Monday, August 25, 2014

Easy Peach/Tomato Gazpacho

I'm sitting at my desk with too much work to do to run out for lunch and listening to the birds while answering emails, and in the back of my mind lamenting that Autumn is close (my friend Andrew MacPherson, an incredible proper photographer, noted this on his Instagram feed this morning). There is real sadness about the onset of Fall. And so I made gazpacho with three overripe tomatoes and a peach. It's so easy. And it tastes of summer. And I'm cheered up.

3 heirlooms or other tomatoes (cut off the soft bits), roughly chopped
1 peach, roughly chopped
olive oil, one big glug
red wine vinegar, slightly smaller glug
few screws of pepper
a crumble of Maldon salt

put all the items in the Cuisinart/Kitchen Aid and whizz up
serve immediately with another sprinkle of salt and pepper (according to taste) and a little bit of hot red chili pepper.

Leaving Is Not Enough

Thank you, Janelle. This poem is perfect:

Frida Kahlo to Marty McConnell

leaving is not enough; you must
stay gone. train your heart
like a dog. change the locks
even on the house he's never
visited. you lucky, lucky girl.
you have an apartment
just your size. a bathtub
full of tea. a heart the size
of Arizona, but not nearly
so arid. don't wish away
your cracked past, your
crooked toes, your problems
are papier mache puppets
you made or bought because the vendor
at the market was so compelling you just
had to have them. you had to have him.
and you did. and now you pull down
the bridge between your houses,
you make him call before
he visits, you take a lover
for granted, you take
a lover who looks at you
like maybe you are magic. make
the first bottle you consume
in this place a relic. place it
on whatever altar you fashion
with a knife and five cranberries.
don't lose too much weight.
stupid girls are always trying
to disappear as revenge. and you
are not stupid. you loved a man
with more hands than a parade
of beggars, and here you stand. heart
like a four-poster bed. heart like a canvas.
heart leaking something so strong
they can smell it in the street.

-- Marty McConnell

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Panther

The apes yawn and adore their fleas in the sun.
The parrots shriek as if they were on fire, or strut
Like cheap tarts to attract the stroller with the nut.
Fatigued with indolence, tiger and lion

Lie still as the sun. The boa-constrictor’s coil
Is a fossil. Cage after cage seems empty, or
Stinks of sleepers from the breathing straw.
It might be painted on a nursery wall.

But who runs like the rest past these arrives
At a cage where the crowd stands, stares, mesmerized,
As a child at a dream, at a jaguar hurrying enraged
Through prison darkness after the drills of his eyes

On a short fierce fuse. Not in boredom—
The eye satisfied to be blind in fire,
By the bang of blood in the brain deaf the ear—
He spins from the bars, but there’s no cage to him

More than to the visionary his cell:
His stride is wildernesses of freedom:
The world rolls under the long thrust of his heel.
Over the cage floor the horizons come.

-- Ted Hughes

Friday, August 22, 2014

one billion heartbeats...

In the late afternoon I was sitting outside the kitchen, in the space between the kitchen and the office, my feet on the table, the dogs next to me, watching the way the light played against the eucalyptus on the side wall of the house, talking on the phone to a friend I love who was reading poetry, and staring up through the leaves at the sky. It's these moments, the quiet ones, when you're not quite sure what's happening in the world, when you can't tell if you're making good or bad decisions, when it doesn't matter if it's either, that I believe you remember. Not the roller coaster rides, or sailing through storms, but the quiet times staring at the sky, which remind you that your heart is going to beat over a billion times in your lifetime and right now, whatever happens tomorrow, it might quite literally burst.


The New Yorker's beautiful #Ferguson cover:

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

On Married Love by Candida Lycett Green

And then after my slightly cynical bouncing ball theory of marriage, there's this lovely piece by Candida Lycett Green, who died today.

The entire piece is here at her website.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The bouncing ball theory of marriage

Marriage is like rubber. That's what one of the ABC's said this morning.
I was standing by the fig tree in a white dress, not for effect, I tell you, but because I'd chosen a white Mexican dress to go with my white Birkenstocks, so I could continue the Nurse Ratchett vibe I've been working since London, since the man actually pointed out that I looked a little nurse-like in my white, and knowing, as I do, that he is a fan of uniforms, particularly ones with a vaguely Tyrolean flare, I worked it, as one does. So I'm standing in the garden, by the fig tree, which I have to watch like a hawk so that I can get those fat, purple figs before the Laurel Canyon squirrels do, on the phone with A, in white, telling her about my resolution to take the punishment, to feel the fullness of karma beaming down on me. And she says, "Marriage is like rubber. You're used to bouncing back."

And that is exactly what a long marriage feels like. You feel so sure that you are stuck in it for better, for worse, that everything that happens, all the meanness, all the name-calling, just clings to the edges until it bounces back and suddenly, the next day, all is forgotten. Because that's what you have. A rubber ball that bounces along, both jarring and elevated. But in fact, what you really need, is a nice, quiet, river. It flows, it changes, it's clean and fresh and blue and lifegiving and soothing.

New relationships aren't like marriage. People are naked and fragile and tender and kind. People are being brave, baring their souls, while trying, gently to protect themselves. And there is such intense fragility. Little, wispy souls of humans trying so hard to connect. And with no foundation, where do they go, what do they cling to?

"Why do you keep breaking up with this man" said my forthright German yoga friend back in June (or May or one of the times it happened). "It's so like a teenager." And she said this fiercely. Fiercely enough that I was offended. (I mean you don't expect ferocity in a Kundalini class, to be honest.) But now I realize she was right. I just didn't want to hear it. In truth, I had behaved horribly.

Oh that the whole world was wiped clean of misunderstanding and that two people could communicate clearly to each other.

Oh that damage could be swept away quickly. But it isn't. Damage needs to infest. It needs to take hold. It needs to do its worst before it goes.

And so, we wait. We wait, we do our work, we try to do it well, and we try to remember every day to be kind.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The most beautiful face

"do you realize...that everyone you know someday will die...and instead of saying all of your goodbyes...
Let them know you realize that life goes fast
It's hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun doesn't go down
It's just an illusion caused by the world spinning round..."

Sunday, August 17, 2014