I love James Brown. But I realize I can take a number. This is sort of like saying you like Paris in the spring, or enjoy strawberries covered in chocolate. It’s easy to like great classics of any kind.
But I came to James Brown a bit late. My intro to soul music was the Supremes when I was quite young. I went back to roots a bit more slowly. My life has been plagued by what I’ll call “secondary sources.” That is, I thought the Doors wrote “Whiskey Bar.” I thought Blood Sweat and Tears wrote “God Bless The Child.” I thought T.S. Eliot wrote “Those are pearls that were his eyes.” O.K. I was ignorant. I probably heard Tower of Power sing “I’ll still be diggin on James Brown” before I really knew James Brown.
But that was long ago. I’ve been dancing to James Brown for decades, once very embarrassingly so. Clad in some less than attractive sweats, I was jumping up and down going “shake your money maker” when my young teen daughter poked her head in and recoiled in horror. “I know it’s not worth much,” I had to say, to her continued disgust. “Oh, get out,” I said. And she fled.
So it was a thrill to see the bridge dedicated to James Brown in Steamboat Spring, Colorado.
It is totally nondescript, in this otherwise charming tourist town.
You can read some back story at http://www.denverpost.com/ci_4900392
And you can get up off of that thing and dance and you’ll feel better.
you left me
at the scenic view
notes in the shade–
exists only as motion–
A public park can house a monument to the war dead or civic pride, or, as in Fruita, Colorado, it can have a dinosaur.
This part of the Colorado Plateau houses layers rich in dinosaur remains from the Jurassic. And so fake dinos abound. And amusingly, most of the fake dinos are neatly fenced in as if to keep the from escaping.
How did giant ferocious reptiles come to represent human childhood?
And what is behind those lovely hanging baskets in Vernal, Utah?
This might be slightly more realistic, as it is at the entrance of the incredible Dinosaur National Monument, an enormous quarry of fossilized bones.
The actual bakery, where we had breakfast in Mancos, Colorado. And an exact replica in a tiny box by the cash register.
Do I see myself in miniature eating oatmeal?
A nice start to a road trip: deviled eggs.
At a favorite stop–Echo Amphitheater.
Would I appreciate it it more if it were further away? Well, I DO appreciate it.
Simple deviled eggs:
Hard boil eggs
Take out yolks
Mix with mayo and mustard
Sprinkle with paprika
Pack in cooler
Eat as snack in 1 1/2 hours
Go to Cajun place in Pagosa Springs for full lunch because it is too hot to picnic
I was in the Dallas airport a few years ago. Not unusual. For three decades I’d visited my parents, progressively older and frailer, changing in Dallas.
I bought a paperback and a candy bar at one of the little newsstand concessions. The cashier was a dazzling tall blond, maybe in her thirties, with cold blue eyes. But her accent wasn’t Scandinavian, I couldn’t place it.
“So where are you from?” I asked. This question has often led me into interesting conversations with strangers. But this conversation wasn’t going in that direction.
She looked…blank, horrified, grief stricken. “You won’t have heard of it,” she said.
“It isn’t there any more,” she said. “It’s gone.”
And then repeated, “It’s gone.”
Between that first and second statement I got something. “It” wasn’t just gone. “They” were gone too. People. Family. Friends. Neighbors. Gone.
She turned away. I went to my gate.
Over time, I’ve wondered where this place was. The Balkans, I’ve concluded. Some part of Bosnia. Or the idea of a nation like Yugoslavia. She sounded a little bit eastern European. What’s gone? I look at the map.
What’s gone—the borderlands of my grandparents in the Ukraine, the Jewish lower east side, a parochial New Jersey, my childhood, the person I was before I got sick, the person I would have been if I’d stayed on the east coast, my first husband…no, this isn’t what I mean. It’s not gone because I can remember, and what I don’t remember I invent and believe to be true.
So much of what I’m writing these days poses troubling questions. What subject matter is truly mine? Does what I observed—perhaps innocently, no doubt partially—about other people count? What about the things in my inheritance that I’ve tried to distance myself from? The easy answer is to say-—yes, it is all mine. But I’m not ready to rest there.
Where do I place my mind, my intention, my imagination.
What happened to the blond woman at the newsstand was history. And I on the outside, asking the unanswerable.
For those of you in New Mexico and elsewhere who have been enjoying the western sky at sunset, here is a haiku from Angelee Deodhar in India:
too parched to intone
The Indian poet Angelee Deodhar has a knack for extending text by adding images. I’m always touched to get a piece from her where she’s used my work–it is like a fun postcard. She just sent me this. My tanka is from the Atomic Era anthology and she combined it with the image, credited here.
Click to enlarge.
A haiku plus art is a haiga. I’ve just discovered that a haibun plus image is a new form called haibunga. And since a haibun is a haiku plus prose, I guess a haibunga really has three elements. It’s very exciting to see these developments in the international community that writes haiku and tanka.
Does anyone know, is there an official name for tanka plus image? Tanka and prose just tends to get called tanka prose. These forms began as traditional Japanese ones, but have migrated, taken off, mutated, and exploded in many languages in the 21st century. They’ve changed so much, yet often retain a flavor or lineage connection to their roots. It’s unusual to see new forms being born–kind of like islands built by volcanoes.
Number Play: a collective list, all about numbers
1 earplug on the floor of our car after my husband took the kids to the Weird Al concert
5 text messages from my husband, asking if our son’s baseball game was rained out
6 minutes before I remember to take the tea bag out of the mug
10 times my thoughts have wandered today to contemplating my life’s purpose, and I still don’t have an answer
4 keyboards sitting in my office, but only 1 works