Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day Everyone!

Yes, you can find love in the streets of Los Angeles. I did - here it is! In time for the controversial exhibition at MOCA, making graffiti into art. I must say I will not attend this exhibition, yet another at MOCA I found a reason to miss. To put it simply: I do not like graffiti Tagging, to me, is what it is: the equivalent of dogs urinating to mark their territory, stinking ugly. Still... that heart on the utility box was painted over in a boring grey shade and I really missed it while driving to work. The heart reappeared recently, but without any text, nor tags, just in red.

Making "art in the streets" inspired painter Susan Dobay to create a beautiful collage from a photograph she took in Budapest. A young violinist, in a drab navy sweater and skirt, plays music in the street, while her baby looks on from his baby carriage. The open violin case waits for donations, which are not coming in the drizzle. I found something magical in this moment, looking at the scene transformed by Susan's art. I wrote a poem, one of a series inspired by her art. It was published in our community paper last May. Another poem on a painting by Susan Dobay, the Awakenings appeared here not long ago. I have to re-post the melancholy Shelled Sunset. Here's a tribute to Susan Dobay's "Violinist in the Street."


Mama’s Music

(After a collage by Susan Dobay)

The milk bottle is in the bag
but little Leo is smiling.
He likes watching the street.
He likes the music Mama makes
with those strange things she holds.
He gurgles happily at the sound
of the coins dropped into the box.

He stretches his arms to catch a sun ray
shining on them from an overcast sky
above the cobblestones and a magic tree
that grew from the sweet melodies
flowering with star dust. Maybe it will drop
bright blossoms on her dark skirt,
make her pretty like the ladies that listen?
They will go home when it starts to rain.
She is happy just to have the music
flowing from under her bow –
andante, tranquillo, legato.

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Another artistic friendship and a shared artwork connect me to another Susan, a wonderful poet and all-together-inspirational-and-inspired person made of light, Susan Rogers. We wrote poems based on the same painting. Mine was called "Always" and found the sweetness of old country music in that sugary landscape. Susan thought about her Mom. She posted her poem on this blog once already, as a comment to my poem about Patsy Cline and her landscape of love. Here it is again, in celebration of Mother's Day.

With You Always

~ for Jane


(by Susan Rogers)

It was supposed to be
just this way-
a watercolor world
lit by the clear, clear light
that happens only after rain.
You are lit here too
and so am I.
You who gave me
all the words I know
to describe the world
have become that world—
the colors bursting into
names: “Look, the sky
is peacock blue,
the grass is apple green.
See the peaches
in the clouds, persimmon
in the nearby hill, olive
where the branches lean.”
I couldn’t yet walk,
but you wheeled me
everywhere.
The stroller was my chariot
and you— my charioteer
pointing out the poetry
in every object,
every phrase
until my world filled
with the sound of your voice
and my eyes knew,
my ear knew, my mind knew
the wonder that lives inside
all spoken words.
When I was almost grown
you told me the story
of how you described the universe
giving me my gift of words.
I laughed, but never properly replied.
I wanted to bring you colors

of rain washed air,
to walk beside you when you
couldn’t see the lavender
anymore in mountains,
or the mustard in fields
where dandelions bloom—
and describe for you how beautiful
the colors are in the after light of rain,
how everything seems deeper—
even the water soaked grain
on the bark of trees.
In the picture that I paint
we are walking up a path
in the late afternoon—
we are bathed in the clear gold light
that fills a sky with promise.
I am pointing out a tree
with avocado leaves
streaked with teal.
It has just rained.


In gratitude for my mother
who gave me the gift of words
and for Kotofumi Tsukuri who created them.


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Photo of grafitti in Lake View Terrace (c) 2010 by Maja Trochimczyk.
Poem by Susan Rogers used by permission.
"Violinist on the Street" by Susan Dobay used by permission.
"With You Always" by Minoru Ikeda - from the collection of Maja Trochimczyk.

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