“Just Kids” and all those memories

I’ve just started reading “Just Kids”, Patti Smith’s memories of her days with artist Robert Mapplethorpe.  Patti is an illuminating writer, recounting events, sights, sounds and emotions in a detailed and often melancholy way.  The detail is what throws me off a bit.  Some people have an ability to pull up intricate memories from the depths of their consciousness and describe the minutia of earlier experiences.  I remember John Dean, during the Watergate hearings, replaying word-for-word conversations he had had with President Nixon and thinking at the time, “Wow, what a memory.  Or, what a great creator of those conversations.”

When I was doing the research for my doctoral dissertation, I interviewed thirty people about their experiences living in historic parts of their communities.  I used two tape recorders and took notes during those interviews and I still think that I missed a great deal of the conversations.  Not everything stuck in my mind as it would have John’s.

So Patti Smith’s ability to remember exactly what she said and felt and did when she was six and fifteen and twenty-two impresses and perplexes me.  I read her words with not a little skepticism, but I have developed a strategy for approaching this book that I think will help me through it:  I’ve decided to read it as if it were a novel rather than a remembrance.  I can read the conversations she recounts and think of the events she describes the same way I read Proust or Hemingway or Doctorow.  What she tells me doesn’t have to be the literal truth; just truth on the different scale.

We’re on after the cheese

Andy told us confidently
we’d all have our fifteen minutes of fame
but that was 1968
when the population of the world
was only 3.556 billion
it’s 6.793 today
so each of us only gets 7 minutes and 51 seconds now
to make our mark on “American Idol”
or “So You Think You Can Dance”
or “The Biggest Loser”
and when we do
it’s Oprah and Tyra and Ellen
if we are lucky
Chad will sell us a house in Malibu
next to someone who has already had
their 7 minutes and 58 seconds
because the world population was only 6.789 billion
a week ago

Self-awareness and communication of personal identity through tattoos, piercings and the photo you choose for your credit card: a latitudinal investigation

forty-seven times (or was it 48?
I lost count after 23)
the Police sing “ee yo o”
but never bother to explain.
we all know what they mean, though
we’ve all been there
walking down the street ready
to break into song

just yesterday crisp and clear
like every other cliched autumn day
if you listened very carefully
you could hear six or seven different
people singing, humming, whistling
or was it just a car’s stereo passing by?
that thump thump thump isn’t a sound
that normal people make on their own

Pilots who missed Minneapolis by 150 miles were hiding in the Balloon Boy’s attic

we knew it was a hoax —
(how could we not?)
after George and Dick and Karl

the governor of Idaho has WMDs
and plans to use them
Montana’s unprepared
but Wyoming may fight back

Sarkozy’s wife will replace
Lynette on Desparate Housewives

Bo’s not really a dog
just a really big cat

H1N1 started out
as a floor wax, but it still won’t work on tile

eating organic vegetables causes
loss of hearing in mice

texting while driving is not as dangerous
as dancing the Tango or waltz

If you can’t trust a blogger…

Liquid time

Observation/image 1
the invention of liquid time was merely the beginning

Observation/image 2
in the beginning was the invention of liquid

Observation/image 3
the invention of the beginning was liquid

Observation/image 4
liquid time
liquid time
liquid time
liquid time
liquid time

Observation/image 5
merely the liquid of beginning time

Observation/image 6
liquid beginning
merely time
merely time
merely time

The invention of liquid

In the beginning

The invention of the beginning

Liquid time

Beginning time

Merely time


the birds are flying south, my friend reports and
Facebook brings the scene

a soundtrack by Charlie Parker
or Jim McGuinn would be appropriate
(he’s Roger now I know but everyone
has changed their name
at least once, it’s hard to keep up…
like learning all your passwords)

a movie on TCM shows Burt at Alcatraz
and birds still flying south


Tennessee wearing pumpkin orange
leads Florida 8 to 6
The score, perplexing the commentators and the fans alike,
seems cheerfully low
like playing an Andy Williams’ 45 at 33 1/3
Moon River still hopeful and gay

Was Tennessee Williams really from Tennessee
and did he play football?
That might explain the magic tower
built to hold his plays
none of which were read
in high school English in the ‘50s

And who’s to say why
Andy never visited his uncle Tennessee
Did he know about Branson even then?

Now Florida has tied the score
and everyone’s crying
especially Frank Stella
but only minimally

Trellises at night

The trellises are strung with rope lights, so night provides another way to experience them.  Since serendipity is a goal of this project (OK, I realize that you can’t plan for a serendipitous experience, but you can plan to embrace it when it comes.  Of course, it’s not serendipity if you don’t recognize and embrace it, right?  It’s just some random occurrence.  Does a serendipitous experience become some thing else if you are on the lookout for it?), the random siting this time around provided an interesting arrangement, particularly after dark (when I look at the pattern of the lights, I see the outline what might be a horse; albeit, a horse with a big nose.  Or perhaps a reindeer.  Rudolph?  Too early for Christmas, but maybe he’s out reconnoitering for Santa.  Now that I think about it, it sort of looks like the Road Runner’s nose.)  Well, certainly not anything I had in mind when I started this, but I’ll take it.

Illumination 2


After a short intermission…

It has been a bit since I posted anything.  That’s not to say that nothing has been happening with the trellises…  just that I haven’t taken the time to sit down and write.  No, I haven’t taken the time.  And, I’ll admit that I’ve gotten sidetracked with adding music to my iTunes library, watching the health care town hall meetings, reading (finished “Girl in Hyacinth Blue” by Susan Vreeland, a collection of short stories about a fictional Vermeer painting; and “Skeleton Man” by Tony Hillerman, one of his novels about Lt. Joe Leaphorn and Sgt. Jim Chee), and contributing to my Facebook page.

When I switched from a Dell to a MacBook Pro, much of the music I had on the Dell wouldn’t transfer (I’m not running Windows on my MacBook and I haven’t taken the time to find programs that would do the transfer easily).  Plus, the Dell was dying and getting it to boot up was always a gamble.  So, I’ve just been adding music as I’ve been doing other things.  For instance, this morning I’ve been working on getting some new photos ready to upload and I added several albums, mostly John Adams and Phillip Glass, and one Ravi Shankar.  A couple of weeks ago, I discovered that adding music from my old LPs was a snap on the Mac, using GarageBand and ITunes.  Well, not entirely a snap.  It took several attempts to work through the process, but so far I’ve been able to add some music that I can’t find on iTunes or Amazon, including a band called Cat Mother and the All Night Newsboys from about 1968, the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, Libby Titus, and Marc Jordan.

Well, since my last post, I’ve moved the trellises twice.  It takes about an hour to unplug everything (two are lighted; I’m going to add lights to the third one this coming weekend when I make the third move), find the new coordinates, install the supports, clip the bindings, move the trellises, re-attach them to the supports and plug things back in.  Removing the sod beneath the trellises for the flowers/bushes that will go in takes another hour or so.  All in all, it’s not a bad Sunday morning exercise.

Here are photos of the locations that resulted from moves 2 and 3 and a couple of close-ups of individual canvases.