...In-between sets from poet Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow

November 12, 2013

Since Last We Spoke

Somewhere between the end of October and today I dropped this blog page, but here it is! I knew I left it somewhere,---so there was a birthday celebration in October, mine. And because I'd grown up with maple leaves turning amber and spinning softly to the ground, and fog, and cold sweater weather, out of sheer nostalgia, we celebrated in an old-style, well-known establishment in Phoenix, one of my favorite restaurants, Durant's. Folks "in the know" understand to enter through the back-door kitchen entrance. I saw my chef even before he'd cooked my scrumptious lobster. After the flawless meal, which involved a few good bottles of French wine, as we were leaving, I went to kiss the chef on his right cheek. It was salty from working over the stove. He liked it. I have a feeling he doesn't get kissed much for his delicious meals.

And the next day my bike got tuned up. Rode this bike up and down Sheridan Road in Chicago for many a year when I was a teenager, on a road that borders the lake on the north end of Chicago. Oh, the stories this bike could tell. Fortunately, it can not speak or I would have to put it down, but it has taken care of me, and seen me through--safely--trials and tribulations of the heftiest kind. It's a Sears bike, used to be my brother's, made in Austria, 3-speed, and the speed mechanism was made in England. My favorite part: it makes this really cool tick-tick sound in the back gear when you're walking it. I love this bike. Original everything except seat, gear wires and tires. Man, I'm so happy this bike can't talk.

And then the day after that, at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art's gift shop, this stainless-steel-(!)-with-inner-pastel-colors, magnificent, work-of-art clutch bag said it wanted to come home with me, and who am I to say no? We'd stopped in to look around after I had my own sneak peek at the fall exhibitions at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, where, on December 5, I will be convening with fellow poets, Allyson Boggess, Logan Phillips, Pinna Joseph, Sally Ball and Mark Haunschild to read poetry written in response to the breathtaking exhibitions of Julianne Swartz and Contemporary Japanese Artists. Here's a sample of the beautiful work on display there:

Narrow Road to the Interior: Contemporary Japanese Artists

Julianne Swartz: How Deep Is Your
What you don't hear is both those Swartz exhibits are making sounds. In the forefront, there's the ticking of a variety of clocks, in the back, weird squealings and screechings. Whew!

The following weekend, up we went to Pine, easily a good 20 degrees cooler, and 100 miles due north of the Phoenix metropolitan area. Tall ponderosa pine trees. Clean, clear fresh air. Went up to visit friends at their "cabin." My friend, Mary, got my goat when she told me earlier in the week that they did, in fact, have an outhouse available for our use. I'd packed rolls of toilet seat protectors, and flashlights, and bug spray, not knowing quite how rustic this all was going to get. Instead, their cabin turned out to be a smaller version of a sumptuous lodge. We had a splendid time. All the effects of city life fell away like the prettiest bird call.

Pine, AZ, pictorial:

Blue bird with blue cap. We weren't sure what it was.

Kelli told me her father taught her how to find elk tracks. The two indentations on the right are from elk. The two indentations on the left, and a little bit above, are Kelli's knuckleprints. The direction the larger of the two prints is pointing toward is the direction the elk was moving in. So that elk was moving toward my camera shot.

Mama doe with trailing fawn.

Oh yes, I saw them, and they saw me too.

Red-headed woodpecker.

View from cabin's back patio.

Essentially, this is their back yard. I know. Very cool.

And then the following weekend, at Changing Hands Bookstore, I hosted the most stunning duo poetry reading I've had the pleasure to moderate in a very long time.  Jefferson Carter and Michael Gessner traveled up from Tucson to read from their new books, which are each, tremendous, and so different from each other, you couldn't find two books of poetry more polar, and yet, which blended so melodiously with each other that the attentive and appreciative audience was mesmerized. It was truly an unforgettable night. Both men are as kind and smart and witty as they are poetically gifted. I felt fortunate to be hosting their appearances. 



Captivated Changing Hands Audience
After their readings, we all went over to a local restaurant/bar and talked, ate, and drank until the wee hours of the morning, which for the Phoenix area is 11:30PM-ish. Here's my "seance"-looking version of us having a grand time. Michael's at the end of the table, standing to the right. Jeff is standing just behind me, so we're both spectral, in accordance with the photo mood! A fine night was had by all. This, we'll have to do again.

And oh yes, giddily thrilling new poetry news just over the horizon! Developments will be revealed soon. As Robert Creeley, some years back, once proclaimed to me, Onward!

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