Monday, June 30, 2003

It's Alright Ma, I'm Only Rambling

It's been a challenge to park (and work) in downtown Minneapolis. I can park across Washington Avenue for $4 a day and walk a mile to work or I can park at the Armory for $7 and walk a couple of blocks. As much as I love a good walk or two I must admit that commerce has won out over the merits of good exercise more than I'd allow in most other areas of my so called life.

The other day I was walking past where they are sandblasting something in connection with the Hiawatha Light Rail project and a random, unexpected thought popped into my tired wee little brain: My Mom worked hard her entire life. She had jobs I'm sure didn't always meet her expectations but she seldom complained. She probably could have done more professionally but she sacrificed that to raise her family. No doubt it was a valid choice (one I'm personally thankful for) but it makes it seem even more cruel that just as she was getting into her retirement: planning some travel out east, learning how to use a computer and the Internet, was just when she got sick and in a way didn't get to enjoy the fruits of her labor that she worked so hard for all those years.

So as I was walking to another day of just another day at work it struck me how much, how terribly much I wish Mom were still alive. And it's a feeling I'm not terribly sure will ever completely go away (nor should it). Whether or not that is a healthy thing I'll leave up to the medical experts and theologians to decide.

The world has changed a lot in the past four years. Some might argue for Americans it has changed more in the past four years than any other time. Maybe we were taking our country, our freedom and all else that is supposed to be what we all are supposed to stand united for, for granted, but since that awful night when Mom breathed her final breath we've seen a President essentially appointed by the Supreme Court usurping the way we usually elect the most powerful Man on Earth; we've seen a horrible attack that killed too many; we've seen another great LP by Bob Dylan and the end of the most significant TV series ever, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In the Maeda family alone we've seen the addition of three cuter than cute kids (two of them twins!). We've also seen a few graduations and the deaths of three beloved pets, Ralph, Abaca, and Max (and the corresponding replacements of sorts, Sylvia, Diego, and Thompson). Perspective is as perspective allows.

And I never stop to wonder what Mom would have thought about any of this. Certainly none of it would have changed but somehow all of it would have been different.

Four years ago Mom died as I held her hand pretending if I held tightly enough she somehow couldn't die. In the room were my Dad, my sister Donna, my brother Bruce, and the only bad hospice nurse that helped take care of Mom. As Mom let out her last gasp of breath a moment of silence passed and Dad finally asked if that was indeed it. The chubby nurse nodded and surprise to me (and I'm sure all in the room) I started sobbing. I prepared myself the best I could but somehow the best I could wasn't good enough. Dad came over and told me that we would get through this somehow. And we have. And I knew we would. I knew there was little choice.

Four years later as the Minnesota Twins rose from the ashes of massive local indifference and fielded a terrific team for the past few years I can't help but wonder how much Mom would have enjoyed this team that plays the game the way it is meant to be played. I can't help but wonder how happy Mom would be that Dad continues to come out and watch my softball games. I can't help but wonder how Mom would have cared that I happened to reconnect with my soulmate days after September 11 if only for a moment. I wonder what Mom would have said as I left my ideal job for a secure one (of sorts). I can't help but wonder how proud Mom would be of the irresistible twins born to my Brother and his Wife. I can't help but wonder how Mom could have comforted me when I had to take Mr. Max into the vet for the final time because he was in distress and couldn't breathe and my friend Amy came along and hugged me as the life left Max's body and how though it was small comfort it was so comforting to have a friend who wanted to be there with me. I wonder what Mom would have said to let me know how it was the right thing to do to let two others into my heart despite the heartache- especially since one is so lucky to still be here (and we all should take that to note and never forget it).

The steps of a wannabe walker have slowed down a bit the past four years (1,200+ days). I've switched jobs a couple of times. I haven't been the best family member I can be. I haven't written anything of significance, or anything I'm proud to have written in a long long while. Sometimes I still know I'm not where I want to be or where I should be. And above it all, I haven't visited the place where Mom's ashes rest as often as I should especially since it is so close to the place I now call home. I wonder what Mom would make of all this when I slowly take another step forward.

Fairly Obvious

"Well it's all right even when you're old and gray/Well it's all right, you still got something to say..."
-the Traveling Wilburys

If ever there was a more obvious example of forces conspiring together to lead one into an apparent(?) middle aged crisis(?), I would need elaborate damning detailed documentation to believe so.

It all began (as it sadly seldom does anymore) with a dream. It was one of those just before you wake up, half awake, half asleep, all groggy and all delirious dreams. I was back in grade school at the night of an actual play my classmates and I had put together to celebrate the nation's bicentennial. Since I was really one of three trumpet players (and one of two who could actually get a sound out of the instrument) I was selected to play the part of the unknown (and I presume) lost bugle boy who stands over and sees the already fought over battleground and plays as close of a rendition to "Taps" as he knows. My Mom had sewn me a 1776 like red, white, and blue patriotic uniform complete with knickers! Just as I was puckering up to re-perform in gruesome detail my dirge like version of the anthem to the dead, I woke up 27 years later in my bed with a three legged cat howling away for me to get up already.

The only thing unusual on my docket for the day was a visit the dentist to have a crown installed over a cracked tooth. The tooth had been cracked for about half a year due to a switch in jobs and corresponding switch in dental insurance. I also had made the request that my Dad, who has made crowns and bridges for nearly 50 years be allowed to make a crown for me. I already had two examples of his work in my mouth so I didn't think it would be that big a deal. But to get HealthPartners to sign off on this procedure was well, it was like pulling teeth.

One dentist outright said it wasn't allowed- that family members couldn't have anything to do with medical or dental procedures. But since I had it done in the past I called up the ladder until someone at the administrative offices had the legal people look at the contract and found nothing prohibiting this dental procedure.

Now in the mean time I tried to chew most of my meals and snacks on the other side of my mouth because occasionally when I would chomp down on the cracked tooth it would send a shooting pain up the side of my head that felt like I had been hit in the noggin by a Dontrelle Willis fastball.

The crown installation of course was a two part procedure. First they had to file back the existing tooth and take an impression of the remains for my Dad to make a gold crown that would fit snuggly over the tooth. Having the initial procedure performed a couple of weeks back I now was facing the day of reckoning the latter service of actually getting a new body part that will hopefully last me the rest of my life. I was particularly saint-like to the kitties and my co-workers that day figuring I shouldn't give anyone upstairs a reason for further retribution.

It didn't take long for Dr. Maland to pop the crown on my tooth. Before he arrived the hygienist had tried to fit it on and dropped it in the back of my mouth. Luckily I didn't swallow it.

Dinner that night was particularly enjoyed. I had nearly forgotten how nice it was to be able to chew on both sides of my mouth. As luck would have it the next night as I was getting ready for bed I was flossing my teeth and I was working on the upper opposite side from my new crown and as I was flossing around an old crown it popped off. I haven't always been blessed with the best of luck but this seemed a little cruel. Still I decided to look at it as a glass half full thing and thanked my lucky stars that it happened when it did. I figured if it had happened a couple of nights before I wouldn't have been able to eat on either side of my mouth.

The next morning my in-line skating fiend/friend/ boss was telling me that due to her breaking in of her new fancy Italian hand-made skates (cut below the ankle to allow maximum speed) she was losing a couple of her toenails. I told her it was probably better to lose toenails than teeth. Toenails may hurt more but when you start losing your teeth you can't help but feel a bit like you're getting up there in age. And thus a midlife crisis was born.

A little while later I was waiting outside the Dome waiting for the blue-eyed intern to arrive since I had an extra ticket for the Twins' game. The sky looked threatening and thunder boomed in the distance. I was sitting on some benches outside Gate F. On the bench next to mine a young woman too was waiting for someone and she was smart enough to bring along some reading material. In between the two benches stood two elderly women, apparently not together, who were also waiting for their prospective seatmates to arrive.

A few raindrops began to fall and the young woman and I were prepared as we opened up our umbrellas. The two elderly women had empty hands. Immediately the young woman offered to share her umbrella with the elderly woman closest to her. That left me in an awkward position. I didn't want to share. I wanted my space and I couldn't help but feel a bit smug and superior. The skies had looked pretty gray all evening and I had taken the steps to prepare myself even though it meant I would have to lug the umbrella into the game with me. Darn if I was about to share. So the elderly woman next to me was made to stand in the increasingly hard falling rain. And the cranky lil Japanese fellow on the bench next to her was content to realize he was indeed turning into a cranky old man, unwilling to bend to the world outside.

No one said I'd age gracefully.

The cover of Liz Phair's new CD, Liz Phair, shows a picture of Liz, hair swirled around her eyes, legs spread far apart, privates hidden behind her guitar. It could be argued that never has a CD cover better described the music pertained within. An artist that can be as brutally open as any teases but ultimately reveals very little in most of her new songs. When I got the CD and looked at it a question immediately came to mind: When exactly did Liz become Samantha Fox?

The CD has been the recipient of some of the most vitriolic reviews I've ever read (including one from the New York Times and so it must be true!). I even read one review that said it is one of the worst CDs ever released. While it's clear upon initial listening that it isn't exactly vintage Liz Phair it also isn't the worst thing that has ever been created. I think a lot of the negative reviews are based on such high expectations for the artist; she is definitely one of my favorite songwriters- in my pantheon of rock writers- one who I anxiously await each and every new release.

It's likely she'll never top her debut effort Exile in Guyville but then again it's likely few artists ever will. That CD is a desert island pick for many people- a document of incredible wit and insight. If you've ever been in a confusing relationship (and how many of us have?) it's music that is required listening. Beyond her brash take on her own sexuality (she makes Madonna look like a rank amateur or at least like the brash commercialist she has always wanted to be) Phair produced song after song of needed acumen and discord about the state of love. If "Divorce Song" isn't one of the greatest songs about the whole man/woman thing I don't know what is. "And it's harder to be friends than lovers/And you shouldn't try to mix the two/Because if you do and you're still unhappy/ Then you'll know the problem is you..."

And her seminal song from that disc, "Fuck and Run" is even more transcendent with its terrific telling refrain, "Whatever happened to a boyfriend/The kind of guy who makes love because he's in it?" meant that this was an artist who can never quite be dismissed no matter what was to follow. And this isn't even to mention the blush inducing wholly original erotic "Flower" that ends all that ends all in the sex song genre.

So that Phair chose to go the slick commercial route on her new disc, allowing Avril Lavigne's producers' the Matrix(?) to produce much of the disc was a career move bound to raise an eyebrow or two. And ironically it probably is the two most Phair-like songs "Favorite" (where the songwriter writes about her favorite pair of underwear) and "H.W.C." (where the songwriter writes about her own fountain of youth- a certain white hot white sexual fluid) that sound absurdly ridiculous with the overly produced and radio friendly sheen found on all the tracks.

Still to dismiss the disc all together because it is a blatant attempt at getting some radio attention for yet another inexplicably overlooked artist (with a capital "A") and to dismiss it because some see it as an attempt from Phair to reach out to the teenage Avril crowd- doesn't seem quite fair. While not quite up to the standards of her previous work (a mere three discs in ten years) it still is heads (and other body parts) above the work of other contemporaries like say Sheryl Crow or Jewel or Alanis or... The opening track "Extraordinary" has the smile inducing refrain, "I am just your ordinary, average, everyday sane psycho super-goddess" that kind of sets the tone for some of the obvious tongue in cheek that seeps throughout all of what is to follow.

In an unintentional symmetry in recent weeks I watched two pretty good, but ultimately unfufilling cinema biographies, Clint Eastwood's Bird, a somewhat flattering portrait of the jazz great Charlie Parker and Salma Hayek's Freda, a similar unquestioning yet in some ways unflinching look at Mexican painters Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera (who someone coincidentally named my black cat after).

The trait the two films share in common is a somewhat surface look at two troubled geniuses that lived very different but somewhat similar lives. Parker, a heroin addict from the time he was a teenager used his ability to play saxophone in a way no one had ever before played the saxophone to escape, if only for a moment or two from the pain the reality of his life caused. Kahlo too was reliant on chemical and artistic escapes from her own physical pain caused (as the movie explains) from a childhood bus accident. The effort and integrity of both movies, both wanting trying earnestly hard to strive to reflect the beauty of two great artists, is worth watching but ultimately both seem a tad superficial. The darkness is there but in a bit too accessible way. What each is able to convey is how art and life must intertwine for those who cannot connect but for their art.

So it inherently continues to go for artists here and there and everywhere... As for Liz Phair yes the first single, the overly radio friendly "Why Can't I" is the type of song that anyone from Avril to Celine to Meatloaf could sing- with its disappointing generic syrupy refrain, "Why can't I breath whenever I think about you?/Why can't I speak whenever I talk about you?" it is catchy and not that far removed from two of my favorite Phair songs, "Whip Smart" and "Polyester Bride." If her last disc Whitechocolatespaceegg was her marriage disc (released around the time of her wedding and the subsequent birth of her son) than this being the follow-up has to be viewed as her divorce disc. And if that is the case than "Little Digger" a song to her son is achingly Lennonesque in its frankness and revelation of personal affairs. How can anyone dismiss a song where the songwriter confesses, "I've done the damage, the damage is done/I pray to God that I'm the damaged one/And all these grown up complications that you don't understand/I hope you can someday..." ?- it's Phair at her best and her best is always worth listening to. Even if this may or may not be a 36-year-old woman trying to be 19 all over again, and in some sort of professional crisis, this isn't music to be blithely dismissed. In press interviews Phair said she wanted to make something to blast out the car during the summer and if that is what it merely is, then it rocks and rocks with more than your average CD as far as having an insight or two. Hers is a voice that will resonate throughout the years even as it echoes from what it can and cannot be. Hearing that unique voice once again is most definitely better to have than have not.

Monday, June 23, 2003

Never Been to Michigan State

The older you get the more you realize how few absolutes exist in life. But one that I think is pretty indisputable is that I've never heard a bad CD by a guy named Devendra. My favorite feisty Garden Girl (man is that moniker ever gonna go over well with her) asked me a few weeks back if I had heard on NPR's Weekend Edition, the story about a rather unique artist whose music defied description. I hadn't. So she forwarded me information from the NPR website about Devendra Banhart, a 21-year-old singer/songwriter who according to the story has drawn comparisons with Billie Holiday, Beck, and Tiny Tim.

And rightfully so.

This isn't an artist you can exactly pin down. His vocals are as unconventional as the decision the Coca Cola Company made years back in deciding to mess with success and history and change the flavor of the most familiar cola taste all in the name of being something new. Banhart's songs are free flowing and refuse to follow the familiar verse, verse, refrain, verse, etc. structure of most pop songs. Instead he just sort of sings stuff that seems to come from left field and beyond.

His first CD, Oh Me Oh My The Way The Day Goes By The Sun Is Setting Dogs Are Dreaming Lovesongs Of The Christmas Spirit by its very title sounds like pretentious noodling from a college lit major. But it's really not. Instead it's strangely effective. Apparently Banhart recorded the songs at various times at home on people's answering machines and whatnot. The low tech production of the songs only adds to their impact.

Upon first listen I thought Banhart must be singing his thoughts stream of consciousness style. But the stream that flows is so clever as to ultimately make one wonder the possibility that anyone could be capable to ever think in such a cryptic yet revealing way. And the disc blew me away unlike any since I heard that other must hear DIY homemade effort, Liz Phair's debut effort, Exile in Guyville. Besides their low production values the two discs share another thing in common: another skewed way of thinking that if you really listen and ponder will change the way you exist in a never to go back, never to be the same again, manner.

I knew right away I was listening to something wholly original but the first song to capture my undivided attention was the disc's seventh track, "Michigan State." Like many of other Banhart songs the lyrics on their surface might not make much sense. "My friend has my favorite teeth/They bend backwards when she breaths/And whistles/And sweetness is as sweetness was/And breeze is as a blackbird buzz/And my love has my favorite ears/They lean forward when she hears..." Upon listening I sat there awake (as usual and sometimes even when it matters!) hearing the song and thinking about it. Maybe he wrote it on the spot singing whatever (and whistling along and plunking out sounds on his guitar both familiar in their comfort and as foreign in their confession) came to mind but I hesitate to think anyone could continue to exist with such pure and undiluted thoughts. Banhart has the uncanny literary ability to write lyrics that make more and less sense upon repeated listening. If I were to attempt the same thing it would come out something like, "Rain in your troubles and then you can put away your pickle" and that would just be silly.

My first exposure to the concept of art was many years back when my grade school class was taking a field trip to the Walker Art Center. I was so excited, waiting with great anticipation the chance to be impressed by all the fancy paintings and dazzling colors. I've never been more disappointed. It was a modern art exhibit and all it looked like to my 10-year-old eyes was some random splotches dabbed on to canvass. Expecting impressionist pictures what I saw instead looked like the Japanese flag. It took me years of formal education and book learning to realize that some people have the gift of simplicity and in that gift comes the ability to somehow inherently know just where to put a splotch or two for maximum effect.

On Banhart's other CD The Black Babies (UK) he continues to bleat and whistle and express his insides in his own odd style. The opening track contains a great great moment that Garden Girl played for me on the way to last week's Wilco's concert where Banhart squeaks out the words "tickle me" in such a great great way it restored my faith in humanity if only for an instant.

And the weird thing was prior to Wilco's appearance the music blaring out the speakers on the stage, weaving its way over the gathering crowd was my favorite Devandra Banhart song, "Michigan State." There are a few moments in life, now and then (and again) when you know things are the way they are supposed to be. This was one of them. Garden Girl and I looked around. Our little not so secret discovery was playing for all to hear and to share in that was joy beyond the given meaning of such things. No matter how hard I try I can't stop listening and my hand to God I'll go to my grave wondering why exactly that is.

Monday, June 16, 2003

Franny and Huck

Maybe it's just the monkey pox talkin' but I must somewhat sheepishly admit or confess I really like the new Madonna CD and especially the title song "American Life." Back in the days when I used to work (in the stores) those who had the pleasure of working a shift with me knew I always had a soft spot (or is that more accurately a hard spot?) for Madonna. If nothing else, her divorce song, "Til Death Do Us Part" is brilliance defined as far as I'm concerned a song so nakedly painful it puts all other like minded confessionals to shame. The new disc is often as open and honest as this often inscrutable artist can be- plus we finally get to hear Madonna rap and she timely delivers the rhyme "super duper" with "Mini-Cooper" which ends all that ends all in my book (and novel).

I also love how she has grown from her "Material Girl" days to remind us that living in America and striving for the defined American Dream these days can be a precarious proposition. The direction we seem to collectively be taking and taking for granted, is scarier than your average Motel 8 stay. Yet the beauty of Madonna's "American Life" is that despite the criticism and the darkness lies an eternal optimism. It ain't exactly flag waving (quite the contrary) it's looking for all that we should appreciate living in this wacky country of ours. Forget apple pie and the drive toward getting as much as one can get- it's all about a country that at its core can appreciate the concept of art like no other and the notion that love is what makes it all worthwhile in the end.

She may be perceived to be about style over substance and sex over genuine feeling but Madonna has been around long enough now to warrant consideration as a true American original. She's one of those artists that truly makes me marvel at the whole music business thing. And talking about this American life as you well know by now I have been doing my best to adjust to the high energy and curious playful living of two young cats. One of the areas the late great Max never ventured was the top of my piano where the edge houses many of my mascot oriented bobbleheads. Well upon their first few weeks in living in their new house one of the kitties (and I strongly suspect it was the naturally more rambunctious Diego-san) got up on top of the piano and knocked something off the back somehow without destroying any of my painfully collected precious porcelain collection.

I decided I would discourage the culprit by leaving the keyboard uncovered hoping that if he hopped up it would make a racket that would scare the Dickens out of him and discourage him from committing the same act ever again. So around 5 a.m. last Saturday I hear the plunking of some piano keys. But instead of the expected timid scampering of paw sounds the tinkling of the ivories continued and continued on and on. I rubbed my eyes and relished in the notion that I have a piano playin' kitty! And isn't that ultimately what makes America such a great place to live?!

Another great thing about living in this land of ours is that anyone (and I'm proof positive) can grow up to be the type of homeowner that owns his/her home garden. Some of us have garden spots in both the front and back although the front is devoted to things that look good (as opposed to tasting good) and is completely dependent (and marred) by the necessity to look good above all else. Who among us can really tell the difference between a weed and an acceptable plant?

So the other day my friend, the Pulitzer Prize winning sterling writer was over and she asked me if I knew I had Peonies. She just about lost it when upon further inspection she saw I had clipped back that particular plant thinking it was merely a weed. It's been a life long problem- trying to distinguish what is good (for me) and bad.

Speaking of gardens and being capable of drawing distinctions the aforementioned prize winning friend and I headed on over (driving carefully around my many anxieties) to the Walker Art Center this past Friday to see Wilco at the "Rock the Garden" concert. I must admit that one of the things a TV producing kitty lover and myself share in common is that we are somewhat skeptical of Wilco's music. Never has there been a more overrated underrated band. They aren't exactly known and appreciated by the masses yet never has there been a band that has in ways been worshipped for that as it has for its music.

Sure enough the outdoor City of America setting provided a great backdrop for this most of the time sterling band. As they ripped through a version of a rollicking "I'm the Man Who Loves You," one of the greatest of songs written in the past decade I forced myself to see beyond this short time some of us have left on this planet. I swayed (anonymously and quite by myself) to the music and words and knew that the four foot nine leadman Jeff Tweedy was far and near and about far more than making sad sad music embellished by the sad sad sounds inside his mind; the sounds that forced a record label to drop the group from its roster of artists at the same time as it was being most critically raved about. So just how can one live in a place where love hurts as much as it helps?

Monday, June 9, 2003

Say It Ain't So Martha

If I had any talent whatsoever I'd probably be John Hiatt. While listening to his newest CD Beneath This Gruff Exterior I kept thinking to myself how most artists would love to write just one of his lesser songs. Music seems to flow out of him like water from a leaky tap and the opening track "Uncommon Connection" has a reason why. "Some people call it depression/I call it a song/Don't worry about me/I'm not going to be around all that long."

The CD asks the musical question, "How many times can one dog pee?" and it opens in with a typical Hiatt smart ass line, "Well I do my best thinking sitting on my ass/Sittin here waiting for things to pass." Indeed the word "ass" appears in a couple of songs and one gets the impression many of the songs were written sitting down. This is Hiatt's blues album as his backing band the Goners rip through the music like they really mean it. Musically it sounds an awful lot like Hiatt's wonderful 1988 CD Slow Turning (perhaps his most consistently pleasing release). Themes of depression differentiate Beneath This Gruff Exterior from that earlier effort however. While Slow Turning was about the warmth the love of a family provides the new CD is about isolation and a paralyzing notion that things may never get better.

"The Nagging Dark" is as dark a song as this often dark songwriter has ever written. Thankfully "Almost Fed Up with the Blues" answers much of the inner turmoil. "I wake up with my head in hand/I wish I was another man" the singer sings. "I'm almost fed up with the blues/If these blues don't stop hurtin' me/It's curtains for my misery."

My favorite new song is "My Dog and Me" one of the best pet songs ever written. It's odd to contrast the tone of this song with one of Hiatt's greatest songs ever, 1995's "Dust Down a Country Road." That song's refrain was about the sadness of watching a dog watch a dusty trail waiting for the singer's woman to come back and how miserable they both are feeling- one out of loyalty one out of loneliness and both out of remembering how things used to be. The stanza "If I had a bullet I'd put it in this gun/And I'd catch that old dog napping/And I'd shoot him before he runs/'Cause he ain't much good for nothing/Except for staring at the dust/Lord I wonder what he's looking at sneaking up on us" always brings a tear to my eye.

The new dog song also suggest the pain of someone leaving but this time the company of the dog is enough. "Buddy I could've gone that extra mile/For an extra bark or an extra smile/'Cause I never felt so free/It was just my dog and me." The cure for the blues is love but this time it doesn't have to come from the love of a woman.

And at the risk of turning this into Kitty Korner, (and why not? Should we not all be thankful for that great big litter box in the sky?) "My Dog and Me" struck a familiar chord within me. Memorial Day weekend my special friend assisted me with what she dubbed Max's Meowrial. We drove to the various places that Max and I had lived over the years. I spread a pinch full of his ashes outside the windows he used to spend his days taking it all in from. "A broken glass and a heart gone wrong/That's my window on the world/A cup of coffee in a shaky hand/Wakin' up in a foreign land/Tryin' to act like I got something planned/That's my window on the world..."

At our first stop on Goodrich Avenue near Victoria Crossing, I walked up near the window to my small efficiency and as I was letting the ashes go, a small grey kitty came over to me from next door and rubbed up against my leg. Egads. After the Meowrial was complete I actually felt a little better. I always felt bad knowing Max wanted to be outside more often than our less than frequent walks. Whenever I dug out his harness and his leash he immediately ran over to the front door, nose pressed right up against the wood. Spreading his ashes outside where his gaze remains (at least within me) felt right- free at last, free at last...

So yesterday I was sitting with the new kitties. I was a bit concerned about Diego-san who had excess fluid in and around his eye. Thompson sat on my legs as we prepared to watch the Belmont Stakes to see if Funny Cide could complete the third leg of the Triple Crown. I was getting a bit annoyed at how hard the NBC announcers were trying to tie it all in with 9/11 because the horse was from New York. I asked Thompson if he considered himself a Minnesotan and he didn't bat an eye. Then the pomposity continued as the horse strode up to the starting gate and the announcer said he was approaching "the doorway to destiny." Again I posed a question to Thompson: wouldn't it be nice if some day someone said he was approaching that same doorway and what would it take for that to happen? Still I was sad when Funny Cide lost. I remember watching way too long ago the last successful Triple Crown winner, Seattle Slew long before many a great John Hiatt song existed and a lot of other stuff too. Dust down a country road indeed.

Monday, June 2, 2003

My Oh Maya

My Oh Maya

Don't you see? when I lost

more than a friend I didn't see

See a way forward To replace what

can't be replaced Unlike an orange

empty fish tank Gone today and

gone tomorrow But I had to move

on 'cuz of flight freedom and such

But you do see and this

isn't an astute vision thing

Life's fabric that every day thing

Like Japanese noodles that

wiggle wiggle and waggle

Dear sweet Maya with saddest

sad eyes like you've seen it all

Still it all is as new as ever

I fell in love April 30, 2003

On a summery summary night

My oh my When you came

out to play My sense of play

could not resist your reaching out

shyly, wily, spry into your home

Lavender mission should I choose

to accept was to determine

if I was ready or not if I could be

To let another into my heart

My brain drained maybe

maybe That other hidden part

was screaming out drip drip drop

splish splish splash U wander into a

tub uncertain echo in my mind

You had a friend, a house

a buttoned up blouse

a domineering companion

part mischievous but all beloved

I watched you intently, preciously

like I had never watched before

Like I had never seen before

An original soul all your own

convinced me all can be true

and kind and worthwhile even

out of the din of a irreplaceable

forever spotted trusting Face

Letting go Whenever is it seen

to remember one small moment