keep your peepers open!

keep your peepers open!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I remember being so awestruck when I turned to this page of an O Magazine who knows how many years ago that I carefully removed it to tuck away in a folder (none of the pages have a date on them, hence not being able to pinpoint exactly what year it was). Something about the elegant movement captured by the upsweep of the garment, maybe the black and white shadows, or perhaps my sheer admiration of dancers made me linger over the picture before I stored it for future reference.

It surfaced in my head one morning in 2007 while working on a collage. My intent was to use only black, white and gray for the piece, I knew the dancer would be perfect for the flow of the goddess coming to life before me. Everything was assembling so beautifully until I realized I would have to destroy another’s poetic image in order to finish my own creation. With admiration, I finally began to cut for the sake of art producing what turned out to be an exquisite pregnant goddess. However, I felt a sense of loss as I no longer had the picture I actually treasured.

During my morning reading, I flipped to a page with a poem that stopped my breath. Much like that picture, I lingered over it, the words lush in their flow. Ramprasad, a Hindu poet, spoke of how much he loved and adored a beautiful dark beauty, his black darling who danced and seduced the world, how much he loved black and dancing. I thought of the black and white photograph of Martha Graham I clipped years ago…it had seduced me with its graceful shadowy movement though a still shot and suddenly made sense to me through a written piece that had nothing to do with it. But something about it was quite parallel. I continued to read only to discover that the black darling the poet was so enraptured with was Kali, the goddess of death which then tied me back to the collage because in a way, one thing died or was sacrificed to birth another.
When I examine all that has happened in the time I so gratefully have had on this earth, there are many congruent occurrences to note. I am very aware of how much is written into us that we aren’t aware of until we are. Right now, white calla lilies in clear glass vases are the cut flowers around my home; I have taken photos of them, many that aren’t that good. But there is one that is, one that I converted to black and is not lost on me how much it resembles the dress in that magazine picture which, by the way, someone found, pulled and made sure it landed uncut on my desk. When things are meant to be, they just are.

As we dance through our days, people, things, opportunities ebb and flow. We win, we lose. We get, we give, give up give in then get up. We live each day moving something until the day we can no longer move anything. And while some things along the journey are clearly black or white, the many shades of gray soften the jagged edges as the seduction of quiet stillness continues to still my breath.

keep your peepers open!®

Sunday, March 27, 2011


On any given weekend in Washington, DC particularly when the weather is warmer, one can get in their car, start out to wherever they are headed and discover that whatever route they normally take is barricaded due to a walk, a rally, an event, a construction, a something. And whatever that something is means that one must either follow the detour signs or figure out an alternate route to their ultimate destination. When faced with the latter, this Washingtonian has had to resort to creative mapping to get from SW to points NW; the one way streets that aren’t always predictable, two way streets that at some block turn into one way streets and not in the direction I am driving still throw me off, make me a tad bit frazzled. However, the more it happens, the more I have come to appreciate the value of a detour.

Going off route has surprised me with unusual homes and buildings with such architectural flair that I’ve circled the block to make sure I saw that, fascinating gardens and front porches that make a row house so distinctly quirky I have to wonder what the neighbors think, sculptures and murals that pop up so unexpectedly that that loud snapping sound would be my neck doing a 360 swivel. It’s creativity in passing motion being recorded in me. But beyond the detours of the road are other diversions that take us the long way around back to center. Being led away from my collage work by a camera and other personal distractions has brought me back to them, though my perspective has shifted greatly.
I find myself engaged for long periods with pictures in magazines, considering the minute changes in the same photograph printed at various sizes, pondering the connection between the two.

Confronted with something different by choice or not, forces the eyes open, challenges the mind, jostles the senses. We become more aware, rearrange the thought process and hopefully are pleasantly surprised, even when it’s just a little thing. Take the earrings in the picture. I am not at all attracted to crocheted jewelry. When I saw them, I knew immediately how they were made but was drawn to them anyway. Red lipstick glamour, brass beads and bracelets, mysterious beauty -- a sensual rush passed through me when I put them on. And as sure as I sit here adorned in them right this very second know that jockeying around the marathon to get to Boveda, an incredible oasis I frequent that makes even the stuffiest woman take a turn towards the bohemian goddess in her, was a detour that indeed rerouted me in more ways than one.
So as you head out each day, go another way and be sure to…

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Boveda is located at 3165 Mount Pleasant Street, NW, Washington, DC…you will start on a journey from the instant you take the last step at the top of the stairs…

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

star gazing

for your pleasure anytime, day or night…enjoy the exquisite view…


...from buds to their last intoxicating breath, they kept me spellbound. always…

keep your peepers open!®

thx dex

Sunday, March 20, 2011

balancing act

Balance is something I feel like I struggle with even though I am a Libra. The word balance has a variety of meanings in both its noun and verb forms, for example -- Steady state on a narrow base (noun)…well I am able to keep my feet firmly planted or more importantly get back on them, even after seriously being knocked off of them. Bring elements into harmony (verb)…really good at arranging different things so that they form a well proportioned whole witness my collage work and other creative things I do. Emotional stability (noun)…okay who on this earth is in their right mind every darn day of the week damn it so... moving on. Remainder, like what’s in your bank account (noun)…thankfully, and this was not always the case in my past adult life, there is something left after I settle the bills. Place in a precarious position (verb)…have found myself here of my own doing and on occasion not; assess something (verb)…but upon a careful look at the pros and cons usually end up making the best choice as long as I have all the information needed to make an informed decision…and if my heart is not involved. Which brings me to hold the balance meaning one has the power to determine which way something will go and really it doesn’t have to be so difficult if folks worked towards striking a balance, you know…compromise. It keeps things from being left hanging in the balance.

Now that I’ve taken this short moment to assess it, it is the Zen of balance, that harmony (noun) of the mind, soul, body and spirit that I seek to bring myself back to on a daily basis and as of this moment I will let go of the struggle and just let it be, for it will be so. As for tipping the scale, one could argue that being off balance every now and again is just life but in my case, I’m beginning to believe it may be worthy of writing a book about and perhaps one day I shall…just not today so…

keep your peepers open!®

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

splendor in the pink

For some reason unknown to me, the closer we move to spring, the farther my color palette moves across the spectrum from black. As a child, everything from my toothbrush to my clothing to my lunch box had to be the color of a cherry blossom. I have no explanation for my resurging penchant for the pink family of hues and shades but perhaps it’s the girl in me exercising her will once again and she sure has been noisy! I bought a coral-colored jacket, dug both my salmon leather and fuchsia silk slides from the back of the closet, searched for and found a rose quartz beaded necklace I designed several years ago and put back into rotation a gloss that I bought on a fluke last April. It or maybe she demanded some complimentary friends; I spent a leisure hour in the make up department trying on all sorts of things this past Saturday. So just call me a baby doll dame; the creative names for lipsticks, glosses, blush and other cosmetics really can allow you to make up a new persona for yourself as you make over your face. And wanna hear something bazaar? I also selected a tube of lustre for my lips that seemed like a warning for things to come in the department of love. But who listens to their lipstick for heavens sake. Maybe as I wavered between it and another then had to go to a whole other store because the one I was in didn’t have it should have told me a little something. Lovelorn…a pretty in pink color purchased with the intent to provoke mad smooch sessions shall now serve as a reminder that spring means new beginnings. I will smooth its creaminess over my lips as I slather myself with velvety Sugar Lychee body lotion that I buy every year when the wind turns warm and know that something good is blowing.

Me thinks that my desire to drape in pinks was the baby girl in me ensuring that when the storm ceased this dame would be dolled up and ready for next because I can’t help but feel happy when I gaze at my raspberry beret adjusted just so, shiny magenta toes that glimmer like candy wrapped in cellophane, watermelon baubles, bangles and beads and know that a fresh spring fling waits around the corner. Splendid pink never fails to make me happy and also happens to be the color of romance so I dare you to…

keep your peepers open!®

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Taking photographs has become my way of meditating. Being still in the quiet of morning has not only quieted my mind but has later revealed images that still my inner being.

The glow of the sun, its rays spreading out over the sky, kissing everything beneath it always makes me feel as if some being is smiling down on me, lets me know that life holds promise even when clouds hover. This bright morning, the air feels cool as it softly suggests that I allow it to soothe the tension on my brow, reminds me that nothing and no one is predictable. Though my day started early, it’s suddenly late on this weekend when we lost an hour of sleep. I’ve yet to venture out which is not like me on a Sunday and that breeze is telling that it’s way too lovely to miss my meditation. Whoever is up there watching over me knows my eyes need to bring into focus some peaceful clarity today as they send the warmth of the sun to embrace me, guide me to what it is I am to see, so…

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

sweet b

When I thought about this past weekend, many words sprang to mind. Opulence is the one that resounds. The countryside and ever changing weather were magnificent, the Greenbrier itself was lavish with lots of sparkle and rich décor. But the company I kept, well my girls are a luxury that words cannot describe.

As we rounded up the posse we each joyously abandoned our busy lives to head west to the mountains of WVA for a few days of surrender. Six women, four plus hours up and back in an eight passenger vehicle stuffed with more than twelve bags (not including the ones we collected after we got there) for more than 72 hours; the sing-a-long to the tunes on Soultown satellite radio accompanied hilarious exchanges, the conversation, banter, laughter and a few tears only quieted when the sand man forced us into some seriously comfortable beds. From sweethearts to sweetbreads to no sweets thank you to how do we make it whatever that it is sweeter to how sweet is this, the exuberant dialog was never boring, sometimes to the delight of folks sitting nearby.

There is something infectious about a group of people enjoying life regardless of what their back story is past or present. Invariably, those in observance just want to have what they’re having, others consider themselves most fortunate when they get the chance to join in, be part of the zaniness if only for a few minutes. From the moment we arrived right up to the meal we shared as we headed back up the highway, there is no doubt in my mind that those we came in contact with will not soon forget us, there are quite a few who are still chuckling about what they overheard. I think the six of us are too.

Life is meant to be lived to the fullest, filled with a richness that isn’t recorded on a bank statement and as we packed clothes, memories and I can’t remember how many pairs of new shoes into our bags, we vowed to continue doing just that. So as one of my high-spirited friends would say, “Cheers!” and to that I add…
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Sunday, March 6, 2011

a way

…where there’s a will, there’s a way and today it wasn’t will that took me away but my best friend who kidnapped a few of her cowgirls and whisked us off to mountainous countryside out in WVA for a weekend of lounging, luxuriating and laughter…don’t want to miss a minute so gotta go way for now…until Wednesday…

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

a vow

Several years ago, I was working on a spoken word project with high school freshman. The students were asked to find, learn then recite a poem that resonated with them as one of the exercises to prepare them for writing and speaking their own creations. I sat at a desk experiencing some old pangs remembering my freshman days. My family moved in the middle of the school year which at first was not an easy adjustment. However, looking back, I realized it was nothing compared to what students have to deal with today. I wondered if the sensitive girl I was would be able to navigate the adolescent world that is high school now, if there is room for girls like me who feel so deeply with their hearts. And then I heard a young girl speak the following words written by poet Mari Evans…


I will bring you a whole person
and you will bring me a whole person
and we will have us twice as much
of love and everything

I be bringing a whole heart
and while it do have nicks and
dents and scars,
that only make me lay it down
more careful-like

An’ you be bringing a whole heart
a little chipped and rusty an'
sometime skip a beat but
still an' all you bringing polish too
and look like you intend
to make it shine

And we be bringing, each of us
the music of ourselves to wrap
the other in

Forgiving clarities
Soft as a choir's last
lingering note our
personal blend

I will be bringing you someone whole
and you will be bringing me someone whole
and we be twice as strong
and we be twice as true
and we will have twice as much
of love
and everything

The hair on the back of my neck rose to attention. I had never heard this poem before and was so moved, not only by the words but with the delivery from a student that up to that moment hadn’t said very much. She stood strong and sure, spoke with such eloquence, an old soul who understood the meaning of each line. It spoke to me too, immediately became one of my favorites and though written in 1993, has an old spirit. I don’t know why but it feels like it was recited back when my ancestors were on the plantation, an exchange of vows taken before jumping the broom hoping to be together forever knowing that that might not be possible. It feels sepia toned, romantic, gentle yet strong and sure, like the freshman girl standing in front of me that day, like the woman who I am and have been.

Celebration never fails to stir my soul. I keep it in my phone, wrote it in my journal, and it will forever remain in my whole heart.

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