other bits of blog

Saturday, February 27, 2010

depths

All this snow is still freaking me out. We had a snow day on Wednesday, and yesterday the roads were pretty bad. Plus, it's late winter. In the Berkshires. Yuck! Late winter's just cold and wet and muddy and brown and slushy and slimy and—you get the idea.
But sometimes it's still beautiful, don't you think?

I do.
And I also think that it's time to take a vacation. But since that's not happening, let's imagine.
You're in Puerto Rico, on a beach covered in velvety sand. The perfectly turquoise water seems to stretch out for miles and miles on the horizon. The day is hot, but not stifling, just right. In your bathing suit, you lie on a towel under an umbrella, reading a wonderful book. You close the book, and let the warmth wash over you. Your eyes suddenly feel very heavy, and you drift off into a pleasant dream.
When you awake, the sun is setting in the distance. You slip on your sunglasses and watch it, marveling at the fuchsia and pepper-orange and golden-blue. You walk down to the beach, with your bare feet buried in the soft sand. As you reach the ocean, you have a sudden urge to dive in. You take off your sunglasses and dip your feet into the warm ocean. The water laps at your ankles, and you take a deep breath of comfort.
Suddenly, a submarine surfaces from the depths of the water, and the top opens. You step inside, and it steers itself away into the dark liquid. At first it is to dark to see by, but your eyes adjust and you finally see the wonders of the water, the reefs and fish and swaying seaweed. You sit down in a soft chair and settle into the steady rhythm of the sea.

Submerged
Down, down, down
So far below the shining surface
Of glistening waves
But waves glisten here
They freeze and glide and twist and twirl
My hand presses on the window
Making a mark
My breath fogs up the glass
And I stare
I stare at crabs
Spider-like crabs
Larger than myself
Waving, moving red pillars
Swish across my path
Like worms in dirt they twist
And seem to have no body
They seem to be empty, floating
Space
My eyes lock on these strange creatures
And I feel warmth
A rush, a great burst
Of hot water
I look below the vessel
That carries me
Cracks
Splits the Earth
Far below the surface of our world
Are revealed
Through these cracks
Hot, steaming liquid pours
From below the crust
Warming the oceans
Making life
Possible
Possible even when it is below ground
Where freezing water
Flows and meets
With steaming air
To make this underwater
Museum of every kind of organism
You can imagine
And more
Diving down
My darting, hazel eyes
See ridges
Like the seam of a baseball
Curving and twisting
Hundreds of meters below
Lie mountain ranges
Even larger than those
Above the surface
Sonar pings catch my attention
I pull away from the glass
But turn to catch one glimpse
Of this wonder
This growing, changing wonder
And we fly to the surface
We fly



And even though this has nothing to do with anything, happy birthday, Rosie, my dear. Happy birthday to my five-year-old.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

botanic midwinter

Hey, there! (Why do I start out every post with a 'hi'? Let's start this again.)

My dad and I went to the Botanical Gardens in my area on Thursday...and we were late, so we got 15 minutes there. I'm pretty annoyed about that. But I have to admit that I got some great photos!

And it's supposed to snow this week. The Botanical Gardens were such a relief. I'm so tired of all this snow, although my dad adores it, it means that he can play ice hockey.

And, for the last two nights, I've been writing. Diana gets to meet Stella, and, for anyone who has seen me in person, Stella is based on moi! Stella's a bit headstrong, too...like me.

Dancing With Thieves
Four
Stell


I shake myself out of my dream. I have no right to think that Mica is cute or sweet or beautiful or trustworthy, but—I do.
“Mica, do you have any clothes I can wear?” I ask, still trying to snap myself out of it.
“Yes,” Mica responds, blushing. He rummages through his dresser and pulls out a brown tunic and soft, dark blue leggings, then hands them to me. I thank him, and he turns around and stares at the wall.
“Mica?”
“Hmm?”
“Well, I was just wondering.”
“What?”
“Do you have any brothers or sisters?” Not what I meant to say, how could I be so stupid? You don’t ask people that!
He giggles. “Yes, I do. My sister’s name is Stella. You can meet her, if you like.”
I nod, even though he can’t see me, but I think he might be able to guess at my gestures.
I finish getting dressed. The tunic and leggings fit perfectly, and it feels good to wear boys’ clothes. I feel free and light, ready for anything. “You can turn around now,” I say quietly. He does, and as he does, the door next to his bed opens.
A tall young man steps into the room. He has wavy brown hair and brown eyes. Even with the teenager’s common appearance, he holds himself high, as if he were a king in a castle, and everyone should bow down to him. Then it hits me. The King. The King of the Thieves. And he doesn’t know who I am.
Mica laughs nervously. “Hi, John. Um, this is, um, ah, er…” he trails off. We never invented a boy’s name for me.
I think quickly. “Dane,” I say. “My name’s Dane.”
John smiles thoughtfully. “And you are here because?” His voice is low and gruff, rather beyond his years. I look at him; really look at him this time. He actually looks to be at least 19, four years older than Mica and I.
“I live in England,” I say, and that’s true. “And I’m here for the summer, I, ah, need work.”
“I understand you have training?” the King asks.
I nod. “I’m actually trained as a—a spy.”
John raises his eyebrows. I wonder if he believes me. “Take him downstairs,” he says to Mica. “He’ll do.”
Mica smiles, then takes me out of his room through another door, this one leading through his study. It opens onto a dimly lit staircase, and we follow it into the gloom.
As we walk, the sounds of a market become loud and clear. Looking below me, I can see a square of light at the bottom of the stairs. Mica runs straight down toward it, and I follow him, trusting his every movement again and again.
“Mica!” A young girl’s voice wafts up from the light. I can’t see Mica, but I know he must be smiling.
“Stell, I want you to meet Di—Dane,” he whispers. By this time we are at the square of light, looking into the face of a small, brown-haired girl. This must be Stella.
“Huh?” Stella asks.
“What?” asks Mica right back at his younger sister. They both burst out laughing, and I even grin a little. It feels good to smile, and I haven’t done it since last night, when I lost—I don’t want to think about it.
We step into the lit area, and climb down a rickety ladder into the hustle and bustle of a Dublin marketplace, which is what I suppose John called “downstairs”.
Stella looks at me. “Are you a new Rouge?” she asks.
“Kind of,” Mica answers for me. “See, she’s a…”
“I’m a girl,” I say. If I trust Mica, I have no reason not to trust his younger sister.
Stella gapes at me. “You’re a WHAT!?” she asks, yelling.
“Shh,” Mica whispers to his sister, “we don’t want people to know.”
“But you just said she’s a Rouge! Mica, if John finds out—he’ll, he’ll kill you!”
“John only takes your fingers, you know the rules, one mistake and you’ve got no thumb, two and the other one’s gone, three your hand’s gone, and four…well, let’s just say no one comes back from four,” he explains, with the result of Stella shuddering.
“Well, you’ve already stepped into this mess, there’s no going back now,” Stella scolds. I smile weakly at their bickering, and wonder if the King would really do that.
Stella turns to me. “So, Dane, if you’re a girl, what are you called?” she inquires.
“Diana,” I say.
“Diana,” Stella muses. “I like it.”
I smile. “I like Stella.”
Stella looks at me again with her green eyes. They are as green as her brother’s. Stella’s hair is dark brown, not as black as Mica’s. She is as skinny as a beanpole, with so many freckles I can barely see her face. “Call me Stell,” she says. “I’m twelve, and Stella seems so little. Stell sounds brave and bold, it’s almost like a lion, or rather, a lioness…” she trails off, embarrassed, and I giggle.
“Well, Stell is fine with me,” I answer, and we grin at each other. I like this girl.
I like this girl, too. But I like it even more when you comment.

Monday, February 15, 2010

méow

I don't feel like talking today. Only writing. So here's the story you voted on...with a twist.

Memoirs of an Italian Calico
Bright Blue Eyes Only Happen Sometimes
September 4th


Everyone’s born with blue eyes—I think. Well, cats are, and that’s all that ever counts. And, anyway, I wasn’t. My mother, whom I call Madre, the word for mother in Italian, told me the story so many times:
“Vera, I remember the day you, Carmine, and Ciro were born, it was cold and windy. March 18th, right? It was raining so hard I thought Daniela’s roof would fall down. I was hidden in her closet, where I had been for days. She knew I was there, but didn’t want to disturb me. The first to come out was Carmine all tiger-like and sleek, and from the moment he was born, he was cooing like a songbird. That was what brought Daniela to the closet. Then came you, covered in long, calico fur, and you wouldn’t open your eyes. And last was Ciro. But Ciro was late, and big. He took a long time, but by the time he was free of me, and I was free of him, the storm had stopped, and the great flaming sun was rising. Daniela knew at once what your brothers’ names would be. Carmine, song, and Ciro, like the sun, but she didn’t know yours. Once you opened your eyes, though, then she was amazed. Your bright green eyes were astounding, and she knew that you weren’t hiding the truth, like most cats do when they are born; you gave it all away with those emerald eyes. So you were truth, Vera, truth.”
I’m not sure if the story is real, but my madre sure seemed fond of it. She wasn’t very fond of me, though. She was one for traditions, and she said I broke every rule.


Rule Breaker
September 9th


Madre said that I was impossible. She complained that my fur was always too ruffled, my eyes were too bright, and my meowing was too soft and sweet, she could never hear me. And she scolded me for having wet paws or bent whiskers. She never even looked at the faults of Carmine, her song, right. Carmine was loud, with sharp claws that were never retracted and a rough attitude. All he wanted to do was play with Marcéllo, or Marcé, our owner Daniela’s son. Marcé was twelve, and a rascal himself. He never washed his hands, bullied his younger sister, Azzura, who owned Ciro, and was rude to everybody.
Ciro was sweet and kind, but he was a brain, and proud of it. He and Azzura would curl up in her bed, reading books, hour upon hour. Sometimes I could hear Azzura reading aloud to Ciro. She was a strange and stuck-up child.

And I belong to Romeo.


Romeo
September 13th



Romeo is a quiet boy. He has light brown hair that matches my own. And his eyes are bright green. We’re made for each other. Daniela let each of her three children have a kitten. Her own cat, Alba, or dawn, was Madre. Originally, Madre said that she had five kittens. I never met them, Daniela sold them to others.
Marcé got to choose first, he was sure he needed a tiger-striped and frisky Carmine. Even though Romeo was born before Azzura, and they were choosing by age, she insisted on choosing before him. Romeo, who at first glance wanted Ciro, was disappointed when Azzura chose the white-gold tabby.

So Romeo was left with the tiny calico, me. Actually, he was the one who named me Vera, after I opened my eyes. I wonder if Azzura was disappointed after she learned that Ciro was a boy, and I a girl, but “there were no trades”, as Daniela said.

I love Romeo. He’s not a show-off with his knowledge, but he really does know a lot. He spends most of his time with me, and I spend my time with him. I’ve taken to riding on his shoulder lately, especially because I love how Azzura and Marcé look when we walk in, me whispering in his ear.

Romeo can understand me. He seems to, anyway. The boy is a writer, and once when he was out of ideas, I meowed a phrase in his ear and he wrote the exact words I said. Every cat can understand Two-Leg, but only a special few humans can understand Feline. Romeo is one of those humans. Lately we’ve been having conversations, me meowing in his ear, which he understands, and him talking back to me, which I understand. We’ll stay up late in the night, when I’m curled in the crook of his neck, where we’ll compose songs together, or write stories.


Origins
September 17th



I come from Italy. Everyone I know is Italian, and me and my siblings’ names are Italian. There’s not a Feline Italian, Spanish, French, or anything such as that, but there are some differences in words, every cat knows them, though. Mainly the words are cat, love, human, mother, father, brother, sister, kind, whisker, and paw, but it varies with each dialect.
I’m not good at explaining things, Madre (see, the Italian word for mother) says that I’m not smart, but she says that about everyone, except Ciro and Azzura. So I don’t believe her, but I still think I’m not the best at explaining things, so I just hope you understand what I said.

I'm only going to say one thing: Méow, and yes, with the accent. Oh, and please, please, please, please, please comment.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

pianissimo

Well, hello there. It's me again (duh!), and I am sorry that I broke my promise, I didn't write twice a week, but this time I have a reason! I have the flu, and I'm a bit too tired to do anything, but I'm feeling better at the moment, so I'm posting, as you can see.
Today I want to talk about pianos. They really are interesting things. No one knows exactly what they are. See, pianos have strings, so they're called string instruments. Pianos are called percussion instruments. But I fit them into another category, pianos are their own.
Pianos have this amazing way of being loud and soft at the same time, sweet and melancholy. Yes, everyone thinks that about their own instrument, but for pianos it's true. They really do have the ability to venture into that range of fire, fortissimo, or even just forte. And they can sneak into dark corners, whispering magic, pianissimo and piano. "Piano" in Italian means "soft" and "forte" means "loud". And a piano is really called a piano forte, meaning "loud soft". This is because the piano was the first instrument that had such a dynamic range.

Alright, alright, I'm boring you about the history of piano, and you're wondering why I'm even talking about them. The gist is that I want to say goodbye to my old piano. Yes, I'll still see it all the time, but we got a new one, and when we move into our house that's half-built, but being remodeled (where the piano is), then I won't see this old piano anymore. So I guess this post is kind of a dedication to my old piano, and a welcoming to the new. Just bear with me for this, okay?

Anticipation
I stare at empty space
An alcove
Perfect symmetry
But empty
Soon, though
Soon a piano will fill the gap
A piano so soft and creamy
An instrument just waiting to be met
But for now
I am contented with the old
And out of tune
Dark and tall
Soft
So easy to play
Mother says the new one will be, too
I hope
Hope and laugh over the faults
Of the old
Felts disintegrated
Rusty and looming
Yet mine
The one I know
And grew up with
The first I played
I will grieve for the old
But love the new even more
As I anticipate
My inspiration

That was before we got our new piano.
This piano really is a piano forte. It's so loud, I mean, it's mainly the room, but this piano is fortissimo, very loud. So, at the moment, we're putting a mattress behind it to make it quieter, but we will buy this foam stuff that dampens the sound. Anyway, this piano is amazing, very different from the old one.
The old piano has no felts, its huge, an upright, and it's about 100 years old. The wood is rough and calloused, and the keys are soft. It's a W. B. Haines & Co. from New York. I know, never heard of it. When I play it, I almost feel old, but I love it all the same. It's the piano I started on, the piano I know, so I can't really help it. Our living room is full of soft surfaces, rugs, couches, etc. So it's not as loud as the new one, which is in a room that has furniture, but it's much more bare.

And the new piano, it's sleek, shiny, and golden. I look at it and I'm reminded of honey or syrup. This one is a Kawai studio, more common than the old. And the felts aren't disintegrated, and the springs aren't rusty, and it's not 100 years old. I love this piano.


My niece, Rosie, she's pretty psyched, too.

Okay, I'm still boring you? Well how about a seven-minute atonal/tonal improv of mine?

If you don't know what tonal is, it's playing in key, really, and atonal isn't. So basically tonal is, for example, playing in the key of C, and atonal is just playing any note on the piano. But this is my description of them.
Tonal, I think, sounds warm and soft, like a flower petal dancing in the wind. It feels perfect, like nothing could go wrong. It sounds grounding, yet flies you away into the clouds. It is a gift of sweet melody, and it feels like wrapping up in a blanket near a warn fire, reading a book.
Atonal sounds free, like you disobeyed the rules only to come out better than who you were. It sounds like the moss climbing up a tree or vines up a long-forgotten house. When you listen to atonal music, you feel like a bird just gliding on the wind, swooping and gliding, daring and adventurous.

And now you're falling asleep, I hope not. Anyway, happy Valentine's Day, and the beginning of the year of the tiger...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

deprived of poetry

I just went out on a lake, a frozen one. It was really cold. Really, really cold. I swear that the windchill was about -15º F!

See?
Anyway, I haven't posted for a long time. I feel bad...so now I'm making a commitment to posting at least twice a week, agree? Me too. And that means it's been a long time for you with no writing, that for me is sad. You can't be deprived of writing for any longer! I demand it! (So I demand that you read this.)

Night and Day
Silver as the moon
And velvet as a lady’s gown
That swishes in the sun
Her eyes
Unlike the moon
Are amber honey
Like the sun
Her brother
The sun
The hyper child
Racing down the halls
Yet when he sleeps
The sun does set
To reveal the moon
The velvet, yellow-eyed moon
Rises in the evening
Then
As her younger brother sleeps
Her face
Touches mine
She curls
A velvet cushion
Dainty as a fairy

And this!

Sense
Pushed away
Into a corner
Used
But loved
Loved by a tiny creature
Yellow, orange, and white
Soft, curly whiskers
Warm, sweet body
Heats me
His life
Ever so present
On my woven seat
Colorful
Flowered
As I sense this all
Commotion around me
Silence within me
The senses I have
But do not have
And the things
I long for
For taste, hearing, touch
For sight, smell
But I have one
Love

Did you know I wrote that poem about this chair?

You have been deprived of poetry, and now you're not. Happy? Me too!
And I promise that I will try to post more, but only if you comment more...