Thursday, June 19, 2014

Blue, New and True

Hothouse, Tamakai Makaurau Auckland Wintergardens

Love's an excuse, a reason, an inspiration for all manner of curious occurences. People find it difficult to speak properly, dizzy with chemistry and bewilderment, in love we sing songs at random moments, on buses, at our desks, in supermarket queues, in the bank, we languish in hammocks or on building sites at smoko or forgetful in the middle of a conference writing poetry instead of whatever duty prescribed, we may travel vast distances on a whim, leave everything familiar far behind, and we carry out many other rash, flash and beautiful actions some of them scary, for aroha, for amour, for love. 

My intention is to keep this update light-hearted, even if it's difficult to do so. That even though here in New Zealand it's grey, wet and dark. O so extremely sodden wet. More dense dark than many other places too. Not that well lit even in the city, and our night is intense, inky, an octopus ejaculation of mammoth proportions - they squirt darkness when they're afraid, you know.

Yes, although I am thankfully, (maybe, hopefully) not an octopus, I'm as usual afraid knowing I'm soon to travel over seven thousand miles north east, then a few more thousand miles south, then back again south west - being a somewhat anxious creature especially as I age, because human beings and nature may cause trouble, you know, and a body needs to be able to face strife, undo it or run. Travelling alone also feels somewhat daunting. Women by themselves are far too often treated badly, believe me, and without warning too. I did, however, love telling off that rude bus driver who took me to Newark Airport, two years ago in New York. He told me loudly I was too old to be travelling and laughed at me, unable to get up his stupid, and probably illegal, broken step. 

Also, thinking about the future and my journey, I forget times and dates, lose track of time in daydreams, and I appear interesting, (so my daughter tells me, that's why this happens), so I attract a lot of attention. But my good friend in Iowa, Julie, tells me not to talk to strangers unless they clearly work wherever it is I am. "Only talk to the ones in a uniform, Raaae, only the people with a name badge, okaaay?" 

But in any case, I love my amrkn friends and I love the place, amrka itself, so I am returning there any day now. 

Any. Day. Now. Can't quite believe it. In just over a week, I'm flying.

O and I call where my friends live, amrka, it's more friendly. Sound it out, if you can't decide what it means.

After my last month and a half trip two years ago, I'm soon away again to meet for a second, miraculous time the writer friends I first only met and got to know online 14 years ago now. Talented, intriguing people in amrka who I'd never met face-to-face, before. Eventually, on that lovely visit, I said it was obvious I needed to return some time, but could not travel again for at least five years. 

Ha. Changed my mind in only a year and a half, back here. Booked it then. The tickets are a lower price the sooner they are paid for.

That first wonderful trip can never happen again. It will live forever in my memory as the best, a trip of a lifetime, indeed. Magical. Beyond exciting. It was like being a character in a fairy tale sprung to complete life.  Well, we do most of us live sublimely in words.

But now I'm going back, and love's making me do it. I love them and love the place, so much. I felt the happiest I've ever experienced there for the longest time. No idea why, precisely. It just happened. Once you've known joy, too, usually you want more of it. Can you get addicted to a country? Maybe I need my own talk-show to discuss it? O, if only I could live there, but it seems unlikely. Too many odd things falling to bits with my health these days, I need Aotearoa New Zealand's healthcare system.

A visit will need to suffice. I hope it's enough. If you'd like to check in occasionally you may see if I end up going insane through this process, knowing I only have three weeks over there. 

Travelling mainly by train, but flying into the stunning San Francisco, the most beautiful city I've ever seen and I've been to many, hundreds probably. Then train along the west coast to Seattle, sophisticated, under-stated, elegant, and oddly also down-to-earth, with crows and dark trees to encourage my fairy story imagination. Later off to Iowa, middle amrka, the rolling wide Mississippi, flat corn-growing farmland to the horizon, a neat picket fence small-town welcome all smiles, squirrels in the trees and Amish on the train. Then wonders of all wonders we're driving to Galesburg, I gather, to train it to New Orleans. Never been there. Love the music and stories, want to give back to the place too since that terrible disaster, (the flooding made me cry at the time). The countryside becoming more and more Spanish-looking with the architecture, a student tells me, (they went by train to New Orleans and also saw teepees along the way). Then lush trees more and more overgrown, Spanish moss drooping from bayou trunks and branches, and soon o the music, and o the food, and o the vibrant, fascinating people of that beleagured lovely place. Louis Armstrong sings my favourite song, (his version only), Moon River, about the Mississippi. He grew up in New Orleans.

I'm repeating myself on this blog, I think I've written already about this plan. But forgive me please, I can't contain myself. Travelling the globe, it's inspiring and also, I must stay practical. Reiterating the facts helps me stay focused.

The suitcase given by a friend when I needed a smaller one, (thank you so much), already half-packed. Favourite summer clothes unwearable here and now are rolled up inside. The lemon print sunfrock, my silk caftan, an icy blue and dark brown, various cropped leggings, my Alice in Wonderland knee-highs.... Rolling clothes means they're less likely to be wrinkled, plus it's easier to see what's packed. Rolled clothes take up less room each layer, too.

I've paid for 200 $ NZ trees to cover my carbon already. Trees for travel, such a worthy cause. We all need more trees. Dr. Jane Goodall, zoologist said this morning on Radio NZ, (she's here to talk to us), that deforestation is a major issue in the world today. We must reforest the world, or ruin the atmosphere for future generations, along with making things worse for ourselves, now. 

It feels good to buy trees for places who need them. I buy mine for Australia, they need trees, desperately.  

Trees produce oxygen for everyone, and they also absorb carbon making the world safer for all living things. Human beings have removed about half the world's trees in the short while we've existed. This is not sustainable. That means a lack of trees cannot go on without causing irreparable harm.

Please do consider doing as much as you can to be the change you want to see in the world, as Gandhi said. The future can be more hopeful, we may make it so. 

Temperate House - Wintergardens
This time I'm buying double the amount of trees I need to. It makes me feel better to do something extra to assist, and to clean up my own mess. I'm vegetarian for the same reason. My diet expends less carbon and other greenhouse gases in its production.

I've written various poems this year in relation to my love for my friends. Also, I feel pleased to say one of my early poems appears in Random House's anothogy, Essential NZ Poems, launched this year. Such an honour, rather stunning to be included, thank you all concerned.

Aha, yes, poetry. One of the various classes I take to do with writing, pleasantly surprised me recently. A student read a poem of their own about love, and simplicity and originality worked so well, together. This inspired me to write something more straight forward than usual.

This was written from notes made on my cellphone. Having only had one for three years, I still feel entranced with anything new I discover it's useful for. Making notes on it probably a waste of power and so on, but it's so easy to do, dammit.


Plum Sauce, because I hope we make some from Mum's recipe while I'm over there

For some reason this poem has a ghost line in it I cannot seem to delete. If anyone can advise me I'd be grateful. Meantime, I have written the stanza twice, so you may read it without confusion.

why does it trouble someone to hear amrkns saved her life?

if only she could travel now instant and stay - she thinks
listening to rinky blink in a theatre bar

but she stays generating blue like a welding torch
simple as a laugh

rhyming her mind with careful
in preparation for surprises and disguises

executive heart trouble where she's in charge
however love does not run out or away

executive heart trouble where she's in charge 
however love does not run out or away

just uphill like nothing else
certainly not a river

afterwards she sees them laugh and cry and walk
into the sun and moon like actors earning millions


for now she watches amrkn fitness videos in a chinese restuarant
waiting to cross a slick bent road to an en zed vampire comedy

rainy day so tailored grey it's a sodden flannel suit
she's silently asking - is this a tragic noir film?

nooo, where's my stunning so-star?
(act live, mean it, our inner action's adoration and ebullience)

sometimes unlucky with love affairs but fabulous figures of speech
skating on her iced up heart

this rink carried about for entertainment - crunching on
melted when they met

misfits as human as any other fool crossed with rhyming spells
tricking themselves into something more fitting like pleasure

the greatest illusions sustain such a long time
such fine dumplings


Not sure if that is clearer than usual or not. *laughs* 

O well, I have to get up early tomorrow so a wonderful tech-geek friend can fix the tablet I just purchased, and cannot make work. I hope to update this blog on it while I am away.

Please wish me well and do comment, always good to hear from you. Thanks for reading.

Illustration from Mother Goose c. 1963 published by Collins - London and Glasgow

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