Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all. Since moving in to our new place I have neither written nor read a thing. I guess that you might say “I have stalled out.” And as they say: “that is just fine.” But now it really is time to pick up pen and paper – or perhaps “turn the computer on.” I am amazed that a new turn of phrase has not joined the American lexicon denoting the “use of the computer.” I have decided that it is time to come back. It is time write again, read again, live again. I have missed the camaraderie and I have missed writing and the reading. Something that David said last night at dinner prompted me to decide that it was time. He mentioned that everyone is afraid to move to the city. Nothing new really, it is quite simply the “vanilla” attitude of most people who live in the county.

You see, the city of Saint Louis had a long standing feud with the County of Saint Louis. The city in it’s heyday refused to join the county when asked to do so to become one entity, sharing both government and services thus saving money. All of the cultural institutions are in the city. Grand events take place within the city. The city is made up of approximately 350,000 people. The county today is made up of approximately 3,000,000 people. The county contains the areas wealth and tax base. The “area” that the words “Saint Louis” comprise include both city and county. But in reality they are two separate places. The city of Saint Louis although poorly integrated is where a large percentage of the areas’ African American population lives. The city is made up of many neighborhoods, each with a distinct cultural flavor. The county today does not wish to “integrate” with the city. It does not wish to share the wealth so to speak.

We have always lived in the city. I cannot possibly imagine living in a place where everyone looks like me. David grew up in suburbia and grew quite allergic to it. The only time that I lived in a suburban neighborhood was in the mid sixties when formerly married. When David and I met we were living in Hyde Park. We pioneered. At that time before the advent of gangs, Hyde Park had been an old mid to late 19th century working class neighborhood filled with nothing but brick homes. Today it is bombed out. Sad really. I bought a 3 story brick home built in 1886 for $5000. David bought a three story brick home “on the park”built the same year, for $6500. I moved their in 1977 to begin a new adventure. It is where we met and became the very best of friends. Shortly there after we fell in love. In 1980 I decided to test the relationship. I simply moved to Murphy Blair a matter of 5-10 blocks away, yet a very different neighborhood. Of course he passed the test. He sold his home and moved in with me. A couple of years later with a minister and a Rabbi, under a Huppa and in front of a space heater we married. Shortly thereafter we moved to my favorite neighborhood in St Louis the CWE or the Central West End. It borders Forest Park, one of the most beautiful and one of the largest city parks in the country. It was the site of the 1904 World’s Fair. It is also the site of St Louis Museum, Zoo, Tennis Courts, Steinberg Skating Rink, The Jewel Box and numerous other beautiful and cultural places. We lived there for 31 years, moving this spring to downtown St Louis. I miss Forest Park terribly. However we do have our own lovely small Sculpture Park. I think it is time to take advantage of it. Yes, it is time to engage in life again. I shall do so here at Noh Where more than likely with haibun and haiku. I shall do so at “My Downtown Blog” (http://mydowntownblog.blogspot.com)by writing about and photographing downtown Saint Louis. It really is a jewel about which so many people have misconceptions – but I shall save that for “My Downtown Blog.”

Books and Magpies

I just found this post (unpublished), so I shall combine it with Tessa’s picture challenge at Magpie Tales as the second part of the post. It has simply been so long since I have blogged that I had forgotten how to actually enter a post! I hope that this finds my friends in the blogosphere well. I do believe that I have finally settled in and actually “feel” this to be home for a change.

I am excited about a project for which I have volunteered. I hope to be doing a writing project with a group of veterans should our Central Library be able to pull together a group. This is meant to take place during January and February. I was also to be a part of a new Haiku Group, but I have found that my commitments are def (as Brian would say) too many. As a result – no haiku group.

When I was a child, I read Mummy’s books. Her book plate stated: “Books Are Like Friends”. And they, (books) have been that way for me for a lifetime. We grew up with a library. It was the most beautiful room in the house. It was filled with leather bound books from the 1800s. They had been my great, great grandfather’s books. I never met him. The books were meant for me one day. Unfortunately, my mother chose not to heat or air condition this room, in Vermont of all places. The books were a complete loss – except for a very few.

David and I bought our first house in 1983 because it had a library. Well that is overstating it a bit. It had significant shelving in one room that became the library. I do not have that here, as we are only 3 rooms, albeit more square footage than our first home. I do have bookshelves enough to place one half of my library into. Leaving the other half of my “friends” behind was difficult. Choosing who to take along was very hard indeed. Quite! Anyway, my books are all in the shelves hodgepodge. Now that I am finally feeling at home I look forward to organizing them. Below please find two haibun. The second is for Magpie Tales.

Haibun
Books have for so long been such very good friends to me.
Leaving one half of them behind during our move was
gut wrenching, like leaving family or old friends. I do
so hope that they feel at home with their new owners.

I have forgotten
yes forgotten my friends
left to dustiness

For Magpie Tales # 247:
Thank you Tess for Maurice de Vlaminck’s Snowstorm. Unfortunately I cannot seem to upload it – ah well.

Haibun
I grew up with snow. A lot of snow, in Vermont. In 1965 when I was 19
I moved to NYC. The biggest snow storm of my life took place. My family
sent me photos of snow above the roof line as they tunneled out.
This is November of 2014 and there are places today
that have had this kind of snowfall.

thick strokes of snow
brackish sky dwindling lights
in the outer world

For Magpie Tales # 247

Seeing Red …

We are challenged today to really incorporate color into our poem. Whatever you see, whatever you write – really SEE it in color. This was fun. I just chose a few poet friends here on the Net and wrote bits about them, seeing them in the colors that they portray to me. This is at dVerse Poets Pub where the greatest poets in the world meet up for a drink and a few good words and “The Color Festival.”

A stitch here and
there, red thread
pulled. Red coat – rushing
to get her kids off to
school, Claudia – she stops
in the rain
looking down into the
puddle, a reflection
of her home
in red brick
rippling through
the water.
Little eddies
of swirling silver and
gray
with hints of
the sun coming out,
become a froth of
many whites
almost a silver
reflection
in their
splash.

Sherry with her
dog
Jasmine the color of
ginger putty
on a sunny day
the light is a deep
yellow
with the sparkle
of it’s sunshine
bouncing off
the glitter
in the bluest bay.
She sits
upon a log,
a paled wheat
bleached by the sun
with gray and black
streaks.
She sits
watching
white puff clouds
so high they fly
racing by.
She drinks her
dark rich brown coffee
from a warm olive-green
mug, as Jasmine plays
on the
loose
pale bleed of pink sand.

Brian a hand
out to each child
bringing them
along, everyone in a
variant shade
of blue tee-shirt,
gray-blue,
sky-blue
calmest ocean blue.
They head for the
park-bench on
a silvery
sunny day
where they will
sit down
for a picnic
beautiful wife and
mother
tagging along
green like the
earth bringing
PB & J
sandwiches
of love
the color of nuts
tannish, brownish with
grape jam oozing
from the bread
made of
family love.

Grace,
just that.
Grace comes in
many hues
I should think of her
painting by the
sea – palette filled
with every color.
Hair reddish
dress white
with a yellow
sash
silver dangling from her
ears. A purple
ribbon in
her hair.

Mary
off quickly
down the street
pencil thin
a dark shirt
perhaps a gray
white cuffs
with red buttons.
The three
little ones behind
gray, white,
tan,
brown and black
a walk by the
bay.
Swiveled
brown leather
leashes
never
tangle
each little
one with
a red collar
one blue
and one green.

Bjorn stands
against a dark
scowl filled sky
gray-black clouds
raging
across its dark
surface.
He stops briefly
in his burnt orange
cap
blue jeans frayed
just long
enough
to paint
with words the
angry waves
of green and purple.
While its
bubbly lemon froth
hisses spit
over the pier.
iPad in hand washed
over grabbed
by the angry water
a poem washed
away.