Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Giving Care


Up in the attic yellow elephants, who love to go places, dance tail to trunk on my well-worn suitcases. They wear square hats on their heads and gold rugs on their backs. Exotic flowers and bits of squiggle are printed all ‘round the red cloth background. I’m afraid they feel dreary with the dust and the motes, the awful old smell of boxes and bags of who knows what, that’s been who knows where, and besides, there’s barely any air up there.

Neglected, yes, but it can’t be helped. My life’s in a time when I’m sore needed and I’ve happily heeded, but those cases are sad. I think they’d say the blame’s on me-these years that they’ve been up and I’ve been down in this quite nice house. At least they’re close to one another. One’s right inside the other.

They are meant to go. They can roll, you know. Inside them are pockets, zippers, and netting for keeping my shampoo and small things from slipping. They’d grown used to my clothes, their scents and their folds. They hate the wait. I know they do ‘cause I do too. Yet, I dread the day we can again go play. Before we can leave, I’ll have had to grieve.

We will go again, to Argentina or Spain. I’ll unpack in Venice, within sight of San Marco. We might take a boat to Tierra del Fuego. We’ll go to Scandanavia, Istanbul and Moravia. Take ferries and trains, drive on highways and lanes, and when we stop for breath, I’ll mourn Dad’s death. Near a sea’s cool blue calm, I’ll mourn again for Mom.

Monday, November 23, 2009

In Your Face, Man

What was I thinking? Of course this is what Adam Lambert wants to do. He was born in 1982! Pop music performances have been about flash, shock, bumping and grinding and techno-wizardry since he was a baby.

I watched the American Music Awards last night. Yup. The whole thing. Glambert’s act, and I do mean act, was the finale. It was interesting, and certainly busy, and Adam and the dancers were intense and energetic as hell. But most of them seemed really angry for some reason. Maybe I misunderstood, but since I couldn’t make out the lyrics, I went by the facial expressions, costumes, choreography, noise, stuff like that. Other acts were furious, too, though. Lady GaGa killed a piano. Dunno why.

JayZ and Alicia Keys did that neat New York song. I liked that and I understood that it was meant to connect to the audience and it did. Seemed like everyone had a good time during that one. But later on, when Alicia Keys did her single, her piano got lifted into the air with wires. I think it may have spun, too. Odd, that.

Jennifer Lopez had a prize-fighter thing going on for awhile, then she did a tricky on-stage costume change to a gold mini-dress with wide hips à la 18th century hoop petticoats. Or, maybe it was a Star Trek reference. Poor lady fell on her bottom. Given what the choreographer was going for with that move, I’m not surprised J Lo blew it.

Whitney Houston didn’t try to dance around, but she had this supposedly spontaneous moment of being too overcome with the adulation she was receiving, for finally getting her act together, to continue singing. The pause would have seemed less engineered if all the strings and what-not hadn’t stopped on a dime when she did. They knew just when to start up again, too.

You know who I liked? I liked Green Day. They played their instruments and sang their song. Oh, there were soaring flames going on behind them, but at least they had the front of the stage to themselves.

I haven’t been into country music since the inglorious end of my drinking days, but Keith Urban made me feel better for a few minutes and Kelly Clarkson sang her heart out and, hell, I’ll say it, maintained her dignity.

Anyways, back to Adam Lambert. See, I fell for him when he sang Mad World on American Idol. His voice made me catch my breath and come to a full stop as I was passing through the living room and I didn’t breathe again until he finished the song. He moved me to the extent that I watched AI every week after that and when he didn’t win, I felt almost as bad about America as I did the night Bush got re-elected. I’m not saying that makes much sense, but there you go.

Then, last night? Didn’t like the song, couldn’t hear it in fact, thought the S&M and sex stuff was stupid, wished to hell he’d stand still for a second and just sing, and his eye make-up was all wrong. He glared at the camera at the end of his song and his eyes looked crossed.

So the thing is, is I must be old. Am I old and easily shocked? Not so much. After all, men and women were naked on stage together in Hair in 1967. The Boys in the Band premiered in 1968. Do I sound crotchety? Ah, hell. I suppose I do.

I haven’t lost faith in Adam Lambert. Well I’ve lost some faith, but not all. I think he can do it. No, I know he can because of the performances he gave last spring. Glambert can stir hearts, connect, create moments that are really worth sharing with everyone. Yep, everyone. Does he want to do that? Can’t say, really. I’ve heard, though, that he only wants to be a Pop star. Damn.

Nonnie Augustine

Friday, November 06, 2009

The Dice are Not to Blame

The Dice are Not To Blame

Ted swam far from shore with a bar of lead.
He loved it, you see, until he drowned dead.
Mick had a trick of giving his money
to heartless bosoms that called him honey.
Sharon kept caring for drinkers and dopers
gamblers and cheaters and whiners and mopers.
Benny saw double and never could tell
which one had substance and which was a shell.
Mick, Benny, Sharon, and poor dead Ted
had luck that sucked they frequently said.
I didn’t agree and suggested instead
that they didn’t have to sink; they could listen to me,
and let go of their lead when they swam in the sea.

Nonnie Augustine

Monday, August 24, 2009

A New Notion about an Old Story

A New Notion about an Old Story

A dark girl, quite poor, who might have been four,
leaned on a statue of a horse and his man.
(The rider rode him in place, but as if in a race.)
Her dress needed patching, her heart needed smoothing.
She’d tried to sell matches all the cold night,
but none noted her plight ‘til up to her came
a blond boy who was lame.

"Can you sell those, you think, for some food and
warm drink?" asked the boy who was bigger, and
dressed slightly better, but dirty as well. He’d
apples to sell.

"No, not a one. I want to be done."
Tears plopped from her eyes,
left streaks on her cheeks.

"Have an apple, why don't you? I've still these two.”
The boy gave the waif his well-polished
fruit and a back-pat to boot.

"Do you two like that horse? He's my favorite of
course," said a girl, almost grown, also out on her
own. Her eye was blacked but she'd a warm coat and
hat. "I come here at night, when my Dad's fists
fight. Whiskey's his curse and he's home getting
worse." She pulled the tot to her lap with a plop,
and claimed the lad's hand. One's smile warmed
another's, till all three loved each other.

The horse, soot-streaked marble, was truly a marvel.
His coat livened to touch. His head tossed
with his snort. The rider, a soldier, stretched,
laughed, and fetched the big girl and little.
He soothed them to settle in front of his saddle.
Then he scooped up the boy
(who whooped high with joy) and put him
behind him and they all fit just fine.
The horse stamped his feet, whinnied,
and leaped as far as the stars.

By and by they arrived at the dawn of a day
in a place deep in memory, where, so happily,
they stayed on with others who’d
been far lost, woozy from poverty,
and froze from frost. Graced, none found hurt,
meanness, nor dirt, were with grown-ups
who cared and children who shared.

Nonnie Augustine

Friday, May 08, 2009

Glambert Obsessed

One night when American Idol ran over into
Fringe's time slot, (which I watch, wishing it
were X Files) I caught Adam Lambert
singing “Mad World”. That night I became…

Glambert Obsessed

So anyways, if anyone out there wonders how a
woman of a certain age could possibly have such a
thing for Adam Lambert: Darlings, my obsession
with Adam is not about banging him. It's a highbrow,
lofty, genteel appreciation, on a purely aesthetic
level, for his talent.

Oh, I may have noticed his tall, supple body, his
blazing eyes, his boyish smile, his curvy ass. But
honestly, dear, it's not a sex thing. Nope.

Besides, even if he weren't gay, it's too complicated
to get tickets to the show at this point, raise enough
cash to bribe my way to a meet with him, and figure
out how to convince him to be alone with me for say,
two hours. So, he likes boys? What the hey? No skin
off my bones.

And another thing: I discovered, and no I won't go
into how I came to this knowledge, you'll just have to
trust me on this, but men who have sex with men
don't necessarily eschew sex with women. Sometimes
they just extra-ordinarily enjoy sex.

However, once they get into the same-sex thing, that
tends to make them members of a group that is
definitely not part of the group of men who do not do
it with other men. There was this time I visited a
Christoper Street bar in New York City and I met this
guy, and the rest of the story was, for me, an exciting,
memorable, and, well, hugely fun, evening. But that
was far away, long ago, and private.

So, go, Glambert! Sing your rock and roll heart out.
Straight or gay makes no difference to me…you're
too young for me anyway.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Linnet's Wings

My favorite online magazine (I'm the poetry editor) is live with its spring issue. We are going to have it available in print as well, and details about that are posted in the zine. This issue has a story I wrote about my Juilliard days. We haven't used our editors' work since the early issues of The Linnet's Wings, but this spring we decided, "what the hey?" I hope some of you read it. No, I hope all of you read it. 8-}

I listened to an NPR broadcast earlier this afternoon. Tiffany Christianson discussed her book, "Sick Girl Speaks," and I found her to be inspiring, indeed. She has lived with cystic fibrosis since she was a baby, and she has worked hard at living life with a disease. She said that she is not her disease, and discussed how she has learned to separate her symptoms from her spirit.

I want to read her book-because I don't do this. When I have angina, and I do, often, I succumb in spirit to the way I feel. It's as if I'm under the influence of something shameful. The constriction of my arteries becomes a constriction of my spirit and depresses me, but this woman who has had two lung transplants and lives with a daunting list of things that have gone wrong, recognizes them as problems with her body, only.

This is good stuff for anyone with chronic physical dysfunction. We may be people who allow our diseases to diminish us deeply, in our souls, if you will. Why do I, and some of you, do this? My coronary arteries are damaged; my "heart" need not be. Worth thinking about, eh?

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

My best day at Ramsey High School

It was April of my senior year, second period, French IV. The intercom interrupted Mrs. Plevin reading Moliere. There was nothing unusual about the annoying blare from the Principal's office, but they called my name, which had never happened before. I was told to call home immediately. I got my pass and raced down to the phone booth on the ground floor. By the time Mom answered my call, I had scared myself silly, but she said right away that she had good news and couldn't wait until I got home to tell me. I'd gotten my acceptance letter from the dance department at Juilliard! I was going to New York City! Oh,God, New Jersey,good-by! Finally!!!

Ahem...sorry for all the exclamation points. Later, after I got suburbia out of my system, and could think rationally about my high school years, I realized they could have been a lot worse. I just needed to get some perspective, you know?

From a Zoetrope discussion about probable scientific revelations regarding soul, spirit, God

Yes, well.

The explanation might be forthcoming, and when the people who are investigating explain these things (soul, spirit, God) to me, I'll listen, and I might even understand. Until then I'm happy enough referring to my mystery as my soul.

After the cop and I walked into my brother's trailer, (caravan in the UK?) and found Ric a day dead, my soul sickened, and it hasn't fully recovered.

I know when I danced on stage or alone in the studio, or when the answer to a choreographic phrase "came" to me, (sometimes it seemed directly from the music) my soul felt good, and somehow, big.

All my life there have been moments when my spirit has been shaken by the creativity of others, thank God.

Most of the time I go on with living without feeling moved much at all. But when something does touch me, it's my soul that's stirred. Science may well explain this someday.

When that happens, I might refer to my soul by it's new name, but I imagine I'll be old by then and I'll do what my 88 year-old father does. When there's a bit of new brilliance, he smiles, his eyebrows lift, he gives it a passing nod, and he lets it slide on by.

Akshually I'm glad this came up, and I'm gladder that I thought about it. I've been bored by my own brain lately. xxoononnie

Friday, February 20, 2009

TEXTURES, revised 2/20/09

Wear your grief like soft silk;
a shimmering air-light cloak against your skin.
Then, when the evening star glows
alone through blue-black light,
when perceptions loosen and solitude releases,
cover yourself in the purple velvet of queens and kings.
Let the weight drag against your limbs,
the heavy cloth round your shoulders
until you reach full stop.
Wait-then make the journey back through brocade, damask, satin-
sense again the silky, pliable
mourning-suit that allows you to move.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration, 09

A friend of mine, Donia Carey, wrote a few minutes ago about how fragile Elizabeth Alexander's fine poem seemed in the maelstrom of the inauguration and the drama of Obama's poetic speech. I thought fragile, too, was the John Williams piece, with it's Aaron Copeland theme, performed by that amazing quartet of musicians. Yo Yo Ma looked like he was having a fabulous time. That's what I love seeing: all these famous people, Obama supporters, looking so happy. Genuinely happy.

The stunning "plane landing safely in the Hudson river" incident seemed like a good omen for this new year, new administration. It so easily could have been tragic news; instead everyone came out of the crash landing and the frigid waters alive and pretty much well.

I'm fairly determined to have a positive attitude toward 2009. Open-minded, prepared for let-down, but hoping for good news. I keep comparing how I feel about things with how I most certainly would have felt if McCain/Palin were sworn in today.