like if you wanted her in your bed, you’d have to be able to tolerate her bringing sand into your sheets after a day she’d spent drinking whiskey, barefoot on the beach, without you. Her lover would surrender to the backhanded compliments she’d give herself, and find her irresistible all while she notched them on their own bedposts…

and I decided hmmm… that was a good enough poem about a certain kind of loving even if do not want her pocketknife whittling crosshatch into my headboard.

The poem by David did that thing with his lines where the two people are opposites; how they argue. He showed when they divided and where they united and he anchored it, by looking through windows at pretty places they both loved but spent time differently in; their needs being met even when part of what they needed never allowed them to meet…

and I decided Yes, his love poem was the kind that makes you feel like crying even if I do not want to be moved to tears, because I do not like all of it, imagining the way he ate those tiny pretzels during late night extra inning baseball scores, but everything about it ended up true.

I stopped peeking at other people’s love poems after that and I thought of sticks and stones…

I wept at the giant boulders of Yosemite, for the sheer size of them.

Your brother skipped flat stones across the water and split your shorts that he’d borrowed, at the seam of his seat when he jumped into the motel pool, so that he only had his tidy-whities at the river to swim in and you said, “That’s my brother,” like no such thing as modesty was gonna stop him and you laughed.

On our way back to your pickup truck where we’d squeeze the three of us back inside the cab, a shoulder to shoulder sandwich and barely any room for my legs by the gear shift; or your knuckles knocking on my bare kneecap, you lifted a rock with a stick to show off a scorpion that remained still and appeared blue, and pointed out why to be mindful in such beautiful places.