Home Off the Range
September 18, 2013 § Leave a comment
The people in this photo gave me permission to use their images only if I gave them fake names and fields of endeavor. So we have, from left, Irish, who makes megaliths out of petrified wood to serve the religious needs of sheep; Rusty, who has designed a line of clothing for trucks including wheat grass skirts and solar battery sunbonnets; Cordelia, who runs a gopher circus in Eureka, CA; Polly, who writes American nightmares for expats; Eeelie, who collects the shadows of hands and feet for her occult art; Chiara, who writes apocalyptic flash fiction on the backs of fortune cookie fortunes; and Remora, a Detroit composer who creates dance music from the barking of feral dogs.
Missing from the picture is Crackle, who brings extinct animals to life by reading the works of Christopher Durang over the bones. I am, of course, Market, who has invented her life from whole cloth and sells it by the yard.
Home: back to work, tired (CFS), loved. The cats are on top of me all day and night. I’m trying to make time for Charles, but the animals are much more demanding. Not sure if I’ll ever dare leave them so long again.
Oh, yes, I will. There’s a residency in Brazil I have my eye on (8 weeks; they pay all, including airfare). Also Scotland, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden…
There are problems with the felines’ need for intimacy. Mouchette, on my lap, sniffed my mug of tea and then hissed at it: well, honey, hot is hot and hissing won’t help. Fitzroy amused himself last night by jumping back and forth over my body as I tried to fall asleep. Mouchette, curled up on my back, was angry at being disturbed and so I became the arena for a catfight. I’m getting used to being furniture; earlier, Charles, who likes to feed the cats where they are, put a dish of ground lamb on my stomach for Mouchette. My protests were ignored.
I’m able to work, but so far only dabbling in the pleasures of NYC in autumn. I’ve been on a few walks in the crisp air, and bought sweet corn, yellow wax beans and heirloom tomatoes at the farmer’s market. Tonight I’ll be at the Cathedral at a photography exhibition: Dog Bless You. Now I’m working a little, stroking the cats, reading the listings. My stomach is queasy. I want more coffee but would need to inject it in my veins. Why don’t they have that on the market yet?
The Met and MoMa have such delicious exhibitions, up and upcoming. The Met: Balthus: Girls and Cats; Venetian Glass; The American West in Bronze. MoMa: American Modern: Hopper to O’Keefe; Designing Modern Women; Walker Evans. In music, as always, far more than I can grasp but I’m most attracted to Chick Corea at the Blue Note next week and Tierney Sutton singing Joni Mitchell at the Jazz Standard in October. Plus all the musicians Charles has discovered who play at the little club in my nabe: The Bar Next Door. (And the fan list grows: Rebbie Jackson, Michael’s sister, stopped by Charles’ spot on 6th Avenue and told him to never stop playing.)
And let’s not forget apple and plum cake. That’s on the menu, as soon as I have the energy. Flour, butter, eggs, brown sugar, fruit, pecans, rum, a tablespoon of strong black coffee, ginger, nutmeg, a hint of vanilla….
Another classic from Robert Frost
After Apple Picking
My long two-pointed ladder’s sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still,
And there’s a barrel that I didn’t fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn’t pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.
I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and disappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing clear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.
And I keep hearing from the cellar bin
The rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking: I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it’s like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.
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