Jane's power was off this morning, since we had a little rain, and so we just talked. She might have written with a pen and paper but talking sufficed today, and so I sat looking out at the trees and the fog as it reached in to embrace.
She liked my poem from yesterday on the De Young, but couldn't tell if I liked the De Young or not. Well, perhaps that is the point. I don't know. I walk out each time so relieved to be outside with the trees and the clouds and the sky. I see nature differently, and more appreciatively, after being in the De Young, so then, I question the value of "art," or maybe that is the value, and yet, I know that where Golden Gate Park is built was once sand dune. It all is manipulation, art, creation, so I don't know exactly what I feel. I do feel discombobulated.
We both agree that the areas in the museum are too narrow. It is not spread open like the new MOMA in New York. I find it a bit claustrophobic, I realize now, and I suppose the idea is to let us feel we are entering a cave, cave paintings, cave art. I just know how happy I am each time to get out, and even there, I wonder why some of the outside sculptures are caged.
I also find it a little too "cute" the way it angles in and out, and I still sit under, looking up at the tower, feeling the Death Star looms.
We talked about poets and I brought up Ellen Bass. I love this poem of hers and repeat it because I think we should kiss life and love this fully each and every day.
At gate C22 in the Portland airport
a man in a broad-band leather hat kissed
a woman arriving from Orange County.
They kissed and kissed and kissed. Long after
the other passengers clicked the handles of their carry-ons
and wheeled briskly toward short-term parking,
the couple stood there, arms wrapped around each other
like he'd just staggered off the boat at Ellis Island,
like she'd been released at last from ICU, snapped
out of a coma, survived bone cancer, made it down
from Annapurna in only the clothes she was wearing.
Neither of them was young. His beard was gray.
She carried a few extra pounds you could imagine
her saying she had to lose. But they kissed lavish
kisses like the ocean in the early morning,
the way it gathers and swells, sucking
each rock under, swallowing it
again and again. We were all watching--
passengers waiting for the delayed flight
to San Jose, the stewardesses, the pilots,
the aproned woman icing Cinnabons, the man selling
sunglasses. We couldn't look away. We could
taste the kisses crushed in our mouths.
But the best part was his face. When he drew back
and looked at her, his smile soft with wonder, almost
as though he were a mother still open from giving birth,
as your mother must have looked at you, no matter
what happened after--if she beat you or left you or
you're lonely now--you once lay there, the vernix
not yet wiped off, and someone gazed at you
as if you were the first sunrise seen from the Earth.
The whole wing of the airport hushed,
all of us trying to slip into that woman's middle-aged body,
her plaid Bermuda shorts, sleeveless blouse, glasses,
little gold hoop earrings, tilting our heads up.
- Ellen Bass