Scattered as sequined light

I haven’t been doing the reading I mean to be, but that’s the holidays. At once wonderful and utterly distracting.  In paging through  my notes though, I find snippets of text that I felt the urge to scrawl across the graphed paper.  I think my favorite find is quoted from a quoted passage, so I can take very little responsibility for finding it.  In the introduction to “Coming to Writing” (Cixous, who else?) Susan Rubin Sleiman writes about Cixous’ awareness of Kafka, and quotes an oft quoted (by Cixous) passage: Limonade es war alles so grenzenlos. Lemonade, everything was so infinite, so boundless.

I like the idea of boundlessness.  Infinite scares me; it is utterly inconceivable.  I can’t help but think of the allegory (that of course I can’t source): if a bird were to come to a mountain once a century, and scrape at the top with its beak, by the time the mountain has worn to nothing only a moment will have passed in infinity.  I think it’s an allegory for time in hell or heaven, but I keep reading about the universe, and it seems to work in the grand scope of everything.  The time to reach the far stars, the ones so far flung  we haven’t even imagined them yet.  Or we are far flung. Either way. Things are far.  Distance stretches between the bodies I know and even that is minute compared to the actual way things are.  Our bodies small fragile things, easily broken.  

Yet our bodies exist, and they are what we have.  We are brought into painful awareness of our body’s boundaries daily- when the knife that safely cut vegetables slips into the soft flesh of a thumb as the cutting board tips (not a Plath reference, as the band-aid wrapped around my thumb can attest.) The cold blast of winter on exposed cheek bones.  Boundaries that aren’t political and aren’t drawn up arbitrarily but are functional and essential.  I wrote here about learning to be alone beside someone- together alone.  [Oh bodies. The small but insurmountable distance.]  

Everything was so infinite. 

outside Hooverville


Third Ave, Seattle

A bit of holiday shopping today, and happened to park (most carefully, with full awareness of signs and the proper paid sticker affixed to the window) in front of Free Sheep Free on Third Ave.  In the window of what looked like an abandoned building was a beautiful instillation that makes me want to make art again.  I go through waves, where words are enough and then again they aren’t, and right now they aren’t.  I don’t have a photo of what I saw though.  It wouldn’t do it justice, not really.  There were three elements, connected with red string.  On the wall, a series of ink drawings, both of birds and of other bird-like things, each connected to a red string.  Beside that, a quilt with a multi-dimensional bird, it’s chest open and the organs quilted and sewn.  It was like seeing something I wanted to make but never knew about.  Red string from bits there too, and the strings sagged forward to a table with a bird on it.  Taxidermied I think, but still looked like road kill. (Again, it was beautiful, so don’t think of the smashing things with maggots, though there was a bit of that sort of impression.  Perhaps I am just drawn to grotesque. The fine line between grotesque and beauty.)  The strings were to pieces, the leg tied to the ink drawing of the leg, the heart to the heart to the drawing of a girl.  I want to meet the artist who created this instillation, but the font was a bit illegible and the space is only open on Fridays from 12-6.  If I bustle, perhaps I can make it from work the Friday after next, but I doubt it.  What amazed me most was the quilt, and I thought how shoddy my dresses always were; the edges raw because I have no patience, not because of intention.  I am trying to be more intentional these days.  Trying to put more effort forward, to create things finely instead of slap-dash.  

Again, and I only thought of this now, I run into the black birds of Seattle.  This place is black birds to me.  The black that isn’t black but mirrored sky on shimmered wings.  The lift and settle.  The shadows and sun and the delicate curve of hollow bones.  How strange that I wrote a sequence of birds, a bird becoming woman, and then here I find them surrounding my body.  

Excerpt from the series After:


I woke

and thought I was home


against the glass of your bedroom window

            a bird crashed  again and again

            the awful sound

            of beak against glass


I was not home


I sit beside the window

half hoping the bird will return


I am that lonely here   waiting for another impact

Bird on Wire

Quick Shifts

Tree at Marymoor Park

This morning the sun was almost painful, brilliant against the lake as I ran.  It was like this a few days ago as well, but I was out earlier and the sun seemed more poured against the land than just blazing.  Today, at a later time and higher arc, it was almost too much.  I still have to take pictures along the trail, but I haven’t yet.  Lou had to go to an appointment in Redmond, and she dropped me off at Marymoor Park to wait.  The sun was bright and warm against my back and I found a picnic table beside a park and among the evergreens.  By the time she picked me back up it was the grey of clouds right before rain, and the wind had picked up to cut right through my optimistic skirt. The weather shifts almost instantly here. And I love it, even if I do get caught in the rain or with too many layers on beneath sun.  I’ve been working on Body of Climates with Dave and his friend for a few weeks now, and I wasn’t really sure how much continuous text could be written about the weather.  It was (and is) an experiment, and I think it’s working well.  I don’t find weather to be a banal topic of conversation in the least.  For me, the weather is a way to share the world I’m in with other people.  Some people don’t want to talk about the weather, but it’s around me constantly, and I can’t help but fixate.  One of the advantages of working the admissions desk at the Museum of Flight is the large glass wall that’s to the right of us.  We can watch the weather change and still be protected.  There are still some leaves left on the trees, and when it’s sunny the yellow glows against the dark brown of trunks and soil.  Often there will be sun against the ground and grey clouds in the sky and it reminds me, for some reason, of plunging into a cool pool.  I think I am easily swayed into water so I can find similarities easily, but the contrast of the hills to sky is like that of warm skin and the sudden and pleasurable shock of water surrounding you.  Yesterday the sky was a pale robin’s egg but clouds hung low and around us, turning into downright fog by the evening.  It’s these contrasts and juxtapositions that I love here.  

river near the gates at Marymoor

I wish I could write more, but I haven’t been reading as much as I’d like to be.  I’ve been finishing up Through a Universe Darkly, and I have a bit more incentive to finally get through it because I know someone to lend it to now.  Lots of information about nutrinos and telescopes filled with bleach at the moment, but Bartusiak writes about it better than I can.  I do, however, want to find the engravings that Thomas Wright used to depict the Milky Way as a disk of stars.  The image credit puts says they appear by permission of the Durham University Library, so maybe I can find a way to ILL them.  Photocopies plus a transfer marker would be great fun with my collages.