the ugly earring

ug‧ly [uhg-lee] offensive to the sense of beauty; displeasing in appearance

Month: September, 2012

friday’s tune: Im glad you are a monkey woman too



Yes, Im a sack of broken eggs
I always have an unmade bed
Don’t you?


bark and roots

“There is no doubt that the Indian held medicine close to spiritual things. As a doctor he was originally very adroit and often successful. He employed only healing bark, roots, and leaves with whose properties he was familiar, using them in the form of a distillation or tea and always singly. The stomach or internal bath was a valuable discovery of his, and the vapor bath was in general use. He could set a broken bone with fair success, but never practiced surgery in any form. In addition to all this, the medicine-man possessed much personal magnetism and authority, and in his treatment often sought to reestablish the equilibrium of the patient through mental or spiritual influences.

The Sioux word for the healing art is “wah-pee-yah,” which literally means readjusting or making anew. “Pay-jee-hoo-tah,” literally root, means medicine, and “wakan” signifies spirit or mystery. Thus the three ideas, while sometimes associated, were carefully distinguished.

It is important to remember that in the old days the “medicine-man” received no payment for his services, which were of the nature of an honorable function or office. When the idea of payment and barter was introduced among us, and valuable presents or fees began to be demanded for treating the sick, the ensuing greed and rivalry led to many demoralizing practices, and in time to the rise of the modern “conjurer,” who is generally a fraud and trickster of the grossest kind.”

from “The Soul Of The Indian” by Ohiyesa (Charles Alexander Eastman)

image: Medicine Woman Seeking Solitude, 1915, courtesy Library of Congress

morning dance

A black rooster spends its days in our backyard, watching over the queen hens like a young vaquero with a red buckaroo hat. And when he dances, his wing feathers point downward, and he circles around a hen on the tips of his claws – rooster pirouettes, and the faint sound of Castanets or the cockerel waltz, as they sometimes call it.

The homestead feels, almost tastes, like a farm – four goats, three llamas, three cats, two hens, and the black rooster. This past weekend, we rescued six more chickens, a handful of eggs, and a peafowl egg that we hope will hatch in the next few days. Hints of a harvest in the orchard emerge – fresh lemons and grapefruit in the coming months. Most of the 26 nearly dead pomegranate trees lover planted and cared for have shown life – green leaves and red flowers (…perhaps, we’ll get a pomegranate or two before the first desert frost).

Every morning,  blue work gloves are pulled lean and tight around my hands, and old red clogs tip tap across the packed earth,  leaping across a mud patch left behind from irrigation day and into the barn, scooping up the morning hay. Occasionally, I tango with a llama while the wild birds call, the chickens cluck, and the rooster belts out his manly crow. A young doeling named Pearl makes a dash to eat the leaf that has just fallen from the tree. Three little girls wake, wild-haired and gangly, the oldest holds her baby sister. They look out into the pasture from the sliding glass doors – they’re waiting for the okay to join the morning dance.

image: A Navajo woman holding a rooster. Photograph by Loomis Dean. USA, May 1951.

p.s. “Linguists have speculated that the words “buckaroo” and “vaquero” may derive from Arabic words related to cattle, transliterated by some as bakara or bakhara, and suggests the words may have entered Spanish during the centuries of Islamic rule. The word for cattle in Arabic is Arabic: بقر ‎ baqar, and the Arabic word بقار  baqqār means “cowherd.”

a woman sings

“A woman sings with her ovaries – you’re only as good as your hormones.”

quote: carol neblett
image: maria callas via the red list

last night’s conversation: best female singer?
your thoughts?

the child’s older self

there is a landscape, veined, which only a child can see
or the child’s older self, a poet,
a woman dreaming when she should be typing
the last report of the day. If this were a map,
she thinks, a map laid down to memorize
because she might be walking it, it shows
ridge upon ridge fading into hazed desert
here and there a sign of aquifers
and one possible watering-hole.

image: milena salvano
poem: dreamwood by adrienne rich

Knife-Throwing Mothers


The video of a knife-thrower and daughters: here