Thursday, December 31, 2009

coupling


It's New Year's Eve again when my thoughts turn to failures and disappointments of not only the last year but the last decade. Why don't I concentrate on and celebrate the successes?  But instead my mind turns to the dark side...

Which brings me to something I noticed while visiting family during the holidays...and am especially aware of tonight...New Year's Eve, aka Couples Night. If you don't have a date for New Year's Eve is it really a fate worse than death?  In Florida I was keenly aware of the coupling of America.  I watched the care my mother gave my father after 54 years of marriage, met my sister's new beau who spent Christmas with us, marveled at the  lament of a 10-year old girl about boys in her class,  listened to the discussions of other married couples in my family and wondered about the homeless couple huddled together on a bench under an umbrella clinging to each other for warmth...I also went to four movies this vacation and all of them, if not directly about relationships, had some romantic content.  This includes the newest Disney film which had the usual prince/princess conflict to be resolved as well as a cajun firefly who was in love with a star he mistook for another firefly.  It's everywhere! And most of the time I'm okay with that but on New Year's Eve I start to feel the void, question whether I will always be the woman men love but are not in love with and if being just me will ever be enough?
"The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved... loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves."  - Victor Hugo

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

home for the holidays




Rules for a successful holiday:
1. Get together with the family
2. Relive old times
3. Get out before it blows   (Brian Andreas)

Friday, December 18, 2009

missing the guinea hen



 I have nothing left to give
since the  guinea hen disappeared.
I considered giving the magenta morning sky
 or the flock of geese in v-formation
 but instead I offer the gift of pain
because it is what I know best.
I will sit with you and shed light on
the charm of misery and despair,
that is yours  for a song.
Together we can sing the ballad
that will capture the anguish
and fill your soul with the
exquisite ache.
Then we will weep in somber unison
when the geese take flight
at first light through the pink skies of dawn


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Mickey G



 Mickey G. and me are lovers.
We are kissing under the stars.
His car will not run.
He fears I won’t love him,
so he chooses another.
She is strange and foreign.
Transvestites wearing pearls
crowd into the dimly-lit room.
I scurry away to the boulevard
where every person wears red.
Mikey G finds me there dressed in blue.
He holds me tight and
we float  into morning on a river of
sheets and pillows.




Sunday, November 29, 2009

Everyone carries around his own monsters

About a year ago I started on this project...still not finished but here's Chapter 1: 


video copyright Rhonda Prince 2009
Music Credits: Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da by The Beatles

Thursday, November 26, 2009

your voice



In my dream I was navigating uncharted territory,
totally susceptible to the influence of the full moon.
 In a small vessel floating through tainted waters,
I heard echoes of your voice and what you once said to me.
I tried to follow your voice in the distance but I can’t reach you.
Maybe you’re not there; it’s only your words shattering my soul.
 My boat takes me far out in to the crystal ocean, still and calm.
 Your song has ended but I hear moonbeams floating on the waves,
and the soft pleas of all the lost begging to be found.
I wait in my tiny vessel. I wait for time, I wait for change,
I wait…


Friday, November 13, 2009

voices and visions (for Brandon)


Intricate pattern-block designs
In primary hues,
“I haven’t been able to do
this sort of thing for about two years,”
They are not his patterns.
The voices from his past life
channel their creativity
through him.


The hippie jet has no missiles
It comes in peace.
Jesus is on the cross
even though
He is reincarnated, no
that’s not right…resurrected.


The butterfly becomes a rabbit
when there is nothing small
Enough to make the antennae
Look at the girl in a dress,
Bees sting, lions roar…
It just comes to him from
A place we cannot touch.


It has to be 720 because there
must be three digits
And then multiplied by 8
Can’t you see the puzzle?
Look inside the box this time
Because hexagons go on forever…

Saturday, November 7, 2009

silence of the goats


Okay, it's official now...
I am a total, certified,  card-carrying, hopeless sap. Why do I let movies do this to me? My daughter and I like to go to movies together. The tricky thing is she lives in Boca Raton, Florida. So we find movies that are playing at the same time and go together by cell phone until we reach the theater. Then travel home again via cell phone to discuss the movie. Sappy, I know! But we enjoy it. Tonight we went to see Men Who Stare At Goats. Great cast, great premise...was looking forward to a funny, escapist type movie. Seems I don't do escapist... I escape in the story but I still find meaning and relevance to my life in most everything, it's the same with books, always looking for that magical scene or sentence or even word that will transform me into 'being all I can be' (a catch phrase in the movie)...And all the important themes were there - failure, loss, taking risks, discovering your destiny, memento mori, belief, belief in yourself, belief in others, belief in something bigger than yourself, belief in the universe, all wrapped up in a laugh out loud cinematic treat. But then one of the characters, Bob, asked another character, Bill, the BIG question...the one I want an answer to more than anything else..."Do you believe in redemption?"  You'll have to see the movie to find out his response but as for me, at least for today, I'm going to believe in redemption. The challenge is finding my own personal redemption...and recognizing it for what it is...



Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What is art?






I saw a video clip of Ruby talking about her painting of an angel eating with her feet and she said that "sometimes something comes into your spirit-being and if you don't do it it follows you and follows you and follows you until you finally do it and then your spirit-being can be free."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

not there yet


Any life is made up of a single moment, the moment in which a man finds out, once and for all, who he is.                
                                             -Jorge Luis Borges

Saturday, October 31, 2009

lifeguard

I said I would post the picture of the lifeguard from Boca beach that I asked to take his picture.  Here he is.  He was looking away from the camera because I told him of my shyness when photographing people. He thought it would make me more comfortable if he was looking away. Isn't he sweet? After seeing it now I thought of what I would've done differently...isn't that the way...





Thursday, October 29, 2009

everything being a constant carnival...

Four days into a new work week and where's the clarity? Seems I need the open road in order to think clearly.



She rode sixteen ferris wheels
in one afternoon,
each one spinning
faster than the last.
Synchronized revolutions
of light and motion
left her shaken and wobbly.
She stumbled into an open field
where an old oak waited
to offer her refuge.
She was cradled in his
knotted limbs,
her head against
his coarse bark.
She begged to stay for 300 years,
there in the shady respite.
But as she slept the sounds of the
carnival plagued her rest.
Frenzied screams of terror
or delight interrupted
her dreams.
Unable to sleep she
left the comfort of the oak
and staggered drowsily
back to the fray,
back to the wild rides.
Buying sixteen more tickets,
and with a nod to the moon,
she mounted the ride,
braced herself against the side
and began to spin again...






Tuesday, October 27, 2009

day 8 - fly away home



Yes back in the car with my cd's and cameras. Many pictures yet to be developed and edited. The shots I missed preserved in memory. One of the lone zebra roaming in a herd of brown cows...why didn't I go back for that one? 

 Returning home with new resolve to face my problems and make changes.  You know how it is when you go away from your normal routine and suddenly there is clarity! THIS is what must be done...THIS is what needs to happen....THIS is what I will do now that I see things clearly.  You know how it goes...

I was listening to Don Quixote on the way home. Fighting his windmills and trying to right all the wrongs ...inspiring character even if he was a bit daft...aren't we all? He said that, "he was spurred on by the conviction that the world needed his immediate presence."  I don't think the world needs my immediate presence...but I do know I need to be present in my world...every day...every moment. 

The list of what I see clearly now is growing...so on to the work at hand...home is where I should be for now...

Monday, October 26, 2009

day 7 - nothing really

Day 7 was a quiet day. Nothing remarkable to speak or write about.  A little shopping, a little packing for the return trip, a little napping.  That evening we went through my mother's music collection.  She had all of her old vinyls that I remember from my childhood and some old cd's.  I played some Leonard Cohen for her. She said the old songs, from her youth, like Cohen's cover of Tennessee Waltz, just made her sad. 


I'm ready to go home, ready to stay, ready to make a change... 


Saturday, October 24, 2009

day 6 - being defensive

Today I attended a dissertation defense. Academia is a different world. They have their own set of rules and customs.  I felt like a stranger in a foreign land. Yes, I'm a teacher but these were the PhD's, the administrative staff of a college...those that discuss pedagogy and Paulo Freire with ease...


I was fascinated by the entire research methodology and thought I could apply it to my own life.  I began asking questions...a good first step for research, I think.  Then I was flooded by questions, hundreds of self-directed queries about myself and the path I'm on...what have I done with my life, what should I have done with my life, where am I going next, when does my life really begin, who said I had to do what I've done with my life, how can I change my life, why do I feel dissatisfied with my life etc., etc., ad nauseum, it went on in my head for hours.


Following the design of a phenomenological study  I found several central themes arising from the stream of questions. The themes were Who, What, Where, When, Why and How. Interestingly enough, those themes can also be my research questions. Now for collecting data and reaching a conclusion with a proposal for future research. Wow, will I then have a PhD in me?







Friday, October 23, 2009

day 5 - expanding horizons


Heading back across the state today to Tampa.  Before I left Boca Raton I went to the beach to take a few pictures.   A gate attendant at South Beach let me park for free. We talked for a few minutes and then she asked me if I could come back at 1:30 and have lunch with her. She had moved to Florida from Michigan and said she hadn't been able to meet anyone just to go out with for a bite to eat. She said I seemed so nice. I told her I did know someone in Boca who didn't work and was about her age, so she gave me her number and I promised to pass it on.  I  would never be able to do something like that, no matter how lonely I was...suffer in silence. I appreciated her bravery.  I hope she makes a friend soon...


 On the beach the waves, the sand,were refreshing.  I had a discussion with a friend this week about overanalyzing photography...thinking about it too much (especially when I want to photograph people) and then ending up talking myself out of taking it at all.  In the spirit of transformation I approached the lifeguard and asked if I could take his picture. I told him about my hesitancy to photograph people. He readily agreed...I wish I had taken the gate attendant's picture too...I will post his picture here when it is developed.  I was quite pleased with myself...


I continued my journey, back north on the Florida turnpike, then revisiting Yeehaw junction, then through mile after mile of rural Florida...cows, sod farms, wide open spaces...wait till you see Ruby's Folk Art and Produce Market...a hidden treasure in the middle of nowhere. I've been nowhere for some time now....hoping these travels into nowhere lead me somewhere...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

day 4 - Tiny Dancer revisited...

Today I travelled across the state to Boca Raton, the city of beige and pastel colors, the rat's mouth. I suppose it is the way a beach town should be....

On the way I discovered a little town called Yeehaw Junction. There was a building called Desert Inn that held the history of the town. Over the years it has been the jail, the saloon, a restaurant, and even a brothel. Yeehaw is Indian (west not east) for wolf because as late as 1920 there were rare dire wolves in the area. The town was once called Jackass Junction but when the Florida Turnpike was built the powers that be decided the name should be changed to something more sedate and polite.




Spent time with Tiny Dancer...dinner and 'Where the Wild Things Are" Great movie, the lines were so perfect we found ourselves repeating them over and over on the way home.



Not much to say today...just family time... falling asleep now...


Song for the day: How does it feel? How does it feel? To be on your own, With no direction home, Like a complete unknown, Like a rolling stone... (Bob Dylan)




Wednesday, October 21, 2009

day 3 - Gwendolyn and Leonard

I have an aunt who lives in Florida. Her name is Gwen. She is 79 years old. I have always loved and admired her. We are losing her bit by bit as Alzheimer's destroys her mind. Today I went to visit her. Upon arriving my mother told her who I was and she responded by taking my face in her hands and saying, "Of course, I know who she is!" She looked directly into my eyes with recognition and love. I don't expect her to be able to do that much longer but today she knew me. I would like to share a story Aunt Gwen told me. I should preface this recollection with the fact that my mother's family lived in poverty in rural Tennessee in the 30's and 40's. Their father, my granfather, was a moonshiner, a gambler, an adulterer, a bigamist and a child abuser.

Imagine a young girl, grammar school age, joining her siblings to hold their mother down on the wooden floor of their small house. They were trying to prevent her from charging out of the house with a gun to shoot their father. My grandmother had just found out that her husband was living with another woman. She was hurt and angry. As they struggled and pleaded with her there was a knock on the door. My aunt realized it was a peddler at the door. A few weeks earlier a contest had begun at school. There would be a prize for the student who had the cleanest teeth. My aunt was determined to win. But the only toothbrush she had was a stick from the hickory tree. She wanted to buy a real toothbrush but there was no money then for such luxuries. She had arranged to trade the peddler wild blueberries for the toothbrush she wanted. She had spent most of her day in the woods picking buckets full of juicy blueberries. When she heard the knock she faced a dilemma, should she let go of her mother or go let the peddler in to make the trade? She paused only a second before she went to the door to give the blueberries to the peddler and retrieve her toothbrush. She did win the contest. I don't know what the prize was and neither did she. Years later, when she was 13, she married a 36 year old man who carried her to Florida to be his bride. She smiles as she remembers this and says he thought she was 16. They were married, raised children and loved each other for over 50 years. Sometimes she forgets he is gone and sets a place for him at the breakfast table.







Tonight I went to a Leonard Cohen concert...Gwen and Leo...aging icons of a more graceful time...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Day 2


Under close scrutiny

she came unraveled

trying to hold secrets

that weren't hers to keep.



Poked and prodded by

strange instruments meant

to cure her of her ills,

she receded further into

silence.



Dreams of gnarled hands,

poisonous snakes and

paths that never end

haunted her sleep.


Her only plan was

to return to the

edge of the precipice

and hope for

forward motion.







Sunday, October 18, 2009

Road Trip - Day One

The week before I left was filled with a multitude of signs and omens. My problem was I couldn't decide whether they were telling me to cancel my trip and stay home or leave earlier than I planned in order to escape. The week was filled with emotional drama, financial woes, a trip to the ER for an injured knee, and finally a core-shattering disaster... it was all too much...but plans had been made, people were expecting me..I had to leave. Day one dawned fair and bright and within the first 100 miles I felt such freedom, such release...in fact, I may become a modern-day nomad, living out of my car, traveling for pillar to post seeking my bliss. Yes the problems left behind rose to the surface but I could keep them from drowning me with a myriad of distracting rituals...mantras...music...books on cd...often opening every window and letting the fresh air blow away the cobwebs...


Thought for the day: I must learn to 'sacrifice my attachment to limitations and illusion...'
(John Major Jenkins)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

this way out



I want to be lost,

adrift in the silence of om,

floundering in peril,

forgetting past blunders,

breaking old patterns,

mystified by the beauty of the puzzle.

I want to love the bewildered,

study their aimless truth,

follow their disoriented paths,

hold tight their hands as we

leap into the baffling rift,

between now and forever.

I want to travel in confusion,

go astray into dark rooms,

where others fear to enter,

to find the secrets of the forlorn,

in the haven of the perplexed.

And there I will find rest.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

wild dogs


Enough already
she told me to say.
He said to end my
attraction to the past
and find adventure.
He touched her
pink shirt with
warm fingers of love
and I finally knew
he was where he should be.
Leaving me with the cobbler,
staring at my shoes,
and calculating the cost
before I even asked.
finding what I need while
smoking cigarettes and
drinking whiskey.
the moon coaxing me
to leave myself and
run with the wild dogs,
in search of the lost path.
If you hear my story
cry for me,
smile for me
rescue me...

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Now showing...

photo © Alfredo Muñoz de Oliveira

One of the things I enjoy most about photography (besides taking pictures) is the community of photographers I have met and correspond with from all over the world. Today I was pleased to present Alfredo Muñoz de Oliveira and his amazing work. Check it out if you have the time!

Monday, September 28, 2009

beloved be the one who sits down


Today I am staying home from work recovering from a cold or the flu or something...watching the dark comedy, Songs from the Second Floor inspired by the poem Stumble Between Two Stars by Cesar Vallejo:

Beloved be the unknown man and his wife.
My fellow man with sleeves, neck and eyes!
Beloved be the one who sleeps on his back.
The one who wears
a torn shoe in the rain.
Beloved be the bald man without hat.
The one who catches a finger in a door.
Beloved be the one who sweats out of pain or out of shame.
The one who pays with
what he does not have...
Beloved be the ones who sit down.
Beloved be the one who works by the day, by the month, by the hour.
Beloved be the one who sweats out of pain or out of shame.
The person who goes, at the order
of his hands, to the movies.
The one who pays with what he does not have...
The one who sleeps on his back.

The one who no longer remembers
his childhood.
Beloved be the one
who sits down.
Beloved be the just man without thorns.
The bald man without hat.

The thief without roses.

The one who wears a watch
and has seen God.
The one who has honor and does not die!

Monday, September 21, 2009

mar adentro

Count your blessings,
he scolded me sternly
Stop complaining.
Remember how easy
your life is…

But still the waves
swell and surge.
Dark clouds drape
the eastern sky.
The colors of the sea
fading as I
am carried further
from the shore.


Saturday, September 5, 2009

unsuited


I’m not suited for this.
Maybe some day I will be,
I cannot name the year or time.
Certainly I fear my soul will shun peace
Until that moment breaks.

But if escape offers some reprieve,
I will gratefully embrace its bounty.
I eagerly await its arrival to divert
The yellow noise of distraction
Into the calm blues of flight

I will return to the ample expanse
Where following breath leads to
Quiet void, most excellent and fair.
And finally sends me back to exquisite pain,
The customary price for touching bliss.

Monday, August 24, 2009

"It's always darkest just before it goes pitch black"


Storm's a' comin'... I can feel it.
My body braced for the
full impact.
I can't control the weather.

All I can do is adjust the thermostat
inside
my head.

So I'm boarding the windows,
battening the
hatches,
securing the valuables
in preparation
for the squall.
Then again, maybe I should let
it all
blow away in a cyclonic clearing of
the debris...

The gale-force winds could destroy me
or
allow something new to emerge
from the
wreckage.
The goal and my current mantra
is to
surrender to opportunity...


Monday, August 17, 2009

one single solitary day

Today was indeed an auspicious day! Not only was it my birthday on the Gregorian calendar it was also my Mayan birthday. I'm told this does not happen very often in one's lifetime. I didn't find out until the end of the day but I wished I had known earlier. I would've planned differently for the day...I'm not sure how but I would've used this opportunity in some spectacular fashion. As it is, my family and friends made this a wonderful day. And tonight I saved a life. My friend took me to dinner and as we enjoyed our meal, suddenly she choked on a piece of meat. She was choking and motioning to me that she could not breathe. I went behind her to perform the Heimlich Maneuver. I've never done the Heimlich Maneuver...my mind was racing to remember long ago first aid classes...thinking that I sure hoped someone in the crowded restaurant knew the Heimlich in case I failed. I stood behind her and wrapped my arms around her and squeezed gently...she was still choking. So I took my fist and pressed harder, sending the lodged piece of meat flying across the table...just like in the movies! The strange thing was that no one at the neighboring tables or any of the service staff noticed. It was like we were in a bubble...facing death...conquering death...laughing at the joy of being alive. It was an auspicious day. Gregorian birthday, Mayan birthday, saved a life...I'm sure it is the beginning of change...it must be...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

balance


It's my biggest challenge...finding balance admist all the chaos. I have elaborate plans for finding balance that tend to burn bright for a brief moment, then sputter and become ash. I have this hope that in the ashes there are tiny sparks that can be kindled into a flame again. This morning I rose before dark to do yoga with my favorite yoga teacher. It was incredible and exactly what I needed. If I could just hold on to that feeling all day I would be centered, calm, peaceful...and stress would roll off my back effortlessly. It's a dream...

During yoga this morning we used a visualization of my heart being an ocean, breathing into that ocean, watching it expand past the borders of my physical self to include everything, the breaths being the waves rising and falling...and if negative thoughts entered my mind I was to imagine them as raindrops falling into the ocean...flowing into the current...not disturbing the water or the ebb and flow of the waves...drifting away into nothingness. In the quiet, dimly lit room before sunrise it was easy to lose myself in that ocean...at one with the universe for a fleeting instant...later at work I've tried over and over to bring that image back into my consciousness but instead the ocean has become a stagnant pool of negativity and self-doubt but I will continue to breathe and seek balance and try to float out to a tiny island where I will find peace....

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

following my own voice



Because I was born so late in life
I am afraid I will never catch up
I will always be running hurriedly
To try and retrieve missed opportunities
But will feel like I am plodding
Taking two steps backward for each
one step forward.
Because I was born too late in life
And will surely never catch up
I must steal the adventures of the
Fearless and live vicariously
Through their exploits and follies
Lamenting the loss of my own life
Finding solace in back streets and alleys
Because I was born late in life
I fear I will never catch up
So I listen for the whispers in the night
Hoping for that one still small voice
That will guide me through the
Twists and turns of this existence
And maybe even sound a little bit like me..

Saturday, August 8, 2009

in a buk mood

there's a bluebird in my heart that wants to get out but I'm too tough for him,I say, stay in there, I'm not going to let anybody see you. there's a bluebird in my heart that wants to get out but I pour whiskey on him and inhale cigarette smoke and the whores and the bartenders and the grocery clerks never know that he's in there. there's a bluebird in my heart that wants to get out but I'm too tough for him, I say, stay down, do you want to mess me up? you want to screw up the works? you want to blow my book sales in Europe? there's a bluebird in my heart that wants to get out but I'm too clever, I only let him out at night sometimes when everybody's asleep. I say, I know that you're there, so don't be sad. then I put him back, but he's singing a little in there, I haven't quite let him die and we sleep together like that with our secret pact and it's nice enough to make a man weep, but I don't weep, do you? - Charles Bukowski

Saturday, August 1, 2009

What I did on my summer vacation

Music: Shining in the Light by Page and Plant

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

dusty mall ball

This week I did something I haven't done in years. I entered a mall. Almost like an out-of-body experience bringing back memories of a life I no longer live. It's true what Alice said: "...it's no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then."

Sunday, July 26, 2009

a new day



Somehow the bright sun filled the room,

though windows were closed and curtains drawn.

The light crawled in through cracks and crannies

and spread through the darkened room,

as quickly as water flows from a broken glass.


With nowhere to hide and everything revealed,

The people donned bright clothes and festive hats.

Celebrations continued all day and through the night.

Joyous music spilled out of the windows and into the street.

Merriment overflowed from the room, floating in the night air.


Pachyderms and hyenas danced together in the mist.

The taste of contentment was sipped from every glass.

Revelers began to tire and curl up in the sunlit room to rest.

All is quiet; all is bright as sleep fell over the space.

They dreamt of the sun and the way it sparkles on the dew.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

mango meditation II or the Tibetan Singing Bowl Strikes Again

The silence was swirling

around my head like smoke.

There was no movement

except for the branches

of the tree swaying slightly

in the breeze

I reached to pull a piece

of fruit off the tree

when suddenly a mad goose

began pecking at my feet

He was fiercely attacking

my ankles and legs.

I tried to step away.

But every turn brought him

closer.

I fed him red clover and stroked

his feathered head.

He ran away to fight other battles

leaving me in silence again.