Wednesday, August 31, 2011

It Could be Anywhere, but it's Italy: A Night at the Opera

In perhaps the most extraordinary vocal duel between two sopranos ever composed, the characters of Aida and Armenis proclaimed their love for the great warrior Radames on a perfect night in the Verona Collesum. An archaic stadium, filled as it was in the days of gladiators. The well coiffed patrons close to the stage and craning masses in the upper galleries all warmed to the poetry of the women's painful aria.

Shouts for 'Cola, Fanta, Vita Vino' echoed from wandering vendors as they traced up and down the stairs at each of the four intermissions.

As if watching two sides of the same woman battle, the princess Armenis demanded that her love prevail, while Aida shrank with resigned haunting pain, merely a slave in the eyes of her nemesis. And neither humility nor bravado would win.

Under the rising midnight stars, in the city of love's greatest legend, thousands applauded for hopeful triumph and certain pain of the romantic soul. Just steps away from Dante's pensive statue, the story of true love's loss is epically carved in the cobblestones of both musical and literary history.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It Could be Anywhere, but it's Italy: Sitting in an American Bar

Thick is the air in the American Bar
to the east of the Grand Hotel Orologica
that rests unkempt in the Palm Desert
of Albano, Italy.

Rays reach through wet cotton clouds
and she wonders what great celebrations
were toasted in the  aging stucco of the grand
now shuttered palace.

A balcony where once a lover stood
and likely a heart was left to perch.

Just a bit away sits the pensive Calcio Padova
Young, strong, scared, and guided
by a pacing leader who just years ago pounded
foot upon the mound,
and now hopes to raise a ten ranked team to victory
against a number one.

An old man in Padova red bends over to pet a white puppy
led by a boy in Brescia blue, whose mother looks to be an Italian
But then, they all do after all,
and together they cheerily greet a barrel chested patriarch
all tails wagging.

And a writer rolls a large green olive between her teeth.
Careful not to crack her crowns on its solid pit.
While everyone around her chants in Italian
and she listens to the lyrics of an English song
playing on their sound system.

I got you babe.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Back to Naked with Chanel No 5: Day 4 - Looking into Other People's Windows

OK - I'll admit it. I am 100% that person who walks around her neighborhood peering into other people's windows. But it's not a creepy thing. No really, it's not. See I love to see what people hang on their walls.

My own walls are full of memories. In just my living room, I have a Chinese Scroll from a trip to Beijing, the print of "The Butler's in Love - Absinthe" from Bix in San Francisco, given to me by my college boyfriend, a photograph of me wandering through a heavily foliaged arbor taken in Potsdam, Germany in 2000 by a former "Before Sunrise" kind of lover I still know today, and Thai Rubbings collected by my near superhero great aunt who was there the day Pearl Harbor was bombed when she heroically rescued people. The military sent her around the world as a thank you and she collected all sorts of treasures. There's a water color of the ocean painted by the third man who suggested I should marry him, and my favorite painting of my own - a cow we photographed shortly after he asked and I declined just north of San Francisco. And I live in a pretty small pad!

My bedroom, which is obviously anchored by the Warhol of Chanel No 5 above my bed, has pictures of Kennicott, Alaska which were gifts from my brother, the famous Bayoux Waterwheel, a painting of a door in Venice, the Charles Bridge in Prague, and a photo essay of my adventures in Salzburg - Venice-Rome-Florence and perhaps my favorite - Lilies painted by my cousin Lily. I could go on, but I won't. You get the picture.

See what some of us hang on our walls is greatly indicative of who we are in our souls. While some people don't care much about what's on their walls, for those of us who are obsessively visual - what decorates our homes reminds of us adventures and for me at least, reminds that it's imperative we get back out there.

So for the last eight years, I have walked by possibly my favorite painting in the world. It hangs conspicuously right in front of my neighbor's window. It might be Italy, it might be Greece. It's somewhere warm because there is bougainvillea covering the stucco of the tiled roof modest building. My neighbor seems to be just a nice old guy with a nicer and much older dog - you know a black lab with a grey beard. I imagine the two of them sitting together patiently building model ships, like the one that sits in his other window.

One day, I stopped to ask about the painting. He was leaning out his window tending the flower box and I couldn't resist. It's a painting by his sister, of their family land in Croatia. He was reserved and a bit uncomfortable knowing that I adored it, so I moved on quickly and thanked him for answering my question. Yet he cannot be so uncomfortable to share it's beauty because every day it is there, right along my street on the first floor - curtains tied back, window open - beckoning admiration.

And tonight as I tuck in, settling into a new understanding about this particular hiatus, I am glad to be in a community of those who are comforted by the energy of the pieces on our walls. And I'll keep peering in windows for like minded souls as I wander through this world, and each night I'll tuck in safely inspired by the spirits of my own art - Naked with Chanel No 5.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Back to Naked with Chanel No 5: Day 3 - A Day Can Change You

Today was one of those days that may have been three rolled up into one. It seemed to be pretty light and then it became intensely meaningful.

I started with physical therapy and my sweet and iron clawed therapist Kami attempted to relocate my first rib so it would stop it's impingement upon my thoracic nerve. Yep, I made a distinct pouty face as she dug into my chest, and then I went numb. Then I debated whether or not I should go to Southeast Asia or take the time to learn Management Communication in my "hang with the smart kids program". Kami said I should Communicate. I was leaning that way, but her rib prodding confirmed.

I talked to my two school best friends whom I miss terribly during this interminable summer break. One made me laugh as we planned our post grad trip to Cabo (there's a bet as to who is paying - but he totally is). The other asked me if she could tell her story of surviving the 9/11 towers and if I might help her share it with the world. I said yes. And after all that I made it to a spin class, wrote for a few hours, and learned we are being sued (but not really because 1st amendments should likely prevail even in the absence of actual justice).

I had a late lunch with my first boyfriend ever, a man I have always adored but as a couple we were fatally flawed. He's still a Christian virgin and I'm still me. Mismatch much? There was a contemplated ocean swim (the water was a bit too rough) and a conversation with a kid I used to babysit for who is now very much a grown up young man, followed by a long fabulous glass of wine or two and oysters with my would be divorce attorney and his fun wife (had I not chosen to gracefully mediate) and we chatted about all things irrelevant.

and then nothing else mattered.

I heard the most important story anyone has ever told me. Over cheap Chinese and good red wine, my dear friend cried her way through the recounting of the worst day of her life. The sounds, the smells, the electric energy of fear, and the confusion after the calm came. Because survival is not black and white - pain is perpetual, and the obligation of the living is always misunderstood. There is no clarity. The horizon of life is not simple. Instead there is just a story of a very young woman who survived the terrorist attacks of 9/11 thanks to a fateful near car accident with a celebrity that caused her to miss her train to the towers that morning, and her mind is now a cloudy mix of grey memories, pink hope, black loss, white dust, and the need to find light and solace in the sunset of her tale.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Back to Naked with Chanel No 5: Day 1

It's time to restart my man hiatus. Not because I lost my mind again and started making countlesss egregious man decisions based on the crazy cakes of my relationships past, but instead because I dabbled down the road of flirtation - which may have had a shot at being something more like romance. I backed away from a not so productive budding relationship I wasn't all that into and looked starry eyed toward someone I was. Of course instead of treading lightly with this new bloke, your favorite little poet went all sorts of enthusiastic bombshell, got excited, romantic, heart pitter pattery, and well - turned into maybe just actually really liking someone. And then she literally fell down rocks with him, scraped her knee, bruised her elbow and twisted her ankle. (Yes third person is easier with that admission.)

Now here's the deal. It felt precisely awful. Not the pain from the physical stumble exactly, or the weeklong healing of an adolescent scraped knee, but instead the emotion of the metaphor. The moment when I realized I might like a guy, I might want to know him more, I might have to get nervous about whether or not he might like me in return and that I could possibly fall for him was distractingly terrible. Literally unsettling, confusing, nauseating, and fundamentally unacceptable. So clearly I am not ready in any way to be dabbling in flirtation. I just don't have days to lose on whether or not a dude likes me.

I need to grace myself much more gently into this world of mutual courtship. I need to not tumble head first into fantasy of possibility but instead learn to have a first date. I need to find a medium and not just a hot or cold. At some point, I'm going to need to learn to trust without the desire to show and maybe overwhelm with my very full deck of cards on day one.

But now, today, this week, this month - is definitely not the time to try my hand at dating. I am not sure what it even means, and derailing cannot happen ever again. There are bigger mountains to climb right now, things I want to achieve, opportunity here for the grasping that I cannot ignore. I want to someday fall in love again and start anew but I am too afraid and that's not anything I can do safely quite yet. Falling head over barefoot heels for a guy, scraping my knee, and finding myself and likely my heart - black and blue, no matter how awesome he seems on first blush simply will not do.

I'm not yet ready and my alread bruised heart and freshly scraped knee will take a long time to heal.

Just a little poem

Just a little poem
to remind you that today is a day
when you can live,
you can love,
you can share something you have to give.

And even though there is no guarantee of positive return,
It's always better to embrace today with hope
than recall the disdain from the day before.

Because we are simple creatures
in an unecessarily complex web of life.
And needs are basic; kindness, respect
and most of all love.

Give if you can, take if you need.
and know that what did not happen yesterday,
and what may happen tomorrow
simply does not matter today.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Getting back to Naked with Chanel No 5

It's time to take a break again
from the things in life that confuse her most
and spend nights alone with Chanel Number 5.

And once calmed by the ritual
of a peacful scent
and on solid ground she finds her footing,
perhaps in a week, maybe a month
she will harken back to the creativity
that is so oft stolen away by alternative passion.

Because for her there is no medium
only on and off
and escalation of this passion
is found in her work and her play
and she will write for hours
and climb rocks until late in the night,
but rarely can these two forces co-exist for long.

So despite the flings that temporarily empower
igniting a creative and consuming flame
it is her own affection and self reflection
to which she must return
for a truly peaceful rest.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I am never settling down

So I am definitely not remotely interested in anything that might seem like a relationship and yet somehow I've found myself doing very girlfriend like things with someone that I care about but am definitely not into beyond the friends with benefits kinda status.I've made my thoughts on that habit clear to all - it doesn't work and you end up dating someone you don't like and eventually getting hurt by someone you shouldn't have cared about anyway. Once again my best friend has kinda nailed it - there is no medium for me, only on and off.

And then there is the unexpected railroading kinda guy who blasts in and I'm rendered positively twelve years old again. The ridiculous. The totally wrong in nearly every likely way, run the other direction quickly, and do not think twice kinda distraction that comes in the form of a good thinking, handsome looking, kind caring sorta guy. And so I am magneted but unsure if he is, unwilling to settle into wondering. Either he's all in or I'm al out.

But god knows, we as gals are taught to accept the medium. Taught to accept the simple or the ones who like us back even if only for today, but what guy sits in a bar and says - yeah she's maybe a five or a six but I'd totally date her because my clock is ticking and I'd better settle down? I mean seriously, who the eff says that?

And so maybe, I'm not looking for the five or the six, instead I'm looking for the knock my sox off eleven who doesn't make me wonder, doesn't leave me longing, the one that makes me want to climb cliffs at all hours of the night and for whom I would do almost anything to be the girlfriend type.Yep, woo me. I deserve it. The amount I have to offer, the ways I can give, and the ways I want to share are simply not worth any doubt of ambiguity. Because you wouldn't settle, and neither will I.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Heart on my sleeve

So its just a fact. I wear my heart on my sleeve and it's occasionally a bad thing and mostly a good thing.