Sunday, December 30, 2007

Winter's Discontent

Enough already

Cold and windy day
Unpleasant in the extreme
Even if the sun is shining
But bringing no
Upon the cold
Snow clad earth

I sat
Morosely at my window
Watching the drifts of snow
Clouds of white ice
Slithering over the banks
Chilling the day
The joy

Go Away
Awful weather
Let winter abate a day or two or three
But no
Says the weatherman
More of the same

(c) Jacqui Binford-Bell

Friday, December 28, 2007

What is in a new year?

I was thumbing through my new calendar - The Old Farmer's Almanac 2008 Engagement Calendar. It has a lot of neat facts in it and I was reading it rather like I do my dictionary from time to time. I like to be on top of things like forthcoming holidays that float; Mardi Gras, Easter, Chinese New Year.

We are supposedly approaching our New Year in just a couple short days but the Chinese do not celebrate their New Year until February the 7th. Must be confusing there. Just what date do you put on a document? Do they follow our convention on business correspondence? Or is February the eighth the 2nd day of the Year of Rat?

Happy New Year?

Who sets?
This arbitrary Demarcation of Time
This Day
This minute
One year
The next minute
The Next

And there is not I see
Total agreement
of just where that line is to be set.
The Chinese
A vast sea of people
Pick another date
For the pagans
The new year has already begun
With a solar event of great magnitude
Makes sense

But these demarcations
Hard to build calendars around
The Mayans tried
They are still hailed for their accuracy
They adjusted with these free float days
Sometimes 10
Sometimes 11

We have leap years
Every now and then
One year out of four
This year is it
All to keep us from getting ahead of ourselves
Or is it behind?
Like the Romans did
So next year
The New Year after this
Will be one day
By my reckoning

(c) Jacqui Binford-Bell 2007

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Mother always said I was stubborn

If I were a four legged, finned or feathered beast of some sort it would not be any one of the numerous ones that herd, school or flock. Mother always said I was too stubborn to go along with the crowd. I always thought I wanted to make absolutely sure they were not heading over a cliff before I joined in.

A college room mate maintained that if someone rushed into our room to say Russian missiles were heading our direction I would want to consider the advisability of surviving in the bomb shelter under the dorm. (It was the cold war era and my father the pilot argued that you did not want to live through a nuclear attack even if it were possible.)

On Y!360 there is another wave of collective thinking taking place. Those that have sat it out waiting to see what Yahoo!'s new blog platform will be like are now thinking maybe those that left for Multiply months ago might just be the right thinkers in this mix. And nobody gets that. . . "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." I would not go to Multiply again if they paid me to go. It is frankly not my cup of tea.

Blog platforms seem to run the full range from mindless personality contests like FaceBook to more logical and reasoned places like Blogger. Y!360 seems to be about in the middle, Multiply a bit over the edge toward social network. After the first panic I looked into several alternatives. I found I liked Blogger (which I found before the panic) because it was a great place to blog and an impressive place to send non-bloggers to introduce myself. It has a very professional air that I am not ashamed to be associated with. I had decided to place most of my poetry and serious blogs here.

But Y!360 remains a great place to play. I am sincerely hoping that what Yahoo transition it into in the next couple of months maintains the same flavor. If not than I will continue to search for some place to play. But I am not a herd animal. Nor a Starling. Or a Tuna. I don't mind mixing with others but I am not following them blindly into the bomb shelter even if it means I may be nuked.

In my opinion Multiply is a poor place to just survive. It has mega privacy issues which I confronted when I was there before. I choose to not do it again. Besides I have Blogger from which to watch the suicides of the masses. It is quiet here and conducive to weighty thinking. Like being a Zen Lama on a mountain top.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Of writing poety


Four months
Of words upon these white pages
Not yet half through
This book
Of bound pages

And yet today
I purchased a new journal
For jotting the random thought
For my poems
To give me no excuse
To cease
This penning of Poetry

And yet
On this eve of a new year
I am reminded
There are no sure
No bound pages
Of as yet empty days
We are sure to fill
Just hopefully
We look ahead
At the space
To be written upon
And hope
It is all poetry

(c) Jacqui Binford-Bell 2007

Wishing everyone a year full of poetry and pages to be filled with memorable activities.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Yesterday was so full of gifts. There was the Bald Eagle sitting atop the telephone pole by the lake, and the herd of 200 elk grazing the banks, and the deer crossing the road near Bobcat Pass. It is strange how we pass through live often not noticing anything and then there are those times, those moments when an image is seared into our mind forever. Never it seems to be erased. If I could say which of the images I saw yesterday I would remember for a lifetime I would say it was that eagle. Seeing Bald Eagles here is a rare and new experience. But I would never have guessed that telephone booth 36 years ago that inspired this poem.


Out of the depths
of memory
It is there again
This image
Christmas season
On a crosstown bus
Idling before the White House
With all its illuminated marble
Wet from the rain

But what I remember
What I see still so clearly
From out of the window
Of the capital city bus
Is the telephone booth
Lit by the single dome light
And the woman in the so red coat

How long had the bus idled there
Before moving on its route
How long had she laughed
At something said on the phone
How long had I watched
Raindrops obscuring my view
Tears blurring the image
How long had it been
I laughed
Like that

How long has it been
That bus ride
That epiphany of my depression
My unhappiness
And why do I still remember
That happy woman in red
In a telephone booth
At 1600 Pennsylvania

The flag was flying at the White House
Richard Nixon was in residence
Wandering the halls drunk
I was going home from pottery class
To a loveless row house
On Capital Hill
Boys my age
Were dying
In Vietnam
And she was laughing
She is still
In my memory

(c) Jacqui Binford-Bell

Friday, December 14, 2007

So Mysterious

Was cleaning up my living room yesterday. Rearranging things to better suit my current needs. And I discovered a journal from my distant past. I had begun it in 1978 when I was taking a raft trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. And I was passing though a rather unsettled part of my life at the same time. Then abruptly those pages ended and it picked up again in 1986 with the dying of my father.

The journal pages are never filled completely but that they contain these two pivotal parts of my life is interesting. I have journaled a great deal of my life but between 1978 and 1986 evidently not at all. Thinking upon that and the poems I wrote at both times led to the poem below.

So Mysterious

Thirty years ago
I was passing through
The Grand Canyon
On crests of rapids
and emotions
Writing poems
About my confusion
Such a mystery
So mysterious

Twenty plus years ago
I was riding the crests of despair
The passing of a parent
Seeing the world through newfound sobriety
And again writing poems
About my confusion
Such a mystery
So mysterious

Ten years ago
My life was all prose
I had it all figured out
From marriage
To divorce decrees
So simple

I am again writing poetry
a mystery
Its passage
So mysterious

(c) Jacqui Binford-Bell

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Of Snow and Cats

Of snow and cats

Strange stuff
Who would have thought it up
Rain I understand
Even sleet
Oh, so logical sleet
But snow?
Such fluff

Like cats
Strange beasts
They purr
What other animal purrs
And meow in cat
Is actually two words
Dogs are logical
So surreal

Cat on lap
In front of the ire
Huge goose feather
Flakes of snow
Falling outside the window
I find myself studying
The snowy white fur upon my cats face
Most complex
So intricately patterned
Like a flake
of snow

Just for show?
The snow
Each flake unique
or with a purpose unknown
Strange whorls of hair
each part of the cat's puss
With its own unique pattern
Little recessed cone
surround a whisker
Each a different length

I get Adam and Eve
The chicken and the egg
But snow
A cat's purr
It's fur
These are mysteries
to contemplate
Before the fire
On a quiet snowy night

Two words
Of course

(c) Jacqui Binford-Bell 2007

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Stirring up a storm

While I was venting my anger at the shoddy treatment at the hands of my contractor, who I once considered a friend, I noticed the wind picked up and sparks started to fly from my fireplace flue. One of my blogland friends asked if I was calling up all the bad weather she was having down wind. Ergo the following poem.

The storm within

I raged today
My sunny mood grew stormy
The wind howled against the walls
The windows of my house
and mind

The storm clouds
Gathered in my stomach
Thundered through my chest
Outside the sky grew dark
The clouds built
My lazy fire danced
I spit
It snapped
The tree limbs scrapped against the wall
Sparks flew from the flue
I was in a very dark mood
As night closed in
The coals smoldered
I banked the fires of my anger
An idle breeze
A simple word
Made the coals glow red

I felt battered
The air smelt of smoke
My skin tight
As if scorched
The storm is past
My anger spent
The very air seems devoid of energy

(c)Jacqui Binford-Bell 2007

Saturday, December 1, 2007

A Day at the Fair

This Art Sunday post is really about Friday and Saturday. Friday was setup for the Holiday Market Fair which opened today in Angel Fire. Normally we are all in a very holiday spirit for this event. It is not unlike a party we pay to participate in. And for most of us artists it is a chance to not only make money before the dismal months of January, February and March but a chance to do our own Christmas shopping from the other exhibitors.

This whole event this year got off on the wrong foot. First they changed the weekend. And the lied about why they changed it quoting a survey they had taken among last year's vendors and we can't find one that got that survey. Then the weather has been dismal. Not rain or snow but a chilling mix of both keeping crowds home in droves.

Then it was someone's great idea to make it more of a party and have entertainment. I am all for mixing arts but this is a small venue which means the three piece band is right in your lap. Makes it difficult to chat up the customers when you can't hear yourself think.

About four the level of rebellion was rising. One of the surveys we all remember filling in was that 5 should be the end of the day. Nobody comes out after dark in the winter. But that they chose to ignore and wanted us all to stay to 6. So from 4:30 to about 5:30 when we all walked out in mass all we talked about was the winter of our discontent.

I fully expect some vendors to not be there tomorrow. And everyone is saying they do not plan to do the fair next year unless they go back to the original weekend and our schedule preferences. Some change is good. But none of this was. I would feel sorry for the new director of this fair if she had not lied or it was not hurting me in the pocket book.

Artists are at the whim of gallery owners, fair producers and customers. It is why we like our own company.