Wednesday, February 25, 2009
You know how right before Jesus died, he called out? And his almost last words were, “Father! Father, why have you abandoned me?!” Standing there, how bad would it feel to be with him in that moment? After all we'd have been through together then seeing, hearing, smelling… feeling that? I think I’d just throw up my life into the dirt right there. And I would also probably say to myself, “Fuck. Now what do we do?” That’s about how I feel right now, in fact. I don’t know if I drink the coffee for the cream or the cream for the coffee.
I noticed her because she annoyed me. I smiled and avoided her when I could. I had the right to because she was very pretty. Why would it matter to her? Twenty years into that occasional but consistent relationship, she says, "I always remember what you said to me! It makes me so happy!" Krplunk goes the little rock into the pond.
This song- They’re remembering something together, or forgetting it together. He’s saying something painful; I think this is real, did it even happen? I forget…. And she is wait… you’re not right you forgot to take your meds, right? You’ll be better soon just take something. But it hurt. Something killed me but I wasn’t yet dead and I tried to remember the one thing that mattered. Something. Something. There was something. Our pledge. And she no… its only because… But together oh there was all that. Yes there was all that and I.. can’t… what was it? Do you remember? OH Jesus! It spins and I can’t think… Did you FORGET?! Swirling and in heady heaven or hell did you forget did you forget? Baby you are in hell we are in hell its heaven I can’t think I can’t stop its over its in its under. your strangled love it was long it yes no no no no yes it was I remember you remember did you forget. Falling into this you fell I fell you fell you fell don’t you don’t you ever.…I was in love falling free trying my best not to forget.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Said I feel in the shallow run of the wavelength, belly scratched by sand and water in ma’nose. These little shells are rough high speed. Heard say, “Go beneath in the deep. Go beneath the wave to miss this.” And I felt the smile inside like little hummingbird coming to visit see-through white flower in sea spray on the black cliff, to eat this little flower nectar life. Little glass and rainbow little in our pockets Christmas ornament with fluttering wings up and down little flit a little here a little there. “Hi hi, little hummingbird. How was your flower?” zoom! weeeee!
Sad I said I am not too good with this, “I can be with you” But I’m not a good be-er either. “I can be with you,” said the curtain as it unfolded itself to a shining crystal flower like a galaxy picture on the surface, and sparkling deeper and more radiant. His deep magic blue waved above and glimmered gold. The curtain parts to see the shining flower, “I can be with you.” Like a big fancy danish. The sign said cheese but a bite is all dough. This crust is stale. And I don’t think they put cheese in mine. Man..... but. oh wait. I do taste it! There is sweet cream! Said you tasted it? I did! I just ate it and it was in there!
Friday, February 20, 2009
BEAUFORT ARTISTS FOR SEEWALL:
September 26, Saturday
Beaufort, South Carolina
A group exhibit with nine Low Country coastal visual artists set to the tunes of live jazz music on peaceful Coosaw Island. Look forward to organic hand tossed brick oven pizzas baked on site. A portion of all sales goes to the SeeWall Project, honored by the International Healing Arts Competition for demonstrating compelling impact on the quality of the healthcare experience for patients, their families and caregivers.
THE GOLDEN THREAD:
November 7, Saturday
The Story of the Golden Thread is unraveled and simultaneously woven in an experiential art show presented by Shannon McCarthy at ClearPoint Center. Her massive and emotive paintings are accompanied by traditional storytelling, ancient instruments, and vibrant organic treats. The generous event is enriched supremely by contributions from photographers, actors, filmmakers, poets, painters, models, musicians, event engineers, and chefs from the New England and New York City area.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
When we visit with Pop-Pop and Mollie we always go to mass, and this Sunday we went to St Benedict's in downtown St Augustine. So you know about all the lawsuits against skeezy priests? Oh my God, someone chose the hymn He Touched Me for the collection song! I did not snort out loud or snicker. But I wanted to.
Kelly and I used to do triathlons together and I asked her what it's like having a baby- if it was hard? She said it was almost as hard as the Ironman, that she wanted to give up after a while. "Give up pushing?" I asked. "No," she said, "You only push at the end, so at that point you're pretty close. For almost the whole time you just have huge contractions while your body moves the baby." I thought that was kind of amazing! I didn't know the majority of birth was making it through contractions. There's something metaphorically important about that. I'm not sure what it is, but that's key.
I got to have a visit with Donna and Bill, who were tight with my Mom and Dad growing up and are kind of like my childhood second family. We only see each other every two years or less now. Donna was one of my favorites growing up. She has brain cancer and she's not had an easy time of it. Today she was on the couch and I went in and snuggled down next to her. Bill said, "Donna, this is one of your little Girl Scouts," and as his voice cracked with tears, Donna started crying, and we all sat there weeping together in the living room next to her wheelchair and hospital bed. Then we talked about our families. I told her my paintings are going so well. Donna asks, "Shannon what will you do when you get back to Connecticut?" "I will plant my garden." "Tell me about it, darlin'." "I will plant lots of parsley. And cilantro. And sunflowers. And nasturtiums too you can eat those and johnny jump ups." She is so special, I wish I could do her justice. But like Donna you just can't do any human justice talking about them. Well. Sometimes this place gets me to thinking maybe I'd like to be somewhere else. On my birthday little Michael made me a card. He said, "Look, Aunt Shani, I drew you in yo' garden. An' see there so many roses in there you can't even leave!" Isn't that the truth.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
"She said that she would dance with me if I brought her red roses," cried the young Student; "but in all my garden there is no red rose."
From her nest in the holm-oak tree the Nightingale heard him, and she looked out through the leaves, and wondered.
"No red rose in all my garden!" he cried, and his beautiful eyes filled with tears. "Ah, on what little things does happiness depend! I have read all that the wise men have written, and all the secrets of philosophy are mine, yet for want of a red rose is my life made wretched."
"Here at last is a true lover," said the Nightingale. "Night after night have I sung of him, though I knew him not: night after night have I told his story to the stars, and now I see him. His hair is dark as the hyacinth-blossom, and his lips are red as the rose of his desire; but passion has made his face like pale ivory, and sorrow has set her seal upon his brow."
"The Prince gives a ball to-morrow night," murmured the young Student, "and my love will be of the company. If I bring her a red rose she will dance with me till dawn. If I bring her a red rose, I shall hold her in my arms, and she will lean her head upon my shoulder, and her hand will be clasped in mine. But there is no red rose in my garden, so I shall sit lonely, and she will pass me by. She will have no heed of me, and my heart will break."
"Here indeed is the true lover," said the Nightingale. "What I sing of, he suffers--what is joy to me, to him is pain. Surely Love is a wonderful thing. It is more precious than emeralds, and dearer than fine opals. Pearls and pomegranates cannot buy it, nor is it set forth in the marketplace. It may not be purchased of the merchants, nor can it be weighed out in the balance for gold."
"The musicians will sit in their gallery," said the young Student, "and play upon their stringed instruments, and my love will dance to the sound of the harp and the violin. She will dance so lightly that her feet will not touch the floor, and the courtiers in their gay dresses will throng round her. But with me she will not dance, for I have no red rose to give her"; and he flung himself down on the grass, and buried his face in his hands, and wept.
"Why is he weeping?" asked a little Green Lizard, as he ran past him with his tail in the air.
"Why, indeed?" said a Butterfly, who was fluttering about after a sunbeam.
"Why, indeed?" whispered a Daisy to his neighbour, in a soft, low voice.
"He is weeping for a red rose," said the Nightingale.
"For a red rose?" they cried; "how very ridiculous!" and the little Lizard, who was something of a cynic, laughed outright.
But the Nightingale understood the secret of the Student's sorrow, and she sat silent in the oak-tree, and thought about the mystery of Love.
Suddenly she spread her brown wings for flight, and soared into the air. She passed through the grove like a shadow, and like a shadow she sailed across the garden.
In the centre of the grass-plot was standing a beautiful Rose-tree, and when she saw it she flew over to it, and lit upon a spray.
"Give me a red rose," she cried, "and I will sing you my sweetest song."
But the Tree shook its head.
"My roses are white," it answered; "as white as the foam of the sea, and whiter than the snow upon the mountain. But go to my brother who grows round the old sun-dial, and perhaps he will give you what you want."
So the Nightingale flew over to the Rose-tree that was growing round the old sun-dial.
"Give me a red rose," she cried, "and I will sing you my sweetest song."
But the Tree shook its head.
"My roses are yellow," it answered; "as yellow as the hair of the mermaiden who sits upon an amber throne, and yellower than the daffodil that blooms in the meadow before the mower comes with his scythe. But go to my brother who grows beneath the Student's window, and perhaps he will give you what you want."
So the Nightingale flew over to the Rose-tree that was growing beneath the Student's window.
"Give me a red rose," she cried, "and I will sing you my sweetest song."
But the Tree shook its head.
"My roses are red," it answered, "as red as the feet of the dove, and redder than the great fans of coral that wave and wave in the ocean-cavern. But the winter has chilled my veins, and the frost has nipped my buds, and the storm has broken my branches, and I shall have no roses at all this year."
"One red rose is all I want," cried the Nightingale, "only one red rose! Is there no way by which I can get it?"
"There is away," answered the Tree; "but it is so terrible that I dare not tell it to you."
"Tell it to me," said the Nightingale, "I am not afraid."
"If you want a red rose," said the Tree, "you must build it out of music by moonlight, and stain it with your own heart's-blood. You must sing to me with your breast against a thorn. All night long you must sing to me, and the thorn must pierce your heart, and your life-blood must flow into my veins, and become mine."
"Death is a great price to pay for a red rose," cried the Nightingale, "and Life is very dear to all. It is pleasant to sit in the green wood, and to watch the Sun in his chariot of gold, and the Moon in her chariot of pearl. Sweet is the scent of the hawthorn, and sweet are the bluebells that hide in the valley, and the heather that blows on the hill. Yet Love is better than Life, and what is the heart of a bird compared to the heart of a man?"
So she spread her brown wings for flight, and soared into the air. She swept over the garden like a shadow, and like a shadow she sailed through the grove.
The young Student was still lying on the grass, where she had left him, and the tears were not yet dry in his beautiful eyes.
"Be happy," cried the Nightingale, "be happy; you shall have your red rose. I will build it out of music by moonlight, and stain it with my own heart's-blood. All that I ask of you in return is that you will be a true lover, for Love is wiser than Philosophy, though she is wise, and mightier than Power, though he is mighty. Flame- coloured are his wings, and coloured like flame is his body. His lips are sweet as honey, and his breath is like frankincense."
The Student looked up from the grass, and listened, but he could not understand what the Nightingale was saying to him, for he only knew the things that are written down in books.
But the Oak-tree understood, and felt sad, for he was very fond of the little Nightingale who had built her nest in his branches.
"Sing me one last song," he whispered; "I shall feel very lonely when you are gone."
So the Nightingale sang to the Oak-tree, and her voice was like water bubbling from a silver jar.
When she had finished her song the Student got up, and pulled a note-book and a lead-pencil out of his pocket.
"She has form," he said to himself, as he walked away through the grove--"that cannot be denied to her; but has she got feeling? I am afraid not. In fact, she is like most artists; she is all style, without any sincerity. She would not sacrifice herself for others. She thinks merely of music, and everybody knows that the arts are selfish. Still, it must be admitted that she has some beautiful notes in her voice. What a pity it is that they do not mean anything, or do any practical good." And he went into his room, and lay down on his little pallet-bed, and began to think of his love; and, after a time, he fell asleep.
And when the Moon shone in the heavens the Nightingale flew to the Rose-tree, and set her breast against the thorn. All night long she sang with her breast against the thorn, and the cold crystal Moon leaned down and listened. All night long she sang, and the thorn went deeper and deeper into her breast, and her life-blood ebbed away from her.
She sang first of the birth of love in the heart of a boy and a girl. And on the top-most spray of the Rose-tree there blossomed a marvellous rose, petal following petal, as song followed song. Pale was it, at first, as the mist that hangs over the river--pale as the feet of the morning, and silver as the wings of the dawn. As the shadow of a rose in a mirror of silver, as the shadow of a rose in a water-pool, so was the rose that blossomed on the topmost spray of the Tree.
But the Tree cried to the Nightingale to press closer against the thorn. "Press closer, little Nightingale," cried the Tree, "or the Day will come before the rose is finished."
So the Nightingale pressed closer against the thorn, and louder and louder grew her song, for she sang of the birth of passion in the soul of a man and a maid.
And a delicate flush of pink came into the leaves of the rose, like the flush in the face of the bridegroom when he kisses the lips of the bride. But the thorn had not yet reached her heart, so the rose's heart remained white, for only a Nightingale's heart's-blood can crimson the heart of a rose.
And the Tree cried to the Nightingale to press closer against the thorn. "Press closer, little Nightingale," cried the Tree, "or the Day will come before the rose is finished."
So the Nightingale pressed closer against the thorn, and the thorn touched her heart, and a fierce pang of pain shot through her. Bitter, bitter was the pain, and wilder and wilder grew her song, for she sang of the Love that is perfected by Death, of the Love that dies not in the tomb.
And the marvellous rose became crimson, like the rose of the eastern sky. Crimson was the girdle of petals, and crimson as a ruby was the heart.
But the Nightingale's voice grew fainter, and her little wings began to beat, and a film came over her eyes. Fainter and fainter grew her song, and she felt something choking her in her throat.
Then she gave one last burst of music. The white Moon heard it, and she forgot the dawn, and lingered on in the sky. The red rose heard it, and it trembled all over with ecstasy, and opened its petals to the cold morning air. Echo bore it to her purple cavern in the hills, and woke the sleeping shepherds from their dreams. It floated through the reeds of the river, and they carried its message to the sea.
"Look, look!" cried the Tree, "the rose is finished now"; but the Nightingale made no answer, for she was lying dead in the long grass, with the thorn in her heart.
And at noon the Student opened his window and looked out.
"Why, what a wonderful piece of luck!" he cried; "here is a red rose! I have never seen any rose like it in all my life. It is so beautiful that I am sure it has a long Latin name"; and he leaned down and plucked it.
Then he put on his hat, and ran up to the Professor's house with the rose in his hand.
The daughter of the Professor was sitting in the doorway winding blue silk on a reel, and her little dog was lying at her feet.
"You said that you would dance with me if I brought you a red rose," cried the Student. "Here is the reddest rose in all the world. You will wear it to-night next your heart, and as we dance together it will tell you how I love you."
But the girl frowned.
"I am afraid it will not go with my dress," she answered; "and, besides, the Chamberlain's nephew has sent me some real jewels, and everybody knows that jewels cost far more than flowers."
"Well, upon my word, you are very ungrateful," said the Student angrily; and he threw the rose into the street, where it fell into the gutter, and a cart-wheel went over it.
"Ungrateful!" said the girl. "I tell you what, you are very rude; and, after all, who are you? Only a Student. Why, I don't believe you have even got silver buckles to your shoes as the Chamberlain's nephew has"; and she got up from her chair and went into the house.
"What I a silly thing Love is," said the Student as he walked away. "It is not half as useful as Logic, for it does not prove anything, and it is always telling one of things that are not going to happen, and making one believe things that are not true. In fact, it is quite unpractical, and, as in this age to be practical is everything, I shall go back to Philosophy and study Metaphysics."So he returned to his room and pulled out a great dusty book, and began to read.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Mary, how do you look? Mary, how do you look?
Like this, is how I look. I look like this.
I've been doing some Mary begging. Getting pathetic for a good cause! I think. After seeing the Pieta, my dear friend John Ananda commissioned a painting of Mary Magdalene and Jesus, focusing on their love, what they planted, and perhaps on their daughter Sarah he told me about. My daydreams, albeit shallow, have been entertaining. And at the same time I'm like, "Shit. I don't know them at all!" So for the past three weeks I've been wondering about them all. Just to be clear, it's going pretty badly. Piss poorly, in fact. Which is usually a good sign. In the sense that- "If you think I'm just going to put my flowing answer into that cobwebbed bottle you got another thing coming, sister. Shape it up! Clean it out! Then we'll talk. Spit spot!" I feel like I've just drug myself through the mud and then gone to the cleaners. Nothing actually happened. But that's how I feel.
Anyway what's above is the first I've seen of her. Though it doesn't sound particularly original it felt that way. I kept thinking of Mary Magdalene with Jesus in a small space. And then she just showed up across the sky like that. Much better!
Saturday, February 14, 2009
I'm back home! For a few hours. Then off again!
I wish I had a good painting to give you but I don't. I just realized something! Every time I log onto the internet I am looking for something. What can I find? And I just. I just realized. That the internet is for giving! I think I'm gonna put my paintings on billboards. I might do that. Here's a picture of me taking lessons from an elephant seal.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
I first saw him as he was paddling his rickety boat further out into the ocean, seeing him strain with hope for a catch. I knew him vaguely- a farmer from Cork. I asked him why he was so far out alone on the sea, rowing like that, carrying the nets. He replied in tears without words. Very desperate. “Your people are starving?” I asked in the sea spray. “Yes. Failed crops.” I watched him, curious, and so saw his beginning- that he had set off from the docks while other men spit in his direction, “Go on out in that coffin! Suit y’self if ye like drownin’!” The others whispered among themselves deciding it was more entertaining to watch him die than enforce the clan mandates preventing the inlanders from fishing . My sisters and I tend to laugh and forget the horror of being human, but he reminded me. It breaks your heart, as you know. He cried out to me, knowing I was watching. He called what he knew, though he did not know me, “Lord! Sweet Lord!” as he cast out his nets again and again. From dawn till dusk, casting out his nets. Taking pity on him as the stars began to appear, the gentle fish swirled underneath his nets, and gathered themselves to be collected to their death for him. He pulled them in with a red eyed smile and he gave me thanks, weeping still. Though with the fish at his feet, the old wood leaks betrayed his plans. Anyone, though there was no other soul, could see that his boat was not high enough above water now. Waves splashed in at each moment. He saw too, that sinking would occur soon into the infinite depths. This is when you see the curtain torn in two. It’s a time that we look forward to, as much of the cosmos that we see- this is a beautiful time. He threw his head back in agony and abandon- knowing his death to be on either side. If he continues to carry the fish to shore- just enough to feed all those he loves, he will surely sink, losing both fish and his own life. If he returns the fish to the sea, he will arrive empty-handed, only to die a slow hungry death, watching his people starve.
Which ending will occur, you ask?
We don't decide such options.
We live between them.