Showing posts from 2010

Mothers, Daughters, and War

Maria Butcher (my grandmother) with Mary (my mom) I resisted writing my usual sappy mother's day post yesterday, but here I am doing it today. The above photo always blows me away. It could have been taken in the 1980's, I think, except for Mama's bathing suit. Instead, it was taken in 1928. My grandmother, Mama told me, was a flapper.  My grandmother was also depressed.  She killed herself on December 13, 1941. Actually, she took poison on December 10th and died on the 13th. After years of my mother's annual depression and anger around the 13th, I finally asked mom what year it was my grandmother died.  "1941." "It didn't have anything to do with Pearl Harbor, though, right?" "It was  because  of Pearl Harbor. It was because she knew we would soon be going to war with Germany." Everybody knew that Roosevelt was just waiting for an excuse to go to war in Europe. War on one front served as a gateway to war on another. Sound famil


My  mother was a single mom with three girls. She worked hard, but without any support from my father or any other family members, money was hard to come by. So when the weekend rolled around we would load up the cooler with Shasta pop (at .5 a can), hard boiled eggs, boiled hot dogs, and potato salad. And we'd drive out to a park. Usually, we'd head out to Garner State Park in the Texas Hill Country. I know you readers from outside of Texas hear us talk about the Hill Country like it's God's back yard. And it is. But it might be hard for you to see. It is not lush and thick with trees like the wonderful woods in Georgia and the Carolinas. The hills are not majestic like the mountains of Colorado or magical like the hills of Kentucky.  Our trees are slightly gray in color; even the old trees seem more like shrubs than the wonder that is the woods of Northern California. But we are pulled here.  I think it is the psychology of sparseness. I think it is the short-l

Love poems

I was looking at love poems today because, well, just because (she says with a wry smile). Here's one I love. What are some of the love poems that move you? Share them with me, will you? I Ask The Impossible Ana Castillo I ask the impossible: love me forever. Love me when all desire is gone. Love me with the single mindedness of a monk. When the world in its entirety, and all that you hold sacred advise you against it: love me still more. When rage fills you and has no name: love me. When each step from your door to your job tires you-- love me; and from job to home again, love me, love me. Love me when you're bored-- when every woman you see is more beautiful than the last, or more pathetic, love me as you always have: not as admirer or judge, but with the compassion you save for yourself in your solitude. Love me as you relish your loneliness, the anticipation of your death, mysteries of the flesh, as it tears and mends. Love me as your most treasured c


Life is good these days. The other day, I had this rush of love--and I realized it was from me to me.  All these years I've heard that you must love yourself. All these years I've thought it one of those things that people just said. And here I am--loving myself. I am being creative again. I am starting to look at the world as a series of images, a series of poems. I haven't thought that way in a long time, and it's good to be back home.

Portraits of Tanith

And while we were at it, we decided to take some photos of Tanith, who wants some source photos for an upcoming self portrait.

Fun with Black Dogs

The other day, Tanith and I decided to use my new lighting system to take some pictures of the black girls. Bessie                   Bessie and Judy                                                                             Judy This, of course, made the other girls jealous, so more of them later.


song sparrow This morning, on my way in from the parking lot, I saw a little bird in the distance. As I got closer, I saw it was a song sparrow. I don't have any photos of my own of song sparrows, so I thought I'd link you to this lovely bird lover. Back to my random thoughts. When I realized the bird was a sparrow, I remembered having breakfast at a diner in Iowa. One of the men in at the table asked about the birds in the parking lot. They're just house sparrows, I said. "They're really beautiful," the man replied.  They are. If this tiny little creature weren't omnipresent, it would be a prized citing on any birder's life list. Instead, people shoo them away from bird feeders because they're too common.  And I remembered a poem I used to love when I was a child. Sparrow Stephen Vincent BenĂ©t Lord, may I be A sparrow in a tree. No ominous and splendid bird of prey But something that is fearful every day Yet keeps its small flesh full of h

Notes from a "Hanger-On"

Friday I was able to go to the opening of Salon International at the Greenhouse Gallery as the guest of my friend Susan Carlin.  If you are in San Antonio, you should go to this show! It is almost 400 paintings--almost all of which are brilliant. Here is Susan with the painting she entered in the show: "Gentleman Traveler. " Anyway, I have spent the past several days  posting a poem a day on Facebook for National Poetry Month. It has been great submerging myself in the word. I've also had the opportunity to work several times at Susan's gallery, to purchase new music (and even to receive some as a gift --thanks Cheri), and to puchase new art (a painting by Bonnie Mann and a cup by Gary Rith ). I love creativity. I love being around artists and supporting their work. And it is important to support art, I think. But Friday night, as I was being introduced to people as, "my friend Karen," I joked with another friend--the lovely artist Patty Cooper -- that

Happy Birthday, Beloved Dinah

We celebrate this lovely day with one of the first poems I ever memorized. Mama and I always quoted it to our fireside-sleek dogs. Lone Dog Irene Rutherford McLeod I'm a lean dog, a keen dog, a wild dog and lone; I'm a rough dog, a tough dog, hunting on my own; I'm a bad dog, a mad dog, teasing silly sheep; I love to sit and bay the moon, to keep fat souls from sleep. I'll never be a lap dog, licking dirty feet, A sleek dog, a meek dog, cringing for my meat, Not for me the fireside, the well-filled plate, But shut door, and sharp stone, and cuff and kick, and hate. Not for me the other dogs, running by my side, Some have run a short while, but none of them would bide. Oh mine is still the lone trail, the hard trail, the best, Wide wind, and wild stars, and hunger of the quest!

I Heart Texas

I went to my favorite place in the world this weekend--the Texas Hill country. I packed up the car with a cooler of diet coke and my friends Stella, Patty, and Tanith, and we drove up to Blanco and accross to Wimberly. It was a beautiful day: Warm winds blowin', heat and blue sky, and the road goes on forever (Chris Rae).


I have no resolutions. But I have a title. I have a plan. This is the year of community. I will take some risks and meet some people. I will make friends who live in in the same state--maybe even the same city--as me.